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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.”

3 comments:

  1. ''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. ''


    but SB canto 12. ch 2/3 describes degeneration as kali-yuga progresses, nothing brahminical, only the brahmana thread will be there vipratve—in being a brähmaëa; sütram—the sacred thread; eva—only; hi—indeed.
    a man will be known as a brähmaëa just by his wearing a thread. ( SB 12.2.3)

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  2. ''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. ''
    this Satyanarayana dasa writes, no golden age, but caitanya bhagavata says Caitanya Bhägavata
    påthivéte äche yata nagarädi-gräma
    sarvatra pracära haibe mora näma
    [CB Antya-khaëòa 4.126]
    SYNONYMS
    påthivéte—on the earth; äche—are; yata—as many; nagara-adi gräma—cities and villages; sarvatra—everywhere; pracära haibe—will be preached; mora—My; näma—Holy Name.
    TRANSLATION
    In as many towns and villages as there are on the surface of the earth, My holy name will be preached.

    what satyanarayana dasa can answer on this verse ; there will be some golden age, and also the previous quote from SB 12.2.3

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  3. Anonymous - nobody argues the blessings of the sankirtan movement. The topic is the 10,000 years golden age only.

    ReplyDelete