FALL DOWN – Where have we fallen from?

This essay was originally an answer of Suhotra Swami to a question about the “fairness” of our fall down to the material world.

First of all we strongly suggest those who have a specific interest in the falldown of the spirit soul from the spiritual world to acquire the book entitled “Our Original Position”, which is available from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. It is a very elaborate treatment with much quotation from sastra. read more

WHEN WOMEN SHOULD BE ATTACKED

No civilization can actually be considered civilized unless it protects its weaker sections, especially the cows, brahmanas, women, children, and elderly members. In Vedic society, as in any civilized culture, women must be protected as they are physically weak and are easily misled.

Srila Prabhupada said in a lecture:

“According to Vedic culture, first protection — to the cows, to the women, to the brahmanas, to the children, and to the old man. This is the first business of the government, to give protection. Practically, there is no criminal charge against them — against a brahmana, against a woman, a child. Suppose a child steals something. Who is going to prosecute him? It is not taken very seriously.” read more

DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF SRILA PRABHUPADA’S TEACHINGS

GBC Resolution #313 – Harmonizing our Preaching Efforts

Whereas the GBC Body accepts that many different understandings of the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and sastra, and many different understandings of what constitutes effective preaching, exist amongst ISKCON devotees, and this, in general, is a healthy situation;

Whereas when one ISKCON devotee’s preaching efforts, however well-meaning, are seen to work at cross purposes with the preaching efforts of others, it is the responsibility of ISKCON’s leadership to step in and take regulative action that it considers will be most favorable for the fulfillment of the objectives of ISKCON; read more

LEADING WITH SHASTRA

Dear prabhu, while you are an historic devotee who has done tremendous service for Srila Prabhupada, the way you understand and explain spiritual subjects is not the way that Srila Prabhupada told us to understand them. If we consider the way Srila Prabhupada himself explained them, whether in his books or lectures especially, he lead with shastra; only seldom did he quote his own Guru Maharaja. But most of us don’t do that. In these debates we tend to either quote Srila Prabhupada at length or quote from our own experience of him and seldom quote from shastra. And there are many reasons why this leads to innumerable misunderstandings.

Consider the case when we happen to speak with devotees who do not belong to our sampradaya. For example, Sri Vaishnavas. When we discuss spiritual subjects with them, we don’t quote Srila Prabhupada at length, we quote shastra at length and then may sometimes add the support of our acharya, Srila Prabhupada. Otherwise, they will not accept what we say, even if it is right. And we can’t blame them for that. We would do the same if they started bashing us over the head with quotes from whomever their current acharya is.

So the first point here is that when we lead with shastra, then that evidence has wide authority, more so than any other kind of evidence. Srila Prabhupada wanted to present the teachings of Lord Krishna in the most authoritative way, which is why he placed so much emphasis on shastra in his own presentations. read more

Where Do the Fallen Souls Fall From?

When we hear that we live in this material world because we are “fallen souls,” it’s natural for us to ask, “Where have we fallen from?”

Srila Prabhupada says that as living souls we are all originally Krishna conscious. But what does that mean? Were we all originally with Krishna in the spiritual world? And if so, how could we ever have fallen? InBhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says, “Once you attain to that spiritual world, you never fall.” So how then could we have fallen from there to begin with?

Some have tried to work around this problem by suggesting a different idea: We fell not from Krishna’s personal abode but from the brahmajyoti, the effulgent light that surrounds it. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, yogis who seek the impersonal aspect of the Supreme may merge into that effulgent light—only to fall back later to the material world. Perhaps, then, we originally fell from the brahmajyoti. read more

Krsna’s sweetness

I remember, one year I was with Sacinandana Maharaj and a whole group of devotees on a boat, sailing in Danish waters. Maharaj gave this seminar about Krsna’s sweetness. It was all about Krsna being so sweet, looks so sweet… and this sweet and that sweet… and at one point, it just got too sweet for me.

Having a bad character and being not sweet myself, when things get too sweet, I cannot handle the sweetness. So, I spoke after Maharaj and I said, “Well, I very much appreciate the presentation of Sacinandana Maharaj but I have one little question. Why is it that in the Middle Ages, one third of the world population died of the Black plague? Why is that just a decade ago, in three days, five million people were killed in Rwanda? In one night in Bangladesh, five hundred thousand people drowned? Where is your sweet Krsna in the middle of all that? Is that sweet also?“

So I asked him, how is Krsna so sweet? I remember that he rolled-up the sleeves of his sweater and he even loosened his scarf. He was getting serious and philosophically explained how even this is sweet, bitter sweet! Because ultimately, the sweetness of Krsna means that Krsna will leave no stone unturned. Krsna is not a passive Lord who is just seated on a throne, accepting our offerings – another golden plate with beautiful fruits, “Bless, bless…” No. That is not Krsna. Krsna is the one who, out of his sweetness, is destroying our material life. As death he destroys everything. He acts as a destroyer – very sweet. Simply because Krsna cannot wait. read more

Are there different sizes of infinity?

In the Purusha Sukta1.3-4 from Rig Veda 10.90 [1] it states that the material creation of the Lord is only one quarter of the total creation while the remaining three quarters is the spiritual sky.

 etavanasya mahima-ato jyayash-ca purushah 

pado-asya vishva bhutani tri-pad-asya-amrtam divi read more

Impersonalism and Krishna West

Both of these statements are from Hridayananda Goswami: “It’s like a rite of passage, a test of your faith and love, that you don’t care what the public thinks,” Resnick said. “If we go out in the street, it’s like Vedic Cirque du Soleil. People love it. They take pictures. But how many Americans want to join the circus?”[1]

“Then of course there’s the argument about uniforms. And what I say is the general advantage of a uniform does not necessarily justify a specific uniform. It’s like what if for example a policeman instead of wearing these sort of like really cool pants and shirts and everything, what if they wore mini-skirts, or what if they wore clown costumes? You could say, “Well it’s a uniform.” What if police wore clown costumes so if you saw someone dressed as a clown on the street you know, “That’s a policeman. So, I need a policeman. Look for someone in a clown costume.” It’s not just the general idea of wearing a uniform, it’s wearing something that people feel comfortable with, they can relate to, and it totally connects with them.” [2]

The first is from a recently published article on the Krishna West project, and the second is from a lecture he gave at the ISKCON temple in Hawaii in 2011. It is clear he thinks devotees who dress in dhotis and saris and chant Hare Krishna on the streets of cities all over the world are “clowns” and part of a “circus.” read more

HUSBAND AS GURU – HOW ABOUT SRILA PRABHUPADA AS GURU?

The article “Husband as Guru” presents much of what could be considered common-sense advice for husbands struggling to come to the human platform. However, some grave faults mar what otherwise might in some contexts have been valuable suggestions.

By predicting “that some men will not agree with me (although I doubt any woman will disagree)” the author anticipatingly dismisses any opposition from males as being mere chauvinism. I am currently imprisoned in a male body, but it is not on such flimsy grounds that I perceive significant blemishes in what he calls his “illumination.”

The author constructs his thesis on a series of assertions (for instance, that “we have a higher divorce rate in ISKCON than in the outside society”) for which he submits no evidence.  Presumably the reader is supposed to accept everything he says just because he says it. However, no serious scholar in any field would give credence to a series of opinions built on unsubstantiated pronouncements. Such is the stuff of cultism and propaganda, not intelligent journalism. read more

Philosophy, Rules, and Krishna West

Dear Devotees, please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. A senior Krishna West preacher has written,

“The statistics paint a very different picture, on the contrary: the large majority of disciples of Hridayananda Maharaja have in fact not rejected their guru and instead continue to derive inspiration in their Krishna Consciousness from him. . . . . Aside from the above consideration, the question is how does one define the state of being “fallen.” How many times does Prabhupada claim that if one chants sixteen rounds and follows the four regulative principles, one is precisely *not* fallen?”1

In 1987, when Kirtanananda Swami was excommunicated from ISKCON, a majority of his disciples followed him. Yet no one at the time accused him of (or believed) that he was breaking the four regulative principles or not chanting his 16 rounds. Indeed, there is no mention of any of this in the 1987 resolution that expelled him from ISKCON: http://gbc.iskcon.org/2012/02/03/1987/ read more