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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Exit Mādhava

I was informed some time ago that Madhāvananda Dās from Finland left Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. (I waited with this blog until his own announcement would come) Sad as it is, his departure does not surprise me. I don’t want to use this blog to kick a man when he’s down, but our relationship was checkered to say the least. On the positive side Mādhava has been a great computer-help from the beginning till the end, and in the early days of our acquaintance he was great sat saṅga too. We had a few scuffles before, but the relationship was irrepairably distorted when Mādhava began to blindly and consistently side with Jagat in whatever apostasy or aparādha he had to present on "Gaudiya Discussions" from June 2004 onwards. Since then Mādhava could never really give up his deep friendship for Jagat, and that might have led to his demise. When put to the test Mādhava repeatedly failed in respect, honesty, humility, modesty and integrity. I hope he will come back, but my 30-year experience with seeing 90% of devotees leaving without ever returning makes me fear the worst.

Finally I want to say to those who support(ed) Mādhava: It is sad that after the 11-Guru debacle devotees have not learned anything. The 11 post-ACBS Iskcon Gurus were mistaken for pure devotees because of their charisma and material qualifications – history repeated itself with Jagāi and Mādhāi, who had the same ‘assets’. Real devotion is not shown through a mega-brain, eloquence, quoting lots of verses, sex appeal, fancy glittering uniforms, fancy titles or having many disciples. Mādhava wrote some excellent essays that can always be used for future preaching, so his legacy is safeguarded. I read his goodbye-letter on his blog, and saw confirmed that bhakti is anyway not really the path for him. I respect that and wish him the best in his onward journey.

89 comments:

  1. I think that what Madhava has done takes a lot of courage and integrity. Like him, I too have ceased viewing Chaitanya Vaishnavism as the best or highest metaphysical path. It certainly is one genuine, valid way to approach transcendence, but it is far from being the only means of attaining God. Whilst I have much appreciation for Vaishnavism in general, I also find a lot of truth and beauty in Shaivism, Shaktism, Smartism, Buddhism and Jainism. Even Tantra Yoga in its numerous forms is a definite, proven methodology. If one carefully ponders over the issue, the conclusion that truth is multi-faceted and cannot be comprehensively encompassed in the teachings and literary corpus of any one mystical tradition is almost inevitable. There exist many an authentic path, and each should meditate and reflect over what is best for them in earnest prior to taking the dip, so to speak.

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  2. As if Saturday was not enough sadness for me because of something that happened in my personal life, then came the news of Madhava’s departure from GVism. To be honest, I felt like crying yesterday.

    Vikram: Truth is multi-faceted …….. Like him, I too have ceased viewing Chaitanya Vaishnavism as the best or highest metaphysical path.

    Truth might be multi-faceted or has many aspects. And sure we have to find the one that gives the most meaning to us or to put it in simple words the one that “makes sense to us”. For all the manipulation, twisting, hybriding, adaptation to the modern world of Chaintaya Vaishnavism, whether deliberate, accidental or with a good purpose in mind, Chaitanya Vaishnavism is still superior in terms of theology and ontology to any that I have read so far. How far have I’ve gone on the path of search for the meaning of life? I was born into the Catholic faith; my parents were Catholics. Then my first introduction to and interest in the Eastern thought, although I was born in Asia, was when at age 11 I read an article about the monks in Bhutan. I got fascinated by their external appearance. After that I flirted with the Ananda Marga teachings, had passing interest in Lobsang Rampa, TM by the Maharishi then checked out the Christian Protestant faith then ACBSP’s disciple Siddha Swarup’s group called the Chaitanya Mission, then the inevitable move to ISKCON,then had a crisis of faith and inquired into and read a lot of books about Buddhism including the Dalai Lama, then moved to GM and now as they say is history – happily with Sri Sadhu Baba (Advaita’s eternal guru). To me He is the embodiment of humility, simplicity, honesty and greatest lover of Radha-Krishna.

    Though we might not admit it, love and sex move the world, aside from money. There is always that underlying sexual dynamics within us all. Is that not what C Jung said? That is why the rasa lila, whether it is real on a certain realm or just a language of God to convey love and devotion is such a beautiful, genius work by which we can see meaning to that sexual dymanics in us all. The system of bhakti inaugurated by Lord Chaitanya and “devised” by the 6 Goswami is a perfect system of living a very nice life. We love music, so we have kirtan playing on our Cd while driving. We love yummy food, so we have that wonderful prasadam. It’s nice to have a nice garden so we have that flowers to look at everyday and see if they are ready for offering at our altar. We can make our home our temple. We love “love” so we have our husband and wife. If love and devotion, the bhakti system , for Radha-Krishna is a trick, then I’d like to be part of that trick until my last breath!


    Happy Lord Chaitanya’s Janmasthami! on the 21st here in Australia

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  3. Vikram, while I respect your views, I know them to be wrong. What gaudiya vaisnavism offers is singular and not available in any other path. That doesn't mean that god cannot reveal some aspect of revelation to anyone of some other philosophical bent, but without knowledge of gaudiya vaisnavism it will be impossible for god to relate with someone (in this life) on the most intimate level, they will simply be too ignorant. It's like a king may be able to relate with anyone in his kingdom, but the people that enjoy the closest relationship with the king are those who know him best, his close friends and family. They can joke with him and treat him like a close friend, hit him in jest, treat him like any of their other friends and family, or be more intimate as the situation may call for. Those not so close to the king may be able to have a relatioship with the king, but it is of a completely different type of relationship then that of his closest friends and family.

    Gaudiya teachings brings one an education where one is able to join the inner circle of God's friends and family (in this life). Without that education you cannot join that inner circle. That doesn't mean you cannot know God to one degree or another, but without Gaudiya teachings thinking that one can know God in full would be like trying to get a job in a field which demands a certain amount of expertise and education, without that education and training.

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  4. I want to note that I have never seen Madhava passing himself off as a guru or telling anyone that he was more advanced than they or closer to the truth than they were. I did see him passing on what he had learned about scriptures from his vast study of them, in response to questions from beginners.

    I agree with Vikram Ramsoondur, above. It takes courage and integrity to stand up for what you believe, and talk about what no longer serves you. Notice that Madhava makes no statements that the path of Gaudiya Vaishnavism should be abandoned by others. He simply talks about what his own path has been and where he sees it at present. Good for him!

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  5. I want to note that I have never seen Madhava passing himself off as a guru or telling anyone that he was more advanced than they or closer to the truth than they were.

    Aha, Tapati! How much personal association did you have with him? Even his staunchest supporters won't deny his strong ambitions. Those who cherish such ambitions will never openly show it or admit it, not on this path at least, but it doesn't take a Third Eye to see that in some....

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  6. "Vikram, while I respect your views, I know them to be wrong. What gaudiya vaisnavism offers is singular and not available in any other path."

    What GV has to offer certainly did not completely satisfy my thirst for spirituality, hence I'm for the moment satisfied just being a generic Hindu, worshipping Brahman in all of the forms that are known to Hinduism. God is both personal and impersonal, and I shan't terminate my quest to know HIM/HER till I feel at home with myself. If for Madhava that means becoming a Theravada Buddhist, then I wish him all the best on his new chosen path. If GV works fine for you, then that's great.

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  7. Tapati said

    "I want to note that I have never seen Madhava passing himself off as a guru or telling anyone that he was more advanced than they or closer to the truth than they were."

    Maybe you weren't participating on Gaudiya Discussions and other forums when Madhava made the constant claims that "IGM" (iskcon gaudiya math) were not teaching the real proper version of gaudiya vaisnavism. But many us were. It was constantly being taught by him that IGM was presenting bogus philosophy, that Bhaktivinoda was bogus, that Bhaktisiddhanta was bogus and that all who follow them were bogus. I am sure he won't deny this as that rhetoric was the basis for not only his, but many of the people who shared that view on those forums.

    I had many debates with him where I insisted that he wasn't speaking from realization, that he was simply parroting literal interpretations of gaudiya sastra (specifically those that dealt with rasa lila) and that his interpretations were wrong due to his lack of experience and lack of the understanding of the metaphorical nuances of Gaudiya teachings. He insisted that I was wrong, and that his vision was superior and correct. Even when i proved that he was wrong on numerous occasions he would reject the proof and then claim that his vision was correct. For example this was a constant argument with him, he said:

    "Hence Sri Radha is the original zakti, and not a viSNu-tattva-prakAza. In that sense, she is not "god" as you would have it, as in "sharing the same consciousness"

    He is saying that Radha is not God, not Vishnu Tattva. I presented many quotes from accepted Gaudiya authorities where Radha is described as Vishnu Tattva, for example this from Govinda Bhasya

    "From his Govinda Bhasya:

    Because she is not different from the Supreme Lord, Goddess Laksmi is also all pervading. In the Smriti-sastra it is said:

    Goddess Laksmi is the mother of the worlds. She is the constant companion of Lord Visnu. As Lord Visnu is all pervading, so is she.

    To think that Goddess Laksmi is different from Lord Visnu, but still all-pervading, is a false, a heretical idea...Sri Radha is the origin of all the forms of Goddess Laksmi."

    or from Prameya Ratnavali

    vishnoh syuh saktayastisristasu ya kirtita para |
    saiva sristadabhinneti praha sishyan prabhurmahan || 12 ||

    12. Visnu has three energies (Cit, Jiva, Bahiranga). The one among them who is proclaimed as the highest is Sri (Laksmi, Radha, Sita etc), who is not different from him. So taught the great master to his disciples.

    paraiva vishnvabhinna srirityuktam tatraiva (vi. pu., 1.9.44-45):
    kalakashthanimeshadikalasutrasya gocare |
    yasya saktirna suddhasya prasidatu sa no harih ||
    procyate parameso yah yah suddho’pyupacaratah |
    prasidatu sa no vishnuratma yah sarvadehinam || (gha) ||

    That the higher [power] is Sri who is non-different from Visnu is stated there [in the Visnu Purana (1.9.44-45)] as well:

    12d. May Hari be pleased with us, the pure one whose power is not under the control of time which is made up of units like kala, kastha, nimesa, and so forth. He, though pure, is said metaphorically to be the Lord of Sri (parama); may that Visnu, who is the Self of all embodied beings, be pleased with us.


    Or from Caitanya Caritamrta

    CC Adi 4.96: Sri Radha is the full power, and Lord Krsna is the possessor of full power. The two are not different, as evidenced by the revealed scriptures.

    CC Adi 4.97: They are indeed the same, just as musk and its scent are inseparable, or as fire and its heat are nondifferent.

    CC Adi 4.98: Thus Radha and Lord Krsna are one, yet They have taken two forms to enjoy the mellows of pastimes.

    Yet Madhava always rejected these teachings and claimed his vision was superior.

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  8. Aha, Tapati! How much personal association did you have with him? Even his staunchest supporters won't deny his strong ambitions. Those who cherish such ambitions will never openly show it or admit it, not on this path at least, but it doesn't take a Third Eye to see that in some....

    Advaitaji, perhaps you are mistaking the arrogance of youth with the arrogance of the wannabe-guru?

    In my dealings with with Madhava during his "traditional GV" period, I never detected him taking on the role of guru. Indeed, his departure from GV seems to have been hastened by his dissatisfaction with the teachers he knew he needed.

    Plenty of kids in their 20s share the "know-it-all" arrogance that one sometimes sees in Madhava. Indeed, because of his spiritual practice, Madhava probably in many ways has LESS of that arrogance than most. But there is a world of difference between the arrogance of youth, which says "I'm a special snowflake" and "I have understood more than my teachers think I have," and the arrogance that would push a young man into playing guru, as several of Bhaktivedanta Swami's disciples did while still in their late 20s.

    Does Madhava hope to be a guru before he leaves his body? Perhaps. Does he suffer from the impatience of youth when faced with any obstacle that will delay his progress toward becoming a guru? Perhaps. But give the young man some credit; he has been "burned" enough on the path to realize that he just isn't credible as a teacher... at least not yet.

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  9. I think it's hilarious that Advaita wants to attribute Madhava's leaving GV to follow the path of the Buddha because of his association with Jagat, thus he became contaminated and fell down.

    What a self serving point of view, in a similar manner Nitai on his site says his leaving is proof of what Nitai has been saying about there being no real rasik sanga in braja, another self-serving outlook.

    Why can't these big boys simply acknowledge that perhaps Madhava got fed up with a one sided dogmatic religion based on faith and belief that is like Hindu Christianity and let's face reality people move on in their spiritual quest, Advaita did, Nitai did..we all do..and like Christianity many in GV will stay and many will leave..

    These groups all do the same thing when someone leaves, saying they are fallen, contaminated or have gone crazy...they do this to justify it for themselves to substantiate it so no doubt will enter into them as well..it is simply a protection device for THEIR own egos.

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  10. Another way you can look at it is to blame the Supreme Controller of the universe. One, for allegedly being the author of Bhagavad Gita. Because in that text it says that, "One who shares this message is very dear to me" [paraphrased].

    So anyone in a religion that accepts BG as a scripture, to gain the grace of God they are taught is best policy to preach. Versus other religions the focus is to go more within.

    For example in Shiva Siddhanta school, one acharya has taught that a person on the path should not preach to others when you first learn how to meditate because "it is an inner process".

    Versus if a person gets into ISKCON as the origin point to religious studies, they send neophytes out onto the street to preach to people. And Narayana Maharaja sangha not much different than that.

    So people usually in life start off with the values imbibed from living with their parents, then relatives and community. ISKCON and Gaudiya Matha was this kid's first spiritual family, relatives, and community.

    So if you want to spread the "blame" around, the kid was weaned on this preaching kind of religions and cut his milk teeth on them also.

    I mean is kind of a joke and very funny to go to these "Hari-Katha festivals", because is very difficult to understand how is all about developing our inner resources.

    Is more like the Saturday Night Live version of The McLaughlin Hour in which a host, McLaughlin, is a cranky old curmudgeon who won't let any of his guests get in a word edgewise. He invites really famous people on to the dais, lets them speak for 30 seconds, and then cuts them off.

    Also seems like their main scripture "Jaiva Dharma" is like a
    geek's computer manual for men who want to be into spiritual life but enjoy arguing. I mean, seriously, is so hilarious these traditions that are all about how inside we are women, but when you go to their sanghas it's nothing at all how most women that I know and have seen on TV, in movies, in magazines behave.

    Mostly it is the men of this world who are all into arguing and defeating each other's arguments. So this kid is raised in these male traditions all full of bluster and testosterone, all about men "arguing about spiritual life" which just seems like an oxymoron to an outside observer.

    So I think you want to blame someone, the kid started off in one of these preaching religions and went into another preaching religion and their holy books say that one who preaches is best fulfilling the mano-bhistam of the gurudeva.

    He was influenced by these traditions that are all about we chop the other person's arguments to pieces, the McLaughlin Group SNL religions.

    And after that you can also blame the Supreme Lord for creating the planets that control our every thought and move, because you look at anyone's astrological chart who makes a big change in their life, it's usually due to some action happening in their progressed chart [Western] or vimsottari dasha chart in jyotish.

    Well just be fair when you cast the "blame" around, the jeevas have so little independence is scary in my opinion: if not from nature then from nurture. Aum.

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  11. One thing is sure though, Madhavanandadas is a showman.

    Showman: a person skilled at making effective presentations

    Radhe Radhe

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  12. Madhava offered and pursued a situation where he could initiate a "friend" of his' wife. Even when the husband protested and it almost broke the marriage he sought to be her initiating Guru. Ambitious? Ask Brajagopala from GD about his lack of ambition.

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  13. The first I've heard of this. Apparently, Madhavananda has announced this in his journal.

    :-(

    A surprise, yet not really a surprise to me. Not really sad, because it's not as if he's announced that he's becoming a "karmi". (I hope that that never happens.) He's on his way - that's ok. I hope that the circle leads him back to Vrindavana, in this lifetime.

    What Vikram said... Yes. Madhavananda became a devotee at a young age - with no hindu background, no Lobsang Rampa and so on (as far as I know), so now he needs to fill in the background, learn more, to develop the context.

    By the way, Malati, I spent a lot of time reading all Lobsang Rampa books when I was 14-15. :-) I think it was good for me.

    Vikram went on to say "If GV works fine for you, then that's great."

    Somehow, I "got lucky". The way it happened, I didn't really have a choice. I had to give in.
    .....It's too difficult to explain - even if I don't care that it's not considered proper to talk about it.
    It came down to direct experience.

    It's not that I don't see any truth in the...ways you list there. But it's not really a matter of philosophy for me. Sakti? Half the people around me worship sakti, one way or another. I grew up with it. (Vikram, I'm in Durban. :-) ....So, they do Lakshmi puja, I take the prasad. That's all part of Krishna consciousness for me. Chaitanya vaishnavism, Gauriya, that's something else, that I suppose is a philosophical choice of mine. Smartism and Buddhism, I don't know. I think they're philosophies, and the others are bhakti. :-)


    Malati... "If love and devotion, the bhakti system , for Radha-Krishna is a trick, then I’d like to be part of that trick until my last breath!"

    :-) He *is* a trickster. :-)


    -- brian babaji

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  14. Let's see how long before Madhavananda is eating meat and justifying it from Theravada Buddhism.

    It's a long way down for one who offends vaisnavas from the beginning till the end of his spiritual path.

    He tried to use Ananta Das Babaji for his own ego, and now he has lost all taste for Vraja. And he tried to initiate someone without Gurudeva's blessing, so he has only taken diksha to increase his prestige.

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  15. "Let's see how long before Madhavananda is eating meat and justifying it from Theravada Buddhism.

    It's a long way down for one who offends vaisnavas from the beginning till the end of his spiritual path."

    And how many times have we not heard the like before? Like Jijaji had it: "These groups all do the same thing when someone leaves, saying they are fallen, contaminated or have gone crazy...they do this to justify it for themselves to substantiate it so no doubt will enter into them as well..it is simply a protection device for THEIR own egos."

    It is an ineluctable fact that many who are commenting on Markus Loponen's departure from GV are more concerned with justifying their own positions than anything else. It hurts their pride that a charismatic, highly intelligent young guy whom many looked up to no longer finds their path, their belief system, their dogmas and creeds, their shared prejudices, etc to be convincing anymore - hence all this commotion over what is essentially a very private matter and decision.

    Come to think of it, I find myself on the same fence, but looking in the opposite direction. Said another way, I'm also experiencing the mental urge to rationalise my recantation of the faith of the Bengali Vaishnavas. In the end, we are on the same kind of boat, only that the one I happen to be sitting in is moving towards a different shore from the one most here, I would presume, find themselves in.

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  16. To Gutless Anonymous
    If you didn't like what you saw and heard, then leave! Unless you're a masochist...


    To Jijaji
    Why are you here? Just because it's BORING in your backyard....
    Discussions for today
    a. The sound of one hand clapping ...
    b. What is life?
    Answer: Go get a cup of tea and pour water in it...

    What boring nonsense koan. I guess, the grass is always greener on the other side. Oh well...

    To Brian Babaji
    Yes, Lobsang Rampa was a good read. But Govinda Lilamrta is excellent!

    Hare Krishna

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  17. Mister Loponen makes another mistake in his assumption that Theravada Buddhism is buddhism most pure and unchanged. Indeed in comparison to the many Tibetan and Bön sects it seems to be a more homogeneous clan. But nonetheless it is just another cultural diversion of a religion that pretends (and I think it is indeed, so) to hold the biggest abstraction mentally possible.

    Like... tiger-> cat-> animal-> species-> BEING ... or... knife-> sharp object-> THING !

    Religions symbolize different levels of abstractions, buddhism being on the highest level. Like.... nature-> universe-> forces of the Universe (Jedi/Stars Wars like religion)-> forces behind the Universe-> personified forces behind the Universe (polytheïsm and believe in ghosts and supernatural beings)-> One personified Supreme Force/ Supreme Personality of Godhead (in Iskcon terms)-> a undressed/ de-personified Supreme Being -> Oneness-> Nothingness.

    Roughly you can among many other ways divide religious seekers into two. The ones looking for eternal happiness (whatever that is) and the ones looking for a universal formula/framework in which to fit everything (whatever that is). The last group will eventually turn to buddhism in some form or another.

    My objection is the following. However big the abstraction is, it needs to be symbolized by something of this world. Whomever holds the symbol, holds the power. In this respect buddhist religion is no less authoritarian and sectarian than theïstic religions are. Behind the facade of Oneness or Nothingness there is always an authoritarian master, sensei, lama or 'enlightened person' who uses his authoritarian powers to fulfill his narcistic needs.

    A good example is the naïvity of the many Western admirers and followers of Tibetan Buddhism. It is viewed by many as a homogeneous non-sectarian (as opposed to our christian religions) way of live practiced for ages by peaceful saints in the prehistoric setting of the Himalayas.
    In reality it is as sectarian and as authoritarian as can be. Murder (Monkey on A Stick-style), manipulation, incoherent teachings, magic and juggle are at the base of it. Religious wars were not uncommon on the Tibetan Highlands, as were approved human sacrifices by the way (Kali/Calcutta-style).
    Some having studied the Tibetan language and after almost becoming incrowd to the point of calling themselves Lama Patrick Rinpoche and so on are disappointed as Madhavananda was after learning Bengali. We exchange one authoritarian sect for the other disappointed with the previous one, because we don't know any better. Humans being human and creatures of habit.

    Most of us westerners, from hippie to Schopenhauer, have went through an extended phase of idealizing the exotic mystical East without shaking of our own past and without taking into account the base nature of humans all over the planet including the monastery and ashram dwellers of India, Tibet and Southeastasia.

    I still stand for western rationality (Enlightenment is a bit too arrogant) enriched with the philosophy of Love derived from some free-thinking followers of Gauranga.

    And without respect (why should we respect any authoritarian/sectarian structure ?) buddhism is nothing more then a mental exercise.

    By the way, I am equally critical towards the sectarian aspects of our own tradition and in my own persona.

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  18. One more thing I'd like to add.
    It is not the first time that scholarly people or people seriously taking up Sanskrit and study of Upanishads move away from Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
    Actually it is very likely to happen considering the number of cases.

    I think it is too easy to blame it on ego or to portray them as cheats, dishonest persons or fallen bloopers.
    It is an excuse not to be confronted with some of their sometimes very strong arguments. I guess that is the weak spot of our religion, any religion. We do not know how to deal with reasonable arguments or people with different views, instead we just excommunicate them or... bash them, place doubt in their integrity, honesty and sometimes even humanity.

    I know 'devotees' who speak in a similar fashion about you, Advaita, and I do not listen to them. It is their weakness in not being able to deal with your arguments.

    For all the bashing of Jagadananda das, I have to say, that he is probably the only one I know that tries to find answers to some of those unanswered questions and uncovered areas that make people leave Gaudiya Vainavism all together.
    Taboos, dogmas and fear of aparadha have a flipside and can create harm. People leave with good reason.
    Now before you accuse me of being the next Jagat cheerleader heading for inevitable selfdestruction, I am very critical and not at all convinced about what he has to say about a number of issues. But he has been of great help to me in for example placing certain strong arguments of atheïsts and rationalists into perspective.

    Most devotees just have to swallow their doubts because those doubts are considered inappropriate, offensive or coming straight from the big evil ego (which is very often just ratio).
    Religious communities are great arenas for maintaining and cultivating big puffed-up ego's. People with big ego's therefor usually stay in those communities.

    With your EXIT-post you probably prevented Madhavananda from coming back at all. I think we should be a lot softer in tone.

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  19. "I still stand for western rationality (Enlightenment is a bit too arrogant) enriched with the philosophy of Love derived from some free-thinking followers of Gauranga."

    That's just rich, isn't it? I think that a quick dekko at the history of the last 500 years amply demonstrates how "rational" Westerners are. If ever there existed a people endowed with the instinctive proclivity to exploit others in their very blood, none would fit that shoe as nicely as those of European stock. Why reflect upon history at all? 20th/21st century Palestine and Iraq (to name just two instances) stand firmly as testament to the hypocrisy, greed and double standards of the so-called "rational" West. I've never thought very highly of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami for diverse reasons, yet I think he had it right on when he called the occidental ideology "polished animal culture."

    "Mister Loponen makes another mistake in his assumption that Theravada Buddhism is buddhism most pure and unchanged."

    By general consensus, Theravada Buddhism is THE most orthodox Buddhistic-based school in existence in our times, and if in Loponen's estimation, it fulfills his needs more satisfactorily than Bengali Vaishnavism, that is the end of the story and no one should have anything to add.

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  20. It is an excuse not to be confronted with some of their sometimes very strong arguments.

    There are large archives with showdowns between Madhava and myself, in which I didnt perform badly.

    We do not know how to deal with reasonable arguments or people with different views, instead we just excommunicate them or...

    That may be a general statement. In Madhava's case, nobody excommunicated him. (Or perhaps Someone did, but it wasn't me)

    Most devotees just have to swallow their doubts because those doubts are considered inappropriate, offensive or coming straight from the big evil ego (which is very often just ratio).

    In bhakti, ratio can be as harmful as ego. It's the big Dutch disease, you know it.

    With your EXIT-post you probably prevented Madhavananda from coming back at all. I think we should be a lot softer in tone.

    I gave Madhava a very fair deal, half of my blog was positive. It is not me who will prevent him from coming back, rather the Almighty and Madhava himself. For me, he is welcome back if he eats humble pie for a change. (Toontje lager zingen)

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  21. "For all the bashing of Jagadananda das, I have to say, that he is probably the only one I know that tries to find answers to some of those unanswered questions and uncovered areas that make people leave Gaudiya Vainavism all together."

    That I would have to agree with, even though I too take exception to his (often) ultra-orthodox academic views, and heterodox take on religion.

    "It is not me who will prevent him from coming back, rather the Almighty and Madhava himself."

    Perhaps the Almighty just wants the man to serve in some alternative capacity, Advaitaji. As they say, to each his own.

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  22. To Vikram.

    I was talking about rationality (relating to the Enlightenment, which occurred in the West), not about colonialism, Israel-Palestine nor the Iraq issue. I do not see what those issues have got to do with it. I do not romanticize anyones history. I do not fancy a one sided negative or positive approach on history.
    So your attack at those of European stock is not relating to my comment.

    Your "general consensus' remark about Theravada Buddhism might have made sense to me if I didn't had that much dealings with a wide number of followers of that sect personally. On that basis I came to my own conclusions. I just want to say that Madhavananda's arguments about people, doctrine and practicability relating to Vaisnavism are equally applicable to Buddhism, and for sure also Theravada Buddhism.

    Then thirdly... I am a big fan of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami, but I do not agree with him on downplaying western culture that way. (PS. Why do you quote people you do not think highly of anyway ?)

    To Advaita.

    I believe thinking rationally or making use of your ratio is not on an equal level as following the impulses of your false ego. Religions do not like rational thinkers, because they want an obedient following. But what the Almighty likes and dislikes is a different story. You can link ego with the pride the can accompany book knowledge or intellectual skills, but not with clear cut ratio. Rational thinking exposes the imposters, alchemists and charlatans.

    Madhavanandas' Exit is not due to his rational thinking, but due to his lack of attraction for The Divine Couple. Yet he was taught to prematurely meditate on Them in a confidential manner. Nothing happened, no progress, no feeling, no love and no symptoms of bhava, not even asakti, ruci and his nista got checked along the way. We can't blame him for wanting to start anew. We can pray though for his GRAND COMEBACK !

    But then again.... I do agree with you on ..... Toontje lager zingen :-)

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  23. Radhe Radhe

    Vikram: It is an ineluctable fact that many who are commenting on Markus Loponen's departure from GV are more concerned with justifying their own positions than anything else. It hurts their pride that a charismatic, highly intelligent young guy whom many looked up to no longer finds their path, their belief system, their dogmas and creeds, their shared prejudices, etc to be convincing anymore - hence all this commotion over what is essentially a very private matter and decision.

    Hey, Vikram, I am honestly not hurt of Madhava's departure. I felt sad because he was an internet friend; we had communicated in the past about all sorts of things GVism, including the gossip here about Brajagopal's wife and Madhava. I live in a household where everyone is atheist. My 17 year old son categorically told me he didnt believe in a God. Some of my friends always kid me that people who can't think for themselves believe in God, etc. Though I've tried to interest my kids in religion when they were young, to no avail. I still love them. In that regard I'm very LIBERAL.

    And I don't have any insecurities about my chosen path and have no doubts to hide. I've settled that long time ago. I can defend my belief that GVism is superior re theology and ontology. But that will take too much time. Working at the computer 8 hrs a day make me lazy to type after work. I believe that those people like Jijaji or Tapati who were once GV devotees are the ones insecure because they keep on coming back and participating in GV affairs. They can not seem to move on!

    Well, we have to admit that Madhava is way too self-indulgent at times, with all these blog postings and "announcements" of his "evolution" etc.. If it was really a matter of evolution, why not keep quiet and let it happen instead of announcing it all over the place and then complaining about nasty remarks received.

    Vikram: Loponen's estimation, it fulfills his needs more satisfactorily than Bengali Vaishnavism, that is the end of the story and no one should have anything to add.

    Yes, I'm already tired typing so if Madhava is reading this, I wish you all the best in your new found path. If you need to contact me in the future, you know I'm in facebook and you know my email address. I like Madhava. He is a sincere seeker and very smart.

    But I also like to add that I love my godbrother Advaitadas. For speaking his mind and heart he gets all these blows from all fronts. Still he persists. He has his heart in the right place. I love you for that my gurubhai.

    btw. Anuradha, who was excommunivated in the GV community. I dont know anyone.

    Have to finish now and this is my last post on this thread, my fingers are getting tired.

    Radhe Radhe

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  24. "Madhava offered and pursued a situation where he could initiate a "friend" of his' wife. Even when the husband protested and it almost broke the marriage he sought to be her initiating Guru."

    I do not intend to explore this in any substantial detail in a public forum; I respect the privacy of these two friends from the past and value their peace and privacy beyond whatever conclusions people might draw to tarnish my reputation.

    In short, let it be clear that I was approached by this pious lady with some substantial devotional feeling, rooted in the new-found inspiration and devotional revival she had found in my classes during my stay at their place, for receiving harinama. I expressly refused from giving diksha, noting myself unqualified for the same.

    When it became evident that her husband -- who initially agreed -- was resentful of the concept after due thought, I promptly backed away from the prospect of giving harinama. We --- I, my wife and this lady --- kept in touch by e-mail and phone periodically with an aim to sustain the devotional inspiration generated, but were forced to close all communications altogether owing to the substantial resentment they produced.

    So much on this. I do not intend to comment any further on the matter unless the couple involved themselves express a desire for initiating a public discussion over it.

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  25. Bansi Bihari Das: And he tried to initiate someone without Gurudeva's blessing, so he has only taken diksha to increase his prestige.

    You write as if you knew. Sri Ananta Das Babaji has in fact expressly said --- on two or three occasions in different contexts --- that I could, if a need arose, to give harinama as well as diksha; and my back-then siksa-guru, Sri Sanatana Das Babaji, had also mentioned someone on my level could give harinama.

    The only statement of reservation was that there should be no canvassing for this, and I believe I have quite adequately abstained from canvassing for disciples for initiation. There was, in fact, someone whom my guruji had told to take harinama from me if he can't come to India, but I promptly turned him down and told him to wait until he gets the opportunity to go to India.

    So many anonymouses and unknowns are now up and running with the issue, full of insights and comments on matters with which they have only the most superficial acquaintance. People should come forward from behind their anonymouses to help us understand where they stand at; otherwise all of these discussions just fuel the enthusiasm of people who are prone to provoking with a search for perverted spiritual voyeurism.

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  26. To Malati and Advaita.

    I do not mean excommunicated in the Old Catholic sense or an Iskcon temple ban after taking diksha elsewhere. I meant it more subtle. Downplaying someones sincerity and integrity after someone decides to leave the clan is risky business. It is a mechanism used by cults and sects to explain a 'deviation'.
    So ofcourse I am not accusing anyone of old school excommunication Spanish Inquisition style.

    To Madhavananda.

    "So many anonymouses and unknowns are now up and running with the issue, full of insights and comments on matters with which they have only the most superficial acquaintance. People should come forward from behind their anonymouses to help us understand where they stand at; otherwise all of these discussions just fuel the enthusiasm of people who are prone to provoking with a search for perverted spiritual voyeurism."

    This is an old discussion, but we have to settle that this will always be a part of internet. Publishing on the net, giving private insights about yourself and your spiritual evolution accompanied with pictures is like writing a column for a newspaper. Everybody knows you, you know nobody. It goes with the fame.

    I respect the reasons why people prefer to stay anonymouse or low-profile on the net. Yet indeed when we get too judgemental about someone it is braver to come out and take the heat back. It makes the whole project more honest.

    Perverted spiritual voyeurism. I like the term. But aren't we all a little guilty ?

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  27. Radhe Radhe

    I wish Madhavananda all the best.

    Brave soul!!!!

    Tarun Govinda das

    ReplyDelete
  28. "For all the bashing of Jagadananda das, I have to say, that he is probably the only one I know that tries to find answers to some of those unanswered questions and uncovered areas that make people leave Gaudiya Vainavism all together."

    "That I would have to agree with, even though I too take exception to his (often) ultra-orthodox academic views, and heterodox take on religion."

    As far as leaving GV altogether, well, I think the reasons are different in each individual's situation, and as I am not antaryami, I cannot comment on that. People know inside themselves why they leave. Our position is to only wish everyone well.

    However, another issue, which can sometimes result in leaving, I suppose, is the difficulty of straddling two very different worlds.

    I am speaking here of people who, being pulled by past life samskars and a genuine taste for Vraja vasa, sadhu sanga and Hari bhajan, (a result of those samskars), give up all prospects of life in the West and fly to Braj on a wing and a prayer and very little money and even less foresight of what the future holds, and plant themselves in the middle of a very, very , very difficult and different environment and culture from the ones they grew up in.

    And I say that it sometimes may be more intense for female sadhikas there than male sadhaks, just by virtue of the very obvious patriarchy of traditional North Indian society. The sexual frustration in that society does not help either.

    So at first you live in this ideal little bubble of guru-kripa, guru-seva, vaishnava-sanga, and Hari-bhajan and it is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, INDESCRIBABLE thing that you have ever experienced and you are praying day and night that it never ends.

    The guru may even forewarn you that you will experience difficulties, but life is so ideal, so joyous, so fulfilling, that you cannot foresee any difficult future.

    Then gradually you become more exposed to the locals, their culture, their dysfunctions, their psyches. And even though you are in India solely for sadhu sanga and bhajan, well, you cannot exactly divorce yourself from the larger environment and culture. No wo/man is an island.

    However, because you were not born and raised there, no matter how many languages you learn, you will not fit in 100%.

    On the otherhand, you do not fit into your country/culture of birth either. And after years of pursuing Braja vasa and bhajan, you have no $$$ and no means to support yourself either in Braj or in your country of birth.

    You are really neither here nor there, a citizen of no land.


    This rootlessness, this lack of a solid grounding anywhere can also result in bhajan slackening.

    Then your ideal bhajan-sthali may undergo a sea of change like we are seeing in Braj today, the simple, quiet atmosphere is no longer. Your vaishnava-sanga may undergo unfavorable transformations, your guru may pass from this world, any number of things may happen.

    And this is what I am seeing today. I am hearing so many once hopefull, once full of life and love and vigor for bhajan sadhakas talk about these very issues;

    1. How to straddle two worlds?

    2. How to maintain oursevles financially and not compromise our sadhan-bhajan?

    3. How to deal with the medieval mindset of local people?

    4. How to live safely as a woman in an environment that is hostile to women?

    5. How to crack the Indian psyche so that your own psyche does not go completely crazy just dealing with these people?

    And on and on and on and on....

    I have been dealing with these issues ever since my bhajan bubble got burst. Although it is not directly Hari katha, I feel this is something that needs to be addressed and those of us with significant experience living in India need to share what we've learned and how we managed to navigate it with others.

    For instance, from the get-go I never put any fellow vaishnava sadhak up on a pedastal, so whatever unsavory behaviour they later exhibited did not effect me so much.

    But I know for many who are looking for "heros" and "heroines" in the forms of "siksha gurus", well, they do get effected when human behaviours pop up in their icons.

    So this is one pitfall to avoid;
    DO NOT EULOGIZE ANYONE, but cultivate a balanced, respectful FRIENDSHIP only.

    Also, I learned from the get-go that due to the heirarchal arrangement of Indian society, Indians sometimes (not always) assume a "siksha guru" role with you when you have given no indication that you are beat for such a thing. Before you know it you will be receiving un-solicated advice from not only your own guru, but nearly all of her/his Indian sisyas, and the chai-walla down the street as well.

    When you rent rooms in the homes of Brijbasi families - be prepared for anything.

    Anyway, I think I need to write a book....

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  29. I believe that those people like Jijaji or Tapati who were once GV devotees are the ones insecure because they keep on coming back and participating in GV affairs. They can not seem to move on!

    I can't speak for Jijaji, but I myself had moved on and had no contact with GV at all from 1990-2004. Then I was visiting Chicago and thought I might see my old temple as a part of my nostalgic life review process (after my diagnosis with heart disease). I did a web search and encountered a forum called Istagosthi and mentions of an old friend. My participation in that and GD really just confirmed that my original decision to leave GV as not being the best path for me was sound.

    In the process of being at GD I ran into like minded ex-patriots (if you will) and we realized that there was no forum for those of us who shared the experiences of temple life and GV philosophy and the process of leaving that world behind, so we started one.

    Why would we want to talk about these things if we are no longer interested in or insecure about GV? It was a large part of our lives, and while I was content for many years to just shove it to the back of my mind, it comprised over 15 years of my life and all of the friends and associates of that time period. Some processing was in order, and talking with others who knew where I was coming from helped immensely. It was a healing experience.

    Now I am really finished with "processing" my past but I have the responsibility to continue the forum for those who still need it. I consider Madhava a friend, hence my defense of him. I consider domestic violence to be one of the things I must speak out about in order to let women know they don't have to stay and suffer and men know there's a better way, so I speak out about that as well.

    I also believe that inspiration and knowledge can be found in every path, and so I continue to read material on many major religions.

    I respect Advaitadas and agree that GV is the best possible path for him to follow. You will never hear me say that GV is not the right path for anyone--just not for me. Nor do I urge my own path on anyone else, however blissful I may find it. In fact, I don't speak much about my own practices and beliefs, having become somewhat allergic to preaching after my ISKCON days.

    Finally, I have an atheist son too, whom I love very much. I've never tried to challenge his beliefs.

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  30. Madhavananda was insane. He thought of initiating people into harinam and siddha pranali while not even fully believing in radha krsna. He mentioned on his blog he never gave up the doubt about a personal god, yet he was posing as a guru and ready to initiate people into their "siddha deha". what a complete moron.

    This guy spends a measely 2 years in radhakund, and thinks he is a sombody, when there are people who have spent decades in ADB's matha who would never dare think of such a thing.

    Glad this guy is heading out of radha kunda to thailand. Go pretend you are a guru over there.

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  31. Madhava, you have given us a number of reasons for your rejection of gaudiya vaisnavism. One of your reasons is that you claim that the gaudiya path needs "emotional cultivation" and that you are lacking in the emotional arena for a number of possible reasons. In your latest blog you tell us:

    "The emotional cultivation practiced in many bhakti-traditions, and particularly so in the raganuga-method, is a means of employing one's existing emotional patterns in conjunction with a specific god-relationship — hence verses such as kamad dvesad bhayad snehat — and as such particularly suitable for people with powerful latent emotional bases ready to be dovetailed, fueling the intensity of god-absorption.

    An obvious problem arises if people don't possess the adequate latent mental formations on which to build these god-redirected feelings. Even Sri Rupa recognizes the need for the appropriate previous samskara as a prerequisite for attaining prema in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Then, engagement in raganuga-cultivation would in effect entail a backtracking to redevelop the eradicated or absent areas of human emotional nature to be redirected on towards god; in my view, a rather steep and unnecessary curve."

    In a previous blog you told us that another reason for rejecting the gaudiya path was because the raganuga path wasn't elaborated comprehensively enough to enable a practitioner such as yourself to make progress.

    I remember some years back on either Gaudiya Discussions or some other forum, where I was telling both you and Jagat that your shared vision (at the time at least outwardly) of Gaudiya vaisnavism would eventually likely cause you both to give up on the Gaudiya path. I remember explaining that the cause would be due to a lack of progress in your path, specifically I recall saying that you would get bored of doing what you were doing. I told you that the path you were following was erroneous, that you were prematurely getting involved with subject matter that was beyond your capability to understand, and that because of that you would not receive the result you desired and would simply get bored and move on to something else.

    I don't wanna be that guy who says "I told you so", but I guess I am. For years I told you that the higher path would only be understandable for someone who had become completely educated on Bhagavat ontology, that if people weren't educated enough and then attempted to immerse themselves in the higher path in the way that you guys were promoting, that you would not understand any of it, that you would only see the literal meanings of the words of the acaryas, and that you would therefore be unable to enter into the higher path.

    For years I told you guys that the works of the acaryas on rasa were deeply and almost totally symbolic and metaphoric in nature. The very first time I directed my comments to you guys on Kshamabuddhi's old forum, before I got active on your forum, I made a long comment where I said that it was obvious from reading you guys that you were completely clueless as to what you were talking about. I told you that your taking of it all literally (rasa sastra) was proof to me that you were completely clueless as to what the higher path was about. I told you that due to your vision of seeing Radha and Krishna as distinct individuals that I knew you guys didn't have a clue as to what the higher path is really all about. I told you that the higher path was caled "confidential" because the truth of that path wasn't spelled out literally in any sastra, yet you guys were simply literally parroting that sastra and thinking you were engaged in the highest and most profound aspect of gaudiya vaisnavism. I knew you guys didn't get it because if you did "get it" you wouldn't be immersed in what you were doing. It was like children playing in the sand box thinking they were living the most sophisticated lives, and I told you just that.

    After that I would come to tell you time and time again that your failure in accepting certain ontological realities concerning the nature of Radha Krishna and rasa lila would keep you from entering into the higher reality. Yet both you and Jagat fought me tooth and nail, you both insisted that the rasa sastra should be literally interpreted, that you guys knew what you were doing, that everyone else who saw things differently then you guys were wrong.

    So sorry Madhava. I reject you reasons for giving up on gaudiya vaisnavism. I told you from day one that your vision would end up nowhere. The problem isn't your lack of your ability for "emotional cultivation", that is nonsense. Also your problem isn't a lack of a comprehensive account fo the higher path in the gaudiya school. Your problem is that you wouldn't accept the truth when it was made available to you. You were sure, and it seems like you still are from what I can tell of your recent blogs, that you still think gaudiya vaisnavism is all about what you taught for years it was about. Yet your vision led you where? You gave it up because there was no taste, you wanted the sweetness and all you ended up with was a bunch of romantic stories to read over and over. At the end of the day you wanted rasa with Radha Krishna, but all you got were bedtime stories.

    So yeah, I'm the guy who told you so. Over and over for years I said your approach to raganuga was wrong and would lead nowhere. The same goes for anyone who took what Madhava taught as the bonafide higher path of gaudiya vaisnavism (and those who teach like he taught, be they babjis or swamis with a thousand followers, or heterdox teachers like Jagat). The end result will always be the same. You won't get the promised result and you will end up bored and frustrated. If you are egotistic enough you will end up thinking there is no God because if there is he would show himself to you because you will think you are so advanced. The reality will be that it was you who rejected God in pursuit of your own egotistic dreams of glory.

    So yes Madhava, there is a necessary emotional component to the higher path of bhakti, that emotion is humility. That is the only "emotional component" needed.

    ReplyDelete
  32. It sounds to me like M had a rather traumatic experience and there is something called PTSD and PDD Prolonged Duress Disorder.

    Any person traumatized might wish to separate themselves from something that hurt them. For example in the middle ages when a person was disappointed in love, they often went to a monastery for a "time out".

    Maybe M only wants a "time-out" due to being hurt. He has been "looking for love in all the wrong places" i.e. putting his faith into so many different people and each time he gets disappointed, so it stands to reason that there are only so many times that a person can be hurt and then they try looking in different venues.

    Also about people moving on, from my understanding there is something called Sanatana Dharma. So how does a person "move on" from Sanatana Dharma? In one sense, it is "the only game in town", i.e. if you look at it from broad perspective of "Hinduism" [for lack of a better word] with its four branches of Vaisnava, Shaivite, Smarta, and Shakti.

    Within that broad continuum of Sanatana Dharma, at least according to one Hindu acharya, everything is there, even atheism. Sanatana Dharma is so vast and has "something for everyone", no matter their brain/ psyche/ past vrittis, samskaras, and vasanas.

    Therefore in one sense everyone is part of the Sanatana Dharma, so I don't see how anyone can "leave" it or "move on" from it. Because for example Buddhism came out of India, Tibetan Buddhism came out of India, some Sanskrit texts were even brought to Tibet and hidden there so that they would be saved from invaders who came into North India.

    Sanatana Dharma went into East Asia, Sanatana Dharma crossed the land bridge between the Americas, went all the way down into South America.

    So the only thing I see is people are looking for a form of the Sanatana Dharma that resonates with their own heart and its yearnings.

    And the last thing I want to say is, I thought the main import of the Sanatana Dharma is the concept of unconditional love.

    Therefore no matter where anyone is on the continuum of Sanatana Dharma: whether someone appears to "leave" it, because they have been so traumatized and hurt by the phoney baloneys posturers; or drawn to it, as in brand new baby bhaktin; or is a wise old soul, it seems that the most enlightened response would always be the same: unconditional love.

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  33. To Anuradhaji:

    "I was talking about rationality (relating to the Enlightenment, which occurred in the West), not about colonialism, Israel-Palestine nor the Iraq issue. I do not see what those issues have got to do with it. I do not romanticize anyones history. I do not fancy a one sided negative or positive approach on history.
    So your attack at those of European stock is not relating to my comment."

    It is typical of Westerners to parse and deconstruct arguments bit by bit. My Indic heritage has engendered in me the irrepressible tendency to view things holistically, and contemplate over subjects in aggregate. Hence, I cannot make a value judgement on the psyche of a nation, culture or population without placing their history in proper perspective. So, we shall have to call it quits on that and rest content in our personal self-delusions.

    By the way, if you had done your homework as well as you should have, you would've known that the Renaissance and Europe's subsequent period of "Enlightenment", with a capital E, was largely influenced by certain exogenous factors, namely the inroads that Genghis Khan made into Eastern Europe some centuries earlier as well as the budding stages of the romantic tryst with Sanskritic studies that came to follow some time afterwards. Another point I would like to make is that it is accepted by some scholars at least that even the avowed atheists among Western academicians often tend to gloss information in a manner which enables them to fit such material in a Judeo-Christian frame of reference. They do that unconsciously of course, but it does become obvious if one takes the time to contextualise the conclusions reached with regards to many modern theories on a wide range of issues. Concerning your last sentence, I don't have in mind a rosy picture of anyone's history either, and only a fool would allow himself to overlook the numberless flaws and defects present in non-Western societies, but I just wish that Westerners were a little more eager to conduct some sort of anthropology of themselves as readily as they seem to dish it out to Easterners and others.

    As for Theravada Buddhism, I defer to your profound acquaintance with practitioners of that path, since my own experience is extremely limited in that respect. However, my point was simple, and I repeat it here - Theravada, or Southern Buddhism, is the oldest and most conservative of the various varieties of Buddhism known today. I make no attempt to probe into the finer details of TB per se by stating this. Read nothing deeper into my statement.

    "Madhavanandas' Exit is not due to his rational thinking, but due to his lack of attraction for The Divine Couple. Yet he was taught to prematurely meditate on Them in a confidential manner. Nothing happened, no progress, no feeling, no love and no symptoms of bhava, not even asakti, ruci and his nista got checked along the way. We can't blame him for wanting to start anew. We can pray though for his GRAND COMEBACK !"

    And what is this if not a narrow, sectarian attitude? Please evince some generosity of spirit for those who do not buy into what may sound plausible to you.

    To Malatiji:

    "I can defend my belief that GVism is superior re theology and ontology."

    Good for you. Likewise, I could build a case for the Absolute being ultimately impersonal in nature, and trust me, it would be child's play to dig out copious references to such in the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Puranas and Itihasas alike.

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  34. "(PS. Why do you quote people you do not think highly of anyway ?)"

    On this one, I would need to admit that you've scored a point. Please excuse this indiscretion of mine.

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  35. All of Jijajis comments are banned from now on, regardless of contents. They will be deleted without being read even.

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  36. I posted on Jijaji's forum, Madhavananda's own statements that he tried to initiate someone and Jijaji deleted it so others wouldn't know Madhavananda tried becoming a guru at radhakunda. Looks like he wants to cover for him and hide the facts.

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  37. Anyone who thinks they can start initiating people into Gaudiya vaisnavism after spending just 2 years in Radhakunda is obviously ambitious for name, fame and followers. All the websites about raganuga bhakti, all the blogs, all of the forums posts were just Madhavananda's attempt to gather disciples and followers. This ultimately failed because who would want to be initiated by a young westerner who had spent only 2 years in radhakunda (mostly on his laptop making websites, not doing raganuga sadhana) when there are great devotees there who have been living for more than 50 years chanting and performing bhajan.

    Madhavananda wasn't satisfied with Srila Ananta Das Babaji because he wasn't given a special position of respect in the ashram. Being surrounded by indian god brothers who had been serving their guru for decades, there was no room for him to move up the pecking ladder in the ashram. So he started going to "siksagurus" and was cheated.

    He complains that Srila Ananta Das Babaji didn't give him special teachings or spend more personal time with him. Gurudev avoids those with pride. Until the disciples can develop humility and surrender to him sincerely he won't give special teachings to the disciples. First service and surrender, then siksa. If you come to gurudev with ambitions to be a guru, you will be neglected and your spiritual creeper will wilt. This is your own fault.

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  38. What did jijaji say that was so bad he got banned? You seem to be allowing people to call Madhavananda insane and others to post all kinds of insults that support your side only, please post his last post for all to see just how fair you are here.

    Anusuia

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  39. "So the only thing I see is people are looking for a form of the Sanatana Dharma that resonates with their own heart and its yearnings."

    This is one of the most sensible reflections I have read on this thread, along with Tapatiji's posts and Heart Krishna's insightful write-up, even though I feel that Behenji is primarily addressing Western sadhakas here, as she is one herself, and an Indian guy like myself wouldn't be overly concerned with her overall content. Still, the point she drove home was brilliant, and I enjoyed reading it.

    Anonymous, I would caution you to just be wary of the term "Sanatana Dharma", though. Unlike what Bhaktivedanta Swami preached and what many seem to believe, SD is not old, but rather an appellation that was invented in the 19th century by some patriotic Indians at the height of the British occupation of India. Really, it is nowhere to be found in the ancient Sanskrit texts, and does not refer to what the Vedas in fact say about the broad path that they outline. The Persian-coined name "Hindu" is in fact centuries older than SD. Personally, I just call my religion DHARMA, for lack of a better word. At least Dharma is unarguably spelled out in the scriptures.

    The opinions of Shiva and a few others are useful in that they confirm that the decision to give up any further study of GV was judicious on my part. Such abject fanaticism is disgraceful, frankly. Honestly, I simply do not get why some persons are acting so nauseatingly judgemental over a personal change of direction by one individual. For God's sake, all of you people just grow up and let the man pursue what seems right for him.

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  40. Anasuya, Jijaji got banned for completely different reasons. You can see I am evenhanded, I posted many pro-Madhava comments and was praising Madhava myself in my original blog, on occasions too. Jijaji is banned because he attacks my lineage. He will have to apologize and promise never to do this again, but I wont give him many more chances.

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  41. To Vikram.

    'By the way, if you had done your homework as well as you should have, you would've known that the Renaissance and Europe's subsequent period of "Enlightenment", with a capital E, was largely influenced by certain exogenous factors, namely the inroads that Genghis Khan made into Eastern Europe some centuries earlier as well as the budding stages of the romantic tryst with Sanskritic studies that came to follow some time afterwards. Another point I would like to make is that it is accepted by some scholars at least that even the avowed atheists among Western academicians often tend to gloss information in a manner which enables them to fit such material in a Judeo-Christian frame of reference. They do that unconsciously of course, but it does become obvious if one takes the time to contextualise the conclusions reached with regards to many modern theories on a wide range of issues.'

    You are very learned and smart. I am flabbergasted, my head is spinning and I feel completely defeated ! I love the Genghis Khan part. Is he linked to the War in Iraq as well ? I mean, he was there, maybe he planted the seeds....

    I mean, you seem almost angry for pointing out good things in my own heritage and then you say that those good things have their origin in the East anyway....

    Now THAT is what I call arrogance !

    Just as you have chosen jews, chosen japanese shinto, indo-aryans and aboriginals all of whom date the origin of everything back to themselves.

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  42. Anuradha, you are swerving off topic. Please stick to the point.

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  43. Yes, I was. But I didn't start. He did. :-)

    But I can bring it back this way.

    Madhavananda, but also Vikram and some others, are talking about a bigger framework in which to fit a broader (Hindu) perspective of the divine. Vaisnavism being one out of many similar paths.
    Then they point out some inconsistencies and the narrow mindedness of the Vaisnava community. Most of those points are true. But they are true for all groups, sects and tribes based on an idea or not.

    I believe the biggest framework is not a mental exercise
    in which to conceive that all is one or nothing (buddhism), but there where everything is connected through Love. Love crosses the bounderies of sects and tribes. Love is the biggest abstraction. Its practicability is enormous. And it is tangible, emotional and real. I see this as the essence of our bhakti/vaisnava teachings... and not as Madhavananda a.o. some framework in which to fit a certain concept of the divine.
    Love needs persons and persons need Love. The divine must be a personal God of Love.
    Now if he is blue, black or yellow is open for debate. But I doubt if that debate will bring us closer to the essence.

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  44. "You are very learned and smart. I am flabbergasted, my head is spinning and I feel completely defeated ! I love the Genghis Khan part. Is he linked to the War in Iraq as well ? I mean, he was there, maybe he planted the seeds....

    I mean, you seem almost angry for pointing out good things in my own heritage and then you say that those good things have their origin in the East anyway....

    Now THAT is what I call arrogance !

    Just as you have chosen jews, chosen japanese shinto, indo-aryans and aboriginals all of whom date the origin of everything back to themselves."

    This is not my own contrived interpretation of history, Anuradhaji, but those of a number of academics who have forged scintillating careers studying these issues. I can, on request, purvey to you a list of recommended books and weblinks to serve as suggested reading if that interests you. Just in passing, the not inconsiderable effect of Mongol influences on the Renaissance is increasingly being accepted in modern scholastic circles, seriously.

    I also willingly recognise the positive contributions of the West to my homeland. Had it not been for the Brits, Indians would still be practising suttee and murdering their newborn daughters (which some unfortunately still do). They also introduced the railway in India and gave the country its political and economic institutions, amongst other things. Modern Hinduism has equally absorbed multitudes of practices and attitudes from Christianity and Islam, which have helped enrich the tradition and mould it in such a way that it has evolved into a less arcane, and easier to preserve faith. The potential for discussion and analysis here is endless, but I shall honour the integrity of Advaitaji's blog by terminating here.

    "Love needs persons and persons need Love. The divine must be a personal God of Love."

    I respect your conception of the Divine and have this two-paisa worth to add: may you prosper on your selected track and attain Truth. The defence of my view would go along these lines: some of the greatest Brahmavadis (I object to the use of the derogatory epithet Mayavadi) of 20th century India such as Swami Sivanandaji Maharaja, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and Swami Omkarananda were veritable embodiments of universal love, and this is more than evident from their sublime teachings and extensive writings. Among living gurus I notice these wonderful attributes in Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaja, the head of Parmarth Niketan (the largest ashram in Rishikesh). And on this, I shall conclude by apologising for any discomfort which my words may have caused you.

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  45. To Malatiji:

    "I can defend my belief that GVism is superior re theology and ontology."

    Good for you. Likewise, I could build a case for the Absolute being ultimately impersonal in nature, and trust me, it would be child's play to dig out copious references to such in the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Puranas and Itihasas alike.Vikram Ramsunder.


    Vikram,
    You wrote this in your earlier blog on this thread: God is both personal and impersonal, and I shan't terminate my quest to know HIM/HER till I feel at home with myself. I can see that there is a slight change there from your later post see above. I agree you can surely throw verses after verses, lines after lines at me, from those Indic literature. You have that distinct advantage having born Indian. I adhere to the Gvism’s philosophy that the personal feature of God is higher than his impersonal feature, looking at it on the context of the rasa. Aside from that belief in God for me is about practical sense. If I will end up in a void I might just as well kill myself now. Not that I’m desperately suffering; I actually think life has been a BIT KIND to me. Compared to MOST WESTERN devotees I have no emotional hang-ups. I have been in this game called Gvism since 1978, I know the lives of many GV devotees’ and also the ex-devs., from first hand personal knowledge and from their angst expressed in the internet . I have lived a relatively very happy, clean life. I have no hatred for anyone. Even my former husband is a very good friend. He, me and our kids are going bushwalking this easter actually! I DO NOT NEED to believe in a God. So it needs to give me a tangible result, whether by feeling or whatever. I need to feel it. That might be “unbhakti” but that is a practical truth in my case. I do not come to religion for the theory, for the intellectual exercise, for the debate. I am not intellectually insecure. Though I don’t consider myself intelligent I have always been surrounded by very intelligent people. I need to “feel” “ belief in God”. It needs to give me a personal dimension on which I can relate to. That is why I will never be attracted to this understanding that God in its impersonal form is the highest form of God. Impersonalism for me is nihilistic.

    Vikram, About “moving on”. I will not be pedantic and debate the meaning of sanatan dharma, whatever. Vikram, you obviously is a johnny-come-lately in the internet devotee/ex dev. community. I did mention Tapati and Jijaji. Two or 3 years ago I visited Tapati’s blog and from what I saw I came to conclude that she and her ilk had not completely moved on from their negative emotional experiences incurred with their involvement with ISKCON devotees. For years, I don’t know in the recent years however, her forum encouraged ridicule of people involved in ISKCON or even the GV philosophy and it’s practices !!! Honestly, I don’t understand why people want to waste time talking about the past. Life is too short ! But maybe that is my own limitation. As I have mentioned in my earlier blog, I have moved from one path to another. But I can vouch that I never go to a Buddhist forum or Christian forums and pick up a “fight” or insult their philosophy or practices ! I am wise enough to know that participating in an internet forum is not an automatic right; it is a given privilege.I am also wise to know that we can not have the same mind. Once I realized I don’t like the philosophy I moved on, really never visiting it again. Imagine if you go to someone’s house unannounced and start criticizing how their settee is placed or the colour of their blinds is terrible. If you get kicked on the butt I can understand why the owner of the house would react that way.

    I know that many people experienced emotional traumas when they joined GV groups but please remember Gvism is not about the “personalities” involved let alone Caucasian personalities ! I also believe that the truth of the teaching should not be judged by the way it is applied. And the truth of the teaching can stand on its own. If they don’t like Gvism then they don’t need to go to places where it is being talked about in a nice way. If they are into a new spiritual cultivation go for it! Be fixed on it to achieve the desired result. If they have issues with people and they keep talking about it for decades, the only advice I can give is for them to seek professional help. If That advice goes to Jijaji too.That is what I mean by moving on.

    Vikram: Honestly, I simply do not get why some persons are acting so nauseatingly judgemental over a personal change of direction by one individual. For God's sake, all of you people just grow up and let the man pursue what seems right for him.

    We are all judgmental. You might think you were not judgmental but you were also judging others who did not react the way you did on Madhavanandadas’s departure.

    Vikram: The opinions of Shiva and a few others are useful in that they confirm that the decision to give up any further study of GV was judicious on my part.

    So why are you wasting your time here? What is your real agenda in coming here and in audarya-fellowship, who are mostly habitated by ISKCON GV. I believe from VikramRamsunder you became LoveroftheBhagavat in Audarya fellowship.

    To Shiva and Anuradha: about your comments about raganuga sadhana , adhikar and samskars of the traditional practitioners , I believe they have been discussed at length in the past in a few forums. I still believe in its practical validity.

    May we all get the good fortune understanding “love” for the absolute.

    Radhe Radhe
    Malati dasi- Melbourne

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  46. The comments of Bansi Bihari Das betray again a great degree of non-acquaintance with things related to contemporary Radhakund.

    Many others have also ventured guessing to areas they are unfamiliar with -- including estimations of my possible devotional experiences or levels of attainment. I have no interest in discussing any of it in such an uncongenial atmosphere, as anything I might describe would inevitably be tagged as shadow-experience or something short of the real thing.

    In principle, people should recognize that departing from the straight and narrow path of GV devotion does not -- according to GV theology itself -- mean there was never any attainment. Rupa Goswami confirms in his BRS that one can depart even after attaining a level as high as bhava, and the story of Rupa Kaviraja is a perfect case example of the same.

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  47. Radhe Radhe!

    One thing I did find very sad....

    Dear Madhavaji,
    all the best to you.

    But I think you are too harsh with Srila Ananta das Babaji Maharaja!!

    You say that he didnt give you enough time....what about the hours and hours of filming him in question/answers-stuff...
    Come on...that was not nice....

    Love,
    Tarunji

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  48. Vikrama: Like Anuradha, please stay on topic. Your responses are interesting, but off the point. Let this be the last one in that trend.

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  49. Bansi Bihariji makes very good points which again point to some fundamental differences in approaches to bhakti between westerners and Indians.

    In all my years in India, and in all the unsolicited advice that was dolled out to me from prying but well meaning Indians, still, this desire to become famous and a guru at a very young age is something that western sadhaks have a very solid grip on and are lakhs of lightyears ahead of their Indian counterparts.

    And again, it's a cultural thing. Due to our incredibly connected (via internet and other media) cultures, as well as the crass commercialism and consumerism of places like the USA (which to some extent dominate other western internet and media as well), even our approach to become becomes one of less intro-spection and personal practice and more of media, advertising, photo-taking, commercialization and profit making.

    (I'm speaking about general tendencies here, of course there are some western sadhaks who are quietly going about their bhajan.)

    Also, GURU SEVA. Menial guru seva (such as cleaning toilets, etc) that acts as a personal bond between guru and sisya is needed at least in the beginning stages of sadhan, if one has the good oppurtunity to live near or with the guru.

    It is true, you will find Indian sadhaks who have several decades of quiet personal practice and obvious progress, would not DARE to consider themselves fit to take on guru role.

    And these are the very people who are qualified to be guru.

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  50. To Madhavananda

    'Many others have also ventured guessing to areas they are unfamiliar with -- including estimations of my possible devotional experiences or levels of attainment.'

    And that goes for me as well. Sorry for that.

    Apart from some bullying and bashing I think we may guess and speculate a little about what made you leave from our (narrow) Vaisnava point of view. We might be wrong, we might be right. In both cases you will probably disagree.

    There is many attainments possible.
    Adopting a purer lifestyle in itself is an attainment. Its effects might feel as attainments as well. Waking-up to the realities of spiritual life is an attainment. Some happiness in performing your sadhana is also an attainment. All maybe.

    You say
    'In principle, people should recognize that departing from the straight and narrow path of GV devotion does not -- according to GV theology itself -- mean there was never any attainment.'

    Right, but then you have to take GV-theology in its entirety. Those people departing after attaining higher levels of realization, let's say bhava, depart temporarily. Exception is made to those who commit vaisnava-ninda and do not correct this. They might be cast away forever or for very long. But vaisnava aparadha is an unlikely offence for those of higher devotional realization.
    That means that all this is a thunderstorm in a glass of water, because one day after your experiment with nihilism you will be back, renewed. I welcome that.

    It can also mean that there were attainments, but on a smaller scale and more modest level. Some nistha and a temporal high from the association with devotees. Or many aha-moments when studying scripture.

    But in both cases attainment is the wrong word and doesn't really fit into GV-theology altogether. Nothing is attained. All is given. Our attainments are negligible. Vaisnavas of higher realization do not talk about their attainments. They don't see them as attainments, but as sweet gifts. If anyone tells them they haven't attained anything they will wholeheartedly agree.

    Even a true guru (with disciples) is not talking about his attainments nor subtly suggesting there are any. The only tangible thing you can get is an increased feeling of personal love.

    Anyway, after your experiment with meditating on the Nothing, you will be back, I am sure 100 percent. It will be different and careful, but it is in the long term unavoidable.

    ;-) and Love

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  51. To Vikram.

    I take no offence. I like heated debates.

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  52. Madhava, where does Rupa Gosvami say a bhava bhakta can fall from the path? He says he can have some anarthas, but that is not the same as leaving this path altogether. I mean, bhava is beyond nistha, which is supposed to be the point of no return!

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  53. Heart: It is true, you will find Indian sadhaks who have several decades of quiet personal practice and obvious progress, would not DARE to consider themselves fit to take on guru role.

    And these are the very people who are qualified to be guru.


    Well said. Sripad Satyanarayan Das apparently said on one of his mp3 lectures that he is unqualified to give diksa in this lifetime because he is 'just' a Chauhan-Ksatriya. And he is certainly one of the most qualified persons to become Guru..

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  54. My god, even while leaving gaudiya vaisnavism madhavananda is trying to pretend he had advanced spiritual experiences in raganuga sadhana. I cant even believe what a pretender you are. your ego is so big you want to pretend you were advanced even though you basically were a loser when it came to raganuga sadhana. You had no spiritual experience at all, and thats why you left it and became a buddhist. Anyone who had had a real spiritual experience through raganuga could never leave their path of sadhana. But even now you want to pretend you were very advanced. There is no hope for you in any religion in this world due to your pride. Just become the atheist you are inside and give up this religion game.

    Don't worry madhavananda, we won't call your "spiritual experiences" as shadow experiences. That is much to high. They are just plain out lies. Not even imaginations or halucinations. Nothing ever happened to you, but you are openly lying to all of us here and pretending you had some divine experience.

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  55. Vikram you claim that my views are those of a fanatic, that's fine by me. I can appreciate that you find in Madhava a soul brother, along with Tapati you find a soul sister, you all have in common the rejection of gaudiya vaisnavism for some new agey rhetoric and impersonalism. Good luck with that. I chuckle at your attempts to wander into a gaudiya community in order to preach to us about your enlightened universal views, which of course rejects anyone who has actual faith in any one path, as a fanatic. If I or others of the gaudiya persuasion don't live up to your refined expectations of what spirituality is or should be all about, then so be it. I can find the same criticisms from countless arm chair spiritualists and smug new age types and wannabe yogis who will tell me that my heart chakra is messed up and that I need to see beyond my views and of course accept their own as the true light and way. Materialists pretending to be advanced spiritualists are a dime a dozen, they criticize gaudiya vaisnavas as "fanatics" all the time. Usually though they don't wade into a gaudiya community with their airy fairy smugness in an attempt to educate us. When they do they almost always have some cynical agenda to topple our "foolish beliefs" all the while professing new agey love and tolerance. Their real aim is always exposed as wanting to denigrate the gaudiya path and it's followers while trying to look above us, not so subtle as they may think, nor spiritual, but such is their reality.

    My critique of Madhava is for those who have been cheated by him for so many years. He was seen as the head of the nascent so called "traditional" gaudiya community outside of India (so was Jagat until he revealed his tantrik proclivities) by hundreds of people, perhaps even thousands. Even now in his blogs he seeks to gain or keep his following in a not so subtle way in his blaming of gaudiya vaisnavism and telling us that he has found a higher path for himself. Now he says

    "In principle, people should recognize that departing from the straight and narrow path of GV devotion does not -- according to GV theology itself -- mean there was never any attainment. Rupa Goswami confirms in his BRS that one can depart even after attaining a level as high as bhava, and the story of Rupa Kaviraja is a perfect case example of the same."

    What he is implying is that he attained bhava, or at the least a high level or stage of spirituality that gaudiya vaisnavism has to offer, and of course he found it wanting. In a previous blog he told us that the gaudiya path wasn't comprehensive enough in it's higher levels for him, also all the gurus were found wanting to one degree or another. So his aim is still to be a leader, a teacher, a guru, to have followers and fame by not so subtly denigrating the gaudiya path. Many people, especially those who are intellectually more advanced then the common person, will often become deluded with the idea that they can and should be gurus or spiritual leaders well before they are qualified. I warned Madhava and Jagat for a long time about their lack of qualification for what they were attempting to do. All I got was ridicule from them for a long time for doing so. Even though it was obvious to me that they had no qualification and knew next to nothing about Radha Krishna, and were clearly intent on gaining fame and followers by misuse of a spiritual tradition, I couldn't convince them of the error of their ways. So God had to take them both down from their lofty perches in a public and dramatic way. This was in order that those sincere bhaktas who looked to them as gurus of some sort, would become free from their insincere and harmful guidance. And also to teach the both of them a lesson in humility.

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  56. In principle, people should recognize that departing from the straight and narrow path of GV devotion does not -- according to GV theology itself -- mean there was never any attainment. Rupa Goswami confirms in his BRS that one can depart even after attaining a level as high as bhava, and the story of Rupa Kaviraja is a perfect case example of the same.

    Dear friend,

    I cant believe you wrote this...
    My god, actually, I thought you are a brave soul.
    But this ridiculous statement really proves your inner feeling...

    This is so sad....maybe for this reason Gurudeva didnt give you more time....

    Please, dont be so proud!!!!

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  57. I am utterly shocked by the amount of his arrogance...

    Now I know why he always attacked me all these years....because I doubted too much...those doubts nagging inside of him too...

    This is really sad.

    I thought he chose a different way and I was happy for him...now this bullshit.

    I never expected him to come here and post.
    Again: name, fame, glory.

    Comparing oneself with an eternal associate with Mahaprabhu...

    Now I feel sorry for him.

    From the inner core of manjari-bhava to buddhism....

    And blaming his gurudeva...

    I am really shocked...and again I was mislead by his learned words...

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  58. I found it interesting, that after travelling half way around the world to come to Florida a year ago, he never bothered to get in touch with me, not even to say 'Jaya Radhe'. I guess maybe because I was not a siksa, Harinam or diksa hopeful for him.

    It is possible that he is a buddhist now to get out of doing military service in Finland. He has renounced his country and he has no where to turn since losing interest in bhakti. If he returns to Finland he might go to jail. He is far better off doing military service. There is discipline in the army too.

    It would be interesting to see how long he will play it out in India or Asia in general. No income, no country, no family. Life will be very hard for him.

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  59. To Malatiji:

    Even though I feel that your latest response borders on personal insult, that is fine and by virtue of your seniority to me both in age and religious practice, I shall keep silent on most of what you wrote. As for me being a Johnny-come-lately on the Internet scene, as far as posting on forums and blogs is concerned you are absolutely correct. However, my presence on the Web predates that by many long years of quiet study and reading, and it is only really since 2007 that the thought of throwing in my twopence worth struck. So, your statement is partly accurate but that is not the entire picture. Yes, I still hold that God is both nirguna and saguna, and that is not going to alter. What I meant by typing what you were referring to was that there was defintely another side to the story. I do hope that you can appreciate this. Advaita Vedanta is not voidism; it teaches that everything is ultimately Brahman, not shunya.

    Let it be known that I haven't and will not pan GV for the simple reason that I rest in the firm conviction of its veracity and validity as an authentic means of realising the Supreme. Sure, I no longer consider it to be the cream of spiritual philosophies but my 13 or so years of seriously delving into the shiksha of this sampradaya has left an ineradicable imprint on my psychology, and I shall always hold GV in high esteem, whilst acknowledging that it is NOT what suits my personality and turn-of-mind best.

    It would be moronic, to say the least, for us to initiate a doctrinal debate over which mythos eventually prevails, the theistic or pantheistic model. Yes, I went from Vikram Ramsunder to LoveroftheBhagavata on Audarya because I got blocked there by the predominantly Prabhupada-onlyite mods, who found my defence of the Gaudiya Matha and TGV objectionable, and as you may know, more often than not, it is the ISKCONite or Ritvik views which are permitted to triumph over there. For this and other very obvious reasons, I seldom even visit the "Spiritual Discussions" section anymore, and confine myself to the more generalist Hindu and other parts of the forums. I could've written to you privately to tell all this, but since you "blew my cover" in public, I find myself obligated to answer here and now.

    To Shiva:

    I think the best possible reply I could formulate to your post would be this one - I won't, except for this tidbit. I'm not being sarcastic, but for a bloke in your small coloured shoes to call someone born in a traditional, practising Hindu background "New Agey" is indeed laughable. I'm not here to convert anybody, nor did I level any brand of criticism at GV. So I will take the bulk of your piece for just what it is: JUNK. And on this, I shall say CIAO PAL to you.

    As a final note on this specific blog, I am secure enough to keep navigating over Vaishnava and non-Vaishnava Hindu sites alike. The fact that I no more subscribe to this tradition does not mean that I should run scared at the mere mention of Krishna or Vishwambhara Mishra. That would be exposing latent hang-ups and fears which I, for certain, do not possess.

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  60. Nothing wrong with the Finnish Army. You can maintain a vegetarian diet. In general you do not need to fight, only a little peacekeeping. And you have lots of time to read.

    Okay, most soldiers talk about sex all day long, but you can always find some of different interest and become friends.

    I met Finnish soldiers and I found them the most civilized around. And they earn a decent amount of money.

    But then again, just picture Madhava in an army outfit on his blog..... mmmh

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  61. In response to Malati's statement:I did mention Tapati and Jijaji. Two or 3 years ago I visited Tapati’s blog and from what I saw I came to conclude that she and her ilk had not completely moved on from their negative emotional experiences incurred with their involvement with ISKCON devotees. For years, I don’t know in the recent years however, her forum encouraged ridicule of people involved in ISKCON or even the GV philosophy and it’s practices !!! Honestly, I don’t understand why people want to waste time talking about the past. Life is too short ! But maybe that is my own limitation. As I have mentioned in my earlier blog, I have moved from one path to another. But I can vouch that I never go to a Buddhist forum or Christian forums and pick up a “fight” or insult their philosophy or practices ! I am wise enough to know that participating in an internet forum is not an automatic right; it is a given privilege.I am also wise to know that we can not have the same mind. Once I realized I don’t like the philosophy I moved on, really never visiting it again. Imagine if you go to someone’s house unannounced and start criticizing how their settee is placed or the colour of their blinds is terrible. If you get kicked on the butt I can understand why the owner of the house would react that way.

    First, you are confusing my forum with my blog. On my blog I rarely mention GV at all. My forum is specifically for Former Vaishnavas who still need to process their past, and this will necessarily include criticisms of it. It is a mere three years old and new members, still needing to put things in perspective, join all the time.

    As for being a guest in various GV spaces, I have never been told by the owners of such spaces that I have behaved disrespectfully in them. Both Advaitadas and I have each hosted the other's contrary viewpoints and I think we operate on the basis of mutual respect. I'm certainly not asking him to redecorate his spiritual path--it is operating just fine for him.

    I personally think that violence against women is NOT a part of GV philosophy, and I think pointing that out is a validation of it rather than an attack. I think it is left over cultural baggage from the Muslim invasion period, personally, and needs to be weeded out from an otherwise valuable and beautiful spiritual heritage.

    http://tapati.livejournal.com/ is my blog, btw.

    Bright Blessings,

    Tapati

    PS. To others: I note also that Madhava did not say anywhere that he had reached a high level of realization in GV, just pointing out a fallacy in others' arguments.

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  62. Advaitadas: In BRS 1.3.54, Goswamipad notes that bhava can turn into a semblance of bhava or be gradually reduced even to a lower state. As for what's "falling" and what's "leaving the path altogether", it's a matter of semantics.

    As I said, I have no interest in entering into a dialog over my possible levels of attainment or lack thereof. I said the above to make the point that I did sincerely feel giving harinama to this person noted earlier would have produced a beneficial result, and I did that with awareness of certain assets I felt were present within me -- whether owing to my own endeavors, to grace, or a combination thereof.

    If one were to follow the GV path for over a decade and have no substantial internal attainments, it would be a bit of a bleak picture, wouldn't you say? If a decade of earnest efforts can't produce anything worthwhile, one wonders whether such a path is worth following at all. But again, I am not presently interested in a public exploration of my sadhana and its fruits or lack thereof of the past.

    Radhapada: as I understand, Braja Gopal had tried to get in touch with you with regards to the program we were having -- he was the one working on contacting people in the area. I'm not sure of this, though. I have my plans quite well laid out for the rest of the year -- I will be returning to Finland in December to take care of my conscientious objection, along with some work to pay off debts pending from our house project. Being a Buddhist makes no difference as far as possibilities for exemption from military duty is concerned.

    Tarun Govinda: please don't be too hasty in hopping to conclusions on what I say. I do not intend to discuss ADBM in public at any substantial length, especially not before his disciples, and that's as much as I wish to say on that. I do not expressly blame him for anything. I do understand I have hurt you many times over the years, and I'm very sorry for that. But it is well to be utterly shocked by the amount of my bad qualities, any prudent observer would note the overwhelming amounts of meanness I embody.

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  63. Madhava: In BRS 1.3.54, Goswamipad notes that bhava can turn into a semblance of bhava or be gradually reduced even to a lower state. As for what's "falling" and what's "leaving the path altogether", it's a matter of semantics.

    Yes, that verse says kRSNa-preSThAparAdhataH - 'bhAva is reduced or destroyed by offending Krishna's dear devotees'....
    The commentators say that slight offence turns bhAva into bhAvAbhAsa, and grave offence destroys it altogether. Change in bhAva will take place according to the seriousness of the offence." Anyone can judge individuals with this thermometer in hand........

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  64. "If one were to follow the GV path for over a decade and have no substantial internal attainments, it would be a bit of a bleak picture, wouldn't you say?"

    Just be honest. You got nothing in your small 10 years and you try to blame all the "gurus" you had before jumping to the next. First you were with Suhotra Swami, then Narayan Maharaja, then Ananta das Babaji, then so many fake siksa gurus and finally buddhism. Each time you blamed others for your lack of advancement. Maybe you were just a too proud and that made you a loser.

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  65. If a decade of earnest efforts can't produce anything worthwhile, one wonders whether such a path is worth following at all.

    Maybe a better question is whether a decade of self promotion and attempt at guruship was a path worth following, because that is where your real problem lies. You will get absolutely nothing out of false bhakti done only for prestige and fame.

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  66. I said the above to make the point that I did sincerely feel giving harinama to this person noted earlier would have produced a beneficial result, and I did that with awareness of certain assets I felt were present within me -- whether owing to my own endeavors, to grace, or a combination thereof."

    The only asset you had was your huge ego. Today you are a buddhist who doesn't believe in Radha Krsna. You didnt have any advancement or any "assets" which you could impart through initiation. Give up your big shot ego. You were a nobody and still are a nobody. The only reason the 10 people here know your name is because you designed some websites. You used your web developing skills to portray yourself as an advanced devotee, when you were not much of a devotee at all. Just the shell of a pretender waiting to initiate some poor guys wife with out his permission. Krsna paid you back in the exact same way, some babaji initiates your wife without your permission. Thats karma.

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  67. I'm glad the anonymouses are getting all of this off their chests. Humidity keeps accumulating in the clouds, and then one day -- kaboom -- it all bursts and flows down in countless torrents, leaving but fresh air behind.

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  68. "I'm glad the anonymouses are getting all of this off their chests. Humidity keeps accumulating in the clouds, and then one day -- kaboom -- it all bursts and flows down in countless torrents, leaving but fresh air behind."

    Except this is burning you up. The humility card is over played.

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  69. Jay Nitai,

    Madhava I was watching from sideline about all these. I have one request, would you please stop now? You are not stopping with your arguments as you are still very young and pride is the main driving force at this age that drives any common people. And you are not an exception. It is making you more and more ridiculous in the eye of people who used to know you from before and having good wish for you. Think deeply and act accordingly. May be one day with more mature mind you may repent ( may be not for leaving GV ) but on your behavior you are showing now. Think yourself in advance with 40+ years of age and think how you are going to look back at your attitude you are showing now. Hope this would help you realizing your mental status right now.

    Be good and be always in peace which ever way you want to take your life ahead but think twice before publishing your self advancement like this in public, it has not helped you in past (It was the first and last warning of GV and you did not abide by it), and believe me it is not going to help you in your new path, as well as all new probable incoming path to you. Take this as small advice from your elder brother.

    Grow up and advance in life whatever path you want to choose and keep patience all the time. 2 years in Radhakund is too short for a young person to talk about personal experience. If you have received any such experience, take this is a gift of GV to a temporary guest on this path and be happy with that. ( Though I am pretty sure you comeback is just a matter of time ).

    I pray to Sri Nitai to keep you in good physical and mental health and lead a good life.


    Jay Nitai

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  70. Madhava you wrote

    "If one were to follow the GV path for over a decade and have no substantial internal attainments, it would be a bit of a bleak picture, wouldn't you say?"

    Well, it depends on what you mean by internal attainments. There are different types of internal attainments that one can attain from the cultivation of the Bhagavat. Since you now profess Theravada Buddhism I can only conclude that you have never in your life experienced the presence of God, nor have you been able to philosophically become convinced that God exists or at least is necessary. You claim that you also find the writings of Swami Sivananda and Ramana Maharsi to be particularly wholesome and beneficial. These men are of course teachers of Advaita Vedanta, whom while espousing similar teaching to Theravada Buddhists in some respects, have quite a difference with them as well in that they teach about the presence and all encompassing nature and necessity of understanding God. While the Theravada Buddhists reject the need of any God. What kind of internal attainments do you think you can gain from Theravada? Essentially their path is illogical from the word go. They believe in transmigration to one extent or another (in some kind of mushy nonsense rhetoric) and in karma as well as nirvana, yet claim God is not needed in their path? Just what exactly controls transmigration and fulfillment of karma and the maintaining of the nirvana existence? Without some type of God any type of doctrine which teaches about karma or transmigration or some deathless mystic perfected existence is worthless and irrational.

    You also said


    "If a decade of earnest efforts can't produce anything worthwhile, one wonders whether such a path is worth following at all."

    Well, everyone has their own karma to live through. I developed a very close relationship with Radha Krishna in less then ten years of following the Gaudiya path. So it's not the path that is the problem, I know that from experience. Your problem is that you don't know a good thing when you see it. Because you are intellectually superior to many bhaktas you took that as a sign of your being qualified to lead them. Since you never experienced Radha Krishna you should have realized that taking on such a calling was something you were not qualified for, and you should have remained a humble devotee in the presence of older much more experienced bhaktas. Then maybe you would have gained some internal attainment. I told you time and time again that you should stick to the Bhagavat, that you weren't understanding basic Bhagavat ontological realities. I told you that your getting involved with the higher path without understanding more basic teachings was wrong and would lead nowhere. How could you have internal attainments when you practically ignored the teachings which would enable you to experience paramatma, in order to jump to an area which you couldn't possibly understand without the direct aid of paramatma? I warned you that jumping to calculus without first learning basic math skills was foolish. But did you listen? So you can blame the gaudiya path, but the reality is that you didn't follow the gauidya path. You skipped the most important part because you thought (due to your intellectual prowess) that you could skip to the end and gain some kind of fast track to God. You can't blame the path when you were instructed over and over that your path was not the proper gaudiya path. Instead of a stroll down a path, experiencing everything on the way to your destination, you attempted to skip and jump and ignore all the signposts and warnings along the way.

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  71. Radhe Radhe

    This is an overkill!!! The analysis of Madhavadas. We are overdoing this.

    Though comments by Shiva, Anuradha, et al are meaningful, I don't think anyone can really go that deep into anyone's psyche, heart and intentions.

    Of course, I also found some statements in Madhavadas's blog that could have been said better. And of his decisions that may be construed as ambitious, but to dissect and deconstruct Madhava is an overkill!

    Give him a break. Like Subrata though, I will advise Madhava to desist from reading this site now, if he wants to move on to his new spiritual life. Continually responding to comments will only agitate you, Madhava. And to commentators here continually nitpicking on whatever he says, whether justifiable or not, will only create the hate mood within us.

    I think Madhava got the point(s) now. The wise knows when to stop!

    Have to finish my gayatri now.

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  72. I agree, Malati, about the overkill.

    I want to make one comment though. Not about Madhavananda, but about my personal struggle.

    I too had to harmonize the literal approach and the symbolic approach towards GV. In me it didn't result in leaving GV, but I was on shaky grounds. I did clean up though, got rid of some rituals that I didn't understand or found irrelevant and shook off some sectarian doctrines that were glued upon me.
    I too came to the conclusion that I had to make the decision for GV, with what I know now, anew. I still find GV more than worth while. Why ? Because more than anything else it is about personal love.

    But I too was confused by for example the scientific very strong arguments about the dates when scriptures were written down. To find out that our vaisnava religion, even in its pre-Chaitanya days, is probably much younger than even Christianity, was confusing, because I was always told it was extremely old, minimum 5000 years, and scripture should be taken literally otherwise, well, you lack faith, and that is bad. But to deny the existence of dinosaurs, Americans on the moon, evolution of species and the way our solar system works was a bit to much for me. I decided not to throw it all overboard, but naturally it resulted in having to doubt other claims of scripture as well, and the scholarly people taking them literally with that. Especially when doubting is linked with aparadha, the result is that people either suppress their doubts, go it alone or leave all together.
    I am forever grateful to teachers like BR Shridar Swami and BVT, because without them I would probably be introduced to the GV worldview, but I would never got the essence and the beauty of it.

    Now is that all there is to know ? No. But they provided me a solid base from where I can start carefully exploring more and fall back when doubt arises. Without that base I would have left a long time ago without soon returning. Maybe to Buddhism or something agnostic with a good dose of hedonism.

    Accepting that our religion isn't static, but evolved over time and in some aspects still is under construction, doesn't make the inner message and meaning of any lesser value. When I lose touch or doubts overcome me, I take one of BR Shridar Maharaja's books or an article by the hands of Bhaktivinoda Thakur and I am back in reality. The reality of personal love for everything and in relation to a Personal God. Against all opposing arguments, facts, science and narrow minded sectarianism we have to be swan-like, as opposed to ass-like (I don't know, this is a quote from an Iskcon translation of an article by BVT).

    To get to the heart of the Goswami literature you probably need the Gaudiya setting, culture and language to get the subtle esoterics across. You almost need to become an Indian hindu of the 16th century. But without the esoterics it is a universal message that anyone from any culture in any language can understand.

    I agree with Advaita, that SBSST and BVT custome made GV for the modern critical and partly western mind, who doesn't accept things just because they were written down long ago by someone unknown in a period that is disputable according to scientific calculations, but still feel an inner attraction towards the essence of GV. But if just the notion of a personal god seems ridiculous to you, yes, then only pure advaita, mixed advaita or buddhism will be exceptable doctrines.

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  73. Toontje lager zingen - not yet and not likely.

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  74. "But to deny the existence of dinosaurs, Americans on the moon, evolution of species and the way our solar system works was a bit to much for me. I decided not to throw it all overboard, but naturally it resulted in having to doubt other claims of scripture as well, and the scholarly people taking them literally with that. Especially when doubting is linked with aparadha, the result is that people either suppress their doubts, go it alone or leave all together."


    My experience is that only ISKCON members trace on such things. No other Gaudiya Vaishnava group I came into contact with talks about astronauts on the moon, dinasaurs and the like, unless they have some members that again, came from an ISKCON background into their group and brought such katha with them.

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  75. I don't know that I have much to add to the discussion so far; the few points I've commented on are being rehashed in a way that is unlikely to evolve any further.

    However if someone is interested in my views on dinosaurs or easy journey to other planets, I'll be glad to oblige, time permitting.

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  76. And so it begins.

    From the tone of his previous blogs I knew Madhava was going to attempt to prove to his readers that his rejection of the gaudiya path, and the vedic path in general, and his acceptance of Buddhism, is based upon the superiority of Buddhism.

    Apparently he will begin with the claim that the current "academic" view of India's religious historicity is correct because it places the origins of modern vedic religions at a later date then Buddhism. Thus the attempt to delegitimize the historicity of the current Vedic traditions. Of course in doing so he is up against a huge amount of recent scholarly work which contradicts what he accepts as legitimate. Madhava writes:

    "... the pious belief that everything was written some 5000 years ago has to subside as a theory unattested to by any substantiated evidence, giving way to defendable historical and linguistic scolarship."

    And:

    "While the literary tradition of the Vedas seems to have began around the 2nd century BCE, the oral heritage reaches farther into antiquity with Rig Veda being the earliest at around 1500 BCE, the rest of the hymn and ritual texts forming and growing over the millennium that was to follow."

    This is the standard western mainstream academic view, which is based on the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) which claims the Aryans entered India around 1500 B.C.E (give or take a few hundred years in either direction), and which has been discredited by many recent scholars. For example the Sarasvati river is believed to have dried up no later then around 1900 B.C.E. Yet in the Vedas the Sarasvati is a mighty river that was the center of civilization and reached from the mountains to the sea. Astronomic evidence also shows a much greater antiquity then that currently accepted by mainstream academia, and there is much more evidence showing a greater antiquity then that of the historicity derived from the AIT. The mainstream academic view of Indian history is based upon trying to fit everything into an AIT framework. Therefore whatever evidence there is which doesn't fit into the AIT framework is generally ignored, and a totally made up historicuty has been conceived in order to maintain the AIT. There are many online sources but here are a few good ones.

    http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/aid/astronomy.html

    http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/ait/index.htm

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  77. Shiva, defending Vaishnavism from Buddhism is welcome here, only to do so with unfounded theories of God being born and Vaikuntha being created is not helpful but rather counterproductive. Therefore after due consideration I decided to block your latest comment.

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  78. Advaita, since I cited the Rig Veda how can you claim what you claim? And why would you censor it?

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  79. Both shastra and common sense have it that God, His abode, the jeevas and their conditioning are beginningless. When the Vedas say eko'ham bahu syam ("I was one I became many") these are metaphors meant to make a certain philosophical point, possibly to make things understandable for the less intelligent. However these statements cannot and should not be taken literally. Your ideas are not confirmed by any GV acarya and his works. I do appreciate tackling Buddhism, though.

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  80. Well, still, you allow non gaudiya views here yet censor my interpretation of the Rig Veda? Can you give a link to the comment so people can judge for themselves if they should be able to hear it or not?

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  81. I know some of the comments here are not purely GV and I feel uncomfortable with that too. I have already given warnings to Anuradha and Vikram in particular to keep within the boundaries of the Path. If you want to point out comments that are extremely non-GV I will consider deleting them as well.

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  82. Shiva, on the internet there are plenty of places for launching any non-conformist ideas, such as Nitai's, Jagat's, Jijaji/Ananda's and Tapati's places. You are welcome here to present GV arguments conform to shastra and yukti only, sorry for that.

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  83. Madhavananda had--and has--many outstanding qualifications that made him a unique and exceptional contributor to the world Gaudiya Vaisnava community. I always admire him for his scholarship, his good writing abilities and his determination on the spiritual path, among many other very nice qualities. It is an unfortunate loss for followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that he has had this change of heart.

    I am humbly praying to Krishna for your happiness and well being. All the best to you, Madhavananda ji.

    yours,
    Akincana Krishna das

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  84. My comment is now being a bit ridiculed by Madhavananda by bringing it back to my bad example of dinosaurs and his 'Easy journey to other planets'.
    The point of my example is the many problems one can be confronted with in relation to sabda pramana when facts one is raised with are being challenged. That doesn't stimulate faith, which is the first necessity.

    Any GV group (not just Iskcon) will be challenged in contact with modernity.

    The question is how we deal with it. Not how we deny it.

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  85. What is modernity? Surely it is transient. You mean science and technology? Or the current way of life of western, industrially-developed societies?
    I don't see any problem, any challenge. How does any of it matter? If the problem is that your mind is thinking about these things, then chant the name of Krishna - the problem will go away. :-)

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  86. Shiva,

    Regarding his shallow comparison of Hinduism and Buddhism, Markus Loponen is clearly clueless as to what he is writing. The picture that he paints is nothing but a rehash of 19th century and early 20th century biased Euro-centric, imperialistically motivated Christian missionary politics. These empirically unverifiable pseudo-theories on AIT/AMT and the dating of the Sanskrit texts that he accepts without questioning in his blog are not even insisted upon by the most prominent scholars in these fields nowadays (Michael Witzel, Ludo Rocher and a host of others). Since Advaitaji does not want us to digress from the theme, I shall not key in much more other than add that scores of books, papers and web pages exist delineating the more traditional Vedic viewpoint that you and I espouse, even though you're a Gaudiya Vaishnava and me a regular Hindu.

    As for Loponen, let the geezer follow his newfound path in peace, and since he is no longer interested in Vedantic philosophy, I reckon that we all ought to give him the silent treatment henceforth.

    Hari Om Tat Sat

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  87. "Of course in doing so he is up against a huge amount of recent scholarly work which contradicts what he accepts as legitimate."

    " For example the Sarasvati river is believed to have dried up no later then around 1900 B.C.E. Yet in the Vedas the Sarasvati is a mighty river that was the center of civilization and reached from the mountains to the sea. Astronomic evidence also shows a much greater antiquity then that currently accepted by mainstream academia, and there is much more evidence showing a greater antiquity then that of the historicity derived from the AIT. The mainstream academic view of Indian history is based upon trying to fit everything into an AIT framework. Therefore whatever evidence there is which doesn't fit into the AIT framework is generally ignored, and a totally made up historicuty has been conceived in order to maintain the AIT. There are many online sources but here are a few good ones."

    Indeed, and this is but the tip of the iceberg. However, I shall stop myself in my tracks and resist the urge to come up with a lengthy essay with appended bibliography and web references, in order not to derail this discussion, which in my mind has lasted long enough, to echo the feelings of a few other commenters.

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  88. Advaita dasji,

    I apologize for my rude remark against your sampradaya, please forgive me.

    jijaji

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  89. "I don't know that I have much to add to the discussion so far; the few points I've commented on are being rehashed in a way that is unlikely to evolve any further."

    All you said is like a river of deadly poison even if it appears in form of sweet milk. You do not have Guru sradha or Sastriya sradha but still you are yapping about vaisnava philosophy. Lower than kanistha...

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