Archive for December 30th, 2012

From: “Indrajit Deva” ig4457@sunpost….
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Donkey Food, Donkey Sadhana, Donkey Kiirtan
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 20:41:39 +0000



We should all pay heed to Baba’s following guideline.

“Priityanna: If a person wants to feed you out of genuine intimacy, you should take that food happily, even if it is just grains and vegetables. But if someone invites you only to make a show to people, never accept his/her food.

Ápadanna: When life is jeopardized because of the lack of food and water, you need not consider whether the food is prohibited on any grounds or comes from an unworthy person.

Shráddhánna: Shráddhánna (food offered at a memorial service) is neither priityanna nor ápadanna, hence it is not to be taken.” (Caryacarya -2, Society, pt #37)


Suppose you are invited to a grand feast at someone’s house. To celebrate, that host has the finest chefs prepare the tastiest delicacies and dainties for everyone to eat. Not because because that host wishes to serve the community with love and affection, but rather because he wants to make an ornate show of the affair and bring prestige unto himself. Proof being that if you cannot attend his feast, then he is not the least bit sorry or remorseful, because he will just get another person to replace you – someone else who will pay him honor and respect.

Under such conditions, when there is not the least bit of service mentality and the host is just giving a feast with huge pomp and show in order to heighten his own prestige and self-satisfaction, then attending the program and eating that food is completely inappropriate. Because, in that case, that food is nothing but donkey’s food, or gardabha’nna.

Baba says, “If food is not given with that heart-felt feeling and if one’s own life is not in danger due to starvation, in that condition then any food offered is donkey food, gardabha’nna. So one must not eat that food.” (Summary of Shabda Cayanika – 20, p.163-64 [Bangla])

Thus, under no circumstances – unless one is going to starve to death – should we eat food that is presented as a show of one’s wealth and greatness, because that food is nothing but donkey food, or gardabha’nna.

As we all know, in His practical life, on many occasions Baba refused such food whenever wealthy people or dignitaries invited Him to dine at their house just to impress Him. So we should follow Baba’s example and never eat food that is not offered with genuine warmth and kindness. If ever food is given to you with some ulterior motive – such as for prestige and grandeur, not because the host has heart-felt feeling for you – then that food is veritably donkey food.


One aspect to keep in mind is that gardabha’nna varies from person to person. For instance, if that same host as described above will feel hurt and upset if you do not attend and eat his food, then for you that food is not gardabha’nna; it is not donkey food.

Let’s examine this further. If that host invites 500 people and he has very intimate relations with 10 of those invited guests, then for those ten people it is ok to eat the food. Because the host has a genuine and earnest desire to serve and feed those 10 people with love and affection.

Yet for those other 490 people, the host’s feast is donkey food as for them the host’s only desire is to put on a big show. The host does not care if those 490 people come or not. If any of them are sick or unable to attend, that host will not be disappointed or upset or wounded; he will simply replace their spot with someone else.

That is how the same feast can be sentient for one person yet gardabha’nna for ohers. It has to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

This type of scenario applies to all kinds of social functions like marriages, house entrance ceremonies, baby-naming gatherings and other social functions. In all such circumstances, the operative point is the host’s individual feeling towards you. If with genuine heart-felt feeling he wants to serve and feed you, then it is fine to eat that food. But if he just wants to make a social display by feeding you then it is gardabha’nna.

Here is another situation related with individual life: It is also donkey food if a person has cooked food with the intention of eating it all. To eat even a small portion of that food is also gardabha’nna as the person who prepared the food has no desire to share any of it.


This type of ‘donkey’ syndrome – doing for show only and not out of one’s heart-felt feeling – is not limited to the realm of food only.

We have all seen various kiirtan players or bhajan singers who perform solely to display their own musical or lyrical talents, and not to serve and please Parama Purusa. This happens across all religions and faiths and occurs in our Ananda Marga as well.

Kiirtan is all about singing to please Parama Purusa – for His glory, not one’s own glory. And the essence of bhajans is to share one’s inner, heart feeling with the Lord, and not to procure attention for oneself.

Yet at retreats or dharmacakra, sometimes it can happen that a person might lead a kiirtan or bhajan in order to win over the admiration of others. If this is done consistently, again and again, such performers run the risk of being converted into microvita at the time of death.

That said, it is not just the musicians who are prone to such downfalls. Sometimes a kiirtan or bhajan participant may dance with such extroverted tendencies or sing with such ego that it is quite evident to all around that that person is doing just in hopes of drawing attention to themselves – so that others will think they are a great devotee.

All such displays devalue one’s approach fail to bring one close to Parama Purusa. That is why Baba calls these misguided attempts as: Gardabha kiirtan and gardabha bhajan, i.e. donkey kiirtan and donkey bhajan.


This can occur in the stratum of sadhana as well. Before giving an example, it has to be said that the sincerity and earnestness in spiritual practice is quite high in our Ananda Marga, so this letter by no means aims to cast doubt that abc or xyz persons are doing donkey practices. Most are fine and okay– this is just a general letter for everyone’s awareness and knowledge. After all, each and every person knows there own situation best.

Now let’s say someone rarely does sa’dhana’ in their own home etc, but then when they go to the jagrti or to a retreat, then suddenly they start sitting for long, long sadhana, as if that is their regular way each and every morning and evening. And not only that, but when they close their sadhana then the first thing they do is open their eyes and slyly scan the room to see if others are taking notice of how long they sat. And if still they do not feel that they got the attention they deserved, then during meal time they will casually say that, ‘It was very good to be able to sit for 3hr sadhana today etc’, and then quickly scan the eyes and faces of others to see if they were impressed or not.

From, all these instances, we can easily understand that that person is doing sadhana not to please Parama Purusa – not to serve Him – but rather to bring name, fame, and prestige unto themselves. They want people to think that they are a great sadhaka. That is why their sadhana is nothing but donkey sadhana.


Okay, let’s say someone you know does do donkey kiirtan, or donkey bhajan, or donkey sadhana on occasion. Then they must be extremely careful, lest they harm and degrade themselves.

Because what they are doing is just a superficial show. They are highlighting themselves: So they are focusing on their own unit existence, not Parama Purusa. In that case, the mind becomes smaller and more selfish. By that way, they hurl themselves onto the path of negative pratisaincara towards animal life. That is the very real and scary danger.

Even then that is not all. For such persons, their kiirtan and sadhana is just hypocrisy, nothing more. They feign devotion and instead harbour the desire to glorify their own petty existence. Such is the audacity of the human ego. Their hypocrisy is one sure sign of downfall and degradation. Such persons should beware. Theirs is a risky and dangerous path.

There remains a glimmer of hope, by Baba’s grace. No doubt donkey kiirtan, donkey bhajan, and donkey sadhana cause false vanity and an overblown ego etc, but with Baba being the Taraka Brahma, our Ananda Marga mantras are so strong that in a moment of quietness while repeating the mantra, even if one was initially motivated by selfish desires, one may develop sincere love for Parama Purusa. And that is the greatest achievement and blessing. But for this to occur, there must be sincerity and an earnest desire to change. Failing that, by their donkey sadhana they are doomed to degeneration.

So only if they change their ways they can be saved, by Baba’s grace. Otherwise such hypocritical displays of donkey sadhana is a definite recipe for disaster. Best is to ideate on Parama Purusa and not fall prey to such donkey kiirtan and sadhana, i.e. superficial show of sadhana.


Baba says, “Remember, everyone is entitled to sa’dhana’. For this, nothing neither pedigree, education, knowledge nor any asset, is necessary except only two things – implicit faith and sincerity. Arouse these two things through your will-power and victory is yours, it must come.” (Ananda Marga Ideology & Way of Life – 5)

in Him,


Baba warns us that one must not go into debt in order to arrange any kind of feast or feeding – not for any occasion.

Baba says, “Arranging the feast by taking a loan or incurring a debt is prohibited.” (Caryacarya – 1)


Here is more about what Baba has to say about donkey food.

(a) Donkey food (Gardabha’nna) is that food purchased with ill-begotten money or sinfully earned money.

(b) If someone feeds you with deep love, respect, and affection and that feeling is conveyed through their expression, talk and conduct, and by feeding you they feel blissful (“Toma’ke kha’iae a’nandit hobe”) and very content, and if you do not eat then they will feel pain, in this situation whatever food you eat in their house– even if it is just boiled grass– will be treated as priityanna (proper & sentient food). Any meal or food not prepared under such ideal conditions is donkey food.

(c) So if food is not given with that heart-felt feeling and if one’s own life is not in danger due to starvation, in that condition then any food offered is donkey food, Gardabha’nna. So one must not eat that food.

Note: In western society that food which is not fit for human consumption is typically labeled as ‘dog food’. And a similar idea Baba has conveyed above by the term donkey food – “Gardabha’nna”.

(Summary of Shabda Cayanika – 20, p.163-64 [Bangla])


Simplicity, sincerity, and honesty are some of the main pillars in the life of any sa’dhaka.

Baba says, “The most valuable treasures on the path of human progress are honesty, simplicity and spiritedness. In no stratum of life should you allow the standard of honesty to deteriorate…” (Ananda Vanii #54)

If one approaches their life duties like preparing food and doing sadhana with an earnest desire to serve Parama Purusa and His creation, then there is no question of any donkey food or donkey kiirtan. Then all one’s actions will be pure and sentient.

Here Baba wanrns about superficial displays in spiritual life.

Jap tap vedajiṋána vidhi bhakti japadhyán ihá haite mádhurya durlabh
Keval ye rágamárge bhaje Krśńa anuráge táhe Krśńa mádhurya sulabh.

“Those who repeat their ista mantra mechanically, or undergo severe penance, or endlessly study the scriptures, or express a show of devotion, or practise meditation in a ritualistic way, can never feel the charm, the joy, of spiritual realization. That sweet discovery is only possible for those who worship Lord Krśńa out of deep devotion to Him.” (Ananda Vacanamrtam – 5, Devotion – the Only Path)


“Diinera kut’iire tumi ese gele, tithi bhule path bhule keno ja’ni na’…” (2617)


Baba, I do not know the reason why You have graced me – but by losing the path and forgetting the date, You have come to the hut of this lowly person. How this happened I do not know, but in my heart I feel that it is completely Your unfathomable grace on me. Baba Your arrival is nothing but Your ahetuki karuna’– because I do not have the strength of sadhana, nor do I have the virtue of any good deeds. Even then You graced me by coming.

Baba, what I could never imagine, today You have made that into a practical reality in my life. O’ Bhaktavatsal Prabhu, You go on showering me with Your divine grace. You could not tolerate the tears of my longing.

So much time has passed doing Your dhyana; I was crying for You day and night. By calling You again and again my throat has become sore– my voice
has become hoarse. Baba, today You have done karuna’; You followed the wrong pathway and by that way You have made it to my home. Baba, You have come with Your overflowing fountain of divine effulgence.

Baba, it is Your causeless grace. After a long, long time You have come to me in a close and intimate way. So many ages have passed and I was calling You again and again, and now by Your causeless karuna’ You have come. Baba, You are bhaktavatsal [1]…


[1] Bhaktavatsal: The One who is the loving caretaker of the devotees. He who gives special favours to His bhaktas and lovingly watches over their every need. Always He is bestowing His divine grace on them.

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