On ignoring the instructions of His Divine Grace

Once, on Second Avenue, Srila Prabhupada was quoted as saying; “They don’t really understand what I’m saying. If they really understood, they would kill me.” (‘Vrindaban Days: Memories of an Indian Holy Town’, by Hayagriva Swami). Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON with great spiritual ambitions. “If all my disciples would fully cooperate with me, then we could take over the whole world in eighteen days”, he said. Srila Prabhupada envisioned, that by the mercy of his guru and the whole ‘parampara’, ISKCON would fulfill the prediction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that Krsna’s Holy name would be spread all over the world in every town and village. In order to achieve this Srila Prabhupada preached very vigorously attacking all the pillars of the sinful demoniac civilization.

In order to show the spotlessness of the Krsna conscious philosophy and lifestyle Srila Prabhupada had to show all materialists that their illicit sex, slaughtering cows and other animals, intoxication, gambling and all their views of science, religion, sociology, psychology, political systems, economy etc. are completely wrong and based on very demoniac structures. Thus everything that sinful materialists stood for and were proud of was challenged and exposed by him. It was and is clear that if the mass of people accepted Krsna consciousness then all demoniac plans would be ruined. This threat was felt by some during Srila Prabhupada’s time and it is no doubt more obvious these days when thousands and thousands of people all over the world are committing themselves to the practice of Krsna consciousness.

In the beginning, ISKCON was mostly understood as something exotic and the devotees’ lifestyle of a strict sanctified vegetarian diet, celibacy, their dress, chanting, beliefs and worship of Krsna was considered as something very extraordinary. But after more than 40 years of ISKCON’s existence literally millions of Srila Prabhupada’s books have been distributed and no doubt these books are influencing people’s ways of thinking. Nowadays, thousands of people are giving up meat eating and are interested in following a more healthy lifestyle, thousands of people are searching for higher spiritual values, changing their attitude towards nature’s exploitation, lessening their consumerism and many people’s faith in the major established religions, modern science, politicians, pharmaceutical industry, banking system, democratic bombing of Islamic countries, TV, press and other media, in other words, their faith in the whole materialistic system is weakening day by day. All these social changes are surely not playing in the cards of those who want to control and exploit them. read more

Where The Ritvik People Are Right

From guru sadhu and shastra, it’s easy to see where the ritvik people are wrong. Their theories are supported by matchsticks and held together with Scotch tape. They tell us what Srila Prabhupada “must have” intended, not what he clearly and repeatedly said. In short, they are speculating, and their speculations are defective.

But what concerns me at this point is not where they’re wrong but where they’re right. What is it they see about ISKCON’s present way of doing things that makes them want to go in for even such a poor alternative as the ritvik one?

Some are just “sour grapes.” They have rendered themselves unfit to serve as gurus, and now that they can’t be gurus, no one can. read more

Pope Francis says atheists can be good!

Want more stunning symptoms of how confused the religious leaders are in Kali Yuga! Read on…Pope Francis says atheists can be good! Just do good, and we’ll find a meeting point, says Francis in marked departure from Benedict’s line on non-Catholics. Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis has said in his latest urging that people of all religions, and none, work together.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning mass at his residence, a daily event at which he speaks without prepared comments. He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.

“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said. read more

Is Writing Books Offensive?

Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.3, Salem, 5th June 2006

That very ancient science of the relationship of the supreme is today told by me to you because you are my devotee as well as my friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science. 

Purport read more

FALSE INTERPRETATIONS A Reply to a Christian Scholar's Criticisms

Arild Romarheim, lecturer at the Menighetfakultetet  (the conservative Lutheran congregational faculty) in Oslo has revealed a surprisingly unscholarly attitude toward the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita in his book Krishna, Buddha, Allah eller Christ (“Krishna, Buddha, Allah or Christ”, Oslo Luther, 1974)

Of course, it must be taken for granted that Mr. Romarheim, being a Christian theologian, will naturally be sceptical towards faiths other than his own, but we find his very superficial arguments against the teachings of Krishna to be unworthy of a man in a respectable academic position. In fact, his explanation of Krishna-bhakti (the religion of devotion to Krishna) is so full of mistakes and misinformation that it is hardly worth attempting a comprehensive reply to it.  But we can focus on some of his more serious errors in order to show that he is eminently unqualified to offer any opinion whatsoever on this subject.

We do not agree with Mr. Romarheim that the origin of Krishna-bhakti is Hinduism.  While it is true that the term  “Hinduism” is very commonly accepted in both the West and India, it is unscholarly and uncharitable.  The word “Hindu” is not of Indian origin at all.  It came from the Islamic Persians, and referred to the Sindh province of old India beyond the eastern borders of Persia.  When, during the Middle Ages, Islamic invaders crossed these borders in search of conquest, they called the Indian people Hindus, and their land Hindustan (the place where Hindus dwell). Because the zealous Muslims considered the Indians to be heathen idolators, this word “Hindu” had very derogatory implications.  Still today in the Persian language the word “Hindu” is synonymous with “thief.” read more

Anything Can Happen At Any Time

Back in the 1980s we’d work the Kennedy Space Center, where the shuttle spacecraft launches from, using ice breakers and Easy Journey to Other Planets and Coming Back. 

When we were negotiating where we could distribute with the authorities, it was going back and forth for a long time and finally they just said,”Would you be satisfied if we just gave you the whole parking lot?”

Of course, we agreed and our first day out we found out it was monitored by parking attendants, who kept cars going to the next open spot, which was great for us. One day, the next car that pulled in was a brand new, full-size Mercedes Benz sedan.  read more

The Need of vision

Q: In order to motivate devotees,we need visions for the future. What should these visions be?

A: Questions of this sort provoke compassion. They are embarrassing. How can anybody who is a follower of Srila Prabhupada inquire what kind of vision he should have?

Srila Prabhupada gave us all the visions we need. Our part is to follow. Anybody trying to follow in Srila Prabhupada’s lotus footsteps will soon realize…they are truly big. As matter of fact they are so big that we may get sometimes confused, realizing our inability to accommodate the visions Srila Prabhupada had. read more

The Need For Protection Of The Women In Society

Even in a society which freely allows men to take more than one wife legally, not all men will do so. Rather, only a few should and only a few do. Two factors weigh most in this regard. The qualification of the men, and the number of women in society in need of protection. There are two types of men who are qualified to take more then one wife. One are those who are very wealthy and can financially take many wives, as in the case of kings or very wealthy businessmen. The other are those who are qualified in the spiritual sense, the brahmincal sages, who are able to lead their dependents out of the cycle of birth and death. A Vaishnava who can take his dependents to the Lotus Feet of Sri Krsna is qualified to take on a larger number of dependents, if he so desires. But, he must also be able to maintain his wife or wives to the standard of his ashram. At least the wives must not be forced to work out side the home, working as sudras or servants of others, they must have food, shelter and clothes, at least to the standard of the ashram of the husband. Not that if a brahmana marries more then one wife the wives must be cared for to the standard of ksatriya queens. Brahmana may live very simply, still, each wife must be taken care of respectfully and not be in want of basic needs.

Brahmanas, especially Vaishnava Brahmanas, are generally not at all wealthy, so if they take more than one wife, they generally can take only 2 or 3 wives or so. More worldly men who have great wealth can materially accommodate a large number of wives and offspring. It was not uncommon for kings to take a 100 wives or even 100’s.

The society benefits when a wealthy man takes many wives, and also so do the wives. These women will be materially well taken care of in this life. The society benefits because these women be protected from falling into a life of illicit sex and prostitution, which keeps society focused in the mood of mundane goodness. The children these women will have will be provided for. They will be wanted children, and come into a loving and caring environment. read more

Science – The river Ganges

The river Ganges, flowing from the heartland of the Himalayas across the plains of northern India, provides numerous places of pilgrimage for India’s religious population. Indeed, one can become ‘purified’ by a mere dip in her waters. Of equal sanctity are the cows that roam freely, grazing by her banks. They are considered pure in all respects; even their dung and urine are valued for their prophylactic quality. Householders living on the gangetic planes since ancient times have worshipped the Ganges and the cows, but when the British became rulers they viewed such Hindu traditions with  skepticism. Yet much to their surprise they found that only Ganges water remained potable during the six-week ocean passage from India to Britain. Equally astonishing were the powers of the cow wastes: the stool, spread in a thin layer across the floor of a home and allowed to dry, formed a powdery ‘carpet’ on which no fly or unwanted pest would land; while the cow’s urine was a cure for various dangerous diseases. Though they were not induced to acknowledge it, India’s new rulers found some of her ancient religious belief suprisingly scientific. It would have been no surprise to an enlighten thinker like Albert Einstein who once remarked, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” [Out of My Later Years, 1956, p.26]

            Just how do scientific explanations compare to religious explanations? Are these conflicting approaches to the same subject matter, or complementary approaches to distinct subject matters? Can scientific explanations and religious beliefs be reconciled? Let us take the help of Michael Peterson, et al in Chapter Eleven of Reason and Religious Belief as we compare and contrast the views that science and religion are in conflict, are compartmentalized, or are complementary. Afterwards we shall examine the so-called split between the natural sciences and the social sciences (sometimes called the “human sciences”), and discern what bearing, if any, this debate has on religion. Finally, we shall investigate the science/religion dialectic from the Vedic world-view perspective.

            Defining and distinguishing branches of intellectual activity such as science and religion falls in the realm of philosophy. Intellectual disciplines can be analyzed according to certain general features: their objects, aims, and methods. When there is a similarity in the evaluation of religion and science according to these three, the potential for conflict arises. read more