Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Rasa-rāja and Mahā-bhāva


I don’t think we can look at the vibhur api verse (DKK 2) without being subliminally reminded of a similar one from Govinda-līlāmṛta, also quoted in Caitanya-caritāmṛta. This verse, in the same meter and beginning with the same word, was almost surely written with the earlier one in mind. It should be noted that like many other classic poets, Kaviraj Goswami has done this in other cases. Compare, for example, GLA 10.14 to Kāvya-prakāśa 5.128. And Rupa Goswami’s own pastiches of classical verses, such as the priyaḥ so’yaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ verse (CC 2.1.76, Padyāvali 383), are well known. In such cases, it is always an intriguing exercise to treat the latter verse as a commentary on the former.

Kaviraj Goswami's verse goes like this:

vibhur atisukha-rūpaḥ sva-prakāśo'pi bhāvaḥ
kṣaṇam api rādhā-kṛṣṇayor yā ṛte svāḥ
pravahati rasa-puṣṭiṁ cid-vibhūtīr iveśaḥ
śrayati na padam āsāṁ kaḥ sakhīnāṁ rasajṣaḥ

Although the love of Radha and Krishna
is infinitely great, supremely joyful, and self-effulgent,
it never reaches the full expression of rasa
without the sakhis,
any more than the Supreme Lord does
without his spiritual potencies.
So what knower of rasa would not
take shelter of them?

(CC 2.8.205, GLA 10.17)
This verse has been of interest to me ever since I first heard it. It is quoted in the Rāmānanda-saṁvāda as a glorification of the necessity of taking shelter of the sakhis. Generally, the Govinda-līlāmṛta does not make many philosophical or theological statements, as it is a līlā-grantha. Here, however, is a theological statement about rasa-tattva and līlā-tattva that is quite unique. Such a statement cannot even be found in the works of Rupa Goswami, the master of devotional rasa theory.

God as Love


In BRS 2.1.59, Rupa Goswami shows that his measure of God is to be found in rasa. We have already shown a progression of sorts in the introductory portions of the DKK (summary of the DKK), but in this verse, Krishnadas goes even one step further than Sri Rupa.

Without the sakhis, Radha and Krishna's bhāva, even though it is all-pervading, full of joy and self-luminous (sat, ānanda, cit), does not fulfill its potential as rasa. And, by way of example, Krishnadas says that the Supreme Lord (here deliberately unnamed) similarly does not attain rasa-puṣṭi without his cid-vibhūti, or spiritual opulences. The adjectives that applied to bhāva (infinitely great, supremely joyful, and self-effulgent) also apply to īśa, and indeed would be more familiarly used in the context of the Vedantic descriptions of the Absolute.

The point of the example is both essential to Vaishnava theology and familiar: God, who by definition is complete, still "needs" his energies in order to fully manifest his completeness. God does not "need" the creation, since it is part of his very being, and yet he does, because only by exercising those energies does he fulfill the meaning of being God. Cit here means separated or differentiated consciousness, i.e., "an other." This includes not only the jiva, but the "separated Moiety" or "alienated Self of God," Radha.

If we follow strictly the structure of the simile in the verse, Radha and Krishna's bhāva is being compared to God, the sakhis to His spiritual energies. Clearly a transposition has taken place from the DKK verse we have just studied. There we observed in the two nāndī verses that the usual place of God or a god had been subtly replaced in verse 1 by a concrete or external manifestation of love (i.e., the kilakiñcita alaṅkāra/anubhāva), and in verse 2 by the sthāyi-bhāva called anurāga.

The divine attribute vibhu, which is common to both DKK 2 and the GLA verse above is in neither case being applied to a personal form of God, nor to Radha or Krishna individually, nor even to the Divine Couple taken together, but to their love itself. But whereas Rupa took Radha's love as the Absolute, Kaviraja Goswami here takes the mutual love of the Divine Couple as the highest truth.

I cannot help but think here of Sri Jiva Prabhu’s verse from Gopāla-campū, which makes a somewhat similar statement:

imau gaurī-śyāmau manasi viparītau bahir api
sphurat-tat-tad-vastrāv iti budha-janair niścitam idam
sa ko'py accha-premā vilasad-ubhaya-sphūrtikatayā
dadhan mūrti-bhāvaṁ pṛthag apṛthag apy āvirudabhūt

Wise persons have determined that though
these Two are of a black and golden hue respectively,
in their minds they are of the opposite colors;
so too, externally, are their clothes.
This is some pure, unblemished love,
which has become incarnate
,
taking on this form with a dual manifestation,
at once divided and a unity. (GC 1.15.2)
Radha and Krishna are absorbed in thought of each other, and thus their minds are golden and blackish in color due to this identification. Moreover, Krishna wears a golden cloth, Radha a dark blue dress. These are said to symbolize their absorption in thought of one another. But the conclusion of the verse is not about them per se. Rather Jiva says that some (ko’pi) unfathomable, undetermined Love has manifested in this dual form, a Divine Couple that is so intermingled that in a constantly expanding manner, internally and externally, they replicate each other.

Rasa-rāja and Mahābhāva

The common term in Kaviraja Goswami's simile is pravahati rasa-puṣṭim, "reaches the full expression of rasa." We know from the rasa-śāstra that bhāva develops into or becomes rasa, but how does this apply to īśa?

Though we stated above that īśa has deliberately been left unnamed, we should take it that a statement is being made about all concepts of God, up to and including Krishna, the rasa-rāja, and his cid-vibhūti, Srimati Radharani, who is the mahā-bhāva.

In a broader sense, the statement could be seen as an implicit reference to the guiding principle of the bhakti-rasa śāstra, the mahā-vākya from the Taittiriya Upanishad, raso vai saḥ: "Rasa is the Supreme Truth."

This supreme truth of rasa is prema. Though this is a principle rather than a person, we should not be afraid that this implies a kind of impersonalism. God is not just a person; God is also an idea and a principle, and only by understanding God as such do we get a full understanding of what God is. Love cannot exist without plurality or personhood, so any talk of symbol, metaphor or reduction to principles should not be misunderstood as Mayavada; it is achintya-bhedābheda.

Let us explore this a little further: The Taittiriya Upanishad says that the Supreme Truth is rasa, and whosoever attains rasa becomes happy (yaṁ hy evāyaṁ labdhvānandī bhavati). Thus, by definition, rasa is the object and the soul who attains rasa, the sādhaka, is the subject. The idea of subject (āśraya) and object (viṣaya) is an essential distinction in rasa theory. Rasa is an experience; one that is had by a subject.

In bhakti-rasa theory, the subject, the one experiencing love for the object, is of the greatest interest. In fact, it may be said that the object, God, is so multi-dimensional that he practically loses any semblance of individual truth, mirroring rather the individual devotee than being any clearly defined ding as sich. The closer we examine the development of bhakti-rasa theory, with its emphasis on sthāyi-bhāvas, the safer it is to say that it adheres to some version of the idea of “projection,” not in its reductive sense but as an affirmation of his glory. God becomes what his devotee makes of him. The character of the love defines the object. He is Rasa-rāja only because of Mahā-bhāva.

The Vaishnava philosophy, we shall see, ultimately synthesizes the problem of projection. We shall consider this question in another place, but let us, for the time being, just consider what the Vaishnava acharyas made of it.

Generally speaking, God is seen as one cause (vibhāva) of love: its object, which we have here identified with rasa itself. The devotee is the āśraya, or reservoir of loving feeling. Rupa talks about two basic kinds of āśraya--the sādhaka and the siddha or pārṣad; Radha is the supreme siddha. In the hierarchy of rasa, Krishna is the Rasa-rāja, the king of rasa—in the sense that there is no greater attainment than this form. That by which this form is attained is Mahā-bhāva, personified as Radha, the Mahā-bhāva-svarūpiṇī.

Rati and Kāma

To look at it another way, Krishna is also known as the Supreme Eros, the aprākṛta-navīna-madana. And since Kama’s wife is Rati, Radha can also be recognized as Rati.

Since Rati and Kama are somewhat multifaceted terms, we shall have to look a little more closely at them. Kāma is usually translated as desire, and most often as sexual desire. (As in BhP 10.90.48, vardhayan kāma-devam, or in the Gita). But when talking about Krishna as Kāmadeva, the term is being used differently: there Kāma-deva is described as attractive power: E.g. “as beautiful as a million Cupids” ( kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya-viśeṣa-śobhā ). In other words, kāma is the attractive force that produces desire. The idea of Krishna as sākṣān manmatha-manmatha, "the very churner of the mind of him who churns minds," means that Krishna's attractive power is so great that any other force of attraction is rerouted towards himself.

The word rati is usually seen as the object of kāma: sexual desire leads to sexual intercourse. Therefore rati is the corrollary, object, wife or servant of kāma. On the other hand, rati is (as we have seen), also seen as a synonym of bhāva. Rati means attachment or love and, by the same token, kāma is the object to be attained. This is the sense of kāma in the goals of life or puruṣārthas, where it is classified as the third objective.

So when we speak of Krishna as Kama, it does not mean the desire itself, but the attractive object of desire, and rati does not mean the sexual act, but the act of loving and desiring that object. Nevertheless, since the two terms are almost interchangeable, we must remember and recognize the mutuality of love—lovers are ideally always both subject and object of their love.

In the same way, prema is seen both as subject experience and objective attainment. In fact, prema might be seen as the union of the two in an inseparable amalgam, since the attainment of spiritual perfection could be interpreted as the perfect desire perfectly fulfilled.

SubjectObject
Desire/love Love object/attainment
RatiKāma
BhāvaRasa
Mahā-bhāvaRasa-rāja


Sakhī-bhāva

Now, the above is fairly familiar territory, because we are seeing Krishna as the object and Radha as the subject. But in Krishnadas Kaviraj's verse, a new subjective element has been introduced: the sakhis. And since they are a new āśraya, the nature of the viṣaya has also changed. And, in this refined understanding, Krishna alone cannot be the Supreme Truth as rasa. On his own, in fact, he cannot be the object to be attained. Since rasa has no meaning without bhāva, the object to be attained is the combination of rasa and bhāva.

Now we can understand why Rupa Goswami breaks down madhura-rasa into two categories: sambhogeccha-mayī and tad-bhāveccha-mayī. The use of language here is right away interesting. The mystics who use the language of direct enjoyment—the Bilvamangalas, etc.—are being subtly criticized by the use of the word sambhoga, which is the term for sexual enjoyment. It implies a kāma in the usual ego-centered carnal sense and all that this entails.

This should not be misunderstood. Rupa Goswami discusses the matter in the section on rāgānugā bhakti, the sādhana for attaining madhura-rasa. It is, however, a subtle reference to one inherent problem in the entire question of spiritual life: the contradiction between the pleasure promised in spiritual life and desirelessness needed to attain it. Union with God (sambhoga) is the promise, but freedom from selfish desire is the necessary condition to fulfill it. The end of the first chapter of the Rasa-līlā in the Bhāgavata is also dealing with this problem.

Rupa Goswami tells us that the gopis' love for Krishna, even though taking a sensual form, is not kāma, but prema. Even so, he is hinting that this mood is for them, not for us, and that even to strive for it is somehow lesser. The expression tad-bhāvecchā, "desiring their mood," should be understood as a recognition that the bhāva, or Mahā-bhāva, since it is an integral part of the Absolute Truth as rasa, cannot be separated from it. And that therefore the mystical participation in that combined form of God as Love is a higher experience of rasa than any attempt to experience God partially by breaking of part of it, even if it should be named rasa-rāja.

In other words, rasa does not exist symbolically, externally, but in the union of desire with the desired object. That can only exist in the union of Rasarāja with Mahābhāva, where the Supreme Truth, eternally divided for the sake of experiencing Love, is combined in eternal union. Thus, the object, the viṣaya, ceases to be God as one or the other, but is the Divine Couple in eternal union.

This is, of course, the meaning behind Krishnadas Kaviraja's account of Ramananda Raya seeing Mahaprabhu as Rasa-rāja and Mahā-bhāva as being combined in one form (CC 2.8.281).

That eternal union, of course, has within it the appearance of separations, but these are all just waves in the ocean. Jiva has to make a leap from the theological intricacies that are spelled out in the Bhāgavata-purāṇa, to come to this conclusion in his concluding verse to Prīti-sandarbha:

ālībhiḥ paripālitaḥ pravalitaḥ sānandam ālokitaḥ
pratyāśaṁ sumanaḥ-phalodaya-vidhau sāmodam āmoditaḥ
vṛndāraṇya-bhuvi prakāśa-madhuraḥ sarvātiśāyi-śriyā
rādhā-mādhavayoḥ pramodayatu mām ullāsa-kalpa-drumaḥ
The girlfriends of Srimati Radharani carefully nurture the desire tree of Sri Sri Radha and Madhava’s jubilant pastimes in Vrindavan’s fertile soil, in constant expectation of seeing its beautiful flowers and fruits; they watch it develop and grow, and when those flowers and fruits appear, they are the ones to relish them. May that tree, by its unparalleled beauty, give pleasure to us also.
Sakhi as Poet

Now here we can see the process of displacement as it has taken place. It is about finding a place for the devotee when the personal God is not seen so much in terms of the devotee's one-on-one direct experience. Rather, in the way of the rasa theorists, it comes about through identification with Radha's devotion; it is something that is both ours and not ours.

Sudhir Das gives us an inkling of how this process went on historically:
In the songs of the Alwars or of the Virashaivas of Mira and Kabir, there is a personal and direct dialogue between god and devotee; their poems are poems of personal experience and emotion. In the Radha legend, the expression assumed a new form: now there emerged a new lyrical from where the participants are Radha and Krishna and the poet is the narrator of that experience. (Mad Lover, p.17)
The logical conclusion of this process is sakhī-bhāva. The sakhīs both expand Radha and Krishna’s pastime, and at the same time they enjoy it. The focus has changed not only from the immediate experience of the devotee with God in a loving relationship to one on Radha, but has continued to one on the Divine Couple, with the locus of identification being situated in the sakhis.

So we started with the mystic poet interacting directly with God and from there went to the poet writing about the locus of love and God, and then moved on to the [sādhaka] devotee poet writing about the [siddha] poets, i.e., the creators of the līlā and the tasters of the rasa, and the Divine Couple.

Krishnadas Kaviraj’s own text, for which the vibhur atisukha-rūpa- verse is given as evidence, runs as follows:

rādhā-kṛṣṇera līlā ei ati gūḍhatara
dāsya vātsalyādi bhāvera nā hoy gocara
sabe eka sakhī gaṇera iha adhikāra
sakhī hoite hoy ei līlāra vistara
sakhī binu ei līlāra puṣṭi nāhi hoy
sakhī līlā vistāriyā sakhī āsvādoy
sakhī vina ei līlāra anyera nāhi gati
sakhī-bhāve tāre jei kore anugati
rādhā kṛṣṇa kuñja seva sādhya sei pāya
sei sādhya pāite ara nāhiko upāya

These līlās of Radha and Krishna are most secret and hidden. They are outside the ken of devotees situated in the moods of servant, friend or guardian, what to speak of others. Only the sakhis have the right to enter here, for these pastimes expand out from the sakhis. Without the sakhis, these pastimes have no nourishment. The sakhis develop this līlā and they themselves relish it. Other than the sakhis, no one has a place in this līlā. Therefore, only one who follows in their footsteps, taking on their mood, can realize the ultimate goal of service to Radha and Krishna in the forest bowers of Vrindavan. There is no other procedure for achieving this goal.(CC 2.8.200-204)
What in essence is being said is that the sakhis are, in the same way that a poet is, the creators of this universe:

apāre kāvya-saṁsāre kavir ekaḥ prajāpatiḥ
yathāsmai rocate viśvaṁ tathedaṁ parivartate

In the limitless ocean that is the world of poetry, the poet is the one God, and it turns only for his pleasure. (Agni-purāṇa 3.9)
The devotee/poet is the creator of the rasa. The Divine Union goes on forever. Though this theory is already advanced from the very beginning of has its culmination in their union. Seen through the optic of this myth, the entire creation is an attempt to reexperience this union.

On many levels, this invites us to a Freudian analysis of myth, dreams and their relation to depth psychology. But we will have to look at the all-pervasive significance of sexual symbolism and its relationship to spirituality, particularly this form of spirituality, another day.

18 comments:

shiva said...

A few things.

You wrote:

It is, however, a subtle reference to one inherent problem in the entire question of spiritual life: the contradiction between the pleasure promised in spiritual life and desirelessness needed to attain it. Union with God (sambhoga) is the promise, but freedom from selfish desire is the necessary condition to fulfill it.

This is commonly misunderstood by most Vaishnavas. It's because they misunderstand the purpose of such an idea, and therefore misunderstand the true meaning of that conception. Let me try to explain -- It isn't "selfish desire" per se which you must be free from, why would that be a condition that one must need to attain in order to have "union with God?" Is God some type of sadist who demands exclusive devotion to him alone, allowing you no desire for self-gratification? No. This is where one must understand the full purpose of bhakti-yoga, without which one tends to misunderstand various concepts taught in bhakti-yoga philosophy.

If I asked you what is the purpose of bhakti-yoga you might say something like "attaining prema and rasa" which would be correct. But what does that attainment entail for the consciousness of the prema-bhakta? It entails full comprehension of the ontology of the self in relation to the supreme self, i.e. self-realization. Not just theoretical comprehension, but actualized or realized comprehension.

To be without "selfish desire" is therefore meant to be understood from an ontologically true or realistic perspective. The bhakta must come to understand the true nature of desire for the jiva -- that desire ultimately, like all thought, is not under his control. This is what is meant by the concept of being free from "selfish desire." It isn't selfish desire in the sense of being desirous of self-gratification, which is bad, it is the illusion of seeing "your self" controlling your thoughts and desires, seeing your desires under your own control, which are "selfish desires" -- in the ontology of self-realization.

Delusional perception must be done away with in order that God can enjoy rasa with a jiva, otherwise God is more or less dealing with someone who doesn't understand that what he is thinking and saying and doing is not under his own power, not under his control, not being done by him -- the jiva must attain a state of pure emptiness, pure receptivity, in order to live in a non-delusional state, and therefore able to be a partner with God in rasa.

Otherwise the jiva sees himself doing what in fact God is doing -- it is in seeing the reality of "who is in control of everything you experience including your own mind and emotions" where a real close relationship with God can be of real value and fun -- for God.

To put it in more simple terms: Radha-Krishna controls your thoughts, emotions, actions. If you think you control those things then you cannot relate to God with full and pure awareness of yourself, or God. It is ignorance of absolute reality which must be eradicated in order to enter into a relationship of rasa with God. Otherwise for God you're just an egotistic moron blindly identifying with God's control as your own. There is no enjoyment to be had there because God is always aware of absolute reality and needs a partner who understands that so that rasa can be enjoyed through that level of awareness.

shiva said...

Another thing:

The sakhis are needed to expand rasa -- but one must understand that the sakhis are said to be personal expansions of Radha, they are not jivas. The rasa between Radha and Krishna is purely archetypal. The highest rasa for God is experienced through manifestations of herself, Radha, through unlimited expansions or avatars of Radha, i.e. sakhis, in her seeking of bhava with unlimited expansions of Krishna -- who represents the jivas, i.e. jivas are said to come from Krishna's masculine expansions of Baladeva and Mahavishnu.

Following the footsteps of the sakhis has an entirely different meaning that what is usually thought of when taken too literally. It's full esoteric meaning is something a bit to personal for to discuss here (to those uninitiated into Radha dasyam) but one meaning of it is about trying to see reality from Radha's perspective in order to more fully understanding where she is coming from, to understand what motivates her bhava and her seeking of rasa.

So, these two conceptions above -- understanding the absolute nature of self vis-à-vis the supreme self, while also understanding the truth of Radha dasyam vis-à-vis Krishna, the sakhis and the jivas, is necessary in order to realize the highest esoteric truth of Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine. By doing so you can enter into that reality fairly quickly.

Socrates said...

This is what is meant by the concept of being free from "selfish desire." It isn't selfish desire in the sense of being desirous of self-gratification, which is bad, it is the illusion of seeing "your self" controlling your thoughts and desires, seeing your desires under your own control, which are "selfish desires" -- in the ontology of self-realization.

Shiva, I found profound weakness in your logic. I believe you misunderstand the idea of desire here, and who controls it. 'Freedom from selfish desire' is simply a statement that you won't do just things that please you, but be passionate about pleasing others.

When pleasing others, your love is reciprocated. And that's the basic idea of sakhi -- sakhi loves other sakhi because she sees her very self in that other sakhi. Only in that way the exchange of bhava is possible. It starts from sakhi's mirror -- the other self, and reflects back, and through that love you can only understand yourself and what you're capable of.

When talking about sakhis, we're also talking about symbols of love and how love is reflected, intensified and finally understood. That's why scripture says Radha expands in sakhis -- why? Because it's the way love can taste herself and what it is capable of.

Desire has done nothing wrong in that process, for desire moves everything -- the language of love is desire. Same as this world -- it's an expression of desire. Do you think the world would be if there were no desire for it?
Again, world is just a symbol too -- a symbol of someone's creative desire.

Socrates said...

The sakhis are needed to expand rasa -- but one must understand that the sakhis are said to be personal expansions of Radha, they are not jivas.

And then again you missed the point of rasa. You're dissecting something that cannot e dissected and thus end up in a dead theistic alley. In love exchange between sakhis and their maidservants the love transforms one into another: a participant into an observer and vice versa.

Or, love turns God into jiva, and jiva into God, for they share experience of each other and that's what intensifies love. Even that basic ontological classification is only symbolic too, for there's no separate existence of jiva and God -- we're taking only about symbols now.

Sakhi and her manjari exchange love in a way that sakhi -- or a particular taste of love -- wants to observe herself and see its potential, and she's doing that thrugh a mirror, which is manjari.

In turn manjari feels all what sakhi feels, through every pore of her body and soul (symbolically speaking), and becomes a vessel of understanding of love.

It's just a love reflected, for otherwise it cannot know what it is capable of. You cannot play around with symbols like with some dolls, and say one from another, and keep them at distance, or on some stage, because they're not separate entities with separate existence.

Basically it is an incomprehensible idea that needs different mirrors and vague reference points to be explained, and in its core it's highly symbolic.

shiva said...

Socrates

What I always find fascinating is how people with zero experience of bhava or rasa with Radha-Krishna can act as if they are experts on that topic.

You say I lack logic yet your logic has Radha most interested in trying to taste rasa with herself via her expansions. How is that logical in any sense of the term?

Until you understand that the conception of God enjoying or trying to enjoy rasa with her/him self in different bodies is not only not the true understanding of lila, but also totally absurd on the face of it, you can never understand what the descriptions of lila are supposed to inspire.

So many people take lila literally and use that understanding to conceive of a convoluted absurd conception of what God likes to do to enjoy. God is no different than us in the sense that if you could expand into different bodies there is no way you could have a relationship with yourself as if those bodies somehow change you into different people.

That is actual logic. But because you have been conditioned to see lila as literal absolute truth by people who are misguided and misunderstand the esoteric truth of lila, you try to create a bizarre conception of rasa based upon an illogical literal interpretation of purely esoteric metaphoric teachings.

What you believe has no basis in anything real. Like i have said over and over -- until you understand that God is a single person and not interested in having a relationship with him/her self in different bodies anymore than a normal person would, everything you think about rasa and lila is completely without any basis in sanity, and therefore reality.

Anonymous said...

"What you believe has no basis in anything real. Like i have said over and over -- until you understand that God is a single person and not interested in having a relationship with him/her self in different bodies anymore than a normal person would, everything you think about rasa and lila is completely without any basis in sanity, and therefore reality."

Shiva, its true you say again and again that no one has real insight into the reality of lila but yourself. So the conclusion is that there is nothing for you here or anywhere but in your own world. So why come here? Why don't you let people alone since you cannot change the fact that no one has realization of the lila and are not even anywhere near to getting such realization? In other words, you are beating on a dead horse. How about scampering, going away, let it be? Your Vrajabhumi blog should be a good place to state your realizations without disturbance by less developed entities such as Socrates, etc. Your arguments are irrefutable there.

shiva said...

Socrates

If someone who actually has experience with what he is talking about has an opinion on what he has experience of, that doesn't mean that no one else's opinion is valid on that topic. I've never said or implied that I alone possess real knowledge of rasa.

No need to lash out in hate at me simply because it is obvious to me that you are unqualified to act as an expert on God's love life.

I have said repeatedly that people without experience of something shouldn't pose as experts on that thing. If you want to interpret that to mean that I'm saying "only I know the truth," what can I say? You are choosing to distort what I say because of animosity. What is the source of your animosity? I challenge your self-conception of knowing all about God's love life perfectly, even though you have zero experience of it?

I assume also that your animosity towards me is because some guru or other of yours I am also in disagreement with. Does this really rise to the level of inspiring so much animosity towards someone? Simply because they challenge your self-conception as being the supreme authority on God?

This is what I was talking about on Jagat's Facebook about the pathetic state of "rasika" Vaishnavism today. It is being mostly propagated by angry neophytes with zero experience and very limited understanding, yet who pose as experts, and actually hate and attack people who have something of actual value to share with them.

Anonymous said...

Shiva,

I think you have been challenged enough but have always ignored the challenge: Who in the world thinks like you? What shastra and what individual(s) other than yourself have said that gurus are not needed anymore because nowadays there is internet to learn the Absolute Truth from? Who besides you has said such thing? And if you are alone in this, you are alone in this.

shiva said...

You haved posed no challenge, you are simply angry at me because I disagree with you and some others about what lila and rasa is really all about, or other things. You seem to think that a Vaishnava with a different opinion than your own is worthy of being treated with utter contempt. For all of your talk about guru this or that -- has any guru helped you rise to a level where where you see beyond literalism and neophyte behavior?

Try to stick to the topic and rise above your hatred and abusive attitude of devotees with differing opinions than your own.

Jagat said...

"The One became many."

Jagat said...

"No one ever won any other person to his way of thinking by calling him stupid."

Anonymous said...

"Try to stick to the topic "

Yes Shiva, try to stick to the topic. According to you the topic is that no one but you knows the reality of the lila. So again, if no one but you know, how can a discussion take place? Better you go be happy.

Anonymous said...

""No one ever won any other person to his way of thinking by calling him stupid.""

I am not for calling anyone stupid but I wouldn't mind certain type going away.

Anonymous said...

"No one ever won any other person to his way of thinking by calling him stupid."

I don't know about that. Wasn't that, afterall, Prabhupada's tactic?

Anon said...

I don't know about that. Wasn't that, afterall, Prabhupada's tactic?

Actually it was his tactics, and tactics of many before and after him. When cornered and without hope for a successful retreat, attack.

Disregard original "unpleasant" question, make a bold statement and use it as a smokescreen to skip to something irrelevant else, but safe ground.

Like, "Why should I answer this to you? What kind of dress you wear? Why didn't you shave? Is that Vaishnava behavior..." :-)

One of the main reasons GVs in the West today can't talk like cultured persons and answer challenges fairly is rooted in that bad example they copy and think that's what parampara is all about. And they think it's so cool.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know about that. Wasn't that, afterall, Prabhupada's tactic?"

Shiva as Vrajabhumi is perhaps one of the fiercest "exposers" of Prabhupada today. Ironically though, even more, much more than Prabhupada ever did, Shiva calls stupid anyone who logically and rationally disagrees with his often flawed arguments. So this is not about Prabhupada really, but about Shiva/Vrajabhumi's calling others stupid and madly affirming that no one but himself knows the true nature of God and lila. Prabhupada at least claimed allegiance to his guru and to a parampara.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiva,
There is a lot of philosophy, meanings (arths), opinions and cults. All this causes confusion. I, by no means, can say that I have a clear cut opinion or understanding on the topic of Supreme Power, God. Also I cannot proclaim that I know the way to achieve God. But reading a lot of books on beautiful subject of God, I came across one book that may clarify a lot of things. I came across this Sakhi bhava and Ras Bhav in this book, hence, reached this site and saw your comments. I suggest kindly read this book. ANURAG SAGAR, BY KABIR. It is freely available online in PDF form or just to read online itself. God bless.

Sudhir said...

I also feel that we should not fight among ourselves to prove that 'my philosophy' is better than yours. Lets us keep in mind that we are honest seekers of God, the Supreme Lord, but on different paths. We should only add our understanding on the blog like this and hope it helps someone or may be we get helped by another true seeker. Lets all help each other to our only destination, God. God bless.