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Monday, February 27, 2006

Śiva Caturdaśī, prāṇa pratiṣṭha, respect and Sevā Kuñja

Due to difference of opinion most people did Śiva Pūjā and the vigil yesterday, so today it really peaceful at Gopeśvara Mahādeva Mandir. At the gate I buy a basket with a garland, roses, Bael-leaves, incense and some other items to offer. I am out within 5 minutes.

In a private darśan I ask Satya-nārāyan Dāsjī whether Kṛṣṇa will not be there in the deity because of corrupt management of its temple or organization, due to lack of prāṇa pratiṣṭha or lack of bhakti. He says prāṇa-pratiṣṭhā is just a show conducted for social acceptance of a temple. Kṛṣṇa is anyway everywhere, so why not in a non-installed deity? Kṛṣṇa is manifest in the deity according to the bhakti of the individual who comes for His darshan.

I ask him about the dilemma of having to respect older devotees who may be deeply flawed. He says it is hazardous to criticise elders in public (internet) for one will make many enemies, but in private one should certainly speak the truth about such a senior devotee, because it is one's duty to warn innocent would-be followers against him. About Upadeśāmṛta verse 6 he says that one should not dishonor a devotee because of faulty character but also not associate with him/her, just as one would die after drinking the Yamunā-water in its current polluted state, but must certainly respect her from a distance.

During the class he confirms that one cannot just get darśan of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa by hiding oneself in Sevā-kunja. This is a myth, hearsay. All the neighbors can look in from the first floor and they don't go blind or mad. I tell him I was living in such a first-floor adjacent room and I never saw anything (and mad I was already before that anyway!)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Women and social life

My Dutch friend Vāsu Ghoṣa tells me that women cannot live without social life. Men can. I remember the līlā of the sacrifice of Dakṣa. Satī was so eager to go there and socialize that she defied the prohibition of her husband Śiva and went there anyway. It cost her her life and that of her father.... (I do know there are some women who are less socially inclined but they are exceptions)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More satsanga with Satya-nārāyan Dās

Today, during his Bhāgavata pāṭha, Satya Nārāyan Prabhu discussed Viśvanātha Cakravartī's ṭīkā on Ś.B. 1.9.26, where he says: kintu vairāgyaṁ cet sadaiva bhikṣavo bhaveyus tadā rāgas ced gṛhastha eva sadeti "A vairāgi should be vairāgī throughout life and a gṛhastha should be a gṛhastha throughout life if that is their true propensity." If vairāgya isn't there at age 50 one has either not properly followed gṛhastha dharma or one is simply not inclined towards vairāgya."

When I ask Satyanārāyan about the Haribhakti-vilāsa verse amārgastho sanmārgo vā gurur eva janārdanaḥ ("Whether on the path or off it, the Guru is always God"), he says that if the Guru is not on the path he cannot bestow siddhi, just as blind faith in a counterfeit medicine will not cure your disease. He reminds me of the verse I quoted earlier -

guror apy avaliptasya kāryākāryam ajānataḥ
utpatha pratipannasya parityāgo vidhīyate

"If the Guru is arrogant, does not know right from wrong and is devious he is to be fully rejected".

I ask him about the muktānām api siddhānām verse (S.B 6.14.5) , if that means that those who merged into brahman can really proceed to bhakti. He says muktānām refers to jīvanmuktas (those liberated in this body), not to atyantika muktas, fully liberated souls. Kṛṣṇa may take a soul out of brahman, because individuality is eternal, even in brahma-līna. A drop of water remains a drop, also when it is part of an ocean.

Edited December 16, 2008

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The advent of Śrī Advaita Ācārya

As Lord Sadāśiva, the transcendental deity from Vaikuṇṭha who is the fountainhead of all the forms of Śiva within the innumerable mundane universes saw the wicked age of Kali, or quarrel, destroying all godly qualities in man, He became filled with compassion. After many deliberations with goddess Yogamāyā He sat down on the shore of the Causal Ocean, where Lord Mahaviṣṇu lies in mystic slumber. That great, ever-joyful yogi sat down on a yoga-āsana and began to practice yoga there. After 700 years of penance the Universal Lord Mahāviṣṇu appeared to Him. Five-headed Śiva then offered many kinds of indescribable praises to Mahāviṣṇu, who replied: "My dear Sadāśiva! Why are You trying to please Me by performing such difficult austerities? You and I are one! We differ only in body!" Sadāśiva replied: "My dear Lord, unless You empower Me to save suffering mankind, how can I do it?" Then Mahāviṣṇu embraced Sadāśiva and thus They assumed one captivating, radiant golden form in which They would appear, roaring out 'kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa!'
Then a most amazing divine voice resounded in the sky, proclaiming: "Listen, O Mahāviṣṇu! First descend in the womb of Lābhā-devī in this form— later I will personally descend in Nadiya. You will then find Me in the abode of Śacī and Jagannātha. Balarāma and all the other devotees will also all take birth there to redeem the conditioned souls." Hearing this, Mahāviṣṇu became one with Siva and together they entered the womb of Lābhā-devī in Śāntipura.

Friday, February 03, 2006

2006 Sītānāth Utsava

Kṛṣṇā Di

Kīrtan in the pandal

Golok and Rākhā Dā

Thanks to Prāngovinda for the hottest photos of Sītānāth's Utsava - the annual festival to commemmorate Advaita Prabhu's birthday in Sādhu Bābā's āśram, Prāchīn Māyāpur, Navadvīp! Glory to digital photography! Sītānātha's Utsav comes (almost) live into your living-room!

Sādhu Bābā on Vedic Utopia

Returning to the discussion of meat-eating and other practices in the Vedic civilization, I have this entry in my Indian diary, early November, 1984 – "Shortly after the assassination of Indira Gandhi I ask Bābā how it is possible that such a person can rule a holy land like India for so long." Bābā pointedly replied: āge-o kaṁsa-ṭaṁsa chilo to? “In the ancient days there were demoniac rulers like Kaṁsa too, weren’t there?” This is significant in relation to the utopian ideas that many, especially western, devotees, have of the ancient Vedic civilization. Its principles were perfect, but human beings are not and never were.

This anecdote is added to the biography of Sādhu Bābā (linktab Nikunja Gopal Gosvami, page 43) at