Opinion

Jīva tattva: Śrī Babaji’s new book

Śrī Babaji’s new book Jīva tattva is a compilation of question and answers. The questions were put to Babaji over almost a decade. Many questions were repeated constantly, so he decided to write a book to address them once and for all.

Owing to the propagation of many apasiddhāntas, the jīva tattva of the Śrī Caitanya tradition has become mangled beyond recognition. I often think of how the original founders of the tradition, Śrī Rupa and Śrī Jīva, would react if they saw the state of affairs today. They would most likely become distraught at how the siddhānta has become lost due to misunderstandings, a subconscious and conscious mixing of concepts with non-Indian traditions, willful distortions out of a misplaced sense of loyalty (for Śrī Caitanya followers, loyalty should be to Śrī Jīva first and foremost) and in many cases, sheer incompetence.

The embarassing hodge podge that the Śrī Caitanya tradition has been reduced to, today, supported mainly by rhetoric, a stubborn disregard for the writings of Śrī Rupa and Śrī Jīva, and sentimentality, threatens today to undermine their vast learning, scholarship and hard labor.

Here is a simple example. Proponents of the dormant prema theory point to the first verse of the Bhāgavata, where the word ‘tene’ is used, which means ‘expanded’. Proponents insist that Bhagavān ‘expanded’ the already existing knowledge in Brahmā’s heart, proving that knowledge and prema both are inherent in the ātmā. It never occurs to these people to examine what meaning Śrī Jīva gave to the word, and whether he supports their views. These confused folk do not know that the word ‘hrdā’ in the verse means the citta or the mind, which remains external to the ātmā. The knowledge, even if it was present there originally, is not intrinsic to the ātmā. Such concepts are basic to Vedānta and Vaishnavism, and it is embarrassing that these arguers who hold the dominant view in the tradition have the competence levels of ignorant schoolchildren.

In these confused times, I see Śrī Babaji as the sole standing authority on the Sandarbhas who is trying his best to protect the siddhānta and continue the paramparā. Although many see him as a threat or adversary, these people do not realize that they are contributing to the destruction of the Caitanya tradition itself. Any unbiased person who wishes, with an open mind, to examine the *original* teachings of the Goswamis can do so by studying Śrī Babaji’s books. All Caitanya Vaiṣṇavas owe Śrī Babaji and his guru Śrī Maharajji a debt of gratitude for the enormous effort they took against all odds to translate the Sandarbhas, and to write so many books. These books and the continuing paramparā, I hope, will ultimately save the Caitanya paramparā from becoming completely obscured and lost.

I strongly recommend this book!

Categories: Opinion

Tagged as:

3 replies »

  1. My Pranams to Babaji,
    Thanking You , for kindly publishing the book which will clear the air of misunderstanding and confusion amongst the international vaishnav community regarding Jiva tattva .
    🙏.
    Jai Sri RadheShyam.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s