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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hidden motives

I read on another blog that bloggers blog to expose themselves almost narcistically for fame and prestige, to gather followers and admirers or even to seduce women. That is food for some deep introspection. My conscious motive was to get a link to the outside world, as I am physically quite isolated here. I suppose that even if bloggers, yours truly included, have vāsanās (subconscious motives) for fame, women and money, it is still worthwhile to read and write blogs because when one has a lot of knowledge it is one's duty to share the same with the wider world, and if one is unable or unwilling to travel the globe to preach one can still offer a contribution to a world which is suffering from ignorance. Also in the comments box and in its ensuing discussions, the proud blogger is able to learn lessons from his commentators......

96 comments:

  1. It is a fact that the most effective preaching is in person. A reputed gaudiya vaishnava preacher [who travels widely but also blogs as a means of preaching] has said recently, "One must practice what one preaches, otherwise hypocrisy. Readers will accept or reject what is preached by looking in to the preacher's own life."

    If a preacher is unable, what to speak of unwilling, to meet his benficiaries face to face, then perhaps that person shouldn't be "preaching".

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  2. "If a preacher is unable, what to speak of unwilling, to meet his benficiaries face to face, then perhaps that person shouldn't be "preaching".

    I am afraid that is a bit unrealistic. Even before the internet era I received queries from all over the world, but I didnt have the means to visit each and every 'beneficiary'. Also the most famous and successful GV preacher ever initiated most of his sisyas by letter or by tape. Most of his sisyas never seriously met him personally at all. Otherwise your point is well taken - even on the material plane, big worldleaders get more business done by personally meeting each other than via video links etc. Personal presence is very potent indeed.

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  3. "Also the most famous and successful GV preacher ever initiated most of his sisyas by letter or by tape. Most of his sisyas never seriously met him personally at all. "


    The preacher singled out here as the "most successful ever" did not, indeed, interact body to body with most individiuals he affected. Still, the 'seriousness' of the interactions are indisputable. Otherwise his success would have to be also disputed. But even as a serious critic of some aspects of that preacher, you have authenticated his success here.

    This success was possible precisely because, despite no face to face interaction in each and every case, the preacher moved people to make extreme changes in their own lives. This was only possible because the preacher himself transfomed his own life.

    There is a tremendous difference between imparting inititation by letter and by tape BECAUSE of necessity, and keeping one's distance by choice.

    In essence, Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a quest for personalism.

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  4. Dear Advaita das,

    I side again with you on this one. Our advancement goes hand in hand with our sincerity. Subconcious motives can still be there subtly disturbing us all. But on your blog you seem willing to take criticism at heart and make corrections on previous statements, when new insights come to light.
    Actually our conscious intent is all we have and in the end the subconscious will have to adjust to that.
    Surrender (complete or step by step) to a sad-guru will definitly help to get the subconscious in line.
    Practical service to the vaisnavas, sweating to make their life a little easier, also helps.
    It is not just philosopical and meditational. It is progress by interaction and service.

    Yours,

    Lovingly and supportingly

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  5. I think that the quoted blogger (Jagat?) is right about practicing what one preaches; if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk, as the Yankees have it. Or put up or shut up, etc. That is much more important than meeting your 'audience' personally.
    If one has not gained the Love of the Lord in your heart, you have lost everything and not one "knowledgable" lecture will help anyone.
    Sorry to state the obvious, but still...

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  6. Yadupati,

    There is not need to create disnecessary confusion. I said exactly what you are saying: that one must walk the walk. That is the essence of what I said and I am sure you have understood. There is no need to divert to politics. Try to focus on the subject beyond politics, I am sure yor are a veteran just like every other oldie here.

    If walking the walk means to stay behind a blog, then the audience will be affected in a PERSONAL enough level. But personal contact it must be.

    Advaitadas speaks of those cases where a preacher, by choice, is UNWILLING. What does that mean? It can mean many things, but as you (yadupati) says, putting up is more important than empty talk. If due to relative considerations one feels he likes to preach but he will do so partially, at his own covenience, then his walk is just as good as any talk.

    We are all in this together and indeed, pretty much everything has been said. I want to see Advaitadas taking a few disciples and writing books of his own instead of interacting with anonymous, like me, on a blog.

    With all the experience that he has, and the amazing work he has done this far, I challenge him to now become THIS personal with his audience!

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  7. "I challenge him to now become THIS personal with his audience!"

    It is ironic to hear this from a person who does not wish to identify his/herself but who obviously bears some grudge towards me. It is hard to talk this out without knowing whether the grudge is personal or philosophical. You can talk it out with me via e-mail. Any comment here is first mailed to me anyway, so feel free.

    "I want to see Advaitadas taking a few disciples and writing books of his own instead of interacting with anonymous, like me, on a blog."

    I have no mandate to initiate people, neither from shastra nor from guru, nor do I have anything to write in books. Everything is there in the Gosvamis books.
    There are far more advanced devotees than me who have not taken any disciples yet either.
    As I have said before it is not possible to go out and meet everybody, but I DID just return from a foreign trip and have made more before. I wouldnt have had any guilt problem if I never went anywhere at all, though. I have a gut feeling that Anonymous speaks the way he speaks because he considers 'preaching to be the highest service'...

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  8. Though I am somewhat reluctant to get involved, I would like to comment a little bit here.

    I think that for many of us who took to the traditional paths of Vaishnavism, we reacted to the preaching ethos of the IGM and felt it more important to cultivate our personal spiritual lives and deepen our knowledge of the tradition. This means, a priori, that we have an inclination to reclusivity rather than gregariousness.

    However, the intellectual bent in us pushes us to write what we discover and realize. Personally, I continue to be ambivalent about "preaching", even though I find it natural to find myself attempting to make my realizations as convincing to others as they are to myself.

    For the bhajananandis, speaking (bodhayantaH parasparaM, kathayantaz ca mAM nityam, tuSyanti ca ramanti ca) or discussing one's understanding, is in itself devotional activity. Indeed, the quality of one's realizations is a sign of spiritual advancement, and no one should expect anyone to have quality realizations gratis--they come out of grace to the deserving.

    Nevertheless, God in our hearts pushes us to make critical existential choices and genuine spiritual advancement comes to those who bend to the will of the Lord. He does not abandon those who resist, but it is quite true that if one has faith, one will be moved to action. Inaction must be seen, sooner or later, as resistance to faith.

    Like St. Augustine who said, "Deliver me from my sinful life, but not just yet." Or something on those lines. Eventually, he did receive God's grace...

    Jai Radhe!!

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  9. There is no grudge. If anything, your bhakti is inspiring. I "challenged" in good spirits, but please accept my apologies for making assumptions about you willing to initiate and write.

    I don't know about "highest" but sharing knowledge out of duty, preaching, and service, aren't these all the same?

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  10. The highest service is mentioned in the siksastakam - more humble than a blade of grass, tolerant as a tree, giving honour to all and never expecting honour for oneself. Preaching and bhajan can both be done for fame, money and impressing women. It can also be done for Krishna's pleasure. Only He, who sits inside the heart, knows it.

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  11. Quote@Jagat:
    "Like St. Augustine who said, 'Deliver me from my sinful life, but not just yet.' Or something on those lines."

    For the record:

    Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo! (Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet).

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  12. >>>"If a preacher is unable, what to speak of unwilling, to meet his benficiaries face to face, then perhaps that person shouldn't be "preaching".

    Impossible. For some devotees there would be no contact with the world of raganuga bhakti without some element of "long-distance preaching." Books and articles about the lives of various saints, translations of prominent granthas, etc. are perfect tools for silent introspection and learning.

    Even online preaching has its place, if one is able to sift through various extraneous elements. It is by nature covert which is particularly helpful for those who would like to ask questions, but who live in an environment where topics of raganuga bhakti are taboo.

    The value of online satsang depends on our use or misuse of the medium. As participants, WE are responsible for avoiding aparadha made thoughtlessly to the faceless mass of devotees reading on their computers, and WE are responsible for avoiding unfavorable elements, pseudo-bhakti groups, etc.

    I personally am gratefully for the presence of raganugiya bhaktas online and in print, because without that presence I could not have come to the feet of Sri Guru, Mahaprabhu and Yugal Kishor. Thus Advaitadas and several other senior vaishnavas have been the conduit for Radhika's kripa. I must express my thanks, for help in bhajan life has that has been tangible regardless of distance.

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  13. Advaitadasji's blog title is "Hidden Motives', re. blogging as preaching.

    My response 'walk the walk' simply meant the question of qualification. No politics, no 'disnecessary' confusion (@anonymous). Is one qualified to preach person to person or from a blog or in books or in whatever form. Preaching is basically always presumptuous, "I know the Truth and you dont so now I will tell you". Is it worthwhile to preach when vAsAanas are still there?
    So yes, the 'success' of ACBS could also be disputed. Maybe not by Anonymous (or Advaitadasji) but by others. It is my contention that ACBS did a lot of damage to the potential spread of Vaishnavism by preaching the way that he did: in his extremely premodern 'they are all rascals'-style of black-and-white über-simplistic way of presenting the most lofty and tolerant of religions!
    So maybe ACBS should have realized before he left Vrindavan what Jagat just put on this and his blog.

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  14. Impossible? Remember we are talking about walking the walk...

    "It is by nature covert which is particularly helpful for those who would like to ask questions, but who live in an environment where topics of raganuga bhakti are taboo."

    If one deliberately remains in such environment, perhaps one is not yet ready for raganuga. Maybe like George, just curious, but nopt quite ready for the experience?

    One learns about the lives of the saints but what do those lives tell us? Ragunatha das Goswami has thaught well how one must leave all other considerations aside.

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  15. "So maybe ACBS should have realized before he left Vrindavan what Jagat just put on this and his blog."

    Maybe he should have, but obviously he didn't. Can you do anything about it? According to your logic, yes you can: You can follow Jagat now. Otherwise you are just another talker.

    Regarding preaching and motives, hidden or otherwise, the two are being simultaneously addressed here: preaching and motives. Advaitadas talks of sharing knowledge. How do you suppose he shares knowledge without preaching? His motives are as solid as his conviction in the unedited words of the Goswamis.

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  16. Blog entries are a bit like dairy entries. I believe, blogging is more to do with the writer trying to understand where he/she is at spiritually than lecturing to someone. Though , of course , because the internet is a public domain an offshoot would be like trying to preach. And I think that is not bad after all.

    The blogger did not invite you to read his/her blog; you invited yourself. So why question the blogger for his motives? Unless of course the blogger stated categorically his motives.

    Yadupati said: I know the Truth and you don’t so now I will tell you"
    I think that says more about the person whose thinking is in that line than the blog writer. With due respect, I believe that is borne out of jealousy and not wanting to be humble to even listen or consider other devotees’ realizations/understanding.

    About the walk the talk thing: just because you might have slips from time to time, does not mean you can not talk of the ideal. Just because you jaywalk sometimes does not mean that you should not warn others that jaywalking is not allowed in that part of the road.

    People who are isolated will benefit greatly from this medium. I, for one, would like all devotees to blog. I learn a lot from them—they correct, reinforce, balance my own understanding. They cause me to remember Radha-Krishna.

    Keep on blogging !!! It’s better than reading the newspapers.

    Radhe Radhe

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  17. "I, for one, would like all devotees to blog."

    I will stick with my position and wish the opposite.

    With all due respect to those who do, devotees of substance, such as Ananta Das Baba, don't blog. They rather invite the bewildered jivas to come and have a personal relationship with them.

    One who truly desires to remember Radha-Krishna will find a way to honor such invitations. Or, as they say, will walk the walk.

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  18. We won't find much representation from anti-bloggers on a blogging site, will we?

    Of course, diary entries were traditionally private. So a blog is NOT like a diary entry.

    It is a kind of socializing, there is no doubt about it.

    What I think is this: Whatever the motives, a person blogs because he NEEDS to. It is a way of validating one's own existence and beliefs. It is an open invitation to others to look in and see if they can also find value there.

    In my previous comment I said that those who left the IGM deliberately took a different approach to preaching and that they had a fundamentally different mentality from those in the IGM, tending to be more solitary, private and intellectually curious. Besides this, correctly or incorrectly, they usually had a belief that preaching was something that was not forced, but that arose naturally out of the spiritual maturity of the individual.

    In other words, they felt that there was some transcendental mechanism by which one's spiritual maturity would register automatically in the cosmos and set into motion an unseen chain of events that would result in one's playing an active role as a preacher.

    The Gaudiya Math believes that preaching itself is an activity whereby one makes spiritual progress (sankirtanam) and that it is a direct spiritual path. The saM is sankirtan means community. Human beings, however individualistic, however monadic, are not meant to live in isolation. They are social beings and need community. The concept of sankirtan is based on a belief in community.

    Now what I believe the purva-paksa is saying here is that those in the traditional sampradayas have as yet failed to create communities because of this shyness about community creation.

    Books and ideas alone do not create communities, though clearly these have to be clear and persuasive. It takes the force of personality; it takes love; it takes innovative communal ritual activity; it takes real time and place, face-to-face contact between people.

    There is something more that is significant here. The bhajananandi is handicapped when he acts as a preacher. A bhajananandi can in truth only act as guru to another bhajananandi, because of his specific personality type, as already sketched out above. A bhajananandi is thinking in terms of his own private spiritual progress and so he can communicate to a disciple the problems and concerns that he has in this process. However, traditionally mystics have not devoted an inordinate amount of attention to social organization. There are exceptions--Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati being one.

    In India, there is a certain social safety net, spiritually speaking. No matter who your guru, if you live in Bengal, there are probably a few Vaishnavas in your village. There is probably kirtan-path within walking distance. These things are not true in the West, and Iskcon so dominates the scene in terms of physical assets (temples) that it is often hard to find an alternative. The only option is to CREATE it, even if one does so purely out of one's own personal need for association.

    Maybe Krishna is saying, "Don't just sit and wait for something to happen. Make it happen. What are you waiting for?"

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  19. "With all due respect to those who do, devotees of substance, such as Ananta Das Baba, don't blog."

    With all due respect to Ananta Das Babaji, Maharaja hardly knows what IS a computer, let alone that he would be able to blog on one. But he DOES have many disciples who operate sites like krishna caitanya, jaya sri radhe, gaudiya discussions, raganuga.com, raganuga.org, vilasakunja, lakeofflowers and perhaps even more than that. Secondly, he needs not contact other Vaishnavas across the world like that, since he is so fortunate to live either at Radhakund or in other centers of Vaishnava-society in India. However, as I have said before, I do concede that keeping weblogs and websites should not substitute physical Vaishnava-sanga if ever it is available offline. I wholly support Myrla's point of view.

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  20. Indeed, Madhavananda is a good example. His preaching through the internet has resulted in numerous people being attracted to Ananta Dasji, and now those disciples are making efforts to create communities through special events. So, there is a possibility for the two to be connected.

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  21. But I think you are wrong. Babaji does know what a computer is, what it does, and certainly should know about the activities of his disciples!

    Still he choses other activities himself. Why not chose like him?

    Vaisnava sanga has always been available offline. I for one hope kali yuga will not alter such gift from Goloka.

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  22. "Why not chose like him?"

    I have already explained that - he need not do that, for he is located in the center of Vaishnava society, and India is not like the rest of the world. My Guru is, unlike the babajis, not in favor of living in the holy places nonstop. I have tried and failed to live a lifetime there and now I am quite content in living most of the time here in the west. The only problem here being that strangling dearth of svajatiya Vaishnava sanga.

    "Babaji does know what a computer is, what it does,"

    Yes but he wouldnt know to operate one.

    "and certainly should know about the activities of his disciples!"

    And he does not order them to shut down their websites. Generally, I know from many years of experience that Indian sadhus have no idea about life in the west, nor do they know how isolated most of us here are. A western disciple of a traditional Indian Guru will have to make many practical and moral decisions his/herself. (Wow, are we still on topic?)

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  23. I think you are wrong there Advaitadasji. Babaji is very aware of the general difficulties people face, either in the West or in India. Don't underestimate the possibilities regarding one devoted to Sri Krsna as Babaji is. As you very well know, they are not ordinary people. Chances are, you (we) are the one(s) with the lesser vision.

    Madhavananda is successful because he LIVES at Radhakunda.

    Jagat: I thought you said you were going to, hum, shut up(?)

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  24. Anonymous, I also have mixed feelings about Jagat's participation here, but so far he has behaved well, so let him and me decide about his further participation please.

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  25. Shut up? You know I won't be able to keep it up. I am too full of juice. It keeps spilling out.

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  26. Anonymous is expected to behave in a civil manner, and Jagat is prohibited to 1. Use this blog as a means to further his political influence, 2. Treat shāstra, guru and ācāryas with contempt and 3. to preach immorality here, as in yo vyākti nyāya-rahitam anyāyena srinoti yah. Thank you both.

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  27. "My Guru is, unlike the babajis, not in favor of living in the holy places nonstop."

    Why is that?

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  28. My Guru-sister, now nitya lila pravista, Krishna Das, told me that Baba felt that if he stayed longer than a month in Braja he would start committing offence to the Vrajabasis. He would offer them things and arrange festivals for them but then they would come back again and again for more. There is the story of Mahāprabhu telling Jagadānanda Pandit not to stay too long in Vraja, and even while staying there never to split from Sanātan Gosvāmī's
    shelter. Personally I have plenty of experience of both myself and most of the other devotees there seriously deviating from the original purpose of stay while staying an extended period of time in Vraja. See also my blog of May 3rd.

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  29. Preaching effectiveness has really little to do with the preacher IMHO. Every jiva's life is being micromanaged by god. Everything we encounter, everything we understand, everything we don't understand, all of it is being directed. There are no moments in anyone's life where they are experiencing anything other then what god has planned for them.

    You can be the highest level devotee and regularly associate for years with people who are not affected by your preaching. Conversely you can be a person with no knowledge of Krishna bhakti who meets and speaks to a neophyte for only 30 minutes and by that conversation he or she makes a tremondous effect on your understanding of God which then changes your life forever.

    I have those things happen, I'm sure most devotees who have been around have seen that as well. There is really only one guru. God is Guru, no one else. Jivas can be conduits for Sri Guru. A jiva who is proclaimed to be a bona fide guru, and really is fully god conscious, that person will understand that he is not really doing anything independently of the control of the lord. There is no question of thinking that he is the controller of his words to others. He not only philosophically understands these points, but he realizes them (experiences that reality). He experiences the presence of the Lord everywhere and can see that absolute and total control over everything and everyone, including himself.

    It is through anyone, but especially the vaisnava, where Sri Guru can appear at anytime to give a person the knowledge of the bhagavat. It matters less what level the speaker is on, it matters only what the lord has planned.

    pangum langhayate sailam
    mukam avartayec chrutim
    yat-krpa tam aham vande
    krsna-caitanyam isvaram

    I offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even a lame man can cross over a mountain and a dumb man recite Vedic literature.

    That is absolute truth. So people preach on blogs because they are following the dictate of the Lord. Whatever they think their motivation is or isn't, doesn't change that simple fact. That is the reality, any other vision ison a lowerlevel. There may be apparently so many causes for the effects we see, but in truth there is one cause only. Understanding reality, internally and externally, in that light, will leave you always associating with the lord, always seeing and hearing the lord.

    manasa vacasa drishtya
    grihyate 'nyair apindriyaih
    aham eva na matto 'nyad
    iti budhyadhvam anjasa

    Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts

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  30. "Anonymous is expected to behave in a civil manner"

    If you are referring to my literal quote of the expression "shup up", I apologize. Those are indeed not so civil words.

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  31. Myrla said:
    "Yadupati said:'I know the Truth and you don’t so now I will tell you.'
    I think that says more about the person whose thinking is in that line than the blog writer. With due respect, I believe that is borne out of jealousy and not wanting to be humble to even listen or consider other devotees’ realizations /understanding."

    I will try to express myself better this time. My opinion is that when somebody starts preaching - be he Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Wicca or whatever - there is always an element of implicit presumption or arrogance ("I know the Truth etc."), otherwise he wouldnt start preaching. And there might be that element you mention of jealousy or lack of humbleness.
    Except of course if Shiva is right in saying 'every jiva's life is micro-managed by god'. Which leaves absolutely no free will or choice for a person to preach or not.
    Personally I believe there is a little choice.

    And it was not my intention at all to venture into the realm of speculating about the mind of the blog writer, just about preachers in general.

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  32. Yadupati I didn't mean to give the impression that jivas have no free will, we do. But when we say free will we need to understand what that means. It doesn't mean you control your destiny in this life according to vedanta right? We are told that based on our karma our life has been planned for us. So already we know that free will doesn't mean we control what we are going to experience in this life.

    Krishna says


    sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
    mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
    vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
    vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham

    I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas I am to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.

    We think we are deciding what to do but in reality we base our decisions on our memory of past, present and future. Memory is controlled by Krishna, the mind is controlled by Krishna.

    prakrteh kriyamanani
    gunaih karmani sarvasah
    ahankara-vimudhatma
    kartaham iti manyate

    The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.

    sri-bhagavan uvaca
    sa esa jivo vivara-prasutih
    pranena ghosena guham pravistah
    mano-mayam suksmam upetya rupam
    matra svaro varna iti sthavisthah

    The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, the Supreme Lord gives life to every living being and is situated within the heart along with the life air and primal sound vibration. The Lord can be perceived in His subtle form within the heart by one's mind, since the Lord controls the minds of everyone, even great demigods like Lord Siva. The Supreme Lord also assumes a gross form as the various sounds of the Vedas, composed of short and long vowels and consonants of different intonations.

    Free will doesn't mean we control anything, in fact we are told that we control nothing, we don't even control our mind. The free will we have is not the same as the western philosophical concept of free will where we are creating our destiny as we go along in our life. Rather free will means that we are free to choose how we will react emotionally to circumstances, but that doesn't mean we control that. We are free to experience what Krishna has us experience, our will is not free in the sense of Krishna allowing us control over our lives. The reason for that is that we do not have the capacity to do that. In order to do that we would need to be able to control our thought process, which is based primarily on memory. That is we need memory supplied to us at all times in order us to be able to comprehend everything in our environemnt i.e who we are, where we are, what words mean, how to speak, what anything is. Since we cannot control that process of supplying those memories which make us functionallly intelligent cogent people, we are therefore unable to really have total free will. We are too dependent on God to be able to process information without it being done for us. We cannot "think" without God providing that thought process/memory process for us.

    Krishna controls everything because we are unable to control anything. We experience the illusion of control because we identify with the mind. We think we are choosing what to do by our thought process. But as Krishna states above, we do not control the thought process.

    yad vidur hy aniruddhakhyam
    hrsikanam adhisvaram
    saradendivara-syamam
    samradhyam yogibhih sanaih

    The mind of the living entity is known by the name of Lord Aniruddha, the supreme ruler of the senses. He possesses a bluish-black form resembling a lotus flower growing in the autumn. He is found slowly by the yogis.

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  33. I believe I've said this before but I'll say it again for good measure: Nice to see Advaitaji's blog becoming so popular. :-) More and more people reading and commenting.

    My 2 paise: I originally started my own blog to be my musings on various spiritual issues and things I've read, etc. Lately I've become aware of a growing readership due to some pertinent/controversial issues raised there, and I've been forced to write in a more impartial manner to cater for the readership and a less candid manner.

    I wouldn't call this "preaching" as such, and I'd like to think that I'd be able to be as candid as I wish, along the lines of "it's my blog and I'll write what I want to."

    I wouldn't say that blogging is a substitute for personal association/guidance but I would like to see a definite growth in the number of Vaishnavas blogging, be they preachers or musers. It's nice to see how other people employ Vaishnava principles in their lives (assuming they're on the right track) and it is possible to gain inspiration from other people and "pick up tips".

    On the other hand, I believe that it is possible to incur offences via this medium too. Reading other blogs and getting in to arguments via the comments section can very well lead to a disturbance of mental equilibrium and a growing need to indulge in debate. In that way one might lose their focus and need to regroup and reprioritise the aims of their blogging or whatever they are doing.

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  34. "I've been forced to write in a more impartial manner to cater for the readership and a less candid manner."

    I have the same experience. I don't have a hitcounter on this site but it is obvious that there is a large and growing audience out there reading this and moderated my previously (GD days) bold language. I must say I also did plan in advance to be more moderate anyway on this private space after the stormy GD days - I've learned my lesson well. I sometimes also regret that I cannot speak so freely anymore, same thing during my Swiss sojourn, but perhaps it is only better like this. There is, after all, still a more private outlet and that is face-to-face meetings, with faithful, like-minded persons. It cannot be expected from a wide audience such as this to be that loyal, understanding and likeminded.

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  35. Dear Shiva-ji, thanks for your thoughtful comments. Very useful quotes also.
    My view of free will, I think, is not fully covered by your remarks. I spoke of 'a little choice' which is not the same as free will to control our lives or destiny.
    Krsna, karma, parents and siblings, education and enviroment do not leave much room at all for free will in the western sense for creating our own destiny.
    There must be some 'little choice' somewhere, somehow though, otherwise we would only be Krsna's automatons. And, I think you will agree, that that is not possible in Love nor in our development of (or towards)Love.

    Thank you Gaurasundaradas-ji for making the difference between preaching and musing clear.

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  36. Dear Advaitadas-ji, you are giving devotees the opportunity to exchange ideas about bhakti and, as you say, there seems to be quite a readership which indicates the dire need for a place like your blog, and Gaurasundara's Musings.

    mac-cittah mad-gata-prana, bodhayantah parasparam (gita 10.9)

    Those surrendered devotees take Me as their life and soul, and go on discussing My ambrosial narrations among one another, exchanging the ecstasies of devotion unto Me.

    (translation Srila B.R. Sridhara Swami)

    ReplyDelete
  37. "Those surrendered devotees take Me as their life and soul, and go on discussing My ambrosial narrations among one another, exchanging the ecstasies of devotion unto Me."

    Indeed, for the surrendered.

    For the rest of us the instruction is:

    vaco vegam manasa kroda vegam, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  38. That is like putting the cart in front of the horse. How does one achieve vaco vegam udaropastha vegam etc. without engaging in the process of purification like sravanama kirtana, bodhayanta parasparam?

    ReplyDelete
  39. "That is like putting the cart in front of the horse. How does one achieve vaco vegam udaropastha vegam etc. without engaging in the process of purification like sravanama kirtana, bodhayanta parasparam?"

    No, putting the cart before the horse is engaging in discussion without knowing the subject. Such discussions are only a disturbance to one another. The process is first saranagati. Full surrender, then under the anugatya of qualified persons, there is possibility of exchanges of the ecstasies of devotion.

    ReplyDelete
  40. As you wish. Let me then compare it with saying "Dont take the medicine until/unless you are cured." Now what is sharanagati other than hearing and chanting? And can you surrender without knowing to Whom, without the bodhayanta parasparam? Mind you, I know what it is like to speak rasik katha before a partly ignorant and therefore perhaps unqualified audience. See my August 28 'rahasya katha sankat' blog.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anon, we can exchange quotes till we are blue in the face. Here I am now reminded of what Srila Rupa Goswamipad also said: anyaninadisunyahrdam - whose heart is void of nitpicking - as an indication of developed bhakti. Maybe it is better to enter into the spirit of things and trying to understand why I quoted that Gita verse in this blog. As Advaitadasji said (in my words) how can we make progress without the bodhayantha parasparam, enlightening each other?

    Please consider CC 2.22.107:

    nitya-siddha krsnaprema 'sadhya' kabhu naya
    sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaye

    Krsnaprema is eternally there and can be gained by sravana etc. The shuddha-citta, the pure conciousness, is the result, not the premiss.

    ReplyDelete
  42. "Krsnaprema is eternally there and can be gained by sravana etc. The shuddha-citta, the pure conciousness, is the result, not the premiss."

    Pure conciousness is the result for the hearer. For the speaker, pure consciousness is the premise.

    Just as we are selective about the sources of our food, sravana must be from a pure source. How can pure consciousness result from an impure source?

    In healing circles they say, "physician, cure thyself."

    ReplyDelete
  43. Wow, 43 comments already !!

    "Hidden motives" adressing narcism and need for attention calls on a lot of people to comment.

    90 percent of humanity suffers from a mild or severe form of narcism. I think that a lot of the controversies find their origin in this disease. We ourselves are insincere and in consequence we logically doubt otherones sincerity.

    WHY DOESN'T ANYONE COMMENT ON MY SUPERINTERESTING, THOUGHT- PROVOKING, INTELLECTUAL AND DEVOTIONAL BLOG ?
    I THINK THE WHOLE WORLD IS IN MAYA, EXCEPT ME OFCOURSE.

    Yours, Anonymous The Great III

    ReplyDelete
  44. And with 44 comments 'Hidden motives' has become the runner-up biggest madangopal-blog ever. I must grant you, Anonymous, no one can accuse YOU of narcism since you remain stubbornly anonymous. What a waste of pratistha.....

    ReplyDelete
  45. "Also in the comments box and in its ensuing discussions, the proud blogger is able to learn lessons from his commentators."

    WE might want to make up our minds whether a blogger may be proud or not.

    According to the statement above, there is such thing as a proud blogger. Perhaps then we can move on to discussing the proposition as to whether the blogger is able to learn lessons [from his commentators]."

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anonymous said: Just as we are selective about the sources of our food, sravana must be from a pure source. How can pure consciousness result from an impure source?

    You were talking in absolute term here.

    At this moment , I am thinking of relative term. Consider this: In my youth, i was one of the most conservative, boring “chick” in my era, though a little spiritually introspective. One day , my sister , who was considered “cool” in those days because she went to parties, had boyfriends and smoked, came home from her university with a small booklet from Siddha Swarup (ACBSP),( who has gone independent right from day one after ACBSP left this world and “reinvented” in his own terms Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement) entitled “Who am I”. My sister immediately took me to her own realizations of our identity, our positions etc , in her own “cool” slant, nuance etc. I immediately liked her take of the topics and as they say, the rest is history. You will laugh but I consider her my first “teacher”. Of course, she is now in complete maya. How is that for your first teacher?

    My point is that there are different strains of teachers, different level of advancement of teachers but you’d never know what your previous samsara has in store for you.

    On a more formal note, I remember reading ages ago about the different types of guru, and I think and there are terms in sanksrit for such classification.

    My other point and going back to the blog thing : blogging and physical sanga are not mutually exclusive. So what is the problem?

    BTW, what’s your problem putting a name in your comments.?
    Radhe Radhe

    ReplyDelete
  47. Anonymous said: We ourselves are insincere and in consequence we logically doubt otherones sincerity.

    Yes, that is true and that reflects us. If we find fault in otherss it is beacuse we have that fault ourself. But in this world nothing is really black and white -- there are many shades in between and grey too.


    Anonymous said: According to the statement above, there is such thing as a proud blogger. Perhaps then we can move on to discussing the proposition as to whether the blogger is able to learn lessons [from his commentators]."

    Yes of course, depending on where you are in the shades of white and black.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I think there is more than one anonymous commentator, one serious/inquisitive and the other one more or less "funny", calling himself "The Great".

    By the way, previously I also commentated anonimously. Reason ? I guess fear ? Why ? I don't know ? Maybe, because I've never met Advaita das in person. I know where he is from more or less from his writings. But that is still just letters in a specific order. Meeting someone in person is ofcourse preferable, but not always possible.
    Another reason, maybe, is that one feels that one can savely challenge someone anonimously and withdraw from the discussion without consequence or losing face. Maybe that's not really heroic and not at all vaisnava-etiquette, but it is not a terrible aparadh either (ofcourse there is many shades of grey between white and black).

    Anyway, it seems to me that there is not much disagreement here between any of the commentators, however different they may be....

    Please, Advaita, keep on blogging !

    I personally like your book-reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  49. "But that is still just letters in a specific order."

    Hopefully I am a bit true to the specific order in which I place my letters.

    "Anyway, it seems to me that there is not much disagreement here between any of the commentators, however different they may be...."

    Glad you do not add to the confusion by being a third Anonymous. I am not happy with this hide and seek game frankly speaking. And oh, I did block some comments actually, that I considered smalltalk or hostile.

    "Meeting someone in person is of course preferable, but not always possible."

    If you are the same Anuradha that responded to Jagat's blogspot, it seems you are Dutch, in which case it wouldnt be too hard for us to meet since I am also Dutch. Unless of course you are an expat in the USA or so.....(I am stationed just here in the Netherlands).

    ReplyDelete
  50. "BTW, what’s your problem putting a name in your comments? "

    I think in this environment Anonymous is just as good a name as any such as Myrla, Advaitadas, Anubhava…. Comments can be entered under the name Bruce, Phantom of the Net, Sadhaka, as well as Anonymous, it makes little difference because, unless people know one another from having a history of personal acquaintance, everyone is really just anonymous.

    There is just enough neutrality and numbness in the dynamics of these exchanges to cause them to perpetually collapse short of meaningfulness. Disregard for the human element is the recurring outcome. This is why I say that devotees of substance do NOT dwell in this medium. They may present their position, and then they go, theirs is read only presence or questions and answers participation at the most. They know that too important elements in the exchange will be always missing.

    The exchanges cut through human feelings like machines, sometimes quiet, barely whirring, but often plowing through participants’ valuables like a convoy of Tata trucks from hell. Those who claim theirs are words under control, free of addiction, free of exhibitionism, free of "hidden motives" which may indeed disregard or miss others’ essence, sadly are very much mistaking.

    I am convinced this medium is not a place for gentlemen and ladies. I see that it is right down there with places of want where people go to for lack of a better fortune. And of course, if one walks in to a bar and suggests to the drunkards there that they might benefit from a visit to AA, there will be bottles, chairs, tables, and other things flying…

    I distrust anyone who claims this their main source of sanga. In fact, considering the nature of the environment, I am firmly convinced that those who hang out in this medium in the name of distributing or receiving transcendental knowledge, are in fact doing a great disservice to each other.

    It is seen that so many can issue opinions on all kinds of subjects. However, those who have put their money, their lives, and their faith on the line, speak less in volume and more in substance.

    One must be very mindful of how one relates to fellow human beings.

    Working out one’s personal issues in public may be alright for an adolescent, but for a grownup in the position of teacher, its immoral. Simply because its immoral to use others as tools for ones’ own 'development'.

    ReplyDelete
  51. "I distrust anyone who claims this their main source of sanga. In fact, considering the nature of the environment, I am firmly convinced that those who hang out in this medium in the name of distributing or receiving transcendental knowledge, are in fact doing a great disservice to each other. "

    Yet we find the biggest commentator on this blog, with no less than 18 entries is....... you.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Anon: "Comments can be entered under the name Bruce, Phantom of the Net, Sadhaka."

    Then please do so, you create confusion by monopolizing 'anonymous'.
    There also other people who want to hide behind that word sometimes.

    Anon, "This is why I say that devotees of substance do NOT dwell in this medium."

    Could I, Yadupatidas of Amsterdam Holland ask you, please leave us little unsubstantial devotees alone; the confrontation with you ALL THE TIME is wearing us feebleminded folk down.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I apologize to whomever feels personally addressed when I say "devotees of substance do not dwell here." Indeed my apology is heartfelt, but I simultaneously hold my position which is that I do believe that, in remaining here, we are all implicated in hypocrisy. Our motives are each one personal businesses, but the result of our participation here DOES affect others. We must be accountable for that participation.

    There is discussions on how Iskcon has affected people's lives in negative ways, and how everyone who was part of that society must understand the need for taking responsibility for their individual contirbution there.

    That principle applies here as well, perhaps more so. The dynamics here are such that one may say anything one fancies, and there is no system of accountability for what is said. The most one who questions may get is "leave us alone".

    Advaitadas has brought up the subject of motives. I think this is the closest it has gotten to the matter of honesty. It is my personal conviction that the everyday life of a blogger is more important to his readers than his words. If one cannot live up to what he speaks of, he has no business being here advising others or over and over making "relevant" questions or starting discussions on deep spiritual matters.

    How one lives his life DOES count.

    ReplyDelete
  54. After some consideration and serious soul-searching, I've come to realise that these arguments are more or less nonsense as far as I am concerned.

    At least from my own experience, I can testify that personal association with Vaishnavas is not always a positive experience. For example they may not have the same level of commitment as you do, and this is perhaps a reason why devotees are divided into kanisthas, madhyamas and uttamas in the first place.

    Again from my experience, I can testify that the best Vaishnava association (for me) has been gained through the Internet. through so-called "impersonal" association.

    The main difference is when devotees congregate in online forums to discuss whatever-it-is, you can have a working assumption that they have some level of interest in discussing siddhanta. Rare are those who join forums just to start a fight and kick up a fuss. The vast majority are interested in having some sort of spiritual discussion or other.

    It is through Internet discussions on sites like GD and with devotees like Advaitadas, etc. that my knowledge of GV has deepened and expanded too.I have never met Advaitadas but I feel that I know him better than I know anybody else at my local temple. So there you go.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Thank you for that comment, Gaura. However I must add a cautionary note here too. I too learned and still learn a lot from the internet, but I did discover afterwards that some, if not most of the participants of forums, speak sky high philosophies but are in reality living completely fallen lives. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa compared such hypocrites with vultures - circling high above the ground but their gaze always fixed on dead corpses on the ground (women, money, fame) It is a sharp razored, two-edged sword indeed - I do learn a lot here on the internet, but many participants could walk the walk a little bit more than just talk the talk. That much I do grant Anonymous.........

    ReplyDelete
  56. It is indeed possible to relate to others purely on the realm of feelings. Feelings can be organized in thought and then presented in nicely written messages.

    This in fact seems to be essentially what acaryas such as Jiva, Sanatana, and Rupa have done. But those souls had first purified and refined their feelings and then only issued out their realizations in well thought out messages.

    What Gaurasundara seems to defend without due balance is only one side of the scale. The process he speaks of is one that ranges from participations of clearly uncontrolled, random comments on any and all subjects, to seemingly consitently realized spiritual insights.

    Advaitadas estimates that possibly MOST participants in forums are IN FACT more harmful to themselves and others than of any susbtantial help.

    I think his estimation is not without grounds. And such scenario should then be enough reason for concern: Logically, the overall result of such dynamics is that the overall harm is greater than the good. The question then of course is why are we reluctant to address these facts.

    To remain in London, for example, year after year without contact with the holy dham when one clearly is able to go, is not a good outcome for an aspirant of gaudiya vaisnavism. In fact, its obvious that one who finds more meaning in online exchanges with devotees than in person, is clearly missing the point of gaudiya vaisnavism. The wholeness of the devotee must transpire also in his sadhaka form. This means his everyday life activities must undergo transformation where needed. There are symptoms of such changes.

    One whose only (so called) spiritual activity is to incurse in verbal discussions of the spiritual while indulging in very questionable personal life, is cheating himself at best.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Anonymous: "To remain in London, for example, year after year without contact with the holy dham when one clearly is able to go,..."

    London, Montreal, Split, Bern, Amsterdam, Alachua, any place.

    ReplyDelete
  58. "London, Montreal, Split, Bern, Amsterdam, Alachua, any place."

    Indeed. If the shoe fits, then we must wear it.

    Nowadays, anyone, from any part of the world, if really desiring it, can make the trip to the holy dham.

    But we see that the exchanges on the net attempt to match those had by highly scrificing saints. Besides talks on high katha, these saints would also walk miles and miles under tremendous hardships to reach the dham or other saints.

    I think the contrast does not indicate that the authentic article is more widely available, but on the contrary, it indicates that the overall content of the religion is being cheapened.

    I am strongly convinced of this.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I am with you there, Anonymous, but conditionally, because some cyber-devotees are really not able to walk the walk, all the way to Vrindavana, due to lack of funds and time or due to urgent commitments. It very much depends on the individual.

    ReplyDelete
  60. "I am with you there, Anonymous, but conditionally, because some cyber-devotees are really not able to walk the walk, all the way to Vrindavana, due to lack of funds and time or due to urgent commitments. It very much depends on the individual."

    Of course the help available on the internet is not devoid of merit all together. But if the only impression of KC one has is through this medium, then its a doomed connection.

    Therefore, the connection through this medium has to be as brief as required, and a closely monitored one. This monitoring would be by gradual replacement of cyber exchanges for in person ones.

    I like the example of Madhavananda das who clearly has got that good fortune of realizing the need for the replacement, and then acting on it.

    I think "cyber-devotees" is not short of an oxymoron. In fact, in some circles, such term would risk to be labeled as an "offense".

    ReplyDelete
  61. Radhe Radhe

    I am sure you know why you prefer to be anonymous !!!!

    To be honest I have a very good inkling of who you are, and from my experience I trust that instinct—the way you say things, the words you use. Three devotees come to mind. But I won’t give.

    Anonymous said:, "This is why I say that devotees of substance do NOT dwell in this medium."

    How judgmental can you get?
    The problem with you anonymous is that, as I have mentioned previously, you think the world is always black and white and nothing grey. And everything mutually exclusive—nothing can be “multi-tasked”. You are either a blogger or a physical sanga type of devotee. You can not be both. There are 24 hours/day or 3600 minutes in a day, if Advaita das or any blogger for that matter spends 15 minutes a day writing inspiritual thoughts or verses he/she takes notes, is that bad or good?


    You can make the cyber-space as impersonal as you like but you can also try to make it a little bit personal. Of course there is no substitute for person to person communication., you get the whole gamut, body-facial expressions, voice inflections, which you can interwine with their sincerity, honesty, flippantness, arrogantness etc. If you have read some of my rare posts in Audarya (does that not ring a bell??) or Vilas Kunja , or here which I of late have been posting in short successions (because of time availability) which I seldom have, you will notice that I try to be a very “personal” person. To the point that I am afraid to think that people think I am an exhibitionist; but that is me shaped by the culture I grew up in.

    I have only have one devotee friend a family (all 2 times initiated) and they have slept over my place. I am transparent ; I do not hide where I am at in my spiritual life. I grew up in Asia where people are more family orientated or community orientated and therefore I take issue of the individualistic orientation of people who grew up in the western culture. I find them aloof and cold. And I do take issue about that strongly especially the devotees who should have known better.

    I can understand Gaurasunadar das. To get to my point, I have for years attended morning programs in temples in Australia,( sometimes from 4:30 AM, having to drive for 40 minutes , just imagine what time I have to wake-up) and I never found any friend there at all. Not that I do not try but though many of them has one or two initiations they seem not to have imbibed the Vaishnava culture of communityness. During food prasadam eating time, I. many times tried to engaged women-devotees to be on a personal-friendly relationship with me by talking-up about things that are not rubbish, eg. about the lecture, the prasadam, the program , cooking but to no luck. Either they think I’m in total maya or they are afraid that people will “discover” how shallow or “deep” they are in their spiritual lives. Have you heard before that people from the outside world or even devotees themselves say that many devotees are very impersonal or the worst like zombies. And sometimes it is asked “how can one understand love for God if you can not even love your fellow devotees?”

    To be honest, there are so much emptiness in the ISKCON temples that I find. So where do I go?

    Also, I find that some sites are really repositories of Vaishnava knowledge and I never ever question their motives other than for cyber sanga.

    Anonymous said” If one cannot live up to what he speaks of, he has no business being here advising others or over and over making "relevant" questions or starting discussions on deep spiritual matters.

    I wil give you a theoretical scenario. Anonymous while chanting on his japaI encounter someone and asks what is he doing? Its benefits and the philosophy behind it? I ask you Anonymous, will you pass the chance ? Will you say my conciousness is not pure so I can not talk of the ideal.
    I have experienced that a few times in the past and I was happy to obliged with a nice discussion because well, I might not pass that way again. Besides, I believe that the karmi will get benefit from even hearing the word Krishna once in his lifetime.

    Anonymous said: That principle applies here as well, perhaps more so. The dynamics here are such that one may say anything one fancies, and there is no system of accountability for what is said. The most one who questions may get is "leave us alone".

    Surely you believe in karma and that the jiva has some sort of independence; therefore who is accountable for what. I alone is accountable for my life. My Guru is so merciful to give me the divine knowledge and especially the nectar but surely you will agree that my surrender is the basis of my application of such knowledge. What is that saying: What you sow, so shall you reap. And in the Gita : you will see the thruth based on the degree of your surrender.

    Anonymous said: Advaitadas estimates that possibly MOST participants in forums are IN FACT more harmful to themselves and others than of any susbtantial help.

    I do not know that Adavaita das said MOST. I, for one , greatly benefit from them, if you only know my situation. While driving today, I was thinking of your comments and how I will answer them. Surely thinking about devotees and our activities that are not bad though neutral is better than thinking about the “lollypop traffic lady” at the lights (that is an Australian term for someone guiding the school kids cross the street).

    Anonymous: I think his estimation is not without grounds. And such scenario should then be enough reason for concern: Logically, the overall result of such dynamics is that the overall harm is greater than the good. The question then of course is why are we reluctant to address these facts.

    As if you are so sure. Did you use statistics from which to base your conclusion? Are your samples good? Are they done in a controlled environment? What is the standard deviation? Which part of the bell curve , do I or Gaurasundar belong? I hope you see my point.


    Anonymous: But we see that the exchanges on the net attempt to match those had by highly scrificing saints. Besides talks on high katha, these saints would also walk miles and miles under tremendous hardships to reach the dham or other saints.

    Who said that? No one said that: Only you.

    Anonymous: I think the contrast does not indicate that the authentic article is more widely available, but on the contrary, it indicates that the overall content of the religion is being cheapened.

    It may not be widely available but some might/can be available with the technology of this era. With time, effort, money, technology, the internet can assume the shape of books. What about those webcast lectures or streaming lectures of saints over the internet? Would the substance/message differs just because the medium is different?

    You talk about going to the Holy Dham and I agree if we are able , we must. But especially if you have the appropriate eyes it will open up a new spiritual landscape in your heart. However, we see in practice that an unripe devotees or those without the appropriate eyes can be sidetracked. (btw, I’ll be there in Oct—see I multi-task)
    We can not be with our GURU or saints everyday (unless you live in Vraja), therefore still the power of words of saints in any medium ,( whether on the net via webcast, books, telephone) and our complete surrender to those words are what will matter much in our lives. Not the medium and the internet is a neutral medium; it is what you make out of it.


    Anonymous said: How one lives his life DOES count.

    As if you are talking of mutual exclusivity here again. I do agree 1001 % but it does not mean that just because you blog means you can not or do not live the ideal life.

    The medium of internet is neutral. And like electricity it will revolutionize how we live, including the world of Gaudiya Vaishnavism .The challenge to all devotees of the future is how use it in Radha –Krishna’s service.

    Hare Krishna
    Haribol

    Bye and btw 1) do you really know the meaning of oxymoron, look it up, seems like the context you use it in is wrong 2) if you think blog is the work of the devil, you better leave ASAP; by far you have posted the highest number.

    This is my last post Haribol !Myrla

    ReplyDelete
  62. Ok Myrla,

    That may have been your last post but I am sure you will come back again and again to read so I too am writing again in reply to you. And that’s how it goes...

    There is no need for hostility, we don't know each other, remember?

    You are disturbed by an opinion, that’s all.

    As for being judgmental, you too are judgmental of the devotees at your local Iskcon temple. So, for self-preservation there is always judgment, from any and everyone.

    Oxymoron means a contradiction in terms. Cyber-devotee is a contradiction in terms because the devotional life cannot be had only in cyber space. In fact, in cyber space eventually the devotional cause is defeated by the inadequacy of the medium.

    And yes, Advaitadas did say MOST. He said, "I did discover afterwards that some, if not most of the participants of forums, speak sky high philosophies but are in reality living completely fallen lives."

    The affirmation I made did not require statistics as reference because it was based on logic. Advaitadas says that too many are not effective preachers. Therefore, eventually the purpose of the exchanges collapses. That is simple logic.

    Believe me the notion of shades of grey is not foreign to me. What you failed to grasp is that I am talking about the fact that at some point, there IS black or white. At some point a preacher has to match his actions with his own words. It is called commitment and responsibility. But what we see is that the medium requires more participation from the person than it is actually on his or her best interest – it presents a contradiction. And as Advitadas pointed out, those cases where the speakers speak high katha while leading "fallen lives", unfortunately are the ones that prevail.

    Just because electricity “revolutionized” the world, it does not mean it revolutionized it in a good way.

    May I suggest you get informed on the harm humanity has caused to herself and the planet due to some of her so called revolutionary bahaviour.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Elsewhere recently someone has brough up the issue of spiritual puberty. This is an interesting point. Spiritual puberty may not mean only rebellion. It may instead manifest as a need for assurance and acceptance of one's position despite one's clear inability for proportinal commitment and reciprocation. Thus we see that some come in public advertising their goods. But when called to task, are unwilling to address charges.

    In this vein, it is interesting how science investigates adolescent behaviour and related findings. In an article on BBC news today it was reported as follows:

    "Seeing the teenager in the brain
    By Elli Leadbeater
    Norwich


    Teenagers' brains work in different ways to those of adults
    Now we know why the surly teenager storms off in a huff after being told to tidy their bedroom.

    Adolescents do not put the part of the brain that considers others' feelings to full use, scientists have found.

    It seems our neural decision-making processes mature quite slowly, and researchers think this might help to explain typical teenage behaviour.

    The adolescent brain undergoes massive changes and does not reach maturity until 20 or 30 years old.

    Details of the study were reported here at the British Association's annual Science Festival.

    "The brain is pre-programmed to undergo massive changes during adolescence," Sarah-Jayne Blakemore of University College London told the meeting.

    Movie matters

    Dr Blakemore and her team used a sophisticated fMRI scanner to measure the brain activity of teenagers between 11 and 17, and young adults between 21 and 37.

    The fMRI technique measures blood flow in different brain areas, and can identify "hotspots" where a lot of activity is taking place.

    The volunteers were asked to think about what they would do in certain situations that involved their own actions.


    MRI scans can identify regions of high brain activity
    For example, the researchers might say: "You want to go to the cinema. Do you look at the newspaper?"

    When thinking about what they would do, both age groups used the same neural pathway; but different parts of the pathway were most active in the two groups.

    Adults used a brain area towards the front of the pathway, called the medial prefrontal cortex, to come up with their answers. Adolescents showed more brain activity in the superior temporal sulcus - an area at the rear.

    "The superior temporal sulcus is usually used in making simple actions, or watching other people make actions," said Dr Blakemore. "We think adolescents are performing this task by simply thinking about the action they're going to take.

    "The part of the brain that the adults are using more is involved in much higher level thinking, such as thinking about the consequences of your actions in terms of other peoples' emotions and feelings."

    Immature minds

    As a control, the study subjects were asked questions that did not involve their own actions, such as, "It's been raining hard. Does the ground get warmer?"

    These questions activated brain networks in a similar way in both groups.

    The new research shows that hormones may not be fully to blame for typical teenage behaviour.

    Teenage brains undergo large structural changes during adolescence, and do not reach full maturity until at least 20 or 30 years of age.

    "If you're making decisions about how you treat teenagers, socially and legally, you need to take this new research into account," said Dr Blakemore.

    "The brain of, for example, a typical 15-year-old boy is very much still developing; he's a very different person from himself at 25. His brain is very different."

    ReplyDelete
  64. There is no use in talking to people who think they have all the answers. It's very easy to say that it is possible to go to Vraja, but it is quite another to do.

    For the record, I live in London. Why can't I go? Because She won't let me in, that's why.

    ReplyDelete
  65. “There is no use in talking to people who think they have all the answers”.

    This is a cluttering myth - no one really thinks he has all the answers. Rather, such accusation is a poor ‘grabbing of straws’ sprung off of one who has failed to communicate one’s own so called answers.

    One who is unwilling to address one’s own (sometimes questionable) views or acts in society may resort to such cliché.

    A mature contributor has the best interest of others FIRST. His own interest is in fact dependent on that. (Such standard would probably eliminate about most contributors in most social settings.) The objection may be raised that such standard is an unrealistic expectation for human interactions - its not. There is no harm whatsoever in sobriety among people, especially when the contract is for exchanges on the spiritual, or the Truth.

    Elsewhere recently the question of spiritual puberty was raised. This is a good point and very much related to the present discussion, I believe. It was proposed that free-thinking, which is a form of rebellion, may in fact be a symptom of spiritual immaturity.

    Free-thinking and rebellion may not necessarily indicate maturity-yet-to-come in spiritual life. After all, breaking off of the parents’ home might indeed involve drastic changes and reforms. But a lingering need for support and assurance definitely characterizes a stage when the individual has yet to have solid answers for himself, and the necessary means for independence. How can then such individual be in a position of supplying answers that will be supportive of others? The pre-adult stage in spiritual life must grow into certain desired results. Otherwise, the characteristics of adolescence at risk must be strongly taken in consideration: An unresolved case of rebellion can result in an unhealthy cycle of addiction and co-dependence carried into adulthood.

    Responsibility generates incredible power, only most of us lack the faith!

    (just as a curious note here related, an article on the media recently stated that, “adolescents do not put the part of the brain that considers others' feelings to full use, scientists have found.” The full article can be found at www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5327550.stm)

    To Advaitadas: please edit the last portion off at your discretion. Thank you.

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  66. "There is no use in talking to people who think they have all the answers".

    This is a cluttering myth - no one really thinks he has all the answers. Rather, such accusation is a poor 'grabbing of straws' sprung off of one who has failed to communicate one's own so called answers.

    One who is unwilling to address one's own (sometimes questionable) views or acts in society may resort to such cliche.

    A mature contributor has the best interest of others FIRST. His own interest is in fact dependent on that. (Such standard would probably eliminate about most contributors in most social settings.) The objection may be raised that such standard is an unrealistic expectation for human interactions - its not. There is no harm whatsoever in sobriety among people, especially when the contract is for exchanges on the spiritual, or the Truth.

    Elsewhere recently the question of spiritual puberty was raised. This is a good point and very much related to the present discussion, I believe. It was proposed that free-thinking, which is a form of rebellion, may in fact be a symptom of spiritual immaturity.

    Free-thinking and rebellion may not necessarily indicate maturity-yet-to-come in spiritual life. After all, breaking off of the parents' home might indeed involve drastic changes and reforms. But a lingering need for support and assurance definitely characterizes a stage when the individual has yet to have solid answers for himself, and the necessary means for independence. How can then such individual be in a position of supplying answers that will be supportive of others? The pre-adult stage in spiritual life must grow into certain desired results. Otherwise, the characteristics of adolescence at risk must be strongly taken in consideration: An unresolved case of rebellion can result in an unhealthy cycle of addiction and co-dependence carried into adulthood.

    Responsibility generates incredible power, only most of us lack the faith!

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  67. I smell a potential of conflict between Anonymous and Gaurasundara. Please gentlemen, do not let this escalate lest I will have to make drastic cuts in future and even present comments. Anonymous, can you explain your latest comment a bit? I can't get the point.

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  68. "Anonymous, can you explain your latest comment a bit? I can't get the point."

    Thanks for the opportunity. I'll try and elaborate.

    My reply to the argument that "some people think they have all the answers" is that such argument is flawed to begin with. It is the well-known unfair straw man technique. In full honesty we all know that each and all are rather looking for answers. So, when we accuse others of not listening, perhaps it is us who are avoiding addressing that issue which is really at hand…

    The issue at hand here has been the fact that ultimately there is no value in the words of those who, on an ongoing basis, openly offer views and comments on spiritual matters while simultaneously leading questionable personal lives.

    I brought here the point (cleverly made by someone else on another forum) of 'spiritual puberty'. By spiritual puberty it was suggested that innovation/rebellion in spiritual life may indicate immaturity via insubmission rather than progress - hence the term puberty. I suggested that indeed another characteristic of puberty is that the 'rebel' may advocate changes but is ironically unable to follow up on his own bravado. According to secular science, because the brain of the adolescent is literally not fully developed, the teenager acts without taking others' feelings into consideration. 'Spiritual adolescents' are those immature souls stuck in a permanent personal need for assurance and support but unwilling to take on the responsibilities of adulthood, even to the point of disregarding the harm their position may be to others. An environment where such immature souls are never called to task can't possibly be of help to anyone.

    (Comment truncated)

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  69. Dear Anonymouse,

    I feel with some of the points you are making, those published on this blog.

    Maybe your tone upsets some of the respected participants on this blog.

    Not me though, I hope you keep on commenting here and there. You have a 'way with words' and make me laugh.

    Don't blog too much though.......
    It's very time-consuming and can keep you from chanting Name Divine. In that case your comments become selffulfilling prophecies.

    Yours

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  70. Dear Anuradha,

    Thanks for the comments and advice. Indeed, friends don’t let friends blog, for any amount of blogging is too much blogging as far as most are concerned.

    Unfortunately when touching this subject I don’t seem able to avoid irritating some people. But that is only the expected reaction. Those who have had charge of teenagers know how guaranteed it is that they will stomp off in a huff when firmly told to stay away from computer games and go clean up their messy rooms.

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  71. Although I have personally decided to withhold on blogging for the time being, for the precise reasons that our anonymous protestor states, I do not agree with his/her general premise.

    Why should one resist from following one's desire to cultivate Krishna consciousness through hearing and chanting simply because one is not qualified? There is no qualification other than desire and no one is qualified by any other standard. We have all fallen short.

    We choose whatever means are at our disposition to engage in devotional service. Blogging or posting on internet forums may be an extremely inadequate way of doing so, but it is one such way.

    As far as hypocrisy, cheating and being cheated are concerned, those risks are there in every endeavor. There have always been cheaters--some inadvertent, some intentional--there have always been the easily misled, and there have always been whistle blowers.

    Over the past few years, I have stated what I thought on various issues and been criticized and condemned by practically every branch of the Krishna consciousness movement. I am well aware of the chasm that exists between my life and my beliefs. That does not, in my opinion, make my goal and my ideals any the less admirable. Nor am I altogether without hope that I will be able to cross the gulf.

    I don't know why sincere individuals cannot find ways of using the internet to share their experience of devotional life, in keeping with the bodhayantaH parasparam concept. Indeed, you yourself are obviously in desperate need of devotional association and a need to express your own ideas of what elements are necessary to increase and cultivate that experience.

    It may appear to some that those of us who speak on Krishna consciousness are arrogant or hypocritical, or seeking profit adoration and prestige. Are we needy? Yes, I confess for myself that I need the company of devotees. I need the mercy of devotees. If I say something that will bring them pleasure, then perhaps they will think kindly of me and make it possible for me to cross the gulf of faith. Svajatiyasaya snigdha svato-vara association is rare. It is rare for many reasons--who can calculate the depths of our aparadha? But why do you want to destroy what might be the last glimmer of hope for some?

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  72. What I meant by citing my own example was merely to emphasize that all my posting on the Internet has not resulted in a great many people being "fooled", "cheated" or whatever. Certainly you have not been, nor has Advaita, nor Shiva, nor Anuradha, nor Madhava, nor Nrisingha Maharaj, nor Rocana... no need to lengthen the list, which could go on and on.

    But no doubt Advaita will agree with me on this matter. Blogging is not "killer app." If people are interested, they may take the trouble of following up and meeting the person and seeing for themselves who and what he or she is.

    Those who are sincere seekers will find out fairly quickly the limitations of the medium as a tool to attaining spiritual beatitude.

    Shiva is quite right--"success" in preaching is not in our hands, nor is it necessarily a blessing.

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  73. Of course, there is the other side of the equation. Is there a disconnect between the "outer" and "inner" lives? It is certainly not healthy for anyone to have a consistent contradiction between his ideals and his actual life.

    In such a case, talking about the inner life can only be a positive, because in fact it clarifies and strengthens the conviction that enables one to live up to one's ideals.

    Life is dynamic and something has to give. As the Gita says, What will repression accomplish?

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  74. Once, more than a decade ago, during a stay in India I visited a wellknown, very old and beautiful vaisnava.
    He asked me what I wanted.
    I said that I wanted to become a true devotee.
    He looked at me, paused and then spoke to me with a grave voice "You cannot cheat others, you can only cheat yourself."

    There I was..... crushed.., but I still haven't learned.

    This counts for me and I am not implying this counts for someone else.

    Still I felt that I needed to share this anecdote, because it fits this very topic.

    Let us pray for each others spiritual well-being. In fact I will start doing that right now. We all need a little mercy, I guess.

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  75. Once, more than a decade ago, during a stay in India I visited a wellknown, very old and beautiful vaisnava.
    He asked me what I wanted.
    I said that I wanted to become a true devotee.
    He looked at me, paused and then spoke to me with a grave voice "You cannot cheat others, you can only cheat yourself."

    There I was..... crushed.., but I still haven't learned.

    This counts for me and I am not implying this counts for someone else.

    Still I felt that I needed to share this anecdote, because it fits this very topic.

    Let us pray for each others spiritual well-being. In fact I will start doing that right now. We all need a little mercy, I guess.

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  76. He looked at me, paused and then spoke to me with a grave voice "You cannot cheat others, you can only cheat yourself." "

    Wow, thanks Anuradha. Truly, that is about seven thousand kilometers worth of wisdom - (about the distance between Paris and Radhakunda?)

    Regarding inner and outer life, an interesting tidbit from Hollywood: The character Batman is a shallow, irresponsible billionaire playboy by day and the paladin of justice, hero of the innocent by night.

    To his childhood friend who only knows him as the irresponsible billionaire, he tries to explain himself, "I am not this... Inside, I am different..." To which the friend replies, "It is not what you are inside that defines you, but what you DO on the outside."

    Batman is an action hero of few words. Indeed, the best talk is done by his true friends.

    BTW, I like your contribution very much Anuradha. Thanks for the prayers.

    (Edited. Take it or leave it, Anon)

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  77. I think the following is the best comment on this question. Blogging may just be YOUR service.

    Do It Anyway - Written by Mother Teresa

    People are often unreasonable, illogical,
    and self-centered;
    Forgive them anyway.

    If you are kind, People may accuse you
    of selfish, ulterior motives;
    Be kind anyway.

    If you are successful, you will win some
    false friends and some true enemies;
    Succeed anyway.

    If you are honest and frank,
    people may cheat you;
    Be honest and frank anyway.

    What you spend years building, someone
    could destroy overnight;
    Build anyway.

    If you find serenity and happiness,
    they may be jealous;
    Be happy anyway.

    The good you do today,
    people will often forget tomorrow;
    Do good anyway.

    Give the world the best you have,
    and it may never be enough;
    Give the world the best you've got anyway.

    You see, in the final analysis,
    it is between you and God;
    It was never between you and them anyway

    Mother Teresa

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  78. "You see, in the final analysis,
    it is between you and God;
    It was never between you and them anyway"

    But she is wrong. Its always between us and them, while God rides along for the pleasure of it.

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  79. I agree with both. bheda and abheda are always everywhere simultaneously. When a sisya does something wrong the Guru does not take the karma because the sisya is a jiva that has its own eternal relationship with Krishna vertically (mamaivamso jiva loke jivabhuta sanatana) despite his/her horizontal (jiva to jiva) relationship with the Guru. When we do kirtan we do it in a group for the Lord but simultaneously we do it each individually for Him as well.

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  80. "I agree with both."

    Why? She's still wrong - she said "never". If it never is between us and them, then it isn't about us and God either. Ever. Simultaneously and never ar two very distinct concepts. In fact they are opposites.

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  81. Two little notes:

    Jagat-ji: "Blogging may just be YOUR service."

    I think this might be a bit too much an either/or implication. Somebody's seva might be blogging but that does not mean she/he cannot do a whole lot of other seva also.

    Advaitadas-ji: "When we do kirtan we do it in a group for the Lord but simultaneously we do it each individually for Him as well.

    'in a group for the Lord' is vertical and 'individually for Him' is vertical also.

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  82. Well, horizontal, vertical, diagonal or parabolic, I think, aside from the very last phrase, mother Theresa's poem is a nice one.
    Her siddhanta may be not 100 percent the same as ours, but this poem is more about perseverance and hope.

    We should all pray that our smart and stubborn Jagadananda starts with thoroughly cleaning up his room and wish him well in doing so.

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  83. I realize I am cheating, as I did say I would shut up. But this seems a relatively tiny corner of blogdom to write...

    I started translating Mother Theresa's words into Sanskrit--

    yadyapi sarva-bhUteSu
    santi svabhAvagA doSAH
    ahaGkArAbhimAnAdyAH
    tathApi teSu prINaya 1

    Even though (yadyapi) svabhAvagA (natural) doSAH (flaws) santi (exist) sarva-bhUteSu (in all creatures), ahaGkArAbhimAnAdyAH (such as egoism and pride), prINaya (love) teSu (them) tathApi (anyway).

    sAdhu-kAriSu lokAH
    ahaGkArAdi-doSAn tu
    Aropayanty akRtajJAH
    tathApi sAdhu-kRd bhava

    tu (even though), akRtajJAH lokAH (the ungrateful) Aropayanti (project) ahaGkArAdi-doSAn (flaws like selfishness) sAdhu-kAriSu (onto those who do good), bhava (be) sAdhu-kRt (a doer of good) tathApi (anyway).

    siddhiM prAptau bhaviSyanti
    tava kapaTa-bandhavaH
    matsarAH zatravaz cApi
    tathApi siddhiM sAdhaya

    siddhiM prAptau (on obtaining success) tava bhaviSyanti (you will get) kapaTa-bandhavaH (false friends) (and) matsarAH (envious) zatravaz (enemies) cApi (as well) tathApi (even so) siddhiM sAdhaya (strive for success).

    saralAn kaiTavAH sarve
    satya-priyAn ca vaJcakAH
    abhikrAmanti na tat-sattve
    ’saralo mithya-vAg bhava

    kaiTavAH sarve (the dishonest) ca vaJcakAH (and the cheaters) abhikrAmanti (accost) saralAn (the honest) satya-priyAn (and truthful). tat-sattve (in spite of that) na bhava (do not become) asaralo (dishonest) mithya-vAg (or a liar).

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  84. For me Krishna-consciousness used to be a very nice........ hobby(??!!).
    Good food, nice people, bla-bla, some intellectual chitchat and a little bit of meditation. At one point I decided to make my hobby my work and I joined a temple. Proud and secretly aspiring to become a sanyasi. That way I was guaranteed a livelyhood (SECURITY) and was able to dedicate my life to study and giving lectures (ATTENTION). I guess I was one out of many.
    Fortunately I met a few devotees for whoem Krishna-consciousness was not an out-of-control-hobby, but their very life and soul. I saw the difference or better... I felt it.
    But I didn't change. Change ain't easy. I knew I cheated, sad-guru knew I cheated, but He blessed me ANYWAY.

    Krishna arranged that my life became one big mess. I was in circumstances seemingly super-unfavorable to Krishna-consciousness. Big trouble. Really.

    And little by little now I start to depend on Krishna with my pride crushed. Once in a while my pride pops up again like it never left me.

    But I have hope and I will march on, because I know my Guru blessed me ANYWAY.

    Please, you too, embrace the Vaisnavas that blessed you and take Their blessing "met terugwerkende kracht".

    Chant and be very, very happy ;-)

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  85. Yadupati: 'in a group for the Lord' is vertical and 'individually for Him' is vertical also."

    Yes that is true, but what I meant with horizontal here is actually that 1. The devotees purify each other with their sankirtan. 2. The devotees experience unity among each other during the sankirtan. When the kirtan gets really high, the devotees might find their feet lifted off the ground all simultaneously.

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  86. "I think, aside from the very last phrase, mother Theresa's poem is a nice one.
    Her siddhanta may be not 100 percent the same as ours, but this poem is more about perseverance and hope."

    I think the point that Mother Theresa's sidhanta is not 100% the same as ours merits further comment(s).

    Perseverance and hope are of course universally desirable states - a moot. But there is a point where inconsistencies in sidhanta may defeat its very purpose.

    I see this clearly happening in the sidhanta that turned out the poem in question: "You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway".

    This is a considerable misconception and one that ultimately defeats the cause of perseverance, hope and charity. How can a quest for charity disregard the object of charity? A self-annulling contradiction, clearly.

    The interesting imagery of verticality and horizontality came up in the present discussion. I think this wasn't accidental... The great Thakur Bhaktivinode has concisely shown that there is indeed hierarchy in any and all systems of philosophy.

    And he demonstrated that unless this hierarchy is taken into consideration, there is no question of perception of ultimate Reality.

    Thus, when quoting to substantiate a proposition, best if the whole process is a, hum, realistic one.

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  87. Well , I agree and that's why I wrote "aside from the very last phrase". Obviously for this poem to have a usefull meaning the last part has to be cut out, otherwise it indeed nullifies itself.

    In the back of my mind is that our Jagadananda placed this poem and did so because he feels with the mood of this poem. He even translated it to Sanskrit. I do not know for what purpose though.

    But that's why I chose not to overanalyze the obvious(horiz/vert). Just cut the last phrase out, extract the good and stimulate our friend to clean up his room. If this poem helps him doing that, then it is a good poem. If not, it is a bad poem. Reject the unfavorable, accept the favorable.
    In this case there is no need to analyze Mother Theresa's poem further. We are not her disciples anyway. We can only shake hands on some common grounds and will not integrate her 'siddhanta' into ours.
    Hopefully we all know that Krishna is always with His devotees and the path of devotion is one of both congregational and individual efforts.
    Emphasizing that a little can never hurt of course.

    Yours

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  88. On the contrary, the last verse is the closest to the Gaudiya siddhanta in the whole poem. This is the truth, that everything in life is really a matter of bhakti to Krishna and the accidental events we face in life are really about us and him (or her).

    Mother Theresa is famous for saying that she saw the leper or the dying person in the street as Jesus himself, come in that form to receive her aid and devotion. This is also in the Bible, "I was hungry and ye clothed me, etc."

    This is a concept that Vaishnavas have some difficulty with, witness the criticism of Vivekananda's "daridra Narayan" idea adopted by the Gaudiya Math and Iskcon. This is, in fact, apasiddhanta. Just think of the Rantideva story, where Brahma, Vishna and Shiva came to him as beggars to test him. Rantideva passed the test because even though the gods were in disguise, he saw through the disguise by knowledge.

    The principle is stated philosophically in the third canto, where we are told that worshiping the image in the temple is inadequate, we must learn how to worship Krishna in the heart of every living being--or at least not to abuse or neglect his presence there. Jivera sammana dibe jani krishna adhisthana.

    This conception is so important I can hardly stress it enough.

    As far as translating this poem into Sanskrit, I do it out of pure love for Sanskrit. Such expressions of ideas seem to fit naturally into the Puranic or aphoristic type of Sanskrit literature. So, I say, let's bring it into Sanskrit.

    Translation is an interesting process. It can be done to alienate as well as to bring about understanding. I find that sometimes by translating the Bible or other religious texts into Sanskrit, one tends to find a similarity of ideas.

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  89. A question to Jagat and/or Anon:

    Who do you think Mother Theresa is referring to with 'them' ?
    All jiva souls ? Only some envious critizers ? Or.... ?
    In the last case, I agree with Jagadananda. In the first case, more with Anonymouse.
    Or maybe there isn't much disagreement after all on this one ?

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  90. "Who do you think Mother Theresa is referring to with 'them' ?
    All jiva souls ? Only some envious critizers? Or.... ?"

    In the Gaudiya sidhanta there is the concept of samye, equal vision. For one situated in knowledge there is no question of 'us' and 'them'.

    In that poem Mother Theresa was of course speaking of her own experience. She was charged by some traditional sects of India of having introduced in their society, a less civilized concept of charity. In order to abate the hunger of the poor, she introduced the eating of meat - a chicken in every pot. Disregarding the society's ancient old respect for all via a vegetarian diet, she proceeded to do her 'work of God'. Thus she herself missed the opportunity of getting acquainted with the revolutionary concept of ahimsa, compassion, her own potential.

    For her, 'them' were those who she chose to ignore .

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  91. That's just silly, Anon. All creatures are part and parcel of God, like branches on a tree, or limbs on an animal. Love "them" because they are a part of God, and ultimately for no other reason. That is why it is between "you and God" and not between "you and them." The reward for loving does not come from them, but from God.

    The Vaishnavas usually quote "yathA taror mUla-niSecanena," etc., to answer those who speak of material welfare work. This is a misunderstanding of the Bhagavatam. It means, do not serve the part without a view of the whole. Worse yet, don't think that by serving the part you will achieve full satisfaction yourself, especially not if we look for that fulfilment to come from that other person.

    If you preach, it is an act of service to Krishna, and not a relational act independent of Krishna. If you love someone, love them in relation to Krishna, or at least in Krishna consciousness.

    Love is the natural state of the soul. How can the jiva, who is the manifestation of God's love, whose purpose and goal is to experience God's love and to reciprocate that love, do anything other than love the jivas, or nature, who are but parts and parcels of God and who share in his nature?

    Thinking that there is any "them" at all is drawing a distinction between them and God. Bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat...

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  92. No, my Jagadananda, Anonymouse's aswer is not silly. And yours isn't either, except silly then for saying Anonymouse's comment is silly.

    We are just spinning words. A little sophistry to prove we are right. And we all like to be right. Isn't it ?

    Anonymouse looks at the poem while also considering the background in which it was probably written by MT. Charity yes, but also christanization with not enough consideration for the local existing religions and essential vegetarian tradition amongst Hindus.
    Quote Anonymouse:
    "For her, 'them' were those who she chose to ignore ."
    I think he is probably right, especially from the relative point of view.

    But you, Jagadananda, are also right, when you defend this poem. You do so from a different point of view. For you it could have been written by anyone. Or you don't think so much about the rude christanization efforts by the Vatican through MT in the light of some other succes she had and therefor analyze this poem from a more absolute point of view, as representing a part of our siddhanta. "them" is all jivas and are never really separate form God, so in the end it is between you and God, also in relation to other jivas "them". Yes, from that point of view you are also right.

    Thanks for taking some time to answer my question on dear Advaita's blog.

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  93. "That's just silly, Anon. All creatures are part and parcel of God, like branches on a tree, or limbs on an animal. Love "them" because they are a part of God, and ultimately for no other reason. That is why it is between "you and God" and not between "you and them." The reward for loving does not come from them, but from God."

    First of all, the reward for loving is loving itself, as Krsna himself said to the gopis. He said, "I can't reward your love, so let your love be its own reward." So the reward does NOT come from God, it comes from Love Herself. And Love rewards the lover through "them", the object of one's love. To love is to serve. The issue of the poem is compassion for all the suffering souls because of genuine love for them. If one creature is violently killed to feed another, the brutalized creature is NOT being loved. This kind of love then is between "me and me".

    Silly is to think that Mother Theresa could not have learned some manners from a great local, Mahatama Gandhi, that great champion of compassion. But she chose to ignore him.

    So you see Anuradha, this is not one of those acincya bedha abheda situations where everyone is simultaneously right. It is a matter of sorting things out - its called sidhanta. Getting things mixed up is called apasindhanta.

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