Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Razor's Edge

Sorry, friends, for not posting much of late. As usual, there are many beginnings, but most don't pass the editor's desk. This post was begun on the 16th. I am posting on the 21st, so there are mixed time references.

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Interesting day, yesterday. First a lengthy class and discussion with Satya Narayan, and then a visit to Haridas Shastri. I spent the earlier part of the day indulging in my greatest distraction and perhaps the bane of my existence, typing a book, the Sarva-siddhānta-saṅgraha, attributed to Shankaracharya, but clearly not. Even here, in the section on Nyaya, the following verse is found—

varaṁ vṛndāvane ramye śṛgālatvaṁ vṛṇomy aham
vaiśeṣikokta-mokṣāt tu sukha-leśa-vivarjitāt 40
yo veda-vihitair yajṣair īśvarasya prasādataḥ
mūrcchām icchati yatnena pāṣāṇavad avasthitim 41

I prefer to be a jackal in the beautiful land of Vrindavan rather than accept the liberation of the Vaiseshikas, which is without even a drop of happiness. By performing the Vedic sacrifices, they strive laboriously to attain, by God’s grace, a state like that of a stone. (9.40-41)

Nice to see Vrindavan get a mention, even though it is sort of a mute glorification. Still, sounds like there is a speck of Prabodhananda in there.

I won’t spend too much time recounting Satya Narayan Dasji’s lecture, which was based on an email exchange he had with a certain devotee now living in South Africa, who had decided to share his “realizations,” namely that all was consciousness, and that phenomena, of this world or of Vaikuntha, were all simply illusions. Satya Narayan Dasji wrote back a funny letter suggesting why not go all the way and say that consciousness too is an illusion, as some Buddhists have it, and declare that illusion is the only reality.

But if I were to filter out one thought, it was his discussion of this age of information. Because so much information is available to us, we are fooled into thinking that we have knowledge. And not only do we think we have knowledge, but we also think foolishly that we have to clutter up the ether with our observations and “realizations.”

So he made fun of blogging, too, which is just another part of that overdose of information and artificial idea that makes us believe that fanning the flames of information overload somehow makes our existence meaningful. Oh well, I guess I am a slave to my nature, so here I am, blogging. The message is being passed on--There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. True wisdom may be expressed in words, but it does not come from words alone.

By the way, in that discussion, Satya Narayan Dasji confirmed Krishnadas’s points about sāyujya liberation being a real and permanent option, since Kapila names it as one of the five kinds of mukti. He said that “just being” is a kind of service. In discussing the samprajñāta and asamprajñāta samādhis, he said that in the latter, there was only abheda, and no bheda, so there was no way of fudging the idea that subject-object awareness could be non-dual in such samadhi, as Bhaktivinoda seems to have done.

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Haridas Shastri may be 91 years old, but his physical health and mental alertness appear optimal. A life of scholarship and service to cows has kept him agile, both in body and intellect. He looks like he is good for another twenty years. And speaking of cows, his herd is truly impressive. The fame of his seva has spread to the extent that in the motor rickshaw on the way to Mathura Station, one fellow passenger was recounting how Shastriji feeds them ghee, and with even more astonished amazement, that he lets the calves drink ̮90%̮ of the cows' milk.

I took some notes of what Haridasji said, but they are a mess and don't make must sense to me now, just a few days later. The main point I retained, to which he returned again and again, was the distinction between prakṛti (the true or original form) and vikṛti (deviation or deformation) of religion.

Of course it is possible to argue that the Goswamis, especially Jiva, had a very strong idea of the "true religion" and the Truth. As I was saying just the other day in relation to the Bhagavat-sandarbha; there is the powerful idea of some essential understanding of the Deity that is more perfect theologically and needs to be sought out. The question is to what extent the mythological and ritual elements interfere with or confuse the issues where that perceived perfection occurs.

The specific examples that Haridasji mentioned were the "marriage of Radha and Krishna" that was to take place at the Radha Shyamasundar mandir, according to their flyer, for the 479th year in a row. Hardly a new innovation, it would seem. Shastriji also said that most of what passes for speaking on Harikatha these days is purely entertainment. Actually, I had just been thinking that Vrindavan seemed something like the Nashville, Tennessee, of Harikatha. But I am not quite so negative about that, even though I believe firmly that we must push for what is truest to ourselves in the search for God. There is really no difference between the two.

After all, if perfection is so exclusive and refined, then surely the multiple imperfect variations are at least partially admirable, inasmuch as they contain parts of the Truth. How can we be so troubled and alienated by another's failure to attain the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth when it is such a distant and unattainable, even dubious proposition? Especially when we are caught up in the languages of symbols, etc.?

The true solution to imperfection can only be love, not intellectual correctness. Or, at least, the concept of unconditional love has to be at the basis of our intellectual correctness, not some kind of DukRG-karaNe or pure mathematics.

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On Ekadasi, I went to Radha Kund and met Madhavananda. We talked of many things, but one of them was this idea of the narrowness of the concept of perfection. One of the central ideas in my thinking is the introduction of sexuality as an element of sādhana. This may seem like an over-widening of the scope of legitimate practices (which is indeed a principal objection, isn't it?), and indeed that is the case on one level. After all, if we take the success rate of those who adopt pure celibacy, especially where the object of meditation is Radha and Krishna's madhura līlā, it seems like a pure kindness to protect the weak from a life of hypocrisy. But in fact, the concept of spiritual perfection will always be narrow. It will always be the kṣurasya dhārā, the razor's edge. There are too many obstacles to purity, and we still have to fight against them, whether or not we accept Sahaja sādhana or any other.

So, it would be a total mistake to think that the admission of sexuality into the process of sādhana is somehow an excuse for licentiousness. Or that "free love" will magically free one from the basic exigencies of personal morality, or society from the evils of sexual exploitation, etc. Or that pure bhakti and prema, which remain the only objectives of this sādhana, can be had by a process that ignores these basic exigencies.

Someone told me that Nitai had recently made some comments on his forum about my "sahajiyaism." I have not read them and really have no intention of bothering to look them up. But if the information I received was correct, he subscribes to the theory of "Jagat is a horny old guy who is legitimizing his sexual desires with complex theological mystifications." Apparently he also said, no doubt from experience, that Sahajiyaism is a dead end, leading only to "sore sex organs." If that is an incorrect representation of what he said, I hope someone will adjust it.

At any rate, that is not at all a good understanding of what I am on about, folks. When I speak of prema prayojan, I am not talking about free love, nor am I talking about a sādhana that is exclusively tantric in nature. Please try to understand. Radha and Krishna symbolize achintya-bhedabheda, without which True Love is impossible. They symbolize the love of self that comes with overcoming psychological imbalances; they symbolize the love of Other in all its manifestations, but primarily in the love of others in the world and in the love of God, who is the Supreme Other.

The practice of sādhana with a partner is meant to function as an engine of love. The pleasure of sexual relations is not meant to be an end in itself, but through the cultivation of the mode of goodness, it becomes a powerful means of channeling one's meditation towards God, not exclusively because of its activation of the genitals, but because genital activity is conducive to the activation of deep feelings of love.

Although elements of lila smaran are possible in this practice, and are indeed attained with greater facility than through the mechanical process that is most often prescribed, its main end is the cultivation of bhava. In other words, lila smarana arises more easily out of bhava than the other way around. For too many people, the ashta kaliya lila of Radha and Krishna as currently envisioned are more of an obstacle to the culture of the bhava than an aid, especially when treated as a kind of complex vaidhi process, i.e., a mechanical obligation.

Most people, including Haridas Shastri, etc., all make a concerted effort to separate the psychology of "material" love from the "siddha" psychology of the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani. It is true that there are differences as there always are when distinguishing ideal from accident. But there would be no meaning to ideals if there were no glimmers of light in real experience. The metaphor of love applied to the Deity works both ways: Not only does it legitimize the idea of love as having meaning in this world (otherwise the analogy would not work), but it provides the means of purifying and sanctifying it.

The Sahaja sādhana I talk about concentrates on this glimmer of light, much in the way that a person rubbing two sticks together to make fire blows on the sparks and first puffs of smoke to turn it into a flame.

Or we may talk of it as a light being shone between two mirrors--one being the mirror of experience in the world, the other being the mirror of the ideal love expounded on by Rupa Goswami. In that respect, in fact, all of the five relationships can be incorporated into "Sahaja sādhanas," as we are not so much primarily about physical sex, but about the loving relationships that are mirrored in our experience of real life.

In this way, we cannot make an exception in the case of madhura rasa, saying that it is O.K. to see the beauty of one's own baby and think of Bal Gopal or baby Radha, but it is not O.K. to see the glance of affection in the eyes of our beloved and see reflected there Radha's glance of love for Krishna. Or that the weighty burden of love in separation that we feel does not mirror, however infinitesmally, Radha as described in the Hamsaduta, etc.

The relation between the two is not one of substitution or replacement; it is an opening of the door to anubhava. In other words, it is not that these experiences of human love replace Radha-Krishna bhakti, or that Radha-Krishna somehow are a projection that comes out of worldly sexual frustration, or that misunderstood they produce a hankering after material sexuality, or any other of the varieties of misconception that inevitably arise out of this sādhana. In fact, for a devotee, that love IS Radha, and that love is itself a sādhana to attaining Radha. Love comes from love.

Whatever meaning there is in the concept of suchi (pure) rasa, which has been praised by poets around the world as the summum bonum of human experience, which has been diluted, perverted and corrupted by rajo-guna and tamo-guna into nothing more than base sexuality or pornography of various kinds, comes from Radha and Krishna, as the Divine and Original Lovers. God said, I don't like being alone, and so He became a couple locked in embrace. That is the beginning of creation, of multiplicity, of love. anandAd imAni bhUtAni jAyante.

Sex desire is the desire for union. There is really no distinction between the elemental energy that is directed into sex desire and the desire that is directed into the search for God. There is only one energy, the spiritual energy of consciousness, that is filtered and channeled in various ways by the modes of material nature.

But the concept of madhura rasa makes this understanding of "libido" even more clear. When joined with ideas of tantric sublimation, there is a powerful culture of love. It cannot, must not, be seen as separate from the idea of prema bhakti, as love of God. Indeed, I think there is a valid argument to be made that the culture of madhura rasa bhakti is practically impossible without the experience and culture of love in this world, in the very sense that I talk about it.

Is it then something that has become free and open for everyone possessing genitals? On one level, yes. Just as Harinam is available to anyone with a tongue. But does that mean that there are no hoops to pass through on the way to perfection? Of course not. The goal is perfection of the human form of life.

Blessed are those who have a loving sadhaka partner with whom they can share the sounds of the diksha mantras, with whom they can mirror the power of love, with whom they can activate the greatest psychic and physiological force that exists in the human body, and channel it in the direction of love for the root of all existence, Sri Sri Radha and Rasabihari.

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I do want to say one more thing. I got a copy of Satya Narayan Dasji's The Yoga of Dejection. As I have mentioned, I have been giving a Gita class here, more or less daily, and we just finished the first chapter, which I went through rather quickly because of time constraints. Still I was interested to see what Satya Narayan Dasji had to say, to see what I had missed, as it were. I read almost right through the entire book on the train, and now I rather wish that I had done so before I started giving those classes.

I am very impressed by Satya Narayan's analysis and the use he makes of this material. Besides presenting many of the background stories of the Mahabharata, with an unfailing eye for the lessons they convey, his understanding of psychology is very good and he really brings out better than any person I have seen all the nuances of Arjuna's situation.

I especially liked his comments about "placing the chariot between the two armies." The words senayor ubhayor madhye, which are repeated several times up to 2.10 with powerful poetic effect. Their repetition hints at their importance, as does the name Hrishikesh, which accompanies them. I have almost turned the expression into a prayer: "Dear Krishna, please place my chariot between the armies, and reveal to me the attachments and other obstacles I must overcome to attain the perfection of love I so ardently seek."

As a sample, here is one paragraph I also liked, but it could have been chosen almost at random:

One may accept Krishna as one’s guide or charioteer, but when he sets out to fight by serving the Lord, he is often faced with the prospect of losing his material possessions, disappointing his relatives or even severing ties with them. The rule of thumb is "to accept something, one has to give up something else." On the spiritual path one is sure to be tested in this way. Thus, when faced with crises one becomes thoughtful, which here indicates that he becomes overpowered by the thoughts of his weak heart. He starts to rationalize his weakness as altruism or compassion for others. This is human psychology.

That seems to summarize the situation nicely. The sooner we commit ourselves to the “fight”, to put it in Gita-speak, the sooner we will attract the mercy and direction of the Lord. So the Gita is very relevant for every sadhaka.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Many interesting new things to digest and absorb.

In traditional Hindusim, there is the idea of the four legitimate aims of human life: dharma, artha, kama, and moksa.

After we learn the dharma, get training in some right livelihood, the developmental task of the individual is we experience love and Venusian enjoyment.

In astrology would relate to the second house of material things, eleventh house of hopes, dreams, wishes, friends; the seventh house of partnerships and marriage, and the fifth house of children, loving affairs, and creativity.

While I don't exactly 100% get what you are saying, because I am not you and have had a different life path than you, I can agree with you on the path that the ancient seers set out for us in classical Hinduism.

And I think it is brilliant how it is set up in the traditional classical Hindu [not
ISKCON] way:

First we learn the dharma. And if we are lucky, we get a teacher who explains the mystical reasons for maintaining brahmacharya when we are students. And lovingly gives us restraints and practices so we can become sensitive and subtle people who are attuned with subtle things and the beautiful chakras.

Then if we are fortunate, our family hires a jyotish, and or we take it upon ourselves to study astrology, and learn what kind of service we should do as our focus in this lifetime: our areas of gifted and talentedness.

Then once we have all of this under our belt, and armed with astrology and sensitive to beauty, then we can engage in sensuality and it is a LEGITIMATE goal of human life.

In classical Hinduism before one takes the leap into sensuality, a legitimate goal for all as a perk of being human, one has a wide background experience in myth, legend, story-telling, as well as music, fine arts, and aesthetics.

Hinduism is an extremely sensuous and earth-based religion. The beautiful deities, the charming temples, the lovely decorations, the fragrant incense and flowers, all the stories of love and devotion [in whatever tradition you choose], the idea that we put love into food and drink, the idea of anointing the body with rare and costly things...

...such as gems and minerals to adjust our jyotish, such as body-painting, and sacred substances are fragrant and tactilely sensuous like abhisekha and caranamrita. It is such a sensuous religion, the equivalent is not there in the Abrahamic religions.

So definitely if one has this type of sensuous background experience, it is just going to make for that much more of a highly sensual experience than say going to a concert, hearing music about killing with your homies, all women are crack hos, and then getting drunk and shagging someone.


With such a rich sensuous vrittis and vasanas, I don't see how a person could NOT think about their Istha-Devata in the presence of another that you invite into your life, be it in Gandharva union or the more traditional Brahma vivaha samskara.

So if that is what you are saying, I can agree with you: that there is nothing dirty, cheap, tawdry, or impediment to bhakti if one is indeed fortunate and has the astrological chart for sensuous enjoyment with a like-minded sadhaka.

Maybe it is just a new concept for some people why they feel the need to articulate it. But yes, I can agree with you that it is indeed a very sensuous backdrop to lovin' if you are first steeped in the sensuality that Krsna modelled by his studying the 64 Arts and Sciences, most of which are very creative and dazzlingly sensual.

And give me a svatajiya and snigda, like-minded and affectionate, fellow sadhaka and serious practitioner anyday, versus some clueless person. That is a very good cocktail in which definitely you are going to be seeing the Divine, if you are hard-wired to be able to perceive such subtle things.

Then after a lifetime of sensuality [if that is your karma] when you become fried with it, you have the vrittis and vasanas of HInduism and your Istha-Devatas mingled with your sensuous experiences of this world and this anna-maya-kosha, food-based body.

Indeed, it is part of traditional Hinduism and the four legitimate goals of dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. It does say kama.

Of course the scope and sequence in the traditional Hindu schools of sensuality included becoming expert in very subtle ways of giving and receiving energy with another, like massage, which can stimulate the higher chakras.

For a more brahminical couple I would say that there would be a natural focus more on serving with stimulating the higher chakras.

So the bottom line is, kama is seen in the traditional Hinduism as a legitimate goal of life and even leads to moksha. Of course it is all in the individual's astrological chart how it will manifest for each person.

Having said all of that, I don't think it is doing anyone any favor to encourage them to take sannyasa prematurely in life and without consulting the Sannyasa Upanishad as well as other scriptures which tell what kind of jyotish a person should have to be successful at sannyasa.

I think looking at the astrological chart is critical and should be the first step. If the chart says they will have wives or love affairs, then their mentor or guardian, what to speak of a person with the audacity to call themselves a guru, an acharya, a Yuga Acharya, or whatever self-styled appelation, should not go around telling 20 and 30 year olds or even 50 year olds to take sannyasa.

It is a disservice to tell sadhakas and chelas, "Don't look at astrology", "If you are Krsna conscious then astrology doesn't matter", or "If you were with me, none of you would have fallen down."

I think if brahminically inclined people stick to the basics of classical Hinduism vis-a-vis sensuality, that is the least crazy-making policy.

Consult with astrology, check what your prarabdha karmas will be in this lifetime, and recognize kama as one of the four legitimate goals of life.

Otherwise it becomes a very unpleasant and/or awkward and embarrassing situation for all the variously afflicted parties to deal with when the inevitable midlife crisis, or seven year itch, fourteen year itch, comes up.

shiva said...

I find this statement by Satya Narayana to be odd:

"One may accept Krishna as one’s guide or charioteer, but when he sets out to fight by serving the Lord, he is often faced with the prospect of losing his material possessions, disappointing his relatives or even severing ties with them. The rule of thumb is "to accept something, one has to give up something else." On the spiritual path one is sure to be tested in this way. Thus, when faced with crises one becomes thoughtful, which here indicates that he becomes overpowered by the thoughts of his weak heart. He starts to rationalize his weakness as altruism or compassion for others. This is human psychology."

Arjuna wasn't rationalizing his "weakness" as compassion. The text says that Arjuna was compassionate and wanted to be merciful, that was why he didn't want to kill his relatives. His compassion is what led to his weakness of heart i.e. not wanting to do what needed to be done. So Satya Narayana got it backward.

I also found this to be odd:

"Because so much information is available to us, we are fooled into thinking that we have knowledge. And not only do we think we have knowledge, but we also think foolishly that we have to clutter up the ether with our observations and "realizations"."

Whatever someone is writing or "cluttering up the ether" with, is due to the will of God being manifest.

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.13.24

manasā vacasā dṛṣṭyā
gṛhyate 'nyair apīndriyaih
aham eva na matto 'nyad
iti budhyadhvam añjasā

Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts.


Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.15

etad eva hi vijnanam
na tathaikena yena yat
sthity-utpatty-apyayan pasyed
bhavanam tri-gunatmanam

When one no longer sees the twenty-eight separated material elements, which arise from a single cause, but rather sees the cause itself, the Personality of Godhead -- at that time one's direct experience is called vijnana, or self-realization.

Also you wrote

"By the way, in that discussion, SN confirmed Krishnadas’s points about sayujya liberation being a real and permanent option, since Kapila names it as one of the five kinds of mukti. He said that “just being” is a kind of service. In discussing the samprajnata and asamprajnata samadhis, he said that in the latter, there was only abheda, and no bheda, so there was no way of fudging the idea that subject-object awareness could be non-dual in such samadhi, as Bhaktivinoda seems to have done."

Sayujya mukti is seen in different ways according to realization. In fact different gaudiya acaryas have given different understandings on the meaning of sayujya mukti. One understanding is the idea that sayujya means an impersonal merging with a lack of activity and svarupa of the jiva. This is what is commonly thought of as being sayujya mukti as written about by Krishnadasa Kaviraja where it is said that sayujya is outside of Vaikuntha, and not desired by devotees.

Then there is Baladeva Vidybhusana who has a different take on sayujja mukti seeing it as a basic part of the reality of the jivan mukta participating in lila with the Lord. The basic idea is that the jivan mukta is consciously aware of his oneness with the Lord while being able to associate with and interact with the Lord in personal lila pastimes.

How are these contradictory positions harmonized?

They are both right within the context of a specific type of lila. For example Krishnadas is writing about the lila experienced by the devotees who are in ignorance of their own and Radha Krishna's true ontological position. In the Bhagavatam it says that the devotees in Krishna Lila are kept in ignorance by the action of yogamaya, that they are not allowed to be full of knowledge and awareness of their own and Radha Krishna's true ontology. If they were allowed to be self realized and knowledgeable about Radha Krishna then they would be unable to experience the rasa that Radha Krishna wants from them in that lila. A self realized person is consciously aware of his oneness with the Lord, he sees and experiences the Lord within himself controlling everything he does. That type of realization would be anathema to Krishna Lila because in that lila Radha Krishna wants to experience "ordinary" life with "ordinary" people who don't see Radha Krishna as the supreme being. So sayujya mukti in that context is "outside of Vaikuntha" and not desirable.

What Baladeva is talking about is also true, but within the context of the life of a jivan mukta who is not kept in the type of Krishna Lila where ignorance of the absolute truth is necessary for the perfection of that lila. For example in Gaura Lila where some devotees are aware of the position of Nitai and Gauranga. for that lila there is no "ignorance is bliss" paradigm that needs to be maintained. A devotee can be fully enlightened (e.g. having an understanding and awareness of his oneness with the Lord as the basic ontology of his reality), and be able to engage in lila with the Lord at the same time. This can occur for anybody, anytime, it is not limited to Gaura Lila.

Jagat said...

It's getting harder and harder to keep up with this blog. To Anonymous, a very good post, which corresponds to many things I have been saying in the past.

However, there is a difference between kama and prema. You seem very familiar with the various traditions, so I ask you to try to understand this.

To Shiva, thanks once again for making some very valuable points. I have still bracketed the discussion on sayujya mukti, and so I appreciate your reminding me of those alternative interpretations.

As to Arjuna's weakness. Yes he was genuinely kindhearted, but nevertheless, there was an element of rationalization in what he was saying, otherwise, why would Krishna accuse him of being weak, etc., in 2.2-3?

With regards to your "all is Krishna" argument. You know that this is a moving goalpost that we use at our convenience. How could you disagree with anyone if everything was always right? All is Krishna, but differentiated by energies, both internal and external. This differentiation makes sadhana, etc., necessary. Therefore the necessity for a Bhagavad Gita, etc.

But in principle I am with you, and I believe that is what I was saying in a more or less roundabout way. It all depends on your vantage point and what you are trying to communicate. The path IS a razor's edge, but everyone is on the "right path," in the sense that Gita 4.11 states it, because there is no alternative.

Exclusivity is necessary to clarify a sadhana, but one should avoid the pitfalls of exclusivism.

shiva said...

Jagat, before Krishna says that Arjuna is giving into weakness of heart, before Arjuna says anything, the gita says:

tan samiksya sa kaunteyah
sarvan bandhun avasthitan
krpaya parayavisto
visidann idam abravit

When the son of Kunti, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.

He then goes onto to explain that he doesn't want to kill his kinsmen. He felt compassion because being the great warrior that he was he knew he would end up killing so many of his own relatives. To say that it was some kind of weakness which caused him to rationalize his desire not to fight as compassion is not what the gita says. What did Krishna immediately say when Arjuna said he wouldn't fight? He said that the soul never dies, that Arjuna wouldn't be killing anyone because the soul lives on after the death of the body. To claim that Arjuna was faking compassion to cover his "weakness" is simply wrong. He didn't want to kill his family members and people he looked up to, Krishna then said don't be weak, it is your duty to fight, you won't really be killing anyone anyways.

You said

"With regards to your "all is Krishna" argument. You know that this is a moving goalpost that we use at our convenience. How could you disagree with anyone if everything was always right? All is Krishna, but differentiated by energies, both internal and external. This differentiation makes sadhana, etc., necessary. Therefore the necessity for a Bhagavad Gita, etc."

My point wasn't that whatever anyone says or does should be seen as good because God is in control, my point is that because God is in control we should understand why people do what they do. Satya Narayana said

"Because so much information is available to us, we are fooled into thinking that we have knowledge. And not only do we think we have knowledge, but we also think foolishly that we have to clutter up the ether with our observations and "realizations"."

Krishna says

ye yathā māḿ prapadyante
tāḿs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśah

As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.

A realized soul understands that Paramatma is in control over what everyone is doing, even if what a person does or says is wrong, still they are not in actual control over what they do. If I say that the cause of what a person does is their own foolish idea that they have knowledge, and that that idea causes them to foolishly think they should broadcast that knowledge, then I am in igorance of how people function. The verses I quoted are meant to illuminate what is actually causing all things to occur. If I say Satya Narayana or your response is wrong and therefore cannot be caused by paramatma, then I am wrong, even though that wrong idea would also be caused by paramatma. Just because something is not correct or not dharmic doesn't mean it is being caused by the jiva. The jiva has no capacity for independent thought nor action. The mind is not the jiva, nor is the mind under the control of the jiva.

Kapila says

yad vidur hy aniruddhakhyam
hrsikanam adhisvaram
saradendivara-syamam
samradhyam yogibhih sanaih

The mind of the living entity is known by the name of Lord Aniruddha, the supreme ruler of the senses. He possesses a bluish-black form resembling a lotus flower growing in the autumn. He is found slowly by the yogīs.

Krishna says

sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca

I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.

The jiva has no direct access to and control over memory, therefore the jiva cannot be in control of the mind. Without memory we cannot understand anything. But the jiva cannot directly access memory, memory is simply supplied by the mind. Because the mind supplies memory and knowledge the jiva is able to live as an intelligent being. But we shouldn't mistake the jiva as controlling the mind, nor should we mistake the mind to be ourself or an extension of ourself.

Therefore Kapila says

muktāśrayaḿ yarhi nirviṣayaḿ viraktam
nirvāṇam ṛcchati manaḥ sahasā yathārcih
ātmānam atra puruṣo ‘vyavadhānam ekam
anvīkṣate pratinivṛtta-guṇa-pravāhah

When the mind is thus completely freed from all material contamination and detached from material objectives, it is just like the flame of a lamp. At that time the mind is actually dovetailed with that of the Supreme Lord and is experienced as one with Him because it is freed from the interactive flow of the material qualities

so ‘py etayā caramayā manaso nivṛttyā
tasmin mahimny avasitaḥ sukha-duḥkha-bāhye
hetutvam apy asati kartari duḥkhayor yat
svātman vidhatta upalabdha-parātma-kāṣṭhah

Thus situated in the highest transcendental stage, the mind ceases from all material reaction and becomes situated in its own glory, transcendental to all material conceptions of happiness and distress. At that time the yogī realizes the truth of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He discovers that pleasure and pain as well as their interactions, which he attributed to his own self, are actually due to the false ego, which is a product of ignorance.

Krishna says

prakrtyaiva ca karmani
kriyamanani sarvasah
yah pasyati tathatmanam
akartaram sa pasyati

One who can see that all activities are performed by the body, which is created of material nature, and sees that the self does nothing, actually sees.

Bill Morgan said...

Well aint this a meeting of the minds. . . ? Commenting on the proverbal all paths lead to the same distenation. WRONG ! As then if trodden paths lead to the fire at the barn then there would be a denial of choice. Would "N" it ?

Jagat said...

Yes Shiva, but... the point is that some comments are made for the sake of those who are in ignorance. Those who are in knowledge can take care of themselves.

We generally, in this world, take different statements according to the particular purpose for which they were intended.

I for one am cluttering up the ether with a blog because I am made to dance by the modes of material nature due to ignorance, false ego, etc. So you are right, and Satya Narayan is also right.

Gotta be said... said...

While Hinduism is indeed an extremely earth-based and sensuous amalgamation of religions, there is also much of it which is other worldly and ascetic.

The clash of these two often present issues in both the collective society as well the individual psyche.

Kama Sutra is written from the male perspective, and as far as my research goes, was intended for the upper class royals and similarly highly educated folk (sanskrit literature). There are various theories on erotic temple sculpture, and some of them are very prudish indeed such as, "the outside walls of our temples represent the life we need to leave behind once we enter into the sacred interior of the holy space".

From my readings of Vedic supplementary texts, I have not gleaned an extremely permissable society, especially not for women. I also have gleaned that covering of a woman's hair (and possibly even the face) was something that possibly could have been existent in South Asia prior to the advent of Islam.

I think the combination of ancient Indian ideals in regards the behaviour of "chaste women" and the glorification of rishis and sages who were either lifelong celibates or eventual vanaprasthas and sanyasis at the end of their married life, as well as later Islamic and Victorian influences are definetly a part of the dysfunctions around women and sexuality we experience in India today.

Funny, when I see the issues that are being dealt with in India right now, I see a parallel in all of the religious groups that are Indian influenced here in the West, the ones I'm exposed to anyway.

While the West may have progressed, there is an element of backwardsness in many of us who have adopted Indian religions as our own. It is as if we substituted one set of dysfunctions for another, and in many cases, one set of healthy native functions for unhealthy, foreign dysfunctions.

The case for such is especially strong in ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness), yet I cannot say that my own sect is totally free either.

Issues regarding the place of women, sexuality, celibacy and transgenderism are also being tackled by us Westerners who have adopted some sort of an "Indian model" towards life.

The parrallels are striking.

Will be writing more tidbits from my book in progress on a website soon.

I don't know if Indian Vaishnavas are raising their awareness on all these issues right now or not. But there definetly seems to be a "shift in consciousness" amongst most of the Western Vaishnavas that I meet lately. No matter what sect we stem from, we all seem to be vibing at the same frequency.

We need to come together and formulate something to assist the transformation of the Indian Vaishnava sub-culture as well as the larger Indian culture.

By this I am not suggesting a "maithun-mahotsava", but I am certain that a straightforward address of sensitive issues such as the roles of sexuality, celibacy and women will indeed bring more of a balanced and healthy personal and worldview.

I have noticed that in the writings of modern day western yoga practicioners, their ideas about both sexuality and celibacy are much more realistic and balanced than their Indian gurus like Swami Shivananda who called for sex only for the begetting of a family heir (in India that would be a SON, how convenient, right?), and after that one's wife is supposed to be regarded as one's MOTHER.

Was that Freud I just heard turning over in his grave???

In this and so many ways, the life of "celibacy" is extolled, almost as an end in itself.

Not healthy.
Not bhakti.

Jagat said...

Thank you for that. I am not altogether certain that Western values where sexuality are concerned are in all respects healthy. At least, it seems to me that the West has its own problems. Perhaps that is what you mean when you say trading one set of dysfunctions for another.

At any rate, celibacy can also have a positive side. Sexuality can be extremely disruptive. This needs to be recognized also. If you want to avoid the "mithun mahotsava" problem, if we can call it that. By that I mean shifting the pendulum too far in the opposite direction.

Radhe Radhe!

govindanandini said...

"after that one's wife is supposed to be regarded as one's MOTHER.

Was that Freud I just heard turning over in his grave???"

Indeed, double thank you for that.

It was just the other day I learned for the first time of this perpetual-mother concept. Believe me, I didn't have to be Sig to turn a shade of pale there. It was an Indian guru lecturing on Ramayana, informing his audience (in California) that in Indian culture, after years of sexual relations, a couple matures together and the wife is then to become the husband's mother. This confirmed what I had always suspected: In the context of Indian psychology, the woman is always mother, even as wife. This means sexuality is to be experienced by males, it is their property, while females are to be absolutely neutral. It is a culture of fear and thumb sucking, no doubt. Amazing material. I can only imagine the confusion of those Californians, already struggling with concepts on optimal parenting vis a vis ongoing personal sexual discoveries, and other such delights.

Anonymous said...

Re: Man should view wife as mother, Siggie Freudie rolls over in grave, but grabs a cigar first while going through a tunnel, etc.

Well sounds like one p-r-e-t-t-y good reason to me to attain the realization as fast as possible that we are ENERGY and not this mortal coil...

Then we can just view everyone like a science experiment.


Also, so does that mean for Indian feminists they need to view their Boy Toy as "Daddy"?

Then I guess all the Westerners have it in the bag then, what with Sugar Daddies, play-acting being spanked by Daddy [Elizabeth Hurley's fetish...and she married an Indian! See? There you go...],

and having sex with someone old enough to be your Grandfather ["having to blank someone's blank who is old enough to be your grandpaw has to come with some perks!" -- www.celebrityscum.com]

What, Indian gals can only have sex fantasies and sex play that they are boffing their...? Ewwww, yuck!


Anyway, I think that explains why many of these people I've met who are into Indian things are also so lustful...because if you can only view women as your mother, then you can suck her breasts, right? So they just scope out who has the nicest jugs then, hmm?

Cuz even in the Krsna book, it said that Krsna and Balarama used to get on their mother's laps and the mothers would give them milk, for old time's sake, even when they were full grown men and already had visited Kubja et al.


Anyway whew it is like too much to take seriously. It just seems a whole lot easier to just focus on the fact that you are energy, if you can do that. And then choose what culture you want to draw from when you do your human being stuff.


Also it begs for a funny way to re-invent these maxims also, like: "A woman should see every man as a pathetic infantile newborn who can barely turn himself over" -??

"So therefore better she does not take seriously anything he says like 'ga-ga' and 'goo-goo'" -?!!

"And just better freakin make all of the blankin decisions for him, because if you let a baby run your life you are insane." -?!!

"And if any infant who can only gurgle and goo, spit, piss in his diapers, and cannot even sit or stand up by himself starts calling himself 'Swami' better run" -?!!

I dunno it just seems like impetus to get transcendental as soon as possible. Cuz how can anyone even take it seriously all of these maxims? They just beg to be all turned into skits on an Indian version of Saturday Night Live.

"It's hard not to write satire when you live in this society" --Juvenal, the first satirist, who lived in Rome during the last days of the Roman Empire.

Anonymous said...

Re: "wife as mother" --

The topmost example of this would be former US President Ronald Reagan, who always referred to his wife Nancy as "Mommie", even in his daily diary/ official memoirs.

And the topmost example of this vis-a-vis looks would be former US President George Bush
[not Dubya; Dubya's dad] whose wife Barbara LOOKED like she was his mother.

So due to their great example of living the perfect Vedic householder life, that is how they became the leaders of the free world, no doubt.

Because Krsna was so very pleased with them.