Opinion

A simple litmus test for testing validity of claims in the Caitanya tradition

Those who attended Chemistry course in high school know the litmus test. Litmus paper is used to measure the pH of a solution in order to classify it as an acid or base.

Throughout the Sandarbhas, we see Śrī Jīva Goswami repeatedly establish that śāstrīya śraddhā is the basis for uttamā bhakti. Thus, a simple litmus test for any claim should be fidelity to śāstra. But this is much more complex in practice than it reads, because śāstra itself is many-branched, and many Caitanya devotees love to hunt through obscure pages of obscure sastras (which Śrī Jīva himself never cites) to support their theories. Thus we get no where with a generic ‘śāstric basis’ approach.

A unifying theme for all adherents in the Caitanya paramparā is their claim to Śrī Jīva Goswami and Śrī Rūpa Goswami as their foundational ācāryas. Therefore the litmus test for claims in the Caitanya tradition is, and ought to be, the teachings and interpretations of these two ācāryas (and Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarti Thākura of course who followed them). Śrī Jīva was principally concerned with establishing siddhānta in the Sandarbhas. He is extremely analytical in his approach. He does not get into airy social commentaries, but is solely focused on relentless scrutiny of śāstra. Anything that goes against Śrī Jīva’s siddhānta is not acceptable and must be interpreted such that it is aligned with it.

Many Gaudiyas try to argue with me on this website. These people quote this anecdote or that from this līlā or that. In doing so, they oppose Śrī Jīva’s siddhānta consciously or unconsciously. These people should understand that to disprove what I write here, they have to quote from Śrī Jīva’s Sandarbhas. Bas! No other pramāṇa is considered conclusive here. I repeat – no other pramāṇa is considered conclusive on this site.

Otherwise one can cite from the Agni purāṇa or the Vayu purāṇa or the Caitanya Caritāmṛta or Caitanya Bhāgavata or whatever, till one is blue in the face, but anecdotes and examples and interpretations of pastimes *do not* make the siddhānta. Instead these items have to be interpreted in such a way that they are consistent with Śrī Jīva’s Sandarbhas.

Make no mistake- the Sandarbhas are *the* siddhānta, and the litmus test for any claims in the Caitanya tradition.

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2 replies »

    • Learn it from a guru. Sastra is not a do-it-yourself manual. I know of no qualified teacher other than Sri Babaji because he learned them for over two decades from his guru, Maharajji, who in turn learned it from his own guru in the Gadadhara parivara.

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