Bhajan Kutir — Bhumi-puja and a Blessed Day
30th of January, 2007 - 18:33
As our readers already know, we've been at trying to get the construction work of our bhajan kutir started for a good long while now. The land has now been paid off in total, and we are the blessed future servants of 220 square yards worth of Vraja-bhumi.

Yesterday brought us one step onward towards the attainment of our objective with bhumi-puja and Vaisnava-seva at our land. Monday, Bhaimi Ekadasi, was the day to get the work started. The day was good in every respect – we consulted Venimadhava Sila's Panjika for the best available date...
Where do we belong?
28th of January, 2007 - 9:45
From correspondence. Original question slightly re-touched.

"If I have taken diksa from an acharya in Bhakti Siddha Saraswata Matha, and I have a siksa-guru in the ISKCON Revelation Movement, and I also like to hang around with the babas at Radha-kunda – to which one of these do I belong?"
Briefly on Initiation
26th of January, 2007 - 2:17
The following are reflections sent to a seeker who asked for the bare bones of the process of getting initiated.

Initiation is a substantial commitment in one's spiritual life, well worth spending all the time you can on reflections and introspection on the how and why of it.

The gist of the process is...
Synopsis of Raga-marga
19th of January, 2007 - 5:23
These are are some reflections sent to a friend in clarifying the concepts of raga-marga and vidhi-marga:

• There are two distinct paths.
• There are identical practices.
• There are different stages on the path of raga.

Along with thoughts on what we find ourselves following in substance.
Why Enthusiasm Withers
15th of January, 2007 - 18:12
An excerpt from a letter to a friend.

Devotees come to Vraja and return, and then find their enthusiasm withering and their old interests rekindled, for two reasons.

The first reason is that the inspiration of devotion, and the solidity we have attained in our early phases on the path, is to a large extent a reflection of the spiritual strength of those who have inspired us, and as such is dependent on maintaining a good connection to the source...
Chanting: The Magical Herb
10th of January, 2007 - 19:04
1008 Friends
9th of January, 2007 - 18:26
Today's log-in at MySpace had another 18 friend requests queued up. Clearing out the junk and approving the rest, the total count settled at a round figure of 1008.

Now, the value of having 1008 friends? Little do the numbers alone add up to in the end...

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Synopsis of Raga-marga
Posted: 19th of January, 2007 - 5:23
These are are some reflections sent to a friend in clarifying the concepts of raga-marga and vidhi-marga.

1. There are two distinct paths. One is called vidhi-marga, and the other is called raga-marga. The difference between the two is not in the external practice: it is in the inner impetus for activity. On raga-marga, the impetus is in a great inner yearning called lobha, a burning desire that drives us onward with the aim of attaining emotions and services similar to Krishna's dear companions in Vraja. On vidhi-marga, the impetus for activity is born of a sense of duty or a fear of reprimand, drawing from the mandates of the scriptures. Only raga-marga leads us to Vraja-dhama and to the attainment of manjari-bhava. Vidhi-marga does not lead to attainments beyond relationships that are mixed with knowledge of god's majesty.

2. There are identical practices. Practices such as hearing, chanting, worship and so forth take on an almost identical appearance on the two paths. Then, unless one is sensitive and experienced, it will be hard to assess another's path by the mere observance of the outer form of the activity; the impetus determines the path. Raga-marga, aside the shared practices with vidhi-marga, features a whole unique internal world of practice; the inner cultivation of a specific loving emotion that gives rise to the revelation of the siddha-svarupa, or one's eternal companion-form that is suited for direct service for Radha and Krishna in the land of Vraja. It has been specifically noted (BRS 1.2.296) that "In the opinion of the wise, the practices of vidhi-marga are also to be employed on the raga-marga".

3. There are different stages on the path of raga. The journey is sometimes divided into two basic phases called ajata-ruci and jata-ruci. The first, ajata-ruci, literally "when taste is yet to awaken", is the stage where one has taken a keen interest in topics of raga-marga, but a mature, burning desire is yet to fructify in the core of one's heart. At this stage, one's raganuga-sadhana is practically a blend of raganuga and vaidhi in terms of one's impetus; one is not spontaneously and constantly pushed onward by the power of the mere desire. The second, jata-ruci, literally "when taste has awakened", is the stage we can justly call "actual raganuga", for in that a deep, overwhelming taste for both the practice and the goal has arisen, and in that there is truly following (anuga) of passion (raga).

All things considered, I am then personally shy to say thing such as "I am following raga-marga" or "I practice raganuga-bhakti", for I feel that, with all the mundane still upon my shoulders, it would be but a mockery of this beautiful and pristine path. The best I can say is, "I am trying to practice bhakti." Where are the tears in my eyes, where is the choking of my voice, and where are the bristling of my hair and the tremors of my body? And in absence of that, where is my raganuga? If I had even a scent of divine emotion and a feeling that more lies ahead on the path, surely all of that would be a part of my reality as I reflected on my prospects.

Therefore, with folded hands and a straw between our teeth, we shall have to say, "I am not truly following much any path at all; with the wishes of guru and Vaisnavas, I am chanting a little bit and with their mercy I find some joy in that, hopeful that my heart would be purified in due course with the name's benevolent effect. I remain praying that one day I could also embark on the path of bhakti proper – as all real devotees have done, leaving behind the interests of the worldly world, offering their hearts at the service of their lord's feet."

For some further notes, please see:

• Raga-marga and following the scriptures

• The difference between vidhi-marga and raga-marga
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