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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)

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:
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.

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)

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.

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.

Hare Krishna

Comment Posted By Puskaraksa das On 20.09.2014 @ 13:21

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.

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


 


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