Monday, March 30, 2009

The positive side of being here

There are actually a lot of positive things to say about this place and my experience here.

First of all, from the point of view of material comfort and facility, I am very well served.

The surroundings are frankly more pleasing than nearly anything in Vrindavan. The ashram itself is beautiful in terms of architecture and gardening. The Ganges in its clearest and purest state is nearby. The Rajaji Park is nearby and the view of the green hills across the Ganga is something that cannot be found in the plains.

The weather has been pretty ideal--neither as hot nor dry as Vrindavan, nor quite as humid as Bengal.

My workload is not great. I have two small classes of students and the weekly Gita class. My students like and respect me, and I actually enjoy teaching, for what it is worth.

I get a stipend which is generous for what is really a voluntary position, considering that food, board and facilities are provided. My rooms are clean, with a kitchenette and modern bathroom facilities.

In terms of bhajan, I have my private quarters where Giridhari patiently tolerates my presence, and the silent group meditations provide an atmosphere of intense concentration in which I can just as easily do manasa japa of my mantras.

My temperament is not terribly social, so that even the lack of devotee company is not especially troublesome to me. I get my association from books, and somewhat from the internet.

Swami Veda has made money available for me to purchase any book that I want for the library, so from that point of view, I have no complaints. I have practically speaking no obstacles to doing any scholarly work that I would want. Good office space, good internet connection.

The ashram residents may not be Vaishnava devotees, but on the whole they are sattvika and peaceful. This is nothing to be sneezed at, as there is very little disruption to the overall equilibrium of the atmosphere. And from what one sees and hears of devotees, this is not always the case with them.

Finally, Swami Veda Bharati is himself a remarkable gentleman with a warm heart and very broadminded attitude. Besides which, he is an estimable scholar of the Yoga tradition of the first rank and I have learned a great deal from him, not only in terms of knowledge and practice, but in terms of character.

True, it is not Vrindavan, but it is Rishikesh... and there are a few bhaktas... My daily RRSN readings down by the Ganga are attracting more people every day. I just got a call from Madhuvan asking me to resume my Gita classes there. And, who knows, maybe other opportunities are waiting here. My Hindi is gradually improving and I am becoming more and more capable of saying everything I want to say in a more fluid and pleasing way.

In practical terms, I would think that the opportunities staying here provide me should be fulfilled rather than me pushing things to achieve some rather unclear goals. I have so many unfinished projects, which even with the facilities I have, are still regrettably making little headway.

The only thing that would or really should move me from here is external pressure. If what I say or teach is of any interest to anyone and they think they have something to learn from me beyond what they can get by reading my blog, it remains to be seen. Like everyone, I like being appreciated, but I really have no ambitions for personal self-aggrandizement. I don't think these things are in my control, so I don't try to control them.

Clearly, however, I am being forced to go to the West, so we will see what comes of that. I like to talk about Radha and Krishna, but my doing that depends entirely on people wanting to hear from me. That has not been so evident as yet, so why force things?

Radhe Radhe!

4 comments:

dr.jaya said...

You are very fortunate and blessed.
Adi Jagadguru Shankara Bhagavatpada
prayed to Mother Ganges:

'bhagavati tava tIre nIra mAtrAzano 'haM
vigata viSaya tRSNAH kRSNam ArAdhayAmi /
sakala kaluSa bhaGge svarga sopAna saGge
tarala tara taraGge devi gaGge prasIda // '

(Sri Gangaashtakam - 1, Bhagavatpada Sri Shankaracarya)

O Divine Consort! Sacred Ganges!
Residing on your merciful banks,
living only upon the sustenence
of your holy waters,
abandoning all the thoughts and
desires for material sense gratification,
I fondly worship my Lord Sri Krishna.

O Goddess, devi Gange!
O gracious purifier of all the sinful souls!
O holy elevator, manifested to uplift
the mankind to higher heavenly realm!
O reservoir of highly dynamic, blissful waves!
Kindly bestow upon me your blessings
and Divine Grace.

Enjoy 'being there' !

Anonymous said...

Namaskaram

You don't have to post this, just is info for you.

There are two profs at University of Hawaii-Manoa who are pretty cool, maybe they can arrange you give lectures to their grad students and give some stipend or something for you? Cuz is enroute between Canada and India.

One is Dr Ramdas Lamb, he is Chair of the Graduate Dept of Religious Studies.

Another is Professor Ned Bertz. He is new to the History Dept. His specialty area is India, he has been there about 40 times. He is teaching a cool class right now the Hist of India.

If you google search both of those people you can see what they are into and if what you are into dovetails with it at all.

Also Sinclair Library at UH Manoa has big collection of Asian books, scholarly type.

Well no need to post this info, is just for you. Maybe can network and find some little gig for yourself they have some funds for.

And if they don't have personally have any gigs for you, maybe they know someone who can fund your giving some talks such as the East West Center on that Campus, etc. Indians in the community.

Such as on Kauai has the Hindu Kadavul Temple, publishers of Hinduism Today. They are always looking for writers for that magazine who are experts in one of the four branches of Hinduism.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

"My temperament is not terribly social, so that even the lack of devotee company is not especially troublesome to me. I get my association from books, and somewhat from the internet."

Association of devotees and social life are NOT equivalents. Association of devotees is like water, socializing is like drinking coca-cola. Geez, you are becoming confused by that carbonated mayavada stuff.

Jagat said...

Well, I won't deny that there is a lack of devotee association. I am making a silk purse out of a sow's ear on this one.

Nevertheless, I am reading RRSN every day with some devotees. I get to speak on the Gita here once a week and at Madhuban, to devotees, once a week. That is really not so bad, is it?

Last night, I had a telephone call from a very nice devotee. So I am not altogether deprived...

And in the meantime, I thank you for your association... Thank you for visiting this blog.

Radhe Radhe!