Comments Posted By Shrutadev
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Dear Japa Jim,
That is exactly how I feel also. Sadaputa was an old friend of mine and I had just seen him in Alachua for Gaura Purnima. I am shocked to hear he passed away and it is disturbing to me not to have the slighest details.
It seems that Dandavats.com should make it a requirement to have a minimum of information when making a death announcement. I think the devotee community would appreciate that. Hare Krishna.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Sep 21, 2008 @ 6:46 am
Srila Prabhupada never compromised in his preaching strategy. On the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase, there is a section called “Krsna Conscious Play Scripts” which includes quite an extensive section of quotes from Srila Prabhupada regarding his desires for preaching, plays and public performances.
In the wonderful book, “The Great Transcendental Adventure” by Sriman Kurma Das, there are these very interesting passages regarding Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on public performances:
“Only weeks before, a leading dancer from the “Nederlands Dans Theater” currently touring Australia, had purchased one of Srila Prabhupada’s books from a devotee on the streets of downtown Melbourne. After reading the book, he had suddenly defected from the troupe in mid-season and moved into the temple in St.Kilda.
This had caused considerable shockwaves through the dance world. Bhakta George—aka George Coleman—who only weeks before was performing naked on stage with the world’s most controversial dance troupe, now danced fully-dressed in saffron cloth outside Myer’s Department Store on Bourke Street.
George was both a stunningly expert dancer and an experienced choreographer. This inspired Madhudvisa to stage a Krsna conscious dance drama for Ratha-yatra. Madhudvisa encouraged Mekhala to utilise her classical ballet training in the drama. Soon, selected devotees wrapped in coats and gloves were spending long hours rehearsing in the cold loft above the Hare Krsna shop. “The Little Fish—the Story of the Tiny Conditioned Soul and His Fall to the Material World” would soon have its debut.
Monday, 17 July 1972
Devotees and guests alike appreciated the full-length drama and were moved to dance and chant blissfully at its resounding finale. The Ellis D. Fogg Light Show Company pumped out psychedelic coloured images on the walls amidst coloured slides of Krsna and Srila Prabhupada as the chanting grew in intensity. Finally, everyone feasted on a multi-course prasadam feast—spicy carrot subji, pappadams, halavä, date balls, coconut honey balls, and apple chutney. The first annual Ratha-yatra festival was deemed a resounding success.
* * *
A day or two after the festival, an airmail letter arrived from Srila Prabhupada in London. Madhudvisa, still elated from the festival and especially the drama, was surprised to read the contents:
8 July, 1972
My Dear Madhudvisa,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated June 30, 1972, and I have noted the contents. I am very much pleased to see the photos of the Jagannatha cart being made by you in Melbourne, and I can understand that your energy and experience are being put to good use there in Australia. That is the secret to success, utilizing our God-given energy to please Krishna.
Regarding your question of dancing-show, whatever it may be, it may not deviate from the real Krishna Consciousness program. We are Hari Kirtana men, that’s all. We can attract people by some gorgeous show, but inside there must be strict purity and seriousness, otherwise, we shall be attracted by the gorgeous show only. There are two energies always working simultaneously, and Maya means when we diminish the spiritual energy, then automatically we become attracted to the external dress of Maya. So I do not care very much for these plays and dramas unless they are coming directly from the Vedas. If we can recite from Bhagavad gita the first chapter without any need for elaborate scenery or stage-props and gorgeous dresses, that is best. Just like your Shakespeare. Macbeth may be recited by two men, without anything else, and simply by their acting ability and the meaningful words alone, they can very easily capture the entire audience and give them real substance. We have so many stories, like Jagai-Madhai, Krishna departing for Mathura, like that. Satire will not help us. Our message is very grave, and because it is the Absolute Truth, it will work without any artificial presentation.
Because they heard of our program in Bombay along with the Zavery sisters Manipuri Dancers, here in London they had arranged one program of lecturing by me along with a recital by one man playing on the vina just to attract attention to my speaking. I am not in approval of such arrangements, and it will be dangerous thing in future if we begin this type of program just to attract the masses. Already I see this happening practically all over the Society, so better we stop it now and get ourselves firmly on the track chalked out for us by Lord Caitanya. We are simply Sankirtana men, our program is chanting, dancing, distributing prasadam, and speaking high philosophy, that’s all.
Hoping this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Madhudvisa quickly wrote back reporting on the successful festival. He explained:
I am very much ashamed to admit that for the program following the Ratha-yäträ festival, we had a full-length musical dance drama, illustrating the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. You explained in your last letter that satire will not help; you said that we should not bother ourselves with props and costumes as well as extensive lighting. Those who witnessed this play however, exclaimed that it was tremendously successful and many of the devotees as well as the guests were in tears during the final act when the fallen jiva ultimately surrenders to the spiritual master. During this scene, there was an enormous slide of your Divine Grace projected on stage, and apparently the connection was made by the devotees that if they felt themselves resisting you in not surrendering wholly—when they saw your mercy, this moved them greatly.
I am feeling very much confused in that we were trying to illustrate a very philosophical point, but at the same time we did not follow your instructions, because your letter arrived two days after the festival …
Madhudvisa described in detail the recent Melbourne Ratha-yatra and added that he was thinking of staging a play based on the teachings of Lord Caitanya.
Srila Prabhupada replied, reporting on the successful London Ratha-yatra:
I am very glad to hear that there has been a very nice Ratha-yäträ festival in Melbourne, and that despite all obstacles many people joined, and it was very successful. Similarly, in London we have already celebrated a very successful Ratha-yäträ procession and many thousands of persons joined in marching from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square, and in Trafalgar Square I initiated nearly 30 new disciples and we had a fire yajïa and many, many thousands of persons had observed it, mostly Englishmen.
In this letter, Prabhupada uncompromisingly reiterated his instructions on drama:
Regarding the dramas, my point is not to deviate from gravity, and compromise or distract from the situation. Keep this point in vision and continue. That is a very good proposal, to stage one play based upon Lord Caitanya. Read Teachings of Lord Caitanya on the stage, just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu is giving instructions to Sanatana Goswami. The actors may speak a little philosophy, without the need for special costumes or other things. Then kirtana. There must be always kirtana. Dialogue, kirtana; then again dialogue, again kirtana; again repeat; like that. No humour should be there. Just philosophy and kirtana.
If it is successful, then the same dialogue-kirtana may be followed by other sankirtana parties in Europe and America.
All in all, however, Prabhupada appreciated Madhudvisa’s service:
All blessings of Krishna upon you. You have done so nicely. Keep always in your vision that our movement is so great and keep gravity. You are experienced devotee, I can see things are going nicely …”
So although we know that Srila Prabhupada sometimes expressed different perspectives at different times to different devotees the essence of what Srila Prabhupada taught us never changed. Of course, it is always up to the individuals and the leaders to apply Srila Prabhupada’s teachings according to time, place and circumstance. We can only pray for Srila Prabhupada’s guidance in these matters.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Dec 14, 2007 @ 8:13 pm
One thing I truly don’t understand is the evolution from “covered heads” to uncovered heads for ladies. Looking back at all the old photos of Iskcon practically all the ladies covered their heads with saris. Especially in front of Srila Prabhupada or on the altar. And if you look at all the old paintings (which Srila Prabhupada personally supervised) practically always the gopis have covered their heads with their saris. So perhaps Urmila devi or some other female Prabhupada disciple can give us some quotes or anecdotes regarding this point.
Since Srila Prabhupada personally directed the early devotees in everything from cooking to cleaning to tilak to clothing I would imagine at the very least he encouraged the practice. I would assume he instituted it on some level. Perhaps he even taught the ladies how to wrap a sari and cover their heads. Yamuna, Jadurani, Malati, somebody?
I seem to remember (I tried finding it on the Vedabase but couldn’t) Srila Prabhupada telling how his mother would be carried in a covered palanquin whenever she went outside so as to not be seen.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Dec 13, 2007 @ 7:20 am
Please give us some information on Ajitananda prabhu and some details of his passing. Perhaps someone has a photo. This is the first time I have heard anything. Thank you so much.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Nov 28, 2007 @ 6:47 pm
Prabhupada: Why your dress is not as a sannyäs?
Tusta Krsna: The robes make people uncomfortable, Prabhupada. They see you as different and can’t relate. They won’t relax enough to listen when I wear robes.
Prabhupada: But sannyasis must dress in saffron with robes and shaved head.
Tusta Krsna: I am following all the principles, but the dress is external and superficial. Why should we let it hamper the preaching?
Prabhupada: If the dress is superficial, why should you change your dress to please people who are so serious about the superficial? [Pause.] You understand my point? Superficial people become controlled by superficial and external things. Why do you dress to please superficial people? You should dress to please Krsna.
Tusta Krsna: So you would like me wear saffron and shave up?
Prabhupada: Yes, I want you to promise this. Only wear saffron and keep your head shaved. This is sannyasi dress. You should promise.
Tusta Krsna: Yes, Prabhupada. I promise.
* * *
Watching Prabhupada lovingly “checkmate” a misled son was moving. And how brilliantly had Prabhupada turned Tusta’s argument!
This quote is from Bhurijana prabhu’s book, “My Glorious Master.”
» Posted By Shrutadev On Nov 26, 2007 @ 9:49 pm
Vaisnava C.A.R.E. is set up for this sort of situation. Perhaps contacting them would be helpful.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Oct 8, 2007 @ 12:40 am
Perhaps, for those of us who are not in the know, you could explain what the “patron-leader” event was? I have never heard of that before. Thank you.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Aug 27, 2007 @ 3:21 pm
I bumped into Puru das in Mayapura during the Gaura Purnima festival less than two monthes ago. We hadn’t seen each other in years. We had first served together in Baltimore in 1971. I was happy to see him and he looked fine. I am shocked by his passing but I am happy that he was in Mayapura for Gaura Purnima just a short while ago. May Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya bless him and guide him back to home, back to Godhead. Hare Krishna.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Apr 26, 2007 @ 6:18 am
Dear Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Maharaja,
Please forgive me for asking but what is your initiated name from Srila Prabhupada? It sounds like you had some nice association with VJ Swami and TKG. Perhaps I know you from the “early days.” Hare Krishna.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Apr 16, 2007 @ 6:32 am
Hare Krishna. Dandavats to the Vaishnavas. Just a small comment to add to this very interesting and enlightening discussion. In reading the later chapters of the Nectar of Devotion, the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Sri Caitanya Caritamrta one could hardly say that Srila Prabhupada just gave us the ABC’s. The most intimate mellows of devotional service are discussed in great detail in these books by Srila Prabhupada so I have always been rather astonished at how anyone could possibly suggest that Srila Prabhupada did not teach the entire siddhanta of our Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy. Furthermore, the topmost teaching of Vaishnavism is that by pure, selfless devotion unto the Lord (specifically unto Sri Guru and Gauranga) one attains perfection. And who could be a more pure and selfless servant of Sri Guru and Gauranga than Srila Prabhupada by his unparalleled preaching. So one who follows in his footsteps most certainly attains the same perfection. “The spiritual master is very dear, because he is expert in assisting the gopis, who at different times make different tasteful arrangements for the perfection of Radha and Krsna’s conjugal loving affairs within the groves of Vrndavana. I offer my most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master.”
from a very poor and fallen soul – your humble servant,
» Posted By Shrutadev On Apr 15, 2007 @ 10:39 am
Hare Krishna! What a wonderful article. I want to jump on a plane right away and start preaching in Europe. Is this my old friend and God-brother from England? If so, please e-mail me at Shrutadev@aol.com. Hare Krishna!
Your humble servant,
Srutadeva dasa, ACBSP
» Posted By Shrutadev On Oct 12, 2006 @ 5:09 pm
A few years ago we had a preaching center in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA and as householders we were also teaching hatha yoga and selling incense, candles, health products etc. to pay the rent. We had a morning program, did some preaching at the campus and had Sunday feasts. Some of our yoga students came for prasadam and chanting on Sundays.
And yes, Srila Prabhupada encouraged Paribrajakacarya Maharaja to use his hatha yoga classes as a means to attract people to bhakti yoga. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur also said to give them meat if necessary. I think we can all agree that that would be an extreme circumstance. P. Maharaja was preaching in a Muslim country and teaching hatha yoga to the ruling monarchy at the time. That certainly was a special circumstance. Unfortunately, do you know what happened to Paribrajakacharya? He left Krsna consciousness not long after that and became a very big hatha yoga guru who now, when interviewed, very sadly neglects to give even the slightest mention of Krsna consciousness or Srila Prabhupada.
“Because they heard of our program in Bombay along with the Zavery sisters Manipuri Dancers, here in London they had arranged one program of lecturing by me along with a recital by one man playing on the vina just to attract attention to my speaking. I am not in approval of such arrangements, and it will be dangerous thing in future if we begin this type of program just to attract the masses. Already I see this happening practically all over the Society, so better we stop it now and get ourselves firmly on the track chalked out for us by Lord Caitanya. We are simply Sankirtana men, our program is chanting, dancing, distributing prasadam, and speaking high philosophy, that’s all.
Hoping this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami”
So I think it is better to simply be Srila Prabhupada’s “Sankirtana men.” Chanting, dancing, distributing prasadam, and speaking high philosophy, that’s all. That will keep us safe in Krsna consciousness and in the long run be the most effective “strategy” for attracting people to bhakti yoga.
“Indeed, their effulgence is like the brilliance of a million suns. Nor have I ever heard the Lord’s names chanted so melodiously.
Such are the symptoms of pure devotees when they are chanting. All the pure devotees are as bright as sunshine, and their bodily luster is very effulgent. In addition, their performance of sankirtana is unparalleled. There are many professional chanters who can perform congregational chanting with various musical instruments in an artistic and musical way, but their chanting cannot be as attractive as the congregational chanting of pure devotees. If a devotee sticks strictly to the principles governing Vaisnava behavior, his bodily luster will naturally be attractive, and his singing and chanting of the holy names of the Lord will be effective. People will appreciate such kirtana without hesitation. Even dramas about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya or Sri Krsna should be played by devotees. Such dramas will immediately interest an audience and be full of potency. The students of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness should note these two points and try to apply these principles in their spreading of the Lord’s glories.
“I have never before seen such ecstatic love, nor heard the vibration of the holy name of the Lord chanted in such a way, nor seen such dancing during sankirtana.”
“Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, ‘This sweet transcendental sound is a special creation of the Lord known as prema-sankirtana, congregational chanting in love of Godhead.'”
Prema Sankirtana ki jaya!! Hare Krishna.
from a very fallen soul – your humble servant,
» Posted By Shrutadev On Sep 25, 2006 @ 7:33 pm
They actually missed numerous films that devotees have appeared in. I was in Washington D.C. in the seventies when they had the devotees come out to Dulles Airport to chant hari nama inside the airport for a movie named “Airport.” Nrsinghananda prabhu will know most of the films. Hare Krishna.
» Posted By Shrutadev On Sep 12, 2006 @ 10:19 pm
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Here are some quotes from Srila Prabhupada that may shed some light on this subject:
“So strongly do the senses adhere to the objects of their enjoyment that indeed a wooden statue of a woman attracts the mind of even a great saintly person.
The senses and the sense objects are so intimately connected that the mind of even a great saintly person is attracted to a wooden doll if it is attractively shaped like a young woman. The sense objects, namely form, sound, smell, taste and touch, are always attractive for the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. Since the senses and sense objects are naturally intimately related, sometimes even a person claiming control over his senses remains always subject to the control of sense objects. The senses are impossible to control unless purified and engaged in the service of the Lord. Thus even though a saintly person vows to control his senses, the senses are still sometimes perturbed by sense objects.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Although it is correct that the King is a great devotee, he is still to be considered a venomous snake. Similarly, even though a woman be made of wood, one becomes agitated simply by touching her form.
Even though a woman be made of wood or stone, she becomes attractive when decorated. One becomes sexually agitated even by touching the form. Therefore one should not trust his mind, which is so fickle that it can give way to enemies at any moment. The mind is always accompanied by six enemies—namely, käma, krodha, mada, moha, mätsarya and bhaya—that is, lust, anger, intoxication, illusion, envy and fear. Although the mind may be merged in spiritual consciousness, one should always be very careful in dealing with it, just as one is careful in dealing with a snake. One should never think that his mind is trained and that he can do whatever he likes. One interested in spiritual life should always engage his mind in the service of the Lord so that the enemies of the mind, who always accompany the mind, will be subdued. If the mind is not engaged in Krsna consciousness at every moment, there is a chance that it will give way to its enemies. In this way we become victims of the mind.
Chanting the Hare Krsna mantra engages the mind at the lotus feet of Krsna constantly; thus the mind’s enemies do not have a chance to strike. Following Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s example in these verses, we should be very careful in dealing with the mind, which should not be indulged in any circumstance. Once we indulge the mind, it can create havoc in this life, even though we may be spiritually advanced.
In a letter, Srila Prabhupada wrote:
“Even Lord Caitanya Himself said that sometimes when I see a wooden form of a woman, my mind becomes agitated but that does not mean that we should give it practical shape, that is intelligence. One must be convinced that sex-life without exception means trouble, therefore he is able to stop it at the thinking stage by not allowing it to be felt, much less willed and acted.”
And in a lecture Srila Prabhupada said:
“So one may be surprised, that “Nobody becomes agitated, sitting before mother, sister or daughter.” But sastra says, “No, no. They are agitated.” Then you can say, “Maybe agitates some fool rascal.” “No.” Vidvaàsam api karñati: “Even though one is very advanced, learned, they also become agitated.” Therefore you should be very, very careful. Very, very careful. And another place is, another… Just like in our society, compulsorily we have to mix with women—not only women, very beautiful young girls. But if one is not agitated even in this association of beautiful women and girls, then he is to be considered paramahamsa. He is very advanced. Those who are not… Paramahamsa means he’s above all these material qualities.”
It seems that this topic could also include women in ISKCON not covering their heads with saris anymore. I don’t know the exact history of how it started. I would imagine that Srila Prabhupada made a comment that covering the head is nice and from there on all the women were instructed by the senior devotees (like Malati, Yamuna etc.). But there is no doubt that when Srila Prabhupada was present ALL the devotee women covered their heads. In any case, on the one hand we do have much more important work to discuss – how to distribute more books; how to increase sankirtana; how to improve Deity worship and personal sadhana. There are so many things. But still, these points do have importance both for us personally and for our movement. Hare Krishna.
Your humble servant,
» Posted By Shrutadev On Sep 4, 2006 @ 5:24 pm
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