Comments Posted By Amara_dasa
Displaying 1 To 21 Of 21 Comments
Dear Rupanuga Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I was very sorry to hear about the passing of your wife, Krsna-krpa dasi. I remember her quite fondly from New Hastinapura in Potomac and how eager she always was to dress Sri Sri Radha-madana-mohana and chant japa in the morning. What a special soul she was and also very blessed to have your association in matrimony. That you both remained together for such a long time in faithful service to Krsna says a lot.
I hope you are feeling better now. What is your son, Ekendra, doing these days? I remember you both from time to time and always feel grateful for the guidance you gave me during my early years in Krsna consciousness during the 1970s.
Your humble servant,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Jan 2, 2009 @ 7:46 pm
Hare Krishna! No one is suggesting teaching higher qualities such as love, self-sacrifice, kindness, etc. without bhakti-seva. They must go hand in hand. But if bhakti-seva is executed without any human kindness, love or respect, then what kind of bhakti-seva is that? Devotees are only fooling themselves if they think they can execute bhakti-yoga while at the same time being cruel, unkind, unaccepting or neglectful toward others.
Srila Prabhupada actually demonstrated for us how to practice both devotional service and basic human kindness simultaneously. He was both a great devotee and perfect gentleman, always devoted in his service to Krsna but never failing to show other people love, kindness, respect and friendship–even when he had philosophical disagreements with them. He taught by example, which is the best kind of teaching and especially important for impressionable young children and new devotees to receive.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Nov 24, 2008 @ 9:47 pm
Hare Krsna! This is an interesting discussion and I’m glad it is being raised. Srila Prabhupada mentions in many places that all members of society must be respected, cared for and appropriately engaged. There is an especially nice quote in “Krsna Book”:
“In all communities in human society–including the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaishyas, sudras, candalas, etc.–and in the animal kingdom–including the cows, dogs, goats, etc.–everyone has his part to play. Each is to work in cooperation for the total benefit of all society, which includes not only animate objects but also inanimate objects like hills and land….Another hint we get from this statement is that the candalas, or the untouchables, are also not to be neglected by the higher classes and should be given necessary protection. Everyone is important, but some are directly responsible for the advancement of human society, and some are only indirectly responsible. However, when Krsna consciousness is there, then eveyone’s total benefit is taken care of.”
(“Krsna Book,” Vol I, pp. 245-246)
There is also a nice Srimad Bhagavatam purport (SB 1.11.19) wherein Srila Prabhupada states that even “prostitutes are necessary for the proper upkeep of society” and that they should be “maintained.” Thus we see that Vedic civilization was accommodating of all types of people whether fallen or renounced, outcaste or brahmana, etc.
One statement I do not agree with from the original posting concerns that made by Nelson Mandela, wherein he states that no one is born hating and that people must be taught to hate. Rather, we see that as soon as small children become aware of the world around them they immediately begin to pick on the “different” kids–the fat kid, the effeminate boy, the lone black kid in the class, etc. Hatred, envy, intolerance, prejudice, cruelty, etc. are all natural animal instincts that every conditioned soul is born with to various degrees. What needs to be taught–particularly by social leaders and religious groups–are the higher qualities of love, self-sacrifice, acceptance, fairness, spiritual vision, kindness and so on. Without the strong propagation of these higher principles in human society there will always be discord, even among those who are otherwise apparently religious.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Nov 21, 2008 @ 10:03 pm
Hare Krishna! These quotes from Srila Prabhupada were very interesting to read. It has always been my understanding that brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis don’t vote since they are disconnected from worldly affairs, but that grhasthas may or may not vote according to their involvement in society. In one sense, the Vaishnava and brahmana (grhasthas) are the ones who should be voting since their opinions are spiritually enlightened and it is their duty to help guide society. As with Akruranatha Prabhu, I will be voting for Barack Obama this November and just about all of the devotees I’ve spoken with are doing the same, for various reasons.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Oct 18, 2008 @ 9:21 pm
Hare Krsna! What a beautifully recounted story of Sudama Prabhu’s passing. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Aug 6, 2008 @ 10:19 pm
Hare Krishna! I appreciated this article by Karnamrita Prabhu very much. There are so many wonderful, positive things about Krsna consciousness that it’s a shame when devotees focus only on the negative prohibitions. It is quite often the difference between good and bad preaching.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Jul 10, 2008 @ 9:25 pm
Hare Krsna! This was a wonderful article and so inspiring to read…exactly the kind of encouraging, positive preaching I like to see among our ISKCON leaders.
How many times do we have to listen to “fire and brimstone” lectures or be called dogs, demons, “less-than-human,” unintelligent, etc., before the negative impact sets in? In another nice article recently posted by Mahatma dasa, he tells a story in which a group of friends called another friend a ghost so many times that the friend actually began to wonder whether or not he might actually be a ghost!
Of course, we must always encourage humility and remember our minute position in relation to Krsna and His pure devotees–but let’s not overdue it. Devotees should first and foremost encourage, support and love one another; it is not our job to humiliate, beat upon or put each other down. When Chota Haridasa fell down and was neglected by the Lord, the Vaishnavas proved themselves even more merciful by continuing to support and encourage poor Haridasa. May same loving mood always be within us.
Vaishnava das anudas,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Jun 18, 2007 @ 8:02 pm
This was a thoughtful article and fair enough. I’m glad to see that devotees are beginning to contemplate the nuances of sin and virtue. For too many years we have just been dismissing and condemning the fallen rather than trying to help, advise and encourage them.
Tamohara Prabhu’s point that no material sex life is ultimately acceptable is a good one. We should not be attached or falsely proud of any sex life in this world. One time an Indian man proudly paraded all of his many children before Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada, however, was not particularly impressed and even told one of his disciples, “He is simply showing me his sex life.” We should not be falsely proud of ourselves as great progenitors and “pro-creationists.” Nor should we belittle or ridicule those who do not have children or big, big families. In truth, procreation and pregnancy are affairs of this material world. Srila Prabhupada explains this as follows:
“In all eight of the heavenly varsas [planetary islands], although men and women enjoy sex pleasure, there is no pregnancy. Pregnancy only takes place in lower-grade life. For example, animals like dogs and hogs become pregnant twice a year, and each time they beget at least half a dozen offspring. Even lower species of life such as snakes give birth to hundreds of young at one time. This verse informs us that in grades of life higher than ours, pregnancy occurs once in a lifetime. People still have sex, but there is no pregnancy. In the spiritual world, people are not very attracted to sex life, due to their exalted devotional attitude. Practically speaking, there is no sex life in the spiritual world, but even if sometimes it does occur, there is no pregnancy at all.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 5.17.12, purport)
This is just a side point, however. I appreciate Urmila’s article and especially commend the last paragraph.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Apr 16, 2007 @ 7:54 pm
Dear Krsna-kirti Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
My basic disagreements with your article are as follows:
1) You don’t seem to understand or even define homosexual orientation properly,
2) I don’t get any sense or true feeling of compassion for homosexual people and devotees, and
3) You can’t seem to differentiate between Srila Prabhupada’s standards and preaching to the fallen. For instance, Srila Prabhupada often instructed fallen meat-eaters to at least refrain from cow meat and instead only eat the meat of lesser animals such as fish or goat. Only a foolish person would consider that Srila Prabhupada was thus encouraging meat-eating. Rather, he was merely trying to limit it as far as possible. Similarly, when your Guru Maharaja Hridayananda Goswami instructs fallen homosexuals to at least limit themselves to a single partner (in faithful monogamy), only a foolish person will consider that he is therefore encouraging homosexuality. Rather, he is merely trying to limit the illicit behavior as far as possible.
The practice of limiting illicit activities as far as possible among the fallen is a regular preaching tool used by devotees outside temple walls. Only in regard to homosexuality does there appear to be some outcry to this application, and this is what leads me and others to suspect that personal prejudices are coming into play.
Why is it such a concern to you if fallen homosexuals are encouraged to become monogamous rather than promiscuous? My personal suggestion is that you abandon this topic of preaching. It does not become you, in my humble opinion. I say this as a concerned God-uncle.
Vaishnava das anudas,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Apr 10, 2007 @ 8:18 pm
Shyamasundara dasa wrote: “Sudras followed brahminical principles as do all members of Varna Ashrama dharma.”
Do you have any scriptural references for this statement? Otherwise, I’ve never heard such a position before and it is contradicted in the Dharma Shastra.
“Manu-samhita,” for instance, states that only the brahmanas, as well as ksatriyas and vaishyas that were twice-born, were expected to follow brahminical principles. Sudras and ordinary vaishyas and ksatriyas were not.
According to “Manu-samhita,” sudras were not permitted to hear, learn, recite or instruct Vedic knowledge (MS 3.156, 4.99, 10.127), what to speak of being expected to follow brahminical principles! Text 10.126 states that a sudra “has no right to fulfill the sacred law of the Aryans, although there is no prohibition against his fulfilling certain portions of the law.”
In regard to homosexual behavior, “Manu-samhita” only prohibits it for brahmanas and twice-born men (MS 11.68, 175). If such men engaged in male-to-male copulation they were required to take a ritualistic bath or lose their brahminical, twice-born status. There are otherwise no laws prohibiting homosexual behavior among the ordinary, lower classes.
Pure Vaishnavas, of course, are expected to follow all brahminical principles as Srila Prabhupada instructed us.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Apr 10, 2007 @ 7:49 pm
Dear Akruranatha Prabhu,
Hare Krishna! Thanks for your thoughtful and compassionate comments. They are much appreciated.
I would just like to reiterate our position on illicit sex in regard to your last paragraph. I have been preaching to the gay Vaishnava community for the past six years and none of our members disagree with ISKCON’s stance on illicit sex or homosexual behavior.
I would say that over half of our members are strictly celibate with many who are brahmana-initiated. About twenty-five percent are in committed, monogamous relationships and another twenty-five percent are not yet renounced in this regard. In any case, all of our members agree that sex and sex desire are ultimately to be abandoned. Only our ability to do this, and how to best situate ourselves in the meantime, varies.
Many devotees assume that if a Vaishnava is open or honest about being gay-embodied, then he or she is automatically non-celibate and in favor of illicit sex. This is definitely not true, however, as indicated above. Homosexual devotees are celibate, monogamous and fallen just as heterosexual devotees are. We should remember this and try to help everyone along the path to Krsna.
Vaishnava das anudas,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Apr 9, 2007 @ 8:44 pm
For the most part I have been encouraged by the good number of ISKCON devotees who are willing to work with and encourage the gay community in Krsna consciousness. His Holiness Hridayananada Goswami’s article on gay monogamy is just one example. On a personal level, I have been contacted by quite a few ISKCON gurus, sannyasis and temple presidents who have expressed a willingness to help gay devotees advance spiritually. Many of these senior devotees have gay disciples, temple devotees, friends, relatives, peers, etc. that they are genuinely concerned about and do not simply want to “throw away” just because they require householder life.
During the previous year’s Mayapura conference, His Holiness Jayadvaita Goswami gave a very nice address in which he expressed ISKCON’s need to accommodate devotees with different opinions on how to best serve Srila Prabhupada. On this issue I think we are seeing such a vision manifest. Clearly, not all ISKCON devotees hate gays or wish to exclude them as temple or congregational members. In fact, many devotees appreciate and welcome them. While it is unlikely that ISKCON will pass a resolution ending discrimination against gays, it is also unlikely to pass any resolution banning gay couples from visiting the temple or mandating discrimination against them. Indeed, Allen Ginsberg came to the temple many times accompanied by his long-time lover, Peter Orlovsky, and both Srila Prabhupada and the temple devotees welcomed them wholeheartedly despite any personal disapprovals they may have held about their relationship.
Therefore, I think the best thing right now is for gay devotees to seek out gurus, sannyasis and temples that share such a mood and demonstrate a practical and humane understanding of people with homosexual orientation. There are, in my opinion, enough temples and devotees like this to make such a suggestion feasible. I am very hopeful in this regard and even expect it to increase as time moves forward.
In the service of Srila Prabhupada,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Mar 29, 2007 @ 10:53 am
I can’t imagine that Srila Prabhupada would object to our encouraging gay and lesbian devotees, living outside the temple, to practice monogamy and faithful marriage over promiscuity. It is definitely a step in the right direction. In preaching to the outside community, all different types of innovative tactics may be used. For instance, everyone knows the story about how Srila Bhatisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was prepared even to serve meat to a gathering of Englishmen if they would simply hear harikatha! So what to speak of simply encouraging monogamy and faithful marriage among our gay congregational members.
I believe it is very important for ISKCON to preach with innovation, according to time and circumstance, and without discrimination. In his purport to the verse quoted above (CC 1.9.29), Srila Prabhupada writes:
“This is the sum and substance of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement. There is no distinction made between those who are fit and those who are not fit to hear or take part in the sankirtana movement. It should therefore be preached without discrimination. The only purpose of the preachers of the sankirtana movement must be to go on preaching without restriction. That is the way in which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced this sankirtana movement to the world.”
In another significant verse from Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta, Lord Caitanya expresses His dismay when anyone is left out of His movement:
“Seeing that the Mayavadis and others were fleeing, Lord Caitanya thought, ‘I wanted everyone to be immersed in this inundation of love of Godhead, but some of them have escaped. Therefore I shall devise a trick to drown them also.'”
In his purport to this verse, Srila Prabhupada strongly criticizes those who are unable to employ innovative methods of preaching in communities with different social standards:
“These jealous fools who criticize the intermingling of boys and girls will simply have to be satisfied with their own foolishness because they cannot think of how to spread Krsna consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose. Their stereotyped methods will never help spread Krsna consciousness. Therefore, what we are doing is perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, for it is He who proposed to invent a way to capture those who strayed from Krsna consciousness.” (CC 1.7.31-32, purport)
If we are truly interested in preaching to the gay community and including them in Krsna consciousness, this will involve including them on all levels whether as celibate monks or as householder congregational members.
Vaishnava das anudas,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Mar 25, 2007 @ 9:31 pm
Krsna consciousness means, in the spirit of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that we extend it to everyone without discrimination:
“Not considering who asked for it and who did not, nor who was fit and who unfit to receive it, Caitanya Mahaprabhu distributed the fruit of devotional service.”
We should not think that we will preach Krsna consciousness only to the brahmanas and people following the principles. That automatically leaves out 95% of humanity! Rather, we should include everyone in this process, including the fallen and less than perfect. In this way, everyone in society will gradually be elevated.
In Krsna consciousness, there are both positive instructions (chanting, studying scripture, associating with devotees, etc.) and negative ones (refraining from meat-eating, gambling, intoxication, illicit sex, and so on). While both are important, the positive instructions should always be given precedence over the negative. For instance, people should begin hearing and chanting about Krsna even if they cannot follow all of the prohibitions. It is not that one must first give up all bad habits, and then after that he or she may begin Krsna consciousness. Rather, by immediately adopting the positive practices of bhakti-yoga, a person will gradually become inspired to follow the various prohibitions.
Otherwise, if we begin excluding everyone from Krsna consciousness whom we deem “unfit” or “non-brahminical”, we are no better than the stone-hearted smarta-brahmanas that Lord Caitanya personally condemned. Devotees should be very careful about this. We should not become puffed up and think that we are highly qualified brahmanas and all others are low-class sudras. That will be a great mistake for our movement.
Vaishnava das anudas,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Mar 19, 2007 @ 7:54 am
[Humble inquiry] Exactly what mention does homosexuality get in kama-sastra?
Reply: The genius of Vedic culture is that it accommodates all members of society, not only celibate brahmanas. One example of this is the accommodation of prostitutes in Vedic cities such as Lord Krsna’s Dvaraka (SB 1.11.19, purport). Only in modern, Kali Yuga culture have we been taught to hate and persecute the lower segments of society.
If devotees studied Vedic social models more carefully they would see how homosexual and transgender people were respectfully accommodated in Vedic culture. The Eighth and Ninth Chapters, Second Part of the Kama Shastra describes such people in full detail, both masculine and feminine types, and points out how they served society as dancers, barbers, hairstylists, flower-sellers, masseurs, prostitutes, and so on. Devotees would do well to consider these models and learn from them. We take information about astrology through the Jyotir Shastra, law through the Dharma Shastra, economics through the Artha Shastra, medicine through the Ayur Shastra, military science through the Dhanur Shastra, etc., yet somehow devotees resist learning about human sexuality through the Kama Shastra. This is unfortunate but explains why so many of us resort to outdated and unrealistic Victorian-era theories instead, such as the notion that homosexuals are demonic and should only be excluded from society.
Vaishnava das anudas,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Mar 11, 2007 @ 2:00 am
Visakha-priya dasi: “At the very end of last year in South Africa, a law was passed, sanctioning gay marriages. We cannot stop the advance of Kali-yuga and we need to encourage everyone.”
Hare Krishna! Personally, I don’t see how gay marriage relates with the advancement of Kali-yuga. Gay unions are mentioned in the ancient Kama Shastra scriptures of India and have obviously been around for a long time. The fact that modern society is now accommodating gay people, rather than hanging or stoning them as was previously done in non-Vedic Christian and Islamic cultures, seems more like a step away from Kali-yuga to me!
Visakha-priya dasi: “However, by recognizing gay marriages in ISKCON, we endorse sexual activity not meant for procreation, which encourages ordinary married initiated couples to continue with fruitless sexual activities within marriage.”
I think it is important to remember that H.H. Hridayananda Maharaja is not even talking about gay marriage within ISKCON (as per the original piece posted here). He is discussing encouraging monogamy as opposed to promiscuity for gay devotees living outside the temple who cannot practice lifelong celibacy. I don’t see how anyone can honestly argue that we should not encourage people to be monogamous rather than promiscuous. The purpose here is not to encourage or endorse illicit sex but rather to minimize it as far as possible.
Visakha-priya dasi: “If purity is indeed the force, shouldn’t our leaders encourage devotees to follow better and assist them in their struggle? We don’t need to give public lectures about it, but in small bhakti-vrksa groups and counselors groups, surely these things should be discussed and devotees encouraged to follow.”
Exactly! And that is just what H.H. Hridayananda Goswami is attempting to do. He is encouraging gay Vaishnavas to continue following Krsna consciousness, controlling their senses as best they can, even if the best they can do is monogamy. On the other hand, devotees like Krsna-kirti dasa and Danavir Swami seem to be saying, “It’s complete celibacy or nothing! If gays can’t follow complete, lifelong celibacy then we don’t want to help them, offer any practical advice or even have them living outside the temple as householders.”
There should be no question which approach is more helpful in encouraging Krsna consciousness among the gay and lesbian Vaishnava community. I think devotees need to learn to engage all members of society whether celibate, monogamous or even those who are completely fallen. Krsna consciousness is not only for temple devotees and strict brahmanas. It is for everyone at all levels.
Vaishnava das anudas,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Feb 16, 2007 @ 6:01 am
Hare Krishna! I think Hrdayananda Maharaja offers a nice compromise in regard to gay marriage that we can all agree with. Though most devotees may not want to accept gay marriage on religious terms, at least everyone can agree that if the arrangement is helpful in spiritual life it can be employed. Maharaja’s acknowledgement of faithful, monogamous marriage between same-sex couples as superior to promiscuity is really just plain, commonsense. So at the very least, I think we can all agree that gay devotees who cannot follow celibacy should be allowed civil marriage, on a congregational level living outside the temple.
In regard to the statement above, I agree there should be no need to treat our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters any differently. But that would entail offering them the same Krsna conscious processes as everyone else, of which Krsna-conscious household life is a crucial element.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki jaya!
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Aug 25, 2006 @ 11:22 pm
Hare Krishna! First of all I would like to thank Lalita Madhava d.d. for her positive posting. It is indeed true that our fellow gay and lesbian citizens are not the “demons” that some devotees try to make them out to be. In many cases, they are very pious and interested in spiritual life.
To Ajita Krishna dasa, in my last post I sent a link that was filled with references to positive expressions of same-sex orientation in Vedic literature, along with quotes from Srila Prabhupada, but unfortunately it was not posted for some reason.
In any case, I want to help you grow in your Krsna consciousness and become a more effective and loving preacher, as Srila Prabhupada was. I think it would be best for you to carefully study the way in which Srila Prabhupada dealt with his many gay and lesbian disciples, such as myself, and also with “karmi” homosexuals such as Allen Ginsberg. In these cases you will see that His Divine Grace never “blasted” them with the philosophy or made them feel offended in any way. Rather, he welcomed them completely, inspired them to engage in Krsna’s service, and gradually encouraged them to renounce sense gratification according to their ability.
Your severe, Gita-thumping tactics will only drive people away from Krsna. If you are unwilling to follow Srila Prabhupada’s own example in this regard, then I simply advise you to stop concentrating on gay and lesbian issues and instead preach in other areas, where you might be more successful.
Your sincere well-wisher,
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Aug 16, 2006 @ 8:56 pm
Hare Krishna! I find the rantings of Ajita Krishna dasa to be very offensive and not at all in the mood of Srila Prabhupada. Why is he so negative toward gay and lesbian devotees, and why does he seem to be so obsessed with this issue? Perhaps he has some serious issues to deal with himself. In any case, it’s devotees like him who drive people away from Krishna consciousness with his negative and fanatical style of preaching. And I don’t mean just gay and lesbian devotees, but also those who are sympathetic to them such as friends, relative, co-workers and so on. Personally, I’m surprised Ajita Krishna’s negative rantings are even being posted here.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Aug 11, 2006 @ 5:31 am
I agree with Shiva prabhu! I think it is very offensive when devotees try to demonize and bash our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, as Ajita Krishna Dasa seems to be doing. What purpose does it serve other than to drive people away from our movement?
I prefer Srila Prabhupada’s own approach to this issue. One time in Hawaii, Siddhasvarupa dasa was trying to criticize gay devotees in front of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada said, “Sex is sex. What is the difference if a person is held in this material world by a gold chain or by a silver chain?”
For devotees to argue that this person’s sexual orientation is very nice, and this person’s sexual orientation is very bad, is like saying that being right-handed is very natural and normal and being left-handed is very perverted and abnormal. It is what it is. The important thing is to dovetail everyone in the service of Krishna according to their nature.
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Aug 9, 2006 @ 10:26 am
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Hare Krishna! Hridayananda Maharaja’s position seems even less clear to me now. How can someone support gay monogamy, but not gay marriage? Doesn’t marriage greatly help to encourage monogamy?
I also agree with Bhakta Mikael in that Maharaja does not use the word “homosexuality” correctly. Most people understand “homosexuality” to mean “homosexual orientation” and not “homosexual behavior.”
It’s odd to me that many devotees think about marriage only in terms of sex while ignoring its more critical functions such as love, intimacy, companionship, family, meaningful relationships, social acceptance, etc. These are what most ordinary people require in their lives, including gays. Maharaja should have said, “I have no doubt that there are sincere souls…who cannot completely avoid their human need for love and companionship.”
» Posted By Amara_dasa On Jun 17, 2006 @ 10:16 am
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