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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Surprise visitor

At 3 p.m. I am awoken by Sakhicharan, who comes with none other than Jagadānanda, whom I have not met in the flesh for some 24 years. He's a lot older of course, but also still very much the same guy as back then - jovial, upbeat, occasionally flashing a naughty grin while laughing loudly about his own jokes. He bows down and embraces me. He will assist Satya-nārāyan Prabhu as an editor and seems to be quite in demand as a productive scholar. Interestingly he speaks about the synthesis we western Vaiṣṇavas have to make, between Indian/Hindu/Vedic culture and our efficient western cultures. Interestingly, because Advaitadas-II also spoke about that this morning, when he even suggested I should not live in the Bengali community I live in now (where for the last few days the Bengali neighbors have been poisoning me with kerosine fumes of their stove whenever they cook their tea. When I complain, they stare at me through the poison, wondering what is the problem). He also speaks of projecting lusty desires on the līlā and his crisis of faith after leaving India. After an hour Jagat speeds off to take prasād from Mādhava, but not before hugging me again.

25 comments:

  1. Ode to Advaita

    Staring at me through the poison
    wondering what could be the matter,
    bad cooks' days are now counted,
    for I feast only on wisdom
    and straight letters.

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  2. He will assist Satyanarayan Prabhu as an editor and seems to be quite in demand as a productive scholar

    If the statement is correct, I have a problem understanding credibility here. How can Satyanarayan das work with a self confessed Sahajiya? Or more precisely how can Jagat work with Satyanarayan without his inclination bouncing out into the book?

    Granting that Jagadananda will only work as an editor, I would still think that there will be some sahajiya subliminal effect on the book.

    Good thing, I dont buy Satyanarayan's work.

    Jagat can't seem to make up his mind-- whether he is a sahajiya GURU or a Gaudiya Vaishnava; a lover of Radha Kunda or a lover of the glitter of Rshikesh.

    Of course we all have our ups and downs (including me) but if we announce ourselves with aplomb to be this and that, then there's credibility problem there.

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  3. Dear Malati, although I don't agree with Jagat's sahajiyaism, I think that it is not good or fair to have such preconceived ideas. If you find any sahajiyaism in the final product, then you can criticize him for that. Otherwise, I don't see any reason to apriori reject his work. Jagat did many good things and there is no trace of sahajiyaism in them.

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  4. I am yet to detect sahajiyaism in Madhurya-kadambini. Have you detected any sahajiya-subtleties there? Has anyone been subliminationed into a sahajiya yet by reading the work?

    If one is able to do one's work from a neutral position, being familiar with the subject matter he can accurately write, edit or teach any given subject, whether Gaudiya Vaisnavism, Advaita Vedanta or Nietzsche. It's not that everyone is obsessed with tweaking all things sundry to reflect one's inclinations.

    Then again I'm not that well versed in the science of unconsciously entered subliminal messages in written media. Perhaps the pandits will advice further on this.

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  5. Krishnadas: About your words to Malati dasi, why should you recommend her to "criticize" Jagadananda's sahajiyaism should it reflect in his work? Critique perhaps, but criticize?

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  6. Dear Krishnadas

    Although you are one of the young devotees whose wisdom I value, I beg to differ with you on this one.

    People that set themselves up a high profile in the internet devotee-community by peddling a VISION should expect some scrutiny from the community. And I think that’s fair enough.

    I believe Satyanarayandas made an error in judgment. Is Jagat the ONLY devotee in our Vaishnava community who understands Sanskrit and whose first language is English? Did Satyanarayan try hard enough to find the right person? Who is the editor/s of SD’s previous books? Jagat might be a very very capable man but should a sahajiya edit “öur books”?

    I am not talking on the personal level here. We can all be friends with him; as shown by Madhavananda having Prasad with him or Advaitadas’cordial reception of him.

    On second thoughts, if involvement with SD's work would put Jagat on track again then maybe that is alright. But then again, I'm not sure because he has changed spots a few times than I care to remember.

    Radhe Radhe

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  7. Ode to Advaita

    Staring at me through the poison
    wondering what could be the matter,
    bad cooks' days are now counted,
    for I feast only on wisdom
    and straight letters."


    Anon - Thanks for the ode. Yes, working in Indian cyberjoints, where the connection can go any time, can make you very poetic. With "staring through the poison" I mean " staring through the poisonous fumes of the extinguished kerosine-stove in the room."

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  8. Anon - Thanks for the ode. Yes, working in Indian cyberjoints, where the connection can go any time, can make you very poetic. With "staring through the poison" I mean " staring through the poisonous fumes of the extinguished kerosine-stove in the room."

    I understood your visible meaning, but I just could not help falling pray to the subliminal poetry in you post. It had that intoxicating effect. "Staring at me through the poison" has become an instant classic for me. I look forward to more poetry in between your lines. Thanks.

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  9. Dear Madhavanandadas

    You have more wisdom in your little finger than in my entire body, but yes I have my viewpoints too.

    I was surprised that after almost
    2 years of your name not linked to Jagat we see you here defending the wisdom of a self-confessed sahajiya editing "öur books”.

    I am yet to detect sahajiyaism in Madhurya-kadambini. Have you detected any sahajiya-subtleties there? Has anyone been subliminationed into a sahajiya yet by reading the work?

    I can’t tell; I can’t even remember most of what I’ve read in MK. Besides, I did not finish the book. The subliminal effect might NOT turn you into an instant sahajiya because the effect subliminally can be just a flash of activity in a brain region. You need a scientist to measure the brain activity. But I don’t know if it could have a cumulative effect too. I must admit that this science of cognition is still in its early days. I personally, however, would not like exposure to subliminal stimuli in my brain however small, now that I know.

    You might not be convinced of the subliminal effect put forward by scientists but you are ready to believe, and most GV devotees do, that the consciousness of a cook passes on the food cooked. Therefore we choose the best fit cook for Krishna. Wouldn’t a book about Krishna also a prasadi? It’s a service offered to Him. If so, we have to choose carefully who will “cook” the book.

    You cited MK. I believe MK was produced before Jagat confessed and before he became a full-blown sahajiya. Do you think Sri Ananta das Babaji will consent to working with him if the pandit knew?

    If one is able to do one's work from a neutral position, being familiar with the subject matter he can accurately write, edit or teach any given subject, whether Gaudiya Vaisnavism, Advaita Vedanta or Nietzsche. It's not that everyone is obsessed with tweaking all things sundry to reflect one's inclinations.


    Maybe Jagat can work in the neutral position as an editor. But THAT is the point. Back to credibility. If Jagat as a western sahajiya proponent or guru CAN NOT apply for practical purposes his strong convictions as shown by his pompous harangue in his blog and his undesirable activity with women devotees in the past, where does that leave his credibility?

    Maybe he'll do it just because he needed a job. Again, how do we see his convictions as a sahajiya proponent/guru then?

    In Universities you can only teach areas you are a specilist in. So you want a Sahajiya to teach trad GVism?

    Then again I'm not that well versed in the science of unconsciously entered subliminal messages in written media. Perhaps the pandits will advice further on this.

    I don’t know why you wrote the above. Pandits as reservoir of knowledge and bliss and real Gurus are like swans who can extract nectar from water or maybe from murky water for that matter. Or like lotuses that rise above the water...untouched by its impurities. So I believe subliminal message do not and can not apply to them. What I’m concerned about are persons like me.

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  10. Madhava, your comment is a bit off-topic, since no-one mentioned Jagat's work on Madhurya Kadambini.

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  11. I would just like to make a small note on this:

    Malati:"The subliminal effect might NOT turn you into an instant sahajiya because the effect subliminally can be just a flash of activity in a brain region. You need a scientist to measure the brain activity. But I don’t know if it could have a cumulative effect too. I must admit that this science of cognition is still in its early days. I personally, however, would not like exposure to subliminal stimuli in my brain however small, now that I know."

    I'm not a scientist but I'm in training to be a neuropsychologist. The fact is that current neurological research shows tht the brain has an immense capacity for plasticity. Where subliminal issues are concerned, the fact is that that flashes of activity in brain regions are caused by everything and anything and especially (or significantly) strong reactions are registered in terms of likes or dislikes.

    If there is a concern that reading Jagat's "sahajiya" works may instantly or cumulatively lay us open to sahajiya influences, I would say that merely a consciousness of Jagat as a sahajiya can significantly affect one's own perception of the work, whether or not there is any sahajiyaism in Jagat's work. In effect, one is "sahajiyaising" oneself.

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  12. First of all, I think we're going a bit overboard in presenting Jagat as the grand daddy of all sahajiyas or some such. Reading a couple of blog posts online isn't sufficient to make strong evaluations of a person's nature. Granted, I haven't read each and every blog entry of his, but for what I've read, I think it's a bit much to say he's a sahajiya guru blasting pompous harangue to the masses.


    Malati: In Universities you can only teach areas you are a specilist in. So you want a Sahajiya to teach trad GVism?

    He certainly is very well versed in the foundational works of the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. Even if some of his personal convictions have steered a bit off the orthodoxy, the fact remains that he knows the thing a dozen times better than you or I do. Would there have been others for the job as qualified? The fact is that Jagat is one of the most qualified persons around for such a task, and among those qualified who are in a position to work in India, he may well have been the only available good choice.


    Gaurasundara: I would say that merely a consciousness of Jagat as a sahajiya can significantly affect one's own perception of the work, whether or not there is any sahajiyaism in Jagat's work. In effect, one is "sahajiyaising" oneself.

    This indeed is at the crux of the issue. Books aside, any strong negative (or positive for that matter) emotional responses leave their impressions in the subconscious mind. For that reason, we are adviced to stay aloof from delving on others' faults -- for it often so happens that through such forceful contemplation, the same seize our own hearts.

    We cannot be certain of the pristinity of anyone's editing or translation (or any other) work. Even if someone draws the straightest tilak in the world on his face, there is no knowing what he does in the privacy of his own quarters. Then, we run the risk of an unknowing intake of a horde of evil subliminal influences. The solution then, I suppose, is to only read works translated and edited by certified maha-bhagavatas. Anyone care to recommened a title?

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  13. Madhava, you are asking us not to delve on others' faults, OK, so will you tell your friend Jagat then to do his part and stop preaching illicit sex 24/7 on the internet? Otherwise we're left kind of defenseless, huh? Visvanatha Cakravarti says that reading Hari-katha from non-devotees is like sweet water poured into a desert, which turns the water sour - madhuram api api jalam ksara-bhumi pravistah yatha virasibhavati tathaivavaisnavamukhah nirgato bhagavat guno'pi natirocaka

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  14. While the "delving on others' faults" sentence was not particularly meant to call an end to observations on Jagat (it was in the context of subliminal effects), the shoe does fit here. Sure, let's discuss the issues (if there is anything to discuss). However comments like this:

    "Jagat can't seem to make up his mind-- whether he is a sahajiya GURU or a Gaudiya Vaishnava; a lover of Radha Kunda or a lover of the glitter of Rshikesh."

    In my world, this comes across as an attempt to impose a fault on another, one way or another. To find fault in someone over his having gone to Rishikesh (to teach Sanskrit -- he gets paid for it) is just that, namely unnecessary fault-finding, and amounts to aparadha.

    Now as far as the question whether he is a devotee is concerned. To say he is not a Vaisnava is unjust. He certainly is a devotee and a Vaisnava. Granted, if you examined him in the light of our "pure sampradaya standard" or other such gold label criteria, he would certainly not stand as a "pure devotee", an "orthodox devotee" or some such.

    Jagat's been mentioning Hit Harivamsa every so often in his blog. He was (according to our side of the story, anyway) a disciple of a (Gaudiya) sampradayika guru until a certain succession of events we are all familiar with, events that led to some long-standing antagonism between his followers and the Gaudiyas. We are justified in saying that he is not a Gaudiya Vaisnava proper, and perhaps even in issuing the famous "don't associate" anathema, but to say he isn't a devotee or a Vaisnava... (And now, kind devotees, take the essence of the above instead of asking whether I am equating Harivamsa with Jagat.)

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  15. 1. Your love for Jagat is touching, Madhava. Rupa Goswami says that the beloved's faults do not diminish the love. You have admitted you did not study Jagat's recent work so well. I recommend you do, so to get an objective and complete picture. Then you may understand the Vaishnavas' ill taste for him a bit better.
    2. I actually use Jagat's typing work from the GGM, but this is purely the original words of the Goswamis. It gets different when Jagat starts saying things in his own words by translating, however accurately technically peaking, the Goswamis' sacred words.
    3. The text I quoted does not say ' milk touched by the lips of a serpent' or 'don't associate', but it does say nATirocaka ('not very palatable') and virasIbhavati ('becomes of ill taste').
    4. As far as the man himself is concerned, if he comes to my door I wont blast him away (see the blog) but he's not the first satsanga I would travel 1000 miles for either.

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  16. 1. I do not know whether it is love or a lack of aversion. I try hard to not love anyone in particular. I do have a subscription to his blog, and get all new entries, which I generally skim through due to their being often quite voluminous, to my inbox. If someone wants to entertain me by giving me a couple of particularly bad links, please feel free to.

    2. Are you sure there are no subliminal typos in his original work, freudian slips and all that? Yogi becoming yoni and all that.

    3. Well, it does say "non-devotee", "avaiSNava". There can be many other valid reasons for not being inclined to hear someone's hari-katha. For example, I am not terribly inclined to hear hari-katha narrated by your average ISKCON sadhu. Not because of their being non-Vaisnava, but on account of diverging convictions and feelings that contradict my taste. Hence it would be justified to say, "His conclusions and feelings make his narration contrary to my taste." And we can even extend that to say, "and so it should be for all orthodox/pure/straight Gaudiyas and other homies", but we don't need to drop in the "avaiSNava".

    4. There are very few reasons to travel 1000 miles... Unless someone pays for the ticket.

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  17. Hare Krishna

    Madhavanandadas
    This is going to be my last post because even if we turn black and blue we will never meet halfway.

    You mentioned quarters, rest assured since I’ve been single for almost 2 years now, my bedroom is not a hive of activity. I’m actually leading a boring life—raising 2 very nice children though agnostic, trying to pay the bills, daily practicing a semblance of sadhana ; and from to time when I’m not in my selfish mood, I donate to Gv causes. I have no big nasty surprises. My point being that I always try to make my spiritual and other life real as much as I can.


    Madhavanandadas:First of all, I think we're going a bit overboard in presenting Jagat as the grand daddy of all sahajiyas or some such. Reading a couple of blog posts online isn't sufficient to make strong evaluations of a person's nature. Granted, I haven't read each and every blog entry of his, but for what I've read, I think it's a bit much to say he's a sahajiya guru blasting pompous harangue to the masses.

    There you go, you don’t have the complete picture, so don’t make a comment. I read his blog every day.


    Madhavanandadas:He certainly is very well versed in the foundational works of the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. Even if some of his personal convictions have steered a bit off the orthodoxy, the fact remains that he knows the thing a dozen times better than you or I do. Would there have been others for the job as qualified? The fact is that Jagat is one of the most qualified persons around for such a task, and among those qualified who are in a position to work in India, he may well have been the only available good choice.

    Well we might be right but (spiritually) dead right!

    Madhavanandadas:For that reason, we are adviced to stay aloof from delving on others' faults ……

    While the "delving on others' faults" sentence was not particularly meant to call an end to observations on Jagat (it was in the context of subliminal effects), the shoe does fit here. Sure, let's discuss the issues (if there is anything to discuss). However comments like this:

    "Jagat can't seem to make up his mind-- whether he is a sahajiya GURU or a Gaudiya Vaishnava; a lover of Radha Kunda or a lover of the glitter of Rshikesh."

    In my world, this comes across as an attempt to impose a fault on another, one way or another. To find fault in someone over his having gone to Rishikesh (to teach Sanskrit -- he gets paid for it) is just that, namely unnecessary fault-finding, and amounts to aparadha.


    It irritates me no end when people start the fault finding line to put any discussion to a dead end. It takes reason away from faith And that is dangerous! I believe I raised a valid question: a sahajiya involvement in a trad GV work.

    Even at 50, I have a very good memory. Jagat does not hide his ambition to be a Guru. In your old GD forum he related that he was given a mandate by Bhaktivedanta Swami to be a guru. (If I remember correctly on the rooftop of Mayapur temple). And judging by his writings in his blog and his activities that he related in his blog he meant leadership/guru business. To talk at great length about sex and to enjoin us to bonk each other to get a glimpse of the divine only stopping short of broadcasting the sexual rituals on the internet (he enjoines people to contact him via email privately for the details of the ritual) he showed he is serious. Except that not one among devotees that I know of bite the bait.

    When I say he has to make up his mind my question comes from my conviction that there is a HARD LINE to be drawn between the sahajiya philosophy and the GVism. Maybe for you the line is blurred, I don’t know.

    My understanding of Gvism is that manjari seva is the core of the siddhanta. Therefore to identify with the divine couple and play out the divine couple in sex is a TRAVESTY of the siddhanta of the highest order.

    Well about my comment about RK and Rshikesh. With his writings in his blog, his poems, his reflections I was duped into believing that he is in deep love for his
    headmistress Srimate Radharani. So I was thinking why not Radha Kunda, which I asked in his blog. He answered “where ever opportunity takes me”. There you go, shows his true colour. Btw, Radha Kunda town is a far cry from the bohemian glitzy Rshikesh.

    You may say why I dwell on his person. This is my simple answer; you can’t separate leadership/guruhood from the person. GV philosophy is very personalist. Though Guru is his words you can not separate a guru from his personality. They say that sometimes just the physical presence of a Guru can change hearts.

    Madhavanandadas:Now as far as the question whether he is a devotee is concerned. To say he is not a Vaisnava is unjust…....

    Yes, a devotee of another kind.

    No need to say that I am very disappointed by your constant defending of Jagat. He is old enough to defend himself.

    Most people who know me know I’m a very open person, so when Jagat changes his mind yet again, I’ll welcome him with a feast.

    Hare Krishna

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  18. Madhava,
    1. I generally read whatever is somewhat useful on Jagat's blog, but usually not the unpalatable stuff. Again, you're being unfair if you defend Jagat, blindly may I say, without knowing what he's 'teaching' people.
    3. About non-Vaishnavas: Krishnadas and me took Jagat in a pincer-movement last september, on his blog, challenging him on scriptural evidence on his debauch theories and he wasn't able to provide any. Is such a person, at least in his public speech and the consequent influence he has on an innocent and already misled public, to be considered a Vaishnava, at least in words?
    4. I just turned down an invitation to journey, which was being paid for, of 1000 miles, and believe me, that was more interesting than hearing Jagat.

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  19. The issue isn't really that important to me to invest dozens of hours of time into reading each debate that followed each elongated blog entry. As I noted, if someone wishes, they're free to send me links to some particularly relevant threads if they wish. I do have a pretty good idea of what he teaches even if I don't have the details of expression, however. As noted, I do acknowledge he is a far cry from the Gaudiya party line.

    I guess I just have developed a general allergy to evaluations of others that are pejorative, harsh, disdainful or otherwise imbalanced, even if the evaluators might have a hundred good reasons in their own assessment. Here are my hundred:

    "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend."

    In the grand scheme of everything, all crumbs fall into their places to fulfill one purpose or another. The arising of a new ideology, or the alteration of a current ideology, indicates the presence of a vacuum to be filled. As such, it should serve as an impetus for everyone, both the supporters, the opposition and the neutral, to reflect on the why and how of the novelty's existence. Rather than invoke hatred for the contender, have it work to your advantage by employing it to your understanding. You can't really do that if you are overwhelmed with a sense of negativity towards it.

    I don't know what it is, perhaps I have been lobotomized, but I find it hard to hit the hateful nerve these days, whether it's Jagat's philosophies or anyone else, unless we're looking at cases of direct and blatant abuse or some such. From where I look at things, Jagat is the dreamy old professor who has given his intellect the extra-long leash in exploring solutions to his struggles with sexuality versus spirituality and resolving some positions that wouldn't be intellectually defendable, and as such even if I don't agree, I do have a sense of sympathy for his quest as I see the factors that drive him into it.

    Now, people can of course feed me the appropriate medicine-quotes about hating the devotee-haters and other references calling for divine indignation, but there's a void within me in the spot they're meant to hit.

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  20. Madhava, no one here should be accused of either hating Jagat or inciting hatred towards him. As things stand, isnt a dogged defender of a sahajiya himself a sahajiya? And what's wrong with devotional indignation and a drive to protect innocent people from being misled? And no, Jagat is not just a dreamy old professor as you, and others, witnessed three years ago.

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  21. The vibe I get from the discussions on Jagat is along the following lines.

    - Arrest and convict the man, now!
    - Sir, on what charges?
    - I don't care, any damn charges! Find out something you can accuse him of!
    - Uh, yes sir.

    This is especially in reference to some of Malati's comments. Any issue one can engage into condemning him is freely employed, no matter whether they'd weigh worth anything in the case of someone else.

    I have no particular agenda in defending Jagadananda. I just think the criticism is going a bit overboard.

    If someone wants to call me a sahajiya for having a softer approach in judging people, it doesn't really make a difference to me. I do my own thinking and have my own conclusions, people are free to label them as they wish. I am what I am.

    --

    If those concerned about Jagat's work with Satyanarayana think SN has really made a terrible error in judgment, they would perhaps do well to ask SN for his insight on why he is inclined to work with Jagat. SN I understand to be a Vaisnava with knowledge and insights worth more than many of us put together, and as such wouldn't be so very hasty to say he made a serious error in judgment.

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  22. Madhava, it's not that you are now generally averse to faultfinding, as you claimed a few comments ago - here at Radhakund you are dumping siksa-gurus at a fast pace, Vaishnavas that are not 1% as dubious and debauch as Jagat, but about Jagat you will not hear one bad word. Double standards to the extreme,made even worse by the fact that you suddenly have no time to read all his objectionable blogs - no wonder you have no time - there's so many of them! You put your credibility,
    your reputation and indeed your bhakti-lata at stake.

    And this

    "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend."

    requires some corroboration from the shastra, it hardly sounds like sarva dharman parityajya or sri caitanya mano' bhistam to me.

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  23. I can't really be bothered to defend myself on this or the related themes that are now being brought in, nor to keep corroborating corroborations ad infinitum. Arguments are endless, let people think what suits them. That seems to generally stand as each individual's conclusion, all apologisms and inquisitions notwithstanding.

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  24. Can I just say that if people find Jagat's blog so offensive, why read it?

    Just don't read it any more if it is so disturbing. Problem solved!

    Season's Greetings to all of you!

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  25. No, unfortunately that does not solve the problem, Gaur, because the topic of this blog and debate is not Jagat's blog, but whether or not he will edit the sacred words of Jiva Goswamipada. That is quite another matter.

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