Friday, May 25, 2012

Personalism is the essence of Sahajiya practice

A common prejudice in the Gaudiya sampradaya, represented by ISKCON and the Gaudiya Math in most of the world, is that Radha and Krishna's love is the "highest" while human sexuality is the "lowest." This is commonly used as an argument against the type of sādhanā and philosophy that I am teaching.

In my opinion, this just shows how ridiculous and marginal Krishna consciousness has become and how far from the goal of divine love or prema it has sauntered.

Let me say it again, for the millionth time, Radha and Krishna have no meaning at all if there is no love in this world between men and women. You would have no ability to understand or relate to Radha and Krishna as the manifestations of the highest and purest love if you did not have some intuitive understanding based on things you have seen, heard and experienced in this world. And, by the same token, since they are the archetype of the purest form of romantic love, they can be seen and realized through love in this world, as it is purified and sacralized.

Human sexuality falls into categories of the modes of nature. It is not all the same. It is not all "the lowest." In fact, in the sattvika person, it can lead to the noblest of actions. It is in recognition of this that Radha and Krishna have been glorified above all. It is taking centuries for the sacred spiritual potential of human sexuality to be fully realized, but if we have any chance at all, it is through the grace of Sri Chaitanya and Rupa Goswami.

In the same vein ("highest and lowest"), one friend posted a comment here on Facebook and then, quite understandably, took it down immediately. That person wrote (I paraphrase), "Are you really saying couples should think of Radha and Krishna while f***ing?" That last word was not paraphrase, but an actual part of the question.

The short answer is yes. The F-word of course reveals a rajasik and tamasik attitude to sexuality that I don't agree with, but better you should think of Radha and Krishna when doing anything at all than not thinking of them. Surely we can all agree with that? The second verse of Śikṣāṣṭakam comes to mind.

But, my friends, my dear, dear friends, I understand your frustration with love in this world. We really are such fools and have not learned how to do it. So only a few of us find good relationships that are durable; most often even our longtime “successful” relations are little more than tolerable, merely dull but comfortable. But so few of us find even that, what to speak of truly fulfilling the romantic dream and finding the intensity of ever increasingly intimate communication that is possible between couples, especially during the act of lovemaking. How much rarer, then, are those who have learned how to use their mutual love as a sādhanā for chanting, hearing and remembering the Divine Couple? This is the highest sankirtan.

Love comes from love. Only. Nowhere else. If you are a man and see a woman as an object, this impersonalism is the sin, not the loving itself. Actually, the impersonal view cannot be love. If you can see the woman as person, then you are on the right track. The deeper your love, the deeper will be the revelation of her spiritual personhood to you. As you get realization of your sādhaka or sādhikā partner as a real, spiritual person in his or her truest and most profound spiritual nature, you are in fact coming into direct contact with the highest guru tattva. When you have reached that point, this procedure does not allow for anything more than complete fidelity and exclusiveness, because the entire divine and infinite macrocosm of Vrindavan, Radha and Krishna and the mood of the sakhis, is all revealed through the partner as guru tattva.

If you are so-called "personalist" believing that God is a person, but you cannot see woman as a person, then you commit an offense to the personal God. Nothing should be spoken louder than this.

Men! Women! Don't be afraid to cultivate love for one another in the fear that it will be detrimental to your spirituality. Rather, become worthy of each other through sādhanā. Become sādhakas and love one another in remembrance of Radha and Krishna. Make your love a sacrament to the Divine Couple. See their presence within your love, as archetype to type. This is the highest manifestation of bhakti. It will radiate outward into every manifestation of your life: from madhura come vātsalya, sakhya, dāsya and śānta, making every one of them real and complete in their own sphere.

A big institution dedicated to spreading the philosophy of a personal loving God is frankly meaningless without sādhaka couples realizing the meaning of such love in their personal lives. There is no other ground for experiencing the madhura-rasa than this. I am sorry. It must be stated plainly. Anyone who claims otherwise is simply wrong.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

How does your sacralization of human sexuality deal with the reality of homosexual love?

Just as celibates dismiss the reality of heterosexual love, many heterosexuals assume that their love is somehow the highest or even the only truly valid kind.

Yet, if we take your presentation in its broadest implications, shouldn't two homosexual lovers be able to relate their love to the Divine? Maybe by contemplating the emotional tie between Gaura and Gadadhara? Or would you advocate some other template as more appropriate? In any case, to the extent that parakiya-rasa involves allowing love to transgress social boundaries, homosexual union is surely even more an exemplar of that than out-of-marriage heterosexual union. Anyway, for gay couples for whom Radha and Krishna aren't the template, where would you suggest they direct their meditation -- or are they beyond the pale of your theories?

Игорь Мироненко said...

I am absolutely agree with everything is written here. Except for one only thing. Such kind of sadhana will not lead one to the spiritual realm. This world made especially for those who want to experience relationship of Radha and Krishna bodily. One may do that while remembering Radha and Krishna (or not). First is grate. That is much more better than mundane sex. But, such a sadhana will lead one to his respective sadhya which is one more birth and one more death, and one more chance to be so-called Radha and Krishna. bhakti-sadhana uderstood to be not different from it's sadhya. But there is no place for such a relationships as illicit "lovemaking" between associates of Radha and Krishna in spiritual world. Still it could have a place in material world. One may be a devotee and prefer to stay in material part of God's creation. There is no fault in such a choice. Sahaja-sadhana could be a good prequalification for bhakti-path (for those who attached to mundane sex). Better to connect one's romantic relationships with spiritual realm then falsely reject it because of influence of common preaching. But one should clearly understand that such a "sahaja-sadhana" is condemned by moralists and can't be preached as religious practice. Idea of sahaja-sadhana surely will be misunderstood by mass and becomes merely a sinful activity which will cause a sinful reactions such as unwanted children,
single mothers and etc. Sahaja-sadhana doesn't match to any of dharma-shastra. Instead of this grihastha-life is preached for those who attached to sexual life. I'am completely agree that one can understand something about madhurya-rasa thru the scope of his own experience of love. But in the same way virgin may realize something about madhurya-rasa thru the scope of his romantic fantasy and expectation. That is even much more preferable because mundane love is always paired with dirt, violence, abuse and etc.
Sahaja-sadhana is some kind of deviation which is destined to disappear. It doesn't have neither spiritual meant nor religious.

Jagadananda Das said...

It may be a necessary step on the way for those who cannot jump to the highest level immediately. Hence I have consistently associated this practice with the middle stage. You have to ask, What is the end game? What does this sadhana _do_?

Jagadananda Das said...

One on the paramahamsa path learns to separate milk from water. That is what it means to be on the paramahamsa path.

viṣād apy amṛtaṁ grāhyam
amedhyād api kāñcanam
nīcād apy uttamaṁ jñānaṁ
strī-ratnaṁ duṣkulād api

One would accept nectar even from poison and gold even from a filthy place. One
the highest knowledge can come from even a lesser person, and a jewel of a wife can come from even a lowly family.

So similarly, one should learn to extract prema from premabhasa.