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Comments Posted By Suresh das

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2010 GBC Resolutions and Zonal Assignments

Spiritual degrees – Bhakti Sastri, Bhakti Vaibhava, and Bhaktivedanta (when available) – shall be a strongly recommended qualification for being granted no objection status to serve as a guru in ISKCON.

How can I find out more about the spiritual degrees? Where are they taught?

» Posted By Suresh das On Apr 1, 2010 @ 1:27 am

Brihaspati in the Horoscopes of Devotees

Akruranath Prabhu:
Debating ideas is what the Brahmanas (the intellectual class) do by nature. The Ksatriya class fights with their weapons, jousting and sparring sometimes to the death, historically even at such happy occasions as family wedding ceremonies, for the purpose of finding the strongest person to lead and rule society. The Brahmans similarly fight with their words. Why? They must argue and debate to try to discover the absolute truth. Lord Krishna states that He is in fact the conclusive truth in Bhagavad-gita. It may be disconcerting to hear devotees constantly arguing and bickering, but they must, to better understand ideas, which can often be deeply complicated and potentially subject to more than one answer, interpretation, and conclusion. Hopefully by debating amongst ourselves, in a respectful manner, it will make us stronger in the end, and better able to face our real opponents, the various types of atheists, impersonalists and voidists, all opposed to the progress of the Krishna Consciousness Movement. As a lawyer you can certainly appreciate that the law is always open to interpretation and sometimes strong debate, not only in the courts, but also in the halls of legislature.

» Posted By Suresh das On Apr 6, 2010 @ 5:20 am

Actually, at this time, I am living through a Debilitated Jupiter period, astrologically. I am not exactly sure why, perhaps because the last couple of months I went through were so horrific and hellish (I am living through a major Rahu period for 17 years, Rahu sub period for two years, and yearly Rahu period as well), but this next yearly period, although Debilitated Jupiter, has actually been easier and at times more peaceful. Of course, Krishna’s mercy must be at play. Perhaps, because I daily wear a yellow sapphire, the period has been surprisingly easier for me. Or maybe it is as Srila Prabhupada stated, happiness in the material world is not really happiness at all, but just the temporary absence of distress.

» Posted By Suresh das On Mar 27, 2010 @ 4:44 am

Influence of Yellow Sapphire

If Jupiter is well placed in your horoscope:
The influence will be toward humanitarianism, spiritualism, optimism, faith, and good judgment. One will be powerful, respected, and a leader of men, although susceptible to anger.

If Jupiter is ill-placed in your horoscope:
The influence will be toward greed, pessisism, egotism, and selfishness. One will be uncaring, unhappy, and have a negative outlook.

» Posted By Suresh das On Mar 22, 2010 @ 4:19 am

According to the Garuda Purana, Brihaspati’s (Jupiter) stone is Yellow Sapphire.

Charity to appease Brihaspati: Donate a yellow sapphire or another yellow gem like yellow topaz, a peepal sapling, saffron, turmeric, sugar, a horse, or yellow flowers to a brahmana on Thursday morning.

Brihaspati’s day is Thursday.

» Posted By Suresh das On Mar 22, 2010 @ 4:12 am

Lessons from the Road

Thank you Maharaj for helping lead the festival at Laguna Beach this last Saturday. We really enjoyed your down-to-earth lecture, especially your quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and the ecstatic kirtan.

» Posted By Suresh das On Mar 16, 2010 @ 4:10 am

Should you sign a Petition?

I was also happy to see Nitya-trpta Prabhu associated with the Bhaktivedanta Archives as well. When I knew her in the past, she always struck me as very dedicated to Srila Prabhupada’s mission.

The crux of this controversy probably lies more in a lack of funds, lack of help, time, and energy to finish the project, rather than an attempt to withold Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

None of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are getting any younger.

» Posted By Suresh das On Mar 12, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

I personally did not sign the petition, although I agree with fully releasing Srila Prabhupada’s lecture to the devotees, in an unedited condition. I have personally known Ekanath Prabhu, and Parama Rupa Prabhu from the past. I believe they are hard-working and sincere in their service, and are on the right path in their intentions.

» Posted By Suresh das On Mar 12, 2010 @ 6:28 am

Myth Creation Begun

We remember Jayananda Prabhu on the Vaishnava calendar. Perhaps days can be added to remember similar powerful contributors to the Sankirtan Movement as well who have now passed away. Although I personally am not inspired by TKG, having many painful and unpleasant experiences in relationship to him, I can at the same time understand that others might feel inspired by him and his service, and wish to remember him.

» Posted By Suresh das On Feb 24, 2010 @ 6:07 am

GBC Meeting Report #4

For myself, I can no longer chant 16 rounds per day. I no longer feel qualified to represent ISKCON, so I don’t for instance distribute books anymore, or do temple services like Akruranath alluded to,since I don’t chant all my rounds. At the same time, I believe that nice quality rounds should be chanted, so each day, after work, I perform a ritual in my home temple room. I light candles for all my Deities. I offer fresh flowers from the garden. I offer the Deities fresh water to drink in silver cups. I burn nice incense. I bath and put on clean cloths, tilak, etc. I play a CD of Srila Prabhupada singing in the background. Then I sit down and chant as many rounds as I can, but it is usually just one or two. I am much older now, and my life has slowed way down. When I chant japa now, I like to chant along with the older japa recording of Srila Prabhupada. According to Parama Rupa Prabhu who recorded the Japa CD, Srila Prabhupada used to chant one round with the devotees, either each day, or for the Sunday feast. They would all chant very slowly together. That’s how I chant my rounds now, very slowly and carefully.

I think it is important to encourage devotees who have left ISKCON to continue chanting. In speaking with Akruranath Prabhu, he stated to me that there can be no compromise in the chanting 16 rounds by initiated disciples, and yet at the same time there are many initiated devotees who have completely given up all japa, because they can’t chant 16 rounds any more. I like to encourage devotees to continue. Start with one round each day, and go from there. It should be a pleasurable, non-forced service.

I knew one initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada and former head pujari, who was living only one block from the temple, but who never went again, because she was widowed in her early 20’s, when her husband took sannyasa, and she could not accept being a widow, so she left ISKCON. She could not go to the temple, even though it was only one block away out of embarressment and resentment as well. I always tried to encourage her just to do her best, however small and not give up.

» Posted By Suresh das On Mar 4, 2010 @ 2:51 am

I believe it is important to address one type of member of ISKCON that has often been ignored. What type of member does one become in ISKCON if he was once an initiated disciple of a bonafied spiritual master, with a initiated Vaishnava name, but is no longer following strict principles, such as the chanting 16 rounds each day, or following the four regulative principles? It was once unthinkable that such a thing could happen within ISKCON, but today it is quite commonplace. There may be thousands of devotees in this catagory. What happens when someone leaves. What are they stripped of by ISKCON, and how does their membership status change?

Apparently membership designations can change too. There a sannyasis who left the order, and became householders again. There are some younger women, whose husbands left them at an early age to take sannyas, but who will not accept the status of widow. There are four ashrams and varnas of life, according to Vedic culture, but at least in the West, many people don’t fit into any specific group. That is one thing I always appreciated about our philosophy. A living entity can rise higher by his actions, but he can also move to lower positions as well.

ISKCON is a type of honor society. How can you verify if someone is really chanting 16 rounds per day or not? You can really only take it on someone’s word if they are following or not. The same holds true for the four regulative principles. Cheating is easier to hide for some of the principles more than for others. You might easily detect if someone is taking intoxication such as drinking wine or taking drugs. However, there are many subtle ways to enjoy illicit sex, that are not as blatant as being in direct physical contact with the opposite sex, but are still to be considered subtle falldowns by scriptural definition.

One thing I have always appreciated about ISKCON though is you can travel to any ISKCON temple, anywhere in the world, and the same strict principles and standards are being followed almost universally.

» Posted By Suresh das On Feb 28, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

Is Astrology Useful in Krishna Consciousness? Part One – The Panchang

I learn from past predictions that I receive from my astrologer to be very specific in my inquiries, to remove as much ambiguity as possible, such as when exactly something going to happen, and where exactly it will it take place. What I find uncanny about this year’s chart for me, is that the predictions as to my current state of consciousness and karma are not for some time in the future, or for so time in the past, but instead in the here and now, and it’s accurate this time. It has forced me to pay attention and to be much more serious than in past readings. I used to laugh in the past when dire predictions were made for me that didn’t come to pass, but I am not laughing now. The main astrological prescription for me in this time, and perhaps that is the advantage of having an astrologer who is a devotee of the Lord, is to increases my sadhana and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books to decrease my suffering. I have often wondered though, if everything is predestined anyway, how do you change your karma, such as reducing your suffering, by engaging in pious acts? I am just trying to understand scientifically how the process works.

» Posted By Suresh das On Feb 6, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

Suicide, Krsna-prema, and Bhagavad-gita

Quoting Srila Prabhupada’s comment from his purport “We have practical experience in discharging our missionary activity that some people come and apply themselves to Krsna consciousness with some hidden motive, and as soon as they are economically a little well-situated, they give up the process and take to their old ways again”, will not work as a one-size, fits-all explaination of why people have left Krishna Consciousness in the past. There are many reasons why people have left, and many different types of scenarios. It is important to study all the various reasons, and find ways to win back devotees and supporters. Without fixing the reasons though, of why people left in the past, the problem is, because human nature tends to stay the same, history may only repeat itself again and again.

» Posted By Suresh das On Jan 5, 2010 @ 3:05 am

A BG perspective on Avatar movie

I was very disappointed with the final conclusion of the “DaVinci Code”. The ultimate realization that Christianity was originally based on simple Goddess worship, seemed a little tame to me, compared to the vast ocean of information from the Vedas about the Personality of Godhead. On every page of Srila Prabhupada’s books are so many ingenious details and aspects of God’s personality and intelligence.

» Posted By Suresh das On Jan 5, 2010 @ 3:11 am

My favorite part of “Dune” was how a mantra can be used as a weapon. My father told me, in the 1950’s, that the U.S. Army was experimenting with sound vibration weapons.

» Posted By Suresh das On Jan 2, 2010 @ 1:43 am

Holy Places?

I like the saying by Ted Turner “lead, follow, or get out of the way”. It is often easier to get attention for myself here at this site and other places by complaining or expressing negative viewpoints that I have, releasing all the poison I accumulated and am holding on to. In the larger picture, I am realizing that I might be better off if I stay out of the way, as quietly as possible. I have to keep reminding myself to listen to the devotees here, and talk less, as well as search for alternative methods of healing myself. For some reason, a series of events and experiences, threw me out of the service of the Sankirtan Movement, and left me with many deep emotional and physiological wounds that are difficult to resolve, except by talking about them with the devotees. There aren’t many places to go to find relief, I have found, except in public forums.

I come to Dandavats because I want to remain as an ISKCON devotee. I want the process of Krishna Consciousness to work for me. I am open to new ways of approaching the Krishna Consciousness process that Srila Prabhupada introduced, and hearing from devotees who have become successful in their application of bhakti-yoga. There are many other forums I can visit for devotees wishing to extinguish their Krishna Consciousness, and who sometimes openly decry Srila Prabhupada and the devotees. That’s why I like coming here instead, because that is not my intent.

» Posted By Suresh das On Jan 3, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

Fortunately there is Youtube. I have been enjoying and participating in the many festivals in Vrndavan and Mayapur through the videos of our ISKCON devotees chanting. I like to sing along with the devotees, such as Aindra, Lokanath Swami, and Vyasaki Prabhus. I have played the Youtube of the Aindra bhajan in Srila Prabhupada’s room in Vrndavan over and over, hundreds of times. Even though it only lasts about 1 minute, the chanting always makes my hairs stand on end. At my work, I daily play Hare Krishna kirtan CD’s throughout the day, and sing along. I have been doing this for many years. I also like to play Srila Prabhupada’s bhajans and chant along with him and the other devotees. I possess weak physical and mental health. I can barely make enough to break even in my work, and having been gliding down in loses in recent years, along with my health. I don’t foresee actually physically visiting the holy places any time soon, but I am there in spirit.

» Posted By Suresh das On Jan 1, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

Perhaps the many problems you are describing regarding the degradation of the holy places, is occurring due to lack of proper zoning laws, and proper enforcement of existing laws. In many ways today’s India parallels America in the 1950-1960’s, a time of great expansion and prosperity in the United States. India has come into its own, in terms of material advancement and industrialization of the country. India, along with China, is considered the two most important emerging market industrialized nations of the world today. What that potentially means is total destruction of the environment, just as it occurred in the United States and other Western developed nations in their industrial revolutions.

Rivers, streams, and other waterways became so polluted with industrial waste and sewage that they could no longer relied upon for bathing and drinking, which is India’s current dilemma. India enjoys the presence of holy rivers and dhams that are being ruined by reckless and unbridled business enterprise. Western developed nations have only too gladly dumped their most polluting industries on India and China, knowing that the governments of those places will look the other way, for the sake of money, and not enforce existing laws designed to protect their environment.

The leaders and the people of developed Western nations have finally come to their senses, and have begun the process of cleaning up the environment, preserving historical heritage sites, and protecting it as well from future development. India it seems has not evolved to this point yet.

What is needed is common sense, at least from a business point of view, to preserve holy places, at the very least to attract international spiritual pilgrims as well as tourists. The holy places have the potential to be considered great places of learning as well. People all over the world are attracted to the philosophies of the East, especially Vedic and Vaishnava philosophy. They won’t come to a place that is wretched and degraded. They want a place that is clean, pure, uplifting, and spiritual. Proper zoning laws, that are actually enforced, have the potential to protect the environment of the holy places and preserve a peaceful atmosphere as well. Strong, spiritually advanced government is also needed to enforce scriptural injunctions, and protect the integrity of the holy places.

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 27, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

You are fortunate, Maharaj, to be able to regularly visit the holy places of India, innumerable times, spanning over many decades. But for many other devotees in the West, including many of your godbrothers and godsisters – not so fortunate. I remember working in ISKCON, as a brahmacari, for six years, from 1970, when I joined ISKCON, to 1976, without going to the holy places of Vrndavan or Mayapur even once. In spite of distributing thousands of books, and tons of temple service (24/7/365), it was never enough, even to pay for one visit. I had to leave the brahmacari ashram, get a job, and make my own money. Then I could visit the holy places, by paying my own way. By then, however, my attitude had changed, due to overwork, stress, and exhaustion. I wasn’t as favorable anymore, as I once had been to your movement. Srila Prabhupada had disappeared and times had changed. What was once familiar to me, in ISKCON, had changed as well. I felt personally irrelevant to your movement.

It was difficult for me to appreciate the holy places. After much soul searching I came to realize that people, no matter how messed up they seemed to be in my eyes, as you are describing in your article, in spite of their living in holy places, and not understanding those places, or even believing in their own religion and upbringing, are ultimately doing the best they can with what God has given them in their hard struggle for existence.

The Indians are only copying what they see in the Western countries. Great work has been done to spread Krishna Consciousness almost exclusively in India now, while practically ignoring the West, including America, where ISKCON had its roots. In many ways I feel resentment too. I worked my butt off for years to help build huge temples thousands of miles away, that I never personally experienced the benefit of. It seemed like most of the money that was collected in America was sent off to India, and all the money that was collected in India, stayed in India as well.

It seems to me, if you want the Indians to appreciate their spiritual heritage more, then a revival of Krishna Consciousness is needed again in the West, especially in America.

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 25, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

The Auspicious Passing of Jayo Das ACBSP

This must be the best way to leave this world. I hope I am fortunate enough to have a devotee put tulsi leaves on my tongue, and make sure I am hearing the holy name, place a garland on my neck, and make sure I am wearing Tilak, or at least one of those things. I think it must be the real test of the value of your life. How many people will care about you as you are leaving this world?

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 15, 2009 @ 3:24 am

How Will the Forthcoming Eclipses Affect You?

One of my complaints regarding astrology is the seeming lack of clear answers regarding my present and future destiny. I have been in a mode for quite some time of what feels like partial blindness and confusion regarding who I am, and what I should be doing in life, that will bring more peace-of-mind, and feelings of well-being. I reach out every year to my chart and to my astrologer, as well as to all kinds of other sources of direction, including Krishna Consciousness. At the end of the day though, I often feel lost, without an improvement to my mental state.

The Vedic philosophy states you can not increase your destined happiness or decrease destined suffering. I often wonder what that means, and if that is the only way to view life, as fatalistic, and hopeless. My astrologer states that to improve things I need to increase charity, chant more, and read Srila Prabhupada’s books. I have already been doing all those things for years. I wonder at the same time, why I don’t feel better. If everything is predestined, and no one can expect improvement in their conditions, no matter what they do, why do anything at all?

I want something to save me, or just give even the slightest feeling of relief, but nothing seems to work for me, or to make me feel better. The Krishna Conscious answers are difficult and long term – no quick and easy solutions. The answers I receive through astrology include continued suffering and struggle, due to birth and life under bad planetary combinations. The answers always point to extreme negativity and struggle. I often wonder if that is the only way to view things, and if there might be alternative ways to approach life’s problems and dilemmas that don’t have to include living in this way.

In all likelihood, it is just that I don’t want to hear the answers. I have been following the same prescription in life, for many years, without noticing what appears to be tangible progress (similar in feeling to the process of washing coal).

Behind everything is a person though. We learn that the universe is not run by an impersonal force. The Paramatma witnesses your charity, performance of yajna, study of Vaishnava philosophy, and performances of austerity, which alone is meant to please Him. Perhaps understanding astrology, as well as Vaishnava philosophy, requires the eyes and intelligence to see and understand. But how does one receive such intelligence?

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 24, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

That’s a reasonable explanation. When something is predicted to be calamitous and catastrophic, but it fails to materialize, who can really complain about it – Krishna’s mercy. But often beneficial things fail to materialize as well. When something goes wrong I try to go back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong and why. Is astrology random (hit-or-miss), or real science, with verifiable evidence? Is anyone ever held accountable if they make a wrong prediction.

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 15, 2009 @ 3:13 am

My only complaint with astrology is that it does not seem to provide accurate predictions as to dates, times, and places. Predictions tend to be vague, in my experience, stating that they will take place some time during the year, if they don’t occur during the stated period. How can you plan for that type of contingency? A big, catastrophic event is coming, but no info is provided as to where, what and when, even when requested. Only heavy philosophy is provided to try to throw me off, instead of answering the question.

I have an astrologer that I consult with. Sometimes in uncanny ways, he is dead on, and then at other times the predictions don’t come to pass in the time he said they would. If you lived your life by negative astrological predictions (and even positive ones), you might miss many opportunities. I notice many of the devotees, who follow the astrologers, and are generally pessimistic about life, tend to stay poor, and the non-devotees (who often tend to be atheistic and discard things like astrology as bunk) seem to get richer and richer. I have always wondered why that is?

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 13, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

I mean no disrespect for the devas. I believe in Vedic astrology, and have a reading each year from Nalini Kanta Prabhu for the last 23 years. What I am asking you though is for specific information. What exactly is going to happen, on what date, and in what location of the world, as a result of the eclipses. If you can provide specific information, then devotees can somewhat prepare themselves. Obviously, living in the material world, is always dangerous – padam padam vipadam. But to live in a state of constant hysteria, out of fear of predicted possible future events though, is of little help, and counter productive for living a healthy life.

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 12, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

I am especially thankful and grateful to the negative and pessimistic people of this world. I have found what usually happens is the most unexpected and unpredictable of things. Looking back in hindsight, it was so obvious, and bound to happen, and yet few knew or properly prepared themselves for the events. When I read articles like this, I generally do nothing now, after spending many years (decades really) running for cover, scared for my life, and only to see nothing that was predicted to be so dire actually taking place. The art of prediction is to say when something is going to happen, just not exactly what; and what is going to happen, just not exactly when. Then you will always stay alive in the prediction business.

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 10, 2009 @ 3:24 am

“The Mystery of the Edited Books”

I made a big stink about the newer BBT editions, but realized that I am not philosophically educated enough to understand the difference between the earlier books, and later versions. Some devotees have made an interesting presentation to explain why some of the gramatical changes, alter some of the philosophical meanings in a detrimental way. My only complaint is the flavor and poetry of many of the verses, in the newer edition of “Bhagavad-gita As It Is”. Over 900 verses were altered and changed, which is a major revision. I memorized many of the original verses and really liked the way they sound, compared to the newer edition. I read the newer edition, and then cringe and bare it, since I have no actual voice in what was done.

» Posted By Suresh das On Dec 30, 2009 @ 5:49 am

The Influence of Holy Places

Almost all difficulties that I have encountered in relationship to visiting temples, what to speak of holy places, can be traced back to my approaching with the wrong attitude, and possessing faulty vision. Sometimes there may be genuine problems that need to be addressed. What I have found though are ways to cope with whatever I experience, so that I don’t give up, and I keep coming back to try again. Sometimes it just requires a change of vision.

As an example, I recently went to the local temple for their Vegan/Vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. About 40 guests attended. There were only fours tables and a few chairs provided for the guests. You couldn’t eat in the temple room, and there was no other place in the temple to sit down. The only place available was outside on the steps where the shoes are left. I left upset and angry.

Later I remembered that Lord Chaitanya sat down in the place where feet were washed when He converted Prakasananda Sarasvati and the Mayavadi sannyasis. I felt ashamed for leaving the temple with such a bad attitude, and vowed to change my vision for my next visit.

» Posted By Suresh das On Nov 29, 2009 @ 3:21 am

The subject of this article is “Influence of the Holy Places”, and specifically mentions the holy abodes such as Vrndavan, Kuruksetra, Mayapur, and Jagannath Puri. However, not every devotee may have the ability to physically visit these places in India. I am sighting examples of how any place can be turned into a holy place by such activities as reading Srimad Bhagavatam, chanting Hare Krishna, chanting on Harinam Sankirtan, etc.

Srila Prabhupada stated that you can not actually buy a plane ticket to Vrndavan. It is not a guarantee that if one physically goes to Vrndavan that he will feel the spiritual power of that place. For me personally, when I went to both Vrndavan and Mayapur (the one time that I went there), I did not feel anything, and it was a very disappointing experience for me.

At the same time, I know that millions of pilgrims have felt the joy of being in those places. They can’t all be wrong, so the fault of not feeling the benefit of the holy places must lie within me.

» Posted By Suresh das On Nov 13, 2009 @ 7:37 am

Yesterday marked the happy occasion of the annual Laguna Beach Rathyatra Parade. It was a simple affair. Lord Jagannath, Lady Subhadra, and Lord Baladeva were carried by the devotees on a palanquin down to the beach for several blocks, and then the few hundred devotees all returned back to the temple for the Sunday Feast. The entire parade took no more than an hour. What was really special for me though was the extreme joy and happiness of the kirtan. The kirtan was at times soft and sweet. It was completely unexpected for me. I haven’t felt happiness like that for many years. It was a confirmation for me that Lord Chaitanya’s Sankirtan Movement is eternal.

» Posted By Suresh das On Nov 10, 2009 @ 4:13 am

I will always remember reading “Krishna Book” aloud, while sitting on top of a pile of rubble, in downtown San Francisco, in 1972. The buses, trucks, and other deafening din of traffic roured by. The “Krishna Book” brought memorable joy and happiness to my heart, and transformed that darkest of places into a holy place.

I was personally present when Srila Prabhupada was recorded singing “Jaya Radha Madhava”, in the Los Angeles Temple, sometime around 1972-73. What was truly special about the experience, was not just the ecstatic kirtan and singing of Srila Prabhupada and all the devotees. It was also the scent of the incense that I will always remember. It was such a holy experience, I felt at that time that I was not on Earth.

» Posted By Suresh das On Nov 9, 2009 @ 3:05 am

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