How would you explain that the ISKCON divorce rate is greater as in the material society?

Unfortunately this is true. Besides that fact that “relationship between man and a woman is very complicated” as Srila Prabhupada said, there are factors which may contribute to this alarming state ISKCON grhasta asrama is in and to the devastating effect on preaching this divorce orgies have for the public eye.

It is clear what Srila Prabhupada established: “One thing you should know of course, I know that you are so nice that there is possibility amongst you for disagreement between husband and wife, but sometimes it happens so you can let Saradia know that in our Krishna Consciousness household life there is no question of separation. Our marriage is Absolute. But if sometimes some disagreement is there, they may live separately for few days, but that doesn’t mean they can think of separation. Please try to educate all the girls in that way”. (Srila Prabhupada, London, 15th of November)

Nevertheless, we have leaders and gurus in ISKCON who support divorce by either preaching to the wife separately from the husband or declaring the act of divorce to be “circumstantial”.(This is a quote). Of course soon or later ANY marriage can produce enough reasons for a “circumstantial” divorce and so by such a deviant preaching divorce becomes the rule and not the exception. read more

How come that a devotee can still feel lonely?

To the degree we forget Krsna and Srila Prabhupada, to that degree we feel lonely. Even after receiving and sustaining in our MIND the information about Their presence, our HEART may still not be satisfied due to lack of active relationship to the Supreme Lord and His pure representative. This relationship can be only reactivated by active devotional service, service to the mission of Srila Prabhupada.

As our heart is not completely filled with love of Godhead and love for His pure devotee, a vacuum so created establishes a need to be fulfilled elsewhere.

This leads even after many years of practicing “theoretical Krsna consciousness” to falldown as the feeling of loneliness becomes more and more intolerable. After all, the nature of the soul is never to be alone. 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

Silver Foils are not Vegetarian

The silver foils are not very expensive. They are sold by weight. Ordinarily, you can buy a packet of 160 foils for a price between Rs.100 to 200. That is, approximately one rupee per foil. Not only the sweets, now a days it is also applied on fruits. Some Ayurvedic medicines also are wrapped in silver foils.

They are made by hammering thin sheets of silver in middle of booklets made of a bull’s intestines. In other words, after slaughtering a bull, quickly his intestines are removed, and sold to the manufacturers of foils. The skins made of old intestines are of no use. Even one day old intestines cannot be used, because within a few hours they stiffen.

The foil manufacturer removes blood and stools from the intestines, and cuts them into pieces. Then he puts one piece over another, making a booklet out of it. At his home, or in the factory, he puts one silver (or gold) sheet in-between each page. Then he hammers it hard until those metal sheets turn into thin wafers. read more

How can we explain the need of Varanasrama dharma organization in human society?

Manidhara Prabhu

The need is self-evident, unfortunately not to many. Either in name of imaginary transcendental progress or in name of mayavada based declaration of oneness and “unity”, the conditioned soul likes not to look into the mirror and agree on ones acquired conditioning. And so we run into the risk to become grhasta-sannyasis and sannyasi-grhastas, homely brahmacaries of ugra-tapas grhastas, ending in entirely disturbed situations, causing pain to so many other living entities.

Even most intimate associates of the Lord place themselves while performing their lilas into exemplary varna and dharma designated positions in order to teach the conditioned souls how to live a disciplined life while aiming towards the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. And whenever, like at the beginning of Bhagava-gita, a devotee THINKS to serve in a self-designated position, the Lord rectifies him instantly.

As He declares a faulty but honest servant to be superior to a self-designated hypocrite, a devote naturally strives for a position where he doesn’t disturb His master by illusory concepts about himself and his bodily destined situation. read more

What are the benefits of an arranged marriage?

There are many benefits, provided that there are empowered assistants at work helping the two conditioned souls regulate their lives, so that spiritual progress becomes possible.

Recently, yet again, a devotee expressed his lack of faith in arranged marriages pointing to the shockingly high divorce rate in ISKCON. As he was a sincere soul, I pointed out to him in return that karmis are certainly not less affected as devotees are by Kali. The argument that; “unless both, the boy and the girl like each other, how can the marriage work?” is irrelevant from all points of view. It assumes that arranged marriages are conducted by artificial force, which is in itself a wrong assumption.

It also advocates the sensual platform of perception which may quite likely result in unwanted progeny. First of all liking or not liking is entirely a product of the sensual and mental platform and as such can change instantly according to the movement or changes of the modes of material nature. read more

Why Do I Wear Sari

Saree1

Recently in India I inquired from a Mohammedan gentleman why their women are ardently concealed behind a curtain of cloth, which often completely covers their faces? He replied, “If you have a valuable diamond, which to you is precious and dear, how will you keep it? Will you store it in an old cardboard box in the backyard rubbish heap? No, naturally, you will protect it by putting it safely and securely in a place where the untrustworthy can neither see it nor steal it. Our women are very important to us; they are the personality behind a happy household. We know that if they flaunt themselves in public, they will be mislead, and then the foundation of our society will be ruined.”

My mouth dropped open; I was speechless. The Muslims, like the Hare Krsnas, obviously have this question repeatedly asked to them by the “non-believers”, and this gentleman had a very poignant answer. He was not intimidated by the query, rather, he proudly made this presentation on behalf of the women in his community.

I have observed that ISKCON women more often are replacing the sari with other kinds of “more practical” attire. Many wear Punjabi suits, long skirts (or even short ones) dresses, moo-moo’s, jogging suits or shorts to putter around the house or go shopping. Often the only time a sari is worn is to come to the temple feast on Sundays. Even more often we see that the sari has been replaced by Western clothes in the name of “selling more books” or “collecting more laksmi.” read more

On ignoring the instructions of His Divine Grace

Once, on Second Avenue, Srila Prabhupada was quoted as saying; “They don’t really understand what I’m saying. If they really understood, they would kill me.” (‘Vrindaban Days: Memories of an Indian Holy Town’, by Hayagriva Swami). Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON with great spiritual ambitions. “If all my disciples would fully cooperate with me, then we could take over the whole world in eighteen days”, he said. Srila Prabhupada envisioned, that by the mercy of his guru and the whole ‘parampara’, ISKCON would fulfill the prediction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that Krsna’s Holy name would be spread all over the world in every town and village. In order to achieve this Srila Prabhupada preached very vigorously attacking all the pillars of the sinful demoniac civilization.

In order to show the spotlessness of the Krsna conscious philosophy and lifestyle Srila Prabhupada had to show all materialists that their illicit sex, slaughtering cows and other animals, intoxication, gambling and all their views of science, religion, sociology, psychology, political systems, economy etc. are completely wrong and based on very demoniac structures. Thus everything that sinful materialists stood for and were proud of was challenged and exposed by him. It was and is clear that if the mass of people accepted Krsna consciousness then all demoniac plans would be ruined. This threat was felt by some during Srila Prabhupada’s time and it is no doubt more obvious these days when thousands and thousands of people all over the world are committing themselves to the practice of Krsna consciousness.

In the beginning, ISKCON was mostly understood as something exotic and the devotees’ lifestyle of a strict sanctified vegetarian diet, celibacy, their dress, chanting, beliefs and worship of Krsna was considered as something very extraordinary. But after more than 40 years of ISKCON’s existence literally millions of Srila Prabhupada’s books have been distributed and no doubt these books are influencing people’s ways of thinking. Nowadays, thousands of people are giving up meat eating and are interested in following a more healthy lifestyle, thousands of people are searching for higher spiritual values, changing their attitude towards nature’s exploitation, lessening their consumerism and many people’s faith in the major established religions, modern science, politicians, pharmaceutical industry, banking system, democratic bombing of Islamic countries, TV, press and other media, in other words, their faith in the whole materialistic system is weakening day by day. All these social changes are surely not playing in the cards of those who want to control and exploit them. read more

The Need of vision

Q: In order to motivate devotees,we need visions for the future. What should these visions be?

A: Questions of this sort provoke compassion. They are embarrassing. How can anybody who is a follower of Srila Prabhupada inquire what kind of vision he should have?

Srila Prabhupada gave us all the visions we need. Our part is to follow. Anybody trying to follow in Srila Prabhupada’s lotus footsteps will soon realize…they are truly big. As matter of fact they are so big that we may get sometimes confused, realizing our inability to accommodate the visions Srila Prabhupada had. read more