Letters From Our Readers
Thank you for not posting any more criticisms and faultfinding of our Beloved Spiritual Master.
Frankly it got worse than VNN. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I stopped accessing <oldchakra.com> for some time.
No More Blasphemy
Dear Umapati Maharaja,
Thank you for taking over at the helm there on Chakra. All the devotees I know are so relieved that The ISKCON website has stopped all the articles blaspheming Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to your service.
[Thanks for the appreciation. Chakra no longer prints articles suggesting that Srila Prabhupada or the Vedic Scriptures are mistaken about any subject.—U.S.]
for the Delay
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for the wonderfully beautiful picture you put with your article. I made it my wallpaper, and do not worry for the delay... Everyone needs a break. You're doing a great service all year long, so one week isn't so important ;-)
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you very much for posting the ecstatic story of the July 4th Harinama sankirtana party in Berkeley. Of all the ways to perform devotional service within ISKCON, somehow this Harinama sankirtana seems the most ecstatic. All glories to these sankirtana devotees!
[See "Fireworks of Divine Love" Chakra July 21, 2002.]
Dear Devotees and Friends,
I heard a story the other day that was not related to Krishna Consciousness but could be applied very easily. The speaker was saying that once there was a rose that somehow grew from the concrete. And someone remarked that it looked weak, and another person remarked that it was growing on too much of a slant. But the speaker took note that although a very amazing thing had occurred — a rose had grown from the concrete — still the others were more interested in the imperfections of the rose.
This can be applied to our ISKCON movement. Even though it has grown from America in the West (the concrete), still the critics will only take notice of its faults and imperfections, not that amazingly it has grown from the West by Srila Prabhupada's endeavor.
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Yesterday I met an extraordinary woman who is taking great delight in reading Srila Prabhupada's Gita. She wants to become a devotee. She is a middle-aged/older woman from a Muslim, Iranian Kurdish background, who presently lives in London.
She made a comment in the temple's evening class, speaking about the Bhagavad-gita with such love and conviction that all the devotees and guests were applauding her. Because her English is poor, she desires to converse and correspond with someone in her native language about Krishna consciousness.
If you speak Farsi or know of a devotee who does and would be willing to correspond with this very enthusiastic and sincere soul, please e-mail me and I will send you her contact information.
Thank you very much.
In "Give the Editor a Break" posted on Chakra, you have shown some irreverence by misspelling "Laxmimoni." (You put Laksimoni.) She is a senior Vaisnavi who should at least have her name spelt correctly.
[Thanks for pointing this out. The article has been corrected. And my apologies to Mother Laxmimoni for the error.—Ed]
[See "Give the Editor a Break" Chakra June 13, 2002]
Us a Break
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
On your recent posting entitled "Less Intelligent Women? Give Me a Break!" I noticed that you could not help from adding the following at the end:
[Note: I do not recall Srila Prabhupada asking people if they were homosexual, but he would not initiate anyone who was engaging in any kind of illicit sex. -Ed].
Now please give us a break! Of course Srila Prabhupada never asked anyone whether he or she was homosexual or not. Bodily designations did not matter to him. And duh! Everyone knows that Srila Prabhupada did not initiate people who were engaging in illicit sex.
Your clarifications were not necessary, and they implied that if a person is homosexual by nature he is automatically sexually active or cannot be celibate. This is not true because anyone can practice celibacy if they are determined. It does not matter if he or she is male, female, black, white, gay, straight, etc. Everyone has his or her own material temptations to overcome. There is no more temptation for a gay brahmacari to fall down than there is for a straight householder lying beside his wife. In fact, many could argue otherwise.
Sambhavi Mataji’s well-written "Observations of Reality" on the ISKCON Calendar brings up some important points that deserve a response.
First of all, although many years ago it was necessary to contact some pandits in Sweden in order to obtain a calendar for a particular location, thanks to the internet age this is no longer necessary. The calendar program, called "VCal," is available for download from a few different ISKCON websites, including PAMHO and www.shyamasundaradasa.com. Armed with that program, and if one knows one’s longitude, latitude, and time zone, one can calculate a calendar oneself. There are also plans to set up a website at which one can calculate a customized Vaishnava calendar online.
On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, the devotees are rolling chapatis for the Sunday feast. The phone rings.
"Hari Om. This is Mr. Patel calling. I want to know when is Ekadasi."
"It is tomorrow, sir."
"But my ISKCON calendar says it is today."
"Yes, but here we have it tomorrow. You see, it depends on the tithi, the lunar day."
In the temple close to where I stay, the counselor system is very prominent and powerful. According to what I have understood, "counselor" means friend, philosopher, and guide. However, here it is stressed that one should submit completely to a counselor, and any decision he makes regarding my life, I’m supposed to follow without deviation. So my question is this: To what extent should one accept the verdict of the counselor regarding ashram, career etc?
I’m asking this because a few years of my life were wasted because my counselor wanted me to join full time and I wanted to do higher education. I wanted to serve the Bhaktivedanta Institute, but he discouraged me. I tried hard to follow him, but then I felt that he wanted to decide my Guru. After some initial confusion, I felt that that was going too far. So I began to think, To what extent I should follow the counselor?
I am writing in response to HH Danavir Maharaj's recent essay on driving safely. In one part he cautions that one should cease driving when the eyelids become heavy. Feeling a heavy sensation in one's eyelids is, of course, a relative term. I think that a more precise (and easy to follow) suggestion would be:
"If you yawn twice in less than ten minutes, it is time to take rest."
This is my advice to people in general, and I think that it especially applies to this situation.
I just want to express my appreciation of His Holiness Danavir Goswami's article about safe driving for devotees. I personally have been in several cars when devotees are driving, and sometimes I am hanging on for dear life as they weave in and out of traffic, narrowly missing cars parked on the road. It's not fun.
for Lord Nrsmhadeva
I'm interested in knowing whether I can purchase a Lord Nrsmhadeva (with four arms) bracelet and pendant. If so, please indicate the cost of the two articles and the cost of delivery to Malaysia.
I would like to comment on His Holiness Danavir Goswami's article "Driving for Krishna."
My first reaction to this article was not a positive one, thinking that all devotees already know this and at the end of the day Krsna has the final say. Then as I read on and thought about the contents of this article I realized that this article deserves more credit then I first gave it, simply because I know that many devotees including me do not follow some of these safe-driving rules and are not thinking of the consequences that may follow.
I received a most wonderful gift, a book, Part One "Finding The Essence Of The Supreme Lord's Mercy"— Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrta of Srila Sanatana Goswami, from His Holiness Kavicandra Swami Maharaja yesterday (04 May 02) when he visited our home. I thank Maharaja for this most wonderful gift.
I thank His Grace Gopiparanadhana Prabhu who has translated and commented on this original Sanskrit work by Srila Sanatana Goswami. Thanks to the publishers The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, for bringing out another most wonderful work. Thanks to Brahma Muhurta Prabhu, Govinda Madhava Prabhu, and Govinda Cordua Prabhu for the wonderful design. Thanks to Dinabandhu Prabhu for the most wonderful illustrations. His paintings are most wonderful and extraordinary. Even if it may cost the book a couple of dollars more, the publishers should have inserted some more paintings in the book.
More Important Things
Dear Govinda dasa
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I have been reading your article on Chakra. I am sorry and afraid to offend you, but don´t you think we have more important things to do in ISKCON than to break our heads over the music other devotees are listening to?
Please don´t take me wrong, but my reviewing the last few years in ISKCON, I think this is a real minor problem.
Please don´t get me wrong. I don´t want to offend you at all.
[See "What Kind of Music," Chakra, April 26, 2002.]
Hari Bol. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
I need to get some good Krsna-related videos for children. Is there any one out there who could recomend some of the best ones and where to purchase them?
Thank you and Hare Krsna.
Kind of Music?
Please accept my obeisances. The temple near which I live often plays Western devotee music and Hindi music in the temple complex (back room, kitchen, temple room) while the devotees do their seva. This ranges from Village of Peace reggae to rock and roll and new-age-style renditions of traditional bhajans and the mahamantra.
I remember that growing up in gurukula, we were told that this was not appropriate music for temple but more for private listening. From what I've heard and read of Srila Prabhupada, he didn't like this in temple activities either.
Refer to Them as Devotees?
In reading such articles as His Holiness Vipramukhya Swami’s "Looks Bad to Reasonable Persons" I could only think of one thing about such entities that could rejoice in a Vaisnava’s or any living being’s passing.
"Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance — these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Prtha.’" (Bhagavad-gita 16.4.)
I was wondering if there is no devotee wishing to write about the 24-hour kirtana performed at Krishna-Balaram Mandir by Aindra das. His CDs are wonderful, but it would be as wonderful to have him singing and glorifying on a video— especially for those of us who cannot but dream of visiting Vrndavana even once in a lifetime.
With due respect, are devotees indifferent about this yajna, which is taking place for their benefit as well?
I wrote to BTG, to ask about this and the editor told me they will publish something about Aindra if some devotee would write about him... :-(
So, there you go.
Regards from Holland,
I joined the movement fifteen years ago, being fed up with commercial love and superficial human relationships based on rapacious exploitation.
The only real and unconditional love I got was from my parents, who by the way, thought I was a kind of their possession. While reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, I could feel true love and genuine emotions oozing out of Vaisnava literature. I was impressed by Sri Caitanya’s loving dealings with His devotee, the Lord’s devotee’s compassion for the innocent and helpless, mutual unconditional love and trust shared between the Lord’s advanced devotees…and so on. "That’s it!" I thought, "an oasis in a desert," not being aware of devotees’ incapability of practical application of that wonderful theory.
One of the first things (if not the very first) I learned in ashrama was that women are an inferior species, nine times more dirty, six times lustier…than man, and being of very low intelligence— they should be told what to do. Well, this was obviously a well-filtered statement from the Vedic literature, taken out of its context. I can’t really remember anybody speaking about women’s protection in those days.
Lectures and Classes on the Net
By N.I.U. Sarma
Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances.
I would like to bring to your notice that there are continuous lectures, classes, etc. by various ISKCON gurus and maharajas in their respective temples or zones where they are traveling. Especially topics on Bhagavatam, Krishna katha, and special lectures on appearance days of various Vaishnava devotees are very much required at this current moment.
It would be in the interest of all devotees if those lectures or classes are transcribed and posted on the net. I am sure the teachings by ISKCON leaders in various parts of the world can be summarized and posted on the net for the benefit of devotees. My humble request is to post more commentaries and teachings by senior devotees and leaders.
Aspiring humble servant,
Darshan of Deities in Temples
by Ravinder Sihra
Devotees living in temples are aware of arati times so it is no problem for them to have darshan of the temple Deities, but not all congregational members are aware of the darshan times, especially first-time visitors. Sometimes visitors to the temple are caught up in traffic or just delayed for some reason or other, and when they finally get to the temple they rush to the temple room to take darshan but find themselves staring in bewilderment at closed curtains.
Sometimes the visitors might have traveled from far places, even from other countries, and they find that they just missed arati, and they cannot wait that long for the next arati so they have to go away disappointed. Some come back another time another day, but some may not be able to come back again.
The Deities: Gifts For and Gifts From
by Ravinder Sihra
Most visitors to the temple like to make offerings to the Deities. The day could be special for them so they make an offering of some kind to the Deities including donating some laksmi. The most popular offering they make is a bunch of flowers and then come fruits, incense etc. All this is to get blessings from the Lord so that their day becomes auspicious.
It would be a good idea if ISKCON temples start opening small Deity gift shops or a stall by the entrance of the temples or even a table outside the temple rooms or reception areas where congregational members can purchase fresh flowers, in some cases from the temple gardens, fresh fruit baskets nicely decorated, and garlands, Deity costumes, ornaments and jewelery and then offer them to the Deities.
Fresh flower garlands, Deity costumes, and flowers must be properly wrapped and sealed by devotees so they remain clean if they are to offer to be put on the Deities.
Devotees Needed in Reno, USA
by April Hammond
Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, I have tried to search out people who understood God. Seeing as how I have always lived in Reno, I really have not had much variety in the way of spiritual mentors and friends that could understand or even accept Krishna Consciousness. Many of the spiritual practices here are either based on Mayavada philosophy or Neo-Christianity. The Catholic Church has been the closest devotional practice that I can relate to here. This has been a burden for me for years now.
Organic Food Is Not Always the Best
by Vyapaka dasa
I have been a farm inspector for horticultural and field crops in the organic food industry for 13 years and appreciate much of what Lalitanatha Prabhu has written in his article entitled "Organic Is Certainly the Best."
However, I would like to point out that organic agriculture is not as ideal as many think. When I first started inspecting, the use of slaughterhouse byproducts was quite rare, but that has changed dramatically over the last several years with blood, feather, and bone meals becoming more popular. Of course, these products are used primarily on horticultural crops and not on grain. So we must be careful about saying that organic agriculture is in the mode of goodness because my experience tells me that for the most part it isn't. And, of course, not all organic growers employ these fertilizers.
Organic Is Certainly the Best
by Lalitanatha dasa, Denmark
I liked Ravinder Sihra’s letter "Organic Is Best." Although seen by many as a material consideration of fringe significance, it has its important, albeit disregarded, place in Krishna consciousness and the life of any devotee.
The question is much more than simply which potato or cauliflower is in the subji. It is ultimately about which lifestyle is consistent with the philosophy that we preach (that is, if we like to preach). Can we on one hand ascribe to the ideal of a simple, non-violent, natural life based on God-given gifts and on the other hand support the most gross type of exploitation, violence and cultivation of greed taking place with our common daily actions? It seems inconsistent.
Srila Prabhupada never hid his contempt for the uselessness of modern industrialized society and the superiority of a more simple and natural life. The former fosters exploitation and atheism, the latter not only provides us with an abundance of everything, but also raises our consciousness and makes us sensitive to feel the hand of God in everything. Srila Prabhupada stated as one of the purposes of ISKCON, that his devotees should exemplify a simple, more natural way of life and teach others the same.
Srila Prabhupada’s Lending Library
by Ravinder Sihra
It would be really great if ISKCON temples all over the world start opening lending libraries.
Each temple should put a notice up for the congregation to donate any Krishna Consciousness books, tapes, videos CD’s, etc., which they have finished with and no longer require to the temple so that they can be used to open a lending library within the temple. Some books, the temples would have to supply themselves. The library could be started with a few books but gradually increase in number.
Organic Is Best
I’m responding to a short posting by Ravinder Sihra, titled "Organic Is Best." Would anyone know where to get organic split mung dahl? We use a lot of this in our temples, but so far I was unable to find an organic source for it. Whole mung is available easily, but I cannot find the split variety.
Has anyone any idea?
Thank you and Hare Krishna!
Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
New to the World of Chakra
by Bhakta Don Muntean
In the last year I became connected to this Digital Paramatma, the Internet, and have enjoyed this and other wonderful websites dedicated to the Mission of Lord Chaitanya.
I have been aspiring since 1988, and I have never lived in a Temple [yet].
In 1986 I received a Macmillan Bhagavad Gita from my farmer stepfather. It had been sold to his father by a devotee in the '70s. His father was into the mystical (my stepfather said). His dad had passed away before he met my mother and all his books were suddenly mine for the taking when they married in 1986— books by Lobsang Rampa and other esoteric authors. Buried in all these was this Bhagavad Gita As It Is and all its cool pictures. I gave away all the books but that one.
by Bhakta Ajay
The South African Ratha Yatra festival will be held in April this year. My service is to assist in the Multimedia tent. The objective of our tent is to present Krishna Consciousness using technology. One idea was to have an interactive class using a webcam and also perhaps broadcast the festival over the internet.
Sukadeva prabhu's article is interesting because we need someone with a webcam abroad who can set up this webcam and arrange for someone to give class.
To get the real higher taste it is best to use organic ingredients when making prasadam.
Organic food is now more readily available in food stores and the cost is much less than before, as the supermarkets try to win the price war. You will find most superstores now have a separate organic section and there are a few health food stores that sell only organic food from all over the world.
Lord Krishna, the supreme communicater, through His means as Supersoul, has given mankind the intelligence to create and utilize the worldwide web. Maya seems to be putting this to maximum effect, but could we not do more? Live cam sites in temple rooms would enable any one of us to hear classes by our senior men and women any time of the day and night all over the world. This would surely be a huge step forward in our efforts to advance everbody in Krishna consciosness.
Are there any such sites or plans to create any?
Every so often I like to check the website to see if other of my god-brothers and sisters have written about Tribhuvannatha. I went to check today and found that I received an error message indicating that it no longer existed.
Ananta Sesa Naga das
Wider Understanding of ISKCON
Everyone has probably noticed how fast things are changing at the present time. These developments affect our lives, preaching, domestic life, or families. Naturally, ISKCON as an entity is also growing, developing, and changing. Our society isn't a company of a few old monks sitting behind closed bars and waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.
Salagrama Sila Stolen
We would like to ask what can be done if a Salagrama sila that has been worshiped got stolen from us while traveling. Is there an appropriate procedure or mantras that should be read to ask forgivness from the Lord?
My e-mail address is: email@example.com
[Complete on this page.]
His Divine Grace
Srila Prabhupada's Books
by Ravinder Sihra
His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada's books should be given top priority in all ISKCON Temples that exist on this planet.
I strongly feel that each ISKCON temple should have the complete works of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and should have these displayed in the best manner possible in the temple reception area or the temple shop. This should be the main section, and all other books, tapes, videos, etc., by other devotees should be kept separate from the main section.
A New Year Prayer
by Hare Krishna Mani
Wish you all a happy healthy, peaceful, practical, progressive, prosperous, successful, and spiritual new year 2002 and future years to come.
Another Word on George
by Kenneth Rowe
There is a realization within my admission that I find worth sharing. That is, while legions of popular music fans may have taken to bhakti-yoga thanks to Beatle George, he took to it on his own – with no mentor or influence other than that of Srila Prabhupada! No pop culture icon led the way for George the way he did for us.
Have Things Changed?
by Bhakta Dan Pascavage
I don't know about worldwide, but that has been my experience. Not to denigrate the citizens of New Vrindaban, but please see my letter entitled "New Vrindaban and My Journey"; perhaps I was there at the wrong time in recent years, but I had to basically go out of my way to find someone to talk to and get questions answered. Oh, there were notable exceptions, and I wish I could remember their names to give them credit; but they were just that— exceptions.
What Is Free Forum?
To whom it may concern,
[The article is complete on this page.]
New Vrindaban and My Journey
by Dan Pascavage
Then I began to have second thoughts. I parked my car facing outward, so that if they threatened to tie me up and shave my head or sacrifice me to some demigod I could sprint to it and burn rubber on my way out. I even thought of calling work and telling them where I was so that they would know where to send the police if I disappeared. But I had a reassuring feeling in my spirit that this place was good and I needed to be here, so I laid my fears to rest.
Holiness or His Grace?
Regarding the article about the new temple in Queens, ... according to my little understanding of Vaisnava etiquette, His Holiness is a title used only for Sannyasis.
An Apology to
Srila Prabhupada's Daughters
by Vyenkata Bhatta dasa
Thank you very much for pointing out the oversight in my article about George Harrison. It was a foolish mistake, but I assure you that in no way did I intend to disrespect or diminsh the acccomplishments of these courageous and empowered mothers. I offer my repeated apologies and obeisances to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada's daughters, Malati Mataji, Yamuna Mataji, Janaki Mataji, and also to Saraswati Mataji...
First Women Devotees in England
I would like to thank Bhakti Marg Maharaja for his thoughtful inclusion of three of the ladies who accompanied their husbands to the UK on the order of our Spritual Master, Srila Prabhupada. But still, the list is incomplete: there was a fourth mataji, six-month-old Saraswati....
First Devotees in England
To my knowledge, I understood that Srila Prabhupada sent three couples to the U.K. There was no mention of the female spiritual daughters of Srila Prabhupada in the explanation, namely Yamuna Devi, Malati Devi, and Janaki Devi Prabhus. This oversight might be perceived as disrespectful to the female members of our society when we are all attempting very hard to build that good old family spirit of the early days. It certainly struck me as discrediting the deserving.
Hare Krishna. I, for one, object to the way Srila Prabhupada is referenced in Syamasundara and Mukunda Goswami’s article about George Harrison. In the article, Srila Prabhupada is addressed as "Bhaktivedanta Swami" without the "His Divine Grace" or the "A.C." and the word "Prabhupad" is put in quotes.
You, Kavicandra Swami
Thanks, Kavicandra Swami for your wonderful article. Krsna Consciousness is never racist, those who are Krsna Conscious are never racist, and those who are racist are not Krsna Conscious.
of the GBC
I am disappointed that you have deleted the subheading "We are friends of GBC,..." (I don’t remember the exact words). Why should we afraid to let it be known where we stand?
Even if we are friends of GBC, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we support (or agree with) them on everything. We can still have our views, but we are friends — Srila Prabhupada wants them to be followed. Again, it’s not that they won’t make mistakes, but we should have faith that Srila Prabhupada didn’t create the Body to mislead us. They are all sincere Vaisnavas (even though they might make mistakes) who took up the great task to strengthen the movement.
Web Editors (Managers),
Please, Chakra web managers, if you are in service of our beloved Acharya Srila Prabhupada, and we all know that you are, try to protect our only Acharya from any kind of blasphemy. I know that you have some policy against posting of insulting articles to our Acharya Srila Prabhupada but please try to enforce them even more. Such doubtful articles should be posted separately or in private channels, discussion groups that are very much available in Internet so we should not disturb general population and young members of our society when reading Chakra news.
I have never personally met Umapati Swami, but Maharaja, by reading your articles I feel reassured that there are sincere devotees out there who are carefully reading the books of Srila Prabhupada and putting that knowledge to the best use.
I have known Indradyumna Swami for many years ... I can say today that he is a person I would trust with my own life. His articles are those of a dedicated, fearless and enlightened traveling preacher, whose only mission is to serve his beloved Guru Maharaja.
a Concerned Mother
After reading your distressing letter to Krsna Avatara prabhu, I feel that the time has come for me to use my loud voice with you, out of love for you and concern for your well-being. I cannot conceive what might have led you to write such a defensive, ill-thought out, and generally insulting letter to a devotee who, although clearly mistreated in this movement, has yet chosen to remain, probably solely out of affection for Krsna and His devotee, Srila Prabhupada, and Their real message.
The debates about whether or not Srila Prabhupada knew how many windows are in the Empire State building or if a "good" devotee gives in charity to a "non-devotee" are frankly reminiscent of those other religions I left behind in favor of the Maha Mantra because Krishna Conciousness appeared to offer so much more.
The family has even gone as far as to reject and offend my father Srila BV Tripurari Swami, which means I and my brothers and sisters are sometimes not welcome either, even when we take pains not to mention our father at all but simply to participate in the festivities like everyone else. My father's first cousin, Srila BV Narayana Maharaja, is quite controversial according to some, although I think he has good intentions. There have been complaints that some of his children are disruptive at family functions, so now none of his children are welcome at all.
I understand that debates/venting allows greater clarity and dedication to spiritual goals to blossom. However, the amount of conflict and "nanny boo booing" (for lack of a better word) makes me want to run in another direction. Some of the responses to the the charity debate illustrated to me what happens when the letter of the law is placed before the Spirit, and from this person’s perspective it is really off putting.
Wonderful Gift from Sri Krishna
Before I began my story, I need to tell you a little bit about my self. I am an Indonesian citizen who comes from Bali and since childhood live in Jakarta the capital of Indonesia, even though my parent's religion is Hindus but I didn't know much about our religion and a lot of question rise when I am a teenager about all the basic thing that we have to know, for example: Who am I? Where I come from, who is the Lord? What He wants from me, what is my relation to my Lord, What is my duty in this world?
When I wrote the bit about the Amish community, I did so partially from empiric observation. Perhaps that is speculative, I don't know. But I was also drawing from a news piece shown on ABC-TV's 20/20 in which it was reported that numbers were dwindling as successive generations of Amish youth viewed their elders, and the orientation of their society in general, as increasingly irrelevant and disconnected. According to Amish Heartland that would appear not to be the case — so I stand corrected there.
Trust Fund: A Comment on the Comment
I think that the ISKCON Management should take up some initiatives to look after these devotees who have given up their lives and everything for the service of Krishna. It will provide much needed security to these people. This will help many people in recognizing the fact that ISKCON is caring for its devotees. Also people who might not otherwise donate might also donate something and thus earn spiritual credit.
"Opening Eyes, Or Making
I don't know Chota Hari Das, who wrote the commentary "Opening Eyes, Or Making Sheep?" but after reading his commentary we have much to hear from him. His short commentary is one of the most important to ever appear on the Chakra web site.
While fully embracing the requirement of humbly accepting the words of the guru, Chota Hari realizes the critical importance of submissive enquiry, side by side with critical thinking, that is the correct combination for a fruitful guru-disciple relationship. Within his short commentary, Chota Hari has succinctly explained to us what so many before him could not. He has clearly put forward the fundamental reasons for the downfall of A.C. Bhaktivedanata's society since 1977.
Amish: A Comment on Kenneth Rowe's
In In Kenneth Rowe's recent letter to Chakra, he wites, "Besides, I don't see droves of people these days subscribing to Amish philosophy for its spiritual superiority or relevance. In fact, Amish Society is dwindling as they are reduced to a mere tourist attraction"
From the recent issue of Amish Heartland magazine: "Contrary to popular belief, the Amish population is not shrinking, but growing at a steady rate. Approximately 80 percent of Amish youth choose to remain Amish, and most have large families, causing the population to double about every 25 years."
Eyes, Or Making Sheep?
Submissive enquiry side by side with critical thinking is the correct combination for a fruitful guru-disciple relationship. However, in ISKCON we try to shirk this responsibility to think, with the rope and snake example given as the prime rationalization for this intellectual laziness. And this passes as a virtue, as a symptom of faith in the guru.
Generally, ISKCON authorities don't like questions and critical thinking, and consider a good disciple to be one who flatters and pays them well. A disciple who analyzes, questions, and so on, is generally criticized as being "over-intelligent." The conclusion is that we are training sheep, rather than independently thoughtful men and women, which Srila Prabhupada said was "the purpose of this Krsna consciousness movement."
I really appreciate your posting my
letter so quickly. Out of my habit
of writing Krsna without the i
and h, I have given the wrong
E-mail address for devotees to reach me.
The correct address is:
I thank you again, 108 times!
I have been in the movement for just over a year and a half and am aspiring to take initiation from an ISKCON Guru. But I have a secret that I am not sure how I should handle. I am a recovering heroin addict and am currently on methadone. I am gradually going down in my dose and hope to be off of everything within a few short months. I feel really alone in this, as I do not know of any other devotees who are either recovering heroin addicts or in recovery in general.
Shades of Gray:
Now, we see devotees using as a common practice these scriptures to fill up their own agenda. They bring down their spiritual value to our petty little preoccupation, to the dimension of our brain. I mean, just because someone is a prostitute, a drunkard, etc., is he automatically envious of brahmanas? Doesn’t the Srimad Bhagavatam give examples of prostitutes who have respect for brahmanas? Where is the difficulty for mature devotees to understand that amongst prostitutes, there are so many grades, going from envious to respectful towards brahmanas?
An Emergency Wake-up Call
I am making an urgent, honest, heartfelt plea to the Krishna Devotees of the world, but most especially to those in New York City!!! Please, as Srila Prabhupada’s followers, organize yourselves and converge in large numbers upon this disaster zone of America, and bombard the atmosphere with the Holy Names of Krishna.
If karmi groups can organize everything from "million man marches," to gay-pride parades to Super Bowls, why can’t all the different temple groups of Hare Krishnas re-energize Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan Movement, and zero in on New York City?
Hi. I am writing this in response to the article by His Holiness Danavir Goswami. ...
I would disagree that one should just hand over all one's money to the devotees of Krishna. This is illogical.....
For a start, if one is associating with devotees, then if he runs out of money he must either ask the devotees for money or he must disturb karmis. There is no point in asking devotees for money as they themselves have all given it away for Krishna's Service and many of them are begging for funds for their daily needs. I saw the email on Chakra from a devotee in Mayapur who didn't have money for his son's gurukula education and was soliciting donations. So this individual has given up his occupation and moved to Mayapur, but ISKCON is still wanting money from him or they won't give his child education?
from Ground Zero
To Whom it may concern,
My name is Michael Maloney. I work for the Fire Department in New York City. Whether it was a fortunate, or unfortunate circumstance, I was not in New York City when the attack occurred. This is not an attempt at being humble. I was not at the event until Thursday.
I feel bad enough as it is that I was not on the scene to help my friends and family, but I had a devotee come up to me today, downtown Manhattan, and was about to congratulate me for such heroism, until I told him I was not in town that day. This reminder is a more constant torture than anything else I have had to endure.
© CHAKRA 29 September 2001
Things Changed That Much?
I had the privilege of being initiated by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada in 1970 in London. The devotees there were always preaching and going out on what was then called sankirtan. On a Sunday all devotees attended the feast, and whenever a new face appeared, a devotee would always be 'assigned' to the individual. That way a new face would receive KRSNA's blessing by hearing the philosophy.
Nowadays when I attend some temples in the UK I see that non-devotees are often left on their own while devotees sit in groups talking.
Cure for All Suffering
Although my office is located 40 blocks North of the World Trade Center, I am able to, quite clearly, experience the chaos. From the balcony of my office, I cannot see past 30th Street due to the incredible amount of smoke and debris blowing about. I can taste and smell the smoke from here. All of New York City is moving as if in a dream. It is quite surreal to all of us.
The only mode of transportation on this somber Tuesday, September 11, 2001, is by foot. There are, quite literally, thousands of people walking in droves from one end of the city to the other, across the bridges, everywhere, just doing whatever they have to do to get out of the city. And yet, for all those people, the city is eerily quiet. It is extraordinarly unnerving.
This commentary comes from Tamim, a writer and columnist in San Francisco, who comes from Afghanistan. This is very, very interesting and a little chilling....
I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?"...
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York.
Surrenders to ITV
[The following is a response to the article "ITV Responds to Prananatha" by Nrsimhananda dasa, quoted in italics.—Ed.]
"Prananatha is mistaken in his understanding of the financial history of ITV. The BBT never gave ITV any laksmi. They only guaranteed loans, which ITV paid. There was a subscription service to temples to purchase tapes. That subscription service had nothing to do with the BBT.... "
Thank you for clarifying that. I have been under the impression all these years that the Temples paid laxmi directly to ITV for the costs of setting up ITV.
Responds to Prananatha
Unfortunately, Prananatha does not see the costs of production and maintenance as well as distribution as expenses that must be recouped by sales. He suggests that ITV sell its products at the same price as the pirates.
Responds to Jada Bharata
I appreciate Jada Bharata's inquiries, and I think that the truth will help shed light on the entire copyright issue of ITV and other ISKCON-related institutions such as BBT, Archives, etc. You ask why ITV thinks it owns the footage, and the question is a good one. The International BBT also inquired into that issue.
Thoughts on the ITV Pirate Controversy
It was common practice for many years that ISKCON Temples paid an annual fee to ITV, presumably for the cost involved in buying equipment, establishing a facility, staffing etc. I don't know what this amounted to but I can estimate that it was not an inconsiderable sum. This laksmi was collected by devotees engaged in various preaching or paraphernalia activities and was paid to ITV in good faith and support of ITV's work. That being the case it would not seem unreasonable, now that ITV is firmly established, that these same temples and devotees be given some sort of a concession in purchasing ITV material.
Letters About Bootlegging
Reading the recent letters about our ITV bootlegging activity caused me to pause. It appears that both sides have appeal, depending on your mentality. Yet Nrsimhananda makes very important points. To me the most important is what value we place on other's time, education, endeavor, creation, etc.
Videos - Who Owns Them
My question is who really owns the videos anyway? I don't really see how the selling of Srila Prabhupada's videos compares with Srila Prabhupada's books, which were published by the BBT. My understanding is that legally the photographer who takes a video owns the video, not the person who edits and sells the video. While according to copyright laws the person who writes a book is the owner of the book and it is their sole decision on who publishes the book and how it is distributed.
Reading letters about the activities of some senior devotees in copying and pirating multi media makes me feel sorry for them. But also seeing statements of support for this behavior makes me crazy. What kind of morality do we have?
Goal is to be Chaste to the Lord
In a recent article on CHAKRA, Jayasri Devi wrote about the wifely duties of a Krishna conscious woman. I would like to point out, with folded hands and holding a straw in my mouth, something that she overlooked.
for Tuition Help
We are looking for someone who can collaborate with a donation in order for our child to continue his studies in Mayapur. The cost for one month is 75 US Dollars.
Both Sides of the Pirate Controversy
There is an activity in any technical production called "R&D" (Research and Development). This is what the $600 charge is attempting to recoup on the VedaBase CD-Rom. There were tens of thousands of dollars put into equipment and production costs, and thousands of hours of time put into labor - all to make something like a two dollar VedaBase CD-ROM disc "appear".
to Nrsimhananda's Comments
Editor's note: This was originally intended to be part of Nrsimhananda's reply to Sravana.
A final note. There are GBC resolutions specifically prohibiting copying of ITV videos. If Sravana, Brahmananda, Gargamuni, or anyone else doesn't like those rules, then they can lobby to change them. But to disregard the resolutions disqualifies them from being a part of the official ISKCON organization, and only those members in good standing can sit on the Vyasasan to give pravacan, hold any official positions, or be authorized in any way to represent the society.
If you read this article's headline and immediately, with great anticipation hoped to find some new expose' about what else could be found wrong with ISKCON, this letter is specifically written for you. However, if you are sincerely reading this article to see where I'm coming from this letter is also written for you and please read on.
Reply to Sravana
In response to a recent letter to CHAKRA, would Sravana suggest that anyone should be able to publish Srila Prabhupada's books? This is his logic. By his standards anyone can reproduce the books and pictures in Prabhupada’s books without having to had borne the costs of editing, including collecting, preserving, creating appendixes, seps, etc.
I would like to comment on Niscala devi dasi's article " Can the Guru Make Mistakes?" Prabhupada said once, "This same man, he's guru, so long he gives the real knowledge of Krishna. And the same man, he's ordinary man, as soon as he cannot give." So actually Srila Prabhupada is the most perfect, because he gave real knowledge.
I feel Brahamanada is doing a service with bargain-prices DVD's, and it is a challenge ITV should rise to, not try and eradicate. I think there is an important principle here as to how available Srila Prabhupada's media should be available.
of my "Parable"
Thanks to Danavir Goswami for pointing out a possible misinterpretation of the parable of the gardeners. Following is the interpretation I intended. The unfortunate gardeners are the conditioned souls in this modern world, and the fields represent their bodies and minds. They are unfortunate because their lives (the gardens) are largely based on useless and dangerous ideas (seeds).
Comment on "Krishna Conscious
This is a comment on Jayasri's recent article, "Krishna Conscious Marriage." Hare Krishna. I believe Jayasri failed to think of some aspects of Kali yuga before writing her recent article on CHAKRA. First of all, it would be wonderful if life was as easy as she made it sound: just serve your husband - don't work, etc. Unfortunately, that is not the case for most women.
Prabhupada Available to Everyone
There has been some recent controversy over the pirating of ITV videos by Gargamuni and Brahmananda who are selling the videos in India. I strongly disagree with Nrsimhananda's suggestion that they be banned from all ISKCON temples, for the following reasons:
Regarding Jayasri's Article
I would like to comment on Jayasri's article regarding " Krsna Conscious Marriage." Although the premise of this article is correct, I think the emphasis is all wrong. Rather than focusing on who should be the head of household, and how a wife should be this, that and the other with her husband, why not instead focus on devotional service period?
Response to "A Parable"
Regarding your parable published on CHAKRA, perhaps I missed the moral of it and that may be okay. However it did cross my mind that the Old Gardener was supposed to be Prabhupada.
I very much
thank you for publishing my letter in
your site ("
Down Prejudice" By Bhakta
Omer). But I'm afraid you've done a
little mix up: The
"full story" link that should
to bring you to the article is linked
Robert Newman's letter, which is a very
good letter, but don't leave a
place for reading the one I wrote.
the Best Deal Out of a Bad Bargain
for printing the
article by Mark Miles on
ISKCON's intolerance of homosexuals. I
have been an initiated devotee since
1993 and I carefully follow the
regulative principles as given by Srila
Prabhupada. I am also a lesbian.
Amara dasa’s website
"Tritiya-prakriti: People of the
Third Sex" through CHAKRA. The very
idea that CHAKRA published Amara’s
article was encouraging. People mostly
relate God and religion with fanaticism
and intolerance. I feel this is due to
their contact with western
fundamentalism and its twisted
conception of religion.
Is Not Vaishnavism
to which a person regulates his sexual
desire and activity is the primary
criterion for evaluating his spiritual
standing on that basis, not the details
of his particular desires and
activities. In case anybody is curious,
I am a lifelong heterosexual.
Thank You for GALVA Member
There is an
entire community that has been neglected
by most religious traditions and is
patiently anticipating the arrival of
Vaisnava devotees. Our combined efforts
can be helpful in distributing the Holy
names of the Lord to all fallen and
conditioned souls of this material
Homosexual Intolerance in ISKCON?
Article removed at the author's request
Letter, Narayana Maharaja and the Moon
I 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.
Ratha Yatra Was Indeed Highly Successful
came across Mr. Deepak Vohra's article
suggesting my report on the Calcutta
Rathayatra was inaccurate. Antardwip
Prabhu from England informed me about
it. In a situation like this CHAKRA
should have brought it to my notice
sooner, in order to enable me to reply.
I do not read CHAKRA that regularly.
© CHAKRA 18-July-2001
on the Moon Landing
article questioning the authenticity of
the NASA moon landings was interesting,
but the accusations of fraud based on
photos have been bandied about for years
with inconclusive arguments and counter
arguments. I've heard argued, in
response to claims that the Apollo
mission was faked, that there is certain
evidence which could not have been
© CHAKRA 18-July-2001
In light of
conflicting evidence, we are now
awaiting Bhakti Caru Swami to either
substantiate his claim that Adridharana
attempted to sabotage the Calcutta
Rathayatra, or make an apology for
misleading people into thinking that he
© CHAKRA 16-July-2001
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