Category Archives: sastra-caksus

How Apasampradayas Arise

Reading from ‘The Apasampradayas, deviant Vaishnava sects’ by Suhotra Svami*: “The link between namaparadha and full-blown deviation from the sampradaya is indicated by Srila Jiva Goswami who warns in the Bhakti Sandarbha that there are offenders to the holy name who are acikitsya or incorrigible (jnana-lava-durvidagdhastraacikitsyaatvadupeksa). Devotees, always compassionate, try to help fallen souls with good instruction. But if someone becomes insolent and arrogant due to acquiring a little knowledge from their association, he is disqualified from the sampradaya because of three kinds of namaparadha: sadhu-ninda (blasphemy of the devotees of the Lord), guru-avajna (disregard of the spiritual master) and srutisastraninda (blasphemy of the revealed scriptures).

“Yet the incorrigible offender never conceives the fact of his offenses. He cannot understand that the mercy of the spiritual master and the association of pure devotees are indispensable to the chanting of the holy name. Because he highly values wordly knowledge and accomplishments, he looks down upon the simple devotees who have surrendered themselves to devotional service. This is sadhu-ninda. He cannot accept that the spiritual master is a transcendental teacher, not a wordly one; thus he tries to measure the person and instructions of the guru by his own mental standards. This is guru-avajna. He studies the revealed scriptures as he would ordinary literature, gleaning from it whatever seems to support his preconceived notions, heedless of the rest. This is srutisastraninda.”

“They may not be able to always follow the order of the guru, or may not understand the things in shastra, don’t bicker with the other devotees, but he is not taking this as a main platform.”

HH BVPS Maharaja: So here is then the person who is performing nama-aparadha, then if they don’t have these problems… It doesn’t mean that… They may not be able to always follow the order of the guru, or may not understand the things in shastra, don’t bicker with the other devotees, but he is not taking this as a main platform. You can see that, okay, sometimes something is wrong, or something like this.

But here is someone who then doesn’t see the importance. Their own intelligence, their own perception on it is actually the main thing. So therefore the position of the acarya, the position of the vaishnavas, the position of the scripture is not the most prominent or driving element. And because of that then they separate themselves actually from the sampradaya. Because as we see here, they read the scriptures, but just take what they like and leave the rest.

“There is a difference between that there is difficulties, but the faith is there and you continue on in the devotional process, or that difficulties are there, but you think those difficulties are actually your qualifications.”

That’s what we saw before in the 6 systems of the Vedic philosophy, is they are taking it from scriptures, based on Veda, whatever they consider as their evidence, it goes back to the Veda, it’s all real evidence. But the problem is is, they only choose which evidence supports what they want, everything else they leave. Does that make sense? Like you have an example of that you are trying to establish that you don’t need to have a spiritual master, you’ll just directly take initiation from Prabhupada. So they’ll base it on a letter, even though you can give so much evidence from the books and other things, that won’t be accepted, it has to be a letter. Does that make sense? So this is that kind of aspect where you only accept which parts you like and everything else you reject. So then that’s there.

Or the devotees, because they are simple, like that, they’ve taken shelter of the Lord, they are performing their devotional activities, but they may not have great knowledge or be necessarily that thoughtful about the process, they just have faith, they just do it, so you consider them not so developed, because here you have, you are thoughtful, because you are making up your own system. Means, to make up your own system means you have to be thoughtful, but it’s just that you are applying the thoughtfulness improperly. Others aren’t, they are just going along with the system, so you don’t consider them special. So then that’s inappropriate.

And then the spiritual master instructions, then you look at him and you judge by your own. So in the same way, what you like, what you don’t like, it’s just on your own decision, it’s not by what is the standard, therefore even if you don’t see it that way, but you want to develop seeing it that way… Do you understand?

So, there is a difference between that there is difficulties, but the faith is there and you continue on in the devotional process, or that difficulties are there, but you think those difficulties are actually your qualifications. Does that make sense?

Prabhu (1): Maharaja, namaparadha is like a misgiving?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Namaparadha? Namaparadha can be anything. Means, it can be… Means, the specific one? Oh, yes, you would say it’s misgivings. But the misgivings, you take it that the misgivings are real, have substance and that they are actually something to judge from. Means, people may do that, but it’s not that they so much necessarily notice it. You know what I am saying? Just the conditioning is there, so you just continue in your conditioning as you always have, and then you are adding Krishna consciousness, so sometimes they conflict, because you have the pure devotional service and then the material, so it makes for that mixed devotional service.

But here it’s not that… Your point is that this is the most… How you say? The misgiving, it’s there, but you don’t necessarily notice it. Here the person is taking, noticing their misgiving and then making it that that is the standard by which you judge devotional service. You know what I am saying?

So you can see is that there is very nice… You can see, ok, you can understand someone is not situated in offenseless chanting, but they are still situated in devotional service. And then it’s very obvious, those who are completely apasampradaya. The difficulty would be what’s in-between, right? But the basic point is in-between is what is connected is proper and what’s not is not. So there may be more proportion of not, or more proportion of connected. But still, it’s considered within the sampradaya, you are just not so nicely situated. Does that make sense? So anything in-between, you don’t count it that they are from the apasampradaya, you count it that they are within the sampradaya. Does that make sense?

“It’s not so often that having given up the determined practice of devotional service, that very many create their own practices. Most just go back to whatever is their previous conditioning. But you see some, having come to the mundane platform then they create their own process and are actually able to continue in it. So that’s specifically your apasampradaya.”

Prabhu (2): So the main point would be to see that it’s progressing towards the apasampradaya or towards the sampradaya?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, means, what’s their determination? So in other words, if their determination is there, with discussion, just know they are convinced, ‘No, this is my, my perspective is correct,’ then there is going to be a difficulty there. Then it’s just a matter of do they just go out of devotional service, or do they actually in going out maintain a so-called practice of devotional service. Does that make sense? Yeah.

So generally you see is, means, it’s not so often that having given up the determined practice of devotional service, that very many create their own practices. Most just go back to whatever is their previous conditioning. But you see some, having come to the mundane platform then they create their own process and are actually able to continue in it. So that’s specifically your apasampradaya.

Because generally someone having dropped to the mundane platform we just say that they fell down. But now in that fallen position, no, now they make up a new, their own thing, then that’s where your apasampradaya. Because most people come to that and then they just disappear. Then after a while they figure out, ‘This is stupid,’ and then they come back to Krishna consciousness. But this is they’ll never figure out it’s stupid, because they think they have their own process.

(From His Holiness Bhaktividya Purna Svami Maharaja’s lecture on Apasampradayas, Sastra Caksus course, 1st March 2013, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur)

*The book ‘The Apasampradayas, deviant Vaishnava sects’ by Suhotra Svami is a publication of The Bhaktivedanta Academy, Mayapur

Lecture audio:

Holocaust Explained

Reading from Nectar of Instruction Study Guide: The devotee’s duty is to practice forgiveness and show mercy.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Because forgiveness, it’s one of the, you could say, the shastras will talk that it’s one of the prominent qualities of the brahmana, if not the most important, is forgiveness. Because it’s harder when you add the mode of passion or the mode of ignorance, it’s very hard to effect forgiveness, so it’s a quality of goodness. So then forgiveness means that whatever is the cause of the problem has already been dropped.

Otherwise then if you want to have some fun, you just in an assembly, you want to talk about authority and this and that, bring out the late 1970s, early 1980s and something like that, or somebody from that time who was an authority, and immediately then everyone starts getting very animated and this and that. Why? Because that forgiveness is not there. But if you mention something from that time and everybody kind-of chuckles about it, that means, there is forgiveness. You know what I am saying? Because that’s the point, so many years afterwards, ‘Yeah, that was really bad,’ then later on is like, ‘Yeah, that was funny! Wasn’t that one crazy?’ You know, like that. So you can tell, if forgiveness is there then it’s dropped.

Prabhu (1): If I have some chart done, I mean the astrology chart… And there is some pain from the past, is it due to ignorance or a lack of forgiveness, or what …?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, everything… Being in the material world, its basis is ignorance because the sambandha here is ignorance. The abhideya is passion, the reason you are doing something is for yourself. And then the result is coming from goodness. And because people are in passion and ignorance, then goodness doesn’t last very long, so therefore their happiness is minimal. So the basis being ignorance means, whatever one is doing, good or bad, is based on ignorance. The person is doing good work because he thinks, ‘I am the body, they are the body, I don’t like to suffer, so it’s not nice that they are suffering.’ So that’s compassion. You can say it’s nice, it’s a nice quality. But it’s based on ignorance, so it’s not actually based on knowledge. So as that ignorance transforms, they may or may not care about those other persons, and the mood of compassion will go away. Does that make sense? And by ignorance you will always do wrong work, so you get a bad result.

So the point is is, just by being Krishna conscious, then you can make everything go nice. That’s the real point. So the chart only has some validity in giving some ideas, so you are clear where the weaknesses are, so what things you have to… Where one should focus, where to start. Okay, the mind is like this, so you start here, the occupation like this, like this. So then it just gives you something to do. But it’s not that the chart is controlling you. The chart just tells you what’s there at the time of your birth, that’s all. You know what I am saying? It’s just like your birth certificate says you were born in this hospital at this time. So it’s not that every time you walk by that hospital, there is this drawn that starts pulling on you, and as the clock ticks close and the seconds get longer and longer and louder, ‘Tick, tick, TICK…’ Overwhelming like this, as it gets to the point, and finally it goes by… ‘Huh, okay…’ You are not controlled by it. Does that make sense? It just says what’s there. It’s not that the chart is there, that’s why you get angry easy. No, it’s just you get angry easy, and chart just says, ‘Hey, you get angry easy.’

Prabhu (1): I am supposed to… So what about these traumas then that’s there from the past…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Traumas?

Prabhu (1): Yes, there’s some traumatic experiences… We still have some… We don’t open our box…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, you can work on that, the Swedes work on that. Their point is, if something goes wrong, you just don’t talk about it and it goes away. Because after a while you kind-of forget about it. They never address it, never deal with it, it’s just not…

Prabhu (1): That’s repression, isn’t it?

HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s not repression, it’s just called ignoring.

Prabhu (1): Ig’norance?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Ig’norance, yeah. And then if you change the pronunciation a little bit, then you get ‘ignorance. Ig’norance and ‘ignorance.

Prabhu (1): So should we do anything with those things that…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, if it’s something that is there, you are conscious, you can see where there is an advantage to address, then if you can address without getting all tangled up in it, then do. And if not, then you leave it. As you get more purified, there is more knowledge and more detachment, and then if later there is a necessity, then you deal with it, then it will be easier. In other words, if there is something you see as a problem and you try to deal with it by inquiring into it, and if it gets too weird, then you just leave it.

Prabhu (1): Okay.

HH BVPS Maharaja: You know what I am saying? For later. Because later on as we get purified, it gets easier.

Mataji: Maharaja, you mentioned that forgiveness…

HH BVPS Maharaja: And now you are going to say, ‘Originally we are compassion, so…’ [Laughter]

Mataji: …on the other side remorse, is that also not…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Well, remorse is what the other guy is supposed to do.

Mataji: That’s what I was thinking, I thought maybe…

HH BVPS Maharaja: [Laughter] Okay, ‘I am doing all the forgiveness part, but is he doing the remorse part?’ That’s the real question! [Laughter] You don’t worry about the remorse side of it, unless you are the one that should be remorseful. The whole idea is that self-realization means realizing that all you can deal with is the self. You can’t actually deal beyond that.

Mataji: Yes. But if you have remorse for someone, would that help them?

HH BVPS Maharaja: If you have remorse for someone, would that…

Mataji: I mean, if they have done something wrong, would that help them, you have maybe forgiven them…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh, you mean kind-of like they did something wrong, by coming up, walking up and insulting you, so then you figure, ‘Well, they’ll feel bad about that, so if I come up and insult them then they won’t feel so bad because it’s balanced.’

Mataji: I wasn’t thinking like that.

HH BVPS Maharaja: No? Okay. [Laughter]

Mataji: I was thinking that…

HH BVPS Maharaja: We all do something wrong.

Mataji: I was thinking actually about management, you were talking about the 1970s or something, and you were talking about forgiveness, so then if the managament had some remorsement, maybe they did something wrong…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Problem is is the management from then is probably living in Alachua. So it’s not that they are necessarily the ones that would need to be remorseful about today’s management. For their own personal life, then if there is something there, it will be good for their own benefit. But the point is is, see it’s like that. We look at it, okay, the authority has done something, if they are remorseful… But the point is is if who has received it, is not forgiving, then it doesn’t work. So the emphasis here is on forgiving because it’s like ‘I can’t do anything until he is remorseful.’ No, I can be forgiving, and whether they are remorseful or not, I moved on. Now, whether they move on, that’s their business. So the thing is, you can control. That’s why he says here… He doesn’t say, ‘The devotee’s duty is to practice forgiveness and show mercy and to make sure everybody else is remorseful.’ Right? Remorse always helps, but remorse means is that, ‘This is wrong, I won’t do it again.’ But the remorse where ‘I am so stupid, I am so useless, I am so disgusting, I am this, I am that, I am pond scum,’ you know, that kind-of thing, that is, you know, not very useful. Your Japanese, maybe. But otherwise then… But it doesn’t end well, so… Does that make sense? So that’s the problem is, the modern definition of remorse is not good.

Mataji: Oh, okay…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Because it means that ‘I did that, so now I am feeling bad.’ No, the point is is, you are not technically involved, but you are attached to it, so the point is is, the knowledge works on both sides. You are not actually doing these things, but you are attached to these things, so that’s the problem. So the problem is giving up that attachment to these things, then you see is that, you are not doing anything, but that also means no one else is doing anything. So it automatically gives rise to forgiveness. But forgiveness means you start with that point. While the person is just acting according to what they think is good, or this or that, or whatever is their conditioning. So they may mean well or not, but the point is is, it’s not technically that they are doing it. I am looking that this action is performed. So in any case it works. But you are trying to get to the point of knowledge. But for most cases they just want you to feel bad because they feel that’s justice, if you feel bad. ‘I felt bad, so if you feel bad, now it’s ok.’ Rather than ‘I felt bad,’ but the point is I felt bad because I am not Krishna conscious. Then it’s a whole different element. That’s why the term is used, forgiveness, because so much of the time you have meeting and you are called in, and you have to be remorseful. But are they feeling forgiveness? That’s not there. And do they show mercy? Not necessarily. Because if you feel remorse, then you are in a submissive position, then they can control. So it’s not forgiveness and mercy.

Mataji: They wouldn’t want to be conscious of it, if there was no forgiveness.

HH BVPS Maharaja: No, you have no obligation. You only have an obligation to expose yourself to an assembly of advanced devotees, like that, and that means they are acting in that capacity. But if they are not going to act in that capacity, you are under no obligation, that’s just the way it works. Because if they expect it, then that’s management. So then what that’s got to do with being senior in devotional life? They are two different things. Okay?

Reading from Nectar of Instruction Study Guide: The devotee’s duty is to preach by setting a good example.

HH BVPS Maharaja: So here, in other words, all these different things, if you are applying them in your life then that should result in a good example. And if nothing else, then you try to do the right thing because it’s a good example. Then by doing it for Krishna, after a while one will get purified and then one will be able to naturally do it, instead of doing it just because you are supposed to.

Prabhu (2): Just one step back on the forgiveness. There is that fear of not forgiving someone based on the fact that if you forgive, you may lose control. Would that…

HH BVPS Maharaja: That could be. But also by not forgiving, it gives an identity. By not forgiving, it creates feelings and a certain intensity, and then it can be a basis of interaction, because it has happened to you and it has happened to them and therefore we can get together. So it gives a lot of opportunity for mundane interaction. But the point is is, we are trying to move beyond the mundane to the spiritual, so one has to leave this platform. Because justice means, it happened to you, now it will happen to them. But the point is is, it happening to them generally means, it’s being administered by you. So then that means, the problem is that then you have to wait around. In other words, how it’s working, but basically this manifestation of the Kali yuga with the SS*, they were last Kali-yuga’s Jews, and it just goes on and on and on. Does that make sense? So it just keeps going back and forth.

Prabhu (2): So it’s not that the situation will change, it’s a change in mentality.

HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s a change in mentality. So the point is that there’s plenty to think about and talk about and base relationships on and create that interest and identity. So forgiveness will pave the way for broadening that.

(From Lecture on Nectar of Instruction, 6th December 2011, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur)

* SS=Shutzstaffel, Nazi Party military corps

Lecture Audio, this passage starting 19:20


Nectar of Devotion Thematic #2


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  • Everyone has an inherent rasa with the Lord. The science of devotion is equally valid in all the 4 sampradayas. But one who is satisfied in certain development will not move forward.

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Sri Isopanishad Thematic #2


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  • Upanishads are still given in story form, but the philosophical element is prominent. Puranas give much more detail, so story is more prominent.
  • Upanishads are more meant for someone on the platform on jnana.

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Nectar of Devotion Thematic #1


  • Chronological and thematic study.
  • Vedic education and theology is always practiced. Academic and practical always go together.
  • Formerly in the West the church had to authorize teachers, even for secular subjects.
  • The rank of a teacher was formerly determined by how much they could affect the lives of their students, not simply teaching a skill.

Continue reading Nectar of Devotion Thematic #1

Sri Isopanishad Thematic #1


  • This study is based on Tattva-sutra of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In this study, Sri Isopanishad’s topics are divided into sambandha, abhideya and prayojana, and that is expanded into 5 topics of Upanishads and into Dasha-mula-tattva.

Continue reading Sri Isopanishad Thematic #1