Monday, September 28, 2015

5. The Parakiya Rebuttal

Some of the following is repetition and there is still work needed on the footnotes, some of which appear to have gotten lost.

5.1 The controversy

According to Karnānanda, at some time after the GC had arrived in Bengal, a controversy arose in Yajigrama between Vyasacharya, Narottamadasa, Ramachandra Kaviraja, Govindadasa Kaviraja, and other Vaishnavas. The subject of contention was that of sādhya and sādhanā. Narottama states in his Prema-bhakti-candrikā that "that which is desired for in the course of one's devotional practices is matched in the stage of perfection".(1)

Jiva's GC appeared to contradict this by postulating a svakīyā rather than parakīyā state in the nitya-līlā. The dispute was referred to Jiva Goswami for his final verdict and letters were received from him which supposedly settled the matter.(2) Whatever the truth of the Karnānanda account, and it is undoubtedly true that the arrival of Gopāla-campū provoked controversy amongst the disciples of Shrinivasa et al, Yadunandana's account is riddled with contradictions. Specifically, the letters from Jiva supposedly written to settle the controversy, in fact indicate that he had withheld the sending of Gopāla-campū for further revision! The problem seems not to have been resolved by any statement of Jiva's, but rather by obscuring the issue, imputing a subtle motive to him by saying that the GC established a śuddha-parakīyā or "purified illicit love".(3)

In Vivarta-vilāsa, a sahajiyā work written at least a century after Jiva's death, Jiva is said to have engaged in controversy with Krishnadasa Kaviraja, according to which Jiva did not like CC because parakīyā was preached therein (vākyata kariyā kene karile varṇane/ parakīyā bhāva kena kaile prakāśane//). When the MS. was given to Jiva to read, he threw it into the Yamuna in anger. The book floated, however, showing that it had been accepted by the gods, and thus Jiva was forced to admit its greatness. Jiva was already dead when Krishnadas wrote CC, thus there is no possibility of this story's being true. It was written by sahajiya supporters of the parakīyā doctrine to show not only that Jiva was wrong, but that he had admitted the error of his ways.

Rumours of Jiva's disapproval began no doubt when his known promotion of the svakīyā position was coupled with the absence of his name from the list of those who requested Krishnadas to write Chaitanya's biography. The promulgators of these false histories were also unaware that Jiva and Krishnadas's relations were sufficiently cordial that the latter was present at Jiva's side when he was on his deathbed. Krishnadas gives credit to Jiva in every chapter of Govinda-līlāmṛta, a book supporting the parakīyā-vāda, for being among his inspirers.(4) Furthermore, his samadhi is also situated in a prominent place at Jiva’s Radha Damodara temple.

There is little doubt that Jiva wrote to combat a growing opinion amongst the Gaudiyas in Vraja who believed that Rupa Goswami was in favour of the parakīyā-vāda. Later Vrindavan authors, amongst them Radhakrishna Goswami and Rupa Kaviraja, took great pains to refute the svakīyā-vāda. Radhakrishna flies in the face of the evidence that Jiva consistently, in nearly all his works, including the largest (GC) and the last (SKD) that Jiva had altered his opinions to please a friend and disciple, Gopaladasa. The argument is based on a verse found at the end of Jiva's commentary to UN 1.20, where, after establishing the svakīyā doctrine at length, Jiva states,

svecchayā likhitaṁ kiñcit kiñcid atra parecchayā
yat pūrvāpara-sambaddhaṁ tat pūrvam aparaṁ param //
Some things have been written here by my own will,
some at the behest of others,
that which matches what I have said before
and shall say again is the former,
that which is not, the latter.
Radhakrishna further cites a similar verse from KrsnaS(5) and the final passages of Laghu-vaiṣṇava-toṣanī,(6) which are intended to confirm Jiva's insincerity in presenting the dogmas found in Locana-rocanī. In fact, these passages may be taken as little more than humble admissions of inadequacy in a style frequently found in devotional writings and it is rather such an allusion that is being made in the Locana-rocanī verse does.

Radhakrishna goes on to lay further blame for the rise of the svakīyā dogma on the disciple Krishnadas, Jiva's successor at the Radha Damodara temple (and likely author of the Laghu Gopāla-campū).(7) Radhakrishna denies that this Krishnadas had any authority to speak about Jiva's real intentions, for he had made a false claim to be Jiva's disciple, when in fact Jiva had not taken any disciples, only pupils. Such arguments ad personam are not particularly relevant to the establishment of Jiva's real intentions which can be understood only by an examination of the materials themselves. Radhakrishna does not, however, attempt to point out inconsistencies in Jiva's writings, indeed he would be hard-pressed to do so. Rupa Kaviraja, on the other hand, has made such an attempt at the beginning of his Sāra-saṁgraha, but with only limited success.(8)

Jiva's comments on the BrahmaS, his Prīti-sandarbha, the Locana-rocanī commentary on Rupa's Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Rādhā-kṛṣṇārcana-dīpikā, are all dominated by a defense of svakīyā-vāda. The first chapter of what is generally considered to be Jiva's final work, Saṁkalpa-kalpa-druma, also summarizes the activities of Krishna's avatāra with an end to showing that he leads an eternal existence in the married state with the gopis. The repeated elaboration of the same theme as well as the sheer magnitude of the effort that went into producing the Gopāla-campū with its elaborate description of Krishna's wedding to Radha, would certainly make it difficult to argue inconsistency on Jiva's part. That the parakīyā-vāda was able to supplant Jiva's svakīyā-vāda amongst the Gaudiyas was not due to want of effort on his part.

Radha Govinda Nath claims in his Caitanya-caritāmṛtera Bhūmikā that the Locana-rocanī verse does not appear in all manuscripts, without telling us in which MSS he has examined.(9) If so, it is a very early one indeed, for Radhakrishna lived and wrote in the mid-17th century, less than 50 years after Jiva's death. In view of Jiva's overwhelming consistency, however, it is far more likely that the verse is at most an apology for any inconsistency that might have slipped through despite his best efforts. As such it is similar in both form and substance to comparable verses of his predecessors. Compare, for instance, the following 'sloka found in the introduction of Sanatana's VT:

svayaṁ vilikhitaṁ kiñcit kiñcid yogyair vilekhitam
chidraṁ yad asti tac catra sodhyaṁ vaiṣṇava-paṇḍitaiḥ//
Some things have been written by myself,
worthy persons have instructed me to write others;
whatever fault there may be in this work
should be corrected by Vaishnava scholars.

5.2 Critics and critique

In the century following the publication of the Gopāla-campū, numerous devotees questioned Jiva's position, some of which critique has been discussed above. Particularly outspoken was Radhakrishna Goswami, a successor to the helmsmanship of the Radha Govinda temple which housed Rupa Goswami's deity. In two works, Daśaślokī-bhāṣya and Sādhanā-dīpikā, Radhakrishna Goswami was the first to point out the apparent confession Jiva had made in the Locanarocani. The second major critic, Rupa Kaviraja, who wrote Sāra-saṅgraha, has not been taken extremely seriously by Gaudiyas due to his excommunication by his spiritual master, ostensibly for ignoring commensality laws. In his work he identifies himself as a follower of Mukunda Goswami, a disciple of Krishnadas Kaviraja who is known for a commentary on the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. The majority of sahajiya groups trace their succession through these masters. One edition of the Narottamavilasa apparently contains the story of Rupa Kaviraja's disgrace at the hands of Hemalata Thakurani. Whatever one may say about Rupa Kaviraja's later status, he certainly was a qualified scholar and his arguments in Sāra-saṅgraha show evidence of an education in nyaya and a logical mind. Another work has been attributed to him, Rāgānugā-vārtikā.

The third writer, who put the nail in the coffin of the svakīyā position in the Gaudiya school, was Vishwanath Chakravarti. Sometimes called an incarnation of Rupa Goswami, he was a prodigious writer and commentator. He wrote commentaries on most of Rupa Goswami's books, most notably Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, in which he takes on Jiva Goswami's position in support of svakīyā head on. His commentary on the Bhāgavata-purāna is one of the most rasika of all ever written. He promoted Kavi Karnapura's Ananda-vṛndāvana-campū by writing a commentary on it rather than Jiva's Gopāla-campū because of its adherence to the parakīyā position. He also wrote original works, in particular Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta, a sequel or supplement to Krishnadas Kaviraja's Govinda-līlāmṛta, which also is a work with a parakīyā emphasis. Other works by this author include Vraja-rīti-cintāmaṇi, Prema-sampuṭa, Stavāmṛta-laharī and a Saṅkalpa-kalpa-druma that was perhaps meant to supersede that of Jiva, which it in fact has. Two other small works by Visvanatha directly address the question of the svakīyā loves: Svakīyātva-nirāsa-vicāra and parakīyātva-nirūpaṇa.

We do not have the space here to discuss in full the arguments presented by these critics. The main point made by Rupa Kaviraja is, as already mentioned above, that since samañjasā rati is the love that a conventionally married woman feels for her husband, the gopis would automatically fall into this category upon becoming married. Their love would thus no longer have its own special qualities.(10) Jiva's numerous comparisons of the relation of Radha and Krishna to the queens in Dvaraka or to Sita and Rama or even Lakshmi and Narayana are inherently distasteful to the devotees who see Radha and Krishna as the supreme couple, their supremacy expressed in their idiosyncratic relationship.(11)

In the same vein, Vishwanath Chakravarti says that the parakīyā relation in the prakaṭa-līlā cannot be considered false because the rāsa-līlā, which is the greatest of Krishna's sports, is described in BhP with repeated reference to such a relation. Without such a relation, the rāsa-līlā would not be relishable. If it were not for the parakīyā nature of the rāsa-līlā, the statement that the gopis were more fortunate than Lakshmi (x.47.63) would also have no meaning. No one has ever described a rāsa-līlā of a married Krishna (though Jiva does mention such a rāsa in GC ii.36.109ff).(12)

Even though Vishwanath Chakravarti agrees that as Krishna's hlādinī śakti, Radha is svīyā, he states that they are worshipped in the context of and not divorced from their līlā. This līlā takes the parakīyā form throughout, in the aprakaṭa-līlā as well as in the aprakaṭa-līlā. The very nature of the gopis' love is expressed in their abandonment of the limits imposed on them by society and religion through their marriage vows. If their love did not take this form in the aprakaṭa-līlā then it would not attain the highest reaches of emotional attachment and mahā-bhāva itself would not manifest.

Vishwanath concludes that Jiva's real intention was in favour of the parakīyā mood.(13) As we have seen, however, Jiva's defence of the svakīyā position is confirmed throughout all his works. The words of Paurnamasi at the end of her account of the svakīyā relation in GC i.15. emphatically confirm the importance which he placed on this doctrine, but also denies any possibility that he might have been of two minds on the issue. Seen in the light of such accusations, Jiva's playful use of different forms of the verb vāc is much more than a "display of pure pedantry"(14); it is rather an exercise in absolute confirmation of conviction in a doctrine:

I was saying it, I have said it, even in dreams did I say it;
I am saying it, I am about to say it and I will go on saying it;
I should say it, I pray to God that I may go one saying it,
I must say it,
if it weren't so, then I would never have said it at all.(15)

1. sādhane bhābibe yāhā, siddha-dehe pāibe tāhā, sādhya sādhaner ei vicāra

2. Karṇānanda, Ch. 5, 92-97.

3. Karṇānanda 5.6-11, e.g.
śuddha parakīyā līlā granthete likhila/
tāhā dekhi prabhura baḍa sukha upajila//
śrī-jīvera gambhīrāśaya nā bujhiyā/
bahiḥ śloka bākhānaye svākīyā baliyā//

4. (ed.) Haridas Das, Nabadwip: Haribol Kutir, 1957: śrī-jiva-saṅgodgate.

5. 181; yad etat tu mayā kṣudratareṇa taralāyitam/
kṣamatāṁ tat kṣamā-śīlaḥ śrīmān gokula-vallabhaḥ//
May the beautiful Lord Krishna, beloved of the Gokula residents, who is forgiving by nature, pardon me, the petty being who has thus been making waves and causing a disturbance. (Anuccheda 181)

6. līlā-stavaṣ ṭippaṇī ca seyaṁ vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī/
yā saṁkṣiptā mayā kṣudratareṇāpi tad-ājñayā//
abuddhyā buddhyā vā yad iha mayakālekhi /
sahasā tathā yad vācchedi dvayam api saheran param api/
aho kiṁ vā yad yan manasi mama visphoritam abhūd
amībhis tan mātram yadi balam alaṁ śaṅkita-kulaiḥ//

7. This is manuscript information. The MS used was from the VRI library.

8. asya svecchākṛta-vyākhyā sevyate 'sau mayā sudhā/ śrīmal-locana-rocanyāṁ tat-kṛdbhir yāsu sañcitā// (1.30). Rupa Kaviraj goes on to cite Jiva's commentary on UN 14.154 where Jiva speaks of the anurāga stage of love in which the sacrifices one make's for love's sake appear to be pleasure. Jiva there talks about the gopīs' desertion of their religious principles and families for Krishna's sake as being a case in point, but does not in any way contradict anything he has to say elswhere about the gopis having an eternal svakīyā relation with Krishna in Goloka.

9. 4th edn., Calcutta: Prachyavani Mandir, 1958; 377. Nath makes no references to specific MS. materials, thus diminishing the weight of his claim.





14. S.K. De, op. cit.

15. GC 1.15.18
avacam avocam uvāca ca vacmi hi vaktāsmi vakṣyāmi |
ucyāsam idaṁ vacyāṁ vacāni no ced avakṣyaṁ na ||


Anonymous said...

"Controlling my breath, I will enter the yogic veins.
Moving the Sun to the Moon I will merge into the light supreme."

Namdev - Circa 1270-1350

Dear J.D.,

Came across an excellent text by Vesna Wallace and thought one may also appreciate reading the same:

"The Six-phased Yoga of the Abbreviated Wheel of Time Tantra (Laghukalacakratantra) According to Vajrapani."

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

One may also wish to navigate to:

Anonymous said...

A Lamp for the eyes of contemplation

'The meaning of Atiyoga'

"With effort, one meditates over and over again, by cultivating this gradually, entering the expanse, till it arises spontaneously without effort."

Source - "The Sweet Sage and The Four Yogas: A Lost Mahāyoga Treatise from Dunhuang" (see page 19)

Anonymous said...

Recently read through a beautiful paper written by Prof. Alexis Sanderson entitled:

Yoga in Śaivism: The Yoga Section of the Mṛgendratantra. An Annotated Translation of the Text with the Commentary of Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇakaṇṭha (Unpublished draft, 1999).

Relative to the three earlier posting on this comments page; regular readers of Jagadananda Das' equally शोभन (zobhana) blog may also wish to study this text.


Anonymous said...

I believe Jiva Goswami was looking at this from a more human (and more humane) point of view. Once proved that gopis are exclusive shelters of samartha rati, there is no need for them to display this level of sacrifice eternally. Radharani is capable of Mahabhava, but does it come free? "Oh my Lord, if my distress gives you pleasure, then that distress is the greatest of my happiness". Krishna is well aware of the pain undertaken by such exalted manifestation of love and that is why he is under control. To accept having society throw (rightful) accusations at your character, to leave behind loved ones and even one's children just to satisfy Krishna - it is this level of sacrifice, and sacrifice only, that controls Krishna. Now why would Krishna continue this eternally?

Just think about it as a normal common person. Suppose a magician were to visit the gopis and tell them - whatever had happened in the world and with them till that moment would be wiped clean and now they had two choices:
1. They could go back to their husbands who they had been married to till now.
2. They could have a fresh marriage with Krishna.

Now does it take any rocket science to know what the answer of the gopis would be?
Parakiya is a matter of destiny.
Svakiya is a matter of choice.

Jiva Goswami knew the heart of the gopis (or for that matter any woman). Siddhanta is good in so far as it protects the interests of the worshipped (the loved one). It cannot override the concern of the worshipped.