Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

cirAd adattaM nija-gupta-vittaM

Some interesting and exciting points have been made in discussion over my last post, but I would like to expand on one of my points in this separate post. This is what I said:

[In answer to the proposal that the 3 reasons given for Gauranga's advent do not appear to support the existence of an 'eternal' existence for Gauranga, I responded..]

"That is a good point actually. However, the fact still remains that whenever Krishna comes only once in a day of Brahma, Gaura comes immediately after that. Is it just purely coincidental that every time He becomes "inspired" to experience the feelings of Radha? Radha-bhava is indeed a unique and wonderful thing for Gaura (Krishna) to experience, but on another level it can't be that unique that He comes to experience it in every kalpa?"

In furtherance of this view, there is another oft-quoted verse in praise of Gaurahari's magnificent contribution:

cirād adattaṁ nija-gupta-vittaṁ
sva-prema-nāmāmṛtam aty-udaraḥ
ā-pāmaraṁ 'yo vitatāra gauraḥ
kṛṣṇo janebhyas tam ahaṁ prapadye

Not giving His own secret treasury of love of Himself and the nectarean, greatly munificent, holy name for a long time, that Gaura, Krsna Himself, distributed it to the people and the lowest of men. Unto Him I surrender. (CC 2.23.1)

One should note that 'cirāt adattaṁ' means 'not given for a long time'. The BBT translation appears to contain the interpolation: "This was never given to the people at any time before," which doesn't seem to be backed up in the original Sanksrit. So we must consider the meaning of 'not given for a long time' as opposed to 'never given at any time before'. As I said earlier, Gaura comes once in a day of Brahma, in the Kali-yuga immediately following the Dvapara-yuga in which Krishna comes, who also comes once in a day of Brahma. We all know how long a day of Brahma lasts, or do we? ;-)

The point being, "not being given for a long time" refers to when it was given previously i.e. in the previous day of Brahma when Gaura made His appearance. This is my interpretation and I hope it is correct. So if it is certain that Gaura de facto hasn't been around "for a very long time", what has He been doing in the meantime? One might argue that He has been going around like a firebrand following Krishna, who is also going around like a firebrand into all of the other universes.

In which case, one might also consider the Svapna-vilasamrita of Sri Visvanath Cakravartipada; what is Srimati Radhe doing dreaming of Mahaprabhu when She is with Krishna? It has the interesting line: nigadya premabdhau punar api tadahasyasi jagat, by Your own transcendental potency You will ... again plunge the world into the ocean of pure love." (Verse 7) What is the reason for using the word "again"?

And then to top it all off, the Caitanya-mangala specifically describes Gauranga as being attended by Radha and Rukmini with all of their attendants. I wrote about this briefly on Advaitaji's blog, but I'm afraid that I don't accept his reasonings about Gaura being Krishna (as such) and that it is figurative. While Gaura is Krishna (ontologically speaking), the text specifically describes Narada's visit to Goloka where one would expect to see Krishna, but there is Gaura (specifically mentioning His golden complexion) being attended by both Radha and Rukmini giving Him an abhishek! So I'm afraid that I don't accept these as being poetic embellishments or whatever others have suggested. The circumstances of the text make it very clear that Narada is speaking directly to Gaura and not Krishna. So what is Gaura doing there if His existence is only for prakat-lila? It doesn't make sense.

Advaitaji has already confessed that he thinks that all of these "Gaura-evaporation" ideas are the personal realisations of the "mahatma" he spoke to, so it is a subjective thing and there is no reason as such to believe it. I personally find the ideas sickening. To think that one's devotion to Gaura will one day "evaporate" into nothingness or so? This contradicts everything we have been taught.


  • At 13 October, 2006 10:40, Anonymous Krishna Das said…

    Dear Gaurasundara, I don't want to argue for or against. I just want to tell you that the whole issue cannot be done away with by the arguments you put forward. In order to have a profound insight into the problems of Gaudiya Vaishnavism more than ordinary logic or common sense is necessary. My own studies led me to the conclusion that, except for a thorough knowledge of GV literature, one has to have a firm base in the six system of Indian philosophy, perfect knowledge of Sanskrit and Sahitya Sastra to be able to give an insightful opinion on any issue related to GV. One can give all kinds of arguments from one's own uneducated persprective, but one can be still far from the truth. Therefore, unless and until one hasn't got proper education, it is better to follow the opinion of somebody who studied sastra in parampara. I personally subscribe to the opinion of the mahatma Advaitaji refers to and of Satya Narayana Prabhu who are persons who underwent the proper training in Indian philosophy in general and of GV in particular.

  • At 14 October, 2006 02:54, Blogger "Gaurasundara das" said…

    Krishna dasji, thanks very much for writing.

    I am aware that this issue cannot be easily dimissed, and thanks for making me mindful of my lackings. I do agree that there is much I need to know and learn about Gaudiya siddhanta.

    I am really interested in the veracity of these 'Gaura-evaporation' claims and would be really keen to understand the rationale behind it, if you could kindly provide, thank you.

  • At 16 October, 2006 18:40, Anonymous Krishna Das said…

    I don't think that I am competent to give you the answer. If you want to know the rationale, it is best to meet the devotee scholars who uphold this claim and discuss with them directly.


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