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Appreciations and Memories of Mother Isa devi dasi

Isha Devi Dasi was undoubtedly one of the purest, loving, motherly and Krishna conscious souls I have ever met. On the surface, she could be seen as an eccentric old woman — even one who suffered from heavy dementia in her last years. But ever since I first met her back around 1982 at her home in Hyannis, Ma., and up until her last days at the nursing home past her 90th birthday, she was always only thinking and talking of Krishna and taking great pleasure in engaging others in it.

When my brother Kesi Allard and I were teenagers in Boston in the early ’80s, she was always so excited to see us engage to devotional service from such a young age. Many times I worked with her, along with many other devotees in the kitchen in the Boston Temple — both for Sunday feasts and big festival days over the years. She would drive up from her home regularly to do service and she was always enthusiastic and happy to be with the devotees.

Sometimes she would take me aside and give me a tip, not so much about practical service but how to remember Krishna always no matter what I was doing. “Don’t forget Krishna while you are doing your service,” she would say, her eyes widening. “Remember, He’s the reason we are all here at the temple — to please Him.”

She cared about all the devotees — younger and more senior — and tried to help them to serve Krishna any way she could.

Once, Kesihanta and I were trying to pull two 5-gallon buckets apart that were seemingly glued together. After trying several times, we finally put the buckets down and gave up.

At that moment Mother Isha looked at us very seriously and said “Try again, and just chant Hare Krishna sincerely — it works every time.”

Kesihanta and I kind of burst out both with a little chuckle, but she pointed her finger and said very lovingly.

“I’m serious — if you do it with sincerity it will work — you’ll see.”

At that point we tried again and the buckets immediately came apart.

“See, I told you,” she said. “It works every time!”

(See the Mother Isa Appreciation FB Page for the rest of my post.)

» Posted By gargamuni On Apr 9, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

My Visit to Mother Isa

Beautiful story by one of my favorite devotees of all time about one of my favorite devotees of all time.

» Posted By gargamuni On Sep 6, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

Padmanabha Prabhu’s New England Remembrances

Well said, Puskaraksa Prabhu, and you’re welcome. Krishna knows the love a devotee has for Him in his or her heart. Padmanabha was filled with bhakti.

He was a great inspiration for me and my friends when we first started visited the temple. I live in the Alachua, Florida area and there are many devotees here from New England who fondly remember him. Many of them are senior to me and I wanted to interview them and others who knew him, who are now scattered around the world, in order to get a glimpse of when Padmanabha first started coming around to associate with the devotees. It was moving too slowly, so I just put out my personal remembrances in order to have it posted in a timely fashion.

Although my description doesn’t do him justice, I thought it might give some small glimpse of his glorious activities

» Posted By gargamuni On Mar 14, 2010 @ 1:06 am

Remembering Sadaputa Prabhu

In 1982 my brother Kesisudana and I were new devotees, still living at home. Two of our friends had been deprogrammed and some of the ammunition the deprogrammers had used was to mock the idea that man never went to the moon. Agrani Swami drove us to New Vrndavana from our home in Connecticut yhat summer. On the way, we stopped at the Binghamton, NY center, where Sadaputa Prabhu lived at the time.

We were delighted to hear Agrani Swami ask questions about the moon landing to Sadaputa Prabhu for our benefit. With great care, Sadaputa explained each detail in a very understandable and interesting manner. He was a true gentleman who kindly took the time out to dissipate possible doubts in young devotees.

Over the years in Alachua, I was fortunate enough to have a few discussions with him. Although, I was obviously ignorant about whatever I asked him and he was a great scholar, he never acted as if I was beneath him in any way. His air was always that of genuine humility. You could see the excitement in his eyes whenever he shared knowledge with others.

Sadaputa was often socially shy and awkward. But when it came time for him to speak, whether in front of a large audience or one on one, he spoke with great confidence and authority. Whenever he took up the microphone, I always had the overwhelming impression that no one could possibly defeat him in a debate.

I was always proud that Sadaputa Prabhu was a part of the same movement that I was. Like so many other devotees, I will miss him very much. We have to accept that Krishna sees the overall picture much better than we do, and wanted him to go somewhere else for the benefit of the conditioned souls.

» Posted By gargamuni On Sep 22, 2008 @ 1:36 am

A few incidents during the Prabhupada marathon

Those are some inspiring stories Prabhu. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your wonderful service.

Speaking of Higher Taste, I remember one special incident in the early eighties when I was out distributing books with a devotee named Jiva Goswami. Jiva approached a man in a McDonalds’ parking lot in southeastern Massachusetts. He handed him a Higher Taste through the car window and started talking about the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Immediately the man threw his hamburger into the woods and said “I just took my first bite of meat after years of being a vegetarian and then you show up with this book. This has got to be some kind of sign.”

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 29, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

Bhaktivedanta Manor community betrayed by RSPCA – Update 2

I like the suggestion by Suresh Prabhu (comment #3). PETA can be over the top but they are often effective.

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 18, 2007 @ 3:19 am

Does Sex Attraction Bring People to Krishna?


Your description of what is happening on stage appears too vague to comment on. Is it that the girls are being overtly sexual, or is it that they happen to be in girl’s bodies that men would be naturally attracted?
Is it someone’s strategy to use sex to sell Krishna consciousness or is it just classical Indian dance merged with western influences that you are asking about?

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 10, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

Update 2 on Shyamasundara Dasa and Mother Sundari Radhika Devi Dasi

Good news that you are both gradually healing. The pain and austerity you went through seems unimaginable to me. The description is quite detailed. I pray that you both continue toward full recovery.

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 7, 2007 @ 2:59 am

Death Penalty: A Potential PR Nightmare?

I don’t believe anyone is questioning the validity of proper use of the death penalty here. That’s not the point. Prabhupada said that people today cannot touch the Manu Samhita, known as the law-book of mankind. Why is that? Is it only because of the inability to follow the laws, or could it also have something to do with the inability of the state to properly administer them? There are many heavy punishments prescribed in that book. In a purport (Bg. 2.22)Prabhupada lists the six kind of offenses in which one should be killed immediately, and he says specifically there is no sin accrued to those who carry out the killing. Does that mean as practicing Vaishnavas today we should kill a person who steals from us or has an affair with our wife? I know a devotee who actually killed another devotee who was having an affair with his wife. I asked him if Prabhupada found out about it. “Yes,” he said. “How did he respond?” I asked “He said that I committed a great blunder,” the devotee said. Well, if you go by what is said in that purport (which was written without qualification for time, place and circumstance) you may conclude that the devotee was following his spiritual master. But the fact is, he wasn’t. Prabhupada said he committed a great blunder. So my point here is just because Prabhupada says something in his books, i.e. pro capital punishment, doesn’t mean we as his followers should interpret it as a hard and fast instruction for all time, place and circumstance. We have to understand the context of its application. As I said before, this issue and how to apply it is not as black and white as it seems.

In fact, in that very same purport Prabhupada says, “Similarly, violence also has its utility, and how to apply violence rests with the person in knowledge.”

Does this sound like an endorsement for all time, place and circumstance for capital punishment? Obviously, Prabhupada says here that a person in knowledge (in other words an educated, incorruptible person), can reason when to apply capital punishment. So the question arises, to who does this apply? Does this include present day judges? What would Prabhupada say if he knew of their corruptibility and all the false convictions that have been handed down? Are these people really in knowledge and responsible enough to deal with the application of violence? Perhaps one day, maybe in a country like Kazakhstan, where some say devotees are currently being persecuted, devotees could be put to death for crimes they did not commit. Would you say yes for capital punishment then because Prabhupada didn’t mention that situation? Where do you draw the line? You have to make a judgement sometime Prabhus.

That brings up another point, in reference to Guru Krishna’s question, “Has any authorized representative of the Supreme Lord authorized anyone on this planet to eradicate the death penalty?” I would say, are not the opinions of the Vaishnavas valid here also? Aren’t the Vaisnavas authorized representatives of the Lord? I’m not saying that any contemporary Vaisnava is on Srila Prabhupada’s level by any means, but doesn’t their opinion matter on how to apply principles of Krishna consciousness in the times in which they live? Or are we a bunch of mindless babies who repeat what our father or grand father says out of context, or without thoroughly considering the situation at hand? Is every issue so cut and dry that you can pull out a Prabhupada quote and claim to know what he would say today about a specific situation? Personally, I think not.

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 12, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

The opposite may be true in terms of the technology; but how they use the technology may be a different story. It’s not obvious to me that Prabhupada said the death penalty should be applied to the government as it was when Prabhupada made his statements. It may have been said contingent on an assumption of guilt on the part of the convicted. As far as I know, Prabhupada was making the point that the death penalty is beneficial for the criminal because it absolves his sins.
If it was pointed out to Srila Prabhupada that people are often wrongly convicted he may have qualified his statements.
To me, this is not a question of “following the acarya” or not here. It is a question of understanding what he said in the proper context, and trying to see how to apply what he said then to the present day.
Aside from that, just because the forensic science has increased doesn’t mean that people are still not wrongly convicted and sentenced. One may argue that juries are perhaps more sentimental and biased these days than ever before. To me this is not one of those cut and dry issues that we can package up neatly by saying, “I’m following the Acarya on this one and you’re not.”

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 10, 2007 @ 8:08 pm

Over the course of time, after the guru’s vaphu leaves, external situations tend to change. Bearing this in mind, when this occurs, disciples are left to examine their guru’s words and see how they apply to a current situation that wasn’t existent when the guru’s vapuh was with them.

Even when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet, his ideas about how to apply Vedic principles changed as he became more aware of the logistics. One case in point is polygamy. It is my understanding that he ultimately spoke against the idea of its application in ISKCON. It does not appear that this was always so. What changed his stance? Whatever it was specifically (and others know the history better than me), the point is Prabhupada adjusted his application of Vedic principles according to time, place and circumstance.

Times continue to change. Should we be blind to them and take a quote that Prabhupada made in the 60’s or 70’s and try to implement it without considering those factors? We have already seen that Prabhupada changed his opinion about application when he was here with us for those last 12 years. Is it possible that he would have continued to do that throughout the years if he was still with us today? I say it’s not only possible, it’s even more than highly likely.

Prabhupada made statements that it was okay to take milk in the contaminated state as it was then. Now that we can get organic milk that is free of antibiotics and fish oil, should we whip out a Prabhupada quote and declare it is okay drink the inferior milk?

Prabhupada’s books give us the ideal. In terms of application, we have to be sincere and expert enough to apply the eternal principles he gave us according to the now. Hopefully, we are grown up enough now to understand this and do it prudently according to the preaching spirit and utility that Prabhupada hoped for us. Otherwise, we look like fanatics to outsiders, blindly accepted a faith and not knowing how to apply it. Not only do we look like fanatics; we become them. Intelligent people are much more inclined to take a book from someone who appears reasonable.

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 10, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

Between incompetent defense attorneys, corrupt prosecutors and judges, and cases being overturned by DNA evidence; how can we trust our current judicial system with matters of life and death? Remember, this is part of the same system that allows organized mass animal slaughter and other heinous acts. How do we know who is bought and paid for? Imagine if one of our sons or daughters were wrongly accused of a capital offense. When preaching we have to carefully consider how others view us in terms of applying scriptural injunctions according to time, place and circumstance. Otherwise, we look like mindless blind followers of a sectarian doctrine.

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 9, 2007 @ 9:01 am

What The College Students Really Thought About New Vrindaban

Thanks for your conscientious report. It’s good to know that someone is actually paying attention to such important details as who our preaching audience really is and how we are perceived. Otherwise, we may appear inconsequential to someone we may have been able to reach on some level.

» Posted By gargamuni On Dec 9, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

Radhanatha das update

Inspiring words about a very determined vaishnava who didn’t take the easy way out. I can’t imagine being so dedicated in such a challenging condition. I pray that he leaves in full consciousness of Krishna, although I get the feeling that he is so fixed that he doesn’t need my feeble words.

» Posted By gargamuni On Oct 24, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

Update on Shyamasundara and Sundari Radhika prabhus

Their Krishna consciousness throughout this ordeal is impressive. I wish them both a speedy recovery by Sri Krishna’s grace.

» Posted By gargamuni On Oct 9, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

About Sriman Bhakta George Harrison

When George Harrison wrote ” Something” he commented that he wrote it for Ray Charles to record, not that its about Ray Charles. Can you possibly interpret those lyrics in any way to be about Ray Charles? Syamasundara said that George personally told him it was about Krishna. I take his word for it. The lyrics certainly seem to fit when you change the pronoun. The question I have is how far will some people go to to show that devotees are blindly idealistic in order to push their own perceptions and prejudices?

» Posted By gargamuni On Sep 25, 2006 @ 5:15 am

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