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From Zonal-Acarya To Buffer-Zone

There are a lot of hypothesis and speculations raised in this article (both in the positive and the negative sense).

However, in France there is a saying: “With if-s, one could put Paris in a bottle…!”

Yet, this leaves little scope to the Supreme Plan of the Lord, and the course of actions meant to take place, which could be foreseen by liberated souls before the advent of Srila Prabhupada.

Similarly, to consider that Srila Prabhupada did not have and/or could not have any pure devotee as a disciple is an offensive consideration.

Anyhow, is a conditioned soul in a position to make such statements and place such judgements anyway…?

Besides, in between say 1978 and 1983, there were only the 11 rittviks who had become the so-called zonal acaryas. But, there was always the possibility to wait and not take initiation at that time. So one’s individual responsibility in whatever choice was made is engaged.

Moreover, taking shelter in Srila Prabhupada, during that period, was all the more appropriate.

Thus, taking shelter in Srila Prabhupada is not a new thing.

Yet, we should be careful not to deviate towards the rittvik tendency, to end up promoting Srila Prabhupada as the one and only Guru, while asserting that the ISKCON Parampara, so to speak, started and ended with him.

Indeed, this wouldn’t be much of a glorification to declare him a spiritually sterile father…!

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Oct 2, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

Spiritual Culture – Krsna’s Divine System for Devotee Care

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.
(S.B. 11.2.45)

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.”
(S.B.11.2.51)

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.
(S.B.11.2.52)

Morning Walk — February 4, 1976, Mayapura:
Prabhupāda: Sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ. The beginning is arcā, arcana. And because he was given the chance of arcana, if he thinks that “I become paramahaṁsa,” then he’s a foolish. It will take time. The process is there. Therefore preaching is madhyama-adhikārī. One should take to preaching work gradually. When the preaching… Preachers, they have got discrimination, “Here is abhakta; here is bhakta.” But in the paramahaṁsa stage, uttama-adhikārī, he sees “Everyone is devotee. I am not devotee.” That is uttama-adhikārī. Just like Kavirāja Gosvāmī said, purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha (CC Adi 5.205). Sanātana Gosvāmī 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-adhikārī. A neophyte Vaiṣṇava or a Vaiṣṇava 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 insufficient guidance.
(NOI 5 – Purport)

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 22, 2014 @ 4:41 am

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:
Girirāja: But it is better to find some innocent persons, for preaching.
Prabhupāda: Yes, better field, those who are innocent. That is the duty of the preacher, four things: īśvare tad-adhīneṣu baliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca. The preacher should see four things. First of all īśvara, the Supreme Person, God. So that vision must be there. He knows what is īśvara or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then tad-adhīneṣu, those who have taken shelter of that īśvara. That means devotees. Tad-adhīneṣu. And then baliśeṣu. Baliśeṣu means those who are innocent, have no sufficient knowledge, innocent. And dviṣatsu. And there is always a class of men who are envious of God, dviṣat. Dviṣat means envious. So preacher has to see these four classes of men or three classes. One, īśvara, and the other three classes. So he has to behave like that. To behave with īśvara-prema, how to love. That is his business. How to increase love for the Supreme. Prema. Maitrī, how to make friendship with the devotee. And to the innocent-kṛpā, how to become merciful. And to the envious-upekṣa, negligence, not to talk with them. Four behavior. Īśvare tad-a… This is madhyama adhikārī. And the position of the preacher is madhyama adhihkārī. 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?
Girirāja: They want to be artificially the uttama adhikārī, to see everyone as nice.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes, everyone as nice, except himself. Uttama adhikārī vision, that everyone is nice. Then the preacher is also nice. Why you find out fault with the preacher? So imitation uttama adhikārī will not help.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 22, 2014 @ 4:11 am

“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)

Purport
According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, since a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī who cannot properly respect other devotees will certainly fail to offer respects to ordinary living entities who are not even devotees, a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī is useless for practical preaching work unless he comes to a higher platform of understanding. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says, iyaḿ ca śraddhā na śāstrārthāvadhāraṇa-jātā. Because the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī’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. Kṛṣṇa is so glorious that Kṛṣṇa’s intimate associates must also be glorious. But this is unknown to a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī. Similarly, the essential qualification of a Vaiṣṇava, which is to offer all respects to others (amāninā manādena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. adi 17.31] is also conspicuous by its absence in a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī.

SB 4.22.16, Purport:
There are three different kinds of devotees, namely kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, madhyama-adhikārī and uttama-adhikārī: the neophyte, the preacher and the mahā-bhāgavata, 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-adhikārī (preacher) is also well versed in the śāstras and can convince others also, but he discriminates between the favorable and the unfavorable. In other words, the madhyama-adhikārī does not care for the demoniac living entities, and the neophyte kaniṣṭha-adhikārī does not know much about śāstra but has full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 22, 2014 @ 3:37 am

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.

Hare Krishna

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 20, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

Some No-No’s For ISKCON Management – Part 2

…/…

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.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 14, 2014 @ 9:11 am

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.

…/…

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 14, 2014 @ 9:08 am

A Happy Wife Has a Good Husband

“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.”
S.B. 7.10.4

Though,

“Anything sent by God is a blessing for the devotee.”
S.B. 1.18.2

So, the grihastha ashrama should rather be envisioned from a spiritual perspective:

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ
svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam

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)

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 11, 2014 @ 6:56 am

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…

Savarana-sri-gaura-pada-padme

A Prayer to the Lotus Feet of Sri Gauranga
(from Prarthana) by Srila Narottama das Thakur

(1)
sri-krishna-caitanya prabhu doya koro more
toma bina ke doyalu jagat-samsare

(2)
patita-pavana-hetu tava avatara
mo sama patita prabhu na paibe ara

(3)
ha ha prabhu nityananda, premananda sukhi
kripabalokana koro ami boro duhkhi

(4)
doya koro sita-pati adwaita gosai
tava kripa-bale pai caitanya-nitai

(5)
ha ha swarup, sanatana, rupa, raghunatha
bhatta-juga, sri-jiva ha prabhu lokanatha

(6)
doya koro sri-acarya prabhu srinivasa
ramacandra-sanga mage narottama-dasa

Translation:

(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
become happy.

(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 ó 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.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 6, 2014 @ 4:50 am

Who went West – Srila Prabhupada or the Holy Name?

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. Ānandamayo ‘bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 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 Brahmā and is gradually degraded to the status of an ant or a worm in stool.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.24.58, purport)

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 9, 2014 @ 6:38 am

The holy name is not a material sound, for it descends directly from the spiritual realm:
Golokera prema-dhana,
Hari-Nama-sankirtana.

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
caitanya-rasa-vigrahah
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
‘bhinnatvan Nama-Naminoh

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…

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Sep 6, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

An Appointment with Mr. Death

There is also a suggestion that the origins of the story go back as far as the Babylonian Talmud.

The following story, which we may call “Appointment in Luz,” demonstrates that an individual cannot escape his or her destiny and must inevitably die. The Angel of Death is depicted as simply performing a necessary task, and doing it any way he can.

“There were two Cushites that attended on King Solomon, Elichoreph and Achiyah, sons of Shisha, who were scribes of Solomon. One day, Solomon noticed that the Angel of Death looked sad. Solomon asked him: Why are you sad? He replied: Because they have demanded from me the two Cushites that dwell here. Solomon had servants take them to the city of Luz [a legendary city where no one dies]. However, as soon as they reached the gates of Luz, they died. The next day, Solomon noticed that the Angel of Death was happy. He asked him: Why are you so happy? He replied: Because you sent them to the very place where they were supposed to die (Sukkah 53a). Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (according to I Kings 3:12), discovered himself outsmarted.”

There are obvious similarities here to the well known “Appointment in Samarra” story, a retelling of which was made famous by W. Somerset Maugham in his play Sheppey. Some scholars assert, however, that the origin of the Maugham tale is “When Death Came to Baghdad,” a ninth century Arabian Sufi story in Fudail ibn Ayad’s Hikayat-I-Naqshia.

This similar story in the Talmud is several hundred years older.” Satan the Accuser: Trickster in Talmudic and Midrashic Literature, by Hershey H. Friedman, Ph.D.

So, we can see that as Srila Prabhupada stated: ” Little knowledge is dangerous!”

Another point which could be raised is whether “Death” is to be personified as “Mr Death” as in the article (which is rather unusual) or rather, as a female personality, such as Ma Kali with her garland of skulls around the neck.

However, the Sufi version of the story depicts Death as an Angel, and we won’t enter into a lengthy discussion about the gender of the angels…!

Yet, Krishna, God, states that He is also Death. Thus, Death can be feared by the athiest or the unrepented sinner (as a mouse in the jaws of a cat), while Death can also be welcome as a Friend, by the surrendered and fearless devotee (as a kitten within the jaws of his mother).

All glories to the glorious and most fortunate passing away of Rohini Tanaya Prabhu.

Thank you for sharing it, Mataji.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Aug 11, 2014 @ 6:05 am

It is clearly a tale with many variations. For instance, the place name can be Samarra or Samarkand. The title may also vary.

Here is a version of the story that is over 1000 years old.

“When Death Came to Baghdad” is in the ‘Hikayat-I-Naqshia’ of Fudail ibn Ayad, a ninth century reformed bandit, turned Sufi sage. Although some details differ from the version most widely told today, it is considered to be the ‘same’ story as “The Appointment in Samara”. In the 1960s it was included in an important collection of Sufi teaching stories gathered by a respected scholar, Idries Shah, who traveled extensively in the Middle East gathering material from written and oral sources. The story, from ‘Tales of the Dervishes’ is quoted as follows:

“The disciple of a Sufi of Baghdad was sitting in the corner of an inn one day when he heard two figures talking. From what they said he realized that one of them was the Angel of Death. “I have several calls to make in this city during the next three weeks,” the Angel was saying to his companion. Terrified, the disciple concealed himself until the two had left. Then applying his intelligence to the problem of how to cheat a possible call from death, he decided that if he kept away from Baghdad he should not be touched. From this reasoning it was but a short step to hiring the fastest horse available and spurring it night and day towards the distant town of Samarkand. Meanwhile Death met the Sufi teacher and they talked about various people. “And where is your disciple so-and-so?” asked Death. “He should be somewhere in this city, spending his time in contemplation, perhaps in a caravanserai,” said the teacher. “Surprising,” said the Angel; “because he is on my list. Yes, here it is: I have to collect him in four weeks’ time at Samarkand, of all places.”
from: ‘Tales of the Dervishes’ by Idries Shah.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Aug 11, 2014 @ 5:23 am

In the Samarkand legend, “A servant encounters a woman in the market place and recognizes her as Death. The ominous figure looks into the face of the servant and makes what seems to him a threatening gesture.

Trembling with fear, the servant runs home, borrows his master’s horse, and rides like the wind all the way to Samarkand so that Death will not be able to find him.

Later, the master sees Death and asks her why she had threatened his servant. And Death says, “There was no threat. I was merely startled to see your servant here, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarkand.”

Every one of us has an appointment with Death, no matter what, but most of us do not know the particulars, the when, where and how of it…

This is why, as Srila Prabhupada stated, we have to be ready to leave our body anytime.

Moreover, a devotee welcomes death, for he or she is free from attachment to this material world and is eager to come one step closer to Krishna’s lotus feet…!

In this way, the devotee is abhayam, fearless…!

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 30, 2014 @ 5:36 am

How to address a woman?

The question one may ask oneself is: “Would I write or think the same thing, if I was in the other person’s position or, in the present case, in the opposite gender’s body…?”

This generally gives one a fairly good idea of how biaised one can be and inclined to preach for one’s own parish, clan or club, so to speak.

This also draws a line and defines a limit to one’s own impartiality and capacity to approach the Absolute Truth, which is by nature, impartial and unbiaised.

This approach may of course, also apply to varied situations. Thus, by trying to understand and possibly sympathise with the other’s position, one may become more fair of a judge.

Ottherwise, partisanship is likely to mislead one and confine one to most often promote and defend, with limited vision, some self-motivated so-called causes, which often boil down to some form of self-promotion, with the intent of serving some personal agenda.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Aug 10, 2014 @ 5:01 pm

If I may, I would like to emphasise the fact that we shouldn’t view the respective position of man and woman in terms of competition (which is not completely absent in the approach of the above article), but in terms of being complementary to each other.

By doing so, we will by-pass the ego problem, which often ends up being the main issue!

Nevertheless, I would agree with the gist of this article, about the fact that being called “Mother”, ‘Mataji” or “Ma” is a very honorific title. As it is, each and every man starts his life, being dependant on a woman for his survival, may it be in the womb only.

Moreover, small children embodied as girls tend to play with dolls and seem to naturally prepare themselves for this inbuilt role they are likely to play in the future. So, to even call a child or one’s daughter “Ma”, is not far-fetched…!

Yet, in our society of devotees, as a result of having imbibed some higher knowledge, I do not think we should over emphasise, nor minimise, the respective position of each gender, in the sense that we should not identify ourselves with the body we are temporarily inhabiting.

Hence, out of etiquette and respect for the laws of God and nature, we may behave accordingly, but what we cherish above all, is spiritual advancement and spiritual qualities, which are the ornaments of a saintly person, saddhu bhusana.

In that regard, it is no more a matter of gender.

Both men and women and particularly husband and wife, are there to help each other make progress on the spiritual path, as loving and caring brothers and sisters ought to, in a pacified and unified spiritual family, under the loving care of Srila Prabhupada and our Parampara.

Thus, we are mutually serving each other, don’t we…?

When the cook cooks for the temple devotees, does he or she cook for men or women only…?

When the pujari dresses and decorates beautifully the Deities, is it not for the pleasure of Their Lordships and for the whole assembly, or is it for the pleasure of men or women only…?

In this way, we should be careful not to promote, directly or indirectly, a rivalry in between men and women.

Men are meant to protect women when they’re grown up and women are meant to protect men till then.

Yet, through their love and devotion and spiritual qualities, both genders keep assisting and protecting each other throughout their lives, be it in running society, families or temples.

Jaya Sacinandana…!

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 27, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

Krishna Consciousness in Iceland

Dear Sarvabhauma Prabhu

Thank you very much for this enlivening presentation !

I am so happy to get to know you, as well as discover more about the background of Gaura Bhagavan and Prema Bhakti Prabhus, whom I have heard a lot about, during this past year.

As a matter of fact, by Guru and Krishna’s transcendental arrangements, I happened to be instrumental in connecting Praghosa Prabhu with both the Indian Ambassador to Iceland and this Anglo-Icelandic Indian born gentleman, which led to the January visit to Iceland and first meetings.

What happened is that I had been instructed by my Guru Maharaja to stay back at the temple near Paris last Janmasthami and not go on Harinam with the other devotees, during Janmasthami Festival and the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the installation of Sri-Sri Radha-Paris-Ishvara.

I understood later that it was so that I could greet His Excellency the Ambassador of India to Iceland along with his wife and two children, who happened to be visiting the temple prior to their flying back to Iceland.

Besides, offering them some maha-prasadam and some spiritual gifts, we had a good contact, and shared a special connection with Odisha (Orissa) where they took birth, alike my Guru Maharaja.

It is at that time that they expressed their desire to have an ISKCON temple open in Iceland, while telling me about their earlier connections with ISKCON, during his previous assignments, especially with the Toronto and Chicago Temples.

Thus, I decided to investigate who was the GBC for Iceland and found out that it was my friend Praghosa.

The rest is history, in the course of being written, by the mercy of all of you.

Hare Krishna

Affectionately yours in the service of Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga

Das dasanudasa
Puskaraksa das – GGS

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 20, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

Japa Affirmations

Note: Mahatma das answers my first comment and this comes before #4:

As one gradually realises the nature of Krishna Nama, who is apauruseya, rather than being in a mood of being the doer, one will witness how the Holy Name appears by His own sweet will and what He is capable of doing to us.

The following is the translation of a song from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Sharanagati:

“My heart is just like a desert, hot with the rays of the sun. This is my internal mental condition. The desire for mortal things cannot satisfy me because by nature they are death-producing. And not one or two, but thousands of such death-producing desires have taken shelter in my mind. So, my subconscious region is always burning. This is my condition.

But somehow, by the grace of the sadhu and guru, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra with its infinite prospect has entered through the holes of my ears and reached the plane of my heart. And there, with some peculiar hope, with infinite, auspicious possibilities, it touched my heart with a new kind of nectar.

New hope is aroused by that sound of the maha-mantra. Then by force it comes form the heart towards the tongue. Not that by the endeavor of my tongue I am producing that sound. No. What came from the heart of a pure saint through my ear, entered my heart, and that forcibly appeared on my tongue, and began to dance.

That is the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. It descends from above. It cannot be produced by the material tongue. It’s source is above. And through an agent of the absolute it comes through the ear to the heart. From the heart it gathers some sympathy, then the maha-mantra forcibly appears upon the tongue and begins to dance. With great force it comes to the end of the tongue, and that sweet sound begins its dancing.”

Sometimes the devotee thinks: I am beside myself. I can’t understand where I am. Where am I? What is this? What is all about me? It has almost made me mad. Am I a madman? Where is my past experience, my seriousness, my gravity, where are they? What am I? I have been converted wholesale by a foreign thing. I am a doll in the hands of a great force, which is also so affectionate to me. I can’t ascertain how it is possible that by my faith I have entered this great, unknown environment, not experienced before. And at last I find that I am captivated. My entire being, within and without, has been captured by a particularly sweet force. I can’t help being prey to such a sweet power.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 6, 2014 @ 11:29 am

nama smarile rupa aise sange sange

rupa nama bhinna naya nace nana range

“When one remembers the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, the transcendental form of the Lord Krishna appears in the heart and mind along with the chanting. When one realizes that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and Krishna’s form are non-different, then the maha-mantra dances on the tongue enabling the chanter to taste a variety of ecstatic mellows at every second.”


(Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Hari-nama-cintamani, Chapter 15)

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 5, 2014 @ 10:44 am

…/…

“I can’t give any proper description of this. I came to take shelter of Him (maha-mantra) and accept Him as my guardian; now at His hand I am being dealt with in such a merciless and despotic way.

Still, I feel that everything is very pleasing, beyond my experience. What is this? I can’t resist anymore. I am fully captured. Let my fate go anywhere. I can’t come out. I am a captive in the hand of a sweet friend (maha-mantra); my whole independence is gone. There is no way left to me but to surrender. I am unable to describe my real position.

I find that He’s (Krishna in the form of the maha-mantra) an autocrat. Whatever He likes, He will do. Since it is not possible for me to give any resistance, I must surrender. Let me also cooperate with whatever He is pleased to do. Otherwise I find that the sweetness of the maha-mantra is condensed like a blossoming flower, and very wonderful streams of sweet current are flowing from it. The maha-mantra contains so many sweet variegated forms of current within Him, and He is wonderfully expressing Himself in different ways. Sometimes He emanates a peculiar type of color and figure, and disappears.

So many charming aspects are shown as if to my eyes within, and He (maha-mantra) forcibly takes me to surrender at the foot of that altar.

Then I find that chanting the maha-mantra gives me new encouragement, a new prospect, and new hope. Whatever we want, whatever is our internal demand, it is supplied by the maha-mantra. If we take the maha-mantra, all our internal hankerings will be fulfilled. It is eternal, it is the purest of the pure, and it is full of ecstasy.”

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 5, 2014 @ 10:33 am

Thank you Mahatma Prabhu for your good will and endeavours to help and assist devotees, as per their individual need, so that they may keep making further progress along the spiritual path, and not feel discouraged, especially while facing obstacles and internal difficulties.

This is much needed, especially in a benevolent spirit and in a personal way, as philosophy also needs to be translated into merciful concern and kind words of support.

In regards to the above japa affirmations, we appreciate your wishful thinking and desire to develop a positive attitude towards “performing” japa…

However, I would personally not encourage you, if I may (being your junior), to overly use psychological techniques, such as the autosuggestion method.

Indeed, it is symptomatic that every above line starts with “I”.

Thus, these positive affirmations still draw a limit to how much “I” can think and feel that “I” am the doer…!

Hence, in a deeper sense, we should beware the misunderstanding according to which we can manipulate and be in control of the Holy Name…!

“I” think that and “I” will do like this, …!

Rather, with all humility at our command, we should prepare ourselves to hopefully become appropriate recipients of Krishna’s mercy so that the Holy Name may manifest Himself through us.

In that regard, let us not forget that the Holy Name descends from the spiritual world:

Golokera prema dhana, Harinama Sankirtana

The Holy Name is Krishna Himself.

So, in my menial experience, it is more a matter of getting ready to welcome the Holy Names and have Them manifest on our tongue and in our heart, rather than being in control.

In that regard, Srila Prabhupada refers to Krishna dancing on our tongue in the form of His Holy Name!

Kali-yuge Nama rupa, Krishna Avatara

In the Kali-yuga, Krishna descends in the form of His Holy Name

prabhu tumi jivera mangala cinta kori
kali-yuge nama-sange svayam avatari

“Thus the Lord, considering the welfare of the living entities, descended in Kali-yuga as Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu along with the Hare Krishna maha mantra to propagate the yuga-dharma. (Harinama cintamani)

So, in the footsteps of Srila Haridasa Thakur and our Acaryas, isn’t it more a matter of becoming proper recipients of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga’s mercy, so that we may properly welcome Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna Nama and allow them to manifest within us and express Themselves purely in the form of suddha Nama…?

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 1, 2014 @ 7:17 am

Back to Godhead means…

From a Harinam Cintamani – Chapter 15:

“Two types of jiva-sakti



The marginal region (tatastha) of the para-sakti manifests the jiva-sakti.

The jiva is eternal, inconceivably and simultaneously one with, yet different from, the Supreme Lord. He is Lord Krishna’s energy and is therefore counted among the paraphernalia of the Lord’s service.



There are two categories of jivas: nitya-baddha and nitya-mukta, or eternally conditioned and eternally liberated souls.

The eternally liberated jiva is entitled to render eternal devotional service.

The eternally conditioned jiva is engrossed in material activities.
He can be said to be of two types: extroverted and introspective.

The introspective nitya-baddha jivas are endeavoring to reach out to Lord Krishna.

The extroverted jivas are totally absorbed in gross matter and thus are far removed from Krishna; they simply want to exploit things originally meant for Lord Krishna’s service for their own enjoyment.

The more fortunate and pious jivas amongst the introspective ones come into contact with sadhus, and in their association take to chanting the Lord’s holy name, which ultimately transports them to the portals of the spiritual sky.

The less fortunate introspective jivas are attracted to the paths of karma and jnana, by which they worship many demigods or finally merge into the impersonal brahman.
”

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 6, 2014 @ 9:35 am

From Radha-Syama to Maya-devi Dhama

In 1985, by the merciful arrangement of the Supreme Lord, I was assigned to serve Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja during a fortnight in France, on the occasion of his first preaching tour outside India. As I had recognised my eternal saviour and well-wisher, whom I had been longing for during my first five years in ISKCON, on his side, he had mercifully accepted me as his disciple and had started to teach me as my eternal Gurudeva.

So, once, he told me the following:

Guru tells you: “Take it, it’s a rope”, so you naturally bend down to take it. Then, Guru tells you “No, don’t take it. It’s a snake !”. So, you stop. Then again, Guru says “Take it, it’s a rope”, and again “No, don’t take it, it’s a snake…!”

So, which instruction will you follow ?

Logically speaking, you will follow the last one. That is the one that stands!

Similarly, since Srila Prabhupada spoke in different ways, at different times, what stands as final is his conclusion. In this way, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja mercifully gives us the clue:

“Srila Prabhupada has on many occasions made different statements about this subject matter.

He has also himself drawn the conclusion.

When the conclusion is given, it is to be understood that whatever might have been said before, if it may appear to be different from that conclusion, for what ever reason, is now cancelled.

The conclusion is what stands.”

Nevertheless, dear Svarup Prabhu, you seem to indicate that, as individuals, we are entitled to have our own opinion.

I would agree about the fact that we are eternally different individual jivas and thus can exchange different rasas both with the Supreme Lord and His eternal entourage.

Yet, as far as Tattvas go, we shall probably agree on the fact that Tattva has to be accepted and presented, as it is. So, it is not a matter of trying to become a muni and propose one’s own opinion.

Rather, we shall try and serve the Absolute Truth, Vraje Vrajendra Nandana and His pure devotee, Sri Guru:

evaṁ janaṁ nipatitaṁ prabhavāhi-kūpe
kāmābhikāmam anu yaḥ prapatan prasaṅgāt
kṛtvātmasāt surarṣiṇā bhagavan gṛhītaḥ
so’haṁ kathaṁ nu visṛje tava bhṛtya-sevām

I was fallen into the darkened well of material life, where I was engaged in seeking sense enjoyment after sense enjoyment in bad association. The rishi of the gods, Narada, took me, O Lord, and made me his own. So how could I ever abandon the service of your servant?
(Prahlad to Lord Nrisinghadeva, 7.9.28)

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 19, 2014 @ 9:35 am

Dear Svarup Prabhu,

Thank you for your kind words and the humble stand you took, as well as for becoming more introspective.

Indeed, concerning these topics, we ought to be humble, as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, stated:

ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ
patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja-
sthita-dhūlī-sadṛśaṁ vicintaya

“My dear Lord, I am Your eternal servant, but SOMEHOW OR OTHER I have fallen into the ocean of this material world. Kindly pick me up and fix me as a speck of dust at Your lotus feet.” (Śikṣāṣṭaka 5)

This certainly implies that the explanation of the cause is beyond the reach and cognition of a conditioned soul.

As a matter of fact,

“Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states in his Bhagavat-sandarbha (16) that by His potencies, which act in natural sequences beyond the scope of the speculative human mind, the Supreme Transcendence, the summum bonum, eternally and simultaneously exists in four transcendental features: His personality, His impersonal effulgence, particles of His potency (the living beings), and the principal cause of all causes. The Supreme Whole is compared to the sun, which also exists in four features, namely the personality of the sun-god, the glare of his glowing sphere, the sun rays inside the sun planet, and the sun’s reflections in many other objects. The ambition to corroborate the existence of the transcendental Absolute Truth by limited conjectural endeavors cannot be fulfilled, because He is beyond the scope of our limited speculative minds. In an honest search for truth, we must admit that His powers are inconceivable to our tiny brains. Material knowledge is far removed from the spiritual nature, and therefore the acts and arrangements of the Absolute Truth are, beyond all doubts, inconceivable.” (Purport to C.c. Adi-lila 2.96)

This being said, concerning some apparent contradictions, interestingly enough, Srila Prabhupada, after having made in the course of his preaching different statements, drew himself his own conclusion.

So, rather than accepting what could be some circumstantial anti-thesis only, we might as well accept Srila Prabhupada’s thesis which happens to be in accordance with his own conclusion, as well as with Krishna’s teachings and the siddantha commonly accepted by our Vaishnava Sadhus and Gurus.

Thus, rather than isolating oneself, a safer stand would be to accept the conclusion, while admitting the inconceivable aspect of this topic…!

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 16, 2014 @ 10:53 pm

We have to beware that this discussion “doesn’t end up in endless” speculations and word juggling!

For example, on one hand, those who have reached a certain level of understanding and humility may claim that “I am patita”, “I am fallen and Guru and Krishna who are Patita Pavana, only can save me!”

On the other hand, as a spirit soul, we may understand that our nature is sat cit ananda. So how could we claim to be fallen in essence, when our nature is purely spiritual and doesn’t belong to this mortal world…?

Yet, somehow or other, we have fallen into this material world, this prison house of Maya devi, Maya krita karaga. So, even if the prison house is part of the country, those who are imprisoned are deprived of some of their rights, such as freedom, contrarily to others citizens.

Similarly, being with Krishna or going back to Krishna can mean, as Srila Prabhupada explains, being with or going back to our Father – Aham bija prada pita – since we are His parts and parcels.

Thus, this may give us a feeling that we had a beginning, as we emanate from Krishna. Yet, we are eternal. Never was a time when we did not exist. So, how can we reconcile this…?

Similarly, Krishna is full in Himself, yet He is full of love, and love is never satisfied with itself. To taste Himself more fully, He manifests as two—Radha and Krishna. As the sruti proclaims, ekaki na ramate: “Alone one finds no pleasure.” That which resides within Krishna in an abstract sense, as His inherent hladini-sakti manifests externally in a concrete form as Radha. These two, rasa and prema, are in essence one. Krishna is rasa and Radha is prema. One has little meaning without the other. Rasa is the highest taste and prema is the means of tasting it.

So, Radha manisfests Herself. But was there a time when Krishna was without Radha, when Radha did not exist?

In the same way, coming from Godhead and going back to Godhead doesn’t necessarily refer to going back to Goloka Vrindavana or any of the Vaikuntha planets, since Godhead is being known by three aspects, namely Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.

Indeed, as you may see, these things are inconceivable and beyond the intellectual grasp of a conditioned soul and his/her tools, such as the material mind and intelligence. Hence, best is not to get involved on the false ego platform, in regards to these transcendental and somehow or other, inconceivable topics.

Thus, let us practice trinad api sunicena…

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 13, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

For our readers’ kind information, I just quoted the introduction to Baul Sangit: http://kksongs.org/authors/baulsangit.html

Now, on a philosophical level and in terms of preaching strategy, as it should appropriately be presented, according to our Vaishnava etiquette, this may mean that our acaryas may have adjusted their presentation in different ways, according to time, place and circumstances.

Indeed, the topic which seems to have been on the mind of some devotees lately, could be such a case where each one may be encouraged to believe what would seem to be favourable to him or her, at a given time, so as to get an acceptable answer according to one’s level of understanding and spiritual advancement, i.e. revelation, so as not to get discouraged and keep moving towards the exit of this material world, which is on fire…!

As a matter of fact, under such circumstances, what matter is not really who has set the house on fire, but how to get rescued from this calamity.

saḿsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-
trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam
prāptasya kalyāṇa-guṇārṇavasya
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as a cloud pours water on a forest fire to extinguish it, so the spiritual master delivers the materially afflicted world by extinguishing the blazing fire of material existence. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is an ocean of auspicious qualities.

So, those who accept the authority of Sri Guru may also accept his conclusion, as Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja did put it:

“Srila Prabhupada has on many occasions made different statements about this subject matter.

He has also himself drawn the conclusion.

When the conclusion is given, it is to be understood that whatever might have been said before, if it may appear to be different from that conclusion, for what ever reason, is now cancelled.

The conclusion is what stands.

For example, Srila Prabhupada gives the following conclusions regarding the origin of the jiva.

‘The conclusion is that no one falls from the spiritual world, or Vaikuntha, for it is the eternal abode.’ (SB 3.16.26 purport)

‘The conclusion is that the origin of all life is the bodily effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ (SB 4.30.5 purport)

What is Srila Prabhupada’s conclusion, that is what I accept. I accept Srila Prabhupada’s own conclusion, that is all”.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 12, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

Baul Sangit is a songbook written by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He writes twelve songs to preach to the Baul sect in Bengal.

The Bauls (lit. “madmen”) would follow illicit principles even though they would chant the songs of Krsna and Lord Caitanya. Their core philosophy also differs with that of Lord Caitanya’s.

The songs are written in the Baul style urging them to change their ways to be pure at heart and worship Krsna.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura signs his name as “Chand Baul” in these songs.

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 9, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

ONLY FEW FALL — Eternally liberated never fall, with footnote

“The living entity, although Brahman by nature, has the desire to lord it over the material world, and due to this he falls down.

In his constitutional position, a living entity is above the three modes of material nature, but association with material nature entangles him in the different modes of material nature, goodness, passion and ignorance. Due to the association of these three modes, his desire to dominate the material world is there.

By engagement in devotional service in full Krsna consciousness, he is immediately situated in the transcendental position, and his unlawful desire to control material nature is removed.

Therefore the process of devotional service beginning with hearing, chanting, remembering–the prescribed nine methods for realizing devotional service–should be practiced in the association of devotees. Gradually, by such association, by the influence of the spiritual master, one’s material desire to dominate is removed, and one becomes firmly situated in the Lord’s transcendental loving service.”
(B.g. 14.27 – Purport)

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 15, 2014 @ 5:14 am

Letter to Jagadish dasa, Los Angeles, April 25, 1970

“Regarding your questions about how and from where did the conditioned souls fall, your first question if someone has a relationship with Lord Krsna on Krsnaloka, does he ever fall down?

The souls are endowed with minute independence as part of their nature and this minute independence may be utilized rightly or wrongly at any time, so there is always the chance of falling down by misuse of one’s independence.

But those who are firmly fixed up in devotional service to Krsna are making proper use of their independence and so they do not fall down.

Regarding your second question, have the conditioned souls ever seen Krsna? Were they with the Lord before being conditioned by the desire to lord it over material nature?

Yes, the conditioned souls are parts and parcels of the Lord and thus they were with Krsna before being conditioned. Just as the child must have seen his father because the father places the child in the womb of the mother, similarly each soul has seen Krsna or the Supreme Father. But at that time the conditioned souls are resting in the condition called susupti which is exactly deep sleep without dream, or anesthetized state, therefore they do not remember being with Krsna when they wake up in the material world and become engaged in material affairs.

I hope this will satisfy your questions.”

Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 12, 2014 @ 9:51 am

‘Whose Fault is Divorce?’: Mahatma Prabhu’s Response to Bhakti Vikasa Swami, Part 2

I personally do not think anyone should be so bold and foolish and offensive too, as to disagree with Srila Prabupada.

So Mataji, please, mind your speech.

Srila Prabhupada is not an ordinary or mundane person you should feel yourself entitled to contradict, all the more publicly on an ISKCON forum.

The fact that you may express your concerns is acceptable.

The fact that you may identify to both your gross and subtle body and that you may take side for women is understandable too.

But when it comes to try and decipher what a nitya-siddha and the pure representative of God means, we have to do it with folded hands and the utmost humility.

And if we do not understand his teachings from the standpoint of our conditioned state or even may be prone to disagree due to our material conditioning, the best and safest stand is to surrender our material intelligence at his lotus feet and pray:

Dear Srila Prabhupada, I am a conditioned soul. I do not understand this point of yours. My material mind is prompting me to disagree with you. But I do not want to commit any offense at your lotus feet. So, please kindly enlighten me and bestow your mercy upon me, so that I may become eligible to receive divya-jnana and get jnana-caksu (spiritual knowledge and vision).

In such a frame of mind, we may become elevated by the grace of Guru and Krishna, to higher planes of consciousness and transcend some day, the three modes of material nature.

Otherwise, we may remain for many more lifetimes the biased conditioned soul that we may still be.

The choice is ours.

Either we argue with Sri Guru, defy him and commit aparadha.

Or we surrender at his lotus feet rather than to our false ego and choose to have him guide us back to where we really belong, i.e. the spiritual world, where all these mundane considerations will be irrelevant…!

» Posted By Puskaraksa das On Jul 2, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

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