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Comments Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa

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Black Holes And Gaping Mouths

Part Two:

Here is further evidence that our cosmos comes from the Mahat-tattva and not directly from Pradhana, although Pradhana supplies all the ingredients for it:

Thus, after manifesting variegatedness, the effulgent mahat-tattva, which contains all the universes within itself, which is the root of all cosmic manifestations and which is not destroyed at the time of annihilation, swallows the darkness that covered the effulgence at the time of dissolution”. (SB 3.26.20)

The appearance of our universe from a ready-made egg-shaped globe sounds a lot more orderly than an assumed detonation from nothing or something indescribable. This appears to be more difficult trying to correlate with the big-bang theory.

If we see how Space-time (Three dimensions plus time) is the full spectrum of scientific observation at present, this will not include us living entities as conscious observers, what to speak of a Supremely conscious observer. Since these observers are undetected by Space-time calculations and that the Supreme observer sets in motion universal creation with Lord Brahma who is also undetected because he is made of intelligence, we are still talking about what is for scientists and physicists, something indescribable.

Such a description as this might not go down well with scientists at all. But to possibly help them get some correlation between theirs and the Vedic version of origins of our cosmos, we can refer to the Pradhana, which by the way, is what some say is the destination for voidists and sunyavadis, i.e.; Buddhists. If this can foster an understanding and help to bridge wide disparities, then it will be useful.

I hope this is useful.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Aug 3, 2014 @ 10:17 pm

Part One:

Sita Rama Prabhu,

Thank you. The idea of Pradhana being the origin of our universe sounds reasonable when trying to get as close to a super dense Absolute Zero or Singularity, as assumed by scientists and physicists. What they think is quite similar to this:

“In the unmanifest stage of material nature, called pradhana, there is no expression of words, no mind and no manifestation of the subtle elements beginning from the mahat, nor are there the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. There is no life air or intelligence, nor any senses or demigods. There is no definite arrangement of planetary systems, nor are there present the different stages of consciousness – sleep, wakefulness and deep sleep. There is no ether, water, earth, air, fire or sun. The situation is just like that of complete sleep, or of voidness. Indeed, it is indescribable. Authorities in spiritual science explain, however, that since pradhana is the original substance, it is the actual basis of material creation.” (SB 12.4.20-21)

Just as the computers of scientists and physicists cannot describe what existed before the supposed universal detonation, because it has no mathematical description, the above Pradhana is also “indescribable”.

However, Pradhana is not the immediate cause of our universe. From Pradhana comes the Mahat-tattva, and this is where all universes come from:

“When the three modes of nature are agitated, the resultant transformation appears as the element false ego in three phases — goodness, passion and ignorance. Generated from the mahat-tattva, which is itself produced from the unmanifest pradhana, this false ego becomes the cause of all material illusion and duality”. (SB 11.22.33)

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Aug 3, 2014 @ 10:09 pm

Prosperity of the Earth Culture

I appreciate this article especially because it is from a sannyasa speaking of the need for essential family relations. This is responsible sannyasa in the context of our greater ISKCON family. When sannyasis encourage devotee families this way, then they are integrated members of our ISKCON family and will be an inspiration. This is more acceptable than the promotion of artificial detachment and celibacy.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Aug 3, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

The Chorus Of One-siders

Sita Rama Prabhu,

You asked what I thought of your latest ‘both-sides’ comments. I say they are a refreshing and welcome addition to that discussion. This can create a platform from where an official stance on the fall / no fall issue can appease and satisfy both sides. Well done!

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Jul 10, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

Part Two:

Compare the above reasonableness with mode of passion competitiveness: “But such and such acarya said this, therefore it is correct…No matter what acarya you quoted, this is the answer…that is nonsense, you have destroyed your credibility because all the evidence points to this…all the rest of the devotees are gullible and naïve for believing in that, when the obvious conclusion is right here before your eyes…”

How can we pit our one-sidedness against the enlightened opinions of acaryas who say differently on different matters? So what type of “competitive debating” are you referring to? One can be competive in none-negotiable situations, but not where acaryas have sided on both sides.

If your idea of competitiveness is used to justify winning just for the sake of it, that is also raja-guna. Because to be competitive means to compete, the question is, to compete for what? How can we compete with the opinions of our acaryas? However, we can consider the differing opinions made and not minimise them. If we become one-sided in these situations, we minimise one or other acaryas.

If we compete against the opinions of our acaryas, our competitiveness ceases to be competitive – it becomes tamo-guna offence-laden reputation upkeep that exposes our lack of Vaisnava discretion. If you intend to be competitive, it has to applied to the correct circumstance.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Jul 7, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

Part One:

Sita Rama Prabhu,

Thank you for your compliments in placing me as a “both-sider” or “multi-sider”. I deliberately choose to be a both-sider or multi-sider in certain circumstances, not all.

Cases where we can demonstrate “one-sidedness” are in situations where none-negotiable issues surface, like challenging the minimum of 16 rounds daily, warning of prematurely jumping to raga-bhatki when not qualified, and the need in pointing out mayavada tendencies and so on.

In cases where there are ongoing debates in which our acaryas have lent opinion, like this jiva fall case and others, it is wise that we remain both-siders or multi-siders. To be a one-sider in the face of acarya evidence differing from us can reveal our foolishness.

This is where your “competitive debate” position needs to be corrected. If we choose to be competitive where acaryas have supported both sides of a discussion by being one-sided and favouring one side only, in a competitive way – that is also foolish.

Srila Prabhupada often cited the example of the gopis of Vrndvaana in terms of ideal competitiveness. Do we ever read where ‘rivals’ gopis complain, “Oh no! Srimati Radharani has pleased Krishna first?” Spiritual rendition of competition is where all others are acknowledged and glorified for pleasing Krishna.

If we transfer this rendition to how we can properly hold “competitive” debates, then we shall see more of, “Valid point Prabhu, but how does that reconcile with my position?…Really good observation Mataji, and you quoted such and such acarya, but how does that fit in with this that is also quoted by such and such acarya?…I guess we’ll have to accept both points…I am still not fully purified in consciousness yet to give a definitive stance…perhaps if I attain bhava I might have a totally different perspective…but let us acknowledge all those differing opinions…they can help broaden my own outlook…”

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Jul 7, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

Husband as Guru

I appreciate this article as it breaks ground and dispels stereotypical Prabhu/master role expectations. It is important information. Many marriages face difficulties in the early stages, because there is uncertainty about which role or which partner fits in, in the home, or in the relationship.

Such uncertainties can appear as behind-the-scenes tussles. After some time, couples will realise that each partner will yield to each other’s space requirements in pursuits of their interests in living and practicing Krishna consciousness. It is preferred that this happens sooner.

Happier devotee couples allow each other such space and it helps to broaden the scope of service and family involvement. Without this, there is usually a restrictive and narrow definitions of role making that causes continual unease and unhappiness, especially when the Master role is misused.

Thank you, ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On May 27, 2014 @ 9:16 pm

Resting The Jiva-Fall / No-Fall Case

Part Three:

This discussion we generate heated feelings. The fact remains, considering the above quotes, we still have to say that Srila Prabhupada was right on both the Fall / no-fall phenomena. For example, when Srila Jiva Goswami espoused Svarakiya as opposed to parakiya, was he wrong for doing this? No. The Sastric orthodoxy will disagree.

In the same way, why should Srila Prabhupada be wrong to say “we were originally with Krishna in His lila” if this message is intended for a particular time, place and circumstance, Uttama Sloka Prabhu? Because you contend that both the fall / no-fall versions can never be right.

If Srila Jiva Goswami was right to do what he did, then why not Srila Prabhupada as well? By saying that both sides can never be right, and since you follow the no-fall versions, then the other side must be wrong. Was Srila Prabhupada wrong to say we fell, Uttama Sloka Prabhu? We have not seen this word “Wrong” used thus far, but that is the implication.

Once again, seeing the futility of arguing back and forth and reaching no consensus, it should rest with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who indicated that, in spite of our theory of where we come from, be it tastastha or other places, we still need to realise such facts with solid vijnana. This is not speculation.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Jun 5, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

Part Two;

At the same time, Srila Prabhupada would point out various differences between acaryas’ statements on certain subjects, but would not outright take sides. He would speak of the merits of each case, like we see below:

“According to Sripada Sridhara Svami, the original commentator on the Bhagavatam, there is not always a devastation after the change of every Manu. And yet this inundation after the period of Caksusa Manu took place in order to show some wonders to Satyavrata. But Sri Jiva Gosvami has given definite proofs from authoritative scriptures (like Visnu-dharmottara, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, etc.) that there is always a devastation after the end of each and every Manu. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has also supported Srila Jiva Gosvami, and he (Sri Cakravarti) has also quoted from Bhagavatamrta about this inundation after each Manu. Apart from this, the Lord, in order to show special favour to Satyavrata, a devotee of the Lord, in this particular period, incarnated Himself.” (SB 1.3.15 purport)

We a;so observe that His Divine Grace was not opposed to there being differing viewpoints because as our acaryas are individuals with various opinions, and so are we who might want to espouse what we feel is correct:

“As for your question about Santa Rasa and the opinions of Rupa Goswami and Sridhara Swami, I don’t remember. You can send me the appropriate passages. There is no reason why Acaryas cannot differ on certain points.” (Letter to Upendra / 19 February 1972)

“Wherever there are individuals there is bound to be difference of opinion.” (Letter to Rupanuga / 14 February 1973)

“So far as your question about controversy amongst the disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, that is a fact. But this controversy is not material. Just like in a national program, different political parties are sometimes in conflict and make propaganda against each other, but their central point is always service to the country. Similarly, amongst the disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati there may be some controversy, but the central point is how to preach the mission of His Divine Grace. If the central point is fixed up then there is no harm in such controversy. Every individual being must have his opinion; that is the significance of individuality, but all such differences of opinions must coincide in Krishna.” (Letter to Mandali Bhadra / 28 July 1969)

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Jun 5, 2014 @ 10:08 pm

Part One:

I admire the position taken by Uttama Sloka Prabhu in being demanding of Sastric evidence to prove the Fall-theory, though with strident means, not for the popularity of others.

I am still concerned that either side of this debate do not consider wider reasons why Srila Prabhupada would say we fell and not fall. By rigidly sticking to either side or either side is quoting Prabhupada or Sastra without even considering why he did so, we might be closing ourselves from something that happens all the time throughout our Gaudiya history. If we only see one side, which means taking sides, we could run into a blockage. For instance Srila Bhaktisiddhanta wrote:

“Those, whose judgment is made of mundane stuff, being unable to enter into the spirit of the all-loving controversies among pure devotees, due to their own want of unalloyed devotion, are apt to impute to the devotees their own defects of partisanship and opposing views.” (Brahma-samhita 5.37 purport, p.72, BBT edition)

And again in the:

(Sri Gaudiya Bhasya of Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, June 5,1932) There he says: “While inquiring into the Absolute Truth, we cannot remain steady in one conclusion after hearing various apparently opposing statements of many acaryas. Considering the weakness of the audiences, the instructing acarya often does not have the opportunity to disclose many subjects.”

Whether this means – as some might imply – that Srila Prabhupada did not fully explain his Fall-reasoning with Sastra because of a lack of opportunity, would defy his saying that “everything is in my books.”

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Jun 5, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

Part Two:

Otherwise, as Uttama Sloka Prabhu claims, why would Srila Prabhupada purposefully oppose our previous acaryas? Why would he do this to his followers knowing full well that his words and literary output are recorded for posterity? Is he inventing something new? Is he tricking his followers? Is he sugar-coating bitter philosophical medicine? Is he accommodating Christian pre-conditioning?

Since Uttama Sloka Prabhu has claimed such disparity, we are interested to know from him, why and how Srila Prabhupada ‘chose’ to disagree with our previous acaryas please?

Uttama Sloka Produced some FACTS in 52/53. Here are some obvious FACTS that have to be considered.

FACT: We are …jivera svarupa haya nitya Krsna dasa. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says we are eternal servants of Krishna. This has to factor-in when origins from Maha-Sankarsana, Sankarsana, Maha-Visnu, and so on are quoted.

FACT: We eternally have minute independence to use or misuse our free will. This free choice remains whether we are here in Devi-dhama or in Goloka.

FACT: Our acaryas variously write that “We turned away from Krishna.”

FACT: We are tastastha.

Certain information can be theoretically known to us, like the 5 primary relationships (Stayi-bhava), but vijnana of those happen at Ashakti-Bhava. Same applies for Raganuga-bhakti. Same again applies for this Tal-fruit problem. Our theory of these matters is not convincing until we develop vijnana.

By accepting Srila Prabhupada’s explanations both ways of the fall / no-fall debate as being faithful to our acaryas, we shall remain on safe ground. Otherwise, Ping-Pong, ping-pong…

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On May 27, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

Part One:

Some revealing information has surfaced in these comments, and others. One, is the inconsiderate ease by which to brush aside Srila Prabhupada’s instructions contained in his letters, as though they are an apartheid fourth class tier of reference.

It is clear that many letter instructions are specific-but-general instructions which make them more than just irrelevant specific references.

Secondly, we find Uttama Sloka Prabhu saying he agrees with Srila Prabhupada’s words that agree with out previous acaryas. By reading in between the lines of his admission, he is disagreeing with Srila Prabhupada’s often used “We were with Krishna” output in comment 69. Quote:

“we must examine which of SP’s statements are in harmony with the previous acaryas and the Vedic literatures – from whom he said repeatedly he would never deviate.

The statements SP made that no one falls from the spiritual world are in complete harmony with the previous acaryas. Therefore, I am supporting SP 100% and NOT contradicting him. Both things he said cannot be simultaneously true. You cannot say that no one ever falls and then say the everyone in the material universes fell.”

The inference is that Srila Prabhupada is in disagreement with our acaryas when he says that “We were with Krishna.“ This is evidence of selectiveness, and is problematic. It is Plng-Pong prone.

Whenever Uttama Sloka Prabhu quotes Sastra and our previous acaryas on the No-fall issue, they are all correct, and I take such knowledge upon my head. But to say that ONLY these are correct, is again part of the problem, because what Srila Prabhupada says is also correct, even though some of us do not like it.

A faithful follower of Srila Prabhupada will accept the Fall and No-fall stance presented by him. They are not contradictions. We make them contradictions. Sometimes Srila Prabhupada would reconcile two apparently contradictory positions held by either of our previous acaryas, by accepting both positions, and not taking sides – this is considerate Vaisnava behaviour.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On May 27, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

I did not intend to get involved in any unwinnable discussion on this Acintya subject. I am surprised at the quantity of comments. By taking one side or another, a “somehow or other” game of Tal fruit Ping-Pong is being played.

Whether some belong to the ping side or the pong side, all manner of top spin, bottom spin, gravity-defying shots are made, but still the game goes on unabated. This “somehow or other” game is precisely how Srila Prabhupada succinctly encapsulated this game, on behalf of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Uttama Sloka Prabhu thinks this “somehow or other” is speculation, yet he comes preloaded with his unwinnable ‘conclusions’ which mean he is part of the problem. Anyone who claims finality either way belongs to the ping or pong side, and is part of the problem. This is not the way of siddhanta if one jumps over Srila Prabhupada for finality.

The way of siddhanta is through Srila Prabhupada. Yet others will claim that finality rests with Sastra and the Vedas. Guess what? All the Vedas and Sastra culminate in Sanbandha, Abhideya and Proyojana. And where are these three located? In the Sri Siksastakam.

Lord Chaitanya’s Siksastakam verses may be translated differently, especially the 5th verse, but Srila Prabhupada chose to include “somehow or other” when referencing the 5th verse in his Srimad Bhagavatam purports. Is it speculation to use this? No.

Somehow or other the Tal fruit gets hit. I do not know how well a Tal fruit can bounce or quirt, but it still might be more useful to know about it than to prematurely understand Acintya subjects while not on the Ashakti/Bhava stage.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On May 17, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Feb 10, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

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,

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Feb 10, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Dec 26, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Dec 11, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 16, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 16, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 14, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

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.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 14, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

Un-Holy Holi?

Part Two:

Otherwise, without knowledge of how the organisers of these events inform the attendees of the significance of Holi, and their logistics, it is so easy to write it off as asat. We are all agreed, that if such information and preaching is airtight, then we must applaud this creation of great fortune.

These events happening in the West are different from those in India, where a sense of knowing Holi is cultural, being neglected in many cases. If we think back to how desperate we were for genuine truth and knowledge before receiving the holy name, why should we berate all those thousands who are in desperate need as we were?

As long as the Holi festivals are properly organised and inform correctly, we should support them, lest we righteously hinder Nama-bhasa and ajnata/jnata sukrti.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 5, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

Part One:

I admire the intentions of this article, but is there not an area that could have been covered, that might determine the true intent of such festivals as Holi? That is the subject of Sukrti or fortune.

Self-righteous individuals might refer to all those thousands of young people who attend the holi gatherings as revellers, bums or reckless and so on, quite conveniently forgetting, or choosing to ignore our own states of ignorance prior to joining ISKCON.

Are we not able to think that each of those thousands of young people will go away from those multi-coloured fun-fests, with the holy name reverberating? Possibly not in the same way as dedicated devotees, but they will tell their friends and families what a great time they had at that “Hare Krishna” Do or whatever?

Their repeating of the holy name indirectly or directly, in a favourable manner, must be as good as Nama-bhasa. Is this such a bad thing?

If Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that His name will be spread to every town and village, can it not be done this way? We should take note, that the Lord said His name will go forth first. From His name, when purification occurs, then we can think of rules and regulations, including the four regs. Why should we be overly concerned that all attendees must follow the four regs? At least this is the impression created.

The beginning of the article mentioned the fallen state of humanity. Are we to expect all of fallen humanity to abide by our lofty devotional ideals and standards? Clearly not, and neither will we encourage people to do so if we insist that they do, or expect them to. They cannot do so unless they have gotten the mercy of the holy name.

If all those young people are speaking favourably about this fun event – which causes spiritual advancement – in relation to Hare Krishna, surely they are creating good fortune or Sukrti for themselves and for others.

When they speak favourably of Hare Krishna – that is indirect devotion – kirtanam. When others hear of the fun in relation to Hare Krishna – that is indirect devotion – Sravanam. If good memories are retained of this Holi event in relation to Hare Krishna – that is also indirect devotion – smaranam.

Ts Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 5, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

The Great Need to Understand Mental Illness in ISKCON

Surely, another reason for the “humbug” dismissal of mental help specialists by Srila Prabhupada is because of the usually soul-less mechanistic approach to matters of the human psyche.

With limited knowledge at their disposal, they could at whim, condemn numerous individuals to a lifetime of stringent institutional care translated as imprisonment. A famous candidate for such captivity is the famous Rain-man, about whom a movie was made.

This Rain-man has a remarkable memory and can recall widely diverse information within an instant. His memory would easily be the stuff of our Sruti-dhara devotees, if it were sastric knowledge. Yet, the Rain-man is possibly autistic with an ability to communicate. Otherwise, his aged father has to take care of him. He could have been one of many ‘bright’ captives left in mindless confinement.

In modern times, many mental health specialists search into areas of reincarnation, which leads to the prospect of an existence outside of the physical body. Largely, such professionals still abide by mechanistic frameworks, if only to keep their jobs.

These mechanistic restrictions cause doubt of the integrity of mental analysts. If I remember correctly, there is a passage in the NOI where Srila Prabhupada comments that devotees should not reveal their minds to such people.

A sense of realism will reveal that had not certain devotees revealed their mental problems they would not be treated. If Srila Prabhupada had been aware of the advances made in mental health treatment since the 60’s and 70’s, would he have said something different to what he previously stated? Especially now that devotees are mental health specialists? The answer must be yes.

Why this article is brave is because mental problems are not supposed to happen to devotees are they? So we are ‘taught’… But they can cannot affect pure souls who have vijnana of their selves as separate from the physical body, and have realised their true ego as eternal residents of the spiritual world.

Yet, the ‘other-worldly’ avadhuta behaviour of such souls as Gaura Kishor Dasa Babaji and Vamsi Dasa Babaji, being outside of ‘normal’ conventions would probably present interesting cases for mental specialists. Here Srila Prabhupada would say, “Hands off!”

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Nov 5, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

In some ways, this is quite a brave endeavour to write about – of all things – mental health, within ISKCON, of all places. Is this a taboo subject now seeing the light of day?

It may be tempting for us to think of certain instances of mental anguish being disguised as Krishna conscious spiritual advancement or above average self-control and discipline, that bore influence of one form or another. How many times have we heard the expression, “Get off the mental platform?”

It has been some years now since we heard from our once very prolific commentator here on Dandavats – Suresh Prabhu. He admitted to suffering from chronic depression, and took to yoga to help alleviate some symptoms. His perspectives were always useful, and he gave the readers an insight into dealing with his condition from a Krishna conscious angle. I wonder if he will resume his comments.

I have encountered murderers in the run, drug addicts who try to wean off drugs too soon and suffer withdrawal symptoms, individuals who are plagued by subtle bodies and so on, who all sought relief and shelter within ISKCON, with motivated or good intent. We had an open door policy – not fool proof – that allowed for a whole range of ‘mental’ sufferers to join us and live in ashramas, that we were unaware of.

God knew whom we shared an ashrama with. There are many stories of how ashrama inmates had risky encounters. I am sure that nowadays these risks are minimised. As part of our increasingly ‘professional’ approach to managing ISKCON, these issues will be dealt with appropriately.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Oct 24, 2013 @ 10:15 pm

Who Is This Ramo?

Part Two:

“This chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower status of consciousness—namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It is automatic, from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification and dance in ecstasy. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it…”

We want to follow and practice Srila Prabhupada’s standard for chanting the maha-mantra, but he is well aware that the maha-mantra has full “automatic” potencies. This means that the holy name can reach where we are unable to reach, and penetrate that which we cannot – the hearts of deaf, mute, stone like hearts of animate and inanimate creatures.

Of course, the Vaisnavas are carriers and transmitters of the holy name, but even devotees can marvel at the effects of the holy name on unlikely receptacles that might defy our expected 32 or 28 syllable standards. In spite of these standards, who are we to judge, who, or who has not received Sri Nama Prabhu’s mercy in each and every unique and exceptional case?

Having said this, it would be wise that we follow Srila Prabhupada’s standard of chanting. Problem is, there are differing views on his standards. What are we to do? Rather than take one side or another, we allow and witness the holy name to uplift and purify where we least expect it to. Do we have the power to “allow” the holy name to do what He wants to do? Realization of our power-less status should remind us that there are no Definites when it comes to chanting.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa,

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Oct 17, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

Part One:

We know that there are 16 names and 32 syllables of the maha-mantra. Is one deriving less benefit from this maha-mantra by pronouncing Ram instead of Rama? By pronouncing Ram, one is chanting 28 syllables instead of 32. Is this improper?

Would chanting of Ramo also count as chanting 28 instead of 32 syllables? If Srila Prabhupada reacted so strongly to the chanting of Ramo, as the above anecdote describes, is he directing this mainly to his western followers in particular? Otherwise, those of his Bengali followers whose accent causes the Ramo pronunciation must not be following properly, according to this.

Is it that Srila Prabhupada specifically denoted the need for 32 syllables for all his followers in ISKCON? Are there exceptions to the (this) rule?

Those of his followers who are deaf or partially hearing may not hear the maha-mantra at all, or at least partially hear it. A deaf devotee’s chanting of the maha-mantra will not at all sound like the maha-mantra to the trained ear. Would this then mean that such devotees are devoid of the mercy of the holy name?

Those who cannot hear high frequency sounds like s’s will not hear the …sh… in Krishna when they chant the maha-mantra. Are they also deprived because of this? What to speak of a child saying the maha-mantra ‘incorrectly’ with broken language? How about various animals chanting in their barks, meeoows, grunts, mooing or whatever?

We can also consider how many devotees are quite sure (arguably) that Srila Prabhupada does chant the full 32 syllables when chanting japa. Because of the speed of his chanting, we may not hear the full 32 syllables with clarity. With this speed, the long a’s in Rama may sound like Ram. This is what devotees tell me. We may struggle to hear each of the 32 syllables with distinction when we hear other experienced devotees chant with speed.

Although Srila Prabhupada expected the full 32 syllables to be chanted correctly with proper accent, he also said the following in relation to the maha-mantra:

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Oct 17, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

How Could Sri Rama Do That To His Pregnant Wife?

As usual, we read a very nice comment by Pusta Krishna Prabhu.

Here is something else we can think about on why the Lord behaves as He does. Sukadeva Goswami said that Sri Rama banished Mother Sita for fear that people of “heinous” character might apportion blame on to Him as a ‘bad’ example (Being “henpecked” and so on).

We all know that “example is better than precept.” If the Lord’s example of banishing Mother Sita sends a louder ‘exemplary’ message for common men to follow, then why did He do this? Does it set an example for husbands to do the same as He?

Again, we are confronted with what we think is the ideal for ‘Rama-rajya’ in a traditional sense, as opposed to one being the protective husband we all expect. It is another twist on why the Lord does what He does, confounding our own ideals and expectations of human values.

The obvious outcome of this is, we, none of us, can imitate such behaviour of the Lord who experiences internal bliss.

But I can imagine, since it is Kali-yuga, that such behaviour is tempting to imitate, in the name of Lord Rama.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

» Posted By Kesava Krsna dasa On Oct 2, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

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