Summary of Madhurya Kadambini – “To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion”

My newest book is now available in print and Kindle editions!

To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion

To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion

A Summary Study of Mādhurya Kādambinī

Exactly following Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur’sMadhurya Kadambini, this book provides an inspirational and practical guide to each step along the road from ignorance to bliss. It vividly and enticingly describes each of the 9 progressive stages of developing divine love, prema-bhakti.

It is written in clear, simple, no-nonsense English.

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How to Practice Bhakti (Gita 12.8-12)

Texts 8 through 12 of the Gita’s 12th chapter are an important section conveying a message well worth reiterating for clarity.

8: The essence of bhakti-yoga is to enwrap your heart and mind in Krishna. The best way to do this is out of heartfelt desire to attain divine love, a desire that results from deep wisdom. (rāgānugā-sādhana)

9: When such heartfelt desires are absent, one should fall back upon the strength of willpower to keep one’s heart and mind wrapped around Krishna. (vaidhi-sādhana)

10: If willpower is insufficient, one must at least engage in the physical actions of bhakti-yoga. (karma in bhakti-yoga)

11: If we cannot do this, we fall outside the realm of bhakti-yoga but can still make progress towards it by giving away all the rewards of our actions. (karma-yoga).

12: If we can’t do this, we need to get a deeper philosophy, contemplate it carefully, and keep trying.

Did You Just Do That?

This is an excerpt from my presentation of Bhagavad-Gita, 18.15-17

Krishna: My friend, our science describes five things required to accomplish any action.

Arjuna: What are they?

Krishna: They are the venue, performer, instruments, techniques, and of course divinity. In the most abstract sense, the venue is the world your body inhabits, the performer is your ego, the instruments are your senses, the techniques are the muscles and so forth that utilize those senses, and divinity is the Supersoul. These five are the causes initiating any action a person performs with their body, words, or even in their thoughts.

Someone who sees himself as the sole agent of his deeds has not really developed any intelligence, and is blinded by stupidity. Do not let your intellect be shackled and bound by such an egoistic concept. Realize that you are not the true agent of your action and even if you have to kill all these soldiers you will never be bound to the worldly reactions of your deeds.

Are You A Sanyassi?

This is an excerpt from my presentation of Bhagavad Gita, 18.7-10.

English: Sanyasi at Kathmandu

Arjuna: You mentioned three grades of renunciation. What are they?

Krishna: Out of confusion, those in darkness (tamas) give up responsibilities that should never be forsaken.

Passionate people (rajas) give up difficult and disturbing responsibilities that get in the way of their bodily comfort. This will never grant the fruit of true renunciation.

Those in clarity (sattva) carry out their responsibilities thinking, “This is my duty.” They renounce any connection to the rewards of these actions. They don’t detest unpleasant work, nor are they particularly attached to pleasant deeds. These intelligent people are free of all doubts and completely clear about renunciation.

What is “Austerity”?

From Bhagavad Gita 17.14-16

Bodily austerity means to always show respect, particularly to gods, priests, teachers, and the wise. It also means to be clean, simple, celibate, and non-violent. That is how religious effort is expressed through the body.

Verbal austerity means speaking the truth in a manner that is affectionate, helpful, and not unsettling. It also means voicing the recitations that are part of your studies.

Mental austerity means practicing self-control via emotional contentment, gentleness, silence, and improvement of one’s character.

A Survey of the Three Qualities

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 14 of the first draft of the Bhagavad-Gita presentation I am working on.

5

Krishna: Prakṛti, “Nature” is the first thing produced from the singularity. It has three qualities: sattva, rajas, and tamas. My strong friend, these three are the ropes that bind the limitless living being to a body.

Arjuna: Can you explain more about each quality?

6-9

Krishna: Sattva is clear and undistorted and therefore allows the illumination of consciousness to shine brightly. Its rope, though, is the desire for happiness and comprehension.

Rajas is distorted by passion. Its ropes around the living being are ever-rising thirsts and endeavors.

Tamas is the strongest of all. It darkens with ignorance and thus bewilders every soul. It has many ropes, like foolishness, laziness and stagnation.

In summary: Sattva creates happiness. Rajas creates efforts. Tamas eclipses knowledge and creates foolishness.

Online Gita Class

I would like to teach a 24-hour/session Bhagavad-Gita class online:

  • 1 session for each of the 18 chapters,
  • 1 extra session for each long chapter – 2 and 18
  • 4 sessions free for discussion, and if possible to go into more detail on the Sanskrit of specific important texts

The important part now is to see how many people are seriously interested in taking the course. I’ve done group classes over Skype before for astrology and it is pretty easy and simple. The more students we get, the less the tuition per student. We can accept up to 12 students, and then the tuition per student would be $100.

If you’re interested in this, please ask around / spread the word and see who else might be interested. Once we get a significant list of interested students, we can sort out the schedule details with everyone and get started.

Interested parties should contact me by email, or, if you don’t have my email address, through my contact form. If you have questions or comments you can also comment on this post.

Thank you!

Do Your Duty in Wisdom

“Being spiritually aware, renounce all implication in activity by doing your duty only for my sake.  Have no personal ambition in your deeds.  Have no sense of entitlement.  Throw off your feebleness and do your duty in this state of mind.  Fight!  People who follow steadily and surely embrace and follow this advice I have given all become free from karmic reactions.  But those who loathe and reject my advice become perfect fools in every way; ruined and thoughtless.” [30-32]

Arjuna would ask, “Why would I become ruined by not following this advice you’ve given?” So Krishna explains…

“Even a philosophical person operates according to personal habit.  How can anyone repress their own nature?” [33]

Krishna’s advice is to renounce personal attachment to ones work, not to renounce the work itself.  He says we should work for the sake of others, and for the sake of pleasing him – not for our own sake. Working in this way is renunciation and brings liberation from karma.  If we reject this advice we think that renunciation means to stop all our activities.  This is doomed to failure and ruination, because no one can stop their activities.  Repression is useless.

Arjuna would doubt, “If I am not supposed to stop sensual activities, how can I become spiritual???”  Krishna now explains that regulation, not repression, is the ideal…

“Regulate the attachment and repulsion between your senses and various sensual experiences.  Control them; don’t be controlled by them, for they block the progressive path.” [34]

Arjuna would suggest, “Let me regulate myself according to the codes of saints who dwell in the forest.  Let me cast aside these codes of the warrior.”

So Krishna will explain that everyone has different ways of regulation, but should stick to the way that is prescribed specifically for them…

“It is better to stick to your duties, even if they sometimes look difficult or faulty, then to try to follow someone else’s path, even if it sometimes seems perfect for you. It is better to endure the difficulties of one’s own path, because to walk a path meant for another is very dangerous.” [35]