Showing posts from August, 2008

Musings on Osho readings

So, after promising to do so to our several Osho disciple visitors, I finally picked up a couple of books by Osho in Rishikesh. I decided to read him in Hindi first, before getting into the English material that was recommended to me. I am rather glad I did. I should say that my gut reaction, which I expressed in an earlier post on the subject of Osho, has been confirmed, though I feel enriched by the experience and may well read other things by him.

So I now have read one complete Osho book. This one is take from lectures given in Pune around 1985 or so, I would guess. While the Pune experience was in full swing and Rajneeshpuram had not yet come into existence. One theme that comes up is the enmity of the different sampradayas, especially it would seem, the Jains, who were loath to see such heresy from one of their own. So obviously this book is not totally representative of Osho's doctrine, but nevertheless, it is partially representative.

The book's name is Raso vai sah, whi…

Indira Gandhi National Council of the Arts

I went to Delhi on Sunday night for a meeting at the IGNCA where Shrivatsaji was discussing a project for a 10-day program about Braj to be held at the IGNCA next March. He was discussing primarily with Molly Kaushal, who is the head of the Janapada Sampada (or folk arts) division.

I sat in on the meeting, which only ran into a little controversy when Shrivatsa mentioned the difficulty he had in getting a certain pandit to come to San Francisco to participate in a conference. This man insisted that he be able to see the very cow that he would drink the milk from. This was of course impossible to arrange for someone staying in a hotel in the downtown of an American city, and so he refused.

Ms. Mehtab, a joint secretary at the IGNCA, then said, well this is precisely the kind of person we should refuse to have... And let's have a session on whether this is actually good for anyone... and what about the widows of Braj? And how come 90% of them come from Bengal? After all, isn't tha…

Bhagavata Chapters -- Maybe You Need Some Help...

Since the Bhagavatam is all transcendental and Krishna himself in book form, it is no doubt offensive to discuss which chapters are best. Nevertheless, one tends to pick favorites. And there are certainly verses that are used more often than others by the acharyas as illustrative of specific points

The Bhagavatam has 336 chapters, I believe, so there is lots of competition for the best. However some clearly stand out. So for those to whom the numbers are bewildering or meaningless, here is a quick reminder of what's what: (Note, when I say that there are quotable verses, I am making a quick estimate based on what has been underlined in my handy Gita Press Bhagavata, which I have carried around with me for more than 30 years.)

1.2 is the great second chapter of the Bhagavatam. It starts with a couple of mangalacharana verses to Sukadeva Goswami (tam pravrajantam, etc.) that many people use at the beginning of Bhagavata recitals. But almost all the rest of the chapter is substantive, …

Not very mixed feelings

I changed the layout settings. The template was supposed to be the same one as before, but it has changed considerably. So I have changed templates entirely rather than putz around. I may change several times over the next few days until I find one I like.

Anyway, I added a poll on the Bhagavatam chapters, but it is way down at the bottom of the page. Can't put it at the top? We'll have a look.

More tasmad idam jagat

Now, to take you down the fascinating and tortured path of a translator-cum-editor struggling to earn his crust of bread. The verse was:

tasmād idaṁ jagad aśeṣam asat-svarūpaṁsvapnābham asta-dhiṣaṇaṁ puru-duḥkha-duḥkhamtvayy eva nitya-sukha-bodha-tanāv anantemāyāta udyad api yat sad ivāvabhāti

Word for word: tasmāt = therefore; idaṁ = this; jagat = world; aśeṣam = entire; asat-svarūpaṁ = unreal/false in essence; svapnābham = like a dream; asta-dhiṣaṇaṁ = setting or disappearing awareness, consciousness; puru-duḥkha-duḥkham = full of abundant and repeated misery; tvayi = in You; eva = alone; nitya-sukha-bodha-tanau = possessing a body of eternity, knowledge and bliss (in apposition to "in You"); anante = infinite (in apposition to "in You"); māyātaḥ = from Maya; udyat = arising (present participle agreeing with jagat); api = even, and; yat = which or since; sat = existing, real, true; iva = as if, like; avabhāti = appears. exists (Jiva ).

The BBT translation:

The Avanti Brahmin’s 24 Gurus

One of the most significant teachings of the Bhagavatam is found in three chapters of the Eleventh Book. There we hear about the avadhut, also sometimes called the Avanti Brahmin, who claims to have taken lessons from a wide variety of teachers, simply by observing and studying their behavior. I would like to share the lessons from this chapter with you.

When it comes to understanding the nature of Guru-tattva, it must be remembered that the Guru appears in two forms, as the teacher or śikṣā-guru and as the initiator or dīkṣā-guru. Though the roles of these two kinds of teacher may be a little different, in either case, both are considered to be manifestations of Krishna. It is precisely when we recognize the presence of God in the external world, either in human or in some other form -- when we have a "epiphany" -- that we are experiencing the tattva called Guru.

This was also stated by the 16th century acharya Krishna Das Kaviraj—

guru kṛṣṇa-rūpa hana śāstrera pramāṇe