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Monday, February 11, 2008

Disneyland in tapobhūmi

I had some more thoughts on the culture-gap case Lila:

Vaiṣṇava missions in the west (perhaps due to competition) lower the threshold for admission and create a new layer of congregational grass-roots members, much like the caste Goswāmīs do in India. That is okay, but there is a big cultural difference. The new congregational/householder/grassroots devotees should not start selecting tapo-bhūmi (field of penance) Vraja as a holiday-destination for themselves and their rock 'n rolling teens. I saw in Raman Reti ('little Beverly Hills' or 'Disneyland in tapobhūmi') western teens roaring around on motorcycles, with earrings, bluejeans and mp3 players (most likely not playing kīrtan on the headphones), while Śrīman Mahāprabhu said sarva tyaji jīvera kartavya kāhā vāsa? "Where does a person who has given up everything reside?" To which Rāmānanda Rāya replied: vṛndāvana vraja-bhūmi yāhā līlā rāsa "In Vṛndāvana, Vraja-bhūmi, where the Rāsa-līlā took place". The founders of the big preaching missions in the west were themselves very cautious in allowing their disciples to live in Vraja, even in the austere 1970s, when the threshold of admission was much higher, let alone now.


  1. Very nice observation. I noticed same thing in Mayapur and Vrindavan. That makes me actually realize that Vrndavan really resides in the hearts of devotees. There can be so many things observed and followed on the outside as dress code and behaviour but if Vrndavan is not in the heart then everythng is useless. Thanks for sharing your thaughts.

  2. I believe most of the teenagers, especially the Beverly Hills 90210 club, would be gurukulis, rather than the result of a new congregational harvest.