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Comments Posted By Pandu das

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Krishna Dairyan – We are not vegans, but PRO-PURE DAIRY

Dear Priyavrata prabhu,

Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I gather from your response that you’re saying boycotting milk helps industrial cows by “not being part of the problem.” I don’t see how that is real help, and in fact it arguably increases the suffering of cows. The money that pays for the maintenance of dairy cows comes from the revenue generated by sales of their milk. When a dairy farmer’s income is insufficient, he almost certainly will reduce what is spent on the cows’ needs as much as possible before reducing his own standard of living. In the real-world example I provided, a dairy farm was converted to a beef farm, which I don’t consider an improvement.

In my comment on the article by HH Devamrta Swami ( http://www.dandavats.com/?p=12488 ), I offered argument based on reason and sastra establishing that industrial cows benefit spiritually from having their milk offered to Krishna, and Murali Vadaka prabhu expanded substantially on the same points. I consider it settled, and the claim that cows are not benefited illegitimate and a deviation from Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

Simply, Krishna says devotees are released from all kinds of sin by offering bhoga to the Lord, and logically that means there must be spiritual benefit (anjata sukrti) to offset the suffering experienced by the living beings involved in the food production. Srila Prabhupada’s example proves industrial milk is offerable, and he never gave the ultimatum you are proposing. The fact that milk is mixed so that we can’t identify the individual cows is similar to a bag of flour being mixed so we can’t identify the individual wheat plants, so the idea that we need to identify individual cows is invalid. Paramatma sees all of it and knows.

Furthermore, the idea that we can’t help industrial cows by buying their milk and offering it to Krishna and also support Hare Krishna farms is a false dichotomy. I do both and presume others do too. The fact that Srila Prabhupada wanted ideal cow protection established should be incentive enough, not that we must concoct unnecessary austerities as motivation. It’s already established that there is benefit to industrial cows, and devotees who don’t have access to milk produced on Hare Krishna farms should not have to be malnourished to prove a point. Varnasrama is not meant to make becoming a devotee of Krishna more difficult. Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Jun 28, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

How does it help industrial-owned cows by denying them the opportunity of having their milk offered to Krishna?

I buy milk each week from a Hare Krishna farm, but not exclusively. I don’t see how boycotting milk from regular suffering cows helps them. If such a boycott would be significant enough to put financial pressure on a dairy, undoubtedly the cows would suffer more. One dairy in my area recently was in the news because of going out of business due to financial pressures, and it became a beef farm instead. I understand this Krishna-dairyan movement means well, but it seems to have an unrealistic idea of the consequences. Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Jun 24, 2014 @ 12:05 am

Ocean of Mercy: Bhakti Benefits for Doomed Cows?

Hare Krishna.  Please accept my humble obeisances.  All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Is this analysis by HH Devamrta Swami meant to imply that none of the living beings whose bodies are prepared as bhoga for Krishna are benefited spiritually by the offering, or does that misfortune only apply to cows?

If a devotee bakes some bread for offering to Krishna, we don’t know which plants provided the flour, but we know that many living beings suffered by our taking the bhoga for cooking.  There are even insects, worms, etc., whose bodies were not offered but were hurt in the agriculture process.

BG 3.13: The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

If the offering doesn’t benefit the living beings who unknowingly contributed to the offering, how or why are devotees released from the sins of hurting them?

Accepting the principle of ajñāta-sukṛti (“imperceptible benefit,” as Srila Prabhupada defined it in _Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead_) does not imply that devotees should neglect to support cow protection.  It is well known that Srila Prabhupada stressed the importance of Hare Krishna farms protecting cows and supplying milk.  That should be more than adequate motivation.

Also, if I understand correctly, the intent of bhakti is to serve Krishna according to our best ability.  Milk from cows protected by devotees is indisputably the best milk and of course should be offered to Krishna when it can be obtained.  Therefore, to promote Hare Krishna dairies, it shouldn’t be necessary to negate the authentic principle of ajñāta-sukṛti, which is not a fantasy but rather something Srila Prabhupada described several times in his books. 

As mentioned above, Srila Prabhupada defined ajñāta-sukṛti as “imperceptible benefit.”   Therefore it seems improper to challenge on the basis of empiricism.  Since Srila Prabhupada said it is imperceptible, the principle of ajñāta-sukṛti should be accepted based on faith in His Divine Grace.

Hare Krishna.

Sincerely,
Pandu das

» Posted By Pandu das On Apr 4, 2014 @ 12:26 am

Does God Exist

Hare Krishna. I would expect atheists to disagree with the proof given here, based on the “anthropic principle,” the notion that our ability to inquire about the universe implies a universe that would allow us to exist.

However the anthropic principle raises questions of probabilities, where we can ask the abstract question of what possible universes could exist if our ability to observe it were not a given. Scientists have calculated possible ranges for the forces of the universe, for example if gravity were to weak or too strong, our bodies could not have formed.

Of all the variables, the cosmological constant is such an incredibly tiny number with such a small functional range that the anthropic principle requires a multiverse of virtually unlimited other universes in order to have enough chances to randomly produce a universe capable of supporting conceivable life.

Of course, Vedic texts indicate a multiverse, but materialist scientists cannot show any other universe, so they can’t support their theory that life doesn’t need God to exist.

» Posted By Pandu das On Jun 17, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

Krishna’s Cows

Praghosa wrote, “On the other hand by offering their milk to Krishna the cows are receiving unlimited spiritual benefit. . . .”

Babhru wrote, “I hear this so often from devotees, but I can’t think of anyone who has offered any pramana to support it. Do we really have any evidence that this is true? If so, what is it, specifically?”

Srila Prabhupada wrote in Krishna Book:
“The system of worshiping Krsna by offering flowers from a tree is also beneficial for the living entity who is confined to the bodily existence of that tree. When flowers and fruits are offered to Krsna, the tree that bore them also receives much benefit, indirectly. The arcana process, or worshiping procedure, is therefore beneficial for everyone.”

If a tree benefits when its flowers are offered to Krishna, why wouldn’t a cow benefit when her milk is offered to Him?

» Posted By Pandu das On Jul 16, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

Why not store bought milk

I’m pleased to hear of your success, Mathura. I wanted to set up a farm sanctuary since college, but it took me 8 years after getting my degree (Environmental Studies, B.S.) before I could even afford to buy a house, and the best I could do was not quite five acres, almost 12 miles from the local temple farm. I’ve been a part of two ISKCON “farm communities”, but neither was set up for communal farming it became an individual family endeavor instead.

I don’t see how I can get from where I am now to maintaining a sustainable herd of cows. Right now, to pay for the mortgage, electric, heat, cars & fuel, clothes, etc., I have to spend 40 hours a week in a cubicle 50 miles from home. I love gardening, wildcrafting herbs, tending the animals, etc., but so far these activities bring in very little income. If I quit my job to work the land full time, I would lose my house along with the land before I could get established. With five kids and a wife all supported by my paycheck, I can’t afford to take big risks. We do have our small farm sanctuary and are protecting one cow along with a wide variety of other animals, but so far making a living of this remains a dream.

Does our protecting one cow, along with persistent preaching of Krishna consciousness and promoting vegetarian diets, give us the right to offer milk to Krishna and take the prasad with a clear conscience? I’ve given it plenty of thought, and I think it does. We’re doing our best, and the struggle for existence in the material energy is hard. I wish that more devotees would get more involved in farming and cow protection; but it’s not just the labor, it’s perplexing. How does a man of modest means and a family to support get to be a farmer working according to the principles of Krishna consciousness?

» Posted By Pandu das On Jun 18, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

Hare Krishna.

I agree that everyone should actively engage in cow protection, but the claim that devotees are somehow wrong for buying milk from the store is not supported. I have never seen such a restriction given by Srila Prabhupada. The idea that cows raised by nondev0tee farmers are benefited by offering their milk to Krishna not imagined; it is given by Srila Prabhupada’s statement in Krishna Book:

“The system of worshiping Krsna by offering flowers from a tree is also beneficial for the living entity who is confined to the bodily existence of that tree. When flowers and fruits are offered to Krsna, the tree that bore them also receives much benefit, indirectly. The arcana process, or worshiping procedure, is therefore beneficial for everyone.”

On the other hand, the idea that refusing store milk somehow benefits cows is speculative. Who can point to a single cow that has been saved from suffering or slaughter by devotees avoiding store-bought milk? At least in the West, devotees are not in sufficient numbers to impact the milk market. However, by buying milk those cows are at least getting an opportunity to serve Krishna.

I worked for many years to bring my family to a point where we could directly practice cow protection, and we now have one cow along with a few sheep and goats for fiber. However, the cow has not yet been able to give birth and I suspect may never be able. We tried to breed her a few years ago, but it was not fruitful and now it’s been almost 3 years since she has gone into heat. At least for us, cow protection and milk production are related but separate issues.

Mathura Prabhu kindly describes some of the financial costs and benefits of cow protection, but leaves out some. For example, buying the cow. They’re not cheap! Also the most expensive factor is land. In my rural county, farmland can easily exceed $10,000 per acre. Moreover, none of the land neighboring my home is for sale. I have less than five acres, of which about 3 are pasture. Certainly that is not enough to sustain a herd.

I’ve never heard of anyone paying $10/gallon of milk. Most people are accustomed to paying half that. (I normally pay $6.75/gallon for raw, organic milk, and the devotees I’ve bought milk from asked for much less.) Still, if we take the $10/gal, forget land costs and property taxes, etc., who can maintain a family in the USA on $7,000 a year? One still needs a “real job” to support it.

» Posted By Pandu das On Jun 4, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

Balancing The Roles Of The Gbc And The Disciple In Guru Selection

I’m lacking sufficient time to participate fully in this interesting discussion, but I at least want to respond to a comment that addressed me.

@ CCD – How does my point make sense only if siksa guru is inferior to diksa guru? I don’t say a diksa guru is necessarily superior, but they have different entry points. A complete beginner can act as vartma pradarsaka guru simply by giving someone one of Srila Prabhupada’s books. A devotee with some understanding of Krishna consciousness, but who is not necessarily even initiated, can act as siksa guru simply by teaching another beginner. Acting as diksa guru is more restricted. For example, a diksa guru must himself be initiated at the very least, and Srila Prabhupada has said the etiquette allows one only to initiate one’s own disciples after the disappearance of one’s own guru. His behavior should also be a perfect example of Krishna consciousness, otherwise how can he be accepted as Krishna’s representative?

When Srila Prabhupada said to become guru and teach Krishna consciousness to others, it’s clearly calling for siksa gurus because the activity is teaching and there is no mention either of waiting until after his disappearance or a waiver of that rule. If the statement doesn’t talk about diksa gurus, it shouldn’t be taken as positive evidence regarding diksa. Just because the word “guru” is used does not mean we can take any meaning of the word that we like. We have to deduce Srila Prabhupada’s intended meaning and stick with that, otherwise it’s cheating.

While siksa may be more important, the diksa guru is still special. We can take siksa from many sources, but we get only one diksa guru. When someone asks who is your guru, it is customary that one answers the name of the guru who gave initiation. We identify with him and look to him as Krishna’s representative and worship him accordingly, as “my lord birth after birth.” The diksa guru is almost always taken as a chief siksa guru too, so when he speaks, our “only wish is to have (our) consciousness purified by the words emanating from his lotus mouth.” If somehow one of our siksa gurus fails to inspire us, we can move on without much difficulty; but if an aspiring devotee loses faith in his diksa guru, it is a serious dilemma. Otherwise there would be no need for the GBC to ask the SAC to address it. If this is a problem for experienced devotees on the GBC, how much more difficult it must be for newcomers!

Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On May 6, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

The sixth page of this article begins by saying that Srila Prabhupada was clear about wanting all his disciples to become spiritual masters, but the SAC seems to be improperly favoring specific meaning of a term that actually has broad applications.

We know of at least three kinds of gurus (introducing, instructing, and initiating), so it seems helpful to consider which kind of guru is being described in each quote. The term “spiritual master” can also have various meanings, including a pure devotee with no disciples (as contrasted with a spiritual aspirant). Sometimes more than one meaning seems to be used in a discussion, making it difficult to separate them. Especially with personal letters, context often seems very relevant to the meaning and implications of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. I just don’t find arguments on this topic very persuasive if these factors are ignored.

In the lecture on 4 Nov 1973, for example, Srila Prabhupada gives an order to become spiritual master, but what kind of guru does he mean? There is no mention of waiting until after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance (as required in the 2 Dec 1975 letter to Tusta Krsna Swami), and the description is of introducing people to Krishna consciousness and giving basic instruction. The word “disciple” does not even appear in the quote. How then can this be used as proof for authorizing initiating gurus?

Another example, the next quote, from 11 Dec 1968, also qualifies the phrase “spiritual master” as “Simply speak Krsna consciousness, that’s all.”

I’ve heard of only six instances where Srila Prabhupada apparently says his disciples will be able to initiate their own disciples. Five are private letters to ambitious disciples where the point is clearly to stall his disciple’s drive to initiate, while the prospect of initiating seems to be held like a carrot on a stick to keep the disciple following. Never was such a letter sent to a patient, humble devotee. The other was an early (1971), private interview with an Indian reporter that was not even published until 1997. None of these examples seem intended or remotely sufficient to dictate ISKCON policy that was supposed to take effect in 1977 or 1978.

Since the issue at hand relates to diksa gurus, it makes sense to stick to quotes that clearly reference diksa gurus and avoid those that describe other kinds of gurus. This can also have the enlightening effect of forcing us to rethink some of our assumptions. Hari bol.

» Posted By Pandu das On Apr 19, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

Vyasa-puja book offerings for all S.P. disciples

Hare Krishna. I’ve often heard that our parampara is primarily based upon siksa, that siksa is more important than diksa, and that anyone can be a disciple of Srila Prabhupada by following his teachings. However, I get the impression that contributions for this book are being accepted only from disciples initiated by Srila Prabhupada personally or by his rtvik representatives during his manifest pastimes. If that is true (and if not then I wish someone would clarify), then what kind of message does it send to those who chiefly derive their inspiration each day from hearing Srila Prabhupada speak and reading his books?

Hare Krishna

» Posted By Pandu das On Mar 23, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

Say NO! to vaccines

I tend to be skeptical about conspiracy theories, but I certainly appreciate mention of fetal bovine serum as a vaccination ingredient. It’s been over 12 years since I’ve studied up on vaccine issues, but back then I got the impression that there was definitely ghastliness involved in the production of vaccines. None of my five children have ever been vaccinated.

Do any of the devotees here know which vaccines contain the products of animal slaughter and which, if any, do not? I’ve been under the impression that it’s all of them, and that the manufacture of vaccines involve animal cruelty in other ways also.

Should devotees really be getting fetal bovine serum injected onto their bodies and thinking it will make us healthy? Perhaps fetal bovine serum sounds innocent due to the scientific terminology, but if I understand correctly, it’s obtained by getting a cow pregnant, giving her an abortion, extracting the blood from the fetus, and removing the solids. The remaining liquid is fetal bovine serum. That’s supposed to make us healthy? It sounds like a deal with the devil.

I’m pretty sure the Krishna conscious philosophy Srila Prabhupada taught indicated that material afflictions resulted from sinful activity, and devotees were supposed to depend on Krishna. Isn’t it true that our duration of life is predetermined and cannot be extended by material means, despite appearances? Of course it’s normally impossible for us to know what would have happened in an alternate reality based on another course of action.

Practically speaking, in an immediate life-or-death situation, I might accept a vaccine or other similarly undesirable treatment; but as a routine preventative measure the way most vaccines are given, I definitely would not consider the presumed benefit to justify animal slaughter.

ISKCON should establish a formal position on this matter, hopefully opposing the use of slaughterhouse products in routine preventative medicine. Each year as part of our homeschooling program my wife and I submit an affidavit to the state saying that routine vaccinations are contrary to our religious beliefs. To support it we say something resembling what I’ve written above, but when other devotees contradict our views on this subject, our position may be weakened and our rights could be compromised. As I see it, Krishna’s devotees should not be injecting products of cow killing with the hope that it will promote health.

Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Aug 13, 2009 @ 1:50 am

New Book Reveals Fundamental Flaw in Darwin’s Theory

“I know plenty of people who believe in both God and evolution.”

Where did they get their idea of God? From their imagination? The Vaisnava acaryas teach not only about God but also about sastra. If the “scientific” idea of evolution is not compatible with what is presented in sastra as taught by Srila Prabhupada, then we have to choose to accept one or the other.

When did Srila Prabhupada ever congratulate Darwin on his famous theory? He didn’t. So if we want to embrace Darwin’s theory or something close to it, we have to let go of Srila Prabhupada. Personally I’m not willing to do that for anything. I have a scientific education too, with several biology classes (Environmental Studies, B.S.), but I also know that the whole modern paradigm is built on Krishna’s illusory energy with no idea about Krishna. Therefore it cannot be trusted regardless of how appealing it may seem.

Why should I spend time pondering things like evolution at all? I could be killed any number of ways today or tomorrow, and then such knowledge, right or wrong, will be of no use. Let me just hear and accept what Srila Prabhupada has to say, for he is our ever well wisher and he knows Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Aug 1, 2009 @ 12:09 am

Vaisnava culture of respect and honour

Has anyone made a collection of Srila Prabhupada quotes on this subject of how multiple diksa gurus would function in ISKCON? Before Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, there was a sole diksa guru in ISKCON who was above the GBC in authority, but now the many diksa gurus are below. That’s a flip in the position of guru relative to the GBC and it changes the traditional behavior of both guru and disciple. I read in one place that he never spoke about this, but it’s hard to believe that devotees should be left to figure out that change after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance.

» Posted By Pandu das On Jun 30, 2009 @ 4:59 am

Forces of light and forces of darkness in the Bible and the Vedas

The “Thou shall not kill” strategy may have been effective in the 70’s but now they usually say the proper translation is “Thou shall not murder.” I have argued in response that translating the word as murder would place God’s laws as subordinate to our legal definition of murder. They assume the “dominion” we are given over animals in Genesis means we can kill them for our purposes, so they find no problem with killing animals for food. The problem with that argument is that a king could kill his own subjects for his eating “pleasure” and not run afoul of God’s laws. Since he decides what is murder and has dominion over his subjects, they would be legitimate food for him. Of course that’s ridiculous. Still, the argument is a little compicated, which makes it not very effective.

Rather than relying on the “Thou shall not kill” commandment, I find Proverbs 6.16-17 to be much more definitive:

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

So the Bible says “the LORD hates… hands that shed innocent blood.” A Christian may argue (incorrectly of course) that an animal has no soul, but he cannot say that animals have no blood. All that remains is the question of innocence, and very few animals have done anything in their animal lives to warrant the death penalty.

Oddly enough, the statement that the Lord hates hands that shed innocent blood undermines the whole Christian theology, which has a supposedly omnipotent God being forced to do something He hates (having His only son slaughtered on a crucifix) for the sake of saving the believers. It’s a conflict between God’s omnipotence, His desire (the basis of hate), and His son’s innocence. An omnipotent God should be able to achieve His goals without having to depend on a method that He hates.

Maybe that’s why I never heard of these verses until I happened to find them myself.

» Posted By Pandu das On Feb 13, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

Wanna improve your book distribution?

I have cases of Srila Prabhupada’s books sitting in my closet and in my car because I don’t have the skills to get people to take them. I wish I could go to a course like this, but Mayapur is halfway around the globe. With so many encumberances like family, farm animals, job, etc., there is no way I can get there. Perhaps ISKCON or the BBT could sponsor expert book distributors to visit each ISKCON center to give courses on book distribution. I imagine that distributing books in Mayapur has little in common with distributing books in Central Pennsylvania, where few have heard of Bhagavad-gita but everyone knows John 14:6 (“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”). Giving instruction to interested local devotees would allow for more focus on how to overcome local challenges, in addition to making it accessible to anyone who wants to attend. Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Dec 24, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

Harinama Sankirtana on the streets of Leeds

Any news on an Inauguration Day kirtan? It’s just next week. I saw a notice that one group is having an indoor kirtan party with a big admission fee, but I’m hoping for something much more public (and free).

Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Jan 12, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

Dear Locananda Prabhu,

Hare Krishna. I got excited when I saw your suggestion about having a Harinam party at in DC. I’d be willing to drive in from Gita-nagari. I hope this is something we can do. Even if not in the parade, there will be people everywhere.

Hare Krishna.
Pandu das

pandu.bms (at) gmail.com

» Posted By Pandu das On Dec 8, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

Computer at Gita Nagari decides it is time to leave

Backing up critical data is a very good idea. Nothing lasts forever in the material world, but we can take precautions to give things a better chance of lasting longer. Everything is under Krishn’s control, but why tempt fate?

The same computer had a similar difficulty in 2004, and the Adopt a Cow donor list was thought to be lost. At that time I was able to extract the donor files raw data and convert it to other usable formats. Fortunately I retained a copy of those files on my home computer, and after seeing the article here I sent a PDF of the file to the temple. It’s a little outdated, but should be a good start.

I’m hoping to get my hands on the crashed hard drive to see what else can be recovered. I’ve been hankering to get copies of a set of pictures of Swarupa Damodara’s Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Deities that I saw on that computer when I was doing that other recovery work. There were several amazing pictures there, but I was only able to get two at that time. I really hope the rest of these pictures are not lost. I recently uploaded those two pictures here:
http://oppositerule.govindapeacefarm.com/?p=631

I have a few retail data recovery programs, but there’s also a free one that plan to try. I’ve read some pretty good reviews. Here it is: http://www.recuva.com/

» Posted By Pandu das On Nov 26, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

Puri priests up in arms against ISKCON

Why are the priests at the Jagannatha Temple so upset about ISKCON celebrating Rathayatra on various dates. Are they only concerned about the dates for the festivals in India, or elsewhere too? I don’t know much about what goes on in India, but it would suprise me if ISKCON leaders there were trying to upstage the Rathayatra at Puri. Of course the fact that so many ISKCON members are prohibited from entering the Jagannatha Temple may be given as a possible motivation for bad relations; but still it should not be presumed that ISKCON is using alternate festival dates just to spite them. However, considering the Jagannatha Temple’s treatment of non-Hindu Hare Krishna devotees, I can understand if ISKCON responds to Puri’s demands with indifference.

The simple explanation seems to me to be that having various festival dates allows for organizers to work on multiple festivals and for pilgrims to attend festivals in multiple locations each year as well. Other resources can also be moved from one location to another for multiple festivals. It seems that if every Rathayatra were held on the same date everywhere in the world, ISKCON resources would be stretched and devotees from around the world would be needed to support their local festival and therefor unable to attend the festival at Puri. I know I am largely ignorant of Jagannatha Culture, so I can only hope to not offend anyone; but these just seem to me like some logical points. Am I missing something? Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Nov 17, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

Effective, Mature Outreach

Hare Krishna. I really appreciate seeing the various viewpoints of devotees here in regard to preaching Krishna consciousness. I know I have a lot to learn. Also I am grateful for the clarification from Jagabandhu, which we also discussed via e-mail. It’s so easy for misunderstandings to occur in written forums.

Personally I am very reserved about preaching at work; although because I work in environmental law enforcement, I take every opportunity to promote the vegetarian diet on a scientific basis. It seems to me to be poor etiquette to discuss religion in a secular job, but also no one can tell me I cannot display the marks of my faith. I specifically chose a civil service career with that in mind. (My dream is if I could earn my living while preaching Krishna consciousness, but I haven’t figured out how I can do that yet.) I’m sure I make less money this way, but that’s a trade-off I can accept if necessary. If I can’t have the inner mood of a Vaisnava, at least I want the outer appearance and cubicle-decorations.

I’ve heard many times from people saying they’ve been “accosted” by Hare Krishna devotees. I’ve definitely never accosted anyone. If there is a philosophical discussion taking place, I present relevant points of Krishna conscious philosophy as I’ve understood them from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and offer some actual books if I’m able. I also participate in public chanting whenever a group of devotees can be organized. (I’ll do the organizing if necessary.) Other than that I simply let the Vaisnava symbols – tilak, sikha, kanthi mala, and japa bag/mala do the talking. If someone is familiar with devotees, just seeing me like this reminds him or her of Krishna. Otherwise they probably just think I’m weird. (I do think that if more devotees revealed their faith this way, more of the public would be reminded of Krishna and hopefully fewer people would think I’m weird.) Some of these people ask what these insignia are about, and then I have an invitation to say something about Krishna. Most of the people I see are simply passing by in various public settings with no opportunity to cultivate them over time, so I simply want to remind them of Krishna, even subconsciously, via tilak and sikha. I also have a big Hare Krishna painted across the back of my car. 8^) I’m trying to develop the sort of personality for distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books profusely, but due to shyness I’m not quite there yet. Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Dec 1, 2008 @ 6:20 am

Dear Jagabandhu Prabhu

Hare Krishna.
I don’t know your situation, but around here people celebrate their faith with “Praise the Lord Pig Roast” parties, church barbecues, etc., in the name of religion. These poor jiva souls are sleeping in the forest fire of material existence, and sweet, flattering words will surely blend nicely with maya’s soft lullaby.

It may make me an “asoul” in your view (clever hidden vulgarity, if you don’t mind being offensive), but I am determined to loudly call out Krishna’s holy names with drums and cymbals to awaken whomever I can and get them out of this perilous situation. I am only preaching what I’ve learned from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and I don’t want to stop.

Dear Karnamrita Prabhu,

Hare Krishna.

As I mentioned, I try to be friendly with everyone I meet, and I don’t go around telling people they’re atheists if they have some religious faith. I work in a big office where everyone knows I’m a Hare Krishna and I have no problem. I understand that the goal of preaching is to actually convince people, but what do you do when someone insists Jesus is the only way, but they feed their kids hamburger?

From what I’ve seen, very few people are interested in philosophy. They want sense gratification, and Christianity gives them a license to get it. All they have to do is ask Jesus for forgiveness, and if you don’t accept Jesus as your personal savior, then you’re damned to hell for eternity. Am I wrong?

They get this from the Bible, and I’ve had quite enough of it. Cow protection and slaughterhouse religion cannot coexist. The way God is described in the Bible sounds to me more like a demigod than the Personality of Godhead. What does it mean when a devotee hands someone Bhagavad-gita As It Is but the person doesn’t take it? Why does Paramatma not guide the person to accept Krishna? It seems to me that it would be because the person does not want Krishna at that point; he thinks Krishna is an ordinary man, or deep down he just doesn’t want to surrender to Krishna. The Bible thumpers are usually in this category, and when they use the Bible to justify nonsense, I feel a duty to at least say, “No, Krishna is God, and if you want to understand God, you should hear what He says in Bhagavad-gita. If you’re really serious about knowing God, you should just read this, and then tell me if you think Krishna is not God.”

Whether they accept or not is between them and Krishna. I do my part.
Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Nov 26, 2008 @ 4:15 am

Dear Karnamrita Prabhu, Hare Krishna. PAMHO. AGTSP.
I think we can agree that we should do whatever may help to induce people to chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra in a mood following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya. My experience as someone who grew up in a Christian family and having lived surrounded by Christians my whole life is that the more they are interested in the Bible, the less they’re interested in Krishna consciousness. They say that Jesus is God, and Krishna is not God; and among scriptures they tend to respect only the Bible. Since the Bible does not directly say anything about Krishna, nor does it emphasize chanting holy names, they don’t consider our movement bona fide. Some think our abstaining from meat is proof of our rejection of God’s commandments (what to speak of Deity worship), and that we’re surely going to hell forever unless we accept Jesus as the only way.

I try to be friendly with everyone I meet (and the first thing they see is my tilak and bald head with sikha), but fact that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be compromised. Someone may be attached to Krishna in His other forms, such as Rama or Nrsimha, and that is fine, but if anyone derides Krishna, I can’t help but consider the person an atheist. Krishna calls them “fools” in B.g. 9.11, and describes their views as demoniac and atheistic in the following verse.

In considering whether Christians are acting as atheists, I can’t help but see that they portray God in an absurd, insulting way, and have thereby made self-declared atheists in vast numbers. They reject reincarnation and thereby paint a picture of gross injustice in the world. They slaughter tens of billions of animals each year, thinking there is no soul in them. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly emphasized the Biblical commandment, “Thou shall not kill,” but now they say it really means “murder” and cite the Bible to say that God actually wants us to eat animals.

It is nice when people accept that there is a supreme authority, but to love God one must actually know who God is. When the truth is presented that “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” it must be accepted. As Srila Prabhupada concludes the introduction to B.g. “Let there be one God for the whole world – Sri Krishna… and one hymn, one mantra, one prayer — the chanting of His name: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Haribol!

» Posted By Pandu das On Nov 24, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

I could probably benefit from the advice given here, but am also concerned that it is often taken to the opposite extreme, if one could call it that. For example, it is very common for devotees today, even second-initiated, to not only wear Western clothes (as Srila Prabhupada permitted), but to also forgo being shaved up with sikha and wearing tilak only during formal devotee gatherings such as temple programs. If the public does not know we’re devotees, then how much does it help our preaching to just be a nice person? Similarly, devotees who are reluctant to reveal themselves as such publicly tend to also be shy about going out on sidewalk Harinam programs and book distribution.

It seems to me to be a delicate balance. I recall from a psychology class in college (before I’d heard about Krishna) that when a person is confronted with a viewpoint that is too different from his or her own view, the person naturally sees it as a threat and withdraws deeper into their original view as a defense. I have seen this on occasion in my preaching efforts, and it is very unfortunate. So we have to approach people in a way that does not activate their defenses, which requires a certain degree of expertise when one is actually interested in awakening them to the Absolute Truth and purifying ourselves at the same time.

My concern is that the material world is such a perilous place that genuine spiritual realization is actually quite urgent, so we have to make the most of every interaction. Also, we cannot compromise the philosophy that Srila Prabhupada has given us. For example, in Caitanya Caritamrta (http://vedabase.net/cc/adi/12/71/en), it is stated that anyone who is opposed to Lord Caitanya’s movement is an atheist. Naturally this can be taken at a minimum that anyone opposed to worshipping Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually an atheist, despite of their so-called claim of religiosity. If we compromise on this point, what does that make us?

» Posted By Pandu das On Nov 17, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

To vote or not to vote?

I heard some devotees have proposed that voting causes one to accrue karma that would not be accrued by not voting, so I searched the Vedabase for variations of “karma” and “vote” within 50 words of each other, and found only one result. [advanced search: "vot* karm*"/50] (The word “karma” appeared in the Bhagavad-gita verse that followed.)

Prabhupada: “According to our Vedic civilization, first-class men’s vote required, who knows things as they are. One who does not know things as they are, what is the use of taking vote from him?”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation with Dr. Copeland, Professor of Modern Indian History — May 20, 1975, Melbourne

As I understand it, the problem with democracy is that the general population is ignorant of spiritual principles. People don’t know what’s good for them. If a person is knowledgeable but does not vote, he is contributing to the problem by allowing the ignorant to choose the leader. Of voting or not voting, it seems to me that avoiding one’s civic duty would be the way to accrue karma. The following verse comes to mind:

“One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.” Bg 4.18

» Posted By Pandu das On Nov 3, 2008 @ 4:01 am

Being a guru in Iskcon: a spiritual leadership seminar

>>“Someone may wonder how it is that gurus can attend training seminars.”

>Why on earth would anyone wonder that?

Well, I admit at first glace I wondered that, not exactly how they can attend, but more like wondering what is lacking in simply being Krishna conscious that one would need to attend a seminar to fill some lack.

As Srila Prabhupada said in a Bhagavad-gita (2.46-62) lecture on Dec. 16, 1969, “A devotee who is always in Krsna consciousness, for him there is nothing unknown. He knows everything. ” Therefore one might hope that a guru would understand his service perfectly well simply by virtue of being Krishna conscious.

Of course I was not in attendance, but from the list of subjects I don’t doubt that the seminar would be helpful for ISKCON gurus.

» Posted By Pandu das On Oct 30, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

Even if we have to eat meat

Srila Prabhupada described meat-eaters as “atma-ha” in the purport to S.B. 1.3.24, although he didn’t specifically use that term. Instead he described the atheists as another kind of “animal killers.” http://vedabase.net/sb/1/3/24/

(I just happened to read that a few hours ago. Funny how things connect.)

“The animal-killers are dangerous elements on the path going back to Godhead. There are two types of animal-killers. The soul is also sometimes called the “animal” or the living being. Therefore, both the slaughterer of animals and those who have lost their identity of soul are animal-killers.

“Maharaja Pariksit said that only the animal-killer cannot relish the transcendental message of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if people are to be educated to the path of Godhead, they must be taught first and foremost to stop the process of animal-killing as above mentioned. It is nonsensical to say that animal-killing has nothing to do with spiritual realization.”

» Posted By Pandu das On Oct 15, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

The Buddhist excuse for eating meat seems like little more than a pretense.

As reported in the Milwalkee Journal Sentinel last year, “The Dalai Lama is, it turns out, a meat lover.” ( http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=605615 )

The Dalai Lama is not a beggar, and the chefs were expecting to prepare a vegetarian meal for him. Instead, according to his desire, they served the Dalai Lama and the other guests veal (!) , pheasant, a soup with chicken broth, fish, and a few apparently vegetarian side dishes and dessert. Of course, vegetarian “anything” has little meaning for a person with a belly full of meat.

Somehow people are charmed by his smile, his giggle, his “warmth.” What about integrity? How can someone be considered an embodiment of compassion when he enjoys meat and even veal? Not only enjoys, but apparently prefers it. Clearly this is Kali Yuga.

Sometimes it seems to me that Maya pushes us toward inauspiciousness until we can tolerate no more and have to surrender to Krishna. My turning point seems nowhere in sight, so I just hope that if my economic situation ever gets so bad that there is only meat to eat, that Krishna will let me die first, while helping me to remember Him and the love He shares with His devotees.

» Posted By Pandu das On Oct 7, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

Thank you for the beautiful stories and explanations of sastra. Very inspiring. Hare Krishna. I don’t know when I will ever become a devotee, but at least it is very touching to read about others’ success.

» Posted By Pandu das On Oct 5, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

Beware! The fault-finders

Hare Krishna. One example of how Srila Prabhupada (“Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu”) responded to deviations in the Gaudiya Matha after the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada is described in Our Srila Prabhupada, A Friend to All, Early Contemporaries Remember Him. This part told by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja:

“…Later Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu wrote another dramatic article — this time about some of the leaders in the Gaudiya Matha. The article explained how the institution was coming apart after Srila [Bhaktisiddhanta] Prabhupada’s departure. Grihasthas were giving up their wives and loving others’ wives, and in the name of developing the mission, some were putting all the money collected into their own pockets. Sannyasis, even those who had been with their Prabhupada, were making buildings and sending all the money to their sons in their former homes to go to high school and university, or to go to England and America to study law and other things. He wrote about this situation and the first part was published in our Bhagavata-patrika and Gaudiya-patrika. At once a big storm broke out in the whole Gaudiya Mission. Although only about three pages were printed, letters began to come from many Gaudiya Mathas.

“It was like a revolution. Our guru maharaja and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu were talking and smiling very secretly together. Prabhu said, ‘We should publish more of it. Why not?’ Guru Maharaja was also in favor of publishing it. However many of the godbrothers exclaimed, ‘Oh, Kesava Maharaja, what are you doing, printing this? Then everyone will know and will criticize the Gaudiya Matha. These are our private family matters.’ Even Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja, who was highly respected by all, was consulted. Many godbrothers came to Mathura at that time and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu was residing here in our matha. Srila Tirtha Maharaja andother devotees asked, ‘What are you going to do? If you print this then our present institution will be smashed.’ Guru Maharaja and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu were smiling and asking each other, ‘Oh, what to do?’ But when requested by so many godbrothers they decided, ‘Later on we may publish the articles, but for now we should obey their orders.’”

» Posted By Pandu das On Sep 29, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

My response regarding the design of the TVP

Hare Krishna. My humble obeisances to the assembled devotees. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Since these discussions about the contruction of the TVP began here, I’ve been wondering if devotees have a clear enough understanding of Vedic cosmography to display an appropriate model in the proposed temple. I have been trying to understand this myself, but I’m finding it quite difficult. There are several books I have yet to read, so maybe I’m just revealing my ignorance and foolishness here. It would certainly be wonderful to see the world of Srimad Bhagavatam magnificently depicted in a temple (though my commitments leave little opportunity to travel), but seeing Rasasthali’s comment (22) above gives me pause.

What are others’ views on this? Are there devotees who have enough of a clear and complete understanding of Vedic cosmographyto make a 3-dimensional model of it to communicate this knowledge to the public? I certainly hope so. I think it would be an embarassment to build a temple like this without being able to fill it with its intended subject matter. Ordinary people as well as scientists should see the depiction and say, “Wow, that makes perfect sense. Amazing. Do you have any of those Srimad Bhagavatams for sale?” To my view, this is a lot more important than what the temple looks like on the outside. If those in charge know ‘we’ can do that even now, then my insignificant voice says to “Go ahead, do it!” If not, then maybe we’re “putting the cart before the horse.” Please forgive any offense on my part. Hare Krishna.

» Posted By Pandu das On Sep 3, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

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