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A DOWNLOADABLE E-MAGAZINE Vol II * AUGUST 2009 * Issue VIII

Meditation leads to Ultimate Flowering

Introducing various Masters & Dimensions of Spiritual Sojourn

TM

KRISHNA RASA LILA THE COSMIC DANCE OF ESCTASY

www.taoshobuddhameditations.com


MEDITATION TIMES A Downloadable Monthly E-Magazine

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A PRODUCTION OF www.taoshobuddhameditations.com Published by: www.taoshobuddhameditations.com Country of Origin: Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Chief Editor/Graphics Layout & Design: Swami Anand Neelambar Editorial Team: Swami Anand Neelambar, Taoshobuddha International Contributors: Hadhrat Maulawi Jalaluddin Ahmad Ar-Rowi Assistant Contributors: Ma Prem Sutra, Swami Dhyan Yatri, Sufi Lakshmi Sahai

In This Issue ¾ Editorial ¾ Rasa Lila

For Queries, Comments, and Suggestions and to submit Contributions, you can email the following persons:

Taoshobuddha: taoshobuddha@gmail.com Swami Anand Neelambar avatar411@gmail.com

¾ Janmashtami ¾ Shiva Gopi Gita ¾ Gopi Rasa Gita ¾ Letters to the Editor ¾ Krishna, the Eternal Mystery – Sri Chinmoy

You can also visit www.youtube.com\taoshobuddha01 www.scribd.com\taoshobuddha www.scribd.com\avatar411

¾ Glory of the Gita – Swami Sivananda ¾ Vipashyana Meditation – Taoshobuddha ¾ Whirling – a cosmic dance of oneness ¾ Venu Gita ¾ Taoshobuddha Responds ¾ Cooking – Taoshobuddha Way – Ma Prem Sutra

Also you can check the blog at http://bodhidharmameditation.blogspot.com/ http://www.taoshobuddhameditations.myeweb.net/ http://meditationtimes.myeweb.net/

¾ Krishna – the Mysterious Master ¾ Stealing the Clothes of Gopis ¾ The Divine Love-Play ¾ Poem – Swami Anand Neelambar ¾ Reflections on Life – Swami Anand Neelambar

In our Next Issue TASSAWURE SHEIK


MEDITATIONTIMES PublishedbyTaoshobuddhaMeditations Trinidad,Westindies

EDITORIAL AsthismonthunfurlswecelebratethebirthofLord Krishna with our main feature on the Rasa Lila Dance.Alsoduringthismonthwecelebratethebirth anniversary

of

Shri

Aurobindo

and

the

Mahasamadhi of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa – all ofwhichfallonthesameday–15thAugust,whichis alsotheIndependenceDayofIndia.

SwamiAnandNeelambar

 The RasaLilaisamostmisunderstoodaspectinthe episode of Krishna. It holds the secrets of transformation and enlightenment. Krishna is a central figure in Bhakti or Devotion, but he also the Lord of Vedanta – the highest philosophy of Hinduism. Dance your way to God is an oft used expression of many masters. And one particular master, Rumi has made dance his technique of transformation.  Nataraja is totally symbolic of the cosmic play of existence. If one can dissolve into dance one can become enlightened that very instant. Dance is movement, but inside his being, the dancer is unmoving.  TheepisodeoftheportrayalofKrishnaoccursinthe tenthcantooftheShrimadBhagavatam.Thisisvery symbolic as the number nine represents enlightenment and suggests that in order to understand the hidden secrets of Krishna one must gobeyondenlightenment.Thiswasthemainmission of Osho – the take one beyond the realm of the known into the dimensionless matrix of the further shore.Allmasterspointtothisfurthershoreandare themselves on this sojourn to the beyond. It is only out of their infinite compassion that they sometimes give a glimpse to us, the weary travellers on the pathlesspath.  WeatMeditationTimesaretryingtomakeasmany Masters and paths available to all types of seekers. 

Certainlyoureffortsaremeagrewhenoneconsiders the infinite realms of the various Masters and the innumerablepaths.  ThewhirlingdanceofRumiisalsomentionedinthis issueasitisaparalleltoRasaLila.  Many more aspects of Krishna are likewise introduced,butthesearemerelytohighlightthevast ocean of the life of Krishna. He is not of this realm and his realm is not in the scope of our normal understanding.IdaresaythatitwasonlyOshowho broughtKrishnatothedomainwherewecatchatiny glimpseofthe‘blueboyofVrindavan’.  “Krishna is utterly incomparable, he is so unique. Firstly, his uniqueness lies in the fact that although Krishna happened in the ancient past he belongs to thefuture,isreallyofthefuture.Manhasyettogrow to that height where he can be a contemporary of Krishna’s.Heisstillbeyondman’sunderstanding;he continues to puzzle and battle us. Only in some future time will we be able to understand him and appreciatehisvirtues.…Krishnaisthesolegreatman inourwholehistorywhoreachedtheabsoluteheight anddepthofreligion,andyetheisnotatallserious and sad, not in tears. By and large, the chief characteristicofareligiouspersonhasbeenthatheis somber, serious and sadlooking – like one vanquishedinthebattleoflife,likearenegadefrom life.InthelonglineofsuchsagesitisKrishnaalone whocomesdancing,singingandlaughing.”Osho


raslIla RasaLila


T

he Rasa lila (Rasa-lila) (raslIla) or Rasa

dance is part of the traditional story of Krishna described in Hindu scriptures the ‘Bhagavata Purana’ and literature such as the ‘Gita Govinda,’ of JaiDeva where he dances with Radha and her sakhis or friend or milkmaids. Raslila is a famous art form originating in Braj in Uttar Pradesh in north India. This folk art has elements of classical music, dance and drama. The term, rasa comes from Sanskrit and implies ‘emotion’ or ‘performance’. It also implies ‘juice’, ‘nectar’, ‘emotion’ or ‘sweet taste’ and Lila is a concept from Hinduism, which roughly translates to ‘play (Lila) of the dance (rasa),’ or more broadly as ‘Dance of Divine Love’. By taking this etymologic breakdown of the word literally, ‘Rasa Lila’ means the ‘sweet pastime’ (of Krishna). It is often freely rendered as ‘the dance of love’. There are different forms of Rasa or emotions and when translated into dance movements these become expressions or bhavas. These bhavas are important aspect of any dance movement. Rasa Lila is a popular form of folk theatre in the regions of Mathura, Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh,

especially during the festivals of Krishna Janmashtami and Holi, and amongst various followers of Gaudiya, and Vaishnavism in the region. The rasa lila takes place one night when the gopis of Vrindavan, upon hearing the sound of Krishna's flute, sneak away from their households and families to the forest to dance with Krishna throughout the night. The night Krishna supernaturally stretches to the length of one Night of Brahma, a Hindu unit of time lasting approximately 4.32 billion years. In the Krishna Bhakti traditions, the Rasa-Lila is considered to be one of the highest and most esoteric of Krishna's pastimes. In these traditions, romantic love between human beings in the material world is seen as merely a diminished, illusionary reflection of the soul’s original, ecstatic spiritual love for Krishna, God, in the spiritual world. This concept of Divine Love is not only misunderstood instead ridiculed by baser minds as well. Those who have not experienced love beyond the biology can never understand why Hindu mysticism or Bhakti movement propagated this aspect of love. Apparently it has the same


intensity of emotions as experienced in ordinary love yet still there is a vast difference. This aspect transcends the finite beyond the boundaries of the finiteness. In the Bhagavata Purana it is stated that whoever faithfully hears or describes the Rasa lila attains

Krishna’s pure loving devotion (Suddha-bhakti or pure devotion). Just as a child plays at its own will with its reflection in a mirror, so too with the help of His Yogamaya Krishna sported with the Gopis, who were like many shadows of His own form.

Rasa Lila and Manipuri dance style In the tradition of Vaishnavism of Manipur Rasa Lila is depicted within classic Manipuri dance, and revolves around the same story of the love between Krishna and the cowherd girls and tells the divine love story of Krishna, the bhagavan and Radha, his divine beloved. This form of dance was started by Bhagya Chandra in 1779 and in some parts of India is still performed every year on Krishna Janmashtami (the festival to celebrate Krishna’s birthday). According to different traditions, the rasa-lila is performed either by boys and girls, or by boys only. The dance is performed holding dandi (plural of danda) or sticks and is often accompanied with folk songs and devotional music. This form is very popular in Gujrat region of India. The Traditional Rasa Lila performances in Vrindavan are famous throughout the Vaisnava world as an experience of the spiritual world. Rasa Lila performance was started by Swami Sri Uddhavaghamanda Devacharya in the early 15th Century at Vamshivata in Vrindavan, Mathura. He was a prominent saint of the Nimbarka tradition, and disciple of the world-renowned Swami Sri Harivyasa Devacharya. The Vani literature of Vraja is the transcription of the songs that were heard by Swami Harivyasa Devacharya and his Guru, Swami Shri Shribhatta as they meditated on the Nitya Lila of Shri Radha Krishna. These songs describe the eternal spiritual abode of Shri Radha Krishna, the Sakhis and Nitya Vrindavana Dham or Nikunja Dham.

As many devotees of that time could not understand the Vraja language, Swami Uddavaghamanda Devacharya trained his Brahmachari students to play the parts that appeared in the songs in order to get a visual representation of the Lila that was being described. Many were sceptical of this, and attempted to foil the first enactment. However, at the conclusion of the first Rasa Lila, it is said, the Lord Himself appeared and gave the actors his own Crown, and decreed that whenever a qualified actor was to take the part of the Lord, from the moment he put on the crown on his head, it should be understood that he represents the Lila potency of God, and treated with due respect. Shri Radha and Krishna shall be known as Shri Radha Rasavihari. Since then, the traditional form has remained with actors who are young Brahmacharis. They will join a group led by the Swami of that group. The music remains the typical Dhrupada style of the Vraja Acharyas who wrote the songs they heard to the accompaniment of Sitar and Pakhawaj and the songs are sung in Vraja Language, a forerunner to modern Hindi. In recent times, many have taken advantage of the religious sentiments and have begun mixing this ancient art, and for popularity changed the music to popular day to day music and beats. Yet still there are a number of dedicated few who seek to


preserve the traditional form of devotional art known as Rasa Lila. Raslila is associated with Radha and Krishna and their divine love. It is a joyous circular dance of Sri Krishna and his playmates. Today we have villagers in India taking part in Raslila and depicting various stories of Radha and Krishna through dance, music and drama. It also portrays Krishna’s association with the milkmaids or gopis of the village. It shows how Krishna casts a spell on the gopis who wanted him to be their dance partner. Current form of Raslila has a basic script which has to be followed, but it has enough scope for improvisation as well. Though the emphasis of Raslila is on ‘darshan’ or the visual appeal, it is important to capture the ‘bhava’ or the sentiment. This is done through music, dance and drama enacted by the actors. The various ‘raasas’ or dramatic flavors like friendship, conjugal love, parental love, amazement, compassion, humour, chivalry, fury, fear and dread are expressed through this traditional folk form. Thus a variety and versatility is provided to this dance form. The range of the villagers who perform Rasalila is quite vast. They perform legends that portray

different stages of Krishna’s youth. In some areas of Uttar Pradesh Rasalila is performed only by Brahmin boys in the age group of 13 to 14 years. Even now, many roles of sakhis or mother of Radha and Krishna are performed by men disguised as women. Rasalila is also performed by mobile troupes moving from village to village. A traditional Rasalila usually lasts for three and a half hours. Rasalila in Mathura is of special significance and forms an important part of the celebrations of Janmasthami. It is important to know about Rasalila, which is basically a musical drama, whose storyline revolves around the different important events from the childhood of Lord Krishna. There are special mentions in the Bhagwat Purana of Rasalila. The different pranks that Lord Krishna used to play with the village girls, the gopis, form the base of the Raaslila. Bhagwat Purana also mentions how Lord Krishna used to perform raas with the gopis on the banks of blue Yamuna River. There is a belief that the gopis, after being separated from Lord Krishna, used to recollect the divine incidents from the life of Lord Krishna and enact them. These performances later came to be known as Raaslila. This is how the concept of Raaslila gained in its importance.

There is not really so much difference between Knowledge (Jnana) and Love (Bhakti) as people sometimes imagine. We shall see as we go on, that in the end they converge and meet at the same point.….The one great advantage of Bhakti is that it is the easiest, and the most natural way to reach the great divine end in view; its great disadvantage is that in its lower forms it often times degenerates into hideous fanaticism….This kind of love is somewhat like the canine instinct of guarding the master’s property from intrusion; only, the instinct of the dog is better than the reason of man, for the dog never mistakes its master for an enemy in whatever dress he may come before it. Again, the fanatic loses all power of judgment. Personal considerations are in his case of such absorbing interest that to him it is no right or wrong; but the one thing he is always particularly careful to know is, who says it. Swami Vivekananda


VARIOUS ASPECTS OF RASALILA Sanjhee: This is the colourful art of decorating the ground with flowers. The story goes that Sri Krishna in order to please Radha, decorated the floor with flowers one evening and thereafter this art was known as Sanjhee. Rasalila: According to the Bhagwat Purana, Sri Krishna along with the gopis had danced the Raas on the banks of the Yamuna at Vrindavan. When the gopis felt conceited about Lord Krishna dancing with them, he disappeared from their midst. In the agony of separation from the beloved Krishna, the gopis recalled and enacted his lilas (divine episodes of his life) which in course of time came to be known as the Rasalila. Charkula: This is a traditional folk dance of Braj, where a female dancer balances a column of lighted lamps over her head while dancing. The

charkula, a tapered wooden column with four to five circular tiers has earthen lamps on each level. The number of lamps can range from 51 to 108 at times. The dancer with her face veiled, moves with swift, graceful movements while balancing the 40 to 50 kilogram charkula on her head. A dramatic dance that is visually attractive, it is performed on the Dooj of Holi, to the accompaniment of Rasiya songs rendered by the men folk. Rasiya: This is the rich tradition of folk-songs that is found in the Braj area. Rasiya songs describe the love of the divine couple Radha and Sri Krishna. It is an inseparable part of the Holi celebrations and all other festive occasions at Braj. The Rasiya is sung to the rhythm of huge drums, locally known as bumb.

The Real Basis There is only one explanation. And that is, there is one common Living Reality in all of us which furnishes the common inner bond. Our philosophy calls it Atma. We love and serve one another not because of the external relations, but because of the community of that Atma. Yajnavalkya tells Maitreyi: (O Maitrey! Man is not loved (by wife) because he is the husband, but because of the Atma in him) It is in this sense, i.e,, the same spirit being immanent in all, that all men are equal. Equality is applicable only on the plane of the Supreme Spirit. But on the physical plane the same Spirit manifests itself in a wondrous variety of diversities and disparities.

According to our philosophy, the very projection of the Universe is due to a disturbance in the equilibrium of its three attributes – sattva, rajas and tamas – and if there is a ‘gunasamya’, perfect balance of the three attributes, then the Universe will dissolve back to the Unmanifest State. Thus, disparity is an indivisible part of nature and we have to live with it. Our efforts should be only to keep it in limits and take away the sting born out of it.

Sri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar


Janmashtami

‘Gokulashtami’ or ‘Krishna Jayanti’ or ‘Janmashtami’ marks the celebration of the birth of Sri Krishna in the month of July-August. The entire festival is celebrated with great fervor. All the temples are decorated with devotees visiting the temples. Quite often the décor of these temples is worth admiring and beyond imagination. Celebrations are held over two days. However the celebration in temples continues for weeks. The first day is Krishnashtami or Gokulashtami. The second day is called Kalastami or more popularly Janmashtami. Krishna was born on Ashtami day or the eighth day after Raksha Bandhan during the Hindu month of SHRAVAN or rainy season. This falls in July – August. As the story goes he was born in the dark half of the month and at the darkest hour of midnight. But the birth of Vishnu's incarnation was to bring joy and give security to the suffering humanity.

He is considered to be one of Lord Vishnu's most glorious incarnations. He is popularly known as a naughty child, an inspired cowherd, a destroyer of demons, an enthralling flute-bearer and flute player, a divine lover, and a clever diplomat - all rolled in one. He is also considered to be the Hindu God of Music and is the patron god of Indian musicians. Krishna is always shown with his flute or ‘Bansuri’. Krishna is also known as Govinda, Gopala and Kanhaiya. Krishna is Lord Vishnu’s eighth avatar (incarnation) on earth. The main object of this incarnation of Vishnu as Krishna was to destroy the cruel King Kansa of Mathura. Kansa, the king of Mathura was a very cruel tyrant. His tyranny spared no one, even the sages had to bear the brunt of this. Finally the Gods could tolerate no more and in a dream Kansa was told that his evil reign would be brought to an end by


his sister Devaki’s son who would kill him. The cowardly tyrant immediately threw his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudev in prison so that he could kill all the sons born to Devaki. In captivity Devaki bore six sons, each of whom were promptly killed by Kansa. The seventh pregnancy was transferred mystically to Rohini who was the first wife of Vasudev. Out of this pregnancy Balram was born. Although it was Rohini who bore the pregnancy however it was Yashoda who brought up Balram as the elder brother of Krishna. When Devaki gave birth to her eighth child, the newly born baby changed himself into the form of Vishnu and commanded Vasudev to carry him to Nand gaon and place him besides Yasodha. That night the prison guards fell into a deep slumber and the doors were unlocked. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Vasudev slipped out of the prison and whisked away the God-child to the safety a neighboring kingdom which was ruled by king Nanda. King Nanda’s domain lay across the Yamuna River. At that time the river Yamuna was high, but when Baby Krishna’s feet touched the waters, the waters parted making a channel for Vasudev to pass. He was also asked to bring back the baby girl whom Yashoda had delivered. Vasudev brought back the baby girl. Seeing the baby girl, the enraged King Kansa smashed her on the wall but

she escaped his hands and flew away to heaven announcing –‘Beware, your killer is alive’. At Gokul, under king Nanda’s protection, Krishna got the loving affection of King Nanda's Queen Yashoda whom Krishna looked upon as a mother. Days passed with fun and frolic, while the childKrishna grew up. Krishna grew up happy in Nandgaon amongst cowherds. His flute-playing enthralled the young girls or ‘gopis’ who danced around him. The cows gathered with his sweet flute playing. But one day rumors reached Kansa that Devaki’s son had somehow escaped his clutches and was living in Gokul. You will notice that the theme of ‘Krishna with his Gopis’ is a favourite theme for painting among many Rajasthani paintings. Krishna was ideal in all his human relationships - a darling son to his parents, an endearing friend, a devoted disciple, a loving husband and a trusted brother. There are many stories that tell about his superhuman qualities and mystical achievements. In spite of this Krishna never appeared distant to any of his fellow human beings. In fact he was dear to them than their own nearest kith and kin. The shadow of his greatness never marred these bonds of the heart. To the Hindu, he is the supreme statesman, warrior, hero, philosopher, psychologist, teacher and god himself.

Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita A major event in Krishna’s later life was that he was the adviser to the Pandavas during the Great Mahabharat War between the Pandavas and Kauravas. He was Arjuna’s charioteer during the battle.. His teachings to Arjuna during this epic war are known as ‘Bhagwad Gita’ itself which means ‘the song of the divine’. The Bhagwad Gita is written in the form of a spiritual dialogue between Krishna and Arjun. It has 700 verses and captures the

essential teachings of the ‘Upanishads’ through 18 chapters. No other scriptural text propounds various paths of transformation in such a profound and yet such a concise and easy manner for the common man to understand and comprehend as the Bhagwad Gita. The setting of the Gita is also wonderfully unique set in the Kurukshetra or battlefield representing the eternal battlefield of the human soul.


Janmashtami Celebrations The state of Gujarat is the abode of Krishna. The town of Dwarka comes alive, with major celebrations and hordes of visitors. The temples of Vrindavan witness an extravagant and colorful celebration on this occasion. Celebrations are held on a grand scale in all Krishna temples all over India, especially the ones in Vrindavan, Mathura in the state of Uttar Pradesh and in Dwaraka in the state of Gujarat. Other regionally famous Krishna temples also celebrate Janmashtami with pomp and splendor. Celebrations are also held in many Hindu Temples in the US. Like the Krishna Janmashtmi Celebration at Barsana Dham and Shree Rajeshwari Radha Rani Temple in Texas. Many more Hindu Temples around the US celebrate this festival. On this auspicious day of Janmashtami the idol of infant Krishna is bathed at midnight and is placed in a cradle. It is then adorned with flowers, jewellery and a small ‘mukut’ or crown. It is then placed in a cradle. Everyone swings the cradle to the tune of bhajans or songs of praise. The atmosphere is filled with joy and jubilation as everyone rejoices the birth of Vishnu’s incarnation that has been born to give security to the suffering

humanity. Then ‘Naivedya’ is offered to god and then distributed to all. This Naivedya or prasaad is a mixture of puffed rice, milk, curds and sugar. In addition, plenty of milk products especially butter, which was Sri Krishna's favorite childhood food, is given as offerings. A wide variety of fruits are also offered to god. Plenty of Indian sweets are made during this festival. Among these are Laddus, Payasam or Kheer, Shrikhand and so on. Exactly at midnight, Krishna’s birth is announced with ringing of bells and blowing of conch shells. Many women observe fast for the whole day and partake food only after Krishna’s birth. In temples ‘Bhajans’ - recitation of devotional songs and ‘Kirtans’ - religious discourses - start early in the evening and continue till midnight - the hour of the Lord’s birth. Singing and music continue throughout the night. The following morning ‘NAND-MAHOTSAV’ is celebrated in praise and gratitude to Nand, the ruler of the cowherds of Nandgaon where Krishna grew up and lived in his childhood.

Celebrations at homes In the houses, mango leaves are tied to the doorways to mark the auspicious occasion. Colorful ‘Rangolis’ or designs are drawn on the front yard. Inside the house, a small wooden ‘mandap’ is erected and decorated with flowers and plantain leaves. An idol of a crawling baby Krishna is placed in a silver cradle which is then placed in the mandap. Krishna’s idol is decorated with flowers and a crown and jewelry at times. Most families keep a ‘vrat’or fast on this day. The fast is done all day and then one meal is had during the day. This is known as phalar, and consists of

fruit, mithai, curd, (kuttu) Singhare-ki-Puri. This phalar is taken in the afternoon (around 2-3 p.m.) along with tea and coffee. During this fast, consumption of tea and coffee is not forbidden and can be taken at any time of the day. In the evening, the family members gather together and sit down in the decorated room and sing ‘bhajans’ or devotional songs in praise of Krishna, like ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare.’


Om jaya jagadesha hare, Swami jaya jagadeesha hare Bhakta janana ke sankata, Deva janana ke sankata Kshana ][ mei dura kare,Om jaya jagadesha hare Jo dhyawei phala pawei, Dukha veenashei manaka Swami dukha veenashei manaka, Sukah sampati ghara awei Sukah sampati ghara awei, Kasta mitei tana ka Om jaya jagadesha hare Mata pita tuma mere, Sharana gahoon kisakee Swami sharana gahoon kisakee, Tuma binna aura nadooja Tuma binna aura nadooja, Asha karoon jisakee Om jaya jagadesha hare Tuma poorana paramatma, Tuma antarayamee Swami tuma antarayamee, Para Brahma parameshwara Para Brahma parameshwara, Tuma sub ke swami Om jaya jagadesha hare Tuma karuna ke sagara, Tuma palana karata Swami tuma palana karata, Mein sewaka tuma swami Mein sewaka tuma swami, Kripa karo bharta Om jaya jagadesha hare Tuma ho ek agochara, Subake parana pati Swami subake parana pati, Kisa bidhi miloon daya maya Kisa bidhi miloon daya maya, Tumako mein kumati Om jaya jagadesha hare Deena bandhu dukha harta, Tuma rakshaka mere Swami tuma rakshaka mere, Apaney haatha uthao Apaney haatha uthao, Dwara para tere Om jaya jagadesha hare Vishaya vikaro mitao, Papa haro deva Swami papa haro deva, Shradha bhakti barhao Shradha bhakti barhao, Santana ke seva Om jaya jagadesha hare Jaya jagadesha hare, Prabu jaya jagadeesha hare Bhakta janana ke sankata, Deva janana ke sankata Kshana mei doora kare, Om jaya jagadesha hare Om jaya jagadesha hare

The birth of Krishna is welcomed at midnight by the gentleman or the lady of the house by applying the teeka and then doing puja to Krishna. Prasad and ‘charnamrit’ are then distributed to all present.


Dahi handi This most popular ceremony of Dahi-handi takes place on the second day of celebrations. The celebration of Krishna’s birth is also known as ‘Dahihandi’. An earthen pot or ‘matka’ or ‘handi’ filled with curds, milk, curds, butter, honey, fruits and ‘jvari’ is tied from a high rope about 20 to 40 feet high. The rope also has prize money tied to it. This prize money is distributed among those who participate in the building the pyramid. It is a spectacular sight to see. Young men form a human pyramid to break the pot. To do so they climb, constructing a human pyramid by standing over each other's shoulders till the pyramid is tall enough to enable the person at the top to reach the pot and claim the contents after breaking it.

A popular image of Krishna was and still is......Krishna stealing dahi or butter from an earthen pot. During his childhood, the naughty and adventurous Lord Krishna along with his mates used to raid the houses of his neighbors in search of milk and butter; they too would build a human pyramid and plunder the pots of milk and butter. This ceremony replicates Krishna’s love for milk and butter. Once the pot is broken, the contents are eaten as ‘prasad’ amidst acclamations of ‘Govind’ which is another name for Krishna.

Rasa Lila As Krishna loved song and dance, one of the main celebrations during this festival is ‘RASLILA’. According to the Bhagvat Purana, Krishna along with the gopis had danced the Raas on the banks of the Yamuna at Vrindavan. When the gopis felt conceited about Krishna dancing with them, he disappeared from their midst. In the agony of separation from their

beloved Krishna, the gopis recalled and enacted his lilas or divine episodes of his life which in course of time came to be known as the Rasalilas. The Dandiya or Garba dances of today originated from that ‘Rasalila in Vrajbhoomi’ on banks of river Yamuna.


SHIVA GOPI GITA he entire Bhakti movement is divided into

T

shaivite and had taken the vow not to see any other

Shaivite and Vaishnavite. The two groups

image of God except Shiva. And as part of the

belong to two dieties according to Hindu

business one day a business man who was blessed

Trinity. Hindu Triniy consists of Shiva – the

with a son decided to pay his gratitude by offering

destroyer; Brahma – the creator; and Vishnu – the

a gold waistband to the statue of Krishna as he was

preservator. These are three roles needed for life to

the follower of Krishna – a vaishanavite. A strange

created, preserved and then destroyed. No one

situation arouse.

bothers about the creator. As a result there is only one known temple of Brahma. Vishnu is reserves. This too is not so significant. No one, after being created, really bothers the preservation. Yet still Vishnu is worshipped in different forms not directly. The role of preservation is done in different forms and incarnations as Rama, Krishna, and others. This also explains the process of evolution. Lastly is Shiva – the destroyer – the death. Everyone is afraid of death. Out of this understanding bhakti eveolved around these two aspects of the trinity: Vishnu and Shiva. Out of Shiva evoled the tradition of Shiva worship. The devotees are called Shaivites. While the followers of Vishnu are called Vaishnavites. At the plane of consciousness of these there is no difference between these two deties. Each is assigned a role to perform for the sustenance of creation. Everything has to move in harmony so that balance is maintained. If the things are created

As was requested the item was made but it was two finger width short. It was corrected but made the item two finger width bigger. In spite of efforts it could not be corrected. Now the reputation of the goldsmit was at stake. So he decided to take the measurement himself on one condition. His condition was that he will go for the measurement with his eyes closed with a bandage on the eyes. As his fingers mover along the statue he felt the hair lock and all the embelems of Shiva. He knew that he came to take the measurement of Krishna. This baffled him. So as he removed the bandage for confirmation of his feelings he found the Krishna statue in front of him. Hurriedly he closed the eyes and the same thing happened once again. This happened in southern part of India in Pandarpur. There is a statue of Krishna with Shiva emblems as well. There Krishna is worshipped as Bhagwan Viththal.

and preserved but not destroyed this will create an

Now Shiva Gopi Gita. One day it happened it was

imbalance. But the difference is very easily evident

winter season. The rasa was in progress in nidhi

among the devotees and organizations. This

vana. Shiva decided to visit the rasa in nidhi vana.

difference is not new instead it is continuing from

So he descended from the place of his abode at

the time of creation when the movement came into

Kailas and came to the nidhi vana. As he was about

existence

to enter the area Lalita stopped Shiva saying that he

The entire bhakti movement is divided amidst these two factions. During the times there is episode of Narhari Sunar (the gold smith) who was

cannot enter the area as this ismeant only for gopis and no male is allowed. But Shiva expressed his deep desire to see the rasa and be part of rasa lila.


At this Lalita suggested there is only one way for

Shiva was male dressed as a female. Krishna

him to enter for rasa lila if he decides to have the

noticed this strange gopi now entering the rasa. The

make up as a gopi and enters the area as a gopi.

rasa continued. All of a sudden Krishna decided

Shiva so much wanted to take part in rasa lila that

that he would like to see the face of each Gopi

he agreed to any condition put forward by Lalita.

saying that the gopis had been dancing for so long

Accordingly Shiva was dressed up like a gopi and

with drapes. It was decided that all the gopis will stand in a que and one by one he will look at the face of each gopi. This way the privacy will remain and he will be able to recognize each gopi. Gopis gathered in large number for rasa. Shiva stood at the other end and was confident that his turn may not come at all as the number of gopis was quite large in rasa. When Krishna saw that Shiva was standing at the other end. Suddenly he decided to start seeing the face from the side of the que where Shiva was standing. Shiva did not want Krishna to know that he came to the rasa. But Krishna was mischievous. Shiva found himself in a fix so he ran from the place where he was standing to the other end of the que. Seeing this Krishna decided to look at the face of this gopi that was running wild from place to place. Shiva was caught and as Krishna raised the drape

Lalita put the make up, the anklet, dancing bells,

Krishna exclaimed, ‘Gopishwer aap ki jai ho’ – hail

bangles, waist band, nose ring, ear rings, eye lash,

to you o Gopishwer. It was the two elements of

and the bindi. With all the decoration and make-up

Shaivism and Vaishnavism coming togather.

Shiva now enters the rasa amidst the sound of dancing bells with face covered with a drape..

In Vrandavana there is one temple of Shiva where he is dressed as gopi and on Mondays special

Unlike other Gopis Shiva had a different bodily

make-up is done.

structure. Definitely it bound to look different as Hanuman represents the sojourn from mortal consciousness into divine awakening. The Hanuman Chalisa is indeed a mystical treatise on the evolution from mind into no-mind. Hanuman Chalisa shows the way of transformation from egocentricity to becoming a nimitta – an instrument of divinity…. In the mystical dimension Hanuman is sometimes used to represent a seeker on the spiritual sojourn and at other times to represent the guru – enlightened master. This is very symbolic as at the final state of dissolution, the seeker is the master and the master is the seeker. Swami Anand Neelambar – Hanuman Chalisa – A Mystical Dimension


GOPI RASA GITA

W

henever we seek to enter the esoteric dimension of any aspect of mythology or religion or tradition it is referred to as mysticism. To explain this aspect it is called ‘Gita’. Therefore in order to bring this understanding I have to explore this as ‘Gopi Rasa Gita’ and bring a deeper understanding of the entire aspect of Rasa Lila, an act where Sri Krishna danced on the banks of the river Yamuna in the full moon night along with Sri Radhika Rani and other Gopis.

Gopi-gita is part of Rasa Panch Adhyaya. There are five chapters in Srimad Bhagwatam that relate to Rasa- Lila. Remember ‘Five’ is a mystical number with great meaning hidden within its womb. Human body has five kinds of life-airs or prana-vayu (Pancha - Prana) residing in the heart, and among these five, one is the most vital. The twelve cantos of Srimad Bhagwatam are connected to twelve parts of a body. The Tenth Canto is the heart of that body. Within that heart, these five chapters explain Rasa Lila signifying the five life-elements of man’s eternal existence. Among these, Gopi-Gita is the foremost. This is the heart. Before I take you through Gopi-gita it is significant to remember the chapter in Srimad Bhagwatam that describes the episode of gopis’ worship of the goddess Katyayani Devi to attain Krishna as their husband. The first verse of this chapter states: hemante prathame masi nanda-vraja-kamarikau cerur havinyaa bhuijanau katyayani-archana-vratam Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.22.1) Sukdeva said, ‘During the first month of the winter season, the young, unmarried girls of Gokula

observed the vow of worshipping goddess Katyayani. For the entire month they ate only unspiced khichri or combination of rice and daal cooked together.’ The gopis who observed the vow to worship Katyayani were young and unmarried. What, then, was Krishna’s age at this time? Krishna had left Gokula when he was only three and a half years old. He was seven years old when He lifted the mountain, Govardhana, on the little finger of His left hand. What is this Girraj Mountain? Before I proceed let me explain the katha of Sri Girraj Mountain. Once it happened that Sri Narayan was visiting the earthly realm or goloak. He went on Drona Mountain. A yajna was in progress there. Krishna visited a gopi named Girija. This was followed by Sri Radha Rani who was following Narayana. However she was not allowed as a gopa named Sudam stopped Sri Radha Rani from entering the Yajna shala. At this Sri Radha Rani got angry and cursed him to be born in raksha clan. The gopa was born as demon Sakhyasur as a result of this curse. Not only that the gopa also cursed Sri Radha Rani to be separated from Thakur ji for 100 years. When Krishna met Sri Radha Rani and he came to know of the curse he said they have to go through this curse for 100 years. At this Sri Radha Rani said, ‘She would like to dwell in goloak, where there is sacred bank of Sri Yamuna ji and also there is the Girraj Mountain.’ At this Sri Krishna caste a glance at Drona Mountain and Girraj Mountain was born as the son of Drona. This Girraj Mountain is another form of Sri Krishna. The mountain is very beautiful. And Drone Mountain loved Girraj Mountain.


Later on once sage Pulasya visited the Drona Mountain. He fell in love with this mountain and expressed desire to take the Girraj Mountain to Kashi. The father mountain was not ready for this. Yet still knowing the anger of the sage Drona agreed to allow the sage to take the Girraj Mountain if he agrees. So when sage enquired Girraj Mountain agreed to accompany him only on one condition. The condition was, if for any reason the sage put the mountain down it will get established there and will not move from there. Sage Pulasya carried the Girraj Mountain. On reaching Goloak dham Girraj became very happy. It was déjà vu. He wanted to settle there. So Girraj increased its weight. With this the sage felt tired and decided to take a rest. As a result the sage rest Girraj at one place. After taking the rest when the sage got set to start the journey again he could not lift Girraj Mountain as it had already established there. This enraged the sage. At this Girraj Mountain reminded the sage of his condition? The sage had no choice but to leave the mountain there still he cursed Girraj that you will continue to get smaller in size. That gopi Girija assumed the form as Sri Yamuna ji. Girraj Mountain therefore is another form of Krishna. This is the story of Girraj Mountain. After Krishna lifted Girirja, all the elders and their priests gathered together and told Nanda Baba, ‘You should not treat Krishna as if He were your son alone. He is actually not your son. He may be a demigod, or perhaps He is God, or someone like God. We have heard that Narayana Himself has come in the form of Krishna, and perhaps it is true. So you should not treat Him like an ordinary boy. Do not bind His hands, and do not chastise or punish Him. He is only seven years old, and yet He lifted a mountain like Govardhana or Girraj. How is that possible? This is indeed mysterious.’ Hearing this Nanda Baba laughed. ‘I have heard that gopas only become mature and intelligent at the age of eighty. They cannot properly decide anything before then, because their minds are not fixed. Krishna is just an ordinary boy.

God has far more good qualities than even the perfected saints. Such saints do not become angry, and they are not disturbed by hunger, thirst, or any other material distress. They do not steal or tell lies. Krishna tells lies. He weeps and becomes angry. He plays tricks on people, and He is naughty in so many other ways. He sometimes cries for butter and sugar candy. If He does not get what He wants, He becomes furious and hurls all the items in our home onto the ground, and then scatters them here and there. ‘This is a proof in itself that He is not God. In any case, even if you would insist that He is God, He is still my son, so I will admonish and punish Him and treat Him as a father should treat his child.’ Nanda Baba continued to laugh at the very idea that Krishna is God. Same time Yogamaya appeared, and by her mere presence and influence, everyone present there forgot the idea. This incident took place during the month of Kartika, when Krishna was seven years old, and it was just after Kartika that the gopis worshiped Katyayani. There were two groups of gopis: those who were married and those who were not. Although it was the unmarried gopis who worshiped Katyayani, the married gopis like Lalita, and Radhika also had purva-raga (the gopis’ tender love for Krishna before their first intimate meeting with Him). This is because, although they had met with Him so many times, they always felt the excited anticipation of the first meeting. The unmarried gopis were somewhat younger than the married ones. Radhika is thirteen and a half years old, and Krishna is fourteen. Lalita is twentyseven days older than Radhika, and Vishakha was born on the same day as Radhika. Rupa Maijari and Rati Maijari are a little over twelve years, so they are about one and a half years younger than Krishna. This means that when Krishna was seven years old, the gopis who were engaged in the worship of Katyayani Devi were about six; but they already had love and affection for Him. Their love for Krishna for was not kama or amorous love,


because kama is not possible at such a tender age. They loved Him dearly, but there was no feeling of kama. Krishna told those gopis engaged in worship, ‘Next year, during the autumn season, I will fulfill your desires.’ Then, a year later, when Krishna was about eight years old, He played His flute to call the gopis for rasa dance. It is said that He was in Vrandavana until He was ten years old, and within that time He performed Rasa Lila as well as all His Vrindavana pastimes, including the killing of the demon. In other words, He appeared to be fourteen years old when He was actually only ten, and the gopis also appeared to be older than they were actually. It is said that they grew up very quickly and looked big because they used to eat plenty butter and sugar candy. In actual fact, the reason they appeared to be teenagers is because of the influence of Yogamaya. In their previous births, some of the young unmarried gopis had been personified Vedic scriptures called srutis. Some had been sages; while others had been princesses from Janaka-puri, and some, daughters of the demigods (deva-kanya). Among the gopis, some had the association of the nitya-siddha gopis, and they also had purvaraga. These gopis easily entered the rasa-lila, whether they were married or not. On the other hand, the married gopis who had purva-raga but did not have the association of nitya-siddha gopis were stopped from entering rasa-lila. The gopis mentioned in the above verse from Srimad- Bhagavatam (10.22.1) had association with the nitya-siddha gopis. We know this because at the end of the month they invited Radhika, Lalita, Chitra, and all other such gopis to join them in their worship. This means that they had the association of those gopis, and consequently they could easily enter the rasa nritya. This is confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The nitya-siddha gopis and those who had their association entered the rasa-lila without difficulty, whereas the married gopis with sons or daughters were checked by Yogamaya. They could not go, even though they had purva-raga. It appeared that it was

their husbands who had obstructed them, but actually it was Yogamaya who did so. She had entered the minds of their husbands, fathers, mothers, and other relatives influencing them to prevent the gopis from going. If Yogamaya had wanted them to join the rasa-lila, she would have made duplicate forms of those gopis. In this way the real gopis would have been able to leave their homes unnoticed and enter rasalila. However, Yogamaya could not help these gopis, because they had some traces of a consciousness that was not favorable for fully developed parakiyabhava (paramour love in relationship to Krishna). They still had the conception: ‘This is my husband, and these are my children.’ Their affection was not solely for Krishna but was shared with many others.

Devotional process of rasa Lila We are now beginning the devotional process. If our eternal spiritual form is that of a gopi, we will develop an increasing taste to serve as a gopi. We will gradually be able to perform sadhana and in this way we will develop a yearning to be like the gopis. One year after Krishna made his promise to the gopis, on the full-moon night in autumn He looked at the moon and began to play His flute. He remembered, ‘Our forefather, the moon, has a beloved other than his wife, Rohini. His beloved is Purva-disha, the eastern horizon.’ Vyasa described this scene as follows: Krishna was thinking, ‘The hands of our forefather, the moon, are smeared with kuakum. Those hands, his rays, are decorating the face of his beloved Purva-disha without any difficulty, and she is shyly accepting that reddish ornamentation. Why should I not do the same?’ In other words, the reddish rays of the moon radiated throughout the forest, bathing the trees and the rivers, and everything in it in a red light. In that ambrosial atmosphere, thoughts of the gopis came to Krishna’s mind, and He remembered His


promise to fulfill their inner quest. He pondered, ‘By diffusing the reddish hue of his gentle rays and by glowing with the effulgence of newly applied vermilion, Chandra (the moon) has reminded Me of My promise and has placed within My heart the inspiration to fulfill it. This is the perfect moment for Me to do so.’ Then, on that full moon night of the sharad (autumn) season, Krishna played a beautiful melody on His flute and the gopis came running to Him. But when they arrived, He told them to return to Braja. ‘A lady should serve her husband,’ He said, ‘regardless of his qualities. Her husband may be poor or plagued with diseases, but she should serve him under all circumstances.’ At first the gopis did not say anything in reply, but within their minds and hearts they questioned, ‘Does He really mean it or is He joking with us?’ They observed Him closely as He tried to cleverly hide His real intention. It seemed that He was honestly expressing Himself in a straightforward manner, but in fact, He was not. Finally the gopis said, ‘You are our guru and, as such, You are giving us so many instructions. We know that even in the presence of God, a person should serve his guru first, so let us first serve You, our guru, before we return to serve our husbands.’ In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says: ye yatha maa prapadyante, taas tathaiva bhajamy aham mama vartmanuvartante, manunyau partha sarvashau!! Bhagavad-gita (4.11)

I reward everyone according to their surrender unto Me. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Patha. Sri Krishna was instructing the gopis and also telling them, ‘I am God. I am telling you what to do, so you should obey Me’.

The gopis replied, ‘We agree that if You are God we should certainly obey You, but our first duty is to serve our guru. When we have executed that order, we will obey Your instructions to serve our husbands. ‘Our second consideration is this. We know that God is our father, God is our real husband, and God is everything; so if You are God, then You are both our husband and our guru. In every way, if You do not accept our service You will be guilty of acting against the principles of religion. You are giving us instructions on religious principles, but You should practice this Yourself.’ At last, after all these the rasa began. Krishna danced with Sri Radhika Rani in the center of the circle of gopis, and at the same time He danced with each of the gopis comprising the circle. It is not that He expanded into as many manifestations of Himself as there were gopis, because in Vrandavana, pastimes there is no evidence of opulence (aishvarya-lila). Rather, He danced so quickly, like a firebrand orbiting in a circle, that it simply looked as if He were constantly and simultaneously dancing with each and every gopi. If He had expanded into many manifestations of Himself, this pastime would have been aishvarya-lila. Instead, He was engaged in human-like pastimes (nara-lila). Many people have commented that Krishna manifested His kaya-vyuha (direct expansions of His personal form) when He was dancing in the rasalila, however this is not so. There are those who think that Krishna expanded his form to perform, in fact it is not so. In reality only Krishna’s svayaa-rupa (original form) performed this transcendental pastime. Krishna moved like a lightning flash from gopi to gopi, dancing with each one in turn. Sri Radhika saw that Krishna was dancing with Her. Then, as She cast Her gaze over all the other gopis, She saw that Krishna was dancing with each of them as well. Each gopi thought,


‘Krishna is dancing only with me.’ Sri Radhika alone could see Him with each and every gopi. When She looked beside Her, She saw that He was there with Her, but when She looked toward the other gopis, She saw Him dancing with them. Krishna’s performance of rasa-lila in this way does not manifest aishvarya form by bringing forth expansions of His form. Instead it was WHIRLING from gopi to gopi at a lightning speed. This was indeed miraculous. Moreover, He performed many varieties of activities with the gopis as they danced together. He asked one gopi if she were fatigued, He gently wiped drops of perspiration from the face of another, and He fastened ankle-bells on another. With each and every gopi He had various interactions, and thus each gopi became maddened in their love for Him. All these acts were performed while he was dancing with Gopis. Rasa Lila involved a lightning speed with which Sri Krishana moved from gopi to gopi, performed various acts as part of the rasa and yet still he was with Sri Radhika Rani. The gopis’ madness that had intoxicated them by their own good fortune, is called saubhagya-mada. In this regard Srimad-Bhagavatam states: tasaa tat-saubhaga-madaa veknya manaa ca keshavau Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.29.48)

Then Keshava saw that the gopis were madly intoxicated due to their good fortune, and He also saw Sri Radhika’s mana, Her mood of lovingness yet jealous anger. The gopis as an entire group exhibited both saubhagya-mada and mana, while mana was only exhibited by Sri Radhika Rani. Only She could see Krishna dancing with the other gopis. The other gopis did not see this, and thus they were intoxicated by their good fortune (saubhagya-mada) in which they saw Krishna dancing with them alone.

When a hero (nayik) is controlled by a heroine (nayika), the heroine thinks herself to be the most fortunate beloved. This fortune is called saubhaga and, as it evolves, it brings her to the state of saubhagya-mada. Generally ‘mada’ means intoxication through drinking, but saubhagya-mada means intoxication from the feeling of good fortune, ‘In all of Braja, there is no one equal to me in good fortune.’ In this state, the gopis became so proud that if they had been aware of Krishna’s dancing with other gopis, they would have developed mana. Then, in that angry and sulky mood, they would have been completely unable to continue participating in rasalila with the other gopis. Instead, each gopi was convinced that she had Krishna fully under her control, that He was captivated and controlled by her and obedient to her every command. Gopis were overwhelmed because of this saubhagya mada while Sri Radhika Rani exhibited the mana and its various bhavas. Krishna understood what was happening, and considered, ‘I have decided to sport with all the gopis and fulfill all their most cherished desires, but there is no hope of that happening unless they change their bhava. In some way their pride must be removed.’ He then saw that Radhika was no longer there in rasa-lila. In Her mana, She had abruptly left that place and was going elsewhere. Such is the situation with human mind. With this Krishna also disappeared, and all of the gopis began their search for Him. It is said that Krishna became invisible, whereas in reality He did not. Rather, He went to a nearby kuija and hid there. Thus continues the Gopi Gita as part of Rasa Lila.


Letters to the editor Bismillahir Rahmaanir Rahiim, Nahmaduhu Wa Nusolli 'Ala Rasulihil Karim, Wa Ba'du, Assalamu'alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh. Alhamdulillah, the MEDITATION TIMES gives to the audiences an extra knowledge and understanding about different paths to reach the divine destination. Special thanks to Hadhrat Sufi Taoshobudhha for reviving the spiritual elements in modern age for discovering the various paths to reach the truth. May Allah’s blessing be upon those who strive to love him and are striving to bring the people towards him, especially to Hadhrat Sufi Taoshobudhha for what he has done for the sake of Allah. Either by following a guru or without a guru is not so important because a guru is just a medium for a person to reach the knowledge of the unlimited. The true source of knowledge and understanding only comes from Allah, nothing else. If one knows Allah really well and can learn from the manifestations of his names, attributes, qualities and actions, so one may not need to have a guru anymore, Allah will be his greatest guru. But for those who can't even understand about his creator's names, qualities, attributes and actions, how could he understand his essence? These kinds of people are compulsory to have a guru to guide them physically and spiritually to reach the divine. Otherwise their journey will be impossible at all. He will move like a blind man in a dark night. Still if one needs a guru, Allah is the best guru. May Allah bless us, Amin. Wabillahi taufiq wal hidayah, wallahu a'lam wa 'ilmuhu atam. Regards, Faqir Mawlawi Jalaluddin Ahmad Ar-Rowi 'Ufiyallahu 'Anhu Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Krishna, the Eternal Mystery ExtractedfromadiscoursefromSriChinmoy SriKrishnawasateacherfromtheverybeginningofhis life. Even before he entered into the physical world he acted as a teacher. Before he entered into his mothers womb,hecametohisfatherwhohadbeenimprisoned bythekingandsaid,Iamnowgoingtoenterintothe physicalworld.AssoonasIamborn,youwilltakeme out of this prisoncell and take me to Nanda (one of hisrelatives).HisfathersawSriKrishnavividlybefore he came into the world of manifestation, and to everybodyssurprise,allofasuddenallthedoorsand gatesoftheprisonwerewideopen,andhisfathertook himtoNandasplace.Herehestartedhisteaching. Before he came into the world, a similar incident occurred to the mother of the Lord Buddha. Also Christianity practically says the same, that Jesus enteredintohismotherswombconsciously. To come back to Sri Krishna, while he was just a child heopenedhismouthandshowedhismotherthewhole universe.Hewasteachinghismotherthattheuniverse isnowhereelsebutinsidehim. Then, when he was eleven years old, one day he observed that his parents and his relatives and neighbours were all performing ceremonies in honour oftheLordIndra,IndratherainGod,KingoftheGods. SriKrishnasaid,WhyareyouworshippingIndra?Itis better to worship this hill. Why dont you worship this Giri Govardhan? Our cattle are being fed by this hill, andeveryoneisbeinghelpedinonewayoranotherby this hill. We should worship the hill and not Indra. Indraisnothelpingusinanyway.Ifyouwanttoknow the truth, then you worship this hill.? They listened to him on that occasion. They worshipped not Indra but the hill, and Indra became furious. He inundated the whole place with water. There was a constant downpourwhichlastedsevendays.ButSriKrishnawas nottoacceptdefeat.Withoneofhisfingersheliftedthe whole hill, and the hill served the purpose of an umbrella. The entire vicinity was under the protection ofthehill,anditisstillthere.ItissaidthatSriKrishna held it for seven days and then Lord Indra felt that it

wasuseless.SriKrishnaprotectedhiswholeraceandall hisrelatives.ThenLordIndraacceptedhisdefeat. Krishnawasacowherdandhehadmany,manyfriends. He was a very great flutist. The boys and girls, especiallythegirls,usedto cometolistentohismusic. But the love he had for them was always of the purest. He had many so called girlfriends. We immediately associate this term with the wrong emotion, but in Sri SriChinmoy Krishnas case, his relationshipwasabsolutely pure. Among these girls, there was one called Radha. Radha finally became his consort and his shakti, and it was she who understood fully who Sri Krishna was. There Sri Krishna was expressing his Divine Love to humanbeings.Itwasdelightthathewantedtoexpress, pure delight, to this physical world. But criticism was existent in those days too. People started criticising Sri Krishna openly because of his fondness for Radha. Radha became very close to him. One day, Radha, in a sulking mood, said to him,Look,you aresopureand so divine and I come here to listen to your music and youtellmeeternal,divinetruths.Howisitthatpeople create such gossip, especially my girlfriends? Just because you give special attention to me they criticise us.? Sri Krishna gave her a broad smile and said, All right.SoonedaySriKrishnainvitedallhisgirlfriends and told them,TodayI wishto have aspecialgame.I knowallofyouarepureandallofyouarechaste.Most of you have husbands. Then Sri Krishna took a sieve and a bucket of water. He told them each to pour the water into the sieve, and if the water did not leak through,itmeantthatthatparticulargirlwaspureand chaste. They started, one by one, to pour water, and of coursewiththefirstonethewaterleakedthrough.They allwerelaughingandsayingthatshewasnotchasteor pure, and she buried her head in the fold of her arm. Then the next girl came and the same thing happened, andonandonwitheachgirl.


Radhawasobservingthescene.SriKrishnasaidtoher, Radha, why are you silent, why dont you try? She said, They are always criticisingme,and if I try I will probably join them in their failure. Sri Krishna said, Why dont you comeandtry,itis a game after all. Soshecameandpouredthewater,bucketafterbucket, butthesievedidnotleak.Theywereallastonishedand Sri Krishna said, Look here, now you can see who is chaste,whoispure.NowIamteachingyoutheeternal truth.IamtheLordoftheUniverse.RadhacomestoMe forspiritualhelpandEternalTruth,andMyloveforher andallofyouisspiritualanddivine.Someofyouhave husbands, but your minds still roam elsewhere. You care for other men and you give much attention to

name,fameandduties.ButinRadhascase,Iamalways inhermind.Radhaisamarriedwoman,Radhahasher own husband, but no matter where she goes and with whom she speaks, her mind is always on Me. I am the Lord of the Universe, and whoever thinks of Me is the purestonearth.Thosewhothinkofotherthingsarenot pure. Whenhegrewupinthesocietyveryoftenhewishedto give most illumining counsel. Everybody came to him for guidance, and he was their chief counsellor. When thePandavasbecamehismostintimatefriends,heused to advise them all the time in their difficulties; in all their sorrows and joys Sri Krishna was there to advise them.ThenhecametothebattlefieldtohelpArjuna.We already know from the Gita how he advised Arjuna to fight, and he taught Arjuna all about the inner life, the spiritual life, inner perfection and outer perfection, realisation and revelation. Sri Krishna said, Whenever thereisdeclineofrighteousness,andunrighteousnessis intheascendent,thenIbodyMyselfforthtoprotectthe virtuous and put an end to evildoers; to establish Dharma,Iambornfromagetoage.Thisisoneofthe mostimportantversesintheGita.

GLORY OF THE GITA Swami Sivananda The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the Bhishma-Parva of Mahabharata. It comprisres eighteen chapters of a total of 700 Sanskrit Verses. Considerable matter has been condensed and compressed within these verses. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, during the discourse of His most interesting and instructive talk with Arjuna, revealed the profound, sublime and soul-stirring spiritual truths and expounded to him rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma. All the teachings of Lord Krishna were subsequently recorded as the Song Celestial or the Bhagavad Gita by Sri Bhagavan Vyasa for the benefit of humanity at large. The world is under a great debt of gratitude to Sri Vyasa who has presented this Celestial Song to humanity for their daily conduct in life, spiritual uplift and Self-realisation. Only those who are self-controlled and are endowed with faith can reap the full benefit of the Gita, which is the Science of the Soul.

half of the Margasirsha month according to Hindu almanac. It was the day on which this scripture was revealed to the world by Sanjaya.

The Gita Jayanti day or the birthday of the Bhagavd Gita is celebrated throughout India by all the admirers and lovers of this unique book on the 11th day (Ekadasi) of the brightest

The Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the essence of all Upanishads. It is the universal scripture

SwamiSivananda

In the whole world-literature there is no book so elevating and so inspiring as the Gita. The Gita expounds very lucidly the cardinal principles or the fundamentals of Hindu religion and the Hindu Dharma. It is the source of all wisdom. It is your great guide. It is your supreme teacher. It is an inexhaustible spiritual treasure. It is a fountain of Bliss. It is an ocean of Knowledge. It is full of Divine splendour and grandeur.


for all people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a wonderful book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, Devotion, Vedanta and Action. It is a marvellous book, profound in throughts and sublime in heights of vision. It gives peace and solace to the souls who are afflicted by the three fires (Taapa Traya) of this mortal world (Samsara), viz., Adhyatmika (afflictions caused by one’s own body), Adhibhautika (those caused by beings around one), and Adhidaivika (those caused by the demi-gods or forces of nature). The Bhagavad Gita contains the divine nectar. It is the Chintamani, Kalpataru and Kamadhenu (wish-fulfilling gem, tree and cow respectively). You can milk out anything from it. It is a book of eternity. It is not a catch-penny book which has a life like that of a mushroom. The Gita has been my constant companion of life. It is a vade mecum for all. Peace, Bliss, Ananda, Happiness, Wisdom, Atman, Brahman, Purusha, Dhama, Nirvana, Param Padam, Gita are all only synonymous terms. The Gita is a boundless ocean of nectar. It is an immortal celestial fruit of the tree of Upanishads. In this unique book, you will find an unbiased exposition of the philosophy of action, devotion and knowledge and a wonderful synthesis. The Bhagavad Gita is a rare and splendid flower that wafts its sweet fragrance throughout the world. All the upanishads represent cows; Sri Krishna is the milker of the UpanishadCows; Partha (Arjuna) is the calf who first tasted that milk of wisdom of the self, which was milked by the Divine Cowherd, Sri Krishna, for the benefit of Arjuna and all humanity, as the Bhagavad Gita. It helps to solve not only Arjuna’s problems and doubts, but also the world problems and the problems and doubts of every individual. Glory to Lord Krishna, the friend of the cowherds of Gokula, the Joy of Devaki ! He who drinks the nectar of the Gita through purification of the heart and meditation, attains immortality, eternal bliss, everlasting peace and perennial Joy. Just as the dark unfathomed depths of the ocean contain more precious pearls, so also the Gita contains spiritual gems of incalculable value. You will have to dive deep into the depths of the ocean of the Gita with sincere attitude of reverence and faith. Only then will you be able to collect the spiritual pearls of the Gita. Only then will you be able to comprehend the profound and subtle teachings of the Gita. The Gita is a unique book for all ages. It is a book that comes under the category of Prasthanatraya, the authoritative books of the Hindu religion. The Gita is the immortal Song of the Soul, whicih bespeaks the glory of life. The instructions that are inculcated by Sri Krishna are for the whole world. It is a standard book on Yoga for all. The language is as simple as it

could be. Even a man who has elementary knowledge of Sanskrit can go through the book. It deals with the four Yogas, viz., Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. The Gita is like the lake of Manasasarovara for the Paramahamsa (monks and renunciates) and thirsting aspirants to sport in. It is the ocean of bliss in which the seekers of Truth swim with joy and ecstasy. If the philosopher’s stone touches a piece of iron even at one point, the whole of it is transformed into gold. Even so, if you live in the spirit of even one verse, you will doubtless be transmuted into divinity. Study of the Gita alone is sufficient for the purpose of daily Svadhyaya (Scriptural Study). You will find a solution here for all your doubts. The more you study with devotion and faith, the more you will get deeper knowledge, penetrative insight and clear right thinking. Even if you live in the spirit of one verse of the Gita, all your miseries will come to an end and you will attain the goal of life – Immortality and Eternal Peace. The Gita is a gospel for the whole world. It is meant for the generality of mankind. It was given over five thousand years ago on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. None but the Lord can bring out such an unprecedented and marvellous book which gives peace to the readers, which helps and guides them in the attainment of Supreme Bliss, which has survived upto this time. This itself proves clearly that God exists, that God is an embodiment of knowledge and that one can attain perfection or liberation by realising God alone. The whole world is a battlefield. The real Kurukshetra is within you. The battle of Mahabharata is still raging within you. Ignorancce (Avidya) is Dhritarashtra. The individual soul is Arjuna. The Indweller Who Dwells in your heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer. The body is your chariot. The senses (Indriyas) are the horses. The mind, egoism, senses, sanskaras (mental impressions), vasanas (latent tendecies), cravings, Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes), lust, jealousy, greed, pride and hypocrisy are your dire enemies. Bhagvad Gita teaches you how to transcend these and realise your highest Divine nature. Glory, glory to the Gita. Glory to Lord Krishna, Who has placed the Gita before men of this world for attaining Sreyas or Moksha. May His blessings be upon you all ! May the Gita be your center, ideal and goal ! Blessed is the man who studies the Gita daily. Twice blessed is he who lives in the spirit of the Gita. Thrice blessed is he who has realised the knowledge of the Gita, Atmajnana or Self Knowledge.

Om Tat Sat Om Santih, Santih, Santih


MEDITATION LEADS TO ULTIMATE FLOWERING VIPASHYANA MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

© 2009, Taoshobuddha

TAOSHOBUDDHA


TAOSHOBUDDHA

The word ‘Taoshobuddha’ comes from three words, ‘tao,’ ‘sho,’ and ‘Buddha’. The word Tao was coined by the Chinese master, Lau Tzu. It means that which is and cannot be put into words. It is unknown and unknowable. It can only be experienced and not expressed in words. Its magnanimity cannot be condensed into finiteness. The word Sho implies, that which is vast like the sky and deep like an ocean and carries within its womb a treasure. It also means one on whom the existence showers its blessings. And lastly the word Buddha implies the Enlightened One; one who has arrived home.

Thus, TAOSHOBUDDHA implies one who is existential, on whom the existence showers its blessings and one who has arrived home. THE ENLIGHTENED ONE!


VIPASHYANA MEDITATION TECHNIQUES WHEN INTELLECT IS UNDULY ACTIVE WE CANNOT ATTAIN THE EMPTINESS OF THE MIND.

BRIEF HISTORY

A

flower that never knew about the sun and a flower that has experienced the sun are not the same. Indeed they cannot be. Because a flower that has never witnessed the rising sun can never feel the rising sun within! Such a flower is dead. It has the potentiality but the potentiality has not attained fruition. It has never known its own spirit. However, a flower that has witnessed the sunrise has also seen something arise within itself. It has discovered its own soul. Now this flower is no more a flower. The flower has known a deep happening within. To create this inner sun of awareness within, Buddha invented a technique of meditation almost twenty-five centuries ago. This technique not only creates the inner sun of awareness, but at the same time it also allows the awareness to penetrate into every cell of the body and then to the entire being. The technique that Buddha invented is known as Anapana Sati Yoga. This is the yoga of incoming and outgoing breath awareness. It is also known as Vipashyana meditation. The word Vipashyana has two words put together – Vi and Pashyana. Vi means neutral and Pashyana means to see. Thus, Vipashyana means to look at everything with a neutral attitude. Vipashyana is also known as Insight Meditation. It was discovered by Buddha to unravel the questions arising in his mind to know the truth. When Buddha was born, his father was of a welladvanced age. Astrologers were called in. One of the younger astrologers said that Buddha would leave the kingly splendor in search of Truth. While the other astrologers suggested ways to

change the destiny, it was suggested that he be married. Also it was made sure that nothing unusual be allowed to happen around him as metaphysical questions would arise in him seeing the leaves turning yellow and then falling etc. So he was married to Yashodhara and around the palace where he was living, all dried leaves were picked up before sunrise. All arrangements were made so that no unusual questions would arise in his mind. However, Buddha had not come to rule any kingdom. One night he first saw an old man, then a sick person, and finally a dead body. That was the destined night. It is said that these three men were the Enlightened masters of the past, who came to guide and pave the path for Buddha. He questioned his charioteer about these events. He was told that such is the destiny of each human being. Buddha did not return to the palace that night. He decided to seek the answer to these questions. So he embraced the life of a wandering ascetic. Then it was believed that there were two major techniques of meditation. First of these techniques was of concentration. This involved experiencing various stages of meditative absorption. This is called jhana or dhyana. Buddha went to two masters of the time to learn this. In the process he attained the highest state of jhana. Yet still he was far from the Truth or Dhamma, so he asked his teachers if they had anything more to offer. But they were honest enough to say no. Buddha did all that was needed to attain the highest spiritual state and then left. Then he came across the other form of meditative practice which was also used. This was the practice of self-mortification or self-torture. It was believed then, that by tormenting the body the self


or ego would vanish. This could be accomplished in several ways, including fasting or lying on a bed of nails. Buddha went through all these techniques. For six years he wandered. His last master was Alarkalam. For six months Buddha lived on one grain of rice. He practiced the fasting intensely. Nothing happened! After a long period of fasting he became very frail and weak. He had no energy to live. He was lying half unconscious under a banyan tree when he was discovered by a cowherd boy. The young boy realized that the recluse must have been fasting for a long time and that had weakened his body. But Buddha did not see the boy. The boy was wise enough to give milk to Buddha but Buddha was so weak that he could not open his mouth. The boy hesitated to touch Buddha as he belonged to a lower caste but realizing the situation he decided that even though it was a sin to touch Buddha, it was more important to save him. He could ask for forgiveness afterwards. Buddha felt better after drinking the milk and was finally able to move. He saw the boy sitting next to him respectfully, so Buddha enquired who he was. The boy said that he was a cowherd and asked for forgiveness. Buddha consoled the boy; he told him that he had done the right thing and there was no need to ask for forgiveness. Further Buddha said, “We are not good or bad simply because we are born in a low or high family. Our goodness depends on our actions.” So Buddha stayed under the tree. In the evening he heard a song coming from the nearby forest. The song was being sung by a group of girls who were collecting firewood in the forest. The song meant that if the strings of the musical instrument were too tight they would break on being used. Also if the strings were too loose the instrument would not make the right sound. The strings would have to be neither too tight nor too loose. Thus, Buddha saw the futility of the extreme paths and also the dangers of attachment to them.

So he decided to pursue the middle path himself. He realized the significance of the middle path. He then went to Niranjana River and sat on the bank to meditate and discover the middle path. It is said that Buddha wanted to cross the river Niranjana but he was so weak that he fell into it; it was a shallow stony river. He held on to the branch of a tree leaning from the other shore. He thought about the futility of his actions of the past few days. He thought, “now that I am so weak, what would I be able to do even if Enlightenment happened?” He could not sleep. He remained awake the whole night watching the stars disappear in the sky. Somehow he came out of the river! He made a seat of grass under a Bodhi tree and sat for meditation. Then a woman came by to offer him some food as offering of her good fortune. She thought that God had come to her in this human form of a holy man sitting under the Bodhi Tree. She offered Buddha excellent food in forty-nine pieces on a beautiful platter. Buddha ate all that was offered and then again began to meditate without any further need for nourishment. It was now sunset. He decided not to move again until Enlightenment happened. That night, at near about midnight, Buddha was strongly tempted by Mara or Maya or illusion. It is the symbol of all obstructing forces. The three daughters of Mara – Desire, Lust, and Aversion came to persuade him to leave the path of meditation and return to the palace and become the king. This did not affect Buddha who was tranquil. This made Mara angry, so he sent his armies by land and air to frighten Buddha. He became afraid; he opened his eyes and raised his hand to ward off the attack. But then he realized there was no one. They were, in fact, his hallucinations. Buddha continued his meditation. He was tranquil and restful. He meditated watching his mind until dawn when each star in the sky had disappeared. With this, something dawned on


him. Buddha got a clear insight and inner understanding of all the phenomena, both within and without. Enlightenment happened at that very moment! The thing which Buddha was waiting for years, happened that precise moment. It was during meditation Buddha discovered the technique of Vipashyana or Insight Meditation. The meditation is such that it not only creates an inner awareness, but simultaneously allows the awareness to penetrate to the very cells of the body, to the whole of one’s being. It is also called Anapana Sati Yoga. It is a meditation. That brings awareness of incoming and outgoing breath. It is based on constant or attentive awareness. We attach various meanings to awareness. We have to be clear about its meaning. When Buddha spoke of breath awareness, he meant to look attentively without applying any knowledge or information. It means that we simply look with a quiet mind, without making any comment or applying knowledge, interpretation, or explanation! The art of neutral observation is not so easy. By doing so, we can see that the mind can be emptied of its contents. Then we can understand the way the mind works and also examine the contents of the mind. This is the way to meet everything – fully with the whole being and with all the energy that you have. Then there is no more dissipation of energy. And it can be directed for looking at what is going on. This is looking beyond appearance. It is significant to understand that we are simply looking ‘at’ and not looking ‘for’. There is a vast difference between looking at and looking for. When we are looking ‘at’ there is no more expectation, which is an aspect of looking ‘for’. If we look for something in meditation and there is expectation, the disappointment is bound to come. This will lead to clinging, loss of energy, and mental imbalance. It is important to look attentively and silently. This will bring clear understanding and insight into the nature and the contents of the mind. Buddha explained the same in Satipatthana Sutra.

These sutras are related to mindfulness. Buddha explained that awareness is only for intuitive understanding and awareness itself, not for anything else. Intuitive insight gradually develops along the path of awareness. We may see that this incorporates three main factors namely: attention, awareness, and watchfulness. These three words explain the techniques of insight. Insight is developed if we follow this properly, in other words when the meditation is done in the right way. However, in the early stages, insight is closely connected with intellect. This is mainly because of conflicts within and the knowledge that we have. But with insight, we come to understand what we know; insight gets deeper. And thus is revealed the difference between insight itself and the function of intellect. The two go on cooperating in deep meditation. But this is quite different from what we have known originally. Intellect gets still and becomes receptive when insight operates. Now intellect will pick up the signals given by the insight – words and concepts. We need to allow intellect to be quiet and passive. Then intellect becomes subservient to insight. It can no more remain active all the time. When intellect is unduly active we cannot attain the emptiness of the mind. We cannot come to total silence. When we attain stillness, then we can see without obstruction. This seeing is insight! And thus the meaning of the method of Vipashyana! To begin the process we need to cultivate our attention. And in developing this attention, we need some primary object as focus. In Vipashyana we use the rise and fall of breath as the preliminary object. We need not regulate the breath. Just let it be as it is. Let the breath move in and out as naturally as possible without any interference of the mind. As the breath moves in and out, observe the rise and fall. This is the first


step for the mind, to see the nature of the rising and the passing away in the physical sense of breathing. As an individual we go on breathing unconsciously. Breath is Prana. Breath is élan vital. Yet still breathing is unconscious. We are unaware of it. And if we were to be aware of breathing in order to breathe, we would die. Sooner or later we would forget. Thus, we cannot remember anything continuously. Breathing establishes a connection between our voluntary and nonvoluntary systems. We can, however, control our breathing to some extent. At times we can even stop breathing for a while. But no way can we stop breathing permanently. It goes on without any effort on our part. One can be in

coma for months, yet still breathing goes on. Breathing is an unconscious mechanism. There are two aspects of breathing – the Incoming breath and the Outgoing breath. When you breathe in and pause, there is a gap, and then you breathe out. After you breathe out, there comes another gap, before you start breathing in or inhaling again. Therefore, there are two gaps. The first one happens within you after the breath comes in. This creates a Center within. This is known as your Soul or Inner Center. The other happens when the breath is out and waiting to come in. This gap is called Parmatman or Cosmic Center. If the breath that has gone out does not come in, it is referred to as Death while the gap within is called Life.

Vipashyana Buddha used breath as a vehicle for two things simultaneously. First to create consciousness and second to allow this consciousness to penetrate to the very cells of the body1 “Breathe consciously,” was Buddha’s message. Buddha never meant pranayama. It was meant to make breath an object of awareness. But not changing it. There is no need to change the breath. Leave it as it is. Just natural! The only necessary thing is, breathe consciously. As the breath comes in, allow the consciousness to move in. And let the consciousness move out with the outgoing breath. Let there be total attention on breath. Move with it. Flow with it. Never forget even a single breath. Buddha is reported to have said that if you can be aware of your breath for even one hour, you are already Enlightened. But never let a single breath be missed. Definitely, one hour seems like a small fragment of time. But it is not so. When you are trying to be aware, one hour seems like a millennium. It is so because generally you cannot be aware of your

breath for more than five of six seconds. Only a very alert person can be aware even for that long. We miss awareness every moment. You can start awareness with incoming breath, but no sooner the breath has come in you are somewhere else. And suddenly you realize that you were to breathe consciously but the breath has gone out and you were somewhere else. To be conscious of the breath simply means that no thought can be allowed. Thoughts distract your attention. Buddha never said to stop thinking. His only emphasis was on ‘conscious breathing’. And when you breathe consciously, thoughts cease automatically. You cannot breathe consciously and think at the same time. As a thought comes in your mind, your attention is withdrawn from breathing. A single thought is more than enough to make you unconscious of breathing. This technique seems very simple, but it is vital. Buddha told his monks to do whatever but not to forget one simple thing: the incoming and the outgoing breath.


As you continue to do this frequently, you will grow in consciousness. It is difficult. But once you have done this you can no longer remain the same person. You will be a different person and a different being. As you begin to breathe in and out consciously, by and by you move to your center. It is so because each time you breathe in, your breath and with the breath the life force touches the very center of the Being. Physiologically you think that breath just purifies the blood. This is a bodily function. But when you begin to be aware of your breathing, by and by you go deeper than physiology. Then one day you will begin to feel your center, right near your navel. You can feel your center only when you move with the breath continuously. You have to continue, because as you reach nearer the center, it will be even more difficult to remain aware. You can start when the breath is entering. When it is almost touching the nostrils, be aware of it. As it move inwards, awareness will be more difficult. A thought may come in or a sound or something else may happen and you move away from the awareness. If you can reach to the very center, for a brief moment breath stops and then comes in a gap. The breath comes in and then goes out, between these two there is a subtle gap. This gap is your center – the center of the being. It is only after practicing this breath awareness for a sufficiently long time you will be able to remain with the breath. You can be aware of the gap only when there is no breath movement. Now the breath is neither coming in nor going out. Between these subtle gaps, between two breaths, you are at your center. Thus, breath awareness was used by Buddha as a means of reaching to the center. Be conscious when you breathe out. Again there is a gap. In fact, there are two gaps; one gap comes after the breath comes in and before it goes out. Another gap comes in when the breath is out and before it comes in. This second gap is more difficult to be aware of. And between these incoming and

outgoing breaths lies your center. However, there is another center – the Cosmic Center. You may call this as God. The Cosmic center lies between when the breath goes out and before it comes in. However, these two centers are not two different things. In the process first you become aware of your inner center and then you become aware of your outer center or the cosmic center. Then one day ultimately you know that these two centers are one. Thus, the outer and the inner lose their significance. Buddha says, move consciously with the breath. Then you will create a center of awareness within yourself. As this center is created, awareness will begin to move to your very cells and provide nourishment to the cells as every cell needs oxygen. It can be said that each cell breathes. Even the earth breathes, say scientists. With the universe breathing in, the earth expands and when the universe breathes out, the earth contracts. According to Hindu scriptures, creation is Brahma’s single incoming breath and destruction or dissolution is Brahma’s outgoing breath. There are three aspects of anything that is going on. They are rising, existing, and falling away. In case of breathing, it can be said that there is a cessation of breath. This can lead to a silence and therefore, it is possible for us to transcend the consciousness of breathing. It seems that breathing automatically stops but in reality it is not so. Breathing gets deeper and even. Then you breathe internally and do not feel the movement. When we do not see the gentle movement it is said that breathing has stopped. So when silence becomes more significant then you can transcend the consciousness of breathing. In that case do not cling to the object. The preliminary object is only to start with. Naturally you tend to pay attention to the immediate object which is evident. Thus, there is no set object. Everything that enters the consciousness eventually becomes the object of meditation. We identify with attention, awareness, and


watchfulness. In this process we are not the observer. And when we begin with meditation, both the mind and the body discharge. However, we have to know what is happening, knowing just for the sake of knowledge and not for doing anything. Awareness is at work, but we are no more. When you sit in meditation for long, your legs tend to go to sleep. You will get concerned about it; let the legs go to sleep, but keep the body in an upright position. Sometimes the legs may wake up, but you should remain unconcerned. And do not move because of pain or discomfort. If you move, you cannot observe all that is going on in the mind. The body will certainly feel the discomfort. In that situation go on looking constantly. A point will come when knowing happens. So no more doing, instead seeing alone! Also when you are sitting in the rain let the rain drops fall and just observe what is happening in your body and the mind. Feel your attitude. When a situation arises do not look for any technique to get out of that situation. Be in that situation completely, because without it you cannot learn. Life is always open. Life has both shallow and deeper moments. Go through every aspect of life. Expect nothing, but take things as they are and as they come. In this form of meditation keep your eyes closed. Keep your attention steady and focus on the rise and fall of. In the Eastern monasteries, before meditation begins, a bell is rung three times. One has to listen to the sound from the beginning to the end, follow the sound, and be aware of the continuity of hearing. When meditation begins there are fears and uncertainties. Buddha narrated a story to his monks to help them in practice. It is said, once a man came across four poisonous snakes, symbolic of water, earth, fire, and wind. He became afraid. To escape them he ran into a village expecting some help.

There he did not find anyone. This made him more fearful and uncertain as well. He ran until he came across a vast stretch of water. He did not know what to do. There was no boat to take him to the other shore. He became even more frightened. He decided to make a raft. He collected some reeds and branches and made a raft. Then he started his journey. On reaching the other shore he abandoned the raft. He was now free to enjoy himself on this new island. Something like the above happens in meditation. In the beginning it maybe like trying to escape from these poisonous snakes. Sooner or later we shall arrive at a challenging situation. And in that situation we cannot rely on anything. Nothing is available. But then when we look into ourselves, we can bring about everything we need and build a raft. Buddha told the monks that this raft was for crossing the ocean of life, not to cling to it. When there is clinging, grasping, and attachment then you may stay in the ocean or you may even drown. Also, you cannot carry it with you as you set foot on the other shore. Then it will become an unnecessary burden. All techniques and teachings are for help to flow. When you try to hold on to them, you become rigid and fixed. Then no movement is possible. All such techniques are useful but never fix yourself on them. When you are fixed to any specific teaching then you become narrow-minded. When you are sick you take treatment and medicine. Also you follow a particular pattern of treatment and take precautions. But once you are cured you do not carry the prescription anymore. All your prescriptions, treatments, and medicines are dropped then. So when you are fixed you are narrow-minded. No more openness! No flexibility or adaptability! When you want to move from one position to another, be always open. In that case awareness becomes stronger. In Buddhism this is self-reliance.


UPSURGE OF ENERGY IN VIPASHYANA MEDITATION Quite often it happens when you are doing Vipashyana Meditation; there is an upsurge of energy. And because of this you feel very sensual. You are so silent and energy is not dissipated. Generally, much energy is dissipated unnecessarily. This makes you feel exhausted. So when you are sitting ideally, you automatically become a reservoir of energy. This goes on getting bigger and bigger and then there comes a point when it begins to overflow. This makes you feel sensuous. Sensitivity arises. It appears as if all senses are now fresh and alive. You feel as if you have taken a bath. This happens. For this very reason, Buddhist monks who have been doing this meditation for a long time do not eat much. It is not that they suppress appetite. There is no need. They eat once, a very small meal. It is almost like a breakfast. Even sleep gets less, but there is no loss of energy. They go on working hard. They naturally engage in works like wood cutting, gardening, and field work. In fact, they work the whole day, but still there is no dissipation of energy. Also, the sitting posture is very energy consuming. The lotus posture Buddha uses is such that all ends of the body meet – feet upon feet, and hands upon hands. From these points energy moves and flows out. Energy always

moves from the nerve ends. That is the reason the male sex organ has a particular shape so that energy leaks out. When too much energy is flowing within and you are unable to do anything, it gets released through the sex center. During a sexual act, a woman never releases energy. This is the reason that a woman can go on making love to many persons in one night but a man cannot. A woman can even conserve energy, if she learns the technique of conservation. She can even get energy. No energy is released through the head because of its rounded shape. Thus, the brain never loses energy, instead it conserves it. Energy never leaks from any rounded shape. This is the reason all planets and stars are round in shape. So when you sit in the lotus posture you become rounded. Therefore, when one end releases energy the other receives it. Instead of going out, the energy moves within almost like a circle! Energy is conserved, and thus the body becomes a reservoir of energy. Because of this you feel full; you may not have eaten but there is certain fullness. This is a good sign, enjoy it!

VIPASHYANA MEDITATION - A technique of breath awareness To create this inner sun of awareness within, Buddha invented a technique of meditation almost twentyfive centuries ago. This technique not only creates the inner sun of awareness, but at the same time it also allows the awareness to penetrate into every cell of the body and then to the entire being. The technique that Buddha invented is known as Anapana Sati Yoga. This is the yoga of incoming and outgoing breath awareness. It is also known as Vipashyana meditation. The word Vipashyana has two words put together – Vi and Pashyana. Vi means neutral and Pashyana means to see. Thus, Vipashyana means to look at everything with a neutral attitude.


WHIRLING A COSMIC DANCE OF ONENESS Whirling is part of a sacred ceremony in which the dervish rotates in a precise rhythm. He represents the earth revolving on its axis while orbiting the sun. The purpose of the ritual whirling is for the dervish to empty himself of all distracting thoughts, placing him in trance; released from his body he conquers dizziness.

W

hirling is the dance that brings inner

whirling of the dervishes is an act of love and a

harmony first and then expresses itself

drama of faith. It possesses a highly structured

through various hand and facial gestures

form within which the gentle turns become

as calmness, serenity, bliss etc. In its esoteric sense

increasingly dynamic as the individual dervishes

it is quite similar to Hindu Mythological dance of

strive to achieve a state of Trans. The music that

Rasa Lila where Hindu incarnation of God in the

accompanies the whirling from beginning to end

form of Krishna danced on the banks of the Blue

ranges from somber to rhapsodically. Its effect is

river Yamuna under the full moon, a perfect

intended to be mesmerizing. Chanting of poetry,

ambiance, in the company of his consort Radha and

rhythmic rotation, and incessant music create a

other milkmaids. Beyond all finiteness of amorism

synthesis which, according to the faithful, induces a

it is an expression of Love divine or ishk-e-

feeling of soaring, of ecstasy, of mystical flight. This

haquiqui.

brings harmony within first and then the same

Whirling Dervish (wurl-ing dur-vish) is a mystical

harmony becomes the cause of ecstasy or suroor.

dancer who stands between the material and

However Whirling has a Sufi origin. It evolved

cosmic worlds. His dance is part of a sacred

under a different situation, circumstances, time etc.

ceremony in which the dervish rotates in a precise

All these things have a deep effect on the technique

rhythm. He represents the earth revolving on its

and its outer appearance.

axis while orbiting the sun. The purpose of the

whirling is known as a Sufi technique. A Dervish

ritual whirling is for the dervish to empty himself

or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim

of all distracting thoughts, placing him in trance;

ascetic path or ‘Tariqat’. It is quite similar to

released from his body he conquers dizziness.

mendicant

‘Ride the breeze of dawn into eternity, Becoming dust under the hoof of the horse of a Dervish!’

Rumi The rituals of the Rumi’s followers (Whirling Dervishes) are among the enduring as well as the most exquisite ceremonies of spirituality. The ritual

friars

in

In Sufi terminology

Christianity

or

Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus. Dar in Persian means ‘a door’, so Dervish literally means ‘one who goes from door to door’. The word is also related to terms for ‘ascetic’ in some languages, as in the Urdu phrase darwaishana thabiyath, ‘an unflappable or ascetic temperament’.


Religious practice Many Dervishes are mendicant

their

ascetics who have taken a vow of

practice quiet meditation, as is the

poverty, unlike mullahs. The main

case with most of the Sufi orders in

reason

learn

South Asia, many of whom owe

are

allegiance to, or were influenced by,

prohibited to beg for their own

the Chishti order. Each fraternity

good. They have to give the

uses its own garb and methods of

collected money to other poor

acceptance and initiation, some of

people. Others work in common

which may be rather severe.

they

humility,

but

beg

is

to

Dervishes

professions; Egyptian Qadiriyya –

traditions.

Some

The whirling dance or Sufi whirling

known in Turkey as Kadiri – are

that is proverbially associated with

fishermen, for example. Some classical writers indicate that

specific

Dervishes (Mevlana mausoleum, Konya, Turkey)

the poverty of the Dervish is not

Dervishes, is the practice of the Mevlevi, or more correctly Maulvi meaning the learned one, Order in

merely economic. Rumi, for instance, says in Book 1

Turkey, and is just one of the physical methods

of his Masnavi

used to reach religious ecstasy (majdhb, fana). The name Mevlevi

Water that’s poured inside will sink the boat While water underneath keeps it afloat. Driving wealth from his heart to keep it pure King Solomon prefered the title ‘Poor’: That sealed jar in the stormy sea out there

comes from the Persian

poet,

Maulana Rumi who was born

Floats on the waves because it's full of air,

in

When you've the air of dervishood inside

modern

Orders There are various orders of Dervishes, almost all of

and

whose

shrine

is

Turkey.

which trace their origins from various Muslim

in He

was a Dervish

saints and teachers, especially Ali and Abu Bakr.

himself.

Various orders and suborders have appeared and

This

practice,

disappeared over the centuries.

the janissaries, and Senussi, who are rather

day

Afghanistan

You'll float above the world and there abide...

Other groups include the Bektashis, connected to

Balkh,

though Whirling dervishes, Rumi Fest 2007

intended

not as

entertainment,

orthodox in their beliefs. Other fraternities and

has become a tourist attraction in Turkey now like

subgroups chant verses of the Qur'an, play drums

any other practice world over.

or dance vigorously in groups, all according to


K

nown to the west as Whirling Dervishes,

intended to be mesmerizing. Chanting of poetry,

the members of the Mevlevi Order (named

rhythmic rotation, and incessant music create a

for their founder Mevlana) from Konya

synthesis which, according to the faithful, induces a

lived in what we might call cloisters or monasteries - what to them was a Mevlevihane. The one at Galatia in Istanbul is a product of late Ottoman architecture, and quite elaborate in having a tomb, a large chamber for the ceremony of the whirling dance (Sema), a fountain from which water was charitably distributed to the public, a time keeper’s

feeling of soaring, of ecstasy, of mystical flight. The Mevlevi sect belongs to the Sunni or orthodox mainstream of Islam. Its doctrine never developed a revolutionary strategy - and although it was occasionally criticized for its heretical ideas, it always enjoyed the respect of the officialdom.

room, cells for the dervishes, separate quarters for

Many later Ottoman Sultans, including Mehmed,

the Master, a section for women, a chamber of

the Conqueror of Istanbul, were enamored of

silence, a large ornate fountain for ablutions, and a

Mevlevi ideals. The reformist Sultan Selim III was

laundry room.

virtually a member. Suleyman, probably the

The Mevlevi Order founded by Mevlana in Konya during the Seljuk period is made up first and foremost of structure analogous to the monasteries of the West. The first of these tekkes is named for Mevlana and was considered as the originator of all

greatest of the Sultans, held the Mevlevi dervishes in high esteem and their ‘Sema-hane’ (whirling hall) constructed for them as his imperial gift. The hall/mosque stands next to Rumi’s mausoleum in Konya.

the rest. Divani Mehmet Celebes stands out in the

Besides Mevlevi dervishes, also Bektashi Order’s

early spread of the order. The Celebes or gentle

dervishes were highly regarded by the sultans and

ones who went out to break new ground and make

other common people. The dances of Bektashi

converts saw themselves as disciples of this great

dervishes were called as ‘Kirklar Sama dance’,

master, and an astonishing number of tekkes were

which didn’t involve whirling like the Mevlana’s.

established during Divani Mehmet Celebi’s lifetime and thanks to his efforts; in Aleppo, Egypt and Algeria, on the islands of Chios (Sakiz) and Mitilene, and of course on the Turkish mainland.

The Whirling Dervishes played a vitally important part in the evolution of Ottoman high culture. From the 14th to the 20th century, their impact on classical poetry, calligraphy, and the visual arts was

The rituals of the Rumi’s followers (Whirling

profound, while music was perhaps their greatest

Dervishes) are among the enduring as well as the

achievement. Since Islamic orthodoxy opposed

most exquisite ceremonies of spirituality. The ritual

music as being harmful to the listener and

whirling of the dervishes is an act of love and a

detrimental to religious life, no sacred music or

drama of faith. It possesses a highly structured

mosque music evolved except for the Mevlud, a

form within which the gentle turns become

poem in praise of the Prophet Mohammed, chanted

increasingly dynamic as the individual dervishes

on high occasions or as a requiem (funeral song or

strive to achieve a state of trans. The music that

lament). Rumi and his followers integrated music

accompanies the whirling from beginning to end

into their rituals as an article of faith.

ranges from somber to rhapsodically. Its effect is


In his verses, Rumi emphasized that music uplifts

traditional Turkish instruments) and 12 dancers.

our spirit to realms above, and we hear the tunes of

There is also a master of ceremony. A performance

the Gates of Paradise. The meeting places of the

is broken into two parts with the introduction

dervishes, consequently, became academies of art,

conducted by the master followed by 3 or 4 pieces

music, and dance. Today, the Performances of The

of music. This is followed by a 4-part whirling

Whirling Dervishes include twelve musicians (on

ceremony.

The Ritual of Sama

T

he fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve. The shared similarity between all created things is the revolution of the electrons, protons, and neutrons within the atoms that constitute their basic structure. From the smallest cell to the planets and the farthest stars, everything takes part in this revolving. Thus, The Samazens, the ones who whirl, participate consciously in the shared revolution of all existence. The Sama ceremony represents a spiritual journey. The seeker’s turning toward God and truth, a maturing through love, the transformation of self as a way of union with God, and the return to life as the servant of all creation. The Samazen (with a camel’s-felt hat representing a tombstone and a wide white skirt symbolizing the death shroud), upon removing his black cloth, is spiritually born to Truth. The samazens stand with their arms crossed, ready to begin their turn. In their erect posture, they represent the number one, testifying to God’s unity. Each rotation takes them past the sheikh, who stands on a red sheep skin. This is the place of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi , and the sheikh is understood to be a channel for the divine grace. At the start of each of the four movements of the ceremony, the samazens bow to each other honoring the spirit within. As their arms unfold, the right hand opens to the skies in prayer, ready to receive God’s beneficence or grace. The left hand, upon which his gaze rests, is turned towards the earth in the gesture of bestowal.

Fix-footed, the samazen provides a point of contact with this Earth through which the divine blessings can flow. Turning from right to left, he embraces all creation as he chants the name of God within the heart. The Sama ritual consists of seven parts: 1. It starts with the singing of the Nat-i-Serif, a eulogy to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), who represents love. Praising him is praising the truth of God that he and all the prophets before him brought. 2. This follows the call of the drum and the slap of glory, calling the samazens to awaken and Be Awaare. This begins the procession known as the Sultan Veled Walk. It is the salutation of one soul to another, acknowledged by bowing. 3. This is followed by the Sama ritual itself. It consists of four Salams or salutations. The First Salam is the birth of truth by way of knowledge. The Second Salam expresses the rapture of witnessing the splendor of the creation. The Third Salam is the transformation of rapture into love; the sacrifice of mind and self to love. It represents complete submission and communion with God. The Fourth Salam is the samazen’s coming to terms with his destiny and his return to his task in creation. In the fourth Salam, the sheikh enters the circling dervishes, where he assumes the place of the sun in the center of the circling planets. 4. The Sama end with a reading from the Quran. The sheikh and dervishes complete their time together with the greeting of peace and then depart, accompanied by joyous music of their departure.


One of the beauties of this seven-centuries-old ritual of whirling is the way that it unifies the three fundamental components of man’s nature; mind, emotion, and spirit. Combining them in a practice and a worship that seeks the purification of all three in

the turning towards Divine Unity is the very essence of WHIRLING. But most significantly, it implies the enrichment of this earth and the well-being of humanity as a whole.

Dervishes performing the sacred dance of Whirling


VENU GITA If you have to sow or nourish the seeds of transformation or love for the divine you have to create such sentiments and qualities of a FLUTE within you. Only then you can understand the VENU GITA. The pastimes of Krishna or different aspects of Rasa-Lila cannot be understood by hasty readers. Rasa-Lila is the dance of inner harmony and ecstasy in its union with the cosmic one.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Chapter Twenty-One

V

enu Gita is the part of Srimad Bhagavatam

to lament this separation through various melodies

Canto 10 and Chapter 21. Winter season

and calls of lament.

began approaching Krishna arrives in

Vrindavana. The gopis prayed and worshipped

There are three qualities of flute:

Krishna with Venu Geet. Krishna played the

1. Flute does not say anything or sing unless it

mystical flute as the clarion call to these gopis.

has to do so. This is the quality of a master.

Venu

Srimad

He is here to speak out of any material gain.

Bhagvatam as it takes you into a deeper realm of

He speaks only when he finds it to be

the qualities of Venu. Krishna plays flute on the

necessary for the growth of the aspirant.

Gita

is

important

aspect

of

banks of the River Yamuna and with this flows the

2. Flute is hollow inside. There is no resistance

eternal call from a master to continue and begin the

or inertia of its own. This implies there is no

process of transformation. Hearing which the

desires, anxieties, agitations etc within. This

Gopis cannot resist and they start gathering for the

is another quality of the master. He has

Rasa-Venu-Lila. Before I go into Venu Gita it is

attained harmony and oneness within. And

important to know something about Venu. Venu is

when there is harmony and oneness within

the Hindi word used for flute.

love flows like the fragrance of a flower for

There are certain qualities of flute. It is part of reed bed. And then one day it is separated from the reed bed. A few holes are made along the physical kaya or the body of the flute. It is well decorated. And then prana –vayu as air is blown through it. Out of this comes the song of lament of separation. Since the piece of the bamboo was separated from the reed bed it felt the pain of separation. It continues

anyone who is open to it. 3. Flute whenever it says anything it is always pleasant, and melodious. Whenever a master speaks it is for the transformation of the aspirants. He has attained and there is nothing to gain or do in the three worlds. Yet still he continues to operate and interact because men follow him in many ways.


As

an

individual

we

continue

to

nourish

from the lakes with it. The infallible Nanda-

differences, bitterness, anger and many such

Nandan

emotions and feelings. If you have to sow or

Vrandavana forest, accompanied by His cows and

nourish the seeds of transformation or love for the

gopas.

divine you have to create such sentiments and qualities within you. Only then you can understand the VENU GITA. With this we will now enter the VENU GITA.

Krishna

entered

that

enchanting

EXPLANATION Sukadeva explains the very nature and the ambience of six seasons. Summer and the rainy season had just passed, and now the autumn is

Text One

approaching in its pristine beauty and splendor.

Sri suka uvacha ittham sharat-svaccha-jalam padmkara-sugandhina ittha arat-svaccha-jala nyavisad vayuna vatam sa-go-gopalako cyutah Sri sukah uvacha -

Autumn is followed by winter and then vasanta, or spring is to follow. Although Vrandavana is always springlike, there are certain differences between the seasons. This first verse of the Venu-gita describes the autumn season.

Sri sukadeva said (or

Sri

Since autumn comes after the rainy season, the

sukah, the very dear parrot of sri Radhika , said);

ponds and rivers are filled with pure water and the

ittham - in this way;

lotuses are in full bloom. The bees

sharat

the beautifully

hover around

decorated season of autumn; svaccha - clear; jalam

the flowers for nectar as they fly all around

- having water; padma- kara - from the lakes,

drinking nectar. The air is full and heavy with the

Yamuna,

fragrance of the various blossoms like bel, kamal or

Kusumasarovara, Manas-ganga, Govinda-kunda

lotus, juhu and others such flowers of immense

and other such reservoirs of water filled with lotus

beauty and fragrance.

ponds

and

rivers

such

as

the

flowers; su-gandhin - with the sweet fragrance; nyavisat - He entered; vayuna - by the cool and fragrant breeze; vatam - ventilated; sa - with; go the cows; gopalakah - and the cowherd boys; achyutah - the infallible Nanda-nandana

Sri

Krishna

Vrandavana that Krishna, the gopas and cows enter the forest every morning. Balarama is also with Him. The gopis watch Krishna and His friends enter the forest from their homes, and then amongst their friends who share the same moods in

PURPORT The season of autumn is approaching. Its beauty is spreading all around. Sukadeva explains this to Raja Parikshit,

It is in such an environment of gaiety of

Vrandavana became extremely

beautiful due to the exquisitely decorated season of autumn. The lakes, ponds and rivers were filled with clear, sweet water. Gentle and fragrant breezes blew, carrying the aroma of lotus flowers

love for Krishna, they discuss His pastimes. This verse describes the morning season. Although Krishna has already entered the Vrandvana forest, the gopis are still seeing His entrance into the forest and hearing His flute song in their hearts. They have gathered together in their specific groups to talk about Krishna and to express their minds to others who are in the same bhava or mood.


There are different groups (samuha) of gopis. The term samuha refers to a general group consisting of both older ones in the parental rasa and younger gopas who have a conjugal relationship with Krishna. Within that group are many parties (yutha). Each yutha has a yutheshwari or leader. Sri Radhika is the leader of one group of gopis, Chandravali is the leader of another, and Shyama , Bhadra, Chitra and sometimes Lalita and Vishakha are other group leaders as well. Within the yutha, the gopis are divided into smaller groups consisting of those who are experiencing the same bhava or loving feelings for Krishna. Within these smaller groups (ganas), the gopis reveal their hearts to one another. In this way, they become immersed in this particular pastime and are able to actually see it flowing in their hearts. The gopis are not remembering their homes, their physical bodies, or anything material. They are only seeing Krishna and their pastimes with Him, although they are at home and He is in the forest with the cows and the cowherd boys.

this in turn makes the gopis restless as well. Krishna steals their hearts (vikshipta-manasonarpa) and takes them into His own heart. Thus the gopis become senseless; their hearts are with Krishna.

The gopis are expressing purva-raga, the mood of anticipation in meeting Krishna. There are two kinds of purva-raga, one for the sadhaka who is

This pastime takes place in the autumn (sharat), between summer and winter. The flowers are blooming and the weight of their fragrance makes the air so heavy that even moving about in it is difficult. Anyone who tries to run in this air has difficulty. Because it is autumn, the air is also cool.

practicing raganug - bhajana, and one for the siddha

devotee.

The

raganug -sadhaka

can

experience only a shadow or semblance of purvaraga, but the vraja-vasis experience pure purvaraga. When Sri Radhika meets Krishna, She thinks it is the first time She has ever has seen Him and

Although the gopis are at home in the village, they can see Krishna on the bank of the Yamuna within their hearts because they are immersed in remembrance of His pastimes. Because they have given their hearts and all their attention to Krishna, they have become restless and all the symptoms of ecstasy are manifest.

Krishna thinks He has never met Radhika before. Radha and Krishna are nitya-navina: They are everfresh. The raganug -sadhaka can only realize purva-raga when visuddha-sattva (pure goodness) enters his heart. Until that time, he experiences purva-raga only in a theoretical way. When the sadhaka attains the siddha stage, he can realize

In the first few verses of the Venu-gita, the gopis describe both the scenery of Vrandvana and Krishna’s beauty as He enters the forest with thousands of cows and cowherd boys (sa-gogopalako chyutah ). Achyuta means that Krishna is infallible. His face is beautiful. He is restless, and

everything in the pure form. Both the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Brahad Vamana Purana explain that the gopis hearing Krishna’s flute were of three types: the kaya-vyuha of Sri Radhika; nitya-siddhas; and sadhana-siddhas. The


gopis belonging to the category of kaya-vyuha are not jiva-tattva. They are bodily expansions of Sri Radhika who is the personification of the haladin sakti. The nitya-siddha gopis are jiva-tattva who have manifested from Baladeva Prabhu. They were never conditioned at any time. The sadhana-siddha gopis are of two kinds: yauthaki and ayauthaki. The word yauthaki means that which pertains to a group (yutha) or, in other words, a member of a group. The yauthaki gopis were in special groups and the yauthaki gopis were not. The yauthaki gopis are further divided into two categories: the shruti-cari gopis (personified Vedas) and the rshicari gopis or muni-cari gois (the sages who meditated in Dandkakaranya).

nitya-siddha devotees and were able to join the rasa dance and the other lilas. The rishi-cari gopis did not practice full raganuga bhajana. They had not become siddha. They attained the level of suddha-sattva by their meditation. They also had lobha for bhajana. When they saw Lord Ramacandra, their greed became thicker and they took their next birth in the wombs of gopis, by the Lord’s mercy. According to their previous qualifications, some of the rishi-cari gopis received the association of nitya-siddha devotees and some of them did not. Those who did receive the association of nitya-siddha gopis were purified by that association and thus were able to join the rasa dance. Those who were not associated with nitya-siddha gopis were held back by Yogamaya. Both the shruti-cari gopis and rishi-cari gopis are ayauthaki gopis they are in special groups according to their bhava or mood in serving Krishna. The ayauthaki gopis are the daughters of the demigods and of many others. All of them had developed lobha (greed) to associate with Krishna in the conjugal mood by hearing and seeing Krishna’s pastimes. The yauthak gopis were practicing under the guidance of the nitya-siddha gopis.

The shruti-cari gopis had been practicing raganug sadhana for many thousands of years, and they had pleased the Lord by offering beautiful prayers. By His grace, they attained the association of advanced devotees and developed in the past the stages of shraddha , nistha , ruchi, asakti and bhava. When they reached the stage where their bhava was about to be converted into prema, they left their bodies and took birth in the wombs of gopis in Vrandavana. Then they attained the association of

When Krishna called the gopis to the forest in the middle of the night for the rasa dance, only those gopis who had attained perfection were able to go. By the influence of Yogamaya, the nitya siddha gopis have no real relationship with their husbands and they have no children. Therefore, they are able to go to Krishna. The less advanced gopis do have relationships with their husbands and so they are hindered by them. By Yogamaya’s influence, these gopis are restrained from going to Krishna for the rasa dance, but because they experience intense purva-raga, and because of their greed to associate with Krishna, the fire of separation burns up their good and bad karma and they become purified. Their purva-raga was so strong that simply by


hearing His flute, they became immersed in remembrance of Krishna in deep separation. Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.29.10 states: duhsaha-preshta-viraha, tivra-tapa-dhut subhah For those gopis who were confined to their houses, intolerable separation away from their beloved caused an intense agony that burned away all impious karma. Their bodies were partly material and partly chinmaya (spiritual). The basis of their impious karma (ashubha) was that they had some attraction to their husbands and children and to worldly affairs. But the fire of separation burned everything away. Krishna appeared to them at that time and they took Him in through their eyes and brought Him into their hearts, embracing Him so deeply that all pious and impious karma was washed away (prakshina-bandhanh).

raga nuga sadhana; they still retained a small amount of shubha and ashubha-karma. The shruticari gopis were in a different position because by their association with the nitya-siddha devotees, they were completely free from both the pious and impious activities. As a result, they were able to go to Krishna when He called them with His flute. These gopis were not ordinary souls. They were able to meditate on Krishna twenty-four hours a day in purva-raga. The gopis in the Venu-gita have passed through all the stages of sadhana and have attained prema. It is erroneous to consider Rasa Lila or such dance sequences between Krishna and the Gopis as mere sensuous ones. Many times yogamaya stops gopis from entering the rasa. Rasa Lila represents the most intimate relation between the master and the aspirant. The aspirant has reached to level from where he can understand the subtle message of the master.

Their impious karma was washed away, but their shubha karma was also washed away. What is this pious karma? Ashubha means worldly attachment; subha means praise, wealth, reputation, followers everything that automatically comes when one practices bhakti. Both are obstacles in bhakti. In the case of these gopis, their husbands and other relatives loved them so much, and their attachment to this shubha-karma was an obstacle that was washed away when they took Krishna into their hearts.

The

Gopi

tatwa

signifies the state of

the

aspirant.

There is no inertia, and

such

negativities.

other This

signifies that the energy has shifted from head to the heart. There is no pride. Yet still there is one danger that is of jealousy arising out of

At present we have both shubha and ashubhakarmas because we are entangled in the many pains and pleasures of our bodies. Due to being embodied, we suffer in so many ways, and this appears to present obstacles to our bhakti. When all the anarthas the non-essentials are cleared from the heart, then Shuddha-bhakti can enter. In the case of the rishi-cari gopis, not everything was washed away by their practice of

the other which is quite natural for a female and also this brings greed to be more and more in the company. All this is signified by various terms used in Venu –Gita. The pastimes of Krishna or different aspects of Rasa-Lila cannot be understood by hasty readers. Rasa-Lila is the dance of inner harmony and ecstasy in its union with the cosmic one.


TAOSHOBUDDHA RESPONDS Thank you Taoshobuddha, Sir (I don’t know how to refer you), it is great to know that you cook your own food and see and reply the mails yourself. I thought may be a PA or someone would first see things that is why I wrote Harsh as in Hindi language, to non Indians my name looks weird. It is great to get a reply from the one who knows. Somehow I came across Osho’s books and liked them and then through internet I downloaded some audios (I am annoyed that they were put down from Oshoworld.com). For meditation I generally use the simplest of technique, I learned this through a video of Shri Akhil Swami Saraswati. In the video Swamiji first instructs you to jump, and dance and jog for 5 minutes. Then he instructs to become aware of all five senses and then finally a silence follows. The first time I did it, whole day was sort of lucky for me. In my class (I am just 10 and would be joining college from July 27) I said which I thought I could never say, mean that they were out of mouth and then I understood what I had said. Once in a while after meditating I feel really calm and aware. It feels as if I was before meditating sitting in dim light but after meditation someone has put a more powerful source of light. Everything looks fresh and I can see clearly it feels as if I was in some kind of sleep which got broken. Also I can more clearly feel the air touching my arms around my ear, through my hairs. But within an hour or two they stop. And it is not always that I feel these. Sometimes more clearly while other times very little. I also feel such things after a very vigorous work. And if I feel it very clearly I try it out soon but most times I do not get the same result and then all my wish to continue ends and then I meditate after maybe a week or two. Kindly try to explain the meaning of all these effects and what should I further do to strengthen these observations on myself. FROM HARSH CHANDALIA, INDIA


Beloved Harsh, It is really good to know that someone at such a tender age of 10 is so keen on meditation. This is indeed the outcome of the past lives. Continue the journey. I am awlays with you whenever you need me or my assistance. You can connect with me through an internet phone facility called Skype.com. First this you have to download and install on your PC. Then the next step is to create contacts. Once you are on my contact list as soon as I am on line you will get the indication. For this facility you will need a web cam or head phone with a mic facility. The voice quality is very clear. All the mails are an intimate communion between the writer and the one to whome it is addressed. Therefore it is to be read and responded by the one to whom it is addressed. You had mentioned the name of Osho. He is a beautiful master of masters. Very rarely a master of this type is ever born: hjarae sal nrigs ApnI benUrI pe raetI hE bfI muiZkl se haeta hE cmn me< dIdavr kae$ pEda. He has created many meditations. I will e mail you the PDF copy of his meditations. His dynamic meditation is very effective. It proceeds in 5 steps. It is 60 min meditation comprising 5 stages. Osho responded all his mail himself. He used to get the mail sorted out and put in an order so that all similar questions can be responded together. All the experiences that you mentioned do happen in the process. In the beginnging these states do not long for long. However as you continue consciousness creates grooves within and then such state can last for a longer period of time. I have created and uploaded many videos that are available for free viewing on www.youtube.com/taoshobuddha01 and on www.totalbhakti.com/taoshobuddha You can start with one video at a time and listen to it persistently at a particular time for a period of 3 weeks there will definitely be the difference. Choose part one of any of the following videos: 1. Relax into being part 1, 2, 3 2. Light of the being part 1, 2, 3 Fell free to send me mail any time. Love, TAOSHOBUDDHA


TAOSHOBUDDHA WAY

MA PREM SUTRA RECIPE OF THE MONTH


STUFFED CABBAGE ROLES COOKED IN SHAHI GRAVY I have not come across a recipe like this in any cook book. This is a recipe from my mothers’ kitchen. During winter and summer on Sundays she will cook this dish and serve along with rice, whole wheat chapaties, daal taduka and chutney of the season and onion-tomato salad with spinach leaves.

only those special recipes. Other Shahi, Moughalai and other dishes I can cook and get anywhere but not this. Therefore when Prem Sutra expressed her desire to compile these recipes in book form it was decided to present these recipes as a special section ‘Recipes from my Mom’s Kitchen’.

The taste still lingers with me. It has been several decades when we had tasted this recipe cook by her. Therefore when I visited India in 2007 I had requested her to cook

In this series I will present certain special recipes as I have modified these for better presentation and as a savory dish.

floats on the surface. Divide the mix in two

Ingredients 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Cabbage - large Onion. Ginger, garlic paste Seasonings paste Onion diced Cashew nuts crushed Mushroom diced fine Freshly grind Coriander and Fennelle seeds Shahi masala Tomato puree Salt to taste Oil to cook Fresh cream Fine thread to tie the rolls

3 3 tbs 2 tbs 1 cup ½ cup ½ cup 2 tbs 1 tbs ¾ cup

portions and set aside the half. 5. Add shredded cabbage to the remaining and

cook dry. Add mushroom and cook together. When almost finished add cashew nuts and turn off the heat. Allow to cool. 6. Spread each leaf and place some of the

mixture and fold the leaf from all sides to get the shape of a square or rectangle. Set aside until all are done.

2 tbs

7. Once again using the wok type pot heat and

add the remaining gravy remaining tomato Methodology 1. Remove the outer hard leaves from cabbage

without damaging. Wash and place in boiling salted water until tender. Remove and set

puree and water if necessary. This dish is served wrapped in gravy 8. Now add fresh cream and slip the cabbage

rolls gently and allow simmering until done. 9. Serve these garnished with a dash of

aside spreading each leaf.

coriander, and few parsley or mint, or

2. Shred cabbage and set aside.

coriander leaf and a few strands of carrot

3. Mix all seasoning and the Masala pastes

and beet root.

together so that the grains get soaked in water and become softer. 4. In a shallow wok type pot heat oil and add

Masala mix and ½ tomato puree until oil

Serve this as compliment with other dishes for a savory dinner or lunch.


KRISHNA THE MYSTERIOUS MASTER Totality of the being is indeed paradoxical. It is this paradox that makes Krishna difficult to understand. Therefore, people who have loved and worshipped him have done so by dividing him into parts, and they have worshipped his different fragments, of their liking. No one has accepted and worshipped the whole of Krishna. No one has embraced him in his entirety.

K

rishna is unique and incomparable in many ways. And so is his way of teaching. Ordinary human mind cannot understand

the ways of Krishna as a master and for that matter they do not consider Krishna a master. Krishna is considered an Incarnation. In that very thinking everyone goes on missing Krishna. From the very beginning Arjuna considered Krishna as his friend and cousin. There was opening in him for arguments and the possibility of growth. And the moment you take Krishna an Incarnation you have closed all doors for evolution. There are many dimensions of Krishna as a being, son, husband, friend, and as a master. Here I am taking of one dimension Krishna – the master. His uniqueness lies in the fact that although Krishna happened eons ago indeed he belongs to the future. Man has yet to evolve to a plane of consciousness so that he can be considered a contemporary to Krishna. And without reaching to the plane of consciousness from where he can understand the being of Krishna there is no way to neither be a contemporary to Krishna nor understand the message of Krishna. Krishna is still beyond man’s understanding. He continues to remain a puzzle. It seems that somewhere in distant future man will be able to

understand him and appreciate his virtues and ways of teaching. The most significant reason is that Krishna is the only being in the entire history of human consciousness who reached the absolute height or depth of religion. And yet there is no seriousness or sadness, or tears in him. The chief characteristic of a religious person that we see and know has been that he is sombre, serious and sad-looking. He looks like the one vanquished in the battle of life. He is a traitor from life. In the long line of such sages and saints it is Krishna alone who comes dancing, singing and laughing under all circumstance that have faced him throughout. When we look at the religions of the past we find all these were life-negative and masochistic in their approach. All along these extolled sorrow and suffering as great virtues. If you keep aside Krishna’s vision of religion, every religion of the past presented a sad and sorrowful image. A laughing and overflowing religion that accepts life in its totality is yet to take birth. And it is good that all old religions are dead, and along with them, the old God concept is dead as well. It is said of Jesus that he never laughed. It was perhaps his sad look and the picture of his physical form on the cross that became the focal point of attraction for people, who are unhappy and miserable. In a deep


sense Mahavira and Buddha are against life too. They are in favour of life somewhere on another planet. They supported a new kind of liberation from this life. All the religions up to now, have divided life into two parts, and while they accept one part the other is denied. Krishna alone accepts life in its totality. Acceptance of life in its totality has attained Total fruition in Krishna. That is why India held him to be a Total Incarnation. All remaining incarnations were considered as imperfect and incomplete. Even Rama is described as an incomplete incarnation of Vishnu. But Krishna represents the ‘Totality of God.’ And there is a reason for saying so. Krishna has accepted and absorbed everything that life is. He accepted the flowers, the thorns, the leaves, the stem, the roots and in fact the plant in its entirety. Albert Schweitzer remarked that the religion of India is life negative. And this is correct to a large extent. However Krishna is left out. His statement is utterly wrong in the context of Krishna. If Schweitzer had tried to understand Krishna he would never have said so. It is indeed unfortunate that we did not allow Krishna to influence our life in its totality. He remains the solitary dancing island in the vast ocean of sorrow and misery that our life is. Or, we can say he is a small oasis of joyous dancing and celebration in the vast desert of sadness and negativity, suppression and condemnation that we really are. Krishna could not influence our entire life, and for this we are alone to blame. Krishna is not in the least responsible for it. We were not that worthy, or deserving, to have him, or imbibe him, or absorb him. Up to now, man looked at life in fragments. Also life is thought dialectically. The religious man denies the body and accepts the soul. Thus he creates a dichotomy between the body and spirit. He denies this world, he accepts the life beyond.

Naturally our life is going to be sad and miserable if we deny the body, because all our life’s juice – its health and vitality, its sensitivity and beauty, and all its music – has its source in the body. So a religion that denies the body is bound to be miserable. Such a religion is bound to be lifeless like a dry leaf fallen from a tree. And the people who follow such a religion, and allow themselves to be conditioned by it, will also be sick and prone to death as these leaves are. Krishna alone accepts the body in its totality. And he accepts it not in any selected dimension but in all its dimensions. Apart from Krishna, Zarathustra is another. About him it is said he was born laughing. Every child enters this world crying. Only one child in the entire history laughed at the time of his birth, and that was Zarathustra. And this is an indication of the fact that a happy and laughing humanity is yet to be born. And only a joyful and laughing humanity can accept Krishna in its totality. Krishna has a great future. After Freud the world of religion is not going to be the same as it was before him. Freud stands as a watershed between the religions of the past and the religion of the future. With Freud a great revolution has taken place and human consciousness attained a breakthrough. We shall never be the same again after Freud. A new peak of consciousness has been touched and a new understanding, an altogether new perspective, a new vision of life has come into being. And it is essential to understand it rightly. All the religions of the past taught suppression as the only way to God as a result he was to suppress everything – his sex, his anger, his greed, and his attachments. It was believed that only then he would find his soul, would attain to God. This war of man against himself has continued long enough. And in the history of thousands of years of this war, barely a handful of people, whose names can be counted on one’s finger can be said to have found God. So in a sense we lost this war, because down the centuries billions of people died without discovering their souls, or meeting God.


Certainly beyond doubt there must be a basic fault in the very foundation of these religions. It is as if a gardener has planted ten thousand trees and out of them only one tree brings fruits â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and yet we accept his scripture on gardening on the basis that at least one tree has blossomed. But we fail to take into consideration that this single tree might have been an exception to the rule. Or it might have blossomed on its own. The rest of the trees, that remained barren, bear testimony that the gardener has failed. If a Buddha, or a Mahavira or a Christ attains to God in spite of these fragmentary and conďŹ&#x201A;ictridden religions, it is no testimony to the success of these religions at all. The success of a religion, or let us say the success of the gardener, should be acclaimed only when all the trees of his garden, with the exception of one or two, flower. Then the blame could be laid at the foot of the remaining tree for its failure to bloom. Then it could be said that this tree remained barren in spite of the gardener.

note asking him to abduct her from the wedding Krishna did not run away. As one who has known and experienced God, he alone does not turn his face from war or any other situation. He is full of love and compassion, and yet he has the courage to accept and fight the war. His heart is totally non violent, yet he plunges into the fire and fury of violence when it becomes unavoidable. He accepts the nectar, and yet he is not afraid of poison. In fact, one who knows the deathless should be free of the fear of death. And of what worth is that nectar which is afraid of death? One who knows the secret of non-violence should cease to fear violence. What kind of non-violence is it that is scared of violence? And how can the spirit, the soul, fear the body and run away from it? And what is the meaning of God if he cannot take the whole of this world in his embrace?

With Freud a new kind of awareness has dawned on man. Suppression is wrong. It brings with it nothing but self-pity and anguish. If a man fights with him he can only ruin and destroy him. If I allow my left hand fight with my right hand, neither is going to win, but in the end the contest will certainly destroy me. While my two hands fight with one another, I alone will be destroyed in the process. That is how, through denial and suppression of his natural instincts and emotions, man became suicidal and killed himself. Krishna alone is relevant to the new awareness. In the wake of new understanding that came to man because of Freud and his findings Krishna hold the future. It is so because in the whole history of the old humanity Krishna alone is against repression. He accepts life in all its facets, in all its climates and colors. He alone does not choose one thing for the other. Instead he accepts life unconditionally. He does not deny love. Being a man he does not run away from women. When Rukmani send him the

Krishna accepts the duality the dialectics of life altogether and therefore transcends duality. Transcendence is not possible so long as there is conflict or as long as you choose one part and reject


the other. Transcendence is only possible when you are choice less and accept life in its totality. That is why Krishna has great significance for the future. And his significance will continue to grow with the passage of time. When the glow and the glamor of all other godmen and messiahs has dimmed, when the suppressive religions of the world have been thrown in the waste basket of history, Krishna’s flame will be attain to its peak, moving towards the pinnacle of its brilliance. It will be so because, for the first time, man will be able to comprehend and understand him. And not only will that man be able to imbibe him. And it will be so because, for the first time, man will really deserve Krishna and his blessings. It is really difficult to understand Krishna. It is easy to understand that a man should run away from the world if he wants to find peace, but it is really difficult to accept that one can find peace in the thick of the market place. It is understandable that a man can attain to purity of mind if he breaks away from his attachments, but it is really difficult to realize that one can remain unattached and innocent in the very midst of relationships and attachments, that one can remain calm and still live at the very center of the cyclone. There is no difficulty in accepting that the flame of a candle will remain steady and still in a place well secluded from winds and storms, but how can you imagine that a candle can remain lit steadily even in the midst of raging storms and hurricanes? So it is difficult even for those who are close to Krishna to understanding Krishna. For the first time in his long history man has attempted a great and bold experiment through Krishna. For the first time, through Krishna, man has tested, and tested fully his own strength and intelligence. It has been tested and found that man can remain, like a lotus in water, untouched and unattached while living in the throes of relationship. It has been discovered that man can hold to his love and compassion even on the battle

field that he can continue to love with his whole being while wielding a sword in his hand. It is this paradox that makes Krishna difficult to understand. Therefore, people who have loved and worshipped him have done so by dividing him into parts, and they have worshipped his different fragments, of their liking. No one has accepted and worshipped the whole of Krishna. No one has embraced him in his entirety. Poet Surdas sings superb hymns of praise to the Krishna of his childhood, Bal Krishna. Surdas’ Krishna never grows up, because there is a danger with a grownup Krishna which Surdas cannot take. There is not much trouble with a boy Krishna flirting with the young women of his village, but it will be too much if a grown-up Krishna does the same. Then it will be difficult to understand him. We can understand something on our own plane, on our own level. There is no way to understand something on a plane other than ours. So for their adoration of Krishna, different people have chosen different facets of his life. Those who love the Bhagwad Gita will simply ignore the SRIMAS BHAGVATAM, because the Krishna of the GITA differs from the Krishna of the BHAGVATAM. Similarly, those who love the BHAGVTAM will avoid getting involved with the GITA. While the Krishna of the GITA stands on a battlefield surrounded by violence and war, the Krishna of the BHAGVATAM is dancing, singing and celebrating. There is seemingly no coordination whatsoever between the two. Krishna will remain beyond human understanding until

you

are

transformed.

Arjuna

could

understand Krishna because he was transformed first and then he could visualize the cosmic nature and the form of Krishna. Seek transformation you will come to realize the essence of Krishna.


Stealing the Clothes of Gopis There are two types of veils. One is that which veils the manifestation of God. Know this as Maya. The other veils the jiva or microcosm. Know this as vasna or lust. When these two veils are removes one gets the vision of divinity! This is ‘Raso vaishya’!

T

here are two types of veils. One is that which

Katyayani, great mistress of yoga, empress of great

veils the manifestation of God. Know this as

deluding magic, make the son of the cow-herd Nanda

Maya. The other veils the jiva or microcosm.

my husband. I bow to you.’ Saying this prayer, the girls

Know this as vasna or lust. When these two veils are

would worship her, and having set their hearts on

removes one gets the vision of divinity! This is ‘Raso

Krishna, the girls performed this vow for a month. Also

vaishya’!

they worshipped Bhadrakali (Durga) so that the son of

Just as when you roast the seed its capacity of growth is

Nanda (Krishna) would be their husband.

destroyed. So too when an aspirant comes to me I

Arising at dawn, calling one another by name, they

destroy the desire seed. Thus is destroyed the capacity

would join hands and go to bathe in the Kalindi every

of the seed to bring forth new fruits and the seeds. And

day, singing loudly about Krishna as they went. This

when this desire seed is destroyed aspirant can continue

was everyday practice of these girls. One day, when

the inward journey. This is why I order the RASA LILA

they had gone to the river and taken off their clothes on

in different forms.

the bank as usual, they were playing joyfully in the

One of the pastime of Krishna is the stealing of the clothes of the Gopis while they were bathing. This is highly misunderstood. The acts that Krishna performed cannot be understood at the level of the mind. And when you look at these at the level of the mind you are sure to misunderstand. These are mystical in nature. Therefore these need the mystical insights of an enlightened one.

water, singing about Krishna. Krishna, the lord of all masters of yoga, came there with his friends of the same age in order to grant them the object of their rites. He took their clothes and quickly climbed a Nipa tree, and laughing with the laughing boys he told what the joke was: ‘Girls, let each one of you come here and take her own clothes as she wishes. I promise you, this is no jest, for you have been exhausted by your vows. I have never before told an untruth, and these boys know this.

Stealing the clothes of gopis is by far the most popular

Slender-waisted ones, come one by one or all together

childhood tale of Krishna. First try to understand the

and take your clothes.’

incident in simple terms as recorded in the Srimad Bhagavatam: and then I will give the mystical insight.

When the cow-herd girls saw what his game was, they were overwhelmed with love, but they looked at one

“In the first month of winter, the girls of Nanda’s village

another in shame, and they smiled, but they did not

performed a certain vow to the goddess Katyayani

come out. Flustered and embarrassed by Krishna’s

(Durga). They ate rice cooked with clarified butter. They

words and by his jest, they sank down up to their necks

bathed in the water of the Kalindi (another name of

in the icy water, and, shivering, they said to him, ‘You

Yamuna) river at sunrise. They made an image of the

should not have played such a wicked trick. We know

goddess out of sand and worshipped it with fragrant

you as our beloved, son of the cow-herd Nanda, the

perfumes and garlands, with offerings and incense and

pride of the village. Give us our clothes, for we are

lamps, and with bouquets of flowers, fresh sprigs of

trembling. O darkly handsome one, we are your slaves

leaves, fruits, and rice. And they prayed: ‘Goddess

and will do as you command, but you know dharma:


give us our clothes or we will tell your father, the

them. Though they were greatly deceived and robbed of

chieftain.’

their modesty, though they were mocked and treated like toys and stripped of their clothes, yet they held no grudge against him, for they were happy to be together with their beloved. Rejoicing in the closeness of their lover, they put on their clothes; their bashful glances, in the thrall of their hearts, did not move from him. Knowing that the girls had taken a vow because they desired to touch his feet, the lord with a rope around his waist said to the girls, ‘Good ladies, I know that your desire is to worship me. I rejoice in this vow, which deserves to be fulfilled. The desire of those whose hearts have been placed in me does not give rise to further desire, just as seed corn that has been boiled or fried does not give rise to seed. You have achieved your aim. Now, girls, go back to the village and you will enjoy your nights with me, for it was for this that you fine ladies undertook your vow and worship.’ When the girls heard this from Krishna, they had obtained what they desired; and, meditating upon his lotus feet, they forced themselves to go away from him to the village.”

The lord said to them, ‘If you are my slaves and will do

Srimad Bhagavatam10:22:1-28.

as I command, then come here and take back your

Compare: Brahmavaivarta Purana 1:27;

clothes, O brightly smiling ones.’ Then all the girls,

Brhaddharma Purana 3:17.

shivering and smarting with cold, came out of the water, covering their crotches with their hands. The lord

This was the version as narrated in Srimad Bhagvatam.

was pleased and gratified by their chaste actions, and he

Another narration is given now. In spite of certain differences

looked at them and placed their clothes on his shoulder

the theme is common. And this is what you need to focus.

and smiled and said, ‘Since you swam in the water

By the time Krishna was seven years old, he was both a

without clothes while you were under a vow, this was

darling of and a terror to the gopis in Vrandavan. The

an insult to the divinity (to Varuna, god of the waters).

gopis loved his cute appearance and radiant face, but

Therefore you must fold your hands and place them on

hated it (or pretended to) when he stole butter and curd

your heads and bow low in expiation of your sin, and

from their homes and shattered their earthen water pots

then you may take your clothes.’

with his sling. Very often Gopis would complain to his mother, Yashoda. With constant complaints Yashoda

When the village girls heard what the infallible one said, they thought that bathing naked had been a violation of their vows, and they bowed down to

would be compelled to scold or even punish Krishna in front of the gopis. This irked Krishna and he thirsted for revenge.

Krishna, the very embodiment of all their rituals, who had thus fulfilled their desires and wiped out their

It so happened one afternoon he saw the gopis bathing

disgrace and sin. Then the lord, the son of Devaki, gave

in a secluded spot in the river, Yamuna. They took off

their clothes to them, for he felt pity when he saw them

their garments as these lay on the riverbank. They enter

bowed down in this way and he was satisfied with

the river bare for the bath. Krishna saw this and decided


to take the revenge. So he collected all the clothes and

themselves as His slaves and were more than happy to

scuttled up a tree and ensconced himself in the

do whatever he asked them to do.

branches. The ladies came out of the water, laughing at the latest village gossip. Water droplets were trickling down their bodies and their long, black hair were falling on their backs like serpents. When they realized that their garments were missing there was a horrific shriek. They realized the presence of someone and were sure

After having returned the clothes of the unclad gopis bathing in the sacred waters of river Yamuna, Krishna congratulated them for their unflinching devotion towards him and promised that he would sport with them during the forthcoming autumn nights.

that the person has taken their clothes. The gopis

True to his word, when he observed the blooming

covered their nakedness with their arms as best as they

jasmines, and the moon smearing the eastern sky a

could and looked around for their clothes.

brilliant crimson red (like a lover returning after a long

Suddenly they spotted their clothes hanging on the branches of a tree well out of reach. Then they saw Krishna and realized what had happened. But Krishna refused to acknowledge them and began playing his

absence makes his beloved blush with his touch), all being conducive, Krishna let forth from his flute a breathtaking symphony, which stole the hearts of the gopis of Vraja (modern day Mathura and Vrandavana).

flute. They begged in vain but Krishna would not relent. After they had pleaded, Krishna told them to come out from hiding so that he could see them one by one. And then seek forgiveness for complaining every now and then to his mother. The gopis readily complied. But Krishna was not through. He dropped one garment. The gopis leapt upon it and Krishna enjoyed the ensuing scuffle till the owner retrieved her garment and put it on. This continued till all the garments were delivered. Then Krishna jumped down from the tree and departed nonchalantly playing his flute. He heard one of the gopis remarking. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Thank God! He is only seven.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; And Krishna could not figure out what difference it made whether he was seven or seventeen. In the Bhagwat Purana this incident is presented in a

What actually veils the spirit or the soul from

philosophical manner. At this time the gopis were

manifestation? It is in fact the ignorance or ego, or Nafs

engaged in a month long ritual in which they were

that veils the light of the being from manifestation.

praying to Durga to make Krishna their husband. By

Clothes are the veil - that obstructs the light mystically.

bathing naked in the river they had exposed their bare

A master strips you naked of your mind, conditioning,

bodies to the demi-God Varun, who resides in all water

thoughts and thus makes you appear innocent in front

bodies, thereby vitiating the effect of their prayers. So as

of the master bereft of any veil. This is what is to be

not to lose the effect of their prayers, they would have to

understood by this incident. If you try to understand

atone for the sin that they had committed. The

such incident in their dictionary meaning you are bound

atonement was that they come out of the water with

to misunderstand. Scriptures are the narration of the

their clasped hands held high and then collect their

sages as a device of transformation.

garments. The gopis considered Krishna their God and


Rasa Lila: The divine love-play In Vrandavan Dhama Woh hai Rangeela, Chail chabeela, Rasa rachaiya. Woh hai natkhat, woh jamunatat phere lagaye murli bajaye, Gopiyon ke sang raas rachaaye, Murli bajaiyaa raas rachaiyaa, shyam salona hai…...

Jo hai albela mad nainowala…. jiski deewani brij ki har bala woh kisna hai,woh kisna hai…….

The “sweet pastime” of Krishna Lord Krishna’s disappearance

H

owever, the Gopis became filled with pride and considered themselves superior to each other after performing Rasa Lila with Krishna. One night during Rasa Lila, Krishna while in Rasa, suddenly disappeared from the scene to remove the Gopis ego. On not finding Krishna amongst them, they became extremely miserable and started praying to make him come back. They then sang songs now popularly known as Gopika Gitam. After which they started crying and fell silent. Krishna returned smilingly, when he saw that the Gopis had learnt their lesson and had been cured of vanity. After which he blessed them with Maha Rasa. The eternal love legend

Rasa Lila is based on the legendary love story of Radha Krishna. The loving interplay between God and the human soul is interpreted through Lord Krishna and his love play with the Gopis. The blissful love of Radha for Krishna can be seen as the soul’s wish to be one with the Almighty. It finds itself manifesting in many ways. Though Radha never married Krishna, her love for him was so total and pure that even today we worship Krishna along with Radha. This love story has been called ‘Rasa’ by the great Rishi Vyasa. All artists; be it a musician, painter or poet have been besotted with this love story.


The Divine Dance Form The classical Manipuri dance presents the love story of Lord Krishna and Radha, his beloved, along with the cowherd girls in Vaishnavite style. It is the most beautiful presentation of Rasa Lila. But in different parts of the country Rasa Lila is performed in different ways along with folk songs and devotional music. Usually Rasa Lilas are performed only by boys or boys disguised as girls. Rasa Lila performances by Vaishnavas of Vrandavan are considered to be an out of the world experience. The eternal spiritual abode of Radha Krishna, the Sakhis and Nitya Vrandavana Dham are described in the devotional songs, chanted during the performances.

Rasa Lila on Janmashtami The Rasa Lilas form one of the most important aspects of Janmashtami or the birth celebrations of Krishna. Nowadays boys in the age group of 10-13 perform these acts with main focus being on the formative years of Lord Krishna.

Rasa Lila has now attained such proportions that the devotees rush to touch the feet of the boy who plays the Lord. The young boy becomes the embodiment of Krishna himself during the festival. The holy Nidhi Ban, Seva Kunja and Nidhuban are gardens where Krishna performed many of his pastimes. It is believed that on the eve of Janmashtami, Krishna performs Rasa Lila with Radha Rani and other ‘gopis’ here. No one is allowed to stay inside after dusk because according to popular belief the Krishna visits the place with Sri Radha Rani. Seva Kunj is surrounded by temples like Radha Damodar Temple, Radha Syamasundara Temple, Radha-Vrandavan-Kendra Temple. At Nidhiban (Nidhuban, Nidhuvan), Krishna is said to have rested with his beloved Sri Radha Rani. The shrine inside has a bed, which is decorated with flowers by the priest every evening. This divine dance form has continued to enthrall all across the centuries and continues to do so. There is nothing more pure than this dance that expresses passionate love for the Almighty.

Kumati is a life lived in cowardice and ignorance of the higher ideals. A life wasted in pursuit of material acquisition and scholarly rhetoric with no inkling to spirituality. What Adi Shankara calls dukrinyakarane – useless indulgence in the semantics and rules of grammar without understanding the essence of the message? Or what Shakespeare refers to as ‘a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.’ Kumati is an application of intelligence in trivia and pettiness. This word kumati comes from two words ku and mati. Ku implies the negative or outward or the downward movement of the energy or faculty of discerning. And mati refers to the faculty that can discern. It is the opposite of Sumati . Sumati implies the use of the discerning faculty for the positive or inward movement of the energy. And transformation happens only when the energy moves within. HANUMAN CHALISA – A Mystical Dimension Swami Anand Neelambar


THE IMMACULATE MISTAKE To trust when doubts is thy only companion To dream when nightmares is thy only vision To believe when despairs is thy soul’s solace To hope when lies is thy constant comfort To rise above deceit and still be fooled To love and feel the pain and hurt To need a touch and receive a fist To care when it is too late To wish when the memories are faded To desire when the heart is broken To heal when the scars are open To feel a power not your own To hold a friend from falling when you can’t stand To help a needy when you don’t have for yourself To give thanks in thy pity To win and not seek reward To lose and not feel remorse To think when the head is confused To breathe and feel the pulse of death. The immaculate mistake is to die in vain Never trusting that all things are possible With the gentle hand of love.

Samaroo avatar




  

  








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