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

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

Brooklyn: Ramabhadra Dasa sues in Court to have temple sale approved.

Attorney General’s Office asks Court to reject the deal. A Brooklyn courtroom was filled with Krishna devotees this past Wednesday for a hearing on a petition asking the Court to allow the Brooklyn Hare Krishna temple to be sold. The petition was filed by Ramabhadra Dasa, the former president of ISKCON Brooklyn. New York Assistant Attorney General Abigail Young appeared in court to oppose the petition, as did attorneys for the ISKCON GBC, for a renewed, GBC-supported temple board, and for members of the congregation.

For the sale of a place of worship, the State of New York requires Court approval. Typically, the seller first seeks approval from the State’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG). If the OAG approves, the Court it likely to approve as well. But on September 26 the OAG notified Ramabhadra that after nearly two years of back and forth, it had declined, once and for all, his request for OAG approval. If you want to pursue the sale, the OAG told him, you will have to take your request to the Court. That is what Ramabhadra chose to do. In late October he filed his petition with the Court, asking approval for the proposed sale.

On Wednesday the attorneys for the GBC and for members of the congregation filed with the Court their responses, outlining their many reasons why permission for the sale should be denied. Some fifty or more New York devotees packed into the courtroom to show support for keeping the temple in its present location. Advocating the sale, only four now-removed members of the temple board showed up: Ramabhadra Dasa, Adi Deva Dasa, and their wives. (They were accompanied by two lawyers.) read more

Life of Ramanujacarya

Ramanuja is well-known as the great philosopher and acarya of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya. However, it should not be misunderstood that he was the founder of the Sri Vaishnavas. Originally started by Laksmidevi Herself, the Sri sampradaya contained many exalted devotees prior to Ramanuja’s appearance to whom he admits his debt in his writings. In their expressions of devotion to the Supreme Lord, all South Indian devotees were influenced by the nine Alvars, who lived several hundred years before the birth of Ramanuja. Despite some minor philosophical differences, it is plain that the themes of devotion and surrender to God, which are essential to Ramanuja’s teachings, are based to a large extent on the writings of the Alvars.

Life of Ramanujacarya book

PREACHING IN USSR 1980-81

In 1980-81 I was living in Calcutta, which at that time was ruled by Jyoti Basu’s communist government. Even our next-door neighbor was the Polish embassy and down the street was the Soviet embassy (the temple was in the diplomatic section of town). Though Calcutta temple was far from Moscow we were part of a team that was using every possible means that we could think of to infiltrate the USSR with Krsna Consciousness.

How? Devotees like Kirtiraja Prabhu, would smuggle phone directories of major cities out of the USSR and send them to Calcutta (not sure if other temples were involved). Then under Adridharana Prabhu’s leadership we would take addresses from the phone directories and put them on envelopes containing a Russian translation of Prabhupada’s introduction to the Bhagavad-gita. Then we would take these many thousands of  “time bombs” and mail them to the USSR from many different Indian cities so that the KGB and their Indian collaborators could not figure out the source. Because India and the USSR were close allies, letters from India would not be scrutinized so closely if at all, but if thousands of letters had suddenly come from a Western country suspicions would be aroused.

Admittedly we were using a scatter-gun approach and had no idea who we were sending them to. The letter could end up at the home of pious person or the head of the KGB, we just didn’t know. Nor did we know if our endeavor was having any effect. 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

Is India the Rape Capital of the World?

Even before but more so after the sensational Nirbhaya gang-rape case of December 2012 India has been portrayed as the rape capital of the world where violence against women is enshrined. But what do the numbers tell us?

Other countries in fact have much higher rates of rape than India, but the media for their own reasons sensationalize the ones in India – more on that later. According to this “country-by-country rape statistics”[1] India has one of the lowest rates of rape in the world something one would not know if one listened to the media reports. It proves the adage “don’t believe everything you read in the paper.”

The rate of rape is determined by dividing the total number of reported rapes by the total population and the units of measure are the number of rapes per 100,000 people. Thus even though India may seem to have a rather large number of rapes reported in any given year but considering that India has a population of 1.3 billion people the rate of rape (number of rapes divided by 1.3 billion) becomes very small. And even if as some people claim that many rapes go unreported that even if we double or even triple the number the rate would still be low compared to many so-called First World countries. read more