Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hindu Encounter with Modernity: Sahaja samadhi

Hindu Encounter with Modernity

As a result of thoughts expressed a few days ago on this blog, I decided to read through Shukavak's book again, from beginning to end this time, and review the points that he made there. I have mentioned this book many times and I would like to emphasize once again what an important contribution Shukavak has made to the future of the sampradaya by opening the door to this aspect of Bhaktivinoda's thought, which Bhaktivedanta, by inadvertance or by design, decided to omit from his own preaching.

I wrote in Bhaktivinoda Thakur's meat eating and Lalita Prasad Thakur that Bhaktivinoda Thakur made two most significant contributions: the first is the opening of a door to a modern approach to Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine and history, the other is the wholehearted acceptance of the raganuga sadhana practices that are generally rejected by all branches of the Gaudiya Math.

Shukavak quotes several times a passage from the introduction to the Krishna-samhita, in which Bhaktivinoda Thakur states quite clearly that he hopes future scholars, or madhyamadhikari devotees, will continue the work that he has begun (see HEM, page 150):

যত দূর পারা গেল, ঘটনাসকলের ও গ্রন্থ আধুনিকমতে কাল নিরূপিত হইল। সারগ্রাহী জন গণ বাদনিসষ্ঠ নহেন, অতএব সদ্যুক্তি দ্বারা ইহার বিপরীত কোন বিষয় স্থির হইলেও তাহা আমাদের আদরণীয়। অতএব এতত্‌সিদ্ধান্ত সম্বন্ধে ভবিষ্যত পরমার্থবাদী বা বুদ্ধিমান অর্থবাদীদিগের নিকট হইতে অনেক আশা করা যায়।

As far as possible, I have determined the chronology of the major events and important books according to the modern perspective. A saragrahi, however, is not attached to a particular view, so if, in the future, any of my conclusions are refuted by better reasoning, then those new conclusions are worthy of my respect and consideration. Indeed, there is much hope that future spiritual seekers and intellectuals will improve upon this matter.

Though the specific context here is the historiography of ancient India, I believe that it applies to other areas in which Bhaktivinoda Thakur was interested, including the dialogue with other philosophies and religions. This is what I meant when I said that initiation was an entry into this dialogue centered about faith and the goals of faith as it manifests in this particular tradition.

For those who are not familiar by now with Shukavak's analysis of BVT, I will just mention a couple of the more salient points. Most of this I have been talking about previously, although I may not have used the same terms that Bhaktivinoda did.

Shukavak has emphasized three points, which are all very significant, as they go completely against the kind of fundamentalist tenacity to scriptural literalism that characterizes smuch of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, including those branches that claim allegiance to Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

  1. His acceptance of personal intuition or personal revelation, which he called sahaja-samadhi.

  2. Bhaktivinoda's interpretation of the three kinds of adhikara for devotion.

  3. His acceptance of the evolutionary or progressive model.

  4. His acceptance of symbolic interpretation of the scriptures and his theory of symbolism.

The sahaja-samadhi idea appears to be based in the idea of innate identity with Krishna. Obviously, Bhaktivinoda is orthodox in his acceptance of the jiva's distinction from Krishna, but I think he would argue against any idea that the jiva is not innately sac-cid-ananda; thus the jiva can intuit and recognize the truths of spiritual life on his own, without necessary recourse to other sources. This intuitive understanding is built on historical traditions, but ultimately it furnishes the capacity of a jiva to further the "progressive march" of knowledge to further stages beyond those already achieved in any specific school of thought. It is the Newtonian idea, "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants."

So the question here is whether the creative impulse really stands at the opposite extreme of the parampara model.

Anyway, I starting writing all this more than a month ago. It is now Sept. 21, but I am posting it anyway with the original date on it, even though it is unfinished. These are important ideas and will need further contemplation. I especially want to discuss the questions of symbolism.

Student paper about Bhaktivinoda Thakur


Steve / Subal said...

You are right about the importance of this book Jagat. I first read it in January, 2005, when we came to Hawai'i to buy land. I find it helped me redefine/clarify my mission. Just as Bhaktivinode adapted the teachings to the needs of persons like himself, we are called to further adapt them to the needs of persons like ourselves. We should not be dumb hearers as I believe he called those who did not advance the teachings.

He studied the progressive Christian and Unitarian thinkers of his day as I have in ours. I find that progressive Christian theology is a good fit with revisions for BVT's teachings as he also saw a connection. Tillich separates faith and belief as BVT does, as well as uses symbolic language. I struggle with the tension between my Western understanding of things and Gaudiya Vaishnav teachings and think of how to adapt the GV teachings by getting down to the essence and then reimagining it for today.

A major revision by those who have the natural intuition to do it is badly needed.

Jagat said...

Radhe Radhe Subalji. Yes, I thought of you as I was going through this document this last time and I became more conscious of the influence of Unitarians on BVT. My daughter and her husband have also found a home in the Unitarian Church.

In some ways it seems that Unitarianism and Vaishnavism are diametrically opposed. The Unitarian influence on the Brahmo Samaj, which BVT opposed, is well documented. Nevertheless, since the Unitarians were somewhat ahead of the game in the response to modernity, they developed certain arguments that Bhaktivinoda Thakur could avail himself of in devising his defense of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that we have a task for which we are uniquely equipped--in the sense that our connection to Bhaktivinoda Thakur makes it possible for us to apply the spirit of his modernizing project in the changing circumstances of today's world. The goalposts have moved a great deal since 1859. They have moved on from the time of Bhaktisiddhanta and Bhaktivedanta also. And the world-wide community of liberal believers who are also dealing with the questions of faith and belief, etc., in the present-day context have found numerous new tools, arguments and responses to help them deal with the unique challenges of faith, spirituality and religion in the present day.

We belong, I believe, to this world-wide community, even though our particular religious language, symbol system, etc., etc., are unique to our tradition. I would never sacrifice this unicity in the interest of an inchoate universalism. As I said recently, to me, a tradition means the historical dialogue that develops out of a particular revelation. We have to take that tradition, though which the epiphany of faith came to us, so to speak, as seriously as we take the new interpretive tools that have been given to us.

Anyway, I am happy that you are "out there" and I certainly look forward to more collaboration between us. We will have to eventually think of practical ways that we can do that.

Jai Radhe! Jagat.

Jagat said...

By the way, yesterday was the appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, so let us remember him with gratitude as a true father of this movement.

krishnadasa said...

Dear Jagat, I agree that Shukavak's book is really excellent. It is a marvellous scholarly introduction to Bhakivinoda's thought. Nonetheless, I personally missed a detailed comparison of BVT's own/new ideas with the Gaudiya philosophy as we can find it in the writings of the Goswamis and other acharyas. I am aware that this direction of research lies beyond the scope of Shukavak's dissertation, which is despite my objection pathbreaking, and an example of first class scholarship.

You will surely agree with me that the Indian scholarly tradition has its own rationality and it would be interesting to explore and start thinking about the issue of Hindu encounter with modernity from there. In my opinion, BVT did not react to modernity as a traditional Gaudiya Vaishnava scholar but as a person who was already half-Westernized. Thus I doubt that he showed us the ropes.

Shukavak wrote this excellent book. But I think it is just a first step. We need studies that would critically examine BVT's views and check them against the teachings of the "fathers of the faith". The concept of sahaja-samadhi is fundemental for BVT. Before we accept it, it would be worth examining in relation to the concept of samadhi in traditional GV and other Indian traditions.

krishnadasa said...

I am writing again because I feel that I should elaborate on my remark about the comparison of
BVT's concept of sahaja-samadhi ith the traditional understanding of samadhi.

I see at least one problem with BVT's concept of samadhi. BVT accepts that samadhi is either
savikalpa or nirvikalpa. According to his explanation in Krishna Samhita 9.2, nirvikalpa-samadhi is
the real sahaja-samadhi and savikalpa-samadhi is kuta-samadhi. In classical yoga nirvikalpa-
samadhi is called asamprajnata-samadhi and savikalpa-samadhi is called samprajnata-samadhi. Thus
far I might agree with BVT.

However, according to Datta Kaustubha 75-78 there is gauna-samadhi and saksat-samadhi. Gauna-samadhi is threefold: samkhya-jnana-samadhi, atma-jnana-samadhi, and jnana-misra-samadhi and they lead to the realization of brahman, paramatma and bhagavan respectively. All these three
samadhis are characterized by conceptualization und thus, if I am correct, they are the same as
savikalpa-samadhi. Saksat-samadhi is twofold: sahaja-samadhi and nitanta-sahaja-samadhi, and
they lead to the realization of Narayana and Krishna respectively. They are free of conceptualization
and thus they are the same as nirvikalpa-samadhi.

From this follows that according to BVT yogis and jnanis who realize brahman and paramatma do not
attain nirvikalpa-samadhi. This is not correct in my opinion. Even a cursory look at Yoga-sutras
reveals that they are familiar with the concept of nirvikalpa-samadhi, and supposedly also experience it.

Please corret me if I am wrong. It might well be that BVT's concept of samadhi is different from the
traditional concept of samadhi, and thus it is quetionable if what he describes is samadhi at all.

krishnadasa said...

Jagat, you mentioned Bhaktivinoda's interpretation of the three kinds of adhikara for devotion as an important point. However, is it really adhikara for devotion? As far as I can remember Shukavak speaks of the ability to comprehend spiritual truth. These two seem to me different. BVT's adhikara is rather something like hermeneutic ability. According to Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, sraddha is the adhikara for vaidhi bhakti, (this can be threefold but the division is not the same as BVT's), and lobha is the adhikara for raganuga-bhakti. In my opinion, BVT's adhikara is not an adhikara for bhakti.

Jagat said...

Good points. On the first, about samadhi, I am not as well read as you on the different places where BVT has discussed the matter.

As far as I can understand, his main concern here is revelation based in some kind of realization. But I agree that sahaja-samadhi, at least, in this context, is not equivalent to traditional yogic definitions of samadhi. It seems more associated with what he elsewhere calls svataH-siddha-jJAna in Amnaya-sutram. But this is something into which further research is necessary. You seem to have made a good start.

I confess that my knowledge of these works (Krsna-samhita, Tattva-viveka and Amnaya-sutra), all of which are necessary to get a more sophisticated understanding of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's "systematic theology", is not as strong as it should be.

As to the question of adhikara, you probably are refering to yesterday's post as well as this one. I am not entirely satisfied with my understanding. There is clearly a relationship between knowledge and devotion, which needs considerable finesse in distinguishing. I believe Jiva Goswami says somewhere that bhakti is a kind of jnana, by which I assume he means consciousness rather than knowledge per se (which in the West really means the objects of knowledge, i.e. the things known).

So there is a complex hierarchy of adhikaras. But Bhaktivinoda Thakur is obviously inspired by the adhikaras for vaidhi bhakti listed in 1.2.8-10 of BRS. There three things are considered to be elements of one's degree of qualification: (1) Faith, (2) Knowledge of the traditional teachings, and (3) Knowledge of rational arguments. Of course, since the eligibility for bhakti is universal (as is bathing in the Ganges in the month of Magha), these degrees indicate some kind of special qualification in relation to the practice of bhakti.

The objection comes when one asks, what is the relationship of these qualifications and raganuga bhakti, which supposedly is based on ruchi alone (rather than faith per se, though I see it as a kind of transformation of faith) and has nothing to do with scriptural injunctions and logical arguments (clarifying somewhat the distinction between sastra and yukti given above).

In these cases, it would appear that the reasoning is that faith, traditional knowledge and awareness of rational arguments are all impetuses (codanA) that lead to actions, gross and subtle, that are defined as sadhana-bhakti.

In this context, Jiva Goswami's distinction between ruchi-pradhana and vichara-pradhana devotees is useful.

There is clearly a distinction between these three categories and the other categorization of kanistha, madhyama and uttama found in the 11th canto, or the description in Upadesamrita (verse 7, I believe, kRSNeti yasya giri, etc.) which is also followed in Mahaprabhu's instruction to the residents of Kulinagram (vaiSNava, vaiSNavatara, vaiSNavatama). Nevertheless, these various hierarchies need to be harmonized to get a better understanding of the overall nature of spiritual progress on the Vaishnava path.

krishnadasa said...

I think that the question what BVT's sahaja-samadhi really is and its relation to the traditional concept of samadhi deserves further exploration. Jiva Goswami says in the Tattva Sandarbha that Bhagavatam is actually vyAsa-samAdhi-labdha. Is Jiva Goswami here referring to the traditional concept of samadhi or is he antecipating BVT's sahaja-samadhi idea? I reckon it is the former.

Apart from that, if sahaja-samadhi is really BVT's translation of Emerson's natural intuition (as Shukavak suggests), it is necessary to explore the Western idea of intuition. Intuition is an understanding without apparent effort, a kind of insight, something I don't think applies to samadhi which one must make effort (i.e. sadhana) to attain. The effort is necessary because one needs to get rid of vrttis (which are fivefold as explained in Yoga Sutras). I doubt there is anything that would come close to Yoga Sutras' discussion of vrttis and sadhana in the works of Emerson, Tillich and similar thinkers.

As far as BVT's theory of adhikara is concerned, it does not seem to me necessary to relate it to bhakti. BVT's theory of adhikara apparently applies to everybody, including non-devotees. Since the theory is based on the notion of scriptural literalism, it has naturally to do with understanding or interpretation, i.e. ultimately with hermeneutics. Of course, some knowledge or understanding is needed in order to have faith which is the beginning stage of bhakti. From this perspective, BVT's adhikara-theory, if at all valid, has some relation to bhakti, but is not inseparable from bhakti.

The problem of literalism is not unkown to the Sanskrit tradition. Already Purva-mimamsakas rejected the literalistic interpretation of the Veda. For example, they don't accept that the devatas have a form etc. (see Jaimini Sutras 1.2.5 with Sabara-bhashya), whereas Vedantists say they have a deha (see Vedana Sutras 1.3.26-28, e.g. with our Baladeva Vidyabhushana's tika). Should purva-mimamsakas be considered madhyamadhikaris and Vedantists kanisthadhikaris? I don't think so.

As you may have noticed I am sceptical about some of BVT's idea. It seems to me that his theory of adhikara is too simplistic, if we start discussing the problems it tries to solve by taking into account the traditional scholarly discourse.

Jagat said...

I agree with you that BVT's ideas about samadhi are probably neither fish nor fowl. But as I believe I stated here, he was likely trying to find a compromise position that would allow a dynamic vision of Krishna conscious development and transformation to take place. By so doing, he legitimized personal revelation--not only his own, but that of previous acharyas who may be internally recognized by the sampradaya, but not externally.

Nevertheless, I think you are right to seek precision in the concept of personal revelation, or intuition, and the varieties of understanding related to samadhi, a term which even at the best of times is riddled with mystification. In a sense, I like BVT's "democratization" of samadhi.

But I feel less convinced by your characterization of the adhikara question. I think that for BVT all knowledge would have been connected to devotion. This is why he used Rupa Goswami's terms (komala sraddha). The study of shastra (a concept that he no doubt widened) and the use of reason ultimately serve to strengthen faith, even if in the first instance it may appear to function as doubt.

For a madhyama adhikari, no one is a blooper.

But it is clear that BVT (and BSS for that matter, and no doubt BVS as well) would have prefered that we not apotheosize their teachings, but rather that we enter into the spirit that comes from the essential revelations that transformed the heart. These transformations are synonymous with conversion, i.e., accepting the three principal teachings, the essence of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana.

I admit that since reading Shukavak's book a second time, I have become inspired to go back to the abovementioned books, which I had never looked at in any depth, to see more directly how BVT dealt with these issues. Perhaps some day I will be able to say something meaningful on the issue.

In the meantime, thank you for your insights.

krishnadasa said...

Dear Jagat, I would like to clarify my standpoint and continue discussing these important topics, but since, as you said that you need to deepen your understanding of BVT, I will refrain from commenting. I look forward to your further thoughts on these issues.

Jagat said...

I am currently going through the four works, posting them (at least the sutras and karikas) on GGM. I should finish Tattva-sutra today, so they will all be available on line at the end of the day. I don't, unfortunately, have a copy of Datta-kaustubha, which will be the last in this series of philosophical works to find its way to GGM.

Datta-kaustubha -- 1873
Krishna-samhita -- 1880
Amnaya-sutram -- 1890
Tattva-sutra -- 1893
Tattva-viveka -- 1893

It's always good to be conscious of an author's evolution, and twenty years can make a big difference in one's thinking. Nevertheless, the idea of sahaja certainly seems to have been with BVT throughout, as he mentions it in almost all of these works.

With regards to your statement that the yogis knew of nirvikalpa samadhi, it seems as though BVT is requiring a rethinking of the terms, defending the personalist conception of God, which he calls the sahaja-vastu. (It is really hard to see why Shukavak did not follow up on the whole history of the word sahaja as it is used in a whole collection of traditions, starting with Buddhism and the Sahaja-yana, not least of which is the Sant tradition in North India (Kabir, Nanak, etc.), as well as the Baul tradition, which influenced Rabindranath and must have been to a degree in popular awareness. Perhaps Shukavak was worried about the connection to Sahajiyaism, which BVT clearly tried to avoid. But I don't think it is possible that he could have chosen the term, which is so loaded culturally and historically, without some awareness of the pros and cons of doing so.

In Tattva-viveka (23), BVT uses sAhajika-jJAna as a synonym: "There is one group of people who are unable to establish their doctrine on the basis of pure, natural understanding (sAhajika-jJAna), but at the same time do not believe in the universal efficacy of reason. On the basis of a partial acceptance of natural intuition (I can't help using this translation), they accept that God exists. And absorbed in jnana, they enter into samadhi, but this samadhi is not sahaja-samadhi, because they are aiming at a "kuta-chinta". With this kuta chinta they can break through the gross material world, but they cannot see the spiritual world. This is because without sahaja samadhi, the sahaja tattva cannot be revealed."

Then he goes on to indicate that he is refering to people like Theosophists, etc. The word kUTa has many meanings, and I will have to look around to see which one BVT is refering to. Here is a list from the Bengali dictionary, but I suspect he means, "illusion, fraud, trick, untruth, falsehood, puzzling question, enigma" (See BhP 6.5.10, 29). Or perhaps he is following Sridhar Swami (10.12.19)--AbhAsa. (Shukavak "false intuition.")

Anyway, those are more a set of notes than a real post.

Jagat said...

Just looking at 6.5.10 (Sridhar), interesting because it has both sahaja and kUTa in the commentary. "After hearing Narada's kUTa words, the Haryashvas began to assess their meaning with their natural (autpattikI) intelligence." Sridhar defines kUTa as: "Through indirect speech giving the impression of meaning something else."

Narada, as you will remember, came and told the Haryashvas indirectly to disobey their father's instructions. Even though he never told them directly, they, through their natural intelligence, could understand the underlying truth of his statements.

This may indeed be the origin of BVT's idea. Who knows? :)

krishnadasa said...

I am wondering why it is required to rethink samadhi. Can you explain, please? It seems to me like saying that the rishis and and the acharyas did not know what they were talking about. It is possible to learn about samadhi from sastra and experience it. Samadhi is no vague idea. Nor do I think that rethinking of this term would defend the personalist conception of God. Vaishnavacharyas beginning with Ramanuja were fairly successful in defending it.

Actually, Jiva Goswami explains in Bhakti Sandarbha that samadhi on bhakti-marga is different from the yogic samadhi. The yogic samadhi is citta-vRtti-nirodhaH, whereas vaishnava samadhi is bhagavad-AviSTa-cittaH. Jiva Goswami therefore concludes: tasmAd asamprajJAta-nAmno brahma-samAdhito bhinna evAsau.

Jagat said...

You do point out a real contradiction between Jiva and BVT.

Perhaps my choice of words was unfortunate. I do think that perhaps "expand" would have been better.

Perhaps we make too radical a break between intuition and samadhi, and one is just more of the same. I have been thinking along these lines where sraddha and prema are concerned, in the sense that sraddha arises out of a perception of prema, or a glimpse of the experience thereof.

Perhaps this is what BVT was getting at. Somehow, we know something is right when it touches our true self. And that touching of the true self, no matter how conditioned our state when it happens, is in fact an experience of samadhi.

krishnadasa said...

I cannot agree with your statement that "sraddha arises out of a perception of prema, or a glimpse of the experience thereof". Sridhara Swami in Bhavartha Dipika, Rupa Goswami in Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu and Visvanath Cakrvarti in Madhurya Kadambini clearly showed that it is the other way round. First we have sraddha, and this sraddha developes into prema. Sraddha is the first ingress of svarupa-sakti of the Lord in the jiva. As the jiva gets rid of all anarthas, the svarupa-sakti manifests fully as prema. The experience of prema must be permanent because it is a sthayi-bhava, it is no transitory emotion. If we had a glimpse of experience of prema, we would get rid of anarhas immediately because prema is synonymous with saksat-kara of Bhagavan.

According to Jiva Goswami's Bhakti Sandarbha, sraddha is either laukika or sastriya. Only the sastriya sraddha leads to uttama-bhakti which is our goal, and this sraddha is defined as zAstrArtha-vizvAsa. The aim of all the books written by our acharyas is to convey sastriya sraddha. In my opinion, the concept of sastriya sraddha makes BVT's adhikara-vada problematic. Komala-sraddhas and madhyamadhikaris clearly do not have sastriya sraddha. Therefore, their adhikara is actually no adhikara for bhakti (which means uttama-bhakti) at all.

I certainly don't think that intuition and samadhi are just more of the same, as you wrote. Samadhi can be attained only by those whose antaHkaraNa is suddha. It must be a permanent state. Samadhi is generally something attained by sadhana. As I have stated earlier, intuition does not require sadhana.

Of course, we have to explain religious experiences as those that were described by William James and his followers, and this is probably what you refer to. I think they can at best fall in category of what Jiva Goswami calls sAkSAt-kArAbhAsa because of the asvacchAntaHkaraNatva of those who experience it. This is just my first thought on this subject, so I may be wrong, I don't know.

Jagat said...

You can call it abhasa, if you like. But don't knock the abhasa. Reflected light of the sun still gets rid of darkness. The mirror image of a thing still gives us an idea of the thing.

But I would tend to categorize it differently. The CC says that Mahaprabhu came to give prema-nama, which I have heard explained as "prema first, name after." That was during Mahaprabhu's incarnation, of course, but the fact remains that through the Holy Name, pure or impure, qualified or unqualified, we get a taste of the Holy Name.

I have been having this discussion for quite a while. For instance, the word rasa also is put on the same distant pedestal, but there are places in the Bhagavatam (1.1.3, 1.5.16, 12.13.14) where it is described as a more immediate experience and not something only attained at the end of a long arduous process. That is the vaidhi concept, you might say, contrasted with the raganuga idea, where bhaktyA saJjAtayA bhaktyA, bhakti is the cause of bhakti; prema is the cause of prema.

I think we need to do a little demystification of all the concepts. We have a tendency to place them outside of "normal" human experience, when they are not. The very fact that we can somehow conceive of the possibility of things like samadhi--even though they are supposedly vAk-manasAgocara--is that they are within the realm of human conception.

This is what I believe BVT meant by sahaja.

This does not eliminate the need for sadhana, as that is the outcome of faith. What you want is basically "more of the same," both qualitatively and quantitatively.

The other generally accepted cause of faith is the association of a devotee. In fact, what this is is an experience of truth and love embodied in a person. This again fits into the idea of prema being the cause of prema.

krishnadasa said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you that it is necessary to demystify concepts like samadhi, rasa etc. They are within the reach of sadhakas, and no long periods of arduous sadhana are actually needed. Our acharyas teach that prema can be attained even in an instance, and no sadhana is needed. Unfortunately, devotees often believe many things that are not in sastra, but that are laukika-sraddha only. There is nothing vague about samadhi, rasa, prema etc. Everything has been nicely explained by our acharyas. In my opinion, there is no need to look for entirely new definitions as BVT did. The only thing needed is to study sastra, preferably in guru-parampara, something rarely done nowadays, otherwise sastra can be easily misunderstood.

Finally, I would like to corret your statement that the maxim bhaktyA saJjAtayA bhaktyA applies to both vaidhi and raganuga-bhakti. As far as I know, it speaks about the nirhetukatva of bhakti, its independence from jnana and karma. It is nowhere mentioned that it applies only to raganuga.

As for the rest, I will repeat myself that sraddha is the first ingress of svarupa-sakti of the Lord in the jiva, and that as the jiva gets rid of anarthas, the svarupa-sakti manifests fully as prema. If there are no anarthas, the process is immediate, and prema manifests at the very moment. The experience of prema is permanent, because it is sthayi-bhava.

As far as my abhasa idea is concerned, I need some time think about it. Jiva Goswami does not use the concept of saksatkarabhasa in the same sense I used it. It was just a suggestion, though maybe not entirely improbable.

I will end our interesting discussion here, although there are many questions that we could talk about.

(Correction: I noticed that in one of the previous posts I gave you an incorrect reference to Jaimini Sutras. Instead of 1.2.5 it should have been Adhyaya 9 Pada 1)

Jagat said...

I was not really interpreting the bhaktyA sanjAtayA bhaktyA verse exclusively to raganuga, because of course all bhakti comes as a result of the descent of the svarupa shakti, as you have said. The question is one of the devotee's attitude; the former emphasizing externals, the latter internals. I made the above connection since bhakti is essentially internal.

I believe that there is something about the svarupa-shakti question also that is very intimately related to the whole question of sahaja. The IGM is often associated with the idea that bhakti is inherent in the jiva. This is refute in various ways. There was just a discussion on Advaita's blog on the subject.

Bhaktivinoda never minimized the necessity for external blessings in the spiritual quest, but I think that there is some justification for stating that the natural state of the jiva is to be united with the svarupa-shakti.

I suppose the question is the relationship between potential and attainment.

I agree that this discussion has run its course, as is often the case. Someone will have to go into it more deeply and do a thorough job of investigating the question from both sides, looking into all the ramifications. I thank you greatly for your stimulating input.

Anonymous said...

Namo Namah!
Jagatji, this question may seem somewhat off the subject but fatre reading Sukavak's book I was wondering when the Thakura accepted vesh towards the end of his life, what was the name given to him? Did he become as 'Bhaktivinode Das Babaji" or was there another appellation given to him?