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BB Govinda Swami οn the death of the young Indian girl who was gang raped in Delhi

(From: Life with the Perfect Master, by Satsvarupa Maharaj)

[At ISKCON Calcutta] I was sometimes bewildered by conditions in the
kitchen. … They did everything in a simple, nonmechanized fashion — like
cutting vegetables while squatting on the floor. … I had to stand by and
observe without any hope of changing things, even when I saw something I
thought wasn’t up to Prabhupada’s standard. …,

“Srila Prabhupada,” I began, “you say that the Indian culture is suci,
cleaner than America which is mleccha, but it appears to me that the kitchen
here is dirty — ”

“You mind your own business!” Prabhupada said sharply. His words were like a
slap and immediately brought me to my senses. There was no need for more
discussion. I left his room and hurried back to the kitchen to get his
lunch, realizing that I had fallen into mundane, pro-Western faultfinding.

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Jan 7, 2013 @ 5:59 am

In response to bbd

“The vast majority of Indian temples that depicted women in the Vedic light were destroyed by Islamic invaders. Due to these invasions and manipulations of history, India today, in it’s social customs (esp. women’s issues), are largely more in line with Islamic customs than historical Vedic society.

In actual Vedic society women freely mixed with men and were not seen as inherently “lesser” than men. Women were not held to obscure and exploitative social customs. If you look at pre-Islamic art, you will see how differently women were seen in India than of today. I would even venture to say that modern Indian society is far less “Vedic” than American society just due to the lack of personal freedoms. Vedic society was a free society that facilitated everyone’s level of spiritual evolution, no matter what occupation, gender, affiliation, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, etc…one occupied. Indian society today is far from that concept of personal liberty and freedom.

If India was able to rid itself of Islamic and British societal influences, it would be a whole different country. But obviously that is not what Krishna currently has planned for India.”

It is only the less intelligent persons not well versed in the history of the world who say that observance of separation of female from male is an introduction of the Mohammedan period in India. This incident from the Mahabharata period proves definitely that the ladies of the palace observed strict parda (restricted association with men), and instead of coming down in the open air where Lord Krsna and others were assembled, the ladies of the palace went up on the top of the palace and from there paid their respects to Lord Krsna by showers of flowers.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.10.16

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Jan 7, 2013 @ 5:58 am

To Be Heavy, Without The Weight

continued…

Prabhupada: No, why shall I? I am not in that position. I am not within that… I am simply repeating the words of Krsna.

Guest (4): Then that… You came to… Even your… (?)

Prabhupada: I am simply teaching the teachings of Krsna. That is my point. I may be sama-darsi, I may be not sama-darsi.

Guest (4): Not be, but you teach that we should worship the sama-darsi.

Prabhupada: Krsna says. I don’t say.

Guest (4): Ah! You say, Krsna says that…

Prabhupada: But that does not mean that one has become sama-darsinah. That is… That is his…

Guest (4): Then he is not following the guru.

Prabhupada: No. My position is simply repeating. That’s all. My position is.

Guest (2): So we want understanding more than mere tape recorder.

Prabhupada: Yes, you may be tape… But that is my position because I have been authorized in that way, that “Anyone who preaches this confidential subject matter, he is My dear.” So I have nothing to learn, what is sama-darsi. I have my position…

Guest (4): No, blind following and open-eyed following, I say it is all right. We can read the book. We can read the verses, translation, Hindi translation. But that is not understanding.

Prabhupada: Yes, that is not understanding, I understand. But I am understanding from my teacher, just like I told you, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnu Svami, Lord Caitanya. There are so many stalwart teachers, practically whole Hindu community.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Discussion with Indians — January 18, 1971, Allahabad

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 25, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

continued…

Prabhupada: Sama-darsinah means you have no distinction what is sin and what is…

Guest (1): Sama-darsinah means to treat everyone as equal.

Prabhupada: No, no, no. Sama darsinah means there is no distinction between sin and virtue. That is sama-darsinah. As soon as you see, “This is virtue, and this is sin,” it is not sama-darsinah.

Guest (1): Virtue and sin become the same in sama-darsinah.

Prabhupada: Yes. That is sama-darsinah.

Guest (2): In other words, the sin does not remain sin any longer.

Prabhupada: That is another thing. But he has no vision that “This is sin, and this is virtue.” That is sama-darsinah. As soon as you make distinction, you are not sama-darsinah.

Guest (2): In another interpretation, in…

Prabhupada: You may interpret in a different. Sama-darsi, this is plain word. Sama-darsi means there is no difference, that’s all.

Guest (2): But sama-darsi equals sama-darsi. The sin and virtue are the same.

Prabhupada: No, here… Yes, that is sama-darsinah because here it is said clearly, vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmana [Bg. 5.18]. A brahmana, learned brahmana, and vinaya, very humble… That is the sign of goodness. Vidya-vinaya-sampanne gavi hastini sunica. Sunica means dog. Now he is seeing a dog and a learned brahmana-same. Now, dog is supposed to be sinful, and this learned brahmana is supposed to be virtuous. Therefore his vision, the virtuous and the sinful, the same. That is sama-darsi.

Guest (1): I think that they have made a many mistakes in writing of the slokas.

Prabhupada: That’s all right. Now you are finding mistake with Vyasa, so who can talk with you?

Guest (2): No, but, but…

Prabhupada: Please excuse me. Please go out. Please go out. Don’t trouble. You are finding faults with Vyasa.

Guest (4): We only want you to be understood here.

Prabhupada: (shouting) I am not sama-darsi! I don’t say I’m sama-darsi! I don’t say, sama-darsi. So you say sama-darsi. Sama-darsi.

Guest (2): You should be sama-darsi.

Prabhupada: But I am not in that stage. I say because you don’t surrender to Krsna, you are sinful. That is my darsana.

Guest (4): So then you should be also seeing as sama-darsinah.

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 25, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

Srila Prabhupada declares that he is not sama-darsinah!

Guest (5): …if each and every person has an individual identity of (indistinct) soul above the body consciousness and unless you treat him as equal, there is little…

Prabhupada: No, nobody… You cannot say… Even though they are equal, you can see equal but they are not equal. They are not equal. There are three gunas, and in the Bhagavad-gita that is analyzed, that “These persons are in the sattva-guna, these persons are in the rajo-guna, these persons are in…”

Guest (5): That is not personality of the atma, but the atma is everybody’s soul.

Prabhupada: That’s all… First of all we have…

Guest (5): If you have potency to rise and go higher and higher…

Prabhupada: You are not on the atma stage; I am not in the atma stage. You are in the bodily stage.

Guest (5): Both, body and soul, together…

Prabhupada: Then if you are in the atma stage, then you have no argument with me. Panditah sama-darsinah [Bg. 5.18].

Guest (5): But argument, you have admitted that…

Prabhupada: No, there is no argument. That will stop. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54].

Guest (5): It is on arguments get down…

Prabhupada: No. If you are… Just see. This is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, that:

vidya-vinaya-sampanne
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
panditah sama-darsinah

[Bg. 5.18]

If you are in the spiritual platform, then you will see a learned brahmana, a dog, a candala, a elephant — they are in the same stage. So there is no argument because he sees a dog and the learned brahmana, the same position.

Guest (3): That is the correct position.

Prabhupada: That is correct position. But if you find that “Swamiji is not on the standard,” that means you are not in the posit…, sama-darsinah even.

Guest (3): You mean if a person commits a murder, a sinner…

Prabhupada: Yes, that is very high stage. That is very high stage, sama-darsinah.

Guest (3): No, no. If a person commits a murder, you are seeing…

Prabhupada: So why you see, you are seeing, “Commits murder?” Why don’t you see that it is Krsna is acting there? Why you say that “commits murder?”

Guest (2): Krsna is getting the sin committed.

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 25, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

Hate Mayavada to Love Krishna

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in Rai Ramananda:

Sri Krishna-Chaitanya had always a detestation for mayavada–that phase of pantheism in which the eternal service is practically denied and pedantic aspersions are found to predominate over the aspects of transcendental manifestive Truth.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in a commentary to Sri Caitanya Bhagavata Adi Khanda 12.76:

The fierce poison of formidable impersonalism vomited by foolish, imperfect yogis who are conditioned by maya and who proclaim themselves as ahangrahopasakas, or self-worshipers, is extremely abominable, hated, and totally disapproved by Gaurasundara.

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 26, 2012 @ 7:31 am

This is from Prema Bhakti-candrika:

Text 9

kama krodha moha lobha mada matsarjya dambha-saha
sthane sthane nijukta kariba
ananda kari hrdaya ripu kari parajaya
anayase gobinda bhajiba

Word for word:

kama — lust; krodha — anger; moha — illusion; lobha — greed; mada — pride; matsarjya — envy; dambha-saha — with vanity; sthane sthane — in their respective places; nijukta — engage; kariba — will do; ananda — happiness; kari — doing; hrdaya — heart; ripu — the enemies; kari — do; parajaya — defeat; anayase — easily; gobinda — Lord Govinda; bhajiba — will worship.

Translation:

I will engage lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy and pride in their proper places. In this way, I will defeat the enemies and with ecstasy in my heart, I will worship Govinda without difficulty.

Text 10

krsna seva kamarpane krodha bhakta-dwesi-jane
lobha sadhu-sange hari-katha
moha ista-labha-bine mada krsna-guna-gane
nijukta kariba jatha tatha

Word for word:

krsna seva — service to Krsna; kamarpane — engage lust; krodha — anger; bhakta — devotee; dwesi-jane — envious persons; lobha — greed; sadhu-sange — in the association of devotees; hari-katha — opics of Hari; moha — illusion; ista-labha — attaining; bine — without; mada — pride; krsna — Lord Krsna; guna-gane — glorifying the qualities; nijukta — engaged; kariba — will do; jatha tatha — proper places

Translation:

I will engage my lust in eagerness to serve Krsna and I will use my anger against those who are envious of the devotees. I will be greedy to hear the topics of Hari in the association of the devotees. I will be illusioned if I fail to achieve my worshipable Lord and I will feel proud to chant the glories of Krsna. In this way, I will engage them in their respective duties.

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 25, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

Association with nondevotees takes place in many ways, aside from face-to-face encounters. Through books, movies, gathering places — the possibilities of contact are unlimited. Especially nowadays, a person may apparently live alone in a city apartment and yet be completely immersed in bad association through mass media and technological entertainment. It takes deliberate cultivation, and a fight, to remove oneself from bad influences.

One may object to these injunctions and claim, “God is everywhere! Why say that certain people are bad?” The topmost devotee, the maha-bhagavata, can see all persons as perfect servants of God. He humbly thinks that everyone is a servant of the Lord except himself. But another qualification of a maha-bhagavata is that he always thinks of Krsna and never forgets Him for a moment. One should not imitate one aspect of the maha-bhagavata’s activities while lacking his qualifications. In other words, on the plea of following the example of the great devotees, one should not indulge in bad association and claim, “It’s all Krsna.”

The great majority of devotees have to make an effort to come up from the lower (kanistha) stage of devotion, where one sees God only in the temple. They have to strive to reach the second stage (madhyama), where one acknowledges that God is in everyone’s heart and yet discriminates in his relationships. The madhyama-bhakta saves his love for the Supreme Lord, makes friendships with like-minded devotees, shows compassion to innocent persons, and avoids the demons. He takes seriously the following injunction from the Katyayana-samhita: “It is better to accept the miseries of being encaged within bars and surrounded by burning flames than to associate with those bereft of Krsna consciousness. Such association is a very great hardship”

Narada-Bhakti-sutra, Ch. 3, The Means of Achievement

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Sep 27, 2012 @ 11:51 am

Respecting Our Women In Iskcon

continued…

If, however, a woman remains persistent in her desire for an unwilling brahmacari, the latter may frankly say to her, “Mataji I already gave many lifetimes to many women like yourself. Please give me your blessings that I can give this life fully to Krishna, without unnecessary disturbances or entanglements.” If the brahmacari is serious about his commitment, only a shameless woman would continue to pursue him further.

However, in our temples it is often a practical necessity that men and women engage in devotional service side by side. We can’t avoid such situations, although temple authorities should arrange that male and female devotees are kept apart as much as possible. Brahmacaris should maintain Vaisnava respect towards devotee women, without becoming overly familiar or loose, or developing friendships with them. Srila Prabhupada: “Sannyasis should have ‘Keep in a cool place’ stamped on their foreheads, just like on the butter package.” (Told by Srutakirti dasa)

End of Quote

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On May 24, 2012 @ 3:42 am

continued…

A brahmacari should be very cautious if a woman is being “too nice” to him (e.g. keeps giving him maha-prasada). Service by a woman is a trap for a man. (SB 3.31.40) It is women’s nature to seek shelter and protection from a man, because it is generally both spiritually and materially beneficial for them to be married. But brahmacaris should know that although men generally improve materially if married, that so-called improvement simply means entanglement in sense gratification; therefore for a man’s spiritual progress it is intrinsically better to live without a woman. Acting on the platform of this knowledge, a brahmacari who wants to stay brahmacari has to be free from material compassion for women looking for husbands.

Srila Prabhupada: “The managers of our society should see that all the brahmacaris stay brahmacari, and all the women get married.” Devotees: “How is that possible, Srila Prabhupada?” Srila Prabhupada: “That is your management.” (Told by Giriraja Swami)

Srila Prabhupada noted, “These girls generally come to our society to find out a suitable husband.” (Letter, 06/10/68) Naturally, women devotees want to marry the best men devotees. They tend to be more attracted to brahmacaris who are steady, committed, mature, and responsible. Almost perversely, brahmacaris who are serious to stay brahmacaris usually become targets of anxious brahmacarinis. For a women to “hunt down” a man who wants to remain committed to brahmacari life could be considered an act of violence against his progressive spiritual development. On the other hand, it can be considered a test that even great sages have to undergo.

If a brahmacari who wants to stay a brahmacari finds that a young woman is becoming friendly towards him, alarm bells should go off in his head and he should extricate himself from that situation. If that is not possible, the next best response is not to respond. To remain polite but cold in the face of advances, and to consistently show disinterest, soon convinces women to direct their conjugal aspirations elsewhere. There is no room for sentiment in such dealings. If the brahmacari allows his heart to flutter and reciprocates with even a little interest, the huntress, being encouraged, will not stop until the quarry’s heart is fully pierced with Cupid’s arrows.

continues…

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On May 24, 2012 @ 3:39 am

continued…

In a conversation in Seattle in 1968, Srila Prabhupada said, “Now, another thing: Girls should not be taken as inferior. Sometimes, of course, in scripture we say that woman is the cause of bondage. So, that should not be aggravated that women are inferior. The girls who come, we should treat them nicely. After all, anyone who is coming to Krishna consciousness, man or woman, is very fortunate. The idea of addressing each other as Prabhu means, ‘You are my master.’ Prabhu means ‘master.’ So everyone shall treat others as ‘my master.’ This is Vaisnava understanding. In spiritual life there is nothing like this sexism. The more we forget sex life means we are advancing in spiritual life. So this should be the attitude: women, godsisters, should be nicely treated.”

There is an amusing story from Brazil, where in one temple all the brahmacaris became so “fired-up” that they wanted to send all the women away. When the GBC, H.H. Hridayananda Gosvami, found out, he joked, “Don’t be ridiculous. Then the brahmacaris wouldn’t have anyone to perform for.”

There are certain points in Prabhupada’s books concerning women which unless one is a very self-controlled devotee and expert preacher, one should be cautious about repeating in public and in classes, especially if women devotees or guests are present (e.g., quotes stating women to be less intelligent than men, or nine times as lusty, etc.). After all, mam hi partha vyapasritya, and kalau sudra-sambhavah. Everyone in this age is low born. Men or women, we are all running on Lord Caitanya’s and Srila Prabhupäda’s mercy. We don’t want to discourage women who are already devotees, nor those who are potential devotees. Nor do we want to make the brahmacaris artificially proud. Sensitive topics need to be handled by competent devotees.

The Vedic social philosophy states that women are to be protected by men, but that duty is for the grhasthas, not for brahmacaris or sannyasis. For a brahmacari, young women mean trouble. However sincere young women devotees may be, when in contact with brahmacaris a kind of energy is produced that is not conducive for devotional advancement. Those who have regular contact with young women devotees, even innocently or for the sake of service, are almost certain to get worn down. They may not even notice the effect of such association, but nevertheless it is like radioactivity: slow, subtle, and irreversible.

continues…

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On May 24, 2012 @ 3:35 am

continued…

“Regarding the disturbance made by woman devotees, they are also living beings. They also come to Krishna. So consciously I cannot deny them. If our male members, the brahmacaris and the sannyasis, become steady in Krishna consciousness, there is no problem. It is the duty of the male members to be very steady and cautious. This can be done by regular chanting like Haridasa Thakura did. Whenever there is a young woman, we should remember Haridasa Thakura and beg his mercy to protect us, and we should think that these beautiful gopis are meant for the enjoyment of Krishna. It is a dilemma for our society that we cannot deny these girls, and at the same time they are a great dangerous allurement to the young boys.” (Letter, 29/09/75)

On being informed that some brahmacaris felt disturbed by the presence of women in the temple, Srila Prabhupada sarcastically suggested that the brahmacaris go to the forest. (Letter, 03/12/72) Previously, brahmacaris used to live in the forest, far away from the agitation of the cities. But that is not possible in the modern age. Indeed, as a consequence of preaching, at least as many women as men will be attracted to Krishna consciousness, and we cannot deny their existence, or their right to serve Krishna. Rather, anyone who comes to Krishna consciousness must be encouraged. However, as long as one is not completely pure, if a male devotee begins with the best intentions to encourage a woman to take to Krishna consciousness, the tendency is to become attracted on the emotional and physical levels. Therefore, even though brahmacaris may preach to anyone, it is better that women preach to women.

In 1967, at the 2nd Avenue temple in New York City, Srila Prabhupada announced in one class, “Don’t see these girls as objects of sense gratification. See them as associates of Krishna.” (Told by Jadurani-devi dasi) And in the mid-1970’s in America, a party of sannyasis and brahmacaris became overly righteous about the attachments of grhasthas and women. Tension developed and reached exploding point at the Mayapura Festival of 1976. In the course of setting everything straight (the way he always did—by preaching Krishna consciousness) Srila Prabhupada said that male devotees should address the women as “My dear mother” and the women should see the men as “My dear son.” (Told by Jadurani-devi dasi)

continues…

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On May 24, 2012 @ 3:29 am

A very relevant and instructive section from Brahmacarya in Krishna Consciousness, a book by HH Bhakti Vikasa Maharaj.

Dealing with Women Devotees

There is a great difference between ordinary materialistic women and those who have come to take shelter of Krishna. Women in ISKCON are all devotees and therefore glorious. Some of them are clearly advanced from their previous lives. They should be regarded with all due respect—from a distance. If they are serious devotees, they will respect your strictness.

Due to lack of training or attachment to women’s lib ideas, women devotees may sometimes act improperly with you. Better let it pass, and not make a scene out of it. Women are supposed to be trained in chastity, but modern women aren’t. We men also may still be influenced by the lusty exploitative mentality in our dealings with women. So we may also be at fault. If it becomes necessary, have a word with the temple authorities.

In these beginning days of ISKCON we have to be strict but also tolerant, understanding that most Westerners can’t adjust their social behavior overnight to resemble that of traditional Indian Vaisnavas. Srila Prabhupada was sensitive about this point and therefore was successful in establishing Krishna consciousness in the West.

Brahmacaris often have a tendency to reject women, but Srila Prabhupada never did that because he was above attraction and repulsion and simply wanted to engage everyone in Krishna’s service. When a devotee complained to Prabhupada that the presence of women in our movement caused too many problems and suggested that we no longer accept women as full time devotees, Srila Prabhupada replied, “They have come to take shelter of Krishna. We cannot turn them away.” (-Told by Danavira dasa Gosvami)

continues…

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On May 24, 2012 @ 3:23 am

Letter of Bhakti Vikasa Swami

Dear Isvara Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

What your good self has mentioned that:

What will make us dear to the Lord is not so much how we try to correct others, but rather our own sincere efforts in serving guru and Krishna.

Sincere efforts in serving guru and Krishna mean that preserving the teachings they have given. And to preserve those teachings would take to fight also as Srila Prabhupada told many times “preaching means fighting.” Lord Nityananda’s preaching is prema pracarana ara pasanda dalana. You cannot love Krishna unless you hate Mayavada. How is it possible for a genuine lover to hear ill of his beloved?

We should not be attached to our ideas and be creating all kinds of confusions among the Vaisnava community.

Prabhu, what are you referring here as creating confusions among the Vaisnava community is actually a greatest service to all Vaisnavas. Showing the path of pure devotional service untinged with mixture of karma and jnana is the purpose of preaching.

The whole problem is that what we are reading in Srila Prabhupada’s books is not seen in practice. How many times Prabhupada criticized bogus Mayavadis, and spoke strongly against them and if we are trying to promote those Mayavadis on an excuse of preaching and close our eyes of discrimination with a fear of committing offense, is that our bhakti? Do you think that Srila Prabhupada would be pleased with that attitude?

In this case, the GBC. That is why Srila Prabhupada created the GBC. And if the GBC feels its not something that is worth considering, then we should remain humble and be mindful of our own bhakti.

I would request you to listen to that lecture if you have not do so, all these points were already discussed there.

Please don’t take any offense. Your servant, Vrindavana Chandra Das

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Nov 25, 2011 @ 6:10 am

Dear Isvara Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your good self have suggested to appreciate whatever activities devotees perform and glorify them. But if everything accepted and appreciated without reference to guru, sadhu and sastra then there will no more difference between us and Ramakrishna mission, who expounds yato mata tato patha, everything is OK. Isn’t it?

Also Prabhu, how are you going to stop criticism? As you already made a criticism of those who you said “criticizers.” So it is a logical fallacy. How can senior vaisnavas guide us without going to show us a difference between wrong and right? If you say that a criticism than Lord Krsna also criticizes in Bhagavad-gita, na mam duskritino mudha…

Criticism in itself is not wrong but rather necessary if it has done with a proper attitude of helping Vaisnavas.

Here is one good quote from Srila Prabhupada Founder Acarya of ISKCON

Purport of SB 3.25.27:

Those who are not devotees, therefore, are interested in so-called
humanitarian or philanthropic work, such as opening a hospital or charitable
institution. These are undoubtedly good works in the sense that they are
pious activities, and their result is that the performer may get some
opportunities for sense gratification, either in this life or in the next.
Devotional service, however, is beyond the boundary of sense gratification.
It is completely spiritual activity. When one engages in the spiritual
activities of devotional service, naturally he does not get any opportunity
to engage in sense gratificatory activities. Krsna conscious activities are
performed not blindly but with perfect understanding of knowledge and
renunciation.

(end of quote)

Your servant,
Vrindavana Chandra Das

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Nov 24, 2011 @ 7:20 am

OPEN LETTER TO Bhakti Vikasa Swami

(…continued)

Devotees who have joined this movement for the sake of propagating transcendental knowledge are sent to meet businessmen and tell them that we are feeding poor children to help develop the nation. The consciousness that is cultivated through such activity is mundane. If we regularly talk about food, money, poor people, and “developing the nation,” and show people photos of Bollywood stars who have endorsed our program, then how Krsna conscious are we going to be?

Even though Srila Prabhupada definitely wanted widespread prasada distribution and he did give some indications that we can distribute to poor people under certain circumstances, there are also strong warnings from Srila Prabhupada against making our profile one of mundane welfare workers, which is what is presently being promoted by some of our devotees.

hari-guru-vaisnava-dasa,
BVS

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 22, 2011 @ 9:40 am

(…continued)

I have seen at some Govinda’s restaraunts that, even though the cook is an initiated devotee, he is not chanting sixteen rounds. In such cases, what is offered to Krishna may not be accepted by Him and thus what is distributed is not prasada (and therefore not transcendental).

Similarly, I have seen some cooks hired for the Midday Meals program who are clearly quite mercantile—they are there only because they are paid. I am not saying that all Midday Meals staff are unqualified, but if someone is cooking as a job and they don’t have any proper spiritual practices, we may go through the formality of offering what they cook, but we have to consider whether that is actually prasada.

Another case in which the result of prasada distribution is not transcendental is described by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.26.13:

Sometimes it is found that an initiated person, in the name of prasada, eats very luxurious foodstuffs. Due to his past sinful life he becomes attracted by Cupid and eats good food voraciously. It is clearly visible that when a neophyte in Krsna consciousness eats too much, he falls down. Instead of being elevated to pure Krsna consciousness, he becomes attracted by Cupid. The so-called brahmacari becomes agitated by women, and the vanaprastha may again become captivated into having sex with his wife. Or he may begin to search out another wife.

Srila Prabhupada states that under certain circumstances the effect of taking prasada is not purifying, but actually causes falldown. The fault is not in the prasada but in the attitude toward the prasada. We can link this with Srila Prabhupada’s stating in a letter (of 13 May 1972) that simply distributing food is nonsense (even though the food was presumably meant to be prasada). Srila Prabhupada said that there must also be spiritual education. From this we can understand that if prasada is presented as ordinary food or if people believe it to be ordinary food, the purifying effect is going to be significantly diminished.

I question advertising (as is done for Midday Meals) that aims to induce people to give money so that children can go to school and in this way the nation will develop. Midday Meals advertisements hardly ever mention Srila Prabhupada or Krsna. (continues…)

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 22, 2011 @ 9:38 am


Following is the reply from His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Maharaj on Priyavrata Prabhu’s statement:

Fortunately for us is that prasadam distribution is ALWAYS transcendental, no matter who it is directed at.

Priyavrata Prabhu has stated that prasada distribution is always transcendental. This appears to be an axiomatic fact, but actually it is a statement that needs to be qualified, which I will do by offering some examples of how “prasada” or its distribution can be non-transcendental.

The following is from a conversation on farm management, on December 10, 1976, in Hyderabad:

Mahamsa: “Some people I know, they said that yesterday the prasada was not nice, and there was…

Prabhupada: Not nice, it is not eatable even by the dogs. But you are less than the dogs if you (prepare) such thing. I was surprised. You allowed a sweeper to cook. I was surprised. We have distribution prasada, not dog’s food. Such rascals as here. You do not know. I do not wish to discuss anymore on this point. You have murdered the whole thing in two days. Now if possible, bring them, bring them first class prasada, very palatable.

Similarly, when in Nairobi Srila Prabhupada was served unspiced boiled vegetables, he called it “dog food.” (Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta ch. 38)

Gaur Kishor Das Babaji Maharaja would reject his so-called followers for taking food at certain Vaisnava festivals. Babaji Maharaja considered food offered or cooked by people who were not properly following the Vaisnava principles to be the cause of falldown, even if such food was given at a Vaisnava festival and considered by all present to be prasada.

Sometimes devotees purchase food from a store (e.g. bread or sweets made from grains), then offer it and distribute it to others as prasada—even though offering food cooked by nondevotees is against the Vaisnava principles. In India, it is quite common that for big festivals, cooks are hired who are not chanting sixteen rounds, probably not following the regulative principles, almost certainly watching TV, and engaging in other activities which pollute the consciousness. We can go through the formality of offering what they cook, and then distribute it as prasada. But is that really what it is?

(continues…)

» Posted By Vrindavanchandra On Oct 22, 2011 @ 9:36 am

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