Thursday, June 21, 2018

Niti-sataka 3 :: The greatness of the hero and the duties of the king.

It is a bit hard to divide the Nitisatakam into categores, since it is does tend to repeat certain themes. At any rate, the next 15 verses mostly talk about the characteristics of a hero and of a ruler.

santy anye'pi bṛhaspati-prabhṛtayaḥ sambhāvitāḥ pañcaṣās
tān praty eṣa viśeṣa-vikrama-rucī rāhur na vairāyate |
dvāv eva grasate divākara-niśā-prāṇeśvarau bhāskarau
bhrātaḥ parvaṇi paśya dānava-patiḥ śīrṣāvaśeṣākṛtiḥ || 34 ||

There are five or six planets like Jupiter in the sky
that are certainly great and influential, but Rahu
does not pick enmity with them; he seeks greater prey.
Just look, brother! Though he is left with nothing but a head,
when the proper moment comes, he attacks
the great luminaries of the sky, the sun and the moon.

vahati bhuvana-śreṇiṁ śeṣaḥ phaṇā-phalaka-sthitāṁ
kamaṭha-patinā madhye-pṛṣṭhaṁ sadā sa ca dhāryate |
tam api kurute kroḍādhīnaṁ payodhir anādarād
ahaha mahatāṁ niḥsīmānaś caritra-vibhūtayaḥ || 35 ||

Ananta Sesha carries the planetary systems on his hoods,
but still must be held firm on Kurmadeva's back;
the ocean carelessly washes over even that greatest of turtles:
just see how how the glories of the great are without limit.

varaṁ pakṣa-cchedaḥ samadamaghavan-mukta-kuliśa-
prahārair udgacchad-bahula-dahanodgāra-gurubhiḥ |
tuṣārādreḥ sūnor ahaha pitari kleśa-vivaśe
na cāsau sampātaḥ payasi payasāṁ patyur ucitaḥ || 36 ||

It would have been better for the son of the Himalayas
to accept the blows of intoxicated Indra's
numerous, fiery, blazing thunderbolts
as they cut off the wings of his father,
rather than running of to hide in the waters of the ocean.

The son of the Himalayas was named Mainaka (the son of Menaka).

maṇiḥ śāṇollīḍhaḥ samara-vijayī heti-dalito
mada-kṣīṇo nāgaḥ śaradi saritaḥ śyāna-pulināḥ |
kalā-śeṣaś candraḥ surata-mṛditā bāla-vanitā
tan-nimnā śobhante galita-vibhavāś cārthiṣu narāḥ ||44||

A number of things become more lustrous,
even as they diminish in size or quantity:
a jewel that has been cut and polished,
a wounded victor in battle,
an elephant that has become thin from rutting,
rivers in the autumn season, with their extended banks,
the moon of the dark fortnight
and a young girl after making love.

And what to speak of a generous man

whose coffers are diminished by charity.

parikṣīṇaḥ kaścit spṛhayati yavānāṁ prasṛtaye
sa paścāt sampūrṇaḥ kalayati dharitrīṁ tṛṇa-samām |
ataś cānaikāntyād guru-laghutayā'rtheṣu dhaninām
avasthā vastūni prathayati ca saṅkocayati ca ||45||

Things' values increase or diminish according to circumstances:
a man who has suddenly become poverty stricken
sees the value of the sesame seed he wishes to plant.
And when the crops come in and he is rich,
he looks on the world as though it were grass.

rājan dudhukṣasi yadi kṣiti-dhenum etāṁ
tenādya vatsam iva lokam amuṁ puṣāṇa
tasmiṁś ca samyag aniśaṁ paripoṣyamāṇe
nānā-phalaiḥ phalati kalpalateva bhūmiḥ ||46||

O King! If you want to milk
the wish-fulfilling cow that is this earth,
then take care of her calves, your subjects.
If they are well protected and cared for,
then this earth becomes like the heavenly trees
that provide unlimited fruits of every variety.

satyānṛtā ca paruṣā priya-vādinī ca
hiṁsrā dayālur api cārthaparā vadānyā
nitya-vyayā pracura-nitya-dhanāgamā ca
vārāṅganeva nṛpa-nītir aneka-rūpā ||47||

The task of a king takes many forms
even like that of a public woman:
sometimes he must speak the truth and sometimes lie;
he must sometimes speak gentle words and sometimes be harsh;
he must sometimes be cruel and sometimes compassionate,
sometimes miserly and sometimes generous,
he must sometimes spend profusely
and sometimes he gathers untold riches.

A clever courtesan and a king have similar dealings. No wonder it is not proper for a sannyasi to associate with them. hā hanta hanta visa-bhakṣaṇato'py asādhu. And yet, it appears to be a necessity for the life of politics. The end justifies the means. Bhartrihari goes on to describe the virtues of a good king.

ājñā kīrtiḥ pālanaṁ brāhmaṇānāṁ
dānaṁ bhogo mitra-saṁrakṣaṇaṁ ca
yeṣām ete ṣaḍguṇā na pravṛttāḥ
ko'rthas teṣāṁ pārthivopāśrayeṇa ||48||

A firm rule, a reputation for virtue,
a commitment to protect the Brahmins,
charity, a royal manner in enjoyments,
and loyalty to his friends and allies –
What is gained by taken shelter
of a ruler who does not possess these six qualities?

A king is expected to have the royal manner, meaning a harem of many queens and slave girls, I imagine. At least that is how I interpret bhogaḥ. The commentary has aiśvaryopabhogaḥ, which comes down to the same thing. A more general meaning could perhaps be that the king takes pleasure in his kingdom, indicating a happiness in his relation with his subjects, a kind of noblesse oblige. alam ativistareṇa.

Some observations on the translation of Sva-likhita-jivani




I am feeling a bit blissful today. I am going to escape to a holiday in Barsana, and if Radharani is merciful, I will spend it in the proximity of Binode Bihari Baba and his merry band of bairagi bhajananandis. Oh how I have looked forward to this day! There is a lot of preeti for me in Barsana.

In my crazy life... what kind of crazy... I guess I have been talking a lot about my crazy in the past few weeks. But, today, I am diving deeply into a project that I have been meaning to do for a long time: I am finally getting into revising the current available English translation of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Jivani. I cannot tell you all how much I feel guru-kripa raining down on me as I read this book with care.

So let me take care to thank two Ukrainian devotees, Hanna Chaikovska (Anu Krishna Dasi) and Muraliswara Das, who have been continuously pressuring me into doing this task after exacting my promises, and without whose insistence and strong desire, I would probably still be giving my attention elsewhere.

I first met Anu at Jiva where she came for some courses. She is a very energetic and talented young woman who is doing a lot of good work in publishing in the Russian language. We agreed that this needed to be done, and so now I am doing it.

Murali had translated the current available edition of the Jivani into Russian, but had had some very justified misgivings about the document that are also noted in KDA’s edit with question marks and parenthetical insertions, which mostly came as a result of Shukavak’s mistranslations and awkward syntax. [I am sure Shukavak, whom I knew in Toronto days, or his PhD advisor, Joseph O’Connell, will take too much exception to this critique. Our early work is our early work.] And, not knowing Bengali, there was no way that KDA could really do anything more than note some of the confusing portions and occasionally guess at the intent. 

Nevertheless...and I remind you that I am rarely a translator of the first draft of a book. I think I must be a bit of a coward, since I mostly spend my time editing other people’s work. It is easier to scrutinize someone else's work than going out on a limb with a first draft and having others scrutinze one’s own work in the way that I am doing here. [Even though, bhagavan jane, but I also pray for an editor!]


At any rate, seeing both the original printed edition alongside Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s handwritten manuscript has made the whole project very evocative in many ways. It has been more of a challenge than I expected. There are many words that seem to have fallen out of usage and are not found in the dictionaries, even the good ones -- place names I can’t find on the map, people who may or may not be well known and need to be researched, proper spellings of Bengali place and person names. Time limits me from doing a lot of that research, but perhaps there is someone capable and knowledgeable about [or interest in] 19th century Bengal who would like to do a bit of a research-assistantship on this, I would appreciate it also. [Just throwing it out there. You never know which prayers will be answered.]

Just like I am now trying to be a Brajabasi, there was a time when I was trying to be a Nabadwip basi, by the grace of my Guru-barga. Going back to Dwadash mandir the last couple of years has certainly resulted in me getting a very nice jolt of Guru-kripa and Gauda-desh kripa, and I guess my Gurudeva did not abandon me after all, but grabbed me by the hair and engaged me in this service to my Guru Dham.   

Having spent time in Ula-Birnagar, both in its 1970's incarnation as well as the present day, I feel a kind of organic connection to the Thakur’s recounting of his childhood in that village. Here, listen to how he describes the concluding portion of the first five years of his childhood:

“In those days there was no misery at all in Ula. There were fourteen hundred good brahmin families, and many kayastha and baidya families also. The Mustaufi Mahashay family was the town's principal glory. There was no shortage of food in the village. One could get on with very little in those days. Everybody was very happy; people had enough to eat and spent their time in singing, making music, and conversing with each other. [24] You could not count the number of big-bellied brahmins there were. Almost everybody loved telling jokes, could speak sweetly and was skilled in discrimination. Nearly everyone was expert in the fine arts of song and playing the tampura. Groups of people would gather in one place to make music and sing together, elsewhere they would be playing dice or chess. 
That village was a very happy place. If anybody was in need they could go to the home of Mustaufi Mahashay and get whatever they required without any difficulty. Medicine, oil and ghee were aplenty. The village was so large that it took 56 constables to watch over it. The good people of Ulagram did not know the need of finding work in order to eat. What a happy time it was!
Things start going bad soon thereafter, though. Without understanding Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s very interesting life, would we really be able to appreciate his bhakti? This is a good question.


The current English translation has apparently undergone a couple of incarnations. The original is from Shukavak’s very important book, A Hindu and Modernity, which everyone interested in Vaishnava history really should read. Best, of course, to read it with a wider insight into the times and mores of 19th century Bengal, but even for that, this book represents a nice introduction to that world from the non-Bengali Western devotee/researcher perspective.

The second editor, KDA, whose identity I do not know, makes a number of critiques of Shukavak’s edition, even while admitting that he does not know Bengali. The basis of his criticism is that Shukavak has taken a too objective, too clinical a look at Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s life, without giving it the theological slant to the work that would be appropriate from the devotional perspective. His judgment is that Shukavak’s translation is “potentially calamitous.”

KDA inquires into the kinds of questions that I had been trying to deal with in my response to Rocana’s doubts about the Sva-likhita-jivani. In this connection, KDA quotes Srila Prabhupada, who had given the appropriate explanation in response to one of his curious devotee’s queries:

"Regarding your questions, 'I read in a book sent from India that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was sent directly by Lord Chaitanya from the spiritual sky. I am not sure if that book was bona fide. Is the above true? Someone, a Godbrother, brought up that he had heard that Srila Bhaktivinoda was at one time an impersonalist. Was he ever?' 
“Yes, what you have heard is alright. Just like Arjuna is constant companion of Krishna, as it is confirmed in the 4th chapter, Krishna says that both Arjuna and He appeared many times on this world, but he had forgotten his past appearances and Krishna did not. Krishna is like the sun, and maya is just like darkness. Where Krishna is present there cannot be any darkness of maya. So as Arjuna although always in the presence of Krishna as eternal companion in friendship, still he had some illusion in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, and Krishna had to dissipate that darkness by the teachings of Bhagavad-gita. 
 “The purport is, sometimes even a liberated person like Arjuna plays the part of a conditioned soul in order to play some important part. Similarly, Bhaktivinoda Thakura for sometimes was associating with the impersonalists. And then he exhibited himself in his true colour as pure devotee, exactly in the same way as Arjuna exhibited in the beginning as a conditioned soul, and then as a liberated soul. So there is nothing to be misunderstood in this connection. Krishna and his devotees sometimes play like that, as much as Lord Buddha, although an incarnation of Krishna, preached the philosophy of voidism. These things are conducted in terms of place, audience, time etc. 
“In the Chaitanya Charitamrita it is said that the activities of a Vaishnava cannot be understood by the greatest scholar... So there is no doubt about it that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is eternal energy of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And whatever he did was just to suit the time, place, circumstances, and etc. There is no contradiction in his activities."
I like this answer myself, though my perspective on it is quite likely to differ from KDA's. If we understand the whole thing from a rasika perspective, from the perspective of narrative, history and myth, then the human aspect takes precedence over the divine aspect, and indeed, the divine aspect really only manifests through the drama of the human.

Think of the automythology concept of which I have also written on my blog. What is the story of your life that you were writing, and what is the story that God wrote, and what is the final edit? The final edit comes when you think you have gotten a little ray of the sun of the mercy that God intended for you and thus for everyone. The final edit is the best rasa edit.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s writing is quick. He is someone who writes a lot and he writes quickly. Nowadays we can type and record our thoughts rapidly, even still finding it difficult to keep up with the speed of the mind, but think of a man whose thoughts are rapid but can only write by hand.

He himself writes clinically, not literarily, primarily sticking to unadorned listing of events, with only the occasional foray into any rhetorical attempts at producing emotion. Mostly it is just the bare facts. His brothers’ deaths are passed over in one sentence. All his four brothers died from one cause or another. The family riches were squandered, the town decimated by the plague with nearly all his close relatives dying, the village turned into a crematorium of sorts. That is the beginning of your story.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Niti-satakam 2: In praise of learning and the learned


hartur yāti na gocaraṁ kim api śaṁ puṣṇāti yat sarvadā’py
arthibhyaḥ pratipādyamānam aniśaṁ prāpnoti vṛddhiṁ parām |
kalpānteṣv api na prayāti nidhanaṁ vidyākhyam antar-dhanaṁ
yeṣāṁ tān prati mānam ujjhata nṛpāḥ kas taiḥ saha spardhate || 16 ||

Knowledge is an internal wealth:
it is imperceptible to the thief;
it always brings real calm to the spirit;
when given away to those who ask for it,
it increases rather than dwindling,
and even after ages, it does not come to destruction.
O kings, give up your pride with those who possess such wealth,
for it is not possible to compete with them.

adhigata-paramārthān paṇḍitān māvamaṁsthās
tṛṇam iva laghu lakṣmīr naiva tān saṁruṇaddhi |
abhinava-mada-lekhā-śyāma-gaṇḍa-sthalānāṁ
na bhavati bisa-tantur vāraṇaṁ vāraṇānām || 17 ||

Never disrespect the scholars who have understood the highest goals of life.
Fortune is like grass to them; it cannot bind them any more
than the threads found in the stem of lotus can bind
a mad elephant with cheeks blackened by streams of ichor.

ambhojinī-vana-vihāra-vilāsam eva
haṁsasya hanti nitarāṁ kupito vidhātā |
na tv asya dugdha-jala-bheda-vidhau prasiddhāṁ
vaidagdhī-kīrtim apahartum asau samarthaḥ || 18 ||

The creator may become angry with a swan
and deprive it of its pleasurable place of residence
in the lotus garden.
He will never be able to deprive it of its glory
of knowing how to separate milk from water.

keyūrāṇi na bhūṣayanti puruṣaṁ hārā na candrojjvalā
na snānaṁ na vilepanaṁ na kusumaṁ nālaṅkṛtā mūrdhajāḥ |
vāṇy ekā samalaṅkaroti puruṣaṁ yā saṁskṛtā dhāryate
kṣīyante khalu bhūṣaṇāni satataṁ vāg-bhūṣaṇaṁ bhūṣaṇam || 19 ||

What are the adornments of a man?
Are they the bracelets on his arm,
or necklaces, luminous as the moon?
Or cleanliness, or perfumes of saffron and camphor,
flowers or well-coiffed hair?
Only speech perfectly graces a man;
well-turned speech the true ornament
that puts all physical accoutrements to shame.

vidyā nāma narasya rūpam adhikaṁ pracchanna-guptaṁ dhanaṁ
vidyā bhogakarī yaśaḥ-sukhakarī vidyā gurūṇāṁ guruḥ |
vidyā bandhujano videśa-gamane vidyā parā devatā
vidyā rājasu pūjyate na tu dhanaṁ vidyā-vihīnaḥ paśuḥ ||20||

Learning and knowledge are the true beauty of a man;
it is one's hidden wealth;
learning is the real source of pleasure,
it brings fame and joy.
Learning is the teacher of teachers.
It is a companion when one travels abroad,
it is the supreme object of worship.
Learning is more honored amongst kings than wealth
One without learning is a beast.

kṣāntiś cet kavacena kiṁ kim aribhiḥ krodho'sti ced dehināṁ
jñātiś ced analena kiṁ yadi suhṛd divyauṣadhaṁ kiṁ phalam |
kiṁ sarpair yadi durjanāḥ kim u dhanair vidyānavadyā yadi
vrīḍā cet kim u bhūṣaṇaiḥ sukavitā yady asti rājyena kim || 21 ||

If one is kind to all beings, then what is the need of shields?
And if one is angry towards all beings, then what is the need of enemies?
If one has family, then what is the need of fire?
And if one has a friend, then what is gained from divine herbs?
If there are evil people around, then what need has one of snakes?
And if one has boundless knowledge, then what need has he of wealth?
If one has modesty, then what need has he of ornaments,
and if one has real wisdom, then what need has he of worldly kingdoms?

dākṣiṇyaṁ svajane dayā parijane śāṭhyaṁ sadā durjane
prītiḥ sādhujane nayo nṛpa-jane vidvaj-jane cārjavam |
śauryaṁ śatru-jane kṣamā guru-jane kāntā-jane dhṛṣṭatā
ye caivaṁ puruṣāḥ kalāsu kuśalās teṣv eva loka-sthitiḥ ||22||

Consideration with one's own relatives,
Kindness to friends, guile with those who are evil,
friendliness to the pious, prudence with rulers,
simplicity in dealings with the wise,
heroism with one's enemies,
forgiveness with one's seniors,
and uninhibitedness with one's beloved --
those who are expert in these arts of behavior
are well-established in the world.

jāḍyaṁ dhiyo harati siñcati vāci satyaṁ
mānonnatiṁ diśati pāpam apākaroti |
cetaḥ prasādayati dikṣu tanoti kīrtiṁ
sat-saṅgatiḥ kathaya kiṁ na karoti puṁsām ||23||

What takes away the dullness of wit
and sprinkles truth into our speech?
What brings us increased respect
and removes our impious actions?
What brings satisfaction to our minds
and spreads our fame in every direction?
ṭell me: what benefits do not accrue to a man
from the association of the saintly?

jayanti te sukṛtino
rasa-siddhāḥ kavīśvarāḥ |
nāsti yeṣāṁ yaśaḥkāye
jarā-maraṇa-jaṁ bhayam || 24 ||

May those pious poets
who have mastered the aesthetic arts
be ever victorious.
For their body of fame
will never know the fear of old age or death.

sūnuḥ sac-caritaḥ satī priyatamā svāmī prasādonmukhaḥ
snigdhaṁ mitram avañcakaḥ parijano niḥkleśa-leśaṁ manaḥ |
ākāro ruciraḥ sthiraś ca vibhavo vidyāvadātaṁ mukhaṁ
tuṣṭe viṣṭapa-kaṣṭa-hāriṇi harau samprāpyate dehinā || 25 ||

When Hari, who destroys the suffering of the world,
is pleased with someone, he gives
a virtuous son, a chaste and devoted wife,
a kind and satisfied employer, affectionate friends,
servants who don't steal and a mind that is free of any worries,
a pleasing appearance, a stable source of income,
and speech that is purified by learning.

prāṇāghātān nivṛttiḥ para-dhana-haraṇe saṁyamaḥ satya-vākyaṁ
kāle śaktyā pradānaṁ yuvati-jana-kathā-mūka-bhāvaḥ pareṣām |
tṛṣṇā-sroto vibhaṅgo guruṣu ca vinayaḥ sarva-bhūtānukampā
sāmānyaḥ sarva-śāstreṣv anupahata-vidhiḥ śreyasām eṣa panthāḥ || 26 ||

Abstention from doing harm to any creature
and from stealing others' possessions;
truth in speech,
giving in charity when able,

silence in the company of women,
equanimity to one's own desires,
respectful humility before one’s teachers
and compassion to all creatures:
these are the indisputable rules found in all scriptures
which are the path to all auspiciousness.

prārabhyate na khalu vighna-bhayena nīcaiḥ
prārabhya vighna-vihatā viramanti madhyāḥ |
vighnaiḥ punaḥ punar api pratihanyamānāḥ
prārabdham uttama-janā na parityajanti || 27 ||

An inferior man will not take up a task
because he forebodes the obstacles;
a better class of man takes up endeavors,
but obstacles make him abandon them;
the superior person does not give up what he has begun
even when repeatedly harassed by many obstacles.

asanto nābhyarthyāḥ suhṛd api na yācyaḥ kṛśa-dhanaḥ
priyā nyāyyā vṛttir malinam asu-bhaṅge’py asukaram |
vipady uccaiḥ stheyaṁ padam anuvidheyaṁ ca mahatāṁ
satāṁ kenoddiṣṭaṁ viṣamam asi-dhārā-vratam idam || 28 ||

The impious are not to be invited into one’s house;
one should not ask money from a friend who is impoverished;
one should engage in honest work that is dear to his nature,
and not do reprehensible actions, even when faced with death,
remaining fixed in higher principles even in calamity:
Who has ordained this painful, razor-sharp rule of life
that is followed by the great and the saintly?

kṣut-kṣāmo’pi jarā-kṛśo’pi śithila-prāṇo’pi kaṣṭāṁ daśām
āpanno’pi vipanna-dīdhitir iti prāṇeṣu naśyatsv api |
mattebhendra-vibhinna-kumbha-piśita-grāsaika-baddha-spṛhaḥ
kiṁ jīrṇaṁ tṛṇam atti māna-mahatām agresaraḥ kesarī || 29 ||

Even though emaciated from hunger and old age,
and though he may have lost his strength,
his condition be a torment, and his life in danger,
will the yellow-maned lion, the proudest of creatures,
dine on dried grass, when he pines exclusively
for even a single morcel
of an intoxicated elephant's humped skull
that he has himself split asunder?

svalpa-snāyu-vasāvaśeṣa-malinaṁ nirmāṁsam apy asthi goḥ
śvā labdhvā paritoṣam eti na tu tat tasya kṣudhā-śāntaye |
siṁho jambukam aṅkam āgatam api tyaktvā nihanti dvipaṁ
sarvaḥ kṛcchra-gato’pi vāñchati janaḥ sattvānurūpaṁ phalam || 30 ||

A dog finds happiness in eating a small dirty cow bone
with little or no meat, fat or marrow,
even though it does not relieve his hunger.
On the other hand, a lion ignores the jackal
that throws itself into his lap
to hunt for an elephant.
Every creature, even when in difficulty.
seeks that which is appropriate to his nature,

lāṅgūla-cālanam adhaś-caraṇāvapātaṁ
bhūmau nipatya vadanodara-darśanaṁ ca |
śvā piṇḍadasya kurute gaja-puṅgavas tu
dhīraṁ vilokayati cāṭu-śataiś ca bhuṅkte || 31 ||

The dog wags his tail, falls down at his master's feet,
rolls on the ground and gives his belly and muzzle to be scratched;
that is how he shows his pleasure and flatters his master to get a bite to eat,
but a stately elephant looks down with haughty tranquility
and eats only after being entreated to do so.

parivartini saṁsāre
mṛtaḥ ko vā na jāyate |
sa jāto yena jātena
yāti vaṁśaḥ samunnatim || 32 ||

In this ever changing world
every creature is born and dies,
but which one, after being born,
brings honor to his family?

kusuma-stavakasyeva
dvayī vṛttir manasvinaḥ |
mūrdhni vā sarva-lokasya
śīryate vana eva vā || 33 ||

Like a flower, a learned person
has two alternative situations:
either placed on everyone's head
or withering alone in the forest.

A learned person has pride and self-sufficiency. If he is not honored for his learning, the beauty of his learning continues to be displayed in solitude, but not being appreciated, it goes to waste.


Niti-sataka of Bhartri Hari: Part I "The Fool"


This is the first of three centuries, or works of a hundred verses each, written by the very influential Sanskrit poet Bhartrihari. Many legends are told of this Bhartrihari and perhaps I will later recount some of them. His style of writing subhāṣitas, or "well-turned verses," have affected many poets throughout the history of Sanskrit literature, including most notably for Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Prabodhananda Saraswati. Bhartihari’s three śatakas have the themes of nīti (moral philosophy), śṛṅgāra (love) and vairāgya (renunciation).

I translated these many years ago, but I never posted them on this blog, though I did post them on-line a few years ago and reposted on Speaking Tree in 2012). I have made a few changes.




The first theme of the Nīti-satakam is “the fool.”

dik-kālādy-anavacchinnānanta-cin-mātra-mūrtaye |
svānubhūty-eka-mānāya namaḥ śāntāya tejase || 1 ||

I bow down to the Supreme Lord
whose form is infinite and spiritual,
unrestricted by time and space,
who can only be measured by subjective perception,
who is peaceful, who is all-powerful.

boddhāro matsara-grastāḥ
prabhavaḥ smaya-dūṣitāḥ |
abodhopahatāś cānye
jīrṇam aṅge subhāṣitam || 2 ||

The learned are envious,
the powerful are contaminated by pride,
and others are afflicted by ignorance—
so my wise sayings have grown old in my mouth.

ajñaḥ sukham ārādhyaḥ
sukhataram ārādhyate viśeṣajñaḥ |
jñāna-lava-durvidagdhaṁ
brahmāpi taṁ naraṁ na rañjayati || 3 ||

The ignorant are easy to please,
it is even easier to please the cultured;
but even Brahma himself could not satisfy
someone who is puffed up with a little knowledge.

Jñāna-lava-durvidagdha has entered the Sanskrit language as an epithet of the fool.

prasahya maṇim uddharen makara-vaktra-daṁṣṭrāntarāt
samudram api santaret pracalad-ūrmi-mālākulam |
bhujaṅgam api kopitaṁ śirasi puṣpavad dhārayet
na tu pratiniviṣṭa-mūṛkha-jana-cittam ārādhayet || 4 ||

You may be able to forcibly pluck a jewel
from the tooth-filled mouth of a crocodile;
you may swim across the stormy ocean
or you may be able to carry a cobra
like a flower garland on your head--
but never, ever, will you be able to satisfy
the mind of the obstinate fool.

labheta sikatāsu tailam api yatnataḥ pīḍayan
pibec ca mṛga-tṛṣṇikāsu salilaṁ pipāsārditaḥ |
kvacid api paryaṭan śaśa-viṣāṇam āsādayet
na tu pratiniviṣṭa-mūrkha-cittam ārādhayet || 5 ||

You may be able to extract oil
by carefully pressing the sand;
in your thirst, you may be able to drink
water from a mirage;
you may even be able to wander through the world
until you find a horned rabbit,
but never, ever, will you be able to satisfy
the mind of the obstinate fool.

vyālaṁ bāla-mṛṇāla-tantubhir asau roddhuṁ samujjṛmbhate
chettuṁ vajra-maṇiṁ śirīṣa-kusuma-prāntena sannahyati |
mādhuryaṁ madhu-bindunā racayituṁ kṣārāmudher īhate
netuṁ vāñchanti yaḥ khalān pathi satāṁ sūktaiḥ sudhā-syandibhiḥ || 6 ||

You may try to secure an intoxicated elephant
with ropes made from the stems of young lotus;
or you may try to cut a diamond
with the petals of a sirisha flower;
you may even hope to sweeten the salty ocean
with a mere drop of honey;
but do you think you can bring a scoundrel
to the path of righteousness with a few wise sayings, 
even if they should ooze ambrosia?

svāyattam ekānta-guṇaṁ vidhātrā
vinirmitaṁ chādanam ajñatāyāḥ |
viśeṣāataḥ sarva-vidāṁ samāje
vibhūṣaṇaṁ maunam apaṇḍitānām || 7 ||

The creator has given a unique quality
by which one can hide his ignorance,
especially when in the company of the learned:
silence is the ornament of the uneducated.

The last line of this verse vibhūṣaṇaṁ maunam apaṇḍitānām is also well known as a popular maxim.

yadā kiñcij-jño'haṁ dvipa iva madāndhaḥ samabhavaṁ
tadā sarvajño'smīty abhavad avaliptaṁ mama manaḥ
yadā kiñcit kiñcid budhajana-sakāśād avagataṁ
tadā mūrkho'smīti jvara iva mado me vyapagataḥ ||8||

When I had just a little knowledge,
I became intoxicated like an elephant;
my mind became quite contaminated
thinking I knew everything.
But when I had the fortune
to associate with learned people,
I found out that I was a fool.
From that moment, my intoxication
disappeared like a bad fever.

kṛmi-kula-cittaṁ lālā-klinnaṁ vigandhi-jugupsitaṁ
nirupama-rasaṁ prītyā khādan narāsthi nirāmiṣam |
surapatim api śvā pārśvasthaṁ vilokya na śaṅkate
na hi gaṇayati kṣudro jantuḥ parigraha-phalgutām || 9 ||

A dog gnaws with relish at a human bone
that is infested with worms,
is soaked in his saliva,
emits a disgusting smell,
has an incomparably evil flavor,
and does not even have any meat on it.
And he has no doubts about his pleasure,
even should he see the god of heaven beside him.
This is how an insignificant creature
ignores the pettiness of his obsessions.

śiraḥ śārvaṁ svargāt paśupati-śirastaḥ kṣitidharaṁ
mihīdhrād uttuṅgād avanim avaneś cāpi jaladhim |
adho’dho gaṅgeyaṁ padam upagatā stokam athavā
viveka-bhraṣṭānāṁ bhavati vinipātaḥ śatamukhaḥ || 10 ||

The Ganges falls from heaven onto Shiva’s head,
from Shiva’s head it falls onto the Himalayas;
from the mountains it descends to the plains,
and from there it flows to the ocean.
As it descends to ever more trivial destination,
so it is, in a hundred different ways,
do those who have lost their discrimination
fall ever further to their ruin.

In the first stage of one's ruin one thinks oneself a god.

śakyo vārayituṁ jalena hutabhuk cchatreṇa sūryātapo
nāgendro niśitāṅkuśena samado daṇḍena go-gardabhau |
vyādhir bheṣaja-saṅgrahaiś ca vividhair mantra-prayogair viṣaṁ
sarvasyauṣadham asti śāstra-vihitaṁ mūrkhasya nasty auṣadhim || 11 ||

You can extinguish a fire with water,
you can avoid the scorching sun with a parasol;
you can overcome a cobra with a sharp stick
and cows or donkeys with a staff;
you can cure a disease with the appropriate herbs and medicines,
and snakebite with spells and mantras;
indeed the scriptures provide a way of counteracting every problem,
but there is no cure for stupidity.

The last line, mūrkhasya nasty auṣadhim, is another popular maxim. In English also. Now you can say it in Sanskrit.

sāhitya-saṅgīta-kalā-vihīnaḥ
sākṣāt paśuḥ puccha-viṣāṇa-hīnaḥ |
tṛṇaṁ na khādann api jīvamānas
tad bhāga-dheyaṁ paramaṁ paśūnām || 12 ||

A human being with no culture,
without learning in literature, music or the arts,
is nothing more than an animal without a tail or horns.
Though he may live by eating other things than grass,
his destiny is exactly that of the beasts.

yeṣāṁ na vidyā na tapo na dānaṁ
jñānaṁ na śīlaṁ na guṇo na dharmaḥ |
te martya-loke bhuvi bhāra-bhūtā
manuṣya-rūpeṇa mṛgāś caranti || 13 ||

Those who have no learning,
no self-control, no sense of charity,
no wisdom, no character, no virtue and no sense of duty,
are the burden of the world.
Though they have human form, they are animals.

varaṁ parvata-durgeṣu
bhrāntaṁ vanacaraiḥ saha
na mūrkha-jana-samparkaḥ
surendra-bhavaneṣv api || 14 ||

I would rather wander, lost in the mountains
and surrounded by wild animals
than have the association of fools
in the mansions of heaven.

śāstropaskṛta-śabda-sundara-giraḥ śiṣya-pradeyāgamā
vikhyātāḥ kavayo vasanti viṣaye yasya prabhor nirdhanāḥ |
taj-jāḍyaṁ vasudhādipasya kavayas tv arthaṁ vināpīśvarāḥ
kutsyāḥ syuḥ kuparīkṣakā hi maṇayo yair arghataḥ pātitāḥ || 15 ||

If the learned people have earned a reputation
because their language has been transformed
and made beautiful by the study of scripture
and in turn 
teach to their own students,
are poor in a certain kingdom,

then the ruler of that land is a fool,
like a dealer in jewels who fails to recognize their value
and sells them for less than they are worth.


Monday, June 18, 2018

10. Confessions: An abrupt end

Last night a couple of friends advised me to pull back. The trolls have been fed and is getting fatter and stronger. I let them get to me.

I went to see Banke Bihari Maharaj this morning. When I sat down for meditation, I heard Bihariji tell me to come to the temple. It was early and the streets were empty except for piles of detritus and troops of monkeys. The new crop of monkeys is just in. There is not a female that does not have a baby clutching to her belly.

The Bihariji temple was empty. I didn't realize that the first darshan only comes at 7.30, so I just sat and chanted and prayed for my mind to be free of these distractions and fixed on Bihariji's lotus feet.

I am not going to continue with this nonsense. Demian is an unfortunate soul. He has everything and yet he has nothing. The first time I ever met him, my first question was, how are you doing in relation to the goal of prema-bhakti. He had no good answer.

Over the years I have watched him. I stopped associating with him a long time ago. I found his presence unconducive to my search for prema. Others told me the same thing: he was always looking for the dirt on people. Like Alex, he fancies himself a truth teller.

But the truth in Vrindavan is the vision of Prabodhananda Saraswati. The faultfinder, the chidrānveṣī, the pṛṣṭhāda, thinks the faults are the truth. Wrong. It is the virtues, especially the devotional virtues that are true. Indeed, nothing else has any truth whatsoever. The world and its piety and sin will vanish into the black hole at the end of time; only bhakti is eternal.

I have tried to see only the virtues in Demian and I failed. I admit defeat. He has defeated me. He made me angry at him. He made me want to fight him, when the example of Rupa Goswami was to let him win. Victory is not in the fighting, but in the tight grasping of Bihariji's lotus feet.

Demian can remain mired in whatever cesspool of anti-prema he wishes to wallow in. We will not follow him there.

I have plenty more to say, but I have decided not to say it. I prayed to Bihariji to banish Demian from my consciousness and let me do what I am supposed to be doing here at the end of my life in Vrindavan, and hat is bhajan.

If Bihariji and his beloved consort, the Queen of this Dham, want Vrindavan Today to be sullied by the attentions of the so-called truth tellers, so be it. I can abandon Vrindavan Today. It was never intended to be my primary service. It was meant to be a way of getting the mercy of the Dham and the Dham Vasis. This too is their mercy.

Reading Vrindavan-mahimamrita yesterday is what made me change my mind about what I was doing.

It takes all kinds to made a Dham, and Prabodhananda makes it clear that it is better to suffer the attentions of people like Demian and to remain in the Dham than to be anywhere else in the world.

Our determination is to follow the Vrindavana=mahimamrita. We follow Raghunath Das Goswami, and we will not change.

I wish the truth-tellers luck. Indeed, I wish them all a change of heart. If I have one prayer to Bihariji today, it is that these people's hearts undergo a transformation by the grace of the Dham and they get a grasp of what is meant by prema-bhakti.

They are not on the right path. They are not on the right path. Bihariji please be merciful to them.

Jai Radhe.

The End.

para-dhana-para-dāra-dveṣa-mātsarya-lobhā-
nṛta-paruṣa-parābhidroha-mithyābhilāpān |
tyajati ya iha bhakto rādhikā-prāṇa-nāthe
na khalu bhavati bandhyā tasya vṛndāvanāśā ||

The hope for attaining Vrindavan will never be fruitless for the devotee who gives up the desire for others' wealth, others' wives, enmity, envy, greed, untruth, cruelty, vengefulness, lying words for the sake of the beloved of Radhika. (VMA 17.48)


9. Confessions: The Mayapur Gurukul revisited

Jai Sri Radhe!

Well, I have to confess (ha ha) that I have been having misgivings about embarking on this adventure. But I made a decision and I will carry on with it, the consequences are in Radharani's hands.

Let's go through Demian's diatribe. I am not going to spend too much time on accusations 1-4, which contain the faintest seeds of truth that have metastasized in the manure of his malice.

Let me say first that as soon as Demian's letter was posted on the Paundraka Vrindavan Today, I immediately wrote to Babaji and told him that I would resign from Jiva Institute on the spot if he felt that the accusations made in this letter were going to diminish the Institute's reputation. So far, Babaji has not asked me for a resignation. Indeed, he has expressed to me that Demian's posting on that website was a de facto admission that he was siding with individuals who had made enmity to him their purpose in life. This obviously is not a situation that can endure.

As for me personally, I have accepted the teachings of the ādi-ācārya of Braja-vāsa sādhanā, Prabodhananda Saraswati, who tells us to accept praise as a most horrible poisonous cup, and lowly condemnation to be nectar (saṁmānaṁ kalayātighora-garalaṁ nīcāpamānaṁ sudhāṁ, VMA 1.48).

In fact, it is from looking through the Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta, that I conclude that the time I am spending on answering Demian is wasted. And it irritates me that he has distracted me from more fruitful service.

At the same time, I feel that I must remind him that he is wasting the glorious opportunity to enjoy the full benefit of residence in the Holy Dham by joining the crows' club over at the Paundraka Vrindavan Today.

Anyway, I feel as though I have been taken away from my service to the Dham and from my bhajan of remembering the Holy Names and the Divine Couple to dwell on these stupid and malicious slurs. May Demian, an intelligent man and a scholar, wake up and see what he is doing to his spiritual life.

That you are the major responsible for ALL the abuses suffered by the children in the Mayapur Gurukula while you were the principal from 1975 to 1979. Do you really think that you can get away with it just by claiming that you “didn’t know anything?” Can anyone possibly believe that although every single child there was continuously abused in multiple ways for months and years, the principal didn’t know anything? That he never noticed the bruises all over their bodies? That he didn’t know that some of the children were even sent to the hospital after being spanked or raped?

That you were Bhavananda’s avowed sidekick, to the extent that you even engaged in composing poetry in his praise and was proud to receive ‘sannyasa’ from him. Is it mere coincidence that he and his ‘associates’ were indicted as child molesters? What were you doing while the children under your ‘care’ were being sexually abused one after the other?

That you replied, “Who cares?” when I asked why don’t you take any steps against the perpetrators “now that you came to know the facts.”

That you told at my face, “I don’t give a shit if people call me a pedophile.”

Most of this is nonsense. Everything I said in my original letter was true, so I don't know what I can add. I am making no excuses. I have already accepted that I was responsible for the abuses, whether I knew of them or not. I was in the position of responsibility, so I am totally responsible for all the suffering undergone by the children under my supposed protection.

You could even make an argument that I am responsible for ALL the abuses that took place in Iskcon Gurukulas throughout history. After all, I was there in the very beginning in Dallas and I participated in the very first paddlings and punishments. Had I been half as wise as I no doubt thought I was, I would have rebelled against it then and perhaps it could have been nipped in the bud.

Some of the very worst and most horrific abusers in the Gurukulas were my proteges at one time or another. I never had an inkling of what they were to become. Fortunately I was not there when they became what they became. But if I had been possessed of insight and wisdom, I would have been able to stop them before that destiny unfolded.

When I started to see what had been going on under my very nose, I said, "Mahaprabhu, let me out of this den of vipers!" And Mahaprabhu granted my request.

My dear children, wherever you are, please accept my prayer for forgiveness and may you be blessed with the highest knowledge of prema or whatever else brings you fulfilment. May your birth in a human form of life be successful.

I have no recollection of any child being taken to the hospital after being abused through corporal punishment or sexual abuse during the time I was at Mayapur. Perhaps you have some evidence or eye-witnesses or hospital records. Perhaps such a thing happened. It seems I would have remembered it.

It is however clear that there is no act of contrition that could satisfy my dear guru Demian. Perhaps I can offer him a polished bamboo staff and allow him to beat me... but then why should he beat me. What pain did I inflict on him? Perhaps the pain that is inside his heart comes from somewhere else and I am merely a trigger that awakens this inchoate rage that possesses him.

As for being the sidekick of Bhavananda Maharaj, perhaps you should ask him how close we were. My nature and Bhavananda's nature are so different that I can barely contain my laughter when you say I was his sidekick. Actually, Demian, you and I are perhaps more alike than you would ever care to admit.

Bhavananda was always a vilasi. He liked silk clothes and gold watches and gold chains. He liked power and had a cruel streak that he indulged when it so took him. I stayed as far away from him as possible, and the more he increased in his power after becoming guru, the more distant I stayed.

As to writing poetry in his praise. Well I wonder who is taking hallucinogens!!! Can you produce one such poem. I am sure Bhavananda would have saved any personal glorification that came from my pen!

I did write one poem, though, it must be available somewhere and I would be interested to see it again. It was written just before the first Mayapur festival after Prabhupada's departure and rank-and-file devotees like myself at the time were accepting of the official position that Prabhupada had named eleven successors to act as Guru after his departure. Indeed, in my view at the time, in order to push Prabhupada's movement forward, it was necessary for us to give the new leaders our support.

It's funny how much of an innocent I was and I suppose that my claims of innocence -- kind of like Iskcon's Forest Gump -- and it does not play into my favor to admit how much of a fool I was. But I am telling you what I was thinking. I was a totally committed to Iskcon devotee. I participated in the system and up to that point had not been awakened from my innocent slumber.

I had the brilliant idea of writing a song that named all the eleven new "acharyas" which was meant to be sung when the first guru puja that was to take place in a kind of special epiphany at the Mayapur festival, when the eleven claimed their vyasasanas as a group and staked their collective claim over Prabhupada's movment.

The song was sung only once, I believe, before being thankfully consigned to the scrap heap. The singer was Sattvic Das, and I am sure he will be able to confirm it. So I confess to that, no problem. It was my idea, as I thought it would help create cohesion in the Society at a difficult time of transition.

I took sannyas from Bhavananda in 1979. What of it? Bhavananda Maharaj wanted to coopt me by placing me further under his control. I also think he wanted me to be out of Mayapur, so that he could keep me at arm's length. The abuse issue was starting to come into view and I expect he thought I would not be an ally when it touched him. It was also a feather in his cap to be able to make a sannyasi at the first such initiation ceremony after Prabhupada's departure. Indradyumna, Prabhavishnu and Kavichandra were the others at the ceremony. Is there something I should be ashamed of here?

Just like Good Egg said about Babaji that he showed bad judgment in taking initiation from Jayatirtha! Sure, you make bad decisions in life, and when you figure it out, you make the necessary adjustments. At least I hope you do. That is life. It is not so much the original mistake that is culpable, it is the willful perpetuation of the mistake.

I trusted the authorities. Even Bhavananda. I respected him as an authority figure until quite late. After Pradyumna came to Mayapur with his famous letter and I had a long talk with him personally, I became a little less pliable. But quite honestly, I was able to maintain a degree of independence throughout. At any rate, I don't think that any of these imaginings of yours can induce me to change a word of what I wrote or to crumble under the weight of guilt.

I do not use my ignorance as an excuse, merely as an objective statement of fact. I was in charge. I was incompetent and things happened that I should have known about.

I don't know why I said, "Who cares?" I cannot recall the context or tone, but I would suspect that it was done in the same spirit that I said “I don’t give a shit if people call me a pedophile.” I said that to you several years ago, and now the time has come when I have indeed been called a "predator" which I guess means the same thing. I did not bother to answer that accusation. Why should I let untruths affect me? People will think what they will of me, just as they will of you. And presumably, you don't give a shit what people say about you, because they are not saying nice things, true things.

To be indifferent to the calumny of others is a sign of knowledge:

jitātmanaḥ praśāntasya paramātmā samāhitaḥ |
śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkheṣu tathā mānāpamānayoḥ ||
jñāna-vijñāna-tṛptātmā kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ |
yukta ity ucyate yogī sama-loṣṭāśma-kāñcanaḥ ||
suhṛn-mitrāry-udāsīna-madhyastha-dveṣya-bandhuṣu |
sādhuṣv api ca pāpeṣu sama-buddhir viśiṣyate ||


Samādhi on the Superself is attained by one who has conquered the mind and is completely peaceful. One who is self-satisfied by knowledge and realization, is immovable in heat, cold, happiness, distress, as well as in honor and criticism, who sees a clod of earth, iron or gold as having the same value, is called a yogi who has achieved full connection in yoga. [Of such yogis] one who is equal to friends, companions, enemies, the neutral, the impartial, the hateful, to relations, to both saints and sinners, is the most excellent. (6.7-9) (VMA 1.56)

lokāḥ svacchanda-nindāṁ vidadhati yadi me kiṁ tataḥ (VMA 1.63)

If the people freely criticize me, what difference is that to me?

śrī-vastrābharaṇādibhiḥ kara-padādy-utkarta-dāhādibhir
nindā-saṁstava-koṭibhir bahu-vibhūty-atyanta-dainyādibhiḥ |
jīvann eva mṛto yathā na vikṛtiṁ prāptaḥ kathaṁcit kvacit
śrī-vṛndāvanam āśraye priya-mahā-nandaika-kandaṁ param ||

Whether I should be covered in beautiful clothing and ornaments,
or my hands and feet be cut off or burned;
whether I should be cursed and mocked or be praised;
whether I should have great riches or be in complete poverty;
whether I live or die, the only thing I ask is
that one single thing remain ever unchanged:
that I should remain in the shelter of Vrindavan, the supreme,
the single root of all the great joys
of my beloved Lord and Lady. (1.29)

duḥkhāny eva sukhāni viddhy apayaśo jānīhi kīrtiṁ parāṁ
manyethā adhamaiś ca duṣparibhavān saṁmānavat sattamaiḥ |
dainyāny eva mahā-vibhūtim ati-sal-lābhān alabhān sadā
pāpāny eva ca puṇyamanti yadi te vṛndāvanaṁ jīvanam ||

Know suffering here to be joy.
Know ill-repute here to be the greatest glory.
Accept that being defeated here at the hands of the lowliest people
is equal to being honored by the saints.

Know that poverty here is the greatest wealth
and the greatest pious gains here are
as nothing of any value at all.
Know too that sins here also contain piety within them.
If you can know all this, then alone will Vrindavan become your life. (1.30)

To hear my own faults is as much of a burden to me as to hear the faults of another. It is faultfinding in either case, and to the extent that it is devoid of any connection to the truth is the extent to which it is the product of a heart that is devoid of prema bhakti.

kanthā-kaupīna-vāsās taru-tala-patitaiḥ kḷpta-vṛttiḥ phalādyaiḥ
kurvann avyartha-vārtāṁ katham api na vṛthā-ceṣṭayā kāla-yāpī |
tyaktvā sarvābhimānaṁ pratigṛham aṭanaṁ tuccha-bhaikṣāya kurvan
vṛndāraṇye nivatsyāmy aniśam anusaran rādhikaikātma-lokān ||
I will wear only a torn piece of cloth as a loincloth and tattered shawl, living on the fruits that fall from the trees, never wasting my time in futile endeavors or in wasted conversation, giving up all arrogance, I will go from door to door, begging for my meals, and in this way I will dwell in Vrindavan, constantly following those who have made Radharani their life and soul. (VMA 1.64)

I am not dependent on my reputation, but on my bhakti and on the mercy of Yugal Sorkar. I prefer my innocence.

And with regard to your enmity of me, here is what Prabodhananda tells this innocent I should think:

mitra-buddhiḥ sva-śatruṣu (VMA 1.65)

This is the same as the Christian doctrine of loving one’s enemy. In the most basic way, the devotee considers the person who creates obstacles, who tests his determination, who brings out hidden resentments and anger, to be rendering a service to him by so doing. In another respect, it is a reminder that a devotee is friendly and merciful to all creatures, maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca. Those who are inimical by nature are difficult to deal with, and best avoided. But one should nevertheless cultivate a spirit of positive emotion towards them by praying for their welfare.

So here is what I tell you in that spirit, in a spirit of concern for your welfare, so that you may perfect your Braja-vasa in the spirit of Prabodhananda Saraswati:

I may be a sinner, but please meditate on this wisdom from Bhartrihari,

piśunatā yady asti kiṁ pātakaiḥ

If one is a backbiter, what need has he for any other sins?(NS 55)

I cannot help but think of Ramachandra Puri, of whom Paramananda Puri said, "A slanderer like Ramachandra does not consider a person's virtues, even if he has them by the hundreds. Rather, he attempts to cleverly interpret these virtues as faults." (Antya 8.81). And here I refer you to this article based on Sati's speech to Daksha.

Ramachandra Puri's claim to fame was that he slandered even Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He got there out of practice. Malevolence towards God's creatures, for the devotees, for the Brajavasis, is ultimately malevolence towards the Divine Being who dwells in them, the Divine Being who has gathered them up to his bosom here in the Dham.

I am of no particular importance. I just happen to be a lightning rod for some deep-rooted misery in your heart. If I were not there, you would find someone else to afflict. Better you should find out what is the root of this misery in your heart, because clearly you are not fully aware of it, for if you were you would get rid of it instead of letting it grow and fester and possess you. In the end it will destroy you.

Jai Sri Radhe.

P.S. I am not going to give you a forum on any of my internet places to respond. Your place is with Alex and Bhrigu. You discuss with them.

P.P.S. On the advice of several friends, I have decided to stop here rather than to continue, at least for the time being. Mr. Demian, you are a very good troll, I bow down to your superior talents. You have also thrown in your lot with some very good trolls, may your trollerie lead to wherever it takes you. Jai Sri Radhe.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

"May Vrindavan protect and transform me" (VMA 1.39)

I have been intermittently posting verses from Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta and commenting on them. The following verse touches on some of the points that I am trying to make. Indeed, living in Vrindavan here at this time in my life (I am 68), I am taking the teachings of Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta as my guiding principle for Braja-vāsa-sādhanā, which I consider to be the "end-game" of all Vaishnava spiritual practice. This verse can be found here, and the rest of the Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta slokas that have been completed are there on Vrindavan Today.



vṛndāṭavī sahaja-vīta-samasta-doṣā
doṣākarān api guṇākaratāṁ nayantī |
poṣāya me sakala-dharma-bahiṣkṛtasya
śoṣāya dustara-mahāgha-cayasya bhūyāt ||

Vrindavan is naturally free of all flaws;
it transforms those who are reservoirs of faults 

into reservoirs of virtue.
May it protect me,
who have been excommunicated by every religion,
and may it dry up all my terrible sins. (1.39)



In the previous verse Prabodhananda Saraswati prayed for Vrindavan to destroy his sins, along with their seed [ignorance]. In that verse and this one, he exults in the great transformative power of the Dham, even of those who are “reservoirs of faults” (doṣākara).

Actually, one of the biggest problems people have with the bhakti dogma is centered around this belief in its transformative power, since so often it is seen that those who are nominally engaged in the devotional life, or as here, living in Vrindavan Dham, are still seen to perform sinful, or even wicked activities like sexual abuse, stealing from innocent devotees, or killing people for personal profit and so on, what to speak of promoting prostitution, animal slaughter or the consumption of intoxicants. The Vaishnava traditions repeated exhortations not to find fault with such people, to tend one’s own garden, etc., seem impractical. After all, how can a religious path or spiritual sadhana be meaningful if it ignores the moral and ethic foundations of spiritual life? And how can we tolerate it when those who present themselves as greatly advanced religious leaders are discovered to be absorbed in what can only be called demonic activities?

Krishna says,

api cet sudurācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk |
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag vyavasito hi saḥ ||
kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvac chāntiṁ nigacchati |
kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati ||

Even if a person of very bad behavior worships me with undivided devotion, he is to be thought of as saintly, for he has the proper resolution. He quickly becomes righteous and attains everlasting peace. O son of Kunti, let it be known that my devotee never perishes. (Gita 9.30-31)

In order to understand this, we must understand that there are different kinds of people: there are those who are innocent and unaware, others who are sincere practitioners, i.e., those who have the proper resolution, and still others who are asuras, or demons. The word "demon" is problematic nowadays, but if we use the word sociopath, or even “social dominator” we will get something that approximates what is meant by asura.

Those who are sincere and innocent about personal reform may make errors on the way to spiritual realization because their knowledge about their true spiritual identity is still incomplete, i.e., the seed of ignorance has not been completely eradicated. When that seed of ignorance is destroyed, then desires (kāma) themselves are not dangerous.

na mayy āveśita-dhiyāṁ kāmaḥ kāmāya kalpate |
bharjitāḥ kvathitā dhānā prāyo bījāya neśate ||

The desires of those absorbed in thought of me
are not to be considered material desire;
just as rice once fried and boiled
cannot later be used as seed. (10.22.26)


So the point is that for such persons, their sins are either temporary aberrations that will be eliminated by their persistent and determined desire to be situated in the pure state of divine love or prema. This is the lesson that comes in the Bhāgavatam, in Uddhava’s glorification of the gopis.

kvemāḥ striyo vana-carīr vyabhicāra-duṣṭāḥ
kṛṣṇe kva caiṣa paramātmani rūḍha-bhāvaḥ
nanv īśvaro'nubhajato'viduṣo'pi sākṣāc
chreyas tanoty agada-rāja ivopayuktaḥ

Just look at these lowly forest women, who have been polluted by adultery, and then look at their most elevated feeling for Krishna, the Supreme Soul. Does this not show us that the Lord, if worshiped, even by one who has no knowledge of what he is, still attains the supreme good, just like a powerful medicine has an effect even on one who does not know what it is. (10.47.59)


Those who are demoniac by nature, however, such as those described in the 16th chapter of the Gita, may take to devotional activities simply to extract the material benefits of having many disciples and gaining wealth. They are most often revealed when they are caught in some flagrant sexual scandal with underage women. And some of them are never caught out; they make thousands of disciples and build temples and hospitals and say all the right things and have knowledge of shastra and so on. As a matter of fact, their taste for grand projects can be seen as a warning sign. And if they do get caught out, their disciples generally refuse to admit or accept that their spiritual guides have in fact been demons taking advantage of their gullibility.

For others, the revelation is completely destructive to their faith. The shock and pain of seeing someone in whom one has invested so much, who has been seen as a divine being endowed with special powers and the capacity to bestow divine grace, who is often seen as equal to God, behave inappropriately can be devastating. Some never recover and completely lose their faith in spiritual life.

It is no accident that the scriptures warn against over-endeavor and making many disciples. This is why Rupa Goswami even includes such abstention as angas of bhakti.

na śiṣyān anubadhnīta granthān naivābhyased bahūn |
na vyākhyām upayuñjīta nārambhān ārabhet kvacit ||


One should not make disciples, nor study too many books. One should not make a living by discoursing on the scripture, nor get involved in big projects. (7.13.8)


Jiva Goswami’s explanation is that though these instructions were given for sannyasis, they apply to all devotees who are moving away from materialistic life. He does not condemn taking all disciples, but only those who are unqualified, and doing so simply to increase one’s own following. But this is exactly what the ambitious sociopath does. The Gita is clear that faking religious acumen is something that an asura is quite prepared to do to fulfill his ambitions. In fact, such hypocrisy is the chief characteristic of the asura. And nothing could be more attractive to the mundane ego than to be worshiped as “equal to God.” Such people are practically speaking incorrigible, despite their grand shows of good works, devotion and spiritual knowledge.

So how can Prabodhananda’s verse be true? And how is a sincere person who wants to make spiritual progress to deal with such persons? If one criticizes, one is accused of offenses by the devotees who point to the api cet verse from the Gita. On the other hand, by not condemning, one is accused by the critics of condoning hypocrisy and sin and, even worse, of insensitivity to those who have been victimized.

Saying that one hates the sin and not the sinner is not applicable, because the fact is that the asura in devotional guise is devoid of a genuine conscience or empathy, and so convinced of his own invincibility and role-playing that he cannot be truly saved.

On the one hand, the Bhāgavata teaches us through Krishna's lila of killing asuras that this is the way they attain liberation. The most applicable example is that of Putana, who came disguised as a devotee and still was liberated by Krishna’s touch. Her only qualification was her disguise and her contact with Krishna. Similarly, even the asura who engages in devotional activities or dresses as a devotee, speaks Hari katha, chants his name and so on, is in fact a replica of Putana. Not only does he get the belated benefit of liberation, but despite the negative effects that are possible when his disciples learn of how they have been deceived, some can actually be benefited by their teachings.

One needs to be careful of such contacts if one wants pure devotion and the full benefit of living in the Holy Dham. But where bhakti and Vrindavan are concerned, it should be recognized that even through engaging in bhakti or Dhama-vasa under false pretenses, these individuals are in some way serving the Lord’s purpose. And, needless to say, the devotee who sincerely prays to Vrindavan for self-purification and the attainment of devotion will never be disappointed.

Jai Radhe!

8. Confessions: An experiment that fails

This is Part 8 of a series called "Confession and the Authentic Self."

1. Prologue.
2. Setting the scene. The saga of the Paundraka Vrindavan Today.
3. Staking out the high ground. The frequentations of swans and crows.
4. Confession, a religious act. A concealed provocation.
5. A profession of love and respect for Babaji.
6. Aiming again at the high ground, and a concern troll
7. Bhakta Demian challenges me to confess more.



When I finished reading Demian's twelve points, I decided to remain mum for the reasons I have already given previously. But nevertheless, I continued to think that surely I can find a way to soften his heart and to come to a position where he will see what the character of a devotee is like. So I thought that I should praise him first. The letter that I posted on Facebook was also posted on the thread on the Paundraka Vrindavan Today because I wanted Demian to read it.

Now, Demian's answers are given below and you will see that he (naturally) reads the worst possible motivations into what I said. And if he has recognized that we are at opposite ends of a spectrum of some kind is not without merit. But everything I wrote below was done sincerely, including the two points I make in the final paragraph. But I will be responding to the demand for confession later. For now, let me begin by pointing out some of the things that I see as positive in Demian Martins, and also things for which I feel gratitude to him.





I am truly honored that someone of such great distinction as Dr. Demian Martins, PhD, has decided to consecrate so much of his time to revealing to the world this humble servant's multiple flaws and sins. As Lord Jesus said, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." To be reminded of this with such force on a regular basis is truly helpful to my work of introspective self-examination and protects me from multiple dangers such as my incorrigible desire for fame and honor.

Dr. Martins' commitment to the scriptures of the Vaishnava sampradayas and in particular to Baladeva Vidyabhushan, is a marvel for all of us and I pay my unlimited obeisances to his lotus feet. It makes me feel very proud that he is also associated with the Jiva Institute and that Mahanta Srila Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji has given him his backing and helped publish numerous manuscripts that Dr. Martins has discovered and translated into English.

And of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg of Dr. Martins’ unlimited virtues. He is also a yogi and a committed follower of the brahmacharya-vrata as well as a disciplined ascetic who exemplifies the title tapo-dhana.

For me to actually live in the same building as such a great scholar is a daily source of inspiration and to occasionally have his darshan and to be able to pay my obeisances to him is one of the great fruits of my Braja vasa.

Not only that, but I am a direct beneficiary of Dr. Martin's hard work in collecting digital copies of a great number of the printed and manuscript texts of the Vaishnava tradition, some of which I use almost every day (such as the multiple commentary edition of the Bhagavatam). Indeed, not a day goes by when I do not feel gratitude to him for his seva.

Despite my incorrigible sinful proclivities and my hypocritical wearing of Vaishnava dress, by the grace of the most merciful Vaishnavas -- Srila Prabhupada and all my gurus, Sri Lalita Prasad Thakur, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Bipin Bihari Goswami Thakur and all my disciplic succession going back to Ramai Thakur and Jahnava Mata and Dayal Nitai Prabhu, the savior of the most fallen, and by Kaliyuga Pavanavatar Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and also by the grace of the the sadhus and the Brajvasis, I have been given a place in the Holy Dham.

Not only have I been given a place here, but I have also been given the association of many great devotees residing here, what to speak of other mahatmas like Binode Bihari Baba and Ananta Das Pandit Baba. Moreover, by their grace, I have been given a little service to the Dham, to the Vrajavasis, and to the literature of the Goswamis. For a sinner and offender like myself, it is beyond my capacity to understand how such good fortune should have befallen me. I spend my days thanking Srimati Radharani and Bhakti Devi for having overlooked my flaws to give me this opportunity.

And now my joy knows no bounds that I also have someone of Demian's stature, a scholar, a saint, a devoted teller of the truth, to commit himself to my purification and to enhancing the little service that I do.

In return, I hope that Demian will soon find a pure devotee Brijvasi guru to initiate him into the path of prema-seva and to thus perfect his his own service by attaining the ultimate goal. May his heart never be sullied by malice. Jai Sri Radhe.

Dasanudas, Jagadananda

bhrātas tiṣṭha tale tale viṭapināṁ grāmeṣu bhikṣām aṭa
svacchandaṁ piba yāmunaṁ jalam alaṁ cīraiḥ sukanthāṁ kuru |
saṁmānaṁ kalayātighora-garalaṁ nīcāpamānaṁ sudhāṁ
śrī-rādhā-muralīdharau bhaja rasād vṛndāvanaṁ mā tyaja ||

O Brother! Stay each night at the foot of a different tree. Beg for food in the villages. Freely drink the Yamuna waters. Make yourself a nice shawl from torn and discarded cloth. Consider praise to be a most horrible poisonous cup and lowly condemnation to be nectar. Worship Radha and the Player of the Flute with relish. Never leave Vrindavan. (Vrindavana Mahimamrita 1.48)



If I didn’t already know that anything coming from your mouth has no value, I could have even believed this. As they say in Brazil, “Let the ignorant buy it.”

pratyakse’pi krte pape murkhah samna prasamyati  
“Even if he has seen an abominable act being performed before his eyes, a fool becomes appeased by conciliatory words.” (Pancatantra, 3.49)
My answer:
My dear Demian,

It does not really matter what you think. The world has heard your praises from my mouth.

Are the praises true? Yes, they are.

But of course, I know that because of your humble Vaishnava character, you are obliged to deny them and think of it all as atistuti.

But at least I have done my work of acknowledging your glories and therefore your credibility.

And this only strengthens your mission of lowering me in the world's estimation. Have I not served your purpose?
And his final word:
Whether your praises are true or not is not relevant in this discussion. As I predicted, to me this “response” falls in the “twist” category. Both of us know very well how feigned, forced and artificial you are being here, and both of us know very well that in real life the only thing you want to do is to blast the hell out of me for breaking all records in junior impudence towards a senior, as you often yell at me and at others around. Wake up. You are not a gurukula master anymore and people around you are not your gurukulis. If you are so obsessed to be respected, you could try to stop abusing others. Unfortunately, as you spent your youth abusing little kids and nobody has taken you to task, you take for granted that you can go on undeterred.

No mission is required to lower you in the world’s estimation. You have already done it in a much more efficient way than anyone else could ever do.

Sweet words, but not without truth. Let us say I tried, but it was an uphill battle. So let's leave this meditation for tonight.

7. Confessions: Bhakta Demian challenges me to confess more

This is Part 7 of a series called "Confession and the Authentic Self."

1. Prologue.
2. Setting the scene. The saga of the Paundraka Vrindavan Today.
3. Staking out the high ground. The frequentations of swans and crows.
4. Confession, a religious act. A concealed provocation.
5. A profession of love and respect for Babaji.
6. Aiming again at the high ground, and a concern troll



We are now closing in on the purpose of this series of posts.

When I published my response to Alex's publication of my "confession letter" on May 31, Bhakta Demian posted as a comment the letter you see below. On reading it, I had to almost laugh at the venomous diatribe, the pent-up nastiness, and the utter absence of any sign of genuine spiritual insight or understanding, the kind of visceral hatred that should be completely absent from the heart of a devotee... well I refer you to my comments on the first article in this series.

Even now as I read this article, the same feeling of darkness descends. I will leave the reader to enjoy the sentiments that he expresses here. Perhaps when one cultivates the spirit of Braj, the spirit of Rupa Goswami to develop a heart that is free from the tendency to find fault in others, the manifestation of a piece of writing that is almost entirely free of that spirit has the effect of a shocking contrast, like suddenly stepping in a piece of human feces while walking barefoot in a garden paradise.

As I have been trying to explain, and I hope that the foregoing articles have shown how I was trying to deal with a practical crisis. There was some concern that we were under siege and fears that there could be serious damage, and there was also a strong desire not to succumb to the lower forces that were being unleashed.

I haven't written much here about Alex, though to be honest, he had also been levying a mocking criticism of me. Even when one stands back as witness, detached from criticism, there is still some effect on the heart.

The purpose of the troll is to draw you in, to bring you down to their level. They want you to become absorbed in their suffering. Misery loves company, as they say. My armament was and is my holding fast to my God, to my Ideal, of what it means to be an ideal loving human being, a premi bhakta, a Gaudiya Vaishnava ("shaped through and through by Gaura's love, that is a Gaudiya Vaishnava!"), a  Brajavasi engaged in Brajavas sadhana according to principles found in the Vrindavana-mahimamrita..

I take these principles seriously. I don't know if it is wise or not. When I first started the Vrindavan Today project, I spoke to Vineet Narain, who is famous throughout as an investigative journalist. He seemed to think that I would be an "investigative journalist." Well, that was not what I had in mind, even though I know quite well that it "sells papers." Indeed, there were a couple of stories that I published that were "investigative" and I regretted them each time. Over the years, I have become less and less inclined to publicly expose the evil-doers. I follow the Vrindavana-mahimamrita, which has a "see-no-evil" policy.

I am a Dale Carnegie man. I believe in winning friends because that is how you influence people. I believe in being generous in my approbation and lavish in my praise. You promote the qualities you think are best, even in the hypocrites. De Rochefoucault said one of his pithy aphorisms that I particularly like, that hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue. In other words, the whole point of hypocrisy is that you have to pretend to be pious and good, even when you are using it as a smokescreen for wicked deeds. This means that a hypocrite can still be motivated to do good if he is convinced that he can profit from it. So you praise the good works of even the hypocrite, because that is what will influence his behavior.

namratvenonnamantaḥ para-guṇa-kathanaiḥ svān guṇān khyāpayantaḥ
svārthān sampādayanto vitata-pṛthutarārambha-yatnāḥ parārthe |
kṣāntyaivākṣepa-rukṣākṣara-mukhara-mukhān durjanān dūṣayantaḥ
santaḥ sāścarya-caryā jagati bahu-matāḥ kasya nābhyarcanīyāḥ ||


The sadhu lifts others by his own humility,
he reveals his own good qualities by praising those of others;
he achieves his own goals by making extensive efforts
to achieve the welfare of other persons;
by his tolerance in the face of their insults,
he reveals the wickedness of his detractors.
These are the amazing characteristics of the good,
and they are justly praised in this world.
Who would not praise them?

(Niti-satakam, 70)

Moreover, the goal of Vrindavan Today is to glorify the ideals of Braja-vasa, whether they can ever be realized in human society or not. Unless you can find common ground with others, you cannot influence the direction of community development. You don't achieve it through internal conflict. There are other people with that samskara who will expose the cheaters and I hope the cheaters get the full karmic force of their illegitimate actions, but that is not going to be my job.

My job is to love Vrindavan. My job is to imagine Vrindavan and to create Vrindavan in the image that tradition has presented it, and out of necessity, to realize that image, and if necessary to improve upon it.

Anyway, I already mentioned in the previous post that I had some reservations about talking about myself personally on Vrindavan Today. And certainly I did not think it wise to make VT a forum about me and my sins. So I responded to Demian as follows:
*This post has been removed by the editors. Demian, we recommend that you post these accusations where they will no doubt be more welcome, namely on the Paundraka VT site. I am sure that you will find friends who will take great delight in disseminating these revelations of yours. Thank you for your understanding.*
Now, let me tell you, that this was a bit of a test for Demian that I fully expected him to fail. Demian lives at Jiva Institute. There have already been incidents that I will mention later that showed he cares nothing for the Institute as a project that requires solidarity of its principals, which for me means solidarity with Babaji. Therefore, when Demian went to Alex's Paundraka Vrindavan Today, I understood that Demian is not simply against me, but he is against Babaji and against the Jiva Institute, and against everything that I do, without questioning whether it is of any independent value. Needless to say, he is also against Vrindavan Today. He wants to destroy it because that will be a way of destroying me.

I also said to Alex: You think you are being very clever and righteous, but all that will come from this is that you will be known as a traitor, someone who betrays his friends. This is the kind of venomous snake you really don't want to keep around. A person who is so blinded by malice and animosity that he will destroy anything in order to pursue his malevolent goal. This is what I think deserves to be exposed. We all live by our reputation. Do you really want to be known for this?

So enjoy:



Jagat, you can also take the opportunity to confess:

1. That you are the major responsible for ALL the abuses suffered by the children in the Mayapur Gurukula while you were the principal from 1975 to 1979. Do you really think that you can get away with it just by claiming that you “didn’t know anything?” Can anyone possibly believe that although every single child there was continuously abused in multiple ways for months and years, the principle didn’t know anything? That he never noticed the bruises all over their bodies? That he didn’t know that some of the children were even sent to the hospital after being spanked or raped?

2. That you were Bhavananda’s avowed sidekick, to the extent that you even engaged in composing poetry in his praise and was proud to receive ‘sannyasa’ from him. Is it mere coincidence that he and his ‘associates’ were indicted as child molesters? What were you doing while the children under your ‘care’ were being sexually abused one after the other?

3. That you replied, “Who cares?” when I asked why don’t you take any steps against the perpetrators “now that you came to know the facts.”

4. That you told at my face, “I don’t give a shit if people call me a pedophile.”

5. That you are a drug addicted and spend your ‘free time’ in Vrindavan smoking ganja and bidi, something which the staff and residents at the Jiva Institute can also attest. Do you think I don’t feel the smell from my room?

6. That you are a libertine and don’t have the slightest hesitance to indulge in illicit sex in Vrindavan. Before moving to the Jiva Institute, you were living at the house of your ‘girlfriend,’ who is supposed to be someone else’s wife. On the gate there we read “Ananga Sukhada Kunja” (The grove that gives the pleasures of Cupid). When I purposefully asked you about this name, you replied, “Ananga is my guru.” By the way, I was behind the milkman one evening when he knocked at your door at the Jiva Institute and you asked for a moment because you were naked. Although the light was off, I could see a lady lying on your bed when you opened the door. I also saw when she left your room. So also admit that besides not having respect for Vrindavan, you have zero respect for the other residents of the Ashram. For those who don’t know, ‘Ashram’ is a residence for monks.

7. That your name has already been several times reported to the police in India for different reasons. One of them was Caru Krsna dasa (Gaurapada dasa)’s accusation that you had been plotting to murder him.

8. That last year I myself have reported you to the police in Mathura for instigating a thug who invaded my room, attacked me and gave a death threat.

9. That you told me at my face that you deliberately instigated that thug to ‘give me lesson’ because I call a spade a spade, a thug a thug, a pedophile a pedophile, a druggy a druggy, and so on, which is enough to convince you that I am a bad character and need to be urgently corrected.

10. That you pester everyone who lives at the Jiva Institute beyond limits by loudly and hysterically growling/screaking daily until late at night and blasts at anyone who dares to complain of not being able to sleep. (To clarify, he thinks he is ‘singing’ and does it in such a way that can be heard even from the street. His ‘singing’ usually consists of meaningless words or shrieks (aaaahhh, oooohhhh, uuuhhhh) out of tune and without any rhythmic sense. Anyone who hears that can immediately conclude that this can be done only by someone high on drugs or a psychopath. Or both. Yet he thinks he is delighting the neighborhood with his talent. Has anyone read the tale of the donkey singer in Hitopadesa?)

11. That you hysterically demand that others show you respect?

12. That recently you even wrote a message to the director just to complain that I don’t show you respect? By the way, he advised me to keep distance from you, so do me a favor and next time you see me NOT EVEN LOOK AT MY DIRECTION.

By the way, there is an increasing number of devotees who say that they will not stay again in the Ashram because to tolerate you is a way too much. To mention one, Radhanatha prabhu even added that just by seeing your face one should immediately jump in a river fully clothed, as prescribed in the scriptures to get purified.

On the other website, he responded to my refusal to post the above in the following way:
As Jagat is very devoted to transparency and truthfulness, he wrote to me a private message saying that he won’t post my response on his site because the contents don’t seem to be “in the interests of Vrindavan Today and those associated with it.” In other words, it is not to HIS interest to actually confess anything. Of course, this is a convenient way to avoid the matter, otherwise he would be caught in a dilemma as to whether he should deny the charges — and take the risk that I may post hardcopy evidence on the web or that more people may come forward to corroborate some of my statements — or admit them and try his ‘best’ to justify himself or give a twist...
Alright then, so what did I do?

One of the points I have been trying to make in these posts, an undercurrent, if you will, is about friendship. I have been saying, is that very few really cultivate the art of devotional friendship. Bhartrihari tells us what to expect from a friend, and by its opposite, what to expect from an enemy.

pāpān nivārayati yojayate hitāya
guhyaṁ nigūhati guṇān prakaṭīkaroti |
āpad-gataṁ ca na jahāti dadāti kāle
san-mitra-lakṣaṇam idaṁ pravadanti santaḥ ||

|
The signs of a true friend:
he keeps you from sinful acts,
but engages you in beneficial ones;
he keeps your secrets,
but announces your virtues;
he does not abandon you in difficulty,
and even helps with money if needed. (ibid. 73)

My intent is to again take the high road and hope for the best. And, assuming the best - in keeping with the principles I am attempting to apply - means that I will accept that - despite what I think is an objective display of irrational malice - Demian's intentions are good, that he is trying to "keep me from sinful acts" out a loving and charitable disposition, and that is how I have decided to respond.

As Babaji says, we are not mahabhagavatas. We all have faults. We should become introspective when our flaws are pointed out in public. So I will respond in the way my Inner Master guides me.