An Address to Vaishnava Preachers Who Travel to the West By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur

The happy day has come when we are destined to spread the message of our Great Master to distant corners of the earth. The spiritual service to which we are dedicated has now passed the bud-stage and blown fully into a flower whose aroma we have to carry across the seas with that willingness which characterized Shri Hanuman when he leapt over the wide ocean with the message of Shri Rama. This extension of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s spiritual gift to foreign countries is our humble offering at His Feet.

The back-bone of our Maths, Mahamahopadeshaka Acharyatrika Shrimad Kunjabehari Vidyabhusana, Bhaktisastri and those numerous servitors of the Maths, who are the propagators and helpers of his cementing methods with a single-hearted devotion to the cause, are the body, secondary limbs, weapons and associates of Shri Gaurasundar, being the bed-rock basis of the propaganda to all parts of the world. The Words of instruction of Shri Gaursundar are verily His beautiful body; the preachers of His Word through the ages are His secondary limbs; the teaching of Shri Gaurasundar is His potent weapon; and the Grace of Shri Hari Himself established in the Word of Shri Chaitanya, is His eternal associate. Therefore, for the purpose of truly presenting Shri Gaurasundar, the Lord of the Gaudiya, to the aliens, I am addressing these few words of mine to the preachers who are about to proceed to countries beyond India.

We find the following great precepts (Mahavakya) in the body of the Teaching that has been vouchsafed to us by the Supreme Master of all Masters: ‘To chant constantly the discourse of Hari by being (1) extremely more humble than the blade of grass, (2) by being as forbearing as the tree, (3) by seeking no honor for oneself and (4) by offering due honor to all entities, is the highest natural function of the unalloyed individual souls (jivas). The lotus-feet of my Shri Guru-deva attracted me to his service by his manifestation as the living embodiment of these four great precepts, My friends will be in a position to attract all souls of the world to the foot-stool or the Real Truth by purchasing the same unfailing method. read more

Sex—the Cause of Unlimited Suffering

“Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising from various attachments, none is greater than the suffering and bondage arising from attachment to women and intimate contact with those attached to women.” (SB 11.14.30)

Because the experience and urges of sex are so intense, and the syndrome of man/woman relationships surrounding it is so complex, it diverts the conditioned soul’s attention away from Krsna and deludes him more than any other trick of maya. Sometimes the foolish conditioned soul experiences great delight in enjoying sex; at other times he is frustrated and burns in the fire of lust. Or, when spurned by a lover, he suffers mental agony, sometimes so severe that he is driven to kill the loved one, or himself, or both.

The loss of a partner to whom one is intimately emotionally attached, by death or other means, leaves the remaining partner with a broken heart. And especially in our most abominably degraded modern society, thousands of people’s lives become shattered by having their bodies exploited, either forcefully or tactfully, by others. read more

How the #MeToo Movement Is Changing Western Society Krishna-kirti Dasa

In a special report on the #MeToo movement, in which women have been stepping forward en masse with allegations of sexual misconduct, NBC News reached out to 265 people ages 20 to 81 in the work force to better understand how the movement has reshaped their lives.

This is one of the responses:

I minimize my interaction with women now and under no circumstances will I be in a room alone with a woman again. . . . We have all been told by our corporate office to not have a man and a woman alone in any room, whether it is an office or a conference room. If a man and a woman have to have a conversation behind closed doors, we are now required to have a third person present, with a fourth being preferred. read more

The Vedanta: Its Morphology and Ontology by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur

All glory to Guru and Gauranga!

Dear Friends I stand before you as a teller. I am going to tell you now a few words more on the Vedanta and specially its ontological aspect, morphology being a former changeable part of the same. My telling craves a reciprocity of your listening to my sound through your aural reception. Sound is the main substratum of the Vedanta which deals with a subject unapproachable by our present crippled imperfect senses. The ear cannot work as a receptacle unless we are willing to admit a sound, and this admittance depends on our taste and previous experience. This prior experience invites affairs within the phenomenal range, but the Vedantic sounds have a different aim. So our reciprocal situation will crown our efforts with success.

Many of our friends pose themselves as knowers when they have a true taste for knowledge. To acquire such knowledge they utilize their senses to associate with the conception of objects and their components. These knowers claim a subjective position to consider the synthetic as well as analytic values of their determination. The objects before them are known as phenomena which serve to engage their attention to scrutinizing the knowledge of the causes and the laws of all phenomena by their empiric and intuitive reasonings. This is, in other words, philosophising the object by mental speculation. read more

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur on Christianity

Thinking about the virtues and faults of this world, some moralistic monotheists concluded that this material world is not a place of unalloyed pleasures. Indeed, the sufferings outweigh the pleasures. They decided that the material world is a prison to punish the living entities. If there is punishment, then there must be a crime. If there were no crime, then why would there be any punishment? What crime did the living entities commit? Unable to properly answer this question, some men of small intelligence gave birth to a very wild idea. God created the first man and placed him in a pleasant garden with his wife. Then God forbade the man to taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Following the evil counsel of a wicked being, the first man and woman tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge, thus disobeying God’s command. In this way they fell from that garden into the material world filled with sufferings. Because of their offense, all other living entities are offenders from the moment of their birth.

Not seeing any other way to remove this offense, God Himself took birth in a humanlike form, took on His own shoulders the sins of His followers, and then died.  All who follow Him easily attain liberation, and all who do not follow Him fall into an eternal hell. In this way God assumes a humanlike form, punishes Himself, and thus liberates the living entities. An intelligent person cannot make sense of any of this.

To accept this mixed-up religion one must first believe these rather implausible things: “The living entity’s life begins at birth and ends at death. Before birth the living entity did not exist, and after death the living entity will no longer stay in the world of material activities. Only human beings have souls. Other creatures do not have souls.” Only extremely unintelligent persons believe this religion. read more

The Glories of Sri Purusottama Month by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Akincana Staff

Two divisions of sastra—smarta and  paramartha

The Vedic arya-sastras are divided into two sections—smarta (literature based on smrti) andparamartha (transcendental literature based onsruti). Those who are eligible (adhikari) for thesmarta section do not have any natural inclination or taste for the paramartha-sastras. The thoughts, principles, activities and life goal of every human is constituted according to his respectiveruci (inclination). Generally, smartas accept those scriptures which are in accordance with their respective ruci. Having greater adhikara forsmarta-sastra, they do not demonstrate much regard for paramarthika-sastra. Providence is the agent behind the creation of these two divisions. Therefore, undoubtedly the maintainer of the world must have a hidden purpose in having made such an arrangement.
As far as I understand, the purpose is that the jivas sequentially make progress in their level of consciousness by remaining steadfast in their respective adhikara. By deviating from one’s adhikara, one falls down. According to one’s activities, a person attains two types of adhikara—karmadhikara and bhakti-adhikhara. As long as one maintains hiskarmadhikara, he derives benefit from the path shown by the smarta section. When he enters bhakti-adhikara, by transgressing the karmadhikara, then he develops a natural ruci (inclination) for the paramarthika, or transcendental, path. Therefore, providence has made these two divisions of sastra: smarta and paramartha.

The rules and regulations of smarta sastra are committed to karma

The smarta sastra has made various types of rules and regulations in order to help one attain nistha, steadfastness, in karmadhikara. In many instances, it even demonstrates indifference towards paramartha sastra to make people attain specific nistha in such rules and regulations. In reality, although sastra is one, it manifests in two ways for the people. If the jiva gives up adhikara-nistha, he can never attain auspiciousness. For this reason, the sastras have been divided into two: smarta and paramartha.

Adhimasa (extra month), also called mala masa (impure month), is devoid of all auspicious activities

By dividing the whole year in twelve parts, the smarta-sastras have ascertained the auspicious, or religious, activities for these twelve months. All the karma, religious activities which are part of the varnasrama system when allotted to the twelve months, leave the extra month (adhimasa) devoid of any such activity. There is no religious performance in adhimasa. In order to keep lunar months and solar months in tally, one month has to be excluded every 32 months. The name of that month is adhimasa(extra month).* Smartas have discarded this extra month, considering it abominable. They gave it names such as mala masa (impure month), cora masa (thieving month), and so on.
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* It is stated in Sri Surya Siddhanta that in one mahayuga there are 1,593,336 extra months and 51,840,000 solar months. Therefore, there is one extra month after every 32 months, 16 days and 4 hours of the solar calendar. read more

Sri Chenna-Keshava Gram Ram Aprameya Das

Updates of our project in Karnataka, South India
Sri Chenna-Keshava Gram
Monthly Report-Jan 2018
Summary

Our Spiritual master, Sripada Bhakti Vikasa Swami, has blessed our community with the name of Chenna-Keshava Gram. We are located some 20 kilometers near the famous Chenna-Keshava Temple of Belur, Karnataka, India. Chenna means good or nice.

Agriculture

In December 2017, we harvested, 25 quintals of paddy from 2 acres of land. This rice is now the main staple grain of our community. In the current season, on about 1.5 acres, we will be growing: read more

Story of Kaca Suhotra Swami

… and many times it is misunderstood that the ceremony is the culmination of the whole process. People think that when I am accepted into the group as a member, when I am recognized by formal ceremony, then I am saved and whatever I do after that doesn’t matter, because I’ve been recognized. But that is not so in the process of bhakti-yoga. Srila Prabupada said, “The initiation is actually internal.” The disciple accepts the spiritual master in his heart and this ceremony is to confirm that. This ceremony marks the beginning of an eternal relationship. Actually Srila Prabhupada said, “the first initiation, this hari-nama-diksa it’s called, is when the disciple accepts the spiritual master. And the second initiation, the brahmana-diksa, is when the spiritual master accepts the disciple. With the second initiation the spiritual master begins to reveal more confidential knowledge to the disciple. But the disciple must first of all prove himself worthy. The test may be very difficult.

In this initiation we give name to the disciple and he vows to chant sixteen rounds of Hare Krsna maha-mantra everyday, follow four regulative principles and to engage himself nicely in Krsna-seva, in service to Krsna. And the disciple can expect to be tested by material energy to see how determined he is in his wows. And if he passes this test, then the spiritual master will accept him. And in that second initiation, brahmana initiation, the spiritual master is agreeing to bring the disciple back home, back to Godhead.

In the Mahabharata there is a very instructive story illustrating how a disciple may be tested. This concerns a son of the priest of the demigods, or guru of the demigods, his name is Brhaspati, and his son’s name was Kaca. So there was a war going on between the demigods and the demons. And the demons’ guru whose name is Sukracarya, he had a very wonderful ability, very wonderful spiritual power, he was a master of a mystical art called mrtyu-sanjivati which means he could bring someone who had been killed back to life in the selfsame body. So in the war between the demigods and the demons naturally many demons in their army were killed, many demoniac soldiers met with their deaths. But Sukracarya would bring them all back to life and they would again enter into the battle. Of course on the other side, in the army of the demigods, there were also soldiers being killed, but Brhaspati, he did not had this power. read more