Vanity thought #1703. What’s worse? Fraud or twisting Madhva’s words?

I hope this is really the last post on the topic. There are only a couple of points left, to be really thorough, and I hope it would let me move onto something else, which probably will be general animosity between certain followers of Madhvācārya and ISKCON.

So, here’s the rest of Jayatīrtha’s commentary on Madhvācārya’s purport to Bhagavad Gītā 10.41 (source) which contains a discussion on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.3.28:

    Also, in your interpretation, since only Krishna is considered
    the special subject of discussion (for being the only Original
    Form), in the subsequent statement `indrArivyAkulaM lokaM
    mR^iDayanti yuge yuge’, the use of the plural is inappropriate,
    thus is stated — `mR^iDayanti’, thus. However, the plural
    applies to the earlier Varaha, etc., (the fragments rather than
    the total), and not to Krishna, thus say you? — no, that is not
    right. Because the statement `kR^ishhNastu bhagavAn.h svayam.h’
    is found interposed. And to take the subject as that of the
    previous statement, even given the presence of the interposed one,
    is inappropriate. If we take (adhyAhAra) `ete’ — (these) here, the
    phrases which are apart are not to be read together. With this
    opinion the bhAshhya says, `na hi’ — when something is said in
    between, considering the previous one, one cannot see that it will
    be linked to the present topic. In the bhAshhya, kriyA is stated
    to specify the present situation. The gist is that not just kriyA
    (action), but in any distant adjective (visheshhaNa) relation is
    not seen in language. [An objector says: While doing anvaya
    (interpretation), one is required to consider sannidhi (proximity)
    and yogyatA (propriety). Even when sannidhi is not available,
    yogyatA is a must, and in fact,] yogyatA is a stronger consideration
    than sannidhi. So giving prominence to sannidhi alone is not
    acceptable. So say you? Let it be so. Without giving up sannidhi,
    we will demonstrate yogyatA. yogyatA with sannidhi is better in
    comparison with yogyatA without sannidhi.

On the surface of it it looks like Jayatīrtha completely destroys our Gauḍiya interpretation of Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam but that is because Jayatīrtha’s commentary is presented here by a biased translator – consider the phrase in parens “(for being the only Original Form)” and “you” used in the translation when they give us this link to prove that we are wrong. We expect “you” to be us. Anyway, put this way it implies that other forms are somehow inferior but it’s not Gauḍiyā siddhānta at all.

The imaginary objector that Jayatīrtha talks to in this verse is not us and he does not espouse our views. In last post there was this quote delinieating the objection: “But in the Bhagavata, other incarnations such as Varaha, etc., are only small parts of the Supreme Being.” They are NOT small parts in our siddhānta, they are EQUAL parts in all practical respects, like candles lit from one another. This sneaky substitution is what our opponents have fell for when looking to destroy us with their clever quotations from respectable ācāryas but we should see it through.

Next Jayatīrtha talks about plural used with mṛḍayanti and his would be objector was supposed to disagree because only Kṛṣṇa is special but in our Gauḍiyā translation by Śrīla Prabhupāda we use plural as well – “All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists.” We aren’t objecting to the use of plural. The rest of the quote deals with overcoming that same plural-singular distinction and proving that it’s the Lord Himself who incarnates in various forms like Varāha to protect His devotees. Our opponents think that it would destroy us but it turns Jayatīrtha is preaching to the converted here.

Another interesting issue with tattvavāda interpretation of this verse is divergence with two other commentaries ascribed to Madhvācārya. First is taken from this page. I think we really need to see them side by side but that could turn overwhelming considering that this translation takes a lot of liberty with expanding Madhvācārya’s list of vibhūties and incarnations from direct Sanskrit quote in the source used by tattvavādīs. Up until the mention of SB 1.3.28 it follows the same line of thought and even refers to the same “Gautama khila”.

After quoting Kṛṣnas tu bhagavān svayam, however, the commentary diverges. In tattvavādī version Madhvācarya discusses the meaning of “tu” and use of plural with mṛḍayanti but in version he quotes “mama tejo’msa- sambhavan” and discusses that instead. This particular version has absolutely nothing on us whatsoever.

Then there’s another Madhvācārya’s commentary on this site and it couldn’t be more different. It’s significantly longer and it could not have come from the same Sanskrit version as the previous, too. Where it comes from is Madhvācārya’s commentary on the previous verse BG 10.40 and “correct” commentary to BG 10.41 appears under BG 10.42 where it’s a direct clone of version. I’m too lazy to investigage where they put comment on 10.42. Under 10.43? There’s no such verse at all.

I should add that both these sites, and look like being run by ISKCON devotees or at least by Prabhupāda followers. They both to not have “about us” section but homepage looks like it’s been done by defectors to Gauḍiyā Maṭha.

Anyway, what we have here is divergence between Madhvācārya’s purport to BG 10.41 as carried in tattvavāda tradition and in ours. Who is right and who is wrong? We are, because tattvavādīs have a commentary by Jayatīrtha who lived hundreds of years before Gauḍiyā vaiṣṇavism was born and his commentary follows tattvavāda version of Madhva’s to the letter. I think someone on our side chose to omit the inconvenient part for the sake of maintaining peace. Maybe it was a wise decision but if it gets spotted by our opponents they’ll have a field day with it even if tattvavādīs themselves have dropped the issue years ago.

At the end of the day no one comes out clean here. We altered the commentary by Madhva while some of tattvavādīs tweaked its context and directed it against us when Madhva could not have attacked our position because it didn’t even exist then. His would be objectors did not espouse our siddhānta and so if he defeated them it doesn’t mean he defeated us.

Having said that, I really expect better from our devotees. When did this discrepancy first manifested itself? What was the source for our internet version? Who translated it from Sanskrit, but, more importantly, who wrote the alternative ending to Madhva’s commentary? There’s no one there to ask, sadly, no contact information at all. Also, can we really trust anything else on these two sites? Not really, just hope that we are not being lied to again for some higher purpose.


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