Part Three: Sounding the Alarms / Historic Revisionism
Scholars Among The Deluded
If this is not adequate enough to sound the alarm and rally the tilak clad troops into action then keep reading. The real slap in the face is the fact that this pathetically poor attempt to undermine the Classic Bhagavad Gita As It Is, has been nominated for “Best Book Of the Year.” (Along with eleven alternative titles) Fortunately the group making the evaluations is an obscure organization called ForeWord Reviews that is devoted exclusively to critiquing books from independent publishers. Mr. Kuikens Gita As It Was falls into the group: Adult Nonfiction/Reference/Category. Details can be found here at: https://botya.forewordreviews.com/finalists/2012/reference
Although this is a bizarre endorsement from an organization that considers hundreds of titles in endless categories and sub-categories, it gives the unassuming audience the impression that Mr. Kuikens has made a great literary contribution to the academic study of ancient theology. In this paper we have presented several arguments for the reader to decide for themselves if they feel that is actually the case.
What we have here is a classic case of the cheaters and the cheated. As the occidental public becomes dissatisfied with the Judeo/Christian traditions, their thirst for new-age hogwash, Neo-Advaita twaddle and the not so merciful carnivorous interpretation of Buddhism has grown rapidly. What all three of these pseudo-spiritual paths have in common is that they are self-determined. New Agers talk about Goddesses and higher powers but they are really only interested in their own “empowerment.” The Neo-Advaitist tell themselves they are aloof so they can coast through the tough decisions in life by not committing to anything, but they are just as evangelic about popularizing their misconceptions of the highest truth as any of the theists they dismiss as sentimental. Buddhism is actually veiled atheism with the goal being “Nir-vana… a place with No qualities.” The way it shows up for many in the West who claim to be following Lord Buddha is without any instructions related to how their choice of diet impacts their consciousness. The Mahayana Buddhists have the integrity to be vegetarians. However the Theravada Buddhists don’t understand that it’s disingenuous to say you aspire to be compassionate and merciful when you leave bones on your plate after eating. The Soka Gakkai International Organization well known by their chant: “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” claim to be the biggest Buddhist organization in the world today and they don’t make any effort to teach their followers about the importance of following a non-violent vegetarian diet. When asked, they say it is strictly a personal decision that the SGI supports but does not encourage or even teach about!
Secular relativism rules the day in the form of the self-serving mantra: “What’s right for you is not necessarily right for me.” In an attempt to sidestep the questions Mr. Kuiken could not answer he deferred to this mantra many times. This was how he attempted to make nice with those who are not willing to eviscerate Krishnas words but instead are willing to surrender to his instruction that Bhakti as the highest of all yoga paths.
yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah
“And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” – Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter 6. Sankya Yoga, Text 47.
The Really Scary Stuff…
The most disturbing thing about attending Mr. Kuikens presentation on the Bhagavad Gita had little to do with history. After all, it was just a desperate attempt by a conditioned soul to promote his own concept of reality. That is a human flaw nearly everyone is guilty of at least up to some capacity. In this case Mr. Kuiken had been bitten by the snake of Sankaracarya’s Non-Dual aphoria and Lord Caitanya made it very clear what the consequences of that are:
“Sankaracarya, who is an incarnation of Lord Siva is faultless because he is a servant carrying out the orders of the Lord. But those who follow his Mayavadi philosophy are doomed. They will lose all their advancement in spiritual knowledge.” – Adi Lila Chapter 7, Text 114.
As odious as it was to see the world through the lenses of Mr. Kuiken own well-worn out Non-Dual glasses, it wasn’t the most frustrating thing that occurred at his gathering. The really scary stuff was how the majority of the audience was so willing to embrace what was being said without anyone seeming to care whether it made any sense or had any tangible connection to reality or not!
It was evident that everyone attending the meeting thought of themselves as mature transcendentalists. It was also clear by their comments that they believed a real spiritual person should tolerate and embrace all varieties of personal conviction. Are they so committed to that misconception that they would also tolerate and approve of the customs practiced by some radical Muslims who believe that if their wife is accused of adultery, the husband has the right to shoot her in the back of the head?
In their non-dual world view, it is inappropriate to think objectively and challenge what some one else believes because what’s true for them isn’t necessarily true for everyone else and that’s Ok in their world. (Unless of course you happen to believe that there is a thing called Karma which holds us all responsible for our actions. Then the Non-Dual folks gang up and do all they can to change the subject or run away from those who promote that concept.)
The Neo-Advaitist consider anyone who makes such distinctions and speaks out about it as a religious fanatic because in their world there are NO distinctions to be made. To coward from situations they would rather not think about or deal with they simply hide behind the Non-Dual façade that postulates there is no good/bad, right/wrong or valid/bogus continuum. “Everything just IS & THAT’s All there IS.” Of course all of that eloquent pontificating gets quickly pushed aside when someone sells them a bad car or disagrees with their myopic world views. When that happens there is not talk about Neo-Advaita bull-dung but instead some of these so-called advanced transcendentalists morph into some of the most belligerent, snotty and selfish people you are likely to encounter.
The irony is that despite all their talk about the magical “Oneness” that the New Age Neo-Advaitists proclaim, there can never be any Oneness because they cling so tightly to their own false conceptions, empiric pride, and narcissistic agendas. Everyone is left to fend for themselves in a world that has no absolutes, only a bunch of speculating conditioned souls that are too haughty to recognize the futility of any conclusions arrived at via their own inherent human shortcomings. (Propensity to Cheat, Make Mistakes, Fall into Illusion and Imperfect material senses.)
What’s the Harm…?
As the aura around the Good Dr. began to fade, some in the audience began to realize that not everyone appreciated his very selfish agenda and forced conclusions. He threw his fairy dust but those who actually had some formal training in how to read and study the historic Bhagavad Gita 700 the spell simply didn’t work. In an attempt to resurrect the Advaita agenda one of the guests asked me: “What is the harm? What’s wrong with allowing Mr. Kuikan to believe what he wants while you believe what you want? Can’t we all just get along?”
It was clear that the young man asking this question also drank the Advaita poison pill and was therefore very unlikely to grasp the realization that the Neo-Advaita rhetoric is not just a harmless way to perpetuate one’s own self-indulgent fantasy land. There is a wealth of references that have philosophically illustrated that it is in fact the actual reason why the world is rapidly spinning out of control on so many frontiers. Although shrouded in the air of sophistication, the simple fact is that there can’t ever be any harmony, or concurrence about anything, as long as nobody can agree on even the basic principles a functional society relies on. Everyone wants a better world, but nobody is willing to surrender their own feeble concepts of what and how that world should look like. However a very nice road map to a very nicely functioning society has been thoroughly laid out in the Vedas by the Supreme Lord who has been philosophically established as the Cause of All Causes. The real problem is that in today’s environment, anything that even hints at the idea of religion and especially God, just isn’t cool. Those who are educated have seen the mess other faiths have caused and that triggers the contempt prior to investigation which Vaishnavas must rise up together to overcome.
So to make the radical suggestion that maybe we should follow the Vedic System of Varna/Ashram with Krishna in the center brings along the stigmatism that one is an evangelic nut case. This is really very sad because in reality those who are working towards this goal are actually the most magnanimous and exalted individuals because they actually have the tools and know how to save our sinking planet earth before secular man completely destroys it.
Therefore because the majority of the population craves the approval of their peers, people from all walks of life are desperately seeking secular solutions to the huge social problems we face. As devotees however, we know that as long as the four legs of dharma are violated, there will literately be hell to pay for it and none of these alternative programs will ever work. Once again I defer my readers to the Four Legs Of Dharma matrix illustrating this principal.. (Chart Link) It appears that only pious people seem to be able to comprehend that as individuals we all need to control our behavior if we ever want to see any real changes in the world.
It was evident that most of the people in Mr. Kuiken’s audience were not ready to objectively hear the finer principals which I have expressed in this essay. So out of courtesy to those folks I told the young man who flippantly asked: “What’s the problem?” that he had an excellent question but that it was Mr. Kuikens show. As such I deferred that it was not the time or place to have a serious discussion about the huge difference it was to approach the Gita in the mood of a surrender devotee (Bhakti) then a incorrigible atheist.(Advaitist)
I would have quoted what Lord Siva himself said in this regard, but it wouldn’t have made any difference. The Good Dr. would simple deflect it by claiming that it’s just the interpretation of those misguided sentimental followers of the Bhakti Path.
“The theory of Mayavadism, (The Non-dual Advaita Teachings) – though given a facade of great importance and claiming itself to be derived from the Vedas, is in truth a non-Vedic theory O goddess (Paravati) It is I, who have propagated this concocted theory which is the root cause of the world’s destruction.” – Mahadeva Siva speaking to Parvati (Padma Purana)
Contact the Author:
William Roberts/mayesvara dasa is an ordained Brahman priest under the tutelage of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. He has been studying the Bhagavad Gita As It Is for over 40 years. He is the director of the American Vedic Association, which sponsors the free Bhagavad Gita As It Is Fellowship Discussion on the first and third Tuesday of every month in Ojai California. He has worked as a Certified Database Engineer for the Port Hueneme Navy Surface Warfare Center in Southern California since 1987. For more information call: (805) 640-0405.
William Roberts MBA/MIS, CCP, ACBSP
Ojai, California 93023 (805) 640-0405 Home william.roberts @ jagannatha.com (805) 228-0736 Work (Port Hueneme Division Navy Surface Warfare Center, California)