Auckland, New Zealand
10 November 2003
At Padmasambhavaji's home I held a five-day seminar on Vedic Psychology from 3-7 November. I am told it was very well-attended compared to other seminars that sannyasis have held here. I have also been giving Bhagavatam class here in the morning, except for the three mornings that I spoke in the temple. On Saturday November 8 evening I gave a talk to the South Auckland Nama Hatta group, at the residence of an Indian devotee family. The next day I gave the Sunday feast lecture at the temple.
This week I am giving morning class at the temple from the 11th through the 13th. On Friday 14 I shall be driven down to a town called Tauranga where I am to stay with a community of devotees over the weekend. After that I go to the ISKCON temples in Wellington and then in Christchurch; but I am returning here to Padmaji's house for one more week before I leave New Zealand for India.
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The Sanskrit word saksatkara refers to the spiritual vision of an advanced devotee by which he sees the Lord face to face. In his Priti-sandarbha Srila Jiva Gosvami writes sa catmasaksatkaro dvividhah antaravirbhavalaksano bahir-avirbhavalaksanas ca, that there are two kinds of saksatkara: antah and bahih, or internal and external. Some worshipers of the Lord get the vision of the Lord within themselves. This is antah saksatkara. Others are blessed to see Him outside themselves. This is bahih saksatkara. Srila Jiva Gosvami considers bahih saksatkara to be the real darsana, because the Lord reveals Himself in a substantial fullness that is evident to the external senses.
In Priti-sandarbha Srila Jiva Gosvami has some interesting things to say about sayujya-mukti. While accepting sayujya to be the merging of the living entity in the Lord, he states that sometimes a soul who has merged is pulled out again by the Lord for the sake of lila. For example, Jaya and Vijaya merged into the Lord after He killed them in their incarnations as Sisupala and Dantavakra; but they were retrieved from the state of oneness to resume their service as parsadas (the Lord's associates, as gatekeepers of Vaikuntha-dhama). Sri Jiva also says that some liberated souls, though they have achieved sayujya, remain outside the Lord. The "merging" they experience is that of their consciousness into the Lord's transcendental bliss. This explanation of sayujya is the same as Madhvacarya's. But again, Madhvacarya and his followers do not admit that the merging of the soul's identity into the Lord is sayujya.
Madhvacarya's definition of sayujya disallows impersonalism. But so does the Gaudiya-sampradaya's definition of kaivalya. The Sankhya philosophers use the word kaivalya for their conception of liberation. . . which is impersonal, but not in the same way as the Mayavadi notion of merging into Brahman. In Sankhya kaivalya, the soul gets detached from prakrti but does not merge into other souls or into a supreme soul. It goes on existing as a separate unit without perception of anything at all and without any activity at all. Perception and activity are only possible, say the Sankhya philosophers, if the soul is in touch with prakrti. So no connection to prakrti means nothing for the soul to know and nothing for him to do. This understanding of kaivalya seems to be exactly like the idea of the German philosopher Leibnitz who said that the soul in its individual essence is a "windowless monad", a unit of substance that has no consciousness of anything else but itself. So that is the Sankhya idea of kaivalya. But Srila Jiva Gosvami holds that kaivalya means pure bhakti.
Kaivalya is a form of the word kevala, which means "one" in the sense of "one thing only", or "unalloyed", or "pure". Srila Prabhupada explains that the impersonalists aspire for kevala-jnana, "pure knowledge".
Kevala jnana mukti dite nare bhakti vina, krsnonmukhe sei mukti haya jnana vina. Mukti, liberation. . . The impersonalists think that "Simply by cultivating knowledge that I am not matter, I am spirit, or I am one with the Supreme Spirit, I am now. . . Out of ignorance, I am thinking different, but when I am fully elevated to the platform of knowledge, then I become liberated. " (Lecture, 11 January 1967)
In the Gaudiya scriptures, kevala and kaivalya are used to mean pure loving devotional service that is mixed with nothing else, not even the awe and reverence of the majestic Vaikuntha mood.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 19. 192 states:
punah krsna-rati haya duita prakara
aisvarya-jnana-misra, kevala-bheda ara
Attachment for Krsna is divided into two categories. One is attachment with awe and reverence (aisvarya-jnana-misra), and the other is pure attachment without reverence (kevala).
In the verses that follow this one, it is explained that kevala is the Goloka mood of bhakti while aisvarya is the Mathura, Dvaraka and Vaikuntha mood.
Locana dasa Thakura has sung:
parama karuna pahu davi-jana,
saba avatara sara siromani
kevala ananda kanda
Here kevala ananda means "pure bliss", the bliss of Krsna consciousness.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam 2. 3. 12p, Srila Prabhupada explains:
This transcendental bliss is experienced even in the stage of devotional practice (sadhana-avastha), if properly undertaken under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. And in the mature stage the developed transcendental feeling culminates in realization of the particular relationship with the Lord by which a living entity is originally constituted (up to the relationship of conjugal love with the Lord, which is estimated to be the highest transcendental bliss). Thus bhakti-yoga, being the only means of God realization, is called kaivalya. Srila Jiva Gosvami quotes the Vedic version (eko narayano devah, paravaranam parama aste kaivalya-samjnitah) in this connection and establishes that Narayana, the Personality of Godhead, is known as kaivalya, and the means which enables one to approach the Lord is called the kaivalya-pantha, or the only means of attainment of Godhead. This kaivalya-pantha begins from sravana, or hearing those topics that relate to the Personality of Godhead, and the natural consequence of hearing such hari-katha is attainment of transcendental knowledge, which causes detachment from all mundane topics, for which a devotee has no taste at all.
Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not much use the words mukti and moksa to describe the devotee's attainment of release from material bondage. They prefer the words kevala and kaivalya, by which they mean the attainment of "bhakti only".