Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gopaal Krishna, the Movie (and others!)

Recently I watched the 1979 Bollywood movie, "Gopaal Krishna", starring Zarina Wahab and Sachin, with English subtitles.

One thing that stood out for me is how many similarities Krishna's story has with that of Jesus and Yahweh, which convinces me even more that Yahweh and Krishna are the same entity. Below are the similarities that I picked up on:

● A King wanting to destroy a messiah-child who has been prophesied to destroy the King
● Prison locks popping open and prison guards falling asleep to permit prisoner’s escape
● Parting of waters to permit crossing
● The King ordering all newborn babies killed in order to ensure the messiah child hidden among them doesn’t live.

● Krishna tells Radha (His female companion), "Oh Radha, I am in you and you are in Me." Just like Jesus saying "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:20) and "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. " (John 15:4)
● Krishna casts out various demons (more territorial than personal, such as one that was poisoning the river as a multi-headed cobra-like serpent and another that took the form of a bull and attacked the cowherders.
The incident involving the above-mentioned serpent, Kaliya, is similar to one referred to in Psalm 74:13-14, where Yahweh is said to have "broken the heads of the monster in the waters", and "crushed the heads of Leviathan". Like Kaliya, it would seem that Leviathan had more than one head too; could be the same monster, same incident, same God putting him in his place. :)

● Krishna loves and shepherds His cows like Jesus does His sheep.
I also have to say that the actor chosen to play Krishna (Sachin Pilgaonkar) did a fantastic job of conveying the sort of bearing and grace that an Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent God, Who is Love, would undoubtedly possess; almost as though Krishna Himself had come down personally to appear in the film. :)

The movie helped me further to solidify, in my own mind (and heart) what God is like in a more tangible way, reminding me that He is not only a nebulous, vague, impersonal "Force" but also an actual Person with Whom one can interact.

Below are links to the movie with English subtitles (four parts), plus the full movie without subtitles.
I noticed that the English Subtitle version omits at least one scene found in the original, but the main storyline is still there.

 Update:  The following installments appeared in separate postings subsequent to what I wrote above, but I figured I would consolidate them all here.  They deal with two other Krishna movies, starring the same actor as Krishna, confirming  my hunch that he was 'anointed and appointed' for the role. :)


Shri Krishna Leela

Awhile after discovering the above movie, I found another old movie about Krishna, with the same actor as in the previous one I posted about, but about 8 years younger (around 14 years of age). It's called Shri Krishna Leela, and it came out in 1971. Compared to the other version, this one dwells a bit more on Krishna's mischievous side. He means well, though; He's supposed to be God Himself, so I would hope He means well!
 


The following version includes English subtitles.




Jai Bolo Chakradhari

I have found yet another film, from back in 1977, where Sachin again plays the role of Lord Krishna, titled "Jai Bolo Chakradhari".  

I have no idea what they're saying in the movie, or what the title even means, but according to whatsonindia.com, this is a "religious film about a pious woman [who] is a devotee of Lord Krishna. He empowers her to overcome all difficulties and deal with the humiliation heaped on her by her mother-in-law."  

I sort of scanned through it; there's a sweet scene about 51 minutes into the film where they alternate between Krishna dancing in the Heavenlies with people, as meanwhile, down on earth, people are also dancing ... the phrase "on earth as it is in Heaven" crossed my mind on seeing that; as above, so below.






Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jesus and Religious Observances

If the God of Judeo-Christianity and the God of Hinduism are the same entity (which I believe they are, especially when I see them use the same terminology to describe Krishna that is used to describe the Judeo-Christian God ツ), then the religious observances that Krishna's devotees feel obligated to follow may no longer be required; Jesus, Krishna's Son, fulfilled all that at the cross.

What prompts me to say this is that I follow a good handful of Krishna-related Facebook Pages, and according to one of them, today is evidently something called "Ekadasi", a holy day in which Hindus fast from certain foods. According to Stephen-Knapp.com, Ekadasi is as follows:

"Ekadasi generally falls on the 11th day after the new moon, and the 11th day after the full moon. Eka means one and dasi is the feminine form of dasa, which means ten. Together it means eleven. Only occasionally may it fall on a different day. So it is on these days that devotees and devout Hindus will follow the vow of Ekadasi and not eat any beans or grains, or products with such substances in them. Thus, the diet is expected to be simple and plain as part of the mood of renunciation, and preferably only once in the day if possible. Other recommendations include that the food should be made of vegetables, fruit, water, milk products, nuts, sugar, and roots that are grown underground (except beet roots). Restrictions include spinach, eggplant, asafetida, and sea salt, but rock salt is alright."

Elsewhere, it states:

"If one doesn’t follow Ekadasi because of illusion, he is still considered the utmost sinner. For every mouthful of grain that is eaten by a resident of the earthly region (on Ekadasi), one receives the effect of killing millions of brahmanas. It is definitely necessary that one give up eating grains on Ekadasi. I very strongly say again and again, ‘On Ekadasi, do not eat grains, do not eat grains, do not eat grains!’"

The repeated admonition against grain-eating reminded me of Colossians 2:20-23:

"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

Maybe that's why so much controversy rocked the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) -- they have their fair share of religious observances and restrictions, but at the end of the day none of that did squat to prevent the horrors that are said to have taken place after their founder passed away! So much of this reminds me of the Roman Catholic church, with all their emphasis on religious observances, and then stumbling in major-league headline-making ways.

I think it's a personal decision as to whether one wants to fast, however to state that a person is outright sinning if they don't observe holy days and/or fast from certain foods at certain times is negating what Jesus took care of through His sacrifice on the cross.

Colossians 2:16-19 says,

"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. "

Romans 14:1-4 states,

"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. "

Romans 14:5-8 says,

"One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. "

I seriously think that Hindus (in fact, adherents of any form of legalistic religious system) could benefit from applying what Jesus has done for them just as those still living under Old Testament religious laws could. Jesus is the Son of God (whatever name one gives God matters not), so one would think that devotees of God in any religion would be concerned with what God's own Son did for all mankind! Because of Jesus, we are all liberated souls (2 Corinthians 3:17)! In the context of Hinduism, because of Christ our relationship with Krishna can be just that: a relationship, rather than a series of religious rites and rituals and do's and don'ts, the latter which even Krishna Himself discouraged people from indulging in.








Sunday, December 18, 2011

Depersonalizing God: Atheism disguised as Spirituality?

I recently saw a quote by C.S. Lewis that said, “Don't think of God in terms of forms, because forms are limited, and God is unlimited.” (continued below)

While I agree that God is indeed unlimited, my ability as an earthbound human to grasp that in any meaningful way is incredibly limited! Being able to attribute a physical form to Deity on which to focus has proven absolutely helpful for me in relating to Him not only as an impersonal, vague “force”, but also as an individual Person. In my own case, agnosticism or atheism would have ultimately set in had I reduced my concept of God to the whole, somehow diluted, God-is-everything-and-everyone. The latter view almost sounds like atheism trying to sneak into one’s psyche disguised as “spirituality”. After all, for the average atheist, isn’t the individual person as Godlike as it gets? If so… um… how is the God-is-me/God-is-you philosophy any different from atheism?

As Satyaraja dasa said, “Teachers in the Krishna conscious tradition suggest that the desire to depersonalize God comes, on a subliminal level, from the desire to avoid surrender. After all, if God is a person, then questions of submission and subservience come into play. If God is a formless abstraction, we can philosophize about it without a sense of commitment, without the fear of having to acknowledge our duty to a higher being.

To that I say, BINGO!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John 12:32: There's a name for that


"God has no name, but by His qualities we give Him names.


If a man is very beautiful, we call him 'beautiful.'


If a man is very intelligent, we call him 'wise.'


So the name is given according to the quality.


Because God is all-attractive, the name Krishna can be applied

only to Him.


Krishna means 'all-attractive.' It includes everything."


~ Srila Prabhupada ~

(emphasis mine)


"And I, if I be lifted up out of the earth, will draw all to Me."

~ Yeshua, whose name means "The Lord saves", in John 12:32 ~


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Shyam" by Pia

Link
Lyrics (source):

When will I see Your smiling face?
When will I feel Your warm embrace?
Cause I miss You and I always do
Though I choose to be away from You
I am lonely, You're the only one...

Shyam , Shyam , Shyam ,
Ohe Shyam
Shyam , Shyam , Shyam ,
Radhe-Shyam

My tattered heart still beating
My wandering eyes are yet weeping,
And the universe has done it's worst
I've been bitten, scrached and I am cursed
And i am lonely, You're the only one...

Shyam , Shyam , Shyam ,
Ohe Shyam
Shyam , Shyam , Shyam ,
Radhe-Shyam

A distant memory of a dream still plays
It's wistful tune in the corner of my mind
Flutesong breathed from the sweetest breath
Without hesitation they run to it,
They just run and run, and I am
Still sitting here,
Covered with sorry tears, yet
Unwilling to move...

I see You in the sunrise,
I dance for You in the moonlight,
I raise my hands and
I call to You
I'm so lonely, You're the only one,

My Shyam ...

Shyam , Shyam , Shyam ,
Ohe Shyam
Shyam , Shyam , Shyam ,
Radhe-Shyam

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Dagger of Love




Note:
“Hariji” and “Giridhara” are other names for Krishna (God).

“Giridhara” means “He who lifted a hill/mountain”
The root of “Hariji” is “Hari” which means “The Lord Of Nature”




Link


Of Elephants and Donkeys: There's no going back. Seriously.



Some have told me, "Oh, you'll find someone new!" when it comes to romance in the wake of my separation (and very likely divorce).

What they don't realize is that I already have, found Someone -- God Himself -- and, as I had previously mentioned, once He assumes the role as one's spouse, there's just no going back.

As usual, Mirabai says it best:
“I have felt the swaying of the elephant's shoulders; and now you want me to climb on a jackass? Try to be serious.”
A modern-day version of that sentiment might be: "I have experienced the ride of a Cadillac; and now you want me to settle for a Yugo? As if!"










Link


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You're His Buttercup!


I was working on a blog-post comparing our relationship with the Lord to that between Westley and Princess Buttercup from "The Princess Bride".

Well... it's a bigger project than I first realized, so, in case it never sees the light of day, the main message I was trying to convey through it is that God is Westley, and humankind (on both the individual and the collective levels) is/are His Princess Bride.

Fellow Buttercups, don't ever let the Humperdincks in life persuade you otherwise! :)






Link

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reincarnation: Maybe Jesus ended that too!


I had started out Roman Catholic. At the age of 22, I got born-again and entered into the nondenominational Protestant evangelical/fundamentalist segment of Christianity. Then, at age 40, I became convinced there is no eternal hell awaiting those who die in unbelief and thus became what's known as a Christian Universalist.

The central theme of each of these phases is that Jesus died to save mankind from the penalty of sin and to reconcile us to God. Jesus brought an end to the Old Covenant, with all of its religious rules, regulations, and requirements. Religious ritual was no longer necessary draw near to God. This aspect of Divinity is, therefore, important to me. Having come to appreciate it, to believe in any less generous of a god-concept would be a step backwards in my journey. No matter what their names are, it's hard to top a deity who would sacrifice His/Her own progeny for our eternal benefit.

What does this have to do with reincarnation?

While I have never really been sold on the idea of reincarnation, I still wouldn't rule it out. But an idea had struck me over the last couple days that I want to share here: If there was a system of reincarnation in place up to the time of Christ, maybe Christ's sacrifice eliminated that, too.

Of course, that hinges on the reasons for reincarnation. If reincarnation is for the purpose of balancing out the bad deeds of a previous life with the good deeds of a current life, then Jesus may have eradicated it along with all the other things involving personal effort or goodness in getting close to God. Given that now there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) -- and I believe that includes everyone -- there is now no more need for endless reincarnation in order to "get it right", just as there is no more need for animal sacrifices or adherence to religious laws in order to do so.

Now, if the purpose of reincarnation is just for the fun of it, or as some outlet for personal challenge and growth, then hey, why not? But for God to have no choice but to condemn someone to a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth until they get their act together is, in my view, almost as nonsensical as His having to throw them into an eternal torture chamber with no hope of release. He's All-Powerful and All-Knowing. As such, I'm sure He has other, far more constructive (not to mention humane), alternatives at His disposal for fixing whatever remains broken in His creation.




Link

An Important Disclaimer

 As I come across Krishna-related material on the internet it has become clearer to me that I need to post this little Disclaimer on my site so as to clearly establish where I am -- and where I am not -- in my particular relationship with God.

I am in no way affiliated with any Hindu, Hare-Krishna, or any other religious organizations. I learned as a Christian to be free from religious ritual; that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross freed mankind from all that. I still believe that to be the case in my post-Christian walk. Paul expressed his concern for the Galatians who were slipping back into their old religious routines that were done away with:

"Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you." (Galatians 4:8-10)

"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Colossians 2:16-23)

And you know God was heading in that general direction when he told Arjuna the following in the Bhagavad Gita:
"The resolute determination of Self-realization is not formed in the minds of those who are attached to pleasure and power, and whose judgment is obscured by ritualistic activities. (2.44) Become free from pairs of opposites, be ever balanced and unconcerned with the thought of acquisition and preservation. Rise above the three modes of Material Nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) and be Self-conscious, O Arjuna. (2.45) To a God-realized person scripture is as useless as a river in a flooded area. Scripture is only an aid to God-realization, not needed after one has realized God." (2.46)

"I personally take care of both spiritual and material welfare of those ever-steadfast devotees who always remember and adore Me with single-minded contemplation. (9.22) O Arjuna, even those devotees who worship the deities with faith, they also really worship Me. (9.23) Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water with devotion; I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted. (9.26) O Arjuna, whatever you do, eat, give, or sacrifice, do it as an offering to Me." (9.27) A dedicated heart full of devotion is needed to obtain God's grace, not rituals.


"O Arjuna, neither by study of scriptures, nor by austerity, nor by charity, nor by ritual, can I be seen in the form as you have seen Me. (11.53) However, through single minded devotion I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and also can be reached. (11.54) One who does his worldly duty for Me, to whom I am the supreme goal, who is my devotee, free from attachment and without enmity towards living beings, realizes Me." (11.55)


"Transcendental knowledge of the scriptures is better than mere ritualistic practice; meditation is better than scriptural knowledge; renunciation of selfish attachment to the fruit of work is better than meditation; peace immediately follows renunciation of selfish motives." (12.12)
While Jesus hadn't yet arrived on the scene to do away with religious laws when God (as Krishna) expressed the above to Arjuna, it would seem that He was all about steering folks in that general direction: To relate with Him rather than just ritualize around Him.

So it would seem that once someone gets involved in a religious institution of whatever persuasion, sooner or later that organization's rules, regulations, and requirements are going to start creeping into their relationship with God. If it gets tacky enough, that organization may even earn the title of "Cult". Sometimes I wonder if man-made religion was founded by folks with severe OCD: everything has to be done a Certain Way in order to please the Deity of the Day. I'm sorry, but no sirree! Spirituality cannot be institutionalized, in my view. It's a very personal, one-on-one thing. Power-hungry priests, gurus, priestesses and pastors need to remember that God doesn't need help reaching each and every individual soul. He made them, He knows where they are, and He'll bring them Home again, and I can almost guarantee that the process doesn't require fifty push-ups in front of a statue of Saint Whatshisname each morning at 4am. We can be beacons of light without charring people to a crisp burdening them with nonessentials.





Link

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Story of Meera Bai


Meera Bai (also known as Mira) was one of the foremost exponents of the Prema Bhakti (Divine Love) and an inspired poetess of North India. She is regarded as an incarn
ation of Radha.

This is the story of the daring princess Meerabai, who revealed the secret of true happiness.

Meerabai, the great devotee of Krishna, who discovered that true wealth, lies not in the palaces of kings but in the hearts of the Lords devotees

Around 500 years ago, the Indian kingdom of Rajasthan was a land of warriors and sages, sadhus and kings. One such king had a daughter, the princess Meerabai, who saw beyond such things as riches and war.

She was born in Samvat 1557 or 1498 A.D. in the village Kurkhi, in Marwar, near Merta, a fortress-city, founded by her grandfather Rao Dudaji, about 40-50 miles north-east of Ajmer near Rajasthan. Meera was the daughter of Ratan Singh Ranthor and the grand-daughter of Rao Dudaji of Merta.

When she was four years of age, she manifested religious tendencies. As a child, she adored the cowherd god, Krishna, an image of whom she treated as a doll.

One day, while watching a wedding procession Meera asked her mother, "Dear Mother, who will be my bridegroom?"

Caught by surprise and unsure what to say, Meera mother smiled, and half in jest and half in earnest, pointed towards the image of Sri Krishna and said, "My dear Meera, this beautiful image is your bridegroom, her mother replied, "He is Lord Krishna."

From that moment on, child Meera began to love the idol of Krishna very much. She spent much of her time in bathing and dressing the image. She worshipped the image. She slept with the image. She danced about the image in ecstasy. She sang beautiful songs in front of the image. She used to talk to the idol.

Sadly her mother died when Meerabai was only four or five years old. As her father was away much of the time, she was then sent to be raised at her grandfather's house.

Other members of the family were also inclined towards Vaishnava practices, and in this environment Meerabai's own religious sentiments could grow freely.

Along with her general education she received lessons in music and dance too. She acquired a good mastery over them. She must have been especially proficient in music. The sweet musical quality of her songs is rarely found in the lyrics of other poets. This melody is the main reason for the immense popularity of her songs.

Meera had been worshipping Krishna right from her childhood. Nobody in her parents home had come in the way. If anything they actively encouraged it.

As she grew up, Meerabai's love for Krishna only strengthened. One night, she dreams that she and Krishna are married and for Meerabai, this is true also in her waking life. She lives as if she is Krishnas bride. She was passionately attached to the idol of Giridhar Gopal, a form of Lord Krishna and would refuse to be parted from it. Meera's mother died when she was ten year old. She then came to live with her grandfather who died in 1515. Her father's elder brother Vikram Deo who succeeded to the throne arranged her marriage with Prince Bhoj Raj, the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Chitter.

The marriage was celebrated with great pomp and grandeur in 1516. It seems Meera had placed the idol of Sri Krishna by her side even on the bridal seat. The royal family, which had the custom of placing a sword representing the bridegroom by the bride's side, might well have allowed this. This marriage raised Meera to a very high social status as the ruler of Chitter was considered to be the leader of the Hindu princes. But as soon as she came to live with her husband, her devotion to Sri Krishna began to cause displeasure among the members of her husband's family. It may seem strange that one should regard God as the husband and behave accordingly. But it is not a new thing in the Bhakti cult. There are several types of Bhakti (devotion). They are classified according to the relation that exists between God and the devotee. If God is regarded with parental affection, it is called as one's own dear child 'Vatsalya Bhava' (or the devotion of a parent to a child). The relation between Yashoda and Krishna is a good example of this type.

Instead of this, if a devotee considers God as his Master and firmly believes that he lives only by that Master's Grace and owes everything in life to Him, the relation would be that, which exists between Master and servant, It is called Dasya Bhava' (devotion of a servant to the Master). The relation between Hanumaan and Sri Rama is an example of this. When God is taken for an intimate friend, it is called "Sakhya Bhava' - the devotion of a friend to a friend. The friendship of Sri Krishna and Kuchela is of this type. When the relation between God and the devotee is one of love and of the intimacy that exists between husband and wife, it is called 'Madhurya Bhava'. This is considered the highest form of devotion.

The devotee is the wife and God is the husband. A wife serves her lord in several roles. She looks after him with affectionate care like a mother; she stands in attendance with respect and obedience like a servant; she treats him with sweet familiarity like a friend. In 'Madhurya Bhava' the devotee's relationship with God is exactly that of the wife with her husband. Though Meera had firmly believed even from her young age that Sri Krishna was her Lord, there is nothing to show in real life that she neglected her husband. As an ideal wife she might have returned his love and affection. But under no circumstances was she prepared to forget her Sri Krishna. In the entire world nothing was greater to her than that love. She loved to sit before the sweet little image of Sri Krishna, sing about Him in her sweet voice and dance. That was her life. She was born for only that. How could she give it up? But to others in her husband's house this looked like impertinence. It made them hate Meera. Everybody at home advised the obstinate girl to mend herself. She listened to their words calmly. In fact she would do whatever else she was asked to do; but, if she was told to forget Krishna, she could not bear it.

In the view of others, her intense devotion was nothing but a craze. When they made sure that she would not budge whatever they might say, they grew indifferent towards her.

Day by day she went on spending more and more time in the company of monks and other holy people, meditating upon Sri Krishna. At last Bhoj Raj got a temple built exclusively for her near the palace. (Some say that this temple was meant to divert the large number of Sadhus who came to the palace.) Anyway this provided Meera with a place where she could worship Sri Krishna in freedom. She used to spend the whole day in song and dance there. "When the whole world is asleep I, being away from my Lord, keep awake. Likewise some one else separated from her lover sits in a luxurious mansion stringing pearls, I know. Counting the stars I spend the whole night. When will dawn the hour of happiness for me? It is only after Giridhar, the Lord of Meera, comes that this suffering will end," so she sang in great joy. Her own people who had seen her sing, dance and go into ecstasy had concluded that she had gone mad. But the monks respected her as a great saint. The number of those who came to be blessed by her sight increased. She was revered among the people as 'a great saint', and as the 'Radha of Kaliyuga'. The prestige of the royal family of Chittore stood very high. What a disgrace to such a renowned and noble family that the wife of the prince went on singing and dancing with monks! Besides, she had insulted her husband's family by not worshipping Mother Kali. Such were the thoughts that crossed the minds of many in her husband's house. They were angry and had nothing but contempt for her. But Bhoj Raj had immense love for her. Therefore no one had the courage to say anything against her. There were no children from this marriage. Sadly, Bhoj Raj passed away in 1521. He had been wounded in a battle in 1518, and the wounds proved fatal. Within about six years of her marriage Meera had become a widow. She was only twenty-three then. The only link Meera had with the world had snapped. There was no one to care for her. Meerabai was left vulnerable to the hostility of her conservative male relatives, and that this hostility increased as Meerabai became visibly detached from the affairs of the world and her obligations to her in-laws.

Overstepping all propriety, she would descend from the Sisodiya palace, into town, where she would consort with sadhus and low caste bhaktas in local temples; and apparently danced before the image of Krishna.

Her in laws were enraged. She was suspected of consorting with spies. There were three attempts to kill her. It has been suggested that a much younger male relative, Vikramajita, is supposed to have locked her into a room, but when that failed to bring Meerabai to her senses, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to then poison her.

It has been suggested that her relatives expected her to commit Satiâ, or self-immolation, after the death of her husband; indeed, in one of her poems Meerabai wrote, "sati na hosyan girdhar ghanshyam mhara man moho ghananami", "I will not commit Sati. I will sing the songs of Girdhar Krishna."

Branded as mad, she had already suffered everybody's contempt. But this apathy of her own people only strengthened her devotion. More than ever she clung firmly to her Lord Krishna.

Sometime around 1538 Meerabai arrived in Vrindavan, where she spent most of the remainder of her life before moving, shortly before her death, to Dwarka.

A group of Brahmins come to Meerabai, and tell her of the destruction of their city, the brave death of Uda and others whom she loved. They beseech her to return to the city and be their queen. Though she does not want to go, she agrees to leave if it is Krishna's will.

It is said that Krishna himself could not bear their separation, for the next morning, when the Brahmins return to the temple, they find only Meerabai's shawl. Finally, the union of Meerabai and Krishna is complete.

It is Meera's bhajans or devotional lyrics through which she conveys her intense love or Krishna, that have immortalised her story as his "bride", which also lends credibility to Radha's love for the historical Krishna.

Meera's songs are inimitable, as sober and sincere expressions of deep love that is thoroughly spiritual in character. The songs are a class by themselves and will remain our prized possession. Her odes and hymns are so rich, sweet and inspiring, not because of any high rhetoric or dexterity of language, but because they are characterised by a tenderness and simplicity of feeling as genuine outpourings of a heart completely dedicated to God.

The vocabulary of human love used in them is simple and familiar, drawn from human situations that we come across in our day-to-day life, mostly connected with the 'affairs of the heart'.

And yet they strongly appeal to us, especially to those who are themselves devout and have got a good ear for music. Most songs pierce to the heart and convince us of Meera's supreme devotion to Krishna. They unmistakably convey to us that she knows her lord, for sure, to be the indwelling Master and the only object of her worship, not the mere image she is fondly attached to.

Source: http://www.saibabaofindia.com/poetry_of_meera_bai_2.htm






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Friday, November 18, 2011

"You are Mine!"

In my research concerning marriage to a mortal spouse as compared with belonging to God alone (bridal mysticism), I came across the following by Sri Swami Sivananda. Being currently separated (from a mortal spouse that is ), the part that really struck me was the following:

"My dear Mira, your life with this mortal husband is over now. You are absolutely free. Be cheerful. You are Mine.”

These words were spoken by Lord Krishna to Mirabai (a Hindu saint who was devoted to Him her whole life), Who appeared to her and stopped her from drowning herself in the river (something her angry husband had ordered her to do for supposedly disgracing her family).

I remember hearing in sermons how, when a woman loses her husband for whatever reason, God steps in and assumes the role of husband. They got that right! One drawback to this that I can see is from a humanistic perspective, in that once an Immortal, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Unconditionally-Loving God becomes that Ultimate Companion, mortals just don't cut it anymore.

There’s simply no going back.

Human marriage has been said to be merely metaphor of the Real Deal, which can only truly be found in God. Human spouses change, and/or they pass away. But there’s something about knowing that the One you love will never change, die, or stop loving you back – and that at a depth that the mortal mind just cannot grasp – that packs that much more of a punch.

I like the following song and the imagery alongside it because it can be viewed as expressing the raptures of being caught up above the clouds in the ultimate love-embrace of the Divine, while, far below, mankind demonstrates what can only be described as a rough sketch (marred by its pitfalls) of that ultimate Union. I should add that the bluish cast Celine takes on towards the end of the video carries it's own significance as well for those who love God in His Krishna incarnation. A nice touch, that one is! :)

When Divine Love hits you, a New Day truly has come!





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Thursday, November 17, 2011

"I swear You hit me like a vision..."

This song expresses my heart for the Lord so much that I cried when I heard it. You can find the lyrics here.







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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How about some form with that substance?

In my experience as a believer in God, I have found that as long as He remained intangible, as simply a set of beliefs about how we got here and where we're headed, I really couldn't fully appreciate Him as an Individual Person. During the Christian phase of my spiritual journey, I have learned and studied and have come to appreciate much in the way of His substance. God is Love, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 outlines beautifully Love's (i.e., God's) character.

But I am still just an earthling at this point, and never appreciated just how difficult having a love relationship with a misty concept was until I was swept away by the tangible visions of God's form as conveyed through Lord Krishna. Up to this point it was like hearing a distant tune -- or smelling a fragrant scent -- that was all around me but never being able to pinpoint where the music or the aroma was coming from. As an earth-bound human being, the more of my 5 senses that can be engaged in this relationship with the Divine, the better: the more real to me He will become.

Suppose you hear about a relative in your family whom you never actually met; perhaps they passed away before you were born. You hear about all the wonderful things they did, about how loving they were, their great accomplishments, some of which may have even benefited you and your family directly. Wouldn't it bring some sort of closure to actually know what the relative looked like? Wouldn't it bring things more into focus somehow? Sure, it would! It would help... at the very least, it would be the icing on the cake.

That's exactly what happened in my relationship with the Lord. All these years I had learned of His Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence, and of His Love, but never had anything but vague notions of what physical form He might take; and let's face it -- as long as I'm residing in this here physical plane, the physical attributes of
any entity are going to play a part in their overall being in my mind. Maybe it's the artist in me... I have to have visuals! :) Sure, I had the more depressing impressions of an old, bearded guy hell-bent on cursing me forever if I screwed up, but that doesn't line up with the teaching that He is Love (see aforementioned verse, as well as the comparison of artistic renderings of God I posted about here).

Concerning trying to maintain a close, loving relationship with God as a vague, formless entity, Lord Krishna even said it Himself:
"For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied." ~ Lord Krishna (Bhagavad Gita 12:5)

In his commentary on this verse, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada said,

"Therefore, the bhakti-yogi accepts the Deity of Krishna as worshipable because there is some bodily conception fixed in the mind, which can thus be applied."
Yeah... no kidding! I wish I had known this sooner, but the particular flavors of Christianity I was hanging with especially in more recent decades seemed to discourage such an approach for fear of "idolatry". Well, if this is idolatry, then so is the everyday family photograph or the picture of one's spouse hidden in their locket.

Besides, I'm pretty confident that a belief system which has been around far, far longer than Christianity (not to mention just about every other major religion) will know a thing or two about God's physical features, and it will be far closer to the truth than the angry (or at the very least, clinically depressed) "Santa" impressions of the West.





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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More on that thunderstorm connection

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In my post about how this phase of my spiritual journey came about, I mentioned a dream I had where the name "Taren" appeared and I later discovered the name means "Thunder". Below is an interesting description of Krishna's appearance, comparing Him even more to those t-storms I love so much:
A Description of Krishna - The Vedas describe Krishna in this way: He is a beautiful youth with a glowing complexion the color of rain clouds. He plays a flute, attracting the hearts of all. His cheeks are brilliant, His smile enchanting. He wears a peacock feather in His curly black hair and a flower garland around His neck. His beautiful garments are the color of lightning. His toenails resemble the light of the moon. (Source: Krishna.com)




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Monday, November 14, 2011

Music to the introvert's ears! ツ








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But what about Jesus??

Having spent all my life within the Christo-centric paradigm -- from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism to Christian Universalism -- this question is invariably going to come up, especially from those who have known me personally.

All faiths have their own set of rationalizations, and mine is no different. So, here's how I see it:

Jesus said that no one comes to the Father (God) except through him (John 14:6). We enter into the Most Holy Place by a new and living way that was opened for us through the "curtain", Jesus' body (Hebrews 10:19). Jesus refers to himself as the "door", or "gate", through which we come (John 10:7). So, essentially, Scripture depicts Jesus as a portal through which we come to God. He's the bridge from here to there. That being the case, I think it's safe to say that, for 40+ years, I have been crossing that bridge and/or passing through that door. I would have a very hard time saying that I didn't get to where I am now without having gone "through Jesus" in just about every sense of the term there is.

But unless passing through the door/curtain is the end in and of itself, there must be something beyond that stage, no? Does a person, upon reaching the doorway, just stand in the doorway and go no further? When crossing a bridge, does a person cross halfway and then just plop down in the middle, not proceeding another step towards the other side?

There is a subset of Christianity which believes that Jesus is not God incarnate, to the utter consternation of those Christians that do believe it. Not to get into the details of that debate (I'm at the point where that's "their issue" which they need to work out among themselves, as I no longer consider myself strictly Christian). But for the sake of this post, perhaps those parts of Scripture that do seem to make the distinction between Jesus and God are indicating that Jesus is the means and God is the End. Much like my post about continuing to gaze at a map after one has arrived at the destination to which it led, perhaps Jesus's role is that of a conduit, a channel from here to God. Perhaps it wasn't intended that we stop at Jesus (the door) and not continue on through that door to the Father.

So that's where I'm at now. I have passed through the Garden Gate (Jesus) and into the Garden (God's Presence), where He speaks to me in a language He knows I'll understand best.

Divine dance blog




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Beware the man of one book

While I believe that religious literature and holy texts contain great wisdom, at the same time I think people need to be careful not to allow a holy book itself to become their god. The advice to not stop at scripture can even be found within the scriptures themselves. Below are two examples I know of:
"To a God-realized person scripture is as useless as a river in a flooded area. Scripture is only an aid to God-realization, not needed after one has realized God." (Bhagavad Gita 2.46)

"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40)
I like the analogy of using a map to get to a destination. Studying the map and following its guidance is extremely helpful in getting from Point-A to Point-B. However, once one has reached that destination, there's little reason to continue sitting there staring at the map when one could instead be availing themselves of all that the destination has to offer.





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Sunday, November 13, 2011

What a beautiful mess I'm in!


The song "Beautiful Mess", by Diamond Rio, expresses perfectly how the effects might feel like of hearing the call and feeling the pull of God's music drawing one toward Him.

The Gopis (cow-herd girls) react to the sound of Krishna's flute







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A more accurate outer expression of God's inner character







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An end to a spiritual dry-spell



“My Lover said to me,

‘Rise up, My darling! Come away with Me, My fair one!

Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone.

The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come,
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.

The fig trees are forming young fruit,
and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.

Rise up, My darling!
Come away with Me, My fair one!’”

~ Song of Songs 2:10-13 ~





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