25th of February, 2007 - 2:51
With a note on how Malati's been recovering at a substantial pace, the doctor let her leave the hospital on Friday afternoon. Four nights of rest in a 5Â½ feet bed for a 6 feet tall person makes you feel a bit stiff in the end, I'm glad it's over! The atmosphere there was extremely dozy, as much as you can expect of a place where most people are lying down and taking medications --- not exactly your bhajana-asrama of choice.
The Specimen is Moving
21st of February, 2007 - 11:19
After the operation, the doctor came in and informed me of the operation's having been successfully concluded. Then she asked, "Would you like to see the specimen?" ...
The other day I bumped into Dhanurdhara Swami as I walked across the Krishna Balaram yard to get a canister of filtered water. Through a twist of destiny we had been in touch last fall, once via phone and then over several e-mails, both related and unrelated to the original reason of our touching base. ...
Quick update on Malati
19th of February, 2007 - 10:52
It's 4 PM and I'm back from the hospital. The operation went well, even if she's still in quite some pain after the spinal anaesthesia is wearing off and as she's gradually becoming more and more aware of all that's changed within her...
Malati's health and being temporarily less available
17th of February, 2007 - 11:33
I'll be participating less, and will in general be less available over the following month or so, as Malati needs to go in for an operation to fix some health issues that have been bothering her since some time now, and as I will need to be tending to her needs and to all the housework during her period of recovery.
Clean clothes and ucchista
15th of February, 2007 - 7:42
The following was written to a friend who is puzzled over the undefined subtle issue on account of which he is told to change into fresh clothes before serving prasada to devotees.
When you eat, more often than not some food remnants end up touching your cloth, making them what's called ucchista (also called jhuta), something seen as contaminated due to contact with saliva. Such clothes are unfit for use during deity service, cooking and other services requiring full external purity...
On Becoming Free
13th of February, 2007 - 17:52
The adverse situations we find ourselves in are the consequence of our ill deeds and thoughts, we are caught in webs of our own weaving. Yet the situations are not deplorable inasmuch as deplorable suggests worthlessness, for they have been put in place for us to grow and to learn.
To let us take deep looks into our psyche, to firmen our natures, to make our hearts grow. To cultivate the field so as to let the crops flourish when the time is due. And when the time is due, events will unfold naturally â€“ of their own accord...
9th of February, 2007 - 18:06
A few days back, I came across a site called Dandavats where Vaisnavas discuss all varieties of pertinent matters, even if not as critically important as many of those ongoing at Chakra. An ongoing debate is about the bonafideness of chocolate.
Filled with lofty divine inspiration, I found myself writing a comment on a contribution titled "If Krishna does not accept my chocolates, who should I offer them to?". Here's what ensued.
Magic and Mystery
6th of February, 2007 - 18:52
Questions on avenues for sharing of one's experiences as a matter of proving the substantiality of the path of devotion to others ensued from an earlier blog entry dealing with hiding dreams and special experiences.
The core question, paraphrased, reads as follows:
"People wish to find a path that is substantial and can provide deep experiences when followed. If no contemporary practitioners are willing to elaborate on their experiences in penetrating into the mysteries of devotion, how can anyone ever gain faith enough to follow the way of bhakti? Indeed, even many practitioners have left the path behind over a scarcity of examples as nourishers of faith!"
Dreams and Special Experiences
6th of February, 2007 - 13:40
We sometimes come across Vaisnavas who are fond of liberally sharing of their experiences, gained in dreams and in wakefulness all the same, and we may also find ourselves puzzled with inspiration ensuing from experiences gained.
One should know that visions and dreams with special spiritual significance are private matters one should cherish within the chamber of the heart. By airing them out in the public, their impact on the self fades and vanishes over time.
On Cultivating Sattva
6th of February, 2007 - 4:48
These are notes written after reading an article by Muniraja Das, an old friend of mine from my brahmacari days in Finland, on the cultivation of sattva.
â€¢ Conquering sleepiness
â€¢ Sitting in proper asanas
â€¢ Purity of circumstances
â€¢ Japa techniques
â€¢ Purity of eating
Emotional Quality in Nama-bhajana
2nd of February, 2007 - 18:41
From recent correspondence â€“ question rephrased.
"I am chanting a regular quota of names on a daily basis. Nonetheless, I find that I am yet to overcome some very basic vice, lust and anger to name a few. Why so, and what can I do?"
â€¢ The essential "why" of chanting
â€¢ Cultivating emotion and relationship through nama-bhajana
â€¢ Gradations in invoking a feeling for the name
Magic and Mystery
Posted: 6th of February, 2007 - 18:52
Questions on avenues for sharing of one's experiences as a matter of proving the substantiality of the path of devotion to others ensued from an earlier blog entry dealing with the hiding of dreams and special experiences.
The core question, paraphrased, reads as follows:
"People wish to find a path that is substantial and can provide deep experiences when followed. If no contemporary practitioners are willing to elaborate on their experiences in penetrating into the magic and mysteries of devotion, how can anyone ever gain faith enough to follow the way of bhakti? Indeed, even many practitioners have left the path behind over a scarcity of examples as nourishers of faith!"
As a sadhaka becomes more and more immersed in his practices, his being becomes imbued with svarupa-sakti, the highest culmination of the base spiritual energy, cit-sakti, the awakening of which some know as the arising of the kula-kundalini. With the infusion of svarupa-sakti, the sadhaka attains a glow unseen in the world, and his very persona radiates a captivating halo of magic and mystery. With sahasrara, ajna and anahata wide open and vibrant over the realization of the truths of bheda-abheda, the lucid perception of the lila and the attainment of a deep devotional emotion respectively, the sadhaka is transformed into an other-worldly, divine entity.
Then, do not seek to make the effect and the impact by too many words of yourself in awakening others' faith in the fruits you have gained and are willing to share. Let them witness the same through direct perception. Over and above granting perception â€“ which is subjective to the samskaras of the recipients â€“ an accomplished sadhaka will have the power to infuse substantial divinity into a qualified candidate through his will-power alone. Conversely, where this power lacks, a presentation hundred thousand words laced with the best of reason and delicate consideration fail in empowering the candidate.
Yet again, the principle of selectiveness applies. Be observant, study the samskaras of others before making calls on how much and of what to place before whom in the way of spiritual gifts. Do not expose the powers of devotion to the faithless and the envious, let them remain unknown. There is a reason for Krishna's calling this knowledge of devotion the emperor of mysteries, the most confidential wisdom of all. And does he not warn at the end of the dialog:
idaM te nAtapaskAya nAbhaktAya kadAcana |
na cAzuzrUSave vAcyaM na ca mAM yo â€™bhyasUyati || 18.67 ||
"This you are not to speak to the non-austere or the non-devotee at any time,
Nor to one discinclined to hear, nor the one envious of me."
Sridhara Svami makes a number of interesting notes in elaborating on the theme in his commentary:
evaM gItArtha-tattvam upadizya tat-sampradAya-pravartane niyamam Aha idam iti | idaM gItArtha-tattvaM te tvayA atapaskAya dharmAnuSThAna-hInAya na vAcyam | na ca abhaktAya gurAv Izvare ca bhakti-zUnyAya kadAcid api na vAcyaM na cAzuzrUSave paricaryAm akurvate vAcyam |
"The restriction for instructing these precious truths of the Gita to those belonging to one's sampradaya is hereby spoken. These precious truths of the Gita spoken unto you should not be spoken to the non-austere, nor to those uncommitted to observances of dharma. And they should not be spoken to non-devotees who are devoid of bhakti for guru and God at any time, nor to those unwilling to hear, and those not engaged in worship."
Coming to the bottom line, the question we are certainly all asking â€“ "Why?" â€“ Svamipada notes:
mAM paramezvaraM yo'bhyasUyati manuSya-dRSTyA doSAropeNa nindati tasmai na ca vAcyam ||
"Those who are envious of me, the Paramesvara, will blaspheme with the attribution of perceiving me as an ordinary man â€“ therefore it is not to be spoken."
With this, we understand that caution must be exercised so as to avoid situations where the ignorant will disrespect the precious truths and revelations of devotion, for such disrespect is worse than ignorance as it forms a mighty obstacle in the way of their acceptance of this subtlest of spiritual paths. One who is indiscriminate in terms of his audience commits an act of violence towards the people he hopes to save.
There is quantity and there is quality, and the two rarely go hand in hand. You cannot give gold and diamonds to all. You need to make a call. Reflect on whether you wish to seek to give a bit of something to everyone, or a great deal to those few who are fit recipients. As people who are still largely unaccomplished in sadhana, we are finite in our energy and need to be conservative so as to not sacrifice ourselves in the name of attempting the world's salvation. If we are to over-extend ourselves, in the end neither the world nor indeed we ourselves will come to find the goal so cherished in so many words.
My writing this at midnight in the darkness of Radha-kunda with a thunderstorm raging above my head no doubt contributes to the eerie atmosphere of the contribution.