[Advaita-l] What does "Hare Krishna" Mean?

Aravind Mohanram psuaravind at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 3 16:51:39 CST 2004

Thanks for your kind reply. 

"Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
On Fri, 2 Jan 2004, Aravind Mohanram wrote:

> >>I'm not doubting jnana as a means to moksha. I was asking the sastric
> >>basis for the statement that there is no magic spell that can give
> >>moksha.

See for example the conversation between Narada and Sanatkumar in
chandogyopanishad. Narada complains that he has mastered all 64 vidyas
but still doesn't understand Brahman.

>>> I thought I made myself clear. Understanding comes with devotional service. Bhakti is emphasized even by advaitins, even though the goal is differen from that of vaishnavas. No one is minimizing the importance of understanding the basis for devotional practices or the beloved Lord to Whom bhakti is rendered. 

This is what I meant when I wrote that repetition of mantras in itself
falls short of the mark without understanding.

>>> Agree. Understanding comes from within and by our sincere efforts to glorify the Lord and know His opulences. 

Vaishnava shastras such as Garga Samhita say there are 4 vaishnava
sampradayas: Shri (vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja,) Brahma (dvaita of
Madhva,) Sanakadi (dvaitadvaita of Nimbarka,) and Agni (shuddhadvaita of
Vallabha) where do the Gaudiyas figure into this? Some claim they are
derived from dvaita but there are several deviations from Madhvite
philosophy so consistency cannot be claimed there. In fact the supposed
Gaudiya parampara dates no earlier than the 15th century AD amongst
renegade advaitins. Chaitanya himself was initiated into Advaita
sannyasa. In modern times Prabhupadas own ideas were criticized by other
Gaudiyas and only grudgingly accepted after he started acheiving success
in the west.

>>> Yes, I agree this is a controversial topic. But, at this point you cannot conclude one way or another. Even Kanchi mutt has problems establishing its authenticity as one of the mutts established by Sankara himself (this comment is based on the book that I purchased at Kanchi mutt). Such controversies will always exist and bewilder us from searching for the truth. The Gaudiya sampradaya has endured and weathered many difficulties and it'll continue to do so irrespective of its apparent drawbacks because of its strong philosophical foundation, and the real results one sees by following the process of Krishna consciousness. 

In contrast both advaita and vishishtadvaita vedanta can claim historical
paramparas stretching back to the first centuries AD at least if not
further. So if you are interested in following parampara either of these
would be better choices.

>>>the goal of life is not to follow a parampara, but to search the truth. A bonafide parampara is the way to access that truth and as long as results are seen (that take you toward the eternal truth and away from the miserable material existence) I don't see any reason doubting any parampara for that matter. Also, one can see advancement in the process by seeing the qualities a devotee develops. Krishna outlines these qualities in the Gita. 

The more pertinent question for this forum, is on what basis can one judge
claims? Anyone can make grandiose claims. Only a gullible person will
accept such claims as is. Have you done the research to verify whether
what you've been told is true? This is why Vedantins of all persuasions
spend time learning tarka and other pramanas so they can establish facts
on a firm foundation. The very first brahmasutra says the subject of this
darshan is to be an *enquiry* (jijnasa) into Brahman. The repetition of
the dhatu jna indicates this is to be active.

>>> What claims you are talking about? I can direct the same questions to you. For your information, even Gaudiyas, have had great scholars and logicians such Sri jiva Goswami and Baladeva Vidyabhusana, who wrote the Govinda Bhasya. No one is disputing the importance of logic and debate in understanding the truth. But, ask any advanced spiritualist - and he will certainly say that just by themselves logic and mental speculation cannot take you to the ultimate end. But, they are nevertheless very important. 

Such faith should be accompanied by understanding. Advaita acharyas never
give "because I said" as a reason. we have seen recently that even
Shankaracharyas' own direct disciple Sureshvaracharya disagreed with his
teacher on some points. Whether those disagreements were legitimate,
whether they pose any difficulty in understanding Advaita Vedanta etc. is
something we can work out using our own intellects not something we have
to be told by someone else.

>>> You seem to be misinterpreting what I said. One has to understand sastra with the help of a guru (Gita 4.34) and sadhus, not by other means. Ofcourse, we have to question intelligently and use our intellect to understand finer points, but we also need faith in the acharya's words and other sadhus. For example, to learn mathematics from  a math professor, one first needs faith that he is an authority on the subject and will lead you properly. Ofcourse, the individual also has to make effort using his intelligence wisely - no one is disputing that. 

If there seem to be contradictions, they must be honestly addressed. Many
situations may seem contradictory but make sense with further reflection.
If you don't even try how will you know? The leaders of ISKCON have a
vested interest in people not thinking as it would expose the hollowness
of their ideas. Advaita acharyas are more confident in their ability to
resolve contradictions.

>>>Contradictions are certainly being addressed. ISKCON is a relatively new entity and it'll take time for anything to fructify. In a few decades, you can expect a more matured approach. I have great respect for Sankara and advaitin acharyas. I'm not interested in silly accusations people make out of their own bias, either by an ISKCON follower or an advaitin. 

What makes you think I don't do this?

>>> If you are already doing it, good. I was speaking to the whole list not just to you. 

Our "tiny intelligence" is Bhagavans prasad! If it weren't He could have
just made robots or statues instead of thinking people. Instead we have
the wonderful gift of viveka by which the fog of Maya can be destroyed.

>>>Yes, I completely agree. We have to use that prasad wisely. 

Yes I know that. But you have no reason or basis to accept it. And I
certainly don't. Seeing as the thread started because you objected to my
rendition of its meaning, the onus is on you to convince me of a better

>>> I forgot what meaning you provided. Can you pls provide it again? (I don't seem to have your earlier email). I'll see if I can come up with a better explanation to convince you. 

Well I'm personally most familliar with Vallabhas teachings and he does
talk extensively about madhurya. One of his most popular works is called
Madhurashtakam. And other acharyas including advaita ones have also
written extensively about all aspects of bhakti rasa.

>>>Yes, you can see works on this rasa in other sampradays also, but not to the extent seen in Chaitanya's movement. Atleast, this rasa is said to be the goal of life by Chaitanya's followers. It is the sweetest and most intimate form of devotion. 

Right. So basically you are saying Chaitanya or one of his followers
invented this mantra. Isn't that what I originally said?

>>>No, the mantra is already there in the upanishad, but, Chaitanya popularized it and showed us its inner meanings. To believe or not, is your choice. 

I hope I'm not being offensive. Please let me know. 



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