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Showing posts from April, 2012

Lovers, Mothers and Fathers

Just like the male guru is the new father, the female guru is the new mother. Mothers and fathers don't operate in the same way. We men are obliged to forget what motherhood is when it is time to become men. And because we are obliged to forget that vital part of our character, we do not know women. And even when we love a woman, we don't see her or recognize her.

We men dance like fools or prattle our knowledge like drunken professors, and we can't stop performing.... 
What I mean is that men are always the benighted vishaya. They always want to be the center of attention. Their mothers loved them and they think other women should too. They have no concept of what it means to be the ashraya of love. And they have to do a lot of work to overcome that wall of ignorance.
So Mahaprabhu wailed. And Krishna finally got the message. You need to understand Radharani by entering into her soul. That is what lovemaking is all about.

Sex and Bhakti Yoga (Part II)

In the conclusion to the previous article (Part I), I summarized my objectives there, which was to show that since any activity engaged in with expertise is yoga, or sādhanā, therefore there was no reason to think that sex could not be a part of that. I will continue on the same theme, and in so doing, will counter one or two of Abhaya Mudra's points.

First of all, let me remind everyone that we have, after great good fortune, attained the human form of life, which is the plavaṁ sukalpaṁ, the most suitable boat for crossing the ocean of saṁsāra. The guru will do the steering, and the Lord will blow the winds of grace. Why would you not take this opportunity to attain the experience of prema, the summum bonum of human life?

nṛ-deham ādyaṁ sulabhaṁ sudurlabhaṁ
plavaṁ sukalpaṁ guru-karṇa-dhāram|
mayānukūlena nabhasvateritaṁ
pumān bhavābdhiṁ na taret sa ātma-hā||
This human body is the original form [for it is God's own svarupa, and the human being was made in God's image]. It…

Sex and Bhakti Yoga (Part I)

Just as I finished writing about my renewed sense of purpose about teaching about the role of sexuality on the bhakti path, I came across an article posted by Abhaya Mudra Dasi on the Sampradaya Sun. Abhaya Mudra is a Bulgarian disciple of Suhotra Swami who has a jyotish website with Prabhupada disciple Patita Pavan Das. At first view, her article, Sex and Spirituality, is a defense of standard ISKCON teaching on sexuality, though it adds a few interesting twists.

I have personally come to the conclusion that even though mainstream Western devotees still following ISKCON and the Gaudiya Math start out deeply committed to a doctrine that marginalizes sexuality, as the years go by, a great number of them become frustrated by double standards and hypocrisy that seem endemic in the movement. The Western Krishna consciousness movement has no bigger "shadow" than sexuality. Though child abuse scandals have rocked ISKCON and repeated "falldowns" or sexual peccadilloes of…

Vrindavan Today --- maybe tomorrow?

This morning I bit the bullet and posted the following on Vrindavan Today:

Dear friends, lovers and well-wishers of Vrindavan Dham,

Due to lack of time and funding, it is not possible for me to continue with this project for the time being. If anyone wishes to sponsor this important endeavor so that we can get competent help and material facilities, we welcome their help.

Vrindavan Dham, Braj and India as a whole, are at a crossroads. Indeed, the entire world is facing tremendous challenges in the coming century. In many ways, Vrindavan is a microcosm of those challenges.

The clash between modernity, with its technological advances on the one side and its neo-liberal economic rapaciousness and consumerist ethic on the other, and spirituality, which values above all the internal evolution of the individual and one's relation to God, other human beings and the environment, is perhaps nowhere more transparently manifest than here.

Vrindavan Today is meant to both chronicle what coul…

Is it time for the return of the counterculture?

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I spent quite a bit of time over the past few days wandering more or less aimlessly on the Internet. As usual, when one does this kind of thing, disparate streams coalesce and one is left with certain impressions that carry a greater significance than one might have expected.

I started out by looking up the "reptilian" brain and ended up on a website connected to a rather well-known conspiracy theorist from England, but of whom I had never heard, David Icke. Icke describes what those on the left have become rather well aware of, such as increasing concentrations of power in the hands of a few, the global financial crisis and the opportunism of elites to exploit the situation in their own favor at the cost of common people (the "shock doctrine"), mass manipulation through media and education, and the increasingly repressive surveillance state.

Icke's summary of the situation is mostly cogent and frighteningly familiar, but totally marred by his fantastical talk …

Disclaimer

I must make a disclaimer here with regard to the previous post, in which I made some hopeful comments about the affiliation of the Gaudiya Grantha Mandira to the Jiva Institute for Vaishnava Studies.

This affiliation is an extension of my friendship and association with Satya Narayan Dasji Maharaj. Over the past two years I have also been working with Maharaj on the editing of the Bhagavat-sandarbha and Paramatma-sandarbhas, and in all likelihood will continue to work on the Sandarbhas project until it is finished.

For these services I receive a stipend that is sufficient for my living expenses in India. In this and the Grantha Mandira affiliation, my relationship with Babaji and JIVS is purely professional. Any personal views expressed by me on this blog or elsewhere are entirely my own and have absolutely no relation to those of Satya Narayan Dasji Maharaj or the Jiva Institute.

Whatever opinions I may have about the purpose and practice of Mahaprabhu's Prema-dharma, they are my…

The Gaudiya Grantha Mandir and Jiva Institute of Vaishnava Studies

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To make a project like the Gaudiya Grantha Mandira function to perfection, money is important. Although we recently received two 100$ donations, the total amount donated since the inception of this site ten years ago comes to only a little over $1000, much of it from a single benefactor.

Not having institutional backing is simultaneously a blessing -- one is free to work or not as one likes -- as well as frustrating if one has real goals set in mind. I have never approached GGM as anything other than a labor of love and I have been satisfied with my own continuing efforts to share books I discover and wish to go through on my own.

Though the site has always had wider potential, I have at least been able to maintain its minimal purpose over the years, with the result that a fair number of texts (nearly 600) is now available, many of which are rare and interesting from both a scholarly and devotional point of view.

Of course there is only so much one person can do, and my lack of inte…

A few words about breathing

In the last two posts I spoke about meditation and sitting. I added a link at the end of the sitting post to another older one that had the same subject but gave a little more detail about the different meditation sitting postures, which you can check out.

Now I must continue this little discourse with a few words about breathing. As I may already have said, the elaboration of prāṇāyāma in haṭha-yoga is not directly connected to the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system. Any attempts to introduce this elaboration of breathing exercises into the aṣṭāṅga- or rāja-yoga process of meditation is not of great interest to us, though a knowledge thereof may have some beneficial aspects in the service of meditation and general physical health.

Physical health as taught by haṭha-yoga is entirely intended to serve the purpose of mental control and single-pointedness on the object of concentration. Breath actually serves as an intermediate point of concentration and a vehicle for channeling the mind towards other…

So Prabhupada said women like rape.

A couple of things in the current news cycle caught my attention and made me return to this unpublished post. 
“The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is, What does a woman want?” Sigmund FreudAt the risk of reopening a rather nasty can of worms, I am descending once again into the rape discussion. For background, see here, here and here.

I never really thought much about Prabhupada's famous statement that women "enjoy rape." Like most people, I suppose, I just laughed it off, or considered it irrelevant. I have no skin in the game myself as I feel no great need to defend Prabhupada at all costs. But since I have now been accused of "supporting rape" I feel challenged to at least inform myself about this debate.

One thing I have done fairly consistently on my blog, however, is to argue the following major points, which of course are nowhere in any of t…