Archive for April, 2002

Vasant Falls, NY In my

April 28th, 2002

Vasant Falls, NY

In my discussions with devotees apparent contradictions in Krishna conscious philosophy sometimes arise. Today I’ve decided to tackle some of
these puzzles and write the solutions. I welcome input and questions.

Puzzles of Truth I: The Reason For Causeless Love

The puzzle:
We love Krishna because He is Bhagavan, one who possesses all opulence. He is the most beautiful (meaning His form and personality), the most intelligent, the strongest, the wealthiest, the most renounced, and the most famous. Would we love Krishna if He had no opulence, sweetness, or good qualities at all? If the answer is no, then does that make our love conditional, not causeless, since there would be a reason or cause for our love?

My answer:
Although we love Krishna because He is that Bhagavan who possesses all opulences (if He didn’t, He wouldn’t be Krishna), this does not negate the possibility of causeless or unconditional love. That becomes clear when we understand bhakti, or causeless love.

“Bhakti is an act of utter surrender and resignation. In it, our will is placed absolutely at the service of another.”?’Hindu God, Christian God’ by Francis J. Clooney

There is no contradiction between causeless love, utter surrender, and having that resignation for service caused by the innate appealing persona
of one’s beloved. Cannot pure devotees place their will absolutely in Krishna’s service?whether He breaks their heart by not being present before them or neglects them?having been inspired by His inherently wonderful qualities? In conclusion, causeless love means love that has no motive or cause. We want nothing in return for that love, but that does not necessarily cast out an origin for our love in the Lord’s intrinsic beauty.

Puzzles of Truth II: The Use of Logic In Understanding a God Who Is Inconceivable and Beyond Logic

The puzzle:
God is causeless by definition. If God had a cause, that would mean that something greater exists beyond Him, and therefore, He wouldn’t be God or the Absolute Truth. As such, we cannot determine the nature of God by logic, since logic is based on observing how things operate by cause and effect under the material nature. For example, we say Krishna is blue. If that were something that could be proven logically, it would mean that there was a set of observable law that made God blue and, because Krishna is God, He must be blue. The whole reasoning is preposterous because it starts with the preposition that God is under the laws of nature and thus relative. The only answer is that God is blue because it is the causeless nature and will of God, and not for any other reason. Considering this, how can a theist vigorously defend and explain the existence and nature of God if, by definition, the nature of God is beyond logic?

My answer:
Although the existence of God and His specific identity may not be proven (or disproved) by logic, that doesn’t mean that our conviction concerning His existence and identity is not reasonable for logic is not the sole evidence for determining truth.

For example, one might go to a particular doctor to ascertain the source of one’s illness because of the doctor’s substantial accreditation and reputation. One may gain further trust in that doctor by his repeated expert prognosis, treatment, and cure of one’s ailments. Is it not then reasonable in the future to accept that doctor’s prognosis and advice on the basis of his authority, even though we cannot ascertain by direct perception or inference (logic) what’s wrong with us? Deductive reasoning, or hearing from authority, is thus a valid method of evidence.

In conclusion, although God remains beyond logic it is reasonable that He can still be known, as there are other methods of evidence for ascertaining truth. A theist can be reasonably sure of the existence and nature of God on the authority of realized saints and the positive application of their teachings.

Although God cannot be known by logic, since trust in God is reasonable, logic can certainly be helpful in pointing to the possibility of truth?even if it is not sufficient enough to reveal it.

Here’s an interesting statement concerning a theist use of logic from that same book, ‘Hindu God, Christian God’:

“Well, certainly even believers who are reluctant to judge faith by the standards of reasoning and who assert instead that revelation must be the ultimate criterion for truth may still concede that reasoning serves an important subsidiary role in defending the faith, exposing the errors of other ways, and (in some settings) clearing a shared space in which reasonable persons can explore the truth and uncover error.”

Vasant Falls I finally purchased

April 22nd, 2002

Vasant Falls

I finally purchased the Folio program in India. I read two or three of Srila Prabhupada’s lectures a day. It only takes a half an hour. It’s simple philosophy, but so potent. Hearing from the pure devotee directly soothes the heart. I can no longer live without it.

Vasant Falls I have plenty

April 21st, 2002

Vasant Falls

I have plenty of time for chanting, reading, and writing directly about Krishna and I am doing a lot, but I can’t do it all day yet?especially out of Vrindaban. Periodically I skim through a few books lying around. I liked “Walden,” by Henry David Thoreau. The introduction expressed his ideal and it inspired me:

“The lesson he had taught himself, and which he tried to teach others, was summed up in one Lord: ‘simplify.’ That meant simplify the outward circumstances of your life, simplify your needs and ambitions; learn to delight in the simple pleasure which the world of nature affords. It also meant scorn public opinion, refuse to accept the common definition of success, refuse to be moved by the judgment of others. And unlike most who advocate such attitudes, he puts them into practice.”?Intro 1, “Walden and Others Writings of Henry David Thoreau”; Edited and with an Introduction by Joseph Wood Krutch.

Finally I have my own place to keep things. For the last few years I’ve been keeping my things spread out over several places where I’ve stayed, and I never really knew what I possessed. Now that they are all collected in one place, I am surprised by how much “junk” I have. I’ll start simplifying with “the outward circumstances of [my life].” Thank you, Henry.

Vasant Falls Japa Thoughts XII

April 20th, 2002

Vasant Falls

Japa Thoughts XII
While chanting I had a thought about what “ceto darpana marjanam”?that chanting cleanses the heart?means. First I’ll describe my experience and
then my realization.

My experience: My chanting this morning was better than usual. It manifest into a glimpse of reality that I have turned from Krishna, and that my present nature and being?that I’ve so cherished?is actually an anomaly. This caused pain. My focus wasn’t completely clear, but my strong realization was that this pain is a necessary stage in chanting, and without welcoming this pain and feeling of deep remorse for my separation from Krishna, my chanting would not become deeply heartfelt and pure. I also noticed an aspect of my psychology, which I will call undue optimism, resisting that glimpse of reality and trying to jade actuality from the healthy pessimism of warranted pain. I struggled, but prayed for reality, my fallen condition, and that I could pray sincerely for shelter.

My realization: The pure consciousness (citta) of the soul, which is humility and service, has been perpetually conditioned by our deeds and desires which manifests itself in how we view and interact with the world?our particular conditioned psychology. Because this psychology validates our false ideal of the self and allows us to see the world to suit our false nature, we are attached to it. Thus when, by chanting, some aspect of the pure self manifests, our psychology will resist it. We have to identify that, confront it, and purify it by determinedly approaching the holy name for the strength to embrace reality.