On my own terms

“Do what you love”, all the life coaches say. I dislike the title “life coach”. I find it synonymous with the hypocracy of people trying to earn money by giving other advice on how they want their own lives to be. I have exactly two loves that have stayed through my life; IT and Krishna. Those are my two loves and of those two, Krishna has trumped IT. I always thought that Krishna was my real interest, but I had to make a livelihood so working was an obstacle I always had to surmount to use time on sadhana.

Now I don’t have a job, my environment couldn’t be friendlier. And I’m going bonkers, through the rafters. I really want a job, have a place to go every morning, working with IT which I love. I have to really push to even do one round of Japa these days. Sometimes I decide I want to spend the day just chanting because it sounds so wonderful to just chant all day. Surely, if I close on 64 rounds something wonderful has to happen and I would have an epiphany. Of course, I know it usually doesn’t work like that and in the end I rarely even break the 16 round requirement. I keep on knocking my head against my own qualification. When the environment is friendly, you really see what level you really are at.

So all I want to do instead is work. I want a job. I want to work. This is so hard.

Sure I want to get closer to Krishna, but on my own terms. I seem to thrive better when my environment is full of obstacles. When I really want to spend time on Krishna consciousness, but instead I have to do material, temporary, inconsequential in the long run kind of work. Then reading and doing japa is like a breath of fresh air, it makes me feel alive.

I don’t know what to do now. I’m so bored. I’m not going anywhere, there is no progress. I’m so frustrated!

 

Lost in translation: A deeper look

syamarani_gurudevaThe statement that Syamarani didi has manufactured statements of Srila Gurudeva is worth taking a deeper look at. The Syamarani side claims that Krishna Balarama Temple/Ashrama (KBT) is stating that Syamarani didi has had an hidden agenda and deliberately deceived and concealed transcendental truths in editing Gurudeva’s books.

So, let’s see what KBM is actually stating that can be constructed this way:

When you read our Srila Gurudeva’s (Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja’s) books or transcriptions of his lectures, you assume you are reading his words. Well, it is not like that at all if Srimati Syamarani didi is editing them.

…. Again and again you are changing Gurudeva’s words and mood.

…. Where did you get that Gurudeva said that A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja was “one with the mood of Her maidservants”? For this reason you are planting wrong ideas in everyone’s minds. We can never believe that anyone can misrepresent Gurudeva’s conceptions to such an extent.Do you understand now how you are misguiding everyone in Gaura-vani pracarine?

…. Why don’t you read nicely Gurudeva’s words and try to understand his mood? You are always misinterpreting Gurudeva’s words and superimposing your own mood on him.

…. We cannot imagine why you insist on changing the clear words of Gurudeva and replacing them with your own ideas. In the same way, when Gurudeva speaks of madhurya-rasa, you are writing ‘manjari‘. Never think Gurudeva’s words are material and always respect his words. What are you doing? Do you think you know more than Gurudeva?

…. Don’t you want bhakti to come in your heart? Gurudeva is saying your heart and you are writing their hearts. Again you are distorting his words. Do you have the disease of changing Srila Gurudeva’s words?

…. Why are you changing Gurudeva’s words unnecessarily? Here you are not changing the meaning, but you are changing his words. Always try to keep Gurudeva’s words.

…. By saying the opposite of what Gurudeva said you are depriving everyone of this sweet mood! You are not the proper person to edit Gurudeva’s books. You are cutting and destroying his very beautiful and sweet mood. When he spoke these words, all were laughing, but what you wrote is stale, there’s no mood there, and we are sad to see you changing his words.

This may be the clearest statement of their opinion of Srimati Syamarani didi’s translations:

If you can make six of the above changes within just four minutes of a lecture of Gurudeva’s, then we dread to think howmay thousands of other changes you must have made elsewhere.

This is very important. Now please stop transcribing and editing Gurudeva’s new books and lectures. We see that all Gurudeva’s books and lectures that you have worked on need to be revised.

First off, this is in regards to one lecture which Gurudeva spoke about the rasa of Srila Prabhupada. So, in one sense this is a continuation of the existing controversy where Syamarani didi found Gurudeva’s statements that supported SP having manjari bhava. But, KBM’s findings goes even further into Syamarani didi’s translations and find other statements they consider faulty. They also have a later statement where they go into statements they claim Syamarani has said which is hard to verify unless one is closely connected to Syamarani didi.

The last statement is pretty clear: So, does the statement imply that Syamarani didi ” has had an hidden agenda and deliberately deceived and concealed transcendental truths in editing Gurudeva’s books.”.

1. Do KBM claim she has a hidden agenda?
No, I find no such statement. But – they do claim that she imposes her own understanding on Gurudeva’s words which can be interpreted so if you give it a bit of good will.

2. Did she deliberately deceived?
Again, I find no such statement from KBM. For me it seems like they complain that she has misunderstood Gurudeva’s words and translate according to her vision. That can hardly be constructed to deliberatly deceiving devotees/the sanga/Gurudevas books.

3. Do KBM state that she concealed transcendental truths in editing Gurudeva’s books.
Yes. Though they do so by finding specific statements of Gurudeva, how Syamarani didi has translated it and what they mean is the correct interpretation.

 My conclusion

These are serious allegations that needs to be taken seriously. Though, these is simply too deep truths for someone like me to know which side is right or not. I could take the time to go through the lecture they used and see if they got it right, though even if I did, how would I understand the true meaning?

Furthermore, how deep did Gurudeva look into his books when he was alive? Would he have catched these kinds of misunderstandings?

I have deep respect for Syamarani didi. I have deep respect for the Krishna Balarama Temple.

I have complete faith that Gurudeva will give me the guidance and wisdom I need to move forward spiritually.

So I will continue reading Gurudeva’s books. If there really is some errors, I think I can live with this. I have faith that any errors there may be will not be detrimental to my spiritual progress and other pure devotees will guide us (and hopefully me) through any hurdles there may be.

When it comes to the spiritual manjari mood of Gurudeva (and therefore vision), I know I found the perfect Guru for me. If all of his books mirror this mood and understanding – well, those are the moods I want in my heart. If there may have been some faults because Syamarani has the same mood… Well, it will still mirror Gurudevas mood even if some details about Srila Prabhupadas bhava may or may not be correct.

If there is fault with other translations besides this, well, again; I have faith that Gurudeva and Krishna will give me the guidance and wisdom I need, when I need it.

So this changes nothing for me personally. I recognize that this is a serious issue and I will continue follow the discussions.

So, this is to be continued for sure 🙂

Update 02. july 2015:
Discussions still going on and Syamananda prabhu referenced some more comments made.

Krishna’s confidential cowherd boy friends
Srila Gurudeva on sakhas, sakhis and mahabhava (June 27, 1994)

PRIYA-NARMA-SAKHAS are NOT in MADHURA-RASA (part 1)
PART TWO – THE PRIYA-NARMA-SAKHAS are NOT in MADHURA-RASA

KBMs response to Prem Prayojana prabhu
Swami Tripurari Maharaja response to Prem Prayojana Prabhu (after second question)

 

Lost in translation: The rasa of Srila Prabhupada

The latest response by Krishna Balarama Mandira (KBM) to the whole “rasa of Srila Prabhupada” controversy is to scrutinize the translations (and action/words) of Srimati Syamarani didi. The latest response is connected to the translations of Syamarani didi of Gurudeva’s words where they argue that Syamarani didi has misunderstood Gurudeva’s words and they point to sound files and minutes into the lecture where this has happened.

Dear devotees,

When you read our Srila Gurudeva’s (Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja’s) books or transcriptions of his lectures, you assume you are reading his words. Well, it is not like that at all if Srimati Syamarani didi is editing them.

Syamarini didi and team answered by giving a general overview of how the translation process works, but did not enter into the specific points given by KBM.

Another response is outrage that anybody might critize their beloved didi who has done an enormous amount of service during the years and their egos just explode into characteristics like name calling.

rasa_sudeviI can’t help but laugh. I find this hilarious. Why? maya expertThis is why.

But okey, let’s get serious again.

Is Srimati Syamarani didi defamed? Well, a bit. The statement from KBM above is defamation. But – they give constructive criticism where they point to specific statements and how they may be interpreted differently. The problem is that many have the tendency to just read the defamation and then their minds go blank, the ego explodes and they are unable to hear anything else. That one sentence there is enough for people to completely loose the ability to clear-headed thinking and really consider the opinions stated. That’s why it’s so very important to stay clear of name-calling and characteristics of the differing side, because people’s mind have a tendency to cling to what they perceive as wrong doings and then that’s all they will hear. It’s an effective diversion worthy of Maya.

Furthermore, the Syamarani side considers KBMs response to be an attack on all the translations Syamarani have done. They are putting words/intentions into KBMs statement by saying that Syamarani has a hidden agenda and deliberatly deceived by concealing the truth of Gurudeva. This is an exaggeration of KBMs statement and are putting intentions where they might not be. So suddenly this whole debate isn’t only about what rasa Srila Prabhupada is in, but for the Syamarani side about defending the authenticity of Gurudevas books. Pheww, enough to get most people sweaty and Maya is laughing all the way to the bank.

How should we consider evidence? I know there’s a vedic viewpoints on evidence and I can’t seem to find it. So instead I go for the usual way; who provides the most “scientific” answer? KBM goes into specific statements, provide sound files and minutes where the statement were uttered and provide an alternative understanding.

Syamarani didi and editors doesn’t really respond to the specific statements, but instead go into a general way of how translations work. This is important information to be sure, but doesn’t really deal with the problem itself.

So, for now KBM is giving a very good argument and may be in time Syamarani didi and team will respond.

This is a very good way of dealing with conflicts. A conflict isn’t won by one side declaring it so. It takes time to gather arguments and statements and will continue over time. Usually, both parties will not agree on the statements of the other side. One just agrees to disagree, but hopefully one might be a little bit wiser in the long run. This is a mature way of dealing with controversial issues.

Though, the way statements are running and things are taken out of context and exaggerated – well, a learning curve is still needed.

 

 

The period of stillness

11415602_10152796407831433_5011315023818737060_oI’ve been silent for a while. It’s actually been months now where my spiritual life has been at a stand still. Nothing happens, and I’m fine with it. I actually like it. I’m hoping my unsteadiness is moving towards steadiness, however slowly. Though I can’t say I’m progressing, still something is emerging. I more and more think of myself as belonging to Krishna. This understanding can be seen on a scale, where a pure devotee is completely dedicated to service. And then there’s me that is it in thought, but not in action. So how come this understanding is growing within me?

As I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown more into myself. I’m secure in myself, I don’t need other people to like me, I’m complete in myself and I accept who I am, good and the bad. I haven’t been like this before, I’ve been complete opposite, but that’s the grace of growing older and working on yourself. I’m becoming more me as time passes. I continue to learn more of who I am, and with that become more me. I understand the value of acting according to my definition of integrity and recognize when I move beyond it and try to rectify it when that happens. I accept that I make mistakes and have faults and it doesn’t define me more than I let it rule my life.

If something is a choice, then it’s not a part of you yet. Which is why the understanding that I belong to krishna is so strange, because I realize that this understanding is no choice. I can’t say it’s a part of me – it’s me. It’s who I am. I can no more burn it out of me, than I can change who I am.

Which probably has something to do with my interest in the two items of surrender: “Accept what is favorable for devotional service” and “Reject what is unfavorable for devotional service”. With this comes also some other understanding, that time suddenly has little meaning. If I belong to Krishna, then it doesn’t really matter that I’m currently a conditioned being. Why? Because it’s just a matter of time until I’m completely His. It doesn’t really matter, I will slowly get there. I’m already sold, we just have to wait a little bit until I come. It’s like a long journey from A to B. The ticket is bought and I’m on the way. I’ve gone beyond the point of return and I will just keep on going until I reach the goal. I can’t go back because it’s just not me anymore, though I may still be diverted on the way there.

So this stillness is good, soothing. Sure, there is still a lot of work to be done, but time will take care of that. It’s a pleasant stillness with the sense of belonging.