You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1996

Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Jaganath.Bharadwaj_at_nrecatao.nreca.org
Date: Wed May 08 1996 - 22:22:36 PDT

Gaudiya Vaishnavism is perhaps one of the newest branches of
Vaishnavism and it traces its root back to Krishna via Brahma and the
Madhva Sampradaya.  But philosophically Gaudiya Vaishnavism is very
different Dwaita.  Their philosophy is "achintya bhedabheda tattva"
or simultaneous oneness and difference from God.

This philosophy was propounded by Lord Chaitanya a combined
incarnation of Radha and Krishna.  According to this philosophy there
are 5 Purusharthas Dharma, artha, Kama, Moksha and Prema.  The first
4 are said to be at the material level and therefore unfit for human
pursuit.  Prema is the only goal worth seeking.

At the outset one surrenders to Krishna through the Guru by following
the 5 principles of "Anukulasya sankalpah:, PrAtikulasya varjanam;
raksisyatiti vishvaso; goptrtwe varaNam; tatha atma nikshepa
karpanye.  Having done this one obtains the mantra from the
Kali-santara Upanishad  "HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA
HARE HARE I  HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE  II

Everything else that is done in life is based in relation to this
mantra which is the sound representation of God and only mantra, the
only yagna, and the only goal of life.

The aspirant jivan mukta begins a process called vaidhi bhakti or
regulated devotional service by following the rules and regulations
laid down in their sampradaya.  When Krishna is pleased with the
sincere efforts of such a bhakta, He rewards them with Raganuga
bhakti or spontaneous devotional service.  One attains to this state
by considering himself or herself to be humbler than a blade of
grass.  One who reaches this stage spontaneously chants the names of
God and continues to make spiritual progress.  The ultimate
perfection is to visualize the pastimes of Radha and Krishna while
chanting and simply relish the chanting.

The primary difference between our sampradayam and theirs is that in
the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya, while worship may be done to all
avataras of Sriman Narayana, rasa will be obtained only with Krishna
and that too only in the Vrindavana mood of baala leela.

The Gaudiya Vaishnavas practice sankirtana or congregational chanting
of the Hare Krishna mantra set to various tunes, while dancing at
the same time.  The same mantra is chanted as a japa during Brahma
muhurta.

One who remembers Krishna at the time of death goes to "Goloka
Vrindavana" where they will be constantly rendering service to Radha
and Krishna and where the Raasa Leela continues uninterrupted.

The Bhooloka Vrindavana is considered to be non different from Goloka
Vrindavana.

Somewhat similar to Madhva sampradaya is the concept that Radha and
Krishna are served by 8 preteen manjaris or sakhis.  They are the
only ones allowed into some of the most intimate pastimes of Radha
and Krishna.  These manjaris are in turn served by other Gopis and so
on.  RAdha is said to get more pleasure when she makes a gopi dance
with Krishna than the pleasure she gets by dancing with Krishna
Herself.

But common with Sri Sampradaya is the concept of surrender to Krishna
and that a jivatma is itself without sex or can only be a female,
since it can only be enjoyed by Krishna and not an enjoyer.  It is
only when the jivatma is enjoyed by Krishna can it get happiness.
The ultimate bliss is considered to be not the dancing of the Gopis
with Krishna, but the torment caused by separation from Krishna which
they felt afterwards.  This is called vipralambha bhava.

I seek the readers' forgiveness for any errors of omission or
commission.

Jaganath.