One thought on “Understanding certain Gauḍīya propositions in a non-sectarian and underogatory perspective

  1. An addendum to the post – “Understanding certain Gauḍīya propositions in a non-sectarian and underogatory perspective.”

    A) Among the brahma-jñānīs, there are four types viz., ati-vigīta, vigīta, saṅgīta and parama-saṅgīta. Whereas, the former two comprise the category of condemnable jñānīs, the latter two comprise the category of the praiseworthy ones. The followers of the Advaita doctrine of Ādi Śaṅkara are divided quadruple among these four categories. Among them, the first two ‘vigīta’ are known as ‘māyāvādī’, whereas, the latter two saṅgīta are known as ‘nirguṇa-brahmavādī’ (though, generally and without specification, all the four types of Advaitins are treated as ‘māyāvādī’ by many orthodox Vaiṣṇava schools). Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavācārya Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarttī, while commenting on Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā 18.55 (“brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā… mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām”) in his Sārārtha-varṣiṇī commentary, states as follows – “atra kecid bhaktyā vinaiva kevalenaiva jñānena sāyujyārthinas te jñāni-māninaḥ kleśa-mātra-phalā ati-vigītā eva. anye tu bhaktyā vinā kevalena jñānena na muktir iti jñātvā bhakti-miśram eva jñānam abhyasyanto bhagavānstu māyopādhir eveti bhagavad-vapur guṇamayaṁ manyamānā yogārūḍhatva-daśām api prāptās te ‘pi jñānino vimukta-mānino vigītā eva….. śrī-vigrahāparādhena bhaktyā api jñānena sārddham antardhānād bhaktiṁ te punar naiva labhante…….ye tu bhakti-miśṛaṁ jñānam abhyasyanto bhagvan-mūrtiṁ saccidānandamayīm eva manyamānāḥ krameṇāvidyāvidyayor uparāme parāṁ bhaktiṁ na labhante te jīvan-muktāḥ dvividhāḥ — eke sāyujyārthaṁ bhaktiṁ kurvantas tayaiva tat-padārtham aparokṣī-kṛtya tasmin sāyujyaṁ labhante te saṅgītā eva. apare bhūri-bhāgā yādṛcchika-śānta-māhābhāgavata-saṅga-prabhāveṇa tyatka-mumukṣāḥ śukādivad-bhakti-rasa-mādhuryāsvāde eva nimajjanti te tu parama-saṅgītā eva……tad evaṁ caturvidhā jñānino dvaye vigītā patanti dvaye saṅgītās taranti saṁ sāramiti.”

    B) Caitanya-candrāmṛta (by Gauḍīya-pravara Yatirāja Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī), Verse 19th, suggests the very last fourth category of ‘parama-saṅgīta’ (as described above under heading ‘A’ by citing Śrī Viśvanātha) when it asserts – “tāvad brahma-kathā vimukti-padavī tāvan na tiktībhavet…”. Whereas, Caitanya-candrāmṛta, Verse 32nd, alludes to the above enumerated three categories of ‘vigīta’, ‘ati-vigīta’ + the ‘saṅgīta’ when it asserts – “…dhigas tu brahmāhaṁ vadana-pariphullān jada-matīn….”. Whereas, Caitanya-candrāmṛta, 5th verse, compares the obtainment of nirviśeṣa-advaita-brahma-sāyujya aka kaivalya-mukti as a hellish destination only because of the following reason explained in the very last stanza of that verse – “…yat-kāruṇya-kaṭākṣa-vaibhavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ”. Though sāyujya-mukti is divinely replete with brahmānanda, nevertheless, it is compared to ‘naraka’ or a hellish destination, solely, because of its containing much lesser degree of divine bliss in comparison to the felicity permeated in the bhakti-rasa. Thus, such criticism is, very, relative and should not be taken in an ultimate literal sense (because, sāyujya-mukti is never the actual naraka).

    C) When certain statements of Caitanya-caritāmṛta portray Advaitins as ‘māyāvādī’, it is, contextually, made explicit then and there that only such Advaitins have been labelled as ‘māyāvādī’ who were against the significance and glories of bhakti and its limbs like bhagavan-nāma-saṅkīrttanam and who negate the divine existence of the form of God. Evidences – “prabhu kahe māyāvādī kṛṣṇe aparādhī / brahma ātmā caitanya kahe niravadhi // ataeva kṛṣṇa-āma nā āise tāra mukhe / māyāvādi-gaṇa yāte mahā bahirmukhe //” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.17.129 & 143) + “tabe nija-bhakta haila yata mleccha ādi / sabe eḍāila mātra kāśīra māyāvādī // vṛndāvana yāite prabhu rahilā kāśite / māyāvādi-gaṇa tāñre lāgila nindite // sannyāsī ha-iyā kare gāyana nācana // nā kare vedānta-pāṭha kare sańkīrtana // mūrkha sannyāsī nija-dharma nāhi jāne // bhāvuka ha-iyā phere bhāvukera sane //” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 1.7.39-42)

    While, Caitanya-bhāgavata explains the ‘māyāvādī’ as follows – “kāśite paḍāya beṭā prakāśānanda / sei beṭā kare mora aṅga khaṇḍa khaṇḍa // vyākhānaye veda mora vigrana nā mane / sarva-aṅge haila kuṣṭha tabu nāhi jāne //” — meaning — “There is one wretch in Kāśī called Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, who cuts My body into pieces while teaching the Vedas. He explains the Vedas but does not accept My form. His entire body is afflicted by leprosy, yet he does not come to his senses.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khaṇḍa, 3.37-38)

    – Thus, it is very clear by studying the above evidences that only such Advaitins were treated as ‘bhagavad-aparādhī’ and ‘māyāvādī’ who did not conform to the par-excellence of bhakti and bhagavat-vigraha-cinmayatva. Over the time, the Advaita Vaidika Sampradāya as propagated by Bhagavatpāda Śaṅkara had become infatuated by an array of bhakti-virodhī and bhagavad-vigraha-virodhī philosophers, especially, in the Kāśī area then known as the ‘madhya-deśa’ (if examples of ideal Advaitins like Madhusūdana Sarasvatī and Śrīdhara Svāmī etc. is discounted) and this has been indicated by Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavācārya Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī in his Tattva-sandarbhaḥ, Anuccheda 27.1 as follows – “..bhāṣya-rūpā tad-vyākhyā tu samprati madhya-deśādau vyāptān advaita-vādino nūnaṁ bhagavan-mahimānam avagāhayitum tad-vādena karvurita-lipīnāṁ parama-vaiṣṇavānāṁ śrīdhara-svāmi-caraṇānāṁ śuddha-vaiṣṇava-siddhāntānugatā cet tarhi yathāvad eva vilikhyate.” Hence, among the ideological followers of Ādya Śaṅkara, those Advaitins who respected the par-excellent position of bhakti, bhakti-aṅga and the guṇātītatva of bhagavad-vapu – were never condemned by the Gauḍīya philosophers – despite the fact that the pañcama-puruṣārtha-bhūta bhagavat-prema was, uncompromisingly, highlighted as superseding all other obtainable destinations including those by the ‘saṅgīta’ and ‘parama-saṅgīta’ type of Advaitins. Even Śrī Saṅkarācārya has been depicted as ‘parama-bhagavad-bhakta’ by Śrīlā Jīva Gosvāmipāda in Tattva-sandarbha, Anuccheda 23.3 – “…atha kaivalyam apy atikramya….śaṅkarāvatāratayā prasiddhena…..govindāṣṭakādau varṇayatā taṭasthībhūya nija-vacaḥ sāphalyāya spṛṣṭam iti.”.

    – Gurupādācārya Svāmī of BRVF

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