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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sādhu Caritra and more on veganism

Bimba fruits

Today I was approached by two devotees simultaneously on the question of sādhu caritra (hagiography of saints):

“Rādhe dādā! Do you know the story about Śrī Jīv Goswāmī from Śrīvās Angan, something like he was sitting in a closed room for 3 days and then some devotee came inside and saw that Goswāmī was in sārī.... a devotee asked him about it and Goswāmījī said: "What can i say? Rādhārānī gave me this vesh..." I heard it like this... do you know the details? Thanks.

Advaita Das
“No I never heard it, sorry. I know him personally by the way. Wonderful sādhu! There is a story about my Guru like that too. But it is always hard to know for sure if these things really happened. If these things like giving sārī did occur, we must remember this was given in the privacy of their quarters. They were not walking all over town with it.”

Bhakta: “Do you think devotees can add something from themselves to such stories?”

Advaita Das
“That is always possible, but even this I cannot claim for sure. It is glorification meant for the audience of his followers. That goes for most of these stories.”

Bhakta: “Does it mean that many stories from 'Saints of Vraja' etc. are not true?”

Advaita Das
“I am not sure if that really matters. It is of course impossible to corroborate such stories, but as long as there is no vaiṣṇava aparādh or apasiddhāntas in these stories there is no harm in believing them. Some of these stories are 100-200 years old - there were no video recorders at the time. The point of these stories is that you become encouraged in humility and vairāgya, as these mahātmās were.”


Advaitadas – “Returning to the topics of veganism, I must think of the sentence in Bhagavad Gītā 3.13, bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā ye pacanty ātma kāraṇāt - “Those who cook for themselves eat only sin”. Vegans do not care about Kṛṣṇa's pleasure - they cook for themselves only. Who would offer raw potatoes to Kṛṣṇa? Perhaps they could read chapter 3 of Govinda Līlāmṛta? They can see there what Kṛṣṇa likes to eat.”

Dāmodar Das
“They say it is very healthy.”

Advaita Das
“And they claim this is what Kṛṣṇa likes or they don't think about this at all??? In that case there is no more need for Śrī Rādhikā to travel to Nandagrām - mother Yasodā will just wash and grate some carrots for Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa likes that? Is there any evidence from śāstra that He likes that?

Dāmodar Das
They may quote the patraṁ puṣpaṁ verse (“If you offer to Me with devotion a leaf, flower, fruit and water”, Bhagavad Gītā 9.26)

Advaita Dās-
Hahahaha, that is funny! Then for Janmāṣṭamī you offer 108 dishes of raw food? 36 salads and 56 types of carrots? Bhagavad Gītā 9.26 includes puṣpaṁ – Kṛṣṇa also eats flowers then? Did any of the ācāryas, recent or ancient, eat this goat-food? If you are initiated by any of these authentic Gurus, are you not making nāmāparādha by disobeying Guru? Do not get me wrong, if a devotee is very sick he cannot eat certain things and he can offer adjusted dishes to the Lord. I have to do this myself too to some extent because of my stomach problems. But offering tasteless health food, in the illusion that you can increase your lifespan for even one minute, is ye pacanty ātma kāraṇāt, totally selfish cooking. It gets worse all the time – there are even vegan ‘devotees’ now who claim drinking milk is like eating meat. It is like accusing Nanda Mahārāja and his son Kṛṣṇa to be butchers.  The whole point is lost by the vegans - they cook for themselves, while Vaiṣṇavas are supposed to cook for Kṛṣṇa. Our health and lifespan is in His hands, not in ours - māre kṛṣṇa rākhe ke, rākhe kṛṣṇa māre ke? If Kṛṣṇa wants to kill us who will protect us, and if Kṛṣṇa wants to protect us then who can kill us? People who are bewildered by false ego think they are doing things themselves. Of course if we mainline a kilo of heroin we will be dead but otherwise, our lifestyle will not extend our lifespan. Veganism is totally out of paramparā, and a recent complete concoction.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A golden age?

Letter to Pandit Satyanārāyan Das about Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa

Panditji, Radhe Radhe
I have heard the Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa is one of the worst interpolated Purāṇas and I find it important to know which parts are interpolated exactly. The Kṛṣṇa Janma Khaṇḍa contains some shocking vulgar eroticism and even meat hangs out to dry in Nandagrām when Uddhava enters the village. Then there is the following 12 verses which are often quoted to prove predictions of a 10,000 year golden era in Kali, which is mentioned nowhere at all in any of the other ācāryas’ books. These are the verses. Do they (especially verse 59) really speak of a golden age? Are these verses genuine?

Satya Nārāyan Panditji replied-
I cannot say which parts are interpolated but surely there are interpolations. My reasoning is that Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī quotes many verses from Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa and they are not to be found in the available editions. Moreover, what is available he does not quote although if they were available in the Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa he would have definitely quoted them because they could be so useful to his work. He also mentions the story of Śukadeva's birth, in which it is said that he did not want to come out of the womb, and took birth only on Krsna's assurance that His Māyā will not trouble him. This is supposed to be in Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa but is not seen in the available editions. Some research should be done what is interpolated. 
In Bhaviṣya Purāṇa there are also descriptions about Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Guru Nanak, Kabir etc. I remember one story of a meeting between Mahāprabhu and Bhaṭṭaji Dīkṣit, the author of Siddhānta Kaumudī (I may be wrong about the name but that is what I remember. I read Bhaviṣya Purāṇa more than 20 years ago). Now Bhaṭṭajī existed even after Jīva Gosvāmī, so how he could have met Mahāprabhu? I remember when I read it I lost all faith in these stories. There is a verse in Bhaviṣya Purāṇa which says that in Kali-yuga ravi-vāsara (Sanskrit name for Sunday) will be called Sunday. That is quite a far out prediction. 
I will go through the verses below. Predicted in Brahma-vaivarta Purana 4.129 -

Text 49:

bhāgīrathy uvāca
he nātha ramaṇa śreṣṭha
yāsi golokam uttamam
asmākam kā gatiś cātra
bhaviṣyati kalau yuge

"Ganges said: O protector, Supreme enjoyer, on your departure for the perfect abode, Goloka, thereafter what will be my situation in the age of Kali?"

Text 50

srī-bhagavān uvāca
kaleḥ pañca sahasrāni
varṣāni tiṣṭha bhū-tale
pāpāni pāpino yāni
tubhyaṁ dāsyanti snānataḥ

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: On the earth 5,000 years of Kali will be sinful and sinners will deposit their sins in you by bathing."

SND: “The translation is bit wrong: Lord is asking Ganga to stay on earth for 5000 years of Kali, in which period sinner will deposit their sins in Ganga by bathing.”

Text 51

man-mantropāsaka sparśād
bhasmībhūtāni tat-kṣaṇāt
bhaviṣyanti darśanācca
snānād eva hi jāhnavi

"Thereafter by the sight and touch of those who worship Me by My mantra, all those sins will be burnt."

SND: “There is no "thereafter" in the verse.”

Text 52

harer nāmni yatraiva
purānāni bhavanti hi
tatra gatvā sāvadhānam
ābhiḥ sārddhaṁ ca śroṣyasi

"There will be chanting of the name of Hari and reading of the [Bhāgavata] Purāṇa. Reaching such a place, attentively hear."

Text 53:

purāṇa śravaṇāc caiva
harer nāmānukīrtanāt
bhasmībhūtāni pāpāni
brahma-hatyādikāni ca

"Sinful reactions including the killing of a brāhmaṇa can be nullified be hearing the Purāṇa and chanting of the names of Hari in the manner of devotees."

SND: There is nothing special about Kali here. This is applicable in all yugas. "In the manner of devotees" is the translator's addition.

Text 54:

bhasmībhūtāni tānyeva
vaiṣṇavāliṅganena ca
tṛṇāni śuṣka kāṣṭhāni
dahanti pāvako yathā

"Just as dry grass is burnt by fire, by the embrace of Vaiṣṇavas all sins are burnt."

SND: Again there is nothing specific about Kali here.

Text 55:

tathāpi vaisnavā loke
pāpāni pāpinām api
pṛthivyāṁ yāni tīrthāni
puṇyānyapi ca jāhnavi

"O Ganges, the whole planet will become a pilgrimage sight by the presence of Vaiṣṇavas, even though it had been sinful"

Text 56:

Mad bhaktānāṁ śarīreṣu
santi pūteṣu santatam
mad bhakta pāda rajasā
sadyaḥ pūtā vasundharā

"In the body of My devotees remains eternally [the purifier]. Mother Earth becomes pure by the dust of the feet of My devotees."

SND: Again, nothing specific about Kali here.

Text 57:

sadyaḥ pūtāni tīrthāni
sadyaḥ pūtaṁ jagat tathā
man mantropāsakā viprā
ye mad ucchiṣṭa bhojinah

"It will be the same in the case of pilgrimage sites and the whole world. Those intelligent worshipers of My mantra who partake My remnants will purify everything."

SND: “There is no future tense here. It is general description applicable in all times. No prediction is made here. Vipra does not mean intelligent people, although granted that they may be intelligent

Text 58

mām eva nityaṁ dhyāyante
te mat prāṇādhikāḥ priyāḥ
tad upasparśa mātrena
pūto vāyuś ca pāvakaḥ

"They are more dear to Me than My life, who everyday meditate only on Me. The air and fire become pure simply even by their indirect touch."

Text 59:

kaler daśa-sahasrāni
mad bhaktāḥ santi bhū-tale
eka varṇā bhaviṣyanti
mad bhakteṣu gateṣu ca

"For 10,000 years of Kali such devotees of Mine will fill the whole planet. After the departure of My devotees there will be only one varna [outcaste]."

SND: “It does not say "fill the whole planet". It simply says: For 10,000 years of Kali My devotees will exist on earth. How many devotees? Well, 3 or more. In Sanskrit plural means that. Out of 10,000 years, five thousand have already passed. So even if we take this verse to be true only 5000 years remain and not 10000 years. Call it Golden age or diamond age, the verse makes no such mention. So this idea of 10000 years of golden age is not supported by this verse. Such a prediction is wrong by 50%, and there is no mentioning of a Golden age. One could argue that after 10,000 years of Kali there will be one varna, which you can say is the śūdra varṇa, and you can consider that as iron age and in comparison to that the present age is Golden. So Golden is indirectly mentioned. Even then how to account for 5,000 years? Is there more than one varna at present? There should be as per the verse. But we do not see that. What varna has to do with bhakti? Why are they contrasted? It makes no sense. The verse should have said that after 10000 years there will no devotees or people will be atheistic. What if that one varna will be a brāhmaṇa varṇa? Now everything is being done by machines and computers. People can stay peacefully, have knowledge (internet is everywhere), meditate (yoga is spreading all around). Looks like more brahmanical.

Text 60:

mad bhakta śūnyā prthivi
kali grastā bhaviṣyati
etasminn antare tatra
kṛṣṇa dehād vinirgataḥ

"Devoid of My devotees, the earth will be shackled by Kali. Saying this, Kṛṣṇa departed."

SND: "Kṛṣṇa departed from the body" that is what the verse says. It does not say "he departed". This statement itself puts a question mark on the validity of the previous verses. The author is considering Kṛṣṇa's body as material.”

Friday, May 03, 2013

Dāmu and the time machine

Advaitaji, please forgive me for a stupid question. I want to ask if the creation of a time machine is possible from the Vedic point of view?

No. It is not a stupid question. Time travel is not possible. One can go to swarga and then come back after a moment and then find 1000s of years have passed, that is all. One cannot go back and forward in time - that is a science fiction adventure only.

Like with Mucukunda. Why is it not possible?

Time is final and irreversible, so is history. Everything only happens once. You see on Startrek that they fear 'history will be changed' if they travel in time. That shows.

Dāmodar Das
In the spiritual world there is no kāla (time)?

na ca kāla vikrama (Śrīmad Bhāgavat 2.9.10). Jīva Goswāmī comments on this that time is there, but it does not cause decay - yatrāsau ṣaḍ bhāva vikāra hetuḥ kāla vikrama eva na pravartate tatra teṣām abhāvaḥ. “The six transformations like birth, growth, decay, death etc. are not there.”

Dāmodar Das
Why Bhagavan created the material world with its miseries?

There is no beginning to this - it was never ultimately created - prakṛtim puruṣam caiva viddhy anādi ubhau (Bhagavad-Gītā 13.21). There is no beginning to prakṛti.

Dāmodar Das
Why it exists? Why Kṛṣṇa wants to see us suffering adhidaivika, adhibhautika, adhyātmika miseries?

Please, I have given you the answer already. Why ask again? He did not create this. He does not want to see us suffering. The material world was never created, nor were we or Him – see Bhagavad Gītā 2.12, na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsam na tvaṁ neme – ‘Never did I not exist, nor you nor all these kings’ and 13.21 (see above).”

Dāmodar Das
“But we were created by the Lord in some moment.”

“No, never.”

Dāmodar Das
jīvasyānyasya sargena nare muktim upāgate
acintya-śaktir bhagavān jagat pūrayate sadā
brahmana saha mucyante brahma-lokam upāgataḥ
sṛjyante ca mahā kalpe tad-vidhāscāpare janaḥ

This is from the Viṣṇu Dharmottara Pūrāṇa in the purport to Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.87.30 – “when one jīva becomes liberated, Bhagavān creates another.”

“There can be no contradiction with Bhagavad Gītā, which is Śruti and the highest pramāṇa. jīva, kāla, prakṛti, bhagavān, karma and avidyā - all are without beginning. karma and avidyā may end, others are also ananta or endless. These verses you quoted explain that liberated souls are replaced with the stock of sleeping souls. These souls exist within Mahā-Viṣṇu.”

Dāmodar Das
“When I thought about reasons of existence of material world, I thought that here, and only here Bhagavān can manifest his Karunika nature, in the spiritual world there is no one to save, but here, in material world, His heart can melt from compassion towards us. So when he wants to fight, like with Hiranyakaśipu, the only eligible place for such a fight is the material world. I remember from Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta, that in spiritual world there are no demons with whom He can fulfill His desire to fight.”

“No, that is not right. He fights demons also in the spiritual sky. It is both in Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta and in Bhakti Sandarbha. One of my first blogs was about that. But on the karuṇā-point you are right.”

Dāmodar Das
“Also I thought that in the Spiritual World Kṛṣṇa always in the age of yauvana, He is never born there, but all Vrajavāsis know that he was born from the womb of Yaśodā, so the material world is a place where Kṛṣṇa is actually born. Kṛṣṇa lifts Govardhan only in the material world? He has done it at the age of 6 (?). But in Spiritual world he is 16.”

“Not too many questions at once. All Kṛṣṇa’s līlās are eternal, including the birth-līlā.

Dāmodar Das
“So the material world is a place where Kṛṣṇa can play līlās which cannot be played in the Spiritual world?”

“Kṛṣṇa’s līlās never begin and they never end. In paravyoma Kṛṣṇa has all ages up to 16, eternally. Kṛṣṇa can save conditioned souls only here - any other līlā he can do anywhere.”

Dāmodar Das
“So there is a loka in Spiritual sky where Kṛṣṇa is eternally Bāla Gopāla?”

paravyoma is one loka and yet innumerable lokas. loka means world, not location. Bāl Gopāl is also eternally manifest in the paravyoma. It is said in Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta that Kṛṣṇa goes over and over again to Mathurā to kill Kaṁsa. All of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are eternal. Sanātan Goswāmī explains in Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.6.357):

tatratyās te tu tāṁ sarvām apūrvāṁ manyante sadā

"But the residents of Vraja, completely bewildered by the kālakūṭa poison of their supreme love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, never think that any of these events has ever occurred before." (sarvām api apūrvāṁ pūrvam ajātām iyaiva manyante - ṭīkā)

Dāmodar Das
“There are a lot dimensions? This is difficult to grasp with the material mind.”

“It is impossible to conceive. Vaikuṇṭha means ‘no contraction’. acintya khalu ye bhāvāḥ na tams tarkena yojayet  “One cannot argue on inconceivable matters.”

Dāmodar Das
“But in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta is given a size of the equator of Vaikuṇṭha - billions of kilometers .”

“Yes, in the Purāṇas too. But that is for glorifying and visualizing the paravyoma only. How can innumerable persons fit in a few billion km? Innumerable persons need unlimited space. In some Purāṇas it is said that paravyoma is just a few thousand miles away – don’t take that literally.”