Holy holiness

Radhanath-Swami-explains-a-devotional-principleIt used to bug me to no end when people took my book or chanting beads and take them away from the chair/floor and place them… somewhere else (still does). I get why they did it – we are supposed to revere these things. But really, there’s so much holiness around us that it just becomes too much. The beads are in the bag to protect them, but apparently the bag itself is so holy it can’t be put on a chair. The food is holy, so we are supposed to eat it all up. It doesn’t really matter how full we are – and that everybody seem so intent on placing more on the platter than what you want.

Hing is supposed to be so great that it replaces both onions and garlic (it doesn’t).

Then we are supposed to dress and act in a spiritual way. Wear saris and dhotis, say Haribol so enthusiastically. Always use tilak. Conform, conform, conform.

Again, I get why. My Gurudeva wanted the ladies to wear saris – so why didn’t I? I wore for the most time punjabis, and most of the other times western clothes (read: not a ladylike dress). I rarely put on tilak.

I don’t conform to other people’s opinion easily. I conform to what I am and who I am. What you see is what you get and telling me who I’m supposed to be, doesn’t sit well with me. Of course, this gives me no spiritual credit at all because spiritual people conform, right?

Once I sat in an assembly where my Gurudeva were. I was sitting in some chairs in the “male” section (which were the only place where there were chairs). Some guy apparantly found this inappropriate and quite rudely told me to go sit in the ladies section.  I made it clear to him that he could place his holy ass somewhere else because I wasn’t moving. I think he became very surprised that I showed no meekness in my attitude and he quickly dissipated from my view.

I never feel my gender more strongly, than in the assembly of devotees.
Which is troublesome because I’m mentally a man in a woman’s body. If I had been a man, I would have been a female in a man’s body. I have learned to embrace both my genders.

Group mentality is something I abhor unless I see logic and reason. Trousers and jeans are for me practical, therefore I wear it. Dresses and saris are unpractical, so unless I want to feel pretty I don’t wear it.

There’s so much holiness around us that I find it impractical at times. I know this is a luxury problem. If I walk in the mall and really take in the mentality of people, I see how poor they are and how rich I am. I have been entrusted with the biggest treasure ever to be gifted, and nobody knows it. I continue to explore this treasure and ever new things is revealed. A treasure chest with no end.

But with so much holiness around me, I get a bit blasé by it.

I know it’s vaishnava etiquette – but, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja. If this isn’t a mouthful, I don’t know what is. So let’s add tridandi to it as well. Which is why I often just say Narayana Maharaja. Gurudeva certainly deserves all the titles awarded to him, I just find it a bit much so I think adding Maharaja to the end is enough. It’s just so so much – all the time. I certainly see the rightness of it – but all the time? It’s just so….. impractical.

Because of my views, I can’t really see how I would belong at a temple anymore. I think that me being on my own for so long is the best thing ever for me. I have a bit of a contrary mood which makes me question and not accept things at face value. I challenge peoples views and perceptions at times (in the nicest way I can). I conform to me.

I conform to me. The more “me” I become, the closer I get to Krishna. But you can’t really enter this process without it changing you.

3 thoughts on “Holy holiness

  1. This post brought both laughs (especially grouping hing with the other items, LOL!) and some sad confirmations.

    The only woman here at the monastery said some time ago that she has never experienced more sexism anywhere than here. This was very embarrassing and very helpful to hear. A purifying type of embarrassment.

    Regarding books on the floor, I remember a class I attended in my within my first week of getting initiated. The speaker, Sripad Vishnu Maharaja, quoted a verse that I’ve been trying to find again, saying that in the beginning rules are not necessary, don’t bother the beginners with rules. Try to give them a taste of Krishna consciousness, let them have a taste. Then when you see that there is some taste, introduce rules gradually. This is because that taste is tender, and need some structure to not peter out. And as it says in upadesamrta, it’s harmful for one’s bhakti to follow rules without understanding why, and also to give up rules whimsically.

    Here is a quote regarding titles, from my diksa guru:

    “Every acharya will always be seen in the light of the contribution he gave to the sampradaya. There is no need to demonstrate the importance of our gurus by attaching numbers of exclusive titles and glorification to his name. On the other hand, if some disciples feel comfortable by glorifying their guru with many titles, we should be generous enough to accept that. However, let me ask you a question. Why is nobody anxious to attach many titles to Narada Muni or Sukadev Goswami when they speak about them? I fear that as long as we make the names an issue of contempt, we are not really in contact with the substance.”

    I feel the title etiquette helps me to not mention my guru’s name unnecessarily. Srila B.B. Bodhayan Maharaja has written something about this. https://gopinathmath.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/guru-should-be-kept-carefully-in-the-heart/

  2. It’s nice to hear that there is openness for the female devotee to tell this (Yay her!) and that it entailed some introspection. I love to hear such stories where growth is involved.

    Well, I think I’m beyond tender faith and have probably entered the offensive stage when it comes to books on the floor etc. I find those kind of rules to be… impractical. (yes, impractical and illogical is two words that sums up my reasoning for the most part),

    Interesting about mentioning Guru’s name. I find this to be close to the rule about not preaching Krishna’s name (the maha mantra) to people with no faith.

  3. Good point about the ninth offense. I say my gurus names, but given these points I try to do it tastefully. It’s ugly when gurus names are being used to hit others over the head.

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