Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The culture of bhava

I started publicly professing to be a Sahajiya when I saw various individuals promoting an agenda that I was not in tune with. I do not believe that sexuality is meant to be "free," or to be indulged in wantonly.

The Prema we talk about is pure. That is the axiomatic basis. Just because sexuality is involved does not mean that it is necessarily kāma, any more than any other activity transformed by relation ("dovetailing") to Krishna is kāma. It is part of the process of converting the innate desire that is expressed towards matter (kāma) into prema, i.e., that same desire directed towards God. There is only one energy in the soul, that is desire for union. Everything else is subordinate to that, and everything else is a servant of that. sarve vidhi-niṣedhāḥ syur etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ.

I fully expect Sahajiyaism and the other paths related to Gaudiya Vaishnavism -- good, bad and ugly -- to manifest in the course of time, just as happened in Bengal. There is too much sex in the West for a movement towards sacred sexuality not to take place. There are already many people who are flailing in this direction... and so some look for the sacred in polyamory, group sex, Tantrik sex, etc., etc., ... giving them some "sacred" overlay or justification. These are mostly off the mark, but any movement towards spiritualization has some validity. But we do not accept that sexuality equals love (that would be incredible!) but rather that it has utility for someone with prepared consciousness.

Rupa Goswami has defined love and indicated the higher stages of love that one can aspire to. But sacred love is not Krishna loving millions of gopis, but in his exclusive love for Radha, for which reason Radha is Krishna's guru. "Imitationism" comes in when one acts as the viṣaya of love. The challenge is to become the āśraya of love.

Sahaja is also yoga. Yoga means samādhi. Samādhi means total absorption in the object of meditation. One can never immediately feel love for the Deity with the intensity with which one can feel loving attraction for another human being. There are many reasons for this, but the basic one is stated in the Gita 12.5.

kleśo'dhikataras teṣām avyaktāsakta-cetasām |
avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ dehavadbhir avāpyate ||
The misery of those whose minds are attached to the unmanifest is greater, because the goal of the unmanifest is attained with difficulty by the embodied beings.
The only way this will be possible is if we can see the Divine Person in the person who is connected with us in love.

In other words, we can look at the "Object" of love. We say that it is kāma when it is love for someone other than God, and it is prema when the object is God. But God presents himself to our perception in many ways. Because we are physical creatures, i.e., embodied, -- even when fully spiritualized -- according to Gaudiya philosophy, the fullest realization comes when we realize God directly, physically.

This is also the meaning of the Gopis desire to see Krishna return to Vrindavan instead of accepting the reality of Kurukshetra.

So to see Krishna means what? Do we focus on the Object or on the Bhāva? The point of difference between the pravartaka stage and the sādhaka stage in Sahajiyaism comes when we concentrate on the bhāva rather than the object per se. In other words, it is as much about loving as about the object of love. If you recognize the divinity of the object of love and cultivate that love in that consciousness, that is Sahajiyaism. The Vaishnava Sahajiya uses the cultural superstructure of Vaishnavism as an aid to the communion that is the culmination of love. Love is only possible between those who have a common basis. Of all common bases, consciousness of Radha-Krishna's madhura-prema is the best for the sādhanā of love.

In the pravartaka stage, one becomes transformed by Krishna consciousness, i.e., one becomes single-mindedly fixed on the Divine Couple (this is the best for Sahajiyas) with an imbalance or bias towards Radharani, who like Krishna is both āśraya and viṣaya, but as the feminine principle is more predominantly āśraya.

Now since feeling towards God, since it is primarily an internal process within oneself ("singular") it cannot on its own be prema. That is why the poeticians always called it a bhāva and never allowed it to be called an independent rasa. [More about this later.] It is only when Krishna is fully human that rasa is possible.

But to experience rasa in relation to Krishna one needs to have bhāva. And that bhāva will be experienced with greater intensity by the greatest majority of people within their love relationships in this world. This is the point of reference by which we can understand the metaphor of Radha and Krishna's love. But by the culture of love, recognizing that Radha and Krishna's love is imperfectly reflected in our human attempts at love and dovetailing it with devotion to the Divine Couple transforms the attraction to the numinous manifestation of divine humanity that is the object of love -- the sajātiyāśaya, snigdha, svato-vara sādhu-saṅga -- into divine prema.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ādeśa - Dear Jagadananda Das,

Yes, you speak the truth; a very real path to liberation-in-this-body-and-life exists.

Beyond the mind and senses - undivided, in original form one may cross over the threshold of life and death into the nothingness, it is from the nothing that one comes forward into the light.

Your beautiful translation of the Gorakṣaśa-śataka is a good place to start.

You are a very rare diamond sparkling upon the primordial mound Jagadananda Das.

M.N.

Anonymous said...

tad uktaṁ yogasāre:

yā mūlādhāragā śaktiḥ kuṇḍalī bindurūpiṇī | mastake maṇivad bimbaṁ yo jānāti sa yogavit

yatsamādhau paraṁ jyotiranantaṁ viśvato mukham | tasmindṛṣṭe mahāyoge yātāyātaṁ na vidyate

Anonymous said...

Good video. Very good. Don't listen too closely about what other people say about you, though. If they think of you as a fool or gotten lost on your path, then they do not have the understanding that you have, that's it. Everybody should learn to listen to their inner voice, instead of listening to other people's opinions. For no one will ever find a shortcut to Heaven through listening to what others say.

not sure if you've seen this quote:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

- Mother Teresa

Anonymous said...

Also, I quite agree with your article. For if you don't see the presence of God in your own spouse, then you see separation where there is none.

Anonymous said...

Pranams.....Very enlightening.....something I was looking for to give a meaning to my experiences.....thank you very much

Anonymous said...

Anon said: "Also, I quite agree with your article. For if you don't see the presence of God in your own spouse, then you see separation where there is none".

M. N. replied:

īśvara-praṇidhānena sidhyate nātra saṃśayaḥ

gurum-īśaṃ samullaṅghya yaḥ kuryāt sa vinaśyati