Why We Should NOT Implement Female Diksha Gurus in ISKCON

Recently there was a meeting in Tirupati, India by the GBC on whether to allow female bodied devotees to become initiating Gurus in ISKCON. This question had come up twice before in the last few years and there was a lot of debate about it and so it didn’t go ahead. This time it seems to have been more or less decided to implement it although there was a mention of another final session on it in Mayapur this January.

I was very happy to see leaders of the Indian Yatras jointly stating their complete opposition to this strange idea, in the form of a resolution which they also submitted to the Sampradaya Sun website sometime last week. What I found particularly enlivening was the word ‘Varnasram’, which I saw occurred in the document. This for me is probably the first time that I saw a mention of this aspect of our mission on any GBC level document.

For anyone regularly hearing Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and reading his books with a submissive mood this idea seems so far-fetched from the direction that we are supposed to be going. I say submissive because there is now a class of devotees in ISKCON who read Srila Prabhupada’s books and hear the lectures with the idea that some of what he says is wrong and needs to be corrected and edited. That is extremely offensive and thus cannot lead to any spiritual advancement. read more

Ramayana Book in Kannada

The timeless wisdom and teachings of the all-time classical epic “Ramayana” has been the beacon light to the lives of billions. The historical narration of the divine life of Lord Sri Ramachandra touches every aspect of life and has guided people to endure challenges of life successfully.
Originally born in Britain, His Holiness Bhakti Vikas Swami was attracted towards scriptures from an early age. After coming in touch with ISKCON Founder Acharya His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhakti Vikas Swami decided to dedicate his life for propagating Krishna Consciousness. The different books which Swamiji has written have been translated to various languages and widely distributed throughout the world.
HH Bhaki Vikas Swami has presented “Ramayana” in simple and lucid english. Seeing the need for this book in Kannada, a team of devotees have translated and published “Valmiki Ramayana” in Kannada. 

The launch of this book is scheduled on 14th December, 2014 Sunday at 9:30 am at the well known Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Mini Hall, 16th cross, Vyalikaval, Bangalore.
Learned scholar Sri Tatacharya from Melukote, famous astrologer Sri S.K.Jain and Chairman of MCA, Karnataka Government, Sri M.S.Murthy and other dignitaries will grace the occasion.
The organizers request all the readers to please attend the enlightening program and benefit from it.
To get your copy of Kannada Ramayana, please contact 9740928296 / 9986074691 or SMS KANR to 542423

This Event Has Been organized by the Devotees of ISKCON Seshadripuram, Bangalore.
We humbly Request devotees to contribute towards our new temple project to help expand our activities to all parts of the city. Please Visit http://iskconbangalore.co.in/securepage/ to contribute now!

FEMALE DIKSHA GURU PROPOSAL

Whereas, the body of ISKCON India leaders aka IIAC has taken cognizance of the continuing discussion by the GBC on the issue of female diksha gurus, specifically the recent discussions that took place at Tirupati as reported to us by our GBCs for India, as well as by Anuttama Prabhu’s letter that appeared on Dandavats.com.

Whereas, this body, earlier the IRGB, had expressed it’s serious concern to the GBC regarding their resolutions of 2005 and 2009 calling for female diksha gurus and called for further discussion and dialogue on the issue,

Whereas, this body would like to convey to the GBC body that instituting female diksha gurus would be contrary to Srila Prabhupada’s oft expressed desire to institute varnashram dharma, 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

RECONCILING SEEMINGLY OUTRAGEOUS FIGURES

Some of the numbers given in Vedic literatures seem too fantastic to be true. For example, the forty-first verse of chapter ninety of the tenth canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam states:

tasraḥ koṭyaḥ sahasrāṇām aṣṭāśīti-śatāni ca
āsan yadu-kulācāryāḥ kumārāṇām iti śrutam

[In Dwarka] the Yadu family [had so many children] that they employed 38,800,000 teachers to educate them. read more

Reflections on Vaisnavi-dharma

I recently took up the study of Bhakti-Sastri under the instruction of my spiritual master. Living in Azerbaijan, the best option seemed to be to do it online, as various courses are available nowadays via the internet. I signed up with Bhaktivedanta College (Radhadesh), for a module of their online Bhakti-Sastri course.

The module on the Bhagavad-gita was being taught and facilitated by a mataji. Although within me I felt some doubts about accepting tuition from a mataji, I decided to proceed with applying for the course as I assumed that it was standard in ISKCON nowadays for matajis to act in such roles and I considered that the Bhaktivedanta College had a good reputation. I have nothing against women, but put my faith in Krishna knowing what is the best way to organize society and giving appropriate roles for various members of society.

I later became aware that not just one, but all of the Bhakti-Sastri modules on the course at the Radhadesh Bhaktivedanta College were going to be taught by matajis (reference: http://bcoc.bhaktivedantacollege.com/course/index.php?categoryid=12) – Why no male teacher for men? What impression does this give to devotees and people in general? Surely the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita is transcendental, but what about the practical application of the culture of the Bhagavad-gita?   read more

The Impossible Dream: Don’t Bet on It

They were ordinary folks: he a 59-year-old retired steelworker, she a night waitress in a cheap restaurant for 36 years. They lived in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, in their mobile home, enjoying the seashore and an occasional visit from their granddaughter, Michelle. Then, last July 22, they became celebrities: Nicholas and Marvein Jorich hit the jackpot in the Pennsylvania State Lottery and were more than $8.8 million richer.

“I’ve dreamed of this for 36 years!” exclaimed Mr. Jorich. (That’s how long he’s been married, and how long he worked in the steel mill.)

Of course, he won’t get all the money right away. After taxes, he’ll net about $336,000 a year for 21 years—if he lives that long. Still, the Jorichs’ bonanza has given a lot of other ordinary folks something to dream about. The lines are much longer now at the lottery windows throughout the state, and the Bureau of State Lotteries couldn’t be happier. read more

Astrology

(This is the first of a series of essays meant for eventual publication in a book about Vaiṣṇava culture and etiquette.)

Astrology (jyotiṣa) is described as “the eye of the Vedas.” It (the Vedic version, not the Western type) is a bona fide science considered essential in Vedic society, so much so that even the Supreme Lord, although beyond all astrological considerations, nonetheless adheres to them while performing His human-like pastimes. For example:

The supremely auspicious Lord then married Kālindī on a day when the season, the lunar asterism, and the configurations of the sun and other heavenly bodies were all propitious.[i] read more

Talking Down Varnasrama – 2

While Anuttama Prabhu directly shows his aversion to varnasrama, Nityananda Prabhu, North American GBC and Dallas Temple President, is more nuanced in his approach. While he acknowledges that at some unspecified time in the future, intelligent devotees will introduce varnasrama, he makes a case to keep the status quo. He has a chart which he uses in leadership seminars for non-devotees, showing nine levels of people in general, and he classifies them into three groups. The first group from levels one to four fall under Sense objects, senses, mind and intelligence. The second group is the fifth level, consciousness. The third group are from levels six to nine, Soul, Brahman, Supersoul and Supreme Absolute Truth. He uses this chart to state his case. Key quotes by Nityananda Das, “as he said it,” are found at the end of this article.

He sort of speaks in circles, repeats without getting to a direct point about where devotees stand on this chart. But his idea is that the materialists are from levels one to four and upwards from that are devotees. His vision is to bring the consciousness of the materialists to the mode of goodness using modern techniques such as his leadership seminars to non-devotees.

I disagree with his view that because we engage in ninth level or transcendental activities, we are on the ninth level and transcendental, and therefore we do not need those traditional trappings such as that which would be found in varnasrama. So he pushes devotees right up there, not considering that most of us are still struggling with the senses and trying to control the mind. read more

Baladeva Vidyabhusana Project Update and Visvanatha Cakravarti’s “Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika”

In my last expeditions, besides finding several manuscripts of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, I have also found a Sanskrit manuscript signed by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti called “Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika.” The author begins by corroborating the affiliation of the Gaudiya sampradaya with the Madhva sampradaya and then proceeds to describe the identities of Lord Caitanya’s associates in Krsna-lila. This is yet another work which corroborates the Gaudiya-Madhva link and dismisses the misconception that it was Vidyabhusana’s innovation. For many decades, Gaudiya authors like Radha-Govindanatha, Puri dasa, Sundarananda Vidyavinoda, Kanai Lal Adhikari, Shyam Lal Hakin, and others actively engaged in propaganda against Baladeva Vidyabhusana and the link with the Madhva sampradaya. Although a few attempts have been made to answer to their baseless allegations, some followers of the above mentioned authors keep on perpetrating their heresies. The time has come to expose them and show even further evidence that the guru-parampara presented by Vidyabhusana is accurate. Recently I also came across manuscripts of Srila Rasikananda’s “Bhagavatastakam” and a commentary written by Sri Bhajananandadeva Gosvami, who belonged to the fourth generation of Rasikananda’s descendants and was one of the Mahantas of the Syamanandi parivara in Gopivallabhpur during Vidyabhusana’s life time. I have rendered both the original and the commentary into English and will post them online shortly. Despite a busy schedule and extensive travelling, I have also translated Vidyabhusana’s “Tattva-dipika” and Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s “Viveka-satakam,” which at present are under revision. In sequence, other unpublished manuscripts will be given attention. As previously promised, I have uploaded several old editions of Vidyabhusana’s books. So far at least one or two editions are uploaded, either in Devanagari or in Bengali script, and gradually the other editions will also be available for free here .

The Baladeva Vidyabhusana Project is now three years old and remains mostly an independent and single handed effort to accomplish the following objectives:

1. Search for lost manuscripts. (Such as the commentaries on nine Upanisads, Srimad Bhagavatam, etc.) read more