Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by davidbrucehughes

  1. Guatemala is a mess, very dangerous. Lots of criminal activity, especially near the Mexico border. Certain parts of Mexico itself or Belize are very nice. To have peaceful existence anywhere in Latin America you have to be off the smuggling trade routes. Look before you leap, and cultivate connections with pious locals.
  2. Hare Kṛṣṇa, Prabhus! I am very pleased to announce the publication, online and in hardcopy, of the complete Vedānta-sūtra with the theistic commentary of Baladeva Vidyābhūsana. You can find out all about it here.
  3. A senior disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda has created an expansive site full of multimedia, complete Vedic scriptures and a vibrant online community. The site has no link with any of the large Vaiṣṇava organizations, and avoids the "Hare Kṛṣṇa" stereotype by emphasizing the dvādaśākṣara-mantra, oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. The site has recently been upgraded to a professional, clean Web 2.0 design, which enhances rather than onflicts with its content. Includes rare scriptures such as Vedānta-sūtra and Bṛhad Parāśara Horā Śāstra. The Esoteric Teaching
  4. Well, there is a subtle difference. Actually there is no 'i' sound in Kṛṣṇa. In Sanskrit the 'ṛ' sound (which actually should be rolled, as opposed to the 'r' sound which is not) is considered a vowel. IMHO there has been too much Anglicization of Indic names and words already. My online work and website try to standardize on the correct spellings using the IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration) system to render Sanskrit and other Indic languages (Hindi, Bengali) in Roman characters. For more information, see the Wikipedia article on IAST, which includes links to help pages showing how to enable Indic scripts on your computer. IAST-encoded text can be entered into your computer using freely available utilities and does not require any special fonts or settings to view. So we can spell Kṛṣṇa and other Sanskrit words and names correctly and get people used to seeing them without semantic information loss from incorrect linguistic interpolation.
  5. One day in summer of 1967 I was on my way to a recording session in New York, and passed by Tomkins Square Park. I saw a crowd gathered around a strange group of men clad in robes, chanting and banging on some miscellaneous percussion instruments, clang-clang-clang, clang-clang-clang. In their midst was this intense little Indian man. Of course, it was Srila Prabhupada and his early devotees. Although I had been reading Eastern philosophy and doing hatha-yoga, I had no idea what they were doing. I stood and watched them for a little while, then hurried on to my recording date. I filed the entire incident under "Far-out East Village Happenings." A short time later, 'somehow or other' I got a strong urge to relocate to the West Coast. Well actually it had something to do with a certain young lady. So I piled everything into a car and drove cross-country to San Francisco. That adventure is another story, though. When I finally got there, the thing with the young lady didn't work out, and I wound up staying at a friend's place on Downey St. in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. Of course, like any good hippie musician, I was always on the alert for good free stuff, so when I heard that you could get free vegetarian meals from the Hare Krsna Temple, of course I had to check it out. I went to a Sunday Feast, and there were the same little Indian gentleman, and a bunch of his early devotees who I would later get to know as Jayananda, Visnujana, Gurudas etc. I hung around The Movement, as it was known then, going to feasts and festivals, reading Srila Prabhupada's books one by one as they came out, but could not get free of attachment to being a musician, composer and recording artist. The perks were pretty good in those days. I respected the devotees' purity but felt that I could not live such an austere lifestyle. I continued to associate and helped out whenever I could, in between traveling and working as a musician. One day in fall 1971--I remember this like it was yesterday--I was playing with a really good jazz band in Orlando. I was the only white guy in the band. We swung hard and progressive. One night after we played an upscale bar/restaurant, I got down off the stage, looked around the degraded scene of sense gratification, and something snapped. I knew then that just I couldn't do this anymore. I went out in the parking lot and quit the band. The leader was incredulous. We were hot and we knew it. He called me a "jive-ass honky," about the worst insult for a jazz musician. Still, I had lost my taste. I turned in my standard jazz-musician issue Ray-Ban shades, collected my pay, packed up my things, drove down to Miami and joined the old Coral Gables Temple. That winter Visnujana Swami came with his bus party, and of course, recruited me and off we went in the big silver fish with the music in its belly, chanting Hare Krsna. love, Baba
  6. Yes, it is called Srimad-Bhagavatam. love, Baba
  7. After looking over this thread, there is something that seems pretty obvious to me but will probably not be so obvious to others. There are three principal aspects of consciousness: the subject or reservoir of consciousness, the object of consciousness, and the relationship or the meaning of that consciousness. This is due to the nature of consciousness itself as a tripartite transcendental ontological entity. vijñānam etat triy-avastham aṅga guṇa-trayaṁ kāraṇa-karya-kartṛ samanvayena vyatirekataś ca yenaiva turyeṇa tad eva satyam "The material mind manifests in three phases of consciousness—wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep—which are products of the three modes of nature. The mind further appears in three different roles—the perceiver, the perceived and the regulator of perception. Thus the mind is manifested variously throughout these threefold designations. But it is the fourth factor, existing separately from all this, that alone constitutes the Absolute Truth." [ Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28.20] This verse sums up the science of the transcendental ontology of consciousness very nicely. Like so many similar summaries in Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is so high-level that someone who is not already expert in the field might completely miss its profound significance. Anyway, it is pretty clear what is meant by 'Krsna'--after all, pretty much the whole Srimad-Bhagavatam is basically a definition of what the Vedas mean by 'Krsna'. But if ten devotees opine on the meaning of 'Krsna consciousness', you get ten very different--often strikingly different--answers. So I do not think that devotees as a group are very clear about what the Vedas mean by 'consciousness.' While it is pretty clear that one aspect of 'Krsna consciousness' means that 'Krsna is the object of our consciousness', the other two parts of the meaning of this statement--the state of consciousness of which Krsna is the object, or the point of view of the conscious entity who is conscious of Krsna; and the meaning or relation between Krsna and the conscious entity who is conscious of Him--are pretty ambiguous in most devotee's minds. Yet there is a specific meaning there too, although it takes most of Nectar of Devotion to explain it. This is of course a consequence of our being in materially conditioned consciousness, which causes objectification (for example, falsely taking the body to be the self, or blaming or assigning causality to others for things that are actually consequences of our own actions) and elementalism (for example, falsely thinking that a transcendental symptom or process, such as consciousness or especially Krsna consciousness, is a thing). These are both huge issues, almost unexplored by devotees, that cause them to misunderstand 'Krsna consciousness' and as a result, fail to achieve it, fall down, and have all kinds of difficulty in spiritual life. After all, one who has no clear idea of what consciousness is can hardly dedicate their whole life to achieving some specific state of consciousness, let alone the highest and most esoteric form of consciousness, with any real chance of success. This post simply broaches the subject and states the problem. I have written extensively on this subject, but would refer interested readers to my site transontology.org for a more complete exposition. Actually it is simple if one has the proper background, just like Einstein's mass-energy equivalence relation (E = mc^2) is simple if you happen to have postgraduate degrees in physics and mathematics. But let's be honest: most of us have absolutely no clear idea what 'consciousness' means, let alone 'Krsna consciousness.' Truthfulness is one of the first qualities of a brahmana or a real devotee. love, Baba
  8. Well I am shocked at the vitriol which has erupted on this thread. So much for high thinking. Intelligent people should be able to discriminate between the real presence and teachings of Jesus and the devolution of the same in so-called religious organizations. Spiritually advanced people do not treat others offensively.
  9. One day long ago when I had just joined the temple, a visitor argued that the stories of Krsna in the scriptures were not true, therefore we should not put our faith in them. I found myself saying, "It doesn't matter whether they are literally true in the material sense; what matters is that these stories convey spiritual values that transcend space and time. I would still dedicate my life in service to these truths, these values, even if it were possible to prove that they are materially untrue, because they resonate with my personal spiritual values." Similarly, the spiritual values expressed in the story of Jesus Christ resound with the vibrations of pure bhakti and the eternal values of spiritual life. Thus they have great value, even if it were possible to prove that they are not literally true. Anyone who cannot feel these stories as inspiring needs a heart transplant, for theirs has turned to stone. love, Baba
  10. If we actually realize that we are spirit souls, then there is no question of feeling disappointed in spiritual life. The reason for this is covered in Second Chapter of the Gita. That doesn't mean that very many devotees actually get it though. If we think that when Krsna says, "This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact" [Bhagavad-gita 6.23], He means that everyone will love us, we will win the lottery and live happily ever after in the material world, then we will indeed experience disappointment. Spiritual life doesn't work that way. What spiritual life does, when successfully cultivated, is to change our consciousness by transforming the meaning of our experience. The experience of material existence itself may not change, and this is what most likely is triggering the devotees' feeling of disappointment. The quality of our consciousness depends on our ontology, or the story we create that gives the meaning of our experience. When we change our ontology, or change our story, we change our consciousness. Krsna consciousness means, among other things, that we interpret our experience according to Krsna's explanation of reality. When we do this successfully, then we realize that nothing in this material world can ever hurt us: avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam vināśam avyayasyāsya na kaścit kartum arhati "Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul." [ Bhagavad-gita 2.17] Or the same principle stated more generally, nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ ubhayor api dṛṣṭo 'ntas tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ "Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent there is no endurance, and of the existent there is no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature of both." [ Bhagavad-gita 2.16] So someone who is actually sastra-caksus, seeing reality through the eyes of the scripture, will not expect his experience of this world to change, but will change his ontology so that he interprets his experience in a different way. Then he will be able to give service according to duty without unrealistically expecting material benefit, because he has full confidence that by following the path of devotional service, he will go to the spiritual world in the next birth, if not before. What does that look like? Krsna explains: śrī-bhagavān uvāca prajahāti yadā kāmān sarvān pārtha mano-gatān ātmany evātmanā tuṣṭaḥ sthita-prajñas tadocyate The Blessed Lord said: "O Pārtha, when a man gives up all varieties of sense desire which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness." [ Bhagavad-gita 2.55] We have to reach the stage of devotional service where we can experience transcendental pleasure in our personal service relationship with Krsna. Then material attachment and desire fall away naturally. This stage is realized by performance of devotional service in spontaneous love, beyond the mechanical rules and regulations of the scriptures. We love our mother and father, our friends, our wife or husband, so what is the difficulty to love Krsna? After all, without Krsna, all these other natural objects of love would not even exist. Therefore the solution to all the problems of material existence is simply to love Krsna. If we do this, then our path to complete self-realization is clear. love, Baba
  11. Srila Rupa Gosvami defines pure devotional service as follows: sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa- sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate " Bhakti , or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and, simply by being employed in the service of the Lord, one's senses are purified." [ Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 19.170] PURPORT This verse quoted from the Nārada-pañcarātra is found in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.12). Srila Prabhupada gives the following definition of Krsna consciousness in the Introduction to Nectar of Devotion: "The definition of a pure devotee, as given by Rūpa Gosvāmī in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu , can be summarized thus: his service is favorable and is always in relation to Kṛṣṇa. In order to keep the purity of such Kṛṣṇa conscious activities, one must be freed from all material desires and philosophical speculation. Any desire except for the service of the Lord is called material desire. And philosophical speculation refers to the sort of speculation which ultimately arrives at a conclusion of voidism or impersonalism. This conclusion is useless for a Kṛṣṇa conscious person. Only rarely by philosophical speculation can one reach the conclusion of worshiping Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā itself. The ultimate end of philosophical speculation, then, must be Kṛṣṇa, with the understanding that Kṛṣṇa is everything, the cause of all causes, and that one should therefore surrender unto Him. If this ultimate goal is reached, then philosophical advancement is favorable, but if the conclusion of philosophical speculation is voidism or impersonalism, that is not bhakti . " Karma or fruitive activities are sometimes understood to be ritualistic activities. There are many persons who are very much attracted by the ritualistic activities described in the Vedas. But if one becomes attracted simply to ritualistic activities without understanding Kṛṣṇa, his activities are unfavorable to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Actually, Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be based simply on hearing, chanting, remembering, etc. Described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are nine different processes, besides which everything done is unfavorable to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Thus, one should always be guarding against falldowns. "Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has also mentioned in this definition of bhakti the word jñāna-karmādi . This karmādi (fruitive work) consists of activities which are unable to help one attain to pure devotional service. Many forms of so-called renunciation are also not favorable to Kṛṣṇa conscious devotional service. "Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has also quoted a definition from the Nārada-pañcarātra , as follows: "One should be free from all material designations and must be cleansed of all material contamination by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He should be restored to his pure identity, where he engages his senses in the service of the proprietor of the senses." So when our senses are engaged for the actual proprietor of the senses, that is called devotional service. In our conditional state, our senses are engaged in serving these bodily demands. When the same senses are engaged in executing the order of Kṛṣṇa, it is called bhakti . "As long as one identifies himself as belonging to a certain family, a certain society or a certain person, he is said to be covered with designations. When one is fully aware that he does not belong to any family, society or country, but is eternally related to Kṛṣṇa, he then realizes that his energy should be employed not in the interests of so-called family, society or country, but in the interests of Kṛṣṇa. This is purity of purpose and the platform of pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." love, Baba
  12. Her Servant, It's not so esoteric. Pretty simple actually. My realization is that when we perform devotional service activities because of others' direction, then we are performing vaidhi-bhakti; but when we perform them on our own initiative, that is raganuga-bhakti.
  13. Regarding Yogananda's Jyotish chart, Parasara says: "One will attain full enlightenment if Ketu is in the 12th [from Karakāṁśā] identical with Meṣa or Dhanuḥ and receives a Dṛṣṭi from a benefic. If Ketu is in the 12th from Karakāṁśā, receiving a Dṛṣṭi from a malefic, or is there yuti with a malefic, one will not attain full enlightenment." [bPHS 33.63-74] Unfortunately I could not post Yogananda's chart here because of some limitation imposed by the site software. It can be viewed at esotericteaching.org/moodle/file.php/1/chart_paramahansa_yogananda.jpg In Yogananda's charts, the Atma-karaka of the Rasi chart, Sukra, becomes the Karakamsa of the Navamsa chart. Ketu is indeed in the 12th from the Karakamsa, but is in Makara, not Mesa or Dhanuh, and also receives Drsti from Sani and Mangal, both malefic. So according to Parasara, he does not get full enlightenment. In his autobiography as well as his series on 'second coming of Christ', he himself stated that after this life he would join his guru Sri Yukteshvar who was in the 'astral realms' and would not yet be fully liberated in the way that even he defined 'liberation'. Moreover, we know that, during the expansion of his movement here in America, he admittedly made compromises with Ramakrishna mission, a politically motivated impersonalist Hindu mission that was already established in the West, and stopped criticizing things that were a feature of their god-guru's persona and teaching. Maybe that was necessary at that time, but it creates confusion in the minds of students. Srila Prabhupada didn't care to compromise even for huge political gain in terms of media image or number of followers. love, Baba
  14. Great post Shiva, I was going to make most of these points myself in response to the previous discussion. love, Baba
  15. Dear cbrahma, Sorry to hear that the neophytes discouraged you. What the corporate religionist devotees will never tell you is that there are two platforms for devotional service: vaidhi-bhakti or the rules and regulations of the scriptures, and raganuga-bhakti or spontaneous love of Godhead. "Now this sādhana-bhakti , or practice of devotional service, can also be divided into two parts. The first part is called regulative principles: one has to follow these different regulative principles by the order of the spiritual master, or on the strength of authoritative scriptures, and there can be no question of refusal. That is called vaidhi , or regulated. One has to do it without any argument. Another part of sādhana-bhakti is called rāgānugā. Rāgānugā refers to the point at which, by following the regulative principles, one becomes a little more attached to Kṛṣṇa, and executes devotional service out of natural love. ... So the practice of devotional service, sādhana-bhakti, can be divided into two parts--namely, regulative and spontaneous." [ Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 2] Raganuga-bhakti is elaborately described in Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 15. There it is said: "Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has defined rāgānugā-bhakti as spontaneous attraction for something while completely absorbed in thoughts of it, with an intense desire of love. Devotional service executed with such feelings of spontaneous love is called rāgānugā-bhakti ." In my analysis of Srila Prabhupada's preaching, especially in the early days in NYC, I was struck by the fact that he seemed to be presenting both of these approaches simultaneously. This was very powerful and attractive, especially to the young Westerners he was addressing. Sometimes an act that is considered offensive on the platform of vaidhi-bhakti is accepted as an act of worship in raganuga-bhakti. It really depends on the intention behind the act. If it is done out of love, then although it may ostensibly be offensive, the Lord may accept it as service. Your consciousness is the bottom line. You have let the rigid, rule-minded scribes run you out of the temple with an impossible standard of devotional service, before meeting the all-merciful sat-guru who will accept you and your service as they are. love, Baba
  16. God creates everything in the material world, for example human beings, either directly (in the case of the soul) or indirectly, through His material potencies. Then He enters into everything, either by His will (in the case of the material atoms) or by His plenary expansion (in the case of the soul). Thus He is all-pervading and the Supersoul of everything. To look at this in terms of the seed and tree analogy, He is the original seed of all existences. By His will He creates the universe (the tree) and the innumerable living entities (the fruit). So the seed is within the fruit, and every seed has the same potency as the original seed: it can create an entire tree, complete with fruit. So the Lord is within His creation, just like the seed is within the fruit. That does not mean that He is impersonal, or that the creation (either the universe or the living beings) is equal with Him. You can think of it as similar to a fractal, where the overall shape is reflected in the details at every scale. But that does not mean that the details and the complete fractal are identical.
  17. Faith is cheap. Everyone has faith in something, or what is the point of getting out of bed in the morning? Every religion has a complete rationalization how they are the best and every other religion is wrong, or at least less right. It all sounds very reasonable and logical, at least on casual examination. There is no time to prove everything by experiment. And most of the tenets of any religion are beyond empirical proof anyway. So how do we determine what to have faith in? 'Facts' can always be manipulated. There are people who swear that Jesus Christ is a fabrication, or that Krsna is just a story made up by some old brahmanas. A much better criterion is epistemology, and the best is ontology. What is the process of receiving knowledge? That's epistemology. And what is the background system that determines the meaning of a particular symbol? That is ontology. The Gaudiya Vaisnava system of epistemology is much better than any other religion in the world, because it is based on a transcendental science of consciousness. The system of parampara (disciplic succesion), the criteria of a self-realized soul given in the scriptures, even the system of padas that creates a kind of checksum for each Sanskrit verse—no other religious culture can match it. But the clincher is the Vaisnava ontology given in scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam, and extensively analyzed in Nectar of Devotion. The test of any ontology is whether it can include other ontologies as subsets without breaking down. The Bhagavata ontology passes this test with flying colors. It contains the complete subsets of karma, yoga, jnana, materialism, cosmology, etc.etc. without losing its focus on bhakti as the highest. The proof that this knowledge is the highest is that it contains the entire knowledge of so many other disciplines, arts and sciences, including ontology itself, without losing focus and without having to resort to false logic or other cheating to defeat them. Bhakti simply has more and superior qualities to all of them.
  18. God (Krsna) is perfect; it is we who are imperfect. When we suffer, it is because we are reaping the effects of karmic seeds sown in the past life. God creates this world for those who want to rebel against His laws. We come here because we want to enjoy heaven without God. This is a criminal mentality. So should we wonder why the world is so corrupt when it is full of criminals? The way out is to worship His Holy Name with love and devotion. Performing pious activities according to the directions of the scriptures will bring all kinds of happiness. But rejecting all material benedictions, we should continue our one-pointed devotional service until He appears, accepting our service and recognizing us as His devotee. That is the solution to all problems and the ultimate goal of human life.
  19. If you study Jyotish, Vedic astrology, then in that context, the cosmology of the Srimad-Bhagavatam makes perfect sense. The idea is that we are here on the Bhu-mandala, and from this point of view the cosmos appears as described. Our Western assumption is that any description of the cosmos has to be heliocentric. But from a scientific or mathematical point of view it really makes no difference where you place the point of reference. A geocentric system is just as valid as a heliocentric view. There is also little question that the Z-axis in the Bhu-mandala refers to advancement of consciousness, not any physical dimension. So why should it be a problem that the Bhagavatam's description of the cosmos looks different from what we see when we look through a telescope? The description of the universe given by Quantum Mechanics also looks a lot different from gross physical sense perception, but when we test it in a laboratory, it does tend to predict what will happen, at least at certain scales of phenomena. Similarly, when we test the Vedic cosmology in the laboratory of authentic Vedic astrology such as the system described in Brhat Parasara Hora Sastra, it predicts our experience quite well. That is scientific enough for me.
  20. There is no question that Srila Prabhupada is being mythologized; he was already being mythologized by 1969. So many of the 'senior devotees' were willing to misuse 'Prabhupada said' to put words in their spiritual master's mouth. For example, Prabhupada never said "Books are the basis," etc. If you read the actual conversation, a devotee suggested it and he vaguely approved of it. But how many hundreds of times we heard that 'Prabhupada said' it. Trivikrama: He has brought you one Chinese script. Hari-śauri: What does it say? Devotee (3): This is Chinese character scroll. It says, “Books are the basis, preaching is the essence, utility is the principle, and purity is the force.” It was translated wholly by myself, and the characters were written by... Prabhupāda: Is that all right? Devotee (5): I can read, but I don’t write. Ah... That’s not purity. It should be... It’s not so exact. Prabhupāda: What did he say in the trans...? Devotee (5): It’s cleanliness rather than purity. Bali-mardana: He has translated purity as “cleanliness,” not quite exact. [770225ed.may] By the time I joined ISKCON in '71 I had read all of Srila Prabhupada's books several times. As a longtime student of semantics it was clear to me that the leaders were using similar words but teaching something completely different. Now that so much of the real history has come out, for example the rejection of the DOM, we know that the so-called leaders had actually usurped Srila Prabhupada's movement and made it into something he never intended it to be: a centralized corporate dictatorship. They planned from the beginning to be free from all oversight and to leave the other devotees without recourse. To take over the temples and destroy their autonomy. To use and exploit the devotees for their own sense gratification. I knew that his mail was censored and tampered with, so I pretended to be important people and sent letters in code. Amazingly enough, Srila Prabhupada replied to these letters, in the same code. Toward the end of his pastimes he established contact with me through his sister and gave some very confidential instructions. Later I found out that he did something similar with others as well.
  • Create New...