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

Brahmacari is first class

  “If one can remain brahmacari that is best.”

(Letter to: Mahavisnu — Bombay 31 December, 1975)

Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami: …They may be indologists but they cannot make others follow the Indian culture. They can make someone else an armchair speculator, that they can do, but they cannot make someone else live the life of the knowledge that they teach. Because they don’t live it themselves.  read more

Three lessons from the Mahabharata

Mahabharat_1

The following sastric reference indicates three things:

1) the nature of the disposition of Brahmanas versus Kshatriyas. Brahmanas have soft hearts but use sharp words while Kshatriyas speak sweetly but their hearts are like razors.

2) A curse is only effective if based on truth read more

Book distribution in Sarajevo

SP Book Distribution

Last summer, two interesting incidents happened on book distribution in Sarajevo, Bosnia, which illustrate how non devotees can distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. I was only assisting them.

I was distributing books in front of a big mall, and after some time I took a break on the bench in the street. From a distance an elderly couple (around the age of 70) approached and ask if they could sit beside me, because the other benches were taken. I had no objection. I thought that maybe this was some kind of providential arrangement for me to show them books, but I was so exhausted that I remained silent. After a few minutes I opened my book bag to take out a bottle of water.

The old lady sitting beside me saw the stack of books inside and asked, “Are you selling something?” Now it was obvious that there was some arrangement going on, but I again decided not to say anything not just because I was tired but just to see what would happen. I took out a Caitanya-caritamrta and put it in her hands. She read the description on the back and then started examining the book. She seemed to be waiting for me to say something, but I remained silent. After quite some time she asked, “How much is this?” I said, “Donation — give as much you like.” She again carefully examined the book for a while, as though it was a piece of fruit that had to be checked for defects. Still I didn’t say anything about the book. She said to her husband: “Look, a very nice book. We can give as much we want.” read more

Nature’s I.Q.

 EXTRAORDINARY ANIMAL BEHAVIOURS THAT DEFY EVOLUTION

By Istvan Tasi and Balazs Hornyanszky

I read this book some years ago. Actually, for the first time it was published in English 2009 although Hungarian original version came in 2002. If you are attached to popular science reading this is book for you and last portion helps you not to forget Whose I.Q. is discussed therein. read more

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