The Materialistic Demeanor Revisited

caitanya

Our eighth year of “primary education” passed in an American Dependent School in Okinawa. During that eventful year we heard that we would have to decide for ourselves what had caused our existence, that the average man used less than one fourth the potential of his brain, and that God was never to be discussed in school.

Our studies of physical science had culminated in the visualization of the fleshy structure of the human brain. Electrical impulses flashing on the circuitry inside a man’s head are supposed to be responsible for all thinking, feeling, and willing. Life, memory, and the living zone are strange. The head is filled up with thoughts. The mind projects itself outside the body. We wondered, “What would we be thinking if we were using all the power of the brain?”

We had encountered sectarian religionists whose shallowness had turned us toward the camps of the atheists. We passed amidst the “humanists” and received many promises which were never to be fulfilled. Burning in despair we went past childhood’s end. The prospects for enjoyment which had been pointed out to us by our teachers proved inadequate. After exhausting many the sauri of philosophy, we realized we had been deceived all along, from the earliest beginning. We felt doomed, not for not knowing answers, but for not even being able to frame proper questions. read more

Gopisvara Mahadeva

Shiva Rasa

Lord Siva wanted to participate in the maha-rasa, where Krsna dances and plays with the gopis.

Understanding that entering the rasa dance requires special qualification and mercy, Lord Siva performed austerities in Vraja and thus was able to please Paurnamasi, who is the personification the spiritual energy (yogamaya). In Krsna’s Vrndavana pastimes, she is an elderly brahmani and siksa-guru for the Vrajavasis. Under her instruction, Lord Siva bathed in Brahma-kunda (some sources say Manasarovara, and still others the Yamuna River). When he emerged from the sacred waters, Lord Siva had the beautiful form of a gopi. No one can enter the rasa dance with Krsna unless one is a gopi. So Lord Siva in the form of a gopi went to the area of the rasa dance near the Yamuna in Vrndavana, and when the other gopis noticed her, they approached her and began to ask her questions: “What is your name? Who is your husband? What does he do? Where is your house?” They asked so many questions she could not answer. So the other gopis concluded that this so-called new gopi was not actually one of them. They became angry at the imposter and began to slap her cheeks.

Siva, in the form of the gopi, then began to desperately call out the name of Paurnamasi. Immediately Paurnamasi appeared and stopped the gopis. She told them, “Don’t beat her. She is actually Lord Siva, a great devotee.” Because of Paurnamasi’s position as their spiritual guide, the gopis listened to her. Then Paurnamasi told Lord Siva, “Actually, you cannot participate directly in the rasa dance. The rasa dance with Krsna is only for gopis. But you can stay near the arena of the rasa dance and witness it and protect the area from others who are not qualified to enter.” She also gave Lord Siva the benediction that he could bestow upon devotees the qualification to enter the rasa dance.The deity of Gopisvara Mahadevaa established by Vajranabha resides near Vamsivata, the famous tree near the Yamuna where Krsna played on His transcendental flute to call the gopis for the maha-rasa dance. Every evening around the time of sunset, the pujaris of the Gopisvara Mahadevaa temple dress the siva-linga there as a gopi.

Common sense as soul’s proof

Srila Prabhupada many times gave an example to disprove Darwin’s theory; if life comes from chemicals then why is it that in state laws all over the world a murderer is hanged while a thief is just arrested? He used many such examples to show that by common sense it can be proved that life comes from life and not chemicals. Another example he often used was that in every language, when a man dies, it is said that he has gone away. This is common sense shared by everyone, that something living has left the dead body. When I was new in devotional service (for some years) whenever I used to read these statements from Srila Prabhupada’s books I used to think that how is it that Srila Prabhupada is trying to make a point about something using common sense? This is because the idea of using commons sense can be defective (unreliable). This is because what I perceive by common sense is not necessarily correct. Someone may say that; according to my common sense life comes from matter.

Later I came to understand (by mercy) something very interesting. Scientists say that life comes from chemicals, but for that they neither have any observational nor experimental support that conclusively proves this fact. In such circumstances, even according to modern scientific methods, priority should be given to knowledge gained by common sense. Otherwise anyone can come and say anything according to their imagination. In any society laws should be based on accurate knowledge and thus unless proof is available, common practices followed for centuries cannot be changed.

So in this case, Srila Prabhupada is exposing the scientists’ cheating in establishing Darwin’s theory without proof, and then he establishes the point that people’s common sense says that life is different from matter. So in society, the soul’s existence should be accepted. We see that Srila Prabhupada would always attack scientists by saying  “can bring a dead body back to life?” or “at least create a mosquito in your laboratory” and then when they reply that “we will be able to do it in the future” then Prabhupāda would say “this is rascaldom. Trust no future however pleasant”. This is exactly the point – Srila Prabhupada means that “you are establishing something in the society without having any support for it and when asked for the proof you say that we will do it in future. This is cheating. First you have to prove something, and then you can establish it.” read more

Science v/s Common Sense

We all know that in science any experiment we do, we take a set of assumptions based on reasonable indications. Like while plotting Flow-rate Vs Head graph of a pump at a given constant angular speed, we accept that will stay constant.

“My faith is proof and your faith is blind belief”?

Faith1

When I was new in “bhakti” path, I used to read Srila Prabhupada’s book–“Life Comes from Life”. I was from science field and specifically I was more in researching various things and trying to understand scientists in depth. So I was very much in synchronization with the way scientists think. I did change my whole direction, by reading the books of Srila Prabhupada, based on a convincing fact that ascending process is faulty and guarantees failure to know the truth and that he was proposing a process that guarantees realizing the truth.

I got quite convinced of the fact that “sastra’s are the way and Krsna is the SUPREME. But I was not very much convinced of some of the arguments that Srila Prabhupada keeps against modern scientists to prove the existence of soul–for instance “because it is given in ‘sastra’s that’s why it is proved” and then he would go on saying that from centuries this process of evidence is followed (quoting from the Vedas) in Vedic India. I used to think “may be because Srila Prabhupada is not a scientist neither does he have much experience in science so he is not properly able to explain to these scientists.

 How can we present the Vedas as the proof? It can be said that as there are many other things in the Vedas that are true so it is logical to put faith in the Vedas to understand that soul exists. But how can one say that because it is mentioned in the Vedas “it is proof”? But I had a great regard for Srila Prabhupada and thus did not challenge his way of explanation and felt a little guilty. I then started to honor such statements of Srila Prabhupäda as “arsa vakyas”–the statements from great authorities that might not be clear to us now but are not to be disrespected. read more

A review of the book ‘Woman Diksha Guru’

Feminist

In the following exchange between Krishna Kirti Prabhu and Kaunteya Prabhu that took place on the GBC conference, we see that the Feminist party in ISKCON represented in this case by Kaunteya has to go to the enemies of our Sampradaya to gain support for their objective of establishing female diksha gurus.

The object of discussion is a book, Did Srila Prabhupada Want Women Diksa-gurus? written by Kaunteya dasa. Urmila devi dasi comments, “What an incredible book. I believe this answers just about everything and considers every angle about women being gurus.”

Urmila dd is so blinded by the ambition of being a diksha guru that she would risk the integrity of our Sampradaya in order to achieve it. Yet she is a senior member of the SAC. Can we have any faith in a person who puts their own ambition before that of Lord Caitanya’s mission? read more

Who Is Supreme?

Book writen by Gokula Candra das and printed by Bhakti Vikasa Trust. A book is based on the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and establishes the supremacy of Lord Krsna over the 33 crores of demigods. 160 pages with 8th color photos, hundreds of slokas quoted, and elaborate question-answers at the end of each chapter. Useful for preaching in India, or to Indians.

Where are the powerful Chinese women?

India China

In 1982 the Chinese economy was less than the Italian but if predicted rates of growth continue it is slated to overtake the US and be the world’s #1 economy by 2018. This rapid transformation was all done without any women in leadership positions! The following BBC article is a feminist rant complaining about this fact and painting the male domination in as bad a light as possible. But in reality it underscores the fact that there are no women in charge, and despite the fact that at times the men behave badly (the biased article focuses only on the short comings of the men not their accomplishments) still they have managed to perform an economic miracle. Of course in the West where women are increasingly getting into positions of power they also behave badly falsifying one feminist myth after another. The fact that these Chinese men were able to put into practice policies to bootstrap the Chinese system without female leadership again falsifies the feminist myth that it is necessary to have women in leadership positions so that we can “profit” from their perspective.

We also note that in Vedic civilization women were also not given any positions of power or authority as Srila Prabhupada often quoted from Manu that under no circumstance should a woman be independent (see SB 10.4.5 purport).

We are not claiming that the whole Chinese system is perfect but the question remains: what can we learn from the Chinese experience regarding women in leadership? read more

Calling women Prabhu

Sivarama Swami

“Calling women Prabhu” Transcribed lecture of H.H. Sivarama Maharaja

This morning I am going to touch on a subject that I was asked about recently by one devotee, that subject is the addressing ladies by the title Prabhu. Devotee asked me that why is this going on in some parts of ISKCON. And then I’d to answer that I really didn’t know that why has this practice been introduced in ISKCON because it is some kind of new introduction. It didn’t exist in Prabhupada’s times and didn’t exist after Prabhupada’s times. Best of  my knowledge is coming from last year or two and when asked what I thought of it, I told them I did not believe it was the right thing, was the wrong thing, which does not really have any other reference other than Srila Prabhupada on occasion calling some of his disciples “Prabhu” and that may be the case but it wasn’t what I experienced when I began associating with devotees in 1970. But that I was told that all women should be considered one’s own mothers and when I called my own wife “Mother” I was corrected, no no not your own wife, all other women. Since then I have read in Srila Prabhupada’s books, everywhere, Srila Prabhupada’s conversations, lectures, Srila Prabhupada constantly refers to this ideal of women being addressed as “Mothers”, what has been going on in last three decades or four decades in our Krishna Consciousness movement. For me it is like pulling a rabbit out of the hat, all of a sudden lets show respect to ladies and we’ll show them respect by calling them Prabhu. I don’t think this is what Prabhupada wants us to do that, he wants us to practice and follow Vaishnava tradition which means that the address co-relates the gender. You call a man ‘Mr. Smith’ and wife you call ‘Mrs. Smith’, you don’t call man’s wife Mr. Smith also just to show some respect. Respect is there and it is inherent in the title that is being given. And, mother is no lesser than a title than Prabhu, but it is correct, it is gender correct. The structure of KC Movement is ideally supposed to be about Vaishnavism and Prabhupada continually quotes this “matrivat paradaresu” from Chanakya Pandit, he calls it sastra. He says everyone else “paradaresu”, everyone else except your wife, “matrivat” is you call them your Mother, you deal with them as your “Mother”. That is meant to be our social interaction. Someone may say well in realms of pure Vaishanavism, transcendental Krishna Consciousness then the designations of body don’t matter. That I don’t believe that, for one and second we are not meant to be acting as if on transcendental platform even if we are, we are meant to be acting as conditioned souls within a social framework, a Varnashrama social framework and adopting those types of designations and appellations. I don’t believe that transcendentalists behave like that because the references which tradition seems to point to for instance when we read about Jahanava Devi, there is never anywhere, there is lot to be read about her in “Bhakti ratnakar” and other Vaishnava literature. She is always called Jahanava Ma or she is called Sri Isvari or she is called Acharaya Rani. These are appellations which are gender correct and they do not cross the grain of cultural norms. And from what we read about her even though she was the acharya, even though no doubt she was the transcendentalist but she did not mix with men, she did not eat with the men, she ate separate. She cooked for them, she served but she did not eat with them. We address Srimati Radharani, we don’t say Sriman Radharani, Srimat Radharani, we say Srimati. And, we say Radharani, we don’t say Radharana, Radharaj, we say Radharani.

I mean it is even ridiculous just to be discussing this but anyway Srila Prabhupada called ladies, initiated ladies, gave them spiritual names and called them devi dasi. I don’t think on any of the initiation lecture Prabhupada called anyone Prabhu. So, it just doesn’t really make any sense to me that we want to introduce after all this time some kind of new practice and I can’t for the life of me understand why actually some people even buy into this. I even heard in news of GBC body, I think it is extremely childish. Okay, why did  Srila Prabhupada called some ladies like that, I don’t know. Why did he call 5 year old Gurukula boy ‘Mr. Dwarkadesa’? Did he imply that we are supposed to be calling all Gurukula children ‘Mr.’ Of course not, it won’t be good for them, ISKCON would be a laughing stock. It is not something that is done, children are not called Mr., you call superiors, elderly persons and mature people ‘Mr.’. Srila Prabhupada may have done it but it is not the general practice, it is not what is in scriptures. It is not what society was doing in Srila Prabhupada’s times, after Srila Prabhupada’s times. Why should we adopt something what no other Vaishnava society does and not Vaishanava no other society uses Prabhu and which isolates ISKCON and makes us look extremely foolish and I would say impudent thinking that we’re introducing some kind of cultural norm that Srila Prabhupada did it, ultimately Srila Prabhupada takes the blame. read more

Kullu Manali – Himachal Pradesh – India

Manali FP

Kullu Manali

by Adbhuta Hari Dasa

     Manali is a mountain tourist’s town in North Indian state, Himachal Pradesh. Situated at an altitude of 2000 meters and surrounded by almost 6000-meter high snow-capped Mountains it serves as a base for many tourists who come there, for trekking, skiing, rafting or just relaxing in a peaceful, natural environment during the summer season. The Kullu valley in which it is situated is considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. This valley which was formerly known as the end of the habitable world is in fact a place where the first civilization began. Historical name of Manali was “Manu-Alaya,” or the “Home of Manu”. Vaivasvata Manu author of Manu Smriti, “the codes of conduct”, supposedly lived here after the flood in which the world was deluded. He became a first progenitor of the Earth planet, giving thus Manali historical importance as a cradle of human kind.  read more