It is important to recognize that Rupa Goswami's descriptions of Radha and Krishna's love have relevance for our understanding of human love.

For instance, let us examine Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi 14.45-58:

nātisāndrā hareḥ prāyaḥ sākṣād darśana-sambhavā
sambhogecchā-nidāneyaṁ ratiḥ sādhāraṇī matā

yathā śrī-daśame (10.48.9)—
sahoṣyatām iha preṣṭha dināni katicin mayā
ramasva notsahe tyaktuṁ sangaṁ te’mburuhekṣaṇa

Sādhāraṇī rati is defined as follows: Love for Krishna that is not particularly intense and nearly always arises after directly seeing him, and which has sexual desire at its basis, is called “common” affection.

For example, Kubja said to Krishna, “Come, my dear, and spend a few days with me. Make love to me, O lotus-eyed one, for I cannot abide the thought of leaving you.”

asāndratvād rater asyāḥ sambhogecchā vibhidyate
etasyā hrāsato hrāsas tad-dhetutvād rater api

Because the love is not particulary intense, it can be separated from the desire for sexual enjoyment. When the sexual desire diminishes, so does the love, since the former is the source of the latter.
Vishwanath: “The lack of intensity leads us to surmise that the love is pierced by sexual desire (sambhogecchā). “Nearly always” (prāyaḥ) means that on occasion it can arise from hearing, etc. “Having sexual desire at its basis” (sambhogecchā-nidānā) refers to the following thought process: “When Krishna’s beauty became visible to me, then I wished to have his company.”

In other words, it is a desire for sexual enjoyment based in the desire for one’s own pleasure. This is followed by the love, which has the nature of a resolve: “I would like to give something back to this person, who has brought me such tremendous pleasure through the eyes, by offering him appropriate service and my body.”

Observations: It is important to understand what is being said here about sādhāraṇī rati in order to better grasp samañjasā and samarthā ratis. The basic categories by which comparisons are will be made are being established. It has already been intimated that rati is one, and it simply has different manifestations.

Since, as bhaktas, we are accustomed to thinking that the opportunity to even see Krishna must be the result of a purity of desire that leaves no room for lust or sva-sukha-tātparya, it is a little difficult for us to understand sādhāraṇī rati. Indeed it becomes very difficult to understand all these three categories of madhura-rasa, the most powerful kind of bhakti, without some kind of reference to the nature of sexual love in this world. No impurity is possible in the spiritual relations with Krishna, and yet here we have the concept of sexual desire or lust becoming separate or distinct from prema. And in the case of Kubja, it is almost embarrassingly so. Rupa Goswami even holds out the possibility of the sexual desire diminishing and the love diminishing with it, since the one is the result of the other.

If we look at this from the material point of view, we could call this love tamasic, in the sense that the animal desires are the strongest element in it. It lacks the purity that we come to expect from the highest and most ideal kind of love.

On the other hand, it is instructive both on the level of human love and bhakti. Vishwanath says that this kind of love is a response to pleasure, which is applicable to bhakti as well as human love. "By engaging in the process of bhakti, I have experienced such delights that I must respond by rendering service to the source of that pleasure." Normally, we do not disavow this notion, but accept it as valid. Indeed it is a necessary step in the process of self-purification. Nevertheless, if bhakti is dependent on reciprocation, i.e., if it waxes and wanes as a result of the perceived delights that God provides, then it is on a lower level.

By the same token, from the point of view of erotic or romantic love, the prominent element is again the pleasure. Since the frame of reference is sensual pleasure, the love is based on a perception that the object (viṣaya) is bringing me the kind of sensual satisfactions that I seek. This is why it can increase or decrease according to the degree of gratification that comes from the other person. This is primarily self-oriented and therefore inferior.

The idea of "separating" (vibhidyate) or "piercing" (viddha) is particularly important in terms of the two other ratis, since the degree of distinction that can be perceived between lust and love is the measuring stick of the power of this love. In other words, samarthā rati, the most powerful kind of love, is that in which no distinction between love and lust can be found.

This, as you will see, is particularly important, as one of my contentions is that lust and love spring from the same source. ṣimply stated, when one is in a state of oneness with the object of love, such as described in the mahā-bhāva state, then there is no distinction between love and lust, since the desire to please oneself and the desire to please the object of love perfectly coincide. The evolution of love in Rupa Goswami's conception in the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi can be understood through this optic.

प्रेयांस्तेऽहं त्वमपि च मम प्रेयसीति प्रवाद-
स्त्वं मे प्राणा अहमपि तवास्मीति हन्त प्रलापः।
त्वं मे ते स्यामहमिति यत्तच्च नो साधु राधे
व्याहारे नो न हि समुचितो युष्मदस्मत्प्रयोगः॥
The popular understanding that "I am your lover and you my beloved," the loving prattle, "You are my life and I yours"; and, indeed, the words, "You belong to me and I to you," -- all three statements are improper [grammatically incorrect!] . In fact, O Radhe, it is incorrect for us to ever employ the words 'you' or 'I'." (Alaṅkara-kaustubha 5.11)
To anticipate here an objection: This is clearly possible in the case of the Supreme Truth, i.e., Radha and Krishna, or even a pure jiva in the sambhogecchā-mayi mood, but how can it apply to love in this world? So I will just say the following: I agree that it cannot, in full. However, as I do continue to repeat, from time to time, in a shadowy or distorted but nevertheless extremely significant way, it can.

In fact, the whole point is this: if love could be "perfect" in this world, then there would be no need to postulate or yearn for another one. At the same time, God makes it possible to imagine His world through the manifestations of small perfections in this one. Just contemplate Gita chapter 10 in this context for a moment:

यद्यद्विभूतिमत् सत्त्वं श्रीमदूर्जितमेव वा।
तत् तदेवावगच्छ त्वं मम तेजोंऽशसंभवम् ॥४१॥
अथवा बहुनैतेन किं ज्ञातेन तवार्जुन ।
विष्टभ्याहमिदं कृत्स्नमेकांशेन स्थितो जगत् ॥४२॥
Whatever great opulence that you see,
whatever glories or mighty wonders,
Know that they have all arisen in truth
from but a spark of My divine splendor.

On the other hand, what need is there
to know all these things in detail?
I pervade this entire creation, Arjuna,
By just a single portion of Myself.
And what is more powerful and captures the imagination and quickens the fancy more than love?


Anonymous said…
I think you've got some interesting ideas but they're too far left-field from the traditional gaudiya standpoint set out by the 6 goswamis. I think many more people will disagree with how far we should run with some of your ideas.

The love of this world allows us a rough conception, still intellectual, of that divine love which we aspire to ultimately attain. I think where we go wrong is by trying to claim that by practising the mundane love of this world can we hope to understand the absolute.

I think its kind of interesting (to say the least) that you seem to be propounding some type of philosophy which seems to directly contradicts the lives of the goswamis themselves and yet use their own scriptures to establish those very contradictory ideas.

The renunciation of Rupa and Raghunath knew no bounds what to speak of their love of the divine, and yet you are proposing that we do something completely opposite to that which they have shown by their actions in their own lives.

It's like using the communist manifesto to establish capitalism.
Jagadananda Das said…
Well, I am not trying to repudiate theirs or anyone else's life of renunciation.

As a matter of fact, this is also based in a yogic consciousness, and the intention is to enter a more profound and deeper interiorization.

Love is a channel of sadhu sanga. This is why Advaita irritates me with his accusation of womanizing. This is about Vaishnava-sanga. It just happens that the partners are of the opposite sex.

Unfortunately, people like Advaita are like camels when it comes to rasa. udAsatAM nAma rasAnabhijJaiH.

Their first problem is that they don't really believe that women can be devotees. Big strike against them for being so blind to the devotional qualities of women, which are generally superior to those of men.

The second problem is that they are incapable of seeing how expanding the concept of sanga to include physical intimacy fulfills the requirements of engaging all the senses in the direction of devotion.

They think sex is only for procreation! Hello! What world are they living in? That is why I mentioned Ashley Montague the other day. Learn about the importance of touch as an expression of love.

How is it that all the senses are to be engaged in some way, but the most powerful senses, those which are most intimately related to our bondage, cannot be used in a way that promotes our liberation?

Isn't this what the whole point of bhakti is, that we don't renounce falsely, but that we find a way to engage everything in bhakti in some way?

The thing is that no one seems to have understood how manjari bhava relates to this kind of practice, and so they are all engaged in a kind of phalgu-vairagya. That is strike two.

Moreover, and this is what is the real killer, is that for most people, with the exception of exalted individuals like the Six Goswamis, a loving partnership in devotional life is really the royal road to the inward experience of bhava and rasa. People foolishly see only the external aspects of the relationship and conclude that this can only be lust. What a lack of subtle vision!

It seems obvious to me that the kind of intimacy that is possible between men and women is nowhere to be found in any other kind of loving relationship, hence the superiority and dominance of madhura rasa in the aesthetics and literature of the world.

When accompanied by a strong culture of hearing and chanting about Radha and Krishna, this kind of intimate love with a devotee opens the doors to tasting rasa in exactly the way that Rupa Goswami taught it--through sadharanikarana, or identification.

The key to understanding the process of identification is manjari bhava.

I am sorry to say this, but for most people that I see in the Vaishnava world today, even those who are sannyasis--even those who are following some kind of program in lila smarana--they are barely licking the outside of the bottle when it comes to rasa, to use that famous expression.

And the reason I know? Because prema is the prayojan. And I don't see that much of it. Dry renunciation is not the path to prema.

You need the basics of spirituality--as a matter of fact, you may need even more than are being served up in most Vaishnava circles--but not phalgu vairagya!

So I intend to stick with my philosophy, because as far as I am concerned it leads to something that resembles my idea of prema, and I am being confirmed in that perception with every day that passes.

If you are satisfied with a strict adherence to the "letter of the law" (and where association with women is concerned, it is a warning against the "sadharana" kind of relationship) rather than to the true goal of prema, well then by all means follow your heart.

I wish you all the best. Radhe Radhe!

BTW, don't confuse sadharani-rati with sadharani-karana. Sadharani-rati means common in the sense of vulgar. Sadharani-karana means experience "in common," i.e., being led to a sense of participating in the Divine Realm, in the sense of sharing in something transcendent. In this case, it is the love of Krishna and Radha that is shared by their devotees.
Jagadananda Das said…
And just to put a fine point on it, sadharani-karana is impossible without some common basis. We will talk more about that later.
Anonymous said…
Is there any room for homosexual relationships in your ideas about sahajiyaism? I've heard that homosexuality is a distorted reflection of sakhya rasa.
Anonymous said…
It's like using the communist manifesto to establish capitalism.

Interestingly enough, by the way, today's world economy has come to be exactly that: a homogenous socialist model with consumism/capitalism as its fodder.
Jagadananda Das said…
About homosexuality. Like many straight men, I have a long held bias against homosexuality.

Nevertheless, I was able to recognize, with only a very small amount of honest introspection, that homoeroticism is a stream flowing under the surface of every same sex friendship.

If for whatever reason--genetics, conditioning or circumstance--one goes that route, I see the underlying motivation as being fundamentally the same as in a heterosexual relationship. It is the desire for love that is being expressed physically.

It would no doubt take gay devotees to think deeply about how they relate to the symbol system present in Radha Krishna lila. From what I have seen, gays have a natural attraction to the feminine and so I don't see how any other deity than Radha and Krishna need to be introduced. They may prefer identification with Subala or some other priya-narma-sakha, rather than manjari-bhava, but I don't see any barrier to manjari-bhava, either, if there is an attraction for it.

The point is not that human sexuality is an imitation of Krishna lila, or that it is a substitute for Krishna lila, or any varieties of thinking like this. Rather, it is that the experience of human love itself is one of the doorways, a very important one, into experiencing the underlying stuff of the spiritual world.

It is not the physical sexuality itself that is the essence of the method, but the distilled and essentialized love that is sought at the beginnings of desire, the kernel of that love that is perceived, however slightly during the growth and development of human love, including the sexual act, and the culture of bhakti-prema that bring one to a recognition of the sacredness of this entire complex phenomenon of love.

As a matter of fact, if it were not complex, there would be no need to recognize it as sacred and to approach it with reverence and the spirit of a sadhaka.
Jagadananda Das said…
Just a last thought here: the word sadharana means common or vulgar. This is the very antithesis of sacredness.

The sexual revolution in modern times was against samanjasa-rati, but for most people it went the sadharani route, in the hope that some, at least, would find something resembling samartha-rati.

This is not really all that new, as the samartha concept is present in some form in all presentations of romantic love. This is what has made epithalamic mysticism possible since time immemorial--from temple fertility rites to the Song of Solomon.

In my next article on samanjasa, I will discuss Rupa Goswami's comment on married love. I hope you will find it interesting.
Anonymous said…
So how do we bridge the emotional experience we cultivate from our 'sadhana' to that with the divine? Is that where the ahangrahopasana comes into play? Any links to previous posts outlining the process more specifically? Thanks for being patient.
Jagadananda Das said…
Since the term ahangrahopasana is fraught with misunderstanding, I tried to do an analysis of its practice (the term itself seems to be a coinage of the Gaudiya sampradaya to describe a particular tantric practice. It does not come out of that tradition itself.)

We should rather try to understand this phenomenon according to Rupa Goswami's rasa theory and the concept of sadharani-karana.

Ahangrahopasana indicates the practice of conscious identification with the Deity. This is anathema to the devotee, who considers him/herself a servant of God. So we try to preserve that consciousness, even while remembering that there is, in all mysticism, even Vaishnavism, an element of identification with the Deity.

For instance, when it is said that the sakhis and manjaris are the leaves, flowers and branches of the vine of love known as Radha, who therefore are more pleased when the root is watered than they are by being sprinkled directly, this means that there is an identification with Radha.

They experience Radha's love for Krishna as if it were their own. Sakhi vistariya sakhi asvadaya. "The sakhis expand the lila (by service) and they relish it (by watching, etc.)." You have to understand, first of all, that devotional service has a dual aspect: giving pleasure to the Deity and receiving pleasure from the Deity. Although we generally emphasize the first over the second, the second is an essential ingredient of bhakti.

In other words, how are we rendering pleasure to Krishna when we take prasadam or chant his names or hear his lila? We are taking, not giving, when we relish the sound of his name and look at his deity form on the altar. But Krishna enjoys us enjoying him. The only thing is that the spirit of service is the framework of consciousness that makes it possible to relish him, and increase in one makes increase in the other possible. (Notice how this is the opposite of sadharani.)

The very nature of the spiritual world is one where distinctions continue to exist within a fundamental framework of identity or oneness. This framework of oneness is otherwise known as love or bhava. So the culture is one of bhava, not of oneness with the Deity by saying things like so'ham, sivo'ham or gopälo'ham. The oneness is one of lover and beloved, served and servant.

The play and expansion of that bhava into multiplicity and ecstatic experience is called rasa or prema. Basically, everything grows out of the sthayi-bhava. Without that, the lila and everything else is just a bunch of fairy stories.

With sthayi-bhava, everything that you see becomes a direct or indirect manifestation of Krishna's prema-lila. So, basically, sadharani-karana is the culture of one's spiritual identity.

This process begins in the pravartaka stage, and indeed should be fairly well developed before proceeding to the sadhaka stage, which is the incorporation of human love relations into the sadhana.

This becomes possible by recognizing that there is both an external as well as an internal sadhana. The external should be anukula or favorable to the development of the internal. This can be enhanced by the use of ritual.

Alam for now.
Vraja said…
Gay people are women as well.
Anonymous said…
Good reading here Jagat, you make some very good points.

Sadly it seems that most religious circles condemn those who see human sexuality as sacred and capable of bringing experience of the Divine.

This experience is not the outcome of the 'slam bam thank you maam' roll over into a dead sleep like you just took 8 sleeping pills type of Sex!

This is just the release of built up sexual tension and energy in the localized lower genital area that is built up in humans as a natural phenomenon day in and day out.

For most part the sexuality that society is so obsessed with is childish, along with all their corny sexual teasing, advertising with half nudity and full on hard core is coming from a space that truly DOES NOT accept human sexuality.......

It is still NASTY to them, they are still reacting to all the anti sexual rhetoric that has filled humanities head for thousands of years, there is not a lot of love in the sexual exchanges between these types and although there is some short lived physical gratification, there is never any deeper fulfillment that can be had in more loving unrepressed slower cooler type of sexuality that can bring about an oceanic orgasmic connection that all the tantriks ( hindu, buddhist, taoist etic.) speak of.

Modern man is obsessed with sex constantly with all kinds of stimulus around him, porno, nude web cams, dildos..all kinds of weird tools to enhance their Sex Sneeze!!

These sex obsessed porno types that have sex with anything that moves are shallow in their sexuality and they never touch into the deeper levels that one can enter into through orgasmic experience and I don't mean a localized orgasm of the genitals but a larger far more OCEANIC like experience that can transform ones self,

It is an inner experience, time stops for a moment in deep orgasm, the MIND stops for a moment in deep orgasm, or for a bit if one is allowing and in tune and this is when the Divine, the Oceanic can rush in..

Hence, all the obsession for sex, everyone is really looking for that deeper experience of timelessness, of identification with the Divine..

Sadly for the most part most humans may get some release of tension through their sneeze like sexuality, Osho used this term sneeze because humans just release energy in sex like a sneeze.

It's an overheated affair, in and out so to speak, begins quick and ends quick with the man rolling over to snore in 30 seconds.

Sex energy is in fact our very life energy, and very nourishing to our life if allowed to be natural without repression or excess, like eating, if we overeat we become unhealthy, if we don't eat enough, the same.

You will of course find the most sexually repressed in the religious monasteries of the world where all kinds of horrors take place.

Anonymous said…
while contemplating the objects of the senses a person develops attachment to them
Jagadananda Das said…
Therefore contemplate Radha and Krishna. Develop attachment for them.
Jagadananda Das said…
Quite right Jijaji. The thing is to connect sexuality (the problem) with the sacred (the solution). Various traditions have found ways of doing this, but it is possible to meet it head on by worshiping the dual divinity of Radha and Krishna. The mystery of unity in duality is symbolized by this Divine Couple. The purpose of creation is so that Radha and Krishna can make love.

Of course, there is other interesting stuff going on, too, but that is at the very core. If we don't get that part right, it seems difficult to see how you can get anything else right.

BTW, interestingly enough: In the Global Gender Gap survey done for the World Economic Forum, India rated 114th out of 128 countries, down from 102nd and 98th in the two previous years. It would seem that there is a lot of work to be done here, and certainly it is not through the external accepting of traditional values, which is the source of the problem, but through finding ways to reinvigorate the tradition from its own internal sources.
Vraja said…
Jagat you wrote:

"For instance, when it is said that the sakhis and manjaris are the leaves, flowers and branches of the vine of love known as Radha, who therefore are more pleased when the root is watered than they are by being sprinkled directly, this means that there is an identification with Radha."

The sakhis are said to be kaya vyuha rupa forms of Radha in CC. Seen in that light they are like leaves and flowers of the vine of Radha because they are expansions of Radha. If the vine or flowers or boot recieves water, they all get nourished because they are all one person. Again you take metaphor too literally and end up in place that isn't meant to be taken literally.

Why do you believe that it is necessary to identify yourself internally as manjari, while having a sexual relationship with a girl, as a man, for someone to understand our relationship with God? That seems quite a complicated and unnecessary thing to me.

Your claim that someone cannot understand how to love God, in madhurya bhava, without first having a love affair with a jiva, is based upon what other then your speculation? Why can't I first become God conscious, and by that yogic connection be personaly directly educated by God on rasa? How is a relationship bewteen two jivas going to be like a relationship between a jiva and a super being who controls the universe and who inhabits and controls his mind?

You also imply that unless one sees things like you, then they are licking the outside of the bottle of nectar. I'm not saying that celibacy or renunication of a love life is necessary, but neither is experience in a human love affair necessary. The only necessary thing is becoming conscious of God within yourself, everything else can then be taught to you directly by God. You don't need another jiva to experience rasa.

Is your claim of your path giving the ability to taste the nectar of rasa coming from a place of experience or philosophical speculation? Has your practice and belief given you the goal of actually entering into rasa with Radha Krishna?

If not, then it seems to me that you are being disingenuous when claiming that your brand of Gaudiay Vaishnavism is the superior one that lets people really taste rasa. If you have not entered into rasa then how can you make a claim of such 100% certitude of efficaciousness and singular potency?
Jagadananda Das said…
A further look at that survey shows that India did fairly well in the area of women's political empowerment, but absolutely atrociously in the three other areas that were assessed, viz. economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival. In particular, in the area of health and survival, India ranked 126th out of 128. Something is seriously wrong here.
Jagadananda Das said…
Look, Shiva, I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you about who has more spiritual experience. You have made exaggerated claims about your own divine consciousness and you are welcome to them. I refuse to be challenged into making any claims for myself.

I will let what I say stand on its own merit and simply say that it is based as much on my personal practice and engagement with the tradition for the past 40 years. What do you want me to do, appear to you in a cloud of fire?

Of course, I agree with your basic premise that direct experience of God has to be the base point from which we make all efforts. I am simply saying that for most people, this gets bogged down in a kind of false renunciation that ultimately militates against deeper understanding of madhura rasa.

Furthermore, I accept the orthodox critique of material sexuality--ultimately we will all be separated from our lovers, all love relations in this world will be covered by flaws like smoke is covered by fire, etc. So, the ultimate conclusion will have to be a transcendence of physical sexuality. But in my experience, amazingly enough, this is harder to do through celibacy.

In other words, I am not saying it can't be done through celibacy. But I am saying that it is harder, in practical terms. Moreover, I am saying that it is a residue of Mayavada, i.e., false renunciation. The result is that it creates social and personal problems that are in far greater proportion than they need to be. Practically speaking, the uncompromising negative attitude to sexuality leads to a host of evils.

Samanjasa may be better than sadharani, but samartha is what we have to try to understand, not only in the divine lila, but in our own mini-manifestation of that lila.

I am sorry, but as far as your understanding of manjari bhava is concerned, you have no understanding of Rupa and Raghunath. Your idea of "twilight speech" is simply an excuse to twist their straightforward ideas into your own personal interpretation, which has absolutely no foundation in the tradition whatsoever.

Manjari bhava means quite simply that one serves the Divine Union. It is not complicated. You cannot see how Radha and Krishna, though one, represent two aspects of the Divine. I really don't know how you understand manjari bhava, but everything you say about it seems to be an attempt to explain it away. The symbolic meaning cannot be divorced from the literal meaning. There must be a connection.

Finally, I accidentally noticed in the Times of India yesterday (I rarely look at the newspaper, but I just happened across it. A web check shows that their article was plucked directly from the British Sun tabloid) that Michael Jackson has converted to Islam and changed his name to Mikaeel.

An interesting note in the article stated, “Jacko rejected an alternative name, Mustafa — meaning “the chosen one.”

I wonder if this will have any affect on admirers who thought he was the chosen one. Well, maybe it is like with Guru Maharajji, whose mother revoked his avatarhood when she found him having sex with an American disciple. Even avatarhood is fleeting.
Vraja said…

You took offense, sorry.

You claim that your vision gives results and that others do not. I simply want to know if you have received the results? It's not a "pissing contest". It's a question that anyone who claims to have the divine in his hand to hand out to others should answer to those who he seeks to enlighten. How do you know it works? Did it work for you? For someone like you who is going against tradition and basically inventing your own (you can say the same about me if you like, at least I answer the question) tradition, it's only proper to come clean and say whether or not your claims for divine revelation and potency are something that you just philosophically believe, or is it something your have actually experienced i.e. rasa with God.

As for MJ, well the Sun (the source of the claim) is a tabloid, I wouldn't take what they say as authoritative. Either way, Mahaprabhu took initiation as an Advaitin.
Jagadananda Das said…
I am presenting my own experience to the best of my abilities. I do not go against the tradition. I simply give voice to a part of the tradition that has been relegated to the sidelines.

As to religious experience, my experience will be meaningless to another unless it is backed up by meaningful argument. Spiritual life is a constant progression of spiritual experience and I personally don’t think there is any one point where one can say, OK, this is it, I have everything now.

At the same time, one can only progress and say anything meaningful if it is backed up by personal experience. You may have your impressions that I am simply an armchair philosopher playing word games, and you are free to do so.

But I say unequivocally that sadhana and direct personal experience are always primary, and verbalization of that experience is always an extension of primary experience.

My writing publicly is merely an extension of my very being, transformed by experience, and really has no other motivation.

Claims to have experience on their own can be pretty meaningless -- like Sarah Palin’s claims to know about foreign affairs because Russia is practically visible from her house.

There are plenty of people out there who have had earth-shattering personal experiences that viewed objectively border on the trite and insipid.

I may (and do) have experience that is confirmation enough of what I say, but what use is that to anyone else? If someone finds what I say meaningful, applies it in their own practice and finds it useful, only then can it be said to have any wider meaning.

That may or may not happen, but at present I have not been inspired to try to save the world. And on the personal level, I get sufficient satisfaction from being a sadhaka and have no ambitions for glory.

Ever since I received initiation from Lalita Prasad Thakur, left Iskcon, and took up the practice of manjari-bhava sadhana, I have remained committed to that fundamental insight by his grace and the power of his initiation. Nevertheless, I will admit, and I have said this before, that in the beginning this was not pure raganuga, since it was in great part motivated by shastra and yukti.

(Indeed, even now we can see that still many of the people claiming to be raganuga bhaktas cannot avoid being bound hand and foot by these ropes.)

Nevertheless, leaving Iskcon and the Gaudiya Math was the best thing that I could have done. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was guided by divine inspiration and compassion for the conditioned souls to do what he did. He managed to attract many followers to the path of Rupa and Raghunath and so he is eternally my guru.

But Lalita Prasad Thakur opened my eyes to manjari bhajan, so he is and always will be my diksha guru.

These movements in my life were motivated by spiritual desire and their results were spiritual experiences. But the essence of the path I have taken comes from direct meditation on Radha and Krishna as a living symbol.

As far our differing interpretations are concerned, I think I have already said many times to you that you are perfectly free to say whatever you like.

Your insights’ validity for you depends on nothing but your own experience. Its objective validity does not really enter into the picture, since religious experience is and always will be subjective.

We sometimes try to create a false sense of objective reality by seeking historical validity. In other words, if I can convince someone else of my beliefs then it somehow becomes more real or valid. This is a fallacy, of course.

Nevertheless, if we speak about that facsimile of legitimacy that is called history, it will be decided on how many people buy into your idea. On your ability to create community on the basis of your insight.

That requires a whole different set of skills from those that led to your experience, skills which you may or may not have. Frankly, such skills, only one of which is the ability to present a coherent and convincing world view, may have little or nothing to do with any real meaningful or genuine spiritual experiences that you have had.

There are plenty of KCM people out there enjoying success in attracting followers but whose insights are far, far from the essence of Rupa and Raghunath’s realizations. And what shall we say of the wider world, where there are millions of people following completely ludicrous visions of life and reality?

Personally, where your doctrine is concerned, I don't give you much hope, but who knows what charismatic genius lurks inside you? I will be honest and say that I admire your persistence and indeed I don't underestimate your conviction and intelligence. So there is no need to give any importance to my skepticism.

As for myself, I am completely detached. I am only a sadhaka (“tai sishya tava thakibo sarvadä, na loibo puja käro” BVT). I don’t reject Gaudiya siddhanta, though I take the position of a saragrahi, “one who takes the essence.”

This means I recognize that there are numerous details in the tradition that are superfluous to its meaningful core and should be marginalized. These are matters related to literal acceptance of myth, belief in outdated science, etc. These are an anchor, a ball and chain, etc., on the Krishna Consciousness Movement and most of it is trying to fly while being weighed down.

The winnowing process is continuous. It is the nature of evolution that this process go on.

The essence is this: The Divine Truth, though One, is best represented in dual form. In its oneness, it is Love. In its duality it is Lover and Loved.

The union of Lover and Loved is God's eternal lila.

The jiva is the servant of that lila, joining Rati together with Rasa. This principal is universal. All action should be seen in that light.

But the jiva must join forces with Rati or Bhava and not mistakenly think that she is Rasa. This is the meaning of Manjari Bhava.

Ritual, or sadhana, is a way of filling the heart with the light of love. Any sadhana that does not fill your heart to bursting with ineffable love is a failure.

We call Radha and Krishna God because when we contemplate them, our hearts are filled with that love.

That is all.
Anonymous said…
Shiva's philosophy states that ultimate a jiva does not need another jiva, only God. So by definition, according to his philosophy, jivas are not meant to communicate God to one another. Yet, he demands proof from jivas of their direct experiencing God!

An impossible philosophy, to say the least.
Vraja said…
anon you wrote;

"Shiva's philosophy states that ultimate a jiva does not need another jiva, only God. So by definition, according to his philosophy, jivas are not meant to communicate God to one another. Yet, he demands proof from jivas of their direct experiencing God!

An impossible philosophy, to say the least."

That isn't what I wrote or implied. Jagat has made it clear over and over that he believes that the addition of his type of tantric or sahajiya practices within his manjari bhava dualistic godhead paradigm, is a superior form of Gaudiya Vaishnavism to all others. He teaches that it is practically required that a jiva experience a romantic relationship with another jiva while ascribing to his manjari-bhava conception of rasa lila in order to attain the highest level of bhakti.

I disagreed and said that no such thing is necessary. I said all that is needed to attain the highest level of bhakti is for the jiva to become self-realized (i.e. awaken it's awareness of it's inner relationship with antaryami and establish communication with God within our mind). Once that occurs God can teach the jiva everything the jiva needs to know about rasa.

The rasa that jivas can experience between each other is always illusory unless both partners are fully self-realized, e.g. they have realized their true relationship with paramatma as the controller of their minds and actions, i.e. instead of seeing themselves as being in control of what themselves and the other is doing - they see God as always in control and always present. In that sense the tantric sex can some have validity as able to to give a true mystical experience of God.

That doesn't seem to be what Jagat believes from what I have read. To him its purpose is to explore the male-female romantic dynamic in order to gain the necessary understanding of rasa that one needs in order to truly understand the higher levels of bhakti rasa.

Jagat seems to believe that because the rasa between Radha and Krishna that is described in various writings has similarity to human love affairs, that the experience of human love affairs is needed for a jiva to fully understand Radha Krishna rasa lila ,and the place of the jiva in it’s “service” to Radha and Krishna's rasa in their heavenly lila. Radha and Krishna are seen as symbols and archetypes that need to be understood through human relationships in order to advance to a higher level of bhakti. Or at the least that human romantic relationships greatly enhance our ability to advance to higher levels of God realization.

I believe the higher levels of bhakti rasa are really about the rasa experienced between a fully self-realized jiva and a single non-dual God as friend/lover, in contrast to Jagat who believes it to be about the rasa experienced between two distinct versions of God, with the jiva as the servant to their rasa, and in that way experiencing some kind of rasa as servant/lover, rather than friend/lover.

I believe the writings about Radha Krishna rasa lila to be written for two distinct audiences. The literal understanding is meant to attract people to take up bhakti and to give the average person a religious vision. There is also a metaphoric esoteric understanding, which instructs advanced bhaktas on the nature of the rasa between the jiva and God. In fact most non-Gaudiya scholar's commentaries view the story of Radha Krishna rasa lila to be a metaphor about the relationship between a jiva and God (e.g. commentaries on Gita-Govinda of Jayadeva).

While they all consider Radha as a metaphor for the jiva, I believe the actual esoteric intent of the symbology of the writings on rasa lila is that it is Krishna who is the symbol for a jiva, and it is Radha and the gopis who represent God in God's most intimate persona and lifestyle. I believe for an advanced bhakta those writings give an introduction to God as a female and the rasa she seeks with male jivas.

I believe that the rasa between a jiva and a being who knows everything about everything, who is in control of everything in the universe, who is present within the jiva and in everything else, and who is on a vastly different level of intellectual sophistication then any jiva - is going to be extremely different than the rasa between jivas. A romantic relationship between jivas is not needed to understand what a romantic rasa with God is like for a fully self-realized soul. Those two types of relationships are profoundly different.


My question to you was about your level of experience. You seem to think that because experience is subjective therefore it isn't important to tell people what you have experienced from the result of the practices and views of what you preach about. If you were just repeating standard traditional teachings found in accepted sruti, then I could agree with you. You would be repeating what is widely accepted as divinely revealed knowledge.

But you appear to the average Gaudiya bhakta to be teaching a unique syncretic theology and philosophy. You claim it is a teaching that has been relegated to the sidelines by the larger Gaudiya community. I doubt you can find anybody else, other then someone who has learned from you, who believes exactly as you do. There are probably sahajiyas with similar views to yours, but you said you differed from the sahajiya traditions in India to some degree or another, from my recollection.

That makes your belief system uniquely syncretic and non-traditional as a whole. You take parts of different traditions and have created your own, at least that is what I have gathered from what you have written. Not that there is anything wrong in that. But since you have created your own unique version of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which isn't strictly based upon sruti alone; and because you claim it is superior to other forms of Gaudiya Vaishnavism (which you see as the highest form of Vedic revelation and all religions), the authenticity and efficacy of your teachings are naturally going to be questioned.

I expect no less an average response about what I teach. I differ from you in that I don't claim that what I teach is a part of the tradition that has gotten a bad name and been relegated to the sidelines. I claim I teach an esoteric understanding of mainstream Gaudiya Vaishnavism. But what I teach is also not strictly and solely based upon sruti. Then again neither is any Gaudiya tradition based solely upon sruti. All Gaudiya traditions are teaching a mixed bag of sruti, smriti, unique teachings of Radha Krishna rasa lila, Gaura lila thelogy, etc, by various people.

Because Gaudiya Vaishnavism contains so much theology outside of traditional sruti, it's authenticity and efficacy is questionable to a lot of people. The reason that people gain faith in Gaudiya teachings is because by practicing the teachings they experienced a mystical effect of one type or another to some degree or another. The strength of the faith of a bhakta in Gaudiya teachings, usually equates to the amount and type of mystical experience that has come from practicing the teachings.

If you have never, or only ever had a minor mystical experience from the practice of Gaudiya sadhana, then usually your level of faith will not be very strong. We see lots of very intelligent people who were very well educated in Gaudiya traditional teachings and who practiced the sadhana for a number of years, and who then lost faith to one degree or another in Gaudiya Vaishavism.

We may see others, who may not be of very high intelligence, nor very well educated in Gaudiya siddhanta, but because they have had major mystical experiences, they have very strong faith in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

A tradition like Gaudiya Vaishnavism gets people to follow it's sadhana because it promises that they will receive a unique result from that practice that you won't receive from following other "less powerful" and "lower level" traditions. In Gaudiya history we see many gurus in their writings saying how they have entered into the highest stage promised by the tradition. If people don't say that, than why would anyone believe that Gaudiya teachings are as potent as promised? Why would people with no, or limited mystical experience, and therefore weak faith, believe that Gaudiya Vaishnavism will make you fully enlightened if there are no people who claim to have become so by Gaudiya sadhana and teachings?

My point is that even though experience is subjective, if you are essentially (for arguments sake) preaching a novel version of Gaudiya Vaishavism, and claiming it is superior to all other forms of bhakti-yoga, you should say whether or not you believe that to be the case because you know it is true because you have attained the promised result of full enlightenment from following those Gaudiya teachings, or that you believe it is the best version and path of Gaudiya Vaishnavism because of some other reason.

I have been saying for the past 6 years that what I claim to teach as a higher level esoteric version of mainstream Gaudiya Vaishnavism, is due to my experiencing the results promised by Gaudiya teachings (full enlightenment, i.e. entering into a personal rasa with God) and that because of that I know what I teach is true because I experience that truth everyday.

It's not a "pissing contest" over who is more enlightened; it's about being totally honest with our ourselves and others if we are trying to teach..

Of course you can legitimately philosophically or theologically disagree with people who teach something more then just traditional sruti. You can call their claims of teaching elevated God realization, bogus, because they differ from your conception of what that should entail. You can call them liars if they claim to have received the promised result of the tradition's practices because their version of God realization differs from you own. But, it is wrong to say that a person should be humble and not claim to have received the results promised by the tradition if he or she has. That is how people gain faith that a tradition is worth taking up or sticking with if they don't have much faith. People need to know it works.
Anonymous said…
there are principles and details

because this is a "personal" blog dont get on him for his details
Anonymous said…
Sastra means like a sword - there is no room for concoctions.

everything thereof had been scientifically tested and proven
Jagadananda Das said…
It does work. As a matter of fact, I am struck by the sheer obviousness of it.

But this is not tantric sex, as you say. And you are also wrong when you say it could only work for two siddhas, but I guess this is only a question of degree. That is why I follow the traditional Sahajiya formula of pravartaka, sadhaka and siddha. Unless one has the kind of samskara that is derived from cultivating the vaidhi and raganuga bhakti practices, there is little hope of practicing Sahaja sadhana effectively.

The key to understanding this sadhana is recognizing that it is sadhu-sanga. That is all. Sadhu-sanga means getting the force of another's spirituality and combining it with your own to generate more spiritual power and love than either of you could individually.

This is why such practices have been found to be transferable to different sets of philosophical systems. This is an interesting discussion that can be saved for another time, because it does not apply simply to these practices, but a wide range of practices.

If sexuality were only about negative tamasic qualities, we could never associate it with spirituality in any way--including symbolically. Therefore we should recognize that it is innately, naturally, in its purest form, an expression of love.

Sankirtan also means combining spiritual forces to increase the power of one's own sadhana. Sahaja-sadhana (my prefered term) is a powerful bridge between individual practice and group practice. The fact is that ALL three are necessary, the insights of each informing the experiences in the other.

The only reason I say that it is necessary for the experience of madhura rati in Radha and Krishna lila is because it is such a powerful process that it seems foolish not to make use of it.

I have said before that all methods are valid, and after all, if someone has no tongue, he can still get the benefits of chanting by doing it mentally. And so on.

But in this particular case, since the sexual urge (the desire to share love) is so integrally connected with the life urge itself, and indeed is the very same force that pushes us on into spiritual endeavors and the higher reaches of divine and universal love, that the most productive means of advancement is to harmonize the two, rather than draining one's energy by making them do battle as opposing forces.

Ascribing a duality to spirituality and the desire to love, even physically, is an unfortunate anartha.

This does not mean that sexuality should be engaged in indiscriminately. I think that should be obvious enough, but people seem to be in the habit of deliberately misunderstanding this point.

If you are fortunate enough to have the loving company of a sadhaka or sadhika who hungers to enter the divine realm, which is created out of and pervaded by the love substance or prema rasa, where there is no duality of I and It but only the non-duality of I and Thou, then you are most fortunate and I bow down to your feet.

As to my statement about a "pissing contest." Perhaps it was a bad choice of words. I agree that realization is necessary. But you said yourself that faith comes of experience. So if there is any strength in my conviction, it comes from personal experience, I assure you.

But as I tried to say in my last post, I don't think that this experience is everything. It is subjective. There is no question that you can standardize spiritual understanding into a one-size-fits-all formula. Harinam sankirtan is a wide net, but it catches different kinds of fish.
Jagadananda Das said…
Though sahaja-sadhana is concerned is not necessarily for everyone, I still think it has potential for a wider appeal for the following reasons (for example):

(1) It goes directly to the point about Radha and Krishna and their prema-lila rather than beating around the bush or obfuscating. It thus unleashes the power of the Radha-Krishna symbol.

(2) It makes Radha and Krishna more accessible. Whatever we may say about the ontological reality of Radha and Krishna, the mind, consciously or unconsciously, only knows them for their symbolic value. Without recognizing the fundamental meaning of human sexual love, we render Radha and Krishna symbolically meaningless.

(3) It legitimizes and harnesses the power of sexuality itself, rather than pitting seekers of spiritual progress against their own sexuality.

(This is not a condemnation of celibacy as a useful discipline, but ultimately such discipline is by nature temporary and contingent.)

(4) By understanding manjari bhava, it makes it possible to harness that power within a devotional framework, which is the only legitimate theistic standpoint. This is the connecting point that would make it possible to create wider community out of Sahajiyaism.

Of course I admit that am pretty wary about anything other than my personal practice for the moment. So I won't push on the community aspect. Iskcon itself has enough bed-hopping and partner-swapping without bringing Sahajiyaism into further disrepute.

I don't really want to be the agent for that kind of thing. But, if such promiscuity is already there, it might be wise to think about whether this might contribute to a solution.
Anonymous said…
Shiva said: "That isn't what I wrote or implied."

You may have not meant for it to be implied, but, when you ask another jiva for 'proof' of her seeing God, it automatically implies that you accept her, the jiva whom you question, as being a legitimate medium of communication between yourself, the third party, and God, the first. This medium is called Guru. God reveals himself through his devotees. There is not such thing as a lila between jivas and God WITHOUT Guru. No such thing.
Anonymous said…
As for MJ, well the Sun (the source of the claim) is a tabloid, I wouldn't take what they say as authoritative. Either way, Mahaprabhu took initiation as an Advaitin

When your funny money check comes this month you should take a few bucks of it and buy yourself a home lobotomy kit.
Vraja said…
Thanks for the advice jijijai. I don't know when I can fit it in my schedule, maybe sometime next week. Today and tonite I'll be in Lahaina and going body surfing at Kaanapali beach. I'll probably be too "out of it" from the great "Dig Me" Daiquiris they serve at Leilani's on the Beach. Lets see, tomorrow I'm going to be most of the day going biking down the Volcano and then at the beach in Paia, again probably too wasted to get anything "constructive" done. Um, Sunday I'm going to hang out with the hippie crowd with the drums and nudity and stuff at Makena for part of the day, and then off to Wailea for fun with some friends, againz probably gonna be too out of it to do some serious stuff. If I have some time next week maybe I can get the procedure done, again thanks for your concern for my well being.

Jagadananda Das said…
OK, Siva and Jijaji, you both got one snark in. All other posts in this vein are being rejected. My apologies to Jijaji. It may as well stop here.
Jagadananda Das said…
Similar apologies to Shiva. Enough said. Game over.
Anonymous said…
namaskar Jagat das

this is your own blog and not nessasarilly preaching.

you have embarked on the left vama path. it cannot be called bhakti marg

it is only done by few as few can handle god appropriatly with thier left hand

there is no question of it being """the process"""". it is an option for those person who without doing it would do nothing,
Jagadananda Das said…
I very much disagree that this is not bhakti yoga, nor do I agree that it is marginal. I will do everything I can on this blog to show you otherwise.

Indeed, I don't think you have anything much to say besides flinging the word "vama" at me. Well, Radha is a vama-nayika. Maybe that has some hidden meaning.
Anonymous said…
there is no question of it being """the process"""". it is an option for those person who without doing it would do nothing,

Ah! and nothing happens to be exactly what persons who claim to be in the bhakti path "proper" have been doing - nothing but throw around phrases such as "bhakti" and "the process" as if this parroting alone is the absolute truth.

Such speech has been the haven of the the irresponsible, the miser, the coward.

Show me where your Krishna consciousness proper is? Beyond your crushing and smashing, show me where your real Krishna consciousness is and where is it going, and I will concede you to be the holder of """the process""".

Until then, you would do well occupying yourself in thinking up honest responses to """the challenge""" above.

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