Comments Posted By Dasanudas
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Dear Tamohara Prabhu,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Thank you for this nicely put together presentation, and for the reminder of what fortunate souls we are to be given a chance to accept the highest goal in all existence. There is no question of the placement of Krishna prema, nor is there anything to compare. While it is true that there are various instructions from Krishna in different places - most very explicitly talk only of elevating one to heavenly planets, merging with the brahmajyoti, or at the highest attaining santa-rasa or dasya-rasa - it is only through the mercy of Lord Caitanya and the Vaishnava acaryas that the living entity can achieve the highest and most intimate of madhurya-rasa.
All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
Comment Posted By Dasanudas On 14.09.2006 @ 18:58
In a recent film called “Dickey Roberts: Former Child Star,” one of the actors at the end is shown in a “where-are-they-now” style joining the Hare Krishna movement. They use actual footage of Srila Prabhupada arriving somewhere, and use an arrow to point to the “actor” being in the crowd.
Comment Posted By Dasanudas On 14.09.2006 @ 18:50
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. Yes, I would agree that what I was speaking is the ideal. It was trying to view this from the absolute, spiritual platform. When we move to the madyama platform, then distinctions must be made in order to preach. The reality, as you nicely put it, is that we must be tolerant, but also chaste ‚Äď this is shown expertly by Srila Prabhupada in the quoted letter. We can recognize another tradition‚Äôs legitimacy and their parallel right to love of God, but for us, we are Gaudiya Vaishnavas, and thus we concern ourselves and teach only what has been taught and passed down from Lord Caitanya. It is not that I recommend we start adding other faith‚Äôs precepts, traditions, etc. Nor do I suggest that we give any equal footing to a philosophy that has anything besides pure love of God as the ultimate goal. I am simply trying to suggest that when ‚Äď for example ‚Äď a Christian cries out, ‚ÄúJesus is the only way!‚ÄĚ We can internally understand that the teachings of guru are one, and thus they are correct, though they don‚Äôt know how. There is no need to try and defeat them in debate, but nor is there any reason why we should have to defend our own beliefs to them. Just like a chaste wife, ‚ÄúYes, this man is very nice, but he is not my husband.‚ÄĚ
As for attacks or physical threats, then there should always be defense. We don‚Äôt remove the four animal propensities, simply minimize them. Srila Prabhupada would advise his disciples to arm themselves after the temples were attacked. I do not agree with killing others or destroying their homes on the basis of religious differences, but I do understand that in service to Krishna there will be difficulties. I don‚Äôt understand how the thoughts and actions of others should cause us to lower our love for Krishna and through Him all living entities. ‚ÄúHe who sees everything in relation to the Supreme Lord, who sees all living entities as His parts and parcels, and who sees the Supreme Lord within everything never hates anything or any being.‚ÄĚ (Isopanishad, Text 6) Does it matter that a so-called practicioner of Islam rejects us? Should we not follow in the footsteps of Lord Nityananda and forgive, still trying through an attack to give love of God?
I agree also that I have no experience of being denied the practices of my faith, thus I can‚Äôt in any way tell how I would respond to such a thing. Still, how can they forbid me to be a servant of Krishna? How can anyone deny you the eternal position of yourself? The external practices of our movement are very important, but they are all designed to develop Krishna Consciousness, which is entirely internal. I guess I would simply have to ask those devotees living in such circumstances how they fare.
Yes, it is a very bad problem that there are so many concocted philosophies and paths. I work at a restaurant that gets so many so-called spiritualists, hippies, ‚Äúyour-dog-is-your-guru‚ÄĚ (literally ‚Äď I have seen this), and so on; I understand that we are fighting against these things. However, as one disciple of Srila Prabhupada told me, ‚ÄúInstead of trying to espouse the evils of the world, just give people the higher taste of Krishna. They will be purified naturally.‚ÄĚ Instead of trying to attack and defeat and demolish the man-made irreligious paths, just spread the chanting of the holy names, and we can watch the other ideas melt away in an ocean of bliss. Is this not the practical process given to us?
Thank you for reminding me of the pastimes of Lord Caitanya in dealing with the Kazi. It is certainly true how angry He became at the stopping of sankirtan, crying out ‚ÄúToday I shall kill all the Muslims!‚ÄĚ Yet, how did He do this? He did this by performing harinam sankirtan to an even greater degree, and by respectfully talking with the Kazi about the glories of sankirtan. He also showed that logic and argument and most importantly scriptural reference can be used to show the inconsistencies in a person‚Äôs practice. Yet, upon re-reading the event (and getting very nice information and mercy from Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya), I see nowhere that Lord Caitanya tells the Kazi to join His movement, or to continue chanting the names Hari, Krishna, and Narayana. He simply states that by chanting these names, the Kazi was cleared of all sins. I especially liked the seeming contradiction in these purports by Srila Prabhupada:
‚ÄúChand Kazi agreed to talk with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on the strength of the scriptures. According to the Vedic scripture, if one can support his position by quoting from the Vedas, his argument is perfect. Similarly, when the Muslims support their position with quotations from the Koran, their arguments are also authorized. When Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu raised the question of the Muslims‚Äô cow-killing and bull-killing, Chand Kazi came to the standard of understanding from his scriptures.‚ÄĚ Adi-Lila, 17.155 purport
‚ÄúIn our practical preaching work we meet many Christians who talk about statements of the Bible. When we question whether God is limited or unlimited, Christian priests say that God is unlimited. But when we question why the unlimited God should have only one son and not unlimited sons, they are unable to answer. Similarly, from a scientific point of view, the answers of the Old Testament, New Testament and Koran to many questions have changed. But a sastra cannot change at a person‚Äôs whim. All sastras must be free from the four defects of human nature. The statements of sastras must be correct for all time.‚ÄĚ Adi-lila 17.168 purport
‚ÄúThe sastras of the yavanas, or meat-eaters, are not eternal scriptures. They have been fashioned recently, and sometimes they contradict one another. The scriptures of the yavanas are three: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. Their compilation has a history; they are not eternal like the Vedic knowledge. Therefore although they have their arguments and reasonings, they are not very sound and transcendental. As such, modern people advanced in science and philosophy deem these scriptures unacceptable.
Sometimes Christian priests come to us inquiring, ‚ÄúWhy are our followers neglecting our scriptures and accepting yours?‚ÄĚ But when we ask them, ‚ÄúYour Bible says, ‚ÄėDo not kill.‚Äô Why then are you killing so many animals daily?‚ÄĚ they cannot answer. Some of them imperfectly answer that the animals have no souls. But then we ask them, ‚ÄúHow do you know that animals have no souls? Animals and children are of the same nature. Does this mean that the children of human society also have no souls?‚ÄĚ Adi-lila 17.169 purport
As for myself, I am following Srila Prabhupada and the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya because of several reasons ‚Äď all of which strengthen my faith and make me quite confident that the path I am on is one that without doubt leads to Krishna-prema. I know this through authority ‚Äď Krishna has stated it, the mahajans have stated it, and the many pure devotees have stated it. I know this through philosophy ‚Äď I have never heard of a single philosophy not included in that of Lord Caitanya‚Äôs, and I have never heard of a philosophy that includes all of Lord Caitanya‚Äôs. This indicates that His philosophy is all-encompasing, thus absolute. Finally, I know this through practical experience ‚Äď I see that when I and others follow the process, the results predicted come about. Thus I have no need and no desire to go anywhere else.
Others however ‚Äď especially those who were raised in other traditions ‚Äď may not have this. As the Kazi stated, ‚ÄúI know that our scriptures are full of imagination and mistaken ideas, yet because I am a Muslim I accept them for the sake of my community, despite their insufficient support.‚ÄĚ Adi-lila 17.170 This statement went unchallenged by Lord Caitanya. So how can we give love of godhead to those who are also chaste to their own faith tradition? By elevating them to spiritual consciousness within that tradition. If I am simply going to upset a Christian by telling him to chant the maha-mantra, then instead I shall ask him to chant the Lord‚Äôs prayer more often (‚ÄúOur Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ). The meaning to the first part is essentially the same, though it later on goes to ask for bread and the like ‚Äď so if he is agreeable to this, then what is the difficulty? Why should we not encourage Muslims to chant the 99 names of Allah? This doesn‚Äôt mean that we will do it, nor does it mean that we don‚Äôt understand when Srila Prabhupada explains that of all the names for the Supreme Personality, the best is Krishna.
I am not trying to say that all is one, and if I came across in that way, then my apologies. Our movement is in the mood of Srimati Radharani and the gopis, thus we have no concern for anything other than Krishna. Does this mean a person whose worshipable Lord is Jehovah, or Allah, or Narayan, or Lord Rama is less advanced? No, but we do understand that they are less intimate ‚Äď and this can be practically seen. Still, this doesn‚Äôt mean that they are wrong; it doesn‚Äôt mean that if they are showing actual symptoms of love of God ‚Äď as described by Srila Rupa Goswami ‚Äď that we should discount them.
I would say that Srila Prabhupada came to the West to give the maha-mantra because he was trying to fulfill the order of his spiritual master. Any other reason is secondary. But if we wish to list some of them, then I would say while the knowledge of love of God is in the scripture of the yavanas, it has become severely covered over. ‚ÄúThis supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.‚ÄĚ (Bhagavad-Gita 4.2) So in order to reintroduce this spiritual science to the Western cultures:
‚ÄúWhenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion‚ÄĒat that time I descend Myself.‚ÄĚ (B.G. 4.7)
‚ÄúIt is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear. In each and every incarnation, He speaks as much about religion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances. But the mission is the same‚ÄĒto lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion. Sometimes He descends personally, and sometimes He sends His bona fide representative in the form of His son, or servant, or Himself in some disguised form.‚ÄĚ (B.G. 4.8 purport)
I wish to thank you, Prabhu, for your enlivening reply. I shall post this and then stop, waiting only for what you have to say in return. I must admit that I have a horrible penchance to argue, and so I must constrain myself lest I get offensive. I hope that you have been able to enjoy these talks as much as I have.
Eagerly waiting for more, I remain your humble servant.
Comment Posted By Dasanudas On 31.08.2006 @ 22:35
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Recently I have read different articles dealing with interfaith and the so-called “standings” of faith traditions vs. Vaishnavism. I find this topic to be very important, and it comes up a lot in my recent talks. Thus I must meekly ask those devotees who are to be respected as good as my own guru maharaja to forgive any offense I might make in this my stance on the various world religions.
I would like to begin by quoting from His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur as he wrote in the Caitanya-Siksamrta:
“As people in different places rise above the aboriginal condition and gradually develop culture, science, law, and devotion to God, their means of worship also diverge in terms of language, costume, kinds of offerings, and mental attitiudes. Considering all these secondary differences impartially, however, we find no discrepency. As long as the object of worship is the same, there is no harm. Therefore Lord Caitanya has specifically ordered that we should execute our own service to the Supreme Lord in the mode of pure goodness and at the same time refrain from ridiculing the religious codes of others.
“Because of the variety of spiritual authorities, on some places people honor the Vedic sages, in others they revere the prophets led by Mohammed, and in still other regions, they esteem the religious personalities who follow Jesus. Similarly, in each locality, many different men of knowledge are shown particular respect. Each community should, of course, properly honor its own spiritual masters, but simply for the sake of gaining followers, no one should try to establish that the instructions given by one’s own local spiritual masters are better than the instructions of spiritual masters everywhere else. The propogation of such an antagonistic position would certainly be inauspicious for the world.
“A devotee’s prescribed ritual of worship varies according to his mentality and devotional feeling. In some places, the mode of worship is to seat oneself in a sacred place and practice renunciation and breath control. In another place worship is performed by falling down five times during the day and evening - even if caught unprepared - to offer obeisances facing the direction of the cheif shrine. And elsewhere, worshippers kneel down either in the temple or at home and with folded hands declare their own fallen condition and the glories of the Lord.
“Some worshippers whose consciousness is saturated with devotion set up a Deity of the Supreme Lord in their heart, in their mind, or in the outside world, with the understanding that it is non-different from the Lord. In other processes which are more inclined toward logical argument, a conception of the Lord is framed within the mind and worshipped; external images are not accepted.
“The many religions of the world have naturally grown very distinct from each other due to these kinds of differences. However, to create mutual discord because of these differences would be disastrous. If one happens to be in another’s temple at the time of his worship, one should think, ‘Here my Lord is being worshipped in a different form. Since I am committed to my particular practice, I cannot take part in this ritual, but as I watch it, I am developing a greater feeling for my own method of worship. The Supreme Absolute Truth is one without a second. Therefore, as I offer my obeisances to the form which I see here, I pray to my Lord from whom this form comes, that this Deity will help me expand my love for Him.’
“Pure, unalloyed love of God is the actual eternal religion of the spirit soul. Thus, in spite of the distinctions among religious systems, we should recognize as genuine any religious process whose goal is the realization of pure love of God. It is useless to quarrel over superficial differences. If the goal of a process is pure, then the system is fully auspicious.”
This is the basis upon which I try to found all my dealings in interfaith, and when talking about different faith traditions to people. So often I get the comment that was the title of this article, ‚ÄúYou claim to be nonsectarian, but EVERYONE is saying they have absolute truth. Even when you concede that others are ‚Äúon the path,‚ÄĚ still this is implying that we have the best, and everyone else is trying to reach it.‚ÄĚ And I have been trying very hard to find either if this is true, or the correct Krishna Conscious response to this.
In a direct sense ‚Äď it IS right. The Bhagavad-Gita is the direct words of the Supreme Absolute Truth describing Himself and if we simply and unchangingly follow and teach the words of the Bhagavad-Gita then what we say and what we do is completely perfect. However, to simply state the Absolute Truth can be dogmatic, thus we must also be expert in explaining HOW it is correct, and this is where I have been struggling.
Insight is found in the words of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Prabhupada. That if the end of a process is pure, then it is all auspicious. Also, from Srila Prabhupada ‚Äď while lecturing to priests in Australia (as heard from the video compilation, ‚ÄúThe Science of God‚ÄĚ), he made mention that one must hear about God from scripture, ‚ÄúNevermind from Bible from Bhagavad-Gita, from Bhagavatam‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ It can be thus said that if one strictly follows the Vedic literatures (or literature in pursuance of the Vedic version), and strictly follows the words of the acharyas in any tradition, then all perfection will come to them sooner or later.
The problem here, is that it becomes much too easy to interpret one scripture to more closely follow one‚Äôs own preferred glorification of the Supreme Lord. Take the Bible for example. I have often explained to people that the highest commandment is ‚Äúto love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul and love your neighbor as yourself,‚ÄĚ and then gone on to espouse the need to ‚Äúpray constantly,‚ÄĚ and that ‚Äúfrom the rising of the sun to its setting the Lord‚Äôs name should be praised.‚ÄĚ I am sure many other devotees have used this as well, and yet the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Jains, the Atheists, and just about everyone else has re-defined the meaning of the Bible in light of their own chosen path.
Srila Prabhupada explained that to remove this cheating tendency, we MUST follow as instructed by the Mahajans. Yet with the continuation of Kali Yuga, we are so degraded that even their instructions and actions are twisted to suit our own desires. Lord Jesus taught turn the other cheek, but then attacked the priests in the temple ‚Äď thus it is alright to physically attack those who skew the teachings, right? No, we cannot imitate, we must simply serve, but again even this statement is grounded upon instruction from authority. The appeal to authority is most powerful, but how to explain this to a challenging innocent?
In the end, we must return to the first, and best teachings of Lord Krishna. That we are not these bodies, and that any designation fitting the body is not a description of the eternal self. This can be applied when dealing with ‚Äúmy path is better than yours‚ÄĚ arguments. Do not try to argue Vedic versus Abrahamic versus Buddhist versus whatever else. Instead, argue Absolute Truth ‚Äď that which does not change, that which is non-differentiated no matter what the environment or circumstance. Do not try to convert people from Hindu to Jew to Muslim to ISKCON devotee ‚Äď simply try to advance them towards love of God within their own faith tradition. It is ironic that the most conflict comes from the interactions of the world religions that all teach the same understanding on the Supreme Absolute Truth.
It is true that we should never compromise the philosophy ‚Äď the Supreme Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality. We should always be prepared and eager to defend the principles of religion ‚Äď truthfulness, cleanliness, compassion, and austerity. We should even be ready to encourage anyone to follow by refraining from the four sinful activities of gambling, intoxication, meat-eating, and illicit sex. However, in none of this is it required that a person change their identity to anything but the servant of the servant of that Supreme Personality.
Can a Christian fully surrender to Lord Jesus? Can a Muslim be fully Allah Conscious? I see no reason why not ‚Äď even if they never see the Bhagavad-Gita, though I would agree that due to the current environment it is not as likely. It is true that Lord Caitanya declared prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama/ sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. ‚ÄúIn every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard,‚ÄĚ but where in this does it say which name will be chanted. Why not the 99 names of Allah? Why not Jehovah or Elohim or Awoon? Will we limit the Krishna Consciousness movement to the three names Hare Krishna and Rama?
‚ÄúPure, unalloyed love of God is the actual eternal religion of the spirit soul. Thus, in spite of the distinctions among religious systems, we should recognize as genuine any religious process whose goal is the realization of pure love of God.‚ÄĚ
Comment Posted By Dasanudas On 30.08.2006 @ 22:18
Maharaja does such great service in fighting the demoniac forces in the science community. While I am in no way saying or implying said community’s involvement, it is certain that the demoniac forces are trying to fight back. “He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” - B.G. 9.31
Comment Posted By Dasanudas On 30.08.2006 @ 20:05
Very nice. A little difficult to read, prabhu. Any chance it can be cleaned up with indentation and quotation so that where citing begins and ends is clear?
Comment Posted By Dasanudas On 30.08.2006 @ 20:15
Whoever has posted this, you have left me in ecstatic separation - how does the talk end? What is the answer to the last question? Please post more of this!
Comment Posted By Dasanudas On 30.08.2006 @ 20:46