Category Archives: Events

Sankhya-yoga Teacher’s Training Course at Jiva

This is the last opportunity to register for this forthcoming course starting on March 1st. Please find the details below:

This Teacher’s Training Course provides you with sufficient knowledge and experience to become a successful yoga teacher and you can also opt to do advanced courses in the future to master yoga further. We do not follow a specific ‘type’ of yoga but instead, we practice ‘sankhya-yoga’, which aims to integrate yogic theory and physical practice (asana) to the maximum extent. Maharishi Patanjali, the founder of yoga, prescribed certain rules for humans to follow to be productive members of society, and he prescribed a code of conduct that we try to inculcate among students through a systematic understanding of the same.

 

Jiva Institute for Vedic Studies in Vrindavan

Location

This course will take place in Vrindavan (160 km from Delhi), a small town located on the banks of the sacred river Yamuna. Vrindavan is one of the seven most sacred towns in India, due to its association with Lord Shri Krishna and where some of the greatest yogis and devotees have spent a part of their lives to attain knowledge and enlightenment. Vrindavan is a global village, where Krishna devotees from almost every corner of the world live and enjoy its devotional charm. The course venue is pleasant and offers hassle-free accommodations, along with convenient access to main attractions and local markets.

Jiva dining hallIt is conducted by the Jiva Institute (Ashram), which is well known for its scholarly activities and promotion of bhakti yoga and Vaishnava culture through a scientific and formal approach. The Jiva Institute has a global character, as devotees from around the world visit to study ancient Indian texts and philosophy.

 

Our Teachers

The yoga course is taught by highly qualified teachers under the guidance of respected Babaji, who is an authority on the Sankhya-yoga philosophical system.

The teachers for this course are from very diverse fields of knowledge. Most of them have lived in Vrindavan for a long time and are familiar with traditional Indian cultural values, Vedic scriptures; such as the Bhagavad Gita, and the essence of various aspects of yoga. In addition to this course, our teachers will be available for exploring the surroundings of Vrindavan.

Satyanarayana Dasa (Babaji)

Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

Born in India in 1954, Satyanarayana Dasa was drawn to the spiritual traditions of his native country from a young age. After receiving a postgraduate degree in 1978 from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and working in the United States for four years, he returned to India,

where he studied the formal systems of Indian philosophy known as Sad-darsana), under the direct guidance of his guru, Sri Haridas Sastri Maharaja, and Swami Sarana Maharaja. Satyanarayana Dasa was formally educated for more than twenty-five years, while he dedicated himself to becoming a bhakti-yoga practitioner. In 1991, he accepted the traditional Vaisnava order of a renounced life, babaji-vesa. His main focus has been the work of Jīva Gosvāmī. In particular, he has been translating the Sat Sandarbhas into English and providing commentary. He also earned four shastric degrees and received both a law degree and a Ph.D. in Sanskrit from Agra University. Satyanarayana Dasa is the founder and director of the Jīva Institute of Vaishnava Studies in Vrindavan. He has authored eighteen books on Indian culture and philosophy and contributed several important essays to many prestigious journals. In 2013, he was honored by the president of India, Sri Pranab Mukherjee, for his extraordinary contribution in presenting Vedic culture and philosophy, both nationally and internationally. In 2015, he was officially installed as the Mahanta of the Jiva Institute. He has a long practical experience in teaching ancient Yogic texts to international and Indian scholars.

 

Aami Kristal

Krsna DasAami (Krishna Dasa) taught traditional Hatha yoga at the Patanjali Yoga Foundation. He has been practicing and teaching yoga and wellness for over ten years. He is an Ayurvedic nutritional consultant, specializing in dosha balance, Theta Healing technique, and Bio re-programming seed. He is also a Vedic astrologer from the royal lineage of Jagannath Puri.

He has gained experience in the field of sustainable development by working with indigenous communities in South America, which has taught him different self-healing techniques and introspection. He founded the World Conscious Pact, the University of Ancestral Wisdom, the United Nations of the Spirit, the Global Eco-Villages Network, and the Council of Sustainable Settlements of the Americas. He has a long practical experience in teaching ancient yogic postures, their correct positions and their importance in yoga sadhana.

He now resides in Vrindavan, where he is currently studying the Vedic scriptures under the guidance of his Guru, Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji.

 

Ekaterina

KantaEkaterina (Kanta Dasi) is a Hatha yoga and meditation instructor. Her mother was a yoga teacher, and Ekaterina has been practicing since 2006. She is a graduate of the School of Patanjali in Rishikesh and has studied with well-known Russian yoga masters, such as Dmitry Demin, Gleb Mazaev, and Maxim Tsuguy. She has been a yoga and fitness teacher in leading fitness centers in Belarus since 2016, and she has been conducting online yoga courses in European countries. Since 2020 Ekaterina has been teaching yoga and spinal therapy in Belarus, Israel, Russia, and Ukraine.

 

Jaya Devi

JayaJaya Devi is the co-coordinator of the Jiva Institute’s yoga course and has been living in India for the past 20 years. She serves as a friendly mentor for all the foreign students who study in Vrindavan. She also coordinates the extracurricular activities in and around Vrindavan. She has a good knowledge of Indian spiritual heritage and a PhD in Sanskrit. She is the author of From Taj to Vraj, a book on feminine spirituality.

 

 

Dauji Das
DaujiDauji is your Vrindavan Tour guide. Originally from the United Kingdom, he now resides at the Jīva Institute. He is an editor and publisher of Bhakti books. He is available for free consultation on any extracurricular matter.

 

 

Stay and surroundings

The Ashram is located in a clean, pollution-free, hygienic atmosphere, and the course venue is managed by an efficient hospitality staff to look after accommodations, food, and travel arrangements. Surroundings offer ample opportunities to visit important temples and ashrams throughout Vrindavan. The institute is well-furnished and clean with the following facilities.

  • Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms with attached toilets and hot water
  • Clean drinking water (RO)
  • Full wi-fi campus
  • Hot water (Geyser) in all bathrooms
  • 24/7 support staff
  • Sattvik cafeteria serving nutritious vegetarian food at economic prices
  • Travel-related services to explore nearby places
  • Garden and green surroundings
  • Library (with a rich collection of books on various relevant subjects)
  • Spacious dining hall for regular meals
  • Located in the heart of Vrindavan (most attractions at walking distance)
  • Spacious yoga hall
  • In-house beautiful temple with daily kirtan and discourses on Bhagavad Gita (anyone can join freely)

Course Fee

Our yoga teachers training (YTT) program is a residential course. The fee of USD 1650 per person includes accommodations (private room with private bathroom) and all vegetarian meals at the institute. The registration fee is USD 200 (nonrefundable advance) to be submitted along with the application. The remaining fee can be paid upon arrival. In case of emergency and other unavoidable circumstances, we may permit students to opt for the same course within the period of two years.

Calendar (Course Dates)

  • 1 March to 28 March 2023
  • 1 April to 28 April 2023

Daily Schedule – (200-Hours Yoga Teacher Training)

Our YTT program follows a well-planned schedule and about 6 to 7 training hours daily are assigned to learning different aspects of yoga. Our daily schedule begins as early as 5:30 a.m. with a short meditation followed by yogic postures and classes in philosophy, anatomy, and physiology. Students can also enjoy excursions to nearby places in their free time. During the course, vegetarian meals suitable for a Yogic lifestyle will be served along with seasonal fruits and herbal tea. Home assignments are also given to students during the course to enable them to cultivate insight into the subject.

Pranayama 7-7:45 -15 break

Yoga 8-9:30

10:00 -Tiny breakfast

11:30 -12:30 Babaji class / Anatomy

12:30-14:00 lunch

14:00-15:00 discussion / yoga Philosophy

15:00-17:00 free time

17:00-19:00 methodology and alignments

19:30-20:30 Dinner

20:30-21:00 meditation

Syllabus of Yoga teachers Training Course

Shatkarma

(Internal body Cleansing activities)

These ancient yogic cleansing techniques are practiced for the purification of the body. There are six Shatkarmas in the Hatha tradition. They are used to help clear the body of excess mucus, fat, and bile, and should only be practiced under the guidance of a competent teacher. During the course on special days these Shatkarmas will be demonstrated and taught to participants as after practicing Shatkarma,one need to have especially very light food and rest for a while.
Asanas (Physical Postures) There are 84 asanas in the Hatha tradition. These poses are used to steady the body and mind, making the practitioner more energetic, free from disease, and ready for the practice of meditation. These are often the most familiar part of yoga tradition in the modern world.

Pranayamas

(Breathing techniques)

These practices utilize breathing to control and influence the flow of vital life force (prana) in the body. Pranayamas are practiced after asana practice. They should be practiced under the guidance of a competent teacher, as the effects of these techniques on the body can be quite powerful.

Meditation

 

(Dhyan)

Dhyana, or meditation, is the practice of calming the mind and body through controlling the thoughts, calming the senses, and deep concentration. There are many ancient yogic meditation practices, designed to bring the practitioner closer to spiritual awareness and understanding. After knowing different meditation techniques, you can find the most suitable one for yourself to practice regularly.

Mudras

 

 

Mudras are advanced yogic postures/techniques that alter mood, attitude, and perception, thereby deepening awareness and concentration. They have a subtle but powerful effect on energy flow in the body and thus are a good preparation for deeper spiritual practices.

Bandhas

 

Bandhas are bodily locks that help to redirect the flow of energy in the body. They involve locking the chin, abdomen, and perennial region. As they are an advanced practice, they are best practiced individually under able instruction before being incorporated into other yogic practices.
Sankhya-Yoga Philosophy A successful yoga practice absolutely depends on the proper understanding of the ancient yoga philosophies as described in the two schools of Indian yoga philosophy below. Sankhya explains the eternal principles and yoga teaches the way to achieve the goals prescribed in Sankhya philosophy.
Yoga System (of Patanjali) Yoga – An Introduction to yoga and its basic elements
Different types of yoga – Karma, Jñāna and Bhakti
Concept of Atma , Consciousness and awareness Yama, Niyama (Principles of hygienic, regulated and socially acceptable lifestyle including Shatkarma)
Pranayama (healthy breathing )
Pratyahara (Self control )
Dharna (contemplation ), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi (transcognitive state)
Sankhya (Wisdom) System of Kapila Evolution of world due to interaction between Purusha (Self) and Prakarti (Nature). The inevitability of understanding the distinction between body, mind, Consciousness, Chitta, Ego and Self for progress in spiritual life.
Anatomy& Physiology related to Yoga It’s important for yoga teachers to understand the movements and composition of the human body, as well as working of the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems. This knowledge will help teachers to address the safety concerns of students and give proper adjustments while helping students understand the full benefits and limitations of their practice.
Theory of Panch Kosha(Five layers believed to be covering the Atma)

1.     Aannamaya kosha, “foodstuff” sheath (Anna)

2.     Pranamaya kosha, “energy” sheath (Prana/apana)

3.     Manomaya kosha “mind-stuff” sheath (Manas)

4.     Vijnanamaya kosha, “wisdom” sheath (Vijnana)

5.     Anandamaya kosha, “bliss” sheath (Ananda)

 

 

Ayurveda

(Classic Indian System of well-being)

 

Ayurveda, literally meaning ‘the science of life,’ is an ancient tradition of healing the body through awareness of the functions of the three Gunas (mental dispositions: Sattva, Raja and Tamas)– both the internal and external functions. It encompasses nutrition and massage therapy that is practiced to improve the overall well-being of the body and mind.

 

Teaching methodology for Yoga Guidance for becoming a successful Yoga teacher: The art of speaking and performing asanas in a classroom setting.

Shri Bhagavad Gita

 

This ancient text is one of the most important books for understanding yoga, as it outlines the origins of yoga philosophy as passed down through the centuries. A solid understanding of this scripture is necessary for anyone interested in the yoga traditions. Explanation of Sankhya-yoga Philosophy as described by lord Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita

Detailed syllabus and description

Days Anatomy Philosophy
1 Spine upper 7 Ha-tha+Meru+Surya Namaskar
Spine middle 12
Spine Under  6
2 Feet to Hips (Bones-Musles) Muladhara/Swadishtana
  Feet to Hips (Bones-Musles) Muladhara/Swadishtana
3 Organs Manipuraka/Anahata
4 Upper part to neck (Bones-Musles) Vishuddha/Ajna
5 Respiratory System Sahasrara/Patanjali yoga sutras 1
6 Circulatory System Patanjali yoga sutras 2/History of Yoga

Every Day Practice

Day Bhagavad Gita Pranayamas and Sat Kriyas Meditations
1 Cap 1 (1-13) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Om Meditation
2 Cap 1 (14-27) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Tratak Meditation
3 Cap 1 (27-40) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Silence Meditation
4

Cap 1 (40-47)

Cap 2 (1-6)

Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Sound Meditation
5 Cap 2 (7-20) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Kirtan Meditation
6 Cap 2 (21-34) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Walking meditation
7 Cap 2 (35-48) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Om Meditation
8 Cap 2 (49-61) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Tratak Meditation
9

Cap 2 (62-72)

Cap 3 (1-3)

Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Silence Meditation
10 Cap 3 (4-17) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Sound Meditation
11 Cap 3 (18-31) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Kirtan Meditation
12

Cap 3 (32-43)

Cap 4 (1-2)

Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Walking meditation
13 Cap 4 (3-16) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Om Meditation
14 Cap 4 (17-30) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Tratak Meditation
15

Cap 4 (31-42)

Cap 5 (1-2)

Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Silence Meditation
16 Cap 5 (3-16) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Sound Meditation
17

Cap 5 (17-29)

Cap 6 (1)

Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Kirtan Meditation
18 Cap 6 (2-15) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Walking meditation
19 Cap 6 (16-29) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Om Meditation
20 Cap 6 (30- 43) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Tratak Meditation
21

Cap 6 (44-47)

Cap 7 (1-10)

Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Silence Meditation
22 Cap 7 (11-24) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Sound Meditation
23

Cap 7 (25-30)

Cap 8 (1-8)

Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Kirtan Meditation
24 Cap 8 (9- 22) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Walking meditation
25 Cap 8 (23-28) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Maha Bandha, Bhramari. Tratak Meditation
26 Exam about Gita Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Maha Bandha, Ujjay Kirtan Meditation
contact details:
info@jivaseva.com
Jaya@jivaseva.com

Feminine Spirituality at Jiva Virtual Campus

Vedic scriptures reveal how the highest evolution of consciousness occurs when we have a loving relationship with God. Love is characterized by a desire to serve, please, and surrender to the beloved. Such qualities, typically seen in women, are feminine in nature and reveal how the highest realization of the self is feminine in its mood. Yet, on the other hand, we come across Vedic verses that seemingly criticize women. How can we reconcile these contrasting statements?

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is a rich source of knowledge on various topics and concepts and has often been misinterpreted or misquoted to blame the other sex. Especially among spiritualists, women are often the objects of blame. They are seen as a potential threat to men’s social status or even to men’s celibacy. Some of the verses in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam seem to confirm that women seduce men, pull them down, or exhibit low qualities attributed to the female nature. But what is the actual intention of the speaker?

Without a proper understanding of the meaning of these verses, we are bound to interpret them through our saṁskārasand thus arrive at erroneous conclusions. There is a widespread tendency to blame someone else for the problems or obstacles that we experience. And what is easier than placing the blame on the opposite gender? What could be more impressive to prove your point than to quote from scripture?

Feminine Spirituality Virtual Campus 1

Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa has analyzed the controversial verses and explained their import and deeper meaning in many of his lectures. The Feminine Spirituality project was envisioned by Jaya Devi, a disciple of Babaji Maharaja and the secretary of the Jiva Institute. She founded the Center for Feminine Spirituality to elucidate and explain such statements from śāstra and to more thoroughly explore spirituality free from gender bias. Feminine Spirituality is for men and women who want to reconnect to their inner feminine self as part of a higher reality.

Jaya Devi’s years of research in feminine spirituality have culminated in presenting a 3-D virtual reality accessed through the Jiva Virtual Campus. Jiva Virtual Campus is an educational approach that seeks to motivate learners by entering a subjective virtual world and learning within that reality. The goal is to maximize inspiration and increase interest in the subject.

Feminine Spirituality Virtual Campus 2

If you embark on this journey, you will enter a mystical Vedic world with multiple rooms and spaces, where you can explore the feminine aspect of spirituality, which is the key to understanding your inner self. On this exciting journey into a virtual realm, follow your heart to find rich content wherever you go. Listen to Babaji’s explanations on vital points from śāstra, gain access to articles and course materials within the spaces of this 3-D realm, and enjoy opportunities for introspection and analysis of your emotions, thoughts, and actions on the aspects of feminine spirituality.

Join us at the Jiva Virtual Campus!

Feminine Spirituality Virtual Campus 3

 

Explore the First Course of Jiva Virtual Campus!

Embark on the inner journey toward your spiritual feminine self! The Interplay of Male & Female Energies is a healing course to become aware of the masculine and feminine energies that exist in everyone. This realization leads to the secret of feminine love and how to (re)connect with your inner feminine self.  It is not about women per se, it is about men and women who have accepted their feminine stance of being parts of a higher reality.
The purpose of the course is to become aware of our inner feminine self. Vedic scriptures emphasize the importance of feminine qualities in the world and on the spiritual path. This course benefits both men and women who want to experience their feminine spiritual mood, which is the real beauty. 

 

Access the course here!

You can also order the course through our Webstore for Windows and an online version

 

 

 

Jiva Underground Classic Now Published as E-book

We have decided to publish the treatise In Vaikuṇṭha Not Even the Leaves Fall as our first Kindle e-book since it is about to go out of print. It is a systematic and thorough analysis of the bondage of the soul or jīva according to Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava theology. The book was banned by ISKCON and has since become an “underground” classic. 

 

There is a long history behind the making of this book. Here I will just give a summary. I wrote the book in 1994 to settle a philosophical controversy that arose within ISKCON (International Society of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness) over the origin of the jīva in its conditioned existence. At that time, I had been serving as a Sanskrit teacher in the Bhaktivedanta Swami International Gurukula, Vrindavan. Although my service was to teach Sanskrit to Gurukula students, I also had begun teaching śāstras privately in my room at the request of several local devotees. I taught various books, including Bhagavad Gītā and Śrīmad Bhāgavata with the Sanskrit commentaries of our previous ācaryas. Incidentally, this was also the period when I was studying under my teacher, Om Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrī 108 Śrī Haridāsa Śāstri Mahārāja.

One of the books that I began teaching was Śrī Tattva Sandarbha of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, which is the first of the six books of the Ṣaṭ Sandarbha. Around this time (1988), Bhūrijana prabhu started the Vrindavan Institute of Higher Education (VIHE), which offered one-month courses on different subjects during the month of Kārtik. I taught the first two Sandarbhas as part of the VIHE for two consecutive years.

While I was teaching Tattva Sandarbha, some devotees proposed that I should translate the Six Sandarbhas of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī. Although feeling unqualified, I took up this project as a service to the devotees and the paramparā. Kūrma Rūpa prabhu, who was an āśrama teacher at the Gurukula and my good friend, volunteered to do the editing. Jālandhara, a gurukula student, typed out my handwritten manuscripts. On Kūrma Rūpa prabhu’s request, Kuṇḍalī prabhu also came to Vrindavan and joined our Sandarbha project. Kuṇḍalī prabhu had been living in Thailand, working as an English teacher, and had experience as an editor for Back To Godhead magazine.

Kuṇḍalī prabhu began attending my classes and was impressed with the work of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī and with my commentaries on the Sandarbhas. He thought what I was doing was unique in the whole of ISKCON and that therefore, the Sandarbhas should be published by the BBT.

From my part, I wanted to have an educational institute in ISKCON where devotees could systematically study the Gosvāmī literature. I observed that although Śrīla Prabhupāda had successfully founded ISKCON, a great preaching movement, and established hundreds of temples worldwide, the movement seemed to lack a place to deeply study the scriptures. I felt that we should fill in this lacuna for the benefit of the devotees and Śrīla Prabhupāda’s society and thus formulated the idea of establishing the Jiva Institute for Vaiṣṇava Studies. My plan was to primarily translate and comment on the works of our previous ācaryas and to teach them to interested devotees. Both Kūrma Rūpa and Kuṇḍalī prabhus were enthusiastic about the idea, so we printed a small booklet describing the aims and objectives of Jiva Institute, which we called, in short, JIVAS.

From an ISKCON-leaflet 1994: Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa with team.

To solicit support for our plan, Kuṇḍalī prabhu sent a proposal to Harikeśa Swami, a prominent ISKCON guru, BBT trustee, and director of the Swedish BBT, which was one of the BBT’s most active and flourishing divisions. Kuṇḍalī’s proposal included the translation work that we were doing and our future plan to have an educational institute. He also sent him a draft of my translation and commentary on Tattva Sandarbha. Harikeśa Swami was highly impressed by the proposal and our work, so much so that he wrote that after Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books, these books would be most important. He was one of the prominent GBCs of the Māyāpur project and for years had not visited Vrindavan. However, he came to Vrindavan to meet me, being eager to manifest the Jiva Institute.

Harikeśa Swami had long talks with me and raised various questions to understand my real intention. Being convinced of its importance and utility, he decided to support the entire project financially, to print the Sandarbhas under the Swedish BBT, to buy land for Jīva Institute, and to fund the construction. The Swedish BBT purchased a large piece of land very close to where Jīva Institute is located today. Construction work soon began under the supervision of Kāliya Kṛṣṇa prabhu, a disciple of Harikeśa Swami and the headmaster of Bhaktivedanta Swami International Gurukula. Harikeśa Swami also appointed Gopīparāṇadhana prabhu, who had worked on the Śrīmad Bhāgavata volumes printed after Śrīla Prabhupāda’s departure, to be our Sanskrit editor. Draviḍa prabhu was appointed as the final English editor. Upendrānatha prabhu had also joined us in Vrindavan, helping with typing and proofreading. We thus had a team of nine people.

The project was moving at great speed and full enthusiasm, and there was growing excitement about it in ISKCON at large, and especially at ISKCON Vrindavan. While teaching the Sandarbhas in the VIHE, however, a controversy arose over the issue of the conditioning of the living entity, the jīva. Śrī Jiva Gosvāmī clearly states that the jīva’s conditioning in the material world has no beginning and that no one can fall down from Vaikuṇṭha. He uses the word anādi (lit., beginningless) to describe the conditioning of the jīva.

My Sanskrit editor Gopīparāṇadhana prabhu was reluctant to accept my translation of anādi as beginningless. He proposed to translate it as “from time immemorial” to accommodate the ISKCON understanding that the jīva has fallen down from Vaikuṇṭha.

The controversy soon spread throughout ISKCON. We received many emails from devotees in different parts of the world, presenting their arguments against our view. There were also devotees supportive of us who shared their arguments and śāstric references.

When Tattva Sandarbha was almost ready to go to print in 1994, the translation of the word anādi was still unresolved. Gopīparāṇadhana and Draviḍa did not agree with my translation and explanation of the term; they therefore complained to the BBT trustees. The BBT then appointed Jayādvaita Swami to meet with us and mediate the controversy before the annual GBC meetings held at ISKCON headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal. This is a time when temple presidents and GBC members meet to discuss various issues and institutional policies before the Gaura Pūrṇimā festival.

In Mayapur, Kuṇḍalī and I held long discussions with our two editors in the presence of Jayādvaita Swami. The issue, however, could not be resolved because the editors as well as the mediator refused to accept my translation and explanation of the word anādi. Since the book was to be published by the BBT, a meeting was held with all the BBT trustees. I was very firm on my view, while Gopīparāṇadhana, Draviḍa, and Jayādvaita Swami were firm on theirs. They proposed that I change my translation and accept the popular ISKCON understanding. I refused, because doing so would undermine the words of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī himself. To resolve the conflict, I suggested that Gopīparāṇadhana translate the Sandarbhas and write the commentaries himself. I offered my assistance with the translation work on the condition that my name not be mentioned in the work. Gopīparāṇadhana refused to accept this solution and said that he was incompetent to translate and comment upon the Sandarbhas.

After more discussion, the trustees proposed that my translation and commentary be published without changes. However, a footnote would be added to explain Śrīla Prabhupāda’s position, which differs from that of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī. The footnote would include acknowledgment that ācaryas do have differences of opinion and that there was no harm in bringing out this difference. Kuṇḍalī and I agreed to this suggestion, but Gopīparāṇadhana, Draviḍa, and Jayādvaita Swami were still opposed.

At that time, Harikeśa Swami put pressure on Gopīparāṇadhana and Draviḍa to cooperate. Both devotees were receiving monthly remuneration from Harikeśa Swami for their contributions to the project. Therefore, after a long struggle, they agreed. With the consent of the BBT trustees, it was thus decided that Tattva Sandarbha would be printed with a footnote, explaining the opinion of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

After the meetings, we returned to Vrindavan and sent the final manuscript of the book to the Swedish BBT for printing. However, Gopīparāṇadhana, Draviḍa, and Jayādvaita Swami had not agreed from their hearts. When they returned to the United States, they made a plan to sabotage the printing. They held a meeting among themselves and with other devotees such as Hṛdayānanda dāsa Goswami, and devised a plan to stop the publication, utilizing a letter written by Drutakarma prabhu, which was published in the original Forward of this book. This letter was sent to all GBC members, temple presidents, and prominent ISKCON devotees. When Harikeśa Swami received the letter, he realized that he would be heavily criticized by ISKCON leaders if he printed the book under the auspices of the Swedish BBT. It is my conjecture that to avoid this, he immediately scraped the project, calling his disciple Kāliya Kṛṣṇa Dāsa in Vrindavan to inform him that the Sandarbha project was cancelled.

When Kāliya Kṛṣṇa relayed this news to me, I was taken aback. No explanation was given, so Kuṇḍalī called Harikeśa Swami to ask the reason for the cancellation. Harikeśa Swami simply forwarded Drutakarma’s letter in reply.

This happened on Janmāṣṭamī, so I accepted the decision as the will of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, although it was very disheartening at that time. The dream that we had nurtured for so long and that was about to manifest was crushed in a moment.

Anticipating some hidden grace from Kṛṣṇa in this whole drama, I decided not to take action against Drutakarma’s letter. I had a meeting with Kuṇḍalī and Kūrma Rūpa prabhus, my closest supporters, about our next step. We decided to print Tattva Sandarbha on our own, which we did a year later. However, Kuṇḍalī prabhu was not satisfied with this alone as he was a fiery person and loved to debate. During the period of controversy, we had numerous email exchanges with different devotees who tried to refute our point of view. Kuṇḍalī loved handling all such communication, as I had no access to a computer.

We coined the term fall-vādis for our opponents, who believe that the jīva falls down from Vaikuṇṭha out of envy for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. I had no intention of writing anything other than what Kuṇḍalī had already written during his communication with other devotees. The letter of Drutakarma, however, made him furious and he wanted to give a fitting reply. Therefore he prodded me to write a detailed refutation of the arguments presented by fall-vadis and to end the controversy once and for all. For this purpose, he presented me with a summary of their arguments.

It was on his inspiration that I wrote the first draft of this book. To give it a little sense of humor, we entitled it “In Vaikuṇṭha Not Even the Leaves Fall.” Kuṇḍalī prabhu edited my first draft and added material he had compiled from different sources. Kūrma Rūpa prabhu did the typing and Navadvīpa prabhu gladly agreed to edit it. We wrote, edited, and printed the book in about four months and then sent copies to Mayapur with Upendranātha prabhu to sell at the annual festival of 1995.

To our dismay, as soon as the books were displayed in Māyāpur, ISKCON authorities confiscated them and Upendranātha was not allowed to sell any copies. I received a phone call from Gopāla Kṛṣṇa Gosvāmī, the GBC of the Vrindavan temple, asking me to come to Māyāpur immediately and to appear before the GBC board. Kūrma Rūpa and I then traveled from Vrindavan to Māyāpur. The GBC had formed a sub-committee to deal with the issue. We first appeared before the sub-committee where I had to explain why I had written the book. I told them that I had written the book to explain the truth and that I didn’t haven a hidden agenda to deviate ISKCON from śāstric principles or to become a prominent ISKCON leader, as alleged by Drutakarma in his letter. They could not argue on the philosophical points, but asserted that the book would be a great disturbance to the devotee community and therefore should be banned. I answered, “First of all, we do not know if it will disturb or satisfy the devotees. I suggest that you select a random sample of 100 devotees. Let them read the book and then see if they are disturbed by it.” My second argument was, “What I presented is not my concoction but is the view of our previous ācaryas, which is based on śāstra. Thus it is truth. If a devotee is disturbed by knowing the truth, then he is not truly a devotee.” The sub-committee did not accept my arguments and insisted that my book would be a great disturbance.

Since they were in the majority and I was alone, I had no desire to continue arguing.  Their arguments were not logical nor could they present śāstric references to refute mine. They reported to the full GBC board that this book is very dangerous and would create a disturbance throughout ISKCON. The next day I was called to appear before the full GBC body, where I was again asked why I wrote the book. I gave my reply and they again stated their reasoning that the book would be a disturbance to the society. They therefore decided to ban this book. Along with this decision, they stipulated that I was not allowed to study outside of ISKCON nor was I allowed to give public lectures. I was only permitted to continue my service as a Sanskrit teacher at the Gurukula.

After some contemplation, I realized that my time in ISKCON was over. I had given 16 years of my youthful life in the service of ISKCON and Śrīla Prabhupāda and now had to leave to follow my convictions. Overnight I lost my connections and acquaintances, all of which were ISKCON-related. I was branded as “ an envious snake,” “a demon,” and “a killer of Prabhupāda.” I began my life anew, from scratch. This is how I left ISKCON and came to establish Jiva Institute, with the help of my family members.

Every Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava wanting to understand the nature of the jīva should read this book. Śrī Jiva Gosvāmī explains that the essence of śāstra is to impart knowledge about sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. Sambandha includes knowledge about the jīva and its relationship with Bhāgavan. It is crucial for an aspiring devotee to have clear understanding of the nature of the jīva to engage in abhidheya or the practice of bhakti to attain the ultimate goal, the prayojana. If our first step is misplaced, we cannot expect to reach the ultimate goal as enunciated in the Gosvāmī literature.

This book does not attack Śrīla Prabhupāda, ISKCON or anyone else; nor does it minimize Śrīla Prabhupāda’s position, or assert that he was wrong. Instead, it attempts to synthesize his views with the statements of our previous ācaryas.

Satyanarayana Dasa

“In Vaikuṇṭha Not Even the Leaves Fall” – Summary

This book consists of five parts or waves. Each wave is divided into chapters. The First Wave presents the conclusion or siddhānta of the Gauḍīya school and the verdict of the śāstra on the jīva’s bondage. Within the First Wave, the first three chapters relate the explanations ISKCON’s predecessor ācaryas Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatīon the jīva’s origin and the three types of jīvas. The Fourth Chapter gives references from the writings of Śrīla Prabhupāda, the Founder Acarya of ISKCON, who sometimes said that no one falls from the highest spiritual abode, Vaikuṇṭha, and at other times stated that jīvas fell from Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Why Prabhupāda made seemingly contradictory statements on this issue is answered in the Second Wave. The Fifth Chapter of the First Wave gives evidence from Śruti, Vedānta Sūtra, Govinda Bhāśya, Āgama, and the Nārada Bhakti Sūtra, all of which deny the possibility of a fall-down from Vaikuntha. Chapter Six gives further evidence from Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s commentaries on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Chapter Seven includes evidence from the writings of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, and Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī – the most prominent Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācaryas. In the following chapters of the First Wave, the term anādi (lit.,“beginningless”) is explained in detail. It is the philosophical term most commonly used by the ācaryas for describing the conditioned jīvas and is often misunderstood.

In the Second Wave, while establishing that preaching does not always mean presenting the siddhānta, we cite some historical examples of such preaching strategies being used by ISKCON’s predecessor ācāryas, including Śrīla Vyāsadeva. We conclude this wave by reconciling the siddhānta of no fall with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s statements that the jīva fell from Vaikuṇṭha. The Third Wave refutes the main objections of those who believe that the jīva fell from the spiritual world and became conditioned. In the Fourth Wave, more scriptural and logical arguments in favor of the no-fall down siddhānta are presented. The Fifth and last Wave lists the many philosophical inconsistencies in accepting a doctrine that eternally liberated spiritual beings, nitya-siddhas, can fall from Vaikuṇṭha, and then states the conclusion.

*

For some devotees, this book was a turning point in their spiritual lives. If you would like to share your realizations with other interested readers, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.

Long Awaited: Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha Released!

The Jiva Institute of Vaiśnava Studies is happy to announce the publication and availability of the fourth book in the Ṣaṭ Sandarbha series, the Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha. Here we are providing an exclusive preview of this wonderful book by making the part of the introduction available:

Among the pantheon of Hindu gods, avatāras, and/or manifestations of Bhagavān, Śrī Kṛṣṇa stands out as one of the most popular and highly revered. Even among non-Hindus, He is widely acclaimed for His universal teachings on the path of enlightenment in the form of Bhagavad Gītā, the most renowned scripture of the Hindus, and for His fascinating life-stories. In spite of this extensive notoriety, His identity remains a great enigma. No other Hindu deity is shrouded in as much mystery as He. People from different backgrounds hold diverse opinions about Kṛṣṇa, many of which seem contradictory. They consider Him as a great lover, a skilled statesman, and a highly realized mystic. As an irrepressible lover, He is famous for stealing the clothes of the young gopīs while they were bathing in the Yamunā River and for marrying 16,108 princesses. Yet, as an accomplished mystic, He is esteemed as the speaker of Bhagavad Gītā and as Yogeśvara, the “Master of Yoga,” in which celibacy and reticence are fundamental principles. He is well-known as a simple cowherder, yet He is also famous as the most venerated royal scion, who received the principal honors at Emperor Yudhiṣṭhira’s Rājasūya yajña, in the presence of the world’s foremost kings, scholars, and sages.

 

Notwithstanding Kṛṣṇa’s enigmatic nature, it is essential to gain a clear picture of His true ontological status in order to grasp the significance of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and the method by which it self-discloses truth, namely, bhakti-yoga. As established in Tattva Sandarbha (Anucchedas 50–52) with reference to the Bhāgavata’s second verse (SB 1.1.2), this Purāṇa specifically propounds the supreme dharma of humanity, which is love for Bhagavān—our very source and refuge. To be infused with transcendental love for Bhagavān, authentic and unambiguous knowledge about Him and His essential being is of utmost importance. Since Bhagavān has innumerable forms, such as Viṣṇu, Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, and Nṛsiṁha, the question must be asked, are They all equiprimordial in their constitutional status or is there some hierarchy of being among Them? To address this question, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī wrote this book, Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha.

 

The conventional and for the most part unexamined point of view is that Kṛṣṇa is simply an avatāra of Viṣṇu. In Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī uproots this misconception, demonstrating that Bhagavān Viṣṇu, being ontologically related to the play of creation and hence to immanence, is Himself implicitly included within a more complete transcendent Whole (avatārī), technically known as Svayaṁ Bhagavān, who is clearly identified in the text as Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Although Śrī Jīva previously delineated the ontology of Bhagavān in general terms in Bhagavat Sandarbha, he did not address the question of the identity of Svayaṁ Bhagavān Himself, or Bhagavān in His ownmost essential being, nature, and original form. In this respect, Kṛṣṇa’s status in regard to the various avatāras was not yet made a subject of inquiry. By first establishing a comprehensive universal understanding of Bhagavān in Bhagavat Sandarbha, Jīva Gosvāmī laid the foundation for a detailed investigation into the ontology of Svayaṁ Bhagavān in Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha. His fundamental conclusion in the latter volume is that Kṛṣṇa is the source of all other avatāras of Bhagavān and that He has no source other than Himself.

 

Jīva Gosvāmī’s primary intention in writing this book is to reveal Kṛṣṇa as the supreme object of worship and love. In the very beginning of Tattva Sandarbha, he clearly stipulated that the subject of the Six Sandarbhas is meant specifically for those whose sole aspiration is to be immersed in the bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He even declared that the Sandarbhas should be studied only by such devotees. The present Sandarbha is surely in line with this declaration. In order for a devotee to be rightly established in such bhajana, he must have a clear understanding of the true nature of his object of worship. In Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī provides this distinct and esoteric knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, the supreme worshipable deity.

 

This book is truly a work of genius. No other book in or related to its field of study can compare to it. There have been many essays or short treatises written about Kṛṣṇa, but no one else has afforded this subject such a thorough and systematic treatment. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī traces out Kṛṣṇa’s factual status among all the avatāras of Bhagavān based upon his careful study of Bhāgavata Purāna. Not only does he demonstrate that Kṛṣṇa is the original form of God, Svayaṁ Bhagavān, he goes a step further to establish a hierarchy within Kṛṣṇa’s own multifaceted manifestations. In this respect, he discloses that Kṛṣṇa as a cowherder and lover in Vraja is superior to His manifestation as a royal statesman in Mathurā and Dvārakā. This fact is so abstruse that even among Vaiṣṇavas, there are some who have difficulty in comprehending and accepting it. This precise realization, however, is crucial for the practice of rāgānugā-bhakti, or pure devotion in the wake of natural affection, which is the subject of the next book in this series, Bhakti Sandarbha. Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha is therefore the most important of all the ontological writings in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava School, because it unravels the mystery regarding the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava’s worshipable deity, which gives the school its unique identity.

 

Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha is the fourth book in the series of the Six Sandarbhas. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī wrote the first three Sandarbhas—Tattva, Bhagavat, and Paramātma—based on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa’s famous “vadanti” verse (SB 1.2.11). In these three books, he elaborated on the key words mentioned in this verse: tattva, brahma, paramātmā, and bhagavān. While treating their own graded thematic subjects, these first three Sandarbhas ultimately serve as an introduction to the fourth volume, Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha, in which Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī ascertains the identity of the original form of Bhagavān. In doing so, he brings to light the true significance of another key phrase from the vadanti verse—namely, that ultimate reality (tattva) is nondual consciousness (advaya-jñāna). Śrī Jīva conclusively establishes that this phrase is a reference to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Nondual Personal Absolute replete with His own interiority.

 
To order the book, please visit Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha in the Jiva online store.
For more information and downloads visit sandarbhas.jiva.org.

A Gauḍīya Legend Has Left this World

by Satyanarayana Dasa

Yesterday morning, November 11th 2018, Jagadānada prabhu came shouting at my main entrance gate around 8.30 am. I just heard him saying, “Ananta Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja has …!” I thought Bābājī Mahārāja had come to Jiva Institute. So I rushed to the gate only to discover that has left his body. It was a very sad news. The Vaiṣṇava community of Vraja lost a great saint and scholar in Śrī Ananta Dāsa Bābā Jī Mahārāja.

Bābājī Mahārāja was the greatest living Vaiṣṇava of Vraja. He was exemplary in his conduct. Whenever I met him, he treated me with so much respect that I felt embarrassed. He would not let me sit on the floor in front of him. Being such a senior Vaiṣṇava and Mahant of Rādhākuṇḍa, he behaved so humbly. There was no air of pride in him.  He was always absorbed in nāma-smaraṇa.

Read any of his books and you will be amazed at his scholarship while bringing to life the pastimes of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa that contain the Gauḍīya siddhānta.

He spent ten years traveling to remote villages teaching the message of Mahāprabhu and giving dikṣā in the line of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrīmatī Jāhnavā Mātā through the descendants of Śrī Dhanañjaya Paṇḍita before settling in Rādhākuṇḍa. Later, recognizing his humility and purity of heart, the seniormost Vaiṣṇavas of Rādhākuṇḍa elected him as the Mahanta of Rādhākuṇḍa, the 34th representative of the seat of Śrī Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī.

He has written extensive commentaries on forty of the main books of the Gosvāmīs and their contemporaries. His original works include around ten books of bhakti-related glorifications plus twelve books explaining the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya tattva in simple but elevated language for the spiritual upliftment of the general public. A number of his books have been translated into English and Russian.

 

Mahanta Ananta Dasji and Satyanarayan Dasji

Being situated in Vrindavan, I did not get too many opportunities to meet him. But the few times that I got his darshan created a great impression on my mind. Even in his old age, he was ready to give his darshan whenever I went to see him.

Over the last few years, he received Ayurvedic treatment from my brother, who come on several occasions from Faridabad to see Bābājī Mahārāja.

Ananta das Babaji with Dr. Partap Chauhan and Satyanaryana Dasa Babaji at Jiva Institute
Ananta Dāsa Bābājī at Jiva Institute

Once, when my brother was coming to Vrindavan, Bābājī Mahārāja came to know about his visit. So he did not hesitate to personally come to Jiva Institute in Vrindavan to see my brother. I was truly taken aback. He could have just sent a message for my brother to come to Rādhākuṇḍa. But out of his natural humility, he did not consider that.

Another time I went with my brother to see him at Rādhākuṇḍa. Bābājī Mahārāja offered him the same respect that any ordinary patient would have offered his physician.

AD Babaji and SND BabajiLast year my own health was very bad and I was physically very weak. Bābājī Mahārāja used to send me invitations to attend the tirobhāva mahotsava of his Guru Mahārāja. Being aware of my health condition, he sent his disciple Bābā Keśava Dāsa to personally invite me. I expressed my inability to attend because of my fragile health. In his great compassion, Bābājī Mahārāja called and blessed me to regain my health. He was very concerned about it although he himself had many physical ailments.

I often think that the traditional breed of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas is gradually disappearing from the Vraja area. I think there is no replacement for them. They are like an old species that is becoming extinct. I consider myself highly fortunate that I got the opportunity to get the blessings of a great saint like Paṇḍita Bābājī Mahārāja.

 

 

 

Some thoughts on Ananta Das Babaji’s Entry into Nitya-lila by Jagadananda prabhu

 

Guru Pūrṇimā—An Offering of Love

The auspicious day of Guru Pūrṇimā falls on the full moon day in the month of Āṣāḍha (June-July) as per the Hindu calendar. It is the day when the guru is honored by offering pūjā and respect to him. It is celebrated by thousands of disciples of various gurus around the world. Especially in Vrindavan, it is a big festival with a long tradition. In Braj this day coincides with the disappearance day of Santana Gosvami, the most senior of the famous Six Gosvamis, who rediscovered the lost holy places of Braj about five hundred years ago.

In honor and memory of his beloved Gurudeva, Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī Mahārāja, Babaji Śrī Satyanarayana Dasa composed the following beautiful aṣṭakam:

 

  Śrī Gurudevāṣṭakam

(1)

purulīya-gataṁ vara-bhūsura-jaṁ
abhirāma-mukhaṁ śuci-hema-tanum
madhuhaika-gatiṁ hari-dhāma-matiṁ
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam 

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who appeared in the county of Purulīya, West Bengal, in a high-class brāhmaṇa family, who had a very pleasing face and a body of fair color. As his goal was to attain Kṛṣṇa, he meditated on going to Vṛndāvan.

(2)

yuvako hi mudā mathurā-puri-gaṁ
yati-rūpa-virājita-deva-sitam
 vraja-sādhu-śiromaṇi-labdha-varaṁ
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who, as a young boy, left his family and happily traveled to Mathurā. From there he walked to the temple of Śrī Govindadeva in Vrindavan. Later he met the prime sadhu of Vraja, Śrī Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa Dāsa Bābājī, and was blessed by him.

(3)

guru-diṣṭa-paraṁ yati-veśa-dharaṁ
sama-śāstra-rataṁ śiva-deśa-gatam
kuṭi-vāsa-karaṁ janatā-virataṁ
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who wholeheartedly followed the instruction of his guru, who accepted the renounced order of a bābāji, who engaged in the study of various divisions of śāstra, who went to Benaras to study, who lived in a solitary room after returning from Benaras, and who was not given to socializing.

(4)

kṛta-mauna-varaṁ hari-nāma-paraṁ
vidhivat-yamunā-salilāharakam
payaḥpāna-param hari-dhyāna-dharaṁ
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who took a vow of silence and engaged in nāma-japa, who regularly went to the Yamuna to bathe and bring water to worship his deities, who lived on drinking milk, and who engaged in līlā-smaraṇam.

(5)

śrī-vinoda-mahāśaya-śiṣya-varaṁ
guru-pāda-surāga-virāga-dharam
sadhu-vartma-sarūpa-śiromaṇikam
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who is the prime disciple of Śrī Gaura Śiromaṇi Vinoda-vihārī Mahāśaya, who had love for his own Gurudeva, who was dispassionate in worldly affairs, and who was the supreme ideal for a follower on the path of bhakti.

(6)

śrī-gadādhara-gaura-nikāya-karaṁ
śruti-sāra-vicāra-vilāsa-param
itihāsa-purāṇa-śruti-cayakaṁ
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who established a temple of Śrī Gadādhara Gaura, who relished deliberating on the meaning of the scriptures, and who built a library containing all the divisions of scriptures.

(7)

bādarāyaṇa-sūtra-samanvayadaṁ
virala-śruti-jāta-vikāśa-karam
upadeśa-vilāsa-rataṁ satataṁ
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who compiled a book pointing out Bhāgavata verses that explain the meaning of the Vedānta-sūtras, who translated and published about one hundred rare books, and who was always happy to teach scriptures to his students.

(8)

vatsa-go-sukhadaṁ vṛṣa-rāgakaraṁ
caraṇāśrita-mānava-tāpa-haram
śiṣya-saṅkula-vandita-pāda-yugaṁ
praṇamāmi mudā guru-pāda-yugam

I happily bow down at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, who served the calves and cows to make them happy, who loved bulls, who relieved the suffering of those who took his shelter, and whose lotus feet are worshiped by hosts of disciples.

(9)

adhamāpacitaṁ haridās-varaṁ
haridāsa-nivāsa-nivāsa-param
mayakā laṣitaṁ haridāsa-padaṁ
gāyakāya bhaved varadaṁ lalitam

With this prayer consisting of eight verses, this lowly being has worshiped the best of the devotees, Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śri Śrī 108 Śrī Śrīmad Haridāsa Śāstri Mahārāja, who ever resides in the āśrama called Śrī Haridāsa Nivāsa. My only wish is to attain the service to the feet of the devotees and Gurudeva. May one who sings this prayer get their wishes fulfilled.

Sri Haridasa Shastri Maharajji in front of mandir

 

Sanskrit Classes at Jiva Institute

By Vinode Vani Devi Dasi

Vinode Vani Devi

As we move into 2018 during year two of the Bhakti-tirtha course, our residential students have comfortably settled into the two-track program. Track one consists of classes by Satyanarayana das Babaji; this year we are focusing on Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, eastern division, chapters 2-4, and Alaṅkāra-kaustubha by Kavi Karnapur. Track two is Sanskrit, taught by Jagadananda das, and consists of both level one and two classes.

Sanskrit classes at Jiva Institute are not mandatory but the students as a group have developed a clear vision of how Sanskrit instruction is key to the mission of Jiva Institute. Babaji’s main service here is to translate and publish Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava literature, specifically the work of Śri Jīva Gosvāmī. Another scholar based here, Dr. Demian Martin, focuses on the unpublished works of Śri Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. The amount and depth of serious scholarship needed in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava community ensures that there is practically unlimited work to be done in rediscovering, translating, publishing, and preserving the works of previous Vaiṣṇava scholars. For this work, a team of dedicated and highly educated Vaiṣṇava scholars is essential. Babaji is providing residential facilities and free instruction to interested individuals who are able to devote six months a year to studying both Sanskrit and śāstra.

Aside from the need for competent Vaiṣṇava translators, both Babaji and Jagadananda prabhu suggest that to correctly understand the Bhāgavatam or other Vaiṣṇava literature, the reader would do well to read the work in its original language. The samādhī experience of Śrila Vyāsadeva, the mind of Vritrāsura, or the hidden meanings of the gopīs’ prayers may not be fully conveyed in a translation from the original Sanskrit. Kṛṣṇa is Himself the words of the Bhāgavatam; each Sanskrit syllable has unlimited potency and rasa, sufficient to overwhelm the materially addicted mind and bring about a revolution in consciousness. Aside from these transcendental benefits, the study of Sanskrit naturally includes the study of Vedic culture and history. It is a means to discipline the mind of the student, teach moral values and instill saintly character. What is there not to love about studying Sanskrit?

Jagadananda prabhu, our Sanskrit instructor, has a long history as both a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scholar and Sanskrit instructor. He served as a Sanskrit editor for ISKCON Press in 1972, and then as the first Sanskrit teacher at the early ISKCON Gurukula in Dallas, Texas, USA. While living in West Bengal, he studied at the Nabadwip Sanskrit College. Jagadananda finally completed a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) in 1992. His dissertation was on Śri Jīva Gosvāmī’s Gopāla-campū. More recently, he taught Sanskrit at the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh, which published his textbook, Sādhaka Pāṭhyam. This Sanskrit manual has been adapted for use by the Jiva Tirtha students and includes the morning prayers, principal verses from the Bhagavad Gītā, and basic Sanskrit lessons. The Jiva Tirtha Sanskrit manual also continues to undergo revisions and expansion as the needs of the students become clearer.

Absorbed in teaching: Jagadananda Dasa

The initial Bhakti-tirtha course syllabus outlined the focus of the Sanskrit instruction thus:

The course will cover the most important aspects of the entire Sanskrit grammar. It will give students a working knowledge of the most important aspects of Sanskrit grammar together with core vocabulary and prepare them for the more advanced Sanskrit grammar studies taught in the traditional way.

The goal of this course is to give a student the basic knowledge of the Sanskrit language which will enable him or her to study the original Bhagavad Gītā, Upaniṣads, Rāmāyana, etc., initially aided by word-by-word translations. This will be the first step to prepare a student to approach more complex Sanskrit Vaiṣṇava literature, such as Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with its commentaries or the Gosvāmīs’ works.

I might add that Jagadananda prabhu also has a love for conversational Sanskrit, much to the delight or distress of my fellow students. Couple this with his impressive memory for ślokas and Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava history and you have the makings of a dynamic, fun and sometimes tangential Sanskrit class! You may read about his teaching method and objectives here on his blog:

Americans and other people born in the core Anglosphere are often unilingual and have a blind spot about their own conditioning. By learning another operating system, especially one like Sanskrit, which is the medium for an entire civilization, we have the opportunity to do more than just enrich our own personality or satisfy our thirst for knowledge:  it gives us a new way of perceiving and interpreting the world, and thereby insights into the common purpose of humanity. [excerpt]

More impressively, students who had given up on Sanskrit, including myself, have been revived and some second-year students have sufficient knowledge now to help with Sanskrit editing and the tutoring of other students. I would say that this is evidence of an effective teaching program, to produce students who are self-motivated to learn and teach others! What then are we missing? More serious students! Consider embarking on a life of scholarship and deep sādhanā by joining us for year three of the Bhakti-tirtha course!

 

sarvasya cāha hdi sanniviṣṭo
matta smtir jñānam apohana ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kd veda-vid eva cāham

“I am situated in the heart of all beings. From me come remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness. I alone am to be known through all the Vedas. Indeed, I am the author of the Vedānta, and I alone am the knower of the Vedas.” (BG 15.15)