Found in Sanga, Sanga 2000.

Rumors and Prostitutes

August 16th, 2000 | No Comments

Q. In the Caitanya-caritamrta, in identifying certain personalities with their counterparts in Krishna lila, it is mentioned that a particular personality in Caitanya lila corresponds to two different personalities in Krishna lila. I don’t understand. Do spiritual personalities merge and split, combine and recombine?

A. There is considerable subjectivity involved in bhakti. For example, some devotees see Krnsa as their dear most friend, whereas others feel the highest ideal is to be intimately involved in conjugal love with him. Each feels his ideal is best, and for the respective practitioner it is. Kavi Karnapura sees Gadadhara as Radha fully endowed with her bhava, whereas Krishnadasa Kaviraja sees him in a slightly different way, her bhava stolen by Mahaprabhu leaving Gadadhara with a submissive loving sentiment. Both are correct, for their vision is a result of their own bhava. This means that Krishna shows different things about himself and his associates to different devotees.

Liberated souls can have two or more spiritual identities. However, many of the descriptions of Kavi Karnapura in his Gaura gonnodesa dipika involve tracing similar sentiments (bhava) in one associate of Mahaprabhu with those of two or more members of Krishna lila, and this at perhaps different times. This does not necessarily mean that the associate of Mahaprabhu is in fact those two souls of Krnsa lila appearing as one in Gaura lila, although this possibility does exist.

Q. I have read that there are prostitutes in Vaikuntha. Why would anyone in the spiritual world need prostitutes?

A. Your question is why persons in Vaikuntha would not feel satisfied with God, and thus need any other relationship. The spiritual world is God or Krishna centered and all relationships are possible in purity. What may appear to be selfish is selfless. In the Upanisads is said that Krishna is a brhamacari. Durvasa told this to the gopis after a night of rasa lila. Some philosophy is required to understand this point.

Furthermore, the nitya lila differs in some respects to the manifest lila. For example, there are demons in Krishna’s prakata lila, but only rumors of them in the nitya lila. So there may be prostitutes in the nitya lila of Dvaraka but only rumors of customers.

Finally, although in one place Srila Prabhupada has indicated that all of the inhabitants of Dvaraka were liberated, the very nature of the prakata lila is that it is a union between the liberated and non-liberated souls. Only “all of the souls” in the nitya lila of Dvaraka Dhama are fully liberated. A thorough reading of our literature should make this point clear.

Q. Could you tell me what is meant when it is said that one can practice raganuga and vaidhi bhakti at the same time? It has been my understanding that raganuga was not a practice but more a stage where service becomes natural and spontaneous.

A. Rupa Goswami describes two types of sadhana bhakti, vaidhi and raganuga. Thus there is something called raganuga sadhana. In one sense we are all practicing this because our ideal is Vraja bhakti and not Vaikuntha. The basis of raganuga sadhana is the desire for Vraja bhakti. Thus if we practice vaidhi bhakti with a desire for vraja bhakti, that kind of vaidhi bhakti will promote raganuga bhakti proper. To the extent that one is fixed in his ideal for Vraja bhakti his vaidhi bhakti is mixed or unmixed with raganuga. When his picture of that ideal is developed in the stage of ruci, raganuga sadhana takes the upper hand and vaidhi bhakti merely supports it.

As his ideal becomes clear at the stage of asakti, and he glimpses his svarupa, raganuga sadhana can be fully practiced. At this stage on may continue to practice vaidhi bahkti as well to set and example for others. Then one enters into bhava bhakti and cultivates the bhava that his svarupa is constituted of. This cultivation leads to prema.

Jiva Goswami discusses two divisions of raganuga bhakti in his Bhakti-sandarbha. He calls them jata ruci and ajata ruci raganuga. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami refers to them as jata rati and ajata rati raganuga bhakti. These terms imply that raganuga bhakti is cultivated by those without ruci (ajataruci) or with ruci (jataruci), or in the language of Krishnadasa Kaviraja, with bhava (jatarati), or without bhava (ajata rati).

Kaviraja Goswami says, jata-ajata-rati-bhede sadhaka dui bheda vidhi-raga-marge cari cari-asta bheda. The context of this verse is Mahaprabhu’s explanation of the atmarama verse to Sanatana Goswami. He is explaining different types of atamaramas. He describes four types. The eternal associates of God (parisads), those who have attained perfection via sadhana (sadhana siddhas), and those who are sadhakas. He then explains that there are two types of sadhakas, those cultivating vaidhi bhakti, and those cultivating raganuga bhakti.

Thus we have the parisads, sadhana siddhas, and two types of sadhakas totaling four atmaramas. Then he explains that there are two types of sadhakas within both vaidhi and raga bhakti sadhana, those with rati (jatarati), and those without (ajatarati). This brings the total of atmaramas to eight. He goes on from here to delineate 32 types of atmaramas by discussing the four types (parisads, sadhana siddhas, and two types of sadhakas) in terms of four rasas both in vaidhi bhakti and raganuga bhakti.

Out of all of this we learn that there are devotees who are raganuga sadhakas who are either mature in their practice or immature. They have attained ruci/rati or have yet to attain them. The terms ruci and rati are not however, interchangeable. Ruci refers to advanced sadhana bhakti, and rati to bhava bhakti. In either case we have two types of raganuga bhaktas. In the language of Kaviraja Goswami we find a blurring of sadhana and bhava bhakti.

This is not inappropriate because although bhava bhakti is distinct from sadhana bahkti, sadhana continues in bhava bhakti nonetheless. Ruci is also the basis of rati. Thus the two, Jiva Goswami and Krishnadasa Kaviraja are saying the same thing. There are two types of raganuga bhaktas, the mature and immature.

As for the mixing of vaidhi and raganuga sadhana, Rupa Goswami speaks of this in Bhaktirasamrta-sindhu 1.2.296. He tells us that the wise know that raganuga sadhana is supported by vaidhi bhakti, especially in its budding stages, and further to set an example for others even when one’s raganuga bhakt is jata ruci.

Q. In Nectar of devotion Srila Prabhupada speaks about pusti-marga and how the devotees in Gujarat worship Krishna as Bala Krishna. What is pusti marg?

A. Pusti marg parallels the raga marg of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. It is practiced in the Vallabha sampradaya. The word pusti means to nourish. Bala Krishna is Krishna in his childhood. Members of the Vallabha sampradya often worship Krishna in his childhood with a desire to attain vatsalya rasa.

Q. I have been searching for some information on the separate meaning of the words “ananga” and “manjari,” and also information on Ananga Manjari’s pastimes with Radharani and Krishna in their rasa-lila.

A. Ananga means “without limbs.” Perhaps “invisible” would work, such as in the case of cupid who became ananga when his body was burned to ashes by the anger of Siva, when Cupid tried to distract him. The charm of cupid cannot be dispelled by anger, but it is possible to do so by service to the transcendental cupid, Sri Krishna. He is also ananga.

Manjari means a sprout, or in this case a sprouting youthful girl. In Krishna lila Ananga Manjari is the younger sister of Radharani and a sakti manifestation of Balarama. If you really want to know more about Ananga Manjari, I would suggest you try to become invisible to the searching eyes of young men, and water the sprout of the seed of bhakti in your heart with constant chanting of the Holy Name. Otherwise you can read Radha Krishna Gonnodesa dipika and other such literature of the Goswamis.

Q. What does the Gaudiya Sampradaya teach re: the origin of the conditioned soul? Were we a) at one time with Krishna in Vaikuntha, b) in the moderate potency, or c) in the void near the brahmajyoti?

A. Before the time of Bhaktivinoda Thakura all of our acaryas explained in accordance with scripture that the materially conditioned soul’s karma is anadi (beginningless), and thus his “fallen” condition under the influence of karma has no beginning, while it can come to an end. Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself sings, anadi karma phale… However, the Thakura and his followers have explained the term anadi non-traditionally, perhaps for the sake of wide-scale propaganda. Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that anadi means a beginning that is outside of the jurisdiction of time.

He locates the jiva in tatastha, a marginal position in-between the cit and mayic worlds, form where the jivatma enters one world or the other. He cites two statements from the Upanisads in support of this (I have never been able to find one of them). Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura followed this same line of thought, whereas my Guru Maharaja, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, sometimes seemed to indicate that the jiva falls from lila, and at other times, that it does not.

Perhaps his view can be harmonized if we consider the sristi lila of the Lord, which involves the jiva and karma, and which is itself anadi in the traditional sense. I have chosen this approach, one that is in harmony with the previous acaryas. In this understanding, the materially conditioned soul is a particle of the tatastha sakti of God, which emanates from Mahavisnu at the time of creation (srsti lila). The creation itself is one segment of the beginningless cycle of creation/annihilation. With each creation the jivatmas in human form are afforded the opportunity to choose between the mayic world and the cit world as it is explained in the scripture and represented by saints.

Why is karma anadi? Because the Lord himself and his sristi lila are anadi, and this lila involves karma, the principle of justice. The Lord defers to this principle in general. If he did not, he would be faulted for not being just. Yet he is also merciful, and thus sometimes he overrides karma by bestowing bhakti, or granting mukti. Without the principle of karma there would be no mercy. If the Lord had no mercy, he would not be worthy of the highest regard.

In all of this one must understand that we are but particles of one of God’s saktis. We are not independent from him. His will is the background of our conditioning, and this is lila. In lila one agrees to abide by the will of God in all circumstances. Indeed, one surrenders his own will to the will of God. Attempting to do otherwise is the folly of what we call material life.

Q. Re: the August 8, 2000 VNN article “Srila Narayana Maharaja In Russia.” Sripad Narayana Maharaja seems to be critical of your views on Gadadhar Pandit. After re-reading your postings on Gadadhara Pandit, it is unclear to me why. I would be happy for some clarification.

A. Yes, parts of this article are critical of me. It does not address all of the sastra I cited other than to say that I am unable to cite scripture in support of my position. It would have been good if Sripad Narayana Maharaja had cited scripture in support of his feeling that Gadadhara Pandita was the guru of Gauranga with regard to Radha bhava. Unfortunately, the two scriptural references cited in support of this from Caitanya Bhagavata and Gadadharastakam are vague and seem to neither say nor imply his assertion at all.

Regarding the words of Sridhara Maharaja that I cited. We are left to think, after reading Narayana Maharaja’s comments, that they are somehow misrepresentative simply because he has known Sridhara Maharaja longer than I have. The opinion of Sridhara Maharaja on the ontology of Gadadhara Pandita is well-documented and is scheduled to be published later this year in a book entitled Follow the Angels.

I have cited Sridhara Maharaja’s words in my Sanga articles under discussion, and there is, I’m afraid, no possibility of finding support in them for the opinion of Narayana Maharaja on this issue. The opinion of Sridhara Maharaja is clear and concise, and it represents the opinion of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami. This has been clearly documented in my article. Narayana Maharaja has his own opinion, to which, of course, he is entitled.

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