Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Preaching is as preaching does

Well I have been suffering from a bad cold recently, which has developed into a fever. I feel better now though I'm not totally out of the woods yet. As it may do for everyone, illness is a really annoying occurrence. I was unable to go into Uni today although I'm sure I was not missing much in the lectures.

I'm loving Advaita's recent blogs. I wonder where he is that he can get a connection to the Net over there, given the troubles Madhava was having last time he went to Vraja. How great of him to not just report what he is up to, but also to discuss some of the things he's reading and researching over there.

My thoughts circulated to an earlier period in my devotional career, and the fire of preaching. I had always been amazed at how much love I had for preaching that whenever I would fall ill with fever, I only needed to find a topic like demigod-worship or mayavada-bashing and proceed to explain the faults of these to whoever would listen. Surprisingly my fever would go and I would feel somewhat, if not totally, better. I guess that preaching had always suited me rather well as I have inherited a fiery personality, and also the fact that I had much to rail against due to episodes that pccurred in my pre-Vaishnava spiritual journey.

I wonder if it was the power of preaching that cured me, or whether it was a simple case of putting enough effort and passion (and physical exertion) into a discussion? The latter would be a near-impossibility as the act of dragging myself out of bed to the grocery to get milk and bread today was physically exhausting. Now that I have become much more mellow these days (or so I think!) thanks to the association of the wonderful devotees at GD, I wonder what there would be to preach about? What exactly is there to preach about for a raganugiya Vaishnava? Especially to people who know next-to-nothing about it, or those whose first point of contact with it has been via ISKCON?

Preaching is as preaching does. There are some good discussions going on at GD at the moment. I'm involved with at least three right now even though I am supposed to be trying to reduce my participation. Since Madhava has gone to Vraja, there seems to be a reduction of activity and the onily real buzz seems to be coming from the topic about sakhi-vesh. I'm also trying to figure out why previous generations had virtually no access to Mahaprabhu's gift of love. I feel so sad that they had no opportunity. It is interesting to see what Sri Kanupriya Gosvami has to say about this:
"The good fortune is available to anyone born in this age starting from the full moon day in 1486 when Mahaprabhu appeared until the end of the age, the reason being that the Supreme Lord is the institutor of the religious process for the age or yuga dharma. In this age there is no work of any sort for any other incarnation to do. In the Satya and other ages which follow this Kali-yuga, the regular procedure will once again be followed with the ordinary yugavatars appearing to establish the particular religious systems for their ages. Then, the residents of those ages will remember back on this extraordinary age and will think of themselves as most unlucky to have missed such a wonderful opportunity."
It is truly joyful to think that we - we! - have the great opportunity to think of this wonderful fortune, but I still feel a gnawing tinge of sadness about the countless souls who will not be afforded this opportunity. :-(

Madhava brought up a wonderful point about Mahaprabhu's wholesale liberation, which I would lie to deal with as another topic in its own right. The other topic I'm thinking about is the fluidity of religious movements as a whole. Even including Gaudiya Vaishnavism within the context, are religious movements hard-wired to splinter off into different sects, or can it be guided along one particular avenue? It may be that the splintering takes place due to circumstances that have arisen, but does that mean that the doctrinal foundation of a movement is hard-wired to splinter?

Last of all, the buzzing sakhi-vesh topic. I am very glad that not fights have broken out as I can see that this is a sensitive topic for many of its participants. However, my main concern is fidelity to the theology. Madhava has made this point many times, especially in reference to the various Gaura-nagari topics that we've had in the past, that while "deviations" may occur it remains to be seen exactly how faithful they are to the foundational teachings of the Gosvamis. Assuming of course, that everyone accepts that Sri Rupa Gosvami was uniquely empowered to define Mahaprabhu's contribution to bhakti. If not - then we have a problem, Houston.

Yep, preaching is as preaching does.


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