Many services we are fortunate to engage in are more or less what you might consider universal to most vaisnavas. Attending the morning program, chanting our rounds, honouring prasadam, going out on sankirtana, cooking for the Deities and the devotees, reading, writing, cleaning, growing flowers and vegetables, sewing, looking after the cows, teaching, administration etc., etc, etc.
The 5 million or so vegetarians residing in the UK must be feeling relieved at their dietary choice given the grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre and unacceptable horse meat controversy that shows no sign of abating in Europe. For the other 55 million or so non-vegetarians in the UK they have been thrown into considerable turmoil; one commented: "If horse meat were okay then our butchers would sell it"
Nov 30 2012 Open Forum letter
During the reign of Lord Ramacandra every citizen could personally consult the King in his palace at a designated time. Inspired by the Lord's example, the UK National Council will again this year offer a similar opportunity to all ISKCON UK devotees by scheduling an Open Door session
On Saturday the 10th of November a rather unspectacular but noteworthy event took place in the UK National in Radlett, London. The signing of a lease agreement between the original ISKCON charity of 1969 and the relatively new ISKCON London charity
A paper commissioned by the GBC Finance Committee and the GBC Organizational Development Committee. How ISKCON devotees collect, manage, and spend Krishnaās laxmi generates much discussion, especially because we have little precedent as to how a structured Vaisnava organization conducts such matters. That said, few, if any, would argue the importance of the twin principles of accountability and using all monies received directly in the service of Krishna and ISKCONās preaching mission
Aug 12 2012 Actions and Consequences
It is seemingly becoming commonplace in our society now for such weapon wielding aggressors to cause grief, misery, pain, suffering and of course great mourning to an unsuspecting audience. One of many worrying aspects of these senseless killings is the cool, calm and measured way they are undertaken. Practically since time immemorial we are familiar with crimes of passion, those crimes are even recognised by the judicial system to the point of mitigating circumstances being considered
Jun 23 2011 What do we know?
As stated by Bhismadeva in the SB 1.9.16 na hy asya karichid rajan ā no one can know the plan of the Lord ā still we are all advised to roll with it and have faith in it, understanding at all times that everything is for our ultimate benefit. With that in mind and after decades of hard work and many struggles, we have now begun constructing the extraordinary place of worship that will be the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. However if we didnāt accept the plan of the Lord not only would this project have likely never got to this point but we would surely also wonder why the Lord indeed chose to appear in rural West Bengal!
At that time Arjuna spoke the following words: Oh infallible sankirtana leader Krishna please park up my sankirtana van so that I can look on the street to see where it is best to distribute books, let me see who has come out today to do their shopping. When Arjuna saw all the stressed faces of the shoppers he spoke the following words....
Jul 12 2010 Invisible Chains
This Krsna consciousness movement is the solution and we have been given the responsibility of organizing it in such a way that it becomes the solution. Specifically in relation to exploitation and modern slaves, there is nothing that worries the powers that be more than a system such as varnasrama. The varnasrama system by its very nature creates a society that is not only independent of ugra karma needs and their suppliers but it also creates independent thinkers with revolutionary views on how society should be structured in a God-centered way, where slaves are conspicuous by their absence
What follows is an editorial comment as the editor of Dandavats. We have received some feedback about the GBC paper titled āThe Last Conversationā. While most of those writing in have appreciated that paper, there have been a few who have expressed some concern. Those concerns fall into two categories: one questions the historical accuracy of the paper while the other suggests the possibility of Vaisnava aparadha
On Sunday the 21st of March the new Chief Justice for West Bengal visited Sridham Mayapur. Mr Justice Mohit Shantilal Shah assumed his new role on Christmas day last so he is only in the role for 3 months but none the less was eager to visit ISKCON Mayapur. He arrived along with his wife around 11am and they left after lunch around 1.30pm.
Mar 10 2010 Outer Space or Inner? - De Ville with an Aura
"There should be somewhere on earth, a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of good will who have a sincere aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme truth; a place of peace, concord and harmony" "An Aurovilian should lose the sense of personal possession. For our passage in the material world, what is indispensable to our life and to our action is put at our disposal according to the place we must occupy.
Dec 9 2009 Bhaktin Lord Mayor is at it again!
I got a phone call from the Mayorās office a couple of weeks ago expressing how eager she was to partake of some more prasadam and how even more eager she was to introduce her fellow 51 councillors to that prasadam experience! It was also mentioned that this would be an historic event, as never in the history of Dublin City Council has the cuisine been totally vegetarian, a Council that dates back to 1840, 80 odd years before independence from the UK
Sep 17 2009 Bhaktin Lord Mayor
Arguably the highlight of the day though was the contribution of the Lord Mayor. She arrived shortly after the stage show began and took a seat reserved for her. She was curious about the drama that had just started, which was called the three modes of material nature and she followed it closely. I asked her would she like something to eat and to my surprise she said "Yes please, I've been looking forward to this all day" Usually dignitaries are a little more circumspect when offered food and generally have to be cajoled into taking prasadam, so her response was very refreshing. While her plate was being prepared, she revealed that whenever she gets the chance she likes to eat at Govindas!
Jun 1 2009 Vaisnava culture of respect and honour
"Anyone who has any desire or aspiration for satisfying his senses by becoming more and more important, either in the material sense or in the spiritual sense, cannot actually relish the really sweet taste of devotional service."(NOD p. 33) As devotees we strive to uproot the desire for fame and distinction but paradoxically, as devotees, we generally take as many opportunities to serve, appreciate and indeed glorify the service of other devotees. So naturally it is important that such glorification is appropriate, in so far as who it is directed to.
Jan 1 2009 From Credit Crunches to Prasadam Lunches
While the shameless economic experts are now predicting when there will be an upturn in the global economy, those same experts suffered a collective blind spot when failing to predict the biggest economic collapse in the last 80 years, everyone and their pet dog can see, like the emperor, they have neither clothes, nor a clue as to what will or wonāt happen with the economy.
We are now in serious danger of ruining our long practiced and much cherished reputation of our 21st century sannyasi! What are we talking about? Well a couple of weeks ago a certain member of the sannyasa order all but snuck into the emerald isle unnoticed. Usually a visiting sannyasiās arrival is known well in advance and there is at least a modest welcoming party to greet him. However not this time, rather it was a very humble entrance at a regional port and from there, almost immediately into a walking tour of the country.
Aug 3 2008 Accepting our Lot, Gracefully
āA pure Vaisnava should be very careful to engage in his specific duty without criticizing others. This is the safest position. Otherwise, if one tends to criticize others, he may commit the great offence of criticizing a Vaisnavaā In the pastime of Jagai and Madhai, prior to them receiving the mercy of Lord Caitanya, they were glorified as having one good quality. The fact that they kept such bad association meant that they had never come into contact with devotees hence their good quality was that they had never committed vaisnava aparadha.
Jun 7 2008 Forget Me Not
As part of a comment to the āReforming the Reformerā essay, Kesava Krsna prabhu wrote: It is enlivening to see a topic put before us, to pass comment, or give our realizations - this is real freedom - Krishna katha. Perhaps this could be a regular feature on Danadavats, what do you think Praghosa prabhu? So in an attempt to fulfill the above request I would be interested to hear the devotees thoughts on the following. In the 3rd Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam Lord Kapila gives some interesting instructions particularly in relation to the consciousness and thought processes of the fetus in the womb.
Apr 28 2008 A B Cs , X Y Zs and everything in between
Srila Prabhupada often made reference to the fact that both in beginner's maths as well as advanced mathematics, two plus two is always equal to four. While advanced mathematics can be extremely complicated it can also be very wrong if the basic principles of simple maths are not adhered to. Likewise the same principle applies to relationships and if we fail to get the basics right in our relationships we will forever struggle with them. The most fundamental relationship that we need to get right is our relationship with the supreme Lord and His creation.
Date: March 5, 2008 Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.13.12 Speaker: HG Praghosa Dasa ( transcript and audio )
Feb 14 2008 Samsara
In turn most resided in bodies have others who are also attached to them, generally family members, or what Srila Prabhupada often referred to as āskin diseaseā. He specifically used this term to describe excessive attachment to family members which leads to increased illusion and the bizarre hope that one thinks they are able to save other family members from death - an impossible dream.
Dec 7 2007 Protecting Our Future
The grhastha asrama has had an interesting and varied history within our ISKCON movement. In many respects the role of married life in a missionary movement does not exactly fit like a hand in a glove. That said Srila Prabhupada was excited by his renounced grhastas and very proud of them, the initial preaching in London being a prime case in point.
Oct 13 2007 Service Life Balance
I remember many years ago when devotees appeared on a popular TV chat show in front of a live audience, they started with some sweet bhajan and then 4 or 5 of them were interviewed. During the interview the TV host cottoned on that the devotees were seriously dedicated to their cause. As a result he asked one of the devotees the following; "What about holidays, do you take an annual vacation?" The devotee in question responded both with confidence and humour "When you are having so much fun doing what you are doing, where is the question of needing a holiday as everyday is the perfect holiday"
Sep 25 2007 A French Revolution?
A little over 2 years ago the European GBC body at their annual meeting, held that year in New Vrajamandala Spain, decided to make a concerted effort to assist the French Yatra. As a result of that meeting a group of devotees was formed under the name 'Renouveau du Yatra Francais'. The members of that committee were/are Sivarama Swami, Hrdaya Caitanya das, Siksastakam das, Gopaswami das, Nitaigaurasundara das, Madhvacarya das, Nitai Saci Suta das, Madhusevita das, Prabhupada vani das, Bhavasindhu das and Praghosa das.
Jun 5 2007 GBC Gathering in New Vrndavana
There were varying degrees of progress achieved since the last GBC meeting in Mayapur, this progress was reported by the different groups to the plenary body. Probably the most comprehensive progress achieved to date was from the committee dealing with the constitution. That said, significant work has been done by all the groups and the overall mood was that a lot has been done but there's a lot more to do.
As the saying goes: āhistory is but a set of lies commonly agreed on by historiansā In relation to religious historians this issue is even more acute, primarily because of the almost blanket ban on accepting any religious history that is not based on sense perception. The so-called 'enlightenment consensus' strictly adhere to their rule that nothing beyond gross matter and three dimensional space can be recorded. In reality this means that the enlightenment consensus lobby generally dismiss every other source of information and in the case of the vedic version it is dismissed as mythology.
Apr 10 2007 The Best Days of Our Lives
Even though this seemingly innate resistance to institutions appears unrelenting, if we look more closely at society then institutions, parties, groups and organisations pervade the lives of almost all of us. Maybe it is a case of not being able to live with them or without them. In many respects it is not really surprising that we need groups, parties and institutions, as we tend to achieve much more when we work in unison. A lone protester outside parliament might satisfy their sense of achievement or well being, but other than getting chilled to the bone they generally achieve little else. Whereas a 100,000 strong march on parliament is likely to get the politicians shivering to the bone!
Mar 20 2007 Varnasrama and Varna Sankara
With no training, no guidance, poor upbringing and no role models, the pure unadulterated desire to lord it over by brute force appears to be their life mission. And boy do they take to that mission with gusto. Beatings, stabbings and murders are now a daily occurrence in most western cities. Indeed a new phrase has arisen in the western lexicon āanti-social behaviourā I guess anti-social behaviour is more or less the job description for varna sankara offspring.
Feb 24 2007 All We Need is Love And…
At this point I was getting a little worried because either it was a bomb and the whole building would be history or it was a hoax but they might decide to do a 'controlled explosion' which would still result in significant damage. In my mind I was rehearsing the phone call to the insurance company the next day and all I was hearing back was āUnfortunately your policy does not cover you for acts of terrorismā...
Jan 15 2007 A Sporting Chance?
Going back to the original question - does sport have any place in the life of a devotee? We can fairly confidently conclude that sport of the professional, competitive and passionate variety does not, and clearly falls into the category of what Srila Prabhupada termed 'unnecessary sports'. Yet if we remove those elements, the argument could be made that engaging in sports like tennis, basketball or squash etc., might be okay for devotees. Perhaps not young full time temple devotees who have the opportunity to spend hours either dancing in kirtan or harinam but rather for the middle aged devotee variety who are more or less chained to their desks at work. One quote that might interest those under the grip of the middle-age spread relates to Lord Balarama who used the equivalent of a bat and ball in his victory over Dvivida;
Dec 11 2006 Cross Wires and Razor Edges
Therefore the question could be raised as to whether there is ever a basis for engaging in contentious argument among devotees? For sure any such discussion of this type would have to be conducted with the proper motivation and based on a genuine need for clarification of the apparent differences of opinion. It is interesting to note that many times when differences are expressed (among our Dandavats commentators) a regular response is that there has been a misunderstanding. Just as much as the challenger should take every care that the challenge is based on a legitimate foundation, equally the challenged should not use the cover of misunderstanding as a defence, unless of course it genuinely is a misunderstanding.
Dec 4 2006 Thank you Mrs Robinson
On a flight to the UK on Sunday morning I found myself sitting beside the former President of Ireland Mrs Mary Robinson. After she completed her term as President she became the UN Commissioner for Refugees. Ironicaly it was 16 years to the day on Sunday that she was sworn in as president.
Nov 23 2006 Nama Yajna returns to Inis Rath
The chanting in front of the beautiful forms of Sri Sri Radha Govinda was led by His Holiness Sivarama Swami and Madhava prabhu. It really isn't an exaggeration to say by 9pm on the second day devotees were in a collective state of bliss. For sure they were a little tired physically but the big grins on their faces indicated that spiritually there were energised! Batteries fully recharged.
The chanting of the holy name is initially undertaken on the basis of duty, vows and jnana etc., but until it happens on the basis of taste, with our hearts sufficiently purified to the point that the chanting of the holy name is something that is more or less spontaneous, then the possibility, if not probability of fall down will always be with us. Hence until we reach these higher levels of taste and realisation we need the assistance of a proper social structure in the form of the varnasrama system. Being situated properly in the varnasrama system will greatly protect us from our lower natures. This protection comes directly to women and indirectly to men via the culture of protection and respect of the fair sex.
Some years ago one leader told me an interesting story that highlights this point. One of his senior managers/preachers in his area of responsibility was having some difficulty and had had a recent fall down. This leader, in consultation with a few senior god brothers, decided a course of action and rectification with the explicit aim of strengthening this devotees spiritual life and hopefully have him return to his regular duties as soon as it was clear that he had fully recovered from his difficulties.
Oct 8 2006 Keeping the Faith
As ISKCON celebrates it's 40th birthday we have much to reflect on. From it's humble beginnings when Srila Prabhupada was more or less alone in a foreign land, to it's early days when devotees began to join, to it's explosion in the 70's and 80's. Later in the 80's and on up to the present day ISKCON's record is more mixed, actually many would say that ISKCON's record has always been mixed. If that is true then we can probably agree that the difference now is that ISKCON's mixed fortunes are more highlighted, as opposed to the halcyon days when Srila Prabhupada was physically present with us. During Srila Prabhupada's vapuh presence we didn't tend to focus on any reverses, at least not in a negative way.
Sep 27 2006 The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
One of the purposes of the Dandavats website was to provide a medium where devotees could express their Krsna conscious realisations, so please don't be shy in sending them to us. An automatic benefit of sending your realisations, given the nature of the medium, is that they will reach the eyes of many many souls. As websites are available for everyone to read, who knows who might read and be inspired by your words?
Sep 14 2006 What’s in a Name?
So giving names, having names and using names are all essential for increasing the personal touch.. Of course as devotees we receive even more mercy when we are given names related to Krsna and His devotees at the time of initiation. These names not only serve as a way of identifying us but they also remind us of the supreme Lord and His devotees and can award us unlimited spiritual benefit, as in the case of Ajamila.
Aug 26 2006 Further Considerations…
While reading this passage of the Bhagavatam it struck me that the propensity to defend is just as strong, if not stronger, than the propensity to eat, sleep and mate. For whatever reason I had subconsciously concluded that eating and sleeping were top of the list (things that could more or less only be 'overcome' by death) and then the attraction for sex life (mating) was naturally more difficult to overcome than the need to defend oneself. Studying this passage tended to change my perspective, as I could never imagine myself responding in such a way after being so brutally attacked by someone.
When we arrived in Dublin the first alarm bell was that our luggage didn't arrive with us even, though it was checked in three hours beforehand. We were then told it would arrive on the next flight later in the afternoon. Eventually when our luggage did arrive both bags were there but my laptop and mobile phone were not inside. Initially my mind went into a tailspin and was registering, at a rate of knots, all the inconveniences that now awaited me.
Aug 3 2006 Further reflection
The main aim of Dandavats is to be a resource for krsna katha so that all readers can receive some spiritual benefit every time they visit the site. As we know the mind is difficult to control and needs no assistance to be attracted to those subject matters that do not benefit us spiritually. Dandavats wants to humbly try to help all those who are desirous to achieve ākrsne matir astuā
Jul 25 2006 Reflecting on progress so far..
Dandavats is in the process of evaluating whether to continue with this discussion, in the meantime many devotees are working hard to try to find a solution to this issue, that is in accordance with our vaisnava culture and thus acceptable to the overwhelming body of devotees.
Jul 18 2006 Questions to the GBC
On the other hand ISKCON is responsible for so many preaching successes. One simple example is that Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita is the most widely published in the world, another is that the Ratha Yatra festival has taken a massive foothold in the west all due to ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada was convinced that Lord Caitanya's movement could be most effectively spread by an organised structure and if carefully analysed that has proven to be true.
Jul 15 2006 Answer to Dayananda prabhu’s Question
In the last 15 years Iāve spoken with several gurus, sannyasis, and GBCs about the 50% principle for householders. To a man none were interested in lecturing about, or discussing with disciples, the sacrifice of a significant portion of oneās salary. Can you tell me the name of anyone among the GBC or guru community that lectures or advises disciples about giving 50%?
Jul 11 2006 More questions to the GBC
Once, during Srila Prabhupada's afternoon massage, Rebatinandana Swami entered the room with a problem he thought only his spiritual master could solve. "Srila Prabhupada," he said. "Syamasundara is the GBC and he's making all these decisions. I want to accept his authority, but I had to come to you because he is not chanting his rounds. I know this for a fact. He doesn't chant any rounds. Also, many of the devotees in the temple find it difficult to follow his authority. I wanted to know how we should handle this."
Jul 3 2006 Ask a GBC
Recently, in Alachua, the local GBC segretary Sesa prabhu had a program for about one month where he sat under a canopy outside the temple each Sunday feast with a sign "Ask a GBC." So the devotees had the chance to approach, ask and discuss different GBC related questions.
Jun 22 2006 One week on
As we know the GBC body is not infallible, just in case anyone is thinking like that! This is one of the reasons why Srila Prabhupada created a body of devotees, as opposed to installing one individual to run ISKCON. It is also of course the example that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja set. The clear advantage of having a body of devotees making decisions is that on balance their collective decision making will be more often right than wrong.