Mundane welfare work in ISKCON

ISKCON Welfare work

The following article was published on the Dandavats website on 26th July 2012 (5,533 views). The article appears below in a revised and expanded form with the help of some devotees. Also included now is an Appendix section which contains more quotes of our founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada giving his instructions on the subject of Mundane Welfare Work.

Mission Drift

Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of ISKCON. Among other activities planned to mark the occasion, one very important feature of observing the anniversary should be to reflect on the direction and position of ISKCON fifty years after its inception and thirty eight years after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance from mundane vision. Are we properly serving the founder-acarya of ISKCON? If not, then we risk losing the connection to the parampara and its blessings. For those who have a clear vision of the aim of ISKCON from Srila Prabhupada’s books (which he declared as the law books guide for the next 10,000 years), the increased emphasis on Mundane welfare work in ISKCON is alarming. read more

The Concept Of The Atom

The concept that material objects such as cars and chairs are composed of many small units called atoms is not new, in fact the ancient Indian philosophers Gautama and Kanada taught this.

It is significant that this concept of the atom was present in India thousands of years before it appeared in the West — its first appearance in the West is generally attributed to Democritus of ancient Greece. Unfortunately modern historians, who do not generally give credit to ancient India for any significant achievements, now teach that Democritus was the first to put forward the idea of the atom. It is, however, important to realize just how poorly substantiated the modern historians’ picture of ancient history really is.

Modern historians tend to give the impression that they know quite well what went on in ancient times, but the actual fact is that most ancient records have been lost so their picture of ancient history is based on fragmentary evidence and guesswork. One of the main reasons for this lack of information is the frequent warfare which occurred between the ancient nations. read more

The Kirtan standards book (PDF)

Srila Prabhupada intense kirtan

My opinion is that it is not necessary for us to utilize these different musical talents for spreading Krsna Consciousness. I would rather see people follow strictly the path of Lord Caitanya and His Saikirtana devotees. We are using mrdanga, karatala, that is enough. We are not musicians. We are Krsna bhaktas. Therefore we do not stress so much importance on these different musical talents. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is God Himself. Had He thought it would have been better to spread Krsna Consciousness by another way He would have done so. But no, simply with mrdanga and karatala, traveling and chanting Hare Krsna, asking everyone to chant Hare Krsna, preaching simply Srimad-Bhagavatam philosophy, this is the process. There is no need for us to try and add anything to this simple method. It will only be a distraction.

(letter to Jagadisa Pandit, 28 December 74)


The Kirtan standards book PDF (download)

Historical Overview Of The Development Of Modern Science

The worldview of modern science is based on the belief that living beings are simple arrangements of matter.

Thus modern educators and scientists do not accept the fact that living beings are non-physical spiritual sparks (atmas residing within physical bodies) and therefore they believe that we are the physical bodies we live in, that all of our feelings and perceptions can be explained as electro-chemical reactions within our bodies, and when these bodies stop functioning, the living being is finished.

Furthermore, they believe that matter organized itself into simple living organisms which later evolved into all the life forms of earth today — hence they do not believe that the physical bodies were designed by God, essentially they do not believe that God exists at all. Hence in their worldview everything is matter, there is no atma, and there is no ultimate purpose to life. read more

Antyesti Samskara — The last rites (Vedic funeral rites)

Dear Vaisnavas,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Considering that almost daily we are reading about the passing of some exalted Vaisnavas and that this trend will only continue, I thought it might be wise to publish the Antyesti Samskara — the Vedic funeral rights — as transmitted by Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, so that devotees would know what to do in such inevitable circumstances. read more

Points for a Spiritual World Civilization

In 1968, the editor of BACK TO GODHEAD suggested to Srila Prabhupada that BTG publish an article explaining point by point how to develop a spiritual world civilization. On October 17, 1968, Srila Prabhupada wrote the following reply.

Regarding your point program for a spiritual world civilization—it is a very nice suggestion. And practically our Krsna consciousness movement is built on this idea, that we want to make a world civilization on the basis of spiritual understanding. So I am giving you some points which you may expand or do it for understanding of the people in general. But the point should be as follows: first point, that any civilization devoid of God consciousness or Krsna consciousness is no civilization at all. It is simply a polished type of animal society. This is the first point. So at the present moment, the modern civilization on the basis of so-called scientific knowledge and economic development is trying to avoid God consciousness, or Krsna consciousness—that is the defect of the modern civilization. Therefore, in spite of all advancement it is zero. So zero has no value. And millions of zeroes put together does not make any value. But if one is put on the left side of the zero, it increases the value. Then one zero becomes ten, two zeros become 100, three zeros becomes 1,000, so it is very nice. This point should be clearly discussed, that without God consciousness, Krsna consciousness, any attempt of human civilization, so called philosophical or political or economical or labor, they are all zero.

The human society should be divided as a social order, they should be divided as the renounced order of life, retired order of life, householder, and student life. read more

The (ab)use of knowledge

Somebody once asked me. What should be the balance between study and practical activity in Krsna-concsiousness? Coming from the pioneer generation of devotees who were put into active preaching field without training from the first day they arrived at the temple door, I could answer this question only in following manner: Yes, indeed, Srila Prabhupada put us instantly into a preaching position. Most of us, I hope not to offend anybody, were not at all aware what they were really preaching. At least not on the level of vijnana, or realized knowledge. The only thing which every member of this movement in 1972 knew was that he feels unconditional love for Srila Prabhupada. No statement could have been made without reference to His Divine Grace and any action had to be backed up by the reference to His words.

The fascination with Srila Prabhupada’s personality was so great that lecturers even produced quotes from Srila Prabhupada without actually knowing them to be authorized. Srila Prabhupada commented lovingly, but nevertheless critically, that “they always say Prabhupada said, Prabhupada said, but I didn’t say it.”Nevertheless it was unconditional love which often motivated the speaker and the instructor, not academic erudition.

Those who remained on a level of “deep sentimental attachment” towards Srila Prabhupada, got furthest to the point of His departure from this planet and then they went in to the trouble. Those who understood the need to learn fast what was to be learned acquired knowledge while daily facing new challenges within their service. It was this process of learning Srila Prabhupada introduced us to. You learn to swim by jumping into water. read more

Harinama initiation in ISKCON

SP_Initiation

According to ISKCON policy all candidates for initiation must understand clearly the following principles. Please learn them carefully.

1. Qualifications of a bona fide Spiritual Master

  • He must come in a bona fide disciplic succession.
  • He must know the science of pure devotion to Lord Krishna.
  • He must be learned in the Vedic Literature & be able to convince others about the Vedic conclusions.
  • He must be self-controlled.
  • He must teach by his personal example.

2. Need for accepting a bona fide Spiritual Master read more