Offline Continued
27th of March, 2007 - 8:26
My forced holiday from online presence and in general computer related work keeps extending. Since the last blog entry, the electric cables have fallen of the pole on two occasions, and repairs have resulted in erratic voltages forcing me to unplug ourselves altogether from the main line until it gets fixed so as to not fry any further equipment.
Solar Eclipse and Double Electricity
20th of March, 2007 - 17:30
My last blog entry from a week back featured the fused laptop adapter after the erratic electricity following the thunderstorm. I got the adapter fixed in a matter of a day at Apex Computers, Raman Reti. However, electricity wouldn't tone down...

Monday morning featured a solar eclipse. As on Gaura-purnima, I ended up doing a night parikrama around Govardhana with Sanatana Baba. We started from Radha-kunda at 11 PM, took some rest on a wooden bench at Puchari on the way and returned to Radha-kunda at 6 AM...
Laptop adapter fused
13th of March, 2007 - 4:46
Last night I woke up to a small blast sound accompanied with a flash on my desk, about a meter off where I was sleeping. We had had thunderstorms the last two nights, and electricity had been erratic. I rushed to turn on the light and to unplug all electric cables, and poof went the energy saving lamp as well.

I then plugged in a socket I had with a current meter, only to see the meter shoot straight to 300 volts as if it had only began measuring the power of the incoming current. Judging by the extreme brightness of the bathroom bulb, it must have been in the range of 350 to 400 volts. We heard a series of explosions that night, I am assuming I am not the only one whose equipment took a hit.
Electric Availability
8th of March, 2007 - 18:07
A quick note to let everyone know that most things computer are running late as of the last ten days or so. These days, so it seems, we are no longer talking about electric outages. We are talking about electric availability. Frequent, unscheduled and extended outages have turned into a routine event, lasting up to 24 hours on occasion.
Evil Rahu and the Lord's remnants
5th of March, 2007 - 19:01
Today, visiting Vrindavana with Gaurangadas, I met with Advaitadas and, amidst a discussion on some of his old translations, touched on the theme of Gaura-purnima's eclipse, also featured in a recent blog entry at his Madan Gopal journal. The following are some notes and reflections on the themes brought up in his contribution and in the comments that ensued, featuring purity of prasada and so forth.
Gaura Purnima and Eclipse
2nd of March, 2007 - 18:04
Tomorrow is Gaura Purnima, and incidentally also a full lunar eclipse just as it was with Mahaprabhu's appearance, the Moon hiding in shame at the sight of the Moon of Nadia. Krishnadas Kaviraja describes...
While the eclipse on this particular day is a rare occurrence and blessed in its timing, the attack of Rahu is also considered inauspicious, and as such there are a number of observances Vaisnavas undertake during eclipses, whether lunar or solar. Then, a few related words on all that for those eager to observe the day properly...
The Dark Side
1st of March, 2007 - 17:54
Things I have done and said over the years have undoubtedly effected many, for better or worse. Some may have been wondering about my recent notes on being geared towards a life of nirjana-bhajana.

The following is a letter I wrote two weeks back to a dear friend in response to something he wrote me. I thought of sharing it with everyone with hopes that it'd help others better understand who I am and where I'm coming from, and with that look at me with a sense of understanding, offering me the benefit of doubt if nothing else in meeting what may seem like my darker sides, which are many without a doubt.

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Evil Rahu and the Lord's remnants
Posted: 5th of March, 2007 - 19:01
Today, visiting Vrindavana with Gaurangadas, I met with Advaitadas and, amidst a discussion on some of his old translations, touched on the theme of Gaura-purnima's eclipse, also featured in a recent blog entry at his Madan Gopal journal. The following are some notes and reflections on the themes brought up in his contribution and in the comments that ensued.

The period of contamination (sutaka) starts 9 hours before the start of the eclipse for lunar and 12 hours before solar eclipses, ending when the eclipse is over. This lunar eclipse itself started at 3 AM and ended at 6:42 AM, making the total period of contamination a bit under 13 hours. If someone has Pandit Nandalal Baba's Bhakta-kanthahara at hand, Panditji has the appropriate references for the periods of contamination from the Puranas noted down with some other notes of interest. To the best of my understanding, these are common Vaisnava standards not particular to Gaudiyas.

Prasada is no doubt a cinmaya-vastu, a substance transformed into spirit. Regardless, the author of Hari-bhakti-vilasa has chosen to include verses from the Puranas noting that for example, were one to eat before bathing, it would be considered the equivalent of eating stool, and were one to drink with his left hand, it would be considered the equivalent of drinking alcohol. How do we reconcile this with the divine nature of prasada? Reading descriptions on how taking a morcel of the Lord's prasada leads to prema's awakening, we may suspect there is something falling short of the real thing in our prasada experience.

The consideration of our offences as a contributor to the lack of experience is no doubt there. Are there, however, also different qualities of prasada? No doubt, the consciousness of the one who donates the ingredients or the money for purchasing the ingredients, the consciousness of the cook, the consciousness of the one who offers and the consciousness of the one who partakes of the remnants all contribute to the total spiritual potency of the prasada, and the first three in particular to the degree to which the Lord enjoys or disregards the offering.

A meek Vaisnava may therefore consider, even if the offering was worthy in truth, that he is devoid of bhakti and therefore be in doubt over whether the Lord has partaken of it at all. Thinking of the offering as tainted by his own faults and lack of devotion, he may feel inclined to be on the safe side and observe the general injunctions prescribed for purity in eating and so forth. This emotion may also lead the Vaisnava to think that he has truly never surrendered to Lokanatha, the Lord of the worlds, and as such is not privy to all the wonderful merits that would result in full surrender (saranagati) to him. He may even feel unworthy for being considered a Vaisnava at all.

All of this may lead one to observe the common Puranic injunctions concerning eclipses, eating and so forth, regardless of our being well aware of the mahima of the Lord's remnants and the supremacy of aikantiki-bhakti. Another consideration with regards to eating during an eclipse or the preceding period of contamination is in remembering that both Candra and Surya are instrumental in the growth of the grains and vegetables we use in preparing food-offerings for the Lord. As a matter of gratitude for and courtesy towards them, two servants of the Lord, we do not partake of their gifts at the time of their distress.

As a heads up to all readers, there will be a partial solar eclipse on Somavati Amavasya (another auspicious day) in about three weeks from now, on March 19th, Monday. The full calendar entry reads as follows: Somavati Amavasya. Partial solar eclipse: Touch at Mathura at 6:29 AM, eclipse ends at 8:00 AM. Bhagavat-seva to be completed before 6:29 PM on the previous day (Sunday 18th), the period of impurity commences. Sunrise 6:29 AM. Then, one may take one's morning bath only after 8 AM, after which deity worship, mantra-smarana and so forth take place. In the meantime, there's plenty of time for chanting the names.

It is unlikely I'll be doing nisi-jagrana at this time over the entire sutaka, being awake for the duration of the eclipse and a bit before should be plenty. Conquering sleep must be one of the hardest tasks to accomplish, observing nirjala fasts pales in comparison as far as I am concerned, if it is to feature any kind of clear-headedness for the duration of the jagrana — which is vital for accomplishing some sort of bhajana and smarana in particular.
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