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Siksa or Diksa Sampradaya?
By Bhadra Govinda Dasa

Posted November 18, 2002

Dear devotees,

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

Can we call our sampradaya a siksa sampradaya? My understanding is as follows.

Any sampradaya can be called simply sampradaya. There is no need to call ours exclusively a siksa sampradaya, as in certain quarters devotees are calling it.

The siksa sampradaya proponents just took the parampara list given in Bhagavad-gita as It Is and started explaining that ours is a siksa line, siksa parampara, etc.


Human Spontaneous Combustion
From Brian

I am studying human spontaneous combustion (HSC). Can anyone help me on where in Srila Prabhupada's books there is any reference to this phenomenon? Or perhaps His lectures etc? Is it attributable to the soul within or a karmic reaction or both?

Many thanks.

Hare Krishna.

BrianEdn@aol.com 


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Fumigation
From Hare Krishna das

Dear prabhus:

Pranam, Prabhupada ki jay.

I am looking information about what Prabhupada said on fumigating the temple kitchens against insects.

Your servant,
Hare Krishna das
iskcon@terra.com.mx 


Cooking: Hygiene and Cleanliness
By Ravi Sihra

I have noticed quite a few times in the Deity and common kitchen that food and drinks brought in packets, tins, bottles, and other types of containers are put straight away in the fridge’s, freezers, or storerooms straight from the shops and then used when cooking prasadam without the packets, tins, bottles, or other containers being washed first. I have seen pujaris in temples handling all types of product containers while cooking, using original containers at times without thinking that they may have been handled by smokers, meat eaters, alcohol drinkers, and God knows what.


Considering Srila 
Prabhupada’s Mercy

by Babhru das

About 500 years ago, Lord Krsna personally appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the place of the avatar for the age of Kali. Lord Caitanya had two purposes for coming: to experience first-hand the bliss of serving Krsna and to spread pure love for Krsna, which is very rare. Writing about Lord Caitanyas plan for making His mercy widely available, Srila Krsna das Kaviraja Gosvami says, "sri-krsna-caitanya-daya karaha vicara, vicara karile citte pabe camatkara: If you are indeed interested in logic and argument, kindly apply it to the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If you do so, you will find it to be strikingly wonderful.


Mushrooms to Go?
By Rasa Rasika dasa

I have noticed that there are two schools of thought on the subject of offering mushrooms to Krsna. My understanding is that Srila Prabhupada commented that mushrooms were not suitable to offer because of the unclean environment in which they were grown.

There was a discussion on COM about this some time back, and a Mataji gave a first-hand account of Srila Prabhupada instructing that the mushrooms that were growing on the New Vrindavan property were all right to offer. These days, mushrooms are grown in clean places. Does this mean we can offer mushrooms to Krsna now?

Any comments would be appreciated.

Your servant,
Rasa Rasika dasa


Need Info on Madhuparka
By Sucih das

Dear Prabhus,

I am doing a history assignment on madhuparka [an ingredient used in offerings]. I have to trace the regional, social (class), and historical links, when and where it is used, what the ingredients are, where it is first mentioned in the Vedas and in collaborative texts, etc.

I understand it is used at Indian weddings and in pre- and post-natal offerings to babies, and we offer it to the Deities. If anyone has any good sources and historical information, could you please either reply to Chakra or send me an email at sucih@in.com.au or sglees10@scu.edu.au

Your servant,
Sucih das


The Guru’s Business
By Niscala Devi Dasi

Dear Vipramukhya Maharaja,

I have a problem with your diary for an entirely different reason, which you may like to consider. I appreciate that you are trying to portray yourself in a normal rather than superhuman way. That would make you more approachable and lessen the distance between you and your disciples. And I appreciate that your carefree attitude is a personality thing, which should not be made an issue of. My problem is to do with the guts of the guru-disciple relationship.

The effort on the part of the guru should be to peel away the various coverings of maya from the eyes of the disciple, so as to expose illusion in all its various shades. This is what "opening the eyes with the torchlight of knowledge" is referring to. Since there are varieties of illusion that are commonplace in ISKCON, you could start by presenting those to your disciples. Gradually, you could branch out to shed light on those that are less common and more specific to their time, place, and circumstance.


Unofferable Foods: Salt with Milk
From Umapati Swami

Srila Prabhupada: "Milk and salt should never be mixed, it is improper, and will cause leprosy. But salt can be mixed with yogurt." Letter to: Aniruddha, San Francisco 9 April, 1968
[Article complete on this page]


About Offering Mushrooms
From Urmila devi dasi

Quotations from Srila Prabhupada

I have listed the ingredients which may use for preparing prasadam but these various varieties of foodstuffs may be prepared either in the given recipes or if you like you may invent nice new formulas for offering. The important thing is that your preparations be palatable for Lord Krishna and that the ingredients be within the groups of ingredients already listed. You have asked me about sassafras and yes, it may be offered. Mushrooms are generally not offered, but there is no prohibition, there is no harm in them. I hope that this has answered your questions. Please keep me informed as to the progress of your temple. 

Hope you are all well. 

Your ever well-wisher, 

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Ref. VedaBase Letter to: Harer Nama — Los Angeles 1 December, 1968


Unofferable Foods: Quotations from 
Srila Prabhupada

From Kavicandra Swami

Srila Prabhupada: So far as explaining my letter to Kris, I have listed the ingredients which [one] may use for preparing prasadam but these various varieties of foodstuffs may be prepared either in the given recipes or if you like you may invent nice new formulas for offering. The important thing is that your preparations be palatable for Lord Krishna and that the ingredients be within the groups of ingredients already listed. You have asked me about sassafras and yes, it may be offered. Mushrooms are generally not offered, but there is no prohibition, there is no harm in them.

[Letter to: Harer Nama — Los Angeles 1 December 1968]

[More inside]


Answer to "Unofferable Foods"
From Benjamin

Haribol, Bhakta Doduff

I don't know much, but I think I can elaborate a little bit, so here goes:

I've never heard of carrots and cauliflower being unofferable, but I believe mushrooms are. The reason for this is that mushrooms are in the mode of ignorance because of their growing conditions. We all know the joke, "We treat our employees like prime mushrooms...." I think that explains it.


Worshiping Panca 
Tattva: Blessings Wanted

By Damana Krishna dasa

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

Last year during the Nityananda Trayodasi Festival, we put the Panca Tattva Deities on the altar. For the Gaura Purnima Festival, Krsna Ksetra Prabhu was present, and he told us that we should not install the Panca Tattva formally, but he said many times that They are present. He said that he could feel it.

We prayed to Their Lordships that we cannot offer them a high standard of worship but that we are committed to arati and offering of bhoga every day and changing of dress once a week. Only one fixed pujari is available. The chota Deities are bathed and worshipped every day in the morning.


Unofferable Foods: A Question
By Bhakta Doduff

Dear Devotees at Chakra,

I have some questions regarding the restrictions of vegetarian foods in the Vaisnava diet. I realize that onions and garlic are unacceptable for offering to Krsna, but I have heard from various sources about other unofferables such as mushrooms, carrots, and cauliflower. I think I can be certain about mushrooms being unofferable, but does anyone know the reasons why or scriptural stories behind this?

What about chocolate? I have seen Govinda’s white chocolate bars in the store, but maybe they are decaffeinated? What about decaffeinated beverages, although residual caffeine still remains?

I know this may seem like an insignificant realm of questioning, but it would be nice to see how other devotees understand this matter.

Thank you.

Hare Krsna!

Bhakta Doduff


How All Generations Can Stay With Srila Prabhupada
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

[This file can also be downloaded. Click here.]

Service to Srila Prabhupada Across the Generations

Writing the last chapter of the Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita was an intense experience for me. Prabhupada was teaching "the final lesson," and I relived the day-by-day remembrances of being with Srila Prabhupada and serving in his ISKCON movement in the final days leading up to his disappearance. Those days were like a drama unfolding. Would Prabhupada stay with us? What would we do without him? And again I felt the grief at his departure. I was also reminded that Prabhupada’s last days were filled with the preaching spirit as he encouraged his disciples to continue his work. He exemplified calm and tolerance in the face of great pain, and fearlessness in the face of death. He allowed us the intimacy of chanting soft kirtanas in his room and reading to him from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Krishna book, and his other books.


Origin of the Living Entity
From Janakaraja das (ACBSP)

Dear Prabhus

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, whose glories are sung by the devas.

I was recently looking at your website and was somewhat suprised to discover that the "debate" over the origin of the living entity is still going on. For me this question is answered by Srila Prabhupada's expression "Back home, back to Godhead."

When the original debate began, I started to make notes about this issue from my reading of Srila Prabhupada's books. Most of the points are in the purports. I will just list the references here and let you do your own research.


Join the Harinam Sankirtan Party
By Janaka Mahajana Dasa

In most of the centers of our worldwide society, chanting parties are going out regularly, and it is our best preaching and advertisement. All over the world, people are recognizing the devotees and appreciating the power of the chanting. If your temple, preaching, or nam-hatta center does not have a regular Harinama-sankirtan party going out, please help to organize it. ,If you don't have any expert musicians around, this is all right. You can just take a pair of karatals and go by yourself in the nearby park. In most cities around the world, you will meet so many different musicians daily, but we don't just play a good-beat music. We preach and distribute the mercy of the Lord Caitanya.


Choosing a Guru
By Bhaktin Alice

After being so many years in Krsna consciousness, I have been able to see this problem more clearly, and I’m surer that this thing doesn’t work without Krsna’s mercy. Doesn’t matter how we try, we will have to understand that some gurus in ISCKON are not available for us personally, so why hanker and lament?

When we are ready in our daydreaming like: "I absolutely want Him" or "He’s so fantastic. He smiles so beautifully," then we can turn to Krsna and He will give us spiritual eyes to see who’s really there for us. This thing about choosing a guru is really the biggest step in our lives, and we might not find our guru yet, but if we give this thing time and intelligence, it will come.


A Reminder about False Ego
by Nanda Dulal Das

By Lord Sri Krishna's mercy and through Srila Prabhupada, we have the opportunity to see that so many fallen souls are getting Krishna consciousness. Many of Srila Prabhupada's desciples are spreading the message tirelessly. Even second-generation devotees are vigorously preaching that too. In this regard, I have a humble request to all: do not be prey to illusion by prestige, adoration, and profit.


Thought of the Week: Lord Nityananda
From ISKCON DC

Lord Nityananda is the eternal associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rarely is the name Nimai (Caitanya Mahaprabhu) taken without that of Nitai (Lord Nityananda). Mahaprabhu cannot be approached or understood without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, who is the cardinal guru of all the universes and serves as an intermediary between Mahaprabhu and His devotees.

He is the Lord's active principle in both creation and lila. He is the second body of the Lord, manifesting as Balaram to Sri Krishna, Lakshman to Sri Ram and Nityananda Prabhu to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. All other forms and expansions of the Lord emanate from this second body. Nityananda Prabhu is thus the source of Sankarshan, all the Vishnus, and Ananta Sesa.


Lord Shiva's Song
An adaptation by Mudakari dasi

Now I shall chant an auspicious prayer
that you should hear with attention and care.
This pure mantra is best for the soul
who seeks to attain life's ultimate goal.

Maitreya said: "Out of causeless mercy,
Lord Shiva, the great personality
and renowned devotee of Lord Narayana,
continued to speak to the King's scions.
With this prayer Lord Shiva addressed the Lord:


The Glories of Lord Nityananda
from Abhinandana Nitai das (JPS), Ljubljana

[photo inside]

nayam atma bala-hinena labhyo
na ca pramadat tapaso vapy alingat
etair upayair yatate yas tu vidvams
tasyaisa atma visate brahma-dhama

One cannot attain the goal of life without the mercy of Balarama. Sri Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says, nitaiyera karuna habe, vraje radha-krsna pabe: when one receives the mercy of Balarama, Nityananda, one can attain the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna very easily.


Charting a New Course 
for the United States of America

by Bhakta James S. Seymour, II

As our eternal Spiritual Master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada repeatedly said, paraphrased, "Materially speaking, Americans have it all." We have been endowed with great material abundance in the shape of wealth, education, natural resources, and global influence. This was why Srila Prabhupada came here to America and inaugurated the Krishna Consciousness Movement. He understood that the United States sets the standard for the rest of the world. As Krishna devotees and followers of Srila Prabhupada, it is our responsibility and ongoing duty to see things as they are, through the eyes of our spiritual master.

Prabhupada continually stressed the fact that everything we require to push on with his mission already exists. We simply have to employ it in the service of Krishna. He often liked to use the example of a microphone. To paraphrase: "The Mayavadis will say that this microphone is false. It is not false, but its use is false. If we use this microphone to spread some political propaganda, that is false, material. But if we use it to preach Krishna consciousness, then we purify it and make it spiritual."


What do We Offer Sri Guru?
Bhoga or Prasada?

by Romapada Dasa

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to the Gaura Bhakta Vrndas.

I wondered if the readers of Chakra could show some compassion by answering a question that has been dogging me for some time:

Whilst offering bhoga to Srila Prabhupada on the altar, we do not put tulasi leaves on his plate. Such bhoga has not been offered to Krishna, and is directly offered to Srila Prabhupada. The two questions that arise are:

1. Whilst offering the bhoga to Srila Prabhupada, are we requesting Prabhupada to offer it to Krishna, before honouring it? If so, why don't we put tulasi leaves on the plate to facilitate Srila Prabhupada to make the offering to Krishna? 


Srila Prabhupada's Tree
A Talk by Giriraj Swami

Prabhupada Festival, 27 May 2001, Los Angeles– Srila Prabhupada had to struggle very hard to build the Juhu temple. The first struggle was to get the land, the next struggle was to get the permission to build the temple, and last struggle was to actually build the temple and install the deities. And we had worked very hard to get the permission, but the Indian permits often include many conditions. So although they give permission, the permission is not actually valid until one fulfills the conditions.

One of the conditions was that we had to have an internal access road of a certain width according to the length of the road. And it just so happened that right where the access road was supposed to go there were some palm trees. Once when Srila Prabhupada came to Juhu after being away for some time he noticed that one or two of the trees had been cut and he was very concerned—I would say upset—and asked, "Why did you cut down the trees?"


Bhagavat Saptah
Lokanatha Swami

Seven days of lectures on Srimad Bhagavatam


Krishna's Plan Is the Best Plan
A lecture by Devamrta Swami

Class notes by Vipramukhya Swami

Melbourne, Australia, 21 January, 2002– Devamrta Swami came cruising in to Melbourne late last night from Singapore. He had been in London, India, and Russia. He and I were new bhaktas together in 1973 in New York, so we know each other pretty well.

He gave Srimad-Bhagavatam class this morning from SB 7.2.9. Hiranyakasipu was making plans how to kill Visnu after Lord Varaha killed Hiranyakasipu's brother, Hiranyaksa. The purport was very short.


Happy Holidays
The Holiday Festival

A talk by Giriraj Swami in Ojai, California

Mother Urvasi called tonight’s occasion The Holiday Festival. Of course, the main holidays in the Western world now are Christmas and Hanukkah. As Srila Prabhupada has explained, the Lord comes into the world to enlighten people with transcendental knowledge. Sometimes He comes personally, and sometimes He sends His son or His prophet or His messenger or His representative, but they all come with the same message.


The Fall of the Jiva: 
Srila Prabhupada's Answer — Again

by Dravida dasa

Atul Krishna Prabhu has provided many quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books to show that the conditioned living entities were never in the spiritual world. Here's a bunch that show the opposite.

[Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.28.53] [Translation]: The brahmana continued: My dear friend, even though you cannot immediately recognize Me, can't you remember that in the past you had a very intimate friend? Unfortunately, you gave up My company and accepted a position as enjoyer of this material world.


A Vaisnava Speaks the Truth without Criticizing Others
by Srila dasa

While a devotee apparently traverses a specific path, as a true spiritualist he carefully avoids the tendency to get stuck in any mundane 'groove' of limitation, sectarianism, and misidentification, as someone following a traditional religious course generally does. We have often heard the New Age expression, "I am spiritual but not religious." A Vaisnava similarly strives to become free from all material designations and not get caught up in the superfluous. 


The Fall of the Jiva: One More Question
by Umapati Swami

My thanks to Atul Krishna Prabhu for his article "The Fall of the Jiva: The Question Strikes Back." The article gives many quotations from Srila Prabhupada stating that no one ever falls from the spiritual world. One question, however, remains unanswered: How did the fallen jivas come to the material world in the first place?

The quotations given by Atul Krishna Prabhu do not cover this topic, and when devotees asked the question directly to Srila Prabhupada, he answered with the passages I have quoted in my article "Fall of the Jiva: Answer."


The Fall of the Jiva: The Question Strikes Back
by Atul Krishna (das)

I also hardly fit in the category of a learned devotee, but I’ll anyhow refer to how Srila Prabhupada repeatedly wrote in his books about how the residents of the spiritual world never fall to the material world. Perhaps any realized soul can explain these references properly. Properly means anything but stating that never means hardly ever and that no one means hardly anyone. These are not serious answers. References are as follows:


The Fall of the Jiva: Answer
by Umapati Swami

Dear Mick,

Thanks for your question about the fall of the jiva. It is true that there are statements supporting both fall and no-fall in Srila Prabhupada’s books, so you have asked for an answer by a learned devotee. I hardly fit the category, but I will refer to what Srila Prabhupada said when the question was put to him directly.


The Fall of the Jiva: Question
from Mick

An excerpt follows. "Even though Srila Prabhupada extensively preached the fall theory, certain places in his books show that he also preached the no-fall theory. I hope to show that the former is the main siddhanta that Prabhupada taught and which ISKCON devotees should follow."

Now stop here for a moment. I have a problem with this sort of logic: "Srila Prabhupada preached fall theory and anyone who is not accepting fall theory is not following Srila Prabhupada. And wherever Srila Prabhupada preached no-fall theory, we can somehow assume that really fall-vaada is his actual position."


The Glorious Mission
by Yugala Kishor dasa

Time magazine printed an edition (Oct 29, 2001) with the Holy Name of Krishna. This is an important step in the right direction for it showed that another name of God is, indeed, Krishna. Millions of magazines were distributed in a single week by that giant firm. Finally, the American media is recognizing that the name of "Krishna" is a valid name of God. Page 11 of that issue had a picture of a Sikh-turbaned acolyte, holding an American flag. The text stated: "May Allah, Krishna, or God bless America."


On Racism
by Isvara das

Some time ago I wrote an article regarding racial prejudice in ISKCON, which was a comment on an earlier article by another devotee, Krishna Avatar Dasa. In my article, I expressed certain racial derogatory statements often made by devotees. However in that article I had written "majority of white-bodied devotees have been unable to shed their racial prejudice upon join ISKCON." Actually I had mistakenly used the word "majority," instead of which I should have used the word "some, many, or few." 


Lord Ramachandra, the Perfect Leader
by Krishna Dharma
[ Reprinted from www.ramayana.com ]

Obviously, protection from demons such as Ravana, and indeed any aggressor, is a necessary function of good government. But Vedic society — Rama-rajya — goes further. Certainly the protection of our bodies and our property is important, but there is something still more important, something that is all too often neglected by today’s leaders, and that is the protection and preservation of our spiritual welfare. This is actual Rama-rajya. As Christ said, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?"


The Passing Away of Krishna’s Children
by Bhranti devi dasi

I was very moved by the article about Madhava Toshani. I understand all too well the grief and loss, but also the wonder of the glorious passing of a child born and raised in Krsna Consciousness.

It was this time last year that my family and I traveled to Vrndavana to place the ashes of one of my sons in the Yamuna river. We had a car accident while traveling out west last summer and my son, Keshava, sustained a head injury and departed the next day. He was 12 years old. He was strong and healthy and a brilliant student. He went to gurukula and used to receive an A in japa class.


Recipe for Spiritual Success
by Krsna Kanta devi dasi

Editors note: Krsna Kanta devi dasi, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, recently passed away in her sleep in Vancouver, Canada. Her husband, Mahidhar Prabhu, passed along the following "recipe card," hand-written in Krsna Kanta's own writing. The curious thing about the card is that it has some stains on it, as if it had been used in the kitchen many times while making the preparation described below. I thought I would share it with the readers of Chakra. —Vipramukhya Swami


Let the Sun Shine
by Karuna Das

Srila Prabhupada has warned us repeatedly about the danger of trying to make this a perfect world. It has been exactly the promotion of gender and race equality based on the body which has brought forth a disguised form of legal abuse. As for example the liberal use of women's bodies in outdoors promoting materialism and immoral lives or the low salaries being paid in some countries which are much less than would actually cost to maintain a servant in such a way he would feel happy and motivated to seek for spiritual truth.


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