Tuesday, January 07, 2014

No Defense for Kripalu


Someone called my attention to a remark made on Gaudiya Repercussions by Brainiac, who has also posted to his blog, which I shall quote here:

Not sure the headline is truly reflective of Jagat's views since he directly said he wasn't defending Kripalu's abuses, but his comments are so equivocal that I don't blame anyone for thinking that way. I can't be the only one who thinks this, but it seems that Jagat should really stick to what he is good at: talking about rasa-shastra and such since he is an expert in that area. Every time he discusses something 'worldly', be it politics, science, religious abuses or even the weather, he seems to put his foot either in his mouth or in a big pile of doodoo. Sometimes I feel sorry for him because disagreement can be had in any area of discussion, but in this case I think he brought it on himself as his first statement was: "He was a great preacher of Radha's glories, of this there is no doubt."

I think it's hard to know anything of Kripalu without having heard more than a few whispers of his abuses, and this seems especially true for us in the West. Jagat knew what he was saying when he emphasized the successful preaching over acknowledging the controversies.

I have been thinking over my Facebook remark and subsequent discussion (see Brainiac's blog for the whole thing) and the great number of negative reactions it elicited and have come to feel that I made an error in judgment. I don't say this diplomatically, in the sense that I wish for people to have a favorable opinion of me, but because I think that there was something important missing in my original understanding. Sometimes outrage is not only appropriate but the only stance that is justifiable, and this is one of those cases.

In my original controversial comment, I was taking the broadest and most positive possible view of Kripalu's contribution, trying to find something good to say of him, as in the aftermath of his death I had been hearing such good things from several trustworthy people who had been impressed by his lectures, writings or displays of devotion. My general principle is that if you cannot say something nice, say nothing at all. In this case, however, it seems that remaining silent would have been the best course of action.

Even though I had some knowledge of Kripalu's reputation and actions (see here), I showed insufficient empathy for the experience of those women who were the objects of his sexual predation, in all the degrees to which he manifested it. There is a widespread tendency in many men to minimize the violence done to the sense of self that is inflicted by rape, in whatever degree of manifestation, and I fell prey to this blind spot, and that was a major failure of prema on my part.

Rape inflicts spiritual damage on its direct victims, but is also part of the complex by which prema-challenged men perpetuate the confinement of women into spiritually subordinate roles and demeans their humanity. This perpetuation is subtle and psychological because it may even be contradicted by a teacher's words. A disciple whose attention is confined to the words alone may be bewildered by their grandeur and eloquence or even spiritual magnificence: The desire for love haunts the greater part of humanity, so how great the betrayal when one misuses talk of love and spirituality to take advantage of others!

Kripalu's betrayal of Radharani was total and complete. Radha stands for true love, which is by nature exclusive and total, but he and others like him use these stories of ideal and spiritual love as a tawdry tool for sexual exploitation. Kripalu even believed that his sexual touch was equivalent to prema. The perpetuation of puruṣa-bhāva, or viṣaya-bhāva is the very antithesis of Radha bhajan.

By puruṣa-bhāva I mean the masculine sense of entitlement, i.e., the male psychological disposition to see only the masculine view of the world as normative; and by viṣaya-bhāva I mean the individual man's idea that he is the enjoyer and that women are merely an accoutrement to decorate his life with pleasure as a source of sexual pleasure, or sympathetic mothering when he is enfeebled by the vicissitudes of life. In its extreme state, this is the Madonna-whore complex that is the real obstacle to a man's attaining prema.

This is the depersonification or objectification of women for sense pleasure. It is the mistaken understanding that Kama IS Prema. When these characteristics are taken to the extreme they are considered to be asuric.

Kama is not Prema, that is the whole point of Radha bhajan and if someone teaching Radha bhajan makes THAT mistake, not simply philosophically, but behaviorally, then has he done a service, or a disservice? How has he furthered the cause of prema other than to purvey the symbols and teach a few rituals? Has he really preached the glories of Radharani or has he subverted the cause of prema?

The external characteristic of a guru is to teach, but the internal is that he knows his subject and has applied it fully. And in an experiential tradition, where the goal is defined as prema, the internal characteristic of the guru is that he knows and experiences prema.

The underlying question that confused me and led to my comment is: Can the purveying of misunderstood symbols and rituals that accord with a particular religious tradition in itself be a meaningful act? In other words, if someone like Kripalu preaches the name of Radharani or the glories of Radharani from the scriptures, will that in itself be a positive thing, even if in fact his behavior is the antithesis of prema?

Behavior reflects understanding. And a perverted understanding is what is communicated in paramparā from a defective source. Ultimately it is not the words that count, but the realization and its consequent behavior. And even if the words are beautiful, if the behavior contradicts them, then the communication is bound to be, like the shastras say, "Milk touched by the lips of a serpent."

A further question is, then, does this mean that the symbols are less important than their meaning? Can we have prema without Radha and Krishna? That is not really a question I can answer at this point, though I can definitely say that we cannot have Radha and Krishna without prema.

The less developed devotee feels reverence for the symbols but does not understand them fully. Furthermore, he feels under attack when those symbols are not treated with reverence by others. In the short run, the symbols take on more importance than their import, the spiritual experience they point to and the character transformations that they demand of them. This is the stage we are supposed to outgrow.

The articles I published about Kripalu on my blogs inspired many negative reactions from Kripalu’s supporters. I was hoping that my comment at the time of his death would at least encourage those people to continue on the path of seeking out Radharani and the prema-dharma that she stands for. But there is no prema without truth, and when Kripalu by his actions represents the fundamental anartha of depersonification of woman as a sexual object, then it is necessary for his disciples to come to terms with that fact if they want to progress. Therefore, in this case, truth was more important than stroking their egos through flattery or diplomacy.

I hope this sets the record straight. Jai Sri Radhe.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/user/JKPVedic In the above url Jagat Ji, there are over a hundred videos of Kripaluji Maharaj. You can understand Hindi I think, so I would really like to hear Iif you find anything contrary to Vedas,Upanishads, Gita, Bhagavat or our Shastras in those discourses. His lectures have positively influenced millions upon millions of people. When he spoke, you would be spellbound by the beautiful glory of devotion to Sri Hari. Kripaluji Maharaj used to suggest to all to look at the literature of Srila Rupa Gosvami and our GaudiyaVaishnav acharyas. In his lectures, he used to quote from Chaitanya Charitamrita. He himself in his lectures, never said that he is your Guru. In fact he used to say find a capable Guru who is Srotriya and bramhanishtha. I myself, can never repay my debt to Maharaj Ji and the Guru Tattva that worked from his Vaani. He has, without a shadow of a doubt, been one of the most influential teachers in not just my life but lakhs and lakhas of others. This is no ordinary feat. Am I aware of Karens book? Yes, and it is unfortunate that she was used and abused like this. Didnt karen say that she didnt meet Kripaluji ever? If the alegations against Kripaluji maharaj are real its very unfortunate for us and I dont understand why he did so. I am not suggesting we hide or pretend this didnt happen. However, his contribution in my life is incredible and I am very grateful.

Jagadananda Das said...

I understand your point of view and I accept your sentiment. If I am wrong and have committed any offense, I hope that Kripalu Maharaj will be forgiving. It is not himself that I condemn as much as the behavior that he is accused of. If it is true, then I have stated the correct position. If I am wrong, it is not him that I accused but the behavior.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more on the last comment by Jagat. I too have benefited by his teachings and even defended Kripalu's disgusting behavior and overlooked his real sexual abuse, not just allegations in the past. I love Lord Radha Krishna and their Vrindavan pastimes but do not relish the killing and drinking the blood of Hiranyakasipu by the same Lord. No affinity towards Varaha avatar (Wild Boar) either. Kripalu's deplorable actions as a 'spiritual teacher' are an insult to Hinduism and mockery of other esteemed saints.

Anonymous said...

As far as the his teachings are concerned, he was good at speaking, rest everything he used the versions of previous acharyas like Rupa, jiva goswami, Meera bhai, Tulasi das etc. But as his blind followers will regard him as Jagatguru but he don't have his own siddhanta (Advaita, Dwaita etc) just repeating the others that's it then how can his teachings can be considered unique? In previous versions of JKP website they had written something like "he won't speak his own philosophy but he explains from the Sat sandarbhas of Jiva Goswami", then Jiva Goswami if the Jagadguru and he must be the paramacharya not Kripalu. Peole who have been introduced to kripalu for the first time and who are not acquainted the philosophies of actual Sampradaya Acharyas may appreciate his teachings But for those who have already seen and understood the books like Madhurya Kadambini, Ujjavala Nilamani, Radhha Rasa Sudhanidhi etc. Kripalu's version seems to be less attractive. But he repeats the same thing again and again in his lectures. More of a word jugglery.

As far as Jagadguru title is concerned, no one came forward from so called Kashi Vidvat parishat and defended Kripalu when he had been arrested two times. The jagadguru title is made more famous by JKp not by Kashi Vidvat Parishat.

If at all the title should be given it must be given to Rupa or Jiva goswami not to somone whoo just reapeats their teachings and claim as God.

Actual Samparadaya Acharyas like Shankaracharya, Ramanujachrya etc have read all the Vedas and they formulated their philosophies in accordance with their vision. But Kripalu claims he reconciles all the philosophies but already Sriman Mahaprabhu had done that with His Acintya-Bhaeda-Abheda tattva.

Rupanuga acharyas are the preceptors of Lord Chaitanyas teachings, preached Radaharani's golories uniquely and brought unique sadhana to reach Radharani. Till date no other acharya or guru have had provided with that much information as Gaudiya acaryas have provided. REALITY IS THE BLISS, ONE SHOULD LEAN HOW TO ACCEPT THE REALITY. Radhe Radhe.

Anonymous said...

Dear Babaji,

First my humble obeisances to the All Merciful, All Powerful, Deliverer of the Fallen, Our Soul Shri Radha Krishna. I being one of the most fallen soul, would like to take refuge in my Guru's Lotus Feets. And, I wish to be the servant of the servant of God.

Dear Sir, I am both Happy and distressed for you, Sir. I geniunely feel, everyone should get a chance to right the wrong.

I have read the pages of History and never have I found that even one Genuine Saint was spared from the false accusations and Criticisms of the world. Nor, were even our Beloved Shri Ram or Shri Krishna spared. Same False and Sinful Allegations and accusations were levied on all the Greats - Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Swami Vivekananda, Shri RamKrishna Paramhansa... and so on. These Great Personalities, Mahapurush had only one idea to Grace us with God Realization, but we did not spare them. No one could harm any of the saints as they were under the Direct Protection of God, Shri Krishna Himself. But, sadly, those who created the false stories, with the mental imaginations showing the malignness of ones own mind. And those who helped spread these falsehood, in order to harvest the seed of doubts in the True Seeker of Spirituality. These People lost all the spiritual wealth all Good Deeds, they had accumulated since infinite lifetimes, and God turned away from them.

I don't want to frighten you sir, by telling the truth. But, infact, I want to help you to know, that even such Sinners like me, who have happened to read the lies, and like You who have helped spread the negativity, the lies have not lost, if we genuinely try to right the wrong, and surrender to the saint, God and ask for forgiveness from the bottom of the heart.

Sir, let me tell you, if you truly believe in me. My Spiritual teacher taught me to Love God every moment, see God in all, never harbor ill feelings to anyone, Never ever ever hurt anyone by words, deeds or thoughts. Above all, Love God like you have never Loved before. My Spiritual Teacher's each Breathe, each action, each word was only to spread the message of Bhakti. His actions spoke for his words. There was no discrimination. I was one of the most fortunate to having had His Personal association and can challenge anyone from every pore of my breath and soul and body, that all the allegations are mire imaginations.

If, you doubt my words, just listen to the speeches on Youtube. These Speeches are the living proof that in Future, neutral people will know the Truth and just as Time passes, people will forget the false accusations, and will rebuke the people that did these wrongful activities. Like, we do when we read the history.

Some say, He did not show any miracles. Are the speeches any less than miracles, where He quotes from Thousands of Spiritual Literature quoting the Exact Page, Para, Number of the quote. No one has ever found Him reading any Spiritual Books. He didn't have any. He didn't require. He was all knowing. If you don't believe me. Go yourself and check with People who actually stayed with Him like me.

His each and every pore of His Divine Body, breath and actions were to uplift us from this miserly world and attain God Realization. He tried hard till his last breath.

Sir, I am here to save you, nothing is lost. I beg you to remove posts which offends my Spiritual Teacher and thus offends Shri Radha Krishna. I beg you sir, I beg You. I beg you, I beg you. I ask God to Forgive all, to forgive you. I am ready to take your sins if it's possible. What do you gain by such propaganda, neither you nor the world benefits, and finally you loose everything, everything.


--Remaining text in next comment as there is character count limitation

Anonymous said...

..continued

It's said that only a gesture is enough for a wise man, I hope you to be wise. Help spread the truth not the lies. I was with My Spiritual Master, He was Love, Forgiveness, and Grace Personified. Hence, he was also called Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj. Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj can only Grace (Kripa), can never even think anything but Grace, forgiveness. He was all knowing. Hence, he was given the title of Jagadguru. He knew everything, though in front of us, He appeared just like us.

I am the fallen servant of Lord and as a brother if you wish to help the world truly, than I don't wish that you post my comment, but instead remove the Lies and help spread the Truth. And, to know the truth, ask forgiveness from the Saint to which one has wronged. These Saints are very benevolent, they do not see the past, they forget.

We are truly insignificant in this magnificent and magnanimouse creation of God, and though we have the Ego to try to understand him with our Puny intellect. Only by surrender can we know Him, when He Himself(God) bestows His intellect to the surrendered soul.
This Gem of a Wisdom was given to us By Shri Kripaluji Maharaj in His Book Titled Bhakti Shatak:

Samujh! Samujh se Shyaam Ko, Samujh Sakaa Nahin Koi.
Samujh Milai Jab Shyaam Ki, Samujh Sake Bas Soi.

Hey Intellect Listen! No One can Understand God Lord Krishna with His Own Intellect.
When one receives the Divine Intellect of God Himself, only those can understand Him.

Shyaam Samujh se Shyaam Ko, Samujh Sake Sab Koi.
Shyaam Samujh tab Milai Jab, Samujh Samarpit Hoi

With the Divine Intellect of Shri Krishna Himself, anyone can know Him.
But This Divine Intellect of God is received, when one surrenders His\Her own intellect to Him.

Just think these are the divine Gems Created by Shri Maharajjji. We called Him Maharaajji Lovingly. :)

Similarly. There are thousands and thousands of Couplets and Kirtans and Pads created by Maharaajji, full of Love, Devotion and Wisdom. Please read and drown in this nectar of Divine Love provided by Shri Maharaajji.

Help spread the Truth, not the Lies. Help Spread Love not the Hatred. Associate with those who know the Truth. Sir,

Your True Well Wisher.
Jai Shri Radhe


Anonymous said...

Dear Jagadananda baba,

As the previous reader has pleaded to remove the offensive posts spreading the lies and hatred, without knowing the actual truth. I too beg to please do the needful.

Please save yourself and others from committing offensive sins by thinking wrongly of the one who is so pure, one who is God Realized. There is no doubt after listening to Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj's lectures and reading his compositions on Bhakti and philosophy. That this can't be a work of an ordinary or a worldly or any man who has not attained God.

Please save yourself and others from committing Naamaparadh and please if you don't wish to spread truth at least don't spread lies.

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