Making a “Case” for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”
Preliminary & Essential Information
Rather than a verdict or conclusion that is reached by mature deliberation of the sastric injunctions; some humans prefer dogmatism.
“The tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others”.
This kind of dogma indicates the person has made an emotional investment up front, and then tries to employ, logic and philosophy, in the service of their foregone conclusion. They “cherry-pick ” sastras, in order to find support for their predetermined conclusion. In Gaudiya-Vaisnavism, this approach is always a mistake.
On the other hand, the Vaisnava way, so to speak, in regards to a particular subject matter, issue, disagreement or controversy; you must first do these 3 essential tasks,
- Research the written or spoken words of one’s own Guru, for references in regards to the subject matter.
- Research the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sastra for all references regarding the subject matter.
- Research the written or spoken words of the past-acharyas, Sadhus, for references in regards to the subject matter.
The second step, is to study and scrutinize these references.
The third step, is that after careful study and scrutinizing these references, a conclusion, that is based on these references can be made.
And “astonishingly”, you have a conclusion that is supported by “GSS”.
Our principle is evam parampara raptam, (Bhagavad-gita. As It Is 4.1),
“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession. ….”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote in his Jhaiva-dharma Chapter 13, Entitled: Pramana, (proof, evidence, or authority) & the Commencement of Prameya, (fundamental truths):
“We receive all the Vedic literatures from the acharyas, in the Sat-sampradayas[i], so we can accept them as evidence from a bona fide source.
Is there any evidence in the Veda[ii] to show that logic cannot enter into transcendental subject matter? There are many famous statements in the Vedas, such as statements from Vedanta-sutra[iii], like this one.
‘Arguments based on logic have no foundation and cannot be used to establish any conclusions about the conscious reality, because a fact that someone establishes by logic and argument today, can be refuted tomorrow by someone who is more intelligent and qualified. Therefore, the process of argumentation is said to be unfounded and baseless.’
Furthermore, it is stated in,
Mahabharata, Bhisma-parva (5.22),
‘All transcendental tattvas are beyond material nature, and are therefore inconceivable. Dry arguments are within the jurisdiction of material nature, so they can only be applied in mundane subject matters. They cannot even come close to transcendental tattvas, (truths), what to speak of grasping them. As far as inconceivable conceptions are concerned, the application of dry arguments is undesirable and useless.’
This verse of the Mahabharata establishes the limits of logic, and Srila Rupa Gosvami, the acharya of bhakti-marga, has therefore written in,
Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, (Eastern Division 1.1.32),
‘One can comprehend bhakti-tattva, when one has gained even a little taste for scriptures that establish bhakti-tattva, such as Srimad-bhagavatam. However, one cannot understand this bhakti-tattva by dry logic alone, because logic has no basis, and there is no end to arguments.’
FOOT & NOTES:
 Cherry-Pick: choose and take only (the most beneficial or profitable items, opportunities, etc.) from what is available.
 Vaisnavism—the science of bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Visnu, or Krishna.
 Pramana—Evidence, proof. The term refers to sources of knowledge that are held to be valid. In the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya, the school of Vedic knowledge that ISKCON represents, there are three pramanas. They are pratyaksa (direct sense perception), anumana (reason), and sabda (authoritative testimony). Of these three pramanas, sabda is imperative, while pratyaksa and anumana are supportive.
 Mahabharata—An important and famous itihasa (historical) scripture belonging to the smrti section of the Vedic scriptures. The Mahabharata narrates the history of the great Kuru dynasty of ksatriyas (warriors) that was annihilated by the Kuruksetra war. Contained within the Maha-bharata is the Bhagavad-gita.
 Tattvas—the Absolute Truth’s multifarious categories. Truth, reality. According to Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Vedic knowledge categorizes reality into five tattvas, or ontological truths: isvara (the Supreme Lord), jiva (the living entity), prakrti (nature), kala (eternal time) and karma (activity).
 Bhakti-marga—the path of developing devotion to Krishna.
 Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu—one of the principal works on the science of bhakti-yoga, written by Srila Rupa Gosvami in the sixteenth century, a confidential associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. All of its conclusions are elaborately supported by reference to the Vedic literatures.
 Bhakti-tattva—the truth of devotional service to Krishna.
[i] Four Vaisnava Sampradayas and Siddhantas; There are four Vaisnava schools (sampradayas) of Vedanta. These are 1) the Sri Sampradaya, whose acarya is Ramanuja; 2) the Brahma Sampradaya, whose acarya is Madhva; 3) the Rudra Sampradaya, whose acarya is Visnusvami, and 4) the Kumara Sampradaya, whose acarya is Nimbarka. Opposed to these is the non-Vaisnava Vedantist school of Sankaracarya. Every Vedantist school is known for its siddhanta or essential conclusion about the relationships between God and the soul, the soul and matter, matter and matter, matter and God, and the soul and souls. Sankaracarya’s siddhanta is Advaita, nondifference (i.e. everything is one, therefore these five relationships are unreal). All the other siddhantas support the reality of these relationships from various points of view. Ramanuja’s siddhanta is Visisöadvaita, qualified nondifference. Ma-dhva’s siddhanta is Dvaita, difference. Vaisnavas siddhanta is Suddhadvaita, purified nondifference. And Nimbarka’s siddhanta is Dvaita-advaita, difference-and-identity. The Bengali branch of Madhva’s sampradaya is known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gauòiya Sampradaya, or the Caitanya Sampradaya. In the 1700’s this school presented Indian philosophers with a commentary on Vedanta-sutra written by Baladeva Vidyabhusana that argued yet another siddhanta. It is called acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which means simultaneous inconceivable oneness and difference. In recent years this siddhanta has become known to people from all over the world due to the popularity of the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Acintya-bhedabheda philosophy maintains the same standpoint of difference as Madhva’s siddhanta on the five-fold relationship of God to soul, soul to matter, matter to matter, matter to God and soul to soul. But acintya-bhedabheda-tattva further teaches the doctrine of sakti-parinama-vada (the transformation of the Lord’s sakti), in which the origin of this five-fold differentiation is traced to the Lord’s play with His sakti or energy. Because the souls and matter emanate from the Lord, they are one in Him as His energy yet simultaneously distinct from Him and one another. The oneness and difference of this five-fold relationship is termed acintya or inconceivable because, as Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to Bhagavad-gita18.78, Nothing is different from the Supreme, but the Supreme is always different from everything. As the transcendental origin and coordinator of His energies, God is ever the inconceivable factor.
[ii] Vedas: The original Veda was divided into four by Srila Vyasadeva. The four original Vedic scriptures, Samhitas (Åg, Sama, Atharva and Yajur) and the 108 Upanisads, Mahabharata, Vedanta-sutra, etc. The system of eternal wisdom compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of the Supreme Lord, for the gradual upliftment of all mankind from the state of bondage to the state of liberation. The word veda literally means “knowledge”, and thus in a wider sense it refers to the whole body of Indian Sanskrit religious literature that is in harmony with the philosophical conclusions found in the original four Vedic Samhitas and Upanisads. The message of the transcendental realm that has come down to this phenomenal world through the medium of sound is known as the Veda. Being the very words of Godhead Himself, the Vedas have existed from eternity. Lord Krishna originally revealed the Vedas to Brahma, the first soul to appear in the realm of physical nature, and by him they were subsequently made available to other souls through the channel of spiritual disciplic succession; Veda, Vedas, Vedic knowledge. The Sanskrit root of the word Veda is vid, knowledge. This root is widespread even in modern Western language: e.g. video (from the Latin word to see) and idea (Gr. ida). The term Vedic refers to the teachings of the Vedic literatures. From these literatures we learn that this universe, along with countless others, was produced from the breath of Maha-Visnu some 155,250,000,000,000 years ago. The Lord’s divine breath simultaneously transmitted all the knowledge mankind requires to meet his material needs and revive his dormant God consciousness. This knowledge is called Veda. Caturmukha (four-faced) Brahma, the first created being within this universe, received Veda from Visnu. Brahma, acting as an obedient servant of the Supreme Lord, populated the planetary systems with all species of life. He spoke four Vedas, one from each of his mouths, to guide human beings in their spiritual and material progress. The Vedas are thus traced to the very beginning of the cosmos. Some of the most basic Vedic teachings are: 1) every living creature is an eternal soul covered by a material body; 2) as long as the souls are bewildered by maya (the illusion of identifying the self with the body) they must reincarnate from body to body, life after life; 3) to accept a material body means to suffer the four-fold pangs of birth, old age, disease and death; 4) depending upon the quality of work (karma) in the human form, a soul may take its next birth in a subhuman species, or the human species, or a superhuman species, or it may be freed from birth and death altogether; 5) karma dedicated in sacrifice to Visnu as directed by Vedic injunctions elevates and liberates the soul.
[iii] Vedanta-sutra (Brahma-sutra: Srila Vyasadeva’s conclusive summary of Vedic philosophical knowledge, written in brief codes. The philosophy of the Absolute Truth, which finds implicit expression in the Vedas and the Upanisads, was put into a systematic and more explicit form in the Vedanta-sutra. All apparent contradictory statements of the vast literature of the Vedas are resolved by the great Vyasa in this work. In this work there are four divisions 1) reconciliation of all scriptures; 2) the consistent reconciliation of apparently conflicting hymns; 3) the means or process of attaining the goal (spiritual realization); and 4) the object (or desired fruit) achieved by the spiritual process. The Vedanta-sutra establishes that Godhead exists, that devotion is the means of realizing transcendental love for Godhead, and that this love is the final object of man’s endeavors. This book is the textbook of all theistic philosophy, and, as such, many commentators have elaborated on the significance of its conclusions; This most important work of nyaya-prasthana (Vedic logic), which is also known as Brahma-sutra, Sariraka, Vyasa-sutra, Badarayana-sutra, Uttara-mimamsa and Vedanta-darsana, was composed by the great sage Vyasa 5000 years ago. Sutra means code. The Vedanta-sutra is a book of codes that present, in concise form, brahma-jïana, i.e., conclusive Vedic knowledge. These codes are very terse, and without a fuller explanation, their meaning is difficult to grasp. In India there are five main schools of Vedanta, each established by an acarya (founder) who explained the sutras in a bhasya (commentary). The natural commentary on the Vedanta-sutra is the Srimad-Bhagavatam.