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Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

Has anyone ever attended a kirtana-fest and ended up trying to get to know new tunes and memorising them? Our kirtan and bhajana world is evolving and updating with new tunes more often than our computer anti-virus updates, or so it seems. We leave a kirtan-mela and on the way home we say, “So and so sang a nice tune, but I forget how it goes…” We sit there when a new maha-mantra tune is in progress. Some of those tunes are quite complex. We sing along i...

November 18, 2014 -- 878 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

One devotee I know who has practiced Krishna consciousness for thirty plus years recently experienced a health crisis. Witnessing the bodily upheavals and depressing reactions to medication, the devotee admitted to being scared. Scared that the side effects of strong medication caused acute depression and that death could have arrived. Are we to say that such a steady devotee is in the mode of ignorance? We nay say that fear is a symptom of ignorance. We...

November 7, 2014 -- 969 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

Many devotees have extolled the formalisation of our Founder-acarya being given his rightful place within ISKCON. Others say there is still more to come to this effect. This is a recent development. What if this solemnisation had been in place after the physical departure of Srila Prabhupada and during the numerous times of ISKCON difficulty, when this could have prevented hundreds, thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands of devotees from leaving ISKCO...

October 1, 2014 -- 1,328 views
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.

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September 1, 2014 -- 1,273 views
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.

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July 28, 2014 -- 2,818 views
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.

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June 28, 2014 -- 2,174 views
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 s...

June 1, 2014 -- 1,441 views
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 plac...

May 4, 2014 -- 3,742 views
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 th...

April 15, 2014 -- 1,648 views
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?

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January 30, 2014 -- 2,805 views
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?

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December 10, 2013 -- 2,695 views
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?

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December 3, 2013 -- 3,913 views
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?

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November 28, 2013 -- 2,535 views
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

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September 29, 2013 -- 3,977 views
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?

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September 14, 2013 -- 2,048 views
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?

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August 13, 2013 -- 2,306 views
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?

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July 17, 2013 -- 3,149 views
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?

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June 11, 2013 -- 3,770 views
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

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May 16, 2013 -- 1,808 views
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?

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April 16, 2013 -- 4,586 views
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

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April 4, 2013 -- 2,330 views
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?

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February 15, 2013 -- 3,362 views
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

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February 1, 2013 -- 2,054 views
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?

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January 14, 2013 -- 3,370 views
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?

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December 18, 2012 -- 3,872 views
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?

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October 29, 2012 -- 3,053 views
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

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October 6, 2012 -- 5,409 views
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?

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September 4, 2012 -- 2,875 views
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?

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July 22, 2012 -- 2,373 views
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?

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July 16, 2012 -- 5,593 views
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?

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June 3, 2012 -- 4,241 views
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

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May 9, 2012 -- 10,220 views
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?

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April 23, 2012 -- 6,240 views
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?

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January 24, 2012 -- 3,278 views
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

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January 9, 2012 -- 3,675 views
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

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November 3, 2011 -- 4,637 views
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?

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August 1, 2011 -- 2,600 views
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

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July 22, 2011 -- 3,412 views
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?

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July 11, 2011 -- 2,272 views
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