Good News: ISKCON told to include eggs in menu

Some good news:

Amaravati: Taking serious note of non-implementation of prescribed menu of mid-day meal scheme in several schools, the government has decided to make it a mandatory on providing three eggs per week for each student studying in government-run schools  across the state as part of providing nutritious food for the children.

Considering the report of National Institute of Nutrition(NIN) the government has directed the DEOs to strictly implement the prescribed menu in the mid-day meal and has also decided not to exempt  any agency or institution like Akshaya Patra foundation, ISKCON etc on  providing eggs to the students in the guise of religious traditions.

Sudhakar Thoyyeti, “ISKCON told to include eggs in menu”, 25 Jul. 2017, The Hans, India, 5 Aug. 2017 <http://www.thehansindia.com/. . . /314511>.

Why is this good news? It depends on who you are.

If you are in favor of the National Institute of Nutrition ruling, then you are happy because those wielding the scepter of science have decided to bring it down hard on those sneaky religionists. The religionists can have their puny space in society where they won’t mislead too many lives. But to let them have any significant influence? No way! Smack them down and put them in their place! So, if you’re a demon, you’re happy.

If you are in favor of the ISKCON Food for Life program or its other permutations but still have the heart of a preacher and think society today is basically guided by demons, then here is your chance to take them on in the court of law and in the court of public opinion. “Happy are the kshatriyas, to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought,” says Lord Sri Krishna to His friend and disciple Arjuna. So, you are happy.

If you are NOT in favor of the ISKCON Food for Life program and are reasonably certain it’s a deviation (and it is), then this is Krishna through His external energy forcing the devotees to shut it down and get back on the track of practical sravanam, kirtanam vishnoh smaranam. That is, getting back on track means preaching focused on getting out the message of Krishna rather than trying to appear respectable to the demons. You are also happy.

And if you are against the ISKCON Food for Life program as it is today and also a devotee and parent living in India, it’s also a very good reason not to send your kids to the karmi schools, where they will be forced to commit grossly sinful activity. Yes, they will be strongly encouraged to eat eggs, even if the school authorities say they won’t. Those are actually vikarmi schools, schools to make one impious. Time to keep a distance between yourself and the demons and protect your dependents (guror na sa syat sva jano na sa syat, pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat. . .).  Krishna has pushed you off the fence, and you know it was Him. So, you are doubly happy.

The only people who are unhappy are those who want to be devotees of Krishna but who maintain a desire to be liked by the demons. Some believe that success in preaching means we must first become respectable to the non-devotees (for them to “like” us, we have to become “like” them), and that when we do they will embrace our way of life. Others have close relationships with  non-devotees, especially in the workplace, and they would like to get along with co-workers and non-devotee family members. They want to shape their Krishna consciousness to their desire to get along with these non-devotees. But they are being forced to choose between being a devotee and being a demon but still want to be both. These are pretty much the only people unhappy with the ruling.

There are many lessons that can be drawn from this, but a few worth mentioning are:

  • Science and sastra are not always compatible.
  • Science is not as objective as it is assumed to be.
  • Attachment to non-devotees for whatever reason is always troublesome for a devotee.

Innumerable essays can be written on these lessons alone.

Nonetheless, if you put yourself forward as a devotee of Krishna and are still unhappy with the ruling, just consider that nothing happens without the sanction of the Lord. As some physicians like to say, “pain is good.” It tells you something is wrong with you and forces you to do something about it. Similarly, if you are unhappy with the ruling, then you have to do something about it. And you really have no choice but to do something. For some, doing nothing means that their dependents, their children (if any) will start eating eggs. Some will resist, but most won’t. Association is a very powerful thing, and our Krishna consciousness future well-being depends on it.

Yet overall, for the reasons mentioned, this edict against ISKCON’s efforts in this area is a positive development. Only those devotees who wish to keep relations with non-devotees will feel disturbed by this. But that’s a good kind of disturbance, in which one is forced to make a necessary choice.

 

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)

 

 

 

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.

Third point, all these divisions are meant for understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this Krsna consciousness movement is meant for teaching this necessity of human civilization.

Fourth point, so far the administrator class of man, or mercantile class of men, and laborer class of men, there are many institutions, but to train a first-class intellectual man there is no institution all over the world. And there is no institution for spiritual training also. So this Krsna consciousness movement is trying to help human society on these two points, which they are lacking. So we have therefore taken a large tract of land to begin with, in W. Virginia, the place is called New Vrindavan. So we want to train students for becoming the first-class intellectual person, and instruct the whole human society about the aim of life, and Krsna consciousness or God consciousness. So we are inviting the desiring or intending students to join in our institution, and we invite the public and government to cooperate with our movement.

The fifth point is that in whatever division one may be situated, this very aim of life should be to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the duty of everyone, it doesn’t matter in what status of life he is situated, but if he wants to have a successful life, then he must learn to see how by his activities the Supreme Lord is satisfied. That should be the aim. Then it does not matter what is the position and occupation of the man, but he is in the right order of civilization because his very aim is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Next point. And in order to learn this art, how he is able to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one has to take instruction or education in the art of Krsna consciousness, by reading Bhagavad-gita as it is, by reading Srimad-Bhägavatam, which are calculated the science of God, and following the teachings of Lord Caitanya, such practice should be performed twenty-four hours. It is not that one may meditate for fifteen minutes and he becomes spiritually advanced. It is not possible. So the Krsna consciousness movement is training people how to be absorbed in the thought of Krsna, twenty-four hours. Take for example the Bhagavad-gita: the instructions of Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita are just suitable for a perfect human civilization. So one should learn this teaching of Bhagavad-gita as it is.

Next point. In order to understand this teaching of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, there should be centers where people can assemble daily, morning or evening, and try to understand this Krsna consciousness or God consciousness movement. So we are trying to open branches all over the world, in every city, in every town, in every village, and people should take advantage of it. There is no question of monetary transaction to enter into these centers and institutions, but because we have to maintain such institutions, public should voluntarily contribute, and that is very gladly accepted.

Next point. When people are accustomed to associate with these different centers of Krsna consciousness movement, they will one day come out of the material concept of life. Just like one becomes awakened from sleep. While sleeping, one sees so many nonsense dreams, but as soon as one is awakened, he becomes conscious that, “Oh, I was seeing so many nonsense dreams; actually it has no existence.” Similarly, when a person becomes Krsna consciousness, he can understand the falsity representation of this material civilization.

Next point. And when he is awakened, he becomes completely detached from the so-called affection for designations, namely society, friendship and love.

Next point. By such understanding, one is not so much materially active. One is situated with income which can simply maintain his body and soul together, and he is no more interested to increase the bank balance unnecessarily for sense gratification. The defect of the modern civilization is that everyone is earning money undoubtedly in large volumes, but he does not know how to spend. He is spending simply for sense gratification, and the last word of sense gratification is sex. Therefore all money is being spent up for intoxication and sexual life, nudey dance, nudey theater, in so many ways. That means they are spoiling their human source of energy.

Next point. One should be so trained up that within the heart he will be freed from all material attraction, but so long the body is there, to keep the body and soul together he has to work like ordinary man.

Next point. The society, friendship and love of material existence may be accepted without any attraction, and whatever the so-called society, friendship and love wants to take service from us, one should simply say, “Yes, it is very nice,” but actually he should give more importance for spiritual advancement of life.

Next point. One should know it certain that material resources, either in this planet or in other planets, either in the sky or within the earth, namely within the mines, all the properties that is being utilized at the present moment as economic development, one should understand definitely that all the ingredients stocked—for example, the petroleum now stocked within the earth, and people are utilizing it for so many power machinery—one should know that this petroleum belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not man-made. Nor the scientists can manufacture. Similarly everything, all commodities, all things, all properties, they are made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This understanding must be there.

Next point. One can enjoy such properties, but with this understanding: that they belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just like one is situated in the public park in a very nice garden, public park, but one should always remember that the public park does not belong to him personally, but it is the property of the government or the state.

Next point. Therefore, the properties made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be utilized by all living entities. Every living entity, not only the human beings but also the animals, they have got right to live on the property of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Next point. Nobody can encroach upon the right of other living entities. Everyone is supplied by the Lord the food, shelter, by natural arrangement, so nobody should encroach upon the right of living of others. As such, the human being is considered to be the highest developed conscious animals, so if they utilize this consciousness in relationship with Krsna, that is called Krsna consciousness.

Next point. A Krsna conscious person does not encroach upon the right of other living beings. As such they do not approve organized slaughterhouses for killing animals.

Next point. If you maintain slaughterhouses, then you have to suffer the consequence, because in the law of nature there is no distinction between one life to another. Every living entity is equally valuable.

Next point. Every living entity is claimed as the son of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They may be dressed differently. Because the body is dress, the body is not identification with the living entity. Therefore the living entity may be dressed 8,400,000 of different dresses, and the living entity as he is, there is no qualitative difference between human being and animal. Therefore, their material necessities are the same, namely eating, sleeping, mating, and defending.

Next point. The foolish idea that animals or plants or other living entities have no life is the basic cause of human sinful activities.

Next point. One should be satisfied only to fulfill the belly. That is the eating process. If you can satisfy your belly by such things as grains, vegetables, fruits and milk, you have no right to kill another animal for satisfying the taste of your tongue. The human society is meant for living on the natural production, namely grains, fruits, vegetables and milk. They should not indulge extravagantly for other things. And if actually they are Krsna conscious, they know the art of how to prepare thousands of palatable dishes only from the varieties of vegetables, grains, fruits, and milk. If anyone takes more than he requires, then he is understood to be a thief. Nobody should accumulate for future consumption of family, society, or nation more money or more grains or more vegetables or more eatables; one should have only as much as he requires. If there is greater production, that should be distributed to persons who need them. Because food grains, especially, they are meant for all living entities, they should not be spoiled.

Next point. Therefore, one who spoils food grains unnecessarily, he is criminal. And one who accumulates more money than is actually required, he is also criminal. And according to the law of nature, or according to the law of God, such persons are surely to be punished.

This punishment may not be visible in this life, but because life is eternal, it is continuity, one must be prepared to accept taking the risk. Therefore, the living entity is transmigrating from one body to another, and that is his problem of life. The human life is meant for solving this problem. All animals, like deer, camel, ass, monkey, even flies and snakes, none should be ill-treated. Even they enter into the house or in the fields and take their eatables, they should not be stopped. Because they have also got the right to eat eatables supplied by the Lord. And they will not eat more, neither they will take at home. They are better than human beings. If a human being is allowed to enter into the field or into the garden, he will try to take away something for selling or stocking, but the animals do not. So the innocent animals should be accepted as children of the householder.

Nobody should take to very hardship labor. The modem civilization has discovered severe types of dangerous industries, and laborers are attracted for high wages. But they should not accept such work. Then naturally there will be less capitalistic idea. Because the laborer cooperates, therefore demoniac persons they take advantage and make unnecessarily increase of artificial demands of the body. Better one should be satisfied with agricultural produce than go into large cities to be engaged in industry. Peaceful life depending on agricultural produce can bring him real happiness and prosperity, not otherwise. The more persons will be satisfied at their home, with home economics, not to go outside the home, that is peaceful life. In India, Mahatma Gandhi tried to organize villages in that way so as not to drag the people to the town. So peaceful atmosphere can be attained only when there is large-scale village organization, actually village life. Poet Cowper said that country is made by God and the cities and towns are made by man. So that is the distinction.

There are many such nice ideas for peaceful living on this planet and execute Krsna consciousness, so that one may become completely freed from contamination of material existence and get eternal life, just after quitting this body. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita. Tyaktva deha punar janma naiti mam eti so’rjuna. By simple prosecution of Krsna consciousness, one goes back to home, back to Godhead, just after quitting this present body.

If people cooperate with this Krsna conscious movement, certainly a better type of civilization can be introduced for permanent peace and prosperity of the whole world.

BTG Editorial Policies,The Back to Godhead Handbook-BTG 1968

Why women are not allowed to perform yajnas

Fire_Sacrifice1

After careful consideration we had decided to withdraw this conversation from net. Because of several unreasonable and even hostile comments (mostly removed) which serve as a indication how little knowledge and culture those commentators have we think it’s better to avoid further insults and scorn directed towards one of the greatest exponents and experts in the field of Vedic culture and philosophy. Still, there were so many valuable contributions in the comment tree so they will remain here.

The ten commandments for kirtana in the Iskcon religion

The legendary ‘ten commandments’ given by HH Jayadvaita Swami in humorous yet obvious way describing present condition of kirtan standards in our movement. 

 1. Thou shalt chant as many tunes as thou canst think of.

2. Thou shalt not chant any one tune for more than three minutes.

3. Thou shalt not chant the morning tune in the morning. Or if thou start with it thou shalt quickly switch to something else.

4. Thou shalt start fast, speed up, speed up more, then stop and start all over again. The more times the better.

5. If thou art the mrdanga player, thou shalt always set the pace, following whatever mechanical pattern thou art used to, and let the singer follow thee or go to hell.

6. Thou shalt always chant “Jaya Prabhupada,” “Jaya Gurudeva,” “Jaya Gaura-Nitai,” “Jaya the names of all the Deities in thy temple (and then some),” and as many other “Jayas” as thou canst think of. Thou shalt never end a kirtana without those “Jayas.”

7. Thou shalt always add “Jaya Radhe” to the kirtana. (And if thou canst vary it with “Jaya Sri Radhe,” so much the better.)

8. Thou shalt not allow the Hare Krsna mantra to take up more than ten percent of the kirtana. And heaven forbid thou shouldest chant it all the way through.

9. If thou art Indian, thou shalt try to sound like a professional bhajan singer. If thou art not Indian, thou shalt try to sound like an Indian devotee imitating one.

10. Thou shalt forget about the way Srila Prabhupada led kirtana.

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

  • It is the verdict of the Vedic Scripture that to understand Vedic knowledge & to realize the Truth one must approach a spiritual master.
  • Only by following the order of such a bona fide spiritual master can one solve the problems of material existence and attain pure devotion to Lord Krishna, which is the perfection of life.
  • To emphasize this point even the Lord accepts a spiritual master when He descends into this material world.

3. Worship of the Spiritual Master

The spiritual master is not God, but he is to be worshipped like God because he is the representative of God. Only by his grace can we attain the perfection of life. Krishna is very pleased when the spiritual master is properly served and worshiped. Therefore, one worships the spiritual master.

4. The bona fide Spiritual Master speaks the Absolute Truth

The bona fide spiritual master teaches strictly according to the Vedic injunctions and the examples of the previous acaryas. In fact, he simply repeats what has already been spoken in the parampara. Thus we must understand that such a bona fide spiritual master speaks the Absolute Truth.

If the spiritual master concocts a speculative philosophy contrary to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings or if he is breaking the four regulative principles and does not rectify himself according to GBC guidelines, he should no longer be accepted as a bona fide spiritual master.

5. Qualifications and responsibilities of a disciple

  • He must hear and inquire from the spiritual master.
  • He must be submissive and humble.
  • He must serve the spiritual master.
  • He must satisfy and please the spiritual master.
  • He must strictly follow the instructions of the spiritual master. At the time of initiation, he must vow to chant at least sixteen rounds of Hare Krishna mahamantra everyday and to follow the four regulative principles of no meat eating, no intoxication, no illicit sex and no gambling.
  • He must have faith in the spiritual master.
  • He must honor and respect the spiritual master as a representative of God.

6. Srila Prabhupada’s Unique Position

  • Srila Prabhupada’s contribution to the preaching mission of Lord Caitanya is historic and unprecedented. Due to his efforts the cult of pure Krishna bhakti has spread to every corner of the globe.
  • As the Founder Acarya of ISKCON, he will always remain the most prominent siksa guru in the institution, uniting not only those who have accepted diksa from him directly, but also all succeeding generations of disciples. As a testimony to this fact, all ISKCON devotees gather together every morning to offer Guru-puja to Srila Prabhupada.

Furthermore, his books will be the beaconlight and law books for us for the next ten thousand years.

7. Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead

We accept Lord Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead because this is the verdict of the Vedic scriptures. Furthermore, the great sages of the past like Narada, Asita etc. have also declared this fact. And finally, in Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna Himself makes the same declaration.

Lord Krishna is the source of everything, material and spiritual. He is the source of all incarnations and also the source of all the demigods. The demigods are never to be equated with the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. The demigods are always subordinate to Lord Krishna and they are his faithful servants.

Worship of Lord Krishna in pure devotion is the perfection of life and there is no need to separately worship the demigods. The example is given that by watering the root of a tree, the whole tree is nourished automatically and there is no need to separately water the leaves and branches. So also, devotees of Lord Krishna understand that worship of Krishna, who is the source of everything, is perfect and complete in itself and there is no need for any other kind of worship.

8. The four regulative principles

Bona fide religion rests upon four pillars, namely – mercy, austerity, cleanliness and truthfulness. There are four activities which destroy these four pillars. They are respectively: meat eating, intoxication, illicit sex and gambling. Therefore, these activities are called the four pillars of sinful life.

For one who wants to develop pure love of God, one must avoid these sinful activities. Otherwise, one will not be able to make progress on the path of Krishna Consciousness.

10. Chanting Hare Krishna

The Vedic Scriptures declare that chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord is the only way to realize God in this age of Kali. Lord Caitanya, quoting from the Kalisantarana Upanisad, has instructed us to specifically chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra to attain the perfection of life. Therefore, everyone, regardless of their material designation, must take to this process of chanting Hare Krishna.

11.  GBC Body

Even when he was physically present on this planet, Srila Prabhupada oversaw the formation of a Governing Body Commission (GBC) that would help him to manage ISKCON affairs in his presence and which would be his representative body after his departure. In accordance with Srila Prabhupada’s desire, the GBC is now the ultimate managing and spiritual authority in ISKCON and it has the responsibility to steer the movement through these turbulent times according to the principles of guru, sadhu and sastra.

12. Body and Self

The body is a temporary perishable structure made up of eight material elements, earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego.

The self or the spirit soul, on the other hand, is a spiritual entity distinct from the body. It is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss.

13.  ISKCON

ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) is the institution founded by Srila Prabhupada to spread the message of Krishna Consciousness all over the world. Srila Prabhupada said that ISKCON was his body and that all devotees should work co-operatively together to fulfill the mission for which he gave his life. So by staying in ISKCON and serving according to Srila Prabhupada’s desire, we will express our gratitude to him for what he has done and also, we can become humble instruments in Lord Caitanya’s mission to transform the world.