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Gaudiya Vaishnavism in the modern world. Dealing with the varieties of challenges we face as practicing Gaudiyas amidst Western culture.

Diksha-paramparas in the Western world - Split from Nitai's statement on sane Vaishnavism



dasanudas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:13:05 +0530
Regarding starting the diksha parampara here in Western world I personally wholeheartedly support that move. And I think we should think about this positively and plan how we can go ahead. We should not rely on the process of going to braja/navadwip and get diksha for long run as that may not be a very much affordable process for all other people who are aspiring for association of devotee. Instead we should collectively thought about building a community that will serve the "entire" Gaudiya Vaishnav world.

Who ever will start that process I think we should move ourself over small disagreement we have , and try to support that move.

Yours
dasanudas
Rasaraja dasa - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:29:42 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

As far as diksa parampara on Western shores and by Western followers I don’t think anyone would disagree that such is a very very positive and natural route. Such a dynamic is the mercy of Sri Gauranga! Of course it is for the disciple to develop faith that any individual is both a qualified representative of his/her parampara as well as having to possess the faith that this individual can properly situate them in devotional service. The qualities of Sri Guru is something that we can discuss but again I don’t think attributing them to an individual is all that fair. That is for the disciple/perspective disciple to figure out.

Radhe Radhe!

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:30:25 +0530
QUOTE
We should not rely on the process of going to braja/navadwip and get diksha for long run as that may not be a very much affordable process for all other people who are aspiring for association of devotee.


I disagree. Most devotees have cars, TV, nice houses and go on vacation to all kinds of mundane places while they have 'no money' for going to India. In most cases, not all, but most cases, it is just complacency and unwillingness to bring a sacrifice of going through the hardship of travelling to India. I go to India twice a year on a welfare allowance. Where there is a will there is a way. And sorry for being politically incorrect, I dont think that one should take diksha from a non Indian either. The Haribhakti Vilasa clearly says, in its very first chapter, that one should take diksa from a brahmin, and if that is not possible then from a qualified ksatriya and so forth. But from an American or a European, because we are too lazy, complacent or miserly to travel to India..........really..........? blink.gif
dasanudas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:47:16 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 09:00 AM)
QUOTE
We should not rely on the process of going to braja/navadwip and get diksha for long run as that may not be a very much affordable process for all other people who are aspiring for association of devotee.


I disagree. Most devotees have cars, TV, nice houses and go on vacation to all kinds of mundane places while they have 'no money' for going to India. In most cases, not all, but most cases, it is just complacency and unwillingness to bring a sacrifice of going through the hardship of travelling to India. I go to India twice a year on a welfare allowance. Where there is a will there is a way. And sorry for being politically incorrect, I dont think that one should take diksha from a non Indian either. The Haribhakti Vilasa clearly says, in its very first chapter, that one should take diksa from a brahmin, and if that is not possible then from a qualified ksatriya and so forth. But from an American or a European, because we are too lazy, complacent or miserly to travel to India..........really..........? blink.gif



Pranam Advaita Das ji,

Please tell me then how we are going to interpret mahaprabhu's word:

"Kiba sudra kiba bipra nyasi kene noy
jei krishna tattva betta sei guru hoy"...

Regarding the problem of going braja , I think it is not about unwillingness for sacrifice, for many people it is really a problem. As I know western life is bit more hard than average Indian life , and sometime people may have so many practical problem in keeping thorough contact with saints in braja like you did. Also think about a newcomer how he is going to know about the detail sweetness of our premdharma until and unless we try to educate them here. Then he will generate affections for more sadhusanga and that will lead him to go india , probably not immediately but when time will be convinient for him.

I think it is a responsibilty of advance devotee to groom people also. I do not see any reason why you are not qualified to give initiation? If you have faith , if you have love from yugal kishore and mahaprabhu you should distribute the same to other with your gurus blessings.


Dandavat once again to your feet.

Yours Dasanudas
Rasaraja dasa - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:55:05 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

Radhe Radhe!

We will now split this thread to discuss the Qualities of Sri Guru as it has little to do with Nitai's statements and the thread at hand.

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas.

Rasaraja dasa
Gaurasundara - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:59:30 +0530
Take a look at this topic about the subject of Western Gurus.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 20:53:01 +0530
QUOTE
Please tell me then how we are going to interpret mahaprabhu's word:

"Kiba sudra kiba bipra nyasi kene noy
jei krishna tattva betta sei guru hoy"...



If you study the context of this verse, you will see that it is spoken by Mahaprabhu to Ramananda Ray. The former was a brahmin and a sannyasi, the latter was a sudra and a grihastha. Mahaprabhu regarded RR as a Guru, but did not take diksa from him. The reference is to siksa guru not diksa guru.

QUOTE
Also think about a newcomer how he is going to know about the detail sweetness of our premdharma until and unless we try to educate them here. Then he will generate affections for more sadhusanga and that will lead him to go india , probably not immediately but when time will be convinient for him.


Same thing. I am not saying we should not tell western aspirants anything at all about prema dharma. Any person who properly follows and understands our siddhanta (forgive me once more, but even such persons are not so easy to find in the west) can give that information to a newcomer, but one must take the sacrifice of going to India for taking diksa. Siksa is one thing, Diksa another.
I am curious as to how you find western life more difficult than Indian life. I have looked at things from both sides of the fence and I can tell you that about 1.000.000.000 Indians will disagree with you there.

QUOTE
I do not see any reason why you are not qualified to give initiation? If you have faith, if you have love from yugal kishore and mahaprabhu you should distribute the same to other with your gurus blessings.


I beg to refer here to the unending stream of falling western Gurus we have been witnessing for the past 25 years, and counting. Do you think that is happening with Indian Gurus too? The upbringing and background of a western devotee is mostly too flimsy. I could elaborate on that widely, but so far so good...........
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:12:58 +0530
Hari-bhakti-vilasa, in the section delineating the qualities of the guru, lists -- in addition to the recommendation for having a brahmin-guru -- a whole list of all kinds of qualities, such as being youthful and charming, and so forth. Many of which, needless to say, are not considered with any degree of gravity in search for a guru.

This, then, raises a question on whether these qualifications, being a born brahmin included, are svarUpa-lakSaNa or taTastha-lakSaNa. Since bhakti is not a function of body or mind, but a faculty of svarUpa-zakti, I find it hard to believe that a qualification by birth would be more than a marginal characteristic.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:17:17 +0530
QUOTE
I find it hard to believe that a qualification by birth would be more than a marginal characteristic.


Perhaps food for thought of the 1000s of western devotees who were left stranded with a fallen American Guru? As the list of falling western Gurus grows, perhaps some will take the words of Sanatan Gosvami more seriously? Perhaps good for yourself to draw a comparison with your previous Iskcon Guru (yes the new 'vanaprastha') and your current one? Or is that sheer coincidence?
Gaurasundara - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:19:49 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 04:47 PM)
perhaps some will take the words of Sanatan Gosvami more seriously?

Which words, Advaitaji? I do not immediately understand the reference.
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:21:10 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 04:47 PM)
Perhaps food for thought of the 1000s of western devotees who were left stranded with a fallen American Guru? As the list of falling western Gurus grows, perhaps some will take the words of Sanatan Gosvami more seriously?

American ISKCON gurus is one thing. Those gurus have disregarded the basic svarUpa-lakSaNa, namely zAbde pare ca niSNAtaM brahmaNy upazamAzrayam. That, therefore, doesn't really serve as any kind of point of reference.

Perhaps Advaitaji, for the record, you'd like to post in the original verses from Hari-bhakti-vilasa.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:27:49 +0530
In the Haribhakti Vilasa (1:34, 47, 51 and 52, paragraphs gurupasatti and visesatah sri guror laksanani), Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Gopala Bhatta Gosvami state that the first choice of a qualified guru should be a born brahmana — vipram pradhvasta kama (1.34) brahmanah sarvakalajna (1.47). varnottame'tha ca gurau (1.51) If a qualified brahmana cannot be found, a qualified ksatriya must be sought, etc. –

tad abhavad dvija srestha santatma bhagavanmayah
bhavitatma ca sarvajnah sastrajnah sat kriyaparah
siddhi traya samayukta acaryatve’bhisecitah.
ksatra vit sudra jatinam ksatriyo’nugraheksamah
ksatriyasyapi ca guror abhavad idrso yadi
vaisyah syat tena karyasca dvaye nityam anugrahah
sajatiyena sudrena tadrsena mahamate
anugrahabhisekau ca karyau sudrasya sarvada

(Haribhakti Vilasa 1.47)

“In the absence of a qualified brahmana Guru, one can take a ksatriya Guru, who is filled with God consciousness, peaceful, knows all about the diksa ritual, knows scripture, is conversant with all rites, has the three siddhis (perfection in practise of mantra, worship of the Guru and the demigods, attained through practises like purascarana). Such a ksatriya-Guru can give diksa to his fellow ksatriyas as well as to vaisyas and sudras. Similarly sudras can always give diksa to their fellow sudras.”

Nobody speaks here about a Guru simply being a brahmin, there is clear reference to a qualified Brahmin. Sanatan Gosvami was not a smarta.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:38:10 +0530
QUOTE
This, then, raises a question on whether these qualifications, being a born brahmin included, are svarUpa-lakSaNa or taTastha-lakSaNa.


Both in Haribhakti Vilasa and in ADP's Guru Tattva Vijnana the high birth of the Guru are classified as 'Special characteristics' (sri guror laksanani) of the Guru....
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:48:05 +0530
I have brought up the matter with my guruji on a couple of occasions, since it seems to be a recurring theme. In his view, in the future there may be "high-souled" Western devotees who may act in the capacity of diksha-gurus. When asked as to what the symptoms of such high-souled devotees might be, Baba explained that they would be steeped deep in bhajan and tasting nectar, with anubhAvas arising in the heart. (See this topic on anubhAvas.)

On another occasion, as I asked about the standards of spiritual practice that would be expected of such gurus, Baba said that they would be chanting the Name in the range of two lakhs a day or more. Again on another occasion, he also stressed how the guru should be a shastriya-guru, one who knows the shastras well, as without that he would not be able to dissipate the doubts of the disciple.

With regards to who might be authorized to initiate, Baba said that in principle he had no objections to his disciples initiating in the West even while he is still present among us, provided we would be situated in our sAdhana firmly enough to be able to maintain it on a proper level all the way. If there would be people who could not make it to India in a reasonable period of time, then such people could take diksha from any qualified Western disciple of his. However, he added, this should be done only if they requested for the such, as canvassing for disciples is not the behavior of a real guru.

Yes, and he added, "Something is better than nothing." smile.gif
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 21:56:37 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 05:08 PM)
QUOTE
This, then, raises a question on whether these qualifications, being a born brahmin included, are svarUpa-lakSaNa or taTastha-lakSaNa.

Both in Haribhakti Vilasa and in ADP's Guru Tattva Vijnana the high birth of the Guru are classified as 'Special characteristics' (sri guror laksanani) of the Guru...

Yes, but vizeSa-lakSaNa isn't a synonym of svarUpa-lakSaNa. And as I said, qualities such as "youthful", "beautiful", "well-dressed" and so forth appear in the very same citation as the mention of having been born in a pure vaMza. You'll also find heaps of other interesting qualities there in the verses Goswamipad cites in that section, qualities that certainly aren't found in 98% of the gurus out there, give or take 1½%.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:00:49 +0530
Your Guruji mentions a neat standard of sadhana and purity. Know anyone in the West who lives up to that? Even 'advanced' devotees here call the Bhagavat 'exaggarated' and 'backwards' and people who follow the Gosvamis are 'insane'. Not to speak of regulative principles and 2 lakhs. I think we better not hold our breaths then before a qualified western Guru comes around and just book a flight to India instead. Otherwise western aspirants may have to wait quite a while. I think everyone will in the meantime be able to save up enough money to travel to India anyway to meet someone who is already on that level. biggrin.gif
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:04:29 +0530
As you point out, the instruction to seek out a qualified guru from the highest possible varNa is there. One must wonder, though, how this was applied in practice in the older times. How was "not available" defined? Certainly qualified brahmin-born gurus were always somewhere available.

Say, if one lived in Puri, yet couldn't find a qualified brahmin-born guru there though there would have been a qualified kshatriya-born guru, yet it was told that in Navadvipa a qualified brahmana-born guru was available, would people have traveled to Navadvipa for the sake of the distinction in varNa? It would seem to be somewhat of a meaningless over-endeavor if devotion-wise the qualifications of the two said gurus would be of the same level.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:09:37 +0530
Remember that in those days there were no trains and planes. In most cases one would just take diksa from a qualified lower caste Guru. Also communication wasnt the way it is now. I think a Puri bhakta might not even know of any qualified Brahmin Guru in Navadvipa. Above all this, it is perhaps better not to argue like this with Sanatan Gosvami......... unsure.gif
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:09:47 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 05:30 PM)
Your Guruji mentions a neat standard of sadhana and purity. Know anyone in the West who lives up to that? Even 'advanced' devotees here call the Bhagavat 'exaggarated' and 'backwards' and people who follow the Gosvamis are 'insane'. Not to speak of regulative principles and 2 lakhs. I think we better not hold our breaths then before a qualified western Guru comes around and just book a flight to India instead. Otherwise western aspirants may have to wait quite a while. I think everyone will in the meantime be able to save up enough money to travel to India anyway to meet someone who is already on that level.  biggrin.gif

laugh.gif

Yes I heartily agree with this. It is quite likely that it'll take less time to save up for a ticket than it takes for a Western sAdhaka to come up to that standard. I'm not saying it can't happen, but the first option is certainly the way of playing it safe for the time being.

Of course one could go by the "something is better than nothing" (whatever that means in practice smile.gif) and just seek mantra from someone with a lesser standard, but I can only wonder who in his right frame of mind would give a mantra prior to coming to a substantial level of sAdhana first, if not otherwise, at least quantitatively speaking, as that's an objective criteria one can judge for oneself. Giving harinAma, okay, but when we're talking about giving mantra we're talking business there!
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:21:14 +0530
To me it seems that Karma lies at the base of the high birth of the Guru being required and mentioned as special characteristic by Sanatan Gosvami. Lets remember that the Guru has to be pure enough himself to tolerate huge punches of karma of the disciples he accepts. Westerners have a disadvantage in both samskara (upbringing, habits) and karma, so no wonder that if they assume the role of Guru and also take all the bad karma of their fellow westerners (their disciples) that one after the other falls down? minus plus minus is double minus...
It is also therefore that pratiloma diksa (low class Guru and high class Sisya) is discouraged in the Haribhakti Vilasa (pratilomyam na diksayet).
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:27:59 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 05:39 PM)
Remember that in those days there were no trains and planes. In most cases one would just take diksa from a qualified lower caste Guru. Also communication wasnt the way it is now. I think a Puri bhakta might not even know of any qualified Brahmin Guru in Navadvipa. Above all this, it is perhaps better not to argue like this with Sanatan Gosvami......... unsure.gif

No, I am certainly not arguing with Sanatan Goswamipad. I recognize that the rule is given there, what I am inquiring into is interpretations of its application and the extent of the necessity for its application.

There weren't trains or planes, agreed. However, the fame of the mahAtmas certainly spread around. In a recent topic the spreading of Madhavendra Puri's fame was mentioned, that should serve as an example. The incident with Gopinath occured in Remuna, which is roughly half-way between Calcutta and Puri, and as Madhavendra reached Puri, he found people praising his glories over to the incident!

Returning to the example, going to Puri to Navadwip is a trip somewhere in the range of 500 kilometers. Covering five kilometers in an hour, which is a normal walking speed, and walking half the day, it'd take a bit over a week one way. Or, one can save up and rent a horse! On a thorough-bred, riding 50 km/h, you'd be in Navadwip in just ten hours!

To contrast that with modern travel, the last journey from Radha-kunda to Helsinki took a total of 24 hours, and if memory serves, for Rasaraja with the whole family onboard it took well over 48 hours. And while it's more "comfortable", honestly I would rather walk for a couple of days and reach Radha-kunda than ride all these vehicles and go through all the hassle involved.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:28:13 +0530
In the USA you can buy a second hand good car for $ 2.000, or you can buy a fancy one for $ 20.000. If you really want to go to India, you can and you will get the money together. Where there is a will there is a way. Nowadays we get so pampered with all this fancy hardware we think we can get enlightenment online in our armchair. It will never work like that. Krishna is not so cheap that he will be available in a comfy armchair at the side of the swimmingpool. One needs to prove one's sincerity through sacrifice, no matter how fancy our western facilities are....
This is why I oppose the idea of proxy- or stand-in American Gurus who deliver the goods at home. It simply wont work. The Guru wont work and the Sisya wont work either.......
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:35:51 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 05:51 PM)
Lets remember that the Guru has to be pure enough himself to tolerate huge punches of karma of the disciples he accepts. Westerners have a disadvantage in both samskara (upbringing, habits) and karma, so no wonder that if they assume the role of Guru and also take all the bad karma of their fellow westerners (their disciples) that one after the other falls down? minus plus minus is double minus...

There is division over the interpretation of the guru's taking the karma. While some say as you say, others interpret this as the guru's "taking" the karma in the sense of his burning it.

rAjJi cAmAtyajA doSAH patnI-pApaM sva-bhartari |
tathA ziSyArjitaM pApaM guruH prApnoti nizcitam || HBV 1.77

"The faults of the counselor fall on the king, and the sins of a wife fall on her husband. In the same way a spiritual master attains the sins of his disciple. That is certain."

In the light of the kuryAt pApasya saGkSayam -aspect of diksha, and due to our theology of even a reflection the Name's destroying countless sins, many interpret this transferrance of sins dynamic as the sins being uplifted from the disciple and shifted to the guru for their immediate destruction.
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:40:30 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 05:58 PM)
One needs to prove one's sincerity through sacrifice, no matter how fancy our western facilities are....
This is why I oppose the idea of proxy- or stand-in American Gurus who deliver the goods at home. It simply wont work. The Guru wont work and the Sisya wont work either.......

If that is so, how would you then apply this principle for those who live in India, and perhaps live in the same geographical area as the guru? Or those who receive diksha as a matter of tradition, even in their early years without much understanding the gravity of the situation, from their family's hereditary Goswami-gurus?

Shouldn't they then reversely be flying to the US for diksha? laugh.gif

I appreciate the sentiment behind the idea of having to sacrifice for the attainment of a sad-guru, point taken. However, I'm again trying to reflect on this in the traditional context the principles work in their home-land, please don't mind. smile.gif
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:44:57 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Apr 14 2005, 05:05 PM)
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 05:51 PM)
Lets remember that the Guru has to be pure enough himself to tolerate huge punches of karma of the disciples he accepts. Westerners have a disadvantage in both samskara (upbringing, habits) and karma, so no wonder that if they assume the role of Guru and also take all the bad karma of their fellow westerners (their disciples) that one after the other falls down? minus plus minus is double minus...

There is division over the interpretation of the guru's taking the karma. While some say as you say, others interpret this as the guru's "taking" the karma in the sense of his burning it.

rAjJi cAmAtyajA doSAH patnI-pApaM sva-bhartari |
tathA ziSyArjitaM pApaM guruH prApnoti nizcitam || HBV 1.77

"The faults of the counselor fall on the king, and the sins of a wife fall on her husband. In the same way a spiritual master attains the sins of his disciple. That is certain."

In the light of the kuryAt pApasya saGkSayam -aspect of diksha, and due to our theology of even a reflection the Name's destroying countless sins, many interpret this transferrance of sins dynamic as the sins being uplifted from the disciple and shifted to the guru for their immediate destruction.



Fact remains that one American Guru after the other falls down, with no letting up. One devotee after the other falls down, no matter how much they chant that holy holy name. We must take aparadha into consideration here......
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:49:16 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 06:14 PM)
Fact remains that one American Guru after the other falls down, with no letting up. One devotee after the other falls down, no matter how much they chant that holy holy name. We must take aparadha into consideration here......

90% of them seem to be falling down anyway, whether gurus or otherwise. smile.gif

However I believe our trad. statistics look a bit better, though I'm not quite sure how much so.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:49:42 +0530
QUOTE
If that is so, how would you then apply this principle for those who live in India, and perhaps live in the same geographical area as the guru? Or those who receive diksha as a matter of tradition, even in their early years without much understanding the gravity of the situation, from their family's hereditary Goswami-gurus?

Shouldn't they then reversely be flying to the US for diksha?


If, like me, you have lived among the Indians, the Indian way (rough out in the open and on the floor, that is) for many years, you will know that sacrifice is a normal part of everyday life for the Indian. My Guru called India 'tapobhumi' and the west 'bhogbhumi'. This is why most Indians are very much willing to fly to the USA, though not for diksa perhaps. laugh.gif
Rasaraja dasa - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:02:30 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to teh Vaisnavas.

Radhe Radhe!

Just want to add my two rupees... although Advaita is pointing to the fall of so many that shouldn’t lead one to think that such a Vaisnava is not here today and especially that more won't be here tomorrow. To blanket all due to the fall of many can lead one to aparadha itself. Even if we are speaking of 1 out of 1,000,000 such a blanket assertion that none can or are qualified is in itself dangerous. By doing so would you not risk minimizing both that particular Vaisnava but also the power of the Holy Name as well as the very power of Sadhu, Sastra and Guru. In every case one must spend quality time in understanding that unique individual and their qualifications before casting doubt. I understand the skepticism but I think you need to temper that with the power of the Holy Name, the Vaisnavas and of course Sadhu, Sastra and Guru.

Regarding standards or purity and falldown... Westerners may be tempted to a larger degree and/or with a larger degree of diversion but that doesn't mean that more subtle aspects of diversion shouldn't be duly noted. As Western culture and karma, as noted by Advaita, tend to be of much grosser form that doesn’t mean that one who doesn’t encounter these same issues is any better positioned for acting as a diksa Guru.

A large visible crack on the outside of a house is a sure sign… yet just because a house doesn’t have that visible crack doesn’t mean it is sturdy.

I absolutely agree that ones birth, karma and environment are huge attributes to ones very being but I also think one cannot discount the power of what we are given nor should one overestimate how ones birth, karma and environment would determine one individual to be better situated then the other.

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
Gaurasundara - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:04:05 +0530
QUOTE(Gaurasundara @ Apr 14 2005, 04:49 PM)
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 04:47 PM)
perhaps some will take the words of Sanatan Gosvami more seriously?
Which words, Advaitaji? I do not immediately understand the reference.

Could I ask again what this reference from Sanatana Gosvami is, please?
Madhava - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:08:47 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 06:19 PM)
If, like me, you have lived among the Indians, the Indian way (rough out in the open and on the floor, that is) for many years, you will know that sacrifice is a normal part of everyday life for the Indian. My Guru called India 'tapobhumi' and the west 'bhogbhumi'. This is why most Indians are very much willing to fly to the USA, though not for diksa perhaps.  laugh.gif

Yes, there's certainly sacrifice there. However there are sacrifices for many reasons, and most of the common folk in all likelihood aren't doing their sacrifices first of all voluntarily and second of all for spiritual attainments. In fact, many of them seem pretty obsessed about remedying the situation! (Something that seems to be somewhat of an obstacle to diverting attention to a bit of sadhana...)

However it has become somewhat of a "neat" thing for someone in India to have a Western guru. Among modern religious Indians, very similar to someone's having aguru from a prestigeous vamsha.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:14:08 +0530
QUOTE(Gaurasundara @ Apr 14 2005, 05:34 PM)
Could I ask again what this reference from Sanatana Gosvami is, please?


I have already quoted them before in this thread, Gaura. See post nr. 12
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:18:37 +0530
QUOTE
Yes, there's certainly sacrifice there. However there are sacrifices for many reasons, and most of the common folk in all likelihood aren't doing their sacrifices first of all voluntarily and second of all for spiritual attainments. In fact, many of them seem pretty obsessed about remedying the situation! (Something that seems to be somewhat of an obstacle to diverting attention to a bit of sadhana...)


Familiarity makes them forget the purpose of their birth. Mahaprabhu said: bharata bhumite hoilo manusya janma jahar.........

QUOTE
However it has become somewhat of a "neat" thing for someone in India to have a Western guru.


That is a status symbol for the new rich in India. Everything has to be opulent and western, including the Guru. Life Member syndrome........
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:21:06 +0530
QUOTE(Rasaraja dasa @ Apr 14 2005, 05:32 PM)
Dandavats. All glories to teh Vaisnavas.

Radhe Radhe!

Just want to add my two rupees... although Advaita is pointing to the fall of so many that shouldn’t lead one to think that such a Vaisnava is not here today and especially that more won't be here tomorrow. To blanket all due to the fall of many can lead one to aparadha itself. Even if we are speaking of 1 out of 1,000,000 such a blanket assertion that none can or are qualified is in itself dangerous. By doing so would you not risk minimizing both that particular Vaisnava but also the power of the Holy Name as well as the very power of Sadhu, Sastra and Guru. In every case one must spend quality time in understanding that unique individual and their qualifications before casting doubt. I understand the skepticism but I think you need to temper that with the power of the Holy Name, the Vaisnavas and of course Sadhu, Sastra and Guru. 

Regarding standards or purity and falldown... Westerners may be tempted to a larger degree and/or with a larger degree of diversion but that doesn't mean that more subtle aspects of diversion shouldn't be duly noted. As Western culture and karma, as noted by Advaita, tend to be of much grosser form that doesn’t mean that one who doesn’t encounter these same issues is any better positioned for acting as a diksa Guru.

A large visible crack on the outside of a house is a sure sign… yet just because a house doesn’t have that visible crack doesn’t mean it is sturdy.

I absolutely agree that ones birth, karma and environment are huge attributes to ones very being but I also think one cannot discount the power of what we are given nor should one overestimate how ones birth, karma and environment would determine one individual to be better situated then the other.

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa



Dear Rasaraja, let us leave aside the rare exceptions. My apologies to them (and let us see where they will be at 5-10 years by the way) You must admit that the risk factor with a Western Guru is huge, far greater than with an Indian Guru...
Rasaraja dasa - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:35:13 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 09:51 AM)
Dear Rasaraja, let us leave aside the rare exceptions. My apologies to them (and let us see where they will be at 5-10 years by the way) You must admit that the risk factor with a Western Guru is huge, far greater than with an Indian Guru...

Radhe Radhe!

I think there is a huge risk regardless. I don’t have a huge frame of reference regarding the percentage of Indian born verse non Indian born failure rates. Let's face it... a western Vaisnava Guru is a big deal thus everyone will know of that individual and if they do experience issues it will be infamous whereas a Indian born Guru, outside of an organizational structure of, say ISKCON, wouldn't have that same attention on them regarding either success or failure. So how many are rightly situated for such a service and don’t experience issues is extremely hard to measure.

Furthermore who wants to measure such? As far as which risk is greater... greater risk for a gross fall down is much different then the risk of accepting someone who is rightly situated for such a service. Yes, it hurts more to be a follower of one who experiences gross fall down but as a perspective disciple one is looking for someone to bring them to Sri Radhikas service not just someone who won’t embarrass them.

It is for the prospective disciple and disciple to weigh such risks. I simply don’t doubt that one born in a Western body can indeed become qualified to take such a responsibility from either a practical perspective and definitely not from a philosophical one.

Rasaraja dasa

PS: Just for clarification… even if you can determines that someone isn’t drawn to gross examples of avaisnava activities, whether due to birth, karma or whatnot, does that mean one is situated to bring a disciple to Sri Radhika’s service? One may be better positioned to take advantage of what they are given but that doesn't equate to qualification in and of itself.
Advaitadas - Thu, 14 Apr 2005 23:49:25 +0530
QUOTE
Let's face it... a western Vaisnava Guru is a big deal thus everyone will know of that individual and if they do experience issues it will be infamous whereas a Indian born Guru, outside of an organizational structure of, say ISKCON, wouldn't have that same attention on them regarding either success or failure.


It seems you do not know much about India and its Gurus. Most of them are much more famous than even ACBS, who had just 5000 disciples. That is peanuts compared to an average Indian Guru, also Vaishnava Guru. Their fame is huge.

QUOTE
I think there is a huge risk regardless. I don’t have a huge frame of reference regarding the percentage of Indian born verse non Indian born failure rates.


Indian Gurus can lose the way also sometimes, but believe me, such massive, nay nearly unanimous falldowns of the western Gurus and the type of activities they are guilty of......... crying.gif

QUOTE
I simply don’t doubt that one born in a Western body can indeed become qualified to take such a responsibility from either a practical perspective and definitely not from a philosophical one.


I cant follow the last sentence, but I do know that you and most participants here did swap a Western Guru for an Indian one........ wink.gif
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:13:40 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 10:19 AM)
It seems you do not know much about India and its Gurus. Most of them are much more famous than even ACBS, who had just 5000 disciples. That is peanuts compared to an average Indian Guru, also Vaishnava Guru. Their fame is huge.

I believe I already confirmed my lack of context regarding such but thanks for reminding me again. I still think you are going a bit overboard in stating that most Indian orn Vaisnavas have a particular amount of disciples or fame. Regardless of how accurate your assumption is it doesn't speak to the root of our discussion in the least. Using the example of the first western born 20 year olds to be given such responsibility after 3-8 years of experience is a poor reach and although it speaks to practical history of ISKCON it doesn’t define all present today and won’t tomorrow.

QUOTE
Indian Gurus can lose the way also sometimes, but believe me, such massive, nay nearly unanimous falldowns of the western Gurus and the type of activities they are guilty of......... crying.gif


Again I am not simply talking of those that lose their way or experience some gross fall down. If one never has an illicit relationship, never takes an intoxicant or never has a scandal does that mean they have the qualification to bring on to Sri Radhika's service? Again it is a very very good start but it isn’t the all in all. If there are Indian born Guru's who have never had such a scandal but still aren't situated in a manner to really bring their disciples to Sri Radhika’s service then the argument is over. The possibility is there so let’s move from talking about the historical context of ISKCON to the theological conclusion of the qualifications of a Guru.

QUOTE
I cant follow the last sentence, but I do know that you and most participants here did swap a Western Guru for an Indian one........ wink.gif

I am going to take issue with such a statement. I didn't throw off my old t-shirt and put on a new one. To take something so complicated and close to ones heart and make it as simple as "See, you took an Indian Guru over a Westerner!" is both laughable and, to me, insulting. Maybe you chose your Guru based on where he was born... I did not.

The last sentence is simple: I don’t doubt that one born in a Western body can indeed become qualified to be a Guru due to the power of parampara, the Holy Name, the mercy of the Vaisnavas and such. I don't doubt it from either a practical perspective and definitely not from a philosophical perspective.

Radhe Radhe!

Rasaraja dasa
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:18:51 +0530
No offense meant Rasaraja. If I am mistaken forgive me.... flowers.gif
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:22:42 +0530
Radhe Radhe!

I am sure it was just a witty remark on your side... I just didn’t find it all that amusing nor accurate. Regardless no apology needed.

Radhe Radhe!

Rasaraja dasa
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:27:17 +0530
QUOTE
The last sentence is simple: I don’t doubt that one born in a Western body can indeed become qualified to be a Guru due to the power of parampara, the Holy Name, the mercy of the Vaisnavas and such. I don't doubt it from either a practical perspective and definitely not from a philosophical perspective.


I hope you will agree with me that this is a hitherto post-dated cheque........

QUOTE
I believe I already confirmed my lack of context regarding such but thanks for reminding me again. I still think you are going a bit overboard in stating that most Indian orn Vaisnavas have a particular amount of disciples or fame. Regardless of how accurate your assumption is it doesn't speak to the root of our discussion in the least. Using the example of the first western born 20 year olds to be given such responsibility after 3-8 years of experience is a poor reach and although it speaks to practical history of ISKCON it doesn’t define all present today and won’t tomorrow.


You are changing the subject now. You yourself brought up the argument of fame and the number of disciples and I just reacted to that.

QUOTE
Maybe you chose your Guru based on where he was born... I did not.


Perhaps you are not aware of it yet.
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:41:38 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 10:57 AM)
QUOTE
The last sentence is simple: I don’t doubt that one born in a Western body can indeed become qualified to be a Guru due to the power of parampara, the Holy Name, the mercy of the Vaisnavas and such. I don't doubt it from either a practical perspective and definitely not from a philosophical perspective.


I hope you will agree with me that this is a hitherto post-dated cheque........

QUOTE
I believe I already confirmed my lack of context regarding such but thanks for reminding me again. I still think you are going a bit overboard in stating that most Indian orn Vaisnavas have a particular amount of disciples or fame. Regardless of how accurate your assumption is it doesn't speak to the root of our discussion in the least. Using the example of the first western born 20 year olds to be given such responsibility after 3-8 years of experience is a poor reach and although it speaks to practical history of ISKCON it doesn’t define all present today and won’t tomorrow.


You are changing the subject now. You yourself brought up the argument of fame and the number of disciples and I just reacted to that.

QUOTE
Maybe you chose your Guru based on where he was born... I did not.


Perhaps you are not aware of it yet.


Radhe Radhe!

It may indeed be a hitherto post-dated cheque yet I am indeed confident of such and I hope when the date of the check passes you let me cash it!

I am not changing the subject... When I borught up that point I was simply stating that the examples of fallen Western Guru's over the last 25 years (ISKCON) is a bit of a bad example in that it was and is an extremely unique circumstance in both the circumstance which made them act in the capacity of Guru and in the publicity of their struggles . Indian born or not Indian born anyone who is given such responsibility at such an early age with so little background is going to be an anomaly in from a long term perspective. Your using ISKCON’s example, in my humble opinion, is comparing an apple to an automobile. The original point of our conversation was not based on ISKCON’s Western Guru’s success ratio verse the entire history of Vaisnavism in India. It is based on the precept of what is the qualification of Guru, how do you recognize such and does our theology support that regardless of birth one can indeed advance to the point of acting as a Guru.

Your point on not knowing just yet... still not cute!

Radhe Radhe!

Rasaraja dasa

Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:46:36 +0530
QUOTE(Rasaraja dasa)
Your using ISKCON’s example, in my humble opinion, is comparing an apple to an automobile.

Indeed, only the future decades will show what'll come out of Western diksha-gurus. Right now we just don't have the statistics to chew on. Until it comes down to a practical level and we see it happening, it's really anyone's speculation as to how it'll turn out.

It's quite possible that only mature and advanced individuals will come to act in the capacity of a guru, in contrast to, as was pointed out, young fellows with very limited experience, and I should add, with a rather mixed conception of what our tradition and sadhana was to begin with.
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:50:40 +0530
QUOTE
When I borught up that point I was simply stating that the examples of fallen Western Guru's over the last 25 years (ISKCON) is a bit of a bad example in that it was and is an extremely unique circumstance in both the circumstance which made them act in the capacity of Guru and in the publicity of their struggles


We are not speaking 1977, but 2005. 28 years later they are still falling down massively.... And many of them were appointed in the 80s and 90s, after decades of practise....

QUOTE
It is based on the precept of what is the qualification of Guru, how do you recognize such and does our theology support that regardless of birth one can indeed advance to the point of acting as a Guru.


If you carefully study Haribhakti Vilas' chapters 1-2 and ADP's Guru Tattva Vijnana you will see that Sanatan Gosvami does mention much more than birth as a qualification. I never said that birth is the only qualification, but it is an important one. visesa guror laksana, as Sanatan Gosvami.
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:57:16 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 08:20 PM)
We are not speaking 1977, but 2005. 28 years later they are still falling down massively.... And many of them were appointed in the 80s and 90s, after decades of practise....

But what kind of practice, and done with what kind of understanding? I have a hard time believing that you of all people should treat our traditional raganuga-bhajan and their approach as possessing an equivalent potency in transforming individuals. huh.gif


QUOTE
If you carefully study Haribhakti Vilas' chapters 1-2 and ADP's Guru Tattva Vijnana you will see that Sanatan Gosvami does mention much more than birth as a qualification. I never said that birth is the only qualification, but it is an important one. visesa guror laksana, as Sanatan Gosvami.

Are all the items listed under the lenghty vizeSa-lakSana section of equal importance? If not, why are some raised to such a status?
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:57:38 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 11:20 AM)
If you carefully study Haribhakti Vilas' chapters 1-2 and ADP's Guru Tattva Vijnana you will see that Sanatan Gosvami does mention much more than birth as a qualification. I never said that birth is the only qualification, but it is an important one. visesa guror laksana, as Sanatan Gosvami.

Radhe Radhe!

I understand and agree with the point made above. Again the right birth, upbringing, karma and psychological makeup is a huge advantage. I just thought you were putting too many ladoos in that particular basket as it doesn’t predetermine ones potential. The power of the Holy Name and mercy of the Vaisnavas can move Heaven and Earth.

Regarding 1977 verse 2005... still that is a very unique situation that I don’t think spells the future out for all, or even most, in years to come.

Rasaraja dasa
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 01:21:32 +0530
QUOTE
Indeed, only the future decades will show what'll come out of Western diksha-gurus.


Decades? LOL ! Well I wont be around then anymore to check your predictions, and the American Gurus, most of them older than me, wont be around anymore themselves either! laugh.gif
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 01:35:08 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 08:51 PM)
Decades? LOL ! Well I wont be around then anymore to check your predictions, and the American Gurus, most of them older than me, wont be around anymore themselves either!  laugh.gif

I'm not saying it'll take decades for some to show up. However what I'm saying is it'll take a decade or two before you get statistics that are worth anything. smile.gif
dasanudas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 04:43:30 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 10:23 AM)
QUOTE
Please tell me then how we are going to interpret mahaprabhu's word:

"Kiba sudra kiba bipra nyasi kene noy
jei krishna tattva betta sei guru hoy"...



If you study the context of this verse, you will see that it is spoken by Mahaprabhu to Ramananda Ray. The former was a brahmin and a sannyasi, the latter was a sudra and a grihastha. Mahaprabhu regarded RR as a Guru, but did not take diksa from him. The reference is to siksa guru not diksa guru.



Pranam Advaita ji,

With due respect to you I beg to disagree.
The context of the verse is not as you are explaining. Mahaprabhu never said anything specific to siksha guru in that verse nor he mentioned anything of that type in that context . Also in traditional vaishnav theology there is no difference between diksha guru and siksha guru. The qualification for both diksha guru and siksha guru are same. Actually there are three types of gurus
1) Diksha guru , 2) Siksha Guru and 3) Sravan Guru.

Please read Dr. Radhagovinda nath's Mahaparabhu Gauranga and his famous commentary on Chaitanya Charitamrita where he discussed this topic in very details and concluded your opposite.
Read Mahaparabhu Gauranga (page 672 - 677) onwards he discussed in length and breadth the Gaudiya Vaishanav theology about guru tattva. He discussed from BhaktiSandarva of SriPad Jiva Goswami, Srimad Vagavatam , Sridar tika and Sanatan tika , Harivakti vilas , BrambhaVaivarta puran , Chandogya sruti, Mundak shruti, Sri pad shakaracharya tika and Manu Samhita . At the end he concluded that Mahaprabhu's word about the above verse is about all type of gurus i.c diksha guru, siksha guru and sharavan guru. That is why our prema dharma is the sweetest and most generous dharma.
After that he has given example of those from the real life of our great mahapurusha such as Uddalak and raja Aswapati from Chandogya sruti, Srila Narattam Das thakur and his disple ramkrishna acharya ( there are others also), Srila Ramchandra Kaviraj and his disple harihar acharya, Balaki and Ajatasatru from Brihadaranyaka sruti and many more.

Even in today's traditional Vaishnav society there are many non brahmin Vasihnava gurus even within my relatives. So this is very much practiced in Vaishanva society.


It is not possible for me to translate those and post here. If could do that I would have been very happy , but that is not very trivial work, so I request you to go through that if possible.


QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 10:23 AM)
QUOTE
Also think about a newcomer how he is going to know about the detail sweetness of our premdharma until and unless we try to educate them here. Then he will generate affections for more sadhusanga and that will lead him to go india , probably not immediately but when time will be convenient for him.

Same thing. I am not saying we should not tell western aspirants anything at all about prema dharma. Any person who properly follows and understands our siddhanta (forgive me once more, but even such persons are not so easy to find in the west) can give that information to a newcomer, but one must take the sacrifice of going to India for taking diksa. Siksa is one thing, Diksa another.
I am curious as to how you find western life more difficult than Indian life. I have looked at things from both sides of the fence and I can tell you that about 1.000.000.000 Indians will disagree with you there.

I am also indian and specifically bengalee vaishnava. What I meant to say there that in India it is relatively easy to practice sadhana if you want, maintaining all social responsibility and there you can expect the help from others ( specially your friends , relatives) to some extent to carry out your social duty. But that is not possible here in western world as you are solely responsible for all your activities. That makes the life here relatively strained. Only hard part in india is to find a proper job to maintain your household properly.
And I know Indians who lived in both india and us they will agree with me. Though I am not sure about situation in Europe.

QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 10:23 AM)
QUOTE
I do not see any reason why you are not qualified to give initiation? If you have faith, if you have love from yugal kishore and mahaprabhu you should distribute the same to other with your gurus blessings.


I beg to refer here to the unending stream of falling western Gurus we have been witnessing for the past 25 years, and counting. Do you think that is happening with Indian Gurus too? The upbringing and background of a western devotee is mostly too flimsy. I could elaborate on that widely, but so far so good...........



I think this point is already addressed in previous post. And I agree with Rasaraja Dasa here. Advaita ji we need to see the world in more positive way. Why do you think if your guru blessed you to take disciple to show the path, and you received the kripa of Gaurasundar who is going to make you fall? If you have sincere desire you should be able to, there is nothing in it regarding Western and Indian. But there is something for a guru willing to accept the responsibility of welfare of disciple. He should not make thousands of disciple and sell the mantra. Responsibility of being a guru is very high.. as you need to take care about your disciple as your own child.
I can tell you my personal experience here. My own elder uncle ( my jethu) is a very devoted Vaishnava. When he goes out for doing Mahaprabhus seva ( Bhoga Arati) and Nam Sankirtan many people ask him to give Diksha. But he refused. I asked one day why you are refusing? he said if I start taking disciple I need to employ my 100% time for them , thinking about them and taking care of them. But as I also need to take care of a large family ( we belong to a joint family, where my uncle is head of the family) , my responsibility as teacher ( he is vary famous teacher of english literature and former head master of a school) I will not be able to reserve time for my them. That is why I am refusing but I am directing them towards my GuruBhai who can.


And also there are example of down falling Indian Gurus also, but as they are not that famous as your previous examples of western gurus that is not coming out to everybodies eyes. In india those incidents are generally ignored pretty much.

To add my last point ( for your "The upbringing and background of a western devotee is mostly too flimsy") I donot see why we should be worried about this. I can see a bright future here too as the 2nd generation devotee will get much more better inherited samaskara, heritage , respect and deeper faith from there Vaishnava parents which will place them to equal plane eventually. Also the other side of the picture about India is not that good as you may be thinking.

Pranam again
Yours dasanudas
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 07:02:20 +0530
QUOTE
Please read Dr. Radhagovinda nath's Mahaparabhu Gauranga and his famous commentary on Chaitanya Charitamrita where he discussed this topic in very details and concluded your opposite.


I have many an issue with RG Nath, not to agree with him.

QUOTE
He discussed from BhaktiSandarva of SriPad Jiva Goswami, Srimad Vagavatam , Sridar tika and Sanatan tika , Harivakti vilas , BrambhaVaivarta puran , Chandogya sruti, Mundak shruti, Sri pad shakaracharya tika and Manu Samhita . At the end he concluded that Mahaprabhu's word about the above verse is about all type of gurus i.c diksha guru, siksha guru and sharavan guru. That is why our prema dharma is the sweetest and most generous dharma.


I do not believe that any of these shastras mention American Gurus. I have already quoted you decisive pramana from Haribhakti Vilasa. Brahma Vaivarta Purana says that one should not take take diksa from jati-hina, a casteless person. Manu Samhita is not for Vaishnavas. It endorses animal sacrifices and meat eating. Sorry RG Nath will simply not do for me.

QUOTE
After that he has given example of those from the real life of our great mahapurusha such as Uddalak and raja Aswapati from Chandogya sruti, Srila Narattam Das thakur and his disple ramkrishna acharya ( there are others also), Srila Ramchandra Kaviraj and his disple harihar acharya, Balaki and Ajatasatru from Brihadaranyaka sruti and many more.


Narottam das Thakur was a nitya siddha parikara whose body melted like milk. See Suhotra or Kirtanananda do that at any time?

QUOTE
Even in today's traditional Vaishnav society there are many non brahmin Vasihnava gurus even within my relatives. So this is very much practiced in Vaishanva society.


I know that, I have already quoted that in post nr.12 from Haribhakti Vilasa. If a qualified brahmin cannot be found a qualified ksatriya can be taken. It does not mention casteless persons though.

QUOTE
The context of the verse is not as you are explaining. Mahaprabhu never said anything specific to siksha guru in that verse nor he mentioned anything of that type in that context .


It specifically is set within the context of the sudra instructing the brahmin. The whole chapter is about that. And He does mention siksa - 'yei krishna tattva vetta' clearly refers to siksa. Afterwards, the Vedic brahmins invited Mahaprabhu for prasad. He would not eat grains from Ramananda Ray.

QUOTE
I can see a bright future here too as the 2nd generation devotee will get much more better inherited samaskara, heritage , respect and deeper faith from there Vaishnava parents which will place them to equal plane eventually.


Iskcon has already started its 3rd generation. The 2nd Generation is now suing Iskcon in the courts for child abuse and are mostly ardent enemies of Krishna. It is not a question of upbringing. My own kid isnt a Vaishnava at all, she was raised from birth in a Vaishnava household. Ask any other American 1st generation devotee what happened with their 2nd generation children.

QUOTE
He should not make thousands of disciple and sell the mantra. Responsibility of being a guru is very high..


I have not paid a paisa to my Indian Guru, my American Guru (yes the bonafide spiritual master) charged a huge sum of daksina when he gave me 'diksa', equivalent of about half a lakh of Rupees. When I offered my Indian Guru 15 Rs. daksina at the time of diksa, he shoved it aside and said: 'I dont want this. I want your heart......'
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 08:42:39 +0530
Dear Advaita dasa,

Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

Please forgive me if I am being too forward but I think your problem is that you want to project your experiences, both the good and bad, as the reality of everyone’s world. If you really think the sum and substance of Gaudiya theology and practice will only amount to the examples cited such as Suhotra or Kirtanananda then I have to wonder why you chant the Holy Name?

Now if I didn’t know any better I would assume that such a conclusion would be a symptom of one with a very deep rooted lack of faith in the Holy Name, the Vaisnavas and the causeless mercy and will of parampara. However knowing the little I do know about you I truly believe your motivation is to simply assert your viewpoint with the most extreme examples of Western Vaisnava failures because it is the best way to project on others your terrible experiences.

I mean do you really think those two examples or the 3 dozen examples of fallen ISKCON Guru’s is really the by-product of one being a Westerner? At one point you said “Fact remains that one American Guru after the other falls down, with no letting up. One devotee after the other falls down, no matter how much they chant that holy holy name. We must take aparadha into consideration here......” Since aparadha isn’t exclusive to one born in a western body I think you deflate your own point. Also remember some of the Guru’s on the “list” were born in India as Vaisnavas. They may not have shot up a Cadillac dealership but their stories aren’t any less sad. In some circumstances they are much more disturbing. I also believe Dasanudas makes a very valid point in how many Indian born Vaisnavas tend to minimize such fall downs and/or ill behavior. I have personally witnessed this on many occasions when it came to an Indian born disciple dealing with the fall of their Guru or someone they have faith in. Still our experiences are subjective not reality and but a sample of what will unfold as more westerners are exposed and take to Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

We aren't going to get anywhere in the discussion if all you will do is point to ISKCON's failures as they have very little to do with the point at hand. Even if we were an ISKCON message board it would have little to do with the point of hand. So let’s leave behind ISKCON history and talk about something other than ISKCON history.

No one is saying that birth can’t or wont give one a special advantage… we are simply saying that one who is touched by the heart of a proper Guru and serves this Guru can indeed become a qualified Guru. No one is disagreeing with Srila Sanatan Goswami. What is being pointed out is that you are applying more stress to this one point then may be true to the context of the points made by Srila Sanatan Goswami. As Madhava stated “Hari-bhakti-vilasa, in the section delineating the qualities of the guru, lists -- in addition to the recommendation for having a brahmin-guru -- a whole list of all kinds of qualities, such as being youthful and charming, and so forth. Many of which, needless to say, are not considered with any degree of gravity in search for a guru.” He later asked “Are all the items listed under the lenghty vizeSa-lakSana section of equal importance? If not, why are some raised to such a status?” Again if this section of HBV is the defining factor for you then please address the entire list of qualifications cited and why you are giving more importance to one over another. We won't even explore how these social divisions truly stand within modern day India as I don;t see that going anywhere.

If you really believe that the Holy Name, the Vaisnavas and the causeless mercy and will of parampara are, in essence, at the will of where one is born then I am truly bewildered at what you understand as Gaudiya theology.Again citing Srila Sanatan Goswami that such a birth is an advantage is one thing but you are making it a prerequisite and qualifying factor in and of itself not an advantage.

You assume that no Westerner has made such advancement… why? Because you haven’t met him or her? Would you know them by the placard floating above their head saying “Siddha Vaisnava here”? If it is but 1 of 1,000,000 is that still not something? Shouldn't even that possibility give you pause and understand that our snapshot of history is simply that; a snapshot?

In your posts you continue to assert no Western Vaisnava could ever be a Guru because of ISKCON fall downs. Is that all you have? You stated “If you carefully study Haribhakti Vilas' chapters 1-2 and ADP's Guru Tattva Vijnana you will see that Sanatan Gosvami does mention much more than birth as a qualification. I never said that birth is the only qualification, but it is an important one. visesa guror laksana, as Sanatan Gosvami.”

In response Madhava made a great point when he wrote “This, then, raises a question on whether these qualifications, being a born brahmin included, are svarUpa-lakSaNa or taTastha-lakSaNa. Since bhakti is not a function of body or mind, but a faculty of svarUpa-zakti, I find it hard to believe that a qualification by birth would be more than a marginal characteristic.”

To this you simply redirect it to an example of an ISKCON Guru. Why not simply answer the question and leave your and our limited experience out and simply approach it from the perspective of Sastra?

Then you go further by stating “The 2nd Generation is now suing Iskcon in the courts for child abuse and are mostly ardent enemies of Krishna. It is not a question of upbringing. My own kid isnt a Vaishnava at all, she was raised from birth in a Vaishnava household. Ask any other American 1st generation devotee what happened with their 2nd generation children.” May I ask what is your contact with second generation Vaisnavas? Simply what you read on the internet and from the few experiences you have had? I happen to know various western born Vaisnavas, both in ISKCON/GM and outside who are doing very well in their devotional development and don’t have the symptoms you assess them with. Do they represent the majority? No, they do not but we aren’t assessing the majority we are assessing Guru. So how is this even relevant? Dasanudas simply mentioned the "second generation" which doesn't necessarily refer to Gurukula/ISCKON children. He was simply putting forward that your pool of examples of Western failures is but a representation of a small and fledgling group of Western Vaisnavas.

I also highly doubt that you truly believe that those Second Generation children who have had such adverse reactions to what they have experienced simply had them due to being Western. Have you ever read of the various aspects f Indian culture where children are raped and enslaved at young ages? It makes your most extreme example of ISKCON history look picturesque.

I just can’t get my head around why you are so obsessed with projecting your and our experience with the question of a Westerner ever being situated enough in their devotional life to properly train and bring disciples to Sri Radhika’s service. All I can come up with is that you have experienced so many terrible things that it has profoundly impacted your own ability to have faith that the very power of Sadhu, Sastra and Guru, the strength and power of the holy name, ones diksa mantras, service to the Vaisnavas and the will of the Vaisnavas can indeed plant even a lowly born Westerner at the feet of Sri Yugala Kishor.

Aspiring to be a servant of the Vaisnavaa,
Rasaraja dasa
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 12:11:48 +0530
Dear Rasaraja,
I have no personal trauma in ISKCON, which is 23-27 years ago for me, I left that place purely for philosophical reasons. And Indians, including sadhus, treated me much much worse after I left Iskcon than I have ever been treated by the westerners. So there is no question of a grudge against this or that ethnic group, or bias. I did acknowledge there are many other factors than birth that make a qualified Guru, but birth is not marginal, Sanatan Goswami has classified it as vishesh laksan, or special characteristic. I won't give any more examples, I could do that very effectively, but you would again get offended, so I will leave you having your issue with Srila Sanatan Goswamipad and indeed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I also acknowledged that Indian Gurus may have their falldowns, but I cannot accept that you, with little experience in India, suggest that the falldown-rate of Indians is equal to that of Westerners, it simply isn't, period. And about taking Iskcon as an example, well what other Vaishnava society is there in the West? Shall we study the collective falldowns of the Western Sannyasis in the various GM splinters then? Be my guest! We have been waiting now for 39 long years for the pure devotee to develop in the west, and are advised now to wait even a few decades more. I reiterate here for the 3rd time it would be better to just save up money for a plane to India, which, indeed, your good self has done, with success.....
Radhesyam.
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 14:29:15 +0530
QUOTE(dasanudas @ Apr 15 2005, 12:13 AM)
It is not possible for me to translate those and post here. If could do that I would have been very happy , but that is not very trivial work, so I request you to go through that if possible.

However do you think it'd be possible for you to just scan that in and upload? I don't have a copy of the said text and would be interested to see it.
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 14:41:18 +0530
QUOTE
Rasaraja: You assume that no Westerner has made such advancement… why? Because you haven’t met him or her? Would you know them by the placard floating above their head saying “Siddha Vaisnava here”? If it is but 1 of 1,000,000 is that still not something?


If someone is siddha or approaching siddhi, becomes eligible to become Guru, he/she will naturally surface above the rank-and-file mass of devotees. Look at Madhavendra Puri.

QUOTE
Shouldn't even that possibility give you pause and understand that our snapshot of history is simply that; a snapshot?


We live in a world of time, you can also not ignore the time factor and take direct diksa from f. i. Raghunath Das Gosvami. Until now all I got is post dated cheques and sweet promises of the land of peaches and cream. Very much like Iskcon's perpetual dream of a future KC planet earth, their own varnashram and other such post dated cheques. Be here now........
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 14:56:33 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 02:32 AM)
I know that, I have already quoted that in post nr.12 from Haribhakti Vilasa. If a qualified brahmin cannot be found a qualified ksatriya can be taken. It does not mention casteless persons though.

One has to wonder whether Goswamipad would write an addendum, should he see the current scenario in the world. Many of the instructions in Hari-bhakti-vilasa seem rather varnashrama-contextualized.

On another note, the spirit of the instruction is against pratiloma-diksha, or one of a lower caste giving diksha to one of a higher caste. Among the same caste, there is no problem. Why would then an initiation from one Westerner to another be an issue? Are the outcastes essentially disqualified from practices of bhakti, such as diksha that is one of the 64 bhakti-angas, altogether?
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 15:10:18 +0530
QUOTE(Rasaraja dasa @ Apr 15 2005, 04:12 AM)
You assume that no Westerner has made such advancement… why? Because you haven’t met him or her? Would you know them by the placard floating above their head saying “Siddha Vaisnava here”? If it is but 1 of 1,000,000 is that still not something? Shouldn't even that possibility give you pause and understand that our snapshot of history is simply that; a snapshot?

I should add to this, to give you a background as to why such deep skepticism of Western people's eligibility for being a guru are there, that some just consider Western people inherently ineligible, and consider that they need to take another birth in a Bengali body before they become eligible for siddhi during their lifetime.

Such views were presented by one brahmin goswami of Navadvip to a friend of mine when asked about the matter. This is not to say that'd be the view upheld in Advaita's tradition, I'm just pointing out that such views are held out there.
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 15:15:10 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Apr 15 2005, 09:26 AM)
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 02:32 AM)
I know that, I have already quoted that in post nr.12 from Haribhakti Vilasa. If a qualified brahmin cannot be found a qualified ksatriya can be taken. It does not mention casteless persons though.

One has to wonder whether Goswamipad would write an addendum, should he see the current scenario in the world. Many of the instructions in Hari-bhakti-vilasa seem rather varnashrama-contextualized.

On another note, the spirit of the instruction is against pratiloma-diksha, or one of a lower caste giving diksha to one of a higher caste. Among the same caste, there is no problem. Why would then an initiation from one Westerner to another be an issue? Are the outcastes essentially disqualified from practices of bhakti, such as diksha that is one of the 64 bhakti-angas, altogether?



I unfortunately cannot find the sloka from Brahma Vaivarta Purana that prohibits casteless (jati hina) people to give diksa. If I ever find it I will surely post it in this thread. Of course outcastes are not disqualified from practises of bhakti! The very books of bhakti were written by those who were refused entrance into the Jagannatha Mandir (Rupa and Sanatan), and Haridas Thakur chanted 3 lakhs and was buried by Svayam Mahaprabhu. Also Rupa Gosvami writes in BRS that all human beings have adhikara for bhakti. We are speaking of Guru, not of bhakta here.
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 15:17:28 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Apr 15 2005, 09:40 AM)
I should add to this, to give you a background as to why such deep skepticism of Western people's eligibility for being a guru are there, that some just consider Western people inherently ineligible, and consider that they need to take another birth in a Bengali body before they become eligible for siddhi during their lifetime.

Such views were presented by one brahmin goswami of Navadvip to a friend of mine when asked about the matter. This is not to say that'd be the view upheld in Advaita's tradition, I'm just pointing out that such views are held out there.



Yes I know whom you are talking about. No, I asked my Guru if I, as an outcaste, could attain Radha Krishna in this lifetime, and he emphatically said ek so bAr! ("You bet!")
Tapati - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 15:22:41 +0530

I remember many years ago reading the story of Swami Sadananda, a German Vaishnava who preached in the Indian camp he was placed in during the war. I've heard he also took disciples. Some believed him to be a pure devotee. Certainly there was never an account of any deviation from devotional principles or activities. We were all amazed to read his story and were impressed with his level of austerity.

QUOTE
Vamsidas: In Walther Eidlitz's book Journey to Unknown India, he is called Sadananda. He is mentioned in one Gaudiya Matha publication as "Brahmacari Ernest G. Schulze," and he did not receive sannyasa from Bhaktisiddhanta, but rather from Swami BH Vana. It is interesting to note that Swami Vana gave other sannyasa names in the form "Swami ---ananda Vana" -- so it's quite possible that Sadananda's full sannyasa name was "Swami Sadananda Vana."
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 15:52:07 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 10:47 AM)
No, I asked my Guru if I, as an outcaste, could attain Radha Krishna in this lifetime, and he emphatically said ek so bAr! ("You bet!")

Let's say you attained siddhi. Bhava-bhakti, in this lifetime. Say, next year at right about this time. smile.gif Would you then be qualified to give diksha to the guy living next door in Zeist, if he really wanted to have it? If not, why not? Certainly you would have all the devotional qualification in the world for it.
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 16:22:07 +0530
No, for two reasons -

1. Because the shastra forbids it and
2. Because I, nor anybody else in our particular parampara, have not received a mandate for that. But that is strictly a personal, not a philosophical matter.

We must remember here that, speaking of bhava bhakti, the Gosvamis like Rupa, Sanatan and Raghunatha Das took hardly any disciples, if any at all. There was certainly no lack of bhava there.... On the other hand, wholly in harmony with Haribhakti Vilasa, grihastha brahmins like Advaita, Nityananda/Jahnava and Srinivasacarya took the bulk of disciples. So again here varna and ashram do play a considerable role in adhikara for giving diksa.

QUOTE
Let's say you attained siddhi. Bhava-bhakti, in this lifetime. Say, next year at right about this time.   smile.gif


Yes sir! wub.gif
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 17:54:34 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 10:41 PM)
Dear Rasaraja,
I have no personal trauma in ISKCON, which is 23-27 years ago for me, I left that place purely for philosophical reasons. And Indians, including sadhus, treated me much much worse after I left Iskcon than I have ever been treated by the westerners. So there is no question of a grudge against this or that ethnic group, or bias. I did acknowledge there are many other factors than birth that make a qualified Guru, but birth is not marginal, Sanatan Goswami has classified it as vishesh laksan, or special characteristic. I won't give any more examples, I could do that very effectively, but you would again get offended, so I will leave you having your issue with Srila Sanatan Goswamipad and indeed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I also acknowledged that Indian Gurus may have their falldowns, but I cannot accept that you, with little experience in India, suggest that the falldown-rate of Indians is equal to that of Westerners, it simply isn't, period. And about taking Iskcon as an example, well what other Vaishnava society is there in the West? Shall we study the collective falldowns of the Western Sannyasis in the various GM splinters then? Be my guest! We have been waiting now for 39 long years for the pure devotee to develop in the west, and are advised now to wait even a few decades more. I reiterate here for the 3rd time it would be better to just save up money for a plane to India, which, indeed, your good self has done, with success.....
Radhesyam.

Radhe Radhe!

Fair enough. I assure you I don't have issues with Srila Sanatan Goswami or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I simply think you are taking Srila Sanatan Goswami's instructions on this matter farther than its natural limit and outside of it's context, that's all. As for IGM... I know the stats so we agree that there is no need to revisit. I simply think that as Westerners evolve and develop a deeper and more organic approach to Gaudiya Vaisnavism and all that it encompasses that many roses will come to bloom. In fact many, in gardens you don't walk by everyday, may be blooming as we speak. We will leave that for indiviuals to decide and discover as they will.

Radhe Radhe!

Rasaraja dasa
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 18:26:01 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 11:52 AM)
No, for two reasons -

1. Because the shastra forbids it and
2. Because I, nor anybody else in our particular parampara, have not received a mandate for that. But that is strictly a personal, not a philosophical matter.

As far as (1) goes, the only restriction up to now is the one you say exists in Brahma-vaivarta-purana. However the Goswamis didn't cite that in their works as far as I know, which leaves the question open over whether that's an aspect of sad-dharma we are obliged to follow.



QUOTE
We must remember here that, speaking of bhava bhakti, the Gosvamis like Rupa, Sanatan and Raghunatha Das took hardly any disciples, if any at all. There was certainly no lack of bhava there.... On the other hand, wholly in harmony with Haribhakti Vilasa, grihastha brahmins like Advaita, Nityananda/Jahnava and Srinivasacarya took the bulk of disciples. So again here varna and ashram do play a considerable role in adhikara for giving diksa.

Yes, varnashrama certainly was the dominant social framework at their time.

However we also have significant examples of breaching this consideration, such as the example of Narottama Das Thakur you mentioned. With regards to the argument that "let them first melt into the Ganga like milk, as he did, and let them rise from the dead," that isn't a very fair approach in my estimation since we all know that acharyas come to teach by their example. Sadhakas cannot possibly be expected to be as illustrious and miraculous as the nitya-parshadas, nevertheless their exemplary actions are followed.

That aside, Thakur Mahashaya is certainly not the only example in this vein. Now that you mentioned Srinivas Acharya, as a matter of fact the third of the three illustrious early preachers, namely Shyamananda Prabhu, was born in a family of vaishyas (sadagopa-kula) according to GVA, and Rasikananda in a dynasty of kshatriyas as the son of Raja Achyutananda. And I am certain the list wouldn't end there, if one were to do some research on the topic.

With regards to the case of Thakur Mahashaya, one may propose that perhaps there weren't qualified brahmin gurus around; however Srinivas Acharya was certainly there, and he wasn't any less qualified than Narottama. Therefore, if the convention was followed, there would have been no reason to take diksha from Narottama. Regardless, since he was extremely qualified, the inner Gaudiya circle didn't seem to object, though some smartas (whose identity is a bit unclear to me) did voice out their dissatisfaction.
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 18:31:14 +0530
This document has some interesting leads someone may want to follow up in this vein.
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 19:28:01 +0530
I cant believe you are making a pact with Narasingha, regardless of the issue! ohmy.gif crying.gif sad.gif unsure.gif
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 20:01:16 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 02:58 PM)
I cant believe you are making a pact with Narasingha, regardless of the issue!  ohmy.gif  crying.gif  sad.gif  unsure.gif

A pact? I said there are interesting leads in the article one may want to follow up. That means to see what they've got and do further research. I don't think that's making a pact. And no, I am not saying the case becomes any bit stronger with BG Narasingha's support. smile.gif
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 20:48:38 +0530
QUOTE
That aside, Thakur Mahashaya is certainly not the only example in this vein. Now that you mentioned Srinivas Acharya, as a matter of fact the third of the three illustrious early preachers, namely Shyamananda Prabhu, was born in a family of vaishyas (sadagopa-kula) according to GVA, and Rasikananda in a dynasty of kshatriyas as the son of Raja Achyutananda. And I am certain the list wouldn't end there, if one were to do some research on the topic.


Either you are absent minded or your English is not so good or perhaps you need reading glasses because I have said over and over and over and over again that non brahmins can also give initiation. I will just make it bold then, just to be sure.... I am getting really tired of being misquoted around here..........

QUOTE
Yes, varnashrama certainly was the dominant social framework at their time.


Is this a hint that you believe Sanatan Gosvami is obsolete and now everyone can give diksa to everyone? That you learned from ACBS and BSS, who also have little regard for Haribhakti Vilasa.......
Dont forget to reject Manah Siksa as well then ..........bhu sura gane...... verse 1. Just cut that word out and leave the rest, eh?

But then, when it suits you you suddenly faithfully follow the Gosvamis....

QUOTE
However the Goswamis didn't cite that in their works as far as I know, which leaves the question open over whether that's an aspect of sad-dharma we are obliged to follow.
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 21:12:16 +0530
QUOTE
I said there are interesting leads in the article one may want to follow up. That means to see what they've got and do further research.


Perhaps there are some interesting leads also in other articles by Narasingha one may want to follow up - the articles about babajis for instance? mad.gif
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 21:35:29 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 07:18 AM)
QUOTE
Yes, varnashrama certainly was the dominant social framework at their time.


Is this a hint that you believe Sanatan Gosvami is obsolete and now everyone can give diksa to everyone? That you learned from ACBS and BSS, who also have little regard for Haribhakti Vilasa.......
Dont forget to reject Manah Siksa as well then ..........bhu sura gane...... verse 1. Just cut that word out and leave the rest, eh?

Radhe Radhe!

Madhava isn't saying that Srila Sanatan Goswami is obsolete he is saying that the social structure of that time is practically obsolete. The evolution of religious and social functions and how they compare with the time of Sanatan Goswami are indeed very different. Would you not agree?

In summary we are all saying the same thing: Qualification is the critical factor in the qualification of Guru. Birth, karma, upbringing are all powerful aspects in ones life and undoubtedly will put some in better positions then others to reach such a qualification. Still it is about devotional characteristics which are developed through service to Sadhu, Sastra and Guru which bring one to this pinnacle regardless of birth. So we all agree with your statement "non brahmins can also give initiation".

What I think we are a bit confused by is you stated stated “If you carefully study Haribhakti Vilas' chapters 1-2 and ADP's Guru Tattva Vijnana you will see that Sanatan Gosvami does mention much more than birth as a qualification. I never said that birth is the only qualification, but it is an important one. visesa guror laksana, as Sanatan Gosvami.”

In response Madhava wrote “Hari-bhakti-vilasa, in the section delineating the qualities of the guru, lists -- in addition to the recommendation for having a brahmin-guru -- a whole list of all kinds of qualities, such as being youthful and charming, and so forth. Many of which, needless to say, are not considered with any degree of gravity in search for a guru.” He later asked “Are all the items listed under the lenghty vizeSa-lakSana section of equal importance? If not, why are some raised to such a status?” Again if this section of HBV is the defining factor for you then please address the entire list of qualifications cited and why you are giving more importance to one over another.

Radhe Radhe!

Rasaraja dasa
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 22:04:00 +0530
Dear Rasaraja
The answer to that is very simple - the topic of discussion here is 'Western Gurus' or more precise 'Diksha Paramparas in the Western World', and of course Westerners have a problem with birth (it is low and most of them are unable and/or unwilling to humbly admit that). That is why I lifted out the birth segment of the tress of verses of HBV. My copy here really says that these are the guror visesa laksanah - the Special characteristics. That is why I said before, your issue here is with Sanatan Gosvami, who compiled and classified the book.....
sad dharma samsthapakau.......

PS The only two items in this list of Special Characteristics I would consider of secondary weight are suvesha, well-dressed, and priya-darshana, good-looking, but perhaps I am becoming now also like a double dome, picking and choosing from shastra.... unsure.gif All the other items appear very important to me indeed....
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 22:19:07 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 08:34 AM)
Dear Rasaraja
The answer to that is very simple - the topic of discussion here is 'Western Gurus' or more precise 'Diksha Paramparas in the Western World', and of course Westerners have a problem with birth (it is low and most of them are unable and/or unwilling to humbly admit that). That is why I lifted out the birth segment of the tress of verses of HBV. My copy here really says that these are the guror visesa laksanah - the Special characteristics. That is why I said before, your issue here is with Sanatan Gosvami, who compiled and classified the book.....
sad dharma samsthapakau.......


Radhe Radhe!

I believe you need to take a look in the mirror concerning being either absent minded, improving your English or getting reading glasses because we have said, over and over and over and over, that one's birth and upbringing is a factor for all Vaisnavas. What we are saying is that those same factors can and have historically been overcome by ones devotion to Sadhu, Sastra and Guru.

Of course you then simply ramble off ISKCON statistics or attribute such examples as being exceptions however no one is saying that such aren't rare. THEY ARE RARE! We are simply saying it isn't an impossibility and as more and more Wetserners take to Gaudiya Vaisnavism, in a very organic manner, that we will find those examples.

I guess you can keep insisting that we all have a problem with Sanatan Gosvami but that is simply nonsense.

Radhe Radhe!

Rasaraja dasa
Advaitadas - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 22:28:24 +0530
QUOTE
Madhava isn't saying that Srila Sanatan Goswami is obsolete he is saying that the social structure of that time is practically obsolete.


The only thing obsolete nowadays is respect for superiors. And that even by two men who have hardly even been to India and do not know any brahmins....

Regarding reading glasses, I wear them all the time and I did notice that Madhava made a case about Syamananda and Rasikananda not being brahmins, which is totally off topic and suggests that I say that non brahmins cannot give diksa. What is the point?
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 23:23:40 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 04:18 PM)
Either you are absent minded or your English is not so good or perhaps you need reading glasses because I have said over and over and over and over again that non brahmins can also give initiation. I will just make it bold then, just to be sure.... I am getting really tired of being misquoted around here..........

If I am not mistaken, you did make a case against pratiloma-diksha as an unviolable principle of the shastras.

The point I am making is that Narottama, Shyamananda and many others acted against the injunction for pratiloma-diksha; Narottama in particular is well-known for this. This would indicate that there are situations where such rules needn't be observed.


QUOTE
Is this a hint that you believe Sanatan Gosvami is obsolete and now everyone can give diksa to everyone? That you learned from ACBS and BSS, who also have little regard for Haribhakti Vilasa.......

Please don't try to unnecessarily make me look bad over something I haven't said.

I am obviously not saying that Sanatan Goswami is obsolete. I am suggesting that some instructions may be relevant only in particular circumstances. I can give you heaps of examples from Hari-bhakti-vilasa of injunctions that aren't followed by most Gaudiyas. Conducting a homa-yajna in the course of diksha (and indeed most of the rite described), eating eggplant and so forth.

If asking whether one particular injunction may be relevant only in a certain context is believing that Sanatan Gosvami is obsolete, then everyone who has made adjustments to the contents of Hari-bhakti-vilasa must believe the same, including those who enjoy fried eggplant prasad.


QUOTE
But then, when it suits you you suddenly faithfully follow the Gosvamis....

Please, there is no need to attack me like this. Let's try to continue this in a dispassionate and reasonable manner, addressing the points as they come without getting on the case of each other like this. This is a valuable thread with many important topics that need to be discussed over. Please. smile.gif
Madhava - Fri, 15 Apr 2005 23:30:07 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 15 2005, 05:58 PM)
The only thing obsolete nowadays is respect for superiors. And that even by two men who have hardly even been to India and do not know any brahmins....

Respect for superiors, such as?

If my superiors and your superiors have a differing view, and yet you are my superior, then should I forsake the views learned from my superiors in favor of your views?

Should it be of interest to anyone, I once brought up the question of the recommendation for the guru's being a brAhmaNa to my guruji. He plainly noted, brahma janAtIti brAhmaNa, that the one who knows Brahman is a brAhmaNa who is qualified to be a guru.

And no, he didn't learn that from ACBS or BSS. smile.gif
Advaitadas - Sat, 16 Apr 2005 01:04:43 +0530
With respect for superiors I mean respect for brahmins. If you know what you are talking about then give me the names of 20 brahmins that you know personally that are and 20 that are not qualified. As far as pratiloma diksa is concerned, you only mentioned that Syamananda and Rasikananda were not brahmins, not that they gave pratiloma diksa. If they gave pratiloma diksa, then provide names of whom they gave that too. Your Guru's opinion on brahmins was already relayed to me in 2001, thank you. Any further comments on this I will make in PMs only.

PS As for 'attacking', see it as defensive action, because to throw Narasingha into the ring, for any reason whatsoever other than complete condemnation of this extreme brahmin- and vaishnava-vidveshi is just a frontal, below-the-belt attack. So I ask you once again: 'Why not post something Narasingha wrote about Babajis for getting some 'interesting leads'? That would only be fair, wouldnt it?
Madhava - Sat, 16 Apr 2005 03:53:05 +0530
What's the point in the request for naming 20 qualified and 20 disqualified brahmins? You'll surely admit that both classes of brahmins exist even without that.

Regarding Shyamananda and Rasikananda, I mentioned that (1) they initiated people despite the fact that qualified brahmins may have been present, and (2) that they gave pratiloma-diksha.

Regarding (1), there was no scarcity of brahmin-born, qualified Vaishnavas at their time. Srinivas Acharya was there, if no-one else.

Regarding (2), at the beginning of Rasika-mangala you'll find a lenghty list of Shyamananda's followers, many of whom carry brahmin titles. Purushottama-brahmana is specifically mentioned as someone who surrendered his caste, wealth and life to Shyamananda.

The fourth wave of the first part of the text describes how through contact with Shyamananda people of all four castes became devotees of Krishna, after which there is a mention of ten disciples, after which the number "became countless". In 3.13 there is a mention of even dig-vijayi pandits taking initiation from Shyamananda and Rasika. In the fourteenth wave of the same section you'll find a list of names of Rasikananda's disciples, again many with brahmin titles. There are also numerous examples of brahmins who came and took diksha from either of the two.

With regards to giving a reference to BG Narasingha's articles, if you'd like to start a thread on babajis, then perhaps I may indeed post a reference to some of his writings if there is something relevant there. In this thread, it wouldn't be on topic. If scriptural references are presented, I do not see them as inherently polluted simply because they were presented by a vidveshin.
Madhava - Sat, 16 Apr 2005 17:36:34 +0530
QUOTE
Find your own quotes to support your envy and your pride.

Do you really need to go this far when I don't agree with your views? Do you find no other alternative but slinging mud and getting ugly with anyone who might disagree with your interpretations? And all this in the name of justified indignation in defense of what you consider the truest of truths.
Rasaraja dasa - Sat, 16 Apr 2005 18:21:58 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

The latest post by Advaita dasa has been removed untl further communication with the author is completed to ensure that he clearly understands the need to follow this boards outlined Principles and Guidelines found at http://www.gaudiyadiscussions.com/index.php?act=boardrules .

Radhe Radhe!

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
dasanudas - Sun, 17 Apr 2005 00:44:05 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 08:32 PM)
QUOTE
Please read Dr. Radhagovinda nath's Mahaparabhu Gauranga and his famous commentary on Chaitanya Charitamrita where he discussed this topic in very details and concluded your opposite.

I have many an issue with RG Nath, not to agree with him.


Very interesting comment indeed. I would surely admit that you have real courage to claim that. But I would look forward from you to see for what reason, and in which contexts you do not agree with him. Do you agree with him partially or not at all at any topic?
Because to refute stalwart like Dr. RadhaGovindaNath who is considered contemporary Gaudiya Vaishnava Samaj as Vaishnava Acharya , what to speak about his numourous titles he earned from vaious organizations(D.Lit from Calcutta University and RavindraBhrati
University , ParaVidyaAchayra Brindavan Theological University, Sorojini basu Gold Medalist.Rabindra Puraskar by West Bengal Govt for his "Gaudiya Vaishnava Darshan 1st , 2nd and 3rd part”, VidyaVachaspati by Navadwip Pandit mandali, VhaktiSidhantaRatna by Madhava-gaureswar pith of Vrindavan , BhaktiBhushan by Radhakunda Govardhan Vaishanava Samaj and BhagavatBhushan by Sinthin vaishnava Sammilani Calcutta to name a few) requires much more profound discussion.
So if you disagree with him you have to clarify you position in order to make your case strong.

QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 08:32 PM)
QUOTE
He discussed from BhaktiSandarva of SriPad Jiva Goswami, Srimad Vagavatam , Sridar tika and Sanatan tika , Harivakti vilas , BrambhaVaivarta puran , Chandogya sruti, Mundak shruti, Sri pad shakaracharya tika and Manu Samhita . At the end he concluded that Mahaprabhu's word about the above verse is about all type of gurus i.c diksha guru, siksha guru and sharavan guru. That is why our prema dharma is the sweetest and most generous dharma.


I do not believe that any of these shastras mention American Gurus. I have already quoted you decisive pramana from Haribhakti Vilasa. Brahma Vaivarta Purana says that one should not take take diksa from jati-hina, a casteless person. Manu Samhita is not for Vaishnavas. It endorses animal sacrifices and meat eating. Sorry RG Nath will simply not do for me.

If you can show me in those sashtra , if there is any mention of American Devotee then I will agree with your logic likewise. So by these logic no one outside Bharatbarhsha should be a devotee.
If in that time had it known to our goswami that someone in future may question that why America is not mention in their sastra they would have certainly mentioned that if not in bold word.
I think it is no a mature way to conclude while we are talking about the varnashram we only talk about people in Varat Varsha only. So when in our sastra we speak about the lord as Lord of Vishya Brahmanda ( Lord of Universe), it excludes western world. It is then offensive to sastra. Because in doing so we would refuse to accept sastra as universal one.

Regarding the praman from Haribhakti Vilasa I want to remind you our Goswami Prabhus did not derived our sastra out of air. Almost in every sentence within their Granthas they gave the praman from sruti , smriti, upapuran and other sastras available to them. So blatantly refute all other word is not a wiseful thinking. As I mentioned in my previous post please read Dr. radhaGovinda Nath for detailed discussion, surely after doing that if you have any valid point you have the right to raise.

Also if you want to ignore Manu Samhita please then do not accept varnashram dharma , as its root lies there.
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 08:32 PM)
QUOTE
After that he has given example of those from the real life of our great mahapurusha such as Uddalak and raja Aswapati from Chandogya sruti, Srila Narattam Das thakur and his disple ramkrishna acharya ( there are others also), Srila Ramchandra Kaviraj and his disple harihar acharya, Balaki and Ajatasatru from Brihadaranyaka sruti and many more.

Narottam das Thakur was a nitya siddha parikara whose body melted like milk. See Suhotra or Kirtanananda do that at any time?


I would go by beautiful explanation by madhava here in previous post, where he said Gaudiya Acharyas behaves in order to set the example for the rest of the world. If indeed being a non brahmin initiating brahmin people was against Vaishnava Sastra , Narattama Thakur would have never done so. Because like lord his nityasidhdha parshads also abide by social rule and sashtra while performing their Nara Lila.

Here I want to assert about the infectious disease of Vaishnava ninda. When we say others about Vaishnava Ninda we should be very much cautious about the same for ourself also.
In mahaprabhus word
“he who takes Krishna name once is a vaishnava, who takes Krishna nama all the time he is Vaishnava tara (comparative degree) and Vaishnava tama ( superlative) is such a person by taking the darshan krishna name comes to our lips”.

Also think about there may be so many sincere devotee of ISCKON who has taken the initiation from them, by hearing our word they will certainly feel bad …. And that also will lead to Vaishnava Aparadha.

ISKCON were most critical to my guruvarga since their birth. But still I can see in our asram there is a big picture of Founder of ISKCON, and they regard him as mahapurus. Vaishnava leads by examples to others.
So we should respect them from distant and also will try to refute them sincerely if they come with any sidhadhanta contrary with sastra. There is no place for intolerance in Vaishnava samaj.


QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 08:32 PM)
QUOTE
The context of the verse is not as you are explaining. Mahaprabhu never said anything specific to siksha guru in that verse nor he mentioned anything of that type in that context .


It specifically is set within the context of the sudra instructing the brahmin. The whole chapter is about that. And He does mention siksa - 'yei krishna tattva vetta' clearly refers to siksa. Afterwards, the Vedic brahmins invited Mahaprabhu for prasad. He would not eat grains from Ramananda Ray.


I disagree with you. This is twisting of his word and which is intentionally done for the interest of sectarian brhaminical pride which is in total contrary of Vaishnava Dharma and Mahaprabhu's teachings. If you interpret that sloka as simple Bengali verse it will conform with the interpretation which I am stating. In simple Bengali it would come as “je Krishna tattva jane sei guru hoyar joggo” (he who knows the tattva of Krishna is eligible to become guru). Where is the mention of “eligible for siksha guru”? Bakhya is required for verse where there is no clear meaning is possible , but for if the verse is simple and clear we should take the literal meaning(remember the conversation of mahaprabhu with SarbaVaum Bhattacharya regarding brahma sutra ) .
I know that authoritative commentary of cc will not support your view. I already stated here as there is no distinction between Siksha Guru and Diksha Guru in terms of qualification.
As you cited example of taking viksha of Mahaphrabhu from Brahman family , why then he contradicts the same sastrik protocol when he used to touch frequently haridas thakur, even during his "Nirjan".
I can see "He would not eat grains from Ramananda Ray" is very much offensive statement for Vaishnavas.

QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 08:32 PM)
QUOTE
I can see a bright future here too as the 2nd generation devotee will get much more better inherited samaskara, heritage , respect and deeper faith from there Vaishnava parents which will place them to equal plane eventually.


Iskcon has already started its 3rd generation. The 2nd Generation is now suing Iskcon in the courts for child abuse and are mostly ardent enemies of Krishna. It is not a question of upbringing. My own kid isnt a Vaishnava at all, she was raised from birth in a Vaishnava household. Ask any other American 1st generation devotee what happened with their 2nd generation children.


I agree partially with you. This is a general observation and that stands true for India also. Even in my family that holds true. But here lies the philosophy of Bhaktilata Beej. You never know when that will erupt and then your samaskara, knowledge, vaishnava sadachar will start feeding your child. It may not happen during your life time also , even it may not happen at all.
It all depends on sadhu, guru vaishnava kripa and mercy of lord.
My point was once that happens to any of the western family they will be much more better shape that the first generation, this is the trend of the history of mankind.

And also I do not believe that not in a single American family I will not be able to found such example, if so then where is the power of holy Name?

At the end AdvaitaDas ji please forgive me if I am making any offence to you. I expect you to show me my misconception/faults if you see any. My intention is not to hurt your feelings. So please bless me so that I can start service to Vaishnavas.

Yours
Dasanudas
Madanmohan das - Sun, 17 Apr 2005 05:05:28 +0530
Just reading this thread, next thought of this sloka;

dharme niSThAM dadhadan anupAM viSNubhaktiM gariSThAM
saMvibhrANo dadhadiha hi hrttiSThantIvAzmsAram/
nIco goghnAdapi jagadaho plAvatyazrupUraih
ko vA jAnAtyahaha gahanaM hemagaurANgaraNgam// C. Candramrta 127

Need time to translate it but note the phrase nico goghnAdapi which means even those more base and iniquitous than the slaughterer of cows. The gist I think is even people who scrupulously adhere to virtue and even those posessed of a high level of Visnu bhakti, may for some reason or other still have hearts as hard as any stone, but by Gaura's grace the worst of sinners can flood the universe with a stream of ecstatic tears of love. Who can comprehend this prankfull contrivance of golden Gauranga?
Lalitadas - Mon, 18 Apr 2005 01:51:51 +0530
Jaya Sri Sri Gaura Bhakta Vrnda!

I believe that anyone who can become Guru should become Guru. What is the use of spending years and years developing Krishna Bhakti if we do not share it with someone else? Yes, I want to please Krishna, but I want others to please Krishna as well. I may not be qualified as a teacher, but by Sri Guru's grace anyone can become anything. For the disciple Sri Guru is a post of great honour, but Sri Guru considers himself not only the servant of Krishna, but the servant of his own disciples as well.

I believe that we should all work toward becoming gurus to some extent. Not for our own prestige, but for the sake of the suffering jivas and Krishna's pleasure. As one learns to please Krishna more and more, it seems only natural that he or she would want to encourage others to learn to do the same. So let us give up pride and envy and distribute this sweet bhakti rasa to all who will accept it!

One may argue that a casteless person is not qualified, but I say that noone is qualified unless and until Sri Guru makes him so. If we truely want to please Krishna, we will naturally give up our own self interest. Once this is done, and Sri Guru's grace is carefull guarded in the heart, it will grow and bear fruit. Should this fruit not be distributed?

As far as Varnashram Dharma is concerned, I will cast both Dharma and Karma to the wind. My Sri Guru is a Bhakta, not a brahman or anything else. My goal is to become the same. This is the Prema Dharma of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, not the Varnashram of the Veda.

I will bow to brahmans, of course. And I will bow to cows, to dogs and to dog-eaters. All will be worshipalbe to me. Sri Krishna is the substance from which all other substances are born. How can I love one more or less than the other? Let me become a Krishna Bhakta and I will become the servant of all.

Please forgive me for my incessant rambling and please correct my misconceptions. My only true goals is to attain the dust from the Krishna Bhaktas' feet.
Madhava - Mon, 18 Apr 2005 02:13:07 +0530
In reflecting on this thread, there are two brief things I'd like to have clarified.

1. It was established on the basis of Hari-bhakti-vilasa that between two qualified gurus, one should choose the one with a higher caste. In the days of yore traveling was hard, and it may have been hard to journey a great distance to find a qualified brahmin guru. However, nowadays travel is easy and relatively inexpensive. Is it, therefore, befitting to conclude that in the modern age, initiation should only be taken from a qualified brahmin-born guru, since they are always somewhere available?

2. It was said that giving diksha is forbidden from those without a caste. However no satisfactory reference was supplied to that extent aside an uncited reference to somewhere in Brahma-vaivarta-purana, to a passage that the Goswamis never cited anywhere. On what grounds, therefore, are casteless devotees, if devotionally qualified, restricted from initiating disciples? (Leaving aside the argument on "availability" for a moment.)

These two points would need to be addressed. Advaitadas?
Tapati - Mon, 18 Apr 2005 04:42:12 +0530
QUOTE
1. It was established on the basis of Hari-bhakti-vilasa that between two qualified gurus, one should choose the one with a higher caste. In the days of yore traveling was hard, and it may have been hard to journey a great distance to find a qualified brahmin guru. However, nowadays travel is easy and relatively inexpensive. Is it, therefore, befitting to conclude that in the modern age, initiation should only be taken from a qualified brahmin-born guru, since they are always somewhere available?


One has to consider that even with modern travel, one is going to be able to spend more quality time receiving direct guidance if one lives in close proximity with one's guru. I think that would be beneficial. I say this having felt a great lack in this regard in the era in which I received initiation from Srila Prabhupada, versus the experience of his early disciples who spent much time with him. They had personal instruction aimed at their particular difficulties; I had books and tapes. It was quite a difference. It becomes a matter of what you wish from your Guru--a relationship of sporadic visits and letters, or serving him more directly in your same town or city? Which is more beneficial in the long run?

Gaurasundara - Mon, 18 Apr 2005 06:00:51 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Apr 17 2005, 09:43 PM)
Is it, therefore, befitting to conclude that in the modern age, initiation should only be taken from a qualified brahmin-born guru, since they are always somewhere available?

I don't want to take this off-track, but since this question is more or less related to the concept of diksa-paramparas in the Western world (implying Western-born gurus), it might be important to take culture into consideration. An advantage that I can see is that an Indian-born guru is very familiar with the culture that surrounds Gaudiya Vaisnavism as opposed to a Western-born guru, who might only have to learn about it "from the outside" so to speak except in rare cases. As this discussion was borne out of the "Sane Vaishnavism" thread, we can see how an average Westerner (like Nitai, perhaps?) has the potential to view certain elements of Indian culture with scorn, the very elements that usually have an integral part in the general schema of the belief-system. The other danger is that such a scornful individual will pass on the same criticisms to their disciples, assuming that they take disciples. This could also work the other way around; a Western-born guru becoming so enamoured with "Indian" scriptures and culture that he dives headlong into it and takes his disciples with him, even to the extent of demonising one's own (Western-bred) schema.

As far as being brahmin-born is concerned, I personally have no preference. If my future guru is a born brahmin, so much the better. The only thing I would really be concerned about is his love for Krsna and his capacity to grant me the same if he thinks I am deserving enough. So in that sense, I would think that Sri Guru (emphasis on 'Sri') is important without worrying too much if he is a brahmin or so.

I have not met any Brahmin gurus as far as I recall, but I have personally seen Brahmin-born (non-Gaudiya) priests and I was not impressed with their behaviour so birth is not an overriding factor in my book.

P.S. In case anyone is wondering, I am "Indian". smile.gif
Madhava - Tue, 19 Apr 2005 02:49:54 +0530
With regards to the position of the varieties of vizeSa-lakSana of the guru and my more or less equating the concept with taTastha-lakSaNa. I returned to Guru-tattva-vijnana today, and noticed that there are two headings under the qualities of the guru:

- sAmanya-lakSaNa, or the universal characteristics
- vizeSa-lakSaNa, or the special characteristics

Studying these, we'll find that all the qualities under the first heading are all very directly related to what we consider the defining characteristics, or svarUpa-lakSaNa, of the guru, such as his devotion to Krishna and detachment from the worldly. All of these qualities are defining characteristics of a guru; if such qualities are there, that person is a guru in all likelihood.

However the second, vizeSa-lakSaNa, consists to a large extent of qualities that are ornaments on the first; qualities that in themselves do not make a guru of anyone. Some of them are among the good qualities that follow devotion, as we've been reviewing in the thread on the 26 qualities of a devotee, some are other admirable material qualities. They in themselves, however, lack the power to make anyone a guru, being utterly dependent on the sAmanya-lakSaNa, or the universal characteristics expected of all gurus.

The vizeSa, or special, when contrasted with sAmanya, or unversal, seems to indicate rather clearly that we are talking about taTastha-lakSana[/url] here; characteristics that may or may not be there in a guru. That's why they aren't called [i]sAmanya-lakSaNa, or universal symptoms.
Lalitadas - Thu, 21 Apr 2005 03:55:52 +0530
What about a renunciant Guru? How would he fit into this picture? Has he not renounced his caste? Please help me understand. huh.gif
Keshava - Thu, 28 Apr 2005 09:47:23 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Apr 18 2005, 11:19 AM)
I returned to Guru-tattva-vijnana today, and noticed that there are two headings under the qualities of the guru:

- sAmanya-lakSaNa, or the universal characteristics
- vizeSa-lakSaNa, or the special characteristics



Madhava, Could you please tell me the author, date of Guru-tattva-vijnana and from where it gathers it's quotes. (Sorry if this is a dumb question blush.gif )

I have seen no mention of sAdhAraNa or sAmanya (generic/universal/common) qualities in the headings of (my 3 editions of) HBV only the word vizeSa (specific).

Universal or common or generic qualities or charateristics are understood to be there in all cases, but how do we understand the term vizeSa? Not being common qualities they must be qualities that may or may not be present in each and every case. Or are they simply SPECIFIC qualities that are most (especially) important or desirable?

Since we are on the subject of the qualities of the guru we should also look at the corresponding qualities of the ziSya. Everybody here (even Advaitaji) seems agreed that Westerners can be ziSyas, and therefore the question as to whether they can also be gurus has arrisen. However this first axiom has not been looked at with specific reference to this section of HBV. Of course there are many quotations from the Pancaratra that stated that even out castes can be initiated yet I think that a complete insight into Sanatana and Gopal Bhatta's intentions in this whole section requires looking at each and every charateristic listed in HBV of both guru and ziSya. Then one might get a better sense of the authors intentions. At least if a full list is given then it would be clearer to see what is important and what is not (even though everyone may still disagree, general agreement on some points should be possible)

One of the qualities of a guru mentioned is that he should be a Vaisnava. The implication is that the book is written for those persons who might be thinking of taking initiation from someone who is NOT a Vaisnava. Just as in a later section the eating of meat is forbidden in Kartika masa. Why, because the book could possibly be read and followed by someone who is not a pure vegetarian. Otherwise what is the reason for such statements? Therefore it is important when understanding the words of HBV to not only understand what they say but what they do not say also. That no mention is made of American or videzi Vaisnavas as gurus does not necessarily mean they are prohibited (first it has to be proven that Caste does not exist in the West, etc or that the concept of svadesha and videsha applies to Vaisnavas, another upadhi) any more than Women gurus are prohibited (also not mentioned). And again if Women gurus can be accepted but only as long as they are brahmanis then that opens a further "can of worms" as too all the arguments about women and caste and husband's caste etc, etc. The very anuloma and pratiloma ideas themselves, being used here in the context of diksha, come from their application to marriage and mixture of castes. However these ideas have no meaning outside the context of a caste oriented society. So why should we think that pratiloma and anuloma can be conveniently used to charaterize types of dikshas? Is this not tantemount to accepting that diksha has some inherent material aspect to it?

So the larger question becomes whether Gaudiya Vaisnavism is inherently to be practiced only within the bounds of casteist ideology. I'm sure no one here really believes that. However Advaita has made some good points about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's refusal to eat food prepared by non-brahmins, etc. Do we blame Him for this? No, we cannot judge His actions, however what about those we meet in India today who would have the same attitude? Who would not even accept something from us directly in their hands without having it dropped or placed to the side. In other words if we met someont like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in India today would we not think of him as casteist?

Finally of course there is the question that keeps on coming up about HBV itself and it's "love/hate" relationship with Gaudiya Vaisnavism. We "love" it when we accept it and follow it and we "hate" when we reject and interpret certain of it's prescriptions as unapplicable, medieval, out-dated, caste oriented, not pc, etc. Can we "have our cake and eat it too"?
Madhava - Thu, 28 Apr 2005 16:17:27 +0530
QUOTE(Keshava @ Apr 28 2005, 05:17 AM)
Madhava, Could you please tell me the author, date of Guru-tattva-vijnana and from where it gathers it's quotes. (Sorry if this is a dumb question blush.gif )

Oh, that's one of the compilations in the Tattva-vijnana series compiled by Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj. So that in itself isn't pramAna equivalent to the writings of the Goswamis, as far as the broader audience out there is concerned. The headings indeed aren't there in Hari-bhakti-vilasa.


QUOTE
Universal or common or generic qualities or charateristics are understood to be there in all cases, but how do we understand the term vizeSa? Not being common qualities they must be qualities that may or may not be present in each and every case. Or are they simply SPECIFIC qualities that are most (especially) important or desirable?

Well, looking at those qualities, I would most certainly opt for the former view, since there are qualities there that I cannot by a far stretch of imagination think of as being absolutely obligatory for all gurus. Even if it were so, we can practically see that nobody, born brahmins included, live up to the entire range of qualities.


QUOTE
Since we are on the subject of the qualities of the guru we should also look at the corresponding qualities of the ziSya. Everybody here (even Advaitaji) seems agreed that Westerners can be ziSyas, and therefore the question as to whether they can also be gurus has arrisen. However this first axiom has not been looked at with specific reference to this section of HBV. Of course there are many quotations from the Pancaratra that stated that even out castes can be initiated yet I think that a complete insight into Sanatana and Gopal Bhatta's intentions in this whole section requires looking at each and every charateristic listed in HBV of both guru and ziSya. Then one might get a better sense of the authors intentions. At least if a full list is given then it would be clearer to see what is important and what is not (even though everyone may still disagree, general agreement on some points should be possible)

The entire reference reads as follows:

atha ziSya-lakSaNAni

mantra-muktAvalyAm—

ziSyaH zuddhAnvayaH zrImAn vinItaH priya-darzanaH |
satya-vAk puNya-carito’dabhra-dhIr dambha-varjitaH ||59||
kAma-krodha-parityAgI bhaktaz ca guru-pAdayoH |
devatA-pravaNaH kAya-mano-vAgbhir divA-nizam ||60||
nIrujo nirjitAzeSa-pAtakaH zraddhyAnvitaH |
dvija-deva-pitRRNAM ca nityam arcA-parAyaNaH ||61||
yuvA viniyatAzeSa-karaNaH karuNAlayaH |
ity Adi-lakSaNair yuktaH ziSyo dIkSAdhikAravAn ||62||

adabhra-dhIH mahA-buddhiH ||59-62||

ekAdaza-skandhe ca [bhA.pu. 11.10.6]—

amAny amatsaro dakSo nirmamo dRTha-sauhRdaH |
asatvaro’rtha-jijJAsur anasUyur amogha-vAk ||63||

Interestingly, here we'll first of all find similar "external" characteristics, such as priya-darzanaH, charming to look at. A rather high standard is also expected in terms of internal purity, such as freedom from lust, greed and so forth. Curiously, being a devout worshiper of gods is mentioned twice. I wonder how many prospective disciples are always engaged in the worship of brahmins, gods and forefathers. And karunAlayaH, he should be an abode of grace.

"The disciple who has these characteristics, and more, is eligible for diksha." smile.gif
Madhava - Thu, 28 Apr 2005 16:26:32 +0530
QUOTE(Keshava)
The very anuloma and pratiloma ideas themselves, being used here in the context of diksha, come  from their application to marriage and mixture of castes.  However these ideas have no meaning outside the context of a caste oriented society. So why should we think that pratiloma and anuloma can be conveniently used to charaterize types of dikshas? Is this not tantemount to accepting that diksha has some inherent material aspect to it?

I have argued in the past over the relevance of these statements in the context of a caste oriented society, and on the social function of diksha, which albeit inferior to its spiritual aspect, is an inseparable aspect of human life particularly in hindu-societies. With that in mind, some of the characteristics have been prescribed to ensure the initiates a stable social situation in which they can peacefully engage in their devotional activities; adopting a guru contrary to some of the external recommendations would have the potential to create social havoc.

This we see first and foremost in the life of Narottama Das Thakur Mahashaya, who, along with his peer Shyamananda, gave pratiloma-dikshas in abundance. The uproar was grand, and no doubt some brahmins who had taken shelter of him were ostracized from the brahmin communities of the times. Therefore we read expressions such as "And he offered his life, wealth and caste at his guru's feet..."


QUOTE
So the larger question becomes whether Gaudiya Vaisnavism is inherently to be practiced only within the bounds of casteist ideology. I'm sure no one here really believes that. However Advaita has made some good points about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's refusal to eat food prepared by non-brahmins, etc. Do we blame Him for this? No, we cannot judge His actions, however what about those we meet in India today who would have the same attitude? Who would not even accept something from us directly in their hands without having it dropped or placed to the side. In other words if we met someont like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in India today would we not think of him as casteist?

Whenever a situation is there where due consideration to caste is to be observed, then of course it should be observed. However, beyond that I fail to see its meaning. Practices must have meaning, they are not to be mere ununderstood, or even misunderstood, ritual.

As far as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself, the way I see it there's a single, very clear reason to his not accepting grains from non-brahmins and so forth. His acceptance of a life of a sannyasin was geared towards converting classes of people, such as the mayavadins and the nyayikas, who were extremely bound up in such considerations. If Chaitanya would forsake his caste and bear this stigma for good, his task would be so much more difficult to fulfill.
Gaurasundara - Thu, 28 Apr 2005 19:09:29 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Apr 28 2005, 11:56 AM)
If Chaitanya would forsake his caste and bear this stigma for good, his task would be so much more difficult to fulfill.

But isn't being a sannyasi above considerations of jati and varna? wink.gif
Madhava - Thu, 28 Apr 2005 19:15:41 +0530
QUOTE(Gaurasundara @ Apr 28 2005, 02:39 PM)
But isn't being a sannyasi above considerations of jati and varna? wink.gif

Well, considering that traditionally only born brahmins would take sannyasa, I'm not so sure of that.
Madhava - Sat, 07 May 2005 20:29:16 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 16 2005, 11:59 AM)
You and your eggplants! Because some Vaishnavas eat eggplant while that is forbidden in HBV you will dismiss all shastric rules? It is all relative - throw an atom bomb on your Guru's ashram, have sex with your mother, anything goes because someone is eating eggplants?

Since I am going over the section of HBV discussing various rules for what to eat and what not to eat, and since I recall my note on eggplant was trivialized, I would like to present the relevant verses from the text while I have them at hand.

skAnde-
na bhakSayati vRntAkaM tasya dUrataro hariH || 8.161 ||

In the Skanda-purana: "Eggplant is not to be eaten, for it keeps Hari far away."

kiM cAnyatra-
vArtAkuM bRhatIM caiva dagdham annaM masUrakam |
yasyodare pravarteta tasya dUrataro hariH || 8.162 ||

And elsewhere: "From him, who has in his stomach eggplant, certain other vegetables of the Solanum family, burnt foods or masura-dal, Hari is far removed."

ata evoktaM yAmale-
yatra madyaM tathA mAMsam tathA vRntAka-mUlake |
nivedayen naiva tatra harer aikAntikI ratiH || 8.164 ||

And as said in the Yamala: "Where wine, meat, eggplant or mulaka-radish is offered, there certainly is no unalloyed love for Hari."

The wording of the verses above is very grave, and the rule is directly linked with devotional merits.

However, I have not actually seen similar strong statements over the vizeSa-lakSana of the guru; "Should the guru lack even one of these qualities, Hari is far removed from the disciple." What to speak of isolating one or two of those qualities while neglecting some of the others, insisting that particularly those qualities are of utmost importance and obligatory to go by.

Now, someone may argue: "But we read in the scriptures (CC 2.3.47, CC 3.10.136) of Advaita Prabhu offering eggplant (vArtAkI) fried with fresh neem-leaves to Vishnu, and also Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya offered Mahaprabhu a plate including fried eggplant with nimba-leaves."

Yes indeed, from this we may conclude that some injunctions are more essential and others are less essential, and the degree of their essentiality we may judge from the behavior of the mahAjanas. Just as Mahaprabhu's associates were seen sometimes offering fried eggplant with neem-leaves, we should not find fault if some modern-day devotees are found doing the same, and just as Narottama, Shyamananda and Rasikananda were seen sometimes giving pratiloma-dIkSA, we should not find fault if some modern-day devotees are doing the same.
Gaurasundara - Sun, 08 May 2005 05:06:16 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ May 7 2005, 03:59 PM)
And elsewhere: "From him, who has in his stomach eggplant, certain other vegetables of the Solanum family,

Where did you find 'Solanum' in the Sanskrit? blink.gif And what is the solanum family of vegetables, and are there any other examples of it?

QUOTE
Yes indeed, from this we may conclude that some injunctions are more essential and others are less essential, and the degree of their essentiality we may judge from the behavior of the mahAjanas. Just as Mahaprabhu's associates were seen sometimes offering fried eggplant with neem-leaves, we should not find fault if some modern-day devotees are found doing the same,

Awfully sorry, but I'm confused as to whether this answers the question of whether we should eat brinjal or not. I would like to know one way or another.

On the other hand I've never really liked brinjals but have always been forced to eat them because it is 'prasad', so I think I will make good use of these shlokas! biggrin.gif (evil chuckle)
Madhava - Sun, 08 May 2005 05:50:36 +0530
QUOTE(Gaurasundara @ May 8 2005, 12:36 AM)
Where did you find 'Solanum' in the Sanskrit? blink.gif And what is the solanum family of vegetables, and are there any other examples of it?

I note that verse 162 was mistakenly replaced by verse 360 of the same chapter, an error in a GGM document that needs to be fixed.

See the verse again. Therein you'll find vArtAka and bRhatI. The former is a common word for eggplant. Monier-Williams translates bRhatI as "a partic. Solanum, two species of it". Eggplant, among many others, belongs to the Solanum family of vegetables. Many of them are poisonous, yet some, such as eggplant, tomato, capsicum and potato are edible. See also Solanaceae.

Since the dictionary doesn't specify bRhatI any further, I don't know what exactly to make of it. Hence the translation.



QUOTE
Awfully sorry, but I'm confused as to whether this answers the question of whether we should eat brinjal or not. I would like to know one way or another.

It doesn't. smile.gif I don't eat them. If you don't like them, then certainly don't eat them. You shouldn't be taking foodstuffs that aren't palatable to you, especially in marginal cases such as the one at hand.
braja - Sun, 08 May 2005 06:32:06 +0530
On behalf of ghee/mustard oil-drenched eggplant lovers everywhere, I think more investigation is called for before this sponge, er, gem of a vegetable is thrown on the coals without a fair trial:

1. vArtAka is also a name for quail, according to MW.

2. vRntAka is also a caterpillar, stalks, and the stand of a waterjar.

Eating any of the above should obviously be avoided! And perhaps we need to ask about Sir Monier Monier Monier-Williams background in botany. He probably doesn't even speak Latin!

3. bRhatI seems to be "Indian nightshade," of which the "fruit, root, plant, seeds" can be used. See this herbal directory. Here is a picture of the fruit:

user posted image

Does that look like an eggplant?

It's tough being a nightshade, but just as Sri Prahlada was the bhakta among the daityas, the eggplant (and his good friends, potato and tomato) made good. Let's not be too quick to judge.

I'm no fan of mooli myself so someone else can defend it. It's not too bad with chaat masala and lime juice, just don't cook the darn stuff.
Madhava - Sun, 08 May 2005 06:46:51 +0530
I'm afraid I'll have to break your hopes there, but especially vRnta is commonly used for eggplant; the word brinjal is a derivative of it.

Quails? However, there aren't separate notes for pewits, willow tits and tweetie birds? I mean, it's a good idea to pick the dictionary meaning that fits the context...
braja - Sun, 08 May 2005 06:54:35 +0530
These folk trace the etymology like this:

QUOTE
But for the most extraordinary example of shifting names we must go to the aubergine, once known also as the brinjal in India. The story starts with Sanskrit vatin-gana “the plant that cures the wind”, which became the Arabic al-badinjan. This moved into Europe, again via Moorish Spain: one offshoot—keeping the Arabic article prefixed—became alberengena in Spanish and on to aubergine in French; another transformation became the botanical Latin melongena through losing the article and changing the “b” to an “m”; this then turned into the Italian melanzana and then to mela insana (the “mad apple”). Another branch, again without the “al”, became bringella in Portugal, whose traders took the plant, and their version of the name, full circle back to India, where it became brinjal in Anglo-Indian circles (the usual term among English speakers in India today is the Hindi baingan, or aubergine). In another branch of its history, the Portuguese word turned up in the West Indies, where it was again, but differently, corrupted to brown-jolly. All names for the same plant.


WorldWideWords

Madhava - Sun, 08 May 2005 19:16:02 +0530
QUOTE
But for the most extraordinary example of shifting names we must go to the aubergine, once known also as the brinjal in India. The story starts with Sanskrit vatin-gana “the plant that cures the wind”, which became the Arabic al-badinjan.

The word seems to be vAtiga-gama in M-W.
Elpis - Sun, 08 May 2005 19:30:47 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ May 8 2005, 09:46 AM)
The word seems to be vAtiga-gama in M-W.

Although not wholly clear in MW, that should be vAtigama, not vAtigagama. Right afterwards, the word vAtiMgaNa, the word mentioned in what Braja posted, is listed as having the same meaning.
Hari Saran - Sun, 08 May 2005 21:45:09 +0530
Sunday:

Bringella Parmigiana

Yummy! yummy!… rolleyes.gif
Mina - Mon, 09 May 2005 02:04:53 +0530
The traditional diksa lines will eventually be propagated via Westerners alongside the Indian gurus already carrying on that function. The main thing is that they will be gurus that have been properly initiated. As far as how advanced they may or may not be, that is something any candidate for initiation will naturally be judging for themselves. And that really is the province of potential candidates and no one else's affair. The lines in India have mainly been familial, although they often are outside of the diksa dynasties. I would imagine that eventually there will also be diksa dynasties among Westerners as well. The notion of a guru needing to be siddha is a misconception that many unfortunately have. Of course, it is nice if one's guru is such a rare devotee. More importantly one must take into consideration the other qualifications as they have been listed in the literature. There is a certain prerequisite knowledge and minimum standards of conduct to be adhered to. If the guru is not thoroughly knowledgeable, yet has proper conduct and has been properly initiated, then the guru is suitable for a candidate in the absence of a guru that is more thoroughly knowledgable.

Nitai's idea was to provide some avenues for Westerners to obtain diksa in the West. Personally, I don't think there are people in the West ready to pursue that course at this juncture. They all prefer to go to India and get initiation from someone over there. As Advaita Das has pointed out, this is not an infeasible proposition for anyone, given the cheap air transportation available. The tradeoff, however, is that the sisya is not going to have the opportunity to spend much time with the guru on the short stay in India, whereas they would more likely have that opportunity with a Western guru that resides in the West in their own locale.

What will be needed in the future is gurus spread all over the globe to accommodate the people living in various countries, just as other religious traditions have their satellite branches.
jijaji - Mon, 09 May 2005 22:38:50 +0530
QUOTE
The notion of a guru needing to be siddha is a misconception that many unfortunately have. Of course, it is nice if one's guru is such a rare devotee.


I think that this misconception once understood would help put an end to various 'Personality Cults' that have a tendency to propagate their Guru's as 'All Knowing', 'Omniscient' etc..

thank you bapuji,

namaskar,

jijaji
Madhava - Mon, 09 May 2005 22:40:24 +0530
QUOTE(jijaji @ May 9 2005, 06:08 PM)
I think that this misconception once understood would help put an end to various 'personality cults' of various kinds that have a tendency to  propagate  their Guru's as 'All Knowing', 'Omniscient' etc..

How far do you see that happening outside IGM?
jijaji - Mon, 09 May 2005 22:41:17 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ May 9 2005, 08:10 PM)
QUOTE(jijaji @ May 9 2005, 06:08 PM)
I think that this misconception once understood would help put an end to various 'personality cults' of various kinds that have a tendency to  propagate  their Guru's as 'All Knowing', 'Omniscient' etc..

How far do you see that happening outside IGM?


Not very far...at least among Gaudiya Vaishnavas. laugh.gif

I was also including other non-Gaudiya spiritual groups outside IGM that form these personality cults surrounding so-called omniscient Gurus.

namaskar,

jijaji
Madhava - Wed, 11 May 2005 01:12:26 +0530
Here was a series of posts concerning the Temple of the Sacred Bower setup by Nitai Das and Minaketan Ramdas. However, we received some reports that were concerned over the rather critical direction of the comments. We have therefore split the said posts aside, and I will be summarizing the gist of what was said in the following post in a hopefully less provocative manner.
Madhava - Wed, 11 May 2005 01:25:21 +0530
Summary of the Temple of the Sacred Bower posts

Sometime in 2003, Nitai Das and Minaketan Ramdas reached the conclusion that they ought to be carrying on their Vaishnava heritage in the capacity of siksha and diksha-gurus respectively. Minaketan Ramdas was also conferred the title Thakur, I am assuming by Nitai. Apparently the title Thakur is still in use. You can read a brief presentation on TSB from Archive.Org. Those pags have gone offline sometime towards the end of 2004 and are no longer available at Nitai's site.

I am not familiar with the history of how it came to end, Jijaji suggested that it was a move from Minaketan's part, who wasn't comfortable with the idea.

The two elders of the Temple of the Sacred Bower also drafted together a document called "Initiation Path", available below. (This seems to be Nitai's work for the most part.)

[attachmentid=1535]

Some statements therein have raised curiosity and concern in some Vaishnavas. Statements, such as the following on the moderate use of whisky (page 44):

QUOTE
Coffee and tea drinking is allowed and either moderation or complete abstinence is enjoined concerning drinking intoxicating beverages (beer, wine, whisky). Tobacco and its products are also allowed in moderation with the recommendation that, though not harmful to one’s spiritual life, they are harmful to the physical body. Illegal drugs are forbidden in all circumstances, except perhaps where there is need of usage for medicinal reasons...

Questions were raised over "moderate use of whiskey", as well as over whether for example pot would not be forbidden in countries where it wasn't illegal (though of course, used moderately -- not in excess).

* * * * *

Perhaps Mina or someone would like to shed further light on this noble endeavor that apparently never saw the light of the day beyond internet.

If you comment on this topic, please try to keep the comments civil and don't post anything ridiculing anything or anyone, though of course you're free to question issues. Thank you.
Attachment: Sacred_Bower___Initiation_Path.pdf
jijaji - Wed, 11 May 2005 01:51:03 +0530
Like I said I felt like I was at a 'Dean Martin' roast...and was just having a go at some of what seemed funny innocent humor.

I apologize if I seemed ridiculing in anyway or offended anyone..

namaskar,

jijaji
Kalkidas - Wed, 11 May 2005 02:10:53 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ May 10 2005, 10:42 PM)
Here was a series of posts concerning the Temple of the Sacred Bower setup by Nitai Das and Minaketan Ramdas. However, we received some reports that were concerned over the rather critical direction of the comments. We have therefore split the said posts aside, and I will be summarizing the gist of what was said in the following post in a hopefully less provocative manner.



Thank you, Madhavaji for moving away these posts. It made really frustrating impression on me, even that I wasn't one of those, who has reported them.

To tell the truth, I am personally aspiring to receive diksha from one of the senior western devotees with traditional background. Out of modesty he told me that he is unqualified, and made an advise to seek a guru in India. Despite of this advise, I really considered him to be my future guru, until this exchange of remarks...

Some time ago, when there was a big discussion with Advaitadasaji about the eligibility of western devotees for occupying the role of a guru, I saw, that position of his opponents (with many good insights from your good self, Dasanudasaji and others) was stronger in many ways. But now I see, that theory and practice are really different things. While defending the view, that western devotees are eligible for this role in theory, many people here showed strong averse to the first (maybe imperfect, but still) attempt of it's practical implementation.

So, now I see, that person, whom I prayed for diksha, gave me good advice, when he redirected my search to India. If my wouldbe diksha from this person will be considered as some kind of a joke or nonsense, this will bring only frustration and trouble to me and my guru, because I really depend on this good community, as my sajatiya sadhu-sanga. I don't have any other people, who fully share my views and intentions.
Madhava - Wed, 11 May 2005 02:37:29 +0530
QUOTE(Kalkidas @ May 10 2005, 09:40 PM)
But now I see, that theory and practice are really different things. While defending the view, that western devotees are eligible for this role in theory, many people here showed strong averse to the first (maybe imperfect, but still) attempt of it's practical implementation.

With regards to its practical implementation:

Among those who are in theoretical agreement over this, I wouldn't think it were that much of an issue if the devotee in question demonstrated an exemplary life of sadhana.

If I saw someone who were chanting a lakh or two of harinama, who was well versed in the scriptures and who would also demonstrably dedicate a portion of his time for the practice of smarana in some form, and moreover who would possess a good character, I would bow down to the concept of his acting as a diksha-guru and would consider it wonderful indeed.

However, unfortunately the only factor that can really be ascertained without meeting someone in person is his insight in the realm of the scripture. The three criteria a guru ought to meet are given as:

1. zAbde niSNAtam - Well-versed in the scriptures.
2. pare niSNAtam - Well-established in realization of the Supreme.
3. brahmaNy upazamAzrayam - Has taken full refuge of the Lord.

If the second two are wanting, for example in the capacity of a lack in sAdhana and the subsequent lack in active relationship with Radha-Krishna in the realm of lila, the first alone, expertise in the scripture, will not help carry your heart to the other shore of the ocean of devotion.
Mina - Wed, 11 May 2005 03:14:52 +0530
Nitai thought Thakur was a good title for Vaishnavas not born in Brahmin families, therefore he conferred it upon me. I no longer use the title.

The position on alcohol and tobacco was Nitai's adaptation for American culture, wherein those things are prevalent in all circles. The idea was to avoid alienating a certain percentage of the people who would find it difficult if not impossible to give up such habits.

The initation handbook was entirely Nitai's creation and was written solely by him.
Madhava - Wed, 11 May 2005 03:42:07 +0530
QUOTE(Mina @ May 10 2005, 10:44 PM)
Nitai thought Thakur was a good title for Vaishnavas not born in Brahmin families, therefore he conferred it upon me.  I no longer use the title.

I don't mean to belittle anyone's achievements, but in principle, aren't such titles usually conferred after some noteworthy devotional achievements? Even then, isn't Thakur a bit of a high-end title in comparison to the more common Bhakti-bhushan, Vidya-bhushan and so forth?


QUOTE
The position on alcohol and tobacco was Nitai's adaptation for American culture, wherein those things are prevalent in all circles.  The idea was to avoid alienating a certain percentage of the people who would find it difficult if not impossible to give up such habits.

Alcohol is among the grosser anarthas. It is pretty much universally shunned among Vaishnavas. In general, I am under the impression that religiously inclined people see abstinence from alcohol as a virtue.

Especially if we are talking about candidates for diksha, it seems to me that moderate use of whisky is an oxymoron. How can someone take mantra-diksha and engage in daily archana while drinking alcohol in moderation? The very point of diksha and subsequent archana is to bring about a reform of habits.
Rasaraja dasa - Wed, 11 May 2005 05:11:35 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

Radhe Radhe!

I think we need to emphasize, again and again, that we are to address the subjects at hand not people. Nitai, or anyones thoughts on his spiritual standard or faith, has nothing to do with the discussion at hand besides the fact that he has an opinion. That shouldn’t be used as an opportunity to attack/question his credibility, faith, character, etc. regardless of what anyone thinks of him or his points. Allow his own words and actions to define him and leave those judgments out of the discussions.

Rasaraja dasa
Mina - Wed, 11 May 2005 08:21:13 +0530
As far as titles go, I guess it depends on how they have been acquired. We see those who come in certain families with surnames like Goswami and Thakur. We also find titular designations for those in the post of guru, as well as those given to people for academic achievements. What Nitai was searching for was a suitable title under the circumstances. The larger question is whether or not titles are even important. After all, what more designations does one need than Das, unless there is some other context, such as awarding a very learned man with the title of Pandit? Of course, here in America journalists are called pundits (I assume borrowing from the Sanskrit to designate them as people "in the know" and with facts to report).

Devotional achievements should be recognized by the community. I myself do not really have any that I would consider to be noteworthy enough to deserve any titles. What Nitai was aiming for was something suitable for a householder Vaishnava not born into a Brahmin family. Whether or not he was right in coming up with that idea, I am not going to judge.
Gaurasundara - Wed, 11 May 2005 16:58:10 +0530
It is interesting how most of the Western diksits here are initiated by Indian gurus (Ananta das baba, Tinkudi Baba, etc). The only example of a Western traditionalist guru that I can think of is Gadadhar Pran das. But then I suppose that is not much relevant since he is in India and we are talking about Western-resident diksa-gurus here.

But considering the example of GPd, there has to be first a number of Western diksitas before any of them can consider acting as guru.
Mina - Wed, 11 May 2005 23:53:43 +0530
Everything starting with post #112, I think.

[ Cleaned up, thanks for paying attention. I'll remove this one momentarily, as well. - Mod. ]
Lancer - Thu, 12 May 2005 00:10:13 +0530
QUOTE(Mina @ May 11 2005, 11:23 AM)
Everything starting with post #112, I think.

[ Cleaned up, thanks for paying attention. I'll remove this one momentarily, as well. - Mod. ]



You guys have no idea how frustratedly curious a post like this makes me. I'm in agony! crying.gif

Dandavats,
Lancer
Mina - Thu, 12 May 2005 00:15:06 +0530
This was a point on which Nitai and I actually disagreed. I am in favor of sending people to India to seek out suitable gurus for the time being. He is not in favor of that approach and would like to set up people that have received diksa in traditional lines here in the West to give initiations. Personally, I think he should pursue that himself, if that is what he thinks should be the plan, rather than urging me to take on such a role. He can give himself some title, or let his disciples give him one.

It really is a moot point, it would seem, since there has not really been any interest among any candidates in seeking a Western guru. They have all been heading to Radha Kund to get diksa from Ananta Das Babaji and some of the other senior sadhus there.

The main crux of the matter, as I see it, is that people here in the West have to make a living, which takes up most of their time (unless they are independently wealthy). That does not leave room for adequate bhajan for anyone that wants to also take on the role of guru.

I am more in favor of other projects like book publication. I don't really see a need to make initiations in the West a priority. Unless there are indeed some special circumstances (for example, if someone is perhaps terminally ill and unable to travel to India, but wants initiation before they die), the avenue of traveling to Radha Kund for now is sufficient.
Madhava - Thu, 12 May 2005 00:17:07 +0530
QUOTE(Lancer @ May 11 2005, 07:40 PM)
You guys have no idea how frustratedly curious a post like this makes me.  I'm in agony!

The "Retired Threads" section is available upon request. However we make no guarantees as to what might jump at you from a dark, misty corner there.
Advaitadas - Sun, 26 Jun 2005 13:04:04 +0530
Well it took me 2 months or so, but finally here is the quote from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana -

jAti hInAd guror mantraH gRhnIyAn na kadAcana
(Brahmavaivarta PurANa, KRSNa Janma Khanda 83.42):
"Never take mantra from a casteless guru."
cool.gif
dasa - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 03:21:51 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 11:23 AM)
QUOTE
Please tell me then how we are going to interpret mahaprabhu's word:

"Kiba sudra kiba bipra nyasi kene noy
jei krishna tattva betta sei guru hoy"...


If you study the context of this verse, you will see that it is spoken by Mahaprabhu to Ramananda Ray. The former was a brahmin and a sannyasi, the latter was a sudra and a grihastha. Mahaprabhu regarded RR as a Guru, but did not take diksa from him. The reference is to siksa guru not diksa guru.


I am trying to understand your point here. Are you making a distinction between the siksha guru and the diksha guru? If you are that is, as far I have read, not in agreement with guru, shastra, and sadhu. First we have the quote from Srila Krsna Das Kaviraja Goswami in Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi Lila, Ch. 1, Vs. 47:

"One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Krsna. Lord Krsna manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord."

In the purport my Srila Prabhupada states: "The initiating spiritual master is a personal manifestation of Srila Madana-mohana vigraha, whereas the instructing spiritual master is a personal representative of Srila Govindadeva vigraha."
"Our only shelter is the Supreme Lord, and one who teaches how to approach Krsna is the functioning form of the Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between the shelter-giving Supreme Lord and the initiating and instructing spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offense in the discharge of devotional service."

Now Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur makes another important point about the equality of the siksha and diksha gurus in his Bhakti Tattva Viveka: "The svarupa-jnana or intrinsic knowledge concerning the sadhaka (the practitioner), sadhana (the practice) and sadhya (the object of achievement) is non different from the svarupa of suddha-bhakti. When such svarupa-jnana has not yet arisen within a sadhaka but the desire to cross over the ocean of material existence has come within him, then whatever symptoms of bhakti which are visible in him in that condition are merely bhakti-abhasa. This bhakti-abhasa transforms into suddha-bhakti when one obtains svarupa-jnana. Even for Vaisnavas who are duly initiated into the genuine sampradaya the vastu-prabha, or illumination of one's eternal identity arising from their diksa-mantra which they received from their diksa-guru, won't appear until they receive this svarupa-jnana by the mercy of a siksa-guru. Due to ignorance of svarupa-jnana, svarupa-siddha-bhakti remains covered and hence only bhakti-abhasa is visible."

So if the swarupa jnana is given to the qualified vaishnava diksha initiate by the siksha guru if the disciple has not yet received it from his diksha guru then what is the difference between them since they both serve the ultimate function of enlightening the disciple in his swarupa jnana? As far as my Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur are concerned there is none.

If I have made some mistake in my presentation please feel free to show me the correct siddhanta. However, you will first have to present shastric praman to counter the siddhanta of the above mentioned acarya's. Unless you feel I am applying the siddhanta of the acarya's in the wrong way. If that is true please feel free to show me the misapplication.

forgive me for any offense I may have committed knowingly or unknowingly in my presentation. YS DASA
Madhava - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 03:55:58 +0530
A note to familiarize you with the background of the issue. (You did read the entire thread, I trust?) Advaitadas represents a branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava -tradition in which the diksha-guru's being a brahmin is given great importance. I have not familiarized myself with the exact views of his branch of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, but overall, there are some branches who lay great importance to matters of caste, in the view of many, much more than the matter would rightfully deserve in terms of its spiritual merits.

It is indeed true that both the diksha-guru and the siksha-guru are manifestations of Krishna. In that sense, no distinctions are made. I believe the issue is, to a great extent, a social one. I'll not repeat myself, I have said as much and in so many words earlier on. In my view, there is undeniable merit to considerations of the guru's caste as far as the social conditions in which it is relevant apply. In their absence, the matter becomes marginalized.

This is one of the issues Gaudiyas have apparently somehow learned to live with without great frictions, although you still have the occasional quibble between the babajis and the (caste) goswamis over who may act as a diksha-guru, as the latter view the former as unjustly acting on their territory, and as the former view the latter as being unnecessarily caught up in superficialities. Still, they seem to somehow come along.
dasanudas - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 04:14:00 +0530
QUOTE
branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava -tradition in which the diksha-guru's being a brahmin is given great importance


As I have said also in earlier posts, I am also not much familiar of that kind of Gaudiya Branch even within caste goswmis. I consider this is very much offensive and very much contrary to the traditional practice and moral values within gaudiya vaishnava society which helped Gaudiya Vaishnavism to spread and sustain over centuries. Certainly this is not the way Sri Nitai Chand spreaded prema of Mahaprabhu throughout entire bengal.

Jay Nitai
Dasanudas
dasa - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 06:05:34 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Sep 29 2005, 06:25 PM)
A note to familiarize you with the background of the issue. (You did read the entire thread, I trust?) Advaitadas represents a branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava -tradition in which the diksha-guru's being a brahmin is given great importance.


I did read most of the thread, but this is exactly my point and also dasanudas agrees that what kind of Gaudiya Vaishnava lineage disregards the words of Mahaprabhu in this context. Krsna Das Kaviraja also makes the point as does Thakur Bhaktivinoda. But Advaita has quoted verses from Sanatan goswami and the puranas to reinforce his view. In what context in the overall scheme of things is Srila Santan Goswami making this statement? What is the story behind the verse in the puranas? What is the point they are trying to get across? Which Yuga is the story taking place in? Does this instruction apply to Kali Yuga and Sriman Mahaprabhus Yuga Dharma and the process of spreading it? These are all questions that need to be answered before you throw a verse out as evidence.

Again I remain your servant DASA
Madhava - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 06:09:30 +0530
I like to think I already addressed the varnashrama-context to a substantial degree. Having read the entire thread myself once again, I can heartily recommend reading the whole thing from the beginning to the end.
dasa - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 21:22:49 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Sep 29 2005, 08:39 PM)
I like to think I already addressed the varnashrama-context to a substantial degree. Having read the entire thread myself once again, I can heartily recommend reading the whole thing from the beginning to the end.



Ok I read it start to finish I understand why you wrote these two posts in response to mine. I think you have done a good job raising questions about the intentions of Srila Sanatan Goswami quotes concerning the special qulifications of a guru. But there remains all of my questions about the puranic quote which need to be answered. I believe I have a lot to say about this subject of western gurus and their qulifications and I will adress it very soon. Right now I need to digest what I read and organize my reply in my mind.

I remain your servant
DASA
Madhava - Fri, 30 Sep 2005 21:40:24 +0530
I don't see why we should be overly concerned over that reference. As was pointed out, the Goswamis harvested the essence of sad-dharma from the scriptures, and this reference seems to have escaped the harvest.

There are countless references in the myriads of Puranas that may not be fully compatible with the Gaudiya line of thought, and that also aren't compatible with each others' views. I therefore don't consider someone's unearthing such a reference to be a major issue if it doesn't sit in the overall framework of Gaudiya thought.
Madhava - Sat, 01 Oct 2005 04:36:56 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Jun 26 2005, 08:34 AM)
jAti hInAd guror mantraH gRhnIyAn na kadAcana
(Brahmavaivarta PurANa, KRSNa Janma Khanda 83.42):
"Never take mantra from a casteless guru."

I would like to know of the context of this quote. I'm looking at the edition of Brahmavaivarta-purana found here. Sadly, the text only has the first three khandas. Does anyone have a more complete edition at hand? If the section treats the topic of guru-tattva at more length, it'd be interesting to know what it says.
dasa - Sun, 02 Oct 2005 08:14:22 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Apr 14 2005, 11:57 AM)
In the Haribhakti Vilasa (1:34, 47, 51 and 52, paragraphs gurupasatti and visesatah sri guror laksanani), Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Gopala Bhatta Gosvami state that the first choice of a qualified guru should be a born brahmana — vipram pradhvasta kama (1.34) brahmanah sarvakalajna (1.47). varnottame'tha ca gurau (1.51) If a qualified brahmana cannot be found, a qualified ksatriya must be sought, etc. –


Please forgive my ignorance but from my poor knowledge of sanskrit it does not appear that any of the above quotes indicate a born brahmana but a qualified brahmana. Does the word pradhvasta indicate birth? Please correct me if I am wrong by showing me the exact language translated word for word from sanskrit into english. Thanks in advance to anyone who does this.

I remain your servant
DASA
Madhava - Sun, 02 Oct 2005 08:32:15 +0530
QUOTE
Please forgive my ignorance but from my poor knowledge of sanskrit it does not appear that any of the above quotes indicate a born brahmana but a qualified brahmana. Does the word pradhvasta indicate birth? Please correct me if I am wrong by showing me the exact language translated word for word from sanskrit into english. Thanks in advance to anyone who does this.

That indeed isn't said there. And that's a whole another can of worms we have there with the whole debate on who's a brahmin and who's not.

Customarily, though many Gaudiyas do interpret statements such as these along the lines of "who has the qualities of a brahmana", they nevertheless don't adopt the occupational duties of a brahmana in the context of varnashrama-dharma.

The word "pradhvasta" means "destroyed", tied with the word "kAma".
Mina - Sun, 02 Oct 2005 16:49:51 +0530
Considering that I am most likely 1/4 Ukrainian (from my mother's side of the family), and that it was the Ukrainians that were the original Aryans who invaded India and performed Vedic sacrifices, then I may have the right to claim a 25% member share in the Brahmin caste by blood right. The only question is what is the other 3/4 of me? On my father's side, it appears that I am descended from European nobility (kshatriyas?) who were originally Norman vikings (is Madhava a distant cousin of mine?) that set up the feudal system in Sicily in the 11th century. Most interesting is that my paternal grandfather worked in coal mines and factories as a common laborer (sudra?), and my maternal grandfather was a machinist (vaisya/sudra?), yet my mother was a teacher (brahmin?).

I guess I must be a mutt when it comes to caste distinctions. laugh.gif
Madhava - Tue, 04 Oct 2005 03:15:22 +0530
This topic should also be relevant to the discussion at hand.
dasa - Thu, 06 Oct 2005 15:35:35 +0530
[quote=Advaitadas,Apr 14 2005, 09:32 PM]
[QUOTE]
Narottam das Thakur was a nitya siddha parikara whose body melted like milk. See Suhotra or Kirtanananda do that at any time?[/QUOTE]

Please excuse me. I am sorry for asking but I am not familiar with this. Could you give me a complete list of tricks that nitya siddha parikars can do so I can recognize them even when they are not born brahmins which is an oxymoron anyway.

I remain your servant
DASA

Madhava - Thu, 06 Oct 2005 17:32:17 +0530
Gauranger sangi gane, nitya-siddha kori mane. - Narottam Das Thakur