Published on May 2nd, 2022 | by Harmonist staff12
Published on May 2nd, 2022 | by Harmonist staff12
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This one is great! The pujari missed that verse. Keep ringing that bell prabhuji, you just might get it one day.
That devotion-made-feeble-by-reverence is a real party-killer everytime.
I like the wit in your a cartoon..a pujari is allowed to serve the LORD in his form as the deity as with as much love he has in his heart &then some…
I guess it is a penchant among neophytes to ridicule those who appear more neophyte than themselves. But knowledge “made feeble” by such lack of compassion becomes less wise.
Pranams Srila das,
I wasn’t trying to say through this comic that I’m above vaidhi-sadhana or that I have some lofty realizations. It’s making fun of devotees blaming God for their own shortcomings and at the same time making the point that ultimately awe and reverence doesn’t satisfy Vraja-Krsna.
Knowledge made feeble by lack of experience is also less wise. Gurunistha prabhu would better serve the objectives of his sadhana by spending time on the Lord’s altar rather than doodling with pen and paper. The historical fact is that this Krsna in the form of His archa avatar will talk to you, see you eye to eye and face to face, He will steal for you, He will walk hundreds of kilometers for you, offer shraddha after your death….if you invest the time and effort. And it begins with awe and reverence, not with seeing the Deity dancing before your eyes. He is not a plaything.
Arcana is very much identified with vaidhi bhakti, despite the fact that raga marg devotees also participate in this important anga of bhakti. By contrast raga marg is more identified with sravana, kirtana, and smarana. In consideration of this I see no harm in employing arcana in the comic to illustrate the the theological point made. It is after all a central point of Gaudiya Vaisnavism: Puja (worship), in which the object of worship and the worshiper are experienced as different from one another needs to be bridged such that the two are united in love. That said, I do not believe the purport of the comic is that one should abandon arcana, but rather that one should offer one’s heart–one’s self—to the Diety. This, I believe, is in part what Ram Sharana is talking about.
Gurunishta himself spends plenty of time on the altar. As for spending one’s time doodling, I see his time spent in this media as more useful than not. There are many ways to make a point and many minds in the market place of ideas to capture. At the same time it is interesting and understandable that some have taken objection the comic, as it says different things to different devotees with different sensibilities concerning the culture of divine love.
Thank you for your thoughtful well-reasoned reply Maharaja. As you said, we should offer our very self to the Deity. But even if a neophyte is just waving a lamp in front of Him how is the Lord, “bored stiff”? He is waiting patiently for countless lifetimes of the jivas forgetfulness, waiting for the day for even an imperfect kanishta show of devotion. Even prema has to start somewhere. So I guess the “bored stiff” comment was what I found objectionable more than anything else.
Also, Gurunistha is clearly a gifted artist. Perhaps when he’s not on the altar he should consider artistic pursuits more meaningful and lasting than simple cartoons. If he were to apply himself to oil painting for example I’m sure he could produce remarkable results.
Comics have their place in our society in general and I think that they add a unique flavor to this web site. Gurunistha’s talents are perfectly suited to this type of outreach and, for the most part, his comics are very much appreciated. As Sridhara Maharaja said, ‘preaching means fighting with the environment’ – establishing one position over another. The comic in ‘question’ above is Gurunistha’s way of depicting the implications of the verse quoted underneath it. I didn’t find anything objectionable about it, but rather felt it was an intersting way to personalize (for us Gaudiyas) the message.
Fighting with the environment. I thought SSM said the opposite, he said we have to find the environment friendly. If you find the environment friendly, whom will you fight against?
Dear Ram Sharana,
I understand why you took exception to the way I was depicting the relationship between the devotee and the Deity.
The arca-vigraha is supposed to be a very merciful manifestation of the Lord but here he is, criticizing the sincere attempts of his devotee…
Comics are a tricky media in religious circles. Their power is based on irony and questioning of fundamental–often unexamined–beliefs and assumptions of a given society/community through humor. Some people have expressed their concern for the comics and see them as inappropriate and offensive, but I feel that they work as a magnificent spring board for re-examining our understanding of our tradition and our own assumptions. We have had some very productive discussions based on the comics here and most of the time they are based on the fact that they poke at things that we don’t allow ourselves to question or examine. So irritation arises and through a debate normally a higher consensus is being reached.
As for the idea of switching to oil paintings, there are so many more qualified devotee artists doing that seva already whereas devotee comic artists are few and far between. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura didn’t settle for only the conventional preaching strategies but did diaramas and all kinds of modern stuff. I feel like devotional comics are fully in line with the preaching mood of our Saraswata line.
I remember this cartoon. It’s funny, but a deity is bored stiff by the puja offered ritualistically by someone who does it because it’s their duty and because afterward, they go to Vaikuntha.
The moment a pujari feels and wonders like this one, they have God’s attention. 🙂