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Comments Posted By Locanananda dasa

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"Karmi clothes" and "devotional clothes" - Getting the definitions right

Oh, yes — and as far as how to refer to the two basic categories of clothing worn by devotees, I would take into account the origin and the purposeful design of each. If Vaisnava dress (dhoti and kurta for men, saris for women) originates in the spiritual world, we may refer to that as devotional attire, for that is the original use of those garments. Dresses, pants, suits, and ties, on the other hand, are worn all over the world, but their origin is in Western civilization. Their purpose is to accentuate the bodily concept of life, so they are correctly referred to as “karmi clothes.” Clothes do not make the man, but the connotation of this expression would incorrectly indicate that a devotee so attired has become a fruitive worker, which, I hope, is not the case.

It would not be appropriate at all to wear “karmi clothes” on the altar, even if one were a pure devotee of Krishna. And our Krishna consciousness is strengthened by appearing as a vaisnava in terms of outward dress whenever possible. Srila Prabhupada approved of devotees dressing as a gentleman with suit and tie, but at the same time, he did not want us to neglect wearing neck beads, carrying a bead bag and sporting a sikha, or flag, as he called it. I have even heard that he once suggested wearing a suit jacket on top of a dhoti. So, preaching is not hampered by wearing Western dress, and one’s results may even be greater in terms of books distributed and donations received.

So I am inclined to use the terms “devotional attire” and “Western dress” as our two alternatives, based primarily on the original purpose of their design.

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 08.09.2011 @ 04:24

According to my recollection, it was forty years ago to the day, on the occasion of Holy Radhastami, that I travelled from Paris to London to receive brahminical initiation and the sacred thread from the hand of Krishna’s pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada. I was also carrying three sets of beads for him to chant on for new initiates, two young men and one young lady, who received the names Jaya Krishna, Jaya Balarama and Jaya Subhadra.

To have had the personal association of Srila Prabhupada, even if only for a single moment, was sufficient to awaken all auspiciousness in our hearts. In my own case, to have acted as his trancendental courrier, I felt at the time that the purpose of ths human form of life had been completely fulfilled.

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 04.09.2011 @ 20:27

Varnashrama and Harinam Sankirtan

Thank you, Visakha Priya mataji, for pointing out that we have no formal record of Srila Prabhupada stating that 50% of his work was unfinished. In the conversation you referred to (Vrndavana Oct. 9, 1977), devotees were imploring the spiritual master to remain another ten years, not just to complete the Srimad Bhagavatam, Cantos 10, 11, and 12, but to lead the Krishna consciousness movement until it became known as the world religion.

It is a fact that Srila Prabhupada noted, if the Krishna consciousness movement were to continue to grow at it’s current pace at the time (like wildfire), it would become the world’s leading religion within ten years. (In this regard, he sometimes referred to the victory of the Pandavas in eighteen days, saying that if we preached sincerely, we could similarly take over the world in eighteen days.) Brahmananda and others were hoping Srila Prabhupada would survive to see the opening of the Bombay temple and the installation of Radha Rasa Bihari as well as the opening of Prabhupada’s very own Palace in New Vrndavana.

Srila Prabhupada’s response to Brahmananda’s statement that 50% of his work was not finished was “No.” Whatever work he completed is what was ordained by the Supreme Lord. The next phase of spreading Lord Caitanya’s movement is what was left, by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, for his disciples to carry out, and that is the way it has been with all great acaryas in our line. A disciple should not think the spiritual master, who is a pure devotee of Krishna, did not finish what he set out to do. Rather, we should be thinking about Lord Caitanya’s mission to spread love of God and understand what part we are meant to play in it.

It was predicted that he would cross an ocean and open 108 temples for Krishna. His mission was also to write many books explaining the science of self-realization and Krishna consciousness. To the amazement of the entire world, he achieved all of these things beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. With Rathayatra festivals and Deity installations worldwide, the training of his Western disciples to an exalted brahminical standard, the translation and distribution of his books in all of the major languages of the world, and his success in spreading the chanting of Krishna’s Holy Name, all these mark the greatest accomplishment that has ever taken place during the lifetime of any saintly person in human history. Mission accomplished.

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 10.08.2011 @ 21:50

Sri Mayapur International School performs in Orissa

The Sri Mayapur International School offers one of the best opportunities on the planet for a child to be trained in Krishna consciousness. That is why I decided last year to help sponsor the education of one of the children attending the school.

It is often quite difficult for devotee parents to raise the funds required for private school tuition, especially if they have more than one school-age child. Because we are a society of vaisnavas, every member of that society should feel responsible for the welfare of all of its other members. When devotees display the quality of compassion towards one another through acts of kindness, Krishna is attracted to bestow His blessings upon that society. So let us show our concern for the future of the children who are the flower of this movement by supporting this school.

Our movement has the power to change the course of history as long as its members remain pure in their motives and chaste in their behavior. The Sri Mayapur International School is safeguarding the future of our society by transmitting the pure teachings of Srila Prabhupada to the next generation and by training them in all of the transcendental arts. A most worthy endeavor, indeed!

One of the principles taught by Srila Prabhupada was that the blind man would help the lame man to walk, while the lame man would help the blind man to see. Whoever can make the financial sacrifice
should consider donating to this cause as a sponsor or partial sponsor of one child’s education. That child will then have a chance to perfect his or her life, living in the holy land of Sri Mayapur dhama.
That same child, later in life, will remember with gratitude the support and encouragement that came from the society of devotees during those formative years. This bond between the generations will solidify the society as a whole based on love and trust.

Though no one has requested that I make this appeal, I urge all devotees to visit the website shown at the bottom of the above article and inquire about how you can support this most important project.

Your servant,
Locanananda dasa

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 14.06.2011 @ 21:04

Bangalore case coverage

(continued from comment #2)

Pusta Krishna prabhu in comment #1 suggests that the disagreement between Bangalore and Mumbai should never have come before the civil judicial system. I agree wholeheartedly. Seven years ago, I was called to testify in a court case that had two camps of devotees pitted against one another, very similar to the situation under discussion here. I was questioned by attorneys representing both sides and I responded truthfully without considering who would be helped or who would object to my statements.

As vaisnavas trained by Srila Prabhupada, we must always stand on the side of truth.

From the witness stand I could see devotees who were all of the opinion that they were fighting to preserve Srila Prabhupada’s legacy, but as I left the courtroom my only thought was how disappointed Srila Prabhupada must be that the future of one of the temples of ISKCON was in the hands of a judge who had no understanding of the message of Krishna consciousness or appreciation for the work of ISKCON’s founder acarya.

Srila Prabhupada once wrote to Malati in London:

“We have so much work to do, we cannot lose our solidarity. Do not cause a crack there with any fighting spirit or competition. Whenever I hear complaints or disturbances in our centers my mind becomes too much disturbed and I cannot properly translate my books. So please spare me from such disturbance by cooperating all together Godbrothers and Godsisters.” (Letter dated 1-7-74)

At this late stage, one might think it is not possible to withdraw the Mumbai/Bangalore case from the state judicial system, but didn’t the judge himself recommend that the proper solution could be found by an out-of -court meeting of the minds between the parties? Was that not Krishna speaking through the judge? The Mumbai and Bangalore devotees should show their spiritual meddle by immediately embracing the judge’s advice, understanding that Krishna was using the judge as His instrument to end this strife before it permanently cripples the mission of the vaisnava acaryas to spread love of Krishna throughout the world, to every town and village.

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 21.06.2011 @ 02:48

I don’t think anyone would make the claim that it was not Srila Prabhupada’s intention for the GBC to act as the ultimate managerial authority in ISKCON. The debate is actually whether the GBC has been representing the will of the founder acarya as a transparent via medium. The next question is whether the GBC is endowed with absolute authority if they are not fully transparent in representing the will of Srila Prabhupada.

I would not want to make this forum a battleground where the authority of the current management of ISKCON is challenged. Instead, I would only like to suggest how the leadership of the movement should handle dissension and discord.

The onus is upon the empowered leaders to maintain unity within the society. To do so, all of the members should be treated with decency and the utmost respect. Everyone should have the right to voice an opinion without the prospect of ostracism. Each devotee should feel that the house that Srila Prabhupada built — ISKCON — is their home. The GBC and temple managers are responsible for creating this mood of acceptance based on the principle of unity with diversity. They should not expect or force individuals to all think alike. Where intelligent people assemble to serve the Supreme Lord, there will always be differences of opinion, but those different viewpoints must be reconciled by leaders who submit to the guiding hand of the Lord within the heart.

So how are we to deal with dissenters? Srila Prabhupada once wrote to Mukunda in London (letter dated 11-6-73):

“Another request I have to you is that there have now been two instances of when somebody does not agree, you try to get them out by calling the police. This is never to be done…. With great difficulty we get a man. We have to reform them. Our business is to become sympathetic to fallen souls. So in future do not do it. Everything should be done amicably.”

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 15.06.2011 @ 05:01

High Court rejects ISKCON, Bangalore, plea for stay

Thanks, Maharaja, but it is only by your blessings that I am able to explain what has been missed
by so many interpreters of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on future initiations. I firmly believe our best bet is to simply accept the terminology Srila Prabhupada himself introduced when discussing the matter in Vrndavana with his GBC select committee. His recommendation to have initiations performed by officiating acaryas, had we followed it from the beginning, would have allowed us to avoid the conflict of non-parallel lines of authority which have been a source of confusion for devotees for the past three decades.

If you will be attending the New York Rathayatra, which takes place in a little less than two weeks, perhaps we can discuss the subject in greater depth. Hoping to have your association again, I remain

Your servant,
Locanananda dasa

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 31.05.2011 @ 14:25

I am hoping that once the lawsuit between the camps is settled, both sides will try to work toward
brotherly reconciliation. In this bitter legal battle, vicious attacks have come from both ISKCON Mumbai and ISKCON Bangalore, criticism filled with hostility and malice. I agree with Akruranatha prabhu that both parties should take the high road and call for an end to the kind of divisive remarks and behavior that has hampered the possibility of cooperation among godbrothers for a decade.

The first undertaking in reconciliation is to find the common ground, which is faith in and obedience to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Then, the parties will need to iron out their differences of interpretation, particularly concerning the role of the GBC and initiation protocols.

The GBC must find a way to lovingly convince the Bangalore residents of Srila Prabhupada’s intentions with regard to how initiations should be conducted in his physical absence. This was actually clearly stated in the May 28, 1977 discussion with the GBC.

Question: These ritvik acaryas, they are officiating, giving diksa. The people who they give diksa to –
whose disciples are they?

Srila Prabhupada: They are his disciples.

This exchange refers specifically to that time when Srila Prabhupada would no longer be present.
Those giving diksa would be acting as officiating acaryas, and those receiving diksa from them would be their disciples. Srila Prabhupada did not say, “They are my disciples,” which is what ritvik ideologists want us to believe he said. The conversation continues:

Question: They are his disciples?

Srila Prabhupada: Who is initiating. He’s grand-disciple.

“Who is initiating” refers to the officiating acarya who is giving diksa. Those who receive diksa from him are his initiated disciples and Srila Prabhupada’s grand-disciples. These were the words spoken by Srila Prabhupada and there is no need to further interpret that which has been clearly stated by the Acarya.

Let this be the foundation upon which we finally establish a common understanding of how Srila Prabhupada wanted future initiations to be carried out. With the world in the situation in which it finds itself, it is high time devotees throughout the movement set aside their differences by coming together to propagate Krishna consciousness for the pleasure of His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada.

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 27.05.2011 @ 17:55

Our sankirtana - tainted with BLOOD OF SLAUGHTER!

In a letter to Karandhara dated 9-26-76, Srila Prabhupada wrote:

“If you make 2,500 mrdangas per year, that is very good, then distribute to the whole of American people. “

Srila Prabhupada was very enthusiastic about us devotees manufacturing our own drums. I remember hearing of his impression at the time, that they were already 90% perfected, and that was thirty-five years ago.

I left Amsterdam to open a temple in Tel Aviv right after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance in 1977.
The Balarama drum I had ordered from Los Angeles arrived just days before our departure. What a blessing! These drums have great resonance for street kirtana. We need to train hundreds of devotees and fire them up to again take the transcendental sound of sri mrdanga to the streets of all the great cities of the world. This is the mandate given to us by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu via His empowered representative, Srila Prabhupada.

After more than forty years of playing mrdanga on the streets of cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv,
Geneva, London and New York, I am feeling a little tired these days after just ninety minutes of pounding the pavement with the transcendental Sankirtana party. I find myself asking, “Where is the next generation of street Harinam Sankirtana mrdanga players going to come from? Who will take the baton and carry on the tradition of daily Harinam?”

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 27.05.2011 @ 19:11

Double-voice amplification kirtans in Iskcon Mayapur

I like that, Akruranatha Prabhu — The printing press is the great amplifier of written kirtana.
And it was invented right around the time of Lord Caitanya’s presence, if I’m not mistaken.

In New Mayapur, France, there is no amplification at all during mangala artik (sweet!), but in the Brooklyn temple, the amplification during mangala artik is deafening! I mean really painful. At least it was so when I lived there for a few months in 1998.

I once attended a Rathayatra in London (must have been in the seventies), and there was no amplification of the kirtana. Instead, we had six devotees lead the kirtana in one voice. As I recall, we chanted Srila Prabhupada’s favorite tune the whole way and everyone responded blissfully.

On Saturday night in New York City, we also use no amplification. We just sing very loud, and people are attracted to join in.

I recall how, in 1972, the authorities in Geneva, Switzerland ordered us to stop playing musical instruments on Sankirtana. We continued to chant daily in the town square, but with hand-clapping only. That was a real test of our spiritual meddle.

As for double amplification, it is not required. I think Krishna wants to hear all of the devotees’ responding to the lead singer. But, if you have thousands of visitors passing through the temple room
as does occur in Mayapur, and just a few devotees chanting, I could see having the response miked up so there would be no gap in the vibration of transcendental sound. However, the response certainly should not be louder than the lead singer.

As far as loudness is concerned, kirtana should be performed tastefully. Our NYC outdoor kirtana was measured by the police department at 93 decibels, and no one seemed to be complaining. But if you are getting up to jackhammer, rock concert or jet engine range, it might be a good idea to tone it down a bit. I’ve got a 25% hearing loss, mainly of higher pitched sounds. I wouldn’t say, though, it is the result of being in the nucleus of so many kirtanas over the years. What it means practically is that I don’t hear many things spoken by women, which some would call special mercy.

Comment Posted By Locanananda dasa On 06.05.2011 @ 16:02


 


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