Monday, March 23, 2009

Gratitude, honesty and commitment to the truth

I posted this verse a long time ago, but on my Sunday walk yesterday it was one of my meditative verses.

na dīkṣāsyāḥ śikṣā-śravaṇa-paṭhane vā guru-mukhāt
tathāpīyaṁ rādhā tri-jagad-abalā-vismaya-bhuvām |
kalāmbhodheḥ śaurer api parama-santoṣaṇa-kṛtāṁ
kalānām ācāryā vraja-mṛga-dṛśām apy ajani sā ||

Our Radhika was never initiated, nor did she ever take any lessons from a shiksha guru. Even so, she has become the acharya from whom the doe-eyed Vraja sundaris learn all the arts of satisfying the heroic artist himself, Krishna, arts that are the source of amazement to every other attractive damsel in the three worlds. (GLA 11.124)

Well, that is Radha: the svarūpa-śakti, the eternal embodiment of the highest power known in existence: that of Love.

I was reflecting on this, because I have a strong saṁskāra that makes me think it is important to acknowledge one's gurus. In fact, it is my feeling that acknowledging gurus is the whole point of parampara. I have written about this in the past and it was the very basis of my leaving the Gaudiya Math.

The other day I heard Kirtanananda storming on about Gita 4.34 and how no one can progress unless they receive initiation in disciplic succession, and I was thinking, "Yeah, but?"

All things come from the Divine Couple, but They use devotees as Their instruments, and when They do, They become THEM. [God save us from our clumsy language.]

What happens to us of little faith, basically, is that we don't want to associate ourselves with some individual or group because of some perceived defect in them. Bhaktivedanta Swami said sexist things, racist things. O.K., but through him came the Holy Name. How can we chant without acknowledging that? And so many other things:

satāṁ nindā nāmnaḥ paramam aparādhaṁ vitanute
yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tad-vigarhām

What the heck have the Namaparadhas been drummed into our heads since the very beginning for? And what's the deal that we can't open our hearts to understand the meaning of evaṁ paramparā-prāptaṁ? All knowledge, no matter how original, has antecedents. Newton said, "If I have seen far, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants."

Prabhupada talked about putting old wine in new bottles, but he was more conservative than almost anyone. Call me whatever you like, but you don't just throw out the baby with the bathwater. For me, the tradition is part and parcel of the Truth.

The Holy Name came to us through a particular parampara. It is effective even without diksha and so on, because some effective things do so on their own power. Even so, Hare Krishna DOES have a parampara. And that parampara does have requirements such as gratitude to those who preserved and passed on the knowledge. We don't pick and choose the members of our tradition like so many basketball all-stars. You play with the team you got.

I remember translating some texts by Bhakti Promode Puri and he was having a great deal of trouble with this verse from Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (4.359), even suggesting that it was interpolated:

avidyo vā sa-vidyo vā gurur eva janārdanaḥ
mārgastho vāpy amārga-stho gurur eva sadā gatiḥ

The guru is always the manifestation of God, whether he has knowledge or not. Whether he is on the right path or not, the guru is always our shelter.

No surprise that this bypasses the understanding of someone in the Gaudiya Math. It seems to contradict all the rest of the instructions about finding a qualified guru. Yes, but life requires a certain amount of subtlety. One can act in certain ways and think in others. But gratitude (which is really what this verse is all about) is not, as far as I am concerned, negotiable.

śloka-pādasya vaktāpi yaḥ pūjyaḥ sa sadaiva hi
kiṁ punar bhagavad-viṣṇoḥ svarūpaṁ vitanoti yaḥ

A person who speaks even a quarter of a verse is to be revered, what to speak of the one who reveals the true nature of Lord Vishnu.
This bad habit of not acknowledging paramparas in modern Gaudiya Vaishnavism began with Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, because he did not like Bipin Bihari Goswami. Whatever the reasons, whatever the positive consequences, this leaves the existing Chaitanya Vaishnava movement with holes in it. Whatever its external power, whatever its virtues, however wonderful its followers, they will be handicapped unless and until they capitulate and thank the people to whom thanks are owed. If Bhaktivinoda could honor his guru, why cannot those who claim to follow Bhaktivinoda? Ever hear of half-a-hen logic?

Can you do that to everyone in every such case? Can you thank fully everyone who has given a verse or half verse of knowledge? No, you can't. Is this a reasonable demand? Probably not. So you do bhakti with an air of general gratitude, not one of grudging admission. Creating a new cult without correcting this at the root will simply exacerbate the problems; I don't care how successful you are. You can light a room with only a billionth part of the sun's light. That does not mean you have the sun.

You don't separate yourself from a tradition because you don't like some people in it. You serve the tradition; you purify it. I hear the names of some so-called jagad-gurus and avataras and such and feel such irritation because they haven't found one person to thank in their entire careers as God-men, except maybe that they fatuously claim to be some previous saint's reincarnation.

And you don't get to pick and choose, either. If you learned to chant and dance from Kirtanananda Swami, whatever he happened to become in the interim, whatever he is now, you still owe him a debt, I am sorry.

It is like renouncing your parents. You were not born out of thin air. No storks left you in a cabbage patch. And then you were taken care of and brought up. And no matter how defective those parents were (as a result of your karma) they were still the agents of God in keeping you alive and raising you.

It is the same with gurus--whether they gave you one sentence of enlightened wisdom or changed the very way you see your life.

I am not afraid to acknowledge Bhaktivedanta Swami, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Lalita Prasad Thakur, Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj, or Priyalal Goswami. Or the other gurus, whose books I have read. Behind them all is the Parameshti Guru whose mercy infused them all. But I won't discredit the means he has taken to reveal these truths to me. What the heck is Guru Tattva all about? My advice to everyone: The first thing you do when looking at a guru is to find out whether he is thankful. Bhakti and thankfulness go together. Try to do one without the other; it is impossible.

And that's just about gratitude, let's not speak of honesty, what to speak of "due diligence," what to speak of commitment to the truth! What's the point of anything without these fundamentals?

Someone has written to to me jokingly say that I should renounce the term Sahajiya because it is "the previous century, last millennium, male-centered, gender-biased old world Bengali term." It is "Dysfunctional Oriental Bukwus" and we should shift the paradigm and come up with our own terminology, like "ananga-ranga."

Well everyone wants to be an original. If you want to do away with all previous century, last millennium, male-centered, gender-biased old world Bengali terms, you had better just drop everything. You haven't got a hope, because nothing comes out of thin air. And certainly Narayana Maharaj and the rest of the IGM are not doing much to changing that samskara at all.

The Sahajiyas and other like-minded sampradayas were the only people who had anything positive to say about women while the orthodox and the other sannyasa-based sampradayas were still quoting the Bhagavatam and Chanakya about how women are the most destructive force for a person wishing to cross over the material ocean, who did not even want to acknowledge that women were potentially greater devotees than men. And yet some arrogant feminists think that you have to reject the very people who recognized that Radha, the very symbol of love, placed her above Krishna, because they were "sexist." Those very Sahajiyas who were first to acknowledge that human love is a part of the process of understanding Divine Prema. Cut off the root and see what your Ananga-ranga is worth!

There is no "new age." We may be evolving, but we evolve OUT of something, not out of nothing. Don't forget Bhaktivinoda's statements, which are fully quoted and discussed in the article Implications of our Guru's moral failings.
"Begin anew," says the critic, "because the old masonry does not answer at present. Let the old author be buried because his time is gone." These are shallow expressions. Progress certainly is the law of nature and there must be corrections and developments with the progress of time. But progress means going further or rising higher.

Now, if we are to follow our foolish critic, we are to go back to our former terminus and make a new race, and when we have run half the race another critic of his stamp will cry out: "Begin anew, because the wrong road has been taken!" In this way our stupid critics will never allow us to go over the whole road and see what is in the other terminus. Thus the shallow critic and the fruitless reader are the two great enemies of progress. We must shun them.(The Bhagavata: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics, and Its Theology)
And this same person wrote me recently to say that we should "take back" certain terms, like bhakti, because the Zeitgeist is warming to them again. If you can take back "bhakti" why can't you take back "sahajiya"?

And now that same person is telling everyone that they can solve the problems of sectarianism in the Vaishnava world. A clue:

kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta
dīkṣāsti cet praṇatibhis taṁ bhajantam īśam
śuśrūṣubhir bhajana-vijnam ananyam anyaṁ
nindādi-śūnya-hṛdam īpsita-saṅga-labdhyā

Sahaja is a term that has been around since the first half of the first millennium. You don't just throw away a term like that, with such a nuanced history, just because you have some prejudiced and ill-founded ideas about the people that used it. Well, Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself used it again and again. Kavi Karnapur used it when talking about Ramananda Ray. The Sants used it. I don't mind using it, and I will use it with pride.

Even Narasingha Maharaja is now publishing books condemning Sahajiyaism because he thinks Narayana Maharaja is a Sahajiya. You are going to say, "I am not a Sahajiya, I am an Ananga-rangi." Yeah, what's that? What cabbage patch did the storks leave you in, my friend? Maybe it is time to find out.



Subrata said...

For Information please:

From Panihati to Barahanagar, Festival at Srila Bhagavatacarya's Pathbari

|| Sri RadhaRamano Jayati ||

(Bhaja) Nitai Gaura Radhe Shyam
(Japa) Hare Krishna Hare Ram

Jay Nitai,

Today is that auspicious day of Mahaprabhu coming from Panihati to Barahanagar on his way to Puri. Today devotee of pathbari would receive him at the banks of Ganges and Mahaprabhu would reside 3 days at Pathbari Asram by spending his time in listening Bhagavatam from Sri Vhagavatacharyya. Devotees please enjoy this eternal lila pastime of Sri GaurHari.

Here is the link for year 2007's festival in our blog.

To know more about this beautiful pastime of Sri GaurHari from please visit the following url

Jay Nitai

( PS: Jagat Ji : Ebar kichu Gaurer kotha bolun. Edik sedik to onek holo... Jar janya eto kichu tar kotha bolun. Loker paramarthik asukh dur hobey and paramarthik bhabe bolobano o hobey..
Uff ki adbhut chaitanya charit)

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with feminism if it is the right kind. I think of myself as a feminist but often find that the different types within the genre do have to be more specifically defined. Arrogant Feminist, that is definitely a kind. I hope and strive to be myself an Honest Feminist. I constantly ask myself if my cause, respect of women's right to not be a crutch to men in this world, is realistic under the Laws of Nature. Would such state of being contradict and therefore strip us of our very femininity?

There are many questions like that. And now this one that I often find that there are many women out there who cry "feminism" but whom other women have to guard against just as they guard against abusive, women hating/fearing/disrespecting individuals.

Jagat said...

In many ways, it is a new age for women, since they have been able to escape the social obligation to follow traditional roles. Longer lifespans, birth control, education, etc., are all part of that story.

There is nothing wrong with this. Indeed, anything by which a human being can develop the highest potential and the most out of their human life is desirable. So there is no question that feminism is a good thing.

When it comes to relationships, every man and woman have to negotiate a way of being together that facilitates their individual development in the most positive way. Traditional roles may or may not be helpful in this matter. We should however be on guard against our own prejudices in this matter.

As individuals, no one should be forced by anyone else to adhere to stereotypical or archetypical personality types or roles, etc. This does not mean that general male and female "types" cannot be objectively as well as intuitively assessed; hardwiring that lies beyond mere social conditioning.

I don't see Radha and Krishna lila as perpetuating male/female stereotypes, but rather as symbolizing the primordial attraction between the opposites, the infinite beauty of such attraction and the potential it has for the culture of a higher love.

There is no love without differences, even as it depends on the possibility of finding common ground. This is where we differ from Mayavadis, who are afraid of the intensity that comes out of dualities. Vaishnavas thrive on intensity; they beg for intensity. Bhakti without tears or shivering is empty ritual. Love by definition means intensity.

That does not mean that we do not appreciate the power of universal love, but it really is seen as a side note; a necessary one, indeed, but a side effect nevertheless.

Suren said...

Jai Jai Sri Radhe,

Dear Jagadananda Das Ji,

I totally concur to your post. My own personal experience as such. I see myself as someone who received my love for Krishna, and attachment to his names through the teachings of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. Over the years however I have changed in beliefs, and have endorsed a more mystic spirituality towards Sri Sri Radha Krishna. But this does not mean that I do not regard Prabhupada as my Teacher, Guru, Well-wisher, in fact he is the very reason I am on my path of Krishna Bhakti and Krishna Prema. And for this I will be forever indebted to him.

Ive been reading your posts, and Ive read your essays on I think they are wondering works of self reflection, and the particular essays which most interested me were your scholarly textual criticisms, on date, timing, and authorships. As you said in your Article, Implications of our guru's moral failings, that such scholarly reasoning is not against devotion. I believe in questioning our beliefs, rather then follow blind faith, for I feel that in return this does in fact reaffirm our faith, rather then shake its foundations. I think you know what I mean.

I was meaning to get in touch with you. I had sent an email to you a while back based on the email which is there on your website (Gaudiya Granth Mandira). But I didnt get a response, so I'm assuming that you dont have access to the address (it seems like the site hasnt been updated in some time also). I was wondering if you could provide me with an email as where I can contact you, I'd like to share some of my findings, and such, and I also had a question or two you may be able to help me out with.

I like your positings, and i look forward to reading them regularly. Your work is very inspiring for both the spiritual and academic/intellectual at heart.

My Email is
I hope to hear from you soon.


Jagat said...

I received a response from the person noted in the above post.

I can't believe you wrote a post because you took my JOKE (about not crediting you for use of the diagrams until you drop "sahajiya" and use "ananga rangi".)

That was a joke! Of course I would credit you if I used the diagrams, but now I'm not going to use them. I've got my own diagrams that are good enough actually.

And yes, I think "ananga rangi" would be better than the term "sahajiya" - so what??? That was really silly of you to take it so seriously.

Whatever. Misunderstandings are why I stick to myself.

My response: I am sorry, it did not come across like a joke. Perhaps I was being overly sensitive. I hate doing that kind of thing, actually. So I sincerely apologize.

The guru drohi comments were not meant for you. I was talking about something else and then the other issue ended up becoming part of it.

Like I said, though, it did not sound like a joke to me. Once again, I apologize.

Jagat said...

Sometimes it is tempting to pull rank. I admit it. I have seen others feel that pressure and it is a dangerous temptation, for more often than not it leads to a diminishing of one's reputation.

You know, when you have been around Gaudiya Vaishnavism for 40 years, have more or less dedicated your life to gathering the tools, the languages, the knowledge of the texts, the sensitivity to the culture, tried to understand things in a meta- way, from an objective point of view, etc., etc., have engaged in the practices of hearing and chanting, smaranam, etc., all with the ultimate goal of realizing the Truth as it was given to you to realize through Guru and the grace of God, it is difficult not to feel a tweak of irritation when some newcomer speaks to you as though an equal.

Even when one knows only too well one's own shortcomings. But I ask, who can say that recoiling before the brashness of an upstart is not justified?

It is a great test of humility, I suppose. If I say that I am within my rights to express my irritation, I become subject to accusations of lacking the qualities of a Vaishnava.

So be it. We are all dancing on the strings of the great puppet master--both he who offends and he who is offended. Naiva kinchit karomiti, yukto manyeta tattvavit.

Be of good cheer. Radhe Radhe!

Jagat said...


Maph korun. Mahaprabhura katha bolte chaile-o, vartamane tara kono vishesh prasanga charcha korchi na. Tabu-o, apnar anurodh smarane rakhbo.

Jai Gaura!

Anonymous said...

" If you want to do away with all previous century, last millennium, male-centered, gender-biased old world Bengali terms, you had better just drop everything. You haven't got a hope, because nothing comes out of thin air. And certainly Narayana Maharaj and the rest of the IGM are not changing that samskara at all."

I think the old model has reached a point where it's become self-destructive. Its absurd to insist that water-organisms live by the laws of the desert. The past does not apply to the present. Modern women and men do not find meaning in the concept of sexual renunciation and/or sexual roles by gender. In present times, trying to live by ancient ethics on sexuality is like dressing up for halloween - it only works when one does not take the role seriously. But most people take spirituality most seriously. This tradition cannot expect to advance another inch unless it undergoes some urgent reforms. Adaptation is necessary for evolution. Perhaps it is not necessaty to drop everything but certainly a deep reflection on certain things is needed. If sahajiyas have sheltered "fallen" females when orthodox religions shunned them, haven't these same sahajiyas made use of women in the same objectifying way as pimps (old and new), mormons, so called vedic monarchs, the modern entertainment industry, etc. etc. etc. (the list certainly goes on), have made through the entire history of humanity? It is women who must be asked what is to be dropped and what is to be kept in this tradition, for men have had their go, and things look a little messy, it must be said.

Jagat said...

I pretty much agree with you there. But like Bhaktivinoda Thakur indicates in the quote above, trying to start entirely from scratch is a rather difficult process.

What interests me is the symbolic value of having equal male and female aspects of the One Truth. Sambandha.

The second aspect that interests me is the essential feminine role of all living entities in relation to that Divine Truth, i.e. as Prakriti. I.e. bhakti. Abhidheya.

The third thing that interests me is the union of opposites in the individual psyche and in the culture of transcendence in the union of couples. Prayojan.

The fourth thing that interests me is lila, which may have many archetypes, but has an aspect in the worldly manifestation.

It is ridiculous to assume that there is any possibility of adopting any social model in its entirety. However, our task is to decipher what is eternal and what is peripheral.

If you were attracted to Radha and Krishna, I don't think that this was a Halloween game, but rather it was a message coming to you from Radha and Krishna themselves.

The basic message here is that in order to understand bhakti, you have to become devoted to a symbolic universe that has transcendent meaning for you. That symbolic universe is INEVITABLY laden with cultural artefacts, but the intelligent sadhaka can detect the universal foundation that underlies it.

That cultural superstructure then becomes an object of love in its own right, inseparable from the foundation. Ultimately, the devotee can see both, but does not separate them, even while remaining aloof from rivalries based on conflicts of symbolic language.

This can never be about sexual politics, but about transcending sexual politics. That takes a little cooperation and tolerance, as well as persistent sadhana.

Persistent sadhana. We have no other recourse. Everything else is mental games. Let the spirit win the war, not the egos of male-embodied souls or female-embodied souls.

Radhe Radhe! That is what I am praying to my Swamini for.

Jagat said...

Let me have another go, responding more directly. Why do you insist on criticizing Sahajiyas by equating them to pimps?

If there are individual cases of abuse, then does that alter the underlying power of the symbol or the ideal, some of which I clumsily expressed in the previous comment?

Religion is essentially a struggle for achieving an ideal condition of human life. Human life is breathtakingly complex on so many levels. The very fact that we are hardwired to idealize, or to seek some kind of perfection in this life is itself a hint at the existence of Divine Truth.

I don't think that it is achieved by brainpower alone, certainly not male or female ego-centered brain power.

Radhe Radhe! (Which basically means, I don't know what the hell I am doing, Radhe, but I take shelter of your lotus feet. Please look upon this useless soul kindly because I am riddled with material ego and have little chance of ever hearing your voice in my heart or attaining your pure devotional service.)

Satya devi dasi said...

I was singing with my grandson, he'll be 2 in a few weeks, the other day and I said, "Radhe Radhe." He said, "What's that mean?" I said, "It means,'Oh Radha, please help me.'" He said, "Radhe Radhe."

Anonymous said...

"Why do you insist on criticizing Sahajiyas by equating them to pimps? "

Please notice that the comparasion was made not to pimps only; others such as mormons, etc., were listed as objectifiers of women. The point is that most cultures, religious based or not, and micro or macro sized as they may be, do inccur in usage of women. Scriptures and/or academic texts through history, have no qualms in making any and all types of absolute statements about women, referring to us always in the second person. A pimp uses women explicitly for commercialization of sex; he would use robots or any other such objects just as quickly if those objects got him higher profits. Less explicitly but still operating on the same principle, in all other areas of society a woman is given roles that are for the usage of the other gender. If a woman falls short of being really good at the two jobs assigned to her, i.e. provider of sex and/or nurturer, she is fit for the waste pile. The discarding of widows in Indian culture being one of quite a few cases in point. Although the argument is that women embrace such classic roles out of their own choice - its their nature - it is a fact that there isn't really much choice women may contemplate in the face of men's intolerance - these have the muscle power and it is the one advantage a vulnerable party will not challenge. Therefore the freedom to explore other possibilities in self-realization is reserved for men. So the problem here is not one of gender politics, as you put it, but of underachievement in humanity as a whole due to male's (I am afraid I have to say like this guys) lack of genuine empathy.

Devi Uvacha said...

I'm going to try to answer your question about seeing sahajiyas as pimps, even though I was not the one who wrote that.

It is currently the year 2009 and India has yet to have an organized feminist movement to shift gender dynamics in a major way.

Topics of sexuality, even discussed in a detached, scientific fashion, are still taboo.

And no, I'm not talking about the advice columns of Hindustan Times, I'm talking about amongst usual, everday common folk.

I find it difficult to conceive that in medieval times and a few centuries after, when sahajiyaism experienced a renaicance due to the influence of Radha Krishna lore coming out of West Bengal and Orissa's bhakti movement, that woman were empowered enough to engage in sexual relationships solely based on their desire and ability to do so.

We are talking about an area of the world that STILL has high illiteracy rates, those rates being even higher amongst the female population.

We are talking about an area of the world where poor village girls are still being married off at the age of 12, sometimes younger.

So where is this empowered female contingency engaged in the bold and beautiful psycho-sexual-spiritual dynamics of sahajiyaism?

Did they ever exist?

My take is that the ones NOT exploited by the system would have been in the minority, not the other way around.

Jagat said...

I am not making any claims for a perfect golden past of Sahajiyaism. There was no golden age... no Satya Yuga.

But when the sun's rays show through the clouds, you know there is a sun. Is Western sexual freedom the Utopia of male/female relationships you are seeking? What exactly is this sexual utopia you envision? This place where women's egos are as "free" as men's egos to...what? Be mired in Maya as deeply and as ignorantly?

We can imagine a utopia, but we need structures, symbols, rituals, etc., that support those ideals. But these have to be centered in transcendence. They cannot be based, except in a secondary way, on empiricism.

What I mean is that transcendence is perceived intuitively. Love is not a rationally negotiated state. Negotiations come after. Why, because faith is based on intuition; it is the next step after reason reaches its limits. Yes, there is experience, but experience always outstrips our understanding... by miles and miles.

One other thing: Whatever is there on the social level is secondary to the personal. On the whole, if there is no social applicability of a thing, it is of lesser value. But if something is truly and deeply experienced on a personal level, it becomes the guide for social constructions.

This is why love is experienced within the individual in relation to God and to humanity in a diffuse way as well as in direct personal relation to another human being and by extension to other real human beings.

Political quibbling about past social injustices to one group or another is pretty pointless. What we say is, "This is the ideal. We express it symbolically like this. This is the culture that transforms the individual consciousness and makes it possible for him or her to realize that ideal. Then, God willing, we can gradually expand outward and create communities where this ideal is cultivated by more people."

History is bunk only in the sense that it is NOT inevitable that we repeat it. However, if you find a good idea in the past, why not use it? And if that idea is alive and being refined and cultivated, and if furthermore we see glimmers of that ideal being realized in the lives of individuals and groups, then bolihari jai!

Vaishnavism is so nice. We gaze upon the forms of Gauranga and Nityananda dancing. We watch Radha and Krishna gaze into each other's eyes, these forms that contain every idea that humanity has ever expressed about the purest and most powerful love: Mahabhava and Rasaraja. We join the parrots and cuckoos in the kunja and dance and sing their glories.

Forget, just for a minute, everything else and just feel their love, the love that throbs through all the universes like the ether, like the blood flows through the veins of your body, like the prana that flows through your nostrils.

Radhe Radhe!

Devi Uvacha said...

Alright Mr. Pyar-karne-walle,

You say:

''and if furthermore we see glimmers of that ideal being realized in the lives of individuals and groups, then bolihari jai!''

I ask, since the topic is sahajiyas, where are these individuals and groups who are realizing the glimmers of the IDEAL sahajiya way of life?

Jagat said...

I don't understand, Miss Devi Uvacha. Who are all the pimp-type Sahajiyas that you know? Isn't it true that you have just heard a lot of negative propaganda?

I say the ideas themselves are light enough for me. Show me this ideal feminist universe that is supposed to replace the one that has been ruined by patriarchical warmongers and their pimping Sahajiyas allies, and I'll show you mine.

Let's get real here. Spiritual life is by definition IMPOSSIBLE to realize in the material world. For every one person who realizes transcendental love in this world, there are a hundred to exploit him or her for corrupt reasons. Spiritual societies generally exist temporarily in moments of glory that quickly dissipate. If we are truly fortunate, we will have a few moments of such glory.

This is a primarily an individual show, and societies are composed of like-minded individuals who serendipitously discover each other.

This is why the most successful societal doctrines are those that impose minimum restrictions on individual liberty and movement.

Devi Uvacha said...

You are making absoltutely no sense. I never claimed there was any feminist or even Vaishnana utopia on this Earth. I stated that given the social climate in India even now, I cannot conceive that your particular concept of sahajiyasism ever existed. Why because your version, based on love and equality, because the culture does not support that. When there is no dating culture and people's marriages are arranged, and the female is absorbed to her husband's family for the sake of serving them day and night, where is the question of "sahajiya love"?

If it ever was there, I would say then that the sahajiyas, back in their day, were even more progressive than the modern metropolitan people of India.

Have you ever seen a working example of this amongst Indians? That is all I'm asking.

As far as a working example among feminists or Vaishnavas, yeah, I've seen several. Their cultures support their functioning.

Where is the culture (in India) that supports the type of relationships your version of love and equality sahajiyaism requires?

Devi Uvacha said...

Since the topics covered here are both gratitude to predecessors and sahaja, then would you mind telling us who your sahajiya guru and guru parampara are?

Jagat said...

My siksha guru parampara is given in the very beginning of this blog.

You are quite right. Indian society does not support this model.

But my point in regard to that is that the entire Sahajiya scheme is a PROTEST against the existing social order. As such it was always socially excluded.

There were many Sahajiya sects and they have a literature, etc. They managed to exist and still exist in various forms over the past 300 years.

Bose, for instance, speaks highly of the gurus in the tradition that he knew.

But what is needed is for someone to put the old wine into new bottles. To make these ideas comprehensible and sensible to people today. In many ways, Western people are more amenable to these ideas because they don't have some kinds of social conditioning that are present here.

So I am indeed suggesting trying a new idea. You may not like the term sahajiya, but I am liking it more for many reasons, including all the ones given above. I will try to compile them eventually.

Anonymous said...

I so much appreciate this article. It is inclusive and feels honest and humble. It overrides our petty differences and is non-offensive, yet allows for individual differences. Thank you! in gratitutde, Vinode Vani d.d.