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Showing posts from October, 2007

Bhava-visista atma-nivedana

When I got up this morning, as is often the case, a couple of verses were rattling in my brain. One was from Mucukunda's prayers--

bhavapavargo bhramato yada bhavej
janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samagamah
sat-sangamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau
paravarese tvayi jayate matih
O Achyuta, when the time comes for the jiva soul to be freed from the whirlpool of samsara, he is brought into contact with the saintly. And where there is association with devotees, there arises devotion to the Supreme Lord, the destination of the pure. (SB 10.51.53) The other one is Krishna speaking to Uddhava:

martyo yada tyakta-samasta-karma
niveditatma vicikirsito me
tadamrtatvam pratipadyamano
mayatma-bhuyaya ca kalpate vai
A person who gives up all fruitive activities and offers himself entirely unto me, eagerly desiring to render service unto me, achieves liberation from birth and death and is promoted to the status of sharing my own opulences. (11.29.34) Prabhupada's translation: The living entity who is subjecte…

More on Identity and Sadhana

A lot of what I write on this blog comes out of concern from seeing young devotee couples who are conflicted about their spiritual endeavors and their material engagements, especially their family relationships. The family can become a huge and pretty meaningless burden if the basis of it, namely the loving attraction between husband and wife, is felt to be outside the realm of direct sāsaṅga, svarūpa-siddha bhakti, which is really the ideal kind of practice for the sādhaka.

A busy working person has so many obligations, work, family, outside interests, that it becomes difficult to find a place for all the bhakti aṅgas. For married couples with children, what to speak of bhajana, even finding time for personal intimacy or making love often becomes difficult, and for many, it loses a lot of its charm because of that--it is hurried, obligatory, unsatisfying, even exhausting. It loses a lot of its meaning, even though we instinctively know that it is necessary in order to anchor the lov…

Manjari Bhava and Sexual Renunciation

Someone has asked for a little more clarification on the relationship between manjari bhava and the practices I am talking about.
Anyway, I don't see how this ties into manjari bhav sadhana. If both the male and female partners identify as a manjari, then how can they engage in sexual relations with each other while maintaining that inner identity?

Two little girls on the brink of Kishorihood who just want to assist their Swamini in meeting with her Priyatam are now having sex with each other? What is up with that?

That's why I say that yes, Vaishnava couples can and do have creative intimate lives, but while doing so they can't and do not identify themselves in the same way they identify themselves during their sadhana time.

When I say "can't" above it is not meant as "it's impossible", but it means I can't see how it would work. So could you address this issue please Jagat?I have written a number of articles that deal with this topic, in pa…

"Normal" Sex; Enough theory! Parakiya bhava; Sex Isn't Everything!

(1) Normal Sexual Relations

Someone wrote in the previous comments section that "normal sexual relations" were permitted for devotee householders. Some of the other posters there also expressed similar ideas.

I just want to say that I am not in favor of "normal" sexual relations. The general attitude in Vaishnava circles is to quote the Bhagavatam, in which it is made very clear that for men (and the instructions are given for men), association with women is the door to hell (5.5.2).

mahat-sevāṁ dvāram āhur vimuktes
tamo-dvāraṁ yoṣitāṁ saṅgi-saṅgam
All bad qualities come out of association with women (3.31.33).

satyaṁ śaucaṁ dayā maunaṁ buddhiḥ śrīr hrīr yaśaḥ kṣamā
śamo damo bhagaś ceti yat-saṅgād yāti saṁkṣayam
Women are temptresses. Chota Haridas was expelled and, more or less, obliged to commit suicide because of a rather doubtful case of association with women, just so that he could be an example to all of us.

So can anything good be said for women or associatio…

Heart and Halo (Part Two)

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Now Sridhar Maharaj evidently reserves a special place in hell for those who imitate Radha and Krishna's pastimes physically.
The most heinous thing is that one will play the part of Krishna and a lady will play the part of a gopi and they will unite, and in that way they will enjoy. To think this to be that, it is impossible. Any ordinary moral man will hate this. What to speak of the higher devotees, even an ordinary moral man will hate it. The problem with such statements is that they are so lacking in subtlety or in comprehension, not only of the wide variety of sahajīyā doctrines, or even the distinction between traditional orthodoxy and Sahajiyaism, but of human sexuality itself. We have already been saying repeatedly that sexuality can be analyzed according to the model of the three gunas just like any other material phenomenon. The Gita tells us that goodness, passion or ignorance, all are entangling in the material nature, but that sattva is still better than the other t…

Heart and Halo (Part One)

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I am still working on those grey areas, which will hopefully be made a little more clear soon. But for starters, a friend sent me the URL of a book of talks given by Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhar Maharaj called Heart and Halo. At the risk of offending devotees who admire Sridhar Maharaj and are unconditional supporters of the Gaudiya Math, I am afraid that I shall repeat some of the opinions that caused so much consternation a few weeks ago.

Nevertheless, when Sridhar Maharaj says openly, "So they have got their hated position in society; the general society has got great hate for them, those bābājīs" and "[The sahajīyās] are the worst enemies," then we certainly must give him the respect he deserves and examine his arguments thoroughly and see how and why he justifies such vehement opposition.

I have to say right off the bat that there is much in this book that is interesting and valuable. I am, and I have said it before, someone who admires Sridhar Maharaj and respects…

October 1, 1970

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We have had a warm summer, and even September set a record for average temperatures for the month. Despite the warm weather, however, as I bicycled into work today, I saw a few trees that had turned entirely red or yellow. Some side streets were sprinkled with a speckling of color, dustballs of yellow or beige leaves tucked up against the curbs. And even though I was wearing shorts, the morning air had a bit of autumn bite.

October in Canada may not be like Octobers elsewhere. This is the Great Frozen North, and though global warming may be taking a bit of the edge off, October still means: You have to find shelter soon. Winter is coming.

On October 1, 1970, I entered the Hare Krishna temple on Beverley Street in Toronto. How I got there is the story of the summer that preceded it--a summer that saw me spiral downwards until there was nowhere to go but to the shelter that Krishna gave me. I can go backwards step by step, three years, remembering each preceding event that led me in th…

विपदः सन्तु ताः

I did a lot of stuff on the weekend--I read, I updated or finished six or seven files on the GGM, I helped U. finish her dissertation. But I did it all in a state of tamo-guna consciousness. I did most of it sitting in front of the TV, deadening myself to my self.

U.'s thesis is about sankirtan. I was reminded of that Sridhar Maharaj quote someone once posted on GD--"The essence of love lives by distribution; not by absorbtion, but by distribution. That is love. Prema is that which exists by its tendency of distribution, and that is the highest."

And that is what I am NOT doing. Even though I may flatter myself that I am not doing nothing, it is almost as if.

I woke up this morning singing the verse--


vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvattatra tatra jagad-gurobhavato darśanaṁ yat syātapunar bhava-darśanam

It is one of the very first verses I ever learned. But it really summarizes, I guess, the Mahabharata's teachings. (Since the Bhagavata is a supplement or appendix to the MBh, t…