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A life of spiritual transition in ISKCON. Varnasrama, ISKCON, and the GBC – video

Dear Shyamasundara Prabhu,

Dandavats pranams. Yes, HH Bhakti Vidya Swami has given so much to understand about varnashrama dharma, and anyone interested should make it a point to listen to his lectures on the subject. I read your piece referenced and you present the history correctly. Even though Srila Prabhupada was speaking early and often about varnashrama dharma, in 1977 his addressing this topic went up an order of magnitude — and especially the points he was making that this would include his own devotees!

Why? Because the simple village life helps one to achieve and stay in sattva-guna, where the mind is peaceful and inclinations toward sinful life diminish. Somehow our devotees (and seemingly the leaders who encourage them) think that one can come to sattva, or even the transcendental platform while in the cities. Fine, where are the examples? Yes, those fortunate few who can live in an Iskcon temple are sufficiently sheltered from maya, but those who have a job, whose wives have a job, whose children go to the slaughterhouse schools — where is the shelter for them? And we see the predictable result everywhere – such devotees live more in the atheistic, materialistic culture than the Krishna culture, and they reflect that culture in their habits, attitudes, in their appearance, and in their demeanor. We need simply look and see those who are not at the temple, or who arrive at the temple in their “karmi” clothes.

Srila Prabhupada understood the score and therefore said: “all of them should go to the farm”. For some reason the leaders did not follow his instructions then, and continue to make excuses to this day. Let’s stop pretending we don’t know enough, and listen to those that do. Global social and economic conditions are forcing the issue however, and many forward-thinking people (known as “preppers”) create rural get-aways for shelter after society’s inevitable demise. What they don’t have is an ideology or social system that will sustain their retreat. That is our contribution to make.

But Srila Prabhupada’s and Shrila Bhaktivinode’s advocacy of village life was not just to escape an apocalyptic doom. Rather they advocated it as an important step in our march back to Godhead, for the simple reason that simple living offers the time and peace of mind from which to make steady progress. Those reasons haven’t changed in the 40 years since he admonished us to do so. Let’s take up the challenge now. Better late than never.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 25, 2014 @ 11:33 am

There was a time when all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples put aside whatever they thought they knew and accepted his instructions with great faith, and acted on them. By their faith they were able to accomplish wonderful deeds in assisting His Divine Grace in spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. Alas, we see that this faith is now lacking, and significantly amongst the leaders! What we don’t hear presented by these two are Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on varnashrama dharma, nor any reference to his desire that varnashrama college be established in every temple immediately, nor any plan to understand the concept, and not even any referral to the devotees in ISKCON who know quite a bit about varnashrama dharma.

Every organization has specialists and ISKCON also has its specialists. Why is it then that instead of referring to the those specialists who have devoted years to study and understanding of varnashrama dharma, these two, who admitedly know very little of the subject, say that we don’t know enough about it? Speak for yourself, please! Why does GBC Anuttama ignore the fact that on the SPT are devotees who are specifically focused on varnashrama dharma? Why has Annutama not asked His Holiness Bhakti Raghava Swami – who is the head of the ISKCON DAIVA VARNASRAMA MINISTRY to speak about varnashrama instead? Why have they not asked Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami to speak about varnashrama? Or even this humble servant? Any of us, and more, have studied this subject for a many years and are endeavoring to do what we can to establish the culture of varnashrama dharma, can say a great deal on the subject. Yes, it is an immense task, but we have already seen this partially accomplished in the establishment of ISKCON. We know by experience that it is thus not impossible, for those who are determined and seek the grace of Guru and Gauranga.

Rather than saying the task is too difficult and that we should therefore put it off for, what?, another 40 years, let’s work together and do the needful to fulfill the desires of jagatguru, Srila Prabhupada. There are many devotees who are working in this area. If the leadership is confused about varnashrama why don’t they consult Bhakti Raghava Maharaja, or his website: And/or my lectures on the subject here:
Remember: impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 23, 2014 @ 7:36 am

‘……And So They Sent The Cows To Jail!’ – A True Story

Wonderful news Chandrasekhara Prabhu! If all jails could be like this then would truly be places of reform. Only problem I see is that it may encourage crime so that the perpetrator would get complete support to carry on with his bhajan! LOL
Thanks so much for sharing this!

Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Feb 10, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

My Last Conversation with Aindra Prabhu

Part 2

Causeless mercy is of course necessary, but we should not think that the loving force of bhakti, lobha, is a sort of transcendental lotto, where we passively wait to see if we have are the lucky one with the winning number. It is an active process and our acharyas have given us the clear and concise science of bhakti. If we follow the science properly we will get the proper result. We must have faith in that. At the same time we pray to the Lord for his mercy. We must pay close attention to our progress, and if we are not getting the result that is expected we need to examine the details of our practice, determine what we are doing wrong, and correct it. Failure to do this is will cause our progress to be very slow, or cause us to think that progress is a function of mercy alone. As Aindra Prabhu puts it “it is a gradual process, but it doesn’t have to be that gradual.” The esoteric writings were written because they are required at the proper stage. When the sadhaka has achieved the proper stage, they become his next step. This is exactly what Aindra was endeavoring to make clear to me, and it is this that I desired to pass to others in writing this piece.

I do believe that Aindra Prabhu spoke from his realization, and hearing his lectures or reading his book indicates that his realization was considerable. His expressions, as well as his exhortations to me, indicate that it is indeed possible for us “ordinary devotees” to achieve that lofty peak of Love of God in this life. After all, isn’t that why Srila Prabhupada began this Movement? He said that if just one devotee achieves that pinnacle he would consider his effort a success. But why just one? While he may settle for one, he certainly hoped for a greater result. Why not hundreds, or thousands, and even more? After all, there are tens-of-thousands of devotees in this movement. The attainment of Krishna prema has become our birthright with our second birth. It is not impossible. Indeed, it is our destiny.

Aspiring to one day be a humble servant,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Feb 11, 2011 @ 8:46 am

Pusta Krishna Prabhuji, those are Srila Bhaktivinoda’s words, not mine. He writes that sahajiyas were many in his day, yet he didn’t include so many caveats or disclaimers. Whatever else there may have been, there was one Gaura Kisora Das Babaji, and that was all that was needed. In this regard little changes over the years. Whatever else may be going on says nothing about the presence of a suitable and qualified personality who may be sent by Sri Krishna to bring His devotees closer to His personal loving service. Let’s be careful not throw the baby out with the bath water.

In any case your point is well made and I agree wholeheartedly that we should not artificially try to become something we are not. Further, it is not necessary. We have a powerful process of sadhana, which, when followed correctly, will bring us to the stage of anarta-nivritti, and nistha, the proper time to enter into the practice of the other stage of sadhana—raganuga. Correct following means to understand that nothing can be achieved artificially. By patient practice the dirt is removed from the heart and we advances to the next stage. This is not an impossible goal that must remain forever out of our reach. We should earnestly strive to achieve the stages of bhakti one after the other, step by step, being confident that if we follow properly we will be successful.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Feb 11, 2011 @ 8:44 am

Dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Thank you for your efforts to clarify things. You are quite right that any sadhaka who is attempting to enjoy Krishna’s lila is engaged in mixed devotional service. We must be careful to note that the enjoying mentality must be abandoned *before* the sadhaka can achieve the stage of anarta nivriti. The acharyas caution that one may only begin their bhajan (internal devotional service of raganuga bhakti) *after* they have achieved the stage of anarta nivriti, otherwise they risk grave offenses, becoming guilty of the sahaja-ism that you warn about.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur makes it clear that raganuga bhakti is not a “spontaneous inside-out flow of devotional service” as you suggest, but a stage of sadhana (see above: “There is another type of sadhana bhakti besides vaidhi bhakti. It is called raganuga bhakti.”) or practice, based on attraction, not rules. That spontaneous devotional service, as demonstrated by Sri Krishna’s most intimate associates who are nitya-siddhas, is ragatmika bhakti. The distinction between these two is very important and is exactly the point that Aindra Prabhu was forcefully making to me, because if these two are confused then we cannot avoid misunderstanding the process of sadhana.

Raganuga sadhana is indeed a meditation on the sentiments and lila of the gopis, and in the practice of raganuga bhakti one does indeed meditate on their own participation in Krishna’s lila as a follower of the manjaris, serving Radha-Krishna in their daily eight-fold pastimes until they completely identify with that spiritual body. This practice is explicitly explained by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in Sri Caitanya-siksamrita, and the Thakur recommends that “as this process is by nature very esoteric, the devotee, being spotless in character, should learn it from a well-qualified guru.” This important book should be studied thoroughly by those interested in understanding the complete path of sadhana bhakti that ultimately culminates in pure love of God.

We also extend your caution that the serious sadhaka must carefully follow the process of sadhana as given by the acharyas, and not try to jump ahead, which will certainly lead to an unfortunate result.

Your servant,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Feb 6, 2011 @ 7:56 am

A Last minute decision!

Haribol Gadi Prabhu!

All glories to Bhagavad-gita! All glories to book distribution! All glories to your service!

It’s very difficult to know that the Gitas are being taken by interested readers, or if they are maliciously stolen. I agree with Trivikrama Swami’s suggestion. A simple note explaining that that book was put there for the convenience of the hotel guests, and others are available at the desk for a small donation. Also, a card should include contact information for Bhakti-Life so the readers can learn more. A website dedicated exclusively to this purpose would give feedback about the theft v. interest ratio.

In either case, it is obvious that people are seeing the Gita, and even by simply touching it one receives eternal benefit.

Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Dec 25, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

Simple Living – the Path to Happiness and Personal Fulfillment?

This may seem rather strident to those who are attached to the idea that capitalism is the best system. Of course it is the best for those who are overly influenced by tamo-guna. They like to be able to exploit others. Shastra however has a different opinion.

Seeing the extreme exploitation that is going on in the world today, many people long to return to the “nice capitalism” of 40 or 50 years ago. What made that capitalism more nice than today’s? In the 1950s there was still some semblance of sattva-guna in the world, while today sattva is all but lost and there is a preponderance of tamo-guna. The four pillars of sinful life are available on every street corner throughout the world. Tamo-guna is the standard of living today, and people’s economic behavior reflects that fact. Everyone tries to game the system and get as much as they can. The problem is that some are far more clever than others and the winner takes all—including your house, your job, and even your right to live.

The conclusion of the book is that the only way to achieve an economic system that is going to work for the vast majority of the people, and which does not destroy the environment, is to increase the relative amount of sattva-guna among the populace. That is best done through the yuga dharma, the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In terms of the political system the same influences exist, with the same results. All of the ism’s are flawed to the degree that they are atheistic and neglect the Lord’s instructions for the welfare of society. We do not prefer free-market capitalism over socialism, or the planned economy of communists, and we must tolerate all of these variations while we attempt to increase the influence of dharma. I agree with you that In preaching Krishna Consciousness, we would be fine in either a socialist or capitalist nation, as long as culturally and politically we are not hampered in our missionary work. Ultimately we want to see Rama raja, a rajarsi, a saintly king who follows the plan of the Lord according to the system of Daiva-varnashrama dharma for the benefit of every living entity in this world.

Best regards,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Dec 10, 2010 @ 6:36 am

Dear Yugala Kishor Prabhu,

Dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. It is always interesting for a writer to hear the reactions of people to their work. It seems that, at least with yourself, my main thesis was somehow missed, that being the influence of the gunas on economic behavior. The book is not intended to be any kind of analysis of macroeconomics. I am not an economist by training and have no interest in discussing economics in the normal terms of that profession. Rather the book is an analysis of consciousness based on the gunas, and I give examples of the differences in consciousness from various economic behaviors.

I indict capitalism as an example of economics influenced by tamo-guna due to the fact that the objective of capitalist class (the share holders) is to “own” the resources of production and then from dividends (“unearned” income as the IRS calls it) live at the expense of others. I suppose the many examples I offer of how capitalism has run amok under the influence of tamo-guna is what you refer to as a rampage. The fact is that the situation today is extreme and all-pervading, which is what I wanted to demonstrate.

This is due to the imbalance of the gunas. In the chapter “The Economics of Ignorance” I explain:

“Only under the spell of illusion do we claim anything as our own. Nothing is ours to claim as our personal property beyond the minimum necessary to maintain a healthy life. Therefore in the ultimate sense, the capitalist cannot claim “his” so-called capital as his own, and neither does he therefore risk anything of his own. Any accumulated capital must have already been unlawfully taken from others. As such all claims of exclusive entitlement to profit are null and void, and the proceeds of the enterprise should equally be distributed among those who labored together to produce the result.
“The Bhagavad-gita (18.25) gives further proof of this argument. There it is explained that actions performed under illusion (of ownership), in disregard of scriptural injunctions (such as from Isopanisad ishavasyam idam sarvam), and without concern for the future bondage of people or for violence or distress caused to others is said to be in the mode of ignorance. This is an apt description of capitalism. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.25.4) adds that stinginess, and living as a parasite are the symptoms of tamo-guna.”

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Dec 10, 2010 @ 6:34 am

It’s Kartika, Damn It!

Tulasi Priya, your writing is so artistic! This was such a joy to read that I went to read your blog, and found more beautiful art over there. You have such a gift that I subscribed to your blog – the first time that I’ve done such a thing.

Please write a book, or two, or more. Books have a greater reach, and I am sure that they will touch the hearts of many!

Thank you for sharing your gift!

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Oct 26, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

Revolt of the Elites

Thank you Pusta Krishna Prabhu for your comments. I would like to say that my motive for writing this essay was to highlight the fact that as devotees we have not yet fully understood, what to speak of taken up, the full culture of Krishna Consciousness. The culture is based on duty and dharma, both of which find their full expression within the varnashrama culture in a village setting. However, we continue to live according the tenants of the dominant materialistic culture, in which dharma and duty cannot be properly expressed. I am concerned about our involvement with modern society in which our devotees’ spiritual lives are compromised.

To give an example why, let me offer a quote from Srila Bhaktivinoda’s Jaiva Dharma:

Sri Nityananda dasa Babaji, “Many kanishta-bhaktas do not progress,
what is the reason for this?”
Sri Haridasa Babaji, “If the kanishta-bhakta’s, dveni-sanga—association with the inimical agnostics, atheists and impersonalists, etc.,—is frequent, very soon he loses the kanishta status and becomes
entangled in the pursuit of karma and jnana, etc. In some cases the kanishta neither progresses nor regresses, just remaining at the kanishta level.”
Sri Nityananda dasa Babaji, “In which cases?”
Sri Haridasa Babaji, “In cases where both sadhu-sanga and dveñi-sanga exercise equal influence upon the kanishta, his devotion maintains the status quo.”
Sri Nityananda dasa Babaji, “What ensures certain progress?”
Sri Haridasa Babaji, “When devotee association is frequent and powerful and non-devotee association minimal, the kanishta progresses swiftly.”

Srila Prabhupada wanted us to create an alternative culture that could provide shelter for the devotees from materialistic association so that we could rapidly progress in Krishna Consciousness. But we see the devotees avoiding creating this cultural alternative by preferring to live in the cities, with the result that our progress is very slow. Uttama Sloka (IDS) posted an essay on his FB page a few days ago titled “Why are the devotees so unhappy?” I see all of this as connected.

We must understand the differences between the two cultures and insulate ourselves from materialistic people and activities. To do that the men of ability must understand their duty and act on it, because without them it won’t happen. If they will act according to the dharma and duty, then everyone can have shelter and we can all make rapid progress in becoming fully Krishna Conscious.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Oct 4, 2010 @ 2:43 pm


Not only are we now free and equal, and depending on ourselves alone, we are divided. Having the state in between the people has isolated them. Even worse, having been acculturated to this idea we think of independence as good and the proper way to live, and distrust or even fear having to depend on others, thinking it a source of shame. Having lost the culture of mutual dependence, and having nobody to depend on but ourselves, many people have lost a sense of responsibility, and have indeed become untrustworthy. When we are not called on to be responsible we do not behave responsibly. Parents and teachers know that what we become depends a great deal on what is expected of us.

Sorry for the above confusion. The article in its entirety can be found on my blog:

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 30, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

Nineteenth century social critic Peter Kropotkin explains how the formerly strong bonds between the people were long ago broken in order to force them to depend on an impersonal and authoritative state:
For three centuries the States [governments], both on the Continent and in these islands, [British Isles] systematically weeded out all institutions in which the mutual-aid tendency had formerly found its expression. The village communities were bereft of their folkmotes , their courts and independent administration; their lands were confiscated. The guilds were deprived of their possessions and liberties, and placed under the control, the fancy, and the bribery of the State’s official. The cities were divested of their sovereignty, and the very springs of their inner life—the folkmote, the elected justices and administration, the sovereign parish and the sovereign guild—were annihilated; the State’s functionary took possession of every link of what formerly was an organic whole. Under that fatal policy and the wars it engendered, whole regions, once populous and wealthy, were laid bare; rich cities became insignificant boroughs; the very roads which connected them with other cities became impracticable. Industry, art, and knowledge fell into decay. Political education, science, and law were rendered subservient to the idea of State centralization. It was taught in the Universities and from the pulpit that the institutions in which men formerly used to embody their needs of mutual support could not be tolerated in a properly organized State; that the State alone could represent the bonds of union between its subjects; and the State was the only proper initiator of further development. By the end of the last century the kings on the Continent, the Parliament in these isles, and the revolutionary Convention in France, although they were at war with each other, agreed in asserting that no separate unions between citizens must exist within the State; that hard labour and death were the only suitable punishments to workers who dared to enter into “coalitions.” “No state within the State!” The State alone, and the State’s Church, must take care of matters of general interest, while the subjects must represent loose aggregations of individuals, connected by no particular bonds, bound to appeal to the Government each time that they feel a common need. Up to the middle of the century this was the theory and practice in Europe. (my emphasis)

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 30, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

Another large block of text is missing, beginning with the paragraph about Eric Fromm. Here is that section:

A succinct explanation of how the social contract formerly worked and how it was destroyed is given by social psychologist Eric Fromm in his book The Sane Society:

“The breakdown of the traditional principle of human solidarity led to new forms of exploitation. In feudal society the lord was supposed to have the divine right to demand services and things from those subject to his domination, but at the same time he was bound by custom and was obligated to be responsible for his subjects, to protect them, and to provide them with at least the minimum—the traditional standard of living. Feudal exploitation took place in a system of mutual human obligations, and thus was governed by certain restrictions. Exploitation as it developed [under the money economy] was essentially different. The worker, or rather his labor, was a commodity to be bought by the owner of capital, not essentially different from any other commodity on the market, and it was used to its fullest capacity by the buyer. Since it had been bought for its proper price on the labor market, there was no sense of reciprocity, or of any obligation on the part of the owner of capital, beyond that of paying the wages. If hundreds of thousands of workers were without work and on the point of starvation, that was their bad luck, the result of their inferior talents, or simply a social and natural law, which could not be changed. Exploitation was not personal any more, but it had become anonymous, as it were. It was the law of the market that condemned a man to work for starvation wages, rather than the intention or greed of any one individual. Nobody was responsible or guilty, nobody could change conditions either. One was dealing with the iron laws of society, or so it seemed.”

As we moved into the 20th and 21st centuries the concepts of the “free man,” the “rugged individual,” and the idea that “everyone is equal,” has been indelibly drilled into the consciousness of the people through repeated propaganda. These three ideas have been used to separate people and to destroy their mutual dependence. Indeed, following the principle of “divide and conquer” the government also sought to destroy any mutual dependence. (continues in the next comment)

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 30, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

Some things were left out of the text above. Here is the first one, the complete second paragraph:

Moreover, the elites have lost interest in the plight or the needs of the common man, and have become alienated from them, and “the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension.” Lasch called it a “Revolt of the Elites”, also the title of his book. Sensing this disconnect, the working class has responded with a sense of apathy and become alienated from the intellectual class of “symbolic analysts.” This is a breakdown of the social order. Lasch was increasingly concerned about the future of the world and questioned whether democracy can survive. His last question of his last book (before passing on) demonstrates his concern for the future: can a society survive when a significant portion of its elite have forsaken its founding principles?

The next paragraph with missing text is after the sub-head “I got mine”. Here is the complete paragraph:

Those three short words sum up the attitude of many people in the world today. It’s actually an abbreviated form of “I got mine, and that’s all I care about. You didn’t get yours? That’s your problem, not mine.” Although the phrase “I got mine” is perhaps the most recent expression of the attitude it is not new. Students of the Bhagavad-gita can recognize attachment, envy, selfishness, and a lack of empathy in these statements. These qualities are characteristic of the modes of passion and ignorance. This consciousness shows up in all sorts of ways. Some think that it is an expression the “conservatives.” Indeed, I recall years ago hearing a conservative radio-show host ranting against having to pay anything for the less able, who must simply be lazy ner’ do wells, and freeloaders, who suck the energy of those who are willing to work. Their idea is that everybody has an equal chance in this world and they have gotten what they have by their ability and hard work, and all others have likewise. If you don’t have as much as me that is the result of your own lack of initiative and effort.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 30, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

Money and Varnashrama Culture

Dear Puskaraksa,

Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Thank you for the reply to my article, and if I may, I would like to offer a reply to your statements. I will try to do this very gently so that you do not have the impression that I am flagellating you. No doubt you are a sincere devotee, but you appear to either miss the point of this article, or are simply using the forum for your own purpose. I won’t try to guess which.

The focus of this article was relationships: the relationships in a labor-intensive culture and the influence of money on those relationships. You respond with some information about barter and then extol the virtues of money, but say nothing about the central thesis of relationships. We can debate the history of economic exchange, and the pros and cons of money, gold, etc. in another place if you like, but those are quite off the point as they are not the focus of this article.

Another point of this article is exactly what you have suggested: to consider how to progressively implement varnashrama within ISKCON and society at large in modern society. I apologize if I did not make that clear. If money destroys the relationships so necessary to varnashrama culture, then how shall we approach the establishment of the varnashrama culture today? Shall we do away with money? Or is there some other alternative? My thesis is that mutually-dependent relationships are necessary for proper varnashrama culture and that money is an anathema to them. Further, I present the idea that we have collectively missed this point in our “farm” projects (if they were ever “varnashrama” projects is another question), and because of this we have not seen the success that we so desire.

If you have some comments on the actual thesis of this article I would be happy to respond further.

Wishing you well in your devotional service.

Your servant,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Oct 2, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

Addiction of Social Networking sites

I was thinking further about this and remembered that some devotees on FB wrote about being very isolated, not having much association who they can see on a regular basis. For them FB IS their association. And from what I have seen many simply try to remind each other about Sri Krishna, and there is less prjalpa than one would experience at a Sunday Feast. So perhaps it is not all about getting noticed and appreciated, and there is a genuine element of sanga.

Did you post this article on your wall? I am curious to know the response! (maybe you won’t be tagged any more :)

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 23, 2010 @ 1:00 am

Very nice article Sridevi! Thank you! By this we can appreciate that, at least in this arena, you have moved beyond devotional service in raja-guna – wanting to get some result from one’s devotional service. Perhaps the intent of some is to glorify the Lord and remind others about Him. That is for each person to recognize as you rightly state. In any case we all must be mindful of the consciousness that is behind the activity. Let us give up any motivated ideas to somehow benefit from our service, and render service purely for the satisfaction of Sri Krishna. Then we will begin to relish the truly sweet taste of Krishna consciousness.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 22, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

Money Sweeter Than Honey

Dear Puskaraksa,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Upon reading your reply to Bhakti Raghava Maharaja’s article I was lamenting the culture of the internet. Certainly had you been sitting in front of him during pravachan at which he delivered this same message it is highly doubtful that you would have responded in the same fashion. You would likely have place a submissive inquiry, or a comment or two. Why do we see that Vaishnavas sometimes forget their culture on the internet?

Well, I accuse you, but it seems that I am also guilty of the same. Words expressed online have a different impact than that expressed in person, resulting in flame-wars, etc. that we do not see in personal discussions. By again looking over your reply, and mine, I can understand that I have spoken too strongly. I apologize to you for that.

The fact remains that I do not agree with your statements about money and its value to society, nor the implications that you made regarding money in relationship to Maharaja’s article. If you accept my apology and want to discuss these differences further, please say. I promise to be a gentleman.

Your servant,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Oct 2, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

In this too-long response to Maharaja’s article, Puskaraksa ignores proper Vaishnava etiquette, displays much ignorance of the facts, and misses the thrust of what the article is about. Sadly, it seems that everyone is considered equal online, but I would be very surprised if Maharaja is not senior to Puskaraksa by age, initiation, ashrama and education. It would seem therefore that instead of instructing the Swami that he would do better to place some submissive queries, as we are taught by all of our acaryas and throughout the pages of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

As far as Puskaraksa’s misunderstandings are concerned, NO modern currencies are backed by gold. That standard was removed almost 40 years ago, waaaay back in the 1970s, beginning with Richard Nixon. All of today’s currencies are fiat, which means they are back by nothing more significant than air. And there are many reasons why barter is significantly superior to a money system, and yes, everyone would be better off with barter. Why? Because the money system is designed to allow some people to cheat others without their even being aware of it. There was no widespread poverty before the ubiquitous use of money, which has facilitated extreme disparity in which a mere 500 or so billionaires have the same amount of wealth as half the population of the planet. For more information about that please view the section on my website ( labeled “your economic education.” Also please view the article I am sending to Dandavats today titled “Money and Varnashrama Culture.” Money is indeed an anathema to the Krishna culture.

Further, it is a fact, that formerly at least (before the exploitative notion that mothers should have a paid job), that one-fourth of the population did indeed support the remainder of society, regardless of longevity, which in earlier times was actually quite a bit longer than today.

There are too many points made here to go into detail with all of them. I suggest that before we offer our “suggestions,” that we read more thoroughly Srila Prabhupada’s many comments on the subjects of varnashrama dharma and money, many of which Bhakti Raghava Maharaja repeats in his article, and try to appreciate what Maharaja has brought to us by his long study of the subject.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Sep 20, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

Bhakti Sangam – A Festival Of Love

Interestingly I was reading just earlier today of the political tensions in Nepal. It seems that they have been completely rendered insignificant due to the transcendental potency of the Lord’s holy names :-)

Thank you Devaki Mataji for your efforts to put on this wonderful event. We can understand that you have been inspired by the wonderful Bhakti Sangam Festival in Ukraine (where I first met your good self) and have followed the same unfailing formula for success! And it is easy to see that success in the blissful faces of the devotees pictured here. Your selfless preaching is an inspiration for all. May Sri Krishna bless all of your endeavors to continue spreading the holy names around!

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Apr 28, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

Village Life: Our Philosophy, Our Education, Our Lifestyle

Thank you Bhakti Raghava Maharaja for your encouragement and all the quotes supporting simple life. It is a fact that people can be happier living in the village – BUT it requires some adjustment. Naturally those in the cities are conditioned by the modes of passion and ignorance, and to such a conditioned soul the village and sattva guna is not very attractive. Sattva is like poison in the beginning. BUT in the end it is like nectar! We need to remember this and act with intelligence to overcome our conditioning.

I now spend 80% of my time in villages, and I must say that after staying for approximately one month without leaving I feel so good. My body functions better, my mind functions better, and I feel SATISFIED living very simply. The houses I live in are typically more than 50 years old. The have no running water, no bathrooms, and only wood stoves for heat and cooking. The life is somewhat austere, but it is SATISFYING. After staying for some time, when I first go to the city I can feel the agitation of rajo-guna, and the artificial city life seems so bizarre to me. And it seems more strange when I realize that ALL of it is totally unnecessary!

When I encourage devotees to live in the villages they often ask: “What will we do there?” The simple answer to that question is: “Live”. Live your life without having to be somewhere else, without having to work for others, without having to leave your children in someone else’s care (someone who doesn’t love them they way that you do). Live with time for Krishna consciousness. Live in a peaceful environment where you are not badgered to buy something that you don’t need, or agitated by unnecessary sense stimulation of all kinds.

Village life can be wonderful. It IS wonderful. But we have to escape from our conditioning in order to appreciate it, and to do that we have to live there for some time and adjust. Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to live in villages because this is the way of life given to us by Sri Krishna, a way He designed for the human being. He is our dearmost friend and wants for us what will make us happy. Trust in Him. Live as He meant for us to live. And experience the peace and satisfaction of the simple life.

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Apr 23, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

Lord Jagannath Bestows Special Mercy (and Anxiety) Upon Durban! Updated

Thanks for the whole story — and the happy ending! :-)

I am a bit curious about some things, such as gumboot dancers and cross-cultural Zulu-Indian fusion dances, and a drummer/dancer face-off in which kathak dancers wearing ankle bells had to keep pace with the increasing tempo of jembe, tabla and mridanga drums. These words pique the curiosity, and are outside the experience of most of us. Are there any photos online someplace?

Thanks again for the report. All glories to Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra!

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Apr 22, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

Dear Champakalata dasi,

You’re an excellent writer of mystery stories. This one is a cliff-hanger! What happened?!?! We’re dying to know the outcome. I hope that you will follow up with the rest of the story after Rathayatra and tell us the happy ending. All so many such stories that seem to surround HH Indradyumna Swami always seem to have happy endings, and we pray that this one does too, and that the Most Merciful Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Lady Subhadra were able to benedict thousands with Their smiling faces on Easter weekend.

Thanks for the story!

Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Apr 11, 2010 @ 5:57 am

Book Distribution Stories

Thank you Mataji Omkara for this wonderful sankirtan report. You are showing exactly how to be dependent on the mercy of the Lord, one of the six principles of surrender in Krishna consciousness. And we can see in the examples you give how Sri Krishna reciprocates with you (and isn’t that a wonderful experience?!). Undoubtedly you are attracting Sri Krishna with your service and attitude. As well you are attracting many conditioned souls to the wonderful world of Krishna consciousness, helping them find relief from the hard struggle for existence in this material world. Thank you for your selfless example in devotional service. I pray that Sri Krishna will bestow unlimited mercy on your good self, and although I am undeserving, I pray to receive the blessings of wonderful devotees like you.

With great respect and appreciation,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Apr 7, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

Ambarisha prabhu’s open letter to all the devotees – TOVP Donations list

It will certainly be a wonder and a delight to behold! Thank you Ambarish Prabhu for heading the team to fulfill this dream of our Srila Prabhupada. Thank you everyone who will contribute in any way to making this wonderful project a wonder of this world!

Your humble servant,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Apr 7, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

International Friendship Festival at Vrindavan

Thank you Lakshman Prabhu for this enlivening report. It must have been a wonderful event. I can say from personal experience (since I live in E. Europe) that the Russian-speaking devotees are the very best performing artists I have seen. Always very professional and top-notch performances. If they would tour the entire world they would undoubtedly brings thousands of fortunate souls into Srila Prabhupada’s family of devotees.

I would like to have heard more about the reaction of the locals in this story. Certainly, they must have been awe-struck even without understanding the language. Among the three performances, how many were able to participate? Any photos of the locals there?

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Apr 7, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

In Memory Of Grahila Prabhu 15.03.2010

Dear Grahila Prabhu,

It was a great shock for me to hear that you had left this world “so suddenly”. I say that since the last I had read, probably one week earlier, is that you had a miraculous turnabout and would be good as new within a month. Next thing was that things again turned around. That news came late in the evening at a time when I have non-existent phone service due to being in a remote village, and I planned on calling you the next morning. The next day I downloaded my email and there was a message from our godbrother Ganesh that you had already left! I had wanted to say goodbye and to thank you for your gentle association.

The first time we met we were working together for the BBT. That was in “Govinda’s Vaikuntha Building” on Miami Beach, and our rooms were adjacent. You were doing the indexing, and I was the production manager. I enjoyed sharing many things with you at that time.

Our last contact was also concerning books. This time you were indexing my Spiritual Economics book, and as it turns out this was the last work that you did in this world. Krishna seemed to keep you here just for that because immediately upon finishing you began to have severe health problems. But you did finish and I was very happy to have your professional skills applied to my work. Thank you!

Now, as you inform us, you have gone to be with Krishna in His loving pastimes. How Wonderful!!! I am so happy for you! Your departure again proves that real success in this life is a result of humble service and dedication to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, and not a matter of any material position of any kind.

If you will, please remind your Krishna, that you have a friend left behind here and ask Him if He would bestow just a little of His kindness on this fallen soul. Krishna is yours now! An eternity of bliss! And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

Your friend in Krishna consciousness,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Mar 25, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

Varnashrama as a means to freedom

Thank you, Niscala, for your writing on the important and vast subject of Varnashrama. It will be a pleasure to read your realizations in your book. Varnashrama is important in our society, not simply for our existing devotees who have a difficult time following strictly, but to expand the society and be more inclusive.

In other conversations Srila Prabhupada clearly explains that varnashrama is for the mass of people, to allow them to begin to approach Sri Krishna. And as He states in the Bhagavad-gita, that a man may become perfect by doing his duty properly. This is the essence of varnashrama. Each person has his nature and his duty. Let him follow his nature and work for Krishna. And Sri Krishna also states that for those who cannot follow the regulative principles of bhakti yoga, they should work for Him. We should therefore create in our ISKCON centers opportunity for people to simply work for Krishna, and leave the more challenging aspects of spiritual life to be adapted after sufficient purification takes place.

There are other ways to arrange for people to work for Krishna. One example that I frequently use is that of Narahari who was TP in Miami when the temple was located on a 2 acre plot of land. Narahari had all kinds of service for people to do as he was creating a tropical paradise. Move this dirt; plant these flowers; cut the grass. . . there was no end to it. And he was able to engage many people that couldn’t be engaged in other temples due to their lack of surrender. Narahari was happy to engage them in any way that they were willing to work for Krishna.

Having a setting where there is land offers many more opportunities for service than city temples generally have. Village communities are the ideal places. Let them come and work for Krishna’s pleasure. As Srila Prabhupada said, first varna. And after becoming purified by the endeavor they will be able to faithfully follow the rest, so then, ashrama.

Varnashrama is a culture and there are many subtle aspects of the culture that are important to making the entire culture function. We need many devotees to bring their voice to the discussion to insure that we can create a viable working culture that uplifts and protects.

Your servant,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Dec 21, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

What is essential anyway?

Thank you Niscala DD for this excellent writing! It was a real pleasure to read. Your argument is very original and challenging. I do hope that you post more of your writing for us to read!

Hare Krishna,
Dhanesvara Das

» Posted By Dhanesvara On Nov 8, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

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