Thursday, June 26, 2008

Swami Karpatriji

I wanted to write a blog about the classes and lectures I listened to in Vrindavan, but I never got around to it. I did mention Prema Das's very enjoyable Chaitanya Charitamrita lectures at Radha Raman Nivas, but did not give a summary of the morning Bhagavata classes that I attended at the Krishna Balaram temple. I thought I would check the general temperature of Hari Katha at that noble institution and probably went to about eight or ten classes altogether, nearly every day someone different. I heard Radha Raman Swami twice, as he spoke in English one day and Hindi the next.

About those Iskcon lectures, I will only make one comment, and that is that I cannot recall having heard the name of Radha a single time, nor Vrindavan, nor the word prema. The only exception to this dearth of rasa was perhaps one young brahmachari who read a couple of songs by Jnana Das about Krishna's rupa.

It must be said, though, that as someone who likes to speak Harikatha, I cannot help salivating a little at seeing classes of 200 to 250 devotees all eager to listen, hungry for a good class. Radha Raman Swami was the best received of all the speakers I saw, and he had some good insights, but not one of them could hold a candle to Prem Das, whose audience was 25 or 30 mostly aging babajis... and a handful of women and grihasthas. (Couldn't resist, sorry!)

Another thing I noticed is that whereas I remember no one ever coming to give a class with notes in the past, now everyone seems to do so, sometimes even bringing in books and reading entire sections from here and there to make a point. It is better, I guess, than hemming and hawing and saying nothing, but this professor trip is not so inspiring. The better lecturers I saw were the ones who were prepared but not looking at notes.

During this time, I started listening to some CDs of Swami Karpatriji's Bhramara Gita lectures. Karpatriji (Hariharananda Saraswati) was quite a famous scholar who taught in Benares. I had purchased a book on Bhramara Gita based on these lectures before going to Vrindavan and found some good things in it, so my appetite was whipped up. When I found the CDs on the Banke Bihari Road, I picked them up despite the rather steep price. Comparing them with the book, I have to say that the editing is really pitiful. I am almost embarrassed at how poorly it was done as though the goal were to save paper rather than deliver the nectar. The editor cut out so much, there is not even a tenth of the material that is found on the recordings. And what has been lost is the most interesting stuff, all the rasa.

Satya Narayanji says he was a big Mayavadi. The first, he said, to start making a trade of speaking the Bhagavatam. There are now so many red-clothed sannyasis with tripundra giving Bhagavata lectures now. SN: "After all, how long can you go on talking about the 27 kinds of consciousness without losing your audience?"

Adirasa, an Iskcon rebel staying at the Jiva Institute came knocking on my door and asked me why I was listening to a Mayavadi instead of Srila Prabhupada. Of course, if I was listening to him to learn how to defeat the Mayavadis, then that was OK. I said that was not the case, leaving him mystified. Later Adirasa remarked that Karpatriji spoke with a great deal of force and authority. Like Prabhupada. Like Swami Rama.

True, Karpatriji may be a big Mayavadi, but I don't care; he is great. I love Hari Katha and there is so much juice in these CDs. The point is that whatever his personal philosophical predilection, he recognizes that the force of bhakti is greater than that of nirakara, nirguna, nirasa Brahma, and he says as much. The atmarama verse is never far from his lips. The fact is that once you are an achintya-bhedabheda-vadi, you are not afraid of Mayavadis any more. You become like the hamsa who takes the nectar from a diluted mixture, and as long as there is no outright polemic against bhakti, you can relish that essence.

Karpatriji explores the commentaries for each verse, and won't put a verse down until he has explored every alleyway, every nook and cranny of interpretation possible, whether it comes from the Gaudiyas, the Vallabhis, or any other sampradaya.

His language is just shaped through and through by the language of the Bhagavata. Entire phrases that slip from his tongue with such natural ease, names of Krishna—he won’t just say “Krishna,” but “Shyamasundar Madana-mohana Paramananda-kanda Sri Krishna” or instead of Radha, he will say “Hladini Shakti Svarupini, Mahabhava svarupini Vrishabhanu-nandini Sri Radha.” By the same token, he has down pat all those lists that the shastras are full of--the five elements, the senses, the degrees of prema, the characteristics of this, the qualities of that. It makes the talk flow nicely when you don't have to stumble over those things but can just rattle them off--you are reminded of them, but they don't interfere with the main subject.

With his vast knowledge of Advaitavada, he can carry a theme like one where he says that Radharani is so fed up with Krishna that she would rather have mukti with sustained philosophical momentum. I think it is this verse he has quoted--

pratyAhRtya muniH kSaNaM viSayato yasmin mano dhitsate
bAlAsau viSayeSu dhitsati tataH pratyAharantI manaH
yasya sphUrti-lavAya hanta hRdaye yogI sumutkaNThate
mugdheyaM kila tasya pazya hRdayAn niSkrAntim AkAnkSati

Munis are trying so hard to pull their minds away from sense objects and place them on Krishna's lotus feet. They would feel so satisfied if they could do so for even a moment, and yet this girl is trying to drag her mind away from thinking of him, trying rather to think of sense objects. And yogis are engaged in tapasya hoping for a momentary vision of the Lord in the heart, and this foolish girls is trying to empty her heart of him. (Vidagdha-madhava, 2.37)

It is really interesting how he uses language. He is basing everything on the tikas, he is repeating the Sanskrit over and over again. Not only the Sanskrit of the verse, but the Sanskrit of the tika as well. He then translates into a moe sophisticated Sanskritized Hindi, following with the more familiar language, repeated his translation over and over until he gets that sentence just right, until he gets that full idea . It does not sound like he is struggling at all, just that with each repetition it becomes more full and complete. Then he goes into the vyakhya. Then he will bring in other verses or citations from other scriptures--Gita, Ramacharita Manasa, or some other text, tell an entire story. Or some nice asvadya verse which he will do something similar with.

Then as he completes the interpretation of one section of the original verse, he will repeat the entire verse, or just the same one or two lines and start in on another vyakhya of the same words or phrases. The end result is that by the time you have listened to the whole five hours of discussion of one verse, it is beating away like a drum in your head. Especially with the malati meter which starts with six short syllables--

madhupa kitava-bandho! mA spRzAGghriM sapatnyAH
kuca-vilulita-mAlA-kunkuma-zmazrubhir naH
vahatu madhupatis tan-mAninInAM prasAdaM
yadu-sadasi viDambyaM yasya dUtas tvam IdRk

O honey drinker! Friend of that cheater! Don't you dare touch my feet with your whiskers, which are all covered with the saffron that has dusted the garlands that cover the breasts of my competitors. Let the Lord of the Madhus go and supplicate the proud women in the court of the Yadus, making a fool of himself there. You are just like the person who has sent you here. (10.47.12)

You are a drunk, and drunks tend to hang out with cheats. No surprise there. So you are quite the cheat too, I am forced to assume. Don't come here and pretend to be humble and conciliatory. I can see the red powder on your face. I know where you have been, so don't embarrass me in this way. You are corrupt and contaminated, whereas I am pure. Your touch will surely make me impure.

You are a bee, and bees are notoriously unfaithful, flying one flower to another, abandoning one as soon as it has exhausted the supply of honey. You are just like the one who sent you, who abandons a woman as soon as he has seduced her. Better you should try to calm the anger of all those women in Mathura who have now experienced Krishna's cheating character. Let him make a fool of himself in the Yadu court by showing how he has to plead with them to forgive him for his cheating ways.

I was just listening today to a lengthy part of his discussion of 10.47.12 (the series starts with 10.46.1 and goes to the end of 10.47) that was based on Dhanapati Suri's commentary, which as far as I can see is the longest one of all, about equal in length to all the Gaudiya commentaries taken together, but one that until now I had not paid much attention to, except that I had noticed it contained a lot of verses from Ujjvala-nilamani.

Anyway, Dhanapati Suri goes into a philosophical interpretation of the entire verse that is as ingenious as it is irrelevant to the actual context. Nevertheless, having this interpretation enriches the understanding on one level, just by taking us there. The word mAninI is interpreted to mean the shruti pramana, for which Dhanapati quotes the dvA suparNA verse and the ajAm ekAm lohita-sukla-krishna (SU. 4.5), both of which demonstrate the duality of the Supreme Soul and the jiva. It is brilliant. Maybe I will get the time to reproduce some of it here some time. Sorry for the cop-out... but I am off to Madhuban. Every Saturday and Sunday, 7.30 p.m. No cover charge.

Karpatriji is going to have a big influence on my Hindi lectures, though I don't expect that I will ever be anything like him. It is just like when I attended many classes by Ananta Dasji. He inspired me greatly to learn more and refine my language. To master the craft. I don't think that I will ever get to anywhere near the kind of fluency of either of them--or any other native speaker of Hindi or Bengali for that matter--but it is worth the effort. I want to distribute the rasa.

I feel like I have perhaps wasted the last 20 years. I might actually have become pretty good if I had stuck it out over that time. Oh well, no doubt something has been gained over that time.

Only trouble is I don't have all the CDs. There must be another 25 hours or something to complete the series.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this guy is a yogamayavadi!

jijaji said...
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Anonymous said...

mostly aging babajis... and a handful of women and grihasthas. (Couldn't resist, sorry!)

What's up the the bad jokes lately?

Adriana said...

In regards your finding great utility with the Mayavadi Swamiji- I asked Radha Raman Swami what trans of the Bhagavat I should get for study. He told me the Gita Press edition as its language was more pristine. Friends have even commented on my use of the text, but Radha Raman Swami knows Bhagavat, so...

Jagat said...

Sorry Jijaji, my answer got lost in cyberspace. That is happening a lot lately. I will have to start writing on another platform and copy and paste.

Adriana, with all due respect, the Gita Press Bhagavata, of which I got a copy recently, is frankly dreadful. Its language is laborious and stilted. In this respect, Prabhupada's is much better, though it has the flaw of including too much commentarial information posing as translation. If you study the word-by-word, you most likely can find where this additional material comes in.

advaitadas said...

What about all the 'fools and rascals', 'back home back to godhead's, 'dormant love of godhead's, 'Krishna consciousness movement's and all that horrid sect-jargon, that is nowhere in the original text? I'd read Gita-press's anytime before that. The translations are much more accurate (though indeed a bit over-complicated). Besides ACBS stole the Gita Press' 3rd canto translations anyway.

jijaji said...
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Anonymous said...

Jagat, has you seen the Bhagavat translation by Swami Tapasyananda from Ramakrishna Math? If so, what is your opinion of the work?

Jagat said...

I am not going to argue with you, Jijaji. I was just listening to Karpatriji elucidate the atmarama verse (1.7.10). This is in the commentary on 10.47.9, I think. (The CD's are a bit mixed up, unmarked, and start anywhere in the middle of a lecture.) So whatever he believes, and this was really my point, he understands and is respectful of the Vaishava point of view and the Vaishnava acharyas (In the same commentary he glorifies Jiva and Sanatan and their vairagya, "They did not write these commentaries in the comfort of a library, but under a tree by the Yamuna, dressed only in rags, etc.") In other words, he does not shove Mayavada down your throat. He is kind of a Madhusudan Saraswati type in that sense. (He also refers to him often.) So there is no rasabhasa, or so far nothing has rubbed me that way.

Any time he does mention Advaita philosophy, it is always somehow relevant, like the example I gave in the post.

I suppose if I were a really strict Vaishnava, I would say that no matter what he says, he contaminates everything with the poison of Mayavada, just by being one. Well, the proof of the pudding for me is in the rasa. I know what I get and what the limits are. He delivers many of the insights of the Gaudiya commentaries, and that is what I appreciate.

I am not trying to make him out to be a closet Gaudiya or anything like that.

Jagat said...

With regard to any backwards ideas Karpatriji may have had, well that does not enter the current discussion. It is rather like the question of milk and the serpent. You have to accept people's qualities in the particular area they are qualified, otherwise nobody would be worth paying attention to at all. And that includes you and me, does it not?

Interesting info about Osho and Karpatriji. Thanks.

Jagat said...

I haven't read enough of Tapasyananda's Bhagavata, but I recall that it was only a bhavanuvada, i.e., not an exact translation, and had sections missing.

With regards to your criticisms, Advaita, I am in wholehearted agreement. In going through the Bhagavat-sandarbha, we are stripping the translations to their bare bones in order to keep the sense of Sridhar Swami and Jiva Goswami's (Gopala Bhatta? Shrivatsa gave me his spiel on this subject) commentaries. So I bought the Gita Press version thinking that I would be able to use, or at least consult with it, but it is practically unusable. I have pretty much stopped looking at it.

A French disciple of Narayan Maharaj once approached me about doing a new translation to then be translated into French so they would not have to use the BBT edition. Negotiations broke of pretty early over money.

Jagat said...

With regards to the question of association, etc. I remember reading a book by Samuel Huntingdon when in university about political development in third world countries. He was talking about democracy and political institutions and how it is necessary for people in democracies to recognize that interests overlap and contrast in various ways.

Where political consciousness is underdeveloped, people tend to gravitate to religious, nationalist or sectarian political groupings. This means that one thinks that, let's say, by joining with the Tamils in Srilanka, I have a better chance of achieving my political goals than by identifying with a broader, ideologically-based party. This kind of thinking is usually quite deluded, because once these ends are achieved, if ever, and they are mostly a distraction from the real, practical issues, then one finds that the same problems of housing, food, water, garbage, taxation, education, health, welfare, etc., etc., remain every bit as real as they were under the other, despised regime.

So, in the case of someone like Osho or Karpatriji, I would probably vote for Osho on social issues, even though I may still listen to a Karpatriji explanation of the Gopi Gita, and not feel particularly conflicted. Because I am a Vaishnava does not mean that I have to like the association of all Vaishnavas (not even Sahajiyas) or hate anyone else just on the basis of external designations.

One has to hierarchize one's priorities and concerns. For some people, for example, women's issues are so important that they make this more important than issues related to the nature of the soul and God. Now, it is clear that any concept of spiritual life that cannot accomodate the evolution of women's role in society, or distorts the nature of women by saying they like being raped or something completely idiotic like that, is incomplete or wanting.

That does not mean that we throw out the baby with the bathwater and simply discount everything that has accumulated in a vast tradition of spiritual experience and theological insight because some individual believer holds that opinion. It means that we appreciate what has merit and build or reform, even though we may have to separate ourselves from such association due to such differences.

Vaishnavas can be a positive embarrassment to one who identifies himself as such--Religion itself brings shame down on us most of the time. You wonder how you can go on finding anything meaningful in spirituality when so many people claiming to be believers are such idiots and seem intent on bringing God into disrepute, whether they are Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Most of these people are concerned, as Srila Prabhupada so rightly said, with a bodily designation and identity.

The obvious solution is to work on oneself first. Why do I expect anyone to be perfect when I am so imperfect? And why do I pin all my hopes on someone matching some unattainable idea of perfection? Spiritual life is real, and you can experience it directly through sadhana. So make it your reality and you will be happy, as promised. Keep your eye on the ball.

Radhe Radhe!

jijaji said...
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advaitadas said...

For some people, for example, women's issues are so important that they make this more important than issues related to the nature of the soul and God.

Sadly so. If, on my blog, I write about some beautiful philosophical or rasika discovery I get 0 comments, but as soon as I speak of profane issues like sex, the position of women, some devotee falling down, some bimbo getting snuffed in Vrindavan, or the caste system I get flooded with (often very mean and stupid) comments so that I have to quickly turn the tap off. hAy hAy! Shows where peoples' minds are at.

Jagat said...

No, it is something that I was also thinking about, that is all. I don't really think that Mahaprabhu was exactly the same as Madhusudana Saraswati. If he had been, the sampradaya would not have taken the different direction it did. That different direction really started with Madhavendra Puri. Then there was a boomerang influence of bhakti on the more regular class of Advaitins, namely the ones in World HQ, Benares.

jijaji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
For Adwaita said...

"Sadly so. If, on my blog, I write about some beautiful philosophical or rasika discovery I get 0 comments, but as soon as I speak of profane issues like sex, the position of women, some devotee falling down, some bimbo getting snuffed in Vrindavan, or the caste system I get flooded with (often very mean and stupid) comments so that I have to quickly turn the tap off. hAy hAy! Shows where peoples' minds are at."

No, it just shows that people have no issues with the rasik stuff, WE LIKE IT!

And your comment about a "bimbo getting snuffed in Vrindavan", crudely refers to WHO exactly???

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

Regardless of what Karpatriji actually followed or believed, which shop on BB Road did you get the CDs? Lemme know, I'll be in Vraja soon for Vyasa Purnima, and would be keen on picking up a CD or two.

Chaitanya a Bharati Sannyasi? Sure, I don't think there is any debate over that, but what are you implying, that he was a brahmavadi or mayavadi? Besides, five hundred years ago, I don't think the chaitanyite cult or many of the other vaisnava cults were so set in stone that they were to be considered separate from their mother movement. Chaitanya shared many connections with the Mayavada current of the time, to distinguish him as his own movement, distinct from the ideology of the Advaitin doctrine, is justified albeit difficult given the socio-religious context.

Anonymous said...

some bimbo getting snuffed in Vrindavan

Yeap, thats Advaita for you folks. The person in question is a "bimbo" because, how dare she, being a girl, she had no business claiming interest in spiritual life. Didn't she know thats men stuff? Then there is the fact that she was a Westerner. What business had this female westerner non observer of of the hindu culture walking around the dham in the first place? And to top it all, she was not legitimately interested in the gaudiya tradition, being the Iskcon girl that she was. Then people get surprised she got snuffed!?

Thank God there is Advaita and other such guardians of devotion to keep things on track, so the real serious nectar seekers still have a shot at beautiful philosophical and rasik discoveries and the highly intelligent discussions these ensue.

Jagat said...

bimbo... snuffed

Indeed, a revelatory use of language.

jijaji said...
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jijaji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
advaitadas said...

I used some strong language to make a certain point but as usual the politically correct Hillary 'beefsteak' Clinton sisyas pick on a word or two and are ready with fork and knife to rip me to shreds (like Hillary's hamburgers). My point, which you all missed, is that (I thought) no one cared about sound harikatha, but as soon as some mundane topic is discussed, whatever that may be, suddenly I get a storm of reactions (like now again, hahaha). If, however, you say, in chorus, WE LIKE IT and your deafening silence on my blog is a sign of agreement then everything is OK with me.

Jagat said...

Advaitaji,

We got your point. But what is the harm in apologizing for what was in fact improper language?

You insulted a girl who was killed in the dham. That was improper and it would be proper to recognize that.

jijaji said...
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Aran said...

I'm no "Hillary 'beefsteak' Clinton sisya," Advita, but I agree with Jijaji, it was disgusting, and you should apologise; how can you, a father, speak so heartlessly?

Anonymous said...

We don't care about your Hari Katha Advaita because it carries your bhava. You are not to be trusted, obviously.

advaitadas said...

Jeej, I dont have a scholar hat, or any collection of hats with varying colours for that matter. I am just me, excuse me for that, OK?

Jagat, fair enough - anudvega karam vakyam satyam priya hitam ca yat. I apologize for the use of profane language in that bimbo/snuffed comment. If it draws attention away from my point it would have been counterproductive anyway.

Anonymous said...

He needs to take off his scholar hat, put down his books and make a public apology as far as I am concerned.

I second that. Strong language is one thing, but this is using a dead person to make a dubious point. I can imagine the mother of the girl mortified if she hears this comment. Its like having a daughter killed twice.

Anonymous said...

One has to hierarchize one's priorities and concerns. For some people, for example, women's issues are so important that they make this more important than issues related to the nature of the soul and God.

Did Jagat say this? I am surprised. Can you explain please?

Hidamba-Bheem said...

What is most disturbing about Adwaita's "bimbo" comment is the fact that he is techncially old enough to be that girl's grandfather, and he has a daughter that is around the age of the girl he is referring to.

A man of his age posssessing the refinement of character that usually accompanies depth of bhajan, would view that young girl not as a "bimbo" but rather as a daughter or grand-daughter, someone worthy of parental affection and compassion.

For him to slight her character, without knowing anything about her, (or even if he did know something), is totally out of line and un-vaishnava-like.

In my opinion, these kinds of harsh judgements against other jivas is why so many old white men like Adwaita have such problems not only in their bhajan lives but also in their personal (intimate)lives as well.

How sad it is to see beyond-middle-aged-men still acting as if they are young enough to be in a midlife crisis, and looking for romance at their advanced ages, after so many years of so-called "bhajan", or at least so many years of some type of sadhu-sanga and some type of connection with bhakti, what to speak of association with their Thakurs - Giridhari, etc.

What is THAT all about?

And then, out of frustration, because no women are clueless/desperate enough to reciprocate their overtures, they declare "bimbo" over an innocent young victim of the heinous crime of murder, all because SHE was able to attract somebody and they weren't!!!!

Jealous much?

And so the cycle continues; criticism = no real bhajan ruchi or vaishanavatva, and then no bhajan ruchi or vaishnavatva = more criticism, and so on and so on.

And it all adds up to again being old, bitter, frustrated and looking for love but not getting any.... all in the fag end of one's life - simply shameless!

Alas! Alas! Fie on himbos.

Anonymous said...

Bitter old white men who just want a lil' bit of lovin'. I think you all should take a group vacation to Sri Thailand-dham, home of the most 'massage' parlours on the planet.

Anyhow, have you all gotten off your soapboxes yet? Still waiting for the name of the store that carries Karpatriji's CDs. Sure sounds like something that would be toward my taste.

jijaji said...
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Jagat said...

I was talking about pluralistic, democratic societies and the fact that since a the idea of a completely homogenous society is not only impossible, but a source of disruption, you have to prioritize when it comes to forming associations and alliances. You may share some sets of values with one group, but be totally against the same group on another set of issues.

Some people make a single issue their only measuring stick of a person's value. For instance, some people will say "If a person is not a Krishna devotee, then anything he says, does, thinks, etc., is all corrupt and corrupting. One should have nothing to do with him."

For others, women's issues are the single most important thing. I am not saying they are not important, indeed they rank very high in my scheme of looking at things, but it is precisely because of the relation, both real and symbolic, that it has with spirituality.

Our first priority must be the attainment of transcendence, to overcome the identification with the body, and the attainment of love for the Soul of our soul, whom we call Radha and Krishna.

In the building of personality, through the course of one's life, there are times when we are called on to make a priority of such issues--that is a kind of moral imperative that we may must obey. If we do not heed this voice when we receive the inner command, our spiritual road will be blocked. It is not only that there is nothing wrong with following such duties on the personal level, but it is an important part of our spiritual culture. If someone thinks, "In the Krishna consciousness movement, women's issues are important because backward attitudes not only hold the spreading of the movement back, but they are offensive to Srimati Radharani herself," then that person is correctly placed.

However, if it is purely a matter of bodily consciousness and has no relationship to the transcendental reality, then the quality and benefits of the efforts made will be relative.

On the level of bhakti, the goal is to become ekanti.

Anonymous said...

I think you all should take a group vacation to Sri Thailand-dham, home of the most 'massage' parlours on the planet.

This is disgusting, too. Sanctioned exploitation of human beings so some big bellied mustachoed losers feel they are having a good old manly time. Has anybody apologized for that yet? Oh, wait, I forget, its supposed to be funny, ha ha ha!

Anonymous said...

If someone thinks, "In the Krishna consciousness movement, women's issues are important because backward attitudes not only hold the spreading of the movement back, but they are offensive to Srimati Radharani herself," then that person is correctly placed.

However, if it is purely a matter of bodily consciousness and has no relationship to the transcendental reality, then the quality and benefits of the efforts made will be relative.

On the level of bhakti, the goal is to become ekanti.


ANY transgression of human rights in this world is of concern to Srimati Radharani.

There is no such thing as separation of material and spiritual respect. All respect is essentially spiritual.

There isn't one as ekanti as Srimati Radharani. In matters of compassion, she does not accept compromising attitudes, not even from Krsna.

Jagat said...

ANY transgression of human rights in this world is of concern to Srimati Radharani.

OK, but what I am saying is that you have to be placed in transcendence to really do any good. Actions from the rajo-guna and tamo-guna create reactions in the rajo-guna and tamo-guna.

More important, really, is that for your own personal benefit, you need to have a transcendental center from which you can act and by which you can remain fixed in transcendental joy even while acting.

Your first responsibility is ultimately to yourself and to your relationship with God. Of course, that is why I said that if you are impelled to serve a cause such as this, you are duty bound to see it through, as it directly serves the ultimate purpose. You simply have to keep the ultimate purpose in mind.

Usually, we become involved in political and social causes because of diminishing faith in spiritual life, which is operating on the most personal level. In other words, most political and social action arises out of a conviction that personal distress or dissatisfaction has an external cause, not an internal one.

That is not surprising, as genuine faith is difficult to maintain in this world where we are all caught up in bodily consciousness. Gita 12, actually the whole Gita, discusses these matters nicely.

But please don't get me wrong. I am actually encouraging you, not discouraging you. I just don't want you to lose sight of the prayojan. Consciousness of the prayojan has to pervade everything you think, say or do.

Jai Radhe!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what's all the fuss about calling an idiotic girl an idiot. The guy "she was able to attract" put a bullet through her head!

Fortunately there is no dearth of beautiful young women who are smart enough not to fall for such punks with their brains getting short circuited by an overload of testosterone. Instead they wisely choose level headed, stable older men who can provide money and security.

Jagat said...

Boy. You don't understand... You sure don't.

I wrote something in response to your letter when it was first posted, but held back. Now I just read the following passage from a biography of Vivekananda, the second chapter of which is about 19th century reformers in Bengal. Here is a quote from Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar:

"Oh men of India! Due to your faulty customs, your intelligence and religious behavior have become so corrupt and defective that there is not a drop of compassion in your arid hearts when you see the plight of the unfortunate widows. You see the powerful currents of prostitution and abortion drown our country, and you feel not the slightest disgust. You think that when a woman's husband dies, her body turns to stone. That suffering is not suffering for her. That she does not feel it when she is given pain. This is truly a matter for lamentation. God help us, I can only pray that no one will have to take birth as a woman in a land where the men are so devoid of pity and morality, are without any sense of justice or injustice, of what is beneficial or not, good or bad, and whose only concern is for maintaining face and social customs."

And this was written 30 years after the Suttee laws were passed.

The thing is, as women have been kind enough to point out for the past fifty years: You have to stop blaming the victim. This is the danger of the "law of karma" which some people have been so kind as to call the law of divine retribution. What is more important, compassion or the belief in karma? Yes, for ourselves we accept the law of karma, tat te'nukampam susamikshamano. We recognize our own sufferings as God's mercy on us. We deserve much worse for our lifetimes of sin. But when we see others suffer, we take the opposite position, even though we may know what is the truth, we must not let it harden our hearts.

But it is not even polite in any circumstances to speak ill of the dead, that is just common courtesy. A Vaishnava is reluctant to speak ill of the living, what to speak of using denigrating language like "bimbo" or "idiot" about persons who have undergone a mishap like the one suffered by this girl.

Everybody makes mistakes when they are young, and this young girl was well placed to learn from her mistakes and mature with good sense. Not only is she murdered because of associating with someone who was unstable, but her name has to be dragged through the mud afterward by insensitive persons like yourself.

Personally, I can understand the anger of women when they read asinine comments like these.

Anonymous said...

Quite presumptuous of you to think I am insensitive because I pointed out the dead girl's idiocy. Man, you don't call a spade a spade, others are gonna do the same. I have openly declared myself a stupid fool for associating with ISKCON resulting in an irreparable harm to my career and I don't blame any Prabhupad or this swami or that for my idiocy, nor do I take shelter under the excuse that I was young and "immature". Good many people warned me against doing what I was about to do but I just ignored them. This is no 19th century India and the girl in question does not come from an "Indian" community with culturally and socially regressive customs. What was she doing loitering around in UP, India which is home to some of the most horrible human males. (I know that - I have dealt with this kind for over two decades). Ah yes Bhajan! and it automatically redeems one from the clutches of stupidity!! And then these frustrated women cry hoarse in the name of women's rights because the stupidity was pointed out naked.

Listen, I am no longer a vaishnava, and I have my personal opinion of the vaishnava movement with all its esoteric concepts like "karma". But I do recognize a spade when pointed out as such. And I find this absolutely reprehensible that these "female activists" should make a kneejerk comment about older men being frustrated and having no right to female affection. This sounds more asslike to me - themselves being frustrated it seems, I don't know by what ... but I can certainly make a good guess.

BTW, I have a long time to mid life crisis.

govindanandini said...

Anyhow, have you all gotten off your soapboxes yet? Still waiting for the name of the store that carries Karpatriji's CDs. Sure sounds like something that would be toward my taste.

Hope you find the CDs and, according to your taste, try them up your backside next time you are in Thailand.

jijaji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jagat said...

Why is it presumptious of us to judge you by your words? You put them there for everyone to see. I don't doubt that you are a cultured, brilliant man of the world. But what you said and the way you chose to say it was insensitive. There are better and more effective ways to make your point.

It would be foolish not to give some credence to your point of view, but the Rush Limbaugh approach is divisive rather than productive and a forum like this one is certainly not the place for such an approach.

Anonymous said...

Jagat, unfortunately you cannot see the divisive threat coming from those who possibly could have a small share in your agenda. When middle aged matajis, make comments like fifteen year olds, about old men being horny frustrated lechers, that is well justified anger.

Jijaji, Women are intelligent enough to fight for their rights. Don't try to serve crutches where none are needed otherwise you will be nothing more than a big joke in their circle!!

Auntie said...

"Instead they wisely choose level headed, stable older men who can provide money and security."

YUCK.

There are plenty of men younger than us or at the very most, our OWN AGE, who are stable and can provice money, security AND intellectual stimulation, fun and sensitivity.

Desperate old men - stick to women YOUR OWN AGE or somewhat older even. You don't have anything to offer women more than say, 5 or 6 years younger than you - in any department. Unless you are John Abraham or something.

Peace.

jijaji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

women should not be the only ones fighting for their rights, men who are aware and sensitive to their issues should step in and stand up as well.

That is a very insightful stand. Helping out wherever incivility threats humankind is not only a noble thing to do, but the intelligent and evolutionary thing to do as well. Jerks' days on Earth are counted.

Jagat said...

May I just return to my original point on this topic and say that as long as there is "us" and "them" consciousness, "jerk" and "piously righteous," "bimbo" and "chaste," etc., dualities entertained in a spirit of conflict, you are in fact prolonging the conflict.

That is why I said that fighting for women's issues without transcendental consciousness is a bit of an empty struggle, spiritually. I am sorry, but you have to go beyond this mentality.

Anonymous said...

That is why I said that fighting for women's issues without transcendental consciousness is a bit of an empty struggle, spiritually. I am sorry, but you have to go beyond this mentality.

Ok Jagat, the jerks can come to the party too. But they have to behave.

Anonymous said...

Jijaji do you know that your hero Ambedkar never looked eye to eye with Gandhi. Ambedkar hated Gandhi's help to the dalits because such help further ingrained the social stereotype that dalits are by default incapable. Something akin to what imperial Britain used to think was "The White Man's Burden" for the rest of the world - which was used as a good excuse to further their expansionist ambitions.

So I am a sexist jerk because I can criticize women as I would do men - as an equal, but you are oh so sensitive and civil because you think you can conveniently sweep all their faults under the carpet - (for god knows what ambitions!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Auntiji,

If you have been too busy in bhajan here's some news for you

http://www.myspace.com/kendrawilkinson

Auntie said...

"There are plenty of men younger than us or at the very most, our OWN AGE, who are stable and can provice money, security AND intellectual stimulation, fun and sensitivity."

I'm revising that. We don't need money or security from men - old or young. We have made our own. And besides, most of the men related to Krishna circles are lazy when it comes to money-making. They rarely have ambition in that department and that is why you see many ISKCON (and other) wives working and supporting their families.

Anyway, we have our own money and security, but are willing to share other aspects of life with another COMPLETE ON THEIR OWN WHOLE. And that is why we generally go for men our OWN AGE or younger who are interesting, fun and sensitive, and why they go for us as well.

For the lovelorn 50 and over men out there - can't help ya, but a word of advice - BECOME WHOLE.

jijaji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prasad said...

The bimbo-remark was intolerable. And luckily the person who made it was reprimanded by everyone. An apology was made under the pressure of those reprimands.

Adolescents and kids who live within the context of having "Krishna-conscious" parents usually go through a completely healthy phase of rejection and rebellion. Nothing bimbo-ish about that, but normal puberty.

Critizing people after their deaths who are not in the public field and never aspired to do so (contrary to those who start sects, write and comment on books, claim to posses absolute truths and have disciples) is not proper etiquette.

IF SOMEONE CANNOT DEFEND HIM-/HERSELF, THEN DO NOT ATTACK HIM/HER.

Period

By the way, pure hari-katha always accompanies proper etiquette and respect for all living beings.

Anonymous said...

Auntiji,

If you have been too busy in bhajan here's some news for you

http://www.myspace.com/kendrawilkinson


It is true, not all women are smart. Some think they are meaningful to obtuse, unscrupulous men. It is really just a matter of business between two self deprecating parties.

Auntie's Advice for Elders said...

Kendra Wilkenson, the stuff old men's dreams of made of.

Show me the commonfolk, the common woman, who is she shacking up with?

Not an octagenerean, or whatever post 80 year old men are called these days, that is for sure!

Heff and his bunnies are celebrities, they will do anything for media attention. We all know that these women have a whole slew of much, much younger men from whom they get their sexual satisfaction. Let's get real here, the only thing Heff does is provide the fame, publicity and money for them, not the action - how could he?

Go on old men.... continue your fantasy....

Now back down to REAL LIFE -

The problem in spiritual circles such as Hare Krishna or otherwise, is that there is always a surplus of washed up oldies on the prowl. Go to any home program or temple gathering and there they are - broke, dejected, desperate and looking.

So sad.

On the otherhand the women of any age tend to be dynamic, active, alive, vibrant, intelligent and very grounded - whether they are married or single. If they are married you can assume that it is THEY who financially support their husbands and kids. In Krishna circles this is how it usually plays out.

What is up with that?

No matter how old we get we ladies will always have one up on you guys -- we don't go BALD!!!!

The glories of a healthy head of hair are limitless.

The Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher scenario is more common in my environment than the Heff/Kendra one, and for very good reason.

Women tend to become more confident, self-assured and non-drama-queen as they mature. Younger men like that. They like it ALOT.

Plus they like our healthy head of long luxurious HAIR.

My only advice to these old washed up guys on the prowl at various functions is;

1. Have some dignity

2. If you are not sure how to behave then emulate the women around you that are your same age. Chances are they carry themselves with self-confidence combined with a healthy sense of humility.

3. Act properly like the "elder" that you are. I can tell you right now that most, if not all, women around you do NOT view you as a potential partner but as an "uncle" type. So act like one and you finally might get some respect.

4. Instead of prowling all the get-togethers, become centered in the SELF. Your newfound spirituality will radiate light to everyone you meet - man, woman and child, and you will no longer be perceived as so pathetic.

In other words - get a life.

Women are attracted to men who are about something.

Good luck!

Jagat said...

(I reposted this, because I realized that there might be some misunderstanding. The particular link given here is to a radio program about a woman who works as a prostitute in Australia. The reason I thought it was relevant is because of the picture she paints of middle-aged men. A pretty sorry lot, indeed. Of course, it does not mean that everyone is like that, but I think that Auntie has made good observations and very valid points in her letter and, if the shoe fits wear it. Anyway, I thought that she might enjoy listening to this program. It was not, as I fear it may have been misconstrued, intended as an insult. This has been written before verifying whether there are any comments resulting from this post.)

Auntie-ji, it sounds like you should start a Dear Auntie-ji advice to the lovelorn column.
Here, you will enjoy this: The Only Hooker in Town.

Satya devi dasi said...

Thank you for the clarification. Yes, it was unclear what your purpose was in directing us to a story about a woman who became a sex worker. I re-read your original post about Swami Karpatriji and we have gone far afield from that original thread. I look forward to reading more nectar you find in his work. Jaya Radhe!

Jagat said...

Yes, let's call it a day on this one. My apologies. I just wanted to say that there are a lot of people out there who are pretty hung up on these issues.

Christiaan said...

A question relating to something else if I may...

Is modern psychology compatible with the RK-Lila concept?

I recently heard that someone who suffered from a severe obsessive compulsive disorder got treated rather succesfully, but in his therapy chanting was considered a symptom of his disorder rather then a solution to it. He gave up on it (the chanting). Rituals seem to dovetail OCD's. In a way most rituals have much in common with OCD's.

Then the phenomenon of chaotic/katatonic schizofrenia. Most of the symptoms correspond with what are called symptoms of ecstatic trance in India, or possession. In Italy they hallucinate about Mary, in Turkey about Fatima and in India about.....

Then there is Jung. Although considered a little outdated in the more modern cognitive field, it seems that the projection of love on a divine couple is a nice example of a Jungian archetype. Jung spend much time in India, even in Bengal.

What would you say to a person like me to convince me to become a practitioner. I am neither a psychologist (as you might have guessed) nor a devotee or worshipper of Krishna. I am interested though in both.

(I teach at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Tilburg University NL)

Jagat said...

Dear Christiaan,

Thank you for your questions. I am preparing an answer, which I will publish as a new posting on the blog. I will try to have it ready in a day or two.

Ys,

Jagat

Jagat said...

My apologies to the person who requested this information earlier. It was in a different place and I kept forgetting to bring it to my computer. Here it is:

Prof. Pavan Agrawal
Pavan Cassettewala
Purana Shahar, Vrindavan
983-703-9391
983-704-0404
992-705-0505
0565-244-2538