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Sita Rama: THE SOUL MAY FALL DOWN FROM ANY POSITION
In order to reach a clear conclusion, the two positions need to be reconciled, which means that we need to see how each statement can be true in a way that does not negate the other. The word “may” here indicates a possibility, which in this context, refers to the free will of the soul. Without the freedom of will to choose this or that, there is no possibility of love.
Does the soul ever misuse that free will? When asked that question in regard to the nitya siddha residents of aprakata lila, Srila Prabhupada answered “They can- but they never do”. He confirmed it in the purports to the story of the nitya siddhas Jaya and Vijaya. Explaining that they did not become fallen conditioned souls, he wrote “The conclusion is that no one falls from Vaikuntha, as it is the eternal abode”. Thus, while the soul “may” fall down from the spiritual world, it never does. Krsna confirms this in Bg.
In regard to the conditioned jivas- such as his disciples- his statements that we have an eternal relationship with Krsna which is eternal and just needs to be revived, seems to contradict his written statement that no one ever falls from Viakuntha. If we insist on the contradictory version- that we were nitya siddhas and fell- we do Srila Prabhupada a disservice by portraying him as confused and ambivalent. If we try to see how we can “fall” but not from the position of the nitya siddha, then we reconcile his statements.
It is a fact that we have an eternal relationship with Krsna. We are constitutionally His servants- it is inseparable from our true identity- even here in this material world. That original relationship just needs to be revived or remembered. We have forgotten it- forgotten that we are “made” for Krsna’s service, forgotten that our origin is in Him.
Does the word “forget” imply that we once had full remembrance? Not necessarily. If I say “I forgot my shopping list” it does not necessarily mean that last time I remembered it. It would be quite appropriate to say I forgot it, if I have never once remembered to bring it.
Even Srila Prabhupada’s statement “you were once in Krsna’s lila” is quite true, without meaning that nitya siddhas fall down in unlimited numbers. The material creation is also Krsna’s lila. That is explained in Jaiva Dharma. In that book, it is also explained how, when and from where the jiva falls. He makes his choice in the region of tatashta, not vaikuntha.
Comment Posted By niscala On 30.06.2014 @ 04:16
(continued) Srila Prabhupada described that we are always in Krsna’s lila, even in this material world, “Directly or indirectly, always we are serving Krsnaâ€™s lila. ” letter to Madhudvisa, 1972. This indicates that the breadth and scope of his understanding what it means to be “in Krsna’s lila” and in that context it is in no way a misrepresentation of the truth, to say “We were in Krsna’s lila and have forgotten it” If even the material world is Krsna’s lila, for He is always in some part of it, in His Bhauma lila, and is always in every part of it, as Paramatma, and is the very seed of it, as Garbhodaksayo Vishnu, then we are never separate from Krsna- except in our memory. Repeatedly that memory gets revived by Krsna or His representatives and repeatedly we still forget that eternal relationship.
Thus the position presented by Srila Prabhupada is not at all at odds with the sampradayaic understanding, as presented in great depth by his grand spiritual master, in Jaiva Dharma. There every question about the origin of the jiva was asked, and answered in detail. Srila Prabhupada never deviated at all in his representation of these answers. With great skill and expertise, and avoiding outright lies, he adjusted the understanding so we would have some sense of belonging in Goloka, which would not have been possible if he had answered these questions in another way. How can one have a sense of belonging, in regard to a place where we have never been? So he laid stress on another truth- that Krsna and His lila and associates are present even here in this material world and in that sense, we were with Krsna, and have just forgotten it and this is the cause of our falldown and entrapment by maya.
In addition, of course, in many places in his books, he lay stress on the fact that no one ever falls from vaikuntha, it being the eternally effulgent abode wherein the influence of the darkness of maya cannot enter even to the minutest degree.
Comment Posted By niscala On 25.05.2014 @ 08:00
Sita Rama, I was also raised a western Christian and imbibed the idea, very strongly, that going to God was returning to Him, that we had once turned our back on him and the prodigal son was an analogy of us, encouraging us to go back home from whence we had come. That was the unambiguous message from my teachers. Many Christian hymns are also about “returning home”. In regard to the differences in doctrine we have with the Christians, Srila Prabhupada was able to explain their source. He addressed all the issues you brought up- bowing down to a human being, deity worship and parakiya rasa, explaining how they are not of the ilk of the Christian prohibitions. So he tried to bridge the gap between western and eastern sensibilities, through explanations that were very reasonable. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura was famous for doing the same thing.
But these angas of bhakti (accepting a guru, arcanam… the nature of Krsna lila) are essential aspects of the process of becoming Krsna conscious. Where we have come from, is not an essential aspect, and when pressed on the point, Srila Prabhupada would often describe it as “not important”. I am sure you know the references. His opinion that it is not important means that it is a detail. It is up to the acarya to always adjust details, if they will help people become Krsna conscious. If it makes you more Krsna conscious, or more desirous of entering Krsna’s pastimes, to feel you are going home to where you belong, rather than a place you have never been before, then you should keep to that understanding. But for other devotees, whose desire for Krsna’s pastimes has awakened to a point that they know they belong there, even if they have never been before, it is quite suitable that they know the siddhantic tattva, presented by the parampara.
The fact you’re avoiding is that Srila Prabhupada never said that nitya siddhas fall from vaikuntha. When asked if nitya siddhas can misuse their independence, he replied that they can, but they never do. Well, we have, so logically that means we were never nitya siddhas. In regard to Srila Prabhupada’s statements that we were once with Krsna, or once in Krsna’s lila, they are not “lies” as some choose to call them, as this material world is also a lila of Krsna. It’s the place where He constantly resides, as Bhagavan Sri Krsna in His bhauma lila, and it is the place where He constantly resides as Paramatma, Garbhodaksayi Vishnu, the murti and in the hearts of his devotees.
Comment Posted By niscala On 25.05.2014 @ 07:19
Uttamasloka: There are no seeming contractions in the statements of the acaryas. There was no controversy indicated in any of their writings. It has only been an issue for contemporary Vaisnavas.
It’s not even an issue for all contemporary vaisnavas- only those in ISKCON. Ask any gaudiya matha mission, they are in complete agreement that no one falls from vaikuntha. Then try the other groups as well. While in Vrindavan we visited so many temples, some descending through Madhva, many with many branches of our family tree in common. Try to find one, not ISKCON affiliated, that thinks nitya siddhas fall from Vaikuntha or Goloka. A devotee did that, and the reply was incredulous “In ISKCON they believe THAT?”
Srila Prabhupada presented two opposing viewpoints, one completely in accord with the family tree (paramapara) and one at odds with it. Can one contradict the parampara and still be an authority? Absolutely! Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura contradicted Jiva Goswami’s direct words regarding the topic of parakiya rasa being present in aprakata lila. Their opinions were at complete odds. He contradicted Jiva G whose word is considered as good as sastra. VCT proved that Jiva was making adjustments according to time, place and circumstance. Jiva’s followers were opposed to parakiya rasa, considering it immoral.
Similarly many westerners would be opposed to the idea we have never been with Krsna as the Christian idea of the fallen soul is the idea of a prodigal son rejecting the father then returning to him. It is perfectly acceptable for an acarya to say, to please them “Yes you were with Krsna, then you rejected Him” Jiva G also wrote to please and appease his followers.
When SP wrote that he did not deviate an inch from the previous acaryas, it is the same way that VCT never deviated from the previous acarya, who was Jiva G. Acaryas such as Jiva G and SP preserve the essence, unchanged, while making adjustment to non-essential details. The essence- what we need to know to achieve perfection- is that we belong with Krsna. We are His servants. This is true whether we fell or did not fall. SP himself indicated that whether we fell or did not fall was a detail only- he said it was not important. In comparison, parakiya rasa being present in Goloka is a relatively essential aspect of our philosophy- yet even that could be changed by Jiva G. What to speak of an unimportant detail for the sake of the western world’s sensibilities.
Comment Posted By niscala On 19.05.2014 @ 05:57
Devaki wrote; In regards to emotions: we have to distinguish between material emotions and transcendental emotions. As I am mentioning in the article: material emotions are connected to the platform of our mind. You also wrote: So this emotional need and nature impells most ladies to learn how to become selfless servants by raising children. This is an argument for, not against the woman becoming diksa guru, who is the most selfless servant of all. If the emotional nature impells us to become selfless servants, and if the children we are raising are devotees, then how is that emotion not spiritual? Is it because the bodies of the children are small- or related to our bodies? Such is a mundane conception. It may be argued that our emotional nature is mundane because it impells us to care for the bodies of our children- but not their spiritual development- but we see in many devotee mothers with realisation, they care both spiritually and materially for their offspring. Caring materially is not a disqualification- Srila Prabhupada gave many caring instructions for his disciples on the topic of health.
The active word here is “care”. They are not without emotion. And neither is the good diksa guru. He feels love and compassion for his or her disciples. He or she utilizes his or her emotions- which are the natural function of the soul- to teach knowledge- but not without feeling and great concern. It is natural for the soul to be emotional in relation to Krsna and His devotees. Presently we have so many emotions about things we should not have emotion for. For example, if we lost a lot of money or our respectability, we would become emotional. That is our attachment to the mundane sphere. But when our hearts break seeing the suffering of conditioned souls- that is spiritual emotion, which Krsna also feels. Such emotions propell us to become selfless servants- and if we have sufficient knowledge, which according to Srila Prabhupada, must be to the level of the Bhaktivedanta degree, we are authorized by him to initiate disciples. The point I am making is that having emotions is a good thing, so being more emotional (than someone else) is even better! We have to dovetail this valuable asset for the right purpose. Thats bhakti.
As I wrote before, and as Srila Prabhupada makes this point many time in his books, emotions are not a “bad” thing. The topmost servants of Krsna are filled with overwhelming emotion.
Comment Posted By niscala On 30.11.2013 @ 21:15
“I want that all of my spiritual sons and daughters will inherit this title of Bhaktivedanta, so that the family transcendental diploma will continue through the generations. Those possessing the title of Bhaktivedanta will be allowed to initiate disciples. Maybe by 1975 all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate and increase the number of generations. That is my program.”
(letter, Srila Prabhupada 3rd Dec, 1968)
Prof. O’Connell: Is it possible, Swamiji, for a woman to be a guru in the line of disciplic succession?
Prabhupada: Yes. Jahnava-devi was Nityananda’s wife. She became. If she is able to go to the highest perfection of life, why it is not possible to become guru? But, not so many. Actually one who has attained the perfection, she can become guru. But man or woman, unless one has attained the perfectionâ€¦. Yei krsna-tattva-vetta sei guru haya. The qualification of guru is that he must be fully cognizant of the science of Krsna. Then he or she can become guru. Yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei guru haya. In our material world is it any prohibition that woman cannot become professor? If she is qualified, she can become professor. What is the wrong there? She must be qualified. That is the position. So similarly, if the woman understands Krsna consciousness perfectly, she can become guru.” (Conversation 6/18/76)
I therefore can’t understand why the disagreement. Is there anything ambiguous in the above? Did Srila Prabhupada EVER say that women cannot be diksa gurus?
Some opposing the idea quote Srila Prabhupada that women should be humble and submissive, to prove their point, but humility and submission that is not blind is not detrimental to Krsna consciousness and therefore cannot be detrimental to the service position of someone with the most realization of it- a guru. If a Krsna conscious person has humility and submission that is not blind, then the most Krsna conscious person, the guru, has the most of humility and a submissive attitude that is not blind. He or she humbly and joyfully submits to a more advanced person, regardless of their gender. Being submissive to a person with less spiritual advancement, is not recommended.
When the guru wants something of us, it is something we should take very seriously. It should be “our life and soul”. We failed him in giving him his expressed wish, of women becoming diksa gurus, by the due date: 1975. How long will we keep him waiting?
Comment Posted By niscala On 30.11.2013 @ 11:33
Devaki prabhu makes some really good points here, especially that sad guru does not need authorisation. It goes without saying that such a principle applies to diksa gurus as well. And as she has so lucidly pointed out, being in a position of “high managerial leadership” is a pitfall. And Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can hardly recommend a pitfall for us, when He advises us all to be gurus, and liberate everyone. Neither did Srila Prabhupada, when he told us his desire that his spiritual sons- as well as his spiritual daughters- all become diksa gurus in the future, after inheriting/earning the title “Bhaktivedanta” Since no guru would encourage a pitfall for his disciples, it should be understood that being a guru, whether of the siksa or diksa type, is a service. It means that one is in the service of his/her disciples, to be there whenever they have doubt or difficulty, confusion or lacking clarity and/or direction. It is tireless and to some extent thankless, because it is time away from one’s personal bhajana- which is extremely joyful. Putting the need of others before one’s own personal time with Krsna is selfless compassion. As for any honour that may accompany such a task, the devotee should shun it, until he is strong enough to pass it all onto the mercy of his own gurudeva, coming to him, though so unqualified and undeserving.
There is one point I wish to contend however- that emotions can cloud the vision, or make it impossible to raise anyone up to the transcendental platform. This is impersonalist dogma- we can never be free from emotions, and the attempt to do so is artificial and will not last. The soul in its purified state is burning with emotion and desire, inflamed at ever moment! To the extent we inflame our passions with love for the Lord, His associates, and whomsoever has the slightest desire to serve Them, we become qualified to enter the abode of eternally passionately inflamed lovers of the Lord! If the soul embodied in a woman’s form is somehow endowed with more emotion, as has been suggested, then she is far better equipped to traverse the path of bhakti- she just must learn to direct all those emotions and desires towards the service of the Lord and if she does so towards His struggling devotees, being equipped with full transcendental knowledge (Bhaktivedanta) she is already performing as a guru, and only ignorant or blind people will not recognize it.
Comment Posted By niscala On 22.11.2013 @ 23:59
nice interview. I am wondering what Maharaja meant by : “And without panchagavya, the Brahmanas become unemployed”. My understanding is that the brahmanas were not employed as such. They just received maintenance. If one interprets “unemployed” not in the sense of a wage, but in the sense of being “not used” then still I am wondering why pancagavya must be there, as the main business of a brahman is teaching, and he can do that without the cow, though ideally cow would be there. Of course, panchagavya is used in diety worship, which the brahmanas perform, but 1) one can worship Krsna with other things in the mode of goodness, and 2) diety worship is not the only business of the brahmana.
Comment Posted By niscala On 23.12.2010 @ 07:39
thats a very interesting response that Srila Prabhupada gave to Atreya Rishi. Thank you for sharing it. We are more influenced by our backgrounds than we realize- and when we hear someone has converted Muslims into Hare Krsna chanters, than we may applaud, because our Christian backgrounds were all about conversion,, but Srila Prabhupada did not convert, and Krsna consciousness is not about conversion, it is about devotion, nothing else. If someone is devotedly chanting Allah, he is a vaisnava.
Sometimes therefore, Srila Prabhupada just tried to get people to become vegetarian- they already believed in God, were devotees, but they didnt know that diet had anything to do with religion, or that if they did, they thought it was not about compassion but cleanliness- avoiding pork. However, at other times he said that Krsna consciousness was not about converting people to vegetarianism- even monkeys were vegetarian. So vegetarianism, devoid of God consciousness, is not a very wonderful thing, but God consciousness without vegetarianism, is not genuine. The reason is that an important part of God cosnciousness is Supersoul consciousness, that God dwells in the hearts of all as a witness to all their sufferings, and that to cause pain to any living entity causes the pain of compassion in the heart of the Lord. So to love God means to only do good to all living entities, and even do good to edible plants by offering them up in sacrifice, speeding up their purification by ajnata sukriti, while causing minimum distress to the living entity, by killing it in its most unconscious state.
The worship of God,, without an awareness of God in the heart of every living entity, is as useless as pouring ghee into ashes. So although Supersoul realization is not as profound as Bhagavan realization, without it, Bhagavan realization remains theoretical- if we really realize Bhagavan, we recognize His energies as well, and their nature of being non-different from Him.
Comment Posted By niscala On 22.12.2010 @ 22:09
certainly a symptom of the mode of ignorance is that it destroys, and the economic system as it is, destroys the ecology of the planet. They may make adjustments to lessen the impact, but the ecology is so far gone that it actually requires a complete return to nature, in order to regain its equilbrium. Our CO2 levels are so extreme, that we need to stop technology now, if we are ever to get the planet into ecological balance. So it is not a question of whether the capitalist system works for people. One could argue that it does, in an economic way, provided one does not have the unconscienable dealings of the lending sector that led the world to the brink of ruin. But if that did not happen due to strict regulation, as is here in Australia, still the fact remains that a system based on profit, rather than protection of the environment- the right of all life forms to exist- not just human ones at the expense of others, is ideologically at war with the environment. Certainly ecological communities that actually work need to be established. For them to work, certain spiritual principles must be there- tolerance, equality of vision, pleasing He who resides in the hearts of all, generosity, kindness, in short, the qualities of a vaisnava. Those who have such qualities are the natural leaders in varnashrama, and this is why the system works. Rather than ambition being the driving force for attaining position in society, as it is at present, it is guna or personal qualities that determines position or karma, in the varnashrama system. Leadership is particularly based on the quality of being concerned about others’ welfare- it is described that the ksatriya considered all citizens including lower forms of life, with the same affection, concern and right to protection, as his own family members. With such caring and involved leadership, people naturally feel valued, gradually they become loyal and devoted, and the thought of leaving the community for the materialistic world of exploitation and impersonalism, is unlikely to occur-. If instead guna is not stressed as a criterion for leadership, and people become leaders due to driving ambition to have power over others, then the community has no advantage, socially and psychologically, over the materialistic society. and people may leave. Ecological communities that work need to be established- that is varnashrama.
Comment Posted By niscala On 23.12.2010 @ 20:57