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

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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

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)

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…

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.

Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 06.09.2014 @ 04:50

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)

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:
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…

Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 06.09.2014 @ 14:16

Will Hare Krishnas Go Vegan?

Another aspect of drinking milk or consuming dairies, is that it nourishes bhakti…!

Indeed, milk and dairy not only nourish the finer brain tissues and the body at large, but they also nourish the heart and play an essential role in our devotional culture.

Otherwise, why would Govinda Ji, Gopal Jiu, care so much altogether for the earth, the cows and the brahmanas…?

Why would Krishna, God Himself, be a cowherd boy…?

To the contrary, the vegans are often more conscious about their material body and their health, than anything else.

In the eighties, I introduced an old lady to Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja. She was considered the mother of the “Macrobiotics Movement” in France, as she highly contributed to introduce it.

As they profess that “You are what you eat”, she finally came out with this line: ” To me, rice is God…!”

So, as Srimad Bhagavatam states, “What is the use of living a hundred years like tree…? Better to have a spark of pure consciousness…!”

So, rather than becoming a dry bodily-attached philosopher, better to become part of the culture of love, and imbibe the finer qualities of mother cow, go mata, which are conducive to elevating one to the mode of goodness and, further more, to developing bhakti…

Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 12.08.2014 @ 06:43

One aspect the promoters of veganism may not have in mind, is the karma which one has to endure for having slaughtered a cow.

That means that no matter what these well-intended persons may say, the law of karma will apply and he who has killed a cow will have to be killed in the body of a cow, so many times as there are hair on the body of that cow.

So, we are not exactly here to try and counteract the decisions of the court of Yamaraja which will have to be enforced, nor defy the arrangements made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He who doesn’t mind killing the miscreants, whatever body they may be covered with.

This means that one should not become so sentimental, as to deviate from our philosophy and Vaishnava lifestyle, in order to try and protect some sinful souls already sentenced to death.

Rather, by offering their milk to Krishna, we may allow them to do some agyata-sukriti and thereby engage themselves on the path which will ultimately liberate them from samsara.

Nevertheless, we simultaneously have to promote an ideal society, which will inspire people to purify their lives and become devotees.

Jaya Govinda, Jaya Gopal

Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 11.08.2014 @ 22:27

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.

Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 11.08.2014 @ 06:05

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.

Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 11.08.2014 @ 05:23


 


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