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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The tenth offence for bhajanānandīs and goṣṭhyānandīs.

Though the subdivision among Vaiṣṇavas in bhajanānandīs and goṣṭhyānandīs is a recent invention and is not mentioned in any of the Goswāmīs books, Sanātana Goswāmī's ṭīkā to the 10th offence to the holy name gives an interesting description of how false pride about the chanting of the holy name is manifest among different types of devotees. The offence is mentioned in Haribhakti Vilāsa 11.524 -

ahaṁ mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha kṛt ||524||
kiṁ ca, nāmny eva viṣaye yo’haṁ-mamādi-paramaḥ. ahaṁ bahutara-nāma-kīrtaka itas tato nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca mat-pravartitam eva, mayā samo nāma-kīrtana-paro’nyaḥ kaḥ. madīya-jihvādhīnam eva nāmety-ādikam eva paramaṁ pradhānam. nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca kadācit sidhyati na vā yasya tathā-bhūto yaḥ, so’pīti. ata evādiṣṭaṁ bhagavatā— tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ ||524||

"To think 'I' and 'mine' to be the greatest in connection with the holy name is the 10th offence to the holy name" - aham bahutara nāma kīrtaka 'I am chanting more' (than you). You may hear this while associating with 'bhajanānandīs'. They will approach you and ask you 'How many rounds are you chanting?' 
Not that it is any of their business anyway, and it is not out of personal interest that they ask, but to establish themselves as greater devotees. One "bhajanānandī" approached Sādhu Bābā and asked him: 'āpni koto lākho nām koren' ('How many times 64 rounds you chant each day?'). Sādhu Bābā replied: 'bābā āmi kichu bhajan-tajan korinā, āmi śudhu ghumāi o khāi' - "Bābā I am not doing any bhajan at all - I am just eating and sleeping".

Among 'bhajanānandīs' the hallmark is how many rounds you do, though the biggest chanters often have a pretty appalling track record of misconduct, showing that quality, and not quantity of chanting is needed. They also tend to show off their great quantity of sādhana by walking around on the market with their bead-bags, showing an impressive row of counting beads on the outside, indicating how many rounds they have already completed. 

If we read on, we recognize the ego of some 'gosthyānandīs' next - itas tato nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca mat-pravartitam eva, mayā samo nāma-kīrtana-paro’nyaḥ kaḥ "Only I am spreading the chanting of the holy name all over the world, who is equal to me in dedication to nāma kīrtan?" Sounds familiar? Often more unpleasant ego is added to that, like "You are just doing bhajan, and thinking only of your own liberation", which is a false accusation because bhajan is done for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure only - Vaiṣṇavas reject liberation outright, but even if it were true, it is not humble to claim to be soooo selfless to  be preaching instead of doing bhajan.

Next Sanātana Goswāmī writes madīya-jihvādhīnam eva nāmety-ādikam eva paramaṁ pradhānam. "My tongue is the greatest chanter of the holy name  ("Chanting is under the control of my tongue. I am chanting the holy name myself"). Though Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda said ataḥ śrī kṛṣṇa nāmādi na bhavet grāhyam indriyaiḥ; sevonmukhe he jihvādau svayam eva sphuratyadaḥ "Thus the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not manifest through the material senses, it is only manifest in the tongue and other senses of those who have a service attitude." (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234).

Sanātan Goswāmī concludes: nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca kadācit sidhyati na vā yasya tathā-bhūto yaḥ, so’pīti. ata evādiṣṭaṁ bhagavatā— tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ ||524||
"For such a person it even rarely happens that he does kīrtan. The Lord has instructed 'Lower than a blade of grass, tolerant as a tree, not wanting honour, giving all honour to others - this is how the holy name of Lord Hari should always be glorified."

Otherwise the holy name will not bestow its desired fruit.


  1. Our gurudev Pandit Ananta Das Babaji maharaj always suggests never to reveal one's bhajan sadhana to anyone including the number of rounds as Srila thakura Mahasaya proclaims in PBC .We become devotees but cannot leave our false ego. Show off becomes a part of bhajan. Bhajanandis are proud of their bhajan and gosthyanandis are proud of preaching and trying to correct others.Criticism towards devotees or non devotees becomes general talk. Unfortunately these attitude among devotees forces us to think sometimes that we were better human being as a non devotee.

  2. In this post it is stated "the subdivision among Vaiṣṇavas in bhajanānandīs and goṣṭhyānandīs is a recent invention."
    However, this subdivision is far from being a recent invention. It has existed in the Madhva sampradaya for centuries and even predates Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Madhva sannyasis belong to two divisions - Dasakuta and Vyasakuta. The dasakuta are known as bhajananandi, due to their solitary sadhana, and the vyasakuta are known as gosthyanandi, due their involvement in society as preachers. The Madhva-gaudiya sampradaya was extant in Bengal for more than one hundred years before Sri Caitanya Maharabhu due to the preaching of Madhva sannyasis from Sosale Math in Mysore. The parampara of Sosale Math from Madhvacarya to Lakshmipati Tirtha is the same as the parampara presented by Sri Kavikarnapura, Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura, Sri Baladeve Vidyabhusana, Prabhupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and other prominent acaryas.

    The Vyasa-vamsa in Vrndavan consider themselves Madhva Gaudiya although they are not followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Their parampara is described by Sri Hari Rama Vyasa, a contemporary of the Six Gosvamis, in his Sri Nava Ratna. His parampara from Madhvacarya to Madhavendra Puri is exactly the same as the parampara honored by Sri Gaudiya Math and ISKCON. In the Vyasa vamsa, after Madhavendra Puri comes Madhava das then Sri Hari Rama Vyasa. This is irrefutable proof that the Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya existed prior to Mahaprabhu and that Mahaprabhu was a member of that parampara due to his diksha connection with Sri Isvara Puri. For further information about the history of Vyasa-vamsa, one may consult with their current acarya, Sri Vrajendra Gosvami at the pitha of Sri Hari Rama Vyasaji in Vrndavana near Bankhandi Mahadeva.

  3. Anon, this blog is not about the Madhva-issue but about false pride about harināma. I should have blocked this comment for being off topic actually. The Madhva issue was blogged on on October 18, 2012. But I can tell you right here that there is no bhajanānandi and gosthyānandi mentioned in any Gaudiya Vaiṣṇava śāstra that I know of. BTW if we are purely Madhva sampradāya what was the use of the Goswāmīs writing tons and tons of books (none of whom carry the words gosthyānandi and bhajanānandi)? Why they did not just present Madhva's writings?

  4. The comment was not off topic. It was exactly on the topic of your direct statement that (quote) "the subdivision among Vaiṣṇavas in bhajanānandīs and goṣṭhyānandīs is a recent invention." (unquote) I have clearly explained with evidence that this subdivision is NOT a recent invention. So it would be more befitting of you to simply acknowledge your mistake and correct yourself.

    After establishing the historical precedent of this subdivision I went on to prove that it is also not inappropriate to acknowledge this subdivision in the Gaudiya community because the terms have their historical origin in the diksha line that lead to of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

    Nowhere have I intimated that the followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are PURELY Madhvaites, I was just adding the less well-known fact that a branch of the Madhvas had evolved in Bengal and were known as Madhva Gaudiyas even prior to the appearance of Mahaprabhu. The intention of this statement was to complete the thesis that the subdivisions of bhajananandi and gosthyanandi, which though not expressly mentioned, are not inappropriate for Mahaprabhu's followers. Since this is a position that you have admitted in reference to Srila Sanatana Gosvami's commentary on Hari-Bhakti Vilasa11.524, why would you disagree with it?

  5. Advata-ji, as always,your insight is meaningful and have the weight of the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu and the Goswamis. Ordinary people think and argue based on their samskara and only can go so far. Talking about parampara, one must be properly situated in parampara first. Quoting Goswami literature to prove that I am right and you are wrong or vice versa is still under the mode to prove who is right and who is wrong. Unless we go beyond this phenomena of me, me and me, and center around Sriman Mahaprabhu, our logic will be deemed fallacious. There is no such thing as "me or mine" when we belong to Him. This ego is a big block in everything a sadhaka does. I pray at the lotus feet of Sriman Mahaprabhu to wipe out all anarthas of any bhakta and bring them closer to Him. Who am I to give lecture on this topic to an exalted vaisnava like yourself? But I felt compelled to speak something based on the frivolous statements others make without understanding what you are trying to say here. Radhe Shyam!

  6. Bimal thank you for your support and for handing me the proper word for this annoying attitude of modern Vaiṣṇavas towards our authority - the 6 Gosvāmīs - frivolous indeed!

  7. Anon, I will end the debate with you here as our standards of pramāṇa are not compatible. Evidence on this blog-site means Gaudiya Vaiṣṇava śāstras, and for any future commentators I will spell that out here - it means the Bhāgavat, prasthāna-traya, and the 6 Goswāmīs books, including only Kavirāja, Bilvamangal and Jayadeva. I must remind you of the board rules of this blog -

    "Comments that are off-topic, silly or that contain offenses, personal attacks, obscenities, repetitions, ads or (unscriptural) non-Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava-thought are blocked."

    This last rule has been in place for at least 6 years. I have already warned you of this in my comment of last Saturday.

    Lastly, I admit that the mantra Mahāprabhu spoke to his Guru was the sannyāsa mantra to Keśava Bhāratī and not the dīksā mantra to Īśvara Puri.

  8. Hare Krsna! Speaking of offenses Advaita DasJi, is it one to have a pariprashna regarding a quote that i come across transcripts and in the 'BG as it is' regarding Sri Arjuna being "defeated" by Lord Shiva?
    Here are the links to the quote:

    Srila Prabhupada says and i quote"So Arjuna was claiming, and Lord Śiva as a hunter, he was also claiming. Then there was fight between Lord Śiva and Arjuna. So Lord Śiva was defeated. So he then disclosed his identity that "I am very much pleased that you (are) such a nice fighter."

    Perhaps from this transcript quote, the final purport in the 'BG as it is' also states and i quote "Arjuna was a famous fighter, and he attained fame by fighting many great demigods, including even Lord Śiva. After fighting and defeating Lord Śiva in the dress of a hunter, Arjuna pleased the lord and received as a reward a weapon called pāśupata-astra."

    I fail to comprehend why this error is included in all the editions for all these years, when clearly in the Mahabharata the prasanga is quite different and infact it states the opposite, that indeed Lord Siva defeated Sri Arjuna and then pleased with his penance and courage, granted his desire of recieving the Pashupat-astra.
    Is there some other shastric evidence which states that Sri Arjuna somehow defeated Mahadev?
    And is it an offence if I, who considers Srila Prabhupada as my Guru, ask this question with humility and genuine desire to find out the facts?

  9. Birkhauer, I found the story in MG Ganguly's Mahabharat in Vana Parva ch.166. It says there that Shiva did defeat Arjuna. My Sanskrit Mahabharat seems to have a different chapter numbering so I am unable to quote Sanskrit evidence, at least not right now. As to your second question, I do not believe that humility and genuine desire to find out the facts would ever lead to offence or aparadha.