Comments Posted By Sita Rama das
Displaying 1 To 10 Of 37 Comments
Dear Sivarama Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Do you have a projection of how long it will take to define in, resolute terms, the meaning of “ultimate authority of ISKCON”? I have the same question regarding the ISKCON constitution.
I am particularly interested in the Hermeneutic Executive Committee. There are ISKCON Guru’s who explicitly say that Srila Prabhupada’s purports are not on the level of shastra, except in very limited circumstances. Is an official position related to this topic expected to stated in the future? I yes, do you have an idea how long we will have to wait for this?Thank you.
Sita Rama das
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 03.03.2011 @ 23:24
I feel I should explain why I think these seemingly minute details are important. Some devotees seem to imply, based on SUM, that seeing Arjunaâ€™s questions as figurative is the most complete understanding and we should adopt it now that we have learned the previous Acharyaâ€™s comments. I object to this because, among other things, it obscures an important lesson regarding the proper way to present Krishna consciousness to newcomers.
In the Bagavada Gita, Arjuna plays the role of a person who is just beginning to inquire about spiritual values, therefore his questions all show common misconceptions and doubts. His asking how a transcendentalist walks is an example of a typical statement that contains both an assertion of a misconception and a sincere question at the same time. Krishna shows the best method for a Guru to use in responding to such statements.
We must remember that people have short attention spans. If the Guru directly addresses the fallacious assertion, this does not, by itself, give positive knowledge. Saying a transcendentalist does not have a certain manner of walking does not explain the observable qualities of a self realized soul. In contrast it does require a person, who considers himself spiritually inclined, to digest the fact that he is wrong. Krishna does not force Arjuna to admit he is wrong while not directly explaining what is right. By this Krishna shows it is more effective to immediately give the proper positive instruction of real ways a transcendentalist can be identified. This allows the person to see on their own that their assertion was based on a misconception.
This manner of instructing new comers to Krishna consciousness is, in my eyes, ubiquitous. When I was first taught how to preach, it was commonly understood that this is the most efficient method. We must continue to see the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna as a recommendation of this style of preaching. For that we must see Arjuna’s question based on the direct meaning of the word walk and not on a figurative meaning.
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 18.02.2011 @ 19:25
Dear Mother Nirmala, Mother Sumati, and Devarsi Prabhu.
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
For the time being I live 100 miles from the nearest Temple and do not get much personal association with devotees. This magnifies my gratitude to you for sharing the glorious life and departure of this great devotee. Hearing it is certainly purifying. Glories to Mother Bhadra Priya, Srila Prabhupada’s daughter. I am sure she has gone on to continue her service to Srila Prabhupada.
Sita Rama das
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 18.02.2011 @ 16:48
Please forgive my offensive innuendo. I will try to speak my point directly. I am not saying that senior devotees lack faith in Srila Prabhupada simply because they refer to statements of previous Acharya’s, which are translated by Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, and not found in Srila Prabhupada’s books. But these references must be seen in the proper preceptive.
Although I am not even a disciple of Srila Prabhupada I am a follower. As such I accept him as the ultimate authority. This leads to some conclusions:
1. The statements of previous Acharya’s which are translated and applied by Srila Prabhupada are given more weight than statements of previous Acharya’s which are translated and applied by those who are NOT the the Founder Acharya. Therfore: However intimate a disciple of Srila Prabhupada may be their translation of previous Acharya’s,( that Srila Prbahupada himself did not translate and apply),are not on the same level as translation of an Acharya by THE ACHARYA, and cannot change the meaning of Srila Prbahupada’s books.
2.Srila Prabhupada stated many times that the meaning of his purports are the direct meaning based on dictionary definitions. Therefore: I reject the argument that I am wrong about the Bhagavada Gita because someone, not on the level of the Founder Acharya, claims a previous Acharya tells us to see things in a figurative way. That goes against a foundational principal of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings- we accept the direct the meanings.
3.As a member of ISKCON I have every right, and am obligated, to assert that Srila Prabhupada’s books are the ultimate authority within ISKCON. An advanced disciple of Srila Prabhupada should be pleased that I am also accepting Srila Prabupada as the ultimate authority.
I have deference for you as a personal disciple of Srila Prabhupada. Frankly that is all I know about you and Burijana prabhu, I do not know anything about either of you in terms of level of experience, or your service within ISKCON. But I am simply requesting that if you want to correct my understanding please do it with reference to Srila Prabhupada books. I see no reason why you should find this request offensive.
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 08.03.2011 @ 17:07
Pancha Tattva Prabhu,
Please accept mu humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I believe I have given good reason explaining why I feel it is extremely important to accept the direct dictionary definitions of Vedic statements, we all know Srila Prabhupada stressed this.
If you accept the direct meaning of terms and insist Krishna gives a direct answer, then you must directly answer, How does a devotee walk?, using the direct meaning of walk.That is not possible. Something has to give. You feel the direct meaning should be given up. I feel the statement that it was directly answered must be given up. I have given my reason why the direct meaning can’t be given up. But you have not answered what is wrong with my statement. You have stated it is wrong to say Arjuna’s question was irrelevant and Krishna did not answer it. I agree with you and do not presume to have the authority to say that. You have not said what is wrong with my actual statement- Krishna explained to Arjuna’s full satisfaction how to recognize a transcendentalist but did not say s/he had a certain walk. A devotee walks for Krishna that is the essence of Krishna’s answer.
That Krishna gave indirect answers to some of Arjuna’s questions was explicitly stated by Srila Prbhupada in chapter 1 of “Message of Godhead”, regarding the first statements by Krishna to Arjuna- that the living entity, unlike physical substances,cannot be burnt,cut,dried up,etc we read “Thus to illustrate that the living entity,or spirit soul.is entirely metaphysical, the above explanation is given as INDIRECT PROOF BY NEGATION
of material attributes.
But I will not press you for an unarguable answer. I think there is a higher point- not offending the sentiments of devotees. Therefore; from now on I will TRY to be careful to explain any vital fact regarding this concept without explicitly saying Krishna did not directly answer. If something can be stated in such a way as to minimize the chance of disturbing devotees sensibilities regarding the Supreme Lord than that should be done. I feel obliged to do this in reciprocation for your sensitivity to my compulsion to use Srila Prabhupada’s purports as the last word when debating issues.
Sita Rama das
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 28.02.2011 @ 08:49
We may need clarification on a point but this is distinct from doubting what is unambiguously being stated by Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. Do we doubt because we do not clearly understand or because we do not accept what is clearly spoken? That is determined by our level of exposure to the philosophy. For instance for a newcomer the question- â€śWhy am I sufferingâ€ť â€“ is laudable. But if we ask this question as initiated devotees, after being told several times, it means we are unwilling to accept the clear explaination.
Similarly before accepting Srila Prabhupada as Guru or Parama Guru we accept his manner of explaining Bhagavada Gita. Srila Prabhupada makes it abundantly clear from the title, the introduction, and throughout the text that we accept the direct,(or dictionary definition) of the words used by Krishna and Arjuna. Therefore by, â€ś walk â€ś,we accept that Arjuna means, â€śwalkâ€ť or a synonym such as gait. As followers of Srila Prabhupada there is no basis for doubting this. It has been described with absolute clarity. We either accept what we have heard from Srila Prabhupada numerous times or we donâ€™t. That decision is up to us. But we should be honest about it.
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 23.02.2011 @ 16:10
Pancha Tattva Prabu,
First, neither I nor Mother Abhay Mudra say Krishna did not answer Arjuna’s question regarding how to identify one who is transcendental. Krishna simply did not say that such a person walks in this or that way. You ask me why should I say such a thing if Srila Prabhupada did not. It is because Srila Prabhupada did not say Arjuna’s question was supposed to be taken in some figurative way; that it means something entirely different from what is denoted by the word, walk. Since Krishna never says a transcendentalist can be known by this or that manner of walking it is concluded Krishna did not answer Arjuna’s question as it was asked.
If you are going to insist that my understanding of the Gita is invalid, I am open to that, but you must do so by citing Bhagavada Gita As It is. Other wise, implicit in your argument is the assumption that the correct understanding is only available after reading commentaries of previous Acharya’s. I will never accept that I am wrong about the Gita when I base a conclusion exclusively on Srila Prabhupada’s, Bhagavada Gita As It Is. The biggest mistake we can make is to not understand that Srila Prabhupada’s books are the ultimate authority for Lord Caitanya’s movement for the next 10,000 years.
Why do you insist that Krishna and the spiritual master have to answer a question that includes a false assumption about spiritual life? Arjuna is playing the role of someone who does not understand transcendence, and based on this he asks how such a person walks. He is implying that a transcendentalists has some particular manner of moving about, by which he can be identified. We know this is not the fact, a brahmana may stroll along with a peaceful demeanor but the Pandava’s had gates that resembled a lion stalking its prey. Replying that a transcendentalist cannot be identified by their gate does not explain the real nature of transcendence. Krishna explained the real nature of transcendence and implicit in this is that the gate does not matter. What is the problem?
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 11.02.2011 @ 00:11
Please accept my humble obiesances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Regarding Arjunaâ€™s questions on the transcendental walking you say,(referring to Krishna), â€śHe would not fail to answer such a serious question from his disciple. To suggest otherwise is misleading at bestâ€ť. However there is no reason to consider Arjunaâ€™s question as serious, unless one reads Srila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakuraâ€™s commentary wherein walking is defined as engaging the senses in general. Visvanatha Cakravati Thakuraâ€™s commentary is certainly valid but the commentary by Srila Prabhupada is especially meant for us. From what Srila prabhupada gives us it is justifiable to take Arjunaâ€™s question at face value and as such Krishnaâ€™s competence would not be questioned by His failure to answer this question. And Mother Abhay Mudraâ€™s statement that Krishna did not answer the question as Arjuna answered it is a valid conclusion based on the contents of Bhagavada Gita As It Is.
As such this conclusion is perfect because it is the direct understanding we get from reading Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s, Bhagavada Gita As it Is. We do not have to read the commentaries of Previous Archaryaâ€™s, (which Srila Prabhupada choose to leave out of his purports) to get a complete understanding. The only conclusion is there are two ways to see Arjunaâ€™s question, take it as it is- he is asking does a transcendentalists have a specific walk, which is the way we see it from Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s commentary or see it as having some symbolic meaning as described by previous Acharyaâ€™s. They are both valid. Srila Prabhupada translation shows the point we most need to understand. To imply that the proper understanding is only available after reading commentaries by past Acharyaâ€™s is erroneous.
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 09.02.2011 @ 18:48
Mother Abhay Mudra,
You say the aham brhamasmi level is attained by kanistha devotees. And Juda Bharata conveyed the aham brhamasmi level to King Rahugana. I feel it is important to point out that, although Jada Bharata may have explained the concept of aham brahmasmi, he is certainly beyond that stage of realization; he is on the top most level of devotional service.
The level of Maharaja Bharata is explained in S,B, 5,7,12 â€śThat most exalted devotee, Maharaja Bharata, in this way engaged constantly in the devotional service of the Lord. Naturally his love for Vasudeva, Krishna, increased more and more and melted his heart. Consequently he gradually lost all attachment for regulative activities. The hairs of his body stood on end, and all the ecstatic symptoms were manifest. Tears flowed from his eyes, so much so that he could not see anything. Thus he constantly meditated on the reddish lotus feet of the Lord. At that time, his heart which was like a lake, filled with water of ecstatic love. When his mind was immersed in that lake, he even forgot the regulative service of the Lord. In the purport Srila Prabhupada explains that when one is advanced in ecstatic love for Krishna these symptoms become manifest in the body.
Unfortunately Maharaja Bharata was reincarnated as a deer because he neglected his devotion and meditated on a deer instead. But in that body he remembered his past life and repented. It is explained in S.B 5, 14, 45 that at the time of leaving the body of the deer he remembered Lord Narayana.
Thus as Jada Bharata he was on the platform of pure devotional service. In S.B. 5, 13, 23 King Rahugana glorifies Juda Bharata by saying that simply by the dust of his lotus feet one attains the platform of pure devotional service. In the purport Srila Prabhupada confirms, â€śThe arguments offered by a pure devotee are so convincing that even a dull-headed disciple is immediately enlightened with spiritual knowledge.
In S.B. 5,14,42 we read, â€ś Having summarized the teachings of Juda Bharata, Sukadeva Goswami Said: My dear King, the path indicated by Juda Bharata is like the path followed by Garuda, the carrier of the Lord, and ordinary kings are just like flies. Flies cannot follow the path of Garuda, and to date none of the great Kings and victorious leaders could follow this path of devotional service, not even mentallyâ€ť. Thus Juda Bharata is a celebrated, exalted, pure devotee.
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 05.02.2011 @ 06:26
I think we have to be careful not to fall into to the “either or” fallacy. I think any reasonable devotee would agree that we should not introduce people to our philosophy by telling them we believe the moon is further than the sun
Krishna Consciousness is a rational based philosophy. The first rational point is that we cannot obtain perfect knowledge through the senses. This is actually accepted by any thoughtful person. The next point is, one has to be intelligent enough to have a clue that about the difference between their real self and the body. Then one will see that the Veda’s are describing truth and as Srila Prabhupada say’s in the introduction to the Bhagavada Gita if one theoretically accepts that the Scripture give perfect knowledge they will directly experience self realization.The point is, for us to present the basics with conviction, WE have to be convinced that the knowledge found in the scripture is perfect. Therefore, for us it is a us it is a useful practice to speak of Vedic teachings that differ from what we experience through the senses.
Of course if something is beyond our understanding we should not feel compelled to describe it because we may be getting it wrong. But the bottom line is, there are statements in the Veda’s that, clearly, can only be understood in a way that directly apposes empirical data, in such cases we should be able to comfortable accept that the Veda’s are by far a more valid source of truth.
This is similar to the Vedic scriptures sharp criticism of material consciousness. Some devotees say we should not talk too much about this because it causes devotees to become elitists, and we thus develop an insulting attitude when we preach. But WE need to accept sharp criticism of material consciousness so we can clearly distinguish between material and spiritual consciousness. Then we can see others as spirit souls. Then we can have an egalitarian spirit, and receptive people will perceive this. But if we are not willing to accept that our material qualities are merit-less we will never be able to come to the level of seeing people as equal;our, mental adjustment will not fool people who are actually intelligent. However when we understand the lack of goodness in this world we will naturally see any spark of spiritual interest,(because of its rarity) and we will naturally focus on that and try to fan the it to a flame.
Comment Posted By Sita Rama das On 05.02.2011 @ 19:40