Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mahaprabhu's Appearance Day

Well, friends, by Mahaprabhu's grace, I am back. It's not that nothing has been happening, or that I have nothing to say, but somehow the distance between those things and this blog seemed to require a Herculean effort to overcome over the past few weeks.

Also by Mahaprabhu's mercy, my ten days in Kathmandu finished with a disappointing result--only a three month tourist visa. Which means that I will have to return to Canada near the end of May. There is a lot to do before I go back, especially in preparing myself to try for a research visa, or some other kind of visa that will let me stay here in a freer and more stable manner.

One thing I would like to communicate here to any friends and readers who are interested in what I have to say--if you would like to arrange a program while I am in North America and are willing to arrange travel expenses, I will be more than willing to make the trip. Let me assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Yesterday, it being Mahaprabhu's birthday, I went to Madhuvan (pretty much the only Gaudiya game in town) and heard Kirtanananda Maharaj deliver his schtick. Mahaprabhu's birthday and he gives a class on the Ajamila story from the Bhagavatam. 200 of Bhaktiyoga Swami's followers from Dehradun and the Punjab are there, taking "Bhaktipada," who looks whiter than Casper the Friendly Ghost, very seriously.

I don't want to minimize Kirtanananda's capacity; after all, he has been perfecting this schtick for more than 40 years. He evidently knows how to get people to "surrender." Actually, I realized that getting people to surrender is not all that difficult. You just have to hammer away at it and sound convinced. He has the Iskcon model framework to assimilate anyone who comes, which means that he does not have to challenge his own imagination very much.

But Mahaprabhu did not just come to give the Holy Name. And even if he did, Rupa and Raghunath carried the ball and carried it a lot further. And now we, by their grace, have the chance to go deeper and deeper into this amazing opening into transcendence and experience ananda.

K. also made a point of saying that unless you are initiated, you are not connected to Krishna. I almost laughed out loud: No wonder you have nothing to say about Mahaprabhu except getting everyone to repeat the Mahamantra over and over again, raising their hands. Once in English, once in Hindi. Of course there is a power there, no denying it. But there is not even a hint that somewhere in this there is unnata ujjvala rasa.


In Kathmandu I realized that I am NOT a Buddhist (!). What is the first noble truth of the Buddha? Dukkam. What is our first noble truth? Sukkam. Anandad dhy imani bhutani jayante. Anande jatani jivanti.

Our second noble truth is the same as the Buddhists--the cause of sukkam is tahna (trishna). If you are thirsty, it is because the body needs to drink. There is a cause and effect relationship. There would be no thirst without water. We thirst for the God who is a person, just like us. We thirst for the God of love.

There is a key to experiencing the ever expanding joy of life, and I would make my third noble truth achintya-bhedabheda tattva. You must know, realize, how the basis of everything is One, all-pervading, undifferentiated Truth. You must also know, realize, how that Whole is greater than the sum of its parts and is distinct from them.

The fourth noble truth is rasa-sadhana and everything that entails.


Another big thing for me over the past few weeks has come out of studying the Bhagavad-gita, which makes me realize something that should have been obvious, but has passed me by all these years, mainly because of a bit of confusion in the sampradaya itself. I got this first from Jagadhish Ghosh, who evidently got it from Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Tilak's source is the Narayaniya section of the Mahabharata, where it is stated no less that five or six times that the Gita is a pravritti shastra, not a nivritti-marga text.

The Bhagavatam, of course, makes the opposite point, but that is based on a different point of view. Basically the Gita's yoga is about engaging the body and senses in action. Which of course includes bhakti. I am now thinking that we need a Sahajiya commentary on the Bhagavad-gita.


I am feeling good. I went down to the Ganga near the Sadhana Mandir at about five o'clock and read Ananta Das's Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi aloud for about an hour. Five or six passers-by stopped to listen and most stayed to the end, so it was not a bad turnout. They all said they would come again, so that was fun. A better turnout than at the Radha-vallabhi temple.

Quite honestly--Ananta Das's commentary is a better read than Harilal Vyasa's, too. But if one day we could combine the best of both, that would make a real nice text. I have completed copying about 50% of Vyasa's commentary for the Grantha Mandir, which may be coming out of its coma.

One other bit of news: There is a recording studio next to my office here and just before leaving for Kathmandu I redid my "chanting Sanskrit mantras" recording. The editing is supposed to be finished and I will be working on it tomorrow. Hopefully, that will be a sign of moving other projects forward.

OK. That is all for today, but I will try to put something on here regularly. It will not necessarily be deep, but this is now the Age of Twitter. So don't complain.

Radhe Radhe! It feels good to be back.


Ardhanarishwara's kinkari said...

Jagat, I had one of those visas where you had to leave India every 6 months but I never did. And I never had any trouble. Don't know if you want to take the risk or not, but don't blame me if it doesn't work out in your favor....

Anonymous said...

Are you on Twitter? If so, what is your username?

dr.jaya said...

Jaya Sri radhe!
I have been traveling to India on a visitor visa of US citizen since 2003. The duration of my visitor visa is for 15 years. Though they allow (a maximum) 6 months of stay with each visit, I stayed longer many times by registering myself at a near by district police headquarters as a foreign tourist on pilgrimage.

Indian government allows this prolonged stay provided we register all our details, with picture etc., with the police authorities for a nominal fees.

Every time at my departure from India to USA, immigration clerks at the airports have questioned my overstayed visit but their officers were satisfied after seeing my registration papers with the district police authorities.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Why write if it isn't deep? In this age of cheap utterances, silence is certainly gold.

Anonymous said...

dr. jaya, yeah i had a 5 year visa like that, then a 10 year. i registered and never had any problem "overstaying". nobody even questioned me at airport upon leaving. technically there is no "fee" for registering but if you register in a small town they will try to bribe you. if you can register in new delhi, no bribe.

Jagat said...

Thanks for the advice, Dr. Jaya. Was that a tourist visa? The leaving every six months is what most people here do. But I would prefer to avoid that hassle. I am going to aim for a research visa or a residence permit.

I went and got a twitter account. My i.d. is Jagadananda.

dr.jaya said...

Yes, Jagat, visitor visa is also called as tourist visa. Now a days that visa is given for upto 15 yrs., but 6 months stay with each visit unless we register.
I am usually stationed around Vrindavan and Barsana, since that is in Mathura district, U.P., I've registered with the police department at Mathura.
New Delhi is farther than Mathura, U.P.

The registration forms require no 'official fee' but the clerks would process our papers quickly saving us repeated trips to the police department if Rs. 500 or so are spent, especially by the affluent foreign visitors.

Research visa may also require necessary paper work.

Jaya Sri Radhe!

visnudas said...

Baba- very nice four noble truths talk.
Radhe Radhe!

Anonymous said...

welcome back, its good to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back and hope everything goes good 4 u!

I read recently some intersection between science and Hinduism; I read that scientists think in this material universe each galaxy is moving away quickly from the other ones.

So they did some math and think at one point one big explosion billions of years ago create this current rapid moving away phenomenon, termed "Big Bang".

Then some scientists had a contest for a better name, because the term Big Bang offends some people. Some entries were "Bertha D. Universe" and "Hubble's Bubble".

"Bubble" because scientists believe was some hydrogen and helium, mix together, then when there was some interaction created eventually everything else.

So is interesting is similar to the Hindu story of Bubbles coming out of pores of Vishnu. So perhaps in future we all call Big Bang "Vishnu's Bubbles", with soundtrack of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", or "Tiny Bubbles", as you prefer.

Also read some information about black hole, apparently it absorbs everything that goes into it, never to return. Also scientists think now is possible we do not live in UNIverse, but a MULTIverse.

i.e. enter the black hole on one side and opens up into a new tyoe of universe on the other.

This would be like the Hindu idea that the material world is 1/4 and the spiritual world is 3/4 and must fully exit one to enter the other.

Anyway is kind of interesting some similar observations the scientists and the seers.

Good luck on all of your projects.

Anonymous said...

re: "You just have to hammer away at it and sound convinced"

Recently had an article in TIME magazine and I am sure must be on internet all over the place also.

Researchers did a study about are bosses really the most intelligent people or not? So they recruited groups of teams of 4 college students.

Nobody knew the other college students SAT scores or IQ, but the researchers did. Then they had to work together to achieve some goal. Whole thing videotaped.

Turns out whoever had the loudest mouth and most obnoxious, the students thought that was the smartest person, i.e. must have the highest IQ and SAT scores.
And that person was accepted as the group leader by the others.

When turns out that, the loud mouth person was just the person with no shame: usually had the lowest IQ of anyone and was just a bully or brazen. But the other people, with higher IQs, accepted the bully as the leader.

And also, the bully/ leader/ boss actually had the wrong answers most of the time. So...

The article said, if you think your boss is an idiot, s/he probably is. And if you think your boss is wrong, s/he probably is.

It called to mind the history of various human endeavors. And also perhaps why in Taoism as well as SB, it predicts that the saintly people will go live in the mountains and caves.

Anyways can boil down history of some orgs you know into that phenomenon of group psychology.

Radhe! Radhe!

Jagat said...

I had a similar experience to that experiment once. I was applying for a civil service job with the Canadian government and I passed all the requisite exams and was called in for an interview.

All the candidates were given a packet of papers about several hypothetical issues to study and then brought in for a mock meeting. It was clear that the very first thing that many of the candidates had strategized was to take immediate control and establish their "leadership" credentials.

It was clear to me that these people were boors. I had much more nuanced views of many of the issues, seeing that too many questions had been left unclear and needed followups before coherent decisions could be made. I did not get the job. Thank God, I suppose. It was an interesting experience, though.

Tarun said...

Had to laugh out loud too. Mahaprabhu's appearance day and he told the story of Ajamila. Kirtananda M. was my Iskcon guru, and that was kinda typical of what he'd do. Of course he's a favourite scapegoat for people these days, but I don't harbour any such venom for him. It's over anyway. He seemed to be stuck in Christian Santa Rasa. Well there's something to learn there as well, and he conveyed something to me, just not Unnatojvala Rasa. He had his foibles, and did it on a grand scale, but we all got a long way to go, so I'm not gonna throw too many stones.