Statement by Pinjra Tod on November 19, 2016
A fiery anonymous open letter by a women resident of Jamia Millia Islamia to the VC on the arbitrary cancellation of late nights in August last year, marks the inception of Pinjra Tod as a movement. It has been an incredible year of reaching out to each other, connecting, discussing and collectivising in Jamia. Overcoming our anxieties of a repressive state machinery intent on criminalising minority voices and institutions, conquering our fear of an administration that has repeatedly targeted students (especially women) for raising their voices, we came together in Jamia last Thursday (17th Nov), drawing confidence from our collective strength, to hold our first ‘public’ event: an exhibition celebrating the struggle of women for education, and a session of poetry, songs and sharing of experiences.
Women students reiterated that the UGC circular issued on 2nd May’16 is being shamelessly flouted by…
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“Krishna sometimes played with His intimate friends by engaging in fighting or wrestling with their arms, sometimes by playing ball, sometimes by playing chess, sometimes by carrying one another on the shoulders, and sometimes by exhibiting their expertness at whirling logs.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 42)
Be good. Don’t sin. Don’t steal. Don’t go after your neighbor’s wife. Be a “God-fearing” person. Following the generally accepted principles of piety gets you to heaven. This is the standard promise found in practically every religious tradition. One group has a certain language, another group wears a certain outfit, and another prays a certain number of times a day. Despite the variation, they each have their belief in the Divine, something bigger than this world.
But who is God really? What is going on in the heavenly realm? It is supposed that He lives there…
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“The Supreme Lord, who is difficult to know by even the Vedas, can become known easily when there is sincere desire for Rama, just as water and food come easily for those living in this world.” (Dohavali, 80)
nigama agama sāheba sugama rāma sām̐cilī cāha |
ambu asana avaloki’ata sulabha sabai jaga mām̐ha ||80||
Is water easy to get? What about food? In the present age of Kali, which features quarrel, hypocrisy and an overall inversion of right and wrong, simple things like food and water appear difficult to procure. There is mass starvation in one land, while another produces enough to feed the entire world. In one land there is drought and in another it rains so much that people can’t leave the house.
Still, in the general case it’s not that difficult to find water. One has to go looking for…
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“When plant life is green, there is grazing. When it becomes old, it turns into fuel for fire. When it grows and bears fruits, people grab at it with an open hand. Tulsi says that all are friends only when a personal interest is met, but Shri Rama meets the supreme interest.” (Dohavali, 52)
hare carahiṃ tāpahiṃ bare phareṃ pasārahiṃ hātha |
tulasī svāratha mīta saba paramāratha raghunātha ||
At first glance bhakti-yoga looks like any other religion. It has its object of worship, namely the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It has its rules and regulations. It has its book of choice. There is also the desperate call to action:
“Be devoted to God in thought, word and deed; lest your precious human life go to waste.”
Despite these similarities, bhakti-yoga is unique in so many areas, especially in philosophy. Here Goswami Tulsidas…
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“Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti describes the burden of love very practically. He says that the burden of the husband on the young wife, the burden of the child on the lap of the mother, and the burden of wealth on the businessman, although actually burdens from the viewpoint of heaviness, are sources of pleasure, and in the absence of such burdensome objects, one may feel the burden of separation, which is heavier to bear than the actual burden of love.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.3.14 Purport)
“My child is so innocent. Never before has there been any human being so beautiful. I don’t know what good work I’ve done to deserve Him in my life. He is my everything. Every day I wake up, I am so excited at the prospect of seeing Him. When He leaves for the day, I can’t wait until He comes back. At the same time…
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“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
As we are accustomed to establishing differences from one individual to another, it is not surprising that in spiritual life the same tendency exists. The fundamental truth of that spiritual life is the equality shared by all beings. Not only are all humans the same constitutionally, but so are all creatures. The ant, the elephant, the dog, the cow, the tiger, the mouse – all are spirit soul at the core. As souls are equal, anyone who surrenders fully to the Supreme Lord…
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“A pure devotee does not accept any kind of liberation – salokya, sarshti, samipya, sarupya or ekatva – even though they are offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.29.13)
Friend1: Today’s discussion will be on a particular verse of the Bhagavad-gita.
Friend2: It’s going to be a discussion or a lecture?
Friend1: A discussion since I have a few questions. I’m including the purport given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is book.
Friend1: So here is my question.
Friend2: First quote the verse at least.
“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.12)
Friend2: Man, that is pretty profound. Give a quick review of…
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“The child cries to have the moon from the mother, and the mother gives the child a mirror to satisfy the crying and disturbing child with the reflection of the moon. Similarly, the crying child of the Lord is given over to the reflection, the material world, to lord it over as karmi and to give this up in frustration to become one with the Lord. Both these stages are dreaming illusions only. There is no necessity of tracing out the history of when the living entity desired this. But the fact is that as soon as he desired it, he was put under the control of atma-maya by the direction of the Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.1 Purport)
Friend1: Do you ever get into debates over the origin of the jiva?
Friend2: What is the jiva?
Friend1: Very funny. It’s…
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“Dharma is sometimes translated as ‘religion,’ but that is not exactly the meaning. Dharma actually means ‘that which one cannot give up,’ ‘that which is inseparable from oneself.’ The warmth of fire is inseparable from fire; therefore warmth is called the dharma, or nature, of fire. Similarly, sad-dharma means ‘eternal occupation.’ That eternal occupation is engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.11 Purport)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that devotional service is unchecked. This is not just his opinion; the great saint has it on the authority that is disciplic succession. A person may choose to rely only on observation and experiment, but there is the limitation of the senses to consider. Man commits mistakes, also. Therefore just because someone observed something one hundred years ago, it doesn’t mean that the finding is…
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