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Archive for May 29th, 2012

To: AM-GLOBAL
Subject: Sloppy Book: Misinformation of Tantra Piit’ha
Date: Tue 29 May 2012 22:29:36 +0500 (IST)
From: Raghuviira Deva

Baba

== SLOPPY BOOK: MISINFORMATION OF TANTRA PIIT’HA ==

Note: This below letter is in response to the way the term tantra piit’ha is explained in one book about Baba and Ananda Marga. It should also be kept in mind that the proper spelling is tantra piit’ha; although in the book it is misspelled as pitha. The reason I am not disclosing the name of the book or the name of the author now is so those few with a bias can also understand the subject clearly with a clean and balanced mind.

Namaskar,
In Ananda Marga, we all know that a tantra piit’ha is a place where great rishis and sadhakas sat for sadhana and achieved liberation, by the grace of Parama Purusa, Baba.

We also know that everything in AM is based on logic, reasoning, and rationality; we do not subscribe to those age-old religious dogmas of the past.

Naturally then, our definition of a tantra piit’ha is based on Baba’s clear-cut guideline. In Ananda Marga, tantra piit’has are those places where great sadhakas and sages sat for sadhana and attained realisation. Our viewpoint steers totally clear from the prevailing Hindu or religious dogma.

LOOK WHAT ONE PERSON WROTE

Unfortunately, in one person’s book about Baba, in the Notes section on page 381, the writer puts forth a dogmatic explanation of a tantra piit’ha.

The writer makes the claim that a tantra piit’ha is a place that has:
(a) 5 types of different trees (bel, silk cotton, banyan, neem and Indian Gooseberry); and,
(b) 5 types of skulls buried beneath each of these trees (tiger skull, male cat skull, monkey skull, king cobra skull, and human skull).

Unfortunately, in making such claims, this writer has fallen right into the pool of religious dogma while putting forth AM teachings. Yes, this is how avidya tantrikas – followers of black magic – make tantra piit’has; but, no, in Ananda Marga, as vidya tantrikas, this is not our way. We do not subscribe to such rituals and dogmas.

COULD NOT IGNORE

Here it should be understood that this entire matter could have been ignored if:
1. The writer had mentioned that this way of making a tantra piit’ha was a religious dogma, or done only by avidya tantrikas;
2. the writer was a non-margii, or not writing a book about Ananda Marga.

It was important to raise this matter because the writer is putting forth this faulty notion of a tantra piit’ha in the name of Baba and in the name of Ananda Marga. Readers picking up this book think they are getting authentic information based on Baba’s teachings, but nothing could be further from the truth. The writer is actually describing the exact opposite: An avidya tantra (I.e. black magic) tantra piit’ha.

A NEGATIVE RELIGIOUS DOGMA

By reading these above stipulations about the 5 trees and the 5 skulls, any rational Ananda Margii will easily recognise that the writer unfortunately swayed from the path and drifted into the arena of negative religious dogma.

Why? Because according to Baba, a tantra piit’ha is a place where high sadhakas attained liberation. Yet here the writer is defining a tantra piit’ha in a very ritualistic manner as if one can make a tantra piit’ha by planting trees and burying skulls.

So from start to finish the whole explanation is wrong in this book. Certainly, the author wanted to do a better job; but unfortunately he lacked the requisite understanding and skills. How else to account for the way it turned out.

Here following is a more detailed look at the faults.

INVITES ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS

The aforementioned dogmatic propositions by the writer invite all kinds of problems, misunderstandings, and confusions:

Firstly, his explanation gives the impression that if anyone wants to create a tantra piit’ha then all that is needed is to plant 5 trees and bury 5 skulls. As if that is “how to” make a tantra piit’ha. So this is totally dogmatic. That is not how to create an Ananda Marga tantra piit’ha. Dogmatic religious fanatics, or avdiya tantrikas, might define a tantra piit’ha in this way, but in Ananda Marga we know that a tantra piit’ha is first and foremost based on high sadhana, not dogmatic rituals.

Secondly, if any business person reads this ‘how to’ instruction, they will start killing animals, burying those skulls, and planting those trees in order to make tantra piit’has. Then they will try to sell it at an exorbitant price. Over time they will try to make big money from this. Such tantra piit’has will become commercial, i.e. big-ticket items. It will become yet another capitalist venture. While those entrepreneurs count their profits from selling dogma, innocent people will be misled into thinking that by having a tantra piit’has they will get moksa. So instead of filling their heart with devotion and pointing their mind toward God, the common people will be competing for the most expensive style of dogmatic tantra piit’has.

Thirdly, in his book, the writer describes a tantra piit’ha as being one particular model, i.e. 5 trees and 5 skulls etc. But according to AM, a tantra piit’ha is any place where one or more sadhaka(s) sat for sadhana and attained realisation. So a tantra piit’ha could be your own sadhana room, or one’s own jagrti. Because at the time of leaving the body, every Ananda Margii is going to get mukti or pure moksa, i.e. realise Parama Purusa and merge in Him.

Finally, this book is written in such a way as if every person should make their own tantra piit’ha by planting these types of trees and burying these types of skulls. The writer encourages the reader, as if by this way people will get a quick-fix solution for attaining moksa / mukti.

BOOK IS OFF THE MARK

Here everyone should understand that the entire publication contains countless errors on so many levels: In the preface; in part one, part two, part three; in the epilogue; in the glossary; and in the notes. The book is filled with factual mistakes and philosophical errors.

One should not read this book with the hope of learning AM philosophy or gaining a greater understanding of Ananda Marga. Rather the opposite will occur.

If one were to trust the explanation of a tantra piit’ha from this text, then it opens up the doorway to dogmatic tiirthas and other ritualistic worship. It does not lead the reader along the path of pure spirituality and Ananda Marga ideology. Rather one will get a very skewed and faulty understanding of Baba’s teachings.

And those unfamiliar with Baba & His divine teachings will think He is a proponent of religious dogma. That is another off-shoot of this book.

RESOLUTION

We should all put forth the call that this book, “[Shrii Shrii] Anandamurti: The Jamalpur Years”, be removed from the shelves immediately. It needs serious review and correction by dedicated sadhakas. Unfortunately, the author, Devashish (Donald Acosta), could not do the job properly due to his own limitations. It happens sometimes.

Namaskar,
Raghuviira Deva

Note 1: WHY I WROTE

I wrote this letter because a friend of mine, Ramesh, asked me how to get the skulls of those animals to make a tantra piitha. He was telling me that sadhana is difficult and he wanted some shortcut method to reach up to moksa. In his backyard he wanted to make this type of tantra piit’ha. He said he can easily import those trees but did not know where to get the skulls. And he learned all about this from Devashish’s book. Seeing the misunderstanding of my dear friend, I raise this matter for everyone’s awareness.

Note 2: ABOUT THESE FIVE TREES

In His discourses, Baba does in fact talk about the 5 aforementioned trees. But Baba does not say that they are for creating tantra piit’has. That is not at all the use of such trees. Only Baba tells how they help purify the air; they do NOT help in attaining mukti or moksa quickly.

Indeed, in the below cited discourse, Baba is giving an historical account of how the rishis of those olden days used to purify their local environment. Baba is not saying that all Ananda Margiis should follow this same approach. In this more modern era, margiis can use an electric air purifier; then there is no need to plant such trees. That said, if one lives in a tropical area, if they wish they can plant these trees to purify the air. But again, however beneficial they are, these trees are not tantra piit’has.

Baba says, “The air of the margosa tree destroys the harmful effects of bacteria. It can also fight against negative microvita. This is the reason why margosa is also recognized as one of the five sacred trees (paiṋcavati). In olden days, people liked to perform spiritual practices sitting in an environment free from the pernicious effects of disease and germs. That is why they would plant paiṋcavati – nimbá (margosa), bilva (wood apple), shalmali (silk cotton tree), bat (banyan indica) and ashvatha (Indian fig tree) – in and around the place of meditation or spiritual practice. Some people of course use ámlakii (wood sorrel) as a substitute plant. In paiṋcavati, mahánimba may be planted instead of ordinary margosa.” (Microvita in a Nutshell, Some Examples of Microvita in Daily Life – Excerpt B)

Finally, avidya tantrikas (black magicians) took the idea of these 5 trees and then brought in their own point of using the skulls of 5 animals and by this way they made their fake tantra piit’has. So their approach is 100% dogma. Such trees have nothing to do with attaining spiritual realisation; they simply purify the air – just like any store-bought air purifier.

Some may think that by fighting against negative microvita then these tress will deliver one to the doorstep of moksa. But it is not like that. One also fights negative microvita by cleaning their toilet, and that does not bring salvation. So no one should think that such trees contain great spiritual power etc. That would just be a misunderstanding.

In conclusion, Baba guides us very clearly that these trees and these skulls have nothing to do with making tantra piit’has. Rather, a tantra piit’ha is a place where blessed sadhakas attained divine realisation. That is our one and only way of defining a tantra piit’ha in Ananda Marga.

Note 3: HOW THIS BOOK WAS MADE

Some may be under the impression that everything written in brother Devashish’s book, “[Shrii Shrii] Anandamurti: The Jamalpur Years” is a bona fide and confirmed source of knowledge on AM ideology. By gaining a better understanding of how Devashish wrote the book, then it will become clear why most of the book strays far from the path of AM.

Firstly, the point about the tantra pitha is discussed on page 381, which is in the “Notes” section, i.e. pages 377-408. In the beginning of this section Devashish writes: “Unless otherwise indicated, the sources for the material in each chapter belong to the Ananda Marga Archives in Kolkata, India, with a branch office in Warren, Vermont.”

As there is no specific reference regarding the points about the tantra pitha, then we are simply left with the very hazy and vague notion that somewhere in the Ananda Marga archive this has been discussed. But that is not at all the way to write a book and cite “knowledge”.

It would be similar if someone wrote a book and stated that all the information in their book was taken from the US Library of Congress. No respectable or credible author or publisher would ever make such a claim. That type of book would be cleared from the shelf of every upstanding bookstore and library. The US Library of Congress contains 32 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages and more than 61 million manuscripts etc. One cannot just make a generalized, blanket statement that the information in their book can be found in the Library of Congress. Rather they must cite the exact source: Title, author, page # etc.

Likewise, when writing a book about Baba and Ananda Marga, one cannot merely state the the information comes from the Ananda Marga archive. They must cite the source: name, book, tape #, date, place, year, discourse name, etc. None of this was given with respect to Devashish’s lengthy and faulty explanation of a tantra piit’ha. Just we are to understand that this came from the archive. This is the faulty idea he is imposing on the reader. No credible writer ever does this type of sloppy job.

Here is more about how Devashish created his book.

Devashish’s entire book is based primarily on “recorded interviews”. In the archive there are interviews or reminiscences of upwards of 10,000 margiis – most of which were recorded in Hindi and Bangla. So brother Devashish could not understand these interviews as he does not know Hindi and the Bengali was often in the local vernacular with lots of background noise. Because he himself did not have the ability to listen to the recordings, a third-party team hastily transcribed some or more of these interviews using short-hand and notations. In turn, they gave these notes and half-baked transcriptions to Devashish and from this faulty base he haphazardly wrote his book. None of his book is based on any original or authentic source or first-hand depiction thereof. Rather this information was handed down in a loose and sloppy fashion. That is why this book is filled with countless errors on each and every page. Literally, every page of the book is littered with some kind of dogma or mistake.

That explains why Devashish presents a half-drunken depiction of a tantra piit’ha in the notes section of his book. He blatantly confuses avidya tantra (black magic) with vidya tantra (dharma) and leads the reader far from the truth in his misrepresentation of Baba and AM ideals.

That is the tragedy and inherent flaw of this book. Really it needs to be set aside and redone properly.

Some emotional margiis may not like hearing all this but history will prove that his book is very sloppy. I am writing this so a new, enthusiastic writer should come forward and do a better job.

Note 4: ABOUT THE NA’THA TRADITION

Here is yet another flaw from the same section of the book.

The writer, Devashish, makes the claim that that, “The Nath tradition is Tantric in origin.” (p. 381)

Baba guides us however that the Nath cult is Buddhist in origin.

Baba says, “A new religious movement called the Na’tha Cult emerged during the transition from the Buddhist era to the Puranic era.” (Ananda Vacanamrtam – 11, “The Psychology Behind the Origin of Tantric Gods and Goddesses”)

Clearly then the Nath tradition stems from Buddhism, not tantra. Another clear demonstration of this is the the Nath cult engages in ear piercing just as the Buddhists do. Later on, Baba tells us that the Nath cult blends into Shaevism.

But again the flaw stands that Devashish proclaimed that the Nath cult was originally from tantra, when in fact Baba has given the mandate that it stemmed from Buddhism.

PRABHAT SAMGIITA

“Toma’ke buddhibale bolo ke va’ pa’re, Buddhi toma’r krpa’y sabe labe…” (P.S. 1028)

Purport:

Baba, no one can get You by the strength of their intellect. In the past, I wasted so much time depending on my little brain. I was foolishly thinking that with my intellect I will get everything. Though I tried hard, I failed desperately. At every step, I came to understand my ignorance and stupidity. That You cannot be found within the periphery of intellect.

Baba, in the past I adopted the path of hypocrisy and tried to hide my weakness through my tall talks. In that way, I plowed the way for my degeneration.

Baba, by Your grace, today samvit (spiritual awakening) has come. This much You graciously made me understand – that without Your causeless grace nothing can happen. And with Your causeless grace, even the impossible becomes possible.

Baba, I am humbly surrendering my everything at Your lotus feet…

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