Comments Posted By Sankarsana das

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How to address a woman?

I thought Devaki mataji’s article was well thought out and did not indicate any spirit of competition between the sexes as she was accused of. Her further explanations of her article were to the point and well stated. I also agree with her following statement:

“What our words express ultimately depends on the consciousness with which we are saying it, and the audience also understands things according to their own consciousness with which they are reading those words.”

The latter part of this statement is known as “atmavan manyate jagat” which Srila Prabhupada quoted often. Recently on Dandavats Mahatma prabhu wrote an article expanding on the hisory of Cyavana Muni and Sukanya, and he discussed the responsibility of men in marital relationships. Afterwards there were a backlash of comments and accusations by devotees who thought Mahatma was way off. Later Mahatma spelled out the “controversial” statements he had made for those who misconstrued them, and it seemed to pacify the situation. So it can be seen with controversial topics (such as male and female concerns), people can misunderstand information which doesn’t click with their conceptions. Or they can become the instructor to the experienced devotee rather than going further to try to understand what the experienced devotee is saying. The tendency to trump a qualified presenter, as if they are not aware of the depth of a subject, is not a good quality, and it can be offensive. It’s much better to ask respectfully for further explanations of a point which is not understood or agreed on.

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 12.08.2014 @ 00:47

Female Diksha Guru — some considerations

I am somewhat surprised with Akrurantha prabhu’s comments because he discredits Basu Ghosh prabhu’s entire article on the basis that it is ill motivated. Even if the beginning few short paragraphs of the article were left out which had to deal with the motive in question, Basu Ghosh prabhu compiled a great deal of impressive evidence that female diksa guru is an unknown species in our tradition, so why abandon tradition for the sake of liberal considerations which are minuscule in comparison. Regarding the motive, if someone is aware of tradition and is able to back up his statements with strong authoritative evidence to support the tradition, his listening charitably to a notion which goes outside the tradition is asking a great deal. Akruranatha prabhu had nothing to say to compromise the bulk of the article with all the quotes and sastric evidence provided. To introduce legitimate opposing evidence would have been much more impressive. He even states at the end regarding the motive, “It strikes me as an illegitimate tactic, the sort resorted to when one has little means of refuting the opposition‚Äôs direct statements.” There was plenty of means of refuting the opposing position in the article.

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 04.12.2013 @ 00:55

Thanks also for your response Puskaraksa Prabhu, and thanks also for correcting my mistake about bhakti sastri. What you say and the Prabhupada quotes you provided warn against the ambition to become a guru, which certainly is an anartha. At the same time disciples of Prabhupada gravitating towards becoming gurus (by qualification or not) can use the quote you provided (as well as others) to indicate it is Prabhupada’s order for all of his disciples to become guru, since he said he wanted it. The “maybe” indicates that Prabhupada had some doubt how qualified his disciples could become. In Prabhupada’s own case (correct me if I’m wrong) I am not aware of a specific instruction Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave him to become guru. The well known general instruction Prabhupada got to go to the western countries and preach was an indirect order to become guru though. So if the order is indirect or direct it still can be arguably accepted as an order, as long as one is linked to the parampara line.

You also brought up a good consideration that someone should not flatter themselves into thinking they should become a guru because a neophyte approaches them with interest of becoming their disciple. That brings up more serious considerations not only of the qualification of a disciple, but also what the qualifications of guru are such as controlling the pushing agents, and being able to deliver dependents from death.

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 01.12.2013 @ 16:02

Thanks for the acceptable reply Krishna-Kirti prabhu, but it seems from Urmila mataji’s comments that she is referring to the situation where she has been giving siksa to female devotees for years and wonders why it is those women under her shelter have to be initiated by a male guru when they have primarily taken shelter of her. In a scenario of women only giving initiation to women the sex attraction consideration tends not to be a problem. So the question follows what would be the problem under these conditions of there being women gurus for exclusively women disciples? Is it just begging the question since it’s not women’s dharma to be diksa gurus for some of the reasons cited earlier?

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 01.12.2013 @ 14:05

Thank you for the well presented and authoritatively based article Basu Ghosh prabhu, and the informative follow up by Krishna-kirti prabhu. How do either of you (or anyone well acquainted with this subject) respond to a popular Prabhupada quote the pro FDG devotees use that Srila Prabhupada wanted all his disciples (both men and women) to take the Bhakti sastri exam, and whoever passed could initiate disciples? By the way this instruction does not corroborate with Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to Tamal Krishna Maharaja about not having gurukula for girls, and what girls need to learn. This casts doubt on the idea that the female role in Prabhupada’s view would change much when girls became women. From my perspective not everything Prabhupada said has to be taken literally. Especially when something he said he did not implement himself, not to mention he made comments to the contrary on and provided references for (as Basu Ghosh prabhu provided quotes for in this regard). It’s possible he could have said something like that just to encourage all his disciples to preach.

Also how do you respond to a logical argument Urmila mataji makes as follows: “In a situation where a guru has been giving siksa and personal guidance for many years‚Äďeven a decade‚Äďto a particular disciple, where there is a firm relationship of guru/disciple, where the disciple has been worshiping and studying from and serving his or her siksa guru for many years‚Äďwhy is it better for that disciple to take diksa from someone else, only because the siksa guru is female? (And often the ‚Äúsomeone else‚ÄĚ has little or no relationship or personal knowledge of the disciple).”

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 30.11.2013 @ 00:25

Tribute to Siddhavidya prabhu

I had a dream of Siddhavidya prabhu who came to fulfill my desire to have a more satisfactory farewell than had happened. I was feeling disappointed that Siddhavidya didn’t notify me of the serious condition his illness had taken, and thus I was unable to visit him before he departed. I was even thinking of going to Miami in January but decided since I was planning a visit there in April I would go somewhere else instead. When I found out he was in grave condition in the hospital I was in Mauritius and not in a position to drastically change my travel plans. I did speak to him (although he was unable to speak to me) on the phone a couple of days before he departed. I was under the impression then that he was recovering, and I just told him I was happy to hear he was going to be okay and that I looked forward to seeing him in April. I then heard the news he departed when I arrived in Vrindavan a few days later. I was devastated.

Anyway in my dream Siddhavidya called out “Breeze!” (as he always called me… since I did some kirtan tapes called Vaikuntha Breezes). He looked healthy and surrounded by effulgence and seemed to be communicating to me from a higher realm. He then said in a half humorous way “You’re still alive.” We then hugged and that was the end of the dream. I then felt satisfied that Siddhavidya remembered me and paid me a visit just to encourage me that much better things are ahead after this life.

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 10.04.2013 @ 13:50

Please Pray for Siddha Vidya Prabhu

I spoke with a devotee I know who was present with Siddhavidya prabhu in the hospital. He said Siddhavidya is recovering nicely and is out of the danger zone of perhaps leaving his body. He spoke with much ease as if there is nothing to worry about. He then turned the phone over to Siddhavidya who could not speak, but could only hear me express my well wishes for him and when I will visit Miami. I could hear him breathing but that was all. So this is very good news for the vaisnava community that Siddhavidya prabhu will continue to give us his much valued association. Your servant, Sankarsana das

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 09.03.2013 @ 15:18

A couple of updates from devotees who visited Siddhavidya prabhu:

Jeff Jatayu Das Baptist: I want to thank Syamakunda for making this trip possible to Siddha Vidya yesterday.Sidha Vidaya was very Krsna conscious,and when I came to him and said,I am here,this is jatayu,he burst out in tears,and I also was crying.The whole experiance was very touching and full of reading,chanting verses and just some times just looking at this great Vaisnava and friend.His devoted wife,Krsna Katha was very devoted and positive,hoping he would pull through this critical time.On positive note,yesterday they removed his breathing tube,and he was breathinf on his own.I hope this great vaisnava will pull through this time,for his association would be missed so much

Syamakunda Das: I want to thank Jatayu for inspiring me to visit Siddha Vidya at the hospital yesterday. They had just removed the breathing tube but he was still on a ventilation machine and we could not hear what he was saying. However, I can say that his firm determination to always chant the Holy Name of the Lord, always attend mangala arotika, to distribute books, and to chant his rounds is bearing fruit. He was so Krsna Conscious lying on this bed. It was just amazing that although Siddha Vidya was hooked up to so much equipment and despite the fact that he had to endure so much inconvenience, he was remaining fixed in his Krsna Consciousness. He appeared to be chanting all the time despite all of his troubles. I want to say, that the goal of Srila Prabhupada’s exchanges of love with his devotees that we cherish, as described in all of the rememberances of devotees, were meant to create other Beautiful Vaisnavas. After visiting Siddha Vidya in the hospital, I can proclaim, that he has succeeded with this son of his. Hare Krsna. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and All Glories to his stalwart son, Siddha Vidya Das. I hope that I get his association again in the future.

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 08.03.2013 @ 15:16

During the 90’s I spent my winters in Miami and regularly went on walking Harinama with Siddhavidya prabhu, and he also would join me for a stationary Harinama I did in downtown Miami. His knack of interacting with people on Harinama was a pleasure to see, and it created a sense of strength in other devotees present. He would acknowledge every passerby and induce them to join in the spirit of kirtan. Often he would enter shops and play the kartals over his head and chant and smile at customers and workers and get them in the spirit of Harinama. Since he was such a regular on routes he took some shops anticipated his arrival and the workers would grab spoons and pots and play along in time with the kirtan. In the many experiences I saw of him entering places I rarely saw anyone becoming irritated by his presence. After a few minutes sometimes an employer would kindly let him know it was enough, but usually he could decide when it was time to move on. Even people eating at sidewalk cafes picked up on his transcendental spirit and got into the kirtan or showed some sign of appreciation. At times a large group of people got in the spirit of Harinama and danced or clapped along with the kirtan.

Associating with Siddhavidya on a personal level was always a pleasure and one I hope to relive as long as possible. He’s honest, humble, intelligent, gracious, steady, and very much appreciated by the community of devotees in Miami. I still visit Miami about every year and he is reason alone for me to visit. Last year we went out on Harinama together and although it was more obvious our time is getting shorter it was good to know we were still on the battlefield doing Harinama as Srila Prabhupada desired.

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 06.03.2013 @ 08:01

Download for free the book "Did Srila Prabhupada Want Women Diksa-gurus?"

I thought Krishna Kirti’s heavy responses in 40 and 41 were accurate philosophically as well reasonable and appropriate in light of the dubious tactics employed by Akruranatha and Mother Visakha Priya to manipulate their objectives. The half a hen logic could be seen in what Krishna Kirti was getting at - how the GBC referred to tradition to defeat the ritvik theory, and it should be also be applied in this consideration over women diksa gurus. For the illustrious Mother Visakha Priya to resort to the remark about “true colors” and “May Krsna help you” seems to provide a case study why women may not be so suitable to be gurus in itself.

Comment Posted By Sankarsana das On 10.03.2013 @ 16:47


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