Archive for November, 2005

Why Radha Kund is the highest place.

November 15th, 2005

Karttika Thought:
Why Radha Kund is the highest place.

Why is Radha Kunda the highest place? In Sri Upadesamrta it is even described as higher than the Vrindavana forest or Govardhana Hill.

What is the principle that makes one place higher than another?

Hint: Is your work place a suitable place to be with friends and family? Is your living room a more desirable place for you than your work place? Why?

A place is higher by the facility it provides to exchange love.

According to one’s desire to exchange love, one creates a corresponding place to enjoy that love. The more a place makes intimate love possible, the higher we value it.

For ruling and accepting the reverence of his subjects, the King manifests his court, throne, and majesty. To enjoy family and friends, he makes a living room where he can be himself and enjoy with his loved ones, a place he naturally values more than his court.
When, however, he desires the most intimate exchanges of romantic love he goes to his inner secluded quarters, the place he values most.

Similarly according to Sri Krishna’s desire to enjoy progressive varieties of love, corresponding environments are manifest by His unlimited potency to facilitate such pleasure. But when Sri Krishna wants to eternally enjoy the highest exchange of love with His most intimate lovers, He naturally reveals the sweetest and most romantic spiritual atmosphere. In other words, He eternally manifests Sri Radha Kunda.

But why is Radha Kunda higher than even Govardhana or the Vrindavana forests?

In the Vrindavana Forests and even in Sri Govardhana, his friends frolic and his elders pass. Radha Kunda, however, is located in the most secluded and uninhabited corner of that mountainous Govardhana. There, even his friends never pass, especially as he only visits Radha Kunda to meet Sri Radha when everyone in Vraja is resting after their mid-day meal. As it is the place where Sri Krishna, the Absolute Reality, gains the most confidence to open His heart fully to Sri Radha, his greatest lover, it is naturally acclaimed as the highest site in creation.

November 15, 2005
Govardhana

The following is a letter I received at the end of Karttika from a mature and dedicated servant of Srila Prabhupada’s mission who was inspired by reading my “Japa Thoughts” and Maha Nidhi Swami’s “The Art of Chanting”. I will use that letter as our final japa thought for Karttika.

Final Karttika Japa Thought XV:

“I’m very grateful to you for your “Japa Thoughts”. I read them all the time and I want to meditate on the Holy Name and to get the taste and faith.

Today during japa, I asked the Holy Name to help me chant with mamata, I’ve chanted all 16 rounds in one set. I meditated on Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan, then the childish pastimes of Nimai in Navadvipa, then the battlefield of Kuruksetra when the residents of Vrindavana came to see Krishna during the eclipse. Then I thought what Srimati Radharani, the gopis, and especially Mother Yasoda (because she is closer to me as I’m a mother and a grandmother) felt when they had to go back to Vrindavana without Krishna.

I felt so much separated from Krishna that I wanted to die without Him. Everything else was useless.

I felt something did enter my heart. Although maybe it was not in the purest sense, but it was the first time that I felt such a sentiment and I would like to keep it in my heart forever.”

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An Argument for God As A Blue Boy II

November 8th, 2005

November 8, 2005
Govardhana

I received helpful feedback about my argument for God as a blue boy. I’ll share that below and then include my response to the final letter.

“Watch out for reasonable arguments. It might also be reasonable that He would assume many different forms to enjoy in different ways.”

“The argument below is for an absolute entity that functions according to its own pleasure and thrives on love. It does NOT provide an argument for God as a blue boy. You should re-work the title and the first sentence.”

“God as a blue boy is a sharp contrast to a brooding old man waiting to send people to eternal hell.”

“Yes, of course. But what about the ‘blue’ component? Is there some way that the blueness relates to this?”

Thanks for picking that up. Let me clarify.

I was not making the argument that Krishna being blue is reasonable, but arguing that Krishna (who is blue) as God is reasonable. Perhaps I could have made that more clear. Would the article be better titled, “An argument for God as Krishna, a blue boy”?” I believe so.

Now let me try to make an argument that Krishna being blue is reasonable.

God is causeless. Logic is based on cause and effect -how things operate in this world under the observable laws of nature. By definition, the nature of God, such as his color, can never be proved by logic as that would subjugate Him to the laws of nature. Thus the only explanation for God being blue is His own sweet will.

I can argue that God is blue. How? If it is His own sweet will what color He is, then certainly He can be blue. But all that says is that He can be anything He wants and such arguments lead to the absurd.

Our real argument concerns pramana, our means of knowing. If we can establish that sabda-brahman (revealed scripture) is reasonable, we then can argue about the nature of God on the basis of sastra.

Finally Mahamuni dasa sent me a simple analysis of the argument:

The argument breakdown:

Premises:
1. For something to be reasonable it must in some way conform to some type of accepted experience.
2. Every being moves for their own pleasure.
3. The greatest pleasure is love.

It seems that the conclusion is:

If there is a (personal) God, then it is reasonable that God would move for his pleasure, and therefore for love. And Krishna as manifest in Vrndavana seems to be a reasonable way that God would do so.

What’s missing is an elaboration of why Krishna as manifest in Vraja would best manifest love, but I suppose that when speaking among devotees, it is pretty clear why. Also note that no argument for God’s existence is made here. The conclusion is in the form of a conditional: IF there is a God…

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Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day

November 7th, 2005

November 4, 2005
Govardhana

Japa Thought XI:
Mercy is the distance between the value of what we are getting and our sense of qualification to receive it. Therefore, the more humble we are (the less deserving we deem ourselves) the more we feel mercy. This feeling of mercy is the taste for chanting. Thus in a humble state of mind, bathed in mercy and feeling consequent affection for the gracious giver of mercy, we can chant the holy name constantly. Thus tranad api…

Japa Thought XII:
How to feel humble? Simple—introspect and be honest with ourselves.

November 5, 2005
Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Festival
Govardhana

The main festival is in Sri Sri Krishna Balalram Mandir where Srila Prabhupada left this world. A small group of us, however—Hari Sauri Prabhu, Jayadvaita Swami, Kesava Bharati Maharaja, Gopi-paranadhana Prabhu, and myself—stay in Govardhana to commemorate the day at the ashram here. The festival is intimate and has its own unique attraction.

Hari Sauri Prabhu spoke for nearly three hours on Srila Prabhupada and book publishing. It wasn’t planned that way, but as he spoke we all unanimously deferred our speaking time to him. The senior devotees in attendance, except for myself (though I also write and publish on my own), primarily serve in the BBT by translating and editing books, so this subject was particularly intriguing to us. Although by Hari Sauri’s own admission, it wasn’t a comprehensive presentation on the subject. It was only based on what he noted down while serving Srila Prabhupada and it was clear that he could have spoken much longer.

I jotted down a few notes about his talk. Two of my favorites:

“Srila Prabhupada told me how he used to walk the streets of Delhi selling Back to Godhead and for other publishing related work. He described to me how during this time he was seriously gored by a bull and that the knock was so forceful that he was convinced it was fatal. As he was flying through the air his initial thought was ‘I am being punished for leaving my family.’ He then quickly checked his thought. He meditated on Rupa Raghunatha and felt complete relief.”

“Harikesa Swami told me that Srila Prabhupada had darshan of Srila Rupa Gosvami at Radha Damodar. I therefore asked Srila Prabhupada if that was true. He quickly dismissed me saying, ‘Oh everyone knows that.’ What could I say? I basically forgot about it for almost twenty-eight years until last year. A new book on Srila Prabhupada was published by Mulaprkrti comprised of interviews with people who knew him in India before he created ISKCON. In one interview, Gopal Chandra Bose, a respected scholar from Vrindavana, describes his visits to see Srila Prabhupada at Radha Damodar in his youth. On one such visit Srila Prabhupada shared with him a special secret. The previous night while chanting by Sri Rupa’s Samadhi he had darshan of Srila Rupa Gosvami. It not only confirmed something Srila Prabhupada had only cryptically affirmed twenty-eight years before, but finally I was able to hear the details. There is no doubt that Srila Prabhupada was receiving special encouragement from the Six Gosvami’s to write his books and to envision the spreading of Sri Caitanya’s teachings all over the world.”

I was also quite happy to hear this. Did Srila Rupa Gosvami actually appear before Srila Prabhupada? It’s certainly possible. What we do know for sure is that by the grace of the transcendental system Srila Prabhupada was given shelter at the foot of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Samadhi and developed a deep and an intimate relationship with him that inspired his mission.

November 6, 2005
Govardhana

Japa Thought XIII:
The sixth treasure of the holy name, according to the Siksastakam, is that one relishes nectar at every step. It’s a description of prema-bhakti, an advanced stage of Krishna consciousness. Bhaktivinoda Thakur, however, gives an analysis of this verse that makes it immediately applicable in our chanting. He says that this sixth treasure of the holy name means, among other things, that one can relish each and every one of the sixteen syllables of the maha-mantra. I am not relishing prema-bhakti at every step, but by chanting each syllable with the intention of trying to relish nectar at every step, it definitely brings one towards that goal.

November 7, 2005
Govardhana

Japa Thought XIV:
When we think we are the controllers, we can’t recognize who is. If one is thus proud (attached to the false ego) one can neither hear nor realize Krishna in the form of the holy name. Chanting thus means to bow our heads to each syllable of the holy name begging for service, otherwise how will it be possible to realize its sweet presence?

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An Argument for God As A Blue Boy

November 3rd, 2005

November 3, 2005
Govardhana

Karttika Thought: An argument for God as a blue boy

God, a blue boy? Yes. It’s reasonable. How? For something to be reasonable it must in some way conform to some type of accepted experience. How can Krishna possibly conform to our common experience? Simple, we perceive two undeniable principles in this world; first, every being moves for their own pleasure, second, that pleasure is love. If there is an Absolute Reality, would it not then be reasonable to assume that it also moves for its own pleasure and that pleasure is love. Is it also not sound to presume that an omnipotent being would not only actualize its desire for its own pleasure, but also enjoy such love to the highest degree? Is it not, therefore, sensible to consider that Sri Krishna – an exquisite blue boy eternally enjoying the highest development of love (rasa) in a world meant to perfectly facilitate that love (Vrindavana) – is a reasonable conception of the Absolute Reality?

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Kartika Journal – Govardhana Puja and Japa Thoughts

November 2nd, 2005

November 1, 2005
Sri Govardhana Puja
Govardhana

Gopiparanadhana Prabhu offered a point in his morning lecture that I’d never heard before: “It is said in Govardhana that if you see a herd of white cows on Govardhan Hill, but there is no gwala (cowherd), they are Krishna and Balarama’s cows and They are also there, although we may not see them.”

Gauranga Prabhu from Chowpatty called me this morning to see if I could accompany him and five hundred devotees from Bombay/Pune on parikram. I welcomed the opportunity. Unfortunately, I could only come for a short time due to previous commitments here, at the ISKCON Bhaktivedanta ashrama.

We choose a suitable place in the forest twenty minutes down the road from the ashram for my talk. I sit on a small raised dirt mound about twenty yards from Govardhan Hill. It’s a perfect sitting place. As I speak the devotees can simultaneously face me and be in direct view of Govardhan. All of a sudden, half way through my talk, the devotees light up. They are looking behind me. I turn around. A large herd of more than fifty healthy white cows peacefully pass by happily grazing by the side of Giriraja. I look around, but there is absolutely not a single gwala (cowherd) in sight.

“It’s Krishna Balarama’s cows!” I excitedly tell the devotees and relate what I had just heard an hour before from Gopi. The sight and the thought create a wonderful mood. The devotees are joyous to have glimpsed the eternal dhama and on such an auspicious day!

November 2, 2005
Govardhana

Japa Thought X:
Many things are just beyond my control, including the perfection of my spiritual life. I am powerless in so many ways, but I am never hopeless. I take shelter of the holy name with full confidence that all problems are solved by this simple vibration. Whatever my situation, I am certain that the holy name will do what’s best. That gives me comfort. I pray, however, for love (bhakti). That is the real need of the heart. All other wants are just misplaced yearnings for that.

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