Sep 1 2014 Some No-No’s For ISKCON Management

Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

When unwanted types of management are perpetuated, no matter how qualified ISKCON managers might be with people skills and other necessary qualities, their attempts at trying to undo these will be difficult. There are reasons for this. We have seen the ISKCON Strategic forum enthusiastically asking for assistance from able devotees, but this needed assistance will be frustrated if these perpetuations persist.


Jul 28 2014 Black Holes And Gaping Mouths

Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

The famed Time Machine is now a serious inevitability, according to many. One scientist says that he wants to go back to the past to see his deceased father and possibly help him with present-day medicine.If Krishna says that He is Time and is the destroyer of all things, including our karma, then what type of power or technology can oppose this? Going back into the past means to undo karma and to undo history.


Jun 28 2014 The Chorus Of One-siders

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

It is known that Srila Prabhupada was not fond of ambiguities like “maybe, perhaps, could be…” and so on, and we often follow suit to express ourselves in absolutist terms, convinced of our infallible statements. The problem with this is that in the face of Srila Prabhupada’s varied and nuanced teachings our utmost one-sided certainties can expose us as certain and total fools who actually expose our political and biased natures.


Jun 1 2014 Serving Krishna With Sleep Deprivation

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

How can we practice Krishna consciousness properly if, each time we pick up a book to read, we nod off after a few minutes? How are we going to be freed from offences if we sleep during chanting of japa? How are we going to hear realised insights from speakers and learn if we perform artificial meditation (sleep) during class? Being amongst the devotees and wanting to please and impress with our selfless services, it will be a climb-down of sorts if we have to withdraw for some sleep. Yes, it is ignorance, but it is better than ignorant devotion. We need to be honest with ourselves.


May 4 2014 Resting The Jiva-Fall / No-Fall Case

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Is this a daring and overconfident claim? It seems to be an assertion of finality on the fall / no-fall issue. Does this risk jumping over Srila Prabhupada and our previous acaryas? The discussions on this matter continue to produce no outright winners of the debate. Such finality may ‘bore’ the philosopher within us, but we cannot deny its profoundness. Who does not want to know their true origin? Ancestry firms help people trace their family lineage and possible place of origin through birth-given names. By providing one’s DNA sample one might learn of more interesting information involving genetic links to ancestors going back thousands of years. We can be forgiven if this natural curiosity spills over onto the spiritual frontier.


Apr 15 2014 Real Self or Iskcon Self

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

For instance, a ‘strict’ brahmacari gets into managerial positions and manages for the betterment of ISKCON, but in doing so also polarises a number of devotees and congregation members with his ‘take-it-or-leave-it approach. Later, the brahmacari is awarded the sannyasa order. At his sannyasa ceremony, he apologises for any hurt he might have caused. Would that apology be an institutional apology or a self-apology? It is an institutional apology. Are we to expect that this type of apology will absolve him of all offences committed on a personal self-level? In the meantime he might feel safe knowing he is ‘exonerated’, but Vaisnava realisations teach us that the offences will remain until they are forgiven on a person-to-person self-level.


Jan 30 2014 Where Do Our Departed Vaisnavas Go?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

At a recent farewell gathering for a departed Vaisnava, God brothers spoke. One sannyasa-guru Godbrother said that his Godbrother has gone Back To Godhead. Another sannyasa-guru Godbrother said that his Godbrother has gone to take another birth in Krishna or Gaura-lila, which seemed to put a dampener on things. Are they saying two different things?


Dec 10 2013 Why All This Attention For Nelson Mandela?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

By now, devotees might be wondering why ISKCON, particularly here in South Africa is going to great lengths to acknowledge Madiba, as he is affectionately known. Did he not appeal to many other people of religion besides us? Was he an ally of our cause?


Dec 3 2013 Rethinking Our Institutional Guru-tattva?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

How to become a guru within ISKCON? Many say that our understanding of guru-tattva is undeveloped. Others opine that we are far from enabling traditional guru/disciple roles. Should the question even be asked, “How to become guru of disciples?” Are we missing something?


Nov 28 2013 Blind, Or Fanatical Following Of Srila Prabhupada

By Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Are all of Srila Prabhupada’s relative quotes and observations absolute? If perhaps, some of these opinions do not match up precisely to observable reality, would that compromise his status as a perfect pure devotee? Or are our expectations of this perfection distorted to suit our dogma?


Sep 29 2013 How Could Sri Rama Do That To His Pregnant Wife?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

How many devotees will answer the question of how Mother Sita was banished by Sri Rama to Valmiki’s hermitage? “Rama was righteous… He set an example for all…?” Or is there a deeper reason? Such an answer can take the ‘controversy’ out of it


Sep 14 2013 Surrender Of The Fewest

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Are the historical differences between Iskcon members living during the nineteen sixties, seventies and eighties with the twenty first century Iskcon members so pronounced, as to be of little comparison? Comparison with what? If Srila Prabhupada has a universal Siksa presence, is there a gulf of difference in his accessibility to all, past and present?


Aug 13 2013 What Does Automatically Revealed Mean?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Somehow, some of us might secretly feel the need to add (over-intelligent) to what Srila Prabhupada has already given us. Our thoughts could be, “This process requires too much patience… there must be a quicker way…” which subtracts from our Founder Acarya. How can we acknowledge the fullness of his teachings and what does it mean to have implicit faith in the spiritual master?


Jul 17 2013 “I Thought Vipralambha-Seva Is The Highest Thing”

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

We may read or hear some gurus say that Sri Vrndavana Dhama is the land of Sambhoga, or meeting with Lord Krishna. Devotees might think this is at odds with what Srila Prabhupada taught us in Krishna Book and Srimad Bhagavatam tenth canto. Does not Vipralambha occur in Vrndavana?


Jun 11 2013 Can We Compare Iskcon With Other Faiths?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Scholars and professors like to observe Iskcon and compare us with various religions. Devotees too, can feel that they belong to one of the faiths called Iskcon. Should we accept that we are just one of many, or is there something unique being neglected?


May 16 2013 Rising Through The Ranks

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Some devotees feel that they have to be extra educated or materially qualified, or to be a GBC, sannyasa or guru with disciples, in order to serve properly in devotion. Falling short of these positions, we may feel unqualified. There are some good news for all ‘unqualified’ devotees


Apr 16 2013 Wash My Feet Not!

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Pope Francis has washed the feet of prisoners and has rekindled an interest in his message of humility and care for the poor, how does this resonate with the generally accepted Vaisnava tradition of spiritual leaders having their own feet washed? Or do genuine Vaisnavas resist having their feet bathed by others?


Apr 4 2013 Durban Ratha-Yatra – Making Iskcon Relevant

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

How many of us wonder why, in spite of vigorous book distribution and innovative outreach we still appear irrelevant in society? What does it mean to be relevant? Have we generally consigned ourselves to just being isolated spiritual people with near impossible Vedic world objectives? Perhaps the Durban festival holds some clues


Feb 15 2013 Can A Disciple Advance Only As Much As One’s Guru?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

A perception exists that our gurus and devotees usually function on the kanistha/madhyama level of spiritual advancement, and that whoever joins Iskcon and takes initiation will only advance as much as they, not more. Is this true?


Feb 1 2013 The Import Of “Your Ever Well Wisher”

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Srila Prabhupada was serious about his use of words. If we analyse why he used “Ever well wisher” as he signed off each letter he wrote, we will discover a broad and deep purpose for doing so. Let us sample some profound meanings


Jan 14 2013 How Nice Should Devotees Be?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Should devotees rejoice at the pregnancy of a royal couple? Should they express revulsion at crimes committed against defenceless people or animals? If devotees are the nicest people around, how do they react to the world around them when they are supposedly detached from all things?


Dec 18 2012 Iskcon Cultural Divide, Or Unity?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Inching forward with preaching successes worldwide, our conservative or modern pursuance of Krishna consciousness is often influenced by ‘Indian’ or Western concepts. While representatives of cultural differences aim for mutual ‘Vedic’ convergence on vital and important issues, we witness arguments for or against ‘Indian’ or Western culture. Who is right?


Oct 29 2012 Preaching With Half Humility

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

It is an accepted fact that when we preach, and repeat what we have heard – hopefully with some Suka relish – then this is humility in action. But if this is reinforced with aggression, superiority postures, and some ‘authorised’ hate, it is no longer humility. Then what is it?


Oct 6 2012 To Be Heavy, Without The Weight

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Some devotees are concerned that Iskcon’s overall preaching has gone ‘soft,’ thus compromising true standards. They say we must be more ‘Strong’, ‘heavy’ and ‘bold.’ Sentiments of “See how Srila Prabhupada flayed those mayavadis… and how he blasted that individual… and oh how he smashed that perception…” add excitement to the cause


Sep 4 2012 A Question Of Empowerment

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu engaged expert vaisnavas in the spreading of Krishna consciousness. Srila Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis were examples. If any of us have the same level of material competence as they – or more - and we perform devotional service as they did, literarily and strategically, then what will the gulf of differences be between theirs and our services rendered?


Jul 22 2012 Nice Baddies, Nice Evil

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Many mass killers and criminals have become heroes and they have their fans. How often do we see evil characters in movies and novels earning our sympathy, being given the best lines and starring roles, and are portrayed as victims of an oppressive and bullying modern-day society, and dressed with an agreeable niceness that makes us think, “Oh what a shame…” Could there be a link?


Jul 16 2012 Modern Iskcon Guru vs Traditional Guru

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Can the guru say no wrong and do no wrong in all circumstances? This perfection of purpose is tested daily as disciples of gurus hold management positions and have to occasionally disagree on decision-making and policy, sometimes against their own gurus. Many disciples would be terrified of doing this, but it happens. How does this affect the guru/disciple relationship?


Jun 3 2012 What We Eat, And What Our Lordships “Eat”

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Some of our pujaris insist that only white flour and white sugar should be used in bhoga offerings for our Lordships, while many of us, being health conscious, will avoid eating such adulterated or suspicious foods. Should we feel a guilty conscience if we eat healthily, but the Lord does not?


May 9 2012 Respecting Our Women In Iskcon

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

For some reason the subject of womanhood and the roles they play within our midst has raised strong feelings, usually centred on celibacy and the potential for victimisation. This shows that women are not really the problem - our inordinate fixation on matters 'celibate' is the problem


Apr 23 2012 Can Greatness Be Too Great?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

I began to write a simple, short comment on Parampara Prabhu’s article about our sampradaya, but more thoughts came, and thought again that this might as well become an article. Is the desire to glorify Srila Prabhupada or other vaisnavas in certain ways, the result of our human calculation, or our realised convictions?


Jan 24 2012 Living The High Life In Iskcon

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Have any of us ever thought that high living is possible within a spiritual domain like Iskcon? There is such a thing as rising high, and living high, but not in the way that some of our corporate methods of management might teach us. Improper use of such management will lead to low living. Is this really possible among devotees who have high spiritual aspirations?


Jan 9 2012 The Art Of Negative Preaching

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Here is a fictional conversation between a ‘heavy’ preacher - used to calling people mudhas, canines and other low descriptions, and is badly in need of reform - with a reformer preacher trying to strike a balance. Let us see how the ‘heavy’ and negative can remain without turning people off


Nov 3 2011 Who Says Srila Prabhupada Only Gave Us The ABC’s – part 2

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

On the day of Govardhana-puja, one individual approached me. I knew he had shared loyalties. He asked me, “How is your bhajana?” I replied by saying that generally, devotees pursue sadhana Bhakti until, with mercy, they qualify themselves… “That is why you need a ‘rasika’ guru who can help you,” he replied confidently


Aug 1 2011 We Have a Country - How Are We Going To Run It?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Let us say we won a general election. A majority vote sweeps us into power. All state resources are at our disposal. There will still be a democratic opposition in place, but they will want to see how we give all citizens of the land a Vedic alternative. Where do we start?


Jul 22 2011 We Are Not Ready for Varna-ashrama Dharma Yet

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

We are mostly theory driven when attempting to implement ancient social systems into a kali-yuga world. Now, any notion of “caste” divisions and keeping women confined to homes, will be seen as further adding to the repression of vulnerable sections of society. Is society ready for such “extreme” social engineering? In terms of preaching, a definite practical stance is required


Jul 11 2011 Do We Match Up?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Let us suppose that a refined and cultured person wants to join us fulltime, and we encourage that, but a niggling doubt arises within us, because we wonder if this person will be looked after, according to the high expectations learned from Srila Prabhupada’s books? Should our temples and ashramas present a cultural shock, or a friendly homecoming?


Jun 21 2011 How Hard-hearted Bhakti Affects our Iskcon Home

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

We read a BBT publication before joining Iskcon. We learn of inner tranquillity, peaceful coexistence and divine vaisnava qualities. After we join, we often discover a world of hard-hearted Bhakti in practice. Iskcon has softened up recently, but if we retain Westernised versions of renunciation and jnana, then our pursuits into devotee care and welfare will mean little to us


May 9 2011 “Just Be Humble Prabhu!”

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

We all hate to be humiliated. What is the best defence against humiliation? It is humility. But our self-defence can assume false guises of humility, to fit our self-centred identity. We may be disappointed to discover that there is actually a Supreme Being other than ourselves. We are not the centre of the universe


Apr 18 2011 In Devotees We Trust

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

There is a lot of emphasis nowadays on the need for love and trust among devotees. We can cite the six loving exchanges between us. We can also use the strength of the often quoted, “your love for me will be shown by how you cooperate.” In spite of our efforts to promote this ideal, can we ever expect a situation where love and trust dominates in all of our devotee interactions?


Mar 15 2011 Democracy and the Spread of the Holy Names

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Some of us must have thought of doing Harinama Sankirtana in Mecca, of all places, or would like to set up a temple there? How about the Vatican, Pyongyang or Beijing, and Tripoli, Havana or the pyramids of Egypt? Not too long ago most people thought that Moscow, Bucharest and half of Berlin would be democratised way beyond their lifetimes

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