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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gaura Nārāyaṇa and dharma vs bhakti

Bhakta -
“What about Gaura Nārāyaṇa, a form of Mahāprabhu which appeared in a previous Kali yuga but in which he had Nārāyan-features instead of Kṛṣṇa-features?”

Advaitadās -
“Of this I have found no evidence in śāstra at all.”

Bhakta – “It is said to be in Locandās Ṭhākur's Caitanya Maṅgala.”
Advaitadas – “The only thing I saw there is that Nārāyaṇa appears in different forms in previous yugas. That refers to Vāmana, Nrsimha and others. There is no mentioning there of a Mahāprabhu with Nārāyaṇa-features. These features exist within Mahāprabhu anyway - they were clearly perceived and described by Vrindāvan Dās in Caitanya Bhāgavata.”

Bhakta – “What is the relation between bhakti and dharma?”
Advaitadas – “They have common decency in common. You cannot separate bhakti, including rāga bhakti, from dharma. Dharma is like the water and bhakti like the lotus that grows from it. The lotus is aloof from the water but is still rooted in it. Dharma and bhakti are linked via the offense ‘to commit sin on strength of chanting the holy name’. In other words, some unscrupulous so-called rāga devotees say that as rāgānugā bhakti is beyond dharma, they can sin freely and their ‘rāga bhajan’ will absolve it. This is an offence to the holy name.“

Bhakta – “What is the relationship between Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava religion and the other religions?”
Advaitadas – “Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda, in his commentary on the Bhāgavata, explains that the paths of karma, jñāna and yoga get due attention in the Bhāgavata only to create a contrast. The light of bhakti shines more brightly in the darkness of the other paths. So it is also with Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism vis-à-vis other religions and it is shown in the words of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself at the end of Bhagavad Gītā (18.66) – sarva dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja “Give up all religion and surrender to Me alone.” That ‘light of bhakti shining more brightly’ is especially so due to the all-attractiveness of Kṛṣṇa and the path of rāgānugā bhakti, most particularly the practice of manjarī bhāva.” Another reason why so many things are there in śāstra is that one cannot just establish authority with a one-liner. People all over the world adore scripture – it has to have some volume, otherwise people will not take it seriously. One cannot just reveal scripture with just one sentence, like “chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and be happy”. Look at Bhagavad Gītā – already in the first verse of chapter 3 Arjuna asked Kṛṣṇa to get to the point and yet Kṛṣṇa spoke on for another 16 chapters before finally saying sarva dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja “Give up all religion and surrender to Me alone.”


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