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Friday, January 17, 2014

siddha praṇālī in śāstra




Often I am asked where siddha praṇālī, the revelation of the spiritual body of the disciple by the Guru, is mentioned in the śāstras, or at least in the Six Goswāmīs’ books. Many devotees know it is mentioned in the works of minor ācāryas like Gopālguru, Dhyānacandra and Bhaktivinode and it is also mentioned by Vṛndāvana Cakravartī, a disciple of Viśvanātha Cakravartī, in his commentary on Govinda Līlāmṛta (23.94 – manobhāvena yogya vapuṣā śrī gurvājñā tat sevā-yogya siddha vapuṣā), but, though it is not called siddha praṇālī literally by name, the principle of the Guru’s involvement with the disciple’s development of the spiritual body is also clearly mentioned in the Gosvāmīs’ books. For instance, in Śrī Jīva Goswāmī’s Bhakti Sandarbha (283):

divyaṁ jñānaṁ hy atra śrīmati mantre bhagavat-svarūpa-jñānaṁ tena bhagavata sambandha-viśeṣa-jñānaṁ ca

“This divine knowledge is in the beautiful mantra and is knowledge of the Lord’s real form. Through it one receives knowledge about one’s specific relationship with the Lord.”
And in paragraph 312 of Bhakti Sandarbha:

yathā caike tādṛśam upāsanaṁ sākṣād vraja-jana-viśeṣāyaiva mahyaṁ śrī-guru-caraṇair mad-abhīṣṭa-viśeṣa-siddhy-artham upadiṣṭaṁ bhāvayāmi

“In such a worship (with the 18-syllable Gopāl-mantra) I meditate to develop myself as a direct, specific person in Vraja as my Śrī Guru’s lotus-feet have instructed me in to attain the specific siddhi I covet.”

Śrīla Narottama Dās Ṭhākur sings in Prārthanā (30):

kanaka kaṭorā pūri, sugandhi candana būri,
doṅhākāra śrī-aṅge ḍhālibo
guru-rūpā-sakhī vāme, tribhaṅga bhaṅgima ṭhāme,
cāmarera bātāsa koribo

“With fragrant sandal paste filling a golden jug, I anoint their beautiful limbs. Standing on the left side of my guru-rūpā-sakhī (my Guru in his sakhī-form) before Kṛṣṇa with His three-fold bending form, I fan with a cāmara-whisk.”

One may argue here that this is written in a siddha-state, but the song in which this couplet appears is named svābhiṣṭa lālasā, ‘yearning for a desired condition’ - clearly it speaks about a sādhaka-condition.

Not only in the books of the Gosvāmīs, but also in the books about the Gosvāmīs the guru-given siddha deha is mentioned. At the end of the 6th chapter of Prema Vilāsa, Śrī Nityānanda Dās narrates the meeting of Śrīnivāsācārya and his Guru Gopāl Bhaṭṭa Goswāmī –

Pada-yuga dhori kore ātma samarpaṇa
Ātmasāt kori gosāi kohilo vacana
Dui hasta dhauta puna koro āro bāra
Joḍa haste koro dhyāna vrajendrakumāra
Tāra vāme śrī rādhikā ati manohara
Lalitā manjarī ādi śobhita sundara
Pūjā korāilo sab pṛthak koriyā
Tulasī manjarī mālya candanādi diyā
Yūthe milāilo sab haste haste kori
Śrīnivāsa korāilo sobāra anucarī

“Holding the feet of Gosvāmī, Śrīnivāsa surrendered himself to the feet of his guru. Gopālbhaṭṭa Gosvāmī then ordered him, "Wash your hands again and start the meditation of Śrī Vrajendra-kumāra with folded hands. Think of the extremely attractive Śrī Rādhikā on His left side, surrounded by Lalitā, the Mañjarīs and others." He helped Srinivasa to do the pūjā of all of them individually with Tulsī mañjarīs, garlands, sandal paste and other ingredients. Thus he made Śrīnivāsa the maidservant of them all.”

Śrī rādhā-ramaṇa pūjā koro punarbāra
Sab manoratha siddhi caraṇe yāhāra
Sugandhi candana dilo hṛdaya upora
Tulasī manjarī caraṇe dilo bahutara
Dakṣiṇa hasta mastake dhori kohe harināma
Tabe rādhā-kṛṣṇa panca nāmera vidhāna
Rādhā-kṛṣṇa mantra kohe kare-yuge dhori
Kāma bīja śunāilo anguli anusāri
Ei sab mantra tumi koribe smaraṇa
Yei kāle tad āśraye koribe manana
Guṇa manjarikāśraye maṇi manjarikā tumi
Tomāra yūthera vivaraṇa kohi sab āmi

rūpa guṇa rati rasa manjulāmanjula
Ei sab sange sangī ei anukūla

He ordered Śrīnivāsa, "Worship Śrī Rādhā Ramaṇa again – at His lotus-feet lies the fulfillment of all your desires." Śrīnivāsa applied fragrant sandal paste on Rādhā-ramaṇa’s chest and many Tulsī-mañjarīs on His lotus feet. Placing his right hand on his head, he chanted Harināma, after which he got the five names of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He spoke the mantra with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa-nāma while holding Śrīnivāsa’s hands. Śrīla Gopāl Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī then told him the Kāma-bīja and how to count it on the fingers. He said: "Remember all these mantras whenever you surrender to Them by meditating on Them. You are Maṇi Mañjarī in the group of mañjarīs under Śrī Guṇa mañjarī (Gopāl Bhaṭṭa Goswāmī himself). I will tell you everything about her party. It is favorable to accompany Rūpa-, Guṇa-, Rati- and Mañjulāli Mañjarī."

It is however nowhere mentioned that this is a compulsory item of dīkṣā and must be given at once to anyone or everyone who gets harināma for instance. The Guru should judge who is qualified to receive it at all, and if so, when.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Rādhā dāsya, blades of grass and siddha praṇālī


Dāmodar Dās

 “One devotee said that qualified devotees do not want to become gopīs - they want to become blade of grass, like Brahmāji and Uddhava”

Advaitadas -

That is daft. These are statements of humility in sādhaka deha. Did the six Goswāmīs want to become blades of grass too? They are our role-models, not Brahmā or Uddhava, who are aiśvarya jñānīs. Look how Rūpa and Raghunātha were craving for Rādhārāṇī’s darśana and service. They who speculate like that have no sat guru. Mahāprabhu said ataev gopī-bhāv koro angīkāra – “Therefore adopt the mood of the gopīs”. But they will not obey.

Dāmodar Das -

Why mañjarī bhāv is not dāsya but mādhurya?

Advaita Das

“It is dāsya within mādhurya. Sādhu Bābā considered it dāsya. When he gave me siddha pranali he revealed that Prabhu Sītānāth is Viśākhā in mādhurya rasa and Rati Mañjarī in dāsya rasa.

Dāmodar Dās -

So we are serving in the group of Rati Mañjarī? Rati Mañjarī is serving under guidance of Viśākhā and they are both Sītānāth?

Advaita Dās -

No we serve in the group of Viśākhā. Yes they are both Sitanatha.

Dāmodar Dās -

What is then the difference between the dāsya of Citraka Patraka etc and the dāsya of the mañjarīs?

Advaita Dās -

This is rādhā dāsya, whereas Raktaka Patraka is Kṛṣṇa-dāsya. Again, it is actually mādhurya. Look at Vilāpa Kusumānjali verse 16- dasyāya te mama raso'stu raso’stu – “Let me have taste for Your dāsya only.”

Dāmodar Dās -

One devotee does not understand. He says that if it is just dāsya, where is mādhurya?

Advaita Das -

"It is not just dāsya. Look at Vilāpa Kusumānjali verse 16 - “Let me truly have only taste for your dāsya.” Whose dāsya? Not kṛṣṇa dāsya but rādhā dāsya."

Dāmodar Dās -

dāsya for Rādhā means mādhurya for Kṛṣṇa because mañjarīs feel all that Rādhā feels?

Advaita Das

That is one aspect yes, bhāva tādātmya. The bottom line is – this is dāsya as a component of mādhurya. In mādhurya there is sambhogecchātmikā and tad bhāvecchātmikā. The first is desire to enjoy, that is mādhurya within mādhurya. The second is desire to share feelings, that is dāsya within mādhurya -

sakhyāya te mama namo'stu namo'stu nityam
dāsyāya te mama raso'stu raso'stu satyam

This is the mahāmantra for rādhā dāsya.

Dāmodar Dās -

"So dāsya which deals with mādhurya becomes mādhurya also?"

Advaita Dās -

It does not become, it IS. Dās Goswami does not speak of Kṛṣṇa-dasya in Vilāpa Kusumānjali verse 16.”

Another bhakta -

Dear friend, what is your opinion: I read on a Facebook page that the adhikāra for receiving siddha-pranālī is ĀSAKTI... I can find a reference nowhere - others say that it should be given in BHAJANA-KRIYĀ...

Advaita Dās -

“It is hard to say. If they want to do that on that level there is nothing wrong with that. My Guru did not keep a fixed standard on that. It is an individual thing. If someone makes āsakti a default value he is wrong but if they want to keep such standard as their own value [THEIR OWN] there is no fault in that.”

bhakta  3-

I regularly receive a newsletter. Below, I pasted a portion of a recent item from them. What is your opinion on this? Or have you discussed this on your blog?

Sahajiyas Cannot Relish His Sweetness

These demons were against Kṛṣṇa, so instead of experiencing His sweetness, they simply experienced their own enmity. Similarly, if we imagine that we are deeply meditating on Kṛṣṇa’s asta-kaliya-lila, His daily twenty-four hour pastimes with the gopis, but we have not reached the stage of bhava-bhakti, we will also not experience His sweetness. Rather, we will experience our own lusty and other material desires. In this connection, Kamsa and other demons represent our material desires. Kṛṣṇa and the realization of the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa is surely our goal, but do not try to jump up to the top of the tree. Begin from the root of the tree and gradually climb up from there; then you can realize your goal. The sincere devotee engages in the proper process of bhakti from the start. At first he follows the verse beginning with adau sraddha tatah sadhu- sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya. After this, he is able to follow the principles as stated in the verse beginning ksantir avyartha-kalatvam.

Advaita Dās -

The sweetness of Kṛṣṇa is of course also relished in stages before niṣṭhā and ruci, otherwise why would brand new bhaktas give up hearth and home and practise celibacy and so, if there were no higher taste? Of course there are gradations of relish, hence one of the stages of devotional development is called 'ruci'. Also the ācāryas clearly say that even in the bhāva-bhakti stage, which is mentioned here, there are anarthas or unwanted habits, be it subtle.

Finally - ever more Bhāgavat-nectar (2.6.34) -

na bhāratī me’ṅga mṛṣopalakṣyate na vai kvacin me manaso mṛṣā gatiḥ
na me hṛṣīkāṇi patanty asat-pathe yan me hṛdautkaṇṭhyavatā dhṛto hariḥ


Brahmā said: "O Nārada! My words are not false, the faculty of my mind is never false and my senses do not fall onto the wrong path, because I hold Lord Hari in my enthusiastic heart!"