Tattva Sandarbha Lesson 2

Lesson 2 of Tattva Sandarbha covers Verses 1-8 discussing  mangalacarana. Highlights of this Lesson are below. PPT and recordings of this class are available at  http://tinyurl.com/6-sandarbhas
  • The three parts of mangalacarana, or invoking auspiciousness
  • The significance of why did Srila Jiva Goswami begin his managalacarana with a verse from Srimad Bhagavatam (SB), rather than one composed by himself? This is because SB is the medium by which the subject matter of the book (Sri Krsna) is related to the book itself (sambandha). Moreover, he wanted to emphasize that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is non-different from Lord Krsna Himself, is his worshiping Deity.
  • The four essential elements of his book, called anubandha-catustaya, which must be enumerated at the outset of the book in order to capture interest in the mind of the reader: 1) the criteria of eligibility for study of the book (adhikari); 2) the relations between the book and subject itself (sambandha); 3) the subject to be known (visaya, or abhidheya); and 4) the book’s goal (prayojana). The answers could be found in sections 6 and 8 as hints to the quiz that I’d given to be solved by those interested purely on a voluntary basis. We shall review the answers at the beginning of this week’s class.

Queries by audience which were answered by His Grace Charu Chandra Prabhuji

1. Am I eligible for studying the Sandarbhas?

When Srila Prabhupada says we are most probably NOT qualified to hear the Sandarbhas, I believe what he meant was that most of us are not perfectly qualified in terms of what it takes with respect to necessary degree of determinations, efforts and patience to serve the Lord. Besides, we have this tight knot of matter and spirit meaning though we are spirit soul, but do have this tremendous propensities of material enjoyment. So it is a relative term. Nonetheless, we should endeavor to do it anyway. Associating with and receiving instructions from advanced devotees, who do have such qualities would ensure achieving one’s desired goal in devotional service. Firm determination will gradually follow because these advanced devotees tend to engage us in these efforts. The adverb “gradually” is very important, which means we do not to have necessary patience and enthusiasm.

2. I do not read SB. Recognize the importance of sadhu-sanga, but have no clear idea of how to go about it. Thinking that by knowing Tattva-sandarbha, my misgivings and doubts would get resolved, and would lead to that goal. Is it exact thought?

Yes indeed! Chanting Hare Krsna mantra and hearing/reading SB complements one another, while associating, serving and asking pertinent questions to senior devotees facilitates one’s progress in devotional service. They actually engage us in Krsna and His devotees’ service, and thereby bring out the best among us. Since these things, I believe, you have already been doing in such an humble mood, you are most certainly on the right path, and you WILL make progress in due course of time. Desirable qualities automatically develop (and at the same time undesirable traits gradually dissipate) due to practice of Krsna consciousness activities.

3. How can I identify one’s service attitude?

This is something like when you see it, you would know. Vaisnavas by nature are very compassionate and merciful to all living entities. They always are eager to render service to everyone. By following in their footsteps, rather than merely imitating them, one would understand the value of serving others, especially those exalted Vaisnavas.

4. You mentioned nama, rupa of Krishna ( name , form  ,pasttimes) Can you elaborate,expand on that , explain that. also Vraj mandal same as Krishna?

  • Lord Krsna’s nama (names), rupa (form and beauty), guna (His transcendental attributes or qualities), lila (His sweet pastimes in different incarnations and expansions with His eternal associates), dhama (the places where he appears and enacts those sweet pastimes), etc. are non-different from Himself. This is because He is Absolute.
  • Simply hearing about these, of which SB is all about, gradually dissipates the modes of material nature, especially the lower modes of passion and ignorance, which indeed are the obstacles on our path of reaching towards Him in devotional service, bring us on the transcendental platform (mode of pure goodness, or suddha-sattva-guna) by first promoting us on the material mode of goodness.
  • This material mode of goodness facilitates us acquiring transcdental knowledge, which in turn propels us towards attainting self-realization, or realizing our spiritual identity (rather than misidentifying us on the bodily platform of life) as the 1st step, which gradually leads us to serve the Lord and His devotees.
  • And the entire process is cooperative meaning more and more we hear about Krsna, the more it facilitates our attraction towards Him and ultimately develop love for Him, which is the supreme goal of our human form of life.
  • All these simply begins by chanting His Holy Name. The entire process is facilitated by associating with like-minded devotees who do have such wonderful qualities.
  • This may sound very difficult and lofty, but Krsna is looking for our sincere desire. And then everything else He does like creating favorable circumstances in our lives to propel us towards Him, and bring advanced devotees and their instructions in our lives.
  • Ultimately, when we do come to the transcendental platform, we become qualified to go back to Godhead, or spiritual world.
  • But this doesn’t end with there with mere liberation from our material existence. The supreme goal is to cultivate love for Krsna.
  • And this attainment of krsna-prema, qualifies us to actually participate in His pastimes wherever He enacts in the material universes.
  • The entire cascade of this process simply begins by hearing, chanting and remembering His wonderful nama, rupa, guna, lila, dhama, and so on.

5. Is there a reason that other Vaisnava Sampradays don’t accept Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as Lord Krsna?

Sampradayic insistence upon their own siddhantas or principles, which is quite understandable. But we should strictly go by revealed scriptures as interpreted by self-realized souls. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Caitanya-Caritamrta, describes in great details and quoting Shastra quite convincingly proves that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is non-different from Krsna and appeared in Kali-yuga to deliver suffering fallen souls. He gave us the simplest and yet the most effective process meant specifically for the the Age of Kali, which is congregational chanting of the Holy Names, which is precisely spelled out in that SB verse 11.5.32. There is no one else that can fit the bill. SP says that there is no point in trying to convince others who has already made up their minds. So it would be fruitless and waste of time. Our goal is to preach to those innocent souls who are open-minded and truly in quest of truth.

6. As you mentioned in one of the slide in tretha yuga lord appeared in Red complexion. which form is that?

Lord Visnu as Lord Yajna described in SB.

7. If Lord appears as Kalki in Kaliyuga why is He called Triyuga?

Kalki incarnation is predicted in the Shastra to appear towards the very end of Kali-yuga (some 427,000 years later from now) and then He will usher into the next Satya-yuga. Thus, Lord Kalki should NOT and is NOT considered as a yuga-avatara. The yuga-avatara expansions of the Lord instructs the principles of devotional service that is particularly effective for that particular yuga or age so that they could utilize those instructions. So if He were to appear towards the very end of that age, He couldn’t be the yuga-avatara, would He be? He won’t be serving the function of the yuga-avatara. In regards to Triyuga, which is highly controversial, Srila Jiva Gosvami very skillfully with shastric evidence and relevant acharyas’ teachings convincingly resolves this dilemma. And this is exactly I tried to explain in my class. If it wasn’t understand clearly I could go through again in our next class.

8. The order of offering Mangalacharans surprised me. We first offer obeisances to our spiritual master, then SP, then to CMP, then to Maha Mantra. Why don’t we see this ascending order in Mangalacaran prayers?

You really seem to be hung up on the order of priorities different from Srila Jiva Gosvami, aren’t you? However, your query is well justified and quite natural for anyone else as well to wonder. Well, as I had answered previously, the order of priority and like everything else in our lives tends to be context driven. The ascending order you quoted is quite right in its own way. But in the same sense, Srila Jiva Gosvami is also right with his own order of priority in his offerings of mangalacarana. Please remember that the principle subject matter of his Tattva-Sandarbha (for that matter the rest of the sandarbhas as well) is in proving that SB is the most reliable scriptural authority as the means of reliably arriving towards proper understanding of the Ultimate Reality, who is svayam bhagvan, Sri Krsna. Moreover, his worshipable Deity is Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is non-different from Lord Krsna, the Vrndavana Krsna, who in turn is non-different from Srimad Bhagavatam, the sound representation of Krsna. That is the very significance of why Jiva’s very first mangacarana is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The 2nd one is his own explanation of it in the 2nd mangalacarana. This is then followed up with his offering to his diksa-gurus, Rupa and Sanatana, who taught him the essentials of SB and who ordered him to compose the sandarbhas in mangacaranas #3. Then he expresses his gratitude to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami in mangalacarana #s 4 & 5 for his conception of the idea and for the first draft of the sandarbhas following deep analyses of the works of Ramanuja, Madhava and Sridhara Swami. And so on in that order of priority to the all the way to mangalacarana #8, who is Lord Krsna Himself, the ultimate importance. And that too makes perfect sense. Why? Because the one who appears last is usually the most important personality to emphasis His significance. This is like an appearance of a king, president or priminister, or spiritual master and so on.

9. According to puranic evidence no avatar in Kaliyuga? Where is this mentioned? Is nt Kalki avatar coming in Kaliyuga, He is one of the 10 major avatars right?

Jiva in his sarva-samvadini quotes Visnu-dharmottara Purana, Naradiya Purana and offering of Prahalada Maharaja’s prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva (SB 7.9.38). Re: Kalki avatara, I have already answered and shared with the group. To repeat again in brief, since He is predicted to appear at the very end of Kali-yuga and then usher into the next Satya-yuga, he cannot be functioning as Yuga-avatara, who is supposed to teach the principles and way to serve the Lord particularly relevant to that particular yuga for the people. If he comes at the very end, how in the world the people of that yuga would be benefited?

10. “…Srila Jiva Goswami gives credits to Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami for giving him order to write this book, giving credit to Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami for his extensive research of the previous acaryas and compiling the rough draft, taking a humble position by mentioning himself an insignificant jiva and then finally bowing down to his spiritual masters… Can you please share as to how Srila Jiva Goswami could have this consciousness despite being such a highly learned scholar?”

This is because 1) he was not only “a highly learned scholar,” but also a maha-bhagavata, or an exalted devotee of the Lord; 2) his uncles and at the same time his spiritual masters happened to be Srila Sanatana and Srila Rupa Gosvamis, who themselves were maha-bhagavatas; and 3) as a child, he received the mercy and direct association of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, while the Lord personally visited the home of his father, Anupama Gosvami, and his uncles in the Villege of Ramakeli. It is the potency of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu that whosoever comes in contact would be blessed with krsna-prema; in fact the name of Lord itself says the one who awakens Krsna to life (Krsna Caitanya) in the very heart of anyone including even wild animals in their heart simply by His glance, let alone He gave Jiva His direct association in his very childhood.

Please remember how Pariksit Maharaja in the womb of his mother Uttara got to see Lord Krsna, who not only revived him form the killing heat of Asvatthama’s nuclear weapon, but blessed him to instantly become a maha-bhagavata. Since then, for life long, he was looking for Krsna in everyone; hence his name Pariksit.

11. Request for some references on anubandha-catustaya.

The three commentaries on Tattva-sandarbha that I recommended in my introductory class should be excellent references, especially the one written by Sri Satyanarayana Prabhu from the Jiva Institute in Vrndavana. The other one is by Gopiparandhana Prabhu (ISKCON BBT). The 3rd one by HH BV Tripurari Maharaja’s e-book, which is freely available on the Internet (http://swamitripurari.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Tattva-Sandarbha.pdf) may also talk about it, but off-hand right now I am not so sure.

For your ready reference, let me quote from Satyanarayana Pr’s book (it is quite expensive to buy) a relevant passage:

  • “In the beginning of an educational text, four elements must certainly be enumerated: the criteria of eligibility for study of the book (adhikari), the relation between the book [as signifier of its subject] and the subject itself [as the signified] (sambandha), the subject to be known through the investigative inquiry (visaya or abhidheya), and the book’s purpose (prayojana) [i.e., the value to be actualized by the reader/inquirer through assimilation of the teaching].”
  • “The purpose of delineating these four items is to inspire interest in the mind of the reader…”
  • “A sensitive reader will not take interest in studying a book unless he or she clearly knows the subject described in the book and the purpose to be achieved by understanding it. Different people have different goals, and different qualifications are needed to achieve those goals. Therefore, the book must also describe the qualifications required to study it. Sambandha refers to the relation between the book and subject it intends to elucidate. In modern books this discussion is usually covered in the introduction.
  • “For a more deeper perspective from different schools of thought (not necessarily from Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy), you may google it. Nonetheless, the four basic elements and their description remains the same. This is the Vedic tradition.