Comments Posted By Pavamana
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My deepest condolences to the friends and family of Rasa Priya dd. She spent many years in San Diego, and I was fortunate to have had her association during her time here.
Rasa Priya loved doing plays. She directed and produced many of them, and I was able to land a part in a few of them. Particularly, she rewrote HH Tamal Krishna Maharaja’s play, ‘The Drama of Lord Jagannatha”. I played the part of the Brahmin priest. We rehearsed for months . When it was finally ready for the opening, the temple room was overflowing with guests, and when it was over, the response was overwhelming. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.
This production was a result of the profound ecstasy she and her father felt by reading HH Tamal Krishna’s book. She wanted to produce the play, but felt it was too long. The original version lasted about 4 hours, and she condensed it to about an hour and a half. The production was performed three times in San Diego, and I think we did it again in Laguna Beach once. It was a smash success. Not only did she rewrite the play and produce and direct it, but she and her father made Jagannatha Deities specially for the play. I think she was in her teens at the time. She also did another play called “The Kidnapping of Rukmini”, and some other plays I don’t remember now.
Her intelligence seemed unlimited, and she was always enthusiastic in whatever she did. Just like Banasura had so many arms, Rasa Priya Mataji had so many talents she didn’t know what to do with them! She could have done anything she wanted.
I cherish those few years I had with this great soul. I hope someday to follow her to eternal life with our Lord Krishna.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On Dec 26, 2012 @ 7:21 pm
This is a testament to the bravery and courage of all the devotees who made Juhu temple a reality. It was extremely difficult in those early days, with a very small brick temple building overlooking an open pavillion “temple room”. There was very little money, and the devotees lived very austerely. In those days, we collected laxmi by showing shopkeepers a leaflet of the proposed temple, guest hotel, amphitheatre and Gurukula. I’d get a few rupees, and the shopkeeper would say, “When you lay the foundation, I’ll give.” It was only to get me out of his shop. Giriraj Prabhu (at the time) would make a life member after many days of going out, and that allowed us to purchase a little bhoga for the Deities. Most of the food was rejected grains from the grain market that PanchaDravida prabhu (later Maharaj) would collect. All of the grains had worms in them, and the rice was chipped, almost no unbroken pieces. Most of the Western devotees were sick, and the smell of the sewage was unbearable because there was no septic system. A huge pit just behind the temple collected the waste water from the showers and kitchen. Rats, dogs and mosquitos tormented the devotees and ate bhoga from the kitchen each night. The ashrama was made from thatched bamboo, with a canvas tarp over the building to keep it dry during the monsoons. Before the rains came, it was unbearably hot in there. Most of the time, there was bickering and fighting amongst the devotees, and two camps emerged, each criticizing the other over the management of the temple. In spite of the difficulty, the devotees pushed on. Many, like myself, came and went. I’m sure the level of austerity the brave devotees underwent is more than equal to the austerity of great yogis and ascetics.
The fact that there is a world class temple now with twin tower guest houses, amphitheatre, Gurukula and thousands of life members is truly a miracle. I give most credit to all the devotees and especially Giriraj Maharaj and Sridhar Maharaj for staying and making it happen. Srila Prabhupada will indeed take you and anyone who helped,back to Godhead.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On Apr 16, 2011 @ 6:38 am
If the cited conversations with Srila Prabhupada, recollections of devotees who were present with His Divine Grace at the time, and the printed words of the Founder Acharya aren’t enough to convince one, then no amount of scrutinizing further is going to convince a skeptic on this matter. If you reprint everything that was said by Srila Prabhupada and his disciples in their entirety, in context or otherwise, you must admit that the relevant information is already given in this article. So, why do we need to go any further into what Srila Prabhupada said when we already know it? The arguments given by opponents of Patita Pavana’s article are clearly in opposition to the statements of His Divine Grace on the moon landing. Their conclusions are based upon research into the moon landing as given by the government sources, scientists, news media, astronauts, and other sources, which clearly conclude that the moon landing was indeed a fact. So how are we, as educated persons as well as disciples of Srila Prabhupada, to accept the words of our beloved Spiritual master in light of so much information to the contrary? If we deny the clear statements of Srila Prabhupada, we are accused of having little faith in Krishna Consciousness. If we blindly follow what Srila Prabhupada has said, we disregard years of education and deny what clearly appears to be scientific facts. Thus we are having this editorial discussion. All the arguments from both sides have already been given in the last Dandavats discussion about it, so in essence, nothing new is being presented here. At this point, it is pointless to continue arguing back and forth. I know where I stand, and after reading the article and editorial comments, anyone can make up their own mind on the matter. I say we bury the hatchet and move on.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On Dec 22, 2010 @ 1:34 pm
With all due respect to the author, the basic premise cited here:
“Srila Prabhupada neatly defines the Vedic scientific method: “Vedic literature, direct perception, history and hypothesis are the four kinds of evidential proofs. Everyone should stick to these principles for the realization of the Absolute Truth.” SB 11.19.7 quoted in Cc Madhya 9.362″
cannot be used to infer that these are all equally valid. If we take Vedic literature as it is, we cannot refute it. The argument that cow dung is pure can be accepted, even though every other type of stool is not. The Vedic literature is taken to be above the empirical scientific arguments, logic and argument, and other sense based conclusions. If this is not the case, we can argue that Srila Prabhupada and his Srimad Bhagavatam purports can be proven wrong. What the author writes in this article basically saying the same thing- that the Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada’s statements and opinions are to be taken less seriously than the empirical scientists. It is a question of whether we accept ascending knowledge or descending knowledge. We know which one Srila Prabhupada is using, and the scientific method isn’t it. Srila Prabhupada asked his devotee to refute the so-called scientists, not to try to find out how to refute him by using modern emprical methods! There are many narrations of supernatural activities performed by Lord Krishna that modern science says is impossible. Are we to conclude that these statements are only to be believed if modern science can corroborate them? Logic and argument, history, and other mundane evidences can be used in our preaching to try to convince someone to take up Krishna Consciousness, but it can never be used to contradict the Vedic conclusion.
» Posted By Pavamana On Nov 3, 2010 @ 7:37 am
These sound very nice. One thing, though. I don’t think Lord Jagannatha would like to be tumbled in a washing machine! Hand washing might be better. Just a thought…
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On Sep 7, 2010 @ 10:31 am
Nice article. Currently, we are seeing a Marxist takeover attempt in the United States, with the “redistibution of wealth” advocated by the Democratic party. We must understand the consequences of this Marxist philosophy, because if it is implemented, devotees will find it more difficult to propagate Krishna Consciousness. We know that Srila Prabhupada warned us about the dangers of this atheistic philosophy. He gave us the example of the Comrade offering bread outside the church, where innocent people were convinced that the communist ideal was better than their church. From the beginning of Kali Yuga, with the fall of the Brahmin society, the inevitable downward spiral has begun. Now that modern society has done away with the Ksatrias and Brahmin societies, the Vaishya community has taken the reins, subverting the proper role of the Government, and giving rise to huge mega-businesses. Without the proper guidance of the Brahmins and control by the Ksatriyas, the government by the Vaishyas has gone awry. Rampant speculation on Wall Street, removal of banking restrictions by Congress, armies of lobbyists for big business, and other events have now played into the hands of the Communist elements. People are being led to believe that Government willl provide everything the people need, from cradle to grave. For the ignorant, poorly educated underclass, such promise of unending care is certainly a comforting idea. But, as you have pointed out, no government yet devised has every been able to provide such a utopia. Only a newly minted band of corrupt leaders will emerge to further frustrate the people. There is only way to stop the inevitable march of socialism (Marxism, Communism, whatever you may call it), and that is propagation of the Varnashrama system and Krishna Consciousness, Hari Nama and distribution of the Vedic literatures and Prasadam. Devotees need to understand the urgent need for vigorous preaching to defeat this onslaught of Communism.
» Posted By Pavamana On Aug 11, 2010 @ 5:43 am
Srila Prabhupada made many predictions for the future. The non-devotees are certainly going to be subjected to many tribulations due to the sinful nature of Kali Yuga. The devotees will be protected by Lord Krishna, but need to be aware of the changes which are coming so they can preach effectively. Preaching includes many different departments and venues, such as book and prasad distibution. The “modern” society present today cannot be sustained. It is failing as we speak. There will be a great need for feeding people, and the devotees should be the ones to do it. It will bring many people to Krishna Consciousness. Srila Prabhupada warned us about the coming threat to capitalism, which our present society (in the West) is based upon. He predicted that communism will eventually win out. As I write this, the United States is being diverted to communism by the current administration. Srila Prabhupada told us to try to save our country from this communist idea. As devotees, we are not going to get heavily involved in politics, but we need to be aware of the dangers of communist government. Communism is an offshoot of atheism. We went through many years of turmoil in the former Soviet Union, but even though they have disappeared as an empire, the communist idea hasn’t gone away. With the fall of the Soviet Union, preaching has blossomed there. The current administration is now moving in the direction of socialism, and we need to understand the dangers this will bring. They are using the monetary crisis to collapse the whole economy so that they can introduce a socialistic society. Already, temples are having trouble getting donations from people already strapped by losing their jobs. We need to look into the future and see what is likely to happen, and prepare for it.
» Posted By Pavamana On Jul 13, 2010 @ 10:49 am
This project is very important, and devotees should support this effort. In 1973, Srila Prabhupada wanted devotees to learn the art of mrdunga making, and a mistry was hired to teach on our land. Though many devotees (myself included) attempted to learn. Practically, no one was able to make a drum, except for Ishan, who invented the Balaram drum. Later, Ishan moved to Los Angeles, where he attempted to make some drums, using skin obtained from local slaughterhouses. Srila Prabhupada did not like this, but instructed Ishan to try to preach to them about the evil of cow killing. He was not successful in producing any leather drums, since the skins were too thin and not strong enough for drum making. I have been making fiberglass drums with leather heads for many years, but I was not able to verify where the skins come from. Though the plastic drum shells are not breakable, they lack the resonance of the traditional clay shells. There is nothing that compares to a real clay khol. Our mistry used to tell us that the khol is sacred, and in fact was reluctant to allow us to actually make a drum unless we were ready, lest we make offenses to it. He was very clean in his habits, and would arrive freshly bathed before working on the drums. I am very glad to see that the devotees are serious about keeping the purity of the drum making. I also learned from the mistry that drums should not be placed on end, but with a cushion and laid on its side. I’m a little mystified by the statement that if ISKCON devotees buy hundreds of drums, then hundreds of cows have to die. Maybe that can be clarified.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On Apr 10, 2010 @ 6:23 am
I have known Jayadvaita Swami for many years, and lived in Laguna Beach in the late ’70’s when he was working on the revision of the Srimad Bhagavatam. At the time, he was not a Sannyasi, but was a very serious and studious Brahmachari. And yes, he was very skinny! He was very austere in his diet.
I have to admit, when I read the latest revision of the Bhagavad Gita, I was very alarmed that the book had been edited again, especially since Srila Prabhupada didn’t want anything changed. My opinion of the matter changed when I had the good fortune to speak to Dravida Prabhu here in San Diego about the changes that were made. I was skeptical at first, but his explanation reassured me that the editing that has been done is closer to Srila Prabhupada’s intended meaning than previous editions.
I have to apologize for doubting the integrity of Jayadvaita Swami in his work, especially since he is a good friend of mine. I have never doubted the wonderful job he did on the Srimad Bhagavatam, so why was I worried about the new Gita changes?
Now that the new website is up, we can see clearly why the changes needed to be made.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On Sep 9, 2009 @ 1:21 pm
I would reply that, even if one is a neophyte, one can refer to statements of liberated devotees. Simply making a social gathering without discussing the transcendental topics isn’t going to help much, but it’s at least going to help us remember Krishna by being with His devotees.
By repeating the message of the Acharya, we become a sort of guru, or messenger, a representative of the Guru. Srila Prabhupada used to say that he had no extraordinary qualification, but that he was simply repeating the message, untouched. If we are following strictly, our words will also have effect. Repeating the message doesn’t mean just parroting, but revealing our minds and giving our realizations to each other. We can encourage one another to continue to fight with Maya, to become more serious about following the spiritual path. To remain alone, shunning the contact of others who aren’t “pure devotees” because they are inferior is a mistake. If we find someone less advanced, we can give instruction to them. That is association. If someone is present who is more serious than we are, we can learn from them. That is association. Amongst ourselves, we can share friendship, prasad, philosophy, gifts, and our realizations. That is also association.
Srila Prabhupada built the temples to give everyone the opportunity to associate, whether they were first-timers, sadhana-bhaktas, or pure devotees. He said the temple is like the stock market- if you want to trade stocks and you’re far away, you won’t do much business. Similarly, if you want to “trade” in Krishna Consciousness, you need to go to a temple or make your home a temple where devotional activity takes place.
» Posted By Pavamana On Jul 29, 2009 @ 7:50 am
One day these foolish scientists will be discredited. As long as you believe everything they say, and less what Srila Prabhupada says, your faith in Krishna Consciousness will not solidify. With our four defects (remember?) we cannot have access to the spiritual truth. We must have a guru. And we must have implicit faith in him. Guru-Krishna Prasade Paya, Bhakti lata Bija. Our eyes are covered by ignorance, and anything we perceive through them is of relative truth. Why should we bother about things in this world? Who cares if they went or not? What was our gain for the billions spent doing this? It is a childish endeavor, as opined by the Founder Acarya Srila Prabhupada. Not my statement, but his. Srila Prabhupada was poking fun at them, pointing out discrepancies in the official statements. Srila Prabhupada was keen at pointing out the defects of the conditioned souls so that we, his followers, could also see. It has become an issue here because some of us are still doubtful that Srila Prabhupada was correct on this issue of the moon landing. It has become an issue for some devotees who could not accept his opinion, and some have left our movement because of this and other doubts. Is it worth doubting the words of the acarya, to miss the opportunity of human life and a chance to gain liberation? The original article simply points out that we are not alone to doubt the moon landing. Some here are obviously very serious to correct the record, and don’t mind making derisive, condescending comments towards devotees for accepting conspiracy theories. Whether or not it was a conspiracy isn’t really the point, nor is the counter argument. It is that some conditioned souls made an attempt to land on the moon, and the whole thing was lambasted by our Spiritual Master. Some of us agreed with His Divine Grace, and some did not. My opinion, personally, is that they did not go to the moon. It is an opinion only. I wasn’t there, so I have to believe somebody’s word. Knowing the cheating propensity of conditioned souls, I choose to believe Srila Prabhupada. To me, it’s a no-brainer. If you want to believe otherwise, whatever. But don’t belittle devotees, puffing yourself up and accusing them of ignorance of the “real” facts. We are all blinded by Maya, and we need to stick to the only one who can see. That one is the Guru.
» Posted By Pavamana On Jul 29, 2009 @ 7:08 am
What amazes me is that there are plenty of narrations in the Srimad Bhagavatam which, in comparison to the so-called “moon landing”, are much more fantastic and unbelieveable. Modern science would never admit there is someone who could lift a hill, let alone for seven days on the end of his finger. In the physical world, such things would be considered impossible. Not even mystic yogis can perform such feats. The list of stories in the Bhagavatam is unlimited, most of which appear as fantasy to the average person. The description of the universe in the Srimad Bhagavatam is also mysterious, definitely contrary to what we think we know based upon empirical science. But there are many things that exist that are beyond our perception, and this requires faith. We have to hear from an authority, and accepting that authority is the basis for knowledge. If we aren’t prepared to accept the authority opinion, what is the use of going to him? If his opinion is the same as yours, why then are you still here in the material world?
What makes me angry is that there is someone on this blog that is criticizing devotees for accepting what Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya, Jagat-Guru has said. That you believe that we did go to the moon doesn’t matter to anyone here. It’s the derisive attitude towards those who accept Srila Prabhupada’s opinion that I find offensive.
Personally, finding someone whose opinion isn’t based upon speculation, sense perception, faith in “science”, or any other materially derived conclusion is far more reliable and sure than accepting what conditioned souls say. Srila Prabhupada didn’t make whimsical judgements, and certainly he knew what the possible reactions would be in the minds of his disciples. Why would he make such assertions, knowing that some devotees would lose faith? Srila Prabhupada wanted to discredit the so-called scientific conclusions, and took every opportunity to do so. He made such statements about the moon landings on several occasions, making his opinion well known, but couching his statements in vague language, ie., “perhaps”, “maybe” and so on so as not to directly insult those who disagreed.
If you think you know more than your Guru, that you think he’s just an old Indian gentleman who is unaware of “modern scientific conclusions”, you are sadly mistaken. His opinion is heavier than yours. That’s why he’s Guru.
» Posted By Pavamana On Jul 25, 2009 @ 5:44 pm
In 1972, in May, I arrived in Juhu, Bombay. I remember Gandiva Mataji, and was present for the wedding to Jagat Purusha. Though I did not know her at that time, I am glad to hear of her nice service rendered to the Lord. What I do remember of those early days in Juhu was that she was a gentle soul, very reserved. Indeed those early days before the temple was built were extremely difficult. She was a stalwart devotee, as was her (then) husband Jagat Purusha. It would be nice if someone could find a photo and post it.
» Posted By Pavamana On Jul 27, 2009 @ 12:52 pm
In 1972, Srila Prabhupada and a group of devotees put on a series of pandal programs in Hyderabad. There happened to be a drought at that time. During the day, the devotees would have HariNam throughout the city. After about a week, it began to rain, and Srila Prabhupada commented that it was because of the Hari Nam yajna that had been performed. Now we find the same thing has happened. It isn’t that we do “rain dances” or anything of the sort. The pure chanting of the Holy Name, without any material desire, to please the Lord is plenty enough to bring all good fortune to any place without any extraneous endeavor. If Sri Krishna is pleased, there is never any scarcity.
» Posted By Pavamana On Jul 6, 2009 @ 6:14 am
Thank you for a very nice post regarding urban farming. It may possibly be a wave of the future, more for the fact that the whole economic model is beginning to fail. But, I would like to point out that your suggestion of producing one’s own crops is not practical for many. Most devotees I know here in San Diego are renters, where there is no scope to grow a garden. And, if you have to work a job to pay for housing, making a garden is not going to happen in any serious way. I believe that, as Srila Prabhupada predicted, that people are going to come to our farms by the millions. When the artificial lifestyle is no longer possible, as we currently have under the ‘modern” capitalist model, then by necessity the people will be forced to relearn to grow their own food. Our farms will become the model for others to follow, if not now, then in due course of time. I believe that time is fast approaching, and the devotees need to think in terms of mass food distribution, as well as making plans for farm expansion. In the meantime, we do need to be working towards the goal of self-sufficiency, but still be utilizing whatever is at hand for preaching and attracting people to Krishna Consciousness.
» Posted By Pavamana On May 24, 2009 @ 5:20 pm
In 1973, I was staying in Mayapur. Srila Prabhupada came there with his secretary and a small group of devotees. Somehow, one of his disciples, a Sanskrit editor, decided to go to the Chaitanya Math to discuss something with the pandits there. It was an innocent mistake, as it turned out, because he felt that he needed some further understanding of Bengali language to round out his service as an editor. I was not part of the subsequent meeting with His Divine Grace, but heard it second-hand from the devotees who were present. Srila Prabhupada was extremely upset about his meeting with the local Gaudiya Math Godbrothers. For 45 minutes, Srila Prabhupada chastised this disciple very heavily. The description of that meeting and the tense mood was like a bomb had gone off. It was not often that Srila Prabhupada became angry, but this was one of those times. I was not inclined to visit the local temples, except during Parikrama, but I vowed I would never even dream of going there on my own, what to speak of taking initiation from any of Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers. I’m sure there are readers of this website who have similar stories of Srila Prabhupada’s disapproval of association with his Godbrothers. For those who weren’t present when His Divine Grace was manifest, there were times of very heavy chastisement meant to guide and protect us from danger. The danger in this case was that his Godbrothers were envious, and took every opportunity to minimize the importance of their Godbrother, Srila Prabhupada. He didn’t want us to be subjected to their criticism of ISKCON, and took it upon himself to warn us in no uncertain terms that we were never to go to any of his Godbrother’s temples for any reason whatsoever. Of course, there were times when His Divine Grace visited the temple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and with the attendance of His Divine Grace, we all visited his Math. But, to visit on one’s own initiative was strictly forbidden. Now, so many years later, if someone says that things are different now, that it’s ok to go and associate with any of Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers, take initiation, live there, and still consider themselves a follower of Srila Prabhupada, what can I say. I just wouldn’t want to be in the room when His Divine Grace learned that we had disobeyed his order not to go there.
» Posted By Pavamana On May 5, 2009 @ 3:13 pm
Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Your new diorama is very nice. I wish the photo of it was larger to show the detail. It has been many years since a Changing Bodies diorama has been produced. I hope you are able to make many and sell them. Srila Prabhupada was very keen to produce dioramas, and also His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Goswami Maharaj, who produced many dioramas in Mayapur and other places. You are sure to get their blessings for this. Your price is very reasonable too. Best of luck to you.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On Apr 16, 2009 @ 4:12 pm
I agree that the election we are about to have is a very serious one. ISKCON devotees are going to be affected by the outcome in one way or another. In this Kali Yuga, we can only expect calamity from a government that doesn’t know the goal of life or how to attain it.
Whether George Bush lied or not is subject to debate. The web of lies and distortion that is propagated by various media make it difficult if not impossible to know what the truth is. We aren’t there for the discussions in the White House or the Pentagon. What we get is some reporter’s opinion from something he heard or read somewhere, all filtered by his personal beliefs and mode of nature. It’s easy to mislead people by writing articles and publishing them in the media. If you simply listen to the “mainstream media”, you’ll be imbibing the particular slant of those who write the articles.
What is at stake here is whether the United States is going to be a socialist/communist state, or remain capitalist. As devotees, we should be most concerned about this because this kind of government promotes athiesm and tries to suppress the free exercise of religion. Whether you choose to vote or not, this election is about whether we are going to move towards socialism or remain a capitalist society. It is not insignificant or irrelevant, and the outcome of this election is going to affect our future. Srila Prabhupada warned us about the inevitable rise of Shudra government, communism, and asked us to try to stop it by our preaching. The current leading candidate will take us down the path to communism if he’s elected. We should be very concerned about the election of this person and the “change” that he and his cronies are going to impose on the citizens of this country.
» Posted By Pavamana On Oct 29, 2008 @ 4:07 pm
The current credit crisis is an opportunity to preach. Srila Prabhupada often criticised the United States government for leaving the gold standard. He called it “Nationalized cheating”.
He also warned us to preach vigorously to prevent communism from taking over the government. Communism is just another name for atheism. History has shown that when there is economic upheaval, communism (socialism) is presented as the solution. The communists are just waiting for an excuse to say, “See? I told you so! Capitalism doesn’t work.” Srila Prabhupada warned us to prevent the spread of communism. Indeed, we have seen what the defeat of communism has done for the former Soviet republic. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, millions of people in Eastern Europe have become enlightened in Krishna Consciousness. And Srila Prabhupada has predicted that, as Kali Yuga advances, inevitably communism will indeed take over. It is the government of Sudras. Currently, we have government of Vaishyas.
The Varna-Asrama system should be a very high priority because the current situation points to global depression far worse than the one in the 1930’s. At that time, far more family farms existed, and people were much more close to the land. Nowadays, huge agribusinesses grow most of the food, and people will not be able to get food if the economy collapses, or there is no oil or diesel for the tractors and trucks to distribute it. Make no mistake about it, this credit meltdown is the most significant event of our lifetimes (assuming you are a “boomer” like me). It is now time to rev up our prasadam distribution programs, distribute more books, and preach strongly against the greed and speculation which has brought the whole economy to it’s knees.
Ultimately, we should utilize this opportunity to spread our movement. There is no other solution to the problems of the world. Without Krishna Consciousness, there can be nothing but calamity. If we preach, Srila Prabhupada predicted that people will one day recognize that Krishna Consciousness has saved the world.
» Posted By Pavamana On Oct 12, 2008 @ 12:23 pm
Dear Satyaraj Prabhu:
I would like to make some general comments about this subject. Though I understand there are those who criticize your book, I have no doubt about the useful purpose of it, given your reputation as a very sincere and intelligent devotee. I have not read it.
Years ago, there was a musical play called “Hair”, which I saw as a teenager. I later purchased the album, which I enjoyed very much. In that musical was the Hare Krishna mantra, which was chanted while the players danced naked on stage. I used to sing along with the album while I attended San Diego State college in 1969. One day, I saw a kirtan party in front of the student lounge. I couldn’t understand why these strange people were chanting the mantra from “Hair”. At the time I wasn’t interested because it seemed strange, and I was too busy in my studies. Two years later, after I dropped out of college, II met a devotee and began chanting and reading Bhagavad Gita. Shortly after that, I moved into the temple. Many years later, in New York, I met a man in Washington Square Park who said that he was present in the room when the playwright who wrote “Hair” met Srila Prabhupada. Srilal Prabhupada had asked him to include the Hare Krishna mantra in the musical, and he did so. You could make the case that he was, at least informally, initiated by Srila Prabhupada at that time. I was also “initiated” by chanting the mantra from “Hair”, which is the tune I used to use when I first started chanting. However, I didn’t know what the chanting was all about until I met someone from the L.A. temple and began to attend the kirtans there. A month later I joined the temple. It was the association of the devotees which made the difference.
I think it is important for those who lead kirtans in yoga clubs and SRF meetings to explain our philosophy. I also think that if outsiders are leading the chanting (I mean Mayavadis and other offenders), we should not attend. We are instructed to avoid hearing the chanting of non devotees, and we should not dismiss such instruction for the sake of spreading the Holy Name. We want to give Srila Prabhupada’s association, not accept the association of anyone else. If we can’t preach directly, we can supply Prasadam in such meetings, which may be equally beneficial. Allowing others (read: Mayavadis, etc.) to lead the Kirtan brings lowers the consciousness to the level of sense gratification.
» Posted By Pavamana On Aug 17, 2008 @ 2:41 pm
Hare Krishna, Ji. I’m going to assume you have read some of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Reading these books will answer all your questions and doubts. Vaishnavism and Krishna Consciousness is very simple, but we make it more complicated than it needs to be. In essence, Vaishnavism is what we are preaching, and the Hare Krishna Movement is the means to spread the teachings. Two things: knowledge and practices. We read about Krishna, and we do service to Him through our Spiritual Master. We don’t just theorize, we hear and render service in a practical way. By following the orders of the Guru, doing as he instructed us to do, we are cleansing our hearts of misgivings and doubts. The knowledge is revealed from within. It isn’t like going to a college class where you read a text and take a test. You know from within yourself that you are satisfied and happy. Don’t worry that you are a little overwhelmed. There’s a lot of things that go on in the temple that require explanation, so give it some time. Try to find some small service you can do at the temple by asking someone what you can do to help. Maybe sweep the steps, or help wash dishes, do some gardening. Or just chant. You’ll find that you feel more comfortable being there. And you’ll understand a LOT more than you thought you would about Krishna Consciousness. If you can’t make it to the temple, try to practice at home by chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra, offering your food to Krishna, and reading the Bhagavad Gita and other books. Tell your friends about it. Sharing Krishna Consciousness is the best way to understand it. You probably know more than you think, and your friends will be impressed. Who knows? Maybe they’ll join with you! I’d love to share my experiences with you, but space here is limited. Welcome!
» Posted By Pavamana On Jun 17, 2008 @ 7:13 am
Why not take him to the Hare Krishna temple in Calcutta? Give him some prasadam and put him to work, or send him to Mayapur where he can learn about Krishna. Other than that, send him back to San Francisco. Why should the Indian authorities be bothered with such a person? They have enough beggars already.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On May 22, 2008 @ 1:14 pm
The devotees in China should produce a new Changing Bodies display. I spent some time with Locan Prabhu in his studio in Los Angeles, and later with Adhideva Prabhu in Houston making dioramas. Locan Prabhu produced the first Changing Bodies dioramas in Los Angeles, which were very striking. Devotees were engaged in painting them with a very clever color scheme. The displays were not very portable. I later borrowed Locan’s molds and produced a smaller, lighter version of the display for use on our travelling party. Later, I helped produce another Changing Bodies display sculpted by Adhideva Prabhu. About 3 dozen of these were produced and sold to various temples and devotees. The difficulty of producing these displays is that it takes a lot of time and expense to cast the dolls and paint them. That makes them expensive to produce, and the price becomes a problem for the temples and devotees to purchase. If dolls like the Happy Dolls can be produced inexpensively, why not make dioramas for preaching? His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Goswami Maharaj, our Grandfather spiritual master, was very keen on the production of dioramas, and many of them are still existing in the Mayapur area. While I was working on producing the Changing Bodies dioramas, I found great inspiration from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, knowing I was pleasing him and my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada. I would like to see more of these dolls, and dioramas produced and distributed to devotees and temples everywhere. I’m certain a good business could be made selling them to the public also.
» Posted By Pavamana On May 17, 2008 @ 11:53 am
Unfortunately, this forum doesn’t allow me to post my lengthly reply to Sita-Pati Prabhu. I’ve spent a lot of time studying mrdunga making, and experimenting with various designs and shells. Making the gob is not as easy as it appears. Pusta Krishna is correct that some gobs are made with iron filings. They go to metal smiths and collect the filings from the grinding operations there. Iron filings are used in making gob for tabla heads, which are usually made from goat skins. Not surprisingly, a lot of tablas are made in the shops in Calcutta, nearby the local Kali temples where goats are regularly sacrificed to Kali. The place is called “Kali Ghat”. In Nabadvipa, there is not so much use of iron filings, and the mistry I learned from didn’t use it. It just adds more mass to the gob. Usually, it is a mixture of pottery dust and rice paste. I’ve seen it made many times, but when I’ve tried to duplicate the process here at home, it hasn’t worked well. Perhaps it’s the kind of rice which they use that’s the difference. I don’t know. Some gob attempts I’ve done have lasted a very long time, and others fell off immediately. I do know that sifting the pottery dust is an important step. The ground dust from broken mrdunga shells is sifted through a fine cloth and captured in a jug by shaking a cloth bag containing the dust inside. This fine, talcum powder-like dust is used to make the gob. It’s an all-day affair, spreading the putty-like gob mixture little by little on the surface, letting it dry, and putting tiny cracks in the gob after each layer. This is usually done with the heel of the palm by hitting the gob all over. On the small head, sometimes the elbow is used because of the smaller area. At the end, a very hard, polished stone is used to burnish the gob to seal it and make it smooth. Often a final coat of wood ash is applied to make it black. It’s been many years since I’ve watched them do this, so I have probably missed a few things.
There’s no substitute for a nice clay mrdunga with it’s clear bell-like sound. Mrdunga making is a special art, and unfortunately are almost exclusively made in Bengal. In the coming years, there will be a need for devotees to produce them locally. And that’s why Srila Prabhupada wanted devotees to learn how to make and repair them. The Balaram drum is very nice, but in the long term, local production would be best.
Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On May 22, 2008 @ 12:38 pm
My drum project is currently suspended. I have pressing family issues, and it’s on the back burner. Sita-pati prabhu, I tried your email address as email@example.com, but it didn’t work. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wrote you a lengthly reply, but it bounced. It’s too long to paste here. Your servant, Pavamana dasa
» Posted By Pavamana On May 19, 2008 @ 3:11 pm
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The secret of the sweet sound of a mrdunga is the traditional clay shell, combined with the high tension of the heads with the added mass of the gob. I have been producing fiberglass shells with traditional leather heads for the past 18 years, but have never been able to make my drums sound like the clay shell drums. My drums are tunable with a key, so learning to tighten them by pulling straps isn’t necessary. The practice of tuning the mrdunga by tapping the rim of the drum on the ground is disrespectful. The mrdunga should never touch the ground, and in fact should also be wrapped with a cloth. Srila Prabhupada himself demonstrated this in San Francisco when the first shipment of drums arrived there. In India, there is a cushion made for the drum where the drum is placed after being played. The drum should not be set down on the large head, as is usually done in the West. The cushion is necessary because the belly of the drum shell is very fragile. While I was in Mayapur learning to make drums, the local mrdunga mistry would make sure that we understood how sacred these drums are. Mrdunga making is essentially working with dead animal skin, which on the surface makes it muci, or unclean. However, he would come freshly bathed, with clean lungi, and pay obeisances to the drum before working on it. He used to say that while working on the drum, we must use the feet (for tightening, etc.) but when we are done, we put our head to it (as obeisances). He would not allow any of us to actually make a drum. He wanted to be sure we understood that offences to a mrdunga was very serious. Using the mallet to make final adjustments to tune the drum is the proper way. First, the straps must be tightened, using a technique we learned from the teacher. Heating the head is all right, but must be done carefully. I have found a special dessicant that will absorb excess moisture from the atmosphere, which if kept in a sealed container along with the mrdunga, will tighten the mrdunga overnight. Another hint is that the loops that are generally used to attach the drum to shoulder straps isn’t meant for that purpose. Those loops are used for carrying the drum. If they break (and they often do), the drum will fall down. We used to use coated wire to attach a shoulder strap to the drum, lacing it under the mrdunga straps near the heads. If the drum heads are too tight, you can use a little water on your finger to moisten the leather, but not the gob.
» Posted By Pavamana On May 18, 2008 @ 3:40 pm
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