My Perspective On Sensuousness

I am not a strict follower of Bhaktivinode, or anyone else, in the sense of accepting his opinion as the final word on things. He lived in Victorian, British India and geared his teachings to the educated Bengalis and British whom he interacted with regularly. As government servants, he and Lalita Prasadji associated with all sorts of persons. At the time, Chaitanya Vaishnavism suffered from a bad reputation due to persons questionable sexual practices and philosophical weakness. Everything is contextual. We are here and now. Chaitanya Vaishnavism suffers from a bunch of rigid religious fanatics who tend to be life denying, misogynistic advocates of celibacy.

I am not just transmitting the teachings of the past in a faithful manner, but rather, I am engaged in a revitalization project that intends to deconstruct and then reconstruct the tradition based on a new vision for today using the best practices available from all sources. This is Bhaktivinode’s desire, and he is my main motivating source. Just as he was a visionary for his place and time, so must we be today.

Lalita Prasad Thakur told me we would never know the true meaning of his father’s writings until they were republished from the original manuscripts, which he had. I have no idea where they are now. I do not trust IGM publications. I see what I believe to be peculiar wordings of things with an ISKCON ring to them. So, lacking other sources, I take the spirit of Bhaktivinode and don’t worry about the details (even if I were sure they were his words).

Vrindaban is the ideal medieval Indian village, and Radha Krishna are the ideal medieval Indian couple. Of course they are symbolic, archetypal portrayals based on the principle, “As above, so below.” Since we are created in their image, and their sexual union is the highest bliss which we are able to help bring about and partake in through empathic identification with Radha, would it not make sense for men to develop an empathic identification with their wife or lover during love making, learn to see Radha in her (we are all expansions of Radha), develop our anima and become more androgynous? This would also improve the condition of women by raising them to a more divine status in men’s eyes so that they may be the goddesses they are intended to be. If women picture their husband or lover as Krishna, would that not be similarly beneficial? In this way, it is possible to transmute sexuality from a base, mundane act to a symbol of the divine. All lovers are partial manifestations of Radha Krishna’s love.

Vrindaban is the place where that love is most fully manifest. How does that look and play out today?

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