A fool’s brain, said George Bernard Shaw, digests philosophy into folly! Prashant Bhushan’s buffoonery in calling Lord Krishna an “eve teaser” proves Bernard Shaw right. Forget knowledge of religion or philosophy (which he demonstrably lacks) this man seems to be unfamiliar with elementary English and the utter shamelessness with which he yet comments (on topics he does not know and in a language whose nuances he is yet to grasp) makes him the perfect illustration of the idiom – Fools rush where angels fear to tread! The “clarification” of his original tweet proves this point too. It is a different matter that the clarifications make things worse!
But it is not mere foolishness of Bhushan which troubles me. I feel he is suffering from a psychiatric disorder. He used the words “legendary eve teaser” for Lord Krishna. God is no fable or fiction to be described as “legendary”. Besides eve teasing is defined as the act of annoying a woman in a public place for example by making sexual comments. but Raas leela takes place in a metaphysical plane. Thus anyone who suggests that Lord Krishna “annoyed women through sexual comments” suffers from cognitive distortion – an irrational thought pattern which makes one perceive reality inaccurately. This is generally the result of depression and anxiety and the fact that Kashmir is still part of India may be the reason for the same for him.
I am sure Prashant Bhushan is not mad. However in the spectrum of human behaviour he does lean towards the abnormal. And while Bhushan must surely be having a brain, it is health of the mind which is the issue. I have been informed a criminal complaint has been filed against him. Criminal charges, however, may never stick – not because there was no crime but for want of intent, it being easy to show Bhushan is non compos mentis – without a sound mind!
Raas Leela is transcendental that is in the spiritual plane. It has no carnal aspect. It symbolises union of jeev (male AND female) in God. God in Hinduism is not a man but energy. And the physical reality (including gender) a mere illusion. Gender thus is irrelevant to Raas Leela (Gopis are but ALL devotees) and it signifies nothing except immersing of the soul– Atma- into the metaphysical reality – Brahman! Lord Krishna was not male lover like Romeo nor Gopis female like Juliet! No one can emulate the Raas, just imbibe the idea.
But Bhushan wants “Anti Krishna squads.” This means he wants to reinforce gender, emphasise physical attachments, accentuate carnal desires and move AWAY from the spiritual plane into the physical plane and indulge in orgies of free love (which I presume he understands only as sex.) This aspect of his depravity I was completely ignorant of! This is re-enforced by the lament expressed in a later tweet where he frets anti romeo squads “would criminalise teasing gopis!”- He, thus, WANTS to tease gopis!! And then see his desperation – so frantic is he that teasing should be allowed he invokes GOD to justify it and protests the organising of Romeo Brigades because hefeels that this would make Lord Krishna look like an eve teaser!!!
Indulge in your fantasies Mr Bhushan. Dont take to Twitter next time to make them public.
The utter implausibility of exclusion of women from temples can be illustrated through two examples – Gargi’s debate with Yajnavalkya & the story of Satyakama Jabala – each of which has immense signification in Hindu tradition which, paradoxically, is being used to justify the exclusion.The dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Gargi shows that the status of a Brahmin has nothing to do with gender and the story of Satykama Jabala shows that being a Brahmin has nothing also to do with family lineage. If being a priest or teacher has nothing to do with gender or status how can gender or status alone be made the reason for exclusion by any priest or teacher from the pursuit of devotion or knowledge?
Answering Gargi’s second question Yajnavalkya said, “If someone in this world makes offerings, performs sacrifices and practices austerities for many thousands of years without knowing the imperishable, Gargi, his work comes to an end. He who departs from this world without knowing the imperishable is miserable, Gargi. But if someone passes from this world , Gargi, knowing the imperishable he is a brahmin.” Thus the status of brahmin befits only those who have knowledge of the imperishable and gender is irrelevant – if a Gargi knows the imperishable she can also be a brahmin. And those who merely perform the traditional sacrifices and practices cannot only for that reason be brahmins nor consequently deny a Gargi the right which is her’s of a legitimate pursuit.
Similarly Satyakama’s story shows that any honest seeker of truth can be a Brahmin. Satyakama did not know his family lineage. His mother had told him she became pregnant when she was a servant and moved around alot. But she said, “My name is Jabala and yours is Satykama. You should merely say you are Satykama Jabala.” When Satyakama approached his teacher he said precisely that. And his teacher replied, “Bring firewood, my boy. I will initiate you. You have not abandoned the truth.” No honest seeker of truth can thus be kept out of any temple.
Apart from tradition the significance in Hindu philosophy of Kama (the experience generated through interaction with senses) which is celebrated as one of the four goals of life along with Dharma, Artha and Moksha is equally relevant to the issue of exclusion of women. According to Hinduism the mere danger that may come in the wake of the pursuit of sensory enjoyments cannot be the cause for giving them up altogether. Tempered with Dharma, Kama has to be kept in harmony with mind and soul and if this balance which is a necessary condition of legitimate human pursuit is not innate to the priests they stand disqualified for being unfaithful to the philosophy they claim to preach. God is nothing but unity in the apparent diversity, the unifying principle and ultimate cause and bringing in notions of gender in this spiritual quest entails attachment to the very things liberation from which is being pursued in one’s endeavour of self-realisation. Purity or impurity is only be in the mind.
And most importantly the symbolic significance of a liberated consciousness (which has nothing to do either with gender. position or status) apparent in the spire (shikhar) above the garbha-griha of a temple which itself manifests the incarnation of God as a universal essence ignores the physical aspect of a devotee looking instead to the metaphysical spirituality of the exercise of devotion. A seeker of enlightenment in Hinduism cannot ever be identified by gender or status.
Neither religion nor tradition justifies exclusion of women from temples.