Monday, September 13, 2010

Radha and Durga

Radhastami is this Wednesday so I've been reading about and meditating on Srimati Radharani. 

In Srila Jiva Gosvami's commentary on Sri Brahma-samhita, verse 3,there is an interesting section talking about Durga and Radha:

"Sometimes Goddess Durga is also described as the supreme controller. This is also correct because there is no difference between the potencies and Lord Krishna, the master of the potencies. This is confirmed by the following words of the Gautamiya Tantra:

'Krishna is Durga. Durga is Krishna. One who sees that They are different will not become liberated from the cycle of repeated birth and death.'

Durga is the personal potency of Lord Krishna, and therefore She is Lord Krishna Himself. For this reason Durga should not be considered manifested from a portion of the Lord's illusory potency, Maya. This fact is confirmed by the following statement of the Nirukti:

'Even if one continually worships Her, Durga is still difficult to understand.'

Durga is also described in Narada-pancaratra, in the following conversation of Sruti and Vidya:

' Durga is the supreme goddess. She is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She is the transcendental potency of the Lord. She is manifested from the form of Lord Maha-Vishnu.

' Simply by understanding Her one immediately attains the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not otherwise.

' She is identical with Gokul's queen Sri Radha, who possesses a great treasure of love for Krishna. By Her grace, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all living entities, is easily understood.

' She is the potency of personified devotional service. She worships Her beloved Supreme Lord. Because She is understood only with great difficulty, the saintly devotees call Her Durga, (difficult to understand.) She is the personal potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and She is always filled with the nectar of love for Him.

' From Her is manifested the mah-maya potency, the controller of all conditioned souls, who covers them with illusion. By this maha-maya potency the residents of the entire world are bewildered into thinking themselves identical with their external material bodies."

In the Sammohana Tantra, Durga Herself declares:

'I am Durga. I possess all virtues. I am not different from Sri Radha, the eternal, supreme goddess of fortune.'"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Three Kinds Of Bhakti

A wonderful purport from Sri-Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi Lila, Chapter 4, texts 21-22 that I was studying:

In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta three kinds of devotional service are described — namely, bhakti (ordinary devotional service), śuddha-bhakti (pure devotional service) and viddha-bhakti (mixed devotional service).
When devotional service is executed with some material purpose, involving fruitive activities, mental speculations or mystic yoga, it is called mixed or adulterated devotional service. Besides bhakti-yoga, the Bhagavad-gītā also describeskarma-yogajñāna-yoga and dhyāna-yogaYoga means linking with the Supreme Lord, which is possible only through devotion. Fruitive activities ending in devotional service, philosophical speculation ending in devotional service, and the practice of mysticism ending in devotional service are known respectively as karma-yogajñāna-yoga and dhyāna-yoga. But such devotional service is adulterated by the three kinds of material activities.
For those grossly engaged in identifying the body as the self, pious activity, orkarma-yoga, is recommended. For those who identify the mind with the self, philosophical speculation, or jñāna-yoga, is recommended. But devotees standing on the spiritual platform have no need of such material conceptions of adulterated devotion. Adulterated devotional service does not directly aim for love of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore service performed strictly in conformity with the revealed scriptures is better than such viddha-bhakti because it is free from all kinds of material contamination. It is executed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, solely to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Those who are spontaneously devoted to the Lord and have no aims for material gain are called attracted devotees. They are spontaneously attracted to the service of the Lord, and they follow in the footsteps of self-realized souls. Their pure devotion (śuddha-bhakti), manifested from pure love of Godhead, surpasses the regulative principles of the authoritative scriptures. Sometimes loving ecstasy transcends regulative principles; such ecstasy, however, is completely on the spiritual platform and cannot be imitated. The regulative principles help ordinary devotees rise to the stage of perfect love of Godhead. Pure love for Kṛṣṇa is the perfection of pure devotion, and pure devotional service is identical with spontaneous devotional service.
Flawless execution of regulative principles is exhibited in the Vaikuṇṭha planets. By strictly executing these principles one can be elevated to the Vaikuṇṭha planets. But spontaneous pure loving service is found in Kṛṣṇaloka alone.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mode Of Worship

An excerpt from Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's Sri Caitanya-siksamrta:

"People in various countries on various continents have a wide variety of natures. Although their principal nature is only one, their secondary characteristics are many- you will not find any two people in the world who have identical secondary qualities. Since even twins born of the same womb have some difference in form and quality, can one expect that people born in different countries can ever have exactly the same qualities?

Different countries have different water, air, mountains, forests, and different eatables and clothing. Because of this, the people of these places have naturally developed different physiques, complexions, customs, clothing and food. Similarly, people's mentalities differ. 

Thus, various people's ideas of God though basically similar, will differ in secondary details...

Considered objectively, there is no harm in secondary differences. If there is agreement concerning the essential nature of God and His worship, there should be no obstacle in attaining the same result. Thus Mahaprabhu has taught that we should instruct everyone to worship the pure form of the Lord, but at the same time we should not criticize others' mode of worship."