Can you just concoct stories about God and the Dham and present them as fact?

It has been a couple of months since I posted on the blog. I was not inactive. In Karttik I was making a big effort to enhance the Vrindavan Today website, concentrating on writing articles related to understanding the Dham as a "final step" in rāgānugā sādhana. I was conducting a daily meditation on the Vrindavan Mahimamrita (VMA) of Prabodhananda Saraswati. This work is no doubt the result of living in Vrindavan and experiencing its spiritual power. In particular, after returning from Bengal, the first time I had been away from Braj in two years, I could feel the effects of the Dham very intensely.

I think that perhaps I will cross post the VMA articles series, either here or on an independent site, but we will see. At any rate, for the time being, people can read those articles on the VT website.

A reader of this site recently wrote to me and asked the following:
Namaskar. Throughout your writings you teach reality over hagiography. Recently, you have written that (materially motivated) historical concoctions are an important part of remembrance in temple pilgrimage. History and concoction cannot go together as their very existence is opposed to the other.

I am writing this as factors of concern I had and have about temples. After they have enjoyed the fruits of publishing their historical concoctions - extracting historical facts becomes harder or nil.

In other words, publishing a concoction as truth is directly opposed to the promotion and perpetuation of truth. I am not questioning your choice rather clarifying considerations which would explain why I was upset about your apparent change of thinking in this matter.

I am not sure specifically what article he was refering to, perhaps in connection with the Dham where one is presented with "facts" that are not at all historically verifiable. This is obviously a problem that does not easily go away in a world where skepticism is the dominant virtue. I answered him personally and he suggested my publishing the reply. So here it is:

Before I begin, I have of late been following a psychologist and philosopher named Jordan Peterson. I think that you might be interested in hearing his talks on this and related subjects. If you have been following my blog, you will know of my interest in Jung and myth, etc. Peterson follows directly in this school, but he is a clinical empiricist and, like Jung, is a believer who is trying to understand God's work, though as a scientist he is loathe to say it. Anyway, I am impressed by him as a deep thinker and social commentator. His scope is very broad.

Though I am nowhere near as erudite as he, nevertheless I feel confirmed in a lot of what I have been saying by his insights. I find this very encouraging and hope that the doors to understanding religious belief and God that he is opening up will be followed by those to whom such things are important.

What is reality? What is the relation between the experience of the individual consciousness and the actual world externally, as it is?

Now most people in this world think that the hard stuff we are surrounded by is reality. Let me assure you, it is here today and gone tomorrow. What is real is the soul, which never changes, and is simply observing the passing scene.

There is, of course, a place for empirical reality. It is really very much like a video game called life in this world. Each one of us programmed for a particular adventure to live out and then go on to other levels, and so on.

Indian religion is almost solipsistic in its creed. It says: We have faith that if we surrender to God, our existential reality will take care of itself. God will provide for my achieving that purpose. Indeed, He always has.

Such faith must also be accompanied by renunciation, because you cannot surrender to God with material benefit in mind. How much discomfort you are willing to tolerate will determine how much you compromise with giving yourself completely to God. Everyone is to be tested in this manner, and that is for sure.

But if you have such faith you set about turning inward and dwelling in the Self. When you have come to this point, the External Reality has served its purpose. At this point, whatever External or Empirical Reality offers for experience is only confirmation, immediately or belatedly, of the benevolence of the Self.

Now, to answer your question. The acharyas are busy building a house that people who wish to attain the Inner Reality can live in. The trick is that the house has to be built in the External Reality. That is the reason that there are so many paths to God. Like the light hitting a prism, the One becomes Many.

So now let us say that I am a Seer of the Truth who knows that the instant the One Non-dual Truth hits Matter, it becomes compromised. What have I seen ? And how will I go about building my house for people to move toward that goal from wherever they are, and in the meantime live together in the best possible way, in a way whereby they will be as happy as it is possible to be in this world of misery and death, where no pleasure is not accompanied by loss and imperfection?

Now, no amount of empirical knowledge of the world can do anything more than hint at what the knowledge of the transcendental self is as an experience. The masters know that there are media by which Truth can be communicated, and of those the principal ones are Myth and Symbol.

Different myths and symbols arise for a reason. They compete because they all announce to the world a higher reality and they differ in what that highest glory of God is. But for us, for Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the real world is that of Chaitanya Krishna, and whatever serves the purpose of being aware of that world is, as far as possible, to be adequately presented so that those who live by empirical reality will not be too offended, but they know there will be limits to what can be done for such people. Mimamsakas.

Some myths are more important than others. Empirical reality serves a purpose until we reach the point of surrendering and embarking on the path of sadhana. At that point it has served its purpose and recedes.

mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te.

Jai Radhe.


Anonymous said…
The "Post a Comment" button on your blog always make my person smile. One will raise a cup to you Jagadananda Das and drink to myths.



Latitude: 49°55'7.47"N Longitude: 6°17'19.34"W St Marys (Scilly Isles) between two riders. Latitude: 49°53'43.43"N Longitude: 6°20'25.99"W St Agnes Angel(s) pointing finger (St Agnes -> Hugh Town -> Maypole). Latitude: 49°56'49.56"N Longitute: 6°21'11.51"W Bryher from Proto-Germanic brakkô "Hound." Latitude: 49°57'9.23"N Longitude: 6°19'40.42"W Tresco from Old Norse þreskja "to thresh." Latitude: 49°57'58.11"N Longitude: 6°17'19.15"W St. Martins Fenrisúlfr and hand of Týr Mars – Old Norse þrekstjarna - "þrek" (Strength of mind) + "stjarna" (star). Latitude: 49°57'2.39"N Longitude: 6°15'53.07"W Ganilly (Goonhilly) Norse "Kanaløyene" - "kanal" channel (narrow body of water) +‎ "øyene" islands (plural), cognates with Finnish" kannalle" to align ones way of thinking. Latitude: 49°55'51.19"N Longitude: 6°21'6.32"W Samson (Old Norse "Samna" - unite together + "Sonr" Son - to give birth (to young) - to bear, to pour out, to squeeze out).

Anonymous said…
In regard to your rhetorical questioning on your blog post's headline "Can you just concoct stories about God and the Dham and present them as fact?"

Yes one can it seems, just so long as one follows the true archetypal pattern (the same template [of the "true" way] can be applied to just about anywhere).

A good example of your headline is the blood-line of the great Druid king "Beli Mawr" high-king over "all of the islands of the Tyrrhene Sea." His foreign conquests in Gaul, Germany, and Italy, made him one of Britain’s most famous kings (that you will have never heard of...). Legend says that he held sway over Britain, Gaul, and Northern Italy, which was then called “Cis-Alpine Gaul”.

It is interesting to note that the word beli is from Proto-Indo-European bhel (light, bright, shining, to shine), and that mawr is from the Old Norse word mærr (glorious - a word whose etymology desribes the "halo of a saint").

It is also even more interesting to further note that his queen was named Dānu which means "fluvial water"

Fluvial = to swell, flow, to blow (out), stream, pour (out), boil over, (to become) soaked.

Fluvial is from the proto-indo-European root word bʰleh₁"to cry (out), to howl.

Anonymous said…

One hopes the word Mawr (mærr - which describes the halo of a saint) which cognates with Proto-Germanic mērijaz ‎and Old English "mǣre" and these words phonic connection to "Mary" is not lost on you Jagadananda Das.


Anonymous said…

Talking about archetypes, the following link is a painting by Charles Ernest Butler entitled King Arthur, a brilliant archetype:

The whole painting is pregnant with symbolism; the crown held high above the head alludes to the life-force energy piercing the skull and rising up through the halo (represented by the crown, same archetypal symbolism as the Indic yoni and lingam), the arch of the arms around the head also reinforces the concept of the crown representing the halo (or serpents hood), the chemical wedding (complete with marriage ring [halo symbolised by the crown]). The shining armour, reflects the light embodied. The knee joints (poleyn) are stylised in the bee symbolism of the fleur-de-lis, as is the inferred curves of the stomach armour (plackart) and the hip armour (tasset’s) are styled in the form of scallop shells representing Venus. The belt represents chastity, and the sword represents truth (and the shining procreative life-force energy lifted up above the skull). The red cloak represents the blood-line, and the necklace represents detachment of the mind from the body. The water represents the flow, inundation and collection of the procreative life-force energy, and the mountain in the background represents the pinnacle of success (the energy travelling up the spine and rising up above the skull). The left raised foot placed on the stone represents conquest of the lower physical self (and also representing the divine feminine [kundalini energy being raised above the male body], with the right-foot [representing masculine] withdrawn behind), the left foot. The gaze (dṛṣṭi) is fixed looking at the light source (as indicated by the reflection angle on the armour), this showing that Arthur is looking at “the inner light.” The helmet on the floor is the sting of the bee (the phallus), showing that the knight is no longer of the flesh (spiritually re-born), the helmets shape also alludes to a Bee hive (representing the inner soun). There is more symbolism if one cares to look.

Anonymous said…

Further more, the left knee (fleur-de-lis symbolic bee) represent the queen bee which has flown out of the hive (helmet on the floor) and up higher (in order to atttract a mate - see 'Notes'), the lower right knee (bee) is the male bee flying up to mate with her (abhiṣeka style).

The seven visible discs on the top belt represent the seven deadly sins, and, the ten visible discs on the lower belt represent the ten commandments. The chain mail skirt covering the male organ represents purity.

The partial skull on the floor to the viewers right represents the old maxim "momento mori."

The stone under the left foot loks like a cave (think Plato, Christ etc.)


Anonymous said…

We won't talk about the angle and position of the sword handle, the right profile of the body, or the almost bow-legged riding stance (with toes subtly pointing downwards as if in stirrups). And of course, only three fingers of the right hand being shown visible to the viewer with the forefinger touching the fleurs-des-lis.

Anonymous said…
And now we have explored the highly-polished Knight in shining (reflective) armour archetype, it's time to let go of it (-:

Anonymous said…
Lest our moral compass gets too attracted to all that scrap metal (smile).
Anonymous said…
I am indepted to you for replying. the quote :
"you are probably right that it is not as old. But the story, whether or not it is factual, is still important to the vibe and feel of the place, so people remember when they come to the temple."
my apologies if you actually didnt anonymously write it 0 but there being only one other anonymous editor, I am pretty sure that it is your writing

Anonymous said…
skepticism ?! would not that be the word your critics would have used when you wrote articles like "3 suspicious texts"
"I think the best hagiography comes when we best see the reality, which then does not really need to be embellished out of a need to protect the weak devotee's faith. Indeed artificial embellishments in our day and age tend to have the reverse effect on those with a modicum of critical skills.
Anonymous said…

One may also consider the paintings symbolism in regard to Sôlbjörg.

To get a flavour of it, watch this Jagadananda Das:

John Stuparitz said…
Jagat prabhu, when you say that the Seer conveys their visions to common people in a way that doesn't offend them, are you saying that that Seer is in a compromised position as well since they are only able to relate as much of the Truth that corresponds to the current world-view?

Is this task of translating and transmitting part of their earned position, or is it a conscious act of will to help out and offer back a portion of their experience?

What if the people don't understand, refuse to accept or aren't able to fully grasp their insight? Is it because the message wasn't packaged well or because it was inwardly inaccurate and therefore unable to break through the boundaries of language and conception of the common, shared world-view?

I ask this because I have recently started listening to my Nama Guru's lectures on Gaudiya Vedanta and, sometimes, feel that the way he explains either goes way over my head (because I don't understand enough of the Sanskrit theological words) or is hard to follow because it gets entangled in cross-referencing the different past-times with shlokas and personal anecdotes and side stories and analogies, at which point I feel overwhelmed and wonder where does one begin to learn about Krishna lila afresh...

Thanks for your post.

Hare Krishna

Yugala Kishor das
Anonymous said…

Those of you dear (yes, truly dear) readers whom are researching the archetypal hero, and have been following along with Olaf Tryggwason's saga and the Anchorite Hermit of St Marys (Scilly Isles); the following text will be of some practical use in deciphering the rebus to be found on the landscape of the Scilly Isles.

The Saga of King Olaf Tryggwason: Who Reigned over Norway A.D. 995 to A.D. 1000.

Translated by J. Sephton. London (1895)

See the chapter “King Olaf is driven to the Scilly Islands, where a hermit prophesies to him of the future” (pages 98 to 101).

Read online:
"Can you just concoct stories about God and the Dham and present them as fact?"

It seems in WWII (Templar) Finnish soldiers on the northern front did just that:

Finnish soldiers have improvised an anti-tank weapon: a bottle filled with fuel & set alight. To mock the Soviet Foreign minister, they call it a "Molotov cocktail".

There is no need to "concoct" stories if one simply takes the blinkers off; its everywhere.


Mosseltoff Cock Tail.... get it?
Parikshit said…
Thank you very much Babaji for this article.

Knowing of Jordan Peterson has been great as well.

Jai Shree Radhey!
Anonymous said…

daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te

Cross my legs and hope to die; one, two, three and out we cry
A dog may take your hand clean off, five digits gone to asteᶉoth
Five more are left which one must use, to wash the wound and raise the muse
Within this hooded ring of thine, a finger raised to touch divine
In shining womb all starts again, in to the womb we are all men
Anonymous said…
Even the British Empire was no match for a stubborn yogi named Ghandi...

How did old Ghandi achieve all this? He dindu nuffin, and took the piss!

LOL ;-)
skáldkona said…
Did you like that one Jan?

The phrase "Dindu nuffin" infers the word "Black" (to [en]flame, burn, shine radiant).

If the reader suffered from a Klesha, the enflamed coles of his own burning desire would obscure the true light hidden within the "ljóð" ‎(Old Norse: “poem”‎).


From Middle English black, blak, blake, from Old English blæc ‎(“black, dark", also "ink”‎), from Proto-Germanic *blakaz ‎(“burnt”‎) (compare Dutch blaken ‎(“to burn”‎), Old High German blah ‎(“black”‎), Old Norse blakra ‎(“to blink”‎)), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleg- ‎(“to burn, shine”‎) (compare Latin flagrāre ‎(“to burn”‎), Ancient Greek φλόξ ‎(phlóx, “flame”‎), Sanskrit भर्ग ‎(bharga, “radiance”‎)).

Trajan Le Bossu said…
Jagadananda said: "Some myths are more important than others. Empirical reality serves a purpose until we reach the point of surrendering and embarking on the path of sadhana. At that point it has served its purpose and recedes."

śrīmaccidānandanātha (replied with a quote):

"On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées."

Victor Hugo



Anonymous said…
Can you just concoct stories about God and the Dham and present them as fact?

That's a bit of a grey area Jagadananda Das, the Irish Rover's are worth a listen...


Anonymous said…
One hopes, your comment is not lost on the reader: "The acharyas are busy building a house that people who wish to attain the Inner Reality can live in. The trick is that the house has to be built in the External Reality. That is the reason that there are so many paths to God. Like the light hitting a prism, the One becomes Many."

Jai Radhe



(In the year 1666) "Isaac Newton uses a prism to split sunlight (Deus phos) into the component colours of the optical spectrum, assisting understanding of the scientific nature of light. He also develops differential calculus. His discoveries this year lead to it being referred to as his Annus mirabilis or Newton's Year of the Morning Star."

Source of quote:
/\/\ /\/ said…

Over two years ago (Friday, 01 May, 2015) my person wrote in reply to your blog posting:

And recommended David Gordon White’s paper:

"Ashes to Nectar: Death and Regeneration among the Rasa Siddhas and Nāth Siddhas*"

You made no comment brother Jagadananda Das; may one ask, did you read this paper?

If you did read this paper, would you be willing to share some thoughts from your own experience (and tradition) which you feel will point readers in the right direction?

It’s a tall order, one knows; especially knowing you have waded through a life-times worth of fragmented academic literature, and drawn it all together to find the true intuitional practical knowledge which cannot be found in books.

And, especially, in light of your statement, reproduced here again:

“Empirical reality serves a purpose until we reach the point of surrendering and embarking on the path of sadhana. At that point it has served its purpose and recedes.”

As you know, my person lives a very simple life of quiet contemplative practice, practical self-experimentation and further research (wading through fragments of practical knowledge found amongst the many centuries of academic detritus scattered in many languages and places). And to this point (just like panning for gold), wonder, if you are able to talk about the practical side of your traditions path of sadhana?

We write here not for ourselves, but, for one yet to come.

When one teaches, two learn.

Anonymous said…
Here’s a real story for you and your readers Jagadananda Das.

Many years ago, my person had the good fortune to meet one of the 'cunning folk' on the island of Herm (his sweet memory still makes my person smile). To save him any embarrassment, we will just call him (the) D. R. (doctor).

We got talking, and after a while D.R. opened his hand and showed me two whelks.

He then excused himself, and walked down the sandy beach to place the whelks back in to the sea.

Many years have passed, I never forgot D. R., or his two whelks, (the whelk is of a taxonomic genus within the family Buccinidae of the order of Neogastropoda); this lovely man’s memory whom I was destined to join in conversation, is as fresh today as when we met that day on Herm all those years ago.

You are right Jagadananda Das, there is only love (eternal); and my person truly loves the wisdom of this man who simply held out a couple of whelks in the palm of his hand.

And if you ever read this D.R., thank you brother.



1666 Deus Phos
Anonymous said…
Jagadananda Das, perhaps you should look into:

"The lost Enochian knowledge reveals the mother tongue as a "language of Light". Known to the ancients as HIBURU, it is the primal seed language, introduced at the beginning of this time cycle."

Anonymous said…
And if you are of the same mind Jagadananda Das; having researched the word Hiburu, perhaps one may also like to listen to a good old fashioned tune:

Anonymous said…

Dear Jagadananda Das '&' other 'readers',

Poems from the Divan of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Lowthian Bell (1897)

With love to a thrice great cousin, Gertrude Bell.
Anonymous said…
"El Lawrence; truly for some men nothing is written unless they write it."
Anonymous said…

Jagadananda Das said: “Now, to answer your question. The acharyas are busy building a house that people who wish to attain the Inner Reality can live in. The trick is that the house has to be built in the External Reality. That is the reason that there are so many paths to God. Like the light hitting a prism, the One becomes Many.”

M.N. replied: Yes, one speaks the truth; when one becomes seven held within two prisms (-Δ≡▼-). The one becomes many, and the many become as one (see first URL in the 'Notes') to form the eight.

One with the all, and all with the one, in the love of truth.

Jumaus said…

Any doubting Thomas' will appreciate these stories Jagadananda Das:
Anonymous said…
Thought you needed cheering up (-:
Anonymous said…

"Can you just concoct stories about God and the Dham and present them as fact?"

The President-elect of the United States, Donald John Trump just re-wrote the past, present and future; "Happy Christmas" brother Jagadananda Das.
Anonymous said…
For one who lives in touch with truth and then desires to build a house for others so they may be absorbed in those rooms instead of the dull video game, i wonder why the house has to be directly roped to material reality at all. Unfortunately, I don't love any of the houses i've come upon--though i've learned a lot from them and i don't deny the reality they reveal. I sure wouldn't mind coming across just a simple novel(book) with a door to the world i love. Who needs a temple? Who needs history?

what the heck does this mean: "...the One Non-dual Truth hits Matter, it becomes compromised" ?? I don't get it. Are you saying krsna and His pastimes are "one non-dual truth"? Are you saying incarnations are Him "hitting matter"? Are you saying krsna is "compromised" when He's here pastiming?

The title question reminds me of the guys who brought to caitanya mahaprabhu radha-krsna pastimes they just made up, and cm would accept some--yes yes that is good, keep that; and would reject others --oh noooo! do a rewrite buddy. So, there it is, they made up the stories which are now thought by many to be fact. Seems the real point is "whatever serves the purpose of being aware of that world...."
Anonymous said…
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Peasant Scene

PEASANT WOMAN: “Well, how did you become king then?”

ARTHUR: “The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing] her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!”

DENNIS: “Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

ARTHUR: “Be quiet!”

DENNIS: “Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!”

ARTHUR: “Shut up!”

DENNIS: “I mean, if I went around say in' I was an emperor just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away!”

ARTHUR: “Shut up! Will you shut up!”

DENNIS: “Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.”

ARTHUR: “Shut up!”

DENNIS: “Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! --- HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!”

ARTHUR: “Bloody peasant!”

DENNIS: “Oh, what a give-away. Did you here that, did you here that, eh?.... That's what I'm on about -- did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn't you?”
Monty Python - Part II of II



‘Shimmer’ (an intransitive verb) “to shine with a veiled, tremulous, or intermittent light; to gleam faintly; to glisten; to glimmer.”


‘Samite’ from Old French samit, from Medieval Latin samitum, examitum, from Byzantine Greek ἑξάμιτον ‎(hexámiton‎), from ἕξ ‎(héx, “six”‎) + μίτος ‎(mítos, “thread”‎).

‘Sam’ from Proto-Germanic samaz ‎(“together”‎), from Proto-Indo-European somHós ‎(“same”‎), Proto-Indo-European sem- ‎(“one, together”‎).

‘Mite’, from Proto-Indo-European med ‎(“to think about, reason, decide, to measure, to give advice, healing, to protect”‎). Cognate with Latin meditor ‎(“think, reflect, consider”‎).

‘Peasant’ from Late Middle English paissaunt, from Anglo-Norman paisant, from Middle French païsant ‎(“païsant”‎), from Old French païsan ‎(“countryman, peasant”‎), from païs ‎(“country”‎), from Late Latin pāgēnsis ‎(“inhabitant of a district”‎), from Latin pāgus ‎(“district”‎) + Old French -enc ‎(“member of”‎). From Latin pāgānus ‎(“rural, rustic”‎), later "civilian". The meaning "not (Judeo-) Christian" arose in Vulgar Latin, probably from the 4th century. It is unclear whether this usage is derived primarily from the "rustic" or from the "civilian" meaning, which in Roman army jargon meant 'clumsy' (“to be numb or benumbed; be stiffened or paralysed with cold or fear, made [lock-jawed] silent by fear”). Ultimately, from pāgus ‎(“[from an] area outside of a city, [from the] countryside”‎).

‘Dennis, an old French saint's name - Denis, brought to England by the Normans; from Latin Dionysius, "follower of (the wine god) Dionysos". Via Latin Dionysus, from Ancient Greek Διόνυσος ‎(Diónusos‎). (Greek mythology) The god of wine, specifically its intoxication and social influence, but also the patron of agriculture and the theater. Also related to the mystery of religion, as in "spiritual intoxication". By popular etymology often connected with Διός ‎(Diós‎) (the genitive of Ζεύς ‎(Zeús, “Zeus”‎)). The dio- forms are probably built by analogy from an original stem die-. The compound die-nus-os is analysed as from a verbal stem die- (from δίεμαι ‎(díemai, “to chase, to impel”‎)). The nus- element gave rise to a toponym Νύσα ‎(Núsa, “Nusa”‎), a mountain where the god was nursed by nymphs (the Nysiads, Nysa is also the name given to one of these nymphs). According to the testimony of Pherecydes of Syros (6th c. BCE), nusa is a word for "tree". Janda (Die Musik nach dem Chaos, 2010) suggests an original meaning of "impeller of the (world-)tree" (the axis mundi), connecting the god with archaic cosmology. The close association or indeed identity of Dionysus with a tree (especially the fig tree) is well attested in the classical period.
Anonymous (Thursday, 04 January), guess you're not a Trump fan then? Since when has free speech been a CAPITAL offence...

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