Monday, April 28, 2014

Worklife Resumes

My attention span seems to last approximately three minutes since GN left. But slowly my center is returning. The warm weather is back and the baking heat is to my liking. I like walking outside to the corner store barefoot, in just a babaji sarong.

Like many men, I use work as an escape from life. I have actually countless escapes from life. I am a real fire gazer. But that is the true grace of being alone, is that you can seek out a fire in which to gaze and find the Glory of God therein.

Of late I have been working on Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha and, for the past few days, Tattva-sandarbha. We are hustling to complete the Jiva Institute editions. Satya Narayan Dasji has now found a generous donor who is willing to subsidize the entire project, so a new, revised and updated edition of the Tattva-sandarbha will be published along with Bhagavat-sandarbha, which is the first of the books that I helped with. 

Paramātma-sandarbha is currently in the able hands of the third member of our team, Navadvipa Das, and is well on its way to completion. Babaji recently finished writing his updated commentary on the Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha and I have been working on the Sanskrit text and translation, as I did with the previous two volumes.

Hopefully, KS will not present as many complications as the previous ones, by which I mean, learning complications. Certainly there are some spots where Sri Jiva engages in a little enthusiastic flurry of pāṇḍitya, citing examples from mīmāṁsā and especially nyāya, wherever he needs it to make a point, and then switches back to his more straightforward themes. And my retention is terrible, so it is good that Satya Narayan is ahead of me on the curve here. Way ahead, to be honest. I have been spending too much time reading about moon-faces and shy, sidelong, coquettish glances.

I am still trying to complete my education. I was joking with Babaji about how, when I finished my BA and did not know where I was going exactly, I took and passed the exams for the Canadian Civil Service and was invited for an interview at the old post office building on the corner of St.Antoine and Atwater.

The government people had set up a kind of real-life bureaucratic meeting. We were given a sheaf of papers dealing with various municipal projects and the problems involved, and then we were placed in a meeting situation with other candidates and told to come to decisions about all these issues facing the "town." Meanwhile, we were being observed on CC cameras by the interviewing team.

That day we were given assessments, at least I got mine, which was very nice of them to do. Instant feedback, rate you and tell you the reasons you messed up. "Come again next year and try again!" The main reason I was refused was because I kept trying to put decisions off, sending things back to committee for more study and so on. I would have been a real nightmare as a bureaucrat in any department. I'll pass the buck every time and wait for something besides shit to fall.

Anyway... in the meanstwhile...

The Yoga-sūtra work looks like more of a challenge and I am still acclimatizing myself to the subjects and language of that commentarial tradition. There is a big difference between Yoga-taraṅgiṇī and this, the word yoga is in both, but the preoccupations are quite different, as practice and theory.

Swamiji has been ambitiously attacking this monumental project of collating all the commentaries of Yoga-sūtra into one compendium and then analyzing and pronouncing on the different interpretations from his own insight. The combination of knowledge and practice that Swamiji has is rare. Unfortunately, his health is steadily deteriorating, but he is determined to finish this life's project -- he is currently on the Third Pada -- and wants me to help him. Heaven help me!!

But as already intimated, I have decided for some insane reason that I also want to "complete my education." I also feel indebted to Swamiji for numerous reasons, about which I will write one day, and so I consider this a guru-sevā. Just as I do my service to Satya Narayan Dasji, whose service is to Sri Jiva Goswami.

Both in their own way serve their paramparās. It is my honor to do my little bit, which seems rather insignificant from my point of view. But if they feel it is of any service, I am pleased to serve the traditions and receive my blessings in those respective paramparās.

This is the meaning of freedom -- to be able to serve the Guru. To be able to follow one's dharma. To be able to do the most selfish act in the world, to do what one loves, whereby one can learn, and have it appreciated by others. What is a greater grace than that?

* * * * *

Sanjay Shastri posted this verse on his Facebook wall a few days back.

स्तुवन्ति श्रान्तास्याः क्षितिपतिमभूतैरपि गुणैः
प्रवाचः कार्पण्याद्यदवितथवाचोऽपि पुरुषाः |
प्रभावस्तृष्णायाः स खलु सकलः स्यादितरथा
निरीहाणामीशस्तृणमिव तिरस्कारविषयः ||

stuvanti śrāntāsyāḥ kṣitipatim abhūtair api guṇaiḥ
pravācaḥ kārpaṇyād yad avitatha-vāco'pi puruṣāḥ |
prabhāvas tṛṣṇāyāḥ sa khalu sakalaḥ syād itarathā
nirīhāṇām īśas tṛṇam iva tiraskāra-viṣayaḥ ||

That even men of true speech become timid chatterboxes and extol with weary tongues the king [their bosses] with empty virtues is surely a complete influence of desire. For otherwise, for people free of desire, a lord is as worthless as a straw.
I figured Shastriji is struggling with a job situation. Anyway, it reminded me of the following old favorite of mine, taken by Sri Rupa from a work I don't know called Aparādha-bhañjana. It is also quoted in Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

कामादीनां कति न कतिधा पालिता दुर्निदेशा-
स्तेषां जाता मयि न करुणा न त्रपा नोपशान्तिः |
उत्सृज्यैतानथ यदुपते साम्प्रतं लब्धबुद्धि-
स्त्वामायातः शरणमभयं मां नियुङ्क्ष्यात्मदास्ये ||

kāmādīnāṁ kati na katidhā pālitā durnideśās
teṣāṁ jātā mayi na karuṇā na trapā nopaśāntiḥ
utsṛjyaitān atha yadupate sāmprataṁ labdha-buddhis
tvām āyātaḥ śaraṇam abhayaṁ māṁ niyuṅkṣyātma-dāsye

I carried out so many evil orders given me by my wicked masters, lust, anger, greed, bewilderment, intoxicaton and envy, that I have lost count. Yet these masters have never taken pity on me despite my faithful service. And I am so shameless that the faintest desire for devotional service has never once manifested in my heart. Be that as it may, O Lord of the Yadus, I have finally come to my senses today and I throw of my shackles to take shelter of your fearless lotus feet -- please engage me in your personal service. (BRS 3.2.25, CC 2.22.16)
Which, when you think of it, is a royal "up yours!"

3 comments:

sungazer said...

Hare Krsna! Pamho JagatJi. My ears piqued hearing about these subsidized editions of the sandarbhas. Could you elaborate please? At the moment, bhakti sandarbha in 3 vols, is rs. 2500. Thats way too expensive! I mean, I haveall the 6 sandarbhas of Srila Haridas Shastri for less than that. And I also have all the 6 sandarbhas from Sri SyamdasJi for something around that amount. I really want all the sandarbhas by Satyanarayana Babaji, but they are too expensive at the moment. Could you please raise this concern with babaji the next time you meet him?

Jagadananda Das said...

I have no idea how they will be priced. But you can expect English language books to be more expensive than Hindi, etc. These will be printed in Europe, so I expect they will have a commensurable price tag, but at present I do not know.

sungazer said...

Pamho JagatJi. Well I need to find out more about this subsidized sandarbhas publication, I hope this printing will be done in delhi or anywhere else in india, so the cost will be affordable. I know that the 6 sandarbhas translated by Kusakratha Prabhu, are also printed outside india, hence they cost something like 8000 rupees for the whole set. Which is crazy, and a shame. Because these books in particular are extremely important for every gaudiya vaishnav to read. The 6 sandarbhas are not like say vilapa Kusumanjali or R.S.S. Nidhi or even prem bhakti chandrika, which are usually kept hidden or not talked about amongst devotees, and rightly so. But Tattva, that is so important, its the foundation for the esoteric Rasa explainations. Without these sandarbha's widely read, how can we call ourselves gaudiya vaishnavas? There is another example that comes to mind. Srila Prabhupada's Srimad Bhagavatam. Now, I am not criticizing, just pointing out something. A rs. 5000 set, of 18 big volumes..........how practical is it to read? I have this set on my bookshelf. It takes up an entire shelf! Out of the few thousand sets in circulation, how many devotees can say that they have read it from vol1 vol18 cover to cover? Practically none. Another thing which slightly bothers me, is thst Srila Sridhar swami, srila Jiva Gosvami, srila Vishvanath Chakravarti thakur and other gaudiya vaishnav acharyas have written the commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam. But its in sanskrit, and sanskrit in this post colonial india, unfortunately is not being learnt. So, i wonder how wonderful it would have been for english speaking and reading devotees, if a proper word to word translation of the bhagavatam commentaries was published, or strong instructions to do so was given by Srila Prabhupada. That would have been truly awesome. But as far as this 18vol edition goes, I think the point was, just like the gaudiya bhashya on vedanta sutra, we gaudiya vaishnavs need a gaudiya sunlight to shine on the bhagavatam verses. And the commentaries were already there, we just needed it to be translated into hindi or english or both. But that didnt happen. The point, of getting the bhagavatm out to the devotees was hampered by bringing out 18vols of it!