Caturdasi in Mayapur
Today was a very auspicious day, the appearance day of Sri Narasimhadev. In Mayapur there were many programs on this occasion. Morning, there was Srimad Bhagavatam class given by H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaja and H.H.Subhog Swami Maharaja in Bengali. In English the Bhagavatam class was given by H.H. Bhakti Vidya Purna Maharaja and H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaja. The Bhagavatam classes were on the topic of the appearance of Sri Narasimhadev. The devotees were requested to follow no-grain prasadam because Mayapur has installed deities of Sri Narasimhadev.
This was also a very special occasion since this year the desire to offer a 108-Shalagramshila Garland (in silver) by HH Jayapataka Swami was finally fulfilled, thanks to a couple of devotees (Lila Madhava & Sarvasakti ) who brought the Shalagrams from the Himalayas, and this morning, this was the main celebration.
Diary: An Aimless, Attention-and-Distinction-Starved Sannyasi
A Critical Letter and My Response
Bhaktivedanta Manor, England - Tuesday, May 28, 2002: Hare Krishna. Tomorrow I'm getting ready to fly to America (yet again), and I'll be gone from Jolly Ol' England until the 3rd of September, 2002.
I received a letter from someone who just does not like my style in Krishna Consciousness. I will quote the majority of his letter (leaving out certain parts only because it was difficult to format in this article). I have left out the name of the author of the letter, but he uses an uninitated name in his signature.
He wrote to me recently as follows. His letter and my responses to him are both in Italics. My comments not sent to him but intended for this article only are in plain text, without italics.
Dear Vipramukhya Swami, Once again I find myself writing to you out of both concern and disappointment. Before, you reacted in a very defensive way, brushing aside the issue with clichés and an overall laissez faire attitude. This time I hope that you will take the matter more seriously and respond with introspection.
What about the Real Issues?
I am now most amazed to read the host of letters in regard to Sudama's "criticism" of my recent posting. I can assure you all that I am not in the least "hurt" by Sudama's reply. In fact I found it highly amusing. His comments were immature and ill considered and had nothing to say on the issue I raised.
There seems to be concern over my ability to spell. There is no need. In fact, I can spell most brilliantly, most magnificently. No... seriously Prabhus, I spell just about as well as everyone else. Big deal. I just typed pretty quick and rushed off the e-mail without checking it properly. That's all there is to it.
I meant no offense in my criticism of Georgina's spelling. I was merely trying to point out that women are less intelligent than men, as stated by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada said that women are less intelligent, and he always backed up his statements with evidence from Vedic scriptures as well as practical examples. If we disagree with this, then we cannot claim to be bonafide followers of Srila Prabhupada.
My wife and I find it quite discouraging that CHAKRA has become a platform for so-called women's rights and other deviations from the pure teachings that Srila Prabhupada gave us. Many devotees nowadays choose to sugarcoat Srila Prabhupada's teachings in a way that is more appealing to homosexuals, independent women, and other groups who may feel offended by his pure teachings, but we prefer to take Srila Prabhupada's word as it is, not as we would like it to be.
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?
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
I beg at your lotus feet, please stop this feature of jokes. In my opinion it is an offense to joke about bhakti and anything related to bhakti. Krsna Consciousness is a serious thing. If you try to joke around, Krsna will joke with you when you need Him the most.
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."
"Tonight I am going to travel to Abu Dabi. Should I observe the Ekadasi in the airplane while flying over the Atlantic? When is Ekadasi on the Atlantic Ocean?"
What: Himalayan Performing Arts Festival
As some of you may know, Srila Prabhupada manufactured his own toothpaste and later gave the secret of the magic formula to his disciples. To tell you quite frankly, I have tried many brands and many different ways to keep my teeth fit. Due to the constant contact with Bhagavat Prasadam (especially maha-sweets) our teeth have a tendency to merge into the transcendental platform and become invisible to mundane vision, but with this simple and great Srila Prabhupada toothpaste we’ll be safe.
Srila Prabhupada is so wonderful. Not only did he give us the best food but he also took care of our health, both physical and mental in so many ways. Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
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
Foods: Salt with Milk
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
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada
Dear Bhakta Matt,
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
It is good to question and examine before surrendering. Such submissive, honest questions are not only welcome, but required according to the Lord Himself. At the same time, we will not be able to understand everything immediately. Most of us have learned to put various questions in a mental "holding place" until we find the answers, or until we mature enough to understand the answers we find. Otherwise, will you desert your guru at the next point you cannot immediately understand?
Prabhupada is quoting Canakya Pandit, a famous moralist. Canakya states that one should not trust rivers, animals with horns or claws, women, or political rulers. Does this mean that we don't keep and milk cows because they have horns, or that we don't live near and use rivers? Canakya himself spent his life as a government advisor. The nature of all that Canakya mentions is that these people, things, and animals can (and do) suddenly change, and can be dangerous when they do so.
Bhakta Matt writes:
"The biggest thing keeping my heart from surrender is a statement in a purport on page 19 of the Gita that says women are less intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. I am not a woman myself, but still this statement troubled me, and I can understand how women might get mistreated now and then in a society whose purport seems to state such an unfair view of women."
Reply: I have a suggestion about how to understand this from the point of view of Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine.
First, intelligence here doesn’t refer to particular brain functions as such. It is to be understood in terms of the mode of goodness, characterized by the ability to control emotions.
Who Is Qualified
Dear Bhaktin Millie,
Please accept my dandavat pranams and my best wishes. Sri Sri Guru Gaurangau jayatah!
It was with some concern and some distress that I saw your April letter to Chakra ["The Women: A Greater Inspiration" Chakra April 25, 2002]. You raise very valid points that ought to be addressed. Indeed, I am surprised that there has not been a reply to your letter on Chakra so far.
It is very unfortunate that brahmacari men are increasingly becoming ignorant of the proper respect they should give women. The answer "I'm a brahmacari" is hardly a gentlemanly one, smacking of one person being better than another. It is therefore understandable that you derive more inspiration and solace from the ladies. Whilst physical disposition should not be the primary grounds of choosing a guru, given your circumstances it is understandable why you question that there are not lady gurus to choose from.
Nowadays it is common to hear the word "discrimination" in ISKCON society. When the word "discrimination" is used, it is often done to accuse one or more persons of being unfair to another person or group of persons, and this unfairness happens to almost always have something to do with gender. If women do not have political representation, that is called "discrimination," or that "the men" are oppressing women. If a guru-kula happens to take only male students, and not female students, then there are complaints and accusations that the heads of the guru-kula are "discriminating"—or that they are oppressing women and venting their hate on them. Or if we are feeling a little benevolent, we can dismiss them as merely ignorant and in want of a better understanding. So there is a women’s movement in ISKCON to right these wrongs, so to speak. But the so-called oppression of women that we are trying to rectify are things we will find all over the Vedas, and specifically in Srila Prabhupada’s books.
I have been following, the RVC gender debate with great interest as a devotee completing a post-graduate Diploma of Education and currently writing a major piece of work on the contemporary Vedic education system.
In response to John Nolan, women understand that men have difficulty conceptualising females in ways other than ultimately sexual temptation. We can only hope that men one day can evolve beyond these notions of women as such objects and understand that their fear of temptation is pure psychology.
The point being made by Palika dasi and Georgina, I would suggest, has more to with the complete lack of a women’s program and the exclusive discourse which headlines like "Give your son the highest education" perpetuates. Inherent in such a statement is "give your daughter the lowest... or nothing."
A Different Perspective
What actually emerges from the correspondence concerning RVC is a feeling of disappointment that the Movement has not established a real accredited college of its very own; a college that offers the courses and training that any regular college would, while providing a Krishna Conscious atmosphere and a spiritual perspective in its courses.
One cannot blame Danavir Swami for the Movement's lack. If you look at the description of what he is offering, it's evident that the whole thrust of RVC is in theological studies. RVC means to train up ministers, brahmans, preachers, priests, and temple managers. This is certainly an important contribution. So the discussion shouldn't revolve around what RVC is not offering, but rather how can ISKCON facilitate the diverse needs of its members, friends, and supporters.
Thank You, Anonymous
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for your candid and straightforward letter to Chakra. I appreciate it. I am currently in college in Santa Barbara, and I think that your kind of letter is needed in ISKCON. There IS a difference between RVC and a regular university. Obviously. I also think that, as time goes on, devotees should, and hopefully will, fill up the roles of professors at these "karmi" institutions. They are not going to go away from the scene. So why not infiltrate them, as you are doing?
Thank you once again.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
[See "RVC: As It Is and As It Presents Itself" Chakra May 17, 2002]
Pray for This Devotee
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada. All Glories to Srila Jayapataka Swami Acharyapad. All Glories All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
I am writing this note with a request. I am based in Bahrain (Balramdesh) and a Guru Ashraya devotee (under HH Jayapataka Swami).
The daughter of one of our senior devotees (Veera Krishna Das) is in hospital in the United States. She is in a coma stage. Only Lord Krishna can save her; hence, I humbly request you all to pray for her.
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I really don't understand why you even uploaded Sudama's response to Georgina. His only intention was to make her look stupid and it really isn't newsworthy. I feel a little disappointed you would put such a letter on your website. It only served to hurt someone.
His Snide Retort
Dear Chakra et al.,
I have just seen the piece posted on Chakra from Sudama dasa ["RVC: Watch Your Spelling!" Chakra May 23, 2002], deploring Georgina's spelling. Whether or not Sudama's tone is sexist or not, I beg to ask: if the editor normally spell-checks such things and knows that men also make spelling mistakes, why, pray tell, did he even post Sudama's article? Would it not have been better to silently edit Georgina's piece, and send Sudama a note of thanks?
I have received articles and private e-mails asking why I would post something like Sudama’s critique of Georgina’s spelling ("RVC: Watch Your Spelling!" May 23, 2002). Actually, my first thought was to reject the article, as it is simply a criticism based on gender, but then I had a second thought: If one person is saying this, surely many others are thinking it.
of a Traveling Preacher,
May 5-20, 2002
On the evening of May 5, I boarded a Virgin Atlantic Airlines flight from New York to London on the first leg of my journey to Poland to join this year’s Festival of India tour.
As I entered the cabin, I scanned the rows of seats from front to back, hoping there might be a row free so I could lie down and get some much-needed rest. It would literally be the first opportunity I’d had in two months to sleep a full six hours — the duration of the flight. I often use flights to catch up on email, arrange my study notes, or sort out telephone numbers and business cards people have given me, little things I don’t have time to do because of my intense schedule as a traveling preacher. But this time I desperately needed to sleep. However, as I walked through the cabin, it soon became apparent that the flight was full and no extra seats would be available.
As I settled into an aisle seat, an air hostess came up and asked if everything was all right. Thinking she was simply doing her duty, I quickly said, "Yes, thank you," but I then noticed she wasn’t going away.
She smiled and said, "Can I ask you a question?"
Level Program in Singapore
During the most auspicious occasion of Janmastami 2001, we conducted a Siksa Level program as per the GBC guidelines in our Sri Panca Tattva Bhakti Vriksha of Sri Narasingadesh (Singapore). A total of 19 devotees committed to chant a specific number of malas (rounds) of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra every day. Our target was to double the chanting members in a year's time, that is, by Janmastami 2002, again as per GBC guidelines.
By the mercy of Vaisnavas, Guru, and Krishna on the most auspicious occasion of Sri Rama Navami 2002, even before the target date of Janmastami 2002, we conducted the second siksa ceremony, and 50 devotees committed to chant a specific number of malas of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra everyday. We are devotionally happy to share this most auspicious news with all the devotees: that we could achieve the target well in time. Thanks to our chanting members who preached and introduced at least one more member to the Bhakti Vriksha Programs.
Rupanuga Vedic College
RVC As It Should Be
By Danavir Goswami
In my last posting, ("Response to RVC Ad: Critical Consumers Needed") there was a misunderstanding on my part regarding two issues brought up by Madhusudani Radha. My apologies for unintended errors. I will try to clarify them here.
1) The first misunderstanding was in Madhusudani Radha’s use of the term "registration." I incorrectly thought she was inquiring about RVC’s registration process for its students and I replied accordingly. Actually she was asking if RVC’s being registered with the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education (MCBHE) in 1998 implies anything regarding the quality of education provided at RVC. Or, she questioned, Is perhaps "registration" no more than the filling out of a form and paying a fee?
Watch Your Spelling!
While espousing the glories of the female brain, you made some spelling errors:
arguement = argument
You may wish to run the spell checker in your email program before you make a post about women's intelligence.
[Editor's note: I usually run the spell checker before posting an article, but sometimes in the rush of things, one gets past me, as in Georgina’s case. But believe me, the men don’t do any better. I spend much more time correcting the articles than laying them out, and most of them are written by men, so I don’t think it’s fair to make fun of Georgina when hers just happened to be the one that slipped through, although Sudama most likely did not know this.]
[See "RVC: Why Only Your Son?" Chakra May 19, 2002]
Degrees Not Valid in UK
Although RVC may be a wonderful institution to learn about Krsna, sadly the
"degree" awarded at the end of the period of study would never be
recognised in any UK academic institution. I teach Religious Education to
students ranging from the ages of 11-18. In order to do this, I completed a
3-year degree in Theology and Religious Studies and then had to complete a
further year in Post Graduate Certificate of Education.
It’s Discipline Not Discrimination
Dear Palika Dasi
I don't agree with your criticism of the RVC. It appears to me that the principle of Danavir Goswami is that celibacy is made easier for those who wish to achieve it by not being in daily contact with members of the opposite sex. You should be aware that monasteries have always maintained this type of discipline, as they do to this day particularly in the Far East, i.e India. In years gone by this was also a principle of Christian monastic life.
A New Devotee Asks
Dear devotees of Krishna,
I am relatively new to Krishna consciousness, and admire your website. I have come across a question that has been haunting me and your site discusses, to some degree: the role of women in ISKCON.
The biggest thing keeping my heart from surrender is a statement in a purport on page 19 of the Gita that says women are less intelligent and therefore not trustworthy.
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]
Dear Maharajas, Prabhus, Matajis,
Please Accept our Humble Obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
We hope you are all as excited as we are for the upcoming New York Ratha-Yatra Festival. The devotees here are working steadfastly to make this festival one of the best ever. There is, however, one important change to the festival schedule.
In place of the June 9 Reunion Fesvtial at Tompkins Square Park, New York ISKCON will be celebrating the life and teachings of Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami, with a remembrance Festival, at Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir, Brooklyn, NY.
New Vrndaban Festival:
A gathering of devotees is always an auspicious event. In the flower-bearing spring, nestled in the rolling hills of West Virginia, the New Vrndaban festival was more than glorious.
His Holiness Radhanath Swami was the perfect host as he generously shared himself with all comers. Baradraja prabhu, the famous ISKCON artist, led swooning kirtans and tear-jerking mangal arotiks much as he had done in the early years on Henry St. in New York and elsewhere. Malati devi dasi ran herself ragged serving the needs of the devotees, while Vaiyasaki prabhu gave new meaning to the word "seminar" as he assisted the assembled Vaisnavas in relishing the nectar of the Holy Names. Mangalananda premiered a few of his newest songs that — can you believe it? — are even better than his old ones.
Why Only Your Son?
As an ex-temple devotee, now a teacher (of psychology at sixth form) and currently also studing for my MSc in Psychology, I am disheartened by the "give your son the highest eduation" slogan. Once again ISKCON sidelines women.
As a teacher of psychology I can only laugh at such a fallacy as the "small brain" theory recently debated on CHAKRA. The weight of someone’s brain has nothing to do with levels of intelligence. Nor are women "naturally" interested in "mundane" concerns as opposed to philisophical debate. Such ideas are absurd!
Dear Maharajas and prabhus,
Koti koti dandavats.
I was working with Madhusudani Radha dd about the time she was preparing her piece for Chakra. We were trying to get our heads round the technical limitations of the website, including why certain pages would not appear and where certain information was. So that no one is under any illusions, I would like to state that since the time she penned her article, the website has changed its format and contents. I do not want to minimise or criticize Danavir Maharaja's response to her, but it should be borne in mind that some of the questions (and answers) hinge on the previous layout, etc.
As It Is and As It Presents Itself
Before entering the debate between His Holiness Srila Danavir Maharaja and Mother Madhusudani Radha devi dasi, I would like to shortly introduce myself: I am teaching at a major state university, and I aspire to be a devotee (or the other way round).
Marrying science (and I mean proper and real, not just fringe science) and devotional service is not an easy task, as some of the more academically inclined devotees here will most probably know. Thus, it was with great interest and pleasure that I read about the RVC. But I, too, was rather disappointed when I looked closer at what RVC claims to be in contrast to what it actually is.
Why? First of all, I should say that I think it is perfectly okay that RVC is an organization that will be recognized mainly, if not only, in the big small ISKCON world.
School Needs Teachers
There is a posting about the Ghana School needing help. Another that is needed there is devotee teachers. So far the curriculum is only elementary school. If there are any qualified teachers, English speaking, who would like to do some missionary work, the opportunity is there.
Hoping this meets you in the best of health,
[See "Ghana School Needs Help," Chakra, May 7, 2002]
Why the Discrimination?
Dear Danavir Gosvami,
I’d just like to comment on your article "Give Your Son the Highest Education." As soon as I saw the title I almost cried. For my whole life I’ve wanted to study at a Vaishnava gurukula but due to the gender bias present within ISKCON was forced to attend regular school.
Now, at the age of 18 and planning on going to university next year, seeing that the male youth have the opportunity to get a Vaishnava degree but that the matajis are sadly overlooked makes me really angry.
Answer to "Unofferable Foods"
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.
I sincerely apologize for any shortcomings in the RVC website which Madhusudani Radha devi dasi pointed out. I am sorry that she and perhaps others were frustrated with it. To be honest, that website has been frustrating for me also. We humbly request patience as we work hard to update it and improve its format.
Several questions raised by Madhusudani Radha devi dasi are, however, answered in the ad which she responded to, entitled: "Give Your Son the Highest Education."
Namely: the type of degrees offered, the present list of faculty members and statements from non-devotee university academicians.
We recently visited Dwaraka Dhama for the first time. This is why we have decided to share with all of you our first impressions of Dwaraka Dham. Indeed, Dwaraka is the dham where, as we all know, Lord Krishna resided for over 100 years, but what many of us don't know is that ISKCON has a small guest house there with 20 beautiful rooms (see more photos on http://photos.yahoo.com/murli038).
There are Sri Sri Rukmini-Dwarakadhish Deities (photo) and very enthusiastic devotees who under the care and constant supervision of the founder of the Dwaraka project, HH Maha Vishnu Goswami (photo), are progressing nicely, with the construction of a nice ISKCON temple for the pleasure of Sri Sri Rukimi Devi Dwarakadhish.
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.
"Even where there are hundreds of good qualities, a critic does not consider them. Rather, he attempts by some trick to point out a fault in those attributes." REF. Antya 8.81
I have been thinking that it is very easy to criticize or to ignore devotees. That seems to be a basic function of the false ego. So I propose that on CHAKRA we have a page for writing appreciations of devotees who have been and are doing outstanding service, even though many may never hear about them.
I will start by mentioning my godbrother Satyanarayana Prabhu. He joined long ago in Buffalo, New York, a place that produced many of our senior devotees. I don’t know all of his history, but in the early days he served on the BBT Library Party, getting Srila Prabhupada’s books into hundreds of university libraries around the world.
for Construction Service
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I am writing you today in the hope that you can assist me in finding out where there are temple construction projects going on right now or in the near future. It is my desire to assist the movement by assisting in temple construction. So often I see pictures of so many wonderful temples that are about to celebrate their openings and wish I could have been there to help. I do not desire any money. I do desire the association of devotees and prasadam.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna.
The RVC Website
By Bhadra Govinda Dasa (JPS)
I request Madhusudani Radha Mataji and also the person whoever posted her article to visit the RVC website one more time. It is really a wonderful effort by His Holiness Danavira Goswami and his team. The prospectus contains course description, subjects, credits, everything in a systematic way. This is there for Associates, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral courses. Also, there is a wonderful line up of the visiting faculty. The ratio of teacher to students is 1:2 or even better for the current strength in college now. This is better than any other school or college I attended or know of.
Looking for some really quality stuff, on your real estate, such as HH Vipramukhya Swami, HH Indradyumna Swami, HH Kavicandra Swami' s articles. These articles really give joy to the reader and increase one's faith in Vaisnavas, Guru, and Krishna.
All glories to these able generals of Srila Prabhupada's army.
Your humble servant,
[See "RVC Ad: Critical Consumers Needed," Chakra, May 10, 2002]
Flight — and
Wednesday, May 8, 2002, somewhere over the Northeastern Seaboard– I'm on another boring flight across the Atlantic Ocean. I used to think this stuff was interesting, flying. Now I find it immensely boring. I mean, 22 times since January I've been through this — waiting in the airport lounge to get my seat row called, walking on the aircraft, stowing my carry-ons in the bin above, buckling my seat, watching the crew demonstrate the safety procedures which I hope I never have to use, taking off, watching the same boring movie or sleeping or chanting and finally landing. I've traveled more this year than any previous year in my life.
I like the life of traveling, but the flights are getting tedious. I wonder how Jayapataka Swami, famed for being not only the most frequent flyer in ISKCON but also one of the most frequent flyers of anyone in the world, tolerates it.
Foods: A Question
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.
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.
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.
At first glance, the description of the Rupanuga Vedic College in Missouri sounds like a dream. The advertisement encourages parents to send their boys to RVC to be educated in accordance with Prabhupada’s wishes. There is a beautiful picture and several testimonials, both from academics and ISKCON members and the header "accreditation and registration" suggests that this institution is even accredited. It all seems very impressive — until one looks more closely.
The first thing most parents want to read about are specific course offerings and degree requirements, so I clicked on the "Prospectus" link, only to get a white screen with the text: "The page cannot be displayed." Fortunately, there was also a link to "ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS AND PROGRAMS," so I clicked there instead. It states: "RVC offers a wealth of transcendental, applicable knowledge, unavailable elsewhere. Just as river water remains fresh by receiving a constant supply of incoming water so Vedic knowledge is restored when put into practice." OK. That sounds good, but how exactly is this done? Unfortunately, one never finds out.
An Appalling Situation
In response to Atmavani Dasi's letter on the Women's Page: "Apology Accepted and Thank You," all I can say is that while the GBC's historical apology to women is a welcome step, it is absolutely appalling that women in ISKCON have to "negotiate" their fundamental spiritual and human rights from essentially an all-male group that controls the Governing Commission of ISKCON.
Until ISKCON changes its gender-specific marginalization of women in the name of "honor, tradition, and religion," women will continue to be nothing more than the second sex.
[See "Apology Accepted and Thank You," Chakra, May 21, 2000]
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.
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.
Driving for Krishna
By Danavir Goswami
From its early years to the present, ISKCON has witnessed droves of devotees leave their bodies while traveling in automobiles. Although devotees don’t drink and drive, many male devotee drivers that I know are virtual terrors behind the wheel. With a desire to reduce Vaisnava auto tragedies and hoping to improve our service to Lord Krishna, to Srila Prabhupada, and to our spiritual authorities, we suggest some guidelines for devotee drivers to follow.
Let us begin by understanding that driving an automobile in the service of the Lord (dasyam) is equal to performing any other service in bhakti-yoga such as sravanam, kirtanam, distributing books, offering arati to the Deities, managing a temple, etc. Sri Daruka, Sri Hanuman, Sri Garuda, and other devotees are famous for rendering the service of transporting the Lord from one place to another.
All Generations Can Stay
[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.
I've long had the feeling that Narayana Maharaja is leading devotees away from Srila Prabhupada's precious instructions by making nebulous promises of higher rasas. Nothing so has better confirmed my uneasiness about Narayana Maharaja's teachings as Urmila Prabhu's excellent compilation entitled "Understanding Narayana Maharaja," which so clearly reveals the inconsistencies, contradictions, and pretensions of his presentation.
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.
On the passing of His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami, the members of ISKCON's Indian Continental Committee (ICC) were deeply grieved and shocked.
His Holiness Tamal Krishna Maharaj was one of the closest disciples of Srila Prabhupada and one the most prominent leaders of ISKCON. In India, he was one of Srila Prabhupada's principal assistants in the early days of establishing the mission here. It was in Jaipur, India, that Srila Prabhupada awarded him Sannyas in 1972 and gave him the title Goswami.
Here is some good news for a change.
A great devotee friend of mine wishes to sponsor Srila Prabhupada’s books for temples that are in desperate need of these holy books, and I am acting as an agent for my good friend.
We need the following information:1. Name and address of the temple.
2. The temple president’s name and e-mail address.
3. Names of the books required, the quantity, and in which language.
Once we get the above information from the temples that need books desperately, we will do our best to supply them with the books they require.
New Online Store
The Bhaktivedanta Archives is pleased to announce the launch of our new online store. Please visit today, as we are currently offering discounts of up to 60% on selected items.
Counseling, Therapy, & Social Care:
A Krishna Conscious Perspective
June 1st – 2nd, 2002 ISKCON Washington D.C., Potomac, MD
Saturday 10:00 AM-6:00 PM ~ Sunday 9:30 AM-3:00 PM
I don't know how much money other sannyasis have (although all ISKCON sannyasis must report their income and expenses to the GBC Body each year). However, this page will show a running total of my personal income and expenses for each year to date.
The figures show how I have financed my travels so far this year. YTD means "Year to Date"
"The Festival of Inspiration 2002"
May 10th –12th, 2002 New Vrndavana, WV
Latest schedule of events
York Ratha Yatra
The time has come once again for our annual Ratha-Yatra and Festival of India. This is the 27th year of Lord Jagannatha’s glorious ride down Fifth Avenue, the most famous street in the world.
We take this opportunity to invite you, your family, and friends to celebrate this blissful festival with us. The Ratha-Yatra Parade begins from 59th Street and 5th Avenue (across from the Plaza Hotel) @ 11:00am on June 8 2002 and proceeds down 5th Ave. to Washington Square Park, in Greenwich Village.
A spectacular Festival of India will be staged @ the park from 12pm - 7pm. This festival will feature Hare Krishna Chanting, Sadhu-Sanga, Bharat-Natyam and Odissi Dance Performances, and Spiritual Dramas by the Bhaktivedanta Players (from London, England). There will be cultural exhibitions displaying many topics such as yoga, meditation, vegetarianism, and India’s Vedic spirituality. Best of all, there will be a grand Prasadam feast served free to 10,000 people.
On April 23, 2002, in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Sri Puri Dham, Sri Guru Prasad Sahoo gave the concluding verdict after the four-month trial of seven persons accused of raping and molesting Ms. Maria Schmidova and her five-year-old daughter Tulsi in June 2000.
These are the concluding words of the judgment, and they are relevant just in case anyone has any lingering doubts regarding the facts of this case, which was based on not even one molecule of truth:
"On analysis of the entire evidence of the above 15 prosecution witnesses, I find that there is not a single evidence coming out from the mouth of any prosecution witness that any of these accused persons have committed gang-rape on Maria Schmidova. There is also no evidence either direct or circumstantial coming out of the evidence of the aforementioned prosecution witnesses that these accused persons committed carnal intercourse against the order of nature with Tulsi Schmidova at any point of time....
of a Traveling Preacher,
May 4, 2002–The day before leaving New York for London, I went into Manhattan with Bhakta Pankaj to puchase some sound equipment for our festival tour in Poland. It was a cold, drizzly spring day, and people moved somberly through the streets to their respective destinations making little or no eye contact with each other. Striding through the concrete canyons, engulfed by the enormous buildings that towered above us, I felt almost claustrophobic, as if cut off from the world of nature.
As we walked down Broadway and rounded the corner on to Fulton, we suddenly found ourselves standing adjacent to the former World Trade Center site. There was an eerie silence in the place, where at least 500 people stood observing the massive scene of destruction resulting from two hijacked planes slamming into the center's Twin Towers, at that time the tallest buildings in America, causing them to disintegrate and collapse with the loss of almost 3000 lives.
to Ivory Coast
While trying to leave Nigeria, I learned many things, which I will not bother you with. But if you ever travel in West Africa, carry US$ cash; otherwise, things can be quite troublesome.
Charlyboy went to the airport to see me off. The ticket clerk was so bewildered that she forgot to ask for the payment. It was a slow time but those who were there were quite impressed that I was with Charlyboy.
I was hoping to fly to Ivory Coast. That required a change of planes in Accra, and I was waitlisted, but I tried anyway. They would not sell the ticket, so in Accra there was a big run around and I ended up missing the flight. That was on Sunday.
Diary – Preaching in
May 6, 2002, Llechryd, Wales– I'm in a room full of guests at Chris and Rasa Parayani's house in West Wales. People are eating prasadam and I have a few minutes to myself to write this article. Earlier today we went to a dense forest and had a kirtan by a waterfall and a river.
Tomorrow we have to go back to Bhaktivedanta Manor so I can catch my flight to New Vrindavan out of Gatwick Airport.
I lost my Palm handheld computer last night. We had gone to a nearby beach and had a kirtan and some prasadam. On the way back to the car I saw a trail along a wooded sand dune. I remember using it along that trail, but after getting back to the house we couldn't find it. This morning we went back to look to see if we could find it. We couldn't. Later we called the police in case someone turned it in. They hadn't.
School Needs Help
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
The devotees in Ghana are running a primary school. It is a nice way of preaching. Only problem is that they have 80 children from very poor families so they would need some sponsors. Each child's education costs only U.S.$85.50 for one year. I am sure there are some devotees who could help. I am going to Ghana to preach, so I just came to know about this.
Your humble servant,
for a Friend and a Service
I am looking for a friend from my college who has presumably joined the Hare Krishna movement. His name is Kallol Chowdhury, from Bangladesh, a minority Hindu who was brought up with struggle and discrimation, like other minority people such as me. He was a brilliant student from the Bangladesh Marine Academy and went to sea but has gone missing after three /four years stay on board the vessel.
The mother of H.H.Lokanath Swami Maharaja spent her whole life in a small village in Maharastra, a state in India. She was a simple and loving person, a devotee of Lord Vitthala-Rukmini, worshiped in Pandharpur Dhama. Every year some members of the family used to visit Pandharpur on foot, a walk of many days, to pay their respects to the Lord. Some family members walked that distance to have the dharshan of the Lord, whereas the rest of the family patiently waited at home for the return of the pilgrims to hear from them about the Lord and to honor the Prasadam they would bring.
She was one of my mothers,
A simple woman from Maharasthra,
and More than Stone
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.
Conflict Resolution in ISKCON: ADR
From Braja Bihari dasa
GBC Announces Innovative Program for Conflict Resolution
On March 14, 2002, the GBC unanimously approved the establishment of a voluntary system for resolving internal disputes within ISKCON. The system approved for development is a process known in the world of mediation as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
For many years, governments, corporations, and organizations large and small have turned to ADR's two kinds of professionals to help resolve disputes: ombudsmen, who work in confidentiality; and mediators, who serve parties willing to discuss their disagreements openly with one another.
Following is an email I have sent to VNN on at least 10 occasions over the last month and have not gotten a response. For those who don't read VNN, a letter had been published from New Vrindaban clarifying that a Narayana-Maharajah-centered conference advertised as being held at New Vrindaban was not at the ISKCON center commonly known as New Vrindaban. Dhrstadyumna das wrote a response that was published on VNN.
on the Vedabase
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
Maharaja and His Followers
I went to a gathering of the Swami and his disciples for the first time a year and a half ago. I had never read anything by them or come in contact with them or their society before. I was surprised at their hostility towards ISKCON and even Sridhar Maharaja’s followers.
They were intent on telling me how Narayana Maharaja was the true heir to Srila Prabhupada, and that everyone should become his follower; otherwise, we are showing our insincerity. I was stunned, so I listened carefully to his lecture, and the devotees with him.
Jersey Rath Yatra
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Sri Jagannath Baladev Subhadra.
By the causeless mercy of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladev, and Mother Subhadra, the annual New Jersey Rath Yatra is scheduled on Saturday, 15th June (one week after New York Rath Yatra) at Liberty State Park. Ratha Yatra will be through Liberty State Park and Festival of India will be in the North Field at Liberty State Park right in front of the New York skyline.
Arriving in Accra at 0430 was a bit of a problem. My visa was not in order, but after some heated discussion I got in on a 48-hour permit. We were able to extend that with some endeavor, and the week was a whirlwind of action.
First we had a TV program at 0900. That was at the GBC (Ghana Broadcasting Corporation). They are quite favorable. Actually I don’t remember which days were the radio and which were the TV, since we were going sometimes twice daily. One show was on the subject of senior citizens. The commentator was very sincere and wanted to know our opinion as to why old people were being neglected.
Children’s Videos on ITV
Re request by Rasada dasa for children's videos
Please check out our web site <www.itvproductions.
[See "Need Children’s Videos," Chakra, April 30, 2002]
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to the saviour of the whole world Srila Prabhupada.
We are happy to announce the launch of our new Website,
of a Traveling Preacher,
April 5-30, 2002– We are coming to the end of our two-month preaching tour in America, a program that has seen Sri Prahlad and I crisscross the entire country six times. Time is also flying by, for when you are doing something you like, time passes quickly, whereas when you are doing something you disdain, it goes very slowly.
The experience has been intense, and I barely have the physical strength to complete this last week. But the spiritual rewards have been bountiful— most significantly the people whose hearts we have had the good fortune to touch with Krsna consciousness.
We are involved with a project concerning cosmology— specifically, substantiating the size of the universe according to the Srimad Bhagavatam and other Vedic literature. This involves:
A) examining appropriate Vedic sastric evidence
B) examining historical views of cosmology in other traditions
C) examining current Western scientific theories of cosmology and their derivations
I would welcome any persons interested in participating in this work.
about Our School in Ghana
May 1, 2002– Although it is accepted that the guru is beyond error, and I do not want to find any errors, I wish to elaborate slightly on HH Kavicandra Swami's article "Report from Our School in Ghana."
Actually, the real founder of the school is HH Mahavishnu Swami who first came to Ghana, had the vision for the school, and personally worked on the constitution and legal matters. Also HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami, whose desire it had been to have such a school for many years, also HH Kavicandra Swami himself, who has personally been raising funds to assist the school.
the Fossil Debate, Please
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.
Opportunity in Philadelphia
ISKCON Philadelphia would require the services of a full-time devotee who is capable of doing book distribution, arranging Harinama sankirtan, Deity worship (not mandatory), cooking bhoga offerings for their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Saradbihari (assistance can be provided), and doing regular temple services.
All facilities such as proper accommodations, etc., will be provided.
Opportunities at ISKCON DC
ISKCON temple of Washington D.C. is inviting enthusiastic devotees primarily interested and skilled in preaching activities to join its community and help develop activities such as sankirtan (book distribution), Harinama, school and university programs, congregation development, etc.
We will provide you with the facilities you need such as vehicles, rooms, prasadam, association of devotees, and the space for creative expression of your talents and desires.
of the Living Entity
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."
with the Eyes of Scripture
The sankirtan movement is the entrance into the transcendental realm. The activities of the participants are transcendental, even if they are not purely motivated. This is the special benediction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The pastimes of Sri Caitanya are non-different then the pastimes of Sri Radha Krsna. This is the reality, although at first the desire of the participants may not be completely pure, through participation in the sankirtan yajna, one destroys one’s material desires.
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