Purushamedha: Lessons with His Holiness Sri Sankarsana Das Goswami is a book concerning Gaudiya (Bengali) Vaisnavism that many mainstream members within that particular sampradaya (spiritual lineage or more specifically, chain of disciplic succession) would consider to be “sahijaya” or heretical in the extreme.
Though cursory examination would seem to indicate that the subject matter is of a highly volatile nature (as indicated by the title – Purushamedha – which literally translates as “human sacrifice” from the Sanskrit), the disciples and grand-disciples of His Holiness SDG boldly declaim that Vaisnavism as they posit it is in fact more genuine to the Vedic essence of their spiritual practice as taught since time immemorial – unadulterated by the various cultural and political disturbances over the years in the land of Lord Caitanya which has seen every branch of the dharmic tree change significantly in the process.
Martinet Press believes that the publication of this book is important for several different reasons. Firstly due to the fact that there has long been a disproportionate coverage when dealing with the Left-Hand Path traditions coming from the Indian subcontinent in focusing solely on the Saivites and Shaktas. While the image of an ash-covered Aghori inhabiting a traditional smashan (cremation ground), gnawing on human bones in the dead of night paints a picture that no one who resonates with darkness can easily deny, focusing only on the most overt and sensational elements within the larger umbrella of dharmic practice has left a myriad more, often of an entirely insidious nature and countenance both in theory and practice, virtually unknown and undiscussed amid those interested in LHP traditions coming from the land of Bharata.
Secondly, this book is important because it takes certain often-contested and hot-button issues within LHP circles (human sacrifice, animal sacrifice and sexual taboos) and places them in a broader context – given that certain rituals which even the most hard-nosed Western practitioner may find abhorrent and blasphemous in the extreme can be found in Vedic literature from the times of earliest antiquity (and these, not prescribed to a fringe element of the society but in fact recommended – and practiced – by those holding the reigns of power both religiously and politically).
Scheduled for publication by early August of this year, it is the hopes of Martinet Press that Purushamedha will give readers room for pause the next time they may encounter a group of saffron-robed, shaven-headed devotees of the Hare Krishna sect in a major metropolitan area, or view an image of the bluish-tinged, four-armed Narayana in a treatise on comparative religion.
Out of the ordinary, the devotees of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya through the branch of His Holiness SDG have assured us in discussing the publication of this volume that when one takes a single step toward Krishna, Krishna will take ten steps toward you. We believe that this promise most certainly extends not only to the editorial staff here at Martinet Press but unequivocally to the readership as well. – MP
Excerpt from the introduction Purushamedha: Lessons with His Holiness Sri Sankarsana Das Goswami:
In 2013 my gurudev (Sri Sankarsana das Goswami) disappeared, leaving behind a ragged collection of disciples. At first, we didn’t know what to do. Our guru had only just given us permission to begin sharing his teachings – before he had refused, because he was such a private man. But when he disappeared, what next? Over the last two years, my godbrothers and godsister have worked to recall and to recite his most important lessons. We have forgotten too much already, but the most important talks we have written here, in hopes that it may be of help to other young Vaisnavas all over the world.
This book might offend you. In fact, if you’re a Vaisnava from any of the international preaching missions, it will definitely offend you. Please accept my apologies for that in advance. But the purpose of this book is not merely to offend you, but rather to tear the bandage off your eyes. Sankarsana would say sometimes: You have been lied to, and you are lying to yourself. He wasn’t wrong. Most modern spiritual leaders are frauds – and with increased media and internet, we’re aware of their many, many failings. So if you worship your guru, and your guru is a fraud, this book will offend you. But sometimes offence is good. We are too sanitized, too protected, too afraid to ruffle feathers. Sankarsana used to say: see Krsna, what a little rascal! What does he do? He steals food. He kills his uncle Kamsa. He fucks pretty girls. He even fucks the pretty married girls – eh, Radha? Is Krsna worried about offending you? No, so I won’t be afraid to offend you either! Krsna is a fiend. And we need to be fiends, just like him.
My prayer for you, as you read this book, is that you’ll be offended. I want you to be shocked, and to get angry. Because if you’re being complacent in your devotion to Krsna, then you have no passion, and no love of Krsna. If you worship your guru, then you don’t really worship Krsna. My guru always said: Don’t worship me! I’m just a shadow. You can’t worship me and Krsna. So love me, but worship Krsna. And I tell you the same thing: love Krsna. That’s all that matters. Krsna is really a sociopathic monster, but he loves you. And he will do things to you – horrible things – because he loves you. Krsna is the abusive and jealous boyfriend or girlfriend that you can’t escape. He has your email passwords and your phone contacts and he is watching your every move. You can never get free of Krsna, but you can learn to love Him. When He is hurting you, and beating you until you bleed and are screaming for Him to stop, that is when you need to love Him the most.
These words might offend you, but once you really start to Love Krsna, you will see that it’s true.
So please, read this book. Read the words of my guru, Sri Sankarsana das Goswami. If you’re feeling a little bit uncomfortable, I’m sorry. It’s going to get worse. Because Krsna isn’t a comfortable god. Far from it. But this is my promise to you: if you stick with me on this journey – if you read every word – you will never see Krsna the same. Sankarsana das will open your eyes, your ears, and other senses you didn’t even know you had.
(You don’t need eyes to see where we’re going, he’d say.)
For any errors in spelling or typing, forgive me. My guru deserves better than me as an editor. But I will do my best to write, and if you do your best to read, I think we’ll get there. In the end, it’s not the journey that matters. It’s Krsna that matters, and if we’re sincere about reaching him, then we’ll get there no matter what.
Ready? Good. Hang on tight – this is going to be a rocky ride.
Rudra das Goswami.