Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
Attaining Radha-kunda - What all does it entail?
Madhava - Wed, 12 Jan 2005 13:10:25 +0530
And another thing... in text eleven of Nectar of Instruction:
krsnasyoccaih pranaya-vasatih preyasibhyo 'pi radha
kundam casya munibhir abhitas tadrg eva vyadhayi
yat presthair apy alam asulabham kim punar bhakti-bhajam
tat premedam sakrd api sarah snatur aviskaroti
"Of the many objects of favored delight and of all the lovable damsels of Vrajabhumi, Srimati Radharani is certainly the most treasured object of Krsna's love. And, in every respect, Her divine kunda is described by great sages as similarly dear to Him. Undoubtedly Radha-kunda is very rarely attained even by the great devotees; therefore it is even more difficult for ordinary devotees to attain. If one simply bathes once within those holy waters, one's pure love of Krsna is fully aroused. "
I would like to hear some comments on this verse... What does it mean to attain Radha Kund? How far is it beyond living and serving on the banks, & having one's siddha deha revealed? Is there more?
Ultimately, attaining Radha-kunda means the following: The manjari-bhava-sadhaka, having progressed through the various stages of devotion, such as ruchi, asakti, bhava and prema, attains total unity with the desired siddha-deha, taking birth in any one of the universes in which Sri Krishna's prakata-lila, or manifest pastimes, are unfolding at the moment. The birth of a manjari-bhava-sadhaka will be in any one of the villages surrounding the capital of Vrishabhanu Maharaja, and from her very childhood, the manjari, being a few years younger than Sri Radha, will have the affectionate company of Radhika.
At the conclusion of the prakata-lila, having associated with nitya-siddha-manjaris and perfected her moods of prema-seva, the manjari will join Radha-Shyama in the aprakata-lila that unfolds throughout the eight periods of the day. In that aprakata-lila, during mid-day each day, Radha-Shyama with sakhis and manjaris meet at Radha-Kunda, which is thought of as hosting the most wondrous of all pastimes. The madhyahna-lila, or mid-day-pastimes, are thought of as being the cream of the entire astakaliya-lila. Rendering various delicate services there, the manjari has truly attained Radha-kunda.
JD33 - Thu, 13 Jan 2005 09:38:40 +0530
Very sweet Madhava, thank you for writing that.
Advitiya - Thu, 13 Jan 2005 10:27:40 +0530
jay! Radha-kunda-mahima ki jay! Astakaliya-lila ki jay!
Subal - Thu, 13 Jan 2005 22:09:23 +0530
If one simply bathes once within those holy waters, one's pure love of Krsna is fully aroused.
If this is true, along with similar statements about other devotional practices, why is the spiritual position of devotees who have done these practices questioned so much?
The manjari-bhava-sadhaka, having progressed through the various stages of devotion, such as ruchi, asakti, bhava and prema, attains total unity with the desired siddha-deha, taking birth in any one of the universes in which Sri Krishna's prakata-lila, or manifest pastimes, are unfolding at the moment.
Where does this idea come from? It is quite new to me. I've always believed we went straight to the spiritual Braja and were not reborn again.
JD33 - Thu, 13 Jan 2005 22:17:21 +0530
It is interesting that 'our' tradition is one of the few traditions that one cannot complete ones attainment within a human body. That we go to an intermediary place for futher levels of developement. It is quite awesome if you think about it. There are several other traditions that have the same understanding.
Madhava - Thu, 13 Jan 2005 23:20:39 +0530
Subal, you'll find it described in Visvanatha Cakravarti's Raga-vartma-chandrika, at the end of the second chapter. As follows (pardon me the long quote):
atha rAgAnugA-bhakti majjanasyAnartha-nivRtti-niSThA-rucy-Asakty-antaraM prema-bhUmikArUDhasya sAkSAt svAbhISTa-prApti-prakAraH pradarzyate | yathojjvala nIlamaNau "tad bhAva baddha rAgA ye janAs te sAdhane ratAH | tad yogyam anurAgaughaM prApyotkaNThAnusArataH | tA ekazo'thavA dvitrAH kAle kAle vraje 'bhavan" iti | anurAgaughaM rAgAnugA bhajanautkaNThyaM natvanurAga sthAyinaM sAdhaka-dehe 'nurAgot-pattyasambhavAt | vraje 'bhavann iti avatAra samaye nitya priyAdya yathA Avirbhavanti tathaiva gopikA-garbhe sAdhana-siddha api Avirbhavanti | tataz ca nitya-siddhAdi gopInAM mahAbhAva-vatInAM saGga mahimnA darzana zravaNa kIrtanAdibhiH sneha mAna praNaya rAgAnurAga mahAbhAvA api tatra gopikA-dehe utpadyante | pUrva janmani sAdhaka-dehe teSAm utpattyasambhavAt |
Now it will be described how the raganugiya-bhaktas, who have gradually advanced through the stages of anartha nivritti (cessation of bad habits), nishtha (fixation), ruci (taste), and asakti (attachment to the beloved deity) up to the stage of prema (love of God), directly attain their beloved deity.
In Sri Ujjvala-nilamani it is said, “Those who are specially attracted to the ecstasy of the Vrajavasis, and thus perform raganuga-bhajana, will attain the abundance of eagerness that is fit for performing raganuga-bhajana, taking birth in Vraja in groups of one, two or three in their own time, according to their eagerness.”
Here the word anuragaugha means “that eagerness which makes one qualified for doing raganuga-bhajana”. The anuraga mentioned here does not refer to the sthayi-bhava (permanent mood) of that name, because the sthayi-bhava called anuraga cannot be attained within a sadhaka-body. The words “having taken birth in Vraja” means that the sadhana-siddhas take birth from the womb of a gopika, just as Krishna’s eternally beloved gopis appear with Him when He descends to earth (prakata-lila). Thereafter, by associating with, seeing, hearing and glorifying the mahabhava-filled, eternally liberated Vraja-gopis, gradually sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga and mahabhava will appear in that gopika-body. These feelings could not possibly have arisen in the material body of the sadhaka in his previous birth.
Subal - Fri, 14 Jan 2005 01:03:09 +0530
Thanks Madhava. Interesting. Is he the only one who says this, and where did he get it from? The quote from Sri Ujjvala-nilamani could be interpreted differently. What is "our tradition?" Does this mean all Gaudiya vaishnavas? What are some other related tradions that accept going to the spiritual world after this life of sadana, and why are we so different? I suppose the Sri Vaishnavas we discussed in another thread go directly.
Madhava - Fri, 14 Jan 2005 01:19:08 +0530
He took it from (1) the heritage of the tradition, and (2) the subsequent interpretation of the said verse of Ujjvala-nilamani. Similar concepts have been expressed for example in the songs of Narottama Das Thakur Mahashaya, where he prays to take birth in the house of Ahiri Gopa in Vrisabhanu-pura. Perhaps Jagat would like to go over the commentaries on that verse from Ujjvala-nilamani.
As far as I know, this is a commonly accepted view. He explains the rationale for his comment soon afterwards:
nanu prema-bhUmikArUDhasya sAdhakasya deha-bhaGge satyevAprakaTa prakAze gopIgarbhAj janmanA vinA eva gopikA-deha prAptau satyAM tatraiva nitya-siddha gopikA saGgodbhUtAnAM snehAdInAM bhAvAnAM prAptiH syAd ityevaM kiM na brUSe | maivam | gopIgarbhAj janmanA vinA iyaM sakhI kasyAH putrI kasya vadhUH kasya strI ityAdi nara-lIlatA vyavahAro na sidhyet | tarhyaprakaTa prakAza eva janmAstIti cennaivaM prapaJcAgocarasya vRndAvanIya prakAzasya sAdhakAnAM prApaJcika lokAnAM ca pravezAdarzanena siddhAnAm eva praveza darzanena jJApitAt kevala siddha bhUmitvAt snehAdayo bhAvAs tatra sva sva sAdhanair api tUrNaM na phalanti, ato yogamAyayA jAta premANo bhaktAs te prapaJca gocare vRndAvana prakAze eva zrI kRSNAvatAra samaye nIyante tatrot-pattyanantaraM zrI kRSNAGga-saGgAt pUrvam eva tat tat bhAva siddhyartham | tatra sAdhaka bhaktAnAM karmI prabhRtinAM siddha bhaktAnAM ca praveza darzanenaivanubhUyate sAdhaka bhUmitvaM siddha bhUmitvaM ca | nanu tarhyetAvantaM kAlaM taiH paramotkaNThair bhaktaiH kva sthAtavyam | tatrocyate sAdhaka-deha-bhaGga-samaye eva tasmai premavate bhaktAya cira samaya vidhRta sAkSAt sevAbhilASa mahotkaNThAya bhagavatA kRpayaiva saparikarasya svasya darzanaM tad abhilaSaNIya sevAdikaM cAlabdha snehAdi prema-bhedAyApi sakRd dIyate eva yathA nAradAyaiva | cidAnandamayI gopikA tanuz ca dIyate | saiva tanur yogamAyayA vRndAvanIya prakaTa prakAze kRSNa parivAra prAdurbhAva-samaye gopIgarbhAd udbhAvyate | nAtra kAla-vilamba gandho ‘pi | prakaTa lIlAyA api vicchedAbhAvAt | yasminn eva brahmANDe tadAnIM vRndAvanIya lIlAnAM prAkaTyaM tatraivAsyAm eva vraja-bhUmau ataH sAdhaka premi-bhakta-deha-bhaGga-sama-kale ‘pi saparikara zrI kRSNa prAdurbhAvaH sadaivAsti iti bho bho mahAnurAgi sotkaNTha bhaktA mA bhaiSTa susthiras tiSThata svasty evAsti bhavadbhya iti |
One may ask, why don’t you say: “When the sadhaka attains the stage of prema and leaves his body, he will take a gopika-body in the spiritual world (aprakata-prakasa) without first taking birth from the womb of a gopika, after which he manifests sneha, etc. there in that body through the association of the eternally perfect gopis?” The answer here is: “No, that will not happen, because without taking birth from the womb of a gopi, one can not get a proper acquaintance with the human-like pastimes there, like: ‘Whose daughter is this sakhi? Whose wife is she? Whose daughter-in-law is she?’” “All right, then”, one may say, “then why not take birth in the aprakata-prakasa?” Then the answer is: “No, that is also not possible! Sadhakas and mundane people cannot enter Vrindavana, which is inaccessible to the material world; only the perfected ones can enter there, for that realm is known as pure siddha-bhumi, the world of the perfected ones.
Even through one’s own sadhana, the feelings of sneha and so on are not quickly attained there. Therefore, Yogamaya takes those devotees, whose prema has awakened, to Krishna’s materially manifest pastimes in Vrindavana when Krishna descends there, for the sake of perfecting their feelings like sneha etc. before they attain Sri Krishna’s bodily association. Because practising devotees, fruitive workers and perfected devotees can all be seen to enter into the materially manifest Sri Vrindavana, it is said to be both sadhaka-bhumi and siddha-bhumi.
“All right, then where will those most eager bhaktas whose prema has awakened stay all this time?” The answer is: “After the sadhaka-body perishes, that loving devotee, who has eagerly desired direct devotional service for a long time, will at once, by the Lord’s grace, receive the gift of the desired service and the audience of the Lord and His eternal associates, even though he has not yet attained the manifestations of prema like sneha and so on, just as the Lord once bestowed His Personal audience to Narada Muni in his previous birth. He will give the sadhaka a transcendental gopi-body. Yogamaya will make that body take birth from the womb of a gopi when Sri Krishna appears with His associates in the manifest pastimes of Vrindavana. There will be not even the slightest delay in that, because the prakata-lila goes on without interruption. It is understood that he will then take birth from the womb of a gopi in that universe in which the Sri Vrindavana-lila is manifest. Sri Krishna and His associates always appear when the loving sadhaka-devotee leaves His body. Therefore, O greatly eager anuragi devotees! Do not fear! Be at ease! All is auspicious for You!”
If you are interested, I can also post in the commentary of Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja, which elaborates on the ideas discussed in the original text.
JD33 - Fri, 14 Jan 2005 01:23:27 +0530
Subol, I wrote 'our' so as not to offend anyone - I mean traditional Gaudiya Vaisnavism. I am grateful to Madhava for putting up the scriptual quote. I have had to learn things differently in my time in the tradition, I know so little Sanskrit.
I have heard from several people that in Kaballah, the mystic part of the Jewish tradition - that one cannot realize highest realizations and maintain the physical body. It is more than apparently going mad from the incredible surges of spiritual energy that come as one advances on any true spiritiual path, but the energy can get (on rare occasions) such that the body connection cannot be maintained and others will see that as death (the physical body gets left behind).
In this connection it is interesting to note that our sadhana becomes a daily routine of handleling the thrilling of spiritual emotions/energy going through our body/mind/soul. Which in turn allow us to feel transedental emotions more and more; more and more refined. these kinds of paths allow anartha's to fall away naturally - remembering all we have to do is our Bhajan-Sadhana (with love and affection). The more practice we do (simple minded/hearted with love, compassion, humility, and affection) the more we evolve on the path. The more we evolve on the path , the more revelation we can handle. etc.
Subal - Fri, 14 Jan 2005 02:00:00 +0530
I would be happy to read the commentary of Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja, which elaborates on the ideas discussed in the original text. This is a new concept to me and takes some getting used to. I always figured that by the power of yoga maya all things are possible. Once the spirit soul is freed from the material body and mind, it is pure and therefore able to enter the spiritual realm. Once there, again by the power of yoga maya, one would immediately know oneself, one's relatives, friends, etc. because it, they, I are all eternal, without beginning or end, and it would appear as if one had always been there.
Madhava - Fri, 14 Jan 2005 02:10:54 +0530
QUOTE(Subal @ Jan 13 2005, 09:30 PM)
I always figured that by the power of yoga maya all things are possible. Once the spirit soul is freed from the material body and mind, it is pure and therefore able to enter the spiritual realm. Once there, again by the power of yoga maya, one would immediately know oneself, one's relatives, friends, etc. because it, they, I are all eternal, without beginning or end, and it would appear as if one had always been there.
It seems that in the view of Sripad Visvanath, purity alone will not suffice. The appropriate bhava-ingredients must be there in their full bloom for gaining entrance into the realm of aprakata-lila. Otherwise, if only purity were necessary, then we would expect brahma-vadis to also have entrance into that realm on the merit of their purity. However, we know that they are blocked even a the gates of Vaikuntha, what to speak of Goloka Vrindavan. Of course, if Krishna and Dauji need a grumpy brahmavadi-sage on whose lap they can sit, pulling his beard, then perhaps that would merit an exception.
You'll find the relevant section of the commentary on RVC attached.