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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Doership in sādhanā

In Śrīmad Bhāgavata (12.8.40) Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi said:

kiṁ varṇaye tava vibho yad-udīrito 'suḥ saṁspandate tam anu vāṅ-mana-indriyāṇi
spandanti vai tanu-bhṛtām aja-śarvayoś ca svasyāpy athāpi bhajatām asi bhāva-bandhuḥ

“O Almighty Lord, how can I possibly describe you? You propel the vital air, which impels the mind, senses and power of speech to act. This is true for all embodied souls including Brahmā and Śiva and even me. Still, you become the intimate friend of those who worship you.”

This verse jams the post of non-free-will and non-doership again deeper into the ground. It shows that even our sādhana is not done by us, but also by Kṛṣṇa. The mind is remembering Kṛṣṇa’s rūpa-guṇa-līlā, the senses perform active devotional service to Kṛṣṇa and the speech chants the holy name in japa or kīrtan. They are all propelled, pulsated, by Kṛṣṇa however, as is clear from this verse. You are chanting the holy name because the holy name, which is non-different from Kṛṣṇa (abhinnatvān nāma-nāmino), allows you to chant it. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda quotes the Padma-purāṇa in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhuḥ (1.2.234) -

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyaṁ indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

“Kṛṣṇa and His names cannot be grasped by the material senses, but when a person develops a service-attitude, or the tendency to accept the Lord’s name and form, Kṛṣṇa spontaneously appears on the tongue and in the other senses.”

In his commentary on this Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-verse, Śrīla Jīva Goswāmīpāda quotes examples of even animals to whom the holy name appeared. There is a description of Bharata as he gave up the body of a deer. This illustrates this spontaneous appearance of the Lord’s name.   

nārāyaṇāya haraye nama ity udāraṁ hāsyan mṛgatvam api yaḥ samudājahāra

“He gave up his body of the deer while smiling broadly saying, “All respects to Lord Nārāyaṇa Hari.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 5.14.45)

There is also the case of Gajendra:

evaṁ vyavasito buddhyā samādhāya mano hṛdi
jajāpa paramaṁ jāpyaṁ prāg-janmany anuśikṣitam  

“Thereafter, the King of the elephants, Gajendra, fixed his mind in his heart with perfect intelligence and did japa of a mantra which he had learned in his previous birth as Indradyumna and which he remembered by the grace of Kṛṣṇa.  (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 8.3.1)

So the holy name isn’t chanted by us, it descends to the surrendered soul.

The description of ‘the mind and speech being pulsated or propelled by Kṛṣṇa’ should serve as consolation for any devotee who is nervous before having to give a class. I experienced many times while giving class that Kṛṣṇa was speaking through me, and, after he gave class, Sādhu-bābā used to say ‘āmi ki bollām? Āmi ki bollām?’ ‘What did I say? What did I say?’ It was like he came back from another planet. He was not aware of any control that his own mind or speech had had on the lecture. 

Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī comments on this verse in the Bhakti-sandarbha (144), quoting Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (4.4.18): prāṇasya prāṇam uta cakṣuṣaś cakṣur uta śrotasya śrotraṁ manaso manaḥ “He is the life of the vital air, the sight of the eye, the audibility of the ear, and the mental discernment of the mind.” The fact that the life air, mind and senses function only on the inspiration of the Lord is true not only for materially conditioned beings but for Brahmā and Śiva also. Therefore, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi acknowledges that it is certainly the case for himself as well. Thus, although nobody is independent in any respect, the Lord is the bhāva-bandhu, or the loving friend, of those who serve Him. The significance of the Lord being referred to as bhāva-bandhu is that even devotees have no independent power to serve the Lord. But the Lord is their friend because He gives them bhāva, meaning that He gives them bhakti by which they are able to serve Him. Furthermore, the speech and other senses with which they serve Him are also impelled by Him. Thus, the devotee is like a wooden puppet moved by the strings of the puppeteer.”

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments – “By you, the life air is made to move, and the voice, mind and senses.  Śruti says śrotrasya śrotram:  "The Lord is the ear of the ear." (Kena Upaniṣad 1.2) yadyapyevaṁ tathāpi bhajatām janānāṁ bhāvena premṇā bandhur bandhur iva vaśyo'si. prāṇa buddhīndriyādibhis tvam eva sva bhajanaṁ kārayasi punas tādṛśa bhajanasya pratyupakāre'samartho ṛṇīva bhūtvā tat prema vaśyo bhavasītyadbhutaṁ tava kṛpā vaibhavam iti bhāvaḥ.  “Like a friend, you are controlled by the love of those who worship you. You alone enable them to worship you by enlivening their minds and senses, yet you feel unable to repay the debt of their worship and become indebted and controlled by their love. That is most astonishing. That is the greatness of your mercy.“

It once again confirms there is no such a thing as minute independence. It reveals why souls take to bhakti, why they leave bhakti, why they may be weak and why they may be strong devotees. 

One should also understand that spiritual advancement cannot be planned, scheduled or forced down. It all happens at its own pace.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hari is Hara


Vaiṣṇava – Why do you say that Kṛṣṇa and Śiva are one while śāstra says the opposite –

yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ
samatvenaiva vīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam

'A person who sees gods like Brahmā and Śiva to be on an equal level with Nārāyaṇa is surely a heretic.' (Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 18.116, quoting Padma-purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa)?

Advaitadas – Kṛṣṇa and Śiva are one, courtesy of the 2nd offense to the holy name, śivasya śrī viṣṇor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalaṁ dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari-nāmāhitakaraḥ - “Whoever sees difference between the attributes, names etc of Śiva and Śrī Viṣṇu certainly does not benefit the Divine Name of Hari.” But that applies to Sadāśiva, and that verse yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ applies to the guṇāvatāra Śiva. There are several interpretations of this 2nd offence to the holy name, plus a completely opposite meaning circulating, but the above translation is the mukhya artha, main meaning which includes the primary meaning of the word bhinna, difference. 

Śiva is also superior to Brahmā, as is stated in Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s Sārārtha-darśinī-ṭīkā of Śrīmad-bhāgavata 1.2.24, and in his book ‘Mādhurya-kādambinī’, 3rd shower –

tathā pārthivād dāruṇo dhūmas tasmād agnis trayīmayaḥ. tamasas tu rajas tasmāt sattvaṁ yad brahma darśanam. ityatra tamasaḥ sakāśāt rajasaḥ śreṣṭhyo'pi vastuto rajasi dhūma sthānīye śuddha tejaḥ sthānīyasyeśvarasyānupalabdheś ca. sattve saṁjvalanāgnau śuddha tejasaḥ sākṣād iva pārthive dāru sthānīye tamasyapi tasyāntarhitatayopalabdhir astyeva. tat kārya suṣuptau nirbheda jñāna sukhānubhava ivetyādi vicārya tattvam avaseyam

“Śrīmad-Bhāgavata (1.2.23) says: “Smoke is superior to wood, a transformation of the earth. Fire, the base of sacrifices prescribed in the Vedas, is superior to smoke. Similarly rajo-guṇa is superior to tamo-guṇa and sattva-guṇa is superior to rajo-guṇa. One can realize Brahman by sattva-guṇa.” This verse establishes the superiority of rajo-guṇa over tamo-guṇa. However, the realization of the Lord, representing pure effulgence, is not possible in rajo-guṇa, which is being compared here to smoke. Representing pure effulgence, the Lord can be realized by sattva-guṇa, which is like a burning fire. In tamo-guṇa, which is compared to wood, one gets a subtle realization of the Lord. As in the state of suṣupti (sound sleep), an effect of tamo-guṇa, one gets the same bliss as if in the realization of nirbheda-jñāna, knowledge of the oneness of jīva and non-personal Brahman. One should ascertain the truth by considering the facts in this way.”

Fire does not exist in smoke, which is compared to rajo-guṇa. It exists in a hidden form in wood which is compared to tamo-guṇa. The fire hidden in wood can make its appearance by rubbing or honing the wood. Thus the transcendental truth exists in Śiva, the presiding deity of tamo-guṇa. The author gives the example of sound sleep, which is an effect of tamo-guṇa. In that state, one realizes the bliss one gets from the knowledge of oneness of spirit and non-personal Brahman. One should ascertain the truth of Brahmā and Śiva in this way.

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda also states in his book Bhāgavatāmṛta-kaṇa (6): kiñca sadāśivaḥ svayaṁ rūpāṅgo viśeṣa svarūpo nirguṇaḥ sa śivasyāṁśi ataevāsya brahmato’py ādhikyaṁ viṣṇunā sāmyaṁ ca jīvāt tu saguṇatve’sāmyaṁ ca “Sadāśiva is a specific expansion of the Original Supreme Lord who is nirguṇa, beyond the modes of material nature, and is the origin of Śiva the guṇāvatāra. Hence He is superior to Brahmā and equal to Viṣṇu. He is not equal (superior) to the jīva, who is under the modes of nature.” The Vāyu-Purāṇa confirms that Sadāśiva's abode is beyond the mundane universe:
śrī mahādeva lokas tu saptāvaraṇato bahiḥ; 
nityaḥ sukhamayaḥ satyo labhyas tat sevakottamaiḥ 

"But Śrī Mahādeva's planet is outside of the seven layers of matter that cover the universe. It is eternal, blissful, real and attainable by His devotees." 

sadāśivākhyā tan mūrtis tamoguṇa varjitā 

"Unlike the ordinary Śiva, Sadāśiva is beyond tamo guṇa." (Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta 43)

śivaloke vaikuṇṭha dhāmni

"Śivaloka is Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma." (Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa)

Vaiṣṇava - Who are you worshipping in your ashram?

Advaitadas - Sadāśiva.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Navadwīpa free from offence?

Vaiṣṇava - Some people in Navadvīpa told me "If you commit offense in Vṛndāvana you have to come to Navadvīpa to get atonement....they quoted the story of Siddha Jagannāth Dās Bābājī.  They told me a story where Jagannath Das Bābājī once accepted Prasadam from sweepers then later he realised it's an offence then he asked his disciple to carry him to Navadvīpa to make atonement. In Vṛndāvana Radha-Govinda will be there, they are very strict and in Navadvīpa Gaur-Nitāi will be there and they are very liberal to forgive the offences done in Vṛndāvana."
  
Advaitadās - About Navadvīpa being free from offences - Mahāprabhu never forgave Gopāl Chāpāl or Chota Haridās, for offences they committed in Navadvīpa or Puri, not in Vṛndāvana.  So how is there no offense in Gour-līlā or Navadvīpa? What atonement is there other than harināma? Look at what Mahāprabhu taught Subuddhi Rāy -

prāyaścitta puchilā tiṅho paṇḍitera gaṇe; tāṅrā kohe,-tapta-ghṛta khāiyā chāḍo' prāṇe

When Subuddhi Raya asked brahmins how to atone for being sprinkled by a Muslim they said 'Drink boiling ghee and die'. (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 25.195)

prabhu kohe,-ihāṅ hoite yāho' vṛndāvana; nirantara koro kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana

But instead Mahaprabhu said: 'Go to Vṛndāvana and always chant the holy name there.' (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 25.198)

1. Mahāprabhu didn't say “Go to Navadvīpa” but “Go to Vṛndāvana”. 
2. There's no prāyaścitta for a nāma sādhaka. It's a nāmāparādha to think harināma needs support from practises like atonements (dharma-vrata tyāga-hūta sarva śubha-kriyā sāmyam). Harināma is cira niṣkṛta, the ultimate atonement, according to the Bhāgavata (6.1.19).
3. nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa buddhiḥ – It is an offence to the holy name to commit sin on strength of the holy name. This offence applies to all items of bhakti-sādhana, including living in the holy dhāma. One should not exploit the idea that Gaur-Nitāi are ‘not taking any offence’ to commit offences or sins in holy places like Navadvīpa.

Another version of that sweeper-story is that Jagannāth Dās Bābājī insisted all sweepers of Braj are glorious and that there was nothing wrong in eating their grains. In any case, no śāstra says Navadvīpa is free from all offence. We see so many devotees falling down there as well. If this theory were true, why don't all sādhakas in Navadvīpa have prema then? If there were no offense there would be immediate prema. Then why not everybody in Bengal has prema?

Vaiṣṇava – But your Guru lived full time in Navadvīpa?

Advaitadās – “Yes but not because offences are not counted there. He was born there. Nor do we say everyone should live non-stop in Vraja. Familiarity DOES breed contempt. Ultimately whether you live in Navadwīp or Vraja, or even in a mundane place elsewhere, one should think of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu worshipped Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa also in Navadwīp and Puri.”

Vaiṣṇava - But whatever it may be, is it correct to accept grains from sweepers as Jagannāth Das Bābājī has done? Kindly answer.

Advaitadās - Mahāprabhu would not eat food even from His śikṣā-guru Rāmānanda Rāya (see Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 8.47-48 heno kāle vaidik ek vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇa, daṇḍavat kori koilo prabhure nimantrana). Rūpa and Sanātan Goswāmīs begged food only from brāhmins. (See Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 19.128 'vipra-gṛhe' sthūla-bhikṣā, kāhāṅ mādhu-karī

Monday, October 10, 2016

The flowers on the desire-vine of prema.


The whole of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa is pervaded by manjari bhāva like no other place. Śrīla Raghunāth-Dās Goswāmī said in his Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam (5): praṇaya suralatā syāt tasya goṣṭhendra sūnoḥ sapadi kila mad īśā-dāsya puṣpa praśasya – “The divine creeper of prema for Kṛṣṇa instantly yields excellent flowers of my īśā-dāsya (Rādhā-dāsya) for anyone who renders any service there. It expands on the bhakti-latā analogy of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, which He taught Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda: 

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva; guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
mālī hoiyā kore sei bīja āropaṇa; śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale koroye secana
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya; ‘virajā’, ‘brahma-loka’ bhedi’ ‘para-vyoma’ pāya
tabe yāya tad-upori ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’; ‘kṛṣṇa-caraṇa’-kalpa-vṛkṣe kore ārohaṇa
tāhā vistārita hoiyā phale prema-phala; ihā mālī sece nitya śravaṇādi jala

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 19.151-155)

“Some fortunate soul who wanders through the cosmos (taking birth after birth in different species of life) may, by the grace of the Guru or Kṛṣṇa, receive the seed of the vine of devotion. Becoming a gardener, he plants that seed and waters it with his practices of hearing and chanting (Kṛṣṇa’s glories). The vine will then grow and pierce the shell of the cosmos, crossing the intermediary cosmic river Virajā and Brahma-loka, and attaining the Para-vyoma (spiritual sky, or Vaikuṇṭha). Crossing even that divine realm he attains Goloka-vṛndāvana, ascending to the desire-tree of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus-feet, clinging on to it. There it will sprout the fruit of prema, divine love for Kṛṣṇa. Meanwhile the gardener continues to water the vine with his practice of hearing and chanting (Kṛṣṇa’s glories).”
After the latā grew up, what kind of flowers will it sprout? That was too confidential for Caitanya-caritāmṛta, written by Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī, who wrote a lot about manjarī-bhāva in his Govinda-līlāmṛta, but deliberately kept it out of Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

Śrīla Raghunāth-Dās Goswāmī continues the analogy - mad īśā dāsya puṣpa praśasya – the service of my mistress’ service is the flower of the devotional creeper. praśasya means excellent, excellent flowers. The crux is that it is a part of 'jīvera swarūp hoy kṛṣṇa nitya dās' (‘The true form of the soul is being Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servant’)- it is it’s culmination and eternally remains an integral part of it. Sādhu-bābā said that rādhā-dāsya is ultimately also kṛṣṇa-dāsya, for that is the one and only swarūp of the soul. Preferring Rādhā over Kṛṣṇa is MOST pleasing to Kṛṣṇa.

Some claim the words api jana (anyone) in this verse mean that any backpacker with a bottle of vodka and a chillum in the backpack can / should live full-time in Rādhākuṇḍa, having illicit sex with one partner after the other, and this will yield the flowers of manjarī-bhāva, but in my opinion it means that the service rendered at Rādhākuṇḍa, indeed even by taking a single bath there, will yield these flowers in the long term, also after doing sādhana OUTSIDE Rādhākuṇḍa. The seed of manjari bhāva may be planted in Rādhākuṇḍa but may have to be watered elsewhere, in order to avoid the hazard of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Aparādha is another factor that limits, delays or blocks the benefits offered in this verse. We also see thousands taking that single bath in Rādhākuṇḍa that should yield rādhā-prema but it does not happen. The same condition and restriction counts for this verse.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Giving dīkṣā while Guru is still alive

Question - is it not allowed to give dīkṣā while one’s Guru is still alive?

Advaitadas: if individual Gurus do not find this the proper etiquette then that should be respected, but there are examples of disciples of living Gurus giving dīkṣā - Yadunandana-ācārya initiated Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī when Raghunātha was still at home, and later Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī even met with Advaita-ācārya, who is Yadunandana-ācārya's Guru in Puri. Advaita-ācārya > Yadunandan-ācārya > Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Antya-līlā, chapter 6, 242, "When Raghunātha dāsa met them all, Advaita-ācārya was very kind to him". Antya 6 verses 158 - 161, make clear that Yadunandana-ācārya was already the Guru of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī -

vāsudeva-dattera teṅha haya ‘anugṛhīta’
raghunāthera ‘guru’ teṅho haya ‘purohita’ Antya 6.161

“Yadunandana Ācārya was the priest and Guru of Raghunātha dāsa. He had accepted the mercy of Vāsudeva Datta.”
Then, much later -

raghunātha-dāsa yabe sabāre mililā
advaita-ācārya tāṅre bahu kṛpā kailā   Antya 6.245

“When Raghunātha dāsa met all the devotees (in Puri, later), Advaita Ācārya showed him great mercy.”

Another example is Śyāmānanda Prabhu, who was deputed to Orissa for preaching. In a village called Rohiṇī on the banks of the river Subarnarekhā, the village chieftain Acyuta and his son Rasikānanda became the disciples of Śyāmānanda Prabhu. One day the news came that Hṛdaya-Caitanya, Śyāmānanda Prabhu’s Guru, had passed away. Shortly after that, Śyāmānanda Prabhu installed Śrī Rasikānanda as the Mahānta of Śrīpāṭa Gopīballabhpur. This is confirmed in Śrī Rasika Mangala. Rasikānanda had received dīkṣā from Śyāmānanda Prabhu long ago. Hṛdaya Caitanya (or Hṛdayānanda, according to Rasika-mangala) passed away later. All this is very clear from Rasik-mangala.

Most importantly, there is no prohibition on giving dīkṣā while one’s own dīkṣā-guru is still alive, in any śāstra I know of.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Manjaris husbands, similar services and complexions


Question – "In previous blogs, like those of December 4, 2007, April 19, 2015 and June 15, 2015 you said manjaris have no husbands, but in his commentary on Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī writes -

paroḍhānāṁ śrī-rādhādīnāṁ dāsyaḥ kāścana śrī-vṛṣabhānv-ādibhir vivāha-kāle dattāḥ kanyakā eva kāścana tad-anyā rūpa-mañjary-ādayaḥ paroḍhā eva jñeyāḥ. bimbādhare kṣatam anāgata bhartṛkāyāḥ [vilāpa-kusumāñjali 1] iti śrī-dāsa-gosvāmy-ukteḥ. 

“Some of the servants of Rādhā, who were given at the time of her marriage by Vṛṣabhānu, were not married, and others like Rūpa-mañjarī, were married. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has said:

tvaṁ rūpa-mañjari sakhi prathitā pure'smin
puṁsaḥ parasya vadanaṁ na hi paśyasīti
bimbādhare kṣatam anāgata-bhartṛkāyā
yat te vyadhāyi kim u tac chuka-puṅgavena

“My dear friend Rūpa Manjari! In the township of Vraja you are well known for your chastity. You don't even look at the faces of other men! It is therefore surprising that your lips, that are as beautiful as red Bimba-fruits, have been bitten, although your husband is not at home. Has this maybe been done by the best of parrots?” (Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 1). He quotes exactly the same verse that you quote to prove the opposite.”

Advaitadās: “Look at the next sentence in his commentary - arvācīnānāṁ sādhaka-bhaktānāṁ tu bhāvo yathā-ruci yathā-sampradāyaṁ vā phaliṣyatīti boddhavyam – “It should be understood that the bhāva of present day sādhakas will bear results according to taste and sampradāya.” It is not that there is only one way or there is only one Rūpa Manjarī. There are as many Rūpa Manjarīs as there are liberated manjarīs to serve and follow her. Viśvanātha also writes in the same commentary: ‘Some were not married, some were married.” It is not that every single manjarī MUST be married. Śrīla Narottama dāsa similarly sang: kobe ei yāvat grāme āmār pāṇi grahaṇa hobe? (“When will I be married in Yāvat?”) – this is also optional.

Question – “Sceptics of siddha praṇālī say that sometimes disciples of the same Guru find they have all gotten the same manjarī-service.”

Advaitadās – “So, what is the problem? That Guru-manjarī may specialize in providing a certain service to Śmt. Rādhārāṇī’s lotus-feet. We should not forget that every sādhana-siddha (previously conditioned soul who reached perfection) has his/her own Rādhārāṇī to serve, there is no surplus of any service-offerings. Śrīla Sanātan Goswāmī writes in his Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.5.52) –

yathā hi bhagavān ekaḥ śrī-kṛṣṇo bahu-mūrtibhiḥ
bahu-sthāneṣu varteta tathā tat-sevakā vayam

“Just as the one Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa exists in many forms and many places, so also do we, His servants.” 

Those sceptics cannot conceive of the unlimited nature of the spiritual sky. Most manjarīs also have the same name. Even in the material world it is like that – how many Jacks and Johns are there not in America, how many Vladimirs and Irinas in Russia? They are still all different individuals! Again here, each Rati- or Guna-manjarī has her own Rādhā to serve. A rāgānugā guru may have 1000s of manjarī disciples, surely they will not all have different names and services. But they do each have their own Rādhā to serve. It can also happen that two manjarīs serve together, as we can see in verses 55 and 72 of Vilāp-kusumanjali for instance. These scenarios are not mutually exclusive. We have our limited concepts here that only one thing can be done at a time by one person. In the Bhāgavat (10.69) it is described how One Kṛṣṇa performed different pastimes with 16.108 queens in Dvārakā all at the same time – can you explain? So if one Guru gives the same manjarī-service to all of his disciples, then that is his/her specialty! This will only work with faith – a man was told he could walk across water by holding a closed tree-leaf in his hand, and it worked, until he opened the leaf and lost his faith. As soon as he lost his faith he drowned. Of course the spiritual world being unlimited does not mean that anything goes – rasābhāsa (perverted mellows) and viruddha siddhānta (bogus theories) should and cannot be carried along to that realm."

Question – I heard some manjarīs also have a black complexion?

Advaitadās – Sādhu Bābā gave one of my Guru-sisters a black complexion, yes. Mostly manjarīs have fair, golden complexions, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be orange, pink, green, or śyāma colored. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī writes in Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta (3.107) - nānā-divya-vicitra-varṇa-tanubhir.......premāndhaiḥ parimaṇḍite’tilalite rādhā-sakhī-maṇḍalaiḥ” “Rādhā’s sakhīs (manjarīs are included) are decorated with blind love, are very delicate and have various divine, variegated or wonderful complexions.”

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Reincarnation, festival timing and Lakṣmī

Reincarnation, festival timing and Lakṣmī

Question –
I am delighted with the stories about Jada Bharata and Ajāmila and if your time allows it please give me some illuminations. First, please tell me - these stories are true stories? Both stories confirm the statement of the Bhagavad-Gītā 8.6, if I understand it properly? Now according to this I began to think on what is actually most important in our dhyāna? What is the priority during dhyāna, meditation on our svarūpa deha or on Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa? Logical is on both, but, if I understand properly, both Jada Bharat and Ajāmila got bodies according to their thinking at the time of death. If I properly understand Jada Bharata thought of a deer and therefore he got the body of a deer, and Ajāmila pronounced the name of Nārāyana and got a body similar of Nārāyana in Vaikuṇṭha? What if at the time of death I think of a cow – will I get the body of cow? Or the body of a dog if I think of a dog? What if I think of Kṛṣṇa, will I get the body of Kṛṣṇa? If I at the time of death pronounce the words 'Ha Gurudeva' will I get the body of Gurudeva? If I say Rādhe, Rādhe, will I get the body of Rādhā? What if I constantly meditate on my siddha deha but due of misfortune just at that moment of death I think about my wife or about my father, will I not attain my siddha deha but I will be born in the body of my wife or my father?

Advaitadas –
The proper way to understand reincarnation as described in Bhagavad-Gītā 8.6 is the word bhāva – bhāva means attitude. Behavior like a dog brings a dog-body. It’s also not casual thought that brings such a body but deep absorption. The stories in the Bhāgavata are true because details of time and place in which they took place are given, but such stories have a lesson to teach and that is the value of them. Stories we should meditate upon as a sādhana are Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa nitya-līlā only. The rest of the Bhāgavata is for learning lessons. Next lesson about Gītā 8.6 is ‘sadā tad-bhāva bhāvita’ – it’s what you always think of that you will attain. If you always think of your manjarī-svarūpa but at the time of death of father-mother it’s not that you will miss your manjarī-svarūpa then. Also you cannot BECOME your father mother, Rādhā or Kṛṣṇa, but you would attain their vicinity only, due to bhāva. We practice manjarī-bhāva – it is the feeling, attitude, consciousness of a manjarī that results in a manjarī-svarūpa. Mṛga evābhiniveśita-manā (Bhāgavat 5.8.27) – Bharata was absorbed, engrossed in thoughts of the deer at the time of death. It was not just a flash, casual remembrance. mṛtam anu na mṛta-janmānusmṛtir – after death he did not forget his previous birth. Meditation on both Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and one’s own kinkarī-svarūpa have been recommended in śāstra. Ajāmila did not attain a body like Nārāyana, but one of an associate of Nārāyaṇa (pārśva-vartī, Ś.B. 6.2.43).

Question –
 I have hear that devotees recently organized Śrī Jagannātha's Ratha Yātrā almost one month earlier than the exact date of Ratha Yātrā. Is it proper to hold such a festival or any other festival in a time which is not according to the Panjikā (Vaiṣṇava almanac)? I have heard the explanation that in July when Ratha Yātrā falls most people will be on vacation on the Adriatic coast and will not attend so they hold the festival early. Somehow I think that it is not correct to prepare sevā to Kṛṣṇa and celebrate festivals led by the schedule of non-devotees. In August when falls Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī people, kids, students are also on vacation, so is it proper to celebrate Janmāṣṭamī in May so that all they can attend? Please tell me your kind opinion. 

Advaitadas –
Yes, it’s very disturbing that Janmāṣṭamī and other festivals are held on Sundays, when working people have a day-off, while Janmāṣṭamī may be on Tuesday. It is wrong. There will be no benefit from such observance. It must be observed on the exact tithi. Such a Sunday could be a dwādaśī- or caturthī tithi or so. Totally wrong. They may as well do the Ekādaśī-fast on Sunday, even if it may be aṣṭamī or amāvaśyā then. Ratha-yātrā is also on a fixed tithi. Working people should serve Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa should not serve working people. Take a day off work on Janmāṣṭamī and if not possible, observe it after work in the evening. And what do they do on the Janmāṣṭamī-tithi then? Eat 3 slices of bread for breakfast, go to work and fast the next Sunday till midnight?

Question -
I wish also to hear your kind opinion about the use of Śrī Lakṣmī-devī's name for money. Money is money and if there is still need to use Sanskrit term then dhana is Sanskrit word for wealth or money. Somehow I find it offensive to address money with Lakṣmī's name. Lakṣmī is the goddess of Fortune, calling money with Her name suggests that fortune lies in money and it gives wrong the conception in the mind - subconsciously we think that our fortune is money. What is your kind opinion about it?

Advaitadas –
Yes Lakṣmī is the Goddess of Fortune and should not be employed for luxury cars or hotel rooms or Swiss bank accounts for so-called Swamis. No need even for words like dhana or vitta. Just Euros and Dollars. Nowhere in śāstra is the name Lakṣmī used to indicate money.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Birth and growth of a manjari


Question -
In Srila Bhaktivinoda Thākura's Gīta mālā's song 'Siddhi Lālasa', he seems to present a series of events from a siddha taking Varsana-birth, and then  growing up to the lucky day, 13 years later, when that fortunate manjari meets Radha-Krishna for the first time and begins her eternal seva to Yugala Kiśora.

From Birth To Your Eternal Sevā In Prakata Līlā -

1. Birth in Varshana:

After attaining Rādhā-Govinda mādhurya prema, you, as a sādhana siddha-devotee will take birth from the womb of a Vraja-gopi in Bhauma Vṛndāvana during the prakata līlā of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
True or false?

2. Growing Up:
From a baby manjari-form in Varshana, you will gradually grow up to your eternal manjari svarūpa age 12-13.
True or false?

3. Engagement:
Once you reach maturity, you will pass your time in separation from Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, singing Yugala bhajanas like a madwoman (pāgalini prāya, BVT) and doing small sevās like fetching Yamunā-jala. True or false?

4. Meeting Your Guru Sakhi:
One day on the foot path, you will meet your eternal guru sakhi and the chief manjari of your parivāra e.g. Ananga, Rūpa, Rati.
True or false?

5. Introduction to Group Leader:
Then later your guru sakhi and chief manjari will take you to meet your sakhi group leader (Lalitā or Viśākhā).
True or false?

6. Receiving Sevā Kunja:
Your group leader will assign you an individual (or collective) sevā kunja for serving the Divine Couple.
True or false?

7. Radha-Kṛṣṇa Service Training:
Your group leader, chief manjari, and other leading sakhis will personally train you in various sevās (rasa seva śikṣā), bhāvas and different levels of prema so you can expertly serve Rādhā Govinda Yugala.
True or false?

8. Starting Śrīmatī’s Sevā:
Now after taking birth in Varshana, growing up for 12 years and being trained in sevā, you are finally qualified to meet Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa for the first time and begin your eternal sevā.
True or false?

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thākura explains that most auspicious moment like this: “Thus waiting in my solitary cottage, I will constantly remember Sri Radha’s lotus feet. After sometime, my chief manjari (Śrī Rūpa/Rati) will come to meet me. At that time, she will say, ‘What are you doing sitting here? Come outside and look— just see Who is coming this way? Rādhā Govinda Yugala are about to meet together. And today you will get the chance to serve Their lotus feet.’”  (Siddha-lālasā song 6)  
True or false?

9. If the above is true, does this mean that all sādhana siddhas will not directly meet or serve Śrī Radha until they grow into their mature manjaris swarūpas and become sevā-qualified? What about seeing Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa; will that also not occur until the manjari reaches her mature age? 

10. Will all sadhana siddha manjaris follow these same steps to the final reward of Radha’s eternal seva? True or false?

11. Is there any other explanation about the progression from Bhauma līlā-birth to beginning Bhānu-nandini’s blissful sevā?

Advaitadas -
Śrī Jīva Goswāmīpāda says that time exists in the spiritual sky but it does not lead to decay. Tasmāt yatrāsau ṣaḍ-bhāva-vikāra-hetuḥ kāla-vikrama eva na pravartate, tatra teṣām abhāvaḥ [Ś.B. 2.9.10 tīkā] “The six transformations of time (birth, sustenance, growth, maturity, decline and death) do not expand their powers (in Vaikuṇṭha) –  they are absent there.” But spiritual pastimes of birth, growth and meeting are possible in the spiritual world, and each phase can be eternally meditated upon also.
There is Narottama’s narration of how Rūpa Manjari introduces her to the Yugal Kiśora -

śrī rūpa paścāte āmi rohibo bhīta hoiyā; doṅhe puna kohiben āmā pāne cāiyā
sadaya hṛdaye doṅhe kohiben hāsi; kothāy pāile rūpa ei nava dāsī?
śrī rūpa mañjarī tabe doṅha vākya śuni; mañjulālī dilo more ei dāsī āni!

"I will shyly stand behind Śrī Rūpa as Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa look at me again, smile and ask Rūpa with kind hearts: "O Rūpa! Where did you get this new maidservant?' Hearing Their inquiry, Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī then tells Them: 'Mañjulālī Mañjarī (the manjarī-name of Śrīla Lokanātha Gosvāmī) has given me this maidservant to bring her before You!'                                           
He also sings;
 hari hari! āra ki emon daśā hobo
           kobe vṛṣabhānu pure,       āhīrī gopera ghare,
                        tanayā hoiyā janamibo

"Hari! Hari! When will I attain this condition? When will I be born as a daughter in the house of a cowherder in Vṛṣabhānu's town (Varṣānā)?"

          yāvaṭe āmāra kobe,        e pāṇi grahana hobe,
                       vasati koribo kobe tāya
         sakhīra parama śreṣṭha,      ye hoy tāhāra preṣṭha,
                       sevana koribo tāra pāya

"When will I be married in the village of Yāvat and when can I live there? When can I serve the lotus-feet of the dearmost maidservant (Rūpa Mañjarī) of the best of sakhīs (Lalitā)?"

There is also a sweet Bengali booklet named ‘Sankalpa-kalpalatā’ by Lakṣmī-Nārāyan Bhaṭṭa, about a manjari’s growing up. When one does full-time manjari sevā it doesn’t fit in though. Generally rāgānugā-Gurus will give their śiṣyas an upāsanā based on eternal ādya kiśori manjarī-services like in Vilāpa-kusumānjali and Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi, just like we acknowledge Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes of birth and growth in the Bhāgavat but ultimately zero in on His kiśora-līlā. We are kiśor upāsakas, not kumār or pauganda. So it’s not really a matter of whether your 11 questions are objectively either true or false. It is Bhaktivinode’s own world of service and I can’t see any rasābhāsa or viruddha siddhānta in it. Not that necessarily everyone must or will have such experiences as he had, though.
As to question 4, Ananga Manjari is never mentioned as a chief manjarī of any parivāra.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Free will in rāgānugā-bhakti?


Question - In your audio comments on Rāga-vartma-candrikā 11, quoting Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.294 you said “Following the Vrajavāsīs of “your choice” is an empty shell. There’s a principle of bestowal. Anarpita carim cirāt. Mahāprabhu came especially to GIVE this amorous love for Kṛṣṇa. If it is given or placed in the heart by mercy of Lord Caitanya or Śrī Guru, we cannot say it is our own choice.”
Questions:
1. Could you please cite the Sanskrit phrases of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda's Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.294 and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartipāda’s ṭīkā of Rāga-vartma candrikā #11 which mean, “of the sādhaka’s liking or personal choice, favorite etc.?

Advaitadās –
1. The word is Samīhita –
समीहित samIhita adj. desired
समीहित samIhita adj. longed for
समीहित samIhita adj. wished
समीहित samIhita adj. undertaken
समीहित samIhita adj. striven after
समीहित samIhita adj. longed or wished for
समीहित samIhita n. great effort to obtain anything
समीहित samIhita n. longing
समीहित samIhita n. wish
समीहित samIhita n. desire

Viśvanātha Cakravarti’s ṭīkā: atha rāgānugāyāḥ paripāṭīm āha kṛṣṇam ity ādinā. preṣṭhaṁ sva-priyatamaṁ kiśoraṁ nanda-nandanaṁ smaran evam asya tādṛśa-kṛṣṇasya bhakta-janam. atha ca svasya samyag-īhitaṁ sva-samāna-vāsanam iti yāvat.

Bhanu Swāmi translation –
“Now starts the description of the method of rāgānuga-sādhana. One should remember the most dear form of Kṛṣṇa (preṣṭham kṛṣṇam), the son of Nanda of kaiśora age, and the devotees of that particular form of Kṛṣṇa (asya janam), who have the same type of desires (for serving Kṛṣṇa) as oneself (nija-samīhitam).”

This does not indicate a free choice. You aptly quoted anarpita carim…samarpayita’ 


anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

(Vidagdha-mādhava I.2, Rūpa Goswāmī)

May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.
– it is bestowed by Mahāprabhu.

2. It appears that there are in reality only two role models for a sādhaka to “choose” from - either Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda or Śrī Rūpa-manjarī, or Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Goswāmīpāda and Tulasī/Rati manjarī. True or false? 

Advaitadās - As far as there is a choice, yes that is true. rūpa-raghunātha pade yāra aśa.

3. Or is the fact that in reality the rāgānugā-bhakti sādhaka has NO choice, since it’s all given by higher personalities like Gaurāṅga and Śrī Guru? Yes or no?

Advaitadās – Yes.

4.  As far as which Vrajavāsī to follow, it is decided by one’s Guru when he receives siddha deha and praṇālī. For example, the Guru tells his disciple, “your yutheśvarī is Viśākhā and your main manjarī is Tulasī/Rati-manjarī. OK, now it’s settled, given or bestowed and they become “my favorite or chosen ones.” Is this true or false? 

Advaitadās – It is true.

5. About the color of Kṛṣṇa’s gunjā-mālā: some say only white, others red and black ones. Can you please cite references proving which color Kṛṣṇa wears?

Advaitadās - Please see the most beautiful Govinda-lilāmṛta 11.99 –

rādhāyā nayanāñjanādhara rucā vyāptaṁ nu guñjāyate 
nāsā mauktikam etad ityaviduṣāṁ kāvyaṁ mamaitan matam   
śaśvat kṛṣṇa virāji rāgi hṛdaya śvāsānilair bhāvitaṁ 
tat tad varṇatayāśu tat pariṇataṁ teṣāṁ hi tat tad guṇaiḥ 

"How has the pearl on Rādhā's nose become black-and-red just like guñjā-beads? Ignorant poets say it is a reflection of Her black eyeliner above it and Her red lips shining under it, but I think that the red colour is Her passion for Kṛṣṇa and the black colour represents Kṛṣṇa Himself. These colours come out when Rādhikā breathes out through Her nose and this colors Her nose-pearl!"

6. I well know and respect that Kṛṣṇa’s activities are all alaukika, divya and acintya, but still could you explain this a little more clearly with quotes from śāstra? I saw in Śrīmad-bhāgavata 10.55.2: pradyumna jāto vaidarbhyam kṛṣṇa-vīrya samudbhavam, “Pradyumna was born from the seed of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa.” We have also read that in bhauma vraja gokula līlā, angry naughty little Gopāl would sometimes pass stool or urine in a gopī’s home.
a. So does 10.55.2 above prove that Kṛṣṇa passed semen into womb of His wife to beget a son, and thereby has sexual union like all of us?
b. Are there other references to Kṛṣṇa doing this, or having union with a consort as we understand in the mundane sphere? 
c. The question asked often is, “Is Kṛṣṇa’s sex enjoyment same as ours, or merely pinching, fondling. Kissing and embracing, BUT without the union of “two bodies” like here?

Advaitadās – see Caitanya-caritāmṛta Adi-līlā 4.163-176.

a. Yes, externally Kṛṣṇa’s sex act is like ours, or rather ours is like His.
b. And c. the Bhāgavata verse 10.55.2 you quoted is the evidence.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

pronām tomāy ghanaśyām



PRAṆĀM TOMĀY GHANA-ŚYĀM

Obeisances unto You, Ghanaśyāma (Kṛṣṇa who is colored like a dense raincloud)

SUNG BY SĀDHU BĀBĀ 
ADVAITA VAṀŚĀVATAṀSA
PRABHUPĀDA NIKUNJA GOPĀL GOSWĀMĪ

On the audio-recording 'Babasongs.mp3'  2:25 – 6:41 min. (ABOVE VIDEO)


(REFRAIN) PRAṆĀM TOMĀY GHANA-ŚYĀM

praṇām - obeisance; tomāy - unto You; ghana-śyām - Kṛṣṇa who is colored like a dense raincloud!

(refrain) Obeisances unto You, O Ghana-śyām!

(1)

TOMĀR CARAṆA ŚARAṆA KORI
ABHOY EI BĀR DĀO HE HARI
DUḤKHA SĀGOR JĀBO TORI
TORI KORI TAVA NĀM
PRAṆĀM TOMĀY GHANA-ŚYĀM

tomār caraṇa - Your feet; śaraṇa kori - I take shelter; abhoy - fearless; ei bār - this time; dāo - please give; he hari - O Hari!; duḥkha sāgor - the ocean of suffering; jābo - I will go; tori - the boat; tori kori - I will cross; tava nām - Your name.

1) Taking shelter at Your lotus feet, O Hari, I beg You to bestow fearlessness upon me this time! I shall cross the ocean of suffering by the boat of Your holy name.

(2)

ĀMARĀ THĀKI GHUMĀI PRABHU
TOMĀR NITYA JĀGARAṆ
KṢAṆE KṢAṆE GHAṬĀO JEI BHUL
CHOKE MOHER ĀVARAṆ

Āmarā - we; thāki – staying; ghumāi - are sleeping; prabhu - O Lord!; tomār - Your; nitya jāgaraṇ - always awake; kṣaṇe kṣaṇe - at every moment; ghaṭāo jei - whatever happens; bhul - mistake; choke - on the eyes; moher – of illusion; āvaraṇ - the covering.

2) O Lord, we remain asleep, while You are ever awake. We make mistakes at every moment, our eyes being covered by illusion.

(3)

SEI ĀVARAṆ GUCHĀO HARI
DĀRĀO JUGAL MŪRTI DHORI
DEKHI TOMĀY NAYANA BHORI
PŪRṆA KORI MANAS-KĀM
PRAṆĀM TOMĀY GHANA-ŚYĀM

sei āvaraṇ - that covering; guchāo - please remove; hari - O Hari!; dārāo – stay here; jugal mūrti - form of the divine couple; dhori - assuming; dekhi – let me see; tomāy - You; nayana bhori - filling my eyes; pūrṇa kori - fulfilling; manas-kām - my mind's desires.

3) Please remove that covering, O Hari, and stand here in Your form as the Divine Couple. Let me look at You to my heart's content, thus fulfilling my mind's desire. Obeisances unto You, Ghanaśyāma!

This text is added to pages 4-5 of the transcripts-file on madangopal.com

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Free will in Bhagavad-Gītā?

I studied all the ācāryas' ṭīkās of Bhagavad-Gita 18.63, which was discussed in my free-will-blog of May, 2015 and which is supposed to say that the jīva has a free will, and is the only verse I can think of which seems to say so.

The ṭīkā of Rāmānujācārya is very clear. He says

etad aśeṣeṇa vimṛśya svādhikārānurūpaṁ yathā icchasi tathā kuru -

'Act as you wish ACCORDING TO YOUR ADHIKĀRA'

Which is compatible with the preceding 3 ślokas, especially 18.60, which says -

svabhāva-jena kaunteya nibaddhaḥ svena karmaṇā
kartuṁ necchasi yan mohāt kariṣyasy avaśo’pi tat

"Deluded, you do not wish to act now, but, prompted by your own nature, you will act anyway, helplessly."

Śaṅkarācārya’s commentary on 18.63 is –

vimṛśya vimarśanam ālocanaṁ kṛtvaitat yathoktaṁ śāstram aśeṣeṇa samastaṁ yathoktaṁ cārtha-jātaṁ yathecchasi tathā kuru

“Consider this endlessly, as the śāstras have spoken, and, according to the meanings born from that, act as you wish.”

Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa repeats Śaṅkarācārya –

etac chāstra-śeṣeṇa sāmastyena vimṛśya paścād yathecchasi tathā kuru.

 “Elaborately consider the śāstra, after which you act as you wish”

Śrīdhara Swami and Viśvanātha Cakravartī do not add any comment to the sentence, they just repeat the sentence, and do not say anything like ‘The Lord does not interfere with the free will of the living entity.”

Madhusūdana Saraswati comments:

svādhikārānurūpyeṇa yathecchasi tathā kuru na tv etad avimṛśyaiva kāma-kāreṇa yat kiṁcid ity arthaḥ 

Do as you wish according to your adhikāra, but not that you act rashly and according to your own desires!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rūpa or Jadrup?

http://acaryadasa.tumblr.com/post/31262458342/jadrup



Śrīvatsa Goswāmī of Rādhā-ramaṇa Mandir told me the same as can be read in this article, be it in less detail, in Vṛndāvan in 1985.  Śrīvatsa Goswāmī said that Vaiṣṇavas drew tilak on the picture after cutting it out from this painting - they needed a picture for altar worship. Other drawings, of the 6 Goswāmīs, Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda etc. are also man-made. The link to Jahangir-nama manuscript under the 4th illustration leads to a Columbia.edu webpage that proves the painting is of the court of Jahangir. Jahangir was born in 1569, some 15 years after Rūpa Goswāmī left this world. That is certain proof that the person depicted there is not Rūpa Goswāmī.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Bijoy Krishna Goswami Sat Guru Sanga part 2


Excerpt from Kuladananda brahmacari’s sat guru sanga, a biography of Vijay Krishna Goswami.

Sometimes Sādhu bābā is proclaimed to be a reincarnation of Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī, but I do not agree. There were many similarities but also many differences between the two famous descendants of Advaita Acarya. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī practiced and preached Homa, Gāyatri Japa, prāṇāyāma nāma (chanting the holy name combined with breath-regulation, which Bābā occasionally preached too) and Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī‘s favorite books were Mahābhārat and Guru Granth Sahib. In this also my Bābā was very different. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī showed no inclination towards rāgānugā bhakti, while Sādhu Bābā practiced and preached this. Sādhu Bābā was less ecumenical too. Nonetheless Bābā admired Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī and often spoke about him. This is from Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī’s disciple Kuladānanda Brahmacārī’s original Bengali Sat-guru Sanga-books. Though not all stories from the books are equally interesting or agreeable to me, still there are some extraordinary stories which I would like to quote here-

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī spoke of contaminated food from śrāddha ceremonies, how even pure devotees became thieves by eating śrāddha-grains offered by thieves. He said that it is inauspicious even to share a seat with a person in tamo-guna or if such a person sees the food you eat.

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī taught that compassion can sometimes be disastrous for sādhana. A renunciant promised a dying Gurubhāi that he would take care of his wife and children, and as soon as the man died he had to collect a lot of money for their maintenance, worry about the children’s education and future and was badly beaten up by robbers who thought he had a lot of money in his hut because of his collection activities. He also suffered severe loss of reputation because he lived in solitude with the woman and her children. 

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī taught: “If there is no violence in your heart even the most violent creatures won’t hurt you. Once there was an Englishman named Anderson who went hunting in the forest. He was chased by a tiger who wanted to kill him but when he took shelter of a naked sannyāsī the sādhu saved him by stopping the tiger, who peacefully went away. You cannot control people with mantra-tantra, only with love.” The Englishman gratefully took shelter of the sannyāsī, took dīkṣā from him and adopted a vegetarian diet only prepared by Brahmins.”

The link between non-violence inviting a non-violent response reminds me of how Sādhu Bābā could take the red monkey Rām to his chest and on his lap while normally red monkeys are ultra-violent.

*

Kuladānanda sometimes heard the sounds of kīrtan in Shāntipura but somehow the kīrtan-party never arrived at the house at Babla. When he asked Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī he said ‘I heard this kīrtan many times when I lived here in my childhood. You are very fortunate because that is the transcendental kīrtan of Śrīman Mahāprabhu Himself.”

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī - The mentality and physique of any cook will be infused within the inner self of the eater of those food-grains. The eyes of ordinary people cannot see that but this is very true and is a big problem.” Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī made the point that not every dish which is placed before the deity becomes prasāda (see Viśvanātha Cakravarti’s commentary on Bhagavad Gītā 9.26). He knew one sādhu named Śyāmākṣepā, who would visit devotees’ houses unannounced to take prasāda there, but he would refuse food if he judged it not to be accepted by the deity due to some anācāra by the ladies who had cooked it. Goswāmījī said: “Prasād is not just the remnants of the Lord’s food – it means a satisfied feeling. Prasāda is a feeling. Mercy is prasāda, compassion is prasāda. By carefully following the regulative principles the Guru has stipulated for our sādhana, Guru’s prasāda is attainable.”
*

Navina Candra Sen asked Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī if he had seen Mahaprabhu in Vrindavan. Goswāmījī replied: “Yes I saw him and it made me speechless. I fell at His feet and wept, begging Him to descend once more here. He replied: “If I appeared again now, who would now believe Me and have faith in Me? That time has passed.”

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī was so immaculately pure that he would get sick with fever sometimes simply because others touched him. Like Sādhu Bābā, Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī also refused to accept Tulsi-leaves on his feet but said they should be placed on his head. If that was done so he would enter into Samādhi and could not be lifted from his āsan.

*

Dr. Harakānta Bandhopādhyāya was a famous doctor throughout northern India. He had been waiting for dīkṣā for a long time and when Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī finally gave it to him, his Gurubhāis asked him if he had had any special experience. The doctor said he could see Goswāmījī as Mahādeva (Shiva) and that Mahādeva permeated his whole body like electricity while Goswāmījī held his arms with his hands. After that he lost memory and felt sleepy. 

*

When asked why India lived in poverty, Goswāmījī replied: “A country in which women are not honored will not be the abode of Laxmi (it will not prosper). Until now the crime committed against Draupadī (the attempt to publicly disrobe her, 5,000 years earlier) has still not been expiated." (It is often said that this crime saw the beginning of the age of Kali)

*

Kuladānanda Brahmacārī witnessed many miracles when Goswāmījī gave dīkṣā – many devotees were coming to Goswāmījī and they received dīkṣā within 2 to 5 days. Though many devotees got dīkṣā at the same time they all showed different symptoms afterwards – they had different types of realizations and visions. Everyone had other ecstasies and trances. Deceased souls and saints appeared at the same time and offered various known and unknown prayers. Some introduced themselves and prayed for dīkṣā in a plaintive manner, telling him about their distress. Goswāmījī reciprocated by praising some of the deceased souls and rebuking others. Some had no realizations at all after receiving dīkṣā, others experienced bhāvāveśa after receiving mantra and merely doing prāṇāyāma four times, whereas others lost all external awareness for 2 or 3 hours simply when the holy name entered into their earholes. About the redemption of ghosts Goswāmijī said: “Ghosts at the bank of the Yamunā came to me and said “We are suffering like anything, as if 100 scorpions are stinging us! Please save us with dīkṣā!” Goswāmijī replied: “What can I do? I can’t do anything without the order of my Gurudeva!” They said: “Take a bath in Yamunā”, so I did that and the ghosts licked up the drops that fell off my body. I then saw their bodies becoming jyotirmaya and being picked up by divine chariots.”

*

At the time of Mahāprabhu’s final pastimes, when His divine body was quite emaciated, the Badshah of Delhi heard about His glories and sent some expert artists to Puri to make a picture of Him. When they arrived there they saw the Lord engaging in Sankirtan while tears squirted from His eyes as if from syringes. His arms reached down to His knees, His chest was broad and He was very tall, yet you could count His bones, He was so emaciated. The painters made a picture of Him and showed it to the Badshah. Later Delhi was besieged and it fell into the hands of the Maharaja of Bharatpur. One time this Maharaja was staying in Vrindavan and had darshan of Gurudas bābājī in the Kunja of Lālā-bābu. The bābājī spoke about Mahāprabhu’s pastimes to the Mahāraja, who told him: “Sadhu! I have a painting of such a person in my palace!” The bābājī was very eager to see the picture so the Maharaja had it brought to him. When the bābājī saw the painting he fainted in ecstasy and later had an artist paint a copy of it. The picture of Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī is that copy. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī again had a photo made of that copied painting so that the image would not be lost. This photo is still in Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī’s Samādhi.

*

Vol. 1, p.72 - In Vikrampura a boy who went to school at the Jagannath School passed by everyone in the house and sat straight on the right side of Goswāmījī, who visited that household, holding a picture of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in his hand. He rolled at Goswāmījī’s feet again and again, keeping the image of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in front of Goswāmījī, crying again and again ‘Gosāi! Tell me, tell me how can I attain them! Ahā, They are so beautiful! I don’t want anything else! Tell me how I can attain them!” Goswāmījī told him again and again “Be calm, be calm’, but he could not calm the boy down in any way, he became only more agitated. Goswāmījī then chastised him – “Indeed, what slyness is shown here! You don’t want anything else? Think about it – don’t you want to meet a young girl in solitude in Nawab Bagan? Are you cheating?” As soon as the boy heard Goswāmījī’s words his ecstasy at once dried up. He was quiet for a while and then drooped off with a sad face.

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī —One should not publicize any diminution in the intensity of any of the passions. If it is made known to others, the state will not continue but is lost. Wrath is more dangerous than sexual lust. For lust takes into consideration the suitability of the place, the object and one’s physical condition but nothing matters to wrath - it manifests itself violently irrespective of the place and the object. For this reason, wrath has been called Caṇḍāla (an uncultured, vulgar fellow). The sādhaka suffers a fall as soon as anger appears in his mind. Try to subjugate anger completely. You need not brother about greed—that will be set right. You cannot achieve everything all at once. Go on following the prescribed rules of conduct—everything will be set right slowly in due course."

*

Question - There are some female ‘Gurus' who also give initiation. It is said that they have attained Siddhi. Is that true?

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī - "Let them do it. But even if a woman has attained Siddhi or be favoured with a realisation of God, she is not physically competent to be an ācārya'. The body of the Guru is always pure—the disciple is purified by serving and touching his body. The authors of śāstra have affirmed that the body of a woman is impure, owing to some natural causes."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Bijoy Krishna Goswami Sat Guru Sanga (1)

Excerpt from Kuladananda Brahmacari’s Sat Guru Sanga, a biography of Vijay Krishna Goswami

Sometimes Sādhu bābā is proclaimed to be a reincarnation of Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī, but I do not agree. There were many similarities but also many differences between the two famous descendants of Advaita Acarya. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī practiced and preached Homa, Gāyatri Japa, prāṇāyāma nāma (chanting the holy name combined with breath-regulation, which Bābā occasionally preached too) and Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī‘s favorite books were Mahābhārat and Guru Granth Sahib. In this also my Bābā was very different. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī showed no inclination towards rāgānugā bhakti, while Sādhu Bābā practiced and preached this. Sādhu Bābā was less ecumenical too. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī accepted many Gurus and ashrams. Nonetheless Bābā admired Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī and often spoke about him. This is from Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī’s disciple Kuladānanda Brahmacārī’s original Bengali Sat-guru Sanga-books. Though not all stories from the books are equally interesting or agreeable to me, still there are some extraordinary stories which I would like to quote here -

In the first volume of Sat Guru Sanga it is described that once Goswāmījī became terminally ill, and his disciples saw four ancient mahāpuruṣas in subtle bodies standing on each side of his bed – some were shaven up and others had full beards and jaṭās (matted locks), some had śyāma complexions and others had brightly golden complexions. Sometimes they were manifest, sometimes they disappeared. Some of those present saw them as bad omens and became very much afraid while others felt relieved, thinking them to be representatives of a mahātmā. Goswāmījī then lost consciousness and his pulse stopped. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Bābu picked up an Ekatāra and began to sing the glories of the Lord. Suddenly Goswāmījī regained consciousness and jumped up, shouting ‘Haribol! Haribol!’ He then began to jump and run around. The delighted disciples, who were fully surrendered to Guru, then began to praise the Lord, saying ‘Bol Haribol’ and so. The doctors were astonished and acknowledged that their medical scriptures did not reach up to such solutions.

* 

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī’s eccentric disciple Śrīdhar saw some boys playing on the āsan of Swāmiji (Hari-mohan Chauduri, a sannyāsa-disciple of Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī’s). They complained to him “We were having so much fun at Girirāj! Now nobody gives us bath and food! Someone put us back!” The boys were incarnations of the Govardhan shilas Swāmiji had secretly taken from mount Govardhan. When Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī heard this he ordered Swāmiji to bring the 12 shilās back.

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī – “You should not easily believe someone or have faith in someone, and once you have faith in someone you should not so quickly give up such faith. Look at Rāmakrishna Paramahamsa - he was illiterate but great jñānis came and took shelter of him.”

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī condemned some bābājīs’ practise of living with women, after a young brahmin widow came to him complaining that bābājīs harrassed her and told her to 'take bhek (bābājī-sannyāsa) and become their concubine, otherwise it is no use living in Vrindāvan'. Bhekh was considered the gateway to illicit behavior. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī told her “Wicked persons are trying to destroy you. No śāstra says you cannot do yugal upāsana without cohabiting with a man illicitly”.

*

Bhagavān protects chaste women:
1. A young woman was on pilgrimage and was assaulted at night by a powerful sannyāsī. As he threw her on the ground she cried out for Mā Jagadambā and a tiger came and killed the 'sādhu'. The villagers saw the dead body in the morning and said there were never tigers in the village. Jagadambā had protected her (the tiger is the vehicle of Durgā-devī).
2. A woman was on pilgrimage with her husband who was addicted to opium. At one point he ran out of opium and was about to die of withdrawal symptoms. He asked his wife to go look for opium. She found a big crazy addict who had the stuff but he would only give it if she had sex with him. She did not want to do it but her husband was about to die so finally she fell at the man's feet and told him he could do with her whatever he wanted. Her chastity was so strong that the man had a change of heart and fell at the Satī's feet begging her forgiveness, giving her the opium while himself giving up all drugs. When the wife returned to her husband he threw the opium away and repented 'Alas, my wife is so chaste! I will give up drugs now!”

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī says – “Just as a heap of garbage is burned gradually by making a fire under it, all karma is gradually burned by doing Guru bhakti. Guru-śakti does its works.”

*

 “No two things are the same in God's kingdom. If everything was the same there's no beauty in creation. A garden is beautiful if there's a variety of flowers, not if all flowers are same. If mankind can see this, all contradictions will flee and as long as they don’t there is trouble.”

*

Q - Should one take revenge against atrocities?

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī - Rām Rām! Never! One should tolerate and forgive everything, and leave it to God. He will punish the miscreants for sure. One of Rāmakrsna Paramahamsa’s disciples had done Nirjalā Ekādaśī on the Ākāśa Gangā-mountain in Gayā, and on Dvādaśī he was very hungry. He needed just some water and a bātās (small hollow sweet) to break the fast so he begged it from a shop. Because he repeated his plea a few times the son of the shopkeeper got angry and beat him up with a stick. He was so weak from fasting that he fell on the street helpless. He went to tell his Guru. When they came back to the shop they found that the boy had been bitten by a snake for assaulting an innocent sādhu. Rāmakrsna Paramahamsa took him down the mountain to show him that the culprit had already been punished by Ramji.

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī on sāra grahana, taking the essence like a swan –
“There was a sādhu who started living with a woman and was thus thrown out of the samāj (society of sādhus), but Gaurakiśora Śiromani (a leading Vaiṣṇava at the time, not to be confused with Gaurakiśora dās Bābājī) invited him for a feast and seated him in a line with the sādhu sannyāsīs. The sādhus protested 'He is a great sinner, we will not sit with him!' Gaurakiśora Śiromani said 'This saint came here to offer his blessings to us all. He is far greater than me'. He then proceeded by telling all the sādhus of the sins he had committed before he became a devotee. The sādhus blocked their ears and said: “Prabhu, stop stop!” And accepted the fallen Bābā in their midst in the line.”

*

 Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī said that during Kumbha-mela amidst one lakh sādhus only 3 were realized.

Kuladānanda said – “I experience the senses get wilder the more I try to control them.”

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī – “Yes, just before his final defeat the enemy gets more ferocious than ever before. This is a hard stage in which your faith is attacked and you must take full shelter of nāma gotten from Guru.”

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī gave brāhmacarya-vows per year to his disciples, extendable after one year. Each śiṣya took a vow of 1 year brāhmacarya at a time. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī gave many tips for celibacy - 

Don't eat sweets or too much dairy, too salty or spicy food or condensed milk.

Do prāṇāyāma.

Don’t wear others’ clothes.

Don’t lend your clothes to others.

Don’t sleep in others' beds.

Goswāmījī considered celibacy to be crucial for sādhana and said that svapna doṣa (nocturnal emission) can be avoided by sitting on an āsana for 2 hours straight doing harināma japa. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī taught – “As long as there is a mind, there will be man-woman attraction. Even great souls fall down, and it may take a long time before this happens. Desires can manifest even shortly before death. Nothing is certain, right until the moment of death.”

*

Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī’s dāughter Śānti Sudhā had a son named Dāuji. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī loved his grandson, putting flowers on his head and bowing down to him, saying jay dāuji! jay baladev mahārāj! Dāuji could not speak yet, but when he heard the mrdanga and karatalas of kīrtan he became stunned. Only by chanting hare kṛṣṇa in his ears would he regain consciousness. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī said Dāuji remembers his last life and all 84 āsanas he practised then. Dāuji was a reincarnation of a Dāuji deity Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī had installed in Vrindavan in Dāmodar Pujārī's kuñja. Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī understood that because the child did not resemble his father or mother at all. He said he would lose his jāti smara (remembrance of past life) as soon as he learned speaking. In his last life Dāuji was a renunciant who criticized his Guru and chastised him for being too friendly with a woman. Though he was a siddha puruṣa, for this aparādha he had to take another birth, his Guru thought that better for him.

*

The mystical crow named Bhusundi was sceptical if Rāma was param brahman. Rāma dropped some food for him on the ground and Bhusundi flew from his hand to the ground to pick it up. Rāma stretched His hand out and Bhusundi got scared so he flew away but Rāma's hand pursued him throughout the cosmos. He could not escape anywhere so he flew back to King Daśarath's yard and into Rāma's mouth where he saw all the universes floating, and hundreds of Rāmas performing Their pastimes in each universe. He flew back out but still his doubt was not fully gone. Rāma then showed him he was advaya brahma (the non-dual Absolute Truth) and saguna bhagaval-līlā tattva (the Personality of Godhead performing so many pastimes).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Varsānā-śīlā, bhāva-bhakti, Bhakti-devī.

Vaiṣṇava nr.1 – Can you give a proper translation of this text from Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s Paramātma Sandarbha (47)? Some say it proves the fallen souls left Kṛṣṇa because they turned against him:

tad evam anantā eva jīvākhyās taṭasthāḥ śaktayaḥ. tatra tāsāṁ varga-dvayam. eko vargo’nādita eva bhagavad-unmukhaḥ, anyas tv anādita eva bhagavat-parāṅmukhaḥ, svabhāvatas tadīya-jñāna-bhāvāt, tadīya-jñānābhāvāc ca. 

Advaitadās – The text means: "Thus the Lord's intermediary energies, who are called the individual spirit souls, are limitless in number. Still, they may be divided into two groups: 1. the souls who, from beginningless time, are favorable to the Supreme Lord, and 2. the souls who, from beginningless time, are disinclined towards the Supreme Lord. Naturally one group knows the Lord and the other does not."

That last sentence is important, inclination or disinclination is natural. Not that we became envious of Kṛṣṇa once. svabhāvataḥ, or ‘natural’ means there is no free will.

Vaiṣṇava nr.2 – Both initial bhakti (bhakti latā bīja) and bhāva bhakti come from outside the conditioned soul. Bhagavān or a bhakta gives the seed, and nitya siddha pariṣads or even Śrī Kṛṣṇa or Śrī Rādhārānī give śuddha bhakti or bhāva bhakti. Is this statement true or false?

Advaitadās – You are making 2 points here. The first point is true, 2nd is unconfirmed.

Vaiṣṇava nr.2 – What is the difference between the bhakti one first receives as seed, and the bhāva bhakti which “descends into the heart” from the Lord’s nitya parikaras? The statements below seem to say bhāva-bhakti descends into sādhakas’ heart from the nitya siddhas and then “upgrades the quality” of his bhakti so it becomes pure bhakti, bhāva bhakti. Please explain the difference between bhakti given by Guru, which presumably is a mixture of samvit and hlādinī, and the bhakti manifesting as bhāva bhakti? Quote: Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.3.1 Śrī Jīva Gosvāmīpāda’s ṭīkā on phrase (prema sūryāṁśu sāmya bhāk): “Though this bhāva is seen in the eternal associates of the Lord, the mental conditions of the devotees within this world become similar, by the mercy of the Lord and His devotees. By this mercy alone it shall appear.” 

Advaitadās – tad evaṁ nitya-tat-priya-janānāṁ bhāve lakṣite prapañca-gata-bhaktānām api citta-vṛttiḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-tad-bhakta-kṛpayā tādṛśī bhavatīti - This is the original text – it shows it is mercy all the way – from non-bhakti to sādhana bhakti, from sādhana bhakti to bhāva bhakti etc., it is all śrī-kṛṣṇa-tad-bhakta-kṛpayā, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees.

Vaiṣṇava nr.2 – Very intriguing yet unclear point in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.3.16’s ṭīkā of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmīpāda: “The verse starting smeraṁ bhangi in the second part (BRS 1.2.239) illustrates mercy by seeing the Lord. Mercy given by Vṛndāvana and other items are included in the “mercy given by devotees.” What does it mean, “Mercy given by Vṛndāvana”?

Advaitadās – The ṭīkā says: evaṁ vṛndāvanādikam api bhakteṣv antar-bhāvyam – Vṛndāvana Mahimāmṛta and Rādhā-rasa sudhānidhi (yat tan nāma sphurati mahimā hyeṣa vṛndāvanasya, 261) say the same thing. Most striking is Vilapa-kusumanjali 15 – 

yadā tava sarovaraṁ sarasa bhṛṅga saṅghollasat
saroruha kulojjvalaṁ madhura vāri sampūritam
sphuṭat sarasijākṣi he nayana-yugma sākṣād vabhau
tadaiva mama lālasājani tavaiva dāsye rase

  “O blooming lotus-eyed girl (Rādhe)! When my eyes directly saw Your pond (Rādhākuṇḍa), which is filled with sweet water and lotus flowers surrounded by blissfully humming bees, then I really got the desire to taste the nectar of Your service!”

Vaiṣṇava nr.2 – Could we say that śilā-pūjā is alright on principle of the tadīya vastu of Bhagavān being worshipable? Just like we’ve heard that Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s nāma, dhāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlā are all equally worshipable. 

Advaitadās – That is not the same thing. The Govardhan-śīlā is repeatedly said to be Kṛṣṇa himself, and its worship is described in Caitanya-caritāmṛta too.

Vaiṣṇava nr.2 – Thus a rock from Varsānā is tadīya, connected with Śrī Rādhā and therefore can be seen and worshiped as Rādhārānī. Is this true or false?

Advaitadās - There is no śāstrik evidence for that, and no Gauḍīya ācārya did such worship. Rādhārānī appears as the guñjā mālā, this is in śāstra (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 6). Varsānā is not mentioned in the Goswāmīs’ books, except for a single hint in Vilāpa-kusumānjali’s verse 88.

Vaiṣṇava nr.3 – The Madhvaites say that Bhakti devi does not exist?

Advaitadās - She doesn’t seem to be a real person but a metaphorical person – she is mentioned in the Padma Purāṇa, Uttara khaṇḍa, in the Śrīmad Bhāgavat Māhātmya. She has no bīja, no mantra, and is thus not a mantra devatā. She has no consort, like Pārvati having Śiva, Lakṣmī having Nārāyaṇa, Sītā having Rāma etc. But she is also not presented or worshiped in our Sampradāya as an iṣṭa devatā, so it is not really a problem.