Comments Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa

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Where Do Our Departed Vaisnavas Go?

Part Two:

“‘The living entity who is subjected to birth and death attains immortality when he gives up all material activities, dedicates his life to the execution of My order, and acts according to My directions. In this way he becomes fit to enjoy the spiritual bliss derived from exchanging loving mellows with Me.’ (CC Antya 4.194)


This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.34). At the time of initiation, a devotee gives up all his material conceptions. Therefore, being in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is situated on the transcendental platform. Thus having attained knowledge and the spiritual platform, he always engages in the service of the spiritual body of Kṛṣṇa. When one is freed from material connections in this way, his body immediately becomes spiritual, and Kṛṣṇa accepts his service. However, Kṛṣṇa does not accept anything from a person with a material conception of life. When a devotee no longer has any desire for material sense gratification, in his spiritual identity he engages in the service of the Lord, for his dormant spiritual consciousness awakens. This awakening of spiritual consciousness makes his body spiritual, and thus he becomes fit to render service to the Lord. Karmīs may consider the body of a devotee material, but factually it is not, for a devotee has no conception of material enjoyment. If one thinks that the body of a pure devotee is material, he is an offender, for that is a vaiṣṇava-aparādha. In this connection one should consult Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta (1.3.45 and 2.3.139).

Certain schools of thought, and those who have lost faith in devotees often use the term “conditioned souls” when referring to our serious devotees. Revealed Krishna’s word Srila Prabhupada would be upset because he did not introduce Krishna consciousness to produce Conditioned Souls.

The 9th chapter of Gitamrta already revealed Krishna’s definition of a sadhu – they are determined to serve guru and Krishna in spite of having “conditioned” traits.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 10.02.2014 @ 15:16

Part One:

Puskaraksa Prabhu,

Thank you for your comment. I think that here we are revisiting or resuming our conversation from a previous article, but we can get more to the point. You wrote this in response to having an ability to know if a departed Vaisnava has gone Back To Godhead or not:

“The rest, from the part of still conditioned souls, may just be wishful thinking…”

In our previous discussion I posed the question of whether our combined ISKCON devotees were qualified to nominate gurus and to be qualified as gurus, to which you responded by saying it was not possible unless they were “liberated.”

The same consistent message of yours surfaces here with the above quote I inserted. I am curious to know of your use of the words “conditioned souls” who may be “wishfully thinking” about the destination of departed Vaisnavas.

You infer that our gurus – perhaps some or all – are “conditioned souls.” I wonder how Srila Prabhupada would respond to that. Would it be better to refer to our fellow devotees as at least Un-conditioning?

“At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Krishna accepts him to be as good as Himself.” (CC Antya 4.192)

How can those who are fully active in service to the Lord and are as ‘Good as the Lord Himself’ be called “conditioned souls?” Wouldn’t the realisations and opinions of such Un-conditioning souls carry more weight and enlightenment than normal Conditioned Souls?

Isn’t your inference of devotees being Conditioned Souls the same as labelling them as normal conditioned souls? If so, then we see no difference between Conditioned devotees and conditioned souls badly in need of Krishna consciousness. We can further show how devotees are above being Conditioned:

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa,

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 10.02.2014 @ 15:14

Why All This Attention For Nelson Mandela?

If there is one thing I did not make very clear in this article, it is that I did not properly distinguish between following and respecting.

In the case of Nelson Mandela, we can say that we respect him, but we do not follow him, though some of his ideals are similar to ISKCON’s on a material level.

But there is one example of a congregational member here who got caught up in the euphoria of all things ‘Mandela,’ and spent 13 hours waiting among the throngs that queued to view Mandela’s body while lying in state in Pretoria.

Now, that is certainly an example of taking things way too far. There is no spiritual benefit to be earned by such a peek.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 26.12.2013 @ 14:59

Rethinking Our Institutional Guru-tattva?

Puskaraksa Prabhu,

I can understand and appreciate your consistency on the “guru” issue. But how to translate your viewpoints into practical reality?

You speak of having a “pure” devotee in our midst who can sanction new gurus. You mentioned that Srila Prabhupada is there.

In the absence of direct physical communion with Srila Prabhupada or this “pure” devotee you speak of, it appears that the only way a guru-to-be can take up guruship is to receive darshana of Srila Prabhupada or such a “pure” devotee, within a dream state or other such revelation.

For the sake of verification of such dream-darshana, others would have to share the same dream to announce such confirmation for the devotee community. Otherwise, how many ‘religions’ have started from ‘dreams’ and ‘revelations.’

Shared darshana-dreams have occurred before but they are uncommon. The viewpoints you espouse are of this uncommon nature. On this level, waiting for authorisation from “pure” sources is going to be extremely few and rare between.

Meanwhile, ISKCON has the urgent task of spreading Krishna consciousness far and wide. Is it not that if we all have to wait for such divine sanction for guruship, it might hold up our preaching?

Besides, if the combined number of devotees and wise counsel making up the authorising process for guruship is meant to do this function, is this not good enough?

If you say that there isn’t that one specially enlightened soul among such guru authorisation counsel, and therefore their nominated gurus are questionable, then what about the fact that a truly enlightened soul as Srila Prabhupada did nominate gurus, but not all of them made it?

The lesson is, that even if a “pure” devotee does nominate a guru, is it guaranteed that such a guru will never fall? Considering the urgency of preaching, do you still propse that gurus be nominated through shared revelation or other acts of rare krpa?

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 11.12.2013 @ 20:10

Who Should Give Bhagavatam Class?

Part Two:

One will be doing an injustice if we again take Srila Prabhupada’s “in conclusion” as all in all. As far as the “no one falls from the spiritual world” quote goes, in support of your Absolute thesis, if you accept that as absolute, disregarding all else he said on the “fall” issue, there is likelihood of pre-empting judgement on the matter because it remains largely inconclusive in favour of “Somehow or other My Lord, I have fallen into this ocean of death” as Sri Chitanya Mahaprabhu says in Sri Siksastakam. Pitted against this, we need to balance Srila Prabhupada’s statements, not merely dismiss others to suit your own absolute stance.

It will be a measure of honesty to acknowledge that perhaps our Absolute postulations are not as airtight as they appear, instead of resorting to making them out to be challenges to Srila Prabhupada himself. In other words, because your Absoluteness was violated, you say it is an affront to Srila Prabhupada or yourselves as an extension. Responding this way is unscientific fanaticism, not properly following Srila Prabhupada on this level.

I’m’ going to be away for a week, so no responses from me.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 18.11.2013 @ 23:10

Part One:

Vraja Vilasa Prabhu,

Yes, the science of Krishna consciousness Philosophy is Absolute. But how we apply Krishna consciousness according to time, place and circumstance brings with it relative considerations as well.

What you have done is claimed idealistic Absoluteness in regard to speakers of Srimad Bhagavatam. We all know that what you propose is not feasible in each and every case in realistic practical terms, except to rely on sincerity – this is practical.

Now, if someone brings up an incident or scenarios that challenges our idealistic stance, it is useful to be broadminded and pause to think that perhaps there are other possibilities, or to respond in a “scientific” way. Not all devotees are impressed otherwise.

You say not to take examples of nitya-siddhas. Then why are their pastimes recorded for our benefit? Although Srila Prabhupada is our prime source of information and teachings, we still harmonise his efforts with those of sadhu and Sastra, again relative to modern times and practicalities. The behaviour of Nitya-siddhas form a part of our reference base. To dismiss this as £generalisation” is a cop out.

If, on the other hand we blins Kesava Krsna Dasa.dly accept everything that Srila Prabhupada said or wrote, and dismiss all reasonable contentions that might challenge certain Absoluteness according to your estimation, and dismiss it as folly, then this is a problem.

We must “follow” Srila Prabhupada and his teachings, as you mentioned. But our method of response does not constitute following if we remain blind to other possibilities besides our estimation of Absoluteness – then it becomes blind followowing as opposed to actually following Srila Prabhupada, which then makes one’s application and version of his teachings unscientific.

Besides, it is very easy to use Srila Prabhupada to suit our own predilections on life – it is not difficult. But this can be difficult for other broadminded fellow devotees. The art of glorifying Srila Prabhupada encompasses all areas of human experience, and yes, our previous acaryas and “nitya-siddha” greats.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 18.11.2013 @ 23:08

Part Two:

Yet another consideration is, for instance, in one place Srila Prabhupada will write, “Therefore, in conclusion no-one falls from the spiritual world.” Whereas elsewhere he will say differently. This is another topic altogether, but if we make Absolute one statement or another, we’ll often find an exception to the general rule.

One may quote Srila Prabhupada as saying “…in conclusion…,” but even then we have to be careful about applying Absolute inflexibilities to such statements, otherwise, when some contrary information surfaces that opposes it, we actually let Srila Prabhupada down.

Indirectly, by insisting on rare ideals for speakers of Srimad Bhagavatam, we might also underestimate the ability of the Spotless Purana to act on our hearts. Besides, so long as the speaker is following sincerely, this sincerity combined with the powerfully pure Srimad Bhagavatam should prove to be a potent force.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 16.11.2013 @ 12:56

Part One:

Let us approach this in another way, because sometimes our insistence on being Absolute can cause us to be inflexible.

There is an incident in which the Srimad Bhagavatam was spoken by an unqualified speaker, namely Devananda Pandit. As he was speaking, one member of the audience went into raptures of spiritual ecstasy and lost external consciousness – Srivas Thakur.

According to this article the Srimad Bhagavatam can only benefit others if the speaker is pure. This incident reveals how an unqualified speaker did produce ecstasy. What is happening here? Is Devananda Pandit inducing this? Yes and no.

Yes, because his words are reciting the verses of Srimad Bhagavatam. No, because although Devananda Pandit was unqualified, something else was causing the ecstasy, and that is the powerful Srimad Bhagavatam itself, through an unqualified speaker.

By being insistent that only the purest can speak Srimad Bhagavatam – the ideal – practical realities tell us that we cannot underestimate the power of Srimad Bhagavatam to act. Srila Prabhupada knew this, and this is why he wanted Srimad Bhagavatam recited daily in all Iskcon temples, for the Amala–purana is Krishna Himself, able to purify the speaker, the hearers and the temple atmosphere.

If we wish to be idealistic about the qualifications of the speaker of Srimad Bhagavatam, let us also consider this not uncommon scenario:

It is almost time for Srimad Bhagavatam class and the designated speaker suddenly becomes unavailable. There are three minutes left. What to do? Are we to be idealistic and say, as you said, “If one is very sincere and serious and prays to Krsna to please reveal to me, “Who is your pure devotee? I don’t know. I cannot tell. I don’t want to be cheated,” and completely relies on Krsna, depending on His mercy absolutely, then Krsna will definitely make that arrangement.” Or does the situation require urgent action?

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 16.11.2013 @ 12:54

Part Two:

Regarding your third question, morning lecture is also allowed. Lecture is also kirtana, and so as morning kirtana is there, similarly morning lecture can also be delivered. In New York , or even in San Francisco, when I was present I was giving lectures in morning also. So far as girls or boys lecturing in the morning, that doesn’t make any difference. Either girl or boy devotees may deliver lecture if they choose to do. We have no such distinction of bodily designations, male or female. Krishna Consciousness is on the spiritual platform. As such, anyone who is a devotee of the Lord, following in this line of disciplic succession, can deliver lecture, on the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, etc. (68-10-21. Letter: Syama)

Speaking or anything all depends on practice and study. I remember when I was first called for speaking by one of my senior Godbrothers. I felt very much hesitating because I was not practiced to speak. Later on by speaking and hearing or reading I got experience and now we can speak 45 minutes, 50 minutes or one hour at a stretch. So you have to read our books very nicely and gather thoughts, then you can speak for hours without any difficulty. It requires practice. So read your books carefully, especially Nectar of Devotion now published, and practice speaking. It will be alright. (70-06-24 Letter: Upendra)

Regarding preaching work: If you simply reproduce verbatim the purports which I have given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and chant Hare Krishna with ecstasy, that will be sufficient for your preaching work, and as you do it seriously and sincerely, Krishna gives you more and more strength for this noble missionary work. (68-06-10 Letter: Harivilasa)

As you chant your 16 rounds and follow the four regulative principles, then you will get the strength. The process is that you should memorize the purports of my books and then speak them in your own words. Do not adulterate or change anything. Then you will be the perfect preacher. You should also distribute our books as far as possible. If you do this sincerely, then you will be successful. (75-11-15 Letter: Janajanmadhih)

Ts Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 14.11.2013 @ 19:38

Part One:

Here are sone references to think about. In some references Srila Prabhupada said that sincerity was required for speaking Srimad Bhagavatam, or to strictly follow the guru’s instructions. By following properly, one may not be a cent-per-cent maha-bhagavata, as seems to be the demand of this article, but by learning even, and practicing, the purity of Srimad Bhagavatam will act, on the speaker and hearer.

Since the demand of the article is that only the purest can speak Srimad Bhagavatam, we next have to ask, how to recognise the truly pure? Those who are not pure or who are trying to become pure, will not be able to recognise another pure soul with certainty. So how will one choose the right pure speaker to give class? It is quite common for the impure motivated to externally imitate the mannerisms of pure souls, and how many devotees were fooled this way? Many indeed.

We appreciate who the ideal pure speaker should be, but practical realities and circumstances have to prevail. Srila Prabhupada was being practical, as seen below:

Nityam bhagavata-sevaya. Not that we are almost free from all the contamination, but even little washed away… It begins immediately. As soon as you begin hearing and chanting of these literatures or chanting Hare Krsna mantra, immediately the cleansing method begins. And nasta-prayesu abhadresu. Almost cleansed, not that properly, cent percent clean. Nasta-prayesu abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya. Daily. Not this Bhagavata-saptaha, official… (741230SB.BOM Lectures)

Regarding the Teachings in the temple; everyone of my disciples may become a teacher strictly following my instructions. I am a bonafide teacher as long as I follow the instructions of my spiritual master. That is the only one qualification for becoming a teacher. As soon as one deviates from this principle one is no longer a teacher. (67-10-29 Letter: Nandarani)

The Krsna consciousness movement is therefore trying to train qualified preachers to recite Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita throughout the entire world, so that people in general in all parts of the world may take advantage of this movement and thus be relieved of the threefold miseries of material existence. (SB 10.1.4 P The Advent of Lord Krsna: Introduction)

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On 14.11.2013 @ 19:36


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