Sai Baba Magick and Puttaparthi Mountains
31st of March, 2008 - 12:33
A few days back, as our route took us to Bangalore, we also spent a few days in Puttaparthi, the ashram of Sathya Sai Baba, the famous Hindu teacher, considered by his followers to be an avatar.
Taoist-Maoist Indiana Jones
31st of March, 2008 - 12:29
The gurubhai seers of Radhakund have now realized that I have become a Tantric and a Buddhist Sannyasi, and concluded that my fame deserves to be spread...
Theravada 4 Eva
27th of March, 2008 - 13:41
To adopt a new conceptual framework, to revise the old, or neither, or both? Thoughts in principle on evolutions, revolutions and renunciations, on current emphases and future possibilities.
Shankara, Bhagavata-purana and Advaita-vedanta
25th of March, 2008 - 4:08
The first installment in exploring earlier themes of Vedas, Advaita, Buddha, Brahmanas and so forth in some further detail.
24th of March, 2008 - 16:14
With my recent writings on the evolution of my views on Hinduism, featuring a departure that to many is irreconcilable and to some also unforgivable, expressions of anger have again become a theme of some contemplation to me.
Question to Readers
23rd of March, 2008 - 5:30
I don't really have a very clear picture of the demographics of the current Vraja Journal readership. Here's a question to the readers.
Gods Forsaken, Paradise Lost
22nd of March, 2008 - 19:44
Being a Buddhist means I no longer believe in god. Right? Well, let's be a bit more nuanced here.
Buddha, Vedas and the Brahmana culture
21st of March, 2008 - 13:30
Buddhism earned the nastika (atheist or infidel) label owing to the Buddha's rejection of Vedas. However, rejecting the Vedas isn't as black and white an issue as one might assume. This is a look at the Vedas the Buddha knew of.
From the Sahajiya Watcher
20th of March, 2008 - 13:03
A gem from recent feedback from Harry Krishna, a self-appointed sahajiya watcher.
18th of March, 2008 - 10:45
I wish to write a few words on the "exclusive devotion" theme of an earlier entry to clarify my views on bhakti.
16th of March, 2008 - 10:41
Yesterday, Advaitadas commented on my exit in his blog. These are some reflections on his message.
16th of March, 2008 - 5:52
Following the change of spirit, the form of the journal has undergone a due transfiguration.
Vraja Journal - Disclaimer
15th of March, 2008 - 15:57
What's the future of Vraja Journal? It'll continue, albeit in a somewhat different spirit. Please read this disclaimer before reading any further.
14th of March, 2008 - 18:37
Many readers of this journal have been wondering about the evolutions in my slant on things and my spiritual direction in general. Time has come to address matters in definite terms.
Vilasa Kunja Status
12th of March, 2008 - 16:13
I'm aware Vilasa Kunja and the rest of the sites (except for Vraja Journal) are down. Here's the latest on that.
Asubha: Meeting Corpses and Death
9th of March, 2008 - 16:51
Walking around the ghats of Varanasi, death is a common sight. The large piles of firewood tell their story of the volume of corpses daily burnt.
Our Shared Journey
4th of March, 2008 - 15:03
There was an earlier blog on misleading, commenting on the feedback of someone who came forward in a rather pointed manner about it. This is something, slightly retouched, I wrote to a friend who asked whether I truly felt I had misled someone.
Delhi to Varanasi
1st of March, 2008 - 13:25
Reaching New Delhi, booking train tickets, killing a few extra hours, observing the ominous Buddha-presence, moving towards Varanasi...
Delhi to Varanasi
Posted: 1st of March, 2008 - 13:25
I got a free ride to Delhi in a taxi I brought for Malati's mother who flew in, and then moved onwards. I dropped off the car at around 2 AM at New Delhi Railway Station, and found my way into a 24 hour open travel agency opposite the station to book my tickets. I hadn't done that, though in hindsight it would have been wise — Shiva Ratri is behind the corner and all trains to Varanasi and other places significant for the Shaiva tradition are jam packed. Everything was packed for the next three days, and I wasn't into staying in Delhi that long... The price of the ticket doubled as a certain travel agent "managed" me past the 100+ person waiting list — bribery is the mode of action here. Put in 100 rupees in the right place and the doors open again.
It turned out I was to hang around there for a decent while, as the railway booking system wasn't working. It was better than staying at the train station, at any rate. A certain young man who was tending to the matter began telling me his life story. It must have gone on for the better part of two hours.
As he kept telling his tale of grief, I paid attention to the peculiar fact that there was a postcard of the Buddha right before him under the glass of his office table, among the other post cards. I looked at the Buddha in turn, I looked at the man in turn. I saw the truth of dukkha, I saw the origin of dukkha... The multitude of imports of the word unfolded; suffering, discontentedness, agony... Different facets of the foundational experience in the dark well of the samsara.
The whole of the trip up to now has actually had a very distinct uninvited Buddhist presence. At the airport, I met a group of Mahayana monks. At the train station, I met an old and friendly Sri Lankan monk. At the ghats of Varanasi, I met a jolly Vajrayana monk from England. For having never met a Buddhist monk in my life, meeting people from all the three Buddhist paths within 36 hours must count for some kind of an achievement! If it were in another context, someone might say it was god pulling the strings, but since Buddhists don't believe in an omnipotent deity who pulls the karmic strings, the whole thing left me a bit mystified in terms of its philosophical possibilities, regardless of the point of view...
I had a couple of hours to kill in the daytime, so I paid a visit to the Vishwa Shanti Stupa pictured on the front page (website), checking out the curiosity inaugurated as recently as November 2007 in Indraprastha park, Delhi. This monument, built by a Japanese Buddhists group, was a white marble construct with four golden (or gold-colored, anyway!) Buddhas in four positions: One showing the Dharmachakra-mudra (Wheel of Dharma), one the Buddha's departure (parinirvana), one the Abhaya-mudra (fearlessness) and one the Bhumi-sparsa-mudra (touching the ground), four classical positions with a fair Japanese slant in the style. What would otherwise been probably a very peaceful area was a bit noisy owing to about a dozen buses of school kids on a field trip.
I made it to Varanasi at the end of a 12 hour train journey covering 700 kilometers. More on Varanasi in the next blog entry.