Friday, April 04, 2008

More thoughts on Madhavananda Dasji

On reflection I thought I should be a little more sympathetic to Madhavananda’s case in view of my own experience. From 1985, the time I left any external manifestation of Krishna consciousness, right up until I came onto the internet and started interacting again with devotees, in other words for at least seven or eight years, I went through a period that could be called a crisis of faith.

During that entire time I was engaged in various kinds of intellectual processes, as well as a kind of unconscious processing, in which I underwent a reevaluation of my previous experiences and so on.

Of course I never subscribed to another religion. Even so, when my son was born, I made the rather fateful decision to have him brought up Catholic. Looking back on it now, whatever reasons I gave for that decision at the time, it would seem that subconsciously it was a prediction that I would not stay with my family. That is rather a harsh conclusion to come to, but it is the only one that makes sense. Externally, I did not have the faith or knowledge of how to manage my family’s religious life, which is truly sad. The fact is that despite a certain nostalgia for certain aspects of my devotional career, I could not organize a structure for raising a child that would have nurtured his faith. And so, like so many people in our alienated age, I abdicated responsibility and let school and church handle it. As it is, my son has had a little more structure in that respect than most people in today’s agnostic society. Heaven forbid that he becomes a priest!

In the previous post I wrote that Madhavananda followed the trajectory that goes from Iskcon to Gaudiya Math to the Babajis. The problem is that there is no framework now, nor was there any in 1985, for finding a sangha that provides a non-kanishtha view of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. So the only option for people like me was to go look for answers in the world of academic research. My friend Madhusudan, who preceded me to Lalita Prasad Thakur, also had the same kind of quick intelligence that Madhava has, and he burned through all these groups until he thought he had found their historical, psychological and metaphysical core, and found it empty. He also is now living, I believe, the life of an academic.

I went to university and started studying comparative religion, trying to see where they were at, trying to understand what was universal and what was essential about Krishna consciousness. Ever since I came back and started communicating with devotees this has been my main point: we have to find out what is universal and what is essential about Krishna consciousness in order for it to be considered a mature religion.

Most religions with long histories split into liberal and conservative factions. The conservative factions hold onto outdated visions, the liberals often compromise excessively with the forces of mundane progress. Far from being a sign of conflict, such debates are a sign of good religious health (as long as there is civility, of course). Such a dynamic needs to be developed in Krishna consciousness. As it is, the conservatives have the upper hand everywhere, even in Iskcon (which was supposed to be a medium for presenting KC to the Western world), and there is no scope for an exegesis of Gaudiya Vaishnava goals and practices that is truly coherent in the modern context.

This problem is not a new one. In Bengal, from the time of the Renaissance, the greatest and most admired thinkers and reformers like Bankim Chandra, Rabindranath, and Vivekananda, etc., looked at Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with admiration, but they had none for Vaishnavas. If you read Ramakrishna Kathamrita, for instance, you see that the one Vaishnava character is constantly arguing with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa from a very superficial, sectarian point of view. Each of these persons thought, in their own way, that they had discovered the essence of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s dharma but that they had no need for the tradition itself, its worship or its ishta.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur was exceptional in that he had a vision of Gaudiya Vaishnavism that seemed to go beyond these kinds of strictly sectarian perspectives and sought to explain Gaudiya Vaishnava theology in broader terms. But he only began the work, which has unfortunately been left to stagnate somewhat by adherents and practitioners. Let us say the world has moved on in the nearly 100 years since the Thakur left us and there is a lot of catching up to do.

The question now is what can we do now? Where do we find a mature vision of Krishna consciousness: one that goes beyond mere dogmatism, literalism, sectarianism and fundamentalism, all the things that are characteristic of kanishtha adhikari religion?

Leaving the kanishtha stage is symptomized by a period of intense doubt. The kanishtha vision holds that all doubt is wrong; worse, it is a symptom of aparadha. One who has doubts is suspected of being an offender, for he has stopped believing. "He never really had a taste," etc. But in actual fact, what doubt does is it leads us away from a superficial faith based on literal, dogmatic, fundamentalist and sectarian belief.

Doubt can be a symptom of transition from a superficial kind of kanishtha adhikari faith to a higher level of understanding, a faith that can truly be called nishtha. Thus anartha nivritti does not simply mean getting rid of bad physical habits, but also a purification of the understanding. As long as people are thinking of Krishna as something finite, their understanding will not be adequate.

All devotees are personalists, but kanishthas resist the universalist or essentialist approach to understanding Krishna. They say, “That is precisely the point isn’t it, that Krishna reduces himself to a personal deity for us and that this unique relationship with Krishna is all we need. If you have devotion for Krishna the cowherd boy, or Radha and Krishna, then what is the need of a universal concept? This is mere jnana and corrupts and dilutes devotion.”

That is precisely what I think is wrong. That is why I am talking a lot these days about kanishtha, madhyama and uttama. The uttama stage of universal understanding has to precede the true personal concept. If the understanding of God’s personality is on the kanishtha level, then it is not at all the same thing as when one has the universal understanding of Radha Krishna as the all-pervading divine. Furthermore, this experience must be had through the world in which we are living.

If you are closing your eyes to the world and only seeing Radha and Krishna within and not seeing them without, you will always be closing your eyes, doing nirjana bhajan. In this matter, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was ultimately right.

This does not mean that I am accepting Bhaktisiddhanta’s criticism whole hog, nor am I condemning the kanishtha understanding as entirely flawed. It is a necessary step on the spiritual path, but it is only the first one. It is never abandoned, but assimilated into a higher synthesis. That is why I am trying to promote the description of the kanishtha devotee as a “pravartaka.”

Reshaping the conscious and subconscious minds (one's samskaras) through worship, ritual, mythologies, etc., is what one does on the pravartaka stage. The madhyama or genuine sadhaka stage comes when you encounter the divine in other people, when you recognize that the Divine, Radha and Krishna, are the universal principle of Love and you cultivate that.

In other words, in the madhyama position you take a somewhat opposite position from that found in the kanishtha stage. It is the antithesis to the kanishtha thesis. The thesis is that Radha and Krishna are the personal God, they are out there and we are trying to get to them. “I will do sadhana and bhajan and they will reveal themselves to me, or they will send a flower airplane and transport me to Goloka Vrindavan.” In this vision Radha Krishna are seen as the original and everything here as the perverted reflection. The antithesis is that Radha and Krishna are symbols of the idealized manifestations of love in this world. When one synthesizes both these points of view in achintya-bhedabheda, then knowing Radha Krishna in truth becomes a possibility.

This is not just an intellectual process, but a change in sadhana orientation.

Though the essence of the kanishtha position, the thesis, is true, without the antithesis you will never come to a synthesis. If you just go with the thesis and don’t try to face the inherent contradictions and purify them, your Radha and Krishna will just be a kind of idol worship.

I am thinking of that nervous, frantic and panicky way of reading Radha Krishna lila that is the norm in much of the Iskcon and Gaudiya Math “gopi-bhava clubs.” Ramakanta Chakravarty, the author of a very valuable book on Bengali Vaishnavism, basically dismissed lila kirtan and Bhagavata katha as nothing more than nice stories for entertainment and amusement, just stories reflecting on marital relations or loving affairs in this world.

We resist this interpretation, but when it comes to this area of the lila, we don’t know how to read it otherwise. Even if we say this is God and this is his lila, we have no understanding, we do not know what to do with it. Krishna hides in a box or dresses as a woman and sneaks into Radharani’s house and makes love to her. People are kind of snickering and yes it is a funny story, but what is it supposed to convey in terms of spiritual meaning? And how long can I meditate on such things in svarasiki bhajan before it becomes tired and empty?

Now the antithesis is as old as time. The Buddhists, Mayavadis and all the scientists, philosophers and psychologists are basically saying the same thing: gods are projections of the human mind. But even though these intelligent people are addressing a real problem, their fundamentally negative approach leads us all to an impasse. Their limited solutions don’t touch the fundamental problem of human life, which is discovering our eternal relationship with the personal God.

The kanishthas recognize this limitation, but their response is merely to blame such people for raising their questions. Even one of the most learned devotee scholars I know answered my question on the point of projection by saying that God and his eternal lila most perfectly correspond to the historical moment in India when Krishna appeared.

That unfortunately is not an adequate way of looking at it, as far as I can see. A less absolutist understanding is necessary. If we happen to envision that particular lila as being the one that we want to participate in, as the one in which we find the personal God, then it is as much a product of our own mental processes as it is of God’s own realm of infinite possibility.

To go through this dialectical process of synthesis, we have to understand Radha and Krishna in symbolic terms first. This means translating the symbols, the lilas or myths, etc., into universal principles of meaning, and then how they are to be experienced in this world through love, friendships and service.

What ultimately brought me back to Krishna consciousness was the deep samskara that I had received in my kanishtha adhikari career. That is why I am saying about Madhavananda that he will always be a Vaishnava in Buddhist clothing, no matter how he tries to deny it. Let’s face it, he has been doing this for so many years, since he was twelve or thirteen years old, and he took it to the very deepest levels that were available to him in the world as we know it, and he did so with complete faith and with total abandon, so he has a very deep samskara. You cannot just do that and then suddenly change religions in a huff. I am sorry, but his is all posturing.

I keep coming back to and saying to people, the very fact that the first time you chanted Hare Krishna you had a perception that there was something there, you had a taste of prema, a vision, your eyes opened. It wasn’t something easily definable, but you believed that it was significant and worthy of pursuit. It was not the fifth canto of the Bhagavatam, the cosmology or bhugola-tattva, that convinced you to become a devotee. No one became a devotee because they were convinced by the third canto’s science and its descriptions of time and creation. And indeed we can bracket all this science no matter how much we want or claim to believe the Bhagavatam as literal truth.

What convinced us was the prema that we felt in the Holy Name. That is what kept us going even in the moments of doubt on the kanishtha adhikari level. That helped us overlook all the faults we perceived in the philosophy, the sangha, the Ishta himself. We had something solid at the heart of our experience that was keeping our faith alive, namely the chanting, the sangha, the aesthetics, etc. In moments of doubt, during crises of faith, people talk about a lack of reciprocation, a lack of results (aha, modern pragmatism rears its persistent head!), but the reciprocation was there, and it is precisely because of this reciprocation that we have a deep samskara, a very deep samskara that ultimately exerts its force, sooner or later, in this lifetime or the next.

Knowing this, one should not neglect or disrespect one’s own samskara. Self-knowledge means knowing where one comes from and both the conscious and subconscious elements that have brought one to where one is.

If you are intelligent, mull it over and try to come to a mature understanding of what is there and respond to the questions that are hurled at you from every side, from within and without. We know what those questions are but we tend to resist facing them head on when on the kanishtha level. But more than that, we need an alternative approach to Krishna consciousness that can provide shelter to those who have exhausted the existing possibilities and found them wanting.

In my earlier post, I said that we have a duty when we reach this point of exhaustion to serve the essence. Love is the goal, but love grows out of love. The love that we felt in the first moments, the love for the ideal that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu somehow instilled in us—even if it is absent in the world around us—should be served out of love for him, for it. It is a debt. At some point we need to stop being children and start being adults. At some point we need to stop depending on the perfect guru without and start listening to the personal guru within and become leaders, not followers. Like Bhaktivinoda Thakur says, it is foolish to abandon the past, even where that past is one’s own, instead of building on it.

But of course, that is impossible if you don't have the answers.


advaitadas said...

Jagat -
Madhusudan, yourself, Radharaman, myself and Madhava all share the
same history - Iskcon-graduates who had a good look at the Gosvamis books, realized that Iskcon wasnt the real thing and then joined the Babajis, who,
instead of welcoming us, treated us as untouchable dogs. However wrong their treatment of us might have been, we still needed to have been humble and tolerant and we werent. From there our false egos told us we got a 'crisis of faith' whereas we were actually just kicked out. You and I are somehow lucky enough to be limping along
somewhat (funny btw that our crises of faith took place at the same time from 1985 to 1992), the others werent so lucky. I heard a lot of the same resentment from Madhava's mouth in his last days at Radhakund that I remember coming from Madhusudan, Radharaman and myself.

shiva said...

Ya know Jagat, I used to think like you about people who were long time vaisnavas who had given it up back when I was still a fairly new bhakta. I used to think that the reasons they became devotees were similar in some way to the reasons that I did. Therefore even though they lost faith and became impersonalists, new age types, christians, atheists etc, that they still were somehow just running away from Radha Krishna for some reason or another, that they could, due to their devotional samskaras, take up vaisnavism again in the not too distant future.

I stopped believing that long ago. The mistake of my belief was thinking that what caused me to become a bhakta was some universal experience that all bhaktas had in common. Just like you talk about how the reason all bhaktas join isn't due to philosophy, it's due to the magic of harinam. Well, I was wrong, and you are wrong as well.

You had a mystical connection with harinam, as did I. But I didn't become a bhakta because of it. I became a bhakta because of philosophy, through the study of the Gita and the Bhagavatam I became convinced that I should take up bhakti yoga. I had mystic experiences, but those experiences didn't compel me to take up bhakti yoga, they just confirmed that god was real and that kirtan could give a mystical experience. But I could have ended up following some other religious path. What sold me on bhakti yoga was philosophy.

For some 10 years I believed that all devotees had similar experiences which brought them to or kept them as vaisnavas. But it's not a fact. I have met quite a few hard core militant atheists who used to devotees, how can they be atheists if they ever had a real mystical experience, or deeply understood philosophy? How can they become impersonalists? The fact is that for many bhaktas they never really experienced a close connection with the truth of vaisnavism.

In reality people become bhatkas for various reasons. Some have mystical experiences of one type or another, others are convinced by philosophy, others are seeking some type of education in yoga, others are seeking power, others are seeking shelter and community. The reason so many people give it up is the same reason that so many children of devotees aren't devotees. They never really experienced what it takes to gain or keep faith.

This is why people like Madhavananda who externally may seem like advanced bhaktas (e.g. they are able to quote verses and teach the philosophy to some degree or another, though they never understand anything beyond the surface literal level) to so many, can just give it all up and reject god as a real person, or reject god totally. Internally they are just going through the motions in hope of gaining some experience or they have some other motive i.e. fame, followers etc.

This is simply a reality for a very large percentage of bhaktas. They don't all have mystic experiences. They take up bhakti for any number of other reasons and then eventually lose faith in the process if no mystic experience comes to prove to them that what they are doing isn't a waste of their life on a fantasy. Of course many don't leave the association of bhaktas because they are gaining something from that association, be it friends, family, wealth, fame, followers, etc. They just go along with the rest while pretending to be a sincere believer. This is very common.

Jagat you wrote

"All devotees are personalists, but kanishthas resist the universalist or essentialist approach to understanding Krishna. They say, “That is precisely the point isn’t it, that Krishna reduces himself to a personal deity for us and that this unique relationship with Krishna is all we need. If you have devotion for Krishna the cowherd boy, or Radha and Krishna, then what is the need of a universal concept? This is mere jnana and corrupts and dilutes devotion.”"

Yes, this is what I have been saying for years.

Then you said

"That is precisely what I think is wrong. That is why I am talking a lot these days about kanishtha, madhyama and uttama. The uttama stage of universal understanding has to precede the true personal concept. If the understanding of God’s personality is on the kanishtha level, then it is not at all the same thing as when one has the universal understanding of Radha Krishna as the all-pervading divine. Furthermore, this experience must be had through the world in which we are living."

Yes, I agree, also what I have been saying for years. To really experience god as a person through a universal vision needs the cooperation of god. We all see and understand only that which god wants us to see and understand. When our karma is at the point where we are ready to relate with god personally, one to one, then that will happen. It will not just be an internal experience, god will come at you from everything and everywhere, you will be inundated, like a tide sweeping over you and you find yourself living in another reality.

Many people who are not bhaktas, or even many bhaktas, have an awareness of the universal presence of God. Though usually it is not well developed and more of an impersonal understanding. The uttama devotees universal understanding is something very different. When you are educated enough and your karma allows it, you will see how god is controlling everyone and everything. Then god will use everything and everyone to communicate with you, to entertain you, to develop a close friendship with you. God gives that reality to us when we are ready, we need to be educated enough to see god controlling everything. Without that knowledge then the universal personal relationship is impossible. God is here now, but if you don't understand how this reality works, how it is going on, then you are not ready for that higher and closer relationship.

shiva said...

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air


Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone


You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone
If you should stand then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

anuradha said...

It seems some good is coming out of Madhavananda's leaving. It corresponds with some questions raised earlier on this blog. And his leaving is a stimulus for us to find the answers, instead of just blaming him for being insincere, proud and all that.

I still think his 'rejection' of GV and his embracing of Buddhism is kind of stereotype. The kind of stereotype Bhaktissiddhanta speaks about. But very little people make an actual attempt to find alternative answers and face the problems in organized religion head on. Either leaving (Madhavananda and many others) or denying. Complete rejection or denial of the problems. Indeed when you stay in the 'kanistha'-conception too long and don't discover the deeper universal meaning your spiritual life becomes a stagnant thing. The religion might become a stumbling block itself. Not helping, but blocking growth too the next level.

For me, Gaudiya Vaisnavism is too valuable to throw away, but I understand why some people get frustrated with it.

I sympathize with your attempts to find new answers to unanswered questions. And I am fully supporting your theory about 'kanistha-religion' in relation to the personal concept of God.

More investigation needs to be done.... and written about.

Anonymous said...

"Upali asked to take refuge
in the Buddha, the Dharma,
and the Sangha...

"The Buddha said, " Even though you take refuge in me, PLEASE DO NOT CEASE TO MAKE OFFERINGS
to your former sect..."

Chapter: "Dwell in Mindfulness"
from Old Path White Clouds:
Walking in the Footsteps of
the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh

This conversation seems to show that the Buddha seemed to simply be providing innovative and new meditation practices, habits of mind, and world view to complement [not supplement] what was already available in India at that time in history [where the story takes place] and perhaps may provide a loving framework and point of harmony for all concerned.

Aum Tat Sat
Peace everyone

Anonymous said...

That was very brave of you to share a self-disclosure of your life history, as well as quite educational and informative.

I have this theory that Krsna is very interested in anyone who has ever shown an interest in Him. Especially any person who has never even met Him. They just see His picture, hear His names, read about Him, and go mad for Him.

Therefore how Krsna ever forget that person? I have had the experience, try to run away from Krsna, as fast as I can: "I hate You, all Your stupid friends, everything to do with You!!!"

and unfortunately being God, as fast as we try to run away from Him, in one millisecond, with no exertion at all on His part, He is standing in front of us.

So by our thinking, "I am running far from Him", actually because He is so tricky, He arranged that we actually ran even faster towards Him, so fast that in fact we slam right into Him standing in front of us and "Omigod! You again!"

That is why I think is kind of funny anyone ever gets the idea that they can leave K. If K likes you then is going to be difficult.
Like already how many new holy Hindu places M is visiting? The guy is just earning more and more sukritya. Is not like he went to Las Vegas and is playing blackjack.

But everyone is entitled to their own perspective. I don't see how K forget anyone who did service to Him and sacrificed their life for Him. But maybe I am in illusion.

In regards your son, one [non GV] Hindu acharya has the idea that it is not a good idea to teach intense yoga practices to non-monastic young people who may become householders one day, or while they are householders. Because it will make the person want to renounce the world.

The world will not seem "real" and therefore they will have a difficult time fitting into the world. It will be very difficult to execute the many and sundry duties that being a house-holder involves. Due to it not seeming real, therefore it will become difficult to hold the person's attention and interest.

One possible scientific explanation why this might happen is doing intense yogic practices may flood the brain with DMT. This is a chemical that the human body produces in the pineal gland.

"...Excessive DMT production
is involved in naturally occuring "psychedelic" states
such as birth, death, near
death, psychosis, and mystical experiences..."
-- Rick Strassman, MD [a DMT researcher, Stanford educated, and author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule]

The [non GV] acharya I mentioned goes on to say that if it IS in your nature/ prarabdha karmas to be a renunciate in this lifetime,
the world will renounce you: i.e. doors will slam in your face that remain open for other people.

Such as, you may lose a job that requires alot of hours, but instead you get a different type of job: freeing up more time to meditate or study and contemplate.

Another example he gives is your relatives may not that keen to associate with you, because you seem so strange and no one at home quite "gets" you. Again: this may free up time for more meditation or reflection and study.

Anyway, when I read that if you do intense yogic practices it will make it difficult for family life to seem less "real", then I felt a bit sorry for you and any person that was encouraged to perform such intense yogic practices wihtout knowing in advance what might happen as a result.

No one really warned you what might happen if you did yogic practices so intensely, at least in the schools of yoga that you attended. So if you think that might help, someday when your son is old enough to understand, perhaps you could tell him that.

Well good luck to you on the path and hope your translating is coming along nicely.

Aum Tat Sat

jijaji said...

I left Iskcon in 1979 and was completely out of the loop until VNN came along and I got involved with all the IGM debates which started there around 1995 I guess it would have been, and wanted diksha again and didn't and went back and forth on that a long time...

I guess what I am saying here is, your article Jagat is one of the very best I have read in regards to Madhava leaving and have to agree that his jumping into another religion in such a huff is just posturing, I know coz I have seen it so many times in the past with devotees I have known and been there done that myself...most of us older devotees have seen this all too much to know better..

I know that many jumped on his bandwagon with a 'Oh Look this validates our stance', and gave many a lot of steam.. but I'm not quite sure they realize the dynamics that were completely involved as we are not and I have to admit I did at first too, I even invited him to answer questions on my forum.. but then began looking at it from a broader perspective.

And I could just sense that Madhava was not as convinced and as secure in his new found path as he was proclaiming himself to be, but I do know for an absolute fact that immediately accepting another religion as 'Now this is how I believe' is usually just a game we play with ourselves and others to save face, much of it is ego.

Your post explained a lot for me as to why I have gone back and forth for so long...

will I ever come back...?

I'm not sure, but I do know there is something about Radha Krishna that has had some spell over me for most of my life no matter what other path I go down or adopt...or even how much I denounce it...its interesting, maybe its like you said, the deep samskara that I had received in our early kanishtha adhikari career..

anyway I'll stop rambling, I just want you to know it was a great post and I apologize for my last insulting comment I made here to you, telling you to get over yourself..



jijaji said...

I wrote this on Mar 23 but never posted, but want to now:

When I first heard of Madhava (Ananda) leaving GV to go off on his own path (probably before most of you reading this found out) I was very happy for him.
However I was a bit apprehensive when he declared I was suddenly his 'friend' on his vraja blog..

My history with Madhava over the years had been less than friendly, in fact he was often times harsh and openly critical of my views on GR whenever I challenged him or his orthodox GV outlook and would often times get ganged up upon by him and his pals, take for example the infamous Chaitanya, Sridhar Svami and Sankara thread or my Buddha rejected Sanskrit article on GD...and many others.

Whenever I quoted S.K. De I was literally ridiculed and scoffed at....

But I thought I would let bygones be bygones, after all he was a young guy going through what so many of us who were exposed to GV in the late 60's 'early 70's went through long ago.

I left Iskcon in 1979 after ACBS passed away and came to learn from my old friend Jayasachinandana that in fact IGM lacked proper diksha, I wanted to go off to India at that time and take diksha but just dropped the whole idea and got involved in the working world having some opportunity in the entertainment industry, and just out and out rejected GV and was out of that entire loop for about 15 years..

I became interested again in diksha years later when VNN surfaced and got heavily involved in IGM battles on the time GD came around I was again against GV (although I did go back and forth a while thinking I wanted diksha)

So back on topic...

I suggested to Ananda through his blog (this was before he took off on Buddhist pilgrimage or announced it to the world) that he allow people a chance to comment on his blog, it didn't seem fair to me that he was doing all the talking, so anyway I said I was willing to create an open spot on my forum that would allow that feature (again this was before the whole paparazzi hoopla) and it started off slow, a few comments, he posted a topic on 'eve teasing' upon Tapatis request that drew some attention...

Then he came out of the closet with his religious conversion to Buddhism and started posting photos of himself etc which we are all now aware of.

Honestly, I thought that to convert that quickly to another religion taking precepts and all was a bit of a 'sailor dive' and seemed a bit extreme on his part...and I still think it was.

To leave such a hard line closed orthodox dogmatic religious cage like GV and go straight into Theravada Buddhism with a whole new set of outdated rules and regulations seems like leaving one cage of beliefs for another....

To accept such a rule as not being able to listen to music is so life negative and inhuman to me I shun the very idea and feel sorry for anyone who would accept a precept in this day and age..

I frankly thought he would have been better off taking some time to himself and chilling out for a while, doing some more investigation spiritually before taking on another commitment like he did.

The photos seemed a bit over the top for me as well, a very close friend commented that it was in fact dangerous for him to be posting his photos on line like that and that he was acting more like a model than a sadhu and this was from someone whos perspective on this was completely unbiased never having a thing to do with GV and all that.

So now he is posting from the Pali canon on his blog like it is the only truth in the same manner in which he did on GD with the Gaudiya canon...

It's like the same Madhava with a different set of clothes on..

I got bothered after he made all his announcements, posted photos and caused such a stir that people started coming here and posting all kinds of nasty slurs about him, Buddhism and me...and then he wasn't around to help me clean up the mess, yet he was on other forums debating and smoozing and kinda left me holding the bag here..

It was not very considerate at all as far as I am concerned and I shut down that open forum, which in looking back I see as a big mistake to begin with, but I guess it feed someones ego for a while at my expense.

The final straw came when my forum was hacked into and shut down for several hours, I cannot say for sure why, it could have been a general attack on invisionfree, but the timing seemed too close to all these events to not make me think there was some connection.

Anyway I am done with this hoopla, Ananda take care.


jijaji said...

"My history with Madhava over the years had been less than friendly, in fact he was often times harsh and openly critical of my views on GR"

I meant to say on 'GD', I never had confrontation with him on GR..



Ninjitsujijaji said...

For what it's worth and if you somewhere along our rendez-vous suspected me........ I was not hacking your blog. I am not smart enough or expert enough to do such a thing. It is also against my principles, because it is an act of Chinese sensureship to invade into someones e-mails and blogs, apart from it being against the law.

I actually thought for a while that someone was playing tricks on my computer since I couldn't visit a few web-sites anymore to share my deep philosophical thoughts with specific individuals and the wider naked and fashionable community for their spiritual upliftment.

Anyway, be good and ki Jaya ! May you find real initiation of some kind.

Anonymous said...

By the way,
has anybody read the parody on the ten offences on haribolmagazine (blogspot) ? It is uniquely cynical and funny and clearly shows the pitfalls hidden within the aparadhas themselves.

I hysterically laughed and released myself of religious pressure for more then an hour. Very healthy.

Anonymous said...

Advaitadas you have said, "funny btw that our crises of faith took place at the same time from 1985 to 1992"

I believe that many of your translations were done during this time period, true? If so, should we then question the quality of your work?

Anonymous said...

Jagat said: "What convinced us was the prema that we felt.."

(The falling in love experience)

In my country we have a strange but true proverb which might be seen as a comment on Ananda's 'change of heart': "Love is like typhoid, if you get cured, you never had it."

(I am another anonymouse and I do appreciate all Ananda has accomplished in cyberspace)

jijaji said...


Please stop stalking me, here and in my personal email otherwise I will take some kind of action.



Jagat said...

A crisis of faith may be the most productive time that one has.

advaitadas said...

Yes it is true, most of my work was started in that period. However,
1. My crisis of faith had no influence at all on the material quality of my translation. It was a parallel private process. You can check them on their quality of genuine Vaishnava taste and philosophy, it is completely sound.
2. I edited all my work after 1992 as well.

ninjitsu...... said...

I was never involved in threats, hacking or any cybercrime. I did go overboard with my comments though. I will stop that from now on.

Peace (serious)

Jagat said...

Jijaji, Ninjitsu--

Any further matters dealing with your personal quarrels will not be posted. Find another place to deal with them. Thank you.

Your servant,

Jagadananda Das.

Apolog said...

I made an apology on Jeej's blog. I re-read some of my comments and found them not funny.
The mistake is mine and I don't blame him for being annoyed. I'll stop trying to be funny since I obviously wasn't.

My apologies to jeej and to you for bringing it up again.


Anonymous said...

Jagatji said, "What ultimately brought me back to Krishna consciousness was the deep samskara that I had received in my kanishtha adhikari career."

Whereas kansishtha samskara
careers to doubt.
Krishna is the bringer .....

Anonymous said...

Namaste Jagadanandaji, and thank you for a very interesting blog.

I have read your comment on your friends conversion to Buddhism. I understand it saddens you in a way that your friend turns to an "atheistic religion" when he have been so devoted to Lord Krishna in the past.

I have myself been strugling with the concept of God as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Vaishnavism)or God as The All in All (Shaivism). I must admit that I havent come to any conclusion yet, and maybe I never will. But I think what I believe is beside the point. The thing is what IS.

My understanding of buddhism is that it neither denies or confirmes any existence of God. Actually, I don't think buddhism has anything to do with theology (neither in an apreciative or condemning way). Buddhism is concerned with waking up to the reality as it is. But in order to wake up and see the world (in its true immanent and transcendent character) we have to get read of our preconcieved ideas.

As the late Allan Watts explained, all theology is formed from ideas and ideas comes from symbols (language f.ex.) which again comes from images. Our images is formed in our mind as reflections of what we see and experience here in life.

Buddhism - as I understand it - takes us back to the state of direct perception and tries to make us stay in this state over time so that life itself will reveal itself to us, as it is.

Buddhism is not a religion - even though it have its rituals and revered texts. Buddhism is Buddha Dharma - the teachings of becoming an Awakened One. I think the buddhist teachings can be practiced by anyone, not concidered their faith.

Here in Norway many christians practice the buddhist teachings and meditations, feeling that it enriches their lifes.

If one has a strong faith nothing can shatter his/hers point of view. Buddhism will only take away your illusions. Reality will always remain.

Have faith in existence. Have faith in your friend. He seems to me to be an authentic seeker of truth.

I have a very dear and close vaishnava friend (a disciple of Prabhupad) that have explained to me that Krishna is love and Radha is devotion.

As long as there is love and devotion between you and your friend, Madhavananda, Krishna and Radha will dance in the midst of you :-)

Love from Prem Ananda

Anonymous said...

Inspite of his GV samskars, I fear Madhavananda is not returning home anytime soon - He is battle hardened now plus something in his blog:

"Yet again, the intensive emotional capacity of bhakti is something I sorely lack; I do not have the natural emotive foundations for the intensely involved feelings of raganuga cultivation, a shortcoming that complicates a supposedly natural path to a great degree, and that cannot be sustainably compensated by mere imitation in hopes of eventually developing the same."

This was amply clear (to me) in the manner he chose to word his posts in GD. It was also clear that he was putting intense effort to remain within the GV framework.