Sunday, April 05, 2009


Supposed to be my day of rest... meaning concentrating on work. I will have to stop my walks to Ram Jhula. But I really raced it today, so it takes only a little over two hours to walk. As it happens, I had a nice refreshing Ganga snana and then met with a man who wants me to come and speak to the executives at the Tehri Dam Project at their satellite office here in Rishikesh. He needs someone to talk them up about how to make decisions... Looks like I am entering the motivational speaker circuit. "Sounds like a Gita-type problem," I said. "Yes, well, people in India are brought up with the Gita, but no one acts on it. Maybe you, a foreigner, who is actually living it can inspire them..."

From there I went to Madhuvan, to meet Rupa Goswami Das. He and the devotees there want me to do the Gita class again, so I will be rushing over there in a minute to do that. I told them I want some publicity. What is the point of speaking if no one knows or comes?

Then I met Dhanurdhara Swami, who is here with a yoga group from Washington, giving classes to them on a quasi daily basis. We had a long talk covering many things, but he was mostly concerned about Babhru's new book that was published by Tripurari Maharaj, Oh My Friend! Oh My Friend!. The purpose of the book is to argue that Prabhupada was really in sakhya-rasa. Tripurari Maharaj sent me the URL a couple of weeks ago, but I have not read it. It seems a little outside of my scope, but Dhanurdhara's principal question was regarding the poem that Prabhupada wrote on the Jaladuta and what I thought of the translation. I just looked at what Babhru wrote and it pretty much matches what I told Dhanurdhara. The issue gets into some pretty thorny aspects of Guru Tattva though.

We had a long and enjoyable talk. Recently I wrote about the different gurus I have had and someone wrote me criticizing that on the one hand I talk about faith in guru and then I give a list of several people that I consider guru. Guru tattva is like that. But what I wanted to say here is that there is no doubt that Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the main conduit through which Mahaprabhu's mercy came to me, and when I talk to people like Dhanurdhar and Tripurari Maharaja, with whom I immediately feel a deep camaraderie, it is quite clear to me. We have all been transformed by our contact with the Holy Name and the Vaishnava scriptures, and whatever our individual destinies or personalities, we have a common foundation in Mahaprabhu and his dharma.

Radhakunda Das, who is also a part of this yatra group, gave meRadhanath Swami's autobiography, which mostly seems preoccupied with his early travels in India and encounters with many sadhus, including Swami Ram, Swami Veda's guru. Opened it up on the last page and immediately saw, "Bhakti yoga is the science of transforming material into spiritual."

Exactly. This is why I am making a point of saying, "Turn sex and love into spirit. That is what I can teach you."

That is why I am making the fuss about nivritti and pravritti marga. Nivritti is about negating the world, pravritti is about transforming it. Inasmuch as bhaktas try to transform the world, they are engaged in pravritti-marga. Inasmuch as they deny the possibility of transforming madhura-rasa, they are nivritta-margis.

In the evening I spoke on the Gita at Madhuban. Funny, my message to devotees is a bit different from the one I deliver to the people here. After reading Prabhupada's purport, I spoke on vadanti tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam. Brahman, Paramatma, Bhagavan--it is all the same one, non-dual Truth.

Different people need to hear different things. Unless devotees come to the point of understanding advaya-tattvam, their bhakti remains on the kanishtha platform. If Mayavadis don't understand the personal nature of the absolute, they only get a partial understanding of the Truth.


WhistleblowerPrabhu said...

How refreshing, a blog written by a devotee of sufficient depth and personal maturity to genuinely honour that which is spiritual in other devotees. It's a world apart from the tenor employed by Siva dasa posing as "Vrajabhumi" on his Hare Krishna Women blog. He simply tears into one and all in an endless tirade of egoistic one-upmanship.

I enjoyed your "The positive side of being here" blog, too. You seem to truly embody the Vaishnava scholar and gentleman.

Jagat said...

You are most kind.