Showing posts from June, 2015

Kurma Rupa's last day

Yesterday I went with Jaya and Manjari to Kiki Nagla where Kurma Rupa was resting. As it turns out, it was his last day in this body and it was our good fortune to see him one last time.

He had an incurable stomach cancer and had been suffering for several months. Just a few days ago his condition took a turn for the worse and he was moved to the hospital for rest and comfort. Kurma Rupa and I were acquaintances. I liked him. I thought him an exemplary person, someone who was trying to find a way to make a contribution to the growth of bhakti culture. He was actually a closer friend to Babaji and was a frequent visitor to Jiva for Bhagavatam classes. Babaji had gone to visit him a few days earlier when he heard that he was in serious condition, but before he had been moved back to Kiki Nagla.

When I was doing the Vrindavan Today project I went to him a couple of times to ask him to become our “cow protection” correspondent. Somehow that never worked out. I saw him around the time he …

Back in Vrindavan

Arrived in Vrindavan this morning after a grueling bus ride. Five hours waiting in a kind of Corner Gas, Indian style, with parking lot with bus stand, convenience store with tea shop, a venue for the local public to watch television -- American wrestling shows are apparently quite popular -- people walking in and out. Sharing a chillum. A young girl and her small brother in rags, laughing and running around amongs the adults. In short, the neighborhood.

Only one or two modern Indian in jeans and teashirts with real luggage and not just clothes wrapped in an old sari or gamcha. Most of the waiting travelers are from some Rajasthani village patiently squatting and talking, like me. It may not be altogether wrong to think that this is the Indian way of life, just clear a space in the detritus, let it be, do the minimum, it is too hot for anything but to sit and contemplate.

This 21st century Haridwar corner café has an interesting feature in that it is the property of the Niranjani Ak…

The four essential verses of the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu

We already know very well that there are four seed verses from which the entire Bhagavatam is said to have grown. The Gita also has its four essential verses, or seven essential verses. I posted those, but did not make much commentary. On the other hand, I thought this series on the five principal verses of Gita Govinda was very important. Prior to that, I had already pointed out somewhere that there are four key verses to the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, but somehow I had never posted or commented on these on this blog.

The four verses come in the beginning of the second sector of the BRS, where Rupa Goswamipad is going to explain the various ingredients of rasa, using the categories of the rasa-śāstra. There are five chapters in all, on the vibhāvas, anubhāvas, sāttvikas, vyabhicāris and sthāyi-bhāvas. But before doing so, Rupa Goswami gives his own expanded version of the rasa-sūtra.

bhakti-nirdhūta-doṣāṇāṁ prasannojjvala-cetasām śrī-bhāgavata-raktānāṁ rasikāsaṅga-raṅgiṇām jīvanī-bhūta-go…

Here we go again: Prabhupada's comments about rape

On Facebook the other day, I posted a link to an article by George Monbiot, one of the few journalists whose work I admire, from the Guardian. Monbiot laments about the corporate culture and compares it to cult-like indoctrination and brain washing. He seems to be on a bit of a run about this because he had another similar article a couple of days later.

Of course, having experienced a religious cult, spending nine years in the Hare Krishnas, I thought of Prabhupada's statement that he was indeed engaged in a brainwashing exercise, precisely because our brains did need to be washed. And that is quite true. The idea of "cleansing the mirror of the mind" is central to all yoga systems. We willingly submitted to the brainwashing process because we wanted to change our way of consciousness, our way of being. To fill our minds and senses with Krishna. To become Krishna conscious.

And on the whole, I am glad of it. The process was based on the Bhāgavata-dharmas of the scriptu…

Previous lives

As if in preparation for my return to Vrindavan, a Bhagavata saptaha has been going on within close loudspeaker distance, with a very good musical team. We have been graced with renditions of the best of Rasik Pagal, Gaurav Krishna Goswami and Vinod Agrawal's greatest hits. It has had a nice effect on me.

In the meantime, I am reaping the benefits, slowly of my Yoga Sutra work. Today I was working on 3.18, which says that by concentration on samskaras, one can know one's own and other's previous lives. Since I don't have much time left and still quite a bit of work, I was going to avoid evening meditation, but something impelled me to go today.

So, quite buoyant actually, with the Bhagavata going on this way, and the Yoga Sutra going on that way, I sat down in meditation and started thinking of YS 3.18.
संस्कारसाक्षात्करणात् पूर्वजातिज्ञानम्।।
saṁskāra-sākṣhāt-karaṇāt pūrva-jāti-jñānam
By realising, seeing as real, the saṁskāras, [there arises] the knowledge of previou…

The higher sthayi bhavas and their relation to Yugala Sadhana

In an earlier article we discussed briefly how the three divisions of sādhāraṇī, samañjasā and samarthā corresponded to actual human relationships, along the axis of kāma to prema, in accordance with Rupa Goswami’s definitions. Indeed, they do constitute a bit of a mystery where the lila is concerned, since Kubjā is described as having lust for Krishna, a lust that is differentiated from that of the gopis, whose love has become undifferentiated from their sensual desire for him.

Therefore it was stated that sādhāraṇī rati's limit where the higher sthāyi-bhāvas are concerned is prema, the first rung on that ladder.

ādyā premāntimāṁ tatrānurāgāntāṁ samañjasā | ratir bhāvāntimāṁ sīmāṁ samarthaiva prapadyate || The first (sādhāraṇī) only reaches as far as prema (i.e., the sthāyi-bhāva of that name), while samañjasā goes as far as anurāga. Only samarthā reaches the absolute limits of mahā-bhāva. (UN 14.232)This verse makes it clear that there are limits to what can be achieved by these di…

Male ego and Manjari-bhava

I am currently engaged in a multi-pronged research into the intersection of compassion, rasa, vātsalya and madhura-rasa, with specific reference to the rasa-śāstra. Since I am under pressure to finish my work here in Rishikesh on the third volume of the Yoga-sütra, I am surprised that I find the time to write anything on this blog, but frequently, this is the way things happen. Creativity often arises when there are conflicting pressures that percolate and hubble and bubble, bringing many thoughts to the surface. Anyway, I rapidly wrote the following on Facebook as a reply to the post that I put up yesterday.

I would think that there would have been a personalized description somewhere. Mādhurya-kādambinī is the closest thing we have in our sampradäya to such a thing, which otherwise in most mystic lineages is fairly commonplace. It is a very nice book. Anartha-nivṛtti is presented as a catalog of flaws rather than a road map, but I guess it is the closest thing to what I was thinking…