Facts We Should Know

March 8, 2014 |

English; Pune, Maharashtra, India

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Question: Can you throw some light on the philosophy of Vivekananda? I have read that he was a contemporary of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. What is his philosophy? Is it bona fide?… Expand>

Question:

Can you throw some light on the philosophy of Vivekananda? I have read that he was a contemporary of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. What is his philosophy? Is it bona fide?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

Does that make him bona fide? Well, why Vivekānanda? There are so many - this ānanda, that ānanda; there are so many people. Why not concentrate on the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa given in Bhagavad-gītā? Is what Vivekānanda says the same as what Kṛṣṇa says? Well, Vivekānanda went to America. Śrīla Prabhupāda went to America. Vivekānanda brought back one woman from the West. Śrīla Prabhupāda made hundreds and thousands of people from the West follow all the principles of pure bhakti along the principle of Bhagavad-gītā: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. So, we can see that Śrīla Prabhupāda did what Kṛṣṇa said and Vivekānanda didn’t. So why give any importance to him? Of course, he is famous in the world, but so many people are famous. Vivekānanda sai d, whatever his philosophy might be… Of course, his guru’s philosophy was yata mata tata patha — as many paths… as many opinions, that many paths - which directly contradicts what Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. His guru was eating beef, so what kind of paramparā is that? That’s documented. In the name of proving that all paths are the same he followed Islam and ate beef for some time. So, if you want to think he is bona fide, you can follow him and go wherever he is going. But we want to go to Kṛṣṇa. People who eat meat like Vivekānanda and smoke… Of course, there are śāstric provisions for eating meat, but in general that should not be done. Those who do, they’re… That’s tāmasic, that’s in the mode of ignorance. We can’t think that there’ll be any good result from doing that; even if they are famous. There are so many famous swamis in the world today. They are almost all bogus. 

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Question: I would like to ask for clarification of one subject, namely, Krishna's "assuming" different forms. In one of the classes that had been uploaded on the bvks.com you spoke about the Lord not "assuming" the form, as far as I remember, you made the point that these forms of the Lord do exist eternally and that… Expand>

Question:

I would like to ask for clarification of one subject, namely, Krishna's "assuming" different forms. In one of the classes that had been uploaded on the bvks.com you spoke about the Lord not "assuming" the form, as far as I remember, you made the point that these forms of the Lord do exist eternally and that the forms of the material world are the "copies" and not the other way round. You also made the point that the word "assume" should probably not be used in the verse.

Today we were listening to the class by Srila Prabhupada and he also spoke on the topic and this is what he said:

"So sometimes this earthly planet was thrown into the water, Garbhodaka-samudra, Garbhodaka Sea, and God took the form of a boar, having two tusks — because it was easier. Just like shovel, you take something like that. So He took the earth. So that is described: ksitir iha vipulatare tisthati tava… No. What is that? Dasana-sikhare? The, this is described in Jayadeva's prayer. Vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna. Vasati, "is resting"; vasati dasana-sikhare, "on the top of the tusk." Kesava dhrta- sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare. So He's yajnesa. It is not that He's… is shape was just like hog, but He's not hog. Don't misunderstand. His shape was a gigantic hog. You can just imagine what kind of hog He was. The shape was like hog, but He was resting the whole planet, earthly planet, on the tusk. Vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna sasini kalanka, kesava dhrta- sukara-rupa. Here it is stated, saukaram. Saukaram means like hog. Not that He's hog. He's yajnesa. He can take any shape. Just like here is, God has assumed the shape of a lion, half-lion, half-man. So He's all powerful, He can take any shape, any form, but He is not that form. That is for the time being. For the time being, He assumes so many forms. The real form is Krsna, the original form. Kesava dhrta-sukara, sukara-rupa or sukara-rupa. "My Lord Kesava, You have assumed this form." So there are many millions and millions of forms of God. According to time, necessity, circumstances, He assumes different forms. Because it is His business:

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham
[Bg. 4.7]

He appears as soon as there are discrepancies in the methodical way."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.7 — Los Angeles, September 13, 1972

I remember discussing this very same point with Gokula Candra Prabhu when we were in Salem, and the conclusion was that these forms do exist eternally, but from the above statement by Srila Prabhupada it seems to be otherwise. Could you clarify that please so that I may understand this properly?

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Is there a central principle for the establishment of Varnasrama Dharma? Different scholarly devotees have given different perspectives on the subject: (i) There must be segregation of sexes and they should only interact in a ritualistic manner to produce children, who would presumably be high class Brahmanas, being products of controlled sex and Vaisnava rituals, (ii) The seminal lineages of Brahmanas must be restored through training in scriptures and rituals and by their high birth, learning and expertise, these Brahmanas would establish their hegemony in Hindu society, (iii) The main problem is anxiety for economic security, so scholarly devotees should be provided with sufficient resources to maintain family, conduct research and open teaching facilities, without the need to gather followers or donations, (iv) Devotees should isolate themselves from mainstream society and develop their own institutions, following strict rules of personal and communal conduct, people all over the world will be attracted to such an ideal way of life. Can any of these principles, viz. sexual segregation, seminal lineage, economic security or isolated community be the central principle for the establishment of Varnasrama Dharma?

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