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 repeated over and over until one has been fully indoctrinated into a zombie-like acceptance of arbitrary irrationalities. It means, try to understand them. When you understand them, when you have sākṣātkāra into what they really mean, then ihā hoite kṛṣṇe lāge sudṛḍha mānasa.

Look, my dear Americans and Europeans, you can play at being a sādhu all your life, but you were not born into this culture. You were born as Americans and Europeans, and for most of you, you will come to a time when you only put on a dhoti or sari to go to the temple, sometimes only after you arrive, sometimes not at all. After all, it won't be the end of the world, spirituality is inside, not the clothes you wear, right?

Let me tell you, the Indians really love what you've done to their religion. What's not to love? Lots of money and scandals. Never a dull moment. Lots of opportunity and room for advancement and growth. Amazing growth potential. International organization. Great temples and deity worship! The mall inside the temple is a great idea. The buniyas love it! Movie stars, too. Not as big as it used to be, not as in, but still a good place to be seen.

But let's face it, a lot of the Prabhupad geezers don't even bother with the temples any more. You go to the temple in Brooklyn or Dallas or North Carolina, and it's mostly Indians. It is a different world from the one that they knew. But even when you do talk to the devotees from the old days, it is mostly nostalgia for the old days, or angry Ritviks blaming the mess on the crappy crop of gurus.

But most people seem to have lost the plot. What was this all about, anyway? What is this religion for? Karttik in Vrindavan, Gaur Purnima in Mayapur. Hang out with old friends, like a reunion. Go to class and kirtan. Like a Krishna devotee's Las Vegas, tourist destination with Hari Katha and kirtan. Well, nothing wrong with that. It does get you thinking about what you really did with your life.

I think that Jung, though trying to create a model that did not have recourse to external powers, envisioned the entire unconscious as a kind of natural mechanism for grace. This was, if anything, his major difference with Freud. But even Freud, whose theory sometimes seems almost frightening in its reductionism, still describes a mechanism that produces intelligence, which could be considered a kind of grace. How far that intelligence extends, i.e., whether it can extend to a real Divinity, is not accommodated by him.

But for Jung, the God/guru archetypes are agents of grace in the psyche, the anima/animus are similarly agents of grace because they reveal unconscious contents. This is why I try to emphasize the guru-nature of the sadhana partner.

In a way, you could even call Jung's entire scheme a psychology of grace; he simply places it internally instead of externally, which I think is correct. But that too is just a matter of point of view, as what lies without is also within. It is simply that the inner world is closer to our experience. He does not explicitly say that this is God's agency, but really what else can we attribute it to?

Perhaps I was inelegant in my formulation. The guru is both external and internal. But the experience of the numinous is ultimately not external, only perceived as such. The internal guru approves the external guru's validity, etc. But Jung covers this in the idea of synchronicity, wouldn't you say?"

I do not know what Jung would have said, and that is not my primary interest. My real interest is Radha and Krishna, and prema. I believe that prema is fundamentally external, in the sense that bhava is the internal state that precedes divine reciprocation, which is experienced as rasa.

To call this "formulaic uncovering of what is already there" is misleading, it seems to me. If there were no categories into which things could fit, nothing would make any sense. This is why I do not agree with the critiques that draw a radical distinction between the conditioned and liberated soul. The soul has to have the potential to experience divine consciousness or there would be no meaning to anything. If the world is, as our acharyas have stated, "a perverted reflection" of the spiritual, then the same categories apply in both, with the major difference being purity of attitude and perception. Even if we say that these are radically different, there still has to be some common area.

This is why the archetypes are still filtered through the gunas of nature. Even the Syzygy can have various qualities that are not equal to the pure love expressed in Radha and Krishna. This is why Lakshmi-Narayan, for instance, are not our worshipable objects.

So certainly, such distinctions are the result of grace, the influx of the visuddha-sattva into conditioned consciousness, but that is, in my feeling, quite compatible with the model of the psyche that is expressed in Male-Female polarity. In other words, Jung says the archetypes are categories, the content is separate.

Or, the Divine Couple is what we are looking for, because the innate structure of our mind is constructed that way. By grace, they are revealed to us.


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