Comments Posted By Akruranatha
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“Martial art is not limited to traditional fighting skills. Martial is the art of Mars, the War Lord.”
Maybe it would be more appropriate to refer to Kartikeya (Muragan)?
Mount Meru and Mount Olympus may have quite a bit in common, but still, we should prefer the more accurate, Vedic descriptions.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 04.06.2013 @ 07:10
“Protection, Administration, Welfare make up the main duties of a real Ksatriya supported by the qualities of a Vaisnava.”
“The idea is to provide devotional services for those who are already skilled in the various martial arts who will be able to serve as a security force for ISKCON Temples along with training others in the science of martial arts.”
It sounds like a great program, and I do not want to sound critical (I want to encourage such sincere service based on Srila Prabhupada’s instructions), but I have a small doubt:
There seems to be some tension between these to sentences from the article, quoted above.
On the one hand, it seems that Ksatriyas are to be trained in all the knowledge necessary for government administration, such as politics, economics, sociology, modern warfare, international relations, law, history, philosophy and so on.
But on the other hand the focus of this program in practice seems to be on training a group of temple security guards in techniques of hand-to-hand combat.
Are these devotees going to seek careers in law enforcement, military, politics, academic political science, etc.? Or are they mainly aiming to be ISKCON security guards?
It seems that being a security guard at a temple is a job for a junior soldier not for a senior officer or political leader. Why would one need training in welfare and administration to serve as a temple security guard?
Are we afraid that our Ksatriya devotees would be contaminated or wasting their time if we sent them instead to West Point or other leading military academies and universities to become senior officers and political leaders?
Modern soldiers learn hand to hand combat but they also learn about other things. It would be nice if senior military officers and politicians wanted to come to Varnasrama Colleges to learn about Ksatriya Dharma and the whole Vedic system of philosophy, religion, sociology, etc.
I am still having trouble seeing how the ISKCON demimonde integrates with the greater modern society, and whether the Varnasram College is meant to train only for the former, or to provide skills for the 21st century leaders of modern nations and international policies of protection, welfare and administration.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 26.05.2013 @ 19:41
The festival celebrating the Appearance Lord Narasimhadeva last night at ISV was fabulous. once again, the Sankirtan devotees smashed their goals and distributed something like 9,000 books this month, including 40 full sets.
The temple was full, but comfortable with a crowd I estimate at about 150. There are lots of kids in our congregation. I was a little worried because “dusk” didn’t come until 8:55 p.m. and some neighbors were shushing the kids in the parking lot who were still playfully rambunctious at 10 p.m.
We were visited by the Consul of India’s consular office in San Francisco and his family, and I gave him a little tour of the place. I think they were especially interested in the sankirtan storage room, where I gave them a Krishna book and Bhagavad-gita and showed them books in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Farsi and Arabic, and explained how enthusiastic we are for book distribution.
I told him also about our Motel Gita project, which took orders for another 15,000 Gitas last week at a “Choice Hotels” convention in Los Angleles, with the participation of New Dwaraka book distributor Sastra Krt.
The crowd enthusiastically chanted, and a wonderful lecture given by Vaisesika Prabhu can be seen on www.iskconsiliconvalley.com.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 24.05.2013 @ 18:27
Yes, I think that we can see from the joy in the faces of the devotees in the picture a reflection of the joy and pleasure of Srila Prabhupada.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 20.05.2013 @ 04:49
Dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu,
I think Krishna LH is correct. You have made a good point but I do not see any actual problem at ISV.
The book distributors at ISV are learned devotees. They do not have any strange ideas about “exorcisms” or chasing ghosts and evil spirits form people’s bodies (not that it cannot happen: I have heard stories about Narottam Das Thakur exorcising a demon from a bandit king, and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada chasing a ghost away from a building with harinama kirtan, or a young girl devotee-scholar chasing a ghostly spirit from a tree by reciting Srimad Bhagavatam; even devotees chanting at John Lennon’s house).
But basically the idea is simple. When we chant regularly, we find ourselves able to give up bad habits. We feel happier and “lighter”, we get a higher taste. Some bad habits are gross, like drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, eating too much or watching too much TV. Others are more subtle such as being ambitious for honor, or criticizing others.
Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita that the senses, mind and intelligence are sitting places for lust, which covers our real knowledge and bewilders us. By chanting and engaging in book distribution, we feel we are gradually cleaning such dirty things from our hearts, so that it becomes easier to regulate our senses and engage steadily in devotional service, avoiding offenses.
As Krishna LH says, these are just names we give to the different Monthly Sankirtan festivals to inspire the devotees. It is not generally something we talk about to the people we meet on book distribution, but a poster is made and hundg in the temple to encourage the sankirtan devotees, and when we read the scores to the Deities we also identify the name of that month’s festival.
I do not think there is anything philosophically “off” about this particular name. It is based on many statements within Srila Prabhupada’s books. All these names are selected by consultation with Srila Prabhupada’s books and lectures.
You seem to be making too much of it. The sankirtan devotees at ISV know what they mean by “killing the Ravana within” and are not prone to think we will perform exorcisms to chase away ghosts and demons from “possessed” people (as some Christian faith-healers may do). Really, they are very well educated, thoughtful devotees who not only distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books but regularly read and discuss them, too.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 06.05.2013 @ 23:42
Pusta Krishna Prabhu, Dandavats.
I do not think the ISV sankirtan festival organizers in any way meant to diminish the fact that the Lord really did advent Himself as Ramacandra and fought with actual raksasas in Lanka.
The fact that Ravana was an actual demon (one of the three lives of Jaya and Vijaya as demons, or four if you count Jagai and Madhai) does not detract from the idea that we do have demoniac mentalities within our subtle bodies, whom we pray for Krishna to kill, and that our sankirtan activities are meant for killing such subtle demons in the minds of atheistic and materialistic people of this age.
You are of course aware that in “Sri Krishna Samhita”, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur identified 18 anarthas which he compared to different demons who attacked Lord Krishna in Vraja. That does not mean they are mere “allegories” or symbolic literary devices, but God can use the real, historical activities of this world to also teach us valuable lessons.
When Vaisesika and Malini and others on the team choose these names, they refer to Srila Prabhupada’s writings. In this case I think it was a good name, supported by statements such as:
â€śLet people chant the Hare Krsna mantra constantly. Then their demoniac tendencies will be killed, and they will become first-class devotees, happy in this life and in the next.â€ť (See, SB 10.1.65-66)
â€śIn this age Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission is also like that: to deliver the devotees and to annihilate the nondevotees, the demons. But in this age He has a different weapon. That weapon is not a club or disc or lethal weaponâ€”His weapon is the sankirtana movement. He killed the demoniac mentality of the people by introducing the sankirtana movement.â€ť (SSR)
â€śHe killed so many demons, so in this age of demoniac tendency, we may not kill the demons like Krsna did it, but we can kill the demoniac tendency. How is that? By this sankirtana weapon. That is the specific contribution by Lord Caitanya, Krsna Himself, in this Kali-yuga. So I am informed that you are the sankirtana leader for Laguna Beach temple, so you should very enthusiastically lead the sankirtana party, and in this way you will very successfully kill the demoniac tendency of the rascals.â€ť (SPL to Doug Russell, 18th April, 1973)
But your point that we should not think of Krsna-lila or Rama-lila as imaginary, fictional stories is well taken.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 01.05.2013 @ 16:20
It is so heart-warming to watch the video and see how these sets of Srila Prabhupada’s books are being received so lovingly and installed within the homes of the people who bought them. Please take some time to look at the video.
These devotees like Sri Krishna Purusottama and Malini and Damodar Vamsidhari and the whole ISV sankirtan team are doing such wonderful service for Srila Prabhupada, and they are showing that this can be done. I hope it will be replicated elsewhere.
There are selling these sets not only to receptive Hindu families but also to Christians and Muslims. I saw one group of photos of Sraddha dasi and Mukharavinda Das selling sets to a Muslim man and a Christian.
The children in these households will surely at least look at the pictures and read the captions. I remember how I used to read our encyclopedias out of curiosity as a child. I wish I had had a Srimad Bhagavatam or Caitanya Caritamrta.
Devotees who spent hours trying to distribute one book at a time in parking lots and finding later that some people had thrown the books away will be moved to tears by these videos and stories.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 25.04.2013 @ 03:36
Thank you for submitting this article mother Visakha Priya. It is clear and well-written. (Who is the author? Does the author wish to remain anonymous?)
We need to be able to properly address these issues because modern people often do find fault with statements such as the Purport to B.G. 1.40. It is easy for people conditioned by the politics and gender wars of today’s society to misunderstand what Srila Prabhupada is saying, and to simply imagine him to be supporting the contemporary reactionary position. Actually he is explaining eternal truths about the psychology of the masculine and feminine, which is “essential” rather than “relative” and cannot be erased by material social and cultural movements.
When he explains Manu Samhita’s prescription that women should not be given freedom, Srila Prabhupada is actually distinguishing the lack of freedom of slaves from that of children. He is not saying that women should be exploited like slaves. He is saying just the opposite. But to the contemporary feminist mind even being affectionately protected through restrictions, the way every decent family restricts children, seems unacceptable when applied to adult women. They see the statement as just another way of endorsing exploitation and slavery, and completely miss Srila Prabhupada’s point.
Everyone needs restriction to be successful in life. Specifically, sex attraction is a powerful force that can make people do stupid things which degrade not only in the individual’s spiritual life but also in the entire society. Therefore the institution of patriarchy, in which women are affectionately protected from unsuitable sexual aggressors, first by their fathers, then by their husbands, then by their grown-up sons, is an essential part of the natural, God-centered social structure glorified in Vedic literature.
It helps if readers can approach Srila Prabhupada’s books with humility and with an appreciation of historical distance and detachment from contemporary politics. Although I can understand why contemporary feminists have negative reactions about these passages, it seems very superficial to me, like those who find it difficult to relate to Krishna’s instruction to the military hero Arjuna to embrace his duty of righteous combat, because of their commitment to the modern peace movement.
We need a progressive feminism that embraces the importance of healthy, affectionate marriages to the well-being of women and families.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 09.04.2013 @ 14:38
Yes, Krishna Kirti, the chanting is so effective that WW3 - 11 went by practically unnoticed, but there is always some upheaval or struggle going on in the material world. :-)
This was a very encouraging report. So much wonderful stuff goes on in the world of ISKCON without our even hearing about it. I used to love seeing the old “ISKCON World Report” paper published by Mukunda Goswami and his team. I guess now it has all gone on line and there is more variety of ISKCON news outlets, many of which are linked to Dandavats.
That would be great if Mayapur could have its own airport and we could hop over from Calcutta in 1/2 hour. It might make for some noise pollution and air pollution, but at least it is in aid of spreading the glories of Lord Caitanya, the real solution to the world’s ills (not to mention all those world wars).
Even more interesting is that a big TV personality in the Arab, Muslim world is using her significant fame and resources in support of an ISKCON project. I do not know anything about Dr. Foz or her fans, but the story appears to be a model of Muslim-Hindu cooperation.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 04.04.2013 @ 14:49
“I know that the most intelligent people donâ€™t discuss ideas, because that is impersonal.”
Okay, okay. the most intelligent worship Lord Caitanya by performing sankirtan.
But still, there is something to be said for distinguishing even impersonalist philosophers from ordinary, unphilosophical materialists.
The analytical study of the world and its elements, the distinction between matter and spirit, etc., is not actually separate from karma yoga, because one who achieves complete success in one of these two paths (sankhya and yoga) enjoys the results of both. That station one attains through philosophy is also attained through karma yoga, and therefore one who sees sankhya and yoga as one unit (two sides of the same coin) actually sees. However, renunciation without yoga is painful. A philosopher (sage) who is engaged in yoga, on the other hand, quickly achieves the transcendental position.
Four kinds of pious people surrender to Krsna: the distressed, those desiring wealth, the inquisitive, and the wise philosophers. Of the four, the wise are especially exalted. After many births pursuing philosophical knowledge, a very rare, great, wise sage understands “Vasudeva (Krishna) is everything” and surrenders to him.
Knowledge is glorified in Bhagavad-Gita. We should not be opposed to philosophy.
It is true that devotional service that is not mixed with the tendency toward philosophical speculation (or desire for merging in the impersonal Absolute) is more pure. However, as beginners we have to discuss philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita, to understand what is what, and to become detached from materialist exploitativeness.
I rather liked Pusta Krishna Prabhu’s aphorism. A true philosopher stands far above an ordinary materialist. And even an ordinary materialist stands above a low gossip.
Ideas are more important than events. An event is ephemeral. Some ideas may be more ephemeral than others, but true ideas are eternal. Finding the eternal and true ideas is the mission of thoughtful philosophers.
Granted, certain great sages and personified Vedas attained perfection by becoming gopis and dancing with Krishna. Still, we should not presume to feel superior to the sages and Upanisads. We are still ordinary humans. We can’t merely pretend to have advanced beyond the need for philosophical understanding. Also, without philosophy, how will we perform sankirtan? How will we attract the intelligentsia to Lord Caitanya?
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 02.04.2013 @ 16:47