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.

Back to top
Destination Varanasi
Posted: 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... And obviously a place of choice for the event. Then, I'll be spending a week or thereabouts at Varanasi before moving on towards Orissa.

I've been very underexposed to India. Perhaps in the name of Vraja-nistha or such, there's a world of context out there I am unfamiliar with. Context for Gaudiya Vaisnavism, context for everything. Perhaps, if I look carefully enough, I'll find the house of Tapan Mishra or the headquarters of the controversial Prabodhananda-Prakasananda!

I'm picking up Malati's mom from the airport (she's coming to India) a bit after midnight, seeing that she gets well on her way with the taxi, and continuing towards downtown Delhi to visit some bookstores. And in the evening to the train station, onto a train towards Varanasi...
Bengali lessons concluded
Posted: 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. William Radice's "Teach Yourself Bengali" turned out to be a decent and thorough textbook, even if I would have personally wanted to see simple past tense and conditional sentences dealt with a bit earlier on.

In what turned out to be a pretty intense crash course of what came to around a total of a bit over 50 hours of teaching, we covered the whole of Bangla grammar and the 15 or so discussions in the text along with a good number of other practical and useful applications of the language. I guess people usually spend a lot more time on covering the whole of Bengali grammar than we did!

Some of the textbook exercises we did together, and many more we skipped. On some days I was reading from books of their choice and translating with brief explanations of why things were said the way they are. We could have used more time for discussion practice. I imagine they'll be digesting all that information for a while!

The period also left me with much useful experience; for one, I finally got to the bottom of the grammar myself and familiarized myself with related terminology once again, and perhaps properly for the first time. Assets that'll undoubtedly come in handy when I move on with my studies of Hindi and Sanskrit.

This is actually the first time I've ever taught a language to anyone. No doubt one could have spent much more time in preparing a proper curriculum and exercises tailored better to the environment the language is applied in. But then again, to justify going to such lengths one would need to have a plan for more than a single short course. For this situation, the second part of Radice's work featuring discussions and grammar was quite sufficient.
New section: Downloads
Posted: 26th of February, 2008 - 7:55
Raganuga.Com Gallery This section of Vraja Journal will come to eventually host my entire archive of photos. The first batch features the images that were hosted in the Raganuga Visions gallery at the Raganuga.Com website. Photos are bundled into PDF files by theme and annotated where relevant.

Please visit: Downloads

All original content at Vraja Journal is now officially licensed for sharing under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0. CC licensing has been a part of my content production ideology for long, and it was about time to roll it in here, too.
Raganuga for grabs
Posted: 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. They have been static for a small eternity. The contents will be archived under Gaudiya.Com and the domains will be let to expire. (We need to streamline costs, there are a zillion domains out there and we only really want and need to keep active domains with unique content going on.)

If you are interested in taking over the domains before they expire, please e-mail me and let me know what you'd like to do with them. Transferring a domain to your name is a fairly painless process (I'll help you out), and domains cost annually in the range of $10 USD. Raganuga.Com is registered until 1/17/2009 and Raganuga.Org until 10/13/2008. I suggest however not procrastinating until the expiration dates.
Vraja Journal Digest - Newsletter discontinued
Posted: 25th of February, 2008 - 7:52
Subscribers to the Vraja Journal E-mail digest have no doubt noticed I haven't mailed it out for a small eternity. It is now being officially discontinued in favor of a RSS newsfeed you can easily subscribe to. The feed has actually been in place for a long time. Automatic = good. Manual = bad. For a lazy fellow, anyway!

All modern browsers support newsfeed subscription, you just need to visit the newsfeed page and subscribe. Your subscription isn't registered anywhere except your browser. There are also online services that can send you notes of blog updates you can take advantage of.

Subscribe if you will: RSS Newsfeed

The newsfeed used to include only summaries of posts. It has now been updated to deliver the blog entries in their entirety, as well as entries posted into the Views-section.

I will be heading towards Orissa to stay in Puri and around in a few days. I have no definite plans, but would expect to be away for the better part of two months. I may be checking in every now and then at an internet cafe, and will probably end up writing a blog or two while I'm at it, but won't be carrying my laptop along. Please don't expect quick replies to anything elaborate!
Posted: 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.

The expression kama-yantra used in Govinda-lilamrita (2.77) is a metaphor employed to express the alluring power and attraction the bindu-decoration on Radha's forehead invokes in Krishna. In practice, there are different designs that may be drawn. As for how exactly they are painted, you may want to get in touch with someone who is doing smarana enough to be doing them directly in meditation himself or herself to learn the details.

The fact that it cannot be a literal kama-yantra is evident after the slightest thoughtful reflection. The affair between Radha and Krishna is a highly clandestine matter. She plays the role of a chaste housewife, living in the house of her in-laws. Now, imagine if she were to actually walk around with an actual kama-yantra painted on her forehead... I imagine it would raise a few eyebrows around the village!

To snap you for a moment into a world where the acceptable realities are more evident to us, imagine a situation where your chaste wife began walking around with a pair of playboy bunny earrings adorning her earlobes. It would certainly come across as a bit suspicious, especially if she behaved in a markedly asexual and dispassionate manner with you.

To grasp the ornate language of the scriptures, to avoid mistaking the literal for a metaphor and the metaphor for a literality, one should always keep in mind the context in which words and sentences appear; in this case, the context is acceptable social standards of behavior in the community of Vraja.

Otherwise, you can find at least one version of the kama-yantra, also known as vasibhuta-yantra or mohini-yantra, online; have a look and consider if that's something you'd want to have painted on Srimati's forehead after her morning bath!

I hope this gives you a new angle to the question.

P.S. I have attached below a retouched version of the kama-yantra I found online (courtesy of CrescentMirror.Com).


A description of the elements of the yantra reads as follows, from top to down, left to right:

Top: śrī kāma yantra

Mantra: śrīṁ oṁ śrīṁ
oṁ śrīṁ aiṁ hrīṁ klīṁ mohanī vāsīkaraṇa kuru kuru svāhā

Three astrological symbols with the words śubha (nine-divided square), vijaya (star) and lābha (eight-divided square) written under them, numbers representing different planets in different houses written in their different divisions. Interpreting the charts is beyond my expertise.
Project Index - Concluding words
Posted: 23rd of February, 2008 - 19:16
The project index at www.madhavananda.com is indefinitely frozen. It never generated the response I had hoped would follow from the target audience of the countless projects realizing how much was going on, and how insane it was for a one man undertaking. In fact, there was hardly any response at all. That in itself told me a whole long story of its own on the lack of a noteworthy ongoing need for much of what I've worked on.

Readers of Vraja Journal know more details about my ongoing winding up of the extensive services in favor of a more contemplative, internal life. I need to give more focus to my own practice and personal needs, cutting down on activity that forces me to compromise on aspects of my life that have risen to the forefront and keep me in a constant awareness of their priority.

Please see the entry link (here) for a synopsis of what's to follow with the undertakings documented in this index. Announcements of the few future updates that are still to come in the upcoming months before everything is finalized, all files closed and my online Gaudiya legacy archived, will be found at Vraja Journal.

In closing, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all who had sympathy for what I tried to do for a shared good, and especially to those few precious souls who offered a helping hand at times of need. I wish that all would forgive the plenitude of shortcomings in my work and remember the earnestness of my intention with warmth. It was an offering of goodwill, a burden of love I bore, a contribution with which I strove to address a need I perhaps naively wished would have been there in a capacity greater than time proved it to be.

Perhaps the visions I shared with the countless open files listed here serve to inspire a future where the demand grows and justifies extended attention to practical endeavors that carry them to more substantial conclusions. May there be happiness, good will and wisdom of spirit for all.
Soundscapes Reloaded
Posted: 22nd of February, 2008 - 14:16
This is a continuation of the earlier blog entry featuring random sounds from Radhakund. MP3, 128kbps, file sizes range from 1 to 5 MB.

There are still some missing sounds I need to nail down... There's the midnight techno beat that keeps repeating the Miami Vice theme melody over and over again. And I'm pretty sure one of those was a Pet Shop Boys ripoff, though it's been a while. Some of the music is so kitschy it's just mind-blowing. If you crossbred Abba, Ravi Shankar, Vanilla Ice, aa cricket team and an jolly hopping kangaroo at a House club, the progeny would probably sound something like the music they play here.

Today's spontaneous Bollywood fest also featured some interesting tracks. I was up on the roof for a couple of hours enjoying the sun and had few options but to listen. The "Been watching you - Hare Krishna Hare Rama" (!) had some tight bits of rap blended in. They had better tracks too, but that's the only one I got. Maybe it's the Mathura underground house scene and not Bollywood, I really wouldn't know the difference! And then there are the sounds that accompany international cricket games. I'd love to get the birds chirping, but their songs are a bit drowned out here. Might have a bit more luck at Gauradham, but then again this series is just about the raw sound experience on my veranda — nothing more, nothing less!

Back to top