City of nine gates

5,774 Views / EMail This Post / Print This Post / Home » City of nine gates

by Kesava Krsna dasa - GRS.

The sound of the heartbeat, the pulse of life gushing blood through thousands of arteries, veins and capillaries lending sensation to the nerve network entwined in and about organs and muscles and flesh, all bound by the bodily structure encased with a thin layer of skin in harmony with our subtle impulse, is our presentation to the world. This biological machine, city of nine gates, is a sleeping convenience to enact our wishes. Lord Krsna says:

“One who identifies his self as the inert body composed of mucus, bile and air, who assumes his wife and family are permanently his own, who thinks an earthen image or the land of his birth is worshipable, or who sees a place of pilgrimage as merely the water there, but who never identifies with, feels kinship with, worships or even visits those who are wise in spiritual truth – such a person is no better than a cow or an ass.”
SB. 10.84.13.

So real is our place on earth that we talk and move, and cause others to see and talk to us within a shared collective dream, encased again within a dark, hollow, multilayered golden globe of the cosmos, which is a mere cell particle exuded from a pore of Sri Maha-Visnu’s skin. Such creative sleep has no escape route, bar one – to awaken. Sri Narada Muni says:

“Narada continued: O you who are free from all sinful activity! No one can counteract the effects of fruitive activity simply by manufacturing a different activity devoid of Krsna consciousness. All such activity is due to our ignorance. When we have a troublesome dream, we cannot relieve it with a troublesome hallucination. One can counteract a dream only by awaking. Similarly, our material existence is due to our ignorance and illusion. Unless we awaken to Krsna consciousness, we cannot be relieved of such dreams. For the ultimate solution to all our problems, we must awaken to Krsna consciousness.”
SB. 4.29.34.

When we sleep and dream of combinations of past and present experiences, producing fantastic, weird or fearsome escapades from our mortal body, supervised by the Supersoul, they are often forgotten forays into the subtle realm. But our dreams are dreams within a dream within a dream. Srila Prabhupada writes:

“This material creation is the spirit soul’s dream. Actually all existence in the material world is a dream of Maha-Visnu, as the Brahma Samhita describes:
Yah karanarnava – jale bhajati sma yaga
Nidram ananta – jagad- anda- saroma- kupah

This material world is created by the dreaming of Maha-Visnu. The real factual platform is the spiritual world, but when the spirit soul wants to imitate the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is put into this dreamland of material creation.”
Purport to SB. 4.29.83.

The Supreme Lord is absolute. Whatever He does is real. When He dreams His mystic slumber into which we are participating, is also reality. Being part of Maha-Visnu’s dream is so bewildering that it holds ever more surprises for us, and the Lord too. He watches sometimes with amazement what is happening here.

“Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead constantly watches the activities of this world, no one sees Him. However, one should not think that because no one can see Him, He does not see, for His power to see is never diminished. Therefore, everyone should worship the Supersoul, who always stays with the individual soul as a friend.”
SB. 8.1.11.

For those who are awakening, the worship of the Supersoul means accepting and worshipping the spiritual master who is no different from Paramatma. The Gita Mahatmya of the Padma Purana also relates how Maha-Visnu watches His yoga-nidra in action.

Srila Prabhupada used a host of words throughout his writings to describe the dreaming condition: illusion, delusion, matter, Maya, distress, birth and death, bewilderment, doubt, fear, material life, sense gratification, sinful activities, misdeeds, temporary, misery, fruitive activities, I and mine, mental speculation, external energy, lusty desires, fallen, false prestige, fools, rascals and so on.

Open reading his books one will find matters pertaining to sleeping or waking circumstances because he is after all an awakened soul who came to mingle in our miserable dream world to sound the alarm, and he continues his guidance for sincere awakers.

Restricted as we are while traversing our mutual dreamscapes, Krsna is always introducing different waking devices: His unlimited avatars, the Vedas, His pure devotees and His holy names. His kindness knows no bounds. Lord Chaitanya said:

“Forgetting Krsna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore the illusory energy [Maya] gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.”
CC. Madhya 20.117.

Our body and the pleasures and pains associated with it, serve to deepen our sleeping condition.

Kota nidra jao maya – piscira kole….” We have slept for so long on the lap of the witch called Maya.”

If by some good fortune we hear a sound, feel a touch, receive a glance, experience a taste or smell an aroma issuing from an awakened source, it should beckon us to realize only one objective – to awaken to the orders of the spiritual master who will engage all of our senses in Krsna’s service. Srila Prabhupada says:

“Thus the change of the gross body is not very important, but the change of the subtle body is important. The Krsna consciousness movement is educating people to enlighten the subtle body.”
Purport to SB. 4.29.61.

The waking process may take some time. If it is very rare to attain bhava where our true eternally awakened self is developed, shedding the gross and subtle dream body, then only a greedy, hungry effort, anxious to adopt all positive awakening procedures may expedite matters. Lord Krsna states:

“After many births and deaths, he who actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knows Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.”
BG. 7.19.

While we are awakening, any acquirement of mercy can be passed on to other sleeping souls, to sound gentle informed alarm bell talks. When awakened souls gather to converse about the awoken reality personified [Krsna] and His nearest and dearest, such enlivening chatter will keep us awake and entice us towards Krsna Prema.

“O Narada, I am not in Vaikuntha nor am I in the hearts of the yogis. I remain where My devotees glorify My name, form, qualities and transcendental pastimes.”
Padma Purana.

In the meantime while we are here staying awake, perhaps we can also, like Maha-Visnu, observe the incredible workings of this dream world, if even as a reminder to keep alert, or to be interestingly occupied.

“Krsna consciousness means constantly associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in such a mental state that the devotee can observe the cosmic manifestation exactly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead does. Such observation is not always possible, but it becomes manifest exactly like the dark planet known as Rahu, which is observed in the presence of the full moon.”
SB. 4.29.69.

The entire millions of Vedic verses though varied in subject matter, really direct us toward sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. One who knows the real meaning of the scriptures will simply chant Hare Krsna, for this is the alpha and omega of all sacrifices. If we obtain good fortune in this way, we will have progressed from susupti to awakening to awake.

“Everything happening within time, which consists of past, present and future, is merely a dream. This is the secret in understanding in all the Vedic literature.”
SB. 4.29.2b.

Your servant, Kesava Krsna dasa – GRS.

Please click the "Like" button below if you haven't done so already!
 
 
 
5,774 Views / EMail This Post / Print This Post / Home » City of nine gates
 


Comments • [comment feed]

1 Akruranatha

Thanks again Kesava Krishna dasa for keeping the Krishna katha going with an article that hopefully will stimulate discussion.

In a previous thread, Shiva was discussing with Bhakta Rod and some others the limits of the dream metaphor. Nevertheless it certainly is a metaphor that is used frequently in Srila Prabhupada’s books, and a good one.

My favorite wrinkle is the one that goes, “Sometimes when the alarm clock goes off, the dreamer at first incorporates the sound of the alarm into his dream. For a short time he thinks the alarm sound is part of the dream world, until he is forced back into wakeful consciousness.”

Similarly, those of us who are “asleep” to the spiritual reality of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes at first may see those pastimes as part of the material world.

However, Narottama Das Thakur reminds us, “Golokera prema dhana harinama sankirtana.” This Krishna consciousness movement is bringing the treasure of divine love directly from Krishna’s supreme planet. We are being invited to participate in these transcendental spiritual pastimes of Lord Caitanya even in these human bodies we have. Otherwise, how could our service be accepted by Krishna and His pure devotees?

Even though Lord Caitanya has ostensibly disappeared, He is personally present in His ongoing sankirtan pastimes. Just like the Yadus could walk around Dwaraka or Mathura thinking, “Krishna is present in our City”, we can go out on Sankirtan knowing Sri Sri Nitai-Gaura are with us because we are carrying out Their work.

The limit or danger of the dream metaphor is that many nondevotees are already apt to accept the mayavada theory of “vivarta”, or illusion. When we say the world is like a dream, some people think we are saying that to awaken means to lose consciousness of the perceptible world around us, to lose our identity as individuals. Worse still, they may adopt the demonic spirit that, since everything is “false” (jagan mithya), it does not really matter what we do: our abominable, wicked activities are just our material “pastimes”.

Of course, we devotees are really saying that awakening involves us to be very alert to act correctly and use everything properly in Krishna’s service.

Satyaraja Prabhu recently wrote on Dandavats about how the impersonalist is like the man who sees a wallet lying in the road and says, “that’s not mine, I won’t touch it.” He may be better than the (gross materialist) thief who appropriates the wallet for himself. However, the devotee is like the good, intelligent man who picks up the wallet and returns it to its rightful owner. He is far superior.

When Hrdayananda Maharaja debated Professor Bharati at UCLA he made this terrific point. [Dr. Bharati was some Swiss or German professor who had gotten initiated in the mayavadi sampradaya in India years before, and was foolishly proud of being more “authentic” than the Hare Krishna devotees. He challenged young Hrdayananda Maharaja (who was a new sannyasi but had only joined the movement some three or four years earlier or so) to a debate.] Maharaja nicely curbed the pride of this older professor.

Shamelessly playing to the enjoying spirit of the Southern California students (L.A. youth in the early ‘70s were known for their hedonism and charmed lives), Dr. Bharati accused the devotees of being too pessimistic about the world, always talking about the temporary, miserable nature of material existence. Maharaja brilliantly turned this against Bharati, saying that it was the Buddhists and Advaitins like Bharati who are the true pessimists, because they have nothing positive to offer.

Anyone with a little sense can see that the life of material sense gratification is truly temporary and miserable, like a bad dream. However, Srila Prabhupada is presenting the positive life of Krishna consciousness. Even in these miserable bodies, we can chant and distribute books and worship the Deities and glorify Krishna to our hearts’ content. The great pure devotees do not even care for liberation: they just want to serve Krishna.

We should see that it is not really the material body or the material elements or even the demonic and inimical living entities that are the ultimate causes of our vexation. All of those things are under the control of Krishna. Our “nightmare” is caused by our having turned our back on Krishna’s devotional service, and remained in ignorance of His presence in every moving and nonmoving thing, in every atom, in the minds and words of recollecting devotees, and in His own supreme Goloka abode.

A somewhat chauvinistic Christian woman challenged me recently in front of her more open-minded, twenty-something Christian son: “Don’t you want to go to heaven?” I told her that of course I would like to go, but if I can truly serve God here it is just as good. The son liked my answer and bought a book (just out of “curiosity”, he told his mum.)

“I am this body” is undoubtedly a dream. Still, using this body in Krishna’s service is on the platform of reality.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 18th, 2007
2 Unregistered

Kesava Krsna dasa says “The waking process may take some time. If it is very rare to attain bhava where our true eternally awakened self is developed, shedding the gross and subtle dream body, then only a greedy, hungry effort, anxious to adopt all positive awakening procedures may expedite matters. Lord Krsna states:

‘After many births and deaths, he who actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knows Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.’ - BG. 7.19.

Reading Kesava Krsna prabhu’s essays are always very inspiring and his contibution can only help others advance further along the devotional path of Krishna Consciousness

Hare Krishna Bhakta Rod

Comment posted by Bhakta Rod on November 18th, 2007
3 Kesava Krsna dasa

Akruranatha prabhu,

Admittedly this dream description is not the usual devotee’s first line of presentation when preaching. As for whether it is a metaphorical concept, I’m not too sure. I always thought that the process of self-realization was the gradual cleansing of the material into the spiritual. The term ‘false ego’ which is the element most strongly enforcing our false identity has to revert to true or real identity.

Our false identity is as real as the Mahat tattva cloud which comprises material elements, into which we placed ourselves with abnormal desires. It is really another way of saying this - that we are dreaming.

Another reason the metaphor argument may not hold is the reality factor. Everything emanating from the Lord is reality, as the ‘Om purnam adah ….” verse will attest. If there is some doubt for the average person who fails to differentiate between illusion and reality, the ‘real but false’ argument can best be presented if we introduce the “kala’ or time effect. It is only the time factor which warps our conception of reality, and is the decisive tool to seperate fact from well; fact.

In your last sentence you mentioned how using the body in Krishna’s service is on the platform of reality. Again, this is dependent on the understanding of the devotee. If there are several levels of spiritual attainment one has to get to, as in ‘adau sraddha….’ until one comes to Krishna Prema, the real awakening starts at the juncture of ashakti and bhava, but more in bhava.

Until such a time, a sadhaka theorizes that he is dreaming - or not the body and so on, but his actual getting a glimpse of Krishna in bhava, which can only occur with spiritual eyes, and hence, a spiritual body is the time of real awakening. It is not full however, because the effects of vaisnava aparadha are inhibiting unrestricted access to the totality of all reality which happens in Krishna Prema.

In other words, if a devotee is offensive, he may still continue to use his body on what appears to be a platform of reality, but he will never awaken to reality unless remedial steps are taken. Offences can enforce our false ego ever more than an ignorant impersonalist who says all is one, or worse.

It is something like saying that Srila Prabhupada told us all to chant sixteen rounds a day. All good followers will do this. But how we chant our rounds is quite another matter, and can determin our future. How many of us can say we are chanting sixteen perfect rounds? As for myself, I’m not sure if I have chanted even one word of Krishna in such a way as to wish for hundreds of ears and mouths. Yet, suddha-nama or the appearance of the sun which reveals the daytime of reality, is the benchmark of awakening. So the performing of service with the body on a platform of reality can only occur if condidtions heretheto outlined are met.

Still, doing service on the level of sadhana bhakti is reality insofar as our understanding allows. But if real ‘buddhi yogam tam’ is not forthcoming then we are still in the waking phase.

Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

Comment posted by Kesava Krsna dasa on November 21st, 2007
4 Akruranatha

Thanks, Kesava Krishna, for your very thoughtful and well-expressed reply.

Until one is truly awakened with love of Godhead, he is in fact dreaming a bad dream, in which there is always some measure of death, fear, anxiety, and pain.

And Lord Maha Vishnu is certainly also dreaming in blissful yoga-nidra. That is His lila and not simply a metaphor. To say it is a metaphor would wrongly imply that it is not really happening. I am sorry if I suggested otherwise (I didn’t mean to).

Much of our suffering is actually mental — such as worrying about, imagining or anticipating some future calamity — so whether it is in an actual nightmare or just in a bad daydream, it is a “dream within a dream within a dream.”

Even aspiring bhaktas are not truly awake so long as there are still offenses and anarthas, impurities in their hearts blocking their spiritual vision. Still, we are commanded to respect them in accordance with their position of being rightly situated in practice. They may be acting on the level of reality even if they are not fully aware of the reality of what they are doing. (Like flowers being offered to the Deities, they are being “spiritualized”)

The truly awake person can see how all the material elements both enter into the cosmos and do not enter into the cosmos, and how the Supreme Personality of Godhead exists within everything created and at the same time is outside of everything.

“Factually, the spiritually developed person is able to have the television of the kingdom of God always reflected within his heart.” (S.B. 2.9.35 Purport)

An awakened person in the divine consciousness, “although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all”, because “he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.” (See, B.G. 5.8-9)

[Doing nothing at all means doing nothing material, nothing under control of the five factors of action, as explained in the Purport to 5.8-9. That same person may be very active in devotional service. One who sees inaction in action is in the transcendental position. (See, B.G. 14.18)]

For those thus in touch (united, though yoga) with the eternal, Absolute platform (Sri Krishna), the temporary, external happiness and distress of the material senses contacting their objects becomes insignificant. Those able to see the self by the pure mind are situated in “boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of the greatest difficulty. . . ” (See, B.G. 6.20-23)

Due to the Lord’s external energy, “the living entity, although transcendental to the three modes of material nature, thinks of himself as a material product and thus undergoes the reactions of material miseries.” “The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyasadava compiled this Vedic literature,” [i.e., Srimad Bhagavatam] “which is in relation to the Supreme Truth.” (See S.B. 1.7.5-6)

Those truly awake to their real spiritual identities have fully spiritual senses and bodies of sat-cit-ananda.

In some sampradayas (e.g. the Sri Vaisnavas), the idea of “jivan mukta” is not fully embraced: some of them say, unless you die and enter a Vaikuntha planet, you are still to some degree under the influence of karma and the three modes of material nature. However, Gaudiya Vaisnavas accept that the bodies of truly awakened pure devotees, even if they appear to be diseased or infirm, are actually spiritual, just like the Ganges which is pure even though it may have bubbles, foam and mud.

Anyway, as usual, I am just talking in my sleep. :-)

There is a lot to discuss, though, regarding these topics. Please say more about how the time factor warps our conception of reality and separates fact from “fact”. I am eager to understand this better, and how to explain it when preaching.

[I may have the dates wrong re Hrdayananda Maharaja’s historic debate with Professor Bharati. I think it was in 1974 or 1975. Maybe Maharaja had joined 5 years earlier or so. I lost my copy of the recorded debate a long time ago. I’ll probably get another copy.]

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 21st, 2007
5 Unregistered

Akruranatha prabhu you wrote:

And Lord Maha Vishnu is certainly also dreaming in blissful yoga-nidra. That is His lila and not simply a metaphor. To say it is a metaphor would wrongly imply that it is not really happening. I am sorry if I suggested otherwise (I didn’t mean to).

That is not quite right. A metaphor doesn’t imply that something is not real, it implies that something, like an idea or word or conception, is representing or designating another. If the conception of Maha Vishnu dreaming is not a metaphor then it is literal. In fact it cannot be literal because Maha Vishnu is a swamsa or plenary expansion of Krsna i.e Maha Vishnu is Krsna.

Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 2.4.10

The expansions of different forms of the lord, as from Krishna to Baladeva to Sankarsana, from Sankarsana to Vasudeva, from Vasudeva to Aniruddha, from Aniruddha to Pradyumna, and then again to second Sankarsana and from him to the Narayana-Purusavataras, and innumerable other forms which are compared to the constant flowing of the uncountable waves of a river, are all one and the same.

It’s not that Maha Vishnu is one conscious entity and Krsna or Paramatma or Balarama etc are other conscious entities. They are all the same all pervading supreme lord. Maha Vishnu cannot be literally dreaming because literal dreaming is experienced when someone is sleeping and has no control over the mind. God doesn’t ever sleep. God as Krsna, Balarama, Radha, Ramachandra, Sita, Lakshmi, Narayana, Paramatma, and on and on and on, is always doing something, is always fully conscious of and in control of everything in existence. Therefore the idea of Maha Vishnu sleeping and dreaming has to be a metaphor. In fact yoga-nidra is often translated as meditative trance. We have all heard the saying “It’s so easy I can do it in my sleep”. This is the conception of yoga nidra, God is creating and maintaining countless brahmandas and directing the activities of every living entity.

Bhagavad Gita15.15

sarvasya cāhaḿ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaḿ ca

I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.

Our memory and knowledge is provided every second for us. We cannot control our memory, we don’t have a clue where to look for memory, all knowledge we think we possess is really given to us by Paramatma as memory. Where we are, what we are, who or what is anything, is supplied as memory by Sri Paramatma. Krsna is doing this for every conscious person in existence, if he didn’t then people wouldn’t have memory/knowledge. Krsna is always doing an uncountable number of things, trillions upon trillions to the trillionith power of activities at every second.Yet it is so easy for Krsna to do that, that He can do it in his sleep. Don’t think that Maha Vishnu is different in essence from Krishna, there is only one all pervading Personality of Godhead.

In His Govinda Bhasya; Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, the great scholar and acharya has written:

Isvara is supremely independent. He is the master of all potencies. He enters the universe and controls it. He awards both material enjoyment and ultimate liberation to the individual spirit souls residing in material bodies. Although He is one, He manifests in many forms. They who understand the transcendental science maintain that He is not different from His own transcendental form and qualities. Although He cannot be perceived by the material senses, He can be perceived by bhakti. He is changeless. He reveals His own spiritual, blissful form to His devotees.

“Of all the eternals, one is the supreme eternal. Of all conscious entities, one is the supreme conscious entity.”

- - Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.13

As a vaidurya jewel manifests many different colors, so the Supreme Lord manifests many different forms. Each of these forms is the same perfect, complete, and pure Supreme Lord. In some forms the Lord displays all His qualities, and other forms the Lord does not display all His qualities. Therefore a wise devotee may meditate on all the Lords qualities, as described in the scriptures, as being present in the particular form of the Lord that is chosen for worship.

Both Lord Hari and His associates are the same persons in both previous and subsequent actions. Why is that? The sutra explains: “sarvabhedad” because of complete non-difference. This means that because there is no difference in Their personalities, the same Lord Hari and the same associates present in the previous actions are also present in the subsequent actions. That Lord Hari remains one even though He expands into many forms is confirmed in the Gopala-tapane Upanisad in these words:

eko pi san bahudha yo vabhati

“Although He is one, the Supreme Lord appears in many forms.”

Also, in the Smriti-sastra it is said:

ekaneka-svarupaya

“Although He is one, the Supreme Lord appears in many forms.”

This is also true of the Lord’s liberated associates, who remain one even though they appear in many forms. The forms of the Supreme Lord are undivided. They are all full of eternity, knowledge, infinity, and bliss.

In this way it is said that although the Lord’s forms present a very wonderful variety, still They are all one in essence. Although this truth was also described in sutra 3.2.14, the merciful teacher of Vedanta repeats the same teaching so this very difficult topic may be clearly understood.

The Supreme Lord is identical with each of His forms. They are all Him. That a certain form of the Lord is His original form, or an expansion of that form, or an expansion of the expansion is determined only by how much of His powers the Lord chooses to display when He manifests that form. Only in that way are some forms of the Lord considered higher and others less high. The great devotees of the Lord declare:

The Lord’s forms are considered greater or lesser on the basis of how much of His transcendental power the Lord chooses to manifest when He reveals them.

Because she is not different from the Supreme Lord, Goddess Laksmi is also all pervading. In the Smriti-sastra it is said:

Goddess Laksmi is the mother of the worlds. She is the constant companion of Lord Visnu. As Lord Visnu is all pervading, so is she.

To think that Goddess Laksmi is different from Lord Visnu, but still all-pervading, is a false, a heretical idea. In this way the idea that Goddess Laksmi is an individual spirit soul, like the many millions of other individual spirit souls is refuted. As Lord Visnu has limitless transcendental qualities, so does Goddess Laksmi. In the scriptures it is said:

O Goddess, even if we had tongues like the demigod Brahma, we still could not describe all Your transcendental qualities. O Lotus-eyed Goddess Laksmi, please do not ever abandon your devotees.

When Lord Visnu assumes different forms, Goddess Laksmi also assumes different forms and follows Him. In the scriptures it is said:

When Lord Visnu assumes the form of a demigod, Goddess Laksmi assumes the form of a demigoddess. When He assumes the form of a human man, she assumes the form of a human woman. In this way she assumes a form to match the form of Lord Visnu.

Comment posted by shiva on November 22nd, 2007
6 Akruranatha

Welcome Shiva Prabhu. I am glad I was able to waken you from the “slumber” of not commenting on Dandavats. :-)

I missed you here and I am sure many others did, too.

Quite right. A metaphor is a way of comparing one thing to another. A “simile” is when we acknowledge the separate existence of both things being compared (e.g., “the shining palace was *like* a majestic cloud”). A metaphor is when we describe one thing in terms of it actually being something else (e.g., “the dark castle *was* a brooding storm cloud on the wooded hillside”).

In either case, there are two things: the thing we are describing, as it is normally understood to be in reality, and the thing we compare it to. The castle isn’t really a cloud, but it is sometimes more aesthetically pleasing to say it *is* a cloud than to say it is like a cloud.

Analogies and models are used in science, but the scientific mind has to be alert to the separate qualities of the thing being scrutinized and the thing it is compared to. It may help to think of photons as being in some ways like billiard balls, or to think of magnetic fields as having lines of force like rubber bands, but the scientist has to be alert to how they are also *not* like billiard balls and rubber bands.

Metaphors reign in the land of poetry. Blurring distinctions between the compared and that which it is compared to heightens the emotional impact of the comparison.

Poetry is the language of love, and the ultimate, most complete understanding of the Absolute Truth is inaccessible to scientific jnanis, but is obtainable by poetic, soft-hearted devotees, through their love. “Vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma bhaktau.”

As devotees trying to engage in philosophical discourse we naturally may feel some tension between our reason and our superior devotional convictions.

[Isn’t everyone’s favorite part of the Caitanya Caritamrta the Ratha Yatra pastimes, where the Lord reveals the mood of Srimati Radharani upon meeting Krishna in Kurukshetra? Krishna explains His all pervading nature, how He is never separated from the gopis, how He is always present in His aprakat form in their minds when they are absorbed in longing for Him in separation, but Radha rightly chastises Him for preaching jnana and mystic yoga to Her. Her mind and Vrndavan are one. She tries to stop meditating on Krishna but she can’t. The gopis are far, far above the jnanis and mystic yogis. Their love is exalted as the purest, because of their complete freedom from attraction to His opulence. Therefore Radha pleads with Him to return personally to Vrndavana, where He will be most happy, and save the life of all the Vraja-vasis.]

Now, when we say Maha Vishnu is engaged in the lila of mystic slumber, and that the universes emanating from the pores of His skin are doing so within His “dream”, is that really a poetic description of some more prosaic reality that we are *comparing* to Vishnu’s dream? If so, what is that reality? (Surely it isn’t a “big bang”.)

[The mundane cosmologists mostly accept a theory of an expanding and contracting universe. Has Supersoul given them the hint that somebody out there is breathing?]

We can point out how Visnu’s dreams in so many ways are different from our own dreams, but nevertheless we still understand that He is, in His own way, sleeping and dreaming.

To say that the Lord is always “vijnanena vijrmbhitah” (fully enlightened by transcendental consciousness) (S.B. 1.2.31) only appears to contradict the fact that He is enjoying creative slumber. Because He is fully supreme, He can be both enlightened and dreaming at the same time. He has enlightened dreams, and what are dreams for Him are actually reality, because there is no difference between His mind and the Absolute Truth.

Not just His yoga-nidra pastime, but practically all of His pastimes take place against a background of yoga maya in which the Lord appears to more or less human, localized, less than fully supreme. His pastimes of fighting with demons are made more relishable by our (foolish) concern that any demon might possibly present a challenge to Him. His pastimes of reciprocating His devotees’ love appears to contradict His complete neutrality. His pastimes of separation from the Vraja-vasis is only possible if it appears that some force greater than Him is keeping Him apart from His most beloved devotees.

In the U.S. we are celebrating “Thanksgiving” today, and I thank Prabhupada and Krishna for all you friends with whom I can have such a discussion.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 22nd, 2007
7 Kesava Krsna dasa

Shiva prabhu,

You have issued an objection to the literal expression of the yoga-nidra pastime of the Lord. You wrote, “It cannot be literal because Maha-Vishnu is a svamsa or plenary expansion of Krishna.” Though various expansions of ‘Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam’ have Their roles to play in serving Krishna, I fail to see how being a svamsa disqualifies Maha-Vishnu from doing yoga-nidra.

Maha-Vishnu is nonetheless no less real than Krishna or any other avatara., and in reality effortlessly exudes unlimited universes whilst He is in yoga-nidra. For this to be a metaphor of some sort does not fit in with any allegorical, or idea based conception. If any part of Krishna, or in this case Maha-Vishnu can do the bidding of any other part of Their spiritual forms, why should should the dreaming ability fall short in this regard, and be called metaphorical?

The risk of using the metaphor argument can lead one to lessen the abilities of the unlimited. For instance, you stated,”Maha-Vishnu cannot be literally dreaming because literal dreaming is experienced when someone is sleeping and has no control over the mind.” This comparison of Maha-Vishnu and a normal mundane person is a case in point. We need not be reminded that the dreaming of Maha-vishnu is so vastly, unlimitedly powerful as to be beyond mere verbal expression. To equate His dreaming with that of a conditioned soul could have a tinge of mayavada philosophy.

To say that Maha-vishnu is metaphorically dreaming poses some problems, because when you say “God doesn’t ever sleep,” this seems to indicate some unfeeling, universal brain who is ever watchful and all-seeing. This is correct of course with the Virat-rupa, the Supersoul, and other forms. But Krishna and Maha-Vishnu have Their particular lilas, of which sleeping is a part. even if mystifying.

Then a little later, when describing the consumate ease by which the Lord can do anything and everything, including granting us our memories and so on, you wrote; “Yet it is so easy for Krishna to do that, that He can do it in His sleep.” I am not sure if you were giving a literal interpretation here or whether it remained metaphorical. Either way, this statement seems to differ in consistency with your previous statements.

Anyway, in reading about this subject I don’t think I recall Srila Prabhupada, or even Srila Bhaktisiddhanta refer to this yoga-nidra, or trance, or dream as a metaphor, unless I missed something to that effect.

Akruranatha prabhu,

I remember you posed a number of questions in another comment to Satyaraja prabhu’s article. One of the questions was ‘Does Maha-Vishnu do other things besides having His feet massaged by Sri Laksmidevi?’ or something to that effect. This is in connection to your asking about the time factor.

One thing is for certain, by the time our universe has come and gone, back into Sri Maha-vishnu’s transcendental body, which is practically not even a blink of an eye in spiritual terms, Sri Laksmidevi would still be massaging her Lord’s feet, before and after this universe’s demise. Because time has such a hold on us, we see in terms of our minutes, hours, days, months and years, relative to the human being in Kali-yuga. This warpage makes our comprehension of spiritual ‘no-time’ an out of bounds subject matter open to conjecture, unless we hear from self-realized souls like Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas.

In other words, our normal perception of the world as gathered through our senses and mind is governed by time which has no existence in Vaikuntha. Because we cannot concieve of matters other worldly, shows how time is warping our perception of reality. That this world is real, is made false solely due to the time factor - the temporariness of things.

Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

Comment posted by Kesava Krsna dasa on November 22nd, 2007
8 Unregistered

If we conjecture that Maha Vishnu is literally sleeping, or that any form of God is literally sleeping then we misunderstand the ontological nature of God. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta (some say it is actually Bhaktivinoda’s purport) writes in a purport to Brahma Samhita 5.12:

Yoga-nidra is spoken of as ecstatic trance which is of the nature of the bliss of the true subjective personality. The above-mentioned Ramadevi is yoga-nidra in the form of Yogamaya.

Ecstatic trance is what is really meant by yoga-nidra. If we think that Maha Vishnu is literally sleeping then we have separated God into diverse conscious entities. God is one conscious entity. Krsna may appear to sleep in lila, Maha Vishnu likewise is metaphorically sleeping as he creates brahmandas. But in fact God is always fully awake and fully conscious of everything. One form of God is different only in appearence and pastimes from other forms of God, they are all the same person. If one form appears to be sleeping, that doesn’t mean that that appearance is really what God is doing. Krsna appears to be a human and appears to need food and sleep, but in fact he isn’t and doesn’t.

The meaning of the dreaming metaphor is contained in the other translation of yoga nidra; “ecstatic trance”. The material world is running on automatic, that doesn’t mean that Krsna isn’t actively involved with everything at every moment. Rather this material world is being created and maintained without Krsna having to do much of anything except do what is necessary to give the jiva what is necessary to ultimately leave the material world. What Krsna does in the material world is like what a regular person does at his job. A regular person may go the factory or the office and do routine work in order to get the job done. His real life where he puts in his creative and true personality is manifest somewhere else, either at home or with his friends out enjoying life. When he is at work he could be said to be asleep to his real life and in a trance like condition, a dram like condition. Similarly for the Lord this material world is a job, it’s not where he enjoys life. The creation and maintainence of this world is metaphorically being done while he is asleep to his real life in Vaikuntha, this worldis metaphoricaly the dream of the Lord because his real life is in Vaikuntha. Just like a person’s real life is not a job, or when a person dreams his real life is when he wakes up . Everthing the Lord does for the creation and maintance of the material world is done automatically, like a person at work, in a kind of ecstatic trance of indifference, while his real life is being experienced in Vaikuntha.

And Kesava Krsna, the use of the saying “it’s so easy I can do it in my sleep” is not meant to agree with the idea that God actually sleeps, it’s simply another explanation for the sleep metaphor of Maha Vishnu.

Comment posted by shiva on November 22nd, 2007
9 Akruranatha

I think what Shiva is saying is that when Maha-Vishnu is sleeping He is not under the control of ignorance like I am when I am sleeping. (A suprising number of devotees, though, actually chant Hare Krishna all night as they sleep)

When Krishna takes birth he doesn’t “literally” take birth in the sense of being forced into a new body awarded as a result of His past deeds.

[Lord Caitanya was archly toying with the astrologer when He said: “In my last birth I was born in the family of cowherd men, and I gave protection to the calves and cows. Because of such pious activities, I have now become the son of a brahmana.”]

Because He is always the master of the modes of nature, none of His activities take place under the control of mundane time or the laws of karma. Those who understand the transcendental nature of His appearance and activities never take birth again but attain to His nature.

Everything about Him is mysterious and wonderful. Nevertheless, by His inconceivable mercy, He reveals Himself to His pure devotees and forms a very strong, very real relationship with them. This mystery cannot be understood by the greatest philosophers unless they get a pinch of bhakti. It is the “most secret of all secrets”, the king of confidential knowledge.

Kesava Krishna has much more than a pinch. He would never make the mistake of thinking that Maha Vishnu is under the control of material ignorance when He sleeps. But nevertheless He does sleep, in His own way.

Whether it is “literally” sleeping is just a matter of semantics. We all accept it is not that He has come under the grip of Morpheus (or whoever the Vedic god of dreams is).

Krishna sleeps but gets up from Rukmini’s side when the rooster crows. (Or does He lay awake in Dwaraka thinking about the gopis of Vrndavana? Or does He stay out all night in Vrndavana dancing and engaging in loving affairs, and then sneak back into bed just in time to fool mother Yasoda? All these things are really going on, and that reality is much more real than the temporary, dull reality of mundaners.)

Maha Vishnu also met Arjuna and Krishna as recounted in the Bhagavatam, and Garbodhaksayi Vishnu was wakened by the Vedas Personified offering prayers, and Ksirodaksayi Vishnu also has His lila in Svetadvip, a Vaikuntha planet within this universe, and I do not doubt He sleeps there, but it is always His mysterious sleeping pastime and not that He is actually forced to sleep by material nature (as we are).

Mother Yasoda and the other Vrajavasis do not think of Krishna as God, and yet they know Him more intimately than anyone else. Queen Kunti understands this and marvels at their spiritual attainment, as does Uddhava, who prays to be a creeper in Vrndavana.

Because their love is more mixed with jnana and aisvarya, such pure devotees like Queen Kunti and Uddhava and Narada Muni see and explain all these things in their way, but they all accept that the simple cowherds of Vraja are the most intimate, perfect of all devotees.

In their intense love, the Vraja-vasis think that Krishna is just their beloved boy. They cannot see Him as God. Yasoda feels she has to tie him to a grinding mortar to teach Him right from wrong, and by such love He is actually (”literally”?) bound, even though the whole universe rests in His abdomen. Go figure. :-)

But materialists like me are advised to begin by meditating on the universal form, because it is difficult for us to conceive of transcendental things while we still put so much stock in what we perceive with our mundane senses.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 23rd, 2007
10 Akruranatha

Maybe our identities as false enjoyers of matter are the metaphors.

Misusing our marginal independence, although we are not “literally” God, we become metaphorical “Gods” in ignorance, and thus we identify with matter and enjoy and suffer according to the changes matter undergoes over time.

The literal reality is that we are servants of Krishna, and our relationship with matter is that we have to use it in Krishna’s service, through duly ordained sacrifice. The sacrifice for this age is to arrange for, bring about and participate in the congregational glorification of Krishna.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 23rd, 2007
11 Akruranatha

Shiva keeps pointing out that all of Krishna’s expansions starting with Baladeva are actually the same person as Krishna, and even His predominated, cit shakti as Radhika and her expansion as hundreds of thousands of Laksmis are also but aspects of His one Supreme Personality.

This is inconceivable to our limited conception. It seems to negate the very real pastimes and rasas that are exchanged between these divine personalities.

Of course the answer is simultaneous oneness and difference. Shiva is right that Krishna and Balarama are the same person, but they still have loving brotherly dealings with one another as separate individuals.

Krishna and Arjuna also had dealings with Maha-Vishnu:

“Having failed to protect the brahmana’s son, Arjuna was now intent on committing suicide by entering the sacred fire. But just as he was about to do so, Lord Krishna stopped him and said, ‘I will show you the brahmana’s sons, so please don’t despise yourself like this.’ Lord Krishna then took Arjuna onto His transcendental chariot, and the two of them crossed over the seven universal islands with their seven oceans, passed over the Lokaloka mountain range and entered the region of dense darkness. Since the horses could not find their way, Krishna sent His blazing Sudarsana disc ahead to pierce the gloom. Gradually they came to the water of the Causal Ocean, within which they found the city of Lord Maha-Vishnu. There they saw the thousand-hooded serpent Ananta, and upon Him lay Maha-Vishnu. The great Lord greeted Sri Krishna and Arjuna, saying, ‘I brought the brahmana’s sons here simply because I wanted to see the two of you. Please continue to benefit the people in general by exemplifying religious behavior in your forms of Nara-Narayana Rsi.’” (From the introduction to Chapter 89 of the Tenth Canto of S.B.)

Not only is Krishna nondifferent from Maha-Vishnu, Narayana, the first and second Catur Vyuhas, etc. He is also nondifferent from His minute expansions, the jivas.

Being nondifferent does not mean that no relationship can exist. Krishna has a relationship with Balarama, with Vishnu, with Sesa. Of *course* He has a relationship with Radha, with Lalita and Padma and Candravali, with Rukmini and Satyabhama and Jambavati. If no such relationships existed there would be no variety, no juice, and life would be worthless and dull.

Even though He is the same person as Balarama, They also interact together as different individuals. That is possible for Them. Even though it seems illogical to our puny intellects, we can know it for certain by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy when we read Krishna book.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 23rd, 2007
12 Akruranatha

I wanted to share this purport to S.B. 10.89.57:

“Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti makes the following observations on this verse: Just as Lord Krishna offered obeisances to His own Deity during the worship of Govardhan Hill, so now also He paid homage to His Vishnu expansion for the purpose of playing out His pastimes. The Lord is ‘ananta’, possessed of countless manifestations, and this eight armed form [of Maha-Vishnu] is among them. He is ‘acyuta’, ‘never falling from His position’, in the sense that He never stops engaging in His humanlike pastimes as a cowherd boy of Vrndavana. Thus to safeguard the special sanctity of His humanlike pastimes as Krishna, He offered obeisances to His own plenary expansion.

“Lord Maha-Vishnu appeared before Krishna and Arjuna as ‘bhuma’, the supemely opulent one, and as ‘paramesthinam prabhuh’, the Lord of multitudes of Brahmas ruling over millions of universes. With solemn authority He spoke in such a way to bewilder Arjuna, in obedience to Sri Krishna’s intention. His smile hinted at His private thoughts, which Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has revealed for our benefit: ‘My dear Krishna, by Your desire I will describe My superiority, even though I am Your expansion. At the same time, however, I will subtly imply in my statements the supreme position of Your beauty, character and power and the fact that You are the source from which I emanate, Just see how clever I am — that in front of Arjuna I am confidentially divulging My true identity as nondifferent from You.’”

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 23rd, 2007
13 Akruranatha

Maha-Vishnu spoke to Krishna and Arjuna as if they were both His expansions, and Krishna paid obeisances to Maha Vishnu as if Maha-Vishnu were His superior, but this was just to preserve the sanctity of Krishna’s humanlike pastimes.

In fact, Maha-Vishnu’s words subtly revealed Krishna’s supremacy. Maha Vishnu had to resort to the tactic of stealing the brahmana’s son to get Krishna’s darshan. Even though He is a plenary expansion of Krishna Himself, He was not able to see Krishna without Krishna’s permission.

As revealed in the Purport to S.B. 10.89.63:

Arjuna thought about these things and was amazed that Maha-Vishnu’s eagerness to see Krishna was so great that He resorted to tormenting an elevated brahmana. As related in the Hari-vamsa, Lord Krishna revealed to Arjuna that Maha-Vishnu believed, “Only on a brahmana’s behalf will Lord Krishna come to see me, not otherwise.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravari states that Krishna further revealed to Arjuna, “I did not go there, however, for the brahmana’s sake; I went there, My friend, just to save your life. If it had been for the brahmana’s sake that I traveled to Vaikuntha, I would have done so after his first child was abducted.”

[Arjuna made his vow after the 9th child was kidnapped by Maha Vishnu, and it was only after the 10th child was taken that Krishna took Arjuna to see Maha-Vishnu to prevent Arjuna from taking his own life.]

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 23rd, 2007
14 Unregistered

Akruranath you wrote:

Shiva keeps pointing out that all of Krishna’s expansions starting with Baladeva are actually the same person as Krishna, and even His predominated, cit shakti as Radhika and her expansion as hundreds of thousands of Laksmis are also but aspects of His one Supreme Personality.

This is inconceivable to our limited conception. It seems to negate the very real pastimes and rasas that are exchanged between these divine personalities.

Of course the answer is simultaneous oneness and difference. Shiva is right that Krishna and Balarama are the same person, but they still have loving brotherly dealings with one another as separate individuals.

Well, it’s not really inconceivable if you understand it properly. If you don’t understand it properly then it seems difficult to understand and inconceivable. There are two aspects to Krishna Lila, the internal and the external. The external aspect is what physically appears to be true, and the internal aspect is what is actually true. For example externally Balarama is Krishna’s brother and appears like a different person with his own personality which is distinct from that of Krishna. That appears to be true. But internally there is no difference whatsoever, they are the same exact person.

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila Chapter 5

sarva-avatārī kṛṣṇa svayaḿ bhagavān
tāńhāra dvitīya deha śrī-balarāma

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarama is His second body.

eka-i svarūpa dońhe, bhinna-mātra kāya
ādya kāya-vyūha, kṛṣṇa-līlāra sahāya

These two are one and the same identity. They differ only in form. Lord Balarama is the first bodily expansion of Krsna, and He assists in Lord Krsna’s transcendental pastimes.

The same is true for Sri Radha

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta purport to Adi-lila 4.81

As already explained, Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā are one in two. They are identical. Kṛṣṇa expands Himself in multi-incarnations and plenary portions like the puruṣas. Similarly, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī expands Herself in multiforms as the goddesses of fortune, the queens and the damsels of Vraja. Such expansions from Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī are all Her plenary portions. All these womanly forms of Kṛṣṇa are expansions corresponding to His plenary expansions of Viṣṇu forms. These expansions have been compared to reflected forms of the original form. There is no difference between the original form and the reflected forms. The female reflections of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency are as good as Kṛṣṇa Himself.

From Sri Baladeva’s Govinda Bhasya

Because she is not different from the Supreme Lord, Goddess Laksmi is also all pervading. In the Smriti-sastra it is said:

“Goddess Laksmi is the mother of the worlds. She is the constant companion of Lord Visnu. As Lord Visnu is all pervading, so is she.”

To think that Goddess Laksmi is different from Lord Visnu, but still all-pervading, is a false, a heretical idea.

As you point out it seems that the internal truth negates the external lila. Well, not really. What is the purpose of Krishna lila? When it is displayed in the material world it’s purpose is to attract people to take to Krishna bhakti. In Vraja lila Krishna is the head of the cowherd boys and Radha is the head of the cowherd girls. The jivas in that lila do not know the true ontological nature of that lila. They do not know that Krishna is God (although they suspect it at times, then yogamaya makes them forget), they don’t know Balarama is God, nor that also Radha and her plenary expansions are God as well. To the jivas in that lila they see that lila, as it is presented, as being all there is to that reality. They don’t know the internal truth of that lila. The lila is performed the way it is performed so that God can enjoy life with the jivas. Jiva Goswami has written in Priti-sandarbha 10.12:

In the spiritual world, the Supreme Lord has unlimited spiritual forms, all are expansions of Himself illuminating that world. With each one of those forms, the Lord enjoys pastimes with a single individual liberated soul.

Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana explains in Govinda Bhasya:

By touching the goddess of fortune, who is actually Himself, the Lord enjoys transcendental bliss. It is like a person gazing at his own handsomness in a mirror

Different from His spiritual potency (para sakti) is the potency of the Lord’s form (svarupa-sakti). The Sruti-sastras and other scriptures explain that through the svarupa-sakti the Supreme Lord manifests as the best of males, and through the para sakti the Lord manifests His various transcendental qualities.

Manifesting as the Lord’s pleasure potency (hladini sakti), the para sakti appears as Sri Radha, the jewel of teenage girls

He explains here that the Lords transcendental qualities are manifested through the para-sakti as Sri Radha. Why? Because she is the hladini sakti, the enjoying aspect. Through the svarupa-sakti’s sandhini aspect the lord manifests as the best of males, but it is Radha who is actually manifesting the lords various transcendental qualities because she is the enjoying potency, and Krishna’s lila is all about enjoyment. In other words it is Sri Radha who is really the highest manifestation of God, superior to Krsna, because she is the enjoying potency, she enjoys more then Krishna (more on this below*).

So even though it is explained that Krsna is actually Radha Himself, and when He touches Her it is like He is looking in a mirror, still this is bringing transcendental bliss. How is this possible? Wouldn’t God desire or need to have a relationship with another actual person for the relationship to be real as opposed to play acting?

Again Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana explains this point in Govinda Bhasya:

Is it not true that amorous love is possible only when there are two: the lover and the beloved ? If there is no difference between the lover and the beloved, then love is not possible between them.

Although the Lord and His para sakti are not different, still, for enjoying different pastimes, They are manifested as different. In this way the Lord’s desires are perfectly and completely fulfilled.

Even though the Lord’s potency and the Lord Himself, the shelter of that potency, are one, still, because the Lord is the best of males and His potency is the jewel of young girls, when They are together there is naturally the perfection of blissful amorous pastimes.

He doesn’t say that it is inconceivable how they love each other even though they are the same person, nor does he say that they are different from each other. He says: Blissful amorous pastimes are perfected by their rasa. In other words their rasa is for the sake of perfecting that lila, perfecting the pastimes of Vraja. They are one person having a relationship in two forms in order to create perfect pastimes for their enjoyment with the jivas. The jivas in those pastimes are unaware of who they are having pastimes with, they don’t know the internal reality. The whole Vraja paradigm is created to enhance the pleasure of God in his relationship with jivas by creating the most perfect human like pastimes, keeping them in ignorance as to the true reality so that they do not slip into awe and reverence of God, to keep them as friends rather then as worshippers. In that reality Radha and Krishna are the central figures, even though they are identical. Their rasa is for the purpose of perfecting that lila.

You then also wrote:

Not only is Krishna nondifferent from Maha-Vishnu, Narayana, the first and second Catur Vyuhas, etc. He is also nondifferent from His minute expansions, the jivas.

Well, no. Jivas are not nondifferent from Krishna. Jivas are one and different, jivas are vibbhinamsa expansions of the lord, separated expansions, whereas the swamsa expansions are nondifferent from Krsna, personal expansions. If we say that jivas are nondifferent from the Lord then we lose any meaning to the conception of nondifference. Jivas are clearly different from the Lord, while being one with the Lord. The personal expansions of the Lord are all identical with Lord, they only differ in how much of the Lords qualities they display, but they are all the same person. Jivas are one with the Lord because we are comprised of the Lord’s para sakti, but we are different persons from the Lord, therefore we are never nondifferent from the Lord.

In Krsna Sandarbha Jiva Goswami says there are two types of expansions of The Supreme Lord:

This is confirmed in the Varaha Purana:

The two kinds of expansions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead are : 1. svamsa (personal expansions) and 2. vibhinnamsa (separate persons). The svamsa expansions are unlimitedly powerful. Their form and personality are the same as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.

There is not the slightest difference between the svamsa expansions and the Original Personality of Godhead. The vibhinnamsa expansions are very weak in comparison to Them.

You also wrote:

Being nondifferent does not mean that no relationship can exist. Krishna has a relationship with Balarama, with Vishnu, with Sesa. Of *course* He has a relationship with Radha, with Lalita and Padma and Candravali, with Rukmini and Satyabhama and Jambavati. If no such relationships existed there would be no variety, no juice, and life would be worthless and dull.

Even though He is the same person as Balarama, They also interact together as different individuals. That is possible for Them. Even though it seems illogical to our puny intellects, we can know it for certain by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy when we read Krishna book.

That is all for the sake of perfecting the lila. It is illogical if you think they can be the same person and have a real relationship at the same time, but that is not what they are actually internally doing. The real rasa experienced by God is with the jivas, people who are different from God. The relationships that God has with his swamsa expansions are for no other purpose then creating perfect pastimes for God’s enjoyment of those pastimes with the jivas.

*As for Sri Radha’s postion as the enjoying potency, as Baladeva Vidyabhusana points out above, through the para sakti the Lord “manifests His various transcendental qualities” as Sri Radha. The Supreme Lord’s transcendental qualities, the enjoying aspect (hladini sakti) of the Lord, is manifested as Sri Radha. We are told that Krishna was intrigued by the fact that Radha’s enjoyment was millions of times greater then His own.

CC Adi 4.133-36

I taste the bliss to which the object of love is entitled. But the pleasure of Radha, the abode of that love, is ten million times greater.

My mind races to taste the pleasure experienced by the abode, but I cannot taste it, even by My best efforts. How may I taste it?

If sometime I can be the abode of that love, only then may I taste its joy.

Thinking in this way, Lord Krishna was curious to taste that love. His eager desire for that love increasingly blazed in His heart

This contains the internal esoteric teaching of Mahaprabhu’s lila. It is a metaphor. Since Radha and Krishna are identical he knows the bliss she experiences. The point of such statements above are to make a point i.e. that Radha is the highest manifestation of God because she is really the supreme enjoyer, she enjoys bliss “ten million times greater” then Krishna. Krishna as Mahaprabhu came to teach and to inaugurate the sankirtan movement. Don’t think that he didn’t really know what Radha feels. That is a metaphor. Just looking at this from a larger perspective we can gain an idea of this. How many times has Mahaprabhu had the same exact pastimes on numerous planets? 10 times? 100? 100,000,000,000 times? Who can say? How long have these pastimes been going on? So it’s not that Krishna needed to incarnate 500 years ago here on earth as Mahaprabhu in order to experience what Radha experiences, that is a metaphor to teach that Radha is actually the supreme enjoyer, above Krishna. Even though they are the same person, Radha is God’s most intimate persona, she is Krsna’s inner identity.

This is from Raghava Goswami’s Sri Krsna-bhakti-ratna-prakasa:

That Sri Radha is manifested from half of Lord Krsna’s body is also described in the Govinda-Vrndavana-sastra, where Sri Krsna says to Balarama:

“O Balarama, please listen and I will tell You something. One day, taking My flute, My heart full of bliss and My form bending in three places, I went under a kadamba tree and, seeing My own form reflected in a splendid golden platform studded with jewels, I became enchanted. At that moment My heart became filled with the sweet happiness known as conjugal love, which charms the entire world. My heart now desires to become a woman. I yearn to enjoy Myself as a woman.

As the Lord thought in this way, His heart approached itself. From the sweetness of His heart came bliss and from the bliss came Himself, manifested in a second form, a female form of transcendental bliss that could experience the direct perception of Himself.

At that time a goddess, whose form was nectar, whose fair complexion was like a host of lightning flashes, and who was decorated with glittering ornaments, appeared from the Lord’s left side. She is known as Radha, who is half of Krsna’s body, and who is the mistress of all potencies.”

Comment posted by shiva on November 23rd, 2007
15 Akruranatha

I don’t know, Shiva Prabhu. It is still inconceivable to me. I am a pretty simple devotee. I know there is a vast ocean of learning ahead of me, and a lot of technical Sanskrt terms in Srila Prabhupada’s books that I have never mastered. I want to make a proper study of this subject matter someday, but the way you explain things sounds strange and scary to me. I almost don’t want to know. . . .

I am trying to understand what you are saying, and I know that you are vastly learned, but if I understand your point, it sounds very different from what I ever heard Prabhupada say. It even sounds faithless or heretical, actually.

What I mean by that is, I know I must be getting you wrong, but you seem to be saying that, “internally”, all the different incarnations and even Srimati Radharani Herself are somehow only faking. She is only pretending to be so deeply in love with Krishna. It is just a pantomime show to enhance Krishna’s relationship with jivas. (Surely you cannot be saying that!)

Does it say that directly anywhere in Srila Prabhupada’s books? Your quotations from Baladeva Vidyabhusana and others do not directly say that Radha does not really love Krishna.

[Your quote from Govinda Bhasya is really the only one that seems to say anything of the kind, but even that one you are helping along by your further analysis. It does not necessarily follow to me that, when Baladeva says that when The Divine Couple are together there is the perfection of blissful amorous pastimes, he means that there is really only an “external” show of amour, and that “internally” love between Them is not really possible.]

You do seem to be directly saying, though, that (perish the thought!) Radha really does not love Krishna. Did I get that wrong? I certainly hope so.

[It sounds like some transcendental parody of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”: Catherine says does not love Heathcliff because she is Heathcliff. Of course, even in the mundane novel, that oneness was supposed to be a manifestation of her love and not truly the denial of love.]

The acaryas are always telling stories describing Radha’s love for Krishna. Do they ever really say that is just “external”? I never heard that. I always thought the affairs of Radha and Krishna were the most “internal” of all.

I have heard, many times, that the Vraja-vasis are covered by Yoga-maya. That in the special sweetness of their love they forget Krishna’s supremacy so that they treat Him as an equal or inferior in their loving dealings. But at the same time I have heard that this special quality of their love actually is most pleasing to Him, and actually controls Him.

It is the highest pinnacle of spiritual perfection. Uddhava marvels at this love and wants the dust from the gopis’ feet. He does not describe some superior “internal” reality, does he?

The jnanis and yogis can never approach Krishna so directly and intimately as the pure devotees. Bhakti is superior to jnana. And Radha’s bhakti is the supermost of all.

I guess I never stopped to consider, how could Yoga-maya really cover Radha? After all, is She not in every way the original Shakti of Krishna? Who could cover Her? Maybe you are driving at something like that. (Am I on the right track?)

Still, such considerations cannot stay long in my mind. Even though Krishna knows everything, even He is always learning more.

How can He ever know more than He knew before, if no one can know more than He, and there is never any more to be known than Him? I can only reply that He is mysterious and beyond comprehension. Even the sages and demigods do not know His origins or opulences, so how can you and I expect to know?

It must also be so with his perfected amorous lila. Radha, being His equal, is similarly unfathomable.

When He displays Himself as the Personality of Godhead He is not static or immobile. For the sake of lila He sometimes worries, wonders, strategizes. He breaks yogurt pots in childish anger, then fears the stick in Yasoda’s hand, though He is feared by fear personified. This bewilders the great Queen Kunti, mother of Arjuna, Yudhisthira and Bhima. Why shouldn’t it bewilder the likes of me?

Of *course* Lord Caitanya has appeared countless millions of times. Aren’t all of Krishna’s pastimes like that though? He kills Aghasura millions of times, and yet it is fresh every time. Why can’t He in a similar way desire to know what Radha feels millions of times?

Even you are saying that Krishna and Radha engage in these affairs in order to attract jivas to Their devotional service. If so, then why are you teaching something that seems to attack the whole factual basis of Their divine pastimes? It seems that in doing so you would be going against the purpose of Radha and Krishna. There seems to be a contradiction there. Am I making sense?

Is Baladeva actually teaching these things? Do you have more direct, unmistakable quotations? Is he making these points in connection with some specific parts of the Vedanta Sutra that demand such an explanation?

Did Prabhupada repeat such teachings? Or did he decide not to? If so, why? Was it something he was saving for more advanced students? Something confidential?

(If so, what makes me think I am ready now? What makes *you* think I am ready? If Prabhupada saw fit to keep this information confidential, why are you making it public now?)

Don’t get me wrong. I am all in favor of open discussion of Srila Prabhupada’s books from all angles, and I do want to learn. I can tell you know a great deal more than I do. However, what you are saying sounds so foreign and alien to me. “Radha does not really love Krishna”? How could that possibly be? It sounds like the antithesis of everything Srila Prabhupada says. If anything is heresy, it sounds like that is it.

I realize that without a little controversy as leavening, the Dandavats discussions never seem to get off the ground. If that’s the case, this one promises to be a prize winner. You just dropped the baking soda into a bottle of vinegar. Dare we shake it further?

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 25th, 2007
16 Akruranatha

Some thoughts on “internal” and “external”:

The most direct and simple meaning is spacial. Everything in space has an inside and outside. A house has an exterior, visible from the street, and an interior accessed through the doors or windows.

Conditioned living beings have an external material body and a more subtle, internal life of thoughts and moods.

When dreaming, we externally appear inert [upon close external examination one may observe rapid eye movements, and sometimes talking in the sleep related to the dreamer’s dreams.] We say that the internal, dreaming life is less real than the waking life because it is short-lived, quickly forgotten, and not objectively observable. (Usually sensations of the gross senses are more vivid and lucid than those in dreams, too, but it is not always so).

I may have an idea to write something on Dandavats, but as long as it is just an idea and I do not write it, the idea remains “internal”. It may be quickly forgotten and is not observed by other humans (though it may be perceived by supernatural beings, mystics, demigods and Supersoul). As such the internal idea seems less real than when it is brought into the gross physical world by speaking or writing it.

The works of Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare and lesser poets have endured long beyond their short life spans. The same goes for composers, painters, sculptors and other artists. They transform their “internal” ideas, moods, concepts, impressions into objective, “external”, lasting forms. People commonly think of the artist’s task as bringing something real into existence from nonexistence. (Of course, we know that they get the inspiration, the talent, and even the tools and materials from God, but still they engage in a kind of act of creation.)

Of course even the greatest works of mundane artists and poets are not everlasting. Sooner or later Percy Shelly’s poem Ozymandius will become a mere forgotten ruin, just like its subject, the colossal statue of a forgotten ancient despot.

So in that sense people sometimes consider the “internal” to be less real than the “external.” Materialists believe that the external, material reality causes and dictates the more ephemeral world of the mind. In the field of Philosophy of Mind, hard-core materialists say that thoughts are mere “epiphenomena” that have no independent existence from physical, chemical or electronic events. Marxian materialists say that the economy more or less dictates the culture, and so on.

However, there is another sense in which people commonly think of the “internal” as *more* real than the external. Undisclosed intentions are real but unknown to us, and if we know them we may better predict what someone may do to help or harm us. We have to be alert to discover them, and thus we think the hidden reality of people’s secret plans is more important than the external face they show the world. In this way, confidential, hidden, “internal” plans, feelings and meanings are generally considered a higher level of reality than the external, obvious appearances.

Of course, the wise have concluded that of the real there is no cessation and of the unreal there is no endurance. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul. That which is truly most “internal” – i.e., the spiritual, eternal, transcendental – is most real. Everything else is merely material, temporary, (dreamlike). We devotees call these illusory, temporary manifestations “external.”

The wise do not take part in the sources of misery (enjoying the contact of external senses with their objects). They enjoy unlimited happiness within, enjoying the internal Self (in Krishna consciousness), Whom they contemplate with purified minds.

When it comes to the pastimes of Krishna, they are all-spiritual. He has no inside and outside the way we do. He has no material gross and subtle bodies. He is only known to those who are free from His external energy and who have taken shelter of His internal energy.

Still in His dealings with His pure devotees He often has undisclosed intentions. His half-smile (“prahasan iva”) before speaking the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna reveals His intention to reveal confidences for the benefit of His friend who has become His disciple. Everything about Him is fully real, but His hidden intentions are “internal”. He is known as a great joker and trickster. To play a trick one must have hidden intentions.

In Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami tells us that Lord Caitanya appears for “external” and “internal” reasons. Externally, He descends to inaugurate the sankirtana movement and to explain the mellows of devotional service. Internally, He relishes the position of Srimati Radharani, understands the mellow of Himself, and enjoys the bliss tasted by Radharani. The “external” reasons are for the benefit of others (i.e., to establish eternal religious principles and benefit all souls). The internal reasons are to fulfill His own desires.

God has His own desires. Impersonalists cannot understand that fact. Radha and Krishna are one, but They have taken to forms to *enjoy* the mellows of pastimes. In C.C., Adi Lila 4.98, Krishnadasa Kaviraja uses the word “asvadite”, translated as “to taste”. He could have said “to display”, but he said “to taste”.

Similar expressions are found throughout Srila Prabhupada’s books. Radha and Krishna actually enjoy the mellows of each other’s company. They actually taste Their loving exchanges.

What one displays is external, what one tastes is internal. To say that Radha and Krishna are “internally” not enjoying Their pastimes, but only “externally” are displaying a lila of enjoyment only for the benefit of jivas, seems contrary to whatever I have heard from Srila Prabhupada’s books. I have never heard that philosophy expressed except from Shiva. I am willing to listen, but it sounds backwards and impersonalistic to me.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 25th, 2007
17 Unregistered

Akruranath you wrote;

I am trying to understand what you are saying, and I know that you are vastly learned, but if I understand your point, it sounds very different from what I ever heard Prabhupada say. It even sounds faithless or heretical, actually.

Faithless means without faith and heretical means against the doctrine of the faith. What I presented is the esoteric aspect of Sri Caitanya’s teachings, they do not go against those teachings nor do they question that Krsna lila is real, they simply present another angle of vision to Krsna lila and will be of use to those whom they are meant for. As you may know sahajiyaism (or some variant of it) is rampant within gaudiya vaisnavism. There are countless vaisnavas who after following sadhana bhakti for a while fall under the delusion that they are great lovers of Sri Sri Radha Krsna, they go searching out for “gurus” who preach about how to cultivate their love as manjaris. All of this is being done while they are still in the conditioned state. They don’t realize how far off they are because they don’t understand the true nature of Sri Sri Radha Krsna and their pastimes.

The acaryas warn that devotees shouldn’t skip ahead in their study of Bhagavata tattva to the dealings on the rasa lila of Vraja. They warn that if devotees do that then they will invariably misunderstand what that lila is really all about, the consequence of that will be unfavorable for them on the progressive path to pure devotion. The result of not heeding that warning can be seen today by the numerous devotees who have become enamored of thinking themselves to be rightly situated in their obsession with manjari bhava and rasa lila, all of it caused by a delusional understanding of Radha Krsna and a delusional understanding of their own level of bhakti. So in order to break that spell of self deception, I am saying what needs to be said.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written:

Goloka-Vrindavana is realizable in the symbolic Vrindavana that is open to our view in this world by all persons whose Love has been perfected by the mercy of the inhabitants of Transcendental Vraja, and not other-wise. The grossest misunderstanding of the subject of the Vraja Lila of Sri Krishna is inevitable if these considerations are not kept in view.

In the form of the narrative of the Bhagavatam, the Transcendental Vraja Lila manifests its descent to the plane of our mundane vision in the symbolic shapes resembling those of the corresponding mundane events. If we are disposed, for any reason, to underestimate the transcendental symbolism of the narrative of the Bhagavatam we are unable to avoid unfavorable and hasty conclusions regarding the nature of the highest, the most perfect and the most charming form of the loving service of the Divinity to which all other forms of his service are as the avenues of approach.

You also wrote

What I mean by that is, I know I must be getting you wrong, but you seem to be saying that, “internally”, all the different incarnations and even Srimati Radharani Herself are somehow only faking. She is only pretending to be so deeply in love with Krishna. It is just a pantomime show to enhance Krishna’s relationship with jivas. (Surely you cannot be saying that!)

Sri Radha and Krsna, Balarama and the personal expansions of Sri Radha, are pretending to be humans in Krsna lila are they not? They are always pretending to be something other then what they truly are in lila.

You wrote

Does it say that directly anywhere in Srila Prabhupada’s books? Your quotations from Baladeva Vidyabhusana and others do not directly say that Radha does not really love Krishna. Your quote from Govinda Bhasya is really the only one that seems to say anything of the kind, but even that one you are helping along by your further analysis. It does not necessarily follow to me that, when Baladeva says that when The Divine Couple are together there is the perfection of blissful amorous pastimes, he means that there is really only an “external” show of amour, and that “internally” love between Them is not really possible

Baladeva more or less directly says what I said, the whole point of his bringing that up was to make the point that I am making. He makes the same point twice in order to be emphatic:

From Govinda Bhasya

Is it not true that amorous love is possible only when there are two: the lover and the beloved ? If there is no difference between the lover and the beloved, then love is not possible between them.

Although the Lord and His para sakti are not different, still, for enjoying different pastimes, They are manifested as different. In this way the Lord’s desires are perfectly and completely fulfilled.

Even though the Lord’s potency and the Lord Himself, the shelter of that potency, are one, still, because the Lord is the best of males and His potency is the jewel of young girls, when They are together there is naturally the perfection of blissful amorous pastimes.

He makes the point twice that even though Radha and Krsna are not different, that even though they are one, that in order to “enjoy different pastimes” and for the “perfection” of those pastimes, that they are “manifested as different”. This was in order to answer the question he raises which one would naturally come to if one properly understands the ontological nature of Radha and Krsna, which he raised in the previous verse:

By touching the goddess of fortune, who is actually Himself, the Lord enjoys transcendental bliss. It is like a person gazing at his own handsomness in a mirror

Different from His spiritual potency (para sakti) is the potency of the Lord’s form (svarupa-sakti). The Sruti-sastras and other scriptures explain that through the svarupa-sakti the Supreme Lord manifests as the best of males, and through the para sakti the Lord manifests His various transcendental qualities.

Manifesting as the Lord’s pleasure potency (hladini sakti), the para sakti appears as Sri Radha, the jewel of teenage girls

Srila Prabhupada hints at what I am saying in many places. For example from a lecture on Radhastami:

Sometimes Krsna is in ecstasy of Radha. Sometimes Radha is in ecstasy of Krsna. This is going on. But the whole thing is Radha and Krsna means the one, the Supreme.

So Radha-Krsna philosophy is a very great philosophy. It is to be understood in the liberated stage. Radha-Krsna philosophy is not to be understood in the conditioned stage. But when we worship Radha-Krsna in our conditional stage, actually we worship Laksmi-Narayana. You have seen that picture, this viddhi-marga and raga-marga. Radha-Krsna worship is on the platform of pure love, and Laksmi-Narayana worship is on the regulative principles. So long we do not develop our pure love, we have to worship on the regulative principles. One has to become a brahmacari, one has to become a sannyasi, one has to perform the worship in this way, in the morning he has to rise, he has to offer. So many rules and regulations. There are at least sixty-four rules and regulations. So we shall introduce them gradually as you develop. So in the viddhi-marga, when you have no love for God or Krsna, we have to follow the regulative principles and automatically. . . , there is practice. When practicing. Just like you practice this mrdanga playing. In the beginning it is not in order, but when you become well versed in the practice, the sound will come so nice. Similarly, when we are engaged by regulative principles in the worship of Radha-Krsna, that is called viddhi-marga. And actually when you are on the love platform, then that is called raga-marga. So without viddhi-marga, if anyone wants to learn the raga-marga immediately, that is foolishness. That is foolishness. Nobody can pass M. A. examination without going through the regulative principles of primary schools and colleges. So therefore I do not, I mean to say, indulge in the discussions of Radha and Krsna so easily. Rather go on with the regulative principle at the present moment. Gradually, as you become purified, as you become on the transcendental platform, you’ll understand what is Radha-Krsna. 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-sahajiyas. 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. Because Krsna and Radha, They are not on the material field. Try to understand.

You wrote

You do seem to be directly saying, though, that (perish the thought!) Radha really does not love Krishna. Did I get that wrong? I certainly hope so.

They are the same person. From Srila Prabhupadas ‘Teachings of Lord Caitanya”

Radha and Krsna are one, and when Krsna desires to enjoy pleasure, He manifests Himself as Radharani. The spiritual exchange of love between Radha and Krsna is the actual display of the internal pleasure potency of Krsna (Radha’s display). Although we speak of “when” Krsna desires, just when He did desire we cannot say. We only speak in this way because in conditional life we take it that everything has a beginning; however, in the absolute or spiritual life there is neither beginning nor end. Yet in order to understand that Radha and Krsna are one and that They also become divided, the question “When?” automatically comes to mind. When Krsna desired to enjoy His pleasure potency, He manifested Himself in the separate form of Radharani.

The problem in understanding Radha Krsna lila is encountered when devotees prematurely think themselves ready to understand those pastimes. It is seen that many devotees commonly think that the proper action to take in order to develop their love and devotion is to immerse themselves in rasa lila topics and or meditation. Often it leads to obsessing over rasa lila as if that obsession will increase their “love” and devotion and enable them to “advance”. They get all worked up emotionally over things they don’t really understand, thinking themselves to be great lovers and afficianados of Radha Krsna and rasa lila, when they have as yet come to the proper understanding of Bhagavat philosophy. It is that type of self delusion which often leads to deeper levels of self delusion leading to varieties of sahajiyaism (in the sense of taking oneself to be much more advanced then one actually is, and then trying to develop an imaginary siddha deha in ones mind, and then falling into the delusion of thinking that Radha Krsna is actually attracted by that).

By skipping over the pre-requisite teachings, or by not immersing themselves sufficiently in the pre-requisite teachings which will prepare a devotee for the proper understanding of rasa lila, what happens is that upon encountering rasa lila they will not understand that lila from the position of tattva, they will only see the external dealings of boys and girls in love. They will mistake those descriptions found in rasa lila to be only literal truth. There is a purpose in that lila when taken literally e.g. to attract conditioned souls to Krsna bhakti. But after taking to Krsna bhakti that lila serves another epistemological purpose for the devotee. It’s required that the devotee become educated in Bhagavata tattva in order to understand the deeper meaning of Sri Sri Radha Krsna lila. Krsna lila is not without a deeper esoteric understanding then that which is first understood.

You wrote

The acaryas are always telling stories describing Radha’s love for Krishna. Do they ever really say that is just “external”? I never heard that. I always thought the affairs of Radha and Krishna were the most “internal” of all.

It is expected that a devotee will understand the true ontological nature of Radha Krsna before entering the treatises on rasa lila. Those writings on rasa lila serve a dual purpose for two different audiences. The purely literal or external lila is meant for non devotees and neophytes in order to attract them to Krsna bhakti. They hear of Krsna lila and get inspired to take to Krsna bhakti with the hope that they will get to live eternally with God in his lila. But besides that purpose to attract people to bhakti there is another purpose to the writings on lila by the acaryas. That is why the acaryas warn not to rush into trying to understand rasa lila. On the one hand rasa lila is what attracts non devotees and neophytes to take to Krsna bhakti (just like Prabhupada first published Krsna Book and distributed that before the more deeply philosophical books), on the other hand once becomming a devotee you are advised away from rasa lila until you are philosophically better educated. Why? Because there is an esoteric version of rasa lila which cannot be understood until one understands the true nature of God. If one doesn’t take that advice seriously he stands a chance of falling into some type of sahajiya mentality. This is widely observed in India amongst gaudiya vaisnavas for a long time. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta railed against the imitationists and became hated by them for it. Since Srila Prabhupada left, that type of imitationist bhakti has become very popular even amongst western followers of gaudiya vaisnavism, many of them Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. They think themselves very advanced in their emotional outpouring towards Radha and Krsna, but it is all based upon a delusional foundation of misunderstanding tattva and over estimating the reality of their own relationship with Radha Krsna. They are all manjaris in their minds, they are very close to Krsna in their imagination, not in actual reality. They think they have great prema for Radha Krsna and that they are very advanced. In reality it is all coming from a place of emotional imitation and egotism. They do not understand Radha Krsna, nor what prema even really is. It is all imitationism, imitation of rasa lila, imitation of being self realized.

You wrote

Don’t get me wrong. I am all in favor of open discussion of Srila Prabhupada’s books from all angles, and I do want to learn. I can tell you know a great deal more than I do. However, what you are saying sounds so foreign and alien to me. “Radha does not really love Krishna”? How could that possibly be? It sounds like the antithesis of everything Srila Prabhupada says. If anything is heresy, it sounds like that is it.

I realize that without a little controversy as leavening, the Dandavats discussions never seem to get off the ground. If that’s the case, this one promises to be a prize winner. You just dropped the baking soda into a bottle of vinegar. Dare we shake it further?

What I have been saying is what devotees are supposed to come to realize through the proper study and practice of the bona fide teachings of the sampradaya. But due to the current circumstances of rampant sahajiyaism and it’s increasing hold over more and more devotees, I am compelled to say what I have said. One cannot enter into a real relationship with the Lord through the process of obsessing over rasa lila, nor by mentally cultivating an image of yourself as a person in rasa lila, those ideas are a misunderstanding of raganuga bhakti and taught by pretenders and believed by people who are sentimentalists and egotists. While being in ignorance of the ontological nature of the reality of God’s control and presence in our environment, and in ignorance of God’s presence and control in ourselves, and in ignorance of the ontological nature of Radha Krsna and rasa lila, any type of mentality where one thinks he or she is greatly advanced and following the higher path of bhakti, is complete delusion. Regardless of how many titles or followers one may have.

Comment posted by shiva on November 25th, 2007
18 Akruranatha

Externally Krishna is neutral to all and never envies anyone or holds anyone especially dear. Internally He is bhakta-vatsala. He specially favors the devotees.

We hear that He only appears to neglect the atheistic demons because He is awarding everyone in accordance with how they approach Him.

Still, the way He really comes alive for those who give themselves to Him in pure devotional service is special. He abandons His neutrality. He becomes purchased by that bhakti. He enters into loving exhanges of transcendental lila with such devotees.

In such lila, He sometimes is bewildered, sometimes fears. Sometimes He breaks His own promises to satisfy His devotees (as when He attacked Bhisma with a chariot wheel). Sometimes for the sake of lila He laments, forgets, and hankers for things He cannot achieve. How can this be? Is it possible that yogamaya can cover Him? He must allow this to happen somehow. It is mysterious.

Those too attached to jnana might say it is just a fake show to enchant the devotees. It is not really possible. In every respect, He always remains the master of yogamaya. (And after all, Krishna is famous for being cunning and enchanting)

However, the highest bhakti has to be jnana-karmady-anavrtam. Only for such pure bhaktas who have become free from desire for jnana, which is sometimes identified with desire for liberation, are the confidential truths of Krishna’s lila are revealed.

The Bhaktivedanta authorities tell us that, actually, Radharani does enchant Krishna. She does control Krishna. That is the nature of Krishna, that He is actually controlled by Radha’s love. Even though He is superior to everyone and everything, even though He is fully cognizant (abhijna) and fully independent (svarat), still He gives Himself to His pure devotees and becomes conquered by their love.

You might say that it is impossible for one aspect of the Divine Couple to be conquered by another aspect. After all, they are One. There is only One. But this One is full of dynamic varieties, perfected amorous lilas, the fountainhead of all rasas. For this One, true internal loving feelings for His predominated potency are not impossible. Nothing is impossible for Him. Otherwise He would be limited. He *can* create a rock so big He cannot lift it, (”and then He’ll lift it”).

As for the jivas, they are nondifferent from the Lord in quality, but they are infinitessimal, like sparks from the sun. They are one with the Lord in the sense that their only real self-interest is to fully surrender in devotional service to Him. Any other so-called self-interest is illusory. They are always completely dependent on Him (whether they know it or not). And yet it pleases Him and them to engage in dynamic loving exchanges. Even though He lacks nothing, He accepts their simple offerings if made with bhakti. That is “internal”, confidential, mysterious.

The plenary expansions are identical to the Lord in quantity also, but that does not mean They cannot experience interactions with one another, or have an internal experience of such interactions. Does it? Why does Their being plenary, subjective, svamsa expansions as opposed to infinitesimal parts and parcels make a difference vis-a-vis Their ability to have loving dealings with each other?

The vibhinnamsas can misuse their minute independence and be covered by illusory energy. However, even when they are properly situated in the internal energy they are still interacting with Krishna in dynamic loving emotional exchanges. Why should it be different for the Lord’s plenary expansions like Narayana and Sankarsana? Why would it be different for the Lord’s internal (non-subjective) potencies like Radharani or Rukmini or Laksmi?

Krishna and Balaram are exactly the same person, but yet They sometimes disagree. Case in point: Krishna wanted Arjuna to marry Subhadra, but Balaram did not.

Shiva will say, “internally” Krishna and Balarama were of one mind, but “externally” they were manifesting a disagreement regarding the marriage of Subhadra.

I might just as well say, “externally” they are one, but Krishna has “internal” desires about the marriage of Subhadra that differ from Balarama’s “internal” desires. This seems impossible to the rationalist, but nothing is impossible for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

I could be wrong about this. I will consider whatever authoritative statements Shiva can marshal to support his position, and any other references others can offer, too. I am always eager to learn the true siddhanta of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, and I know my own learning and realizations are very meager.

[I remember once reading about some devotees asking Prabhupada about Krishna and Balarama. I wish I could remember the story. It involved, I think, the devotees in the old New York yatra, Jadurani, and maybe Gargamuni or Brahmananda . . . There was some controversy, and it was related to Prabhupada that one of them said, Krishna and Balarama are the same, identical person, and Srila Prabhupada said, “That’s right.” Then the other devotee’s position that Krishna and Balarama were somehow different was disclosed, and Srila Prabhpada also said, “He’s right.” The devotees remained confused how they could both be right. Does anyone have the reference?]

I just seems that if Krishna is only interacting as an individual with jivas, and not with Radharani, then all the descriptions about Radha and Krishna’s feelings for each other that we constantly hear are false, phony, misleading. I cannot accept that. I think I would have heard that after 30+ years in ISKCON if that was really our philosophy. It would seem to drain all the juice out of the pastimes somehow if that were the case. I would be very disappointed to learn that. My heart cannot accept it. It seems strange to be hearing it from the learned Shiva.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 26th, 2007
19 Unregistered

Shiva says - ‘That is not quite right. A metaphor doesn’t imply that something is not real, it implies that something, like an idea or word or conception, is representing or designating another. If the conception of Maha Vishnu dreaming is not a metaphor then it is literal. In fact it cannot be literal because Maha Vishnu is a swamsa or plenary expansion of Krsna i.e. Maha Vishnu is Krsna’.

It is a fact that Maha-Vishnu is laying down dreaming and His DREAM IS THE MATERIAL CREATION OR MAHAT-TATTVA

“This material creation is the spirit soul’s dream. Actually all existence in the material world is a dream of Maha-Visnu, as the Brahma Samhita describes:

Yah karanarnava – jale bhajati sma yaga
Nidram ananta – jagad- anda- saroma- kupah

This material world is created by the dreaming of Maha-Visnu. The real factual platform is the spiritual world, but when the spirit soul wants to imitate the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is put into this dreamland of material creation.”
Purport to SB. 4.29.83.

This description of the material dreaming characteristic of our marginal (nitya-baddha identity) has been a controversial subject for so long however, Shiva must understand that the dreams of Maha-Vishnu and the dreams of the marginal living entity, that takes residence within Maha-Vishnu’s material dreaming creation, are certainly not on the same ‘mental’ state’ of illusionary dreams that we all have in our present material biological bodies.

No, it is not like that interpretation of the word dream.

Maha-Vishnu is sleeping and dreaming and our bodily vessels and their surroundings are all part and parcel of His mahat-tattva dream

“The modes of nature divide the soul’s consciousness into normal wakefulness, dreaming and dreamless sleep. All such varieties of perception, however, are actually Maya and exist only like a dream”. Text 34 Purport Canto 11

Srila Prabhuapada calls non-Krishna Conscious thoughts, dreams and says we are ‘thinking’ or ‘dreaming’ that we are separated from Krishna but actually there is simply a cloud covering our vision of seeing Krishna and who we really are.

What does this mean

The secondary nitya-baddha ‘dreaming’ conscious state of the jiva-tatastha, is an authentic and real condition that ALL living entities can activate if they choose to use their free will and ignore Krishna and their authentic ’svarupa’ body they serve Krishna as. The permanent bodily Krishna Conscious nitya-siddha feature of the marginal living entity is the bona fide permanent spiritual identity that ALL marginal living entities are endowed with.

Srila Prabhupada - “Our position is like that, sometimes covered, sometimes free, just like at the edge of the tide. As soon as we forget, immediately the illusion is there. Just like as soon as we sleep, dream is there”.

Everything happening within time, which consists of past, present and future, is merely a dream. This is the secret in understanding in all the Vedic literature.” SB. 4.29.2b.
We are all dreaming as our nitya-baddha secondary self within the dreams of Maha-Vishnu Our authentic constitutional eternal self is nitya-siddha in Goloka

Srila Prabhupada also uses the analogy of the cloud covering the sun, its not that the sun is not there, but rather is that we cannot see the sun similarly, the nitya-baddha consciousness is like the cloud and the only when that cloud (nitya-baddha consciousness) dissipates, can we see the sun or our true perpetual Krishna Conscious nitya-siddha bodily identity.

The problem with the dream analogy is many foolishly relate this dream state with the biological body of nine gates. This is due to not understanding what the ‘dream’ means in this context in relation to maha-Vishnu. The DREAMING CONCEPT simply means we have ALL come down from Goloka and our consciousness has become covered like a cloud covers the sun, or like dust covers the mirror or like smoke covers the fire - dreaming simply means being covered to the point you cannot see who you really are, just like in the dark, one cannot see themselves and those around them due to the absents of light, therefore, presently a blanket of ‘darkness’ covers the marginal living entity in the material world, that ‘blanket of darness’ is called the nitya-baddha consciousness. The uncovered state is ones real eternal DEVOTIONALLY ACTIVE BODILY identity called the nitya-siddha genuin self that perpetually resides in Krishna’s eternal pastimes in Goloka.

The marginal living entity therefore can choose to use their ‘marginal’ freewill and venture as the non-Krishna Conscious covered nitya-baddha characteristic (the covered state) of their marginal identity to the mahat-tattva ‘dreaming’ creation of Maha-Vishnu. The nitya-baddha consciousness therefore is an existent living part and parcel of ones own marginal potency or individual identity that is a secondary feature of the individual living entity that’s restricted view simply manifests due to ones REAL authentic nitya-siddha bodily identity being covered like the cloud blocks out the sun or like ones dreams at night makes one forget their present body.

In this way the mahat-tattva DREAM is real, however it is also temporary due to its fading scenery of past, prsent and future and that is why it is called illusion, that which is not - Maya.

Each living entity has their ceaseless nitya-siddha Krishna Conscious bodily identity in Goloka or Vaikuntha and also has the ability, due to the freedom to choose, to arouse their non-Krishna conscious desire, thoughts and imaginings that ARE like a dark cloud that covers ones perpetual ‘svarupa’ identity. This ‘lower self or secondary consciousness’ blocks out ones awareness, service and vision of real permanent self and is known as ones nitya-baddha COVERED consciousness, a state of restricted perception that all marginal living entities can trigger (be covered by) if they no longer want to stay with Krishna in Goloka..

In this way this attribute within the mahat-tattva or material creation and the impersonal Brahmajyoti, ones jiva-soul identity is 10,000th the size of a tip of hair IN OUR dimension of awareness within the maha-tattva, AND can also move on to a dreamless dormant state within the impersonal trait of the Brahmajyoti that can only also exist outside the personal active realm of Goloka and Vaikuntha.

The Impersonal feature of Brahman or the Brahmajyoti cannot exist as independent effulgence because factually that effulgence IS the marginal living entities secondary nitya-baddha consciousness in an inactive dormant dreamless state.

Srila Prabhupada says that only those who DO NOT ‘DREAM’ of selfish independance in the material world with their mistaken desires, thoughts, aspirations and imaginaion, are in always Goloka in their original bodily constitutional position and Never FALL DOWN OR COME DOWN to the material creation. They have chosen to NEVER dreamin of the material world. This means prsently we are caught up in a dream we think is real but in comparison to the eternal ‘presents’ in Goloka, it is only real for a short time, then fades away to the point that it never was, hence the meaning of Maya, that which is not.

THIS IS WHAT THE WORD DREAM MEANS IN THIS ABSOLUE CONTEXT. The dream we are presently having in the material creation or mahat-tattva, that IS our material body and mind and its surroundings, is an illusion (that is real but temporary) created by Maha-Vishnu; hence dream means illusion in the material world, something that fades away to the point that it will seem that it never really existed. Real existence is permanent and never fades away. Therefore the material ‘dream’ existence is real, but only temporarily real. Eventually your material body and mine will be as if it never was, as if it never even existed in the first place.

Srila Prabhupada - “Everything happening within time, which consists of past, present and future, is merely a dream. That is the secret understanding in all Vedic literature” Text 1b:Canto 4 Purport Srimad Bhagavatam

Srila Prabhupada - “One is actually dreaming due to incomplete knowledge, just as one may dream that one has wakened from a dream”. Canto 11 Text 30 Purport

Srila Prabhupada - “As an object of enjoyment or a permanent residence for the conditioned souls, the material universe is certainly illusion, nothing more than a dream. One may give the analogy that the vision of abundant water in a desert is no more than a dream, although real water exists elsewhere. Similarly, the vision of home, happiness and reality within matter is certainly no better than a foolish dream in which repeated miseries appear.

In another sense, however, the universe is real. In his commentary on Vedanta-sūtra, Śrīla Madhvācārya has confirmed this by quoting the following statement from the Vedic śruti-mantras: satyam hy evedam viśvam asrjata. “This universe, created by the Lord, is real.” The perfect authority of the Vedas thus certifies this universe to be real; nevertheless, because our knowledge is stolen by illusion (as indicated here by the words asta-dhisanam), we cannot properly understand this universe or the Supreme Lord who has created it. As the expansion of Lord Krishna, the universe is real and is meant for being engaged in His service. One who accepts the kingdom of God as home, the Lord Himself as the object of love, and the material universe as paraphernalia for being engaged in the Lord’s service dwells within eternal reality wherever he may go within the material and spiritual worlds”.Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.14.22 Purport

Comment posted by Bhakta Rod on November 26th, 2007
20 Kesava Krsna dasa

Dear prabhus,

While I agree that we all have reach the level of spontaneous devotion before having an inkling of spiritual srngara-rasa, I am still concerned with the metaphor business. I often find that scholarly types tend to use the word to explain the inexplicable.

Since Srila Prabhupada never ascribed metaphors to any pastime of the Lord, except to give poetical justice where needed, we find a consistent use of the word by Shiva prabhu. He hasn’t convinced me why Sri Maha-Vishnu’s dreaming lila is a metaphor, no matter how mysterious or other worldly it is. Then to extend the same reasoning on to Sri Sri Radha Krishna’s pastimes by saying it is only for the pleasure of the jivas is of concern.

Srila Prabhupada many times used the example of an infamous commentator on the Bhagavad-Gita; “It is not to Krishna…but to the unborn within Krishna.” For this worldly scholar, Sri Krishna’s form is a metaphor or an unreal mirage concealing whatever unborn superiority lay within. I trust Shiva prabhu knows very well the dangers posed by such impersonalism. But the introduction of metaphorical concepts where they need not be applied raises some eyebrows.

We know the difference between prakata and aprkata displays of the Lord which is as simple as external and internal, or manifest and hidden. Simplicity of expression always helps to foster understanding. But the metaphor - which has now become a buzzword in this discussion - denotes a grey area not readily acceptable. Metaphors have their place in the writings of Srila Rupa Goswamis dramas like Lalita Madhava and Vidagdha Madhava and so on. His depiction of the ocean of rasa is deemed metaphorical.

When a ciran-jiva like Jambhavan - who witnesses more of the Lord’s pastimes within this universe than the number of times Lord Chaitanya appears - awaits the appearance of the Lord, there is no mechanical expectation or “Here we go again” mentality. The nature of ongoing eternal pastimes are such that forgetfulness helps to bring about the ever fresh non-static elements of surprise.

With this in mind we have to consider what is literal as opposed to metaphorical. For instance, When child Lord Damodra is running away in fear of Mother Yashoda and is crying tears - those tears are real - literal. Only a hard-hearted person will say otherwise. Why would Satyavrat Muni wish that this form of Sri Bala-Gopal with His literal childhood pastimes be ever menifest in his heart? If this were a metaphorical description, why did Sri Narada Muni and Sri Saunaka Rsi not raise objections? They were soft-hearted like-minded honey bees relishing nectar.

The salve of love can penetrate the clinical, detached ravings of scholastic views. The coarse sand of indifference makes the same pastimes seem untenable. Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraja has warned us: “If one becomes a bookworm, reading many books and scriptures, and hearing many commentaries and instructions of many men, this will produce doubt within his heart. One cannot in this way ascertain the real goal of life.” (CC Adi. 16.11)

The power to make the Lord forget His Godhood is invested in Sri Purnamasi as the Lord wishes. If He wants to forget He is God for the sake of His loving dealings, that is also reality. To introduce a concept as has been mentioned by Shive prabhu is underestimating the Lord of rasa - Sri Rasaraja.

Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

Comment posted by Kesava Krsna dasa on November 26th, 2007
21 Akruranatha

Shiva Prabhu:

At least I, personally, do not think myself qualified to study Rasa Lila and Krishna’s intimate pastimes. Mainly I do study Bhagavad Gita.

However, I have a sense that Srila Prabhupada wants us to read and discuss all of his books very thoroughly. I have always enjoyed reading Krishna Book, and I have also noticed, as you say, that this remarkable book has a way of attracting people to devotional service. People who read it often become devotees.

Therefore, I am very fond of distributing Krishna Book. When I distribute it I tell people that these are the authentic stories of Krishna from the Srimad Bhagavatam, and that because the author is a great devotee of Krishna who has full realization of the subject matter, he can vividly describe the real emotional exchanges Krishna displays with His devotees. (I often say things like), “You may not even have any faith at first, and may take these just as enjoyable stories which are classics of one of the world’s great cultures, but as you read them they will come alive for you and you will come to easily understand the intricate philosophy and see how Krishna and His devotees are actually real.”

After going through a spiel like that, many, many people have given me $30 or $40 for a hardcover set. And because I am selling the Krishna book, I think that gives me some right (the duty even) to read and discuss it. Besides, I can’t help myself.

I also feel a duty to read and discuss Bhagavatam, Isopanishad, Caitanya Caritamrta, Nectar of Devotion and Nectar of Instruction. Some of the concepts we have been discussing here are addressed even in the First Canto (e.g. “Prayers of Queen Kunti”), and of course the CC and NOI and NOD contain some very esoteric subject matter.

Now, recently, one sannyasi instructed me to read Sivarama Swami’s book “Krishna Sangati”. Reluctantly I have begun reading it, and I am finding it really fascinating (I am now in the last chapter), but I can tell it is too esoteric for me. I am definitely not on the liberated platform, and I do not make any pretense of being advanced or a connoisseur of such topics. If I sound like a sahajiya maybe it is because I have lately been reading this advanced material. Anyway, please believe me that I am not imagining myself to be a great devotee or anything of the sort.

Still, I am bubbling with enthusiasm to discuss all of Prabhupada’s books, and I ask that you please forgive me if my words and understandings are not quite correct. I know you have been reading Sandarbhas, Govinda Bhasya and many other works. If your study can shed light on Prabhupada’s teachings I am all ears. However, some of the things you have said do not sound right to me, and do not seem to be directly supported by your quotations.* It should behoove you to explain all these things carefully in light of Srila Prabhupada’s actual teachings to make sure you may also not be going astray.

(*Specifically, the concept that Krishna and Radha, being the same person, are not really tasting the rasas of their amorous pastimes, but just pretending to in order to enhance the tastes they exchange with jivas.)

Please do not take offense. I read and analyze appellate court opinions for a living. I might have (for better or worse) aquired more tolerance than many for parsing sentences and paragraphs of texts and discussing their possible different meanings and ambiguities. I will go back over your quotations from Baladeva Vidyabhusana in a later text, as time permits. However, right now I want to share something that I found interesting and perhaps pertinent to this discussion:

I remembered having read in Krishna Book about Krishna’s lamentation, during His fight with Salva, upon seeing the demon conjure and behead a false replica of Vasudeva. Prabhupada talks about how there is some controversy about this account, and concludes that Krishna is never really affected by such material lamentation.

Right in the text itself (S.B. 10.77.30-32), Sukadeva states that some sages give this account (about Krishna’s having been bewildered by Salva’s illusion, and having been momentarily overcome by lamentation and compassion), but that their statements are illogical and contradictory, and he refutes them.

In Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur’s commentary on verse 31, translated by Bhanu Swami (in “Sarartha Darsini”, Ramko Press Pvt. Ltd., © 2004 Mahanidhi Swami), is this fascinating statement:

“Lamentation and other emotions are of two types: caused by ignorance and caused by knowledge. The emotions described here are possible in people who are ignorant, or do not know everything, or who are dependent on the wrong sources of knowledge. But how is it possible in the Supreme Lord Krishna who has unlimited knowledge? Transcendental lamentation and other such spiritual emotions are possible in those who have perfect awareness of the world beyond illusion. This applies to the devotees and *the Lord Himself* who is the original source of all nectarean rasas arising as sancari-bhavas which are a part of rasa.

“This is clearly seen in Krishna’s damodara-lila wherein the Lord cried in fear of mother Yasoda’s stick, and in the preliminary loving attraction (purva raga) of the gopis during the rasa lila.” (Emphasis supplied)

There are some terms in the above quotation like “sancari-bhavas” and “purva raga” which I do not understand. [Any enlightenment anyone can shed will be most welcome. I was previously considering that “purva” must mean previous, as it does in many Gita verses, but it seems here that it means “preliminary”. But I cannot tell for sure.]

However, it does appear that Visvanatha is clearly distinguishing here between two kinds of emotions. The lamentation Krishna was said (by some erroneous sages) to display upon seeing Salva kill the false Vasudeva is a type arising out of ignorance, and does not really occur in Krishna. However, Krishna’s fear of Mother Yasoda’s stick is a transcendental emotion that Krishna actually does experience.

I do not claim to understand these things, but I find them fascinating and worthy of our discussion.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 27th, 2007
22 Akruranatha

“Is it not true that amorous love is possible only when there are two: the lover and the beloved? If there is no difference between the lover and the beloved, then love is not possible between them.”

[Baladeva may be saying above, as Shiva suggests, that love really is never possible between Radha and Krishna. However, such an interpretation is so contrary to Prabhupada’s central teachings, that I think Baladeva cannot really mean that. Another possible explanation is that he is merely setting up the apparent paradox he delivers in the next two paragraphs. That is what it seems to me like he is doing.]

“Although the Lord and His para sakti are not different, still, for enjoying different pastimes, They are manifested as different. In this way the Lord’s desires are perfectly and completely fulfilled.”

[Shiva suggests that in saying Radha and Krishna are “manifested” as different, Baladeva means that They are only “externally” different, and that understanding Their oneness is “internal”, or on a higher order of reality. The uses of the words “external” and “internal” are in Shiva’s interpretation, not in the text itself. Baladeva’s use of the phrase “for enjoying different pastimes” indicates that Radha and Krishna are actually enjoying the pastimes. To enjoy “externally” and not “internally” would be to only pretend to enjoy while not actually doing so. Baladeva does not appear to be saying that the enjoyment is “external” in that way. Nor is there any hint in the text that such “enjoying” is only possible for the jivas or in relation to jivas. In fact, the Caitanya Caritamrta clearly states that Radha’s enjoyment is thousands of times greater than Krishna’s, which indicates that Radha and Krishna Themselves are actually (i.e., “internally”) enjoying.]

[The use of the word “manifested” does not necessarily imply, as Shiva seems to take it, that Their manifestation as different is less real than Their oneness. It may well be, as I believe, that Baladeva calls upon us to appreciate both Their oneness and Their actual difference. Although simultaneous oneness and difference is a logical contradiction, it is fundamental to our philosophy that such contradictions are resolved in the inconceivable Supreme Personality of Godhead. I agree with Shiva that we should carefully learn the contours of this inconceivable quality of the Lord, and we should not be too quick to invoke “acintya bhedäbheda tattva” at the drop of a hat in numerous situations where it might not apply, but it seems that in Baladeva’s discussion of Krishna’s simultaneous difference and nondifference with Radharani here, “acintya bhedäbheda tattva” is precisely what he is talking about.]

“Even though the Lord’s potency and the Lord Himself, the shelter of that potency, are one, still, because the Lord is the best of males and His potency is the jewel of young girls, when They are together there is naturally the perfection of blissful amorous pastimes.”

[I have already commented on this sentence. When Baladeva says “there is naturally the perfection of blissful amorous pastimes”, I do not detect the slightest hint that these pastimes are any less real or important in any sense than the Lord’s oneness. Coming at the end of the passage, as it does, this statement seems to carry the force of the argument, which is to affirm, rather than deny, the reality and importance of the Lord’s perfect, blissful pastimes.]

Of course, in any analysis of the above text, I am restricted to the English translation. I do not know who translated it. I do not have the original Sanskrt, not could I understand the original Sanskrt if I had it (although I do find that Srila Prabhupada’s method of providing verse translations plus word-for-word translations gives even a Sanskrt novice a good deal of insight into the meaning of many slokas for those who study them carefully).

Still, the quoted English text does not seem to me to say that the pastimes are merely an “external”, false show, merely for the benefit of jivas, not actually enjoyed or tasted internally by the Divine Couple. On the contrary, the sense seems to be that although logically it is impossible for love to exist between nondifferent persons, it nevertheless does exist – and quite magnificently so – between Radha and Krishna, even though They are in fact nondifferent.

Shiva’s point is well taken that sahajiyas who take the Lord’s pastimes very cheaply as ordinary human affairs do not properly understand the Lord’s transcendental nature. However, I think Shiva was overstating it by suggesting that the Divine Couple’s oneness is “internal” and more important or more *real* than Their actual loving emotions, which are only being “manifested” or “displayed” outwardly for the benefit of enhancing Their interaction with jivas. I agree with Kesava Krishna in this regard.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 27th, 2007
23 Akruranatha

Responding to Bhakta Rod’s latest comment, and getting back to the theme of the original article, it sounds like we are all in agreement that the mere fact that Maha-Vishnu is “dreaming” the creation of millions of universes does not suggest their unreality.

On the contrary, the fact that they are *Maha Vishnu’s* dreams confirms their connection with the transcendental Absolute Truth, and hence supports their reality.

Shiva is right that there is a sense in which “He can do it in His sleep” (i.e., that it is effortless for the Lord to create unlimited universes).

The Mahat Tattva is a place for the conditioned souls to go. They cannot remain in the spiritual sky or they would disturb the atmosphere.

Significantly, the Mahat Tattva is not eternally existing. It periodically appears and disappears. Similarly, within the material universes there are periodic lesser and greater annihilations, and each universe is itself eventually annihilated. This constant creation and destruction (”bhutva bhutva praliyate) is distinct from the nature of the spiritual world (”paras tasmat tu bhavo ‘nyo, ‘vyakto ‘vyaktat sanatanah”). (B.G. 8.19-20)

Nevertheless, seeing the whole pastime of creation, preservation and destruction of material things in its proper connection with Vishnu allows us to understand the material elements as they really are — i.e., that they are also the Lord’s energy and thus are in reality brahman.

Lord Vishnu never consorts with His external energy; rather, He impregnates her with souls by sending His Sambhu potency in the form of His glance.

The pastime of preservation, creation and destruction of the world is contained in the mundane world. “Hence, it being perverted, the Supreme Lord, identical with Maha Vishnu, prefers to consort with the goddess Yoganidra, the constituent of His own spiritual [cit] potency full of the ecstatic trance of eternal bliss appertaining to His own divine personality.” (B.S. 5.17)

Brahma and Siva cannot consort with Yoganidra. They have their own consorts. Yoganidra is Vishnu’s cit potency, Laksmidevi, whereas the consorts of Brahma and Siva are perverted reflections of Her.

I always loved that part about how Vishnu prefers to consort with Yoganidra because the pastimes of preservation, creation and destruction of the world are contained in the mundane world and are hence perverted. It underscores what we are all saying here about the Lord’s mystic sleep: there is no trace of ignorance or illusion in that Yoganidra, but it is a completely transcendental, blissful, ecstatic trance. The dreams it produces must be, for Maha Vishnu, full of bliss and knowledge without anything disturbing or contaminating to Him.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 27th, 2007
24 Akruranatha

I mentioned this poem before and it is so excellent (I memorized it years ago) I wanted to share it here. It relates to how Krishna, as the time factor, lays low all the vanity of the world, and I also brought it up in discussing various meanings of “internal” and “external”:

Ozymandius
(by Percy Bhysshe Shelley)

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert… Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

On the surface the poem mocks the vanity of despotic kings. A once powerful ruler erected a huge monument to his ego (not unlike the Stalins, Marcoses and Saddam Husseins of our time, or the Napoleon of Shelley’s), but after the passage of centuries, perhaps millennia, all that’s left is a lonely ruin in the vast desert.

But then the skill of the unknown sculptor is also mentioned. He was able to portray the internal reality of the King’s passions in a more tangible medium that still survives, long beyond the forgotten glory of the King’s reign. It won’t survive for ever though.

The “lone and level sands” may to some evoke the idea of democracy, that eventually the inequalities of tyrannical political systems will be leveled with the passage of time.

For me, though, it calls to mind the brahmajyoti, bright but devoid of variety. Time will destroy the works of powerful egotistic materialists. Even though the work of mundane artists may last much longer, it won’t last forever (the statue is already wrecked and decayed). The real victor in the poem is the lone and level desert sands. The only truly enduring reality is the nondual spiritual existence.

Of course, poor Shelley did not have access to information of the Lord’s transcendental pastimes. Whenever I read great works of mundane literature and philosophy, I feel compassion that the authors, though possessed of great minds and marvelous talent, did not have a chance to read and appreciate Srila Prabhupada’s books.

We must give our future leading intellectual and literari lights that opportunity. Srila Prabhupada kijaya!

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 27th, 2007
25 Akruranatha

The world is full of allegorical meanings. Supersoul, who perfectly directs the wanderings of countless trillions of trillions of jivas, is the greatest of authors.

Intoxicated or insane people see faces in the clouds and drawings in the cracks on the wall. These are not exactly hallucinations. Their minds are tuning in to meanings of real phenomena that normal minds filter out.

Geniuses can pluck profound meanings out of life’s experience that average people never see. Talented writers can convey such meanings in choice words, full of beautiful resonant sound and poetic meter.

If even the mundane creation is so pregnant with allegorical meanings, how much more so are the transcendental pastimes of Uttama Sloka, which are told by perfected, liberated devotee-poets like Vyasadeva and Sukadeva Goswami?

Of course, everything must be properly received in disciplic succession. Unscrupulous nondevotees twist ridiculous allegorical meanings out of the Lord’s pastimes while neglecting the direct meanings. Such atheists go so far as to deny the reality of the pastimes themselves and to destroy the whole effect of Krishna-katha.

Pure devotees, while always attuned to the supermundane reality of the Lord’s lilas, names, forms, and rasas, can also meaningfully discuss metaphorical or allegorical significance. For example, Bhaktivinode Thakur wrote a famous book (which I have not yet read) describing allegorical meanings of different demons Krishna slew.

It is not wrong for devotees to discuss various indirect meanings of the Lord’s pastimes, so long as they do not lose sight of the direct meanings. Our acaryas quite frequently make such observations in their commentaries.

However, we have to be careful not to start inventing false explanations. Realization means being able to present exactly what we have heard in disciplic succession in an appropriate way directly suited to the circumstances in which we present it.

Some stories in the Bhagavatam are expressly metaphorical. Many of Narada Muni’s teachings, including the story of King Puranjana, are allegorical presentations. Narada was telling King Pracinabarhisat the story of the King’s own life as if it were an ancient history. The “City of Nine Gates” (i.e., the material body) is not actually a city, although it has certain characteristics that make it beautiful and instructive to *liken* it to a city.

Similarly, it is easy for us on a general level to distinguish between how we dream at night and how we experience the world in waking consciousness. However, it is also useful to think that, in the same way we forget our dreams when we awaken and go about our business in the daytime, most of the things we care so much about in waking consciousness (our name, family, social position, bank balance) will all be forgotten to us when we die and are reborn in a different body.

Krishna’s pastimes are not like that. The more we awaken to those holy names, forms, pastimes, personalities and rasas, the freer we will be from the grip of false designations and the anxieties they bring.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 27th, 2007
26 Unregistered

Akruranath prabhu, like many devotees you are basing your ontological understanding of Radha-Krsna on Radha-Krsna lila, instead of upon Bhagavat tattva. We are advised against that. Without first understanding the ontological nature of Radha-Krsna, then understanding their lila will not be possible. You will do as you are doing i.e. basing your understanding of Radha-Krsna on their lila pastimes rather then on philosophy. In my previous post I quoted this from Srila Prabhupada

So therefore I do not, I mean to say, indulge in the discussions of Radha and Krsna so easily. Rather go on with the regulative principle at the present moment. Gradually, as you become purified, as you become on the transcendental platform, you’ll understand what is Radha-Krsna. 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-sahajiyas. 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. Because Krsna and Radha, They are not on the material field. Try to understand.

You and others want to reconcile Radha and Krsna’s ontological oneness, with their difference in lila. To do that you invoke acintya bheda-abheda tattva, which is alright, but you do it in a wrong way. Yes, they are one and different. But how are they one and different? They are both the same person, they are identical, yet take two different forms and display two different personalities in lila. That doesn’t mean they stop being the same person. You take the bheda-abheda between the jiva and God and apply that to Radha-Krsna, that is incorrect. The jiva is bheda-abheda with God in the sense that we are comprised of God’s tatastha-sakti and are therefore a part and parcel of God, yet at the same time we are different then God because we are tiny and have no power, and we are different persons from God. Radha and Krsna are identical persons, with the same power, their difference is that one is a male personality and the other is a female personality. In lila they have two different bodies and have different personalities, but they are one and the same person. That is how bheda-abheda should be understood in relation to Radha-Krsna.

Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 4.96-98

radha — purna-sakti, krsna — purna-saktiman
dui vastu bheda nai, sastra-paramana

Sri Radha is the full power, and Lord Krsna is the possessor of full power. The two are not different, as evidenced by the revealed scriptures

mrgamada, tara gandha — yaiche aviccheda
agni, jvalate — yaiche kabhu nahi bheda

They are indeed the same, just as musk and its scent are inseparable, or as fire and its heat are nondifferent.

radha-krsna aiche sada eka-i svarupa
lila-rasa asvadite dhare dui-rupa

Thus Radha and Lord Krsna are one, yet They have taken two forms to enjoy the mellows of pastimes.

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 4.56

radha-krsna eka atma, dui deha dhari’
anyonye vilase rasa asvadana kari’

Radha and Krsna are one and the same, but They have assumed two bodies. Thus They enjoy each other, tasting the mellows of love.

Sri Brahma-Samhita 5.37

ananda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhavitabhis
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya- kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, residing in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, resembling His own spiritual figure, the embodiment of the ecstatic potency possessed of the sixty-four artistic activities, in the company of Her confidantes, embodiments of the extensions of Her bodily form, permeated and vitalized by His ever-blissful spiritual rasa.

PURPORT

Although the Lord Absolute and His potency are one and the self-same existence, still They exist eternally as separate entities, as Radha and Krsna.

In Krsna Sandarbha Jiva Goswami says there are two types of expansions of The Supreme Lord:

This is confirmed in the Varaha Purana:

The two kinds of expansions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead are : 1. svamsa (personal expansions) and 2. vibhinnamsa (separate persons). The svamsa expansions are unlimitedly powerful. Their form and personality are the same as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.

There is not the slightest difference between the svamsa expansions and the Original Personality of Godhead. The vibhinnamsa expansions are very weak in comparison to Them.

Here we are told there are only 2 types of living entities, God and the jivas. There is not the slightest difference between the swamsa expansions of the Lord, they are all the same person.

Purport Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 4.81

As already explained, Krsna and Radha are one in two. They are identical. Krsna expands Himself in multi-incarnations and plenary portions like the purusas. Similarly, Srimati Radharani expands Herself in multiforms as the goddesses of fortune, the queens and the damsels of Vraja. Such expansions from Srimati Radharani are all Her plenary portions. All these womanly forms of Krsna are expansions corresponding to His plenary expansions of Visnu forms. These expansions have been compared to reflected forms of the original form. There is no difference between the original form and the reflected forms. The female reflections of Krsna’s pleasure potency are as good as Krsna Himself.

From the Sri Krsna-Bhakti-Ratna-Prakasa of Srila Raghava Goswami:

Because Sri Sri Radha Krsna are not different and because Sri Krsna is the master of all potencies, Therefore Sri Radha is also the master and source of al potencies. He is by nature full of sweetness and bliss, free from the three modes, and eternally manifest beyond the material nature. Because Radha is not different from Him, so is She also. It is said that within the Lord are all potencies, the modes and the material nature.

From Bhaktivinoda’s Sri Tattva Sutra

In the Markandeya Purana, Devi-mahatmya, the sage explains:

“O king, now I will describe to you the glories of the goddess. By her power she sustains the entire world.

“She is the potency of Lord Visnu. From her comes transcendental knowledge. You and many others have attained transcendental knowledge by her grace.”

In the Narada-pancaratra, Second Night, Third Chapter, Lord Siva explains:

“The Supreme Lord is one. Still, He is manifested in two forms. One form is female: the potency of Lord Visnu. The other form is male: Lord Visnu.”

All these verses (and many more) showcase the true ontology of Radha-Krsna i.e that they are 2 bodies, one person. If they are 2 persons in 2 bodies rather then 1 person in 2 bodies, then we would not see the above verses and many others making the claim that they make. By understanding the true ontology of Radha-Krsna, that they are simply the male and female forms of the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, then Radha-Krsna lila can begin to be understood properly. If you take Radha-Krsna lila as the sole basis for your ontology of Radha-Krsna, then you will not be able to begin to understand and enter into a relationship with Radha-Krsna. Radha-Krsna has to be understood from tattva before their lila can be understood. Withour understanding them properly, then all that comes after that misunderstanding will be wrong and unfavorable for developing one’s relationsip with the Lord. If you use Radha-Krsna lila as your source of understanding of Radha-Krsna, then that can and does more often then not, lead to varieties of sahajiyaism. God is 1 person, not 2 or 3 or 4, nor does God have a split personality. God is one and only one.

From Baladeva Vidybhusana’s Govinda Bhasya commentary on the Brahma Sutra

Both Lord Hari and His associates are the same persons in both previous and subsequent actions. Why is that? The sutra explains: “sarvabhedad” because of complete non-difference. This means that because there is no difference in Their personalities, the same Lord Hari and the same associates present in the previous actions are also present in the subsequent actions. That Lord Hari remains one even though He expands into many forms is confirmed in the Gopala-tapane Upanisad in these words:

eko pi san bahudha yo vabhati

“Although He is one, the Supreme Lord appears in many forms.”

Also, in the Smriti-sastra it is said:

ekaneka-svarupaya

“Although He is one, the Supreme Lord appears in many forms.”

This is also true of the Lord’s liberated associates, who remain one even though they appear in many forms. The forms of the Supreme Lord are undivided. They are all full of eternity, knowledge, infinity, and bliss.

In this way it is said that although the Lord’s forms present a very wonderful variety, still They are all one in essence. Although this truth was also described in sutra 3.2.14, the merciful teacher of Vedanta repeats the same teaching so this very difficult topic may be clearly understood.

The Supreme Lord is identical with each of His forms. They are all Him. That a certain form of the Lord is His original form, or an expansion of that form, or an expansion of the expansion is determined only by how much of His powers the Lord chooses to display when He manifests that form. Only in that way are some forms of the Lord considered higher and others less high. The great devotees of the Lord declare:

The Lord’s forms are considered greater or lesser on the basis of how much of His transcendental power the Lord chooses to manifest when He reveals them.

Because she is not different from the Supreme Lord, Goddess Laksmi is also all pervading. In the Smriti-sastra it is said:

Goddess Laksmi is the mother of the worlds. She is the constant companion of Lord Visnu. As Lord Visnu is all pervading, so is she.

To think that Goddess Laksmi is different from Lord Visnu, but still all-pervading, is a false, a heretical idea. In this way the idea that Goddess Laksmi is an individual spirit soul, like the many millions of other individual spirit souls is refuted.

Comment posted by shiva on November 27th, 2007
27 Akruranatha

Shiva Prabhu:

Thank you for post #26. It is becoming clearer to me what you are saying. I do not have time today to consider it carefully and digest it and respond, but I will as time permits.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 28th, 2007
28 Unregistered

Bhakta Rod Davis

Different realizations of the absolute truth

Many years ago, the British came to India and began building a train line between Delhi and Mathura. Many simple villages on the outskirts at the time had no idea what a train looked like, so when the time had come to greet the train, the village elders would sent a young representative down to meet the train and ascertain what it is and then come back with the news of its anticipated arrival.

On the evening of its appearance, the villagers patiently and inquisitively waited in expectation and wonder of what a ‘train’ was. Eventually day turned to night and everyone in the Village became anxious and excited, knowing the train’s arrival was imminent. The fact was, no one had any inkling of what a train was. The young boy was dispatched and was told to immediately report back to the Village elder as soon as he identifies the train.

Off the young boy went in the dark and began to wait patiently. The night sky was clear and there was very little breeze in the air, he could hear the usual sounds of native animals although; even they were quite on this still moonless chilly night.

Then to the young boys surprise, out of the pitch black darkness and the still of night, he heard this thunderous extended high-pitched sound (the train whistles), being excited, he was convinced he now new what the train was. He immediately ran back to the village elders and excitedly told them,

“The train is a big sound”

Some of the elders were puzzled, but most accepted the news as final and that a train is just a sound. Still not convinced the train was just a sound, feeling puzzled, a few decided to send another young villager down to investigate this sound and if there was more to the train. The second young boy the villager elders sent down was told to wait well into the darkness of night until the sound came closer to him. Eventually, after hearing the sound many times in a mood of fear of the unknown and inquisitiveness of what a train really is, he finally saw in the distance an extremely bright light that scared him. The combination of the sound and the bright blinding light frightened him because he did not understand what he was experiencing! Being excited he rushed back to the elders proclaiming,

‘The train is not only a sound but is also ‘bright blinding light’ as well’

Many at the village where now convinced what a train was and most where satisfied however, still a few believed there might be more to a train than an impersonal sound and light. So again they sent a third young boy to investigate. He also began to patiently wait and stay for as long as it takes. He began experiencing the sound getting louder and the light getting brighter, louder and louder the sound was becoming while at the same time the light was becoming brighter and brighter - then to his surprise, both the sound and light passed him by. To his astonishment, he discovered the source of both the sound and light, coming from the form of the train. Behind the sound and light was form, or objects like carriages that are filled with people like him, all engaging in all kinds of different activities? He ran back to the village yelling,

‘The train is a form from where the sound and light emanated, where people are engaged in all kinds of activity’.

They all eventually saw the train for what it really is (Personalism) Brahman therefore is held together by form

The highest realizing is Personalism. The above painting is of Krishna and His brother Balarama whose abode Goloka-Vrindavan is beyond the impersonal light or impersonal Brahman destination of impersonalist yogis and Buddhists. There are three basic aspects of the absolute truth. The goal of human life is to perfect ones individuality, identity, Personality by serving a bonafide Spiritual Master and again begin to re-establish ones eternal relationship with Krishna. In this way one should not foolishly attempt to extinguish ones individual identity in some nonsense ‘It’s all one’ atheistic madness by only mediating on the Impersonal sound Om or tying to delete ones individual identity and attempt to merge into the Impersonal Brahmajoyti, Nirvana or Clear Light.

The complete picture of Krishna’s creation therefore can only be realized through the favour of Krishna’s Pure Devotees.

The Jains, Buddhist, Impersonalists Yogis and Mayavadis are compared to the villager hearing the sound or only seeing the light and foolishly believing that formless impersonalism is the ‘Absolute Truth’. They are not seeing the bigger picture of what the Absolute Truth really is as described in the previous narrative about the train.

The Impersonalist Yogis, Mayavadis and Buddhists version of Brahmajyoti (Nirvana) is ONE all pervasive life force with no individuality or identity which is really atheism. Impersonalist yogis, Mayavadis and Buddhists do not believe in individual souls (jivas). They therefore believe the ultimate end of existence is to perfect their constitution by accumulating the knowledge (cit) of how to end the cycle of birth and death (karma), then merge their consciousness into the oneness of Nirvana
(void or light) like rivers flow into the ocean, denying the existence of identity, individuality, personality and perpetual bodily form.

The impersonal Brahmajyoti is where individual nitya-baddha-souls (impersonalist yogis) remain dormant without having any knowledge of their original and eternal nitya-siddha bodily form. This state of suspended animation and forgetfulness is also known as Impersonalism. Even this state of inactive dreamless existence in the Brahmajoyti is temporary, although it may seem to lasts for an almost a time without end, in the face of the eternal ‘prsents’ in Goloka, it is only less than a moment.

They therefore cannot understand the eternal unchanging perpetual Krishna Conscious living universe (Goloka) where a blissful loving relationship exists with Krishna and His eternal associates. This Perpetual Living Universe of Lord Krishna’s is beyond the cloud cover known as the material creation or mahat-tattva. Srila Prabhupada says ‘ ‘where there is light there is no darkness’.

Bhakta Rod

Comment posted by Bhakta Rod on November 29th, 2007
29 Akruranatha

I promised to respond to Shiva, but became distracted. I do not want to abandon this thread, although admittedly we are talking about things beyond my realization.

I do appreciate your emphasis on understanding the ontological oneness of Radha and Krishna. It is important that we not consider Radha or her expansions to be jivas. You were very good to point that out to us.

It is also important that we get that “bhagavat tattva vijnanam” and not, like sahajiyas, take the pastimes of Krishna and the gopis to be like love stories between mundane boys and girls.

Of course, even our understanding of bhagavat tattva can only be achieved through bhakti yoga and not through mental speculation, austerities, fruitive rituals or mystic yoga. “Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah.”

This discussion among faithful devotees is also bhakti yoga, sravanam kirtanam. I just get afraid sometimes that if we become too invested in whether what we have said is right or wrong, rather than just trying to all get the authoritative truth to reveal itself, it may become mundane.

[I am sorry I keep harping on this issue. I am just paranoid that we may descend into defensiveness and miss the true potential of our discussion. Maybe I am just like the lady who “protests too much” because this is my own fault.]

We do need to know about Krishna’s appearance and activities in terms of His tattva. “Janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah.”

Our understanding of the ontology (nature of existence) of Krishna and His associates will enhance our appreciation of rasa, not hinder it. Therefore we welcome any enlightening discussion about the topic of Radha’s oneness with Krishna and similar topics.

I have lots of questions in this connection which you (or anyone) might be able to provide authoritative answers to. For example, we always hear that Radhika is the personification of hladini sakti, Baladeva is personified sandhini and Yogamaya is personified samvit.

Krishna’s internal energy is said to be composed of these three components in the way His external energy is composed of the three gunas. I have long been curious whether the gunas have their specific counterparts in the internal energy. For example, is hladini sakti a counterpart of material passion, samvit a counterpart of material ignorance, and sandhini a counterpart of material goodness? (I am just curious. I have looked in Prabhupada’s books for the answer and never found it.)

When we say someone is the personification of something, we are not necessarily saying that the person is less real than the impersonal thing he or she personifies. Therefore I think your “internal” and “external” distinction was not exactly on the mark.

However, I suppose it is true that we cannot fully understand the person without an understanding of what he or she also represents. “Kali yuga personified” is not just a person, but also an age in the cycle of history with certain qualities and aspects. The way he acts as a person is fully in accord with the qualities and character of the historical age he personifies. If a witer manufactures a story about Kali yuga personified that does not act like Kali yuga personified really acts, it is a bogus story.

Mundane artists and poets may make personal representations of abstract ideas, like Lady Justice, with her blindfold, sword and scales, or Delacroix’s painting of “Liberty Leading the People”.

In the case of mundane artists, we can understand that there is something “external” or less real about the symbols they create. We can talk about why lady Liberty’s feet are bare in Delacroix’s painting, why she has a gun in her left hand, and why her right breast is exposed, but these are just choices a mundane artist has made to sybolize certain ideas. The symbol is not real.

In reading a mundane allegorical novel we are stimulated by our understanding of the abstract generalities for which the characters stand. Of course our bad high-school literature professors told us ridiculous things like “the white whale is the impulse of nature, and Captain Ahab is Christianity’s attempt to repress that impulse”, or whatever, but our appreciation of even mundane literature is undoubtedly stimulated by seeing how literary characters or devices may symbolize other ideas.

But Krishna’s lila with His associates is not that kind of symbolic representation. Krishna consciousness is not an “artificial imposition on the mind”, and Krishna is not the creation of some poet’s imagination. Rather, the poet, his imagination, and his composition, are all created by Krishna.

When Bhaktivinode Thakur writes “Goloka-Vrindavana is realizable in the symbolic Vrindavana that is open to our view in this world by all persons whose Love has been perfected by the mercy of the inhabitants of Transcendental Vraja, and not other-wise,” we should note that it is the Lord’s manifest lila (open to view in this world) which is the symbol. The unmanifest dhama of Krishna is the reality, although it is nondifferent from the display Krishna manifested when He descended on earth 5,000 years ago.

And in that unmanifest dhama all the lilas and rasas are really there, going on eternally. That is the truly “internal” reality, which self-same reality is displayed when the Lord descends, for those who have the eyes to see it.

We might in the same way understand that although the arca vigraha is completely sac-cit-ananda and is nondifferent from Krishna’s own form in the spiritual world, we are still perceiving the Deity as made of stone, wood or metal because our love is not yet perfect. What we perceive in our conditioned state is a “symbolic representation” of the actual form perceived by fully pure devotees, but because the Deity is the authorized representation He will accept our worship (as the mailbox is the authorized representative of the post office).

Your exposition that there are only two kinds of expansions intrigues me. It makes sense to me that all the major schools of Vedanta like “only nondualism”, “qualified nondualism”, “purified dualism” and “dualism” refer basically to the question of the jiva and the parabrahman. They focus around the question of these two tattvas, or how there are two in spite of the nondual nature of spiritual reality.

The Gaudiya’s slogan of “acintya bhedabheda tattva” breaks from this “advaita” / “dvaita” mold, though. Is there a reason for that? Is it still only concerned with Krishna’s relation to jivas, or also His relation to His various integrated or nonfragmentary energies and expansions as well?

Over in the previous thread started by Bhakta Rod, I asked you about Panca Tattva. (You had chastised me for using the term “sakti tattva” to refer to Radharani and Her expansions, but later I saw that Srila Prabhupada was using “sakti tattva” in the same way, which is surely where I got it from). I asked about why there is a separate tattva headed by Sri Gadadhara. Your answer (that Sri Gadadhara is really Vishnu tattva but for “lila” is acting like a jiva) did not really satisfy me, although I was pleased to hear your further elaboration on this subject. If it is “lila” and not “tattva”, why do we say “panca tattva”? If there are only two tattvas, why are we always saying there are five?

There is God, the soul, and the process of devotional service. At least there are these three. Don’t we say the sacred syllable a-u-m is the sound representation of Radha, Krishna and jiva? Aren’t these three fundamental existing entities?

I really think Gaudiya Vaisnavas recognize that even though Radha and Krishna are one person in two bodies, that there is something significant about Their eternal existence as two bodies that is not merely “external” or “less important” than Their existence as the one Godhead. I am afraid that if we do not remember this we somehow could lose sight of the important fact that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has transcendental names, qualities, forms, lilas and rasas.

Specifically, where I disgree with some of your posts in this thread, or at least what I *think* you were saying, is when you suggested that, because Radha and Krishna are the self-same identical person, they really do not enjoy rasa, (that it is only for the sake of jivas that They “manifest” an external show of enjoying rasa). If you are saying that, I cannot agree.

You quoted B.S. 5.37 “nija rupataya kalabhih” which does indicate that Radha and the gopis are extensions of Krishna’s own form (in the Purport Bhaktisiddhanta says “nija-rupataya” means “with the attributes manifested from the ecstatic enegy”, but the word-for-word translates it as “with His own form”). You quoted the first sentence of the Purport: “Although the Lord Absolute and His potency are one and the self-same existence, still They exist eternally as separate entities, as Radha and Krishna.”

The very next sentence of the Purport says, “In both the ecstatic energy and the transcendental Lord Krishna, there exists srngara-rasa (amorous love) whose quality is inconceivable.” Don’t we all agree that both Radha and Krishna actually experience amorous love, and all the ecstasy entailed in Their meeting, separation, and various activities with one another are things They really do experience “internally”?

To say that because They are one and the same person They cannot experience transcendental happiness when meeting or transcendental separation in each other’s absence would seem to limit Them by mundane logic. It would undercut the whole basis of Their lilas and the elaboration of rasas in, for example, Nectar of Devotion.

I have also heard that all of Krishna’s associates in His aprakat dhama are also sac-cid-ananda vigraha and are to be considered on the same level as Krishna. I think this is what Japa Jim was driving at in Bhakta Rod’s prior thread. They are “parikars”, I think the term is (Japa Jim was saying “parishads”). Sivarama Swami has given some quotes saying that positions such as Nanda, Yasoda, Sridama, Sudama, Raktaka are “already designated.”

This comes up for instance in the Nectar of Devotion where Srila Prabhupada says the aspiring sadhaka should not try to “become” an eternal associate like Nanda Maharaja, which can be contaminated with Mayavadi sentiments (i.e., thinking one has become Nanda is like thinking one has become Krishna), but rather should try to follow the eternal associates and cherish their ideals.

Nevertheless all these different associates are given as examples of relishing different rasas of devotional service. Therefore my understanding is that in spite of the oneness between Krishna and His expansions, avatars, consorts and eternally liberated associates in the spiritual world, there is actual existence of their internal experience of rasa in their relationships with one another. To suggest there isn’t seems to negate the whole philosophy.

I know this subject is over my head, though. I cannot even imagine what it is like to be a demigod, so how can I know anything about what the eternal residents of the spiritual world experience, let alone what Radha and Krishna actually experience? Still, if the acaryas are talking about it I want to get a proper understanding of what they say.

Maybe I was just getting you wrong, Shiva. Surely Radha and Krishna are one, but They are also eternally two, and They have real experiences as two, which are the life of all devotees. You seemed to be saying (I hope I misunderstood) that this is just a show to attract conditioned jivas. I have never heard anyone else say that.

Even if that were true, as conditioned jivas it is important that we are attracted. To say it is just a show seems calculated to decrease our attraction. But I have never heard any authority say Radha and Krishna’s feelings for one another are anything less than fully real, important, and “internal”.

You mentioned that Krishna is playing as a human. That is true. He also displays wonderful superhuman feats, like lifting Govardhan Hill when He is just seven-years-old. But what is He really?

His human-like, two-armed form is His original form, the source of all incarnations, and even though His incarnations are all identical to Him, as you say, They do not display Their full qualities and potencies except as Govinda in Goloka Vrndavana.

He is not a human, but He is really a person, with real, transcendental feelings, thoughts, desires, friends, family and emotions. Even though everything is an expansion of Him, including all His devotees, still, inconceivably, He has relationships with the devotees. And not only with jivas: He has pastimes and relationships and emotional exchanges with His own Vishnu-tattva expansions, and even with Balarama, His “second body”.

It is not the case that only those with a poor understanding of bhagavat tattva believe in the reality of these emotions. Proper understanding of bhagavat tattva enhances the devotees’ appreciation of the lilas and rasas.

Sometimes I have heard it said that the jivas can experience greater joy than non-jivas. (Where did I hear that?) I would like to hear more about that topic. It seems conected to this issue of what the Svamsa expansions and plenary shaktis experience.

Of course, Shiva, I know you are going to say that there only really *is* Krishna and the jivas, but my understanding is that all Krishna’s personal associates have real personal existence and real experience of rasa. Otherwise it would make no sense to compare the joy of jivas to that of other saktis like Radha and Her expansions.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on December 6th, 2007
30 Unregistered

Akruranath prabhu you wrote

When Bhaktivinode Thakur writes “Goloka-Vrindavana is realizable in the symbolic Vrindavana that is open to our view in this world by all persons whose Love has been perfected by the mercy of the inhabitants of Transcendental Vraja, and not other-wise,” we should note that it is the Lord’s manifest lila (open to view in this world) which is the symbol. The unmanifest dhama of Krishna is the reality, although it is nondifferent from the display Krishna manifested when He descended on earth 5,000 years ago.

If Bhaktivinoda Thakura tells us that the Lord’s aprakrta lila is symbolic, and that to “underestimate the symbolism” of that lila is a grave mistake, what does that mean? What is symbolism? It means the use of metaphor, symbols, one thing which represents something else. If we take what you say as valid then where is the symbolism? If what appears in Krishna’s nara-lila is symbolism according to Bhaktivinoda, then in his view there is a alternative meaning to the lila which presents itself to your eyes. He tells us that the eternal aprakrta lila” is open to our view in this world by all persons whose Love has been perfected by the mercy of the inhabitants of Transcendental Vraja, and not other-wise”. This shoud be kept in mind.

You also wrote

Over in the previous thread started by Bhakta Rod, I asked you about Panca Tattva. (You had chastised me for using the term “sakti tattva” to refer to Radharani and Her expansions, but later I saw that Srila Prabhupada was using “sakti tattva” in the same way, which is surely where I got it from)

Well, actually this is what I said

Sakti-Tattva is not a category of living entity like tatastha-sakti or Visnu-tattva. In gaudiya vaisnavism it is a term which refers to the sakti principle. Jivas are part of the sakti principle, therefore jivas are sakti-tattva.

But Advaita Acarya is isvara-tattva. He’s not sakti-tattva. He’s isvara-tattva. And we are all sakti-tattva; therefore there is difference. Sakti-saktiman. Although there is no difference abhinna, but still, sakti-tattva is superior, er, saktiman tattva is superior than sakti-tattva. (ACBS Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.12 — Mayapur, April 5, 1975)

So jiva-bhuta, we jivas, we are all prakrti. Purusa is only Krsna. All living entities… Visnu-tattva is purusa-tattva, and we are sakti-tattva, sakti, energy, marginal energy of Krsna. So energy is prakrti. The prakrti is not purusa. (ACBS Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 1.13-14 — London, July 14, 1973)

The idea of sakti-tattva is that whatever belongs in the sakti category can be called sakti-tattva. I have seen where some people claim that sakti-tattva refers solely to Sri Radha’s personal expansions or to expansions of the swarupa or cit-sakti. In that conception they teach the idea that there is a type of living entity which can be called sakti-tattva in the same sense that jiva’s are called tatastha-sakti and Bhagavan is called Visnu-tattva or Isvara-Tattva. They have created a third type of living entity besides God and the jiva with that type of philosophy. In reality there are only two types of living entities. There is God and there is the jiva. Jiva Goswami makes thise clear in Krsna Sandarbha Anuccheda 27

That was in response to this from you

Some jivas are eternally liberated, but they are still jivas. They may not at any time become shakti tattva any more than they may become vishnu tattva. They are jiva tattva or “tatastha sakti” by their very nature.

Nowhere does Srila Prabhupada make the claim that you made in the above.

You also wrote

I asked about why there is a separate tattva headed by Sri Gadadhara. Your answer (that Sri Gadadhara is really Vishnu tattva but for “lila” is acting like a jiva) did not really satisfy me, although I was pleased to hear your further elaboration on this subject. If it is “lila” and not “tattva”, why do we say “panca tattva”? If there are only two tattvas, why are we always saying there are five?

First off you should try and be more accurate if you are going to quote someone. This is what I said about Gadadhara Pandita

As for Gadadhara Pandita, he is an incarnation of Sri Radha. Sri Radha is visnu tattva. But in her role as Gadadhara Pandita he is not representing visnu tattva, he is representing sakti tattva.

Secondly I never said that there are only two tattvas. I said that there are only two types of expansion from the Lord, svamsa and vibhinnamsa, and I quoted from Krsna Sandarbha where Jiva Goswami says there are two types of expansions of The Supreme Lord:

This is confirmed in the Varaha Purana:

The two kinds of expansions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead are : 1. svamsa (personal expansions) and 2. vibhinnamsa (separate persons). The svamsa expansions are unlimitedly powerful. Their form and personality are the same as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.

There is not the slightest difference between the svamsa expansions and the Original Personality of Godhead. The vibhinnamsa expansions are very weak in comparison to Them

And I quoted from Mahaprabhu in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 22.8-9

svamsa-vibhinnamsa-rupe hana vistara
ananta vaikuntha-brahmande karena vihara

Krsna expands Himself in many forms. Some of them are personal expansions, and some are separate expansions. Thus He performs pastimes in both the spiritual and the material worlds. The spiritual worlds are the Vaikuntha planets, and the material universes are the brahmandas, gigantic globes governed by Lord Brahma

svamsa-vistara — catur-vyuha, avatara-gana
vibhinnamsa jiva — tanra saktite ganana

Expansions of His personal self — like the quadruple manifestations of Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Vasudeva — descend as incarnations from Vaikuntha to this material world. The separated expansions are the living entities. Although they are expansions of Krsna, they are counted among His different potencies.

PURPORT

The personal expansions are known as visnu-tattva, and the separated expansions are known as jiva-tattva. Although the jivas (living entities) are part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are still counted among His multipotencies.

The Panca Tattva represents something different then the two essential ontological types of living entities (svamsa and vibhinnamsa), they represent the the esoteric ontology of Lila.

You also wrote

You quoted B.S. 5.37 “nija rupataya kalabhih” which does indicate that Radha and the gopis are extensions of Krishna’s own form (in the Purport Bhaktisiddhanta says “nija-rupataya” means “with the attributes manifested from the ecstatic enegy”, but the word-for-word translates it as “with His own form”). You quoted the first sentence of the Purport: “Although the Lord Absolute and His potency are one and the self-same existence, still They exist eternally as separate entities, as Radha and Krishna.

The very next sentence of the Purport says, “In both the ecstatic energy and the transcendental Lord Krishna, there exists srngara-rasa (amorous love) whose quality is inconceivable.” Don’t we all agree that both Radha and Krishna actually experience amorous love, and all the ecstasy entailed in Their meeting, separation, and various activities with one another are things They really do experience “internally”?

To say that because They are one and the same person They cannot experience transcendental happiness when meeting or transcendental separation in each other’s absence would seem to limit Them by mundane logic. It would undercut the whole basis of Their lilas and the elaboration of rasas in, for example, Nectar of Devotion.

If one person is able to exist in more then one form at a time, and then those forms interact with each other, you claim that it is “mundane logic” to understand that the emotional interaction betwen those forms is internally different then the external appearence. I can only disagree. God is one person, “mundane logic” has nothing to do with it, it is simply the revealed reality. You also claim that understanding the internal reality as essentially different then the external appearence would: “undercut the whole basis of Their lilas and the elaboration of rasas…”

What is the “basis for their lila”? The basis for everything Radha Krsna does is to ehance God’s enjoyment of life. The basis of rasa lila is to enhance the pleasure of Radha Krsna. Why do you claim that if they are understood by us as the same person, that the basis of their lila will be undercut? That might be true if we were actually in that lila, that is because the jivas in that lila are kept away from understanding the true ontology of that lila in order to keep them free from awe and reverence. But we are not in that lila, and by understanding the true ontology of that lila we can understand Radha Krsna in a more profound way then even the residents of Vraja. This is the mercy of Sri Caitanya, to give what has never been given before. In Krsna lila the jivas are living in ignorance of the profound reality they live in, in Sri Krsna Caitanya’s sankirtan lila everything about Radha Krsna is ultimately exposed so that we can get even closer to Radha Krsna then the jivas in Vraja can be. We can understand everything about Radha Krsna, in Vraja they are kept in ignorance of many things e.g. that Krsna is God and in control of everything, etc. The descriptions of rasa lila are what appears to be true to the jivas in that lila. The descriptions of that lila is for elevating the jiva to a higher plane of consciousness, their purpose is not just as a guide book or for a voyeuristic look into Vraja, that aspect is for non devotees and neophytes.

Vraja lila is not enough for Radha Krsna. That is why Mahaprabhu brings everything, we are allowed to know everything about Radha Krsna because Radha Krsna wants to experience not only rasa lila in Vraja with jivas who are unaware of the truth, but Radha Krsna also desires an even closer rasa with the jivas ,where the jivas are in full knowledge of everything. That is only possible through Mahaprabhu’s lila, only Mahaprabhu brings the jiva to the highest most knowledgeable, and most intimate, understanding of God. It may seem in a way like what the jivas experience in Vaikuntha, where the jivas are aware of the aisvarya of the Lord. But in fact what Mahaprabhu brings is something more intimate then even Vraja, knowledge of the aisvarya of the Lord while also understanding the true position of Sri Radha as the ultimate highest manifestation of the Lord, understanding Radha Krsna in full. For us in the here and now, we can develop the most intimate rasa with the Lord, closer then in any other lila. It is not something to be attained by our own mental agility. Bhaktivinoda tells us

Goloka-Vrindavana is realizable in the symbolic Vrindavana that is open to our view in this world by all persons whose Love has been perfected by the mercy of the inhabitants of Transcendental Vraja, and not other-wise. The grossest misunderstanding of the subject of the Vraja Lila of Sri Krishna is inevitable if these considerations are not kept in view.

Comment posted by shiva on December 7th, 2007
31 Unregistered

I just realized I made a spelling mistake in my previous comment that changes the meaning of what I wrote. In my first sentence I wrote “aprakrta lila” when that should have been “prakrta lila”. Aprakrta lila is the unmanifest lila, prakrta lila is Krsna lila when it descends to this world.

Comment posted by shiva on December 7th, 2007

Comments are closed. Please check back later.

 
 
Home » City of nine gates
 
  • Post Details

Author: Administrator Administrator's website Administrator's email
Post Date: Saturday, November 17th, 2007
Trackback: Trackback
 
  • Last update: Mon September 29

  • Who is online

    • 42 currently online
    • 170 maximum concurrent
    • 12222137 total visitors

    Registered users online

Giri-nayaka das - Puskaraksa das -
  • Registered users: 6403

  • Navigation

  • -OTHER INCOMING LINKS
  • BC VTE Bhakti Sastri Online
  • Bhaktimarga Swami's blog
  • Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
  • Bhaktivedanta College
  • Bhaktivedanta Institute (Alachua)
  • Bhaktivedanta Manor
  • Bhaktivedanta VedaBase Network
  • Bhaktivedanta Vedabase Online
  • Cooking with Kurma
  • Darshan of SS Radha-Londonisvara
  • Dharmapatnis
  • Diary of a Traveling Preacher
  • Euro GBC
  • Forbidden Archeology
  • Gaudiya Vaisnava texts
  • Indradyumna Swami Media
  • ISKCON Bangalore Official
  • ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry
  • ISKCON Health & Welfare Ministry
  • ISKCON Ministry of Educational Development
  • ISKCON's Congregational Development Ministry
  • Iskcon-desire-tree
  • Iskcon.com
  • Jayadvaita Swami's personal site
  • Krishna Dharma's website
  • Krishna Lila Entertainment
  • Krishna.com
  • Krishnamarriage.com
  • matchlessgifts.org
  • Mayapur Academy
  • Mayapur Days
  • Mayapur International School
  • Ministry of Educational Development
  • Our Spiritual Journey
  • Parisisvara
  • prabhupadavani.org
  • Radio Krsna Central
  • Saligrama Sila site
  • Sridham Mayapura
  • The Bhaktivedanta Archives
  • The ISKCON Sannyasa Ministry
  • The Official GBC site
  • The official website of Radhanatha Swami
  • Trivikrama Swami
  • Vaisnava Calendar
  • Vaisnava Calendar Reminder
  • Vaisnava care website
  • Vanipedia
  • varnashrama.org
  • Vedic Astrologer
  • Vedic knowledge online
  • Vedic view on controversial issues
  • Website in Bengali language
  • Yadunandana Swami's personal site
  • Alachua Temple Live Podcast
  • Comments by author
  • Donate through searching
  • Founder Acarya
  • Incoming Links
  • Iskcon News TV Channel
  • Iskcon Radio stations
  • Iskcon Universe Feed
  • Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
  • Krishna conscious "youtube"
  • Krishna Conscious Media
  • Most commented articles
  • Most read articles
  • New Dwaraka Archived Lectures
  • Polls
  • Stats
  • Temple webcams
  • Thanks!
  • The last seven day's most read articles
  • Prabhupada Now book
  • Bhaktivedanta Manor Introductory Course for Women, UK
  • Detroit ISKCON Celebrates Pushpa Abhishek Festival
  • Preaching in South Korea
  • We are all Hare Krishnas now, meditation goes mainstream
  • WSN August 2014 - World Sankirtan Newsletter
  • New book publication from the Bhaktivedanta Academy: Defeating Vatsasura
  • SRI MURARI GUPTA - A Very Intimate Associate of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
  • Right intention attracts Krishna
  • Vrajavadhus Logo Contest

     
    "Artwork and photos courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. www.krishna.com. Used with permission"