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Showing posts from August, 2006

Sexuality in the modes of material nature.

I find it a bit unfortunate that though the Gita (chapters 14, 17 and 18) and the Bhagavata (11.25) describe various phenomena and categorize them according to the three guṇas of material nature, they did not make any analysis of sexuality according to this method. This has fed the bias in some circles that there is no room whatsoever for sexuality, that it is by default in the modes of ignorance or passion, and if it could ever be in the mode of goodness, it would only be such sex as is engaged in for the sake of procreation.

The Bhāgavata adds the nirguṇa category to the discourse, by which it is to be learned that in the Bhāgavata view, the same activities that are conducted in the various modes of nature can also be free from the modes, if they are somehow dovetailed into bhakti. Thus residence in a whorehouse is tāmasika, in a city, rājasika, in the forest sattvika, but living in a temple of the Lord is nirguṇa.

Human sexuality is extremely complex and takes countless forms. Any…

Sexuality in the modes of material nature.

I find it a bit unfortunate that though the Gita (chapters 14, 17 and 18) and the Bhagavata (11.25) describe various phenomena and categorize them according to the three guṇas of material nature, they did not make any analysis of sexuality according to this method. This has fed the bias in some circles that there is no room whatsoever for sexuality, that it is by default in the modes of ignorance or passion, and if it could ever be in the mode of goodness, it would only be such sex as is engaged in for the sake of procreation.

The Bhāgavata adds the nirguṇa category to the discourse, by which it is to be learned that in the Bhāgavata view, the same activities that are conducted in the various modes of nature can also be free from the modes, if they are somehow dovetailed into bhakti. Thus residence in a whorehouse is tāmasika, in a city, rājasika, in the forest sāttvika, but living in a temple of the Lord is nirguṇa.

Human sexuality is extremely complex and takes countless forms. An…

A Detour into Self Pity

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I have been having difficulty finding the time writing on this blog. But more serious than that is that there is a serious gap between what I preach and what I practise. So either I change my message or I change my life. Until that problem has been resolved, I am going to have to keep quiet and devote myself to prayer and meditation. Since I cannot put up, I must shut up.

There is hope here, and there is faith here. But charity falls short. So when things have been righted, I will return.

The Ten Offenses to Love

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If Radha is Love, all love her shadow,
no love can be any other.
So the first great sin against Love, my friends,
is not to love the lover.

There is but one object of love,
for Love loves no one but him.
Confused by his many names and forms,
we commit the second great sin.

Love also him who teaches love spells,
or takes you to the trysting place,
or the one who turns your head with wine--
not doing this, the third disgrace.

All revelation leads to Love,
so don’t despise the lover’s song,
nor his poems, nor his books of rules,
to do so is the fourth great wrong.

The fifth is to think they exaggerate
when they say Love conquers all.
Creation comes from Love, in Love it lives,
and into Love will be recalled.

The sixth sin is to distort Love's sense,
its essence not the Divine Yugal.
Love's not formless, it's never divorced
From people and the personal.

Augustine said, “Love and do what you will!”
How easy ‘tis to make the claim
that love justifies everything we do:
Do not do evil in Love’s name.

No reli…

The Flower Garland and the Sword

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The flower garland and the sword,
From safety to the brink,
It’s all a case of binaries,
For that is how we think.

The flower garland and the sword,
As old as yang and yin:
One is all about going out,
The other, going in.

Ah, but it’s not such a simple thing
This business of yang and yin,
It’s not as clear as black and white,
Or piety and sin.

Brahma is the God without,
Atma, God within.
Women look for Brahma God,
The Atma is for men.

But that’s because what each one owns
Is the other’s secret need,
The man has always held the sword,
While woman holds the seed.

And so, the woman wants the world
The man, he wants repose.
The woman yearns to wield the sword,
The man to hold the rose.

Now please don’t get all huffy, folks,
I don’t want it on the chin.
Sexual identities in themselves,
Are not of gold, but tin.

The identity of Brahma and Self
Is where the Srutis end;
And the unity of opposites
Is where the genders bend.

The sexes are our greatest clue
To Sri Jugal Kishor,
Where contrasts are at last resolved,
And One makes …

Several shorts

Call this the flute’s fault, or call it his name,
Call it his form, or my own past fate;
Call it God if you will—still this flame
burns not with ecstasy, but with pain.

++++

A little heroism, Arjun,
a little less moping in corners.
Wherever heroes die,
there are always joyful mourners.

(From GD)

++++

The Moguls come, the Moguls go.
The British come, the British go.
We take the best and leave the rest.
We still eat curry, our women wear sari,
We live real close and arrange to marry.
So East’s part East and now part West,
That’s globalizing at its best.

Based on a quote by Jerry Rao. (CEO of MphasiS) quoted in The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.

++++

The brain and the heart had a fight
that lasted a day and a night.
The heart said, "It's dawn,"
the brain looked forlorn
and said, "I still can't see any light."

++++

Our Sri Roopah is soopah doopah.
If you don't like her,
You're a bheng in a koopah.

The Raganuga Trail and Other Classics

I.

This website is a cheat? That's pretty neat!
Who here's the culprit who must take the heat?
So go ahead, sell books out on the street--

That's where shastra tells us we shall meet
a rasika guru at whose lotus feet
bhakta bees taste the raga honey treat.

II.

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvita-matiḥ 
kriyatāṁ yadi kuto’pi labhyate |
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ 
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate ||

O friend, if you should find it anywhere,
that heart absorbed in Krishna rasa so rare,
be quick to buy, how much the soul’s in need!

In that bazaar is posted just one price;
millions of pious works will not suffice,
the cost is to be paid in coins of greed.

III.

You should have asked your GBC
before you came and talked to me.
Then you’d have known I’m dangerous--
you know--the Sanskrit knowledge curse.

And then I went and made things worse
by giving answers just in verse.
So now you think, “That’s aparadh.
He thinks he’s better than Prabhupad.”

It’s silly just to write in rhyme.
Sorry, pr…

More on the Lalita Sampradaya

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Vamsi Ali was born in a well-to-do Vaishnava brahmin family in Vrindavan in 1708 (1764 Vikram), Ashwin Shukla Pratipat. He had a famous forefather named Mishra Narayan, who lived in the 16th century in Braj and earned his reputation by speaking on the Bhagavatam. Vamsi Ali was his ninth generation descendant. His birth name was Vamsidhar Mishra. His father, Pradyumna, was quite well known in the court of Bahadur Shah, Aurangzeb's oldest son.

Vamsi Ali was something of a child prodigy and became quite a Bhagavata speaker in his own right. He even spoke at the Maharaja of Jaipur Savai Singh's palace, answering his questions with such ease that the Maharaja was quite impressed and bestowed many gifts on him.

At fifteen, Vamsi Ali was married and he had his first child five years later. His main duty at home was to take care of the family deities, temple and temple-related property. He spent most of the money on the annual Radhashtami festival. He kept on speaking the Bhagavata, …

Nitya-vihara and Achintya-bhedabheda

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Those of you who follow this blog might wonder why there is so little activity. The fact is that I have started working, from morning to night,divā cārthehayā rājan, kuṭumbhābharaṇena vā.

I have said in the past that the monastic or eremetic lifestyle is really for those who have strong self-discipline. Those who do not have discipline ultimately have it imposed on them from outside. This is what is happening to me.

In a way, I am not unhappy, though I said to my wife that I did not find any fulfilment, nor did I expect to find fulfilment in the work I am doing. I do it, it is not strenuous. Indeed, I got a laugh today as I did a lengthy session of envelope stuffing--so it has come to this...

But I get an hour in the bus going and another hour coming. I chant. I am eating less and better. I am not less Krishna conscious, just less productive. I have these few hours left at the end of the day, when I am tired and dull, and I have to think, what project will I work on? Now that time is…

Kāma and Rasa

Listening to Radhanath Swami's lecture on the Internet radio. Looking at form rather than content, I can almost feel that Protestant preacher mood when the Prabhupada cadences don't start peeking through. Since Radhanath is Jewish in background, perhaps he picked it up from Kirtanananda Swami.

It's amazing, actually. I have heard Radhanath Maharaj speak two or three times, and it seems that he repeats several things that make it clear just how close to the orthodoxy this Sahajiya doctrine is. I see that what I am saying here is not really so radical after. It is just one small step, one small piece of the puzzle.

The concept of perverted reflection... The idea of transforming this world through consciousness... The idea of yukta-vairägya. It is all there. All that is needed is taking that one vital step that links these ideas to the spiritual power sexuality, that allows for the transforming power of love in this world. Unfortunately, without that, no madhura-rasa. None.

Kāmo'smi bhāratarṣabha

I recently rediscovered the following article, which came about as a result of a discussion on Gaudiya Discussions centered around the Gita verse (7.12, dharmāviruddha-bhūteṣu kāmo'smi bhāratarṣabha) that Madhavananda mentions in his refutation of Sahajiyaism and referred to earlier on this blogsite. Since this is all a part of the general theme of this blog, I have decided to repost it here.


The statement, "I am desire (kāma) when it does not go against religious principles" is found in one of the vibhūti-yoga sections of the Gita, where Krishna is describing his own glories. Desire is one of the most glorious and powerful manifestations of the creation and, as Krishna says at the end of Chapter 10, wherever such glorious manifestations are to be found, they are he. At least, they are clues pointing to his existence and his glory.

As such, the extremely narrow definition of kāma given by the Gaudiya commentators seems inadequate. Though sexual desire as procreative ac…

A Visit to Prahlada's house

Went to Prahlada's new home in the Ottawa valley yesterday. Bodhayan Maharaj presided over a fire sacrifice meant as a house warming. It was a beautiful day and the sun was warm overhead.

More sharanagati from Padma Purana

This is the section that precedes the verses already quoted. These verses are found in Bhagiratha Jha's commentary to Gopāla-tāpanī 1.14--

klīm ity etad ādāv ādāya kṛṣṇāya
govindāya gopījana-vallabhāyeti
bṛhad-bhānavyā sakṛd uccared yo’sau
gatis tasyāsti maṅkṣu nānyā gatiḥ syāt Whoever utters even once the seed klīṁ, following it with kṛṣṇāya, govindāya and gopī-jana-vallabhāya, and then concludes with svāhā, will attain the supreme destination. For him, there is no other destination.Śaraṇāgati has, as is well known, six elements: accepting the favorable to the devotional life, rejecting the unfavorable, having faith in God the protector, and choosing him as provider, giving oneself to him, and humility.

atha tubhyaṁ prapannānāṁ dharmān vakṣyāmi nārada
yān āsthāya gamiṣyanti hari-dhāma-narāḥ kalau 22
itthaṁ guror labdha-mantro guru-bhakti-parāyaṇaḥ
sevamāno guruṁ nityaṁ tat-kṛpāṁ bhāvayet sudhīḥ 23
satāṁ dharmāṁs tataḥ śikṣet prapannānāṁ viśeṣataḥ
sveṣṭa-deva-dhiyā nityaṁ vaiṣṇavān …

Saranagati Verses from the Padma Purana.

Some nice saranagati verses from the Padma Purana. I have a friend, who now keeps himself at a distance from me, who says with unfailing consistency that he is not a devotee, even though to me, he proves his single-minded devotion to Radha despite his neglect of external forms. His decision to give up my company is perhaps because I do not surrender sufficiently to the Atma, the Soul of my soul. Which I guess was my reproach to him, also. What can be a greater source of pain that to reject the voice of your soul's Soul--and to do so consistently, protesting weakness? This friend says, "I will just suffer in this life, O Radhe. I cannot do what you ask of me. All I ask is that you give me the appropriate body, senses and association in my next life that I can become your devotee." If only surrender would be made easier "next time."

It looks easy when we sing the gopis' glories. They abandoned everything for Krishna. Was it easy? It looks easy, but if it we…

There is no happiness in the trivial

I have been distracted with other things, especially Gopala Tapani, but now I have branched off into the Vṛndāvana-rasa-tattva-samīkṣā, also by Bhagiratha Jha. I enjoy this stuff tremendously. It seems a great shame that I am not able to make my living at it.
Bhagiratha is steeped in the Upanishads and Vedanta, so he is the perfect source of understanding for these foundations of Gopāla-tāpanī. But in the Vṛndāvana-rasa-tattva-samīkṣā, he concentrates more on topics of rasa, citing the customary sources in that area, like Bharata Muni. Nevertheless, he continues to emphasize the Upanishadic basis of things.

This book begins at the same place the Prīti-sandarbha does: with the famous Chāndogya passage (7.22ff) that inquires into happiness. The prayojana, or goal of life and all our activities, is to find happiness. Anyone who gives another reason is being disingenuous. The debate lies in where one can find it. In free Western societies, it was decided a few centuries ago that one shou…

Too much work, too little energy

Anybody who knows me will be aware of the Gaudiya Grantha Mandir. I haven't been able to do much on there lately, for many reasons. One being that the software that we use has been rendered inactive, making it impossible for me to upload documents or to edit the pages. A few months ago, I thought it might be possible to seek donations or grants to further the objectives of the site, but not much came of that. Now that it has become pretty much impossible for me to interact with the site itself, the question has become moot. Our webmaster, who is after all a volunteer himself, has not been able to find the time to take care of it.

I personally should not have the time either. Not even my partners seem to see the importance of this project, which distresses me no end. Most of the texts that have been uploaded are in lamentable condition. I am constantly making corrections, but how much can one person do, especially when there are so many other things that need getting done?

Most of…

Men Becoming Women, Women Becoming Men

The point of much of what was said before is this: The I-Thou mode of relation is more natural to woman, the I-It mode to men. Even this very discourse is contaminated by the masculine approach as I try to dissect these matters and analyse them without apparently directly engaging in an I-Thou act.

In fact, Buber himself says that the I-Thou mode assimilates the I-It mode in the way that relation assimilates experience. "There is nothing I must not see in order to see, and there is no knowledge that I must forget. Rather, it is everything, picture and movement, species and instance, law and number, included and inseparably fused." Therefore, my dear reader, when I speak these things, they are all assimilated into You.

The acharyas confirm this insight in relation to the bhakti path as well. Jiva Goswami writes that knowledge need not be inimical to devotion (see Durgama-saṅgamanī to BRS 1.1.10). The early scientists thought of natural reason as a way of understanding the glo…

Martin Buber

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It's a little ironic to be talking about the Hassidim Buber in the context of current events in Lebanon. It seems that there is something of a reaction to these events in a slow but steady rise of anti-Jewish feeling, as evidenced by actor Mel Gibson's drunken tirade, which was of course followed by the expected ritual self-flagellation that only confirms to conspiracy theorists the absolute domination of Jews in the media industry.

Jewish contributions to civilization are so great and disproportionate to their numbers that I never cease to be amazed by them. One of those is this mystic insight of Buber into the essence of theism, which after all is Judaism's soul and its first and proudest contribution to civilization. Yet it, of all things, has somehow gone missing in this action. Militarization is I-It in its most flagrant form.

The Gita tells us that all things are being carried out by Nature and only a person in the illusion of mistaken identity thinks that he, or an…