25th of December, 2004 - 6:31
Meeting Govardhan
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
In Vrindavan
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
Visiting Vrindavan
6th of December, 2004 - 15:49
Half-way around Govardhan
5th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Electric outage
5th of December, 2004 - 15:04
Vrindavan Art
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
Meeting Baba
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

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On bad deeds and good character
Posted: 10th of December, 2004 - 16:50
Taking it easy today, thanks to the feast yesterday. Note to self: keep a kilometer's distance to any and all feasts. I sincerely tried to avoid it. The problem seems to have been there already at Mahaprabhu's time. It is told that Subuddhi Raya would spend a good deal of his slim earnings supplying yogurt to Bengali devotees who would come to Vraja. Someone ought to resurrect the tradition and supply yogurt to Westerners who have a hard time surviving Bengali cooking.

One should be kind to all animals!
In the afternoon we head for Baba's darshan. On the way, we see a baby dog, real small, who gets kicked into the sewer by two local brats. Unfortunately I cannot scream at them because some local people are around. We nevertheless stay back to ensure the puppy is left in peace. It is incredible how cruel the local people, especially kids, sometimes are towards the animals. If you want to drive that pig away, you don't need to throw a brick at him, something less will certainly serve the purpose. It escapes me how someone can torture a helpless, small creature. At where I come from, small kids like to pet animals of all varieties and sizes, in particular the juniors.

At Baba's place, I ask a question I am frequently asked. "What are the requirements for being your disciple?" Baba starts telling about the quantities of nama-bhajan people should be doing: four rounds of pancha-tattva-mantra, ten times the sad-goswami-chant, beginning with a minimum of four rounds of hare-krishna-maha-mantra, gradually increasing that to eight, sixteen, thirty-two, one lakh, two lakhs and so forth.

"And what of sadachar?" Sadachar means good conduct or proper behavior, often seen as varieties of external rules and regulations. "One should be of good character", Baba says. "No lying, cheating and stealing, like that." Such deeds are known as asat-kriya, false deeds that are obstacles on the path of our spiritual growth.

If one is not a pig, one should not dive into a pile of stool.
In his commentary on Prema-bhakti-chandrika (27), Baba has explained how such faults in character and conduct grow into aparadhas, which are the gravest obstacles in attaining the treasure of prema. He explains:

Offences committed while having discussions, in buying and selling, or in joking about others, offences committed by relentlessly speaking lies, taking others' property (books and so forth) without telling, or not returning properties even if they are taken in knowledge, thinking: "He has forgotten that I have taken it, so I won't return it", relentlessly killing flies, mosquitos, ants and mice, speaking harsh words while dealing in giving and taking, acting cruelly — all these things are called asat kriya.

These are tiny sins for the ordinary people, but for the sadhakas they result into grave offences that will be powerful obstacles to obtaining prema. Therefore the diligent bhakta-sadhakas must be vigilant about them and proceed on the path of bhakti by giving them up.

I then ask about some basic rules, like in ISKCON Mandir they have the four regulations, such as no eating of meat, and no taking of intoxicants. "Oh, they come already before", Baba says. Thus, prior to hoping to truly cultivate good character, one ought to give up bad habits that perpetually plunge the mind into the quagmire of countless vices. Of course, cultivating good character is always in place, but one ought to not turn one's life into the famous elephant's bath.

In the course of the evening, I glance over a new translation of Radha-Krishna-Ganoddesa-Dipika of Sri Rupa Goswami, translated by Bhumipati and edited by Purnaprajna. The foreword has three silly typos. A good beginning. The first verse offers "obesiances" at the lotus feet of the spiritual master and the rest. Ten pages or so into the book, and the same goes on. Though for the most part accurate, the language often falls short of the poetic expression of the original, it doesn't really flow smoothly. Of course it is great that things are being translated, but I really wish that they would take the time to do it properly. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well", said the sages of the yore. Let's see if I'll draft out a full review of this one, it's an interesting title. I might put together charts and diagrams based on the text, there is really very useful content in the book.

I'm a bit knocked out with the fever, Malati is giving me Chinese acu-pressure treatment and some herbal stuff that helps me out. The evening goes with chanting and resting, and of course in posting in the daily news.
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