viernes, 26 de marzo de 2010

Clarifications about my attitude to Iskcon and the Gaudiya Math

Clarifications about my attitude to Iskcon and the Gaudiya Math, de Jagadananda Das

Deena Bandhu always blissful along with Hiranyagarba prabhu!

very very very RARE! Can you SPOT Srila Prabhupada?
En esta foto: Kripa Sindhu Krishna Das (fotos), Malla-Praharana Das, Amrta Gaurangi, Simheswara Dasa, Surintan Ramanaidoo, Harriena Bhardwaj, Mahesh Kumar Anand (fotos), Sv Navin Raja (fotos), Anusha Thuraisingam, Prajindra Sankar, Thina Garan, Bejendra Sankar, Deena Bandhu Das (fotos), मुकुन्द Mukundan Ravi (fotos), Dharmeshvar Chaitanya Das (fotos), Mallon Raman (fotos), Shankar Ramachandra (fotos), Gaurahari Das (fotos), Palani Muthu, Meera Thuraisingam, Amita Krish, Harish Chandar (fotos), Damodara Devandaran (fotos), Arvind Raj (fotos), Jeevita Sharma, Jb Suresh, Siva Caitanya Dasa (fotos), Shobna Shree, Maha Bhakti, Prabhu Prabhu (fotos), DomyThal Surya Kumar Kaseivisvanathan, Gaura Pujita Devi Dasi, Mathura Lilesvari

People going to Kumbha Mela

Some friends have asked me about recent statements I made to Isa Das in response to his claim that Iskcon had no bhakti and no sat-sanga, etc. In case people make the improbable claim that I favour Iskcon over Narayan Maharaj or indeed have any favouritism towards any branch of the Gaudiya Math, I am posting a number of articles written many years ago on various forums. Bear in mind that they were written eight years ago and I may have a slightly different point of view now, or the people named have changed. I did not bother changing anything.

Various perspectives on the Gaudiya Math and Iskcon

A number of selections from my postings on the internet are floating around supposedly proving how I am working to undermine the Gaudiya Math. Here are a few posts made on the Internet that show that black and white reasoning about me is completely silly.

The following is not meant to be a comprehensive article glorifying the Gaudiya Math. There are plenty of people already doing that. From time to time I have defended or clarified my own position vis-a-vis the Gaudiya Math or Srila Prabhupada. I have simply done a search of some of my postings over the past few months (September to December 2002) in which I speak of Srila Prabhupada or Sridhar Maharaj)


Respect for Vaishnavas

Whether you respect me or not is of no great concern to me. Saraswati Thakur did indeed promote the Mayapur birthplace. He believed in it and I cannot reproach him for doing so.

As far as respect is concerned, I take it as the basic principle of spiritual life. The intellectual and devotional life are connected, but of the two, one's devotional life is more important. Respect for other devotees is a part of the devotional life. Intellectual honesty is desirable in a devotee, but everyone, myself included, reaches a limit of "truth intolerance." At an extreme level, the example of truth intolerance is Arjuna, who sees the universal form and says to Krishna, "That's enough."

Another version of this is “search fatigue.” This is not necessarily because we are lazy or fundamentally dishonest, but rather because we are weak and limited in our capacity.

This is where humility and devotional life begin. I accept Mahaprabhu's teaching about how we should treat Vaishnavas. Here is Bhaktivinoda Thakur's song:

kabe mui vaiSNava cinibo hari hari
vaiSNava caraNa kalyANera khani
mAtibo hRdaye dhari

O Lord! When will I be able to recognize a Vaishnava? The Vaishnava’s lotus feet are the storehouse of all auspiciousness. When will I hold them to my heart with joy?

vaiSNava ThAkura aprAkRta sadA
nirdoSa Ananda maya
kRSNa nAme prIta jaDe udAsIna
jIvete dayArdra haya

The revered Vaishnavas are always transcendental. They are faultless and full of divine bliss. They love Krishna’s holy names and are indifferent to the material world, but still merciful to all the conditioned souls.

ati mAna hIna bhajane pravIna
viSayete anAsakta
antara bAhire niSkapaTa sadA
nitya lIlA anurakta

The Vaishnavas are without pride, they are expert in bhajan, they are unattached to material sense objects. Within and without, they are devoid of duplicity. They are always attached to the Lord’s eternal pastimes.

kaniSTha madhyama uttama prabhede
vaiSNava trividha gaNi
kaniSTha Adara madhyame praNati
uttame zuzrUSA zuni

There are three kinds of Vaishnavas: the beginners, the advanced and the perfected. I will show affection to the beginners, bow down with respect to the more advanced and serve the perfected with all my heart.

je jena vaiSNava ciniyA laiyA
Adara karibo jabe
vaiSNavera kRpA jähe sarva siddhi
avazya pAibo tabe

By recognizing each Vaishnava according to his position and respecting him accordingly, I will be sure to get their blessings, which lead to all perfections.

vaiSNava caritra sarvadA pavitra
jei ninde hiMsA kari
bhakativinoda nA sambhASe tAre
thAke sadA mauna dhari

The character of the Vaishnava is always pure and holy. Bhaktivinoda promises that he will never speak to one who criticizes such a Vaishnava out of envy, but will remain silent whenever in his company.


In defence of those who took Gaudiya Math siksha gurus

The ways of spiritual life are mysterious. Tripurari and most of the other Prabhupada disciples who went to Sridhar did so because they were disturbed by developments in Iskcon and were looking for guidance from a senior Vaishnava. They believed Sridhar to have been Srila Prabhupada's siksha guru, for Srila Prabhupada himself stated as much. They did not take initiation again from Sridhar Maharaja, so they cannot be considered guru tyagis. Taking many siksha gurus is legitimate activity for a Vaishnava.

There is a fundamental dishonesty in those Western Vaishnavas who refuse to recognize their debt to Srila Prabhupada and the Gaudiya Math. Even if we have vastly different ideas and tastes and are unable to accept many aspects of Gaudiya Math culture, if Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has any meaning to us at all, we have to admit that the root of Western Vaishnavism is A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. This should not stifle debate, but put it on a civilized footing.

As far as Sridhar Maharaj or any other Gaudiya Math sannyasi trying to "steal" Iskcon disciples, I never got this impression in all the years I was in India in Iskcon. I was a regular visitor to Gaudiya Maths and was always treated with much hospitality because I spoke Bengali. The acharyas of these maths were generally cordial, but made no effort to seduce me or to disenchant me from Iskcon. I only heard them praise Srila Prabhupada.

The few times I visited Sridhar Maharaj, I was astonished that despite poor health, he would get up from his bed to come and speak Hari katha to me personally. Yet I never got the impression that this was anything but an act of pure charity and Vaishnava munificence. When Westerners started coming to him, he took them in, as he said, out of reverence for Swami Maharaj, because he had promised to serve in whatever way he could.

As for Narayan Maharaj, I have spoken positively about him on these forums before. The devotees who have gone over to him seem more convinced that Iskcon needs Narayan Maharaj, and perhaps NM has begun to believe it, but we have discussed this often enough.

There is a big difference, though maybe most don't see it, between Tripurari Maharaj and Narasingha and Sudhir. Tripurari Maharaj has a far more nuanced and liberal understanding of Krishna consciousness than either Narasingha or Sudhir. These two are both sincere and dedicated souls, no doubt, but somewhat harsh and narrow in their understanding.

Two people may look at the same historical facts and come up with a different interpretation of them and so a certain amount of argument ensues. I say, let's get the historical facts straight and then go from there. In my article on "Charismatic Renewal in GV" I made this point. But whether one interprets Saraswati Thakur spiritually or sociologically, he created a significant revival movement and this should be recognized.

My point about understanding history is that we may have to make adjustments at some time in the future and that even Saraswati Thakur's innovations need not be seen as absolute in the larger context of what needs to be done to spread Krishna consciousness effectively.

My feeling is that the Gaudiya Math really needs to become more tolerant. All this demonization is a waste of time. Calling others Sahajiyas and Mayavadis left and right blinds us to the positive contributions made by all these other Vaishnavas and cuts us off from learning possible lessons from them. By the same token, if anyone considers himself to be "superior" to the Gaudiya Math, he should, at least on this point, act superior.


Respect for even Kanishtha Vaishnavas

I most definitely feel that one should exercise self control. Since when is going around calling even kanishtha Vaishnavas abusive and derogatory names a legitimate freedom?

Even the lowest devotee on the lowest rung of devotional service merits our formal respect. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "pujya se srestha sabakar". I have yet to see any evidence that "W" is on a higher level of spiritual practice and understanding than Narayan Maharaj. I may not agree with Narayan Maharaj in everything he does, nor necessarily find it always savory. I likely would not seek his association nor would I necessarily be welcomed by him into his company, but I will still give him my wholehearted respect as a matter of principle.

And I will similarly wholeheartedly condemn foolish, self-important armchair devotees who think they can cross the line between rational discourse and Vaishnava ninda. One can criticize without resorting to bad language. When one crosses that line, one has not only shown lack of self control, but maliciousness and hatred for Krishna himself.

vaishnava caritra sarvada pavitra
je ninde himsa kori'
bhakativinoda na sambhASe tAre
thAke sadA mauna dhori'

The character of the Vaishnava is always pure and holy. Bhaktivinoda promises that he will never speak to one who criticizes such a Vaishnava out of envy, but will remain silent whenever near him.

At any rate, if so-called freedom means engaging in Vaishnava ninda, then I stay at a distance. You may have some deep understanding that permits you to transcend fundamental good manners and Vaishnava etiquette, or you may have some "pristine" understanding of spiritual life that has no need for "process" like showing respect to Vaishnavas. Whatever, my response to you is "dhik! dhik!" All your philosophical speculations are worth a pile of manure.


Iskcon's failures

There is no doubt that Prabhupada introduced the chanting of the Holy Name to the West. Since the Holy Name is fundamental to the spreading of Vaishnava culture, there can be no denying that any history of Chaitanya's movement will have to accord a special place to Srila Prabhupada.

Even the most glorious divine personality would have difficulty training up people to act as exemplary saintly leaders in twelve years or less. The poor people who were saddled with the incredible responsibility of running Iskcon after he left were ultimately unprepared and they cracked in various ways. The inability of the Hare Krishna movement to successfully keep so many of its followers, to raise its children in a way that they will maintain the culture, or to find a way to keep its principles intact while still finding accomodation with the larger society are all very significant failures.

It all comes from a rather big paradox: on the one hand, there is a resistance to taking inspiration from more senior Vaishnavas, whether of the Gaudiya Math or other traditional sampradayas, on the other there is a resistance to innovation that could have been achieved through either simple learning or genuine inspiration from deep religious experience. There are so many things in world religious history or the history of our own tradition that could have helped us discriminate between essential and peripheral factors, but we failed.

Neither an openness to outside guidance nor to internal inspiration is possible where individualism is not honored. If working cooperatively means crushing individuality, then the most creative individuals leave and only the most obsequious and least imaginative remain.

Jagat (Sept 16, 2002)


Speculations on Srila Prabhupada's succession plans

Prabhupada may have said so many things [that are later interpreted by the Ritvik-vadis as favorable to their interpretations], but when it came to the crunch, he could not go against the diksha tradition.

His choice of the eleven successors was based as much on politics as spiritual advancement as such. He was hoping for a collegial system in which the eleven initiating acharyas would work together. The eleven people he selected were the most powerful politically and he knew that he had to protect Iskcon against inner struggles for power. Remember, power struggles were where the GM's problems began. In this sense, Prabhupada's decision was correct, because when Tamal made a move early on to place himself above the others as the primus inter pares, he was quickly crushed.

Prabhupada no doubt knew that some of the eleven would fall down, but he didn't know which ones. By naming eleven, rather than only one or two, he was hoping to keep the odds in Iskcon's favor. No doubt the extent of the rot was beyond his wildest nightmares.

Whatever Prabhupada's intentions, it would have helped had he given more detailed information about how he wanted things to proceed, especially if he were making a radical change to the tradition such as instituting something like the Ritvik Acharya system. For instance, he might have specified "no puja" if this is what he had wanted.

The Ritvik-vadis may not "buy" it, but this is because they cannot simply believe that their "omniscient guru" could make a mistake. In fact, perhaps Prabhupada's biggest mistake was that he did not put a Ritvik system in place!

But he clearly said, "They will be his disciples." Do all the world jugglery you like, you cannot change that. If you want to put a Ritvik system in place now, closing the barn door after the horses have bolted, as it were, that is alright. There are no doubt many advantages to such a system. And it may indeed be what Prabhupada really wanted, or would have done if he had been able to take the step. But he must have known that this radical step would have been Iskcon's death knell with the other Gaudiya Maths.

Prabhupada was very sensitive about what the GM thought of him and Iskcon. It was this sensitivity that made him react so strongly to criticism and to prohibit association. At one point, he asked Sridhar Maharaj to take over after he left, which Sridhar wisely refused. Other than Sridhar, Srila Prabhupada felt there was really no one else in the Gaudiya Math he could trust. But he also must have recognized that there were cultural differences that would be insurmountable if a Gaudiya Math acharya were imported, and this would lead to political problems in the society. Those in leadership positions in Iskcon would not have taken kindly to being usurped by an outsider who had not earned his stripes in Iskcon itself. And besides, how could Iskcon leaders suddenly have faith in a Sridhar or anyone else after all that Prabhupada had stated about them beforehand?

In view of all these considerations, Srila Prabhupada went ahead with the eleven successors plan. Had he gone ahead with a Ritvik plan (if he gave it any serious thought at all), it would have made Iskcon a total apasampradaya in the eyes of his godbrothers. Prabhupada prided himself on following Siddhanta Saraswati. He would not have wanted this kind of infamy amongst his own godbrothers, who, whatever else they may have said, did indeed very much respect him for his preaching accomplishments.

I don't know why you think I have something to gain by taking one position or another on this issue. I have no disciples, nor do I want any. I am not preaching on behalf of anyone or any institution. Nor do I have any deepseated hatred of Iskcon or any other institution. I have repeatedly said that I wish the best for each group -- Ritviks, Iskcon and the Gaudiya Math, what to speak of the Vrindavan Vaishnavas. May they all find success, both in the achievement of their spiritual goals and in the communication of the highest spiritual ideas to the world. If they can find friendship with each other, all the better.

You, on the other hand, have to deliberately blind yourself to the facts because you can't believe that Prabhupada might have made a mistake. As it is, I don't even really say Prabhupada did make a mistake in naming the eleven successors. He made a decision and things turned out the way they did. The fault lies with the eleven, not with Srila Prabhupada.

Had he chosen the Ritvik option, I think that the hemorrhaging to the Gaudiya Math would have been even greater. Iskcon had made such a great to-do in its preaching about finding a living guru, that if they had no one to point to at all, everyone would have felt obliged to turn to the Gaudiya Math, even more than they did in the actual circumstances.

If, from a knowledge of past, present and future, Srila Prabhupada had named just Satsvarupa, Hridayananda, Tamal and Jayapataka (the only survivors), the political problems would likely still have become very pronounced. Tamal would have quickly taken over (the other three being less ambitious), but not without a fight from the seven (and others) not named. And what would have happened to the movement in Eastern Europe, etc.? It is likely that schisms and disruptions would have been even greater.

On the whole, then, it seems that of the many options, Prabhupada chose the only one he could. Anyway we can fantasize all we want. What's done is done. Whatever social system we choose, the important thing is to become Krishna conscious, is it not? (Sept 1, 2002)


As I have stated previously, I think that Prabhupada did the best he could in the circumstances. I cannot honestly say that there were no errors, but once you set a big snowball sliding down a mountain, there is little you can do to stop it.

Sridhar Maharaj and Narayan Maharaj took a position relative to Iskcon based on their understanding of Gaudiya siddhanta. Neither of them actively sought to "poach" disciples from Iskcon, but Iskcon's problems were thrust on them. Their first instinct was to support the status quo in Iskcon. It wasn't their business and it was an obvious mess. They didn't feel like leading a revolution, and that is a sign of their good faith, in my opinion.

I furthermore think that the extreme negative portrayals made by Pada and others of Narayan Maharaj and of Sridhar Maharaj are entirely unjustified. I believe that the condition of world Vaishnavism would be immeasurably worse if it were not for the service these two men rendered. And that goes for B. B. Tirtha, B. S. Govinda, B. P. Puri, B. B. Bodhayan, and many other Gaudiya Math sannyasis. I bow down to them all without any reserve.

Hierarchically speaking, I do judge the devotees whose behavior I observe on these forums and elsewhere. I see many very fine human beings who have a deep inner commitment to Prabhupada's movement and who have moved beyond much of the pettiness that has almost destroyed it. These devotees may be in Iskcon or elsewhere, but I bow down to them all without reserve.

On a lower plane, there are a great number of devotees who have been stuck in Iskcon and never looked beyond its limited purview. They have rejected the Gaudiya Math and all Vaishnavas outside the Gaudiya Math because of things Prabhupada said against them. Thus deprived of more advanced Vaishnava association, they have developed a culture of offensive behavior and show little sign of Vaishnava character, internal or external.

Iskcon as a whole suffers from the absence of advanced Vaishnava association. The leadership is more involved in management questions than in the culture of Krishna consciousness or developing a broader understanding of spiritual life. There are certain notable exceptions and I wish I knew more of them.

There are, of course, various grudges and long held gripes in almost every Vaishnava faction -- whether between the different sampradayas, or between Babajis, Goswamis, and Gaudiya Maths. I say to everyone, "Get over it."


As far as being anyone's "bucket boy" is concerned, just scroll through this thread. It started with me being condemned by a follower of Sridhar. Followers of Narayan Maharaj have blasted me on this forum; Ritvik followers have criticized me; it goes without saying that Iskcon does not care much for me.

What I am for is this: a deepening of our understanding of Krishna consciousness and spiritual life in general. We have to go deeper, both spiritually as individual human beings growing into divinity, towards human perfection, and intellectually towards understanding our own tradition historically and theologically on the one hand and how it fits into more universal traditions of spirituality on the other.

For some followers, it may be enough to say "It's all in Prabhupada's books." But for leaders to close their eyes to the need for such widening of horizons is criminal. Krishna katha is supposed to be navaM navam. If it is not freshened with ever deepening realizations or if the so-called realizations are not colored with learning, then it becomes dry and lifeless.

tad eva ramyaM ruciraM navaM navaM
tad eva zazvan manaso mahotsavam
tad eva zokArNava-zoSaNaM nRNAM
yad uttamaHzloka-yazo 'nugIyate

Wherever the topics of Krishna are sung,
it is enjoyable, pleasing, and ever fresh;
it is an ever-delightful festival for the mind`
and through it, the ocean of our suffering dries up.

We have to put the old wine in new bottles. The challenges for Krishna consciousness are great in the modern world. This is why I was very sad to see Tamal Krishna Goswami leave. He at least seemed to understand the intellectual challenges that face a preacher in the 21st century.

Let's face it: most of us were spiritually illiterate when we came to Krishna consciousness. You can compensate for ignorance by being humble, but ignorance combined with arrogance is deadly. That is what we saw in the eleven acharyas and the very same disease is present in people like P.


As usual, P's interpretation of history is all askew. Srila Prabhupada was a householder, far from any of the Gaudiya Math's politics. He thus went along with Sridhar and the others who promoted Ananta Vasudeva for at least a year or two. Then Sridhar and Keshava and the rest got out. Prabhupada was in this group, so if he was critical of the Gaudiya Math leadership, it was in the association of these other critics. Keshava was the most vocal and negative critic of the two main factions of the Gaudiya Math. Narayan Maharaj is Keshava Maharaj's disciple, so I assume they were on the same page about Ananta Vasudeva and Tirtha Maharaj. They have never said anything overly favorable about these two.

B. P. Puri, on the other hand, after a few years of independent wandering, returned to the Chaitanya Math and stayed there along with Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj until much later. Puri didn't leave Tirtha until 1960 or so, when he joined Madhava Maharaj at the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, founded only a couple of years earlier. Srila Prabhupada had a less favorable attitude towards them because he had no great love for Tirtha Maharaj.

I still think Prabhupada named the eleven successors to be initiating gurus. But if you really ask me, the movement was destined to explode and fall apart. My expression was in Bengali, sabu kheye mota, which means "getting fat eating tapioca." I don't quite understand the original meaning, but the expression is used when something gets big and strong without having any real substance.

This was Iskcon. It looked good -- all that money coming in, lots of enthusiasm, big temples, nice deities, buttery prasad, lots of flying around from country to country, holidays in India -- but the spiritual substance was superficial. A real knowledge of sastra, deep spiritual practice and realization, real cultural assimilation of Krishna consciousness, etc., were all absent.

Furthermore, Prabhupada closed the door on association with his godbrothers and other Vaishnavas, which really was the only hope. This may not have done much for the institution, but it would have helped individual spiritual life. So the people who really wanted to find out more about the devotional path naturally turned to Sridhar, Narayan, Puri, Tirtha and others. Most of these people are happier with their situation than those who remained entangled in the Iskcon morass.

Even the Ritviks are in many ways better than Iskcon. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that they have adopted (or been forced to accept) a more natural social model.


Quite happily I say that I will go where I find true Krishna consciousness. There is more Krishna consciousness in Sridhar Maharaj's toenail than there is in everything you ever have done, are doing or will do.

I have said it before and I will say it again, my dear P. You think that you are leading an intelligent campaign against the GBC, etc., but what you are doing is completely counterproductive. You should go take PR lessons somewhere.

(Nov. 11, 2002)


Narayan Maharaj's preaching of Raganuga bhakti

Of course, Narayan Maharaj's mood is somewhat different from that of Sridhar Maharaj, and that is somewhat problematic for the other Gaudiya Maths. Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj also felt ambivalent about Narayan Maharaj's open preaching of Raganuga katha.

I am an open fan. Why hide the central fact of Mahaprabhu's gift to the world? We are devotees of Radha and Krishna, and more of Radha than Krishna. Narayan Maharaj states the simple truth of what it means to be a follower of Rupa and Raghunath and he is condemned for being arrogant!

Of course there are always risks. It is said,

adhikAra na labhiyA siddha deha bhAve
viparyaya buddhi janme zaktira abhAve

One who thinks of his siddha form without having attained the qualifications will understand everything incorrectly because of his lack of spiritual power.

On the other hand, Krishna tells Arjuna that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all:

pArtha naiveha nAmutra
vinAzas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyANakRt kazcid
durgatiM tAta gacchati

An aspirant for spiritual perfection is never destroyed, neither in this life nor the next. One who engages in auspicious acts never meets an evil end.

Even more clear is Narada's instruction—

tyaktvA sva-dharmaM caraNAmbujaM harer
bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vAbhadram abhUd amuSya kiM
ko vArtha Apto 'bhajatAM sva-dharmataH

One who has forsaken his material occupations to engage in the devotional service of the Lord may sometimes fall down while in an immature stage, yet there is no danger of his being unsuccessful. On the other hand, a nondevotee, though fully engaged in occupational duties, does not gain anything.

na vai jano jAtu kathaJcanAvrajen
mukunda-sevy anyavad aGga saMsRtim
smaran mukundAGghry-upagUhanaM punar
vihAtum icchen na rasa-graho janaH

My dear Vyasa, even though a devotee of Lord Krishna sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others [fruitive workers, etc.] because a person who has once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again.(HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's translations)

I certainly believe that we can all do better. This is a public forum. I am sure that an intelligent innocent who wanders onto these pages will be more influenced by those posts that are written in a rational, aesthetic and polite fashion. Those that are irrational, ugly and arrogant will not impress anyone.

No matter how glorious your message, your presentation unfortunately counts. The message of Radha and Krishna is glorious; it is aesthetically pleasing; it is profound and becomes more profound with contemplation. I am not ashamed to advise even the most innocent neophyte to meditate on Radha and Krishna's lotus feet. If he should do so following in the footsteps of Gauranga and Rupa-Raghunath, all the better.

I personally left Iskcon because I saw that it was a dead end for Vaishnava association. As far as I was concerned, Prabhupada left and closed the door behind him. I knew this instinctively the moment I heard that he had departed. That was what my inner voice told me.

Nothing the Ritviks or anyone else says can convince me otherwise. When I see the great Ritvik spokesmen, I see nothing persuasive that here is the advanced Vaishnava association that the shastra advises me to seek. I enjoy hearing Prabhupad's glories, but I'm afraid Prabhupada katha does not replace the original Hari Katha.

The "it's all in my books" business has never convinced me either. On closer examination of the books, I am even less convinced. With all due respect to Prabhupada's magnificent achievements in translating so much in so little time, when he closed the door on scholarship, he closed the door on me.

On the other hand, there are many people in the Gaudiya Math with whom I know that I can consistently look forward to intelligent Radha-Krishna katha. The pettiness of the anti-reading books crowd, who are strongest in the Ritvik section, is more evidence of their cramped and stultified spirituality.

satAM prasaGgAn mama vIrya-saMvido
bhavanti hRt-karNa-rasAyanAH kathAH
taj-joSaNAd Azv apavarga-vartmani
zraddhA ratir bhaktir anukramiSyati

My heroic pastimes are very pleasing to the ear and satisfying to the heart when heard in the association of pure devotees. As a result of joyfully relishing these pastimes in such association, one quickly advances on the path of liberation, passing through the stages of faith (zraddhA), the revelation of one’s divine relationship with Krishna (rati), and true love for him (bhakti). (BhP 3.25.25)

Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur's commentary:

It is said that the mind develops affection for the Lord through the association of devotees. In this verse the progressive development of such affection will be shown. One first develops a little faith for associating with Vaishnavas when he first hears that one should seek it out. In the best kinds of Vaishnava association one hears discussions about Krishna, whereas in inferior association, one may engage in various devotional practices, but not hear any [potent] Hari Katha. The Hari Katha that one hears in such advanced association causes the elimination of anarthas and then firm commitment to such hearing. Then one gets a genuine perception of Krishna's glories (vIrya-saMvido) and then, as one develops a taste, they become ever more "pleasing to the ear and satisfying to the heart." By continuing to relish Krishna katha with affection (joSaNAt) one develops attachment for the Lord, who is the path to liberation (apavarga-vartmani), then bhAva, and then prema. (Kapila says) This kind of devotion will now be spread by me throughout the world following this sequence.

NOTE: Vishwanath is recapitulating the process of devotional service as found in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, but to make it fit, he translates the word zraddhA found in the last line as Asakti, rati as bhAva and bhakti as prema. The other words that appear earlier in the verse are interpreted to represent various stages on the path of devotional progress.

However, what I really wanted to point out is the hierarchy of association, which Vishwanath says is based on the amount and quality of Hari Katha.

Narayan Maharaj is speaking Hari Katha. He may sometimes forget to admit that he got some of it from the Babajis, but I won't condemn him for this. What I mind is those who think they can spread Krishna consciousness without Hari Katha. Vishwanath is quite right when he says without Hari Katha or with the wrong kind of katha there is no anartha nivritti. Vaishnava aparadh in the guise of Hari Katha has nothing to do with the path to liberation.

tebhyo namo’stu bhava-vAridhi-jIrNa-paGka-
kRSNeti varNa-yugalaM zravaNena yeSAM
AnandathUr-bhavati nartita-roma-vRndaH

May my respectful obeisances be given to the shoes of those wise entities who have learned the technique of liberating the poor creatures caught in the stinking mud of the ocean of material existence. On simply hearing the two syllables of Krishna’s name, these devotees are overcome with bliss and their bodily hairs stand erect.

I should not say that "I don't mind." I do mind. But I would rather see Narayan Maharaj stealing other's Hari Katha and distributing it than not distributing it at all. Nevertheless, by doing it this way, he is inviting difficulties for himself through self-contradiction.

If I borrow a particular insight (about the highest and most intimate aspects of devotional life) and yet say that those from whom I have borrowed this insight are false devotees, a massive and dangerous contradiction arises.

The first offense to the Holy Name asks "How will the Holy Name tolerate the criticism of those who spread His glories through the world?"

If what seems to be taking place is indeed true, then this would be a perfect instance of such behavior. On the one hand you admit that the glories of Radha and Krishna have entered the world through the insights of an Ananda Gopal Goswami or an Ananta Das Babaji, but then you deny that they are qualified to have such insights and that they are dangerous people. It is the exact opposite of hating the sin and not the sinner, it is loving the insight but not the in-seer. Not good.

It is said that one should take gold even from a dirty place, but we should not abuse this saying. If I take realizations--whether from Freud or Jung, Madhusudan Saraswati, Friedrich Nietzsche, or anyone else--that I feel are applicable to getting a deeper understanding of Krishna consciousness, that does not give me the right to condemn them for their failure to understand spiritual life the way I do. Rather, it calls me to honor the voice of God that spoke through them, the light of understanding that they were invited by the Divinity to shine on the world.

Escrito hace aproximadamente 3 semanas

Jay Dadlani
Jay Dadlani
Given that this reposting of old notes took place in connection with issues involving Isa das, I have only one thing to say in that regard.

Isa das was on my FB list of friends, and didn't last very long there after I discovered how regularly he would go around telling people they were "dogs" for not recognising the glory he could see in Narayan ... Ver másMaharaj.

That's about all >>I<<>
19 de marzo a las 2:46

Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic
Dear Jay, if we were to remove everyone who misses the point sometimes from the list of our friends, where such an attitude will lead us to? Into which kind of reality? Who's gonna like to live in such a reality?

It will only alienate people, deepen the chasm between us, giving both sides raison d'être that in time becomes sole motive of justifying someone's worthiness. In time chasm grows so wide and deep it becomes impossible to bridge.

It is exactly that obstacle that stops us from going over misunderstandings and diversities into a higher synthesis. That's the same issue Prabhupad had with GM, Narayan had with Iskcon and GM, all of them had together, we have inside our families, and so forth. ... Ver más

"Paying obeisances from a distance" is an invention that is nothing else but a pathetic excuse for "I'm unable to cope with your differences and I'm not willing to change myself in order to understand your position (which may as well be caused by your heart's deep grief. But I'm not interested to understand your heart because I'm too busy with my own salvation. So whatever you say doesn't bother me if you're not with me)". In time it grows bigger and bigger and differences about certain details become insurmountable differences in a whole life's philosophy. That quaint line not only won't make someone our friend, but it can create only an enemy.

It sprang into life from a fragmented society and was accepted there as an easy way not to 'commit an offense', but in fact it's a brutal and life-denying offense against our humanity.
19 de marzo a las 6:28

Andreeva Maria
Andreeva Maria
@ wordy- no,it is just a scientific way to approach the problem
@ discussion on internet - the more people comment on the article the more it looks complete...
19 de marzo a las 6:50

Abhay Deolekar
Abhay Deolekar
@Tosic-Can you please give some Shastric justification to the interpretation you gave for "Paying obeisances from a distance".It will be very nicer.
19 de marzo a las 14:01 · Denunciar
Jay Dadlani
Jay Dadlani
Perhaps my comments were misunderstood. I see little use even in "paying respects from a distance" because I don't wish to "understand" grievances that have little basis in spirituality and everything to do with petty politics. I am not opposed to discussion and mutual understanding in principle, but my ground rules are set within the limits of ... Ver máscivil discourse. The moment someone violates a code of Vaishnava behaviour or even of commonsense morality is the moment they lose me as a listener.

If prema is an ocean that floods everyone's back gardens, just like the tsunami wall of water did to the hotel courtyard in that infamous TV clip, it is natural that the owners of the back yards would consider it "their" water and fight over it. That is the nature of humans.

But if prema is really an ocean as Mahaprabhu described, one should find a way to dive directly into it. Then you don't have to worry about being a guest in someone's house and trespassing in their back gardens.
19 de marzo a las 19:41

Andreeva Maria
Andreeva Maria
@ Jay Dadlani- ji, your comparison (back yards water) is sooo visual
20 de marzo a las 5:14 · Denunciar
Andreeva Maria
Andreeva Maria
@JD -to dive directly
but what if somebody needs a spiritual master (as recommended)?
20 de marzo a las 5:17

Jay Dadlani
Jay Dadlani
Hi Andreeva, I think that if one cannot see the ocean for oneself and needs a teacher to point it out, then at least this teacher's duty is simply to point to the ocean and say, "there it is, dive in!"

A real teacher will not insist that you stay only in his backyard and swim in his swimming pool, nor forbid you from swimming in anyone else's pool. The ocean of prema is big enough to accomodate everybody.
21 de marzo a las 5:11

Andreeva Maria
Andreeva Maria
thank you
21 de marzo a las 6:00

Madhavananda Das
Madhavananda Das
Thanks Jagat. There are some gems in your above comments.

I loved the following:

=========... Ver más
"Even the lowest devotee on the lowest rung of devotional service merits our formal respect."

Sadhu sadhu.

Your tiredness in dealing with politics also resonates with me. I much prefer to philosophically speak out against the sin than against the sinner. Even better, as you later point out, let's hear some serious hari-katha!

And such unpleasantness doesn't wear the colors of any particular institution. I could tell you similar heavy stories about some of the babaji and goswami temples in Puri and Vrindavan. It's not the sole property of ISKCON-Gaudiya Math.

Stuff happens!

Politics and diplomacy are likely to rear their ugly heads anywhere there are two or more conditioned souls. Especially when you have a hierarchy with leaders who have been given their posts due to management expertise rather than their ability to inspire others in bhakti.

Some times a mahatma many establish such a hierarchy to keep the temple and preaching maintained. Again, I've seen that happen in many sangas.

I would have liked to have seen your comments to Isa.

Saying, "ISKCON has no bhakti or no sadhu-sanga" has no meaning. Of course it has not bhakti and no sadhu-sanga -- anymore than an automobile does! It's not a person, it's an institution.

Are bhakti and sadhu-sanga bestowed simply due to someone's external affiliation? Is this our Gaudiya siddhanta? What about Bhishmadev who appeared to be on the side of the Kauravas?

And let's not forget that Radharani lives with Jatila and Kutila!

Jiva Goswami describes that bhakti is not the vritti, the natural faculty or occupation of the paramatma-vaibhava jiva -- the living entities in this material world who have emanated from the Paramatma. Nor is bhakti the vritti of an institution. It descends in the form of krishna-kripa sri murti -- the sadhu who is the embodiment of Krishna's mercy to those souls who are bhagyavan -- very fortunate.

To proclaim that bhakti is, or is not the possession of a group simply indicates the ignorance of the speaker.

Krishna can come to anyone, hell, even westerners and ISKCON devotees!

Sorry for the long rant.
04 de abril a las 19:12

Notas de Jagadananda Das

25 de marzoGGM : Updates (Winter 2009-2010)
18 de marzoClarifications about my attitude to Iskcon and the Gaudiya Math
27 de eneroSome reflections on Radha's mana


25 de diciembreBridge over Yamuna
25 de diciembreFurther encouraging updates on visas
23 de diciembreUpdate on Changes in Indian Visa Regulations
13 de diciembreMayapur Festival 1978
10 de diciembreSome Christian Prayers in Sanskrit
03 de diciembreGGM November uploads
08 de noviembreHari-bhakti-sudhodaya :: Five best verses
31 de octubreGaudiya Grantha Mandir :: October 2009 Uploads
05 de octubreWho genuinely represents Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?
08 de agostoThe 15 books game.
05 de agostoAtheism and Upanishadic Philosophy
29 de julioBooks for sale or give away
17 de junioTalk at Ram Dham temple in Kitchener, ON
17 de junioInterfaith Seminar on Death
02 de junioGovardhana according to Vrinda Devi
12 de mayoLast few days in Rishikesh
10 de mayoChakra Exercise
09 de mayoThe Two Circle Dances
07 de mayoThe Gods of This Earth
05 de mayoGaudiya Vaishnava
04 de mayoI am an ocean
03 de mayoGita: Allegory or History?
02 de mayoTradition
01 de mayoGurus falling from the sky
01 de mayoAfter Dana Lila
30 de abrilToday I saw Sri Radha
29 de abrilHamsa
28 de abrilFour Chandi Das's
28 de abrilPanchapadi
27 de abril"May I have love" A verse by Haridas Shastri
27 de abrilGovardhan Bhatta: Praises of Sri Rupa Goswami
26 de abrilNo fault diminishes it
26 de abrilThe Flower Garland And The Sword
25 de abrilTen Offenses to Love
25 de abrilThe Prince
25 de abrilKalankini Rai
24 de abrilThere Was No Time Limit
24 de abrilThe Mystery of Mahaprabhu
23 de abrilPrema makes our Krishna dance
23 de abrilAbhisara
22 de abrilThey call that Krishna
22 de abrilYoginis and Viyoginis
21 de abrilBhagavata 3.15.43
20 de abrilBhagavata 3.15.42


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