Comments Posted By Puskaraksa das
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Sri Havir said: The most advanced devotee sees within everything the soul of all souls, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. Consequently he sees everything in relation to the Supreme Lord and understands that everything that exists is eternally situated within the Lord.
Birth in an aristocratic family and the execution of austere and pious activities certainly cause one to take pride in himself. Similarly, if one enjoys a prestigious position within society because his parents are highly respected members of the varnasrama social system, one becomes even more infatuated with himself. But if despite these excellent material qualifications one does not feel even a tinge of pride within himself, he is to be considered the dearmost servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
When a devotee gives up the selfish conception by which one thinks “This is my property, and that is his,” and when he is no longer concerned with the pleasures of his own material body or indifferent to the discomforts of others, he becomes fully peaceful and satisfied. He considers himself simply one among all the living beings who are equally part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a satisfied Vaishnava is considered to be at the highest standard of devotional service.
Morning Walk — February 4, 1976, Mayapura:
PrabhupÄda: Sa bhaktaá¸¥ prÄká¹taá¸¥ smá¹taá¸¥. The beginning is arcÄ, arcana. And because he was given the chance of arcana, if he thinks that “I become paramahaá¹sa,” then he’s a foolish. It will take time. The process is there. Therefore preaching is madhyama-adhikÄrÄ«. One should take to preaching work gradually. When the preaching… Preachers, they have got discrimination, “Here is abhakta; here is bhakta.” But in the paramahaá¹sa stage, uttama-adhikÄrÄ«, he sees “Everyone is devotee. I am not devotee.” That is uttama-adhikÄrÄ«. Just like KavirÄja GosvÄmÄ« said, purÄ«á¹£era kÄ«á¹a haite muÃ±i se laghiá¹£á¹ha (CC Adi 5.205). SanÄtana GosvÄmÄ« said that “I am born in low-grade family. My work is low grade.”
One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikÄrÄ«. A neophyte Vaiá¹£á¹ava or a Vaiá¹£á¹ava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufï¬cient guidance.
(NOI 5 - Purport)
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 22.09.2014 @ 04:41
An intermediate or second-class devotee, called madhyama-adhikari, offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (S.B. 11.2.46)
Morning Walk — April 7, 1974, Bombay:
GirirÄja: But it is better to find some innocent persons, for preaching.
PrabhupÄda: Yes, better field, those who are innocent. That is the duty of the preacher, four things: Ä«Åvare tad-adhÄ«neá¹£u baliÅeá¹£u dviá¹£atsu ca. The preacher should see four things. First of all Ä«Åvara, the Supreme Person, God. So that vision must be there. He knows what is Ä«Åvara or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then tad-adhÄ«neá¹£u, those who have taken shelter of that Ä«Åvara. That means devotees. Tad-adhÄ«neá¹£u. And then baliÅeá¹£u. BaliÅeá¹£u means those who are innocent, have no sufficient knowledge, innocent. And dviá¹£atsu. And there is always a class of men who are envious of God, dviá¹£at. Dviá¹£at means envious. So preacher has to see these four classes of men or three classes. One, Ä«Åvara, and the other three classes. So he has to behave like that. To behave with Ä«Åvara-prema, how to love. That is his business. How to increase love for the Supreme. Prema. MaitrÄ«, how to make friendship with the devotee. And to the innocent-ká¹pÄ, how to become merciful. And to the envious-upeká¹£a, negligence, not to talk with them. Four behavior. ÄªÅvare tad-a… This is madhyama adhikÄrÄ«. And the position of the preacher is madhyama adhihkÄrÄ«. Therefore they have to point out, “Here is a jealous man, envious man.” But people do not want it. They say, “Why you are pointing out? Why you are pointing out?” But this is business of the preacher. Otherwise how he will preach?
GirirÄja: They want to be artificially the uttama adhikÄrÄ«, to see everyone as nice.
PrabhupÄda: Yes. Yes, everyone as nice, except himself. Uttama adhikÄrÄ« vision, that everyone is nice. Then the preacher is also nice. Why you find out fault with the preacher? So imitation uttama adhikÄrÄ« will not help.
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 22.09.2014 @ 04:11
“A devotee who faithfully engages in the worship of the Deity in the temple but does not behave properly toward other devotees or people in general is called a prakrita-bhakta, a materialistic devotee, and is considered to be in the lowest position” (S.B.11.2.47)
According to ÅrÄ«la JÄ«va GosvÄmÄ«, since a kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« who cannot properly respect other devotees will certainly fail to offer respects to ordinary living entities who are not even devotees, a kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« is useless for practical preaching work unless he comes to a higher platform of understanding. ÅrÄ«la JÄ«va GosvÄmÄ« says, iyaá¸¿ ca ÅraddhÄ na ÅÄstrÄrthÄvadhÄraá¹a-jÄtÄ. Because the kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«’s faith is not actually based on the statements of Vedic literature, he cannot understand the exalted position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within everyone’s heart. Therefore he cannot actually manifest love of Godhead, nor can he understand the exalted position of the devotees of the Lord. Ká¹á¹£á¹a is so glorious that Ká¹á¹£á¹a’s intimate associates must also be glorious. But this is unknown to a kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«. Similarly, the essential qualification of a Vaiá¹£á¹ava, which is to offer all respects to others (amÄninÄ manÄdena kÄ«rtanÄ«yaá¸¥ sadÄ hariá¸¥ [Cc. adi 17.31] is also conspicuous by its absence in a kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«.
SB 4.22.16, Purport:
There are three different kinds of devotees, namely kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ«, madhyama-adhikÄrÄ« and uttama-adhikÄrÄ«: the neophyte, the preacher and the mahÄ-bhÄgavata, or the highly advanced devotee. The highly advanced devotee is one who knows the conclusion of the Vedas in full knowledge; thus he becomes a devotee. Indeed, not only is he convinced himself, but he can convince others on the strength of Vedic evidence. The advanced devotee can also see all other living entities as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, without discrimination. The madhyama-adhikÄrÄ« (preacher) is also well versed in the ÅÄstras and can convince others also, but he discriminates between the favorable and the unfavorable. In other words, the madhyama-adhikÄrÄ« does not care for the demoniac living entities, and the neophyte kaniá¹£á¹ha-adhikÄrÄ« does not know much about ÅÄstra but has full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 22.09.2014 @ 03:37
This black and white approach is typical of a kanistha-adhikari mentality…!
Not only this charicacture is offending to other souls living in society, but it is also counter-productive in terms of both preaching and learning from others, so as to improve our practices.
Indeed, it is not in portraying others as bad and ourselves as good, that we will make any progress and develop the necessary humility for chanting the Holy Name constantly…
However, Mataji certainly must be having good intentions. Yet, as the way to hell is said to be paved with good intentions, one can only recommend saddhu-sanga, as a remedy for any unwanted false pride.
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 20.09.2014 @ 13:21
One reason for that is, of course, that we cannot have an open and large public recruitment as companies do and that the choice is being made most often amongst the few resident devotees only, who may be present and available at a given place and time.
Yet, despite whatever lack of material qualification there may be, the most painful part is the lack of spiritual qualification when witnessed or, worse, undergone, when one has put one’s faith in Srila Prabhupada and his ISKCON Movement.
This is where lies one of our main responsibilities as ISKCON members, i.e. not to disappoint sincere souls who may be willing to take shelter and place their faith in ISKCON.
Moreover, the better we become both individually and collectively, the better our ISKCON Movement becomes in its presentation and organisation, the better we welcome guests and look after devotees, the more we will attract materially qualified and spiritually advanced jivas.
Thereby, the more our credibility will increase in society at large, the more we will be able to reach out beyond the group of people of Indian origin who may have been devotees from birth, the less we will be perceived as an ethnic religion.
Then only will we be able to establish the message of Krishna as universal: sarva dharmam parityaja, “Mam ekam saran am Vraja…”
Then only, will our preaching be considered as successful.
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 14.09.2014 @ 09:11
I have personally observed, through the last 34 years, that our problems within ISKCON are multiple.
At first, we would need to select and put devotees in charge, be it from the temple level, up to the GBC level, according to both material and spiritual qualifications.
Indeed, we have seen either material or spiritual qualifications lacking, and sometimes both.
Of course, this may vary from yatra to yatra, as well as from time to time.
So, devotees around the world may have had various experiences.
By material qualifications, one has to understand skill, competence, expertise. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to be expert in whatever we were doing, so as to deliver a first class service and promote a good image of our Movement…
For instance, in the Seventies, one of his disciples was very eager to cook for him, but Srila Prabhupada told him that he first had to learn how to cook properly. Then, it is only once he was trained and qualified that Srila Prabhupada accepted his service as a personal cook.
So, the criteria of seniority cannot stand as a substitute for competence and replace expertise, as we have too often seen in ISKCON.
As it is, in society at large, the main criteria to select people is competence, whatever be the professional sphere they have to perform in. Moreover, the theoritical knowledge acquired through studies, sanctioned by passing exams and getting various diplomas and degrees, most often requires to be validated by some practical experience and some measurable success.
Whereas in ISKCON, since rank and file devotees serve in a volunteer and often benevolent way for the most part, we tend to give credit to whatever good will they may display and tend to overlook, amongst the few who kept living within temple grounds, whatever ulterior motives some of them may have, such as finding a shelter and not having to worry about their own maintenance, having a position and access to some outstanding status as per our own hierarchical structure, or even becoming a brahmin in India, hankering for name, fame and adoration, not to speak of becoming a guru bhogi and later on a guru tyagi.
As a result and also due to the fact that we often lack numbers, especially in the West, in terms of temple devotees, we often award devotees a position, even though they may lack some of the necessary qualifications.
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 14.09.2014 @ 09:08
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that a devotee does not care about his own happiness and distress. He is simply interested in seeing that Krsna is happy, and for that purpose he engages in various activities. A pure devotee has no way of sensing happiness except by seeing that Krsna is happy in every respect. If Krsna becomes happy by giving him distress, such a devotee accepts that unhappiness as the greatest of all happiness.”
C.C. Antya 20.52
Thus, one who is concerned about material benefits from Krsna, including material happiness which conditions one, for it is born out of a guna - the mode of goodness, can be a pious man, but he cannot be a pure devotee:
“Unless one is pious, one cannot approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, although a pious man may receive some material benefit, one who is concerned with material benefits cannot be a pure devotee.”
“Anything sent by God is a blessing for the devotee.”
So, the grihastha ashrama should rather be envisioned from a spiritual perspective:
ataá¸¥ pumbhir dvija-Åreá¹£á¹hÄ
O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead. (SB 1.2.14)
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 11.09.2014 @ 06:56
Of course, a wife may be more likely to feel protected and thus satisfied by a good and caring husband.
But I always wonder about those who advertise happiness, while seeming to settle for less than prema…
A Prayer to the Lotus Feet of Sri Gauranga
(from Prarthana) by Srila Narottama das Thakur
sri-krishna-caitanya prabhu doya koro more
toma bina ke doyalu jagat-samsare
patita-pavana-hetu tava avatara
mo sama patita prabhu na paibe ara
ha ha prabhu nityananda, premananda sukhi
kripabalokana koro ami boro duhkhi
doya koro sita-pati adwaita gosai
tava kripa-bale pai caitanya-nitai
ha ha swarup, sanatana, rupa, raghunatha
bhatta-juga, sri-jiva ha prabhu lokanatha
doya koro sri-acarya prabhu srinivasa
ramacandra-sanga mage narottama-dasa
(1) My dear Lord Caitanya, please be merciful to me, because who can be more merciful than Your Lordship within these three worlds?
(2) Your incarnation is just to reclaim the conditioned, fallen souls, but I assure You that You will not find a greater fallen soul than me. Therefore, my claim is first.
(3) My dear Lord Nityananda, You are always joyful in spiritual bliss. Since You always appear very happy, I have come to You because I am most unhappy. If You kindly put Your glance over me, then I may also
(4) My dear Advaita Prabhu, husband of Sita, You are so kind. Please be merciful to me. If You are kind to me, naturally Lord Caitanya and Nityananda will also be kind to me.
(5) O Svarupa Damodara, personal secretary of Lord Caitanya, O six Gosvamis Ã³ Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami! O Lokanatha Gosvami, my beloved spiritual master! Narottama dasa also prays for your mercy.
(6) O Srinivasa Acarya, successor to the six Gosvamis! Please be merciful to me. Narottama dasa always desires the company of Ramacandra Cakravarti.
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 06.09.2014 @ 04:50
Please note that in regards to the position of Brahma, Srila Prabhupada declares:
“The Lord possesses unlimited potency for pleasure, and the living entities have a limited pleasure potency. Änandamayo ‘bhyÄsÄt (VedÄnta-sÅ«tra 1.1.12). Both the Lord and the living entity, being qualitatively spirit soul, have the tendency for peaceful enjoyment, but when the part of the Supreme Personality of Godhead unfortunately wants to enjoy independently, without Krishna, he is put into the material world, where he begins his life as BrahmÄ and is gradually degraded to the status of an ant or a worm in stool.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.24.58, purport)
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 09.09.2014 @ 06:38
The holy name is not a material sound, for it descends directly from the spiritual realm:
The name is all spiritual - cinmaya. Thus He is beyond material contamination and can connect us to the highest reality, for the Holy Name is Krishna Himself.
Nama cintamanih Krishnas
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
The Holy Name of Krishna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krishna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krishna’s Name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krishna Himself. Since Krishna’s Name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krishna’s Name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the Name of Krishna and Krishna Himself are identical. (Padma Purana)
Yet the external sound of the letters alone is never the real Name:
namaksara bahiraya bate
tabu Name kabu naya
(Prema Vivarta 7.1).
So, it takes a pure devotee, a suddha bhakta, a premi bhakta, to chant suddha Nama, and thus make Krishna appear in the form of His Holy Name.
Hence, the Holy Name, suddha Nama, manifested in the West because Srila Prabhupada and other pure devotees in his line came to the West.
Otherwise, we would have remained stuck with apasiddantha and namaparadha, and at best with namabhasa, a shadow of the Holy Name…
Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 06.09.2014 @ 14:16