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Gaudiya Discussions Archive » PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY
Discussions on the doctrines of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Please place practical questions under the Miscellaneous forum and set this aside for the more theoretical side of it.

Nistha: Steadiness - Questions all about the stage of nistha



bhaktashab - Wed, 19 Nov 2003 09:33:45 +0530
Hello all. I have some questions perhaps you may like to answer.

What constitutes nistha?

How does nistha relate to the difference between a kanistha and madhyama adhikari?

After experiencing what kinds of signs or symptoms should one conclude one has reached nistha?

Is there a difference between nistha in raganuga bhakti and nistha in vaidhi bhakti?

Is there a difference between external nistha and internal nistha?

Are there examples of devotees reaching nistha, or maybe you can relate your own experiences of reaching nistha?

I am interested in what sastra has to say about this but I am probably more interested in the experiences of the members here.

ta muchly
Rasesh - Wed, 19 Nov 2003 19:55:54 +0530
My question is:

Can a sadhaka who is committing Vaishnava aparadha/guru aparadha, considered to be on the level of nistha? Does committing nama-aparadha and Vaishnava aparadha qualify one in nistha?

When one is "fixed-up" in an offensive attitude to one's guru and millions of Vaishnavas, does that qualify as "nistha"?
Jagat - Wed, 19 Nov 2003 20:04:02 +0530
The subject of aparadha is a touchy one. Everyone takes offense so easily. Let us say that offenses against those who take offense too easily are the least likely to be real offenses. Real offenses are most likely committed against people who barely notice, but ones that Krishna notices.

Nistha means fixed commitment, dedication, persistency. You can have all that and still commit offenses.
Madhava - Thu, 20 Nov 2003 02:04:09 +0530
QUOTE(Rasesh @ Nov 19 2003, 02:41 PM)
Wasn't it Raghunatha das Goswami who would cover his ears and run away if someone tried to speak of the defects in a Vaishnava? Should thesis papers written to defrock a Vaishnava acharya be considered as acceptable material in a camp of raganuga bhaktas? Should such documents be used as doctrinal support for a raganuga sampradaya?

When dealing with the issues of Vaishnava-aparadha, isn't it better to err on the side of caution, rather than the side of recklessness?

Yes, the pure bhajananandi uttama-bhagavat is beyond discriminating between devotees and non-devotees, and moreover between pure devotees and mixed devoteees. However, for the madhyama-bhagavat, the shastra describes love, friendship, mercy and neglect to be shown for the Lord, the devotees, the ignorant and the envious respectively. The Saraswata-branch has certainly taken this ideal of discrimination to heart, judging by the degree of judgement they've expressed when dealing with various classes and groups of devotees.
bhaktashab - Thu, 20 Nov 2003 13:14:13 +0530
QUOTE(TarunKishordas @ Nov 20 2003, 05:50 AM)
Radhe!

congratulations, dear bhaktashab.

i am also pretty tired of finding one or two attacks of provocation in nearly every thread.

how gentle and patient Madhavaji does react.
respect!

but i guess at one point , enough should be enough.
why not just ignore his provocating posts and take his "genuine" questions serious?

Radhe!

Tarunji

Yes Madhavananda is a gentleman and a scholar, I'm sure he gets that compliment all the time. wink.gif

This subject of nistha.
I have heard Tripurari maharaja say that there is no spiritual life before nistha. So for Tripurari Maharaja nistha seems to be an important event. Currently I am in the unsteady stage and this has something to do with my karma. My theoretical knowledge surpasses my practical knowledge by a large disproportion so I am always on the look out for nistha. So what happens? Do you just wake up one morning and 'bang' you are a steady devotee? Is there an experience of something deep? Or is it gradual? Is it different for everybody? What contributes the most to achieving this level? What are the main anarthas blocking nistha? What can appear to be nistha but is not really? etc. etc. etc. Perhaps this is too boring a topic for some of you, but I know it is very relevant for me.
TarunGovindadas - Thu, 20 Nov 2003 18:12:47 +0530
Radhe!

im in the same league, dear bhaktashab.
my theoretical program says at least 32 rounds, only finding myself eating too much in the evening and getting up a little toooooooooo late. mad.gif

but what quickly came to my mind is the wonderful upcoming book "Madhurya kadambini", where the stages in bhakti are described beginning with sraddha (Rupa Goswamipad).
Srila Vishvanath Cakravarti explains very elaborately these stages, also nistha.
the commentary by Srila Ananta das Babaji very nicely tops the whole thing.

check it out if you have a copy.
if not i can maybe scan a portion and send it to you.

Radhe!

Tarunji
Kalkidas - Thu, 20 Nov 2003 18:34:03 +0530
Getting back to nistha...

QUOTE
Is there a difference between nistha in raganuga bhakti and nistha in vaidhi bhakti?


I'm not expert in raganuga, but if IMHO counts, why there should be a difference?

As Jagadanandaji said,
QUOTE
Nistha means fixed commitment, dedication, persistency.


Though in raganuga bhakti, I guess, this dedication is aimed on raganuga bhajan, i.e. asta-kaliya lila smarana. Correct me, if I'm wrong.

to TarunKishorji:

QUOTE
check it out if you have a copy.
if not i can maybe scan a portion and send it to you.


Please, send me this portion also. Thanks.
TarunGovindadas - Thu, 20 Nov 2003 23:40:49 +0530
Radhe!

Madhurya Kadambini by Srila Vishvanatha Cakravartipad

about "nistha"

TRANSLATION: nistha means that which gives rise to steadiness. Due to the presence of grave obstacles such as laya, viksepa, apratipatti, kasaya, and rasasvada, which are very difficult to overcome, one cannot attain steadiness in devotion even after daily efforts. After anartha-nivrtti, these obstacles are almost destroyed and steadiness appears in bhakti. Thus the lack of these obstacles is the symptom of nistha.
laya means the increasing tendency to sleep during chanting, hearing, and remembering,
viksepa means the touch of material talks while chanting, hearing, and remembering.
apratipatti means the inability to do devotional parts even in the absence of laya and viksepa.
kasaya means the appearance of old habits like anger, greed and pride during chanting, hearing, and remembering,
rasasvada means the non-absorption of one's mind in chanting, hearing and so due to attainment of sensual pleasure. At the appearance of steadiness in devotion, the heart is not influenced by rajoguna and tamoguna, and by lust, greed, and so on. The heart becomes happy and is established in visuddha-sattva (pure goodness). In this verse ca refers to the existence of rajoguna and tamoguna. Though they exist up to the bhava stage, they do not create obstacles on the path of devotion, but exist in an ineffective state.

so these are the key terms:
1) laya
2) viksepa
3) apratipatti
4) kasaya
5) rasasvada

lets conquer these obstacles!

hope i could help
Tarunji
cool.gif
Gaurasundara - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 07:36:19 +0530
Perhaps before understanding nishtitha-bhakti (steady devotion), one might first understand the symptoms of anishthita-bhakti (unsteady devotion) that is described by Visvanatha in Madhurya-kadambini. Visvanatha gets pretty descriptive about these. I suppose in one way or another we all suffer from the fault of "taranga-rangini." biggrin.gif
bhaktashab - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 08:18:22 +0530
Hey Tarunji how can I purchase this book?

I have read a little blue Madhurya Kadambini (not sure who translated) and it's a lovely book. I am very interested in Ananta dasa babaji's edition. Actually I'm interested in all of his books. How can I get some?

That's the first time I have heard nistha equated with being on the suddha sattva platform as usually this is reserved for bhava is it not? I suppose that being beyond the modes of nature doesn't necessitate that one must experience unbridled spiritual emotions.

So even just being on the nistha platform is really substantial in terms of spiritual advancement. I would say then that one could not even consider oneself as spiritually advanced at all before this level of nistha. I wonder just how many devotees world wide consider themselves to be on this level or higher. Would anyone like to estimate a percentage? I notice that in order to make spiritual advancement one has to be thoroughly honest about one's current level of attainment. There must be many devotees, including those occupying positions of authority, who think themselves advanced when the truth is that they haven't even reached nistha (whatever nistha is really). Like bubbles that need bursting.

Spiritual life is so flipping mysterious. I wish I could turn off the leaky taps in my head and open up the fountain of my heart so that I could really know for sure what it's all about instead of watching my stupid mind pretend to understand.

jaya radhe
shab
bhaktashab - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 09:09:48 +0530
QUOTE(Vaishnava-das @ Nov 21 2003, 02:06 AM)
Perhaps before understanding nishtitha-bhakti (steady devotion), one might first understand the symptoms of anishthita-bhakti (unsteady devotion) that is described by Visvanatha in Madhurya-kadambini. Visvanatha gets pretty descriptive about these. I suppose in one way or another we all suffer from the fault of "taranga-rangini." biggrin.gif

What's taranga-rangini again? I haven't got a copy of Madhurya Kadambini here.

Even the desire for name, fame and glory or making institutional advancement etc. is an anartha that precedes nistha.


blink.gif bit foggy init?
Gaurasundara - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 09:10:28 +0530
QUOTE(bhaktashab @ Nov 21 2003, 02:48 AM)
I have read a little blue Madhurya Kadambini (not sure who translated) and it's a lovely book. I am very interested in Ananta dasa babaji's edition. Actually I'm interested in all of his books. How can I get some?

I've got that same blue edition. The one with the nice pic of Gaura-Nitai on the front cover, right? In that case it's the ISKCON edition translated by Deena Bandhu das. According to the preface, it was guided by Satyanarayana das as well as Akinchana Krishna das, who I understand is a disciple of Ananta das Babaji?

You can get Ananta das babaji's books online. Madhava says that he's going to India early next year to get two new books published, including Madhurya-kadambini. I'm looking forward to this because it's a great text! You can either purchase the three available ones or you can wait till next year to get them all at once! biggrin.gif
Or if you really can't wait, I understand you can contact Advaita dasji to purchase a copy. He will send you.

QUOTE
I notice that in order to make spiritual advancement one has to be thoroughly honest about one's current level of attainment. There must be many devotees, including those occupying positions of authority, who think themselves advanced when the truth is that they haven't even reached nistha (whatever nistha is really). Like bubbles that need bursting.

Visvanatha is quite descriptive in his categorizations of anishthita-bhakti, suffice it to say that one who suffers from any of these faults obviously hasn't got past first base yet? The "taranga-rangini" I spoke of earlier is a good example in point. It refers to the "labha puja pratistha" idea that bhakti brings. The idea is that when one practices bhakti, one will either gain recognition for it (oh you're such an advanced devotee, prabhu!) or you want to be recognised for it. In any case, this is one of the "weeds" that need to be pulled out of the heart so that proper bhakti can grow. Forgive me, I am just speaking from memory. If you want a good citation then I'll have to go upstairs to get my copy and I'm too lazy! biggrin.gif

(That's probably a category of anishthita-bhakti as well, laziness.)

QUOTE
Spiritual life is so flipping mysterious. I wish I could turn off the leaky taps in my head and open up the fountain of my heart so that I could really know for sure what it's all about instead of watching my stupid mind pretend to understand.
I feel much the same, for what it's worth. I find that reading, re-reading and re-reading again helps a lot. Other than that, I tend to sit back and not go so fast so that I can understand the basics before I attempt to progress to the more complicated stuff.
bhaktashab - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 10:34:49 +0530
Killing anarthas and hammering nails into their coffins seems to be the focus I am gathering by contemplating this discussion. Once I heard a lecture that quoted someone who related the stories of Krishna and Balarama killing demons to our own uprooting of anarthas. Does anyone know anything about this?
Gaurasundara - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 10:45:49 +0530
I'm not 100% sure about this but I think it is related in an appendix in Srila Bhaktivinoda's Sri Krsna-samhita.
Madhava - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 19:20:31 +0530
It is narrated in the eighth chapter of his Krishna-samhita.
Mina - Fri, 21 Nov 2003 21:28:26 +0530
The approach of attempting to uproot all of the anarthas is simply an exercise in futility. That is why chanting the holy names while avoiding the ten offenses, combined with smaranam, is the prescription - it automatically destroys all those undesirable attributes.
Gaurasundara - Sat, 22 Nov 2003 05:18:02 +0530
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle.

If only Aristotle knew about lila-smaranam et al. wink.gif
Rasaraja dasa - Sat, 22 Nov 2003 05:38:27 +0530
QUOTE(Ananga @ Nov 21 2003, 07:58 AM)
The approach of attempting to uproot all of the anarthas is simply an exercise in futility. That is why chanting the holy names while avoiding the ten offenses, combined with smaranam, is the prescription - it automatically destroys all those undesirable attributes.

Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

Years and years ago I read a very nice book by Swami BV Puri which I believe was published by Mandala Publishing called The Heart of Krishna. It was a very sweet book talking about the different anarthas represented in Krishna lila.

Has anyone else read this book? Now that I think of it I am compelled to dig through the boxes in my garage to find this book (still not unpacked).

Aspiring to be a servant of the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa