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.
Anger Danger
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.
Exclusive Devotion
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.
Exit Madhava
16th of March, 2008 - 10:41
Yesterday, Advaitadas commented on my exit in his blog. These are some reflections on his message.
Style Revision
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.
Dharma Reloaded
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...

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Exclusive Devotion
Posted: 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.

Noting that exclusive devotion wasn't compatible with my predominant psychological samskaras does not refer to "exclusive devotion" in the capacity of distilling distracting pollutants from one's god-relationship and refining it to ever greater heights of clarity and purity. It refers to the emotional cultivation aspect of bhakti as most of us have grown to know it with our exposure to the deeper aspects of Gaudiya Vaisnava practice.

Owing to whatever sadhanas of past lives, some emotional areas of my psyche have been eliminated to a substantial degree; this no doubt has at times led to a lack of skillful dealings, if not to outright callousness, where emotional issues have surfaced. I have grown to be as acutely aware of this as anyone, and have hopefully grown to be a bit more tactful over the years.

The emotional cultivation practiced in many bhakti-traditions, and particularly so in the raganuga-method, is a means of employing one's existing emotional patterns in conjunction with a specific god-relationship — hence verses such as kamad dvesad bhayad snehat — and as such particularly suitable for people with powerful latent emotional bases ready to be dovetailed, fueling the intensity of god-absorption.

An obvious problem arises if people don't possess the adequate latent mental formations on which to build these god-redirected feelings. Even Sri Rupa recognizes the need for the appropriate previous samskara as a prerequisite for attaining prema in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Then, engagement in raganuga-cultivation would in effect entail a backtracking to redevelop the eradicated or absent areas of human emotional nature to be redirected on towards god; in my view, a rather steep and unnecessary curve.

For people who have the necessary bases, the path of devotional emotion cultivation can be a very powerful avenue for attaining one-pointed fixation on the divine. I would never disparage the core principle of the devotional approach; to do so would be narrow-minded and outright foolish. I also share many devotional traits, and find them very useful supplements to my spiritual practice; yet they work not as the prime fuel for my inner engine.

For those suspicious of my goodwill towards the devotionally apt, there are many who'll testify to the extent of my encouragement even during my initially veiled transition from the path many of you follow. For example, observing the substantial potentials and heart qualities of two good sadhakas, I spent two months giving them a Bengali intensive to help them delve deeper into the world of which they'd find their nourishment; translated to English texts of their choice to help them gain a deeper grasp of the concepts of their heritage; sought my level best to share inspiration in glossing the prospects I perceived before them. In devotional terms, their past merit and the subsequent potential far supersedes mine, and as such is something to be honored and supported.

In terms of devotional traditions, the concept of suddha-bhakti or uttama-bhakti embraced in the Gaudiya tradition prevails as the mighty lion of the fauna of the forest of religion. It is a sound and wholesome teaching and aspiration that is objectively beneficial for its cultivator, its spiritual merits in detaching from matter and refining consciousness faculty undeniable, as it employs essential universal principles under the veil of a particular religious heritage.

If only more people were able to step beyond the formal doctrinal structures of religion and spirituality, drawing out the real spiritual substance, the inspiration-content that swelled at the hearts of the ancient authors and led them to formulate specific teachings and methodologies in expression of their internal experience. If people even understood this in theory and respected the concept, it would be a giant's leap onwards from the narrow and intolerant strands of superficial and stiff religion that is regrettably prominent and blended with countless unwholesome qualities genuine spirituality ought to be uprooting rather than cultivating under a religious label.

I doubt there are many, nay, any, who would still be inclined to consider me as someone with whom one could gain something devotion-wise in mutual exchanges. Regardless, I wish to be clear in expressing my goodwill towards those who were once my brothers in faith. Perhaps the broadest-minded still remain brothers and sisters in spirit; from where I look at things, the brotherhood is undeniable, but I cannot and do not wish to force its mutuality on anyone.
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