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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

aṣṭakāla arcanā and tri-sandhyā vs āhnika.

Phone sanga.

Bhakta: "Just as we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa for Rādhārāṇī's pleasure both when She is separated from Kṛṣṇa and when She is together with Him, do we perform deity worship similarly?"

Advaitadas: "In the mood, yes, in the mind, yes, but not that we separate the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa deities in the times of the day when Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are separated, ha ha ha. Deity worship is more formal and has its own rules. I do remember there was a doctor living close to Banki Bihāri temple (in Vṛndāvan), I used to visit him in 1988, he had deities in his chamber and not only that, he had an entire pavilion for the deities with all the items of Their aṣṭakāl līlā enjoyments in it - wine glasses (without real wine), a swimming pool (like Rādhākuṇḍa), swings, a table with the dice game, beds etc. etc. Of course he was so busy with his profession that he could not possibly move the deities from place to place in the pavilion, or to separate them in the proper time."

Bhakta: "But the devotee's chanting will be different according to times of separation and union, huh?"

Advaitadas: "Yes but that would require a very advanced and very absorbed devotee. In times of union the chanting becomes like accompanying music, music that accompanies the intimate pastimes, while in times of separation it is meant as support for the suffering Rādhārāṇī. Many sādhakas get the mañjarī-service of singing and in Stavāvali, Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī also prays to Viśākhā-devi that she can teach him/her how to sing."

Bhakta: "Gāyatrī is to be said three times a day. You practise that?"

Advaitadas: "As you may know, the inclusion of Brāhma Gāyatrī into Vaiṣṇava diksa is a recent development. Originally Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā means just the Kṛṣṇa dīkṣā-mantras. These mantras are practised once a day, hence the practise is called āhnika (daily), not tri-sandhyā, which means 'three times a day' and which is a Vedic brahminical practise, not a Vaiṣṇava practise. The principle is that one practises these mantras after showering, putting on clean clothes and practising ācamana. I have not seen that practised in places where this tri-sandhyā is being practised here in the west. They pull their brahmin threads out of their pants on the airport or on the parking lot, or at best in a bench in the park, without showering, changing clothes or doing ācamana. Also chanting Gāyatrī behind the steering wheel is popular in the west, like nāma japa. So tri-sandhyā is really very impractical, even if it were endorsed by scriptures at all for non-brahmins."

Kirtan with Vaiyasaki Das, Amsterdam June 15, 2008
(yours truly on the top right)

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