Showing posts from August, 2009

Gopala-vijaya Dana-lila translation, Part II

(3) Chapter 38 (54)

1. When Kanai said all these things, the gopis felt no limit to either their excitement or distress. 2. They all went to Barai’s side, and sighing heavily, with sad faces they spoke. 3. “We have heard all these things from Krishna, so how do you advise us, Barai? 4. What crazy God created woman? We don’t even know what is the proper thing to say. 5. We never heard of anyone having to pay taxes on youthful beauty, anywhere from here to the salt-water. 6. He is engaged in all this useless debate in your presence. How can anyone even speak of the impropriety!?

Naturallly there seems to be a great deal of missing undertone. Like here, how much of this is serious? What is the tone of voice? Over the top. Offended. Of course, that is the whole point, isn’t it?

7. "Much as we laugh and supplicate, it has no effect on the rascal Kanai. 8. He does not have a single one of the characteristics of a customs officer. His cruel words are intolerable. 9. He claims to be a cus…

Gopala-vijaya Dana-lila translation, Part I

Just trying to get back in the game. I am posting the Gopala-vijaya version of the dana-lila, in a rather rushed and imperfect translation. This translation is unofficial. Bits in italics are those I am not
sure of and should get checked by someone who knows this old Bengali better than I.

(1) Chapter 36. (73)

1. One day Kanai put on his fancy attire and went with his friends into the forest. 2. He put his friends in charge of grazing the cattle and himself went to the Mathura Road. 3. When he got to the Yamuna’s banks, he sat down in the shade of a kadamba tree.

4. While he sat there, the girls of Braja came along that very path, carrying their goods for market. 5. When Krishna saw them, he could not restrain himself and began bobbing in an ocean of delight, the end of which could not be seen.

6. Meanwhile, the gopis themselves became wary on seeing Krishna. Their knees weakened and they could barely move forward. 7. They stood there, lined up like rag dolls, immobile, and began speakin…

Radhashtami 2009

Rādhā-viraha. Nandalal Bose (1936).
I have been carrying on a multi-pronged research project in relation to the Dāna-līlā, part of which includes reading the Bengali texts that precede Mahaprabhu's incarnation.

Now one thing that is very important to understand: Nothing happens in a vacuum. There are always preconditions that make subsequent events possible. If there were no Radha-consciousness before Mahaprabhu came, it would have been impossible for anyone to believe or accept the mythology of Mahaprabhu incarnating Radha's mood.

The entire theological thrust of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, which is only moderately present in Mahaprabhu's other biographies, is that Radha is superior to Krishna, not because of some glorious divine creative, mystical or magical powers, but because of her love.

bhaktir evainaṁ nayatibhaktir evainaṁ darśayatibhakti-vaśaḥ pūruṣaḥbhaktir eve bhūyasī Devotion leads the Supreme Lord. Devotion reveals Him. The Lord is under the thrall of bhakti. Ther…


On special request, I am posting a picture of Krishna, the attractor of Srimati Radharani, on the occasion of his birthday.

jayati jananivāso devakī-janma-vādoyaduvara-pariṣhat svair dorbhir asyann adharmamsthira-cara-vrijina-ghnaḥ susmita-śrī-mukhenavraja-pura-vanitānāṁ vardhayan kāma-devam
May the Lord who is the abode of every living being, and yet is said to have taken birth in Devaki Mata's womb, be ever glorified. His companions are the best of the Yadus, and with his powerful arms, he throws off the manifestations of irreligion. He destroys the miseries of the moving and non-moving creatures with his sweetly smiling face. And he does so while increasing the erotic desires of the queens of Dvaraka and the gopis of Braj. (10.90.48)

Progressive and Liberal Ideas and Krishna bhakti

One thing I have noticed about the Western Krishna conscious movement is that most devotees (older ones at least) are progressive politically, due to their radical stance as youthful hippies against the "establishment culture."

This is unusual, on one sense, because Srila Prabhupada was VERY conservative, politically as well as socially. At one time or another, he said things that showed racist, fascist, anti-feminist, libertarian, anti-taxation and corporatist leanings. His preaching in India was geared towards business elites.

How hippies came to adopt leadership from this quarter is a curious matter in itself and worthy of investigation. Let us say that they were in search of a radical alternative to the established dominant culture in Western society, and the hedonistic and libertine counterculture of the time had proved an abject failure experimentally.

Prabhupada also fed conspiracist and apocalyptic tendencies amongst devotees--the coming of WWIII, the moon landing ho…

More thoughts about atheism

My basic idea here is simply this: I don't think that after Marx, Nietzsche, Huxley, Spenser, Freud, Sartre, Camus, and the rest of the 19th and 20th century's giants of atheistic thought, that there will be much new to be said. I have read most of these authors and also responses to their thought by Christian authors like Borhnoeffer, Tillich and Niebuhr.

Nevertheless, I think that there is value in the contribution all these thinkers made, and atheism had a strong influence on the development of Christianity in the post WWII period, both as a transformative in liberal mainline Protestantism as well as in the reactionary fundamentalisms. Of course, I find liberalism more attractive, and that is one of the reasons I appreciate the atheist critiques of fundamentalist thought.

In India, the influence of Buddhism meant that the most basic arguments of atheism were given much more credence philosophically and theism could not credibly grow in India without the intermediate step o…

Atheism and the Upanishads

Most people who are atheists are arguing against a specific concept or definition of God. They are pretty much all arguing straw men. Here are some examples:
They are arguing against religion, like Christopher Hitchens. "The Catholics exterminated the Cathars. Muslims forcibly converted their conquered enemies."
Or against stupid traditions that have been part of religion. "Religions have always been misogynistic."
They are arguing against specific beliefs. "If God is good, then why is there evil in the world?"
They are arguing against a particular concept of God. "If God is all pervading, why do you think of him in human terms, which is obvious projection?"
They are responding to poorly constructed defenses of theism. "Why should there be a cause of all causes, when infinite regression makes as much sense?"
And, of course, a real favorite: The concept of faith itself. Belief in revelation, etc. Basically, they are all missing the basic poi…