Thursday, January 8, 2009

GeeVees - 01: The Nectar Name

The holy name of god features extensively throughout the theology and practice of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a trend not at all unknown to other Hindu traditions. The chanting of god's names, and in particular the names of Hari, or Krishna, is described as the most accessible and ideal way of dharma in our corrupted times. The founding theologicians and poets of the tradition have dedicated countless hymns and chapters of philosophy to describe the wonders of god's name as understood in their tradition.

It was of course Sri Chaitanya, the founder of the tradition, who popularized the practice while breaking a number of religious orthodoxies. Parading the roads of rural Bengal in the early 16th century, he carried his fervent religious ecstasies to the masses and taught to connect with god through the chanting of his holy names, both in song and by reciting on a rosary. For him, it represented the ultimate means of connection and communion with his chosen deity.

In this essay, we are going to explore the world of chanting in its many facets, featuring a number of detailed theological formulations bundled with a flowing out-of-the-box commentary, along with my personal experiences over the years in diverse environments. Keen as I have been to improve and improvise in whatsoever I happen to be at, I suspect a few novel angles of interest on the dynamics of the meditational practice in chanting will surface; I do not attempt to write an orthodox adherent's account.

The bulk of the original content to follow on the details of the practice, when taken to extensive length, are drawn from my experiences during my time in Vraja spanning 2002-2007, from times I was working my way towards levels of practice seen in the local renunciates of full commitment, dissatisfied with anything less. Most of the content featuring basic obstacles and diverse backward applications spans from my early years in ISKCON from mid-90's onwards, from rather unfocused times as far as meditative absorption was concerned.

To be continued...


Vegman working late said...

Very nice Anandaji.
Now, can you nicely explain to your readers who the guru that initiated you into the chanting of the maha-mantra would happen to be?

Vegman said...

Or, if you prefer, who was the guru or Vaishnava that first instructed you in the matter of chanting the maha-mantra?

either way, the person would either be siksha or diksha guru, depending on your views.

Vegman said...

Chanakya Pandit said:

Even the man who has taught the spiritual significance of just one letter ought to be worshiped. He who does not give reverence to such a guru is born as a dog a hundred times, and at last takes birth as a chandala (dog-eater).

I guess some of us are in big trouble?

Anonymous said...

I said: Chanakya Pandit is either a fictional being or a lunatic. What evidence have you got for his sanity?

Vegman said...

You are the fictional being.
What proof do you have that you exist?
You are just a figment of your own imagination.
You are a hallucination of a barnyard fly that ate some mushrooms.
You are not a real person.

Vegman said...

I guess the point is that one cannot just jump around, bounce around from one guru to the next every time he get's a wild hair up his ass.
You cannot just dump a guru like a pile of crap in the toilet because of some minor issues.

Neglecting, offending and disrespecting a guru is a guaranteed ticket to hell, even if it is via a "traditional" transfer station on the way.

See in you in Hell.
Have a fun ride on the express train.

Mr. Ananda said...

Oh yes. I also have rejected Jesus as my personal savior, cursed with disbelief in the power of partaking of his blood and accepting his sacrifice. One-way ticket to hell, yea.

I have also watched many a humorous television program a good Muslim would be outraged at, and without a doubt also engaged in many other activities that'd get me on the hit list. So that gets me down below too.

And then I have a few million Hindu hell lifetimes to kill away, too. I suppose I'll cut it just fine on top of clearing through two eternal hells.

And then there's the chance it might just be a bunch of booboo written to scare people into order. Or it might be a psychological dimension arising from the subconscious mind. Or it might be something very else, and the means for getting there could also be radically different.

Drop the box already, dude. Okay?

The person who first initiated me in chanting the Maha-mantra has since retired from his duties as a guru and a sannyasi, and departed as well.

That aside, it so happens that my earliest encounters with the maha-mantra and its meditative application actually just popped up straight from the inside without any recognizable external medium, so I guess that makes me a self-manifest son-of-a-bitch on this field. Wonder how many times I've offended myself, involved in all the cult stuff that I was, and what that's gonna earn me.

Aside that, your translation of Chanakya Pandit's is incorrect.

Vegman said...

I feel so blessed.
I have finally met a perfect person who is beyond all gurus, sadhus and wise men.

I have met a self-manifest entity who initiated himself into the Holy Name.

Wow, can I wash your underwear and eat the scraps off your plate Ananda?

You are so Holy that you even have Holes in your socks.

Ananda, let's face it.
You are only concerned about gratifying your senses now and spiritual advancement is not on the agenda.

It's ok.
You have lot's of company here in the realm of birth, death, old age and disease.

The supreme paradise doesn't need you.

Vrindavan will get by fine without you.

Have fun in your bag of puss, stool and urine.

Heck, you almost a god yourself.

You don't need Krishna.

Yes, Ananda, you are that body.

Isn't that so good to know?

Mr. Ananda said...

And with that, we'll start keeping post comments on topic again. It's drifting too much to keep the comment feature useful. From now on, keep it on topic folks, or else.

Vegman said...

Ok, so the "Nectar Name" is the topic.

My question is; can one taste the nectar of the name if he has rejected a guru whose shastric translations were the basis of one's coming to accept the Gaudiya cult as his spiritual path?

Even if the person is no more than a shastra guru, he is still a guru nonetheless.

Can a person abandon a true guru and still taste the Nectar Name?

Obviously not.

Anonymous said...

yes...and all this talk about hell is dead boring anyhows!

Bloom wrote a book called 'american religion' least he didn't go as far to say the warped religion. All this hell and stuff...

I think Ananda is close...its all in the mind - Veg.

Vegman said...

Hell in the mind is still Hell.
That point seems to be missed on some people.
The are people in hellish conditions all around us.
Hell is right there in front of our eyes.
Hell is right here right now for anyone suffering from the reactions to bad karma.

Mr. Ananda said...

Say, suppose I had rather little interest in the deity Krishna, nor much faith in the Vaishnava theological system, would it make much of a difference whether I would be relishing the name of the deity Krishna?

I don't know how you folks are out there, but I am definitely not in hell. In fact, I find that my quality of life has tremendously increased ever since I chose to disobey orders to conform to the Gaudiya framework.

Of course I do believe there are poor reactions for poor actions, and the heart of poor actions is in poor intent. I do not consider the breaking out of a stagnant framework to be poor intent, even if some feel disheartened over it. Therefore, I have no hells to fear over my decisions.

Vegman said...

Hell is a relative thing.
We might think we are quite fine and in a heavenly situation, but compared to much higher realms we are in a very low and hellish situation.

Even the hog eating shit thinks he has got it made and is enjoying life.
That is the nature of illusion.
In illusion we think we are happy when in fact we are very miserable.

One sign that you are in Hell is that when you breath out smoke comes out your mouth and nose.

Yep, where there is smoke there is fire.
There is a lot of fire and smoke in Hell.

Compared to higher beings in higher realms we are like worms in stool, but yet we are enjoying with glee our little positions in our ugly,defective material bodies and thinking ourselves quite content.

This is what they call maya in the Vaishnava shastra.

Sometimes in an attempt to get warm a person will get too close to the fire and fall in.
Then he is doomed.

Then he is in hell.

Vegman said...

Anyway, explore the possibilities.
Sow your wild oats.
Experiment with your freedom.

Then, if the Gaudiya theology becomes attractive again at some time in your life, go back.

I have never crammed Hare Krishna down the throats of my kids.

It's hard to imagine my kids even being able to read the books and accept all the bizarre concepts like "illicit spiritual sex" of the Vraja gopis and the many other bizarre concepts like "the moon is further than the Sun".

I raised them around temples and devotees and took them all to the temple for years.

They know what I believe.

If they choose that for themselves then that is good.

If they don't, I am not going to try and force it on them.

They are good kids.
I guess they are devotees in some small way.
But, I certainly never attempted to spoil their childhood by indoctrinating them into the Hare Krishna cult.

I am ashamed of ISKCON.
How could I try to cram ISKCON down their throats?

ISKCON is a pathetic bureaucracy that has lost it's way.

In fact, I am just a hermit when it comes to any Hare Krishna organization.

For me, it is just the beads and the books.

I don't care for any organized situation of devotees.

Outside the box?
Heck, I through the box in the dumpster a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ananda,

I'm reading a book called "Are Men Necessary?" by Maureen Dowd and one chapter she describes how in our patriarchal culture of contemporary post-modern Western civilization, seems as if the society/ people in general/ men/ dominant culture does not like to see women succeed.

She gives example of Hillary Clinton was not popular until she was humiliated by her husband having sex in Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky, then people felt sorry for her and on that goodwill from people, she was elected to her position in New York state government as a legislator.

She also gave the example of Martha Stewart, a business tycoon who invoked the wrath of men for her success and had to go to jail for "insider trading". But while in jail she was able to make half a billion dollars in deals to reinvent herself and became even more successful and popular than ever.

So made me think of the archetypal alpha female Radhika, it made me think of the incomprehensible parts of SB where Krsna takes her for a ride on his shoulders and then abandons her in the middle of nowhere, or his constant lampato philandering which is a way of humiliating the woman.

I was thinking that this tale of Radhika also show this characteristic that people in general/ dominant culture in patriarchal society does not like to see women who are successful, proud, bold, able to compete with men on their own turf and win.

It makes men uneasy and people want to see the alpha female's comeuppance, see the woman punished for being successful.

When you write your memoirs, you can address this issue, if you so desire. Especially you have a GF now, do you really think would be nice and polite to take Unna for a ride on your shoulders and then dump her in the forest to cry? Or do you think it is "the highest form of love" you start humping 108,000 hippie new age girls and that will be pleasing and nice way of relating to Unna?

Well anyway thought I would share that theme of "patriarchal culture hates an alpha female" and that type of a culture revels in seeing a woman humiliated.

Especially when I hear some kathas from certain group, the leader said that Radhika could do everything better than Krsna: sing, dance, recite poetry, play chess, debate, etc.

So the "comeuppance" for Radhika would be for Krsna to publicly humiliate her, constantly, by sleeping around, making up, promising to never leave her, then dumping her and never speaking to her again for 100 years, not even text messaging her or emailing her like Sean Penn can find it in his heart to do with Madonna or Brad Pitt can find it in his heart to do with Jennifer Aniston.

It seems like the tale of R and K on one level is just to teach women do not be an uppity woman: no matter how accomplished you are, a man can still trump you. And even examine the tale of Rama and Sita is the same story: no matter even how chaste you are, a man can still mess with your head, patriarchal societies don't like uppity women or to see them succeed at anything.

Except to become headmistress of school of the gopis (?) and daughter of mother earth (?)

NOTE: [mother earth: largest holder of real estate on the planet; is this like a female Donald Trump? and why men get pleasure dispoiling the earth, polluting it, etc.?]

Anonymous said...

" What proof do you have that you exist? "

Well, I can use my senses and look in the mirror. Krishna doesn't have that luxury.

advaitadas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Ananda said...

For the person who asked for my e-mail address: It's now visible on my profile page, one click away.

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

It is like this... Said Iam Thatiam Once for All!

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