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C H A P T E R 10
Nitya-Dharma & History
Shri Harihara Bhattacarya was a professor residing in Agradvipa.
He had accepted initiation into vaishnava-dharma, and was engaged
in the worship of Bhagavan Shri Krishna in his home. But a
doubt arose in his mind about Vaisnavism which he could not
dispel even after speaking to many people about it. In fact, such
talk only agitated his mind further. One day, Harihara went to the
village of Arkatila, and enquired from Shri Caturbhuja Nyayaratna,
"Bhattacarya Mahasaya, can you tell me how long ago vaishnavadharma
For nearly twenty years Nyayaratna Mahasaya had laboriously
studied the nyaya-sastra. Consequently, he had become quite
indifferent to religion, and did not like to be bothered with
religious discussions. He only displayed any devotional tendency
when he was performing sakti-puja (worshiping Goddess Durga).
When Nyayaratna heard this question, he thought that
Harihara, being partial to the Vaishnava religion, intended to
embroil him in a dispute, and that it would be best to avoid such
a conflict. Thinking like this, Nyayaratna Mahasaya said,
"Harihara, what kind of question are you asking me today? You have
studied the nyaya-sastra all the way up to the muktipada section.
Look, you know that there is no mention of vaishnava-dharma
anywhere in the nyaya-sastra, so why are you burdening me with
such a strange question?"
Harihara, now slightly aggravated, replied, "Bhattacarya
Mahasaya, my forefathers have been Vaishnavas for many generations.
I am also initiated with a Vaishnava mantra, and I have never
had any doubt about vaishnava-dharma. However, you may have
heard that Tarka-cudamani of Vikramapura intends to uproot the
Vaishnava religion, and as a result he is preaching against it at the
moment, both locally and abroad, and earning a good deal of wealth
by so doing. In a meeting that was attended mostly by worshipers
of Durga, he proclaimed that the Vaishnava religion is very recent
and has no philosophical substance. He said that only low-class
people become Vaishnavas; high-class people do not respect
"When I first heard such conclusions from a scholar of his
stature, it somewhat pained my heart, but when I thought it over,
it occurred to me that no vaishnava-dharma existed anywhere in
Bengal prior to the appearance of Shri Chaitanyadeva. Before that,
everyone worshiped Goddess Durga and recited the sakti-mantras.
Granted, there were a few Vaishnavas like ourselves, who worshiped
by reciting Vaishnava mantras, but everyone's goal was ultimately
to attain brahma and mukti, and to this end they diligently applied
"In the type of vaishnava-dharma into which we were initiated,
everyone approved of the pancopasana system, but after Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu's time, vaishnava-dharma assumed a new outlook, and
now Vaishnavas cannot even bear to hear the words mukti and
brahma. I cannot even say what they think bhakti is. Well, as they
say, "A one-eyed cow often strays from the herd." That applies
perfectly to modern Vaishnavas. So my question is, did this type of
vaishnava-dharma exist previously, or has it only appeared since the
time of Chaitanyadeva?"
Seeing that Harihara was not as orthodox a Vaishnava as he had
feared, Nyayaratna Mahasaya's face blossomed with happiness.
"Harihara," he said, "you are a true scholar of the nyaya-sastra. You
have just expressed exactly what I believe. These days there is a
new upsurge of vaishnava-dharma, and I am afraid to say anything
against it. We must be a little cautious, because it is the age of Kali.
Many wealthy and respectable gentlemen have now accepted
Chaitanya's doctrine. They completely disregard us, and even think
that we are their enemies. I am afraid that our profession will
become obsolete within a short time. Why, even the inferior castes
of oil-sellers, betel-leaf vendors and gold-traders have taken to
studying the sastra, and that pains us.
"Look, for a long time the brahmanas had arranged things so that
no other caste could study the sastra, even the kayasthas, who are
just below the brahmana caste. Everyone was obliged to honor our
words. Now people of all castes have become Vaishnavas and
deliberate on philosophical truths, and this has greatly damaged
the reputation of the brahmana caste. Nimai Pandita is responsible
for the destruction of brahmana-dharma. Harihara, Tarkacudamani
has spoken correctly, whether he has done so out of greed
for wealth, or after careful analysis of the situation.
"When I hear the words of the Vaishnavas, my body burns with
anger. Now they go as far as to say that Sankaracarya established
Mayavada sastra on the order of Bhagavan Himself, and that the
Vaishnava religion is eternal. The religion that sprung up not even
a hundred years ago has now become beginningless! How amazing!
It is said, "The benefit which is meant for one man is enjoyed
"Whatever glory Navadvipa attained formerly has now been laid
to waste. In particular, there are some Vaishnavas who now live at
Gadigacha in Navadvipa, who look upon the world as a shallow
earthen plate. A few good scholars among them have stirred up
such a great commotion that it has ruined the entire country. Now
the occupational duties of the four castes, the eternal truth of the
doctrine of Mayavada, and the worship of the devatas and devis
are all fading into oblivion. People seldom perform the sraddha
ceremony for the benefit of their deceased relatives any more. How
are we teachers to survive?"
Harihara said, "Mahatma! Is there no remedy for this? In
Mayapura there are still six or seven brahmana scholars of great
repute. Across the Ganga in Kuliya-grama, there are also numerous
scholars who are well versed in the smrti and nyaya-sastras. If
they all combine together and attack Gadigacha, will it not bear
Nyayaratna said, "Why not? It's possible if the brahmana-panditas
can unite, but there are differences among them these days. I heard
that a few panditas headed by Krishna Cudamani went to Gadigacha
and initiated a debate, but they came back to their schools
defeated, after which they spoke no more about it than was
Harihara said, "Bhattacarya Mahasaya, you are not only our
teacher, but the teacher of many teachers. Your commentary on
the nyaya-sastra has taught many scholars the art of reasoning by
analyzing fallacious arguments. If you so desire, you can defeat these
Vaishnava scholars once and for all. Establish that the Vaishnava
religion is a modern invention that the Vedas do not support. This
will be a great act of mercy on the brahmanas, and it will reinstate
our long-established pancopasana worship, which is on the point
Caturbhuja Nyayaratna was inwardly afraid to debate with the
Vaishnavas, thinking that they might defeat him as they had Krishna
Cudamani and others. He said, "Harihara, I will go in disguise. You
should pose yourself as a teacher and ignite the fire of debate in
Gadigacha. After that, I will take over and assume responsibility."
Harihara said happily, "I will certainly carry out your order. Next
Monday we will cross the Ganga and attack them, invoking the
name of Mahadeva for auspiciousness."
Monday arrived while they were still pondering over this matter.
Three professors, Harihara, Kamalakanta and Sadasiva, met
Shri Caturbhuja Nyayaratna at his home in Arkatila, and escorted
him across the Ganga to Godruma. At four in the afternoon they
arrived at the madhavi grove exclaiming "Haribol! Haribol!" having
a mood like Durvasa Muni surrounded by his followers.
Advaita dasa was at that time chanting hari-nama in his kutira.
Seeing them, he came out and affectionately offered them each a
seat. He then enquired, "How may I be of service to you?"
Harihara said, "We have come to discuss some matters with the
Advaita dasa said, "The Vaishnavas of this place do not debate
on any topic. However, it is all right if you have come to enquire
submissively about something. The other day, a few professors
initiated a full-scale debate on the pretext of making some
enquiries, and in the end, they left greatly disturbed. I will ask
Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya and then give you an answer."
Saying this, he entered Babaji Mahasaya's kutira.
A few moments later, Advaita dasa returned and arranged more
mats for sitting. Then Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya came into
the grove and offered dandavat-pranama to Vrnda-devi and then
to the cultured brahmana visitors. With folded hands, he enquired
humbly, "O great souls, please order us. What service can we do
Nyayaratna said, "We have one or two questions to ask, and we
would like you to answer them."
When Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya heard this request, he
summoned Shri Vaishnava dasa Babaji Mahasaya to join them. When
Vaishnava dasa Babaji arrived, he offered pranama to Paramahamsa
Babaji and sat next to him. Within a short while, a small group of
Vaishnavas had gathered.
Nyayaratna Mahasaya then asked his question: "Please tell us
whether the Vaishnava religion is ancient or modern."
Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya requested Vaishnava dasa to
respond. In a peaceful, yet grave tone of voice, Vaishnava dasa said,
"The vaishnava-dharma is sanatana, everlasting, and nitya, eternal."
Nyayaratna: I see that there are two types of vaishnava-dharma. One
maintains that the para-tattva known as brahma is formless and
devoid of qualities. However, since there is no question of
worshiping a formless object, sadhakas first imagine brahma to have
some form, and then they worship that. This worship is only needed
to purify the heart, and when the heart is purified, knowledge of
the formless brahma arises. At that point, there is no longer any
need to continue the worship of forms. The forms of Radha-Krishna,
Rama, or Nrsimha are all imaginary, and are by-products of maya.
When one worships these imaginary forms, knowledge of brahma
gradually awakens. Among worshipers of the five Deities
(pancopasakas), those who worship the Deity of Vishnu and recite
visnu-mantras with this attitude consider themselves Vaishnavas.
In the second type of vaishnava-dharma, Bhagavan Vishnu, Rama,
or Krishna are accepted as para-brahma, possessing eternal forms.
When the sadhaka worships one of these particular forms with the
corresponding mantras, he obtains eternal knowledge of the
specific Deity whom he worships and receives the mercy of that
Deity. According to this view, the doctrine of impersonalism is
Mayavada, which is a misconception that Sankara has propagated.
Now tell us, which of these two types of Vaisnavism is everlasting
Vaishnava dasa: The second of these is the real vaishnava-dharma,
and it is eternal. The other is vaishnava-dharma in name only. In
reality, this pseudo vaishnava-dharma is opposed to real vaishnavadharma.
It is temporary and has originated from Mayavada doctrine.
Nyayaratna: I understand that in your opinion, the only true
vaishnava-dharma is the doctrine that you have received from
Chaitanyadeva. You do not accept that the worship of Radha-Krishna,
Rama, or Nrsimha constitutes vaishnava-dharma in and of itself. You
only accept the worship of Radha-Krishna or other Deities as
vaishnava-dharma if it is conducted in accordance with the ideology
of Chaitanya. Is this not so? It is a fine idea, but how can you claim
that this type of vaishnava-dharma is eternal?
Vaishnava dasa: This type of vaishnava-dharma is taught throughout
the Vedic sastras, and is instructed in all the smrti-sastras. All
the Vedic histories sing the glories of this vaishnava-dharma.
Nyayaratna: It is obvious that Chaitanyadeva is the pioneer of this
doctrine, but He appeared less than one hundred and fifty years
ago, so how can it be eternal?
Vaishnava dasa: This vaishnava-dharma has been in existence from
the very moment of the jivas' appearance. The jivas are anadi
because they have no beginning in material time. Therefore, the
constitutional function of the jivas, known as jaiva-dharma or
vaishnava-dharma, is also anadi. Brahma is the first jiva to take birth
in the universe. As soon as he appeared, the Vedic sound vibration,
which is the basis of vaishnava-dharma, also became manifest. This
is recorded in the four essential slokas of Shrimad-Bhagavatam
(2.9.33-36), known as the catuh-sloki. It is also mentioned in the
Mundaka Upanisad (1.1.1):
brahma devanam prathamah sambabhuva
visvasya kartta bhuvanasya gopta
sa brahma-vidyam sarva-vidya-pratistham
atharvaya jyestha-putraya praha
Brahma, who is the first of all the devas, and who appeared
from the lotus that sprouted from the navel of Bhagavan, is
the creator of the universe and the maintainer of all living
entities. He imparted brahma-vidya, which is the basis for
all other knowledge, unto his eldest son, Atharva.
The Rg Veda-samhita mentions the instructions of this brahmavidya
tad visnoh paramam padam
sada pasyanti surayah
diviva caksur atatam
The jnani-janas (pure Vaishnavas) always behold the supreme
abode of Bhagavan Shri Vishnu, just as the unobstructed eye
sees the sun within the sky.
It is said in the Katha Upanisad (1.3.9):
tad visnoh paramam padam / visnor yat paramam padam
That supreme abode of Bhagavan Shri Vishnu is the highest
The Svetasvatara Upanisad (5.4) says:
sarva disa urddhvam adhas ca tiryak
prakasayan bhrajate yad vanadvan
evam sa devo bhagavan varenyo
yoni-svabhavan adhitisthaty ekah
Bhagavan is the Supreme Person and the original source of
all the devas. He is the supreme object of worship and is
one without a second. Just as the sun shines radiantly,
illuminating all directions, upwards, downwards, and on all
sides, so Bhagavan regulates material nature, which is the
origin of all different species of life.
It is said in the Taittiriya Upanisad (2.1.2):
satyam jnanam anantam brahma
yo veda nihitam guhayam parame vyoman
so 'snute sarvan kaman saha brahmana vipascita
Para-tattva brahma is the embodiment of truth, knowledge,
and eternity. Although that para-brahma is situated in the
spiritual sky, He is hidden in the sky of the hearts of all living
entities. One who knows Isvara, who is situated within as
the indwelling Supersoul, attains the consummation of all
his desires in contact with that all-knowing Isvara.
Nyayaratna: The Rg Veda states, tad visnoh paramam padam: "They
see the supreme abode of Vishnu." How can you say that this doesn't
refer to the vaishnava-dharma that is included in the Mayavada
Vaishnava dasa: The vaishnava-dharma that is included within the
scope of Mayavada rejects the conception of eternal servitorship
to Bhagavan. The Mayavadis believe that when the sadhaka acquires
knowledge, he attains the status of brahma. However, where
is the question of service if one becomes brahma? It is said in the
Katha Upanisad (1.2.23):
nayam atma pravacanena labhyo / na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas / tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam
That Paramatma Parabrahma cannot be attained by
delivering learned discourses, by applying one's intelligence,
or even by hearing the Vedas extensively. That
Paramatma is attainable only by one upon whom He
bestows His mercy. Since the Paramatma is very close by,
He reveals His own form.
The only true religion is the constitutional function of service
and surrender. There is no other means to attain Bhagavan's mercy
and thus see His eternal form. Knowledge of brahma will not enable
one to attain darsana of Bhagavan's eternal form. We can
understand from this categorical Vedic statement that pure
vaishnava-dharma is founded upon the Vedas. All the Vedas sanction
the vaishnava-dharma that Shriman Mahaprabhu taught. There
is no room for doubt in this regard.
Nyayaratna: Is there any statement in the Vedas to the effect that
krishna-bhajana, and not realization of brahma-jnana, is the highest
Vaishnava dasa: It is said in the Taittiriya Upanisad (2.7.1), raso vai
sah: "Krishna is the embodiment of rasa." Besides, the Chandogya
Upanisad (8.13.1) states:
syamac chabalam prapadye sabalac chyamam prapadye
By service to Krishna, one attains the transcendental abode
of divine bliss, which is full of wonderful pastimes, and by
reaching that transcendental abode of wonders, one attains
There are many similar statements in the Vedas which declare
that krishna-bhajana is the highest attainment.
Nyayaratna: Is the name Krishna anywhere to be found in the Vedas?
Vaishnava dasa: Does the word Syama not refer to Krishna? It is said
in the Rg Veda (220.127.116.11):
apasyam gopam anipadyama nama
I saw Shri Krishna who is born in a dynasty of gopas and who is
There are many statements in the Vedas that refer specifically
to Krishna, who appeared as the son of a gopa (cowherd).
Nyayaratna: Krishna's name is not clearly mentioned in any of these
statements; this is simply your contrived interpretation.
Vaishnava dasa: If you study the Vedas carefully, you will see that
they have used these types of indirect statements in relation to
every topic. The sages of old have explained the meaning of all
these statements, and we should have the highest regard for their
Nyayaratna: Please tell me the history of vaishnava-dharma.
Vaishnava dasa: I have already said that the appearance of vaishnavadharma
is concurrent with the origin of the jiva. Brahma was the
first Vaishnava. Shriman Mahadeva is also a Vaishnava, as are all the
progenitors of mankind. Shri Narada Gosvami, who was born from
the mind of Brahma, is a Vaishnava. This clearly verifies that
vaishnava-dharma is not a recent development, but has been
prevalent from the very beginning of creation.
Not all living entities are free from the influence of the three
modes of nature, and the superiority of a high Vaishnava will depend
on the degree to which he is free from the modes. The Mahabharata,
Ramayana and the Puranas are the histories of the Aryan race, and
they have all described the excellence of vaishnava-dharma. We have
already seen that vaishnava-dharma was present at the beginning
of creation. Prahlada and Dhruva were both pure Vaishnavas.
During their time, there were many thousands of other Vaishnavas
whose names are not given anywhere in history because only the
most prominent have been mentioned. Dhruva was the grandson
of Manu, and Prahlada was the grandson of Prajapati Kasyapa, and
they both lived close to the beginning of creation; of this there is
no doubt. You can therefore observe that pure vaishnava-dharma
was active from the beginning of history.
Later, the kings of the solar and lunar dynasties, as well as the
great munis and rsis, were all intently devoted to Shri Vishnu. There
is extensive mention of vaishnava-dharma in the three previous ages,
known as Satya, Treta, and Dvapara. Even in the present age of
Kali, Shri Ramanuja, Shri Madhvacarya and Shri Vishnusvami in Southern
India, and Shri Nimbaditya Svami in Western India initiated
many thousands of disciples into pure vaishnava-dharma. By their
mercy, perhaps half the population of India crossed the ocean of
maya and attained shelter at the lotus feet of Bhagavan. Also, just
consider how many downtrodden and degraded people Shri
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this land of Bengal. Can you still not perceive the greatness of
vaishnava-dharma in spite of witnessing all this?
Nyayaratna: Yes, but on what basis do you call Prahlada and the
Vaishnava dasa: They can be known as Vaishnavas on the basis of
sastra. Prahlada's teachers, Sanda and Amarka, wanted to instruct
him in brahma-jnana contaminated with the doctrine of Mayavada,
but he rejected their teaching, realizing that hari-nama is the
essence of all education, and he constantly chanted the name of
Bhagavan with great love and affection. Under such circumstances,
there can be no doubt that Prahlada was a pure Vaishnava. The
truth is that one cannot understand the underlying essence of the
sastras without impartial and minute investigation.
Nyayaratna: If, as you say, vaishnava-dharma has been in perpetual
existence, what new insight did Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reveal for
which He should be given such special regard?
Vaishnava dasa: Vaishnava-dharma is like a lotus flower which gradually
comes into bloom when the time is ripe. First it appears as a
bud, and then it slowly begins to blossom. In its maturity, it is fully
blossomed and attracts all jivas by diffusing its sweet fragrance in
every direction. At the beginning of creation, four aspects of
knowledge were expressed to Brahma through the medium of the
catuh-sloki Bhagavatam. These were bhagavat-jnana, transcendental
knowledge of the Absolute as Bhagavan; maya-vijnana, analytical
knowledge of Ísvara's external potency; sadhana-bhakti, the means
of attaining the goal; and prema, which is the object of attainment.
These four elements were manifested in the jivas' hearts as the
sprout of the lotus flower of vaishnava-dharma.
At the time of Prahlada, this sprout took shape as a bud, which
gradually began to blossom in the period of Veda-vyasa Muni, and
developed into a flower at the time of Ramanuja, Madhva, and the
other sampradaya-acaryas. Upon the appearance of Shriman
Mahaprabhu, vaishnava-dharma became the fully blossomed flower
of prema and began to attract the hearts of all jivas by spreading its
enchantingly sweet fragrance.
The supremely confidential essence of vaishnava-dharma is the
awakening of prema. Shriman Mahaprabhu created the good fortune
for all jivas by distributing this prema through the chanting of shrihari-
nama. Shri-nama-sankirtana is a priceless possession, worthy of
the highest regard. Did anyone reveal this teaching prior to
Mahaprabhu? Although this truth existed in the sastras, there was
no radiant example of it that could inspire the ordinary jivas to
practice it in their own lives. Indeed, before Shriman Mahaprabhu,
had anyone ever plundered the storehouse of prema-rasa and distributed
it in this way, even to common men?
Nyayaratna: All right, but if kirtana is so beneficial, why do learned
panditas not hold it in high esteem?
Vaishnava dasa: The meaning of the word pandita has become
perverted in the present age of Kali. Panda means 'the intelligence
of one who is enlightened by knowledge of the sastra', and the word
pandita really refers to one who has such intelligence. These days,
however, people are known as panditas if they can show off their
vain sophistry in the nyaya-sastra, or explain the meaning of the
smrti-sastra in novel ways that appeal to people in general. How
can such panditas understand or explain the meaning of dharma
and the true purport of the sastras? That can only be realized by
impartial analysis of all the sastras, so how can anyone obtain it
through the intellectual wrangling of nyaya?
The truth is that in Kali-yuga, those who are known as panditas
are expert at deceiving themselves and others by arguing uselessly.
Assemblies of such panditas engage in heated debates over
inconsequential matters, but they never discuss knowledge of
ultimate reality; knowledge of the jivas's relationship with the
Absolute Truth, the supreme goal for the jivas; or the method for
attaining that goal. One can only understand the real nature of
prema and kirtana when he discerns the truth of these matters.
Nyayaratna: All right, I admit that there are no qualified panditas
these days, but why don't high-class brahmanas accept your
vaishnava-dharma? Brahmanas are situated in the mode of goodness,
and they are naturally inclined to the path of truthfulness and
exalted religious principles, so why is it that almost all brahmanas
are opposed to vaishnava-dharma?
Vaishnava dasa: You are asking the question, so I am compelled to
answer, although Vaishnavas are naturally opposed to criticizing
others. I will try to answer your last question if you will not feel pain
and anger at heart, and if you sincerely desire to know the truth.
Nyayaratna: Come what may, our study of the sastra has imbued
us with a fondness for tranquility, self-control and tolerance.
There is no question of not being able to tolerate your words.
Please speak openly and without hesitation, and I will certainly
respect whatever is reasonable and good.
Vaishnava dasa: Please consider that Ramanuja, Madhva, Vishnusvami,
and Nimbaditya were all brahmanas, and that they each had
thousands of brahmana disciples. In Bengal, our Shri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu was a Vedic brahmana, our Nityananda Prabhu was a
Radhiya brahmana, and our Advaita Prabhu was a Varendra
brahmana. Our gosvamis and mahajanas were almost all brahmanas.
Thousands of brahmanas who are the very pinnacle of the
brahminical lineage have taken refuge of vaishnava-dharma and are
propagating this spotless religion in the world. So how can you claim
that high-class brahmanas have no regard for vaishnava-dharma?
We know that those brahmanas who honor vaishnava-dharma are
all high-class brahmanas. However, some people who have taken
birth in brahmana families have become inimical toward vaishnavadharma
because they are marred by the faults of degraded family
lineage, undesirable association, and false education. Such behavior
only demonstrates their misfortune and fallen condition. This
is no evidence that they are actually brahmanas. It is to be especially
noted that, according to sastra, the number of true brahmanas in
Kali-yuga is exceedingly small, and these few are Vaishnavas. When
a brahmana receives the vaishnava-gayatri-mantra, which is the
mother of the Vedas, he becomes an initiated Vaishnava. However,
due to the contamination of Kali-yuga, some of these brahmanas
accept another non-Vedic initiation and abandon their
Vaisnavism. Granted, the number of Vaishnava brahmanas is very
small, but that is still no reason to manufacture a conclusion that
is opposed to the tenets of sastra.
Nyayaratna: Why is it that so many low-class people accept
Vaishnava dasa: This should not be a cause for doubt. Most lowclass
people consider themselves quite wretched and downtrodden,
and thus they are eligible for the mercy of the Vaishnavas,
without which one cannot become a Vaishnava. Humility cannot
touch the heart of one who is intoxicated with the pride of high
birth and wealth, and consequently it is very rare for such people
to obtain the mercy of the Vaishnavas.
Nyayaratna: I don't care to discuss this subject any further. I can
see that you will inevitably quote the harsh descriptions from sastra
of the brahmanas of Kali-yuga. I feel greatly pained when I hear
particular statements from the sastra such as this one from the
raksasah kalim ashritya jayante brahma-yonisu
Taking refuge of the age of Kali, demons are born in the
families of brahmanas.
Let us not pursue this topic any further. Now, please tell me why
you don't respect Shri Sankaracarya, who is a limitless ocean of
Vaishnava dasa: Why do you say that? We consider Shri Sankaracarya
to be an incarnation of Shri Mahadeva. Shriman Mahaprabhu
instructed us to honor him by addressing him as acarya. We only
reject his Mayavada doctrine, because it is a covered form of
Buddhism, which the Vedas do not support. On Bhagavan's order,
Sankaracarya distorted the meaning of the Vedas, Vedanta, and the
Gita, and he broadcast the false doctrine of impersonal monism
known as advaita-vada to convert those men who had a demonic
nature. What fault is there in this for which Sankaracarya should
Buddhadeva is an avatara of Bhagavan who also established and
preached a doctrine that is opposed to the Vedas. But do
descendants of the Aryans condemn him for this? Someone may
disagree with such activities of Shri Bhagavan and Mahadeva, and
claim that they are unjust, but we say that Bhagavan is the protector
of the universe, and Shri Mahadeva is His representative, and
they are both all-knowing and all-auspicious. Bhagavan and
Mahadeva cannot possibly be guilty of injustice. Those who blame
them are ignorant and narrow-minded, and cannot understand
the deeper significance of their activities.
Bhagavan and His activities are beyond human reasoning, so
intelligent people should never think, "Isvara should not have
done that; it would have been better for Him to do this." Isvara is
the director of all jivas, and only He knows the necessity for binding
men of ungodly nature with the doctrine of illusion. We have
no means of understanding Isvara's purpose for manifesting the
jivas at the time of creation, and then destroying their forms at
the time of the cosmic annihilation. This is all Bhagavan's lila.
Those who are intently devoted to Bhagavan experience great delight
in hearing His pastimes; they don't like to engage in intellectual
debates about these matters.
Nyayaratna: That is all right, but why do you say that the Mayavada
doctrine is opposed to the Vedas, Vedanta, and the Gita?
Vaishnava dasa: If you have carefully examined the Upanisads and
the Vedanta-sutra, kindly tell me which mantras and sutras support
the doctrine of Mayavada? I will then explain the true meaning
of those statements, and prove that they do not support
Mayavada at all. Some Vedic mantras may appear to contain a faint
trace of Mayavada philosophy, but if one examines the mantras that
come before and after, that interpretation will be instantly
Nyayaratna: Brother, I have not studied the Upanisads and the
Vedanta-sutra. When it comes to a discussion of the nyaya-sastra,
I am ready to discourse on any topic. Through logic I can turn a
clay pot into a piece of cloth, and a piece of cloth into a clay pot.
I have read a little of the Gita, but I have not entered into it deeply,
so I cannot say any more on this point. Instead, let me ask you one
more question on another topic. You are a learned scholar, so please
properly explain to me why Vaishnavas don't have faith in the
remnants of food offered to the devas and devis, although they have
great faith in visnu-prasada.
Vaishnava dasa: I am not a scholar; I am a great fool. You should
know that whatever I am speaking is only by the mercy of my
Gurudeva, Paramahamsa Babaji Maharaja. No one can know all
the sastras, for they are a limitless ocean, but my Gurudeva has
churned that ocean and delivered the essence of the sastras to me.
I have accepted that very essence as the conclusion that all the
sastras have established.
The answer to your question is that Vaishnavas do not disrespect
the prasada of the devas and devis. Shri Krishna is the Supreme
controller of all controllers; therefore, He alone is known as
Paramesvara. All the devas and devis are His devotees, and they
are appointed to positions in the administration of universal
affairs. Vaishnavas can never disrespect the prasada of bhaktas
because one obtains suddha-bhakti by honoring their remnants.
The dust from bhaktas' feet, the nectar-like water that has washed
bhaktas' feet, and the nectar-like food that has touched bhaktas'
lips are three types of prasada that are supremely beneficial. They
are the medicine that destroys the disease of material existence.
The fact is that when Mayavadis worship the devatas and offer
food to them, the devatas do not accept it because the worshipers
are contaminated with attachment to the doctrine of illusion.
There is ample evidence of this in the sastra, and if you ask me, I
can supply the quotations. The worshipers of the devas are mostly
Mayavadis, and it is detrimental to one's bhakti and an offense to
Bhakti-devi to accept the prasada of the devas when such people
have offered it. If a pure Vaishnava offers the prasada of Krishna to
the devas and devis, they accept it with great love and begin to
dance, and if a Vaishnava then takes that prasada, he experiences
Another point to consider is that the instruction of the sastra
is all-powerful, and the yoga-sastras direct practitioners of the
yoga system not to accept the prasada of any devata. This does
not mean that those who practice yoga disrespect the prasada of
the devatas. It simply means that giving up prasada helps those
who are practicing yoga-sadhana to attain one-pointedness in
meditation. Similarly, in bhakti-sadhana, a bhakta cannot attain
exclusive devotion to Bhagavan, who is the object of his worship,
if he accepts the prasada of any other deva. It is therefore a
mistake to think that Vaishnavas are averse to the prasada of other
devas and devis. The various practitioners only behave in that
way to try to attain perfection in their respective goals, as the
Nyayaratna: All right, that is clear, but why do you oppose the
killing of animals in sacrifice, when the sastras support it?
Vaishnava dasa: It is not the intention of sastra that animals should
be killed. The Vedas declare, ma himsyat sarvani bhutani: "One
should not commit violence to any living entity." This statement
forbids violence to animals. As long as human nature is strongly
influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance, people will be
spontaneously driven to illicit connection with the opposite sex,
meat-eating, and intoxication. Such people do not ask the Vedas
to sanction their activities. The purpose of the Vedas is not to
promote such activities, but rather to curb them. When human
beings are situated in the mode of goodness, they can naturally
refrain from animal slaughter, sexual indulgence, and intoxication.
Until that point, the Vedas prescribe various means to control such
tendencies. For this reason, they sanction association with the
opposite sex through marriage (vivaha-yajna), the killing of animals
in sacrifice, and the drinking of wine in particular ceremonies. By
practicing in this way, these tendencies will gradually wane in a
person, and he will eventually be able to give them up. This is the
true purpose of the Vedas. They do not recommend the killing of
animals; their intention is expressed in these words of Shrimad-
nityas tu jantor na hi tatra codana
vyavasthitis tesu vivaha-yajnasura-
grahair asu nivrttir ista
It is observed that people in this world have a natural tendency
toward intoxication, meat-eating, and sexual enjoyment,
but sastra cannot sanction their engagement in such
activities. Therefore, special provisions have been given
whereby some association with the opposite sex is
permitted through marriage, some eating of flesh is permitted
through performance of sacrifice, and the drinking of
wine is permitted through the ritual known as sautramaniyajna.
The purpose of such injunctions is to restrain the
licentious tendencies of the general populace, and to
establish them in moral conduct. The intrinsic purpose of
the Vedas in making such provisions is to draw people away
from such activities altogether.
The Vaishnava conclusion in this regard is that there is no
objection if a person whose nature is ruled by passion and ignorance
kills animals. However, a person who is situated in the mode
of goodness should not do so, because causing harm to other jivas
is an animalistic propensity. Shri Narada has explained this in
ahastani sa-hastanam apadani catus-padam
phalguni tatra mahatam jivo jivasya jivanam
Living entities without hands are prey for those with
hands. Life-forms without legs are food for the four-legged.
Small creatures are subsistence for large ones. In this way,
one living entity is the means of existence for another.
The verdict of Manu-smrti (5.56) is also very clear:
na mamsa-bhaksane dose na madye na ca maithune
pravrttir esa bhutanam nivrttis tu maha-phala
Abstinence from activities such as sexual indulgence, meateating,
and intoxication yields highly beneficial results,
although a human being is naturally inclined to them.
Nyayaratna: Yes, but why do the Vaishnavas object to the sraddha
ceremony and other activities that are meant to repay one's debt
to the forefathers?
Vaishnava dasa: People who are intent on carrying out prescribed
pious duties perform the sraddha ceremony in accordance with the
karma-kanda division of the Vedas. Vaishnavas have no objection
to this, but sastra declares:
na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan
sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam
gato mukundam parihrtya kartam
O King, when a human being gives up the ego of independence
from Bhagavan and takes full shelter of Shri Mukunda
as the supreme refuge, he is released from his debts to the
devas, the sages, the general living entities, family members,
mankind, and to the forefathers. Such a devotee no longer
remains subordinate to such personalities, nor is he bound
to their service.
Consequently, bhaktas who have taken shelter of Bhagavan are
not required to perform the sraddha ceremony and other karmakanda
activities meant for gaining release from the debt to one's
forefathers. They are instructed to worship Bhagavan, to offer
bhagavat-prasada to the forefathers, and to honor bhagavat-prasada
with their friends and relatives.
Nyayaratna: At what point does one obtain the position and eligibility
to act in this way?
Vaishnava dasa: It is the prerogative of a Vaishnava to act in this
way, and one becomes eligible from the time that one awakens faith
in hari-katha and hari-nama. It is said in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam
tavat karmani kurvita na nirvidyeta yavata
mat-katha-sravanadau va sraddha yavan na jayate
One is obliged to engage in karma and to follow the rules
and prohibitions associated with that path as long as one
has not awakened detachment from fruitive activities and
the results of such activities (such as promotion to the
celestial planets), or as long as one has not awakened faith
in hearing and chanting My lila-katha.
Nyayaratna: I am delighted to hear your explanations. Seeing your
scholarship and fine discrimination, my faith has now been
awakened in vaishnava-dharma. My brother, Harihara, there is no
profit in debating any further. These Vaishnavas are great teachers
among panditas. They are exceedingly expert in extracting the
conclusions of all the sastras. We may say whatever we like to
preserve our occupation, but it is highly doubtful whether anyone
has ever appeared in the land of Bengal, or in all of India for that
matter, who can compare with such a renowned scholar and
exalted Vaishnava as Nimai Pandita. Let us go. The day is waning
and it will be difficult to cross the Ganga after dark.
Nyayaratna and his group of teachers departed, calling out,
"Haribol! Haribol!" The Vaishnavas then began to dance and chant,
"Jaya Shachinandana````@P@````PP@P°`° `@```ğ`@°°`°° @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`@ `PPP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@ppppp````````` P```` ```````````````_8Ȱ_Ȱ_娜粜娈粜が粞〼粞ぜ粞!"
THUS ENDS THE TENTH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
"NITYA-DHARMA & HISTORY"