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Comments Posted By Babhru

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New ISKCON Property Purchased in California

This is wonderful news. Vaisesika prabhu is a wonderful example for all. Congratulations to him and all the devotees of the Silcon Valley sangha.

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 25, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

Embracing Unity in Diversity: Early Notes Toward a Rhetoric of Consciousness

I thank Pusta Krishna prabhu for his kind words. I’ve had few personal dealings with him over all these years, but those few encounters were consistently encouraging.

I think we all would do well to heed his advice about the environment’s friendly nature. I also have something to say about the longer article to which he refers, but I’ll respond to that piece itself. The author seems not to have quite understood the point I intended to make.

I also think Pusta Krishna’s advice about enthusiastically catching whatever favorable breezes of spiritual opportunity come our way. If the wind blows toward the shore of bhakti, let out those sails and take full advantage of it, regardless of doubts expressed by those who would have you stay stuck with them. We should not let ourselves flounder in the doldrums of suspicion. Suspicion, it is said, leads to suspension. Instead, we should let out the spinnaker of anukulyasya sankalpa and race for the shelter of the Lord’s service without hesitation.

» Posted By Babhru On Apr 1, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

Thanks to Akruranatha for sharing Vaisesika prabhu’s letter, as well as his own insights into the benefits of a broad vision of preaching. That devotees with the kind of vision Vaisesika shows are as prominent in ISKCON as he is a good sign. It shows that there is still much vitality in the world’s most visible institution dedicated to spreading Lord Caitanya’s teachings. That should gladden the hearts of all of Mahaprabhu’s devotees.

» Posted By Babhru On Apr 1, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

Keshava Krsna prabhu,

I believe you’re right on the money to suggest that embracing unity in diversity challenges the boundaries of our tolerance. And that can only be a good thing. And I certainly agree that the appreciation on which such embrace is founded should reach to missions other than that with which we ourselves may be affiliated, whether it be ISKCON or one of the other missions working hard to share the teachings of Lord Caitanya with whatever fortunate souls we may encounter.

My perspective on the discord we see enacted within and among missions may be a little different from yours, though. I don’t see them as slightly distorted expressions of the pure ego, as the examples you cite from Goloka or Gaura lila. Rather, and I say this after having participated in and having observed these interactions for over 43 years, I contend that they are motivated by narrow mindedness that symptomizes our lack of spiritual maturity. The evidence can be found in attempted suppression of diversity, in discouragement, in the dearth of actual appreciation for variety.

And, as you point out, over-centralization and bureaucracy can serve to encourage such narrow vision. I hope devotees will apply themselves to carefully studying the literature created by our acaryas, so they may be better equipped to discern between principle and detail, between superficial and substantive differences.

» Posted By Babhru On Apr 1, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

(continued from previous post)
And even among devotees in this world, we can appreciate that devotees will be different in any number of ways, and that’s not necessarily an impediment to either the devotees’ culture of devotion or its propagation. Instead, it’s an ornament, enhancing both. So, even looking just in ISKCON, we may find preachers as different as Indradyumna Maharaja, with his big flashy festivals around the world, and Purshatraya Maharaja, with his self-sufficient community in the forest of Brazil; Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja, with his traditional approach to bhakti culture, and Radhanatha Maharaja, with his broad approach to finding ways to help those who may otherwise not have the chance to appreciate the culture of Krishna bhakti. Having such different devotees does not impoverish ISKCON. It enriches it. We need devotees who can preach as renunciates to show the ultimate in dedication, as brahmacaris to add youthful exuberance, and as householders to bring stability and balance to the community of devotees.

As different as they are, they are all unified in their pursuit and propagation of the love for Krishna taught by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If we go beyond ISKCON, as large and as broad as it is, we find many more missions inspired by Mahaprabhu, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and our Srila Prabhupada, and they all enhance the sankirtana movement in some very different ways, attracting yet more fortunate souls to the Lord’s lotus feet. And in order to grow our own bhakti most effectively, and to help the broadest range of living beings become as fortunate as we, we all must appreciate how all these different souls ultimately work as one while serving as a rainbow of diverse ornaments surrounding that one blazing sapphire that is Krsna, with no conflicting personal interest. This may seem a tall order, but it is the order we are called to fill to ensure the sankirtan movement’s success.

» Posted By Babhru On Mar 10, 2012 @ 3:07 am

Kesava Krsna, the overlapping you suggest may be inevitable is certainly so only to the extent we maintain selfish interest. Those ripples are the clashing of personal interest, nothing more, caused by the materialistic inability to “adjust the varieties and the disagreements” Srila Prabhupad mentions in the letter I cite. When Srila Prabhupada spoke at the University of Hawaii in 1972, he gave the example of the ripples in a pond. If we drop stones here and there, each one will create a pattern of ripples, and those ripples will clash, overlap, creating a chaotic pattern on the pond’s surface. (These may be called eccentric circles.) However, if we drop every stone, regardless of its size, shape, color, etc., in precisely the same point, it will create a harmonious pattern of concentric circles, none of which will clash with the others. This is unity part of the equation, which Srila Prabhupada addresses when he says that if we “keep Krsna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties.”
However we serve, whatever our individual talents, perspectives, approaches, etc., it is this keeping Krsna in the center that makes possible the mutual appreciation I write of, that, as Srila Prabhupada puts it, will ensure our movement’s success. That’s how it works in Vraja. Everyone there has a different service for pleasing Krsna, a different relationship with Krsna. There are those who please Krsna by acting as servants, those who please him as friends (all of whom are different from each other in a number of ways), those who please him by acting as parents of one sort or another, those who please him by acting as girlfriends, again in a broad variety of groups, with different talents, temperaments, etc. But everyone has one focus of attention: pleasing Krsna. That’s called unity in diversity. It is not a detriment; rather, that diversity enriches Krsna’s pleasure.
(continued in next post)

» Posted By Babhru On Mar 10, 2012 @ 3:06 am

When tolerance is discussed in the context of diversity, writers and speakers often complain that it’s too small a word. What I found in Srila Prabhupada’s letter, backed up by several dictionaries I consulted, is that the broader sense, which is in fact the primary sense, is what he intended, and the most useful for the point I intend to make.
I strongly disagree with any suggestion that I should restrict myself to the narrower and perhaps most widely used sense of the word. I do so after careful consideration (which consideration was an important part of the process of writing this piece). I’m accustomed to working with at least six dictionaries (including OED) and as many usage guides. I chose to make this point very deliberately. (Starting to see a theme here, folks?) Every good usage guide includes what some refer to as “frequency of use” by educated writers as an important consideration, but certainly not the only, or even overriding, factor. Here’s what Bryan Garner, whose Modern American Usage I have long found the most useful guide on my shelves, says: “[W]hile actual usage can trump the other factors, it isn’t the only consideration.” Please note that he doesn’t say “actual usage” does trump, or even should trump, other factors; instead, he says, it can. That’s all.

Here I’m deliberately trying to prod devotees into considering that broader meaning in some contexts, not to discard the other. In the context of discussion of tolerance of diversity in the broader society, many writers and speakers have opined that tolerance is too small a word. That’s because they read it in the sense of just putting up with what’s different or not comfortable. However, it appears that too many are simply unaware of that broader meaning or afraid of having their case labeled specious (or whatever) by small-minded readers. I am neither. I intend to change–more accurately, I think, to stretch–the perceived meaning of the word, at least among followers of Lord Caitanya, and I think I have good bases for doing so. You may call it hubris; I’m not afraid of that, either. I’m not a Nobel laureate, and I’m no celebrity guru, but I am an experienced sadhaka, an educated person, and an experienced writer. I’m making a philosophical point, not playing to the crowd.

» Posted By Babhru On Mar 2, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

Some readers have objected elsewhere that I’m overreaching by focusing on the broader meaning of “tolerance.” They suggest that I should limit myself to the narrower sense, that of putting up with something we don’t like or are uncomfortable with. To do otherwise, they say, makes my argument appear specious. They also say that, although the broader sense I use in my essay does indeed appear first in most English dictionaries, I should follow what they say is the most used sense.

I certainly anticipated precisely this objection and researched it pretty thoroughly. (It would be just silly to think that I hadn’t, considering my experience as a writer and a teacher of serious writing.) That included asking devotees with PhDs in Sanskrit whether that broader meaning could be found in the Sanskrit word. I didn’t get what I wanted, so I deliberately kept my argument from overreaching. However, that broader sense is clear to me in Srila Prabhupada’s remarks to Kirtanananda in the letter I cite. As much as I tried, I could not at all reconcile myself to the idea that Srila Prabhupada used that verse to tell Kirtanananda to, in effect, just hold his nose and put up with devotees who had a different approach, different sensibilities, or whatever. There were other things I could have used to enhance my case here, such as a well-known letter to Tusta Krishna, or the festival at Kheturi. But the piece is already longer than I wanted.

When tolerance is discussed in the context of diversity, writers and speakers often complain that it’s too small a word. What I found in Srila Prabhupada’s letter, backed up by several dictionaries I consulted, is that the broader sense, which is in fact the primary sense, is what he intended, and the most useful for the point I intend to make.

» Posted By Babhru On Mar 2, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

Double-voice amplification kirtans in Iskcon Mayapur

I’m with Akruranatha here. My experience is that sound systems are far louder than necessary. The default seems to be that the leader’s voice needs to be at least twice as loud as everyone else’s combined, which just doesn’t make sense to me. Add to that large karatalas too close to the mic, solid gongs being played by devotees swinging from the shoulder, and lousy acoustics (as is the case in Alachua), and you have a recipe for disastrous hearing health. Too many of us have hearing loss and raging tinnitus. We should all be more thoughtful, and our kirtans more tasteful.

» Posted By Babhru On Apr 22, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

Live From Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir! HG Urmila Mataji

(continued from previous post) It’s not particularly difficult to see that Srila Prabhupada said different things at different times about any number of topics. Here’s an interesting quotation that, we may argue, may be seen to apply to the education and engagement of female devotees: “We have seen your note regarding Sarasvati Maharaja, and you may engage one Sanskrit teacher for Sarasvati so she shall become a very great scholar, just like Jiva Goswami was trained in Sanskrit language from early childhood and no one could surpass him in all of India.” Some may argue that this is an instruction about educating one particular girl, not about educating girls in general. I’d suggest that it’s more than both–that it shows he was interested in addressing individual situations. As he said once, when a leader complained that some devotees were interested in services other than book distribution, “Do not think that the spiritual master is a dead stone who cannot give different instructions to different disciples.”

It appears, then, that Srila Prabhupada’s vision may accommodate engaging women outside the kitchen.

» Posted By Babhru On May 29, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

I’ve found this discussion occasionally interesting, often a little exasperating. Let me see if I have a bit of a handle on this. So Urmila devi was asked to speak in Mayapura, and she agreed to do so, focusing on one of her areas of expertise, which she has engaged in her service to guru and Gauranga. Some of us find in this an occasion to excoriate her for daring to speak on philosophical and practical aspects of Krishna consciousness in front of men, some of whom have positions in the Society as administrators and/or monastics, even though she was invited by those men’s hosts and they chose to attend. Because Urmila’s cheekiness has been made the dominant theme of the thread, when someone else (her daughter, incidentally) attempts to bring the thread back to the topic of Urmila’s talk, she is slapped down for creating a digression. Boy, it’s just a wonder that Mahaprabhu’s movement has progressed at all over the last few decades.

I sometimes find myself losing patience with those who seek to reduce Srila Prabhupada to a sort of flat character and his instructions to a monolithic dogma. In fact, both Srila Prabhupada and the teachings he brought us are much richer than any of us is apparently able to conceive. In 1973 he told me personally, “Devotees and devotional service cannot be stereotyped. There is nothing that cannot be engaged in Krishna’s service. Simply we require guidance from the expert spiritual master *how* to engage everything in Krishna’s service. That is the only catch.” (see next post)

» Posted By Babhru On May 29, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

Srila Prabhupada and 24-Hour Kirtana

We also owe a debt of gratitude to those who organized the program. These are adult children of devotees our age, such as Gaura Shakti, Govinda Cordua, Govinda Syer, and all the others who worked so hard to make this happen. In fact, the program began unofficially the previous Saturday evening, with several hours of chanting, mostly the Hare Krishna mahamantra, every evening leading up to the official 24 hours of kirtan.

» Posted By Babhru On Nov 28, 2010 @ 11:07 pm

School is My Second Home

One of my former gurukula students from Hawaii just reminded us of this from Srila Prabhupada: “These children are given to us by Krishna, they are Vaisnavas and we must be very careful to protect them. These are not ordinary children, they are Vaikuntha children. This is very great responsibility, do not neglect it.”

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 30, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

Brajasundari has been a student in my wife Satyaki’s class at Bhaktivedanta Academy for the last three years. Braja is a very dedicated devotee and delightful company. I feel at once proud of her and grateful for this essay. She recently graduated from my wife’s class, which she calls Audarya Bhavan, along with a number of other students for whom developing Krishna consciousness is their life and soul.

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 21, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

Krishna’s Cows

Pandu, I think the quotation you cite is helpful. But, since an unknown number of cows’ milk is mixed together and adulterated in a number of ways to produce each jug of milk we buy in the stores, wouldn’t your use of the quotation actually argue in favor of supporting factory-“farm” dairy operations, rather than working so hard to set an example of cow protection as a model for the greater society? As Syamasundara says, “If we dont do something different than what we are already doing, we still will not have our deities or devotees drinking milk from protected cows in another 30 years.”

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 19, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

Praghosa wrote, “if you are saying that any devotee who is currently using non ahimsa milk shouldn’t do so in any circumstance and is essentially condemnable, then I beg to differ.”

In any circumstance? Condemnable? Goodness, where did I say that? I suggested a spectrum of milk goodness, I said nothing about any devotee’s character. I addressed the ease with which we dismiss the necessity to try like anything to live up to the ideals we profess. And please notice the pronoun in that clause. At the moment, my wife and I also buy milk at the store, but I’m not happy about it. I feel compromised, frankly. And we do try to buy as far up the spectrum I suggested as we can. But when we lived on the Big Island and in San Diego, we bought milk from devotees who protected cows. It was more expensive, to be sure, but I felt it was important to put my money where my mouth was.

I’m so grateful that Srila Prabhupada didn’t think, “I fail to see how, in the short or mid term, one devotee taking all the trouble to go to New York City can have any impact on the world. It’s so much trouble, and maybe Mahaprabhu’s ‘every town and village’ is hyperbole after all.”

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 16, 2010 @ 10:07 am

Dear Praghosa prabhu,

First, I think we should bear in mind that, although Srila Prabhupada took commercial milk products, he wanted something more for the movement. He exhorted us on several occasions to consider how we could have farm projects that provided milk and other produce for the city temples. And here it is almost 33 years after his leaving our vision, and the Krishna consciousness movement is hardly any closer to realizing that vision than in the mid ’70s, with a coupld of exceptions.

It’s wonderful, of course, the Bhaktivedanta Manor has a dairy, and that you and other devotees support cruelty-free dairies, whether they’re run by Krishna’s devotees or not. But I wonder where the milk for the Sunday feasts comes from. Where do devotees in London, or Manchester buy milk for their families? I see the milk jugs in the dumpster at my local temple, and in my neighbors’ recylclables bins. Too often is the milk not only not ahimsa, or even organic, or even hormone free, but it’s the cheapest milk from the supermarket or big-box store.

There will be no long-term impact until we can imagine–and effect–the short and mid-term impact. We need to make this a priority. As the demand for ahimsa milk increases, the demand for slaughterhouse milk will decrease. If I only buy milk from someone who cares for cows nicely, and a couple of my friends decide that’s cool, and a couple of each of their friends do likewise, the demand will increase dramatically. But if we’re complacent about buying supermarket milk, as long as we continue to keep the demand strong for factory-“farm” milk, as long as we support the industrial mistreatment of our mother with our hard-gained money, nothing will really change, despite all our lofty talk of cow protection. And in the meantime we should at least be honest about it.

Yours in service,

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 15, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

Praghosa wrote, “On the other hand by offering their milk to Krishna the cows are receiving unlimited spiritual benefit. . . .”

I hear this so often from devotees, but I can’t think of anyone who has offered any pramana to support it. Do we really have any evidence that this is true? If so, what is it, specifically? Without such support, the argument fails to convince many of us, and it sounds like an excuse. C’mon–if the truth is that we just can’t find, or afford, or be bothered to seek out, milk from protected cows, let’s be honest and say so.

As Madhava Ghosh and his correspondent suggest, the real solution is to use the money we spend on milk from exploited cows to save them from such exploitation, or to support those who do. If possible, we can do this by buying milk from protected cows. If that’s not possible, we can subsidize those who protect them. If we can’t do that, then we need to do what we can to buy the best milk we can find, from the cow’s perspective, not our pocketbook’s. But just buying the cheapest milk we can from the supermarket, so we can have lots of milk goodies to offer (and “honor”), on the plea that we’re benefitting so many cows by doing so, and using the money we save on our iPhones, SUVs, and flat-screen TVs, we will have a hard time ever establishing cow protection.

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 14, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

How Prabhupada took Londonisvara

As a sort of counterpoint to Pusta Krishna’s account of Srila Prabhupada’s reply about books that end up in airport trash cans, he said something a little different on another occasion. When Srila Prabhupada visited Honolulu in 1974, someone complained about the apparently indiscriminate book distribution. Srila Prabhupada seemed to think it was more a virtue than a problem. Then the devotee added, “But your books are being thrown into trash cans!”

Prabhupada just said, “After all, they’re my books. If I don’t object, what is the difficulty?”

As one of those who was uncomfortable with what I considered ham-handed tactics, I was a little taken aback, and disarmed, by this comment. Over the years, though, I have met quite a few devotees whose introduction to Krishna consciousness was picking a book up out of a trash can.

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 2, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

Srila Prabhupada and the Gaudiya Matha

I’m not going to comment on the entire piece at the moment. Rather, I just want to weigh in on one of Drutakarma’s assertions. He wrote, “In recognition of Prabhupada’s learning, Bhaktisaranga Goswami wanted to give him the title Bhaktisiddhanta, but Sridhara Maharaja, thinking it improper to use that title, which belonged to their Guru, suggested Bhaktivedanta. Srila Prabhupada and Sridhara Maharaja continued to associate.”

The more widely accepted understanding of this incident is that other Godbrothers objected to using the title given to their guru maharaja. They ended up approaching Sridhara Maharaja to resolve the issue. He suggested substituting Bhaktivedanta, which he said conveyed the same meaning, and everyone accepted that. Later, we see that Prabhupada’s Godbrother B. P. Keshava Maharaja apparently liked the name so well that he gave that as the title for all the devotees he initiated into Tridandi Sannyasa (including retaining it for Srila Prabhupada), which custom persists among his disciples and their disciples to this day.

» Posted By Babhru On May 27, 2010 @ 1:31 am

Why should my child learn Sanskrit?

This is a fun presentation. However, at the risk of seeming fussy , even peevish, I think it’s well to note that Mr. Kortenhorst is mistaken about Chaucer’s English. Anglo-Saxon, or Old English, is a language that didn’t survive the Norman conquest of England in 1066 (something every English major knows). The language in which Chaucer wrote is called Middle English.

» Posted By Babhru On Jun 26, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

The Passing of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj

Apparently, Srila Prabhupada repsonded to grammatical problems with his pranam mantras by askign Srila Sridhara Maharaja to help with composing new pranam mantras. The project moved slowly, I suppose, and wasn’t finished when Srila Prabhupada disappeared from our vision. Some time later, Sripad Govinda Maharaja took it up again with Sridhara Maharaja’s permission. Here are the four pranam mantras Sripad Govinda Maharaja composed in praise of our Srila Prabhupada:

namah om visnupadaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
swami sri bhaktivedanta prabhupadaya te namah

gurvajnam sirasi-dhrtva saktyavesa sva-rupine
hare-krsneti mantrena pascatya-pracya-tarine

visvacarya prabaryaya divya karunya murtaye
sri bhagavata-madhurya-gita-jnana pradayine

gaura-sri-rupa-siddhanta-saraswati nisevine
radha-krsna-padambhoja-bhrngaya gurave namah

I offer my humble obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna on this earth, having taken shelter of his lotus feet.

Taking the order of his guru on his head, he became empowered by Nityananda Prabhu to act as a saktyavesa avatara. He distributed the Hare Krsna mantra all over the Eastern and Western world, delivering and uplifting all fallen souls.

He is the best of millions of jagat-gurus, because he is the personification of divine mercy. He has distributed the sweet nectar of Srimad Bhagavatam and the transcendental knowledge of Bhagavd-gita all over the world.

He is constantly engaged in exclusive devotional service to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. I offer my humble obeisances unto Srila Prabhupada, who is like a bumblebee always tasting the nectar of the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda.

» Posted By Babhru On Mar 30, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

Itching Atheists

I want to point out that Anne Lamotte is not what most would consider an atheist, agnostic, or sceptic. Rather, she has been a committed Presbyterian since 1984. Neither was Thomas Jefferson actually an atheist. He was certainly unorthodox in his approach to religion, not buying revelation or doctrines such as the trinity, and his views seem rather complicated, even confused sometimes; still, he never rejected the existence of God.

» Posted By Babhru On Jan 22, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

A BG perspective on Avatar movie

Madana-mohana, after posting my note, I think I came across a reference to a similar statement from Cameron in a Wikipedia article. So I asked, and you answered. Thank you. I would further suggest that Cameron’s avatar is a sort of fusion of the concept of digital avatars with which Second Life participants are familiar and the “physical” avatars we know of. After all, it should be clear that in the film the hero is not a superior being descending into a Na’vi body.

Akruranath, I apologize for having misread your comments. You’re a decent, honest devotee with good association and much enthusiasm for service. I probably should have been more careful in my response.

» Posted By Babhru On Jan 15, 2010 @ 4:46 am

I was taken aback by Akruranath’s suggestion that devotees may claim that Cameron based the title and concept of his movie on Bhagavad-gita. Is there actually any evidence he did so? If not, I hope devotees will be careful about such claims. In fact, the concept is rather derivative, borrowed from any number of previous movies. And the term avatar as used in this film certainly derives from the kind of avatars we see online, as in Second Life, etc., not directly on an incarnation of Godhead. While contrasting the film’s idea of avatar with the Vedic concept may tempt us, and may even arouse some short-term interest among a few, in the long run it’s likely to make us look a little–how shall I say it?–naive.

» Posted By Babhru On Jan 9, 2010 @ 2:38 am

Stumbling blocks and steping stones

This post shows the thoughtfulness and dedication to Srila Prabhupada for which many of us have long admired Bhakti Charu Maharaja. And I don’t think there will be a great deal of controversy about Srila Prabhupada’s position as head of the institution. He was careful from the beginning about our presenting him as ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya. Those of us who were around in 1970 probably remember the stories of his unhappiness with the first printing of The Nectar of Devotion. The glue in the “perfect” binding was lousy ((how many weeks did it take for pages to start falling out of your copy?), and the author on the title page was “A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,” not “His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acharya, International Society for Krishna Consicousness,” as he had explicitly instructed by that time.

I’m not sure, though, that I’m with him in his assertion that Srila Prabhupada is the proprietor of ISKCON. I suggest that Srila Prabhupada intends that Krishna be ISKCON’s proprietor. After all, he called it the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. And a look at his statement of purposes shows that ISKCON is all about Krishna. While acknowledging our debt to Srila Prabhupada and his central position among ISKOCN’s devoteses, we should avoid trending toward a kartabhaja-like sect. I’m not suggesting this is Maharaja’s intention, or even an unintended consequence of his emphasis on Srila Prabhupada. It is, however, something we should keep in mind.

» Posted By Babhru On Jul 13, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

Effective, Mature Outreach

I commend and thank Karnamrita prabhu for opening up this important topic. Whether anyone agrees with everything he, Akruranath, or anyone else here says, we do need to consider carefully what kind of outreach will have the effect we want. Our purpose, it seems to me, should be to increase faith in the teachings of Lord Chaitanya (our faith and others’), creating some bhakti sukriti. We do that best by our character, as we see in Mahaprabhu’s outreach to Prakashananda Sarasvati and the other sannyasins.

It would be nice to see a forum where this topic can be discussed threadbare.

» Posted By Babhru On Dec 12, 2008 @ 12:32 am

Even if we have to eat meat

I’ve heard the Buddhists’ rationales for not maintaining vegetarian diets, as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s. I remain unimpressed. After all, their teaching is “ahimsa paramo dharma.” I remember discussing this years ago with a friend and colleague at San Diego State University, the poet Steve Kowit. Steve practices Buddhism (and was a friend of Satsvarupa Maharaja’s before he met Srila Prabhupada) and maintains a vegetarian diet. At one point in our discussions I asked Steve whether he thought the Buddha was vegetarian. His response: “If he wasn’t, he should have been!”

A situation such as the plane crash in the Andes is one thing; some ignorant person giving a burger in charity, or some doctor telling you meat is necessary for your health is another thing altogether. Find new friends, and get a second opinion. I’m not sure, though, that I’d be able to eat my fellow passengers’ carcasses in that plane crash. My vegetarianism is not just ethical but also aesthetic, I guess. I never liked meat when I was a kid, and mealtimes were a struggle throughout my childhood. I guess I wouldn’t have lived very long if I had been born among Eskimos. It was such a relief as an adult to choose company that didn’t hassle me about not wanting to eat meat or fish. The greatest relief, of course, was finding the company of Krishna’s devotees.

» Posted By Babhru On Oct 9, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

Knowing and Saying Goodbye to Sundararupa dasa

I only had the pleasure of meeting Sundararupa this past summer. My wife is friends with Sudharma (I hope I am, too), and we spent a wonderful evening with them at their home. Sundararupa and I opened our hearts to each other in conversation, and he told me about the project he was working on with Matsya Avatara prabhu. I checked it out on the Web and had been meaning to write him about it. I was shocked by his departure and heartbroken for Sudharma. Even though we only met once, I’ll miss Sundararupa.

» Posted By Babhru On Oct 9, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

Memorial for Sudama

Dear Omkara,

I just read through your post again and found myself overwhelmed by your good fortune and by my appreciation for your service attitude. Regarding Sudama’s “detours,” I’m reminded of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 1.5.19. The verse reads, “My dear Vyasa, even though a devotee of Lord Krsna sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others [fruitive workers, etc.] because a person who has once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again.”

In his purport, Srila Prabhupada says, “There are certainly many instances where devotees of the Lord have fallen down due to uncongenial association, just like fruitive workers, who are always prone to degradation. But even though he falls down, a devotee is never to be considered the same as a fallen karmi. A karmi suffers the result of his own fruitive reactions, whereas a devotee is reformed by chastisement directed by the Lord Himself. The sufferings of an orphan and the sufferings of a beloved child of a king are not one and the same. An orphan is really poor because he has no one to take care of him, but a beloved son of a rich man, although he appears to be on the same level as the orphan, is always under the vigilance of his capable father.”

The care you gave to Sudama and the outpourings of love from other devotees, and of the love showed to Upendra by the Australian devotees, show just how this is the case. Thanks again for taking the trouble to share this with us.

Yours in service,

» Posted By Babhru On Sep 9, 2008 @ 3:43 am

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