Female Diksha Guru — some considerations

There is a definite “push” for a female diksha guru in ISKCON that is the proverbial “elephant in the room”, as the title of the recent article on Dandavats.com by Devaki Mataji alluded to.

The eagerness of a section of devotees to see a female blessed as diksha guru in ISKCON posthaste is akin “affirmative action” in the USA, as well as the reservation system for the backward classes here in India.  Call it “social engineering”, if you want.  The mood is “let’s have a token woman diksha guru” to affirm that women are equal to men in ISKCON. 

This arises from the egalitarian outlook of modern Western society and the various equal rights movements so popular in the Western world, and is an ideology that runs contrary to Srila Prabhupadas’s teachings and the ancient culture he was eager to transplant from India, worldwide. read more

Srila Prabhupada Is Coming Marathon Day

After being on sankirtan for almost two years, the German devotees rented a big castle, Schloss Rettershof. With hardly any time for renovation, we got to know that soon Srila Prabhupada is arriving. For me it would be the first opportunity to see Him personally. Instantly we decided to welcome Him with an increased sankirtan effort. A (typical German) idea became prominent: “Let’s collect a new Mercedes car for Srila Prabhupada….in one day!”

And so a day was set where EVERYBODY went on sankirtan. German yatra operated at this time with a modest number of sankirtan vans already, filled with enthusiastic distributors. I knew instantly the town I wanted to be at that day. Dusseldorf was a town which offered an opportunity to distribute literary day and night. As the old town red light district was directly connected to the main shopping street, we simply switched after the closing hour of the shops and kept on distributing most of the night in conditions surely not exactly suitable for a brahmacary. I remember scenes where some of my older godbrothers dashed into the bars and distributed Bhagavad Gitas to all the drunkards present.(Not to be imitated). I received donations on the street from ladies of not exactly representative appearance. (Not to be imitated either).We simply didn’t care. I saw devotees becoming in middle of the night so ecstatic that they started to grab people coming out of the bars and dance with them in the streets while chanting Hare Krsna.

I totally forgot my regular distribution mantra, simply telling people in most excited way, “He is coming! He is coming!” I got donations without even distributing any book. Some people cried. Nobody asked who is coming as nobody knew what is really going on. The image of Srila Prabhupada soon arriving took completely over our minds as we run from one drunkard to another. read more

Glories & Importance Of Srila Prabhupada’s Books

As from wood, fire can be manifested, or as butter can be churned out of milk, so also the presence of the Lord as Paramatma can be felt by the process of legitimate hearing and chanting of the transcendental subjects which are especially treated in the Vedic literatures like the Upanisads and Vedanta. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the bona fide explanation of these Vedic literatures. The Lord can be realized through the aural reception of the transcendental message, and that is the only way to experience the transcendental subject. As fire is kindled from wood by another fire, the divine consciousness of man can similarly be kindled by another divine grace. His Divine Grace the spiritual master can kindle the spiritual fire from the woodlike living entity by imparting proper spiritual messages injected through the receptive ear. Therefore one is required to approach the proper spiritual master with receptive ears only, and thus divine existence is gradually realized. The difference between animality and humanity lies in this process only. A human being can hear properly, whereas an animal cannot. (SB 1.2.32)

“The teachings presented in this book are nondifferent from the Lord,” Prabhupada writes in the preface to Teachings of Lord Caitanya.

Srimad-Bhagavatam is essential for the serious candidate who wants to attain the stage of Bhismadeva at the end. The unique situation of Bhisma can be attained at the time of death even though Lord Krsna may not be personally present. His words of the Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam are identical with the Lord. They are sound incarnations. . . . [Of nine items, the first item, hearing (sravanam), is the most important of all.]” (Bhag. 1.9.43, purport) read more

The Rainy Day

I still remember that small town in middle of Germany where we parked our car. The town was indeed very small and on top of that we had already days and days of rain pouring down on our water soaked books and bodies.

Getting sick, I chanted in the hotel my rounds in a dizzy type of condition, trying to get my feverish mind under control. Finally arriving in the middle of the town I watched the devotees getting out of the car, with great roar and determination once again ready to push Srila Prabhupadas books into the laps of the stubborn and obstinate (German:-) conditioned souls.

I decided to stay back for little while, hoping that the fever will somewhat be reduced during the day. But after few minutes sitting in an empty cold van, I could see the first karmis passing by the condensate water covered windows of the car I was imprisoned in. The sight became intolerable. read more

The Prabhupada Marathon

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur used to say, “The only lack in society is Krsna consciousness.” Krishna consciousness is the greatest need everywhere, and there is no better place to get it than from Srila Prabhupada’s books. This is why part-time and fulltime distributors – and devotees who never distributed books — will increase or start their service of book distribution all over the world during the Prabhupada Marathon in December.

In a lecture that Srila Prabhupada gave, while speaking about the importance of preaching, he said, “Krsna is feeling a little pain; therefore yada yada hi dharmasya.” He feels pain, knowing that His parts and parcels are suffering, and therefore He comes to help us.

Recently, a medical magazine stated, “Stress is the Black Plague of the 21st century.” I’ve had students almost in tears in front of me, because they’re under so much stress. We have no idea how much people are suffering. If we don’t help them, who will? No one else is giving pure knowledge of the soul, of God, and of the process that will bring the soul and Krsna into a loving relationship. We have a treasure house of knowledge, and Lord Caitanya is the one who came and broke open the storehouse of love of God. read more

The Vedic Root of the Western Religious Tradition

In any standard religion, including the great faiths of the West, elements of karma, jnana and bhakti can be found. When these three are not kept separate but are allowed to commingle, that is called viddha-bhakti, polluted devotion. The viddha-bhaktas worship God—unquestionably an act of devotion—but the goal of their worship is influenced by the karmi and jnani ideals of salvation: “heaven” and “liberation.” On the path of suddha-bhakti, pure devotion, these imperfect goals drop away.1

anyabhilasita-sunyam

jnana-karmady-anavrtam read more

Love versus Lust

I never promised you a rose garden. –Joe South. In the material world, especially among young girls, the hope prevails that marriage will be a pleasurable affair and that the pleasure will never end.  “Happily ever after” is a favorite phrase at the end of practically every romantic fairy tale.  The reality is, however, that although pleasures exist in married life, those pleasures are intermittent and short-lived.  Because this is the world of dualities, the pleasures of married life are offset by pain.  This is the arrangement of the all-merciful Lord.

Such pain manifests in different forms.  Besides the pains of old age, disease and death, most couples have children.  Thus, not only the woman but also the man experiences the pain of childbirth.  The woman directly experiences the discomforts of pregnancy, labor and delivery, while the man experiences the lifelong responsibility of having to figure out how to provide for, protect, and educate his child(ren).  Father and mother also both experience anxiety on behalf of their children when the children suffer, and suffer they must.  This world is a place of suffering: dukhalayam asasvatam.  Man and wife also experience the pain of being misunderstood by each other (married life is fraught with misunderstandings because man and woman think, feel and communicate differently), the pain of being falsely accused, the pain of embarrassment at having disappointed one’s spouse, or feeling the pain of our spouse when he or she is unhappy or frustrated, sick or hurt.  

There is usually a strong sexual attraction between husband and wife in the beginning of their marriage which tends to cover over the couple’s perception of the fact that life in the material world is miserable.  This intensity of attraction for each other can be misperceived as love, but it is actually a form of lust.  Aspiring Vaisnavas who enter into marriage generally experience this strong sexual attraction for their spouse, just as non-Vaisnavas do.  Even though Vaisnavas are philosophically aware that they are not their bodies, that marriage is ultimately meant for giving up sex, that sex is meant only for procreation and that Krsna, not our spouse, is the ultimate object of adoration, still, when aspiring devotees are newly married, they usually experience this intense feeling of attraction for one another. read more