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Monday, January 23, 2012

Śrīmad Bhāgavat, Canto 11, part 3

The eleventh canto of the Bhāgavat is the most philosophical one. Apart from the disappearance pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa there is practically only philosophy in it. Most Bhāgavat-verses that are quoted by the acaryas in their philosophical books come from the eleventh canto. Like in the previous 11th canto blog, this time too we briefly hark back to earlier verses that were not thoroughly discussed yet.

11.10.12 The Guru is the wood base, the disciple is the wood on top, and the teachings are the kindling stick. It is not that the Guru needs to be put on fire [figuratively of course] – the fire is present within the wood but it needs to be kindled with paripraśnena sevayā, humble service and submissive inquiry. A better and more popular example is the sugarcane. It has a very hard bark, so one cannot extract the sugar-juice from the cane with one’s bare teeth. A mill is needed to crush the cane to extract the sugar juice. That mill is the submissive service the śiṣya renders to Guru. It is not enough that there is just a Guru and a śiṣya – there must be interaction between them, a rubbing of wood which produces spiritual knowledge, leading to the  śiṣya’s enlightenment.

11.10.30 As mentioned in the previous blog, while discussing SB 11.21.23, śāstras sometimes entice simple souls, for their own benefit. Viśvanātha’s ṭīkā: yac ca tuṣyatu durjana iti nyāyenāṅgīkṛtaM svargādīnāṁ nityatvaṁ tan nirākaroti—lokānām iti. svarga-lokasya tat-pālānāṁ ca naiva nityatvam ity āha—lokānām iti. There is a nyāya (maxim): „ Let the wicked be satisfied”, so sometimes the śāstras proclaim the heavens to be eternal, to satisfy materialistic people, but actually they are not. The śāstras do this in order to regulate society, enticing people to act piously and not be a menace to society, by promising them mountains of gold in the afterlife. This is not on the platform of pure selfless devotional service, but if such simpletons come to Mount Govardhan to do parikrama for their heavenly rewards, they may get attracted to Kṛṣṇa bhakti too, even.
A second important point of this commentary is that one should not take all promises of śāstra of rewards in the afterlife too seriously - „As a reward for digging a well here for thirsty people one goes to Vaikuṇṭha for billions of kalpas, along with billions of generations of one’s ancestors”, or „ Anyone who snorts his nose in a mile’s distance from a brahmin goes to hell for as long as the sun and the moon hang in the sky”. Parents use the bogey-man too to frighten their children into good behaviour.

11.21.36 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī discusses the 4 levels of sound in his ṭīkā - The Veda is difficult to understand regarding its true nature and function. It has two forms, gross and subtle. The subtle form of the Vedas is difficult to understand. First, the Veda is parā, related to prāṇa, situated in the mūlādhāra-cakra. Then it becomes paśyantī, related to mind, situated in the navel in the manīpūra-cakra. Then it becomes madhyamā, related to intelligence, situated in the heart in the anāhata-cakra. Then it becomes vaikharī, related to the senses. In using speech, the sense organ called the voice is prominent. Moreover the Veda, made of material and spiritual prāṇa, is infinite, not divided by space or time.

11.22.39 explains why one cannot remember one’s previous lives: viṣayābhiniveśena nātmānaṁ yat smaret punaḥ jantor vai kasyacid dhetor mṛtyur atyanta-vismṛtiḥ Since the jīva does not remember his previous body because of absorption in his new body, the forgetfulness of that body by the jīva because of termination of present karmas is called death.

11.22.47,  Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s tika - yauvanam ā-pañcacatvāriṁśataḥ, tato vayo-madhyam ā-ṣaṣṭi-varṣāt, tato yāvaj jīvanaṁ jaraiva tato mṛtyur iti – „Youth lasts till forty-five years. Middle age continues till sixty years. The rest of life till death is called old age.”

11.22.56,  Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s ṭīkā - Though things related to imposition by false identity have no factual existence, the suffering arising from relationship with saṁsāra does not disappear. It does not disappear for a jIva who meditates on sense objects with intelligence directed at enjoying. An example is given of something which gives real suffering, though it is insubstantial. In a dream, one is bitten by a snake and feels pain.

10.25.24 Knowledge in the mode of sattva is not about Brahman, because Brahman is transcendental (SB 1.2.11), rather all the ācāryas comment on this verse that knowledge in the sattva mode is knowledge about the difference between body and soul.

11.27.25-26, in their comments, Jīva Goswāmī and  Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī  mention the Yogapīth-pūjā with an 8-petalled lotus - tan-madhye navabhiḥ śaktibhir vimalādyābhiś ca mamāsanaṁ yoga-pīṭhaṁ tatrāṣṭa-dalaM padmaṁ ca kalpayitvā veda-tantrābhyāṁ vedoktena tantroktena ca. The original blueprint of the Yogapīṭha features Lord Nārāyan’s 9 śaktis, nowadays it has the eight sakhīs surrounding Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. This means the practice was not a later concoction by Bengali Vaiṣṇavas.

11.28.14 - Śrīdhar Swāmī and  Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī  comment: nanu tarhi vivekino jīvan-muktasyāpi yat kiñcid viṣaya-dhyānaṁ durvāram ity anirmokṣa-prasaṅgas tatrāha—yathā hīti. prasvāpaḥ svapnaḥ bahūn anarthān bibharti, pratibuddhasya prāpta-jāgarasya na mohāya, tasya mithyātva-niścayāt - “Even a person with discrimination, a jīvan-mukta, has difficult avoiding some meditation on sense objects. This means he cannot get liberation.” Though a dream produces many bad experiences for the sleeper, for a person who has woken up, the dream does not produce bewilderment since he understands the dream was false.

11.28.17 ahaṅkāra is called amūla here, without root. Causeless and beginningless, so no prior fall or envy of Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Goswāmī comments that ahaṅkāra is cut by the sharp sword of worshiping the Guru.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Śrīmad Bhāgavat, Canto 11, part 2

In this second installment of the 11th canto review we return briefly to verse 11.6.31, where Śrī Jīva and Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī (inspired by ancient commentator Vaṁśīdhara) interpret the word ‘nāśa’ to mean nigūḍhāyāṁ dvārakāyām praveśa, that Kṛṣṇa entered an invisible Dwārkā Dhām after disappearing from this world. This may hint at the prakaṭāprakaṭa state Śrī Jīva tells us about (the station of Kṛṣṇa and His associates in this material world in which He eternally revels outside of the view of anyone who is not on the level of bhāva bhakti or higher)

11.13.8  Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī 's ṭīkā - “Those who have no knowledge enjoy material life. But even those who know that one can attain the ultimate goal by employing sattva, still enjoy material life. They enjoy just as a dog, though scolded, eats leftovers, just as a donkey though kicked, enjoys a female donkey, and just as the goat, though about to be killed, enjoys the grass.

11.13.35  Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī 's ṭīkā - “Will saṁsāra recur because of inability to withdraw continuously from the state of duality while possessing a body?” Even if one observes the world in necessary daily actions, one will not be bewildered again by what one has given up, based on previous mistaken identity (avastu-buddhyā). However, until death of the body, remembrance, a shadow of saṁsāra, will remain. deha-pāta-paryantaṁ smṛtir iva smṛtiḥ saṁsāra-mātreṇāvabhāso bhaved.

11.14.18   Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī 's ṭīkā - Though the devotee is distressed by (attached to) sense objects, he is not overcome. Because both verbs are in the present tense, it implies that even while being harassed by sense objects, he is not really harassed since bhakti is present. A person who is attacked by the weapons of an enemy cannot be defeated because of the presence of his bravery. Or, on the day that a powerful medicine is taken to prevent fever, though the fever still causes suffering, it is not a real cause of suffering, since the fever is in a state of being destroyed and will be completely destroyed the next day.

11.16.26   Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī 's ṭīkā - Śruti says ardho ha vā eṣa ātmano yat patnī: half of his self is his wife. (Baudāyana śrauta-sūtra 29.9.381.2)

11.17.22 Śrīdhar Swāmī and Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī comment - dvijas traivarnika - the three upper castes are dvijas.

11.17.27 The most famous ācāryaṁ māṁ vijāniyan śloka, glorifying the Guru as Bhagavan Himself, carries no ṭīkā at all by any ācārya – most astonishing!

11.17.38 gṛhaṁ vanaṁ vopaviśet pravrajed vā dvijottamaḥ “A second born person (brahmacārī) becomes a householder, vānaprastha or sannyāsī, in the case of a brāhmaṇa”.
From this it’s clear that sannyāsa is only for Brahmins and it explains the almost unanimous falldown of low-caste or outcaste sannyāsīs.
 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī 's ṭīkā - "One should not enter the āśrams in a reverse order, and one should not be without   āśram, unless one is my devotee. If one is a devotee, then one does not have to follow the rules of āśram. This will be explained later. If the devotee enters āśram in a different order, or has no  āśram, there is no fault.“
Still Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu banished Chota Haridas, who paid with his life for transgressing the law of the vairāgī āśram, so one cannot just give up sannyāsa to marry.

11.17.51 yadṛcchayopapannena - A householder should comfortably maintain his dependents either with money that comes of its own accord or with that gathered by honest execution of his duties.

11.19.7 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī 's ṭīkā - "It is also well known that the relationship of the jīva with avidyā is without beginning, through the power of māyā. One could argue that if the ignorance was without beginning it would mean this ignorant condition would be the svarūpa of the jīva, which could therefore not be removed even by jñāna. The jīva`s svarūpa would have to be destroyed to destroy avidyā. But the idea that liberation means destruction of the jīva`s svarūpa is not accepted by the authorities."

11.20.11 If one attains association with karma-miśra-bhaktas or jñāna-miśra-bhaktas, by that type of bhakti one attains śānti-rati.

11.20.17 mayānukūlena nabhasvateritaṁ Means pushed by the favorable wind of serving me
In his tika of 11.20.31,  Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī  quotes Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 3.1.15, anujjhita-mumukṣā ye bhajante te tu tāpasāḥ - The practitioners of austerity in bhakti are those who worship the Lord while practicing yukta-vairāgya without giving up the desire for liberation, since obstacles to bhakti are destroyed by attaining liberation.

11.21.15 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī's ṭīkā - “Purification of mantra is described. Suitable knowledge from the mouth of the pure Guru purifies a mantra.“ In other words, one must take dīkṣā in person, not by sms, skype, youtube or e-mail.

11.21.23 phala-śrutir iyaṁ nṛṇāṁ na śreyo rocanaṁ paraṁ śreyo-vivakṣayā proktaṁ yathā bhaiṣajya-rocanam - The rewards promised in scripture are not the ultimate benefit for man but are merely enticements for liberating him. They are like promises of candy spoken to induce a child to take beneficial medicine.
 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī's ṭīkā - “How can one fall from one’s interest from hearing results like Svarga in the Vedas?” The results described in the scriptures for performing karmas are not beneficial for man. Nārada says: śreyas tvaṁ katamad rājan karmaṇātmana īhase duḥkha-hāniḥ sukhāvāptiḥ śreyas tan neha ceṣyate O King! What benefit do you want for yourself by doing these karmas? It is not possible to destroy suffering and attain happiness by performance of karma. SB 4.25.4 “One hears that the results of karma are eternal: let us then enjoy with the Apsarās.” This is only enticement. Wanting to liberate material people, by stating intermediate results (enjoyment), people develop a taste for doing karmas. Similarly a doctor entices a person to take medicine. The father says “If you drink the neem juice I will give you a sweet.” The child drinks the juice. However the goal is not to eat the sweet.