Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The holy dhāma, two separable paths, 6 Goswāmīs, jāta rati guru, maintaining sthāyibhāva, changing names.

Dāmodar Dās

“I remember that I wrote in a blog that living in the dhāma can be compared with strong medicine and if you are not living there without blessings and guidance, it can kill spiritual life. In the dhāma there are really advanced devotees so if you offend them, consequences can be severe. Like these widows. They could be bhāvika bhaktas.”

Advaita Dās

The dhāma has great powers. There is nāmāparādha, sevāparādha and vaiṣṇavāparādha, but not dhāmāparādha. There are many Vaiṣṇavas in the dhāma, especially in Rādhākuṇḍa, a small village where everyone knows everyone. Offending them may have caused all those spectacular dropouts by western Vaisnavas from there. You can commit vaiṣṇavāparādha on each street corner.”


It is said in Jaiva-dharma that Dhyānacandra taught internal worship and Raghunāth dās Goswāmi taught external worship and some preachers now say they are two separable paths, of which one group of Vaiṣṇavas (so-called ‘goṣṭhyānandīs’) only practice the external and the other (so-called ‘bhajanānandīs’) only the internal side, but this not so. Both Dhyānacandra and Raghunāth dās Goswāmī practiced and preached both side by side. sevā sādhaka rūpeṇa siddha rūpena cātra hi (Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.295) – cātra indicates that both are practiced side by side. Rejecting the internal practice for mere external practice, as some have proposed, will never lead to svarūpa siddhi. Besides, if one group of Vaisnavas (so-called ‘bhajanānandīs’) is practicing only the internal side, then what are they doing with their external bodies? Are they not hearing, chanting, going on parikramā and cooking or so?


The six Goswāmīs had a heart (kṛṣṇotkīrtana gāna nartana parau) and a brain (nānā śāstra vicāranaika nipuṇau). All of this is useless without humility, but they had that too – cātyanta dīnau ca yau.


In his ṭīkā to Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.113 Mukunda Goswami, the disciple of Kṛṣṇadās Kaviraja, says that the qualification of a Guru must be that he is jāta rati, he has developed bhāva bhakti. Śiṣya karaṇaṁ tu jāta ratīnām eva vihitatvāc ca. I did not include this in my blog on sādhana bhakti-chapter of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu because that blog was about Bhānu Swāmi’s edition of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu which does not include the ṭīkā of Mukunda Gosvāmī. It is odd that the two main commentators on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, Jīva Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda, did not make this point.


Sādhu Bābā told me that during times of intense sexual contemplation or when one is unable to observe celibacy one should temporarily suspend meditation on and study of Radha-Kṛṣṇa's rahaḥ līlā or intimate pastimes. This does not mean one should start thinking of oneself as a monkey in Hanumān's army or a servant of Lord Nārāyan. If this is done one does not really have mañjarī bhāva as sthāyi rati. It would be a mere mental concoction. Instead one can continue the aspiration for mañjarī svarūpa and the study of aṣṭakāliya līlā, skipping the intimate pastimes only. Meditating on how Svāminī sees Kṛṣṇa coming and going with his cows, how She cooks for him and how She suffers separation from him can just go on as normal. One should not throw away the baby with the bathing water. Once purity of thought and action are restored one can resume all meditations. A popular suggestion is also to temporarily shift one’s focus to Gaura- līlā. This is also all right, because it is non-erotic, attractive, magnanimous and most importantly, very instructive. Each story has a deep morale.


Advaitaji, who started changing names of his disciples? Traditionally, as I understand, this is usually done when people take veśa, sannyāsa, not for mantra dīkṣā. It is only a minor point, probably not to be labeled as deviation, but still interesting. I thought mostly westerners get a name change?

Advaitadās -

"Changing names is one item of 'panca rātrika dīkṣā', along with yajna, tāpa etc. - this is mentioned in Prameya Ratnavalī (8.2). Mahāprabhu also changed the Muslim names of Rūpa and Sanātan. It is a bit hard to think of Kṛṣṇa if your Guru lets you keep the name George. Ajāmila was liberated by accidentally saying Nārāyan instead of Pappoo. If a Guru does not change a disciple’s name at time of dīkṣā he is not at fault though, especially if the disciple already has a name of the Lord, gotten from parents or a previous Guru."

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Jala-keli, nostalgia, sectareanism and devatās

The point of the pastime in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya līlā, chapter 18, in which Mahāprabhu saw the jala-keli (Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s watersports) standing on the shore of Yamunā, not participating, is not whether He was in sakhī bhāva or mañjarī bhāva - the point is that it showed the difference between the three stages of consciousness – antar (internal), bāhya (external) and ardha bāhya daśā (half-external). Surely there is no harm in seeing mañjarī bhāva in it, it is not an apasiddhānta, but I personally doubt if this was Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja's intention.


Devotees reminiscing the past, in which they personally associated with their now deceased Guru are not sentimental old men. To accuse them of living in the past is guror avajña, disregarding Guru, thinking the Guru is dead. All bhakti-activities and thoughts are eternal. To think otherwise is māyāvāda or materialism.


Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī’s Vraja Vilāsa Stava is the ultimate index of sambandhānugā (generic, non-amorous) bhakti, while his Vilāpa Kusumāñjali is the ultimate index of kāmānugā (purely amorous) bhakti. Both are essential reading.


There is no condemnation of ‘sectarianism’ in bhakti śāstra – instead there is a glorification of niṣṭha, fixation. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī speaks of ekāntīs, or focused ones, in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu (1.2.58) –

 tatrāpyekāntināṁ śreṣṭha govinda hṛta mānasāḥ
yeṣāṁ śrīśa prasādo’pi mano hartuṁ na śaknuyāt

 “And again, of all those devotees of one-pointed loyalty, those whose minds have been stolen by Govinda are the best. Even the grace of Lord Viṣṇu cannot steal their minds.”

This focus is based on rasa, but it shows exclusivity nonetheless. Surely we must respect others’ practices but it is also not so that for a soul surrendered to Mahāprabhu and the 6 Goswāmīs that everything and everyone is right. Bhagavad Gītā makes these points:

 aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā dharmasyāsya parantapa
aprāpya māṁ nivartante mṛtyu-saṁsāra-vartmani

 “O afflicter of enemies, those who have no faith in this dharma do not attain Me but return to the path of transmigration and death.” 9.3

and –
yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim

“He who giving up the rules of scripture acts according to his own whim does not attain perfection, happiness, or the supreme goal.” 16.23

 These verses clearly say that deviants will not attain Krṣṇa – māyāvādī, karma niṣṭha (fruitive workers) kutārkika gana (sophists) ninduk (critics) pāṣaṇḍī (agnostics) and poruwa adham (fallen eggheads) are excluded by Mahāprabhu. C.C. Ādi 7.29


Objections have been raised against the use of the English word 'demigods' for 'devatās', as ‘demigods’ is an English term for persons in Greek mythology who had half god-half human descent. In the Vedic context that would make the Pāṇḍavas demigods, but devatās 'gods' with a small ‘g’. either the word ‘gods’ can be used or the original term ‘devatā’ can be kept, because most readers of English translations of śāstra will know what that means, just like the word ‘guru’ needs no English translation.