Destination Varanasi
28th of February, 2008 - 13:22
Leaving within the hour. It just dawned to me that Siva-ratri is right behind the corner, and Varanasi is approximately on the way...
Bengali lessons concluded
26th of February, 2008 - 15:53
Two months of Bengali lessons with Sakhicharan and Bisakha came to a conclusion today with the last chapter of the textbook discussions finished.
New section: Downloads
26th of February, 2008 - 7:55
A new section has been opened, hosting a number of media for download.
Raganuga for grabs
25th of February, 2008 - 21:26
Raganuga.Com and Raganuga.Org are available if someone wants to take the domains over and begin something anew.
Vraja Journal Digest - Newsletter discontinued
25th of February, 2008 - 7:52
The newsletter is discontinued in favor of a RSS newsfeed. I'm also heading towards Orissa in a few days, will be away for the better part of two months.
25th of February, 2008 - 3:44
I received a letter asking about the specifics of the design Visakha-sakhi draws on Radha's forehead after her morning bath, otherwise described as kama-yantra in Govinda-lilamrita. This is the reply.
Project Index - Concluding words
23rd of February, 2008 - 19:16
The project index at Madhavananda.com is indefinitely frozen. These are the concluding words posted today in the news section in announcing the same.
Soundscapes Reloaded
22nd of February, 2008 - 14:16
This is a continuation of the earlier blog entry featuring random sounds from Radhakund.
The Eve-teasing Problem
21st of February, 2008 - 15:24
In light of the recent rape and murder of Ananda-lila, an Australian girl who was staying in Vrindavan, people have asked for my comments on the culture of sexual harassment regrettably prevalent in India, sometimes labeled "eve-teasing", a rather archaic and tidy expression for an ugly social wrong.
Project ongoings
19th of February, 2008 - 11:09
Notes on diverse projects as the show is winding up. The ongoing-section of Vraja Journal retires.
Levels of Mantra and Meditation
17th of February, 2008 - 5:22
There are different levels on which a mantra functions or may be employed. Awareness of them, along with honest assessments of one's internal mental growth and present state, can prove to be helpful. I am also contrasting them with the theology of the four common aspects we know as nama, rupa, guna and lila.
And if you want to discuss...
16th of February, 2008 - 8:49
A few days back, my friend Jijaji told me he'd like to see a feature for leaving online comments on blog entries.
Gaudiya Discussions - Archives Reloaded
16th of February, 2008 - 8:26
These are the archives of Gaudiya Discussions, the once mighty giant of online Gaudiya Vaishnava discussions, debates, history, theology, controversy and creativity...
To Russian disciples of BVNM
15th of February, 2008 - 8:57
I keep hearing from several sources that some Russian disciples of BVNM have, as I had much predicted, employed my recent writings as ammunition in their hate campaign against the babaji tradition. Since none have contacted me in person, this is my open letter to them all.
Random soundscapes from Radhakund
12th of February, 2008 - 16:23
A while back a friend asked me to record some random bits of sound at Radhakund to get a better feel of the atmosphere. Here goes.
What I really want to say
11th of February, 2008 - 16:46
I just received a comment asking: "Do you want to stop posting clarifications and disclaimers and get down to the nitty-gritty of what you want to say?" Now, what do I really want to say? <pin drop silence follows>
My insight ventures
11th of February, 2008 - 7:15
With the occasional reference to yogic or Advaitin scriptures, or Buddhist suttas for that matter, some have been wondering about my explorations of knowledge outside the classical Vaisnava canon. Let's have a brief gloss on the why and the what to give everyone a better picture of what things are all about.
For all of you who want to spread the word
5th of February, 2008 - 19:39
Today I'm writing a note to all of you there, whether you're disciples of Narayana Maharaja, gurubhais of mine, or just random folks who want to interpret what I've written and tell all about it to your pals and all. And here's what I wish to say.
When the weather report is on
4th of February, 2008 - 19:30
I'd like to put in a note to all those who would judge me for what I am as I dive into the dark depths of my heart and pull out these horrendous blog entries. And yes, also for those well-wishers who have already concluded that I am a person with zilch spiritual authority or insight and informed me of the same. As well as for anyone else who might alter their perceptions of me because of what I have written, what I am writing and what I will come to write.
TBI - Part 3 - The factors that made me credulous
4th of February, 2008 - 19:16
From my last blog in this series, you'll remember the picture of someone rather stressed out by noise and corruption, pondering his future direction. What were my inner workings in the period that immediately preceded meeting this babaji? What made me so vulnerable to being duped? That's in turn for today's blog.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
1st of February, 2008 - 18:13
A word of clarification is in place, as my blogs as of late seem to have created some buzz in the blogosphere. Was Bhaktisiddhanta right about those bad babajis after all? My recent blogs were briefly mentioned in Jagadananda's recent blog, and a comment popped in: "Perhaps now its understood what Bhaktisidhanta was talking about...?" This needs some attention.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Posted: 1st of February, 2008 - 18:13
A word of clarification is in place, as my blogs as of late seem to have created some buzz in the blogosphere. Was Bhaktisiddhanta right about those bad babajis after all? My recent blogs were briefly mentioned in Jagadananda's recent blog, and a comment popped in: "Perhaps now its understood what Bhaktisidhanta was talking about...?" This needs some attention.

Whenever someone has brought up the issue, I have since a fair while noted that there was truth to what Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said as far as corruption among the vairagis goes. It's not like much of this is news to me — I was filled in on much of this many years back already, and by several different individuals. Of course it's become more poignant as I've come to understand the local language, and have thereby also become accessible (and gained access) to a wider stratum of population.

It is, in fact, a bit ambiguous as to what exactly Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said. If someone put together a sheet with some relevant, verbatim quotes, it would be possible to say whether he was right or wrong on any given issue. That he indicated the presence of corruption among the vairagis evidently featured; and I don't think anyone in his right frame of mind would go to deny that. (It isn't at all uncommon to hear a contemporary vairagi note that the society of vairagis is corrupt.)

What did we strongly object to, then, back in the days at Gaudiya Discussions? Most of the hubbub was raised by certain statements from B.V. Narayana Maharaja. We perceived them as too generalized and as such unjust towards the good elements that remain in the samaja. One should not make all-round statements on any denomination of people in definite terms. How much of his rhetoric did Maharaja inherit from his guru, and how much of that came from Bhaktisiddhanta? For that, I have no answer.

There are babajis who have girlfriends, there are babajis who have sex, there are babajis who give out easy siddha-pranali, and there are babajis who are greedy for money. Now, to say that all babajis have a harem of five matajis with whom they have sex every day in twenty-four and half positions, supporting the business by selling siddha-pranalis to eager aspirants in between every other coitus, is not exactly accurate even if such elements are present in the society. (Even if I admittedly do find the archetypal bogus babaji figure entertaining!)

So, back to Bhaktisiddhanta. While I am open in saying that there is truth to Bhaktisiddhanta's critique, of course I am not saying that I agree with everything he said. The fact is, I have no idea what exactly he said, and having seen what he said what he did, so wading on and on about that is a bit moot. I know what I've seen, I know in which context I've seen it, and I know what I think of it. And that is actually quite sufficient for me. What someone said a century ago has little bearing to the here and now, which is the reality we have to face and deal with.

Then, what's the reality we have to face and deal with? That wasn't the focus of the earlier blog in which I mentioned these issues in passing as a prelude to something else. The reality is that .... [ pin-drop silence ] .... It's not a pretty world, and you have to keep your eyes open to see where you're heading to. Don't be a starry-eyed utopianist waltzing around the village of heavens, assuming everyone to have but good intentions, because it's all spiritual. Don't be a gloomy cynic either, assuming it's all good for nothing. Be rather a realist.

Now, what does being a realist mean? It means being observant and thoughtful. It means not making unwarranted wishful assumptions. It means seeking to verify suppositions before laying them down as foundations for anything. It means being patient, for time proves the nature of all. Don't be naive. Don't make commitments easily. Especially don't let yourself be led into commitments due to social pressure or warped arguments. It must be your choice and yours alone, along with the responsibility.

There are the good among the lot, and there are the bad among the lot. If you are searching for the good, then good for you. The proportions of good and bad are irrelevant for the quest inasmuch as they don't change the mechanics of the sorting process. Whether there be 50% good and 50% bad, or 5% good and 95% bad, or even 90% good and 10% bad, you still need to do your homework rather than taking a lucky guess.

To illustrate, picture this: 10 bottles on the shelf have lemonade. 10 bottles on the shelf have alkaline. The bottles all look different. "But hey, I've heard many came here and got lemonade, it's the lemonade-land! So lemme just grab a good-looking bottle and glugluglug...." That would be a very unwise thing to do. And so it is for a seeker of truth and path, whether among Gaudiya Vaisnavas or anywhere else.

I can only speak of so many principles, I cannot make decisions for anyone. My perceptions are wanting, and recognizing this, I cannot make recommendations on where to go or what to do. I can honestly tell what I know, but I cannot make decisions on anyone's behalf, for doing that would amount to a huge responsibility. This is why I do not canvass for disciples for my initiating guru, for those who wondered. Not everyone has a matching chemistry even with the best of the best. The homework is for each to do on their own.

Of course, if I knew that someone was outright bogus, I could observe that it probably isn't a good idea to establish any kind of substantial relationship with him. Giving a heads up in a situation where another runs the risk of becoming an object of material or spiritual abuse is a basic human responsibility — even if that also cannot be forced on the truly unwilling and obstinate. (It's always amazing to see how total blindness can be when someone really insists.)

I would like to be very clear in saying that I do not know of any issues that would lead me to deem any of the contemporary Gaudiya Vaisnava gurus who have initiated Western disciples, whether at Radhakund or elsewhere, as someone to be classified as plain counterfeit currency. Various gurus have varying approaches, and various disciples have varying expectations and requirements. What may be a match made in heaven for one may be an bland and unfulfilling relationship for another. There's no magic masala or pixie dust I can toss across your horizon — you just need to weigh out the factors and figure it out for yourself.

With regards to the above statement, you'll kindly note the words "I don't know of any issues" — I am not saying and cannot say there are none. Once again, the task is yours to do. Not mine, and not anybody else's. And don't you try to escape from the responsibility by having someone else take it, to whom you can point if things go down the wrong alley. "But he told me that such-and-such..." Well, why'd you believe without seeing for yourself?

The text seems to be getting a bit repetitive — I suppose you all got the point. As I'm not into rephrasing and editing the text just now, and as I've probably covered what needed to be said, here goes — the raw output of the day, typos and all. If I missed some themes you feel should've been touched on, please send a comment and I'll see what I can do.
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