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As part of Sri Ramanuja Jayanthi Mahotsavam, Sri. U.Ve Ananthapadmanabhan Swami will deliver upanyasam on “Errani Keerthi Ramanujan” and Yathiraja Sapthadi stotra Paarayanam on April 30th 2017, afternoon 2 pm at Sriperumbudur Sri Ahobila Mutt. Devotees are requested to utilize this opportunity and have the grace of Udayavar.
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This is the continuing serialization of 252 Vaishnavan ki varta, the lives of the saints following Vitthalnath, son of Vallabhacharya. It has been translated from the original Braj Bhasha by Krishnaa Kinkari Devi. This is the sixteenth varta. See previous.
The story of Madhusudan Das, a Gaudiya Brahmin who lived in Vrindavan.
Madhusudan Das is a devotee with a tamasi (divinely feisty) disposition. In the Eternal Lila his name is Bandini (a gopi). Bandini manifests from Indulekha and is thus a form of her divine loving mood.
Madhusudan Das was born to a Brahmin in Gauda Desh. His father was a disciple of Shri Roop-Sanatan. [Because the brothers shared such a close spiritual connection, the Brajwasis of the time used to refer to Shri Roop Goswami and Shri Sanatan Goswami by the single name “Shri Roop-Sanatan”. It is not clear whether one or the other is referred to here, or whether the author is talking about both Goswamis. -Ed.]
Madhusudan Das’ father would travel to Vrindavan every year to see his Guru. He would serve his Guru for some days and, after receiving instructions from him, he would then return home.
When Madhusudan Das reached the age of 20, his father took him with him on his trip to Vrindavan. He had Madhusudan Das initiated by his Guru. Madhusudandas stayed on in Vrindavan with his father. He became very attached to the beauty of Vrindavan.
When his father wanted to set off for home, Madhusudan Das told him that he did not want to leave Vrindavan to go home with him, that he liked Vrindavan and wished to remain there forever. His father said, “My son, you are still a child. You are not yet married. I am old now, so you should come home with me. You can do whatever you like after I am dead.”
Madhusudan Das was not persuaded. Defeated by his son’s resolve, his father went home.
As he was leaving, Madhusudan Das’ father requested his Guru to look after his son and said that he was giving the boy into his care. Shri Roop-Sanatan told him not to worry, that he should go happily and that he would take care of his son. The father left some money for the expenses for his son and set off. Madhusudan Das began to fearlessly wander around Vrindavan.
Once Madhusudan Das came to Sri Gusainji (Sri Vitthalnathji) in Gokul. Although Madhusudan Das had been initiated by a different Guru in his youth, after having the sight of Sri Gusainji in Gokul, he felt a great desire to become his disciple.
At that very moment he implored Sri Gusainji to bless him with initiation. Sri Gusainji recognised his intense longing and so told him to go and bathe, and thereafter he initiated him with the Lord’s Name and Brahma Sambandha. He then went inside to take Prasad.
He told Madhusudan Das that he should have his Prasad there that day, and he did so.
The next day, Madhusudan Das was cooking when Sri Gusainji was heading inside to have his meal. Sri Gusainji caught sight of Madhusudan Das and asked him, “Do you have any money to live on?”
Madhusudan Das replied that he had enough for a few expenses tied up in his bundle. Sri Gusainji told him to have his Prasad there that day, but then to go home the next day.
Madhusudan Das supplicated, “O Maharaj! As long as I have these few savings, I can cook and take Prasad. After that I can beg and survive like that. I do not wish to leave your lotus feet.”
For the next two days, Sri Gusainji fed Madhusudan Das. On the third day he did his own cooking, and when his money ran out he began to beg.
When he had been doing this for about four days, Sri Gusainji asked him how he was getting on. Madhusudandas told him everything.
“O Maharaj! I had enough for two days. On those days I cooked, made the offerings, and accepted the Prasad. Nowadays I go to beg in the day. In the evenings I get all the ingredients ready and in the morning I cook and make the offerings. When the Prasad comes back, I cover it and come to have the Lord’s Holy Sight. After that I partake of the Prasad, and then go out again to beg.”
Sri Gusainji again asked him, “From whose houses do you beg?”
Madhusudan Das revealed, “From the houses of Vashnavas, from Bhatt families, from the homes of the temple’s inner servants, and from Brajwasis. I also get alms from traders in the market.”
Sri Gusainji then instructed him, “You can accept alms from all of these people, but never from the Bhatts or the temple servants. You must never accept even a bean from them.”
The reason for this is that the Bhatts and temple servants live on wealth donated to Sri Gusainji and his lineage, and so to take from this source is an obstacle for Vaishnavas. This has already been explained in the Varta of Vishnudas Chipa.
*Part 1 Continued*
Madhusudan Das then acted according to these instructions. Some days later, Sri Gusainji gave Madhusudan Das the Seva of preparing Srinathji’s paan leaf offerings. He did this Seva very well.
On summer days when it was very hot, Madhusudan Das would operate Shrinathji’s fan for the whole night by pulling the rope. He did this for many days.
One day, Sri Gusainji came to the room where the Paan was prepared. He saw that Madhusudan Das was falling asleep. His eyes were full of sleep, but he was still holding the rope and swinging the fan. Sri Gusainji felt very happy to see his dedicated service.
Madhusudan Das had no idea that Sri Gusainji had seen him. He continued making this Seva until the very end of his life.
This story teaches us that Vaishnavas should be totally addicted to their Seva. Then the Lord will be pleased. Being addicted to Seva means that the embodied soul’s life is fulfilled.
In his treatise called Bhaktivardhini (How to increase Devotion) Sri Acharyaji has written, “The purpose of an embodied soul’s existence is fulfilled when they become addicted to Seva.”
Madhusudan Das’ addiction to Seva was perfect.
Thus concludes Varta 16, the story of Madhusudan Das on whom Sri Gusainji showered his grace and with whom he was always pleased. He was a recipient of Sri Gusainji’s grace and an accomplished Vaishnava. There is truly no end to his story.
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VERSE 18: sarva ballaba vareṇya kumārau prārthaye bata yuvāṁ praṇipatya līlayā vitarataṁ nija dāsyaṁ līlayā vitarataṁ nija dāsyam O Śrī Kṛṣṇa! You are the son of the king of Vraja! O Śrī Rādhike! You are the daughter of Vraja’s greatest king Śrī Vṛṣabhānu! I pray to You while offering my obeisances: Playfully bestow Your service … Continue reading Sri Utkalika Vallari, verse 18
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The Sindhu River is one of the great holy rivers of India, from which the name of India is derived. However, unlike other holy rivers in India such as the Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati, the Sindhu is masculine.
The Sindhu is virtually unknown to people in western countries, but for the people of India it has great significance. Indeed, the Sindhu gave birth to the earliest of India's civilizations known as the Indus Valley Civilization. For those readers who know their history, then the names of ancient cities and archaeological digs at places like Harappa and Mohenjo-daro will be familiar — the land of the 'Aryan Invasion' – a topic of much debate, even after more than 200 years of research and scholarly studies.
But one fact is for sure — human civilization along the banks of the Sindhu River has been present since hoary antiquity. Archaeological evidence shows human habitation along the Sindhu for at least the past 17,000 years. In truth, the name Sindhu is older than civilization itself and is mentioned in the classical histories of ancient India such as the Rig Veda (170 times), the Puranas and in the Iranic Zend Avesta. On modern world maps the Sindhu is marked as the Indus.
Beginning at Lake Manasarovara, at the base of Mount Kailash (the mountain sacred to Shiva) on the eastern side of the Himalayas in what is now western China (old Tibet), the Sindhu/Indus flows westward crossing into India into the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir. The Sindhu then takes a southerly route, traverses the plains of Pakistan and merges into the Arabian Sea near the port of Karachi – a journey of 3,180 kilometers (1,980 miles).
According to the Mahabharata (Bhisma-parva, ch.6, Verse 48) the spiritual – sometimes considered mythical – origins of the Sindhu River is stated as being due to the austerities of King Bhagiratha in Satya-yuga. Bhagiratha was attempting to free his ancestors from bad karma and their suffering in the lower planetary systems of Patala-loka. After performing his penance Bhagiratha summoned the sacred River Ganges to Earth. The Ganges descended from the heavenly planets and thereafter formed six separate rivers – three flowing to the east (the Hladini, Pavani and Nalini), and three flowing to the west (the Suchakshus, Sita and Sindhu). The seventh branch, the Ganga, then flowed from the Himalayas to Ganga-sagara, entering the Bay of Bengal, and then down to Patala-loka.
If not mythical, then the story of King Bhagiratha and the Sindhu is certainly mystical and no doubt took place a long time ago when the world was quite different.
Indeed, the etymology of the name of 'India' takes us on a journey back in time and is also closely associated with famous personalities in western history such as King Darius of Persia, Alexander the Great, Megasthenes and others.
In bygone days, the people living east of the Sindhu commonly referred to themselves as Aryans – a term originating from the Sanskrit word arya, a self-designation meaning "honorable, respectable and noble". But for the Arabs, west of the Sindhu, they were the al-Hindus, and for the Persians they were the Hindus.
It only came to pass, after centuries of use, that the word Hindu came to designate a people with particular religious beliefs. In the beginning ‘Hindu’ was simply a general designation for anyone living east of, or along the banks of the Sindhu. It also came to pass that the word Hindu became Sanskritized and the land of the Hindus became known as Hindustan, meaning 'land of the Hindus' — a name that is still in use today in India.
Thousand of years ago the people living between the Sindhu and the Himalayas called their land Bharata-varsa, the land ruled by Maharaja Bharat (in Treta-yuga), a character of great repute who is mentioned repeatedly throughout the Puranas. Prior to the reign of Maharaja Bharata, the land of Bharata-varsa and for that matter the entire planet Earth was referred to by the Aryans as Ajanabha (thus indicating a One World Culture once upon a time).
West of the Sindhu was the empire of Persia – an empire so vast that it stretched from the Sindhu to the Mediterranean Sea. Though originally part of Bharata-varsa, Persia's ancestors had lost their connection to Aryan culture in Bharata-varsa, and well before the time of the Mahabharata War in 3138 BCE they had become known amongst the Aryans as Yavanas. Yavana is derived from the Pali word Yona, also used to identify the Greeks. These Yavanas were also sometimes referred to as Mlechhas.
In Bharata-varsa lived two half-brothers, Vasistha Muni and Jarutha (circa 6000 BCE). The brothers quarreled over theistic issues and afterwards Jarutha traveled west of the Sindhu to present day Iran in search of converts, eventually converting a king named Vistaspa. Jarutha had a philosophy of his own liking, quite different from that found in the traditional Aryan (Vedic) literature, but in the kingdom of Vistaspa, Jarutha found acceptance. Thus began the religion of the Zoroastrians and its founder, Jarutha, became known as Zarathustra or Zoroaster.
Incidentally, for the people of China during the early period, the land between the Himalayas and the Sindhu was called ‘Yin Du’ and for the people of Japan, pre-modern India was known as ‘Tenjiku’ meaning 'the Heavenly Center of the World'.
In his book "Indica", while recounting the exploits of Alexander the Great, the Greek writer Megasthenes calls the mighty Sindhu the ‘Indus’ (the name still retained today). Thus Indus is a Hellenic derivative of the Persian and Arab word Hindu, from the Sanskrit Sindhu.
Greeks also called the land east of the Indus ‘Indike’ or ‘Indica’. And from the Greek we finally arrive at the English spelling 'India' first used by King Alfred (circa 9th Century) in his translation of the writings of Paulus Orosius, a Christian apologist (circa 375) who wrote in defense of the Pagan idea that the Roman Empire had declined due to its acceptance of Christianity.
Thus a modern nation attained her name "India" – beginning with the Sanskrit 'Sindhu', to the Persian 'Hindu', to the Hellenic 'Indu' and 'Indica', to the English, the name of India and a nationality of people was born.
In contemporary times the sentiment of many Indians is to change the Europeanized names of their cities back to their original names. Bombay has changed to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai, Bangalore to Bengaluru, Mangalore to Mangaluru and so on. One wonders then if India will eventually return to her original Sanskrit name of Bharata-varsa?
I recently took a trip to Ladakh primarily to have a darshan of the Sindhu River and to complete my having visited all the main holy rivers of India, namely the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Kaveri and Sindhu. It was a rewarding experience in all respects, and as for the landscape in and around the Sindhu Valley, it was absolutely stunning – snow capped peaks, glaciers, rivers, an inland salt-water sea (Pangong Lake) and rugged mountain people of Tibetan Buddhist descent.
Travelers such as myself have been coming to Ladakh for a very long time. Legend has it that Jesus of Nazareth traveled to India/Ladakh in his youth to study the teachings of the great Buddha. In the 19th Century, Nicolas Notovitch, a Russian aristocrat traveling in Ladakh, reportedly happened upon a remote mountain valley and visited the monastery of Hemis, belonging to the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism. There, Notovich claims to have discovered an ancient manuscript/gospel that described Jesus (Issa) as having come to Ladakh and studied with Buddhist monks. Notovitch claimed that at the monastery of Hemis he discovered the ‘Gospel of the Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men’. His story was published in French in 1894 and was later translated into German, English, Spanish and Italian — a popular book for the public, but one that created quite a stir in scholarly communities.
As far-fetched as Notovich's story may sound to many of us, it is plausible that Jesus may have come to India at one time or another. The Third Century Christian prophet Mani (founder of Manichaeism) is well documented as having come to India and studied Buddhism – something that he later introduced into Gnostic Christianity and which flourished between the Third and Seventh Centuries. At its height Manichaeism was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire. So if Mani did it, why not Jesus?
Christian Gnostic Gospels also account the story of Jesus sending his disciple Thomas to India to preach the word of God, so it may not be absurd at all to entertain the idea that Jesus may have come to India and even to Ladakh.
Notovich's story intrigued me, so I decided to visit Hemis Monastery to see if I could get verification. The monastery was very old, in a secluded valley, well maintained and the monks were friendly and accommodating. When asking the monks if they had any books, records or information about the Christian messiah (Issa/Jesus) ever having come to Hemis to study Buddhism, they looked curiously at each other and laughed. Then a senior monk respectfully and with folded hands replied that many western people have come to Hemis with the same question, but that there are no such books or records in their monastery that could verify the story of Notovich.
It seems Nicolas Notovitch was either a trickster, a man with a wild imagination or both. In any case, I wasn't able to find suitable proof for Notovitch's story.
Incidentally, I found out later that shortly after the publication of Notovich's book in 1894, the head lama of the Hemis Monastery signed a document stating that Notovich's story was a complete hoax.
But if you are looking for a place to visit, rich in culture and history, with fantastic landscapes and a photographers dream come true — then you definitely should visit Ladakh. And while you are there, have a darshan of the Sindhu River.
 The first Article of the Constitution of India (1949) states that, "India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states." Thus, India and Bharat are equally official short names for the Republic of India. Indians commonly refer to their country as Bharat, India, or Hindustan, depending on the context and language of conversation. This is even printed on their money.
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Mathura - April 12th, 2000
[April 4th & 5th 2017 is the appearnce day of Lord Rama. We hope that you will relish this lecture that Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave several days before Lord Rama's appearance day on April 12, 2000 in Mathura:]
Today is a very auspicious day. It is the Appearance Day of Lord Sri Rama. Who is Sri Rama? He is Krsna Himself, and Sita is Radhika Herself. In order to establish the principles of maryada, regulative etiquette, Krsna appeared in the form of Sri Rama. His associates also appeared in Rama-lila. Gopisvara Mahadeva manifested as Hanuman and Baladeva appeared as Laksmana. Satrugna and Bharata are also manifestations of Krsna because they are His weapons. They are respectively Sanka and Cakra. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself read and glorified the pastimes of Sri Rama.
Valmiki has described the pastimes of Rama in great detail. He was a siddha mahatma, a realized soul. Popular Indian stories say that in his previous life he was a dacoit, and he used to kill people for his living. One time he met Narada Rsi and, by that meeting, his heart was transformed and he became a sadhu. According to the scriptures, Valmiki was actually the son of a great rsi. He performed austerities for a long time and by that he became perfect. One of his disciples, a very famous rsi, was named Bharadraja. Once they both went to bathe in the river. After Valmiki took his bath, he saw a male and female kraunch-bird sitting in a tree. A hunter struck the male bird with his bow, killed him, and the bird fell out of the tree. Valmiki became angry and spontaneously cursed this hunter, "How cruel you are! How could you do this? May all your happiness go away, and may you never be happy again in your life."
When Valmiki returned to his asrama, he thought, "Why did I become so angry? I am supposed to be a rsi and have control over my senses. Life and death are very temporary, so why did I get disturbed seeing this? And how did these particular words come out of my mouth?" His words were very special. They had four gerands – four lines with the same meter as the slokas in Ramanyana. He therefore wondered why these particular words and this particular meter came out from his mouth.
Lord Brahma then appeared and said, "You should write the pastimes of Lord Rama, using verses which are in this meter." Valmiki replied, "How can I do that?" At that time Narada Muni appeared and initiated Valmiki. He said, "You should meditate upon the pastimes of Lord Rama in samadhi, and by bhakti all those pastimes will manifest in your heart. Valmiki followed those orders and, as the pastimes manifested in his heart, he began writing the Ramayana.
Valmiki was on the planet at the same time as Lord Rama. But before Rama enacted most of His pastimes Valmiki had already written about them, except for one – when Sita entered the earth. Why did he not write about this? Because he taught Rama's pastimes to Luv and Kush. If he would have told them in advance what happened to Sita, they would have been very disturbed. Just as Vyasadeva never preached Srimad Bhagavatam, but Sukadeva Gosvami later preached it all over the world, similarly, Valmiki Rsi taught Rama-lila to Luv and Kush.
Maharaja Dasaratha is the actual father of the Lord, birth after birth, and Kauslaya is His mother. They are eternally the mother and father of Krsna in His different manifestations. Yasoda and Nanda are non-different from Dasaratha and Kausalya.
Maharaja Dasaratha was getting quite old and he was disturbed that he had not begotten a son. He therefore asked his spiritual master, Vasistha Rsi, to perform a parestha yajna – a sacrifice with the goal to get a son. Half of the kheer, (sweet rice), offered in the yajna, was given to Kausalya, one quarter was given to Kaikeyi, and one quarter to Sumitra.
In due course of time all of the queens gave birth to sons – Kausalya to Rama, Kaikeyi to Bharata, and Sumitra to Laksmana and Satrughna. They were loved, they did childhood pranks, and they went to the asrama of Valmiki. Along with Visvamitra Rsi they went to siddha asrama and there they killed two demons who came to disturb the rsis' sacrifices. He also delivered Ahalya, who by the curse of her husband, had been transformed into stone. Suppose you have a fruit of amla in your hands. You can see it very clearly. Similarly Valmiki, by the blessings of Narada, saw all these pastimes as clearly as if they were happening in front of his eyes.
Along with Visvamitra and Laksmana, Rama went to Janakapuri for the svayambara of Sita devi. There He broke the bow of Lord Siva which had been given by Parasurama to Maharaja Janaka. At that time Parasurama appeared and manifested all the anger that was in his heart. When Rama strung the bow without any effort, Parasurama then understood that Lord Rama was the amsi, the actual source from whom he himself had manifested. Lord Rama told him, "Now that this bow is in my hands, I have to kill something – either you or that anger that is in your heart. Previously he had to be angry in order to kill all the demoniac kings who had been ruling the earth. Now that work was over and therefore Rama said, "I should kill that anger within you." Parasurama prayed, "Please take out that anger which is in my heart." After Lord Rama took it away, he was transformed into a rishi and after that he performed many austerities. Lord Rama and Sita Devi were then married and went back to Ayodhya.
There is a secret meaning behind the pastime of Queen Kaikeyi asking her two boons from Maharaja Dasaratha. Kaikeyi was not cruel. She loved Sri Rama more than she loved Bharata. When Rama was a young boy, He sat in the lap of Mother Kaikeyi and requested, "I want to ask you something. When I grow up and return home after My marriage, My father will think of giving this kingdom to Me. I want you to ask him to give the kingdom to Bharata, and to send Me to the forest for fourteen years." Hearing this, Kaikeyi fainted. When she regained consciousness she said, "I cannot do such a cruel thing." But then Lord Rama said, "For the benefit of the whole world, you will have to do this." So Kaikeyi agreed.
There is another important point in this connection. When King Dasaratha married Kausalya, he did not beget any sons from her. He further married 360 queens, but still there was no son. One day, when he was out in the forest hunting animals, he traveled all the way to the border of Afghanistan. He was very tired and therefore went to visit his friend Maharaja Kaikeya, the king of that entire area. Maharaja Kaikeya ordered his daughter to take care of the king. The next day, very pleased by her service, Maharaja Dasaratha asked him if he could marry his daughter, Kaikeyi. The king said, "Yes, you can marry her, but with one condition. If she begets a son, that son will become the king of your entire kingdom." Maharaja Dasaratha replied, "There is nothing that will please me more. I have no son, so if she begets a son I will be very happy to give my entire kingdom to him." This was another reason why Bharata became the king instead of Rama.
There is still another reason. One day Bharata's maternal uncle came and requested Bharata and Satrugna to accompany him for a few days. In the meantime, Rama Navami came – the Appearance Day of Sri Rama. On this day the celebration of His appearance took place, and His marriage also took place. On the day before, Maharaja Dasaratha had told Vasistha that he would like to give his kingdom to Rama and make him Yuvaraja. Rama would conduct all the duties of Maharaja Dasaratha in his absence and after he would leave the world, Rama would become the king. Everyone was very happy to hear this. Vasistha said, "Tomorrow, Rama Navami, all the planetary positions will be very auspicious. You should give him the sacred initiation tomorrow." There was no time to talk with Bharata and Satrugna. Also, Maharaja Dasaratha thought, "I have already promised that I will give my kingdom to Bharata. So how, in front of him, can I give it to Sri Rama?"
When Kaikeyi heard the news about Rama's coronation she was very pleased, and she gave her garland to her maidservant, Mantara. By the influence of the demigods and because Rama had to perform His pastimes, Mantara's mind became evil. She told Kaikeyi, "How can you be so foolish? If Rama becomes the king, Bharata will become a servant, and you will become a maidservant. For the rest of your life you will have to serve Kausalya and Sri Rama." Initially Kaikeyi resisted and was not influenced by Mantara's words. But then she remembered Sri Rama's request to her in His youth – that she should ask Maharaja Dasaratha to send Him to the forest. Remembering this, she made her heart very hard. Then she went to Maharaja Dasaratha and asked him for her two boons. Maharaja Dasaratha fainted. When Lord Rama heard what happened He was very pleased that Mother Kaikeyi had done what He had requested. He came to Maharaja Dasaratha and Queen Kaikeyi and she ordered Him to go to the forest, saying that this was also the desire of Maharaja Dasaratha.
When Rama was exiled and was living in Chitrakuta, Bharata, accompanied by many citizens, went there to request him to return to Ayodhya. On his way to see Rama, they also passed by Baradvaja Rsi's asrama. Bharadvaja requested Bharata, "Please, be our guests for a day here. You should rest and take prasada." But Bharata replied that he had come with lakhs of people. Almost the entire population of Ayodhya has come with me. How could they all fit in your asrama?" But Bharadraj said, "Please give me a chance to serve you." By his mystic power Bharadraj manifested an entire city, which was greater and more opulent than Ayodhya. For each of the queens there was a raj-bhavan. There were so many kinds of foods and preparations – just like anakuta. Mountains of prasada were created and everyone was served.
Kaikeyi also went to Rama and said, "I was the one who asked for the boon that you be banished to the forest. Since I was the one who asked you to go, now I take it back. Now I am asking you to come back." Lord Rama replied, "No, the command was not only from you. You and father both asked it together. Father is here no more, and you are only half, fifty percent. I don't know if it is his desire or not. So I cannot go back."
There was an assembly meeting held wherein Maharaja Janaka spoke with Bharata. Janaka Maharaja described the meaning of prema. He said that real love is to understand what pleases the beloved. Janaka said, "If it is Lord Rama's desire to stay here, then it is better to follow what He wants, and not try to force your desire on Him."
Rama, Laksmana, and Sita devi then traveled to Chitrakuta. There Rama performed jalanjali, offering water the ancestors. Actually Maharaja Dasaratha had never died, so ultimately there was no point of His doing this. However, since He was performing narvata-lila, human like pastimes, he offered the water.
Sita and Rama went to the asrama of Anasuya, who gave Sita a special 'anga vastra' that even if she didn't eat, her body would never dwindle. That is why, when she was at Ravana's place, although she never ate any food given by Ravana for a whole year, her body never dwindled. Anasuya was the wife of Atri Muni who had performed great austerities. By these austerities Brahma, Visnu and Mahesh had all appeared. She made them become her little children, and all their wives came requesting her to please let them go.
Agastya Rsi gave Rama the bow with which He killed Ravana. Then Surpanaka came and Laksmana cut off her nose. Then Rama killed Kara and Dusha. Kara means donkey. He next killed a demon named Trisura. Ravana then came to revenge Surpanaka's dishonor. He stole Sita, Rama killed Maricha, they met Sabari, and then at Kishkinda they met Hanuman. Hanuman first appeared to Them in the form of a brahmana, to test if they were really Rama and Laksmana. Later, at Rsimukha Parvat Hill Sugriva met Lord Rama and they made a treaty of friendship there. After Sugriva explained what Bali had done to him, Lord Rama killed Bali.
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Люди много раз пытались создать идеальное государство. Но практически всегда его финал оказывался печальным: попытки построить на земле царство будущего уходили в сторону от первоначальных замыслов. Часто утопии оборачивались своей противоположностью - и вместо государства всеобщего благоденствия выходила безумная тирания.
В течение XVI века Испания завладела всей Южной Америкой. Величайшая католическая держава не стала ограничиваться территориальным господством. За солдатами следовали миссионеры. Сначала это были францисканцы, а затем в Америку добрались иезуиты.
Хотя члены Общества Иисуса приобрели неоднозначную репутацию, в Америке они сыграли скорее положительную роль. Первое же решение иезуитов в Новом Свете состояло в том, что они отказались от насильственной христианизации аборигенов. Была выработана концепция "духовного завоевания", построенная на уважении местных обычаев.
Наилучшие результаты такой подход принёс в бассейнах рек Парана, Парагвай и Уругвай. Здесь жили племена индейцев гуарани. Они находились на первобытной стадии, в основном занимались охотой и собирательством, некоторые кланы возделывали маниоку и маис, разводили домашнюю птицу.
При этом гуарани обладали одной не самой приятной чертой: это были людоеды. Первооткрыватель этих земель, Хуан Диас де Солис, который первым проник на земли гуарани, оказался и первым съеденным европейцем.
Поедание убитых практиковалось в ритуальных целях, для чего отбирались особенно доблестные воины, и в те периоды, когда индейцы никого не ели, они оставались удивительно доброжелательными. Несмотря на поедание ближнего, первые миссионеры полагали, что гуарани "близки к познанию Царства Божия".
В течение XVI века земли в плодородном бассейне Параны и Парагвая помаленьку заселялись. Колонисты успели составить о себе скверную репутацию жестоких рабовладельцев. Местных мужчин они сгоняли на плантации, женщин - в гаремы. Так что иезуиты с их мягким стилем общения и проповеди производили хорошее впечатление на туземцев хотя бы уже по контрасту со свирепыми конкистадорами. Тем более что монахи учили местные языки и переводили Священное Писание на язык гуарани. Правда, туземцы блюли внешнюю сторону ритуалов, но сознание всё равно оставалось языческим, а иезуитов, не мудрствуя лукаво, включили в пантеон на правах низших духов.
Индейцы охотно крестились, но учение Христа так же легко выветривалось из их голов, стоило только племени перейти на новое место. А на новые места охотники переходили постоянно. Поэтому иезуитам пришла в голову мысль создать редукции, то есть своего рода религиозные поселения. Индейцы легко вовлекались туда по двум причинам. Во-первых, миссионеры активно учили, лечили и всячески поддерживали туземцев. Во-вторых, они смогли защитить их от рабства.
До сих пор индейцы подвергались настоящему террору со стороны бандейрос - охотников за рабами. Пленников сгоняли ближе к побережью, на плантации.
Между иезуитами с их проектом христианизации края и колонистами начались трения, которые быстро перешли к кровавым столкновениям. Бандейрос сорвали возведение первых редукций, а иезуиты начали преследовать гуарани, бежавших в глубину сельвы.
"Марш смерти" 12 тысяч индейцев и иезуитов вглубь континента кончился тем, что до места добралась лишь треть, другие умерли или были схвачены. Однако и на новом месте они не чувствовали себя в безопасности. Работорговцы даже грабили церкви, которые монахи строили в лесах.
Иезуиты управились с этой проблемой двояким способом. С одной стороны, они добились от папы римского запрета на обращение в рабство христиан. Однако в диких лесах формальное распоряжение ничего не значило. И тогда иезуиты пошли ещё дальше: они выбили в Мадриде разрешение для гуарани носить огнестрельное оружие и обучили индейцев с ним обращаться.
В итоге отряд бандейрос, вышедший на промысел, угодил в засаду и потерял множество людей. Работорговцы отступили, понеся огромные потери. Их попытки вернуться в лес и наловить рабов кончались одинаково: из-за деревьев сыпался град свинцовых мушкетных и глиняных пращных пуль, и они отступали, оставляя в сельве мёртвые тела.
"Офицерский корпус" индейцев состоял из европейцев и местных вождей, обученных современному бою. Иезуиты сформировали даже полноценную конницу.
Редукции удалось защитить от внешнего врага, но встал вопрос об их внутреннем устройстве. В 1611 году иезуиты получили монополию на миссионерскую деятельность в Парагвае и начали строительство "идеального государства".
В 1516 году в Европе вышла книга Томаса Мора "Утопия", век спустя появился "Город Солнца" Томмазо Кампанеллы. На интеллектуальный климат своего времени утопии имели огромное влияние, хотя остаётся только гадать, в какой степени повлияли на иезуитов в Парагвае конкретные утопии.
Отцы Мацета, Катальдино и Руис де Монтоя заложили основы целого индейского государства. Главную роль в его создании играл Монтоя. В Латинской Америке он был совсем не чужим человеком. В отличие от конкистадоров, дон Руис сам родился в Лиме. Именно он возглавлял миграцию гуарани в глубину континента, спасая свою паству от работорговцев.
Теперь ему предстояло в диких краях, в почти полной изоляции от внешнего мира, создать страну мечты. В его распоряжении находилось более тридцати городков-редукций и больше ста тысяч доверяющих ему, как Богу, индейцев.
Святой отец исходил из нескольких постулатов. Европейские христиане развращены, и с ними царство небесное на земле не построишь. Однако из индейцев, людей простых, наивных и совершенно первобытных, можно создать нового человека.
Жизнь в государстве иезуитов подчинялась строгой дисциплине и распорядку. Центром каждого городка была площадь, на которой располагались каменная церковь и иезуитская коллегия. Помимо этого каждая община строила собственные фабрики и мастерские, аптеки, больницы.
Иезуиты обладали достаточными познаниями, чтобы устроить производство всего, что только было технически возможно производить в Америке: кирпичные заводы, красильни, литейные и, конечно, плантации. Труд, кстати, был не слишком напряжённым: 6-8 часов в сутки. Основой для обмена с внешним миром стало производство мате, сахара, хлопка, риса, табака и т.п. культур.
Выручка по большей части уходила на покрытие необходимых расходов и уплату налогов в Испанию. Каждый посёлок в обязательном порядке укреплялся стенами и рвом. Внутри городки были строго распланированы, а улицы по возможности мостились камнем. Не забывали и о социальной помощи: в каждой редукции строили дома призрения для вдов, инвалидов и сирот.
Численность иезуитов никогда не была значительной: их в среднем едва насчитывалось по одному на тысячу гуарани. Организация и дисциплина монахов, а также их знания в разных областях цементировали общину. Монахи разработали письменность для гуарани, организовали школы для воспитания местных кадров.
Вся собственность была коллективной, кроме маленьких личных огородов. Торговля фактически отсутствовала, деньги не существовали внутри страны. Их использовали только для внешнеторговых операций. На экспорт уходили чай, хлопчатник, продовольствие. Обратно везли соль и металлы.
Отдельной проблемой стала организация меню. Иезуиты запрещали употреблять мясо сырым. Правда, отмечались случаи "криминала": индейцы регулярно забивали скотину и поедали её. Преступники платили поркой. Каннибализм же вывели полностью.
Надо заметить, что с продовольствием дела обстояли великолепно: прекрасный климат позволял производить огромное количество пищи, даже мясо выдавалось в количестве, которое физически сложно потребить. Алкоголя не употребляли, зато производилось море мате.
В центре жизни гуарани стояла религия. Все ритуалы соблюдались неукоснительно, а проповеди священников не подвергались ни малейшему сомнению. Вообще, иезуиты внимательно следили за тем, чтобы обставлять ритуалы как можно более пышно и впечатляюще. Европейская музыка производила просто-таки ошеломительное впечатление на наивных туземцев.
Хоры и оркестры неукоснительно создавались в каждой редукции, музыкальные инструменты производились на месте. Уникальный колорит этим оркестрам придавало сочетание европейских и местных инструментов. Индейцы и иезуиты даже давали выездные концерты в Буэнос-Айресе! Забавно, но монахи и гуарани противоположным образом воспринимали духовную сторону жизни. Иезуиты были уверены, что блестяще христианизировали индейцев, те же считали, что просто развивают собственные традиции.
Конечно, такая утопия со стороны может выглядеть как полная своя противоположность. Церковный тоталитаризм иезуитов выгодно смотрелся в первую очередь по контрасту с первобытной жизнью, которую индейцы вели до сих пор. Кроме того, государство иезуитов держалось на полнейшей изоляции: индейцы понятия не имели, что лежит за пределами их затерянного в джунглях государства.
Даже между самими редукциями перемещений было не слишком-то много. В школах сознательно исключалось преподавание истории, светской литературы и даже испанского языка. Всеобщая трудовая повинность, простая пища и бедное, хотя и прочное жильё могли удовлетворить людей, не знающих никаких иных потребностей.
По сравнению с другими индейскими племенами или рабами с европейских плантаций гуарани катались как сыр в масле. Как бы то ни было, очень редко происходили побеги или бунты.
Это обстоятельство, кстати, выгодно говорит и о поведении иезуитов: если бы они сами не соблюдали собственные заповеди, скрыть разложение верхушки было бы нереально, а силой усмирить индейцев в случае неприятностей европейцы не могли. Много лет спустя, когда иезуитов разогнали, у них не нашлось никакого необычного имущества: в одной из редукций, например, всё имущество местных иезуитов состояло из простейшей мебели, нескольких подушек, подсвечников и трёх часов.
Жизнь была спокойной и размеренной. Тем не менее иногда бунты случались. Иезуиты старались регламентировать брачную жизнь, что было удивительно для туземцев. В один прекрасный момент молодёжь одной из редукций убежала в горы из-за невозможности жениться так, как они хотят. Характерен способ подавления бунта: подростков уговорили вернуться, а сложившиеся пары переженили официально.
Периодически гуарани выходили из леса, чтобы поучаствовать в локальных конфликтах: в конце концов, хотя иезуиты пользовались широкой автономией, их утопия оставалась частью испанской империи. Именно далёкая метрополия в итоге положила конец коллективистскому эксперименту иезуитов.
Закат города Солнца
Вдалеке от бурь внешнего мира страна иезуитов дожила до середины XVIII века. За это время Португалия вышла из подчинения Испании, а иезуиты потеряли влияние. Сначала папа римский специальной буллой ограничил торговлю, которую вели члены ордена.
Коммерческая деятельность и вправду не слишком сочетается со служением Христу, но иезуитов Парагвая решение понтифика ставило в тяжелейшее положение. Без внешней торговли редукциям было крайне сложно выжить.
Злую шутку с редукциями сыграла их закрытость. Снаружи ходили слухи о несметных богатствах иезуитов. Их мнимые богатства бередили воображение колониальных чиновников.
В 1750 году Испания и Португалия договорились о начертании границы между Бразилией и Аргентиной. В Мадриде приказали: эвакуировать редукции на территорию, отходящую к Испании. Индейцы оказали отчаянное вооружённое сопротивление португальцам. Однако теперь их противниками были не банды работорговцев, а настоящие армии. Более того, усмирять гуарани отправились не только португальские, но и испанские солдаты.
Война против гуарани оказалась неожиданно трудным делом. Однако вопрос о том, кто победит в этой борьбе, даже не стоял. После нескольких неудачных боёв испанско-португальские войска сломили сопротивление гуарани.
Некоторые иезуиты отказались подчиниться и остались со своими подопечными. Устоявшееся и просуществовавшее полтора столетия общество рушилось на глазах. Кто-то из индейцев получил участки земли. Они теперь должны были работать сами на себя. Многие вернулись к жизни в лесах. Редукции опустели.
В 1767 году деятельность ордена иезуитов была запрещена на территории Испании и её владений, ещё раньше иезуитов выставили с территорий, принадлежавших Португалии. Через несколько лет орден распустил папа римский. Никаких сокровищ, спрятанных иезуитами, в области гуарани так и не нашли. 85 иезуитов и их приверженцев в связи с событиями в редукциях и попытками противиться запрету их ордена были повешены.
Для первобытного мира это был настоящий прыжок в светлое будущее. В течение буквально пары поколений иезуиты и индейцы создали очень эффективно по местным меркам функционирующее общество. Судя по тому, как отчаянно гуарани сражались за свои редукции, это не был блестящий фасад, прикрывающий тиранию. Иезуитские редукции оказались куда более гуманным способом колонизации, чем то, что обычно творили в обеих Америках.
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The first six months of my life were spent on an RAF aerodrome, and as a child I heard the grown-ups talking of military aircraft and of daring aerial battles during the war. No small wonder that I still think of flight as a metaphor for spiritual progress.
As every western devotee of Krishna knows, the daily commitment of a dedicated practitioner is to chant a minimum of sixteen rounds each day. This takes around two hours. The effect of the Hare Krishna mantra is quite remarkable, especially when recited early in the morning with mental focus and without distraction. The meditator feels uplifted by gradual degrees until there is a distinct feeling of lightness; of being free from gravity.
But in order to derive the most benefit from mantra meditation it must be done with determination and a feeling of gratitude and respect. Wherever the mind wanders it must be brought back to the sound of the mantra. That may take some time each morning; the mind still has to struggle with the lingering remnants of the night’s dreams, snatches of remembered conversation or hopes and longings for the future. Eventually, after an extended period of mental wrestling, the intelligence overpowers the mind and a level of absorption is reached.
I think of it as the gradual ascent of an aircraft – a British wartime Spitfire, naturally. So here’s what chanting sixteen rounds feels like in flight mode:
0 – 4 Rounds
The first round is usually accompanied by much coughing and spluttering. The engine is cold, having been out in the field all night. As you turn over the engine it may take a minute or two before it catches and you can rev it up. But once warm, the chocks are kicked aside, your plane turned in the right direction and you begin making your taxi down to the runway. You look at the sky, look at the wind direction, and begin to pick up speed along the runway. You begin to feel an intermittent lift as your plane reaches take-off speed.
4 -8 Rounds
You lift the nose of your Spitfire, but you’re a little too soon, and you jerkily come down to the ground again. Picking up just a little more speed, you see the trees flash past you. Again that feeling of lightness. And then the noise in your head stops: your wheels are no longer bumping along the ground. At first you’re only a few inches above the ground, but slowly, gradually, you lift and the ground sinks away from your eyes. Only the tops of the trees are visible. You’re flying.
8 – 12 Rounds
But you’re still too low to relax. You have to climb because flying low is dangerous. It takes more effort to climb than it does to take off. So you adjust the throttle and pull back on the lever, aiming for the wisp of cloud up ahead of you. Suddenly it goes darker; you are surrounded by cloud. You can’t see anything ahead or to the sides of you. You feel mild panic at having your vision so restricted. But after a few minutes, as you continue to climb, the cockpit becomes lighter and lighter.
12 – 16 Rounds
You break through the cloud cover and watch as it gently retreats slowly below you. The strength of the sunlight up here surprises you. It’s a completely different world; clean and fresh, light and bright. Up here there is only you, the bright blue sky and the Sun. For a moment even the mechanics that got you up here seem to disappear. The aircraft has become only a distant presence. You can’t even hear the engine anymore. You are soaring now, climbing ever higher. Nothing can stop you now. You are free.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Spitfire Pilot
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