Call to all Devotee-Scholars!!!

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By Pusta Krishna das

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad!! This is a call to action to all of our Godbrothers and Godsisters with advanced degrees which we can dovetail in the service of Srila Prabhupad. I have had communications with His Grace Jayadvaita Maharaj, and with His Grace Devamrita Maharaj who c has been appointed by the GBC to interface with the Bhaktivedanta Institute. First, I do not intend that this project be entitled the “Bhaktivedanta Institute” in order to avoid any conflicts with their management. The devotee-scholars who become involved with the program will help choose a name for the program.
The main purposes of this program are as follows:
1. First and foremost, we must encourage engagement in devotional service from our scholars. They have so much to offer to the world. No person left behind…no bhakta should be overlooked. They are all vitally important to Srila Prabhupad and the world.
2. The organization of this program, which will be later named by our collective agreement, will be decentralized, similar to Nama-Hatta. This will give maximal creative opportunity to the local devotee-scholars. We want to encourage that you think and plan for Srila Prabhupad’s service, and that your service is deeply appreciated. We want to reach the educated public, ie scientists, scholars, leaders in their fields, and share with them the importance of placing Krishna(God) in the Center. Water the root and every part of the tree will be benefited. Realize that all endeavours are “zero” without the “1″ before them. This program will emphasize the Parampara teachings which Srila Prabhupad gave us. We will not pander to mayavadis or mental speculators, but rather will use our intelligence and creativity, and most importantly, our “personal example”, that life is much richer and full with hope by following the principles of bhakti-yoga. We will teach the importance of transcendental sound vibration, the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, as the prime benediction of this age for making rapid progress in one’s ultimate quest in life. When people will see your sincerity of purpose, their hearts will be softened to Krishna, and our service will please Srila Prabhupad and Krishna.
3. Local devotee-scholars can arrange Forums with several devotee-scholars to make presentations to the public. Especially, we shall target the educated population with the aim of helping them realize the tremendous opportunity that Srila Prabhupad has given them in this brief life. Any form of program can be considered so long it remains Parampara, and will include some chanting and book distribution as well. Prasadam distribution as appropriate can be done as well.
4. Later, it is possible that our devotee-scholars might contribute essays to a book or journal that will emphasize the practical nature of bhakti-yoga. We shall see.

First, I want to give you my email address so that we can begin sharing ideas, formats for service, and others in your area who you may or may not know are willing to participate in this preaching work. Most importantly, is that you engage. We must try to please our beloved Sri Gurudeva. From my side, I can tell you that you will get nothing but encouragement from me, and I hope that you will give nothing but encouragement to others. I believe in Krishna, I believe in Srila Prabhupad, and I believe in you, fellow bhaktas in this important service to Srila Prabhupad.

Email me: PustaKrishna@comcast.net

Eventually, we shall create a more voluminous email list, and can exchange ideas, successes, frustrations, but never turn back…never.

Yours in service to Srila Prabhupad,

Pusta Krishna das

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1 Akruranatha

It sounds like a great idea, that devotees who also have advanced university degrees, should get to know one another better and try to work together for some worthwhile preaching initiatives.

“It does not matter what one is. One must dedicate everything in the service of the Lord. If one is a learned scholar, scientist, philosopher, poet, etc., then he should employ his learning to establish the supremacy of the Lord.”

[S.B. 1.5.32, Purport]

It seems that those who have advanced university degrees and particularly those who are actually respected scientists occupy a position in society analogous to that of brahmanas. We need to capture that segment of society and get them to dedicate their activities to the service of Krishna.

The rest of the purport talks about how ksatriyas (”administrator, statesman, warrior, politician, etc.”), and vaisyas (”a businessman, an industrialist, an agrigulturalist, etc.”) should use one’s talents and assets in the service of the Lord, to establish His supemacy.

And in the same chapter:

“Therefore, all the sages and devotees of the Lord have recommended that the subject matter of art, science, philosophy, physics, chemistry, psychology and all other branches of knowledge should be wholly and solely applied to the service of the Lord. … Advanced people are eager to understand the Absolute Truth through the medium of science, and therefore a great scientist should endeavor to prove the existence of the Lord on a scientific basis. … All ‘knowledge’ not engaged in the service of the Lord is but nescience. Real utilization of advanced knowledge is to establish the glories of the Lord, and that is the real import. Scientific knowledge engaged in the service of the Lord and all similar activities are all factually hari-kirtan, or glorification of the Lord.”

[S.B. 1.5.22, Purport]

We do need a kind of Hare Krishna “salon” for those who have special training and talent in scientific and academic disciplines.

Too often I think sometimes devotees without advanced material education feel threatened by science and so-called higher learning, and may at times inadvertently give an unnecessarily anti-science, anti-intellectual spin on their preaching, which can sometimes make devotees seem like narrow-minded, reactionary or fundamentalist types, and can play into the worst stereotypes of the “faith versus reason” dichotomy.

Actually, devotees are the mahatmas, the sumedhasah.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on October 27th, 2010
2 ron conroy satyahit

A subject for Pusta Krishna prabhu & the scholars.
The tenants of the bible should be followed by government, otherwise they wreak havoc and misery upon
the citizens and themselves. Some politicians like Ken Buck, have recently broached the subject..
satyahit das

Comment posted by ron conroy satyahit on October 28th, 2010
3 Puskaraksa das

Thank you very much, Pusta Krishna Prabhu, for this enthusing move and initiative.

It is always nice and productive to encourage cross border cooperation and discussions amongst devotees and it is one of the great goals served by Dandavats.com.

However, I would appreciate if you could clarify what you mean by ā€œscholarā€ā€¦?

As a matter of fact, many a devotee may consider himself/herself a scholar, whatever their scholarly background may be, either because he/she is well versed in the scriptures and/or he/she may not have a clear feel of the unfathomable ocean of what he/she still ignores in the unlimited spiritual realmā€¦

On the other hand, out of humility, may a genuine scholar step forward and pose as a scholar, when the real scholar of Bhagavad-gita was acclaimed not as someone who could memorize all the slokas by heart, but as someone, while still being illiterate, had captured its essence and could shed tears out of devotion, when he saw how Krishna, the all mighty Supreme Personality of Godhead, had accepted out of love, to become the chariot driver of His devotee, Arjunaā€¦

For it is only by bhakti, that one can approach and even conquer Krishnaā€¦ bhaktya Mam abhijanatiā€¦

So, who is a real scholar, in the pure Vaishnava senseā€¦?

But, it seems you were rather referring to devotees who had done some sort of post graduate studies and had received some higher education in various universities, business and engineer schools, medical schools, etc., throughout the worldā€¦

Then, it seems that your concept is somewhat in the line of the university program Srila Prabhupada had set up, where ex university students were preaching to other university studentā€¦

In this way, we would have, as Akruranath Prabhu appropriately depicts it, various devotees knowledgeable in different spheres, addressing special audiences, on specific concerns at a higher level, thanks to their common level of understandingā€¦

However, I am not sure I have grasped properly your intentions, dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu, due to my own deficiencies and lack of intelligenceā€¦ So, please enlighten us further about your visionā€¦

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on October 30th, 2010
4 Puskaraksa das

Nevertheless, I know we have to respect all spheres of knowledge and that preferably, devotees who have some interest and affinities with some specific subject matters, should rather be the ones to get involved in such or such specific field, more so than devotees who may think that, on the basis of their having some understanding about God and the ultimate goal of life, they can pose as authorities on any topic. The end result is that they often dismiss experts as being insignificant creatures, discussing petty matters only, since they ignore the essential fact, i.e. that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godheadā€¦ Then, ISKCON and devotees at large, gain only an image of being a cult, and its members narrow-minded fanatics, which, we have to admit, defeats our purpose!

In the mid-nineties, I took part to an ISKCON European seminar on Communication which took place in England, where we visited Cambridge University. There a professor and scholar well versed on India and Indian religious trends and philosophies, and who then had some respect for devotees and understanding of Vaishnavism, still questioned our ISKCON Movement about our falling prey to what he identified as the ā€œfortressā€ syndrome, i.e. isolation.

He suggested that in the same way that when we are sick, we go to a doctor, similarly we should open up to society and reach out to others, who have some competence and various assets which we may benefit from, rather than remain isolated in our own fortress, out of fear of others (if not despise), in a ā€œneti netiā€ attitude, which actually serves, neither our Movement, nor our sharing our spiritual assets with othersā€¦

Fortunately, we can observe that in different countries and in regards to topics, devotees are reaching out towards others, and are simultaneously gaining respect from others, up to the highest spheres of power where most important decisions are being taken.

They are invited to cook for city halls (Ireland), and speak in State parliaments (Utah), they are given some opportunity by the main representatives of the European community to speak on sustainable development and are invited to a world forum on climate (representatives of the Eco Valley in Hungary)ā€¦ We have a Bhaktivedanta Hospital, in Mumbai, etc. You name it!

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on October 30th, 2010
5 Puskaraksa das

We have devotee experts in all aspects of knowledgeā€¦ So, it is time to more and more open up, and allow all this knowledge to fructify and bear nice fruits which are for others to relishā€¦

Thereby, while appreciating devoteesā€™ contribution to society in different spheres, the class of people will be more and more inclined to give some credit to our philosophy and to the set of beliefs which inspire us, as they can evaluate as per our actions.

Since one judges a tree by its fruits, Krishna consciousness will keep spreading more and more efficiently as the class of people becomes convinced and thereafter, leads the mass of people towards the right spiritual directionā€¦

Patita
Puskaraksa das

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on October 30th, 2010
6 pustakrishna

Thank you for the comments by Puskaraksa Prabhu. First, in the context of this “Call to Scholars” from within our ranks, I want to first say that I am addressing those with higher college degrees, hopefully with some emphasis in science, religion, mathematics, sociology, etc, or businessmen who are working and centering their lives and families on Krishna. I do not mean to minimize the excellent scholarship of our brahmachary and sannyasi or even householder bhaktas. But, my intention is to re-engage these individuals in Srila Prabhupad’s active service. That is the most important purpose of this project. The temple management often puts the blinders on and do not have the expertise to engage such devotees, and they go off from the movement…really, I think, based on my personal experience with Srila Prabhupad, that managements first responsibility is to happily engage those under their sphere of influence in service.
Secondly, by having Bhaktivedanta Forums (with 3-5 such individuals giving brief presentations of the art of bhakti yoga application in their lives) then others who are dedicated to mudha-hood, working for chapala sukha because they do not have an alternative, can be inspired by the example of working individuals like themselves who have creatively incorporated Krishna consciousness into their lives. These programs can be planned locally, by local devotees, and can provide an important service for these often neglected and disheartened devotees.
I have faith that Srila Prabhupad often expressed that we want to reach the educated class of people. Krishna consciousness movement needs to have a “fire lit under it” to re-ignite the preaching programs in the West. We simply do not want to pander to people in order to get money to maintain the programs. We must fearlessly reach out, even under trees if necessary, to give out the mercy of Nitai-Gaura.
In my opinion, such programs should begin with kirtan (to elevate the consciousness for hearing), then discussion/question-answer, then kirtan, then book distribution and prasadam distribution. The guests can get the email and telephone numbers of the Forum’s presenters, and the tree of KC can be expanded more and more. I do not think that this is akin to placing out treasure before an unappreciative audience…Krishna will bring the right people to be exposed to Him. And who knows what wonders can take place from these individuals. Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on November 1st, 2010

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