Four virtues and four methods
28th of January, 2008 - 18:58
The Buddha had some wise insights into the means for getting to know another thoroughly. While the text that inspired this blog entry is more of a chapter in general wisdom of life, the principles certainly apply in examining a prospective guru --- which has been the subject of many a discussion.
As for the misleading note
27th of January, 2008 - 9:34
My earlier note on misleading in the "Knocking on the Cocoon" entry led some to wonder what exactly I meant with that. Let's let that be clarified.
On the Siksa-guru Principle
26th of January, 2008 - 17:22
Some readers have wondered as to why one might accept a siksa-guru while the diksa-guru is still present. There are also a number of other considerations that are in place on the under-explored theme of the siksa-guru.
The Aparadha Issue
24th of January, 2008 - 15:37
With themes such as have been brought up in the last two blogs, the age-old issue of aparadha again raises its hoods. Let me clarify my position on this. First, I would like to acknowledge that I have read all the scriptural references on Vaisnava-aparadha as well as most, and have given due thought to them. When I write as I write, I write with knowledge of the said principles, making the choices that I believe are proper, truthful and righteous. I realize that not everyone may agree with my judgment calls.
TBI - Part 2 - Looking at the foundations
24th of January, 2008 - 11:40
I had initially thought of being much more reserved in over the depth in which I'd be writing of all this. However, as I realize there is nothing for me to lose in being more open, let's hear the full story. It'll certainly help people get an idea of where I'm at, and also learn of the route I've had to take. Writing is also a good form of processing the experience to ensure the removal of repressions from the subconscious. These entries seem to be becoming a bit elongated; I write as it comes. Read if you will, don't if you won't. Let's travel back in time to last spring...
The Babaji Incident - Part 1 - What blew it all
21st of January, 2008 - 14:42
Some were wondering about the details of my abruptly concluded stay with the babaji during Niyama-seva and a bit beyond. I was more than brief in my note after moving back to my own precious peace, after all. As I noted, the experience left me with many lessons in life. I have edited the earlier blog entry to remove references that would identify him by name to give me space to write more freely of the experiences, of which many may find something to learn. This is the first write-up in what I surmise will be an interesting series.
Application for 180 days of jail
18th of January, 2008 - 16:56
This is a translation of my letter of refusal from military and civil service sent to the Finnish civil service authority, should it be of interest.
Knocking on the Cocoon
17th of January, 2008 - 5:56
"Little late. You already misled many..." --- said the anonymous commentator on an earlier blog entry.
Asperin Philosophies
17th of January, 2008 - 5:31
Some of you have been missing philosophical writings. Here goes: Unity and difference of Atman and Brahman, doctrinal trouble with different strata of philosophy fused into a single doctrine, and God's creation of the chicken and the egg.
The Bodhisattva's Cocoon
16th of January, 2008 - 5:16
Some may have wanted to take a peek into my psyche for insight into the fundamental reasons of my present direction into solitude, the underlying impetus of my turn from the dim limelights of outreach. What has made the once almost all-permeating wish to help others subside? Is the bodhisattva now staring at the navel of his own fat belly?
About Sahajiyas, Ogres and Other Ominousities
2nd of January, 2008 - 15:46
This blog is here to clarify my views on sahajiyas, orthodoxies, ogres, blue flamingos and any number of other such subjects and entities people might be wondering about.
Difference between ISKCON and Gaudiya
2nd of January, 2008 - 11:03
Excerpt from correspondence.
Websites future - Input sought
1st of January, 2008 - 5:33
As a careful reader will have noticed, by sometime in the summer I will be dropping out of the GV internet scene altogether (occasional e-mails aside.) It is unlikely that I am to return, this transition off the world of internet has been a long time coming and is now nearing its definite final phase. Your input is sought.

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Asperin Philosophies
Posted: 17th of January, 2008 - 5:31
Some of you have been missing philosophical writings. Here goes: Unity and difference of Atman and Brahman, doctrinal trouble with different strata of philosophy fused into a single doctrine, and God's creation of the chicken and the egg.

Is it possible to become one with Brahman? In Advaita-vedanta, the always-existing unity of Brahman and Atman is realized; however, for Gaudiyas the two are different -- so how does it work?

Merging in the Brahman is called sayujya-mukti and is one of the five kinds of liberation mentioned (vide e.g. Kapiladeva's teachings in the 3rd canto). It is, then, certainly possible. Further, three kinds of sayujya are admitted: Brahma-sayujya, Paramatma-sayujya (merging with the Supersoul) and Parsada-sayujya (merging with a companion), all of them undesired for the devotee.

Classical Vedanta wouldn't admit that the svarupa or essential nature of the being is something to be gained from an outside source; even Bhagavata notes, muktir hitvAnyathA-rUpam svarUpeNa vyavasthitaH -- "Mukti is the forsaking of other forms, the establishment in one's intrinsic being." As such, the Vedantic perfection shouldn't be anything extrinsic to the living entity.

A problem we face is in Gaudiya Vaisnavism's essentially being, historically speaking, a fusion of two different strata of doctrines, namely the Vedanta tradition and the Tantra tradition that are markedly different, even if many have found them compatible. This poses a problem with understanding, for example, the Gaudiya doctrine of the gaining of the parsada-svarupa (companion-form) in Goloka, which has been the subject of some debate over the years, given that the Atman is traditionally thought of unchanging, immutable and so forth.

While Vedanta would have us hold the position that everything is only uncovered from under a veil of ignorance, much along the lines of Mahaprabhu's nitya-siddha-kRSNa-prema sAdhya kabhu naYa, zravaNAdi zuddha-citte karaYe udaYa statement, the premises of Sri Jiva in his Priti-sandarbha on the nature of bhakti are clear in there being an external input: He explains that hladini, or the power of love, is given by God to the living entity so that with that love, he might love him in turn.

One might reconcile the question of an apparently external source by stating that in the spirit of the doctrine of Bheda-abheda, the Atman and the Brahman (to take the Vedantic terms) are simultaneously one and different, and therefore, given the underlying unity, no question of an external, second source arises. This would of course necessitate the rejection of the complete Dvaita position that we often (unwittingly) assume in stating "the distinction between Brahman and Atman" and the such -- for it is not that there is only distinction, the traditional dualist position. Granted, devotional traditions naturally tend to emphasize the duality owing to the need to maintain a clearly distinct subject and object, an obvious need for devotion to go on.

What are we to make of statements implying that the living entity forgets Krishna in light of the conclusion that bondage is beginningless?

This is a common expression also found, for example, in Caitanya-caritamrita. kRSNa bhuli' sei jIva anAdi bahirmukha, "Forgetting Krishna, that jiva is turned away from him since time beginningless." (2.20.117) Of course, here in our exegesis we can "cancel" the literal meaning of forgetting at a point of time owing to the anadi or beginningless aversion, but it isn't as easy in texts such as the following: 'kRSNa-nitya-dAsa' -- jIva tAhA bhuli' gela, "'Krishna's eternal servant' -- forgetting that, the jiva went into forgetfulness."

I haven't ever read in any acknowledged source the reconciliation of this -- essentially fall-vada -- with the literal anadi-baddha theory that all of Vedanta propounds, but I am inclined to think we are looking at two levels of exposition: One for the masses and the other for the scholastics.

The conclusion one holds on such matters does not, in any substantial way, affect the here-and-now of the practitioner, who ought to focus on the obvious issues that demand for immediate resolution rather than delve on high metaphysical, and for all practical purposes unprovable, theories. One can then think in one way or in the other way, or not think about it at all -- it doesn't really make a substantial difference in the end at all.

To illustrate, the Advaita-vedanta tradition offers three different approaches to creation: Ajati-vada, the Drishti-srishti-vada, and the Srishti-drishti-vada. Ajati-vada states that there is no creation, period! It doesn't exist to begin with, it's all a non-dual substance and that's it. Can't take it, too much to grasp? Move on to the next: Drishti-srishti-vada states that creation takes place simultaneously with the arising of your perception, making you the de facto creator of your subjective outer world. Too much stll? Okay, Srishti-drishti-vada: First there was a creation where the elements flowed into being as the unborn Brahman diversified, or alternatively as the Great Vishnu glanced over the undifferentiated sum-total of matter, and then you perceived the world. All three are extant possible theories and suit different needs, the realized philosophers holding that the first of the three is the ultimate in all of its paradoxical beauty. And for the Buddha, many such issues didn't even merit an answer, so removed were they from the here and now that demanded attention.

To became caught up on such matters is to become caught up in debating whether God first created the egg or the chicken. That is, mind you, a valid philosophical question! With this, one begins to appreciate that some themes are best left as indescribable or incomprehensible. Perfect philosophy is free from paradox, the idealist claims! How he forgets that perfect philosophy must be a perfect representation of the complete truth, and if the complete truth were indeed comprehensible to the space-time-conditioned human mind, the mind would have subjugated the complete truth -- leading to suspicions that the complete truth is a creation of the human mind!
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