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Comments Posted By sarvopama dasa

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Is it proper to touch a sannyasi’s feet?

I’m much too fallen to qualify as a saint and therefore need not worry about anyone trying to touch my feet. Nevertheless there have been times when, probably because I stumbled into the presence of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and received initiation from him, people sometimes do try to touch my feet. Whenever this happens I try to, in as polite and mannerly a way as possible, indicate that I’m not ready for that. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own karma, what to speak of taking on the karma of another. At the same time though I take it as a great compliment and real encouragement and feel much indebted and grateful to anyone who would be so kind as to see someone like me worthy of such attention.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Dec 14, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

Ρemembrances of Siddha Vidya das from about 40 devotees

I was lucky to spend a half a year with Siddha Vidya Prabhu. Since then I’ve gone out every day on Hari Nama Sankirtana. While with Siddha Vidya I became convinced that our only real business is going out in public and chanting the Holy Name. I’m so much happier now than I ever would have imagined possible. My feeling of gratitude to Siddha Vidya grows every day.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Apr 11, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

Please Pray for Siddha Vidya Prabhu

I’m eternally grateful to Siddha Vidya. If I can claim to be happy today it’s only because I go out every day and chant Hare Krishna. That is because I had the great good fortune of spending a half a year in Miami and going out with this great and remarkable devotee every day. He is a true mahatma and great saint. He is very dear to Srila Prabhupada.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Mar 4, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

Who is Intelligent?

One time Narada Muni arrived at Dwaraka and he had a question for Queen Satyabhama. He asked, “What is it like to be the queen of Lord Krishna?” Queen Satyabhama replied, “Oh, yes indeed, Krishna is the Controller of all the Universes and the almighty Supreme Being but I know the name of every servant here in the palace and I know the names of all of their family members and there’s not a paisa (fraction of a penny) that goes in and out of here that I don’t know about.”

Interestingly enough there is also a standard experiment in Sociology course work that bears out this response. A room is assembled to look like a standard typical room in any house and subjects are asked to sit in it for ten minutes. Then they are taken to another room, given a pencil and paper and asked to write down everything they can remember from the other room they were in. The men generally draw a blank while many times women will fill up the page and ask for another sheet of paper.

“As far as the women class are concerned, they are accepted as a power of inspiration for men. As such, women are more powerful than men. Mighty Julius Caesar was controlled by a Cleopatra. Such powerful women are controlled by shyness. Therefore, shyness is important for women. Once this control valve is loosened, women can create havoc in society by adultery. Adultery means production of unwanted children known as varna-sankara, who disturb the world.”
S.B. 1.9.27 Purport.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Jul 11, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

An Indian State Commits to Srila Prabhupada’s Vision

This is wonderful news! There will come a day (sooner than later one can now hope) when people will say, “They were burning coal and oil for transportation and energy? What were they thinking?” Will people scale back voluntarily or will it take some major catastrophe? This fossil fuel based culture is a momentary aberration against the greater span of time making up the entire history of man. A cow centered culture could reduce our carbon footprint dramatically. Now there are actually places where it is considered criminal to become pregnant. In China many people go to Hong Kong to have a second child since they may be persecuted for it otherwise. The general mentality is that seven or eight billion people is overtaxing the natural resources. While it’s true that the “American Dream” is unsustainable, a cow based society could support ten times the present global population.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On May 8, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

OPEN LETTER TO Bhakti Vikasa Swami

How can we determine whether our motive for distribution is directed by a desire for either material or spiritual benefit? Do we trust the power of the Holy Name or do we feel we have to do something to make it possible to chant the maha mantra? I’ve been asking a lot of the devotees here in Vrindavan questions like this during Kartik and nearly without exception they are all predicting a grand and glorious revival of the public chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra all around the world. In this way we can dissolve all the apparent conflicts and see our faith manifest more and more even as our efforts to reduce suffering also increase on a grand scale.

By going out *every day* and chanting Hare Krishna in public we can turn the tide both within ISKCON and in the society at large. Srila Prabhupada did it. Why can’t we do it?

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Nov 2, 2011 @ 6:17 am

Every devotee needs to do a personal inventory and examine his own consciousness. Am I motivated by love of God or love of money? Do I want Laxmi without Narayana? Am I trading away love of God for personal power?

I think these are simple, up front, basic questions that some devotees may be neglecting. What’s my motive? Are there ways I can simplify my life and in that way make it easier to engage in activity that will more directly promote God consciousness? Whatever else I feel I need to do every day, is there any chance I can also engage in some direct preaching activity or has the very word “preach” become an anathema?

Can I go out every day and chant the Holy Name in public or would that be too embarrassing for me and am I afraid that someone might not think I’m cool or they might even think I’m crazy? How much does the idea of a “comfortable arrangement” matter to my mindset?

Am I unwilling to surrender to Krishna and tolerate the austerities that might go along with that decision? If I go back and carefully examine the nature of Srila Prabhupada’s mood and mission, how much will it justify my present lifestyle?

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Oct 16, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

Krishna Kirti Prabhu makes some really excellent points. I would only add that being popular may not always be the best thing. Over the long haul your success may prove to be less than spiritual. Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja is offering some very solid real info there. I was in Chicago when we switched from books to record albums back in the 80’s. It was easier but everyone fell away in so many different directions. I’d really like to think we can somehow or another get back to the days when everything was a labor of love and no one required a salary. Some people say that’s not possible. They think they are telling the truth but I’m convinced you can’t prove the truth by a show of hands. There’s even resistance built up against going out on Hari Nama Sankirtan every day. It’s what Srila Prabhupada asked us to do and it’s simple, straight forward and it works. Somehow no one seems to believe that anymore. There’s been a real move towards big and mechanized. Why is that?

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Oct 14, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

“Karmi clothes” and “devotional clothes” – Getting the definitions right

What example did Srila Prabhupada offer? What did Srila Prabhupada want? What did Srila Prabhupada tolerate?

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Sep 27, 2011 @ 1:27 am

SB 10.90.1-7: Sukadeva Gosvami said: The master of the goddess of fortune resided happily in His capital city, Dvaraka, which was endowed with all opulences and populated by the most eminent Vrishnis and their gorgeously dressed wives. When these beautiful women in the bloom of youth would play on the city’s rooftops with balls and other toys, they shone like flashing lightning. The main streets of the city were always crowded with intoxicated elephants exuding mada, and also with cavalry, richly adorned infantrymen, and soldiers riding chariots brilliantly decorated with gold. Gracing the city were many gardens and parks with rows of flowering trees, where bees and birds would gather, filling all directions with their songs.Lord Krishna was the sole beloved of His sixteen thousand wives. Expanding Himself into that many forms, He enjoyed with each of His queens in her own richly furnished residence. On the grounds of these palaces were clear ponds fragrant with the pollen of blooming utpala, kahlara, kumuda and ambhoja lotuses and filled with flocks of cooing birds. The almighty Lord would enter those ponds, and also various rivers, and enjoy sporting in the water while His wives embraced Him, leaving the red kunkuma from their breasts smeared on His body.

So frivolous sports are all OK? During their exile the Pandavas killed animals. Does that mean we can do that also?

Also it may be worth noting that Jagai, Madhai and Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa were actually incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers of Vaikuntha. Kamsa was directly killed by Krishna and achieved liberation. I can only pray that I will be as fortunate as these “deamons” [sic]. So yes, thank you, Paramshreya Dasa. My wife and I are now even more convinced that we are making a good choice and pleasing Srila Prabhupada by simply wearing our saris and dhotis.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Sep 21, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

Chandrashekhara Prabhu, in your last post you say, “If it was good enough for Prabhupada, it should be good enough for us.” Srila Prabhupada was extremely liberal and 99% lenient in his dealing with Westerners. The first disciples were even drinking coffee, smoking and engaging in all manner of anarthas right up to their initiation and some even after it. If we set a filter to incorporate any and all allowed activity that the founder acharya saw fit to tolerate at one time or another, I really have to wonder what will become of us.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Sep 19, 2011 @ 8:28 am

Sita Pati Prabhu, I like very much where you point out that Srila Prabhupada said both devotees and police officers wear distinctive uniforms. You say, “Wearing clothes that are *different* from everyone else is Prabhupada’s point. The dress that ISKCON devotees wore in the 70s in the West was different from everyone else[…]… they are unique and distinctive in their particular time and place. They serve to separate and identify the wearer.” I agree with you 100%, Sita Pati, and can only add that one could even say that along with the chanting of the Holy Name, wearing of the devotional garb can be a real demonstration of faith.

The only other question I have is whether or not anyone in Australia knows how to use a loom and might concievably be able to make cloth. Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to become self sufficient and knowing how to produce cloth on a loom is something he hoped we might even take up as a cottage industry within our ISKCON varnashrama communities world wide to employ people in an activity that would provide clothing without depending on the hellish factories.

Dhotis when understood to be a simple piece of cloth made on a loom can be seen as fully transcendental to national limitations. While I would never dream of making anyone feel guilty or ashamed for not wearing sari or dhoti, I’ve found that for me at least, it is very helpful in my ongoing effort to become more surrendered and absorbed in devotional service.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Sep 17, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to live simply. He said factories were hellish. It may be a gradual process but the more we can try to apply these understandings to daily life, the easier it will be for us to experience and share the varnashrama culture. Ideally a person should wear cloth that is made on a simple loom in the village. Obviously we are presently far from that point at this stage of the game. Does that mean we should give up?

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Sep 16, 2011 @ 4:13 am

In 2005, while serving in the Miami temple, I was very fortunate to meet a devotee named Amarama das from Spain. He had just returned from China where he had chanted the Hare Krishna maha mantra at the Great Wall. At one point he happened to mention that for the previous thirteen years he had never changed from his dhoti. He said he only wore devotional clothing. Something about his gentle behavior really impressed me and the next morning I sorted through all my clothing and anything that wasn’t devotional went straight into the dumpster behind the temple. There is an old saying, “You are what you wear.” and at least in my case I could really tell the difference. I immediately felt more serious and surrendered. Obviously there can be extenuating circumstances where one may be putting oneself in danger because of various ridiculous political conditions and requirements but generally speaking I can say that, from my own experience, it is highly preferable to simply wear the devotional attire.

One principle I consider is the factory versus village distinction. I prefer wearing something a man in the village can make on a loom over anything that requires workers toiling away in some factory.

Here where I’ve been living in Gujarat for the last five years there are many college students wearing what we tell them are the go mata hataka pascheem (Western cow killer) blue jeans. When we mention that along with a quick description of the history of the American cowboy and his actual job, the students immediately smile and nod. They chuckle and agree.

Finally I’ve definitely noticed another practical advantage of wearing a dhoti rather than denim trousers. Since I made the switch no one has asked me if I can change the oil in any vehicle or help them move.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Sep 7, 2011 @ 5:03 am

How Hard-hearted Bhakti Affects our Iskcon Home

Unless ISKCON understands that Srila Prabhupada’s number one priority and prime directive was the public chanting of the maha mantra there will be so much confusion and conflict within the organization. We need a reformation spearheaded by daily Hari Nama Sankirtana from all the temples. Until this is actuated we can expect all the problems you delineate to only increase.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Jun 21, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

End of an Era? An Opportunity!!!

Whenever there was any kind of major catastrophe looming and the devotees asked Srila Prabhupada what to do he always had the same answer. Srila Prabhupada said, “Very soon there will be war.” The devotees asked, “Srila Prabhupada, what should we do?” Nearly without fail Srila Prabhupada would always respond, “Chant Hare Krishna!”

Before Srila Prabhupada left the planet in ’77 he asked all the devotees to go out and chant in public. It was our living breathing logo and trademark. Under Srila Prabhupada’s instruction we all went out every day. As a result we quickly became noticed and recognized worldwide. Then Srila Prabhupada left and there was tacit agreement that we need not go out anymore. Things leveled off. If we had continued in the same spirit imbued in us by the Jagad Guru there would be no question about it, we would have continued to double our efforts every year and today the world would be a much better place. Hare Krishna!

By doing this particular service we can become like lions on the chase and lambs at home. Without Hari Nama Sankirtan the devotees are more likely to be at each others throats in the temple and like docile lambs when they venture forth.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Apr 30, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

Double-voice amplification kirtans in Iskcon Mayapur

I remember one particular Hari Nama party where the amplification gave out. I saw that everyone had to move in closer to the devotee leading the chanting and he also had to give more energy to his chanting to make sure everyone could hear him. Then someone reconnected the wires and immediately the party spread out, more devotees went back to lip-syncing and the party was less energetic and attractive.

I not only heartily agree with Chandrashekhara Acharya das but would even go so far as to say that we would all benefit from less dependency on mechanical gadgetry of any kind. I think it is symptomatic of a tendency to trade away love of God for personal power. In modern life, in the name of progress and material advantage, we seem to jump at any chance to become technological wizards and magicians.

I think Chandrashekhara Acharya das is spot on. Generally amplification is off putting. While the few select “microphone-hungry” individuals may feel enthusiastically involved, a greater number of devotees are likely to simply end up coasting and are less likely to actively participate in the kirtan.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Apr 24, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

Iskcon Need To Act With Massive Action Urgently!!!!

Our living breathing logo and trademark is Nama Sankirtan. If we are not willing to go out in public and chant the Holy Name every day, we are making a big mistake. We can’t expect to save the world without going out to the people and offering a clear and definite demonstration of faith. Srila Prabhupada asked us all to do it. It’s how he started his movement. It will work today. We have to go out immediately. Otherwise everyone is doomed.

» Posted By sarvopama dasa On Mar 15, 2011 @ 7:52 am

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