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Comments Posted By ccd

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The Desire To See God

It is nice to have such encouragement from you Puskaraksa prabhu, and certainly you are most welcome to come over to Belfast when you are here. So is Santasya and Japa yajna, most welcome to come, sorry for not noticing your kind words.

When I say it is a common practice in ISKCON, I do not quote from my own experience, but from what I was presented at the official Deity Worship seminar in Mayapur and the situation as it stands (not how it was 20 years ago). Surely you have not been travelling for the last ten years as intensely, or maybe I am wrong. I can only uphold the standard as it is and use it for preaching. And yes it is Prabhupada’s standard (at least at the very beginning), that he constantly tried to raise, be it in the early days of Australia preaching or be it other parts of the world.

Going Congregational is just natural, since we are now a Congregational movement. Participation of householder devotees, all of whom we talk now are with 10 or more years in KC and chanting the Harinama, is commendable and should be encouraged and balanced with the right attitude. Right attitude is attitude of a preacher (madhyama) not of a kanistha. Garuda Purana confirms that:

brahmananam sahasrebhyah satra-yaji vishishyate
satra-yaji-sahasrebhyah sarva-vedanta-paragah
sarva-vedanta-vit-koöya vishnu-bhakto vishishyate
vaishnavanam sahasrebhya ekanty eko vishishyate

“A brahmana qualified to offer sacrifices is better than an ordinary brahmana, and better than such a brahmana is one who has studied all the Vedic scriptures. Among many such brahmanas, one who is a devotee of Lord Vishnu is the best, and among many such Vaishnavas, one who fully engages in the service of the Lord is the best.”

» Posted By ccd On Mar 23, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

Srila Madhvacarya has brought to our attention to this quotation from the Narayana-samhita:

dvapariyair janair vishnuh pancaratrais tu kevalaih
kalau tu nama-matrena pujyate bhagavan harih

“In the Dvapara-yuga one could satisfy Krishna or Vishnu only by worshiping opulently according to the pancaratriki system, but in the Age of Kali one can satisfy and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari simply by chanting His holy name.”

Deity worship therefore is part of preaching, not a separate department. Of course rules, such as non-initiated not touching the Deity form, are to be followed. Yet the process of arcanam is subservient to chanting the names, and anything that makes a neophyte, like myself, become more inspired in chanting, anything that makes me want to chant more with a pure desire to please the Lord, is most welcome and is essentially true. In our temple we had a long tradition of engaging first initates on the altar, this is a common feature of ISKCON. Even less than that had become not a norm, but an acceptable exception and it is part of the differences seen by devotees who joined in 80s, during the period of inflated standards that nowhere are maintained exactly. So, with an aspiration to rise above pure kanistha level of judging others, I see devotees who did not undergo the purificatory rites are often more qualified and more brahminical than those who have been around and have neglected the vows of initiation. Yet all of them are to shown mercy, and the deity worship is exactly that — mercy of the Lord, not His punishment.

» Posted By ccd On Mar 22, 2012 @ 1:48 am

I know it is a common theme I find, that devotees do not draw a line between sadhakas (trying for pefection) and siddhas (those who are already perfect). I always felt that there is a difference in how one worships the Deity on these stages. I also found it very encouraging that Deity worship IS for purification of neophytes.

Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura makes an interesting observation in his tika quoting Gopala Tapani —

Gopal tapani upanisad (12.1) says:

sat pundarika nayanam meghabham vaidyutambaram dvbhujam mauna mudradyam vanamalinam isvaram

Govinda has lotus eyes, complexion like a cloud, and cloth like lightning. He has two hands in the position of mauna and wears a forest flower garland.

Because of the siddha devotee being able to grasp the spiritual lotus cloud and lightning by spiritual intelligence and senses, the spiritual Upanisada easily conveys the Lord’s eyes, body and cloth which are
compared to these things. However, the sadhaka devotee, though he cannot grasp these things with his intelligence and senses, by applying the concepts of a material lotus, cloud and lightning to the Lord he can
make them enter his intelligence. By concenterating his mind in this way, he then becomes joyful, under the impression that he is meditating on the Lord, though not even touching the Lord’s effulgence.

But the Lord, controlled by waves of unlimited mercy, thinks “My devotee is meditating on me.” The Lord brings that devotee to His feet for service when his bhakti reaches maturity.

This is the nature of the Lord, He is bhava-grahi — he sees good and devotion even in those of us who are not liberated or not transcendent to the modes, certainly me included.

» Posted By ccd On Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:29 am

Prabhupada somewhere mentioned that children from the age of 11 are to be taking training and service in worshiping the arcanam (in the temple). So I am completely taking it as a practical and down-to-earth kind of decision and process. If someone is clean, steady and brahminical, he is a brahmana type and should be trained up. If someone is on the other hand is initiated but is a cheat and unclean, he needs to shape up.

If you are asking me about my own qualifications, or the lack of it, I just try to follow the programme left by Srila Prabhupada. It is simple and keeps you engaged. If at any stage of my life I do get to the point of the perfection of Deity worship, you will probably hear from me. I will not be shy.

One definition of fanatism is un-ability to distinguish the theory and it’s literal requirements from the real life application of the same and the gap of adjustment. I am a bit fanatical, they say, but I am working on it to become a bit more realistic.

Thank you very much for your comment and all the time you took to put it together. It is valuable. It is full of information on requirements. We all need to know what are the adhikara of brahmana, in order to not be cheated.

How would you, Puskaraksa prabhu, describe, in which select words, your favorite devotee pujari-brahmana? How does he sit, how does he walk, how does he talk and does his service?

» Posted By ccd On Mar 17, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

The Belfast temple and the “spirit of Christmas”

Thank you for your generous donations in this service opportunity: Savitry Bhatt, Pawan Goyal, Mrs. Brady, Syamasundara Bhagavan, Syama Gopa Rupa, Brian, Nial, Steven, Radhani Rupini, Ravi, Dr. Batt, Mark prabhus.

Your contribution had helped up to raise 1200 pounds and we are glad that the new boiler installation has a go-ahead now.

With the generous support of souls like you, we will be able to serve Radha Madhava and devotees in the temple and to work toward a brighter future with our regular Sunday programs.

For more information on how your donation is helping to serve Radha Madhava, we invite you to visit our Web site at ISKCONBELFAST.COM You will also find information there on our upcoming events for this year and special service opportunities.

Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support.

» Posted By ccd On Jan 9, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

Three Levels of Devotees Which One Are You?

It is interesting that bhakti is so powerful, that even a shadow of bhakti (bhakti-abhasa) gives liberation (and certainly for kanisthas). Just like the shadow of the holy name (not unalloyed, but even if mixed with material desires for liberation or enjoyment) will give moksa. “You may say that,” the man said, “but if the shadow of the holy name does not give liberation, then I shall cut off your nose.” So he lost his nose, as the story goes in CC Antya, 3 and the man’s name is Gopala Cakravarti.

» Posted By ccd On Mar 11, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

Since liberation is mentioned in this context, one needs to note that Srila Prabhupada answers this question very clearly: “There are three divisions of devotees—first-class, second-class and third-class. Even the third-class devotees are liberated souls. It is explained in this verse that although they do not have knowledge, simply by seeing the beautiful decoration of the Deity in the temple, the devotee is absorbed in thought of Him and loses all other consciousness. Simply by fixing oneself in Krishna consciousness, engaging the senses in the service of the Lord, one is imperceptibly liberated.” Not to say that the use of words in this commentary of Srila Prabhupada is anything but perfect! We should remember that pure devotee can be at all three levels and all three levels of Vasnavas are liberated, while the kanistha is “imperceptibly liberated.”

» Posted By ccd On Mar 8, 2011 @ 10:43 am

“uttama adhikary platform can be referred to as one who has realized the kanishta and madhyam” is again incorrect. Just as one should not think that in order to be an offenceless chanter, one needs to include both nama-aparadhas and nama-abhasa in his chanting.

» Posted By ccd On Feb 6, 2011 @ 7:17 am

It is incorrect to assume that Arjuna asks the questions but Krishna does not answer them. The lord answers this first question in text 55 . And next to it he answers Arjuna’s second question in texts 56–57 (“How does he speak?” This question means: “How are his intelligence and words affected by another’s affection, anger or neutrality? In other words, how does he respond?”). The next question—“How does he sit?”—means: “How does he not engage his senses? What is his mentality when his senses are restrained from their objects?” Krishna answers it in the two verses 58 and 59, in the same chapter 2. Certainly this statement is incorrect:

“If we carefully follow further Bhagavad Gita, we can read how the Supreme Lord very eloquently describes the characteristics of His devotees but never really answers the question asked by Arjuna. This is the one question left unanswered in the epic conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. The reason is because a Vaishnava is never to be judged by his exterior manifestations.”

While I agree that a Vaisnava should not be judged by external manifestations, it is not that it is because Krishna does not answer the questions about sthita-dhir-muni, which is a different thing. At least we can read the next 5 verses after the question before we conclude that the Lord “never really answers” something. vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijïe na bujhaya — that is the basis that is used by Prabhupada in this case, as to not try to second-guess the Vaisnava’s mind, and Prabhupada gives the source as well for this statment, Caitanya-bhagavata.

» Posted By ccd On Feb 5, 2011 @ 9:49 am

My Last Conversation with Aindra Prabhu

As Pustakrishna in No 6 puts it:

“All of this becomes “jnana sunya bhakti”, loving serving without a tint of jnana, in the divine state of Krishna consciousness as revealed in Braja lila”

The words jnana-sunya are meant to completely eradicate any consciousness of the impersonal aspect of the supreme, and not the kind of knowledge of relationships (sambandha-jnana) which is favorable to the attainment of pure devotional service, nor the knowledge of actual execution the service itself (bhakti-rasa-jnana), and knowledge or arts for example.

» Posted By ccd On Feb 7, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

Of Saints and Critics

For some reason (cut and paste) the words A mahattara became Amahattara and A vaisnava became Avaisnava. Taking the meaning to let’s say — wrong level.

» Posted By ccd On Nov 17, 2010 @ 8:30 am

Corrupt Leader Exposed!

When you, Akruranatha Prabhu, say “I am surprised to see that none of the comments so far have addressed the issue of faultfinding and the mind’s attraction to hear about exposure of a “corrupt leader.”” I find it in myself as a tendency I try to curb, I like the way you present this problem which is really based in our mind. Yes we constantly do that because our mind will force us. The way Rationalistic education had brought us up we can not avoid picking faults with our intelligence, more intelligent you are harder it is to curb this tendency. If we can not find any philosophical deviation in a leader (that would often be actually difficult and would require the knowledge of what Prabhupada said and wanted) the mind tries to find fault with some other aspect of the leader’s life — a mannerism, an alleged personal scandal, or a misinterpreted remark or words taken out of context. This is the reason for leaders to take special care and not be even to a slightest subject to suspicion, it is paralyzing to a degree. But we find that even if someone is rather good in may ways, we try to put them down to make ourselves feel better and ‘elevated’. I do not know if it is really makes you feel ‘better’ but certainly less subordinated, subordination is something that mind and ego rebells against. The feature of pride is not to want to be subordinated to another person, moreover anyone born in the kali-yuga, and the function of a regular guru is to actually overcome this ‘little difficulty’. Now, unfortunately and obviously, we can just guess that it is not easy for everyone, including ourselves. Let’s be honest, it is not easy and let be honest if none of us had this difficulty we would have taken over the world in a great sucess. And thank you again Akruranath Prabhu.

» Posted By ccd On Jul 14, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

More Nirjala Ekadasi

I agree that to think that “fasting on Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi will negate any ill effects from breaking previous Ekadasis.” is not appropriate, however it is right that the “phalam” or fruit of fasting will be regained by fasting at this one ekadasi. It is rather subtle, and the subtle element is that it is wrong to use scripture to act against scripture. In other words, if you think that I can not fast because I plan fasting once a year and that is sufficient, you are wrong and you are acting against Prabhupada and the sastra.

» Posted By ccd On Jun 20, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

28th My Understanding

Interesting points. It is rather simple in your explanation. However it is not that simple if you want to interpret it. Thus the simplest explanation should win and you are the winner!

» Posted By ccd On Jul 5, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

Balancing The Roles Of The Gbc And The Disciple In Guru Selection

In a way to most of us what will happen right now or next meeting of GBC is not as relevant. Of course it will save qualified devotees like Akruranatha the painful ‘approval’ procedure. However what is more important is what is right. The period of testing is essential. Not only because it is ‘how it is in the sastra’, but also because it is something essential for disciples’ progress in bhakti yoga. Just as anartha-nivritti is essential to have as a ‘past event’ for someone who is a guru, in the same way it is really essential for a disciple to see it for himself that the guru-devotee has practically cleared the major anarthas. Of course the ‘smell’ of anarthas and in fact possibility of fall remains with a devotee up to the point of directly meeting Krishna (saksad-darsana). But it is really important for a disciple to see things for himself, and not being told this devotee is fallen or this devotee is ‘pure’. I guess if you do not have this trial period or mutual testing with your diksa guru you may have to undergo the same period of mutual testing with one of your siksa-gurus. But knowing how often even mature devotees change their living siksa-gurus in ISKCON, it will be hard to enforce, But I suggest the mutual testing by direct experience should be the first step that GBC should take, regardless of the de-regulation. I do not mean to impose on privacy of gurus or demand that disciples will have hard time, but we see so much blind faith or cheap self advertisement already, there is a need of action.

» Posted By ccd On Apr 30, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

I am a bit shocked that after reading all of material and arguments of sastra quoted by SAC. all the comments are coming from a perspective of external approval. “One concern I have about the SAC’s proposal is, do we really have enough disciples of Srila Prabhupada who are qualified to serve as spiritual masters” “Read this book by my guru” or “what if the new devotee chooses someone not yet approved to give diksa and places his (or her) faith in him (or her) only to learn later that their guru of choice did not receive GBC approval to initiate?” The whole point of the presentation is that it is not for you to decide on behalf of someone else, it is the function of the disciple to do that without you telling him or inducing him. The doubt I have is that the “education system” has to receive a complete overhaul and that included training to experienced teaches and the preachers who give instructions to the beginners. It is not an easy thing it appears, the switch from the paradigm of ‘pre-approved’ good guru position and qualification to ‘it’s your own duty of the disciple’ paradigm to test and see.

It is like explaining to someone that milk does not come in plastic bottles, it comes from a cow. And if you have never seen a cow, you will keep wondering, how will a plastic bottle come from the cow… It is disciples who are to learn to take the responsibility and assumption of qualification. It is qualification towards him, not a centralized quality control. Nobody else should do it for him, otherwise risking spoiling it by taking away the foundation of his/her spiritual life. If things happen later, it is easy to fix an error, but to wholesale the delegated approval is really destructive. Just as equating acceptance of Prabhupada to acceptance of a guru.

Of course we have it easy. We all come and accept Prabhupada as the spiritual master, but we also need to chose the person who will represent Prabhupada and his teaching for us in the parampara, and for that you need to know a bit about Prabhupada and Krishna, not that you have to start from scratch as describe in the Gour Govinda Maharaja’s brochure. But still it has to be done according to the sastra and not as per pre-packaged ready cooked meals system we have at present. Social pressure, ready made decisions and approval by others should be taken out of equation for good, in order to return to a healthy system once again.

» Posted By ccd On Apr 23, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

It is interesting that the comment Pandu das has made [no1] makes sense only and in a context where a siksa-guru (or instructing spiritual master) is considered to be somewhere or somehow inferior to the role of a diksa-guru. This however is not the fact. The truth is, and I wished members of SAC explained it further, the siksa-guru relationship is already de-regulated in ISKCON. The “apriori-deregulation” proposed by SAC only confirms the general consensus that all good disciples of Prabhupada are already authorized to be a guru in his own words. And because being instructing guru on his behalf is by far more essential to all the grand-disciples than the guru who gives a particular mantra, it is a matter of formality for GBC to finally end the long overdue extension of the Zonal-acharya system of ‘approved few’.

I think the question of humility is rather essential one, it should be elaborated more on, as far as in stepping forward to be a ‘designated guru with an approval’. It appears to me that there is very little argument that one can make to maintain this system. However it should be looked at in connection with general training of disciples to never think of ISKCON guru being an guru by default to all. Guru is not a position but a relationship. In fact it will not be unusual for a guru to think himself a servant of his disciples and to learn from them.

The argument of the ‘stupid Bh. Joe’ and ‘anarchy’ and ‘siksa yes but not diksa’ are all fallacies. Let’s move ahead with this de-authorization at least in one particularity stable region of ISKCON and gradually expand it to other areas. In fact it is not impossible to imagine if one particular GBC can be presented with the choice to implement it in his zone alone.

One thing that struck me is the fact that SAC constantly refers to “tradition” as the pramana. It is sastra and words of our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, are the pramana, the tradition is in fact just following the revealed scriptures and other dharma-sastras and I have seen many devotees not going through the examination process of the guru before accepting initiation, and that I attribute to a huge phenomenon of guru-hopping/lost faith. So this mandatory period of testing should be the first phase of the implementation of this SAC paper. This examination period automatically limits the number of disciples a guru can hold at one time and also creates a pressure on disciples to be in ‘a relationship’ before the ‘marriage’.ysccd

» Posted By ccd On Apr 20, 2010 @ 11:31 am

Suhotra Maharaja: Vaishnava Poet Extraordinaire

I was recently talking to a friend of mine, who was with Suhotra Maharaja in and around the last days or months. He mentioned that at the last lectures and in his last instructions Maharaja was really peaceful and resolved. His talent seems to be under-appreciated but clearly he is a glorious poet and a Vaisnava.

» Posted By ccd On Nov 2, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

The Legend of Vishnujana Maharaja

I really like Pusta Krishna prabhu’s openness and clarity on the issue of the ”legend”. I agree that from a practical perspective and based on ‘do what I do’ of Prabhupada, we should be extremely careful when we say something along the lines of “very bad for that person and for Srila Prabhupads movement.” Prabhupada is immensely compassionate, we should represent it, and taking into consideration natural humility of Visnujana it is very hard to believe the story of taking his own life. I have also checked and every single morning walk after the one quoted (11th of March 76) up to the Gaura purnima (next day was Ekadasi the 12th. Purnima was the 15th of March that year). All morining walks ARE recorded. Very hard to believe that he would ask the same question twice given that such a long (if you look at it) discussion taken place in his presence. On the next day after the GP, Festival of Jaganathmisra Anandotsav, Prabhupada met with RDTSP (without Visnujana Swami?) Would you imagine Visnujana would wait until the tape-recorder was switched off and ask that question again in a personal way? If you read a bit of Hari Sauri’s diary, you will see the context of the situation and the looming conflict surrounding RDTSP. ys Caitanya

» Posted By ccd On Nov 2, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

Thank you so much!

I actually found the conversation. And it does not look like his question is a confession in any way:

Visnujana: Srila Prabhupada, how did Chota Haridasa achieve perfection by killing himself after apparently pouring water on his devotional creeper by talking to a woman?

Prabhupada: His instance was that even an associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu can fall down. And if one falls down, his punishment is that, suicide. There is no other punishment. He must commit suicide. This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instruc…. Otherwise he is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s personal servant. He cannot fall down. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed this instance that “Even one is My personal servant, he can fall down.” And if anyone by any cause he falls down, his punishment is he must commit suicide. This is instruction.

Tamala Krsna: Very strict.

Prabhupada: Oh, yes. “You have fallen down? You must commit suicide. No more My association.”

Pusta Krsna: Is that the same as in the Bhagavad-gita where Krsna says, “For one who is honored, dishonor is worse than death”?

Prabhupada: Yes. That is another thing. Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally taught this. To be victimized by maya is possi…. There is possibility…. Just like Jaya and Vijaya. They were gatekeepers in the Vaikuntha. They also fell down, Hiranyakasipu. So this falldown, there is possibility in any moment because we are very small. We can be captivated by maya at any moment. Therefore we shall be very, very careful. And if you fall down, then punishment is you make suicide. That’s all. Then next life we shall see.

Satsvarupa: But Srila Prabhupada, in The Nectar of Devotion it says devotional service is so pure that there’s no prayascitta necessary. Just again engage in your service.

Prabhupada: Yes. This is not prayascitta. This is exemplary punishment. He was not liable to be punished, but they played that “This is the…. This should be done.”

Guru-krpa: He did not kill himself immediately. He waited for a year.

Could it be connected with the difficulties in management of RDTSK rather then fall down that he left?

You typed a letter on the 4th of May, just a couple month after it happened, and in that letter TKG was told to be restored to the leadership of Radha-Damadara TSP. But was not he sent off to China before that? Where Visnujana was sent? Do you remember the story of what happened with RDTSK that year? They came to Mayapur – was Visnujana Maharaja already gone…

» Posted By ccd On Oct 31, 2009 @ 1:26 am

Dear Pusta Krishna and Patita Pavana, Prabhus.

I grew to really love Visnujana Maharaja’s bhajans and style of kirtana, dispute the fact that it was discouraged in the areas where I have joined by the local GBC there. He is a very attractive and effulgent personality, and sometimes I regret that he had to take sannyas to do what he was doing.

However serious doubts were raised by some devotees as to the story of his disapperance. The article claims that Lilamrita talks about it. However it does not refer to Visnujana’s disappearance. There is also no record of any mention of him directly after the fact in SP recored words, and it is clear that it was almost the year after his disappearance that some suggested that he did a “karma-free” drowning, which is not normal practice to Gaudiya Vaisnavas, it is usually practiced only by those who desire to attain moksa of sorts. It seems surprising if he actually did it at all, without telling anyone, leaving a note, without telling/mentioning reasons to Prabhupada or hearing Prabhupada personally telling him to do it. Was he that proud? Pusta Krishna prabhu, can you let us know what was exact situation with Visnujana Swami at the time of his departure? What was his service that he felt he could escape? What was his position and was he busy as a leader? What was the initial reaction of Prabhupada, since you were the personal servant at the time? We all love Visnujana Maharaja, and I think ISKCON now is mature enough to hear the real story without people telling some version or the another.

I appreciate your comments above very much. ys caitanya

» Posted By ccd On Oct 29, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

Vaisnava culture of respect and honour

Yes it can be that material relationships or structures project on our relationship with Vaisnavas. Cooperation is the key, humility is the principle and respect is the method:-)

Pragosh pr. seems trying to resolve a historical dilemma of some gurus not being gbcs and some gbcs not being gurus and how they get their ‘share’ of respect:-

One way to look at it is that guru disciple relationship is private and “any-iskcon-devotee” to gbc relationship is public/eg both are completely different things happening on different levels: two Vaisnavas have a relationship of guru and disciple and both of these vaisnavas (independently) have a relationship with the society of devotees where the “collective gurus” are GBCs;

I would suggest an alternative to this (a current system) as to abolish parallel lines of authority — all gbcs should be gurus (ISKCON siksa or diksa) and all gurus should be gbcs (acting, assisting or advising), thus there is only one line of authority and one body of senior sadhus representing Prabhupada. What do you think? Will gurus want to share their vyasa-puja seats with gbcs? will gbcs want to share “gbc discussions” conferences with ‘advising gbcs’ (ie current non gbc gurus)?

Of course it is hardly the goal or a spiritual consideration, but it is good to keep unity. On the other hand even if it painful to be the lowest ranking devotee it is safer then being the highest ranking (with an exception when getting higher ranking gave you direct access to Prabhupada!). How demanding it is to be the highest rank if there are so many neophites…

An advise to them on loving gurus/gbcs/iskcon “with all thy faults” is in an important purport that tells us that we should change our ‘view’ on seeing material and try to see spiritual even when some material elements are present:

“Sometimes doubts arise in the minds of neophytes about whether or not the spiritual master is liberated, and sometimes neophytes are doubtful about the bodily affairs of the spiritual master. The point of liberation, however, is not to see the bodily symptoms of the spiritual master. One has to see the spiritual symptoms of the spiritual master. Jivan-mukta means that even though one is in the material body (there are still some material necessities, since the body is material), because one is fully situated in the service of the Lord, he should be understood to be liberated.” (SB 3.33.10 p)

» Posted By ccd On Jun 18, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

Actually I would not object for a devotee to join one of the prominent TV shows…if they can. The desire for fame and distinction is not “the exclusive preserve of reality tv contestants”, nor it is ‘wrong’ for a devotee to seek fame. It may sound strange (how?! the ‘desire for fame’ pratistha!!)… well not only Prabhupada okayed Balavanta to run for president (the biggest reality tv show I know), he also wrote:

“You have got some desire to become a famous preacher and famous Vaisnava singer and also jagad-guru. This is a spiritual desire, so it is not like any material desire and it is all right to desire for Krsna in this way…”

I did, on purpose cut the quote… we know that you can draw the line where it is material and where its not. But the difference — is if it is ‘for Krishna’ or not; is it for us to feel perfect (perfect guru?).

Being from the Abrahamic traditions, we still very much confusing the falls, faults and tribulations of an aspiring/maha/vaisnavas with disqualifications on their path of bhakti. Hense troubles in leadership and overreliance on ‘what others will say’.

Why anyone even try to be seen perfect? The only thing we should try to be perfect is in service attitude in pleasing Prabhupada. There is a thin line between fame for Krishna and fame for yourself, perfect in service and seen perfect, there is also a thin line for thinking that by perfect behavior one can get credit to be dear to Krishna (taking it for granted? Do you think you “reached” “the perfection”?) As Prabhupada wrote “The more one feels imperfect in Krishna’s service, the more he is advancing in Krishna Consciousness. Even the topmost devotees feel they are inadequate in their service to the Lord. So it is good to feel inadequate, and to try harder to please Krishna with better service. But one should never feel, oh, I have seen Krishna, and so I am reached perfection — this is not Krishna Consciousness.” In the same way to expect that GBCs and gurus must be absolutely perfect and there should not be a conflict at all, or that there should not be a feeling of being inadequate in their service, is hardly a sign of the advanced KC view. It is this perception of being inadequate but focused in service that brings you to the spiritual world, not a conception that you are guaranteed the entry. So the key is to base the compassionate mission on your own hankering for the causeless mercy not on who is controlling whom.

So “what others will say?

» Posted By ccd On Jun 16, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

From Prabhupada Nectar by SDG:

Srila Prabhupada’s servant was having difficulty controlling his senses and he asked Prabhupada to give him a special diet. When word got around that Prabhupada had recommended a special diet, another devotee approached Prabhupada for similar treatment.

“Prabhupada, is there anything I could get that would help me control my tongue more? Are there certain things to avoid, like sugar?”

Prabhupada said, “The method to control the tongue is to chant and to pray.”

“Well,” the devotee said, “I am chanting and praying, but still I am having difficulty.”
Prabhupada sat back in his seat and laughed. “Yes,” he said, “I know. I have a tongue too. It may be difficult, but as much as you can, try to eat simply.”

Prabhupada went on to describe how during World War II there was a bombing of Calcutta-during a time when Prabhupada was just about to honor prasadam. Friends had come running to the house giving warning: “Abhay Charan, come quickly! The air-raid siren is going off! The bombs are coming!” Prabhupada had responded by saying that he could not go because his wife had just prepared some kacauris. He told his friends, “You go to the shelter. I will stay here.”

And so he offered the kacauris, ate them, and chanted Hare Krsna.

» Posted By ccd On Jun 5, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

A quote from a letter by Prabhupada wth some revelation of his own realization on competition and following the authority:

“Regarding your questions you say that amongst the elder disciples there are still symptoms of greed, anger, strife, bickering, etc., but you are one of them. You are one of the old students, so you fall in that group. So the fighting is among that group, but not amongst the real workers. There was fighting amongst the gopis also, so we cannot expect there will be some utopia without fighting, there is even in the spiritual sky transcendental greed, lust, envy, like that. But that is transcendental. Hamsaduta is maintaining his position of service, so why, even if a little fighting, you should go away? We should never give up our duty. My godbrothers always discouraged me but I did not give up, I am doing my duty and always keeping my spiritual master in front. Even there is some difficulty or hardship, or even my godbrothers may not cooperate or there may be fighting, still, I must perform my duty to my spiritual master and not become discouraged and go away…

» Posted By ccd On Jun 4, 2009 @ 6:44 am

Really an interesting topic — I am sure there will be sufficient feedback. While of course it has been discussed at length in the GBC – Parallel Authority sub-committee, for the regular folks there may remain a dilemma due to lack of information and basic sastric pramanas.

However if we look on how Prabhupada historically set up GBC and the guru system, it was rather simple, GBC was both diksa-gurus and managers, not that some were selected diksa-gurus and others were their managers. Accountability is certainly a very important for both types. but segregating the two typologies is really not very helpful, since there would be a variety of situation where inevitably at least some of diksa-gurus are doubling as management/GBC.

I guess taking very seriously the third verse of the Siksastakam may be helpful for all in all positions, certainly in ISKCON, but since it is essentially a “family business” with our common worshipable guru – Srila Prabhupada — it will always remain the common denominator and the sole basis of unity.

» Posted By ccd On Jun 1, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

Can I worship only Nitai?

ke kaha nitā-ira guṇa jība dekhi sa-karuṇa
hari-nāme jagata tārila
madana-madete andha biṣaye harala bandha
hena nitā-i bhajite nā pā-ila

“Who can describe the glories of Lord NitAi? When He sees the conditioned souls, He becomes filled with compassion. Giving them the holy names of Lord Hari, He has delivered all the worlds. Only persons bound by the ropes of material sense pleasures and blinded by lusty desires have no power to worship Lord NitAi.”

However we (sadhakas) do not worship Nitai separately from Gaura in his deity form. Baladeva hoilo nitai. Nitay is no other then BalarAma himself. Vaisnavas worship Krsna and BalarAma, not just BalarAma;

Garga samhita supports the fact that atheists sometimes worship BalarAma alone:

duryodhana uvāca

rāmasya paddhatiṁ brūhi
yayā siddhiṁ vrajāmy aham

“Duryodhana said: Please describe the paddhati of Lord BalarAma, reciting which I may attain perfection.”

Normally Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not worship Balarama alone. Thus it seems, unless you are specifically instructed by your guru, I would not worship Balarama or Nityananda alone, you can offer prayers to them, but worship them together with Krsna.

Another example of the order of worship from Caitanya Bhagavata:

“One day at the house of Srivasa Pandita, Murari Gupta saw Gaura and NityAnanda seated together. Murari first offered obeisances to Gaura and then to NityAnanda. The Lord, however, was displeased and said to Murari, “You have transgressed etiquette while offering obeisances.” That very night in a dream the Lord taught Murari the glories of NityAnanda. The next morning Murari first offered obeisances to NityAnanda and then to Gaura. Seeing this, the Lord was pleased and He gave Murari the remnants of His chewed betel. ”

Murari Gupta is one of the earliest to worship Gaura Nitay and his GN deities are located in Vrindavana. Prabhupada established this form of worship all over the world, why would you deviate from worshiping Them together? dui bhai eka-tanu-samana-prakasa

» Posted By ccd On Mar 14, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

Was Shrila Prabhupada a Prophet? Read His Letter to Gandhi and See for Yourself!

Obviously at the time most notable thing about Churchill was that he has lost his 1945 election held just months after VE Day. It is clearly a case of nothing glorious as far as death is concerned. So I would not limit it to a list of people who were already dead in 1947; certainly the list of very prominent politicians that were ether dead or disgraced. Churchill was both shocked and personally devastated by his defeat. A recurrence of what Churchill called his ‘black dog’ of depression descended on him with a vengeance, a case of Ashvatthama’s death is a parallel. It was ‘public death’ and humiliation – Chuchil himself said in 1945, ‘I declare that the vote of the nation at the General Election was one of the greatest disasters that has smitten us in our long and chequered history’. Shameful end (from 1947 point of view, for sure) for a politician who just won a war, so better be warned Mr. Gandhiji.

» Posted By ccd On Mar 7, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

Who Is A Sadhu? From: Shri Chanakya Niti Shastra

titiksavah karunikah
suhrdah sarva-dehinam
ajata-satravah santah
sadhavah sadhu-bhusanah

Just to list a few characteristics of a sadhu yet again: tolerant, merciful, friendly to others. without enemies, peaceful and he abides by the scriptures — these are characteristics of a sadhu. Yet as you point out — the fact that he does not flinch of fail under a test is certainly an important symptom.

From Visvanatha’s commentary for Bhagavad-gita 2.41:

With the verse beginning vyavasaya, Krsna describes that intelligence absorbed in devotional service is far superior to any other kind of intelligence. The word iha means bhakti-yoge (“in relation to devotional service”). Intelligence fixed in devotional service is one-pointed and that means the processes of devotional service prescribed by my spritual master such as glorying the Lord, remembering the Lord, and serving the lotus feet of the Lord, these alone are my sadhana and my sadhya (“perfection goal”), these alone are my life. I am unable to give them up either at the stage of practice or perfection. They alone are my desired object. They alone are my occupation. I have no other occupation than these. Nor is anything else desirable for me, even in dreams. It doesn’t matter to me whether there is happiness or distress in this endeavor, nor whether the cycle of repeated birth and death is destroyed or not. This kind of fixed intelligence is found only in akaitava-bhakti (“devotional service devoid of the cheating propensity”).

This is a bit of elaboration on the subject that could be helpful and can produce some further incites. Prabhupada himself molded his life on this principle of vayavasatmika budhih verse and the Srila Visvanatha Carkavarti’s comments on it, so we may as well know about it, even if our dedication is not as strong, for us certainly perfection is in following Prabhupada and perfection of a spiritual master or a leader in ISKCON is in the same principle. This is the basic, guru-nistha, mood in which we can chant and is ultimately only possible if we are humble, or humiliated, which helps as well and should be taken as a blessing.

» Posted By ccd On Mar 1, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

Yadunandana prabhu to take sannyasa at Radhadesh

I have to say that over the last few years ‘sannyasa’ is not as important or desirable as it used to be in 1970s or 1980s. And Kulapavana seems to be quoting from the pool of quotes where Prabhupada was very clear that he did not want to continue on with ‘showbottle’ sannyasis. However I have to make it very clear. It is not the case with Yadunandana Prabhu. He is anything but ‘showbottle’.

» Posted By ccd On Mar 5, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

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