On speaking strongly

On Speaking Strongly in Srila Prabhupada’s Service was written for the perusal of all members of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON, especially for devotees who feel impelled to follow Srila Prabhupada’s example of preaching Krsna’s message in a strong, clear, and provocative manner.

Do not be disturbed

“Do not be disturbed. There is no cause for anxiety. You are doing your best to serve Krishna, that is very much appreciated, so do not lose enthusiasm out of frustration, that will spoil everything. Krishna Consciousness means we should always be satisfied and happy, not that we must work something impossible, becoming overburdened, and then because we are unhappy by so much trouble we lose enthusiasm altogether and give up all hope. No, if too much endeavour is there, that is to be avoided. By all means we must preserve our spiritual status, that is the point, not that we are mad after big buildings, many devotees, life-members, this, that—no, these are only ways to engage the devotees so that they may apply the principles of devotional living to some kind of work for practical realization of these principles. It is not the result of the work we want. If only one person daily, if we sincerely preach to such one person in a day, that is sufficient, never mind big, big programmes. So my request to you is that you do not be bothered by these things, and I have instructed Tamala Krishna and Syamasundara to send you men, so they will do it, rest assured. Krishna does not like to see His sincere devotee suffer or become frustrated or depressed. He will not stand idly by in any such case, so do not fear on that account. Krishna has got some plan for you, always think in that way, and very soon He will provide everything to your heart’s desire.” (Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Tejyas, Dec. 19, 1972)

The Spiritual Disaster of Material Attachment

An Echo from Ancient Greece by Suhotra Swami

“Look upon this Oedipus, he who knew the famous riddle and was the most successful of men. Who among the citizens did not look upon him with envy? Into what a great wave of disasters he has crashed. So that, looking at that final day, count no mortal happy until he has passed the limit of his life suffering no pain.”
*Oedipus the King* by Sophocles

The nature of man and his struggle with ignorance, and the disastrous truth that ignorance obscures, is the theme of the tale of King Oedipus related by the classical Greek playwright Sophocles. Even now, almost two and a half millennia after it was written, the dramatic insight of *Oedipus Tyrannus* (Oedipus the King) cannot fail to fascinate the reader. Sigmund Freud wrote, “In the very text of Sophocles’ tragedy there is an unmistakable reference to the fact that the Oedipus legend had its source in dream-material of immemorial antiquity “ The reason *Oedipus Tyrannus* remains so gripping, Freud believed, is that Sophocles translated it from the inchoate but enduring language of the *psyche*, the “voice within us which is prepared to acknowledge the compelling power” of this tragedy. read more

Health, Harmony, Happiness

(excerpt from Transcendental Diary 1, Sridham Mayapur by HG Hari Sauri das)

There was a very amusing incident in mid-morning, when Prabhupada had a visit from a yogini, Yogashakti Ma. She came smiling into Prabhupada’s room, her long hair streaming over saffron clothing, accompanied by three male followers. She wanted to invite Prabhupada to a World Yoga and Peace Conference they plan to hold. The address they gave was an apartment in Calcutta.

She expressed her hope that leaders of various yoga and peace groups could get together and exchange their different experiences to everyone’s benefit, so that the world could be a better place to live, where everyone could become happy. Of course, she would be at the center of it, as the organizer. read more

Q&A: Disneyland conception of spiritual life

Q:  If devotees are being protected by Krishna then why do we suffer?

A:  This is what I call the Disneyland conception of spiritual life, where Krishna is like Mickey Mouse. Kids go to Disneyland and Mickey’s there welcoming them: ‘Welcome to my happy Magic Kingdom”. You go in there and everything is like a cartoon world, it’s all laughter and happiness and entertainment and that’s all.
There are people who seem to think that this is what ISKCON should be like. ISKCON should be a Disneyland, and if it’s not a Disneyland then there’s something wrong and we have to get together to have meetings to fix it. But as far as I can understand this idea is totally alien to the Vedic conception of dharma and human life. This actually comes from the Western conception of life. It’s said that God gave Adam and Eve a Garden of Eden, an earthly paradise and everything was nice. So people have this idea that if we become nice again, like Adam and Eve, pure and innocent, then God better give me a Garden of Eden or there’s gonna be trouble.

There’s a history to this. This whole Western conception originally comes from a Vedic sage who deviated. He is mentioned in the Rg Veda as Jarutha. and is known in Western history by the name Zarasthustra. He started a religion called Zoroastrianism, which is the first of the Western religions. After Zoroastrianism came Judaism, then Chrisitanity, then Islam: it’s like a sampradaya.
Jarutha was a brahmana, a priest of the demigod Varuna. Jarutha was the first one to conceive of an earthly paradise and that there will be a messiah who will come. He came up with the notion that all the bodies will be raised out of the ground and judged and the bad ones will go to Hell and the good ones will inherit the Earth. The Earth will become like heaven and that will be the reward for our pious activities: we’ll live forever on the Earth in an eternal material body. read more

Freedom within captivity: Holy Jail

Holy Jail is a touching compilation of the activities of ISKCON Prison Ministries (IPM) by His Holiness Candramauli Maharaja. In over thirty years of operation, the lives of hundreds of inmates have changed due to the practice of Krishna consciousness and the support received by devotees.

Broomstik for the mind, this wicked mind

This wicked mind, which is never to be trusted, should be broomsticked every morning with such warnings as, “Be not anxious to find fault with others, or to declare thyself a true sincere, bonafide bhakta, which certainly thou art not!” there is an adage to the effect that “para-carccakera gati nahi kona kale – a man who is habituated to criticize others conduct will never prosper!” Let others do whatever they like, I have no concern for them. I should rather find fault with my own damned mind and think like the Vaishnava mahajana [His father Thakur Bhaktivinode from Saranagati] who sings:

amara jibana,   sada pape rata
nahiko punyera lesa
para-sukhe duhkhi, sada mithya-bhasi
para-duhkha sukha-karo

“Ever engaged in vicious activity… and without the slightest trace of virtue in me. A liar as I am, always sorry at others pleasures and merry at other’s sorrows, troubles and cares.” read more

A Resigned Priest on his Deathbed

By Frederick Heuser

(Reverend Frederick Heuser is the pastor of St. James Parish in Kenosha, Wisconson. He has a B.A. in philosophy and an M.Div. from St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee and an M.A. in speech from Marquette University. After ordination, he taught in a high school, and then became the Associate Director of the Catholic Family Life Program of Milwaukee before assuming his present position. His last article in Homiletic & Pastoral Review appeared in December 2000.)

The doctor has just left my hospital room. I saw the sadness in his eyes as he tells me the bad news. The cancer had spread through most of my body and further treatment would be useless. He said he would put my wife in contact with the hospice program to make the time I had left as comfortable as possible. “As comfortable as possible”-that phrase seems to summarize what my goal in life had been the last 35 years. But it was not always so. read more

2013: The Space between Stories

By Charles Eisenstein (a vision of American nightmare by honest nondevotee).

Every culture has a Story of the People to give meaning to the world. Part conscious and part unconscious, it consists of a matrix of agreements, narratives, and symbols that tell us why we are here, where we are headed, what is important, and even what is real. I think we are entering a new phase in the dissolution of our Story of the People, and therefore, with some lag time, of the edifice of civilization built on top of it.

Sometimes I feel intense nostalgia for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Superbowl was important, in which the world’s greatest democracy was bringing democracy to the world, in which science was going to make life better and better. Life made sense. If you worked hard you could get good grades, get into a good college, go to grad school or follow some other professional path, and you would be happy. With a few unfortunate exceptions, you would be successful if you obeyed the rules of our society: if you followed the latest medical advice, kept informed by reading the New York Times, and stayed away from Bad Things like drugs. Sure there were problems, but the scientists and experts were working hard to fix them. Soon a new medical advance, a new law, a new educational technique, would propel the onward improvement of life. My childhood perceptions were part of this Story of the People, in which humanity was destined to create a perfect world through science, reason, and technology, to conquer nature, transcend our animal origins, and engineer a rational society. read more