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Citta Hari

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About Citta Hari

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  1. "You will know when you get there." Exactly. If we wonder whether we've got greed or not, we don't. But for more sastric evidence, I suggest Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's Ragavartma-candrika wherein he specifically discusses raganuga-bhakti and lobha.
  2. Quote: "I believe we have a pre-destined position in the spiritual world which we'll get when we are ready." According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the svarupa is inherent in the jiva, so this quote is fairly accurate. But this does not imply that the jiva was at one time in the lila and somehow fell from there. The svarupa is eternal, but exists in an unawakened state, and through sadhu-sanga and sadhana (primarily chanting the Holy Name) it awakens.
  3. Shvu wrote: "We are the deluded souls who perceive duality. The reality is, there is only Brahman and nothing else, implying all souls are Brahman. The difference in the case of the Jivanmukta is, there is no more individual there to perceive duality [there is no I] and since there is no I, there is nothing else either. Liberation according to Shankara, is the realization of the nature of one' self as nothing but Brahman." I have some questions about the idea that the jiva, although identical with Brahman, becomes deluded and thus perceives duality. How does Brahman become deluded into thinking itself to be a separate jiva in the first place? What is the support (asraya) of the deluding influence? It can't be the jiva, since the jiva is the product of ajnana. The only thing left is Brahman, but if Brahman is the support, then its essential nature as jnana (jnanasvarupa) is compromised. How can this be?
  4. Shvu wrote: "We are the deluded souls who perceive duality. The reality is, there is only Brahman and nothing else, implying all souls are Brahman. The difference in the case of the Jivanmukta is, there is no more individual there to perceive duality [there is no I] and since there is no I, there is nothing else either. Liberation according to Shankara, is the realization of the nature of one' self as nothing but Brahman." I have some questions about the idea that the jiva, although identical with Brahman, becomes deluded and thus perceives duality. How does Brahman become deluded into thinking itself to be a separate jiva in the first place? What is the support (asraya) of the deluding influence? It can't be the jiva, since the jiva is the product of ajnana. The only thing left is Brahman, but if Brahman is the support, then its essential nature as jnana (jnanasvarupa) is compromised. How can this be?
  5. Quote: "First of all you can never prove that Gaurakishor Das Babaji ever made such a comment." Yes, and neither can it be proven that he did not. But by questioning this statement, you question the character of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, although he was widely known for his strict moral standards and spotless character.This we object to. Quote: "Secondly, Bhaktivinode hardly derided the caste Goswamins, since his own diksa guru, Bipin Bihari Goswami, that he repeatedly pays homage to, was Nityananda Vamsa. . .Gaura Kishor Das Babaji was initiated in the Advaita Vamsa line (Jati Gosai). Are you saying that his lineage was tainted? Perhaps Babaji Maharaja's lineage was tainted, perhaps not. Do you honestly think that all the jati gosani lineages were pure? If they were, then why did Bhaktivinoda fight with them over Mahaprabhu's birthplace? And while we see that he gave respect to Bipin Goswami, there is evidence that Bhaktivinoda was dismissed (in 1919, after Bhaktivinoda's departure) by Bipin Goswami because he had preached that Mahaprabhu's birthsite was in Mayapura and not Navadvipa. Do you not acknowledge that many jati gosai lineages made a living off of so-called places of Krsna and Gaura-lila, collecting money from pilgrims for their own purposes while keeping the 'lila sites' in perpetual disrepair? Furthermore, the jati-gosai lineage is mentioned by Bhaktivinoda as one of the twelve apasampradayas: Aul, Baul, Sakhibheki, Karttabhaja, Neda, Daravesa, Sani, Sahajiya, Smarta, Jata-gosani, Ativadi, Cudadhari and Gauranga-nagari. Thus it is clear that many (not all) of those in jati gosani lineages were (and are still today—just take an objective look around) considerably less than qualified and worthy of Bhaktivinoda's critique. Quote: "Bhaktivinode was not referring to any Gaudiya Vaishnava groups when he listed apasampradayas, just those that actually came in Sahajiya or Baul lines." Not exactly. See above. Quote: "I was saying to examine Bhaktivinode's statements in the context of the opinions of Rupa Goswami and Visvanatha Chakravarty, who he himself was following in accordance with. " Indeed Bhaktivinoda followed Sri Rupa and Visvanatha Cakravarti. But you have failed to show how Bhaktivinoda's statement that I quoted should be understood in the context of Rupa and Visvanatha's writings. We consider that Bhaktivinoda was explaining what they meant. Thus there is reason to be conservative with regard to lila smaranam as per the opinion of Bhaktivinoda. Quote: "If, as you claim, that guru pranali and siddha pranali were not actually discarded by Gaudiya Math, then I have to ask you where are the documents for them? Have you seen them? Has anyone ever seen them? I am not condemning anyone that does sravanam kirtanam without lila smaranam, so do not accuse me of that. Your attempt to pigeonhole me in that way appears to have some ulterior motive, one has to think. My only motive is to make it clear that not everyone in our group is an uninformed, fanatical, siddha-pranali/Babaji basher.From your tone and content you have apparently had experience with such people. If you took it that I was accusing you in some way then I am sorry. That was not my intent. However, the fact is that those in our group who are capable do lila-smaranam, but the siddha-pranali in the form you mention it with a certificate and such does not take place. That does not mean, though, that the concept has been done away with or that gurus never give instruction on lila smaranam and the nature of one's svarupa/bhava. Quote: "It is not really a question of what Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada may or may not have done once upon a time, and the past does not really concern us here in the present day (at least it shouldn't). There is currently an indiscriminate campaign of defamation of character being carried out by his disciples, and that is what I am referring to." Fair enough. We acknowledge that character defamations do go on by some members of the Sarasvata lineage, and we do not agree with or support such campaigns. Our Guru Maharaja teaches us to look at people on an individual basis and determine their spirituality or lack thereof accordingly. Quote: "What I do take issue with is the attacks on the rest of the Gaudiya community in India, especially slander against the Babajis of RadhaKund. Granted they are not all going to be on the same level of asceticism and highly advanced in bhakti, but one must still offer due respects." We respect the Babajis of Radha-kunda who really behave as such, the same as we respect a practitioner in our line if their character is good. No problem. All we take exception to is when those who are not advanced in bhakti give siddha-pranali, and the fact is there are a number of them doing so. This is mentioned in greater detail below. Quote: "I also take issue with the self-aggrandizing stance towards preaching and making disciples. Why should the numerous disciples initiated by Srivatsa Goswami of the Gopala Bhatta Goswamin line be any less in stature than ISKCON devotees and why should his preaching efforts be somehow inferior just because the sheer numbers are much lower? Why are persons such as him not given the same respect at the two Prabhupadas by your group?" We also take issue with self-aggrandizement. The reason Srivatsa Goswami is not given the same respect as the two Prabhupadas has nothing to do with how many disciples he has, it has to do with spiritual substance. My Guru Maharaja respects Srivatsa Goswami and has sat with him many times, still, he did not find the same depth of spiritual substance in him as in his gurus (Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhara Maharaja). I doubt that the disciples of Srivatsa Goswami respect Prabupada as much as they do their Guru, especially when he openly canvasses Srila Prabhupada’s disciples for reinitiation into a “bonafide lineage.” Why do the disciples of Haridasa Sastri not take Srivatsa Goswami as equal to their Gurudeva, and way do they not accept the Radha Kunda babajis? Maybe it is a subjective reality, and maybe their is also some objectivity to it. Quote: "Certainly differences of opinion have been there all along between Gaudiya Math and the traditionalists. However, attacks have been completely one-sided." This is not entirely accurate. The very fact that many of the traditionaltists don't honor the diksa of our sampradaya by reinitiating people is evidence that it's not one-sided. Why not just give siksa to those who are already initiated who are interested in lila samranam? There is precedent for this in Bhaktivinoda's Jaiva-dharma, where Vijaya-kumara took siddha-pranali from a siksa guru, not his diksa guru. And in some circles, this is what happens; for example, you brought up Dr. Kapoor. Gauranga dasa Babaji honored the diksa given to him by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and only gave him siksa regarding bhajana. Quote: "With regard to the question of siddha pranali (the topic of this thread), we really do not have the input of the Babajis at this point with respect to Gaudiya Math's position on it. It could well be that they would thoroughly agree on the basis of the overwhelming majority of practitioners of bhakti in the current age perhaps being unable to follow the process properly, and that for them merely hearing and chanting should be the complete focus for this lifetime. Since we do not really have such input, we should not speculate about what their position actually is. What we can observe, however, is that their handing out of the guru pranali and siddha pranali and instructions for smarana appears to be extremely limited. " Here's the opinion of Gadadhara-prana dasa, who, although not a Babaji is a guru in the 'orthodoxy' of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, on the position of our group with regard to siddha-pranali as he perceives it: "If a person desiring to perform raganuga sadhana has previously recieved initiation from a sampradaya in which the system of siddha-pranali is not available, and if he is reluctant to perfom the diksa-samskara, another alternative may feasibly be adopted. Such persons may meditate on their nitya-svarupa according to the atma-dhyana in sastra. Placing faith on the acintya-sakti of harinama, astakaliya manasi seva may be performed with the following atma-dhyana:" (Sanat-kumara-samhita cited). This we consider to be safer than the so-called siddha-pranali given out by unqualified people, particularly when we know that the siddha-deha given in most cases is a prototype only, the particulars of which are to be filled in through practice. Gadadhara-prana dasa has also admitted that he is an ajata-rati raganuga sadhaka and that he gives siddha-pranali. So it is clear that there are those who are not siddhas giving out siddha-pranali. This was one of the main criticisms of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in his time, and we agree with him now because it is still going on. We also acknowledge that there are those in our group who are not qualified to initate and are doing so. We have no problem with qualified Babas who give siddha-pranali-diksa to qualified persons, just as we have no objection to qualified gurus giving initiation to qualified persons in our group.
  6. Rati: First off, my name is not Jack. Spare us the crass language. Most of what you have written in your last post we agree with, but clearly our interpretations of lobha differ. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was conservative in regard to lila smaranam, not raganuga sadhana. We are all engaged in raganuga sadhana to some extent. There is no need for 'adding back in' such practices because he never, as you erroneously asserted earlier, 'carelessly discarded' them. He downplayed them, no doubt, putting stress on Harinama and on the foundational step in any genuine spiritual culture: ceto darpana-marjanam. Quote: "The only adhikara is greed, and that has been emphatically stated by all of the authorities.That greed is not going to be present in the unqualified and they are not going to be able to artificially assume it (they are not going to even have an interest in the practice in the first place). Bhaktivinode's quote has been taken out of context. He was recommending the raganuga sadhana for all initiated devotees. " We never said that greed isn't the adhikara. Above you imply that interest in the practice constitutes lobha. That's not what Bhaktivinoda said, however. In fact his quote says the opposite: that there are those who think of their siddha-deha without the eligibility to do so. They are obviously interested, otherwise they wouldn't think of their siddha-deha, but clearly according to Bhaktivinoda's statement mere interest in the practice does not constitute genuine lobha. Quote: "Gaudiya Math did in fact attack the raganuga practitioners indiscriminately and unjustly and labeled most of them as sahajiyas, although they have claimed that they were only deriding the 'bad apples'. " Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's criticisms were neither indiscriminate nor unjust. He accepted those in whom he saw genuine spirituality and good character, such as Gaurakisora dasa Babaji, Vamsi dasa Babaji, Jagannatha dasa Babaji and others, while the practice of raganuga bhakti by those whose character was questionable he did in fact criticize. It is apparent that you like to characterize the state of Gauiya Vaisnavism at the time of Bhaktivinoda and Bhaktisiddhanta as having nothing wrong with it and that Bhaktisiddhanta's criticisms were uncalled for. If that is the case, then why did Bhaktivinoda himself refer to the jati Gosai lineages as apasampradayika? And why did Gaurakisora tell Bhaktisiddhanta that "Living in Radha-kunda would be pleasant if you can deliver it from the hands of eleven immoral men." Obviously distortions existed and reform was required. His usage of the term 'sahajiya' was in the general sense of 'taking it cheaply,' which clearly many people were doing.
  7. Quote: "The one thing they are not going to really have an answer for is why Bhaktivinode Thakur supported siddha pranali and advocated it, if it is not to be followed." There is nothing wrong with siddha-pranali per se; as Rati mentioned, Bhaktivinoda did follow it. But BSST placed emphasis on the acintya-sakti of harinama (kirtana) to reveal one's svarupa as opposed to telling neophytes who were still predominantly under the influence of the gunas and thus who could not sit and meditate to sit and do lila smaranam. The validity of the practice of siddha-pranali-diksa is not in question, rather the adhikara of those receiving is the central issue, which is why Bhaktivinoda taught: adhikara na labhiya siddhadeha bhave/ viparyaya buddhi janme saktira abhave// "The intelligence of one who thinks of his siddha-deha without first acheiving elegibiltiy becomes bewildered." And we find in his Bhajana-rahasya that he advises acquaintance with the siddha-deha at asakti, drawing attention to the words ayi nandatanuja kinkaram, where Mahaprabhu first speaks of a spiritual identity. But Visvanatha seems to give liscence for raganuga bhakti in Raga-vartma-candrika wherein he mentions that "In the following section it will be shown how a raganuga bhakta goes through the stages of anartha-nivrtti, etc., after which he arrives at the stage of prema, whereupon he achieves direct attainment of his desired object." However, in Bhakti-sara-pradarsini (1.2.291-2), Visvanatha mentions that to practice raganuga bhakti one must have attained the stage of nistha. The resolution of this apparent conflict lies with Sri Jiva, who explained that ajata-rati raganuga bhakti can be performed in conjunction with vaidhi-bhakti by adding those elements of raganuga sadhana to one's practice that one is capable of engaging in (Bs 311). This has been elaborated upon by Swami BV Tripurari thus: "Although sadhakas may take up raganuga bhakti before passing through anartha-nivrtti, it is only their capability to practice such, which is measured by eagerness, that qualifies them for acquaintance with their siddha-deha. It should be understood that genuine eagerness for such will in most cases be considerably lacking in those who have not passed beyond anartha-nivrtti, and thus BSST's dismissal of siddha-pranali-diksa for those who have not yet passed this stage. In the approach to raganuga bhakti of Bhaktisiddhanta, esoteric practices of raganuga sadhana are not dismissed, nor are they imitated. As ruci and asakti stages are reached, these internal practices are incorporated into the sadhaka's practice. Before reaching these stages, sadhakas may also consider themselves raganuga practitioners proportionate to their eagerness for attaining Vraja bhakti. They are not, however, to entertain artificial internal practices, projecting their material conceptions into transcendence.Their interest in a particular spiritual identity must come through a purified heart in nama bhajana, not from the force of their imagination."
  8. Bhakta Don's idea is a bit misplaced, in my opinion. We would do better to understand what initiation is rather than not be initiated. Just because some don't live up to the vows taken in initiation does not mean that initiation is the problem. The problem is a lack of sadhu sanga, without which one cannot properly understand what diksa is and thus cannot take advantage of it. And to focus on service and preaching will be of little use without the guidance of a realized soul who shows us how to do these things and, more important, the implications these things have in awakening our inner life. Sadhu sanga is the primary cause of our spiritual growth. We can chant lakhs of names and do lots of service, but if we are not doing so under the guidance of a sadhu it will have little effect, or could even cause us to regress due to offenses caused out of ignorance. There are some other points I'd like to address as well: Quote: "However, being in a time of extrodinary circumstances -- we have to make adjustments -- we could accept that for right now initiations cannot be our focus." Adjustments according to time and circumstance are required, yes, but such things are to be left to those with the spiritual power to do so. And those in our sampradaya who have demonstrated such power have never postponed initiation as Don proposes, and, I suspect, will not do so any time soon. Quote: "We could understand that preaching is our focus." Our focus is (or should be) to become lovers of God. Preaching is the overflow of that love. Quote: "What is initiation? Is it so one can go home back to Godhead? Well if we are preachers -- we don't really want to return home anyway -- we want to stay here and preach for Srila Prabhupada and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." Initiation means that a person who has real standing in the spiritual plane shares his or her faith with us. The cultivation of that faith is the business of the practitioner and involves learning how to please Krsna. And he derives the highest pleasure from service rendered to him in his lila. We cannot enter there unless we take initiation from a person who possesses the feeling we are interested in which ultimately grants us entrance into the lila. Initiation is all about entering the lila. Quote: "Thus it should not be so difficult to leave off this whole initiation matter for somewhere in future generations." It looks to me like this statement presupposes that there are no genuine sadhus present to take initiation from. This is not the case. Sadhus are present at all times. There may not be many of them, but they are present. According to the inner necessity of the seeker, fitting guidance appears. Quote: "Let's just try to be devotees -- no one can be 'leader' -- we all must have a servant mentality." No doubt, but a real sadhu is a natural leader. One who is mature in devotion is competent to initiate, and initiation from a sadhu is a step in becoming a devotee. Instilling the serving attitude within us is precisely what the sadhu is all about. -Citta Hari dasa [This message has been edited by Citta Hari (edited 03-24-2002).]
  9. Sago and samo are not the same. Thanks for the reminder on quinoa, I had forgotten that it's a non-grain. It cooks similar to rice, and has a distinct flavor all its own. Some people find it rather unappealing, especially if cooked alone and eaten like rice, but if it's in a dish like kitcari I think it's quite good. Millet, however, is indeed a grain.
  10. An Indian Godbrother gave us some samo (morio) as a grain substitute for Ekadasi. Does anyone know what this stuff is? It cooks into a pasty mass (not unlike the stuff used in grade school art class), which indicated its starchy nature and makes me think it's a root of some sort. And any other ideas for grain subs besides the old standards of buckwheat and tapioca?
  11. Yes, that's correct. [This message has been edited by Citta Hari (edited 02-25-2002).]
  12. Yes, that's correct. [This message has been edited by Citta Hari (edited 02-25-2002).]
  13. "If God is everything, then is God also the source of all evil?" This is the problem Sankara runs into in his philosophy by stressing the advayatva of Brahman. In doing so he cannot accomodate the reality of maya and tries to explain it away as illusory (brahma satyam jagan mithya). Mahaprabhu's acintya-bhedabheda is the answer to this problem. Brahman is the source of everything, but it is through the transformation of his saktis (sakti-parinama vada) that ignorance (evil) can exist harmoniously within him. Dr. Kapoor (Adi Kesava dasa) wrote a book called "The Philosophy and Religion of Sri Caityanya" as his Ph.D. thesis. There is a chapter in it on Acintya-bhedabheda, where he compared Mahaprabhu's doctrine with Sankara's and all of the other major Vaisnava sects. A very dense philosophical treatment that shows clearly how acintya-bhedabheda works and how it differs from the other theologies and is ultimately the most developed theology. He even shows how Sankara himself implies acintya-bhedabheda in his Vedanta-sutra Bhasya. Anyhow, I am presently typing it in and can post it if it will be of interest.
  14. Every day is a good day for meditation.
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