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Comments Posted By gaurakeshavadas

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ISKCON European Leaders: Traditional Vaisnava diet: Milk in ISKCON

I applaud those who are trying to create Ahimsa milk. Of course we primarily should be concerned first and foremost with becoming Krishna conscious not simply cow conscious or milk/food conscious. Therefore we must always remember that the essence of all rules and regulations is to remember Lord Krishna and never forget Him, doing everything that is favorable in a particular circumstance for Krishna consciousness and rejecting things unfavorable for it. In the 13th century the great Sri Vaishnava Acharya Vedanta Desika in his book Ahara Niyama gave the sastric rules regarding rules for Vaishnavas concerning foods. Here are some examples: Food items like sugarcane juice (கரும்புச்சாறு), curd (தயிர்), milk (பால்), ghee (நெய்), betel nut (பாக்கு)( Widows, Brahmacharis and Sannyasis should not use betel leaves), pepper, honey (தேன்), cardamom (ஏலக்காய்), jaggery,flours,wheat flour,Tender Coconut Water ,Juice of flowers/ raw vegetables/ fruits are beyond dhoshams/faults and can be consumed anytime.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Oct 20, 2013 @ 3:36 am

Sanskrit’s Nature and History

Re: Unicode

Chances are you already have it. All computer operating systems for the past few decades include it. In order to use it please contact me privately with the details of your operating system.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Jul 9, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

Please acquaint yourself with Decades Old International standard for diacritics on Computers called Unicode and use it. Your presentation suffers because you have used a non-standard legacy diacritic font. Vedas (Sruti) are considered by all followers of Vedanta (Vedantins) to be Apauruseya (unauthored). Therefore the language they are written in (not necessarily the script but the language itself) must also be similarly considered as Apauruseya. That is logical and consistent. As they are passed down aurally to us without change since time immemorial we can have faith in these ideas. The same however cannot be said of spurious so-called Vedic texts or Non-Vedic texts. Though much of classical Sanskrit is fixed by Paninis grammar still there are exceptions and Classical Sanskrit even today may be undergoing changes and additions in some ways. I do not see the point in positing that Classical Sanskrit is eternal? As texts have been authored over the past history and even into the future in Classical Sanskrit naturally there may be changes. So again I do not see the point of being fanatically invested in the view that Classical Sanskrit is eternally the same. We are much more interested in the content of Sastras either Vedic or Classical than which language they are written in. Does not English also gain some respectability by being a language in which Prabhupada has translated into? In the same way the Ramanuja Sri Vaisnavas exalt the Tamil language of the Alwars in their Holy texts the 4000 Nalayira Divya Prabhandas. These have a divine origin in the form we have them nowadays as they were received in Yogic trance by Nathamuni from Nam Alwar himself. Still they are in archaic Tamil. Yet they are given equal or more importance by Sri Vaisnavas to the Sanskrit Vedas. In fact the chanters of the Tamil Prabandam walk in the front of the Lord’s processions in Sri Rangam and other holy places of the Sri Vaisnavas whereas the chanters of the Vedas are relegated to walking behind the Lord’s palanquin. Lots of good information in your article and certainly devotees in general can benefit from more information about Sanskrit. However as most of them are not going to directly access the Sastras through that language whether it is eternally the same or not gramatically makes little difference. Most Vedantins are content to emphasize the Apauruseya nature of the Vedas (Sruti) and do not feel the need to try to prove that Classical Sanskrit is also an eternal variety.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Jul 3, 2013 @ 9:48 pm

Primary and Secondary Rules

Great article. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has mentioned these issues in his Caitanya Siksamrta. The picture above the article is of a Dvija/Brahmin looking at the sun through the special mudra/hand combination used during midday gayatri or madhyanika sandhya vandanam. After chanting gayatri at noon one is meant to sight Lord Narayana within the sun globe while chanting a Vedic prayer for that purpose.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Jun 10, 2013 @ 9:14 am

Antyesti Samskara — The last rites (Vedic funeral rites)

Thanks for posting this useful information. However it is misleading to say that it is presented from Sat Kriya Sar Dipika attributed to Gopal Bhatta Goswami. The document itself clearly explains that it is not. Actually the Gaudiya Maths have printed books on Vaisnava sraddha (which is mentioned in Hari Bhakti Vilasa) and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati re-instituted the performance of sraddha rites by his devotees according to those procedures.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Jun 7, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

What to do during an eclipse

There is no doubt that the best thing to do during an eclipse is chanting the holy name and bathing in a holy body of water. This can easily be seen from Prabhupada’s books. Deities of the Lord never become contaminated however pujaris, cooks, water, flowers, cooked food (bhoga), etc. are subtly contaminated. It is an offense to offer worship in a contaminated condition. Therefore as in other Vaisnava temples I would suggest that food not be cooked, offered, and pujaris cannot offer any item during such a contaminated time. After the contaminated period is over, then one must take bath and then cook and/or offer any item to the deity. However is makes no sense to do so in a contaminated state. This is why temples all over India are closed and deity worship stopped during such times. Such rules of deity worship are different from the rules for chanting the holy name which can be done at any time, place or circumstance. If the opposite is true, if we can offer anything in a contaminated state in deity worship then why does the sastra forbid it in so many other cases? It is not that we must search for a rule that specifically states that we must stop worship when contaminated. Do I really have to have a rule for taking a bath first before doing deity worship? Since you’re body and even mind may be subtly contaminated during an eclipse how can one not purify oneself as fully as possible before performing deity worship? During the eclipse at every moment one is being again contaminated by the influence of the eclipse how then can one perform any ritual act that requires purity? Chanting on the other hand requires no state of ritual purity thus hearing and chanting the holy name or the qualities and pastimes of the Lord during eclipse is completely acceptable.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On May 23, 2012 @ 12:34 am

OPEN LETTER TO Bhakti Vikasa Swami

While I do appreciate the encouragement and suggestions by HH BVK and HH Jayadvaita Swamis (echoing similar instructions by Srila Prabhupada) that prasadam distribution WITH harinam and WITH philosophical explanation is the best policy, still it cannot be shown that prasadam distribution WITHOUT harinam and WITHOUT philosophical explanation is simply mundane. Neither can it be shown practically that ISKCON has never, even during the time and under the directions of Srila Prabhupada engaged in prasadam distribution WITHOUT harinam and WITHOUT philosophical explanation. The fact is that the sastras are full of stories of the glories of Krsna prasadam even WITHOUT harinam and WITHOUT philosophical explanation. For example we are supposed to follow Narada Pancaratra. In Narada Pancaratra a poor hungry brahmin finds some old stale mahaprasadam by the side of the road takes it home and after washing it, honors it by eating it along with his wife and son. This is WITHOUT any harinam and WITHOUT any philosophical explanation. Later that same poor brahmin travels away from home again in order to be fed at the sacrifices of wealthy persons. On his way to the place where he was to be fed by the wealthy patrons of that sacrifice he is attacked and eaten by a tiger in the jungle. The story ends by mentioning that his wife and son went back to Godhead due only to eating that old stale mahaprasadam. It then says that the brahmin himself went back to Godhead due only to his eating of that old stale mahaprasadam. Finally the chapter ends stating that EVEN THE TIGER went back to Godhead due to eating the brahmin who had eaten the old stale mahaprasadam. Indeed so great are the glories of the Lord’s prasadam that even that tiger went back to Godhead even by such indirect contact with mahaprasadam. Let us of course try for the highest standard, and let us not despise anyone who encourages us to strive for that highest standard. Yet at the same time let us also unequivocally understand the glories of mahaprasadam even WITHOUT harinam or philosophical explanation. Let us not, due to over zealousness, give up the distribution en masse of mahaprasadam simply because we cannot always accompany it with harinam or philosophical explanation. Let us not let the good and great, be the enemy of the perfect. Lord Rama accepted even the meagre efforts of the spiders and squirrels in building his bridge to Lanka and did not disregard them because they were imperfect in their service.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Oct 16, 2011 @ 9:10 am

This is simply a difference between moderate views and application of Krsna consciousness and extreme views and application of Krsna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada at different times, places and circumstances applied the principles of Krsna consciousness pragmatically. Thus sometimes he was seen to be moderate in his views and application of the principles of Krsna consciousness and at other times strict in his views and application of the principles of Krsna consciousness. Ultimately the basis of all rules and regulations is to always remember Lord Krsna and never forget him. We should accept whatever is favorable for Krsna consciousness and reject whatever is unfavorable. So there can be genuine disagreements on what is favorable for Krsna consciousness and what is unfavorable for Krsna consciousness at different times, places and circumstances. In this instance some suggest that it is favorable to Krsna consciousness to distribute Krsna prasadam even if one is not able to accompany it with any preaching of Krsna conscious philosophy or chanting of the Hare Krsna mahamantra. Others would suggest that only when Krsna prasadam is distributed accompanied by the preaching of Krsna conscious philosophy and the chanting of the Hare Krsna mahamantra is it actually beneficial. If given the choice they would put their efforts elsewhere if unable to accompany the distribution of Krsna prasadam with preaching of Krsna conscious philosophy and chanting of the Hare Krsna mahamantra. HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami, like all other Vaisnavas is a preacher and he is calling for a higher or better standard. There is nothing wrong with that and he should show us all by his own personal example how he is able to better perform the distribution of Krsna prasadam along with preaching of Krsna conscious philosophy and chanting of the Hare Krsna mahamantra. Then he will inspire others to try to do things in a better way. Of course we should always be looking to do things in a better way. However in some circumstances we may be doing things to the limit of what can be achieved at that time, place and circumstance. Should we give up Krsna prasadam distribution just because in certain circumstances we can’t preach Krsna conscious philosophy and/or chant the Hare Krsna mahamantra along with it? I do not think so. Let us endeavor to do things better but at the same time let us not “throw the baby out with the bath water” in the name of so-called “purity”.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Oct 14, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

“I do not want to be a woman in varnashrama”

I’m sorry but I did not find anything enlightening in this article. Nothing that I thought would more the ball forward even an inch. The conclusion is to just wait and see if Varnasrama manifests itself. Many people are caught up in the externals of Varnasrama and not understanding basic principles or how things may have to be adjusted in a modern global (not just western) context. I agree with Urmila devi’s analysis that at it’s basis Varnasrama is about engaging people according to their tendencies not repression. I would add the comment to hers that ashram is actually determined by varna and may not change throughout one’s life. One of the biggest problems in implementing Varnashram is that we already have an improper Ashram system. An actual Ashram system cannot be independent of a Varna system. The basic misunderstanding is that there are four varnas and four ashrams and you can mix them any which ways. That is not correct. For example for sudras there is ONLY one ashram permissible, Grhastha. For Sannyasa that is ONLY one Varna that permits it, Brahmin. It is more difficult in ISKCON to introduce Varnashram principles because we already have wrong notions of the ashram part of it. It is more difficult because we have to UNLEARN the wrong notions we now practice. The first step is to realize that not all bachelors (or bachelorettes) are brahmacharies (or dare I say brahmacharinis). Not all devotees will or should move beyond the Grhastha ashram. If we really want to introduce some Varnashrama principles then we have to be prepared to put many of our previously unquestioned beliefs on the table for discussion. Acceptance and Legitimization of four (legitimate) goals of human life (not just one Krishna Prema) is essential to the institution of Varnashrama principles. I personally do not think there are many ISKCON devotees mature enough yet to accept some of those changes. Thus unless and until there is such guidance coming from the top it will not gain much traction in the coming years.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Jul 10, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

Perfection Of Life Is In Laziness

Nice article on a practical method of understanding the differences between the Varnas. However it could have been better if someone had taken the simple step of converting the OLD LEGACY DIACRITIC fonts (Balarama, Tamal or whatever) to Unicode standard so that we can actually see the diacritics in the Sanskrit words. If you are still stuck in the last century technology and don’t know how to do this the least you could do is strip out the weird characters so that they do not distract from the message.

» Posted By gaurakeshavadas On Jun 14, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

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