Making Petrichor

Take some dry earth containing some plant life, grind it all up, put it into a pot, and collect enough rainwater to seal out any release of geosmin from the soil. Remove the plants after letting soak for ~4 hours. Cover with a lid. Boil at a high temperature for about an hour. Filter out and collect the muck. Repeat the boiler/filter process until the muck buildup is enough. Set to dry on a thin sheet. You now have petrichor. Boiling and filtering and drying can derive pretty much anything. Also, I’d say the rainwater and the specific timing prescribed in MS aren’t totally necessary. The cool refreshing smell (petrichor) you get after it rains is the acidity that releases the geosmin. This can also be done using hot water. There needs to be what chemistry calls a reagent (or maybe the term is ‘reacting agent’, I’m not sure on this one). The ‘muck’ that will be the incense however is not the barren plants that you remove, it’s the resin left over from boiling–that is, concentrated geosmin. When you light it the flame acts as the reagent and you thus produce petrichor.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and the Adversarial Rasa

While studying Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, I came across some compelling evidence–much of which was (supposedly) spoken by Lalita Prasad Thakur, his brother–that Bhaktisiddhanta was in fact a demon. There are accusations of him having been an incarnation of a yogi that Bhaktivinoda Thakur had offended and who had sworn to take birth as one of his sons so as to ruin his life’s work of proliferating KCON all over the world (even though he was hugely successful, so so much for that). It is said that Bhaktivinoda refused to give Bhaktisiddhanta initiation for having offended his guru by dumping water on his head, but Bhaktivinoda did indeed give Lalita Prasad Thakur initiation. A lot of this is actually corroborated by much of what is written in MP’s publication “Purumashedha” by Rudra Das Goswami.

 

Now, whether or not Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was actually an incarnation of a demon who wanted to sabotage Bhaktivinoda’s mission is supremely irrelevant to me, because 1) Lord Krsna had obviously turned it all around to His own benefit and made all of Bhaktisiddhanta’s efforts a smashing success; 2) it is said in the Nectar of Instruction that we are to pay no mind to the superficial “faults” of a pure devotee and to never attempt to correct them in any way; and 3) we are no strangers to revering demons. The first two points will be abundantly clear to anyone with a lick of devotion and rudimentary spiritual education. So, then, what is the meaning of this?

 

We trace our spiritual heritage all the way back to God/Satan Himself (no difference, really) through Sri Guru Parampara (in our case the Brahma Sampradaya). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta is just one more link in that transcendental chain, without whom we goras would probably have never known anything about KCON and would still be sitting around with our thumbs up our ass doing God knows what with our lives. And even better, those who recognize this indisputable fact but still feel some sense of confliction, some internal dissonance, can enjoy the glorious adversarial rasa, albeit in a very, very mild form, certainly nothing compared to what awaits those who undergo certain unspeakable processes under the direction of certain unnamable persons. All the criticisms levelled against Bhaktisiddhanta, and consequently Srila Prabhupada, might have some level of superficial, mundane truth–and I say this with great caution that one might not misunderstand me and think that these criticisms are something to actually be taken seriously–and if these criticisms actually happen to seed some feelings of contempt, some serious questions that might even produce a crisis of faith, then so much the better. One can push through these crises and overcome their ego and emerge a better, more focused devotee for it. If one succumbs to this personal crisis and decides they are simply too good, too intelligent, for devotional service under the direction of the spiritual master, then it is as if the garbage has taken itself out, and by what little transcendental knowledge they did acquire in their little experiments in Krsna Consciousness will allow them to maybe, just maybe, have another shot in the next life. Either way, it all works out just fine, and no tears ought to be shed.

 

I must caution however that simply because one becomes a little bit egotistical and asks serious questions after being presented with certain information does not mean that one has truly relished the adversarial rasa in full. Most people know nothing about the adversarial rasa, and I would be a liar to even insinuate that I do. My point here is that the sort of criticisms levelled against Sri Guru Parampara that so often lead well-meaning devotees back to the cesspool of atheism are not really legitimate concerns to an intelligent person, but the sense of enmity it produces toward the Ascended Masters is. It is the beginning of learning how to have a meaningful relationship with the Lord beyond mere servitude–the most fundamental and elementary type of relationship with Him–and all relationships with the Lord, as we should all know, begin with one’s relationship with His devotees, especially the pure ones. Eventually, at the higher levels of spiritual advancement (read “bhakti”), one learns to see Krsna less as a superior, and more as an equal or even lesser-than, as is the case with Mother Yasoda, Sri Radhe, Krsna’s cowherd boyfriends, and even the demon Hiranyakasipu. Enmity is one such way of approaching this sense–this divine illusion–of equality. So if you can overcome the propensity to think you are too good to receive instruction from authorized authorities who, by the indomitable will of Lord Krsna, have assumed certain qualities that sometimes defy mundane sensibilities, then you will have overcome the very sort of egotism that so often stops people from becoming the best devotees they can be and learned to see the highest of the high on your level.