Question: Is preaching one purpose for Śrī Caitanya’s appearance? He ordered Śrī Nityānanda to beg people to chant Kṛṣṇa’s names from door to door and also asked him to stay in Bengal to do this. If the Gauḍīyas don’t do preaching, do they displease Mahāprabhu? If so, I wonder why Śrī Rūpa’s 64 aṅgas of bhakti do not include preaching as a sādhana.
Answer: It is understood that Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared to propagate uttama-bhakti. Therefore it can be accepted that preaching is one of the purposes of His appearance. Preaching, however, requires some qualification. Therefore not everybody has to preach or feel that if they do not preach, then they are displeasing Śrī Caitanya.
As far as Śrī Nityānanda is concerned, He is not a sādhaka. You say that Śrī Rupa Gosvāmī did not include preaching in the 64 limbs of bhakti. It may not be directly stated, but it can be considered as part of kīrtana, although the preaching as such is not listed as part of sādhana–bhakti.
Experience in Bhagavad-sayujya
Question: In Bhagavad-sayujya, one is in the body of Kṛṣṇa. Can that soul see the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa; what is the experience?
Answer: Yes, he can see Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.
Question: I would like to know the interpretation of our ācāryas on the Upaniṣadic statements “Tat tvam asi śvetaketo” and “neti neti“.
Answer: In Prīti Sandarbha, Jīva Gosvāmī says that tat tvam asi (“you are that”) is about oneness in pure love. This Upaniṣadic statement speaks of oneness between the individual self and the supreme self. Ontologically, this is an impossibility. Two things cannot be one. Therefore the Advaita and the Non-Advaita schools interpret this in different ways. The Advaita school proposes that duality is an illusion. Reality is only one. Jīva Gosvāmī says that material duality is not an illusion. The illusion is to consider oneself as independent of the Absolute Reality. When there is love between an individual self and Absolute Reality, then there is oneness because the sense of independence is lost.
Neti neti (lit., “not this, not this”) means that this visible world is not God. He is beyond it. Another interpretation is that God is not only this visible world but also beyond.
Question: Thank you Prabhu, I have also found somewhere that Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī explained tat tvam asi as the common nature between jīva and Brahman, and He gives the example of a man in a cave who is directed to the sun with the help of a single ray. Can you please clarify this a bit.
Answer: Yes, this example he gives in Tattva Sandarbha, Anuccheda 52. He gives the example of sunlight being equated with the sun. So Jīva Gosvāmī explains that just as sun and sunlight are sometimes equated because sunlight is part of the sun, similarly sometimes the jīva is equated with God because the jīva is part of Him.
Question: In verse Chapter 9, verse 17 of Bhavad Gītā, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa confirms His role as the source of all creation and the sustainer of everything that we know. He also confirms that He is the object of knowledge, the purifier, and the syllable Oṁ.
I understand that the form of Bhagavān is nondifferent from His name, and that when reciting the mahā-mantra, we focus on His name because of this nondifference. But why, given the importance of the mahā-mantra, does Oṁ not appear in the mahā-mantra, if He says himself that He is the syllable Oṁ?
Answer: He does not say that He is only the syllable Oṁ. He does not deny that He is also the other names.
Question: When we say Oṁ and see its representation in a written format, are we not then also referring to Him?
Answer: Yes. Oṁ is for kids, mahā-mantra is for the dudes!!
When we come to spiritual life, we want the effect of spiritual life without changing our self. We generally make changes externally. This does not change our life because we are still looking through the colored glasses of our samskaras. Our vision is impaired and we don’t want to rectify it.
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