Saint Ved Vyas relating the Bhagwatam to Shukdeo (3100 B.C.)

The Encyclopedia of Authentic Hinduism by H.D. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati (the most important site on Hinduism, the Upanishads, modern Physics, Bhartiya, Sanatan Dharm and more)

(70) Saints, acharyas, their teachings and their religion.

       The Saints and the acharyas of Bharatvarsh have always established and expounded the devotional and the philosophical themes of the Upnishads, Gita and the Bhagwatam which form the body of Sanatan Dharm. There are no discrepancies in their descriptions. If any discrepancy is seen in their descriptions, it is only the lack of correct interpretation by the reader, because every Saint describes the Divine theory in his own style and so you have to understand the style of his writing.

The common source.

One thing you must know, that it is God Who reveals the scriptures, directly and through Brahma; it is God Who sends the Divine personalities from His abode to come to this earth planet and to establish the Sanatan Dharm; and it is God Who Himself descends on the earth planet to reveal His absolute Blissfulness through His leelas and to show the path of bhakti, which is the soul and the essence of Sanatan Dharm and all of the scriptures. Thus, the eternal Sanatan Dharm is produced by God, represented by God, and established, promoted and promulgated by the eternal associates of God.

This is the reason that all the Divine writings of the acharyas and Saints are in perfect coordination with the Upnishads, Gita and the Bhagwatam. All the names and the forms of God and the philosophy of God realization that they have described are already in the scriptures. But they have further simplified the path of devotion to God and expanded the devotional material by revealing the leelas of Radha Krishn a lot more than they are described in the Upnishads, Puranas and the Bhagwatam.

The Divine forms of one single God.

The difference which is seen in their writings is the representation of the form of God, and this difference relates to the actual Divine status of that Divine personality. It also represents this fact, that one supreme God has all these forms.

Ramanujacharya came from Vaikunth abode, so he emphasized on the bhakti of God Vishnu but he also described about the worship of Bhagwan Ram and Bhagwan Krishn. He wrote about Ram in his book Ram Patal and Ram Rahasya. Nimbarkacharya came from Golok abode, so he represented the loving devotion of Radha Krishn. Shankaracharya was the descension of God Shiv Who is God of yog and liberation and also an ardent devotee of Krishn, so Shankaracharya explained about gyan and yog but he inserted bhakti in the very end of Aprokchanubhooti.

He detailed the description of Krishn devotion in the Prabodh Sudhakar. Goswami Tulsidas is an eternal devotee of Bhagwan Ram so he extensively adores and praises Bhagwan Ram in all of his writings, but at one spot he also writes in the Vinay Patrika that,

Maya cannot do any tricks upon him because he has Nand Kumar (Krishn) in his heart. These references represent the Divine status of that Divine personality and, at the same time, they also represent the internal self-submissiveness of all the Divine forms of one single God.

Clarification of the philosophical differences related to soul, maya, and God.

The differences which are seen in the bhashyas (commentaries on the scriptures) of the Jagadgurus are not substantial differences. They are the descriptions of the same Divine substance in a different manner and with a different approach, and sometimes they are further clarifications of the same Divine truth.

For example: (a) Shankaracharya said in his bhashya that God is impersonal (nirakar) and maya is only an illusion. Ramanujacharya did not reject the existence of nirakar brahm and the illusive nature of maya, but he further explained that nirakar brahm is an aspect of purushottam brahm (the supreme personality of God) and is established in Him, and maya itself is not an illusion, only its effects are illusionary, whereas maya is an eternal and lifeless power.

(b) The other Jagadgurus said that soul is an infinitesimal part of the chit shakti of God. Jeev Goswami further unfolded this situation and explained that there is a power called jeev shakti which is an affiliate to chit shakti. Soul is actually an infinitesimal part of that jeev shakti.

(c) Nimbarkacharya and Vallabhacharya established the Divine supremacy of Krishn but they did not fully describe the Divinity of Radha Rani. Jeev Goswami and Roop Goswami, further explained that Radha Rani is the soul of Krishn and the absoluteness of the hladini power which is the main personal power of supreme God Krishn. They wrote the detailed descriptions of the Divine love states and the ecstasies of Gopis, Krishn and Radha as they are seen in Golok and Divine Vrindaban, in the Krishn Sandarbh, Preeti Sandarbh and Ujjwal Neelmani. Thus we see that there is no substantial difference in the writings of the Jagadgurus and the acharyas. They are the descriptions of the same Divine existence in their own style of writings and according to their own Divine experiences.

The gist of their teachings.

Now we can have a glimpse of the prime theme of the writings of our Saints and the acharyas: Nimbarkacharya showed the path of selfless devotion to Radha Krishn; Shankaracharya (509-477 BC) talked about yog and brahm gyan but his sachchidanand brahm was Krishn Whom he himself adored (Pra. Su. 195, 200, 250); Ramanujacharya stressed on humbleness and total self-submission (prapatti) to God Narain (Vishnu); Madhvacharya said that the only goal of a soul is to selflessly and wholeheartedly love and surrender to God; Vallabhacharya propounded the path of pushti which is total submission to Krishn with a real humble desire of receiving His Grace; and Chaitanya Mahaprabhuji said that a devotee should desire for the Divine love of Krishn Who is seen playing in Divine Vrindaban.

There were great Saints in all the provinces of India but mostly they were in the Ganges valley. Some of the most important Saints of South India are: the Alwars (between 7th to 9th century), Shathkopacharya (c. 7th century), Vilvamangal whose Krishn Karnamrit is famous, Gyaneshwar (1275-1296) who wrote the Gyaneshwari when he was only fifteen, Shridhar Swami (c. 11th century) who wrote the famous commentary on the Bhagwatam called the Shridhari Teeka, Namdeo (1270-1350), Tukaram (1608-1649) whose devotional poems called “Abhang” are well known in his area, and Samarth Guru Ramdas (1605-1681) who wrote “Dasbodh” and who was a very popular and prestigious Saint of his time. Bhakt Narsi Mehta of Junagarh (Kathiawar), Shree Daduji (1544-1603) of Gujarat and Bhakt Nabhadas (c. 16th century) of South India (near river Godavari) were also famous.

Nabhadas is the one who wrote in the poetry form the brief life history of about 500 Divine personalities since the beginning of this kalp and up to his lifetime.

Goswami Tulsidas (1497-1623), Kabir (1398-1517), Jaideo (15th century), Madhusudan Saraswati (16th century) and Meerabai (1501-1573) were the most popular Saints whose writings are well known to the scholars.

Tulsidas was born in Uttar Pradesh and lived mostly in Varanasi. His work, the “Ramayan,” was authenticated by God Shiv Himself and is most popular in India. Kabir was born in Varanasi and lived in Varanasi. He wrote some couplets in local language which relate to bhakti, gyan and renunciation. Bhakt Raidas (15th century) was also in Varanasi during that time.

Jaideo was born in Bengal and then he came to Puri. His poetic descriptions of Radha Krishn leelas called “Geet Govind” is such an excellent representation of Sanskrit literature, which still has no comparison.

Madhusudan Saraswati was born in Bengal and spent most of his life in Varanasi. He was an erudite scholar of Shankar Vedant, the advait vad, but when he learned about the charm of Krishn love he devoted himself to Krishn devotion and had His Divine vision. He wrote several books of which “Bhakti Rasayan” and “Goodharth Deepika” (commentary on the Gita) are important. At the end of the fifteenth chapter of the Gita he writes,

“The supremacy of Krishn and the incredibly amazing excellence of Krishn love is authenticated by all the scriptures. Still if someone doesn’t accept this and has some kind of feeling of neglect against Krishn, (because of his transgressions) he will enter into the hellish state of maya.

Meerabai was born in Marwar district (Rajasthan). She had an intense longing for Krishn since her very childhood. Her marriage, when she was only fifteen, couldn’t interrupt her devotion, but the family situation caused her to leave home and she went to Vrindaban where she met Jeev Goswami. Her songs of love and longing for Krishn are famous. She had the Divine vision of Krishn in Vrindaban. In her later days she went to Dwarika where she disappeared into the Deity of Dwarikadhish.

The Sikh religion of Punjab was established with the advent of Guru Nanak who was born near Lahore (Punjab) in 1469. His son Srichand (1494 - c.1644) established the “Udeseen” sect which follows the religious guidelines of Sanatan Dharm. “Guru Granth Saheb” is the book of Sikh religion which is a collection of the sayings of Nanak and its other Sikh Masters. Nanak talked about nirakar brahm but he never told the dry gyan; he stressed upon bhakti and gyan both, although his bhakti was not the real affectionate bhakti as described by the Vaishnav acharyas.

During the same period, around the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries, there were a number of rasik Saints and acharyas like Swami Haridas, Hit Harivansh, Surdas, Nanddas, Dhruvdas, Roop Goswami and Sanatan Goswami etc., who lived in Braj and enlivened the heart of every devotee with Radha Krishn love, whoever came to them. So we see that all the acharyas and Saints represented bhakti which is the central theme of Sanatan Dharm.

These Saints and the acharyas had their own followings which later on took the shape of a religion in which a particular form of devotion was introduced as taught by the originator of that religion. In this way, in different periods of time, several religions were formed all over India. But the beauty of these religions was that, when they started, all of them represented pure bhakti which is the central theme of the scriptures (the Upnishads, Gita and the Bhagwatam) and which was expounded by all of the Saints and the acharyas. Just like the fingers of a hand appear to be separate, but they are not; they are together. Similarly, all the religions of India are initially tied up with the string of bhakti as if they are all one single religion of bhakti which is appearing in several forms.

The absolute, omniscient, omnipresent, omnigracious, all-Blissful, all-beautiful and all-kind God has interrelated and intersubmissive five main forms (Vishnu, Shiv, Durga, Bhagwan Ram and Bhagwan Krishn), Who have Their own Divine abodes that represent sweeter and sweeter manifestations of the Divine Bliss. (This philosophy is described in detail in “The Divine Vision of Radha Krishn.”) They are all various forms and abodes of one single God. Souls who reach these Divine abodes enjoy the absolute Bliss of a non-ending and ever-increasing nature every moment. Your Beloved God, in the Divine abode, gives His personal loving care of such an unlimited limit that drowns a soul in the sweetness of His loving association forever. All of these abodes are attainable through selfless bhakti.


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