Comments Posted By Sitalatma Das
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“Are you not aware, or do you not believe, that the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inaugurates a ten thousand golden years period? Lord Caitanya appeared in 1486 and we are now in 2013, so we already have progressed 527 years into the golden age. “
Actually, as far as I know there’s no scriptural support for this and there are different interpretations regarding the starting point. Srila Prabhupada mentioned Golden Age only in passing and without any references or any details. So far the only source is a dubious translation of Brahma Vaivarta Purana, and the integrity of the Purana itself is questionable. It is very possible that it has been tampered from the days of Lord Chaitanya.
Neither Six Goswamis nor any other acharyas wrote anything about this Golden Age, our only source is Srila Prabhupada, which is enough, of course, but he was never very clear about it.
I bet most people like the word “gold” in Golden while in reality it might be pain and suffering all around that would urge people to take shelter in sankirtana.
However nice that Golden Age might be, our goal is still returning back to Godhead. Chanting of the Holy Name is fine but it’s better be done in spiritual Navadvipa rather than in the shaky material world, Golden Age notwithstanding.
If there’s no one to preach to here there’s no reason for us to stay, and it’s safer for us to preach to tamasic population than to be swallowed by so called “goodness” of the material world. Queen Kunti begged for troubles and tribulations, who are we to think that, being placed in pleasant conditions, we can remember the Lord better than her?
Attachment to Golden Age might spell our doom.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 14.05.2013 @ 18:53
Visakha Priya Mataji, may I ask - why is it the sign of The Golden Age? By what criteria?
Have British people become more religious? Last week Anglicans announced that steep decline in attendances is leveling out but overall the UK is still probably the world leader in atheism. Also, if Golden Age looks anything like 21st century Britain then I’d probably pass.
On that note - who wants to live long enough or who is staying behind to partake in Golden Age enjoyments?
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 09.05.2013 @ 18:46
what do you think of gadi prabhuâ€™s advice â€śwe should learn to shun the criticalâ€¦minded, who want to divide rather than unite. They want to point out and reduce the service attitude of others. â€ť
Why would we want to shun them? If it’s because we don’t want to be criticized then I disagree.
Also, what kind of unity is talked about here? The only unity we must strive for should be based on allegiance to Srila Prabhupada. In this sense those who divide us are disloyal to him, and we have ISKCON official policy on how to deal with such people.
If, however, we are talking about unity based on material diversity than in Kali Yuga, Age of Quarell, it’s a thankless effort. We can try to patch up some differences here and there temporarily but it will never work. Look, we can’t even feed all our devotees from the same kitchen - Indian devotees want their prasadam spicy, westerners want bread, not chapatis, others complain about wrong kind of oil, mixed up dosas, and now we have vegans, too.
This will never end, materialists have been trying to fix this for most of the last century through the UN and affiliated programs but without any success. Their ultimate solution is for everyone to do their own thing and not care for anyone else because caring causes problems. It’s the epitome of impersonalism.
I’d rather have people telling me off because they see me doing something wrong than being indifferent and leaving me to my own devices. I don’t want to be respected for doing nonsense just because respect is the new mantra.
Unity is not our goal anyway, it’s a by-product of our devotion to Prabhupada. Trying to reconcile our material differences is no different from trying to fix all other material problems - fool’s errand and a giant waste of time.
Why not take advice from the same Bhagavatam purport KrishnaLH quoted earlier:
â€śWhenever pure topics of the transcendental world are discussed, the members of the audience forget all kinds of material hankerings, at least for the time being. Not only that, but they are no longer envious of one another, nor do they suffer from anxiety or fear.â€ť
That’s the only solution.
To Keshava Krishna Prabhu - I get what you are saying but there’s also such thing as prajalpa and it affects all of us. We’d rather not see our seniors engaged in it but sometimes it happens, too, and we’d better leave the room.
Pure topics of the transcendental world is the only safe harbor.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 09.05.2013 @ 18:38
â€śIndependently Thoughtfulâ€ť is another phrase that in conventional English means something like “independent thinker”. It probably means that we should embrace Krishna consciousness on the strength of judgments made independently of Srila Prabhupada himself - our intelligence, common sense, education, history, western philosophy, George Orwell or Ayn Rand.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (as in the case of Moon landings). Furthermore, it might also lead to judging our actions and ideas by independent values, as in “you’re doing it Orwell style, prabhu” or “think of the cows, prabhu, show some compassion.”
In this sense “independently thoughtful” would be relevant to the current discussion - exposing ourselves to outside influences and then bringing them inside ISKCON. This should be done very carefully as we aren’t acharyas on the level of Srila Prabhupada who could employ everything in Krishna’s service while maintaining highest level of purity.
In reality, however, “independently thoughtful” means nothing like that, Srila Prabhupada used this phrase (only once, to my knowledge) to mean that we should learn to perform our service without the need to be micromanaged. We can achieve that without reading a single page of non-BBT books or newspapers.
In this sense “independently thoughtful” is irrelevant to my point.
By casually reading these lines out of original context one’s mind might simply register that we should become broadminded independent thinkers full of compassion and that’s what Prabhupada wanted but this is definitely not the case, not in the traditional sense.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 03.05.2013 @ 09:36
A broadminded person is someone whose … thoughts and activities are connected to the Lordâ€™s..
That is not how word “broadminded” is used in English language so request for definition is warranted, and since conventional definition does not apply we should be careful of using it or risk seriously misrepresenting Srila Prabhupada. I would never casually say that Srila Prabhupada was broadminded, for example.
This is why personally I’m cautious about automatically accepting and agreeing with everything that is posted here - often it can mean anything under the sun and I don’t want to endorse whatever people subsequently do or say afterwards.
In this case I would strenuously object if someone would act as if Srila Prabhupada was broadminded in a conventional sense.
No one will become blind by strictly following Srila Prabhupada and by learning to see the world through his eyes (or the eyes of his representatives). Actually this is the only way to obtain knowledge - yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau…. This is the only way for us to become shastra-chakshu, and this is the only way to achieve unity.
Knowledge coming to us from materialistic sources is inevitably tainted and passing it around will inevitably spread materialistic disease. I’m sorry if someone doesn’t like this fact but it’s true nevertheless.
Case study - “Orwell style”. Is it supposed to be bad? Why? Maybe I want to live my life Orwell style, always under the watchful eye of guru and Krishna.
Who said that Orwell style is bad anyway? Did these people want to develop bhakti? Did these people agree that strictly following rules and regulations of vaidhi bhakti is the best way to live while waiting for causeless mercy of the Lord?
They had completely different goals, why should we accept their value system? Why should we impose that value system on ourselves by introducing it into our discourse and using it as the last judgment in a conversation about direction of ISKCON?
Dear Kesava Krsna Prabhu, please do not take this as personally relating to you, but as devotees we should avoid association of people who subscribe to atheistic values. It’s even more dangerous if they do it subconsciously because such subtle contamination is more difficult to detect and easier to absorb.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 02.05.2013 @ 09:48
Prabhupada being the greatest broadminded compassionate soul
I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean by broadminded. One of dictionary definitions of broadminded is “tolerant of opposing viewpoints”. Srila Prabhupada, on the other hand, was a preacher of dharmahĚŁ projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra - completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, all-EXclusive, so to speak. In that sense he was anything but broadminded.
He himself often used this word in a different sense. Any person of any background can come to Krishna consciousness and give up all his material aspirations. Everyone should give up his sinful activities, chant Hare Krishna, shave his head, and always wear tilak and vaishnava clothes. No one is excluded. If this is what you mean by broadminded, too, then I agree. Most people would be surprised at this definition, though.
Similarly, conventional meaning of compassion is very different from compassion in Krishna consciousness. For ordinary people it means charity, feeding poor, curing diseases and so on. We, on the other hand, worship Srivasa Thakura who didn’t interrupt kirtan even for the sake of his dying son.
Srila Prabhupada was not compassionate in the same way as Mother Teresa or Bill Gates are. Again, most people will not accept that chanting Hare Krishna is the highest form of compassion and if you tell them that Prabhupada was the “most compassionate” they might get the wrong idea of who he was and what he did.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 29.04.2013 @ 12:46
Exchanging opinions is overrated. Practically speaking, there’s only one opinion that we should all subscribe to and share - that of Srila Prabhupada. Diversity of our own thoughts is more often than not is the product of our different upbringing, education, and different exposure to the modern civilization. Sharing these materially conditioned opinions is like spreading a disease.
The key, of course, is to determine what Srila Prabhupada’s opinion is. I submit that anyone reading his books would know that this world is not a place for a gentleman and that our goal is to return back home, back to Godhead. ISKCON was created to help people achieve this goal.
It appears from some earlier comments that currently, in addition to being devotees, many of our members are leading enjoyable lives, working for karmis and spending money on shopping, movies, football, and eating in restaurants. This is absolutely NOT what Prabhupada envisioned when he talked about creating vaikuntha atmosphere either in our temples or greater ISKCON. No matter how good it feels - it’s not Vaikuntha.
And yes, KrsnaLH, you are right, having immense fortune of being brought into the line of Rupa Goswami even real spiritual Vaikuntha is not our goal.
Well, then what should we think about re-creating Vaikuntha on Earth?
You gave a nice quote from Prabhupada’s purport but look at the verse itself:
“Whenever pure topics of the transcendental world are discussed, the members of the audience forget all kinds of material hankerings, at least for the time being. Not only that, but they are no longer envious of one another, nor do they suffer from anxiety or fear.”
I submit that the goal here is discussing pure, transcendental topics and Vaikunta like atmosphere is a by-product. The key here is purity, meaning that we must leave all our material pre-conceptions behind, excluded from Bhagavat-katha, and accept only what we’ve learned from Srila Rrabhupada and his bona fide representatives.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 29.04.2013 @ 08:08
A lot of what is said in the article can be turned around and read differently.
If we commit ourselves to following the 3rd Siksashtaka verse then why would we worry about our damaged confidence? On the contrary, we should welcome criticism from other devotees, hoping that it would cut down attachments to our materialistic egos.
Chanting of the Holy Names and bhakti will never be in the center as long as we are so protective of our confidence and abilities, nurturing our self-interests is directly opposite to devotion.
ISKCON is a society FOR Krishna consciousness, right, but it also means that people of all races, nationalities, and genders should give up aspirations brought about by their material conditioning and wholly embrace the purest philosophy as it came down to us from Lord Chaitanya.
We cannot hope to remain worldly enjoyers of all possible colors and somehow be in Krishna consciousness, those two are mutually exclusive. We are not transcendental to the world yet.
All varieties of jivas are welcome to the movement of Lord Chaitanya with all their different capacities but we do not see ourselves as jivas so it’s irrelevant. As embodied souls, on the other hand, we are all the same - enjoyers, envious of God, all our variety is just an illusion.
If we want to build a society that accommodates everybody we will surely fail and it won’t be FOR Krishna consciousness anymore. The only way we can be united is if we put Krishna (and also guru and Srila Prabhupada’s) interests above all and relate to each other not on the basis of material variety but on the basis of congregational chanting of the Holy Name.
ISKCON isn’t about establishing vaikuntha on Earth, it’s impossible, and we will never be free from envy, so it’s more like a transit point, the exit door from the material world. We should be extremely grateful that it’s there but it’s not our destination.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 23.04.2013 @ 12:05
Perhaps the best outcome of this discussion is a tacit admittance that veganism is an anartha in the same class as watching TV or shopping.
Accidentally, that would also explain long and passionate posts in the defense of this attachment. Try to take teenager’s phone away and see how irrationality ensues.
As for Vedic style farms - it’s a catch 22 situation. You can’t start a farm without people and people won’t come unless there’s a farm. Not the first time that happens and usually these things work out themselves one way or another, no reason to panic. Where there is a a will there is a way.
As far as I know, for every person working on a modern farm there are twenty five mouths to feed. This is clearly an unsustainable ratio. I don’t have numbers for varnashrama but, perhaps, it should be one brahmana serving twenty five vaishyas and shudras, not the other way around.
Keeping up with modern day grain production without tractors is impossible and is actually against varnashrama goals, ie varnashrama is not meant to free people for “pursuit of happiness” elsewhere, industrial revolution or sitting eight hours in a cubicle.
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 10.04.2013 @ 10:16
This discussion has run its course but there are some loose ends left:
“…unless you are the Ishvara in the heart of every vegan, how can you make such a judgemental statement…”
“… if you surrender to the supreme control of Para Brahman (Isvara), you will not have some axe to grind with â€śvegansâ€ť, or anyone else for that matter…”
In our tradition we must learn to discern between vaishnava and avaishnava behavior as well as differentiate between various classes of devotees, therefore judgments are necessary. Generalizations are also unavoidable in any discussion.
Our acharyas never invoked “not surrendered enough” reason to avoid smashing all kins of misconceptions. They never said “I don’t have an axe to grind” with apa sampradayas, mayavadis, sahajiyas and all other deviants.
I’m just trying to follow their footsteps.
The gist of the article is that vegans do not propose any viable, sustainable alternatives to cow based Vedic agriculture.
Solar powered tractors is not an alternative, and neither is raising cows for their manure but not for plowing the land. I googled around a bit and so far all vegan farms I found are not much more than glorified vegetable patches. They don’t grow rice or wheat or any grains and if they do they use tractors. They think using tractors is better than exploiting bulls.
Finally, following Bbd’s logic in comment #31, I’m not the one responsible for my comments either - they appear “by inspiration & influence of paramatma/antaryami, for whatever reason.”
Comment Posted By Sitalatma Das On 08.04.2013 @ 08:04