Sunday, July 5, 2015

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati is Alive

Swami - The Hunt with John Walsh

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, a spiritual from ancient India (not to be confused with the modern Swami Prakashanand Saraswati from the 2015 news, and The Hunt with John Walsh) is alive and well in the hearts of the devotees who continue his tradition today.

The Swami was one of the most foremost devotees of the religious reformer, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Devotees of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continue to consider the Saraswati as one of the most beloved writers in their tradition.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati Found

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati founded a monastic order in India

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati founded a monastic order in India in the middle ages, before he adopted Krishna devotion under the guidance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati is a well known Hindu Saint of the time, and was given a new name by Chaitanya, i.e. Prabhodhanand Saraswati.

Picture on top: A beautiful picture I found of the Swami and his beloved God Krishna in India.

Give us your opinion of the Swamiji in the comments section below and lets discuss the life of this legendary figure of India.

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati - A shining light of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's movement

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and Lord Chaitanya
Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and Lord Chaitanya

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, a 16th Century Hindu Saint was a shining light of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's movement. After he became a part of Lord Chaitanya's mission, Lord Chaitanya gave Swami Prakashanand Saraswati a new name: Prabhodhanand Saraswati. In one famous debate between him and Lord Chaitanya, he surrendered all that he had previously learned in the name of spiritual truths and accepted the divine teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He left his throne, left his disciples and spent the rest of his life in Vrindavan, fully devoted to Radha Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Meeting with Swami Prakashanand Saraswati in Varanasi, Part 3

Latest news of Swami Prakashanand Saraswati 2014
Latest news of Swami Prakashanand Saraswati 2014

Source:  A Meeting with Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu points out Sankaracharya’s error in contradicting Vyasadeva.

Early in the year 1514, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was staying at the home of Chandrashekara Vaidya in Varanasi, India, then a great center of learning. Lord Chaitanya’s associates heard that one of the chief scholars of Varanasi, a sannyasi named Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, was complaining to his followers that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a sentimenalist who engaged in chanting the names of the Lord rather than in studying Vedanta, the proper duty of a sannyasi. Greatly disturbed by Swami Prakashanand Saraswati’s criticism, Sri Chaitanya’s associates were pleased when the Lord accepted an invitation for lunch at the home of the brahmana. Prakashananda Saraswati and his followers would also be there, so Prakashananda Saraswati could see for himself the ideal character of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Lord Chaitanya’s meeting with Swami Prakashanand Saraswati began with Swami Prakashanand Saraswati asking the Lord why He chanted Hare Krishna. Lord Chaitanya replied that He was doing so on the order of His spiritual master.

Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stressed to Swami Prakashanand Saraswati the importance of chanting the holy names under the guidance of a qualified spiritual master. The chanting of Hare Krishna cleanses Mayavada (impersonalist) pollution from the heart and mind and gives the chanter a taste of the nectar of devotional service to Krishna. Lord Chaitanya’s process of sankirtana, the chanting of the Lord’s names, is thus the most direct method for understanding Vedanta and the only method recommended for the present age, known as the Age of Quarrel. A disciple who hears the transcendental vibration of Hare Krishna from a spiritual master in disciplic succession and tries to chant with sincerity achieves the goal of Vedanta study: service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Perceiving the eternal happiness of love of God through devotional service, the disciple is naturally inclined to chant and dance, not caring for public opinion.
“I never chanted and danced to make an artificial show,” Lord Chaitanya explained to Swami Prakashanand Saraswati. “I dance and chant because I firmly believe in the words of my spiritual master. Compared to the ocean of transcendental bliss tasted by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, the pleasure derived from the impersonal Brahman realization touted by Sankaracarya is like the shallow water in a canal.”
Seated around Lord Chaitanya at the brahmana’s house, the Mayavadis were moved by His words. Their minds changed and they spoke pleasingly.
“Dear Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,” they began, “what You have said is true. Only a fortunate person attains love of Godhead. We have no objection to Your being a great devotee of Lord Krishna. But why do You avoid discussion of the Vedanta-sutra? What is the fault in it?”
While the Mayavadis appreciated Lord Chaitanya’s description of Krishna sankirtana as superior to the pleasure of impersonal Brahman realization, they were still under the impression that Vedanta-sutra was synonymous with Sankaracarya’s commentary on Vedanta- sutra, known as Sariraka-bhashya. There are in fact many definitive commentaries on the Vedanta- sutra written by great devotional scholars. The original commentary is Srimad-Bhagavatam, written by Srila Vyasadeva Himself, the author of Vedanta-sutra. Foreseeing the havoc created by perverted Mayavada commentaries, Vyasadeva compiled His own commentary. The Mayavadis recognize none of the devotional commentaries, and Sankaracarya even faulted Vyasadeva’s compilation of the Vedanta-sutra itself. So although Lord Chaitanya had been commenting on Vedanta all along, the assembled sannyasis requested Him to comment specifically on the verses of the Vedanta-sutra in relation to the Sariraka-bhashya.
“To tell You the truth,” the Mayavadi sannyasis continued, “we are greatly pleased to hear Your words and behold Your extraordinary beauty. We see that You are just like Narayana, God Himself. Whatever You say, we shall be very glad to hear patiently.”
Contradicting Vyasadeva
With the Mayavadis eager to listen, the Lord began by indicating that Sankaracarya had no business correcting Srila Vyasadeva.
“Vedanta philosophy,” He said, “consists of words spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His literary incarnation as Srila Vyasadeva. The four material defects do not exist in the words of the Supreme Lord.”
The four defects of an ordinary person are (1) he must make mistakes, (2) he must fall into illusion, (3) he must have a tendency to cheat, and (4) his senses must be imperfect. These defects make our own knowledge unreliable, and their absence makes the Vedas authoritative. If we cannot accept, at least theoretically, that as an incarnation of God Vyasadeva is above the four defects, then there is no reason to give special attention to His Vedanta-sutra or any of the Vedic books. Certainly Sankaracarya, whose very mission was to reestablish the Vedic authority, weakened his position by correcting Vyasadeva. It is the Buddhists he was working to reform who believe that the Vedas were compiled by ordinary defective beings. Sankaracarya contradicted Vyasadeva only because the Vedas are clearly theistic and personal, something Sankaracarya’s Buddhist audiences would not have been able to swallow.
“Sankaracarya has misled the world,” Lord Chaitanya explained, “by commenting that Vyasadeva was mistaken. Thus he has raised great opposition to theism throughout the world.”
What, according to Sankaracarya, was Vyasadeva’s big mistake? The Vedanta-sutra begins by defining God or the Absolute Truth as the changeless origin of everything, the cause of all causes. Janmady asya yatah. That’s fine, the Mayavadis think. The Absolute is the origin of consciousness, of life, of spirit, the origin of everything eternal and real. But the Mayavadis balk at Vyasadeva’s assertion that the material creation also emanates from God. The material creation, with all its oceans, mountains, creatures, planets, and atomic and subatomic particles, is infinite, varied, and complete. If all this stuff is the energy of God, they reason, then He has either greatly depleted Himself in its creation, or has transformed Himself into the creation. In either case the changeless Absolute would have changed, making it a relative, illusory thing, like the material world itself. Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of God, was therefore obviously mistaken, the Mayavadis contend, in saying that the universe is composed of the energies of the Supreme.
To rectify God’s mistake, the Mayavadis say that the material world is false. Brahma satyam jagan mithya. Brahman, or eternal spirit, is truth, while the temporary material world is untruth. It is an unreal dream. It does not exist and so does not need to be accounted for. We ignorantly mistake the material universe as real just as in the dark we might mistake a rope for a snake. Absolutely everything here is illusion, the Mayavadis believe, with the one tiny exception of their own words.
Cut off from authorized disciplic succession, the Mayavadis are victims of their defective material reasoning. Material things change or dissipate as they give off energy. Your gas tank and your bank balance reduce to nothing as you spend money and drive your car. The original tree disappears as it is sawed into lumber and further transformed into furniture and houses. But the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is not material. The Upanishads describe Him as a transcendental person with unlimited, inexhaustible energies. Because He is infinite and complete, His creations, such as the phenomenal material world, are also infinite and complete.
om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya
purnam evavashishyate
“The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal material world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.”
Despite the vastness of His creations, Lord Krishna remains complete and unchanged. As a businessman spreads his limited financial and managerial assets to run a corporation, so the Supreme expands His unlimited potencies to create the material and spiritual worlds. That is what it means to say that God is omnipotent. The unlimited and inconceivable potencies of the Supreme is the central point of the Vaishnava, or personalist, philosophy taught by Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Like spirit, the material universe is also true, because it is composed of the energies of the Supreme Truth. This world is not false, as the Mayavadis say. Although temporary and in flux, the universe is real. We are eternal spiritual individuals, distinct from our temporary bodies, and part of Krishna’s superior spiritual energy. The material elements that make up our bodies and the rest of the universe are part of Krishna’s material energy. Nothing but these two categories of Krishna’s energy, spiritual and material, make up the universe. Both energies, both the rope and the snake, to use the Mayavadi example, are real. It is mistaking one for the other that is false. It is false to mistake our selves for our bodies, as the gross materialists do, because the bodies are temporary vehicles for our eternal selves. And it is false to think of our individuality as a product of the soul’s contact with the body, as the Mayavadis do, because we are eternally individual parts of the supreme individual, the Supreme Brahman, Krishna.
The Psychology of the Mayavadi
“In all the Vedic sutras [codes] and books, Lord Krishna is to be understood,” Lord Chaitanya explained to the assembled Mayavadis. “To prove their philosophy, the followers of Sankaracarya have covered the real meaning of the Vedas with indirect explanations based on their imaginative powers.”
Mayavadis, or materialists trying to imagine an eternal blissful life, have had a tough time in the material world. Things here are temporary and full of misery. Suffering comes from our own bodies and minds, from the forces of nature, and especially from other people, including loved ones. People here are full of faults and even the most picture-perfect storybook love affair must realistically end in old age, disease, and death. All the endless varieties of personalities and situations produce tiny bits of pleasure on a background of pain. So when we turn our imaginative powers to spiritual life, we imagine that it must be a life without people and without variety. We find comfort in the idea of losing our individuality and merging with an eternal impersonal spirit. No personality. No variety. No suffering.
A patient long suffering from a painful physical disease sometimes asks a doctor to end his life. He wants to destroy the disease, but out of hopelessness he thinks killing the body is the only solution. In the same way, because our material personalities give us pain, we want to commit spiritual suicide by ending our personalities, and the Mayavadis, the Dr. Kevorkians of spiritual life, are here to help with their imaginative impersonal interpretations of Vedanta.
Lord Chaitanya admonished the Kevorkian Vedantists of Varanasi.
“Brahman,” He said, “is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the reservoir of ultimate truth and absolute knowledge.”
Won Over by the Lord
Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and the other Mayavadis had always vigorously rejected such an explanation of Vedanta, but here was the Personality of Godhead Himself sitting before them and directly exhibiting His unlimited potencies, in particular His humility, His extraordinary beauty, His truthfulness, and His transcendental knowledge. Lord Chaitanya explained each sutra of the Vedanta-sutra in terms of devotion to Krishna, with the former Mayavadis pleased to hear everything He said. Before lunch they happily joined the Lord in the formerly scandalous activity of chanting Hare Krishna. Then, seating the Lord in their midst, they took their meal together.
After this incident, word spread that Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and the other Mayavadis of Varanasi had embraced Lord Chaitanya’s path of chanting the holy names. Many scholars and curious people would come to see the Lord where He was staying. As all of them could not crowd into Chandrashekhara’s house, they used to line the streets as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu daily made His way to the temples of Vishvanatha and Bindhu Madhava.
One day shortly after the luncheon meeting, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and his disciples joined a tumultuous crowd chanting and dancing with Lord Chaitanya in the courtyard of the Bindhu Madhava temple. Noticing Prakashanand, the Lord stopped the chanting to greet him affectionately, and at Prakashanand’s request they had further talks on the Vedanta-sutra. Not long after that, Lord Chaitanya returned to His headquarters in Jagannatha Puri, where He remained from then on.
Today in Varanasi there is a big banyan tree near the temple of Bindhu Madhava, the same tree in whose shade Lord Chaitanya used to rest after lunch. The old temple of Bindhu Madhava was dismantled by Emperor Aurangzeb and replaced by a mosque, but a new temple was built nearby. There is no sign of the houses of Chandrashekhara or Tapana Mishra, where Lord Chaitanya stayed, nor any sign of the fortunate and humble sannyasi Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, who discussed Vedanta with the Supreme Brahman over lunch.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Picture of Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Latest news of Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and Lord Chaitanya
Glorious kirtan with Lord Chaitanya and Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

Glimpse of a wonderful chanting session with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, two famous Saints of the 16th Century India, with hundreds of devotees. You can really feel the ecstatic joy of the devotees and the Lord as devotees play musical instruments and dance and sing and faint with joy. As the latest news of the Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Prakashanand Saraswati spread throughout the district, more and more people joined the chanting and felt blessed to be part of this blissful scene.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Prakashanand

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Prakashanand Saraswati
Mahaprabhu and Prakashanand Saraswati

More about Swami Ji here.

After associating with Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Shree Rangam, Shree Swami Prakashanand Saraswati converted from Shree to Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Empowered by Shri Chaitanya, he taught Shrimad Bhagavatam and other devotional works to Gopala Bhatta Goswami, his nephew. His eloquent speech would engladden everyone.

Good qualities and pure devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead ornamented his life. Even while sleeping he would remember Lord Chaitanya. Prakashanand Saraswati was an extremely enthusiastic exponent of Shree Chaitanya's doctrine and divinity.

parama-vairagya-sneha murti manoram
maha-kavi gita vadya-nrtye anupam

"Very austere and renounced, Prakashanand Saraswati overflowed with love for the Devotees. His handsome form pleased the eyes. He was a learned poet and scholar. No one could compare with him in the arts of singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments." (Bhakti-ratnakar)

Leaving Shree Rangam, he lived a detached life in Shree Vrindavana as a fully dedicated servant of Radha-Govinda. He was a rasika acharya, perfect in describing the nikunja-lilas of Gandharvika-Giridhari. He glorifies Lord Chaitanya, Radha-Krishna, Navadwipa, and Vrindavana with enlightened devotion. Prabodhananda Saraswati's writings bless the beginner with bhakti and shower rasika Vaishnavas with pure nectar. Sangita Madhava, Navadwipa-sataka, Chaitanya-chandramrta, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, Vrindavana-mahimamrta are some of his books.

Prakashanand Saraswati serves Shree Radha in Golok Vrindavan as Tungavidya-gopi, one of Her asta-sakhis. His samadhi is behind Kaliya-ghat near the Kadamba tree of Krishna leela.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, one of the prominent disciples of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Saint Prakashanand Saraswati was the disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the spiritual Master of 16th Century Saint, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

In the 16th century there were many descended Saints on this earth. At the same time, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Who Graced this planet along with His eternal associates, was also present. Among His disciples, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, Roop Goswami, Sanatan Goswami, Jeev Goswami and some others were prominent. In the next series of posts we're going to talk about Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, Shree Swamiji.