Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why I pray for Krishna to descend as Bhangi Bihari

My idea behind Krishna as “Bhangi Bihari” was only partly joking. In fact I am quite serious. Even though I realize that the use of the term may be considered offensive, insulting or politically incorrect, I used it because of its similarity to Banke Bihari. No other names for the sanitation workers, who now prefer to be called Valmikas, are as alliterative, so though I am changing most of the uses of the word "bhangi" in the article to either of the above, I am leaving the title as is with apologies to anyone who might be offended. I will not do it again.

There is a widespread cultural problem involved and to counter that, values have to be instilled by whatever means possible. My proposals here can be judged in relationship to the kind of myth and symbol-making procedures that I have been discussing in my last couple of posts, a theme that I intend to pursue further.

Let us put it this way: There are several values related to environmental and social issues that have not been adequately symbolized in Krishna devotion, or rather have not been adequately highlighted in Hinduism in general. Since these particular values have thus been marginalized, we need to highlight them by symbolic means, i.e., by bringing them into line with existing religious symbols. Let us list a few of these values.

(1) Sanitation workers are human beings, eligible for devotion, and Krishna is their God too

It may seem superfluous to say this, but Vaishnavism is generally seen as an egalitarian religious movement that does not discriminate against any particular caste, no matter how lowly in human estimation. By calling Krishna "Bhangi Bihari," we are acknowledging not only a relation, but a special one. Reasons for a special relationship will be cited further below. With regards to the egalitarian concept of Vaishnavism, numerous verses could be cited here, but just as a reminder, here are a couple:

kirāta hūṇāndhra pulinda pulkaśā
ābhīra śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ
ye'nye ca pāpā yad apā
śrayāśrayāḥ
śudhyanti tasmai prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ
I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, the supreme power, by taking shelter of whose devotees, the Kiratas, Huns, Andhras, Pulindas, Pulkashas, Abhiras, Shumbhas, Yavanas, members of the Khasa races (Mongoloid), and others addicted to sinful acts can be purified. (SB 2.4.18)
yan-nāma-dheya-śravaṇānukīrtanād
yat-prahvaṇād yat-smaraṇād api kvacit
śvādo’pi sadyaḥ savanāya kalpate
kutaḥ punas te bhagavan nu darśanāt
Devahuti says to Kapiladeva, “O Lord, even a person born in an outcaste family of dog-eaters immediately becomes qualified to perform Vedic sacrifices simply by hearing, chanting, praying, paying obeisances, or remembering you. So what can we then say of the honors deserved by a person who has seen you face to face?” (Bhāg. 3.33.6)
aho bata śva paco 'to garīyān
yaj jihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā
brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti ye te
O my Lord, how can I glorify the person who chants your holy name? Even though this name touches only the tip of his tongue, and even though he may have been born of a low family like that of a dog eater, he immediately becomes most worshipable. Such people must be accepted as functional Brahmins despite their low birth because they must have engaged in all the religious activities that give the Brahmin his qualifications, such as penances and sacrifices according to Vedic rituals, taking his bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage, studying the Vedic literatures and following strict regulations in his personal life. Only after thoroughly perfecting these activities in previous lives would it be possible for him to chant the Holy Name in this lifetime. (SB 3.33.7)
Of course, in a way, even the above is somewhat insulting to sanitation workers, as it assumes that they are more sinful than other beings. The correct theological position is that all are spirit soul and deserving of the merciful attention of compassionate devotees on all levels of existence, material, social, personal and spiritual. So let us not perpetuate the ills that have been traditionally inflicted on them. Human degradation is perpetuated when we treat others as degraded.

The glory of Vaishnavism has never been fulfilled in this respect and one way to do so would be to promote the concept of a Krishna who comes among the Valmikas to share his mercy with them.

(2) The work that sanitation workers do needs to be validated

We need to validate the service that the sanitation workers do, to recognize that theirs is a noble calling, even though it has been inflicted on them by the rigors of a backward social system. The fact that some people of Indian background, who were brought up outside of India, are still affected by a distaste for the work that the cleaners do shows how deeply the problem is rooted in the Indian psyche. Do you really think that Krishna is affected by the horror Hindus have of cleaning toilets?

As the comments of another person so categorically showed, there is an undervaluation of the work that cleaners of human filth and waste do. Though they are cleaning others’ mess, no one else gives them any respect. Although all members of the Varnashram system are parts of the Divine Social Body, for some reason Hindu society wants to deny the role of these essential players. It is the old half a chicken story. You eat, so why do you pretend that you don’t have to defecate? It sometimes seem that people in India will attend to bodily functions pretty much everywhere, as long as it is not their own living room. So what is the only reason that they do not honor the sanitation workers? Their lack of respect for the sanitation worker comes from a disdain for the purpose they serve. And that in turn reflects on Indian people's attitude toward the environment in general.

Wouldn't it be nice if Valmikas were educated and trained as sanitation engineers, experts in the art and science of environmental management, installing toilets and teaching others about their proper use. And what about developing ecological and non wasteful systems of sewage management and treatment, to protect decreasing water resources? Isn’t it about time that this became a preeminent value in Indian society? Of course, unless the Valmikas' social status changed, they could not show leadership in anything.

The denigration and marginalization of the Valmikas comes down on them and makes them undervalue their own role in society. Can you imagine the kind of persistent undermining of self-worth that these people experience in their day-to-day existence? Gandhi called them Harijanas, Ambedkar converted them to Buddhism, they call them Dalits and so many other things, and yet the change in society is slow.

The transformation of Hindu environmentalism depends on the transformation of consciousness regarding the Valmikas, and of the transformation of the Valmikas’ consciousness. In other words, Valmika pride in who they are and what they do. That is part of what Bhangi Bihari is about. And what better place to do this than in Vraja?

3. Cleanliness and service to the environment are jobs for everyone, not just caste sweepers

Cleanliness and taking care of the environment is a job for everyone, not just the sanitation workers. We should all become sanitation workers for Krishna. The world is Krishna’s kunja and we should take care of it as though he were really coming there to meet Srimati Radharani. Cleaning the kunja is manjari seva. Why then do we condemn the act of serving the environment as though it made people untouchable?

We want to do mānasī sevā of sweeping Radharani’s kunj, but heaven forbid that we should pick up a broom and start sweeping the real Dham that is in this world, and that all the scriptures tell us is non-different from that one!

śrī-vṛndāvana-vandanāya satataṁ mūrdhāstu bahv-ādarī
jihvā vihvalatām upaitu satataṁ tat-sad-guṇotkīrtane |
hastau tan nava-kuñja-mārjana-vidhau pādau ca tatrāṭane
śrotre tan-mahima-śrutau dṛśi dṛśau nityaṁ smṛtau stān manaḥ ||
May my head always take great pleasure in bowing down to Sri Vrindavan Dham. May my tongue always be fervent about in singing its transcendent glories. May my hands be engaged in sweeping the new kunjas, my feet in walking there, my ears in hearing, my eyes in seeing, my mind in remembering its glories. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam 7.48)
sva-hasta-racitāṁ priya-sukha-camatkṛta-prītaye
vicitra-paripāṭikāṁ kusuma-vāṭikām āsthitām |
vicitra-nava-kuñjakāvali-pariṣkriyādau ratāṁ
bhajāmy anuga-kiṅkarīm abhisṛtāṁ mudā rādhikām ||
I worship Srimati Radhika, after who after going out into the woods to meet Krishna, followed by her faithful kiṅkarīs, has prepared a flower bower in a wonderful and colorful way for the pleasure of her beloved by her own hand, and there waits, cleaning and decorating the beautiful new groves. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam 14.78)
The assumption is that the manjaris are here helping Radha sweep and clean the kunja.

rādhā-mādhavayor yaśāṁsi satataṁ gāyaṁs tathā karṇayan
taj jīveṣu ca varṇayan sama-rasaiḥ sambhūya santarkayan |
kuñjaṁ kuñjam anārataṁ bahu pariṣkurvan mahā-bhāvato
dehādau kṛta-helano dayita he vṛndāṭavīm āvasa ||
O dear one, Constantly singing and hearing the praises of Radha and Madhava, describing the same to the creatures of Vrindavan, seeing them all with the same vision, going from kunja to kunja, cleaning without stop in ecstatic service mood, give up all thought of your body and reside in Vrindavan Dham. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam 1.59)
kāścit kuñjān niravadhi pariṣkurvate śrī-vibhedair
grathanty anyā vividha-kusumair divya-mālyādikāni |
kāścid yuktyā vidadhati mudā divya-gandha-prakārān
kāścit kuñcanty ativara-paṭaṁ yatra rādhā-sudāsyaḥ ||
Some of Radha’s dasis are engaged constantly in cleaning the kunjas, others are grading the beauty of the flowers and making garlands and the such. Yet others are devotedly preparing scents and fragrances or folding clothes. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam 6.75)
yat kiṅkarīṣu bahuśaḥ khalu kāku-vāṇī
nityaṁ parasya puruṣasya śikhaṇḍa-mauleḥ |
tasyāḥ kadā rasanidher vṛṣabhānujāyās
tat-keli-kuñja-bhuvanāṅgaṇa-mārjanī syām ||
When will I become a sweeper of the ocean of rasa Radharani’s keli kunja, where the peacock feathered Krishna, the supreme person, comes always to beg her kinkaris for mercy. (Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 8)
The point being that because the kinkaris are sweeping the kunja, Krishna has to beg them to let him in and see Radha.

pāda-sparśa-rasotsavaṁ praṇatibhir govindam indīvara-
śyāmaṁ prārthayituṁ sumañjula-rahaḥ-kuñjāṁś ca sammārjitum|
mālā-candana-gandha-pūra-rasavat-tāmbūla-sat-pānakāny
ādātuṁ ca rasaika-dāyini tava preṣyā kadā syām aham ||
When will I be sent by you, O unique giver of the rasas, to appeal to the blue-lotus hued Govinda by falling at his feet and touching his feet, or to sweep the delighful hiddent kunjas, or to bring garlands, sandalwood, fragrances, flavorful tambula and sweet sherbet drinks for your pleasure. (Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 61)
rādhā-mādhavayor vicitra-suratārambhe nikuñjodare
srasta-prastara-saṅgatair vapur alaṅkurve'ṅga-rāgaiḥ kadā |
tatraiva truṭitāḥ srajo nipatitāḥ sandhāya bhūyaḥ kadā
kaṇṭhe dhārayitāsmi mārjana-kṛte prātaḥ praviṣṭāsmy aham ||
When will the day come when I enter the kunja in the morning to sweep it, and pick up the decorations and garlands that fell to the floor when Radha and Madhava begin their festival of lovemaking, and decorate them with them again as well as with various unguents, and place around their necks again the garlands that broke and fell to the ground. (Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 180)
Now the next verse is really quite interesting:

praṇālīṁ kīlālair bahubhir abhi saṅkṣālya madhurair
mudā saṁmārjya svair vivṛta-kaca-vṛndaiḥ priyatayā |
kadā bāhyāgāraṁ vara-parimalair dhūpa-nivahair
vidhāsye te devi pratidinam aho vāsitam aham ||
O Devi, when will the time come when I joyfully wash the drains with buckets of sweet water, sweeping them with my own hair out of love, and when will I daily make your toilet (bāhyāgāraṁ) fragrant with clouds of incense smoke. (Vilāpa-kusumāñjalī 18)
Interesting that there are toilets in the Nitya Dham. Well I guess this explains how the excretory organs are used in devotional service. This also reminds us of how Narottam Das accepted the role of a sweeper in the service of his guru.

There are probably others also. Basically I just did a search for sweeping. But let us not forget Prataparudra and Mahaprabhu's pleasure with him for cleaning the rath, and Mahaprabhu's own joyful pastime in cleaning Gundicha. We need to see beyond the specifics of the lila and extrapolate to a wider concept of the Gundicha and Radharani's kunja.

So let us not minimize the glories of Bhangi Bihari, or call it an insult to Krishna. Let us rather think of it as a lila in which Krishna accepts the lowest role in society in order to serve Radha by joining her kinkaris in cleaning the kunja.

Until the leaders of India's religious movements actually get out on the streets with brooms, side by side with the sanitation worker and help him pick up garbage, organize proper disposal sites, chastise those who scoff at the principles of the communal good by dirtying common spaces, and preach from their pulpits about these principles, the whole of Hindu religious practice is put into doubt.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pranams,

It seems like you are really "on it" and "getting into it" more being over there. What do you think?

It seems like you are less in mulif [ from the Shum-Tyeif language, i.e. discuss philosophy intellectually, a lawyer's grasp of the scriptures]
and more into a state of total immersion in a practicum aspect of applied Hinduism i.e. engaged Hinduism.

I think there are many things can be learned from other traditions
that focus on the different types of yoga systems such as nada and raja yoga.

I would be very interested if you learn more about Nada Yoga i.e. there are sounds that the various chakras make that as we advance and we can hear them. That's one example of what can be learned: these various signposts.

For example in Nada Yoga one signpost that you are in Savikalpa Samadhi is you can hear a high pitched eeee sound. Versus in the West a doctor would call it tinnitis and even you hear/ read about some Western ISKCON swamis complain they have tinnitis or ringing in the ears "from too many kirtans".

Even AC Swami made this complaint at the end of his life, "There is a constant ringing in the ears". But is a signpost from Nada Yoga of Savikalpa Samadhi or Satchidananda realization or ParaShakti. So I think people really bereft if they don't learn from others.

On a lighter note one way you can make Bhanghi Bihari descend faster is if you call it "brooming" instead of sweeping. And get some hot 30 year old to take off his shirt, take sannyasa, and travel around the world with a bunch of Indians sharing kathas about it. Have a whole bunch of people, men and women both, drooling over him, but call it Pure Love. Oops sorry somebody already tried that.

Well good luck with your program. Namaste

Jagat said...

You may be right. Bhangi Bihari is too aggressive, which is probably what Gaurasundar was reacting to. But there is value to "reclaiming" a name, the way some groups do. Broomer Bihari? Jharu Bihari. Bhangi Bihari had the cachet of sounding a bit like Banke Bihari. I don't know...

Hot 30-year old sannyasi... Could work. But he would have to sweep first. Mandira-marjanadau. We have to extend the definition of mandira.

This is my idea. Now the question is, will I get out and sweep and pick up plastic bags and find a place to throw them?

Here in Rishikesh, it is really heartbreaking to see open drains being pissed into tranquilly by passers-by, and emptying unconcernedly into the heavenly Mother of all Rivers, wife of the oceans.

Jagat said...

Yes. Just about the symbol thing. Tillich said that faith means ultimate concern, and that the symbols we use reflect that ultimate concern. The symbol of Bhangi Bihari reflects the ultimate concern for the environment.

Anonymous said...

Namaste,

Overall I think you are really onto something with the whole Bhangi Bihari essay. I think it is your most cogent. I feel that the concept is not too aggro at all.

The only thing is don't hold your breath waiting for an avatar to do it. But maybe in time you can be a facillitator.

One idea is there's many NGOs that might provide funds for you to do a community service project with your students. Do you know how to do grant-writing?

I wonder if you could make it an extra-curricular activity for your students, either volunteer or mandatory. Some schools in the West require a certain amount of credits of community service for a student to graduate these days. Other schools make it optional in the lower grades.

Do they have that same concept in India that pupils need to do community service in order to be well-rounded enough to get into college? For example in Western countries the focus is on academics, achievement, AND community service: hand-in-hand.

In Buddhism, the first Buddhist teacher that came to the West, Shunryu Suzuki said that the path of the realized soul is to, "Shine a light on your own small corner of the world." You yourself could do it by shining a light on your own small corner of the world.

Start off just yourself and one or two colleagues or students. What about AC Swami's idea that Indians will want to emulate what Westerners do? Is it only the concept of buying Gucci bags that they want to emulate or everything?

Well I think philosophically you have everything totally correct about the whole idea of sweeping or brooming. Didn't AC Swami even say in one of his purports that it was better to be a "sincere sweeper in the street" than a religious charlatan?

And in Zen there is the concept, "After the ecstasy, the laundry". i.e. after you become enlightened, you continue to do service. There is even a book by that title by Jack Kornfield: Dartmouth grad turned Zen monk turned married with children turned founder of Spirit Rock Counselling Center.

Well sounds like a plan if you just start small. One non-profit that I know of started with just a priest handing out peanut butter sandwiches to the homeless. Although he has now passed on, what he started has turned into a non-profit that provides counselling, transitional services, and three meals a day for the homeless with a multi-million dollar budget. It is now the largest provider of social services in the state.

I see alot of merit in the Bhanghi Bihari idea and I also like how it resonates with Banke Bihari. But just I don't think we can hold our breath waiting for an avatar to do it. I think we are the ones who have to make these things happen.

Is part of the charya pada, the path of selfless service. And as we do more and more selfless service, then THAT'S how the truths of the Vedas are revealed.
We learn what is unconditional love, selfless love, by selfless service.

I think you have a very important realization about connecting the environment and cleanliness with respect for nature and others. It seems that also you are in a position you could even do something about it.

You are super smart, you can apply for grants to fund a recycling/ cleanup / environmental awareness program at your school/ in your community. In time you could get exchange students from other countries to volunteer so you won't get fried on doing it all yourself.

You can tie in your philosophical realizations with it as the program's mentor/advisor. It's disheartening to see and hear about, but it would also be fun if we eventually hear, for example that you start to go on a japa walk and pick up refuse everyday.

In Western countries there is always some old retired person who does things like that: always has a stretch of the highway, street, or mall that s/he patrols cleaning up all the rubbish.

In fact some state governments have a program that various non-profits sign up to patrol one section of a road and/or stream for rubbish. Then it becomes a source of pride that their small section of the universe has been properly cleaned and "loved".

Another idea is you could partner with an affluent temple or school in the West that might be happy to help raise funds for a small cleanup and recycling program in your area or at your school, if you don't want to go the grants route at first.

I do think it is one of your best ideas to date, but I don't think we can wait for an incarnation of the Divine to do it. Rather it may be an example of: if you have in trueth realized that God/dess in indeed everywhere and in everything: in the hearts of the dog, the dog-eater, and the brahmana, then basically at that point YOU are God/dess' empowered rep. Then YOU are the one God/dess sent to "shine a light on your own small corner of the world."

Aum. Namaste

Anonymous said...

Also I have a question: What in your opinion has led pollution to the point where it is today in India?

For example India was touted by AC Swami as a type of idyllic paradise and a very intelligent civilization. So it comes as a shock that this "advanced" civilization, so much "superior" to Western, cannot even practice what in the West would be considered basic kindergarten ideas of cleanliness.

So what is the cause of this, in your opinion? Entrophy, i.e. all civilizations break down and collapse? Order must be followed by disorder, chaos must follow order?

Or is it that India was not such an idyllic paradise ever and that all human beings have their problems and blind sides?

Is the basic problem the Indian cultural idea of rigid social status and some jobs are beneath other people to perform, the deeply entrenched pecking order?

When other civilizations came in, did they do things to exacerbate the problem? Such as cause a Brain Drain of the best minds to flee the country, so is basically just a bunch of low IQ people are left to run everything?

Because to have a workable solution, one needs to fully understand the problem first.


I am guessing that all of the above things added to the problem. And guessing that the problem will be rectified by when the Brain Drainers "give back" to their communities of origin. If that ever happens at all.


Do you feel that it is just an area of the world condemned to be a sewage pit?



There was an interesting piece in The New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell about how SAT scores have been going up for the past century in the West i.e. for the SAT median score to be 100, they have to keep on tweaking the test so that the average score is 100. So every 20 years they have to make the test harder amd harder.

So it was saying that in the 1940s that Southern Italians had very low SAT scores when they first moved to USA. But then their scores did not remain low. Their scores were low because they came from an impoverished background. But once they got into the US education system and had a more stable living situation, then their scores went up.

Also it was saying that if your parents were of avergae intelligence in 1940s and had an SAT score of 100, that means today their score would be in the 70s i.e. your parents would be considered special ed or mentally retarded today.

So when you tell someone your IQ, you have to specifiy which WISC test it was that they took, because the test kept on getting harder and harder.

So seems like basically there are just alot of low IQ people in India, the the same way that Southern Italians had low IQ when they first came to the US.

So it seems like one answer would be for there to be social programs to lift people out of having a low IQ such as free and compulsory education and enough food and housing for everyone i.e. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.



So do you think that it would take a many-pronged approach to do environmental cleanup in India? And many generations? And very gradual progress?

For example in the US there was not even Environmental Law until the 1970s. But it all began with a lady who had a dream that a Native American Indian chief was crying his tears into a river. Then a Native American lady had the same dream on the same night. They happened to know each other and they began a campaign by dropping off the polluted river water to their elected officials.

They found out that there were no laws against pollution. So they got enough support to make a new law, the 1970 Environmental Clean Water Act.

So to come back around to Bhangi Bihari, such a change on the earth level does seem to begin with a spiritual vision. And it can begin with one person. The chief who named the river called it, "Crystal Clear: Can See the Pebbles on the Bottom".

When the ladies began mailing the river water to their elected officials it had been polluted for 100 years by paper mills dumping all of their dyes and effluents into the river. And now the river is again crystal clear you can see the pebbles on the bottom of it.

So it can be done but it seems to require certain social conditions such as an educated populace and a certain level of government is in place. Whereas if you read The Corruption Index, India always places very high on it.

Well just wondering what do you think, can positive change ever happen in India? And how did it get to this point?

Aum Tat Sat.

Anonymous said...

From various traditions:

The Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition:

"15. One should not be neglectful in ordinary dealings" --one of the 64 limbs of bhakti, as descibed by Srila Rupa Goswamipada.

Putting pollutants into rivers and streams and the earth, polluting the earth, not cleaning up refuse, would be "neglectful in ordinary dealings". So if we educate others how to be more attentive in these ordinary dealings then we are helping them to develop one of their limbs of bhakti.

***************

From the Buddhist tradition:

source: www.cuke.com
Comments sections
5-14-04 "On sitting zazen and sweeping the temple"

"There are only two jobs for a monk: meditating and sweeping the temple..."

"Our practice consists of sitting zazen and sweeping the garden. Sitting zazen mean all that we do which awakens us to Reality, truth, what we really are, and is beyond conceptualizing; sweeping the garden means to take care of phenomenae..."

"Dr. Rick Levine remembers a lecture given by Richard Baker at San Francisco Zen Center wherein Gary Snyder had gone to his teacher, Oda Sesso, and said that he was involved with work like environmentalism and what did Sesso think of that? Sesso replied that there are two jobs for a monk: 'Our practice consists of zazen and sweeping the garden; it doesn't matter how big the garden is...it's up to you to decide where the boundaries of the temple are'..."

**************

So all in all, whatever your tradition, once a person attains to a certain level of realization then it is simply one of the two tasks of the sadhaka: (1) to go within and (2) to take care of the external world.

********************
Shiva Siddhanta tradition:

In Shiva Siddhanta is called "All three worlds working together in harmony":

Bhuloka or earth plane is the First World of tangible forms; Second World of the Devas is the Devaloka and the astral plane; Third World of the Mahadevas or the Karanaloka, which we can access when we meditate and go out the Door of Brahma and into the higher Chakras above the Sahasrara.

But is up to us to do these things. The reason why from the Shiva Siddhanta perspective is there are three types of souls on the Bhu-loka realm at any given time: old souls, medium souls, and young souls.

Young souls do not know right from wrong and identify with the body; their goal is to merge with another body. Medium souls merge with ideas. Old souls are fried on it all and want to merge [have yoga] with God/dess.

So will be very difficult for this world to ever be "perfect" as long as there are always these three kinds of souls co-existing in it.

But if you feel it to be part of your dharma and why you are on this earth, your mission, to meditate and sweep: then perhaps some little small corner of the world will be in harmony with the Devaloka and the Karanaloka. And that is probably the best we can do as individuals.

And we can have compassion on the young souls. We were once young souls ourselves and pissed and shit everywhere like an animal, so perhaps now if we are more evolved we can make prayascitta for our unenlightened actions in past lives by teaching the young souls.

Also the old souls are not angry with anybody because they remember what is was like to be a young soul. So they just model and teach the right behaviors--the developmental task of the old soul--embued with the equanimity of one who sees the world with the same angle of vision that the Mahadevas see it.

Aum Tat Sat.

Jagat said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you very much for shining a little light in this corner of your world. Your comments, references, suggestions and observations are all very useful and worthwhile.

With regards to your many questions, I would say that much of the problem arises from the current state of anarchic growth, much as described by our other anonymous poster. And, of course, there is hope. Sooner or later, this too will seep into the national consciousness. But it will require the efforts of individuals. My primary concern is indeed that the concept of the garden or mandir needs to be enlarged.

(But then again, many of the temples are not so clean. Iskcon temples are in part popular because they are so effulgently clean. Others are starting to imitate them.)

So, when I pick up the broom, I hope you will be there to join me for a day or two.

Radhe Radhe,

Jagat

Anonymous said...

Namaste,

Okay, I will take you up on that offer, but definitely for more than a day or two...more like we are already co-working civil service sanitation engineers in the expat Karanaloka Civil Service...some days slacking and other days counting the days/ years/ months until we can retire.

And this blog is like the walkie-talkie that the sanitation workers use to talk to each other and let the other workers know the various
crises that need to be cleaned up, who is cleaning up what mess. and how it's coming along.


Also any type of teaching job is an important type of brooming. Because not everyone is patient enough to help others organize their minds and what goes into it.

The mind is a type of garden: if you put garbage into it then garbage is what comes out of it.
So is a very important job to teach young people, especially those who may--in truth--be old souls.

They may even be older souls by virtue of reincarnation than the college students you had in Canada.
So perhaps they need you more and that's why you are there.

Hope it turns out to be a very nice win-win situation for you; keep us apprised of how it goes!

Is also nice to hear that the ISKCON temples in India are admired for their standard of cleanliness and that they are even being imitated. Is interesting the ways of the Mahadevas and how they work.

I really hope things go well for you in India. To me it seems like by seeing firsthand some harsh realities, you have already become much more sober-minded than you would have, had you remained in the West. You are being reminded that life on the plane of Bhuloka is suffering [First Noble Truth of the Buddha].

"The Istha Devata has the ability to scan ahead in time and make a sharp and often painful adjustment in the life of a devotee to protect him/her from an even greater tragedy or mental abyss".
and
"All of our selflessness and selfless actions feed the soul body. Selfishness, greed, giving power to the instinctive elements
starve the soul body" -- Shivaya Subramuniya.

Radhe Radhe Japa Karo!
Aum

Jagat said...

The Narottamadas Institue of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering. NISEE.

Jagat said...

Mayavati! Govardhan is in your pradesh. Are you listening? These are your people...

Anonymous said...

NISEE - that is hilarious!

NTd is the Emeritis Department Chair

Post doc in Hydraulic [fluids and wastewater] and Environmental Engineering

The grad students say they majored in "Now I see" [NISEE]

Oh yeah. Has links to the philosophy department, where they share the same lab