One can talk complete nonsense in Spirituality and yet come off as Saintly. In fact, most of the goody-goody stuff is actually Spiritual nonsense.
Given the Spiritual work done in India, collectively known as Sanatan Dharma, the level of nonsense that is perpetuated by the combination of Devotional Leverage and Intellectual Egotism is remarkable in its masochism and stink.
For most part, what passes of as Devotion is nothing more than Deception. Very few are even capable of Devotion. Those who intellectualize certainly cannot. Because Intellectuals – actuals and wannabes – have a damning ego. Wannabe-Intellectuals, of course are a class in their own right. When such a person swears on something as if his life depended on it, then you can be sure that it is mere deception on his part for himself.
Nobody amongst the Enlightened Beings has been as great a victim of utter deception cloaked under Devotional Leverage as Krishna himself. Tomes have been written about his love with Gopis and Radha. In fact, his name is always taken with Radha in some places. And, that love was special. But not in the way it is often portrayed as.
Krishna left Vrindavan for Mathura at the age of little over 10. He gave his flute to Radha and bid adieu to all in that town. And, he never came back to Vrindavan after that. In fact, the life after Vrindavan for Krishna was of a Statesman, Politician and a Dharma-Guru.
But take any illustration of Krishna and Radha, and you find that the relationship is depicted as amorous and one that would only be possible for people in their 20s.
Here was a kid, precocious and naughty, but one in a small town (almost a village) at the age of 10. He was playful and cute and loving, so many women would want him as their son or love his antics. But, to equate his antics to amorous intent is taking too much of poetic leverage. Even if he started young for a lover, what could a 10 year old have done?
When Bhakti movement ruled the roost in North India specifically, Bhakti became commoditized. Everybody with queer looks and song on his lips could easily pass off as Bhakta no matter how much that act of his was a put on. This commoditization was especially rampant amongst the Sufis. Say something interesting – well constructed poetry – which sounds profound but lacks thoroughly in devotional element and you have a Sufi Saint or a Bhakta constructed for you.
If Bhakti is tough, then Jnana Yoga – Intellectual route – is even tougher. One has to literally work against himself. Again, just as most devotion passes off as deception, attempts as Jnana Yoga are mired in Intellectual nitpicking. Debates, intellectualizing, and discussions have nothing to do with Jnana Yoga. Jnana Yoga can only be trodden by a razor sharp intellect which is humble and self annihilating. It uses its sharpness only to cut through its own existence. Humility of a Jnana Yogi isn’t easy to perceive but it is the single most important element.
In both these paths – Bhakti and Jnana – we have bastardized our pursuits.
I want to give two examples which have dismayed me.
One, the use of “Gods / Goddesses” in the regular Hindi TV soaps. It has always been fashionable to push superstition and worship as a way to attain riches and desires by movies and soaps in India. As if God is some kind of “On Demand Butler”. But with soaps these days it is getting worse. They are straight away invoking the Gods as directly intervening in the lives of people. They “come down” in human form or “look from heaven” (whatever the heck that is) – and do all sorts of antics borne out of writer’s mind. The Bull-shit churning in the writer’s or director’s mind passes off as Spiritual message from say, Krishna or Shiva.
First, to use say, a Krishna, no more than a Butler and a backer of all kinds of superstitions is denigrating him enough. And then to start juxtaposing all kinds of abilities and emotions to his is really worse.
And no, these guys aren’t out there to malign Krishna. Quite the contrary. They are displaying their constipated Bhakti in the popular medium. That it shows their inability to rise to any level is natural consequence.
One can see the one of the clips from an episode of “Chhoti Bahu”. Here Radha – of Krishna’s childhood fame – in heaven is jealous of the devotion of the protagonist, Radhika. Radha thinks that she is greatest devotee of Krishna, and in order to show that Radhika’s devotion is weak, she – rather foolishly – puts the protagonist in all kinds of tough (often life threatening) situations. The negativity of the legendary Radha, as displayed by this character sitting in Heaven is rather remarkable.
Maybe Radha was a jealous woman. We don’t know. We don’t know what kind of love did she have. Even if you were to write about your deepest love for someone, I can bet that you will fall short of expression. Whatever you feel can never be shared. And whatever will be shared will be incomplete. And whatever will be understood by the other, will be nowhere near what you intended in the first place! If such is the case with your or my expression, imagine the level of distortion that has been brought by these wild interpreters of Radha’s love and bhakti for Krishna!
It is time, mindless expressions of Bhakti with no understanding of what devotion really means or is – are rejected for the farce that they are.
Two, was the onslaught by a bunch of Hindus in Houston on a lecture by Sadhguru Jaggi. I was having an email discussion with one of the most vociferous critics of Sadhguru’s words and this guy, touted as scholarly and one who teaches Gita and Upanishads locally. In that email exchange he was distraught that we need strong people in Hindu society who can stand up to the onslaught from the threats in the world to Hinduism. And, in his intellectual ego, he exclaims – we need to “throw out Yoga and Meditation” from Hinduism.
Hmmm.. really? If you throw out Yoga from Gita, what do you get? Put another way, except from Yoga, what else is there in Gita? Gita is known as “Yoga-shastra”, because every chapter details a different type of Yoga. Unless this gentleman meant “Asanas” (postures) to be Yoga. Which is even worse. For any Hindu to equate Yoga with just Asanas shows his illiteracy.
With such low level of intellectual rigor and sky-high ego, these Hindu “Activists” go about raising hell for others and fellow Hindus as well. Mind you, these are all Intellectually minded guys who think just because they have achieved a certain level in their profession and read Gita “X” number of times, they can now go ahead and teach Krishna himself some of his own Gita! That is the level of Ego.
This ego works both ways. As much as Hindu intellectuals push their own brand of nonsense as Jnana, certain liberals use petty logic to start rejecting traditions, which may have been based on sound spiritual principles. Its the ego of intellect after all.
For most people, Bhakti is not a possibility. They have too much junk in themselves. So isn’t Jnana – because the modern education has bastardized the meaning of Jnana (knowledge – self knowledge in Spiritual terms). If I can crack the toughest scientific equation it doesn’t mean that I have the ability to look at life with the sharp-ness that is required for a Jnana Yogi. In fact, the more educated one is, the worse off he/she is on this path.
Nothing short of total revolution and an abundant doze of humility is required to turn the tide, which has taken Dharmic Spiritual tradition to farcical limits.