Tag Archives: Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa

Update: Bhakti-tirtha Course 2016

The classroom at Jiva
The classroom

The first Bhakti-tirtha Course at Jiva Institute will be inaugurated on 16th October 2016. His Holiness Srivata Gosvami of Radha-raman Mandir will be the chief guest.  This course is a unique opportunity to study Gaudiya Vaishnava scriptures in specific and the Sad Darshanas in general, which are necessary to understand Gaudiya philosophy properly. Such an opportunity may not come again because our lives are not eternal.

Jiva Institute
Jiva Institute for Vaisnava Studies

Therefore anybody who is serious about knowing the Gaudiya siddhanta in a systematic and lucid way and who can afford to come and study at Jiva Vrindavan for six months a year for the next five years, should not miss this opportunity.

All classes are free of charge, but there will be a yearly registration fee of US $250 to cover administrative expenses. Students who plan to stay at Jiva ashram need to pay for boarding and lodging.

The details of the various courses and the books required are as follows:

1) Introduction to Sanskrit

2) Study of the Yoga Sutras for the first part of the course, followed by Tattva Sandarbha and further by Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu.

3) Nyaya Sutras for the first part of the course followed by Tarka-sangraha (Nyaya)

4) Readings from Gopala Campu

 

Class schedule from Monday through Friday:

Period Time Part 1 Part 2
1 10 am Sanskrit (16th Oct – 31st March 2017)
2 11 am Yoga Sutras (16th Oct. – Mid. Dec.) Tattva Sandarbha / BRS
3 12 am Nyaya Sutras (16th Oct. – End of Nov.) Tarka-sangraha
4 5 pm Gopal Campu (16th Oct – 31st March 2017)

 

Babaji in Vilnius May 2015The classes on Sanskrit, Tattva Sandarbha by Jiva Gosvami, Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu by Rupa Gosvami, and Tarka-sangraha will be given by Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa. Tarka Sangraha is an entry level book which is a systematic overview of Nyaya/Vaisheshika in its newer (navya) period.

Edwin_TeachingAdvaita Prabhu Das (Prof. Edwin Bryant) will teach the Yoga Sutras, which is helpful in understanding the first two chapters of Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu. This course will consist of a close reading the the Yoga Sutras, the classical Vaidica text on the nature of mind and consciousness. It will especially engage the first chapter, which outlines the various stages of samadhi, as well as the second chapter, which focuses on the mechanisms underpinning rebirth and samsara, and the requisite practices for purifying the mind such that it can engage in meditative practices culminating in samadhi.  Additionally, the course will compare and contrast the goals and techiniques underpinning Patanjali’s classical dhyana yoga with the smarana practices of Vaishnava bhakti. Students will be provided with a copy of the Sutras with the Sanskrit text and English translation.

Prof. Matthew R. Dasti will teach the Nyaya Sutras. This course will study the fundamental text of ancient Nyaya by lookingDasti, Matthew at some of its most important debates and discussions. These include a defense of the existence of the self, an argument that God must exist as creator, and a vindication of the reality of the world against Buddhist skeptics and idealists. Readings will be English translations of passages of the sutras with portions of important commentaries. This course is coupled with the Tarka Sangraha taught by Babaji.

jagatJagadananda Das (Dr. Jan Brzezinski) will read from Jiva Gosvami’s classical literary composition Gopala Campu, which narrates the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. We will start in the beginning, referring to the relevant portions of Krishna Sandarbha and Vaishnava Toshani Bhagavata commentaries, reading from there also according to need. We will start by explaining things in easy Sanskrit and then translate into English, according to the level of qualification of the students . The point will be to make the readings as enjoyable as possible rather than to make it an intellectual exercise per se.

 

Importance of Sanskrit and Nyaya

Knowledge of the Sanskrit language and Nyaya is essential to understand any school of Vedic thought. Therefore, one should not think that these two subjects have no utility for a devotee.

Among the traditional Indian Sanskrit scholars there is a very popular saying, kanadam paniniyam ca sarva sastropakarakam (“The knowledge of Logic and Sanskrit grammar are indispensable to understand any scripture”).

This course is not meant to just give theoretical knowledge, but also to have a personal experience of Gaudiya Philosophy and an understanding of how to practically apply it in life.

Sanskrit

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 to 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 Bhagavat Gita, Upanishads, Ramayana, etc., initially aided by word-by-word translations. This will be the first step to prepare a student to approach more complex Sanskrit Vaishnava literature such as Srimad Bhagavatam with its commentaries or the Gosvamis’ works. The knowledge of Sanskrit acquired in this course will be put to immediate use while studying Nyaya and Tattva-Sandarbha, two other subjects of the 6-month program. This course will give a student a working knowledge of the most important aspects of Sanskrit grammar together with core vocabulary. It will also prepare a student to the more advanced Sanskrit grammar studies taught in the traditional way  using Aṣṭādhyāyī by Pāṇini or Śrī Harināmāmṛta-vyākaraṇam by Jiva Goswami.

The course will cover the most important aspects of the entire Sanskrit grammar, including the following topics:

  1. Pronunciation and alphabet. 2. Sandhi 3. Parts of speech and Sanskrit sentence. 4. Noun declension system 5. Pronouns and their declension 6. Numerals and their declension. 7. Verb present system and gaṇa conjugations. 8. Non-gaṇa tenses and conjugations 10. Participles 11. Other verbal forms (Gerund, Gerundive, etc.) 12. Secondary verb conjugations (causative, desiderative, intensive) 13. Aorist system 14. Adverbs 15. Common prefixes and suffixes 16. Samasa (compounds) 17. Syntactic constructs (locative/genitive absolute constructions, etc.)

Daily Class and Homework:

A daily 45-min class will include an explanation of a particular grammar topic, a short grammar and/or vocabulary quiz, reading and translation exercises, homework-based short story telling and question answering in Sanskrit, etc. Daily homework will include grammar exercises, reading and translation of original Sanskrit texts, such as Bhagavat Gita or Hitopadesha, memorization of Sanskrit vocabulary as well as word paradigms.

Note: Given the richness and complexity of the Sanskrit language a fair amount of grammar and vocabulary daily memorization is necessary. This is actually a great blessing as memorization is one of the best ways to keep one’s brain sharp.

Prerequisites: This introductory course does not require any prior knowledge of Sanskrit except the knowledge of the Devanagari script.

Textbooks: This course will primarily use the textbook by R. Goldman and S. Sutherland Goldman, Devavāṇīpraveśikā (available from Amazon)

In addition “A Sanskrit Grammar for Students” by Arthur McDonell is quite useful.

There are a number of useful Sanskrit resources for the smart phones (iPhone, Android), such as “Sanskrit Primer”, a free application, and Sanskrit-English Dictionary, a paid application by Academic Room.

Here is playful way a learning Sankrit declensions online: Memrise

 

Tarka Sangraha: Introduction to Nyaya philosophy

Textbooks:

  1. Navya-Nyaya-Bhasa-Pradipa

(Mm. Mahesh Chandra Nyayaratna)

A primer of Nava Nyaya Language and Methodology to understand the terminology of Nyaya.

English translation, printed by Asiatic Society 2004

  1. Tarka Sangraha with Nyaya-bodhini commentary

Textbooks on Tarka Sangraha, Yoga Sutras and Nyaya Sutras are available in Vrindavan and will be made available at Jiva Institute at the cost price. For Sanskrit we will supply free soft copies.

Bhakti-Tirtha Teachers
Board of Professors

 

Those who are not able to attend the course thiso year can receive all audio lectures for a fee of $ 108 per month on a monthly basis. They also have the facility to participate in weekly Question and Answer sessions over an electronic conference system. For the complete course it will $ 550.- for distant learners, payable before the course starts. Those who are registered and physically attend the course in Vrindavan can receive the recordings for 30 US $ per month or for 150 US $ if paid in advance for 6 months. Registrations should be addressed to: jaya@jivaseva.com. Payments can be made through the website.

Next year a new Bhakti-tirtha course will also be offered for beginners.

Classes on the Yoga Sutras, Tattva Sandarbha, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and Gopal Champu will be open to the public, and not restricted only to registered students. The classes on Sanskrit and Nyaya can only be attended by students who are registered for the complete course.

 

 

 

The Meaning of Non-Existence and its Implications on the Self’s Bondage

By Satyanarayana Dasa

In Indian Logic (Nyāya), non-existence is called abhāva. There are various divisions and subdivisions of non-existence.

 

 

Mutual Non-Existence (anyo’nya-abhāva)

“Mutual non-existence” means non-existence due to being different. For instance, a table is different from a chair. In a table, a chair does not exist. This is true for all three phases of time: A chair never existed within a table, nor does it currently exist within a table, nor will it ever in the future exist within a table. The chair and the table mutually demonstrate the non-existence of the other, because they are eternally different from each other.

Co-relational Non-Existence (saṁsarga-abhāva)

Another, more significant, type of non-existence is inherent within the object itself – not merely demonstrated by the object not existing within another object. There are three types of such “co-relational non-existence,” differentiated by the time at which the non-existence occurs.

Prior Non-Existence (prāg-abhāva)

Before an object came into existence, it was non-existent. That is “prior non-existence.” It implies that a non-existent object could be created, produced or generated in future.

Indian Logic accepts eight general and three specific causes of any creation. The eight general causes are:

1. God
2. God’s knowledge
3. God’s will
4. God’s effort
5. Fate
6. Prāg-abhāva
7. Space
8. Time

Prāg-abhāva is particularly significant, because if an object is not initially non-existent, there is no question of “creating” it. If there is no non-existence, it means that the object already exists.

To give an example: Before a cake comes into existence, its non-existence was prevailing without any beginning. This non-existence is called prāg-abhāva. However, when the cake is produced, its non-existence terminates.

Subsequent Non-Existence (pradhvaṁs-abhāva)

Continuing with the example of a cake, when it is entirely eaten the cake once again exists no more. This is “subsequent non-existence.” It implies that the object previously existed.

“Subsequent non-existence” has no end. Never again will that specific cake come back into existence. It will always remain non-existent. “Prior non-existence has an end, but no beginning; and “Subsequent non-existence” has a beginning but no end.

Eternal Non-Existence (atyanta-abhāva)

“Eternal non-existence” refers to things that never existed in the past and will never exist in the future, like the horns of a rabbit.

Implications for the “Fall of the Soul”

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī says the living entity suffers because of an ignorance that has no beginning (prag-abhāva). Ignorance is merely the non-existence of knowledge, in this case of the Supreme Lord. In other words, the living entity suffers because of “prior non-existence” of divine knowledge.

This ignorance cannot be “subsequent non-existence of divine knowledge.” Because if it were so, then divine knowledge would have existed before the ignorance. However, it is a dictum that one who has knowledge of the Supreme Lord can never be put into ignorance. So Jīva Gosvāmī describes the soul’s ignorance as “beginningless” – the soul never possessed the divine knowledge to begin with. And this is why the jīva is called nitya-baddha, “ever-conditioned.”

When we apply this to the question of when, how or if the living entity fell from the spiritual world, we can conclude that he never fell, because his conditioned state has no beginning. This is the meaning of nitya-baddha. This also implies that it is possible to bring ignorance to an end. “Prior non-existence of knowledge” can be ended when one attains divine knowledge.

When divine knowledge comes into existence, it will never end. It puts ignorance into “subsequent non-existence” which is an endless condition. Therefore a person with divine knowledge is called nitya-siddha, “ever-liberated.” Such persons never fall down. This is the meaning of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s statement, yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama: “reaching which one never returns – this is my supreme abode” (BG 15.6).

This abode, the Lord’s planet (dhāma), is not physical. When we say, “after going there,” we think “going” means moving from one physical location to another, but this is not the case here. “Going” here refers to consciousness: When one’s consciousness “goes” transcendental, it cannot be lost, na nivartante.

Therefore, once a person becomes liberated, he cannot be bound again, and if someone is conditioned, there is no question that he or she was liberated prior to that.

That is the meaning of Jīva Gosvāmī’s statement in Priti Sandharbha (Anuccheda 1), saṁsargābhāva yuktatvena: A person’s pre-non-existence of knowledge implies that there is a possibility of acquiring knowledge. Although the ignorance has no beginning, it has an end.

“Eternal”

Anything which has no prior non-existence, is called “eternal.” Things which were never created cannot be destroyed, they are outside the influence of chronology. Kṛṣṇa, for example, has no prior non-existence, therefore the terms “creation”, “existence” or “destruction” do not apply to Kṛṣṇa. To say Kṛṣṇa has existence implies in terms of Logic that prior to existence He did not exist, the non-existence was destroyed and then He came into existence. Obviously, this is not applicable to eternal objects.

Boat on the GangaHowever, this is not the case when it comes to ignorance, because ignorance itself is not a substance, it is merely the non-existence of another substance: knowledge. Thus, although it is beginningless, it has an end. Owing to our material conditioning, we think that everything has a beginning, and sometimes ācāryas may explain philosophy in terms implying that ignorance has a beginning, to circumvent the material conditioning that often prevents us from understanding the concept of “beginningless.”

Eternal beings like Kṛṣṇa and everything directly related to Him (e.g., His associates, His planets and His pastimes) have no beginning. Māyā and material nature are also related to Kṛṣṇa, and thus also have no beginning. We are also related to Kṛṣṇa, therefore we ourselves have no beginning and we seem to accept it without much thought. However, when it comes to our conditioned state, we somehow seem to object that our ignorance is beginningless.

Even though we may feel troubled by the thought that our ignorance has no beginning, we can rejoice to know that it can come to an end.