Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Radha Kund 1945

Someone sent me this picture. After reading Madhavanandaji's latest blogs, it sure looks peaceful... like the way we idealized it. What is being lost? And can it be brought back? That which brought us to Radha Kund is that which is destroying it. Somewhat ironic.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps now its understood what Bhaktisidhanta was talking about...?

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps now its understood what Bhaktisidhanta was talking about...?"

He talked about alot of things, to which are you referring?

I don't recall reading any comments made about the noise levels in the Dham and the loss of peace and serenity, which is what this post is about. But if he did please provide us with some quotes.

The Gaudiya Maths also loudblast their kirtans and kathas from loudspeakers.

It would be great if all the "leaders" of various religious sects in Braj could band together and agree not to use loudspeakers, or at least keep them to a low decible output. There has got to be some regulations in place.

Jagat said...

I agree about noise levels, which was one of the things that Madhavananda did mention. However, the main complaint, as I read it, was that there is more corruption than sincere bhajan going on. I got the impression that Madhava was generally fed up after a couple of bad experiences, even though he is keeping his center strong.

As to Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, we must recognize that he was seeing the same kinds of problems in the tyagi Vaishnava community and he made certain decisions in order to circumvent the entire existing Vaishnava society. Basically, he was saying, we need to start afresh. I do think he deserves credit for his accomplishments. He paid a price--namely the esoteric or rasika aspects of the lila, etc., but he compensated in other ways, namely by emphasizing kirtan, the philosophical base of Vaishnavism, and the creation of institutions that would regulate behavior of those who claim to represent the Dharma.

For those of us who have been critical of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, and I have to include myself here, there has been a reluctance to admit that he was right about certain things, especially when it comes to standards in the vairagi community.

Now whether his solution was the best one or not, that is still open to debate. If we are dissatisfied with the Gaudiya Math or Iskcon, and yet are left with no satisfactory alternatives, then what is left?

Power just went out. Have to post this unfinished comment right now.

anuradha said...

And I think Bhaktisiddhanta was conscious of the fact he was trying to make the best deal out of a bad bargain. His attitude towards organized religion was ambivalent and he had doubts about his own organization also.

Of course in organized religion doubts are a sign of weakness and many of his followers will not admit that he might have had some about the course of action taken.

Since in Indian guru-disciple dynamics we have stripped the guru of all humanity (I think it is even one of the ten offences to consider him human, for real) there is no place for doubts in the guru and doubts in the disciple about the guru. I think it is not realistic and even unhealthy in the longer term.
It is criticism earlier expressed by Jagat and I tend to agree.

We also do not allow ourselves the beautiful lessons to be learned from their life stories as humans struggling with issues we are also struggling with... as humans.

About noise and pollution in the Dhama. I was also rather irritated with the loud and metallic sounding speakers on my own Math in Mayapur. Further down the river even Gadadhara Prana has speakers at his little one-man-ashrama !

There is a worldwide loudspeaker war going on by mosques and temples alike, mass brainwashing. I think we follow the muslim example of Allahakbarring all the beautiful places in the world. Many westerners have fled from Java the last 10 years because they couldn't get proper sleep anywhere on the island, minarets screaming everywhere constantly.
What about finding God in silence and in the sounds of nature ? Unfortunately we cannot hear it anymore, just as we cannot see stars anymore because of light pollution.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bhaktisiddhanta's words in terms of the sometimes cheap nature of spiritual showmanship, in many ways, were correct but to thnk that no one outside of Bhaktisiddhnata ever thought them, said them, preached against them or acted against them is just plain silly. Speak to a Babaji and you wont hear a much diferent verdict.

An important point is that those very same issues have plagued Bhaktisiddhanta's institution, the Gaudiya Matha, and it's various offshoots. The conclusion? Raganuga bhakti and how/when it is practiced is not the culprit. The culprit? Peoples natural nature to cheat and seek fame through "spiritual" showmanship.

Anonymous said...

"As to Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, we must recognize that he was seeing the same kinds of problems in the tyagi Vaishnava community and he made certain decisions in order to circumvent the entire existing Vaishnava society"

Yeah but similar things go on in Gaudiya Math.

Madhavananda said...

For the curious and the crazy:

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

An exclusive Vraja Journal feature on what I really think about stuff.

jijaji said...

I have to say that all this 'corruption' in this community or that community be it babaji, gaudiya math, iskcon, or the ramakrishna mission usually has is basis in unhealthy unrealistic attitudes towards women and sex. These religions and organizations generally consider women to hold some secondary position, they are not allowed the same privilege's as men, are seen to be bad if associated with too much etc etc ..

It is fear of sex basically, the whole of the gaudiya religion (except for a few reformed western sectors) and perhaps sahajiyas (jagat may give some insight on that) are fearful of their own, women, sexuality and desires, and rather than be taught about it in a healthy manner as they grow up, they are taught to shun it avoid it at all possibilities.

However, sexual desire cannot be repressed or avoided and the more it is the more the kettle boils and steams, that is why all these celibate promoting hyper masculine religions are plagued with so called 'corruption' and sex-scandals. It is 'corruption' because they have become repressed there own natural biological energies which creates perversion.

They have never been given the chance to have a natural healthy relationship with a women where sexuality is not condemned, as a result in all these groups there are sex scandals, affairs, celibate monks masturbating and molesting children.

This is not a joke it is a serious matter has seriously hurt many many people.

I am not advocating 'free sex' as some may think here, but a healthiness free from
'corruption' which can only come when women are seen as equals and celibacy is not held as the highest standard, which creates repressed perverts.

jijaji

Jagat said...

Of course I agree with much of what Jijaji says here. But I am somewhat unconvinced that there is any perfect solution.

I am really sorry that I have had to cut back on this service to the devotees of late. There are numerous half-finished articles festering in my hard drive, but I can't bring them up to speed.

One of these days I will both get the time, the energy and the inspiration to post them.

In the meantime, I will be in Vrindavan from the 12th to the 17th or 18th. Probably find me at the Jiva Institute.

Jai Radhe!!

Anonymous said...

As Jagat says, a perfect solution may not be possible. But as Jijaji proposes, a healthier view of sexuality, one that at the very least is free of corruption, could and indeed SHOULD be the norm in human society at large, what to speak of among the enlightened section. What we see however, is the opposite: Religions, perceiving that sexuality is at the core of the human condition, tell us to shun it altogether. In my view, this is where the problem lies: Instead of identifying the 'culprit' as sexuality itself, the blame is transfered to the 'weak' parties, namely women, and by degrees, children. What does this tell us of the human condition? It says that our cycle of rebirths is perpetually fed by this shortsightness, it tells us that instead of taking responsibility for their own sex desires, men instead transfer said responsibility to the sheer existence of women! Ultimately we are not women nor men as we know it presently, but absolutely equal-in-freedom beings.

Jijaji says that when celibacy is not held as the highest standard and both sexes are seen as equal, we may be free of corruption. Such high standard of inspiration in our good Ji, many thanks!

a random homosexual interstellar traveller said...

OR, surprise surprise, you may wanna consider that religion is the problem and get out of it altogether.

Anonymous said...

Dandavats, rather should I say, Lingam-vats, or er uh, just kidding, how about "Namaste"...

Something we have now that they didn't have back in the day is there is just more information out there now about everything.

Such as there are some people who really don't like sex. Just google "asexual" or whatever they call themselves, I forget. I saw also on Oprah: there are some people that how their brain is hrad-wired, sex is just not big of a thing for them. They have no interest in it. But they have loving relationships with others. Just the focus of it is not about sex.

Now we know more that we are all hard-wired differently. We have the Human Genome Project and now we know that certain genes are responsible for a genuine lifelong non-interest in sex.

We also now know that everyone is different and some people can start out this way and then at mid-life do a 180. That can be more easily predicted by the astrological chart. Is so easy to see in the astro chart is almost like "Duh".

So at any rate, whether you use neuroscience, or what we know about DNA andgenes, there is a very wide range and variety of human experience, just from Nature
[versus Nurture].

But back in the day people did not know this: neither the ones it was happening to, nor the ones who they knew.

So since everyone was ignorant basically as to the reason why, then they made up all of these theories such as "You are a god-man. So you should be our fearless leader. Because you are strikingly different from all of us."

The same way in which, if you read Pierre Loti's "India" [published 1899-1900] at the Jagannatha Temple in India they had five and six-legged cows there.

Now we know that a five or six-legged cow is a birth defect and comes from too much nuclear radiation or just the genes went all wacky. But back in the day they don't know all of this stuff so they think is "special".

And for example in Natl Geographic recently had an article about in Japan there is a gene that if it gets passed on to you, then you do not feel heat or cold or pain. And because people interbreed over there, more Japanese have it than any other place on earth.

So get someone who cannot feel any heat or cold or pain, then prior to the Human Genome Project or Neuroscience, then people in awe said, "You are a god-man. Be our fearless leader" and also "Teach us how we may also be like that."

But did anyone say, "No I won't, you blankin morons, I can't teach you that: because it's from my genes, I was born this way. Go to college jeez or read some books besides cult literature."

No, people milked it and said, well...go rent the video "The Life of Brian" to see what they did.

Anyway maybe some people are horn-dogs, maybe some not. Like this one brahmana I know, when I told him, "Hey alot of people are way less lusty than the Hare Krishnas" and told him about this and what I saw on Oprah then he was all offended and started yelling at me: "No!!!You have to be a pure devotee to not be into sex!!!"

And I was all like "No, I beg to differ: there is a wide variety of human experience, some people are XX, some are XY, some are XYY, and all the stuff you can read about in your PSY 320 Developmental Psy textbook like Kleinfelter's Syndrome and so on.

But you know: devotees can't learn about science because it is for fools and rascals.

The same person also told me there was no such thing as a virus because he never read about it in any of Prabhupada's books. Only after he got three virus-caused illnesses and the doctors gave him a brochure describing what caused it, then he could accept that MAYBE there was such a thing as viruses.

So basically you have thousands of years of con artists just making alot of things up as to "why" some people are lusty or not. But really they didn't know and had to make a living so they just said, "Well I will write you a prescription so you can be like me....here: chant two gayatris and call me in the morning."

Nobody was there to tell them that it is a symptom of being bi-polar to sleep for 4 hours a night and cry half of the time. No people just think, "Oh yeah great idea: start a crying school and don't ever sleep hardly at all." Nobody examined them by DSM-IV and said, "Er uh wait a minute I think you may be bi-polar."

No, whoever just acts all bi-polar and people say, "That is a symptom of a pure devotee, to be bi-polar."

And so on. Just there was no medical model in place for people to self-assess nor to assess others. So that is how people get away with it for thousands of years and get people to do whatever they tell them to do.

Because some people were out of the ordinary but not necessarily because they were any more spiritual than you or I. They just had a certain DNA.

anuradha said...

What is astonishing to me is that religion is more 'tolerant' to expressions of violence than expressions of sexuality. Even worse.... violence is sometimes allowed to suppress sexuality.

Our Dutch christian political parties get a nervous attack from an H&M billboard depicting a beautiful women in a silver bikini (that covered all the private parts by the way) yet deem it religious freedom when an imam tells his audience that it is okay to kill a homo.

And to the anonymous commentator. Indeed religion identifies women as the culprit of our sexual desires. But real strong arguments to make sexuality itself the culprit of our condition are maybe not so strong either. Especially since hypocrisy and violence seem much more at the root of any unwanted condition. Sexuality can be both pure and perverse, violence and hypocrisy are always perverse. Religion mostly marches in the realm of violence and hypocrisy. Maybe this kind of religion should become identified as the number one culprit of our unwanted condition.

Tapati said...

I applaud Jijaji for continuing to highlight the abuses of women in these religious systems.

One day, when contemplating how women get the blame and/or are expected to swath themselves head to toe in cloth no matter how hot the day, I came up with the following parody of fundie men's attitudes towards the sense object:

DAMN PIZZA!
Damn pizza for putting all this plaque in my arteries. It just sits there so wantonly, with its cheese and tomatoes and basil all openly visible for all to see, tempting us with its oozing sauce. Pizza is such a slut! If only it would modestly and chastely cover itself and stop advertising its warm, cheesy goodness I know I could remain on the platform of a heart healthy diet forever and ever, thus achieving the elusive goal of heart health. Damn pizza!

Anonymous said...

"OR, surprise surprise, you may wanna consider that religion is the problem and get out of it altogether.

Not so surprise, we think of that of course. But guess what, religion is a trait of being human just as sexuality, need for food, sleep, air, conversation, art, philosophy, recreation, science, etc are. Religion is perhaps the smartest of all these traits, and therefore perhaps the key to being human altogether.

blatantly homosexual interstellar traveller said...

Congrats anuradha, you're on the track.

Good on ya tapati, pizza's my fave food too. I can relate

Anonymous said...

"I applaud Jijaji for continuing to highlight the abuses of women in these religious systems."

Indeed, this is the most dignified and brave way for a man to be popular among women. Should be popular for that as well among fellow men.

Real men respect women.

irreverent homosexual interstellar traveller said...

But guess what, religion is a trait of being human just as sexuality, need for food, sleep, air, conversation, art, philosophy, recreation, science, etc are. Religion is perhaps the smartest of all these traits, and therefore perhaps the key to being human altogether.

yeah, religion is definitely a smart thing. it provides lots of excuses for beating up women and kids, and if you disagree with people over their differing religious views, it lets you kill them for having a different opinion. wonderful invention, religion, isnt it? we need it more than we need food and air, those women wont beat themselves ya know!

Anonymous said...

Dandavats, Pranams, Namaste ~

Re: "What astonishes me is that religion is more 'tolerant' to expressions of violence than sexuality..."

Yes, that is why I just want God/dess, if she or he does really exist, to get his or her divine butt over here and be accountable.

I mean SuperBowl Sunday would have been the PERFECT chance for God/dess to appear, show all of his/her divine forms, and then just flat out tell everybody:

"Every religion is as good as the rest so just stop killing each other over it."

or

"I prefer Bible Belt based worship so everybody just stick to that program."

or

" I am the merciful Lord Chaitanya and whoever believes in me will be saved, but whoever does not believe in me I WILL DESTROY YOU"

[I just read that on one of the other sites...oh yeah, that's a merciful God for you...if a teacher did that s/he would be fired, if your babysitter did that s/he would be arrested, but no God can do that, our divine parent, even though if our mortal parents did that then Child Protective Services would put us in a foster home...]



You know if God/dess exists then just do what any competent parent or educator would do and clarify for your children/ students / people that you don't like the whole violence thing in your name.


But since God doesn't, this makes me tend to believe that God might be a man after all.

Because in one of Dave Barry's books, he explains how men communicate with each other. They basically just say one of these two things: "Look at that, I can't believe he was so close to the 50 yard line" and "Get me another beer".


Versus women, there is a book called Female Porn and one of the pages has a man looking into the reader's eyes and saying, "Tell me more. No you're not talking too much. Tell me everything about it. I want to hear more."


So based on Dave Barry's observations alone, it seems like God--if s/he does exist--must be a man. He enjoys making various factions or teams. Then he enjoys watching them fight. Then he asks for a beer.



Versus if God was a woman, I mean she would be on TV all day long telling us what she is thinking, how she likes things done, how she wants her nails done, what private school she wants her children to attend, where she wants to go shopping next, and so on.


If God was really a woman I think we would be getting alot more information on a daily basis and making things alot more clear to everyone about how she wants things done.

But no, "God" is acting like a man who is lost but refuses to pull over and ask for directions or look at a map. And refuses to listen to his girlfriend screaming at him, "Pull over you idiot, how long are you going to drive around lost like this?!!!"



Anyway I agree with you, the whole fighting over religion thing I am fried on. And I just want God to end it. And why doesn't God end it? What is the point of killing people? What does it accomplish?

And if God doesn't have the balls or common decency to come out of his secluded undisclosed location [where he hides out all day long like Dick Cheney] tell everyone to stop fighting, and let us all know what the program is, then I'm sorry but God I really wanted to respect you and like you and believe in you. But you need to get some training from normal people how to behave.

Maybe God has Asperger's Syndrome and lacks social skills.

jijaji said...

Thank you Tapati and to the anon poster..

I cried today hearing the news of Lila from Australia dying in Vrndavana, it made me very sad and very angry and I could not help but think that yes although an extreme case it has it's roots in unhealthy sexual attitudes that men seem to reek of in India due to being taught such sexism in the religions there.

Anyone who has gone to India, especially females know this, so many (not all) of the men are out and out disgusting, and I say again it is due to repressed sexuality in them that leaks out in perverted behavior, and this killing of Lila was a very extreme case I believe.
The only way it will ever change is with some reformation plain and simple.

jeej

Anonymous said...

I think basically the problem can be traced back to Mother Yasoda using corporal punishment on Krsna and not time out. Today we cannot beat with stick or tie our kid to large heavy object because our kid would call 911 with cell phone and Child Protective Services will enter the picture. Kids who are beaten have low self esteem, thus creating spiral chain. So in the future if Mother Yasoda will use time-out then that would help all of us.

Second problem arising from first problem of Krsna having low self-esteem due to being on receiving end of corporal punishment, in the future when Desperate Housewives approach Krsna to meet in the dead of night then he could invent night school aka community college for them to attend.

And because his self-esteem would be better, he could say: "I know you are lonely but we all have our problems. Mindless sex is not going to solve anything. Listen why don't you start going to community college at night?

"Then transfer over to a four year college when you have enough credits. Then get your MA and PhD and so on. And you other girls not so academically inclined I think start a web business marketing your artisanal cheeses...."