Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > Various Topics

99 -Various Topics


1. What is the basis of a living entity's gradual advancement?


If the living entity can remain fixed in his respective position, then he can make gradual advancement. If he falls from his position, he will become degraded.

{Sajjana Tosanl 10/6)


2. Can one arouse others' faith through preaching, or is it better to let them hear the holy name?


Until one destroys whatever desires he has that are opposed to devotional service, no amount of good instruction can affect a person's life. The instructions will simply hit the ears and return. They will never reach the heart. Therefore whatever principle of devotional service you preach, whatever devotional topic you discuss, it will not yield a result because the listeners' karma disqualifies them from hearing it. My order to all of you is that you constantly sing the holy name's glories for the benefit of all living entities. By hearing the holy names, the living entities will accumulate piety and develop faith in the holy name's glories. Then by the holy name's mercy, these persons will develop nonduplicitous faith in devotional service in this lifetime or the next. {Sajjana Tosanl 15/1) 


3. What are beauty, happiness, distress, learning, foolishness, the actual path, the wrong path, heaven, hell, a friend, home, the rich, the poor, the miser, the controller, and the controlled?


Qualities such as detachment are called beauty. The absence of happiness and distress is called happiness. The lack of sense gratification is called distress. The power to discriminate between bondage and liberation is called learning. A person who thinks he is his body is a fool. Krsna's orders are the actual path. Bewilderment of heart is the wrong path. The development of qualities in the mode of goodness is heaven. The development of a body in the mode of ignorance is hell. Krsna and the spiritual master are friends, and the human body is a home. A person enriched with good qualities is wealthy, and a dissatisfied person is poor. A person whose senses are uncontrolled is a miser. A person who is transcendental to material qualities is a controller, and a person who associates with the material qualities is the controlled.

(Sri Bhdgavatdrka Marici Mala 1/44-47)


4. What does the phrase, "soon ripe" (precocious) mean?


Nowadays, there is a disease that as soon as tender boys learn to write A,B,C, they begin to instruct like teachers. This is called "soon ripe," or precocious.

(Sajjana Tosanl 6/4)


5. What is the symptom of a modern scholar?


Simply to attack the ancient way of life has become the symptom of a modern scholar. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/2)


6. What is the difference between word jugglery and learning? Which one does the young generation prefer?


 Word jugglery and learning are two separate things. The Western scholars are more interested in word jugglery than learning. However, the Indian authors are highly learned scholars and less interested in word jugglery. The young generation prefers word jugglery to learning. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/4 )


7. Is it proper to claim one's age as proof of one's qualification?


Age alone cannot be accepted as proof of one's qualification. Many old people crawl within their minds. There are many people who are sufficiently aged, who have no teeth and who have gray hair, yet they dye their hair, artificially install silver teeth, and enjoy sense gratification like young men. When such old people cannot become detached, then old age is not the root of detachment. (Sajjana Tosanl 8/10)


8. What are dharana, anubhuti, and yukti ?


As soon as the sense objects meet the senses, a reflection of that object enters the heart through the door of the senses. There, an internal sense carefully preserves the reflection. This propensity is called dharana. Later, when the propensity of the internal sense interacts with the preserved reflection, one feels the imaginary objects to be real. This is called anubhuti. Thereafter the internal sense spreads its sovereignty over those imaginary objects and decides whether they are good or bad. This is called yukti. If one scrutinizingly studies this process, one will find that the entire process is sensory. (Tattva-sutral6)


9. What is pure reasoning and what is mixed reasoning?


Logic (yukti) is of two kinds: pure (suddha) and mixed (misra.) Pure logic is present in the spirit soul in his original, pure nature. When the spirit soul is imprisoned in matter and 

his activities are mixed with material conceptions, he possesses what I call mixed logic (misra-yukti). This mixed logic is of two kinds: mixed with fruitive action (karma-misra) and mixed with philosophical speculation (jnana-misra) This mixed logic is also known by the word "tarka," material speculation. This mixed logic is very bad, because it is accompanied by the four defects: bhrama (tendency to commit mistakes), pramdda (tendency to be illusioned), vipralipsd (tendency to cheat), and karandpdtava (sensory inefficiency). The conclusions attained by this mixed logic are always faulty. Pure logic always arrives at the same conclusions, whereas mixed logic arrives at a host of mutually contradictory conclusions. By acting according to the conclusions of mixed logic, the souls in the material world attain the result of being more and more stringently confined in the prison of the material world. (Tattva Viveka 1/18)


10. Is it reasonable for mundane scholars to be proud to be judges of spiritual truth?


As immature doctors promise to cure physical disease by administering heavy doses of medicine, similarly our modern mundane scholars, in order to summarize confidential truth regarding human life use insignificant mundane methods. Disregarding the faults born from their imperfect senses, they rely heavily on material education, which is as illusory as a dream, as they try to research all subject matters. (Sajjana Tosani 111)


11. Why have even thoughtful people been unable to understand the actual purport of Srimad-Bhdgavatam ?


Men of brilliant thoughts have passed by the Bhdgavat in pursuit of truth and philosophy, but the prejudice they have imbibed from its useless readers and their conduct has prevented them from making a candid investigation. (The Bhdgavat: Its Philosophy; Its Ethics and its Theology)


12. What kind of mentality should one maintain while studying scripture?


In fact, most readers are mere repositories of facts and statements made by other people. This is not study. The student is to read the facts with a view to create and not simply for fruitless retention. Students, like satellites, should reflect whatever light they receive from authors and not imprison their facts and thoughts as magistrates imprison convicts in a jail!

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy; Its Ethics and its Theology)


13. Why are the mahdjanas' words confidential? When can we realize them?


All great men's expressions are nice, but they are also somewhat mysterious. When understood, they bring the truth near to the heart. Otherwise, they remain mere letters. The reason for this mystery is that men, advanced in their inward approach to the Deity, are in the habit of receiving revelations that are but mysteries to those who are behind them.

("To Love God," Journal of Tajpur, August 25, 1871)


14. Does the material world give any hint of the spiritual world?


The outward appearance of nature is nothing more than a sure index of its spiritual face. Matter is the dictionary of spirit, and material pictures are but shadows of spiritual affairs that our material eye carries back to our spiritual perception. (The Bhdgavat: Its Philosophy; Its Ethics and its Theology)


15. Is there any difference between the worship process of learned scholars and the way fools worship, despite the fact that they have equal rights under the religious principles preached by Sri Caitanya?


The religion preached by Mahaprabhu is universal and not exclusive. Both the most learned and the most ignorant are entitled to embrace it. The learned people accept it with knowledge of sambandha-tattva as it is explained according to its categories. The ignorant also accept it, but simply by uttering  the name of the Deity and mixing with pure Vaisnavas. {Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life & Precepts)


16. Is it possible to describe spiritual variegatedness in words?


Spiritual variegatedness is not a subject matter for consideration; rather, it is a subject matter to be realized. Those whose hearts are filled with such wonderful realizations refer to them as "transcendental truth." {Sajjana Tosani 6/2)


17. Can less qualified people understand the prayers offered by the self-realized mahajanas and the demigods?


The mahajanas, while attaining self-realization, and the demigods headed by Brahma, while experiencing the Supreme Lord's mercy, offer prayers in glorification of the Lord according to their respective realizations. These prayers are generally condensed, so the less qualified find them incomprehensible. Devotees do not need to worry about this.

(Jaiva Dharnia, Chapter 40)


18. Why are ordinary people unable to understand the subtle differences between the transcendental and the metaphysical?


People often fail to understand the subtle differences between the transcendental and the metaphysical. This is caused by their lack of knowledge about transcendental objects.

{Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thdkura)


19. What does the trident symbolize?


The trident symbolizes the three modes of material nature and the three divisions of material time. {Brahma-samhita, 5.5)


20. What does it mean to see Krsna's artistry in the material world?


Seeing Krsna's artistry within the material world is called "seeing Krsna's picture." This material world is the reflected shadow of spiritual variegatedness. Whoever has realized this is said to have seen Krsna's picture. {Sri Krsna Samhita 9/17)


21. Who is the supreme director of all the creations?


If the universes were created by matter or dry consciousness, they would contain no variety. Can wonderful activities, such as the inconceivable relationship between the senses and their objects, the arrangement of ingredients according to the body's requirements, the arrangement of the human being's residence through the division of earth into land and water, the beautification of the solar system by dividing the duties of the stars and planets, the ascertainment of good or bad times by establishing the rules of the seasons, and the fulfillment of the conditioned state's requirements by the human being's bodily limbs be the acts of dry consciousness? Unless one accepts that all these are simply part of the Supreme Lord's pastimes, one cannot come to a satisfactory conclusion. {Tattva-sutra, 6)


22. Is trust in God not a normal, human characteristic?


Trust in God is a human being's general propensity. Although uncivilized tribes eat animal flesh and live like animals, they worship the sun, moon, huge mountains, rivers, and trees as their suppliers and controllers. {Caitanya-siksamrta 1/1)


23. Are small amounts of Vaisnava principles not found in religious systems that nourish devotional service? 


Some degree of Vaisnava principles will be found in every religion that nourishes devotional service. (Sajjana Tosani 2/6)


24. What is the difference between Vaisnavas and Hindus?


Staunch atheists like Carvaka were Hindus but not Vaisnavas. We are Vaisnava Hindus, not simply Hindus. In other words, we are Hindus by nationality, but not by religion. In the same way, worshipable personalities like Haridasa Thakura were not Hindus but Vaisnavas worshipable by all. According to the purport of the Vedic literature, Sriman Mahaprabhu has instructed that people of all castes are eligible to practice Vaisnava dharma. {Sajjana Tosani 2/10-11)


25. What kind of intelligence is required to understand the science of Vaisnavism?


It is extremely important for Vaisnavas to possess subtle discrimination. Those who invent social distinctions and preach the unbreakable principles of Vaisnavism while breaking them to suit their own needs are said to possess only gross discrimination. (Sri Krsna Samhita 8/20)


26. What is the fate of those who, despite following the Vaisnava religion, remain entangled in the concept of regulative principles?


Vaisnava principles are so unlimitedly exalted that those who simply remain entangled in the regulative process without endeavoring to understand the science of attachment (rdga) are comparable to ordinary fruitive workers. (Sri Krsna Samhita 8/20)


27. What is the goal and process of sdstra ?


There are two subject matters described in sastra. The subject matter that is the ultimate purpose of the scripture is called the goal, and the subject matter by which the goal is pointed out is called the process. (Commentary on Bhagavad-gitd 2.45)


28. Should devotees who follow regulative devotional service or rdgdnugd practices transgress their respective statuses?


If one who follows regulative devotional service tries to instruct one who follows ragdnuga-bhakti, then he will not receive a good result. His position will be like that of a blacksmith trying to make yogurt. Similarly, it is improper for a rdganuga-bhakta to blaspheme the regulative principles followed by vaidhi-bhaktas. And if a neophyte tries to instruct a rdganuga-bhakta, it becomes an unauthorized interference. (Sajjana Tosani All)


29. How does Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura instruct those who would like to preach using the songs written by the exalted Vaisnava dcdryasl What is the appeal of such songs?


We humbly request Rabindra Babu and Srlsa Babu to carefully publish a scientific history of Vaisnava kirtana or songs and thus please the entire Vaisnava community. In that book, all aspects of the song, such as melody and other musical notes, should be provided. They should also include a biography of the dcdryas who wrote the songs in reneti, gardnahdti, and manoharasdhi languages. As far as possible they should also describe the time and descriptions of the later mahajanas.

(Sajjana Tosani 2/9)


30. What is the future impediment, or three faults, facing Srimad Gaurariga Sama.ja? 


If the followers of Srimad Gauranga Samaj are not careful to avoid selfishness, name, fame, and duplicity, the Samaja will not last long. Any big activity that takes place in the land of Bengal soon becomes spoiled by the above-mentioned three faults. (Sajjana Tosanl 10/11)


31. Is it easy to oppose the truth by taking shelter of a lie? Does an enthusiastic liar make any gain?


It is not easy to oppose truth. Those who are determined to oppose truth soon fall prey to time even as they remain sheltered by their lie. Taking shelter of lies is the same as taking shelter of illusion. This material world is illusory. The more the truth regarding the Supreme Lord is manifest, the more the illusion created by Maya is destroyed. Moreover, we have also seen that whenever there is a wealth of truth, illusion will come forward and try to create havoc. Illusion always opposes truth by the Supreme Lord's will. Unless there is opposition, actual truth will be difficult to establish. As we do not feel the need of light unless we experience darkness, so unless there is illusion, enthusiastic persons sheltered by truth do not relish victory or happiness.

{Sajjana Tosanl 8/1)


32. Why have so many Aryans in holy India become meat-eaters?


Nowadays a strong misconception has rooted itself deeply into the hearts of the people. They think that unless they eat fish and meat, their body and senses will not remain healthy over time. This misconception has come about due to the advice of foreign doctors and by the urging of those who love to eat meat and fish and carry various inherited prejudices. Particularly susceptible to this misconception are those who are fully controlled by their senses. Greedy to take advantage of this idea, they try to arouse the meat-eating propensity in the younger generation. As a result, the Aryan descendants of holy India are giving up their traditional foods and taking pleasure in eating foreign foods. Thus they are gradually becoming weak and powerless. (Sajjana Tosanl 2/8)


33. Isn't self-interest natural?


Self-interest is natural, because the word "nature" refers to one's own interest. It is selflessness that is extremely unnatural.

(Tattva Viveka 1.9.12)


34. Is it possible to give up sense gratification?


As soon as the living entity gives up sense enjoyment, he leaves his body. Therefore, the idea of giving up sense enjoyment is a figment of the imagination. It cannot be applied in practice.

(Sajjana Tosanl 10/9)


35. How should one handle an unreasonable instruction given by the spiritual master? Should he disobey it?


It is not that we should follow the spiritual master's instructions if they are unreasonable. At the same time, we should not express hatred toward our spiritual master through harsh words or insulting behavior. Rather, we should try to check our spiritual master from imparting unreasonable instructions by sweet words, humility, and by humbly reminding him about his conduct and instruction at an appropriate time. (Caitanya-siksamrta 2/2)


36. Is the love between men and women eternal beyond their physical existence?


The relationship between men and women is based on the body. When the body is finished, where will that love be reposed? One living entity is male and the other female, but these 

differences are not eternal; the difference between men and women is based on the body, not the soul. Therefore, the love between men and women remains only until death. If, like the Vedantists, we accept transmigration and residence in heavenly planets, and we believe that the satisfaction of sincere love is revived in that heavenly state, still, loving relationships between men and women cannot exist in the completely liberated state. (Prema-pradlpa, Ray 9)


37. What is the root and purpose of moral science? How many kinds of worldly morality are there?


Moral science mainly deals with the root of happiness and distress. Happiness refers to the mind's indulgence in favorable activities, and distress refers to the mind's hatred for unfavorable activities. The entire purpose of moral science is to uplift the standard of one's happiness and diminish one's hatred. Morality takes many forms, including political morality, the penal code, the law of trade, utilitarianism, the division of labor, health rules, socialism, education, and emotional development. But knowledge of morality does not contain knowledge of the spiritual world or of the Supreme Controller. Some people accept moral knowledge as transcendental and call it positivism, but since human beings possess a superior propensity to this, they do not become satisfied simply by understanding morality. Morality includes a little bit of both religiosity and irreligiosity, piety and sin, as well as focusing on physical, mental, and social activities and their results. Such morality is then prescribed for human beings. But after death nothing remains except one's own fame or infamy. {Caitanya-siksamrta 5/3)


38. Is it reasonable to cause quarrel in foreign countries simply to establish the philosophy taught by one's own spiritual master?


If even to develop one's own firm faith, one accepts that the teachings of the acaryas of his own country are better than the teachings of acaryas from other countries, one should not preach such a quarrelsome and controversial doctrine. No auspiciousness results from this.  {Caitanya-siksamrta 1/1)


39. Where is sage Gautama's asrama? What did Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura do to develop this place?


Sage Gautama's asrama is in Godana. It is here that Ahalya became stone. Because it is Gautama's asrama, it is therefore the birthplace of logic. With a desire to develop this place and to open a school for the study of logic, I arranged a meeting at Chapra and delivered a discourse entitled "Gautama's Speech." {Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura)


40. How did Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura feel when he saw Sri Vrndavana?


I had a conversation with King Radhakanta in Vrndavana. He was very pleased to see me. He was reading Garga-samhita at the time. After seeing the temples of Vrndavana I was ecstatic.

{Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

41. What was Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura's journey to Jagannatha Puri like?


I expressed a desire to visit Jagannatha Purl. Then, I took Srimad-Bhdgavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritdmrta with me and went to Calcutta. It took me four days from Calcutta to reach Jagannatha Purl. On the way, I spent one night at Bhadrak, one night at Baleshvara, and one night at Cuttack {Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura) 


42. What did Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura see at Bhubaneshvara and Khandagiri?


I arrived in Bhubaneshwara. There I met with my panda (guide), Goplnatha Misra, along with a few more pandas from Purl. In the afternoon, I visited Khandagiri. Khandagiri is the place where the Buddhists lived. The caves in the mountainous range of Khandagiri looked beautiful. (Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura)


43. When did Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura visit Vraja- mandala? Which places did he see and what devotees did he meet there? What activities did he perform?


I went to Vrndavana in the month of Sravana (July) in 1881. Radhamohan Babu took me to a place called Kalakunja. I associated with many saintly persons in Vraja for a few days. I used to receive palatable prasada from Lalababu's kunja. I saw Govindaji, Goplnatha, and Madana-mohana. I had a verbal argument at the house of Goplnatha over a donation. I honored prasada at the kunja of Rupadasa Babaji. In his kunja I found a book written by Nimbarkacarya consisting of ten verses. Thereafter I heard the discourse of Nilamani GosvamI while remaining incognito. It was here that I met Sri Jagannatha dasa Babaji for the first time. I took a palanquin and went to Radha-kunda and Govardhana to take darsana. Then I returned to Vrndavana and again went out to see various temples. From Vrndavana I went to Lucknow via Mathura. There I stayed at the house of Prince Sarvadhikari and visited the entire city in his care. From Lucknow I went to Ayodhya via Faizabad. Out of fear of the pandas, I returned to Faizabad before dark and stayed at the home of one Bengali gentleman. On the next day, I took bath at Goprata ghat. On that same day, I departed for Kasi. At Kasi I stayed at the house of Tinubabu.

(Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura)


44. When did Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura visit Sri Rampur, Memari, and Kulina-gram?


I lived at Sri Rampur. Radhika, Kamal, and Bimal studied there. In 1885, Radhika, Kamal, Bimal, Prabhu and I went to Memari and Kulina-gram. Thereafter we went to Saptagram.

(Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura)


45. When did Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura go to Baghnapada, Kalna, Jannagar, Pyariganj, Denur, Indrarkapur, Kakshashali, Purbasthali, Kuliya-Navadvipa, and Amlajoda?


I went to Baghnapada on March 26,1890, and stayed in a tent. There I visited a school and got some judicial work done. I saw the deity of Baladeva and took prasada. On March 30, I returned to Kalna. On March 31, I went to Parulgram via Jannagar. Thereafter on April 9, I visited Pyariganj and saw the place of Nakula Brahmacarl. On April 23, I went to Kaigram, and on the twenty-fifth, I visited Denur and saw Vrndavana dasa Thakura's place. On the eighteenth of May I visited Godruma. From there I went on foot with Kamala to Indrarkapur. From there we crossed and went to Kakshashali. From there, I went to Purbasthali via Chupi and had my lunch at the police station. On the next day, I walked down to Kuliya-Navadvipa and took darsana of Jagannatha dasa Babaji at his bhajana-kutir. On June 17, I again went to Burdwan. On the afternoon of October 18, I went to Amlajoda. I gave discourses at Amlajoda and Gopalpur.

(Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura)


46. Which Vrndavana forests did Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura visit?


On 27th Phalgun (March) 1892, I started for Vrndavana along with Bhakti Brriga Mahasaya. On the same day we reached Amlajoda. With great care, we took Mahendrababu on a palanquin and brought him to the house of Ksetrababu.  We observed the vow of Ekadasi with Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Mahasaya. The next day we inaugurated a Prapannasrama there. On the 29th Phalgun we arrived at Gidhaur. From there we went to Umanatha's house at Allahabad on 1st Caitra. On 6th Caitra we moved from Allahabad to Etawa. On 8th Caitra, we went to Hathras. I lost my purse and money there. On 9th Caitra, we went to Sri Vrndavana. On 11th Caitra I first went to Vilvavana, then to Bhandiravana. I spend that night at Maritha. On 12th Caitra I went to Mansarovara, on 13th and 14th Caitra, Sri Vrndavana; 15th Caitra, Mathura; 16lh Caitra, Gokula; 17th Caitra Madhuvana, Muhull village, Krsna-kunda, Talavana, Baladeva-kunda, Kumudvana, Santanu-kunda, and Bahulavana. On 18th Caitra I went to Radha-kunda. On 20th Caitra I returned to Sri Vrndavana in a horse cart. (Autobiography of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura)


47. How are the minute consciousness of the living entities and the supreme consciousness of the Lord attracted to one another?


The minutely conscious living entities are spontaneously attracted to the supremely conscious Personality of Godhead just as iron is attracted to a magnet.

(Dutta Kaustubha)