Love has its own laws.  Go quickly...

.
Smile...
.and
.enjoy
.this lila!

Welcome to

Radha's
Krishna Links

~ Spiritual Enhancement Page ~
Adoring my Beloved Krishna!
The good hour
is passing.  Meet your lover.  Don't delay.


This page.
was last.
updated.
10.27.07.

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"By devotion one truly understands
what and who I am in essence.
Having known me in essence,
one immediately merges with Me."
-- Sri Krishna (Bhagavad Gita 18.55)

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OM TAT SAT

OM

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A TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE INDEX PAGE
Website Introduction
"My Story"
How to Surrender to God
Website Conventions

THE TERMS PAGE
Terms Used
Caution

THE LINKS PAGE
Links About Sri Krishna
Links to Krishna Scriptures
Links to the Ecstatic Poets
Links to Krishna Art
Links to Krishna Music
Links About Bhakti Yoga and Spiritual Longing
Links About Madhurya Bhava and the Kundalini Experience
Links to Krishna Organisations
Links to Other Spiritual Resources
Links to Vegetarian Resources
Other Quick Links

THE READINGS PAGE
Recommended Reading
Printed Scriptures
Other Spiritual Books

THE PRACTICE PAGE
Spiritual Practice
Focus: How to Alter Your Consciousness
How to Take Krishna as Your Lover
Physical Manifestations
Focus: How to Turn Sickness into Ecstasy
The Road Ahead
Focus: Who Is the Guru?
On the Spiritual Wounding
Devotees and Abuse
On Siddhis
On Surrendering Ego
Meditation: Transforming Into Union
My First Anniversary
Postscript
On Madhurya Bhava

MY BHAVA PAGE
My Madhurya Rasa Experience
Quotes on:
I. The Divine Lover

II. Divine Eroticism and Maturation
III. Whispers from the Bosom of the Beloved
IV. Divine Reality
Krishna's Advice
In Dedication
Credits

RADHA SPEAKS OUT
The Position of Women
Abuse Links
Aggressive War
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
On Sacred Sexuality
On Pursuing Krsna: For Proper Devotion or for the Ultimate "Lay"?
Fundamentalism and Sri Prabhupada
The Mystic and the Greater Religious Community
How Many Krishnas Are There?
The Nature of Love
An Exegesis on the Soul
A Letter to Ego

POEMS OF KAANTA BHAVA
Introduction
The Poems
Explanatory Notes
Radha Instructs Krishna's New Bride in the Arts of Love
Other Kaanta Bhava Links

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She kept thinking. Tortured by love, She couldn't close Her eyes. Inside, She was burning....

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RADHA CHANDRA SPEAKS OUT:

Addressing the Issues that do not fit on the Other Webpages...

There have been various issues related to Krishna consciousness today that I have needed to write about in my private correspondance with the readers of this website. While I, in my own person, am no authority, I can rest upon the general teaching of the scriptures and the general lessons of a living relationship with my Lord and perfect living Husband, Sri Sri Krishna Bhagavan. In acting to address the seeming wrongs in the world, all doers must empty themselves of ego and give the fruits of their labours to Him. It is in total surrender and the hope of achieving complete humility that I write on today's issues below.

None of the issues discussed below are covered properly or in the totality that such weighty issues require. None of this writing should be considered the final word on whatever particular topic is presented; simply take what you like and leave the rest. Their mention is presented as a service to encourage others to the seek the answers required for furthering personal maturity. Allow Krishna to speak to your heart to know what is right for your life.

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OM

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The Position of Women in the Krishna Consciousness Movement:

 * (graphic) Just one reflection of our many roles in the sacred feminine... * It pains me to have had to write and warn about the fundamentalism of ISKCON, as found elsewhere on this website. Such fundamentalism is often used as a cloak to hide oppression of Vaishnava women, even in the West. Yet, while true devotion and service of Krishna can be manifested in the various roles that have been ordained for both men and women, such a division of labour was never meant to oppress others in society.

While Prabhupada was very strict in his observance, he knew true devotion of our Beloved and recognised the unique place that both man and woman occupy before the Lord. The shame is that the form is often mistaken for the essence. Krishna cannot presently be seen with the human eye--only with our spiritual eyes! Religious observance is a blessing when it enhances our spiritual well-being. When it becomes dead form and suffocates the true living relationship that each lover of Krishna needs to have, then the offending practice(s) needs to be discarded. The problem is that all of us have different pasts, different karmas, and a different path to Krishna. One size DOES NOT fit all. Sri Prabhupada provided the groundwork by which many of us can find our ways to Him but each of us, as devotees of Krishna, must be aware of the condition of our own relationship and act to grow and mature it--not stifle it.

As with most orthodox religions of this Kali Yuga (our present age of decrepitude), ISKCON, Sanatana Dharma and other traditions, are male-dominated. It is far too convenient for our brothers to forget that we are to be treated with equal respect. For me, a mark of spiritual maturity is the ability of a servant of Bhagavan to treat all women as "Ma's"--with the same respect as they would their own mothers. Remember that those lessons that we do not learn and those aspects of ego that we do not yield will keep us returning here until we do surrender to Bhagavan. While His grace may intercede in our lives time and time again, Krishna seems to be the perfect gentleman--not going where He is not invited! All of us, male and female, must be totally surrendered to Him if we expect to be with Him.

We are all in our particular bodies in our particular circumstances of life to help us come to Him. If we are in a discriminatory situation, we must be respectful of the authorities that have been placed over us; at the same time, we can work behind the scenes to address the wrongs. If a situation is degrading enough, we can vote with our feet. Woman is not to be seen as subservient to man, but as a fellow servants of Krishna with unique roles as child-bearers, primary caregivers, and as a polar balance of energies within human society. And as pointed out elsewhere on this website, all souls are female before Krishna. It is only through His grace that we find ourselves in the societal roles that we do.

At the same time, I do not wish to abuse men in this writing. There are many holy men serving honourably in positions of authority throughout the world. Male-dominance of society has occurred with the permission of Bhagavan. Men do have certain advantages granted by nature, just as women have their own advantages. After a night of teaching, Sri Prabhupada told me in a dream, without any abuse of womankind, that "the human male mind is a star-quality mind". The failure lies in each gender not recognising the unique gifts and place that each has before God. One is not less than the other, but both are required to bring successful human society to fruition.

Individuals, regardless of gender, will always be a mixture of those traits that we identify as stereotypically masculine or feminine. The recognition of human individuality is another block Western society often fails to negotiate in assigning "appropriate" roles. Furthermore, unconscious individuals usually fear what they do not understand, leading to homophobia and the various "-isms" affecting our society. Ancient Vedic society actually recognised the third gender as a legitimate path with accepted roles to serve society and God. It is foolishness to think modern society has eliminated the need to recognise a large and valid part of humanity.

Whether the reader finds himself or herself as either abuser or abused, we all must bow before our Krishna and give up the idea of "I" (ego) as doer or enjoyer. We are His servants and must be about His business to accomplish His will in this world of maya. Give yourself completely to Him and you will be free from being either abuser or victim.

In America today, there has yet to be true parity between men and women. There are "glass ceilings" keeping both women and minorities from holding positions of authority. Regressive and reactionary forces driven by fear are asserting themselves in a society that seems more and more interested in materialism than in real betterment of humanity. True security is found not in abandoning our liberty but in holding tightly to those eternal values that most allow us to express our humanity and promote our maturation in the spiritual realm.

Since we are living in the Kali Yuga, we may actually see the progress so painfully made reverse itself. Yet, we cannot allow ourselves to fall victim to fear. The answer for the devotee is to honour our Beloved while serving humanity to the best of our ability. We can serve Krishna through serving the people in our lives and in our communities. Whatever gifts we have been given can be channeled into the service of our Beloved. In this way, regardless of the direction that society takes, we will ultimately find the liberation that our Beloved intends for all those that love Him. For more about Prabhupada's traditional teaching on this issue, please see the section covering his purport to BG 16.7 below.

May you walk in His service and in His Love. Krishna says, "The path of light of spiritual practice and Self-knowledge and the path of darkness of materialism and ignorance are thought to be the world's two eternal paths. The former leads to salvation, and the latter leads to rebirth as human beings. Knowing these two paths, O Arjuna, a yogi is not bewildered at all. Therefore, one should be resolute in attaining salvation--the goal of human birth--at all times" (BG 8.26,27).

"A pure woman is better than a hundred yogis.
Women are more open to love God."

-- Neem Karoli Baba

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OM

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Abuse Suffered by Devotees:

After Sri Prabhpuda left his body, ISKCON disintegrated and a number of crimes were revealed to the world that has cast shame upon the great work he started. Besides murder during the power struggles by the potential sucessors to the movement, the abuse of women and children also came to light. These shameful behaviours demonstrate a spiritual immaturity and ego attachment in Prabhupada's disciples that is often bred through fundamentalist practice and thought. Charitable consideration needs to be given to the fact that Prabhupada only a had few short years to set up this huge international institution. He could not realistically draw many mature devotees for leadership from the available pool of young, inexperienced Western converts.

If you have suffered abuse, please see the brief section addressing this issue on the Spiritual Practice webpage. If you are still suffering active trauma, please seek professional help for yourself and your dependents! As a devotee of the most high Lord, you are called to a higher level of existence--do whatever you need to free yourself of such abuse! Do not allow evil to be perpetrated against you in the name of religion. Krishna Bhagavan is light and in Him, there is no darkness!

Men have also suffered from domestic abuse. Yet, because such a situation is regarded as so shameful and such an assault on individual 'manhood', it is little known and little talked about in society today. Please, if you are affected by abuse, find help regardless of your circumstances. You do yourself a disservice by suffering in silence.

The hotline for domestic violence in the United States is 1-800-799-7233. They can refer you to women's shelters and other services in your area. Below are links that you can take to educate yourself on the problem of abuse and what to do about it:

In addition to educating yourself through the information disseminated on the internet, look in your local telephone directory for social service organisations and women's shelters. If you are not seeking shelter for yourself or another, then seek opportunities to volunteer in assisting others. Remember that all service performed for Krishna without seeking the fruit of such labour is as if you had served Him personally.

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OM

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Aggressive War:

This author of this website is not interested in arguing political positions. However, I am greatly concerned about the direction that my country is taking in initiating a war in Iraq. I will not argue against war as a general principle, as it seems to be a necessary evil in human history. In fact, Krishna urged the warrior Arjuna to fulfill his duty to battle his friends and family on the Kuruksetra battlefield (BG 2.31-33).

Although I view myself a believer in Gandhi's satyagraha teaching (non-violent resistance through the operation of "truth-force"), I can certainly accept the validity of arguing from a position of war in certain dire circumstances. While the events of September 11, 2001 was a call to action, the actions of the Bush Administration was a reaction of fear. Rather than taking this opportunity for addressing the root causes for animosity against American dominance in the world, the American government has created even more animosity. Mr. Bush even antagonised previously sympathetic allies through his challenge, "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror" (news conference, 6 November 2001).

While the American invasion of Afghanistan was a direct response to the supposed perpetrators of the September 11th attacks, many Americans have yet to understand the reasons behind the subsequent invasion and attack on the sovereign nation of Iraq. While the government of Sadam Hussein was certainly evil, no connection was ever established with the September 11th attacks. Rather, unsubstantiated claims of "weapons of mass destruction" were the only justifications the Bush Administration offered to the American people in the months before the American invasion of Iraq. A policy such as "pre-emptive war" is un-American and a violation of the principles of liberty that Mr. Bush claims to champion. The following quotes the wisdom of one of the American justices to sit in judgment of the NAZI regime following World War II:

We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.

--Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson,
Chief US Prosecutor, Nuremberg Tribunal, 12 August 1945

American Supreme Court Justice Jackson made perfectly clear before the world at the Nuremburg Tribunal that no grievances or policies can justify starting an "aggressive war". Let us hope that this present generation of politicians will not completely forget the lessons that were paid with the blood of many millions barely more than half a century ago. This is my hope as an American citizen and as a devotee who dearly wishes that lives are not needlessly lost in this present day.

In standing up against the evils of this world, it is far better to be for something rather than against something. It is better to be for peace rather than against war. The human mind has great difficulty in processing negatives and we will make better progress when the message is simple and the alternatives are spelled out.

I have stated, as clearly as I could, my position on this issue. I shall not respond to e-mails on aggressive war. Please consider the teachings of nearly all of the world's great traditions against needless war and violence. Sometimes, we really do need to "turn the other cheek" and "do good to them that hate you" in order to accomplish the greater good (Matthew 5:39,44). Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:7-9).

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Change the culture of violence!

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OM

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The Prayer
of
St. Francis of Assisi

Lord,
Make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying
That we are born to eternal life.

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OM

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On Sacred Sexuality:

 * (graphic) Mother Goddess mandala from a windowsticker design at http://69.55.234.128/index_html * Sacred sexuality is a term that has been brandished here and there on webpages attempting to unite permissive attitudes with lofty spiritual goals. I believe the very concept suggested by these words goes far deeper in the human psyche than many people would guess. Contrary to initial ideas that such a potentially charged term as sacred sexuality may conjure in the West, the reality goes beyond the mechanics of coitus, the attachment of sensuality, and the seduction of lust. While such things might be associated with a sacred sexuality, the term is better understood as a paradigm usually alien to Western religious thought. The reality is that sacred sexuality is an approach to valuing the presence of the Divine in the wonder-of-life and ecstasy-in-creativity. From such a perspective, members of a pantheon become representations of differing forces in the grand drama of creation and individuality a cherished but dispensable part of the sacred whole. Sacred sexuality is but one of many paths to ecstatic union with "God" and mortal life is only a step in the process of co-creation with the Divine Lover.

Sacred sexuality involves the recognition of tremendous energies involved in creation and maintenance of life in every form. These energies are sacred and for those that choose to believe in a God of form, is the recognition that these energies are a manifestation of Deity in the material universe. Krishna, as the original personality of the Godhead, claims His role as the initial cause and continual partner in the process of creation. As the All Attractive Being, He embodies the creative energy that draws all life to Him. As the inseminating seed-giver, He participates with us in the cosmic drama that will eventually draw us all to Him while fulfilling our desires as individuals in the midst of such a vast creation. Yet, His love for us does not culminate in some catastrophic recognition of Him as the cause of all; He shares this creative energy with many other faces and forms to complete the total harmony and variety of the manifest sacred sexuality: Nataraj (Shiva) as Lord of the dance, destroyer and creator in the continuous cycles of death and rebirth; Kali Ma as the fearless black, blood thirsty destroyer of ego and nurturing Divine Mother of pure heart; Radha as the vibrant juiciness in a world brought back to renewal at the beginning of a new cycle of growth.

He is the seed-giver and I am the receptive womb for His seed. The same energies expressed in human sexuality are those energies used in the creation of the material universe; those energies that knit together the body of an infant are those holding together the particle building blocks of matter; or that attraction which brings together lovers burning for the union of flesh is the same as that attracting a hummingbird to sweet nectar. The shakti energy that is awakened in the spine of a yogi is this same energy found abundantly in the surrounding creation. But, rather than enslavement to the vast illusive power that such energy contains, awakened human beings are positioned to consciously participate in the creative process along with the Creator. When experience and training allows an awakened individual to do so, kundalini energy manifests in the expression of siddhis in ways unimagined to the sleeping mind. The more that maya is removed from an individual's sight, the greater the potential that an individual has for conscious participation with the Creator in fulfilling the purposes of creation. Sexuality no longer is a goal, or an activity, or a means; sexuality becomes a sacred perspective from which the yogi expresses total union with the Creator and His purposes in the staging of material existence. Every expression of sexuality is sacred; every life lived, no matter how small, is sacred; every death a natural end to a sacred cycle of continuous renewal in which the Creator is the wondrous Lover in a dance forever revolving in the hearts of all participants. Human lust is simply the redirection of human desire for God toward God manifest in creation. Once awakened to this fact, lust no longer holds an enigmatic sway over the human mind unless that mind is immersed again in maya. The energies behind lust can then be channeled for conscious co-creation with Bhagavan.

The expression of my sexuality in my ecstasies with Krishna was just the birth of a new way of viewing and living my life. I now become a more conscious participant with my Beloved in His dance of all life. I now take hold of His hand knowing that I have a valid purpose and place in creation. He is my Lord and Husband: I am the yielding maiden, the blossoming lotus, the orgasmic, succulent yoni, surrendering all to His loving purpose. The more I yield, the greater my conscious participation and the greater is the expression of my sexuality. I can now make conscious love with Him in my interactions with creation and my fellow beings. Coitus with Him can be experienced in the energy currents of my spine or in the vibrant conscious actions made in His behalf. There is no longer any separation or distinctions in sacred sexuality; just the beautiful lila involved in loving my Krishna.

Sex is sacred. Sex is a connection to the Divine. Even the most materialistic person experiences this connection in the throes of orgasm. This is the gift we receive in participating in His creative function. It is only through surrender that we can truly know this. It is only in releasing the bonds of maya that we can know that there are no sins involved in co-creating with the Beloved; there is only the pain of attachment, karma in unsurrendered behaviour, and slavery to what is ultimately illusion. Ultimate individual fulfillment is through union with Him-Who-Is-True-Sexuality. The choice is ours. It is accomplished freed from attachment to the material and with a consuming desire for union with the Beloved. Aspire to do nothing but to love Him in all that you do. I have been pure prakrti energy (with true consciousness asleep within). In parting my lips and allowing Him to impregnate me, I participate in creation with Him. Now I have been awakened to purusha, or consciousness, and Love Him as pure soul. The divine Feminine in fulfilled in this way.

While expressing the sacredness of sexuality and placing the purpose and meaning within a spiritual context, I must respond to the negativity I have seen in some "traditional" teaching that casts sexuality as the most vile of human activities. It is not sexuality that we have to fear, but the attachment that such material experiences create within an individual. Such attachments can form in almost any material or sensual experience: drugs, eating, music, gambling, violence, sports, risk taking, and so on. Lust is the unconscious addictive attachment to sexuality. Ultimately, like any other material experience, sexuality is a dead end; we only find redemption in surrender to the greater spiritual reality in the divine Beloved. Sexuality may be used as a tool to help us to either the divine union or to material bondage (see the Prabhupada Purports to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 3.37). Every individual has to judge the matter for themselves. As Ramakrishna warned, there is great danger of sinking into depravity.

In the present age of the Kali yuga, huge changes are ready to manifest. Old ways of worship, viewing and conducting the world have long been choked by fear, greed, and unconsciousness. We may soon see vast expressions of His creative power in a world presently engulfed by pollution, decrepitude, and violence. Answers will come from unexpected sources and I expect to see changes in human consciousness in the coming years, especially among a significant minority in the West. Kundalini awakenings used to be very rare occurrences; now, spontaneous awakenings are happening on an unprecedented scale throughout the planet. Something unusual is happening. The changes in our world may occur with a great deal of pain and human suffering; remember that suffering is the result of unconsciousness. While the agonies of the world may be vast, we will not see the cataclysmic end of humanity so feared by apocalyptic messengers; our Lord is merciful and will see to our continued collective existence until the determined end of material existence. Please, with whatever name you know Him, seek Him and learn to love Him through those gifts He has so freely given us. Freed from material desires and opened through love so vast that all creation becomes renewed in your heart, you too can be on the vanguard of a new movement in human consciousness. Sacred sexuality and union through love (Bhakti yoga) are expedient paths to this end available to us in the Kali yuga.

I
want
you to have
this,

all the beauty in my eyes, and the grace of my mouth,
all the splendor of my strength,

all the
wonder of the musk parts
of my
body,

for are we
not talking about real love, real
love?

-- Mirabai

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OM

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On Pursuing Krsna: For Proper Devotion or for the Ultimate "Lay"?

 * Krsna supplies the needs of His devotees * There are very few sources, either printed or digital, available to speak of the mystery of Krsna's lovemaking with His devotees. Some of the few I have found have condemned the quest for the "ultimate lay" by materially minded souls in essays robed with righteous indignation and an authoritarian dictate for proper forms of devotion. Indeed, as Rumi writes, much of this condemnation may be a result of these religionists' own preoccupations with "penis and vagina." Yet, when we look at the ancient writings, we find that karma yoga of everyday life directed to Krsna, converted to nishkam karma, becomes precisely one of the vehicles through which the materially minded soul finds release from the prison of maya. In other words, the use of the very passions that chain us to the endless cycle of birth and death can become the energy used to free us.

I have seen this happen in my own spiritual journey. While not pursuing the ultimate sexual experience in Krsna (not even knowing at the time of His touch upon me that Krsna would even do such things to devotees), I was still imprisoned by my own passions and sensuality. In the total surrender of my soul to Him, Krsna freed me from my bondage by making love to me-- freeing me to truly love and serve Him, unencumbered by those passions chaining me to materiality. Instead of enslavement to the blindness of materiality, the energies found in the passions and sensuality of carnal life were redirected to the One I love and fueled the first truly intimate devotion I had ever known. Now, these same energies allow me to serve Him and open my heart and mind to the wonders of life in Him. I see more clearly, I know my place in Him, I know the operation of synchronicity in life, and the beauty of simply being. I have swum in the ocean of Love found at the foundation of every soul. Fueled by my redirected passions, all these have become possible in His grace and Love.

I cannot condemn those materially-minded souls that may be seeking the "ultimate lay" in Krsna since the very process necessary to obtain the goal will change all that seek this pleasure. This is the secret and the essence of the Kali Yuga: destruction of the outer to build the inner. While the ancient orders of yoga still work toward union and liberation, the chaos and devolution of the age require a portion of His grace unprecedented in the earlier ages of humankind. The message has been clear from a host of sages in this yuga: it has never been easier for souls to find salvation. This is so since the passions that have enslaved humanity for eons can now be used to free us.

This writing is not meant to justify sensuality for sensuality's sake nor is it an endorsement of left-handed Tantric practice; it is not. Yet, the Beloved is drawing many of His lovers out of this age precisely through the method of surrendering and redirecting earthly passions toward Him. Being the last of four cosmic ages, the time is growing short for embodied souls of the material realm. As Mirabai puts it, He is calling even the most "unlettered desert-tribe girl" to His divine service. Time and time again, the songs of Mirabai testify to intense devotion after the Beloved satisfies her desire:

Who understands these dark passions?
Wet with Shyam's love,
how could I sleep?
When it rains
does anyone drink from the gutter?
Mira says, Friend,
take this lost child,
At midnight she goes out half mad
to slake her thirst
at his fountain.

And in another song:

Five companions converge,
five senses,
to give him unparalleled pleasure.
One glimpse of his form
dispels anguish,
all my erotic longings bear fruit.
Shyam, the ocean of pleasure,
has come into me.

It is His pleasure that is the ultimate goal, Krsna having made His way into the heart of his wayward devotee. In loving the unsophisticated soul, Krsna creates the very longing that ultimately frees that soul from material bondage:

Having wet me with love
why did you leave?
You abandoned your unwavering consort
after lighting her lamp-wick;
call her a raft
set to drift on an ocean of craving.
Either way Mira's dead
unless you return.

The process of longing, surrender, and ego-death is now well known in the sacred literature of the mystical traditions in many world religions. Drinking from His fountain, the taking of Shyam within, is simply not just sensual enjoyment as the mystery of Krsna's lovemaking is only partially manifest in the material body. The orgasm experienced through His lovemaking is not the same as in carnal copulation. Though it appears to be similar, it is actually a different phenomenon, with differing pathways of energy transfer and pleasure. Once my own kundalini awoke with these soul-orgasms, I found my own bodily desire for carnal orgasm to be still wanting! It took some time before those energies trapped in the desire for carnal orgasm found redirection and release into His service. It was a process that converted this unlearned desert girl into a lover fit for His royal bed. This destruction of material sexuality is illustrated by yet another of Mirabai's songs:

She lost herself
on the devious path of romance and worship,
no one to guide her.
Now she's built
an incense and sandalwood pyre
and begs you to light it.
Dark One, don't go--
when only cinder remains
rub my ash over your body.
Mira asks, Dark One,
can flame twist upon flame?

When Krsna made love to me, I dropped all other desire for I was mad in my desire for Him. I was forced to let go of everything else to pursue the single desire burning my mind and soul-- Krsna! Once burned to ash, what is left is the spiritual being Krsna desires. This is the cleansing effect of such a conjugal relationship with the Beloved. This is the holiness inherent in any relationship with Him. The quest for the ultimate lay with Krsna can only end in a life purified by holy fire. The cinders of materiality lay at His feet and the novice lover finds herself newly born, freed from all that bound her to material life.

In this Kali Yuga, no effort toward holiness should be condemned, even if it appears polluted by sensuality. The criterion used to determine the truth of an embarkation on a questionable path is whether the way is a pretense at holiness to achieve greater sensual enjoyment or such is an honest attempt to find God. Any effort devoted to finding God in this Kali Yuga, no matter how misguided, will ultimately meet with His mercy. The quest for sensual enhancement with the pretense of holiness will only result in further bondage. Only an honest self-appraisal will answer this vital question for the individual seeker. Traditional devotees may attempt to educate and gently guide such seekers, but wholesale condemnation will only result in alienation from traditional avenues of devotion. Seek to uplift but not condemn. The age of Kali is the age of destruction. Love will always draw truthseekers to our beloved Krsna.

Rebuke and condemnation of so-called sahijayas and tantriks by traditional religionists is largely ineffective in this age. Rather, the efficacy of such a path becomes self-evident once the answer to the above criterion is manifest. It is all a part of the game of karma. Liberation from the cycle happens once the desire for sensual enjoyment is burned away either through years of disciplined yoga or the practice of nishkam karma. Real freedom from the cycle truly comes once the lover or devotee totally rests her head upon Krsna's all-encompassing bosom.

Sexuality is so boldly stated in this devotee's writing and approach to devotion-- and it is found increasingly in those places where a holistic approach is sought in spirituality. Sexuality is the manifestation of Krsna's creative energy within material existence; for this reason, it truly is sacred. For me, sexual congress is the beautiful, perfect expression of the union of prakrti and purusha, Shiva and Shakti, Sita and Ram, Radha and Krsna. There is no imperfection in this act. It is not "dirty" or degenerate. Our own lusts and attachment lead us to think this. It is only through the illusionary power of maya that most do not see the inherent holiness of it.

Maithuna is the perfect model of yoga. The function of the male is completed when joined to female. The function of the female is complete in union with the male. Perfection is revealed by the fruit of manifest divinity: the creation of life. Veiled by maya, most do not know of His role in each act of insemination. Once consciousness is involved in the sex act, participants can greet Krsna within intimate moments and know of His presence. This is why the practice of "left-handed" Tantra can be effective.

Yet, why is this "left-handed" Tantra so dangerous? Precisely because the presence of the divine One within the act is so compelling and maya is so illusory that participants believe that sex is the ultimate cause of life and pleasure. Yet, once the veil is taken from our sight, we see that physical intercourse truly is, as Prabhupada stated, like "the rubbing of two hands to relieve an itch" (purports to Srimad-Bhagavatam 7, 9.45). Indeed, in Vedic society of previous ages, children could be conceived through other means (see Prabhupada purports to Srimad-Bhagavatam 9, 14.46). What remains, after sight is given, is the model of perfect union between soul and Krsna.

When this aspect of our lives is totally given to Him, we will know for ourselves. We will be relieved of the perceived need for intercourse for we will know true fulfillment. As we loosen our grip on materiality, all that matters is the reality of union with Him. There is no longer attachment to that which once bound us. If you do not yet know this freedom, seek union with Krsna. If you are made to be His lover, the way will be opened to you and you will come to know Him in this intimacy once you have surrendered all to Him. Everything else will then fade into the background as all of life will be redefined by union with Him. Then, as you progress down the path, you will begin to see more and more clearly. The seed He leaves within will awaken you to consciousness and you will see with new eyes. All other sexuality becomes irrelevant.


Her eyes are enchanted by the beauty of Lord Krsna, the enemy of Kamsa. Her body thrills in pleasure at His touch. Her ears are always attracted to His sweet voice, Her nostrils are enchanted by His fragrance, and Her tongue hankers for the nectar of His soft lips. She hangs down her lotuslike face, exercising self-control only by pretense, but She cannot help showing the external signs of Her spontaneous love for Lord Krsna.

-- Sri Chaitanya, Adi-lila: 4.260

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OM

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Fundamentalism and Sri Prabhupada

 * Prabhupada on a postage stamp graphic * I am including this section merely to show His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was, by definition, a fundamentalist. While such terms are often used in mudslinging, I simply desire to point out that this pious bhakta and teacher was very traditional in his interpretations of scripture and would favour such teaching over modern scientific evidence. I am not at all interested in lowering the status of such a great man: all devotees of Krishna in the West owe him a great debt of gratitude!

The following examples from Prabhupada's writing and lectures repudiate modern scientific theory and evidence. Science is simply a systematic method for observing, testing, and understanding material phenomena; when properly conducted, science is unbiased. In the 30 years since Prabhupada's demise, advances in astronomy and physics have given an even greater understanding of the material universe. Modern "M" or String Theory is demonstrating that the universe may be far more stranger than anyone had ever believed before and that the key to resolving some of the contradictions between science and religion may be found sooner or later. Until such a time, we must simply accept things as they are, trusting our Beloved for the ultimate resolution of all uncertainties--only He knows and understands all things. The kind of Love we can have with Him allows us to live without fear and in total trust for those things beyond our control or understanding.

These quotations show that Prabhupada believed that there is only one sun and that all other stars reflect light as the moon does:

As with any dogmatism, we should take such teaching with a grain of salt. Galileo famously declared that scripture teaches how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. Not everything in scripture is literally true, at least as we would interpret them today. Science is showing that the universe is far grander than we could have imagined and that many seemingly contradictory positions may all show themselves to be true in the future. It is possible to believe in the law of gravity and that this property of matter was placed by the Creator. We need not create conflicts where they do not need to be. We must look behind each portion of scripture to find the spiritual principles to be learned. We should never be so literal in our reading that we miss the forest for the trees!

In teaching that there were inhabitants of the moon and sun, Prabhupada implied that such would not be life that we would recognise (Adi-lila, Chapter 2, Text 25). Considering the extradimensional possibilities of modern theoretical physics, life might occupy these very same spaces in the other dimensions of material reality (or as "higher vibrations" as some occultists would claim). My attitude in considering ideas that may seem too fantastic or beyond current science is to simply accept such things as possibilities but not necessarily as material facts. Krishna has shown me what He wants me to know and He will give me knowledge when I need to know it. The rest is unimportant (this is said with the great amount of appreciation I have for knowledge and learning).

Modern astro-physicists are now beginning to suggest that the gravitational forces of all of the "dark matter" known to exist in the universe will ultimately be responsible for destroying the existence of the known material universe-- actually shredding molecules and atoms apart so that nothing will materially exist. The suggested time for this is several billion years from now. Is this dark matter the presence of Shiva destined to bring an end to a life cycle of Brahman's material manifestation? (See Prabhupada's Purport to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 9.7). I believe, eventually, modern science will merge with the teachings we have received from the Vedas to show that there really are no contradictions between the material and the spiritual: material science is only missing information that keeps human knowledge from being complete. The writings of Sanatana Dharma and our sages will eventually be shown to be correct in most regards, including those of our dear Srila Prabhupada.

Prabhupada states that the only reason Krsna marries 16,000 wives is "just to impress in the history of the human beings on the surface of the earth that the Lord is never equal to or less than any human being, however powerful he may be" (Prabhupada purports to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.11.31). While he certainly makes a valid point, such a statement vastly undermines the real promise of this story. There are an unlimited number of ways the Lord can demonstrate His omnipotence. The point being made in this story is the fact that each and every human being can develop some kind of a love-relationship with the Beloved. He is capable of fulfilling the most intimate needs of individual human beings in an unlimited number of relationships. He takes care of every soul that comes to Him in total surrender. This is the grand vision of these teachings. This is the glorious potential we have and it says far more to my personal needs than any other possible interpretation. In fact, Prabhupada says this same thing elsewhere:

In considering the various flavours of religion, the most important thing to remember is the spiritual relationship with the Greater Reality that every human being can experience. Every other thing is simply peripheral and not as important as this single truth. We can and should take advantage of Prabhupada's vast pool of knowledge, but not at the cost of compromising our individual integrity or attenuating our relationship with Krishna. Whatever we choose to do or believe, do all things for our Beloved. If we do that, everything else will play out as it should in our lives.

In the second of a two paragraph purport on BG 16.7, Prabhupada says the following:

The text, according to Prabhupada's translation, is actually a non-specific condemnation on uncleanliness, untruthfulness and improper behaviour:

The Prasad translation provides an even clearer rendering which seems to better fit the context of the chapter:

Prabhupada spends a good portion of his exposition discussing the traditional Vedic role of women in society, notably on how they need to be guarded and cared for like children. No one disputes that this traditional view was a product of an earlier yuga (age), where men and society in general were more virtuous and observant of Vedic standards. Throughout his writings, Prabhupada urges this fallen world to return to a higher morality. That men are no longer virtuous and morality requires advocacy in this age of Kali demonstrates society no longer lives up to the standards of ages past. These very standards are almost universally used today to oppress and exploit rather than to edify those deemed less able. Until society returns to a more satvic mode of living, such fundamental expectations cannot be enforced with any real moral authority.

I do not impugn this dear teacher, one dear to Krsna Himself, for teaching us the traditional values of true Vedic society. Yet, in this age of decrepitude, we should concentrate only on what is the most beneficial of his teachings in improving society. Since all boats rise in the tide, the future conduct of society can then be adjusted for the perfection of dharma. Until this happens, we should not allow the expectations of tradition oppress and enslave fully half of humankind. It is far more important that all people find freedom enough to take shelter in He that is true mercy and justice:

Prabhupada states that, "Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18) it is stated that even the lowest, who are called candalas (dog-eaters), can be purified by association with a pure devotee." Human beings have far less ability to this most basic of human entitlements when they are oppressed and exploited by unconscious individuals. May all human beings find Him as the ultimate solution to the challenges faced by the world today. For more about this issue, please see The Position of Women section above.

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OM

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The Relationship of the Mystic with the Greater Religious Community

 * Septuagint fragment graphic * For many of us who are the Lovers of the divine Beloved, the day comes when we must face the more orthodox or even fundamentalist practitioners of our faith tradition. The usually small mystical traditions of major religions have almost always been persecuted and misunderstood, especially by the established institutional hierarchy. History is littered by the corpses of inquisitions, crusades, pogroms and reformations. Sometimes, variant traditions differ in questions of doctrine, producing ever greater fragmentation within a religion, as represented by the proliferation of Protestant sects within Christianity. The mystic traditions are often repressed by both orthodox and fundamentalist factions and may correspond to such Lovers of the divine Being as Mirabai, Rumi, and St. Teresa of Avila. These mystic traditions have nearly always been inaccessible by "the masses" and have always had their detractors. This article attempts to briefly address the issue of the relationship between His Lovers and the larger, more orthodox factions within greater faith communities.

It is not my intention to promote negativity and ill relations with the more orthodox faith community. We need always be filled with His Love. I am attempting to discuss reality as I see and have experienced it. In truth, there is no difference in morality or equality between the "us" and the "them". The difference is in the level of consciousness embodied in the greater religious establishment. Individual consciousness depends upon individual openness and where each person is on their particular spiritual path. Group consciousness depends upon the total consciousness of members and often lags behind that of the group's most advanced individuals. Unconsciousness always brings suffering.

Rumi, one of the greatest mystical poets and a Lover of "God" within Islam, defined the difference between the religious institution and mystical tradition. Those who are not ready for the mystical union often misunderstand the relationship between the Lover and the Beloved:

Moses and the Shepherd
Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying,
"God,
where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes
and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes
and pick the lice off. I want to bring you milk
and kiss your little hands and feet when it's time
for you to go to bed. I want to sweep your room
and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats are yours.
All I can say remembering you is aaayyyy
And aaahhhhhhhh."
Moses could stand it no longer.
"Who are talking to?"
"The one who made us and made
the earth and made the sky."
"Don't talk about shoes
and socks with God! And what's this with your little
hands? Such blasphemous familiarity sounds like
you're chatting with your uncles. Only something
that grows needs milk. Only someone with feet
needs shoes. Not God!"
The shepherd repented
and tore his clothes and wandered out into
the desert. A sudden revelation came then to Moses:

You have separated me from one of my own.
Did you come as a prophet to unite or to sever?
I have given each being a separate and unique way
of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.

What seems wrong to you is right for him.
What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship,
these meaning nothing to me. I am apart from all that.

Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better
or worse. Hindus do Hindu things. The Dravidian
Muslims in India do what they do. It's all praise,
and it's all right. I am not glorified in acts

of worship. It's the worshipers! I don't hear
the words they say. I look inside at the humility.
That broken-open lowliness is the reality. Forget
phraseology! I want burning, burning. Be friends

with your knowing. Those who pay attention to ways
of behaving and speaking are one sort. Lovers who
burn are another. Don't impose a property tax
on a burned-out village. Don't scold the lover.

The "wrong" way he talks is better than a hundred
"right" ways of others.
Inside the Kaaba
it doesn't matter which way you point
your prayer rug!
The ocean diver doesn't need snowshoes!
The love-religion has no code or doctrine.
Only God.
So the ruby has nothing engraved on it!
It doesn't need markings.

God began speaking
deeper mysteries to Moses, vision and words,
which cannot be recorded here. Moses left himself
and came back. He went to eternity and came
back here. Many times this happened.
It's foolish of me
to try and say this. If I did say it,
it would uproot human intelligence.

Moses ran after the shepherd, following the bewildered
footprints,
in one place moving like a castle
across a chessboard. In another, sideways,
like a bishop.
Now surging like a wave cresting,
now sliding down like a fish,
recording his
wandering state.
Moses finally caught up with him.
"I was wrong. God has revealed to me that there are
no rules for worship. Say whatever and however
your loving tells you to.
Your sweetest blasphemy
is the truest devotion. Through you a whole world
is freed.
Loosen your tongue and don't worry
what comes out. It's all the light of the spirit."

The shepherd replied, Moses, Moses,
I've gone beyond even that.
You applied the whip,
and my horse shied and jumped out of itself.
The divine nature and my human nature came together.
Bless your scolding hand.
I can't say what has happened.
What I'm saying now is not my real condition.
It can't be said."
The shepherd grew quiet.
When you look in a mirror, you see yourself,
not the state of the mirror.
The flute player
gives breath into a flute, and who makes the music?
The flute player!
Whenever you speak praise
or thanksgiving to God, it's always like
this dear shepherd's simplicity.

Here we find that Moses, the divinely appointed law-giver, happens upon a Lover of the divine Being who is speaking to the divine Being in an all too familiar way. For Moses, the law embodies formalisation of the appropriate respect and distance between humanity and God, with ritual instituted to bridge the assumed gap between human and the Divine. Moses sees no other way to interact with God.

The shepherd is an obvious example of a Lover of God. For him, interaction with the Divine One is an outgrowth of his deep Love and, so shaped by such Love, he is incapable of acting with the formality and distance demanded by Moses. Torn from this relationship by the chastisement he receives, the shepherd goes into the desert, grieving.

In the revelation he receives, Moses is told that there is more than the formalised way of interacting with the divine Being. He is told that the shepherd's love-way is "better than a hundred 'right' ways of others." In fact, Moses is told that, "The love-religion has no code or doctrine. Only God." The jewel of divine love needs nothing more for "the ruby has nothing engraved on it! It doesn't need markings." We can find this same sentiment reflected by St. Paul in the New Testament:

Paul struggled with the non-Jewish converts to the Christian faith who desired to integrate the law of Moses into their worship. The Greek word behind the English schoolmaster was "the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood" (Thayer's def. for paidagogos). The law only fulfills it's proper function in bringing us to the feet of the divine Being in faith and in Love. The law or any other part of institutionalised religion has no power within itself. It is only our own relationships with the divine Being that matters for the individual devotee (Romans 7:1-4, Galatians 2:19-21).

Paul reiterates his point in a "church" epistle but, this time, with a different emphasis:

Paul states here that the supreme attribute of the devotee is love! The schoolmaster, law, has been superceded by love. The law, belonging to the unlearned childhood of the believer, is replaced through the grace of God in the death of the devotee (see Romans 6:4-11). Love now reigns over the devotee (1 Cor. 13:3). This is the logical fate of the devotee since the true nature of the Divine is Love! (see 1 John 4:7,8).

Hafiz knew this truth in his simple declaration:

Why carry a whole load of books
Upon your back
Climbing this mountain,
When tonight,
Just a few thoughts of God
Will light the holy fire.

Suddenly the devotee is freed from all of the bonds of material life; each, in the words of Mirabai, now lives beyond the egoic self:

What do I care for the words of the world?
The names of the Dark One has entered my heart.
Those who praise, those who blame,
Those who say I am crazy, wicked, an uncontrolled fire--
All ignorant fools, caught in their senses.
It is true, Mira has no sense: she is lost in the sweetness.
To take this path is to walk the edge of the sword;
Then the noose of birth and death is suddenly cut.
Mira lives now beyond Mira.
She swims, deep mind and deep body, in Shyam's ocean.
(Bly and Hirshfield, p. 57)

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Rumi describes yet another difficulty between the mystic Lovers of God and institutional religion:

Two Ways of Running

A certain man had a jealous wife and
a very appealing maidservant.

The wife was careful not to leave
them alone, ever.

For six years they were never left
in a room together.

But then, one day at the public bath
the wife remembered she'd left

her silver basin at home.
"Please, go get the basin,"

she told her maid. The girl jumped
to the task knowing she would

finally get to be alone with
the master. She ran joyfully.

She flew. Desire took them both
so quickly they didn't latch the door.

With great speed they joined. When
bodies blend in copulation,

spirits also merge. Meanwhile,
the wife back at the bathhouse

is washing her hair. "What have
I done! I've set cotton wool on fire!

I've put the ram in with the ewe!"
She washed the clay soap off and

ran, fixing her chador about her
as she went. The maid ran for love.

The wife ran out of jealousy and fear.
There is a great difference.

A mystic lover flies moment to moment.
The fearful ascetic drags along

month to month. The length of a day
for a lover may be fifty thousand years!

There's no way to understand this
with your mind. You must burst open!

Love is a quality of God. Fear is
an attribute of those who think

they serve God, but actually they're
preoccupied with penis and vagina.

Rule-keepers run on foot along the surface.
Lovers move like lightning and wind.

No contest. Theologians mumble, rumble-dumble,
necessity and free will, while

lover and beloved pull themselves into
each other. The worried wife

reaches the door and opens it. The
maid is disheveled, flushed and

unable to speak. The husband begins
his five-times prayer. As though

experimenting with clothes, he holds up
some flaps and edges. She sees

his testicles and penis so wet,
drenching the thighs of the maid.

The wife slaps him on the side
of the head, "Is this the way a man

prays, with his balls? Does
your penis long for union like this?

Is that why her legs are so covered
with this stuff?" These are

good questions. People who repress desires
often turn suddenly, into hypocrites.

Potential lovers of the divine One are often restrained by institutionalised religion. Stuck in formalised ritual and mandated dogmas, nearly every Lover must step beyond the acceptable limits to venture into the realm of the Beloved. It is here that the devotee encounters opposition from the hierarchy. St. Teresa of Avila was persecuted by superiors and examined by inquisitors for blasphemy or heresy. St. John of the Cross was kidnapped, beaten and permanently maimed as a result of his relationship with the divine Being. Mirabai has been refused recognition as a proper devotee of Krishna by some schools of Vaishnavas. It is believed by scholars today that even Rumi's dear teacher, Shams, was murdered by those believing Rumi was being led into apostasy.

Such consequences are accepted by His Lovers in supreme Love. Often, a greater purpose is served as acknowledged by the shepherd in the first poem: "You applied the whip, and my horse shied and jumped out of itself. The divine nature and my human nature came together. Bless your scolding hand." In the second poem, repression is signified by the wife's slap upon the Master. Once we become His Lovers, everything is in His hands and our duty is to accept and learn what His has for us. Our only desire is now to ever dwell with Him.

In Two Ways of Running, we find that the maidservant portrays the devotee and the Master represents God. The wife depicts institutionalised religious hierarchy. At the first opportunity, the ready maiden makes love with the Master. Once the conditions are right, there is no power to stop this attraction and the impending intercourse. As discussed elsewhere on this website, sexual intercourse is the perfect analogy for the bonding that takes place between the Lover and the Beloved. For me, even the dripping semen and maiden's drenched thighs represent real phenomena in spiritual union.

Even while Rumi is describing this phenomena, he indicates that the jealousy of the hierarchy is fueled by their own preoccupations with "penis and vagina." I interpret this as meaning ego-driven moral conceit and a preoccupation with all sorts of material concerns as was the case in medieval and Renaissance Rome. Celibacy was and is still enforced on the Catholic clergy who, in most cases, have no amorous relationship with the divine Being. Thus, Rumi's observation that "people who repress desires often turn suddenly into hypocrites" has been confirmed in the plethora of headlined abuses by those less able to repress their desires. True Lovers of the divine Being do not repress their drives but redirect them to divine service. We should also note that when confronted by the wife, the Master, while beginning the expected prayer ritual, purposely reveals His 'offense' to the wife so that she readily sees what has happened. The wife's total lack of compassion and joy for the divine union demonstrates the lack of spiritual maturity claimed by religious institutions.

Such concerns are of little importance to the drunken Lover of the Divine. Everything else slips away as irrelevant. The Beloved is our focus now:

Whatever we attempt to discuss among the more orthodox within our faith traditions, we should attempt to temper in such a way that we will not be misunderstood. For example, openly discussing the facts involved with the divine lovemaking experience might be considered blasphemy by fundamentalists and discussion of this experience should be such that the orthodox can understand without offending their sensibilities. The awakening we Lovers experience is so much like sexual intercourse precisely so that we, as human beings, can understand the intimacy and portentousness of our relationship with the divine Being. Such discussion should be handled with care so that others who are not ready for such discussion will either be shielded or properly prepared for the topic matter. Misunderstanding is one of the prime stimuli for alienation and persecution by others.

Jealousy is another. The established orthodox hierarchical structure often acts to retard the abandonment of instituted practice for mystic union. An alternate spiritual tradition is a threat to the power and wealth of the clergy. As demonstrated by the mayhem in ISKCON following the death of Prabhupada, even the more well-intentioned of institutions are capable of inflicting great harm.

It has been my experience so far that, unless an individual is ready for the divine lovemaking and the spiritual awakening which occurs in the encounter, it is nearly impossible for to people to accept or understand. Even more liberally-minded souls tend to shy away after the discussion of this phenomena. Furthermore, fundamentalists who are presented with pure logical evidence from their own scripture contrary to their stated beliefs quickly excuse themselves rather than face the facts. As Krishna tells us in the Bhagavad Gita, until the individual totally surrenders, he or she is at the mercy of material nature (BG. 7.11-14).

We have already established elsewhere that Prabhupada was a fundamentalist. As with all revolutionary movements which eventually become accepted by a substantial portion of the mainstream, what was once a vibrant alternative to institutionalised practice eventually becomes institutionalised itself. Although Prabhupada was greatly learned, much of his teaching reflects the transformation of a liberating alternative practice into a fundamentalist institution. The repercussions of such a transition has far-reaching effects.

Consider this effect on a text about the yogi practising Karma yoga; he or she is moving beyond the traditional impersonal ascetic disciplines to one of devotion in which all acts are sacrificed to the divine Being:

The first reading of this text focuses the attention of the reader on importance of becoming devoted to Krishna and is actually in line with the concluding teaching of the Bhagavad Gita (18.66). Prabhupada seems to have the task of answering modern philosophies in mind with His rendering of the same passage:

Not clearly stated here is the implication that ritual, Vedic scholarship, and asceticism in all of its forms should be abandoned for the simple practice of devotion. Krishna maintains earlier in the same chapter that only the perfectly disciplined mind is capable of yoga:

The Prabhupada commentary to this same passage, while scholarly and entirely worthy of intense study, tends to focus too closely on the individual verses; thus, it takes each verse out of the context of the general message Krishna conveys to Arjuna. Ultimately, the greater context (of the surrounding text) tells us that the yoga of meditation is too demanding for most seekers attempting to reach liberation and that ultimate salvation is found in complete devotion to Krishna (BG. 6.33-34, 47, 7.1-3, 11-13). Such redefinition of scripture is a trait common to all fundamentalist schools, regardless of the religious setting. As the saying goes, we should beware of using the scriptures like a drunkard uses a light pole: for support instead of illumination. The fact that Prabhupada was sent to teach me shortly after my first raptures shows that he had reached his destination in the perfect service of Krishna. His path of denial of the gunas (instead of utilisation) and total dedication to Krishna shows that at least some fundamentalists do find the way. He considered focus on kundalini "nonsense" (lecture of August 21, 1973 in London) and I have never seen any reference that shows he had ever had any kind of a mystical experience. At least one school of Gaudiya Vaishnavas has even stated, "to teach one's disciple to sing the bhajans of Mirabai is equal to putting a kerosene rag in the mouth of that disciple." Yet, Prabhupada gave of his genius and even his last breath to the service of Krishna as he understood it. My own experience as a fundamentalist shows that all too many are so caught up in ego that the way is obscured. It is not until the religionist ultimately gives up trying to make it on their own and truly surrenders all that real progress is made. Srila Prabhupada was one of the rarer individuals who found the truth within a fundamentalist tradition. His success shows both his status as a remarkable individual and his great devotion to Krishna. I always try to maintain an awareness of these various observations in my own devotional study of fundamentalist literature.

The Bhagavad Gita actually sums up the destination of several differing paths of yoga. Most result in the supreme goal only after "after many, many births of practice." Later on, Krishna informs us that the quickest and most effective means of liberation is simply pure devotion to Him. Thus, in attempting to reach these ideals of balance in material life, one should not become so caught up in the details of religious practice that one forgets Krishna. Total devotion will ultimately guide all behaviour to the desired destination:

The point should be understood that the primary liberating principle in the life of a devotee is devotion to the Beloved. Ritual, practice unnecessary for the maintenance of this devotion, and ascetism all fall away in the life of the devotee who has made love with the Beloved. This is confirmed by Ramakrishna in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 30, pp. 584-585. We should not allow ourselves to be dragged back into the realm of ego-driven religionists. Instead, we need to do those things that continue to nurture our desire and love for Him--even if it means leaving all else behind. Each step in the path has served its proper purpose in the lives of His devotees (BG 6.3)-- often as fundamentalist and orthodox practitioners ourselves until we have learned those lessons needed to fall finally and totally into the arms of divine Love. The surrendered soul can no longer be restrained from His arms by the those that do not understand the charge to set "aside all meritorious deeds" for we become new creatures in Him! (c.f., Galatians 6:13-15). In the Lover-Divine Beloved relationship, we have totally given of ourselves to the Beloved. This is a learning process. We need always to remember that our lives, time, and resources are no longer our own. We now belong to Him.

This said, we should always be respectful of those striving to obtain the Beloved regardless of their current status. All of His devotees are worthy of praise and will eventually come to know what we know. Called to a higher place, we must exercise the same compassion that the Beloved has shown us; in truth, we surrender into His Love rather than compel the remnants of egoic self to do anything. We allow ourselves, if necessary, to suffer all that is necessary with what is left of our own mortality for the Beloved--all that really matters for us now is the One we Love so!

chart
This chart illustrates notable relationships between mystic traditions and traditional religions as
I understand them. This chart is meant to simply view subjective relationships and not value judgments!

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OM

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How Many Krishnas Are There?

 * (graphic) Mmmm! 'The wise...worship Me with all their hearts.' * Many of us, at the beginning of our spiritual journeys, grow confused over the differing faces of Deity as well as the person and place of the guru. How can we worship One without being untrue to the Other? How can we be Krishna's beloved when Kali Ma demands our total obedience? This confusion can slow our spiritual growth if we do not realise that all things are truly One in Him and that conceptions of separation and difference are really illusions.

A similar experience was noted of the early New Testament church when a confusion arose concerning who was a disciple of whom:

Paul is stressing here that it matters not which worker did what among the devotees. Indeed, it is only spiritual immaturity that led to the divisions in the assembly at Corinth. Paul had to feed these devotees with spiritual 'milk' rather than the true glories of salvation that he taught elsewhere.

This illusive power of maya exists to allow us the privilege of enjoying the sensual pleasures of material life and to experience the play that is life as we know it. We have mentioned elsewhere that nothing is truly unclean and the real danger in material pleasures and sensuality is the attachment that these pleasures usually generate in us. When surrendered to Krishna, even these activities will eventually help to free us. What begins as material pleasure bears fruit in the spiritual realm and usually ends all attachment to or even desire for the material equivalent.

We see this principle expressed in the chanting of His names, the joy of kirtan and bhajans, or in the simple consumption of food offered to the Beloved. These benefits are so since maya also serves to help us in maturation once we desire to grow past the transient pleasures and sufferings of life; maya forces us to seek a reality beyond the physical, develop faith in the unseen, and choose a higher spiritual path. More than that, we find that maya is actually part of Krishna's divine energy (BG 7.14). It is part of the curriculum in which we learn to become the beings that the Divine One desires. Material life is part of the school in which we, as child brides, mature to become the consorts desired by our Beloved. By taking our adolescent desires and turning them toward Him, they become the conduit by which we escape these drives to an eternity by His side (see the Quotes on Divine Eroticism and Maturation section on the Madhurya Bhava page for references).

Prabhupada wrote the following about the ever-changing nature of our relationships with Krishna:

Once we have grown past rudimentary spiritual principles, we see that our own desires and will often challenge the apparent will of the Beloved. Our self-identification, desires and attachments are usually personified by the ego. Since each of us have differing personalities, circumstances, and karma, the remedy to this problem often varies according to individual needs. Not only is the medicine different for each devotee, but so are the doctors!

There are many faces of the divine Being, doing their parts in the lives of all living beings. For some of us, the most apparent face of the Divine is Kali Ma, destroyer of ego and nurturing mother; Shiva or Nataraj in the dance of destruction and rebirth; Brahman as the unmanifest Presence; Krishna as the divine Lover; or even divine grace revealed in the wondrous interventions of the guru. Yet, if we look behind it all, we find there is only one source for these divine Manifestations (BG 7.21,22). Learning this is like finding the old man behind the curtain, pulling all of the levers in the motion picture, The Wizard of Oz. Instead of a bumbling old man, we find a young, beautiful, charismatic, erotic, and all-powerful Being whose desire is to have you fall in love with Him! He is willing to seduce you to do it! (Bhagavata Purana X, 29.1-4). He is the source of all things (BG 4.35-37), including all other faces of divine Manifestation (BG 10.39-41). Krishna says:

We are given the choice to remain suffering through countless lifetimes, blinded by the maya which allows sensual pleasure to remain with us unabated. Prabhupada wrote, "Krsna indicates that one who identifies with the illusory material body cannot establish himself in his proper identity as spirit soul. Bodily pleasure is flickering and intoxicating, and we cannot actually enjoy it, because of its momentary nature. Actual pleasure is of the soul, not the body. We have to mold our lives in such a way that we will not be diverted by bodily pleasure" (Beyond Birth and Death, Chapter One). We can choose to find the way out of the chaos and the pain of separation from our Beloved. Krishna provides this way if we seek it.

There is always a thread sticking out of the fabric of the universe: there always a clue that material things are not as they seem. Pull that thread to realise the implications of this fact and then look to find where it leads. It will always lead back into His loving arms! Once we have love for Him, we rapidly gain the knowledge leading to freedom from ego and all of the sorrows of material existence. Krishna says, "To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance" (BG 10.10-11).

For those of us called to be His lovers, our coming to Him is often circuitous and confusing. Yet, the passion and longing for Him that we are given serves His purpose! We are told that even for the gopis, this desire saved them:

A deep enough desire for Him results in immediate salvation! Indeed, the precise reason that He engages in such love play with us is out of His compassion for each of us (BP X, 29.42, 30.32-34). Even our longing in His absence serves this purpose (BP X, 32.21). What an advantage we have who love Him so! The Bhagavata Purana informs us that seeking spiritual advancement only for the sake of advancement is vain--real growth is in devotion to Him (X, 32.20, 21).

We need not worry which aspect of the divine One we are facing at the moment; all we need do is to trust that we are being eventually guided to where we need to be. It is almost immaterial which person of the godhead since the One pulling the strings is providing the Presence in our lives. Krishna married 16,008 wives not only as grace in the lives of each wife, but also as a practical demonstration of His ability to interact and provide for each of us today. Surrendering into His precious touch is what will allow the work to be finished in our lives and lead to ultimate salvation through Him.

May you continue on your journey unhindered until you know true fulfillment and ultimate peace by His precious honied side. My humble pranams to each of His other wives and lovers. Namasté.

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OM

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The Exegesis on the Soul

from the 'Nag Hammadi Library'
as translated by William C. Robinson Jr.

 * Nag Hammadi codices graphic * This text remarkably describes how my own spiritual journey has felt to me as I have searched for my Beloved. I have felt defiled by so many of the religious diversions I have taken to seek my true Love, only to find that He was already within, waiting for me to let go of my own vain reckonings. In reality, my soul had prostituted itself until I was ready to let go of the drama and suffering to find fulfillment in Him. He allows our defilement so that we will be truly ready to surrender into His everloving arms.

No one is to blame for this prostitution of the soul. We wander the numbing wastelands of birth and death until we are made ready for Him. It does not matter what your faith tradition is for once you are ready, the way is opened to Him. Nearly all of the world's religions have mystical traditions pointing the way-- as seen in the text below.

This text is part of the Gnostic writings now known as The Nag Hammadi Library. These writings provide a modern glimpse into alternative varieties of Christianity existent prior to repression from institutional Christianity. These writings include such mystic treasures as the 'Gospel of Thomas', the 'Gospel of Philip', and this text, 'The Exegesis on the Soul'.

The bracketed ellipses, "[...]", indicate missing text in the original source. I have replaced a few of these ellipses with my own words based upon the surrounding context; these replacements are guesses and have no textual authority. This writing may be useful for those of His lovers from a Western or Christian background. 'The Exegesis on the Soul' uses Christian imagery and texts which may provide new interpretations of these items for the reader; nevertheless, it reaffirms the madhurya bhava approach to union with the divine Beloved.

For the rest of this text, see 'The Exegesis on the Soul' at the The Nag Hammadi Library website, which has been excerpted from:

This text was downloaded from THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY edition of 'The Exegesis on the Soul' and has not been used by permission. The text closes by warning of "Aphrodite's treachery" (representing lust, sensuality, and sexuality), which leads the soul away from "the perfect husband"-- just as we are taught in the Dharma. Once He has made love with us, the "lust, sensuality, and sexuality" of the world becomes meaningless to us and we know the true Husband. We will no longer wish to prostitute ourselves with others.

Even as a teenager, I could not see how earthly marriage or paid employment was really any different from prostitution. I have had little ambition and little incentive to accomplish anything in life; instead, most of my life has been a hungry, desperate search for Him. Now, I work for Krishna and I do for Him: love for my Madana-Mohana makes what I do in this world meaningful and worthwhile. Giving even each breath I take as a gift to my Beloved removes karma and places me literally in His arms. The veil of maya grows thinner as I see my Beloved more and more through these moments of life. As I surrender each grain of time to Him, all anxiety and disturbance is removed from even the seemingly dire circumstances of life. Allow yourself to fall in love with Him and give each of these gifts to Him!

In my old mode of living, I have been pure prakriti energy. In parting my lips and allowing Him to impregnate me, I consciously participate in creation with Him for the first time. Now I have been awakened to purusha, or consciousness, in loving Him as pure soul. The divine Feminine within is fulfilled in this way.

Everything that happens to me is His divine Love; this understanding is the secret to ecstatic transformation of all experience in material life. Even the most mundane experiences in material life can become sexual experiences with Krishna! In thinking about Him, reading about Him, talking about Him, and seeing Him in the world around this "me," I remove myself from the mode of ignorance. In giving my work and the fruits of action to Him, I free myself of karma, both good and evil. In totally loving Him, I free myself of the mode of passion as it becomes the fuel of my transformation. What is left? Free of the gunas and of karma, I have no where to go but by the very side of my Beloved!

We live in a world half way between the lowest hell and the highest heaven. Having Himself called this world a "miserable" place (BG 9.1,33), Krishna provides us the means to leave purgatory. When we fall totally in love with Him, we are no longer of this world. Once He has made love to us, we need only serve out the rest of our time here, preparing for eternity by His side, dropping each of the attachments that hold us here. This is true yoga. Our time is now short and the self that had formerly been a prostitute is reborn into the sublime state of supreme Love. Aspire to nothing but to love Him in all that you do. Turning away from attachment to the world and surrendering all is how to know the Beloved in this way.

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OM

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The Nature of Love

 * (graphic) Krsna is Love without End * The truest form of love is the love of and for God. This is the purest love. All other perceived forms of love are only variations of this single truth. Love is what allows human beings to exist and without love, we all die. Love exists within the very heart of our souls and can be awakened through surrender of the egoic self and it's desires.

This pure love can best be described by the word compassion although this term does not communicate the fullness or efficacy of love. Love is truly spiritual and without attachment. It is what allows us to feel validated as living beings and to know of our connection to all other life and, even, of creation around us.

When one human being says to another human being, "I love you", that person is communicating the feeling of divine love felt when around the other person. The desire to be around the other and the attachment that forms between people is actually the selfish desire to protect this wondrous feeling we have experienced. A mature understanding of love will understand the nature of this attachment and allows the other person the freedom necessary to grow and actualize their potentials as human beings, regardless of the cost to self. Once an individual truly experiences and understands divine love, the self is offered as sacrifice to the Source of true love for the Source of divine love is the One truly known in love.

Passion and sexuality can be material expressions of love and can even be a ministry of love to materially minded or wounded individuals. Yet, passion or sexuality without love are indeed empty and are no substitute for true love. The danger of involving passion or sexuality in a love relationship is that of creating attachment and material desire outside of love. Only true selflessness allows us to shed our attachments to materiality; this is accomplished through the giving of these things to God. The giving of passion and even sexuality to God allows us to know true freedom from these things and can provide a means through which we can know God as the true Lover.

The universe was designed to echo divine love. The universe will generally reflect love back to the individual. This can be known once the mind is quieted and the individual allows the self to touch the divine Source deeply within. In surrendering to divine love found within, an individual becomes love incarnated and the true purpose for every individual can find fulfillment within material existence. Once an individual's true purpose is found and fulfilled, material existence is completed and the individual can then go home to God. What remains of life is life redefined as service to God. Heaven is experienced in the now and love is the expression of this fact.

A mature individual, knowledgeable of the experience of divine love, is not bound to the love of individuals, but knows God within all souls. This person expresses love through service to others and willingly gives of self for the perfection of God's will in creation. This can only be maintained by constant and total surrender of egoic self to God in both good and bad circumstances. As maturation is achieved, the experience of divine love is unhindered by outside conditions and even physical suffering can be blissful. All is given to the divine Beloved.

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OM

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A Letter to Ego

Dearest Ego:

I respect you greatly for the valiant attempts you have made in trying to lead our life together. You have done admirably considering the circumstances we have faced and depths of our sufferings. Yet, dear one, we must learn to yield more and more of ourselves now that things have changed so much.

Since we met Krishna, all of the rules have changed. We have found another way to live, you and me. It can no longer be just ego and soul. And what can be greater than to be in the service of our very Creator? Our very Lover? The One Who holds our best interest in the highest regard? And what better way can we meet so many of our common interests?

I know that our sojourn together is only a temporary situation, a marriage of convenience. Yet, dear ego, you have fought bravely and continue to do so, despite evidence that it is time to rest. It is time to let go and surrender to our Beloved. Everything He decides is best for us. Hasn't He proven His love for us by taking us to His very bed?

Ego, sometimes you have been a despot. Can you not see the offense you do in trying to take His place? I know there are times when you lie down in ease and take credit and great pleasure through serving Him. Yet, dear ego, you cannot hope ever again to take His seat within our heart. It is His desire that must now be our command and His loving attentions that will fulfill our wildest dreams!

 * (graphic) Krsna is Love without End *

So, dear ego, I must bid you peace and lay you down. We yet have a little time together, but you can only be the silent partner now. Surely, I can see appropriate times for you to speak up, especially in questions of self-sacrifice. Yet, you are ultimately a pawn in the wiles of maya and a mist that passes with the quiet breezes of night. The night is our best time for meeting Him, under the silvery light of a full moon. Krishna knows what is best for us. So rest, dear one, at His most beautiful lotus feet. Know that you have done well but now you will serve us best in quiet self-surrender. In the quiet, we shall know His loving ministrations.

Written with the compassion of Our Lord and Lover,
....Sri Krishna Bhagavan,
The soul of Radha-in-Athens

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OM

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O wondrous creatures,
By what strange miracle
Do you so often
Not smile?

-- Hafiz

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OM

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Happiness is being with Krishna (graphic--painting on wall)

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OM

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 * (graphic) Steal This Banner! *

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