Friday, December 30, 2016

Worshiping Krishna as the substratum in all beings

I had to tend to other duties the past week or so and thus was unable to complete the article I started earlier. On thinking about Muralishwar's comment that my belief is that "human love IS Love Divine." Although I there said  "the natural loves can be sadhanas of Divine Love within the context of bhakti-yoga," the fact is that for a pure devotee human love and divine love are indeed one.

The reason for that is that Krishna is the atma of all atmas, the soul of all souls, the Self of all selves, ātmānam akhilātmanām. In the previous article, it was said that the difference between kama and prema is really centered on the Object of that love. If one loves Krishna, that is prema. If one loves someone else without any knowledge of the fact that there is nothing outside of Krishna, then it is kama.

kṛṣṇam enam avehi tvam ātmānam akhilātmanām
jagad-dhitāya so’py atra dehīvābhāti māyayā
vastuto jānatām atra kṛṣṇaṁ sthāsnu cariṣṇu ca
bhagavad-rūpam akhilaṁ nānyad vastv iha kiñcana
sarveṣām api vastūnāṁ bhāvārtho bhavati sthitaḥ
tasyāpi bhagavān kṛṣṇaḥ kim atad vastu rūpyatām
Know this : This Krishna is the Self of all selves. For the benefit of the world, he has appeared here by his illusory potency, as though an embodied being. Those who know things in their truth see Krishna in all conscious and unconscious manifestations. They see everything as the form of the Lord and do not see any substance other than him. There is a meaningful essence present in all things, but the essence of that essence is the Lord Krishna. Please tell me if you can identify anything that is not him.
It was thus further shown in that article that the process of "dovetailing" or āropa can be applied to our natural loves, as stated in Bhakti Sandarbha 217.

I would like to concentrate in this article by discussing the all-important Anuccheda (section) 106 of Bhakti Sandarbha, where the verses from Kapila's instructions to Devahuti are analyzed at length by Jiva Goswami. I have cited some of these verses in previous articles: Sexuality and Spirituality: Dangers, Compassion and Bhakti-rasa and Raganuga Bhakti and Sahaja Sadhana. All of those articles are relevant to the present discussion.

The purpose of Anuccheda 106 is to show how worshiping the demigods can be legitimized by looking at them in relation to Krishna. It also deals with the way devotees are to see and worship Krishna in all living entities. It is a flaw, says Jiva, to worship the gods like Shiva separately from Krishna. However, in the Vaishnava āgamas, where such worship is recommended, it should be understood that the gods can be worshiped as Vaishnavas, as external shields in formal worship (bahiraṅga āvaraṇa), as associates (pārṣada), as vibhūtis of Krishna, or as his adhiṣṭhāna or substratum. Jiva tells the story of an ekants devotee who in this consciousness worshiped Nrisingha in a Shiva linga when he was forced to do so, and Nrisingha indeed burst out of the linga to protect him when it was necessary.

Any recommendation to see the gods as equal to Krishna is meant for those on the jñāna-mārga or in the śānta-rasa. The conclusion, repeated several times is not that worshiping them is wrong, but the flaw is to worship them independent of Krishna (svatantropāsanā). Even so, Jiva Goswami warns against disesteem or contempt of the gods (avajñā or nindā). At this point Sri Jiva Prabhu makes a transition with the words "what to speak of such great personalities, even ordinary living beings are not to be blasphemed because they are also not separate from Krishna who resides within them, i.e., their substratum (adhiṣṭhāna). It is here that the discussion of Kapila's verses begins.

ahaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu bhūtātmāvasthitaḥ sadā |
tam avajñāya māṁ martyaḥ kurute'rcā-viḍambanam||
I am ever situated as the Supreme Indwelling Self in all living beings. If a mortal being disregards me there, his worship of my deity form is but a mockery. (3.29.21)
Let me interject here that although the word arcā is used here, in my opinion this refers to any kind of worship that is restricted to a God "out there", and this is being referred to elsewhere in this chapter of the Bhāgavatam as bhinna- or pṛthag dṛk, i.e., "separatist" or "one who sees something as separate from or independent of God."

yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu santam ātmānam īśvaram|
hitvārcāṁ bhajate mauḍhyād bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ||
One who out of foolishness abandons me who am present in all beings as the Self and Supreme Lord to worship the deity form, is pouring oblations into the ashes of the sacrificial fire. (3.29.22)
The parallelism is that just as God is present in the deity form, he is also present in the bodies of the living entities. If one sees Krishna in the deity form but not in the living entities, his worship is incomplete. As Jiva says, he is on the beginning levels of devotion. As one expands one's awareness through self-purification, one begins to see the presence of God in ever-widening clarity.

Our specific interest here is in going from the beginning state to the middle one. After all, one cannot possibly serve or worship all living beings with the single-minded devotion one offers to the deity, or to a guru. As a guide to this stage, which requires making distinctions between different behaviors and different entities, one is therefore advised to look at verses 28-33 in this same chapter:

O virtuous mother, sentient beings are superior to inanimate objects, and among them, those who breathe are better. Living beings that display consciousness are better than them, and better still are those endowed with sense perception. Those who have developed the sense of taste are superior to those who only have the tactile sense, and superior to them are those equipped with the sense of smell. Better yet are those who have developed the sense of hearing.

Better than them are those who can perceive the distinction between forms. Superior to them are those who have teeth in the upper and lower jaws. Superior to them are those who have many legs, and better still are the quadrupeds. Better than them are the bipeds [human beings]. Amongst them, those who follow the system of the four varṇas are the best. Among the four varṇas, the brāhmaṇas are the best. Those who have studied the Vedas are the best amongst the brāhmaṇas, and better than them are those who know the purport of the Vedas.

Better than the brāhmaṇas who know the meaning of the Vedas are those who can dispel all doubts, and superior to them is one who executes his prescribed duty. Better than that person is one who has given up all attachment because he is not seeking any sort of reward from his prescribed duties. Better than him is a person who has fully dedicated his actions, wealth and self to me without interruption. I do not see any being superior to one who has surrendered his self and his actions to me, who does not act for material gain and who has equal vision. (3.29.28-33)

So just as one should not blaspheme or disrespect any of the above entities, the topmost position is reserved for the devotee. In other words, Krishna is most present in his devotee.

dviṣataḥ para-kāye māṁ mānino bhinna-darśinaḥ|
bhūteṣu baddha-vairasya na manaḥ-śāntim ṛcchati||
aham uccāvacair dravyaiḥ kriyayotpannayānaghe|
naiva tuṣye'rcito'rcāyāṁ bhūta-grāmāvamāninaḥ||
A proud person who feels hostility towards me situated in all bodies, who is proud and views everything as being without a connection to me, who is fixed in enmity to other beings, can never have a peaceful mind. O sinless one, I am never pleased with a person who disrespects other living beings, even if he worships me in the deity form through various types of rituals performed with all manner of articles. (3.29.23-24)
arcādāv arcayet tāvad īśvaraṁ māṁ sva-karma-kṛt|
yāvan na veda sva-hṛdi sarva-bhūteṣv avasthitam||
So one should worship me in the deity form, performing his prescribed duties, for as long as he does not know in his heart that I am present in all beings. (3.29.25)
At this point Sri Jiva underlines that one should not give up deity worship at any time. This is exactly right. Although the nature of deity worship may change somewhat in the madhyama and uttama (or sādhaka and siddha) stages, on the bhakti path, one's recognition of God's presence in the individual soul does not preclude his separate existence: one and different. The mutual nature of the culture of bhakti to Radha-Krishna and the culture of love to the living beings in this world is necessary to understand. This will be further explained in an upcoming article.

"Seeing everything as being without connection" (bhinna-darśinaḥ) means "one who is devoid of the perception of the unity of all things, because of not perceiving God as the Paramatma within everything." Alternatively, [it can be read as abhinna-darśinaḥ, in which case it means] he does not see that Bhagavan Krishna, the son of the King of Vraja, is absolutely distinct from everyone else, and thus is actually unable to perceive distinction. [Because he is devoid of the vision of the underlying unity of all things and devoid of the perception of Krishna’s uniqueness] he is therefore proud and egotistical. Consequently, he also behaves inimically towards other beings. The opposite of this mentality is described in the Mahābhārata: "Bhagavan Krishna is quickly pleased with a pure-hearted person who does not disturb others and who treats them in the same manner that a kind father treats his son."
The process is one of simultaneous oneness and difference. This means that one's respect or love for the individual soul is not artificial, i.e., by projecting some Krishna-ness on individual, but accepts that this individual is enacting a specific lila on behalf of Krishna, the underlying purpose of which is always love.

ātmanaś ca parasyāpi yaḥ karoty antarodaram
tasya bhinna-dṛśo mṛtyur vidadhe bhayam ulbaṇam
To a separatist who makes a distinction between his own insides and those of other living beings, I allot horrible fear in the form of death. (3.29.26)
The words "his own insides" (antarodaram) refers to the process of empathy, i.e., one recognizes the hunger of the other being just as one has hunger oneself. Empathy is an essential element of compassion and also of the capacity to experience rasa.

The series concludes:

atha māṁ sarva-bhūteṣu bhūtātmānaṁ kṛtālayam
arcayed dāna-mānābhyāṁ maitryābhinnena cakṣuṣā
Therefore, through charity and offering respect to others, through friendship and by viewing others as non-different [from the Self], one should worship me, who have made my home within all living beings as the Supreme Self. (3.29.27)
So here we have the all-important recommendation of how to relate to other beings as the adhiṣṭhānas of Krishna. Different suggestions are being made. Vivekananda used this series of verses to promote his Daridra Narayan concept. Although it seems to be a relatively minor series of verses in the Bhagavatam, which promotes the idea of theistic worship, in the final analysis, here as in the Eleventh Canto, the teaching is that one must go beyond the external forms of theistic religion, indeed in order to completely understand the concept of God as existing in a human form, with human-like pastimes, one must learn to love God in the human. That is what the anarpita-carīṁ cirāt verse is really getting at: It is teaching a process whereby one can dovetail one's love for a sādhaka or sādhikā into a deepening of devotion for the Supreme Truth in madhura-rasa.

This is not spoken of directly in the Bhagavatam, but the Bhagavatam does open the door to this understanding through indirect statement.

After quoting in full verses 28-33 cited above, Jiva draws from them the conclusion that "extraordinary respect is to be given to my devotees." (mad-bhakteṣu evādara-bāhulyādikaṁ kartavyam). There is no need to belabor the point, as the glory of the devotees and the injunction to see Krishna's presence in them is widely known. And so the passage finally concludes:

manasaitāni bhūtāni praṇamed bahu mānayan |
īśvaro jīva-kalayā praviṣṭo bhagavān iti ||
Considering that Bhagavān Himself, the Supreme Controller, has partially entered within all living beings, one should bow down in one’s mind to all of them with great respect. (3.29.34)
In this final portion of the discussion Jiva Goswami draws a distinction between five kinds of devotees:
  • beginners, for whom the injunction to respect all living beings is given;
  • the sa-śraddha sādhaka, for whom such respect arises out of seeing all things as the vaibhava of the Lord, 
  • the bhāva-sādhaka, i.e., one who is cultivating a relationship with Krishna in Vrindavan. Such a person cultivates relationships in this world on the basis of his culture and relationships in Gokula, and they thus arise naturally: vakṣyamāṇa-rītyā śuddha-bandhutvādi-bhāva-sādhakānām api bandhu-bhāva-siddha-śrī-gokula-vāsy-ādy-śīlanānusāreṇa tādṛśa-bhagavad-guṇānusaraṇena cāsau jāyate .
  • the jāta-bhāva, for whom non-violence and detachment are innate,
  • and the parama-siddha, as described in the Eleventh Canto 11.2.45ff.
Although the passage goes on to speak of the ultimate goal as devotion to Bhagavan, I think this statement is fairly clear in showing that the cultivation of different relationships with devotees is not only a legitimate process of cultivating that bhakti, but a necessary one for the  bhāva-sādhaka, which is the stage we are interested in here. It was already shown that it is the bhāva that one is cultivating and transferring or offering it up to Krishna.

Premature renunciation without understanding the ways of empathy, compassion, friendship and love will not result in any of the higher kinds of relationship with Krishna, because they will always be immersed in aiśvarya, i.e. bhinna-dṛk. Mādhurya means to bring prema into the realm of the human,, of human experience.

The secret of this sadhana is indeed to see Krishna's presence, i.e., the presence of the entire Vrindavan, in every person and experience, but especially beginning with those places where love relationships are already established spontaneously by Krishna's grace.

This is not to be done separately or abandoning one's awareness of bhakti to Krishna, or in our case, the Divine Couple. That is the purport of this passage from Kapila's instructions to Devahuti.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Vrindavan and Goloka in the Gopala Champu

I was reflecting on my Gopala Champu class for which I had not prepared myself properly and wrote:
The sin of a translator, of which I am often guilty, is to start translating before becoming the original.  
How do you become the original? Samadhi. By which I mean you should at least completely forget the language of arrival for as long as it takes to get to the end of the passage you are translating. In other words, not to translate. To get to the point of not translating.
I don't particularly like the "mysterious" style. I am more of a verbose and boring explainer. So I began to examine what provoked those thoughts.

In my class, I explain the passage word by word, so I am translating right from the very beginning. If I haven't understood the passage properly before I start that process, then in the public situation I will only produce an unclear sense, or one that deviates from the purpose of the passage. We were doing GC 1.1.17 and tomorrow we will have to do it again. All glories to the freedom of a daily class which has no end in sight! No purpose to fulfill but its own enjoyment.

And I am, let me say further, enjoying the readings. I cannot, of course, speak for the students. But from a purely objective point of view, it seems very appropriate for them. The first chapter of Gopala Purva Champu is a glorification of Vrindavan and Goloka, so for these students, many of whom are fairly new to Vrindavan, it is a nice introduction. And for me, it is a good refresher course. To be in Vrindavan means to study Vrindavan in both word and deed.

The following is my translation from 1992, which is heavily influenced (and really thanks to) Prof. J. Clifford Wright at SOAS who really picked up on stuff that I totally missed and still am missing -- as today's class proved. (But still needs tweaking!)
In an explanation which will follow in its proper place, based on the account of the Bhagavata Purana and giving all the essentials on this topic, it will be shown clearly that upon his return from the abode of Varuna to 'his own cowherd realm', the original lord (who is an ocean of mercy), plunged in and afterwards emerged from the felicitous Brahman lake where he would later reveal to Akrura [another] special aspect of his glories as found in Vaikuntha. By so doing he created a curiosity in the minds of his own folk [the cowherds and Nanda]; after which he showed them this manifestation of his glory (vaibhava-viśeṣa), rendered [more] miraculous by his own presence as the saviour being praised with Vedic hymns.
The Sanskrit, for anyone interested --

यं खलु वैभव-विशेषं सर्व-सारेण यथा-स्थानं प्रकाशयिष्यमाण-व्याख्या-विशेषावतारेण श्रीमद्-भागवतानुसारेण गोपानां स्वं लोकं वरुणालयाद् आगतः करुणा-वरुणालयः स्वयं भगवान् अक्रूराय वैकुण्ठ-विशेष-लक्षण-स्व-वैभव-व्यञ्जनया सुख-प्रदे ब्रह्म-ह्रदे मज्जनेन तस्माद् उन्मज्जनेन च तज्-जन-कौतुक-जननाद् अनन्तरं चन्दः-स्तूयमानेनात्मनावित्रा विचित्रम् अत्रैव वृन्दावने तदीय-नर-लीला-वेशेन साधारणम् अन्येभ्यस् तेभ्यः सन्दर्शयामास
Madan Mohanji wrote:
Interesting. I noted in the above you say, Krishna's immersion in the Brahma hrada created curiosity in the cowherds, but I thought that curiosity had been roused at the rescue of Nanda and his account of how their own Krishna was worshiped by the gods. It's a ambiguous passage which is evident from diversity of translations. I think Jiva, in Gopal Champu steers clear of what might seem in the Bhagavat an exultation of brahma jnan (?), then he reveals his supreme realm of Vaikuntha beyond time space and the gunas. Jiva equates that with Goloka which is not explicit in the Bhagavat. He seems to have interpreted the Bhagavat in terms of the Padma.
You are right about 10.28. Maybe I should look to find another meaning of kautuka. Or at least specify towards what this kautuka is directed. You are also right about the importance of the Padma "sandarbha" in constructing the Gopala-champu narrative.

I do think, however, that you over-read the Bhagavata emphasis on brahma-jnana here. At least, the commentaries always try to clarify the original intent of the Bhagavatam. They are successful inasmuch as they can demonstrate coherently that their views are justified in the original text, i.e., that they reflect the true intent of Vyasa. Thus, for them, it is a matter of clarifying how the Bhagavatam might be misinterpreted. Here they introduce the section by saying that the intention of the Bhagavatam is to reveal that Brahmajnana, etc., are all inferior to Vrindavan.

Jiva's point is also that Goloka itself is an expansion of the Vrindavan in this world, i.e., that the avatar lila is the source of the nitya-lila. The nitya-lila represents the culmination, the "happy ever after" of the janmadi-lila. And a great part of the happiness is remembering, again and again, the glories of having lived a great story, which is now finally over.

In a sense, in the nitya-lila, Radha and Krishna internally live the prakata-lila, and in the prakata-lila they live for the nitya-lila. The two are mutual cause and efffect. But to answer which came first, the chicken or the egg, it is the janmadi-lila, precisely because, as the name itself reveals, the beginning of both. The story begins with a birth. It begins in this world.

The theological implications are actually far reaching. This is why the "fall from Vaikuntha" debate has significance. The jiva is neutral in the material world, just like a child newborn comes into the world and becomes a story -- as it is for every one of us, therefore we have "nara-lila" -- he becomes a lover of God. He perfects his human life by perfecting love.

That is how Krishna's life is archetypal for Jiva Goswami and so that is how he has to tell the story. Without the purna-manoratha, it is incomplete. Like the old fortune teller lady said in answer to the question, "What if there is no happy resolution at the end?" -- "Then it isn't the end."

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The natural loves and prema

Muraliswara das said...
I'm trying to understand your conception, Jagadānanda Ji, but I'm afraid that I fail to do it. As far as I understand you make essentially one simple point: human love IS Love Divine.

Let me quote from your writings: "You should understand that the love that exists between you and your wife is the very same feeling as that which exists between Radha and Krishna."

Or, as you've said in this article, "What it does mean is that the love that you feel for the child is the same qualitatively though not quantitatively as that cosmic vātsalya-bhāva exemplified and symbolized by Yashoda."

How is it possible? I'm neither theologian nor intellectual but I've heard something about Krishna-prema from certain Vaishnavas, and I heard from them one simple thing: human love is kāma, Love Divine is prema and kāma is a PERVERTED REFLECTION of prema, and kāma and prema although looking similar are opposite in nature, they are like Southern and Northern Poles. Then how can they be "same qualitatively," as you say?

You know better than me what Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad told on this point: "As there is a difference between iron and gold, so there is a difference between material lust and Kṛṣṇa's loving affairs with the gopīs" (CC Adi 4.164).

Although such loving affairs may sometimes resemble material lust, the difference is as follows:

ātmendriya-prīti-vāñchā-tāre bali 'kāma'
kṛṣṇendriya-prīti-icchā dhare 'prema' nāma
"The desire to satisfy one's own senses is called lust, while the desire to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa is called prema, love of God" (CC Adi 4.165).

So, looking again at these questions, which are often repeated, I am going to try one last time to deal with them. But I have come to a rather unhappy conclusion: those who have been brought up with the conventional understanding of these questions, such as those following ISKCON or the Gaudiya Math, are unlikely to understand no matter how brilliantly I present my understanding. Their vision is in blinders, and trying to convince them is a fool's game. I would have a greater possibility with people who have no preconceived notions whatsoever.

First of all, I do not say that unreconstructed human love is "Love Divine." I say, rather, that the natural loves can be sadhanas of Divine Love within the context of bhakti-yoga.

You are correct in making the distinction between prema and kāma, and why would I, a follower of Kaviraj Goswami, reject this statement? This is exactly what we have been trying to understand and explain ever since we realized that Prema is the Prayojan and not anything else.

You may wish to watch the video and read the comments in the debate I had with Satyanarayana Dasaji.

There must be some similarity between the two kinds of love or the metaphor/allegory/example of love would be meaningless. If selfishness is at the bottom of every love relationship, then it would be meaningless to imagine such things in the spiritual world.

I am going to stick to shastra here. There are other posts that you can read, but this post will primarily focus on interpreting verses that are cited by Jiva Goswami in the Sandarbhas. Though there is some new material here, there is also a lot of repetition and referencing to earlier articles. This is by no means, however, an exhaustive discussion of the subject as there are nearly 900 articles in this archive, many of them dealing with different aspects of this sadhana.

In fact, I have come to the conclusion that it is pretty pointless to talk to people who have been indoctrinated in the nivṛtti-mārga, so I was hoping to do a once and for all final version of argumentation according to the rules of the vaidhi bhaktas -- i.e., śāstra and yukti. For the most part, our scriptures are not explicit in this matter. Though the underlying teaching is advaya-tattva, the beginner devotee gives so much emphasis to the duality of worshiped and worshiper and aiśvarya-jñāna that his intelligence is impenetrable. In some matters, indirect speech (parokṣa-vāda) dominates. See here and here.


It is easiest to understand through vātsalya, the parental mood. Krishna himself gives the example of parents' love being pure in the Rasa Lila:
bhajanty abhajato ye vai karuṇāḥ pitaro yathā
dharmo nirapavādo'tra sauhrdaṁ ca sumadhyamāḥ  
My dear slender-waisted gopīs, some people are genuinely merciful or, like parents, naturally affectionate. Such persons, who devotedly serve even those who fail to reciprocate with them, are following the true, faultless path of religion, and they are true well-wishers. (10.32.18)
Although there are self-interested parents, this example does not refer to the perversions that manifest in such love, but points to the highest selfless love in them.

Moreover, when we are devotees, we have already been imbued with the internal potency and so everything that we do can be transformed by bhakti. When we only worship the Deity on the altar (or in some other way) through regulated rituals, we are only at the beginning platform. When we learn to see Krishna in the midst of our personal relations, then we have the opportunity to experience human love in the context of devotion.

Another such verse is

ajāta-pakṣā iva mātaraṁ khagāḥ
stanyaṁ yathā vatsatarāḥ kṣudhārtāḥ |
priyaṁ priyeva vyuṣitaṁ viṣaṇṇā
mano’ravindākṣa didṛkṣate tvām ||
Just as a fledgling whose wings have not yet grown awaits its mother, or a famished small calf awaits the udder, or the way a distressed wife awaits her husband who has gone to distant lands, so Lotus-eyed One, my mind yearns to see you. (6.11.26)
In another verse, Krishna says that "chaste" wives control their "virtuous" husbands and uses it as a metaphor for his own being controlled by his devotees, as a definition of love. So clearly here the existence of love in the world is confirmed. Now if you call this "perverted" then it is meaningless to use it as a metaphor.

mayi nirbaddha-hṛdayāḥ sādhavaḥ sama-darśanāḥ |
vaśe kurvanti māṁ bhaktyā sat-striyaḥ sat-patiṁ yathā ||
The saintly devotees who have tied their hearts to me and view everyone equally, control me by their devotion just as a chaste wife controls her virtuous husband. (9.4.6)


Now perhaps the most important verse to discuss in this regard is found in Priti Sandarbha 61. The section is long but fairly clear. In the first 60 anucchedas, Jiva Goswami has established that the parama-puruṣārtha is bhagavat-prīti, love for Krishna. Now he is going to describe the intrinsic characteristic of such love, or its svarūpa-lakṣaṇa. In order to do so, he takes the help of a verse from the Viṣṇu-purāṇa in which Prahlada says to Nrisingha—

yā prītir avivekānāṁ viṣayeṣv anapāyinī |
tvām anusmarataḥ sā me hṛdayān nāpasarpatu ||
That love those without discrimination have for their love-objects never goes away. I pray to you that since I remember you always, this same love should never leave my heart. (VP 1.20.19)
Sri Jiva has selected this verse and the immediate problem is the relation between the two clauses, which are connected by the relative pronoun and the correlative . He immediately nips the confusion in the bud by saying, "What is meant here is that the love of an undiscerning person for his wife and family has the same characteristics as the devotee's love for Krishna, not that they are exactly the same. The former is a manifestation of the external energy and the latter of the Lord's svarūpa-śakti.

Now he has to explain what the characteristics of such prīti are: He begins by saying that the verb root prī from which prīti is derived has both a transitive and an intransitive form. The verse itself is not immediately clear on this point. As an intransitive verb it simply means to take pleasure in something, so if viṣaya is translated, as it often is, to mean "sense object" then it would have this sense. But as a transitive verb, the meaning includes this sense of happiness, but has an object. In the first sense, Jiva gives sukha as a synonym, in the second priyatā, which we can translate as love. (See MMW, p 710, col. 1). Sri Jiva's definition is:

viṣayānukūlyātmakas tad-ānukūlyānugata-tat-spṛhā-tad-anubhava-hetukollāsa-maya-jñāna-viśeṣaḥ priyatā |
Priyatā is a particular state of consciousness that is favorable to its object (viṣaya); it consists of a feeling of elation, which arises from an experience of the object of love, as well as a longing for it, both of which follow from this favorable mood.
Babaji's translation is somewhat different, so I will include it here for reference:
[Priyatā is] the consciousness of elation which one feels from the experience of doing favorable action to the object of love and then feeling the desire for the object of love to do favorable actions.
Sri Jiva defines ānukūlya in his commentary to BRS 1.1.11 as śrī-kṛṣṇāya rocamānā pravṛttiḥ, "conduct that is pleasing to Krishna." BRS 1.1.11 does defines bhakti as a "culture" ("constant practice or study, repeated and devoted service" - MMW, p.39, col. 3), so it may seem that this applies here also, but since Jiva's definition of priyatā is that it is a jñāna-viśeṣaḥ or "a particular state of consciousness," just as sukha was, I don't think that "favorable action" is necessarily relevant.

So, although love has the quality of sukha (ullāsa-maya-jñāna-viśeṣaḥ), it is superior to it.
After some discussion about the transitive and relational nature of priyatā, Sri Jiva concludes that in the verse under discussion prīti refers to this, not to mere pleasure. So therefore one's love for God has this same characteristic as one's love for one's sons, etc. The latter, however, is a product of Maya while the former is of the svarūpa-śakti.

iyam eva bhagavat-prītir bhakti-śabdenāpy ucyate
parameśvara-niṣṭhatvāt pitrādi-guru-viṣayaka-prītivat |
This love for God is also called bhakti due to its being directed to the Supreme Lord, just is the love for one's parents or guru.
Although the rest of the anuccheda is not directly relevant to our concern here, in his discussion of the main verse in the section (3.25.32), Jiva does make it clear that prīti is exclusive:

eva-kāreṇa netaratra, na ca tatrāpi ca, itaratrāpi ca |
 eka-manasaḥ puruṣasya yā vṛttiḥ, tad-ānukūlyātmako jñāna-viśeṣaḥ |
The word eva denies prīti toward anyone other than the Lord in any one of his forms, nor for both Vishnu and someone else simultaneously. Eka-manasaḥ vṛtti means this particular state of consciousness that is favorable to its object, i.e. prīti.
Since the definition of love given here is entirely based on the similarity of both the worldly and spiritual spheres, it would be ludicrous to argue that "there is no love in this world."


The above verse is also found quoted in Bhakti Sandarbha 217, side by side with the following:

yuvatīnāṁ yathā yūni yūnāṁ ca yuvatau yathā |
mano’bhiramate tadvan mano’bhiramatāṁ tvayi ||
Just as the minds of adolescent boys take pleasure in thinking of girls, and girls in thinking of boys, so may my mind take pleasure in you. (BRS 1.2.153, PadmaP 6.128.258)
The context here is that of offering up both legitimate and illegitimate activities. The verses are followed by the explanation:

mama sukarmaṇi duṣkarmaṇi ca yad rāga-sāmānyaṁ
tat sarvato-bhāvena bhagavad-viṣayam eva bhavatv iti samādheyam |
Whatever passion I feel whether in my good or evil deeds, may it be completely directed toward Krishna as its object. This is the way to reconcile the statements.
This is in the section on āropa-siddha bhakti.

So to summarize: the problem is not the love, it is the object of love. If you define love as "exclusive love of Krishna" and nothing else, then it is possible to say that the conditioned soul has no love. But by the definition Jiva Goswami gives above, love as the model of love for Krishna cannot be denied. In other words, if love of God is modeled on the love of human beings for other human beings, then we must accept that it exists in the material. If it is "perverted" it is primarily because of the distinction of vishaya. So if the object of love is tamasic, then one's love is tamasic, and so on.

For one who does not have love for Krishna directly, he can love the proximate and offer up that love to Krishna. That is aropa-siddha bhakti.


Now the question of ātmendriya-prīti-vāñchā. From the foregoing discussion, we can see that Jiva Goswami's distinction of the two meanings of prīti becomes useful, since the desire to please one's own senses is the first kind of prīti, namely sukham, while kṛṣṇendriya-prīti icchā, being for another, is priyatā.

A further problem is the word ātmā. The Upanishads, which are really the basis of all Hindu philosophy, make many points about non-dualism that are accepted in the Bhāgavatam. In particular the discussion of the Self that is discussed in two places in the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (2.4.5ff and 4.5.6ff). I have discussed these passages and the corresponding section from the Bhāgavatam (10.14.57) here and here. Please read before going on with this.

My understanding of the purpose of two passages is not to simply denigrate the love that one has for one's husband, wife, children, etc., but to recognize that one loves them for the sake of the self. Therefore one should know the true self in order to be able to love them truly and properly. When one knows that God is the Self of the self, then one loves them because one sees his presence in them. Indeed, because Krishna is the Self in all selves, one should properly love all. Loving Krishna is, in the final analysis, loving one's true self.

But this is not a state that is immediately accessible, therefore all paths talk about a beginning, middle and advanced stage. We are particularly interested in the middle stage where one loves those who are more closely connected to Krishna, whose association is beneficial to the culture of love for Krishna, i.e., those in whom we can recognize Krishna's presence more easily. We can thus call it a "transitional sādhana."

I have discussed these matters in the following articles in particular: Pravartaka, sadhaka and siddha, and Ahangrahopasana and aropa, Part IV.


The above-mentioned "transitional sādhana" can be better understood by reference to the following passage from Bhakti Sandarbha 106. The problem with the above, is the radical break made between the devotee and the non-devotee in this regard. I would have no problem in agreeing with the idea that the love relations of non-devotees without an ounce of devotion for Krishna or any kind of spiritual culture cannot be looked at with the same eye as those of Krishna.

The purpose of this section is to show how worshiping the demigods can be legitimized by looking at them in relation to Krishna. It also deals with the way devotees are to see and worship Krishna in all living entities.

The portion that I am particularly interested in is Sri Jiva's discussion of 3.25.21-34, which to some extent I have used previously in my argumentation, such as here and here. Jiva gives a more elaborate interpretation, so it is worth looking at again a bit more closely. I will have to do that in another post as this one is getting rather long.


Friday, December 16, 2016

The Science of God and Literalist Belief in the Post-Truth World

I was just leafing again through a book, Dieu des Athees, by a French Catholic theologian from the 50s, and was reminded of his argument that faith and science/technology are distinct domains dealing with different aspects of human reality. Because they are distinct, nothing in science can really disprove God, who is mediated through faith, and indeed the critiques of science actually do believers a favor by leading them to recognizing that distinction. They will then understand that God acts in the natural world through the natural law, and reveals himself through the human will.

We agree with this, as all Indian sciences are sciences of the soul. Any knowledge of the world is validated only through its value in achieving the ultimate goal of the Self.

Even if scientists were to produce life in a test tube, or artificial intelligence, or (as I was saying in my class today) a way to duplicate mystical experience by prodding certain parts of the brain, it would not change anything to the life of faith. Because, after all, they still cannot explain why there is something instead of nothing. And because, after all, they are doing nothing more than rearranging other things, raw materials -- physical or mental -- whose origin or purpose they will never understand and in fact cannot.

In other words, knowing the distinction of the religious and scientific domains forces believers out of the realm of magical thinking or of bargaining with God, i.e, asking him to interfere in the natural order. It makes you deepen your inquiry into the nature of the life of faith. This author did not have much patience for those who try to interpret Biblical accounts of creation by equating the seven days with geological periods.

I thought about that point and wondered about the state of most Krishna devotees' literalist faith in the Puranas, etc., and how much more difficult it is for the average person in the 21st century to take them literally, more than even the Biblical accounts, which are paraded by the secular as a laughing stock. How can we claim for them more historical probity than we give to Egyptian mythologies? Even Bhaktivinoda -- from the same 19th century period in which science and religion were first in a really serious clash in the minds of people -- tried to explain the ten avatars as symbolic of evolution.

Well, it was a start, an attempt to free oneself from the dead end of literalism. I personally don't believe that the authors of most of the Puranas -- [even, dare I say, our own Gaudiya authors] -- had a primarily literalist belief, at least not in the way that we are literalist. They thought symbolically first and it was the aesthetic persuasiveness of the symbolic representation of Truth that made them believe in its Reality. That is the fundamental argument of Bhakti-rasamrita-Sindhu.

But Prabhupada apparently wanted and insisted on literalist interpretations of the shastra. I find this particularly bewildering and I personally feel this is one of those areas where devotee are really kidding themselves about the current stagnation of its preaching in the Western countries.

The fight against evolution is, for me, as much a waste of a devotee's time as proving that the world is flat or any number of other fantastic theories or tales about human history -- take those from Scientology for instance.

Gaudiya Vaishnavism itself is an evolution of Indian religious history, and if you don't try to understand it in that context, whatever you do have it will not be religious science. We have to accept our presence in the world of today as it is and not pretend that simply because we know it is the Lord's illusory potency that we can believe any damn thing. That is not science.

It is now being said that we live in a world that is "post-truth" and I see that devotees seem to be disproportionately inclined to going with the post-truth flow. Voltaire said, "If you can believe absurdities, then you can perform atrocities." In other words, that is the logical conclusion of literally believing absurdities.

Someone who is of a literalist bent will always at best be on the beginning platform of spiritual life. His bhakti means looking around for any signs of God's love. He tries to touch the realm of a sentiment that is supposed to be produced by myths that have long since been decontextualized in time and place. Understanding Rupa Goswami's sophisticated thought about sentiment is useless without recognizing its relation to lived human experience.

That is the point where -- in our sampradaya -- you have to start treating theology as the science of God.

There is a difference or hierarchy in the realm of illusion -- after all, Yogamaya and Mahamaya are both Maya. The life of faith that does not study the question of Prema will have no understanding of the distinct domains of religion and empiricism.

Leave archaeology to those who are actually interested in discovering the truth according to the most rigorous procedures of confirmation rather than to those who glibly pick and choose from ancient mythologies and try to prove something tangible from them. The tangible result of the bhakti path is prema.

Male ego, Radha's grace and Manjari Bhava

Prisni wrote the following status on Facebook a few days ago and I responded almost immediately. I have been meditating on the exchange for a few days. I will quote her whole post because it does show some nice devotional sentiment: She was responding to the following blog post.
Woke up in the middle of the night, this pops up on my phone, and I cannot fall asleep again, me thinking [about the following blog post].

The last sentence “You need to understand Radharani by entering into her soul. That is what lovemaking is all about.”, and have the male approach in a nutshell: "I will come, I will conquer, I will penetrate." And no, it is so not working.
You have to let Radharani enter your soul, let her energy, her mercy, enter you. That is what sakhi bhava is all about. When her energy enters your soul, then you become an instrument of Her. She plays her tune, the strings in your soul vibrate. That way you experience what she experiences, that is the key to "manjari bhava".

Sakhi bhava is the same when you approach Krishna. By vibrating with Radha's energy, with her tune, you approach Krishna, Radha is playing, you are the instrument, her tune, and she is making love to Krishna through you, as She desires, you experience love of Krishna.

Or you never approach Krishna, and you experience Radha and Krishna through her all the same. You are still the instrument being played, but slightly different. That is the difference between sakhi bhava and manjari bhava, how you are played, which range of tunes you are played. Otherwise it is the same thing. And as an instrument you cannot have ego.
Take up a guitar, and you try to play a Spanish tune, and the guitar only plays Stairway to Heaven. That is no good, that is a stringed instrument with ego. To be a sakhi, you say "I am the instrument, you Radha, you play me. I am your servant, your sakhi." You may be an instrument that sounds better in a certain key, but still, that is not up to you.

And how it works. Radha's energy descends to you, engulfs you, you are an instrument of her energy. You experience, but never do you enter the soul of Radha, that is not possible. She is like the raincloud of love, you are a straw of grass, at no time can you enter the raincloud, but she can let her drops of rain of love pour on you to make you wet. That is how you learn of the quality of the raincloud as a straw of grass. And by being poured with rain, you take on the qualities of wetness too. You never become the raincloud, but you take on the essential principle of wetness. You are wet, fully engulfed in love, and you can love on yourself.
My first response was to say that appreciated this critique because it does indeed touch on something that I have thought about a lot and have probably not articulated concisely or clearly enough.

Here are the articles on this blog that come up in a search for "male ego." I hope it will be clear from these that I recognize the problem you are describing and that what I am doing is proposing a solution. I recognize also that my solution is different from yours, which is admirable in my view. I believe you have thought about this question on your own and have found an answer that deeply touches you.

I am merely putting out what I think is a legitimate proposal that should be tried by adhikari sadhakas. .

From what you write about your life, you are on the nivritti side of life. What I am proposing is intended for sadhakas who wish to follow the pravritti marg of bhakti-sadhana. See here

What I am trying to present is the male sadhaka's point of view, and to understand how one transitions from the male identity to the female identity in the lila. There is no doubt that the fundamental devotional attitude of seeking divine grace is always at the base of all genuine spirituality.

It all comes down to that thorny problem of āropa. Now I am saying that there is a sadhaka deha and a siddha deha. The two are engaged in activities that are meant to be complementary as external and internal approaches to the divine.

It is actually quite interesting that in my talk tonight explaining Gopala Champu we were discussing the same topic of the internal, which is the nitya-lila, and the external, which is the prakata-lila. This a related subject, but we will talk about that another time.

I have been quite interested in this topic of masculine/feminine, as you can well imagine, ever since I took siddha-pranali initiation in 1979. I spent five years seriously attempting manjari-bhava sadhana, and trying at any rate to understand it. When sexual desire suddenly reared its head, I had to make serious inquiries into myself and my identity, as well as calling into question this entire process of sadhana and what it signified.

What does it mean to change one's gender identity? It seemed -- and I am sure everyone has a stock answer for this -- contrary to nature. Or at least, I recognized that it would seem contrary to nature to anyone other than someone who had spent 15 years as a Hare Krishna, living a life of unexamined faith.

So I set out to try to understand the problem of gender identity and what the meaning of the "feminine" is in terms of Krishna bhakti. And also, how it related to thorny questions like sexuality in this world and, more important, love. After all love is the goal, not manjari bhava. premān pumartho mahān. Manjari bhava is a bhava, not prema.

Now I know that Prisni has far greater insight into the bhakti process than I, being a woman. Bhakti is the only feminine yoga, I believe. But this idea of changing genders was baffling me. How to explain it? How many ways could it be explained?

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was my clue. He was Krishna trying to know Radha, trying to understand the greatest mystery of a woman's love. He had to become a woman in order to experience that. It was the only way to know what love is.

He is not someone other than Krishna, he is Krishna himself doing what he must in order to know what it is to love. In mundane terms, in order to love a woman, a man must know how a woman feels. He has to be able to identify with her completely. That is what Chaitanya was doing and manjari bhava means to align oneself with his mood.

The manjaris are indeed the parts and parcels of Radha and they experience her love as though it were their own. But how will the male ego, trapped in a male body, ever make that jump? Pray for Radharani's mercy as he must, indeed he must pray with the fervent heart of Raghunath Das Goswami, he must transform his heart into the image of the Divine Couple through the medium of the feminine, Srimati Radharani. Sahajiyas are notorious for their tears, Prisni. To advise a Sahajiya to cry is like telling Pavarotti to sing.

Now some of you may think that Mahaprabhu's lila is all symbolic of something transcendental; I am not really sure what people think it is symbolic of other than the superiority of Radharani. But that is impossible to understand -- the symbol would have NO POWER -- if one did not recognize that the love of a woman for a man, as experienced in this world, apotheosized. We have in the modern world greatly lost the very concept of the superiority and a man's spiritual necessity of a woman's love, i.e., the complementarity and spiritual necessity of the union of Shakti and Shaktiman, the principle that says a woman's love is really what makes a man. First as mother and then as lover.

And of course, the union of Shakti and Shaktiman is a sexual one. On the pravritti marg (and, I may add, in Gaur lila) the male sadhaka body is going to function according to its samskaras, which are male samskaras. When in relation with a devotee woman, his entering into her -- through the koshas, going from grosser to subtler -- signifies entering into the divine realm of love that is governed by Radha, i.e., Vrindavan. In keeping with the principle outlined above, that can never be done by force. Oddly enough, to enter that realm he must become a woman. And how to become a woman without associating with a woman, without learning love from her?

This can only be understood by an adhikari sadhaka, male and female, a yogi, someone who knows the sattva guna, who knows the lila, who is imbued with love for Radha and Krishna as an idea, as a symbol, as a living form of God.

It is not in the physical realm that the sexual change takes place, which happens when by the mercy of his partner, who is also externally playing the role of Radha not only in her physical femininity but in the psychological aspect of loving. She is thus the vehicle for a mood of love that is most similar to that of Radha. The potential for entering this internal realm is entirely dependent on the sadhakas being in male and female bodies respectively.

Internally, in union however, the two are both functioning as manjaris who have the privilege of entering the kunj where they are witnesses to and direct experiencers of Radha and Krishna's bliss in lovemaking. Witnessing is the key to a great number of spiritual paths and so it is here.

As you all know, the great grace that is given to the manjaris is that they can enter the kunj without any sankoch.

vṛndāraṇya-maheśvarīṁ priyatayā yās toṣayanti priyāḥ
prāṇa-preṣṭha-sakhī-kulād api kilāsaṅkocitā bhūmikāḥ
keli-bhūmiṣu rūpa-mañjarī-mukhās tā dāsikāḥ saṁśraye

I take shelter of the handmaidens of the Queen of Vrindavan,
who are led by Sri Rupa Manjari
and who lovingly satisfy her
by offering betel nuts and other condiments,
massaging her feet, bringing fragrant water
and arranging for her trysts with her gallant;;
Having thus become most dear to her,
they are thus allowed to enter the scene
of the Divine Couple’s most intimate affairs
without the slightest discomfiture.
(Vraja-vilāsa-stava 38)
The mental preparation for this can only come about by cultivating the inner manjari identity, but nothing is more powerful.

There is of course more to the experience. But the process is one of externally incarnating Radha-Krishna lila in a uniquely individual fashion, while internally becoming the creator and enjoyer of that lila. Like a playwright and audience combined in one watching the unfolding of the prema-lila.

Now you may consider this all quite mundane, a kind of convoluted justification for sexual enjoyment, either a sex enhancing fantasy or a way of putting a balm on some primordial Oedipal guilt, and it would be so, were it not for the fact that it is imbued with bhakti-yoga-sadhana and the experience of bliss that it engenders. This is hardly about sex alone, it is about cultivating one's inner Radha-maya identity. It just so happens that madhura rasa is the rasa: erotic love. That is the particular flavor of bhakti that is being cultivated.

It is the same for a woman in her complementary role of the woman in the love story, who is always Radha or trying to be Radha in her own individual way, feeling what Radha feels. Every woman is Radha's lila when it comes to love. Those who know it know love.

And, according to the shastras of our tradition, i.e., Chaitanya Charitamrita, Radha's pleasure is much greater than his. In all respects of love. Therefore Radha should be understood as the ashraya of all the infinite kinds of love. And love is greater than God. bhaktir eva garīyasī. In all the different kinds of relationships and allowing for an infinity of individual external guises, she is the archetypal source of all love in their hearts. Our relationship with her is sealed through the realization of love in this world.

One may argue that these are outdated stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that have -- thankfully -- been lost. But the real point here is that the union of love is experienced equally by both, but the dominant force of love is always the receptive, as you nicely point out in your status.

Love is not about being a love-swooning little plaything. Not in Radha's case, anyway. Radha's maan, in the nara-lila is infused with vatsalya also. She is also there to create her Krishna, who does more than play around in the bedroom -- he also kills the occasional demon. In other words, he is good for something.

And on it goes. You understand life as a reflection of Krishna lila, not in a bad way, but as a way of seeing love in the world. A mystical process that opens up possibilities for enhancing love in this world and thereby -- doesn't it make sense? -- enhancing one's understanding of THAT world? Or do you think that suffering is the only path for seeing the glory of God's love?

Siddha-deha meditation: A look at Bhakti Sandarbha 312

I found this which appears to be an old Gaudiya Discussions posting. I will probably revisit this when I get to Bhakti Sandarbha 312 in my editing work.
QUOTE (Madhava @ Jun 17 2004, 11:21 AM)
The injunction for a disciple to hear of his eternal pārṣada-form from the guru is there in the writings of Sri Jiva.

kecid aṣṭādaśākṣara-dhyānaṁ go-dohana-samaya-vaṁśī-vādya-samākṛṣṭa-tat-tat-sarvamayatvena bhāvayanti | yathā caike tādṛśam upāsanaṁ sākṣād vraja-jana-viśeṣāyaiva mahyaṁ śrī-guru-caraṇair mad-abhīṣṭa-viśeṣa-siddhy-artham upadiṣṭaṁ bhāvayāmi || Bhakti-sandarbha 312

"Some, while remembering the eighteen-syllable mantra, meditate on the pastimes of tending cows and playing flute, becoming attracted and absorbed in them. In such upāsana (worship), in order to attain my specifically desired perfection, I should meditate on that unique form of a resident of Vraja my revered guru has instructed me in."

Satyanarayana Dasaji has this as:

Some devotees, while meditating on the eighteen-syllabled mantra, visualize Śrī Kṛṣṇa accompanied by all His associates, who are attracted by the sound of His flute at the time of milking the cows. Others, while performing such worship through the mantra, contemplate in this way: “I am directly a specific resident of Vraja, and although I am meditating on this mantra, taught by my guru, so that I may attain the specific service of Kṛṣṇa for which I aspire, I am directly a servant of Vrajendra-nandana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

Further on in the same anuccheda:

Therefore, the best course is to disregard both knowledge and ignorance of Bhagavān’s supremacy and simply engage in pure rāgānugā devotion, as stated in this verse:

“Those who worship Me with pure devotion, whether they know or don’t know the extent of My being, who I am, and of what My nature is constituted, I consider to be the best of all devotees.” (SB 11.11.33)

Thus, because rāgātmikā devotion exists in its pure form only in Gokula, it was rightly said that only that rāgānugā-bhakti, which follows the rāgātmikās of Gokula is supreme. So from the point of view of the greatness of rāgānugā, which is determined by the absence of rāgātmikā devotion outside of Gokula, and from the point of view that the complete opulence of Godhood is manifest only in Śrī Kṛṣṇa, it is proven that the greatness of worshiping Kṛṣṇa is supreme. This applies even more so to Kṛṣṇa in the midst of His Gokula līlā.

It is learnt from scripture that even if one imitates with ill-motive, the devotees who have rāgatmika-bhakti, he or she attains perfection. This was the case with Pūtanā, who disguised herself as a nurse in order to kill Kṛṣṇa when He was just a baby. Pūtanā’s attainment of perfection is referred to by Brahmā: “Merely by disguising herself as a devotee, Pūtanā also attained You along with her family members.” (SB 10.14.35)

If such was the attainment of Pūtanā, then what to speak of those who have a natural taste for bhakti and are always fully engaged in the execution of devotion?
Oh for a long life, good translations, the guidance of learned and pure souls....


First: The specific context of this statement is that it comes immediately after the famous lines:

ajāta-tādṛśa-rucinā tu sad-viśeṣādara-mātrādṛtā rāgānugāpi vaidhī-saṁvalitaivānuṣṭheyā | tathā loka-saṁgrahārthaṁ pratiṣṭhitena jāta-tādṛśa-rucinā ca | atra miśratve ca yathā-yogyaṁ rāgānugayaikīkṛtyaiva vaidhī kartavyā |

Those who have not achieved this kind of ruchi may still engage in rāgānugā bhakti simply due to their association with a particular devotee who has this kind of attraction, but he should engage in such practice combined with vaidhī bhakti. Furthermore, those who have already attained a well-established ruchi of this sort should still [follow the rules of vaidhī bhakti] in order to set an example for others. The meaning of mixed rāgānugā and vaidhi is that one [externally] practices vaidhi bhakti by making it one with rāgānugā to the extent one is able.
Haridas Shastri reads pratiṣṭhitena jāta-rucinā as "one who is established in a position of leadership and has awakened ruchi."


So, it would appear that the above instruction is about mixed vaidhī/rāgānugā. The entire section is an introduction to the discussion found in Bhagavatam 7.1.

Haridas Shastri's interpretation of the above passage goes:

Some people while engaged in japa on the 18-syllabled mantra meditate on Krishna with his seven coverings. (See the Gopala Tapani commentary for that.) At that time, Krishna plays his flute, Radha and the gopis, Nanda and his parents, Balaram and other associate are all simultaneously present. How can this be possible? Wouldn't there be a conflict of moods? In order to resolve this question, Jiva Goswami says--

Krishna plays his flute, and all these other personalities are attracted by it. This is how one group of devotees conceives of it. But other, rāgānugā practitioners, while meditating on the mantra think as follows: "I am an eternal Vrajavasi, but due to some misfortune I find myself in this illusory world. My most merciful spiritual master has instructed me in the mantra so that I can achieve what is most dear to me." Though they are chanting in this fashion, they feel that they are in fact directly engaged in serving Krishna.
I'll have to dwell on this some more, but Haridas Shastri's contextualization seems totally irrelevant to what has gone on previously. However, his translation does appear to be somewhat more accurate.

Certainly there is something unusual about the syntax. But here's my grammatical explanation: kecit and yathā caike have to mean two contrasting approaches to the practice of mixed vaidhī and rāgānugā bhakti. The word bhāvayanti completes each full thought, so (1) kecit bhāvayanti, (2) eke bhāvayanti.

So what do the first group think of while meditating on the mantra? They think of it in terms (-tvena) of being (this has to be the mantra itself, not something else) the composite of everything (sarva-maya) that is there when Krishna plays his flute at the time of milking the cows (that's an odd combination) and attracts all the residents of Vraja. [In other words, a very general view, combining indiscriminately numerous elements of the Vraja lila.]

Others think, "I am thinking that I am engaged in this kind of worship [i.e., of the mantra] which was instructed directly to me, who am a specific resident of Vraja, so that I may realize my specific desired perfection, but at the same time, Vrajendrananda is being directly served [by me]."

The subject now changes, so we get no further clues from what follows.


So what is the point here? First of all, nothing is being said about the guru instructing the disciple in a specific Vrajavasi form. Nevertheless, the second category of devotees is clearly engaged in rāgānugā worship while chanting the mantra (i.e., following a vidhi), whereas the former is purely engaged in vidhi, or at least in a vidhi that has less elements of rāgānugā.

Why? The second set of practitioners, though knowing full well they are engaged in a sadhana (gurūpadiṣṭa upāsanā), they (1) attribute to themselves a specific identity as Vrajavasis, (2) they have a specific spiritual goal (mad-abhīṣṭa-siddhi), and (3) they have faith that both on the level of external practice and through their internal meditation, Krishna is being served directly.

The first category of practitioners, though meditating on Vrindavan lila in the mantra, lacks these three specifics: identity, intention and meditation on direct service.

As such, Haridas Shastri's interpretation is somewhat clarified, though his way of contextualizing the question remains unclear. The first category of practitioner definitely fits into the category of ajāta-ruci, in that such practitioners have no clear affinity for a particular sthāyi-bhāva, i.e., a preliminary undeveloped stage, like the sāmānya-bhāva described in BRS 2.5.9. The latter, though perhaps technically ajāta-ruci, clearly shows signs of the specific desires that characterize the rāgānugā devotee.

The sins of the father are visited on the children

I had some misgivings about posting this and even considered deleting it completely. Facebook pie fights are unseemly and who wants to admit to having been sucked into one. I regularly get posters from my ISKCON friends -- usually people who are on the fringes, I suspect for a temple devotee to be my FB friends is a capital offense -- who exhort me to read Prabhupada's books as the magic cure for my confusion. It is not fair of me to point out that often they are clearly symptomatic of some kind of spiritual blockage, but occasionally I do. But the following made me take the whole question of this infantile approach to religion and to look at it in the light of history.

A comment on Facebook I made elicited the following response from Yuyutsu:


I wanted everyone to look carefully at this post by someone who claims to be have been initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1974. Look at it as a specimen of a mind. Observe carefully all the signs of spiritual advancement that this post displays -- over 40 years of chanting the Holy Name, reading Prabhupada's books and following the four regulative principles show their remarkable effects!!

Now to be quite honest, Yuyutsu Prabhu, I think that you have a serious spiritual problem. I know you won't listen to me because you are clearly too far gone to do so, and so there is no point in me showing you any careful diplomacy. I am using you as a text book example, for the edification of my more sober friends. But I still suggest that you need to carefully consider what you have achieved after all these years and ask yourself what went wrong.

You are not the only one in this same boat, it only appears that your case is acute.

Others manage to control their growing sense of frustration with the path they have committed themselves to -- and which they refuse to examine seriously and honestly -- but they unfortunately do so by doubling down in various unhealthy ways.

In my opinion, take it or leave it, devotees in ISKCON lost the road map and forgot to ask senior Vaishnavas which way to go. They listened to precisely the wrong people -- the ones Prabhupada put in charge. The dye was set by Prabhupada himself.

The possibility of association with genuine senior Vaishnavas was excised from ISKCON by Prabhupada himself when he forbade his disciples from associating with anyone other than his own disciples, particularly making sure they stayed away from anyone who might be an advanced Vaishnava outside of the society he created. He portrayed them as envious, ambitious and dangerous. Or as morally defective. Or as hopelessly deceived.

Jiva Goswami is rather harsh on this subject. For those interested, I suggest a careful reading of Bhakti Sandarbha 238. Portions in square brackets are commentary:

If, however, his guru out of envy does not permit his disciple to honor the great devotees of Bhagavān, there is nothing to be said about the poor fellow's misfortune, because he had rejected scripture from the very outset [by accepting a guru who does not know the shastra and therefore does not meet the criteria outlined therein, namely by discouraging the disciple from enriching his spiritual life and making progress in advanced association when it was appropriate].

Calamity certainly befalls such a disciple from both sides [because if he follows the order of his guru, he fails to honor the great devotees, and if he honors the devotees, he disobeys his guru].

With this in mind, the Nārada-Pāñcarātra states:

yo vakti nyāya-rahitam anyāyena śṛṇoti yaḥ |
tāv ubhau narakaṁ ghoraṁ vrajataḥ kālam akṣayam ||

“Both the one whose instructions are not in resonance with scripture and the one who hears such illegitimate teaching, proceed to a dreadful hell for an unlimited period of time.”

This last verse strikes one as a rather harsh statement and should of course be tempered by the subtleties of the ones preceding it. The passage raises the question of the guru's right to restrict association, and what the disciple is to do when he falls into this quandary of "do I follow my guru's order or do I associate with advanced Vaishnavas from whom I can learn how to get past this level of devotional life that I seem to be stuck in? In whose company my sadhana can be enriched and I can grow closer to Radha and Krishna?"

The conclusion (siddhānta) Sri Jiva makes is that you should worship your guru from afar (ata eva dūrata evārādhyas tādṛśo guruḥ) and you go for the association.

But if you come to the realization that your guru has become a hater of Vaishnavas -- i.e. has not just fallen down in some moral fashion but has actually begun actively speaking against other Vaishnavas out of spite or envy -- then he should be rejected. (vaiṣṇava-vidveṣī cet parityājya eva | )

Now this, I believe, is the moral quandary in which I found myself at a certain point in my life. I had to understand a few things about Gaudiya Vaishnava history, and by my guru's grace, I got an insight into the subtle workings of Vaishnava aparādha, which seem to have had a lasting effect on the lineage that it created.

Subtle Vaishnava aparādha is sometimes barely noticeable. All the external grandeur of God's devotion is on display, but the inner path is blocked because of some Vaishnava aparādha in the past. A kind of original sin. The sins of the fathers are visited on the children.

The results of this are clearly visible in the case of our dear friend, whose character perhaps Prabhupada knew well when he named him Yuyutsu ("he who likes a fight"). For you see, I happen to think Prabhupada knew what he was doing, and was right to do so. And if you have the patience to watch this video, you will have an idea of why that is.

A video about me fulfilling one of Prabhupada's last desires.

For Prabhupada it was a deliberate trap necessary to harness the energies of the majority of his new disciples and to use the discipline of a large institution to get the first wave of Harinam out into the world. In my Guru's opinion, an institutional discipline based on nivritti is not conducive to the culture of madhura-rasa.

My guess is that Prabhupada knew that sooner or later, like the gopis, one would have to vault the walls of dharma, guru-adesha, and vaidhi bhakti, to go on to a higher blessedness. The treasures of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's path are truly great and wonderful.

I would like to mention two counterexamples, which may or may not seem significant to you. One is that which I am linking to here: Six days in Sadhana Kendra ashram. The striking thing I would like to point out is that Swami Veda Bharati, in a spirit of openness, sent his students and disciples to another guru's ashram, someone from a different tradition, to experience it for themselves and to learn from it. The tradition was, of course, a meditational one so not radically different, but a different guru and lineage nevertheless.

Another example comes after observing the opening of the Bhakti Marg movement's Vrindavan Ashram next door to the Jiva Institute. I have written a little previously about Swami Vishwananda and since his disciples used Jiva as a base before the ashram was completed, and since the Swami and Babaji are good friends, I have plenty of occasion to just watch Bhakti Marg develop over the years.

I have come to some conclusions that I personally would never have expected. After all, I was in ISKCON once and I know how a proper ISKCON samskara would make me react to Swami Vishwananda – "He is NOT BONAFIDE, Prabhu!"
Last year I talked to one of his sannyasi disciples, who had been for four or five years a brahmachari in ISKCON. So naturally I wanted to know what, after being thoroughly indoctrinated in ISKCON he had moved to Bhakti Marg. His answer was enlightening. He said, "They are so obsessed with their legitimacy that they have lost sight of the essence of bhakti: the joy of bhakti seva and a loving community of devotees. They are too busy trying to eliminate the competition."

At that time also I wanted to write on this very same subject. Isn't it strange that the movement which is based in an illegitimate act related to tradition is the one that screams loudest about being the truest to the original revelation and having the most authentic tradition or parampara? It has the most anxiety about it because although they may claim that they have a legitimate disciplic succession, they have absolutely no idea what that means. They think it means that they are the true representatives of the original Vedic knowledge as it was 5000 years ago! Or as it was given by Narayan to Vivasvan umpty millions of billions of years ago!

Swami Vishwananda is a kind of avadhuta. I say that he became a guru before he had anything to be guru about. Bhakti Marg came to him after he had already tried a number of other spiritual paths, and to some extent he has never forsaken them. But Bhakti Marg is what suited his personality the most. He truly loves this path with a kind of joyful innocence and as far as I can see he is inspiring others to do so in the same way. He has a parampara, but his path is a collection of different elements from different sampradayas – some Sri Vaishnava here, a bit of ISKCON there, some other Gaudiya and generic Braj and so on.

He sends his disciples out to learn stuff – classical music and dance, puja, Sanskrit, etc., -- so that they will be expert in the aesthetics of bhakti. He likes something new, he is like a child, he makes it  a part of Bhakti Marg. He wants them to dress distinctively. His tilak is first and foremost an artistic creation, his very own.

But that is not what I want to talk about here.
Binode Bihari Baba from Barsana came to visit the new ashram. He sang a nice song about Radharani that I was quite surprised to hear many of Vishwananda's disciples knew by heart, at least the refrain.

A few days later, my neighbor Pradeep Das took a group of 40 Bhakti Marg disciples to Barsana for darshan. They all wanted to see Binode Bihari Baba. They waited in the Shriji temple until he came for Sandhya arati and then, "like a tsunami" says Pradeep, they ran towards him and paid their obeisances and took the dust of his feet. It was a bit like the way that Krishna Das Babaji of the Gaudiya Math was shown respect in ISKCON.

But the difference here is that Swami Vishwananda is teaching his disciples to do this. He is inculcating respect for the Vaishnavas in his disciples. He himself takes them to other Vaishnavas for sanga.

He is friends with Satyanarayana Das Babaji Maharaj and the two are clearly encouraging and helping each other. Their qualities are complementary. They serve different "clienteles," i.e., they inspire faith in different kinds of people, so they know they are not in competition. God sends a seeker to the place he belongs. The difference between Hinduism and the Abrahamic religions is that the latter believe there is One God for All, the former believe that each one of us has his or her own God. yo yac-chraddhah sa eva sah. 

I admire the enthusiasm of his disciples. I see many new disciples of quality, of all ages. People I know would never be attracted by the "legitimate" bona-fide non-bogus ISKCON.

I am happy that they have become neighbors of Jiva here in Sheetal Chaya. I like it that there is another place emanating kirtan – nice kirtan – just down the block. Their legitimacy lies in their inspiration to do bhakti. But in my view their potential is greater because they are open to association with those who will further inspire them to go further. When they are ready, they will do so, I am sure.

Everyone serves a niche. ISKCON is also serving a particular clientele and we give them all credit, but they are narrow in their vision about Vaishnavism. Their inner potential is thus limited by their narrowness.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

"The very one who took my maidenhead..."

One of the most famous verses in the entire Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition is the following, found three times in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 1.58, 13.121, Antya 1.78).

yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ sa eva hi varas tā eva caitra-kṣapās
te conmīlita-mālatī-surabhayaḥ prau
hāḥ kadambānilāḥ
sā caivāsmi tathāpi tatra surata-vyāpāra-līlā-vidhau
revā-rodhasi vetasī-taru-tale cetaḥ samutkaṇṭhate ||
The very one who took my maidenhead
is here now as my bridegroom.
And these too are the same moonlit nights
of the month of Chaitra.
The same fragrance of malati flowers is there
and the same sweet breezes blowing from the kadamba forest.
I too am the very same person
with whom he made playful, ecstatic love.
Yet my unsatisfied mind yearns for that place
under the bullrushes on the bank of the Reva River.
Padyāvali 378 (Srk 815, Skm 2.12.3; Spd 3768; Smv 87.9; SD 1.2)
Since the story has been told by Kaviraj Goswami in three different places, it is important to examine the contexts. In the first and third citation, it is primarily meant to raise Rupa Goswami to the highest authority in the sampradaya for his insight into Mahaprabhu's mood. Rupa's pastiche of the above verse is the evidence for that special insight, and the two verses together are the ones with which he, significantly, concludes his Padyāvali collection:

priyaḥ so'yaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ sahacari kurukṣetra-militas
tathāhaṁ sā rādhā tad idam ubhayoḥ saṅgama-sukham |
tathāpy antaḥ-khelan-madhura-muralī-pañcama-juṣe
mano me kālindī-pulina-vipināya spṛhayati ||
O companion! This is the same beloved Krishna
meeting me here in Kurukshetra;
and I am the same Radha;
both of us are feeling the same joy of union.
Even so, my mind wishes for the forest
by the banks of the Yamunä
where the fifth note of his flute
reverberated sweetly within my heart.
(Padyāvali 383, Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.1.76)
The actual meaning of the verse is most fully explained in the second instance, which is the description of Mahaprabhu's ecstasies in front of Jagannath during the Rathayatra festival. I will not go into that here, though I see that I have not written about that most excellent topic before. One can however look at the translation of 10.82.49 from Bhajana Rahasya, which is most relevant to the topic at hand.

My interest here, however, is to follow up on my previous article about the Saṅkalpa-kalpa-druma, "Jiva Goswami's final word." In rebuttals to the svakīyā-vāda that Jiva Goswami presents in Gopāla-campū and elsewhere, it is frequently pointed out that he quotes the above verse (yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ). Since this verse refers to the superiority of the mood in Vrindavan, i.e., the parakīyā situation, is this not an indication of what is the true intent of Sri Jiva?

Let us examine those citations.

First of all, the first line is presented separately from the rest of the verse in three places: Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha 170, Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇi to 10.82.49, and Gopāla-campū 1.33.118. As an aside, the first two of these are one of the few places where VT and the Sandarbhas match word for word. This commentary on the situation in Kurukshetra is the seed for Kaviraja Goswami's description in Madhya 13 of Caitanya-caritāmṛta and the one followed in the Bhajana Rahasya link I have given.
Here Jiva Goswami is giving an alternative interpretation to the words gehaṁ juṣām, which in the translation is given as "we are attached to our householder lives and families." This is the external understanding. Jiva says it means:
We wish to meet with you in Gokula, the abode where we were previously united in loving dalliances, where all our desires for such love can be fulfilled, which is the natural dwelling place of our love, our very own home -- in Gokula alone, and not in Dvaraka or elsewhere. Here by the expression of this desire, they show that they are in love with that form of Krishna and no other as is shown in verse, "He who took my maidenhead is here again as my bridegroom," etc. Therefore, since we are unable too think of your lotus feet and are unable to come to you, or have no taste for coming to you in Dvaraka, and yet, as you know, we are suffering greatly in your absence, if you should fulfill your promise by directly coming to back; then only will we be saved.
I don't think that Sri Jiva is here specifically highlighting the word "bridegroom" (vara), but that is indeed the case in the first citation in Gopāla-campū:

The first citation from Gopala-campu comes at the end of Purva 33, where Narada is telling the story of the future to Nanda Maharaj, after the killing of Keshi. In this case, Jiva is stressing that Krishna did return to Braj and get married rather than the hankering for a return to Braj. In other words, Radha may be hankering for a return to Braj, but she is doing it after being married to Krishna.

yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ sa eva hi varas tā eva caitra-kṣapāḥ
ity ādy apy adhiyan kayācid uditaṁ gopālikā-gīr iti |
bhāvonmādaja-gāna-nṛtya-vivaśaḥ śrī-guṇḍicā-parvasu
śrī-caitanya-tanur mataṁ sa bhagavān aṅgīkariṣyaty adaḥ ||118||
"The very one who took my maidenhead
is here now as my bridegroom. These too are the same spring nights…"
This utterance of a gopi and quoted by another
are the conclusion that the Lord in his form as Chaitanya,
intoxicated by song and dance born of loving madness
during the Rathayatra festivals, will accept .
From the context it is clear that Sri Jiva is using this verse as evidence that Krishna returned to Braj and got married to Radha. Because the verse is from the "mundane" poetic tradition, its authority comes from the use that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made of it.

In GCP 33, this verse is followed by some other quotes taken from Lalita-mādhava. These have been cited in my article "Does Krishna marry the gopis in the end?" and one should look for them there. Jiva here also speaks of samṛddhimān sambhoga, which is integral to his understanding of the completion of the līlā, as it is described in the works of Rupa Goswami. (tad idam eva śrīmad-bhagavad-bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-nidhi-rūpa-śrīmad-ujjvala-nīlamaṇāv api sarva-rasa-paripāṭī-pūrti-sāra-mūrti-samṛddhimad-ākhya-sambhogatayā darśitam |) This will require further analysis, as the section in Ujjvala (15.206) is one of those places that Jiva and Vishwanath do battle.

Now the final citation of the yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ verse comes near the end of the Uttara-campū (chapter 36), after Radha and Krishna's wedding has taken place and Radha is indeed feeling some momentary despondency. When pressed by Lalita, she says:

yathā sarvātiśāyikāyāḥ kasyāścin nāyikāyāḥ labdha-nijābhīpsitāyām api
kāpi lipsā kavibhiḥ kavitām ānīyate, tathaiva daiva-vaśād asmākaṁ jātā |
Some most elevated heroine even after attaining everything she had desired expressed another longing, which a poet has described in verse. Now that same mood has suddenly overtaken me.
It is here that she recites the verse in full. Suddenly Krishna, who had been eavesdropping, comes into the room, embraces and kisses her, and says,

sādhūktaṁ preyasi ! sādhūktam | kintu “kṛṣṇā-rodhasi tatra kuñja-sadane” iti paṭhanīyam | yasmād adya sadya eva śrīmat-pitṛ-caraṇānucaran-nija-cāru-kaumāra-pracāra-maya-vihāra-sāra-sandīpita-vara-kālindī-dakṣiṇa-pāra-sanditaṁ vṛndāvanam eva sañcarituṁ gocarayiṣyāmi iti |
"Well said, my love, well said! But I think you should change the last line to "in the forest bowers on the banks of the Yamuna" since very soon, on this very day, I shall take you to that very same Vrindavan, which lies on the south side of the Kalindi and  was lit up with the essence of my beautiful childhood pastimes after my father took us there."
This is indeed what is described in the following, final chapter, except that the crossing of the Yamuna is the same as the ascension into the eternal nitya Goloka. So the purpose of the verse here is simply seen as a returning to the place, but not of returning to the parakīyā situation.

As a final note here, it should be mentioned that this verse finds no mention in Saṅkalpa-kalpa-druma, which is significant. If it were that important to Jiva Goswami's fundamental thinking, i.e., that which we are to look for as being pūrvāpara-sambaddha, the consistent element in his thought, we certainly cannot look to this verse for support of the parakīyā-vāda.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Jiva Goswami's Final Word: Sankalpa-kalpa-druma

I have been reading from Jiva Goswami's Gopāla-campū (GC) at the Jiva Institute. Classes are held Monday to Friday from 5-6 in the evening. As I prepared my course, I began going over Saṅkalpa-kalpa-druma (SKD), which gives further clues into Sri Jiva's purpose in writing GC.

Saṅkalpa-kalpa-druma (SKD) is the last book Jiva Goswami wrote, which came at the end of his life. In the beginning of the book, which has over 700 verses, Jiva tells his mind that since he is growing old, it should be fixed on Krishna's eternal pastimes. SKD was written after GC, and in some ways it is a recapitulation or summary explanation of the basis or theory of GC. What was Jiva trying to do in his magnum opus?

One of the verses given by Vishwanath and his senior contemporary Radha Krishna Das Goswami to support their idea that Jiva Goswami was actually dissimulating when he wrote in various places his defense of svakīyā-vāda is the one which concludes the commentary to 1.21, after his elaborate argumentation there. That verse is probably better known than either GC or SKD:

svecchayā likhitaṁ kiṁcit kiṁcid atra parecchayā |
yat pūrvāpara-sambaddhaṁ tat pūrvam aparaṁ param ||
Some things I have written of my own volition, some at the behest of others. That which is consistent throughout is the former, that which is not, the latter.
The challenge here is to establish Jiva Goswami's overall intent, and he himself frequently refers to a verse from the Sanskrit tradition that is of great help in conducting such an analysis:

upakramopasaṁhārāv abhyāso’pūrvatā phalam
arthavādopapattī ca liṅgaṁ tātparya-nirṇaye
The purport of any text can be established by the study of six indicators: {1} the beginning and concluding part, {2} what is repeated, {3} the original aspects described, {4} the result, {5} what it glorifies, and {6} logical establishment.
Since SKD is the concluding work of Jiva Goswami's career, it should be considered particularly important in this regard.

A fuller discussion can be found in the following series of article, especially The Parakiya Rebuttal, and in the summary of Gopala Champu, especially part 5. I concluded "The Parakiya Rebuttal" with the following verse from GC, which appears to directly contradict the above svecchayā verse. This is spoken by Paurnamasi to Vrinda Devi in the first volet of arguments defending the svakīyā position in GC 1.15.18:

avacam avocam uvāca ca vacmi hi vaktāsmi vakṣyāmi |
ucyāsam idaṁ vacyāṁ vacāni no ced avakṣyaṁ na ||
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 on saying it,
I must say it, and if it weren't so, then I would never have said it at all.
At any rate, I bring these preliminary points up again to introduce some statements from the SKD, which I shall elaborate on in future articles. This particular controversy is directly connected to the problem of the prakaṭa-līlā and the nitya-līlā, which is also a direct theme of the SKD.

Two verses in particular give us a clue as to Jiva Goswami's intention. The first of these says that the prakaṭa-līlā and the nitya-līlā are mutually related as seed to tree, perpetuating each other in a chain of mutual creation:

sā ca janmādikā sā ca nityā līlā śrutīr itā |
mithaḥ pūrvā parā ca syād bīja-vṛkṣa-pravāhavat ||1||
The pastimes of birth and so on, and the pastimes in the eternal realm, have been presented to your ears. They have a mutual prior-posterior relationship, like the cycle of seed to tree and tree to seed. (SKD 3.1)
This is a very interesting analogy, and the same analogy is used in a bit different way at the beginning of SKD as an explanation of the title of the book itself, "The Desire Tree of My Vow," where he says that the prakaṭa- or janmādi-līlā is the root of the tree, the nitya-līlā is its trunk (in this case he means the chapter in the book of that name, which gives the general outline of a day in Radha and Krishna's nitya-līlā.

mūlaṁ janmādi-līlāsya skandhaḥ syān nitya-līlatā |
śākhās tat-tad-ṛtu-ślokāḥ phalaṁ premamayī sthitiḥ ||11||
The root of this tree is Krishna's pastimes in the prakaṭa-līlā, beginning with his birth and so on. The trunk is the nitya-līlā. The descriptions of the seasons in Vrindavan are the branches, and the loving permanent situation in the nitya-līlā is the fruit. (SKD 1.10)
This describes the four chapters of the SKD. The third chapter is the branches and leaves, which is the description of the six seasons, also part of the nitya-līlā. The fourth chapter is called phala-niṣpatti. Since that chapter is short – only ten verses – I am going to present the translation here in its entirety. Those looking for consistency in Jiva's work will be hard pressed to find evidence contrary to this summary of what he has stated again and again:

ghoṣe sva-prema-koṣe pitṛ-mukha-sukhada-svīya-vṛndena dīvyan
kaṁsena preritebhyas tam atibhayamayaṁ vīkṣya nighnan muhus tān
hantuṁ teṣām apaśyann adhi madhu-puri taṁ hantum añcan sa-vṛndam
hatvā taṁ ghoṣam āgāt tad atula-sukha-kṛd yaḥ sadā taṁ bhajāmi
I worship forever that Krishna who enjoyed his pastimes in the cowherd community, the treasure-chest of his love, with his own folk headed by his own father, all of whom are sources of joy for him. Seeing that this village was becoming a fearsome place due to the attacks of demons sent by Kamsa, he destroyed those demons. When he saw that he had not been able to finish them off, he went with his friends to Mathura to kill Kamsa, their root. When that was done, he returned to the cowherd community, bringing incomparable joy to all.
rādhādyāḥ kṛṣṇa-kāntāḥ svayam avataraṇaṁ kṛṣṇavat prāpya līlā-
śaktyā vismṛtya nityāṁ sthitim aparatayā jñāta-kṛṣṇās tathāpi |
rāgād aspaṣṭa-kṛṣṇa-śrayaṇa-sukha-ratā prāntataḥ kṛṣṇam eva
spaṣṭaṁ jagmuḥ sva-kāntaṁ tam atisukha-sudhā-sindhu-magnāntarāḥ smaḥ ||2||
Radha and Krishna's other eternally beloved gopis descended into the material world just like Krishna. There they forgot their eternal situation with him due to the Lila Shakti and knew Krishna as someone unrelated to them. Even so, out of spontaneous love for him, they became attached to the pleasure of loving Krishna, taking shelter of him secretly. Then in the end they went to him openly as their own husband, as a result of which we are immersed in the ocean of the nectar of extreme happiness.
haṁho saukhyaṁ sura-dviṭ-kaṭu-kaṭaka-ghaṭā-preṣṭha-kaṁsādi-duṣṭān
hatvā tat-kliṣṭa-cittāṁ pitṛ-mukha-janatāṁ nirvṛtāṁ suṣṭhu cakre |
kiṁ cānyaḥ sva-priyāṇāṁ patir iti bahir akhyāti-duḥkhāni hṛtvā
tat-tad-viśleṣa-pīḍā-cchid ayam atijagad-dṛṣṭi-goṣṭhe vibhāti ||3||
What amazing joy! Krishna destroyed the wicked Kamsa and other enemies of the gods whose evil armies were overrunning the earth, and then brought blissful joy to Nanda and the people of Braj who had been tormented by them. What is more, he then removed the misery that came to his beloved gopis from the infamy that they had other husbands. And so this Krishna, have cut away the Brijvasis suffering that had arisen from his separation from them, stands glorious in that cowherd settlement which is beyond the vision of this world.
The above sequence of events is followed in GC. See the final section of the summary.

prātar mātuḥ sva-hastād aśana-sukha-kṛtī labdha-tātādy-anujñaḥ
śrī-rāmādi-prasaktaḥ surabhi-gaṇa-śataṁ pālayan moda-yuktaḥ |
sandhyāyāṁ gopa-gopī-sukhada-gṛha-gatiḥ sānurāgaṁ kṣapāyām
tat-tad-dīvyad-vihāraḥ sphuratu tava manaḥ sarvadā kṛṣṇa-candraḥ
In the morning Krishna joyfully eats the breakfast his mother cooks for him with her own hand, then taking his father and other senior Brajvasis' permission leaves and spends the day with Balaram grazing the hundreds of godly cows. Then in the evening he returns to the blissful abode of the cowherd men and women, and at night enthusiastically watches the performances they have put on. May this Krishna Chandra always appear before you, O mind!
The previous two verses follow the contents of the first two chapters of Gopāla-campū.

janmādyaṁ svīya-vṛttaṁ kavi-bharata-kalā-citra-yogena dṛśya-
prāyaṁ tanvan sabhāyāṁ rahasi tu dayitā-pūrva-rāgādy udantam |
vargaṁ tat-tan-nisargaṁ nijam anu vijayī sarva-sāt-parva kurvan
divya-divya-kriyābhir viharaṇa-kutukī nandatān nanda-sūnuḥ ||5||
In the assembly, the ever-victorious son of Nanda enjoys hearing all his own activities beginning from his birth onward as they are performed by poets, actors, and picture story-tellers who make all these events come alive. Then afterwards, in private, the stories of his love affairs with Radha and the gopis are told from their beginning. By way of both his worldly and other-worldly activities he turns everything into a festival for his devotees, each according to their mood. May he be ever joyful.
This is the way things are told in Gopāla-campū also. For the separation of the two performance venues, see the Kaiśora-vilāsa-campū.

yaḥ śrī-paryanta-yācyānv itir iha paśupa-śreṇi-bandhur yaśodā-
nanda-svīyāṅga-jātaḥ subala-mukha-sakhaḥ kiṁ ca rādhādi-kāntaḥ |
sa śrī-gopāla-nāmā surabhi-kulam ahaḥ pālayan divya-kelir
naktaṁ rāsādi-līlā-lalitatama-gatiḥ sarvadā syād gatir naḥ ||6||
The gods and goddesses up to Lakshmi herself pray to become his servants, he is the kinsman of all strata of the cowherd community, he was born directly from the bodies of Nanda and Yashoda, Subala is chief among his friends, and finally, he is the beloved of Radha and the gopis. This Krishna, named Gopala, spends his day in various amusements while grazing the cows and his night in the Rasa dance, dancing with the most charming movements. May he always be our shelter.
śrīmad-vṛndāvanendor madhupa-khaga-mṛgāḥ śreṇi-lokā dvijātā
dāsā lālyāḥ surabhyaḥ sahacara-halabhṛt-tāta-mātr-ādi-vargāḥ |
preyasyas tāsu rādhā-pramukha-vara-dṛśāś ceti vṛndaṁ yathordhvaṁ
tad-rūpāloka-tṛṣṇak pramadam anudinaṁ hanta paśyāma karhi ||7||
All the bees, birds and animals, the various guilds, the brahmanas, servants, the children, the cows, his friends along with Balaram and his father and mother, his doe-eyed lady loves, of whom Radha is the foremost, are the companions of the moon of Vrindavan, and he is ever eager to associate with them, each of whom is more intimate with him than the one before. He wishes to see them every day. Ah, when will I see him?
śaśvad dhyāyati dūraga-sthiti mithaḥ, sūkṣma-prathaṁ cāyati
prājyāntar-gatam, ātta-narma tu sakhī-madhya-sthitaṁ paśyati |
rādhā-mādhava-nāma-dheya-mithunaṁ vighnān atītyāmitān
dāmpatye sthitam atra vā yadi rahaḥ prāptaṁ tadā kiṁ punaḥ ||8||
That divine couple named Radha and Madhava constantly meditate on each other when separated, when out in public they cast secretive glances at one another, and they look at each other with open amusement while in the midst of her sakhis. If after overcoming all the countless obstacles that had been standing in their way they are now here together in the secret eternal realm as a married couple, then what more can we ask for?
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-yugaṁ muhur vighaṭanām uttīrya dāmpatya-bhāk
pratyekāntam udasram ekataraga-svāpāntar antar mithaḥ |
vaktraṁ paśyati mārṣṭi locana-puṭaṁ nāsāgram uddaṇḍayan
niṁste gaṇḍa-yugaṁ hṛdā hṛdi milal lelīyate śarmaṇi ||9||
Even in their married state, the Divine Couple Radha and Krishna again and again have to overcome the pain of separation, when one of them falls asleep then the other's face is filled with tears and looks upon the face of the first, and wiping the tears away and lifting her chin kisses both cheeks. Then the two embrace heart to heart, becoming totally immersed in joy.
See Ujjvala 14.225-226.

gaura-śyāma-rucojjvalābhir amalair akṣṇor vilāsotsavair
nṛtyantībhir aśeṣa-mādana-kalā-vaidagdhya-digdhātmabhiḥ |
anyonya-priyatā sudhā-parimala-stomonmadābhiḥ sadā
rādhā-mādhava-mādhurībhir abhitaś cittaṁ samākrāmyatām ||10||
Let my heart be ever overpowered from all sides by the sweetness of Sri Sri Radha and Madhava who have the golden and blackish brilliance, manifesting the pure, festival of the movements of their eyes dancing, who are completely soaked in the expertise of the art of amorous activities, and who are supremely delighted by the fragrance of the ambrosia of mutual love.
This last verse is also the concluding verse of the Krishna Sandarbha.

I would like to discuss a little more extensively about the relation between the prakaṭa-līlā and the nitya-līlā as mentioned in SKD in another article following up. Jai Radhe for now.