Welcome to Svami Sadananda Dasa’s website

What is Rasa?

The worldly rasa is dependent on a special technique of the poet, who himself experiences an aesthetic pleasure and whose work creates a pleasure in the reader. Whether the enjoyment incites sensuality or gives rise to a more subtle human emotion, it is still enjoyment (bhoga).
The Divine rasa is the very opposite. The bhakta – who has got bhakti, the power to serve God, and is without a vestige of expectation of happiness or even of accepting happiness for himself – serves with his eyes, heart, ears etc. etc.; the actor here on the bhakta-stage has this very same power of service. The performance of the bhakti-drama or the poem is in itself service without any expectation or acceptance of happiness. In other words, the bhakta does not want to experience, to taste rasa etc., but to SERVE, nothing but SERVE. Krishna wants to serve the bhakta, the bhakta wants to serve Krishna, without expectation or acceptance of happiness.
Svami Sadananda Dasa




www.sadananda.com
ABOUT US

ABOUT US

The aim of this website consists in providing the means for a systematic study of the translations of the Bhakti-Shastras and of other texts by Svami Sadananda Dasa ("Svami"). We, i.e., Kalakanthidasi (Katrin Stamm) and Kishordas (Kid Samuelsson), who are taking care of this website, are shiksha disciples of Svami Sadananda Dasa and are connected to the Gaudiya-Vinoda-Sarasvata sampradaya by initiation via a direct lady disciple of Svami by the name of Maitri dasi.

Together with other disciples, we are administering the spiritual and personal literary estate of Svami and of his main disciple, Vamandas (Walther Eidlitz). This estate is the basis and source of the texts to be found on this website. Together with some other disciples we are translating the texts so that they become available in English, German and Swedish, step by step.

The estate comprehends, for example, an intense exchange of letters, covering the years from 1948 to 1975, between Svami and his disciples in Europe, Vamandas in particular. However, for the most part, only the letters from Svami have survived. They give a rare and intimate insight into the personal relation between teacher and disciples, Svami’s difficult living circumstances in India, his inner life and the way he was teaching. Moreover they contain many translations e.g., of the Bhagavatam, songs or prayers, which were sent to Vamandas for his spiritual nourishment and for the books on bhakti that he was writing under Svami's tutelage. We have abbreviated these letters, made them anonymous and added headings that indicate the subject the letter is about. So far these letters comprise most of the texts that can be found on this website.

Also in the form of letters, 300 pages of narrowly written air mail paper with corrections by Svami of Vamandas’ book, "The Indian Love of God" ("Die indische Gottesliebe"), have come to us which are a real treasure that has, so far, yet not been published on this website. Their value lies in the training they provide to readjust one's mind again and again to the SERVING of Krishna as the means and the goal. To study them is in itself seva put into practice.

In addition there are many exercise books with notes and translations both from Svami and Vamandas from the time in the internment camp in India (1939-1945). They often contain dictations from Svami on his sickbed to Vamandas. The main part of the estate, however, consists of many different kinds of texts: Sadananda's partial translations of verses and chapters from the Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita, Jaiva Dharma, Bhaktirasamrita Sindhu, and the Brihadbhagavatamritam, as well as full texts of the Isopanishat, the Caitanya Bhagavatam and some bhakti dramas. Disciples' notes from lectures on various subjects are also included in this collection. As it takes a considerable time to type and translate these full texts, you will only find a few of them on the website so far. We beg our readers for patience as we are doing all this besides our regular employment.

By now there are about twenty disciples of Svami of the first and second generation. We neither live in an ashram nor are we organised in any way. We try to follow our guru’s advice to orient ourselves to the serving of Krishna and outwardly pursue normal lives, thereby following Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instructions to Raghunatha Dasa:

"Don’t practise monkey renunciation – in front of the world.
Accept and use what is necessary – without attachment.
In your heart: be steady.
Outwardly: behave like the people.
Before long Krishna will deliver you." (CC.II.16.238-239)

Walther Eidlitz' main work, "Krishna-Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre” into English ("Krishna-Caitanya, the Hidden Treasure of India, His Life and His Teachings", 2014) and Swedish ("Krishna-Caitanya, Indiens dolda skatt, Hans liv och Hans lära", 2013) are now translated and printed and can be ordered under "Text Downloads/Books".

There you can also order the booklet "Tender as a Flower, Hard as a Thunderbolt – Words of Truth and Love" (2015), which is a compilation of concise extracts from Svami's texts under different subjects, together with his compilation "Krishna's Damodara-lila".

LECTURES on Svami Sadananda Dasa's life and teachings by Katrin Stamm can be booked by directly contacting her via the e-mail address provided on the website.

If you have any questions, any positive or critical feedback, as well as any difficulty downloading a document, please feel free to contact us, Katrin Stamm or Kid Samuelsson.
We speak English and will answer your email as soon as possible.

E-mail: Katrin Stamm   Kid Samuelsson
The school of Svami Sadananda Dasa belongs to the GAUDIYA VAISHNAVA SAMPRADAYA.

Each sampradaya or lineage goes back to one eternal form of God or to one of His avatara-s (descents). This sampradaya goes back to the shaper of this universe, to BRAHMA.

SAMPRADAYA means “to pass (da) on (pra) in the proper way (sam)”. This implies the faithful transmission of KNOWLEDGE (jnanam) from teacher to disciple about the mutual interrelations between atma, world and Bhagavan (sambandha jnanam), the method of service (abhideya) and the goal of the bhakti-path (prayojana). This transmission concurs with the conveyance of bhakti-shakti, the divine POWER to serve and to understand, from the teacher to the one who is to be taught (shishya). This transmission and empowerment takes place continually in the living relation between guru and disciple, but is ritually expressed in the act of initiation. Initiation into this lineage takes place by means of initiation into the Great Mantra, the Mahamantra, as well as into certain other mantras for the worship of Bhagavan, His shakti and the guru, specific to this lineage.

The translation “tradition” for “sampradaya” is insufficent, as it is not about (blindly) following a custom or simply bequeathing certain mantras and shastram-s to the next generation. What is passed on in the proper way is the living current of true bhakti from a bona fide guru to the qualified disciple.

The sampradaya in question is a VAISHNAVA sampradaya. A Vaishnava worships VISHNU. God is called “Vishnu” because His nature is “vishnu”, expressing the double meaning of the Sanskrit root “vish”: as the Lord of all atma-s (Paramatma), He enters the limited universe and the “heart” of every single being and thereby becomes apparently limited Himself. Yet He remains transcendent, i.e., unbounded by time or space at the same time. He only makes it impossible for others to perceive His unboundedness. Consequently, a Vaishnava is someone who, having been educated by the Shastram-s, is convinced that God, Bhagavan, is eternal, that His Form is neither restricted by the laws of time nor space and that His nature remains unchanged even when He makes Himself visible on the mundane plane and becomes avatara (i.e., not an “incarnation” in the Christian sense). In a secondary meaning the denotation “Vaishnava“ relates to a worshipper of Vishnu as that aspect of God which is turned towards this world, acts as the immanent and transcendent cause of this universe, and accompanies each atma. This aspect is only a partial aspect of God in His plenitude, Bhagavan, who eternally plays with His entourage in His inner Kingdom, untouched by the evolution and dissolution of countless universes.

The Shastram-s define “Vaishnava” as follows: “Whoever, after having been initiated into the Vishnu-mantra as prescribed by the Shastram-s, worships the murti of Vishnu with shraddha, i.e., with the firm conviction that serving God is both the means and the goal, is called a Vaishnava.” However, as long as this worship is not performed together with sambandha jnanam, i.e., unaware of the fact that neither Bhagavan (Vishnu) nor the bhakta (the Vaishnava) are of mundane (laukika) nature, but of cit- or spiritual nature (cinmaya), this Vaishnava is called a “beginner” or someone motivated by mundane faith (laukika shraddha). (cp. Bha IX.2.47) A further advanced Vaishnava of the middle stage equally worships the Vaishnava and Vishnu. The supreme Vaishnava, though, sees Bhagavan Shri Krishnacandra IN ALL THINGS and all things IN HIM. For this reason he neither discriminates between the Vaishnavas of the different levels nor between Vaishnava and non-Vaishnava. (cp. Bha XI.2.45)

This Vaishnava Sampradaya is called GAUDIYA as it was revived by Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1533) from the region of GAUDA in Bengal. In this way it is set apart from the four great South-Indian Vaishnava samparadaya-s: the Madhva-, Ramanuja-, Vishnusvami- and Nimbarka-sampradaya. These schools differ in regards to a stronger or weaker expression of dualism (up to a qualified monism) concerning the relations between God, atma-s and world. Caitanya, however, proclaimed the principle of the SIMULTANEOUS inconceivable unity AND distinctness of these three. Svami explains in his essay “Gaudiya Sampradaya Tattva” (1950):

“Mahaprabhu and His contemporaries had no intention whatsoever to create a new system in contrast to the prevailing difference between the monistic and dualistic systems, but wanted to show that one violates the Absolute, when one tries to squeeze it into the systems of monism or dualism, and despite the double statements of the Revelation only lets ONE prevail.” It had been Mahaprabu’s task to lead the people to Krishnabhakti: some to Radha-Krishna-bhakti, some to Rama and others to Narasinha. He added, though, that all these (other) forms were not svayam rupa (the very-self form of God) and that the svayam rupa was KRISHNA: “He wanted to lead the genuine bhakti of every group of jiva-atma-s to the respective Forms of HIMSELF; AND lead those, who – according to their atmic nature (svarup) – belong to the bhakti to Vrajendra-Nandana [Krishna] in anugatya gopi-bhava [service under the gopis, in their spirit (bhava)], to this form of bhakti; and out of them again especially those who can appreciate it into the greater intensity of the separation (viraha) between Radha and Krishna and the service of Them in overcoming Their separation.”

Already in the contemporary biography of Caitanya, the Caitanya Caritamritam, the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya is described in the simile of a tree with different main branches and various ramifications. (cp. CC Adi 10-12) The sub-branch of the Sadananda-school branches out of the bigger branch of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada (1874-1937), the guru of Svami Sadananda Dasa and founder of the Gaudiya Math, who, together with his father and guru, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, initiated a rennaissance and tried to purge the bhakti-cult of sentimentality and pseudo-religion at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Svami writes in “Gaudiya Sampradaya Tattva” about his guru:

“What Prabhupad [Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur] pointed at, but could not change, was the fact that the official Caitanya movement actually has nothing to do with Caitanya, and that a true follower of Caitanya is something else than a sentimental, vague and immoral person, and that a true follower of Mahaprabhu should be able to profess himself as such, without feeling ashamed of himself and without fear that he will be put into the same category as those who wrap the mantle of the scholar, the bhakta and the cult around their own social, intellectual, spiritual and moral inferiority, and who in the name of Mahaprabhu and His cult justify the behaviour of themselves and others while being involved in some more or less shady business.”

In contrast to this there is the genuine spiritual community, the MATH, which Svami describes as an ideal in an article in the “Harmonist” (1936) as follows: “The Math is the spiritual association of those who serve or pray to be allowed to serve in surrendering mood under the Spiritual Absolute Agent and as such it is distinctly different from all sorts of so-called religious communities. Its structure is in the form of a pyramid the augmentation of which is established by new cells which have no other inclination than to be the lowest ingredients of the whole. The entelechia or the moving motive is the longing for being accepted as proper ingredients, […]. A perfect system of service can be built up on the basis on intended, implicit or explicit love for the service of the Absolute without any expectation of return-service at present or at the eschatological future.” (The Harmonist, VOL. XXXII, MARCH 19, 1936, No. 14)

As lowest cells in this pyramid of service we try to serve our guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa, as best as we can and set our hopes on the promise he made to Vamandas: “But you must know, your sacrifices don’t stay with me. Like sunlight passes through wide-open windows they pass through to HIM [Krishna] and HER [Radha].”

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BIOGRAPHY

BIOGRAPHY

The relation of Svami Sadananda Dasa and Walther Eidlitz (Vamandas)

During the Second World War the Austrian author and poet Walther Eidlitz became the disciple of Svami Sadananda Dasa while they both were interned in Indian internment camps. This encounter is documented in Walther Eidlitz‘ autobiographical book “Unknown India”. For five years he received personal spiritual instructions and studied the bhakti texts and Sanskrit under the guidance of his guru in most hostile circumstances: “Every time I came to Sadananda during those days, a most frightful noise met my ears as I entered the door. Bartering was going on from the bed of his neighbour, and, furthermore, card-players sat around the only table in the barrack, slamming down the dirty cards. Often enough they got into dispute with one another. Sadananda did not seem to be the least disturbed by all this. He called out cheerfully: ‘So nice of you to come and call on me, Vamandas. Come and sit on my bed.’ A bright dome of peace seemed to hover invisibly over the miserable camp bed. When he began his narration, my ears became deaf to all the noise.” (from: Unknown India)

Yet the relation between Vamandas and Sadananda was not only just harmonious. Vamandas reports in his notebook: “He is able to taunt and mock, to swear at you and hurt and wound you, so that you could believe he was the very devil, hunting you; but in reality all this is nothing but ‘aggressive grace’. The hammer that hits against your forehead (your egotism) over and over again, until sparks fly, is an immensely strong love of God [bhakti] …”

In his book “Unknown India” he further explains: “Gradually I learned to realize that every word uttered by Sadananda was an expression of bhakti, knowing love of God, and that all his actions, whether friendly or scornful – he could be exceedingly harsh and stern – were based on an effort to waken the atma in the people he contacted, to make the atma realize its true nature, to be a servant of Krishna.”

In his personal notes, however, Vamandas also shows the other, loving side of Svami: “Like an angel he is guiding and carrying me. When I thought of him yesterday … (inner unrest) … he immediately turned up, standing quietly by my window: ‘Vamandas, are you still awake?’” In one of his diaries he sums up: “For one year I was living together with him in a tiny room in the camp and yet I didn’t recognize him for what he was; i.e., sometimes I guessed it and instantly he hid himself again, as this belongs to the play. And it is grace, grace, grace when he shows his true nature.”

Over the course of the internment period it became clear that both were destined to work together in order to realize the wish of Sadananda’s guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, to translate and explain the bhakti shastram-s and make them known to the West. Vamandas reports the words of his guru in “Unknown India” as follows: “The path, Vamandas, on which you have set out is a long one. But do not tire! How often my guru lamented the fact that he had never met anyone who was prepared to devote all his strength to translating and expounding the Bhagavatam. I have begun, and have spent many years doing this. But my strength is not equal to the task. Will you help me?” And Vamandas notes down the task he was assigned by Sadananda when, after his release, he was about to leave for Sweden: “Take the spiritual treasure you have found here in India into the West.”

But it turned out that Vamandas was not yet ready for this task. Already in 1952 Sadananda complains: “My dear Vamandasji, […] I believe it would be the best if I burned all my notes for the third time. It is all in vain. You, too, are ‘betraying’ the secret and are pouring the Holy Communion wine into the glasses of the taverns – alas!” The disappointment, however, was only so strong, because Sadananda’s hopes had been so high. He writes: “You must not take my severe criticism of your mistakes badly – it is only because I love you so incredibly, Vamandas, for your absorption in the Bhakti cult, that I shall make so bold as to do that, to be so hard with you – you, who have sacrificed so much for me. But rest assured, your sacrifices don’t cling to me, like sunbeams pass through wide open windows, they go on to Him and Her.”

In another letter he calls him his “true child” for whose sake he kept translating on his sickbed summoning up his last reserves of energy. It turned out that the root of all of Vamandas’ difficulties was his clinging to his poet identity. Svami explained to him: “I don’t know where you stand today. Your misfortune was that you could neither take up what Jnana and Advaita vada of Shankara really teach, at Shri’s place, nor could you bring yourself to a genuine and free ‘yes’ with shraddha in what the Bhagavatam and Caitanyadeva teach. You kept on trying to read your own thoughts into the Bhagavatam and revolted whenever Caitanya taught something that seemed to be in opposition to what you had read in the Bhagavatam in a distorted translation. I have no idea to what degree this has changed in the long meantime. I often feel that if neither you two [Vamandas and his wife Hella] can come to India nor I to Sweden then neither your readers, listeners nor you yourself will ever reach the goal of bhakti.”

Sadananda almost broke with Vamandas after he had read Vamandas’ book “Die indische Gottesliebe” (The Indian Love of God). 1956 Sadananda writes: “I write these notes to your book today on April 19th, 1956, Ramachandra’s appearance day. I don’t know how you will react to my letters and if, from my notes, you will experience and understand that in your book you have written the opposite of what I have explained and given to you since 1942 – because the authoritative Revelation of God’s Word says so. And I don’t know if Krishna and Mahaprabhu will give you the power to start all over again and if They will give you the courage, after thorough reflection and regret, to write a book about the love of God so that it will be an act of service instead of aparadha; to be of help for seekers, instead of everywhere and in every way be misleading – and if in a new book you will have the courage to write the opposite of what you have written in almost every line in the present book.”

Sadananda explained to him that the reason for this disaster had probably been that Vamandas, from the very beginning, had turned to the public while he was still wrestling with himself. It was not so easy to overcome the Maya in ones own heart. At the expense of quality he had rushed into “preaching” and publishing. He continues: “The curse on the whole previous work is this: Without having worked through and assimilated things clearly and distinctly in their entirety, books have been made up out of all sorts of material – hastily; you have some foundation stones, half a wall and a few roofing tiles – but it doesn’t matter whether the academic bigwigs and the men of letters here and there are praising and supporting us or not – it is all about those who are still alive, that they will receive clear knowledge through listening; and about doing samkirtan, i.e., transmitting in a truly genuine and perfect way what we have heard, and sharing it with friends; and from us it must grow and must find fertile ground and more friends who will help […].”

To a common friend Sadananda explains: “Walther rather thinks in concepts of ‘publicity’ and ‘influence’ his books and lectures could have – this is a true burden indeed, but a poet of his sort seems to be bound to always think of the effect he has or could have.” For this reason Sadananda felt forced to lower his expectations and to reconsider his cooperation with Vamandas in Europe. After his initial visit to Vamandas and his wife Hella in Sweden 1962 he summed up his experiences as follows: “It was heart-breaking and the deepest disappointment of my whole life that Vamandas hadn’t bothered to work seriously with the Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu, the Caitanya Caritamritam and the Caitanya Bhagavatam and hadn’t worked through the original sources together with the translation aids I had provided for him. I felt like someone who had come to teach Shakespeare and who was forced to teach the A.B.C instead. […] I’m facing the ruins of my dream city and try to get over my deep grief and be able to see what possibilities still remain for Prabhupada’s seva.” – “After the calamity with the ‘Gottesliebe’ this was the most severe blow in my life, that you had neglected to work things through. You are not lacking – as you say – ‘knowledge about the lila’, but you are lacking the inner principles and basic structures, you are lacking the terminology and the whole system of concepts – and this is what Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu and Ujjvala-Nilamani teach. If grace and love and even prema were so cheap as you made the people believe there, the whole Bhagavatam hadn’t been necessary.”

Accordingly he concluded that he wouldn’t provide Vamandas with raw translations any more but only with completed translations. He goes on to explain to their common friend: “I intended to entirely remain in the background and let Vamandas write the books – i.e. to let Vamandas shape my roughly translated texts beautifully. But my observations during the last months in Forshults Gård have shown me that this is not working. […] In the future I am going to make all translations in such a way, that nothing remains to be changed. This will take longer, but since Vamandas is not able to do it, I better do it myself right away.” In 1962 he writes to Vamandas: “Your works differ from mine. We can help each other. I want to publish texts, very close to the original, texts which force the reader to cooperate and work very hard.”

Their common goal consisted in, as Sadananda put it, to firstly collect those “who have the nobility to be allowed to walk the most magnificent path in this dark age (due to serving God in previous lives) […] – and, secondly, to write down in word and text for the future, that there are such magnificent, great Divine things, so different from what man expects and presumes so that people like Sadananda might at least be able to receive the deepest truth in correct words.” And already in 1955 he warned Vamandas in a letter that “you cannot render the people in the West a worse disservice than making things palatable to their mentality. The Truth is as ‘revolting to the Indian general religiosity and mentality’ [as to the Western mentality]. You are my true child, Vamandas. […] Please, Vamandas, start the spiritual revolution!”

And despite all criticism and disappointment he writes to Vamandas on his birthday in 1975: “Dear Vamandas, my heartfelt congratulations to your birthday. May Shri Krishna’s grace be upon you and give you strength to continue to serve Him for many more years and to spread His message among the people […] Tell everybody – whatever they do for you, they do for me as well –.”

www.sadananda.com

Sadananda became visible in the world (avirbhava) in Germany in 1908. In the early 1930s he became a disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, who before some of his native disciples once said: "You, Sadananda, and I, we have always been together."

In 1933 Sadananda first met Svami Hridaya Bon Maharaja, when the latter gave a lecture at the Lessing Hochschule in Berlin.

In 1934 Sadananda went to London, where Indian monks of the Gaudiya-Vaishnava-Mission had established a centre, and where he soon, in the name of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, became initiated in the mantras by Svami Bon and God's name by Svami Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaja.

In 1935 he travelled with Svami Bon to India, where his guru gave him his spiritual name "Sadananda Dasa".

After his guru's tirobhava (to be invisible in the world) in 1937, Sadananda worked independently of organizations, devoting himself to the seva of the Shastrams (serving God's Word-form).

In 1954 he received sannyasa from a disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, by name Barasvami (Svami Satyabastabya Brajabasi), who used to explain the Bhagavatam on the bank of the river Ganges in Benares.

In 1961 he returned to Europe, where he stayed till his tirobhava in 1977, and where he among other things worked on German translations from Sanskrit and Bengali. By this, in the background, he assisted his disciple Vamandas with his publications, lectures and courses. Sadananda himself only gave instructions to a small circle of Swedish, German and Swiss friends in the fundamental theological principles of bhaktiyoga.


An interview about Svami in an internet magazine called Gaudiya Touchstone is available via the following link:

Gaudiya Touchstone Magazine

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The Austrian Walther Eidlitz (Vamandas, 1892-1976) was a successful writer even as a youth. Some time before the outbreak of the Second World War, he felt an irresistible yearning for going to India to study its ancient religion, and went there in 1938, shortly before the 2nd World War broke out. As his family was Jewish, Vamandas' wife and son were forced to flee from the Nazis, who had occupied Austria in 1938, and, eventually, find refuge in Sweden. Meanwhile Vamandas, as a foreigner in India, was interned in an Indian camp, where he met his guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa, who in that place began his uninterrupted teaching of Vamandas.

After his release from the internment camp Bhakti Hridaya Bon Maharaja wished to initiate him into the Gaudiya-vaishnava tradition and he received his spiritual name Vimala Krishna Vidyabinode Das. (From his first guru, Shri, in the Himalayas, he had already got his name "Vamandas", and his friend called him so even after his initiation into Gaudiya vaishnavism.) A few days after his initiation in Bombay Vamandas returned to Europe and Sweden and worked there continuously to spread the knowledge of the shastrams, the revelation of God's Word-form, through lectures, courses and books. All this time, Sadananda assisted him with untiring devotion by providing him with material and correcting his misconceptions.

Some books (especially the German "Die Indische Gottesliebe", Korrektur, in Swedish "Krishnas Leende") unfortunately contain many errors, because Sadananda didn't have the possibility to check his translations at that time. The later books, however, and above all his work, "Krishna Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre" (Stockholm University 1968), give a brilliant survey of the essence of shastric revelation.

In spite of the mistakes Vamandas had made in the beginning, Svami wrote in one of his last letters to him: "Tell your friends, that everything they do for you, they do for me as well."

We cannot be grateful enough to Vamandas. In addition to all the books he wrote, he also brought Svami to us, here in the West.

By his lifetime achievement Vamandas broke new ground, presenting in a european language a knowledge, which at that time was practically unknown in the West. The purpose of these pages is to present gradually material from Vamandas works.


Walther Eidlitz' works in English:
"Unknown India" (Rider & Company, New York 1952)

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STUDY GUIDE

STUDY GUIDE

1. INTRODUCTION

In his letters Svami Sadananda Dasa has often emphazised that a systematic study of the bhakti-Shastram-s is necessary: “Now, it is like this that every beginner has to think himself into the exact terminology and has to make a fresh start. […] One has to do step after step. […]”. His experiences in India and Europe had taught him to be very cautious when talking to people about things or letting them read texts when they were in fact not qualified to do so: “Otherwise it will all end in split-personality, mysticism and edificatory vagueness.” Only he who thought and behaved himself in a clear and matter-of-fact way could proceed on the bhakti path. Bhakti didn’t start with being guided, but with one's own initiative, one's own desire to serve, but not in a way oneself would like to, but in the way bhakti prescribed it:

“To subordinate oneself to the authority of the revelation means to erase what oneself believes and replace it with what the revelation declares.” “Clear and sharp is the light of the revelation. The man who really listens to it, is not left with any uncertainties or mystical hints, one could interpret according to ones maya-intuitions.” “Bhakti does not simply mean to ‘love’ God, but to serve Him, i.e., till the stage of rati to think, do and realise exactly that which one dislikes, which is 100% against ones self-conceit and complacent self-centeredness.”

This quite rough study guide cannot replace the personal instructions of a guru who alone can assess at what time which kind of text for which disciple is truly appropriate. It is a mere substitute within the context of a website that offers texts for spiritual nourishment to the public. It shall provide an opportunity to the mature reader to chose, self-responsibly, a text for reading that he considers fitting to his stage of development. We have stuck to the traditional division of the instructions into sambandha (clarifying of concepts and interrelations), abhideya/sadhana (instructions about the method) and prayojana/sadhya (instructions about the goal).

In the same manner Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sanatana Gosvami (CC II.20.124-126):

“The Vedas and the Shastram-s speak of the object (sambandha), the method (abhideya) and the goal (prayojana). Krishna is the object for which one has to search.”

[Sambandha: The principle through which something is kept together in the proper way. Krishna is the sambandha between Bhagavan and world, atma and world, Bhagavan and atma. The performance of the duties enjoined by bhaktiyoga presupposes clear and distinct knowledge of these relations (sambandha-jnanam).]

“Bhakti is the method for attaining Him. Prema is the goal. For prema is the highest good and (the highest) goal; it is the greatest wealth. Through prema one attains the good fortune to be allowed to serve Krishna directly in the rasa of His divine charming beauty.”

[It is prema, Krishna’s Own potency, which accomplishes this direct service and it is also prema, Krishna’s Own potency of joy, that makes known Krishna’s innermost nature.]

This quotation doesn’t imply that bhakti were a means to an end, i.e., to finally experience the joy of prema or love. Path and goal are identitical in Bhaktiyoga. This distinguishes it from all other paths. In a letter Svami explains as follows:

“If you thought that as a result of or a reward for service the experience of bliss would follow, you forget that the BHAKTA, and even more the GOPI, are fully identical with their service, and as you know, the GOPI fully consists of service. PREMA or the Love of God is nothing but service – and it is not anything in addition to it. It is service that is based on the servant’s specific personal relation to God, a relation that corresponds with the respective shape, form, dress, behaviour and character.”


2. SAMBANDHA JNANAM

Sambandha jnanam is the clear insight into the interrelation between a) God and world, b) God and atma, c) atma and atma, d) world and world and e) atma and world. The texts we have sorted into this section therefore mainly deal with definitions of the nature of the atma, maya, Bhagavan and their interrelations. In addition we will give a glossary of the most important Sanskrit terms, collected from Svami’s texts, which is continually expanded but only exists in German so far.

A common misunderstanding concerning bhaktiyoga lies in considering it an anti-intellectualist path, a “path of the heart” or of “love and devotion”, understood as a sort of feeling that renders all thinking unnecessary. In his explanations to Bhaktirasamrita Sindhu 1.1.1 Svami explains why this understanding is deficient:

“Sambandha jnanam is not a systematic interpretation of the content of the revelation and of one's faith, but it is revelation in itself, i.e. an expression of samvit-shakti (sam-vit = to understand/know clearly and correctly) within svarupa-shakti [God’s Own Power]. It is samvit-shakti in its first form, as shraddha [faith in the serving of God], that enables the listener to acquire sambandha jnanam and it is samvit-shakti that speaks to him through Shastram and guru in the from of sambandha jnanam. Anushilanam [serving] is a svarupa-shakti-vritti [a function of svarupa-shakti] and necessarily includes a clear and distinct understanding of the nature of Bhagavan, of bhakti and of the bhakta. For this reason all the acarya-s, starting with Mahaprabhu to the present day, have warned against putting aside sambandha jnanam as something intellectual and considering bhakti as an expression of the intuitive-emotional faculty. Bhakti, from the very start to the highest stage (in the form of prema, etc.) is neither intellectual nor intuitive-emotional, but the working of Bhagavan’s svarupa-shakti that ‘for His sake’ includes aprakrita-[supermundane-]knowledge and aprakrita-seva and, as part of seva, experiences.”

The definitions of the concepts provide the ABC, the prerequisite for the understanding of the bhakti-texts, and prevent one from reading one's own concepts of soul, God and world into the shastram-s. Nonetheless they are just hints. They often use comparisons and speak in similes that only offer an approximation to what is denoted by them as Svami explains in regard to the concept of the individual, incorporated self, the jiva:

“In fact there is no place for similes here. No matter how one puts it – fiery spark, particle of the sunbeam, the lustre of a gem – all these comparisons don’t satisfy in EVERY respect. If, however, one lets go of all the MUNDANE coloring that sticks to these images, soon it will be revealed to the heart what is meant by ‘jiva’.”



3. ABHIDEYA

The texts of this section deal with the method or discipline of bhakti, particularly the nature and the praise of God’s Names, as they provide the most important upaya or instrument (and objective). The focus of this section is defining of what bhakti, or serving, means. Svami often pointed to the fact that the translation of “bhakti” with “love” is insufficent:

“We have translated bhakti with love. It must be kept in mind that bhakti primarily means SERVICE. This is not any interpretation given by any particular Indian school of thought but the definition of the Kashika-vritti of Panini’s Sanskrit Grammar (Sutra 4.3.95-98). It is said there: bhajyate sevyate iti bhaktih. To love somebody one must know that person. To serve God one must know what He considers His service.”



4. PRAYOJANA

The texts regarding the goal or prema-rasa-seva are lila-texts, prayers or songs, praising the goal. They should be read when one is firmly rooted in sambandha-jnanam and abhideya as well. The service of God on the stage of prema presupposes the following characteristics:

“1. Completeness of knowledge of God.
2. Feeling of God being the dearest object of Love.
3. Surrender of everything to God.
4. Complete renunciation of desire for personal happiness.
5. Sense of maintaining life only for God’s sake and His pleasure.

[…] One who has genuine indifference towards sense enjoyment, whose heart has completely lost the craving for lust, whose senses are anxious to flow inwards and taste the nectar of Divine rasa [prema-rasa-seva], which belongs to the spirit [cit] – he is that fortunate soul who is qualified to tread the path of the gopis and to cultivate their sentiment [bhava].”



5. CONCLUSION

Not every text can be clearly sorted into one of these three categories as they haven’t been written with the intention to match these. Moreover, they are – strictly speaking – not real ‘stages’, as the path and the goal are idential in bhaktiyoga. In practice, for example, the sequence appears even reversed: First one meets a bhakta who gives a hint of the goal that incites one to ask further and deeper questions and, eventually actually embarking on the journey – to finally meet the archetype of the shadow image the bhakta had pointed towards in the beginning. In order to really reach the archetype, the Highest Purusha, and not a Maya-Krishna, it is however, necessary to start with sambandha jnanam to subsequently transform it into vijnanam (realisation), in order to become ready to receive the spontaneous self-revelation of the object of service and perform the transition from indirect to direct prema-rasa-seva:

“To a person, who does not know the sweet fruit on the tree, a shadow on the slanted, rough wall can become a hint to search after the real fruit. And to the person who WANTS TO SERVE the real Word, the shadow-word can approximately point to where the true Word is to be looked for, namely where svarupa-shakti speaks through the mouth of a true bhakta, a true servant of God.”

The acts of listening, understanding and serving are all not done by man in bhaktiyoga. They are expressions of God’s Own Shakti, svarupa-shakti. Lacking the connection to this svarupa-shakti one reads, sees and hears only the shadow-word:

“It is the svarupa-shakti itself, which is the listening one in the atma of the man who is ready to hear, sitting in front of the guru, just as it is the svarupa-shakti that speaks in the guru’s atma. It is true that if anybody witnessed this conversation by accident he could hear the words coming from the mouth of the guru being perceived by the ear of the disciple, and he could also notice how the disciple repeats or even writes down these words. However, as long as the svarupa-shakti does not work in the atma of the listener and he just writes down the words he hears with his physical ear, these words will have nothing to do with the Words that are full expressions of svarupa-shakti. In relation to the Word of svarupa-shakti, which is identical with the thing itself, it is like the shadow of a sweet fruit on the living, thriving tree, a shadow which furthermore is distorted as it falls on a slanting, uneven wall.

Just as a hearty bite into the shadow-fruit on the rough wall causes the person who wants to taste the fruit nothing but trouble as he bites directly into the rock, occupation with the mere shadow of the Word of svarupa-shakti without an empowered teacher only leads astray.”

Apart from the letters, the texts and translations by Svami are characterised by his remaining close to the original text, which is supplemented with extensive clarifications of the concepts, and with the commentaries of the acarya-s and cross-references to other parts of the Shastram-s. Therefore it is impossible to read these texts quickly. However, this prevents one to “bite into the rock”. From the point of view of Bhakti, the work invested into the proper understanding of the texts is essential for SERVING these texts. Svami explains as follows:

“The often cryptic language and usage of one and the same expression for completely juxtaposed things is meant to force the listener and disciple to not only listen intently with ‘uninterrupted and unrelenting’ attention, but to FOLLOW THE TRAIN OF THOUGHT, too. By this means the shastram becomes an object of understanding, loving SERVICE instead of enjoyment by heart and mind.”

Svami regarded it as his task to “publish texts, very close to the original, that force the reader to work really hard.” To Vamandas, Svami offered a valuable critique and a blessing as well, which we also try to keep in mind when studying the Shastram-s:

“You are lacking the patience of listening, of taking things in silently, the interest in assimilating it internally, the willingness to serve through UNDERSTANDING. You don’t sense that one line, understood correctly, enlightening your mind, can be the key to eternity.”

www.sadananda.com

Vamandas’ books can be sorted as follows:

1. SAMBANDHA JNANAM

“Der Glaube und die Heiligen Schriften der Inder” (“The Belief and the Sacred Texts of the Hindus”; not translated into English; offers an introduction into Hinduism)
“The Meaning of Life in Indian Thought” (1st & 2nd chap.: Psychology)
“Krishna Caitanya. The Hidden Treasure of India” (1st part, 1st and 2nd chap.: Theological basics)


2. ABHIDEYA

“The Meaning of Life” (3rd cap.: The Paths of Yoga)
“Krishna Caitanya. The Hidden Treasure of India” (1st part, 3rd chap.: The Unfolding of Bhakti)


3. PRAYOJANA

“Krishna Caitanya. The Hidden Treasure of India” (2nd part: Biography of Caitanya)


“Unknown India” is an autobiographical work and offers a lively account of Vamandas’ meeting with Svami in the internment camp in India during the Second World War.
The book “Die indische Gottesliebe” (“The Indian Love of God”; not translated into English) is – due to around 300 pages of corrections by his guru which Vamandas couldn’t include into a second revised edition as it was not printed – unfit to be used in the study of the science of bhaktiyoga.

www.sadananda.com
TEXT DOWNLOADS / BOOKS

TEXT DOWNLOADS / BOOKS

We estimate that a mere 10% of the complete literary estate of Sadananda – of which the translations of the Shastrams alone contain over 4000 pages – have been typed so far, and of these only about 30% have been translated into English or Swedish.

The texts presented here can be sorted into the following groups: Letters to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Svami Bon, Vamandas or friends in Europe (or from them), including Svami’s corrections of Vamandas‘ book “Die indische Gottesliebe” (1933-1977); diaries of Svami and Vamandas from the time during the internment in India (1939-1945) and diaries from Svami during his travels with Bhaktisiddhanta (1934-1936); articles for the magazine of the Gaudiya mission in Bengal “The Harmonist” (1935-1936) by Svami; and finally handwritten or typewritten translations of the Shastram-s (ca. 1935-1976). The letters often contain songs, prayers and passages from the Shastram-s which we present in separate documents. Letters have been abbreviated and made anonymous, and their subject is indicated by the title.

The following letter gives an idea under what circumstances e.g., Murari Gupta’s “Kadaca” was translated (129 p., not yet online). The letter was written by Gauranga Ghoshe, a poor Vaishnava, whose family had sort of adopted Svami in Calcutta. He writes to Vamandas:

“You know with great, great difficulties all of us here tried our best to snatch him from the hands of Yama. You cannot imagine how his condition was since September: severe pain, his head getting cold all of a sudden during day or night. Doctors, injections, protein, medicines from Canada, careful diet at tremendous cost somehow made him get to read.

All on a sudden he decided to start on Murari’s notes. He went to a house of a man not far away from here only to sit there all the nights till dawn and write and think and write, and finishing Murari’s notes he was quite finished himself, as in that house there was nobody to look after him, to give him diets and medicines at hourly intervals as advised.

When your manuscript came, he worked like mad night and day and did not listen to anybody. The day after it was dispatched he collapsed and with great difficulties he was brought back to my house. We nurse him by turns, but you know we can give only our time and strength and love for him. To keep him alive means more than Rs 100 a month – only for medicines and doctors, without his food, diet etc. He tried to save to take a typewriter by instalments so that one copy of his notes be with him and you can read better what he writes, but he had to give it up and pay the doctor’s bill from it.” (1953)

In the same year the Raya Ramananda passage of the Caitanya Caritamritam (45 p.) was translated. Svami to Vamandas:

“There you two sit in a distant country and long for hearing about lila and seva. That’s why I’ve pulled myself up and since yesterday, sitting in front of a noisy hotel radio, I am working through and writing down the Rai Ramananda together with surveys and explanation for you. It might not be possible to hold up the decay of the body much longer.”

The Caitanya Bhagavatam (487 p., not online yet) was translated under similar conditions (1955):

“Something really TERRIBLE has happened! I had planned to report some few important things from Caitanya Deva’s lila (for the strengthening of you all) and had already gathered some notes during the 3 weeks when I received no letters from you. But then I opened the Caitanya Bhagavatam by Brindaban Das that was written between 1545-50 and that I had been studying thoroughly some 19 years ago. That set me into such a terrible ecstasy that I took Barbara’s beautiful air mail paper and have been translating 18 hours a day for 20 days now – in fact EVERYTHING that is necessary – apart from a few geographic details and the ususal pranama verses at the end and the beginning of each chapter. In minuscule ant-writing (with explanations) I have already translated 65 pages (4 800 shlokas out of 12 300).

It is an EXTREMELY EXCITING work, one forgets eating and drinking and sleeping. I don’t know whether the body will make it till the end, but I do hope to be able to send the manuscript to you by air mail, recorded delivery, by the end of the month. ANYTHING YOU’VE READ ABOUT CAITANYA DEVA, SOURCES AND BOOKS ‘ABOUT’, IS REDUCED TO A DIM GLOW in front of the the shining moon of this work. BELIEVE ME, WITHOUT THIS TEXT YOU CAN HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT WHAT LILA IS, ESPECIALLY NOT WITH HIS OWN [BHAKTAS]. IT IS NO EXAGGERATION.”

The seva of God’s Own Word Form was always in the centre of Svami’s life. To Vamandas he explained what it means to translate in a serving attitude:

“Without knowing yourself completely lonely and alone on a seabound island with nothing but the CC. and the Bhagavatam, struggling seriously for the meaning of every single word in order to find the path and not go astray, one can NEVER understand what Krishna and Caitanya want. Only these very important commentaries [by the acarya-s to these works] can prevent that one translates ones own vasana-s and samskara-s into the text and distorts it […].

You are lacking the patience of listening attentively, of taking in silently, the interest in assimilating it within, the readiness to serve with UNDERSTANDING. You don’t realise that ONE line, well-understood, really enlightening your mind, can be the key to eternity. […] The revelations of the Vedas etc. are not an OBJECT of intellectual exploitation, an object of KNOWLEDGE and WANTING TO KNOW, but of SERVING and LISTENING.

The Revelation’s light of realisation is clear and sharp. Whoever listens to it with firm resolve will not remain in uncertainty about anything; he will not be left with any kind of mystical hints he could interpret according to the mode in which he experiences them in his ‘maya-intuition’.”

The scientific apparatus of Svami fitted according to his own words into “five big steel suitcasas and six smaller ones“:

“I feel so cold in this warm country. How much do I long for my Vamandas. You I could ask to hand me over one of the heavy volumes of the Bhagavatam which I can hardly lift out of the suitcases any more and I could speak to you about the many wonderful secret beauties that are hidden behind these tenacious knotty Sanskrit constructions. […] I have instructed Gauranga [Ghoshe] to tell you, in case Sadananda leaves this world. There are five big and six smaller steel suitcases with numbers, ready to be sent to you.” (1955)

After Svami’s tirobhava in 1977 his whole library was eventually donated to the library of the University of Basel by Phyllis Imhof in 1987. He had rented a room in her house in Basel which she had kept as it was for another 10 years. In 2010 Benedikt Vögeli, the official responsible for this collection, informed us that Svami’s library contained ca. 250 volumes or eight shelf metres, half of them in Indian languages. Handwritten texts however, were never given to the UB Basel. In the year 2001, a scientific assistant dealt with the collection. Subsequently the head of the UB decided, after consulting experts at the University of Basel, to hand over the section in Indian languages (ca. 140 titles) to the department of Indology at the University of Zürich. The rest was catalogued by the UB Basel and included into their stock insofar as they were not already part of it. The duplicates were given to the Indogermanistic library of the University of Basel (under Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wachter).

Of the more or less 140 titles of the ”collection Schulze” now 27 titles in English and German language are to be found in the catalogue of the IDS Library Association Basel Bern. The titles in Indian languages, however, obviously didn’t go to the Department of Indology of the University of Zürich, but back to Mrs. Imhof. She bequethed them in 1989 to Mr. Georg Wagner, who had been studying under Svami in Basel in the early Seventies and who also knew Sanskrit. As that part of the estate, that belonged to Svami, contains round about 140 titles and mostly in Indian languages, they are most probably exactly those books that were originally meant to go to Zürich.

After Georg Wagner’s demise in 2013 his son and heir, Pasqual Wagner, contacted us via Prof. Dr. Frank Neubert of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Bern. He generously donated these books to the Sadananda-archive where they will be stored and further worked with. The estate not only comprises books that also contain handwritten comments and translations by Svami but other manuscripts of Svami as well, that had been inherited by his father after the demise of Phyllis Imoff in 1989.

We hereby express our gratitude to all who were involved in saving these texts which are very valuable for our work/seva, especially Pasqual Wagner, Prof. Dr. Frank Neubert and Ursula Bründler Stadler, who had kindly stored the books/texts for about two years.

02 atelje

Sambandha jnanam is the clear insight into the interrelation between a) God and world, b) God and atma, c) atma and atma, d) world and world and e) atma and world. The texts we have sorted into this section therefore mainly deal with definitions of the nature of the atma, maya, Bhagavan and their interrelations.


Ahamkara
Atma
Atmically Disordered
The Continuity of the Avatara-lila
The Basics
Bhagavan and His Avataras
Bhaktisiddhanta's Words of Advice to Sadananda
Bharat Bhumi (Mother India's Soil)
The Bhakta in Kaliyuga
The Buddha's Conception of Nirvana
Buddhism Part 1
Buddhism Part 2
The Eternal Call
Caitanya-Ashtakam
Caitanya-Bhagavata
The School of Caitanya-bhakti
The gross and subtle Covers
The Only Ideal Couple
Cross-section of the Levels of Consciousness
Correction
Curriculum Vitae
Dainyam
There is no Deception Where God is Present
Definitions
Desire to see Him
The World as the Field of Dharma
Dhamas or Realms
The Beginning of all Discipline
Divine and Mundane Ignorance
Ego-concepts
Back in Europe
Trap of Emotion
Change of Environment
Without Escapism
The Fullness Taken From the Fullness
Gaudiya-Sampradaya-Tattva
The Gem
Goloka and Gokula
The Works of the Gosvamis are only Meant for the Bhaktas
Causeless Grace
The True Guru
Karma-Dharma-Determination of Will
Krishna-darshana
The Knot of the Heart
Thing Word and Idea are Identical in the Realm of True Existence
Inner Freedom
Intellect and Instinct
Who am I?
Jiva-tattva
Joy
Who is Krishnadasa?
Krishna-Karnamritam 1.104
Kunigunde
What is Love?
Magic and Mysticism
Mahamantra and Nama
You are not Mahaprabhu
The Nature of Manjari-Seva
The Math
The Message
God's Own Metaphysics; part one
God's Own Metaphysics; part two
God's three Modes of Being
The Ring of Nathan the Wise
The Novice
A Safe Organization - a Mother
The Eternal Co-players in God's Realm
Pashandi and Papi
Paths of Yoga
Different Paths
Personality Cult
The Queens in Dvaraka
A Perverted Reflection of Reality
In the Realm of True Existence
Revolutionary Metaphysics
He as the Subject and Object
The Fullest Revelation
The Simultaneous Presence of God The World and The Soul
Sambandha-Jnana Intellectualism?
Letter to a Scientist
To See Everything From His Point of View
Self-deception or Reality
Self-denial
Seva and Dasyam
Sincere Intention
What is Smarana?
Inner Sincerity
Shri Guru Pranama
Shrila Prabhupada's Vani
Shrila Sadananda's Vani
Spriritual View
Straitjacket
Tender as a Flower - Hard as a Thunderbolt - 250 pages book
Emotional Ties to a Person
Vaishnavism in Society
Who is a Vaishnava?
Vrajavasis
My Wanderings in India
The Word of the Revelation
When This Day Will Come?
To Whomsoever it May Concern
My Secret Wish

The texts of this section deal with the method or discipline of bhakti, particularly the nature and the praise of God’s Names, as they provide the most important upaya or instrument (and objective). The focus of this section lies on the definition of what bhakti or serving is.


The texts regarding the goal or prema-rasa-seva are lila-texts, prayers or songs, praising the goal. They should be read when one is firmly rooted in sambandha-jnanam and abhideya as well.

Preview | | | |

Unknown India, Rider 1952


My Friend Sadananda
When I prayed to God for a guru, one was already very near. One day there stood a newcomer outside the kitchen barrack, where a hungry crowd had gathered and the birds of prey circled overhead in eager swarms. He was tall and slender, and his head was shaved. He wore the Indian monk gown, although he was a European. His name was Sadananda. I spoke to him, and he answered in a matter-of-fact way with monosyllables. Our first real conversation took place at night on the football field. There he told me about an antique Greek vase he had once seen. The decoration on it was a wheel with sixteen spokes, and around the wheel were pictures from the ancient Greek mysteries and the inscription: “I have jumped off the wheel of Ixion.”
According to the conception of the ancient Greeks, Ixion was a man loaded with misdeeds, who was bound after death for all eternity to a wheel that turned incessantly – I remembered that much. But I had not grasped the fact that the Greek mysteries refer to our world as the place of misery, where every living being is bound without knowing it to a turning wheel, the wheel of repeated existences on earth.
I happened to think of a wheel in an old abandoned mill, which I used to stare at for hours at a time in my childhood. Its spokes were covered with grey moss. It turned round in a dark crevice whose walls were black with age, and cast up the water of the stream in cascades, which immediately fell and dispersed again: gain and loss, honour and ignominy, victory and defeat, joy and sorrow, health and illness, meeting and parting, withering, death and rebirth. The force of personal desire was the water of the stream, which endlessly drives the wheel in the world of change. All the wisdom of India strives to free mankind from this wheel of Ixion. Shri, too, considered this delivery to be the highest goal.
“Delivery from the fire of suffering in the world of change is not the highest goal,” said my companion. “That delivery is only the first step on the infinite path that leads into God’s forgotten world, the path on which the guru who loves God leads his disciple.”
“What kind of a path is that? What is the goal?” I asked expectantly.
“The path is love, the goal is love, ever greater, ever more heartfelt love of God. Just as it is the nature of fire to burn, so it is the nature of the human soul to love God. Just as a spark is evidence of a fire, because it is burning, the soul is evidence of a God, because it loves. The spark is the single soul, the great fire of love is God. The spark is little and insignificant as compared with the fire from which it emanates. But its infinite insignificance only concerns its outward form. The soul is hidden, and knows nothing of its real nature, but when it awakes and begins to love again and is filled with an inexpressible longing to return to God, then it partakes of His nature, His fullness, pureness, freedom and eternity. Then he is stripped of all selfishness, and strives for nothing but giving joy to God. Then, in devoted service, he can become a part of the divine inner life.”
“Is not the highest goal knowing the truth? My guru taught me so.”
“Wisdom is not attained by wanting to know, but by devoted service alone. Only wanting to know is still selfishness and a desire to satisfy egoism.”
“Is not Shanti, divine peace, the highest?” I asked. “Think of the Buddhistic sculptures. Think of the inexpressible peace in the calm smile of the meditating Buddha’s countenance. Are not all the religions of the world united in their prayer for the blessing of peace? ‘May the Lord bless thee and preserve thee; may He turn His countenance to thee and give thee peace.’ ”
“Yes, religions are united in praying for peace, since they are still in a preparatory state and are like lessons for obstinate children. They think the only important thing is the washing away of the filth of the earth, and of the world’s struggle. Observe the various religious devotees,” continued Sadananda distressedly, “all of them want something of God. As if God were a shopkeeper. One demands power. Another prays for riches. A third wants a beautiful young woman. A fourth prays for a son. A fifth, health and a long life. A sixth prays for victory for his side and miserable defeat for the opponent. The Christian asks to enter heaven and enjoy eternal blessedness there. The Hindu wishes to be freed from samsara, the burning wheel of the world of change, and then safely sink into rapture for eternity. The Buddhist wishes to enter nirvana. All want the same thing, an assurance of peace, security, freedom from suffering. The case is the same with the followers of Shankaracharya. They want to become a part of Brahman, sink into the formless divine light, where all dissension vanishes. Or they even desire to become like God. You, too, Walther Eidlitz, are among these. Did you not sing as you wandered in Himalaya: ‘Aham Brahmasmi ... I am Brahman’? Moreover, you have thoroughly misunderstood this sentence from the Upanishads. It means: In my innermost soul I am of the nature of Brahman, just as the spark is of the same nature as fire.”
Sadananda stopped speaking. In silence we walked up and down the length of the barbed-wire fence. Round about the camp the jackals were shrieking, withdrawing gradually deeper into the forest.
“Shri never insisted that peace was the highest aim. He said rather: ‘For the time being, I shall grant you only peace’,” I resumed after a while. “And I did not even succeed in attaining peace.”
Sadananda laid his hand gently on my shoulder. “Do not grieve, Vamandas, because you are crushed and believe you have lost everything. Krishna is sometimes called Anathabandhu, the Friend of the lordless, the lord over those who no longer own anything but their destitution and their longing for Him. Believe me, Krishna rejoices more over one who, in spite of a thousand obstructions, longs to love and serve Him, in the crowds and the dirt of the barracks within this barbed wire, than over one who meditates in the shelter and quiet of a clean, calm forest, or a room behind padded doors. You belong to Krishna. And your meditation, your success and failure, and even your illnesses are His. But whoever dares completely to subject himself to God on His terms instead of his own? Many have tried to follow the example of a divine saviour, and say like him: ‘Thy will be done, not mine.’ But when matters become serious, when the will of God overcomes one, then fear creeps in and one whispers in secret: ‘No, I meant not thus – so far, but no farther.’ No one wants to believe that God can at times make His appearance in the form of a catastrophe, a complete breakdown. But believe me, if one can prevail upon oneself in the hands of God, then he need never worry. God takes over the responsibility for him, for all his actions. Then it is of no consequence whether he happens to be in an abyss in the world of change, or in the kingdom of heaven, for he is always in God’s kingdom of love, playing a part in the drama of God and His eternal followers, of which the world knows nothing.
Peace, Nirvana, longed for by so many, is only an intermediary state on the path to God’s real kingdom. To be sure, many remain forever in this wonderful ante-room. But he who dares to penetrate farther, with a desire to devote himself to God yet more, does not lose peace thereby. True peace is not only the becoming free from stress. The freedom from passion, so highly valued by the Indian yogi, is very much overestimated. True peace means preserving the certainty that in the depth of one’s being one is ever inseparably united with God, in all situations and through all suffering.”
Once more we walked silently for a while, “Svamiji,” I asked quietly, “what has your guru told you about his understanding of why we live? Why do we have these earthly bodies?”
Sadananda became ardent. “My guru said: ‘We have been given this sluggish body in order to let the fire of every breath we take consume it in our devotion to God.’ But I do not expect you to understand this as yet, Vamandas. You do not even know yet who God, who Krishna, is ...”
“Oh, how I wish I could behold God,” I said.
“It is not a question of your beholding God,” my companion corrected me severely. “It is much more a question of God seeing you, that He may be drawn to you by the beauty and purity in your longing for affectionate devotion. When a person wants to see God, this wish is often a desire for self-advancement. Just as humans degrade all earthly phenomena in their selfishness, by transforming them to objects, relating them to themselves, and enjoying them so do some of them try to enjoy God.”
“How can I free myself from such egoism?” I asked.
“One should not ask such questions, either,” answered Sadananda harshly. “Even this question arises out of egoism. Pray to Krishna, the Unknown, the Hidden, to give you the strength sometime in the future honestly to beg to serve Him truly, and learn to love Him ... It is late. We must sleep. Good night, Vamandas.”

| Summary | | |

Unknown India, Rider 1952


This is not a textbook about India. It is the story of a pilgrimage, of the author's initiation into the spiritual life of India. An Austrian refugee between the wars, he went to India to sit at the feet of Shri Maharaj, who became his guru. With this old Brahman he went on a pilgrimage and drank in the Hindu way of religious questing which finally led to his initiation.
War came and he was thrown into an Indian concentration camp. There, after much suffering and inner struggle, he was helped by Sadananda, a monk, to find the way to Love, as Shri had taught him the way to Truth. His six years behind barbed wire – in the company of men of every race and creed, with their hates and fears and discords – are most vividly described. Those years, he came to realize, were the most critical and revealing of his life, a kind of crucible for his soul.
His mission now is to follow the words used by his guru Sadananda when he was made a servant of Krishna, "Take the spiritual treasure you have found here in India into the west", and this book is a response to that missionary summons. Its value lies in the fact that it is essentially a human document, not only of the social and religious life and mythological lore of India, but of Hindusim and Buddhism as these religious systems were experienced by the author at the feet of his teachers.
A book of this kind, therefore, ought to appeal to that growing public in the West who want to know more about Indian religious life, its teachings, disciplines, exercises and meditations.
There are plenty of textbooks available for this purpose, but here is something not so easily accessible – a more reliable, because authentic, guide, written by a man who relates his actual autobiographical experiences.
Before the war Walther Eidlitz received the Literature Prize of the city of Vienna, and other literary awards.

| | Reviews | |

Unknown India, Rider 1952


"Eidlitz's book is one of those extremely rare descriptions which bring the reader into really living contact with the people, life, and customs of India, and above all with its still living sacred traditions. Except perhaps for his own teacher, there is no one more fitted to give to the West an authentic account of the Bhakti of Krishna Chaitanya, until now so incompletely known in the western hemisphere."
ERNST ARBMAN, Professor of Religious History, University of Stockhom, writing in "Religion och Kultur".

"This is a book we need and it is going to live. Unknown India shows values which remain untouched by atom bomb explosions, and he who understands its message will lay aside his terror of the complete annihilation which at times seems unavoidable to us."
JAN FRIDEGÅRD, the famous Swedish author.

"Is there any great poet or thinker who has given a more concrete and intutive picture of man's present life as Walther Eidlitz has in his narrative of experiences behind the barbed wire of a concentration camp in India?"
SVEN LIDMAN, the prominent Swedish poet.

"In this book there are so many holy hymns, myths, legends and profound teachings of the country, that no one who has any interest in India can afford to pass it by."
DR. WILLY HAAS, Die Welt.

--------------------------

CORRECTIONS by Svami Sadananda Dasa

Letter from Sadananda 30.6.52:
”[…] I have read the book, for the first time. There are a lot of good things in there, but also some really terrible things, o noble one! Then one will probably get onto me terribly! I will give you the corresponding page numbers in my next letter. […]"

Letter 2.7.52:
”Dear Vamandasji, today to your book (cf. the English edition): Don’t be angry, I should have read the text when you were here, thus, to a high degree, it is my fault that a lot of it was not changed. There are things in there that are fundamentally false and wrong. Watch out with the Bhakti book!!"

Page 57 below and 58 above:
This is the worst passage in the whole book. This hurts everyone deeply in his soul. Yamuna’s water is the most holy water, more holy than the water of Ganga. She is sakhi in Brindaban and queen in Dvaraka (Kalindi). One may let drops of her touch one’s head, in reverence, and drink a little carefully, but to bathe one’s feet in her, because they are tired, and take seva from her!!! What would you say, if you read in a book that someone goes to Italy, and, as he has got a cold, he blows his nose in the veronica, and as a result he is cured from his chronic cold. I will have to suffer a lot because of this terrible passage.

Page 63, 3rd line:
“Krishna fell into meditation”? No, merely a thought, and then all the Brahmas were there.

Page 81, 12th line:
That Ganesha embraces Krishna’s feet, and furthermore constantly, is new to me. Where have you got that from? Not even Shri Radha can do that. Ganesha is just a deva in the outer periphery. This is not to be found in any Shastram.

Page 82, 19th line:
“God revealed Himself as Krishna”. No, it must be: “Lord Krishna, God Himself, revealed Himself.” Krishna is God and God is Krishna, and one must not give the impression that “an unknown God” now appears as Krishna. This mistake occurs at several places in your book.

Page 80, 4th paragraph:
Not “as the avatar Krishna”, but “as the avatari Krishna”.

Page 113, line 2:
Not “to become a part of Brahman”, that is completely un-Shankara, but “to realize that the atma is identical with Brahma”.

Page 117, 4th paragraph:
The guru does not die, he “leaves the world”. And it shall be “in the presence of some of his disciples”, not “a large audience”.

Page 131, 3rd paragraph:
“radh means reverent love”? No, ”worship lovingly, love and serve in worship”.

Page 133, 1st paragraph:
Misunderstood – In their origin all words express Him and His realm etc. Because we only have the shadow, we don’t understand this. The word “Krishna” in the dictionary is also of mundane nature. But every true word that is expressed by the atma as an expression of cit-shakti, which originates in Him and not in the atma himself, express the true nature of the word, and among these words expressed by the atma is the word “Krishna” identical with the Nami [the possessor of the name], and consequently not of this world.

Page 140, 4th paragraph:
What you say about Parikshit is a failure. It was not at all “Parikshit’s mistake that he thought he had conquered Kali – and that Kali entered into his heart.” Parikshit, like all the nitya-parishadas, never have to suffer under the influence of Maya. It is Krishna’s wish that makes it all happen like this, and it is Krishna Who gives the impeccable Parikshit the impulse to act as he does, and the little boy the impulse to curse him etc., because Krishna has chosen him to inaugurate the revelation of the Bhagavatam. Every attempt to see the persons in the Bhagavatam by human analogy is false.

Page 144, paragraph 7:
Here is a mistake you make often. It is not that one “becomes one with Brahma”, but shall not remain at this stage; and continue. “Brahmabhuta” means completely permeated by HIM, i.e. His shakti etc. , like iron put into the fire becomes “agnibhuta”, but not “one with it”. Bhakti leads beyond mukti. Where mukti is attained during the course of acquisition of Brahma-jnana, is it not possible to come further – one becomes immersed in it. Only Krishna Himself can help someone and save him who has lost himself in there. Cf. Bha. X.29.16. Only Krishna can rescue Nanda etc. from the Brahma-hrada, the immersion in nirvishesha, or “oneness”. Also cf. Bha. X.89: Only Krishna can rescue the sons of the Brahmin from the death of nirikara-mukti etc. – Brahma’s sons (Sanaka etc.) is an example in the Bhagavatam of the fact that atma-rama Brahmajnanis by way of exception can be attracted and led to the personal God, but it is by no means a method. Those who hate God, the asuras, attain this “to become one”, just as a sadhaka who yearns for this. In the Bha. II.7.35, for example, you can see how mean this is. They go to “nilayam” = nitaram layam = moksham. This is “adarshana-malam” (neither an object nor a subject of knowledge, because where all is one, there is no darshanam) “adarshana-darshana-avishayam punar-darshana-rahitam = parama-abhava-rupam; and it is “malam”, “dirt”, paramaheyam = the most negative of all the negative! So strong is the depreciation!
Mukti in the sense of merely becoming freed from samsara is only a side effect of Bhagavat darshanam. Cf. Bha. I.8.25; misfortune gives the Yadavas His darshana.
Yat = yatsu apatni = in these calamities; Bhagavat-darshana means apunar-bhava-darshana, i.e. samsara = bhava is not seen anymore.
And the second meaning of the word “darshana”: Bhagavat-darshana actually means darshana (show in order to make clear) in order to show (darshayati) what punarbhava in the sense of advaita-moksha is, i.e. moksham darshayati = tucchataya (how low it is) vijnapayati (makes clear!); i.e. Kunti says – misfortune is grace, because then He comes to them, to whom He is everything. And this is the reason why they pray for more misfortune as His grace. Thus, not first strive for Brahma, “to become one mukti”, and proceed from there, but right from the start come to Him through bhakti, and not only not care for this mukti, but avoid it as dirt, malam. That it is worthless and that there is higher [goals], and that no one shall strive for that first is depicted by Brahma’s sons who became attracted by the fragrance of Tulasi from His lotus feet.

Page 167, end of the 2nd paragraph:
“His hands bound”. Nonsense. Dama = cord, and udara = stomach. Thus “around His hips”.

Page 168, 4th paragraph:
“Caitanya to Cape Comorin”, better “Kanya Kumari”? No, not all the way. He turned off already at Malabar (Udipi).

Page 169, 2nd paragraph:
The “Bengalis are waiting for Him”? Where have you got this from? No, the few esoteric bhaktas who live in the inner Brindaban (sometimes also in the physical) take part in Krishna’s lila and sometimes wait for Krishna during the course of the lila. This is something else. Caitanya’s return is never expected.

Page 169, the end:
“I am coming” is an obscure expression. There is no expectation of another appearance (avatara) of Krishna in this yuga. This is romantic nonsense. There will be, were and are a few individual great bhaktas who continue to carry the light by preaching the message of the Bhagavatam and sing His lilas, because He enters the heart through the ear. When Caitanya came, 4 568 years of kaliyuga had passed, i.e. 432 000 minus 4 568 remained. Thus there are ca. 427 000 years left of kaliyuga, before the next satyayuga. And even more than 7 x 306 720 000 years till the partial pralaya of the 3 worlds, bhuh, bhuvar, svar, and still ca. [half of] 311 039 000 000 000 years till the pralaya of our brahmanda or universe.
You must always be careful that it becomes clear to the reader that it is not the arrival of God as avatara or avatari that can help us. Whenever He comes He has His Own lila with His Own co-players to increase the joy of His and His bhaktas. He makes these lilas manifest, plays them so that they become visible and praised. No non-bhakta can take part in it or become a bhakta by taking part in it or seing it = darshana. Some co-players play the part of a non-bhakta etc., in order to make clear what true sadhana and true goal is, and what Krishna is and what He is not. – What the world gets of it? Shall one not long for His arrival, that He comes and delivers us? – This is completely against the Bhagavatam. And we can never do what He or His Own did. He has left the accounts etc. of His lilas with us. This is the Sun of this kaliyuga. He has His lilas. – What are we to do with them? The answer is given often, for instance in Bha. X.33.37: “ya shrutva tat paro shravan”. Having heard these lilas, then one can become “tatpara”, i.e. dedicate oneself to Him. And this is goal and path, irrespective of living in a kaliyuga or satyayuga.

Why is the word “shepherd” always used in the book? This is so stupid. The West does not like cows. Go is also “in” Go-vardhana.

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The Meaning of Life


Death and Reality

When you study the Indian Holy Scriptures, you discover in astonishment that the turning point which induces somebody to approach a guru, to subsequently become his disciple and be assigned a path to salvation, is often a catastrophe. The starting-point is often the worst state conceivable: a complete breakdown of one’s whole life, externally as well as internally. Sometimes even death is a prerequisite for proceeding towards the ultimate goals of human life, indeed, occasionally Death himself may appear as a guru.
According to the Bhagavatam, one of the central revealed scriptures of Hinduism, human life resembles the last steps of a man sentenced to death on his way to the execution ground. At different stations along the route he is offered amusements of various kinds: delicious food and beverages, music and dance, sexual pleasures. However, nothing of all this affords him happiness, because all the time his heart quivers with dread and anguish. Why – he knows that death is inescapable.
At another place in the same work a similar picture is used to illustrate the course of life, the journey from birth to death, namely the picture of a herd of cattle that is ruthlessly driven towards the slaughter-house by a butcher. The butcher is Time, urging on all living creatures. (The Sanskrit word for time, kala, is deduced by the ancient Indian grammarians from the root kal: to push (on).)
The frame story in the Bhagavatam, which comprises twelve books of altogether eighteen thousand stanzas, is also shrouded by the shadows of death: A king named Parikshit – the name means “the one who was proven worthy” – who has been cursed, sits in meditational posture by the shore of the river Ganges, awaiting his end. He knows that after seven days he will be struck down by a poisonous snake, and then he will inevitably die. In a wide circle around him, filled with reverence, the great rishi-s of ancient India are seated. Then it just so happens that the youth Shuka comes along. “He came for no reason”, the text says. Whatever those who are eternally free, who wander about here on earth, do, they do it “without any purpose”. They roam around like innocent children and hand out what they carry within themselves: Pure Knowledge and Love of God. The king falls at the feet of Shuka and asks him: “What should man do in the face of his imminent death?” Shuka smiles and says: “You have asked a good question.” And then he starts to recount the content of the great Bhagavatam.
What Parikshit now hears, makes him later on exclaim: “Although I have been fasting for seven days and seven nights and have not consumed a drop of water, I feel neither hunger, nor thirst. Why, I drink the nectar from your mouth. ... In the shape of a mortal spell God, Krishna, has come to me.”
In the Katha-Upanishat the lord of the law of cause and effect, the one who subdues all, Yama, Death himself, appears as a guru. The boy Naciketas, due to his courage and self-sacrificing devotion, has reached the threshold of Death. There he sits huddled up for three days, waiting before the closed gate: Death is busy. Having thus neglected the obligations of hospitality, Yama then grants Naciketas the fulfilment of three wishes.
Naciketas’ last and most important request reads: “When a man dies, two opinions prevail. Some say he exists, others say he doesn’t. Who is right? To this I desire an answer!” (Katha-Upanishat 1. 20) Death replies evasively: “Even the gods once were in doubt about this, and it is not surprising: these matters are hidden. Choose another favour, oh Naciketas, and don’t beset me!” (Katha-Upanishat 1. 21)
Yama offers the boy all kinds of mundane joys and pleasures instead. All such things, usually coveted by men, now are within reach for him: health, longevity, beautiful women, well-behaved children and grandchildren, unimaginable riches and power to rule the world.
Naciketas declines: “Keep your dancing and singing! Who knows whether these pleasures even last till the break of dawn... Why, life is short.” Once more he demands to get instructions about what is beyond the realm of nature, beyond human ethics and the bounds of time: “Enlighten me about the knowledge that supersedes right and wrong, that is untouched by cause and effect and beyond past and future!” (Katha-Upanishat 2. 14)
Also in the Bhagavadgita death in the form of an imminent huge massacre provides the stage for spiritual instruction. Two enormous belligerent armies stand in battle array on the battlefield. On both sides most of the warriors feel that they are not going to survive this fight. Before the opening of the eighteen days’ war of annihilation Arjuna, one of the greatest war heroes of that time, has let his chariot be placed in the space between the two armies. Previously, he had been convinced that he fought on the side of the good ones. Heavy-hearted he now perceives that close relatives of his are also in the opposing camp, – yes, he can see even his own beloved tutors there. He no longer knows what is right and wrong. Whatever action he takes, whether he fights or does not fight, he violates sacred law. In great despair he asks his friend and charioteer Krishna for advice and enlightenment. – Only when the disciple has asked the appropriate questions, the guru can begin to instruct him. Else he remains mute. – While all around them ill omens of the approaching apocalypse are noted, Krishna enlightens His disciple Arjuna about what is imperishable:

Know about This, by which all is permeated:
it is not wounded by the sword,
it is not moistened by water,
it is not burned by fire,
it is not parched by the wind ...
It is unfathomable, imperishable, eternal.
Bhagavadgita 2. 17; 22–23; 24

These elements enumerated here contain – according to ancient Indian philosophy – all that is subjected to the laws of time and space. A guru of today could quite easily add: no hydrogen bomb is capable of blasting to pieces this Eternal, in which every living creature takes part in its innermost being and which pervades everything.
Krishna says:

There never was a time, when Me and you
and all these noblemen were not existing,
and there will never be a time,
when we shall cease to be ...

Just as childhood, youth and old age
befall the embodied one
so also the getting of another body (befalls him).
The wise man is not confused thereby.
Bhagavadgita 2. 12–13

Just as a man discards his worn out clothes,
and puts on other, new ones,
so the embodied one
discards his withered bodies
and enters into fresh and new ones.
Bhagavadgita 2. 22

Here, the knowledge of transmigration opens entirely new horizons. The belief, quite established in the West, that man is confined to live one life only, is seriously disputed. However, this broadening of the view is in no way the ultimate truth. According to Hinduism the great issues concerning right and wrong, guilt and penance can not be settled by introducing the concept of repeated existences.
The idea of reincarnation only broadens the scene in space and time. It makes it easier for us to accept the idea of living beings on remote planets and in times long gone by. Yet this broadening of the mind, introducing cosmic dimensions and a completely new concept of time perspective, does not make any change in principle. Another screen has to be removed to reveal a new stage. In the light of the Indian divine revelation the universe of measurable and calculable things, to which the Hindus also count all mental reality, appears solely as a perverted shadow image of the omnipresent and eternal fullness of the highest Reality. This implies, among other things, that in Hinduism the boundary between here and there, between this life and the hereafter, between holy and profane, good and evil, life and death, real and unreal, is drawn in a completely different way than we are used to according to our precepts and experience.
In the Katha-Upanishat (II. 1. 10) Yama – Death as a guru – instructs the boy Naciketas:

What is here, is there,
and what is there, is here.
From death to death passes he,
who sees a difference between those two.

Similarly, in the Chandogya-Upanishat (VII. 25. 1) it is said:

Fullness is in the East,
Fullness is in the West,
Fullness is in the North,
Fullness is in the South …

The Brihad-Aranyaka-Upanishat explains:

“He, who in this world is unaware of the imperishable Eternal and offers oblations into the sacrificial fire to propitiate one of the gods – even if he sweats and strains for thousands of years, all his labour is in vain as the results of his sacrifice are perishable. He, who without knowledge of this imperishable Eternal passes away, is like a miserable slave, who was bought (by the gods), a truly poor man. He, however, who has realized this imperishable Eternal and departs from this world, he is a knowing one (he knows Reality), a (true) brahmin.” (III. 8. 10)
True knowledge concerning this sole, omnipresent, indestructible and eternal foundation of the world and of every living entity (and consequently not only of man), this true Reality – without which all that we on earth perceive as real, would not last even for a moment – constitutes the essence of all Indian divine revelation.
All that has a beginning and an end is not (the ultimate) Reality, Bhagavadgita states. Only that which has neither beginning nor end is eternal and truly existing:

It is unborn, eternal, unchangeable.
It is not destroyed,
when the body perishes.
Bhagavadgita 2. 20

This all-embracing Reality, which is not subordinate to the laws of Nature nor to the laws of birth, growth, decline and death, constitutes – viewed in the light of the Vedic knowledge – the normality; whereas what we call reality, i.e. all that we, aided by our senses and comprehension, daily perceive in this corruptible world, is an abnormal, only relative reality. This view – which is so unfamiliar to the Western approach that it demands a real revolution in the very way of thinking and an adoption of another set of values than the ingrained ones – must be kept in mind, if one wishes to understand the view on man in the Indian world of thought.
Even to Buddha, the perfectly enlightened one, who grew up within the Hindu tradition, and who, not unjustifiably, is considered to have founded an atheistic religion, even to him the existence of this unborn, eternal Reality appears as something self-evident.
Once he addressed the following words to his disciples:

There is something that is unborn, uncreated, not-made, not composite.
And if this that is unborn, uncreated, not-made, not composite did not exist,
then how could one escape from that
which is born, created, made and composite?
(Udana VIII. 1)

This imperishable something, which Buddha speaks about, is the same imperishable Eternal, which in Hinduism is termed the formless Brahma. And the state of nirvana in Buddhism equals the state of brahma-nirvana in Hinduism (see Bhagavadgita 2. 75 and 5. 24–25).
Now the question arises: What is this veil or deceiving power that, according to the Hindu divine revelation, provides us the means to experience this cosmos and makes us believe it to be real – from the most remote stars and solar systems down to the tiniest elements of the ancient Indian atomic theory, including also the most crude and most refined mental processes within all living beings – but which conceals our true nature and the underlying fundamental and primary Reality to us?

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The Meaning of Life

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The Meaning of Life

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The Meaning of Life



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Krishna-Caitanya, the Hidden Treasure of India, His Life and His Teachings, 2014


This book is a translation of W. Eidlitz' main work, Krishna-Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre, Stockholm University, 1968.

In order to get a preview one can download a part of the book.

About the English edition:
This English edition is a REVISED edition which includes later corrections by the author and some additional explanations and translations from the original sources, provided by his guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa. When we came across passages we thought needed clarification we made annotations in square brackets or added a translators’ note.



GENESIS OF THE BOOK

(© Katrin Stamm 2014)

1946: The idea

Sadananda was released from the internment camp in Dehra Dun after the Second World War a little earlier than Vamandas, because of the intervention of Bon Maharaja due to Sadananda’s very bad health. Shortly after Sadananda’s release the idea to create a book on Caitanya together with Vamandas was born. Sadananda wrote to Vamandas who was still interned on May 3rd, 1946:

“I trust the time will come when we shall be able to complete A VERY BEAUTIFUL BOOK ON THE LORD OF LOVE together and to have a darshan of the Lila-bhumi of the Lord. But you can be sure, that all is more beautiful in books and ideas than in reality.”

In fact it was Sadananda’s untiring advice and assistance over the following 20 years that made this book possible as Vamandas himself points out in the end of the foreword to his book.


Gathering facts and studying the sources

As Vamandas explains in the foreword of the Caitanyabook the basis for this work was already laid during the internment, when he studied the shastram-s under the guidance of Sadananda. As Sadananda foresaw in his letter 1946 they met again in India 1950-51 when Sadananda showed him around the lila-bhumi and they visited the lila-sthala-s in Navadvipa, Puri, Benares and Vrindavan.


Writing the book

The actual writing of the book seems to have started in the beginning of the Sixties. In April 1962 Sadananda writes: “Now I have dictated to Vamandas all he needs for his book on Caitanya. He now has the necessary material to finish the book until Christmas.” This was a little too optimistic, though, as it turned out to take 6 more years. In 1963 Sadananda writes to a friend in Sweden that Vamandas and his wife Hella are visiting him each afternoon (in his flat in Basel where he lived since 1961, after he had returned to Europe after 30 years in India) for one or two hours daily in order to write down the details of Caitanya’s life and thereby finally finish the book for the University of Stockholm who obviously had already agreed to publish it. The deadline then was Christmas 1963, but again it took longer.

The general idea was that Sadananda provided the raw translations and Vamandas, who knew much less Sanskrit and Bengali, was supposed to render these translations into beautiful German. Already in November 1963 Sadananda realised, though, that Vamandas had difficulties in accomplishing this task and decided from then on to give only complete translations to him that needed no polishing, but could be included into the book directly.

In the following the manuscript was sent back and forth between Sweden (where Vamandas lived) and Switzerland (where Sadananda stayed). In 1965 the whole manuscript was eventually rewritten. A special difficulty was to find the right equivalents for technical terms like e.g. bhakti, prema or bhava. And Sadananda insisted in his letters that it was essential that the text was written in such a way that it was seva and had the blessings of Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada.

When the final page proof arrived in December 1967 Sadananda only managed to correct the the first part, because he was very ill then, suffering from chronical amoebic dysentery that had reduced his weight to 57 kg. He was not happy with the language and style of the second part, but was to weak to help to rewrite it.


Finding a publisher

Ernst ARBMAN (1891-1959) of the University of Stockholm, who was a professor of History of Religion (1937-1958) and who focussed in his research on the essence of ecstasy and religious trance from the psychological point of view, helped to publish the book in Sweden via the University of Stockholm.

Finding an additional publisher in Germany or Switzerland proved impossible. Kohlhammer, a German scientific publisher and Rascher in Zürich were not interested. The reason, probably, was that the book did not fit into any category: it was neither impersonal-scientific enough to fit into the categoy “indology” or “comparative religion”, nor mystical enough to be a mere document of personal faith. The Swedish anthropologist Åke HULTKRANTZ (University of Stockholm, Institute of Comparative Religion) was interested in the book in general and Vamandas even sent the manuscript to him (1963), but somehow a proper cooperation didn’t work out. Eventually the book was printed by the publishers Almqvist & Wiksell (Stockholm/Uppsala) in September 1967 and published in 1968 as part of the “Stockholm studies in comparative religion”, a scientific series of the Universities of Stockholm and Uppsala.


Good reviews

There are no original reviews available any more. All we have are letters where Sadananda writes that he is happy for the good reviews Vamandas had received and one typed A4 page where Vamandas collected all reviews and reactions to all of his books. Only the review of Prof. BENZ is given in full length there. To ELIADE and GONDA he only refers indirectly.

The well-known theologian and ecclesiastical historian Prof. Dr. Ernst BENZ (1907-1978) from the university of Marburg reviewed the work in a letter to Walther Eidlitz as follows:

“I can only congratulate you sincerely that you have managed to compose the results of your rich studies in India and you insights into the sources – that are hardly or not at all available in Europe – into such a well fashioned overview. Moreover I consider it a very significant achievement that for the first time, as far as my modest knowledge of the matter is concerned, a realistic account of the historical personality of Caitanya is presented. Especially in the Indian history of ideas most often the great personalities are completely covered by myths. No less rewarding is your successful translation of the teachings of Caitanya into a form that is accessible to our German language and concepts of philosophy of religion.”

According to his notes on this A4 page, Prof. Jan GONDA (1905-1991), the celebrated Orientalist and Indologist who taught at the University of Utrecht, considered it a “very valuable work” and Prof. Mircea ELIADE (1907-1986) the famous historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher and professor at the University of Chicago, spontaneously offered his help to publish an American edition.

Kurt LEIDECKER of the University of Mary Washington in Virgina, United States, cabled Vamandas in June 1975 that he would publish an English translation in September/October that year. (Leidecker was born in Germany in 1902, emigrated to the United States to attend Oberlin College at the age of eighteen and continued with graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he studied philosophy and Sanskrit, writing his Ph.D. dissertation on the Bhagavadgita, in which he related the Gita’s philosophical concepts to ideas of the 19th century German philosopher Hegel). While checking out whether any publisher worldwide still held any copyrights on Vamandas’ books, I also checked whether Leidecker had ever started or finished the announced English translation. Obviously he did not. This is the response from the University of Mary Washington I received:

“I have looked through the records we have listing Kurt Leidecker’s writings, and do not find any translation of Krsna-Caitanya: Sein Leben und Seine Lehre. We do have the inscribed copy of the book that was given to Prof. Leidecker by Walther Eidlitz, along with 3 pages of handwritten Errata (which may be in Eidlitz’s handwriting).” (David Ambuel)

JAN GONDA definitely appreciated Vamandas books, because in his work “A History of Indian Literature: Epics and Sanskrit religious literature. Medieval religious literature in Sanskrit“ (1977) he quotes Vamandas’ books 11 times. Also other important indologists as KLLOSTERMAIER and HARDY refer to Vamandas’ books, the book on Caitanya in particular, in their papers from 1974 (The Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhubindu of Viśvanātha Cakravartin K. Klostermaier – Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1974 – JSTOR; Mādhavendra Purī: a link between Bengal Vaisnavism and South Indian bhakti', F. Hardy - Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1974 - Cambridge Univ Press.)


Final recognition of his work

In 1975 Vamandas received an honorary doctor of the University of Lund for his several works on Indian Religion and Philosophy.


Where to find the book today

Nowadays the book is still stored in some important German university libraries: in Berlin, Bremen, Erfurt, Göttingen, Halle, Hamburg and in Kiel. In Sweden 13 libraries keep this book, among which are the university libraries of Umeå, Uppsala, Stockholm, Göteborg and Lund. Umeå and Lund also host our recent Swedish edition “Kṛṣṇa-Caitanya: Indiens dolda skatt: hans liv och hans lära/ Walther Eidlitz“ transl. by Kid Samuelsson and Bengt Lundborg (2013). The University of Stockholm offers access to the electronic version of the German edition, too.


The translators, the translations and new editions

The first translation was done into Swedish by Kid Samuelsson and Bengt Lundborg (2004). The translation into English was started in 2010 and was done in an even bigger team. After the English translation had been finished, the Swedish translation was completely revised in 2013 in order to include the improvements of the English translation.

The English raw translation was done by Mario Windisch (Mandali Bhadra dasa) who is German by birth, but later acquired Canadian citizenship and spent many years in Canada. He is the (almost) native speaker in the team. Already in 1972 he was made Head of the translating department in German language for all ISKCON literatures and chief editor of BTG (the “Back to Godhead” magazine of ISKCON) by Bhaktivedanta Svami because of his literary skills, competence in Vaishnava theology and knowledge of both the German and English language. However, he left ISKCON soon after that for personal reasons. In those times the temple presidents were very strict regarding what was allowed to be read and what not. E.g. the temple president in Hamburg, Germany, where Mandali Bhadra das stayed in the early Seventies, forbade to read the book on Caitanya by Vamandas which Mandali had been reading secretly with another Godbrother (Vasudeva dasa). So they both left ISKCON, became shiksha disciples of Sadananda and continued to read Vamandas books. My first contact with bhakti, Caitanya and the Mahamantra was by reading this book together with Vasudeva dasa with whom I lived in a relationship for some years in the early 90ties. In this way this book has been central to the spirtual lives of everybody in the seva-team.

Kid Samuelsson and Bengt Lundborg, who had already translated the work into Swedish, contributed the vast experience they had gained by doing this, regarding both technical and formal aspects and the content. I, Katrin Stamm, as an Indologist added my knowledge of Sanskrit to the team and checked all the quotations from the sources. I also gave counsel when it came to the intricacies of English.

The translation was also a great opportunity to improve the book. I (Katrin Stamm) had been given the book that had been owned by Walther Eidlitz by Kid Samuelsson which contained later handwritten personal corrections and notes by Vamandas himself. Moreover we included three handwritten pages of Errata by Vamandas and 2 pages of corrections by Sadananda from 1972. While writing the translation we found many more mistakes: not only spelling mistakes but also missing lines in verses, wrong verse numbers etc. Altogether round about 200 errors. As we all are trained in ‘Sadananda’s school’ and especially by his corrections to Vamandas’ book “Die indische Gottesliebe“ (1955) (The Indian Love of God), that span over 300 pages and weigh more than the whole original book, we felt the necessity to add footnotes when old mistakes from the “Gottesliebe“-book reappeared. We then added, whenever possible, Sadananda’s own words as corrections.

| Summary | | |

Krishna-Caitanya, the Hidden Treasure of India, His Life and His Teachings, 2014


This book is a translation of W. Eidlitz' main work, Krishna-Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre, Stockholm University, 1968.

Translation of the original introduction of the German edition by Almqvist & Wiksell/Gebers
Förlag, Stockholm (1968):

First complete presentation of the life and teachings of Krishna Caitanya (1486-1533) who is worshipped as God on Earth by millions of Hindus. According to the Hindu bhakti texts the One God not only dwells in the all-permeating realm of Absolute Being, but also descends to Earth and other worlds in order to reveal His spontaneous Divine Play that knows no beginning or end and the suspense of which is intensifying through all eternity on all these stages.
The first part of this work, “The Indian Concept of the Revelation of God”, displays in manifold scenes – some of great artistic beauty – the play of the One God as Rama, Narasinha and Krishna (“the birth of the Unborn”, his plays as child, as boy and his amourous pastimes). In between, a concise account of the psychology of Divine Love as ars amandi is given. The eternal continuous outpouring stream of this Love that floods back to its source as serving knowing love (bhakti) is described and the Eroticism of the Absolute is clearly set apart from mundane eroticism. Chapters about the significance of Krishna Caitanya within the Indian Revelation of God follow.
The second part of this work presents extensive excerpts of the early sources of this new Play of God on Earth as Krishna Caitanya that were, for the most part, for the first time translated from Sanskrit and Medieval Bengali into a European language. These texts belong, apart from their philosophical and theological significance, to the most important sources on the history and culture of medieval India. For a future dialogue of the world religions in the spirit of Paul Tillich and of the last [the second] Vatican Counsil [Nostra Aetate, 1965] the knowledge of these texts is indispensable.
In the appendix chronological tables are provided as well as an account of the divisions of the Veda according to the tradition itself, a chapter on the language of the Bengali sources, a bibliography and a verification of sources. It is the intention of this work to let the spirit of the sources become alive. This work is the result of thirty years of study of which nine years were spent in India itself and it offers new insights into Indian philosophy and religion.

About the English edition:
This English edition is a REVISED edition which includes later corrections by the author and some additional explanations and translations from the original sources, provided by his guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa. When we came across passages we thought needed clarification we made annotations in square brackets or added a translators’ note.

About the translators:
The translation of this work was done in a team, because it was difficult to unite all competences for accomplishing this task in one person. The raw translation was done by Mario Windisch (Mandali Bhadra Dasa) who is German by birth, but later acquired Canadian citizenship and spent many years in Canada. He is the (almost) native speaker in our team. Already in 1972 he was made Head of the translating department in German language for all ISKCON literatures and chief editor of BTG (the “Back to Godhead” magazine) by Bhaktivedanta Svami because of his literary skills, competence in Vaishnava theology and knowledge of both the German and English language. However, he left the ISKCON soon after that for personal reasons. Kid Samuelsson and Bengt Lundborg had already translated the work into Swedish and contributed the vast experience they had gained by this regarding both technical aspects and the content. Katrin Stamm as an Indologist added her knowledge of Sanskrit and checked all the quotations from the sources. She also gave counsel when it came to the intricacies of English grammar. All together we hope to have achieved a result that comes as close as possible to the German original. As Vaishnavas and disciples in the diksha-line of Walther Eidlitz’ shiksha guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa, we also hope to have pleased both our Godbrother Vamandas (Walther Eidlitz) and our common shiksha guru, Sadananda.

| | Reviews | |

Krishna-Caitanya, the Hidden Treasure of India, His Life and His Teachings, 2014


This book is a translation of W. Eidlitz' main work, Krishna-Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre, Stockholm University, 1968.

The well-known theologian and ecclesiastical historian Prof. Dr. Ernst Benz (1907-1978) from the university of Marburg reviewed the work in a letter to Walther Eidlitz as follows: “I can only congratulate you sincerely that you have managed to compose the results of your rich studies in India and your insights into the sources – that are hardly or not at all available in Europe – into such a well fashioned overview. Moreover I consider it a very significant achievement that for the first time, as far as my modest knowledge of the matter is concerned, a realistic account of the historical personality of Caitanya is presented. Especially in the Indian history of ideas most often the great personalities are completely covered by myths. No less rewarding is your successful translation of the teachings of Caitanya into a form that is accessible to our German language and concepts of philosophy of religion.”
According to personal notes of Walther Eidlitz, Prof. Jan Gonda (1905-1991), the celebrated Orientalist and Indologist who taught at the University of Utrecht, considered it a „very valuable work“ and Prof. Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) the famous historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher and professor at the University of Chicago, spontaneously offered his help to publish an American edition. However, this edition was never done and an English translation of this important work could only be realised today.

About the English edition:
This English edition is a REVISED edition which includes later corrections by the author and some additional explanations and translations from the original sources, provided by his guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa. When we came across passages we thought needed clarification we made annotations in square brackets or added a translators’ note.

About the translators:
The translation of this work was done in a team, because it was difficult to unite all competences for accomplishing this task in one person. The raw translation was done by Mario Windisch (Mandali Bhadra Dasa) who is German by birth, but later acquired Canadian citizenship and spent many years in Canada. He is the (almost) native speaker in our team. Already in 1972 he was made Head of the translating department in German language for all ISKCON literatures and chief editor of BTG (the “Back to Godhead” magazine) by Bhaktivedanta Svami because of his literary skills, competence in Vaishnava theology and knowledge of both the German and English language. However, he left the ISKCON soon after that for personal reasons. Kid Samuelsson and Bengt Lundborg had already translated the work into Swedish and contributed the vast experience they had gained by this regarding both technical aspects and the content. Katrin Stamm as an Indologist added her knowledge of Sanskrit and checked all the quotations from the sources. She also gave counsel when it came to the intricacies of English grammar. All together we hope to have achieved a result that comes as close as possible to the German original. As Vaishnavas and disciples in the diksha-line of Walther Eidlitz’ shiksha guru, Svami Sadananda Dasa, we also hope to have pleased both our Godbrother Vamandas (Walther Eidlitz) and our common shiksha guru, Sadananda.


BOOK REVIEW BY STEVEN J. ROSEN (Satyaraja Dasa)*

(cp. http://iskconnews.org/book-review-krishna-chaitanya-indias-hidden-treasure-his-life-and-teachings-by-walther-eidlitz-2,4483/)

Walther Eidlitz, Krishna-Caitanya, India’s Hidden Treasure, His Life and Teachings (h:ström, Sweden: Produktion & Tryck, Umeå, 2014), 585 pages. Copies available at www.sadananda.com
[This is a revised edition of the German text, Krishna-Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre (Stockholm University, 1968), translated into English by Mario Windisch, Bengt Lundborg, Kid Samuelsson and Katrin Stamm]

In the early 1970s, as a young devotee, I had heard about two books that piqued my interest, both by an Austrian author named Walther Eidlitz (1892–1976). The first was an autobiographical account, Bhakta, eine indische Odyssee (Hamburg: Claassen, 1951), originally written in German but initially released as a Swedish edition (1948). The book was eventually translated into English as Unknown India: A Pilgrimage into a Forgotten World (London: Rider, 1952) and republished as Journey to Unknown India (San Rafael, California: Mandala Publishing, 1998).

The story relates Eidlitz’s transcendental odyssey as a seeker who finds himself in India during World War II. As a result, he lands in an internment camp where he was forced to live under severe restrictions and intolerable conditions. By Krishna’s divine will, however, there was a beacon of light in the midst of untold darkness: a German-born Vaishnava sadhu named Sadananda Swami (1908–1977), one of the few Western disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, happened to be in that same camp.

The book tells of their many experiences and exchanges together, with Sadananda Swami sharing the essential teachings of Gaudiya Vaishnavism with an attentive Walther Eidlitz. It even discloses some of the prehistory, taking us back to the time before Eidlitz initially met Sadananda, when the former had received the name Vamandas while studying under an impersonalist guru in the Himalayas.

Srila Sarasvati Thakura had already left the planet before the Second World War, and so Vamandasji took proper initiation from Bon Maharaja (a leading disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta at the time) in as late as 1946, receiving the name Shri Vimala-Krishna Vidyabinode Dasa. Still, presumably because they had become used to his earlier name, they often continued to call him Vamandas, despite his Vaishnava initiation.

In due course, he boarded a ship that took him from Bombay to London, and from there he eventually relocated to Sweden, where his wife, Hella, and their son, Günther, were waiting. He continued to study under Sadananda Swami through letters, which culminated in his writing on Vaishnava themes. As an addendum, he returned to India in the 1950s, at which time he relished more association with Sadananda. Together, they basked in the nectarean environs of various Vaishnava shrines, including Vrindavan and Navadvip, and deepened their friendship.

Some time later, Eidlitz wrote the second book that struck my fancy: Krsna-Caitanya: Sein Leben und seine Lehre (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1968). This one, however, had never been translated into English, and so, much to my dismay, I was unable to enter into its alluring world of divine ambrosia — until now. Kishordas (Kid Samuelsson) and Kalakanthidasi (Katrin Stamm), who work with other disciples of Sadananda Swami to maintain the literary estate of both the Swami and his foremost disciple, Vamandas (Walther Eidlitz), have given the world a special tome, one that will not soon be forgotten.

I remember reading, years ago, how the original German edition was used as a text at universities throughout Europe, and I noticed that it was quoted in numerous books by eminent scholars from around the world. Indeed, it was one of the first and only books on Sri Chaitanya in a European language at the time, making Mahaprabhu and His teachings available to the Western world in both academic language and through the lens of a believing Vaishnava. It was significant, too, that is was published by an affiliate of Stockholm University.

How the original German edition came to be: Shortly after Sadananda’s release from the internment camp in the mid-1940s, he and Eidlitz thought deeply about writing a thorough book on the life and teachings of Sri Chaitanya. According to Samuelsson and Stamm, it was Sadananda’s “untiring advice and assistance over the following twenty years that made this book possible, as Vamandas himself points out in the end of the foreword to his book.”

In fact, the book is a product of teamwork, just as attributable to Sadananda as it is to Eidlitz. Samuelsson and Stamm quote a letter, written in April 1962, in which Sadananda writes: “Now I have dictated to Vamandas all he needs for his book on Chaitanya.” The general idea was that Sadananda was to provide the raw translations of the traditional material, including segments of the Srimad Bhagavatam and the standard biographies of Sri Chaitanya, and Vamandas, who was not as knowledgeable regarding Sanskrit and Bengali, would render these translations into eloquent German prose.

It should be noted, too, that the English translation is a revised edition. Stamm writes, “The translation was also a great opportunity to improve the book. I had been given [the text] which contained later handwritten personal corrections and notes by Vamandas himself. Moreover we included three handwritten pages of Errata by Vamandas and two pages of corrections by Sadananda from 1972. While writing the translation we found many more mistakes: not only spelling mistakes but also missing lines in verses, wrong verse numbers etc. Altogether . . . about 200 errors. . . . We then added, whenever possible, Sadananda’s own words as corrections.”

Thus, in the end, the English translation not only closely follows the original, but it adds notes, corrections, and afterthoughts by both Sadananda and Eidlitz, making it a gem in the world of contemporary Gaudiya Vaishnava literature. Naturally, as someone who was already fascinated by a German edition that I couldn’t even really read, I was absolutely thrilled when the translation arrived at my door.

The book is set up to help an intelligent newcomer enter into an accurate understanding of Sri Chaitanya — but it also includes information that will be of interest to the seasoned devotee. The first half of the volume is a thorough introduction and overview of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology, establishing doctrine and practice in a logical and coherent manner. It elucidates key teachings of the tradition, focusing on the nuances of Sanskrit and Bengali terminology, and highlights pastimes of Krishna that are indispensable for understanding the philosophy of the Vaishnavas.

In addition, while offering the traditional accounts of Krishna and His lila, the text also draws on infrequently quoted Puranas and Goswami literature, particularly that of Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva, allowing the reader insights into obscure esoterica and inner meaning.

We are then ready for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After a brief overview of foundational elements in the Lord’s life and times, we are given translations of pivotal episodes in His pastimes. Most of the early pastimes are taken from Chaitanya Bhagavata, with clarifying augmentation from other literature in Mahaprabhu’s biographical tradition. The latter pastimes are largely gleaned from the Chaitanya-charitamrita, again augmented by supplemental texts.

The book is unique in that it does not merely retell the life of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but rather allows original sources to speak for themselves: Murari Gupta’s Kadacha; Kavi Karnapura’s Chaitanya Chandrodaya Natakam and Chaitanya Charita Mahakavya; Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s Chaitanya-Chandramrita; Vrindavandasa Thakur’s Chaitanya Bhagavata; Jayananda Mishra’s Chaitanya Mangala; Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami’s Chaitanya Charitamrita, and so on — all are brought to bear to illuminate Sri Chaitanya’s life and teachings. It is also historically significant that these translated sections are pretty much all we have of Sadananda Swami’s own literary output, since he never published in his lifetime.

A particular delight in this part of the book is the attention given to Sri Chaitanya’s intimate associates. We are introduced to them with exacting detail, which has the effect of deepening our understanding of their significance and, indeed, the significance of Sri Chaitanya Himself.

The last section of the book offers valuable data for all students of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, including a chronology of events occurring in India at the time of Sri Chaitanya, as well as that of Sri Chaitanya’s manifested pastimes. In addition, back-of-the-book material includes an in-depth classification of the Vedas in relation to other sacred books of the Vaishnava tradition; a through outline of avatara theory, showing Krishna as the source of all Incarnations and how all others expand from Him; sources in Bengali and details of existing pertinent books focusing on the Chaitanya tradition. It also offers details on various selected Sanskrit and Bengali works from the Lord’s inner circle of disciples and followers, both from His time period and for a generation or two thereafter. Overall, the book is a well-written, major contribution to the study of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

That being said, all reviews should offer constructive criticism, and while I was hard-pressed to find any significant problems with this book, I did notice something minor: I initially found the use of an “m” at the end of certain Sanskrit words, like sastram, Mahabharatam, and Puranam, a bit unusual and disturbing. By way of explanation, I thought, there are a couple of possibilities: The “m” would properly occur in the nominative and accusative singulars, since sastra, for example, is a neutral a-ending noun. So if it is the subject of the sentence, or the object, the author/translator might be using the Sanskrit word instead of an anglicized version. But that didn’t seem to be the case here.

Another possibility: Sometimes, South Indian Brahmins use idiosyncratic methods in such cases, and the translators might have had a Sanskrit teacher who employed that kind of usage. But I didn’t think that was the case, either. Besides, from what I could see, Eidlitz himself didn’t adopt this approach in his German original — he used the more common, sastra, Mahabharata, and Purana — which made it even more perplexing why the alternate version should be used here in the translated text.

I eventually found out in correspondence with the translators that they were following the rules Sadananda himself had given them: All Sanskrit words were to be rendered in nominative singular, even if they appear in another case or number in German. Although I had missed it, they actually mentioned that they were going to do this on page 13. Still, readers familiar with Sanskrit texts may find this strange use of “m” somewhat disconcerting. I must say, though, that aside from this trivial point, I found the book well worth waiting for.

ISKCON devotees should be particularly interested in this work. Let it be known: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada referred to Sadananda Swami, Eidlitz’s guru, as his “an intimate friend,” and the work itself — this specific book on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu — as “authorized.” These are not words that Prabhupada used lightly.

I recently spoke to Brahmananda Dasa, an early disciple of Srila Prabhupada, who had corresponded with him when Eidlitz’s book was initially released. He remembered Prabhupada receiving the book through the post and his reaction, too: “Yes,” Brahmananda wrote to me, “it was very interesting. Prabhupada approved the book after Eidlitz sent him a copy, even though he could not read the foreign language. He said it was “nice” and “authorized,” and he wrote to me to send the three-volume set of Delhi Bhagavatams to Eidlitz in return. This was in 1968.”

Prabhupada’s “authorization” of the book was also confirmed during one of his lectures in Montreal, on July 28, 1968: “He [Eidlitz] has written a very nice authorized book on Lord Caitanya in German language, and it is very big book, paperback, five hundred pages. It is approved by the Sweden University, and he has sent me.” (See http://www.harekrishnablog.com/prabhupada-vani/62-lectures/292-distributing-lord-chaitanyas-mission [Accessed June 2014])

Regarding Prabhupada’s appreciation of Sadananda Swami, we may refer to the following letters: To Mandali Bhadra Dasa (Mario Windisch), he wrote on February 25, 1968: “. . . I am very sorry to learn that my dear brother Sadananda is seriously ill and the doctors have advised complete rest for him. He is my intimate friend and God-brother, so although I wanted to open correspondence with him, I voluntarily restrain myself from doing so, taking into consideration his present health. I pray to Krishna that he may recover very soon, so that we may not only open correspondence, but maybe I can see him personally. . . . In Bombay sometimes we lived together and he used to treat my little sons very kindly. His heart is so soft, as soft as a good mother’s, and I always remember him and shall continue to do so. When you meet him next, kindly offer my respectful obeisances. . . ”

Further, writing to his disciple Hamsaduta Dasa on August 16, 1970, Prabhupada says, “. . . Regarding my Godbrother, Sadananda Swami, I have heard many things about him as you have also informed me, but I think as he is old man we should not give him the trouble of teaching you Bengali or Sanskrit. . . . Please offer my obeisances to Sadananda Swami. He is my old friend and Godbrother, and so you should offer him all due respects whenever he comes, but do not try to engage him in some work in his old age.”

So, it should be clear that Prabhupada thought fondly of both teacher and student, Sadananda and Eidlitz, and had even specifically praised Eidlitz’s work on Sri Chaitanya. As a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, I can think of no better endorsement.
__

*Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa) is a biographer, scholar and author in the fields of philosophy, religion, spirituality and music. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies and associate editor of Back to Godhead magazine. His thirty-one books have been published in numerous languages. Some popular titles include Essential Hinduism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008); the Yoga of Kirtan: Conversations on the Sacred Art of Chanting (FOLK Books, 2008); Krishna’s Other Song: A New Look at the Uddhava Gita (Praeger-Greenwood, 2010).

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Krishna-Caitanya, the Hidden Treasure of India, His Life and His Teachings, 2014



This book is a translation of Walther Eidlitz' main work, Krishna-Caitanya, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre, Stockholm University, 1968.

In order to get a preview one can download a part of the book.

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Krishna-Caitanya, the Hidden Treasure of India, His Life and His Teachings, 2014


This text is only a part of the complete text which can be ordered as a printed book.
In order to get a preview one can download a part of the book.

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Krishna's Damodara-Lila, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2021


Rendering based on passages from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Gopala-Campuh and Ananda-Vrindavana-Campuh.

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Krishna's Damodara-Lila, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2021


Rendering based on passages from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Gopala-Campuh and Ananda-Vrindavana-Campuh.

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Krishna's Damodara-Lila, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2021


Rendering based on passages from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Gopala-Campuh and Ananda-Vrindavana-Campuh.

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Krishna's Damodara-Lila, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2021



Rendering based on passages from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Gopala-Campuh and Ananda-Vrindavana-Campuh.

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Krishna's Damodara-Lila, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2021


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Tender As a Flower, Hard as a Thunderbolt – Words of Truth and Love, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2015


This book is a compilation of extracts from different texts of Svami Sadananda Dasa. Some of the texts are from originals in English, but the great majority are written in German.
The title of the book is a quotation from Caitanya-Caritamrita 2.7.71 and describes the character of the true guru, the one who is truly existing, the prema-bhakta.
Svami Sadananda Dasa (Ernst Georg Schulze) appeared in the world in Germany in 1908.
In the early 1930s he became a disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati who before some of his native disciples once said, “You, Sadananda, and I, we have always been together.”

| Summary | | |

Tender As a Flower, Hard as a Thunderbolt – Words of Truth and Love, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2015


This book is a compilation of extracts from different texts of Svami Sadananda Dasa. Some of the texts are from originals in English, but the great majority are written in German.
The title of the book is a quotation from Caitanya-Caritamrita 2.7.71 and describes the character of the true guru, the one who is truly existing, the prema-bhakta.
Svami Sadananda Dasa (Ernst Georg Schulze) appeared in the world in Germany in 1908.
In the early 1930s he became a disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati who before some of his native disciples once said, “You, Sadananda, and I, we have always been together.”

| | Reviews | |

Tender As a Flower, Hard as a Thunderbolt – Words of Truth and Love, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2015


This book is a compilation of extracts from different texts of Svami Sadananda Dasa. Some of the texts are from originals in English, but the great majority are written in German.
The title of the book is a quotation from Caitanya-Caritamrita 2.7.71 and describes the character of the true guru, the one who is truly existing, the prema-bhakta.
Svami Sadananda Dasa (Ernst Georg Schulze) appeared in the world in Germany in 1908.
In the early 1930s he became a disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati who before some of his native disciples once said, “You, Sadananda, and I, we have always been together.”

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Tender As a Flower, Hard as a Thunderbolt – Words of Truth and Love, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2015


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Tender As a Flower, Hard as a Thunderbolt – Words of Truth and Love, Svami Sadananda Dasa, 2015


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Sadananda.com - Books
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Sambandha jnanam is the clear insight into the interrelation between a) God and world, b) God and atma, c) atma and atma, d) world and world and e) atma and world. The texts we have sorted into this section therefore mainly deal with definitions of the nature of the atma, maya, Bhagavan and their interrelations.


The texts of this section deal with the method or discipline of bhakti, particularly the nature and the praise of God’s Names, as they provide the most important upaya or instrument (and objective). The focus of this section lies on the definition of what bhakti or serving is.


The texts regarding the goal or prema-rasa-seva are lila-texts, prayers or songs, praising the goal. They should be read when one is firmly rooted in sambandha-jnanam and abhideya as well.

MULTIMEDIA

MULTIMEDIA

This page contains a selection of photos, audio recordings and a video clip from a family outing where Svami Sadananda Dasa can be seen. We have added an audio recording where you can hear him explaining the Brihadbhagavatamritam. The transcript of this can also be downloaded.

The audio files of Svami that have been uploaded so far are also to be found as text files under Text Downloads/Books. More audio files are going to follow. There are also audio recordings of Vamandas' lectures in Swedish and personal instructions he gave in German that are going to be uploaded soon.

Svami Sadananda Dasa
www.sadananda.com

Svami Sadananda in Basel 1962

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Svami Sadananda Dasa in India

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Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati

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Shri Shri Radha Krishna, Krishna Caitanya

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Sadananda in Europe

Shrila Prabhupadas Vani

Shri Guru Pranama

Shikshashtakam

Shrila Sadananda´s Vani (text)

www.sadananda.com

Vamandas

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Vamandas writing

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Vamandas and his wife Hella

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Sadananda and Vamandas in Mayapur

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Vamandas, a sunny day

Der Guru 02

Der Guru 01

NEWS

NEWS



28.08.22
Goloka and Gokula;
The unmanifest and manifest realm;
Comments on the third chapter of Shrimad-Bhagavata-Mahatmyam;
Svami Sadananda Dasa
Goloka and Gokula

28.08.22
Gaudiya-Vaishnava-Sampradaya;
The Nature of the Succession in Gaudiya Vaishnavism;
Svami Sadananda Dasa to Vamandas; notebook, Mayapur 1950
Gaudiya Sampradaya Tattva

www.sadananda.com