In the meantime, I have cut back on almost all sadhana activities in order to finish as much of Bhagavat-sandarbha as I can before leaving--and believe me, it is painstaking work, looking at every word, at every translation available to me, scrutinizing to see whether what will be published is correct or expressed in the best and most accurate way possible. And it is dreadfully slow.
[Though I should say that after RRSN reading today,I did nagar sankirtan! Chanting Radhe Radhe Govinda, Govinda Radhe/ Radhe Radhe Govinda, Govinda Radhe// all the way from Bairaj to SRSG with Ananda Kumarji and his wife.]
And at the same time, I started going through this blog, trying to reorganize it, put labels on all the posts, not just for the benefit of the readers, but for my sake also. More than 400 articles over the past 2 1/2 years, many of them quite significant, in my opinion.
It has been a very interesting business going through these old articles, from end to beginning. There seems to be a distinguishable change, especially at the time of coming to India. In the old posts, I was making considerably more use of Western thinkers in a variety of fields, and their input. Since I have been here, my mood seems to have shifted to a more traditional vantage point, at least in terms of subjects chosen.
Also, in the beginning there was a flurry of creativity as I tried to express the basis of my concepts; some of it in the turmoil that followed the end of Gaudiya Discussions. Some of those ideas have evolved since then, but what was there in the beginning has pretty much remained unchanged. In some cases it may have been refined, but the basic idea is the same.
And honestly, I think I am too old to do much more than that. I think that basically what I say stands on the basis of the Goswamis' own texts and on the basis of logical reasoning. But most of all it has been validated by my personal experience, as a result of which, with every passing day, the manifestation of the Divine Couple becomes an intensifying reality. That same Divine Couple that have been present in my heart since I took initiation from my spiritual master. That same Divine Couple who is the subject of Rupa Goswami, Raghunath Goswami and Prabodhananda Saraswati's paeans.
I am much less radical than, let's say Subal, in my way of looking at or reforming the tradition. I am not like the Zen Buddhists who say if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. Radha and Krishna are so tightly bound up in my heart that I could never change the way they have revealed themselves to me, out of a desire for a more modern or rationally acceptable worldview.
Krishna in leather jacket and jeans doesn't do it for me. I can see Krishna in James Dean and Radha in Madonna, but only as a terribly distorted caricature. I have talked about this before, and I would rather defend the culture in which the Divine Couple appeared than deconstruct them, or psychologize them, or apply some other critique that reduces them into some abstraction. Radha and Krishna are not an abstraction for me, even though I understand them, their meaning and their reality, through the abstractions.
On the whole, then, I am pretty impressed by what I have done here. Not so long ago someone said to me, somewhat disparagingly, I thought, that I had to have a coherent philosophy. I think that anyone who reads through this blog will quickly realize that I do have a coherent philosophy that remains clearly committed to the goal of our sampradaya, which is prema. Though it is presented basically through the eyes of the tradition and its language, at the same time I think it can easily be framed in Western terms. I have decided that I would explain it first and foremost in terms of the orthodox tradition itself.
Is it too difficult to understand? I really don't know. Perhaps there are too many steps in the samskara. But it seems to me that anyone who reads this blog would understand it. And anyone who understood it would be demonstrating more interest. And it seems that such interest is not really forthcoming.
Perhaps my language is too technical, with all my talk of sadharani-karana and aropa, which seems to be alienating for English-speakers, or makes it look too much like a purely intellectual effort. Even so, I cannot see how anyone with even the most superficial knowledge of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and its concepts could ever think that this was the case.
And yet I hear the objections that I am just a "dry scholar." Of course, there are others who think that I am a "dirty old man" because I talk freely about the role of sexuality in the cultivation of madhura-rasa bhakti. Perhaps that is another failure of communication. Or perhaps the people who are attracted to Krishna consciousness in its current incarnation genuinely have so distanced themselves from their sexual desires that they either cannot see my point or they are honestly horrified by it. For them, I only say, na buddhi-bhedam janayet. I do not wish to disturb anyone for whom this is not a natural fit.
But I cannot believe that this is not a live and momentous option. Sexual desire is too universal a phenomenon to think that it will not rear its head in Krishna consciousness, and of course it does. Of course for those devotees who are still trapped in the IGM social world, it is very difficult to take a radical philosophical position on these matters. Which is rather odd, since in practice, in the matter of morality, men and women, single or married, with or without children, seem to have little compunction about breaking up, running off with other men and women. Sannyasis, longtime householders, brahmacharis, it seems that no one is exempt. It barely merits scandalization any longer.
And yet, the hypocrisy is so profound that no one wants to face the truth: that their sexuality is in conflict with their spiritual aspirations instead of being an energetic force that supports them. And yet, all we hear again and again are the same platitudes that not only mock human nature, but the very symbol of Divine Love that we place on our altars.
Of course, I am not saying that some people don't succeed in deadening their sexual urges. I just pity them and think they are missing the point. Now in certain circles we hear that sakhya-rasa is being promoted. So what was the point of madhura-rasa bhakti? And what the heck did Chaitanya Mahaprabhu come to give anyway?
One of the big problems, of course, is that the Gaudiya Math has been so successful in eliminating the traditional manjari-bhava sadhana and the madhura-rasa culture. This has been a complete disaster, as far as I am concerned. Even so, we have little choice but to start from where we are. There are some who have gotten a little taste for madhura-rasa, even though they have no real culture of manjari bhava. Not even in Narayan Maharaj's group.
And now, also, because Yugala Bhajan seems like an inevitable next step for those who become familiar with madhura-rasa topics, even amongst Narayan Maharaj’s group (especially since the marriage of Aranya Maharaj) the level of discomfort has risen to the point where discussion of rasika topics is slowly diminishing in favor of an Iskcon style preaching ethos.
As for those who have left Gaudiya Vaishnavism, because they could not make the jump from literalism, or because of their disagreements about whatever discipline, especially the sexual ones, or because of disappointments or feuds with individuals, or simple frustration with the entire self-realization endeavor, they seem to have lost their spiritual fire completely.
They are busy talking... well, what's the point in giving details? It is enough to make one want to cry. As if the spiritual endeavor is no different from any other way of filling in the space between birth and death. Anyway, here again, na buddhi-bhedaM janayet, the Lord is taking care of them like he takes care of us all.
So, where to go from here? Back in Canada. No choice really: BOOKS. Publish or perish.