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Comments Posted By anandadd

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Sankirtana Nectar in the Army

Hari bol dear Mitravinda ji,
If you are the same Mitravinda I met in NC, then I must say that even years ago your devotional determination, self sufficiency, resourcefulness, and excellent sadhana impressed me so much. And so it is amazing to see how your life unfolds, and what amazing opportunities are coming your way, as a flowering, by Krishnas grace. I am so inspired by this post. It is so clear, and I really got a feeling for the enthusiasm and innocence of the people you are meeting. These women are being trained in discipline, obedience and austerity as part of boot camp and it just perfect that Krishna’s devotee is right there to give them some transcendental mercy. I just pray that Krishna will protect you.

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 30, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

Where is the fault in ISKCON?

From Pusta Krishna Prabhu
“We must have faith in qualified Guru(s) in order to succeed in our practicing life. Even Lord Chaitanya, Krishna Himself, said that He was told by His Gurudeva Iswarapuri, to simply chant the holy Names. In other words, we are to remain always dependent on our Gurudeva’s guidance…ALWAYS. Otherwise, we become our own spiritual master, and we will be doomed to failure due to the flaws of the conditioned nature.”

> I think much more can be said and explored on this point that Pusta krishna Prabhu made. There are MANY issues that come up- the least touchy of which is what this means in what is now a movement that is empowering its congregation and is primarily congregationally based. I think that is something to explore and could be its own thread.

Again from Pusta Krishna Prabhu
“Srila Prabhupad envisioned these problems and knew that many minds could likely correct the misconception of one mind, hence the multipersoned GBC was the preference for managing HIS society.”

> I feel it was such a brilliant step for Srila Prabhupad to create structure that allowed many minds to direct and refine the organisation of this movement.
Often it is the voice to the leaders ‘people’ that reveals the places where there are gaps in this structures accountability as Srila Prabhupada had planned it. And of course I think it is a universal understanding that good leaders listen to the voices and callings of their followers. The now cliche term servant-leader comes to mind.

As someone who did not come to the movement in the first generation, I find it more encouraging when we are also given a voice and it is heard and considered as long as it is respectful and we are educated enough in KC to know the parameters of discussion.

Also, this kind of openess, when it is the culture of a particular region, makes it much easier for me to bring intelligent people to the temple and have them feel comfortable and ready to open up to learning from us about Krishna and Sadhana Bhakti.

begging for the mercy of the Vaisnavas,
ys Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 29, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

Thank you for the summary of Dr Hopkins book. I feel it is important both to be introspective and see our part in any suffering and hardships we experienceas well as to carefully examine the social/political structures that may support or potentially alleviate suffering.

It sounds like the original post is an expression of humilty and personal responsibilty where the presentation and summary of “The Hare Krishna Movement: Forty Years of Chant and Change” (Ed., Graham Dwyer and Richard Cole, I.B.Taurus & Co., 2007), ” by Akruranatha Prabhu is shedding light on the social and political issues that led to many of our problems as a movement.

I have found that self reflection and humility are essential to make any advancement in KC. Part of that is to take responsibilty and accept our karma also. But that also includes the possibility that part of serving Krishna is to take on sufferings for Him sometimes voluntarily that may not even be our karma, just a burden of love, or an attempt to love truly, to be a part of this wonderful undertaking that Srila Prabhupada began.

At the same time, part of healing for many of us that have experienced wounding also comes from understanding the social and political dyamics and climate clearly. This kind of understanding can also empower individuals to make sure that these structures are refined and dynamically more spiritually empowering from here on out.

begging for the mercy of the Vaisnavas,
your servant,

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 26, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

Does Sex Attraction Bring People to Krishna?

Thank You Mantidangi Prabhu, for explaining how the Rasa Lila troupe is performing in Slovenia. I have never been to Eastern Europe but there seem to be so many inspiring KC programs there.

Those devotees that are able to be fully engaged in hearing and sharing the pastimes and glories of the Lord and his associates are so lucky. I admire those whose lives are situated in such a way that they are able to be around so much Kirtan while inspiring others to learn more about God/Krishnas love for us and our hidden longing to return to Him.

I also really appreciate the way Bir Krishna Swami first proposed the question, in a very open way. It allowed for a very dynamic discussion in which many important points, clarifications came out about principles, standards, values and perpectives that I feel were really worth hearing and considering on a touchy issue. I think the value of the discussion was not in pinpointing a particular group, but in hearing from the larger body of Vaisnavas on an issue that can really step up the purity and focus in our efforts to share KC with the world.

Much of KC these days is shared from the grass roots up, and for this to happen most effectively, it helps for those of us in the grass (sic) to be a part of these dynamic discussions so that we can make the best decisions possible.

your servant,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 26, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

typo: I am NOT talking about retreats and conferences, but day to day and Sunday Feasts. I have found the conference and retreats to be very enlivening and deep and getting better every year. Sorry for that.
This forum seems to be clarifying a need to look at our policy on training women. I don’t mean telling them not to teach class, or not to speak out or to shut down, or to dress this way or that, or to be beautiful and give a powerful refined performance for the public.
I mean what kind of culture are we creating taking all of that into consideration?

What kind of culture and ground are we creating for the women in our movement to grow in KC. What kind of behaviors and perspectives and values are we, through the policies, supporting in our women as a gender?

It would be nice for someone with more formal training in Sociology to study and give us feedback the culture this creates for the women in our movement. I would also like to hear more womens voices.

I think we need to be asking what changes need to occur to create a depth, a gravity and a real and joyful KC in the women who, we hope, will be and become the mother of Vaisnava Saints one day. How can we help the women to relax and be less fearful, and free to be kinder to each other? How we create a more nourishing example for the children?

I think that is a healthy vision to at least shoot for. Otherwise, it is just being looked at from a more narrow plane based on goals like fear of sense gratification or acceptance of some Yukta Vairagya which in the long run for the health of our movement, isn’t as important.

begging for the mercy of the Vaisnavas,
your servant,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 16, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

I love this point that the focus is to be on Jaganath. Not the women.
And I think this discussion is amazing the way that it is pulling out so many important points from all sides. It is very helpful to me personally.
When I was at the beginning of my Bramacarini training, the women were encouraged to not even have a mirror and have very strict sadhana and to only associate with women. This helped to wean us from the bodily concept of life and put the focus on Krishna. It was very valuable training for me-though very difficult. It really gave me strength and experience of the real thing, and an inner compass. (Though I wish we as women had more loving sangha with each other, that would have helped more!)

Since then I have gone back to graduate school, ran preaching centers, developed programs that were not orthodox, gotten married to an lovely Indian man and had a child. We have lived in little India NYC, as well as many very different and diverse expressions of human civilisation since then. And in general I try my best to fit in externally, though sometimes my best guess fails and needs adjustment. But anyway, that internal compass and that early training really helps me.

But I have to say that since leaving Bramacarini life, the expectations I seem to receive from the devotee community in general in terms of what is KC, are ‘to be fashionable’ and the judgements/rubric are often on a very shallow plane. I am talking about retreats or conferences. I am talking about day to day.

I would really like to not have to go outside of ISKCON to find meaningful day to day, caring association with intelligent women of depth.

I also very much appreciate the help that the devotees in this conference have given me to help me unknot some of my anarthas and free me misunderstandings that are keeping me from focusing more and helping others to focus more on Lord Krishna.
Begging for the mercy of the Vaisnavas,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 16, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

I think its important for new female devotees to have a voice, especially when they are speaking of chastity. Especially if we are interested in spreading KC to women. ( P.S. Even enthusiastic, passionate, sincere, not fully trained new devotees)

At the same time, I have to say I am so enlivened by HH Indrayumna Maharaj’s preaching, when I get to see it on video. Every senior devotee I know who has gone on tour comes back radiantly enlivened almost as if they had gotten a chance to directly associate in Lord Caitanyas pastimes.

But I still feel KR voice is valid to be heard. I remember when I first joined 11 years ago after practicing austerities on another Yoga path for some years and I remember how painful it was when senior devotees tried to silence my real and valid voice and contribution saying I was too new and had to defer. Also, if we are interesting in spreading KC to women also, then it should be safe for new female devotees to share their hearts and experience as long as it is respectful.

As for the value of refined performance for the upper classes it is there and I understand. I grew up in a family that listened to (and sang) Opera and classical music on a regular basis and especially when we visited our family in Europe we would go shopping on 5th avenue and appearances, presentation, manners etc became of utmost importance.

Though I acknowledge the great value in refined artistic expression in KC life both as a soothing almost therapeutic influence in the lives of Vaisnavas as well as its positive impact on presenting an integrated and attractive presentation that creates very good PR for our movement, I still think that Krishna Rupas point is valid.

For myself, in early KC life, an essential and heart nourishing aspect of the training was austerity and exclusive focus on Krishna. As I matured the focus was allowed to focus on sharing that nourishment with others to inspire them in KC. But my nature and training prior to coming to KC is more contemplative and that would not have been right for everyone.

HH BK Maharaj has now clarified that his question had nothing to do with HH Indrayumna Maharaj’s festivals. But maybe the gift of his statement not being clarified at the beginning is this wonderful opportunity for us to all explore together the pros and cons of different approaches, to glorify some wonderful devotee preaching, as well as to understand and separate out the place for each approach (and if some have a place at all.)
Its important for leaders to understand that just because one thing works really well for some, it is not necessarily for everyone, and that does not necessarily mean anything in terms of the KC of the system or the devotee that doesn’t fit with it.

I am sorry to drag this discussion on after HH BK Maharaj concluded it so well in the last post. But I just felt that this needed to be said.
Begging for the mercy of the Vaisnavas,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 15, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

Thank you Krishna Rupa for sharing your experience of wanting to be free to chant and dance as a woman in a way that is free of the bodily platform-without concern for age or attractiveness. Obviously that doesn’t mean unmatching socks, but it means wanting enough protection to share the holy names without too much focus on how you look. That’s what I meant about focus on grace (and purity). And this focus can be for married and renounced women as an option.

I am grateful to hear and see your ‘voice’ here on Dandavats.

There are so many different styles and expressions of Krishna Consciousness that work.
But this post really clarifies a position that I think could stand to be heard more often.
begging for the mercy of the Vaisnavas,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 14, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

I am feeling really encouraged by some recent comments that seem to really highlight womens roles as inspiring, chaste KC role models and that are focusing on training and protecting us.

I just wanted to restate an earlier point as a direct quote also

“One Vaisnava acarya engaged a gang of thieves to collect to build a temple by stealing. Mission accomplished – but what happened to the persons so engaged according to their propensity? He killed them by sinking them in a boat mid-river.
So we need to be careful that we don’t successfully attract men by encouraging women to dance in public harinam in this way, only to sink the women mid-river…”

In my endeavors to share KC with people, I find 3 main criticisms, or reasons my students and others hold back from us. 1)they feel many women are stifled in the movement and there is no place for them to really connect socially except in my classes 2) people are afraid of the proseletising that happens in a way that is sometimes pushed on people, too soon, too quickly or in an insensitive way.3) long time Yoga practitioners from other groups sometimes feel that we are good at talking but they want examples and help in the rhelm of realization in ways that make their lives better first.

As an aspiring Vaisnavi, I want loving relationships with other vaisnavis. Real friendships that are beyond the physical platform and based on real KC, rather than shallow concerns. In recent years, I have found great hope at Vaisnavi retreats and an internet forum or two. But in terms of real life sangha with aspiring Vaisnavis, I find often women in our movement are in a sinking ship. Often the training has been either very heavy and external for the renounced, or all about being beautiful sense grat for the married each containing lots of backbiting and competition. I am sure there are many communities where this is joyfully not the case, thank God. But, as a general theme, I just am praying that a better way to raiseup and inspite/empower and train women comes to place.

I have lived in and among various spiritual communities and various denominations of sincere religious people since my early years and I find the values and qualities stressed as well as the relationships to genrally be deeper and more loving among women in some of them. Though, I must say, ISKCON has given a tremendous gift to women, in terms of teaching westerners and reminding easterners what it means to be protected and chaste.

Anyway, there are one or two groups I am thinking of in particular where the women are chaste, graceful and pious and where people are attracted to their teaching just so that they can begin to embody these qualities themselves, and enjoy the loving and nourishing friendships with other women.

We as women, need somewhere to go. Rather than NOT THAT, NOT THIS and then being caught in fear and some kind of inner battle or going. We need to know what our positive value is to the society in detail with training, what our offering is, what qualities full of life to aspire for in general as a gender. This is part of protecting us as a gender. The mothers can teach this, those who are mature and ready. Maybe those who can take a father role can help set up the systems.

But my point is, that we need a clearer inner compass as a whole. Obviously 7 year olds dancing rasa lila is a very sweet, innocuous heart opening way to culturally introduce the pastimes. I think with these things clarified, both men and women will be enlivened in the movement, and more people will come. They will come because they see more happy women, empowered, chaste, energetic, living under God’s grace- open to teaching and sharing this with them, in KC.

your servant,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 12, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

Dear Devotees,

It has been really wonderful to read the variety of comments and perspectives from the the Vaisnavas. This, so far, I believe is the first perspective coming from a Mother and former bramacarini. This is from the perspective of training, elevating and encouraging women. I think it takes a little bravery not to post this anonymously, but there are some things I would like to say and hope that it is well taken.

I want to draw on one of the comments

“that a chaste women is an auspicious source of strength to the man”

Also, the comments made ‘not to discourage the women,’ and that ‘preaching is the essence’

Simply put, I think it is important to think of our young women as true Yogini’s (at the very least, in training.) And that we can draw on basic qualities to decide if a particular service proper engagement. By focusing on the qualities I think women can feel encouraged and in the exhilaration of being on a growing edge. I also wish that we as a movement focused more on cultivating and noticing these qualities in women, rather than the physical things. These four (4) qualities when embodied tend to embody chastity. Maybe others can think of other qualities also.

1) grace 2) nobility 3) kindness 4) the capacity to elevate beyond the physical platform

and also to train women to have the habit not only of external discrimation in terms of fashion, but to view people on a regular basis on a level of qualities.

Young women especially tend to feel a natural need to be beautiful and noticed, but there are ways to channel that that elevate and do not degrade. Who better to help with this than our mothers or future mothers anyway!

For example as a rubric: Is my dress for this service graceful, is it noble, is it kind, does it elevate?

And the same, Is this service/preaching graceful, noble, kind?

(To myself, to Srila Prabhupadas intentions, to men, to the movement, to those who attend?)

A society of Krishna Conscious women (young, in between and old women) like this, would be very inspiring, safe, nurturing and very, very attractive-by nature.

Begging for the mercy of the Vaisnavas,

Your servant,
Ananda dd (now in New Orleans, most recently in NYC)

» Posted By anandadd On Dec 11, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

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