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Showing posts from August, 2011

Is the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya connected to the Madhva line?

The relationship of the Madhva-sampradaya to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas is one that has been sensitive for more than 200 years. Not only did it rear its head in the time of Baladeva Vidyabhushan, when the legitimacy of the Gaudiyas was challenged in Jaipur, but repeatedly since then. Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote in his 1892 work Mahaprabhura siksha that those who reject this connection are “the greatest enemies of Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s family of followers.”

In subsequent years, nearly every scholar of Bengal Vaishnavism has cast his doubts on this connection including S. K. De, Surendranath Dasgupta, Sundarananda Vidyavinoda, Friedhelm Hardy and others. The degree to which these various authors reject this connection is different.

According to Gaudiya tradition, Madhavendra Puri appeared in the 14th century. He was a guru of the Brahma or Madhva-sampradaya, one of the four (Brahma, Sri, Rudra and Sanaka) legitimate Vaishnava lineages of the Kali Yuga. Madhavendra’s disciple Isvara Puri to…

Rasa Lila at Jai Singh Ghera

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I have to make a confession. In all these years, I have never yet sat through a Rasa-lila performance from beginning to end. This, for someone who pretends to love Vrindavan, is tantamount to criminal. At least misdemeanor! So today, I decided that I would correct this flaw in my experience as soon as I heard from Visakha Devi that Swami Fateh Krishna's Rasa Mandal, one of the best, would be performing at Jai Singh Ghera until the 13th. But be forewarned, the following comments are from someone who knows little of the art.

It is Jhulan in Vrindavan, or as some call it, "Shravan Mela." It is one of the biggest pilgrimage events in Vrindavan, ending on Jhulan Purnima. I made my way downtown, dodging cars, tongas, rickshaws and throngs of pedestrians, through Loi Bazaar, past Shahji temple and in the narrow alley leading to Jai Singh Ghera and Cheer Ghat, being careful to keep my glasses in my bag. Better to be blind and have an accident than have my glasses stolen yet aga…

Romantic Love: Tristan and Iseult via Sunil Gangopadhyaya

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Just got off the train from Rishikesh, stopped at the FRRO in Mathura and made it back to the house feeling energetic. But the weather is quite different. Rishikesh has been rainy, and when not raining, overcast and cool even though humid. Here it is hot and humid, but no real signs of rain anywhere.

In Rishikesh I did a lot of reading, but really stopped all my productive activities just for that, with perhaps only the exception of two classes in the Bhagavad-gita (Here is one.)

I gave the two lectures mostly standing up, as though I was giving a talk on TED, or a Western style sales talk. It always comes out a bit rajasika. Can't give up my nature. I would love to be more sweet and charming. I would like to be more meditative, to create an atmosphere of calmness and love. The sadhu magic.

But overall I was quite happy with my two classes in Rishikesh. Yogis make good listeners. They know how to be still and attentive. That is why all the musicians usually like to give concerts…