Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kathmandu Friends

One of the beautiful aspects of Kathmandu is the constant flow of beautiful people you come across. In the sketch above, Shantiwale Tokyo Baba from around Badrinath. He spent months sitting at the Berlin Wall before it was finally torn down.

My experiences in the Vaishnava world led me to an almost xenophobic state, ready to give up my hope in humanity. My experiences here have revitalized the hope, rekindling a spark of trust in a fundamental potential for goodness.

The curious can skim over my FaceBook KTM Friends album for a few memories from this part of the world.


Ananda said...

And some of the commentators on this blog keep re-affirming my instinct for keeping a healthy distance to the Vaishnava folk, exceptions aside. It seems to be sadly preoccupied by negativity and even cynicism towards almost everything that doesn't feature certain magic orthodox keywords.

The Neurotic Background Choir blurb was meant to be a not-so-subtle hint on working on getting a life and all that.

Life can actually be pleasant, and even fun to wade through — believe it or not. But not in a situation where you are programmed with certain preconditions that supposedly lead to happiness, where you spend your days obsessing over the said doctrines, and keep convincing yourself of being happy — because it says so in the book of orthodoxies.

Buddha buddy said...

Maybe if you had avoided trying to become the Superior Vaishnava devotee in the universe at the expense of belittling so many sincere and sacrificing souls and thinking yourself so much greater and better than all the other devotees, you wouldn't have ended up REJECTING Vaishnavism in your attempts to be better than all the other devotees.

When you are ready to become just another insignificant jiva, then come on back to Vaishnavism.

All long as you want to be better than every other Vaishnava you will be required to stay outside Vaishnava sanga.

At this point your ego is on a rampage and in self-destruct mode.

Good luck with all that Baba.
You know as well as anyone that you are in big illusion right now.

Vilasa Ganja said...

Your wife gave you the boot because your are a jerk.
She is still serving Lord Krishna with love and devotion and you are hanging out in the cool air of Timbuktu smoking hashish and trying to exploit unsuspecting innocents in Nepal.

Yeah, you really improved yourself with this hissy-fit conversion to Buddhism.

The only person you have fooled is yourself Baba.

The Hare Krishna's aren't' as easy to dupe.

That is part of your problem - you think everyone else is an idiot and you have it all figured out.

Anonymous said...

Its nice that you see beauty in people and feel that you can trust them again. But must you be criticizing vaisnavas to attain this state of mind? Do you really think that vaisnavas are the worse of the worse? If you continue like this, its just a matter of time and you will find problems with your current friends. The difficulty was with you too, not only with the vaisnavas.

Ananda said...

Quite good being outside the Vaishnava world, thank you.

I have no doubt there are problems with each and every human being in this world. Some are, however, just a little bit outside the box, less neurotic and subsequently a whole lot more human.

I find most contemporary applications of Vaishnavism psychologically quite harmful, and many if not most of the related human histories quite saddening.

There are also some very wonderful Vaishnavas out there, one comes to mind in particular and I have mentioned him on many occasions in the past. I'll spare mentioning the name, lest our good Hare Krishna fellowship out there go out of its way to criticize him and actually make Vaishnava-aparadha proper.

There was a saying attributed to Gour Govinda Maharaja back in the days, "If you want to criticize a Vaishnava, first you have to find one" or something along those lines. I think he was onto something there.

Anonymous said...

The point we are trying to make Baba is that if you choose to reject Vaishnavism and the Vaishnavas, then fine, that is your choice and your right.

Just don't go out blaming other people for your failure to find a healthy and practical application of Vaishnavism in modern living.

The majority of Vaishnavas in the western world are not cult members of ISKCON or some other sect.

Many western Vaishnavas have found a way to live in the modern world and still embrace the Gaudiya Vaishnava theology.

You weren't intelligent enough to figure that out.
So, just stop whining and blaming the cult for your personal failings to adapt Vaishnavism in a healthy practical way.

You threw the Baby out with the bathwater.
That is your own mistake.

"Gaurasundara das" said...

To the criticising commenters:

What you all need to understand is to let this guy live his life however he wants.

I'm not highly impressed with Ananda's exploits of late, but who am I to judge how people should live their lives?

What you don't seem to understand that if one person (such as Ananda) feels liberated from a cocoon that he felt rather stifling, and is engaging in activities that he feels are exhilarating and otherwise enjoyable for him, what is the big problem? It is classic behaviour, and Ananda may either continue along his lines and head off into newer directions, or he may calm down soon and *gulp* perhaps return to Vaishnavism. What is it to you anyway, O Group of Voyeurs?

I don't read every single post Ananda writes but, judging from the comments to this one, you ain't exactly a great advertisement for Vaishavism either. It may have flown over your heads but Ananda doesn't consider himself a Vaishnava anymore. It must be really fun to be on such a high platform, look down and sneer at the lowly ones below you. I pray to reach such a high level one day, not.

If there was anything antithetical to the ideals of Vaishnavism it is the obnoxious attitude permeating your comments, and it is typical and very classic behaviour of religionists too. If you're sooooo insulted, offended and hurt by some of Ananda's comments, why are you even reading them? Go away, asat-sanga-tyaga and all that...

Leave the guy to get on with his life, and get some of your own.

Anonymous said...

Truth is, Madhava's and Gaurasundara's qualm is not with Vaishnavism proper. In this regard, they have constructed a strawman argument, they have given the dog a name and hung it. Madhava, Gaurasundara and others like them, failed themselves and their friends in their pursuance of Vaishnavism, but because they are unwilling to accept this fact, they resort to blaming the 'disfunctional Vaishnavas'. They rather create the false reality that, if it wasn't for Vaishnavas, the world would be inhabited by heavenly angels - atheists, islamic extremists , rainbow hippies, buddhists, just plain folks - no one but Vaishnavas are capable of greed, deception, envy, etc. etc. etc.

We have seen how Madhava and Gaurasundara are intelligent above average. Are we to believe that they missed the basic point that Vaishnavism is not about individuals considering themselves superior but about individuals who believe in a superior state of being regardless of whom it happens to? We believe they understood this principle very well, but are unwilling to accept that what happened was they have had themselves a personal set back. Its easier to just blame it all on the "Vaishnavas". But please fellows remember, Vaishnavas is not so simple a concept that a group of people can epitomize it and carry it around in a dispensary fashion for spiritual shoppers to come and grab at their own leisure. Vaishnavism simply happens, it cannot be fabricated, it cannot be erased either.

"Gaurasundara das" said...

OK, what makes you think I have "failed in my pursuance of Vaishnavism", may I ask? Just because I happen to agree with Ananda on some points means I have gone on a bender? It's surely that snooty arrogance I was talking about in my last post, it leads one to make wild assumptions without the slightest evidence.

So yes, please don't talk to me of Vaishnavism or Vaishnavas when you are clearly not one yourself. "Vaishnava ke?" ;-)

And who is "we"? Are you legion? :)

As for notions of superiority and all that, it's unfortunate that the import of my point was either misunderstood or ignored, which was this: Leave Ananda alone to get on with his life, and get on with yours.

According to your own (supposedly Vaishnava) beliefs, Ananda is a "fallen comrade". Not just any "fallen soul", but formerly one of "us". I haven't seen one so-called Vaishnava exhibit the love, kindness, compassion that is characteristic of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, which basically sums up all I have to say about modern-day Vaishnavas. And that is why I neither talk very much with "Vaishnavas" nor do I blog much anymore.

"Gaurasundara das" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
"Gaurasundara das" said...

And by the way, in response to comments about Ananda trying to be a Super-Vaishnava and trying to be better than other devotees, what kind of point was this?

I've known Ananda through the forums for several years and have practically read everything he wrote online, and I never got an arrogant vibe from him or anything along the lines of what you are accusing him of trying to be.

Why not just admit that you were jealous of his high scriptural knowledge and that he had the answers to everything? That's really what it's all about isn't it? Somewhere along the line during a discussion, some of you got stung with a shastric quote that completely undercut your point and left you rudderless. This means that, instead of using the forums to learn about the siddhanta from individuals who may know more than you, it was only to be used as a platform for preaching your own ideas and you got angry when a young upstart like Madhava seemed to know it all and then some. It stung, didn't it?

And then some people here have the gumption to talk about Ananda's ego? Lol...

Those without ego or possessed of the humility that Mahaprabhu requires would know how to behave properly in such an event. Like I said, this is why I hardly talk or blog much these days as everyone seems to know everything and nothing is left to learn. The levels of hypocrisy are not only nauseating, but suffocating.

Anonymous said...

Actually, in this endeavor there is no loss, so I should correct my statement and say that you guys really did not fail in your pursuance of Vaishnavism. (Hippieism atheism, its all temporary). Everything is a ok.

Sid Pranali said...

Actually, they did fail, but Sri Guru will not fail them even if their mortal minds flicker and they have a temporary set-back.

I certainly don't have any bad feelings for Madhava.

If anything, I am just disappointed in a prodigious youngster with a lot of potential.

He became an international phenom through his websites and his literary works, so he shouldn't expect or demand that he can now just crawl off into the darkness and brush off everyone like strangers on the street.

That ain't gonna fly with me.
I have followed him with interest for years and I ain't stoppin' now because some crony wants to stroke him off.

dorky the clown said...

Gaursundar, let's not forget you used to take voyeur photographs of ladies legs and skirts in the public libraries and post them online. You got exposed by a sai baba follower for it. You are basically another idiot who pretends to be a big vaishnava online, like ananda used to do, but in real life was a fake.

"Gaurasundara das" said...

"Dorky the clown" is a pretty appropriate name for a dorky clown who can't discern the truth from the facts and would swallow everything a demented Sai Baba devotee has to say in equally demented false allegations. How about writing to me and asking me about my side of the story? Whaddya know, the truth might actually illuminate some of your neurons.

Let's do something really out there and stick to the subject: Back Off On Ananda And Get A Life.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ananda. We've never met, but I've followed your writings over the last few years and always found them to be quite compelling and thought-provoking.

I have a question. If you have the time, could you please elaborate on the following statement: "I find most contemporary applications of Vaishnavism psychologically quite harmful..."? I was intrigued by this statement and would like to hear you discuss this in greater detail. Thank you.

Ananda said...

If you don't mind, I'd actually take a bit of time and more space to comment on the theme, in all the main contexts I have from the past. Probably tomorrow — today's a busy day, out of the office most of the day. I need to wrap up a whole bunch of stuff before I leave Kathmandu for India on the 16th.

Ananda said...

You could read Transcending Guilt for starters...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ananda. I look forward to hearing you elaborate on the topic, whenever that may be. I read "Transcending Guilt" when you first posted it, but I'll go back and read it again more carefully. Thanks again.

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