Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest guest

Battlefield Fancy by Danavir Goswami

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Guest guest

Battlefield Fancy

From Danavir Goswami

Posted October 10, 2003


All glories to

Srila Prabhupada!


vande 'ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-.-kamalam

sri-gurun vaisnavams ca

sri-rupam sagrajatam saha-gana-

raghunathanvitam tam sa-jivam

sadvaitam savadhutam parijana-sahitam


sri-radha-krsna-padan saha-gana-lalita-

sri-visakhanvitams ca


I am concerned about a new translation and commentary of the Bhagavad-gita advertised via email and the internet. Note this version is not produced in ISKCON or by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. The promotional materials tell of the new Gita's "charming" attempt to interpret Krsna and Arjuna's dialogue prior to the battle of Kuruksetra in terms of "Vraja bhakti." Please pardon me for not explicitly identifying the author and the title of this new book, as I prefer to address the philosophy that they espouse.


Written subsequent to His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the new Vraja version dispenses with His Divine Grace's translations, word meanings, and purports. For example, in chapter 10 verse 9, Lord Krsna uses the word ramanti meaning, according to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, "enjoy transcendental bliss" but in the Vraja translation ramanti means "conjugal love." Within the Vraja Gita commentary, there seems to be an underlying implication that Srila Prabhupada did not reveal everything that Krsna wanted to say in the As It Is version of the Bhagavad-gita.


The Vraja version claims itself to be within the Gaudiya line, yet there are significant reasons to doubt its authenticity. Thus, this paper discusses what I perceive, to be eight major transgressions of Vaisnavism present in the Vraja edition. We humbly submit our thoughts to the community of Krsna devotees.


1. Gita Opportunism


If there was one thing that displeased Srila Prabhupada no end, it was when ambitious, unqualified persons wrote Bhagavad-gita translations and commentaries as a cover for promoting their own philosophies. "Write your own book," he charged.


Who are you? If you have got any opinion, then you write your own book. Why do you touch Bhagavad-gita? Because Bhagavad-gita is very well-known book all over the world, these rascals take advantage of Bhagavad-gita and interpret it in their own way. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.19— Bombay, April 8, 1974)


His Divine Grace told how when he was in America in 1966, an American woman asked him to recommend an English edition of Bhagavad-gita so she could read it. Although he estimated the number of such unauthorized commentaries to exceed 600, he could not recommend any one of them on account of their whimsical explanation. The woman's question however gave him further impetus to write Bhagavad-gita As It Is, which was meant to silence all so-called scholars and swamis who misused the great Song of God by interpreting it in their own way.


If someone interprets Bhagavad-gita according to his own imagination, that is not Bhagavad-gita. The meaning must not be changed to suit the commentator's whim. If he differs from the standard Vaisnava conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita, he should write his own book and give his own thesis.


Why you are, I mean to say, killing others and yourself by interpreting Bhagavad-gita? You give your own thesis in a different way. But these people, they take advantage of the popularity of Bhagavad-gita and interpret in a different way according to their own whims. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 7.1 — Hyderabad, April 27, 1974)


The present new version interpreting the Gita in terms of Vraja Bhakti does indeed take advantage of Bhagavad-gita's popularity to present its opinion. His Divine grace explains that personal realization does not mean that one should, out of vanity, attempt to show one's own learning by trying to surpass the previous acarya. He must have full confidence in the previous acarya, and at the same time he must realize the subject matter so nicely that he can present the matter for the particular circumstances in a suitable manner. The original purpose of the text must be maintained. No obscure meaning should be screwed out of it.


Although no obscure meanings should be screwed out of it, Gandhi used Bhagavad-gita to preach non-violence. Dr. Radhakrishna used it to advocate Mayavada philosophy. A physician theorized that Krishna was a doctor and Arjuna a patient. Another interpreted that the five Pandavas actually meant the five senses and Kuruksetra meant the body. This Vraja version promotes raganuga bhakti for beginners, if you will. "Write your own book," means do not attach your philosophy to the Bhagavad-gita as a commentary. Give your own theory in a separate book.


Everyone is taking advantage of Bhagavad-gita and he's preaching in his own way, foolish way. "Own way" means foolish way. This is going on. (Conversation with Indian Guests — April 12, 1975, Hyderabad)


Srila Prabhupada compared using Bhagavad-gita for preaching one's own philosophy to smoking ganja through another man's hand to avoid the discoloration and bad smell adhering to one's own hand. At least if someone wants to do some activity, he should take the responsibility himself and not attribute it to another. In this case, Krsna's Bhagavad-gita is specifically meant to explain the basic science of bhakti and its value is not enhanced by contorting the verses with imagined interpretations from Vraja-lila. Although shallow preoccupation with gopi bhava appears to be the qualification of the Vraja-imagined Gita commentary, Sri Krsna's song becomes appropriated as a non-consenting accomplice.


The Vraja Gita interpretation falls into the same trap as previous opportunistic attempts, which also could not resist capitalizing on the popularity of the Gita. As concealing one's purloiner appearance with the dress of a policeman does not spare the mischief, neither does using Gaudiya Vaisnava appellations conceal one's clandestine mischief.


If you take Bhagavad-gita, then you must present it as it is. Don't distort it. You may have got some idea, but you explain that idea in your different book. But don't place it as the explanation of Bhagavad-gita. That is not very good. If you have got different theory, you can write in a different book. But we cannot permit or do not like that as the commentary of Bhagavad-gita you will place something different. That is not very honest. You put your own theory. Why should you try to put your theory through Bhagavad-gita? That we protest. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita As It Is. (Room Conversation with Yoga Student — March 14, 1975, Iran)


Since the Gaudiya commentary has already been presented in the form of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, what need is there for another?


Since there is a great need of an edition of the Gita in English, as it is received by the parampara (disciplic succession) system, an attempt is made herewith to fulfill this great want. Bhagavad-gita—accepted as it is—is a great boon to humanity. (Bhagavad-gita 4.2 Purport)


2. Maryada-Vyatikrama (Impertinent Over-Stepping)


In Sanskrit, maryada-vyatikrama means impertinently attempting to surpass a greater personality. The new Vraja Gita version seeks to surpass the exalted acaryas of the disciplic succession by declaring its new imaginative Vraja-bhakti interpretation of Bhagavad-gita to be deeper and higher than the accepted understanding. Although in particular, Srila Prabhupada and his Bhagavad-gita As It Is are slighted, the Vraja interpretation also oversteps all the previous acaryas who never ventured into describing Bhagavad-gita in terms of Vraja bhakti.


So we must follow the principle. The Subodhini-tika was made by Vallabhacarya, but because he presented himself more than Sridhara Swami to Caitanya Mahaprabhu... He requested Caitanya Mahaprabhu to read his comment on Srimad-Bhagavatam when He was at Puri. But he was little proud of his nice commentary, that he said "It is better than Sridhara Swami." So that was not tolerated by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and He did not hear that Subodhini-tika. He remarked, svami jiva nahi mane (indistinct). So this is not the way. We cannot approach Krsna directly. We must go through the parampara system, vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva gopalakau . (The Nectar of Devotion — Bombay, January 8, 1973)


The historical example given above is sadly appropriate because the author of Subodhini-tika wished to supersede authorized previous acaryas. His commentary was rejected however, by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and not allowed in Gaudiya Vaisnava circles. A writer should never feel himself qualified to go beyond the realization of his predecessors.


Although one may be well versed in the transcendental science, one should be careful about the offense of or impertinently surpassing a greater personality. According to scriptural injunction one should be very careful of transgressing the law of maryada-vyatikrama because by so doing one loses his duration of life, his opulence, fame and piety and the blessings of all the world. To be well versed in the transcendental science necessitates awareness of the techniques of spiritual science. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.4.26 Purport)


The Vraja version announces that besides the general meaning of the Gita's verses (supposedly for rank sadhakas), the verses also have "an esoteric meaning relative to Krsna's devotees of Vraja and the gopis in particular." Oddly enough we do not hear of this realization anywhere within the teachings of Sri Krsna, Srila Vyasadeva, Srila Sukadeva Goswami, Srila Madhvacarya, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, or Srila Rupa Goswami. Surely, such elevated personalities would not deprive their followers of the Gita's so-called higher Vraja bhakti truth. Perhaps most importantly, ISKCON devotees consider that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada condemned such attempts.


When one who does not understand the Bhagavad-gita writes a commentary on it, he is cheating the innocent public. Someone has a title as a scholar, so he takes advantage of the popularity of the Bhagavad-gita and writes a commentary. (The Way of Knowing God)


That Vraja bhakti is the highest attainment in spiritual life is not disputed. Surely the gopis's love for Krsna is unparalleled as stated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: ramya kacid upasana vrajavadhu-vargena ya kalpita—there is no better form of worship than was conceived by the damsels of Vraja. The issue of contest is whether the Bhagavad-gita is to be interpreted in terms of Vraja bhakti or not. The characteristic of maryada-vyatikrama or impertinent one-upmanship is especially prominent in the Vraja Gita's word meanings, translations, and commentary. By overestimating one’s own importance and not recognizing the unparalleled importance of empowered Vaisnava acaryas, one becomes offensive.


3. Sahajiya


There is a class of pseudo-devotees called sahajiyas who take devotional service very cheaply. They imagine themselves to be elevated Vaisnavas but they are actually immature devotees.


The prakrta-sahajiya depict themselves as the most advanced, transcendentally blissful devotees, deeply absorbed in devotional service and mad to taste transcendental mellows. They also describe themselves as the most advanced devotees in spontaneous love, as knowers of transcendental mellows, as the topmost devotees in conjugal love of Krsna, and so on. Not actually knowing the transcendental nature of love of God, they accept their material emotions to be indicative of advancement. In this way they pollute the process of devotional service. To try to become writers of Vaisnava literature, they introduce their material conceptions of life into pure devotional service. Because of their material conceptions, they advertise themselves as knowers of transcendental mellows, but they do not understand the transcendental nature of devotional service. (Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya 20.29 Purport)


The above statement summarizes the sahajiya mentality. On the surface, the Vraja Gita aligns itself with Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita As It Is even as it coyly offers the imagined higher transcendental mellows.


If you accept the principles of Bhagavad-gita, that is the preliminary study, A-B-C-D of dharma, and if you accept this principle, that to surrender to Krsna, saranam saranyam...(Lecture on Srimad- 3.25.11 - Bombay, November 11, 1974)


It is not required or desired to apologize for Krishna's philosophy of bhakti presented in the Gita. Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study of spiritual life and to endeavor to remake it into a discussion about the gopis of Vrndavana is the work of sahajiyas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that when our men, meaning the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, become sahajiyas, "Oh, they'll be more dangerous." Consider the following statement from Srila Prabhupada:


Therefore the sahajiyas, they do not read Bhagavad-gita. They say, "We have nothing to do with Bhagavad-gita." They jump over to the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Krsna's rasa-lila, as if Krsna is connected with rasa-lila and not with this lila. They make distinction. (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 1.4 — London, July 10, 1973)


At first glance, it may appear that this statement describing sahajiyas does not apply to the present Vraja Gita interpretation since it indeed deals with Bhagavad-gita. However, if we look more closely we find the sahajiya mentality is fully present because the Vraja edition does not accept the Bhagavad-gita as it actually is but rather jumps right to the Tenth Canto's rasa-lila exactly as Prabhupada described. While covertly claiming to accept Bhagavad-gita, the Vraja interpretation deceptively rejects the true Bhagavad-gita and replaces it with a concocted interpretation of rasa-lila.


Here in Los Angeles, we have found that there is a group of about 40 devotees who privately meet to discuss the intimate pastimes artificially thinking that they can enter into the understanding of the gopis prematurely. This will create havoc in our society, and the result will be that if this is allowed to go on, our preaching work will be greatly hampered. This premature desire to understand the lila of Krishna is due to mundane sex-life desire as we have seen amongst many of the babajis and sahajiyas in Vrindaban. (Letter to: Nitai — Los Angeles 7 June, 1976)


Sahajiyaism should not be allowed to prosper in ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada vigilantly protected his society from its influence during his presence and he scrupulously trained us to recognize sahajiya when it appears and how to reject it. The primary symptom of sahajiyas is that they deprecate Krsna's activities outside of Vrndavana, not understanding that all of the Lord's activities are on a transcendentally equal platform. By refusing to allow Bhagavad-gita As It Is to stand as the accurate portrayal for all time, the Vraja interpretation reveals its sahajiya motives.


So sometimes a class of devotees known as sahajiya, they say that "What we have got to do with the narration of Kuruksetra battle?" They immediately jump to the krsna-lila, directly with the gopis. And Krsna's activities in other field, they think it is useless. But that is not the fact. Anywhere Krsna is acting, that is transcendental—the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, historical references, description, so superficially it appears that what a devotee has got to do with this battlefield? But battlefield or no battlefield, wherever there is Krsna, that is transcendental. This has to be understood. Otherwise, Sukadeva Gosvami, why he should indulge in describing how Uttara's pregnancy was saved by Krsna, how the brahmastra was thrown by Asvatthama? So Sukadeva Gosvami is liberated person. Why he should indulge in these material things? No. Those who are advanced, they know that Krsna's dancing with the gopis, that lila and Krsna's playing as the leader of the battlefield of Kuruksetra is the same. It is all transcendental. One should not make any distinction between the two. Samstham ca pandu-putranam vaksye krsna-kathodayam. Pandu-putranam, the pandu-putras, or the Pandavas, son of Pandu, they're all devotees. Even their political affairs, because there is connection with Krsna, it is krsna-katha. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.12 — Vrndavana, September 11, 1976)


The new Vraja Gita edition may be among the most dangerous attempts of sahajiyasism to date because it uses the authoritative and famous Vedic literature, Bhagavad-gita, to substantiate its unauthorized, notorious misconceptions.


Prabhupada: These sahajiyas will come out of so many devotees. What can be done? From my Guru Maharaja's disciples, so many sahajiyas came. These are called sahajiyas. (Room Conversation — January 28, 1977, Bhubaneshwar)


We know of one sahajiya gentleman who said that when a real devotee of Krsna hears a discussion about Krsna's pastimes not performed in Vrndavana, the real devotee politely leaves the room. According to Srila Prabhupada the contrary is true, i.e. Vaisnavas relish Krsna's bellicose activities as much as His rasa-lila dancing.


Therefore those who are sahajiyas, they simply go to the pastimes of Lord Krsna with the gopis. Other things, "Oh, no, no. That is not Krsna's pastimes. That is not Krsna's pastimes." That is, they differentiate the absolute activities of the Absolute. That is called sahajiya. The sahajiyas will never read Bhagavad-gita, will never read. (sarcastic:) Because they have been elevated to the mellows of conjugal love. Therefore they have no interest in Bhagavad-gita. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.20-23 — Gorakhpur, February 14, 1971)


In one ironical sense, we must be grateful that the sahajiya affront has appeared in such a noticeable fashion through the new Vraja-fancy Gita. Let us observe carefully that the new edition fulfills the sahajiya characteristic of "never reading Bhagavad-gita" by attempting to change the entire mood to Vrndavana pastimes. The Vraja edition does not hear Bhagavad-gita due to the loudness of its own mental volume.


So it is not that like sahajiyas that we are interested in Krsna's rasa dance, not with this fighting in the Battlefields of Kuruksetra. This is sahajiya-bhava. This is not wanted. ( Bhagavad-gita 1.4 — London, July 10, 1973)


The sahajiyas simply create disturbances within the realm of pure devotional service because their understanding of Vraja-lila is contaminated. Sahajiyas cannot be equal to advanced devotees (paramahamsas). Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has warned not to mix with the professional so-called Vaisnavas known as sahajiyas. Their words describing Krsna-katha are compared to the poison emitted by serpents when they drink milk. One who drinks such so-called Krsna-katha becomes poisoned and loses his life of pure devotional service. Aside from this, the discussion of rasa lila and the intimate dealings between the Lord and the Vrndavana vasis is not to be publicly discussed. This has been taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Prabhupada cautions us not to accept a cheap guru.


Don't try to understand Radha-Krsna very quickly. It is a very big subject. If we want to understand Radha-Krsna very quickly, then there will be so many prakrta-sahajiyas. In India there are prakrta-sahajiya. Just like Radha-Krsna dancing. Radha-Krsna has become a plaything. The painting Radha-Krsna, Krsna is kissing Radha, Radha is kissing. These are all nonsense. Radha-Krsna philosophy has to be understood by the liberated person, not by the conditioned soul. So we shall await for the fortunate moment when we are liberated, then we shall understand radha-krsna-pranaya-vikrtir. (Radhastami Srimati Radharani's Appearance Day — Montreal, August 30, 1968)


The Vraja version of Gita invents what Krsna is thinking and transmits this as if it were higher, esoteric realizations. It may be appropriate to make some references to the exalted position of the residents of Vrndavana in studying Bhagavad-gita verses, however to fantasize the entire Bhagavad-gita as a treatise on Vraja bhakti is invalid.


4. Tenth Canto Opportunism


The Bhagavad-gita presents the summary of primary Vedic philosophical wisdom. That is its glory and there are no indications from Lord Krsna that He intended it to be otherwise. Srila Prabhupada and the Vaisnava acaryas have all explained this principle in their teachings.


Bhagavad-gita is also part of the Mahabharata, and it is full of the Lord's instruction for the less intelligent class of men. Some less intelligent men say that Bhagavad-gita is not meant for householders, but such foolish men forget that Bhagavad-gita was explained to Arjuna, a grhastha (family man), and spoken by the Lord in His role as a grhastha. So Bhagavad-gita, although containing the high philosophy of the Vedic wisdom, is for the beginners in the transcendental science, and Srimad-Bhagavatam is for graduates and postgraduates in the transcendental science. (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.14 Purport)


In addition to exploiting the popularity of Bhagavad-gita, the new Vraja version of the Gita also takes unfair advantage of the Srimad Bhagavatam's most sacred Tenth Canto rasa lila pastimes of Krsna and the gopis. The Gita edition under discussion cleverly employs both Lord Krishna's words and His confidential rasa-lila activities for its own objectives.


The First Canto or Second Canto of Bhagavad-gita are the two lotus feet of Krsna. So from the very beginning we should hear Srimad-Bhagavatam. Gradually, we shall come to the face. That is real understanding of Krsna. And without understanding of the other nine cantos of Bhagavad-gita, er, Srimad-Bhagavatam, if we simply jump over the Tenth Canto, and especially to the Thirty-fifth Chapter, the five chapters, Rasa-pancadhyaya, this is not very favorable. Of course, it is favorable. Krsna's lila, you hear any way, this way or that way... But if we misunderstand Krsna, then there is fall down. That is instructed by Sri..., Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, that don't try to understand Krsna's lila all of a sudden without understanding Krsna. Tattvatah. So regulative principle—to serve, as it is stated in the sastras or as it is enjoined by the spiritual master. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.30 — Vrndavana, August 11, 1974)


Today, it is still quite common for professional Bhagavata reciters to earn their livelihood by skipping the first nine cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam and jumping to the most confidential topics of Srimad Bhagavatam's Tenth Canto. If it is incorrect for Bhagavata reciters to jump up from the First Canto to the Tenth Canto, then how much more improper it is to jump from the Bhagavad-gita up to the Tenth Canto! Consider the following mock debate between Srila Prabhupada and some of his disciples:


Prabhupada: You say that. In the sastra does not say. Sastra says that after you have studied all the nine cantos of Bhagavatam, then enter into the tenth. Sahajiya means they take very easily. "I am.... Everything is all right. Now I am perfect." That is sahajiya. Krsna says, "To understand Me, it will take millions of years." And they understand Krsna immediately. That is their.... That is called prakrta-sahajiya.


Ramesvara: Krsna's incarnation is to attract the living entities to Krsna. So let me read about rasa-lila, because I'm feeling some attraction.


Prabhupada: Then why not Kuruksetra-lila? What...? Kuruksetra-lila... Krsna's lila is the same, absolute. You are attracted to rasa-lila means you have got sex desire. That's all.


Ramesvara: I may still have sex desire, but this will purify me.


Prabhupada: No, no, no. This will purify. You are not purified.


Tamala Krsna: Putrefied.


Prabhupada: That is.... The, this rasa-lila is for the person who is completely purified. When one is impure, he should not think of. That is stated in the Bhagavatam. ( Morning Walk — June 7, 1976, Los Angeles)


5. Infidelity


The Vraja version claims that Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have interpreted the Gita in terms of Vraja bhakti. If this is correct and truly one or several Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have, as advertised in the Vraja Gita, actually provided entire commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, then let that work be presented in its entirety.


However, the readers of the Gita caricature are not given a Gaudiya acarya's Bhagavad-gita expounding Vraja Bhakti but rather a present-day estimation of what such a book might look like. A modern-day Vraja interpretation of the Bhagavad-gita, composed with all the frailties of Kali-yuga, is a long way from a Gaudiya acarya commentary. The Vraja Gita commentary forms a peculiar picture from pieced-together misinterpretations of fragmented out-of-context comments. Although beguiling, the Vraja edition fails to present a Gaudiya acarya translation and commentary for a reason conspicuous by its absence: none exists.


We learn from Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.25:



trayi na sruti-gocara

karma-sreyasi mudhanam

sreya evam bhaved iha

iti bharatam akhyanam

krpaya munina krtam


Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahabharata for women, laborers and friends of the twice-born.


The Bhagavad-gita found within the Mahabharata, is compiled for beginners on the spiritual path. But the Vraja Gita commentary asserts that, "the devotees of the Krsna of Vraja perceive him, the dhira-lalita of Radha, in the princely Krsna's words." Understanding Radha and Krsna pastimes constitutes the summum bonum conclusion taught within the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Deception alone suggests that Bhagavad-gita is other than the preliminary study to the Bhagavatam.


From an abandoned asrama amid troubled waters, the new Vraja Gita version germinated its unfaithful character.


And as soon as he thinks that "I am beyond this chastisement, I am liberated," he's a rascal. Why Caitanya Mahaprabhu says guru more murkha dekhi' karila sasan? This is sahajiya-vada. He is thinking, "Oh I have become liberated. I don't require any direction of my guru. I'm liberated." Then he's rascal. Why this Gaudiya Matha failed? Because they tried to become more than guru.


(Room Conversation — August 16, 1976, Bombay)


Trying to become more that one's guru is the qualification of the new Vraja bhakti Gita fiasco. Having made a mockery of the Bhagavad-gita, the new Vraja commentary marketing department furtively suggests, "This book has been such a pleasure to read side by side with Srila Prabhupada's." How absurd. The marketing department of the Vraja Gita has evidently lost sight of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is long ago otherwise it could never have produced such a book blunder.


The Vraja commentary's promotional material reminds the potential readers that Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to write books. That is agreed, but he did not desire that his disciples present Bhagavad-gita in such a fanciful and whimsical manner.


You cannot go beyond the Vedic conclusion. Then it is useless writing. Vedic conclusion must be there. The guide must be there. On that conclusion, if you write something, that is right, and if you deviate from that conclusion, then it is wrong. So we want to read authorized, right books. Not by imagination. You can write so many nonsense things by imagination. That is useless. You must remember what is the Vedic conclusion. So sruti-smrti-pancaratra-vidhim. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.24 — Los Angeles, June 22, 1972)


6. Misinterpretation


Bhagavad-gita As It Is translated and commented upon by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada accurately presents the true conversation and meaning between Lord Krsna and His friend Arjuna. There is no need for a divergent interpretation.


You will see Dr. Radhakrishnan says. When this, he is making comment on it, he said, "It is not to Krsna." Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mam namaskuru, and Dr. Radha..., he says "not to Krsna." How he is misleading people! He is a great scholar, and he says "It is not to Krsna, to the person." Just see. This dishonesty is going on. What right he has got to say like that? Did He, did He, Krsna, left His Bhagavad-gita to be interpreted by a rascal, "Not to Krsna"? This is rascaldom. You cannot say. You must say what Krsna says, if you take Bhagavad-gita. But if you have got a different views, then you write your own book. (Room Conversation with Srila Prabhupada speaking to Dr. Copeland, Professor of Modern Indian History — May 20, 1975, Melbourne)


In the room conversation excerpt above, Srila Prabhupada establishes that the Bhagavad-gita is forever meant to indicate what Krsna intended. That intended meaning is accurately communicated to the world in Bhagavad-gita As It Is. New translations or commentaries disagreeing with the As It Is edition are faulty and misleading.


A commentary or interpretation is required only when the meaning is unclear.


If you want to speak something from your side, you write your own book. Why should you take advantage of the popular book of Bhagavad-gita and misrepresent it? That is the fun. You see? There are about six hundred different types of editions commenting on Bhagavad-gita. But according to Bhagavad-gita, all these six hundred editions in different, studied from different angle of vision, they are all absurd and nonsense. It is very difficult. People have been misled by the so-called commentaries. There is no need of unnecessarily commenting on certain things. There is no necessity. Commentary or interpretation required when things are not very clear. Then you can suggest, "The meaning may be like this." But when the things are clear, why should you comment? There is no necessity of comment. Just like, for example—this is also from Sanskrit scholar's example—that gangayam ghosapalli. Gangayam: "On the Ganges there is a neighborhood which is known as Ghosapalli." Now, this statement is in your front. So one may question that "The river Ganges is water. How there can be a neighborhood which is known as Ghosapalli? On the water how there can be a quarter or neighborhood of human habitation?" You can question that. Gangayam ghosapalli. Then the interpretation should be, "No, not on the Ganges. 'On the Ganges' means 'on the bank of the Ganges.'" This interpretation is nice. When one cannot understand clearly, there is interpretation. But when the matter is clear... Just like sunlight. The sunlight, sunshine, does it require your lamp to show the sunlight? The sunlight is itself so illuminous that everyone can understand, "This is sunlight." If somebody brings some lamp, "I will show you the sun," sun is already visible. Why your lamp is required? So these unauthorized commentators, they bring some lamp to show the sunlight of Bhagavad-gita. That is their business.(Town Hall Lecture — Auckland, April 14, 1972)


Srila Prabhupada made the meaning of Bhagavad-gita so clear that thousands and millions of people from all cultures of the world are able to understand its sublime and straightforward message. The new interpretation attempts to turn the As It Is edition upside down.


In the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna does not speak anything about His pastimes with Radharani. That is strictly prohibited. You never find Krsna is speaking about His pastimes with the gopis or with Radharani. No. He's officially speaking about Himself, "I am this, I am that." Mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.6 — Mayapur, March 30, 1975)


In the lecture above Srila Prabhupada emphatically proclaims that within Bhagavad-gita Krsna gives preliminary knowledge about Himself and He is not speaking about His pastimes with Radharani and the gopis. "That is strictly prohibited." To interpret that the Bhagavad-gita is about Krsna's "preoccupation with His Vrndavana pastimes" as the Vraja Gita version does, blatantly contradicts Srila Prabhupada's warning.


Hundreds of unauthorized interpretations of the Gita have wreaked havoc on the world and the Vraja version only adds to the damage. The Vraja interpretation explains: "Setting foot in that holy place again, [Kuruksetra] for the purpose of instructing Arjuna, Prince Krsna was surely reminded of Vraja bhakti, the highest spiritual love that he had discussed with the gopis that day." This is an example of mere conjecture. Lord Krsna instructed the same science of Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god Vivasvan millions of years before He spoke at Kuruksetra referring neither to Vraja Bhakti nor to meeting the gopis.


He said to Arjuna, puratanam yogam proktavan, that "I am speaking to you same old philosophy, puratanam yogam, which I spoke to the sun-god." We must stick to this, that a spiritual understanding is never changed. Now the modern days, we have to adjust things. No. That is not spiritual. There is no question of modern and old. Nitya, that is nitya, eternal. We should always remember that. The... Millions and millions of years ago, what was spoken by Krsna to the sun-god, the same thing was spoken to Arjuna. He said that "I am speaking to you the same old, puratanam yogam, but because the parampara system is now broken, so I am making again the parampara system through you, beginning from you." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.8 — New Vrindaban, June 24, 1976)


The Bhagavad-gita is exactly what it says it is. Lord Krsna is speaking to His friend Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra before millions of soldiers poised for war. Arjuna, overwhelmed with confusion and affection for his family members refuses to proceed in the fight. As a last resort, Arjuna accepts Krsna as his spiritual master and requests Him to tell him what to do. Krsna tells him how the soul is different from the body and how one must tolerate the dualities of the material world such as happiness and distress, victory or defeat. Arjuna and the conditioned souls he represents, are advised to perform their work as an offering to the Lord and in that way become free from material bondage.


Krsna explains that formerly He taught this science to the sun-god Vivasvan but the disciplic line had become broken. Meditational yoga techniques are discussed but Arjuna, feeling himself incompetent, declines to practice them. Krsna establishes that the goal of yoga is to remember Him at the time of death and devotional service (Krsna bhakti) is the best method to success. Upon request, Krsna displays His universal form and His four-handed Narayana feature. To help Arjuna disentangle himself from illusion, the Lord elucidates on the modes of nature, consciousness, divine and demoniac natures, and ultimately, full surrender to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Arjuna understands everything and accepts the instructions.


arjuna uvaca

nasto mohah smrtir labdha

tvat-prasadan mayacyut

sthito 'smi gata-sandehah

karisye vacanam tava


Arjuna said: My dear Krsna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.


This brings us to a crucial point. The Bhagavad-gita is to be understood in the line of Arjuna, who is the recent link in disciplic succession. Whatever understanding Arjuna gets from hearing Bhagavad-gita is what we should get from hearing Bhagavad-gita.


So one has to receive the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita by the parampara system. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna heard Bhagavad-gita. And how he understood Bhagavad-gita? He understood Krsna as a person. Param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan, purusam sasvatam adyam. That is real Bhagavad-gita understanding. And Arjuna said, sarvam etam rtam manye yan mam vadasi kesava. As Krsna says that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, so he accepted that. That is Bhagavad-gita reading, not that "It is not to person Krsna; it is to His self," and this and that. No. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita As It Is. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 6.149-50 — Gorakhpur, February 13, 1971)


Arjuna never said that the Bhagavad-gita was a treatise on Krsna's Vrndavana pastimes, nor did Srila Prabhupada ever say such a thing. I am sorry, but the Vraja Gita version has misinterpreted the entire text of Bhagavad-gita and misled those unfortunate readers who accept it. Vedavyasa never indicated that Mahabharata was speaking about the gopis.


Unfortunately, people want to show their scholarship, that "I understand Bhagavad-gita from this angle of vision." Why should you try to understand Bhagavad-gita from a different angle of vision? The first preference should be given to the author. The author has given you some knowledge, so he has got some particular aim and objective. So why should you change that? You have no right to change that. If you want to speak something from your side, you write your own book. Why should you take advantage of the popular book of Bhagavad-gita and misrepresent it? That is the fun. You see? There are about six hundred different types of editions commenting on Bhagavad-gita. But according to Bhagavad-gita, all these six hundred editions in different, studied from different angle of vision, they are all absurd and nonsense. It is very difficult. People have been misled by the so-called commentaries. There is no need of unnecessarily commenting on certain things. There is no necessity. Commentary or interpretation required when things are not very clear. Then you can suggest, "The meaning may be like this." But when the things are clear, why should you comment? There is no necessity of comment. (Town Hall Lecture — Auckland, April 14, 1972)


What is unclear about Bhagavad-gita that requires such interpretation? There is no Gaudiya Vaisnava Acarya commentary on the Bhagavad-gita stating that Krsna's paramount purpose in speaking to Arjuna was to delineate Vraja bhakti.


The new commentary assigns creative definitions with so-called deeper meanings to Krsna's words. Why was Srila Prabhupada not able to understand those words in the deeper light of Krsna's Vraja lila? Or did he understand but not reveal it? Although the new commentary may not supply answers to these questions, readers must accept the new commentary's explanation of what Srila Prabhupada wasn't able to say. The commentary found in the new Vraja Gita, full of hidden, esoteric, or higher meanings is clever, no doubt, but what is the guarantee that such interpretations are not merely the concoction of the new interpretation?


Consider Srila Prabhupada's translation and purport to 10.10:


tesam satata-yuktanam

bhajatam priti-purvakam

dadami buddhi-yogam tam

yena mam upayanti te


tesam—unto them; satata-yuktanam—always engaged; bhajatam—in rendering devotional service; priti-purvakam—in loving ecstasy; dadami—I give; buddhi-yogam—real intelligence; tam—that; yena—by which; mam—unto Me; upayanti—come; te—they.


To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.


PURPORT: In this verse the word buddhi-yogam is very significant. We may remember that in the Second Chapter the Lord, instructing Arjuna, said that He had spoken to him of many things and that He would instruct him in the way of buddhi-yoga. Now buddhi-yoga is explained. Buddhi-yoga itself is action in Krsna consciousness; that is the highest intelligence. Buddhi means intelligence, and yoga means mystic activities or mystic elevation. When one tries to go back home, back to Godhead, and takes fully to Krsna consciousness in devotional service, his action is called buddhi yoga. In other words, buddhi-yoga is the process by which one gets out of the entanglement of this material world. The ultimate goal of progress is Krsna. People do not know this; therefore the association of devotees and a bona fide spiritual master are important. One should know that the goal is Krsna, and when the goal is assigned, then the path is slowly but progressively traversed, and the ultimate goal is achieved. (Bhagavd-gita 10.10)


Why must the gopis and Vrndavana be brought into the discussion of Bhagavad-gita? It is simply speculation. An advertisement says that the Vraja commentary "calls our attention to our princely Lord's preoccupation with his Vrndavana pastimes, and the true battle at Kuruksetra against the ego." That is not the purpose of Bhagavad-gita at all. To declare such a misinterpretation is misleading the public and devotees.


You are studying Bhagavad-gita, talk of that. In the Bhagavad-gita the gopis' saris are not mentioned. So why you are bringing gopis' saris now? This is our fault. No, no. This is our fault. There is no mention of gopis' saris. We are talking of Bhagavad-gita, why you are bringing gopis' saris? Again because. There is no subject matter there. You have no right to bring that. That is our fault. To bring a horse before a cart. We are talking of Bhagavad-gita. There is no mention of Krsna and gopis' saris there. So let us talk. Finish that. (Room Conversation — December 29, 1976, Bombay)


In the room conversation above Srila Prabhupada had been explaining about the authenticity of Mahabharata and the Bhagavad-gita within it. The Battle of Kuruksetra was real, he said, and the place Kuruksetra is not to be taken figuratively as a so-called scholar had done in his commentary on Bhagavad-gita. There is no need to interpret the Bhagavad-gita unless one has a motive and if one has a motive it spoils the entire Bhagavad-gita just as rotten, decomposed food gives no benefit. No sane man should read such interpretations.


Then a guest asked Srila Prabhupada about the direct meaning of Krsna's stealing the saris of the gopis while they were bathing. The question was inappropriate, of course, because the guest was belittling the Lord's pastimes, thinking them to be immoral. Putting that impropriety aside, however, His Divine Grace chose to emphasize the lesson that one should not bring the topics of Krsna's Vrndavana pastimes into the battlefield discussion of Bhagavad-gita. "We are talking of Bhagavad-gita. There is no mention of Krsna and gopis' saris there." That instruction remains exceedingly appropriate today with regard to the new Vraja bhakti Gita commentary.


7. Rasabhasa


Srila Prabhupada translated into English and commented on every verse of Bhagavad-gita and spoke on many verses numerous times. Yet he never, ever, interpreted that the Lord Krsna's immortal Gita was actually discussing Vraja lila. Krishna's words are meant to be taken literally.


Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 25, 1976, along with samples of the Gitar-gan and the cover in for the Bhagavat-darsana.


No, the printing of the Gitar-gan cover this fashion is not at all approved by me. You have done most nonsensically. Why change the cover? When people look to see the Bhagavad-gita they expect to see Krishna and Arjuna, not the picture of Krishna with cow. You have done a great mistake by changing the front picture and it will hamper the sale. In future you don't do any changes without asking me first.


Simply because there is no stock of books, we can do anything whimsically??? Is this logic? Gita is not spoken in Vrindaban, it is spoken on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, but this is Vrindaban picture. That chariot drive by 4 horses, that is the real Kuruksetra picture. It is not that because there is no stock we can do whimsically as we like and lose the idea, that is rasa-bhasa. Because there is no bread, you take stone to eat? There is no stock of bread so you will take stone??? The front picture is most important thing and you have changed it. It must remain standard, and not change. Also, the lettering is not nice on the cover. You could have taken a color picture of Krishna and Arjuna and used it black and white (one color) on the front cover. Just as you did with the inside back cover of the Bhagavat darsana, the original picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in color but you have printed it in black and white. You could have done this on the front cover with Krishna and Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, but the cover must not be changed. Do not do anything whimsically in future, and you can write me if you have questions concerning the printing. (Letter to: Bhargava — Honolulu 29 May, 1976)


The important letter above is most pertinent to our discussion. Gitar-gan is Srila Prabhupada's own Bengali Poetic Edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. He said, "Introduce the recitation of Gitar-gan in every school." Here is a sample of the Gitar-gan:


dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre haiya ekatra

yuddhakami mamaputra pandava sarvatra

ki karila tarpar kahata sanjay

dhrtarastra jijnasaye sandigdha hrday


Chapter 1 Text 1: Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pandu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kuruksetra, desiring to fight, what did they do?


deha dehi bhed dui nityanitya sei

kaumar youvan jara parivartan yei

deher svakarya hay dehi nitya rahe

tatha dehantar-prapti panditera kahe


Chapter 2 Text 13: As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.


Gitar-gan verses are translated exactly the same as those found in Bhagavad-gita As It Is because Gitar-gan is an exact translation of the Bhagavad-gita. In Gitar-gan every verse of the Bhagavad-gita is perfectly translated into Bengali by our beloved kaviraja Srila Prabhupada so that the couplets rhyme—making it easy to sing. In short, Gitar-gan is the Bhagavad-gita. Therefore it is significant that Srila Prabhupada disapproved when his disciples had whimsically replaced the traditional cover picture of Krsna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra with a picture showing a Vrndavana scene of Krishna with a cow. This is described as rasabhasa by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:


bhakti-siddhanta-viruddha, ara rasabhasa

sunite na haya prabhura cittera ullasa


SYNONYMS: bhakti-siddhanta—conclusive statements about the science of devotional service; viruddha—opposing; ara—and; rasa-abhasa—overlapping of transcendental mellows; sunite—to hear; na—not; haya—becomes; prabhura—of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; cittera—of the heart; ullasa—jubilation.


TRANSLATION: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was never pleased to hear books or verses opposed to the conclusive statements of devotional service. The Lord did not like hearing rasabhasa, the overlapping of transcendental mellows.


PURPORT: Rasabhasa is something that may appear to be a transcendental mellow but actually is not. Those who are pure Vaisnavas should avoid both these things opposed to devotional service. These misconceptions practically parallel the Mayavada philosophy. If one indulges in Mayavada philosophy, he gradually falls down from the platform of devotional service. By overlapping mellows (rasabhasa) one eventually becomes a prakrta-sahajiya and takes everything to be very easy. One may also become a member of the baula community and gradually become attracted to material activities. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has therefore advised us to avoid bhakti-siddhanta-viruddha and rasabhasa. In this way the devotee can remain pure and free from falldowns. Everyone should try to remain aloof from bhakti-siddhanta-viruddha and rasabhasa.(Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya 10.114)


If His Divine Grace objected to the alteration of Bhagavad-gita's battlefield cover to a Vrndavana scene, we can safely say that he would be extremely opposed to a whimsical new interpretation that shanghais the entire Bhagavad-gita from Kuruksetra to a mental fancy.


Although according to the material conception Narayana, Rukmini-ramana and Krsna are one and the same, in the spiritual world one cannot use the name Rukmini-ramana or Narayana in place of the name Krsna. If one does so out of a poor fund of knowledge, his mellow with the Lord becomes spiritually faulty and is called rasabhasa, an overlapping of transcendental mellows. The advanced devotee who has actually realized the transcendental features of the Lord will not commit the mistake of creating a rasabhasa situation by using one name for another. Because of the influence of Kali-yuga, there is much rasabhasa in the name of extravagance and liberal-mindedness. Such fanaticism is not very much appreciated by pure devotees. (Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya 8.90)


Srila Prabhupada pointed out that putting the picture of a Vrndavana scene on the cover of Bhagavad-gita was a transgression called rasabhasa (overlapping of transcendental mellows.) In other words, the Lord's pastime of speaking Bhagavad-gita should not be mixed with His pastimes in Vrndavana.


'yadva-tadva' kavira vakye haya 'rasabhasa'

siddhanta-viruddha sunite na haya ullasa


SYNONYMS: yadva-tadva kavira—of any so-called poet; vakye—in the words; haya—there is; rasa-abhasa—overlapping of transcendental mellows; siddhanta-viruddha—against the conclusive understanding; sunite—to hear; na—not; haya—there is; ullasa—joy.


TRANSLATION: "In the writings of so-called poets there is generally a possibility of overlapping transcendental mellows. When the mellows thus go against the conclusive understanding, no one likes to hear such poetry.


PURPORT: Yadva-tadva kavi refers to anyone who writes poetry without knowledge of how to do so. Writing poetry, especially poetry concerning the Vaisnava conclusion, is very difficult. If one writes poetry without proper knowledge, there is every possibility that the mellows will overlap. When this occurs, no learned or advanced Vaisnava will like to hear it. (Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya 5.103)


It is correct that Lord Krsna's pleasure potency (ahladini-saktir) Srimate Radharani, is always with Him yet not manifest in all circumstances. Nevertheless, to rewrite the entire Bhagavad-gita emphasizing the Lord's unmanifest ahladini-saktir is certainly an example of rasabhasa.


Srila Rupa Gosvami warns devotees to not commit such incompatibilities in their writings or in their dealings. The presence of such contradictory feelings is called rasabhasa. When there is rasabhasa in any book of Krsna consciousness, no learned scholar or devotee will accept it. (Nectar of Devotion 50: Further Analysis of Mixed Rasas)


The Vraja Gita commentary and translation commits the mistake of rasabhasa on a massive scale, thus disqualifying itself as an authorized Gaudiya literature.


8. Mayavada


The Vraja commentary on the Bhagavad-gita asserts that Sri Krishna esoterically refers to the gopis and Vrajavasis while speaking to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita. This theory is not present in the commentary by Srila Prabhupada. Nor has the great Gaudiya commentator Baladeva Vidyabhusana opined in such a manner.


A pure devotee is not confused by misguiding commentaries on Bhagavad-gita because he knows what is what. The original verses of Bhagavad-gita are as clear as the sun; they do not require lamplight from foolish commentators. (Bhagavad-gita 11.51 Purport)


Staunch followers of Srila Prabhupada ask from where such a Vraja-fancy assertion came. In order to flavor its own hopeful interpretations, the Vraja Gita ventured into exploring others opinions such as those of Mayavadis.


One may argue that Srila Prabhupada also quoted Sripad Sankaracarya on the topic of Bhagavad-gita. Yes, Sankaracarya's Meditations on the Bhagavad-gita, mentioned occasionally by His Divine Grace, glorifies the Lord and His Mahabharata pastimes on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra (see below). We find no word about the gopis here, however.


May the spotless lotus of the Mahabharata


That grows on the waters


Of the words of Vyasa


And of which the Bhagavad-gita


Is the irresistibly sweet fragrance


And its tales of heroes


The full-blown petals


Fully opened by the talk of Lord Hari,


Who destroys the sins


Of Kali-yuga,


And on which daily light


The nectar-seeking souls,


As so many bees


Swarming joyously—


May this lotus of the Mahabharata


Bestow on us the highest good.


Bhagavad-gita destroys the sins of Kali-yuga but the gopis have no sins to be destroyed and thus bringing them into the commentary is extraneous.


The other comment by Sankaracarya regarding Bhagavad-gita that Srila Prabhupada used is; narayanah paro 'vyaktat: "Narayana is transcendental to the creation." (Gita-bhasya) In his comments on the Bhagavad-gita, Sripada Sankaracarya accepted Lord Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but later on he commented from the impersonalist's view, and therefore such commentary must be avoided.


The dangerous Mayavada theory set forth by Sankaracarya—that God is impersonal—does not tally with the injunctions of the Vedas. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore described the Mayavadi philosophers as the greatest offenders against the Personality of Godhead. (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.21.27 Purport)


In the Vraja Gita commentary, Sankara is excerpted to support the premise that Bhagavad-gita secretly tells all about conjugal love between the gopis and Krsna, although it is not mentioned where this comment is taken from. In any case, Sankaracarya is not to be considered an authority on Vraja lila affairs. Rather, Vaisnavas are advised to avoid such explanations:


Therefore Sripada Sankaracarya avoided to write any comments on Srimad-Bhagavatam. He has written comments on Bhagavad-gita, but he has completely avoided to write any comment on Bhagavata because he knew that "I am doing the wrong thing. How can I touch Srimad-Bhagavatam?"( Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.6.7 — Vrndavana, November 29, 1976)


Since Sankaracarya did not comment on Srimad Bhagavatam, the Vraja Gita edition's use of his words to support a theory that Bhagavad-gita is propounding vraja bhakti [srimad Bhagavatam's Tenth Canto] seems destructive and misleading. In either case, Sankaracarya played the part of an impersonalist and presented Mayavada philosophy, and therefore his teachings cannot be accepted.


Nor can the Gita be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord. Therefore, the Mayavadi explanation of the Gita is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. Lord Caitanya has forbidden us to read commentations made by the Mayavadis and warns that one who takes to such an understanding of the Mayavadi philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of the Gita. (Bhagavad-gita 2.12 Purport)


The Vraja Gita commentary bases much of its theory on commentaries made by Mayavadis such as Madhusudana Saraswati who is cited extensively as an authority. Even if previous Vaisnava acaryas did sometimes use statements from such persons to defeat Mayavada philosophy, that does not justify the Vraja Gita commentary's imitation of them and its disregard of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's warning about venturing farther into the forbidden territory:


Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has warned that no description of the pastimes of the Lord should be heard from the Mayavada, or impersonalist, school. He has clearly said, mayavadi-bhasya sunile haya sarva nasa: if anyone hears the Mayavadis' interpretation of the pastimes of the Lord, or their interpretation of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam or any other Vedic literature, then he is doomed. Once one is associated with impersonalists, he can never understand the personal feature of the Lord and His transcendental pastimes. (Srimad Bhagavatam Purport 3.19.33)


Mayavadi philosophers, envious of the Lord, wish to discredit Bhagavad-gita by giving it some fanciful interpretation. It is not accidental, therefore, that the Vraja Gita commentary publishes its work taking help from the Mayavadis.


Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has condemned this Mayavadi commentary. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said, mayavadi-bhasya sunile haya sarva-nasa. Mayavadi krsne aparadhi. He has plainly said. No compromise. The Mayavadis, they're great offender to Krsna. Tan aham dvisatah kruran, Krsna also says. They're very, very envious to Krsna. So you should be very, very careful. Don't go to hear any Mayavadi. There are many Mayavadis in the dress of Vaisnavas. Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained about them, that ei 'ta eka kali-cela nake tilaka gale mala, that "Here is a follower of Kali. Although he has got a tilaka on the nose and neck beads, but he's a kali-cela." If he's Mayavadi, sahaja-bhajana kache mama sange laya pare bala. So these things are there. You have come to Vrndavana. Be careful, very careful. Mayavadi-bhasya sunile. There are many Mayavadis here, many so-called tilaka-mala, but you do not know what is there inside. But great acaryas, they can find out.



pancaratra-vidhim vin

aikantiki harer bhaktir

utpatayaiva kalpate


They create disturbance only. Therefore we have to follow the Gosvamis, Gosvami literature, especially Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, which we have translated in The Nectar of Devotion, every one of you should very carefully read and make progress. Don't be victimized by the Mayavadi so-called Vaisnava. It is very dangerous. (Lecture by Srila Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.7.8 — Vrndavana, September 7, 1976)


In summary, we request all sincere followers of Lord Krsna to take complete shelter of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and scrupulously avoid the new fanciful Vraja interpretation of the Bhagavad-gita.


Om tat sat.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know exactly what Bhagavad-gita he's complaining about. I'll have to read his comments thoroughly before commenting very extensively. I find it a pain in the rear to read such long posts on the screen, and I need to see if it's clear that he actually read very much of the book he criticizes.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

if Danavir Mah. is talking about Tripurari Mah. Gita than I find his arguments pretty strange. I have read most of that book and found it very much in line with our sampradaya's conclusions. Srila Sridhara Maharaja's Gita is much more tilted towards Vraja rasa, but such was his vision and mood, and if nothing else (like sincere appreciation!) we should simply respect it. I dont think, however, that Danavir Mah. would dare to openly criticize S.Sridhara Maharaja.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, he is. I don't think he's read the entire book, but I haven't had a chance yet to carefully read his article.


I've read the entire book more than once. In fact, I was one of the editors. I'm a little scandalized by Danavir Maharaja's insistent use of all the scare-tactic buzz words ISKCON has to vilify this publication and Tripurari Maharaj. I'm also concerned that Umapati Maharaj would publish it. His repeated use of "Vraja Gita" in a way intended to be pejorative indicates that he probably hasn't read the entire book; the alternative is that he's not being honest. That's because, as you point out, the Vraja-feeling is mentioned but not highlighted throughout the book. I doubt he would publish a response, even from me. But I'm trying to plan time in over the nest few days to compose a response. I have to be very careful in how I respond to this because I'm fuming and need to keep from igniting.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

the tone of Danavir Mah. article reminds me of the "bad old days" in ISKCON. coming to think of that, it reminds me a little of some attack-propaganda articles I read in Polish communist press years ago... /images/graemlins/wink.gif

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Kulapavana may have hit upon the key word in unlocking this apparent paradox as presented. That word is 'mood'.


We seem to throw this 'mayavada' word around a lot. I remember when someone on the net tried to pin it on me. What could I do? He went right off the deep end into elephant heaven, padded cell and all. Screens and screens of words. Hey, if you need that many words to say it, then it just ain't true, dude.


Certainly no one is going to take the book off the market, so why not set an audience that will be best suited for this preaching vehicle. We are more than the Bhagavad-gita, yes, but then without help who can see the greater picture? We have seen the Swami find the hearts of a new market with his other books, helping to penetrate into more towns more villages more subcultures. "Somehow or other turn to Krsna". The mood has resonated in places one would never expect.


I remember the tender talks between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhara Maharaja. If Swami Tripurari's heart is the tender product of the these two saints, then perhaps this is as it is meant to be. I personally can't see anything coming off the Tripurari tree that could ever justify so many words, and heavy words at that, of criticism.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're right on the money here. I met Tripurari Maharaj in 1973 and lived in the brahmachari ashram with him. His intelligence and dedication were easy to admire, but, since I wasn't a very good book distributor, I often found him hard to approach. On several occasions, though, he showed how deeply he appreciated other devotees' service (even mine, on a couple of occasions). More recently, I've found him not only easily approachable but open, warm, funny, and generous. I think it's quite accurate to characterize his character as the fruit of Srila Prabhupada's and Srila Sridhar Maharaja's association.


As I said, Danavir Maharaj hit all the ISKCON scare-tactic buzz words. I don't know what he's worried about. Some pretty respectable ISKCON leaders have read and expressed great appreciation for this edition of Bhagavad-gita. I hope the GBC will rein Danavir in a little.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

"Please pardon me for not explicitly identifying the author and the title of this new book, as I prefer to address the philosophy that they espouse"


this is extremely strange, say the name of who are you criticizing!!

A side effect of this behaviour is to , not so subtly, divide the world of devotees in iskcon/non iskcon: " in the outside world.. in the maths... they are speculating on bhagavad gita..."


in my opinion


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well maybe somebody could be more specific in their criticism of some of Danavir's points.


If he said something incorrect please let me know.


I don't know the book he is speaking of exactly and if it is Tripurari's I wouldn't know as I have not read it.


Danavir claims this approach is rasabhasa. Is this true do you think?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always chuckle as invariably Srila Prabhupada so cleverly can start a discussion from any point and then end up giving all the crucial information required to go back to Godhead. It seems reasonable that Krsna is at least as clever and kind as Srila Prabhupada in His own preaching.


Today is the disappearance day of Srila Prabhupada's sannyasa guru. In the VNN article glorifying him we find talk of just this, how Krsna presents the whole knowledge right up to selfless conjugal absolute love, intermixed with

"you're not the body, remember Me, don't forget Me, Stand and fight!" [ http://vnn.org/editorials/ET0310/ET09-8396.html ]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest


the new Vraja version dispenses with His Divine Grace's translations, word meanings, and purports. For example, in chapter 10 verse 9, Lord Krsna uses the word ramanti meaning, according to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, "enjoy transcendental bliss" but in the Vraja translation ramanti means "conjugal love."



I do not see how this can be. Conjugal love is not the subject matter of bhagavad-gItA. Why would ramanti be translated in such a way? From context Krishna is addressing Arjuna; is "conjugal love" the nature of their relationship? I doubt it.



In Sanskrit, maryada-vyatikrama means impertinently attempting to surpass a greater personality. The new Vraja Gita version seeks to surpass the exalted acaryas of the disciplic succession by declaring its new imaginative Vraja-bhakti interpretation of Bhagavad-gita to be deeper and higher than the accepted understanding. Although in particular, Srila Prabhupada and his Bhagavad-gita As It Is are slighted, the Vraja interpretation also oversteps all the previous acaryas who never ventured into describing Bhagavad-gita in terms of Vraja bhakti.




Merely because one wants to present bhagavad-gItA according to his sampradAya's traditions does not make him impertinent. Usually the tradition is that one offers respect in a mangalAcarana shloka at the beginning of such a work.


But I do wonder -- if the desire is to present some gaudIya conclusions that are not presented in existing editions of Bhagavad-gItA, then why present a new translation and commentary of one's own? Usually to present a unique commentary one must be familiar with prasthana-traya lest he inadvertently write in such a way as to contradict them.


Why not simply translate a pUrvAcArya's work, like that of Baladeva or VisvanAtha?



It is not required or desired to apologize for Krishna's philosophy of bhakti presented in the Gita. Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study of spiritual life and to endeavor to remake it into a discussion about the gopis of Vrndavana is the work of sahajiyas.



The bhakti of the gopikas is not even a subject of gItA. I can't understand how someone could see it otherwise. If one is going to imagine that it is so, in the absence of any specific content in the original Sanskrit which indicates that, then why stop there? One could imagine all sorts of lofty "interpretations." Whether they are convincing or not is another issue.



The Vraja version claims that Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have interpreted the Gita in terms of Vraja bhakti. If this is correct and truly one or several Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have, as advertised in the Vraja Gita, actually provided entire commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, then let that work be presented in its entirety.




I for one would welcome this. Older commentators tend to be more comprehensive in their thinking, while newer, in-vogue commentaries tend to lack the foresight to anticipate logical doubts and defeat them. Indeed, their followers have often been trained to say things like, "oh, but defeating other arguments is mundane, we just want to enjoy the pure conclusions unfettered by any mental speculation." This is like putting the carriage in front of the horse. Before something can be held up to be pure, it has to be scrutinized to determine if it is so -- otherwise one can simply assert that anything is pure and rely on his blind faith to convince him that this is the case. But blind faith can lead one to blindly believe in the wrong things too. It is not a substitute for humble yet probing inquiry as recommended in gItA 4.34 "tad viddhi pranipAtena..." etc.



Unfortunately, people want to show their scholarship, that "I understand Bhagavad-gita from this angle of vision." Why should you try to understand Bhagavad-gita from a different angle of vision? The first preference should be given to the author. The author has given you some knowledge, so he has got some particular aim and objective. So why should you change that? You have no right to change that. If you want to speak something from your side, you write your own book. Why should you take advantage of the popular book of Bhagavad-gita and misrepresent it?



That is what I would like to know. How is gItA about Vraja-bhakti? Perhaps in a very general sense it is because it talks about bhakti in general.... but what specifically in gItA speaks of Vraja-bhakti? Nothing as far as I can see, but I welcome someone enlightening me on this.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

asks: If he said something incorrect please let me know.


I don't know the book he is speaking of exactly and if it is Tripurari's I wouldn't know as I have not read it.


Danavir claims this approach is rasabhasa. Is this true do you think?


Babhru: No, it's not. I'll deal with specifics in a response I expect to get written over the weekend. I'll post it here when I send it out to the Web sites. Several of ISKCON's leading sannyasis (most of whom are among its initiating gurus) have read the book and expressed appreciation for it.


More later

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

According to <a href=http://vnn.org/editorials/ET0310/ET09-8396.html>a recent VNN editorial</A> honouring his disappearance day, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja published the following in the Harmonist:<blockquote>"Most Gita commentators, including Srila Sridhara Swamipada, explained these two slokas from the perspective of common people only. However, vidagdha-siromani Sri Krsna cannot check Himself from speaking the core instructions, even in the midst of speaking His general instruction. That essential instruction is to render visrambha-seva, intimate loving service unto Him. These commentators give a general explanation of the component 'ramanti ca' in their purport which is similar to the explanation of 'tusyanti ca'. Thus, there remains no specific significance to the phrase 'ramanti ca'. However, unless there is a specific meaning to these words, there would have been no reason for Krsna to use them. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura have therefore excluded the general meaning of 'ramanti ca' and have only accepted its specific meaning through its verbal root (which carries its innate meaning). Ram-dhatu i.e. the verbal root 'ram', means 'krida', sport or play. Use of the verbal root 'ram' not only indicates bhava-yukta atma-nivedana, but it indeed also indicates the topmost among all bhavas--madhura-bhava-yukta atma-nivedana."</blockquote>

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

The concluding verse 18.66:sarva-dharman parityajya

mam ekam saranam vraja



"vraja" : go to Vrndavan and there surrender to Krishna

the Master and conjugal lover of the gopis.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

A lecture by His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami



When we speak of the advent of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu we should understand what is the cause of the appearance of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. There are two types of causes, external cause and internal cause. The external cause is nama prema pracare yuga dharma pracara.


kali-yuga dharma hoy hari sankirtana

etad arthe abatirna sri sacinandana


Kali-yuga dharma, yuga dharma is hari sankirtana. To fulfill this purpose Sri Sacinandana appears.


ei kaye bhagavate sarva tatva sar

kirtan nimita gaura candra avatara


Sankirtana-ike janakau - He's the father of hari sankirtan. He is Sri Gouranga Mahaprabhu. Kali-yuga sarva dharma hari sankirtan, sarva prakashila caitanya narayana. This is a quotation from Sri Caitanya Bhagavat.


kali yuge sankirtana dharma palibare

abatirne hoila prabhu sarva pari-kare


With all His associates, paraphernalia, His dharma, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu appears in kali-yuga, especially this kali-yuga, to fulfill this purpose - yuga dharma, nama prema pracara, and prema dharma, the chief result of this hari nama sankirtan is to achieve Sri Krsna-prema and to get Sri Krsna. He is offering and distributing this Krsna-prema freely, indiscriminately.


apamar vitatara brahmara durlabha prema

saba kare yache patita pamara nahi bache


It is very difficult even on the part of lord Brahma to get such prema but Sriman Mahaprabhu gives it freely, indiscriminately. Even patita pamaras, Jagai and Madhai, most degraded, most sinful persons also get it. Therefore He is known as Sri Prema Purusottama Sacinandana Gauranga.


Five thousand years ago Sri Krsna came in His own svarup and in His Kuruksetra-lila. He gave His message in the form of Sri Bhagavad-gita through Sri Arjuna to all mankind. There He gave confidential, more confidential and most confidential instruction. His most confidential instruction is, man-mana bhava mad bhakto, mad-yaji mam namaskuru. That is His most confidential instruction. The concluding instruction is, sarva dharman parityajya, mam-ekam saranam vraja. Giving up all varieties of dharma, just surrender unto Me. He only said this theoretically, He never taught how to surrender practically.


So after winding up His lila after Dvapara-yuga, He went to His own abode, Sri Goloka Vrndavan and because He's the only well-wishing friend of all living entities, suhrdam sarva bhutanam, therefore He is thinking, "I have given confidential, more confidential and most confidential instruction to Sri Arjuna for all mankind, but after Dvarpara-yuga there is Kali-yuga, the most sinful age. Due to an increase of sinful activities the consciousness of the people is most polluted consiousness. All are engaged in sinful activities. They cannot understand what I said, they cannot understand this sri saranagati tattva and I have only said theoretically, I have not demonstrated it practically how to surrender. Therefore I have to go again" So He came again as Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. This is the purpose, this is the reason why He comes.


yuga dharma pravartarmu nama-sankirtana

cari bhava bhakti diya nacamu bhuvana


I'll go and preach this yuga dharma, nama sankirtan and I'll give the four forms of bhakti: dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhurya, (santa is discarded in Sriman Mahaprabhu's line), and make the whole world dance with that bhava bhakti.


apani karimu bhakta bhava angikare

apani acari bhakti sikhaimu sabare


I'll accept bhakta bhava, the mood of a bhakta and I'll teach bhakti. Unless I practice it Myself I cannot teach.


apane na kaila dharma sikhana na yaya

ei ta' siddhanta gita-bhagavate gaya


If I don't practice bhakti, sarangati (surrender) in My own life, I cannot teach it. So His mood is bhakta bhava, the mood of a bhakta. This is the purpose and this is the external cause (bahiranga karanam). Then there is the internal cause (antaranga karanam). The external cause is for others, it is for the people of kali-yuga, kali-yuga jiva. Therefore it is bahiranga, or external. Antaranga is meant for Himself. These two causes are there and then that calling of Sri Advaita Acarya, which I'll speak about tomorrow morning, is there. That is also one of the causes, but the most internal cause is to fulfill the three desires.


radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayarva

svadyo yenadhuta-madhurima kidrso va madiyah

saukhyam casya mad-anubhavatah kidrsam veti lobhat

tad bhavadhyah samajami saci-garbha-sindhau harinduh


Srila Svarup Damodara Gosvami has said this and this quotation is mentioned by Srila Rupa Gosvami in Sri Lalita Madhava. Three types of desires remain unfulfilled in Sri Krsna-lila. What is radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayarva, what is Srimati Radharani's love? Svadyo yenadbhuta madhurima kidrso va madiyah, what is my rupa madhuri, excellent beauty, My beauty that Srimati Radharani relishes? What is My extra-excellent beauty and how can I relish it? In other words this veti lobhat, three desires, three types of greed developed in the Supreme Lord Krsna. Therefore, saci garbha-sindhau harinduh, to fulfill these three desires, these three types of greed, He appeared from the womb of Sri Sacimata. That is Gaura-avatara.


Here this word lobha, greed, is very, very significant. The Lord has greed. It is quite natural that we have greed. We are greedy persons, materially greedy. This greed of the material world is condemned, it is considered as one of the enemies. In the 16th chapter, 21st verse of Sri Bhagavad-gita you'll find Lord Krsna has said:


tir-vidham narakasyedam

dvaram nasanam atmanah

kamah krodhas tatha lobhas

tasmad etat trayam tyajey


Lord Krsna says, give up these three, kama, krodha, lobha - lust, anger and greed. If you become influenced or affected by these three then you will open your door towards hell, so give up these things. This lobha (greed) is very bad. Those persons who are materially greedy, definitely they suffer. For example, one very small story is there. A greedy boy was in his house when his mother put some nice berries into an earthen pot, like a water pot that has a very narrow opening. The boy developed greed to get some of those berries so he put his hand into the pot and grasped a handful of those berries. When he tried to get his hand out of the pot, it got caught because the opening was so narrow and caused some pain as he pulled but it wouldn't come out so he was crying. This is suffering out of greed. Though he's suffering, he's not allowing any berries to get out. A simple story showing the consequence of greed is suffering. Therefore Bhagavan Sri Krsna in Sri Bhagavad Gita says to give up this greed.


But this greed can be utilised in Sri Krsna's service. This word lobha (greed) is a very ancient word, it is not a modern word. The seed of this greed is also there in Bhagavan and in Bhakta also. So in respect of Bhagavat bhakta, the devotee of the Lord will say, lobha sadhu sange hari katha. How can you utilise this greed? Develop this greed to have more and more sadhu sanga, association of sadhus and hear more and more Sri Krsna katha. Develop this greed, This is very nice greed, this is spiritual greed, transcendental greed. One should not give up this greed. One should develop this greed more and more. The more you develop this greed the more you get spiritual relishment and spiritual advancement. One who is not greedy he cannot make advancement in the spiritual path in this respect. But material greed should be given up, whereas spiritual greed should be developed. Again it is said:


krsna bhakti rasa bhabita matih

kriyanam jadi kutopi labhyate

tatra laulyam api mulyame-kalam


Laulya means 'lobha' (greed). That means from this verse you can understand how the seed of greed is there. The purport is that if you have such spiritual greed you can achieve sri krsna-bhakti-rasa, mellow of sri krsna-bhakti, otherwise if you are devoid of this greed you cannot have it, cannot achieve it. Sadhu sange hari katha. One should develop this greed of having more and more sadhu-sanga and hearing more and more hari-kirtan, hari-katha, than you will make advancement in bhajan-sadhan. Materialistic people don't know the use of this greed, they abuse it, utilising it for material enjoyment, material possessions, they suffer. So when you speak about the advent of Sri Sacinandana Gaura Hari, the Appearance of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, this greed is there.


In the beginning I explained that Sri Krsna developed three types of greed that could not be fulfilled in Sri Krsna-lila, therefore Sri Gaura-avatara. In Gaura-lila those three types of greed are fulfilled. This is very wonderful using this word greed. Has anybody used such word previously? No one has used such word previously. Srila Svarup Damodara Goswami has used it. Therefore Braja-raja-nandana Sri Krsna became Sri Sacinandana Gaura Hari because of the development of this greed. One who is purna brahma, one who has no deficiency, no wanting anything, still He develops greed. Wonderful! Wonderful! He has no deficiency, He is purna brahma, He's self-satisfied, He doesn't want anything, there is no lacking there. Why such greed? Wonderful, so wonderful! One should understand its mystery, what is the tattva behind it? He who is aptakama (self-satisfied), atmarama, who is rasa svarupa purna brahma, who is paramananda-moy, supremely blissful sacidananda-moy, He develops greed. What type of greed and to get what? Very wonderful! Very wonderful! Now you can understand how the seed of this greed gradually develops and the culmination is there in Sri Gauranga svarup. I'll give you an example.


Vaikuntha-dhipati-visnu, He develops some greed. He develops the desire for fighting. He cherishes that 'I'll fight'. When He's Bhagavan the six types of opulences are there completely in Him and one of the opulences is strength or bala. Incomparable strength is there, therefore it is quite natural to develop such desire that 'I'll fight and fulfill this desire, this greed.' Whenever Bhagavan wants to fulfill some desire, His internal energy, potency, Sri Yogamaya creates such an atmosphere. So when this desire developed in vaikuntha-dhipati-narayan to fight, Sri Yogamaya, the internal potency created the circumstances to fulfill that desire.


Another point is that the opponent should be equally strong otherwise one cannot get pleasure in fighting. So who is there? With whom will the Lord fight? Then the question of Jaya and Vijaya, the two doorkeepers who were very strong came. By the desire or will of the Supreme Lord, those two doorkeepers were cursed by the four Kumaras to beome demons for three lives. Sri Yogamaya did it. The first is Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu, the the second is Ravana and Kumbhakarna and the third is Sisupala nd Dantavakra. Three incarnations are there and Lord Visnu-Narayana fought with them and got pleasure in fighting. Ths is the greed of Narayana-Visnu, this is in Srimad Bhagavatam. So this is lobha.


Then came the greed of Lord Nrsimhadev. Lord Nrsimhadev has two types of forms, ugra (fearful) and anugra (peaceful). One is a very fearful form and another is a very peaceful form. After killing Hirasnyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadev is very, very fearful, extremely fearful form and He was dancing, like the tandaba-nrtya of Lord Siva at the time of annihilation. The whole world was trembling seeing such dancing and anger of the fearful form of Lord Nrsimhadev. All the demigods are offering prayers to pacify Him, but it was all null and void. Then they requested Bhakta Prahlad, "You please go and calm down the anger of Lord Nrsimhadev." Prahlad Maharaj is a very dear devotee of the Lord, so Prahlad went there to offer prayers and Lord Nrsimhadev became calm and then His form is a very peaceful form. Then Lord Nrsimhadev put His dear devotee Sri Prahlad, like a son, on His lap. At that time vatsalya prema, parental love and affection developed in Lord Nrsimhadev. Both father and son relish this rasa, mellow. Father relishes, son also relishes by sitting in the lap of the father, so it is reciprocal but the relishing if this mellow of the son is greater than that of the father. One should understand this. So Lord Nrsimhadev developed that greed, "how can I sit in the lap of My father and relish that rasa? In this incarnation My father is a stone pillar, I cannot have it." So He developed that greed. Then all the incarnations after Lord Nrsimhadev came accepting Father and Mother, to fulfill that greed.


Lord Rama also developed greed. Very nice topic you see. Vibhisana and Sugriva are friends of Lord Rama. That means sakhya rasa is there in Rama avatara. But there are two types of sakhya rasa - visrambha and sambhrama sakhya. Sambhrama means with awe and reverence, and visrambha is without awe and reverence - equal. So the sakhya rasa in Lord Rama avatara is the sambhrama sakhya, with awe and reverence. There is no question of visrambha sakhya or equality. In Lord Rama avatara His friends Sugriva and Vibhisana cannot climb onto the shoulders of Lord Rama. They cannot snatch away the food from the mouth of Lord Rama, what to speak of climbing onto the shoulders of Lord Rama. They are afraid if even their leg will touch Lord Rama's body. They are afraid and it will be offensive. This is sambhrama sakhya. That means sakhya rasa with awe and reverence. But affection that the friends think themselves equal with the Lord. There is no question of awe and reverence. If your own leg will touch your own body, is there any agitation? There is no agitation at all because it's your own leg touching your own body, not the leg of a different person. A different person is very cautious. If he comes near, he very cautiously moves. In Sri Krsna-lila you will find this visrambha sakhya. The cowherd boys climb up to the shoulders of Sri Krsna and they snatch away the food from the mouth of Sri Krsna and Sri Krsna snatches away the food from the mouth of the cowherd boys as if equal. The legs of the cowherd boys touch Sri Krsna's body and there is no agitation in Sri Krsna because it's as if it is His own leg, because priya sya sakha is very dear. Therefore there is equality and abhinnam (non-difference). But in Lord Ram avatara this sakhya rasa is not relished. Therefore Lord Rama develops greed for it, 'How can I relish it?' Then it was fulfilled in Sri Krsna avatara.


Also another rasa is there, ie. conjugal mellow, madhurya rasa. In Lord Ram avatara, Lord Rama is maryada purusottama, who very strictly follows Vedic rules and regulations. Never transgresses them at all, eka-patni-dhara. He accepts only one wife, not more than one wife. Very strictly follows. In Lord Rama lila, madhurya rasa - the conjugal mellow is not relished there because when there is a question of union (milan) and separation (viraha) between lover and beloved, the essence of that conjugal rasa is relished in the highest degree. We will find also in Lord Ram lila there is union and separation of Lord Rama and Srimati Sita Devi. Ravana kidnapped Srimati Sita Devi, took Her away. So there is separation. And also to give pleasure and happiness to His citizens He, (Lord Ram) banished Srimati Sita Devi. Separation is there also, but there is no variegatedness in this type of separation. It is not natural, it is forced. So there is no question of relishing the essence of that conjugal mellow.


Srila Rupa Gosvami has mentioned all these things (ie. different types of 'virahas' (separation) in Sri Ujjavala Nilamani. There are many types of virahas (separations) - puraba raga viraha; mana viraha; prema vaicitya viraha, and these virahas or separations are not there in Sri Ram-lila, no. One type of viraha is there, prabasa viraha. You cannot understand but just hear this. This is in Sri Ujjvala Nilamani. It is a big topic and very, very confidential and subtle point. I am not going to explain it (but when some occasion will arise I'll tell you). All these virahas are there in Sri Krsna-lila - this prema vaicitya viraha, purba raga viraha, mana viraha. Therefore Lord Rama develops this greed, how to relish these types of viraha. In Sri Krsna-avatara this greed is fulfilled. The viraha, the separation between lover and beloved is highest platform of prema. On that platform both the nayaka and nayika, lover and belove, relish that mellow in their heart.


Therefore in Sri Krsna-lila, Sri Krsna is Sri Radha kanta. Srimati Radharani is His own wife, (kanta is husband), gopi kanta, (husband of gopis), He's the husband of gopis, He made them the wives of others to relish parakiya rasa. In Lord Rama lila only svakiya rasa is relished. Svakiya means one's own wife, not the relishment of parakiya rasa. Therefore Lord Rama developed that greed. So Sri Krsna made His own wives the wives of others to relish parakiya rasa. Therefore that greed is fulfilled in Sri Krsna lila but remained unfulfilled in Sri Rama lila; therefore Sri Krsna avatara.


In this way, this is how the development of greed gradually turned into incarnation after incarnation of the Lord. Now in Sri Krsna lila these three types of greed are there:


radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso va nayarva

svadyo yenadbhuta-madhurima kidrso va madiyah

saukhyam casya mad-anubhavatah kidrsam veti lobhat

tad bhavadhyah samajami saci-garbha-sindhau harinduh


Sri Krsna developed these three types of greed, as I previously mentioned. The first desire (or greed) - What is the Love of Srimati Radharani and how an I relish it? Second desire (or greed) - What is My excellent all-attractive beauty? I cannot relish Myself. So how can I have it? And the third desire (or greed) - What pleasure and happiness does Srimati Radharani get by relishing My all-attractive excellent beauty? How can I have it? These three greeds, these three desires remain unfulfilled in Sri Krsna-lila, therefore Sri Gaura avatara. The fulfillment of three types of desires and greed is antaranga karan, internal cause. Srila Svarup Damodar Gosvami has used this word lobha' meaning, from greed. This word is so significant.


Thank you very much.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have a source for this? Tripurari Maharaja cites Srila Sridhar Maharaja. Where do you get this reading, rather than the imperative verb, "take shelter"? Anyone who makes such an assertion to someone as conservative as Danavir Maharaj is will need to cite an authoritative source. This may be further complicated by the likelihood that he would never accept any authority other than Srila Prabhupada.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

theist: Danavir claims this approach is rasabhasa. Is this true do you think?


Just to let you folks know that I know what I'm talking about, I'll point out something in Danavir Maharaja's article that's just plain false. He claims in his second paragraph that, whereas Srila Prabhupada translates ramanti in 10.9 as meaning "enjoy transcendental bliss," but, as he writes, "in the Vraja translation ramanti means 'conjugal love.'" In the word-for-word, Tripurari Maharaja gives ramanti as "they rejoice," and in the translation he says the transcedenalists "derive satisfaction [babhru's note: that's tusyanti] and delight [ramanti] from enlightening one another and always speaking of me." What we do see is that in the first paragraph of his commentary, Tripurari Maharaja looks at this from a Vraja perspective, asserting that the devotees in Vraja derived great satisfaction from always discussing nothing but Krishna and His Vraja lilas, even in his absence, "and the gopis' hearts grew fonder for him in conjugal love (ramanti). This doesn't necessarily equate the word ramanti with conjugal love, but it implies a more specific kind of pleasure the gopis derive from discussing and hearing about Krishna's Vraja lila.


Maharaja doesn't always explicitly cite his sources, but when that's the case, my understanding is that he gets his understanding from Visvanath, Baladeva, or Srila B. R. Sridhar Maharaj. I want to point out that Visvanath's tika closes by asserting that Krishna exclusively addresses raganuga bhakti in this verse. Tripurari Maharaja also cites Madhusudana Sarasvati, a follower of Sankara who nevertheless supports the Gaudiyas' understanding of the Gita as emphasizing devotion. Visvanath sometimes cites Madhusudana.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That did not sit well at all.


It is enough for me to disregard the entire piece after seeing the label:<CENTER>


<TABLE border=5 cellpadding="5" cellspacing="5" width="65%"><TD bgcolor=yellow width="100%" valign=middle><TABLE border=0 cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><TD bgcolor=yellow width="25%" valign=middle><CENTER><IMG SRC=http://canoeparts.ca/KINGDOM/Stop.gif></CENTER></td><TD bgcolor=yellow width="75%" valign=middle><font color="red"><CENTER><h1>WARNING</h1><h3></font><font color="blue">NOT PARAMATMA APPROVED</h3></font>Buddhi-yoga not origin of

speculations contained herein

<font color="red">Proceed at own risk</font>




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

My understanding is that Srila Prabhupada based his commentary of the Bhagavad Gita upon Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana's purports. However, one who translates the Gita based upon Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti's purports will discover a much more esoteric meaning, extracting Vraja Bhakti from the slokas in the Gita. In reading Srila Sridhara Maharaja's books, I found that he would often mention that each sloka in sastra has both an external and an internal meaning. Both are essential, and one should not dismiss the internal meaning as being "sahajiya."


The following excerpt is from Our Affectionate Guardians:




Srila Prabhupada dedicated his Gita commentary to Baladeva Vidyabhusana (who gave the

world Govinda bhasya) because his concern was to give the overall siddhanta of our

sampradaya to the world, rather than focus on a few of the precious jewels of our

devotional conclusions in his commentary. Many previous translations of the Gita had not

produced a devotee, yet, Srila Prabhupada's Gita produced and continues to produce

thousands of devotees. No doubt he had something specific in mind as he set out to translate

and comment on the Gita.


The Gita is a deep book, from which even the highest truth of parakiya-bhava can be

drawn directly from the text by those who are themselves deeply immersed in the mellows of

pure devotion. Srila Prabhupada relished these finer points of siddhanta with Srila Sridhara

Maharaja when they lived together at Sita Kanta Banerjee Lane in Calcutta. At that time,

Srila Prabhupada was working on his Gita translation. Srila Prabhupada appreciated

Sridhara Maharaja's perception of the catur-sloka of the Gita. When it was brought up to

Srila Prabhupada for his opinion, he remarked to Sridhara Maharaja, "Yes, it must be." Yet,

in his own treatise, Srila Prabhupada had something different in mind-wide-scale distribution

of Krsna consciousness.


Srila Sridhara Maharaja however, preferred to keep close company with fewer devotees

and examine and relish the finer points of Gaudiya siddhanta. He tended to discuss the

mood of the circumstance rather than relate the circumstance itself, much like Visvanatha

Cakravarti Thakura, the contemporary of Baladeva Vidyabhusana. Their differences are

only apparent, and they are analogous to the differences in emphasis and style of Baladeva

Vidyabhusana, who gave the siddhanta as it is, and his substantial guru Visvanatha

Cakravarti, who consistently presented the hidden treasure in his commentaries.





Bhakta Dan

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Babhru and Dan,


After reading your posts this morning I am left with the sense that the Bhagavad-gita contains both and broadview or what I would call a Santa-rasa viewpoint of Godhead as well as one of Vraja-bhakti simultaneously and existing without conflict. Dasa-rasa also I can see. Sakya-rasa also I think I see.


It is obviously written with we the beginners in mind but how could one who has the Vraja vision see anything including the Gita from the beginners platform?


I remember somewhere Srila Prabhupada saying something about a realized devotee being able to show one Radha Krsna within a stone (paraphrased)so why not the Gita?


But what of other's who do not accept this Madhurya-rasa? Are we to say that the Gita is not for them? I think it is everysoul.


So at this point I am left thinking the Gita must contain all these revelations simultaneously but harmoniously, and perhaps in the same shloka.


I am also thinking that if I,a beginner, just try to jump to seeing Vraja bhakti artifically I could be revealing myself as a sahajiya even though Vraja bhakti may be there.


Any of this make sense?


Corrections desired and appreciated.


Hare Krsna

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Excerpt: Ch. 10, vs. 8

From 'Bhagavad-gita: Its Feeling and Philosophy'

by Swami B.V. Tripurari




Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has called verses eight through eleven the catuh-sloki of the Bhagavad-gita, playing off the well-known four (catur) essential verses (sloka) of the Srimad-Bhagavatam (SB. 2.9.33–36), originally spoken by Krsna to Brahma. All four verses have a general meaning for practicing devotees (sadhakas), as well as an esoteric meaning relative to Krsna’s devotees of Vraja and the gopis and their followers in particular. They deal with the nature of devotion that follows the realization of the first two lines of this verse, in which Krsna, as he does in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, proclaims himself to be the original Supreme Person (svayam bhagavan).


Krsna first says, “I (aham) am the source (prabhavo) of everything (sarvasya), and everything (sarvam) proceeds (pravartate) from me (mattah).” Here Krsna declares himself to be both the efficient and ingredient cause of the world. In pottery, the potter and the clay are the efficient and ingredient causes, respectively. However, in the case of the world, all systems of Vedanta recognize Brahman to be both causes, efficient and ingredient.


Not only is Krsna the source of both the material and spiritual worlds, he oversees their maintenance as well. The spiritual domain is maintained by his incarnations and expansions. The material world is presided over by his expansion as Paramatma. Brahma and Siva, his partial incarnations (gunavataras), maintain and destroy the material world, respectively. Furthermore, order in the civilized world, by the direction of the sacred Vedas, emanates from him as well. Krsna is the Godhead himself (svayam bhagavan). Those who understand this are wise, the expression of which is their devotion to him. This is the general import.


The deeper meaning reveals that he who is svayam bhagavan, the original Godhead from whom all other expressions of divinity emanate is dhira-lalita Krsna of Vraja, the playful Casanova subjugated by Radha’s love. Dhira-prasanta Krsna of Dwaraka (Dwarakesa Krsna), the sober statesman who gives Upanisadic council to Arjuna on the battlefield, is a partial manifestation of Krsna of Vraja. Although Krsna of the Gita preaches a sermon of love, the full face of love (mukhya-rasa) is expressed in Vraja alone. The fullest expression of love is the source of all other expressions of love. Thus in this verse, Krsna of Vraja is speaking, as Dwarakesa Krsna’s mind shifts from the battlefield to Vraja due to the influence of sacred Kuruksetra.


Earlier in Kuruksetra, Dwarakesa Krsna met with Radha and others from Vraja after killing the evil king Kamsa. They came to Kuruksetra, as he did, to observe the solar eclipse. Amidst royal paraphernalia, entourage, and elephants, Dwarakesa Krsna, the ever-youthful prince, met with the beloved devotees of Vraja. Reminded of their love, he admitted that he was entirely purchased by them. At that time, his mother, Devaki, seeing the love of his so-called foster mother of Vraja by whom he had been raised, acknowledged that Krsna was in fact Yasoda’s son in consideration of the intensity of her love. To Nanda and Yasoda of Vraja, prince Krsna was just their young boy, his princely paraphernalia merely an ornament.


Sri Radha and the gopis drew the dhira-lalita nayaka of Vraja from Krsna’s heart, reminding Krsna of their youthful days of love in carefree Vraja: frolicking in its beautiful forests, Mount Govardhana, and the sandy banks of the Yamuna. They were not attracted to Krsna’s regal attire, for he remained to them their adolescent love. They were not city girls, and the formalities of high society held no attraction for them. Their Krsna was not a prince to bow before, rather he who bowed to their love, attesting to its supremacy. For the gopis, Krsna was, although the best of them, a mere village boy of Vraja, and by the force of their love, Krsna admitted to the gopis that even in the midst of princely life his heart was always with them, subjugated by their love. It is thus through the lens of love, sacred aesthetic rapture, that Sri Caitanya’s disciples have envisioned Vraja’s dhira-lalita Krsna at sacred Kuruksetra in this verse, a vision of love (bhava- samanvitah) philosophically grounded (budha).


Spiritual love that knows no reason cares little for the Godhood of Godhead, yet it is this kind of love that brings one in touch with the fullest expression of the Absolute, the source of everything and its feeling, the Supreme God. At the same time, according to this verse, initially it is knowledge of Krsna’s supremacy and thus his supreme capacity to love that inspires one to approach him in absolute love—to give fully of oneself.


In the language of Rupa Goswami, the fullest expression of the Absolute is Krsna, who is akhila-rasamrta-murtih, the reservoir of loving reciprocation in sacred aesthetic rapture (Brs. 1.1.1). Thus svayam bhagavan Krsna, after explaining his position as the source of all, speaks in the second half of this verse about the type of devotion he relishes—and by which he is realized.


Through the sacred literature Krsna explains his own devotional yoga. B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami comments that the words mattah sarvam pravartate in this verse indicate, “Every attempt and movement begins with me, including the methods by which everyone worships and serves me in devotion.” Krsna reveals himself through the methods of devotion he himself has given in the scripture. Study of the scripture in and of itself does not reveal him, but therein Krsna reveals the means by which he can be known, his grace, and the means of attracting this grace, acts of devotion under the guidance of sri guru.


B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami cites the famous Bhagavata verse in which Krsna identifies the guru with himself, acaryam mam vijaniyat: “I am the guru (acarya).” (SB. 11.17.27) Thus it is Krsna himself who teaches his devotional yoga to one who understands (budha) him as svayam bhagavan, the origin of all. He does so through his potency, Sri Radha, who for the Gaudiyas is represented by sri guru, for she knows Krsna like no one else. She knows everything about him: the original person, svayam bhagavan. Under her influence, the influence of Vraja bhakti, devotees worship Krsna imbued with spontaneous love (bhava-samanvitah).


Bhava-samanvitah indicates the sacred path of passionate love (raganuga-bhakti). This is the path demarcated by Sri Caitanya. B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami remarks that the insight into the ultimacy of Vraja Krsna is mentioned in the Bhagavata (11.5.32) in relation to the worship of Sri Caitanya himself, yajanti hi sumedhasah. Endowed with divine wisdom begetting subtle theistic intelligence, devotees worship Sri Caitanya as the combined form of Radha and Krsna by means of sankirtana (chanting God’s name in unison). Such wisdom is described in this verse as budha, and the subsequent worship as bhava-samanvitah.


The words budha and bhava-samanvitah indicate the essence of bhakti. It is a wise existence, wise love, in which one is cognizant of one’s relationship with Krsna and joyfully functions in that loving relationship. This takes place on firm existential ground. Rupa Goswami describes that one possessed of bhava is under the influence of the cognitive (samvit) and joy (hladini) features of Krsna’s primary sakti, which is also composed of an existential feature (sandhini). This is budha bhava-samanvitah.


A feeling existence is not always a wise one. Misplaced feeling amounts to the experience of material existence, an existence rooted in ignorance. When our feeling (bhava) is wise (budha), due to its being reposed in the perfect object of love that Krsna describes himself to be in this verse, we dwell in a corresponding eternal existence. Bhava means feeling, love, as well as existence. Our love is our existence. Krsna next describes how his loving devotees exist and express their love for him.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

from the bit i have read, (just the above )

maybe Danavir is a bit premature,although i may be a wrong, but if the rest of the book is like that,

i wouldn't consider that to be sahajism, Tripurari's

style might be a bit stilted and difficult to

follow without previous knowledge of vedic

ideology, but Prabhupada's warnings about creating

cheating books for wealth and fame or based on

sahajiaism may not apply here.


Rather from that excerpt we can contrast that with

known sahajiaism, Tripurari doesn't concoct siddhanta,

he may use Vraja siddhanta but unless there is

more that i haven't seen instead of just more

of the same,he simply uses already accepted

siddhanta .


that doesn't make it sahajiaism,it may make it unique,

but that is not what Prabhupada meant when speaking about sahajia translations, in those kind of writings there

is focus not on siddhanta but on sexuality or on

imitation of Vrijabasis in one way or another,

just because Tripurari injects a new style of Gita

commentary doesn't automatically make it an attempt to supercede or replace Prabhupadas,rather it seems to be

an addition that is well recieved as a work of devotion in the line of Prabhupada, The question should be whether

or not he changes the basic message.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...