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Home » comics

Jiva Falls

Submitted by on June 24, 2012 – 9:58 am61 Comments

61 Comments »

  • Ishan das

    Is it possible for someone to make a clear and concise description of how it is that ISKCON and it’s members are falling? I understnd 2-3 points at present:

    1) ISKCON has taken an offensive stand in relation to Shridhar Swami (A.C. Bhaktivedanta’s beloved godbrother).

    2) ISKCON has taken an offensive stand in relation to Tripurari Swami.

    3) ISKCON may have implemented a guru program that is not in line with shastric teachings. However, I do not know the details of that program or how it differs from the shastric position. Can someone clear that up for me?

    • Gauravani dasa

      Ishan, this comic does not imply that members of Iskcon are fallen, it implies that Iskcon takes the philosophical position that the jiva has fallen from the spiritual world rather than the position that karma is anadi. See: Anadi for Beginners: We All Have to Start Somewhere…Or Do We?

      • madan gopal das

        and, ISKCON is the only (hence the sign) Gaudiya mission which has adopted the philosophy that somehow or other the jiva in its post-liberated state in direct relationship with Krsna is touched by maha-maya and falls down into the material realm.

        • I think a bigger problem than the apasiddhanta is quarrel amongst the vaishnavas. You can correctly say that ISKCON is the only group who has the misconception that the jiva falls. However, it is also correct to say that they got that idea from Srila Prabhupada who often said it.

          My Guru Maharaja was very emphatic in preaching the universally accepted (outside of ISKCON) siddhanta that the jiva does not fall from Vaikuntha. However, I don’t see a problem if some followers of Srila Prabhupada want to repeat some of the other statements that Prabhupada made, ie we fell.

          As long as there is no quarrel.

          I’ve heard that when he was presented with this controversy, Srila B. P. Puri Maharaja’s only comment was, “I do not think that this is a good reason to divide our sampradaya.”

          I’m certainly not into it, but I can see why for preaching some persons may find it useful to advocate fall-vada.

          • Puri Goswami Maharaja spoke of dividing Iskcon over the issue, not the sampradaya.

            But the jiva issue is symptomatic of the deeper problem the sect faces. It is largely unwilling to understand its founder within the context of his sampradaya. While it embraces statements of its founder, it often does not care to examine them in light of the overall framework of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. When it conducts itself in this manner it effectively disconnects itself from its own parampara, its purvacaryas. And when it does so in a manner that also effectively does away with any ongoing continuation of the paramapara, it only makes matters worse. For example, Prabhupada says that the sect’s governing body commission should be its ultimate managing authority. Iskcon translation: “Iskcon is Prabhupada’s body. Managing his body is spiritual. Thus the governing body is the ultimate spiritual authority for Iskcon members and its initiating gurus are relative authorities for its members. Diksa involves allegiance to the governing body and the institution over allegiance to the guru.” God consciouness is subtly replaced with society consciousness. The governing body becomes the successor and the scriptural understanding of guru-tattva is corrupted, all in the name of strictly following Prabhupada. Thus the sect is arguably divorced from the guru parampara on both ends and adopts policies and teachings that are often different from Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Then when others endeavor to understand Prabhupada in light of well established Gaudiya siddhanta, as he taught his students to do, they are officially denounced as having deviated from Prabhupada’s teaching and vilified. This has been my personal experience.

          • Most fallen soul

            “It is largely unwilling to understand its founder within the context of his sampradaya”

            Sorry Vaishnavas follow the descending process of knowledge. So we see Srila Prabhupada through the eyes of our Guru, the rest of the Parampara through Srila Prabhupada and Krishna through the Parampara.

            If you want, I can quote BG to prove we have descending process of knowledge and that only descending process can be perfect.

            What you are suggesting is ascending process of knowledge followed mainly by modern scientists and impersonalists.

            Anyone trying to understand Prabhupada in the context of the Parampara will just speculate and never get any knowledge or any rasa. It is waste of time.

            Hare Krishna.

          • The sampradaya has an established teaching and its successive teachers represent it and thereby derive credibility. If the sampradaya teaches that Krsna is the most complete face of the Godhead and a teacher in the lineage teaches that all forms of God are equal in all respects and it does not matter which name of God one chants, we would then understand his teaching in light of the sampradaya’s well established siddhanta and not conclude that the result of chanting any name of God is exactly the same, but rather that the teacher preached like that in consideration of the circumstances he or she was in with a view to help get people involved on some level and that in due course the teacher’s tactic would be understood as such in relation to the sampradaya’s siddhanta on the topic.

            The above example illustrates exactly how the avaraoha pantha (descending path) works, as opposed to making it up as one goes along with no reference to a previously well- established teaching. Thus while it is true that one learns about the previous acarya and the sampradaya’s siddhanta from the present acarya, this does not mean that we are taught to ignore the context of the sampradaya as a whole. In reference to the discussion, Prabhuapda taught both that jivas fall and jivas do not fall. Only one of these two is the siddhanta of the sampradaya, the other a preaching tactic relative to time and circumstance. How will we decide which is which? If we have been taught well, we will research what the sastra and previous acaryas have said on the topic and determine what is the well-established teaching of the sampradaya on this topic and then determine that when Prabhupada says jivas do not fall that this is the siddhanta on the topic. Or if we are fortunate enough to have a guru who knows the siddhanta, we can just ask him or her. So one needs to find a guru who is acquainted with the sampradaya’s well-established teaching.

          • madan gopal das

            I’m certainly not into it, but I can see why for preaching some persons may find it useful to advocate fall-vada.

            Madhavananda, I always appreciate your disinterest in quarrel as a great quality of yours. I also appreciate your adherence to and presentation of siddhanta.
            A major point of Swami’s related article on anadi-karma is that yes, there has been utility in advocating the fall of the jiva in the past, even amongst our great acaryas. The question now is whether that serves any purpose. I remember as a new devotee this was one of the very first issues that didn’t sit right with me, and it is a BIG one. And while I know that quarrel amongst Vaisnavas is troublesome, the need to establish clear siddhanta overshadows even the need to keep friendly relations between groups. If ISKCON only used fall-vada in a utilitarian sense, “for preaching” there would not be such a problem. Unfortunately it has been presented as THE only acceptable doctrine for the devotees as well, not just for preaching. “Preaching and siddhanta aren’t always one.” As Swami very clearly and very beautifully points out in the comment above, this deviation in confusing preaching and siddhanta is symptomatic of greater problems and when you start with a miscalculation in the beginning of math, you end up with big problems further down the road.

          • Most Fallen Soul

            In reference to the discussion, Prabhuapda taught both that jivas fall and jivas do not fall. Only one of these two is the siddhanta of the sampradaya, the other a preaching tactic relative to time and circumstance. How will we decide which is which?

            Dear Swami Tripurari,

            I am deliberately not replying to the first paragraph of your reply as it is sort of side tracking the discussion. I think we all very well understand descending process and I have made it clear in my previous reply.

            About SP teaching the “always ignorance theory” which is being propounded here, let me concisely conclude.

            1. Srila Prabhupada did teach the concept of nityabaddha in BG 7.14. Prabhupada has very well explained that nityabadha means conditioned for a long time.

            2. Krishna says in the BG 2.16, Nasato Vidyate Bhavo — hence the word “eternal ignorance” itself is self contradictory according to the BG. So the “eternal ignorance” theory fails the test of BG. No more mental speculation is required. To further clear up the issue, Kshar and Akshara are explained.

            3. The nature of the soul is “immutable”. So if it was “born” in ignorance, it will remain in ignorance. On the other hand, if it was born in knowledge, it will remain in knowledge. But there is a possibility of being covered in ignorance, as we are now covered in ignorance. As a side note, numerous verses of BG indicate how just by knowledge, IMMEDIATELY, we become free from karma. So it all makes sense. We had a chance to associate with Krishna and fell from that position (fell in ignorance). No one actually falls from eternal position, merely gets covered temporarily in ignorance of Krishna.

            4. Anadi Karma — I read with great interest your posts on Anadi karma. They are consistent with what SP taught. Specifically, Anadi refers to material or cosmic time, as clarified by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Spiritual time and material time have no correlation. And that is why, SP in BG 7.14 says that it is impossible to trace the time history of jiva.

            5. Is there a disagreement between two viewpoints ? there actually is no disagreement when we accept the Parampara through the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada gave us the higher truth. The “anadi karma” theory is a subset of “fall from spiritual world” theory. Both of them are subset of Bhagvad Gita’s teachings on soul as eternal, immutable and free from karma. Krishna does not give us pious or impious karma – BG 5.15.

            However if we try to see the higher set through the subset, of course there will be disagreement ! Hence seeing the Parampara in context of SP teachings resolves everything.

            6. Are we not falling down now ? The Archa Vigraha, the Guru, the Temple, they are all spiritual. The Guru is non-different from Krishna. So why is it that we are not able to control our senses in-spite of being in Vaikuntha right now ? Why is it that we are distracted by seeing the opposite sex ? So we are falling down from Vaikuntha even now due to our free will to enjoy apart from Krishna. We can perfect our life any moment by full surrender but we keep falling down from Vaikuntha. Once we have the knowledge, Krishna promises, we will never fall down. Once again numerous verses to back up this but here is one series — BG 4.33 -4.42

          • I will take your points one at a time.

            You state: “About SP teaching the “always ignorance theory” which is being propounded here, let me concisely conclude.

            1. Srila Prabhupada did teach the concept of nityabaddha in BG 7.14. Prabhupada has very well explained that nityabadha means conditioned for a long time.”

            No one is promoting an “always ignorance theory,” but rather that there are tatashta jivas that are termed nitya baddha, a Gaudiya term for those jivas manifest by Mahavisnu during his srsti lila. You acknowledge that Prabhupada also teaches this. But then you say that that according to Prabhupada, this term refers the idea that these jivas have been materially conditioned for a long time. He may very well say that at times. However, those who are eternally conditioned are those affected by karma and karma is literally beginning-less according sastra. See Vedanta-sutra 2.1.35. Here the sutras clearly state that karma cannot have a beginning because if it did, even if it were a long time ago, God would be subject to the fault of partiality. Note that in the sutras karma is labeled literally anadi along with Mahavisnu, the jiva-sakti and maya-sakti and the world cycles. You cannot have beginning-less world cycles if all of the ingredients of the world are not beginning-less. So although Prabhupada at time says that anadi means a long time ago, this is in conflict with sastra and its logic. And thus we treat such statements of Prabhupada in the say way we treat his statements that jivas fall. It is all part of a particular preaching strategy initiated by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. No harm, but it is not the siddhanta on this topic.

            Now your task in discussing this issue is to deal with what the sastra actually says and its logic. In other words, just citing something else Prabhupada said elsewhere is not to engage in the discussion, but rather to merely appeal to authority in order to avoid dealing with the argument itself. In order to help you understand exactly what the sutras say in this regard, I will present that in long hand in my next post.

          • We find the word anadi in the Vedanta-sutra, a cryptic text that seeks to explain the significance of the Upanisads. In the text’s second section, chapter 1, aphorism 34, the subject of theodicy is raised—the question of God’s responsibility for the evil in the world. The sutra thus asks how God can be impartial when we find good and evil in the world he created. Some suffer while others enjoy.

            Vedanta-sutra 2.1.34 reads,

            vaisamya-nairghrnye na sapeknatvat tatah hi darsayati

            The literal translation of this text is, “Not inequality and cruelty, because of having consideration. Thus indeed it demonstrates.”

            Ramanujacarya, Sankaracarya, and Gaudiya Vedanta acarya Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana all explain in their respective commentaries that this sutra is saying one cannot argue that God is partial and thereby responsible for suffering. The reason this is so, they continue, is that the Upanisads clearly teach that God only rewards and punishes the living beings with due consideration of their good and evil deeds. Such deeds and their due rewards are what is commonly known as karma. Karma and the world of repeated birth and death are inextricably entwined. Hence this sutra says, “No, God is not guilty of inequality and cruelty, because we must take karma into consideration. This is clearly stated in the Upanisads.”

            In his commentary, Baladeva Vidyabhusana cites the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad for support. There it is explained that in consideration of materially pious (sadhu-karma) and impious (asadhu-karma) acts God arranges for the elevation and degredation of living beings:

            esa eva sadhu-karma karayati tam yamebhyo lokebhya unnininate
            esa evasadhu karma karayati tam yam adho niniyate
            -iti brhad-aranyaka-srutih

            In this statement from Brhad-aranyaka found in his Bhagavatam commentary, Srila Prabhupada appropriately renders the words sadhu-karma and asadhu-karma as pious and impious karmic activities, not as bhakti and nondevotional activities, as some have misconstrued the words to mean in this context.

            The next aphorism of Vedanta-sutra takes an opposing position for the sake of argument and then refutes it. Sutra 2.1.35 states,

            na karmavibhagad iti cen nanaditvat

            If it be objected that it is not so on account of the non-distinction, we refute the objection on the ground of being without a beginning.

            Again, Ramanuja, Sankara, and Baladev Vidyabhusana have explained this sutra uniformly with regard to the term anadi. They show that this sutra raises the objection that before the first world cycle there was no karma, no distinction between souls on the basis of their merit and demerit—karma. To this objection, the sutra replies that this is incorrect because there is no beginning to the world cycles, to the cycles of birth and death each soul experiences under karmic law. The world cycles, its souls, and the karma that binds them together are all anadi, beginningless, as is Vishnu himself. Indeed, the world cycles are compared to his breathing, and God has no first breath. There is no first world cycle, and before each individual world cycle manifests, the infinite number of individual souls under the influence of karma remain within Mahavishnu in susupti, or deep sleep and content-less experience. At this time, their karma from the previous world cycle, which materially distinguishes them from one another, is still present, but in a dormant condition. Thus there is no time when karma did not exist, whether inside or outside of time—during the manifest creation or during its unmanifest condition. With all this in mind, this sutra is to be understood as follows:

            If it be objected that it is not correct to say that karma is responsible for the evil in the world, since before the world cycles began there was non-distinction between souls on the basis of their karma, we refute the objection on the grounds that the world cycles and their karmic influence on the souls has no beginning.

            On this aphorism (2.1.35), the Vedanta-sutra ends its discussion on theodicy with the conclusion that God is not partial or guilty of unfairly rewarding some and punishing others in the material world. No, reward and punishment are a result of the living entities’ own actions, their karma, which is anadi. Here it matters not how well such an argument satisfies one’s material intellect or how well one feels the issue of theodicy has been dealt with by Vedanta and Hinduism overall. This is Hinduism’s position on the topic, a subject matter (beginning-less-ness) that one can only understand by virtue of sastra—sastra yonitvat. Sastra reaches where reason on its own cannot rise.

          • You say,

            “2. Krishna says in the BG 2.16, Nasato Vidyate Bhavo — hence the word “eternal ignorance” itself is self contradictory according to the BG. So the “eternal ignorance” theory fails the test of BG. No more mental speculation is required. To further clear up the issue, Kshar and Akshara are explained.

            3. The nature of the soul is “immutable”. So if it was “born” in ignorance, it will remain in ignorance. On the other hand, if it was born in knowledge, it will remain in knowledge. But there is a possibility of being covered in ignorance, as we are now covered in ignorance. As a side note, numerous verses of BG indicate how just by knowledge, IMMEDIATELY, we become free from karma. So it all makes sense. We had a chance to associate with Krishna and fell from that position (fell in ignorance). No one actually falls from eternal position, merely gets covered temporarily in ignorance of Krishna.”

            Regarding 2, this Gita verse tells us that the atma is not subject to transformation as are material objects. It speaks of the sat nature of the atma. However, it does not address the possibility that the atma can experience the ingress of Krsna’s svarupa sakti, as described in Bhaktirasamrta-sindhu 1.3.1. The atma has its own svarupa this svarupa or nature lends itself to nurture from the svarupa sakti (bhakti) resulting in a bhakti svarupa, a form of prema for lila seva.

            Regarding 3, yes the jiva is merely covered, but it is its atma svarupa that is covered. Bhakti is acquired through sadhu sanga, through grace. A bhakti svarupa cannot be covered by maya sakti. Indeed it has the power to control Krsna, what to speak of dispelling the influence of maya sakti! If it has the power to overwhelm Krsna, how is it possible that a jiva that cannot unto itself even dispel the influence of the maya sakti over power the svarupa sakti and overcome its enlightening influence?

          • “4. Anadi Karma — I read with great interest your posts on Anadi karma. They are consistent with what SP taught. Specifically, Anadi refers to material or cosmic time, as clarified by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Spiritual time and material time have no correlation. And that is why, SP in BG 7.14 says that it is impossible to trace the time history of jiva.”

            “Anadi karma” refers to the srsti lila, in which the jivas move from susupti to the manifest world and back again, unless they are liberated during one of the world cycles.There is no “spiritual time” in susupti because it is a material condition. Neither is there any such spiritual time in manifest world cycles. Karma and then time in terms of beginnings and ends is only relevant to the material world. Spiritual time is operative in the lilas of the paravyoma for the purpose of providing sequence, not beginnings or ends. Lilas of the paravyoma have no beginning nor end.

          • “5. Is there a disagreement between two viewpoints ? there actually is no disagreement when we accept the Parampara through the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada gave us the higher truth. The “anadi karma” theory is a subset of “fall from spiritual world” theory. Both of them are subset of Bhagvad Gita’s teachings on soul as eternal, immutable and free from karma. Krishna does not give us pious or impious karma – BG 5.15.

            However if we try to see the higher set through the subset, of course there will be disagreement ! Hence seeing the Parampara in context of SP teachings resolves everything.”

            I could not make much sense out of this one. BG 5.15.says exactly what the sutras I cited earlier say. Please read the commentary of Baladeva Vidyabhusana, where he cites this section of the sutras. Incidentally, the perennial example cited to help us get a grip on beginnng-less-ness is that of the seed and the tree. Which comes first? Answer: Neither. In other words, anadi in relation to the srsti lila speaks of a literal beginning-less-ness. ButI have already explained that in greater detail earlier.

          • “6. Are we not falling down now ? The Archa Vigraha, the Guru, the Temple, they are all spiritual. The Guru is non-different from Krishna. So why is it that we are not able to control our senses in-spite of being in Vaikuntha right now ? Why is it that we are distracted by seeing the opposite sex ? So we are falling down from Vaikuntha even now due to our free will to enjoy apart from Krishna. We can perfect our life any moment by full surrender but we keep falling down from Vaikuntha. Once we have the knowledge, Krishna promises, we will never fall down. Once again numerous verses to back up this but here is one series — BG 4.33 -4.42”

            Of course knowledge eradicates ignorance. Otherwise here you say that sadhakas can be distracted from their bhakti. That’s true. But siddhas cannot. And you yourself even go on to say that! If siddhas cannot fall from Vaikuntha and only siddhas reside there, that leaves no one to fall. Sadhana siddhas go there and never return and nitya siddhas are, well, nitya siddha.It is not that nitya siddhas like Yasoda can fall, and again neither can sadhana siddhas.

        • Gaura-Vijaya

          I think ISKCON and all Gaudiya Maths are in the same boat more or less. Falling from tatastha or falling from brahmajyoti are no better explanations than falling from Vaikuntha and the Gaudiya Maths mock ISKCON about their wrong understanding while doing the same thing themselves. Either accept new revelations from “any” realized soul when they contradict sastra or stick to the sastric position.

          • brahma dasa

            “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”-Mark Twain

  • madan gopal das

    This is completely hilarious!

  • I love it! We laughed and laughed. Great comic thanks.

    One small point, although it is unfortunately still the “official position” within ISKCON, it’s not correct to say that everyone there believes it. Certainly it was not the conception of Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Maharaja, nor thankfully even a growing number of present GBC members and leaders.

    Guru Nistha Prabhu, thanks again for your comics! I’m one of your fans.

  • Gurunistha

    Ishan-ji, Like Gauravani pointed out, the purpose of the comic was never to say that ISKCON devotees are fallen.

    Madhavananda prabhu, thank you for the nice words!
    And I appreciate you making the point that not everyone in ISKCON stands behind the idea that the Jiva falls.

    Comics are sometimes tricky because they largely derive their effectiveness from generalizations, but that can really offend people who feel they have been unfairly pigeon-holed.
    But if the sign in the comic would’ve said, “For those members of ISKCON only who believe in the fall theory” it would’ve not quite cut it, if you know what I mean 😉

    • I thought the comic was perfect Prabhuji. Let those who identify with this idea get some pressure.

      In regards to this topic, I wrote the following recently to another devotee:

      =========
      For those who are interested, the simple fact is that outside of some persons in ISKCON, there are no followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta who teach that we fall from the spiritual world. In fact, none of our acaryas taught that, and there are no other Gaudiya Vaishnavas in any of the many branches of Mahaprabhu’s line who teach that the origin of the conditioned souls is in the spiritual world in a relationship with Krishna. In fact, there is no one in any of the four Vaishnava sampradayas who teach that. In fact, there are no Hindus who teach that.

      It’s basically a Christian concept.
      =========

  • Prema-bhakti

    If the shoe fits…

    I have trouble with the hypocritical nature of an institution that states a policy on record that is apasiddhantic and this jiva issue is just one (guru-tattva issues are another), and yet some members will go on record that they don’t accept it while others simply deny it behind closed doors. Yet they remain proponents and supporters of the institution even when it gets to the point that the institution will promote offensive thinking against those who have different opinions than they do. I say this to be frank not judgmental.

    I agree with Madhavananda prabhu, as long as there is no quarrel, I guess you can believe whatever you want. However, be humble about the reality that you are the odd ones out and perhaps your own constituents don’t agree. Yet that never seems to be the case with ISKCON GBC.

  • Tarun

    I think Hayagriva got Prabhupada’s ear and read some of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost”, where Satan and his crew fall from heaven, and out of envy at that.. I was in an Iskcon temple one class and heard the speaker say we fell from the spiritual world out of envy.. When i challenged him to state the shastric evidence, he said Bhaktivinode had stated it somewhere.. I think not.. I did look at the vedabase after that, and found a lecture, only one reference that i could find, where Prabhupada said exactly that; we fell out of envy. I think it was Hayagriva, but that is purely fanciful speculation on my part… lol….

  • B.Govinda Ram dasa

    over the falls they fly everything will be ok if they see through the ones who put up roadblocks.Think for your self hear from one who knows. For me on my spiritual journey no one or group can stop me from hearing the real truth.

  • srivathsa

    what is the relation ship of athman with sri krishna,according to you iskcon people?
    Is the realation is same as krishna as said by adi shankara?
    or the difference is absolute as said by madhvacharya?

    • Mostly not Iskcon people here. But in Gaudiya Vedanta the atman is simultaneously one with and different from Krishna. It is constituted of one of Krishna’s saktis, jiva-sakti. And this sakti has no independent existence from Krishna, just as sparks of a fire are dependent upon the fire for their light. In this sense the atman is one with its source. But at the same time, sparks are different from the fire. For example, you cannot cook with them. Thus he jivatma is an eternal reality. Its individual existence is eternal and not illusory as in Advaita Vedanta. The one Truth–Sri Krishna–is constituted of himself and his saktis, just as fire exists as one powerful fiery substance that includes within itself the powers of heat and light

      • srivathsa

        Sir,
        I accept your words…you mean to say that our relation ship with krishna is just like fire and spark….
        But ,spark is nothing but fire only…but in small quantity….
        just like lake and a pond…..
        But this theory has a drawback…that vedanta says…brahman is nirvikaara, and nishkala….he will never change and he cannot be broken in to pieces…..
        that means…here you can remove a spark from fire..but ,you cannot remove athman from brahman…that is why advaita says..this world is illusion….actually we are not other than brahman…but looks like we are different…that is illusion……
        you are saying that our individuality will remain for ever…
        what exactly it means sir?…does it means that our prakruthika attribute will remain for ever unchanged?…..
        does according to your philosophy the krishana has prakruthika attribute ?….

        • Among the schools of Vedanta five of them are Vaisnava schools. They posit visitadvaita, dvaitadvaita, suddhadvata, dvaita, or acintya bhedabheda, all of which are opposed on the basis of sastra to the Advaita Vedanta notion that the jiva and the world are an illusion. Yes, Brahman is unchangeable and cannot be broken, but what does Brahman consist of? Brahman is the energetic and the energetic has energy–Brahman and Brahman’s saktis, parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate. And THIS Brahman can is unchangeable. So it depends upon what you start with in terms of your notion of the nature and constitution of Brahman.

          No, the jiva has no material nature to begin with. It is sat cit ananda Leaving the illusion of its identification with maya-sakti and its body made of prakrti, it attains Brahman.

          This is a sakti parinamvada doctrine. Brahman’s energies transform as the work but Brahman does not. Brahman remains unchanged but his saktis transform and thus the world is real. This is different from Advaita Vedanta’s Vivartavada, in which the work is thought o be non-existent. Such pure monistic idealism does not acknowledge the objective world of matter, as modern science and Vaisnava Vedanta does.

  • srivathsa

    Sir,
    Your comments fully satisfied me…so,what I felt is what you said is exactly what kashmir shaivism says…it says brahman is real…similarly his shakthi is real……

    But I has got a objection,brahman will never come under the influence of maya…or agjnana…so ,what advaita says is it looks like be under agjnana…but actually not so this jagath is not 100% true…or this world is mithya….

    I even observed that iskcon people say …we are also brahman in small quantity(volume)..just like wave..compared to ocean of brahman ,Krishna(sat-chit-ananda) …
    which I never accept because…brahman is called as chit…or sat-CHIT-ananda…here chit does not have volume…because we cannot say that an elephant has got more volume of consciousnesses than an ant…or we cannot say that an ant’s soul has less volume of consciousness than elephant…
    So,what advaita suggests is that all soul has same amount of consciousness…that covers whole world…but we are not aware of that due to ignorance…so this world is mithya…or ignorance…
    So, we are completely equals to krishna in all seance in absolute reality…but we feel that we are less than him due to ignorance… …

    what you say for this sir?

    • Well I don’t agree with Advaita Vedanta. The jivatma is Brahman and is not Brahaman at the same time, as I have already explained. From the perspective that is is different from Brahman it is subject to the influence of maya-sakti. See Gita 5.15: The knowledge of the jiva, though eternal, disappears from view (avrtam) due to the jiva’s hostility to the Lord without beginning (ajnanena). Because of this (tena), the jivas (jantuh) are bewildered.

  • srivathsa

    I has got a objection,brahman will never come under the influence of maya…or agjnana…so ,what advaita says is it looks like be under agjnana…but actually not so this jagath is not 100% true…or this world is mithya….

    • So the atman thinks its in illusion but that is only an illusion because the atman can’t be in illusion. There is no illusion. Any illusion is only an illusion of an illusion. So says Advaita. Therefore it is also referred to as mayavada, the doctrine of illusion.

  • srivathsa

    Sir,

    I have a objection for what you are saying that we are equal to krishna in quality and differ in quantity…
    because this krishna is called as sat-CHIT-anada in upanishad…..here is the word chit…which doesnot have quantity….
    because….you cannot say that an elephant soul have more quantity of chit…or consciousness…..than that of an ant…both have same quantity of consciousness according to upanishad…as brahman is niskriya as soul won’t compress and expand….

    SO, what advaita suggests is we are equal to krishna in both quality and quantity….but because of ignorance we think..we are less in quantity…….
    or in other words…what advaita suggests is we (soul) covers whole world…but .but because of ignorance we think..we are less in quantity…….

    what you say for this sir?

    • I have a objection for what you are saying that we are equal to krishna in quality and differ in quantity…

      Those are your words, not mine. The jiva is different in quality. The quality of its sat cit ananda is different. It is not Brahman, It is a sakti of Brahman, but on the other hand Brahman’s saktis are not different/independent from Brahman.

  • srivathsa

    I accept that jiva is not brahman……but athman is brahman….athman’s shakti is jiva…
    But iskcon people say…athman is brahman (Krishna)…in quality…but small in quantity…for that my objection…..

    Please find the difference between jiva and athma…

    If you are in the favor of iskcon…please answer….

    • The jivatma is a sakti of Brahman, not Brahman. But at the same time the reality of Brahman includes its saktis. Maya-sakti is also a sakti of Brahman. Maya-sakti can influence jiva-sakti and thus the jivatma.

  • srivathsa

    You are saying athman is not brahman….but mayavakhyas
    !)pragnanam brahma
    2)tatvamasi
    3)ayam athma brahma
    4)aham brahmaasmi….

    says that athman is brahman…only….

    • No, I have said that the jivatma is Brahman and is also not Brahman. The Upanisads mostly bring out the sense in which jivatma is one with Brahman, but not exclusively. Puranas like the Bhagavata mostly bring out the difference. But let me give you a Vaisnava interpretation of tat tvam ask to help you understand our perspective: “You (tvam) are to be known as (asi) His (tat).” So you are His.

  • srivathsa

    I went to a iskcon people they said that we are equal to krishna in quality…but not in quantity….If you are in the favour of iskcon …please answer to this above said point……….

    chit don’t have quantity….or consciousness…doesn’t have quantity……
    So,I am whole brahman…not part of brahman…..

    So,You cann’t say you are his…but you are that is the perfect answer.,,,

    what you say for this?

    • Kula-pavana

      What do you mean that cit does not have quantity? You have only your own chit, you do not have my chit, or anybody else’s chit. And you are certainly not the all pervading chit. You are small chit. And if you think otherwise, you are full of that other chit.

    • We are different in quantity and quality. Jivatm is delimited and in his sense individual. Cit anu. You are His. There, I said it. And so too does the sruti. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetanaman. He is the nityo and centanas. We are the nityanam and cetananam. There is singular and a plural. Plural is a different quantity than singular. He is the One. We are the many, and the many are small. The One is big.Hence the many are subject to illusion and the One is not. And this is what we see and experience.

  • srivathsa

    kula-pavana Sir…Please answer for this……

    I have a objection for what you are saying that we are equal to krishna in quality and differ in quantity…
    because this krishna is called as sat-CHIT-anada in upanishad…..here is the word chit…which doesnot have quantity….
    because….you cannot say that an elephant soul have more quantity of chit…or consciousness…..than that of an ant…both have same quantity of consciousness according to upanishad…as brahman (athman) is niskriya as soul won’t compress and expand….

    SO, what advaita suggests is we are equal to krishna in both quality and quantity….but because of ignorance we think..we are less in quantity…….
    or in other words…what advaita suggests is we (soul) covers whole world…but .but because of ignorance we think..we are less in quantity……… .

    I AM IN YOU…I AM U…AT THE BINNING OF THE WORLD..THE ONLY THING WHICH WAS THERE WAS ME…BUT I DIVIDED THROUGH THE POWER OF MAYA,AND I CAN’T DIVIDE BY ANY CHANCE…SO,THIS DIVISION IS JUST MITHYA…OR ILLUSION ..

    THIS WORDS ARE FROM UPANISHADS,,,BY THIS THEORY ONLY KRISHNA SAID,I AM VEDAVYASA,I AM KAPILA MUNI..ETC

    BY THIS THEORY ONLY I SAID I AM YOU…

    what you say for this sir?

    • Kula-pavana

      Srivatsa – you have no clue what the consciousness of an elephant is, or that of an ant. You only know your own consciousness. And that consciousness is very small and does not go very far. You can believe whatever fairytale you like, but there is absolutely no tangible proof to what you propose. If you believe that the soul does not compress or expand as you say, you will always be what you are now: a small quantity of chit.
      You are not in me and never will be, and I’m not in you and never will be. Have you met an advaitin whose consciousness entered yours? I doubt that very much. You don’t even remember what happened 20 years ago at that time. You are limited in your chit, and always will be. Get real and stop believing in things to which there is no proof. True spirituality is HERE and NOW, not some bull-chit fairy tales about what you will be when you die.

  • srivathsa

    swami bv tripurari Sir,

    You said we are different in quantity..as well as quality…
    It is not proper…because pragjnam brahman…is a mahavakhya which means…
    the heighest possible knowldge a athman can get is becomming brahman…

    which means a athman can become brahman by the knowledge of brahman…which is nothing but sat-chit-ananda…SO,according to this shruthi vakhya…

    our chit is not different from his chit…which is one invisible….
    shruthi says many chetanas..it is just athathva deepika..which is just vyavaharika sathya….a signle chetana through the power of maya became many…

    If as you said if jeevathma is small anu…then what is the swarupa of jeevathma?….
    why because if chit is small in size means…just like lamp…it is small in size..but here is a problem if the lamp is in small room lights more compare to large room…but we won’t experience so,…we won’t experience more chit or consciences when we are small..or when we become large less ..consciousnesses…and even we experience this chit is evenly distributed in side the body…..

    SO, what advaita suggests is we are infinitly big as brahman…but due to ignoareance we feel we are small….so, “you are that” is the perfect mahavakhya not “you are his”….for thatvamasi….

    and I asked other iskcon gurus…they said we are equal to brahman in qualilty and not quantity….

    If you said krishna…as brahman..even he was effected by maya…he suffered while dying,he had bhudhi…which is nothing but product of maya….
    SO,even krishna was influnced by maya…so ,according to you even krishna is not equal to brahman in quality…which is wrong…because he only said…he is equal to brahman in all sence as he said in geetha….

    • The Adwaitin understanding you espouse requires one to import foreign ideas into the sastra, notions brought to the text that are not found anywhere in the scripture itself. The foremost example of this is Sankara’s notion of saguna Brahman as a provisional manifestation of the Absolute that he inserts in his commentary on Vedanta-sutra (1.1.17) and unceremoniously identifies Krsna with in his Gita Bhasya.
      Contrary to the Adwaitan position, Vedanta-sutra (1.1.10) states, gati- samanyat: “Saguna Brahman is not taught anywhere in the Vedas, which consistently describe only nirguna Brahman.”

      Sankara’s argument is the lens through which he looks at all the scriptural references glorifying the form of God and devotion to it. It appears first in his highly interpretive explanation of Vedanta-sutra 1.1.17. This sutra appears in a section in which Brahman is described as having qualities. It begins with the statement anandamayo ’bhyasat, “Brahman is joyful.” (Vs. 1.1.12) Sutra 1.1.13 states that Brahman is not made of joy (a creation), but rather possessed of an abundance of joy. Evidence for this is offered in 1.1.14, which states that since Brahman is designated elsewhere as the cause of joy (Taittiriya Upanisad 2.7) he must be full of joy. Sutra 1.1.15 states that the scripture of joy (Taittiriya Upanisad) also celebrates Brahman as being joyful. Following this sutra in 1.1.16, that which is Brahman and joyful is distinguished from the individual soul. The Brahman who is joyful is also described in the scripture as being the creator. Thus it is Brahman who is described as joyful and not the individual soul, for only Brahman is described as possessing the ability to create the world. Sutra 1.1.17 then states that the individual soul and Brahman are declared to be different, bheda-vyapadesac ca. Even Sankara himself admits that sutras 1.1.16–17 concern the difference between Brahman and the individual soul. However, Sankara adds his own comment, declaring that the difference only exists on a lower level of reality (vyavaharic), whereas in ultimate reality (paramarthic) this illusion of difference ceases to exist. However, nowhere in Vedanta-sutra is there any reference to Sankara’s two levels of reality and thus two levels of Brahman—a provisional manifestation of the Absolute (Krsna/the avatara/isvara) and an ultimate reality (unmanifest, indeterminate Brahman).

      Thus Sankara has attached his own doctrine to the sutras. In this doctrine he calls his provisional manifestation of Brahman “saguna Brahman,” Brahman with material adjuncts. The form of Krsna as saguna Brahman is thus considered a manifestation of Brahman constituted of the material quality of sattva that serves the purpose of helping individual souls realize the illusion of their individuality, at which time the form and person of the avatara is dispensed with as the enlightened realizes himself to be Brahman.This idea has no basis in the sutras and thus nowhere in the Upanisads.

      The svarupa of the jiva is described in the Visnu Purana thus:

      “The atma is not inert matter, it is immutable, and not simply awareness. It is self aware and self luminous. It is uniform and thus delimited, dwells in its own nature, it is conscious, all pervading within the body, it is knowledge and bliss, it is possessed of the sense of “I am,” it is individual in that each atma is different from the atma in another body, it is indivisible, and eternally pure. Furthermore, it is an apprehender, agent, and experiencer, and its nature is to be eternally related with the Pramatama.”

      The jivatma is not Brahman and cannot become Brahman, but it can identify with Brahman in Brahma sayujya if it so desires and if it is blessed by bhakti. But it is better to identify with Krsna in prema and enter his eternal lila, where he jivatma will attain a spiritual body, as described in the 4th Adhyaya of Vedanta-sutra. And the kivas are not many through the power of maya-sakti. The sutras explain that the One becomes many out of sport/lila–lokavat tu lila kaivalyam. This is not the function of maya-sakti. It is the will of the Purusa who stands above maya.

      So as you can see, we Vaisnvavas have our own understanding of sastra. Thus we do not subscribe to the Advaitin understanding. Here we follow Sri Caitanya. We are bhaktas. So you should respect that and not try to educate us by citing Adviata Vedanta as if it is the only true understanding of Vedanta. It is not, and it is a minority opinion among Vendantins.

      Krsna is not influenced by maya-sakti. His lila is the influence of his own svarupa-sakti. It is a drama of his own invention for sport that includes an appearance of death.

      • Radha Raman

        Hare Krishna!

        You have quoted that verse from Visnu Purana.

        “The atma is not inert matter, it is immutable, and not simply awareness. It is self aware and self luminous. It is uniform and thus delimited, dwells in its own nature, it is conscious, all pervading within the body, it is knowledge and bliss, it is possessed of the sense of “I am,” it is individual in that each atma is different from the atma in another body, it is indivisible, and eternally pure. Furthermore, it is an apprehender, agent, and experiencer, and its nature is to be eternally related with the Pramatama.”

        What is the chapter and verse?

        thank you.

        • This is not form the Visnu Purana. In his Paramatma-sandarbha, section 19 Jiva Goswamî cites this passage, identifying it as Jamatr Muni’s description of the jivatma. This Muni was very senior teacher of the Sri Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya and his statement follows the lead of Padma Puraṇa (Padma Puraṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa 226.34–37), which says as much. Hence it is the definite position of the constitution of the jivatma in Gaudiya Vedanta.

  • Das ist gut

    Watching the exchange between Swami Tripurari and Srivathsa is frustrating. It seems that a couple of foundational questions are being neglected.

    (1) Does Srivathsa accept Srimad Bhagavatam as sufficient authority to answer his questions? Would he accept the commentaries of the Six Goswamis, principal followers of Sri Chaitanya?

    (2) Does Srivathsa accept the understanding that the vast Vedic literatures will contain numerous apparent contradictions, depending on the qualifications of the listener, and that if the listener has acquired an affinity for karma or jnana, or an affinity for rajas or tamas, there are plenty of scriptures that will support the jivatma in its pursuit of monism or demigod-worship or so many other practices that will help to purify the soul and acquire good samskaras that will aid it in its pursuits?

    If Srivathsa cannot answer “yes” to the above questions, then the best Swami Tripurari will likely be able to do in the realm of argument is to demonstrate the logic and internal consistency of the Gaudiya Vaishnava theology. The real benefit to Srivathsa will come not in being convinced intellectually, which is unlikely to happen unless he questions his fundamental premises; rather, it will come in his gaining the benefit of association with a very advanced Vaishnava — benefit that will manifest itself in the future in ways Srivastha probably cannot now imagine.

    Having said all of this, I wonder why nobody has yet mentioned Rupa Goswami’s account of the 64 qualities that are only present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which include 14 qualities that are never found in the jivatma? Even if Srivastha won’t accept this as an authority, perhaps it would help him understand the philosophical/conceptual framework Swami Tripurari is trying to explain to him. The “lamp” analogy is all very well and good for as far as it goes, but we need to recognize that some lamps are powered by incandescent bulbs, others by fluorescent bulbs, and still others by LED bulbs.

    • Das ist gut

      Edit: “64 qualities that are only present” should have been “64 qualities that are present only” or better yet “64 qualities that only the Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses in full, which include 14 qualities that are never found in the jivatma.”

  • srivathsa

    swami bv tripurari Sir,
    1)Bliss is not brahman’s guna…it itself is brahman….
    here guna refered to prakrithika gunas…as in advaita…this guna of bliss is not prakruthika guna…so,it is still nirguna…

    we call brahman as sat-chit-ananda..and still we call him nirguna….
    2)brahman is called as jgnana…pragjnanam brahma…so,brahman’s knowledge is heighest level of reality…without that knowledge is the lower level of reality…just like waken up state is higher level of reality ,when compared to dream or sleep which is lower level of reality…
    when you get the knowledge of brahman…you will become brahman..this is the meaning of pragnanam brahman…this sutra desn’t say brahmam HAS knowledge…it says brahman IS knowledge..which means..this knowledge of brahman is only possible to brahman…and upanishad even calls this knowledge as swayam prakasha…which means all can have that knowldge,,,that means we all are brahman…as said by adi shankara….this mahavakhya support shanakara’s argunemt of vyavaharika sathya…

    3)coming to vishnu purana’s point…athman is called swayam prakasha…so he is nothing but knowledge or jgnana swarupi…there no doubt in it..
    4) brahman cannot divide himself to maya..because he is nishkala…or indivisble…so ,through his maya power ,he became many…but in ultimate reality it is false..or mithya….
    5)if krishna’s suffering is drama…why can’t my suffering be drama of my own soul…
    6)YOU STILL NOT HAVE ANSWERED MY MAIN POINT…
    IF SOUL IS ATOMIC…AND EVENLY DISTRIBUTED IN BODY…WE SHOULD NOT GROW BIG IN THE SAME JANMA OR BECOME SMALL IN NEXT JANMA…because athman is nirvikaari…as said by upanishad..and if it is atomic as said by you as a lamp…we should feel less consciousness in big body compared to small body…which is not experience by any one…So,what advaita suggests is we cover whole world ,only because of ignorance we feel less..in size

    • As I stated, the idea of Sankara is one he invented. It is not supported by sastra. Krsna is sat cit ananda and rupaya. His form is sat cit ananda. Thus it exists in enternity for lila. Lila is not a so called vyvaharic reality that does not ultimately exist in the paramarthic reality. And for lila both Bhagavan and jivatmas are required.

      As to you main question, jivatma is luminous and it has the power of illumination. Thus it is small but has the capacity to pervade by its illuminating power whatever body it finds itself in.

      But my main point is that you are trying to engage in an argument that persons better schooled in Advaita Vednata than yourself have tried to engage in with Vainavas better schooled in Vaisnavism than myself. This argument has gone on for centuries. So if you have a samksara for Advaita Vedanta, you should pursue it in the company of others so influenced. It is unbecoming of you to visit a Vaisnava Vedanta cite and try to convince Vaisnavas of the logic of Advaita. We have already thought out the argument and settled with the Vaisnava position, withe schools of Ramanuja, Madhva, Sri Caitanya and so on. We consider Advaita Vedanta a doctrine of illusion–mayavada. And although I have laboured to explain our sastric understanding of the nature of Brahman that differs from Sankara’imaginative interpretation you have not understood it. So I see no resin to continue the discussion.

  • srivathsa

    Das ist gut Sir,
    1) I accept not only bagavatham…but also all 18 puranas…
    2)I don’t say other gods as dummy god…they are also brahman only according to me…

  • srivathsa

    swami bv tripurari Sir,

    You accepted athman cover EVENLY inside our whole body….and even you call it atomic ..in size..

    how does these two points you maintain true..for athma in small body and in large body…and even a small body become big in size as he grow old in age….
    will he experience less consciousness in large body when compared to small body…as explained in lamp example?
    no right?…so athman is not atomic but large or athman is brahma…
    brahma word came from bruhath..which means big or infinite in size…

  • srivathsa

    Sir,
    Every thing is ok…but You have not anwered my basic question….

    you said ,athman covers whole body uniformly at the same time you said athman is atomic…which is impossible….

    because our body grows in same janma…and also according to our karma…we may get big or small body in next janma….as athman is niskriya…
    It cannot grow or shrink…..

    from my lamp analogy you may have come to know that athman cannot be at the same time uniformly distributed inside the body and atomic….

    SO,what advaita suggests is atman is brahman or covers whole world …
    as brahman means infinite…
    but due to ignorance it thinks it is finite to the body….

    what you say for this sir?

    • Gauravani dasa

      Srivathsa,

      The atma is sat-cit-ananda but it is also anu, which may often be translated as “atomic” but this does not refer its size.

      anu refers to the fact that the atma is subject to the influence of it’s environment. When the atma associates with maya-sakti, it identifies with matter and experiences asat, acit, and nirananda. However, when the atma associates with the svarupa-sakti of Bhagavan it experiences sandhini, samvit and hladini–all aspects of the svarupa-sakti.

      When, due to karma, an atma is embodied in smaller or larger forms of life, its property of anu remains, but it always retains the capacity to illuminate the body it inhabits. The size of the body has nothing to do with the anu of the atma. anu is reflected in the fact that the atma is subject to being embodied at all. Further, if we had to assign a measurement to the size of the atma it would be “infinitely small.” This definition captures the nonmaterial aspect of the atma as well as the fact that it is dependent on its environment or embodiment to express itself. As Tripurari Maharaja mentioned, there are an infinite number of atmas. If the atma is to be called all-pervasive it is because infinite individual atmas exist. And they are infinitely small in comparison to their source.

      The fact that we are subject to illusion and embodiment indicates that we are not completely one with Brahman. If we were one with Brahman, we would not be subject to illusion. But because we are a sakti of Bhagavan (jiva-sakti) we have the potential to be intimately related to him through bhakti, by his grace. As Maharaja mentioned, this is devotional Vedanta, not Advaita Vedanta, so most of the ideas you are bringing to the discussion have been addressed by our sampradaya.

  • srivathsa

    Kula-pavana Sir,

    Ok,I accept I don’t know about the consciousness of elephant or ant…
    But I know about my conciousness or chit…..that you have to accept,,,

    When I was small..I din’t had more chit awarness…or less now…as I have grew up….when I was child I had the same chit experience as of now….

    As athman cannot compress or expand according to upanishad…it should cover whole world…so,as to make a small boy as well as when he grew up to experience same amout of chit experience….

    So, athman is called as brahman in upanishad…here brahman came from word brahat…which means infinite….

  • srivathsa

    Kula-pavana Sir,
    you said I am not in you…At the same time you accept krishna in me and you…why this dualness?….
    I don’ t think that there is separate rule for krishna and me …because brahman will never do partiality…

    SO, according to me as krishna said that I am in all…even I can say I am in all…krishna said that I am in all…based in advaita only..as there was a single thing brahman at the bigining…which divided to become may through the power of maya as said by upanishads….

    • Kula-pavana

      I accept Krishna’s presence in me because I actually experience that presence. That is my proof. Krishna gives me guidance from within and that means I’m not him, because he knows things I do not know. It is very obvious. I don’t simply believe whatever some old books say – everything I believe must be verified by my own experience and perception. And the way I understand these old books is through my experience, reason and logic. And you are not in me and will never be, no matter what you like to think or believe. And your consciousness will NEVER cover the whole world, quit deluding yourself with beliefs that have zero support in experience, logic, or reason.

      • srivathsa

        kula- pravana,
        the experience you feel that the krishna is inside you is nothing but your indeweller or antharyami…which is sat-chit-ananda rupi brahman…when you get the knowledge that your are that knowldege nothing else…..you will be brahman or you will be krishna…this is said by upanishad…when you come to know brahman ,you will be brahman….

        the krishna you experience in yourself is nothing but me or you yourself….my chit is not different from krishna’s chit….

        can you say my chit is different from krishna’s chit?
        ……it is meaning less….right?

        • Kula-pavana

          Your theories do not confirm what I experience. Plain and simple. They are actually laughable to me. You are all theory. And not very good theory at that. True spirituality is verified all along the way by our experience. Theory is worthless unless it is verified in real life – here and now. And by the way, you know nothing about Krishna’s cit, just like you know nothing about elephant’s chit. All you know is your own tiny chit. You are just imagining things to make yourself feel better.

  • annapurna dd

    Maybe It’s wrong, but this article for me is a clear living example that reveals itself. I remembering few days ago something like this… Beautiful! when says “Gour Govinda Svami: If Prabhupada says, he is there then you try see, associate with him and listen from him. Do you see Prabhupada? Is he speaking to you?” pure charisma and more, jaay guru tattva ki, so says my gurudev Paramadvaiti only is thing of the heart!

    Thank you very much for all nectar of your publications and commentaries shared, others living examples too!=)

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