Saturday, December 22, 2007

Update from Rishikesh

I am writing quickly just in case there is another power failure, which interrupted my last attempt to blog.

Unfortunately, I seem to have come down with a bad cold. I got up at 2.00 a.m. and could not go back to sleep my nose was running so much. I followed the meditation program, but did not do any yoga. I took some ayurvedic medicine a few minutes ago and I already feel a bit better. Could it really be that effective?

Sanjay (the person who got me this gig) is here and I attended both his English and Hindi classes. Nearly all the ashram people come to listen to him speak on philosophy in Engish. He introduced me with great praise. He reminds me a bit of SN, but he is younger and better looking (maybe I should not say that publicly! Well Sanjay is a householder and SN a bearded renunciate). I think he also is a little more skeptical. Afterwards he told me that he thought he had benefited greatly from being in the west, which makes him a lot less blind in his faith. His philosophy is pretty straight Mayavada though. Perhaps for my benefit he cited Ramakrishna who said it is better to taste sugar than be sugar.

I met Swami Veda also, who is a very nice gentleman. It doesn't sound like they are going to be too demanding, only having me teach Sanskrit to beginners. I am sure there will be more than that. My Hindi is already improving a lot, but I still have a way to go before I can match the fluency of Satya Narayan or Sanjay.
I also got my suitcase from the airline today.

I wanted to go and visit Rishikesh village, but I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon.

I wanted to get some comments on the History of Celibacy book on line. I also wanted to give a little mention of all the nice people I met in Vrindavan at the Jiva Institute and my little excursion to Radha Kund, but has been a bit tough, with all the other activities going on and the basic difficulties in getting online. Also getting a bit distracted in the little time I have had doing the Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi and Gopala Tapani.

The RRSN commentary is really quite good and rasika. I would like to compare it with the Ananta Das commentary to see if he used it at all. That would be a bit of a joke. The Harivamsis take it as an article of faith that HV wrote it when he was only 5 years old (!). If that is not a dead giveaway that he DID NOT write it, I don't know what is. But that is not the point, they have made it their own and their entire religious system is based on RRSN. It is their Bhagavad-Gita. And, in a way, that makes it better than the other sampradayas because it makes them more exclusively Radha bhaktas. Still, it is kind of neat, that on the one hand they repudiate the Gaudiya connection, and on the other they need the Goswamis to establish the philosophical basis of their doctrine (when it comes to madhura rasa), just like nearly all the other Braj sampradayas, even the Vallabhis.

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