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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Cross Wires and Razor Edges

Thursday, 03 September 2015 / Published in Articles, Praghosa Dasa / 6,992 views

By Praghosa dasa

Whenever it is stated that we are all eternal spirit souls, eternal servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Jivera ‘svarupa’ haya-krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’ there is rarely, if ever, any confusion, misunderstanding or contention among the devotee community. On the contrary it is a statement that we can all get behind and support. There are of course other statements and subject matters that the devotee community do not so easily see eye to eye on. Such a situation is in many ways quite natural, we even have examples from sastra where previous acaryas had varying opinions on certain subject matters.

Those varying opinions though are never described as being a source of conflict, indeed often they are the opportunity for further glorification of devotees:

SB 1.12.23 Translation

This child will be like his grandfather Yudhisthira or Brahma in equanimity of mind. He will be munificent like the lord of the Kailasa Hill, Siva. And he will be the resort of everyone, like the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana, who is even the shelter of the goddess of fortune.


Mental equanimity refers both to Maharaja Yudhisthira and to Brahma, the grandfather of all living beings. According to Sridhara Svami, the grandfather referred to is Brahma, but according to Visvanatha Cakravarti, the grandfather is Maharaja Yudhisthira himself. But in both cases the comparison is equally good because both of them are recognized representatives of the Supreme Lord, and thus both of them have to maintain mental equanimity, being engaged in welfare work for the living being.

If desired the above example could be used to get into a right old ding-dong as to who the grandfather is but as the above shows vaisnavas, rather than taking that option, simply use it as an opportunity to further glorify their fellow devotees. From this example we can understand that rather than apparent contradiction being a vehicle for full scale disagreement, a devotee takes it as an opportunity for further enlightenment and further glorification of their fellow vaisnavas.

There is a saying that goes something like this “S/he could pick a fight in an empty room” Without a doubt the urge to be argumentative is present within all of us and therefore it is important that as devotees we use it only when it is appropriate to do so:

“Of course, those who preach sometimes need to argue with the contentions of opponents, but as much as possible one should avoid an argumentative attitude” SB 7.13.7 purport

So unless there is a need to argue with our opponents contentions according to the above reference we should avoid manifesting such an argumentative attitude.

Srila Prabhupada mentions in another purport the same principle from a different angle:

We should learn from Maharaja Prthu that a Vaisnava, or devotee, must not only be fixed in the service of the Lord, but, if required, must be prepared to argue with the impersonalist Mayavadis with all logic and philosophy and defeat their contention that the Absolute Truth is impersonal.
SB 4.22.62 purport

So arguing per se is not a bad thing if it is directed at the right target such as Mayavadi’s, which is of course very important because once one engages in unnecessary argument, quarrel quickly follows and then there is little chance of any auspicious outcome. Quarrel as we know is a prime quality of kali yuga, indeed the word kali is often translated to mean quarrel.

O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed. SB 1.1.10 Translation

While discussion is undoubtedly welcome among vaisnavas it must be conducted in the right mood, we cannot allow ourselves to be dictated to by pride and false ego, thus identifying other devotees as our rivals or enemies.

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.

For many reasons misunderstandings are always a likely occurrence and we should allow for them, giving the benefit of the doubt, particularly as our discussions are among devotees. Devotees that have spent so many hours of their lives chanting the holy name. Such persons are very special indeed.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that the chanting of the holy name of the Lord has special significance that distinguishes it from the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies of atonement for severe, more severe or most severe sinful actions. There are twenty types of religious scriptures called dharma-sastras, beginning with the Manu-samhita and parasara-samhita, but herein it is stressed that although one may become free from the reactions of the most sinful activities by following the religious principles of these scriptures, this cannot promote a sinful man to the stage of loving service to the Lord. On the other hand, chanting the holy name of the Lord even once not only frees one immediately from the reactions of the greatest sins, but also raises one to the platform of rendering loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is described as uttamasloka because He is famous for His glorious activities. Thus one serves the Lord by remembering His form, His attributes and pastimes. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that this is all possible simply by chanting the Lord’s holy name because of the Lord’s omnipotence. What cannot be achieved through the performance of Vedic rituals can be easily achieved through the chanting of the Lord’s holy name. To chant the holy name and dance in ecstasy is so easy and sublime that one can achieve all the benefits of spiritual life simply by following this process. SB 6.2.11 purport

I am sure we all have examples of classic but genuine misunderstandings in our own lives. About 15 years ago one devotee (name withheld :) was mentioning how he had been accepted in some university in London and he would be moving to the UK in the near future to study there. He said it was handy because the college was very close to Bhaktivedanta Manor and he was planning on staying at the Manor and going to college each day from there. I said to him that he might want to check with the Manor first to see if they had the facility for him to stay. I also enquired as to what service he would do while staying there, as attending full time college would not leave him much time for doing any service. His response was hilarious mainly because of his genuine (if extremely naïve) misunderstanding. He said that he did not think it would be a problem if he had no time to do any service because Srila Prabhupada had said many times that “One should take advantage of this movement”!

After managing to bring my laughter under control (which took quite a while) I explained to him that that wasn’t quite what Prabhupada had in mind by ‘taking advantage of this movement’. As soon as he heard my explanation he was quite embarrassed as he could immediately understand his oversight but the fact is it was a genuine misunderstanding and therefore he wasn’t deserving of capital punishment.

As a 6 or 7 year old kid I remember the same kind of thing happening to me. The day after my birthday (where my lasting memory was a three tier sponge cake filled with cream and jam) I was in school and the teacher was discussing sponges under the sea. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to put a sponge under the sea (my mind still locked onto the vision of a creamy sponge cake), it would just get all soggy and horrible. Anyway I didn’t bother to question this at the time and just put it to the back of my mind. While I wasn’t thinking about this night and day, still it was maybe a year or more later before my doubts were answered. One day I was watching a nature program on TV, and the subject matter being discussed was natural sea sponges, it was then that the penny dropped as to what my teacher was talking about all that time before.

Misunderstandings and contradictions are certainly a fact of life, indeed as often as we hear a fire brigade or ambulance siren piercing our ears or making our heart skip a beat, there is likely to be an abortion being executed or a war being planned somewhere in the world. So as we spend millions rushing to save lives, we are simultaneously wasting millions destroying them.

Hopefully we can avoid the same scenario in our dealings with devotees, namely while we are trying to achieve clarification and further enlightenment on such spiritual matters as to how best to organise society, thus making it more compatible for all to practice spiritual life, we do not destroy our devotional creepers in the process. Such an end would never be justified by the means.

Your servant
Praghosa dasa

Balaram Jayanti Celebrations at Krishna Balaram Mandir (ISKCON Punjabi Bagh)
My Outer Limits Upma Story

15 Responses to “Cross Wires and Razor Edges”

  1. Kesava Krsna dasa says :

    Well said prabhu,

    That devotee who was willing to take advantage of the movement. Perhaps you could have replied by para-phrasing president Kennedy “Ask not what Iskcon can do for you, but what you can do for Iskcon.”

    I wonder if he would have understood.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

  2. Praghosa says :

    Yes I think he would have understood, as it was he immediately accepted the clarification I offered him.

    Your servant, Praghosa dasa.

  3. dayananda says :

    Praghosa Prabhu,
    My obeisances. Jaya Prabhupada.

    Regarding differences of perception, I would like to bring to light the polarity on book distribution that exists among the leadership.

    I am extremely concerned about the downward trend and the silent disinterest among some of the prominent leaders. The decline since 1996 has yielded no strategy, no practical, actionable plan to reverse the trend.

    Historically, the leaders who most supported book distribution and produced action plans were the most powerful in ISKCON. Now those who are apathetic or have no successful action plans are the most powerful. Book distribution is our dharma (dharma-sthapana-hetu sadhura vyavahara). Without dharma we are animals (dharmena hina pasubhih).

    Your servant, Dayananda

  4. Praghosa says :

    Dear Dayananda prabhu,

    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    You made a few comments on this subject but they were directed at individuals and perhaps it best if you write to them privately. As for your general point about book distribution being in decline, I think you’d agree we should look at this in context.

    For sure there are places where it is in decline and it is also not at the peak it was in it’s heyday. Still there are many positive points that can be made about book distribution.

    There are some countries where few, if any, books were distributed during Srila Prabhupada’s manifest lila, little old Ireland is a case in point but there are many others too. Then there are the countries that have taken a dip in book distribution but are now climbing again and some have climbed back to their original high levels. There are also some yatras now where book distribution is being done in a way that is less prone to massive slumps, as all is not depending on one individual for inspiration.

    Before concluding that book distribution is in terminal decline, it would be good to get verified figures from the BBT as to how many books are being printed and sold. I say the BBT because WSN and other reporting agents don’t always have all yatras reporting regularly. Anyway it would be good to get those figures and see where we now stand and also whether we are on an upward curve or a downward one.

    I don’t know so much about the US (although I know there are many devotees pushing book distribution like Svavas, Vaisesika and Vijaya prabhus) but in the UK, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic and other Eastern European countries, India, Russia and Argentina book distribution is in a pretty healthy state.

    As for the leadership pushing book distribution, the first day of the GBC meetings for the last few years has been dedicated to book distribution. The BBT organise that day and all the discussions are about how we can increase book distribution. As well as this there is a joint BBT/GBC committee who work together with the sole aim of increasing book distribution. One way they do this is by ensuring that there is upmost co-operation between ISKCON and the BBT.

    Your servant, Praghosa dasa.

  5. asprng_vaishnav says :

    I wonder if we are overlooking internet when we collect statistics about book distribution. I bought most of Srila Prabhupad’s books in my mother-tongue, but when I try to introduce KC to my friends and acquaintences, I e-mail them online books url. I forwarded Chinese url to two of my Chinese friends.
    Many Srila Prabhupad’s books are available for online reading and they are free.
    I am sure I am not alone in using internet for book distribution.
    In view of this, how important are paper copies sales figures? Also, in the US, ISKCON centers are not dependent on book distribution alone for maintainence. That was true in early days of ISKCON.
    I would recommend to do internet preaching especially to younger folks.

  6. Suresh das says :

    I checked the list of the top 100 Book Distributors of the North American Sankirtan List for October 2006, as listed at this site- Dayananda Prabhu is not on the list.

    I don’t know what Dayananda prabhu’s relationship is now with book distribution but by making such strong statements about book distribution many will be curious to know…….

  7. dayananda says :

    Praghosh Prabhu,
    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupäda.

    There is no good excuse for the lack of actionable leadership strategies. My experience in both ISKCON and IBM management is that, in order to be successful, the top leaders, acting with one voice, approve and oversee the implementation of strategies for corporate-wide sales and marketing efforts. True, there is now a book distribution component during GBC meetings. However, if there are not corporate-wide actionable plans for mass distribution, such reports and discussions are not adequate.

    Thank you very much for taking my previous comment seriously. I appreciate the fact that you have responded. Regarding my public notes to individual leaders about book distribution, forty years’ service to ISKCON gives me the right to address the leadership, even in a public forum, as a concerned constituent. The only other time I’ve expressed strong public criticism of some leadership policies was in 1985.

    With great affection for you, the GBC, ISKCON gurus, and ISKCON devotees, I am your servant, Dayananda

  8. Praghosa says :

    Dear Dayananda prabhu,

    I agree that if the leadership is united and singularly focused on one issue then the level of success is likely to be greater. I don’t think that the leadership isn’t united on the issue of book distribution but naturally there will always be varying degrees of focus as no two individuals are the same. Of course the leadership doesn’t have the luxury of focusing on just one endeavour. There are temples and communities to run, Deities to be woshipped. prasadam to be distributed, educational programs to be ran etc., etc., etc.

    I’d still like to see the official BBT figures in relation to book publication and distribution so we can gauge precisely what the state of our current book distribution efforts are vis a vis yesteryear.

    I will talk to some BBT trustees about this at the next available opportunity.

    Thank you again for your concern about book distribution.

    Your servant, Praghosa dasa.

  9. dayananda says :

    Based on my management training by Prabhupada, hundreds of hours association with him, and knowledge of his books, lectures, and letters, I am convinced he would not accept excuses for the decline.

    Whether or not the leadership is fully united, as a group they should have actionable strategies. There are a number of official ISKCON sources indicating decline; among them are and the BBT financial reports.

    Some things in ISKCON are disagreeable, but tolerable, and indeed more than offset by the positive. However, the apathy toward book distribution is intolerable and a neglect of Prabhupada’s most basic desire.

    I regularly see old Christian women distributing their books and pamphlets. However, collectively ISKCON’s disciples have only excuses, and relatively little or no commitment to Sri Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada’s sankirtana book distribution.

    Ys, D

  10. Akruranatha says :

    Great article, highly topical. Here we are, finally invited to have a discussion about discussions, and we really have not taken it up with gusto, yet. . . .

    I was reading a translation of Caitanya Bhagavat one time (Kusa Krata’s, I think) and there was a particularly striking passage that described that just as the Lord is found where devotees are discussing His glories, Lord Caitanya immediately leaves the place where devotees are quarreling. (Yikes!)

    Why are devotees (like me) sometimes so quarrelsome?

    Some possible reasons:

    (1) We naturally tend to emulate Srila Prabhupada (my family sometimes asked me why I had developed an Indian accent). :-)

    Srila Prabhupada was completely confident because he was fully conversant with the absolute truth and in constant direct contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He rarely said, “I think… maybe… I could be be wrong, but…” He really knew.

    We should follow, but not imitate. If we really could be wrong, or really could be misunderstanding, why not admit it? But often its not our style, it is not part of our culture. We want to “pretend” to be perfect already (well, I do sometimes, anyway), and that can make us come off as arrogant.

    (2) Related to the first, while giving class or preaching, we often want to be “channeling” the disciplic succession, repeating exactly what we heard from authority, no room for error.

    That kind of communication is not suitable for every kind of discussion, though. We can’t always assume the role of “teacher”. Sometimes we need to play the role of questioner and learner. Often we need to play the role of friend who can give and take as an equal.

    The Bhagavatam or Bhagavad Gita class is such an established, formal way of communicating in ISKCON, it may be a model of how we talk to each other (we are actually trying to give class to each other!) We need to get the experience of Krishna katha with friends, where nobody is the “designated authority” and we can enjoy each other’s realizations, or privately submit our doubts to be destroyed, without fear of public ridicule.

    [We used to sometimes read Krishna book or Nectar of Devotion together before taking rest, or on traveling sankirtan, with friendly laughing and wonder, not as a formal class but as a nice intimate exchange]

    (3) Also related to the above, our accepted model of acquiring knowledge is “hearing from authority”. Maybe we are not sufficiently accustomed to hearing and learning from each other. If someone is disagreeing with me, and I am repeating what I heard from “authority”, he must be in maya.

    [We should still be on our guard, in spiritual discussions, to avoid speculation or “apasiddhanta,” but more often than not, we are too apt to accuse each other of speculating and manufacturing things. We can afford to be a little charitable and allow that another devotee may be presenting something authentic from a different angle. Even if they sound “off” to us, we can afford to suspend judgment and check what they say against other authorities before jumping to the conclusion they are wrong. And even if we conclude they are wrong, it might not be the right time or place or we might not even be the right person to say so.]

    (4) As already expertly expressed by Praghosa Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada was often a “lion”, smashing the atheists, the mayavadis, the various nonsense fools and rascals. That is a proper engagement for anger and a chivalrous mood of going out and conquering the world for Krishna. We just have to be careful to select the right time and place, and to be especially careful when dealing with devotees. [I especially admired Praghosa’s discussion of how devotees who have spent so many hours of their lives chanting the holy names must be regarded as very special]

    (5) Discussions on the internet tend to be highly volatile and devotees apparenly have no special dispensation and are no exception to this rule. It is fun to vent and really “skewer” or “flame” somebody. When we write something that is going to be seen by lots of people, most of us just cannot help getting our egos wrapped up in it. We may imagine ourselves speaking on behalf of a group of like-minded people. It feels really bad to be publicly chastised (somebody recently said I was “insulting Srila Prabhupada”–ouch!), and emotions can run high.

    (6) It is a rare quality to be a good listener. Most people are good at saying what’s on their mind, but few are good at really focusing in on what other people are trying to say.

    On the internet this can be especially troublesome because of the tendency to debate (if we want our “opponent” to be wrong, we are not going to focus in on his or her best ideas), and because of the lack of nonverbal cues.

    (7) We see in the Bhagavatam and other scriptures examples of curses and countercurses going on among the demigods and sages (especially Durvasa muni). Those who are renounced and austere sometimes may be quick to anger (holding down lust can give rise to anger). We have to use anger in right ways, against nondevotees, as noted above.

    I could probably come up with another 15 reasons. Can’t we all?

    Praghosa pointed out some really important things:

    The fact that quarrel is practically the main feature of Kali yuga (I sometimes have seen devotees almost mystically impelled to quarrel, as if the personality of Kali is trying to check the Sankirtan movement, and I do not doubt that he is. We can stop Kali in his tracks if we swallow our pride and focus on the bigger picture: we will show our love for Srila Prabhupada by how we can cooperate together)

    The fact that great acaryas can disagree about things or have different opinions without quarreling. (We do not want to be wishy-washy or lose logical sharpness by failing to see contradictions in false arguments, like nonsense Mayavadis sometimes do, but devotees are “mahatmas” and are extremely broad minded. They can often appreciate essential truth among apparently contradictory statements or philosophies.)

    Most importantly, the fact that other devotees are worthy of deep respect due to their being chanters of the holy name who are therefore dear to Krishna. We can deeply appreciate their many good qualities. It is only by the association of these faithful devotees that we are able to sustain any semblance of Krishna consciousness.

    [Where was it in the Caitanya Caritamrta that Srila Prabhupada wrote(paraphrasing), “Anyone who thinks they can become Krishna conscious outside the society of devotees is living in an illusion”?]

  11. dayananda says :

    Akruranatha and Praghosa,
    Prabhupada explains, “When learned sages and brahmanas assemble to chant Vedic mantras, some of them also engage in arguing about the conclusion of the scriptures. […] so the entire atmosphere was surcharged with transcendental sound vibration. ” (SB 4.4.6 purport)

    In spite of that statement, as you’ve pointed out, the arguments should not be acrimonious. When Jiva Gosvami argued in favor of svakiya rasa, which appears to contradict Rupa/Sanatana’s conclusions on parakiya, we cannot conceive of him being disrespectful. Similary, Visvanatha Thakur vs Sridhara Swami (SB 1.12.23)–certainly, the Thakur was aware of Sridhar Swami’s commentary, and of Mahaprabhu’s statement to Vallabhacarya: “One who does not accept the svami [husband] as an authority I consider a prostitute.” (Cc Antya 7.115) Still, he offered an alternative viewpoint. According to the Vedas, when there are apparent contradictions, both must be accepted.

    Applied to the ISKCON leadership, in the 1980s the most influential GBCs and gurus were very strong about book distribution as a fundamental ISKCON theme. They even privately criticized the results (BBT remittances) of the others. By the late-1990s, all of the leaders who had been passionate (transcendentally) about book distribution had left the movement. Currently, ISKCON’s most influential leaders focus on loving relations and care for devotees. Some go so far as to say that the previous emphasis was wrong, or is now outmoded.

    In truth, both positions have their strengths and weaknesses. However, it is time to recognize the fact that the pendulum has swung too far in reaction to previous excesses, and now resume greater accountability for BBT remittances, starting from the top leadership. Prabhupada emphasized both loving relationships and accountability, but of the two, the latter being more important. He quotes, “The sons and disciples should always be chastised. Never pat them,” and then along with this statement from Chanakhya, he stresses skill, loving care, and humility.

    Your servant, Dayananda

  12. Akruranatha says :

    Dayananda Prabhu,

    Dandavats. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    I am having a hard time understanding why you see a conflict between discussing quarrels between devotees and emphasizing book distribution.

    Maybe it is because I am not an ISKCON insider and I do not know what is going on in the GBC.

    You seem to be saying that some leaders who are focusing on loving relations and care for devotees are neglecting book distribution.

    Even if that is true in some cases, I do not see why it has to be true. That is, I can easily imagine leaders emphasizing good relations among devotees and also increasing book distribution. In fact, I would expect that normally the two would go hand in hand.

    (I don’t have to imagine it, because I have the good fortune of seeing Vaisesika and his influence in San Jose Yatra.)

    Surely you are not implying that to increase book distribution we need to neglect “loving relations and care for devotees”? A strong sankirtan party will have lots of good will and espirit de corps.

    IMHO, the emphasis on “transcendental competition” and big individual scores may have led to some of the excesses that might have turned some devotees off from book distribution.

    [I have to laugh when I think of how competitive the great Vijitatma was with us back in Vancouver in around 1978. We were on traveling sankirtan somewhere out in the prairies, and Makhana Cora and I wanted to keep distributing (it was around9 p.m.), but Vijitatma was trying to persuade us to stop distributing and study a little before taking rest. We told him, “You go study and we’ll keep distributing”, but he objected, “No. Then you will have bigger scores than I do”.] :-)

    Sigh. It was a lot of transcendental fun.

    Maybe some of the leaders you are talking about were turned off by bad techniques that brought ill repute to devotees. (I have had some discussions along these lines with some leading Indian sannyasis, including Srila Bhaktiswarup Damodar Maharaj)

    I even heard of one famous big lady distributor who would offer to give change for a $20 bill and then would just refuse to give anything back, running away if necessary. When my wife was sent out to be trained up by her, it turned her off from book distribution.

    [Another lady distributor did a similar thing when I was at a fair in Canada, I think it was at the Calgary Stampede, and the customer came to beat up the men.]

    If we use such “techniques”, not only will the public hate us, but many devotees will not want to become distributors because they will not want to lie, cheat and steal, even “for Krishna.”

    [Where did we ever get the idea that Krishna wants us to steal for Him, anyway? It seems short sighted. There are lots of better ways we can prove our boldness, without risking ISKCON’s reputation.]

    When I first joined on the Radha Damodar bus, I was sometimes thinking, “What kind of spiritual society have I become involved with? It seems more like Fagan’s gang of pickpockets from Oliver Twist.”

    We were not even doing many books then, because we were busy collecting $$ for the New York temple at W. 55th, so the devotees were “slapping packs” of incense, using these funny, rhyming lines in primarily black neighborhoods. It seemed wierd and strange to me (an interesting phase of ISKCON history).

    Maha Muni Prabhu was the bus leader (That was the year TKG and Vishnujana Swami did not come back from the Mayapur festival…everyone kept telling me they would soon be back.) Mahamuni ran the gang like an army sargeant. He was good at motivating the mostly young men (I was 17, and was too green to go out).

    He would auction off the maha sweets at morning prasadam, and collectors would “bid” by promising to bring home more money (e.g., Who’ll give me $50 for this “eagle rock”? Do I hear $75 for the rasa malai?) The collectors got very enthusiastic.

    Sriman Jayananda Prabhu was also the co-leader of the bus. He really exemplified the mood of “loving relations and care for the devotees”. He was very affectionate to all of us and he would travel from spot to spot making sure all the collectors were doing all right and had what they needed. He was especially kind to me because I was a new devotee and did not understand a lot that was going on.

    Both styles were simultaneously working together on the same bus.

    However, in the long run the method of motivating distributors by increasing their mood of Krishna consciousness and compassion for the fallen souls, as well as appreciation for each other’s association, will always be more sustainable and more successful than just getting them excited about becoming famous for bringing back big scores, IMHO.

    Also, the “first rule” of leaving everyone with a good impression should be emphasized, as Vaish does. Other methods may make some short run increases but will eventually backfire.

  13. dayananda says :

    It’s time for me to take this off line. For any further issues I’m available at

    ys, d

  14. Akruranatha says :

    Christians sometimes make the point that God is so vast He can accommodate various apparently opposing points of view, quoting Jesus Christ’s statement, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.”

    In the spirit of the Christmas holiday season I wanted to make a Vaisnava observation about the above statement:

    Who is it who has an abode containing many mansions?

    Why it is Krishna, who in Dwaraka Dhama had a separate, opulent palace for each of His 16,108 wives, and was able to appear simultaneously in each palace so the inhabitants of each palace felt He was spending all His time with them.

    Understanding these inconceivable pastimes of Krishna, we can appreciate that different devotees from their own angle of vision may see that Krishna is truly with them and them alone, but at the same time realize that He is with other devotees, too.

  15. Akruranatha says :

    I am sorry this editorial did not generate much discussion, as the topics of devotee communications in general and internet communications in particular are important and timely, and the article was very nicely written.

    It may be just that the topic was not controversial enough to generate the kind of interest that some of the other topics have done.

    We are inspired to contribute to these threads because we are experiencing different tastes or moods that give us satisfaction in writing. We may get more juice out of taking sides in a controversy than in just adding our two cents to a non-controversial topic.

    I hope some day we will get all enlivened about just sharing some realization or some interesting nugget we have read in Prabhupada’s books. One reference or realization give rise to many cross-references, and the conversation will just flourish as other devotees add more and more comments, without the necessity of arguing.

    I remember the story about someone being skeptical whether Srila Bhaktisiddhanta would have enough information to publish a daily spiritual newspaper, and he said that the spiritual world is much more full of news and activities than the material world, so if the mundane newspapers could come out every day, the spiritual newspapers certainly could too.