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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.