At the root of it is a deep sadness that he did not love Radha and Krishna like I do. That he did not love the devotees, even the most kanishtha among them, that he did not love Vrindavan, Govardhan and Radha Kund, despite the thick overlay of rajas and tamo-gunas that are such an obstacle to that love. That he did not love us enough to recognize that we loved him.
Yes, it is all very well and good to talk siddhanta, but the real problem was, as he himself seems to have recognized, in the area of emotional fitness. But even there, I am still saddened by the fact that there was not enough love to keep him around.
Ah well, enough said. Madhava is Radharani’s own dasi, and if he wants to avoid that truth for another lifetime or two, let him. Let him experience the so-called pleasures of nirvana, as if that were any substitute for prema. It isn’t, Madhava. There is no substitute.
स्पृष्टं मोक्षसुखाद्विरज्यति झटित्यास्वाद्यमानादपि
प्रेम्णस्तस्य मुकुन्द साहसितया शक्नोतु कः प्रार्थने
भूयाज् जन्मनि जन्मनि प्रचयिनी किन्तु स्पृहाप्यत्र मे
O Mukunda, giver of liberation!
Who in the world is there with the courage
to pray for the gift of sacred love,
of which the slightest manifestation,
when brushing against the minds of the great sages,
makes them forget the happiness of liberation?
My prayer therefore to you is this:
that I should simply desire for such prema,
and that this desire should increase forever,
in this world, birth after birth.
(Rupa Goswami, Ashtadasa-cchanda, Vastra-harana, 2)
“Even those self-satisfied sages who directly experience the happiness of liberation immediately become indifferent to that pleasure simply on coming into contact with the fractionally germinated seed of prema; what person in this world is so bold that he would pray for such wealth? I, therefore, always pray only that, wherever I should take birth, I may constantly develop the thirst and enthusiasm for attaining that great prize—that I should remain forgetful of all else and thirst for it in the way that a fish taken from its pond craves for a return to water, as a chataka bird thirsts for the appearance of a cloud, or as the fabled chakora seeks the rays of the moon.” (Kunja Bihari Dasji, Manjari-svarupa-nirupana)
I have stated before and I will not swerve from my belief that there is a profound meaning in the spiritual path to which one makes a commitment. To say that one did not make that commitment in full knowledge is foolishness, because one does not have full knowledge of one’s unconscious at any time, and the forms in which God chooses to reveal Himself are not under our control, but are purely His will and divine mercy.
When we apply our reason, it is often as much to avoid the immensity of His revelation as to dive deeper into it. The same can be said of ritual, even though the application of reason and the practice of ritual are both unavoidable in the religious life.
If we can honestly say, as Madhava did, that Krishna bhakti is merely one of the many ways to the Divine, it still needs be answered why that way has to be abandoned if it is the way that the Divine has made Himself known to you? Not only is it the way God made Himself known, but it is the way to which you committed yourself, not once, not twice but three times, each time with an increasing degree of intensity. And now you cavalierly toss that out without any respect for the depth of the realizations of the masters who preceded you and whom you called guru. Are you so sure of your own wisdom and of that of those whose arguments have been put to rest by Vaishnava acharyas so many times through history?
One of the things that has vexed me in all this, of course, is the parallel between our histories. No doubt, Madhava and I have shared some part of our ways, as it was the two of us who piloted Gaudiya Discussions and the Gaudiya Grantha Mandir project. Although Madhava’s contributions were far greater than mine, my announcement that I was a Sahajiya seems to have been the straw that broke the back of Gaudiya Discussions.
At that time, Madhava was attempting to widen the management of GD to include a group of young people who had been sufficiently impressed by Madhava’s commitment to Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj that they had also decided to take initiation from him. All of them to some extent or another believed in my orthodoxy and no doubt it was a great shock to them when I stated that I had beliefs that went against their preconceived idea of true Gaudiya Vaishnavism. They felt that they were naive boys who had been used by me. Where once they had thought I was learned and wise, they suddenly felt that I was a danger to their spiritual advancement.
Before my announcement, there appeared to be some kind of new day dawning and many people were beginning to feel that the Radha Kund mood exemplified by Ananta Dasji was a source of new hope for Gaudiya Vaishnavism. However, beginning with that event, almost everything went downhill quickly. There was friction between these members of the Gaudiya Kutir and most of the projects that they had started were left entirely in Madhava’s hands. Little financial help came to Madhava, even while he was putting himself into sufficient debt that he is now a cause of some concern to several devotee friends who had enough confidence in him to help him get settled in Radha Kund.
Those in the Gaudiya Math are probably laughing that the final outcome of Gaudiya Discussions was that Jagat became a Sahajiya and Madhava a Buddhist. In fact, however, it should be clear by now, when even Advaita can come on this blog and graciously put me in the same box as himself when he says that “we are both limping along” in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, that I am still, even in his eyes, committed to the truth of Radha and Krishna and Gauranga Mahaprabhu, however we may differ in our visions.
In fact, I don’t think Advaita really believes he is only “limping along.” Neither do I, to be absolutely honest. I feel as though there is a power in what I have come to understand about the Gaudiya Vaishnava religion. Gaudiya Vaishnavism itself is limping along. It has been flying on one wing long enough and it is time for the left wing to start flapping with a strength that will invigorate even the right.