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Utah Temple in the News
from Caru dasa


The following article appeared in the religion section of the Salt Lake Tribune, Saturday September 26, 1998:

Talk of a New Temple Adds Spice to Krishna Celebration

By Grant Madsen

Subheading: "At Annual Festival of India in Spanish Fork, Leader Calls Future Holy Place a Jewel and a Complement to Utah's Other Religious Edifices"

SPANISH FORK—A new temple being built in Utah County for the Hindu deity Krishna should be a beautiful addition for a state already known for its striking Mormon temples, a Hare Krishna leader says.

"It will be a jewel that will complement the other jewels, the other temples here in Utah," said Caru dasa, Utah president of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. "Only this temple will have a slightly different background and flavor."

Dasa made his comments during the Spanish Fork ashram's 12th annual Festival of India last week. Hundreds of visitors climbed a nearby hill to see the temple site, outlined by rows of concrete blocks.

The announcement made this year's festival more exciting than past celebrations, said the 30 year follower of Krishna, believed by devotees to be one incarnation of God, whose name means "all attractive."

"There is a difference in this year's festival—an added level of excitement for sure," said Dasa, who also operates KHQN, an AM radio station devoted to spreading Krishna consciousness.

The festival of Ramvijaya draws hundreds from all over Utah to celebrate the victory of Rama, one of the many incarnations of Krishna, over the evil, 10-headed demon Ravana.

Costumed actors reenacted the story in an hour long play culminating with the fiery destruction of a Ravana effigy. Visitors were invited to participate by throwing rocks and sticks at the demon lord. Visitors to the Sept. 19 festival also dined on vegetarian dishes including such Indian delicacies as Bengali royal rice and blueberry "hallava," a dish made of blueberries, rice and raisins.

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CHAKRA 29-Sep-98

Youth Cards
from Uddhava das


Hello Prabhus

I'm a gurukuli who went to gurukula for thirteen years. I don't agree with Manu's letter. Gurukulis are more than just a guest at the temples, they are ISKCON's only hope for the future of this movement. Not to mention the amount of service they and their parents have done for the movement.

I WILL NOT get any card from this youth ministry:

I DO NOT ACCEPT Manu as my youth minister, neither do my other gurukuli friends,and he certainly doesn't represent us. I don't really know who he represents.

I wonder if any gurukulis were involved in picking Manu as the person who now supposedly represents us? Did we get any say? I think not.

Instead of the kuli's getting to pick their own representative the G.B.C. went ahead and got their kuli yes-man, Manu.

As far as the little part about gurukuli's showing up at temples with supposed attitudes, I already see the ground work for kicking gurukulis out of temples. All a temple president has to say is "he copped an attitude with me and is offensive to devotees" and bye bye, THANKS for laying down the rules mister youth minister!

There are many kulis out there who grew up in the movement and the only people they know are devotees. Why not show kindness? From the time we were very young we've been a burden to this movement, hence we were sent off far away so we wouldn't hinder the maha preaching, even now ISKCON leaders see us as nothing more than parasites, as stated in the letter "copping attitudes saying you owe me" is a reflection of this same attitude.
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CHAKRA 27-Sep-98


The L.A. Incident
from Narakriti das


Dear editorial,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

By taking a stand in the incident regarding Gaudiya Math Swami visit in Los Angeles temple without proper investigation thus criticizing Nirantara [Swami] and Svavas prabhus I think you have gone too far. I don't want to hear public criticism of these devotees from the site who is supposed to be ISKCON friendly. If there was something wrong on their part it should be discussed in a proper forum and there is no reason why they should be accountable to you.

Your servant Narakriti das

CHAKRA 25-Sep-98


Special Facilities for ISKCON Gurukulis

CHAKRA (Long Island)—According to Manu dasa, ISKCON's Youth Minister, the GBC has given gurukula graduates a right to special facilities in ISKCON.

"The GBC Body passed three resolutions about this in 1997," says Manu.

"The whole point of the resolution was to encourage our kids to come around again," adds Manu. "Those few who do—hopefully we will treat them nicely. Treat them like a guest who is visiting your temple, checking it out as a future possible place to live, start a family nearby, and get involved."

Manu says ISKCON youth should first have a membership certificate before they can take advantage of the GBC resolutions. The certificate can be obtained from the ISKCON Youth Ministry.

"They can't just show up at your door and say, 'I'm a gurukuli. You owe me,'" says Manu.
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CHAKRA 21-Sep-98


First ISKCON Canada Youth Convention a Success
from Adi-Kurma dasa, youth minister


Amidst all the global turmoil, war, economic collapse, etc. a unique participation of twenty-five young boys and girls in the Toronto temple dining hall marked the First ISKCON Canada Youth Convention.

On August 1, the event was inaugurated by Bhaktimarga Swami. The guest speaker was Prof. Joseph T. O'Connell from the South Asian Religious Studies Department of the University of Toronto.

Bhaktiraghava Swami spoke on the duties of youth to the society and enlightened the participants by an informative discourse on youth involvement in the Hare Krsna movement. Among other speakers were Jivan Mukta prabhu, who spoke quite elaborately on Varnashrama.

Vyapaka prabhu spoke on organic agriculture and self sufficiency, and Devala prabhu spoke on the scope of spreading Krsna consciousness among young. Jayabhadra devi dasi gave a wonderful presentation on Deity worship and the basics of offering.

There were two workshops. The first, an art workshop, was conducted by the renowned actor, artist, and playwright Michael O'Regan of Toronto. He showed the participants the basic approach to modern art, relating it to Krsna Conscious themes. The other workshop was a drama workshop conducted by Bhaktimarga Swami.
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CHAKRA 21-Sep-98


Rude Treatment in LA
an editorial by Vipramukhya Swami


CHAKRA (New Haven, USA)— We at CHAKRA were saddened recently when we read an article in VNN about the rude treatment given by the Los Angeles temple to Bhaktivedanta Mangala Maharaja of the Gaudiya Matha.

We know that VNN does not always report things accurately, but since the Los Angeles temple has not answered CHAKRA's request for an account of the incident, we will give VNN the benefit of the doubt for the sake of making a point.

According to the article, His Holiness Bhaktivedanta Mangala Maharaja entered the Los Angeles temple to participate in the Radhasthami ceremony.

"As soon as the ceremony was over," says VNN, "Nirantara dasa, the vice-president jumped on the vyasasan so that nobody would try to give the seat to the Senior Vaisnava."

The article continues: "A Mataji screamed at him saying: 'Nirantara, how dare you not to give a Senior Vaishnava the proper Vaishnava etiquette.' Nirantara continued adamant. The Mataji screamed again "NIRANTARA IF YOU CONTINUE YOU WILL GO TO HELL," and then she addressed the audience saying: 'and all of you who listen to him will also go to hell.' "

We at CHAKRA deplore this unfortunate incident, and we feel the situation could have been handled much more tactfully.

"I assume the sannyasi in question is a Gaudiya Math sannyasi," writes Umapati Swami. "I don't know him. I don't think he would have expected to speak, but he should have been received with a garland and a nice seat, etc."

The mataji was also wrong. All ISKCON devotees should know that they are not obliged to hear from anyone outside of ISKCON, regardless of his stature.
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CHAKRA 18-Sep-98


Will We Meet the Challenge?
from Ujjvalla Das


What a historic time to be a member of ISKCON. We are at a crossroads where important decisions are required to ensure our society's very survival.

Decisions made today could very well determine whether it expands and prospers, or fades into oblivion.

I doubt if we have ever had a better opportunity to grow as individuals as we strive to continue Prabhupada's mission. How exciting it is for all of us.

This is not the time to tear apart and destroy what Prabhupada created, but our chance to perfect and expand his organisation for the benefit of all humankind.

Let's make the most of this fantastic opportunity!

Ujjvalla Das,

Sydney, Australia.

CHAKRA 16-Sep-98


Srila Prabhupada's Cure for Confusion
from Rasananda Swami


Note: The following is a letter from Rasananda Swami in reponse to Atulananda dasa's letter on VNN entitled "Srila Prabhupada Left The Cure to All Confusion."

My dear Vaisnavas.

Please, accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and all Vaisnava Acaryas!

In Atulananda dasa's posting, he approaches us showing his genuine love for his brothers and sisters. All of us are hankering for love amongst ourselves. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada taught us the meaning of love. He wrote:

"So please patch up any crack that may have come between yourself and ISKCON...Our ISKCON should be taken as being a family based upon love and trust, so as the father becomes unhappy when one of his children wishes to break family connections I also become unhappy when there is difficulties within our ISKCON family. So please do not consider leaving as you are spiritual children of mine. (letter to Isana, Vibhavati - 21 Sep 70)

.Why is Atulananda dasa talking of love when he neglects Srila Prabhupada instructions? I beg Atulananda dasa to reconsider Srila Prabhupada's words.

Atulananda dasa says:

"The second was that we should go to Srila Sridhar Maharaj if we had any problems. Everyday, this would run through my mind, and I felt the need to follow these words as if they were my only hope. It was the Supersoul screaming in my heart: Don't forget the advice your Guru has left for you!"

My dear readers, it seems Atulananda dasa is following ardha-kukkuti-nyaya, the logic of accepting half a hen. We should not be misled or naive. Srila Prabhupada held Sridhara Maharaja in high consideration, but he did say:

"So Sridhara Maharaja and his two associate gentlemen unauthorizedly selected one acarya and later it proved a failure. The result is now everyone is claiming to be acarya even though they may be kanistha adhikari with no ability to preach. In some of the camps the acarya is being changed three times a year. Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp. Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya. So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them."

(Please note that this letter was dated April 1974. To my knowledge, this is the last letter where Srila Prabhupada referred to Sridhara Maharaja.) . . .
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CHAKRA 14-Sep-98


ISKCON Condemns Illegal Occupancy
a CHAKRA report


The Yugoslavian Hare Krsna Movement has officially declared that it does not approve of devotees illegally occupying the property of others. The statement was issued in response to an accusation by the Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) that the devotees in the Croatian town of Licka Jesenica are illegally occupying the houses of 20 people of Serbian nationality. (See "Croatia Devotee-Mayor Denies Humanitarian Charges" and "Croatian Devotees in the News.")

"In the Yugoslavian newspapers we are accused of that kind of mentality," says a devotee in Yugoslavia, "and this is obviously the reason why we are considered a sect. We are described as violent and inimical toward society."

Croatian newspapers have quoted Lokesa Prabhu, who is the mayor of Licka Jesenica, as admitting to living in a Serbian house. Lokesa, however, claims that his action is legal.

"It is true that I am living in a Serbian house," said Lokesa, "and that I have taken that house in my name. Our governmental commune building was completely destroyed, and I, as a chief, was forced to move to that house. That house was given to us temporarily, and we will leave that house when we get terms to move out to our original governmental commune house."

The HHO report alleges that one devotee offered the owners of the land he occupied some other land, which did not belong to him either.

In view of the situation, the leaders of the Hare Krsna movement in Yugoslavia issued the following statement to the press:

"The spiritual standards of the Hare Krishna movement are based on respecting God as a person and every living entity as a part and parcel of God. Therefore, any kind of violence, starting with animal slaughter all the way up to the attack of personal goods, identity, and human life, is considered a very sinful act. . ."

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CHAKRA 14-Sep-98


Croatian Devotees in the News
a letter from from Dahani devi dasi


Dear Sri Rohini Suta Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I just want to inform you about the situation in the media here related to Licka Jesenica.

First we wrote one press release and sent it to the agency that suplies the newspapers with the news, but in the few following days none of the main newspapers published our statement.

Then we went yesterday and personally delivered this statement to the chief editors of the newspapers or the responslible journalists, and in one newspaper they published our statement together with the parts of the articles that were published in Croatia recently, when the journalist interviewed Lokesa prabhu. It ended quite O.K., regarding the press.

Maybe now a few other main newspaper houses will follow the steps of the house and publish our statement, too. This is the first time, after many demands, that they published when we asked them, so it gives us more hope for the future. Now we are preparing some more articles about our movement for other magazines, and hopefully, they will publish them also.

Your servant,

Dahani d.d.

CHAKRA 13-Sep-98


Why Gurus Fall
by Vipramukhya Swami

CHAKRA (Long Island, NY)—In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna tells Uddhava that envious demigods try to bewilder transcendentalists through attachment to family members and disciples:

"Sometimes the progress of imperfect transcendentalists is checked by attachment to family members, disciples or others, who are sent by envious demigods for that purpose. But on the strength of their accumulated advancement, such imperfect transcendentalists will resume their practice of yoga in the next life. They will never again be trapped in the network of fruitive work." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28.29)

Speaking as if in a prophetic voice about present problems in ISKCON, the purport, by Hrdayananda dasa Goswami,  explains that sannyasis and other spiritual teachers are sometimes bewildered by "flattering followers and disciples sent by the demigods to embarrass spiritual leaders who are lacking complete spiritual knowledge."

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CHAKRA 9 Sep 98


Croatia Devotee-Mayor Denies Humanitarian Charges
a CHAKRA report

Saborsko, Croatia (CHAKRA)—The mayor of a Croatian town, who is a devotee, has denied a report by Agence France Presse that he has refused to let displaced Serbs return to live in their former homes and that he has given the homes to devotees instead.

The report, posted on VNN and other anti-ISKCON web sites, begins as follows:

"Luka Hodak, mayor of Licka Jasenica, south of Zagreb—where before the Serbo-Croat war almost the entire population of 444 was of Serb ethnic origin—was accused by the Croatian branch of the Helsinki Committee (HHO) to have allowed members of his sect to take over 27 Serbs' homes, and to live in one of them himself.

According to Lokesa dasa (Luka Hodak), however, the houses were allocated according to a decree by the Croatian government without regard to the religion of the recipients.

"In all of this it is important to mention that men—not only Hare Krishna people but also Orthodox Serbs—were awarded houses," says Lokesa. "However, Serbs coming since 1995 until now were entering the houses without official documents, by their own free will. The reason is similar: their previous objects were devastated and burned down. There are seven such families of Serbs at present. At the same time, houses were awarded to persons of other religions.

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CHAKRA 9 Sep 98

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