This week I got an email from Indiadivine forums informing me that they are back on after a long hiatus. Indiadivine, or Audarya forums as they called themselves, was probably the first successful place for all practitioners of Hinduism to come together on the Internet and share their knowledge and opinions. Surely there were a lot of fights and offensive statements to make any devotee cringe with distaste but their forums contained troves of raw information.
Whatever question might rise in your head, they’ve got it covered. Or maybe it’s just a testament to the fact that we all go through a cycle of issues and revive them time and again as if we haven’t learned anything.
Audarya forums was also the first place where we could come in touch to vaishnavas from different traditions. As it goes on the Internet, people used this opportunity to initiate endless arguments in favor of this or that tradition, but at least now we know why Madhavites do not consider Gaudiyas as a genuine branch of their sampradaya, for example.
Later on ex-ISKCON Gaudiyas went to new forums and so if you are looking for detailed information on Gaudiya history, who said what to whom, who wrote what and who didn’t believe it etc, then Gaudiya discussions and repercussions might be a more suitable place. Be prepared to wade through tons of offensive statements towards ISKCON devotees, however. At the end of the day you might seriously ask yourself – was seeing all this abuse worth whatever information you were going to find? Probably not.
This answer seeking is not what it’s cracked to be. You might learn a fact or two but maintaining spiritual purity is more important than knowing a few tidbits of information. After a couple of years or even months you’ll forget what you’ve learned and what will you have left with? Empty heart and doubts about our authorities? Who needs that?
An example of relatively low value of such information can be found in one of the newest Hare Krishna threads on Audarya forums.
Someone has posted a dozen questions about Krishna’s supremacy or even His divinity. Some of them are hard, some a tricky, but that’s besides the point. At the end of the list the author asked that answers were specific and to the point. I’ve noticed that there are similar lists posted into other Krishna/Vishnu related forums there.
Knowing how things turn out on the net his approach might seem like reasonable and methodical but being reasonable and methodical carries no weight in Krishna consciousness. So, his Qs remains without any As. Should we give it a shot? I thought about it and decided against it for the moment.
For transmission of spiritual knowledge several things must be in place first. Arjuna started with
“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” BG 2.7
I am a disciple and soul surrendered to you – unless this attitude is present, answering would be not only in vain, it would be offensive (describe glories of the Holy Name to non-believers). Going past the introductions we should also realize that position of a vaishnava guru is different from that of auyrveda guru or jyotish guru. Those are there to teach you things, our guru is there to accept our service and pass it on to Krishna.
Transmission of knowledge? After telling us that Krishna is the Supreme Lord and chanting of His Holy Name is the process of serving Him there’s really nothing more to tell. If our guru says just these two things and leaves his body we would still have all necessary information to make our lives successful. If we hear just these two things and leave our bodies with firm faith in these two concepts, our lives are already successful.
Vaishnava guru is not an equivalent of Siri where you ask questions and she fetches you answers. It’s not Google Now either, which gives you answers even before you thought about what to ask. Our guru is not our servant in any respect. Of course he might mercifully tell us a few important things here and there but we should never forget, even for a moment, that we are the servants and our purpose to please him, not the other way around.
Therefore I feel hesitant about satisfying that persons quest for knowledge. He is not asking about trivial things, whoever attempts to answer must speak about Absolute Truth on behalf of our entire parampara. I’m not sure my guru would want to answer and so neither should I. His list reminded me of an ad in classifieds where you specify your requirements for anyone wishing to render service. I’m not taking this position, that won’t be representing guru and Krishna, if that person is seeking servants he should look elsewhere.
This wrong attitude actually answers one of the questions themselves – about Anugita when Krishna refused to retell the whole Bhagavad Gita on Arjuna’s request. Circumstances were different, Arjuna wasn’t pleading to be accepted as a disciple anymore, he wasn’t overcome with confusion either, he was comfortably relaxing on a sofa, and, perhaps between sips of Cristal, asked “Yo Krishna, what was that sh*t you were telling me on Kurukshetra. Man, that was deep, how did it go again?”
Krishna got understandably angry and rebuked Arjuna for forgetting such an important lesson. Eventually He softened, however, and, considering circumstances, He presented Gita in a more suitable form of a tale rather than as a set of mind blowing revelations.
Maybe that’s how questions on Audarya forums should be answered in the end, too – nothing serious, suitable for the audience, and without disclosing any of Krishna’s glories without being asked. It might require some effort but because Krishna IS the Supreme Lord it’s only an effort in presenting the answers correctly, they already exist though they might not be present in our minds at the moment.
Everything in this universe can be explained from Krishna conscious point of view. The question is not in finding the answers but in accepting them as truth. If that person is ready, answers can be given, if he is not, it would be a waste of time.