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  • Does God have imagination? What is the highest type of artistic expression?

    With Srila Avadhut Maharaj

    Chiang Mai 2013 - Does God have imagination? What is the highest type of artistic expression?

    Author: Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Cycle: Chiang Mai 2013 Uploaded by: Radha Raman das Created at: 9 October, 2013
    Duration: 01:08:36 Date: 2013-03-11 Size: 94.21Mb Place: Gupta Govardhan Chiang Mai Downloaded: 3036 Played: 7589
    Transcribed by: Yuvati Devi Dasi

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    Goswami Maharaj: Yes, Maharaj.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Okay. The thing I want to talk to you about is cinema. Because Lenin once he saw cinema considered it the most important art. And he immediately combined the cinema and ideology. And we see in particular part of history of cinema there were many Hitler's films about great ideological presentation through cinema, there were Soviet cinema, Hollywood cinema. And of course, I am talking about very recent history of cinema, the latest movie "Life of Pi", it's become popular especially in China. Why?
    Goswami Maharaj: I would say because people they like to see the images that reflect concepts that in their hearts.
    Avadhut Maharaj: This is very interesting point. Can you reveal something about it?
    Goswami Maharaj: Well, the heart we can say in this senses is subjective roam and what we see – objective.  And we forever trying to take what's in a heart to the objective world. Actually really we want to live in a subjective world, but we find ourselves in an objective world. And that's why people, not only Chinese but everybody, they like to go to movie and immersed themselves in an experience, it's like you're taking away from the objective world for sometime and you enter an other world. And you're voyeuristically envisioning yourself through the characters there. That's in a simple way. That's part of what people do through media. But there are maybe more profound implications about that also.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Can you bring the light on that?
    Goswami Maharaj: Well, it has to do with our ultimate aspiration and also what separated the human beings from animals. We're riveted to story or a hardwired story, that's why to this day what's being handed down in time, when we say ‘story' we mean a narrative  about who are people, what is our purpose, what is a prospect or a possibility. And different stories speak to that. That's why human being are story tellers. Animals are not story tellers. Right? Someone will try to say, "No, but dogs, they dream about catching cats or cats dream about catching mice".  That's another thing dealing with based necessity of eating, sleeping, sex, defense. Human beings, they're interesting in a story that speaks to their heart, their identity potential.
    Avadhut Maharaj: That was a very interesting point. So, would we look at religions for now?
    Goswami Maharaj: Yes.
    Avadhut Maharaj: The Bible, Vedas.
    Goswami Maharaj: Right, all stories…
    Avadhut Maharaj: It's just stories, but in a modern world…
    Goswami Maharaj:  Replaced by different story and I was just talking about movies, what was popular at one point The Star Wars. Let's go back to that, it's still, people, everyone knows what Star Wars is. And we saw when the media observed an almost religious like following of those who were the devotees of it. And what was it about? The force and the dark side and the good side of these very basic things that human beings deal with: good nature, bad nature. So, some people will make the argument these religious stories that we have in a various scriptures, in time philosophers try to translate that into something else, science came along, but still you have film-makers of the twentieth century presenting this basic story models that some people would sometimes attribute to the Greeks, saying there is only 5-6-7 stories that you can tell. It's the same stories being reword in different ways and people still find them fascinating because it's speaks to their inner aspirations.
    Avadhut Maharaj: What is the difference between mundane story which is very touchy and divine story which is like.
    Goswami Maharaj: This is a good point. And we can say this if we look at the structure of the vedic literature amnai, revealed truth particularly the Puranas, we have three divisions of Puranas that sometimes tell the same story. So, you have Puranas in tama-guna for people in the motive of ignorance, Puranas in raja-guna, passion, and satva-guna. So, they tell the same story a little differently with different emphasis points according to the attended audience. Someone will point out for example the Nrsimhadev pastime, Prahlad – Nrisimhadev: in a rajasic Purana there will be an elaborate descriptions of fight scenes, armor, those kind of things. If we look to the Bhagavat Purana, which is not nearly sattva-guna, but it's nirguna, and it's describes that it is the Amala Purana, the emphasis is on philosophy. The minimum is placed upon descriptions about battles and things like that and fights. That's the minimum what do we come away with, the maximum is the teachings of Prahlad Maharaj, his prayers to Nrisimhadev, the prayers of devatas to Nrisimhadev. And we're told and what is the Bhagavat Purana ‘srimad bhagavatam Puranam amalam', this doesn't have any mundane reference points. If you think it does, you're not perceiving it properly. It's not, it doesn't have a reference point – the motive ignorance, the motive passion or even the motive of goodness really it's what? Nirguna. That's why Sukadev was selected, no mundane reference points just a pure medium for expression of higher truth.
    And what is the purpose of the Bhagavatam? What is the purpose of telling the story of Prahlad Maharaj? That Sanatan Goswami  who's called the bhakti siddhanta acarya  or Rupa Goswami is the rasa acharya, Sanatan Goswami prabhu we have to give extra prays then he is the bhakti siddhanta acharya, so he is telling us philosophically what is to be understood. In his book Brihad Bhagavatamritam,  what we might not perceived the structure of Srimad Bhagavatam, and Brihad Bhagavatamritam, Sanatan Goswami prabhu, he is telling us what's the position of Prahlad, where is Siva, where is Bramha, what is karma-misra bhakti, jnana mishra bhakti, what is  suddha bhakti. And on this point we have to say something of Mahadev, Siva, about his greatness and also unique position. Sometimes Guru Mahaj will say there is Bhog-Śiv, Tyāg-Śiv and Bhakta-Śiv. And I say ‘Siv' because I am just remembering ones I was in this, we were having a preaching party in India, one town called Murat, another one called Burely, and I've be going buying riksha, keeping different appointments and doing some Hari-katha, some collections. And this one sivait, he was a little enamored seeing some westerner  in a vedic dress, dress of a brahmachari and I'd be going and buying riksha always  had to go in front of him. He was in front of banyan tree, but with a little platform doing something. Whenever I'd go by he go, "Siv, Siv, Siv, Siv, Siv" [laughing] "Siv, Siv, Siv, Siv, Siv" So, I couldn't tell if he was trying purify me or he thought, my appearance was auspicious.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Well, may be he expressed himself in an artistic way, You've just said very interesting.
    Goswami Maharaj: but wait. Just to finish that, so, we're told Bhog-Śiv, Tyāg-Śiv, Bhakta-Śiv. As Bhog-Siv, Maya is his consort. Siva is not under the influence of maya. Maya is his consort, who's putting everybody else into illusion. And we're told similar to the mentality of women sometimes if she feels that she is being neglected by Siva, she will try to catch his attention in different ways. But she failed to put him in an illusion. Right. So, sometimes he is known as Dhira. The example of Dhira is meaning sober, undisturbed, not under the influence of the senses. So, Guru Maharaj made this point that we just posted, he said, "We are all Siva, atomic Sivas". (?) word, wannabes, we want to be like Siva. Meaning we want that Maya will serve us, that Maya will be our consort.
    And again Sanatan Goswami prabhu deal with that in Brihagavatamtitam, so when the jiva is about to leave the material world, he's gone to the eight layers and he is in the last layer, he is on his way out of the material world that Maya comes before him in a very charming form, beautiful sweet, seductive, charming and says, "Why are you going?" And he is thinking, "Well, suffering and illusion and the world, I am through with that". She is, "Yes, but that was because you were on my control, now I am offering myself to you. You'll be Siva and I'll be your consort". And Guru Maharaj, he describes this as ‘the last sweet bullet enters the brain'. "Really? I'll be Siva and you'll be my consort?" "Yes". [laughing] But see, this is a very delicate point, because we will say that is the aspiration of so-called Shiva-its or Saktas, but Bhaktivinod Thakur deals with this very nicely in Jaiva Dharma, where in one of the discussions one of the… maybe Paramahamsa Babaji or something, Vaishnavadas, he said, "Let me understand you properly. You're saying that when the jiva soul is conditioned, a conditioned soul, that Maya is Ma like mother". Like ‘Jay Ma Kali', Ma Durga. He said, "And you're saying, but when jiva becomes liberated then he becomes Siva and his mother becomes his consort?" That's how Bhaktivinod Thakur deals with that point.  It's almost, it's mildly humorous. Like he says, "So, you're suggested when you are a liberated soul then your mother becomes your wife?"  
    So, that bhog-siv, then tyag-siv, and the interim position just as like sometimes people would say to Guru Maharaj, "Oh, Siva is Vaisnavanam yatha sambu, he is the best of vaishnavas". Guru Maharaj would say, "That is for propaganda." He said, "His location in a middle position. Haven't you read Brhad-bhagavatamritam?" Where Bramha, karma-misra Bramha, when he is asked,  "You're atma bu, born from the Lord's navel, no mundane mother-father, because before that Indra was being praised as vaman, your family member – Vamadev". And Brahma said, "Oh, I am actially, I am so busy managing this world, I don't have time for my mantra and my japa. I am so busy managing". He said, "But Siva…" He lives underneath, we hear from Baahgavatam, a banyan tree, eight hundred miles width and it's very quiet. He is there without a stitch. Like Sukadev, we're told, "What was Sukadev wearing according to the Bhagavatam?" What is that say? Digambara. This is the beauty of written by Vedavyas, where he saying, "He was wearing the ten directions." That's how is says. It doesn't say he was naked. It says digambara. "He was dressed in all directions."  That's is the more beautiful way of saying that.
    So, similarly Siva's in that position, so, from Brahma-loka, Viroja, to Siva-loka, but it still below Vaikuntha-loka, so tyag-siv. And then when Siva is praised, as we're told there Narada is praising him how great he is, and he says, "No, sometimes I have to act against the Lord, I am giving this assignments, like, as Sankara, preaching mayavad, deluding jivas". It's also mentioned by Guru Maharaj that Sambu-siva, he is the sum total of all jivas. We here in Bramha-samhita, Visnu can not have any direct contact with maya, so, he decides in his, yoga-nidra means half-a-sleep, his glance, just his peripheral vision, glances towards maya and the glance personifies as Sambu. And within him is all jiva souls. And then Sambu impregnates all the jives into the womb of Prakriti, who supplies all their different forms. So, anyway that position.
    But then above that what about Bhakta-Siv? When the Srila Gurudev made the sada-siva, the Siva temple, he was very careful to give this name ‘Gangadhar Sadasiva'. Gangadhar – reminding of the foot water of Visnu he is taking on his head as worshipable. And Sadasiva – meaning Bhakta-Siv of the Vakuntha world. And higher we know in terms of, Guru Maharaj would tell us, "Gods, they have some play in Vrindavan to keep things interesting". Brahma, Siva. But when Siva wants really to participate in those pastimes then we have Gopeshvara. But only Siva has these three positions of  Bhog-Śiv, Tyāg-Śiv, Bhakta-Śiv.  And sometimes we're told also Advaita Acharya sometimes describes as Maha-Visnu, sometimes as Siva. And if we understand the intimatie relationship between Maha-Visnu and Siva – that make sense.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Oh, very interesting point of view.
    Goswami Maharaj: Oh, and just to finish. Siva, he deflected the praise of Narada and told, he said, "I am so shameless, I wanted to be greater then my Lord". But Sanatan Goswami explained what does that mean? Who is greater then Krishna? The devotees. So, he's saying, he want to be a devotee. But he made it sound like he was asking for something undesirable. But that Siva, He says, "I rather appreciate Prahlad". And that's way Prahlad occupies that position, specifically in the seventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam the beginning of suddha-bhakti. When he says nasabritya sabhai banik, when Narsingha dev was offering him, "Whatever boon you like Prahlad, you take". And he's hurt, "You think I worshiped you to take a boon from you?",  like a businessman some business-exchange? That's why it's the beginning of suddha-bhakti. No anticipation of reword, remuneration, that kind of thing. Srimad Bhagavatam again, amala Purana, there's nothing in this Purana that has any connection with a modes of nature.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Back to origin topic. This discussion, there's ways of the different stiles of art to represent certain concepts and previous ages, and vedic sages were speaking, then they start writing, then would see images and pictures are appear on sculptures and frescos. And seems like now is the age of multimedia and moving pictures, animation, animated comics, advertising. So, considering all these new ways to represent different concepts to people and people's ability to connect and reciprocate with that, so how would be modern way of represent these concepts be appropriate?
    Goswami Maharaj: I am reminded of when some devotees they want to make some deities – Krishna, Balaram and Subal, and Sridham -  so they're asking Srila Guru Maharaj, "How should we show, of Krishna and Balaram we have some idea, famous temple, but how should we show Subal and Sridham?" And Guru Maharaj said, "They should be shown ready to fulfill the inner desire of Krishna". And they looked at themselves, "All right. But how should we, what should they posture be?" He said, "They should be shown ready to fulfill the inner desire of Krishna". And then finally when they pressed about, "But how, what would be their posture?" "That an artist can decide". So, when we see pictures or images of divine forms we're warned against thinking that they're accurate representations of divine form. What we're getting, it's an artist imagination. What is that artist devotional qualification? Is unknown.
    For example, Saraswati Thakur when it came to chanting Krishna-nam, he did not advise one look at picture of Krishna and chant Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Many devotees think they should do that. They think, "Oh, that will be good. I am taking Krishna-nam and looking at picture of Krishna or Radha and Krishna.  That will be helpful, that will remind me of the divine form of Krishna". He told the opposite of that. He said, "The senses are like vultures and we are subjective agents, this is the objective world", he said, "They are going to turn the image of Krishna into vulture food, what they want, what is their idea. They are looking for some objective representation of subjective reality. And it's the opposite of that". That's why we'll notice, when we observe Deities, we go to India, and they'll say, "This is the self-manifested Deity". Say we look at Radha-Raman. We'll say, anatomically Radha-Raman is an exaggeration, very thin with very broad shoulders, but everyone will say, "Such a beautiful Deity, small and very powerful". But not anatomically correct to the extreme. The hands, the form.
    As we told the other day we don't portray Gods with muscles. Human being have muscles, which are result of flesh and bones. Gods do not have muscles. They don't need them; it's not a product of subtle forms, muscularity. That's a flashy consideration. So, when it comes how these forms appear, manifest, it's according to Divine will even from an artistic point of view.
    We saw, we visited the Vatican and there they have the Pieta of Michelangelo: Mary after Christ has been taking down from the cross, she is holding Christ on her lap.  So, people, it's consider to a masterwork, masterpiece, but in analysis from an analytical point of view they've measured Mary is much larger then Jesus. If you get out the tape measure and measure her like very much larger then him. Which is from an objective point of view not true, but when this is put together it's conveying some sort of subjective reality that everyone finds overwhelming. And the objective flaws, if you want to called them, are not a factor to the subjective aspect coming through.
    So, when we deal with any particular an art form, we have to be very careful about that because people will think, as they asked Srila Prabhupad, when he had an art-department, they would say, "Srila Prabhupad, does Krishna is really looks like this?" And once he said, "Not exactly, but you'll recognize Him when you see Him". Seeing that people had no idea what is the form of Krishna and all of these things, he started an art-department to do artistic representations of that. We just have to remember that's what it is. It's an artist conception.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Well, I found in your explanation very deep meaning, but from an other point it looks a little bite like contradiction of what most people believe about, divinity. Because they believe that through art you can achieve some kind of divine form and some people say, specifically in vedic culture that divine form can be achieved trough particular sound vibration. So, can you really explain how Divinity descends and how it takes different shapes and forms?
    Goswami Maharaj: Yes. So, Guru Maharaj gives us a principal, a Hegelian principal: "Reality exists for itself and by itself". And this is congruous with what expressed in Upanishad, where it says, tasaeisya atma tenu labyas tanum svam. He will reveal Himself according to His own necessity. And that's the point I was making why the Deity of Radha-Raman, if we say, "Well, if this is a self-manifesting Deity, but it's not from external point of view a 100% anatomically correct, how is that possible?" Then it means, it indicates the sweet will of Krishna. He decided to appear that way, in that particular form as we see in the Jagannath Deity.
    Someone made up murti of Guru Maharaj after his disappearance and the devotees were not happy with an artist representation. And they looked at Srila Gurudev for some adjustment and Gurudev with his profound humor as a means of pointing to an anthological truth, he said, "If Jagannath is Krishna then this deity is Guru Maharaj". [laughing] But my point is when you're dealing with subjective expression in an objective world, we will say as a general rule it has to be descending from up to down not the inverse that we're trying to go from down to up. We're trying to reconfigure the matter or media in a particular way to generate the spiritual substance. That's the opposite. And that will generally come under the heading about what we call pracrita-sahajiaism or imitatioism. Thinking we can reconfigure matter to generate something spiritual, the inverse of what we strive for is descending that some divine inspiration will come down and move, manipulate the media. This is Kaviraj Goswami saying, "I can't see and I am arthritic". He is in his nineties. He's saying, "But some divine power has come down and it's moving my hand and miraculously I am writing this Chaitanya Charitamritam". So, this is at the basis of anything that's pure and substantial that something higher is descending.
    Avadhut Maharaj: What I can say it's possible, very much possible that the same conversation is going on right now between some art groups, where they say that true art which is descending and they're…
    Goswami Maharaj: Right. The artist is an instrument for an expression.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Right. And most of the Pablo art which people are taking wrongly it's an imitation, a god imitation or a bad imitation of a true descending process. So, we can say in art-world always has a fight, internal fight which is going on, the guys would come up with an original stuff and people, who's trying to…
    Goswami Maharaj: And there was a movement called ‘Art for art sake'. And whatever it was, nineteen century or wherever and as we mentioned ‘The picture of Dorian Grey', the introduction, Oscar Wild makes many observations about art. And he concludes with the statement, "All art is quite useless". And naturally being a wit, isome people they thought, they took it as he was saying it's of no value. That's not what he was saying. When he said, "It's quite useless", it was a clever way of saying, it exists for itself and by itself, if it exists to fulfill some purpose then that something less then art. And that's why Guru Maharaj invokes Hegel, if reality exists to fulfill purpose of another then it's not ‘for itself and by itself'. So, we're back to this means of revelation of divine expression of Krishna, nimita matra bhava sabhya sacen. "Arjuna you can be an instrument for the expression of Mine divine will". It's whether you are Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra or you are an artist in front of a canvas or a devotee giving a lecture, the aspiring servitor is offering himself as an instrument to be used for divine expression.  
    Avadhut Maharaj: But some people may say, acting on a particular frame of religion or on a particular frame of philosophical school, it's not entirely the same as to be a pure artist, where you have no bridges, no limit, you just surrender yourself to some kind of divine flow. And that will let you represent itself. So, how would you apply that? Goswami Mahraj: Well, ultimately we have to examine, we can say anything.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Oh, I mean, some, many people would say, "Art is a slave of religion." Now, when art is separate from religion, they can be more true sincere and honest then being.
    Goswami Maharaj: And produce lower quality art. You know to this day they can produce something that matches one of these masters under the jinfluence of the theism, that's another subject. But what I am saying, we can say anything, but whether it's true or not it's another thing. But wait. So, what is that? Instead of dealing in nebulous terms about being moved by this spirit and expressing something. Why is one artwork selling for a hundred million euros and the other one for a hundred dollars, a hundred. Those who are subjective experts, they are determining value. And they have some criteria for doing that. So, in a similar way we have to have some idea about what is that reality, what is the nature of that reality, who is going to express himself through a particular agent. Is the ultimate reality something impersonal abstract? Is it personal? Is it multi-dimensional? Can it be impersonal, localized and super personal? All these things will have to be considered. Otherwise if we just say, "Well, some divine, abstract is moving me to express these things". How can that be verified?
    Avadhut Maharaj: Well, my question is very similar to almost vedic approach as a spontaneous divine revelation is artistic approach as through pure art as spontaneous divine revelation. So…
    Goswami Maharaj: And revealing what? That's the point. It all sounds good then what is revealed, what is the substance of what is revealed?
    Avadhut Maharaj: Well, in both ways we can say…
    Goswami Maharaj: That's why in vedic culture, visual arts are in a lower section of society done by artists and craftsmen. The higher section of society, Brahmans, who are dealing with sabda-bramha, spiritual sound, they are not visual, they don't do visual representations. The artist, the actor – all of these positions in vedic culture are in the lower section of society
    Avadhut Maharaj: Why?
    Goswami Maharaj: Well, I think it's very obvious. Because it's external for the most part.
    Avadhut Maharaj: So that means being able to appreciate art internally you have to achieve certain qualities and qualifications, what would that be?
    Goswami Maharaj: To appreciate art?
    Avadhut Maharaj: To appreciate divinity, art. I mean, we can also say that writes, poets, art-lovers, they don't' have, even the great artis,t it doesn't always mean that they are a great painter, great paintings, they have just external feelings, internal (?) experience.
    Goswami Maharaj: Again, we'll have to understand something about the nature of reality, is reality personal or impersonal? Or is it both? We have to understand these things. Otherwise you have nothing to measure these things. If you don't understand the nature of the absolute then the idea that all things are relative, there's no way of measuring what is superior, inferior, progressive, regressive. So, you have to come to the point of becoming acquainted with the Absolute. That's way the Bhagavatam begins with this concept saying: "Yes, there is only one thing…" There is actually only one thing, just like Einstein thought, he told his mistress said, "You have to keep a note book for all your different ideas" and he told, "I don't need a notebook, I have only one idea and I keep thinking about this one idea over and over, looking for this one thing". Just like do Upanishad say, "Try to know that one thing upon knowing which everything is known". That what he was trying to do and that's what men of his ilk is trying to do. They are trying to know that one thing upon knowing which everything can be known. So, in that sense it's actually a theistic pursued by Upanishadic standards.
    And the Bhagavatam begins by saying, "Yes". Adavaya jnana. "There is only one thing to be known". But that one substance can be understood in three aspects: Brahmin, there has a smilingly impersonal, abstract side to it; and it's all accommodating and Paramatma, it has a localized, all permeating aspects, it's smaller then the smallest within everything, but it's ultimate expression is Bhagavan, personality and not just a male personality, but predominating moiety – the Supreme male, predominated moiety – the Supreme Female. And they have loving exchange. This is inconceivable by the most advanced brains of our time. At best they can conceive of God, it's like, "Well everything there is." If they are pushed, they'll come up with something like that, basically something that abstract or tending towards impersonalism. But the idea that God can be a person is beyond their mental, intellectual capacity. And that's dealt within the same beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam, muhyanty yatsurayaha (?). It saying, not only are the finest human minds unable to digest this, the Gods are bewildered. Bramha, who we spoke of before, bewildered, Siva bewildered. When we sing that arati-song that has a line siambhu agochar, the Saraswat arati, when I walked around the tank in Kolkata, the pond in front of the Math, you may know that man, he lived in this one house and he is always inviting devotees over, and he is always invited me to come, but I never went. But one night he stopped coming and we met each other on the footpath and I said, "Oh, why are you not coming". "I heard your arati song". I am saying, "Yes". "It says siambhu agochar", it was saying, even Sambu, Siva can not conceive this, it's beyond, he said, "I can not accept that". [laughing]
    Avadhut Maharaj: I want to ask you one interesting question, which I heard from Srila Gurudev…
    Goswami Maharaj: So, just kept that. Guru Maharaj's saying jivadyair abhiraksitam suka-siva-brahmadi-samanitam. Brahma, Siva, Suka, Uddhava, they are inspiring for drop of this.
    Avadhut Maharaj: And?
    Goswami Maharaj: What were you going to say?
    Avadhut Maharaj: I'd like to hear your, I was very touched by idea that God has His own civilization in this way, because we always talk about human civilization, Roman civilization, modern civilization, I've heard that terminology about God civilization.
    Goswami Maharaj: Oh, Guru Maharaj was talking about Mahaprabhu's civilization.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Right. I'd like to hear your presentation of this, like revelation of this term.
    Goswami Maharaj: Well, Kaviraj Goswami says,
    krisnera jetega kelo sarvatam nara lila
    nara  bhavu taha rasu svarup gopa ves venu kar nava kisor nata bhar
    Nara-lila, human like pastimes, Nara-lila. Nara-lila anu-svarup. These are just perfect for what he wants to do. And because aprakrita-lila means, it looks like it's mundane, but it's not. So, human beings apparently have limitations. Sometimes we'll hear things, they'll say, "A flick (?) can jump one thousand times his height." If a man could jump a thousand times his height, you'd fill a stadium of people, like, "Alright, he is going to do it", it would be on the Internet. "He is now going to jump a thousand times his height." That means he's going to jump six thousand feet or two thousand meters. Or they say, "This type of limp (?), they can lift  thirty times their weight." If a human being could lift thirty times his weight, he would be forbidden to enter the Olympics. They would say, "No, this guy has some kind of super-human power, no one can compete with him".
    So, but human beings appear to have this limitations. So, that the unlimited likes to play in the limited position as something that's very interesting, arise the curiosity and it's very sweet. As we're told, when gopis in a neighborhood complain about Krishna stealing butter, but one thing would point out, this has a side bar, their complains can be song, their songs. Their songs that will be liberate you. When the gopis assembled at mother Yashoda's house and sing their complains, it's,
    vande nanda-vraja-strinam pada-renum abhiksnasah
    yasam hari-kathodgitam punati bhuvana-trayam
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.63)
    The whole world becomes purified by them complaining about Krishna. And what do they say? They are telling Yashoda how he sneaks in their houses and he's stealing yogurt. And Yashoda suggests to them, "Why won't you leave some yogurt out? You just leave some on the table and when he comes in, he can take that". And they say, "No, it's not that he wants the yogurt so much". "Then what is it?" "He likes stealing. Just if we put the yogurt out, not, he likes stealing it, your child". Like Makhanchor, He likes to steal. And so then we'll think, "So, you mean,"
    Bhoktaram yagya tapa sam
    aham hi bhokta  sarva-yajnana
    bhokta ca prabhur eva ca
    Who owns everything, it all, it make sense, who owns everything including us, what is he like to do? Steal. That's gives some joy to Him. Why? Because they're saying, "It's enhancing the pleasure on the certain level."
    In my childhood in Maryland, there were many farms. There were apple farms and they used to have these signs that would say like, "No trespassing," "Two hundred and fifty dollars fine" and "Trespassers could be shot." This is the south at the end of fifties, or early sixties. There are all kinds of rumors of the kids about someone would got shot, the farmer came out with the shot. We'd sit there looking at the signs, looking at the fence and figuring out how to do this. Then once we decided there's no turning back, then we climbed over the fence, run, pulled apples down and climbed back over the fence and then go to eat them. But now our hearts are pounding, we're laughing, we're ecstatic, because of all the risk that was involved in getting those apples. We had apples at home on the kitchen table in a bowl, but these apples that we got by climbing over the fence, risking being shot, throwing in jail, whatever it was, we thought, "Oh, these tastes sweeter that the once at home, they are not like these apples, right?" "Oh, yeah." How do you like them apples?"
    So, Krishna is a bhav consumer, heart eater. He likes the substance of the heart that's why. I read an interesting thing today, Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur, he is talking about separation from the gopis, but then he takes it to a very common thing about devotees. And he says, "Why when we are chanting the Holly name of Krishna, Krishna doesn't reveal Himself to us?" He said, "Because Krishna wants the quality of our Krishna-nam to improve". [laughing]
    Avadhut Maharaj: That was a very reasonable answer.
    Goswami Maharaj: Yes, he's like, "Good." But if I would reveal Myself to you with that type, that won't be good. Try. You could do more. I know your heart is capable of more, because the gopis, they're trying the figure it out. They said, "You know, there are some people in this world if you like them, they like you, you respect them – respect you. There's other people, who don't really respect anybody or like anyone exept themselves". And they describe different position, they think what kind of person are you. They are asking Him. Just if you can do that, you cannot do that in any other religion. You can't have that dialogue with God, ask him what kind of person he is. Only, that's why Chakravarti Thakur says, the braja padu ja kalpita aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena va kalpita (?).
    Guru Maharaj translates this very beautify, because kalpita can mean ‘imagine', ‘imagination', it can also, he translated it as ‘invention'. Said, there is no superior form, way of worship God then what was invented by the Vraja-gopis. It doesn't say their method, it says kalpita, what they've imagined. There's nothing superior to their imagination. Some people would say, "Art is all about imagination", then you can say that there's no superior art to imagination of Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-gopīs. God also has an imagination. And the infinite can express himself apparently trough finite. Anyway, they want to know, are you one of those people who doesn't care about, why are you treating us like this? And the same explanation comes to increase the love and affection in your heart, to take it to a higher, a deeper level, because He is bhava grahi janardana. That's the substance He is addicted to, he is addicted to devotion. Krishna is addicted to love and affection in a heart of his devotees, aham bhakta-paradhino hy asvatantra iva dvija (Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.63)). Ninth canto. Ambarish, First canto he said  svarat – He is independent. We were saying, "Oh, that means there's nothing you can do". But here He's saying, ‘in the presence of devotion it's as if I loose My independence'. That's how powerful sri krishna karsinicasa, devotion is. That Krishna becomes in this sense powerless in the presence of devotion. The Supreme Powerful becomes powerless or becomes the plaything of the devotee. So, the ladies of Vrindavan can say [clapping], "Gopal, dance. Come on, dance". And Krishna starts dancing for their amusement. Everyone else is dancing under the influence of Maya. And Krishna is dancing under the influence of the gopis.
    Avadhut Maharaj: So, I guess.
    Goswami Maharaj: So, you have, there's only two choices you have:  be under the influence of Maha-Maya or Yoga-Maya. You have to be under the influence of Maya, that's ineоscapable. So, we have two choices before us Maha-Maya or Yoga-Maya. And Maha-Maya – you forget who Krishna is. And Yoga-Maya – you forget who Krishna is. But if you're going to forget who Krishna is, better to do Yoga-Maya way. Jnana-sunya bhakti. Vaikuntha means without anxiety, that's the lower hemisphere of the spiritual world. Goloka filled with anxiety, full of anxiety. So, the sooner we learned that exept anxiety in seva then you can make a lot of progress in Krishna consciousness. But if we are looking for a position of no-anxiety, Vaikuṇṭha, you can go to Vaikuṇṭha. But Das Goswami says, "You'll be, you won't get Goloka, you'll be hurled down from, you want a peaceful life, free from anxiety that you can't live in Goloka-Vrindavan". Where the gopis are thinking about how soft Krishna's lotus feet are and then when they might step on a stone or a torn or something, that's intolerable to them. And the only way they can think is that like, they say, "Maybe in a madness of separation from us You don't feel the pain?" Could that be it?
    Avadhut Maharaj: Maharaj, what would you said, it's revealed in particular devotional literature and sages, and again to conclude our talk tonight, we were speaking about art, cinema, visual presentation, literature, way to present all of these things.
    Goswami Maharaj: Yes.
    Avadhut Maharaj: So, just conclude where art has its place in all of it.
    Goswami Maharaj: See, we know even by just a secular study of art the medium is almost irrelevant. What's important it's the artist concept. So, one artist is a master of drawing and anatomically perfect, another one is giving impressionistic representation, someone else is doing mixed media, someone else is doing. What's really behind it all? Concept. That the artist has a concept. And they're using the medium for expression.
    Same thing it's like Guru Maharaj's saying, "Substance and form." If the substance is there then it can use different forms for expression. But the all critical point is it that substance or is it counterfeit substance, is it imitation, is it not the real thing? So, that's the critical point. As I told by mentioning the Radha-Raman Deity, the expression can be very simple, yet very profound and very divine.
    We've been to Deva-poli, Nrsingha-poli, the deity there, whose we're told that after killing Hiranyakashipu and what is that place? Ahovalam, where Nrisinghadev washed his hands and it said that rocks is still red there. Then he is going back to His own abode. When he is going over Bengal, he's seeing, "Oh, this is where Gauranga Mahaprabhu". So, he is thinking and all the devas going with him and they think, "Let us to give our dandavats, there's Mayapur, Nabadvip, so wonderful". And one place they called, why they call it Deva-poli? It has different names. On hills, little mountains all the Gods assembled and with Nrisinghadev in a center. And Nrisinghadev worshiping Mahaparbhu and we know, we were talking about nitya-lila, the expansion and contraction of time and space, this is all in the eternal present.
    As Guru Maharaj says, "Evolution means gradual expression". The sun, it's already what it is in it's position, but we see it appear to rise and gradually come up in fully expressed itself. So, he is saying in a similar way, "Krishna has infinite pastimes, He is in a particular position, they're gradually expressing themselves in different ways." So, here Nrisinghadev with all those Gods assembled there. And that's why Bhaktivinod Thakur, when he is moved, relocated there and he is, what do we hear, at 3 am he's taking Krishna-nam sitting on the stone bench in his house, having divine visions. He is supreme artist having the visions of reality. And what it the Gaudia Math disciple of Sarasvati Thakur, who lived next door, he heard and he said, "It was, His Krishna-nam was as if he was crying out to their beloved in a distance". Feeling intense separation from them, pitifully crying out their name, he heard the Krishna-nam of Bhaktivinod Thakur.
    And that Bhaktivinod Thakur, what we hear, while in that divine state they're interpreting everything in connection of divinity, they can trace everything back to the central conception of Absolute. That is science, auspicious science, in auspicious science that we sometimes apply in journeys wherever, we're told by the acharyas, Radharani, She is the source. But all of these signs She is looking are they favorable for the Krishna connection? That's how She is interpreting them.
    We like to quote Nietzsche saying, "There are no facts, there are just interpretations". That is what all art about – subjective interpretation expressed in the objective plane. Anyway, Bhaktivinod Thakur, what would we hear taking Krishna-nam as described, a breeze is coming by from this direction, from Deva-poli, at that time Deva-poli and going towards Mayapur everyday at like 4.30 am approximately. And then he comes to understand, Nrisinghadev is attending the arati, the Gaura-arati of Mahaprabhu in Mayapur, that's what Bhaktivinod Thakur's understanding is. That deity there, when we go on the Nabadvip-dham parikrama, one day we stop there and that time of the year is very, there's so many pilgrims. So, as the Indians do, they have family members, they've got and received everybody, so, at this one point there is like a child there. The adults maybe were resting or whatever and couldn't do crowd control. And I was there with the other members of our math. Somehow we got pressed into Deity room until we were at the feet of the Deity. I mean like this. And although I had the darshan of that Deity before and we're told that after Nrisinghadev left and the Devas left there was a kund there in a satya yuga. One Brahman bathing found this self-manifested Deity of Nrisinghadev and installed the worship. But in time it's so old that the face is removed, it's hard to see all the details, after all the abhishek's for millions of years that some of the external characteristics have worn away. But nothing, not the atomless (?) of the subjective.
    So, being pressed like this to the lotus feet of the deity I saw that he is sitting with one foot down and beneath his foot in the prayer position is this little Prahlad Maharaj. So, it's Narisingha and Prahlad. If you look, you will see Prahlad Maharaj is under His lotus foot in a pranam position, with like this. So, Krishna chose to appear that way and it may contradict what might be proceed as objectively pleasing or artistic. But it's sort of supreme artistry of divine expression.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Oh, that's why the highest art it was difficult to understand, because it's not on the rules of mundane proportion.
    Goswami Maharaj: Yes. Raga-marg, spontaneous expression.
    Avadhut Maharaj: Okay, that was very deep conversation about art. Tomorrow we will hear much more questions about that.
    Goswami Maharaj: [laughing] Hare Krishna. But I like seeing the children in an Indian dress up like Siva on Sivaratri, So, I saw some in Dun-Dum park once and they all have little din-din drums and tree-shoes (?) and they was dancing madly. Like, "I am destroying the universe". "No, I am". But the pure Bengali, it's just to show you what they're like, so, they also do Ratha-yatra like Prabhupad did, when he was a kid; so, you'll see they pull a little chariot of Jagannath to the Deities in Dum-Dum park – Guru Gauranga Radha Modan Mohanjiu – and they go around the Deity and then they go back, like the mothers in the back. And so, one little girl is pulling a cart and I am trying to encourage her, "Oh, jay Jagannath". And then she, "Wait, wait, wait" and stopped the cart and on the back she pull a little curtain, like pulled out some prasad, gave me some. [laughing] But to show the pure Bengaliis, the rikshawalla's children around the corner, they had Ratha-yatra carts, but then they did't have Jagannath on their card, yet Ma Kali. [laughing] So, what are their divine pastimes and way of seeing?
    And this I want to say this final thing about art, we were talking about it another time, there is something called kitsch, which you may now, maybe everyone doesn't. In it's most simple expression it means like poor taste. Like someone think something looks, another, "Oh, that's look so phony or…" Poor taste generally. But what I've seen in India it goes so far beyond kitsch and the people, when they are trying to offer something to their Deity, it might be plastic, a little ld-lights whatever it is, sometimes they do this in such a pure, simple-hearted, charming way, you can't help but worship that, that principal. They are beyond understanding these things are just cheap little pieces of plastic, it has some meaning to them and from their hearts they are trying to express something, some sentiments. And there's some value is there. It's naive, it's less then naïve, it's so simple, but it's not offensive or a kitsch in a sense of poor taste, it's almost like simple-hearted, pure simple-hearted expression, manifest just through very-very simple things. That's also possible. Just like the children with the cart, there is some beauty to that.
    Srila Prabhupad, he observed the Ratha-yatra as a child and he'd organized a little festival, have cart, someone banging a gong, someone doing, you know, Prabhupad is an organizer. So, even as a child he's got a group, "You'll be playing the gong, you'll be distributing prasadam, you pull the cart, you are the pujari". And when it's mentioned, I'll just conclude with this, when the praise of Uddhava is given in the Bhagavatam in the third canto saying, "What kind of child was he?" He's so in love with Krishna and always thinking and observing Krishna. When his mother would call him to eat, he wouldn't hear her, he wouldn't answer, because even in his childhood, his childhood play was centered on Krishna. So, what sort of divine imagination? That's what Chakravarti Thakur's saying and that's the point I want to conclude. He's saying, "The imagination of Krishna in the hearts of his real devotee that is supreme and nothing compare with that". And we can say, that's the highest form of artistic expression. What comes from the hearts, the Krishna conception that manifests from the hearts of devotees.
    So, just to conclude that near our Math in Vrindavan there are so many famous deities in Vrindavan – Radha Damodar, Modan Mahan, Govindaji, Radha Raman, so many, but there's Radha Syama Sundar and they put a banner at the some level of competitiveness, "Why you should go to their temple". They had a banner across the road and it said, "The only Deity to manifest from the heart of Srimati Radharani." [laughing]
     Avadhut Maharaj:  That's divine.
     Goswami Maharaj: That should at least get you in door to the darshan. [laughing]There's their Krishna. Radharani and Vraja-gopis, when they go to Kurukshetra, it's not their Krishna. They only want their Krishna. Syama Gopa Rupa. No flute? What kind of Krishna is this? An imposter. Krishna without the flute, is this a joke? I mean, it would be a joke, if it wasn't sad. No flute, no Yamuna, dressed like a king. It's crippling the sentiments of their hearts.
    Guru Maharaj said, when asked Radharani, she assembles with the gopis, they do a rasa-dance at the request of the queen and they all, "Oh, that was an extraordinary". Guru Maharaj said, "Radharahi said, "No, it's nothing, you should see the original'". [laughing]
     Avadhut Maharaj: It's real truth about art. I feel it's a real.
    Goswami Maharaj: Right. What was this? "Oh, we just threw something they gather for you all to see, but the original is something quite extraordinary." Hare Krsna.