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Smarta Raghunandana. (Preface)
Raghunandana, the principle smarta of Bengal.
Many children, old people, and women of the Hindu Aryan community of Bengal have heard the name of Raghunandana. Those who have not heard will naturally be curious to know who he is. Raghunandana's identification in brief is that he is the principle smarta of Bengal.
The Absolute Truth appears
through the descending process.
Smarta refers to those who know the smritis; therefore it is natural to inquire what is a smriti. Knowledge of the Supreme Truth was manifested by the Lord of Vaikuntha in the heart of Brahma through the descending process. Shri Narada received this knowledge from Lord Brahma and then imparted it to Vyasadeva. Brahma spoke about the Absolute Truth to Narada; Narada then spoke to Vyasadeva. From Vyasa, the Absolute Truth has been handed down through disciple succession in the authorized sampradayas.
The Absolute Truth is obstructed through
the ascending process of the seminal line.
From Brahma, the sages were born through seminal succession. Rather than descending through disciplic succession like the path of devotees, the path of the sages, being induced by material knowledge, has diverted into the ascending process. The sages and the three varnas who are subordinate to the sages consider their material knowledge beneficial for themselves, and with the support of direct perception and hypothesis, they obstruct the descending process of disciplic succession. Those who traverse the descending process are qualified to reach the Absolute Truth. But since those who traverse the ascending process have accepted the external ascending path to reach the undisputed destination, they have become eager to minimize the glories of the Absolute Truth. As a result, even though they proudly advertise their faith in the Vedas, their actual intention is to disregard the Vedas. This is clearly understood.
Differences of opinion occur only in
the ascending process; there are no differences
of opinion in the descending process, rather
there is complete harmony in diversity.
Whenever the sages gave explanations on the Vedas that were contrary to the actual purport of the Vedas, differences in their respective realizations arose. On the ascending path, one sage attacks another sage and tries to establish his own opinion. In the descending path, however, there is no such outrage or drawback. The varieties that are perceived are all used in the service of the nondual Personality of Godhead; one does not become puffed-up or averse to Hari.
Prediction about persons who traverse
the ascending path and are faithless
to the words of the spiritual master.
The words from the mouth of a bona fide spiritual master are not independent of the shastra. They are completely nourished by and favorable to the shastra. The favorable ascending path that is sometimes accepted to understand the Absolute Truth is simply subservient to the descending process. But whenever the descending path is neglected, the advaya-jnana, or knowledge of the nondual substance, is more or less subdued. Wherever respect for the spiritual master has been diminished, the ascending process, in the form of disobeying the spiritual master, has simply created a perverted mentality of vivarta-vada, or the Mayavada theory of illusion, filled with pride and nourished by the four defects like committing mistakes and being illusioned. This diseased mentality eventually turns into a mine of licentiousness.
Persons who disregard the words
of the spiritual master are unable to comprehend
the Vedic instructions.
When persons who disregard the spiritual master try to understand the Vedic literatures through their evil attempts, differences of opinion automatically arise in their understanding. But if the sages give up their pride of seminal birth and become fixed in real knowledge by following the descending path, then their recitation of songs from the Sama Veda will be nondifferent from that of the Rig Veda. Those who are proud of seminal birth and whose bodily conception of life is very prominent are not qualified to hear the instructions of the spiritual master. When the sages subdue their material pride and live in a gurukula to study the Vedas, they are able to comprehend the hearing and studying of the Vedas. Comprehension of the heard subject matters is called smriti, in other words, to comprehend the subject matter heard in the gurukula through the descending process and act accordingly is execution of the smritis.
The smritis of Raghunandana, who follows
the ascending process, are harmful to the devotees.
The rules and regulations our Raghunandana Bhattacarya has preached as smritis for the benefit of the persons traversing the ascending path are not acceptable to the devotees. The worldly, or social, smritis may please and bring auspiciousness to people, but they misguide those who traverse the descending path from their goal and cause their downfall. While following the ascending path and its code of conduct, when the smartas, who are expert in smriti literature, create communities to place impediments on the path of spiritual progress, then devotees consider their attempts as a hindrance to spiritual life.
The difference between smritis aiming at material
enjoyment and those aiming at service to the Lord.
The smritis of the spiritualists and those of the karmis are not the same. The smartas and the devotees see the smritis, or conceptions of the Vedas, on various levels. The spiritualists say:
laukiki vaidiki vapi ya kriya kriyate mune
hari-sevanukulaiva sa karya bhaktim icchata
This means that whatever a traveler on the path of bhakti does is meant for pleasing Lord Hari. And whatever fruitive activities, mental speculation, and sense enjoyment that nondevotee communities devoid of devotion to Hari engage in are simply proof of their enjoying spirit in aversion to Hari. Those who have been permanently qualified in the kingdom of aversion to the Lord are alone incapable of attaching importance to the service of Lord Hari, through worldly or Vedic performances. Such smartas claim a difference of opinion with the travelers on the path of bhakti. There is a gulf of difference between ordinary smritis and spiritual smritis.
The spiritual smritis and worldly smritis can never be
in agreement, they are eternally different.
From the gross material point of view, a strong desire may arise to find a compromise between them; but if an intelligent person carefully considers, he will understand that such an endeavor will create obstacles in worshiping the nondual Personality of Godhead. Generally material knowledge is polluted with four defects-imperfect senses, the propensity for cheating, certainty of committing mistakes, and certainty of being illusioned. The Vedic literatures, however, are beyond these defects. The smritis that are subordinate to the Vedas are also supposed to be beyond defect. The ordinary materialistic conception is situated in the living entities' field of fruitive activities and awards them a suitable result. The field of the devotees, however, is not the field of fruitive activities that enhances one's material enjoyment. Therefore the Vedic knowledge, or purport of the Vedas, that is heard from the mouth of the spiritual master is not same as the worldly smritis. Many smartas, who oppose each other, have taken birth in different places at different times. Until a living entity's spiritual perception is awakened, he considers the smartas, who are travelers on the ascending path, as followers of Vedic literatures who are either worldly or devoid of service to Hari; but when he leaves behind the activities at different times and places of smartas whose attempts are always unfavorable for devotional service, he continually follows the spiritual smritis in the kingdom of devotional service.
The modern so-called Vaishnavas under
the subordination of Raghunandana are actually against the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
Through his own genius our Bengali Raghunandana has accumulated certain smritis and preached them in various places of Bengal. At present the society of aversion to the service of Hari is being run under the subordination of those teachings. Moreover, many superficial devotees follow Raghunandana's smritis, which are against Vaishnava principles, and thus uproot their spiritual propensities. Such people desire various forms of material enjoyment in the guise of householders and consider that following smarta Raghunandana Bhattacarya is particular limb of worshiping Hari. Though this spiritual community identifies itself as Gaudiya Vaishnava, members have in no way tried to safeguard the prestige of Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which was compiled under the order of Shriman Mahaprabhu. Whenever they got an opportunity to follow the smarta doctrine, which is opposed to the teachings of Shriman Mahaprabhu, they have readily accepted it. In this way they are accumulating Vaishnava aparadhas, totally uprooting the eternal truth, and permanently obstructing the path of devotional service to Krishna.
towards the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
Though the position of Raghunandana is very high in the Hindu society of Bengal, in the vision of the devotees such a high position is also situated on the material platform. The harm caused by Raghunandana and his smarta followers in different parts of Bengal at different times is clearly manifested at present in every ritualistic performance. The devotees, however, cannot commit suicide by becoming attracted to the material respect and prestige of the smartas.
Warning to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
Therefore the devotees are humbly presenting these topics to the Hindu communities of Bengal and especially to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The hearts of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas are certainly shaken by seeing the smartas disturb and harass their desired goal of worship. The Vaishnavas will gradually understand that the pure Vaishnava dharma preached by Shri Gaurasundara is bound by the smartas' ropes, which increase one's aversion to the Lord. O Gaudiya Vaishnavas! Do not relinquish the cultivation of spiritual life, thinking that you will transgress smarta Raghunandana. Be familiar with Raghunandana and take leave of him forever. (Sajjana-toshani, Vol. 24, Part 5/6)