1 October 2003
Yesterday evening I gave a lecture at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi. It was well-attended; the lecture hall was almost completely full of guests who paid close attention to my talk and had nice questions at the end. One young man in the back asked several questions about the Mahabharata, which he had been reading. There was a woman who 10 years ago had attended a Hare Krsna program at the University of Lapland, with Smita Krsna Maharaja. She hadn't seen devotees again for all that time but her interest was still very strong. This time she bought japa-mala so that she could begin chanting. She had that "devotee" look; if you met her somewhere, just by looking at her you would think she must be a devotee. There was a group of young men who sat up front, all dressed in black. They were musicians who were very interested in spiritual concepts. They came to talk with me after the program, as did the Mahabharata reader.
It turned out that the boys in black were friends of the young man at whose apartment we were staying. His name is Alex. He is a DJ. Nowadays at dance parties the guy who plays and mixes the music is called a DJ, which is for me quite funny as this is really old American slang that goes back at least to the 1950s. DJ is short for disc jockey. In the USA, rock'n'roll music burst onto the scene in 1953 thanks to Alan Freed, who was a disc jockey at a big radio station who played this new style of music exclusively.
Anyway, our friend Alex is a modern DJ. At home he keeps a large collection of LPs, twin turntables and a mixer ready to go to parties. But since coming to Krsna consciousness 2 years ago, he does not DJ for people who drink or do other sinful nonsense. I asked him what his DJ name was, since I know these guys have funny titles like DJ Shadow, DJ Mojo, DJ Stupido. Alex said he recently was using DJ Bhakta but he was not convinced of it, he went by that name because he couldn't think of another. So I told him to go by DJ Avatar. He liked that a lot. For the time we were in Rovaniemi I always called him DJ Avatar.
This morning Tattvavada, Muniraja, Bhakta Jani and I drove back to Oulu. I had a lecture here at that same college at which I gave the TOK lecture a few days ago. Today's lecture was on history. You may recall, it was supposed to have been last week but got moved to this week, Wednesday at 12:30 PM. This was a video conference lecture. Funny thing was, the class I addressed today over the video was physically situated in Rovaniemi! So we drove 140 miles from Rovaniemi to Oulu so that I could speak via TV to a class in Rovaniemi. This is modern technology!
The teacher of the class is a Canadian man, very nice. He took careful notes during my talk, in which I told about the change of yugas, the ancient Vedic culture and how it relates to the world today. By the end of the lecture he was very enthusiastic. "I thank you personally," he told me. "You gave us a very different way of looking at human origins, and it is important that we know that there are other viewpoints that our Eurocentric one."
Tomorrow I will lecture at an Indian Experience program starting at 6:00 PM at the Oulu city library. The next day, in the afternoon, I fly back to Helsinki. Next week there are more programs at schools in that city and in Tampere.
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gar·goyle n. 1. A roof spout in the form of a grotesque or fantastic creature projecting from a gutter to carry rainwater clear of the wall. 2. A grotesque ornamental figure or projection. 3. A person of bizarre or grotesque appearance. [Middle English gargoile, from Old French gargole, gargouille, throat, waterspout.]
Gargoyles are a motif in European architecture, particularly in cathedrals. Why have monsters looking out from the sides of a house of worship? The gargoyles are protectors of the treasure within, which is the darsan of the Lord. Similarly in South Indian temples there is a grotesque figure often seen above Visnu-tattva Deities. He is a demon called Valli; and he renders the service of protecting the worship of the Lord by frightening off the envious.
There is an Indian temple that is a big tourist attraction because on the walls outside are carved figures of male and female couples engaged in lusty activities. Look in any tourist guidebook for India, you are sure to find a photo of this. Very artistic in the classical style, but not something for brahmacaris to meditate upon. Why decorate the outside of a temple with pornography? It's the same principle of protection. The minds of lusty people are captivated by the exciting statues; being so preoccupied they do not concoct mischief in their heads for disturbing the worship going on inside the temple. They forget all about the Lord and His devotees, being fully absorbed in maya.
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Speaking of motifs, the Fleur-de-Lis, which means "flower of light" in French, and which is often seen in the heraldic art of the European middle ages, is a stylized lotus flower. The first thing to grow in the dark abyss of the universe, before creation, is the lotus from the navel of the Lord. In ancient Egyptian "mythology", the lotus is similarly the first manifestation in very beginning of the world. Growing from the effulgent body of the Lord, the lotus is likewise effulgent, thus it is the very first source of light in the upper spaces of the universe. And that is why it has come to be known in Europe as the Fleur-de-Lis, the flower of light.
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The Mahapurusa is described in Chapter 11 of the 12th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami says this chapter,
etad vai paurusam rupam
bhuh padau dyauh siro nabhah
nabhih suryo 'ksini nase
vayuh karnau disah prabhoh
apano mrtyur isituh
manas candro bhruvau yamah
lajjottaro 'dharo lobho
danta jyotsna smayo bhramah
romani bhuruha bhumno
This is the representation of the Supreme Lord as the universal person, in which the earth is His feet, the sky His navel, the sun His eyes, the wind His nostrils, the demigod of procreation His genitals, death His anus and the moon His mind. The heavenly planets are His head, the directions His ears, and the demigods protecting the various planets His many arms. The god of death is His eyebrows, shame His lower lip, greed His upper lip, delusion His smile, and moonshine His teeth, while the trees are the almighty Purusa's bodily hairs, and the clouds the hair on His head.
yavan ayam vai puruso
yavatya samsthaya mitah
tavan asav api maha-
Just as one can determine the dimensions of an ordinary person of this world by measuring his various limbs, one can determine the dimensions of the Mahapurusa by measuring the arrangement of the planetary systems within His universal form.
dharmam yasas ca bhagavams
Playfully carrying a lotus, which represents the various opulences designated by the word bhaga, the Supreme Lord accepts service from a pair of camara fans, which are religion and fame.
The lotus is a universal symbol of the Lord's opulence. The glories of the Cosmic Person, the Mahapurusa, are fanned throughout creation by His religion and fame. The Mahapurusa is celebrated in the famous Purusa-sukta hymn of the Rg-Veda, which is one of the most ancient glorifications of the Personality of Goddead. That Cosmic Person praised in the Vedas appeared in theosophies of the ancient world outside of India. In Egypt He was known as Osiris. In Platonic philosophy He was vir unus, "the One Man." In ancient Persia He was Gayomard. In Jewish mysticism He is Adam Kadmon (the spiritual Adam), and Metatron (Adam as creator). In the Mahayana Buddhist sects that worship the Adi Buddha, He is Mahavairocana, the Great Shining One. In Christianity He is the Pantocrator, Ruler of All.