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Goddess Durga Puja at Our MU

To: Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 23:41:29 From: "Hank & Rita Tomasson" Subject: Goddess Durga Puja at Our MU Baba "Aja'na' Pathik a'ja, tare ghare d'eke na'o..." P.S. 4342 Purport: Today the Ajana Pathik Parama Purusa Baba has come! Don't miss this grand occasion. Receive Him with Your full heart and bring Him home without delay. Let your heart be saturated with the divine effulgence which He has spread all around. Now is not the time to waste in dogma, drowsiness, and slumber. Baba has come for you, for me, for everyone. He loves everyone-- each and every place, each and every country, all. He feels pain and cries when seeing others' pain. And He smiles when He sees others smile. He loves all. By His grace, this is the time to surrender everything at His lotus feet. Missing the opportunity is not intelligent. Baba has come! Receive Him and bring Him close...
Namaskar, Coming soon, on Oct 13, the Prama Institute of the Asheville, NC Master Unit (NY Sector) is presenting a "special" dogmatic puja, featuring Jai Uttal, one of the so-called, "rock stars" of the contemporary, or pseudo, yoga movement. Mr. Uttal will be singing the glories of goddess Durga, worshiping the elephant god Ganesha, and chanting the names of so many other dogmatic gods and goddesses from the Hindu tradition. All of which is being presented, sponsored, and advertised by the Asheville MU / Prama Institute. So we should contemplate the situation: Is it healthy or beneficial for our Marga to host and promote such a dogmatic event, wherein participants will be singing the names of all the mythical gods and goddesses of Hinduism-- and not Baba Nam Kevalam. Is this how we should present ourselves to the public? Is this how we should introduce the public to kiirtan? If dogmatic followers do like this it is understandable, but for the vanguards of then society this is intolerable.
Whoever in the Asheville unit had the idea to invite the famous Mr Jai Uttal may have been thinking that by this way 'we will attract so many people' and 'make a lot of money' etc. This may have been the guiding psychology or motivating factor. However let us recall Baba's own approach when starting AM. From the very beginning, Baba put forth His dharmic code of yama and niyama and rejected the caste system. At the time, the caste system was one of the strongest and most dogmatic pillars of Indian society; and from day 1 Baba rejected it. Back then, some foolish people may have been thinking that Baba would have been able to bring more into AM if He accepted the caste system, even temporarily. But Baba's plan was to put forth AM ideology and introduce His dharmic teachings. So He put forth His code of yama and niyama and rejected the caste system. And in result, the world understood that AM is strict in dharma, and good people immediately came forward to join AM. Maybe many dogmatic types would have joined if the caste system was embraced, but then it would not have been AM. It would have been just another dogma. Likewise, if Baba had not given the do's and don'ts of yama and niyama, maybe crude people would have joined because then they could drink wine etc, but then it would not have been AM. Furthermore, those good people who were looking for a dogma-free path would have kept themselves far away from AM. So Baba clearly advocates the approach of maintaining the precepts of our ideology. And in due course good people will come. He does not appreciate accepting various dogmas in order to attract all kinds of participants or elements etc. So we have to think: Should the Asheville unit move forward and continue to have Mr Jai Uttal sing his dogmatic goddess Durga chants at an AM sponsored kiirtan event?
Here is another reminder of Baba's dharmic approach. When certain people approached Baba and requested Him to give up Prout because then so many capitalists and political types would join the Marga, then Baba outrightly rejected that proposal. He stood by His Proutistic teachings and in result faced imprisonment. Again, here Baba is demonstrating the need to maintain the standard of AM ideology, and not sacrifice it for the sake of smoozing with the powers of the day etc. So we all have to think: Should the Asheville unit renounce our own Baba Nam Kevalam mantra and instead present a kiirtan concert featuring a "famous artist" who is going to sing his own dogmatic kiirtan about goddess Durga, and engage in so much other idolatry. That is what must be considered. Will Baba be pleased by this approach?
As we all well know, in His books Namah Shivaya Shantaya and Ananda Vacanamrtam part 11, Baba Himself dedicates chapter after chapter to unearthing and explaining the dogmatic nature of all the Hindu gods and goddesses. He calls them mythical, imaginary, and labels them as nothing more than ritualistic idolatry. And here Baba Himself points out how the origin of worshipping goddess Durga was just a crude manifestation of wealth. It has no base in devotion or spirituality. So it is a dogma is the most fundamental and rudimentary way. Baba says, "The system of worshipping the goddess Durgá was first introduced in Bengal by Kaḿsa Náráyańa Ráy, the king of Táhirpur of Rájsáhi District, now in Bangladesh. King Kaḿsanáráyańa had a lot of wealth. He told the pandits, “I have so much wealth, I would like to hold the Rájasuya Sacrifice.” The pandits said, “O king, in Kali Yuga there is no system for holding the Rájasuya Sacrifice. But since you have so much money, you can celebrate the worship of the goddess Durgá in accordance with the instructions in the Márkańd́eya Puráńa.”" "The story goes that Kaḿsanáráyańa Ráy spent as much as 700,000 rupees for the worship of the goddess Durgá. 700,000 of the rupees of those days means almost 70 million rupees today. It was a huge expense, and this sparked a competition among the other kings and landlords. The following year King Jagadvaballabh (his name was Jagat Náráyańa according to other sources) spent 850,000 rupees on the worship of the goddess. In this unhealthy process of competition, the worship of the goddess Durgá became an affair restricted only to the wealthy landlord households." (AV-11) Thus, the creation of Durga Puja was founded in ego and materialism, and has no relation with bhakti yoga. So doing the kiirtan of goddess Durga today will not bring the practitioner any closer to god. Indeed, Baba has invested much time, energy, and money in educating us about the dangers of idolatry. So we should pay heed not to fall into such ritualistic and dogmatic approaches like Durga Puja, nor should we allow others to do so. And with regards to the elephant god Ganesh, he was worshipped only for his imaginary strength. So once again we have a "deity" wholly devoid of any spiritual quality. In Caryacarya, Baba specifically warns us about idol worship, like Durga Puja, and elephant god worship etc. Baba says, "As, in principle, you do not support the philosophy of those who, in the name of worship of God, indulge in idolatry, do not participate in their ceremonies." (CC-2, 'Society', pt#35) In straight language, Baba tells us "not to participate in their ceremonies". Yet not only is the Asheville unit participating, they are sponsoring and propagating the entire event wherein Mr Jai Uttal will perform all his dogmatic songs & pujas, celebrating the likes of Durga, Govinda, Radha, and Ganesha etc.
Well, if really we are going to sell our soul in order to lure attendees and sell maximum tickets at $20 each by turning our back on our own kiirtan and instead highlighting the dogmatic Hindu deities etc, then maybe we should also consider doing the following. Why not host a huge party on one of our gorgeous AM lands, and invite men and women to dance naked, smoke marijuana, drink wine, indulge in orgies, and do all kinds of degrading things. If we did that, we might attract thousands and thousands of people. What a grand event it would be. Thus we have to think again and again about how we promote AM to the public and consider whether we should sacrifice AM ideals. Baba did not do so; and neither should we: Neither by inviting Jai Uttal to sing dogmatic puja kiirtans, nor by hosting naked hip-hop parties etc.
First and foremost we should be strict in Ista. That means singing His name in kiirtan and not any other. And it means abiding by His divine tenets and not following any dogmas. Then we will be strict in Ista. Then we will be following His mandate from 16 Points, "Maintain non-compromising strictness and faith regarding the sanctity of Ista". Inviting Jai Uttal to sing his dogmatic kiirtans under the banner of AM is a direct affront on Ista. We should not do such things. This type of compromise undermines the sanctity of our Marga and Baba Himself never approves of such approaches.
Furthermore, around the globe, a sort of renaissance is going on. People are looking for real spirituality. And if we compromise ideals and adopts Hindu dogma, then those good people will think we are just another type of pseudo-spiritual group. We will be covering ourselves in mud, then keeping good people at arms length. The way to build a solid society is to put forth proper ideals and then good people will join in. It does not work to begin with crude practices to boost attendance and then declare that now everyone must follow a sentient manner. Then it will be a triple loss: Those who came will leave; good people will never come; and we will have compromised our ideology. So best is to follow Baba's method. Bravely put forth the dharmic teachings of AM and naturally good people will come.
So we should take action about this upcoming event. As a community we should express our views to the Asheville unit about whether Mr Jai Uttal should be allowed to perform or not. If we allow this, then it sets a negative precedent that all kinds of pseudo and degraded elements can perform on the platform of AM. The point is not that Mr Jai Uttal is a problem; there will always be people like him in the world. The problem lies in labeling such people as "stars" and putting them on the stage of Ananda Marga. Such things Baba never appreciates.
By Baba's grace, He wants that we should all become dharmikas and that we should bring others onto the path of dharma as well. Never are we to compromise the tenets of Ananda Marga by allowing dogmatic pujas do be done in the name of AM. Baba says, "Remember, Ananda Marga is a man-making mission. Both quantity and quality are important. Everyone should be free to join Ananda Marga, to take part in social functions, etc., but only those established in yama and niyama may be given any position to work in society. Just to satisfy someone and compromise [with] sin is unthinkable. We can in no case ever compromise." (AV-31) Namaskar, Hitendra
With full sincerity, Mr Jai Uttal traveled to India to learn kiirtan and he studied diligently and learned well the musical aspect. Unfortunately in his simplicity and naivite, he was not unaware that he was taught dogmatic kiirtans. Tragically, in one gulp he swallowed the whole of Hindu dogma. As those are the only kiirtans he sings. On one of Mr Uttal's albums, ' Kiirtan: The Art and Practice of Ecstatic Chant', he performs the following dogmatic chants:
Durga Pahimam Purport: Oh Goddess Durga save me, I am doing sastuanga Pranam at your alter, please grant me eternal heaven Ganesha Sharanam Purport:I surrender to the imaginary elephant God; please accept me in your shelter & grant me life in heaven. Radhe Govinda Purport: Victory to Goddess Radhe and God Govinda. Sita Ram Purport: Victory to (mythologoical) Lord Ram and His divine wife Sita; please be gracious and give me a boon. Jaya Radha Purport: Victory to Goddess Radha Radha Rani Purport: Victory to Goddess Queen Radha Kali Bolo Purport: Chant the glory of Goddess Kali and make my life valuable and worthy, and reserve a place in heaven
And it is these same types of chants that he will sing on Oct 13 at this Ananda Marga pracara function.So these are the types of kiirtan the Mr Jai Uttal performs. Needless to say, Baba Nam Kevalam is not on his list. Ultimately, it is our fault that we could not bring Mr Uttal onto the path of pure spirituality. Even then there is still time and opportunity, if we are careful.
The Prama Institute is part of the Ashville North Carolina MU in NY sector and this is the way they are publicly promoting the upcoming Durga puja concert: "We at the Prama Institute are pleased to let youknow that Grammy nominated world musician and kirtan singer Jai Uttal will be performing in Asheville...Jai Uttal is considered one of the main “yoga rock stars” of the blossoming kirtan scene in the West today..." And then the Prama Institute goes on to state that the dogmatic puja concert will be held at a local church and they (Prama Institute) are sponsoring the event and one can purchase tickets directly from the Prama Institute. So the Prama Institute is playing a big role in promoting the dogmatic Durga puja kiirtans of Mr Jai Uttal.
All are ecnouraged to voice their opinion about this, lest our Marga fall into the ways of promoting dogma. Contact the Prama Institute at:, (828) 649-9408 It is not too late to pressure them into canceling the Durga puja concert or turning it into a dharmic event.
Two of the main people featured on the Prama Institute website are Fake Family Acarya Vishvamitra and Bro Ramesh. Both of these people are big names in AM NY, so it is not that they are totally new and unaware about AM. They have each been in AM for 30 years or more. So really they should know better than to promote a dogmatic Durga Puja kiirtan program under the banner of AM. It is for reasons such as this that people feel that the family acarya standard in AM is so low. Such fake family acaryas like Vishvamitra purchased their way into the program by donating big bucks to the top groupists etc. Hence, the family acarya system is not based on good conduct and knowledge of AM ideology. That is why in its present state it is the Fake Family Acarya system. Tragically, this upcoming Durga puja is one more proof of their cheap standard.
********************************************* UNKNOWN FACT ABOUT WEALTH
Baba says, "In the subtle economic sense, the value of wealth is the real wealth. Wealth, if not properly defined, may mean only riches. But the value of wealth is to be measured in terms of its capacity to purchase commodities. That is, the purchasing capacity of wealth is its real value. This real value of wealth has not yet been properly understood in numerical terms by economists." (Proutist Economics, p. 269)

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