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Re: REQUEST : Bhagavad Gita commentary

Posted By Shrisha Rao (shrao@nyx.net)
18 Jan 1997 03:41:46 -0700

In article <ghenE467x1.Hq2@netcom.com>, "H. Krishna Susarla"
<susarla.krishna@tumora.swmed.edu> wrote:

> > might assist the reader. Also, both these suffer from what I view as
> > the serious shortcoming of differing from (and trying to improve upon)
> > their respective claimed sampradaaya Gurus, Shankara and Madhva
> > respectively. For instance, Prabhupada's claim that Krishna is in some
> > sense a superior form of the Paramatman than other forms, is not
> > upheld by Madhva (who is, however, misleadingly listed in Prabhupada's
> > guru-parampara in the earlier pages of "Bhagavadgita as it is"). As
> It's rather pointless to bring up differences between Madhva and Prabhupada
> and say that the latter is trying to improve upon what was taught by the
> former. Although he claims that paramparaa, Prabhupada does not claim to
> represent Madhva's philosophical position. He does claim to represent
> Caitanya's philosophy.

I'm sorry, that doesn't scan. If that is how it is, why lie about it
and say "This Bhagavad-gita As It Is is received through this
disciplic succession"? -- that clearly and obviously relates to a
claimed understanding of a specific text only, and not otherwise. The
quote of `evaM paramparAprAptaM' given in this context also does not
square with your thesis, nor do claims such as that by Michael Tandy
recently that the 'Gita should be learned only by a tradition, etc.,
make sense then.

Besides, it may be recalled that your kind self were, until a short
few years ago, of the view that there is actually no difference
between the Gaudiya doctrine and Tattvavaada, and that what Chaitanya
taught could be considered an "improvement" upon the latter; I
consider it a major achievement to have disabused you and others of
that notion. However, that appears to be very much the party line in
these matters, and I rather fear that it is still the line being
handed out to acolytes not exposed to facts. As such, your
explanation does not agree with the party line that there is a
continuous sequence of teaching the 'Gita running from Krishna to
Prabhupada through Madhva, and that is what I'm concerned with here.

> Thus, if this criticism is to be made, it should be made if a difference
> exists between Prabhupada's purports and what was taught by Caitanya, as
> written in the literatures of the six Gosvamis.

There certainly does. No example can be found in any statement of the
six Gosvamis of the occurrence of the phrase "the science of Krishna
consciousness" or its equivalent in whatever language, and as such,
that phrase is a point of difference, a spurious insertion into the
doctrine as given by the Gosvamis.

> Or, one could compare what
> he wrote to the other commentaries written in his line after Caitanya. I
> think Baladeva and Vishvanaatha each wrote a Gita commentary, for example.

And I've heard that their commentaries do differ in their treatment of
the text from Prabhupada's. For instance, I recently was told by two
separate sources that the purport of Gita I-10, which I gave as one
example of difference between Prabhupada and Madhva, is also such an
example with respect to Baladeva, who wrote a commentary in Sanskrit,
and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who wrote one in Bengali. Apparently, both
these latter worthies agree with Madhva that the shloka in question
says that Bhiima protected his army adequately while Bhiishma did not
do similarly. Would you happen to have access to the relevant
commentaries by these scholars? I'd love to see the actual things
these people have said. I can understand Bengali to about the same
level as my understanding of Sanskrit, and can always get aid as
required, so that should not be a problem.

Anyway, even by your own standard, it would seem that Prabhupada's
claim cannot be entertained. Mind you, I'm not saying that this
automatically proves that his purports are wrong, but only that he's
wrongly claiming that his views are those of people before him,
specifically that of Srimad Ananda Tiirtha and his students.

> > If the above looks familiar, it probably is, and you've a very good
> > memory. I wrote that in a posting on alt.hindu more than two years
> > ago.
> copy-cut-paste, eh Srisha? Isn't Windows wonderful? :-)

Perhaps it is. I wouldn't know, for never having used it.


Shrisha Rao

> - HKS


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