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Gadadhar Pandit :: Bhakti Shakti (Part III)

III. The moods of Nityananda In this article it is not possible to give a thorough discussion of Nityananda’s personality, for that would lead us away from our subject—Gadadhar Pandit. Nevertheless, in order to understand the idea of “shakti” as it operates in personal form in Gauranga līlā, it is necessary to examine Nityananda and some of the developments that took place historically in the way his followers looked at him.

Nityananda is a character of the greatest significance in Mahaprabhu’s līlā. He was chief among the preachers of the Lord’s message in Bengal and was responsible for the conversion of many businessmen and people from lower castes to Vaishnavism. Without exception he is identified as Balaram, Krishna’s older brother, the ancient deity known as his first expansion (ādi-vyūha), Sankarshan.

Kavi Karnapur states that Nitai and his followers were gopālā gopa-veśinaḥ, "cowherd boys in spirit, who dressed that way also." (GGD 14) In numerous songs Vasudeva G…

The Vrindavan Heat, Yoga and Breath

There has been a heat wave in most of Northern India with new record temperatures being set for May. The papers announced 46C the other day and two deaths attributed to the weather in Mathura district.

I will be honest and tell you that other than buying fruit and vegetables in the evening, I have not been out of the house at all. I am enjoying my bhajan and writing so much that I find it hard to leave my station.

Just now I was thinking, though, that Vikram yoga probably has it wrong with their heat it up and sweat it up yoga. I won't criticize because I really don't know who it's for or what it is attempting to accomplish. But as the heat sinks deeper and deeper into the days, it comes to me that Vikram is right about this: yoga was indeed born in the heat.

Most of the Western people who come to India come in the cool season and run away when the weather starts to bear down. Those who stay are hiding behind fans and coolers and A/C if you can afford it or g…

Gadadhar Pandit :: Bhakti Shakti (Part II)

The first part of this article can be found HERE.






Part II. Comparing the Four Synoptic Accountsa. Vastra-haraṇa-līlā

One of the questions raised in the previous section is that of the extent to which Mahaprabhu and his companions actually reenacted some of the pastimes that Krishna performed and became enshrined in the Gaura-candrikā songs.

Acting out the lives and līlās of the different incarnations has always been part of the Hindu devotional scene, particularly for Vaishnavas. In the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, it is mentioned as a duty for one initiated in Krishna-mantra (HBV 2.159). If the purpose of devotional rules and regulations is to come to the point of remembering God, then such plays can certainly help. That Nimai and his devotee followers performed plays is clear from all his biographies. The most famous such occasion took place at the house of Nimai’s maternal uncle, Chandrashekhara Acharya or Acharya Ratna, which we will examine further down. There were several other occasions…

Gadadhar Pandit :: Bhakti Shakti (Part I)

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This article appeared in its original form in Nitai Das’s little publication, Gifts of Sacred Wonder (Calcutta: Subarna Rekha, 1985), where it was given the title “The Role of Shakti in Gaura Lila.” This title was somewhat misleading as the article does not fully answer the questions implicit in it.

This was my first real publication, and that book is quite a wonderful little collectors’ item, with two article by Nitai, one by Advaita Das, and another by Gadadhar Pran Das, with a lot of nectar in it, despite its many flaws. The follow article was meant to research the various Vaishnava texts for a more complete understanding of Gadadhar Pandit Goswami. The train of thought and the goal of the text were not always clear, so I thought that I would revise it and make it public again. That was done on Gaudiya Discussions in 2004, where the article is still being archived.

I am posting it in view of recent requests. Since I am redoing the diacritics, I will post it in three parts as was o…