Vaikuṇṭha-Fall in Grammar

Question: In his Hari Nāmamṛta Vyākaraṇa, in one of his vṛtti commentaries, Jīva Gosvāmī analyzes the declension of words “vaikuṇṭha-dhvas” and “vaikuṇṭha-sras”, which both mean “one who falls down from Vaikuṇṭha”. One may, of course, argue that the words refer to Jaya and Vijaya. But if they were indeed the only souls who fell down from Vaikuṇṭha, why would Jīva Gosvāmī make such an exceptional case into a generic grammatical rule?

Answer: Interesting question and I thank you for asking it. I have the following answers:

  1. My first answer is by prativādī-abhyugama-nyāya, which means accepting the opponent’s view, (also called tusyatu-durajana-nyāya).  Even if I accept your translation of the word vaikuṇṭha-dhvas as “one who has fallen from Vaikuṇṭha,” it does not go against the conception of “No-fall-down vāda,” because one who falls down does not have to be a resident of Vaikuṇṭha, i.e. a devotee. It could be the rasa, as is said in SB 1.1.3 galitam-phalam. While commenting on this word Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thākura writes, “that fruit in the form of rasa which has fallen (patitam) meaning come down (avatirṇam) from Vaikuṇṭha.” So then this rasa can be called vaikuṇṭha-dhvas. I am using the word rasa and not phalam because phalam is neuter gender. My point is that which falls down does not have to be a devotee. It could be anything coming down from there. Falling down could simply mean descending.
  2. According to Pāṇiniya Dhātupāṭha, dhavṁsū avasraṁsane gatu ca, the dhātu-dhavṁsū means “to slip down” or “to go.” So falling down does not have to be taken in a negative sense. It could simply mean “coming down” or “descending,” as in case of the word “avatāra.” Secondly, it does not have to be a devotee but could be anything that is masculine in gender.
  3. As said above, “to fall down” is not the only meaning of this dhātu. If we take the second meaning (gatu), then there is no problem. Then it means one who has come from Vaikuṇṭha.
  4. You probably know the famous saying in vyākaraṇadhātvanam anekartha – dhātus have many meanings and not just the one given in dhātu-pāṭha. Actually, the most popular meaning of dhavṁsū dhātu is not “to fall down” but  “to destroy.” You can check the dictionary for this and I am sure you have come across the word dhvaṁsa used in the sense of destruction.
  5. The word vaikuṇṭha does not only mean the abode of the Lord. It is also a name of Bhagavān. See, SB 2.10.4, sthitir vaikuṇṭha-vijayaḥ.So the word could refer to something that has fallen from Him, perhaps His stick or the peacock feather from His head. It can also be a madhyam-pada-lopī-samāsa, a compound word in which the middle term has been dropped.
  6. The word could be used by the pūrvapakṣis, not by siddhāntīs. Siddhāntīs use it to refute the opponents. For example, Jīva Gosvāmī uses the word śaśa-viṣāṇa (rabbit’s horn), but this does not mean he believes that such a thing exists. In other words, grammar is just giving an example of words and that does not mean that the word is establishing a siddhānta. It could be an opponent’s view
  7. Now my real answer: I do not agree that the word vaikuṇṭha-dhvas means “one who has fallen from Vaikuṇṭha.” To get that meaning, you have to make a pancami tat-puruṣa samāsa (kṛṣṇa-puruṣa in HNV terminology) between vaikuṇṭha and dhvasa. Dhvasa is a kvibanta and not kṛdanta. There is no sūtra to make such a samāsa. There is no sāmarthya (capability) to make a paṇcamī tat-puruṣa samāsa. The only way you can do that is if you have the kṛdanta word dhvasta instead of dhvasa. But that is not the case here.
  8. So according to me, it is a ṣaṣṭhī tat-puruṣa samāsa and then it means dhvasa of Vaikuṇṭha. Now depending upon which meaning you give to dhvasa—fall, slip, movement etc.—you will get the corresponding meaning.According to our understanding, there cannot be fall, slip or movement of Vaikuṇṭha, the abode of Bhagavān. Therefore the only possibility is that Vaikuṇṭha here means Kṛṣṇa Himself, and then the meaning would be that Kṛṣṇa may fall down, slip while playing, etc. Alternatively, Vaikuṇṭha could also be the name of a person in the material world.
  9. No commentator—Amrita or Bāla—has given the meaning “one who has fallen from Vaikuṇṭha”. So I do not agree that Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has this meaning in mind while forming this word. In sūtra 6.79 (Brihad HNV), he gives the example of svarga-patita – “one fallen from heaven.” But I see no example of falling from Vaikuṇṭha.

3 thoughts on “Vaikuṇṭha-Fall in Grammar”

  1. Why SRIPAD SANKARCHARYA and his teaching not accepted in Gaudiya Vaishnavism?

    If SRIPAD SANKARCHARYA is LORD SIVA’S incarnation then why don’t Gaudiyas accept him ? As LORD SIVA is topmost among VAISNAVAS as per SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM.

    1. We accept Sankaracarya but not his teachings, because they are against the principles of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Moreover, Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a separate school that has its own theology based on Srimad Bhagavatam. Even if his teachings were not against Vaishnavism in general but were not aligned with Gaudiya Vaishnavism theology, we would not accept them, just as there are great Vaishnava acaryas whom we accept and respect, but we do not agree with all their teachings. These acaryas themselves don’t agree with each other on certain points, so even if we were to accept them, whom of them would we accept? We cannot accept all of them since they are in disagreement with each other and if we accepted only one of them, there would be no point in calling ourselves as a separate school of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Every school has specific principles that make is distinct from other schools.

  2. thanks for clarifying from the HNV standpoint. hoping that this will close the case of all fall-vadi for once and all. siksa has to come from the one who is thoroughly studied and grasped all the intricacies of shastra, otherwise, this type of confusion arises that are detrimental to the bhakti path.

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