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Showing posts from February, 2016

The TOVP kerfuffle involving Bhavananda Das and Radha Jivan

Yesterday, someone who knows my past asked me about events related to my "guru." He was referring to Bhavananda Maharaj, from whom I did indeed take sannyas in 1979. Prior to that I had worked under Bhavananda for nearly four years as the headmaster of the Mayapur Gurukula, so I had a fairly good experience of his way of being and managing.

Management is a difficult task, but it is attractive to some who have the requisite personality. It is no small wonder that CEOs and other successful managers, including politicians, have a tendency to the sociopathic personality: extraverted, narcissistic, authoritarian, non-empathetic, ambitious, ruthless in competition.

This describes Bhavananda rather well.

It was no surprise that many people were exhilarated by the news that he had to run to save himself when resentment against his and his cronies' behavior bubbled over. Like old times in Mayapur, he surrounds himself with others who share his style of management.

I read Radh…

Prakriti-Purusha, Svartha-Parartha

In Sāṅkhya-Yoga I became intrigued by the concept of

Puruṣa = svārtha, Prakṛti = parārtha.
i.e. the Spirit Self exists for itself, but Nature or Phenomena exist for another, i.e., the Puruṣa. (See Sāṅkhya-kārikā 17, 56, Yoga-sūtra 3.35 and their commentaries.)

The idea is that as conscious beings, we experience and process phenomena entirely as though we ourselves are the center of the universe. This has really nothing to do with selfishness in its ethical sense, though that is an outcome of this perfectly natural state. This is in fact one of Sāṅkhya philosophy's arguments for the existence of the spiritual self as separate and distinct from matter.

Any Vaishnava looking at Gītā 7.4-5 will recognize how the idea of the Puruṣottama adds a further dimension to this concept, but it is one that makes a huge difference.

bhūmir āpo'nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṁkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā bāho yayeda…