Advaita sends another old postcard

It has been quite interesting that Advaita Dasji has sent me a second postcard I wrote addressed to Radharaman Dasji. (See here also.) I used to keep diaries when in India, as did Advaitaji, but unlike him, I lost all mine when I came back to Canada in 85. As a result I have absolutely no recollection of the exact dates of my whereabouts at any given time, and most of my memories are fuzzy at best and totally non-existent at worst.

I have expressed wonder at this many times. It has convinced me of the utter untrustworthiness of memory in general and mine in particular. I used to make the excuse that I was so concentrated on texts and so on that my external life was always relegated to the background. That might be an acceptable excuse if I could remember a few more shlokas, which also have gone the way of flotsam on the ever-flowing Ganga. These little forgotten bits and pieces remind me how we also have previous lives that are lost to us.

This postcard is from Nabadwip and sent to "Radharaman Das Babaji Maharaj." [Ralph really should keep this just for the sake of that name and address.] It is interesting that I speak in it of Madan Mohan Das Babaji and the Gutika and Gadadhar Pran Das's "advancement" when I am currently here at Gadai Gauranga Kunj and posting about these very subjects.

I find it rather pleasing to see my own handwriting from that period in my life, and I have to agree with all my sentiments, especially the enthusiastic sounding last sentences.

I don't know what I meant by "the things he is most criticized for." I find myself a little condescending, especially as a little more than a year after this letter I set out on my long detour in Canada. Perhaps it is because I came to Lalita Prasad Thakur a few months before Gadadhar did that I considered myself to be in a more elevated position. Needless to say, this is not any longer the case. Despite the difficulties he encountered over the years, Gadadhar never budged from his goal and stayed here in the Dham by the mighty Ganga, strengthening his bhajan.

Quote of the day:

sādhu-saṅga sunirjana nija dṛḍha-bhāva |
ei tina bale labhi mahimā svabhāva ||103||
One attains his natural glory on the strength of these three things:
  1. The company of advanced bhajananandi Vaishnavas,
  2. a peaceful secluded environment,
  3. and determined commitment to one's own siddha identity as received from the Guru. (HNC 15.103)
Seeing the intensity of his bhajana-niṣṭhā and the continued enthusiasm he has for Gaura-kathā, bhajana-kathā and the Vaishnava textual tradition, I feel quite inspired. He is non-compromising. Yesterday the two of us discussed Madan Mohan Dasji while preparing today's upcoming post of "Another side of Bhaktivinoda Thakur" which is about "the author's svārasikī sthiti" I think it worth mentioning here. The fruit of Gadadhar's studies with Madan Mohan Das was his Govinda-līlāmṛta, which is much more than just that book, but contains much from the Gutika and other books on the aṣṭa-kālīya līlā. Gadadhar studied with Madan Mohan Dasji for ten years, but when he met Sachi Dulal Babaji his life took another turn towards the Nagara bhava, to which Madan Mohan Dasji was unfavorable, as indeed are most Radha Kund babajis. He will talk about this in a future chapter.

I have to say, I really like the way Gadadhar is intertwining his life experiences in sat-saṅga  with his internal bhajana and smarana practices in this book. It will be quite a unique contribution to the Vaishnava literature that falls into its own category.


Comments

Anonymous said…

It is heart-warming to read on the postcard:

“From the sound of it – you are all getting waves of mercy, too.”

Those first waves of bliss that would suddenly spring up out of nowhere, surging up and down in seas of ecstasy; going about mundane everyday life immersed in a state of total ecstatic bliss (smile).

My person does not live in Vṛndāvana, or anywhere else amongst such like-minded devotees, or even within a society that understands (or tolerates) true spirituality. To wake-up and live amongst the dead is a very different kind of spiritual life, a spiritual life veiled in anonymous conformity concealed and imperceptible from the unknowing.
Ramananda Das said…
Pranams!

You call him "Radharaman Das Babaji Maharaj". He received babaji-vesh or you called him out of affection. I would like to known more the history of the westerners who took babaji outside gaudiya math.
Jagadananda Das said…
Radhe Radhe, Ramananandaji.

It was my impression that RR took vesh from Kishori Das Babaji Maharaj. But you may have to ask Advaita Dasji or RR himself to find out more details. As to the history of Western babajis... I have nothing to say at this time. I have not been in such close contact with Radha Kund society. The survivors and siddhas will leave a greater legacy than the failures. But I know that Ananta Das Babaji will not give vesh to foreigners.
Ramananda Das said…

I´ve asked before in the WTGVs - Western Traditional Gaudiya Vaisnavas group on facebook (I tagged you there but perhaps you didn´t see).

Me: Besides Jagadananda Das (who I believe was the first), Pitambar and Mahanidhi Swami, are there any other westerns who received babaji vesh? Sometimes I see that some people call some disciple of Srila Ananta Das Babaji, as Babaji, but I'm not sure if he gave babaji vesh for any western.

Advaita Das: Jagadananda's old friend Madhusudan was the first, in 1979 or 1980. My old friend Radharam took vesh in 1982.

Ramananda Das: Where are they Advaita Das? Who gave them babaji vesh? There seems no much history written about it. Thanks for the information!

Advaita Das: They probably won't want to be reminded of this episode in their lives. Madhusudan took vesh from Madanmohan das Babaji who deceased in 2008 and Radharaman from Kishori das babaji who deceased in 1989.

Ramananda Das: Why not? Did they left their babaji vesh too? Are there any western sucessful with their vows of babaji vesh?

Advaita Das: No.


My intake that all failures of westerns babajis are not babajis fault, but ours (westerns). Some people were thinking that ex-Vaishnava Maharaj (Madhavananda Das) received babaji-vesh from Ananta Das Babaji and some think that also another devotee who was here in Brazil received babaji-vesh, but I see this was not the case.
Ramananda Das said…
I forgot to say: Thanks for putting now Sacidulal Das Babaji Maharaj photo! I´m eager to see Gadadhar Pran Das bring more nectar about him.
Jagadananda Das said…
Lalita Prasad Thakur gave me vesh, but it is not approved by the Gaudiya Vaishnava Samaj because he was not a Babaji (as his name indicates). Thus all who took initiation from Prabhu, even if he gave them vesh had to retake again in Radha Kund or elsewhere. So Harigopal Das and Sachinandan Bhaktiprabha both took vesh from Ananta Das Babaji.

Ananta Das does not give vesh to Westerners.

It is the first I hear that Madhusudan took from Madan Mohan Das Baba. As far as I knew he only too from Prabhu like I did. Since he never officially took vesh I assumed he was not particularly concerned about it. I never was. Other than that I do not know much.
Jagadananda Das said…
Bad judgment is a factor on the part of those who give as well as those who take.
Jagadananda Das said…
Yes there will be more about Sachidulal Das Baba.
Ramananda Das said…

So we can say that both Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Lalita Prasad Thakur gave themselves vesh and were following in a different way the babaji-vesh tradition? What reasons to follow in this way?

I´m certainly not against taking babaji-vesh or sannyas-vesh by ourself. The babaji-vesh tradition is a latter tradition invented at some point in Gaudiya Vaishnavism as far as I know. I´ve meet some quote before that says that sannyas can be taken without a guru giving it. This explains why Srila Bhaktissidhanta did it.
Jagadananda Das said…
Lalita Prasad Thakur did not "give himself vesh" in the same way that Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati did. He made no official claim to be a Babaji. He kept the name he was given at birth and simply continued his naishthika brahmachari vow. He wore a kaupin and bahirvasa, like the Goswamis did, but did not feel it necessary to have a socially sanctioned title. He signed his name "Akinchan Lalita Prasad Das." Akinchana simply meaning someone who does not claim any possessions, i.e., one who is de facto renounced.

I think the difference is quite significant. Radhe Radha
Anonymous said…

Jagadananda Das said: "Akinchana simply meaning someone who does not claim any possessions, i.e., one who is de facto renounced."

Anon replied: Yes, no...

The dictionary entry reads: "kiṃ-canya noun property, MBh. Xii, 11901; (compare a-kiṃcana)"

http://www.sanskrita.org/scans/visor.html?scan=282.gif

the prefix अ (a –) having a negative or privative or contrary sense, i.e.,“not" or "no”

http://www.sanskrita.org/scans/visor.html?scan=1.gif

For the esoteric understanding, start your research here:

Akincanna, aka: Ākiñcañña; 3 Definition(s):

https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/akincanna

and:

https://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/maha-prajnaparamita-sastra/d/doc225599.html

Notes

1. Akincanna Sutta - A conversation between Sariputta and Ananda on the sphere of Nothingness (akincannayatana). S.iii.237.

2. Akincanna Sutta - Moggallana tells the monks how he entered on and dwelt in the realm of Nothingness. S.iv.267.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

Ākiñcañña, (nt.) (abstr. fr. akiñcana) state of having nothing, absence of (any) possessions; nothingness (the latter as philosophical t. t.; cp. below °āyatana & see Dhs.trsl. 74). — Sn.976, 1070, 1115 (°sambhava, cp. Nd2 116); Th.2, 341 (= akiñcanabhāva ThA.240; trsl. “cherish no wordly wishes whatsoëer”); Nd2 115, see ākāsa; Miln.342.

—āyatana realm or sphere of nothingness (cp. ākāsa°) D.I, 35, 184; II, 156; III, 224, 253, 262 sq.; M.I, 41, 165; II, 254, 263; III, 28, 44, S.IV, 217; A.I, 268; IV, 40, 401; Ps.I, 36; Nett 26, 39; Vism.333. See also jhāna & vimokkha. (Page 94)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Anonymous said…

Regarding Ākiñcañña (Akincanna), hopefully reading through the 3 following links should help:


Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön)

II. The three concentrations (samādhi) according to the Mahāyāna < [Class 1: The three meditative stabilizations]

https://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/maha-prajnaparamita-sastra/d/doc225599.html


Patthana Dhamma (by Htoo Naing)

Chapter 1 - Citta (or consciousness)

https://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/patthana-dhamma/d/doc1826.html


A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas (by Sujin Boriharnwanaket)

Appendix 1 - To Citta < [Appendix]

https://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/a-survey-of-paramattha-dhammas/d/doc2650.html


Notes

For Akincana or Akiñcana, also see:

Brihad Bhagavatamrita (by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī)

Verse 2.2.27 < [Chapter 2 - Jñāna: Knowledge]
Verse 1.4.26 < [Chapter 4 - Bhakta: The Devotee]
Verse 2.5.42 < [Chapter 5 - Prema: Love of God]


A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 4 (by Surendranath Dasgupta) Part 5 - Nature of bhakti < [Chapter XXXIII - The Philosophy of Jiva Gosvāmī and Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇā]


Śrī Gauḍīya Kaṇṭhahāra (by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati)

Chapter 3 - Vaiṣṇava-tattva
Chapter 17 - Nāma-tattva
Anonymous said…

The practice of vipassanā affords insight to ākiñcañña (akinchana).
Anonymous said…

Brihad Bhagavatamrita (Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī)

Chapter 4 - Bhakta: The Devotee

Verse 2.2.27

paramākiñcana-śreṣṭha
yadaiva bhagavān dadau
rājyaṃ mahyaṃ tadā jñātaṃ
tat-kṛpāṇuś ca no mayi

Reading the previous, one understands why you wrote:

VMA 1.66 : For Braj Rasikas, Mukti is a bitter pill

https://jagadanandadas.blogspot.com/2018/09/for-braj-rasikas-mukti-is-bitter-pill.html
Anonymous said…

See:

http://obo.genaud.net/backmatter/glossology/glossology/akincannayatana.htm


Part 1 of 3 said…

A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 4
by Surendranath Dasgupta (1949) ISBN-13: 9788120804081

Part 5 - Nature of bhakti

If bhakti produces proximity to God, then, since God has three powers—Brahman, Paramātman, and Bhagavān—it is possible to have three kinds of proximity; of these the third is better than the second, and the second is better than the first. The realization of God as endowed with forms is superior to His realization without any forms. The true devotee prefers his position as the servant of God to any other so-called higher position of power and glory[17]; he therefore wishes for pure bhakti, unassociated with any other so-called beneficial results. It is these devotees, who want God and God alone, that are called the ekāntins, who are superior to all other types of devotees; this kind of bhakti is called akiñcana-bhakti. It may be argued, that since all individuals are parts of God, and since they are naturally attached to Him as parts to wholes, the dkiñcana-bhakti should be natural to them all; but to this the reply is that man is not a part of God so far as He is in His own essential nature, but he is a part of Him so far as He is endowed with His diverse powers, including His neutral powers (taṭastha-śakti). Man is a part of God in the sense that both externally and internally he is in direct connection with God ; but still he has his own instincts, tendencies, habits and the like, and it is these that separate him from God. For this reason, though man shares in the life of God and has the same life as He, yet, being hidden in his own sheath of ideas and tendencies, he cannot indulge in his natural truth-right of devotion to God except through the grace of God[18]. When a man is not under the sway of great obstructive sins such as crookedness and the like, association with other devotees gives an occasion to God for extending His grace in rousing devotion in his mind. It cannot be said that all beings must necessarily attain salvation; the number of souls is infinite, and only those will attain salvation who may happen to awaken His grace. Man from beginningless time is ignorant of God and is disinclined from Him; and this natural impediment can only be removed by association with true devotees (sat-saṅga); God descends into men through the grace of good devotees who have at some time or other suffered like other ordinary people and are therefore naturally sympathetic to them[19]. God Himself cannot have sympathy with men, for sympathy presupposes suffering; God is of the nature of pure bliss and could not have experienced the suffering of ordinary beings.

-

He who, however, has the highest type of bhakti —the akiñcana-bhakti —in him it is such that simply on hearing the name of God his mind flows to Him just as the waters of the Ganges flow into the ocean. Such a one does not accept anything that may be given to him; his only pleasure exists in being continuously immersed in God.
Part 2 of 3 said…

Brihad Bhagavatamrita (Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī)

Chapter 2 - Jñāna: Knowledge

Verse 2.2.27

svayaṃ tasyāḥ prabhāveṇa
svārājye ’pi yathā purā
sadākiñcana-rūpe ’haṃ
nyavasaṃ nandane vane

Chapter 4 - Bhakta: The Devotee

Verse 1.4.26

paramākiñcana-śreṣṭha
yadaiva bhagavān dadau
rājyaṃ mahyaṃ tadā jñātaṃ
tat-kṛpāṇuś ca no mayi

Chapter 5 - Prema: Love of God

Verse 2.5.42

śrī-gopa-kumāra uvāca
teṣāṃ tatrāgraheṇāpi
sva-cittasyācyutasya ca
alabdhvā sva-rasaṃ teṣu
nīcākiñcana-vat sthitaḥ
Part 3 of 3 said…

Śrī Gauḍīya Kaṇṭhahāra (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati)

Chapter 3 - Vaiṣṇava-tattva

The Twenty-six Qualities of a Vaiṣṇava

3.25

sei saba guṇa haya vaiṣṇava-lakṣaṇ
saba kahā nā yāya, kari dig-daraśana.
kṛpālū, akṛta-droha, satya-sāra, sama
nirdoṣa, vadānya, mṛdu, śuci, akiñcana.
sarvopakāraka, śānta, kṛṣṇaika-śaraṇa
akāma, aniha, sthira, vijita-ṣaḍ-guṇa.
mita-bhuk, apramatta, mānada, amāni
gambhira, karuṇa, maitra, kavi, dakṣa, mauni.


Chapter 17 - Nāma-tattva

Verse 17.43

janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrībhir edhamāna-madaḥ pumān
naivārhaty abhidhātuṃ vai tvām akiñcana-gocaram
Anonymous said…

Regarding the term "ekāntins"

See एक (éka [eka]):

http://www.sanskrita.org/scans/visor.html?scan=227.gif


ekāntin [ekAntin]

mfn. id. cf. MBh. cf. BhP.

-ti-tva n. "devotion to only one object or thing" cf. BhP.


ekāntika [ekAntika]

mfn. "devoted to one aim or object or person or theory."


ekânta [ekAnta]

m. a lonely or retired or secret place, ( e ind. in a lonely or solitary place, alone, apart, privately ) cf. MBh. cf. Mn. cf. Śak. etc.

a single part, part, portion cf. Pat.

the only end or aim, exclusiveness, absoluteness, necessity cf. R. cf. Suśr. etc.

devotion to one object, worship of one Being, monotheistic doctrine cf. MBh. cf. BhP.

( am, ena, āt ), ind. solely, only, exclusively , absolutely, necessarily, by all means, in every respect, invariably cf. MBh. cf. Megh. cf. Bhartṛ. cf. Kap. etc.

( mfn. ) directed towards or devoted to only one object or person cf. BhP. cf. R. etc.


Notes

ekâyaná [ekAyana]

n. a narrow way or path accessible for only one person cf. MBh. cf. R.

the only way or manner of conduct, worldly wisdom cf. ChUp. vii , 1, 2

meeting-place, centre of union cf. ŚBr.

absorption in one, absolute devotedness to one, unity cf. MBh. cf. ChUp.

( mfn. ) passable for only one ( as a foot-path ) cf. MBh.

fixing one's thoughts on one object, closely attentive, absorbed in cf. L.

-gata mfn. walking on a foot-path only wide enough for one cf. MBh. i

one who has fixed all his thoughts on one object cf. L.
Anonymous said…

In further regard to एक éka [eka], see the धातु Dhātu (root sound) इ (i):

http://www.sanskrita.org/scans/visor.html?scan=163.gif


इ (i)

to go, walk

to flow

to blow

to advance, spread, get about

to go to or towards ( with acc. ), come RV. AV. ŚBr. MBh. R. Hit. Ragh. etc.

to go away, escape, pass, retire RV. AV. ŚBr. R.

to arise from, come from RV. ChUp.

to return ( in this sense only fut. ) MBh. R.

( with punar ) to come back again, return MBh. R. Pañcat. etc.

to succeed Mn. iii, 127

to arrive at, reach, obtain RV. AV. ŚBr. Śak. Hit. etc.

to fall into, come to

to approach with prayers, gain by asking ( cf. ita )

to undertake anything ( with acc. )

to be employed in, go on with, continue in any condition or relation ( with a part. or instr., e.g. asura-rakṣasāni mṛdyamānāni yanti, ' the Asuras and Rakshases are being continually crushed ' ŚBr. i, I, 4, 14 gavāmayanenêyuḥ, ' they, were engaged in the [festival called] Gavāmayana ' KātyŚr. xxv, 5, 2 )

to appear, be KaṭhUp. : Intens. Ā. ī'yate ( RV. i, 30, 18 p. iyāná RV. inf. iyádhyai RV. vi, 20, 8 ) to go quickly or repeatedly

to come, wander, run, spread, get about RV. AV. VS.

to appear, make one's appearance RV. AV. BṛĀrUp.

to approach any one with requests ( with two acc. ), ask, request RV. AV. : Pass. ī'yate, to be asked or requested RV. : Caus. āyayati, to cause to go or escape Vop

[ cf. Gk. εἷ-μι, ἲ-μεν ; Lat. e-o, ī-mus, i-ter , etc. ; Lith. ei-mí, ' I go ' ; Slav. i-dû, ' I go ', i-ti, ' to go ' ; Goth. i-ddja, ' I went. ' ]
Anonymous said…

आकिंचन्य ākiṃcanya, am, n. (fr. a-kiṃcana: gaṇa pṛithv-ādi, q.v.) "want of any possession, utter destitution."

See:

http://www.sanskrita.org/scans/visor.html?scan=127.gif

In the same (above) link, see also:

ākiṃcanyâyatana

n. ' abode of absolute want of any existence ', ' non-existence '

Notes

Destitution, from Old French destitution, from Latin dēstitūtiō ‎(“abandoning”‎), from dēstituō:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/destitution

Destituo, from Latin dē- +‎ statuō:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/destituo#Latin

Statuō (present infinitive statuere, perfect active statuī, supine statūtum); third conjugation

1.I set up, station (in an upright position)
2.I establish, determine, fix (the form or character of)
3.I erect
4.I hold up, stop, end
5.I decide, make up (my mind)

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/statuo#Latin

Prefix de- (see Etymology 2):

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/de-#Latin

Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European de ("towards"):

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/de

toward:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/toward#English

toweard (tō +‎ -weard):

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/toweard#Old_English

-weard:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-weard#Old_English

Proto-Indo-European wert-:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/wert-
Anonymous said…

Upon further reflection, it is worth expounding that the third entry “to blow” from the धातु Dhātu (root sound) of इ (i) (in respect to the word एक éka [eka]) is concordant with the Proto-Indo-European word (and concept it conveys) ‘speys’ “to blow” (and its descendant English word ‘spirit’).

See:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/spirit

Spirit, from Middle English spirit, from Old French espirit ‎(“spirit”‎), from Latin spīritus ‎(“breath; spirit”‎), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peys- ‎(“to blow, breathe”‎).
Anonymous said…

Jagadananda Das, in regard to "Akinchan" of "Akinchan Lalita Prasad Das;" refer to pages 348-349 of your copy of "Roots of Yoga."

9.2.3 Amanaska 1.17-30. Disolution through focusing the mind on nothing.
Jagadananda Das said…
A lot of research there. I am glad to see I am inspiring you to such hard work.
Ignite the fire of akiñcana-bhakti said…

No, not work, a labour of love (-:

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