Comments Posted By Mahatma das
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Dear Nitai Prabhu
Very good point. It seems common sense but at the same time we are seeing a great fear of being controlled by woman. Of course, the real fear should be that we are controlled by our senses. If one is sense controlled, then providing what a woman needs to be happy has nothing to do with being controlled by woman. But if one is providing these things for the purpose of securing a satisfying sexual relationship with his wife, then yes, he is being controlled by a woman.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:54 am
Pure devotional service is not about wearing or not wearing a certain dress. It is about the purity of heart. If a man thinks his wife is bad because she doesn’t wear a sari, although she is dressed in a chase way, then I would say the idea of tolerating a “bad” wife is his own idea; there is nothing to tolerate. Of course, if he is upset about her dress, he can tell her he prefers she wear a sari. In my case, my wife tolerates the way I dress, because I am not so concerned how I look, rather than me tolerating her dress (LOL).
I joined Iskcon in 1969 and was never trained to understand that the goal of Krsna consciousness is to be culturally Indian, although I know some devotees believe this. I was trained from the beginning that the goal is to serve Krsna with one desire: to please him.
I wrote Prabhupada during the time that devotees were wearing Western dress to distribute books saying that I discovered this is not necessary. I was thinking he would applaud me for this and inform the society that Mahatma and company are distributing as many books as those wearing non devotional dress, so such dress is not necessary. But all he said was this: “Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing.”
Of course, in this discussion you are making the assumption that a woman should always wear a sari and always have her head covered and if she doesn’t her husband will just have to tolerate a “bad” woman because she is disobeying Srila Prabhupada. You would have to provide evidence that a woman dressed in a gopi skirt or a woman in a sari without her head covered is disobeying Prabhupada and is bad. I am not aware that this is in considered disobeying him. In any case, my point is that we have to learn to get along well together. If a woman wants to dress in a certain way because she feels better, or she feels people can better relate to her, a husband should be understanding and supportive and he shouldn’t think he is tolerating a bad woman. That would undermine the relationship.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:52 am
You ask is it more important to make Prabhupada happy or to make one’s wife happy. I don’t think we can always assume to making a wife happy is displeasing Prabhupada. First, household often entails compromise in how your time and money are spent, and also what you often must do to keep the other person happy. So we learn in household life about making compromises to satisfy the needs of another.
I could better answer your question if I knew specifics, but I can give a general answer. If compromising a principle occasionally keeps a family together, then accept that this is pleasing Prabhupada. In my discussions with godbrothers and sisters on this issue, all have agreed that sometimes a compromise might save a marriage, and especially if there are children, it is a disaster for them if the parent’s divorce. So we have to take into consideration not only spiritual obligations, but we must fulfill our material obligations as well.
So yes, if we are not married, we don’t have to deal with this stuff. But this is the reality of what we sometimes must confront when married.
The issue of dress is interesting. In South India, it is rare to find a woman with her head covered. So in our temples in South India, the women don’t cover their heads. In north India head covering is more common.
The Women of Bhakti was a film made to attract non-devotees to the path of Bhakti. Just as we often do sankirtan in western dress, my wife is wearing her sankirtan clothes in this picture and in this film. It was not a film to teach people how to be an Iskcon devotee, it was a film to teach people about bhakti. If we teach in devotional dress, it often sends a message that to do bhakti you must dress this way. And this is not true. In many cases, when devotees have adapted their dress to make people more comfortable, their preaching has skyrocketed. So we are not attached to how we dress but we dress in ways that make it easier for people to take to Krsna consciousness.
I don’t know the current dress standards in our Iskcon temples, but as we live in Mayapur, my Wife wears a sari everyday to the temple.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:50 am
Dear Atmavidya Dasa Prabhu
Being a good husband entails many things. Most important is the relationship, not the material things. If your experience is that “she will never be happy,” I suggest you have not provided the emotional and relational support a woman needs to be happy. Often a woman’s needs for material things are an attempt to replace the lack of affection and emotional support in her marriage.
In addition, it is wise not to blame a woman for problems in a marriage. It is wise to consider what we, as men are not doing and/or not doing that this causing our wives to be unhappy. Sure, there are woman who are hard to please, but in the majority of cases, if you are Krsna conscious, provide responsibly for your family, are affectionate and give the emotional and relational support women require, your marriage will go well. As Bhaktisiddhanta said, “Look within. Amend thyself.”
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:45 am
Rukmini Devi Dasi Mata ji
The idea of marriage is that a husband, ideally being strong, uplifts a woman (who is generally weaker). That doesn’t guarantee that a woman who has a good husband will not leave him, but statistically speaking women with good husbands have better marriages and less divorce.
You say that most divorces are filed by women who have husbands who have no faults. I guess we need to define what you mean by no faults because my personal experience is different. I find many, many husbands don’t know what it means to be a good husband and I rarely find unhappy women who have really good husbands. By good I mean caring, honest, supportive, set a good example, etc.
Rather than caution your son not to marry, teach him what it means to be a good husband and what is the nature of woman and marriage, and then let him decide whether or not he wishes to marry. There is not use in him being single if he is not qualified to do so. It is much wiser to train him to be a good husband because that will reduce the likelihood of having a bad marriage. Once trained in this way, he can better decide whether or not to marry.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:42 am
Dear Sugriva Das Prabhu
My statement is based on the quote below by Srila Prabhupada givein in a lecture, BG 7.3, Feb 18, 1974
Just like in the Manu-samhita, there is no divorce. Now our Hindu laws, they have amended, “Divorce is allowed.” That is not according to Manu-samhita.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:40 am
Dear Sugriva Das Prabhu
Although Prabhupada refers to Manu occasionally in his books, he never used the above criteria as a basis for approving of divorce. Prabhupada did say that if a man is fallen, i.e. he doesn’t follow regulative principles, the wife is not obliged to serve him. But at the same time he glorified his sister for staying with her drunkard husband because it helped him eventually become sober. He did allow separation for spiritual purposes, i.e. if both husband and wife were agreeable to separate as a means of increasing their service and on the condition they would not remarry.
Also, the above quotations are speaking of ordinary women, not devotee women, so we must be careful not lump the two together. You seem to be saying it is a fault to stay with a women who is not a good wife, but in reading all that Prabhupada said on marriage you will never see him advising men to leave their wives because of character flaws.
We need to be more cautious in citing references that Prabhupada himself didn’t use, and also citing references that don’t represent the general mood of Prabhupada in regards to grhastha life. In other words, we need to be cautious about citing Manu as a standard for our behavior or action in cases where Prabhupada did not apply these principles to our circumstances. If you want to apply Manu strictly, then none are qualified to be devotees or brahmanas. So be careful how you quote manu. Actually, the paradox is that my Manu’s own standards, we are not qualified to quote him!
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:29 am
Dear Balakrsna das Prabhu
Prabhupada writes in a letter: The point is that the women must be protected, and it is the duty of the leaders of our society to see that this is carried out.
A husband should protect his wife materially and spiritually as far as possible. If she doesn’t want that protection, that is another thing. But in some cases, he is not actual protecting so it seems she is rejecting. She may be rejecting his lack of protection.
When Prabhupada speaks of protection he speaks of it in the sense of providing materially for her, guiding her spiritually, and protecting her from other men who may wish to take advantage of her, either sexually or in other ways (car dealers will sale a car for a higher price to your wife than they will to you, this often happens with car repairs, etc.)
So it is the man’s duty to provide this as best he can.
Regarding your statement that men in the West don’t want to get married any more, the story in my articles illustrates how best to deal with this, i.e. the attitude and behavior of the husband will affect the wife. Still, if the wife is demanding more and is not satisfied, it is the challenge of the husband to be peaceful, tolerant, and supportive as far as possible. At least do your duty to provide protection as best you can and to the degree that she will accept it.
It takes two people to create a relationship and if the relationship is not good remember that you are in that relationship also and you can do something to make it better. Maybe it won’t be perfect according to your standards, but still your duty is to do your best to improve it.
It is easy to complain. It is not easy to make something better.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:24 am
When a sexual falldown between a leader in our movement and a brahmacarini took place, Prabhupada made the comment about it being the man’s fault. I don’t know if this is recorded on the database. I am only referencing this from memory of this incident and how it was explained to us at the time. We were told that Prabhupada responded by putting the blame primarily on the man.
This does follow the sastric statement that cows, women, brahmanas, children and elderly people are not to be punished but protected. In one class the children were making noise and they were asked to leave by a senior devotee and Prabhupada said that in this room there are only brahmanas, children, women, and elderly people so no one here is to be faulted.
And this meant the kids didn’t have to leave.
The general idea is that a woman follows a man, so if man allures a woman into something improper, he is held accountable. Of course, this doesn’t mean a woman will not suffer negative consequences in her life, or should be irresponsible, but still the blame primarily falls on the man because he is supposed to be the leader.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Sep 10, 2014 @ 9:22 am
Your points are well taken and are true, but are half of the equation. Who does Krsna manifest his mercy to? One who is anxious to get it, one who is determine to find it, who “qualifies” for it, who reach out for it, all of which takes a great level of commitment and determination. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explains.
“Unless we extend our best efforts earnestly, and qualify ourselves forthe Lord’s mercy, it is next to impossible that we can be rescued from our fallen condition.”
So what you say it indeed correct but it needs to be balanced with our effort. Either faith only in our own effort, or complete faith in mercy without effort are imbalanced approaches, imho.
The Avanti Brahmana says, “I will cross over the ocean of nescience.” Why is he affirming this? Because the process works and he know if he follows the process he will be successful.
BTW, many devotees have told me the mantra, “I love to chant, I get to chant and I want to chant” have altered their approach to the holy name. Negative psychology can have negative impact on chanting.
I am very aware of the dangers of modern psychology in its putting emphasis on ourselves as the doer and our need, as devotees, to be well aware that Krsna is the one helping us do everything. But he reciprocates according to our need and desire. So when we say I enthusiastically chant the holy names, we can see this as a prayer saying, Krsna, help me to enthusiastically chant because this is my desire.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Jul 5, 2014 @ 11:33 pm
Very nice points. We should never limit the power of bhakti.
Devotees sometimes believe the power of bhakti is limited by their own disqualifications. Of course, our advancement will largely depend on how well we apply the practice and process of bhakti in our lives. But our disqualifications have no bearing on the level of purity we can achieve if we follow the process well. Our advancement comes ultimately through mercy, not through our endeavor, but Krsna reciprocates with our endeavor. And bhakti, and the mercy we get from practicing bhakti, is purer and more powerful than any of our impurities.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Jul 4, 2013 @ 10:12 am
Yes. Bhurijan Prabhu once said tolerance is the essence of humility. The problem is we think the universe centers around us.
» Posted By Mahatma das On May 22, 2013 @ 2:16 pm
Interesting that the only reference to obtaining heaven was through spreading the word.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Dec 31, 2012 @ 9:54 pm
It is also interesting how we sometimes think Krsna creates pain, when factually, we create pain for ourselves.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Nov 26, 2012 @ 1:28 pm
Thank you for your responses.
“We don’t change when we see the light, but we change when we feel the heat.”
Prabhupada endlessly tries to convince us of the futility of material existence and Krsna mercifully puts difficulties to allow us to experience what Prabhupada teaches us.
Here is a nice quote I came across today – I believe by Emerson.
“When the sky darkens the stars come out.”
Often specific realizations can only be had through the trial of ordeal.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Nov 24, 2012 @ 12:27 pm
“Initially I asked for the shastric support for these ideas about creating missions and plans because the resulting confusion, and I still think that at least some of my objections are legitimate, could be explained by the following verse…”
I think the sastric support is in the lives of the devotees. Their great achievements, their building of temples, their printing of books, making of disciples, etc. must have begun with some intention. For example, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was specific about preaching KC in the West. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave him specific instructions about what he wanted to achieve. And you can see that Bhaktivinoda Thakura had a specific agenda in his preaching mission.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Aug 13, 2012 @ 8:29 pm
My personal experience is that if we don’t have clear goals for our spiritual life, i.e. where do we want to be both externally and internally at a certain age in our life, we may end up anywhere, and that anywhere may not be where we want to be. Of course, everything depends on Krsna, but there are five factors to action, not just Krsna. Our efforts are also part of that equation.
So what do you want to achieve in your service and your Krsna consciousness? Rather than thinking it is not philosophically correct to think this way, I propose that it would be Krsna conscious to not think this way (I don’t say this as a criticism to anyone who doesn’t think this way, but devotees who are advancing do think this way, even if they are not conscious of it).
Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends reflection every ekadasi of where you are at in your Krsna consciousness and setting standards or achievements for yourself that you can monitor each ekadasi. Again, it’s not that by setting goals we can control our lives in a way that guarantees we reach them when we choose to reach them, but my experience, and the experience of many others, do teach us that setting specific time-bound goals is an excellent way of achieving what you want in life. And as devotees, certainly what we want is more excellent service and more bhakti.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Aug 13, 2012 @ 8:27 pm
I can see that what I suggested in the article may not fit well with the way Sitalatma thinks. It probably won’t work for everyone. And that’s fine. But I don’t see that it goes against the way Prabhupada worked and thought, at least in some ways. It’s a matter ultimately, of thinking and acting in a way that we can improve our service to Krsna. If these instructions can help devotees do more service and advance in their Krsna consciousness, then why not use them?
Why not make a goal to improve your japa over the next few months? Why not be specific about how you can improve, where you need to improve, what you need to avoid, etc. and see if this helps? And why not make a specific goal to not speak critically about devotees? Why not be specific about how you can increase your service? See if this helps. Of course, we depend on Krsna for these results, but these are good goals and so why wouldn’t Krsna want to help us achieve them if this is how we want to serve Him (I carry what they lack, I reward accordingly).
When we fast on a holiday, we make a sankalpa (intention) to fast, and Prabhupada quotes Visvanatha Chakravarti as saying, “If you don’t fully make that vow to fast, you probably won’t do it, but once you internally commit, then fasting is easy.” This is simply a specific goal you make, i.e., “I will not take any food (or water) until this time of day. Without this goal, we don’t just end up fasting on a random day.
Perhaps Sitalatma is misunderstanding what I have written, or seeing how it can be misapplied.
Some more examples: I have godbrothers who would go out on book distribution with specific goals and would not return until they reached their goals. They used to tell me that these goals kept them focused and that Krsna reciprocates with those goals.
From my understanding of Srila Prabhupada, he did have clear goals for ISKCON and he revealed them over time as we were ready to execute them. This may not be so apparent to everyone because, in general, Prabhupada didn’t micro-manage things. But as was said, he did ask us to double book distribution. He did this to keep us moving forward, to prevent us from becoming lazy, to force us to achieve more than we believed we could achieve. So it does appear that he knew the power of goal-setting and used it.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Aug 13, 2012 @ 6:32 pm
Srila Prabhupada asked us to open 108 temples before he left this planet. That was a very “specific” request. He asked us to print 17 volumes of the CC in two months. Why? Because his books were not being published at the rate he was writing them and he needed to establish a specific goal and timeline otherwise he feared that book publication would always lag behind. The goal made things happen in a way they never happened before.
Prabhupada told us, “What is the use of being American if you don’t do something wonderful?” So he did encourage us to do something wonderful, and to do something wonderful you must first conceive of what it is you want to do. And the more specific, the better. For example, many temples have specific goals in terms of yearly income, members to be made, numbers of attendees at festivals, number of books to distribute, numbers of new people to join, numbers of new nama hattas, bhakti vriksa, etc. This, to me, is showing Krsna how you want to serve Him and allowing Him then to empower you to do this.
Will it happen exactly the way we conceive of it? Of course, that ultimately depends on Krsna. But we can pretty much be guaranteed that if we are not thinking specifically how to serve Krsna, those above mentioned programs are less likely to rapidly develop or expand without those specific goals in mind.
We would often write Prabhupada with our preaching plans. He never said, “How do you know Krsna wants you to do that?” He never said, “You can’t plan like that, it’s not sastric.” He would say, “We have our plan and Krsna has His,” meaning let us see if this is Krsna’s plan. Sometimes you don’t know for sure what is Krsna’s plan but you use your intelligence and you monitor results. Prabhupada monitored results, looked at them and adjusted as needed. We can’t remain in a confused state thinking, “I am not going to make this goal because I don’t know if Krsna wants it.”
Yesterday I saw Sarvabhauma Prabhu, the first devotee to distribute 108 big books. How did he do it? He heard Prabhupada give a lecture about book distribution that inspired him so much he made the goal of distributing 108 big books in a day. Prior to this the world record might have been 50 big books in a day. He set his mind on the goal and showed Krsna this is what he wanted to do. He returned to the temple for Mangala aroti, the day after he first went to the airport to distribute and had done 108 big books!
» Posted By Mahatma das On Aug 13, 2012 @ 6:27 pm
This article is taken from my monthly newsletter called Illuminations. If you would like to read previous issues, or get on my mailing list, go to http://www.mahatmadas.com.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Aug 6, 2012 @ 3:54 pm
«« Back To Stats Page
Focus your energy on one thing that tends to deplete energy from something more important, and you are left with a negative equation. The power of celibacy proved by a mathematical equation!
Thanks for the info on Tesla.
» Posted By Mahatma das On Aug 6, 2012 @ 3:47 pm
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