Gaudiya vedanta publications: The end of an era?

I was first introduced to Gurudevas books in 2002, and I have since had a 15 year love relationship to His books. I have loved the work of Gaudiya Vedanta Publication, the beautiful art work, the bindings on the books which are so beautiful at times. It hasn’t only been about the content of the book, but the book itself. There is a lot of art work in just producing the beauty a book can be and GVP has done so, expertly.

My favorite color is golden brown (/copper), just like the cover of Gurudevas Sri Gita Govinda version. The coptic binding on Gaura-vani pracarine. Book publishing is a craft. There’s a lot of emotions connected to Gurudevas books.

I have tried to be careful about expressing emotions on this blog because I find people have a tendency to favor emotions before using sound judgment (or just common sense as I like to call it). In the case of the changes made in Gurudevas books though, describing emotions has an important place.

At first it was disbelief (nooo, they can’t have stooped to that level). Now it has been disappointment for a while which are slowly entering grief. I have loved GVPs work: Gurudevas books, the content and the physical book. The bhaktibase app is really good. The GVP facebook page which published new content often and with different reports. A few cartoons. My latest favorite is the youtube videos of different people who talks about their favorite book. For me, the GVP has really shown what jewels devotees are. You see it in the work that are presented. The people behind all the work is not shown, the work itself really shines like diamonds.

I’m slowly realizing that my love relationship is coming to an end.

Why, oh why, do you edit the books to suit your siddhantical belief? Why can’t you let Gurudevas words talk for themselves? In the case of controversial topics that are presented in books, why not just print the words exactly as Gurudeva said them? There is no need to edit the words to fit your belief. If your belief is correct, those words will speak for themselves.  If those words are true, the truth prevails.

There is larger issues at stake here as well, more than just two parties disagreeing. As Malati didi points out in a comment in the previous blog entry, the edited books becomes unfit to be used for book distribution to people for ethical reasons. The disagreements aren’t really that important in the larger sense, it’s for those who have been devotees for a long time. But we who hold opposite views will not present such books to new devotees, to avoid later confusions and to make sure the truth prevails.  We don’t want new devotees to think we fell from Vaikuntha, we want them to begin by having a correct basic understanding before the controversies/confusion enters.

If GVP could stick to the exact words of Gurudeva, this problem resolves itself in a way that should be satisfactory for both sides. Both sides claim they follow Gurudevas words, so let’s stick to Gurudevas exact words. 

Problem solved?

Okey, I know it’s a simplistic notion to believe that Gaudiya Vedanta Publication will change their stance and print Gurudevas words exactly (I can’t believe I’m writing that sentence even). When something like this happens, its because a rot has entered the organization – meaning many people.

This has even broader implications. So they want to argue their position that all of the parampara is only manjaris and only manjaris can be rupanugas. So they change Gurudevas books to prove themselves. So when they are questioned – they can just point to the books they themselves edited to prove their own point. That is fabrication.

This is UNACCEPTABLE!

Okey, so the use of the strong word “fabrication” implies intent. That the changes made are done intentionally, and not because of a misunderstanding or lack of understanding the impact. I’m not convinced that there is intent there – that is yet to be proved.

But it is very problematic that they are making up their own proof. This is something that should interest people no matter what side they are on.

In no other tradition is it usual that books become edited and even published after an author is dead – yet for us it is business as usual. I’m not sure if that’s okey.

So – now another work begin. To track changes in the books – track and transcribe the audio behind these statements to prove the changes made and what is actually being said.

So I created a page to begin tracking the discrepancies found  in books, lectures, dates, whatever.

It will be a big job. I hope I’m up for it. Any help and tips will be appreciated.

Because I’m getting worried. The legacy of Gurudeva must be protected.

Sign of life

Just as a well-filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well-employed life brings a blessed death.”

Leonardo da Vinci

A year ago in Vrindavin, Didi told me I needed to listen to as much harikatha as possible. There would come one word to me, she said, that from everything will blossom. But to receive that word I needed to listen to all harikatha that was spoken.

During that trip I was “out of it”, struggling with spirituality and not really there mentally or physically. Then came those words from Didi. That was such a strange thing to say, right? I would receive ONE WORD that everything would blossom from. So I pressed her, what word? But she didn’t know. Just one word? Really?

I put that statement in the back of my head, because you can’t really force something like that and you can’t push something to happen. And one word? Really? As if one word can change me? Well…. okey. I didn’t know what to make of it, but I was open. If she is connected, then it would come.

So a couple of days later, the morning arrived with arti at KBM. Then afterwards I went to the arti of Yogamaya. If you have visited her, she is so beautiful. I told one of my friends this and she said “everybody loves yogamaya”. There is something so attractive about her. I’m not really that attracted to deities, arti and puja, but there is something about Yogamaya that touches me. I ended up sitting there for a while since the pujaris were late that day. As I was sitting there for myself, thinking about Yogamaya, the WORD came to me. I can’t help but think that Yogamaya wanted to give it to me.

As soon as the stores opened up around 10am, I was outside one bookstore and immediately purchased “Art of Sadhana”. The word I was given was ART (which I have written about before, and before, ). Sadhana and spiritual progression is something I have long looked upon as an art, but of course, I keep on forgetting my own realizations. There was no room of forgetting now.

Living is an art form. Spirituality is art. It’s the process of invention, not imitation. There is some rote memorization of verses, but progressing is a way of making this path our own. My path is not like yours. This is what this blog is about. When Didi gave me the order to share my realizations with the world, it’s a process of invention. Its a creative way of working through sadhana, its art. An art form.

But art doesn’t just come flying from the sky, randomly hitting a bystander. It requires work, moving through life and changes. The levels and direction of inspiration changes as life changes.

After my trip to Vrindavin and getting fired from my last job – and dealing with an obsessed psychopath, I just gave up. My whole life I have been pushing myself. My motto has been “never give up, never give in, never surrender” in how I deal with life. But by then I was so exhausted, completely wiped. I was done. With everything. I was done. So completely done.

Being done transformed into apathy. I had pushed myself so hard through life, but the result was so meager compared to the effort I had put in. So I gave up and apathy took me. I have spent so many days with no energy, lying on the sofa where even moving my little finger was an effort.

Then apathy which really is learned helplessness transformed into something more healthy. I stopped pushing myself, I put no demands on myself. Slowly I allowed myself to just BE. It was so healthy and good. It took a long time, but I slowly became a bit bored, which is fantastic. I’m almost never bored, but if I get bored it means I have created enough space in my life. It means that my default feeling of being overwhelmed was retreating. From boredom, creativity can begin to blossom again.

That is where I am now. I am not gone. Writing a spiritual blog where I am supposed to share my realizations can’t be fake. If I have downtime, then that will show itself on this blog. If I struggle then silence will be a companion. Whenever progress has been made in my life, it seems to come in waves. There is a long period of seemingly standstill. Then suddenly things lift and it does so in many areas at once, like a wall has been breached and the wave spill over into so many different areas.

The art of my life required that I learned to not push, to not demand something of myself all the time. It seems like I’m now entering a state where I connect differently. Live my life differently, and it’s a more healthy way of being.

Among his various possible beings each man always finds one which is his genuine and authentic being. The voice which calls him to that authentic being is what we call “vocation”. But the majority of men devote themselves to silencing that voice of vocation and refusing to hear it. They manage to make a noise within themselves … to distract their own attention in order not to hear it; and they defraud themselves by substituting for their genuine selves a false course of life.

Jose Ortegay Gasset