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Comments Posted By Balakrsna das

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Continuation of Guru Issue

Regarding the book “Did Srila Prabhupada want Women Diksa Gurus” the following email was circulated earlier this year.

Dear Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I roughly went through the book “Did Srila Prabhupada Want Women Diksa-gurus?”

I just want to share a point which might be useful.
Kaunteya prabhu had depicted some images of Goddesses’ statues from Tamilnadu and says that women in the past had [sacred] threads. I read somewhere an argument that we cannot compare the goddesses with ordinary women. That’s fine. However, I had a doubt about those strands.

Thus I contacted a Tamil stapati who makes this kind of sculptures. As per his statement, these three strands has nothing to do with upavita [Brahmin thread]. It is called sannaviram. It is a designed ornament made with pearls or similar material and worn by women for decoration. Women in traditional Indian culture used to wear so many ornaments and this is just another ornament.

It is funny that our devotees decide something just by seeing some image without doing even cursory research about it.

Thanking you.

Your servant
xyz

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 26.11.2013 @ 21:48

Bhaktivinode Thakura and Varnasrama

In the December 1931 issue of the Harmonist, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta wrote an article entitled “Thakur Bhaktivinode” therein he addressed the issue of how to understand the life and teachings of Bhaktivinode. The following are some pertinent excerpts:

“There have, however, already arisen serious misunderstandings regarding the proper interpretation of the life and teachings of Srila Thakura Bhaktivinode. Those who suppose they understand the meaning of his message without securing the guiding grace of the acarya are disposed to unduly favor the method of empiric study of his writings. There are persons who have got by heart almost everything that he wrote without being able to catch the least particle of his meaning.

“… The personal service of the pure devotee is essential for understanding the spiritual meaning of the words of Thakur Bhaktivinode.

“…The present editor has all along felt it his paramount duty to try to clear up the meaning of the life and teachings of Thakur Bhaktivinode by the method of submissive listening to the transcendental sound from the lips of the pure devotees.

“…Thakur Bhaktivinode is acknowledged by all his sincere followers as possessing the above powers of the pure devotee of Godhead. His words have to be received from the lips of a pure devotee. If his words are listened to from the lips of a non-devotee they will certainly deceive. If his works are studied in the light of one’s own worldly experience their meaning will refuse to disclose itself to such readers. His works belong to the class of eternal revealed literature of the world and must be approached for their right understanding through their exposition by the pure devotee. If no help is sought, the works of Thakur Bhaktivinode will be grossly misunderstood by their readers.”

Essentially we understand Bhaktivinode Thakura through the guru parampara, that is, Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Prabhupada. Not by jumping over them. Thus if we want to understand the relevance and application of texts such as Manu Samhita we do it via the guru parampara not our speculation of what Bhaktivinode Thakura meant.

If there is a contradiction in Manu Samhita and the teaching of the Gita or Bhagavatam regarding varnashrama then we can assume it is an interpolation and only accept the conclusions of the Gita and Bhagavatam. But regarding the teaching of Manu on women, there is no contradiction with the Gita or Bhagavatam.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 11.02.2013 @ 22:07

Response to Bhaktarupa and Madhavananda prabhus recent post on “Education and Guruship of Vaishnavis”

Re #6

Urmila Mataji what is the meaning of your enigmatic statement? Will they not have internet or what? Why will they not be able to read such article? No electricity? Decreased literacy? What exactly are you driving at?

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 19.01.2013 @ 04:30

Varnasrama and Bhakti

Thank you for this text Maharaja it is much appreciated.

Regarding devotees rejecting VAD based on that conversation with Ramananda Raya, if one were to carefully read it and see all the other things that Lord Caitanya rejected as external then one would not be so quick to just pick on VAD. For example when Ramananda Raya quoted Gita 18.66 sarvadharma parityajna … Lord Caitanya said that was also external! This puts a whole new perspective on what “external” means. It means the processes required for someone (all of us) who are located outside (external) of the spiritual realm and trying to return back to Godhead. Lord Caitanya was inquiring from Ramananda about the mood of those who are already in the internal realm and not trapped in material bodies.

What may be external for someone on the stature of Lord Caitanya (Lord Krsna in the mood of Radharani Who is definitely not to be imitated) is essential for us foolish souls lost in this material world. Why? Because we have material bodies and we are stuck in material consciouness and we need those processes to bring us into the correct position. But if one is already perfectly spiritually situated they are not necessary but should still be followed to show others the correct process.

Again thank you for reminding us that Srila Prabhupada was concerned that ISKCON establish VAD as a practical way to make spiritual advancement and thus avoid sahajiyaism. The majority of sannyasis would not have fallen down if they had followed VAD culture in regards to how sannyasis behave vis a viz women, and of course the rest of the societies duty is to also protect the sannyasis by following the same culture. Only in ISKCON (among legitimate sampradayas) do you hear of sannyasis with female secretaries, cooks, masseuse etc. It is not an accident that they fell it is inevitable because this is completely at odds with Vedic norms for sannyasis. Much more could be said on this topic.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 21.12.2012 @ 17:13

On the Subject of Female Diksha Gurus

Akruranatha said:

It may just be that there is a valid distinction between initiating gurus and important acaryas. Maybe there were many bona-fide female spiritual masters in Gaudiya Vaisnava history who were competent to initiate devotees into the sampradaya, but very few who had the stature of great acaryas like Jahnava-devi. We have many male initiating gurus in ISKCON but how many would Sridhar Maharaja recognize as important acaryas?

The key word here is “maybe.” This is not a solid basis for building a whole theory.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 13.12.2012 @ 02:19

In comment #15 Candrashekharacarya Prabhu takes offense to the following sentence:

Now to save face you divert to a different topic, which has nothing to do with the original topic. By this method no conclusion can be arrived at.

He believes that my faculties of perception are all wrong, that I have to intimately know him for years to be able to make such a judgement. That would be like saying that if someone took something of mine without my permission I would have to intimately know them for years before I could call them a thief. I do not have to know the person to call them a thief because their pattern of behavior matches that of thieves since the recorded annals of history.

In a similar vein, I have been in discussions on different fora either as a participant or viewer long enough to know why people change topics when they are losing. I do not need to intimately know them to understand their motivations for what they do because it is a common tactic of certain types of people who are losing the debate and for the same motive I mentioned.

Having said that I will rephrase my last sentence:

“Now you divert to a different topic, which has nothing to do with the original topic. By this method no conclusion can be arrived at.”

This is not FB, here you will meet people who will strongly challenge your opinions. Therefore I ask you to refrain from insulting the intelligence of the readers and myself by resorting to red herrings.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 11.12.2012 @ 19:23

In # 11 HH Swami B.A Ashram wrote:

“Traditionally, there are many examples of women giving diksa.”

This should be changed to: “Traditionally, there are many examples of women giving diksa in apasampradayas.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 09.12.2012 @ 15:06

@ Chandrashekara Acarya dasa re 7

Your response has no bearing and is irrelevant to the comment I made. In your original comment you said that VAD should only be practiced in the confines of the home. I showed why this is wrong, that it should be practiced everywhere.

Now to save face you divert to a different topic, which has nothing to do with the original topic. By this method no conclusion can be arrived at.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 09.12.2012 @ 15:03

In #3 Chandrashekhara acharya Prabhu wrote:

“Varnashrama considerations is a private matter; a matter of the home. It is a matter of how individuals want to live their lives in the privacy of their household.”

Excuse me Prabhu but this makes no sense. Since when did Varnashrama dharma end at the doorway? Varnashrama dharma is meant to be practiced everywhere not just in the closet.

To illustrate, the Bhagavad Gita was not spoken in the privacy of Arjuna’s home away from the prying eyes of the public, but in the very public area of the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This is where Lord Krsna explained in brief about Varnashrama dharma and instructed Arjuna to perform his prescribed duty as a Kshatriya, one of the varnas in Varnashrama dharma, by doing battle for the Lord’s pleasure. That battle was not a game played on Xbox in Arjuna’s livingroom but in a real battlefield. So Arjuna was instructed to publicly perform Daiva Varnashrama Dharma by the Lord.

We are forced to conclude that Lord Krsna’s instructions are just contrary to your statement.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 06.12.2012 @ 19:08

Women Gurus In Kali Yuga?

Part 2

Although in recent generations sannyasa in the Gaudiya
sampradaya had been practically unheard of, Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati pointed out that not only was Lord
Caitanya a sannyasi, but so were His guru and parama-guru,
that nine sannyasi associates of Mahaprabhu are listed in Sri
Caitanya-caritamrta (1.9.13–15) as roots of the Caitanya
tree, and that Srimat Prabodhananda Sarasvati, a prominent
devotee of Lord Caitanya, was a tridanda-sannyasi.
Furthermore, the seminal acaryas of the four recognized
Vaisnava paramparas—Sri Visnusvami, Sri Nimbarka, Sri
Ramanuja, and Sri Madhva—and numerous others in their
discipular lines had taken sannyasa in Kali-yuga.
Srila Sarasvati Thakura accepted and later bestowed
sannyasa according to the ceremony described in Samskaradipika
for inducting renunciants, which had become
identified with the rite known as giving bhek to babajis. He
and his sannyasis dressed in the ankle-length red cloth of
sannyasa, similar to that of Ramakrishna Mission sannyasis,
whose robes had become familiar and respected in Bengal.
Instead of tridandas of uncovered tied sticks like those of the
Sri sampradaya, Gaudiya Matha sannyasis carried tridandas
wrapped in strips of red cloth, resembling the sannyasa rods
of Mayavadis in North India. To the three sticks that
represented dedication of body, mind, and speech in service
to the Lord, Srila Sarasvati Thakura added another stick to
symbolize the jiva, and at the top of the danda placed a small
curved stick, symbolizing an ax for cutting nondevotional
theories.clxiii Gaudiya Matha sannyasa differed from that
within the established lines of Sankara, Ramanuja, and
Madhva in that it was not awarded solely to men of
brahmana caste, and because horoscopes of prospective
candidates were not consulted for ascertaining their fitness
for lifelong renunciation.

There is more discussion on the topic but I just quoted the beginning of the discussion interested readers can consult the original text.

Comment Posted By Balakrsna das On 03.12.2012 @ 19:12


 


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