Friday, November 07, 2008

Same old, same old

I have to thank Advaita for taking the time to respond to my October 31 posting. The fact of the matter is that it does not seem as though Advaita has read any of my arguments or that he has understood anything if he has. And so he is rehashing the same old points, which in many cases look rather like straw men, without even trying to deal with any of them.

Contradictions abound in Advaita's post, showing that like so many others who are incapable of calmly and rationally looking at an issue, they simply fire whatever lies on the surface of their brains. In the very same post he says that it is a "logical" proof that sex is for procreation because women always get pregnant from sex, then later he argues that spilling semen is not murder because they don't.

But nothing is more indicative of his bad faith than his so-called final comment:

If illicit sex would lead to enlightenment, the whole world would have been enlightened from day 1.

If he could show me where I have said this, I would much appreciate it. But Advaita does not deal with my arguments anywhere. He simply assumes that by repeating over and over again that since the acharyas have only said that dharmic sex is meant for procreation, all else is lust.

It is unfortunate that Advaita seems incapable of using his considerable reasoning powers and simply parrots a few statements from scripture that really have little relevance to the issue at hand. I suggest that if he wants to really "defeat" me and show the world what a lewd and pathetic creature I am, he start by returning to the early posts on this blog and deal with the arguments presented there in a serious, honest and rational manner.

At any rate, I don’t want to blame Advaita. It seems that we just fit into different human categories and there is no gain in blaming the one for being entirely incapable of grasping the other's point of view. The long and short of it is that he does not believe in human love, whereas I believe that, "therapeutically treated," it is the only route we have for understanding Radha and Krishna. For, according to the Bhagavatam, does not the very thing that causes the disease, when therapeutically treated, cure it?

However, it is true that Advaita makes it necessary for me to keep on refining my own point of view, as I really do not wish to become either what he caricatures me as being, or a poster boy for those who hold such caricatured views. So, I will just try to present my ideas again and those who understand them will hopefully be benefited and will learn to overcome the enemy known as lust.

I have also recently been told that my posts are too long, and this is also one reason that I am not putting as much material as regularly as I could. So let’s stop here and resume later.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Advaita is an extremely poor debater. Why even bother responding to his crass and amateurish essays? The mindless and repetitive quoting of shastric verses is enough to put anyone off. People are more likely to respond to reasoned and sophisticated arguments.

At the end of the day, the amount of personal attacks he levels on you is a telling indicator of how he has lost the debate right from the start. Assuming that there was a debate to begin with.

shiva said...

Jagat

This is what I posted at Advaita's blog. I don't know if he will publish it.

Advaita

I agree with you in your argument against sahajiya theology, i.e, sex as sadhana is not going to help you become self realized. It may make you feel some type of mystical experience. There are countless tantric sex traditions which can give some mystical experience. But self realization or God realization in Gaudiya Vaisnavism is only given to the bhakta through being awakened to a true understanding of ourselves, God, and our relationship with God. No type of sexual relationship with another jiva has the potential to do that. Whatever mystical benefit there is in tantric practices, they cannot give entrance into the goal of life.

This idea of yours is wrong:

"If sex were not for procreation, then why do women get pregnant of it each time?"

That is wrong.

"Dr. Allen Wilcox of NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has studied fertility extensively.

"The basic problem is that ovulation is so unpredictable," he says. His fertility research has shown that women are fertile only on the day they ovulate and the five days prior to ovulation, not at all after ovulation."

Also see http://www.drmirkin.com/women/8786.html

So, celibacy or any other prohibition in sastra serves a purpose for vaidhi bhaktas. What is that purpose? To aid them in focusing their life on bhakti, bringing them to sattva guna because from sattva guna the bhakta can come to suddha sattva and then raganuga. Sex is not inherently bad. What is bad about sex is that it is an all consuming distraction for jivas who are not bhaktas. When they attain the stage of raganuga (no longer solely motivated by sastric promises of moksa and fear of suffering in their bhakti practice) then the strict rules of vaidhi are no longer necessary because the bhakta has attained the purpose of those rules. The bhakta transcends the influence of the gunas to make him or her fall down from that platform regardless of what they do. Just like in Vraj, they are not following rules and regulations of vaidhi bhakti, they are not celibate, they are not teetotalers, they are not chanting japa or doing any sadhana. In the same way once attaining pure raganuga bhakti, the bhakta is on the level of the ragatmika bhaktas of Vraj when it comes to the necessity of rules and regulations.

The rules of vaidhi bhaktas are not the rules of raganuga bhaktas. For example Jiva Goswami in Bhakti Sandarbha writes:

Anuccheda 312

21 In the Gautamiya Tantra it is said:
"For they who are always fallen in love with the lotus feet of Lord Krsna there is no japa, no Deity worship, no meditation, and no rules."

32 The Supreme Personality of Godhead declares (in Brahma-yamala, also quoted in texts 9 and 24 of this anuccheda):
"The Sruti and Smrti sastras are My commands. Therefore one who disobeys the scripture disobeys Me. Such a person hates Me. He may claim to be devoted to Me, but in truth he is not."
These words do not apply to the devotees engaged in raganuga bhakti, for such devotees are already on the right path in spiritual life. Rather, this verse is addressed to they who follow the wrong paths, the paths of heretics and atheists like Buddha, Rsabhadeva, Dattatreya and others.
33 The scriptures declare:
"A heretic opposed to the religion of the Vedas may worship his own deity. However, he will go to hell until the time when the universe is destroyed by floods."
34 Even though many Vedic rules are not followed in it, raganuga bhakti is not outside the path of the Vedas. Actually raganuga bhakti is the perfection of the religion described in the Vedas and the scriptures that explain the Vedas. This is so because raganuga bhakti makes one attracted (ruci) to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Vedas are described many heretics and atheists, such as Buddha, who are opposed to the Vedas and thus are outside the sphere of Vedic religion. For example, in Srimad Bhagavatam (1.3.24) it is said:
35 "Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya, just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist."*
36 Therefore raganuga bhakti is proper and correct. It is much better than vaidhi bhakti. The previously discussed rules of the scriptures are meant for merging into the existence of the Lord.

--------------

A raganuga bhakta is not bound by any rules. If God wants to give the raganuga bhakta pleasure, sexual or otherwise, then that will occur. It is foolish to think that God doesn't want his raganuga bhakta to enjoy pleasure, what would be the purpose of that? There is this foolish idea in many bhaktas that sensual enjoyment is seen as sinful by God. That is false. It is seen as an impediment to attaining the goal of life. Once you attain to raganuga you have reached the goal. At that stage God seeks to give you pleasure in the same mentality that you seek to give God pleasure. Anyone who says different is ignorant of God and the true nature of raganuga bhakti rasa.

shiva said...

I posted this at Advaita's blog as well, don't know if he will publish it.

To make the point about fertility clearer: The egg of a woman is viable for only one day per month. It lives for one day per month, only on that day can pregnancy occur, and then the egg dies or becomes a fetus. But, sperm can live in a women's vagina for 5 days.

So, there are potentially 5 days a month that a woman can get pregnant because if she has sex 4 days before the egg is dropped, the semen might possibly still be viable on the 5th day when the egg drops, but is less likely then on the day of egg dropping.

Satya devi dasi said...

This has been an interesting discussion, but it has all been from the point of view of the man, i.e. losing "seed." What about the female bhakta? Are there any shastric references about how "bad" (or good) sex is for her? I have actually heard that it is of great benefit for a woman, but have not see shastric evidence. (Hmmm, sounds like a devotee pick-up line!)

Regarding loving or sexual relationships of other devotees helping one's spiritual understanding, of course it does! I have often thought that if the scriptures had been written by happily married men or women, we'd have a very different tradition. The love one feels for their lover is directly translatable into our tradition. We are seeking the love of the Lord, we need some experience, some understanding.

The love one feels for a child or grandchild also translates directly. A certain phrase or activity of my grandson will stay with me for days, his sweet face comes to me often and makes me smile, and his natural attraction to seva and kirtan is inspiring. What ecstasies the gopis must feel for baby Krsna!

I think we *must* love each other physically so that we have some inkling of love for Krsna. This is a gift from Krsna, an entrance into prema, and ultimately to understand prema prayojana.

So many devotees are lacking an understanding and experience of love that there is such mistrust, anger, and sadness coming from them. It has caused this vibrant philosophy of bhakti to become oppressive and restrictive instead of compassionate and tender.

Jaya Radhe!

shiva said...

Advaita responded to me at http://madangopal.blogspot.com/2008/11/ruci-means-chanting-not-womanizing.html

This was my response to him.

Your interpretation of the text seems to go against the straightforward meaning of the language of the text. Japa, arcana, rules and regulations etc, i.e. limbs of sadhana bhakti, are meant for a purpose of reaching a goal. They are the means, not the end.

The point of saying there are no rules, japa, etc, is because a person on an actual level of pure raganuga (devoted to Krishna without being motivated by anything but affection) has reached the goal of sadhana bhakti. Once attaining to pure raganuga bhakti the Lord personally takes over the life of the devotee and establishes a close relationship with him or her. All sadhana bhakti is discarded at that time because the devotee is immersed in a direct rasa with the Lord just like ragatmika devotees of Vraj.

Vraj is everywhere for anyone who has awakened his bhava with the Lord. When you get to the end you will realize that the nature of that relationship is totally different than the lifestyle of the sadhana bhakta. At that stage it is not for anyone to judge what that devotee does or doesn't do in terms of rules and regulations of sadhana bhakti anymore than you would judge the devotees in Lila. That is the point of Jiva Goswamis mentioning of these points.

Anonymous said...

Sadhana bhakti is two types; vaidhi and raganuga. Raganuga sadhana bhakti is a means (practice) to an end - prem being the prayojana. Raganuga sadhana bhakti is not the end in itself, otherwise it would not be categorized as "sadhana".

Shiva appears to be confusing "raganuga" with "ragatmika".

Satya devi dasi said...

Really? No one has anything to say about what I wrote? Really?

Anonymous said...

The nice thing of blogging is that everyone is the master and moderator of his own little universe and reality.
Everyone can be as dogmatic and unreasonable as he or she likes on his or her own blog.
Someone advised me to only ask "humble questions" on Advaita's blog or else to "not comment". Basically I was told to piss off by a fellow commentator.

This is why. I commented on the fact that some are annoyed that comments mostly come when profane topics are touched. I wrote the following...

"Most of your "spiritual nectar" posts are from a very personal point of view and rather subjective. Sometimes they are interesting reading, but do not leave much room for commenting since they are faith-based.

Tangible subjects (controversial or not), which you call profane, can be checked by measurable facts. And when you have got your facts wrong, you get comments, 1000s if need be."

My point is that most of the topics that provoke a lot of comments are actually not profane or material at all...
1) The blooping of a fellow devotee who got completely frustrated with the Gaudiya experience and how we deal with this fact (compassion, anger, denial, rejection)
2) The murder of a young girl in Vrindavan and how that effects our visits to the Holy Dhama. And in what way do we talk about it. Some terminology by our friend was very inappropriate .
3) Devotees and politics (in this case Obamania). Do we get involved or do we stay aloof ?
4) Sex, cunnilingus, fellatio and carravagio are to be discussed.

On the other hand, when a post is about the beauty of a certain text and the feelings of love it arouses and the meaning it carries for someone, what can be added in a comment ?

Maybe........ bravo !

shiva said...

anonymous

I know the difference between raganuga and ragatmika, thats why I wrote:

"In the same way once attaining pure raganuga bhakti, the bhakta is on the level of the ragatmika bhaktas of Vraj when it comes to the necessity of rules and regulations."

Raganuga is not a type of sadhana, it is not "a means to and end", it is a level of bhakti where the bhaktas sole attitude towards Radha Krishna is the desire for rasa. Sadhana is specific practices. There is a type of sadhana for vaidhi bhaktas and a type of sadhana for beginner raganuga devotees, but raganuga is not sadhana, it is a level of bhakti, just like vaidhi is not sadhana, just a level of bhakti. There is raganuga sadhana and there is vaidhi sadhana, but sadhana is spiritual practices, and vaidhi and raganuga are levels of spiritual consciousness. It is not unusual for devotees to misunderstand this distinction and claim that raganuga is a type of sadhana bhakti. That misunderstanding is often due to devotees thinking that bhakti is equivalent to sadhana. Therefore when they hear "raganuga bhakti" they think it is the same thing as "raganuga sadhana". Japa, kirtan, reading sastra, dhyana, arcana, etc, these are forms of sadhana. They are not forms of bhakti. Bhakti is devotion, sadhana is spiritual practices. Bhakti is a state of consciousness coming from within, sadhana is an activity of the mind and or body, motivated by bhakti.

virajantim abhivyaktam vrajavasi janadisu
ragatmikam anusrta ya sa raganugocyate

"That bhakti which is directed to following the moods and mellows of Sri Krsna's eternal ragatmika Vrndavana associates is termed raganuga." (Brs. 1.2.270)

The eternal ragatmika devotees do not practice sadhana bhakti. Therefore following their mood and mellow does not involve sadhana. It can for the beginner raganuga bhakta, but eventually that falls away.

There are different levels of raganuga bhaktas. Those on the lower levels will do sadhana to some degree or another, although the important sadhana is internal meditation. It is there where you can discover and develop your relationship with Radha Krishna through the awakening of our relationship with Paramatma.

Those on the higher level will only do sadhana if they want to teach by example, otherwise for them there is no need nor desire to do any type of sadhana because they have awakened their eternal bhava and are engaged in direct rasa with Radha Krishna.

On that higher level the devotee is directly communicating and engaging in rasa with the Lord, therefore there is no purpose nor interest in japa, dhyana, etc. It would be like you living with a lover, but instead of talking to him or her, you just sit in the corner ignoring your lover while trying to meditate on his or her name, form and pastimes.

Anonymous said...

Satya devi, perhaps bhakti literature and the consequent patterns of how bhakti unfolded worldwide would look very different if the literature was written by happily married couples, however I don't know, because underlying the theme of prem-bhakti is the concept of rejecting all things, even loving relationships, due not to hatred but rather due to a type of madness that overcomes one when she comes into contact with anything related to Krishna, such as katha, his murli vani, etc.

Our only example is the gopis and look where that madness got them...
Uddhava Kyari, bereft of food, water,shelter, proper clothing, their families, etc. And they didn't care.

So living like a type of beggar is very much congruent with prem.

Ananda said...

The most peculiar aspect of it all is that much of the sadhana-methodology of the Gaudiyas, especially in the archana-dhyana oriented method in vogue these days, has its origin in the tantric tradition — a tradition in which ahangrahopasana, or identification with the deities, is a common practice.

One might describe the Gaudiya tradition as a "straight" island floating in a sahajiya-stream, the tantric theory having a strong presence both in the preceding and in what followed (so-called "sahajiya offshoots"), a tradition carefully constructed to eliminate the elements supposedly antithetical to the shuddha-bhakti ideal.

It's good to see there is ingenuity still at work in solving some of the problems introduced with the sterilization of the tradition, working to discover hidden potentials brewing at the tradition's roots.

Anonymous said...

I just love how Ananda keeps popping his head into blogs about Gaudiya Vaisnavism - he just can't resist throwing his 2 cents in even though he claims to have given it all up.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the tantric gaudiya tradition sterilized anything, but the nature of it's sadhana - men identifying inwardly as female, would naturally cut out the possiblility of identifying as a male deity in any sort of sexual sadhana.

Jagat said...

If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I do not think that identifying with the male deity in sexual sadhana is either necessary or desirable. As a matter of fact, I think the goal is manjari bhava is both the means and the goal.

You have to separate to some extent what goes on internally from what goes on externally.

Jagat said...

Why should we have this snarky attitude towards Ananda? First of all, even if he never does anything ever again for the Vaishnava community, what he has already done assures him an eternity of well-deserved blessings.

His doubts about Gaudiya Vaishnavism came about as the result of real experiences, both intellectual and personal, and it behooves us to honor him as an individual and recognize their legitimacy. If he is to ever recognize any value in Gaudiya Vaishnavism again, it could only come about if he was able to work through those negative impressions and relativize them in some way.

If after all this he still finds Gaudiya Vaishnavism worthy of reflection rather than contempt, then we should consider it a sign of its innate value and a cause for rejoicing.

As I said before, the distress that comes of seeing Ananda go another way is one of personal loss. It does not reflect on him, whom we must honor as an individual with the absolute right to seek the Truth in his own way, according to the grace that the Truth either bestows upon or withholds from him.

sarve bhavantu sukhinah
sarve santu niramayah
sarve bhadrani pashyantu
ma kaschid duhkhabhag bhavet.

See the best in everyone.
Think the best of everyone.
Wish the best for everyone.
Act for the best for everyone.