Comments Posted By Akruranatha
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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
The way these devotees have pioneered full set distribution reminds me of the early days of big books being sold. True, many of the sets were “gifted” to interested people like bhakti-vriksha members, family and friends, after being paid for by generous donations from the congregation, but other sets were sold door to door in apartment buildings, some to Christians and Muslims!
When the scores were read, I actually got tears in my eyes, and I could see that our guest of honor Malati was impressed. The goal was to do 26 Cc sets, and they not only smashed the goal, but nearly tripled it!
The only problem is, the N.A. BBT does not seem to be able to keep up with ISV’s full set distribution. They want to save some sets for other temples and the rumor I heard is that we cannot get any more sets for a while. :-(
In other good news, a group of devotees from various temples (Nandinin Kishori Mataji , Rohininandan Prabhu, Maha-Sundari Mataji, Sankarsan Prabhu and Harileela Prabhu) attended a Moteliers convention in Texas and took orders for 12,000 Bhagavad-gitas! Sankarsan and his wife opened their home to the devotees who had traveled on Gaura Purnima from Boston and Florida to attend the event. More than 2,500 motel rooms in the Austin, Texas area (capital of the state and home of University of Texas) will now have Gitas in the nightstand drawers. This effort could really have a profound impact on the culture of the world.
I just read Acyutananda Prabhu’s memoir “Blazing Sadhus”, which inspired me to also read Mukunda Goswami’s memoir “Miracle on Second Avenue”. These books (especially the latter) have reminded me of the spirit Srila Prabhupada instilled his disciples with, that they should go out and change the face of society. At first a handful these devotees were meeting with “the Swami” in a little storefront in the lower east side of Manhattan, but he was talking about an international “movement” that would bring Lord Caitanya’s names to every town and village in the world. From the very beginning he said that the chanting and the distribution of literatures was our program and would meet with success. We can see that a lot has been accomplished and much more will be accomplished if we remain sincere and we continue on with chanting and book distribution and “taxing our brains” on how to penetrate all levels of society with the message of Lord Caitanya.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 01.04.2013 @ 16:39
I look forward to reading the book. It is thrilling to see devotees in Srila Prabhupada’s line who are able to communicate in the academic world so nicely. The Hare Krishna movement is truly branching out into all different communities and sectors of society.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 20.03.2013 @ 16:03
It dawns on me that back in the 1970s when we were hearing about Srila Prabhupada’s plans for developing Mayapur (and Surabhi Prabhu was at least one architect they were working with, if I recall correctly), Srila Prabhupada laid out his vision for the whole city, with different quarters for different kinds of workers to live and to work (four varnas, places for industry, commerce, learning, administration).
I do not recall all the details. I just remember that Srila Prabhuipada himself proposed a kind of urban plan.
We know that some big cities sprung up haphazardly, but from time to time they were renovated according to plans. Paris was renovated during the Second Empire, and broad boulevards were built (which required tearing down whole neighborhoods). Washington, D.C. was laid out by L’Enfant. Chandigarh was planned by Corbusier, etc.
There must be architects out there who would be interested in planning a modern city and significant place of pilgrimage for Vaisnavas of the world. When I was in college (30 years ago) I had friends who were studying architecture and who were fascinated by modern, green techniques of urban design.
Of course I am just talking and not doing the hard work involved in locating these people, but I am sure they are out there. They have to be. Many architects can be motivated by their own vision and desire to see it implemented (and be recognized) and not only by commercial considerations of who is paying the most.
Agreed, everyone has their own interests and as cities develop, someone’s ox will be gored and someone else will see an opportunity to make money, and a lot of politics will be involved. I imagine in India it may be a nightmare, and even in San Jose, California the condemnation of “blighted” property and redevelopment of potentially valuable downtown real estate is fraught with politics and influence. Even among the ISKCON devotees there may be sharp differences of opinion.
All civilized societies have their politicians, their bureaucrats, their capitalists, their journalists, the cops, the farmers, the doctors, the homeless…wherever you go. There must also be some architects and urban planners interested in the challenges and rewards of designing aspects of the development of Sridhama Mayapur.
I know the GBC used to have some kind of Mayapur Community Development Committee. Maybe Praghosa or someone could report to us on what kind of urban planning is actually going on.
Comment Posted By Akruranatha On 05.04.2013 @ 14:10