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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Balarām’s birthday [3]

In my blog of September 18 I showed dissatisfaction with the quote from Garga Samhitā about Balarām’s birthday, since Garga Samhitā is never quoted or mentioned by any ācārya. But there is another statement from a higher authority, Jīva Goswāmī’s ‘Gopāl Campūḥ’ [pūrva 3.86] - 

atha yogamāyā rohiṇyāḥ sāptamāsikaṁ garbhaṁ srastaṁ vidhāya devakyās tad- vidhaṁ taṁ tasyāṁ niyojayāmāsa | tataś ca labdha-sarva-samaya-sampad-daśe caturdaśe māsi śrāvaṇataḥ prāk śravaṇa-rkṣe samasta-sukha-rohiṇī rohiṇī guṇa- gaṇanayā suṣamaṁ sita-suṣamaṁ sutaṁ susrāva |

“Yogamāyā then destroyed the seven month embryo in Rohiṇī’s womb and transferred the seventh month embryo from Devakī’s womb. After the fourteenth month of pregnancy, at a most auspicious time, before Śrāvana month, during Śravana constellation, Rohiṇī, in great joy gave birth to a most beautiful son endowed with all qualities. “

This would make Balarām about one month older than Kṛṣṇa, who would then not have to stay another year in Devakī’s womb to be Rāmānuja, Balarām’s younger brother, as suggested in the previous Balarām-blog. Since the tithi of Balarām’s birthday is not precisely mentioned here, perhaps it is celebrated on Śrāvaṇa-Pūrṇimā, but it cannot actually be on that day, as Jīva Goswāmī says śrāvaṇataḥ prāk.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Gauḍīya Sampradāya is not a branch of the Madhva Sampradāya


There is a gulf of difference between the Madhvaites and Gauḍīyas in sādhana and siddhānta. In Galta Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa may have presented the Gauḍīya Sāmpradaya as a part of the Madhva Sampradāya, to gain legitimacy for regaining the service of Govinda Mandir, but that was only for preaching purposes. The dvaita philosophy of the Madhvaites is very different from the acintya bhedābheda philosophy of the Gauḍīyas, and the Gauḍīyas have a totally different sādhana (pure rāgānugā) and goal (mañjarī bhāva in the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana). Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has recognized certain differences of opinion with the teachings of the Madhva sampradāya in his commentary on Tattva sandarbha (28):

bhaktānāṁ viprānām eva mokṣaḥ devah bhakteṣu mukhyāḥ viriñcasyaiva sāyūjyaṁ lakṣmyā jīva-koṭitvam ity evam mata viśeṣāḥ

“Only a brāhmaṇa-devotee is eligible for liberation (born brāhmaṇa of course), the demigods are foremost among devotees, Brahmā attains sāyūjya-mukti (merging in Brahman), and Lakṣmī-devī is included among the jīvas – these are differences in opinion.”
Other differences include:

  1. The Madhvaites practice upāsana on vidhi-mārga, filled with moods of aiśvarya (majesty) while the Gauḍīyas’ worship is one of rāga-mārga, where mādhurya (sweetness) predominates.
  2. The Madhvaites worship Nartaka-Gopāla alone, whereas the firm resolve of the Gauḍīyas who follow the footsteps of Śrī Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī is substantially different: ya ekaṁ govindaṁ bhajati kapaṭī dāmbhikatayā “Whoever worships Govinda alone is a cheater and a hypocrite”. To highlight the contrast, it may be noted that many proponents of the Madhva-sampradāya contest the existence of Śrī Rādhā altogether, since she is not presented in the literature of their sampradāya as a consort of Gopāla! While She is the very goal of the Gauḍīya Sāmpradāya!
  3. Madhva taught the concept of dvaita, or absolute duality, whereas Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented the refined concept of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, the doctrine of simultaneous oneness and difference.
  4. Moreover, we find the following words spoken by Śrīman Mahāprabhu Himself to an ācārya of the Madhva-sampradāya in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā, 9.273-277):
śuni’ tattvācārya hoilo antare lajjita;
prabhura vaiṣṇavatā dekhi, hoilo vismita
ācārya kahe – tumi yei kaha, sei satya haya;
sarva-śāstre vaiṣṇavera ei suniścaya
tathāpi madhvācārya ye kariyāche nirbandha;
sei ācāriye sabe sampradāya-sambandha
prabhu kahe karmī, jñānī, dui bhakti-hīna;
tomāra sampradāye dekhi sei dui cihna
sabe, eka guṇa dekhi tomāra sampradāye;
satya-vigraha kari’ īśvare karaha niścaye
“Hearing these words of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, the ācārya of the Tattva-vāda sampradāya became ashamed, and was struck with wonder upon seeing His degree of Vaiṣṇavism. The ācārya said, “Whatever you have told, that is the truth proclaimed in all scriptures, and the firm conviction of the Vaiṣṇavas. However, whatever Madhvācārya has firmly established, that we practice due to our sampradāya-connection with him.” Prabhu said, “Karmīs and jñānīs are both devoid of bhakti. In your sampradāya, I can see symptoms of both. All in all, the only qualification I see in your sampradāya is your firm acceptance of the truth of the Lord’s form.”
Hence it should not be a surprise that a majority of the Gauḍīyas have little or no identification as members of the Madhva sampradāya. The fact that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu speaks of the Madhva Sampradāya as tomāra sampradāya, or ‘your tradition’, in verse 277, is the strongest confirmation that the Gauḍīya Sampradāya is not Madhva- or Madhva-alllied.
I had the following Iṣṭagoṣṭhī with my friend Anantagovinda, who told me –

“Mādhavendra and Īśvara Puri were from Śankara-sampradaya; they were inclined to bhakti, as it is one of the upāsana of Advaita-vedānta. The title Puri was nowhere in the Madhva-line. Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa from Keśava Bhārati without any problem and doubt; same sampradāya, which was very popular, and they all followed the same line of Śrīdhar Swāmi who was also from advaita-vedānta: they were inclined to bhakti and Śrīdhar Swāmī started this inclination in the advaita-sampradāya.”
Advaitadas: Did you ask the Madhvaites? They say they have no Puri-titles?
Anantagovinda: Sure, they say all Tīrthas are documented; all Yatis are documented.
Advaitadas: So Mādhavendra Puri was not among them?
Anantagovinda: No, for sure. This I read from Jagat, which is the same I got from Madhvaites:

“The problem that Vyasa Raya’s dates presents for the Gaudiya tradition is self- evident. Vyasa Raya’s disciple was Lakṣmipati, whose disciple was Madhavendra, whose disciple was Isvara Puri, Caitanya’s guru, and yet he outlived them all! Though at a stretch of the imagination, it is possible that such a connection existed, the general custom in non-Udupi institutions such as that of Vyasa Raya typically have only one "reigning" pontiff who designates someone to take his place only when it comes to prepare for his departure. Thus, had Lakṣmipati Tirtha been Vyasa’s successor, he would not have acceded to this position before 1539, after Chaitanya’s disappearance. The question we are left with, even if the connection were possible, is how could such mistakes and omissions creep into the Gaudiya knowledge of the disciplic succession, especially in the matter of who was Vyasa Tirtha’s spiritual master, when they were not only contemporaneous, but neighbors? Vyasa Tirtha’s dates are given as 1469-1539, which means that he postdated Caitanya’s death by five years. Interestingly, from 1498 to the end of his life, Vyasa Tirtha lived in Vijayanagara, the capital city of Kṛṣṇadeva Raya, directly to the south of the Orissan kingdom of Prataparudra. These two kingdoms were frequently at war during this time. According to B. N. K. Sharma, Krishnadeva Raya had a lot of regard for Vyasa Tirtha, making several honorific references to him in his writings, even calling him his kuladevata.”
Anantagovinda: Lakṣmīpati is not madhvaite: he is advaitine: they have no any Lakṣmīpati in their line
Advaitadas: So he was not a śiṣya of Vyāsa tirtha?
Anantagovinda: No. It is not mentioned in any Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava grantha and it is not mentioned in any madhvaite protocol.”
Advaitadas: He was the guru of the guru of the guru of Sītānāth, at least supposedly...
Anantagovinda: Yes, but that is not possible. More Jagat :
“The connection of Madhavendra Puri to the Tattvavadi gurus is not mentioned in the most current biographies, Caitanya-bhagavata or Caitanya- caritamṛta, nor even in the Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka, where Madhavendra’s name is mentioned, but not connected to Madhvacharya (CCN 1.21). Nor does Karnapur mention any connection to the Madhva line in his earlier work, Caitanya- carita-mahakavya.”
Anantagovinda: Mahāprabhu wanted only Sridhar's commentary: not Madhva's, not Ramanuja's. Nowhere Vṛndāvan das or Krsnadas mentioned Madhva, nor did Sanātana or Rūpa. Puri is not a Madhvaite's title. It is the same title as Bhārati or Caitanya.”
Advaitadas: Madhvaites use only the tīrtha-title?
Anantagovinda: Yes only tīrtha. No one is Puri among them. Madhva is Ānanda Tīrtha: Puri is advaita-sampradāya sannyāsa who practices bhakti. Baladeva needed to get back Govinda’s service (so he wrote about us being Madhvaites, a recognized sampradāya at the time). Why did he made a separate Vedānta bhāṣya if we are Madhvaites? Because it is a new movement among the advaita sampradāya. Everybody knew that Mādhavendra Puri, Īśvara Puri, Paramānanda Puri, Viṣṇu Puri were advaitines, but they started a bhakti cult. Thus Caitanya Mahāprabhu formed a new doctrine, completely separate: The ārādhyo bhagavān-verse is showing a totally different conception than Madhva's. Īśvara Puri never spoke about Madhva, nor did Mādhavendra Purī. Just compare how Mahāprabhu was in love with the Rāmānujaites: 4 months kathā and kīrtan in their house. Mādhavendra, Īśvara Puri and Caitanya Mahāprabhu dug out bhakti from the śāstras themselves without any help: only with the help of Śrīdhara Swāmī, who was the first māyāvādī inclined to bhakti.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Śānta rati in Vraja

This discussion appeared in the comments-pages of a blog originally posted on May 11, 2010. The blog is deleted as obsolete, but this – unrelated - discussion is still very valuable, so it is now a blog on its own. May 12-15, 2010

Anonymous said...
Dear Advaita-ji,
If you permit, I would like to ask a question. We worship/call with different names based on rasas exhibited by the Lord. For example we worship Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā-Śyāmasundara in Mādhurya-rasa. Could you please tell the names for Kṛṣṇa in Sakhya, śānta, vātsalya and dāsya-rasa.  Thank you.
 Radha Kṛṣṇa

Advaitadās –
Anon, nice question -
Actually most of Kṛṣṇa's names are interchangeable, viz. they can be used in all sambandhas. Hari, Govinda and Kṛṣṇa are names of Nārāyan in Vaikuṇṭha, but they are also highly inciting for those in the extreme mādhurya of gopī bhāva. It all depends on the interpretation [dṛṣṭi-koṇa]. Of course names like Gopāl, Yaśoda Dulāl and Nanda Dulāl are predominantly vātsalya, but can be relished by the gopīs just as well. Balānuja, Aghadaman and Keśī-Nāśan are some names that feature in sakhya bhāva, but these too can be relished in vātsalya and mādhurya bhāva. Etc etc.  Śānta rati does not feature in Vraja-bhūmi.

Anonymous said...
Dear Advaita-ji,
Thank you for answering my question.
You mentioned that "Śānta rati does not feature in Vraja-bhumi". May be I am wrong, but I was informed that trees in Vṛndāvana have a Śānta relationship with the Lord. Please let me know whether this information is true or not.
  Radha Kṛṣṇa

That is not correct. Caitanya Caritāmṛta says - cāri bhāva diyā nācāimu tribhuvana "I will make the three worlds dance in 4 bhāvas" That is of course mādhurya, vātsalya, sakhya and dāsya. This is confirmed in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22, 161:

  dāsa-sakhā-pitrādi-preyasīra gaṇa
  rāga-mārge nija-nija-bhāvera gaṇana

  dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya ār ye śṛṅgāra; cāri prema, caturvidha bhaktai ādhāra

  (Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 4.42)

The mountains like Girirāja are in dāsya rasa [hantāyam adrir abalā haridāsa varyo], and the cows are in vātsalya bhāva. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī says in his commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavata (11.12.8) gavo vātsalya rasena. naga govardhanādi parvataḥ sakhya-rasena - that mountains like Girirāja are in sakhya rasa and Vraja's cows are in vātsalya rasa. He repeats that the cows are in vātsalya rasa in his comments on Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.14.30-31 (aho'ti-dhanya ityādibhirāmātmaka vātsalyādi ratimanta eva stoṣyanti (30) ye tu tvad bhakteṣv ati-prakṛṣṭas teṣāṁ tvayi śuddha vātsalyādi rati-bhājam padavīṁ prārthayitum ayogya... (31) “I am not qualified to pray for their vātsalya rasa”), Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.20.26 (prītyā is the cows’ motherly affection) Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.13 - “The cows (not the calves) are in vātsalya rasa- na ca tatrāpi vātsalya-bhāva eva mohane hetur astīti vācyam, and “The cows stand still as they take Govinda within their hearts through their tear-filled eyes and embrace Him out of vātsalya bhāva – sva manasaḥ kroḍe eva vātsalyāt sthāpayantyas tasthuḥ (Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī ’s commentary) and Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.16: The clouds are in sakhya rasa (sakhyur vyadhāt) – hanta hanta sakhya-bhāva-vanto’pyātmānāṁ   kṛtarthayantītyāhuḥ The gopīs lament about the clouds: “Alas! Alas! Even those who are in the mood of friendship with Kṛṣṇa (sakhya bhāva) have become blessed by serving Him.” svīya vidyud garjanābhyāṁ pīta-vastra veṇu-nādayoḥ sāmyaṁ dṛṣṭvā ca sakhībhāvam abhimānyamānaḥ “Seeing he is equal to Kṛṣṇa with the rumbling sounds he makes, with his lightning (in the form of Kṛṣṇa’s   yellow cloth) the cloud identifies himself in sakhya-rasa.” (Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s commentary) The statement vaṁśī priya sakhī from Brahma Samhita (5.56) shows that Kṛṣṇa’s flute is even in madhura rasa.
Radha Kṛṣṇa dasa -
Dear Advaita dasa Prabhu, dandavat pranams. It seems to me that the topic of whether or not śānta rasa exists in Braja is not so cut and dry as Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thakur's ṭīkā might indicate.  There are some differences in opinion amongst ācāryas on this topic. Madhavananda dasa in former "Gaudiya Discussions" blog brought this topic up. In that discussion Madhavananda  appeared to disagree with Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura's commentary (see Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya, 8.294), as quoted by Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada):

 "Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that in Vrajabhūmi there is the Yamunā River with its sandy banks. There are kadamba trees, cows, Kṛṣṇa's sticks with which He herds cows, and Kṛṣṇa's flute. All of these belong to śānta-rasa, the mellow of neutrality in devotional service. There are also the direct servants of Kṛṣṇa, such as Citraka, Patraka and Raktaka, and these are the embodiments of service in the mellow of servitude. There are also friends like Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā, who embody service   in fraternity. Nanda Mahārāja and mother Yaśodā are the embodiments of   parental love. Above all of these are Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her assistants,   the gopīs Lalitā, Viśākhā and others, who embody conjugal love. In this way all five mellows — śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya — exist   eternally in Vrajabhūmi. They are also compared, respectively, to copper, bell metal, silver, gold and touchstone, the basis of all metals. Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī therefore refers to a mine eternally existing in Vṛndāvana, Vrajabhūmi."

The above appears to be in some conflict with Bhaktivinoda's statement in Jaiva Dharma (Ch 39) and Viśvanātha Cakravartī's commentary of various verses on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as well texts in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, and Caitanya-caritāmṛta. I have gone through all of the pertinent texts in Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Caitanya Bhāgavat where Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī indicates that cows, sticks, flute etc. are in śānta rasa in Vraja, and Bhaktivinoda's Jaiva Dharma, wherein it is stated that in Vraja, śānta rasa in almost/practically absent in Vraja. In an e-mail exchange 5 years ago, I asked Śrīpada Tripurari Swami to harmonize these apparently contradictory statements. In particular I also asked him: "Is it simply that there are no "humans" in śānta rasa in Vraja, but śānta "rasa" is possible for personalities in "animal", "plant" and "inanimate" spiritual forms?"

  Here was Maharaja's response:
  "Śrī Kṛṣṇa is known as Rasaraja. This name implies that he tastes all rasas,  and it refers to him in his Vraja-lila. From this it should be clear that he tastes śānta rasa in Vraja. This is also confirmed in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 4.8.85. There Śrī Rupa writes that Kṛṣṇa tasted śānta rasa along with all   other expressions of sacred aesthetic rapture while lifting Govardhana hill. In this example Śrī Kṛṣṇa tastes śānta rasa from the vantage point of the shelter (āśraya ālambana) of śānta rasa. Later in Mathurā he tasted śānta rasa from the vantage point of the object (viṣaya ālambana) of love when he was wrestling in Kamsa's arena, Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.43.17. Therein it is clearly stated that the sages present experienced śānta rasa in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such sages may very well include persons like Durvasa, who also resides in Vraja proper. So śānta rasa is expressed in his Vraja-līlā within Mathurā maṇḍala.  At the same time, Kṛṣṇa's Vraja-līlā is primarily characterized by love that  is devoid of reverence, and thus it is often said to begin with sakhya rasa. Brahmaji described all of Vṛndāvana as being permeated by sakhya rasa when he told Śrī Kṛṣṇa-

aho bhāgyam, aho bhāgyam
nanda gopa vrajaukasam
yan mitraṁ paramānandam
pūrṇaṁ brahma sanātanam

  "O how fortunate, O how fortunate are the Vrajavāsīs of Nanda gopa, for the supreme bliss and complete, eternal Brahman is their friend." Thus everything and everyone in Vraja is touched by friendship. Everything and everyone is also touched by the influence of romantic love that Kṛṣṇa's Vraja-līlā is centered on. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur acknowledges that śānta rati is present to some extent in the Vraja-lila when he writes in Jaiva Dharma "At first I thought that there was no śānta rati in the devotees of Vraja, but now I see that it is present in them to a limited extent." Whereas in the same book he also writes that "Śānta-rasa is absent in Vraja." Perhaps Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakura   sought to clarify Bhaktivinoda Thakura's statements by attributing śānta rati to the non human species and apparently inanimate objects of Vraja, such as Kṛṣṇa's flute, rivers, hills, and Vraja's cows when he wrote about this in his commentary to Upadeśāmṛta and in his commentary on Caitanya Caritāmṛta. However, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has attributed sakhya rasa to the hills of Vraja and vātsalya rati to Śrī Kṛṣṇa's cows. So there are different opinions among ācāryas, and human reasoning renders any of these opinions problematic.
  For example, while there is reason to believe that Vraja's cows are in vātsalya rasa, their relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa is also one of being protected by Gopala. Anyone who raises cows knows that they are as much children in need of protection and constant care as they are mothers, and at   least in Dvārakā, Kṛṣṇa's children are considered to be in dāsya rasa. His cows are also his iṣṭa-devatā and thus worshipable by him. Furthermore, why do we find that Rādhā and Govinda are not inhibited in front of Vraja's bovines as they are before human elders relishing vātsalya rati. After all, vātsayla   and mādhurya rasa are not compatible. Neither are śānta and mādhurya rasas compatible for that matter. Mahādeva and Brahmā are said to have taken birth in Varasānā and Nandagrāma as hills, are they in sakhya rasa? Sakhya rasa is exchanged between equals. The gopis attribute a male gender to Kṛṣṇa's flute at one time and a female gender at another time. Is it male, female, neither of these, or both? Sometimes the creepers of Vraja are thought to be tasting mādhurya rati as well as the rivers, but what is the nature of this mādhurya rati and how can it compare to that of the gopis themselves?
  Great devotees view the world through the lens of their bhāva, and this may afford them different angles of vision at different times. Furthermore some of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's devotees experience the suddha rati known as svaccha (transparent), in which they taste the rati of those with whom they associate,   moving between śānta, dasya, sakhya, and mādhurya. Thus it is best to respect the opinions of great souls on issues that lie beyond our present realization   even when we cannot fully understand them.
  I hope this is helpful."

advaitadas -
Radha Kṛṣṇa das,
You are certainly entitled to your beliefs. However, you fail to come up with evidence to counter the evidence that I produced on the matter from universally accepted ācāryas like Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī. Your reply consists partially of quotes by recent Vaiṣṇava   teachers, which have been shown to deviate from the previous ācāryas on a large number of issues, as well as on mundane logic, which does not apply to śāstra.
  Concretely, about the mountains, I did not say they are in sakhya rati but in dāsya rati and have proved that from Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.18. You might also like to peruse my blog of June 19, 2008 and the comments pages of my blog of August 8, 2007, for more evidence of there being no śānta rasa in Vraja.....

   Radha Kṛṣṇa dasa -
This verse is in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 4.8.85. Translation (by H.H. Bhanu Swami): "Kṛṣṇa as the āśraya of all rasas:

  Though lifting up Govardhana, He remained without pride in Himself (śānta). When the small children became eager to hold up the mountain, He smiled (hasya, vatsala. He spat some bad-smelling yogurt (bībhatsa). He showed off his great strength in lifting the mountain for the benefit of His dear friends (sakhya, vīra). He displayed red eyes in looking at Indra (raudra). He shed   tears on seeing the suffering of the inhabitants of Vraja from rain and wind (karuna). He trembled in fear before the elders, having destroyed the sacrifice to Indra (dāsya, bhayānaka). His eyes opened wide with astonishment on seeing the great torrents of rain (adbhuta). His hairs stood on end when He   saw the young girls (madhura). May this master, the lifter of Govardhana, protect you!”

Jīva Gosvāmī's Commentary: Amāni (prideless) means that Kṛṣṇa exhibited  śānta-rasa in being devoid of pride in lifting Govardhana. Trembling in front of His elders on interrupting the sacrifice to Indra (hari-makham prasya) indicates bhayankara-rasa. Other rasas can similarly be understood in   this verse".

The above verse is an example of Kṛṣṇa tasting śānta rasa along with all other   expressions of sacred aesthetic rapture while lifting Govardhana hill.

advaitadas -
Radha-Kṛṣṇa das,
That is granted, and thank you for the tip. However, the three verses I quoted from Caitanya Caritāmṛta remain evidence that, even if śānta rati would exist in Vraja/Goloka, this is still not given by Mahaprabhu to us in this age. The explanation of the cows, clouds, mountains etc. not being in śānta rati remain too. In this case the answer to about the names of Kṛṣṇa would be Param Atma and Param Brahma, because that is what Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu says about the conception of the śānta bhakta.