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Discussions on other Vaishnava-sampradayas and Gaudiyas other than the Rupanuga-tradition should go here. This includes for example Madhva, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Gaura-nagari, Radha-vallabhi and the such.

Discussion with Keshav-ji [Guru, Sampradaaya, Surrender] - Split from "Madhva and Eternal Hell"



Kishalaya - Wed, 18 Aug 2004 23:55:45 +0530
Reply to Keshav-ji's post

Thank you for your reply. You certainly seem to understand some of my concerns.

QUOTE (Keshava @ Aug 18 2004, 04:30 AM)

And one thing that you have to admire about the Madhvas is that there sampradaya is very united on even the smallest philosophical points unlike other sampradayas out there.


I see a design of God here. The mAyAvAdIs had devised such wild theories to support their stand, there was a dire need for an "equal and opposing force". As I see it, these Maadhvas have been invested by Krishna Himself with His own power to debate endlessly. Its a God given gift. They are born to think like that. It is not without reason that they are called "pracchanna tarkika" i.e. disguised logicians (as a pejorative like pracchnna bauddha - disguised buddhists for the mAyAvAdIs)

QUOTE

I can see the point. It saves you from reinventing the wheel, but at the same time there is a tendency to just accept the party line and not think critically about certain issues. I take the view for myself that I look for the sampradaya that I feel is closest to my convictions however that doesn't mean that I swallow their dogmas without critical examination of each and every one.


That is fine but our views are not just for leading this life peacefully but about reaching God. If that very aspiration cannot be fulfilled, then what is the use of aligning oneself of this sampradaaya or that one. Frankly I am not much interested if there are really three kinds of jivas or not or this or that, myth, history, or reality or evolution etc. I just want to reach God *somehow*. But I want to reach *my* God, not just any God. This is where the sampradaayas start exerting themselves to a very uncomfortable level.

BTW, my having been trained in a non-speculative discipline, renders me somewhat incapable of understanding fields of study relying heavily on circumstantial evidence. That is why I do not really care what Krishna would have been like five thousand years ago, (thinking, thinking, thinking) when people are finding it difficult to collect records of events even five hundred years ago. Some people say, there's no evidence, so there's no reason to believe. However, I prefer to grant myself enough liberty to give the itihaasas and puraanas a literal reading especially where it fits my hunch. Unless, of course, I encounter things like this quote from Vishnu Yaamala. So as far as the 30 trillion guards are concerned, I prefer to have faith in it because, in my opinion, there is not enough circumstantial evidence to convict the undertrail. (Ya, I need a good proof) And also, I prefer to stick to it because the very fact that Krishna can pull off such a trick is very meaningful to me.

QUOTE

These slokas have always bothered me since they clearly speak of a type of eternal damnation.


Me too, however, now they don't. I realized Krishna speaks according to time and place. Just my opinion. I can understand people generally need interpretation from great devotees to get some reassurance, so the sampradaayas are born.

QUOTE

Just because there is no beginning to karma does not mean there cannot be an end to it. But must there necessarily be an end to it? That is the question.


Why are some in beginningless misery and some in beginningless bliss? And if it was not done by Him, why does He not take corrective action immediately? People have had their faith broken just on the origin of the jiva issue.

QUOTE

In the Sri Vaisnava context though diksha is synonymous with prapatti or sarangati which seems to be the most important step towards moksha.


Is taking diikshaa, just a matter of hearing the mantra in the right ear, and then saying "Bye bye Guruji, see you in Goloka!" If the thinking is so very divergent, then how will the relationship survive. Look at how the Gaudiyas think that even a "formal" connection is better than none. Well if somebody is just wanting some spiritual experience, that may be it is Ok. But if somebody is focused like a laser, then such "formal" connections spell disaster. In such cases, a person is simply not willing to give up his God. It has to be the right Guru, or no Guru at all. There can be no compromise on the God. I have met persons who could be my Gurus, but they are themselves not affiliated to any sampradaaya. I have a friend who seems like sent by Krishna to be my Guru, but who has no diikshaa. and thinks exactly like me.

QUOTE

Without moksha who can say that one won't eventually take birth in a lower species sometime in eternity.


This doesn't work after sometime. We are here for God, not for being saved from being born in animal species. If I don't get *my* God, whether I am born as a human or an animal is meaningless to me.

QUOTE

The one major stumbling block most systems put in the way of the practitioner is antima smrti or deathbed remembrance which clearly in the Gita is required. This means that they often require lots and lots of sadhanas all culminating in antima smrti. Ramanuja has side stepped this issue by incorporating that answer to this question that he asked Lord Varadaraja in Kanchipuram. The Lord there assured him that antima smrti was NOT a requirement for His devotees/refugees to attain moksha.


http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/jul98/0166.html

I think this is from varaaha puraana:

sthithE manasi susvasthE sarIrE sathi yO nara:
dhAthusAmyE sthithE smarthA visvarUpam cha maamajam (1)

tathastham mriyamANam thu kAshtA paashaNa sannibham
aham smarAmi madh bhaktham nayAmi paramAm gathim (2)

(Meaning ): Oh Bhumi Devi ! The entire universe is my body (sarIram ). I do not have births or deaths. When my bhakthAs with mahA visvAsam surrender to me, while they are still in a state of tranquil mind and healthy body and reflect about Me as SarvAdharan ( root cause of all ), NiyanthA ( one who commands from within ) sarva sEshi ( the ultimate ), aasrayaNeeyan ( one who is fit to be worshipped ), Sarva VyApthan (all-pervasive ) and Nithya sannihithan ( One who is always near ), THEN I think of them at their last moments, when they are totally unconscious like a log or a stone and lead them by archirAdhi maargam to My parama padham and bless them to have nithya kaimkarya bhAgyam to Me there.


Anyway, many people have a very negative attitude towards the book distributors and the money collectors of ISKCON accusing them of excesses. But I have done it so I know how painful and mentally harrowing these are. To go on tolerating insults from strangers in the middle of the road and wherever you go. If after a lifetime of service to Krishna and Guru, if one opines that they have done all this in vain, then I think Krishna is being ungrateful. Even today, I see this former Chartered Accountant, sitting in a corner in the temple and roaming the whole day trying to collect money for Krishna. I don't suppose he has anything for himself personally. Perhaps he is thinking money all day long after his morning prayers. But I suppose he is doing something for Krishna. The BIG temple was built with that money only, if it can give peace and solace to me, I suppose it surely does to the millions others who visit it. So if he has not meditated the whole day long on Krishna, and may be due to lack of such practice, he is not able to think about Him in his deathbed, should Krishna just say, "Oh well! he did not remember me, so why should he come to me!" Frankly, if this is the way God is, then I don't want Him. But fortunately it seems that Krishna takes care even if the devotee is incapacitated.

QUOTE

I don't think that there is anything wrong with one acceptng one's position and begging or praying for the Lord's mercy.


And this is my major grouse with the sampradaayas. I don't surrender just for nothing. I want *my* God. If you can give me *my* God, I'll surrender to you.

QUOTE

However in the Gaudiya and Sri sampradayas this appeal is made not only through the acarya but also through the Lord's consort.


Those two are completely different kinds of mediation. A friend of mine has sent me a poem by Sri Vedaanta Desika which would perhaps be "blasphemy" in Gaudiya sampradaaya.

QUOTE

This important role for the Lord's consort seems to be somewhat lacking in the Madhva sampradaya.


Mukhya Praana (Madhva himself) is the mediator there.

QUOTE

Certainly I agree with you that my God also has the qualities enough to be approachable directly.


God looks more beautiful with devotees surrounding Him, and that way He is more worshippable and more approachable, and the worship of his devotees is as blissful as His worship. But this is so very different than the Gaudiya concept.

QUOTE

I was surprised by it because Madhva's in general accept the Gopikas as Apsara Strii (heavenly ladies).


One reason is that Maadhvas do not agree that once somebody is liberated, one can come back to the material world - anaavrttih sahbdaat anaavrttih sahbdaat.
Keshava - Thu, 19 Aug 2004 09:01:52 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 18 2004, 08:25 AM)
Is taking diikshaa, just a matter of hearing the mantra in the right ear


No, I believe that the part which is most important is the saranagati or prapatti or surrender of the individual. This amongst the five parts of panca samskara is called yaga or sacrifice.

tapa pundra tato nama mantro yagas ca pancamah

Of these five tapa or branding with the symbols of Visnu is only done by the Madhvas and Sri Vaisnavas these days. (And Madhvas do it on Sayana Dvadasi not at diksha because they don't really have a diksha.), nama or being given a Vaisnava name happens also at birth within Vaisnava families and at diksha for others but surely these along with the third pundra or tilaka are all purificatory prerequisites to receiving the mantra number four. And yet it seems to me that all this and even the mantra giving itself is to no avail without yaga or actual surrender. And if surrender is there without the rest surely the Lord in His mercy will carry what is lacking. The attitude of surrender would already be there assumably and is not just manifest at the time of the ritual.

QUOTE
If I don't get *my* God, whether I am born as a human or an animal is meaningless to me.


Unfortunately "my way or the highway" attitude does not work here. Now you may say that you think it meaninless but in an animal body you will not be even able to recognize whether it is meaningless or not.

QUOTE
And this is my major grouse with the sampradaayas. I don't surrender just for nothing. I want *my* God. If you can give me *my* God, I'll surrender to you.


This attitude doesn't sound real surrendered to me! Contrast this with the last sloka of Siksastakam.

QUOTE
Those two are completely different kinds of mediation. A friend of mine has sent me a poem by Sri Vedaanta Desika which would perhaps be "blasphemy" in Gaudiya sampradaaya.


Please do post some Gaudiya blasphemy by Vedanta Desika. Or at least tell me which of his works you are referring to.

QUOTE
Mukhya Praana (Madhva himself) is the mediator there.


Right and in all the sampradayas the guru plays the role of mediator, but my point was that beyond that there is no Consort of the type (Visnu/Shakti tattva) like the Vadakalais or Gaudiyas percieve. Madhva is considered Jivottama as is Laksmi by the Tengalais. In this sense those two sects are similar and in the first sense the other two are similar.

QUOTE
God looks more beautiful with devotees surrounding Him, and that way He is more worshippable and more approachable, and the worship of his devotees is as blissful as His worship. But this is so very different than the Gaudiya concept.


Perhaps you could elaborate some more on this point and clarify exactly your differences with the Gaudiyas.

QUOTE
One reason is that Maadhvas do not agree that once somebody is liberated, one can come back to the material world - anaavrttih sahbdaat anaavrttih sahbdaat.


Yes, I agree with this point. However how does this change anything? Mukhyaprana (Vayu, Hanuman, Bhima, Madhva) also is liberated and yet he comes here to preach. Why should the Gopikas not be able to come?
Kishalaya - Thu, 19 Aug 2004 11:45:41 +0530
QUOTE (Keshava @ Aug 19 2004, 09:01 AM)
And yet it seems to me that all this and even the mantra giving itself is to no avail without yaga or actual surrender. And if surrender is there without the rest surely the Lord in His mercy will carry what is lacking. The attitude of surrender would already be there assumably and is not just manifest at the time of the ritual.

Unfortunately "my way or the highway" attitude does not work here. Now you may say that you think it meaninless but in an animal body you will not be even able to recognize whether it is meaningless or not.

This attitude doesn't sound real surrendered to me! Contrast this with the last sloka of Siksastakam.

Frankly Keshav-ji what you are suggesting is that unless one gets an "A" in surrender, there's no hope. Actually I would declare that I don't have that capacity for surrender. I would, at the very minimum, need the freedom to conceive about God as I do and, in a similar vein, offer like worship. But even if that is supposed to be "surrendered", if that is needed even to move towards God, then I should rethink my decision about whether this whole God business is worth it or not.

One finds it difficult to surrender to persons like spouse, parents etc. and here we are talking about a stranger who is supposed to lead us to some sort of transcendence. If even the tastes are not agreeable then how will it stay even one day.

I am sorry Keshav-ji, such a "surrender" comes from the heart. Injunctions can barely move somebody. If God being situated in my heart cannot gauge my anxiety, but insists on "selfless surrender", a near impossible task, then should I really be anxious about reaching such a God? The baddha jivas who are already loaded with tons of misery being in this material world, is it proper to load them with one more worry?

I don't know why you do not trust me when I say, that the fear of being turned into an animal has no bearing on my attitude. I would rather read rense.com.

QUOTE

Please do post some Gaudiya blasphemy by Vedanta Desika. Or at least tell me which of his works you are referring to.


I think you took the literal wink.gif meaning of "blasphemy" to your heart. I apologize. I had therefore put it in double quotes. All I was saying is that the Gaudiyas may feel uncomfortable. I can PM the poem to you.

QUOTE

Right and in all the sampradayas the guru plays the role of mediator, but my point was that beyond that there is no Consort of the type (Visnu/Shakti tattva) like the Vadakalais or Gaudiyas percieve. Madhva is considered Jivottama as is Laksmi by the Tengalais. In this sense those two sects are similar and in the first sense the other two are similar.


Acyually Mukhya Praana is supposed to be the second in command and therefore, as I understand, his approval/disapporval matters. This is similar to (but not same as) the role the consort may play in Sri Vaishnavism.

However, I still say, the conception of the consort in Sri Vaishnavism and Gaudiya Vaishnavism are different - not in the ontological sense (the sense which matters to me the least), but in the relationship between God, His consort and devotee.

QUOTE

Perhaps you could elaborate some more on this point and clarify exactly your differences with the Gaudiyas.


That is a matter of a private message, that is, if you like to know.

QUOTE

Why should the Gopikas not be able to come?


I sincerely don't know. But this is what they declare. So the gopis, Nanda Maharaj, Yasoda etc. are all baddha jivas. And I even don't know if they consider the jiva - Mukhya Praana as liberated so as to come back.
Madhava - Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:01:11 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 19 2004, 08:15 AM)
QUOTE
Please do post some Gaudiya blasphemy by Vedanta Desika. Or at least tell me which of his works you are referring to.

I think you took the literal wink.gif meaning of "blasphemy" to your heart. I apologize. I had therefore put it in double quotes. All I was saying is that the Gaudiyas may feel uncomfortable. I can PM the poem to you.

This forum is entitled ECLECTIC / LIBERAL / ACADEMIC / CONTROVERSIAL, subtitled: Eclectic, liberal, academic, controversial. Encounters with the modern world. May contain discussion on views that a practitioner may find objectionable.

Therefore, feel free to, as long as it's nothing totally outrageous. The more sensitive among us should anyway be keeping out of the entire section, that's why the disclaimer is there in place.
Kalkidas - Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:11:27 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 19 2004, 06:15 AM)
QUOTE

Why should the Gopikas not be able to come?


I sincerely don't know. But this is what they declare. So the gopis, Nanda Maharaj, Yasoda etc. are all baddha jivas. And I even don't know if they consider the jiva - Mukhya Praana as liberated so as to come back.

The next logical step is to say, that God Himself never would be able to descend to earth... Don't you think, that their approach is sometimes extremely mechanistic (i.e. without any dialectics)?
Madhava - Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:29:37 +0530
It looks like Baladeva missed out on a couple of those differences of opinion he once listed...
Kishalaya - Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:56:27 +0530
QUOTE (Kalkidas @ Aug 19 2004, 03:11 PM)
The next logical step is to say, that God Himself never would be able to descend to earth... Don't you think, that their approach is sometimes extremely mechanistic (i.e. without any dialectics)?

Well, when it comes to proving one's position, all schools engage in such nitpicking, more or less. But you will find it hard to take a shot at their logic (if you understand it in the first place. laugh.gif ).
Keshava - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 00:50:43 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 18 2004, 11:59 PM)
It looks like Baladeva missed out on a couple of those differences of opinion he once listed...

The thing is, did Baladeva actually want to adopt the philosophy of Madhva or just utilize his sampradaya for legitimizing the Gaudiya line? To me, it was the latter. Sure any obvious similarities could be spoken about and a few slight differences also (nothing too radically different though, otherwise the opposition would reject the link idea).

Even today my experience is that people from these different sampradayas have little to no real understanding of the other groups positions. I have a book by a Sri Vaisnava that totally misrepresents the Madhva position and it is worse when you ask North Indians about what goes on in the South and vice a versa. Just imagine what it was like in those days without mass communication and rapid travel.
Keshava - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 01:16:08 +0530
QUOTE
Frankly Keshav-ji what you are suggesting is that unless one gets an "A" in surrender, there's no hope.


Actually I'm not suggesting that. There are certainly different degrees of surrender and in Sri Vaisnavism this is recognized. Basically it just comes down to the desire to surrender. One may be and in fact actually is completely unqualified and unable to completely surrender in a totally selfless manner. It all comes down to a simple mental attitude which needs to be adopted at least once (if it can be perpetual so much the better, but like you say this seems utopian). If and when one feels that one has no other resort but to (at least mentally) take refuge of the Lord, then this is what the Lord is looking, for like an excuse to shower His mercy upon one. In fact though it is not this act of surrender that ensures one liberation. It is the Lord Himself, He is the only means or upaya. So only His causeless mercy is the way. All I am suggesting is that one needs to be receptive and open to receiving that mercy. The sun shines on everyone, but if you stand in the shade, you won't get a tan.

QUOTE
All I was saying is that the Gaudiyas may feel uncomfortable. I can PM the poem to you.


I enjoyed the pm poem immensely. I do not see why the members here would not love it. Desika is appreciating the body of the Lord in the mood of a nayaki (female). This seems very appropriate for this forum to me.

QUOTE
However, I still say, the conception of the consort in Sri Vaishnavism and Gaudiya Vaishnavism are different - not in the ontological sense (the sense which matters to me the least), but in the relationship between God, His consort and devotee.


OK, I can see your point here.
Madhava - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 01:23:23 +0530
Nayaki or nAyikA? I don't think the first one is a proper spelling. Yes, I would be interested to read that poem, too.
Keshava - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 01:26:32 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 19 2004, 09:53 AM)
Nayaki or nAyikA? I don't think the first one is a proper spelling. Yes, I would be interested to read that poem, too.

Well I don't see any reason not to so here it is.

http://swamydesika.tripod.com/ESD/esd62.html

SrI:
Shrimate Shri Lakshmi Nrusimha Parabrahmane Namaha:
Shrimate Shri Seetha Ramachandra Parabrahmane Namaha:
Shrimate Shri Ramanujaya Namaha:
Shrimate Nigamantha Maha Desikaya Namaha:
Shrimate Shrivan Satagopa Shri Narayana Yateendra Mahadesikaya Namaha:

"SrimAn VenaktanAthArya: kavithArkika kEsarI!
VedAnthAchArya varyO mE sannidhatthAM sadhA hrudhi"!

This is an extension of yesterday's posting where we
saw Swami's poetic and Summarising skills. We can see
the same skills being exhibited in the tenth Sloka of
Bhagavat-DhyAna-sOpAnam, also.

In the dasAvatAra Sloka that we saw yesterday, there
was an adjective used for each of the avatars indicating
the characteristics of the respective avatAra. Here,
the several angas of our Lord are enjoyed in individual
Slokas and are finally summarised with a verb each.
Swami uses such verb[s] in connection with each anga
to draw our attention to the corresponding enjoyment.

"pAdAmbhOjam sprushati bhajatE ranganAthasya janghAm
voorudwandvE vilagati shanairurdvamabhyEti nAbhim !
vakshasyAstE valati bhujayOrmAmikEyam manIshA
vaktrAbhikhyAm pibati vahatE vAsanAm maulibandE !"

-- Bhagavat-DhyAna-sOpAnam

Swami Desika completely enjoyed Lord RanganAtha and
reached the peak of his anubavam. Swami has shared
this great experience with us so that by learning
from his anubavam we will experience atleast a
small percentage of it.

This stage in Bhagavat-Dhayana-Sopanam can be
equated to tirupAnALvar's AmalanAdibirAn:

'neelamEni AiyyO! niraikoNdadu yen nenjinaiyE'.

Swami Desika takes the role of a 'nAyaki' here.
It is absorbing to see the nAyakI's reaction
to each of the angas which is described using just
one appropriate word.

Here, the nAyaki (Swami Desika) enjoys the Lord
from the Thiruvadi to the Thirumudi - pAdAdi KEsam!

Initially our Lord's Thiruvadi attracts her. So, she
touches it. Swami has used the word 'sprushati'
suggesting love and reverence. Now, our 'nAyaki'
also caress and fondles the feet of our Lord, like
SrI devi and Bhoo devi.

The nAyaki's mind then remembers the greatness of the
shanks viz. liberation from births and rebirths and
so, gratefully worships the Shanks. Swami has used the
word 'bhajatE', which can mean both attain and worship.

Now our 'nAyaki's focus comes to the thighs. Her eyes
get rooted to it. The thighs of our Lord bear the marks
of the sambhogam of SrI devi, Bhoo devi and Neela Devi.
Our nAyaki is not able to move her mind from it.

The mind of our nAyaki was now like that of a drunken
bee. It could not move its attention from the Lords thighs,
but somehow freed itself and slowly moved upwards. Here,
in the midst of our divine anubavam, our Swami's poetic
genius also needs a mention. Swami uses words like
'shanairurdvamapyEti'. The mind of the nAyaki moved
Slowly and almost reluctantly upwards and reached
the navel!

Now, it is the turn of the navel to give a treat to the
mind. After this, the nAyaki reaches the chest next and
takes a firm seat there - 'AstE'!

In the chest of the Lord, our nAyaki sees another lady
being seated - alar mEl mangai who welcomes this new
nAyaki with both hands as if she were part of her-self.
Our nAyaki enjoys the warmth of Lakshmi's grace. She
forgets herself for a long time being immersed in the
peace, comfort and beauty of that region.

Accidentally she happens to have a glance on the arms.
She was so excited by this that she actively went round
the arms. From shoulder to elbow, and then elbow to wrist
and thence to the soft palms, and again upwards, and
again from one arm to another her mind roamed as in a
merry-go-round.

Face was her next attraction. Like a bee attracted by a
blossoming lotus, the mind (manIsha) feels drawn to the
vadanAravindam and sucks the honey available there in
plenty. It drinks the 'mukakANti'.

Finally, the nAyaki's mind looses itself completely in the
fragrance of the krEdam (crown). Our Lord is 'nAtratuyAi
mudi nArAyaNAN'. Having got so intimate with the Lord, the
nAyaki herself acquires this fragrance and enjoys it.

We saw this in our posting on NammALvar - Alvar
contemplates on Perumal and gets intimate with the Lord.
So, the fragrance of Alvars Bakula flowers spread to the
Lord, and our Alvar smells of Lords Thiru Thulai fragrance!
Now, Swami Desika's mind as a nAyaki bears the vAsanai
of His krEdam.

Adiyal read and enjoyed these anubhavams of our Swami
in the book written by Shri D Ramaswamy Ayyangar.

"Kavi Taarkika Simhaaya Kalyaana guna SaalinE!
SrimatE VenkateshAya VedAnta Gurave nama !"

...To be continued!

dEsikan tiruvaDigaLE SaraNam

Praveena nAmni Ramanuja das
Kishalaya - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 01:31:26 +0530
QUOTE (Keshava @ Aug 20 2004, 12:50 AM)
Even today my experience is that people from these different sampradayas have little to no real understanding of the other groups positions. I have a book by a Sri Vaisnava that totally misrepresents the Madhva position and it is worse when you ask North Indians about what goes on in the South and vice a versa. Just imagine what it was like in those days without mass communication and rapid travel.

There is a tendency to declare onself as the "greatest and the best" and relegating all others to the bottom in one's theology. Like I heard Baladeva did not want to convert the Ramanandis after defeating them in Galta because they were suppsoed to be affiliated to Sri Sampradaya - a great daasya rasa sampradaaya. I tell you, the non-samparadaaya saadhus say Gaudiya sampradaaya is a daasya rasa sampradaaya.
Kishalaya - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 01:42:26 +0530
QUOTE (Keshava @ Aug 20 2004, 01:16 AM)
Actually I'm not suggesting that. There are certainly different degrees of surrender and in Sri Vaisnavism this is recognized. Basically it just comes down to the desire to surrender. One may be and in fact actually is completely unqualified and unable to completely surrender in a totally selfless manner. It all comes down to a simple mental attitude which needs to be adopted at least once (if it can be perpetual so much the better, but like you say this seems utopian). If and when one feels that one has no other resort but to (at least mentally) take refuge of the Lord, then this is what the Lord is looking, for like an excuse to shower His mercy upon one. In fact though it is not this act of surrender that ensures one liberation. It is the Lord Himself, He is the only means or upaya. So only His causeless mercy is the way. All I am suggesting is that one needs to be receptive and open to receiving that mercy. The sun shines on everyone, but if you stand in the shade, you won't get a tan.


Thank you for your reply Keshav ji,

However, I have some questions. Where is diikshaa and Guru here? What is the attitude of the Guru towards a disciple's spiritual aspirations? What if the disciple is devoted to a non recognized avataar of Vishnu? Granted that your answer will be heavily influenced by your study of Sri Vaishnavism, but let's have that perspective as well.
Keshava - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 13:50:45 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 19 2004, 10:12 AM)
However, I have some questions. Where is diikshaa and Guru here? What is the attitude of the Guru towards a disciple's spiritual aspirations? What if the disciple is devoted to a non recognized avataar of Vishnu? Granted that your answer will be heavily influenced by your study of Sri Vaishnavism, but let's have that perspective as well.

Diksa and Guru are there (in practically every case, with some important exceptions like Nam Alvar). I don't really understand your question. The Guru's attitude is that he appeals to the Lord on behalf of the prapanna (refugee). In most cases of prapatti this sets the stage for the Lord to bestow His mercy on the prapanna. There is also another form of prapatti called acarya bhakti or acarya prapatti where the prapanna is totally unable or unqualified to do regular prapatti to the Lord. This form of prapatti is where the prapanna simply resorts to the Guru and feels totally unable to approach the Lord even with the help of the acarya. Desika compares this to a flee on the back of a lion. The lion jumps from one place to another and since the flea is on his back he is taken along with him. (Analogy from Rahasya Traya Sara).

As for being attached to a non recognized avatar of Visnu? I can only guess you mean Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If so I know quite a few Sri Vaisnavas who adore him. Some may even accept him as an avatar. Of course one can be an (saktyavesa) avatar and still be a jiva and great saint. You may not find many Sri Vaisnavas who accept Caitanya as a svamsa (purna) avatar of Visnu. But does this really matter? In Sri Sampradaya the worship of a bhagavata (devotee) is exalted even over that of the Lord as it sometimes is in Gaudiya Sampradaya (aradhananam sarvesam etc).

In Sri Sampradaya you are free to worship the form or forms of the Lord that you choose. Some people are ekanta Vaisnavas who prefer one form to all others (you sound like you have some pretty exacting qualities that you want to see in Your Lord), and some others are sadharana Vaisnavas who will worship all the Lord's forms equally. (If you are not talking about Caitanya Mahaprabhu then please let me know who you are talking about.)

Anyway the teachings of Caitanya about chanting Harinama are accepted in general by all Vaisnavas. Specifically chanting only Hare Krsna mantra to the exclusion of all other sadhanas is acceptable for those who are ekanta Krsna bhaktas but since this is not compulsory in Sri Sampradaya there is no conflict. The only conflict would come if someone tried to insist on this sadhana as the only method of bhakti or as a integral part of prapatti (because actually Sri Vaisnavas these days don't accept that they follow the path of bhakti but all perform prapatti only. Of course bhakti has a slightly different meaning in this system, and is not open to non dvijas or women). (Sorry if this last part seems disjointed)
Satyabhama - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 18:13:11 +0530
Spelling... I've seen alot of Tamil people spelling Nayika as Nayaki, but I'm not sure why that is smile.gif
Kishalaya - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 23:03:17 +0530
QUOTE (Keshava @ Aug 20 2004, 01:50 PM)
Diksa and Guru are there (in practically every case, with some important exceptions like Nam Alvar). I don't really understand your question. The Guru's attitude is that he appeals to the Lord on behalf of the prapanna (refugee). In most cases of prapatti this sets the stage for the Lord to bestow His mercy on the prapanna.

I mean, the Guru himself is a practitioner and he is also advancing towards God, thus, he would have his own preferences. Taking diikshaa, seems to be like accepting a relationship. It might be that you get unwillingly involved in the "Guru's project". For example, why I feel so hesitant in accepting diikshaa in Gaudiya circles is that they have a very focused conception of transcendence, most of which I don't feel too comfortable with. Somebody there may, out of compassion, be willing to give diikshaa, but how much of the association will benifit the disciple? If His Guru goes on giving Bhaagavatam lectures that "Dvarka is lesser than Vrindavana", and the disciple does not feel comfortable, how long will he be able to continue paying obeisances?

QUOTE

As for being attached to a non recognized avatar of Visnu? I can only guess you mean Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


Yes.

QUOTE

If so I know quite a few Sri Vaisnavas who adore him. Some may even accept him as an avatar. Of course one can be an (saktyavesa) avatar and still be a jiva and great saint. You may not find many Sri Vaisnavas who accept Caitanya as a svamsa (purna) avatar of Visnu. But does this really matter? In Sri Sampradaya the worship of a bhagavata (devotee) is exalted even over that of the Lord as it sometimes is in Gaudiya Sampradaya (aradhananam sarvesam etc).


It does matter, because I do not see Caitanya as a bhakta but as Krishna Himself (svamasha avatara). Now I don't care too much about proofs in scriptures. Whatever proofs that have been advanced, IMHO, fall quite short of proving Him God. However, Bhagavatam says there are infinite avatars of Hari and that Krishna appears in the form, the bhakta wants to see. Then, I have seen saadhus who have had their faith lifelong (not a trivial thing that can be overlooked) and have read their literature, which is no less devotional than other literature worshipping the "traditional" forms of God. Add to that, I have a "feeling" that Caitanya is God, and I can give you no reason as to why I feel like that. Therefore my worship to Caitanya would be like worship to Vishnu tattva.

So my question would be - what effect will it have on the Guru disciple relationship, if the disciple accepts Caitanya as Bhagavaan Himself?

QUOTE

In Sri Sampradaya you are free to worship the form or forms of the Lord that you choose. Some people are ekanta Vaisnavas who prefer one form to all others (you sound like you have some pretty exacting qualities that you want to see in Your Lord), and some others are sadharana Vaisnavas who will worship all the Lord's forms equally. (If you are not talking about Caitanya Mahaprabhu then please let me know who you are talking about.)


Actually, AFAIK, ekaantika, in its usual sense, would mean - exclusive devotion to one form of God. I am not really like that. I prefer these forms - Krishna - in Vrindavana, Mathura and Dvarka, Tirupati Balaji, Ranganaatha, Varaha and of course Caitanya. So may be I am not an ekaantika in the typical meaning of the term. But on the other hand, if becoming an ekaantika means forsaking any one of them, then sorry, I don't want to become an ekaantika. I don't want to forsake even one of them. I see my *same* God in all of them. And I want to see all of them in Vaikuntha/Goloka (if I ever reach there).

As far as wanting to see some pretty exacting qualities in God, I would think, since He is God, these qualities would naturally be within Him - qualities which one would fail to see in people ordinarily. I prefer to see God as "perfect" in a manner which makes sense to me. Before anything else - rasa, opulence, sweetness , blah, blah, blah, it is bhagavat karunaa (compassion), that makes Him God for me. Unless this quality is present as an undercurrent in the rest of His qualities and activities, the importance of God in life takes on a lesser significance, threats of being turned into an animal, notwithstanding.

Let me make my position a bit more clear. I represent here, not just myself, but others also.

Then there is this different kinds of approach to God. Some approaches are higher, some are lower; some are more "selfless" than others. Well, whatever the final answer may be, I found out, (after a lot of torture) it is better to stick with the approach one is destined for rather than trying to be the "most selfless". Of course, I don't believe in all this - higher and lower hogwash (pardon the word, but that is exactly how I feel). For people like myself, the Queens of Dvarka are as "selfless" (and "competent" in giving Krishna pleasure) as the Gopis of Vrindavana. We find no sense in the fight between Radha and Chandravali, and why one should be avoided and the other should be worshipped. Why can't both be worshipped? Typical answer to such questions is that we are destined for a place where rasa is "subdued" - some peripheral parts of Goloka with maadhurya reduced. Sorry guys (er! I mean gals), you just have no idea, I mean NO with a capital N, what we are talking about. Personally, I think some people will have their job description (importance) cut down drastically if Radha declares truce with Chandravali. In a similar vein, this statement about Lakshmi not being awarded the fortune of being in rasa dance. I find it very difficult to accept that one who has eternally resigned herself to massaging Sri Hari's feet and who has an exclusive seat in His heart, would be denied this pleasure by the most compassionate Hari. In fact I would consider this verse in Bhagavatam be an appropriate place where such "literary and poetic devices" of interpretation can be applied. And finally, of course, for me, all svaamsha avataars of Hari are all equal. It is another thing that different devotees have preferences to different forms of the Lord.

In spite of all this, I do not say that those who believe to the contrary are not advancing towards God. However, I will say, they are advancing to *their* God. yo yo yaam yaam tanum bhaktah shraddhayaarcitum icchati tasya yasyaacalaam shraddhaam taam eva vidadhaamy aham. If they want to see gopis in fierce competition, they will get it - ye yathaa maam prapadyante. In fact in one correspondence with Gadhadhara Pran Das ji, (following an altercation with devotees adhering to a conflicting view) I asked him about what happens to all those who follow different conflicting ideas about the same deity. He simply replied they go to their own "Goloka".

But I don't agree that that is necessarily superior. The whole comparison of rasa business is purely subjective. Just because five people say yes and two people say no does not make it any more valid. We have street goondaas here elected into the parliament on a majority vote. For me such discussions are useless.
Jagat - Fri, 20 Aug 2004 23:18:12 +0530
Discussions of superiority or inferiority are meant for strengthening the faith of a disciple in a particular practice. Naturally, everyone wants to be convinced that he is engaged in the best thing.

Once one's ruchi has been established, however, there is no longer any need for such discussions, even though one may continue to firmly believe it. But due to conviction that everyone is finding his own way, no devotee could possibly condemn another devotee's ruchi.

The gopis don't say Yashoda is lesser; they even think the grass is more blessed than they.

As far as different rasas within the Gaudiya sampradaya, and the guru. If you don't like some aspects of Gaudiya siddhanta then it certainly would be hard to follow in the footsteps of a Gaudiya guru. Though I don't doubt that there are gurus who encourage their disciples to be honest with their own tastes and do not discourage them from following other moods--even Dvaraka bhava if they insist. However, I think that someone who wishes to worship Krishna in Dvaraka should really take initiation in another sampradaya, where I doubt that his faith in Chaitanya would be considered an obstacle.

Of course, if one has faith in Chaitanya, it seems that naturally one would have some kind of warmth toward the siddhantas of his followers. The subjective feeling you have may be more significant than the mental processes that weigh and analyze siddhantas.

Kishalaya - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 00:01:27 +0530
Thank you Jagat ji !

QUOTE

Naturally, everyone wants to be convinced that he is engaged in the best thing.


If you are saying that, then surely you do not need such assurances, because you would already know that those who follow something else would have their reasons.

Frankly, I personally see no reason to convince myself that I am following the "best rasa". I wouldn't be unhappy if my rasa is not the highest or even if it is the lowest. Infact all my earlier problems started with this "higher" and "lower" rasa business (and that I needed to follow the "highest" rasa).

QUOTE

The gopis don't say Yashoda is lesser; they even think the grass is more blessed than they.


That is not what I was talking about. Actually I see no objectivity (and redeeming value) in this comparison of rasa business (except for convincing children). This appeal to the "rasa shaastras" has landed the Gaudiyas themselves in an internal conflict (Jiva vs. Vishvanaatha).

QUOTE

where I doubt that his faith in Chaitanya would be considered an obstacle.


I am quite sure, in the Maadhva sampradaaya, it would be.

QUOTE

Of course, if one has faith in Chaitanya, it seems that naturally one would have some kind of warmth toward the siddhantas of his followers.


That does not automatically follow. If Uddhava is a highly accomplished disciple of Sri Krishna, would you still care to follow him with a cheerful heart? God appears to different devotees in different moods. So the Gaudiyas are not the only "followers" of Caitanya. There are others too, and I do have sympathy, nay empathy, for their "siddhaantas".
Madhava - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 00:07:27 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 20 2004, 08:31 PM)
That does not automatically follow. If Uddhava is a highly accomplished disciple of Sri Krishna, would you still care to follow him with a cheerful heart? God appears to different devotees in different moods. So the Gaudiyas are not the only "followers" of Caitanya. There are others too, and I do have sympathy, nay empathy, for their "siddhaantas".

Hmm... sheer curiosity, to whom might you be referring? Followers of Caitanya who are not Gaudiyas? Are we talking about some well-known groups, or rather individuals scattered here and there?
Kishalaya - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 00:13:08 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 21 2004, 12:07 AM)
Hmm... sheer curiosity, to whom might you be referring? Followers of Caitanya who are not Gaudiyas? Are we talking about some well-known groups, or rather individuals scattered here and there?

Whoever, they are, scattered or otherwise, are "followers", to me (and many others also). There is more to it than just numbers, but it will take a heart to see it.
Madhava - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 00:22:32 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 20 2004, 08:43 PM)
Whoever, they are, scattered or otherwise, are "followers", to me (and many others also). There is more to it than just numbers, but it will take a heart to see it.

Yes, I was just wondering if you had something in specific in mind that would have given me a better context for what you said.
Kishalaya - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 00:31:25 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 21 2004, 12:22 AM)
Yes, I was just wondering if you had something in specific in mind that would have given me a better context for what you said.

That, by my answer, you should have gauged that I do not want to disclose. To the intelligent, an indication is enough. However, if it be said that it matters on a public board, it would not bother me the least if I had to retract my statements, since the state of affairs is all quite evident, like the sun, to everybody. I am not here on a propaganda mission.

Sorry, if my answer does not seem that much welcoming, but I have to reply weighing all the previous precedents.
Madhava - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 00:37:10 +0530
I do not think there would be any antipathy expressed unless you wish to start a campaign or something. smile.gif
Kishalaya - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 00:45:15 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 21 2004, 12:37 AM)
I do not think there would be any antipathy expressed unless you wish to start a campaign or something. smile.gif

I am certainly not on a campaign. And if I were to engage, I would find better ways than to post in the manjari forum. What I have said is what I feel sincerely and was, in my opinion, warranted in the context my discussion with Keshava ji.
Madhava - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 01:24:48 +0530
I would be honestly interested if you could name any followers of Caitanya who are not Gaudiyas. The only example I can think of would be Atibodi Jagannath Das of Orissa. Perhaps some sahajiyA-traditions related with Gaudiyaism might be included.
Kishalaya - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 01:35:04 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 21 2004, 01:24 AM)
I would be honestly interested if you could name any followers of Caitanya who are not Gaudiyas. The only example I can think of would be Atibodi Jagannath Das of Orissa. Perhaps some sahajiyA-traditions related with Gaudiyaism might be included.

In my opinion, nobody outside of the strict Rupanugas should be labelled as Gaudiyas. I think that answer should suffice.
Madhava - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 02:43:05 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 20 2004, 10:05 PM)
In my opinion, nobody outside of the strict Rupanugas should be labelled as Gaudiyas. I think that answer should suffice.

Oh, I see. I personally see it as a broader definition, Rupanuga being a sub-classification albeit a prominent one. Where is Gaudiya first defined, anyway? If ever, anywhere?
Jagat - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 07:20:29 +0530
Not the first, evidently, but one of my favorites:

nijatve gauDIyAn jagati parigRhya prabhur imAn
hare kRSNety evaM gaNana-vidhinA kIrtayata bhoH
iti prAyAM zikSAM caraNa-madhupebhyaH paridizan
zacI-sUnuH kiM me nayana-saraNIM yAsyati padam

Adopting the people of Bengal as His very own, the Lord told them, O people! Chant this Maha Mantra, counting out a regular number every day. When will the son of Sachi again appear before my eyes as He gives this teaching to the bumblebee-like devotees surrounding His lotus feet? (Raghunath Das Goswami, StavAvalI, zacI-sUnv-aSTakam, 5)

Jagat - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 07:22:35 +0530
Something people going to India can do is to track down Sundarananda Vidyavinoda's "Gaudiyer Tin Thakur", which discusses this subject in the first chapter I believe.
Kishalaya - Sat, 21 Aug 2004 23:19:25 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 21 2004, 02:43 AM)
I personally see it as a broader definition, Rupanuga being a sub-classification albeit a prominent one.

ohmy.gif huh?!
Keshava - Sun, 22 Aug 2004 00:02:47 +0530
Dear Kishalaya,

An example of a follower of Chaitanya outside of Gaudiya sampradaya is Sri Krishna Premi of Sri Rangam. I think that you wouldbe quite happy with his take on things. They are bhagavatas (devotees) and follow Chaitanya (even giving lectures on Caitanya Caritamrta in Tamil) yet they also appreciate Balaji, Ranganatha, Varaha, et al. They do wear gopicandana tilaka like Gaudiyas but their lineage is smarta.

Just a small question for you: You say that you are a follower of Caitanya but don't necessarily follow the doctrines of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Is not one of the doctirnes of Gaudiya Vaisnavism that Caitanya is a svamsa avatara of Krsna? In other words this is a point not preached by Caitanya himself but later by his followers. So don't you consider this to be a doctirne of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

Also since you accept this axiom does it not also follow that you also accept many of Caitanya's teachings. For how does it make sense to accept the Lord as a svamsa avatara (yuga dharma avatara?) and yet not accept his teachings?

If you do accept Caitanya's teachings and yet reject some ofthe teachings of his followers. How do you distinguish between them? Where do you draw the line?
Kishalaya - Sun, 22 Aug 2004 02:18:52 +0530
Thank you for your suggestions Keshava ji.

Let me now turn to your questions:

QUOTE

You say that you are a follower of Caitanya


Basically, I am a "follower" of Mother Saci, Srimati Vishnupriya and Srimati Lakshmipriya and through them, I "follow" Caitanya. I do not have any separate connection with Caitanya.

QUOTE

Is not one of the doctirnes of Gaudiya Vaisnavism that Caitanya is a svamsa avatara of Krsna? In other words this is a point not preached by Caitanya himself but later by his followers. So don't you consider this to be a doctirne of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.


Well I can't help it if some of the things that I believe in also find acceptance among the Gaudiya vaishnavas. By the way, we mostly know about Caitanya through the hagiographies authored by his followers who also extoll Him as svayam bhagavaan even though He Himself may have been shy to decare it in His preaching and sannyaasa years.

QUOTE

Also since you accept this axiom does it not also follow that you also accept many of Caitanya's teachings. For how does it make sense to accept the Lord as a svamsa avatara (yuga dharma avatara?) and yet not accept his teachings?

If you do accept Caitanya's teachings and yet reject some ofthe teachings of his followers. How do you distinguish between them? Where do you draw the line?


Barring the general teachings of Harinaama etc., the more specific teachings of the Lord are given according to the adhikaara and interests of the disciple. While Uddhava could perfectly understand Sri Krishna's teachings in the eleventh canto and then perhaps go on to Badrikaasharama for meditation and other like saadhanaa, the same kinds of teaching when Sri Krishna tried to give to the gopis through Uddhava, it was refused point blank.

I have absolutely no interest in what the Rupaanugaas call as the "internal reason" of His descent. I am more interested in saving His household.
Keshava - Sun, 22 Aug 2004 10:38:22 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 21 2004, 10:48 AM)

Basically, I am a "follower" of Mother Saci, Srimati Vishnupriya and Srimati Lakshmipriya and through them, I "follow" Caitanya. I do not have any separate connection with Caitanya.


I don't exactly understand why you say this but I am prepared to take it at face value. It does seem to me though that your connection to these people (ie Mother Saci, Srimati Vishnupriya and Srimati Lakshmipriya) is only because of their relationship to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and not independently. Therefore it would seem that your relationship with them is through Sri Caitanya and not the other way around. But if you want to declare it like this, OK.

QUOTE
By the way, we mostly know about Caitanya through the hagiographies authored by his followers who also extoll Him as svayam bhagavaan even though He Himself may have been shy to decare it in His preaching and sannyaasa years.


Is it not a fact that it is ONLY a doctrine of the followers of Sri Caitanya that he is a svamsa avatara of Sri Krsna? Therefore it is only through this doctirine of Caitanya's followers that one becomes aquainted with this idea and from no other source. Therefore accepting this doctrine means accepting a basic tenet of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, not just accepting Caitanya himself.

QUOTE

Barring the general teachings of Harinaama etc., the more specific teachings of the Lord are given according to the adhikaara and interests of the disciple


So are you saying that basically you accept only the doctrine of harinama as a means to reach Krsna prema (or moksha or whatever you consider to be the goal of human life)? And that the rest of the embellishments of the Gaudiya Vaisnava system you find unneccessary?

I want to point out that the doctrine of harinama as a sadhana or means to the goal of life is not unique to Gaudiya Vaisnavism. And there is no reason that the acceptance of this presupposes an acceptance of Sri Caitanya as a svamsa avatara of Sri Krsna. They are mutually independent doctrines. However I understand that you accept both.

QUOTE
I have absolutely no interest in what the Rupaanugaas call as the "internal reason" of His descent.


I understand.

QUOTE
I am more interested in saving His household.


Sorry I don't understand this last statement. Could you rephrase it or elaborate, please.
Madhava - Sun, 22 Aug 2004 15:23:16 +0530
Kishalaya, what about the teachings of Caitanya narrated in his hagiographies? Would you follow them, or accept them in any / some regard?
Kishalaya - Sun, 22 Aug 2004 23:17:44 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 22 2004, 03:23 PM)
Kishalaya, what about the teachings of Caitanya narrated in his hagiographies? Would you follow them, or accept them in any / some regard?

I accept the ones which my heart, and my head following its lead, can make sense. The teachings in Ruupaanugaa biographies are for the Ruupaanugaas. Kindly be merciful to me. I cannot follow them, although I can appreciate intellectually the devotion, but empathy I cannot generate, because they are in direct contradiction to the status (and interest) of those who I worship and adore.
Kishalaya - Sun, 22 Aug 2004 23:50:29 +0530
QUOTE

It does seem to me though that your connection to these people (ie Mother Saci, Srimati Vishnupriya and Srimati Lakshmipriya) is only because of their relationship to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and not independently. Therefore it would seem that your relationship with them is through Sri Caitanya and not the other way around.


I would have had nothing to do with Caitanya, had it not been for the wails of Thaakuraani that stopped me in my return path.

QUOTE

Is it not a fact that it is ONLY a doctrine of the followers of Sri Caitanya that he is a svamsa avatara of Sri Krsna? Therefore it is only through this doctirine of Caitanya's followers that one becomes aquainted with this idea and from no other source.


In my view, and as much as others may want to argue, Ruupaanugaas are not the only "followers" of Caitanya.

QUOTE

Therefore accepting this doctrine means accepting a basic tenet of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, not just accepting Caitanya himself.

QUOTE
I am more interested in saving His household.


Sorry I don't understand this last statement. Could you rephrase it or elaborate, please.


I will tell you this. I was all set and ready to forsake the whole motley baggage of Bengal Vaishnavism when I came to know that there was somebody called Vishnupriya who was Caitanya's second wife. It seems she really had a bad deal thrown at her when her husband left her, at the age of fourteen, to a life of miserable existence of virtual widowhood. So I just feel like she should be with her husband and that her husband should just throw off his "bhakti" sham and concentrate on her. So, for this, I find no reason that I should inculcate the Ruupaanugaa ideals. Infact, they make me angry.

QUOTE

And there is no reason that the acceptance of this presupposes an acceptance of Sri Caitanya as a svamsa avatara of Sri Krsna.


Caitanya is God to me, and so is Krishna in Vrindaavana, Mathura and Dvaaraka, also Balaji, Varaha, Ranganaatha. They are God to me *equally*. I do not see any difference between Them, in rasa or whatever. Infact I see no difference between any Vishnu tattva. My whole being militates against such a thought. How can I accept the Rupaanugaa ideals? Furthermore I do not see Satyabhaamaa and Rukmini to be any less than Radha and Chandraavali and so on.

You may ask, why I come to this discussion board at all. That is for keeping my "General Knowledge" up to date and sometimes I am fortunate that I get a chance to engage in discussions like this.

Keshava ji, if you have some detailed information about Krishna Premi ji, about whom you had mentioned in an earlier post, would you be kind enough to post it?
Madhava - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 00:24:43 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 22 2004, 08:20 PM)
In my view, and as much as others may want to argue, Ruupaanugaas are not the only "followers" of Caitanya.

As I already pointed out earlier, apparently to your amazement, this is not the case.
dirty hari - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 01:17:37 +0530
QUOTE
Infact I see no difference between any Vishnu tattva.


You mentioned this earlier in a different topic, I agree, this is also taught in the rupanuga camp. Baladeva Vidyabhusana goes into detail on this. What I am interested in is your conception of Visnupriya. In the rupanuga camp she is Visnu tattva, Iv'e heard Her described as Bhu Devi. Since Mahaprabhu accepts that Laksmi Devi and her various manifestations are all Visnu tattva, how do you see Her in this context ?
Jagat - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 04:31:21 +0530
I'd like to see where the words "Vishnu-tattva" are used by anyone in the Rupanuga camp to describe any one of Vishnu's shaktis. Not any of these "Shaktis and Vishnu are one" quotes, but those actual words: "Shakti is Vishnu-tattva."
jijaji - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 05:49:08 +0530
QUOTE (Jagat @ Aug 21 2004, 01:52 AM)
Something people going to India can do is to track down Sundarananda Vidyavinoda's "Gaudiyer Tin Thakur", which discusses this subject in the first chapter I believe.

Where is this to be sought...Sri Chaitanya Research of Calcutta..? He founded that of course.

I remember when Jaya came back from India in like 78 after he and his wife took diksha from Sri Tinkadi Gosvami (Sri Kisori-Kisorananda Baba), he showed me some photos and one was of a son of Sundarananda or nephew, a relative, that Jaganatha das had met with and spoke with about Sundarananda and his take on what happened in Gaudiya Math and what Sundarananda thought, something like that..! I don't know the details of that conversation.

I do know that Sundarananda did not follow Ananta Vasudev to Radha Kunda and take authentic diksha.

I heard somewhere some time back that he came to the conclusion that Sri Chaitanya was an emotional Samkarite similar to the Advaitin Sridhar Svamin who wrote the famous commentary on Srimad Bhagvatam that was so adored by Sri Chaitanya.

Can anyone give the real inside skinny on this please..?

Radhe Radhe,

cool.gif
Jagat - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 06:04:36 +0530
Some more information here.

http://www.gaudiyadiscussions.com/index.ph...indpost&p=19209

The Chaitanya Research Institute was founded by Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaj and is part of the Chaitanya Math. I don't doubt that they have copies of Sundarananda's books in their library, though.

Sundarananda's last books while in the Gaudiya Mission (the part that still runs Bagh Bazar) continued to be sold and studied there until they sold out, I guess. These included "Sri Kshetra," "Gaudiyer Tin Thakur" "Gaudiya Vaishnava Vedanta" (or something like that) and another one, the title of which slips my mind. All these books were full of historical information about other sampradayas, etc. Scholarly books, and when I read them quite eye-opening. When I saw some of these more recently, I found them not quite as historically substantial as I had then. Nevertheless, I dare say that for the time they were probably quite extraordinary works in Bengali, and even now contain much useful information that may not be available from other sources.

Keshava Maharaj used to say that Sundarananda's last three books (those mentioned above except Sri Kshetra) were three arrows piercing the heart of the Gaudiya Math, most probably because of the sampradaya question you mentioned.

Sundarananda lived in North Calcutta and died in 1964, so Jaya Sachinandan and Jagannath Das must have met his son, who continued publishing his manuscripts posthumously.
dirty hari - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 07:49:05 +0530
QUOTE (Jagat @ Aug 22 2004, 11:01 PM)
I'd like to see where the words "Vishnu-tattva" are used by anyone in the Rupanuga camp to describe any one of Vishnu's shaktis. Not any of these "Shaktis and Vishnu are one" quotes, but those actual words: "Shakti is Vishnu-tattva."

So I don't clutter this topic, this is for Jagat Laksmi and Visnu Tattva


Thank you for your thoughtfulness--Jagat.
Kishalaya - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 11:55:50 +0530
QUOTE (dirty hari @ Aug 23 2004, 01:17 AM)
QUOTE
Infact I see no difference between any Vishnu tattva.


You mentioned this earlier in a different topic, I agree, this is also taught in the rupanuga camp. Baladeva Vidyabhusana goes into detail on this. What I am interested in is your conception of Visnupriya. In the rupanuga camp she is Visnu tattva, Iv'e heard Her described as Bhu Devi. Since Mahaprabhu accepts that Laksmi Devi and her various manifestations are all Visnu tattva, how do you see Her in this context ?

DH, I do not agree with you that the Rupaanugaas see Lakshmi Devi and others as Vishnu tattva. Otherwise Tulasi would have been applied to the feet of Radha and other consorts. This very fact is a good proof that they distinguish between Vishnu and His consorts. But even if They had ontological parity, your conception is a bit hard to swallow (to put it very mildly), because you deny individuality to the Lord's very near and dear ones, something I find very distasteful.

Yes I have heard Vishnupriyaa being described as Bhu-Devi and Satyabhaamaa. (And true, Satyabhaamaa is also described as Bhu-Devi). Now what is Her exact position in the hierarchy, I can't quite figure out, however that is not something that has any bearing on how I approach Caitanya and Vishnupriyaa. One thing is for sure though. Caitanya and Vishnupriyaa (and His other devotees), as far as I am concerned, are *DISTINCT* individuals with *REAL* love and rasa between Them.
dirty hari - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 22:39:12 +0530

Jul 24 2004, 05:20 PM
QUOTE
As far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) Baladeva Vidyaabhushana considers Lakshmi identical to Vishnu, and any conjugal feelings between Them are to be understood to be true because scripture says so.
Kishalaya - Mon, 23 Aug 2004 23:50:46 +0530
QUOTE (dirty hari @ Aug 23 2004, 10:39 PM)
Jul 24 2004, 05:20 PM
QUOTE
As far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) Baladeva Vidyaabhushana considers Lakshmi identical to Vishnu, and any conjugal feelings between Them are to be understood to be true because scripture says so.

Dear DH,

Baladeva does not deny the reality of the feelings between Vishnu and Lakshmi. Does he?

In any case, I have already stated in quite a number of posts that the Gaudiya position of "identity" is something that will eventually become their achilles' heel, and you have just proved it.
dirty hari - Tue, 24 Aug 2004 01:55:00 +0530
I'm not interested in debating this topic again. I just remembered what you had written earlier. Really all I wanted to know was who you think Visnupriya is, since She is vital to your conception of Bhakti. Among Rupanugas She is Bhu Sakti.

sri-sanatana-misro'yam pura satrajito nrpah
visnupriya jagan-mata yat-kanya bhu-svarupini

He who was King Satrajit in Krishna lila was Sanatan Mishra in Chaitanya lila. The mother of the universe, the incarnation of the Lord's bhu-sakti, is his daughter Vishnupriya. (Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika 47

All manifestations of Vishnu tattva have three energies, known as Sri, Bhu and Nila (or Lila). Lakshmipriya Devi is the sri-sakti of Mahaprabhu in his majestic Gaura-Narayan attitude; Vishnupriya is his bhu-sakti and Nabadwip Dham is his lila-sakti. Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami is the sakti of Gaura-Krishna, or Mahaprabhu in the mood of Krishna.

B.B. Tirtha Maharaja

Today is also the birthday of Visnu-priya devi - the wife - the power - the energy - of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. She is one of the manifestations of
Srimati Radhika, she is especially a manifestation of Satyabhama, and she is
Bhagavan's Bhu-sakti.

Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

btw-"Otherwise Tulasi would have been applied to the feet of Radha and other consorts"

Tulasi (Vrnda Devi) is an expansion of Radha, Vrnda Devi is one incarnation of Yogamaya, also known as Durga. "In the spiritual world Durga Devi is called YogaMaya. She is present as the seed-form in the changes of the spiritual energy. For this reason, she considers herself non-different from the original internal energy of the spiritual world...In Narada Pancaratra, Durga Devi says: "I am Your loving partner in your delightful Vrndavana pastimes in the form of Your internal pleasure potency". We perceive from the statement of Durga Devi that this energy is non-dual. In the transcendental feature, this energy is present as Srimati Radhika and in the material form manifests as the material energy. " (Bhaktivinoda Jaiva Dharma)

"[Durga] She is identical with Gokula's queen Sri Radha, who possesses a great treasure of love for Krsna. By her grace the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all living entities, is easily understood. ( Jiva Goswami Brahma Samhita)
Kishalaya - Tue, 24 Aug 2004 11:18:35 +0530
QUOTE (dirty hari @ Aug 24 2004, 01:55 AM)
I'm not interested in debating this topic again.

Really DH, however considering that not even one Gaudiya Vaishnava agrees with you and you can just twist and turn the quotes of those who are not here to reply to your ingenious interpretations, I guess you are just plain bored.

But thanks anyway! I am in no way interested in what you have to say. I would be pretty relieved if you stay away from Vishnupriyaa.

BTW, you and others can think of whatever ways to carry on with your dissections and start philosophizing about categories. I prefer to preserve the sanctity of love between God and His devotees. That is *THE* concern.
Jagat - Tue, 24 Aug 2004 17:49:30 +0530
And I share this concern. I think I understand what Shivaji is getting at too, but I would like to hear his own deconstruction of his theology. What I mean is, what is the essential element that he is trying to "protect and preserve"?

God is simple and yet unlimited in his aspects. We pick and choose the attributes that are most meaningful to us, or sometimes they are thrust upon us. It seems to me that for Shiva, the important thing is the jiva and its relation to God. In his vision, the lilas, etc., are really for the benefit of the jiva rather than God. The lilas are only meaningful for God inasmuch as the jiva participates in them.

I may be wrong about what is the underlying principal consideration in Shiva's theology, but I see this as a valid concern. And (see my other post earlier on today in the Lakshmi-Vishnu-tattva thread) I too see God's need for the jiva's bhakti as real. However, the jiva, being only one aspect of Krishna's energies, cannot possibly be the whole story.
Kishalaya - Tue, 24 Aug 2004 23:45:00 +0530
QUOTE

It seems to me that for Shiva, the important thing is the jiva and its relation to God.

I may be wrong about what is the underlying principal consideration in Shiva's theology, but I see this as a valid concern.


But he does this "deconstruction"in a very grotesque manner. In my understanding, people basically get insecure about their relationship with transcendence and in pathological cases simply go on to deny anything that overrides this relationship. But I can sympathize with them. I would have thought that I was just hypothesizing if I had not seen more cases like DH (but not as acute). This is a knee jerk reaction to the kind of intense "preaching" approach the Gaudiyas take. "God should be viewed like this.", "This is the best - most selfless thing that can be offered" and so on. Like O. B. L. Kapoor and your friend Peter Valaya "Radha is recruiting jivas for her purpose to get close to Krishna", not mentioning the fact that this is meant for the particular person having the taste. That the taste, the inclination - that is the adhikaara. Couple this with the sense of alienation (silence) that the Gaudiyas characteristically display towards others who do not share such views. For instance - "Meera, how dare she love Krishna?" "sympathy for Chandraavali, better keep away" "Queens - oh no! vaidhi assault". No words of appreciation for at least the value of devotion that may be there in such cases. Jagat ji, you yourself have to repeat so many times here about the need to appreciate the devotion in some different tradition or individuals following other paths like your friend Gadadhara Prana Dasa ji. And given the fact that most of what people hear about Vaishnavism in the west is through ISKCON and Gaudiya sampradaaya, they tend to conclude that this is the *only* way, helped the notions of sampradaaya and paramparaa that have been taken to a level of brainwashing. Therefore when these individuals want to express themselves, they cannot tear themselves away, on one hand, because of the fear of being left without "mercy", however their deep seated need, which anyway has to express itself, rears its head in a very ugly form.

QUOTE

And (see my other post earlier on today in the Lakshmi-Vishnu-tattva thread) I too see God's need for the jiva's bhakti as real. However, the jiva, being only one aspect of Krishna's energies, cannot possibly be the whole story.


Ok that is your take on the whole bhakti issue.

I prefer to see God - Krishna as supremely independent - svaraat. Then when He loves - that love - that is actually unconditional, because He has nothing at all to gain or lose and nothing can be done if He wishes not to love. Not that He won't love anytime. He loves because it is His very nature to love, not because He is controlled. I really find this "control" game by bhakti somewhat unnerving. Can God be made to do evil under such a control? Then if Krishna were to be controlled, what value will His compassion and love have? Complete love implies complete freedom not to love. This is the essential characteristic of God that binds a devotee to Him (other things like His beauty and opulence being embellishments and facilitators of lila). That is *the* distinguishing factor between Him and everyone else. So when it is said that He is "controlled" by bhakti, it is actually a praise for His compassion - that although He is self sufficient in all respects, He still manages to have *real* love even for the minutest of us. And that sets the stage for lila - when the individual realizes the actual worth of what she has obtained. So there is a progression of "causeless love" from the jiva to God. I don't believe that the jiva has the power for "causeless love". It is only Krishna's prerogative. We are bound to be attracted to Him for one reason or another (even things like - inexplicable attraction), but He is not bound. We can only revel in that grace.

This is not to say that Krishna puts on a "stage show". In His mercy, He *actually* engages in *real* love - and that gives Him pleasure - that exchange of love - but it is not at all a "control" thing. That is purely voluntary.

I also do not prefer much use of impersonal words like "shakti" etc. These lead to symbolisms beyond my comfort level. It is the *INDIVIDUAL* who is important. Rasa etc. are meant to serve the individuals concerned, not the other way round. In this regard, I consider Radha, Chandravali and other gopis, the queens etc. and other devotees as individuals, in their own right, loving God. Not shaktis, or "expansions". Their expressions of love towards the most compassionate Hari may vary, but in no way, one is less than the other. The Gaudiya symbolisms are there because of their need to view everything under Radha's control, but in my world view Radha is another individual (irrespective of Her ontological status) who is deeply in love with Hari and so are other individuals (including the manjaris) who have their own unique expression of love towards Krishna.

And lastly, I am not against hierarchy per se. I mean every bhakta considers himself to be the lowest and there is this Guru lineage and like in lila, some relationships may be deemed "closer" to God, but that must not take on an ontological excuse. That somebody's love is *actually* lesser than another's. That is an abuse, an insult of love itself. Again hierarchy should not be used as an excuse (guilt trips included) for keeping the bhakta away from God - that should be entirely voluntary.
Jagat - Wed, 25 Aug 2004 00:53:56 +0530
I can understand the problem with "control". It is perhaps a unhelpful word. The Sanskrit is vasa. Like Krishna's dhira-lalita description, syAt prAyaH preyasI-vazaH. It doesn't mean that he somehow loses his individuality--he continues to be who he is. However, love makes him forget that, he becomes like a bee looking for honey.

This language seems to reduce God, but in fact we take it as a glory. God is all the things that everyone says of him, but we like him best when he takes off the crown and puts on a peacock feather.

Gottago.
Satyabhama - Wed, 25 Aug 2004 01:07:48 +0530
QUOTE
So when it is said that He is "controlled" by bhakti, it is actually a praise for His compassion - that although He is self sufficient in all respects, He still manages to have *real* love even for the minutest of us.

+

I don't believe that the jiva has the power for "causeless love". It is only Krishna's prerogative. We are bound to be attracted to Him for one reason or another (even things like - inexplicable attraction), but He is not bound. We can only revel in that grace.




To RECOGNIZE that there can be a reciprocal love between any individual and Krishna, the Lord Himself, is vital in my opinion. Love can flow directly from God to the soul, from the soul to God, and so on. Directly.

And as for the "control" issue, yes this is one that has bothered me. I may have to be very clear here, which I do not wish to do, but...

For example, remember when mother Yashoda tied baby Krishna? Her ropes were too short. I tell you, they were not sufficient of themselves, but only when Krishna desired to be tied by His mother, were Yashoda's efforts successful. Not because Yashoda had really strong ropes!

I hope you understand my meaning.



QUOTE
Like O. B. L. Kapoor and your friend Peter Valaya "Radha is recruiting jivas for her purpose to get close to Krishna", not mentioning the fact that this is meant for the particular person having the taste.




I have more to say on these points, but I don't have the heart to do so at the moment. I will try again after I have had some time to clear my thoughts.
Jagat - Wed, 25 Aug 2004 01:25:34 +0530
I would say that "vaza" means that Krishna gives himself up to the lila, to Yogamaya. I remember a book by Kshitimohan Sen I once read about Bauls, the "spiritual vikings" (whatever that was supposed to mean!). Anyway, he tells the story of a Pasha who fell in love with a slave girl and wanted to marry her, but before he did so he gave her her freedom. There would have been no meaning to his love as long as she was under his control.

So when we say that Krishna becomes subject to his devotee's control, it may mean many things--even that he dances for them. Though there is a didactic element in the Damodar pastime, you are right to pinpoint the balya-lila as one in which Krishna's subordination to his devotee is displayed more acutely.

Like this, for instance (from Gopala Champu 1.6):

[v59]
Praiseworthy was the boy for dropping his mother's helping hand,
while learning his new lesson,
But more glorious was the rapidity of his mother,
coming to him when he fell.

[v60]
After Krishna had walked two or three steps,
he would fall and begin to cry;
again and again, this made his mother anxious,
who called, "My child, my child!" and covered him with kisses.

[v61]
When he had managed to walk forward a little distance,
to show off his great achievement,
he would stand still, his face aglow,
and look back at his mother.

[v62]
As he got further away from her,
he would begin to slow down.
But as he came closer to her,
he would break into a smile and quicken his pace.

Krishna "under the control" of his devotee means he is "bhakta-bhaktiman".
Satyabhama - Wed, 25 Aug 2004 01:46:17 +0530
QUOTE
Praiseworthy was the boy for dropping his mother's helping hand,
while learning his new lesson,
But more glorious was the rapidity of his mother,
coming to him when he fell.


And greater still the glory of that God who made Himself a child for the sole purpose of falling and being comforted... Every mother comforts a child who has fallen but when your child is Krishna, the bonds of maya are broken...

Oh how great is this God, Govinda! He makes you love Him, and then praises you for loving... His kindness overflows...
Kishalaya - Wed, 25 Aug 2004 12:35:44 +0530
QUOTE (dirty hari @ Aug 25 2004, 01:38 AM)
Until you create your own universe with your own rules

Every individual is an universe.
Kishalaya - Wed, 25 Aug 2004 13:21:25 +0530
QUOTE (Jagat @ Aug 25 2004, 01:25 AM)
Krishna "under the control" of his devotee means he is "bhakta-bhaktiman".

That is Ok! But what I was trying to point out was that there is something further beyond his "bhakta-bhaktimaan". That is His grace. For us, we are bound to be devoted because Krishna is all attractive. Not so for Krishna because He is described as svaraat - supremely independent. Recognition of this causeless compassion of Krishna is very important for individuals like myself.

The Gaudiya theology has this slant that it is Krishna's aahlaadini that is somehow infused into the jivas that "makes" them attractive to Krishna. Actually I do not much prefer such an explanation because it seems to rob the jiva of her individuality and her capacity to offer love however minute. Krishna in my view, in His infinite mercy, agrees to engage in love with the infinitesimal jiva and get pleasure out of it. Therefore the purpose of the jiva being "infinitesimal" is also fulfilled as it clearly displays His infinite mercy.
jiva - Thu, 26 Aug 2004 22:21:52 +0530
QUOTE (dirty hari @ Aug 23 2004, 08:25 PM)
Really all I wanted to know was who you think Visnupriya is, since She is vital to your conception of Bhakti. Among Rupanugas She is Bhu Sakti.


Srimati Vinupriya is Gaura's hladini sakti , and Bhakti devi Herself . Many Vaisnavas view Her to be like Radharani , for indeed , She is Radha's visese abhirbhava ( special extended feature ) .

with respect,
Kishalaya - Thu, 26 Aug 2004 23:12:10 +0530
QUOTE (jiva @ Aug 26 2004, 10:21 PM)
Srimati Vinupriya is Gaura's hladini sakti , and Bhakti devi Herself . Many Vaisnavas view Her to be like Radharani , for indeed , She is Radha's visese abhirbhava ( special extended feature ) .

Vishnupriyaa is Gaura Praana Priyaa

and

Gauraanga is Vishnupriyaa Praana Vallabha
Kishalaya - Fri, 27 Aug 2004 01:12:54 +0530
QUOTE (Kishalaya @ Aug 26 2004, 11:12 PM)
Vishnupriyaa is Gaura Praana Priyaa

Just like all the lowest of the low creatures, serpents, ghosts, spirits who have no shelter elsewhere, so it is only the extremely merciful Neelakantha Maheshvara who agrees to take care of them.

In a similar manner, persons who are unable to take to bhakti, who are full of pride, who are unable to submit and who are infact the lowest of the low - these are the recepients of the special mercy of Thaakuraani Priyaa-ji. Gauraanga is the Karunaa Avataara, but Vishnupriyaa is actually His Karunaa. That which even Gaura is unwilling to give, She will willingly throw towards even the most unworthy of souls. For the sake of changing the hearts of the mean minded kali tortured jivas, she willingly accepted lifelong separation from her very life and soul, Gauraanga. May we always hanker to keep Her two lotus feet in our hearts.