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Comments Posted By Samba das

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Sri Mayapur Masterplan dept seeks help

Dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu.

Your points are excellent and all of them should certainly be included in the development of the Sri Mayapur City.

The land here is beyond any mundane considerations of monetary value, it is actually touchstone. I would like to see the construction of a building whose sole purpose is to enshrine the vision statements of Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas, using large format photographs, graphics, videos etc. It would demonstrate the reasons why Srila Prabhupada purchased the lands here, how we have gone about fulfilling his vision and our plans to carry out what is yet to be done. Our acaryas vision was very clear, we owe it to them to glorify that vision in such a way that we are always reminded of it and strive to fulfill it.

Thank you!

Your servant
Samba das

» Posted By Samba das On Jun 1, 2014 @ 2:12 am

Outer Space or Inner? – De Ville with an Aura

In a class on Sunday last, BVP Swami made the point that you can’t expect surrender unless you are prepared to give shelter. Krishna demands surrender, but He also gives all protection. If authorities expect surrender, people will be prepared to offer it if they feel protected. This is the work we have to do if we are to develop varnasrama. People need a stake in the project (they feel that their participation is valuable and that they can make a difference), and they need protection. We have to start thinking, not like a temple management, but as a civic body with varnasrama ideals.

Some insist that we need a Ksatriya before we can go anywhere. But the fact is that any qualified Brahmana can adopt that role in an emergency, till such a time as some qualified kshatriyas can be trained up by brahmanas. That’s why Prabhupada wanted varnasrama colleges. ISKCON has liberated land from the materialists; this land should be a place where brahmanas train up the four varnas so we can have some qualified people for the future.
Your servant
Samba Das
Co-Chairman Mayapur Masterplan Committee.

» Posted By Samba das On Mar 29, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

Radhesyama wrote in comment 17 :
“I wanted to make this point, because to many it may initially appear, that Auroville is a open and free commune style city – which IS how they like to portray themselves, however it is not the case as many hundreds of Russians found out in the early 2000’s after a TV station made a report on Auroville which resulted in entire families selling up, packing their cases and heading to Auroville – only to be turned back, returning to Russia with nothing.
I would have to disagree with this. It may be that some people living in Auroville like to portray such an image but it’s over simplistic. The fact of the matter is that Auroville is one of the most innovative communities existing in the world today.
They certainly have had a housing shortage, just as we have one right now in Mayapur, but as of the March 2010 newsletter that has changed. They did a lot of work and as a result they now have more than 120 apartments coming up in nine or ten housing projects, of which about 50 apartments and rooms will be offered to deserving Aurovillians for free.
Back in the mid 90’s I visited Auroville many times, and stayed for some weeks at a time. I met many Aurovillians. What they have that I think we need is a sense of ownership of the project. Not in the sense of commercial ownership, but in the sense of active participation as stakeholders. They all have a stake in communal decision making.
This is something that used to be found in traditional communities around the world. In the Vedic paradigm, no one ‘owns’ anything except Krishna Balarama. As Their representatives, the brahmanas inherit that ownership, but they hand over responsibility to the Kshatriyas. The Kshatriyas overwhelming nature is to protect the citizens. In order to do that they are ready even to lay down their lives. Protection is the order of the day. That is where we have failed IMHO.

» Posted By Samba das On Mar 29, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

My response regarding the design of the TVP

I really appreciated Pusta Krishna Prabhus post here. I have never really had a chance to get to know Ambarish prabhu during his visits to Mayapur, he always appears to be so busy, but I am happy to hear such a heartfelt appreciation of him as a warm hearted humble servant of Srila Prabhupada.
To discourage someone from performing their service is certainly a valid offense. But does that mean that if their service will have a significant effect on the lives of the devotees in some way or another, it can’t be discussed?
Mayapur dham is dear to many devotees, so naturally they may be concerned about what happens here. If Srila Prabhupada were with us now to pass the final judgment, who would dare to question it? Devotees have supreme faith in his judgement. He left our physical association when the oldest ISKCON member was at best an 11 year devotee. Some are now 40+ year devotees, and the mantle of responsibility has been collectively passed on. Considering our recent past, Is it so unreasonable that this topic should come up for discussion?
It is saddening that the dialogue has to descend into attacks or sarcastic insinuations. I hope that some of the concerns that came up recently have been addressed by the background information just provided by Ambarish Prabhu. He and the team clearly wish to perform this service for Srila Prabhupada and they have their own very sound reasoning’s for the way they wish to do it. But is there really no room for some sane and reasonable discussion in an attempt to pacify devotees, especially senior devotees who have some doubts?
The fact is that ultimately Krishna will allow what he wants to happen in Mayapur. He allows his devotees to participate in these events for their edification, so we should be prepared to learn from the experience, whether it goes against our personal opinions or not.
I have practical reservations about the new design and its placement. So I welcome the chance to hear the opinions of other sober senior devotees, despite their “professional” qualifications. Of course this is not an ideal world, so while Srila Prabhupada wanted us to strive for the ideal we have to accept whatever Krishna wills. I am prepared to go along with whatever plan emerges, but does it mean that we should just give up our intelligence and not seek a wider understanding?
Your servant
Samba das (Mayapur Masterplan)

» Posted By Samba das On Aug 28, 2008 @ 10:27 am

Maintaining the authority of a spiritual institution in the modern age

‘Japa jim’ wrote:
“I don’t think the idea of the GBC having only managerial authority actually corresponds to the facts of how they served and represented Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON. The GBC definitely had great spiritual authority as well as the managerial authority over the legal affairs of ISKCON.”
Samba Das responds:
ISKCON is undoubtedly a great spiritual organization but it is made up of individuals with degrees of spirituality corresponding to their individual levels of surrender. Devotees in the role of GBC have the same responsibility as any disciple to carry on the mission of their guru with integrity and honesty, even becoming gurus themselves. Just as Srila Prabhupada performed the activities of practical management and spiritual enlightenment as service to his guru, his disciples should do the same. But things are not the same as they were. Srila Prabhupada was an uttama adhikary, in his hands ISKCON was protected. Some of his disciples however fell down from the position of guru despite the fact that they were examined by an official ISKCON committee and given a green light to initiate. Some of them did things that brought great shame upon ISKCON. This is an unfortunate fact. It may be that an adjustment in the way we are perceived will help our reputation. A publishing house will sometimes publish the statements of some of its authors with the disclaimer: “The views published here are not necessarily the views of the publisher.” In this way the views get published, but the publishing house is free from any repercussion. ISKCON’s officers may perform certain ‘official’ duties, but their actions or views outside of those duties should not necessarily be approved by the institution. In that way the institution cannot fall into disrepute so easily, but both activities go on.

» Posted By Samba das On Nov 5, 2006 @ 5:24 am


This is indeed a ‘touchy’ subject. We have people with many different mentalities and views within ISKCON. About 15 years ago I was shocked when one devotee told me that ‘every devotee has a different idea of what Krishna Consciousness is’. His statement took me by surprise, but then I began to reflect on what that meant. Lord Chaitanya is distributing the holy name freely to all souls. We know that embodied souls in this world are on many levels. Some may be coming to Krishna Consciousness for the first time — others may have already been on this path for many lives. Yet here we are, all together in this one movement, ISKCON. So it’s not surprising that we all see things so differently. The process of realisation is gradual. William Blake said — “we read the Bible day and night, but you read black where I read white.” According to our advancement in knowledge we see things in different ways.

Does this mean that all ways of seeing things are equally valid? Does it mean that we should all act according to our individual belief? The norm today is — just do it — and people do! They may act within ‘acceptable’ boundaries, but a look at history shows that those boundaries tend to dissolve, Kali yuga degrades everything.

Rather than just breezily accept any new social trend or behavior that gradually crops up in our society, we should be very wary of the long term effects that may arise. The nature of illusion is that you don’t recognize when you are in it. The principle is that the elders set the standards for the youngsters. If the elders don’t visibly demonstrate appropriate etiquette, even though they could well be above any kind of immorality, the youngsters will copy them. Using the argument that we should not appear to be fanatical — a seemingly ‘innocuous’ hug with a member of the opposite sex can result in huge negative consequences not only on a family level, but society wide. Our level of divorce in ISKCON is something to be ashamed of. Stories of devotees running off with other devotees spouses are common. What message does this send to our youngsters, what to speak of the emotional damage it causes to those directly affected?

Sometimes it seems that we forget that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness was founded to help us get out of this dangerous world. Srila Prabhupada emphasizes those dangers, and activities that can result in illicit sex life should be avoided at all costs. What can we gain by being a little more restrictive in our social life — an eternal life of bliss and happiness with Krishna and His eternal associates! This is where the focus needs to be, so surely it’s worth a little ‘tapasya’, to set a mood that is conducive to spiritual happiness. What is the great loss if we appear to be a little ‘stuffy’ in the eyes of the world, all in the name of ‘fitting in’.

Srila Prabhupada writes in the Srimad Bhagavatam 3.12..28 in regards to an incident with Lord Brahma: “One should, however, take serious note of this incident. The human being is a social animal, and his unrestricted mixing with the fair sex leads to downfall. Such social freedom of man and woman, especially among the younger section, is certainly a great stumbling block on the path of spiritual progress. Material bondage is due only to sexual bondage, and therefore unrestricted association of man and woman is surely a great impediment. Maitreya cited this example on the part of Brahmä just to bring to our notice this great danger.”

» Posted By Samba das On Sep 4, 2006 @ 8:40 am

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