Analysis on the views of Mahānta Satyanārāyaṇadāsa Bābājī ‘Gauḍīya’ and Prof. Dr. Jen Brezenski/Jagadānandadāsa ‘self-professed Sahajiyā’
Note – The below comments are in response to the HD video recorded debate of the two scholarly Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava personalities today. The link to that video discourse is –
SND’s (Satyanārāyaṇadāsa) logic, once again, proves how prema (to be taken in technical Gauḍīya context) cannot pre-exist in a samsārī jīva – a theological stand accepted by all conventional orthodox Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava camps including by BRVF, but denied by the neo/pseudo-Gauḍīya unorthodox camps especially comprising of the followers of late BVT, BSST and ACBSP etc.
But, SND’s analogy of darkness not able to co-exist with light (this comparison was, originally and historically, given by Bhagavatpāda Ādya Śaṅkarācārya in his classical Śāṅkara-bhāṣyam commentary on Brahma-sūtra/Vedānta’s initial introduction known as ‘adhyāsa-bhāṣyam’ as – ‘timira-prakāśavad-virūddha-svabhāvayoḥ…’ – to illustrate the concept of adhyāsa or super-imposition employed by radical monists or Advaitins/Śaṅkarites), concurrently (lust is compared to darkness and love to light in Caitanya-caritāmṛta), is not 100% applicable if the due importance to Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarttī’s (hereafter, referred to as VCT) statements found in his Sārārtha-darśinī commentary to the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam verse — “vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca visṇoh…” is given. There, VCT explains that in the proportion prema (a product of hlādinī) is obtained, in the same proportion kāma (a product of avidyā) is dispelled. So, it is not that as soon as sunrise happens, all darkness is vanished. Rather that till the time sun becomes fully illuminated, darkness remains in smaller proportionate amount.
When BVT (Bhaktvinoda Thākura) says in Jaiva Dharma that one of the most important characteristics of a soul (which differentiates it from the inert matter) is his having a desire as his inherent characteristic of consciousness — is a bogus notion and SND has nicely refuted it citing the Pātañjala Yoga-sūtra aphorism – ‘yogas tu citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ’.
JD’s (Jagadānandadāsa) notion that if you can’t understand love in this world, you can’t love God — is wrong because it is the hlādinī-vṛtti-svarūpā bhakti which makes the sādhaka understand love of God and not the mundane love experience of a sādhaka when he was a saṁsārī jīva.
SND remains very concise and point to point as befitting a good navya-naiyāyika oriental Indigenous logician. Whereas, JD remains very explanatory and beating around the bush, at times, as befitting his occidental erudition.
SND’s stand on ‘prema‘ being ‘sa-ādi‘ or ‘with beginning’ is wrong (if he has labelled prema as sādi in an ultimate context of prema’s throughout existence) as prema is considered to be nitya-siddha in Caitanya-caritāmṛta and, also, in BRS / Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu. Nitya-siddha means eternally in perfect existence. So, prema is ‘an-ādi‘ or beginningless even when it has not descended into the heart of a sādhaka jīva through the channel of nitya-siddha bhagavat-pārṣadas.
Prema is beginnningless because it exists, eternally, in the bhagavat-pārṣadas only and from them only, an expanded fragment of such prema descends downwards into the heart of a sādhaka as corroborated by Śrīpāda Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa in his Siddhānta-ratnam aka Govinda-bhāṣya-pīṭhakam.
SND’s one another point is not fully matching with VCT’s views expressed in Mādhurya-kādambinī by the latter. SND says that there are only two stages viz., under the influence of prema and/or under the influence of kāma. But, VCT mentions that there are six types of aniṣṭhitā-bhajana-kriyās like vyūdha-vikalpā, taraṅga-raṅgiṇī and ghana-taralā etc. which are none but the mixed proportions of the influence of kāma and prema, concurrently, enveloping a practicing bhakti-sādhaka. Though, there is no harm in accepting that the influence of bhakti on a sādhaka is more as the waning away of the kāma has started since the start of bhakti practice.
JD’s point that little imagination based on mundane experiences of love is necessary to understand the divine love is a bogus notion because, what to speak of bhāva and prema types of bhakti, even the sādhana-bhakti sprouts from pāramārthikī śraddhā or nirguṇā-śraddhā which is a product of viśuddha-sattva’s special variant called guhya-vidyā. Therefore, since the very seed of sādhana-bhakti which is pāramarthikī nirguṇā śraddhā sprouts from viśuddha-sattva, there is no other previous mundane experience based imagination needed in order to understand bhakti. Viśuddha-sattva takes care of all that. This is what is meant by the Caitanya-caritamrita verse – ‘sei kāle kṛṣṇa kare tāṅra ātma-sama’ or that Kṛṣṇa makes the senses of a sādhaka transcendental during his practice of sādhana-bhakti and the iron rod + fire unification (agni-lauha-tādātmya-dṛṣṭānta) example given by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī in his commentary to Bhakti-rasa-amṛta-sindhu corroborates the same.
If SND considers sādhana-bhakti to be on the stage of prema‘s influence, that is correct. But, even on that stage, the influence of kāma or avidyā doesn’t subside fully. Or else, VCT’s explanation of 6 types of a-niṣṭhitā-bhajana-kriyā‘s as seen in Mādhurya-kādambinī would become irrelevant.
SND’s point that kleśa-ghnī (the quality of removing all avidyā-associated anarthas as seen from the stage of sādhana-bhakti fully developing on the stage of bhāva-prema sandhi-kāla or the conjunction of bhāva and prema stages) seen on sādhana-bhakti stage proves that no avidyā remains from sādhana-bhakti onward is not fully accurate. Because, VCT explains in Mādhurya-kādambinī that only at the stage of the conjunction of bhāva and prema, the ātyantikī-type (the super-ultimate type) of anartha/avidyā-nivṛtti occurs. Thence, even the seed of avidyā/anartha/kleśa can never grow again, as it has been fully burnt out once and for all. Eka-deśa-vyāpinī, bahu-deśa-vyāpinī, prāyikī, pūrṇā and ātyantikī — these are the 5 types of anartha/avidyā-nivṛttis explained Mādhurya-kādambinī by VCT. So, it is incorrect to assert that the influence of avidyā is, fully, terminated on the sādhaka from the stage of sādhana-bhakti. It fully terminates only during the conjunction of bhāva/rati and prema.
In same ‘adhikaraṇa‘ or in the mīmāṁsā concept of samānādhikaraṇya (two objects existing in one denomination), kāma and prema can co-exist till the time prema is not fully obtained. Bhāva-bhakti or rati has been compared to the awakening of the first ray of sun-light on the horizon — in Bhakti-rasa-amṛta-sindhu verse – ‘śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā prema-sūrya-amśu-sāmya-bhāk..krid asau bhāva ucyate’. And prema is described as the condensed or full-fledged sun-light in Bhakti-rasa-amrita-sindhu verse – ‘samyak-masrnita-svantah…..bhavah sa eva sandra-atma budhaih prema nigadyate‘. So, when the first ray of sunlight touches the horizon of Earth during the early morning hours of ‘aruṇodaya-kāla’, about 75%+ darkness is seen prevalent. Gradually, when sunlight blossoms up during the midday time, 100% darkness is dissipated. Similarly, it has to be understood with avidyā. Both can co-exist proportionately.
However, verses like ‘bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat piśācī hṛdi varttate’ in Bhakti-rasa-amṛta-sindhu do not indicate anything otherwise. The mere intention there is to assert that till the desires of bhukti and mukti will remain, the ‘aiśvara-sukha’ (One aspect of ‘śubhadā‘ quality found in sādhana-bhakti and developed more on later stages of bhāva and prema. Aiśvara-sukha is the divine happiness emanated from the discharge of uttamā-bhakti displayed on the three stages of sādhana, bhāva and prema) will not be relished. So, from the very start of sādhana-bhakti, these extraneous desires are to be tamed/curbed by the sādhaka. However, their full eradication happens only during the conjunction of bhāva and prema stages. Therefore, the ‘sādhaka‘ stage remains till the conjunction of bhāva and prema. Only after ascending the prema stage, ‘siddha‘ platform is acquired according to the opinion of BRS (Bhakti-rasa-amṛta-sindhu). Till then, the sādhaka platform remains. However, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, in his Bhakti-sandarbha, places the bhāva-bhakti-sādhakas as the siddhas of the third category viz., the category of ‘mūrcchita-kaṣāya’ or whose anarthas have been mūrcchita or made dormant/inactive. In any perspective (whether that of BRS or of Bhakti-sandarbha), the bottom-line point coming out is that avidyā/anartha remain present, though, inactive or mūrcchita till the time when prema is not fully acquired. Hence, it is to be accepted that both avidyā and prema (till its sandhi-kāla or conjunction stage with bhāva/rati) can co-exist till certain proportionate extents. SND’s view is defeated here and the view of JD, too, is not fully authentic as SND defeats him with scriptural evidences and logic. Both of the contestants are inaccurate somewhere or other in their philosophical assessments.
The point that JD (Jagadānandadāsa or Prof. Jen Brezenski or ex-ISKCONite Hiraṇyagarbhadāsa ACBSP) embarks upon through quoting from the writings of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda and endeavours to establish that unless one experiences sorrow in the mundane world, how is he/she going to experience billions of times more sorrow that which Śrī Rādhā experiences — this point needs to be understood in true light and not how JD interprets it. In Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī clarifies that – ‘premaiva gopa-rāmāṇāṁ kāma ity agamat-prathām‘ meaning that the divine prema of Gopīs, sometimes, comes to be known as ‘kāma‘ (literally meaning lust) just because certain outward activities of gopī-prema do resemble the acts of mundane lust (though inner motives of kāma and prema are, altogether, wholly distinct). But, this comparison with kāma, is, only relative. For a nitya-siddha-pārṣada who has never remained a saṁsārī jīva, he doesn’t need to know whether prema‘s outward acts are resembling the kāma or not. Such analogy is given only in comparison to a saṁsārī jīva‘s experience. So, it’s a relative statement.
Note – SND is short for Mahānta Satyanārāyaṇadāsa Bābājī (ex-ISKCONite & now initiated by Gadādhara Parivāra of Gauḍīya Sampradāya + gold-medalist engineer from IIT Delhi – 1977 AD batch).
Link to the whole above essay — https://goo.gl/1WvJP2
— Bhakti-rasa-vedānta-pīṭḥādhīśvara Gurupādācārya Śrī-caraṇa of BRVF (initiated into Advaita-ācārya Parivāra of Caitanyaite Vaiṣṇavism – Lodi, CA, USA + Ānanda, Gujarāta, Bhārata)