Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Hmm, I've been meaning to pen my latest thoughts about the Gaura-nagari tradition for some time since it's been on my mind lately, so here we go while I'm in the mood for it. One of the main things is not the tradition and the belief system itself, but the deception that is used to explain it.

Some time back when I posted pics of my Deities on a picture thread at GD, I noticed the Deity pics of other members in that same thread. It seemed to be very much Radha-Krishna deities, which had been dressed up as Gaura-Gadadhar. Some time ago, I came across a thread where some members had scanned some Gaura-nagari-mood pics from some old books that they had and posted it on the forum. Some of these pics also were representations of Radha-Krishna as Gadai-Gauranga, whereas another one in particular just depicted Gauranga in a nagara mood.

Now while I can perfectly understand the reasoning that leads people to believe that Gadai-Gauranga is none other than out beloved Radha-Krishna, it utterly disturbs me that there is actually a living tradition behind this philosophy! Here was I, thinking that this philosophy was all contained in 'minority' books and that the devotees of the Gaura-nagari were still on a par somewhat with the Rupanugas in that they also had the goal of manjari-bhava as an attainment.
How was I to know that the tradition translated into such things as depicting Gauranga in nagara-moods, dressing up Radha-Krishna deities as Gadai-Gauranga, and so on.

Every time I see such things, I cannot help feeling astonishment, despair, a deep sense of wrongness and, dare I say it, disgust? Despite the fact that I love Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundara with all of my heart and soul, I just cannot conceive of Gauranga in this way. I have tried to. Some time back I was a little confused about all of this, but now I see that I had turned in that direction by mistaking it as a place where I could store my love for Gauranga. I figured that because I love Gauranga, and "here is a tradition that worships Gauranga paramountly", it was ideal for me. How wrong I was. Anyway this part is a little too complicated.

But I do understand that if I was ever interested in making a deeper study of the Gaura-nagari tradition, I would like to listen to teachers and read the works of those other than Gadadhar Pran das. From what I have read of his teachings via the articls posted on GD, it does not appear to me that he is teaching the totality of the Gaura-nagari philosophy, as his various references to Sri Bhaktivinoda in selected articles seem to give the impression that he wants to validate his views for an IGM audience. But that is only as far as I have read anyway. The various padas and so on that have been posted elsewhere, I find interesting to read. and appreciate. I do recognise that there is a long history and tradition of this Gaura-nagari view that was undenibaly practised by some of Mahaprabhu's associates, but I tend to disagree with the preaching as presented by Gadadhar Pran.

For example, whenever the "concept" of praising Gauranga as a 'nagara' comes up, these followers invariably quote "yadyapi sakala stava sambhave tAhAne" ("all such praises are possible with Him") as some sort of justification for this concept.

This is hat I meant with that dishonesty comment earlier. The above quote is taken way out of context, and even when the full quote is given and the proper context presented, no one appears to even bat an eyelid which is disturbing. Here is the section of Caitanya-bhagavata that is being quoted:

'strI' hena nAma prabhu ei avatAre
zravaNo nA karilA - vidita saMsAre
ataeva yata mahA-mahima sakale
'gaurAGga-nAgara' hena stava nAhi bale
yadyapi sakala stava sambhave tAhAne
tathApiha svabhAva se gAya budha-jane"

In this avatara Prabhu did not hear the word 'woman,' this is known throughout the creation. Therefore great devotees do not offer prayers addressing Him as 'Gauranga Nagara.' Although all kinds of prayers may be offered to Him, intelligent persons glorify only those internal moods that a particular incarnation manifests."
(Caitanya-bhagavata 1.15.29-31)
So it seems that they quote very selectively in order to establish their views. Similar instances are noted elsewhere with quotes from the CC taken out of context too. I would not like to believe that this is true. I speculate that there might be a much more robust presentation of Gaura-nagari-vada by teachers other than Gadadhar Pran das which I would like to hear, that does not twist the meanings of selected quotes and present them completely out of context.

Given the current state of affairs with the regular misquoting and uncontextual interpretations, I cannot feel that there is any authenticity here. Not where so much deception is exposed.


Post a Comment

<< Home