25th of December, 2004 - 6:31
24th of December, 2004 - 16:27
Festival of Sri Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaja
23rd of December, 2004 - 17:36
22nd of December, 2004 - 20:08
A foggy day at Yamuna
21st of December, 2004 - 20:21
The garden of rasa
20th of December, 2004 - 17:25
Siddha Madhusudan Das Baba's festival at Surya-kunda
19th of December, 2004 - 18:38
The lake of Sri Chaitanya
18th of December, 2004 - 18:44
17th of December, 2004 - 16:58
At Radha-Roman's house
16th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Today Delhi going
15th of December, 2004 - 17:30
Inquiries on bhajana
14th of December, 2004 - 20:01
A crash and Radha-Krishna katha
13th of December, 2004 - 18:14
A fairly uneventful day
12th of December, 2004 - 19:31
Publicity in the whole universe
11th of December, 2004 - 18:05
On bad deeds and good character
10th of December, 2004 - 16:50
Disappearances and instructions
9th of December, 2004 - 16:59
8th of December, 2004 - 17:49
Festival of Narahari Sarakara
7th of December, 2004 - 17:54
Back to Radha-kunda
6th of December, 2004 - 21:42
6th of December, 2004 - 15:49
Half-way around Govardhan
5th of December, 2004 - 16:09
5th of December, 2004 - 15:04
4th of December, 2004 - 17:17
Thoughts on our bhajana-marga
3rd of December, 2004 - 17:32
Meeting friends all day long
2nd of December, 2004 - 23:51
The second day in Vraja
2nd of December, 2004 - 17:39
2nd of December, 2004 - 0:20
From New Delhi to Vraja
1st of December, 2004 - 19:33
Giridhari's flute busted!
1st of December, 2004 - 7:30
Posted: 22nd of December, 2004 - 20:08
Today is Mokshada-ekadasi. I hear they also call it Vaikuntha-ekadasi. My friend Bhrigu could probably give you a class on this particular ekadashi. However, I am not that well educated in this regard.
For me, ekadasi is the day on which I try to do a bit more bhajan with variable success, and on which I am constantly reminded of the futility of various pursuits in this world. God thank, today I did not get entagled in anything completely ridiculous, as is often the case on this particular blessed day twice a month.
Malati says I should post a picture of myself. Here goes, yesterday at Yamuna. I'm a bit short on relevant photos for today.
The electricity was out for a good while, so heating water was a bit of a problem. It is getting quite chilly here. Despite our best efforts to heat up some water with gas — an effor that took the better part of an hour — it turned out cool water was the best we were going to get. So cold it is, then. It is particularly pleasant when dried off in the end with a towel that is still wet from the previous day, thanks to the fog that helps keeping it soaked.
Out of the bath, we find monkeys chewing on our laundry bucket. The bag with the washing powder seems to be of particular interest for them. I end up chasing them away with my camera monopod. Perhaps I should have let them get the taste of some cheap quality Indian washing powder, they'd learn to stay away from our laundry, then. They stole some of it the other day, damn rascals, and hung it to the top of a tree nearby. Our neighbor Krishna Das the bookstore-wallah spotted them in a tree on his property and took them down for us. I note they are cutting down the small forest next to our house. Wondering why on earth anyone might do that, I learn from Bul Bul that they cut it down every other year or so and sell the wood, and the forests grows back to its current size soon enough. What a relief — I've seen enough trees cut down for good in Vraja to have my heart ache for each tree I see being cut.
Visiting downstairs to drop a note to Yugal, I have the pleasure to meet Hari Charan and his wife from Vrindavan. Baba is always telling me how they are such nice devotees and how I should pay a visit to them some time in the future.
I remember Hari Charan well from our last visit, we did some parikrama of Giriraja together. Aside some topics on bhajana, we discussed a number of health-related issues. He is well founded in naturopathy, homeopathy and other such fields of natural treatment, and Malati is always inclined to learn more on such topics, both to help other Vaishnavas and to take care of herself, as she frequently has some small problems with her health.
Our friend here has little concerns on whose cooking to eat. Mata Bhumi, a dedicated Vaishnavi, supplies all he can ever imagine to chew on.
I'm taking care of some pending work still, and Malati is preparing new dresses for our Thakurjis. In the evening, we head for Baba's darshan. Drawing from a related issue, we discuss what an initiated Vaishnava should and what he should not eat. Baba says that one should not accept food cooked by persons without proper diksha. Consuming such foodstuffs is not conducive for bhajana. Sri Chaitanya himself instructed Kamalakantha as follows:
viSayIra anna khAile duSTa haya mana
mana duSTa hoile nahe kRSNera smaraNa
kRSNa-smRti vinu haya niSphala jIvana
"Accepting food from a mundane person makes the mind wicked. With a wicked mind, one cannot remember Krishna, and without the remembrance of Krishna, one's life is wasted."
Strictly interpreting, this principle applies to accepting foodstuffs cooked by any person who is not engaged in bhajan proper. The food we consume influences our consciousness, and if we are under a constant influx of moods from persons who do not share our spiritual inclinations, our bhajan will be hampered. Engagement in smarana demands great subtlety and concentration of mind, and in facilitating smarana the mind must be protected from the persistent influences of the world.
Therefore we are advised by Sri Rupa: sajAtiyAzaye snigdhe sAdhau sangaH svato vare — Seek out the company of sadhus who are of the same inclination, who are affectionate and tender-hearted, and who are more advanced than you are. This unity of inclination is understood particularly in the context of ekanta-bhakti and unity in our nitya-svabhava, aspiring for similar moods and relationships with Radha and Krishna.
A selection of like-minded sadhus sitting down at Siddha Baba's festival at Surya-kunda a few days back.
Now, someone may think that this is a rather harsh rule, and that it is not reasonable to follow such rigid regulations. These regulations, however, do not exist for no reason at all. The rules are there to ensure our sound spiritual growth. To receive diksha from a spiritual master is to enter the path of self-sacrifice, thrusting ourselves for a journey of no return. dIkSA-kAle bhakta kare Atma-samarpaNa — At the time of diksha, the devotee offers his very self to guru and Radha-Krishna, submitting himself at their feet, declaring: "Ha Radhe! Ha Krishna! Henceforth I shall be yours, and yours only, and no other shelter shall I seek!"
Chanting our diksha-mantras, we invoke our beloved lords and say: Svaha — I offer myself unto you. As the brahmins pour clarified butter into the sacrificial fire, so we pour our very selves into the fire of bhajana, yearning to enter the rapture of loving mellows in Vraja-dham. If this is not our resolve, why should we accept a guru as a matter of fashion, not being prepared to do what it takes to move on? Certainly, gradual change is called for, but the resolve must be there, that eventually I shall reform myself and become a sadhaka proper, striving to love and live with Radha and Shyama forever.
Baba said that if for some reason anyhow we must take such foodstuffs, then let it be so, as we are not this stomach after all, but it should not become the standard in our daily conduct.
Cows grazing right next door from us.
In the evening, we went to visit Amiya and Subhangada, to pick up Sudevi's old sewing machine. And I mean old, it looks like it's from the seventies, the colours and everything. Their small Thakurji has a cute woolen hat on, Santa Claus style. We end up talking about a good number of topics. Speaking of buffalos, Amiya mentions his having heard that one of Nanda Baba's brothers, perhaps Upananda, has many, many buffalos, and that Krishna sometimes runs off to their place, drinking milk directly from the udders of these buffalos. Krishna likes Upananda very much. His dear friend, Subhadra, is his son. Subhadra often accompanies Krishna on the pastures of Vraja as they herd the cows of Nanda Maharaja.
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