This page was last updated on January 15, 2004.

The Fossils Debate
Can you call the Sila a fossil?


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Stone and More than Stone
By Vrindavan Das Thakur das

Well we all know the Deity is not stone though it is made out of stone, or is not metal though it is made out of it, etc. We all know Tulsi is not just a plant, and we all know the Sila is not just a fossil.

Tulsi, though a great devotee of Vishnu and more then a plant, is still a plant. Furthermore, if you do studies about her or read books about her, you will see she goes under the category of creeper. But of course, everyone with sufficient intellect will regard her as much more then just a creeper plant.

Prabhupada was much more than a mere human but was human, in an Indian body as well and Bengali as well and male as well.

Pilgrim's Diary: Travels, Fossils, and TKG
by Vipramukhya Swami

The following article contains links that will take the reader to websites other than this one.

I am also bemused by the goings back and forth on the "fossil issue" on Chakra, in which Bhaktavatsala dasa has tried to refute my claim that the Salagram is a "spiritual fossil." I have received much email on this topic, including two articles favorable and unfavorable (in which the author seems to have felt so awkward as to avoid signing his or her article - wonder why). In the so-called critical article, entitled "Fossils: What Goes Around Comes Around," the author stated: "I'm just saying that if Maharaj is going to get upset and angry over terminology without consideration of time, place, and circumstance, then he should perhaps apply the same rules to himself."

"Fossil" on the Vedabase
By Kavicandra Swami

Since the word "fossil" has become such an important part of our vocabulary, I looked it up on the Vedabase.

The greatest enemies of progressive spiritual culture in human society are the old fossils of political parties who are blind themselves and who try to lead other blind men. — REF. LoB 37

Prabhupada: But where they will get fossils of old intelligent men? —REF. Morning Walk – January 22, 1974, Hawaii

Prabhupada: We understand from the writings, not from the fossils and bones. the bones and fossils are already finished, but they kept their writing. —REF. Morning Walk – January 22, 1974, Hawaii
[More inside.]

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End the Fossil Debate, Please
By Devahotra dasa 
(disciple of HH Vipramukhya Swami)

Having had the privilege of serving HH Vipramukhya Swami, my Guru Maharaja, I can attest to the primary importance that he gives to the careful, reverent, and loving worship of the Salagrams in his care. Indeed he has done much to educate devotees about the unique significance of Salagrams, both on the internet and in his travels.

Fossils: Why So Harsh?
Subhadra-mayi devi dasi 
answers Ujjvala dasa

Dear Ujjvala Prabhu,

ISKCON is in the state it is because no one dared to point fingers at sannyasis and leaders. Quite a few (ex) sannyasis have done many wrong things and dealt with others in dysfunctional ways. What's wrong with pointing that out?

It's scary to see that some people still think one cannot point an accusative finger at a sannyasi. After all the blunders in this movement...

Saying that, regarding this salagrama issue, I don't see where Bhaktavatsala Prabhu was accusing Vipramukhya Swami. He was just making an important point. So I don't really understand what invoked the harshness in your letter.

Subhadra-mayi devi dasi

[See "On Fossils" Chakra, April 22, 2002.]

Fossils: An Innocuous 
Little Statement

By Rama Kesava dasa

Dear Devotees,

Each day I log on to Chakra and view the "fossil debate" with incredulity. I am astounded that people are arguing over an innocuous little statement.

The fact of the matter is that Vipramukhya Swami told a little "white lie." Maybe, Salagrama Silas are by their nature, not fossils. However, if Maharaja had begun to elucidate on their nature to the security guard, what incident could have ensued? How easy would it have been for him to explain that the Sila is non-different from Krsna Himself? So, instead, the security guard thinks that we go around collecting fossils, which probably would have made sense to him.

Fossils: It’s All in the Mind
By K.K. Mukherjee

Dear All Devotees of ISKCON:

All Glories To Srila Prabhupad.

I have been following the debate over fossils with amusement and concern. I do agree when someone takes offense to Srila Krsna being called a fossil, but then it is all in his or her mind. Anyway, who are we to decide what is going on in the heart? If someone really loves Krsna, so be it. You can call Lord Sri Krsna whatever you want. Does it really make any difference to him?

Yours Sincerely,
K.K. Mukherjee

Not a Fossil: How about Lucky Stone?
By Brahma Das (ACBSP 73)

I read the exchange about Salagrama-Sila with interest. It appears that some devotees were offended by the fact that Salagrama was represented to airport authorities as a fossil. Personally I don’t find anything wrong with this representation, as the devotee was just trying to avoid unnecessary scrutiny by customs officials in order to carry on with his service.

Another devotee going through customs with Salagrama might take the opportunity to preach to airport authorities about Salagrama as God, but this is certainly not entry-level preaching and could possibly result in delay. This is especially true in these times where there is so much paranoia centered on religious fanaticism in the airports.

Fossils: What Goes Around 
Comes Around

Name Withheld

Some time ago, when George Harrison left his body, a letter was printed on Chakra from the Free Forum that was written by two senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Vipramukhya Swami criticized the authors for not placing "Srila" in front of "Prabhupada" in their message. He did not consider the circumstances and the intended audience of the original message. Well, now Maharaj has referred to Krsna as a fossil, and he is receiving similar scrutiny.

Bhaktavatsala das should not be criticized for raising a philosophical question just because it challenges a sannyasi.

On Fossils
By Ujjvala das

I have just read Bhaktavatsala's long-winded article on Vipramukhya Swami's reference to salagrams as "fossils."

All I can say is that it's no wonder ISKCON is in the state it's in if there are many devotees like this on the loose.

Of all the puffed up, opinionated articles I have read, this one takes the cake. As he has admitted that he has a plank in his own eye, I suggest Bhaktavatsala attempt to remove it before he ever again points an accusative finger at any sannyasi.

As for his opinion, detailed at length, it's balderdash.

Ujjvala das

Still Not a Fossil
By Bhaktavatsala das (NZ)

In response to my contention that the Salagrams should not be referred to as "fossils," Vipramukhya Swami wrote: "...the description of the sastras in the creation of the Salagrams is not wholly inconsistent with what archeologists think of as a fossil."

How so? And according to whom? All due respects to the archeologists, who no doubt have much faith in their field of activities, but we do not care for that field of activities. They are speculating, based on imperfect sense perception, a cheating propensity, being subject to illusion, and having a liability to making mistakes and errors in their judgements (as also can anyone who follows such "authorities"). Even Charles Darwin himself admitted his own fallibility, and that his theories could be wrong, and could not be based on fossil evidence (alone). Hence the archeologists are not our authorities.

Krishna Is a Spiritual Fossil
By Vipramukhya Swami

Ljubljana, Slovenia– I just read Bhaktavatsala's article "Krsna Is Not a Fossil" which was written in response to my Pilgrim's Diary story where I told a security guard at the Port Authority Bus terminal in New York that my Salagrams were "fossils."

Bhaktavatsala, writing from New Zealand, says, "All due respects, but after reading Vipramukhya Swami's account of the Port Authority bus terminal, and the intensive security, I was sorry to note that he felt it necessary to refer to his worshipful deities as 'fossils.'"

Krsna Is Not a Fossil
By Bhaktavatsala das (NZ)

All due respects, but after reading Vipramukhya Swami's account of the Port Authority bus terminal, and the intensive security, I was sorry to note that he felt it necessary to refer to his worshipful deities as "fossils."

Especially as a religious leader and leading preacher of Krishna consciousness, it would surely have been more appropriate to refer to Them as (perhaps) "traditional religious icons," or something more accurate, appropriate, and respectful.

Pilgrim's Diary— 
Thoughts on the Way to Connecticut

By Vipramukhya Swami

Wednesday, 20 March 2002, Greyhound Bus

I'm bouncing around on a Greyhound Bus. It's raining outside. It's been raining for days. It's half past twelve in the afternoon.

A minute ago the bus passed over a bridge from the northern tip of Manhattan to the Bronx. This is New York City, and I'm on my way to Connecticut.

At Port Authority Bus terminal, the bus terminal that's as big as an airport, they were examining the carry-on bags of everyone getting on the bus. The inspector eyed my Salagram Silas and asked what They were. I told him they were "fossils." They also passed a metal detector over everyone boarding the bus. These are new security measures in place since September 11.

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