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Comments Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa

Displaying 1 To 26 Of 26 Comments

Bahulavan Renovation

You aren’t renovating or restoring — you destroyed it, knocked it to the ground with heavy equipment and hauled it away without allowing any recycling.

You had zero communication with the bulk of Prabhupada disciples in the community and tore it down on short notice without giving anyone who chanted and danced there for years as spiritual children, who sat at Prabupada’s feet there, even a chance to come and get any closure.

“Maintaining gardens” if you are into maintaining gardens why did you cut down the Grandfather apple trees?

Are you going to leave any of the historical buildings standing or demolish them all?

Why waste time on the sentiments of Prabhupada’s disciples when it is so much quicker to bulldoze everything?

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Jul 11, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

Urban farming and self-sufficiency

A journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.

I would also strongly endorse urban gardening as it is a step both in realtime and in consciousness towards the ultimate goal of farm communities.

“But we have encumbered our civilization in such a way that we have lost all simple living thing. We have manufactured in so many ways encumbered ways of life. Therefore we have neglected spiritual life. And because we have neglected spiritual life there is no peace.

“If you want really peaceful life, then you have to make your material necessities simplified and engage your time for spiritual cultivation. Then you will have peace. And that is the best type of civilization. Plain living, high thinking. “

Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.3 — Boston, May 4, 1968

Gardening any where, at any scale, is a step towards simpler living.

“This will give us some idea of the proper preparation that the contemplative life requires. A life that is quiet, lived in the country, in touch with the rhythm of nature and the seasons. A life in which there is manual work, the exercise of arts and skills, not in a spirit of dilettantism, but with genuine reference to the needs of one’s existence. The cultivation of the land, the care of farm animals, gardening.

“A broad and serious literary culture, music, art, again not in the spirit of Time and Life-(a chatty introduction to Titian, Prexiteles, and Jackson Pollock)-but a genuine and creative appreciation of the way poems, pictures, etc., are made.

“A life in which there is such a thing as serious conversation, and little or no TV. These things are mentioned not with the insistence that only life in the country can prepare a [person] for contemplation, but to show the type of exercise that is needed.”

Thomas Merton. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation. William H. Shannon, editor (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003): 131.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Jun 5, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

Description of person from Alachua who cheated gurukuli couple

All property buyers should be sure to use an attorney to do a title search. It is worth the expense, especially getting title insurance, which pays back any lost monies in case the title search turns out to be bad.

Sounds like this guy just purchased himself some real estate in Patala-loka by cheating devotees through real estate in this planetary system.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Mar 30, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

Adopt a cow

>The idea of adopting a cow meaning sending money to maintain a cows life and protection is not new.I think this is a cop out.

I sense some frustration in the use of the word “cop out”. It is true that we are far from the ideal, but unfortunately that is the reality we have been dealt.

In the era of consumerism, most people are trapped in the cities and suburbs, either by social conditioning or economics. They don’t have facility to do hands on cow protection. The idea behind adopt a cow is that every one can be involved, even if they don’t have access to land or other tools to protect cows.

I can say that at New Vrindaban, we have a lot of facility in the form of land and barn space to protect more cows than we currently do.If more devotees donated more cows could be saved.

If cow protection is limited to what the cows can provide as an economic entity, then fewer cows will be spared the slaughterhouse than if devotees make donations to save cows.

The lack is people willing to live a subsistence lifestyle under the crushing weight of the consumer society. Should cows be killed just because we can’t obtain the highest ideal?

In the Bhagavad Gita, the highest ideal is espoused, but it isn’t the only option. There is a series of do this, but if you can’t, then do this other thing. Like it is best is to work for Krishna but if you can’t then give the fruits of the labor to Krishna.

Donating to cow protection programs is not the highest but it is the next best thing, and the only practical thing for most devotees. Even if we can’t come to the highest level of living off the land with the cows, we can still save cows from the slaughter house, and that is also a noble thing to do.

Keep the ideal in mind but lets also keep the opportunity for all to help protect cows regardless of their current socio-economic status, and that is by supporting programs that do save cows.

There are cows dying today that could be saved if devotees donated to save them. Most devotees don’t even do that, so let’s not discourage them by saying it is a cop out. I see it more as a transitional stage on the way to the highest ideal.

I applaud your determination to have have kept farming all these years despite the enormous pressures you have surely endured. Let’s work together to increase cow protection in as many forms as possible.

Hare Krishna

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Mar 29, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

Big Houses or Self Suficiency

>>At the recent New Vrindaban festival of Inspiration presidents meetings the topic of self suffciency and farming was so low on the interest list of topics to be only discussed that it was entirely omited<<

I agree with the general mood of you presentation but would make a couple points of clarification.

At the temple president’s meeting held in New Vrindaban, there were some talk about these topics, albeit given a low priority, and I suspect nothing published will come out of the meetings on those topics. Still, a few leaders did bring it up, so some progress is there. Even if too little, it is a glimmer of hope.

Gardening and self sufficiency were on the agenda at the Festival of Inspiration
(which was a separate event from the TP meeting). There were open and constant tours of the actual gardens and Balabhadra took several tours of his space where there are gardens and a greenhouse in addition to cow protection. The two, cow protection and gardening, are inseparable in fact.

As for presentations on the schedule there was:

Spiritual Recovery from Consumerism: Varsana Swami The Magic of Cow Protection (Excursion/Tour): Balabhadra Das Preaching Power of Rural Communities: Tapahpunja Das

I agree with you that too little attention is paid to these topics but some was and it never hurts to accentuate the positive.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On May 16, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

Women, ISKCON, and Varnashram

Atmavidya: “Please prove by sastra that kali yuga is gender specific in its effect. That somehow it only affects males and makes them degraded but doesn’t effect women who are miraculously impervious to it and hence in Kali yuga women become equal to and even superior to men.”

“But the present age of Kali is full of ignorant men. Even those who are born by a brahmana father are, in the present age, no better than the sudras or the women. ”

SB 1.3.21

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Feb 28, 2008 @ 12:58 am

One request — please use more paragraph breaks for online publication because it is harder to read on the screen than in print. My mind starts freaking out and wants to skip on when the paragraphs are big, because the eye gets lost.

Other than that, you make some subtle but very important distinctions that make a huge difference in how to understand what the guru was trying to accomplish.

Those who prefer black and white 25 word or less sound bite social formulas might have to reread what you are saying to understand how it impacts varna ashram in the 21st century.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Feb 26, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

When guru worship gets sentimental

One thing to remember is that our experience of Srila Prabhupada was as a man in his 70s. Someone once asked him why he hadn’t come to the West earlier, and he said something to the effect of who would have listened to him if he came in the body of a young man.

As far as I know, we have no ISKCON gurus who have even reached that age yet. When SP was the age of many of the ISKCON gurus, he was still working as a business man and living as a householder. He may have been perceived as boring himself at that time (the “my guru is best” side of me says that probably isn’t true, but who knows what the perceptions of the average guru seeker back then may have been).

Having had a lot of experience with Kirtanananda Swami, who was about as charismatic as they come, my opinion is that charisma is overrated.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Dec 25, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

This is a well expressed article on what is sometimes referred to informally as “Guru as Rock Star” Syndrome.

The true importance of a guru is his/her connection to the sampradaya. Focusing on the individual instead of the connection is what causes this condition.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Dec 21, 2007 @ 4:42 am

The Resurgency

I am glad the temples have so far survived the settlement. They are a real asset.

Resurgents won’t replace temples — they will supplement them.

Good news about your dream — it could still happen! Resurgents are self reliant and not dependent on anyone’s approval or support. Support and approval are wanted and can be very useful, but not essential.

While you may not have the power to make anyone else accept your dream, on the other hand, no one can stop you from fulfilling it.

Go for it, or at least start planning on going for it at some later date.

SP waited for 40 years to make his move. Be patient and be persistent and you can make it happen.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Oct 31, 2007 @ 11:19 pm

Living Donor needed for liver transplant

I am the devotee who received a living donor liver transplant. My son was the donor.

I may not be the best one to motivate someone to do this, but I might be able to help someone who has already made the decision to do so, and is a match.

I can speak to the experience of my son, although his experience may not reflect that of someone else. He was in his early twenties, in the US Navy at the time, and in soccer playing condition.

He was out of the hospital in the minimum time, 7 days. Two months after the surgery he drove his car from West Virginia to Florida round trip, doing all the driving himself. One year after the surgery he went through US Army basic training. In a unit of 66 soldiers, he had the fourth best time in the unit in the 2 mile run, doing it in 13 minutes.

He bounced back fast, but older, less fit donors may not do as well. I don’t want to give unrealistic expectations based on his experience, but it is a doable experience. A couple weeks in the hospital might be more normal.

There is some danger, though the center we did ours at has a zero percent mortality rate. They have never lost a donor.

There are a couple of weeks after the surgery that are rather unpleasant, but that passes. There is also a very large scar, so kiss that dream of being a calendar model goodbye.

Another down side is that for the first couple of weeks after, it is excruciatingly painful to laugh, so anyone who makes you laugh has to be avoided, or strictly regulated. We found it quite easy to laugh, unfortunately. :-)

Anyone who is strongly called to do this, who would like to get some insider background info on the procedure, feel free to contact me by commenting on my blog which can be found by googling “View From A New Vrindaban Ridge.”

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Aug 17, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

What Are You Doing for Cow Protection?


There are numerous existing cow programs that can be supported, so there is no reason everyone can’t be involved.

I have heard a lot of good things about the Hungary farm so clearly you get this both in word and action.

Trying to impose cultural paradigms from previous yugas in this day and age is problematic, but the underlying concept of cow protection will always be there, even if in this industrial age, most devotees will support cows vicariously through contributions or by taking vacation times at devotee farms.

Everyone seems to understand the necessity of establishing brahminical culture. The problem seems to be that they see it as separate from cow protection, and think it can be established independently of cow protection.

“Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 8.24.5

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Aug 1, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

Kirtan Standards Committee

I hope that volume of the kirtan is considered. I frequently find myself leaving the temple room because my ears hurt, and sometimes avoid even going if I think it will be loud.

This must turn off a lot of casual visitors.

Has it become a de facto standard that if you can’t play well, play loudly? It seems to.

Don’t get me started on the dancing. (eyes rolling upwards). I was taught we danced for the pleasure of Krishna, under the direction of Radharani, and that the swami two step was the best way to do that. Some twirling.

It seems that so many are unable to master the two step and its infinite variations and refinements, and instead gyrate and flop around like untrained dancing bears, simply dancing for their own pleasure, or to display raw athleticism to impress whomever they deem necessary to impress. If you can’t dance well, dance with lots of energy, another de facto standard.

Kirtan is supposed to be pleasing. If it ceases to be pleasing to listen to or to watch, is it still kirtan?

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Jun 10, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

ISKCON and Varnasrama-Dharma: A Mission Unfulfilled

I am all for brahminical training, but we have to remember that Varna ashram is a team concept approach. A key element that has been consistently missing for most ISKCON attempts at brahminical culture has been cow protection. Why is this an essential element?

“Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 8.24.5

Cow protection has always been relegated to “others” who were on farm communities, expected to raise cows and live in stone age conditions.

Cow protection needs to be part of everyone’s consciousness to make brahminical culture work. How brahminical is it to offer milk to the Deities from cows that are exploited and will be slaughtered?

As a field expedient necessity we have used, and continue to use, commercial milk from unprotected cows, but it has become, unfortunately, Standard Operating Procedure.

The idea of purchasing carbon dioxide credits by energy consumers is gaining traction, and to apply the concept to milk production, where commercial milk is used by devotees but some cost above and beyond is paid as an offset that benefits cow protection programs is a very real and available option.

To apply the principles of Varna ashram in an industrial age will require some creativity. Brahmins aren’t living in village cultures and accommodations are made for that; one of those accommodations should be to somehow link the creation of brahmins to cow protection, as the two are invariably mentioned together.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On May 16, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

Economic Nonviabilty Of Devotee Milk Production

Thanks everyone for commenting.

Of course, land costs money to own, so pasturing is efficient, but not cost free.

A cow gives dung and all other cited benefits true, but they are not dependent on breeding a cow for progeny to get as milk production is.

Oxen as draft power cannot compete economically with fossil fueled draft power. It is a sad reality.

This paradigm may have worked in India in the past, but that was the past. The tractor is rapidly replacing the bull there and it has one of the largest cow slaughter industries in the world. Another sad reality.

While their are economic benefits of cow protection , without the spiritual component, it won’t be followed. Look at any random 100 ISKCON devotees and cow protection will be supported or followed by very few. Ipso facto cow protection is not justifiable on solely economic grounds.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On May 10, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

New Vrindavan Prison Preaching

Let us not forget that all the criminals are not in prison, only the ones who got caught. So many criminals came to ISKCON and gave up their criminal activites before being caught. Drug use is a criminal activity.

” The Department of Justice reported that at year-end 2003, federal prisons held a total of 158,426 inmates, of whom 86,972 (55%) were drug offenders. ”

So the consideration is are we judging someone for being in prison or for being a criminal? Is forgiveable to be a criminal but unforgiveable to get caught?

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Mar 3, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

Chocolate – the nectar for which we are always anxious?

Strom Thurmond served inthe US Senate until he was eleventy eleven years old. When asked the secret of his longevity, he answered “I only eat fruit for breakfast”.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Feb 2, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

If Krishna does not accept my Chocolates, Who should I offer them to?

>If we keep cutting slack then the movement will become impure and go on downward path as other religions.

I am not proposing changing the religious culture. I am saying emphasis the positive. If someone thinks they are purer than someone else because they don’t eat chocolate, perhaps they are applying the wrong standard.

The point about slippery slope compromises is a good one though. We have gone from a religious culture based on the land and cow to an urban based one where cow protection is considered optional via one slippery slope compromise after another.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Feb 6, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

You can simply apply the same priciple to chocolate as is used to justify usage of milk from cows en route to the slaughterhouse — by offering it, the chocolatier makes advancement.

I do endulge in chocolate from time to time — but let’s keep it in perspective. If the worst falldown someone has is a little chocolate, but they are vegetarian, please cut some slack. I think sometimes devotees need to step back and get a little perspective on the overall.

On the other hand, one devotee told me once,”If I eat carob instead of chocolate, it makes me think of Krishna because that is what Srila Prabhupada said to use.”

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Feb 2, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

Business Model For Vicarious Cow Protection

Thank you very much. It may not seem like a lot, but remember the sparrow who was throwing grains of sand into the ocean to help Lord Rama. May many others be inspired by your example.

Hare Krishna

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Jan 24, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

Thanks for all the comments. Couple of thoughts.

I think that sending any amount is more important than the actual amount sent. It has to do with consiousness more than quantity. Anyone who drinks milk can afford something. If someone is living an austere life, they wouldn’t be expected to donate as much as someone living comfortably. Anyone in the US could afford at least $1.

Milk is an opulence, not a commodity.

I would like to see the donations, or at least a significant portion of them, go into endowment funds. The income from the endowment would then be given to the actual cow protection programs, assuring lonterm protection of the cows. Most successful colleges and universities are significantly funded by endowments. Setting up long term programs based solely on cash flow is not prudent.

This is going to require experienced administors to setup and run. With the internet, they could live in any urban center. Truth is, most hands on cow protectors already have their hands full, so it is an opportunity for anyone to serve the cows.

Most importantly, this is not something anyone has to wait for someone else, that mythical “They” to do something. It is a decision any individual can make, right now, and is not dependent on any institution for approval or iniation of a program.

Institutions could run programs to facilitate and expand this, and I hope they will, but there is no reason for an individual to wait. Programs are already set up to receive donations for cow care.

The potential to expand these programs and eventually establish more of them and create a network of sustainable protected cow’s milk producers is huge. A long term goal would be to make milk products literally available to devotees. Value added products like milk sweets that could be shipped would probably be the first manifestation of that.

A lot of patience to see this all manifest is necessary.

Krishna is a cowherd boy. How can someone want to worship Krishna and ignore the cows?

“Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 8.24.5

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Jan 19, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

Yoga Mart

While I don’t mean this compliment to be construed as an endorsement of Danavir Goswami’s views on Hatha Yoga, I would like to express my appreciation for its format. The premise is clearly and concisely stated immediately, and a summary of supporting points provided. IMHO, this is the most excellent way to post.

In general, most devotees write way too long. The “huff and fluff” method of writing, as I refer to it, mistaking quantity for quality. To worsen matters, they simply start out on their supporting argumentation. While they may have a clear idea what it is they are trying to say, the reader does not. In most cases, if the piece is longer than 500 words, the reader bails out, unless they have an emotional interest in the concept discussed. Time is too short, and there is too much material to peruse to have to read a thousand words to figure out what the author is leading to.

If, as a writer, you are unable to make your point in 500 words or less, then I strongly encourage you follow the example Danavir Goswami has displayed here: in 229 words he has clearly stated his position and points. As a reader, that gives me all the information I need to decide whether to proceed into the longer, more comprehensive exposition of those points.

While the numbering in this case is very effective, it may not be necessary in every instance, but Danavir Goswami’s mode of presentation here is a model to emulate.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Sep 26, 2006 @ 4:49 pm


From Krishnadas:

“1) What does the misunderstanding of these misogynists have to do with the principle of men and women hugging? I.e.: Does their misunderstanding somehow make such hugging right or wrong?”

2) Since Maharaja has simply quoted a Bhagavatam verse and purport of Srila Prabhupada, what exactly is it that you find, “your quaint thinking” in his post?”

1) Their misunderstanding has little to do with whether it is right or wrong. It is a statement that some actions, regardless of their validity, will draw criticism, and that avoiding criticism should not be what we base our decisions on.
2) Well, truthfully, I was trying to weave a little ”in joke” into the sentence, but the moderator, apparently seeing my miscapitalizations, and awkward phrasing as typos, proofread it and corrected it, leaving the “quaint” word hanging a bit. To rationalize it thus becomes problematic, but to try anyways: since the premise is that “hugging a member of the sex you are attracted to is wrong” is essentially based on an appeal to tradition, thinking that promoted something solely based on cultural tradition would be “quaint”. Yes, I stipulate that that rationalization is lame.

To be fair, TS didn’t state any position on the issue, he merely quoted and asked for responses to a quote, and based on my predisposition, I apparently reacted as if he had taken a position. My remarks were aimed more at that position, than him, and if I was unclear about that, I do apologize. I was trying to be a little funny, truth be told. Probably the wrong crowd for that.

As quoted by Mithila Das:

“Nowadays, not so much in India, but in the Western countries it is very usual thing — a young man is embracing another young woman or kissing. So there is no fault. But according to Vedic civilization, this is fault because it will give chance to others.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.56-57 — Bombay, August 14, 1975”

Srila Prabhupada was a man of broad vision – while acknowledging the standards set by tradition, he also perceived that cultural norms were different in the Western countries and that the same offense was not to be taken for an action that didn’t have the same nuance as in India.

Again, personally I am uncomfortable publicly hugging women I know only casually, due to my fallen nature. Further, due to my immune system being suppressed, I am under doctor’s orders to avoid direct physical contact with anyone, male or female, to limit the transmission of viruses and bacteria. I have grown to appreciate very much the custom of greeting someone with pranams, putting the two hands together over the heart chakra, instead of shaking hands. In the pre antibiotic and antiviral eras, this custom would have given a culture a biological advantage over cultures that shook hands or hugged, due to slowing the transmission of disease.

Yes, Krishnadas, when we met in person, we very well might become friends. I look forward to it.

Hare Krishna
Madhava Ghosh dasa

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Sep 14, 2006 @ 12:59 pm

Dear Krishnadas,

First, a clarification: I am neither learned nor gentle, and I think you may have gotten the respected part wrong, also.

Second, if you want to accuse me of “slandering the Bhagavatam and Srila Prabhupada” and then give me instructions on how I need to proceed, don’t call yourself my servant, at least be honest. Actions speak louder than labels.

Third, if you think my comment was slander, I feel any possibility of a meaningful dialogue with you is essentially nonexistent.

Fourth, how did my statement “FYI, I don’t hug women in public” contradict the purport? I thought it echoed it to a degree.

Fifth, you clearly misread my statement, as I did not equate reading the purport with misogyny.

Sixth, misogynists are well represented amongst devotees. The first and only swami in ISKCON for three years, and thus the role model for younger up and coming devotees at the time, was Kirtanananda (aka Bhaktipada). I think his misogyny is obvious to everyone by now; the long-term effects of it are still skewing perceptions amongst devotees.

Last, but not least, I think use of the verb “dare” (“would you dare to go before Srila Prabhupada”) is inappropriate. Yes, I would discuss this with Srila Prabhupada, were he here. I don’t think “daring” would be part of the process.

Madhava Ghosh dasa

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Sep 13, 2006 @ 3:20 am

How quaint your thinking is, Trivikrama Swami. I guess the verse implies you should do your hugging in public and not in a secluded place. Of course, the risk with public hugging is the inevitable chorus of disapproval from the misogynists, eager to keep same sex hugging the norm.

FYI, I don’t hug women in public, personally, due to my social conditioning and bodily concept, but I try not to let my limitations bind the realizations of others.

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Sep 11, 2006 @ 6:47 pm

A little misunderstanding

I am going to try this again. Red herrings aside, I still haven’t received an answer to my questions. If these are still perceived as disrespectful, could someone please try to penetrate to the gist of the question and rephrase them to the place of meriting a response?

1. Has your view/realization/understanding about its contents changed since writing “How All Generations Can Stay With Srila Prabhupada?”
2. Why do you think there might be a connection between your article and the current discussion about Dhanurdhara Swami?
3. Do you think your close friendship with DDS had an influence on your decision to write such a quick and direct apology?
4. What is your recommendation to those who were negatively impacted by DDS?
5. Do you feel they need an apology from you concerning your direction to the GBC on their behalf?

Hare Krishna
Madhava Ghosh dasa

» Posted By Madhava Ghosh dasa On Sep 4, 2006 @ 7:13 pm

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