Showing posts from July, 2012

India, one of the worst places for women?

One of the subjects that I am confronted with on a regular basis is that of the woman's experience in India. As a self-avowed Sahajiya, any issues related to gender and sexuality are of particularly interest to me, so I am an observer of sexual attitudes in this part of the world.

A recent event taking place in India has once again pushed the issue to the front pages of the newspapers and other media, primarily for its sensationalism. An Assamese reporter happened to film the brutalization and sexual harassment of a woman in the Guwahati streets at night by a gang of men. A discussion of the event and the general situation can be found in this Guardian article by Helen Pidd, Why is India so bad for women?.

The litany of related news items in this article makes one hang one's head in despair. The land of the Goddess, of Shakti, of Radha... I truly want to weep, not only because I have been hearing this for so long, but once again this is brought to my attention so I want to s…

Anti-semitism and anti-intellectualism revisited

An article written a couple of years ago is again making the rounds, this time on Facebook. Though I wrote about this when it first came to my attention and posted on this blog, I will address it again here.

A few years ago... who cares any more... Nara Narayan Viswakarma wrote in Puranjan's newsletter that the influence of Catholics was ruining the movement! Which I fond to be an interesting point of view and a surprising one, to say the least. It would be interesting to see if he would still defend this point of view now and what his reasons would be. (I forgot his argument,, to be honest).

But it would definitely be quite a matter of interest to analyze exactly what the so-called JBD ("Jewish background devotee") influence on the movement is or has been, or what a Catholic influence would be, or what we can expect now that Orthodox or Communist atheist background Russians are slowly beginning to become numerically the dominant part of the world Vaishnava population.

Mature Religion

Reposting from a comment on this blog

Atheists believe that much of the problem with humanity lies in religion. They have many good reasons for so doing, as one can read in the intelligent critiques made by Chenna Keshavan in the discussion on the above thread. But even though religion is often seen as a culprit, I would like to say that it is not religion per se, but immature religion, that is the source of the problem. There is no reason to believe that mature individuals with a rational and scientific understanding of the world will still not be persuaded of things like God and the soul when they reach the limits of their rational outlook.
The answer lies in "mature" religion. Even Krishna in the Gita mentions four kinds of people who take up religious life--the suffering, the desirer of benefits, the curiosity seeker and the knowledgeable. Moreover, he distinguishes between knowledge and other kinds of religious activities in terms of sattva, rajas and tama…

Shared samadhi

Union in absolute silence is the cornerstone of making love.

That is to say, another word for love is shared samadhi.

Such sharing of samadhi reaches its apogee when the sharers are capable of individual samadhi. With no knowledge of such, sharing becomes imbalanced and tilts towards receiving. Then it effectively ceases to be strictly madhura.

The constant flow between equals of giving and receiving the samadhi impetus, or of creating effective waves in the ocean of samadhi, is the ideal of madhura-rasa.

Expertise in love is when both lovers are experts in samadhi. Therefore Krishna rightly said, "Be a yogi."

And such yoga must be asamprajnata yoga. Because even the so-called samprajnata of the devotees must pass through the door of asamprajnata.


Physical lovemaking has an external power to take one to a certain level of samprajnata samadhi, but this is incorporated into a broader state by the expert yogi.

Due to its  mostly external nature, or to the extent of its ex…

Expect to get kicked in the butt

Maya infiltrates everywhere.

As soon as there are signs of bhakti, she comes to do her job. Lābha, pūjā, pratiṣṭhā, what to speak of ordinary sense gratifications, are all important parts of her arsenal.

Institutionalization is a particularly effective trick employed by Maya because it allows her to use the whole panoply of allurements, surreptitiously, by stealth as it were, deceptively, by dressing and decorating them in disguise as saintliness, dutifulness and surrender.

Ultimately, though institutions and organizations may serve a temporary benefit to (mostly) beginners in spiritual life, at some point they outlive their utility to the individual practitioner.

As you progress in spiritual life, you recognize the presence of the guru in the proximate, and not in the remote.

The principle is: the more distant the guru, physically and psychically, the less advanced you are. If your guru is only present in books, or on an altar, or on a stage 300 meters away, or on a screen, or in vi…

Where's the monsoon? I want my monsoon!

More than two months now of daily max temperatures, officially, at between 45 and 47. I don't check every day, but today just seemed hotter than ever. Yesterday was ekadashi and I did the Vrindavan panchakosi parikrama. I left at 4.30 when the sun was still high and the temperature hot. I forgot to take water with me or to wet the gamcha I wrapped around my head, so by the time I got to Keshi Ghat I was beginning to heat up pretty badly.

The water looked fairly clean, for which I think Chandi Heffner should be thanked, and I immediately descended the steps and dipped multiple times. I may well have gone in even if it was gutter water, that was the state I was in, but by Chandi's grace, the bath was experienced as truly sacred and refreshing. Since I bathed fully clothed... not that fully clothed means much in this case, I am pretty much down to my old babaji uniform, a piece of torn cloth for a bahirvasa, another as an uttariya. Kaupin and nothing else. Gamcha wrapped around …