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Everything posted by muralidhar

  1. Raga said: I am saying that Harinama is often given before mantra-diksa. This is a common practice both inside and outside the Gaudiya Matha. For a follower of the Six Gosvamis, eventually there must be mantra-diksa, for otherwise one transgresses the writings of the mahajanas (viz. Bhakti Sandarbha). <hr> But if a person who has received just Harinama initiates a disciple, and that disciple initiates a disciple, and that disciple initiates a disciple, what then??? Are you saying that the devotee who has accepted a Guru in this way, and is chanting the suddha-nama, cannot ever dare utter the mantra "klim krishnaya govindaya gopijanaballabhaya swaha" or the mantra "kleeng kamadevaya vidmahe puspabanaya dhimahi tanno'nanga prachodayat".
  2. In regard to my references to Lalit Prashad's connection with Saraswati Thakur up till 1918.. My point was that Lalit Prashad acknoledged that Saraswati Thakur had become the Guru of some devotees. Lalit Prashad attended a number of functions where Saraswati Thakur and his disciples were preaching. Also, another historical point comes to mind. The first person to receive sannyasa from Saraswati Thakur was Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj, an initiated disciple of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur.
  3. Are you saying there can be two kinds of Parampara. A lineage of devotees that initiates with Harinama, and a lineage where there is Mantra Diksa.
  4. Madhava, I am just exploring some issues. I would be interested to hear from you, who do you say is the initiating Guru of Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami? In CC, Adi 1.37 he lists Srila Raghunath das Goswami as a siksa-guru, not Diksa. What relationship do you say he has with Sri Nityananda Prabhu? Murali
  5. Madhava said: Also please let me know whether the initiation was Harinama initiation or mantra-diksa initiation. <hr> Harinama, I believe. The first disciple was a young boy, whose name I can't remember, and that boy served at Chaitanya Math for many, many years. Sraman Maharaj does give a biography of that boy. Murali
  6. I haven't look at his site even once for more than two years. But I notice he has updated the site with some new content, yet hasn't updated his statement that he is now a skeptik who thinks all religious sentiment is simply fantasy.
  7. Madhava said: Also, it will contribute to the credibility of your document if you can present the sources of the sources, so to say, when you are quoting second hand evidence. For instance, while quoting from Bhaktikusum Shraman's title, it will be helpful to know whether what he writes is his personal experience or not, and if not, from where he has learned the statements he presents as far as history goes. <hr> I intend to base most of what I have to say on Chaitanya Charitamrta. I will have another look at some other texts, but in Chaitanya Charitamrta I have already seen everything. That is, in the Bengali text of Chaitanya Charitamrta. Sripad Sraman Maharaj's book is extremely detailed. He lists, practically month by month, the activities of Srila Saraswati Thakur. Given that he was the next Acharya and immediate successor of Sripad Bhakti Vilas Tirha Maharaj, you can take it that his statements are fully representative of the thoughts of Bhakti Vilas Tirha Maharaj. I clearly remember that those first disciples were initiated by Saraswati Thakur in 1905; I will provide the exact names as soon as my friend sends me this book. Murali
  8. Madhava, First I would like to say thank you to you, as these discussions we have been having have moved me to go and read, once again, the primary sources of Truth, the shastras of Gaudiya Vaishnava lineage. Most specially Chaitanya Charitamrta. I must say however that after closely studying Chaitanya Charitamrta I have no doubt that the conception of Diksa and of Siksa-Guru Parampara presented by Srila Sridhar Maharaj are fully supported by Kaviraj Goswami and other Gaudiya Acharyas. I view of what I have read, I feel it will be of service to the devotees if I compile a detailed article about the understanding of Parampara presented by Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur and his faithful disciples. I plan to collect all this information over the next couple of weeks. It cannot be done sooner since I need to get some books of mine that other people have borrowed so I can complete this essay. Specifically, I need to get back the book Prabhupada Srila Saraswati Thakur by B. K. Sraman Maharaj. But I also want to some other books and articles I think are valuable to this discussion. Muralidhar
  9. On the home page: I'm Nitai Das, once a disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of ISKCON. I later received initiation from Kisorikisorananda Baba, or Tinkudi Baba for short. Initiation is ritual acceptance into the Vaisnava community and empowerment through mantra. It is thought that mantra are empowered sounds when received in an unbroken line from their source. Such mantra bring one into both direct and mediated contact with the sacred and are thou the sacred and are thought to create a portal through which one can enter the sacred realm. On this page http://www.bhajankutir.net/ndelmonico.html So you decided to come visit me instead of that nincompoop Nitai Das. Good for you! That Nitai Das is seriously confused, I believe. This is the home page of Neal Delmonico. I am an unemployed scholar of Indic religion and philosophy. I received my PhD from the University of Chicago in 1990 and taught for five years at Iowa State University in what is now called the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy. I am currently translating various works belonging to the Caitanya Vaisnava tradition from Sanskrit and Bengali and working on several books and articles. Who needs teaching anyway. The Caitanya Vaisnava tradition is a religious tradition inspired by the 16th century reformer and saint Sri Caitanya. It is a version of the ancient religious tradition called Vaisnavism, the religion ed Vaisnavism, the religion of the worshippers of Visnu, an ancient deity mentioned in the Rg Veda and important in the later religious history of India. In Sri Caitanya's version of Vaisnavism, Visnu has been replaced by Krsna and to some degree Krsna himself has been overshadowed by his divine lover Radha. Radha is described as the power of Krsna and she is often represented as the embodiment of the most pure and profound love for him. Thus, the conception of godhead has been split into male and female and the relationship that obtains between them has become the focus of religious life of this tradition. A rich body of religious writings has grown up in the tradition including works of poetry, songs, plays, philosophy, and aesthetics, some of which have been mistranslated in organizations like ISKCON and the Gaudiya Matha. I want to try to make these works available to western readers in intelligible and faithful translations and eventually to write critical appraisals of various aspects of the thought and religious life of this rich tradition. Most of the texts that I am working on are represented here in rough and incomplete forms. These are all works in process and thus they are constantly being revised, expanded, and hopefully improved. Please have a look at them and give me your reactions to what you read. I look forward to receiving your comments and questions. I am also interested in other areas of Indic philosophy and religion and some of those interests are those interests are also represented here. Thus, you will find works on Vedanta of various flavors, works on Nyaya (logic), Yoga (meditation), Sankhya (metaphysics), Mimamsa (hermeneutics), Vaisesika (physics/metaphysics), literary criticism, aesthetics, and so on and so forth. I have even done some work on Saivism and Saktaism (the worship of the god Siva and the goddess Sakti). You might even find some texts on erotics here. Drop back in from time to time to see what's new and what's changed. As far as my perspective on all of these works is concerned, I am a skeptic. In my younger days (and still at times) I was far too gullible for my saner moments today. My gullibility transformed me into that dodo Nitai Das. I joined the Hare Krishna Movement (ISKCON) and visited India for the first time in 1973. That is how I became interested in the Vaisnava tradition originally. I began the study of Sanskrit and Bengali (and some Hindi) during that period. Eventually I became disillusioned with the Hare Krishna Movement, left that organization and became a disciple of another guru, who was also a member of the Caitanya Vaisnava tradition, but not of ISKCON. He seemed to me to be a more genuine Vaisnava than Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta, the founder of ISKCON. After living and practicing with Sri Kisorikisorananda Baba for some time I returned to the U.S., finished my undergraduate education at the University of Colorado and then went on to graduate school at the University of Chicago. 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. Like diseases, they are communicated by contact and also like diseases they strike at people in certain conditions of weakness and vulnerability, among which might be counted poor education, weak critical thinking skills, low self-esteem, overly abundant self-esteem, and so forth. In addition, there is a certain addictive quality to these religious fantasies. Even when one recognizes them as fantasies and as unlikely to be true one often still longs after the comfort and euphoria they may bring. Perhaps that is why I find myself still fascinated by the Vaisnava fantasies found in these texts, or by the fantasy of Brahman found in the Vedanta texts, or by the fantasy of cosmic orgasm found in the tantric texts. On the other hand, one must recognize that truth is elusive. No self-conscious critic can say with certainty that there is no Krsna, no Radha no Brahman, no cosmic orgasm. There may well be a Krsna, a Radha, a Brahman or Radha, a Brahman or a Siva. Though one cannot deny their reality with any certainty one is not compelled to any affirmation either. All an honest enquirer can do is affirm that so-and-so believed such-and-such in this-and-that circumstance and recognize that so-and-so's belief in something does not make it true. Nor does somebody's willingness to die for a belief have any bearing on the validity of that belief. The procedure adopted here is the minimalist one of recognizing the fact of someone's expression of belief without mistaking that fact as evidence of its truth. In other words, religious beliefs remain fantasy until proven otherwise and the standard of proof here is empirical.
  10. <hr> <blockquote> Madhava wrote: Why do you want to endlessly twist this around? It is very clear to any honest reader that the entire Anuccheda 283 discusses the subject matter of pancaratra, arcana and mantra-diksa. gRhNIyAd vaiSNavaM mantraM dIkSA pUrvaM vidhAnataH -- "One should receive a Vaisnava mantra diksa preceded with proper procedures." Is that so difficult to accept? </blockquote> <hr> I am not being argumentative. Simply put, I have a different understanding from you about what is being expressed here by Sri Jiva Goswami. The fact of the matter is that at the time of initiation a new devotee is just that - a new devotee. At initiation a devotee begins serious practice of sadhana, but that devotee has many lessons to learn before they reach perfection. This is most clearly seen in Brhad Bhagavatamrtam, where we see the gradual growth of Gopakumar's understanding. It is not wrong to say that receiving Diksa can sometimes be a formal ceremony. At the time of initiation, the devotee may not clearly understand the ontological differences between Shiva and Vishnu, and Vishnu and Sri Krishna. This is a fact. The new devotee may know some philosophy, but deep within his heart he may still be aspiring for liberation, sensual pleasure, mystic powers, etc. In that primary stage of spiritual realization, the devotee may in fact have a misconceived understanding of Krishna. He may be thinking of Krishna, but he might see Krishna in terms of Krishna being "the giver of liberation" or "the person who will make me happy". Therefore the image of God this neophyte devotee adores is somewhat like Shiva, or some other Deva. In Brhad Bhagavatamrtam we see that at different times Gopakumar tries to picture Narayana or Sri Rama, and other forms of the Lord, as his istadeva. Gopakumar is making progress, but in his early stages of practice he has not yet attained clear Krishna Consciousness. Srila Sridhar Maharaj said: Jiva Goswami has written that the name of Krsna is the principle thing in the gayatri mantra. Within the mantra, there are also so many other words, but the name is the most important. If the name of Krsna is taken away, and replaced with some other name, the whole thing will be rotten. This is the decision of Jiva Goswami. The holy name of Krsna is all in all. The holy name of Krsna is there in the gayatri mantra, and so many other words are couched there. But if Krsna's name is taken away and replaced with the name of Siva, then the whole thing will go to Siva. The holy name is the all-important factor. If you look around, you will see may people who chant Krishna mantra they have received from a genuine Guru, but whose God-consciousness develops towards materialism or impersonalism. These people are chanting the mantra and meditating, but in time they may become devotees of Maya or Shiva. Below, you can read part of the biography of one such individual, taken from his web site at http://www.bhajankutir.net/ndelmonico.html
  11. Madhava wrote: <hr>I told you the earliest initiations Bhaktisiddhanta gave I could track down took place in 1918, the very year when Lalita Prasad ceased to cooperate with him. You did not comment on that. <hr> I didn't notice that statement before. Anyhow, you are certainly wrong here. According to the book Prabhupada Srila Saraswati Thakur, the first disciples were initiated Srila Saraswati Thakur in 1905. The names are given in the book, which I unfortunately do not have here (someone borrowed it and didn't return it). But I am ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN OF THE DATE, 1905, AND THE NAMES OF THE DISCIPLES AND DETAILS ARE IN THAT BOOK. In fact Kunja Babu (Sri Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj) was present at the time Srila Gaurakisora Babaji entered samadhi. He was the person who brought the news to Saraswati Thakur that Babaji Maharaj had passed away the night before. Together they went to receive the Divine Form of Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji and to make the samadhi. This was on 17 November 1915. Tirtha Maharaj was not initiated at that time, but took initiation soon after. You say that Lalit Prashad has said Srila Saraswati Thakur was not a disciple of Srila Gaurakisora Babaji. Why didn't he make a fuss when Srila Saraswati Thakur started initiating disciples in 1905? If he didn't believe that Saraswati Thakur was genuine, why did choose to attend numerous functions organized by the disciples of Srila Sarswati Thakur. I remember reading that book and noting the dates of festivals that Lalit Prashad came to, and noting the dates. Strange behavior. Madhava quoted Sri Jiva Goswami from Bhakti Sandarbha: <hr> "The teachers who are knowers of the truth say that since it gives (da) divine knowledge and destroys (ksi) sin it is called diksa. Therefore, paying obeisance to the guru and offering him one's all, one should receive a Vaisnava mantra preceded by diksa according to procedure." The he comments: divyaM jJAnaM hy atra zrImati mantre bhagavat-svarUpa-jJAnaM, tena bhagavatA sambandha-vizeSa-jJAnaM ca | "Divine knowledge means here knowledge of the true nature of the Lord in the mantra and, by that, knowledge of one's own special relationship with Him." Though much is often drawn from the words "divya jnana" as a definition of diksa, looking at the context it is clear beyond doubt what the divya jnana means here. <hr> Yes, but I don't see an inconsistency here. The quote says, "knowledge of the true nature of the Lord in the mantra". And my Guru Maharaj is saying that the Name in the mantra is the worshipable Entity within the mantra. When the Guru gives a disciple true understanding that the Name of Hari within the mantra is Hari Himself, then that divine transmission is Diksa. Exactly.
  12. Madhava, in regard to your statement in "engaging the mind" regarding smaranam as a part of sadhana bhakti (sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, etc..) <hr> Yes smaranam is an element of sadhana bhakti but a devotee should engage in genuine smaranam. And if the practitioner devotee is sometimes meditating on astakaliya lila and at other times he is fighting with his wife or worrying about money, then is this type of occasional smaranam really beneficial for the soul? My Guru Maharaj said that if Radha Govinda desire for us to have darshan of the divine lila then we can have a true EXPERIENCE of the lila, but if we desire to engage in speculative meditation upon the lila then that is counter productive. I know people who are still absorbed in mundane life but who like to chat about the mood of Sri Radha and the manjaris. I know some people have not become free from their love of smoking ganja and cigarettes, and drinking beer, and enjoying lady-love, who like to talk about Rasa-katha. In all honesty let me tell you truthfully something I personally experienced myself when I first came to Vrindaban. I met some babajis who were having ecstatic Kirtan at Radha Damodar temple in Vrindaban, but when I went with them and we walked outside the gate they lit up some cigarettes. This made me start wondering about many things... In Siksastakam, Mahaprabhu has said that there are no hard and fast rules for chanting; and in the discussion between Mahaprabhu and Haridas Thakur regarding the glories of the Holy Name, Haridas Thakur explains how persons make progress through the stages of Namaparadha and Namabhasa, until they can chant the Suddha Nam. But in regard to smaranam, if a person is filled with mundane tendencies such as the desires for liberation, knowledge, or personal pleasure, (mukti, jnana, kama) then they will not be able to cross over those tridents that surround Goloka-mandala. Murali
  13. Madhava, I feel that we need to come to some sort of conclusion of this discussion, not so much because I do not feel these issues are worth chatting about, but rather because these discussions are consuming too much of my time. I am very, very busy with other things I am doing, and I really cannot spend a great deal of time on this at the moment. So may I suggest that each of us make some sort of conclusive statements in regard to the issues we have discussed, and some we can each respond to those issues, and then we can withdraw from this discussion here, for the time being at least. Murali
  14. Madhava said: <hr> Our question is whether he received pancaratrika diksa mantras or not. We have no objection to the history of his having received the name of Hari from Gaura Kishora. If you choose to call this diksa, then it is certainly your right to do so, but everywhere in the writings of the Gaudiya Vaishnava acaryas diksa is understood as the transmission of a pancaratrika diksa-mantra from the mouth of the guru into the ear of the disciple. Perhaps it is not so in your group, but it is very clearly presented as such in the writings of Gopala Bhatta, Jiva and Visvanatha. <hr> Diksa in the term used to describe the transmission of Divine Knowledge from Guru to Disciple, and this is presented both in the ancient Vedic literature and in the literature of the Goswamis and their successors. Perhaps some people in some Gaudiya lineages prefer read the word Diksa as meaning initiation with the mantras that have come down to them within their lineage. But my Guru Maharaj has said: <hr> Our guru parampara, disciplic succession, follows the ideal, not the body; it is a succession of instructing spiritual masters, not formal initiating spiritual masters. In a song about our guru parampara written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, it is mentioned, mahaprabhu sri caitanya radha krsna nahe anya rupanuga janera jivana: the highest truth of Krsna consciousness comes down through the channel of siksa gurus, instructing spiritual masters. Those who have the standard of realization in the proper line have been accepted in the list of our disciplic succession. It is not a diksa guru parampara, a succession of formal initiating gurus. (Sri Guru and His Grace, Chapter 10) <hr> In Sri Guru and His Grace, chapter 9, Srila Sridhar Maharaj also says: <hr> In the Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi. 7.73): krsna-mantra haite habe samsara mocana krsna-nama haite pabe krsnera carana "The Krsna gayatri mantra liberates one from repeated birth and death in this world; the holy name of Krsna gives one shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna." The gayatri mantra helps us achieve liberation, and then the mantra retires. After giving us liberation, the mantra is finished. But the name will continue all along, from the lowest to the highest. In chanting the name, there is no mention of any petition - it is an address only. We should not chant with the mentality that, "I want this." We must simply chant the name spontaneously. That will encourage good will in us. So, because the function of the mantra is limited, but the name is all-important, the nama guru will be honored first, and next, the mantra guru, and then the other Vaisnavas. <hr>
  15. Madhava said: <hr> We may easily observe that the "contemplators" of this verse who are barred from Goloka are of two kinds, namely the yogis and the jnanis. The commentary goes on for a couple of paragraphs after this elaborating on the flaw in the approach of the yogis and jnanis. Thus you have taken the commentary completely out of context. <hr> This is not out of context at all. The persons engaged in impure or imperfect chanting of mantra and smaranam can be classified into two sections. Those who desire to jnana and those who want to enjoy the results of their work (karma). These two broad categorisations are epitomised by jnanis and yogis in the text. Those persons whose mentality is not pure will not be able to enter into the Goloka lila. Their approach to Goloka is blocked by the mantra tridents. But if someone engages in Nama-sankirtan then this benefits both the chanter and the listener, and Bhagavan in His Mercy will provide an opportunity for swift advancement.
  16. quote: <hr> First you said the reformer of the Gaudya Sampradaya Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati did take diksa from the Babaji gaura-kishor, and I was happy. <hr> Perhaps I didn't make my point clearly. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati did receive Diksa from Srila Gaurkishore Babaji. Because he was a disciple, he was able to receive the holy body of Srila Gaurkishore Babaji and make his samadhi, in spite of the opposition he received from many opponents. I am absolutely certain that Srila Gaurkishore Babaji gave Srila Saraswati Thakur the instruction to chant the Name of Hari constantly. This constitutes proper diksa, according to Srila Sridhar Maharaj, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and others. There is the example of the prostitute lady who received the Nama and attained Prema. Accoring to Srila Krishndas Kaviraj Goswami, the Nama can give the highest benefit. The Mantra Diksa can help a person make progress, but the Nama is the important element in the mantra. Sri Chaitanyadev says: namnam akari bahudha nija sarva-saktis That is, the Name is filled with transcendental potency. The Name can take a person to the highest realization. The name is self-effulgent Sri Sri Radha Krishna. Sukadev Goswami received transcendental knowledge from Vyasa (divya-jnana) but he did not accept any type of diksa. The example is clear in Bhagavatam, and Mahaprabhu has accepted Bhagavatam as proper siddhanta. What is revealed as the path of pure bhakti in Bhagavatam, that revelation was approved of by Mahaprabhu.
  17. Regarding my statement that the Brahma Samhita says there are ten tridents in the form of mantram that are situated in the ten directions. I can only suggest that the reader should themself go through the commentary of verse 5 of Sri Brahma Samhita. My statement was in the context of whether it is of benefit for persons to engage in lila-smaranam while still being filled with mundane mental desires. It is clear from reading this verse of Brahma Samhita that the commentator says persons with wrongful ideas will not be able to approach Goloka, which is non-different from the Nama, and which is protected on different sides by these tridents, in the form of mantras.
  18. Madhava said: <hr> The mantras as we receive them are traced back to the eternal associates of Mahaprabhu. Some of the mantras (Gopala Mantra and Kama Gayatri) do and others (Gaura Gayatri etc.) don't have a history prior to that. We take the mantra as authorized because it was given on the command of Sri Caitanya, Sri Nityananda and Sri Advaita. Sri Caitanya delegated the giving of mantra to these two Prabhus, Nityananda and Advaita, who both have a massive following in the Gaudiya tradition. Additionally Lokanatha, Syamananda and others initiated vast diksa-paramparas which exist unbroken up to the present day. This does not yield support to broken zig-zag paramparas where diksa-mantras appear and disappear in the course of time. <hr> You neglect to consider an important fact. Sri Chaitanyadev himself accepted the Bhagavatam philosophy, and didn't even write any scriptures himself. And in Bhagavatam we read of how Sukadev, the main speaker in Bhagavatam, became connected with the Divine without receiving any of these mantras that have been passed down in Gaudiya Sampradayas for the past five hundred years. Sukadev is an obvious example in Bhagavatam but there are others throughout history. Who was the Guru of Jayadev. Did he get some special initiation so he could get the realizations to write Gita Govinda. New revelations are coming into the world, whenever God sends his messengers. And while you may not accept that Srila Saraswati Thakur was a messenger from God, there are many people who feel he is.
  19. Madhava also said: <hr> <blockquote> I do wish to know whether he received the pancaratrika diksa mantras from Gaura Kisora he later gave to others, for in the Padma Purana it is stated: sampradAya vihIna ye mantras te niSphala mataH -- "A mantra which is not received through the sampradaya will yield no fruit." </blockquote> <hr> Your logic is very faulty. You have rejected my statement where I quoted Srila Sridhar Maharaj: <hr> The holy name of Krsna is so important that even the gayatri mantra may not be necessary. It is said: na ca sat kriya, na dikse na ca purascarya manadilate mantrayam rasana spri hanato sri krsna namatmaka: "One need not undergo all the purificatory processes, or follow the six ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas for pious life; one need not even take initiation into the gayatri mantra. If one simply chants the holy name of Krsna without offense, everything will be successful." The holy name of Krsna is the most important consideration. The gayatri mantra may not even be necessary. <hr> It is a fact that a devotee can attain Krishna Prema if they receive Harinama from a pure Guru and then engage in chanting the Name purely. Mantra initiation may not always necessary. The Name itself can take a devotee to the highest stage of devotional life. <hr> <blockquote> ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam sreyah-kairava-candrika-vitaranamvidya-vadhu-jivanam anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam "The holy name of Krsna cleanses the mirror of the heart and extinguishes the fire of misery in the forest of birth and death. As the evening lotus blooms in the moon's cooling rays, the heart begins to blossom in the nectar of the name. And at last the soul awakens to its real inner treasure — a life of love with Krsna. Again and again tasting nectar, the soul dives and surfaces in the ever-increasing ocean of ecstatic joy. All phases of the self of which we may conceive are fully satisfied and purified, and at last conquered by the all-auspicious influence of the holy name of Krsna." </blockquote> <hr> Sri Krishna Sankirtan, the chanting of the holy name of Hari, can take a soul to the highest stage of attainment. Mantra initiation may not even be necessary to attain this stage. <hr> <blockquote> namnam akari bahudha nija sarva-saktis tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah etadrisi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah O my Lord, Your holy name bestows auspiciousness upon all. And You have unlimited names such as Krsna and Govinda by which You reveal Yourself. In Your many holy names You have kindly invested all Your transcendental potency. And in chanting these names, there are no strict rules concerning time or place. Out of Your cuaseless mercy, You have descended in the form of divine sound, but my great misfortune is that I have no love for Your holy name." </blockquote> <hr> This statement of Mahaprabhu certainly substantiates Srila Sridhar Maharaj's statement that the Name is the principle thing within the Diksa Mantra. The name contains all the transcendental potency of Krishna (sarva-saktis). In the commentary to verse 3 of Sri Brahma Samhita (Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math edition, 1992): <hr><blockquote> The revelation to the conditioned souls of the unmanifest Lila of Goloka - Goloka being the selfsame majestic manifestation of Gokula - is of two types, namely through worship by Mantra (Mantropasanamayi) and by pure sponteneity (Svarasiki). Sri Jiva has explained in his writings that any one of the various locations and associated circumstances of the Divine Pastimes have their constant localized existence, and so may be meditated upon by the appropriate mantra. The meditational revelation of Goloka that arises from the constant localized Mantra meditation upon a location corresponding to a singular Pastime is Mantropasanamayi-lila. But those Pastimes that pervade many localities with manifold Divine Sports and Revelries are full of variegated sponteneity, and thus are Svarasiki; that is, they are revealed to the devotees whose transcendental sponteneity has matured. </blockquote> <hr> Perhaps I might state this again in very simple terms. The Mantra pertains to particular Lilas of Sri Sri Radha Govinda, and it gives the meditator a Divine Image of the Nama, Rupa, Guna and Lila of the Divine Couple. For a genuine practitioner of Mantra Meditation, the Mantra can give an insight into the Divine Lila. A clean hearted devotee in the mood of spontaneous devotion can experience the full insight into the Lila - and this happens due to the Mercy of Sri Sri Radha Govinda. But those persons whose hearts are not pure who engage in "bogus smaranam" will be cut to pieces by the ten spears (trisulas) that point out in ten directions from the Divine Form of the Transcendental Name (see Brahma Samhita, verse 5). In view of this, how do we practice devotional service in a pure way, so we can get the mercy of Sri Sri Radha Govinda? It is Easy. If we worship Sri Gauranga, who is Sri Sri Radha Govinda combined, we will attain their Grace and Mercy. And Sri Gauranga is worshipped by means of sankirtan. He is pleased when we make sankirtan. And Srila Saraswati Thakur has created such a huge sankirtan party. His sankirtan wave has swept across the entire globe. Only an offensive, psuedo-devotee would criticize Srila Saraswati Thakur. Srila Saraswati Thakur dedicated his entire life to preaching the glories of Sri Krishna Sankirtan and his life's work was an amazing achievement.
  20. Madhava said: <hr> <blockquote> At any rate, Haridas did not give diksa to the prostitute. There is no restriction over who can give harinam to others. Indeed, anyone can and should engage others in chanting harinama. </blockquote> <hr> Yes. Precisely. This is exactly what I am saying. The lady attained Krishna Prema, and she had received just the Harinama. Not Mantra diksa.
  21. -- My understanding is that Haridas Thakur that did not receive formal initiation. But even if he was initiated by Sri Advaita Acharya, that initiation would have happend AFTER HARIDAS INITIATED THE PROSTITUTE LADY. -- Raga said: <hr> Do you have any evidence to substantiate this idea? <hr> The following is an extract from the book Sri Krishna Chaitanya, written by Sri Nishikanta Sanyal and published in 1932. Professor Sanyal says, "Haridas must have given up his family and society in some manner that is not definitely known to us". Professor Sanyal does not give the name of Sri Advaita Acharya as the Guru of Haridas Thakur; rather, he says Haridas Thakur was "the recipient of the mercy of a Vaishnava". Madhava may choose to disregard the things in this Gaudiya Math publication written by Sri Nishikanta Sanyal (edited by Srila Sridhar Maharaj). In a similar way, we have been advised not to accept the book Advaita Prakasa as authoratitive shastra since it contains many dubious things. <hr> <blockquote> Thakur Haridas made his appearance in the village of Budhan in the District of Jessore in East Bengal. This has made that part of the country since then a center of the worship of Godhead by means of the Kirtan. Thakur Haridas was born in a Muhammedan family. He comes into the light of our definite narrative under his changed name of Haridas, which means literally ‘the servant of Hari’; Hari being the Name of Godhead in the Scriptures. So Haridas must have given up his family and society in some manner that is not definitely known to us, had been the recipient of the mercy of a Vaishnava and had already made extraordinary progress on the path of pure devotion, although he was in the first flush of youth when he is found living as a recluse in the forest of Benapole in his native District of Jessore. In the depth of the forest he resided in a solitary hut, worshipped the holy Tulasi, chanted daily the Holy Name three lacs (3,00,000) of times night and day and ate food cooked in the homes of Brahmanas, which he obtained by begging. The Hindu Chief, who was in charge of the Local Administration of that part of the country, bore the name of Ramchandra Khan. He was one of the greatest of atheists and a hater of the servants of Vishnu (lit. the One All-pervading Lord). Haridas was treated with great reverence by the people. Ramchandra Khan found this intolerable. He could not rest till he had actually devised a plan for effecting the humiliation of Thakur Haridas. For this purpose he did not hesitate to stoop to be basest of devices. Ramchandra Khan, finding that Haridas was reputed to be absolutely free from all vices, hit upon a plan of creating in him the vice by exposing which he hoped to accomplish his ruin. He summoned to his help the most famous harlots and told them to destroy the chastity of Haridas who was under the vow of continence as an ascetic. One of the harlots, who was young and possessed great beauty, undertook to effect his ruin in course of three days. Ramchandra Khan pressed her to take an armed footman (paik) who was to catch him red-handed and bring both of them for punishment. But the harlot proposed that she should at first go by herself and after being with Haridas once take the paik to capture him on her second visit. That harlot, having put on her best attire, then presented herself at nightfall at the solitary cell of Thakur Haridas. After making her obeisance to the Tulasi she went up to the entrance of the cell and bowing to the Thakur remained there standing. She then sat down at the door-step, exposing her body to the view of Haridas, and made confession of her uncontrollable passion for him praying to be favoured by his intimate society. Thakur Haridas agreed to fulfill her wish after he had finished chanting the due number of the Name, bidding her in the meantime to wait and listen to the Sankirtana of the Name chanted by himself. The harlot on this assurance remained seated there as Haridas went on with his loud chant of the Holy Name til break of day. The harlot came away disappointed when it was morning, and informed Ramchandra Khan that Haridas had promised to enjoy her society and that the promise would be carried out when she met him next night. As the harlot presented herself before Thakur Haridas on the second evening he expressed his request that as on the previous occasion he could not keep his promise to her for the reason that he could not complete the chant of the due number of the Name, he would certainly fulfill her desire after the chanting of the due number of the Name had been completed, and he accordingly bade her wait there and listen to the chanting of the Name. The harlot made obeisance to the Tulasi and the Thakur and sat listening to the chanting of the Holy Name. But she naturally grew restive as the night was drawing to a close. The Thakur, noticing her impatience, told her that he had taken the vow of chanting a crore of the Name in course of the month. He had expected to finish the full number that night but could not do so although he had chanted ‘Him’ the whole night. The number would be certainly completed by the next night and then the vow would be fulfilled and he would be in the position to enjoy her company. The harlot reported accordingly to Ramchandra Khan. On the third evening the harlot duly made her appearance and, after making obeisance to the Tulasi and the Thakur, sat at the entrance of the cell listening to the chanting of the Holy Name, chanting the Same herself, till the close of that night. The mind of the harlot was changed by chanting the Holy Name all night in the company of Thakur Haridas. She now fell prostrate at the Feet of Thakur Haridas and confessed to him everything regarding the plot of Ramchandra Khan. She said she had committed endless sin as she was a harlot by trade. She begged the Thakur to save her, who was so vile, by his mercy. Haridas Thakur replied that he knew everything about the Khan and would have left the place three days ago. He had delayed his departure by three days on her account. The harlot then prayed that he might mercifully instruct her as to how she was to get rid of the miseries of the worldly life. Thakur Haridas then tendered her this advice. ‘Give away everything of your household to the Brahmanas. Come and stay here in this cell. chant constantly the Holy Name. Worship the Tulasi. You will then obtain the Feet of Krishna in no time’. After saying this and instructing her in the Holy Name the Thakur rose up and left the place, chanting the Name of Hari. Then that harlot on obtaining the command of the Guru gave away to the Brahmanas all the wealth that she had. With shaven head and a single piece of cloth for wrapping her body she lived in that cell and took the Holy Name three lakhs of times in course of every night and day. She worshipped the Tulasi, ate uncooked food by chewing, and often fasted. The senses were controlled and love of Godhead manifested itself. She became a famous devotee and a great spiritual teacher; and Vaishnavas of the highest order often came thither to have a sight of her. The people were astonished by this wonderful behaviour of the harlot and bowed with reverence whenever they spoke of the greatness of Haridas. As the above theme is the subject of the highest importance to the present Age, I have tried to keep scrupulously to the words of Sree Kaviraj Goswami in describing this famous event of the life of Thakur Haridas. The chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna imparted by a pure devotee rescued a youthful harlot who had tried to seduce the saint at the instigation of a most profligate atheist. By this process the harlot was not merely rescued from a life of shame but became a devotee of the Lord fit to lift others to the plane of perfect purity. The chanting of the Holy Name can, therefore, reclaim the worst of sinners. The Holy Name has to be heard with reverence from the lips of a pure devotee. The Holy Name has to be received as a Sacrament from a pure devotee by complete submission at his feet. The Holy Name so received has to be constantly chanted by being free from all offense. The Tulasi has to be worshipped. All earthly possessions and all association with worldly people, especially in matters of food, clothing and residence, must be disowned. By this method, in a short time, the highest spiritual state is realizable. That state consists in serving exclusively the Feet of Krishna. This is the special Divine Dispensation for this Age of discord announced by the spiritual Scriptures and promulgated by the Supreme Lord, Sree Krishna-Chaitanya, through His eternal servant, Thakur Haridas. </blockquote> <hr>
  22. There are so many issues that could be discussed, in regard to this whole subject. In order to avoid getting into ground that has marginal significance in regard to the main issue under discussion in this subject, I think it is best if I simply present a few facts that I can immediatly provide references for, and also provide responses to some of responses by Madhava Prabhu and others to what I have already said. Madhava, there are a number of historical and other issues you have raised, maybe you have the right dates, or maybe you are wrong. But the central issue, I believe, is the one I will deal with now. Other issues can be discussed at another time, or brought up later in this thread if you like, but the central issue it seems to me is what "initiation" is, or what the word "initiation" means. In regard to the "Guru Parampara of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami", I will first of all present the direct quotes of Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj, from whom I received Harinama and Gayatri Diksa. In Sri Guru and His Grace, Chapter Nine, Srila Sridhar Maharaj says: <blockquote> <hr> "Jiva Goswami has written that the name of Krsna is the principle thing in the gayatri mantra. Within the mantra, there are also so many other words, but the name is the most important. If the name of Krsna is taken away, and replaced with some other name, the whole thing will be rotten. This is the decision of Jiva Goswami. The holy name of Krsna is all in all. The holy name of Krsna is there in the gayatri mantra, and so many other words are couched there. But if Krsna's name is taken away and replaced with the name of Siva, then the whole thing will go to Siva. The holy name is the all-important factor. The holy name of Krsna is so important that even the gayatri mantra may not be necessary. It is said: na ca sat kriya, na dikse na ca purascarya manadilate mantrayam rasana spri hanato sri krsna namatmaka: "One need not undergo all the purificatory processes, or follow the six ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas for pious life; one need not even take initiation into the gayatri mantra. If one simply chants the holy name of Krsna without offense, everything will be successful." The holy name of Krsna is the most important consideration. The gayatri mantra may not even be necessary. We accept the mantra only to help the nama-bhajana, the worship of the holy name. Otherwise, it may not be necessary at all. It has been judged in such a way. The name alone can do everything for a person. It is full and complete. The mantra helps us to do away with the aparadhas, offenses, and the abhasa, or hazy conceptions in our bhajana. The mantra comes to help us only so far. An example is given of larger and smaller circles. The holy name of Krsna is the larger circle. It extends from the highest to the lowest. The mantra circle is a smaller circle within the larger circle. The mantra cannot reach to the lowest point. The holy name can extend itself down to the lowest position. The mantra gives us entrance into liberation, and then the name carries us further. This is the nature of our connection with the mantra and the name." <hr> </blockquote> Further to this, I suggest devotees read again the entire chapter of Chaitanya Charitamrta, Antya-lila Chapter 3, where Srila Haridas Thakur describes the glory of the Holy Name of Sri Krishna. There is one part of that chapter I would especially like to draw attention to, that is, the section where describing how Srila Haridas Thakur changed the prostitute lady into a great devotee. When she became a surrendered soul and gave up her prostitution mentality, Haridas Thakur instructed her <blockquote> nirantara nama lao, kara tulasi sevana acirat pabe tabe krsnera carana (chant Hari Nama constantly, worship Tulasi, and soon you will attain the lotus feet of Krishna) - verse 137 </blockquote> The Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami says <blockquote> tulasi sevana kare, carvana, upavasa, indriya-damana haila, premera prakasa (She worshipped Tulasi, she fasted and ate very little. She controlled her senses and began to exhibit symptoms of Krishna Prema) <blockquote> To quote Srila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhpada's translation, <blockquote> "Thus the prostitute became a celebrated devotee. She became very advanced in spiritual life, and many stalwart Vaishnavas would come to see her" </blockquote> The point is, that this lady developed Krishna Prema after receiving Harinama from Srila Haridas Thakur. According to Chaitanya Charitamrta, these events happened in Benopala in Bangladesh when Srila Haridas Thakur was a young man. These events happened before Srila Haridas Thakur went to live near Shantipura, where he met Sri Advaita Acharya and the other devotees in that region. Now, according to Madhava (Raga), <hr> <blockquote> ...the Prema-vilasa (chapter 24) declares: advaita prabhur pade loila sarana tar thai bhakti sastre koilo adhyayana advaitera sthane tinho hoila diksiti tin lakho harinama jape diva rati lakho harinama mane lakho kane sune lakho nama ucca kori kore sankirtane' “Haridasa took shelter of Advaita Prabhu’s lotus feet and studied the bhakti sastras under Him. He became initiated by Advaita (diksita) and was chanting three lakhs of harinama day and night. One lakh was in the mind, one softly and one loudly.” Moreover, the Advaita Prakasa describes: “After instructing Haridasa in this way, Advaita had him shave his head and decorate his body with tilaka and tulasi beads. Advaita had Haridasa dress in kaupina and outer cloth, and then He initiated him in chanting the holy names. Haridasa then began chanting the holy names in a cave on the bank of Ganges. As he became intoxicated with love of God, he became known as the crest jewel amongst the Vaisnavas. Coming to his external consciousness, Haridasa offered his obeisances to Advaita, who blessed him by saying, ‘May you attain Krishna. Your name is Brahma Haridasa.’” In the reference from Advaita Prakasa, there is no mention of diksa, but nevertheless the giving of sampradayika-tilaka and kanthi-mala – items associated with the ceremony of diksa in the Hari Bhakti Vilasa – are present. nama dila prabhu shakti sancariya – giving the Name to him, Advaita Prabhu empowered him. </blockquote> <hr> My understanding is that Haridas Thakur that did not receive formal initiation. But even if he was initiated by Sri Advaita Acharya, that initiation would have happend AFTER HARIDAS INITIATED THE PROSTITUTE LADY. The Harinama initiation given by Srila Haridas Thakur is described in CC by Kaviraj Goswami, and Kaviraj Goswami goes so far as to say that the lady attained Krishna Prema. The point I wish to make is this: Whether a devotee receives formal initiation with mantra (klim krishnaya govindaya gopijanaballabhaya swaha), etc..., or whether they receive simply the name of Hari from Sri Guru, (Hare Krishna, or whatever), the real and substantial thing that must be communicated from Guru to disciple is the transcendental sound, or to take it one step further, the Divine Grace of Sri Guru. If Sri Guru accepts a disciple, that is ALL IN ALL. Look in the Bhagavatam for all the examples of Guru / disciple relationship that have been explained in this way. There are so many examples. <hr> <blockquote> And Bhagavatam even states: 1.2.3 Let me offer obeisances to Sukadev Goswami who went away from home and accepted the renounced order of life, even without undergoing the initiation ceremony from Vyasa, his father. Vyasadev, feeling separation cried out, "Oh my son!", but only the trees responded to him with the echo of the voice of Sukadev's aggrieved father." </blockquote> <hr> Now having said this, let me say that in regard to Srila Saraswati Thakur's initiation from Srila Gaurkishore Das Babaji Maharaj, it is just a waste of time arguing about exactly what was said at the time Srila Gaurkishore Das Babaji Maharaj accepted Srila Saraswati Thakur. The substantial thing at the time of Diksa is that the Guru gives the disciple His Divine Grace. The name of Hari will be spoken to the disciple, certainly, since the divine master is always chanting the Name and glorifying the Name. But the exact nature of the ritual of initiation may vary from time to time, and from place to place. There is no doubt that Srila Kaviraj Goswami accepted Haridas Thakur's initiation of the prostitute lady as a genuine initiation. Certainly Mahaprabhu himself also accepted that Haridas Thakur was able to give the Suddha-nama to others. Indeed, in CC Antya-lila Chapter 3, Mahaprabhu begins by asking Srila Haridas Thakur how the "yavanas" can be delivered: <hr> <blockquote> Mahaprabhu says: How will these yavanas be delivered? To my great unhappiness, I do not see any way. </blockquote> <hr> Srila Haridas Thakura gives the method for deliverance of (us) yavanas. We western born persons. His answer is loud sankirtan. Now in recent times some persons have started promoting the view that everyone should aspire to attain raganuga-bhajan. People can say this, but in our Chaitanya Saraswat Math we have a different idea. <hr> <blockquote> Srila Sridhar Dev Goswami Maharaj: Nirjjana-bhajan or smarana, exclusive solitary Devotion unconscious of the environment, is not at all possible for the beginners. Guru Maharaj (Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami) clearly said that when we are in a lower position, smarana is injurious. Rather, we should take to kirttana. Kirttana prabhave, smarane haibe, se kale bhajana nirjjana sambhava. The Sahajiya school (imitationists) are more fond of smarana than kirttana. They are "followers of smarana." They lead a secluded life, and mentally go on identifying themselves with a particular sakhi of their own age, her duty, her place of attendance in a particular place of Vrndavana, in a particular lila, under the guidance of a particular sakhi, and so on. They are required to go on meditating on all these things by their so-called guru. That is the process amongst the Sahajiya school, but we do not admit that. We consider it false and imaginary. They are not fit to enter that plane of Radha-Govinda lila. They do not have real sambandha-jnana, knowledge of what is what. They only go on with the habitual repetition of a particular mental speculation, but anartha-nivrtti (purging of all evils) or any other process based on it cannot be effected. Their imaginary achievement is sheer concoction. They are not aware of the facts - the ontological gradation from Viraja to Brahmaloka, Vaikuntha and Goloka. They are pukura-curiwale "pond thieves". To think that one can steal a pond is self-deception. We think that kind of "smarana" to be something like self-deception. One must gradually reach the plane of truth - suddha-sattva. There are so many planes, so many planets to cross over - Bhur, Bhuvah, Svah, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satyaloka, Viraja, Brahmaloka. Mahaprabhu says that the creeper of Bhakti grows and rises up to Goloka, and she has to cross all these planes. upaniya bade lata 'brahmanda' bhedi' yaya 'viraja', 'brahmaloka', bhedi 'paravyoma' paya tabe yaya tad upari 'goloka-vrndavana' 'krsna-carana' - kalpavrkse kare arohana (Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 19.153.4) "The creeper of Devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Viraja river of passivity (the "Causal Ocean") and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuntha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vrndavana, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yeilding tree of Krishna's Lotus Feet." But the psuedo-devotees do not care to know what is Paravyoma, what is Brahmaloka, what is Viraja, what is the Brahmanda. Without caring to know about these things, they approach any guru, receive some mantram, and go on meditating. But in such a stage, if one goes on meditating on Radha-Govinda lila, instead of entering Radha-Govinda lila, he will rather entangle himself with the ladies and gents of this world. He will become entangled in the domain of lust and he will have to go to hell instead of going up to Goloka. Carmma-mamsamaya - kama, prema - cidananda-dhama. The carnal appetite is lust, whereas Love is the abode of Divine Ecstasy. So imitation is not success. Rather, it degrades. Imitation degrades. Imagination is only a mental exercise. Devotee: What if that mental exercise is done with faith? Srila Sridhar Dev Goswami Maharaj: Mind is separate from the soul. Sraddha, faith, is connected with the soul, atma, and mind is matter. Mind is a part the of material potency - Maya. This is clarified in Gita: bhumir apo 'nalo vayur kham mano buddhir eva ca ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakrtir astadha (Bg. 7.4) Mind is a product of the material potency, and the jiva is a product of parasakti, the principal potency. The Svarupa-sakti, the Lord's Personal Potency, is a further higher potency, higher than the jiva. The nature of the mind is mental speculation (manodharmma). That speculative thought has nothing to do with truth. The experiences of the mind are all drawn from the material world, the world of misconception. The mind is full of misconception (avan-manaso gocarah). Mind cannot reach the stage of feeling or perceiving truth proper. It is only related to mundane things and selfish exploitation. </blockquote> <hr> I don't intend to offend anyone by presenting this strong statement. But my Guru Maharaj was very firm in saying that the "lila smarana" of beginners is only a mental exercise. The real duty of all followers of Mahaprabhu is to promote Nama-sankirtana, and by that service of promoting Nama-sankirtan then surely we will get the grace of Mahaprabhu, who is Radha Govinda combined. Attaining His Grace, we may find our swarup siddhi. But to try and imagine oneself as an associate within the group of the manjaris, this idea, according to my Guru Maharaj, is a terrible sort of vanity. And even if someone has been doing this smarana for 50 years at Radha Kunda, he may still be simply engaging in imaginary smarana. Muralidhar
  23. The eyes, ears and other senses experience sensations when they are stimulated by external objects such as light, sound, warmth, etc. When I studied psychology at University, we were taught that the eyes process the information the eyes have received. The eyes then send messages on to the brain. That is, the eyes create patterns of information (gestalts) that they send to the brain. The other senses may not do any of this pre-processing ... I'm not sure. Anyhow, the brain receives information from the senses and it makes meaningful patterns (gestalts) out of this information. For instance, a brinjal (eggfruit) emits blue and red lightwaves. Blue and red lightwaves are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but the brain somehow forms a perception of the colour purple which it assigns to the pattern of information it is observing. This seems a little difficult to explain in a few words, but briefly what happens is that we have a perception of a purple brinjal and this perception we experience is something that exists only in our mind. Purple only exists in the mind, as there is no such thing as the colour of purple in nature. That is, we experince perceptions of the world, as this example shows, and we do not directly experience soundwaves, lightwaves, etc. All we ever experience, as thinking beings, is the perceptions we are presented by our brain. We live inside our heads (and hearts). We all think that we possess a physical body within space and time, and this is certainly a fact - we do exist within space and time. But the perceptions I have of "the world" are simply my perception of the world. A person who is colourblind may have a quite different perception of the world from someone who is not colorblind; what to speak of the differences of perception between a man and an eagle, which has exceptional eyesight, or a whale, which has totally different perceptions of its surroundings. According to the Sankhya philosophy (in Bhagavatam and other scriptures), the mind inhabits a body and depending upon the particular type of body the mind has, he will have a particular collection of senses and physical characteristics. However the mind itself is different from the body. The awareness of the mind continues to exist, even if the mind is forgetful of the body, as in dreams when we feel we are doing things such as flying in the sky, which we cannot do in a human body. Therefore, when the body dies the mind and perceptions continue to exist, with little change; and as a result of this we get born again and again, just like people who have recurring dreams. The soul is consciousness, chit, and as such the soul in material existence tends to focus on the shadowy world of nature (chit-abhasa) which we attach ourselves to. This is more or less how memory works. Every one of us has our own personal tastes, personal feelings, personal desires, etc.. and these hazy feelings within our consciousness are reflecting on the physical brain. (By the way, the brain does not work like a computer, as the brain is wet and the brain functions in a very differently from any present day computers). Anyhow, the life energy (prana) tends to circle in different centres of the brain according to your feelings and desires. Your thoughts are different from mine, and your hormones/emotions/brain-activity are vastly different from mine. It is a fact that with Alzheimers and other diseases the activity of the brain is impaired and a sufferer will lose particular sorts of memory. The memories relate to the present body of the individual, but the "mood" or consciousness of the individual continues to exist, even if the person forgets or becomes detached from their childhood memories. If you are interested in Sankhya as taught in Bhagavatam, take a look at http://www.mandala.com.au/subjective_evolution.htm Murali
  24. Sorry but last night I was unable to type the quotes you asked for. Raga said: some Gaudiya lineages do not accept the views of Bhaktivinoda in this regard. Therefore I am looking for older references. People who do not appreciate Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's insights are very unfortunate. Raga said: Indeed, this universe is not beginningless, but the cycle of creation and destruction is beginningless. The soul is different from matter and can exist totally independent of matter. Raga said: . In other words, there has never been a time when the jiva was not under the bonds of karma. How then do you reconcile the statement below from the Chandogya Upanishad: This is the teaching of Uddalaka to Shvetaketu... In the beginning was only Being, One without a second. Out of himself he brought forth the cosmos And entered into everything in it. There is nothing that does not come from him. Of everything he is the inmost Self. He is the truth; he is the Self supreme. You are of that, Shvetaketu; you are of that. (tat tvam asi) and When a person is absorbed in dreamless sleep He is one with the Self, though he knows it not. We say he sleeps, but he sleeps in the Self. -- Note, in the Gaudiya Math devotee's handbook (Gaudiya Kanthahara) it is said that the words "tat tvam asi" are to be understood as meaning "thou art of that" and not, as the Advaitins say, "thou art that".
  25. Thanks JNDas Prabhu, I was quite surprised to see a thread posted in my name when I hadn't created it!!! ys, Murali
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