Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In Vrindavan

(Written yesterday.) I just got into Vrindavan and I will likely be pretty busy over the next couple of days. I would like to thank the many Anonymous posters for their interesting comments, some of which touched on many crucial points. In particular I would like to answer one or two things for the person who asked about genuine realization and other things.

With regards to realization, I try to write only from such, and only use scriptural quotations where it is helpful or tasty. But I do also consider scripture and the insights of previous acharyas an important source of realization.

The other day I completed the walk through Rajaji park that I mentioned a while back, and I was carrying some verse cards that I use for memorizing. I felt such elation as I sang the viśveṣāṁ verse from Gita Govinda that I thought I was a very lucky person and wished I was able to share some of what I was feeling. That is part of the purpose of this blog, of course.

With regards to your point about the change in mythology to go against women, I will try to keep it simple.

All mythology, interpretation of symbolism and theology go through changes with time. Usually they FOLLOW and do not lead the trends that are developing in society. However, once they catch on to a trend, they tend to give it the adrenaline boost of divine approval. Eventually, however, those new trends become ossified and the process has to repeat itself.

Mostly, the customary historical process usually is to just judiciously "forget" the stuff that has become burdensome.

In the case of women: I say categorically that any philosophy or religion that does not promote or empower women to realize their full potential should be discarded. However, I am not really talking so much about women's rights as much as I am talking about spirituality, which is about going beyond even sexual identity.

In this connection, Radha and Krishna are ELEMENTAL, in the sense that they go beyond the myths in which they play a role and speak to the very substructures of consciousness. We don't have to accept the lila in every dot and iota.

What I am trying to do, in a somewhat erratic fashion, is to develop a theistic theology that incorporates the feminine, in keeping with the insights of Rupa Goswami. My feeling is that Rupa's rasa theology is full of powerful understandings about the way we experience the Divine and ultimately about the primal importance of madhura rasa psychically, socially, religiously and mystically.

As such I am opposed to certain aspects of celibacy, especially where they lend themselves to defective masculine psychologies. In this respect I could mention the posts of another Anonymous, who just wrote in the Gangesh responses. Or some of my own comments on the History of Celibacy book.

It is not that Radha and Krishna symbolize sexuality, but that sexuality itself is such a powerful symbol of so many other things. But the goal of the symbolism in the case of Radha and Krishna is to arrive at a kind of equilibrium between the sexual polarities, whatever level they are occurring on, with a general concession to the superiority of the "idealized feminine." Thus the importance of manjari bhava for both men and women.

I say the "idealized feminine" here because I want to make it clear that I am not in favor of imposing an ideal femininity on women or on men. On the individual platform, everyone must be free to pursue their own nature. Psychically, however, men and women need to take an "ideal feminine" stance, which tends to be strikingly similar to most descriptions of the ideal qualities of human or the saintly nature.

O.K. I will stop here for today. I am writing from the cyber storefront near the MVT in Vrindavan. Radhe Radhe.

News. Just saw Bisakha and Sakhi Charan. I was trying to think who SC reminded me of, and now I realize it was Tin Kori Prabhu!

Bhrigu dropped into the Jiva I. this morning looking for Satya Narayan. He got me instead. But it was a very pleasant meeting. It is always nice to have contact with a sadhu. sudurlabhā bhāgavatā hi loke.


Anonymous said...

That's a good explanation. Thanks!

"Gaurasundara das" said...

Regarding the recent Advaitadas-Dhanurdhara controversy, here is My Response.

anuradha said...

"Idealized feminine"

What am I to make of this term ? Studying your blog with the dictionary in hand, I do not get it.

Could you elaborate a little ?

I mean, sexually I am a man (do not pay any attention to my name) ? Spiritually I could be anything ?
Servitude and enjoying giving pleasure to others (reciprocal; I threw the concept of unconditional overboard, because I think it is an unrealistic half truth) are neither feminine nor masculine as far as I can see.

Jagat said...

In fact I do associate such qualities with the idealized feminine. But I have come to this conclusion through the Radharani's victory over Krishna in love and through the devotion of my sampradaya and other rasika sampradayas to manjari or sakhi bhava.

Anonymous said...

One POSSIBLE positive thing about Radha-Krishna worship is just the fact that there is a female divinity. And that she can do everything better than Krishna can:
laughing, joking, singing, dancing, debating.

I think that could be a possible plus just to negate the centuries of male only patriarchal godhead
extant in the Abrahamic religions.

Sort of like how the pendulum swings in education or child-rearing, the theories. So there is always a trend towards equilibrium.

And as Jagat mentions he is grateful to all of his mentors, the cultural milieu in which in was brought to the West: we did not have Oprah back in the 1960s, the Western society was still very sexist. There were the R. Crumb underground comix very degrading to women, for example. If you read those you can get a feel for what even the liberal mindset was like
during those times.

So in the spirit of harmony, I would say that I like Jagat's idea that we throw out anything that has been ossified. And as we are all individuals, and all at different stages of evolution, what has been ossified for one is timeless for another.

Also as far as symbols go, is interesting: I used to like the GV symbolism much more before I learned anything about it.

For example, I thought that the Panca Tattva stood for every race in harmony with all the others: black, white, red, yellow, and brown. Well now we don't call it race we call it ethnicity. And there are more than those five mentioned in "Jesus Loves the Little Children" song. But I used to think the Panca Tattva symbolized that.

I also used to think the PT represented every region of the earth living in harmony together: Australia, Eurasia, Africa, North America, South America.

And I used to think that they looked like Buddhas who got up off of their asses, did aerobic exercise, and basically were dynamic rather than static. Dynamic as in engaged Buddhism, engaged Hinduism.

Well anyway is Valentine's Day, so love and light to all.

Anonymous said...

Rather than "idealized feminine" I substituted this [in my own mind] for what Jagat wrote, to achieve equilibrium with his statement:

We all have an anima and animus, an inner child, and an inner male as well as inner female component.

In the yoga sutras the inner female they call it the ida current; the immer male is the pingala current. According to the yoga sutras, as we mature as souls, these two energies gradulally fuse to form one current, the sushumna, which leads one to the Door of Brahma or the sahasrara chakra.

So I felt like, if this is his way of integrating the self, coming to peace with his various modalities. becoming a more authentic person, i.e. more capable of honest self-disclosure...

[which according to psychologists is what true intimacy is, not sex. Because we can have sex with someone yet feel all alone. Our bodies can be together but our minds, hearts, and thoughts can be millions of miles apart]...

and by continual honest self-assessment he is evolving as a human being, then if that is working for him, I understand now why he has chosen that template.

And since I am not him, I may not chose it for me. But if he can explain this to me, then it is an honest self-disclosure to the best of his ability. He is engaging in introspection and sharing his interior monologues.

So that in itself would be considered getting more in touch with the inner feminine: journaling, writing, honest self-discloure, the interior monologue.

Therefore it appears to me to be congruent with his statements that he is on a visionquest to internalize and live more in harmony with an "idealized feminine".

Radhe Radhe