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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Solitude, chanting for fame and Sannyāsī-Gaura arcana


In his commentary on Manaḥ Śikṣā, verse 5, Banga Bihari Vidyālankara (unknown to me who that is, but his opinion is shared among Vaishnavas generally) writes: vāse bahūnāṁ kalaha ityādinā sat sango'pi kartum anucitaḥ syād iti satyaṁ tat tulya jnānināṁ niyata dhyāna parānāṁ viṣaya eva na tv asmādṛśānāṁ etc "Jnanis simply meditate (in solitude), saying vāse bahūnāṁ kalaha, where many people live together there is quarrel. Hence any sanga, also sat sanga, is not proper. But this does not go for us (Vaiṣṇavas)."
I must say though, that wherever I found large communities of any type of persons, there was indeed quarrel and that includes large communities of Vaiṣṇavas, regardless whether these are dormitory-missions or independently living devotees. And what is wrong with meditation in solitude? It seems the life that the Six Goswamis, and many great Gaudiya Vaiṣṇavas, were living, too. This does not altogether exclude sat sanga. It should surely be had, especially as Manah Siksa 5 says, to counteract vices as lust and so. But sat sanga can also be had in moderate amounts, not necessarily 24/7 boarding and dormitory sanga."


Bhakta: Is there any information on how many rounds Advaita Prabhu chanted?

Advaitadas: No. Raghunath  Dās Goswami is said to have done 1 lakh: loy lākho nāma (CC ādi 10,99). However, Sādhu Bābā said chanting so many lakhs is usually a waste of time; it just inflates the ego. Better to do humble seva in the Guru's ashram - sadā tvam sevasva prabhu dayita sāmantam atulam: Dās Goswami taught this is the cure against the disease of pratistha (Manah Siksa - 7). So many chant for show: money and fame.

Bhakta: That everybody can see how many.. oh, he is such a saint."

Advaitadas: Even sex: it impresses women devotees. yaśo'rthe dharma sevanam - (S.B. 12.2.6) - "In Kali yuga religion is performed for fame only."


Bhakta: "Is it allright for a woman devotee to worship deities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as a sannyasi?"

Advaitadas: There is a broader issue here: the issue of gaura arcana. Though Narottam Das Thakur did it, and  Viṣṇupriyā-devi, none of the six Goswamis did: they all worshiped Radha-Krṣṇa deities - and they are the Gaudiya Vaiṣṇava role-models. Worshippng Bhagavan who keeps the maryada as a sannyasi and
shunned women. Then he becomes a deity. Better to worship the Vraja-lampat, hahaha: good for girls and boys. Deities should not take sannyas. But seriously: The deity of Gaura is never sannyasi - if worshipped at all as deity, Gaura is always Nadiya Bihari. Generally though, one should worship Radha-Krṣṇa. ārādhyo bhagavān vrajesha tanaya. Gaura was worshipped first as a deity by Viṣṇupriyā-devi after the Lord took sannyasa, but then she was His own widow. It was not meant for the sampradaya to take over. Exceptions are not the rule.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sannyāsa adhikāra and Shiva

Bhakta -
I would like to know if sannyāsa is just a tradition thing or a social construct, to help men to focus on their work for their sampradāyas? Or from the standpoint of reaching the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava goal, are gṛhastas not on an equal footing with the sanyāssis to reach the goal? I mean are sanyassis in a more conducive position to reach the goal? Are there verses in the Bhagavatam and Gita supporting the idea that it is a more conducive position to reach prema?

Advaitadas -
According to śāstra, Sannyāsa is the fourth āśrama which is only allowed for born brāhmaṇas. In his refutation of Śankarācārya's commentary on Bhagavad Gita 18.66, wherein Kṛṣṇa calls on Arjun to surrender to Him alone, Viśvanātha Cakravartipada says Arjuna could not have been called upon to take sannyāsa because he was a kṣatriya and sannyāsa is only for born Brahmins. parityajya sannyasyeti na vyākhyeyam arjunasya kṣatriyatvena sannyāsādhikārāt na cā –parityajya cannot be explained as  sannyāsa  because, being a kṣatriya, Arjuna had no right for that.” Śrīmad Bhāgavata (11.17.38) clearly says that sannyāsa is only for brāhmaṇas - pravrajed vā dvijottamah. In the Bhāgavat and its tikas this is meant to be a born brāhmaṇa. Arjuna was a kṣatriya 5000 years ago, what to speak of a western man in 2012? It is therefore against the advice of the Bhāgavat to give sannyāsa to low born persons. Throughout the history of western Gaudiya Vaiṣṇavism we have seen an almost unanimous failure of western sannyāsīs. Apart from this point, of course a sannyāsī will have more time to do bhajan than a gṛhastha, who has to work hard to maintain his family and also spend his spare time with his family. On the other hand, Kṛṣṇa only looks at the bhakti and not so much at the number of rounds chanted. If a gṛhastha dedicates his material life to guru and Kṛṣṇa that would be better than to live a life of pretense as a  sannyāsī. In the context of a preaching organization I think it makes little difference whether one is  sannyāsī or gṛhastha. Sādhu Bābā said that both preaching and  sannyāsa are generally platforms for lābh pūjā and pratiṣṭha - profit, adoration and distinction.

Bhakta: "A westerner would be more successful if he takes sannyāsa at age 65, compared to earlier candidates who were given sanyass in their 20s?"

Advaitadas: True, 65 is a safer bet than 21, but we must still follow śāstra. In śāstra no sannyāsa is allowed for any non-brāhmaṇa, whether 21 or 65. The problem with many intellectuals is that they follow their own logic, and after that śāstra [if at all].

I myself was wondering about one interpretation of the 2nd offence to the chanting of the holy name, so I approached Panditji Satya-nārāyan Dāsji on the topic
Panditji, Radhe Radhe
shubha janmastami.
I have a question about the 2nd nāmāparādha -
It is sometimes suggested that the word  śivasya can be an adjective to śrī Viṣṇoḥ, so that it becomes "To see difference between the form and qualities of  Lord Viṣṇu, who is the form of auspiciousness (Shiva)."
Is that grammatically possible? [śivasya śrī viṣṇoḥ ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalaṁ dhiyā bhinnam paśyed - seems not to be in dual case]

Satyanarayan Ji replied -
Radhe Radhe
The verse does not say anything about form. It speaks of guna (quality) and nāma (name) - guna-namadi. So from where the meaning "To see difference between  the form and  the qualities" comes?

I then asked:
So what should be the proper translation of the text? I always thought it was 'to see difference [ bhinnam paśyed] between the guna, nama etc. of Śiva and Śrī Viṣṇu'. Is that correct?

Satyanarayan Ji replied -
Yes, that is the correct translation. The translation you quoted makes no sense because nobody makes such a distinction i.e. that form is transcendental, but the name is material or vice versa."