Showing posts from May, 2013

What is he on about?

I can't help but get the feeling that a lot of people are going, "What on earth is he on about? What do Freud and Jung and all the rest of it have to do with Krishna consciousness? Didn't our acharyas already give us a foolproof and time-tested method for attaining Krishna consciousness? What does all this have to do with that?"

It's a good question. My attempts to rationalize Radha and Krishna worship is a bit too much "in the head" and, for most people, such intellectual understanding is not what it is all about. They are quite happy with a simple life of bhakti, and as long as they aren't starting wars or killing their neighbors, let them have it.

But because becoming Krishna conscious is really only the beginning of attaining prema, you kind of have to know what you are doing or are supposed to be doing. When we say, siddhānta boliye citte nā koro alasa, it does not mean that the dogmas, "the final conclusions" (siddhānta) must be rep…

True Love and Vishaya-Ashraya theory

Love and Truth were lovers.
Love became the Love of Truth,
and Truth became the Truth of Love,
and together, they were True Love.

Love should be looked at as a verb, not just a noun. Love is as love does. There is no place in love for abuse. Unless we uproot the untruth from our self knowledge, there is no possiblity of love. There are no magical beliefs that we can dress our ignorance in: not even the most noble-sounding of lies, can make us eligible of love.

Krishna is a man. Like all men, he thinks he is God. And this is his problem. His lie. Until he gives it up and becomes a man, he is lost to love.

This is our current working theory. And because Krishna is a man, having nara-līlā, we have to make the connection to our human lives and our human reality. Here is what Bell Hooks says in her book All About Love:

"All my life I have thought of love as primarily a topic women contemplate with greater intensity and vigor than anybody else on this planet. I still hold this belief e…

Mutual Guruship

My dear friends, God was alone and he said, "This is no fun." And so he split himself into two and became "as a man locked in embrace with a woman." Thus it is said, Radha and Krishna are one soul in two bodies. All romantic love is an attempt to recreate this original simultaneous oneness and difference. In one dimension we recreate, in another we serve, that ideal. The transformation of the world through love passes through this gate. We worship Radha and Krishna and no other. We pray for the Love that inundates them to guide our intelligence.

Proper loving relations have to be based on liberty and equality. This means that the patriarchal attitude is automatically excluded. Where power relations are dominated by the male and the woman is seen as subservient, i.e., where the guru-chela spiritual dynamic is essentially a one-way street, the relationship may reach a certain level of love, but never the fullness of madhurya.

Parakiya bhava means that a woman takes …

The relation of yoga to rasika bhakti

Yoga takes one only as far as kaivalya, which is the perfection of the singular, going "solo." All other yoga systems, including bhakti, also pass through kaivalya, in the sense that they are the establishment, as far as is possible, of the self in the self, without which relationship is meaningless.

But in the relishing of bhakti-rasa, it is indeed only a stage: both the work of vidhi-bhakti and yoga are elements of the pravartaka stage or preliminary stage of practice in rasika-bhakti.

This is because in yoga, the culture of love is restricted to the yamas and niyamas and some other general internalizing processes, whereas in bhakti, love is the culmination, both the means and the end. In other words, in yoga, love is one of the means, and a subordinate one at that, but in bhakti, love is the one and only all consuming goal.

Nevertheless, the gains of yoga, both as a psychological force (as expounded on in the Yoga-sutra) and as a psycho-physical force (from the hatha-yog…

Kariṣye vacanaṁ tava

Everything hangs on the decision. Everything culminates in action. There is no meaningful thinking or feeling without action. And action comes of the will. And will is manifest in the making of decisions. So, Arjuna, when he says kariṣye vacanaṁ tava, he is not saying I will follow a scriptural injunction or a particular religion, he is responding to the inner imperative as understood and purified by knowledge and devotion.

I did not use the terms "categorical" imperative or "moral" imperative because I am not following Kant here, at least not consciously or intentionally, but certainly "moral imperative" would be justified.

In Vaishnava philosophy, the jiva has will, which we call kartritva. This is inherent in the jiva and the very meaning of the conditioned state of existence is independent will.

Since it culminates in an act, the Gita is an existentialist philosophy.

God is the source of the imperative, he says, tasmād yudhyasva bhārata. The jiva has…

A golden age of ten thousand years

A bit of a debate took place on the internet as a result of Advaita Das's blog, in which he posted a response from Satyanarayana Dasji about the Bhavisya Purana and Brahma Vaivarta Puranas, particularly with reference to predictions about a "golden age" of ten thousand years within the Kali Yuga, which devotees following Srila Prabhupada attribute to the sankirtan movement. Satya Narayan Dasji did not think much of the Puranas in question and also questioned the interpretations made of the verses themselves.

Hari Parshada Dasji, a young ISKCON scholar and also a friend, expressed some reservations about the article in a Facebook note. He noted several places where Prabhupada made statements supporting the 10,000 year prediction (e.g. CC Antya 3.50 Purport,
Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg, 13 May 1969) and expressed dismay that devotees out of ISKCON seem to be going out of their way to disparage anything that ISKCON or Prabhupada says or believes. Anyway, I made …

Meat eating and Krishna. What is the answer?

My friend Satyaraj Das, the founder and editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, a successful, prolific and popular writer on subjects related to Vaishnavism, is writing a book on vegetarianism and Vaishnavism. He has already written successful books on the subject and is revisiting the subject from a deeper and broader perspective. He asked me my opinion on Krishna's recommending the killing of animals for the Govardhana Puja, as in the Vishnu Purana (5.10.38) and Harivamsa (2.16.21).

Why not just take it as a historical development? We don't have to anchor ourselves to the past. This is a big problem with the way that Prabhupada presented Krishna consciousness to us, as something fixed in the past and unchangeable to which we must return. This is impossible, is it not? You never put your toes into the same flowing stream twice.

But that is a big piece for most devotees to swallow. How can Krishna not have been perfect, if he was indeed a historical reality, etc.? And if …

Svadhina Bhartrika

So, seeing that the time was ripe for Hari Katha, I have decided to try a daily serial. So we are going to do the last song of Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, which is the image of the svādhīna-bhartṛkā. So, just to prepare, as a prerequisite, you go and enjoy the following about Jayadeva's Krishna.

What is a nāgara? And why is God a nāgara?

But that will have to await another today, for today, Radha is on the stage and it is the final dramatic scene of the Gita Govinda, the lovers have just made love and it is a HAPPY ending! And now to culminate the scene, Radha, like an empress on her flower bed, looks toward Krishna and says, "Peel me a grape."

And Krishna, well I don't have to tell you what Krishna has been through!! If I were to tell that story, I would have to start the Gīta-govinda at the very beginning and that would take us a bit out of the way. Let us just say, he is very, very thankful to all the gods and saints that Radha has finally accepted him back int…


A friend of Facebook wrote a status: "I don't believe in sexiness," which elicited a number of comments. In a talk I gave last night here in Rishikesh, one person once again accused me of promoting "free sex": nothing could be further from the truth and indeed it gets tiresome defending oneself against such a shallow understanding of my theology and practice.

We are in a world where hypersexualization has vitiated the spiritual potential of erotic love. But sexuality is so fundamental to human life that if we do not understand how to cultivate the sacred in that, we will never truly understand madhura-rasa. This also takes discipline because it is a sādhana. It is pleasurable, of course, because spiritual life IS about the highest pleasure, and the highest pleasure is love, and the highest love is the love of God, which we experience through our human love relations.

So I too find it gross when I see a woman flaunting her sexuality, like the movie stars who w…