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Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

The spiritual master is the central object of vision for every disciple. Quite often, the imposition of external conditions can deflect the natural bias from something, which is essentially internal, or hidden from unqualified worshipers. 'The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated self-realized person.' (Mahabharata, Vana Parva 313-117) If a disciple fails to discern the difference between external and internal worship of the guru, it can mean...

Jan 26, 2016 -- 11,772 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna dasa

If we look back at our disciplic succession we will find unlikely leaders and acaryas who may not fit our modern day portrayal of leadership as required by Iskcon. Our largely vaidhi and sadhana based lifestyle would probably not accommodate them. If we take Srila Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja for instance, would he fit in comfortably into one of our temples as a leader? He isn't just a leader, but an acarya recognizable by those possessed of pure spiritual visi...

Jan 10, 2016 -- 6,148 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

Sometimes devotees think that by working hard for Krishna, on the order of the spiritual master, even if there is some neglect of personal sadhana, hearing and chanting, success in spiritual life is assured come what may. Is this empty optimism? Or does the order of the spiritual master supersede all other considerations? It is tempting to assure oneself that being engaged in all nine angas of Bhakti to lesser or greater degrees trying to please the guru, the assiduous, intense performance ...

Dec 9, 2015 -- 6,232 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna dasa

‘Once bitten twice shy’ may be the general maxim. Does it mean we should suspect every devotee around us? Some discriminators say we are being naïve if we see only the good in devotees. Are we being naïve if we see only the good in others? Many of us are accustomed to the intellectual cynicism afforded by ‘free’ democratic societies. The news we read or hear, and judicious endings to court cases are often the work of investigative journalists or police work, who often test the limit...

Sep 15, 2015 -- 7,023 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna dasa

Upma seems to be one of those dishes we either love or loathe, except of course when it is prasada. Then again it is an acquired taste for many, and for a debutant like me it was, please bear with me, a revolting experience. Yes, it was prasadam prabhu. I think an acronym is in order here: Upstart Preliminary Masticating Assessment. When this unknown quantity was served for breakfast, I saw how different it looked from the other tasty dishes. It could have been a mushy overcooked conglomerat...

Sep 3, 2015 -- 6,400 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna dasa

The topic of Sadhu-ninda is given such importance because one can be desensitized to its effects. Persistent exposure to hearing criticism of vaisnavas can cause this, which is so insidious as to be unnoticeable by many. When one realizes his taste for chanting is waning, it is of concern. Advanced devotees just cannot, will not and do not offend vaisnavas. Can one be said to be thinking of Krsna while doing so? Highly unlikely. As BG.18.58. says, ‘if however, you do not work in such consci...

Aug 23, 2015 -- 5,252 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna dasa

I am sure many of us have encountered someone who may have doubted the efficacy of their duty, or were unsure of the completion of a task, to which we, with an air of authority say “Impossible is a word found in a fool’s dictionary.” This saying amongst others form parts of devotee speak as we mimic Srila Prabhupada’s words. It was discovered some years ago that the most common word used by devotees is; so. So is so prevalent and almost infectious that we all know of a so and so prabh...

Jul 30, 2015 -- 7,873 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

For those who have faith in what Krishna is capable of, possess the greatest fortune. This fortune consisting of flying pigs, a tortoise with an itchy back, and a giant-stepping dwarf are giant leaps of faith, made normal. The fortune of faith helps us understand Krishna’s playful nature, even when He delineates Vedic thought. “Rise above the flowery words of the Vedas” He says. If all of these Avatara pastimes are fun, we can only imagine how fun Krishna must be. With Krishna around...

Jul 19, 2015 -- 2,073 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

We might take the “As It Is” in our Bhagavad-gita title for granted. All authors want to be different and original. With many versions of Bhagavad-gita already available, Srila Prabhupada’s “As It Is” addition was a very bold and provocative one. He is saying, “this is it, how it should be, the definitive and genuine Bhagavad-gita”. Who else can claim this with confidence? Considering that there are many ways of looking at Krishna’s song of wisdom, and studying it from diff...

Jun 28, 2015 -- 1,576 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna dasa

Let us take the great soul Sriman Jayananda prabhu for example. As a Vaisnava he was performing multi-tasks befitting actions performed in all the varnas. As the happy transcendental dustbin man [Sudra activity] he managed the temple’s waste. As a taxi driver he earned much needed income for the temple [Vaisya activity]. When guests arrived, he would be the charming host and hospitality representative able to preach about Krsna [Brahmana activity]. In matters of temple maintenance he manage...

Jun 12, 2015 -- 4,924 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

There has been an unfortunate resurgence of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Leaders condemn these; Media outlets sensationally convey coverage to the world and people become more sceptical. Nations whose citizens are affected by xenophobic attacks voice loud concerns through channels such as the African Union. Yet in spite of the condemnation, the important questions to ask are ‘Why is this happening?’ Why here in South Africa? Is there a solution? Is there a quick fix?’

Apr 28, 2015 -- 1,524 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

Scientists are fond of saying that there is no purpose to life, and yet they live their lives full of purpose. They like to marry and have children, and keep pets. They like to keep photographs of loved ones and they love their families, even though love is simply a chemical stimulant for them. Scientists have purposeful ambitions within a ‘purposeless’ world. They want to see purposeful improvement within human society while at the same time they say that determinism and sheer survival...

Mar 24, 2015 -- 1,871 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

We can get a wrong idea of what perfection is in Bhakti. We might think that a guru has to be word perfect, action perfect – everything perfect. What type of perfection though? If we expect a mechanised, robotic perfection where every strand of hair remains untangled and every tilt of the head is an encyclopaedic event, and base our faith on these alone, we’ll miss the point. Perfection can be found in imperfection. If a pure devotee offers Krishna a banana skin instead of a banana bec...

Mar 14, 2015 -- 1,654 views
Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna Dasa

In former times, codes of warfare ensured combat on battlefields. When Asvattama killed the five sons of the Pandavas and Draupadi outside of a battlefield and then released an unwithdrawable brahmastra weapon at an unborn child within the womb of mother Uttara, Asvattama felt justified with his acts of terror. Asvattama felt justified in committing barbarity against soft targets because: 1) His father Dronacarya was killed by 'unfair' means after the telling of a 'lie' by Yudhisthira 2) He ...

Jan 16, 2015 -- 1,525 views
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 in response to a kirtaneer. After a few Hare Krishna mantras sung to a particular...

Nov 18, 2014 -- 1,903 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 may also think that because devotees are above ignorance, they will never exper...

Nov 7, 2014 -- 1,930 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 ISKCON? Is this wishful thinking?

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Oct 1, 2014 -- 1,951 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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Sep 1, 2014 -- 1,680 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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Jun 28, 2014 -- 2,994 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 some sleep. Yes, it is ignorance, but it is better than ignorant devotion. We n...

Jun 1, 2014 -- 3,250 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 place of origin through birth-given names. By providing one’s DNA sample one migh...

May 4, 2014 -- 10,173 views
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