Pramana Tattva

by Sriman Prema Prayojana Dasa

Part 1: Amnaya Praha

The following is a discourse delivered by Tridandibhiksu Sri Bhaktivedanta Aranya Maharaja on May 3rd, 2002 in Oakland, California, USA. First of all, I offer my dandavat puspanjali - my heart like a handful of flowers - thousands of times at the lotus feet of my holy master, Paramaradhyatama Gurupadapadma, Sri Rupanugacarya Varya, Om Visnupada astottara sata, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. Although I am unqualified, on his divine order, I will try my best to convey the conceptions of the illustrious Vaisnava acaryas who are strictly following in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvamipada.

Secondly, I offer my dandavat pranam thousands of times at the lotus feet of my Rupanuga Guru Varga; and thirdly, I offer my pranam to all the assembled Vaisnavas, especially unto my pujaniya gurujana, my worshipful superiors, guardians and well-wishers, the disciples of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; unto my Godbrothers and Godsisters; and all the respectable guests who have assembled to hear the nectar of hari katha.

Saptama Gosvami Srila Saccidananda Thakura Bhaktivinoda has summarized the entirety of the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in his Dasa Mula Siksa, Ten Fundamental Teachings. This Dasa Mula Siksa has not been composed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Jaiva Dharma is not a novel written by him, but rather it is sastra. Genuine scripture is samadhi-bhasya, the language of trance. The Mahajanas (the great, eternally perfected, realized acaryas) have written down what comes into their pure hearts at the time of performing their bhajana in the state of trance. Therefore, we can consider that Dasa Mula Siksa has come directly from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And perhaps it was not manifested as we find it in Jaiva Dharma during this day of Lord Brahma. In another universe, in another day of Lord Brahma, all of the conversations and wonderful adventures of all the Vaisnavas described in Jaiva Dharma have actually taken place. This is certain because Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has seen it in his trance, just as Srila Vyasadeva saw all the episodes of Srimad-Bhagavatam before compiling them. Dasa Mula Siksa is the embodiment of the entire philosophy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is extremely profound. So this morning, I will only try to touch the first idea, 'amnaya praha'.

In Dasa-Mula Siksa, there are ten teachings which have been divided into two parts, pramana and prameya. The first part, pramana, means evidence, and the other nine teachings are called prameya. What truths and realities that have been proven by that evidence are called prameya. These are divided into sambandha-tattva-jnana-knowledge of your relationship; abhidheya-tattva-jnana-knowledge of the process; and prayojana-tattva-jnana-knowledge of the supreme goal of life. Prameya can be defined as the Absolute Truth which has been proven by reliable evidence.

Today we will not discuss the prameya. I want to take this opportunity to discuss very briefly amnaya praha. What is pramana, evidence? In this world, all jivas want to find out the answers to their questions. Their questions are of different varieties depending on what kind of sambandha they have. If they think their sambandha is with the body, then they will ponder, "Where can I find comfort and convenience?" But for those who are a little enlightened and know, "I have no relation with the material body. I am the soul," then what is the alternative? To whom can they turn to find some reliable information or evidence as to what is true, where can they learn about the nature of the soul and how can they seek out their ultimate benefit? It is imperative to find a reliable place wherein one's inquiries can be satisfied because a conditioned soul is subject to four defects:

bhrama, pramada, vipralipsa, karanapatava
arsa-vijna vakye nahi dosa ei saba
His senses are imperfect, this is called karanapatava. Then vipralipsa-he has the tendency to cheat. That means he knows something, but he will not tell someone else about that knowledge because by being the exclusive guardian of that knowledge, he can use it to exercise control over others. This is called cheating. Bhrama means the tendency to be in illusion and make mistakes, and pramada means that despite applying one's intelligence to a subject matter with complete concentration, he is still unable to understand it. Sometimes we hear something profound and we try to understand, but it remains incomprehensible to us-this is called pramada, the inability to understand a subject matter despite the full application of one's intelligence and concentration. Thus, due to these defects, how can the conditioned soul find out about what is true and real? Many conditioned souls are writing apparently informative books, but they are all defective. One defective person is taking advice from another defective person.

Prahlad Maharaja explains in Srimad-Bhagavatam:

andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te 'pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah
In this way the blind are leading the blind, and they all go in a ditch. One defective person is giving advice to another defective person. This is not the way out from conditioned existence. Those who are fortunate, who have sukrti and develop sraddha (faith), accept sastra. They accept the Vedas as evidence. They believe in Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Veda, Vedanta, Purana, Upanisad, Tantra, Samhita. There are so many sastras and those who have sukrti place their trust in them. Still, the problem is only one step removed. The question still remains, "How can we understand the authentic texts?" This is very difficult. One poet wrote, "Both read the Bible day and night, but one sees black and one sees white." Everyone is reading, but everyone comes up with his own interpretation. Initially, the living entity is very proud, "I will teach myself. I will read a book and understand it on my own, without taking help." But this is not so easy. Therefore, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's first teaching is 'amnaya praha'. You should accept the Vedas if you want to find some reliable information and guidance that you can trust, information that will not let you down. And if you follow it, you will attain the result-it will not give an empty promise. This knowledge will deliver the result as promised. What result? You will go beyond the chain of birth and death; you will realize the form of your soul; you will meet with the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face and be happy forever. The Vedas are making this promise. This knowledge is perfect and reliable but how will it be understood?

Mahaprabhu is saying, 'amnaya praha', the reliable source of evidence is amnaya. Amnaya has been defined:

amnayah srutiayah saksad brahma vidyeti visrutah
guru parampara praptah visva kartur hi brahmanah
It is spiritual knowledge, brahma vidya. That spiritual knowledge has been embodied in the statements of the Vedas but it must be received in guru parampara. Then it is called amnaya. Amnaya is: guru paramapara dvara prapt veda vakya. The only reliable source of knowledge, the only real evidence are the statements of the Vedas which are received in guru-parampara. This is called amnaya. What is the necessity of involving a guru-parampara? Because the Vedas say so many things and some of them are not the conclusions. Therefore, when the statements of the Vedas have been accepted and received through our guru-parampara, that is called amnaya, and it is the only source of reliable evidence. It is very important to receive the statements of the Vedas from guru-parampara; otherwise, misinterpretation will come about.

I want to give some examples. There are two types of sastra: nigama and agama. Nigama refers to the original sruti. Agama is smrti or sastras composed by the sages, especially tantra sastra which has come from the damaru (drum) of Mahadeva, Siva. So these sastras (nigama and agama) contain two types of knowledge: para-vidya and apara-vidya. Para-vidya means transcendental knowledge and apara-vidya means mundane knowledge. The apara-vidya has six divisions. They are the six angas of the Vedas-siksa, kalpa, vyakarana, nirukta, candra, and jyotisa. The first one, siksa, is concerned with how to situate yourself on the platform of being a human being. That means how to eat properly, how to be clean, how to sit, how to speak and converse, how to respect one's elders, mother, father, brothers and sisters. Siksa teaches how to be a civilized human being, rather than to live like an animal.

Next is kalpa. Kalpa means divisions of time. There are twelve months in a year and four-hundred thirty-two thousand years in Kali yuga, and twice as much as that in Dvarapa yuga, and again twice as much in Treta yuga, and double that in Satya yuga-these four yugas together make one divya yuga. There are one thousand divya yugas in one kalpa, which is one day of Lord Brahma. Brahma has thirty days in one month and twelve months in a year-his lifetime of 100 years comes to 311 trillion years. So to understand all the phases of time and the changes of Manus, such as Svayambhuva or Vaivasvata Manu, is called kalpa.

The next vedanga is vyakarana, which means Sanskrit grammar. Without Sanskrit grammar, you cannot understand the Vedas because they are written in Sanskrit. Then comes nirukti, or etymology, the science of the meanings of words. There are so many words but they do not have only one meaning. They have so many meanings, and one must decide which meaning is applicable in which circumstance. Then canda-the mantras of the Vedas have to be recited correctly according to particular rhythms and meters. This department of knowledge is called canda. The last vedanga is jyotish-astrology. So there are six angas which are included in apara-vidya. This is not transcendental knowledge, but rather worldly knowledge which serves some purpose for the conditioned souls in this world.

I am mentioning this because it is a very relevant subject matter. It is not easy to understand sastra. Nowadays, people quote only one line and say, "Oh, this is the absolute truth." It will not even be from sastra, not from Prabhupada's books. Then they will quote from a letter, a telephone conversation, from an argument with an atheist or anything else. They take only one line, and on the basis of this, they say, "This is pramana." But this is not the teaching of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. What are His teachings? Amnaya praha-the statements of the Vedas received in guru-parampara are evidence. And those statements are subject to interpretation as well. So when we go deeply into the subject of interpretation, we find that it is not easy to understand any statement correctly without guidance. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana and our acaryas have explained that you cannot just quote something from sastra and then say this is pramana, this is evidence. If you give some idea from sastra, this is called visaya, your subject matter. But then someone can question the way that you presented your idea. That is called samsaya, the doubt. Then on the basis of that doubt, someone can build a counter argument against your original idea. That is called purva-paksa. That counter argument is also full of statements from the Vedas. For example, in Srimad-Bhagavatam it is described how Krsna kills the demon Aghasura.

In Bhagavad-Gita, Krsna says:

yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham
"I descend in this world to establish religion-paritranaya sadhunam, vinasaya ca duskrtam. I protect the sadhus, kill the demons and establish religion." Krsna comes into this world for this reason. But then someone can say, "I don't believe this. Why does Laghu-Bhagavatamrta state, "vrndavanam parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati"? "Krsna never steps outside of Vrndavan." So who is this person speaking yada yada hi dharmasya on the battlefield of Kuruksetra?" Thus, a doubt comes. Then someone can build a purva-paksa. Purva-paksa refers to the opposing argument composed of quotations from many places in sastra to prove that Krsna never leaves Vrndavana. Someone may raise a doubt, "Who is speaking this verse in Bhagavad-Gita? And is this really why Krsna comes into the world?" So then the next stage; visaya, samsaya, purvapaksa, then siddhanta, the conclusion. What is the conclusion? Krsna never leaves Vrndavana, it is a fact. He never kills demons either. He has not even killed Aghasura. Why? Because to kill the demons, that is, to maintain the equilibrium of the universe, is not Krsna's business.

Krsna is called Rasika-Sekhara, the enjoyer of all rasa. So who maintains the universe? Brahma creates, Visnu maintains and Mahesa destroys. Therefore, it is Visnu who kills the demons. Why? Because all the avataras exist inside the body of Krsna, and they are performing different activities. So when Krsna kills any demon, He is not actually killing them. It is Visnu inside Him who kills the demon-because Krsna is so soft, He loves everyone. Even if a demon like Putana will come to Him, He will not turn anyone away. Putana said, "O my baby, come to me. I want to feed You my breast milk." But really she wanted to poison Him. After a moment, when her life air was leaving, Putana cried out, "O child, leave me!" As she was trying to put Krsna down, He thought, "Oh, I never let go of anyone who comes to Me. Yad gatva na nivartante, tad dhama paramam mama. Anyone who comes to Me never goes back." This is Krsna's mood. He sent Putana to Goloka, and she is there today playing with Krsna like a mother, as the assistant of Krsna's nurse. So Visnu killed Putana, but Krsna loves everyone. He never kills anyone. His heart is so soft. The different aspects of Bhagavan within that one form are performing different activities. That is siddhanta, the conclusion.

Then after siddhanta, you have to do sangati. Sangati means reconciliation. You have to reconcile and harmonize all the different facts. Why is it that one scripture says one thing and another scripture says something else? Why is Bhagavad-Gita saying 'yada yada hi dharmasya'? But in Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, Rupa Gosvami gives the conclusion:

krsno 'nyo yadu-sambhuto
yah purnah so 'sty atah parah
vrndavanam parityajya
sa kvacin naiva gacchati
To harmonize the statements, it may be said that the Krsna who speaks Bhagavad-Gita, who is the son of Vasudeva, is not Svayam-rupa Krsna. He is the expansion of Krsna called vaibhava prakasa. His vaibhava prakasa is speaking this. Therefore, His words are true because it is an expansion of Krsna who is speaking. But you never see Krsna in Vrndavana saying 'yada yada hi dharmasya'. He never says, "I came to establish religion." What is He doing? It seems that He is breaking all religious principles! Krsna in Vrndavana is simply tasting rasa. So this is called sangati, reconciliation. At the end you cannot just say, "This is the conclusion." You have to take all the statements on one side and all the statements on the other and show how they are all true. Why? Because in Vedanta, right in the beginning, it is stated, tat tu samanvayat: there is no contradiction in sastra. Sastra never contradicts itself.

If someone takes just one verse or one sentence and presents it as proof, they may very well be making some blunder, because many devotees, especially those in the West, are not steeped with Vaisnava culture. Therefore when they see one piece of evidence, one sentence, one verse, one conversation, they say, "O my God! Yes it's true!" They believe it. But someone who knows Vaisnava culture will reserve his judgment for a few moments and then ask, "Where is it from? Who spoke it to whom? What is the context?" This is called visaya, the thesis. Then samsaya, a doubt is raised, and then purva-paksa, antithesis, all the evidence against the original thesis. Then comes siddhanta, the actual conclusion. After siddhanta is sangati, reconciling all the statements in such a way that we recognize their value and purpose, according to the context in which we find them. So devotees should not be misled by false propaganda, such as, "The jiva has fallen from the spiritual world-here is my evidence." "Guru can be a conditioned soul-here is my evidence." "Don't think of Krsna when you're chanting; only listen to the sound." There are so many isolated statements that can prove particular points, but this is not the teaching of Mahaprabhu. To accept any isolated statement, we have to go through the stages: visaya, samsaya, purvapaksa, siddhanta, and sastra sangati.

There are six Vedic philosophies. One is called Purva Mimamsa. The sages of Mimamsa sastra have dedicated themselves to the science of interpretation. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, in Govinda Bhasya, his commentary of Vedanta, quotes a verse from the Purva Mimansa sastra to show the method of interpretation that we use. This is a very interesting verse. I'll say it slowly because so many devotees are furiously scribbling down everything:

upakram upasamharav
abhyasapurvata phalam
arthavadopapati ca
lingam tatparjya nirnaye
Nirnaye means to ascertain. If you want to ascertain the meaning (tatparya) of any statement, then, lingam, look for the symptoms. Lingam. There are six ling, six symptoms. What are they? The first symptom is called upakram upasamhar. This first symptom has two parts, upakram upasamhar. I want to give an example of upakram. The word upakram directs us to examine the beginning or the introduction. It may be a chapter of a book or a group of slokas or a whole book that you want to examine. If you want to ascertain its true meaning, the first symptom you have to look for is the upakram (the opening) and the upasamhar (the closing part). I'll give an example of upakram. Imagine that I am going to give a lecture. At the onset I am not going to tell what the purpose or subject matter of my lecture will be. You have to understand it yourself. It will come as a surprise. A speaker who is very expert will have a specific meaning and a purpose continued within his explanation, but he will not tell you what it is. He will explain in such a way that it will just manifest in your heart in the course of hearing. I am giving an example of the meaning that is not directly revealed. One poet writes, "Once upon a time there was a bumblebee who was flying here and there, taking honey from lotus flowers. Evening time came and the sun was about to set. The bumblebee entered into a lotus flower and was taking nectar there. The poet came to the bumblebee and said, "O my dear friend bee, now sandhya, evening time, is coming and what will happen? The lotus flower will close, and when it closes, what will happen to you? You will be trapped." The bumblebee replied, "My dear friend, thank you for your well meant advice, but I am not yet satiated. I just want to taste a little bit more and then I will come out. And after I have relished a little more, if the lotus closes, so what? The lotus will close and I will sleep here tonight. And when the lotus opens in the morning, I will go on my way."

So the bee continued to taste the nectar of the lotus flower. The sun set and the lotus closed. Happily the bee took rest inside. However, during the night a mad elephant came and ate that lotus. And that was the end of the bumblebee. So what is the meaning? The meaning is that no one knows what will happen to them next. We are always contemplating what we will do next, after one year, five years, ten years, or twenty years and we are busy making plans. But actually we do not know what is around the corner. So why are we always making plans for our future enjoyment? Why? We should understand that such contemplation is futile-this has been illustrated in a very graphic way by the story of the bee. Now everyone can acutely feel this fact of life. Therefore, when it comes to performing any auspicious activity, subhasya sigram, when should you do it? Right now! All auspicious things you should do right now. Don't delay. You know Vidura? His advice is in a book called Vidura Niti, The Rules of Vidura. There he says:

satam vihaya bhoktavya
sahasram snanam acaret
lakhsam vihaya datavya
kotim tyaktva harim bhajet
You are in the middle of doing something, but what happens? The prasadam bell rings-"maha-prasade govinde." So what should you do? Should you carry on what you are doing, or should you go honor maha-prasada? To honor prasada is very auspicious. Thus, Vidura says, satam vihaya bhoktavya. Even if you have hundreds of things to do, stop and go honor maha-prasad. Sahasram snanam acaret. Now it is time to take bath. What should you do? Should you wait? No, you can give up thousands of other things, but when it is time to take bath, go and take bath. This is duty. Cleanliness is part of our regulative life. Lakhsam vihaya datavya: one should be prepared to give up one hundred thousand engagements to give in charity to an appropriate recipient. But kotim tyaktva harim bhajet: for the sake of rendering devotional service, be prepared to leave ten million other engagements. If you have so many things to do, give them all up and do bhajana. I'll give an example. This is my subject matter-do not delay, do not wait. Subhasya srigram-if there is something auspicious, do it right now. What is auspicious? Bhajana. Therefore, do bhajana right now, leaving all other things. This is my subject. But what did I do? I told the story about the bumblebee and the lotus which was eaten by an elephant.

This is my upakram. Upakram refers to the opening portion, the introduction. But it has a meaning-no one knows what will happen next. It has some connection with the ultimate meaning of what I want to express, namely, we should leave all engagement to do bhajana. So sastra is like this. Someone may quote a story or an opening passage and use it for his own purposes, but actually this is only upakram, introduction. It is leading to the real subject matter. Thus, in the science of interpretation, we have to examine upakram and upasamhar-how the subject opens and how it closes. It may be that it is directly related to the subject. Otherwise, someone could impose his misinterpretation by accepting as the main conclusion the point made in the upakrama, which is merely a step leading to the actual subject matter. When one's interpretation of upakram and upasamhar concur to support the overall interpretation, then one's understanding is considered to be consistent with the actual intent of the author. For example, Srimad-Bhagavatam opens and closes with references to Gayatri mantra. Thus, by these symptoms, the entire text is rightly regarded as a commentary on the Gayatri mantra. So upakram upasamharav-how it opens and how it closes-this is the first linga, the first symptom in tatparya nirnaye, ascertaining the meaning of any sastra.

Baladeva Vidyabhusana explains all these things in the beginning of his Vedanta commentary, because without knowing how to interpret, you will not understand Vedanta properly. In the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, all our gurus and sannyasis have the title Bhaktivedanta. Therefore, we have to know what Baladeva Vidyabhusana has written in order to be very strongly established in the conclusions of our sampradaya and not to be deviated.

The second symptom, abhyasa, means repetition. If something is really the true interpretation of a sastra, then it will be repeated within that sastra. You will not find it in only one place, because this is the style of the Vedic presentation. The point will be repeated on a number of occasions. This is seen in Bhagavad Gita-everywhere you find 'bhaktya mam abhijanati'-you can only know Me by bhakti. Bhaktya tv ananyaya sakya-you can only see Me by bhakti. Yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana-out of all the yogis the devotee is the best. Everywhere bhakti, bhakti, bhakti is glorified. Karma-yoga is told in Chapter Three and jnana-yoga is told in Chapter Six. Different things are being spoken, but bhakti is mentioned again and again. This is called abhyasa.

Then abhyas apurvata phalam. Apurvata means astonishing or unprecedented claims. A sastra may make some unprecedented claims. This is seen in Bhagavad-Gita-what does Krsna say? Krsna says you should leave all your dharma. Other sastras say you must follow dharma, otherwise you will go to hell. And Gita says you should leave all your dharma, and you will not incur any sin. This is apurvata, an unprecedented claim, and it is in connection with the real meaning of Gita-to surrender to Krsna and serve and love Him. Krsna said in Bhagavad-Gita (9.22): yoga-ksemam bhajamy aham. "I am the Supreme Lord but I will become your servant. Anything that you need I will bring for you on My own back." This is astonishing. The Gita is making these claims that God becomes a servant. But of whom? Ananyas cintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate. He serves that person who always thinks of Him and worships Him, serving Him twenty-four hours a day without any break. Therefore, these astonishing claims are pointing out the conclusion of Gita. You must become a pure devotee. The unprecedented claims are in connection with the pure interpretation of Bhagavad-Gita.

Next, phalam, phal means the fruit. Krsna said, "What is the fruit of following My instruction?" Yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama. "You will go to My eternal abode and never come back. This is what will happen if you follow Me."

man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo 'si me
"I am making a promise that you will come to Me forever."

Abhyasa apurvata phalam arthavada. Arthavada means glorification. Something which is connected with the point of any sastra will be glorified repeatedly. This means that we have to see what is being glorified. Sometimes glorification has another purpose-to increase an individual's nistha in the subject matter. For example, in the beginning of every chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, Krsna says words to the effect of, "My dear Arjuna, what I am about to tell you now is the most sublime knowledge. Once you know this, you will know everything." And in beginning of the next chapter, He says, "Arjuna, now I'm going to tell you something even more secret. This is the highest knowledge and when you hear this, you will be liberated from all miseries." And again later He says, "Now, Arjuna, please listen to Me. I am going to tell you something superior to everything I have spoken before." So in sastra, sometimes something is glorified only to establish one's faith, because if you do not have faith, you will not listen. And if you do not have strong faith in what you are hearing, the deep meaning of it will not manifest in your heart. And we may have to go through so many stages of understanding before we come to the actual conclusion.

This is called arthavada, glorification. Some specific subject may have been glorified to bring out attention to the conclusion of the text. Otherwise the glorification may be only to bring your faith up to a particular point. You'll have to know that. Therefore, one of the ten offenses against the holy name is nama arthavadah, considering the arthavad, the glorification of the name given in sastra to be exaggeration or empty eulogy. One may think so because many other glories have also been given in sastra, such as: "Indra is supreme," "Lord Siva is supreme," "You must follow karma and then you will attain the supreme result." These statements do occur in the Vedas, but what is this? This is arthavada, glorification to steady the conviction of those with a lower adhikar (qualification) in the path of fruitive work. But if you will think that the glories of the name given in sastra are an over-exaggeration or only to arouse faith in someone, this is quite wrong. Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has said, "If you think that the chanting of harinama is equal to performing ten million asvameda yajnas, then you are an offender and you will go to hell." Chanting of Krsna nama only once is more powerful than ten million asvameda yajnas. This is not just some exaggeration or over-glorification; it is a fact. So the actual glorification will have to be located. That is called arthavad, the fifth symptom of interpretation.

Next is upapati, the sixth symptom. Upapati means appropriateness. In the statement that you are analyzing, there should be appropriateness, that is, something befitting your interpretation. Upapati can also mean development of a logical argument. In other words, in the verses or the book or the chapter that you are examining, there is some train of thought, some logical build-up leading to the point. Therefore, each statement along the way is quite appropriate, because each successive statement is based on the previous statement, all the way down the line, until it comes to the conclusion, which is based on all of the previous statements. Thus, you can see how the two meanings of upapati-the logical presentation and the word appropriateness-actually refer to the same ideal of consistency. This symptom must be searched for.

In summary: upakram upasam harav. First one: the opening and closing portions. Abhyasa: what is repeated. Apurvata: the unprecedented claims. Phalam: the result. Arthvad: what is being glorified. And upapati, appropriateness. Lingam tat parya nirnaye. These are the six methods by which one can make the correct interpretation of Vedic statements. By applying this process of interpretation to any statement, you can make your visaya and make your samsaya, your purva paksa, your siddhanta and your sangati. These are the methods by which we can come to understand what is true in sastra. However, we cannot do this ourselves because we are prone to the four defects. We must turn to our guru-parampara. They give us the conclusion, the siddhanta, and they make secure our faith in the siddhanta by showing how it is true by employing all of these stages.

Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana has done this in Sri Govinda Bhasya, his commentary on Vedanta. I want to give a very important example from his commentary. You can write something down in your notebooks. There are two consecutive verses from Mundaka Upanisad and Svetasvatara Upanisad. The first verse is also found on page 388 in Jaiva Dharma and the second one on page 404. These two verses are very important. They are found in Mundaka Upanisad, Svetasvatara Upanisad and in the Rg Veda. Therefore, we must understand that these two verses are immensely important because we find them repeatedly in Sruti.

dva suparna sayuja sakhaya,
samanam vrksam parisasvajate,
tayor anyah pippalam svadv atty,
anasnann anyo bhicakasit

samane vrkse puruso nimagno
nisaya socati muhyamanah
justam yada pasyatya anyam isam
asya mahimanam eti vita sokah

"There are two birds sitting on the same branch of a Pippala tree. One bird is tasting the fruit and the other bird is simply looking at the first, observing him. The second bird is the friend of the first one. So when the first bird turns to the second bird and witnesses his friend's uncommon glories, he comes free from all lamentation and attains an eternal glorious position." This is the meaning of the verse and we know what it is about. It is explaining that on the branch of the tree of the heart, there are two birds-one is you, the soul (the jiva), and the other is the Supersoul (Paramatma). The jiva is tasting fruit; that means he is tasting the fruit of his karma in this world. But the other bird does not taste the fruit of his karma. What is he doing? He is only watching, and when the bird, who is tasting the fruit of his karma, turns around to see his friend and realizes the glory of his friend, Paramatma, the Supreme Lord, who is always with him, he becomes free from all lamentation and becomes happy forever. This is the meaning of the verse.

Many Mayavadis and others say that atma and Paramatma are one, and that if you give up fruitive activities, you will realize that you are Paramatma. They say that you are the Supreme Brahman and that you will be happy forever when you realize it. This is called advaitavada. Sankaracarya explained Vedanta in this way, advaitavada-everything is one. Baladeva Vidyabhusana had to prove that atma and paramatma are not the same and that this is not the teaching of the Vedas or the teaching of Vedanta. So what did he do? He applied the technique of interpretation from the Purva Mimamsa sastra (upakram upasamharav, etc.), and showed how Vaisnava interpretation is the only correct conclusion.

Now I will go through these symptoms one by one. We are only examining these two verses. What do we find in these two verses? First of all upakrama, the opening of the verse. The verse begins dva suparna sayuja sakhaya. The first word of the verse is dva, which means two. So we are off to a good start. First we are looking at upakram, this is the first symptom. How do we proceed? The first word dva means two, so this is one point substantiating that our interpretation is correct. And upasamhar-at the end of these verses, it says 'anyam isam.' Isa means the Supreme Lord, and anya means another. So there are two entities and isa is 'another', that is, the Supreme Lord is one of them and He is distinct from the other. The opening and the closing both give strength to our interpretation that atma and Paramatma are not the same.

So first is upakram upasamharav and then abhyasa. Abhyasa means "is there anything repeated?" Yes, in the first sloka, anyah is found in the third line and anyo in the fourth line, and in the second verse anyam. We find the word anya three times-anya, anya, anya. That means another, another, another; not same, same, same; not one, one, one; but another, another, another. So upakram upasamaharav-both the opening and the closing are on our side. Abhyasa-something is being repeated again and again; this also supports our case. Upakram upasamharav abhyasapurvata. Apurvata means unprecedented claim. What is that? This verse is saying that the atma and Paramatma are really two. Now you can understand this by your philosophical speculation because this is the world of duality. But when you try to negate all duality, you are only left with oneness. When you start to use your own mind to understand non-duality, the mind will have the tendency to go towards nirvisesa-vada. The soul, by its nature, has the tendency to go towards bhukti and mukti, because there is only brahmananda and brahma-jnana in the tatastha sakti. In tatastha-sakti, the vrtti of samvit and hladini are only brahma-jnana and brahmananda. Thus, all jivas, unless they have association with a pure devotee, will tend to go either to bhukti or, when they become frustrated, to mukti. Therefore, this is apurva, an unprecedented claim, because no one could have understood without the help of sastra that these are two. This is called apurvata.

Next comes phalam. At the end of the verse, it says 'vita-sokaha'. This means that by understanding this fact, you will never suffer lamentation ever again. Then, arthavada, glorification. In these two verses, what is being glorified? Anyam isam-the Supreme Lord who is anya, another person, is being glorified. How? Asya mahimanam eti vita sokah-simply by asya mahimanam, that means knowing His glories, by knowing the glory of that other bird in the tree, you will become free from all lamentation forever; you will be liberated. Therefore, that other person has been glorified. Is there any person who can give you liberation if you know him? No, only one person-the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If you know His glories, then you are liberated. So this is the arthavada, glorification.

Now upapati, the development of a rational argument or appropriateness. So what is appropriate here? It is stated that one bird in the tree is tasting the fruit. But here it is also stated 'anasnann anyo', the other bird does not taste. This is appropriate for proving that the other bird is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because why would the Supreme Lord taste the fruits of karma? He has no taste for material things. And why would He have to taste the reactions for His activities? He is trancendental. Therefore, this statement, anasnann anyo, that one bird is not tasting the fruit, contains the symptom of the upapati, appropriateness, or the development of a rational argument. Thus, on the basis of these six symptoms, we come to the conclusion that Svetasvatara Upanisad, Mundaka Upanisad and Rg Veda all say that atma and Paramatma are different, that the atma is the servant of the Supreme Lord, and when he comes to know the glories of the Supreme Lord, then his life is perfect. This is our Bhaktivedanta conclusion.

First I have explained the etiquette of interpretation within Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Then I gave an example from Bhagavad-Gita to clearly illustrate how to interpret sastra correctly. Thus, when we see any statement, even if it is against what we have heard, there is no need to panic. Don't worry or become nervous. The siddhanta of our acaryas is perfect. If we have any doubt about anything, we should approach any qualified and learned devotee who can reconcile everything for us. Then, all our doubts will go away and we will understand siddhanta. It may be that our first idea was wrong and we will change our idea and come to the proper siddhanta. Otherwise, it may be that our first idea was correct but we heard something against that. This caused us to have a doubt in the real siddhanta. Whichever way it is, if we try to be in the association of pure devotees who are tattva-vit and siddhanta-vit, who are realised in all the siddhantas, they will explain according to this system, and our doubts will be completely dismissed. So now, even when the siddhanta has been established, there are still some more very important considerations.

I wanted to make some platform. This is Mahaprabhu's first teaching. Every single word, what to speak of each sloka, also has at least six different meanings-laksyartha, vacyartha, sabdartha, anvayartha, bhavartha and gudhartha. We will explain this tomorrow and also give examples. Then, when our understanding of the meaning of sastra becomes very broad, many new perspectives open up in such a way that we will not become confused. We will not be confused by contradictory statements and at the same time we will gain some insight into the many different explanations our acaryas give pertaining to the same words. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained the atmarama sloka in sixty-four ways to Sanatana Gosvami. This class today has been only a semblance of the real application of interpretation. Upon our arrival in Goloka Vrndavana, we will see that when Radha and Krsna meet and talk with each other, Their every word has thousands of meanings, very tricky meanings. Everyone will interpret differently according to the flavor of their love. If we want this, we will have to do nama-bhajana very seriously and give our whole lives in the service of pure Vaisnavas.

Question: You had said that you were going to continue your discussion from Jaiva Dharma about the nature of the jiva from tatastha, but you spoke on another topic today.

Answer: Yes, well guess what? First I explained what is Jaiva Dharma. All tattvas can be understood on the basis of this concept of Jaiva Dharma; and I explained - on the basis of Jaiva Dharma - jiva-tattva, sadhana-tattva, bhava-tattva, bhakti-tattva, prema-tattva, guru-tattva, sadhu-sanga, vaisnava-tattva, etc. Now I have said that pramana-tattva is also in connection with the jiva but this revelation is more and more nectar. It will take some time to get to that point. I am explaining amnaya, this is pramana-tattva. Now how is pramana-tattva explained on the basis of Jaiva Dharma? This will come at the end of my next class tomorrow morning. So please be very patient. I have not lost the thread of what I was saying. I am going in the direction that you want.

Gaura premanande!

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