Google
Web         Gaudiya Discussions
Gaudiya Discussions Archive » DEVOTIONAL PRACTICES
Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

No attraction for raganuga - vaidhi, then? -



purifried - Tue, 05 Oct 2004 06:14:48 +0530
In light of this forum, I have become much more aware of the validity if not prominence of raga over vaidhi in our tradition. However I cannot help but honestly say that I don't feel one drop of attraction towards the path of raga. This leads me to consider that the path of vaidhi is for me.

In other words, just to get some regular sadhana going again would be a first for me (I'm in process at the moment), but that just seems so far from raganuga. I mean raganuga really seems like quite an elevated stage. Then again, maybe that is just the ISKCON programing in my head.

In addition it seems in Madhurya Kadambini that Visvanath makes the point that one goes through all the stages mentioned in that book in the same way whether one is a vaidhi bhakta or raga bhakta. Any comments on this? If so, what is the difference between a beginning raga bhakta and a vaidhi bhakta - just a choice or is it ones attraction? unsure.gif
Madhava - Tue, 05 Oct 2004 06:36:06 +0530
Vaidhi doesn't mean just regularly doing things. The point is in the "why" of doing. If you're doing regularly things without sparkling inspiration and greed at every moment of it, and you're aspiring to serve Sri Krishna in Vraja, you're on the raganuga-highway, albeit in the section where ruci hasn't yet arisen. However if you're doing those things because the scriptures order you so, and because otherwise you would go to hell and all that jazz, you're in the vaidhi-department, on your way to Vaikuntha. That's the basic difference.
Satyabhama - Tue, 05 Oct 2004 17:58:25 +0530
But you know, I'm pretty sure Vaikuntha ain't all that bad. smile.gif Sri Hari likes Vaikuntha and Vraj both it seems. tongue.gif hehe
suryaz - Wed, 06 Oct 2004 09:18:14 +0530
Is not Vaidhi bhakti, vedantic bhakti?
Dhyana - Wed, 06 Oct 2004 22:10:43 +0530
Very lucid and helpful explanation, dear Madhava. It leads me to wonder which highway I was on when I followed the Vaisnava sadhana. I was certainly not aspiring to serve Sri Krsna in Vrndavan (other than accepting that apparently I am His servant because the scriptures say so). But I wasn't trying to avoid going to hell, that's for sure. In fact, before I became an aspiring devotee, I had quite some contacts with Christians and if anything turned me away from them, it was their "avoid hell" argument.

My motive to do sadhana was that it was presented as a process of coming closer to one's original identity. I wanted to get in touch with my real self and see the world as it really is.

Which highway is that?

Dhyana (presently trekking rather erratically through the landscape away from highways and making frequent stops to look around)
Madhava - Wed, 06 Oct 2004 22:19:18 +0530
I'd say neither of the two, really. Perhaps a stage of preliminary interest, akin to standing at crossroads and looking around. Once you get a clue of the original identity, you can then engage in practices that lead you towards the realm in which this original identity prevails. That would be sAdhana in the precise sense of the term. For example, you might understand that you are an associate in Vaikuntha, or a friend in Vraja, and begin to head towards that goal.

If by "original identity" one thinks of "self-realization", or realization that we are spiritual sparks, and not this body, without due concern for a particular form of Bhagavan we'd serve or any particular kind of specific positive identification, then this would be the sAdhana akin to j˝Ana-mArga, heading towards monistic brahman-realization. Since that isn't exactly bhakti-sAdhana really, it can't be classified under either of the two within the Gaudiya context. Otherwise, it would certainly be a vidhi-mArga of sorts.
Madhava - Wed, 06 Oct 2004 22:22:27 +0530
QUOTE (suryaz @ Oct 6 2004, 04:48 AM)
Is not Vaidhi bhakti, vedantic bhakti?

Pray tell, what is vedantic bhakti? Bhaktivedanta-bhakti?

Vedanta is rarely concerned with the nitty-gritty of various vidhis of bhakti-sAdhana. Vedanta is primarily concerned with the cultivation of j˝Ana.
Devi dasa - Wed, 06 Oct 2004 22:36:09 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Oct 6 2004, 04:49 PM)

If by "original identity" one thinks of "self-realization", or realization that we are spiritual sparks, and not this body, without due concern for a particular form of Bhagavan we'd serve or any particular kind of specific positive identification, then this would be the sAdhana akin to j˝Ana-mArga, heading towards monistic brahman-realization.

I don't think it would be necessarily fair to say that such realization is yet "headed" anywhere. It is just a very fundamental form of "awakening" in itself.

One can awaken to awareness of brahman in an instant, if the conditions are right. This would seem to be the major purpose of Zen Buddhism. It doesn't mean that one is already inclined to "stop there" necessarily; but when something like Zen Buddhism is reified into a "system", that system itself tends to encourage one to do just that, and therein lies the problem.

To aspire to know and serve Bhagavan, though, one has to attract His grace.
Madhava - Wed, 06 Oct 2004 22:47:56 +0530
QUOTE (Devi dasa @ Oct 6 2004, 06:06 PM)
I don't think it would be necessarily fair to say that such realization is yet "headed" anywhere. It is just a very fundamental form of "awakening" in itself.

Not headed anywhere in terms of bhakti-sAdhana. A person, in whom a clear perception of a particular bhagavat-svarUpa and a particular relationship of servitude has not awakened, is not headed much anywhere in terms of bhakti-sAdhana. Otherwise, I'm sure all are heading straight on to their respective directions, whether good or bad.
Dhyana - Thu, 07 Oct 2004 02:09:22 +0530
QUOTE
I'd say neither of the two, really. Perhaps a stage of preliminary interest, akin to standing at crossroads and looking around. Once you get a clue of the original identity, you can then engage in practices that lead you towards the realm in which this original identity prevails. That would be sAdhana in the precise sense of the term. For example, you might understand that you are an associate in Vaikuntha, or a friend in Vraja, and begin to head towards that goal.


This describes it well. I wasn't "yet" headed towards Vraja or Vaikuntha because I first needed to get in touch with the part of me (the spiritual self) that belonged in either and would propel me there.

QUOTE
If by "original identity" one thinks of "self-realization", or realization that we are spiritual sparks, and not this body, without due concern for a particular form of Bhagavan we'd serve or any particular kind of specific positive identification, then this would be the sAdhana akin to j˝Ana-mArga, heading towards monistic brahman-realization.


I was occasionally considered to have leanings toward jnana, but did not quite recognize myself in it. Your explanation above points to a subtle difference: some may have no concern for God and want only self-realization. These could perhaps be called monists. Others hope there is a God but it remains a hypothesis for them, so that getting in touch with their spiritual identity as a servant of God -- even in the most general sense -- would serve as evidence of sorts and give further direction.

I like your insights about reification of Zen Buddhism, Devi dasa.

Dhyana