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Everything posted by muralidhar

  1. Madhava I read your article. I cannot see where you have given a dual solution to anything, except in regards to the dual interpretation of the concept of samvit. But what I did notice is this conclusion you presented: "The natural conclusion is that at the time of perfection, the mukta-jiva unites with a particular parsada-deha (associate-body), a manifestation of the Lord's antaranga-sakti in the spiritual world, especially reserved for him." This is your view. As also expressed by Kunja Vihari Das. This would seem to imply that the soul and the body of a libearated devotee are different from each other. But I believe I can find quotes to say that the soul and body of the liberated devotees is one and the same. What is more, I asked Srila Gurudev about verse 36 of Brahma Samhita, and he replied that the latent potential of the self becomes manifest in a form suitable for service. Srila Sridhar Maharaj, when asked about things like this, would usually say, "First realize the soul, then you can discuss it". But all too often I find myself losing myself in intellectual discussions about issues that a person in illusion (such as myself) can not grasp by means of mundane scholarly study. So it is better that I just spend more time chanting Hare Krishna in future and not splitting hairs in scholarly debates, I think. Still, a further point comes to mind. Perhaps a little unorthodox, but I believe it is valid. According to teachers of the mystic kundalini process a soul will meditate on one chakra and the energy will go from the lower chakra to the next chakra, and at that time the self will feel illuminated with new knowledge at that new level of chakra-realization. The life energy within (prana) will manifest in a new flowering for that new level of understanding, that new level of chakra attained. So let me suggest that just as the energy can go from being a bud to a flower, and to an open flower which has a glowing chakra of energy and knowledge within it (I had some experience of this, when I was seventeen), so similarly the latent form of the self (jiva-atma) can manifest great treasures of eternal-knowledge-blissfullness(sat-chit-ananda) from within. What more can I say? Perhaps I can just repeat that the Visisthadvata, Dwaita and Suddha-advaita philosophies all say that the jiva self is sat-chit-ananda, but caught in illusion. How to get out.. that is the real issue. Murali
  2. nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman tam atma-stham ye 'nupasyanti dhiras tesam santih sasvati netaresam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13) "He is the eternal (nityo) among the eternals (nityanam), the conscious (cetanas) among the conscious (cetananam), the one among many who grants their desires. By knowing the Lord (devan) - by discrimination (samkhya) and yoga - one becomes free from all miseries." nityo = sat cetanas = chit The word ananda is not mentioned, so I guess I will need to go and find a verse that states that cit is imbued with ananda. Is this really necessary? There are verses in the gita to that effect, aren't there? sa yo ha vai tat paramam brahma veda brahmaiva bhavati (Mundaka Upanisad 3.2.9) "One who knows the Supreme Brahman attains Brahman." aninas catma badhyate bhoktr-bhavat jnatva devam mucyate sarva-pasaih Svetasvatar Upanisad (1.9) "The soul, not being the Lord, is bound due to being an enjoyer. By knowing the Lord 'devam', he is freed from all distress." This verse, then, leads us to gayatri mantra wherein the Lord who is full of potency (bhargo) is named Deva: bhargo devasya dhimahi Murali
  3. Prabhu, Buddhism explains existence in terms of an endless continuation of cause and effect. Every being has a cause, and there is no first cause. This concept is technically known as Paticcasamuppada. See http://www.hawaiian.net/~dsparks/do.html If you say, "God created the world" the classical Theravada answer is "Who created God?". In fact there is a story of Buddha meeting with Brahma, and Buddha telling brahma "you are not the cause of everything, your actions are coming from another cause, an earlier cause". So they don't really admit that there is any beginning point, and thus that there is a single original being. Rather, lots of little things combine to make things happen, as with material evolution where many chemicals are believed to come together to make living cells. Buddhism easily melds with mundane evolutionary theory. Murali
  4. Bhakti Sudhir Goswami: Vasudev Prabhu approached Srila Sridhar Maharaja and tried to break his faith in Srila Saraswati Thakur. The crux of his argument was that Saraswati Thakur’s innovations were not Vedic. He offered evidence: The 108 sannyas names. Knowing Srila Sridhar Maharaja to be a Bhattacharya and Vedic Brahmin, he appealed to his samskar (background) by describing them as non-Vedic and challenged their authenticity. Srila Sridhar Maharaja responded by referencing a Vedic text. Then Vasudev Prabhu, the insider, revealed: “You don't know, we hired some pundits, Prabhupada dictated, they couched his concepts in Vedic language, and we published that book as Veda.” At this point a man without guru nistha (inexorable faith) would collapse. Without hesitation Srila Sridhar Maharaja replied: What is Veda? And what comprises Veda? It is Divine revelation that has descended in the inspiration of the rishis. Sruti is what has been heard—Divine Sound. The recorded realizations of those who have heard (conceived) the divine sound is transmitted as the sacred mantram and scripture. It is revealed truth, inaccessible to the mind, senses and intellect [scholarship], (avan manasa gochara, na bhaved grahyam indriyaih). Revealed to whom? Rishis, saints, devotees, gurus (tattva drsi—tattva darshinah). Those who are seeing and experiencing the Absolute Truth. Their recorded realization, in written form, is known as scripture. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur and his paribar (spiritual family line), lead by Srila Saraswati Thakur et al., are the Vedic Rishis of the modern day. What they reveal through their divine inspiration and record in written form is no less valuable than the original Vedas themselves. Simplified, Vedas are: The words of God from the mouths of Rishis. Whether you transmit that aurally, write it down, or record it in any media, it is Veda. In this way Srila Sridhar Maharaja established the validity and equality of the writings of Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Saraswati Thakur with Veda. But then something dramatic, more divine, descended. Srila Sridhar Maharaja revealed that the statements of Srila Saraswati Thakur and Bhaktivinode Thakur are even more valuable than the Vedas. At this point we might conjecture, every disciple sees his gurudeva like that, “My Guru is Jagat Guru!” (mat guru si jagat guru). The difference is Srila Sridhar Maharaja proved it. What are the realizations of the Vedic Rishis. We are told in the Mahapurana Srimad Bhagavatam the Absolute Truth is known as Brahman, Paramatman and Bhagavan, The Vedas, Upanishads, mainly deal with Brahman, developing gradually toward Paramatman with a hint of Bhagavan, what to speak of aprakrta lila of Sri Krishna and the channah avatara of Krishna as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (anarpita carim cirat, ujjvala rasam, radha bhava). The conception of God as Bhagavan, Krishna with his potency (hladini shakti), develops from Narayan of Vaikuntha, to Ramachandra of Ayodhya, Krishna of Dwaraka, Mathura, Vrindavan, Govardhan, and Radha Kunda, with Srimati Radharani expanding at every step along the way to accommodate the transcendental desires of Swayam Bhagavan Krishna (tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih). And in his most extraordinary manifestation, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme entity Krishna, is eclipsed, utterly overwhelmed by his potency, and converted into a devotee himself. It is the supreme triumph of devotion — Radha's heart defeats Krishna (radha bhava dyuti suvalitam naumi krsna swarupam). Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Saraswati Thakur reveal this full-fledged theistic conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in so doing not only equal, but surpass Vedic revelation (granthanam racanaih satam, mahatmya sima na tat). And no less than the Vedas themselves concur (Sruti Gana, Sruti Stuti, srutibhir vimrgyam). Having witnessed and participated in Krishna’s rasa lila, they fell to the ground wailing, “Please forgive us! We did not know that You (the Absolute Truth personified), possessed such, beauty, charm and sweetness (akhila rasamrta murti, achintya guna swarupam, raso vai sah). What we have described as Divine was rather an offense!” The Vedas themselves admit to the superiority of the Krishna conception of Divinity. That sweetness (madhurya) with the added element of magnanimous distribution (audarya) is flowing as an infinite spring of nectar from the lotus feet of Gauranga (yatha yatha gaura padaravinde, yadi gaura na hoita tabe ki hoita kemane dharitam de). This is the inconceivable, ever increasing, dynamic, sweetness and beauty of Krishna consciousness (krsna lilamrta sara, nava yauvana etc.). How shall all of this be described or written about? Actually, only Krishna can properly describe and reveal himself. He chooses his devotees as his agency. Kaviraja Goswami says, “To say I have written Chaitanya Charitamrta is false. I am like a wooden doll with Divine current passing through me by the mercy of the Lord and his devotees (‘ami likhi’,——eha mithya”). Jayadeva distrusts his inspiration and hesitates to write that Krishna falls at the feet of Radharani begging forgiveness. But Krishna appears personally, in Jayadeva's persona (murti) and pens with his own hand: dehi ...-pallavam udaram. Sanatan Goswami Prabhu reveals previously unknown confidential conversations (su-gopyam) of Jaimini and Janamejaya, quoting Parikit to his mother Uttara, as the basis of Brhad Bhagavatamrta. To the empiric fact that he was not on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Samjaya reveals, "By the mercy of Vyas I have heard Bhagavad Gita" (vyasa-prasadac chrutavan). And Ramananda Raya, who compares himself to a sitar being played by Mahaprabhu, says, “At the beginning of our conversation you said whatever I say must be supported with a quote from scripture, but I feel something in my heart that is not in scripture, yet goes even deeper.” He began to sing his own inconceivable song, with Mahaprabhu placing his palm over his mouth (ne plus ultra). In fact, if we deny Divine revelation coming through his agency, Sri Guru, by choosing to focus on the background, the humanness, we commit offense and become the cause of our own misfortune. Even in the presence of Divine revelation, it becomes opaque and inaccessible. In Nyaya, logic, this is the fallacy of nagna matrka nyaya: Logic of the Naked Mother: Although she is in fact, mother, she is meditated upon as the naked girl she once was. In the Light of the Bhagawat, Srila Prabhupada takes it one step further: When the sky is clouded you can distinguish between the clouded section and the unclouded section (nitya baddha, nitya siddha). But just as when the clouds vanish there is no distinction, the sky is seen equally, when the clouds of illusion vanish, you can no longer impose mundane distinction upon a liberated soul, what to speak of those whom have descended from the supreme abode of Krishna on his Divine order. Srila Sridhar Maharaja: "When we consider the extent of the spiritual wealth of Bhaktivinode Thakur, we can only conclude that it was not acquired in this lifetime. He descended from the highest plane of spiritual reality". What to speak of the works of Srila Saraswati Thakur and Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, there are those who challenge the authenticity of the Brahma Samhita, saying it so much supports his conception, that it must have been written by Mahaprabhu Himself. In Srila Sridhar Maharaja's opinion, if that be the case, its value has increased ad infinitum. But to comprehend this requires faith, association, (adau sraddha, tatah sadhu sangha, etc.) The fundamental priniciples—the very foundation of Krishna consciousness. Why did Srila Saraswati Thakur have his sannyasis read from Prahlad Charit and Upadesamrta at the divide of Radha and Syama Kunda? Poor water on the root of the Krishna conception of divinity and the fruit will automatically appear (pujala raga patha gaurava bhange). Devotion, and Chastity to the lotus feet of Sri Guru will deliver everything (etat sarvam gurau bhaktya purusho hy añjasa jayet). You will not be neglected under the ever watchful eye of Yogamaya.
  5. When we came to Srila Sridhar Maharaj twenty years ago he told us about all these events of the past. Nothing new in this for we disciples of Guru Maharaj; and for we who saw the brilliance of his Lotus Feet there was the realization that you were drinking nectar at every moment. You felt you were "filled with joy" (anandam buddhi vardhanam) Krishnadas Babaji brought the love letters of Ananta Vasudev's mundane affairs to Srila Sridhar Maharaj. At that moment, Srila Sridhar Maharaj decided that Vasudev Prabhu should not be Acharya, since he was duplicitious. Keshava Maharaj was enraged. His mood was more like the mood of a Lion. But Srila Sridhar Maharaj just turned his face away and walked out. In regard to Ananta Vasudev, some leader of the Math said, "Api cet sudaracaro" Guru Maharaj's reply was that this verse is not applicable in the case of the Acharya, for the Acharya cannot be dishonest or a hypocrite (Putana) So Guru Maharaj left the Gaudiya Math of Ananta Vasudev, and became, as is quoted, "his greatest enemy". But then years later when everything was resolved - the court case. Ananta Vasudev felt some concilliatory mood. So he said to Srila Sridhar Maharaj's chosen successor, the boy Govinda Maharaj, "Ask me for anything and I will give it to you." So Govinda Maharaj asked for a book, the Harinamamrta Vyakarana of Sri Jiva Goswami, and Vasudev Prabhu gave the boy the gift. And he told Govinda Maharaj, "you have a very good Guru".
  6. May I also offer my condolences to the family of Srimate Jayaradhe Dasi. I only had a slight connection with this wonderful soul, via email and chat, but she always showed herself as a very wonderful person. Jaya Sri Radhe!
  7. madhava wrote: The verses you cited describe how the self is beyond matter, and how when one realizes this, he attains brahma-darshanam, in other words, he realizes the self as nondifferent from brahman. Very much akin to the passage I quoted from Brihad Aranyaka above. I fail to see how either of them are relevant to the point being discussed. <hr> Realizing the self as non-different from brahman, one realizes the sat-chit-ananda nature of one's own self. Is it not so? The jiva is a spark of brahman, as described in the verses about how souls are like sparks emanating from fire. But what do you say in regard to kapoor's statement: "Sri Chaitanya defines mukti as the attainment of the Jiva's natural state: muktirhatvanyatharupam svarupena vyavasthitih - Bhag 2.10.6, cited in CC Madya XXIV, 43." In its natural state the Jiva is a part (amsa) of Bhagavan and its natural function is to serve Him. - The philosophy and religion of Sri Caitanya, chapter 9, "Jiva - The Finite Self". and again: "In his description of the attributes of the Jiva, Sri Jiva (Goswami) follows Jamatra Muni of the Visisthadvaita school, who lived before Ramanuja. (page 132)
  8. I spoke with Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj about whether the soul's transcendental form is gifted to the soul by the swarup shakti, or whether the latent form of the self becomes manifest as the transcendental form of an associate of Sri Sri Radha Govinda. Reference was made to Brahma Samhita verse 36. The reply from Srila Gurudev is that the form of the self manifests from within. Within oneself. Murali
  9. Madhava, Below are the quotes from Bhagavatam I gave previously. Bhagavatam clearly states that the soul attains to its natural, intrinsic state of blissfullness when he becomes free of the temporary influence of Maya that has covered him. <hr> Srimad Bhagavatam First Canto, Chapter 3 TEXT 31 yatha nabhasi meghaugho renur va parthivo 'nile evam drastari drsyatvam aropitam abuddhibhih yatha--as it is; nabhasi--in the sky; megha-oghah--a mass of clouds; renuh--dust; va--as well as; parthivah--muddiness; anile--in the air; evam--thus; drastari--to the seer; drsyatvam--for the purpose of seeing; aropitam--is implied; abuddhibhih--by the less intelligent persons. TRANSLATION Clouds and dust are carried by the air, but less intelligent persons say that the sky is cloudy and the air is dirty. Similarly, they also implant material bodily conceptions on the spirit self. TEXT 32 atah param yad avyaktam avyudha-guna-brmhitam adrstasruta-vastutvat sa jivo yat punar-bhavah atah--this; param--beyond; yat--which; avyaktam--unmanifested; avyudha--without formal shape; guna-brmhitam--affected by the qualities; adrsta--unseen; asruta--unheard; vastutvat--being like that; sah--that; jivah--living being; yat--that which; punah-bhavah--takes birth repeatedly. TRANSLATION Beyond this gross conception of form is another, subtle conception of form which is without formal shape and is unseen, unheard and unmanifest. The living being has his form beyond this subtlety, otherwise he could not have repeated births. TEXT 33 yatreme sad-asad-rupe pratisiddhe sva-samvida avidyayatmani krte iti tad brahma-darsanam yatra--whenever; ime--in all these; sat-asat--gross and subtle; rupe--in the forms of; pratisiddhe--on being nullified; sva-samvida--by self-realization; avidyaya--by ignorance; atmani--in the self; krte--having been imposed; iti--thus; tat--that is; brahma-darsanam--the process of seeing the Absolute. TRANSLATION Whenever a person experiences, by self-realization, that both the gross and subtle bodies have nothing to do with the pure self, at that time he sees himself as well as the Lord. TEXT 34 yady esoparata devi maya vaisaradi matih sampanna eveti vidur mahimni sve mahiyate yadi--if, however; esa--they; uparata--subsided; devi maya--illusory energy; vaisaradi--full of knowledge; matih--enlightenment; sampannah--enriched with; eva--certainly; iti--thus; viduh--being cognizant of; mahimni--in the glories; sve--of the self; mahiyate--being situated in. TRANSLATION If the illusory energy subsides and the living entity becomes fully enriched with knowledge by the grace of the Lord, then he becomes at once enlightened with self-realization and thus becomes situated in his own glory.
  10. Madhava, Look at Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 2.4.12 and the whole of chapter 4
  11. Madhava, I don't have the time to research this subject. I would need to look again at the Aitreya, Taittriya, Mundakya, Brhadaranyaka, Katha and Chandogya Upanishads, and I am much too busy to do this. However, I did take a look at some other sources and found some valid quotes. In fact I would suggest you take a look at what OBL Kapoor said about the jiva in chapter 9 of his book The philosophy and religion of Sri Caitanya. OBL Kapoor quotes Sri Jiva Goswami from Paramatma Sandharba, with various references. And when speaking of the liberated jiva Dr. Kapoor himself says "The pure ego, which is unaffected by Prakriti is eternal, uniform (eka-rupa), identical with itself (swarupa-bhatt), spiritual, bissful (cidanandatmakah) and eternally pure (nitya-nirmala). Birth and death, development and decay, refer to the body in which the jiva is encased under the influence of Maya and not to its intrinsic nature, which is eternally the same. OBL Kapoor also writes: Sri Chaitanya defines mukti as the attainment of the Jiva's natural state: muktirhatvanyatharupam svarupena vyavasthitih - Bhag 2.10.6, cited in CC Madya XXIV, 43. In its natural state the Jiva is a part (amsa) of Bhagavan and its natural function is to serve Him. - The philosophy and religion of Sri Caitanya, chapter 9, "Jiva - The Finite Self". And Kapoor also says, "In his description of the attributes of the Jiva, Sri Jiva (Goswami) follows Jamatra Muni of the Visisthadvaita school, who lived before Ramanuja. (page 132) Furthermore, T. P. Ramachandran writes in his book Dwaita Vedanta: Matter (prakriti) has existence (sat) but not consciousness (cit) and bliss (ananda). It is insentient substance (acetana dravya). Both God (Brahman) and the soul (jiva) have consciousness and bliss in addition to existence, thus the soul is different from matter and similar to God. It is of the same class of being as Brahman, namely sentient substance (cetana dravya). But the jiva is similar to Brahman only in kind and not in degree. The existence, consiousness and bliss of the jiva are only finite, whereas the existence, consiousness and bliss of God are infinite. Again, Madhava, I ask what are these "scholars" claiming the self is, if it is not cidananda-atma? Murali
  12. Madhava, In regard to this discussion about whether the jiva-atma is a satchitananda being, could you please advise me what the individual atma is if he is not an atomic particle of brahman? There are many verses in the Upanishads saying the self is brahman, and brahman is satchitananda, so I would be interested to see what can be said to the contrary. Murali
  13. Dear devotees, I have completed a document that addresses criticisms made against Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasawati Prabhupada by Jagat, Nitai etc. If you would like to read it, here is a link to the file: http://www.mandala.com.au/books/sri_guru_parampara.zip The file is a Microsoft word document of 150 pages and it is about one Mb in size, so it will take a while to download. Murali
  14. Bhakti Vikasa Swami's reply to statements made by one Neal Delmonico <hr> REPLIES TO DELMONICO A certain Nitai dasa once served Srila Prabhupada as a Sanskrit assistant but offended Srila Prabhupada so badly (by asking his blessings to find “a bona fide spiritual master”) as to become the only one of his disciples to suffer public rejection (See conversation quoted below). Srila Prabhupada thenceforth stated in a circular to the entire GBC: “Please let it be known that Nitai has become a venomous serpent. Be careful of him.” Nitai soon found a “better guru” but soon left him also to return to America. He now hosts a website in his secular name of Neal Delmonico, wherein he describes himself as an unemployed scholar of Indic religion and philosophy, and has taken to attacking the very Gaudiya Vaisnava lineage he was previously initiated into, namely that of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his disciplic descendants. Although I received Delmonico’s list of accusations in an unsolicited email of April 2002, I didn’t take them very seriously, considering that the spiritual qualifications and achievements of those he attacked were so clearly and monumentally greater than his own, that only persons of exceedingly poor discrimination could be influenced by Delmonico. Any neutral and somewhat sane observer who measures what Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati has done for the world against what Delmonico has done, and the character and obvious spiritual realization of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati against that of Delmonico, must surely conclude that Delmonico is not at all in a position to criticize Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and is indeed taking a grave risk in doing so. Even without understanding the intricacies of various arguments offered, persons of balanced discrimination should immediately understand that if they have to choose between the position of Delmonico (and those he professes to defend) and that of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, they are spiritually safer in choosing the latter. Unfortunately, it seems that those indiscriminate enough to be swayed by Delmonico’s poor taste is prevalent enough to warrant at least some reply; thus my response below, which does not examine Delmonico’s points in great detail but is just to indicate that he is not as axiomatically correct as he avers (See below Delmonico’s accusatory essay, to which this essay is a reply). Before examining Delmonico’s accusations against Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, it should be noted that Delmonico has no pretensions to any spiritual standing. As he states on his website: “I am a skeptic… Over the years I have seen my attitude towards the Vaisnava tradition and towards religion in general change. I now see religion as mostly a form of fantasy-fulfillment, explainable better in terms of human need rather than divine revelation. Religious fantasies are for the most part harmless, but some times they become so powerful and intertwined with reality that they become like a sickness. This is when religion becomes very dangerous. …religious beliefs remain fantasy until proven otherwise and the standard of proof here is empirical.” Presuming that most readers targetted by Delmonico’s diatribe are persons interested in practical cultivation of Krsna consciousness, they should note that Delmonico has nothing to offer spiritually. He has no spiritual advice other than to declare religion as a potentially dangerous form of fantasy. He is a self-declared empiricist and a skeptic, not a man of God. Although previously a practitioner of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, about which he gained considerable yet clearly superficial knowledge, he later chose to teach it as a paid servant of beef-eating materialists, and lost faith in the ideal of love of God enshrined in the bhakti movement. Empiricly speaking, empiricist Delmonico’s fascination with what he considers fantasy appears imbalanced. It also makes him slippery to contend with, as he presents arguments as if he were a votary of a certain school of religion, yet ultimately doesn’t believe in what he pleads for. In other words, he is insincere, and his attacks on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers appear to be motivated by sheer envy rather than a desire to establish something better. Clearly, although Delmonico’s lucubrations might interest mundane scholars, they are hardly to be considered reliable by persons interested in the genuine spiritual experience offered by Lord Caitanya and His followers. For as repeatedly emphasized in sastra, the supposedly rational intellect cannot approach the supramundane. Thus worldly academicians, despite their scrupulous standards of research and exegesis and laboriously acquired accumulation of facts and figures, are by their very outlook disqualified from inner understanding of Vaisnavas and Vaisnavism. Such personalities as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati simply cannot be understood by the mundane senses or intellect. As Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati himself pointed out: The empiric historian, with his geographical and chronological apparatus of observation, can have really no proper idea of the grotesque anomaly that he unconsciously perpetrates by his pedantic effort to gauze (sic) the absolute by the standard supplied to her victim by His deluding energy in the form of the mundane categories that can only limit and define them, whereas the function to be performed is to get rid of the necessity to do either. The empiric consciousness is not in the absolute consciousness at all. It can only bungle and commit a deliberate blunder by attempting to limit and define the immeasurable under the pleas of a necessity that need not be supposed to exist at all. By the empiric attitude one is led to launch out on the quest of the Absolute Truth with the resources of admittedly utter ignorance. This foolhardiness must be made to cease. The method of submissive inquiry enjoined by the scriptures should be substituted after being properly learnt by those who have themselves attained to the right knowledge of the same by the right method of submission. (From “The Real Nature of Sree Krishna.”) Great acaryas appearing in this world may in many ways appear to be ordinary men, for they walk, talk, eat, travel here and there, experience sickness, and in many other ways seem like anyone else. Yet the consciousness of pure devotees is eternally far above that of conditioned souls. Whereas unenlightened persons remain ever enmeshed in maya, liberated souls are perpetually immersed in intense love for Krsna. Their purpose in coming here is to bring others back to that world which they keenly hanker for in separation at every moment. By their causeless divine mercy, they infuse devotion into the hearts of those who have neglected Krsna since time immemorial. For these reasons one can comprehend the Lord and His devotees not simply by reviewing exoteric historical details but rather from the esoteric spiritual platform of appreciating the Lord’s relationships with His devotees. The character and activities of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati will remain ever incomprehensible to persons who have not entered into the spirit of his teachings, to whom he may seem dogmatic and intolerant. Yet mature students of Vaisnava theology need little warning that the actions, moods, and emotions of great devotees must not be confused with their mundane equivalents, and that the anger, disappointment, and other apparently less desirable traits of maha-bhagavatas are as much manifestations of their pure attachment to Krsna as qualities considered exclusively adorable by persons ignorant of transcendental reality. Fools are thus enjoined to not ascribe imperfection to that beyond their comprehension. yanra citte krsna-prema karaye udaya tanra vakya, kriya, mudra vijneha na bujhaya Even the most learned man cannot understand the words, activities, and symptoms of a person situated in love of Godhead. (Cc Madhya 23.39) It is ironic that without the mercy of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers, Delmonico and other self-appointed spokesmen of the old Vaisnava oligarchy would never have heard of Krsna at all, other than perhaps via the academic system which they flopped into after failing in attempts to practice a “higher,” “more authorized” process of bhakti. These ingrates foolishly dare to accuse Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his disciples of misleading and cheating others and being materially motivated—as if they themselves were more saintly, learned, and capable of giving guidance. Yet despite having acquired considerable book knowledge, most of these hellish pedagogues have not been able even to maintain the basic regulative principles of devotional service, and are hence hardly in a position to criticize personages almost universally recognized, except by themselves, as empowered acaryas. For clearly, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s achievements could not have been possible unless he was imbued with krsna-sakti, the Supreme Lord’s special potency for spreading Krsna consciousness. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta: kali-kalera dharma——krsna-nama-sankirtana krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana The fundamental religious system in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. Unless empowered by Krsna, one cannot propagate the sankirtana movement. (Cc Antya 7.11) Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s unprecedented accomplishments in spreading the message of Lord Caitanya—his profuse writing and publishing, establishment of numerous temples and monasteries, convincing of thousands to radically alter their lives in serious pursuit of spiritual values; the high quality of religious practice which he gave, his revival of a Gaudiya tradition almost lost in sensuality and irrelevance to a rapidly changing world; his natural indifference to sense gratification, forceful proclamation of truth without regard for cheap popularity, and the philosophical depth and realization which he communicated—clearly establish him as an extraordinarily empowered transcendental personality. To pronounce him an offender to Vaisnavas, not properly initiated, or mistaken in his methods or teachings is flagrantly inconsistent with his superlative achievements. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta: Lord Caitanya’s divinity is clear from His uncommon deeds and Krsna conscious realization; yet faithless persons do not see what is clearly evident, just as owls do not see the sunlight (See Cc Adi 3.85-86). The biographies of Caitanya Mahaprabhu explicitly declare the Lord’s desire that His name be preached all over the world, but myopically traditional Vaisnavas are not interested in this, nor have they any inclination or clue as to how it might transpire, remaining apparently blind to the fact that it is actually happening all around them, and that whatever prominence they may have acquired is merely a spinoff of the global diffusion of bhakti. They have nothing to say about this transcendental phenomenon, except to criticize devotees favored by Lord Caitanya to fulfill His wishes. Undoubtedly only a person with no true connection with Mahaprabhu would fault great personages engaged in widespread preaching of His name and message, for a true follower should be delighted at the wonderful perfusion of His glories throughout the planet. Those self-appointed spokesmen of the “traditional school,” who as either born or converted mlecchas could never have been accepted as disciples by strictly traditional caste conscious brahmanas and Vaisnavas, loudly tout brahmanism by birth—a position utterly meaningless in today’s world, wherein the family name is usually the only difference between supposed brahmanas and the plebian masses they presume themselves superior to. These unreasonable faultfinders profusely quote sastra without comprehending that since sastra gives innumerable varied injunctions applicable to different times, places, and circumstances, and that because no one is able to follow everything in sastra, nor even in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (certainly Delmonico does not do so), it is the duty and prerogative of an acarya to select those instructions suitable for the specific situation in which he has appeared; thus his teachings are to be understood according to the context in which he ministers. Particularly, his absolute teachings should not be confused with his functional ones, and as demonstrated throughout sastra, lower principles may be adjusted or foresworn to facilitate higher principles—basic points that the scholarly critics wholly fail to grasp. Like acaryas Ramanuja and Madhva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was a revolutionary with the task of reestablishing a nearly dead or forgotten religion. Although their messages appeared to be new, each presented his doctrine so powerfully that it came to be accepted even during his lifetime. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati appeared at a time of increasing materialism and impiety. Gaudiya Vaisnava society was almost wholly aberrant, to the extent that it was common even for its leaders—putative sadhus and gurus—to indulge in illicit sex and other vices (This is recorded in annals of the time, such as the writings of Bhaktivinoda Thakura; the Britisher Melville Kennedy documented in some detail the appalling state of Gaudiya Vaisnavism in the early twentieth century). Pretense of spiritual advancement by persons of base character was so much the norm that aspirants for bhakti were almost certain to be misled by hypocrites posing as spiritual guides. Or even if somewhat serious newcomers were fortunate to attain good association, most were unqualified to avail of it. For instance, several aspiring devotees associating with Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji adopted his dress and attempted to follow his lifestyle. However, for practically all novices it was unviable to immediately come to the stage of a maha-bhagavata, and Babaji Maharaja rejected those who although unfit tried to do so. Unfortunately for such neophytes, there was no system or guidance for gradually advancing and overcoming anarthas. Their only options were to become an imitative babaji or a Vaisnava householder, in either case under the skewed, or at best inept, tutelage of an unqualified guru. Perceiving that Gaudiya Vaisnavism as practiced during the past four hundred years was no longer practicable, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati divorced himself from its false proponents and introduced a new approach and social order sufficiently different as to be clearly distinguishable from the former. He not only revived the true spirit of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, but inaugurated a method by which it could again be propagated to the masses. Previously Bhaktivinoda Thakura had uncovered the authentic Krsna consciousness movement preserved by a few reclusive maha-bhagavata babajis. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati now transferred this elixir of Krsna consciousness into a new container. He transformed religious practices suitable only for rare maha-bhagavatas into a pragmatic system on the madhyama-adhikari platform, thus creating an active preaching mission directed toward all people, regardless of class, caste, or cultural level. To effect such a transposition he necessarily had to make drastic reforms, but the result was an obvious success. Revolution literally means “to come back to the original point,” and that indeed was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s motto: “Back to home, back to Godhead.” To turn to Delmonico’s specific accusations against Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, as stated in his essay given below (which although distasteful need be read to understand my replies). Delmonico states: “Sri Kisori Mohana Gosvami and Sri Kisori Das Babaji witnessed that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, when asked by Siddha Sri Ramakrsna das Pandit Baba in the early 1930s, declared that he was initiated in a dream.” Delmonico then goes on to explain why such initiation is bogus. But Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati never told such a thing to his followers and indeed upheld an entirely different version of his initiation. As such one of these two versions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s initiation may be taken as a fabrication. It is reasonable to accept the account consistently given by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s followers rather than that proffered by Delmonico. Delmonico later asks, “Why do all Gaudiya Matha-chronicles give different dates and places of Bhaktisiddhanta's supposed initiation, some saying that he received Nrsimha mantra, as if Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji was a worshipper of Nrsimha?” I have not seen any Gaudiya Matha-chronicles that state that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati received Nrsimha mantra from Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. It is well known that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati received Nrsimha mantra from Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I am also not aware of different dates and places being given for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s initiation. The biographies concur that it was 1900 in Navadvipa. I have not seen an exact spot and date stated; but even if they are, and contradictorily so, apparent discrepancies in details do not necessarily invalidate a story, for details may have become lost or confused in course of time. Early followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, such as Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaja, have also recorded their personal witnessing the guru-disciple relationship between Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, which thus even by empirical analysis appears undeniable. Delmonico contends that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s acceptance of sannyasa from a photo of Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, his donning of a brahmana’s thread, and his adoption of saffron rather than white cloth, all contravene sastra. This may be superficially so, but are to be understood as adjustments that serve the highest principles of sastra. Lord Caitanya superficially took sannyasa from a Mayavadi, and that He would sometimes in humility introduce Himself as a Mayavadi sannyasi is sometimes cited by foolish commentators that the Lord was indeed a Mayavadi. Such mistaken acceptance of the external manifestation of an activity of a great acarya, without understanding the essential reasons for his choosing to adopt a particular mode of behavior, typifies mundane scholars who are blind to the beneficial effects thus produced. Such an assumption is also characteristic of the general superficiality of these smarta-like “diksa lines.” By the way, according to his biographers Sripad Ramanujacarya took sannyasa “by himself.” Delmonico himself gives the example of a Vaisnava guru who wore burlap (presumably referring to Tinkori Baba, another guru who Delmonico went to and again left) which is certainly not white. If according to Delmonico burlap is acceptable, then why not saffron?(Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati has in his commentary on Cc Antya 13.61, rakta-vastra ‘vaisnavera’ parite na yuyaya, explained why servants of Vaisnavas accept sannyasa and the saffron cloth that goes with it.) By criticising wearing of non-white-cloth as non-sastric and therefore bogus, yet deigning to allow Tinkori Baba’s donning of burlap, Delmonico torpedoes all his subsequent arguments against Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and others who he accuses of not following sastra. This discrepancy alone renders his whole thesis inconsistent and therefore useless. Just for the elucidation of nitpickers: typical babaji dress in Vraja is soiled offwhite brown or gray, not pure white. Delmonico: “A kaupina is given during the ceremony of sannyasa for a lifelong vow of celibacy.” That kaupins are given to sannyasis is no bar on others wearing them. Traditionally, kaupins are also given to new brahmacaris at upanayanam. And even today not only sadhus but also many householders in India wear them. Delmonico: “Shaving the head is also only for sannyasis and not for others.” Wrong again, Professor. Shaving the head is enjoined for householders also, at least on the death of a close relative and on visiting holy places. As you are defending the babajis, most of whom have shaved heads, please go tell them not to as they are not sannyasis. Delmonico: “Gaurakisora was initiated in the Advaita parivara. Why did Bhaktisiddhanta not wear his guru's tilaka if he was really his disciple?” Apart that Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji as an avadhut was reputed not to wear tilaka, certainly Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati wanted to distance himself from these parivaras, who promoted guruship by birth alone—a misconception that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati fought against throughout his life. As such there is no harm if he introduced a slightly different form of tilaka, as sastra only gives general indications of how tilaka should be applied and there is no stipulation that it must be of particular form or shape other than two vertical lines and a mark resembling a tulasi leaf. The proliferation of tilaka designs came after Sanatana Goswami compiled Hari-bhakti-vilasa and there is no record of how exactly Sanatana or other of the six Goswamis applied tilaka. Various tilaka designs were introduced by different Vaisnava acaryas at different times and there is no harm if Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati as a Vaisnava acarya also introduced a different design. Even if his disciples did not use a well defined form of tilaka, there is no contradiction of sastra therein. Delmonico: “The guru-parampara is placed in the wrong order on Iskcon-altars. The guru is seated on the disciple's right side at the time of initiation and remains there eternally. On Iskcon-altars the guru is on the left of the disciple. The latest guru should be to the right and the earliest guru leftmost.” There is only convention but not sastric injunction governing the placing of pictures on altars. Certainly if Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had pictures put on altars in that way, he knew what he was doing better than Delmonico, who never sat at the feet of any guru for very long. Delmonico states: “Most of Bhaktivedanta's followers are not qualified brahmanas... what to speak of knowing Sanskrit, the men don't even know Hindi or Bengali, or even what the weather is like in India.” I beg to inform Professor Delmonico that nowhere does sastra state that knowledge of meteorology, or even of Bengali, Hindi or Sanskrit, are prerequisites for brahmana-hood. And even if they were, still many “born brahmanas” particularly in South India are quite ignorant of Hindi, Bengali, or Sanskrit. If at all there are to be brahmanas in the world then Delmonico’s desire that they be “born brahmanas” is not the way. It’s probably quite a few years since Delmonico was in India; if he were to return now he would find the weather the same but society quite changed. The old brahmanism is all but dead and Vaisnavas of Western extraction are widely accepted as brahmanas, sannyasis, and gurus. Even many persons born in brahmana families are today disciples of Western-born ISKCON gurus. However I have some empathy with Delmonico’s analysis that most Western brahmana initiates lack basic sadacara governing cleanliness, chastity, etc.—which is certainly shameful and in need of rectification. We may thank Professor Delmonico for his barbs in this regard and take them as a spur to improve. We may also thank him for personifying what he criticizes so well; by his personal example he has shown us some very dangerous pitfalls that we can now avoid. However, sastra states and practical experience reveals that by proper training all classes of people can become true brahmanas by character and behavior and indeed there are already some good examples of this in the West. In the modern world it certainly is difficult to train people in sadacar, which is now practically lost even in India due to its present rampant materialism, but nevertheless by Krsna’s grace education of devotees is improving in the present phase of ISKCON’s pioneering work. It would be nice if the less qualified sudra (i.e. out of work hireling) Delmonico could give up his envious attitude and join this educational attempt, thus putting his considerable book knowledge to good use and becoming an actual practicing brahmana instead of merely a Sanskrit scholar. Delmonico proffers several distortions of truth and spurious arguments that beg the question and raise serious doubts about his status as a scholar or even as a clear thinking person. For instance he states, “Introducing varnasrama dharma, which is an institution of karma-yoga, is a namaparadha - dharma-vrata-tyaga-hutadi-sarva-subhakriyasamyam: To consider Hari Nama equal to any auspicious activity like (varnasrama) dharma, vows (sannyasa), tyaga and sacrifices.” But as Delmonico must surely know, neither Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati or any of his subsequent followers have claimed that varnashram dharma is equal to chanting the holy names. Nor as Delmonico infers was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati intrinsically against calling householders “Goswami,” nor even per se against family succession. It was the overwhelming misuse of these practices that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati stood against. Most of the parivars are not direct seminal descendants of their supposed founders, and even if they were, atma vai jayate putrah does not mean that a son is automatically as worshipable as an exalted father. For instance in Caitanya Caritamrta, Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami rejected several sons of Advaita Acarya as “useless.” If atma vai jayate putrah were universally applicable, then all men would be as worshipable as Lord Brahma. Delmonico: “A Vaisnava tyagi is not called sannyasi. In India a mayavadi is called sannyasi.” But Vaisnavas may also be sannyasis, as in the Sri and Madhva sampradayas, as also Lord Caitanya and His sannyasi associates. Delmonico: “Sri Jiva Gosvami sees a difference between a sannyasi and a Vaisnava-nivrtta (tyagi): sisyan naivanubadhniyad ityadiko yadyapi sannyasa-dharmas tathapi nivrttanam api bhaktanam upayujyata iti bhavah—Just as it is wrong for a sannyasi to take too many disciples, so it counts also for renounced bhaktas.” It is Delmonico’s interpretation that Vaisnava-nivrtta means tyagi for here Jiva Goswami does not mention the word tyagi. Delmonico’s questionable scholarship is further reflected in his quoting Advaita Prakash as if authoritative, when its authenticity is hardly . It appears that Delmonico is so extremely biased that under the cover of an erudite veneer he is deliberately misrepresenting truth so as to bewilder devotees of little knowledge and tender faith. But nonetheless if Delmonico’s quote from Advaita Prakash is to be accepted—"The power of saintly association is so endless that even when one pretentiously dresses as a saint, one will attain liberation”—then even if he considers Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers bogus, then this quote is applicable to them also, and persons associating with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers will also attain liberation (although of course Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not aspire for liberation). Delmonico: “Saying that Sukracarya, the guru of the demons, refers to the 'caste Gosvamis', (sukra meaning sperm), is not only very offensive but also hypocritical, because Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura is only famous due to glorification by his own son Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.” Appallingly poor logic. The fame or otherwise of Bhaktivinoda Thakura has no relationship to caste Goswamis being compared to Sukracarya. And it is inaccurate to state that Bhaktivinoda Thakura is only famous due to glorification by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, for Bhaktivinoda Thakura was not, as Delmonico implies, insignificant; he was highly respected by his contemporaries, and his tremendous devotional legacy certainly deserves to be made more widely known. And yes, Professor Delmonico, we know that babajis aren’t sahajiyas in the usual coinage of the term, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati chose to use this word to generically denote the whole melange of specious Vaisnava sects, who he perceived as being possessed of the basic error of practicing bhakti for their own, rather than for Krsna’s, gratification. This is what Srila Prabhupada also referred to generally as “the sahajiya tendency.” Both acaryas used the term in this much more practical sense, and both achieved the most practical results. Delmonico: “Deviating from the sastras is often apologised for with the argument: ‘Yes, Prabhupada/ Bhaktisiddhanta was a pure devotee, therefore he was empowered to introduce new injunctions.’” This is another non-argument, for neither Srila Prabhupada nor his Guru Maharaja professed to deviate from sastra. Delmonico: “Some say: ‘Well, all that scriptural evidence is very nice, but Prabhupada is beyond that. He is empowered by Krsna Himself, you can see that in these 208 temples in 184 countries, 25.000 followers, etc. etc.’ The answer lies in the well-known saying: ‘Religion without (scriptural) philosophy is sentimentalism and/or fanaticism.’ Quantity does not prove quality. Rajneesh has millions of followers, many more than Prabhupada, but does that make him an 'empowered' pure devotee?” Another tiresome non-argument. No one has ever claimed that Srila Prabhupada is beyond scriptural evidence, although it is accepted that an empowered acarya can adjust or even ignore lesser injunctions so as to fulfill higher injunctions. The whole purpose of sastra is to awaken conditioned souls to Krsna consciousness, and to do so all over the world necessitates breaking sastric rules such as those forbidding travel beyond India, or proscribing taking even water from a sinful person. By understanding the purpose of sastra (see Gita 2.46) Srila Prabhupada was able to establish the principles of sastra, and it is most illogical and malicious to compare his achievement, of convincing thousands of people to take to a clean life of devotional service, with the asastric and amoral popularism of Rajneesh. Delmonico’s quoting yah sastravidhim utsrjya is hypocritical inasmuch as he himself professedly has no faith in sastra and considers religion a fantasy. Delmonico: “Throughout this essay it is shown that the followers of Bhaktisiddhanta distribute namaparadha.” All that has been shown is that Delmonico knows a few verses, has acquired a jumble of facts and misinformation about Vaisnava history, and has a remarkably poor sense of logic and an envious mentality by which he proffers some unsupported, thinly supported, or mendaciously supported assertations in an attempt to discredit Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers. Delmonico attacks the concept of bhagavata-parampara, which has been elaborately defended by other disciplic descendants of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati; thus there is no need to belabor the point here. As in considering all these arguments, it ultimately comes down to who one wants to accept as an authority. Personally I consider that anyone defended by such a spiritual bankrupt as Delmonico is ipso facto suspect; his spiritual paucity similarly tends to lend credence to those he attacks. Although Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers offer profuse sastric justification for all their tenets, Delmonico accuses them as deviating from sastra. But what is perceived as being in accord with or contradiction to scripture rests mostly on individual acceptance or rejection of various interpretations or explanations offered. By nature, scriptural debate is practically endless ("tarko 'pratistha . . .," etc.), so the real truth is that which mahajanas advocate. This is really is the crux of the matter and brings us full circle: who should we accept, agnostic Delmonico or empowered acaryas Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Prabhupada? Although sastric evidence is required in Krsna consciousness, it is ultimately a matter of the heart, not merely the head. Persons with a predominantly intellectual approach cannot really take it to heart, and usually get misled by a swollen head. Krsna consciousness is actually very simple for those who are simply interested in Krsna consciousness. Otherwise, it can get more complicated than can be imagined. Therefore although I have made concise replies to Delmonico’s accusations, I don’t intend to get into prolonged discussion about them. There are more important things to do then endlessly haggle with useless people. SRILA PRABHUPADA ON SERPENT NITAI Devotee: He asks how many pages. Yogananda asks how many... Because they say that you sent a newsletter to all the GBCs. He asks how many pages was the newsletter. And I said just two lines. Prabhupada: Newspaper? Hari-sauri: Newsletter to the GBC. Prabhupada: What is that newsletter? Hari-sauri: You said, "Please be informed that Nitai has become a venomous serpent." Prabhupada: So this has been sent? (laughs) Hari-sauri: Yes, to the GBC. Devotee: Yogananda asked how many pages, when he heard about the newsletter. He thought that you spoke so long about that. And I just said, "Just two lines." But they never asked me what the letter said. Prabhupada: Yes, two lines is sufficient. Dhananjaya: Punar musaka bhava. Punar musaka bhava. Prabhupada: Yes. This is exactly the same case. Punar musaka bhava, you know the whole story? A musaka, a mouse, was made a tiger, and the tiger wanted to eat the saintly person who made him. First of all he was mouse. So he came to the saintly person. "Sir, I am troubled. Give me some benediction.What do you want?Now, the cat always chases.All right, you become cat so that you'll not be attacked." Then after some time he came. "I am being chased by the dog.All right, you become a dog." From cat to dog, from mouse to... Then again he came. "Still, they are chasing me. Fox." And then in this way, and ultimately he made a tiger. And after becoming a tiger, he began to look, staring on the... "What do you mean by this?I shall eat you.Oh? You become again a mouse." (laughter) Again he became mouse. That's all. Hari-sauri: The perfect example. Devotee: Now he looks like dirty. You know, like brown. The dhoti's not white. It's like brownish. Prabhupada: He harassed. "He has not increased my..." Hearing and hearing, he wants to go. So why not, if he found some real disciplic succession, some babaji, why he did not remain there? He is criticizing that our is not in the proper succession. So why he did not remain where he found the proper succession? Why he's sometimes in Vrndavana, sometimes Delhi, sometimes here. Why he is loitering? Crazy. Unfortunate. Unnecessarily picking out some trouble. Hari-sauri: Faultfinding. Prabhupada: The babajis, they are against anything preaching. They are very, very much against preaching. So I am preaching. Babajis, the Mayavadi sannyasis, and all of them, their idea is that I am ruining this bhajana and Hindu dharma. This is the propaganda. What I am writing, they are all wrong. And they are making... And they try to poison my disciples as far as possible so that the whole institution may be poisoned and break. This is their propaganda. Hari-sauri: That was one thing that Nitai put in his letter, that the teachings of ISKCON are completely opposite or contradictory to what is actually in the sastra. Prabhupada: Now he has become tiger. He wants to kill that philosophy. When he did not know anything he came to us. Now he has become learned, he wants to criticize. The same philosophy. "You have made me tiger, now I can see you are my eatable." (laughs) He could not find out any other eatable. "I shall eat you." The rascal. What can be done? (end) (Room Conversation -- October 31, 1976, Vrndavana)
  15. I tried to contact Sri Rami Sivan to ask him for scriptural references regarding the conferring of brahmana status to persons of non-caste brahmana families, but my good friend Vaikunthanath Sri Ramanujacharya dasa told me Rami had just left for Haridvara. If someone within the sampradaya of Sri Varadayatirajajeer could please supply some details regarding this, I would appreciate it. Murali
  16. The information above is one chapter, or about 5%, of a document I am writing regarding the Parampara of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. I wish to express my appreciation for the assistance I have received from several devotees who have assisted me while researching facts about Srila Prabhupada's Parampara. In particular, I would like to offer my respects to the devotees listed below: I offer my dandabat pranams to my Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj. Dandabat pranams to Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaj of Nrsimha-Chaitanya Math. Dandabat pranams to Sripad Vishnu Maharaj, of Nrsimha-Chaitanya Math. Dandabat pranams to Sripad Narasingha Maharaj, disciple of Sripad Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami. Dandabat pranams to Sripad Bhakti Vikasa Swami of ISKCON. Dandabat pranams to Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami, of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Dandabat pranams to Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Goswami, of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.
  17. Another type of false, deceptive behavior is the type of self-deception practiced by members of the sakhi-bekhi sect. A sakhi-bekhi is a person who dresses like a gopi and imagines himself as a gopi lover of Krishna. Members of this sakhibhekhi cult wear saris and in other ways externally imitate the sentiments of the Gopis, the sweethearts of Sri Krishna. Sakhi-bekhis sometimes imitate rasa-lila with a person dressed like Krishna who wears a cuda, a crown of peacock feathers. This person is called cudadhari. The philosophy of these two types of sahajiya apasampradayas is very similar. One of the most influential preceptors of the sakhi-bekhi cult was Radharaman Charan Das Babaji. The biography of Radharaman Charan Das Babaji known as The Life of Love” was written by Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor at the behest of the disciples of Radharaman Charan Das Babaji, and in that book (chapter 29, pages 473-474) there is a story of a supposed meeting between the Babaji and Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati (whose as a young man was known as Sri Vimala Prasada Dutt). Whether this meeting really did take place is a matter of debate. However, the statements in that book do provide us with information about the practices and philosophy of the sakhi-bekhi cult. Meeting with Sri Vimala Prasada Dutt One day Sri Vimala Prasada Dutt (Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Mahashaya), the son of Sri Kedarnath Dutt (Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahashaya) came to the Math. It is not known whether Babaji Mahashaya had met him before or not, but he received him cordially and gave him an asana to sit on. They talked for some time on various subjects, after which Vimala Prasada Babu asked, "How is it that among your disciples I see different kinds of bhava and vesh (dress)?" Babaji: None of them is my disciple. I myself could not become a disciple. I have only been wandering about to earn name and fame. How can I make anyone my disciple? Vimala Babu:But they all introduce themselves as your disciples. Babaji: That is due to their humility. They are all servants of Nityananda. As willed by Him they live here as my siksha-gurus. Vimala Babu: Some of them have adopted sakhi-vesh. Have you asked them to do so? Babaji: No, they have done so of their own. Vimala Babu: Why don't you prevent them? Babaji: I do not see anything wrong in it. Some time ago, there was some criticism against it. I consulted my Gurudeva. He said, "The essence of the teachings of the Goswamis is that in order to make one's bhava permanent one should wear the dress suited to it, speak and behave in a manner suited to it, and think about, meditate upon and do kirtan of the lila, that suits it. Vimala Babu: Can you prove the necessity of this kind of vesh with reference to the shastras and can you cite any instance in which the associates or followers of Mahaprabhu have in the past worn this kind of vesh? Babaji: The importance of vesh has been asserted by all the shastras. It is according to the shastras that the Brahmins weir the sacred thread, which is a sign of Brahminhood and is helpful in sadhana. Similarly, the orange colored clothes and the tridanda of a sannyasi, the rudraksha and lion's skin of a Shaiva, and the tilaka and kanthi of a Vaishnava are enjoined by the shastras. As for the associates of Mahaprabhu, many of them have put on vesh according to their bhava. Nityananda Prabhu, who had the bhava of Balarama, used to put on vesh appropriate to that bhava. Almost all of His associates, who had sakhyabhava, used to put on gopa-vesh (the dress of cowherds). Gadadhara Prabhu used to put on gopi-vesh. Abhirama Thakura used to carry a flute, which was appropriate to his sakhya-bhava. Lochanananda Das Thakura, Narahari Sarkar Thakura and some other devotees of Srikhanda sometimes met Mahaprabhu in the vesh of nadiya-nagari, and sometimes went about in the vesh of the milkmaids of Vraja carrying pots of milk or curd. Besides, have the shastras said anywhere that vesh according to bhava should not be adopted to convert bhava into svabhava? I think not. In this way, after talking with Baba Mahashaya on subjects relating to the principles and practices of Vaishnavism Vimala Prasada Babu left. Many of these things said by Radharaman Charan Das Babaji are wrong. Perhaps the most obvious falsehood is the statement "Gadadhara Prabhu used to put on gopi-vesh." Nowhere, in the authentic writings of the Vaishnava Acharyas, is there any mention that Gadadhar Prabhu ever wore the dress of a gopi. This idea that he did dress as a gopi is a clear example of the misconceptions spread by followers of these psuedo-Vaishnava cults. What is more, Srila Sarasvati Thakur was openly critical of the sakhi-bekhi beliefs of Radharaman Charan Das Babaji. We know that for a fact. The thirteen sects listed by Sri Totaram das Babaji spawned further mutant variations with the passing of time.
  18. The Smarta caste brahmanas worship Vishnu according to the Mayavadi pancopasana conception. Thus they regard Lord Krishna or Vishnu to be one of five forms of Brahman. Of the five (Durga, Ganesa, Surya, Siva and Vishnu), Bengali smartas have always preferred goddess Durga because she supplies her devotees with material opulence. Though the smartas share with the jata-gosani the bad trait of upper-caste pride, the two communities differ in their mode of worship. Jata-gosani refers to the caste goswamis who are exclusively priests of Krishna temples. Ritualistically, at least, they are Vaishnava-brahmanas, so we followers of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami always show respect to these people as a general rule, even though we do not agree with some things the caste-goswamis say. Many devotees from caste-goswami communities have good relations with the devotees who are within the lineage of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami. Since the 1970’s, some people who were introduced to Krishna Consciousness through the inspired preaching of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the West, have left the lineage of Srila Prabhupada and taken initiation from members of caste-goswami traditions. They make the claim that these caste-goswami traditions are more authentic than the lineage of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. This is their opinion. Be that as it may, many individuals from high caste families within the caste-goswami community have left that tradition and become disciples in the lineage of Prabhupada Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami. Our own Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, who was chosen as the successor Acharya at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip, by our Divine Master, Srila Sridhar Dev Goswami Maharaj, was born in a family of “Nityanananda Parivar” caste goswamis. Srila Govinda Maharaj is the eldest son of Sri Nitai Pada Das Adhikari of Bamanpara village (Brahmanapura) near Nabadwip Dham. Sri Nitai Pada Das Adhikari was the Guru of hundreds of disciples and his family line was most exalted. The family name, Das Adhikari, was given by Sri Nityananda Prabhu Himself. The general belief system of followers of the jati-gosani sect are seen when we read the life story of Tinkadi Gosvami (1906-1984), the former mahant of Radha-kunda: <blockquote> Sri Tinkadi Gosvami (Sri Kisori-Kisorananda Baba) was born in 1906 in Manoharapur, a village in district Medinipur of West Bengal. His father was Sri Harimohana Gosvami and mother Srimati Suradhuni Devi. The family had a large number of ancestral disciples. The number of Harimohana Gosvami’s own disciples also was not small. The income from donations made by disciples was plentiful. Therefore Tinkadi Gosvami was brought up in luxury. He did not have much interest in studies. So his father stopped his education and began to introduce him to his disciples so that he might adopt gurugiri (the profession of guru) as his profession. He also married him to a girl named Sitalasundari, from whom he had a son. Sri Tinkadi Gosvami lived luxuriously. He wore spotlessly white clothes made of the finest linen and smoked hukka. The long tube of the hukka with a silver mouth-piece was always attached to his mouth. The smoke of the sweet-scented tobacco, specially got from Visnupur, was seen curling round him. He went to the homes of the disciples on palanquin. The hukka and a Brahman cook went with him. The cook followed the palanquin on foot. There was, however, a spark of bhakti in his heart, which often disturbed him and made him think of the futility of worldly life. (From the “Saints of Bengal” by O.B.L. Kapoor, Chapter XXV entitled “ Sri Tinkadi Gosvami”) </blockquote> We see that when he was living in his father's home the father provided him with all sorts of mundane pleasures paid for with money given by disciples. This type of behavior of the caste-goswami gurus was strongly condemned by Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur. In his later life Tinkadi Gosvami, or Tin Kori Goswami, became a renunciate and lived at Radhakunda. Tinkadi Gosvami became well known for his renounced behavior. But Srila Sridhar Maharaj was not impressed by the spiritual attainments of Tinkadi Gosvami. Srila Sridhar Maharaj said this of Tinkadi Goswami: <blockquote> “…whose highest qualification is that he dresses in canvas. Not cloth but canvas dress. Canvas dressing has made him so famous to the foolish. They have found everything in the canvas. Canvas dress surpasses everything in a Vaishnava sannyasi. Foolish people. Those who have not got the inner eye of appreciation of what is what, will have to take shelter of external calculation. They have no idea of positive attainment— what is the criterion, the standard of vairagyam. Only by external abnegation or willful self-assertion, by physical privation—these are the charm for the foolish people. Those that are born to be deceived. “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna—physical calculation—Gaur Haribol, Gaur Haribol! “The naga sannyasis do not even care for a cloth. They are all naked. Should they be the guru of this Tin Kori Goshai? …. Tin Kori—the name is also appropriate. Name has got no sign of a Vaishnava dasa—Three Shells. The wealth is the three shells: sattva, rajah, tamah….” </blockquote> Some misguided persons with allegiance to Tinkadi Goswami and the philosophy he represents say that he was "a kind-hearted gentleman who spoke ill of no one". But this is merely a ploy, a cheating game. It is a fact that Tinkadi Goswami was very antagonistic to Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Moreover, the most hate-filled attacks against Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur that have come from the clan of the Radhakunda babajis, involving abuse (with four letter words and stories of whorehouses, babajis and sodomy) and mischievous lies, have been spread by direct disciples and followers of this "kind-hearted gentleman" such as one Nitai das (Neal Demonic, PhD, an unemployed Sanskrit scholar). Srila Sridhar Maharaja did not recognize Tinkadi Goswami as a substantial Vaishnava (avaishnava). We have faith in his judgment. In the marketplace of Vrindaban we find books by persons such as O.B.L. Kapoor, the writer of “Saints of Bengal”, which tell us about many babas and devotees affiliated with the Gaudiya tradition. However, we should show some discretion when reading the works of authors such as O.B.L. Kapoor. O.B.L. Kapoor himself was a strange character. He had received initiation from Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami but he later took initiation again from a baba in Vrindaban. Yet instead of being straightforward and honest in his dealings, he acted in a deceptive way, presenting himself as a follower of Srila Saraswati Thakur when he visited his godbrother Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, from whom he tried to get money from so he could publish his books. It was O.B.L. Kapoor who influenced Nitai das to leave Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and go to take initiation from Tinkadi Goswami. O.B.L. Kapoor advised Nitai das to keep his initiation from Tinkadi Goswami secret, realizing that this re-initiation would cause a severance of his relationship with Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and the funds that Prabhupada might provide. Deception, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, book writing, book selling and scholarship. A strange mix.
  19. The Sains are the free men of this tradition. They are supposedly liberated from all material conceptions and may appear in any kind of dress, as a Hindu sannyasi or Muslim fakir. They may wear no clothing at all. They are so much beyond the grip of illusion that they may drink wine or eat human flesh as expressions of their high spiritual attainment, engaging in practices advocated by the most degraded groups within the Shakta tradition. The villagers superstitiously think Sains to be powerful healers as many Sains maintain themselves by distributing mysterious medicines and cures. The daravesa (Darbesh) are the gurus of the Auls, Bauls and Sains. They are believed to have reached the highest realizations. Darbesh (dervish) is a Sufi term which comes from the Persian words dar (door) and bhitan (to beg), meaning "one who begs from door to door." The Darbesh Ashram was founded by Atal Behari Darbesh, known as Darbeshji. By mystic influence he brought a king under his control and the king gave him the land on which the Ashram is situated. Darbeshji is thus venerated by the Auls, Bauls and Sains as a spiritual giant. The followers of Darbeshji dress in the manner Sanatana Gosvami was dressed when he escaped from the jail of Nawab Hussain Shah and went to join Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Prayaga. Sanatana told the jailer whom he'd bribed, daravesa hana ami makkake yaiba, "I shall go to Mecca as a Darbesh". The Darbesh cult take this as Srila Sanatana Gosvami's most important instruction. The daravesa-apasampradaya adherents fully embrace Muslim habits (meat-eating, smoking, etc). They are feared by the common folk for their mysterious powers. The Kartabhaja sect regard the Guru to be absolutely nondifferent from God. The founder of the kartabhaja-apasampradaya was Aul Chand (c.1686-1779). He was a fakir or daravesa regarded by his followers as none other than Sri Chaitanya Himself, whom they say had reappeared as Aul Chand. In Ghosepara, the residence of Karta Ram Sharan Pal and his wife Sati is still preserved as the Kartabhaja place of pilgrimage. This husband and wife were Aul Chand's principal disciples and were known as the Adi Purusa and Adyasakti. This Ghosepara Kartabhaja center is the site where the Bauls enjoy their three-day Dola Yatra festival. Many people think the Kartabhajas are a kind of Baul but they are a distinct group with a distinct philosophy, and they used to be extremely influential in the last century. The Kartabhaja sect has its own holy book called the Bhaver Gita, most of which was written in the form of songs by Dulalchand. Much of the text is puzzling and purposefully contradictory. It is meant to be understood only by initiates. But there are clear hints of Mayavadi and tantric ideas (though it seems the Kartabhaja sect does not have a reputation for sexual promiscuity like the Bauls). The followers are supposed to marry and be true to their partners. And they should be vegetarian, at least on Fridays (the Muslim sabbath). Husbands and wives should not have sex on this day also. The Kartabhajas share with the Bauls the concept of jiyante mara - living death - as the highest goal. They chant the name of Krishna, but say the names of Kali and Khoda (Allah) are equal to it, because all are names of the guru. The Kartabhajas were a powerful movement of revolt against the jati-gosai and smartas, who had become the orthodox religious establishment of the 18th century. The Kartabhajas and other related groups converted thousands of villagers to their group on the plea that "the company" (their special term for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas) was once rich, but is now bankrupt. Out of the ruins of the old company, a new company has arisen (meaning the Kartabhajas). This company does not carry out business in the name of religion. The neda-nedi group have a philosophy which is a synthesis of Vaishnava and Buddhistic thought. This group began at the time of Sri Virabhadra Gosvami, the son of Lord Nityananda and Jahnava Mata. It is said that Sri Viracandra converted over a thousand nedas and an equal number of nedis to Vaisnavism from tantric Buddhism. Under his direction, these neda-nedis took to the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Most of them got properly married, thus ending the illicit connections that had been going on between them in the name of tantric meditation. But after some time a number of them again revived their old practices while passing themselves off as Vaishnavas. Nowadays, the neda-nedi is taken to be a type of Baul. A sahajiya is someone who does things the easy way. The word sahaja itself means "easy." This has different connotations in Vaishnava literatures. In Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta Madhya 8.215 the word sahaja is used to refer to the ease with which intense attraction to Krishna overwhelms a liberated soul once he is established in rasa (his eternal relationship with the Lord). This spiritual attraction is called prema (pure love). Prema is not to be confused with the lusty feelings of an illusioned soul. There is a type of sahajiya who, though addicted to the pleasures of sex and intoxication, imitates the symptoms of divine love of Krishna. These pretenders are labelled prakrta-sahajiya by the Vaishnavas. Prakrta-sahajiyas imagine they can feel the divine emotions shared by Krishna and His dearest devotee, Srimati Radharani. In Her spiritual form as the most enchanting of all gopis (milkmaids) in the transcendental land of Vrndavana, Radharani loves Krishna in the mood of amorous attraction. But before anyone can understand the pleasure shared between Radha and Krishna, he must first rid himself of lustful obsessions for physical sense gratification. The prakrta-sahajiyas, in contrast, believe they can feel divine rasa through the experience of mundane lust. According to Dr. S.B. Das Gupta, the history of the Bengali sahajiya movement can be traced back long before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance, to the reign of the Buddhist Pala royal dynasty (ca. 700-1100 A.D.), when a secret cult of the name Sahajayana arose within the Diamond Vehicle (Vajrayana) school of Buddhism. This school of Buddhism is the also the origin of Tibetan Tantrik Buddhism. The gauranga-nagaris think Sri Chaitanya exhibited Krishna's enjoying mood. They think of Sri Nimai Pandit as the enjoyer of romantic pastimes with ladies of Nabadwip. The members of this sect wear tilaka and neck beads and are good kirtan performers. They strictly abstain from flesh and fish. But their conception of Mahaprabhu is considered improper by stalwart devotees such as Sri Krishnadas Kaviraj in his book Chaitanya Caritamrta. The ativadis are influential in Orissa. This apasampradaya was started by Jagannatha dasa at the time when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was living at Puri. He claimed to be a disciple of Srila Haridasa Thakura but later on he broke his connection with Haridasa Thakura and began preaching his own ideas. The leaders of the ativadi have delusions of their own greatness and see themselves as avatars of the Lord. Ativadi means, “too great”, as they think of themselves as people who are very, very great.
  20. aula, baula, kartabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani, sahajiya, sakhibeki, smarta, jata-gosani ativadi, cudadhari, gauranga-nagari tato kahe, ei terara sanga nahi kari -- Sri Totaramadas Babaji Totaram das Babaji was a South Indian brahmin who first came to Nabadwip to study the philosophical system known as Nyaya. But before he could finish his studies he became drawn to the Vaishnava ascetic way of life. He gave up his philosophy studies and went to Sri Vrindaban. He stayed in Vrindaban for many years, until Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave him the inspiration to go to Nabadwip and supervise the worship of His Deity originally served by Sri Vishnupriyadevi, the wife of Sri Chaitanyadeva. At that time there was a great deal of chaos regarding the worship of the Deity because the priests were poor and no permanent temple was established. The Deity of Mahaprabhu was taken in rotation to the houses of various priests. Due to the threats of evil persons, from time to time the Deity was hidden. Following the Lord's order, Ramdasa went to Nabadwip and lived beneath some trees on the bank of the Ganges. Dressed as a sadhu, with tilak on his forehead and tulasi beads on his neck, he was considered a madman by many of the residents of Navadvipa. People enjoyed making fun of him. But Ramdasa tolerated their abusive language with a peaceful mind. Once, while Ramdasa was absorbed in meditation, a man placed a string of shoes around his neck. At that exact time Dewan Ganga Govinda Singh happened to be passing by in a boat. Shocked to see a Vaishnava sadhu insulted in such a way, he asked Ramdasa who the culprit was. But Ramdasa was absorbed in profound meditation so he did not answer. Gangagovinda then went straight to the King of Nabadwip, Maharaj Krishnacandra, telling him what he had seen. The king immediately came to see Ramdasa to beg forgiveness for this offense which happened within his kingdom. Then Sri Ramdasa and the king discussed different systems of Indian philosophy and the king was deeply impressed with Sri Ramdasa's divine understanding. He bestowed the title of "Tota" upon him. From that time onwards, Sri Ramdasa became known as Tota Ramdasa. Influenced by the sincere efforts and infinite concern exhibited by Sri Totaramdas Babaji, the present site of the compound and courtyard for the Deity of Mahaprabhu was chosen and improved, the old temple rebuilt and the arrangements for the daily puja were made. There is a deed in Bengali written in 1785 A.D. (1202 Bengali year), stating that the land granted to Tota Ramdasa Vairagi for the service of the Deity of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu should be exempt from tax. It is also reported that in the same year, 1785 A.D., another temple in Nabadwip city was built by a raja named Gaur Govinda Singh. This temple was said to have been sixty feet high, with nine pinnacles in red sandstone. This Gaur Govinda Singh temple was submerged in floods in 1876. In the opinion of some people, that temple of Gaur Govinda Singh was built upon the original birth site of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, at a place where an earlier temple had been constructed by Bir Hambir, a disciple of Srinivas Acharya. But Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaj, who was born some time around 1785 A.D or earlier, and who visited Nabadwip from time to time in that period, did not consider that place of Gaur Govinda Singh's temple to be Mahaprabhu's birthplace. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur also rejected the suggestion that this Gaur Govinda Singh temple was Mahaprabhu's birthplace. The worship of Sri Vishnupriyas Deity of Mahaprabhu was properly arranged by Sri Totaram das Babaji. Apart from some informataion recorded in the book Gaudiya-Vaishnava-Jivana, little is known of the life of Sri Totaram das Babaji. He is among the earliest of Gaudiya Vaishnavas to be known by the title of "Babaji", and indeed in the deed document for the temple land his name is given as Totaram das Vairagi. He is often remembered for a verse he wrote in which he listed thirteen false Vaishnava sects that were prominent in his time: aula, baula, kartabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani, sahajiya, sakhibeki, smarta, jata-gosani ativadi, cudadhari, gauranga-nagari tato kahe, ei terara sanga nahi kari Translation: I avoid members of these sects: aula, baula, kartabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani, sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosani, ativadi, cudadhari, gauranga-nagari. We are trying to make progress on the path of the spiritual pilgrim. But religious schisms and the degradation and breakup of religious traditions make it difficult for seekers of Truth to find the real way to reach God. Controversies have hindered sincere seekers of truth since time immemorial. It is often confusing and frustrating that controversies hamper our quest for the truth. But even so, we must not be discouraged. Indeed, the most difficult problem we all face is this: who should we learn from, to whom should we turn, when we are looking for spiritual guidance? At the end of the seventeenth century, in the lifetime of Totaramadas Babaji, many psuedo-Vaishnava sects were prominent in Bengal. When we look at these sects it is amazing to see that the spiritual movement initiated by Sri Chaitanya could have become so mutated and mutilated in the space of one hundred and fifty years. The Aul, Baul, Sani and Daravesa groups mentioned by Totaram das Babaji are closely related. They are in fact different divisions of one group commonly called "the Bauls of Bengal." These people are tantric sahajiyas with Sufi influences. They do not necessarily present themselves as Vaishnavas, though they do claim to represent the real spirit of Mahaprabhu's teachings. The Auls practice "bodily meditation." This means that the men take themselves to be purusha and the women are called prakrti and together they engage in the sadhana of tantric sex. Men and women of this community freely switch partners. Their idea is to excite lust so they can attain ecstatic love. In Bengali, the word Aul is related to kulata ("afflicted"), in the sense of being afflicted with love. The Auls believe that through their enjoyment of sensual relationships they can attain the state described in C.C. Antya 17.46: yeba venu-kala-dhvani, eka-bara taha suni, jagan-nari-citta aulaya nivi-bandha pade khasi, vina-mule haya dasi, bauli hana Krishna-pase dhaya "The transcendental vibration of Krishna's flute disturbs the hearts of women all over the world, even if they hear it only once. Thus their fastened belts become loose, and these women become the unpaid maidservants of Krishna. Indeed, they run toward Krishna exactly like madwomen." The word baula comes from the Sanskrit word vatula, or mad. The Bauls are wandering minstrels who play instruments like the ektar, dugi (a drum like the larger drum in a tabla set) and bamboo flute. They do hari-nama-kirtana and sing songs expressing their philosophy. The Bauls typically flock to festivals called mahotsavas. The Jayadeva-Kenduli Mela during winter is the largest mahotsava. The Bauls have an ashram there and thousands converge at that spot for the three-day festival. At other places across Bengal and Bangladesh they hold are mahotsavas throughout the year. The Bauls move from one festival to the next. They perform music, smoke ganja and enjoy pleasures with women. Often a Baul unites with a woman (or sadhika) at one mahotsava and leaves her at the next, where he takes on a new lover. His former sadhika will be picked up by another Baul.
  21. Bhimasena, the Pandava, ate meat nearly every day. Is he a Vaishnava? This is a rhetorical question my Guru, Srila Govinda Maharaj, asked us one evening, when we were honouring Jagannatha prashad on the evening after the ratha-yatra in Puri. When we in turn asked Srila Govinda Maharaj, "Is Bhimasena a Vaishnava?", Maharaj just laughed and yelled out, "Jaya Jagannatha Prashad!" The Pandavas ate meat. (though maybe not Arjuna). Krishna himself became the charioteer for Arjuna, because he loved the Pandavas so much. "No meat eating" is a rule we follow. Non violence towards animals is a principle we revere. But the rules that apply to me, a materialist, are not applicable to great devotees. It is an offence to denigrate or abuse a great devotee such as Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. Petty mindedness in this area is a stumbling block that will keep us bound up in the shackles of the material world. Haridas Thakura also, he was born in a Muslim family. Are Muslims vegetarians? Were the parents of Haridas Thakura who cooked his breakfast and dinner also vegetarians?
  22. I find the date given is of great significance. According to an article written by Jagadananda das, the temple of Gaur Govinda Singh in "Pracin Mayapura" was constructed in 1780-5 on the site of Bir Hambir's old temple. In regard to Sri Totarama Das Babaji, it was previously mentioned: <blockquote> "There (in Vraja) he performed bhajan at the thaura on the southern side of the temple of Sri Sri Gopinatha. He stayed there for a long period of time until he received an order from Sriman Mahaprabhu to come to Navadvipa to supervise His seva. At that time there was a great deal of chaos in regards to the seva of the Deity of Lord Caitanya because the Gosvamis were very poor and there was no permanent temple established. Thus the Deity of Mahaprabhu was taken in rotation to the houses of various sevakas. In this way His service was being cared on. From time to time, due to the threats of evil persons, the Deity had to be kept hidden." </blockquote> It is difficult to know what was really going on in Nabadwip in those days. I understandt there was some resistance from Smartas to worship of the Deity of Mahaprabhu, as they were opposed to His Divinity. This would seem to suggest that it is unlikely that the birthplace of Mahaprabhu would have been a popular shrine. The Muslim presence in Nabadwip is another factor that would need to be considered. Would Sri Vishnupriyadevi have lived in the house of Mahaprabhu at Mayapura when Srimate Sacidevi had passed away? What would have happened to that dwelling? Questions, questions. Another thing, Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaj would have been born some time around 1780, or earlier. It is reasonable to assume that he visited Nabadwip prior to 1876, when the temple of Gaur Govinda Singh was destroyed by floods. There would not have been many temples dedicated to Mahaprabhu in Nabadwip at that time, given what we have read about Nabadwip in that period from the life story of Totarama das babaji Maharaj. So, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Jagannatha Babaji must have seen that temple. But there is no doubt that Jagannatha Babaji did not accept that temple nearby to Nabadwip as the birthplace of Mahaprabhu. Murali
  23. I find the date given is of great significance. According to an article written by Jagadananda das, the temple of Gaur Govinda Singh in "Pracin Mayapura" was constructed in 1780-5 on the site of Bir Hambir's old temple. In regard to Sri Totarama Das Babaji, it was previously mentioned: <blockquote> "There (in Vraja) he performed bhajan at the thaura on the southern side of the temple of Sri Sri Gopinatha. He stayed there for a long period of time until he received an order from Sriman Mahaprabhu to come to Navadvipa to supervise His seva. At that time there was a great deal of chaos in regards to the seva of the Deity of Lord Caitanya because the Gosvamis were very poor and there was no permanent temple established. Thus the Deity of Mahaprabhu was taken in rotation to the houses of various sevakas. In this way His service was being cared on. From time to time, due to the threats of evil persons, the Deity had to be kept hidden." </blockquote> It is difficult to know what was really going on in Nabadwip in those days. I understandt there was some resistance from Smartas to worship of the Deity of Mahaprabhu, as they were opposed to His Divinity. This would seem to suggest that it is unlikely that the birthplace of Mahaprabhu would have been a popular shrine. The Muslim presence in Nabadwip is another factor that would need to be considered. Would Sri Vishnupriyadevi have lived in the house of Mahaprabhu at Mayapura when Srimate Sacidevi had passed away? What would have happened to that dwelling? Questions, questions. Another thing, Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaj would have been born some time around 1780, or earlier. It is reasonable to assume that he visited Nabadwip prior to 1876, when the temple of Gaur Govinda Singh was destroyed by floods. There would not have been many temples dedicated to Mahaprabhu in Nabadwip at that time, given what we have read about Nabadwip in that period from the life story of Totarama das babaji Maharaj. So, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Jagannatha Babaji must have seen that temple. But there is no doubt that Jagannatha Babaji did not accept that temple nearby to Nabadwip as the birthplace of Mahaprabhu. Murali
  24. Brighu, What is the deed that was mentioned, in regard to Totaramadas Babaji Maharaj. Also, are dates mentioned for his lifetime. And did he ever meet Srila Jagganatha Das Babaji Maharaj. Murali
  25. Brighu, What is the deed that was mentioned, in regard to Totaramadas Babaji Maharaj. Also, are dates mentioned for his lifetime. And did he ever meet Srila Jagganatha Das Babaji Maharaj. Murali
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