This quiz is designed to motivate you to study the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scriptures in specific, and the Sad Darshanas in general, which are necessary to understand Gauḍīya philosophy properly.
Jnana or knowledge related to bhakti is also part of bhakti. In fact, hearing, which includes studying shastra, is the first limb of bhakti. Learning, followed by consolidating and then testing our knowledge in the form of a quiz is a fun and effective way to help us retain information.
This quiz is in multiple-choice questions format. (MCQs). If you see the response that you anticipated simply click on it. The quiz will immediately show which answers are correct or incorrect so we can learn as we go.
1 / 10
Why do the dārśanikas (seers) disagree with each other?
Even within the same dhārmic fold, the dārśanikas disagree with each other.
For example, Nyāya posits ārambhavada – an effect does not exist in its cause, but only starts to exist at the time of its manifestation. The Vaiṣṇavas disagree and propose satkāryavāda – that an effect exists in its cause even before it manifests. The Purva-mimāṁsīs insist on the primacy of ritual while the Uttara-mimāṁsīs emphasize the path of knowledge.
There is disagreement also within the same darśana. Vedānta is split between the Advaitavādis and the Vaiṣṇavas. Both follow the same pramāṇas, but differ significantly in their interpretations.
And then among Vaiṣṇavas, there is disagreement. The Madhvā sampradāya and the Rāmānuja sampradāya exalt mukti as the prayojana or goal, while the Caitanya sampradāya exalts prema as the prayojana.
Why so much disagreement?
It is helpful to see the commonalities. Whether it is Hinduism or another religion, the seers of various religions experienced something beyond matter; they experienced something beyond the grasp of the senses.
The type of their experience varied depending on the guṇas in which they were situated and their prayojana or specific goal. The saṁskāras of the seers – their past experiences and their knowledge – colored the experience that became available to them and how they interpreted that experience.
For example, if a dārśanika believes in the primacy of ritual to begin with, then absorption into that prayojana leads to experience of a similar type. Because of total absorption in and commitment to one’s prayojana, the dārśanika is liable to exalt their experience and their path as being the topmost. A karma yogī is not going to budge from their conviction that karma yoga is the topmost sādhana because that is their singular focus. Likewise, if a devotee wants to see Bhagavān as Rāma, then tattva manifests as Rāma only and that is the highest goal for them.
Because revelations match in accordance with the seer’s singular desire, and are interpreted according to the seer’s saṁskāras, there is variety in the narratives of the seers. Each seer exalts their path because of their absorption in that path. This is one way of understanding why there is disagreement among the dārśanikas. But there are also key commonalities- they all agree on the existence of a spiritual reality that is presently beyond the grasp of the senses.
2 / 10
According to the Nyāya School of philosophy, definitions of technical terms must be free from which of the following defects?
According to the Nyāya School of philosophy, definitions of technical terms must be free from three defects — avyāpti, being too narrow and thus excluding elements that should fall within the definition; ativyāpti, being too broad and thus including elements that should be excluded from the definition; and asambhava, infeasibility of the validity of an assertion.
3 / 10
In Śrīmad Bhagavata Purāṇa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa mentions two types of dīkṣā; namely?
In Śrīmad Bhagavata Purāṇa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa mentions only two types of dīkṣā, namely Vedic and Pāñcarātrikī
vaidikī tāntrikī dikṣā madīya-vrata-dhāraṇam (SB 11.11.37).
Learn more: Guru-tattva: Different Kinds of Dīkṣā
4 / 10
If the material world and objects are all composed of the guṇas, then how does one prevent oneself from being affected by karma?
Learn more: Aliens, Spiritual Planets and Gunas
5 / 10
What is the difference between the happiness and distress experienced by devotees and non-devotees?
There is no difference in the mechanism of experience of happiness or misery between a devotee and a non-devotee. A devotee, like a non-devotee, also experiences these through his or her senses. Both have five external senses and the mind. The difference lies in the reaction to one’s experience. A devotee sees everything as the grace of the Lord, an opportunity to learn, advance, and become stronger.
One may see it as an act of purification. One will stay composed and fixed in one’s service. Therefore, the devotee would not suffer in an unfavorable situation like a non-devotee and would also not become unnecessarily elated in a favorable situation. One can read the stories of the Pāṇḍavas or some contemporary devotees to see how a devotee faces happy and miserable situations.
Learn more: Happiness and Suffering
6 / 10
Why do devotees accept one particular type of sādhusaṅga and not another in their first contact with sādhus?
Wherever there is mention of getting sādhusaṅga or bhakti, the most common word used is yadṛcchayā (see SB 11.20.8, 11.20.11, 11.2.24, 6.14,14). According to the context, this word is translated in different ways such as “somehow or other,” “by the will of God,” “by the will of providence,” etc. But nobody translates it as “according to inherent taste.” This word is also used in Gītā 2.32 in the sense of “by its own accord.”
Learn more: Are Bhakti and Rasa Inherent in the Jiva?
7 / 10
To what extent can we exercise our free will properly?
One of the big problems with Reality is that it is not always this way or that way— black or white. It can also defy our perception and logical thinking. So, we have to keep a few basic points in mind. Bhagavān has various potencies. Some of them are mutually contradictory. Yet, they exist in Him with perfect harmony. His potencies are transrational. It does not mean that they are always acting in an illogical manner. It means that they act both ways — sometimes logically and sometimes beyond logic. He is independent. That does not mean that He is frivolous and does not follow any norms. He follows norms but is not bound by them. The only binding principle is love and nothing else. And love knows no laws.
Besides, another important point to keep in mind is that Reality appears in one way from our perspective and in another way from His perspective. Śāstra speaks about both perspectives but does not tell us which perspective it is talking about. To give a practical example, to us the earth looks flat. No matter how great a scientist you are, you will see the earth as flat. But to a person in space, it looks round or elliptical. Who is right? You may say that the person in space is right. But that is not really true. He is right from his perspective. As far as the person on the ground is concerned, the earth is flat. So, the earth has both aspects. Seen as a whole, it is not flat but elliptical, but if only a small part of it is focused on, it is flat.
One may say that one view is the absolute truth and the other view is a relative truth. Yes, this is true, but the relative truth cannot be undermined. It has practical applications. We make most of our plans considering the earth as flat. If I want to build a house, I consider the plot to be flat, and I face no adverse or wrong results. So, for most of our dealings, it works fine to take the earth as flat.
To give another example: From our point of view, a table is a solid object. From the quantum point of view, it is mostly space. Who is right? You may say that the quantum view is right, but as far as we are concerned, the table is a solid object. And our knowledge has a lot of practical value in comparison to the quantum vision. We can live without quantum vision but not without our Newtonian vision.
So similarly, when we analyze things from Bhagavān’s point of view, not even a leaf moves without His sanction. He is the supreme regulator. There is no free will or any such thing because if we had free will, then He could not be the Supreme Regulator or Master. There would be total chaos on earth. We would be able to will and defy His authority or defy the law of karma and escape unpalatable reactions. But that is not possible, nor is it our experience. So, from His perspective, He is in control. Therefore, He says that a person bewildered by ego thinks himself/herself to be the doer when in reality everything is done by the guṇas of prakṛti. He also says that no one can transcend His māyā consisting of the guṇas without surrendering to Him. So, we are not free. If we were free, we could choose to be under māyā or to get out of it. But we cannot choose unless He makes us choose. In fact, unless He informs us, we do not even know that we are under māyā. We would never have known. So where is the question of will if we do not even have the knowledge of the options available?
But when we see things from our point of view, we can see that we are not like machines that have absolutely no choice and it is impractical to think like that. God Himself asks us to surrender to Him. If we had no choice, then what is the sense in asking us? So, we must have some will. But I do not call it free will, because it is not completely free. God has free will, and we have conditioned will. Our will is conditioned by the amount of knowledge we have, the extent of control we have over our minds and senses, and our past karma. If I am a man born in India, I cannot suddenly will to be an American woman. It will not work. I have so many limitations. But God can will, and it happens—therefore He is called satyakāma and satyasaṅkalpa.
So, a devotee’s perspective is different from that of a jñānī or yogī or a materialist. A devotee sees everything as the will of Bhagavān. On the other hand, an atheist does not even believe that there is God. He thinks he is in control and has free will. A jñānī may have a different perspective. From their own perspective, they all seem right. But the fact remains that God is the Supreme Regulator and we have a little ability to make decisions. Unless we get help from outside, it is not possible to free ourselves from our conditioning or to become a devotee. Kṛṣṇa tells this to Uddhava (SB 11.22.10): “Since this is not possible for a jīva, who is conditioned by ignorance without beginning, it is accepted that there is another person [Īśvara], who is the knower of truth and giver of knowledge.”
8 / 10
What is the meaning of siddha-svarūpa?
The word svarūpa is copiously used throughout the Sandarbhas. None of the usages refer to the existence of an original form for the jīva. In many places, Śrī Jīva uses the word to convey ‘inherent’ nature, specifically to refute the claim of the Advaitavādis that Bhagavān’s qualities such as His śaktis are not inherent in Him, but superimposed (āropita) by the agency of māyā on Brahman. Likewise, Śrī Jīva uses the word svarūpataḥ to convey the meaning that the jīva is inherently distinct from Bhagavan (jīvasya svarūpata eva parameśvarād vailakṣaṇyam, Tattva-sandarbha Anuccheda 32 ).
The jīva has a form in Goloka Vṛndāvana, but only in the sense that it identifies with that form; the form remains external to it. This is similar to the jīva’s situation in the material body. But the form in Goloka is eternal and not material. As such, it can well be considered to have become ‘inherent’ to the jīva in the sense that it is permanent. But the jīva’s form is made of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa-śakti. This fundamental fact does not change.
9 / 10
What happens to the sādhanā-siddhas once they go to Goloka?
The sādhanā-siddhas do not become antaraṅgā-śakti. They remain taṭastha but imbued with antaraṅgā or bhakti śakti. Thus they function just like nitya-siddhas, because it is antaraṅgā-śakti that inspires them. Yet, the distinction between sādhana–siddha and nitya-siddha remains. Nitya-siddhas are associates of Kṛṣṇa and they cannot be replaced. Moreover, there is no desire in any devotee of Kṛṣṇa in Goloka to become someone else. They are all satisfied in their service. There is no competition in the material sense because they are free from jealousy.
Learn more: Siddha-Deha and Nitya-Līlā
10 / 10
How is it decided which siddhā-deha is gifted to a particular jīva?
The jīva’s bhāva or loving mood for Śrī Kṛṣṇa decides the form to be attained in Goloka. This bhāva is received through the agency of the guru. That is, disciples get the bhāva that their gurus have, who received it in turn from their gurus. As such, there is no choice in the matter.
Learn more: Relation between Jiva and Siddha Deha
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