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Aitihya – Updated with Part 2

Mukunda Datta das is of course a vaishnava. In a scholarly way he is presenting the importance of “dharma” to the social fabric of Vedic society. It seems, I believe, that he has taken the point of view, at least in this writing, that historical tradition is some kind of authority for future tradition or societal obligations. He touches upon the idea that the modern (even perverse) caste system is not objected to by people because either it serves a purpose of social cohesion, or because you could not do away with it if you tried! In any case, the arguments seem to flow from the point of view that tradition or history is sufficient cause for continuation of things as they are. Now……………….

We accept that Vedic wisdom is valuable because it comes from the perfect all knowing Source. Dharma tu sakshat bhagavat pranitam, from the breath of God. The authority of the parampara is indeed only valuable because of that. Now, I want to present this to you. Krishna has presented many things to us in His Bhagavad Gita. Many of these teachings involve developing attachments to higher and higher modes of nature to improve one’s potential for ultimate spiritual life, submission to Him. Yet, He lets us know that it is very, very rare indeed for one to recognize or realize that Vasudeva is everything. So, it is Krishna’s mercy that He gives avenues of elevation for the soul through acceptable morality and cultural practices. It is not only for the most fortunate seeker, but for every soul embodied in a human form. Krishna is bringing the souls along life after life after life. Sri Krishna is so patient and merciful. On the other hand, if we conceive of “dharma” as merely historically acceptable and consistent ways of human society, then we miss the vital connection with God, Krishna, and cannot water the root of this vital serving tree. Ishayasya.

I expect that there is much interesting discussion that can come regarding this topic. We want to be so bold as to declare that spiritual culture, even when wearing the mask of culture, has its roots in reawakening the God consciousness of the souls in human society.
If human culture is ranked as the highest function of human life, that is termed as “humanism”. Humanism is atheism. Service to man without recognition of God is “srama eva hi kevalam”, useless work. As much as God may not be visible to us, yet is the essence the value of life itself, He must be sought after. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Oct 27, 2013 @ 6:51 am

The Great Need to Understand Mental Illness in ISKCON

Krishna Himself describes that 4 classes of individuals approach Him to take shelter of His Lotus Feet: Those desirous of wealth, those who are afflicted, those who are curious, and those who are seeking higher Truth. Those who are afflicted are many! If they come to Krishna, then they are considered pious souls as well. Our true identity is not this body, and not the transient mind either. Misidentification with matter is the con-fusion that binds us to this world, and it is cemented with desire for sense gratification, lording over matter.

Many of the 60’s types who came to KC were survivors of acid trips, drug abuse, and mental illness. Srila Prabhupad gave hope, meaning, and devotional service to these. He called it converting “hippies into happies”. While this may sound like a joke, it was no joke! His Divine Grace brought out the very best in individuals. Some of the finest leaders in KC’s early days may be counted amongst these.

Now, the topic of this article is somewhat different. And, the author is compassionately relating the extreme condition when suicide may follow prolonged mental illness. Her efforts are very much to be appreciated. But, truly, we are carried along on the waves of Krishna’s energy. While we may mechanistically try to solve the barriers of the mind, the seeds of such karma may have their origins in the distant past. Karma is the law of nature, and it is Krishna’s. I genuinely applaud the intentions of Karuna Dharini dd. The dilemma of Subuddhi could surely have been handled differently. Hindsight (looking back) is 20:20. So, one can try to learn from this and go forward, recognizing the needs of others, and avoid the selfishness that creates a bubble of illusion around each of us. Let us therefore become more aware of the needs of devotees, being the servant of the servant, and try to bring affectionate care in our dealings with devotees.

Sincerely, Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Oct 25, 2013 @ 1:20 am

Who Is This Ramo?

The outsider-nondevotee was criticizing Srila Prabhupada’s disciples for “mispronouncing” the Mahamantra. In my opinion, Srila Prabhupad could not tolerate such criticism, and so protected the honor of his disciples in the face of a rascal. Even when imperfectly performed, devotional service is non-material activity for the satisfaction of the Lord. Nonetheless, Srila Prabhupada is our instructor-Acharya and is intimately teaching his disciples the proper way to proceed. His Divine Grace would not tolerate minimizing the devotional efforts of his disciples! Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Oct 26, 2013 @ 6:58 am

Dear Nama Prabhu,
Dandavats, and all glories to Srila Prabhupada! (“a” included for sake of harmony). I can only relate my experience as it was. At least twice I had the same criticism/correction by Srila Prabhupada personally when I excluded the “a” at the end of Rama. His Divine Grace would say, “Chant the whole mantra”. What more can I say? Hare Krishna
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Oct 17, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

Godhead is light, nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead (light) there is no darkness or ignorance. When we are “fortunate” that the Holy Name will incarnate or appear to us, on our tongues and in our ears, we are associating with Krishna personally. The tendency to be the center ourselves, to be the enjoyer, might lead us to try to feel the bliss our selves. We are surrounded by people who are doing yoga or practicing some form of self-realization techniques for their own bliss or peace. However, that is not the mood for chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Our Sampradaya is teaching that the Holy Name is a spiritual prayer for divine loving service. Our richest fulfillment is reawakening our identity as eternal servant of the servant…of the Lord the the Braja gopis. Krishna is inviting us to love Him, and to be loved by Him. That is rasa, and it is the confidential destiny of the pure devotees.
Living with faith that Krishna will protect us, that Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer and Proprietor of everything, may help us to awaken the proper mood in approaching Sri Krishna. Truly, Lord Chaitanya Himself expressed that His gurudeva considered Him a fool and that He must chant the Holy Mahamantra. So, on His gurudeva’s order (and not for our own pleasure), we must take the Holy Names. Mahaprabhu in His Sishastakam gives the formula (trinadapi sunicena…). Time is limited, and if yearning will fortunately appear within our hearts to associate with Sri Krishna, He will hear our prayers. (sevon mukhe hi jivadau, svayam eva sphurati adah). Bhakti yoga invites us to express the soul’s heart. What more could one ever want from spiritual practice in this life?
Good discussion and it can bring out many worthwhile sentiments. Hare Krishna.
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Oct 16, 2013 @ 5:09 am

Someday, the direct disciples of Srila Prabhupad will all have passed on, and so some of the direct advice which is not in his books will be lost…so, I want to share this with you. As Srila Prabhupad’s secretary and more than once in any case, I sat before Srila Prabhupad chanting my japa. Sometimes we hear people, and myself, saying “Hare Ram, Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare”. Srila Prabhupad would stop me and (more than once) say to me:
“Chant the entire mantra” and he would proceed to do so. It is Ra-ma.
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Oct 12, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

How Could Sri Rama Do That To His Pregnant Wife?

When we consider the internal “logic” of Sri Krishna’s pastimes, two considerations are readily available. First, Krishna comes to His Mahatattva to save the pious and to vanquish the miscreants. Well, Sitadevi is, of course, no miscreant! The other consideration is that Krishna is the destroyer of the Mahatattva (not merely its Creator)…kalosmi lokashaya krt. By His nature of destroying the material manifestation, He is teaching us that this material manifestation is both temporary and is not our Home. Lord Chaitanya’s wife died from a snakebite. Lord Chaitanya’s reaction is noteworthy, both for His absence of material lamentation and His philosophical approach to the issue of death and loss.
Lord Ramachandra’s lila must have similar deep rationale. We may never be able to understand the extraordinary infinite intellect of the Supreme Lord, but if we want to try to grasp something of the nature of His personality in this regard, we can perhaps see the consistency with which He acts. He is an ocean of mercy! In the spiritual world, where death does not exist, and loving ecstasy abounds, there is no mundane lamentation. Even loss (absence) is stimulus for deeper love and ecstasy. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, especially when considering that Krishna is the Reservoir of Pleasure, and the love of everyone’s life. Otherwise, we can simply hear of the pastimes of the Lord with His devotees and plenary expansions, and allow the knot within our hearts to be cut!
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Sep 29, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

Surrender Of The Fewest

Krishna consciousness is reviving the natural conscious connection with Krishna. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is a Person, unlike any other. When Krishna begins to instruct Arjuna, He first focuses on the nature of the beginningless individual soul. What distinguishes spirituality is the emphasis on the identity as spirit soul. We are not human any more than one is a dog or a tree. The genuine identity is that one is a jiva-atma, or spirit soul. The challenge for one is to live within progressive Krishna consciousness rather than illusory covered consciousness. Srila Prabhupad again and again would warn us, “don’t lord over matter!” That is the disease.
So the two mentalities or planes exist as potential: the plane of exploitation and the plane of dedication. Exploitation places “me” as the center, the enjoyer. Dedication places “Krishna” as the Center, as the Enjoyer. It is, no doubt, apparently a sacrifice on the surface to avoid exploitation, but when one goes deeper, based on the knowledge given by Sri Gurudeva and Krishna, then we can easily see the futility and worthlessness of the illusory lifestyle. For example, as Srila Prabhupad often taught us, sex-life is “maya’s shackle”. If one thinks that I shall enjoy sex with a beautiful man or woman, then they must try to consider that when that beautiful body is dead, it will not be desirable. Knowledge must pierce through the illusory nature. Thus, we are implored to “see through” transcendental knowledge, rather than through the material eyes.
Dedication can take so many forms. When a person is cleaning the temple, cooking for the Deities with love, distributing books out of compassion and with a passion for the truth, preaching, or hearing, about topics related to Krishna…dedication can lead to revival of one’s Krishna consciousness. In fact, the hrdaya-granthi, knot within the heart, is cut simply by hearing about topics of Krishna consciousness. With purification, the higher taste for Krishna’s satisfaction, and the joy accrued in such activities, become self-evident. Material consciousness will take the position of phantasmagoria.
So, activities for the satisfaction of Krishna (bhoktaram yajna tapasam) becomes a natural fact of spiritual life, replacing the illusory external plane of exploitation. As His Divine Grace would say: the gopis would go about their activities but internally were always thinking about their love, Sri Krishna. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Sep 22, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur says in his treatise on Surrender: “Forget the past it sleeps…live in times that are with thee and progress thee shall call.” The quality of the Vaishnava, in the line of the Six Goswamis, is that they are always seeking Krishna, feeling longing for Him. The environment will change naturally, but the internal life of the bhakta is feeling dependent on the Lord. There is no doubt that Srila Prabhupad’s presence could be a tremendous stimulus to a lifetime of devotion. Some had simply seen His Divine Grace once and felt deep attachment for serving him and Krishna. The present is the reality that we must deal with ideally.
When we analyze the philosophy and the work of yoga with knowledge, we realize that there is the field, and there is the knower of the field. The jiva souls are the knower of the field (of course Krishna knows all), and the field is the body and senses. Our experience of conditioned reality comes through the gates of the body, namely the senses. It is vital that we practice sense control, whether one is a brahmachary, a householder, or a renunciate. In this way we can go deeper into the reality that the material manifestation is Krishna’s apara prakriti, and we are His parts and parcels. Sense control ultimately means Krishna consciousness, engaging the senses for the pleasure of the Lord. Bhoktaram yajna tapasam…Krishna is the enjoyer of our sacrifices. This is the current work, the moment to moment work of sadhana bhakti, whatever the vehicle of service through the nine authorized processes of devotional service.
Just as there might be those who could lament that they just “missed” direct association with Srila Prabhupad, this is always the case looking back historically. Consider Raghanath das’s plight. It was often exciting and occasionally dangerous physically to spread Krishna consciousness in the early days. Many in Russia have experienced this, no doubt. But, the faith of the bhaktas, their dedication to Lord Chaitanaya and Srila Prabhupad and other current or future vaishnava-acharyas, is inevitable. And, for those like me who were there in the early days of Krishna conscious expansion outside and inside of India, the work of Krishna consciousness, the ongoing search for Sri Krishna, is never done. We are followers of the brajvasis of Sri Krishna lila. The search can never be done, whether in meeting Krishna or in separation from Sri Krishna, or Srila Prabhupad.
Pusta Krishna

» Posted By pustakrishna On Sep 16, 2013 @ 2:11 am

The Ebb and Flow of History

The point is the acceptance, on faith, of the parampara. For example, as discussed by Srila Prabhupad in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, when Krishna explains that He previously taught this science to the Sun god, Vivasvan, some 110 millions years ago, it is knowledge that has descended from the perfect Source. It is accepted on faith. Any, repeat, any challenge to the knowledge that has come down from Krishna through the parampara is thus suspect. It is subject to the defects of mental speculation, imperfect senses, tendency to cheat, and so on.

The materially constructed history is founded on linguistics, archeological finds, cultural reconstruction, and the like. If one does not have deep faith in the descending process of knowledge acquisition, it is dangerous for a prospective bhakta to study the western, even Indian, reconstruction of Indian history. Lord Ramachandra’s reign was described for us as being millions of years ago. Srila Prabhupad once told me that people are looking for archeological remnants of the battlefield of Kurukshetra. His Divine Grace said that the bodies were cremated. Thus, he rationalized for us why there wasn’t millions of bodies bones and the like there. The point is that some believe the battle never took place and is allegorical or literary only, while Srila Prabhupad’s expression is that the battle was a historical fact, just as Krishna’s appearance some 5,000 years ago was historical. His Divine Grace said that Vyasadeva is the great philosopher, and he would not try to amuse us by literary stories. When Krishna fights with a hugh Bakasura demon, it is literally the case, not a child’s story. So, one needs to appreciate these things from that perspective.

In my opinion, the bhaktas need not fight on the same field as the mundane scholars. It is vital that the bhaktas develop the faith of their preceptor, Srila Prabhupad. One can hardly challenge an archeologist that there were no dinosaurs because they are not mentioned in the Vedas! However, Srila Prabhupad did that. His faith follows the descending pathway of knowledge from Krishna through the parampara.

I hope I have clarified this portion of the debate if there is one from this perspective. In essence, it does not matter what the conditioned souls believe or perceive.

Respectfully submitted, Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Oct 12, 2013 @ 8:38 am

From 1976-1980, in addition to advanced premedical coursework, I completed an MA at the University of California, Berkeley, prior to attending medical school. My MA was in South Asian Studies, specifically Classical Sanskrit, Modern Hindi, Medieval Hindi (Mirabai, Surdas, Kabir), and Ancient Indian History.
I think that I attained a fairly good grasp of the Indian History as related or reconstructed by modern historians. The conception of the modern Indian historians may be very different than the Vedic conception of history. Modern historians have solidified, linguistically and culturally, the origin from a common IndoAryan tribes from the steppes of Europe that migrated to the Indus Valley then divided into the Aryans who went to Indian subcontinent and the proto-Persians who went to the area of Persia. This, of course, is not described in the Vedic histories, although it is clear that the original Vedas were part of an oral tradition (srutis), and later when classical Sanskrit grammar was formalized by Panini (about 500 BC) then Classical Sanskrit was the consistent language of the Puranas, Mahabharata, Kavya (poetry) and the like. The history of the Vedic culture, as it is internally understood, is however, that which we hear of in the Puranas and Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayana, etc. IT IS A MATTER OF FAITH!

One time walking with Srila Prabhupad, he said to me…”I do not think there were any dinosaurs. They are not described in the Vedas anywhere.” Naturally, Srila Prabhupad was a very educated man in the western sciences (chemistry) and all else. However, he is the living representative of the Parampara. Can you understand the faith of His Divine Grace? You or I may not be able to digest these ideals, given the archaeological finds of ancient bones, but you must try to understand the extreme faith that Srila Prabhupad tried to teach us as it relates to the Shastras…and the conclusion that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Sep 28, 2013 @ 8:28 am

What Does Automatically Revealed Mean?

Krishna is the Supreme Person. He is all-knowing, and an ocean of mercy. He knows the time, the situation, the setting, for revelation, and nothing can expedite that. Our target is “love of Krishna”, prema-bhakti. Whether Krishna is present in His eternal transcendental form before us, or not, our aspiration should be for prema-bhakti. Surely, Krishna knows everything. He has His own personality and ways. He sent Uddhava, His friend, to Vrindaban, to witness the attitude of the gopis. Their love is the example of Lord Chaitanya’s prayer, “Govinda is my Lord, and I must serve and love Him unconditionally, even if He handles me roughly by His embrace.”
If one is so fortunate to have Krishna’s revelation, then the sweetness of that ecstatic love can never be equalled by anything else. Like Narada, who had the darsan of Lord Vishnu but once in his life, and spent a lifetime of hoping against hope that he might again have His darshan, the super-excellence of Krishna’s all-encompassing sweet love and ecstasy is the goal of eternal existence. To have His association, in whatever form He may choose, and however, remote He may desire, to have the possibility to exchange His love only to have it multiplied infinitely upon returning it to Him, divine rasa, our senses separate yet one with His divine senses, acintya bhedabheda tattva, nothing more to be known beyond Him…all of this will be arranged by His own sweet Causeless Mercy. For me, for us, we must cultivate ever-deeper dependence and faith in Him. He will never be blind to us. But, He is fully independent, and His dramatic nature will be revealed to us as He chooses, when He chooses, to whom He chooses, to melt our hearts with the ever present hope of His divine loving service. We must act with the knowledge that there is nothing else. The alternative is to be captivated by a form 77%water and 23% mud, the external energy. Nothing material can compare to the beauty of Krishna. For each of us, Srila Prabhupad has given us the positive real reality, and shown us the way to live happily here and in the hereafter.
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Aug 31, 2013 @ 3:27 am

Srila Prabhupada: No Nirjana Bhajana

Nrisimhananda das has taken the effort to remind us, one and all, that we are maximally benefited by helping others to surrender to Krishna. After teaching the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, Krishna declares that there is no one more dear to Him in this world than one who is teaching this science of surrender to the bhaktas. This is Krishna’s declaration. I recall once while walking with Srila Prabhupad, he quoted that verse to himself and he said: “we are simply living on Krishna’s promise.”
We want to become dear to Krishna, we want to please Sri Krishna. This is the way. When we are always alone, there is more tendency to think about ourselves. Whether we think about pleasing our senses, or we think about our own liberation, we remain self-centric enjoyers and Krishna consciousness becomes suppressed. When we think of Krishna’s service, and help others to place Krishna before themselves always, we simultaneously and automatically become rightly situated. No secondary adjustments are needed.

You will see so many useless ideas of those desiring enjoyment and those desiring liberation. They are all self-centric. They have no Krishna consciousness, no relationship of loving service with the Supreme Person. These understandings are only possible because we have a connection with Srila Prabhupad. Otherwise, there is misconception…all fall short, and can at best hope to lick the outside of the honey jar. Vaishnavas want to open that jar and taste the honey so that they can offer pure love to Krishna, not for their own independent pleasure. Thus, we must recognize that discrimination with spiritual understanding is necessary especially in Vrindaban, so that one does not accept counterfeit spirituality as the real thing. All success to the spiritual journey’s of those followers of Srila Prabhupad and the Six Goswamis.

Hare Krishna. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Aug 10, 2013 @ 12:40 am

The Origin of Religion

We have often encountered the speculation of those with “puppy brains”. Some will think that consciousness is merely the result of organization of material chemical and electrical interactions. And, so many consider that religion is an attempt by desperate people to believe that life will go on beyond this current temporary material existence.

Srila Prabhupad emphasized that genuine religion is given by God: dharmam tu saksat bhagavat pranitam. It cannot be manufactured by people and be considered genuine. We are invited to acquire experience with the spiritual possibilities and realm. It takes some investment of faith, no doubt. But, it is possible to experience that consciousness exists beyond this mortal frame, that the individual exists independently of the material body, and many higher truths, including the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These realizations are granted by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, Krishna. He may reveal the super-excellent spiritual truths to whomever He chooses…and He chooses to reveal them to those who surrender unto Him.

The defects of the mind and senses have elsewhere been described. It behooves fortunate and sincere people to keep searching. The seeker can attract the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Yes, it is amazing that the truths revealed to us in Srila Prabhupad’s translations and purports direct us to the genuine eternal reality. There is no need to regress to speculation, for the Supreme Lord’s truth, His true religion as it were, descends requiring no speculation whatsoever. To confirm those truths, we simply need to be fortunate to receive His revelation.

While material speculation is satisfying to unfortunate materialists, Krishna has identified such unsurrendered souls as “naradhama-the lowest of men” or as mayayapahrita jnana-those whose knowledge is taken away by illusion”. If we want to follow in the steps of the great and successful souls who have traversed the path to eternal well-being, then we need the help of a genuine guru to guide us. We shall surely fall short of success by the pathetic speculation of people with “puppy brains”. Srila Prabhupad would forcefully call these people fools and rascals. This was not simply intended to label them like that so that we might think more highly of what His Divine Grace had to offer, but rather those who have experienced the Truth know what is what and can see the cheaters for what they are.

Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Aug 7, 2013 @ 7:25 am

Srila Prabhupada’s letters On Guruship

I genuinely appreciate the scholarly research of Puskaraksa das. His thoughtful comments are usually very much appreciated. Still, you can also see the necessity of trying to understand the compassionate heart of Srila Prabhupad. His mood is one of encouragement. There is recognition that it is very rare and wonderful to get some connection with Sri Krishna. In the case of Siddha Swarup Ananda das (Sai), Srila Prabhupad recognized that Sai was using Srila Prabhupad’s books for his own education and preaching. Although the mood of “Sai” may not have been always approved universally, his use of the proper line of knowledge is indeed appreciated. Keep in mind, there are many, many instances of Srila Prabhupad’s so called senior disciples having a mood that was very un-vaishnava like. Many personally have been motivated by pratishtha, kamini, and kanak (position, lust and personal material profit). These are always challenges at all times. Somehow, we can try to appreciate the deep faith that the true vaishnava has in Krishna. Remember, Who and What is Krishna, the Summon Bonum Personified. One might think that He is dis-interested and far away, and you would be mistaken! Eko bahunam yo vidhadhat kaman.
Thus, the discussion of Guru not only requires the scholarship to define Guru (as the teacher manifestation of Sri Krishna Himself), but also the Acharya aspect…how his example can teach us how to behave, how to analyze situations, and how to give encouragement to the conditioned souls whose human lives (so rare to begin with) are the portal for entry into Krishna consciousness. Then, Srila Prabhupad demonstrated his faith that Krishna will purify one and make entry possible for the conditioned souls.
You cannot expect everyone to have a Mahabhagavat as a Guru, but you want someone who will be a clear purveyor of Lord Chaitanya’s message, and hopefully an example of those teachings, sufficient to transform the hearts of those with whom they interact.
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Sep 17, 2013 @ 5:48 am

2 continued

I had heard several years ago that Tusta Krishna das who stayed in Sacramento, California where he had a preaching program isolated from ISKCON, had died from a brain tumor. I was sorry to hear that. In any case, it helps to understand some of the history of what is being discussed above, and that criticism of Tusta Krishna das’ approach needs to be seen in light of that history. It was not a typical history for an ISKCON newcomer.

Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Sep 8, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

I just now read through the letter presented and the many comments by Puskaraksa das. Some history is helpful to understand the background here. Tusta Krishna das was took diksa initiation in Bombay along with me, Pusta Krishna das, in early 1971. Srila Prabhupad personally performed the fire sacrifice in that flat in the Akash Ganga building. Tusta Krishna das joined Krishna consciousness under the early guidance of “Sai” who also was later initiated by Srila Prabhupad as Siddha Swarup Ananda das. He was a very charismatic teacher of Krishna consciousness in Hawaii. He used Srila Prabhupad’s books. He himself came to Srila Prabhupad and brought him disciples to Srila Prabhupad as well. I was later Srila Prabhupad’s personal secretary and His Divine Grace and I discussed all of this directly in private. Srila Prabhupad was very pleased that Siddha Swarup Ananda das was using the Iskcon books. He was satisfied to consider that Siddha Swarup Ananda das had his own branch of the tree of Lord Chaitanya. He did not think that this diminished ISKCON in any way. Of course, some of our western converts were not as agreeable to Siddha Swarup Ananda das and his group or his ways. They felt that it diminished the importance of Srila Prabhupad. Srila Prabhupad was much more liberal about these things.
In some ways, Tusta Krishna das’ initiation may be interpreted as a “rubber stamping” of the authenticity of Krishna consciousness connection, but it was clear that Tusta Krishna das looked to Siddha Swarup Ananda das for guidance and empowerment. He did not like to mix with ISKCON because there seemed to be a mutual feeling that the two groups did not mix well, like oil and water. Still, I hope you appreciate the manner in which Srila Prabhupad gave encouragement to those attracted to Krishna. He opened doors and did not close them. He built bridges and did not destroy them.
So, you need to understand something, as faulty as I may be presenting it, of the history involved between Tusta Krishna das and the ISKCON mission. While Srila Prabhupad’s letter is perfect, you can see the obvious conflicts. Is Tusta Krishna das supposed to bring those interested in Krishna consiousness to Srila Prabhupad (to an ISKCON he did not trust), or to Siddha Swarup Ananda das (whom Tusta Krishna das had a long affectionate relationship with), or to keep those himself, to nourish these individuals himself. continued Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Sep 8, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

“I Thought Vipralambha-Seva Is The Highest Thing”

A beautiful and inspiring discussion! Srila Prabhupad often would say that you can judge your advancement in spiritual life by how much hankering or longing for Krishna is manifesting in one’s consciousness. Of course, these are magical times for the conditioned soul. We must continue on with sadhana.

When chanting the Holy Names, associating with Krishna, a feeling of longing for Krishna may arise. That is very welcome! This places Krishna as the natural Center, and our tiny selves as lovers of Him. We should not artificially try to exhibit this, as this would then place our selves as the center, an unnatural position for the bhakta who never wants to be the enjoyer or center.

Much like the “cakora bird” that does not want to take water from the earth, but only directly from the cloud, the bhakta does not want the ecstasy and love of Krishna to be tinged by anything mundane.

Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:42 am

A simple way of trying to conceive of the Krishna bhaktas’ placing so much vital importance upon Srimati Radharani is this: We jiva souls are infinitesimal, and, yes, we have an infinitesimal capacity to love Krishna. That is not a small thing because of Krishna’s potency. However, Srimati Radharani is the hladini-shakti plenary portion of Krishna Whose identity is Supreme Lover of Krishna. Sri Radha is not a jiva soul. She is, as it were, the vortex of prema, love for Krishna.

While the jiva soul can be established in love for Krishna, and one’s spiritual senses are part and parcel of Krishna’s (hrishikesa hrishikena sevanam), the capacity for love of Krishna that is unlimited is found only in the form of Srimati Radharani. Thus, we can see that in our vaishnava line from Lord Chaitanya that Srimati Radharani is the ultimate goal for service. Sri Gurudeva in his pure form is an intimate servitor of Srimati Radharani…and the ecstatic love for Krishna which the jiva soul is entitled to becomes catapulted into a sphere unknown by those not favored by Srimati Radharani.

We chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. “Hare” is the vocative, calling out to Sri Radha, to please engage us in the service of Krishna. It is so complete that even unknowingly, Lord Chaitanya has primed His followers to become engaged in the loving service of Sri Sri Radha Krishna.

While we may try to intellectually define these areas of transcendental science, these are spiritual matters realized by rare and fortunate souls. If we should become most concerned with Krishna’s pleasure, rather than our own, we may become more fit to approach Srimati Radharani through Her divine servants….Sri Guru Vaishnava.

Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Jul 24, 2013 @ 8:23 am

Srila Prabhupada on the secret policy of British to cut down Vedic civilization

In a general way, there is a way to find something positive regarding those who are “anti” to your proposal, in this case, Vedic culture in general. Of course, keep in mind that Vedic culture has had many challenges to it even before the British presence in India. This is the Kali-yuga.

In the BIble, it is said that it is better to be against the divine teachings than to be indifferent altogether. At least some “passion” might arise to the idea confronting them. The dialectic principle is that there is a Thesis, and there will be an Anti-thesis. After these work their way through, there will be a new Synthesis…which will then become the new Thesis that must be challenged. This is the way of this world.

Thus, although there appears to be a rigid ideal or beacon in the form of Varnashrama Dharma, then challenges will come that will challenge this Thesis and so it will transform in ways that bring the effects of time and circumstance into play. Even during the time of our Srila Prabhupad, we have seen that he made adjustments to the culture to accommodate the new western Vaishnavas, and he followed the principles of Sanatan-dharma. He astounded the conservative Gaudiya Vaishnavas at first. It took a good deal of time for them to warm up to Srila Prabhupad’s movement and disciples. We have seen that even the Vaishnavas can be guilty of caste-consciousness, desiring a born brahmana to lead them rather than one born outside the culture who is converted to Vaishnavism. These issues bring up the concept of Thesis then Antithesis, then new Synthesis which again will be challenged. Thus, the key, in my humble opinion, is to remain fixed on the beacon of Sanatan-dharma rather than external forms of culture which, as we have seen, must and will change and transform. But, Sanatan-dharma, the soul as eternal servant of the Supreme Lord, will never change.

I thus suggest we take a more measured view of change and even of being challenged. There may be some good that comes out of this. For instance, seeing the growing acceptance that those who have become converts to Vaishnavism, we might also hope that in India, people will take a different view of those born outside of the Vaishnava fold having acceptance into the family of Lord Chaitanya. Otherwise, our Nama-acharya, Haridas Thakur, who was born into a Mohammedan family, would never have been accepted. Indeed, he was so highly favored by Lord Chaitanya as we all know.

Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Aug 18, 2013 @ 5:43 am

Does God Exist

Srila Prabhupad promoted that one try to understand the higher Truth without dogma or blind faith. To the extent possible, he encouraged us to use our intellect, given to us by Krishna (mattah smritir jnanam apo hanam ca). One’s eagerness to delve deeper into the Truth is the highest function of human intellect. But…there is a very important secret to all of this. Tesam evanukampartham…Krishna is within our hearts, and He is observing and permitting things to be known or revealed.
In essence, we hear about Krishna, or we hear from Krishna (Bhag. Gita), and that by itself is not sufficient to become enlightened. The Supreme Lord is observing and allowing us to gain experiential knowledge. His mercy is essential to gaining genuine understanding or not. Krishna has thus exclaimed…ye yatha mam prapadyante…as they surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. The principles of success are clear! One approaches a qualified spiritual master and enquires submissively, and offers service as well. The genuine spiritual teacher is qualified by having himself seen the Truth. Offering of service is vital. It is a commitment to deepen the connection with God and His servitors. Reciprocation invites mercy. The resistence to mercy is lowered and it can flow more freely to save the conditioned soul.
So, how will the materialistic minds understand? They will not. If one remains inimical to the Personality of Godhead, they will remain in the darkness of confusion with matter. It is very rare for one to surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even among seekers of Truth, one may still remain unfortuate. The mercy of Krishna is the essential element both to gain the association of saintly persons, and to understand the Truth when it is presented. These confidential truths are explained by Krishna to Arjuna, and through Srila Prabhupad to us. Srila Prabhupad is trying to bring good fortune to everyone. Krishna is real, and we must appeal to His mercy. The Mahamantra is exactly that, an appeal for the mercy and divine service of the Supreme Lord.
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Jun 22, 2013 @ 6:16 am

Can We Compare Iskcon With Other Faiths?

We can appreciate the conception that bhakti, nirmala bhakti, free from material self-interest, is the goal of transcendental loving service. Srila Prabhupad often likened the process to that of making sugar rock candy from sugar cane juice. The rock candy is contained within the sugar cane juice, but it is diluted with so much water and is not concentrated. Srila Prabhupad tried in every way to convey to us that there is another plane of consciousness apart from the contaminated conditioned material consciousness. Krishna explains how there is a banyan tree with its branches going down and roots going up. That is the reflection, and it has its substantial reality in the real tree. Similarly, we are part of Krishna, and we have minute attributes of Krishna, infinitesimally. Conditioned souls have, due to the “heart disease” of material consciousness, chosen to exploit or “lord over” matter, Krishna’s apara-prakriti. By the grace of Krishna, one gets the association of genuine vaishnavas, and by the grace of vaishnavas, one can obtain Krishna. Even Krishna recommends this…tad viddhi pranipatena. So, the process is vitally important. In fact, the process is the means and the end…ie it is bhakti. Like the sugar cane juice, it may begin diluted, and gradually the intrinsic concentrated sweetness may be obtained.

The philosophy of devotional service is so extensive in our line. So many books, one cannot read them all in one lifetime! All are devoted to the principle of bhakti, and convincing those who might have doubts that this is in our own best interests. Still we must not think that what we have here in our hands has no capacity to please Krishna. Sri Krishna is all-knowing. He may playfully be observing us fumbling about as if in the dark, but He is pleased with our endeavors. We should not, in my opinion, become disheartened if “I” or “We” do not get the “bliss”. Ultimately, we are depositors in the transcendental bank of Krishna. We do not want to take out any deposits for our own pleasure. And, if Krishna, the Predominator, will overwhelm us with His ecstatic love, we must be fully charmed by His beauty and love, and deposit all back for Him. This exchange is rasa, and it take many forms as we have read. Sri Radha is the ultimate vortex of bhakti, for Krishna is attracted by Sri Radha, the Predominated aspect of Godhead. Sri Guru Vaishnava is the intimate servant of Sri Radha. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Jun 14, 2013 @ 7:22 am

An Audience with Nirantara Das, Veteran of Spiritual Sound

Nirantara das lives up to his name. Antara means the “end” and the prefix “nir” means without…ie without end. When I was doing my orthopedic surgery residency in Los Angeles in the 1980s, I had many occasions to meet with and observe Nirantara das. He was the coordinator of Life Membership in Los Angeles. LA has a very large East Indian population and he helped make many Indians and also westerners life members. He was very successful in making the Life Members feel important and integral members of the Krishna consciousness movement. He would weekly organize programs at homes all over the huge LA area. He lived to preach and to inspire and engage others.
When that opportunity somehow slipped away, he continued to preach Krishna consciousness in his personal style for many, many years, even until today. He would send out mailings to devotees with whom he had had any acquaintance urging them to support his preaching programs. Even to the point, as he notes in his interview, of having his wife support his preaching programs. Thus, we can appreciate that this man is free of pride, only desirous to preach and glorify Krishna and Srila Prabhupad. That is my take on this Nirantara. His style of service is without any end.
I have heard his “band” play at LA Rathayatra in the past. I was more amused at this but I was always super impressed by his determination to continue his perceived service no matter what. In other words, if it did not appear that there was a favorable breeze for his sails, he kept on going. There is a place in the Atlantic ocean which is called the doldrums, where there is little or no breeze. Sailing ships may stall there for a time until they can catch a breeze. But, Nirantara seems capable of creating a breeze where there is apparently none. He has, in my view, this amazingly wonderful quality. Ahaituki apratihata…it is causeless and it cannot be broken by anything. Hare Krishna.

Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Jun 14, 2013 @ 7:43 am

Strictness is the Strength of ISKCON

I am very glad to see development of the positions being offered. Sitalatma das raises some good points in his comment #14. Regarding Srila Prabhupad’s ideal that ISKCON or Krishna consciousness is a “house the whole world can live in”…events and situations change but the underlying consciousness in the ultimate reality is unchanged, focused on ecstatic loving relationship with Krishna. I recall one morning in Mauritius in 1976 when Srila Prabhupad, Brahmananda Prabhu, and my self were walking alongside the ocean. Physically we were a little beaten up because the day before the three of us experienced a head on collision in the countryside. This occurred after Srila Prabhupad’s glorious 10 day visit to South Africa. Srila Prabhupad brought up the issue, “People are trying to be happy, but they do not know how to be happy (I am paraphrasing). It is natural that we want to be happy, we are part and parcel of the supremely ecstatic Krishna. But, they do not know where to look to be happy.” The point I want to highlight is just this. When people come to visit or come into association with Krishna bhaktas, we want to offer them some of the spiritual medicine that we have been offered, grace of Srila Prabhupad. It is the happiness that the soul is searching for, not the strictness.
I offer this proposition. Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha…these four constitute the endeavours of civilized human society, but the Krishna consciousness movement is real spiritual culture, Sanatan Dharma. Sarva dharman parityajya…Krishna gives us the final instruction of His Bhagavad Gita when He, all powerful supreme Creator and Friend, declares that what He wants is that we take full shelter of Him, abandoning all other ideas of religiosity.
So, how do we conceive of the organized Krishna consciousness missions? Are they facilities where strictness is the rule? Are they environments where the natural joy of devotional service for Krishna is allowed space to be expressed? Recall, that Srila Prabhupad came to uncover the service that only Krishna consciousness could reveal. When I hear of people changing for the worse after having appeared so apparently saintly previously, then I know the truth of the matter. Srila Prabhupad brought out the very best in us! When the material disease overtook such souls, karmic-ly, then their designated karma again reappeared. But, remember, karma is temporary. And, Krishna knows all past present and future. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Jun 6, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

Our goal in life is to become dear to Krishna, to attract His mercy and attention. Sri Krishna in His final instructions in the Bhagavad Gita has revealed how we can become dear to Him. I heard Srila Prabhupad also quote that sloka when His Divine Grace once said to me…”we are simply living on Krishna’s promise…that one who teaches the science of surrender to the bhaktas is most dear to Me in this world.”
In this regard, we have to find a way to give encouragement to go forward, not to stagnate, and most certainly not to retreat. I conceive of it this way. When one first has a castle, they may try to keep out intruders by building a moat around it, with a draw-bridge to selectively allow people in and to keep others out. That may be a necessary step but certainly that is not the “house that the whole world can live in” that Srila Prabhupad envisioned. The difficulty is that we may be hurt by the bad association of those who might compromise their ideals. I think that Sita Rama das maybe can be placed in that category. It is a state of looking for safety.
We all have had different upbringing in our spiritual lives. In one person’s case they may have enjoyed the relative safety and comradery of living in a large ashram with a strong daily program of sadhana. In another person’s case, they may have been requested to spread the sankirtan movement in difficult circumstances, such as during apartheid, or even more so in the difficult early days of Krishna consciousness in Russia. When we hear of the torture that Ananta Santi and others in Russia experienced without abandoning Krishna, we can appreciate the saintliness of such extraordinary souls. I am personally incapable of minimizing such souls, placing them in some kind of file so that I can close the drawer on them, as it were. These rare souls are magnanimous mahatmas, truly. And, they are very, very dear to Krishna.
Someday, we must let the draw-bridges down to permit the flow of souls into and out of the sankirtan movement so that such sukriti will be spread about. Such pious souls may become great devotees in some future incarnation. So, how we view the sankirtan movement is vital. Lord Chaitanya sometimes chanted in the intimacy of the home of Srivas Prabhu, and other times He chanted in the public of impious souls, bringing hope and a future to such conditioned souls. How do you want to view the sankirtan movement? It is a fluid, and not a static question. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On Jun 4, 2013 @ 7:04 am

Yes, it must be a fact, since Krishna says that “bahunam janmanam ante…” after many, many lifetimes, then one may finally come to the stage of Krishna consciousness. And, we must also know that Krishna has empowered his devotees to enlighten others “tad viddhi…” to approach My bhakta, realized in the Truth, to learn about Me. Still, we must take time to reflect on where we reside now, in the Kali Yuga. There is quarrel between religions, and there are quarrels within religious traditions. It is the Age of Quarrel. What can bring unity out of the disunity. Enter, the Golden Avatar, the Yuga Avatar, Sri Krishna Chaitanya, with with divine weapon of Sankirtan. The unifying opportunity is present in encouraging spiritually interested peoples to glorify the Holy Names.

Every tradition believes that it has the secret key to the Truth, whether Christianity, Islam, Vaishnavism, Buddhism, and others. I may know that Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Creator, Destroyer, Sanctioner, Controller, and dearmost Friend. But, it will be next to impossible to expect others in flocks to leave their traditions and embrace the Vaishnava path. Neither did Lord Chaitanya request that, and neither did Srila Prabhupad request that. We are instructed to encourage others to work in the spirit of devotion. To take up the chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord, those of other traditions if that is what one has faith in, or the Supremely effective chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

And, while we may think that our faith is best, I must say that one can and should be inspired by others as well with faith in the Lord in different traditions. We must keep our “antennae” out to receive inspiration. We need to be enthused. The Gayatri Mantra is a prayer to be enthused by our agents of divine shelter. Such enthusiasm, capacity to be enthused, is the basis for love in separation. If my cup is full, it may not accept more immediate necessary enthusiasm. We must feel ourselves greatly dependent and always in need of Krishna’s divine shelter and presence, and the association with devotees who are so dear to Him.

This discussion is very, very useful. Some will be more enthused by strict following of the Vaidhi rules and regulations of devotional service, and some will be more inclined toward a more spontaneous outflow of devotional service. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur engages in discussion of this in his Jaiva Dharma. Affectionately, Pusta Krishna

» Posted By pustakrishna On Jun 1, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

One must appreciate the spirit of the topic. We can substitute a number of words for the term strictness, such as fidelity, exclusivity, and even faithfulness. The term “strictness” may imply that sacrifice is being undertaken. That may or may not be the case, depending on the feelings involved. For example, in love there is a natural tendency to remember the beloved. When the situation revolves around duty, then one sacrifices their impulsive tendencies and so-called self interests for the higher goal.

Remember that Srila Rupa Goswami concludes that all rules and regulations are summed up in this: Always remember Krishna, and never forget Krishna.

When one is fortunate to have love for Krishna, this is a most natural situation involving natural attraction and affection for Sri Krishna. He is all-attractive. When one is in the practicing or sadhana phase of bhakti, then one’s focus is on the higher goal. Krishna, afterall, is always with us, accompanying us as Witness, Sanctioner, and Friend.

Thus, when all the elements of bhakti-yoga are considered, as in the discussion of practicing strictness or exclusivity, faithfulness, the key element is that Krishna is the focal point. Thus, I would agree with Kulapavana that strictness is a passionate position, but only if Krishna is absent from the equation. Once Krishna is included in the equation, then all such perceived modes of passion or whatever become merged into the transcendental offering. When the things of this world, which are only the creation and property of Krishna, become engaged in His divine service and remembrance, they must no longer be considered as belonging to the modes of “material” nature, for they are now the property of Krishna consciousness, hence transcendental.

Please try to digest this and comment. It really is a good discussion and when challenged, we must try to avoid feeling that our ego is wounded. Our egos are false and circles around nothing. We can try to go deeper and try to discover a deeper reality that might satisfy the hunger of the soul. You are all great devotees in my vision.
Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On May 30, 2013 @ 8:13 am

Just for the sake of discussion: Sri Krishna notes that four categories of people come to the service of Krishna. These four categories consist of pious souls…those who are suffering, those desirous of wealth, those who are curious, and those who are seekers of the higher Truth. It may be that one will come to Krishna consciousness, and then later leave finding it very difficult to control the mind. Krishna also encourages saying that these pious practitioners who go away will have good future opportunity to continue with their spiritual development in future births. The point thus needs to be made that not all persons come to Krishna with the identical karmic background, and they should be engaged in devotional service and encouraged. Strictness, I hope, does not exclude compassion and mercy from the formula.
When you look back at former days in relatively recent vaishnava history, even 50 years ago, there were not many families living in the ashrams, and very few single women. It is really the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupad that he truly saw each individual as the spiritual person that they are, and engaged them in Krishna’s service. It is a realtively unique experiment and can have its bumpy road at times. There can be no doubt that ISKCON has transformed from a more monastic environment to a congregational one. Not everyone will prefer that, but this has come to pass for now. And, all should be given encouragement to engage in Krishna’s service. It is not an issue of liberality or an issue of strictness. It is our duty, as representatives of Srila Prabhupad, to encourage one and all to give to Krishna one’s body (senses), mind, words, and wealth(He is the ultimate Proprietor).

In this regard, Srila Prabhupad did not encourage us to look upon Krishna consciousness as a religion, but rather as a spiritual culture. These are things which I believe can be considered in such discussions. Afterall, religiosity is one of the four spheres of human civilization (dharma, artha, kama, moksha), but Krishna consciousness is intended to revive the Sanatan Dharma of the jiva-soul, that being the eternal servant of Krishna.

Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On May 25, 2013 @ 7:43 am

Keshava Prabhu left his body

Keshava das Prabhu ji jaya!! The love of these early western bhaktas for Srila Prabhupad and Krishna helped to lay the foundation for the future worldwide mission. Without their joy of service, ISKCON could never have grown. It should not be taken for granted. We believe and know that His Divine Grace, as our eternal guide, will be there to extend his divine hand to help us into the spiritual family of Goloka Vrindaban. Such devotees always appeared to be disinterested in moksha and addicted to Sankirtan. Their very selves were fountains of Krishna bhakti. We are forever indebted to have had their association. Their encouragement was manifested by their attachment to engaging others in the service of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On May 3, 2013 @ 6:13 am

GBC Resolution 304 – Prabhupada Prominent on Home Pages

Nrisimhananda Prabhu’s efforts are very important for a number of reasons.
First, the society, ISKCON, was conceived of and founded by Srila Prabhupad. It is vital that future generations do not lose perspective of the origin of the connection through Srila Prabhupad with Krishna. The volumes of translations and commentaries came from him. If one does not recognize this, they are potentially guilty of being like the fly on the lap of the king.

Second, our envy of the Supreme Lord is the seed of sin that places us in the prison house of the material world. It is absolutely vital that one not be envious of their spiritual master. We must not try to digest the honor of Srila Prabhupad. Hence, we say “All Glories to Srila Prabhupad” or “All Glories to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga”.

Third, to the extent that one loses contact with the emissary of the Lord, one might claim that they themselves are the emissaries, rather than the servant of the servant of the servant of the Supreme Lord.

For those who never met Srila Prabhupad, you must know that he was not interested in self-aggrandizement at all. However, he understood that the medicine for the conditioned souls necessitated the development of a proper relationship between disciple and Guru. One cannot be their own Guru. It is self-deception.

So, do not allow yourselves to become victims of pratishtha, material standing, thinking that as spiritual standing. They are very different. It is a great privilege and evidence of having received Krishna’s mercy to come into contact with Srila Prabhupad. “He reasons ill who say that vaishnava’s die, when thou art living still in sound…(Bh. Thakur)”. We must try to encourage each other to dive deeper into reality, and to go deeper into the relationship one has with their siksha gurus, especially in this case, Srila Prabhupad, a genuine acharya of the sampradaya.

Affectionately offered, and with gratitude for Nrisimhananda das, a fine devotee and good man. Pusta Krishna das

» Posted By pustakrishna On May 1, 2013 @ 6:48 am

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