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In response to opinions on Gaudiya Vaishnavism and its conclusions

From: Jai Simman s/o R. Rangasamy (rjsimman_at_magix.com.sg)
Date: Fri Apr 21 2000 - 00:13:41 PDT

Dear Vaishnavas,

Hare Krishna.
Please accept my humble obeisances.

Having read the various postings on the srimad bhagavatam and Gaudiya
Vaishnava siddhanta vis-a-vis visishtadvaita, I would like  to humbly state
that the whole matter has been totally misunderstood by the writers. Gaudiya
Vaishnava theology and the concept of achintya bheda-abheda is much deeper
than as presented or projected by the writers of the articles. Their
postulations as to what constitutes the Gaudiya position on Vishnu and
Krishna are also not all that correct. It is only half the story heard and
even that not from the lips or the pen of a Gaudiya Vaishnava but an
external discourse. In fact, the way the presentation has been written is
very superficial and appears to be half-truth at best of the actual Gaudiya
Vaishnava conclusion. To explain these concepts on a posting list would not
be totally feasible nor practical because these like any other esoteric
aspect of siddhanta can only be understood from a serious Gaudiya Vaishnava
sadhaka.

This list is essentially for Sri Vaishnava siddhanta, visishadvaita. As
such, I shan't post elaborate materials on Gaudiya Vaishnavism here. Anyone
writing in the future on inter-vaishnava discussions could do so on another
list meant for that purpose or write to a Gaudiya forum.

The superiority of Lord Krishna's form when compared with His other features
is not so much related to Vishnu tattva and serious differences amongst the
forms. It is more related to rasa-tattva as elaborated by the sad-goswamis
of Sri Vrndavana, the direct disciples of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. amongst
whom appears Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami, who originally hails from Srirangam
and was the son of Sri Vyenkata Bhattar.

By stating that it is only out of extreme love of Lord Krishna that we see
other forms as inferior, the writer has indirectly thrust the allegation of
sentiment without siddhanta upon the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. As a Gaudiya
Vaishnava, I wish to add that we are not such fools as to do that. As
explained earlier, the superiority is related to rasa-tattva which forms a
very esoteric and sublime part of the Vedas, something that even the other
sampradayas have not touched upon in as much detail as the Gaudiya Vaishnava
Acharyas, especially in terms of the sweetness of parakiya rasa or unwedded
paramourship as displayed in Radha-Krishna lila.

Only in terms of the rasa is the form of Lord Krishna seen as more complete
in terms of the Lord's manifesting the rasas in full. All the forms are
complete. It is only a question of complete and more complete. never the
case of deficiency. That does not make the other forms inferior. This is
also the Gaudiya point of view. The Gaudiyas also agree that all forms of
the Lord are similar in prowess and in all other opulences. That is not
denied.

Yes, the Lord has unlimited qualities. That is also admitted. What Srila
Rupa Goswami enumerates as the 64 qualities of the Lord are the principal
qualities, the pradhana kalyana gunas. Just as Parasara Muni defines
Bhagavan as one endowed with the 6 principal qualities in full in the Vishnu
Purana, so also has Srila Rupa Goswami highlighted 64 principal features.
That does not in any way refute the fact that the Lord's qualities are ever
expansive. As Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj states in his Sri Chaitanya
Charitamrta, even Anantasesha despite glorifying the Lord with his many
millions of mouths, is still unable to find the end. So there is no
contradiction here.

When it is stated that Lord Krishna is the original, it does not resemble
the term "original" in terms of material calculation. It is much more than
even subtle spiritual science. Just like in the case of pramanas which was
brought up sometime ago. Pratyaksha pramana as Sripad Ramanujacarya or any
other Vedic authority views it, should not be made a slave of our own
sensory perceptions. Those grilled in Vedic understanding, even in terms of
their pratyaksha experience, view the most mundane objects through shastra.
Therefore, they are known as shastra-chakshu, i.e. those who see things
through the eyes of shastra. As such, even the term "pratyaksha" and
"anumana" as viewed by the Acharyas may not be narrow and akin to the modern
day understandings of our paltry senses and mind. This being the case, what
then are we to speak of their powerful understandings related to anumana and
shabda.

Essentially, we are like the dwarfs seeking to catch the moon. In that
process, we should be careful not to bring the moon to the height of the
dwarf. That would be impractical foolishness and disrespect at their best.

Similarly, the term "original" or "svayam" is not to be mixed up with some
material causative principle related to gross science. It is a different
subject matter altogether and if one wants to actually understand the
Gaudiya understanding of the word "svayam", then one should approach a
Gaudiya sadhaka and seek clarification, not ask for wheat in the shop of a
rice-seller (i.e. - not ask another sampradayic follower for clarification,
prior to asking the original propounder or his followers and practitioners).

Furthermore, the reason as to why Krishna is initially classified as an
avatara in the Puranas and the Pancharatra Agamas and why later on He is
referred to as the svayam Bhagavan and avatari, is also explained by
Kaviraja Goswami in his Chaitanya Charitamrta, Adi Lila. I shan't elaborate
too much on this for fear of being accused of making postings related to an
external sampradaya on a Sri Vaishnava list. Those desiring to know more of
this would do well to read this work as translated by my beloved spiritual
master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.


Your servant,
R. Jai Simman
Singapore




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