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Letter, Narayana Maharaja and the Moon Landing
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
am an ex-temple devotee, since leaving the temple I eventually went back to
university and am now a teacher. I'm also a great follower of CHAKRA and for the
last two years this site has informed me, and made me feel closer to the
community of devotees. I've not written previously, but during the last years
three issues in particular have stood out for me: Bhagavan's Letter; the issue
of Narayana Mararaja, and now that of the Moon Landing.
last year I read Bhagavan's Letter, I printed it out and re-read it several
times. I also read the criticism leveled at the content - and it seemed to me
that often this criticism went deeper than just deploring Bhagavan's position on
current issues, but deploring the fact that he should even attempt such an
exposition in the first place!
was the Zonal Guru I followed from 1983 until he left in the summer of 1986,
just before the next initiations when I was due for initiation. The shock of his
sudden departure is something you had to be there to experience - yes, there
were those in the know, but for the majority of ordinary temple devotees it was
as bewildering in the years that followed was the secrecy and silence, and the
inevitable rumors of all that had apparently happened to this man. For me, to
read his letter, was to hear some of the old voice, not arrogance, but genuine
repentance, and a wish for reconciliation.
an ex-temple devotee, not even I suppose what we used to call a “fringe
devotee,” I was joyful to feel him attempting to build bridges, and bring
himself closer to ISKCON and the devotees.
is the use of criticizing his views on topics for which we all have our own
ideas anyway? The central point is that after such a fall from a position of
responsibility and authority, who knows what conflicts, what shame, guilt and
remorse he felt?
certainly feel in no position to judge, but should any of us? My heart is glad
when I hear of anyone, newcomer, ex-devotee, fallen guru - anyone - who comes to
take some shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s glorious movement. With all its
seeming current problems, ISKCON is still a guiding star in this age of
darkness. This man was a preacher par-excellence. Okay, so he couldn’t for all
time live up to those high standards of renunciation - all glories to those who
can. But he did for a time, and his leadership and preaching was magnificent
from the point of view of making new devotees and of encouraging book
is the heart and soul I always believed of Srila Prabhupada’s desire -
"print books, and distribute them.”
there was an inordinate drive to collect money. (I was a sankirtan devotee at
various times in the 1980's.) Doing “big” was an obsession to be sure, but
still a joy and a service. To my mind it was simply part of the predominant
ethos and culture of the 1980's - an emphasis on “going for it,” “doing
big bucks,” etc.
look how it was put to use. Look at the wonderful centers of the 1980's, the
country and town temples of Europe, the fantastic training center of Caitanya
College in Worcester. It was all expansion - new devotees, more and more people
getting the books, becoming vegetarian, chanting, coming to the programs, and so
course, after every expansion in the material plane must come contraction, and
perhaps this is some explanation for ISKCON's difficulties in the 1990's. I am
no one to judge. Still, I hope that there will in time come again a time of
renewed expansion, a sense of purpose, with all lessons learnt. I hope that a
new time of blossoming Krishna Consciousness will begin worldwide.
Maharaja - I'm not qualified in any way to comment, except to say that anything
that appears to divide Srila Prabhupada's movement, seems to me, from the
outside, to be a misfortune. But this may be misperception.
all - Krishna is in control, so there must be hope for this disunity to
fade and good come out of it.
read a few of Narayana Maharaja's lectures, and as he is without doubt a great
devotee of the Lord. I offer my humble obeisances to him. Yet, it all seems a
different mood to Srila Prabhupada. I don't think I'm ready to hear about
Krishna's intimate pastimes in detail.
don't know how this affects other people new to Krishna Consciousness. I was,
however, very pleased to hear of the kirtan to the cows that Narayana Maharaja
initiated due to some devotees frightening them. This is very much in the mood
of Lord Caitanya, and warms my heart.
often feel some devotees have an attitude of “don't get too involved” when
it comes to animals. They think, “don't assist them, or you will get 'good
karma' and have to take birth again!” This is not the mood of Lord Caitanya
chanting with the forest animals to deliver them, nor the mood of Srila
Prabhupada, who once instructed a devotee to lift a small bug to the safety of a
have always enjoyed the company of other creatures on this planet (some would
say perhaps more than humans). The greatest service I can do for them is to give
them some Maha Prasada, and to chant to them. I hope there are many other
devotees who feel the same. So all glories to Narayana Maharaja for this mood of
compassion and mercy to the animals (no matter who they were in previous
births), for in this age this planet is certainly hellish for the vast majority
incident was worrying to me however. An old devotee friend of mine took
imitation from Narayana Maharaja in 1999, and I've not heard from her since. I
got the feeling when I met her at Rathayatra 2000, that unless I was interested
in her guru, she was not interested in me as a friend. Actually I had come to
Rathayatra to see Their Lordships with a friend, and very joyfuly we both were
to see the Deities and the devotees. My old friend (the Narayana Maharaja
disciple) said to me, "its no good coming to see the Deities, you must have
mentioned that my friend who was with me had lots of questions, but her only
interest seemed to be in getting devotees to come to the meetings of her guru,
companion who had journeyed down to London with me was new to Krishna
Consciousness, and someone I have often sheltered information of the ruptures in
ISKCON so that her faith can grow strong, but remain very enthusiastic. So I
said nothing to her of my old friends' comments. I had previously described my
old friend to her as someone who was an expert preacher and thus my friend was
keen to put questions to her. But there was no chance of that. It seemed as
though my old friend had no time fro those who had just come to see the Deities.
we bought some books and magazines, and my friend remained bewildered as to why
this “expert preacher” was not interested in an opportunity to answer
questions. Of course I may have misread the situation, but there it is.
the Moon Landing - the recent articles in CHAKRA have been very interesting and
thought provoking. Yes, I have seen that T. V. program, and my doubts about the
validity of the moon landing have increased with these discrepancies.
as one devotee wrote, to talk of a world conspiracy is suspect. If there was a
hoax, why didn’t the Russians expose it to hound their enemies? They would
have known. They had the technology.
own view is that since the Moon is a heavenly planet, therefore it is on a higher
plane to this gross material one of the five elements. That plane of
existence would be quite unperceivable to human sense perception. If they went,
then they went to a lump of rock and dust perceivable and discernable to the
of all, it would be impossible for them (as Srila Prabhupada said) in this body
to enter the heavenly spheres. Just as the astral planes on this planet exist in
parallel to our gross material plane of existence, so on other planets there
must be the planet perceived by the gross senses (i.e. the moon as a barren
rock, and the Sun as globe of fire).
the planet's full opulence, could only be perceivable in a suitable body made of
finer and purer elements.
for the space to comment.
© CHAKRA 21-July-2001
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