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Varnashrama and Harinam Sankirtan

Monday, 01 August 2011 / Published in Articles / 7,562 views

By Yudhistir Govinda Das

Below is the transcription of Sripad Aindra Prabhu’s reply to a question on why Srila Prabhupada in his final years stressed on Varnashrama. Due to the duration of the reply the whole tape couldn’t be transcribed. If you wish to hear the full tape, you can listen to the recording titled ‘Sara-Grahi Sanga’ available on the 24 hour kirtan website.

“Varnashram is for those who are not having pure devotional sharddha. That’s means pure devotional shradhaa not bhäva not prema but pure devotional shardha. That’s the basis of pure deviton because in the writings of Bhaktivinod Thakur, he de-alinates rather scientifically, distinction between pure devotional shraddha, chäyä shardha and pratibhimba shradha äbhäsa…..

Most devotees have become bewildered by these [Varnashrama] instructions of Srila Prabhupada thinking that establishment of Varnashrama dharma is of utmost importance. But actually the establishment of Varnashrama Dharma was mostly, if you go through all of the recordings of Srila Prabhupada’s conversation etc., with religionist and scientist and what not, you will hear on how he again and again harps on the necessity for there to be a head on human society and that others will be able to function properly only if there is a head to guide them like that, and the whole idea of his teaching against classless society or communism. Which is not classes, but basically just sudra society with a few administrators reaping in at the expense of others which proves that the concept is virtual impossibility.

So In this way Prabhupad mostly focused his preaching to such kinds of people in the direction of you could say sub-religious principle because varnashram is a sub-religious principle not a real religious principle. And even here in Vrindavan there are some morning walks where Prabhupad is discussing Varnashram college and his idea of instituting of Varnashram. His main purpose that I can understand although as you pointed out he said that ‘if they are Vaishnavas why are they falling down?’, but his main purpose was to set an example in the microcosm for the benefit of macrocosm. That was his main intention. Ofcourse in the Chaitanya Charitamrita as far as I remember he mentions that Varnashram is only necessary,it is not necessary, but it is only necessary to the extent there are residues of bodily conception of life. So there are those amongst us in the society of devotes who are determined to remain attached to their bodily conception of life and they will determinately attach themselves to the Upadhi of being a brahmacari or the upädhi of being a sanyasi…… identifying with a particular role that they are endeavoring to model for the benefit of others but many of them inspite of the fact that they were roll modeling as Sanyasis or good little brahmacari’s or Grihastas with redoubled preaching strength and all these things, they fell away.

It’s not that Prabhupada didn’t introduce Varnashram in the sense that certain individuals who are accepting positions in relationship to the Krishna Consciousness society in various ashram practically from the very onset, maybe not in the very beginning but like the time I joined. I joined in 1973 that was 7 years after he the registered society in New York or let’s say 7 years after his preaching actually took off and long before that and even several years before that, atleast. Sixty eight there was the idea amongst the devotees of Grihastas, Brahmacari and Sanyasis. So they had their safety net to fall back on in terms of human existence. Varnashram is the beginning of human life, but did that stop them from falling down? You understand my point?…… That the reason why they fell down is because they were not sufficiently encouraged to pursue the Paro dharma because they were already distracted thinking that they had to involve themselves with conditional dharmas more than what was perhaps actually required thereby loosing valuable time in others words the preaching perhaps didn’t sufficiently impress upon them the need to progress.

I’m not saying Prabhupada’s preaching……But many of the leaders in our movement became absorbed in conditional pursuit in terms of their idea that we have to setup varnashram within our society although Prabhupada said it’s a virtual impossibility although quite necessary to rectify the ill of human society, re-establish varnashram in the context of the present demoniac leadership infrastructure of the so-called civilization. It is not possible. Prabhupada has clearly said it was not possible and he also offered the solution. I say if it’s the solution for the macrocosm then it’s also a solution for the microcosm. It should be seen as the solution for the microcosm even before thinking to apply it to the macrocosm. And that is to increase piety, to force the people to become pious. Because it’s for the people, by the people.

The government for the people by the people means because the people are not pious, a bunch of small dogs animals getting together and electing one big animal and glorifying him until they are ready to pull him off the throne. The blue jackal syndrome. But how to make them pious? How to increase their spiritual intelligence so they can see the things in proper perspective, so they can see the distinction between the pure devotional ideals or the Vedic ideals and to the present demoniac, mundane wrangling exploitative type of government that is going on now. So Prabhupada told that the solution for this problem is to perform mass harinam sankirtan and book distribution. But he specifically mentioned mass harinam sankirtan, all over the world. Because the atmosphere which is surcharged with the influence of the holy name and even the ethereal elements in the atmosphere purified so much so that even after the sankirtan party has gone back to the temple still that atmosphere is so pure that the people entering into that atmosphere where the sankirtan party was, they become purified of sinful reactions and they get piety. Not just any piety, Bhaktion Mukhe Sukriti.

So they become more and more eligible to get shradha and even pure devotional shradha. But atleast shradha äbhäsa which is somehow connected with Krishna Consciousness then it’s possible for them to recognize the need for superior Krishna Consciousness leadership in human society and by voting God conscious leadership into the office for the people…..”

83 Responses to “Varnashrama and Harinam Sankirtan”

  1. Bhakti Raghava Swami says :

    VARNASRAMA IS POSSIBLE AND IT MUST BE DONE

    “Farm project is very nice. Krishna gives. Krishi-go-raksya vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam. [Bg. 18.44] ‘Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas.’] This is economic problem solved. And brahmana, brain problem solved, and ksatriya, protection problem solved, and sudra, labor problem solved. Four things combined together, live peacefully, happily. Chant Hare Krishna. Introduce this farm project.” —Evening Darshana, Mayapur 15 February 1977

    One of the item of this mission, Krishna consciousness, is to establish real varnasrama by qualification.
    —Brahmana Initiation Lecture, New Vrindaban 25 May 1969

    Now we are picking up some of them, best. That is another thing. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu said para-upakara. Why a certain section should be picked up? The whole mass of people will get the benefit of it. Then it is required, systematic. Sve sve karmany abhirataa samsiddhih labhate narau. Para-upakara means mass benefit, not there is certain section. Then we have to introduce this varnasrama-dharma. It must be done perfectly, and it is possible and people will be happy.
    —Room Conversation ,Varnasrama System Must Be Introduced, Mayapur 14 February 1977

    Prabhupada: No luxuries. Live very simple life and you save time for chanting Hare Krishna.
    Hansaduta: Yes, Prabhupada.
    Prabhupada: That is my desire. Don’t waste time for bodily comforts. You have got this body. You have to eat something. You have to cover yourself. So produce your own food and produce your own cloth. Don’t waste time for luxury, and chant Hare Krishna. This is success of life. In this way organize as far as possible, either in Ceylon or in Czechoslovakia, wherever… Save time. Chant Hare Krishna. Don’t be allured by the machine civilization.
    Hansaduta: Yes, Prabhupada.

    Prabhupada: And money, spend for Krishna—for Krishna’s palace, for Krishna’s temple, for Krishna’s worship, gorgeous, as gorgeously as… Not for false… This is the human civilization. And to organize this, varnasrama will help you to divide the society — brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya—as there is division in the body. That will help…I wanted to introduce this. Now I have given you ideas. You can do it. You are all intelligent…. Give them chance and make situation favorable. Is that clear?

    —Room Conversation, Vrndavana 8 October 1977

  2. Bhakti Raghava Swami says :

    VARNASRAMA IS POSSIBLE AND IT MUST BE DONE

    Srila Prabhupada spoke of 4 movements meant to be introduced in the following systematic order:
    1) Sankirtan (the holy names and books) [Books are the Basis], 2) Deity Worship [Purity is the Force],
    3) Spiritual Initiation [Preaching is the Essence] and 4) Varnasrama [Utility is the Principle]. Without these four the mission remains incomplete.

    “Farm project is very nice. Krishna gives. Krishi-go-raksya vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam. [Bg. 18.44] ‘Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas.’] This is economic problem solved. And brahmana, brain problem solved, and ksatriya, protection problem solved, and sudra, labor problem solved. Four things combined together, live peacefully, happily. Chant Hare Krishna. Introduce this farm project.” —Evening Darshana, Mayapur 15 February 1977

    One of the item of this mission, Krishna consciousness, is to establish real varnasrama by qualification.
    —Brahmana Initiation Lecture, New Vrindaban 25 May 1969

    Now we are picking up some of them, best. That is another thing. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu said para-upakara. Why a certain section should be picked up?… Para-upakara means mass benefit, not there is certain section. Then we have to introduce this varnasrama-dharma. It must be done perfectly, and it is possible and people will be happy.
    —Room Conversation ,Varnasrama System Must Be Introduced, Mayapur 14 February 1977

    Prabhupada: No luxuries. Live very simple life and you save time for chanting Hare Krishna.
    Hansaduta: Yes, Prabhupada.
    Prabhupada: That is my desire. Don’t waste time for bodily comforts. You have got this body… So produce your own food and produce your own cloth. Don’t waste time for luxury, and chant Hare Krishna. This is success of life. In this way organize as far as possible… Save time. Chant Hare Krishna. Don’t be allured by the machine civilization.
    Hansaduta: Yes, Prabhupada.

    Prabhupada: And money, spend for Krishna—for Krishna’s palace, for Krishna’s temple, for Krishna’s worship, gorgeous, as gorgeously as… Not for false… This is the human civilization. And to organize this, varnasrama will help you to divide the society — brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya—as there is division in the body. That will help…I wanted to introduce this. Now I have given you ideas. You can do it. You are all intelligent…. Give them chance and make situation favorable. Is that clear?
    —Room Conversation, Vrndavana 8 October 1977

  3. vishnujanadasa says :

    It is very encouraging to see that people are taking the topic of varnashrama more seriously these days. A couple of notes about the above post:

    1. Srila Prabhupada said 50% of his work was left unfinished because he did not implement varnashrama dharma. That is very significant considering his accomplishments.

    2. Prabhupada stressed preacing-particularly book distribution, over harinama, because, as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta pointed out, books are the Brihat mridanga. Prabhupada said your chanting may be heard down the block, but this mridanga (the books) will be heard all over the world. He would site many instances of people becoming devotees in countries without a devotee presence simply due to the books going there. In that vain he said the books can reach places the devotees cannot even go.

    3. Lord Chaitanya Himself accepted and strictly observed the sannyasa ashrama, which is part of the varnashrama system, thus establishing an important precedent for future devotees-namely we must follow daivi-varnashrama and set the example for the general populace. While he claimed he was neither sannyasi or grihasta, brahmana or kshatriya, He still strictly observed His ashrama.

  4. Bhakti Raghava Swami says :

    VARNASRAMA IS POSSIBLE AND IT MUST BE DONE

    Srila Prabhupada spoke of 4 movement meant to be systematically introduced: 1) Sankirtan (the holy names and books) [Books are the Basis], 2) Deity Worship [Purity is the Force], 3) Spiritual Initiation [Preaching is the Essence] and 4) Varnasrama [Utility is the Principle]. Without these four the mission remains incomplete.

    “Farm project is very nice. Krishna gives. Krishi-go-raksya vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam. [Bg. 18.44] ‘Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas.’] This is economic problem solved. And brahmana, brain problem solved, and ksatriya, protection problem solved, and sudra, labor problem solved. Four things combined together, live peacefully, happily. Chant Hare Krishna. Introduce this farm project.” —Evening Darshana, Mayapur 15 February 1977

    One of the items of this mission, Krishna consciousness, is to establish real varnasrama by qualification.
    —Brahmana Initiation Lecture, New Vrindaban 25 May 1969

    Now we are picking up some of them, best. That is another thing. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu said para-upakara… Para-upakara means mass benefit, not there is certain section. Then we have to introduce this varnasrama-dharma. It must be done perfectly, and it is possible and people will be happy.
    —Room Conversation ,Varnasrama System Must Be Introduced, Mayapur 14 February 1977

    Prabhupada: No luxuries. Live very simple life and you save time for chanting Hare Krishna.
    Hansaduta: Yes, Prabhupada.
    Prabhupada: That is my desire. Don’t waste time for bodily comforts. You have got this body. You have to eat something. You have to cover yourself. So produce your own food and produce your own cloth. Don’t waste time for luxury, and chant Hare Krishna. This is success of life. In this way organize as far as possible, either in Ceylon or in Czechoslovakia, wherever… Save time. Chant Hare Krishna. Don’t be allured by the machine civilization.
    Hansaduta: Yes, Prabhupada.

    Prabhupada: And money, spend for Krishna—for Krishna’s palace, for Krishna’s temple, for Krishna’s worship, gorgeous, as gorgeously as… Not for false… This is the human civilization. And to organize this, varnasrama will help you to divide the society — brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya—as there is division in the body. That wil help…I wanted to introduce this. Now I have given you ideas. You can do it. You are all intelligent…. Give them chance and make situation favorable. Is that clear?

  5. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    To Whom It May Concern

    I just went through the entire Vedabase. There is no record of Srila Prabhupada ever having said that he still had fifty percent of his work to be done. Rather, it is Brahmananda Prabhu who said it, and it was in relation to the Bhagavatam, not to varnasrama. And when Brahmananda said that, Prabhupada did not agree. Actually, in one document defining the different purposes of the Krsna consciousness movement, varnasrama is listed as one of the secondary goals of the Krsna consciousness movement. I am not at all against varnasrama-dharma, but we need heads first. Whether we have enough of them or not is not for me to decide.

    Your servant,
    Visakha Priya dasi

    Brahmänanda: We have all met together, Çréla Prabhupäda. We want you to remain and lead this movement and finish the Çrémad-Bhägavatam.
    Prabhupäda: Hm.
    Brahmänanda: We said you must remain at least another ten years. You’ve only done fifty percent work.
    Prabhupäda: No. There are many good… Everyone will have. Hm. Good to hear. Hm. All right. (devotees laugh with relief)
    Kértanänanda: Haribol.
    Prabhupäda: So give me something to drink.
    Devotees: Jaya Çréla Prabhupäda!
    Kértanänanda: All glories to Çréla Prabhupäda.
    Prabhupäda: That is real affection.

    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation — October 9, 1977, Våndävana

  6. Puskaraksa das says :

    Yes, as Srila Prabhupada expressed it, and Srila Bhakti Raghava Swami nicely ‘quooteed’, we should not oppose varnashrama, all the more daivi varnashrama, with other aspects of devotional service…

    Whether we want it or not, devotees act within an ashrama and a varna, according to their marital status and their activities… Similarly, people in the big world, also have some marital status and fill up some role in society.

    So, why should there be any objection to something that already exists naturally and de facto…?

    What one may object, is that one’s varna be predetermined by birth, which we all agree upon.
    Nevertheless, karma does play a role and environment, as well as education, do have an influence…

    Hence, the hope and attempt, even in secular society, is that everyone be given a chance to receive some education, so he or she may perform according to their qualities, and then be able to render some valuable service to society…

    The plus point of daivi varnashrama, is of course, that everything is centered around giving Krishna pleasure:

    bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
    sarva-loka-mahesvaram
    suhrdam sarva-bhutanam
    jnatva mam santim rcchati

    The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries. B.g. 5.29

    Hence, by implementing daivi varnashrama, human society will be able to provide a peaceful environment to all, conducive for the practice of spiritual life, thus giving everyone a chance to make further progress along the path back home, back to Godhead…

    Our friend, Sripad Aindra Prabhu, did also benefit from a favorable environment in Sri Vrindavana Dhama, in a very nice mandir provided by Srila Prabhupada, thanks to the effort of all his disciples and the generosity of many pious souls living and acting within society, who kindly provided the necessary funds to provide exalted devotees, such as Aindra Prabhu full board, so that they may dedicate themselves to the chanting of the Holy Names…

    In this way, we do not have to oppose each other… Everyone plays a useful role.
    Garbage collectors do look after the welfare of all citizens, including the president or king of the country.
    Hence, we should respect everyone and value their contribution.

    This world is perfect… The only thing missing is Krishna consciousness !

  7. yudhistirdas says :

    Vishnujana Prabhu,

    Thank you for your comment. We wish to present few comments to your post.

    1. Yes, Srila Prabhupada did say that he completed only 50% work,but just on the basis of THAT 50% is the whole movement moving on. What was that 50%? To establish a global Sankirtan movement. Butt Srila Prabhupada did also say that if can’t develop what he has given us, we should at least maintain that, but we can observe that a good portion of the 50% he gave was not maintained.

    The idea is that 50% (Sankirtan movement) would generate the sukriti and understanding for the people to recognize the ill effects of the ‘modern’ society. But how can we expect that to happen when we are not performing Harinam Sankirtan on the streets? For a major part, we don’t expect people to visit our temples (atleast in western countries), its our duty to go out on the streets.

    Personally, I have seen people who became convinced of the philosophy about soul, giving up meat,etc but couldn’t take up the process because they didn’t have the sukriti. The easiest way is the congregational chanting of the maha mantra.

    2. But your point brings up the obvious question, what do these books speak about? Chanting Hare Krishna. The book distribution is meant to philosophically convince the people to chant and dance. And Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says, one of the reason preventing us from chanting Sudha Nama is Avidya, which can be removed by Jnana, knowledge. So book distribution is to convince us on taking Lord Chaitanya’s harinam sankirtan movement. Because that’s what Srila Prabhuada’s book speak about. His giving the highest to the lowest.

    3. Sannyas in the Gaudiya sampradaya is not exactly verbatim the Varnashrama sannyas. Vaishanava Sannyas is actually much more esoteric than the normal. The sannyas mantra/gayatri is also known as the ‘Gopi-Bhava’ Mantra. H.H.Mahanidhi Swami’s ‘Gayatri Mahima Madhuri’ provides a good explanation to the Sannyas mantra:

    Explaining sannyas mantra:

    “The previous great sages have accepted and shown the path of sannyasa. I have now accepted that very form of life. Now, leaving everything aside, I shall run toward Vrndavana. There, taking the name of Mukunda, Krishna, I shall cross the ocean of nescience. Crossing this maya, I shall reach Vrndavana and fully enter the service of Krishna.”

  8. pustakrishna says :

    The entry into Vrindaban is based on invitation. The Brhat Bhagavatamrita hints at this. One must take shelter of the inhabitants of Vrindaban to achieve their attention, their guidance, their mercy. Your explanation of Mahanidhi Maharaj’s purport to the Sanyas mantra may be interpreted in the way I have explained.

    Without writing that mantra here, which may be inappropriate, it declares the mood of taking shelter of those with the transcendental sentiments of those whom you aspire to serve with there. Our sentiments may not become mature, or free from infection with the desire for liberation, until we place the sentiments and mood of the damsels of Vrindaban above all else.

    We know that the interest of Krishna’s pleasure is most important to the gopis. They will risk all to please Krishna. Their own position is not important. Only Krishna’s pleasure and service needs are necessary. That is the unique position of the Gopis…so much so that Krishna sent His dear friend Uddhava to Vrindaban to witness their extraordinary love for Krishna. Uddhava recognized the super-excellence of their love and prayed to become a piece of grass in Vrindaban so that when the Gopis were walking about they might bless him with the dust of their fortunate lotus feet.

    Pusta Krishna das

  9. Locanananda dasa says :

    Thank you, Visakha Priya mataji, for pointing out that we have no formal record of Srila Prabhupada stating that 50% of his work was unfinished. In the conversation you referred to (Vrndavana Oct. 9, 1977), devotees were imploring the spiritual master to remain another ten years, not just to complete the Srimad Bhagavatam, Cantos 10, 11, and 12, but to lead the Krishna consciousness movement until it became known as the world religion.

    It is a fact that Srila Prabhupada noted, if the Krishna consciousness movement were to continue to grow at it’s current pace at the time (like wildfire), it would become the world’s leading religion within ten years. (In this regard, he sometimes referred to the victory of the Pandavas in eighteen days, saying that if we preached sincerely, we could similarly take over the world in eighteen days.) Brahmananda and others were hoping Srila Prabhupada would survive to see the opening of the Bombay temple and the installation of Radha Rasa Bihari as well as the opening of Prabhupada’s very own Palace in New Vrndavana.

    Srila Prabhupada’s response to Brahmananda’s statement that 50% of his work was not finished was “No.” Whatever work he completed is what was ordained by the Supreme Lord. The next phase of spreading Lord Caitanya’s movement is what was left, by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, for his disciples to carry out, and that is the way it has been with all great acaryas in our line. A disciple should not think the spiritual master, who is a pure devotee of Krishna, did not finish what he set out to do. Rather, we should be thinking about Lord Caitanya’s mission to spread love of God and understand what part we are meant to play in it.

    It was predicted that he would cross an ocean and open 108 temples for Krishna. His mission was also to write many books explaining the science of self-realization and Krishna consciousness. To the amazement of the entire world, he achieved all of these things beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. With Rathayatra festivals and Deity installations worldwide, the training of his Western disciples to an exalted brahminical standard, the translation and distribution of his books in all of the major languages of the world, and his success in spreading the chanting of Krishna’s Holy Name, all these mark the greatest accomplishment that has ever taken place during the lifetime of any saintly person in human history. Mission accomplished.

  10. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    Yuddhisthira Prabhu, you seem to be endorsing the statement that Srila Prabhupada said he had only completed fifty percent of his work. I understand this is not your main point. The point you make—that we should first maintain before expanding—is well taken, and it is confirmed by Srila Prabhupada, who said in a room conversation dated July 17, 1977, “At least don’t make me Alexander the Great in my lifetime.”

    My concern is that we should not insult Srila Prabhupada (unconsciously no doubt!) by putting in his mouth words that he never uttered. Where is the evidence that he said that he had only done fifty percent of his work? In my previous post I have produced evidence that it was Brahmananda Prabhu who made that statement and that Srila Prabhupada *did not* endorse it. And even then, Brahmananda Prabhu was referring to the unfinished Bhagavatam translation of chapters 14 to 90 of the Tenth Canto and of the entire eleventh and twelfth cantos. To apply Brahmananda’s statement to varnasrama appears to be wishful thinking and to attribute it to Prabhupada is… whatever it is.

    In a letter to Brahmananda, Srila Prabhupada writes: “I have already written to Hayagriva that the instructions which I impart are not dogmas. Our instructions are all based on sufficient logic and philosophy.” (Calcutta 5 November, 1967) As can be seen in our verbal battles of quotes and counterquotes, we already have a lot of trouble applying Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in context, according to time, place, and circumstances. So, when on top of it we bring in some imaginary “Srila Prabhupada said” statements to strengthen our case, then the whole situation becomes ludicrous. I am aware that you did not initially brought that fifty-percent statement into the discussion but were merely taking it up at face value from someone else. But because I did appreciate your article, I took the trouble to elaborate on this point for the benefit of all of us.

    Respectfully,
    Your servant,
    Visakha Priya dasi

  11. yudhistirdas says :

    Vishaka Mataji,

    Thank you for pointing it out. Sorry. As I was reading it I remembered this letter from Srila Prabhupada :-)

    ” just like in our ISKCON there are so many false things: “Prabhupada said this, Prabhupada said that”

    SPL to Krsnadasa, 7 November 1972.

    Thank you once again for the correction.

  12. pustakrishna says :

    Many in the Gaudiya Math lines often become fixated upon the idea that Srila Prabhupad presented the “only” the framework for ISKCON, but that it needed to be finished somehow. They often do so in order to present themselves as superior, and are condescending toward ISKCON’s bhaktas and conception. This is a gross and subtle subversion. Let me say that again, THIS IS A GROSS AND SUBTLE SUBVERSION. They have rode on the coat-tails of Srila Prabhupad’s successes. Mind you, his successes are ISKCON’s successes. Srila Prabhupad commented that the bhaktas of the Gaudiya Math did not have the brain to preach, because they were too comfortable in their ashramas. I personally will say boldly that if there was any significant effort to preach amongst their groups, I assert that it is the direct result of the inspiration of Srila Prabhupad and ISKCON.
    Krishna conscious knowledge and inspiration are descending, but the expression of Krishna consciousness is ever-expanding (anandam buddhi vardhanam). We have seen that the vaishnavas in our line continue to translate and write books to give further expression to Krishna consciousness. So many centers have been established, and sankirtan parties go out regularly throughout the world with the fervor of Sri Nityananda-Sri Chaitanya. Some devotees have literally placed themselves in dangerous situations, risking and losing their lives for this ideal. What more can anyone do than that?!? What 50%? These devotees have given 100% of themselves for Sri Sri Guru Gauranga! Srila Prabhupad never wants to see ISKCON become stagnant or complacent, self-satisfied with prior success. And, His Divine Grace was the most appreciative of the efforts displayed by his disciples and followers. Do not think that he is disappointed. Do not think of him as an ordinary common foolish man.

    Pusta Krishna das

  13. Hare Krishna everyone. Happy Balarama’s appearance day!

    One of the big changes we have seen in the past 30 or so years in our society is the establishment of congregations of householders who do not live in the temple and renounce the process of earning their livelihoods outside the self-contained ISKCON economy, but who nevertheless continue to identify themselves as ISKCON members, get initiated, chant 16 rounds, attend temple programs, perform part-time service on a voluntary basis in ISKCON, and contribute some of their earnings to support ISKCON programs.

    On a bigger, “macro” scale, we understand Srila Prabhupada emphasized that industrialization, the demise of the small farm, the relocation of the population away from the land to urban population centers where they become artificially dependent on the management of big manufacturing and commercial enterprises, is a bad thing for society.

    Thomas Jefferson envisioned an American society of gentleman yeomen farmers and decentralized, local government. This concept was at the heart of the original Democratic Party, whereas Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists wanted stronger central government and expansion of large scale commerce and industry.

    But on a smaller, more personal scale, leaving aside the bigger issues of political economy for a moment, I wonder if we can talk about the move within ISKCON from the idea (in the 1970s) that devotees should basically get all their needs for food, shelter and clothing met by the management of the ISKCON center in which they lived, and that to “work outside” was a sign of lack of surrender, a failure of purity, an illicit dependence on one’s own efforts, rather than the favored, almost sannyasi-like ideal (even for householders) that one should spend one’s full time and energy directly in service to ISKCON and be satisfied with whatever sustenance ISKCON could provide.

    That discussion of how we surrender in our personal lives and whether we can still be “devotees” outside of the ISKCON spiritual communist economy seems to be relevant to the discussion of varnasrama dharma in a way we sometimes overlook.

    Even when we tried to established varnarsama dharma in farm projects like Gita Nagari, we still had this idea that it should be a collective farm with ownership centralized. We were not willing to admit, perhaps, that not all devotees were really tolerant and detached enough for such an arrangement, that many of us needed autonomy and independence.

  14. When Krishna tells Arjuna in the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gita (verses 17-26) that pure devotees should set a good example, for the sake of loka sangraham, even though they themselves are self-satisfied and have no duties to perform and no dependence on demigods or other living beings; when He says that even liberated souls like King Janaka performed their prescribed duties, for to not do so would mislead the ignorant people, and even He, the Supreme Lord Krishna, sets a good example by performing duties prescribed by scriptural regulations, in spite of His complete independence as the author of the scriptures and the creator of the whole universe with all its different divisions of society — when He says the learned may perform the same duties as the attached karmis, for the sake of leading them on the right path, and that the learned should not induce the ignorant to stop work, but should encourage them to perform all kinds of work in the spirit of devotion for gradual development of Krsna consciousness — we should perhaps understand, with a little humility, that the ignorant, attached workers He is speaking of could be us.

    We have to ask ourselves, are we atma-ratih, atma-trptah, atmani-santustah? Of course Srila Prabhupada was always encouraging us to be. He was telling us to be pure devotees. He was giving us the highest goal and explaining what the highest ideals of devotion were, as demonstrated by Lord Caitanya and Haridas Thakur and the six goswamis.

    But he also recognized that few of his followers were on that level. In fact, many were being initiated as brahmanas but were not even keeping the four regulative principles, thereby making a mockery of the whole scheme of initiating common men and training them to be brahmanas.

    It seems to me that in the way we organized our temples in the 1970s and discouraged people from working in “outside jobs” by suggesting that remaining economically independent was a sign of insufficient surrender (we called people who did not move into the temples “fringies”, as if they were not real devotees, they remained on the fringe of the movement, not giving themselves over fully enough to the great cause), we may have been doing just what Krishna told Arjuna not to do: encouraging many people who were still not sufficiently self-realized and self-satisfied to be “pretenders”, acting the part of being more renounced and surrendered than they really were.

  15. It may be that part of our motivation for having become hippies was a genuine recognition of the faults and hypocrisy of the “establishment” and its bourgeois values, but another part was our mode of ignorance, our laziness and self-indulgence, and that the prescription to join ISKCON and “drop out” of the outside society and economy was appealing to both of these motivations, the sattvik and the tamasik.

    Srila Prabhupada sometimes mentioned that he had insisted we cut off our long hair, but he did not insist that we wear dhotis. That was something we wanted to do.

    I am not suggesting we should not wear dhotis (though if I went to argue a case in court wearing a dhoti I would probably be cited for contempt). I am suggesting that some of the social pressure we put on each other to “drop out” of “karmi society”, at least the way we did it in the 1970s, may have been unnecessary, or even created a psychologically or emotionally unhealthy situation for some devotees who were not really advanced enough to give up that much autonomy and self-reliance.

    But on the other hand, I recognize that it may have been a good thing that we inspired young people to “dive deep” and try to live a monastic-style life of total surrender. At least in the brahmacari stage of life such training is essential for any gentleman.

    It is just that perhaps we did not in those days sufficiently recognize a legitimate path to becoming householder congregational members. Out temple administrators may have (understandably) been concerned that when people move out of the full-time, live-in service as temple devotees and get their own apartments and cars and jobs, they end up doing a lot less service.

    Anyway, these are just some ideas that may be relevant to the topic of varnarsama development. That is, “varnasrama” certainly is related to the development or farm communities (or rural devotee villages) and cow protection (essential to human dharma), but it is also relevant to topics of congregational development and education and integration of young devotees.

    We can expect most people to enter grhastha asrama, and grhasthas generally live differently from brahmacaris and sannyasis. We used to try to encourage all men to remain brahmacari. We really did not know what to do with grhasthas. They became too independent. But we couldn’t stop it. Nature took its course. Only a rare man will be detached enough to avoid marriage, and the rest should not be pretenders.

  16. Hare Krsna dasi says :

    Dear Visakha Priya Prabhu,

    I note that you state that you went through the entire VedaBase and could find no record of Srila Prabhupada saying that 50 percent of his work was yet to be done.

    I’m not sure why that is. Possibly the VedaBase does not include the text of all BBT books, such as the following text:

    ***************

    Statement by Abhirama dasa:

    I was personally present on two occasions when Srila Prabhupada spoke about how important establishing varnasrama was to him. Both times were in the summer of 1977, in Prabhupada’s room in Vrndavana, before he left to go to London. At the time, Tamala Krsna Goswami was Srila Prabhupada’s personal secretary, and I his assistant. I was also Prabhupada’s nurse.

    The first time, several devotees were there with Srila Prabhupada. We knew that his health was getting weaker. He was talking to the devotees about his imminent departure. “I have no lamentation,” Prabhupada said. He paused for a few seconds, and then he said, “No, I have one lamentation.” A devotee asked, “Because you have not finished translating the Srimad Bhagavatam?” Prabhupada replied, “No, that I have not established varnasrama.”

    On the next occasion, some time later, I was with Srila Prabhupada in his room when he made the statement, “Fifty percent of my work is not complete because I have not established varnasrama.”

    I remember one more quote from that summer. Prabhupada stated,”I want to establish varnasrma.”A devotee asked,”How will you do that, Srila Prabhupada?” and he replied,”I will go to Gita-nagari,I will sit down, and I will teach you to live off the land.”I personally consider that to be the bija mantra [seed] mantra of varnasrama.

    “Srila Prabhupada on Varnasrama” BBT 1999 page 275

    *************

    Lord Ramacandra became King during Treta-yuga, but because of His good government, the age was like Satya-yuga. Everyone was religious and completely happy.

    PURPORT
    Among the four yugas—Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali—the Kali-yuga is the worst, but if the process of varnasrama-dharma is introduced, even in this age of Kali, the situation of Satya-yuga can be invoked. The Hare Krsna movement, or Krsna consciousness movement, is meant for this purpose.
    — SB 9.10.51

    ************

    So these are actual quotes from Srila Prabhupada. Nevertheless, having cited these, I must say, I completely agree with Krsna Kesava Prabhu’s recent article on Dandavats: “We are Not Ready for Varnasrama.”

    ys

    Hare Krsna dasi

  17. Madhavananda Das (Orissa) says :

    Thank you Mother Vishakha Priya for your thoughtful comments. I’ve also noted this point about “50 %” of Srila Prabhupada’s mission. I’ve also heard about, and respect, Abhiram Prabhu’s recollections.

    Still, I find it interesting to note that if it was actually 50% of Srila Prabhupada’s mission why didn’t he use that phrase in writing and in recording talks.

    Incidently, I’m all for simple living and escaping the matrix of modern civilization.

  18. Prahladesh says :

    “Srila Prabhubada instructed that book distribution and nama-sankirtana should go on together, side by side. They go hand in hand.” (Sripada Kirtancandra Namanandi Aindra Dasa Prabhuji)

    “Book distribution, kirtan, or why not both and why?” by Sripada Kirtancandra Namanandi Aindra Dasa Prabhuji:

    http://www.24hourkirtan.com/forum/index.php?topic=932.0

    Whenever we talk about Varnasrama, we must stress that there are three types of Varnasrama as evidenced by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. If these three types are not taken into account, our analysis will be partial.

    According to the Vedic system, there are two paths:

    Pravrtti Marga – the path of sense enjoyment.
    Nivrtti Marga – the path of renunciation.

    According to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura there are three classes of Varnasrama:

    A-Daiva Varnasrama or Pravrtti Marga Varnasrama Dharma

    Daiva Varnasrama or Nivrtti Marga Varnasrama Dharma

    Asura Varnasrama or Smarta Varnasrama (Caste System)

    For me, the following explanation of HH Suhotra Tapovanacari, is conclusive and definitely enlightening:

    http://www.suhotraswami.net/library/On_Varnasrama_Development.pdf

  19. Puskaraksa das says :

    Yes, it is nice that Abhiram Prabhu has recalled that:
    “On the next occasion, some time later, I was with Srila Prabhupada in his room when he made the statement, “Fifty percent of my work is not complete because I have not established varnasrama.”

    It is also reassuring that ISKCON devotees were not made to believe for so many years, something which Srila Prabhupada would not have said…

    This highlights the fact that we have to understand that not all of what Srila

  20. pustakrishna says :

    Reading my friend, Akruranath Prabhu’s discussion, I wanted to share some insights that I have regarding this. First, should the aspiring new bhakta’s of the 70’s have “dropped out” of society and become monks in the ashramas (both men and women)? We do not control our wanderings. These are under higher control. We are passengers along on this ride through human life. These are Upanishadic conclusions. It is true that Krishna takes into account our desires (eko bahunam yo vidhadhati kaman). Still, not a blade of grass can move without the will of Sri Krishna. And, we were so fortunate to have given something of our lives, lesser or greater, to the full pursuit of surrendering to Krishna and engagement in devotional service (daivi varnashrama) under the guidance of Srila Prabhupad. That is, in itself, miraculous. It is nothing to take for granted, and neither can we say, in my opinion, that we could take it or leave it. We we blessed, indeed.
    I have respect for the householders, for example in the Silicon Valley, who are engaging in devotional service. But, we must respect the ideals. Brahmacharya training is vital to success in spiritual endeavours. Mixing sense gratification in with bhakti is like placing sand in sweet rice. It becomes unpalatable. So, we must give encouragement to all, that is true. But, we cannot diminish the ideals that Srila Prabhupad taught. Those ideals do not merely get one through human life with piety or religiousity. They are the means to attract Krishna Himself. It is bhakti, prema in the extreme, that will attract Krishna to the insignificant jiva soul. Think about it…Krishna Who is the Creator of everything, countless material galaxies, unfathomable spiritual planets, doing so with merely a spark of His splendour, will come personally to a jiva soul to share His presence, His love, His friendship. That is not so easy a thing to obtain. That is what we are hoping for. Religiousity has been ultimately denounced by Krishna…sarva dharman parityagya…for the highest principle of existence. Lovingly to serve Krishna. He is the focus of Daivi Varnashrama. Our compromises, due to our own weaknesses or attachments, must cause a yearning in our deeper plane of consciousness, lest we lose the eternal standard that Srila Prabhupad established. Humbly submitted, a fallen soul Pusta Krishna das

  21. “Religiousity has been ultimately denounced by Krishna…sarva dharman parityagya…for the highest principle of existence. Lovingly to serve Krishna.”

    Yes, “mam ekam saranam vraja.”

    I guess the question is, should we emphasize the sarva dharmam pariyajya part for people who are not really surrendered to Krishna? It could make a laughingstock of the Hare Krishna movement, to have devotees who do not chant 16 rounds or follow 4 or even 3 regs, but who still believe it is more acceptable to make a living “doing the pick” than by working in an office or factory.

    I agree, there is no fault in Srila Prabhupada calling us to completely surrender and seek nothing else but pure bhakti — that is his great mercy — but then where does varnasrama fit in? Aren’t surrendered Vaisnavas above the rules and regulations of varna and asrama? Aren’t they superior to the topmost learned brahmanas and the peaceful, fearless sannyasis?

    The answer is, yes of course, if they are really pure Vaisnavas. But as Srila Prabhupada said in the February 14, 1977 varnasrama conversation, being a real Vaisnava is not such an easy thing. Most of us do not have that quality of faith and surrender. Maybe that is what Aindra means by “pure devotional sraddha.” It is not just a matter of changing our name, or our dress. It’s deeper.

    It is true that a person who is constantly, steadily dedicated to Krishna in firm faith and complete devotion is the topmost yogi, superior even to the demigods and sages, but think about what that means: It does not that we should feel superior to demigods and sages and pious brahmanas and saints. We should think, “we have such a long way to go to become real Vaisnavas like that.”

    In the mean time, we should never, ever use our connection to the Hare Krishna movement as an excuse for failing to give up sin (the 7th offense) or for failing to perform actual religious and social obligations. “Ma te sango ‘stv akarmani.”

    It is like the philosophy of half a hen: I like the part that says “sarva dharma parityajya”, but when it comes to really taking shelter of Krishna I would rather watch TV than chant my rounds.

    So Prabhupada said, no need to initiate everyone as brahmanas. Some can remain as sudras, vaisyas, ksatriyas. Why should they outwardly pose as brahmanas, or “better than brahmanas”? Far better for them to be honest, have an honest profession, and serve Krishna according to their actual capacity. Real surrender will come eventually.

  22. yudhistirdas says :

    Akruranath Prabhu,

    Some interesting quotation.

    Paramhamsa Babaji: “In truth, the eternal nature of the soul is purely spiritual. The religion that describes the pure soul is the real eternal religion. All other religions are temporary. Varnasrama dharma, astanga yoga, sankhya and austerities are all temporary. If an individual spirit soul is not bound by maya there is no need for him to follow any of these paths. These temporary religions are meant only for souls bewildered by maya. All these religions are intended for certain specific circumstances. Therefore the truth is that they are all temporary.”

    Jaiva Dharma Chapter 3

    Vaishnava Dasa: ” One path is the path of karma-kanda, which begins with the duties of varnasrama. A second path is the path of jnana-kanda, which begins with speculative knowledge and renunciation. The third path is to stay among the devotees and have faith in the holy name of Lord Hari and the descriptions of Lord Hari. Sometimes these three paths are considered yogas. In this way they are called karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga. Some people practice these different yogas. Thus they are called karma-yogi or jnana-yogi. Among all these yogis, the bhakti-yogi is the best, for in bhakti yoga one attains limitless auspiciousness. At the end of the first six-chapter section of Bhagavad-gita (6-47) one may see the following conclusion:
    “And of all yogis, he who abides in Me with great faith worshipping Me in transcendental
    loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.”

    Jaiva Dharma Chapter 6

    Vaishnava Dasa: “Faith is part of the soul’s eternal nature. The duties of Varnasrama and other like duties arise when the soul’s temporary nature is manifested.
    That is the conclusion of all the scriptures. In the Chandogya Upanisad (7.19.1) it is said:

    “A person who has faith can understand. A person who has no faith cannot understand. A
    person who has faith can understand. Therefore one should ask about faith.” ‘O master, I wish to know about faith.'”

    Jaiva Dharma Chapter 6

  23. Puskaraksa das says :

    At the outset, I’d like to apologize for the technical problem wich occured, which prompted the posting of an uncompleted sentence…

    So, I was typing:

    This highlights the fact that we have to understand that not all of what Srila said has been recorded on tape. Hence, not everything of what Prabhupada has said is in the database. Therefore, it is not because something is not in the database, that it has not been said by Srila Prabhupada.

    There were many instances when Srila Prabhupada was not recorded as he was not always living with a microphone hanging under his nose. He also had private meetings with devotees and a number of conversations held in some Indian languages which Western devotees didn’t attend or didn’t consider recording…

    Nevertheless, it is always beneficial for oneself and for all to research the database and share Srila Prabhupada’s teachings with others and we thank Mother Visakha Priya for doing so…

    In regards to Varnashrama, Akruranath gives us the clue in his last paragraph, quoting Srila Prabhupada: ” no need to initiate everyone as brahmanas. Some can remain as sudras, vaisyas, ksatriyas. Why should they outwardly pose as brahmanas, or “better than brahmanas”? Far better for them to be honest, have an honest profession, and serve Krishna according to their actual capacity. Real surrender will come eventually. ”

    This is very important…

    Srila Prabhupada stated that he established a class of brahmanas, as it is the head of society…

    But it is a fact that not everyone is fit or willing to be a priest, a brahmana…

    In the seventies, which Pusta Krishna Prabhu refers to, the hippies had already dropped out of society… So, basically, they had nowhere to go and didn’t know where they could fit in… When Srila Prabhupada came and offered them an alternative community life, with high spiritual ideals, it was a blessing and many didn’t have much to give up to join… However, some time later, as we know, many also left or fell from the position they had reached at some point…

    But the present situation, some 45 years later or less, is somewhat different… Hippies, who often came from well-off families, dropped out of university when there was a period of abundance… Ideals of love and peace, and attraction for India were high at the time…

  24. Puskaraksa das says :

    But, nowadays, crisis after crisis, insecurity is higher and responsible people are concerned about being able to make a living and support their families…

    As it is, due to some lack of clairvoyance and organization (not having established varnashrama), our Movement also failed both to offer sufficient support to all its members and to offer enough opportunities of engagement, according to each one’s nature, many having realized that they were either, not brahmanas or at least, not pure brahmanas and needed to engage their senses, mind, intelligence and talents somehow or other, in whatever way they could find… Hence, when ISKCON didn’t provide varied opportunities or restricted them in their capacity of service, according to their guna karma, they had to step aside…

    So, establishing Daivi Varnashrama is not to be considered as a threat by orthodox ISKCONites… It simply means allowing each one to serve Krishna through his/her work, according to his/her talent and capacities…

    The problem is that for the last forty years or so, being a member of ISKCON meant to become a brahmana… even if it was to be virtual, and for a limited period of time… For some, it was also a promotion, all the more in India, where the cast system restricted the access to the brahminical order to most, whereas for Westerners, it was moreless a matter of acquiring a rank, a bit like in the army, which gained one, more respect…

    As it is, statistics are there: there are 10 ksatriyas for a brahmana, 10 vaishyas for a ksatriya, and 10 sudras for a vaishya… So, basically, there are 1000 sudras for one brahamana… No wonder that not everyone elevated to the brahminical platform, could maintain as a brahmana…

    This is why Srila Prabhupada said: ” no need to initiate everyone as brahmanas. Some can remain as sudras, vaisyas, ksatriyas. Why should they outwardly pose as brahmanas, or “better than brahmanas”? Far better for them to be honest, have an honest profession, and serve Krishna according to their actual capacity.”

    This is actually mere common sense…

    Then Srila Prabhupada adds ” Real surrender will come eventually”.

    Yes, because this the process of karma yoga explained by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Himself, in Bhagavad-gita…

    Hence, why would we make things more complicated or not accept them as they are, when everything has been explained clearly by higher spiritual authorities…

  25. Puskaraksa das says :

    Actually, even if some Western devotees would like to see the pioneering pattern they went through being perpetuated, we have to acknowledge the fact that ISKCON is gaining more and more credibility amongst educated Vaishnava families…

    Hence, we see more and more graduates of Indian origin in the West and of established people in India, who step forward and accept initiation…

    But, wisely enough, after so many years of struggle for survival within ISKCON, their spiritual masters do not advise them to come and join the temples with their families, leaving everything else behind…

    Rather, they encourage them to cultivate Krishna consciousness at home, attend temple programs and take part in temple functions and spiritual activities, give donations, bring in their knowledge, talents and contacts, to make our Movement progress and reach higher levels of influence in society…

    This is great and if some of you would like to know more about this, you may approach devotees such as Harivilas Prabhu in Washington State and find out what he is doing and how he is doing it…

    Personally, I would like to bring Varnashrama to the next step, by encouraging devotees to work cooperatively both on a local and on a global basis, and put together different talents and ressources to create joined ventures in different fields…

    So, the first step would be to do an inventory of our ressources at each local level.

    What are our talents, what are our ressources, what are the devotees willing to do to serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission and to which extent…

    How can we help them fulfill their dream of service and surrender and how can they contribute to others’s success, thanks to their input…

    We have to become practical…

    We have been talking (and writing) for so many years… It’s time now to give everyone a chance…

    Not everyone can immediately and lastingly chant 16 rounds a day, follow 4 regs and restrict from sex life besides the will to procreate… Let’s be honest…

    So, let us a give a chance not only to the more materially attached described above but also to the steadfast devotees to express some talents and capacities they may have and which could be dovetailed in the service of the Lord, for His pleasure…

    In Christianity, not everyone needs to become a priest to be a Christian… So, why should one have to be a brahmin, to be a vaishnava…?

    kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
    yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei ‘guru’ haya

  26. pustakrishna says :

    Dear Akruranath,
    The discussion referred to in #20 is related to some of the statements in #15. We could never force anyone to come live in the temples and perform full time service. That is a choice that one makes, aided by Krishna, in order to take shelter of Krishna. For the seekers, who may be rare, it is the greatest relief to find the Truth on every level. For others who may have joined due to frustration in the world, they may have come forward due to suffering or need for a place to live even. The point is, this is a great benediction for the individuals, the opportunity to take shelter of Krishna. We can analyze why we wandered in different ways, but the ones who chanced to enter the monastic life and to render service, sometimes in extraordinary ways, are like Marines. “Semper Fi”, they are a rare group. Our ashramas are not all set up for such opportunities now. Some are, like Los Angeles, New York, in the US, and other temples around the world. As far as varnashram dharma is concerned, we are promoting a social system that is natural, hopefully devoid of envy, and is a harmonious way to organize society. At present, it does not seem practical to promote an agrarian lifestyle, but imagine when and if the oil runs out, and the main source of energy is the sun, and horse and ox power. That day may again come. Then, varnashrama in a “small is beautiful” setting may not seem so far-fetched. Even though is seems comfortable for people to live at home and offer some seva, we cannot hold back the seeker or other serious people to find their way into an ashram setting. What great souls may be out there, waiting to preach Krishna consciousness…
    Pusta Krishna das

  27. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    As remarked by Puskaraksa Prabhu, it is good to know that we haven’t been misled about the “50% of my work remains to be done” statement. So, although it wasn’t recorded, it was spoken—and heard by some, notably Abhirama Prabhu. So we accept it. Furthermore, it explains why Brahmananda Prabhu could have been so bold as to tell Srila Prabhupada, “You have only done 50% of your work.” He had heard it, either directly or indirectly, from Srila Prabhupada’s entourage a few weeks earlier. Still, it is interesting that in that October conversation, Srila Prabhupada denied that he had only done fifty percent of his work.

    This brings us to Madhavananda Prabhu’s question as to why, if varnasrama really constitutes 50% of Prabhupada’s missionary work, Srila Prabhupada didn’t officially emphasize it in his recorded talks and lectures. As I have heard—in a general way—from my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada liked to encourage his disciples. And apparently, wherever he went, he would often make such statements as “Your Deities are the most beautiful. Your temple is the best. Your service is the most important.” So it is not surprising that Srila Prabhupada should have made such a statement in relation to varnasrama. At the same time, he did state—and that statement is part of a document listing the primary and secondary goals of ISKCON—that varnasrama was a secondary goal of the Krsna consciousness movement. Secondary doesn’t mean it’s not important, but still the head is more important than the legs. (In my childhood I’ve seen chicken run around without a head, but they can only do so for a few seconds.) ISKCON’s primary role is to provide heads to society. Therefore, it would be better to stick to this primary goal and train real brahmanas and rajarishis, and then send them to preach to local farmers and laborers so that they do not leave the land. But for them to remain on the land and do their duties, they need inspiration. So it’s not that we have to artificially try to become farmers or laborers if we do not have that type of psycho-physical nature. But we should be conscious of our duties toward that type of person and help them in the execution of their duties by guiding them. We should live with them—meaning in the same village –and be ready to live simply ourselves. Not that we just visit them once in a while to see how they are doing. They need spiritual guidance on a daily basis, just as we do. I wonder what you all think of this idea.
    Your servant,

  28. In the early chapters of Bhagavad-gita, Krishna is making arguments that Arjuna must do his duty according to his specific sva-dharma as a ksatriya.

    In Chapter Two, He advises that if Arjuna does not fight the battle, he will lose his glory, his honorable name, and will incur sin. Then He goes on to speak of buddhi-yoga.

    In Chapter Three, He answers Arjuna’s question about why His teachings on Buddhi yoga are not inconsistent with His teachings about not deviating from prescribed duties. That doing ones prescribed duties as karma yoga regulates the senses and helps one realize one’s nature as transcendental to intelligence, mind and senses. In this chapter we find the first mention (reprised in Chapter 18) that it is better to be destroyed doing one’s own duty than to do another’s duty well.

    In Chapter Four, Krishna further explains about sacrifice (born of prescribed work) and how it is most perfect when performed with transcendental knowledge, that such knowledge burns up reactions to material activities.

    In Chapter Five He explains how doing one’s prescribed work as devotional service is not actually separate from the path of analytic study of matter and spirit, that they both lead to being able to live happily in the city of nine gates and enjoy unlimited satisfaction within, in awareness of the uniform, non-dual spiritual nature, even while working in various ways with the external senses and mind, seeing such actions as part of the workings of the gunas of external energy.

    And in the beginning of Chapter Six He says that for neophytes in the path of mystic yoga, work (regulated according to prescribed duties) is the means.

    In Chapter Nine He says the path of devotional service is open to women, vaisyas, sudras, and even those born in uncivilized families. He also indicates the relationship of conditional duties to transcendental duties, instructing that a devotee engaged in transcendental duties must be considered saintly even if he does something considered very bad by material consideration.

    In Chapter 18, He reprises His earlier discussion of work according to the four varnas and how one must do one’s own prescribed duty, even in spite of its faults. By this time He has more fully explained the workings of material nature and its modes.

    So, yes, He concludes that pure, unalloyed service in full surrender transcends all dharma. However, he never asks Arjuna not to fight, as a ksatriya, befitting his nature and position.

  29. So we should understand how there is ultimately no contradiction in what Krishna is saying in Bhagavad-gita. It is all of a piece.

    I think the quotations supplied by Yudhisthir from “Jaiva Dharma” sums it up nicely. Devotees who fully surrender can simply hear and chant and remain above and beyond any consideration of varna and asrama.

    However, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur detected that this truth was being misused by sahajiyas. So-called babajis, who supposed themselves above the varnasrama system, were actually engaging in sinful life of illicit sex and intoxication. Therefore he set about to initiate brahmanas and sannyasis by real qualification, for the good of society. The ideals of the true, transcendental “babaji” devotees like the six goswamis and Haridas Thakur should be revered but not imitated.

    “Paramahamsa Babaji: ‘These temporary religions are meant only for souls bewildered by maya.'”

    True, but aren’t most souls bewildered by maya? Even many of us who have been fortunate enough, as Pusta Krishna says, to have moved into Hare Krishna asramas somehow or another (“the few, the proud, the Marines”) might be more fortunate if we were less proud and acknowledged we still suffer from residual maya.

    So we should encourage everyone to be pure devotees, but also to understand that the varnasrama rules of doing one’s rightful social duties according to one’s social station and not transgressing them is valuable for all, except perhaps the super, topmost devotees, who nevertheless may remain in their social positions to set a good example for others.

    Accepting our prescribed duties according to our varna and asrama as an external way of regulating our senses while continuing our bhajan is not inimical to the path of devotional service. It is complimentary.

    If it becomes inimical, incompatible, as our devotion really matures, perhaps we can then someday become babajis… but as far as I can tell Srila Prabhupada never liked that idea.

    Better to remain a grhastha, vanaprastha or sannyasi and engage in much-needed preaching service. “Work now, samadhi later.” Don’t try to go sit at Radha Kund and chant 192 rounds for the rest of your life. That is not what our acaryas require of us.

    I think Pusta Krishna is an awesome example of how a devotee can be a responsible, respectable professional man, good husband and father, good citizen and pillar of the community, supporting the preaching mission.

  30. As for whether promoting agrarian lifestyle is practical, I do not know. Do we have to wait until the oil runs out? What if we discover renewable fuels (like ethanol) to continue to prop up the industrial society, and make more use of nuclear power (in spite of the recent Japanese debacle)?

    We are still contributing to air pollution, water pollution, earth pollution (waste dumps, toxic chemicals and radioactive waste), ether pollution (lies and hypocrisy everywhere), not to mention cruelty to animals and to Krishna’s beloved cows.

    So, even though I myself do not know my way around a farm, I am happy that devotees like Bhakti Raghava Swami are reminding devotees that only the agrarian village life and small-scale cottage industry can lead to real peace and harmony, both individually and in the greater community.

    However, varnasrama dharma does not begin and end on the farm, or in the realm of economic and political theory. It is seamless and all-pervading. We live in an atmosphere where, with every step, we are either performing dharma or adharma, punya karma or papa vikarma.

    In our personal lives, the grhastha asrama is a strong example. Men and women who are not properly married generally will engage in illicit sex. That propensity of attraction to the opposite sex is there in almost everyone, and it is very strong. But the institution of marriage is like a fortress that channels that impulse into something wholesome and respectable and productive of social well-being. The husband has his wife, the wife has her husband, and they are satisfied. They do not have to go to fern bars and ruin their own lives and ruin society by an unwholesome preoccupation with sex. They have their duties to earn money and run the household and provide a decent environment for their children.

    These principles of dharma are at work whether on the farm or in the suburbs or in the cities.

    In a righteous society, people play their different roles to help each other out of duty to superior authorities (ultimately God), but also from some spontaneous affection based on natural relationships.

    Urban commercial life intrudes on those natural relationships, with the tendency of reducing everything to selfish transactions calculated in terms of money.

    However, it cannot succeed. People do not really act to maximize money. They have to like what they do, and they take up work that suits their nature. Varnasrama, in some perverted form, is all around us.

  31. The relevance of The Jaiva-dharma description of VAD being a secondary function for vaisnavas, was important enough for Srila Prabhupada. During the same 1974 VAD discussion with his disciples, he said that this should begin among the devotees.

    Srila Prabhupada specified preachers and teachers as brahmanas. (I’m sure the pujaris are included as well) Those devotees who were less active in these brahminical areas could be earmarked for training according to their propensities – in secondary roles. His idea of a VAD college was orientated that way.

    During those years, the temples and preaching centres had healthy numbers of devotees living in them, and our movement grew quickly. With this momentum, we can understand his enthusiasm for pursuing this. Also the reality that not all devotees could live up to brahminical standards must have weighed in too.

    Nowadays with our temples not very populated, and with congregations surrounding them, it appears a difficult task to pick out non-brahmanas from amongst the devotee communities. Many uninitiated members love to preach, but many could offer to teach with educated expertise in diverse subjects – a brahminical function.

    HH Bhakti Raghava Swami is only doing what is practical under the circumstances, by asking devotees in farm communities to try to implement VAD. How do we translate this practicality to our congregation? This should make for further discussions.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  32. pustakrishna says :

    When Srila Prabhupad was contemplating the organization of society before he ventured out of India, he remarked more than once that he looked at Russia’s attempts at communism, government ownership of everything, and Srila Prabhupad used that example to speak about “Spiritual Communism”. This implies that Krishna is the owner of everything, and society can and should be organized around that principle. Ishyavashyam idam sarvam…This principle will free everyone from illusion and much suffering. Each of us can truly experiment with this wisdom. For example, if we should walk about in a shopping mall or on a street full of stores, or anywhere for that matter, we can, with but a small amount of detachment, perceive how the interaction of senses with sense objects causes so much disturbance to the consciousness. By desiring to covet or possess or enjoy something, we become so unsettled, and forget our true nature. Now, if we place, as Srila Prabhupad sometimes said, the eyeglasses of knowledge over our interaction with the environment, we immediately feel peaceful, and even self-satisfied. The Truth Shall Set You Free! Krishna, God, is the Proprietor of everything, and naturally He is the rightful enjoyer. This is the basis for a happy society. Then one might follow their occupational nature and easily attain peace and fulfillment.
    I think that the only way we could really attempt to propose Varnashrama Dharma as the best and natural organization for society, it would need to follow the wisdom behind it. Otherwise, we would see the perversion of dharma wherein there would be exploitation for one or one’s group. Without the recognition that God is the only Proprietor, it would be a hollow system from the perspective of spiritual life. Varnas(occupational) and Ashramas (spiritual) in a God-centric society. Pusta Krishna das

  33. pustakrishna says :

    At last, while thinking about the recent discussions, some very erudite and thoughtful, some less important like my comments, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Srila Prabhupad often used the example of the gopis of Vrindaban-dham. They went about their duties and responsibilities externally, but internally they were deeply absorbed in love for Krishna. Krishna is “raso vai sah”, He is Rasa Personified.
    And, when Krishna would call for them with His flute, the gopis would drop everything and run to Krishna. This is their nature, and they are the supreme example of Krishna conscious dharma.
    So, which comes first….teaching the principles of Krishna consciousness or teaching the organization of society and duty through Varnashrama Dharma? Certainly, varnashrama dharma is not “barn dharma”, farming, or anything like that. And, what would be the value of that in and of itself, without Krishna consciousness.
    Therefore, I propose that the main principle is Krishna consciousness! I remember when I was doing some specialty training in arthritis surgery in New York City in 1989-90, my rental townhouse was next door to a pious Jewish man who was an accountant. We shared the front porch and occasionally sat philosophically in comparative religious discussions. When I proposed to him that we are not the body (Bible “God created the body and then He breathed in the life”), he immediately agreed and then said: “So now what do I do?” In essence, he was saying, “what is my duty.” He answered his question by saying that there are so many rules and recommendations of how one should act in any situation according to the Talmud. Obedience was his response, and obedience to written rules of laws that were passed down. While varnashrama dharma is perhaps slightly more fluid, it is not very different than that.
    However, engagement in pure devotional service even surpasses that. These are all useful and valuable things to ponder, but the gopis example is the transcendental beacon, because after all….we are followers of prema-dharma.
    Pusta Krishna das

  34. Prahladesh says :

    It is clear that Sripada Aindra Baba never received “Babaji Vesa”. He was a devoted Brahmacari following the request of his Guru Srila Prabhupada to maintain 24-hour Kirtan in Vrndavana. He was affectionately called “Baba” for his friends. Nor was his proposition that all remained in Vrndavana and there were no more preaching.

    Here’s what he said:
    “Work now samadhi later’ … that’s alright, but what work? and how much later?
    How later does later have to be, before later can be considered later enough?
    Later after some future, God-knows-how-many-births? ” (HG Kirtancandra Namanandi Sripada Aindra Baba)

    Work now, but what work?

    Work without an adequate internal Sadhana cultivation?

    This leads to “chewing the chewed” for many as we know.

    Regarding Varnasrama, Srila Prabhupada instituted Gurukulas but had no time to set Varnasrama Colleges. However, he left the guidelines in this regard. And so we can say that Srila Prabhupada left his work complete. His followers have simply instituting Varnasrama Colleges.

    “The Varnasrama College has to be established immediately. Everywhere, wherever we have got our center, a Varnasrama College should be established to train four divisions…” Morning Walk Vrndavana 12 March 1974

    Another important point:

    Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 7 Chapter 11: The Perfect Society: Four Social Classes
    “In verses 8-12,
    Narada lists “the general principles to be followed by all human beings” (i.e. all
    varnas). Prabhupada clearly states in the purport that these principles are for everyone, even Muslim, Christians and Buddhists” (HH Suhotra Tapovanacari)

    Vrindavana, March 12, 1974.

    “Hridayananda: Prabhupada, to be clear. I want to see if I’m sure about this, that if someone comes to our Varnasrama College , even though this is as an initial help in general – you made some exceptions – but in general when they come to our school, they must follow the four principles, and also learn something about the Bhagavad Gita and then, step by step, they learn
    Prabhupada: The four principles are compulsory. ”

    All receive Brahmana initiation ( A Vaisnava even without Brahminical qualifications is higher than a Brahmana who is not Vaisnava), and even without Brahminical qualifications, should still follow the four principles and chant 16 rounds. That is human civilization. This is for everyone. For all Varnas.

  35. Puskaraksa das says :

    This an interesting discussion…

    However, as often, we highlight things from different angles… and at times, tend to forget the context in which certain things are said or done…

    In that regard, yes the gopis of Vrindavana abandon everything when they hear the flute of Krishna… But, they are the gopis of Vrindavana… they are eternally liberated souls… So, now, the question is, how is it relevant to us, in our particular context and in our daily life, as still conditioned souls…?

    In the previous post, there is also some notice on how His grace Aindra Prabhu was commenting on Srila Prabhupada’s instruction : ” work now, samadhi later !”

    The answers are crystal clear:
    – what does “work now” mean ? Perform the service given / granted to you by Sri Guru
    – what does “samadhi later” mean ? When Sri Guru is pleased with your service, you may become eligible, by his causeless mercy, to be elevated to the stage of samadhi… which means a stage where devotional service is performed in an ahaituki apratihata state of consciousness, i.e. in an unmotivated and uninterrupted manner.

    So, if one is properly engaged in the service of Sri Guru, as per his instructions, there is no scope for speculating about the service one has been granted, neither is there scope for any impatience, as it is a matter of receiving the unalloyed mercy of Guru and Krishna… So, shouldn’t we be gracious about it ?

    In regards to varnashrama, Jaiva Dharma states:

    “The authors of the sastras first examined the natures of human beings and their natural eligibility traits, and then established varnasrama-dharma, the duties for the social castes and spiritual orders. Their intention was to prescribe a system in which nitya-karma (eternal) and naimittika-karma (circumstantial) could be carried out in an excellent way in this world. The gist of this arrangement is that there are four natural types of human beings, classified according to the work that they are eligible to perform: brahmanas, teachers and priests; ksatriyas, administrators and warriors; vaisyas, agriculturists and businessmen; and sudras, artisans and laborers. People are also situated in four orders or stages of life, which are known as asramas: brahmacari, unmarried student life; grhastha, family life; vanaprastha, retirement from family responsibilities; and sannyasa, the renounced ascetic life. Those who are fond of akarma and vikarma are known as antyaja (outcaste) and are not situated in any asrama.”

  36. Puskaraksa das says :

    “The different varnas are determined by nature, birth, activities, and characteristics. When varna is determined only on the basis of birth, the original purpose of varnasrama is lost. Asrama is determined by the various stages of life, depending on whether one is married or unmarried, or has renounced the association of the opposite sex. Married life is known as the grhastha asrama and unmarried life is known as the brahmacari asrama. Disassociation from spouse and family is characteristic of the vanaprastha and sannyasa asramas. Sannyasa is the highest of all the asramas, and the brahmanas are the highest of all the varnas.

    “This conclusion is established in the crest-jewel of all the sastras, Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.15-21):

    varnanam asramanan ca janma-bhumy-anusarinih
    asan prakrtayo nrnam nicair nicottamottamah

    The varnas and asramas of humanity have higher and lower natures in accordance with the higher and lower places on Sri Bhagavan’s universal body from which they appeared.

    samo damas tapah saucam santosah ksantir arjavam
    mad-bhaktis ca daya satyam brahma-prakrtayas tv imah

    The natural qualities of the brahmanas are control of the mind, control of the senses, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction, forbearance, simplicity, devotion unto Sri Bhagavan, compassion for the suffering of others, and truthfulness.

    tejo balam dhrtih sauryam titiksaudaryam udyamah
    sthairyam brahmanyam aisvaryam ksatra-prakrtayas tv imah

    The natural qualities of the ksatriyas are prowess, bodily strength, fortitude, heroism, tolerance, generosity, great perseverance, steadiness, devotion to the brahmanas, and sovereignty.

    astikyam dana-nistha ca adambho brahma-sevanam
    atustir arthopacayair vaisya-prakrtayas tv imah

    The natural qualities of the vaisyas are theism, dedication to charity, freedom from pride, service to the brahmanas, and an insatiable desire to accumulate wealth.

    susrusanam dvija-gavam devanan capy amayaya
    tatra labdhena santosah sudra-prakrtayas tv imah

    The natural qualities of the sudras are sincere service to the devas, brahmanas and cows, and being satisfied with whatever wealth is obtained by such service.”

  37. Puskaraksa das says :

    asaucam anrtam steyam nastikyam suska-vigrahah
    kamah krodhas ca tarsas ca sa bhavo ‘ntyavasayinam

    The natural characteristics of those who are in the lowest class, and who are estranged from the varnasrama system are: uncleanness, dishonesty, thievery, lack of faith in Vedic dharma and the existence of a next life, futile quarrel, lust, anger, and greed for material objects.

    ahimsa satyam asteyam akama-krodha-lobhata
    bhuta-priya-hiteha ca dharmo ‘yam sarva-varnikah

    The duties for the members of all the varnas are: non-violence, truthfulness, abstention from theft, freedom from lust, anger, and greed, and endeavoring for the pleasure and welfare of all living beings.

    “Everyone in this learned assembly knows the meaning of the Sanskrit slokas, so I am not translating them all. I just want to say that the system of varna and asrama is the basis of vaidha-jivana, life that is carried out in accordance with religious rules and regulations. The prominence of impiety in a country is measured by the extent to which the varnasrama system is absent there.”

    …/…

    “Modern-day pseudo-philosophers of these sastras, without a view to the underlying purport of all the sastras, have tried to establish the superiority of only one of its limbs. This has cast innumerable people into a pit of argument and doubt. Bhagavad-gita, which is the matchless deliberation on all these sastras, clearly establishes that karma not aiming at jnana is atheistic, and should be rejected. Karma-yoga and jnana-yoga that are not directed towards bhakti are also cheating processes; in reality, karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga form a single yoga system. This is the Vedic Vaisnava siddhanta (conclusion).

    “The jiva who is bewildered by maya is first compelled to adopt the path of karma; then he must adopt karma-yoga, followed by jnana-yoga, and finally bhakti-yoga. However, if he is not shown that all these are but different steps on the one staircase, the conditioned jiva cannot ascend to the temple of bhakti.

    “What does it mean to adopt the path of karma? Karma consists of the activities that one performs with the body or mind in the course of maintaining one’s life. ” From Jaiva Dharma – Third Chapter

    Some of us may have tried to leave everything behind and run for the attractive vaca of Sri Guru, but had to retrieve and go back to some other occupational duties (varna) and ashrama.

    Even the sage has to act according to his own nature…

    Your servant
    Puskaraksa das

  38. In Giriraja Maharaja’s Vyasa Puja day talk about Mr. Sethji, published on Dandavats as “A Special Recipient of Srila Prabhupada’s Mercy”, we come across this passage:

    “Another time, Mr. Sethi had some ideas for other ways the devotees could make money for the project. Srila Prabhupada replied, ‘Your ideas may be good, but if I tell my disciples, they will think, “I have come for bhajana, and now he wants me to do the same business again.’”

    “And Srila Prabhupada told a story. Once, a boy was learning algebra and his mother saw him write A + B = C. Seeing the letters A, B, and C, she exclaimed, ‘Oh, you have grown so much, and still you are doing the same ABC?’ She could not understand there was a gulf of difference between this ABC and that ABC, between a child’s learning to write the alphabet—ABC—and an adult’s doing algebra—ABC. Prabhupada continued, ‘I can give my disciples so many ideas, but they will think, “I have come for bhajana, and again I am doing the same business?” They cannot understand there is a gulf of difference between this business and that business—between working for Krsna and working for maya.’

    I thought it was interesting. Doing business as a devotee was being compared to doing algebra. With our defective understanding we might have thought it was ABC, because externally it appears the same as mundane business.

    I was in court the other day and I exchanged business cards with a friendly attorney. He noticed the Sanskrt writing on the back of my card, citing Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6, and he asked me, “Is that Buddhist?”

    I told him, “Srimad Bhagavatam is from the Vedic tradition.” He looked puzzled. “Vaishnavism” (still puzzled), “Hinduism.”

    “What’s it mean?”

    I replied, “It means that the highest occupational duty is that which gives one ‘bhakti’, or loving devotional service to the inconceivable Supreme Person, Krsna.”

    He nodded approvingly, but asked, “So…why are you practicing law?”

    I laughed and with a self-deprecating shrug said, “Believe it or not, I’m trying to get that bhakti this way.”

    He also made a self-deprecating expression of understanding and said, “Me too, actually…”

    Just then a clerk called me forward and I never found out what he meant, whether he is Christian, or Buddhist, or something else, but I have his card and maybe later I’ll email him and inquire…

    We both nonverbally laughed at the unlikelihood of litigation as a way to grow spiritually, but acknowledged bhakti as our goal.

  39. pustakrishna says :

    We must not minimize the focus upon internal meditation upon Krishna. Manmana bhava mad bhakto. Yoginam api sarvesam. Follow in the footsteps of the mahajans. Worship the mood of the inhabitants of Vrindaban. This is relevant regardless of the external position that we find ourselves in physically. And we are not the doer in any case.

    The yuga dharma is Harinam Sankirtan. I place before you this: One must understand the mood of the inhabitants of Vrindaban to be successful. Externally, going about one’s activities, while internally thinking about Krishna. This is the success of dharma. Srila Prabhupad used to use an example: In the villages, ladies often balance a basket or a waterpot upon their head while they go about their daily activities. This balance is achieved by constant remembrance of the Holy Names. hOtherwise, all action is binding us in the maya-jala, the network of illusion.

    It is a wonderful title for the article, and it has been very interesting reading the comments of the various authors and meditating to see what might come out to write about. Thank you. Pusta Krishna das

  40. One take on “work now samadhi later” is that Srila Prabhupada was really impressing on us the life of active devotional service and preaching as being higher than the so-called meditation of inactive yogis and babajis.

    Actually, someone absorbed, as Srila Prabhupada was, in full time activities to enlighten the world on Lord Caitanya’s order, may actually be in samadhi, even though apparently engaged in so many activities such as publishing, managing, traveling, speaking, corresponding and so on.

    How much later? I do not know, but Srila Prabhupada was never very eager to just sit down and chant by himself alone. He was translating and commenting of Srimad Bhagavatam to his last breath. He gave us that example of “practical samadhi” in the active life of preaching service, even as a sannyasi.

    But actually, not everyone is fit to be a sannyasi. It is not what Krishna wants of everyone. He never asked Arjuna to become a sannyasi. Sometimes Srila Prabhupada was frustrated that the young sannyasis were falling down and injuring the reputation of ISKCON.

    “A householder can also reach this destination by regulated service in Krsna consciousness. For self-realization, one can live a controlled life, as prescribed in the sastras, and continue carrying out his business without attachment, and in that way make progress. A sincere person who follows this method is far better situated than the false pretender who adopts show-bottle spiritualism to cheat the innocent public. A sincere sweeper in the street is far better than the charlatan meditator who meditates only for the sake of making a living.”
    (B.G. 3.7, Purport)

    The Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gita has a lot to tell us about how we should perform our duties sincerely in accordance with our own natures. “What can repression accomplish?”

    We should execute our duties according to Krsna’s injunctions, regulating our senses, with a view to eventually becoming 100% sold-out, surrendered devotees of Krsna. In the mean time we can realistically observe how truly human we are and how limited out ability is to chant with pure devotion, and should not pretend to be on a level we aren’t on.

    We may find people will listen to our glorification of Krishna and Srila Prabhupada’s books better if we do not try to emphasize how much different we are, but by showing them how, even though we are taking care of family and work duties, we are finding happiness and wisdom in reading and following these books.

  41. pustakrishna says :

    Consider: there are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. There are about the same number of Christians. There are many Buddhists in the world. There are many Hindus in the world. There are some atheists in the world. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu presented a beautiful unifying process…accepting that there are many names of God to glorify. It is not a sectarian ideal. If presented honestly in this manner, then there is hope that the Yuga dharma will be popularized. Encourage simple living and high thinking. If we want to establish an agrarian farming ideal, it may be unrealistic at this time. However, we can clearly explain how a complicated economic system has virtually stolen our valuable human time. Commuting long distances to work, struggling hard to earn money to buy electronic and other items, placing so much emphasis on material education without recognizing the importance of spiritual life and practice…these thought provoking things need to be debated. That was Srila Prabhupad’s style.
    If we appear too reactionary it may be counter productive. For those who have engaged in cow-protection, they have very much pleased Srila Prabhupad and Krishna. Of the principles of sinfulness, I asked Srila Prabhupad which is the worst to do. He replied that meat-eating is the worst, because one loses the sense of mercy and compassion.

    Pusta Krishna das

  42. Prahladesh says :

    - what does “work now” mean ? Perform the service given / granted to you by Sri Guru

    Exactly, Sri Guru will ask us to execute a practical external service and simultaneously cultivate an inner Sadhana. Simultaneously. That is the service given/granted by Sri Guru for all his/her disciples. Is not that everyone will leave their occupations (Varnas) and go sit in the holy Dhama as “Babaji”. But the internal Sadhana has to be there.

    In the following quote, Sripada Namanandi Aindra Das Prabhu warns about the danger of neglecting the deepening of internal conceptualization of Krishna’s service, which can result in the practitioner “a devotional vacuum” that will take to fill it with subtle and gross mundane Rasas . Or in other words, “chewing the chewed”.

    “It’s not enough simply to know the denial that “I’m not “this” [illusory material] body.”
    There comes a certain point, an individual seriously inquisitive inevitably asks, “If I’m not “this” body, which body then am I?”
    More than the idea of being an indescribable “eternal servant of Krishna” and being a spiritual entity, as well as psycho-physical tabernacle currently acquired, could theoretically be quite entrenched in the brain, just the realization that “I am not “this” body” without cultivating a more internal spiritual concept tends to give the “I” an internal spiritual dissatisfaction “formless” (nirakara) vulnerable to a corporeal nostalgic selfishness that “something is better than nothing” and the individual return to the subtle or gross mundane Rasas.” (Sripada Aindra Dasa Prabhuji)

    – What does “samadhi later” mean? … Neither is there any scope for impatience, the it is a matter of unalloyed receiving the mercy of Guru and Krishna …

    “Nothing happens automatically or blindly by chance. Everything must be cultivated scientifically and consciously for the absolute pleasure of Guru and Krishna with a clear conception of deliberate cause and due consequence. One could hardly expect to achieve the supreme spiritual perfection by unapprisedly harboring anomalous devotional (what to speak of non-devotional) idiosyncrasies, which are not accommodated by the purest realm of Vraja.” (Sripada Aindra Dasa Prabhuji)

  43. Prahladesh says :

    Krpa Siddhi – Sadhana Siddhi

    Srila Prabhupada explains that for most, the path is through Sadhana Siddhi.
    In the book “The Nectar of Devotion” is explained that there are two ways to achieve perfection in devotional service:

    Krpa Siddhi
    Sadhana Siddhi

    However Krpa Siddhi is very, very rare.

    In Chapter 17 of the Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada explains:”The purport is that one should execute devotional service rigidly in the association of devotees so that there will be certainty in raising oneself to that ecstatic position. In special cases, of course, there is special favor from Kṛṣṇa, and although we should always expect that, we should not sit idly and simply wait for Kṛṣṇa’s special mercy; the regular duties must be performed. It is just as when, sometimes, it is found that a person who never attended school or college may be recognized as a great scholar, or an honorary degree from great universities may be offered to him. But this does not mean that one should avoid school and expect to automatically receive an honorary degree from some university. Similarly, one should devoutly execute the regulative principles of devotional service and at the same time hope for Kṛṣṇa’s favor or for His devotee’s favor.” (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

    That is, through the cultivation of a strict internal and external Raganuga Sadhana (“one should devoutly execute the regulative principles of devotional service”) we’ll reach Krishna Prema. And also waiting for Krpa of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna. But there has to be a cultivation, because things do not come from nothing.

  44. Prahladesh says :

    Regarding Varnasrama often we heard statements saying that many devotees in ISKCON are engaged in activities that are not their nature (Varnabhasa), or a incompatible mixture of Varnas. Devotees who are not able to administer (Ksatriya), which are not able to trade or cultivate land (Vaisya) or are not able to study in depth the scientific and transcendental knowledge (Brahmana) are “forced” to do it. And this, all of us as participants in this movement have to be able to keep adjusting.

    However, it is important to say, as noted above, the mixture of incompatible Varnas is not related with the four principles and chanting 16 rounds. Because it is for all Varnas.

    For example we can not ask someone with Sudra nature to act as a Brahmana and scientific and methodically study Sastras. But we can and should ask this same person follow the four principles and chant 16 rounds.

    Follow the 4 principles and chant 16 rounds is not a Brahmana standard, BUT a minimum standard for all Varnas.

  45. Nitai dasa says :

    Dear Akruranatha Prabhu,

    I think you misinterpreted Sri Prabhupada’s intended meaning. He did not compare the ABC’s of learning; and specifically in this case to neophyte devotees working outside, most of whom may not even give the recommended fifty percent to the temple. Srila Prabhupada directly addressed Mr. Sethi’s question of engaging the devotees in raising money in ways such as putting on charity shows using famous singers and actors where one hundred percent of proceeds will go towards the temple project. But Srila Prabhupada rejected this idea. However, he encouraged Mr. Sethi to do it without his disciples. His purport to the “ABC” story as I understand is that his disciples were not advanced enough to understand the difference between collecting money for Krsna using direct methods and the spiritually risky method of neophytes engaging with maya to collect money.

    Besides the risk of entanglement with maya, we may not fully understand how collecting money directly for Krsna is actually not different in the ultimate spiritual sense as other seemingly mundane acts of maya. Srila Prabhupada tells the story of a great South Indian devotee who stole from the treasury of a Mohammedan King to construct a very nice temple. A pure devotee realizes fully how Krsna owns everything and therefore sees no difference in what method is used to engage Krsna’s opulence in His service.

    Akruranatha Prabhu, although you can use this analogy to some extent with our situation working within the material world as devotees, we are not pure enough to surrender all the fruits of our work to Krsna. We still do not know how to live in this world without living off it. I remember reading where you yourself said in comments on Dandavats that you sometimes go to Thai restaurants or the movies and maybe even watch television etc. We may buy the latest cars, electronic gadgets or spend on living opulently. So we cannot live in this world easily as devotees and make steady advancement. Pustakrishna Prabhu says to focus on internal mediation upon Krsna or follow in the footsteps of Mahajans, or worship the mood of the inhabitants of Vrindavan. This is easier said than done. Most of us cannot do this with the attraction of maya so strong – hence, the case for a favourable setting, such as communities within some system of Varnasrama where devotees can advance rapidly.

  46. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    Regarding “Work now, samadhi later,” my spiritual master once mentioned that Srila Prabhupada had told H. H. Tamal Krishna Goswami that “actually our only business is to sit down in Mayapur and chant Hare Krsna. But because you are all so passionate I have to tax my brains to engage you in these big big projects.” (This is not verbatim but almost.) My point in mentioning this is not to try and convince everyone that we should stop our missionary activities but to show appreciation for persons like His Grace Aindra Prabhu. He was not imitating Haridas Thakur. He genuinely had taste for the holy name. And he could enthuse thousands of devotees just by sitting in one place and chanting Hare Krsna. Could we not do with a few more devotees like him? And if some devotees show that kind of propensity, should they not be encouraged instead of discouraged?
    Your servant
    Visakha Priya dasi

  47. It might be worth acknowledging how Srila Prabhupada already attained his samadhi by revealing how he perfected his chanting of Hare Krishna within a specified number of years. In his unique case, he had attained samadhi first, then “worked” to spread the sankirtana mission worldwide.

    Because we may not have samadhi perfection, we have been allotted service side by side, along with our own chanting of Hare Krishna. Ultimately, it is our perfection of chanting if we reach suddha-nama.

    This “samadhi later” dictum is a serious request for us to attain samadhi through our own chanting. Though performing any of the nine angas of devotion with much hard work, the primary anga of chanting is the enabler of samadhi attainment.

    One can overwork to compensate for one’s lack of taste for chanting. Our “work” or service could be our external way of helping our mission through body and senses, and our daily chanting helps internally. If this internal development is casual, then samadhi may never come at all, in spite of all our “work.” Of course, such pleasing “work” may earn some recognition from Srimati Radharani, through the spiritual master, who may grant us some special favour to attain samadhi.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  48. Puskaraksa das says :

    The purpose of Varnashrama is that the jivas who incarnate in a human body be properly situated according to their guna karma, qualities and activities, which otherwise brings about only disorder within society…

    The ultimate goal, prayojana, of Daivi Varnashrama is pure love of God… which is why the head of society should be spiritually elevated and materially detached…

    But prior to reaching, or even targeting at that ultimate goal, one has to go through the earlier stages of sambandha, acknowledging one’s relationship with the Supreme Lord as His eternal servant and establishing oneself in that relationship, and then on, abhideya, starting to act within and according to that relationship…

    Hence, in order to properly situate oneself within Varnashrama and further more within Daivi Varnashrama, one should not be an hypocrite so as not to both cheat oneself and others… Therefore, one should properly evaluate one’s need and capacities, and fill up the proper role that one is capable of, at a given period of one’s life.

    In other words, it is not that everyone has to pretend to be a brahmana or a sannyasi, when it doesn’t correspond to reality… Rather be honest, get married and fill up a role according to one’s capacities…

    Now, it is true that a brahmana may step down and play the role of a ksatriya or a vaishya, if need be, according to time, place and circumstances… But he cannot act as a sudra, i.e. as a subordinate of non devotees, which would factually turn him into a sudra again… But, if he is manually skilled, he may engage his propensities within a spiritual movement such as ISKCON and become a handyman or an artist, and still remain a brahmana, even though performing the external activities of a sudra…

    Where it becomes more tricky, so to speak, is that in order to be worthy of being considered a brahmana, one should be endowed with the qualities of a brahmana. It is not the brahminical cord which makes one a brahmana !

    Neither is it wearing the garb of a sannyasi, which makes one a sannyasi. If one keeps desiring some sex life after having taken sannyasa, he should have waited till he became free from sex life, prior to accepting the sannyasa order of life, don’t you think ?

    Hence, an honest and accurate evaluation of one capacities and propensities, at given time, is required, both for one’s own sake, as well as for the smooth running of both our ISKCON society and society at large…

  49. Puskaraksa das says :

    The good part, however, is that one may change, evolve and, thanks to the mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga, become purified through the years, while following the process of devotional service…

    This is why it is important not to try and make everyone fit in the same mold…!

    If, we do so, we are sure to fail. Not only many a devotee will bloop, as we have seen, especially in the past, when everyone was supposed to join and give up everything else, but our temples will also be empty, as we can still see nowadays, wherever that early pattern still prevails…

    Rather, we should be able to acknowledge that one may be a devotee, and still retain for some time, some material attachments… Otherwise, it would mean that we expect everyone to be already a pure devotee, even before having engaged in the purificatory process of devotional service…

    This is the paradox we have been facing since the early days !

    So, we are (mostly unconsciously) in a transitory period, when many a senior devotee has had to step down and live at home, aside from strict and, at times, unproductive temple life, in order to feel more at ease to express one’s potential and live at one’s own pace, so as not to keep going against one’s own nature, throughout one’s whole life…

    Hence, Daivi Varnashrama is meant to allow all devotees, old and new, to live according to their nature, taking into consideration their need at each stage of their life and at each level of their spiritual development, so that they may keep engaging in the purificatory process, without being discouraged or considered as untouchables by some smarta brahmanas, who may both lack compassion and miss the goal of acknowledging their fellowmen to be eternal servants of Krishna as well… As Srila Prabhupada did put it as jagat Guru: “All are my disciples. Some know it and some don’t. That’s all !”.

    So, I would say that both Varnashrama and Daivi Varnashrama are not an option. They are already a practical reality, as they belong to the divine order defined by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. They are also a must for us, to facilitate and implement further, as this is the natural way by which each one’s devotional creeper will be given a chance to keep growing, throughout one’s life…

    Otherwise, if we set up the bar too high from the start, many will fail and will become discouraged, honestly considering that being a brahmana or a sannyasa is far too premature for them…

  50. SriGopaldas says :

    Hare Krishna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. The following quotes from an article by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Srila Prabhupada in relation to Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda should be read by anyone who wants to analyze Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and comment on it.

    “There have, however, already arisen serious misunderstandings regarding the proper interpretation of the life and teachings of Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda. Those who suppose they understand the meaning of his message without securing the guiding grace of the acarya are disposed to unduly favor the method of empiric study of his writings. There are persons who have got by heart almost everything that he wrote without being able to catch the least particle of his meaning. Such study cannot benefit those who are not prepared to act up to the instructions lucidly conveyed by his words. There is no honest chance of missing the warnings of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. Those, therefore, who are misled by the perusal of his writings are led astray by their own obstinate perversity in sticking to the empiric course which they prefer to cherish against his explicit warnings. Let these unfortunate persons look more carefully into their own hearts for the cause of their misfortunes.”

    Service of the Pure Devotee is Essential For Understanding

    “The personal service of the pure devotee is essential for understanding the spiritual meaning of the words of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. The editor of this journal, originally started by Thakura Bhaktivinoda, has been trying to draw the attention of all followers of Thakura Bhaktivinoda to this all-important point of his teachings. It is not necessary to try to place ourselves on a footing of equality with Thakura Bhaktivinoda. We are not likely to benefit by a mechanical imitation of any practices of Thakura Bhaktivinoda on the opportunist principle that they may be convenient for us to adopt. The guru is not an erring mortal whose activities can be understood by the fallible reason of unreclaimed humanity. There is an eternally impassable line of demarcation between the savior and the saved. Those who are really saved can alone know this. Thakura Bhaktivinoda (and our Srila Prabhupada) belongs to the category of the spiritual world teachers who eternally occupy the superior position.”

    Now we have to figure out whether we are the saved or the SAVIOR. In my degraded consciousness even I can understand that Srila Prabhupada is The Savior.

  51. yudhistirdas says :

    “An intelligent and thoughtful book distributor should sincerely consider, understand, appreciate, and in due course apply this principle in practical life. Otherwise, what is the meaning of the whole affair? How can we deem our transcendental book distribution a complete success unless the “someones” become fully absorbed in relishing the vraja-bhävas as a result of having gained an attraction and greed for them by deeply imbibing the sästras’ essential message?

    The “Someones” – Who? – The we “someones.” “Work now; samädhi later.” That’s all right. But what work – and how much later? How later does later have to be before later can be considered later enough? Later after some future God-knows how many births? Restoration of one’s constitutional topmost vraja-prema saturated quality of para-dukha-dukhi compassion toward others, following in the wake of the immaculate moods of the gopas and gopis of Vrndävana, and achievement of full-blown self realization in terms of the jiva’s highest potential are in effect one substance.”

    Excerpt from Sripad Aindra Prabhus book; The Heart of Transcendental Book Distribution.

  52. pustakrishna says :

    I want to comment how wonderful the many contributions to this essay have been. Regarding Yudhisthira das’ comments in #51 above…the simple desire to have feelings in the devotional mood of the Vraja-vasis is itself successful. Lalasmayi is the feeling of separation, or yearning, for the spirit of such devotion. Sriman Mahaprabhu expresses this as well. I want to express several beacons that I have learned of through the years.

    First, once you have offered yourself as a surrendered soul to Krishna, then do not worry anymore. (Krishna says “ma sucah” BG 18:66). He is the supreme Controller and Friend. He will never let you down.

    Second, avoid the tendency to imitate the inhabitants of Vrindaban. Rather, hear about the wonderful activities and sentiments that they express. Simply by hearing about them, the ‘hrdaya-granti’, knot within the heart, will be cut.

    Third, believe in the process of bhakti yoga. Do not worry for your own salvation. That is Krishna’s responsibility. He is, after all, Mukunda, the grantor of liberation. It is one of His many lilas. Allow Him to be your savior, and you remain His servant.

    Fourth, know that you are protected by Krishna. The gopas or cowherd boys did not fear entering the giant cave-like mouth of Aghasura, even if their death was impending. After all, the demon might kill them, but could not kill Krishna. Indeed, the gopas were killed but brought back to life by Krishna. Krishna does not want to live without His beloved friends either.

    Finally, realize how fortunate you are to have to be able to associate with Srila Prabhupad’s teachings, personally through association, tapes, and books. Pray for good association of good hearted bhaktas, but don’t abandon the dependence upon Krishna within your heart at every step.

    Pusta Krishna das

  53. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu for this nice concluding note…

    It is understood that the goal of Varnashrama is to promote conditions conducive for the establishment of Daivi Varnashrama where everyone is developing bhakti for the lotus feet of Sri-Sri Gour-Nitai and Sri-Sri Radhe-Shyam…

    Hence, as you say, one should draw some inspiration from the example of Lord Krishna’s eternal associates during their earthly pastimes in Gokula… but one should not prematurely conclude that just by having joined the Hare Krihsna Movement, following the four regs and chanting 16 rounds, or by living and singing in Vrindavana, one has become one of them… This may hopefully become the case, but in due course of time… once one has become a pure devotee…

    Then, the question arises, of how one may become a pure devotee ?

    Some may advocate that it is through the process of performing sadhana, that they may become a pure devotee… In our humble opinion, even if following sadhana and regulative principles, plays an important role, we humbly do not think we can achieve any success without the mercy of Sri Guru, Saddhus, Sastras and the Vaishnavas…

    ” In Vaiṣṇava philosophy there are three ways for perfection—namely sādhana-siddha, perfection attained by executing devotional service according to the rules and regulations, nitya-siddha, eternal perfection attained by never forgetting Kṛṣṇa at any time, and kṛpā-siddha, perfection attained by the mercy of the spiritual master or another Vaiṣṇava.

    CC Adi 8.5, Purport: In Vaiṣṇava philosophy there are three ways for perfection—namely sādhana-siddha, perfection attained by executing devotional service according to the rules and regulations, nitya-siddha, eternal perfection attained by never forgetting Kṛṣṇa at any time, and kṛpā-siddha, perfection attained by the mercy of the spiritual master or another Vaiṣṇava. Kavirāja Gosvāmī here stresses kṛpā-siddha, perfection by the mercy of superior authorities. This mercy does not depend on the qualifications of a devotee. By such mercy, even if a devotee is dumb he can speak or write to glorify the Lord splendidly, even if lame he can cross mountains, and even if blind he can see the stars in the sky. ”

    Yours in service

    Das dasanudasa
    Puskaraksa das

  54. pustakrishna says :

    One day, while Srila Prabhupad was talking his walk in a park in New Delhi, His Grace Gurudas was on his left, and I was on Srila Prabhupad’s right, alone. The mood was light and as we walked along, Gurudas asked Srila Prabhupad, “what is Kripa Siddhi?” Srila Prabhupad took his two hands and placed them into the abdomen of Gurudas and said, “Here you take this, take this!!” Gurudas and I laughly happily while Srila Prabhupad smiled as we walked along.
    I appreciate all of Puskaraksa Prabhu’s comments on Dandavats. I have observed his mood transforming in an ever more beautiful devotional way. That is a complement. His writing has become more and more inspirational.
    Srila Rupa Goswami has noted that the foundation of Krishna consciousness is faith. The aspiring bhakta believes that bhakti is the eternal course of activity in all respects. In this regard, and in respect to the comments of Puskaraksa das, the bhakta’s depend upon Krishna for protection. When Nanda Maharaj was being swallowed by a naga (snake), he called out for Krishna to save him. Even though Nanda Maharaj was acting in the rasa or role as Krishna’s father, still he recognized that Krishna is his Protector. This also is evident in the Goverdhan lila. All of the Vraj-basis approached Krishna for protection from the torrential rains, wind, etc.
    The key is to hear such lila and allow the heart to soften toward Krishna, and the faith to deepen toward Krishna. One should not falsely think of one’s self as Nanda Maharaj or anything like that. The process involves hearing with faith, not imitating (desirous of pratishtha). In fact, as we have seen, when great devotees (even Uddhava, Krishna’s close friend) wants to take part in Vrindaban lila, he prays to become a blade of grass in Vrindaban so that per chance a gopi might step upon that grass blessing it with the dust of their lotus feet. This is the method of bhakti with humility that will endear Krishna to them. Not that I will become a gopi and enjoy lila with Krishna. That and every destiny is subject to the sweet and independent will of Krishna. Besides, the manjaris are far removed from direct contact with Krishna generally, simply assisting their transcendental family of devotees in serving and pleasing Krishna. Pusta Krishna das

  55. Puskaraksa das says :

    Dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu
    I have to thank you all the more for your kind words, towards this lowly servant of yours.

    I must also return the compliment and earnestly state that I do also always appreciate the contribution of Pusta Krishna Prabhu. His comments are always on the middle path, mature and soothing…

    Besides, he never looses sight of the ultimate goal, i.e. developing pure spontaneous love for Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna, in the footsteps of the eternal inhabitants of Vrindavana…

    I must also give credit to many a contributor on Dandavats for their valuable input and thought provoking contributions…

    All glories to the association of devotees
    Hare Krishna

    Your servant
    Puskaraksa das

  56. Prahladesh says :

    Krpa Siddhi is very, very rare.

    In Chapter 17 of the Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada explains:

    “Elevation to the ecstatic stage of life is generally attained through association with pure devotees, while elevation to that stage by the special mercy of Krsna or His devotee is very rare.”

    Therefore, for most, it is Sadhana Siddhi, or association with devotees chanting Hare Krsna and become absorbed in the Srimad Bhagavatam, while waiting for Krpa of Guru and Krsna.

    It is very simple. We have to keep Sadhana waiting for Krpa of Guru and Krsna. Sadhana and Krpa together. We can not arrogantly think that we will reach Krsna with the strength of our Sadhana, but we can not sit idly by and do nothing waiting for Krsna and His devotee give Krpa without merit.

    sadhana ekane, siddhio ekane
    bhaver gocar seekane jadi ta,
    dekhite na pao, marile dekhibe ke

    “Sadhana is to this world, Siddhi also happens here, and it can be seen in Bhava. So if we do not see Krsna here, how we shall see Him after death?” (Mana Siksha of Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami)

    Krpa Siddhi is very, very rare.

    In Chapter 17 of the Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada explains:

    “Elevation to the ecstatic stage of life is generally attained through association with pure devotees, while elevation to that stage by the special mercy of Krsna or His devotee is very rare.”

    Therefore, for most, it is Sadhana Siddhi, or association with devotees chanting Hare Krishna and become absorbed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (Sadhana) waiting and longing for Krpa …;)

    “the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga in Krsna consciousness, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves.” (BG 6-24 by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

    God helps (Krpa) those who help themselves (Sadhana)…;)

    Dear Vaisnavas and Vaisnavis thank you all for all these important articles. Learning a lot from you all.

    Your servant
    Prahladesh Dasa

  57. SriGopaldas says :

    Understanding Sri Guru tattva and Srila Prabhupada’s position as Sri Guru in ISKCON nay the entire Universe will help every jiva to propel himself towards Spiritual World.

    cakhu-dana dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei,
    divya jnan hrde prokasito
    prema-bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasa jate,
    vede gay jahara carito

    jogyata vichare kichu nahin pai
    tomora karuna sara

    janma karma ca me divyam
    evam yo vetti tattvatah
    tyaktva deham punar janma
    naiti mam eti so’rjuna
    “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (BG4.9)

    tesam evanukampartham
    aham ajnana-jam tamah
    nasayamy atma-bhava-stho
    jnana-dipena bhasvata
    “To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (BG 10.11)

    GUIDE TO THE ABSOLUTE (Associates of Lord Chaitanya – By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Srila Prabhupada)
    The guru is the embodiment of the manifestation of the divinity to the pure receptive spiritual essence of the disciple. The guru is the real and original recipient of the Truth. He communicates his knowledge to the disciple. The disciple is too small a particle to be able by himself to receive the whole truth. He is enabled to receive Him through the power of the guru. The guru, as it were, takes the disciple by the hand and guides his every step on the plane of the Absolute. It is perpetual tutelage on the part of the disciple. This fact may be expressed in another way. The cognitive faculty of the individual soul can have no ground to stand upon unless the Divinity Himself condescends to be the legs as well as the ground on which he is to stand to func¬tion at all. This function of the divinity is performed by the guru. As a matter of fact the Divinity actually reveals Him only to Himself. The individual soul is a separable constituent of the guru. it is only when he happens to be associated by his own free choice with the guru in a completely dependent manner that he can be on the plane of the guru’s service of the Divinity. He may or may not choose to be so associated. The guru may or may not choose to admit him to his association. When there is active willing assent to such association on the part of both then it is possible for the individual soul to attain to the service of the Divinity in the really conscious form.

  58. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    And I would like to take the opportunity to thank both Pusta-Krsna Prabhu and Puskaraksa Prabhu for their enlightening comments on Dandavats. I always look forward to hearing from both of them. And I also thank Yuddhisthira Govinda Prabhu for his initial contribution to the ensuing exchanges.

    “Because the wonderful Lord never came before my eyes, and because I never tasted the nectar of service to His lotus feet, I simply pray to attain the jubilant festival of the association of those great souls now decorating this world whose hearts are fixed at Lord Caitanya’s lotus feet.” (Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Sri Caitanya-candramrita, text 50)

    With respect and affection,
    Your servant,
    Visakha Priya dasi

  59. Puskaraksa das says :

    Srila Prabhupada : “Nitya-siddha means they were never contaminated. The sādhana-siddha and kṛpā-siddha was contaminated by material touch, and by following regulative principles or by the mercy or grace of some devotee and ācārya they’re elevated to the perfectional state.

    Purport to Gaurangera Duti Pada — Los Angeles, January 6, 1969: Gaurāṅgera saṅge-gaṇe, nitya-siddha boli māne. Anyone who has understood that the associates of Lord Caitanya, they are not ordinary conditioned souls… They are liberated souls. Nitya-siddha bole māni. There are three kinds of devotees. One is called sādhana-siddha. Sadhana-siddha means by following the regulative principles of devotional service, if one becomes perfect, he’s called sādhana-siddha. Another devotee is called kṛpā-siddha. Kṛpā-siddha means even if he has not followed strictly all the regulative principle, still, by the mercy of ācārya or a devotee, or by Kṛṣṇa, he is elevated to the perfectional stage. That is specially. And another devotee is called nitya-siddha. Nitya-siddha means they were never contaminated. The sādhana-siddha and kṛpā-siddha was contaminated by material touch, and by following regulative principles or by the mercy or grace of some devotee and ācārya they’re elevated to the perfectional state. But nitya-siddha means they were never contaminated. They’re ever liberated.”

    The idea is that in Kali yuga, it is very difficult to follow all the regulative principles very strictly, as enunciated in the Nectar of Devotion, all the more that more or less everyone is said to be born as a sudra…

    Srila Prabhupada – Lecture on SB 7.9.7 — Mayapur, February 27, 1977: So if you want to approach the same level like Prahlāda Mahārāja, we should not immediately imitate him. We must follow the sādhana-bhakti, sādhana-bhakti, for general, and kṛpa-siddha, that is special. That is incalculable. If Kṛṣṇa wants, He can make immediately somebody very important. That is kṛpa-siddha. So there are three classes of devotees: nitya-siddha and sādhana-siddha and kṛpa-siddha. Prahlāda Mahārāja is nitya-siddha. He is not ordinary sādhana-siddha or of course, ultimately there is no difference, either sādhana-siddha or kṛpa-siddha or nitya-siddha. But we should always remember that Prahlāda Mahārāja is not ordinary devotee. He is nitya-siddha. Therefore immediately he developed the transcendental symptoms, aṣṭa-siddhi. Aṣṭa-siddhi, you have read in The Nectar of Devotion …/… “.

  60. Puskaraksa das says :

    …/… ” So the ecstasies Ekāgra-manasā. Ekāgra-manasā, “with full attention.” For us to bring that full attention may take hundreds and thousands of years, full attention. But Prahlāda Mahārāja, immediately. Immediately. Five-years-old boy. Because he is nitya-siddha. Always we should remember that we cannot imitate. “Now, Prahlāda Mahārāja has immediately ekāgra-manasā, and I shall become also.” No. That is not possible. May be possible, but that is not the way. ”

    However, even if some of us do thankfully understand that they need the mercy of Guru & Krishna to achieve any success and that this mercy of Sri Guru does also come in the form of his guidance and personal instructions, which are also part of the sadhana process, one should still of course acknowledge that, unless we are born as nitya-siddhas, we all need to go through some purificatory process and perform some sadhana, which is not to be given up, be it for preaching purpose only…

    Srila Prabhupada – Lecture on SB 7.9.7 — Mayapur, February 27, 1977: “Just like in our country, perhaps you know, there was a poet, Rabindranath Tagore. He got many distinction from the Oxford University. He got… He never went to school but he got the title “doctor,” “Doctor Rabindranath Tagore.” And if you think that “I shall also get doctorate without going to school,” that is foolishness. That is special. Similarly, don’t try to imitate. Follow the general course, sādhana-siddhi. The regulative principles you must follow as instructed in the śāstra. Therefore there are so many śāstras. And guru is guide. We must always… Even if you are nitya-siddha or kṛpa-siddha, you should not neglect the general regulative principle. That is very dangerous. Don’t try to do that. We must follow. Nitya. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa Himself, God, but He is accepting guru. Who is His guru? He is guru of everyone, but He has also accepted Īśvara Purī as His guru. Kṛṣṇa Himself, He accepted His guru, Sāndīpani Muni, teaching us that without guru you cannot make any advancement. Ādau gurvāśrayam.”

    From this, we can understand that there is a need to follow the devotional process under the guidance of Sri Guru. However, without Guru kripa, which also comes in the form of his guidance, we have to understand that we cannot make any tangible spiritual advancement, but only falsely presume, under the influence of ahankara, that we are spiritually advanced…

  61. Puskaraksa das says :

    Besides, beyond the mere concept of sadhana, wouldn’t it be nice to also discuss a few other points, such as:
    – the quality of our chanting, versus just quantity…
    – the service we perform after having performed our saddhana, which also features ‘asking for service’…
    – developping taste (ruci) for the performance of devotional service and attachment for Krishna, while entering the world of raganuga bhakti, after having gone through anartha nivritti (saddhana)…

    But isn’t all this the fruit of mercy, attainable only by those having the rare gift of grace…

    Thank you Visakha Priya mataji, for presenting us with a petal from the lotus flower of grace:

    “Because the wonderful Lord never came before my eyes, and because I never tasted the nectar of service to His lotus feet, I simply pray to attain the jubilant festival of the association of those great souls now decorating this world whose hearts are fixed at Lord Caitanya’s lotus feet.”
    (Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Sri Caitanya-candramrita, text 50)

    Grace…

    ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram
    patitam mam vishame bhavambudhau
    kripaya tava pada-pankaja-
    sthita-dhuli-sadrisham vichintaya

    O son of Maharaja Nanda [Krishna], I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms at Your lotus feet. Siksatakam (verse 5)

    naivopayanty apacitiḿ kavayas taveśa
    brahmāyuṣāpi kṛtam ṛddha-mudaḥ smarantaḥ
    yo ‘ntar bahis tanu-bhṛtām aśubhaḿ vidhunvann
    ācārya-caittya-vapuṣā sva-gatiḿ vyanakti

    ” O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science could not fully express their indebtedness to You, even if they were endowed with the prolonged lifetime of Brahmā, for You appear in two features — externally as the ācārya and internally as the Supersoul — to deliver the embodied living being by directing him how to come to You. ” Uddhava – Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.29.6

    In the footsteps of Srila Narottama das Thakur, we wish to be able to state some day:

    ” ei chaya gosani yara, mui tara dasa,
    tan’ sabara pada-renu mora panca-grasa ”

    “I am the servant of the six Gosvamis, and the dust of their lotus feet provides my five kinds of food.”

    gurudeva!
    kripa-bindu diya, kara ei dase,
    trinapeksha ati hina

    Gurudeva! Give me a drop of mercy – make this servant more humble than a blade of grass.

    Aspiring to roll in the dust of the lotus feet of the devotees,

    Patita
    Puskaraksa das

  62. Puskaraksa das says :

    PS: Dear friends
    I can’t resist sharing the whole prayer of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur with you…

    gurudeva!
    kripa-bindu diya, kara ei dase,
    trinapeksha ati hina
    sakala sahane, bala diya kara,
    nija-mane spriha-hina (1)

    Gurudeva! Give me a drop of mercy – make this servant more humble than a blade of grass. Give me the strength to tolerate all eventualities. Let me not hanker for my own honor and fame.

    sakale sammana, karite shakati,
    deha natha! yathayatha
    tabe ta’ gaiba, harinama sukhe,
    aparadha ha’be hata (2)

    Give me the power to honor all living entities according to what they are due (and all Vaishnavas as befitting their platform). Then I will be able to chant the holy names blissfully, and all my offenses will be vanquished!

    kabe hena kripa, labhiya e jana,
    kritartha haibe natha!
    shakti-buddhi-hina, ami ati dina,
    kara more atma-satha (3)

    O my master! When will I be benedicted with your mercy and finally be successful in my life? I am so fallen that I have no strength or intelligence. Kindly take my soul and make me like you.

    yogyata-vicare, kichu nahi pai,
    tomara karuna sara
    karuna na haile, kadiya kadiya,
    prana na rakhiba ara (4)

    If I examine myself, I find no good qualities; Your mercy is the essence of my existence. If you are not merciful, then bitterly weeping I will no longer maintain my life.

    Hare Krishna

    Who could possibly claim he can attain to the pure service of the lotus feet of Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna without Their mercy and all the more, the mercy of their eternal associates…?

    Gurudeva, your mercy is all I am made of… When I study myself carefully, I see nothing of value… I am so fallen… Therefore your mercy is essential to me… Please Gurudeva, be mercuful unto me…

    rupa-sanatana-pade dante trina kori
    bhakativinoda pore duhun pada dhori
    kandiya kandiya bale ‘ami-to’ adhama
    sikhaye saranagati koro he uttama

    Bhaktivinoda places a straw between his teeth, prostrates himself before the two Goswamis, Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana, and clasps their lotus feet with his hands. “I am certainly the lowest of men.” he tells them weeping, “but please make me the best of men by teaching me the ways of saranagati”…

    sri-jahnava-pada-padma koriya smaran
    dina krsna-dasa kohe nama-sankirtan

    Remembering the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda’s consort Sri Jahnava Devi, this very fallen and lowly servant of Krishna sings the sankirtana of the holy name…

  63. Prahladesh says :

    Morning Walk — April 20, 1974, Hyderabad:

    “Pancadravida: Srila Prabhupada, you were talking that a person, he can come up to that position of nitya-mukta by either following the principles of sadhana-bhakti or causeless mercy, or you said there was also the question of krpa, the krpa-siddhi, that one can attain perfection…
    Prabhupada: No, that is sadhana-bhakti.
    Pancadravida: One gets mercy by sadhana-bhakti.
    Prabhupada: Yes. In the stage of sadhana-bhakti… Sadhana-bhakti is for the conditioned soul.”

    Question: One GETS MERCY BY sadhana-bhakti?
    Answer by Srila Prabhupada: YES !!!

    “As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.” (BG 4 – 11)

    Krsna wants to see our sincerity and then He shows His mercy (Krpa).

    According to Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana there are 10 kinds of prayers. One of them is:
    “Svadhainyabodhika – expressing humility and embarrassment, informing the Lord: I am very fallen.”

    The devotee prays that way, but at the same time strives STRICTLY to follow the simple Sadhana of chanting Hare Krsna avoiding the ten offenses and associating and serving Guru and Sadhus.

    One might say that Krsna is very merciful and will bring a soul back home without having achieved perfection. Maybe. But we can not “force” Krsna to give it and not even know if this will really happen.

    Just like we can not force Krsna because the strength of our Sadhana, we can not force Krsna because He is very merciful. He is completely independent.

    But one thing is certain. So quite sure Krsna will show His mercy by giving many lives (those necessary) for someone to attain perfection. This is the mercy (Krpa) of Krsna. He gives many lives that are necessary to achieve perfection …;)

    Your servant
    Prahladesh Dasa

  64. Prahladesh says :

    “wouldn’t it be nice to also discuss a few other points, such as:
    – the quality of our chanting, versus just quantity…”

    One thing leads to another. Obviously by chanting better, we want to chant … MORE. Prabhupada explains that we can increase the number of rounds, but not reduce. And also we are a Gostyanandi movement whose main function is preaching. And so there must be a balance.

    “- the service we perform after having performed our saddhana, which also features ‘asking for service’…”

    The Sadhana is not just some morning practices. All our daily activities are Sadhana.

    Definition of Sadhana
    Sadhana – Activities of devotional service.

    Chanting Hare Krsna, associate with the devotees, read Srimad Bhagavatam, worshiping the Deity, to do a service during the day, distribute many books, take care to keep the family who are devotees, through work, etc.. All this is Sadhana. At the begining it is Vaidhi (Ajata Ruci Raganuga) and after, Jata Ruci Raganuga.

    “- developping taste (ruci) for the performance of devotional service and attachment for Krishna, while entering the world of raganuga bhakti, after having gone through anartha nivritti (saddhana)…”

    In Bhakti-sandarbha Anucchedya 311, Jiva Gosvami explains: “Devotees who have an interest to practice
    raganuga-bhakti, but who are still ajata-ruci (without much taste for hearing and chanting), should combine vaidhi-bhakti principles with their practice of raganuga-bhakti.” In summary, according to Srila Jiva Gosvami there are two kinds of raganuga-bhaktas: jata-ruci (those whose taste has come about) and ajata-ruci (those whose taste has not yet come about). It is not that ajata-ruci devotees in ISKCON only deserve to be called “vaidhi-bhaktas.” On the strength of Srila Jiva Gosvami’s explanation of raganuga-bhakti, all ISKCON devotees may be called raganuga-bhaktas.” (HG Suhotra Tapovanacari)

  65. Prahladesh Dasa says :

    Raganuga is Sadhana. Please Raganuga is Sadhana and not the stage of perfection. The stage of perfection is Ragatmika.

    Fortunately, the last English edition of “Nectar of Devotion,” corrected editorial “error” of the previous editions. In relation to chapter 15 (Spontaneous Devotional Service) where instead of the word Ragatmika was the word Raganuga. This led to confusion for so long that Raganuga is only possible at the stage of perfection.

    And so, work now and Samadhi later means Raganuga now and Ragatmika later …;)

    Or in other words, by humbly engage ourselves in Sadhana (Vaidhi (Ajata Ruci Raganuga) and Jata Ruci Raganuga) Krpa, mercy, will come.

    One GETS MERCY (Krpa) BY Sadhana Bhakti?
    Answer by Srila Prabhupada: YES !!!

    Your servant
    Prahladesh Dasa

  66. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you very much to Prahladesh Prabhu for his contribution.

    Of course, we are not only interested in some so called scholarly exchange, where the goal could possibly be mostly (if not only) to defeat what other devotees are saying, just to assert oneself over someone else…
    Rather, we are interested in highlighting the truth from different angles, thanks to each one’s contribution which enables us and others to gain some deeper understanding…

    Hence, we were actually referring earlier to moods, humors (also called bhavas)…
    The mood of humility for instance:
    Our acaryas have expressed it: “When I study mayself carefully, I see nothing of value…” or “don’t utter my name ! If you utter my name, all auspiciousness will go away from you” or again ” In my great misfortune, I have no attraction for the chanting of the Holy Name…” (which also refers here to Suddha Nama and not merely to utter the letters of the alphabet, be it with nice musical arrangements).

    Not that I am a stalwart devotee and I am due to cash the benefit of my saddhana (a bit like in accountancy). Not that I become impatient in regards to Srila Prabhupada’s instruction : ” work now, samadhi later… “, considering ” when will I get my dues… ? “.

    No, I have no qualification, I am so fallen, I am not even a devotee… I am aspiring to become a devotee…

    More humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, ready to offer everyone respect, without expecting anything in return, in such a frame of mind, one can chant the Holy Name constantly…

    Hence, it is by acting on the quality of our attitude, that we influence the quality of our chanting.
    Thereby, by bettering the quality of our inner attitude and hence the quality of our chanting, we will be able to get the ultimate reward for chanting, which is not only more chanting, but constant chanting of the Holy Name…

    In regards to the quote by Suhotra Prabhu about raganuga-bhakti, I doubt that being ajata-ruci (without taste) be the only qualification required, for any ISKCON member to be worthy of being called a raganuga bhakta from day one…

    As a matter of fact, Srila Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvati was very critical of those who claimed to practice rägänuga-bhakti, while maintaining some material attachements:

  67. Puskaraksa das says :

    ” The disciple whose bad habits (anarthas) are not removed is never said to have achieved deep devotional attachment. The science of intimate devotional mellows (rasa-tattva) is never taught to the disciple who is still contaminated by material impediments. (Präkåta-rasa-sata-dusini). ”

    Moreover, Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati were among the first to use the term vaidhi-bhakti in place of the term ajata-ruci-raganuga-bhakti. However, when Bhaktivinoda Thakura used the term vaidhi-bhakti in place of ajata-ruci-raganuga-bhakti, he was speaking of vaidhi in a general sense.

    In regards to saddhana, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Srila Sanatana Gosvami that a most essential element of Sadhana Bhakti is guru-padasraya — one must take shelter at the feet of a qualified guru. Without this shelter one’s devotional activities will not lead to pure devotional service (Uttama-Bhakti).

    guru-padasraya, diksa, gurura sevana
    sad-dharma-siksa-prccha, sadhu-marganugamana

    “On the path of regulative devotional service, one must observe the following items: (1) One must accept a bona fide spiritual master. (2) One must accept initiation from him. (3) One must serve him. (4) One must receive instructions from the spiritual master and make inquiries in order to learn devotional service. (5) One must follow in the footsteps of the previous acaryas and follow the directions given by the spiritual master.” (Cc. Madhya 22.115)

    Hence, having a job and all the more working for some karmis to maintain one’s family, may not be listed as part of one’s saddhana…!

    Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, has written in the introduction to the Nectar of Devotion (a summary study of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu) that, “Without initiation by a bona-fide spiritual master, the actual connection with Krsna consciousness is never performed.” One should understand that it is essential that anyone serious about taking up the process of Krsna consciousness, do so under the direction of a bona-fide spiritual master.

    Therefore, the essential ingredient to become a saddhana-siddhi is the mercy (kripa) of Sri Guru:
    yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado, yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ’pi

    Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that the five most important processes of devotional service are

    sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
    mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

  68. Puskaraksa das says :

    “One should associate with saddhu, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration.” (Cc. Madhya 22.128)

    But of these five items, association with saddhu, accepting saddhu-guru is the most important, for thanks to him, one will get all other four aspects.

    Sri Guru’s kripa and guidance being obviously the main and most important aspects of spiritual life, one should therefore not try to minimize the importance of a sat guru and should depend on him, considering oneself fallen and thereby cultivate a humble mood, conducive to lead oneself to the pure chanting of the Holy Name…

    Yours in the service of Sri Gauranga

    Das dasanudasa
    Puskaraksa das

  69. SriGopaldas says :

    Sri Guru Srila Prabhupada Kripa, , this is what everyone needs now in Kali Yuga. There are no nitya-siddhas, no sadhana-siddhas only candidates for kripa-siddhas and this perfection can only come from Sri Guru Who is within our heart. Of course, we need a via medium through which we can invoke the Sri Guru within our heart. He is the Supreme Master Who is in our heart and Who has been with us life after life Who if invoked will open our inner eyes meaning Who will connect our vision with His vision so we can see what He sees in this world and beyond. Caksu Dana Dilo Yei Janme Janme Prabhu Sei. To invoke the Real Guru Who is within our heart we need an external medium meaning an external authorized form of Chaittya Guru Sri Guru Krishna Paramatma Himself manifested to carry out His mission. Because it is Sri Krishna Himself Who will conduct His Divine Activities through that Divine Form.

    Vasudevam sutam devam
    Kamsa chanura mardanam
    Devaki paramanandam
    Krsnam vande Jagat Guru

    GUIDE TO THE ABSOLUTE
    The guru is the embodiment of the manifestation of the divinity to the pure receptive spiritual essence of the disciple. The guru is the real and original recipient of the Truth. He communicates his knowledge to the disciple. The disciple is too small a particle to be able by himself to receive the whole truth. He is enabled to receive Him through the power of the guru. The guru, as it were, takes the disciple by the hand and guides his every step on the plane of the Absolute. It is perpetual tutelage on the part of the disciple. This fact may be expressed in another way. The cognitive faculty of the individual soul can have no ground to stand upon unless the Divinity Himself condescends to be the legs as well as the ground on which he is to stand to func¬tion at all. This function of the divinity is performed by the guru. As a matter of fact the Divinity actually reveals Him only to Himself. The individual soul is a separable constituent of the guru. it is only when he happens to be associated by his own free choice with the guru in a completely dependent manner that he can be on the plane of the guru’s service of the Divinity. He may or may not choose to be so associated. The guru may or may not choose to admit him to his association. When there is active willing assent to such association on the part of both then it is possible for the individual soul to attain to the service of the Divinity in the really conscious form.

    Continued…

  70. SriGopaldas says :

    continued from previous comment:

    “…Nityänanda is the Primary Manifestive Constituent of the Divinity. Nityananda alone possesses the distinctive function of the guru. In Nityananda the function is embodied. Nityananda is the servant-God. He serves Sri Gaurasundar by the distinctive method of reverential servitude. He is identical with Sri Balarama of krsna-lila Sri Balarama is not the chum of Krsna, but His re¬spected elder brother. It is intimate relationship charac¬terized by becoming reserved on one side and of respectful deference on the other. Individual souls are under the direction of Nityananda. They receive their service of Sri Gaurasundar i.e. of Krsna, at his hands. Nityananda is not a jiva. He is Divinity He is the ultimate source of the jiva. The jiva is a potency of Nityananda. No jiva can be the medium of the service of the Absolute to another jiva. The Absolute alone may communicate His service to the separable constituents of Himself. This is the real nature of the function of the guru.

    NEVER TOUCHED BY MAYA

    But all jivas are not liable to be eclipsed by the deluding potency. Those who are so liable are again distinct from the eternally free jivas. The eternally free jivas are inseparable associates of Nityananda. They an integrated part and parcel of Himself. They never fall into the clutches of maya. When Nityananda manifests His appearance on the mundane plane His inseparable constituents also appear in His company. They some¬times manifest their function on this lower place in a visible form on the errands of Nityananda. They are Vaisnavas whose subordination to Nityananda is natural and ingrained in their nature. It is not neces¬sary for such souls to undergo the process of enlighten¬ment for being restored to the spiritual plane. Unless this fact is borne in mind the conditioned soul may be tempted to undervalue the constant guidance of the guru on the hypocritical plea of following in the foot¬steps of the eternally free pure devotees. Those, there¬fore, who suppose that deliverance from the bondage of this world should be practicable without the con¬stant guidance of the spiritual preceptor, confound the conditioned state with the free.

    continued….

  71. Prahladesh Dasa says :

    Many thanks to Sriman Puskaraksa Das Prabhu

    Sometimes, the question arises between the devotees on this verse of Sri Siksastaka, where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu talks about the constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was a magistrate and father of twelve children, clarifies this point by saying that if the work or means of maintaining itself, is subordinate to the chanting of the holy name, this work falls into the category of chanting the holy name…;)

    “In the second canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, Maharaja Pariksit also explains that pastimes of Lord Krsna are medicine for the conditioned souls. If they simply hear about Krsna they will become relieved of the material disease.” (Krsna Book – Description of Rasa Dance)

    What is reprehensible by the Acaryas is:

    1 – Not to run practical external service,

    2 – Prematurely receive Siddha Deha (Siddha Pranali)

    3 – To impose only Madhurya Rasa Rasa as exclusive.

    All this is wrong. But Raganuga Sadhana of hearing the pastimes of Krsna is not wrong.

    Raganuga is Sadhana. Please Raganuga is Sadhana, is not the stage of perfection. We only will be free from lust by hearing constantly the transcendental pastimes of Krsna.

    By my Spiritual Master Srila Hrydayananda Das Goswami Acaryadeva:

    “A devotee who still can not think deeply in Krsna should aim for this state. In other words, we can not be indifferent, we must cultivate the desire to progress.
    Prabhupada was very fond of devotees who worked sincerely for his mission. But he wanted these devotees also seek to read his books and chanting the names of Krsna to receive the full fruits of this devotional work. “

  72. SriGopaldas says :

    The guidance of the guru is no curtailment of one’s spiritual freedom who are eternally free also follow his guid¬ance by the spontaneous undeviating impulse of their perfectly pure nature. Guidance of the guru is the only divine guid¬ance. Only atheists who are by their choice opposed to the service of Godhead, can be consistent opponents of the obligation to serve the guru in the same uncondi¬tional way as one should be prepared to serve God¬head Himself. There is no difference between the two functions. If the claim of the one is denied it necessarily involves the denial of the claim of the other. Nityananda and His companions form one of the five groups of the associates of Sri Krsna Caitanya, whose distinctive function is that of the guru. (Associates of Lord Chaitanya by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Srila Prabhupada)

    This article was written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Who introduced this prapatti system of total submission to Sri Guru and His Divine Blessing to become a perfect servant. Srila Prabhupada (SBSST) introduced this system after getting instruction from Thakura Bhaktivinoda to design a system to deliver Sriman Mahaprabhu’s Krishna Prema Bhakti to entire humanity. The reasons are given below to set up this Prapatti (Surrender to Sri Guru) system :

    1. “….The other acaryas who appeared before Thakura Bhaktivinoda did not address their discourses so directly to the empiric thinkers. They had been more merciful to those who are naturally disposed to listen to discourses on the absolute without being dissuaded by the specious arguments of avowed oppo¬nents of Godhead. Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda has taken the trouble of meeting the perverse arguments of mental speculationists by the superior transcendental logic of the absolute truth. It is thus possible for the average modern read¬ers to profit by the perusal of his writ¬ings.” (Thakura Bhaktivinoda by Srila Prabhupada (SBSST)

  73. SriGopaldas says :

    2. The following is a letter written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati:
    Saraswati!
    People of this world who are proud of their own aristocratic birth attack the pure vaisnava… Thus they commit offences. The solution to the problem is to establish the order of daiva-varnasrama-dharma – something you started doing; you should know that to be the real service to the Vaisnava. Because pure devotional conclusions are not being preached, all kinds of superstition and bad concepts are being called devotion by such pseudo sampradayas as sahajiya and ativadi.
    Please always crush these ant-devotional concepts by preaching pure devotional conclusion and by setting an example… Please try very hard to make sure that the service to sri mayapur will become a permanent thing. The real service to Sri Mayapur can be done by acquiring printing presses, distributing devotional books, and sankirtana – preaching. Please do not neglect to serve Sri Mayapur or to preach for the sake of your own reclusive bhajana. When I am not present any more, please take care to serve Sri Mayapur dhama which is so dear to you. This is my special instruction to you.
    I had a special desire to preach the significance of such books as Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sat-Sandarbha, and Vedanta Darshana. You have to accept that responsibility. Sri Mayapur will prosper if you will establish an educational institution there. Never make any effort to collect knowledge or money for your own enjoyment. Only to serve Lord will you collect these things.
    signed Kedarnatha Datta Bhaktivinoda

  74. SriGopaldas says :

    catur-varnyam maya srstam
    guna-karma-vibhagasah
    tasya kartaram api mam
    viddhy akartaram avyayam

    “According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the Creator of this system, you should know that I am yet then non-doer, being unchangeable.” (BG 4.13)

    Sri Krishna in Srimad Bhagavad Gita says that this Varnashrama system was created by Him to help jivas to act in a systematical way that will help them surrender to Him. In another words, a system of surrender to Supreme Lord where the Lord can decide when and how to give results for the action performed by the jivas.

    Karmany evadhikaras te
    Ma phalesu kadacana
    Ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
    Ma te sango’stv akarmani

    “You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.” (BG 2.47)

    This is what Sri Krishna wants from us the conditioned jivas to follow Varnashrama dharma enunciated by Him and this way go home back to Godhead. When we follow Sri Krishna’s instruction cent-percent meaning not expecting any result but totally absorbed in pleasing Him in our own capacity using the material body that is structured according to guna and karma only then it can be considered Daivi Varnashrama Dharma otherwise it will be just Varnashrama Dharma.

    So the Supreme Beneficiary of this Varnashrama Dharma is Sri Krishna Paramatma and He resides in our heart as four-handed form Sri Vishnu, Sriman Narayana. Varnashrama Dharma is part of this Prapatti system and is centered on surrendered to Sriman Narayana as Sri Vishnu is the worshippable Lord for Sri Sampradaya whereas we are focused on Sri Krishna. Based on the above instructions of Sri Krishna in Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Sripada Ramanujacharya a system of surrender which is called Prapatti was manifested by Sripada Ramanujacharya for the benefit of humanity. In this system, a disciple who is not capable of doing sadhana or does not have brahminical background or absence of any other qualifications the disciple if he/she is sincere in his/her desire to surrender to the Supreme Lord then the Sri Guru like Srila Prabhupada can accept the disciple based on this surrender principle and give them a bhajan path that is easier and beneficial to that disciple.

  75. Prahladesh Dasa says :

    In Bhakti Sandharbha Anucchedya 311, Srila Jiva Goswami explains:

    “Devotees who have interest in practicing Raganuga Bhakti, but are still Ajata ruci raganuga (without much taste for hearing and chanting), should combine the principles of Vaidhi Bhakti with the practice of Raganuga Bhakti.”

    When a person hears or reads the pastimes of Krsna in the initial phase and feels that “I would like to participate in it” … This is already Raganuga…;)

    Then he/she starts practicing Vaidhi (Ajata Ruci Raganuga) very seriously.

    “The gopis became tired after long singing and dancing. Krsna was dancing beside them, and to alleviate their fatigue they took Sri Krsna’s hand and placed it on their raised breasts. Krsna’s hand, as well as the breasts of the gopis, are eternally auspicious; therefore when they combined, both of them became spiritually enhanced. The gopis so enjoyed the company of Krsna, the husband of the goddess of fortune, that they forgot that they had any other husband in the world, and upon being embraced by the arms of Krsna and dancing and singing with Him, they forgot everything.” (Krsna Book – Description of Rasa Dance)

    Krsna Book is accessible to any beginner who can and must constantly read it.

    From the very beginning we must absorb ourselves in the pastimes of Krsna with His Santa Bhaktas, Dasas, Sakhas, Gopas and Gopis while at the same time chanting Hare Krishna.

    “Progress in Krishna consciousness is as gradual as we want to make it.” (Sripada Kirtancandra Aindra Prabhu)

    Your servant
    Prahladesh Dasa

  76. SriGopaldas says :

    His Master’s Voice (HMV) record has a picture of dog sitting and staring into the gramophone and it shows that the dog is only interested in hearing His Master’s Voice. We should be like that dog practicing faithfulness and loyalty only hearing from our Sri Guru Master within our heart and when we do we can easily realize all the statements of Srimad Bhagavad Gita that our Eternal Supreme Master Sri Krishna has spoken for our benefit.

    Prapatti is like working for a very gentlemanly wealthy individual who is very kind to his loyal and faithful servants. Even in our lifetime we may have seen certain wealthy individuals are very favorably disposed towards their servants and servants will give their life for that type of master. During Treta Yuga Lord Ramachandra displayed this pastime where the subjects were ready to follow Him to jungle and Vanaras and Bears ready to lay down their life for Lord Ramachandra. Under Lord Ramachandra the people of Ayodhya and others lived without any anxiety because they knew Lord Ramachandra would take care of them.

    There are many examples like that even within our lifetime and especially with Srila Prabhupada. Those who lived during the physical presence of Srila Prabhupada can give the first hand experience of serving and pleasing Srila Prabhupada. They were practicing Prapatti in reality and experiencing the wonderful bliss and spiritual happiness of serving Srila Prabhupada which is directly manifesting from their heart by the mercy of Sri Guru Krishna Paramatma.

    “mac-citta mad-gata-prana bodha yantah parasparam
    kathayantas ca mam nityam tusyanti ca ramanti ca”

    “The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.” (BG 10.9)

    “tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam
    dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te”

    “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (BG 10.10)

    “tesam evanukampartham aham ajnana-jam tamah
    nasayamy atma-bhava-stho jnana-dipena bhasvata”

    “To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (BG 10.11).

  77. SriGopaldas says :

    There is a nice example from Srimad Bhagavad Gita where the Supreme Lord Sri Hari Mukunda Murari Sri Krishna says:

    Yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah
    Sraddhayarcitum icchati
    Tasya tasyacalam sraddham
    Tam eva vidadhamy aham

    I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity.” (BG 7.21)

    Sa taya sradhaya yuktas
    Tasyaradhanam ihate
    Labhate ca tatah Kaman
    Mayaiva vihitan hi tan

    Endowed with such a faith, he seeks favors of a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone.” (BG 7.22)

    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Srila Prabhupada simplified this Prapatti or Saranagati and incorporated in His Divine Mission. The actual full-fledge effectiveness was seen and still being seen is in Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON. In the 60s western disciples who had no idea about Krishna consciousness or Varnashrama dharma by simply surrendering to Srila Prabhupada and by pleasing Him in whatever way they can, they attained the top-most platform of Krishna Consciousness. Unfortunately, after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure and by maya’s influence, the presence of Srila Prabhupada’s mercy is not felt on that scale directly even though we all read His books and does guru puja in the morning. The Divine Flow of Mercy of Sri Guru is now comes via medium of His disciples who carry the mercy on a small scale not like the torrential rain that we experienced during Srila Prabhupada’s divine physical presence. Alas, the Divine Mercy during the Divine Physical Presence of Srila Prabhupada which was forceful like the floods where you have no choice but to get swept away is no longer present rather I would say it is not invoked. Out of sight out of mind, we are experiencing that right now. As long the devotees were maintaining that attitude of pleasing Srila Prabhupada constantly the devotees were connected uninterruptedly within their heart to Sri Guru Krishna Paramatma as result they experienced Krishna Consciousness on highest platform like the liberated souls. Those devotees who were sincerely connected to Srila Prabhupada are testimony to the fact that what is impossible meaning Krishna Conscious on the highest platform was easily practiced by even hippies like us who were accustomed to breaking all the regulative principles.

  78. SriGopaldas says :

    During Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence the kripa siddha program was in full effect and unfortunately, out of sight out of mind type of situation currently minimized the effect of it. The mercy is there but maya is overwhelmingly very powerful and She blows us out like a fly in the hurricane.

    Daivi hy esa gunamayi
    Mama maya duratyaya
    Mam eva ye prapadyante
    Mayam etam taranti te

    “This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult* to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” BG 7.14 (*actually impossible)

    “miche māyā-baddha jīva āśā-pāśe phire’
    tava icchā binā kichu korite nā pāre

    5) The tiny soul bound up by Maya vainly struggles in the fetters of worldly desire. Without Your sanction he is unable to do anything.” (Thakura Bhaktivinoda)

    Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON is Kripa movement meaning it is a mercy movement and we all live by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy alone. ISKCON in its truest form runs on the mercy of Srila Prabhupada Who is a Divine Mercy Incarnation of both Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu. We should understand this ISKCON is manifested by Sri Nityananda Prabhu through Srila Prabhupada for the pleasure of Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sri Krishna. Srila Prabhupada to deliver the conditioned souls created very wonderful rules and regulations which when applied will bring us to the desired goal. Srila Prabhupada replaced some of the prescribed sadhana practices for spiritual perfection with book distribution, ratha yatras, Hari Nama sankirtan, Sunday programs, festivals, etc. These practices are only for ISKCON and not for other sampradayas so it will be effective in ISKCON only and that too if we worship Srila Prabhupada because the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada and He put all His Divine Mercy in the foundation of ISKCON. Just like in traffic or an accident or calamity, the police officer can override the traffic light signals and personally direct the traffic until a satisfactory flow of vehicle gets started and once everything is rectified again the traffic signals are activated.

  79. SriGopaldas says :

    It is the same situation with the Incarnation of the Supreme Lord and He personally says in Srimad Bhagavad Gita, “yada yada hi adharmasya…” once He establishes the principles of religion then He lets it run its course until some interruption appears. Some interruptions have automatic corrections, others through specific Avataras and sometimes Lord Personally have to appear and correct the situations. This time Sri Krishna did it through His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.

    However, we should not take it for granted that because we are in ISKCON we will be automatically transferred to the spiritual world regardless of our present condition. We should guard against complacency and try to follow the Acarya’s instruction to the letter so Sri Guru becomes pleased within the heart and help us achieve the spiritual goal within this lifetime. In the following commentary Srila Prabhupada very nicely explains how to understand spiritual life and how to progress.

    “…Generally the worship of the Lord begins with the worship of Narayana or Vishnu, whereas the worship of Lord Krishna and Radha is most confidential. Lord Narayana is worshipable by the pancaratrika-vidhi, or regulative principles, whereas Lord Krishna is worshipable by the bhagvata-vidhi. No one can worship the Lord in the bhagavata-vidhi without going through the regulations of the pancaratrika-vidhi. Actually, neophyte devotees worship the Lord according to the pancaratrika-vidhi, or the regulative principles enjoined in the Narada-pancaratra. Radha-Krsna cannot be approached by the neophyte devotees; therefore temple worship according to regulative principles is offered to Lakñhmi-Narayana. Although there may be a Radha-Krishna vigraha, or form, the worship of the neophyte devotees is acceptable as Lakñhmi-Narayana worship. Worship according to the pancaratrika-vidhi is called vidhi-marga, and worship according to the bhagavata-vidhi principles is called raga-marga. The principles of raga-marga are especially meant for devotees who are elevated to the Våndavana platform.”

  80. SriGopaldas says :

    “…Without serving Krishna according to the vidhi-marga regulative principles of the pancaratrika-vidhi, unscrupulous persons want to jump immediately to the raga-marga principles. Such persons are called sahajiya. There are also demons who enjoy depicting Krishna and His pastimes with the gopis, taking advantage of Krishna by their licentious character. These demons who print books and write lyrics on the raga-marga principles are surely on the way to hell. Unfortunately, they lead others down with them. Devotees in Krishna consciousness should be very careful to avoid such demons. One should strictly follow the vidhi-marga regulative principles in the worship of Lakshmi-Narayana, although the Lord is present in the temple as Radha-Krishna. Radha-Krishna includes Lakshmi-Narayana; therefore when one worships the Lord according to the regulative principles, the Lord accepts the service in the role of Lakshmi-Narayana. In The Nectar of Devotion full instructions are given about the vidhi-marga worship of Radha-Krishna or Lakshmi-Narayana. Although there are sixty-four kinds of offenses one can commit in vidhi-marga worship, in raga-marga worship there is no consideration of such offenses because the devotees on that platform are very much elevated, and there is no question of offense. But if we do not follow the regulative principles on the vidhi-marga platform and keep our eyes trained to spot offenses, we will not make progress. “ (end Srila Prabhupada’s commentary)

    Varnashrama and vaidhi bhakti go side by side for us conditioned souls and it will greatly help us to understand Srimad Bhagavad Gita which is full of Sri Guru tattva because it is spoken by Sri Guru Krishna Himself.

    Vasudevam sutam devam
    Kamsa chanura mardanam
    Devaki paramandam
    Krsnam vande jagatgurum

    Sri Guru Krishna Paramatma is expansion of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Who eternally resides in Goloka dham and to connect with Him in the spiritual world one has to connect within their heart first. We have to establish connection here first then we can see what Sri Guru wants to show us.

    “…When there is active willing assent to such association on the part of both then it is possible for the individual soul to attain to the service of the Divinity in the really conscious form.” (Assoc. of Lord Chaitanya by SBSSTSP)

  81. SriGopaldas says :

    Since, we live in internet age, we can consider Sri Guru within our heart as Modem just like without the modem we cannot connect to the outside world same way we cannot connect to Krishna’s spiritual world unless of course, one is Nityasiddha who has direct connection otherwise conditioned soul like us we will have to rely on Sri Guru Krishna Paramatma and His Divine Grace in the form of His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

    “The personal service of the pure devotee is essential for understanding the spiritual meaning of the words of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. The editor of this journal, origi¬nally started by Thakura Bhaktivinoda, has been trying to draw the attention of all followers of Thakura Bhaktivinoda to this all-important point of his teach¬ings. It is not necessary to try to place ourselves on a foot¬ing of equality with Thakura Bhaktivinoda or (Srila Prabhupada). We are not likely to benefit by a me¬chanical imitation of any practices of Thakura Bhaktivinoda (or Srila Prabhupada) on the oppor¬tunist principle that they may be convenient for us to adopt. The guru is not an erring mortal whose activities can be understood by the fallible reason of unreclaimed humanity. There is an eter¬nally impassable line of demarcation between the savior and the saved. Those who are really saved can alone know this. Thakura Bhaktivinoda (or Srila Prabhupada) belongs to the category of the spiritual world teachers who eternally occupy the superior position.” Thakura Bhaktivinoda by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsawati Thakura Srila Prabhupada.

    Isvarah sarva-bhutanam
    Hrd-dese ‘rjuna tisthati
    Bhramayan sarva-bhutani
    Yantrarudhani mayaya

    “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.” BG 18.61

    Yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah
    Sraddhayarcitum icchati
    Tasya tasyacalam sraddham
    Tam eva vidadhamy aham

    I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity.” (BG 7.21)

    Sarva-karmany api sada
    Kurvano mad-vyapasrayah
    Mat-prasadat avapnoti
    Sasvatam padam avyayam

    “Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace.” BG 18.56

  82. SriGopaldas says :

    Sarva-karmany api sada
    Kurvano mad-vyapasrayah
    Mat-prasadat avapnoti
    Sasvatam padam avyayam

    “Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace.” BG 18.56

    Cetasa sarva-karmani
    Mayi sannyasya mat-parah
    Buddhi-yogam upasritya
    Maccittah satatam bhava

    “In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.” BG 18.57

    Mac-cittah sarva-durgani
    Mat-prasadat tarisyasi
    Atha cet tvam ahankaran
    Na srosyasi vinanksyasi

    “If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditional life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.”

    saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
    uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih

    yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
    yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi

    Yasya deve para bhaktir
    Yatha deve tatha gurau
    Tasyaite kathita hy arthah
    Prakasante mahatmanah

    “Only unto those great souls who simultaneously have implicit faith in both the Lord and the Spiritual Master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” Svetsvatara Upanisad 6.23

    The following I copied from Dandavats’ comment section. I thank the devotee who posted this conversation with Srila Prabhuupada.

    Prabhupada was giving a talk in which he said that in order to go back home, back to Godhead, one must be cent percent pure, cent percent free of material desires and attachments. When Prabhupada saw that the devotees were discouraged, he said, “All right, 90%.” Still they were dejected. Then he said, “All right, 80%.” Still they were crestfallen. Then he said, “All right, 75%—but not less.”

    After the talk, Srila Prabhupada commented, “If you just hold on to my lotus feet, I will take you back to Godhead. I have the key to the back door.”

    Once, I heard that Srila Prabhupada had said, “Your qualification is that I give an instruction . . .” I thought the rest of the sentence would be “and you follow it,” but the statement was “Your qualification is that I give you an instruction and you try to follow it.” Not even that we follow it—just that we try to follow it.

    yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
    yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi
    dhyayam stuvams tasya yasas trisandhyam
    vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

    All glories to Kaliyuga Pavana His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

  83. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you to Sri Gopal Prabhu for highlighting the importance of Sri Guru and His Grace or kripa, in achieving the ultimate goal of life.

    On the other hand, stating that “progress in Krishna consciousness is as gradual as we want to make it” is simultaneously true in the sense that one has to be eager to make spiritual advancement and embarrassing in the sense, that it gives a feeling that we are in control of our spiritual advancement, no matter our conditionment in this lifetime and our sukriti in previous lifetimes, and above all no matter the mercy we may or may not receive from higher spiritual authorities…

    Still, one may logically argue that if one behaves in a righteous way, one should be eligible to receive mercy ! But reality is more tricky and subtle than this. In this regard, we may just refer to the famous story of the brahamana and the prostitute to get an idea about this…

    In other words, the downfall at some point and the last trick of Maya, may be “pride”, when one may think that things are due to him… “work/serve now, samadhi later…” and then impatiently claim: “how much later?!”

    Of course, this may also be taken as an encouragement and wake-up call from our dear Aindra Prabhu, in the line of :

    jiva jago, jiva jago, goracada bale
    kata nidra jao maya-pishacira kole

    Shri Gauracanda is calling “Wake up! Wake up, sleeping souls!
    How long will you sleep in the lap of the witch maya?”

    At last, I would like to stress the fact that time has also come for devotees to consider uniting to support their grihas in a more Krishna conscious way.

    Working for karmis, supporting the goals of the karmis by contributing our intelligence and energy in their companies, should not be the only alternative for devotees, when they become grihastas and find out that there may not be any position and means of subsistance available or suitable for them within our ISKCON Movement !

    It is time for devotees to unite and create companies and various ventures together, or on their own if they do not find the necessary support, so as to become more and more in communion of interests with the Supreme Lord, which is known to be one of the six principles of surrender !

    In this line, they will benefit from the association of devotees, or at least will be able to set the mood and goals in their own companies and will also be able to target at donating a significant part of their profit to some Krishna conscious project. Wouldn’t this be nice ?

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