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  1. In the quotes I posted Sridhara Maharaja is explaining Guru tattva (ultimately Krsna is the guru) and the absolute and relitive aspects of that principle. He is no more responsible for the deviations of Iskcon gurus than was Prabhupada who gave them rank and power in the first place. Keeping in the spirit of Ksamabuddhi/ Gandiva/ Guruvani's important principle that one leave aside hearsay and bias by posting only the acharyas message word for word here is Sridhara Maharaja's explaination on why he repeatedly said that the local acharyas should initiate and only special persons or those that could not find faith in those acharyas should be brought to him for initiation. /Brahma Devotee: About your personal case, that you are the higher seed present, and you are giving authorization to other sannyasis to initiate also in your presence. How can I see this, as your humility and detachment to accept new disciples? How can I see this? Sridhara Maharaja: Following the general custom, and that "something is better than nothing." With this policy. They can give and do according to the necessity. Some sort of light in comparison with darkness is something. In the name of Mahaprabhu let it go. Then, their Lord is there, and He will manage everything. If there is any gap in the process, if we are sincere, He will manage. If we have no black motive of exploitation and are sincere, if any amendment is necessary, He is there and He will back them. Devotee: The diksa may be given by a lower seed, but doesn't your siksa as a siksa-guru bring that seed to a higher plane also? Sridhara Maharaja: If their disciples are not allowed siksa there may be an underlying motive that they are not fit to approach such high thought. With this motive, if the guru checks the disciple's ambition, that won't be bad. But if knowing that "I'm not able to satisfy his enquiry," and by a policy that the guru's prestige may go down the guru checks the disciple from connecting with the higher source, then that will be offense. Sincerity is the standard of measurement. Devotee: For example, I will be preaching in Brazil, and people who at that time I will be preaching will approach me to seek for a guru, and I'm trying to be your disciple, and I will try to direct them to you. I ask you, if you can accept these people as disciples, and another person can give them the initiation, but they can be your disciples. Because I trust completely in you, but I do know if the other person can deliver them. Sridhara Maharaja: I don't consider myself able to take responsibility of so many. It is not a pleasure to take responsibility. So I'm unable, I'm unfit to take responsibility of so many. So, I have spoken to those that are affectionate to me, that I can't have connection with many. Only very special case, if you find, then you may take to me. Otherwise, you do. As much you know, you help them. But always know that you are dealing with the infinite. Not anything that has got limit. As much as you can. The sky is there, the birds are flying, as much as the bird can. He can not finish the sky. So, we are also doing like that, as much as we have got capacity, we shall do that type of duty to others, help others. Save yourself, and save others, as much as you can. Acharya's position is Upadhi: designation .................... Sridhara Maharaja: "I am acarya. I am holding acaryas position. I should be given some position, some respect." Acarya's position is also upadi, designation, rank. Rank should be respected. The designation is there and this protocol we should observe. Jayadwaita Maharaja: But aside from giving respect, is it just a matter of formality? Sridhara Maharaja: If you think the person who is doing the function of acarya, his adhikara is lower than yours, still you should formally give special honor to him because he is in that position. Devotee: Son may be a judge and pleader may be father. Father must give respect to the chair. Sridhara Maharaja: Give respect to the chair, so something like that adjustment should be kept in the mission. When you are alone-the acarya brother and non-acarya brother-you can mix freely. You can give a slap to his cheek. Devotee: Laughter. Sridhara Maharaja: But, when publicly amongst his disciples, you must show proper respect. That sort of behavior, conduct should be maintained to keep up the peace Jayadwaita Maharaja: How should one himself understand? Suppose I am empowered by my Guru Maharaja to initiate disciples, so they are offering me worship, nikunjo yuno rati keli siddhai, but how am I to understand they are saying like this, that I am in this position? Does it mean that because I have been given that position of guru actually I have got? Sridhara Maharaja: aham veti suko veti vyaso veti na veti va. Sridhar Swami wrote the commentary of Bhagavatam and it was written differently from the previous commentary, so the scholars refused to accept that commentary as universal, especially the Sankarikes. Then they put it to a test, that it should be kept in the temple of Viswanatha and if he, Kasi Viswanatha Mahadev Siva, accepts then we shall all accept the commentary. Then from the Siva temple the revelation came, the purpose, the real purpose of Bhagavatam is very difficult to conceive. Only these few of us we know the real purpose: aham veti Mahadeva says. I know the real, the true purpose of Bhagavatam, suko veti, and Sukadeva the disciple, son of Vyasadeva, he knows it thoroughly. aham veti suko veti vyaso veti na veti va and the author of Bhagavatam, he may know or not. Do you follow? Then your question is answered. Jayadwaita Maharaja: How, I don't understand? Sridhara Maharaja: Mahaprabhu, when He is teaching Sanatana Goswami, He says that Sanatana, Krsna is going to give His kindness to you through Me. I am talking to you like a man to man and I feel many things passing through Me to you. I feel that much, but I do not know that I have myself got that thing. Do you follow? Then solution. Jayadwaita Maharaja: Yes, that's very clear. Thank you very much. Sridhara Maharaja: It is possible, it is wonderful, but still we find it is not understandable. Jayadwaita Maharaja: That last explanation, is that the explanation of transparent via medium that the guru these new gurus they must be transparent and then it will work. Sridhara Maharaja: A sincere man when he has taken a particular charge, he will make out what to do-the the duty of that post, if sincere, and God will help. God helps those who help themselves. You have taken the charge and charge has not come from chance, but there is some underground link. Then if you try to do then help will come to you. If he is not a cheat and has sincerely taken the charge of the master, He will come to you with all his might: "Do this. I am helping, I am at your back." When we are all sincere, these things will happen like this.
  2. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: “If nama guru is living, then he should be mantra guru, he should be sannyasa guru.” Ksamabuddhi/ Gandiva/ Guruvani suggested in his recent VNN article that one should avoid speculation and simply repeat word for word the teachings of the acharya. On the topic of Sridhara Maharaja and ritvik here is my humble attempt to follow that advice. Let the reader consider Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s words on the subject of guru and decide for himself if those words support what is now known as the “ritvik system”. /Brahma If Nama Guru is Living: Jayapataka Maharaja: What is the relationship between a sannyasi and his sannyasa guru. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: That is tathasta, whom I am much indebted for my spiritual progress, who will help me most in my spiritual progress, there we shall find the main guru. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: If nama guru is living, then he should be mantra guru, he should be sannyasa guru Jayapataka Maharaja: And to whatever extent he is not surrendered, that much he won't go forward, (Bengali): jatadur samarpen haya nama tatakun ara Srila Sridhara Maharaja: tatakun coming to opaque-coming to transparent. Jayapataka Maharaja: Partially. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Partially to opaque, partially to transparent. According to the transparency, guru should be recognized in tathasta vicar. Vijayate tathasta tata, that will be clearly. Tathasta-impartial judgement at the relative and the absolute, two sorts of judgement-absolute and relative. Guru falldown: Jayapataka Maharaja: If the initiating guru, the Nama guru, say he falls down, just as we hear of one Maharaja . . . Say he falls down, from the path by act of providence, then what should the disciple do? Srila Sridhara Maharaja: He will take Name again and after-he may wait for some time. Because, if he was sincere first, he was a sincere disciple to his guru, first, now for some offenses he's neglected by his guru for sometime, he maybe, here and there, astray, led astray. Then he may come again, after that. . . (Bengali conversation) . . . karyakaryam ajanatah, utpatha-prathipannasya, parityago vidhiyate. In Mahabharat, Visvanatha says, statement: Dasa Mahajana , one of Dasa Mahajanas is Bhisma. Bhisma says to Parasurama, he is astra guru. Astra guru, also deva guru, acarya guru. Jiva Goswami Prabhu has taken this example guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah utpatha-prathipannasya parityago vidhiyate "A guru who does not know what is to be done and what is not to be done, who has left the path of devotional service, should be abandoned." Mahabharata (Udyoga-parva 179.25) If he goes astray, then he should be left, but there may be circumstances for some time. By the inconceivable desire of Krsna he may go astray, and he may come back again, come back again. So, disciple may wait for some time. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: And this is very unfortunate for the disciple when he gets such a test. In Harinama Cintamani, written by Bhaktivinode Thakur, you will find this elaborately described. Harinama Cintamani by Bhaktivinode Thakur, there we will find this guru tyaja chapter, how he has dealt with it carefully. One Guru in Many Forms: Jayapataka Maharaja: So those who have recieved Harinama from Bhaktivedanta Swami, then they are his disciples. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: They will take help, his disciples, may be, and they will take help from the diksa guru, because they are in the sadhana, on the way to the end. So, they'll take the help of this mantra guru. Nama guru, mantra guru. Nama guru is Bhaktivedanta Swami and when he will take mantrum from any of his disciples, he will be his mantra guru. Jayapataka Maharaja: So, they will offer respect to both, a disciple will offer respect to both-nama guru and mantra guru? Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Mantra guru. Then there is also sannyasa guru. Sannyasa guru is also in the stage-sannyasa or babaji state-that is also a guru. Guru-ONE IN MANY FORMS-siksa guru. Siksa guru. (atamat ta mantra gurun siksa gurun.) Devotee: guru bhagavat tadan. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: guru bhagavat tadan avare haritaki, vande 'ham sri guru sri gurun. Tamal Krsna Maharaja was saying the other day, "vande 'ham sri gurun sri yuta . kamalan sri gurun vaisnavams ca. Sri gurun . . . plural Higher and Lower Gurus: Srila Sridhara Maharaja: We tried our best to follow the combined attempt after Prabhupada. But when that was not possible gradually we have come out in different parts and to go on with our own way. Because we could not neglect our conscience. At the same time it is written in Hari Bhakti Vilasa and common sense will also say so when man of superior realization is there the inferiors must not stand in the way of his preaching. They should rather help them. Strictly if we follow this spiritual law and it is common sense also because the higher seed should be distributed to all. And everyone available should have the chance of getting that higher instruction. Instruction means realization like homeopathic globule. Externally we can not recognize what potency is there. So mantram and the nama externally, physically, it cannot be detected. What is that? Only- the man who gives it his realization is the potency with the sound. So when higher potency in the mantram, whatever, is available really then everyone should try to utilize himself in that way. This is common sense and the sastra is also there. Sudhir Maharaja: So Maharaja, you are that personality. Sridhara Maharaja: Still the others will also be allowed to go on in their way, different stages, different strata there should be. Still the gradation is there. " Expand the Initiating Gurus: Sridhar Maharaja: “I told them right at the beginning when they came to discuss with me about this after Swami Maharaja departed. Then I suggested that this should be made into a dynamic practice so that every year during Gaura Purnima some new gurus can be included. Then the other party, the non-initiating godbrothers will have their confidence on the initiating godbrothers and give their support to them. Otherwise if they maintain some rigid practice then the relationship will be cracked. This was my suggestion but they did not care about that. On the other hand, emphatically they said that "No, only these eleven that Srila Prabhupada has selected will remain. Outside these eleven they will not include anybody else. I pointed out that if you include some more initiating gurus that will be more favorable. As it is now, when you are all going to leave [pass away], then you will have to appoint your disciples as initiating gurus. You have to empower your disciples so why can't you do that to your brothers? Can there be a more qualified person? So, better you keep it open. This practice will be very dynamic. If needed, you eliminate some people also from their position of guru and include also somebody when he is qualified.” Compile a special mantra: Srila Sridhara Maharaja: That asana should not be occupied by any of the disciples, because the disciples who are initiating, the initiating disciples, present guru, he will also regard his guru as superior to him. So he cannot occupy that seat. Do you follow? Tamal Krsna Maharaja: Just like if Jayapataka gives one of his new men initiation-if Jayapataka Swami gives diksa to somebody, how that sisya will offer his pramans to Jayapataka, in what words, what mantra? Srila Sridhara Maharaja: In ordinary mantra of guru puja, until and unless his disciples compile a mantra, a special mantra for him, he is not to go to arrange the mantra or pranam, but when his disciples will come and make a mantra for guru-puja, they will do like that, otherwise a general mantra: Gradation of Gurus: Sridhar Maharaja: acaryam mam vijaniyam by Gods special grace, this is one of his functions that go to the low-to the lowest person and to take him from there gradually, this is one of the eternal functions of the Supreme Lord. There is gradation, the gradation section, hierarchy. Everywhere there is Gods presence and his helping tendency is also present everywhere, only to convert the free will, free will to acarya, free will of every jiva, even in creeper section, in tree and animal there is also at heart God there, Paramatma in that stage. So there is gradation. aloke bava paroksa badha veduryam balanam usasanan Just a teacher of a child, by installment he will supply the truth, not the whole truth to a child, but partially, gradually. So, the sastra, the scripture has also taken that path by installments. So guru is also, teacher is also in that way represented, just as sastra to the lowest, then superior, superior, superior. Teacher is also, guru is also. In that way, it is coming. Then at certain position, a workable truth. Otherwise, mainly within maya it is also working. Maya is not exclusively excluded from the interference of Godhead. Everywhere there is the presence of the Supreme. Otherwise, He is not Supreme. Everywhere is influence by gradation, degree it is. Synthesis will help: Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Synthesis will help you most. As much as we can synthesize that will come to help you more. Your Prabhupada's Vyasasana should not be occupied by any of the disciples nor by their picture. A second seat should be given a little below for the present acarya. This will impress the disciple that even his [siddha] guru, he is giving respect to his own guru. Free choice by Sraddha: Srila Sridhara Maharaja: A person of one zone should be able to accept a guru of another zone. Free choice by sraddha. One who has preference for one acarya but he is compelled to accept an acarya who he considers to be lower than another-that is some anomaly. That zonal arrangement is against free choice. When one gets the comparative study of the words and expressions of the different acaryas from the bottom of his heart, he likes one acarya. But because he is in a particular zone, he is forced to accept another acarya -- that is an anomaly -- in my opinion." Madhyama-adhikari guru: Devotee: Will the disciple of a madhyama-adhikari guru achieve the same result as a disciple of an uttama-adhikari guru? Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Of course. There may be little differences but according to one's previous sukrti we may recover the differences-sincerity. That may be compensated, gradually. If we are sincere, just as the connection of guru we may have by the arrangement of the absolute, so also in our own case that madhyama-adhikari guru will give instruction rightly. And also he may return and I can have justice. In one birth I may meet one guru and in another birth I man meet another guru. But substantial measurement will all be the same, only some difference in form. So, even in this life also after getting some instructions from a particular guru I may get another siksa guru where I can learn more. That may not be impossible. Because that guru is one, acarya mam vijaniyam. Our sincerity and His grace, that is one and the same thing. His grace-simultaneously there may be guru, simultaneously many gurus. Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Diksa guru-siksa-guruke ta'jani krsnera svarupa (CC Adi 1.47) Diksa guru and siksa guru are both extensions of Krsna. Guru is Krsna, acaryam mam vijaniyam [CC Adi 1.46 ~ Bhag. 11.17.27]. Krsna has come there to liberate me, in different appearance, representations. He is coming, Krsna is coming, oneness in variegated position. Jayapataka Maharaja: Who is qualified to be siksa guru? Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Whoever sincerely will help me to go towards Krsna, he is siksa guru. Vaisnava is also siksa guru, vaisnavas. Vaisnavas, siksa guru. Who will come in my connection and will help me to go forward, he is siksa guru. And there is vartma pradarsaka guru, siksa guru, mantra guru, nama guru and sannyasa guru. Some adjustment must be made: Sridhara Maharaja: The position of acarya is very intricate. It is very difficult to bring an acarya under rule. You see, that is our practical experience. You please hear and note: The position of acarya is a relative thing, just as mother-child, father-child, wife-husband; so it s a relative thing. the position of disciple is also relative. So, relative and absolute and their position; to adjust between the two is a difficult thing and it is an eternal problem. Some adjustment must be made between the relation, and it is better that the acaryas themselves, they will come to directly make all the necessary adjustments between acarya and acarya, acarya and Godbrother, acarya, and his disciples, and the disciples and disciples. All these fine points of sentiment. Sentiment is not to be neglected. Law is not everything. Law should be accomodating to increase the sentiment, otherwise this is no law. Law should come to promote the sraddha, make room for the faith to develop. Such law should come to help us. Sastra. Sastra's jurisdiction is limited. Only to promote love, and when love comes it will be free. Smooth harmonious working is possible only in the area of love. Spontaneous. That is also some sort of hitch, as in madhurya-rasa and vatsalya-rasa . . . but all to please Krsna. Harmony is there. But ragavid bhava navadhi vaidhi bhakti adhikaras tu ragavid bhava navdhi. Vaidhi bhakti: devotion under the guidance of sastra, laws and rules, that is to a certain extent necessary. It will only help the inner awakenment of love and affection, and then it will retire. Law will retire giving room to the spontaneous flow of love. Loving service to the Supreme. So, law is not all. Law is necessary and especially in the lower stage. And it should make room for free movement between the relationship, just as I once told that if one is not married, there is no necessity of any separate room. He may lay down here and there. But, whenever he marries, he wants some room to behave in a particular way. Some private arrangement. So, when one is next to a disciple, that sort of relationship should find some independent place to express its fullest feelings, unbridled feelings towards the master. That should not be curbed by law. There is also necessity of law, and law's object will be to work our freedom for everyone. Freedom is the highest thing. Free service is raga-marg, and that is service proper. Not regulated and coerced, and pressed by law. That is not service. Expecially our aim is Vrndavana. So, free service. Without freedom, service is not valuable. Forced labor is no labor. Labor of love, that is required. and it is the thing for which all are out. Let us essentially think that we are all not only for the constitution, but the thing for which the constitution has been made, to that object. The constituation should promote to that aim. With this feeling. The newcomers are coming with their faith, and faith should be encouraged and also adjusted, that the faith of one person will not disturb another." Making much of the position of acharya: Srila Sridhara Maharaja: "That is a very serious question. They are making much of the position of the acarya. They are misusing the position according to him [Prabhupada]. But that is a very serious question and on that point I have discussed, I have given my opinion many times. In brief, a system should be created or arranged for the proper adjustment. Of course it is necessarymad gurusi jagad guru. He is the suprememost, at least in a particular way. In a particular way he is the best: yar ye rasa se haya sarva . . . Relative position. From the relative standpoint the disciple will see his guru to be the best. And there he will think, that the Lord has delegated him to come to me and to deliver me from the clutches of maya. He has some particular affinity there. And there are many acaryas, and what should be the behavior, the conduct of the disciples of different acaryas? How and what should be the behavior or conduct towards the nonacarya, godbothers of the acarya? That should be evolved. If direction is not given by Swami Maharaja, there might be some signs, some hints. But if it is not found there, then we shall have to evolve some rules and regulations for a proper adjustment so that the mission may not suffer. Suffer from indifference or negligence or abhorrance of the nonacarya disciples of Swami Maharaja.
  3. I sent my post to Amogha-lila dasa asking for comments "for the record". . Below is posted some of what he replied ". It should be noted by readers that I have been told that Amoghalila dasa considers himself a "channeler" and claims to communicate with the dear departed. In one instance he claimed to have channeled and talked to the spirit of the wife of a devotee friend of mine. My friend just varified this by email. So buyer beware,,,,,, Dear Brahma Prabhu, Yes, I am happy to help clarify things as much as I can. This guru issue is definitely one of the most important things for Srila Prabhupada's followers to get straightened out. lf you have any further questions, too, I will be happy to try and answer them. I didn't know these conversations had been posted on the internet. Thanks for letting me know! Are the 1979 ones there too? I haven't seen them for many, many years, and it might be good for me to review them. Otherwise, you seem to have a copy--if you have it online, could you e-mail it to me? If you don't, I wouldn't want you to take the trouble to type it out, but I would appreciate it if you could send a photocopy to me. I never said that I had seen Srila Prabhupada (externally) in 1978, nor had I ever before heard that anyone was saying I had! This is the way rumors spread, so it's good you asked me about it. Brahma Das: [i spoke to Amogalila about his " letters" when he came to Hare Krishna Land in 1979 as well as a number of other times. Never did he represent those letters to me as anything other than his own thoughts-revelations- realizations or whatever you want to call them. Writing those "realizations" in the form of a dialogue with Prabhupada was his way of preaching and never has anyone come forward and claimed himself as a witness to an appearance by Prabhupada to Amogalila.] Amogha-lila: This is not quite correct, Brahma Prabhu. What happened was the following. Either you forgot what I had told you in 1979, or I never had explained to you in more detail exactly how I got these messages. It is not that I was just "writing those realizations in the form of a dialogue with Prabhupada." Rather, these were actual conversations that I had with Srila Prabhupada, or at least so it appeared to me at the time I was having them. But Srila Prabhupada was not externally present before me, nor did I hear his voice externally (not on those occasions, at least). Once I was having a dream of Srila Prabhupada, a real, sleeping dream. In this bona fide dream, Srila Prabhupada started saying something about the so-called zonal acarya system that had taken over ISKCON. He then told me that he wanted me to write down what he was saying. At that point, I woke up, and I felt like Srila Prabhupada was still speaking to me, that is, that my same dream was continuing except that I was awake. And I wrote down everything that Srila Prabhupada said, at the same time as it seemed to me Srila Prabhupada was speaking it. So, all those "dreams" or "conversations" came to me just as if Srila Prabhupada was really speaking to me in my heart--not externally. I don't know what the source of this idea is that I or anyone else actually saw Srila Prabhupada externally. As far as I ever knew before reading your email today, these experiences I had were referred to as "dreams" by some devotees, or as "conversations with Srila Prabhupada" by others, while still others (as you are thinking) described them as my own realizations. I am amazed that anyone ever thought or said or believed that I had claimed I saw Srila Prabhupada externally. No. However, it is also just as wrong to say that these conversations were just my realizations. Actually, I myself was surprised by some of the things that were stated in them as they came to me, for they either were ideas I had not thought of before, or they were presented in striking ways that I didn't feel I could have come up with myself. So, to repeat myself for clarity, I definitely did not create these conversations as a preaching device for presenting my realizations as if they were coming from Srila Prabhupada. (At the very least, if I did do this--which I don't think I did--I was not myself aware that I was doing this.) Rather, as these "conversations with Srila Prabhupada" were happening and I was writing them down, I was experiencing them, in real time, just as they occurred, as actual conversations with Srila Prabhupada (in my heart, not externally). I hope this is all clear to you. May this meet you in the best of health and Krsna consciousness. Your servant, Amoghalila das
  4. Pradyumna's letter of 7 August, Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Vayatah 7 August, l978 Dear Satsvarupa Maharaj, Please accept my most humble obeisance. Maharaj, I am writing you this letter with GREAT anxiety in my heart and after days and days and long nights of thought and careful consideration. I have been staying in Vrndavana for some time and have not visited any other center recently except Delhi. Therefore, my information I have about what is happening at our other centers comes only from devotees visiting here, occasional letters, newsletters and our society's magazine and other publications. But the news I hear from these sources is very alarming and therefore I am writing you in some anxiety. The matter concerns the Godbrother who were selected by Srila Prabhupada to accept disciples. At the time of Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, it was most clearly understood by all of us present that Srila Prabhupada MADE NO SUCCESSOR. Everyone admitted that fact and understood it clearly. Instead, the GBC was to jointly manage ALL affairs of ISKCON just had been the case previously. This was the same solution as desired by Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who also had not made any successor, although his wishes were NOT followed. In addition to the GBC management, Srila Prabhupada also selected 11 somewhat advanced disciples to grant initiation to newcomers. However it was never mentioned at any time by His Divine Grace that these 11 were to be known as ACARYAS. He simply instructed that they may now accept disciples. Otherwise, as it was understood and practiced at that time, there was NO SPECIAL POSITION given to these 11, either in the society as a whole or in relation to their Godbrothers. Management would depend on the joint GBC, and among Godbrothers and sisters all are on the same level, with the exception of some special regard and respect shown to older (senior) disciples by these Godbrothers and Godsisters who are junior. Now at present, I understand that the 11 GURUS are all 1)adopting the title of ACARYA, 2)sitting on high Vyasasanas in front of Srila Prabhupada's Vyasasana and their own Godbrothers, 3)accepting worship and great respect normally reserved for a GURU from the rest of their Godbrothers and 4)that the previous GBC zones have all been given by mutual agreement or by invitation among the different acaryas. First of all, the word ACARYA may be taken in 3 senses. Etymologically the word means "one who practices" or "one who practices what he preaches." This is the general meaning and may be used in relation to any pure devotee period. Secondly. The word means "one who grants initiation to a disciples." This is specifically indicating one who is a GURU. Anyone who grants initiation or is a guru may be called as "acaryadeva," etc.-by his disciples only! Whoever has accepted him as guru must give all respects to him in every way, but this does not apply to those who are not his disciples. Thirdly, the word Acharya indicates "the spiritual head of an institution or pitha." This meaning is very specific. It does not mean just anyone. It means only one who has been specifically declared by the previous Acharya to be his successor above all others to the seat of the spiritual institution which he heads. He alone, among all of his Godbrothers, is given a raised set and special honor. No other Godbrother may receive such respect and he is the authority in all spiritual and material matters. This is the strict tradition in all of the Gaudiya Sampradayas. Now Srila Prabhupada, it is clear, did not appoint any such successor because no one of his disciples at present is advanced to the level of Krishna Consciousness necessary to assume such a position. Nor did Srila Prabhupada make 11 such ACARYAS. This was never mentioned by Him. They were only given permission to make disciples and the GBC was to jointly mange, materially and SPIRITUALLY. There was never any distinctions made by Srila Prabhupada between material management and spiritual management. Both are the concern of the GBC. The 11 gurus may be known as acaryas only in the second sense of the word-to their disciples as mantra-giving gurus, not in the third sense, as "the" spiritual successors of Srila Prabhupada. That was never meant to be by His Divine Grace. Secondly, among Godbrothers it is not correct that any one of them sit above the others, especially in the presence of Gurudeva. If Gurudeva is not present, sometimes the sannyasi Godbrothers may be given an asana, but that asana does not mean a huge gigantic seat. It simply means a square piece of cloth or wool not more than 1/8" or 1/4" thick. This is asana. If any one Godbrother or many Godbrothers sit above the others it is not at all proper. Sometimes in an assembly there may be raised platform or table on which the sannyasi speakers sit, but ALL SANNYASI Godbrothers must be invited to sit in an equal place on the speaker's platform. Sometimes a grhastha or brahmachari Godbrothers may also be invited to sit there if they deserve by their advancement. If there is an appointed acarya as mentioned before (third sense of the word) then he alone may sit higher than the other Godbrothers. Indeed in the different Gaudiya Mathas, even if one Godbrother is in the position of acarya, he usually, out of humility, takes only a thin cloth asana, not anything higher. It is the symptom of a Vaisnava to be extremely humble. He MUST always be extremely careful of putting himself in a position where he may become conceited. A guru may take a higher seat than his disciple--that is bonafide. But he cannot illegally take a higher seat than his Godbrothers. The relation between the guru and his Godbrothers and a guru and his disciples is entirely different. He should not sit higher than Godbrothers other than if he is a sannyasi, on a thin cloth as already mentioned if offered by his Godbrothers, or accept respect from them without offering respect in return. This is the general niti or etiquette. Besides this, there are, among Godbrothers, some further rules to be observed between those who are senior and those who are junior. Seniority is calculated according to the time of receiving 1st (Harinam) initiation or by his ability to perform bhajana. If one Godbrother has disciples, the guru-puja and Vyasa-puja of that Godbrother should be conducted in a separate place or his private room--not in from of all his other Godbrothers. In an assembly of Vaisnavas, all sit on the same level together, Godbrothers along with their sisyas. No one is permitted to accept separate respect from disciples in any gathering of other Godbrothers. In Gaudiya Math, the Vyasa-puja of one Godbrother who has disciples is usually performed in the following manner. The guru takes his raised seat in his private place and invites all his Godbrothers to come to the function also. If his Godbrothers come to offer him some flowers, that Godbrother guru immediately first worships his other Godbrothers and offers them garland, candana, etc., and in some cases presents like cloth, umbrella, etc. They honor each other and are seated properly, then that guru's disciples may come forward and offer their worship. This is the system being observed. Incidentally, the words of Om Visnupada Srila Bhakktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura found in the English book Sri Caitanya's Teachings regarding the sitting above everyone else are from a speech delivered in response to the offerings of his disciples on the occasion of his Vyasa-puja. Those words are in relation tohis disciples --not to his Godbrothers, of which there weren't any. The niti in regard to Godbrothers is completely different from that to disciples. One who is actually guru may make disciples anywhere he finds someone who is worthy. The connection between guru and disciple is arranged by Krsna directly--and it is not subject to legislation. All the world-wide temples of ISKCON are controlled by the GBC. The temples are managed by them jointly and they decide each year which member of the GBC will manage in which place. The GBC who is appointed to be responsible for a certain zone somewhere on this planet, if a guru, will naturally make many disciples in that place--but how can he be illicitly restricted from accepting a disciple from someplace else. That is material consideration. It has another to do with transcendental order, by which guru and disciple make their meeting. It is not geographical. Secondly, no GBC who is guru may make that zone of which he is temporarily in charge by appointment of the joint GBC, into his own private place. If some other guru visits there and some newcomer wishes to accept him as spiritual preceptor, how can he be prohibited? Furthermore, all the temples of ISKCON are to be run by the GBC. No one GBC who is a guru may use the title acarya of such and such a zone. Srila Prabhupada never appointed one acarya of the whole ISKCON nor did he appoint several acaryas for parts of ISKCON. This will only lead to an ultimate division of the one ISKCON into many different fragments and destroy our united preaching work. If someone sets up his personal seat as acarya in different temples, how can it be removed? Who else can sit in it? Then does that temple belong to that guru or does it belong to the GBC? That means the power or control is switched from joint GBC to the 11 gurus. Srila Prabhupada never intended this arrangement. Moreover, in the future, in accordance with His Divine Grace's instructions, other qualified Godbrothers may also become gurus. Where will they go? In Srila Prabhupada's temples no raised seat should be given to any but Srila Prabhupada--all Godbrothers should sit on the same level. One exception may be made in the case of one speaking from the sastras like Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Caitanya-caritamrta, etc. during the class. But that seat is very special. It is not for the reader--it is meant for the book. After paying obeisances to that seat, he who is to read, may, after taking permission from his senior Godbrothers and sannyasis, ascend to read from Bhagavatam. After finishing, he may again pay his obeisances. Much of the knowledge written here is not found in sastra, but is called sistacara--that which has been taught by the conduct of the past guru parampara. It has not been specifically mentioned in any sastra, but still it is accepted as authoritative because of being seen to be the conduct of previous acaryas and their disciples. Maharaja, after very much consideration and consultation and also confirmation by older members of our sampradaya, I am writing to you to see if you can rectify the present situation. Many of us here, older Godbrothers, are very concerned in two ways. 1) that the 11 gurus not having been appointed to the position of Acharya and for which they are unqualified both by an insufficient knowledge of sastra and b. the incomplete realization of Krsna consciousness, are accepting worship on that level--and this may lead to anomalies in the society and personally, because of lack of complete detachment in atma jnana, to a buildup of pride and subsequent falldown. 2) 2) That the united society ISKCON, because of illegal division and control by a few members instead of the joint GBC will become broken up in separate societies and the unified preaching effort very much hindered. Hoping for your immediate attention and kind reply, Pradyumna das Adhikari
  5. I spoke to Amogalila about his “ letters” when he came to Hare Krishna Land in 1979 as well as a number of other times. Never did he represent those letters to me as anything other than his own thoughts-revelations-realizations or whatever you want to call them. Writing those “realizations” in the form of a dialogue with Prabhupada was his way of preaching and never has anyone come forward and claimed himself as a witness to an appearance by Prabhupada to Amogalila. In the introduction to the original letters Amogalila writes,” I was praying very intensely to Srila Prabhupada and I felt I could hear him answer.” Then he goes on to write on a number of controversial topics (at the time) in the form of a dialogue between himself and Prabhupada. The letter discusses what he calls the guru con game that he felt was going on in Iskcon at the time. This con game involved the new gurus pretending to be on the same level as Prabhupada and this was shown by the way they accepted or demanded worship from godbrothers and disciples alike. Practices Amogalila found objectionable were mentioned such as the new gurus big Vyasasanas and simultaneous guru puja with Prabhupada in the temple room. Another point made was that a guru can make mistakes but does not cheat so the new gurus should not present themselves as perfect. In his letter Amogalila attributes Prabhupada as saying: “I never said the guru cannot make mistakes. I never said the guru is always right. That is the guru’s position. He is not perfect but he does not cheat. That is his qualification.” Comparing the original 1978 letter with the new 2003 letter one will find contradictions between the rivik philosophy promoted now by Amogalila compared to the guru reform philosophy promoted by him previously. Here Amogalila in the name of Prabhupada allows for imperfection in the guru something the new ritvik philosophy does not accept. Attributed to Prabhupada by Amogalila: “The guru should not try to present the picture that he is perfect. He should not spend his time maintaining a show. He should spend his time qualifying himself for the position. Otherwise it will become another Catholic Church.” Although Amogalilas realizations were considered revolutionary at the time he was not the first to present the points made in his letter. Sridhar Maharaja made many of these points in his talks to the GBC as well as to Pradyumna dasa and others. Indeed Pradyumna dasa made the same points in his letter to Satsvarupa August 7th 1978 which was written before Amogalila had his "revelations". The influence of Sridhara Maharaja talks on Amogalila is apparent in the sections of his letter about the absolute and relative conceptions of guru. Again attributed to Prabhupada Amogalila writes: “But to consider Krishna as the absolute and the guru as relative, the absolute consideration is supreme. The disciple must judge the guru according to Krishna not that the godbrother must judge Krishna according to the guru. This is foolishness. The disciple accepts the guru as long as the guru is acting as representative of God. The disciple cannot judge the guru except in extreme circumstances.” AND: “The gurus should not be reluctant to take help of the godbrothers nor should they feel their position is threatened by the godbrothers. The godbrothers must be convinced by the character of the gurus that they are factually non different from Krishna otherwise they will feel they are being required to go along in the con game. In conclusion everything depends on the gurus being bonafide gurus and the godbrothers all help each other come to and maintain this position. In that way everything is adjusted.” Here again Amogalilas “revelations” of 1979 on the relative and absolute position of guru are different from the ritvik position of 2003. Thus I believe after a careful study of Amogalila’s letters one will find that his “revelations” written as discussions with Prabhupada were taken from transcripts of Sridhara Maharaja’s conversations and Pradyumna’s letter either consciously or subconsciously. Brahma Das
  6. The point I made on beliefnet and Prabhupada made many times as well is that you have to preach to a person according to his level of eligibility. The person on beliefnet was actually very favorable until he was introduced to quotes from Prabhupada that he found impossible to harmonize or appreciate. Previous to calling the quote hate speech, which practically any modern liberal thinker would do, he identified himself with and preached on behalf of the movement. He even took the time to present the mantra in a respectful way. He wrote: "In my temple, the Hare Krishna temple functions as a wonderful westernized Hindu temple. We have worship of Murtis. We have a mix of Indian, White, Black and Hispanic devotees. We operate in English while still reading texts and prayers in Sanskrit.The Hare Krishna movement traces its origins through Sri Caitanya 500 years ago. It is a Hindu lineage. Its practice is chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare HareHare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Devotees are encouraged to say 16 rounds of the mantra. They are enjoined to stay clear of intoxicants, illicit sex and be strict vegetarians. The cooking and serving of prasadam (food offered to Krishna) is the other pillar of the faith. To me, as I said, Hare Krishnas are Vaisnavite Hindus successfully transpanted into a Western context and language." Then a quote from Prabhupada was presented to him that he had never heard before and was beyond his level of eligibility to appreciate. Thus in the name of “presenting the truth” the preacher pushed him from favorable to unfavorable in one fell swoop. This move was more the fault of the preacher who by previous experience should have known that this person or practically any liberal person in that position would not be able to appreciate such quotes from any source. Thus I believe the preacher was more at fault for the offense to Prabhupada than the person being preached to. A person is a product of his culture. Anti-homosexual quotes will surely be appreciated in the bible belt but not in liberal Berkeley culture. And any objective person can well see from this episode that this kind of preaching is counterproductive! The art of preaching requires that one present the truth according to the level of eligibility of the audience. And the goal of preaching is not just to present truth but to present truth in such a way that people will appreciate Krishna consciousness and take up the practice. To do this requires insight, tact, and common sense on the part of the preacher. Yes, preachers should present the truth but more often than not the truth needs to be spoon-fed knowing full well that people don’t need to know everything all at once. /BDas
  7. From Bhaktivinodes Jaiva Dharma Vrajanatha humbly submitted: "O master, my mind has gone out of order as the result of your instructions and association; everything in our worldly life seems to be pith less and unsubstantial. I have grown impatient to seek protection at the Feet of Sri Gaura. Today a question has arisen in my mind, viz., who am I in reality and why have I come into this world?" Babaji Mahasaya: "You have glorified me with this question of yours. When the truly auspicious day arrives for a jiva, it is this question that he puts first of all. There will linger no more doubt in your mind when you will listen to the fifth shloka of the Dasamula and its meaning. Just as sparks come out of a blazing fire, so also from Sri Hari, the chit-Sun, come out the innumerable jivas, atomic chits. Though they are not different from Sri Hari(in respect of their chit constitution), yet the jives are ever separate from Him. The eternal difference between God and the jives is this, that God is the Entity due to Whose special Virtue the maya -potency is His ever-controlled servitor, He being by nature her Lord: whereas he, who is by nature capable of coming under the maya prakriti, even when free, is the jiva." Vrajanatha: "The decision is excellent, no doubt. I am desirous of knowing its supporting authority from the Vedas; though the words of the Lord are as good as the Vedas, yet when they are substantiated by extracts from the Upanishads, people will be bound to admit them as conclusive." Babaji: "Several Vedic statements corroborate this truth; I am citing only a few of them; just listen. We have in the Brihadaranyaka: Just as small sparks come out from fire, so do all jivas come out of God " and "This entity (jiva) has two places, viz., this (material) region and the other (chit) region; there is a third place border tatastha region forming the juncture of the two; staying at that place of the juncture, he sees both the regions, this one and the other one." Herein has been stated the border characteristic of the jiva-potency. This Br.up says again: "just as a big fish in a river at one time visits its Eastern bank, at another the Western one so also does the jiva move to both the sides, viz., that of dream (nescience) and the other of wakefulness (sentience)." Vrajanatha: "What is the meaning of 'tatastha' approved by the Vedanta philosophy?" Babaji: "The line between the water of a river and the land on the bank is called the ' tata'. The land is contiguous to the water; where is then the 'tata'? The 'tata' is only like a thread discriminating the land from the water. The 'tata' is a very fine line of distinction which is not discernible with the gross eyes. If the chit world is compared to water and the mayika or material world to land, then the 'tata' is the fine line dividing the one from the other; the place of the jiva-potency is that line of juncture between the two worlds. Just as there are glowing atoms in the sun-rays, so also are the jivas; they may have a vision of the chit world on the one side and on the other this world as built by maya. The chit-potency of God is boundless, so is His maya-potency also enormous; between them are there the innumerable minute jivas. The jivas emanate from the tatastha shakti (border-potency) of Sri Krishna; so is the nature too tatastha (border-potency) of Sri Krishna." Vrajanatha: Of what sort is that 'tatastha' nature?" Babaji: "In it vision can be had of both the sides from the midway position between the two worlds. The capability of coming under the control of both the potencies (chit and mayika) is the tatastha nature. The 'tata' (line of demarcation) can come into the river being dug out by the force of water; again when the land is hardened, the 'tata' becomes land. If a jiva turns his vision towards Sri Krishna, he becomes confirmed within Krishna-shakti (i.e., chit) but when he turns towards maya and turns away from Krishna (i.e. becomes apathetic towards Him), he falls into maya's snare to be fastened in it. This nature is 'tatastha'. (more information can be found in Visnu Maharaja's article: "Origin of the Jiva" on www.gosai.com)
  8. Taken from SANGA: www.swami.org/sanga Q. Sometimes it is described that the fallen jiva takes his first birth as Brahma and then degenerates. At other times, we hear that the progressive soul can go "back to Godhead" along with Brahma at the final annihilation. It seems there must be different types of Brahmas, one going up and one going down. Is this correct? Also, if we first become a Brahma, what is the process for entering the lower species? A. Brahma is the first born (although unborn/aja) jiva at the beginning of each cycle of creation. His position represents the most subtle form of karmic influence or deviation. It is not that every jiva first takes birth as Brahma and then descends to lower species of life. As consciousness individualizes in adherence to the principle of karma from its merged condition of susupti within Maha-Visnu, the first individual to appear is the leader among those under the rule of karma--Brahma. Only in this sense does the jiva first become Brahma. From the conglomerate of jiva-sakti the first individual jiva to emerge is Brahma. Others take their place in creation with his help in accordance with the determination of karmic law. Those who move step-by-step in the direction of liberation attain the planet of Brahma and are liberated with him at the end of the karmic cycle. With the beginning of the new cycle the best of those who have remained within karmic rule appears as Brahma. Having said this, it is worth noting that Srila Prabhupada and other acaryas have for the sake of simplicity in preaching sometimes explained that the jiva falls from its spiritual position at some point in time, appearing first as Brahma and then gradually falling to the lowest species. /Swami B.V. Tripurari
  9. MEMORIES OF RDTSKP and TAMAL KRISHNA GOSWAMI: By Brahma Das I worked extensively under Tamal Krishna Maharaja from 1975 through 1979. We met when I was in San Francisco working with Swami Tripurari on his BBT book distribution party. At that time TKG asked me to join his party as leader of one of the new Radha-Damodhar Buses. Upon returning from India TKG had teamed up with his old friend Visnujana Maharaja and turned his festival bus program into a dynamic preaching party. Together their preaching was so powerful that they recruited enough devotees to fill up two new busses. Soon those devotees were selling more BTG’s than any other zone in North American. Therefore BTG featured ads for RDTSKP in every issue. This ad had a picture of Visnujana Maharaja chanting and playing harmonium that read: “Travel with advanced devotees of the Hare Krishna movement” and “Learn to play ancient Indian Instruments.” Because of these ads every devotee in the movement knew about RDTSKP and secretly almost every brahmachari wanted to travel and preach with TKG and Visnujana Maharaja. New men were also joining as well so TKG commissioned two more busses and was looking for devotees to put in charge of them. It was at this time in 1975 that Radha-Damodhar visited San Francisco and there is an amusing and insightful story regarding how I came to be part of the RDTSKP team. The first day the bus arrived in SF I was in the brahmachari ashram and came across Visnujana Maharaja singing in the shower. Everyone knew Visnujana Maharaja and loved him. He had a warm dramatic style that had the power to transport a person immediately to Vaikuntha. As I stepped into the shower room Maharaja recognized me and said, “Brahma, why are you here in SF, did you know that TKG and I wanted to put you in charge of one of the new busses?” I was shocked at this statement as I had only been in the movement three short years and was barely twenty-two years old. Certainly one had to have more experience and maturity than I to be in charge of a Radha-Damodhar bus. When my ego and mind recovered from the shock I asked VJ Swami what I would do if I became a bus leader. There dripping from the shower Maharaja dramatically outlined everything to me in vivid terms. He said,” You will be the spider.” “The spider”, I replied with a puzzled look. “Yes, he said, At the festivals Radha-Damodhar weaves a web through the chanting of their Holy Names and various types of conditioned souls are caught on that web. You as the spider will have to find out which of the souls caught on their web of chanting are ready to surrender their lives to Radha-Damodhar. Those souls who are worthy you transport to your lair on the bus and turn them into shining new bhaktas for Krishna and Prabhupada. Then he opened his arms leaned into the shower and as the stream of water cascaded over his head he chanted in a loud voice Radha-Damodhar Ki-JAI!” Needles to say I was spellbound by Visnujana’s ecstatic presentation and the picture it painted in my mind. I was now speechless and in a half a minute VJ Swami had turned my world upside down and I began to believe that Prabhupada and Radha-Damodhar wanted me to be the“ spider” on the bus. Such was the power of Visnujana Swami’s amazing love for Radha-Damodhar. There was however a slight problem. Before I could join RDTSKP and begin “spider training” I would have to talk to Tripurari Maharaja who had just recruited me to be in charge of the SF airport book distribution party. Outside VJ Swami’s influence I became confused and depressed at the thought of letting down Tripurari Maharaja and the BBT party. I was in a dilemma but little did I know that TKG the great preacher, organizer, and problem solver was about to work his magic behind the scenes. First he called me in and asked if I wanted to join RDTSKP. At this point although I really wanted to be “the spider” I was confused and told him I was undecided. He was not happy about this and gave me a strong lecture about taking on responsibility for Prabhupada. He said I had leadership potential and on RDTSKP that potential could be developed for Krishna’s service. I objected and said that I was distributing books for the BBT and knew that service was extremely pleasing to Prabhupada. At this TKG hesitated and thought for a moment. Something was going on in the back of his mind. He ended the conversation by saying yes book distribution is no-doubt pleasing to Prabhupada and asked me to join him for prasadam after I came back from the airport tomorrow. The next day at the airport I was too disturbed to distribute many books. To be the spider or not to be the spider was the question disturbing my mind. And that was my mental state when I went to the bus for dinner with TKG and VJ Swami. As I was dined and flattered by two of the most respected devotees in the movement the bus book distribution team came in take prasadam. One by one TKG introduced each devotee and asked how many books they had sold that day. Each devotee replied with a number that ranged from ten to thirty books. After he was done he said this is Brahma Das he is a famous BBT book distributor. Then he asked how many books I had sold today. Having had a bad day I was embarrassed to report that I had only sold about fifteen books that afternoon. At that TKG pointed his finger at me and said very sternly, these men are all new bhaktas and they have almost to a man each sold more books than you. With good training these devotees will be able to preach and sell more and more books but none of them are qualified now or any time in the near future to be a RDTSKP bus leader. These new men need experienced guidance and that is why the best service for you is to take command of one of the new busses. Again I was speechless. Both Visnujana Swami and TKG each in their own way had overwhelmed me in a matter of minutes. I knew at that time that these two were the most dynamic preaching team in the movement and I wanted to be part of that team. But there was still the problem with my responsibilities to the BBT party. TKG quickly took care of this problem to everyone’s satisfaction by offering three of his best book distributors as replacements for me on the BBT party. But before he did this TKG asked me one important question. Are you considering grihasta life? “Grihasta life is fine for Bhaktivinode but not for me” ,I replied. He then smiled and said that was the right answer as he wanted only dedicated brahmachari’s or sannyasi’s as leaders on his bus party. And with that I was welcomed aboard. I served on RDTSKP for the next three years as a bus leader. TKG was a hard taskmaster but he was able to motivate me like no one had done before and in turn I was able to motivate others. He saw something of my potential for service and I had faith and appreciation for him. As bus leader I had to call him from the field once a week and those calls either left me tearful because I had let him down or elated because he was pleased. He had a powerful effect on my life that has been with me ever since. By 1979 the RDTSKP busses were all broken down or dry-docked and I was serving on the Indian library party out of Bombay. TKG called me in Bombay and asked me to return to the states to take a bus on the road again. I loved the bus party and was reunited again with many from my old party. There was Hasyagrami who had been my driver and festival equipment manager, Sunanda the cook and kirtan leader, and Drista the sincere leader of the book distribution party. We were all happy to be serving together again on the bus. Once our bus party alone consisted of twenty-eight brahmacharies packed together on a bus and accompanying three vans. Now we were going to Texas to distribute books, preach and put on festivals with a total of seven devotees. Times had changed and now TKG was in charge of temples rather than busses and had to put most of his energy into those responsibilities. We were on the road in Texas for about six months. Finally we parked the bus in Austin and started a restaurant preaching center near the University of Texas that TKG named Govinda’s Super-Natural Foods. That was the last ride of RDTSKP. But anyone who took that or any ride on RDTSKP between 1974 and 1979 will never forget it. And all owe a debt of gratitude to TKG for making the arrangements so Radha-Damodhar and their devotees could travel down that road into the glorious history of the Krishna consciousness movement. Sincerely, Brahma Das
  10. Here Prabhupada explains that accepting the Bhagavatam's explanation of the material universe literally is not essential to one's spiritual life. Krsna dasa once asked asked Prabhupada why there is discrepancy between the views of Bhagavat and modern scientists regarding the moon and other planets. To this Srila Prabhupada replied, "These things are not very important, we may not waste our time with these insignificant questions . . there are sometimes allegorical explanations [in the Bhagavatam]. So there are many things which do not corroborate with the so-called modern science, because they are explained in that way. But where is the guarantee that modern science is also correct? So we are concerned with Krishna Consciousness, and even though there is some difference of opinion between modern science and allegorical explanation in the Bhagavata, we have to take the essence of Srimad-Bhagavatam and utilize it for our higher benefit, without bothering about the correctness of the modern science or the allegorical explanation sometimes made in Srimad-Bhagavatam." (Letter 72-11-07)
  11. Taste is not used here as sensual experiance. Taste is used here as the experiance of heartfelt feelings that draw one deeper into love.BD Q and A with Swami B.V. Tripurari By nama sankirtana we will know the truth of Krsna bhakti. It's nature is self-luminous. It will come to us. Chant Krsna nama nicely, practice vaidhi-bhakti sincerely and aspire, 'I want to attain Vraja bhakti.' When I was a young and inexperienced devotee living in New Dwaraka, someone mistakenly told me 'You know most devotees go to Vaikuntha.' At the time I didn't how to respond - but I cried. I thought, 'Vaikuntha! Krsna is not in Vaikuntha! He who plays the flute, standing on the altar - I'm attached to him. And you're telling me I'm going to Vaikuntha?' We should have this kind of feeling: 'I want only Vraja lila.' Q. How do we do that? A. Ruci is the basis of spiritual identity. When you have ruci, you know what to do. You follow the ruci, the taste. Follow the taste - this is the ultimate pramana, or evidence. We hear about sastra pramana, but Caitanya Caritamrta teaches that the real pramana is experience. And we know that as a fact. We can hear sastra all day and night, but the only reason we are here is that we got a little experience somewhere along the line and we know 'it is not like anything else. I want this!' I may know I am not qualified to go there now, but I will try to qualify myself with all these practices and I will chant my mantram and think as Jiva Goswami said, 'I want to go there, the place this mantra is talking about.' And if we are sincere in our practice, that mantra will rise in our heart like the sun and reveal Bhagavat-sambandha, our relationship with the Lord. And then there will be no more questions like, 'How will I know? How can I tell?' If we ask this question then it has not come yet. And then as this love awakens the feeling comes that you want to share it. This is the nature of love, to share. And as you start to share, you realize, 'Oh I can't, not everyone shares the same feeling and they may think I am crazy, saying 'Who are you to say that, that you are feeling like this?' So that ideal, that awakening in the heart, is a very high thing of course. But it will come. It will come to the simple and sincere devotee. Try to be a good devotee, not a great devotee and it will come. Serve the Vaisnavas and when it comes, you will know it. Q. And study scripture? A. Yes, study the scripture. But for what? For doing bhajan, not for collecting information to prove a point, to beat somebody over the head with it. Such argumentation is not helpful at all for bhakti. It is pratikula, unfavorable. So study sastra for bhajan. Let it speak to us of what we need to do now, today, to make progress in Krsna's service. This is what I mean by an open heart. Study sastra in that way, and practice. Q. And preaching? A. What comes to you, if you feel it is worth sharing, then share it. If someone asks you a question, you answer honestly what you have understood. And if people are attracted to that, then this is preaching. You don't have to study for preaching, planning what to say, how to defeat them, thinking, 'they're all demons, they have all rejected the right way, they are this or that,' whatever ism or schism we are part of. Find a verse that changes your heart. When your heart changes, preaching will overflow, automatically. That kind of preaching will be compelling and it will draw people in and it will draw down the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu as well. Questions or comments may be sent to Q&A Discussion Forum www.swami.org,
  12. Special Interview with Swami B.V. Tripurari discussing his new edition of Bhagavad-gita: Its Feeling and Philosophy Audarya: I would like to ask you a few questions and then perhaps you could read something from your Gita commentary. Swami: All right. Audarya:In your introduction to Aesthetic Vedanta you described how in your edition of Tattva-sandarbha you coined the phrase "Vedanta of Aesthetics" and that Aesthetic Vedanta involved playing this out, which you did wonderfully. What took you from Aesthetic Vedanta and the high point of Krsna's loveplay down to the ego-battleground of the Bhagavad-gita? Swami: My inspiration to comment on Bhagavad-gita did not come directly from anything I wrote in Aesthetic Vedanta. Actually I wanted to take on a smaller project after finishing that short but very intense book. After thinking about what that might be for some time, I was reminded of what Prabhupada had first said to me, citing the Bhagavad-gita. I read over that morning walk conversation, the first I had gone on with Prabhupada, and felt that it would be appropriate to follow through on what he had instructed me. He cited Krsna's statement about how explaining the Gita to others was the most dear service, and then he indicated that he expected his disciples to write books. So I put these two things together and decided to write something on the Bhagavad-gita, a book that I had not given as much attention over the years as I had others such as Srimad-Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrta. My initial idea was to simply show how the Gita's verses connected to one another, which was something that Prabhupada had not focused on in his commentary. However, as I began to study the Gita and write, the book seemed to take on a life of its own, and it did not rest until some 600 pages later. Audarya: But there does seem to be a connection between Aesthetic Vedanta and your Gita commentary. Your whole approach to the Gita involves differentiating between Krsna in his amorous affairs with the gopis (milkmaidens) and Krsna the statesman on the battlefield. Swami: Yes, I wanted acquaint readers of the Gita with Krsna's emotional state when he was speaking the Gita, to help them locate him in terms of the entirety of his divine play on earth. In Aesthetic Vedanta I discussed Krsna's love play with the gopis, which is said to be the high point in his lila. He was only eleven at that time. He spoke the Gita over 80 years later, yet he could not forget the love of those village girls. Although he himself is the supreme connoisseur of love, their love conquered him. As he spoke to his friend Arjuna about dharma on the battlefield, he could not but remember the highest expression of dharma exhibited by the gopis. Thus his song about dharma on the battlefield does hit the high note that Aesthetic Vedanta played out in full. Other commentators in the Gaudiya tradition have implied this, and in my commentary I have offered logical and scriptural support for their insights. Audarya: You have done that very tastefully. I particularly appreciated your discussion of the Kuruksetra battlefield and how you tied Krsna's previous meeting there with the gopis to his speaking the Gita there many years later. Your commentary touches the highest spiritual strata without neglecting the spiritual foundation that the Gita seeks to cement in place. Swami: Well that is what the Bhagavad gita entails, and that is why so many people feel that it is such a complete book in itself. It takes us through the entire spectrum of spiritual life, from the bondage of material attachment to the freedom of lawless spiritual love. Personally I was dumbstruck by its scope and the logic of its progression as I went through it verse by verse, page by page, chapter by chapter. Audarya: Was there a high point for you? Swami: There were several. The two obvious ones came at the end of the 9th chapter, and the end of the 18th chapter where the conclusion of the Gita is initially voiced and then reiterated. The love for his devotees in Krsna's voice as he repeats the conclusion of his sermon at the end of chapter 18 is very compelling, and I was never more absorbed in the commentary than I was at that point. But I have to say that as far back as chapter one I also reached a high point, as the Gita commences in terms of Arjuna and Krsna's first words. The first words Arjuna speaks take us to the theological zenith of the book. Arjuna orders Krsna to drive his chariot between the two armies so that he can see who has assembled to fight in the war. Krsna does so, no questions asked. This is God conquered by the love of his devotees. Krsna bows to Arjuna's order. God is conquered by love. All religions teach us that God is the most venerable object, but the Gita teaches us about that which is venerable for God From this high point in Arjuna's first utterance we go to the lowest end of the spiritual spectrum. Krsna drives the chariot, stopping it in front of Bhisma and Drona, who personify Arjuna's material attachment. He tells Arjuna to look and see that all those who are assembled in battle array are his own family members, his attachments, the composite of which makes up Arjuna's material ego. This is what Krsna parades before Arjuna, and in doing so he tells us that the Gita is about dismantling the composite of our material attachments so that we might know our authentic self and the possibility of real love. Regardless of the different metaphysical nuances commentators find in the text and build their sect around, this point is the foundation to any meaningful commentary on the Gita. It is the common spiritual ground on which we all must stand and do battle with our material ego if we are to meet the challenge of spiritual life. If we turn a blind eye to this point at the onset, reading the rest of the Gita is nothing more than an intellectual exercise. This to me was a high point because this is the point around which all spiritual seekers can gather. Embracing it really ends all argument as to the significance of the rest of the book, as that significance is realized and each practitioner grows the necessary wings to fly as high in the spiritual sky as their soul delights. Audarya: So you like the philosophical low points as much if not more than the high ones? Swami: Yes, it's all sweet, but the significance of the overtly sweet parts concerning various shades of spiritual love will only be realized by one who swallows the bitter pill of ego death. Krsna doesn't want us to choke on that, so he takes us through a progression of thought and spiritual application from right livelihood to mystic insight, detachment, meditation, and devotion, before arriving at unconditional love, never encouraging one to act artificially without proper consideration of one's eligibility for spiritual practice. Audarya: The battle metaphor of the Gita turns some people off to its message. Can you comment on that? Swami: This is very misunderstood. Arjuna was a warrior, and he was by nature prepared to fight to uphold righteousness. However in the Gita's battle he refuses to fight. In doing so he sounds very noble, but his justification for walking away from the battle amounts to nothing more than the power of rationalization fueled by material attachment. What he is asked to do battle with is his attachments, and this is what he objects to in so many words. Only when he is enlightened as to the naked form of material attachment and selfish desire does he agree to fight these enemies. The battle of the Gita is not about killing people. Audarya: So no one was actually killed in a historical battle of Kuruksetra? Swami: If we view it as an historical event, we must remember that it is a history of Krsna's lila, which is a divine drama enacted on earth for the instruction of humanity. No one dies in a drama about war. The very reason that the historicity of the battle is difficult to prove is that the battle is part of Krsna's divine play that, while manifesting on earth, transcends it at the same time. But all of this is very esoteric. The historicity of Krsna lila should be stressed to save us from turning God himself into nothing more than a metaphor. Krsna is an ontological reality, and there is a history to his revealing this to us through his devotee mystics. From the perspective of the Gaudiya tradition, the theology of the Gita deals with all of this. Audarya: You may be making history by the way you speak about your own tradition. Swami: Spiritual traditions must grow if they are to live and remain viable. They must have intellectual integrity, while imploring us to transcend the limitations of intellect. I am doing my small part to keep the Gaudiya tradition alive and relevant, and that is a good part of my focus, what I see as my contribution to the tradition. Audarya: Swami, in the course of writing your Gita commentary you were also personally involved in a transition. You relocated and switched your focus from ministering to a local congregation to writing more, focusing on a global community, and living in this beautiful redwood forest with a small staff of monks. How do you think that affected the outcome of your commentary? Swami: It impacted the time it took to finish the book, but it also enabled me to focus more on what I do best. So I am sure that influenced the outcome of the commentary in a positive way. As the monastery develops here at Audarya, I am realizing my ideals both internally and externally. The name Audarya implies that internal development of selflessness and love of God results in an outpouring of generosity. The Gita teaches this as well. You said you would like me to read something from my commentary. Let me read a moment from chapter six. Bg. 6.32 "The yogi who measures the pain and pleasure of others as if it were his own, O Arjuna, is considered to be the best of all. Krsna's devotees possess such compassionate hearts that they broadcast his holy name and virtuous deeds wherever they go. In the words of the gopis, they are the most munificent welfare workers. They identify with the joys and sorrows of others as if they were their own, and thus they tirelessly canvass to lift others beyond the duality of joy and sorrow by showering them with the immortal nectar of Krsna's instructions. To see another's sorrow as one's own is to see through the eyes of God, for all souls are eternally related with God, as parts are to the whole. Mature yoga is recognizable by the outward symptoms indicated in this verse. Here we find the practical application of yoga in the world, what yoga practice will do to improve the world. Although this and the previous verses in this section refer to advanced yogis, it is they whom practitioners should try to emulate. Practitioners should strive to follow this golden rule of yoga. Only when practitioners do so will their practice of meditation be effective. How we deal with others and the world in everyday life will have considerable impact on our attempts at meditation. Without cultivating this outlook, one's devotional practices are performed in vain." Audarya: So yoga and compassion go hand in hand? Swami: Yes, through yoga one can pass through the shadow of material compassion and touch the heart of actual compassion. It's about melting the heart without losing your head. Although in the higher stages of bhakti yoga losing one's head can one truly understand what the Gaudiyas are talking about when they speak of Krsna. It is not possible to explain love, what to speak of divine love. Audarya: That seems to be what you are attempting to do in all of your books Swami: To explain Krsna, we have to try to explain love, impossible as it is. Krsna is that face of the Absolute that corresponds with the purest love. Love supreme, this is the message of the Bhagavad-gita. I am not so sure that this is only a notion of Gaudiya Vedanta. Those who have loved even imperfectly will vouch for this cosmic truth. Further information on Bhagavad Gita; It's Feeling and Philosophy is available at www.swami.org/sanga
  13. Dear Shvu, you wrote: "BDas, I was just rambling [100%]. The point was to show, condescending remarks can be made about anyone by anyone. They have no substance and they mean nothing [both ways]. Whatever I wrote about GV was exagerration. It was a spontaenous reaction to the "so-called sadhus" piece. I understand you are passionate about whatever religion you have chosen to follow and I am fine with it." Reply from BDas: I don't know about others but I really appreciated your reply to me. To me it revealed humility and heart. Actually I agree with you that any Guru or religion can be critiqued from so many angles. And I will go so far as to say that Gaudiya Vedanta and logic has its own way of viewing Ultimate Reality but it is no more foolproof that many other types of religious logic. A good critic can find holes in any logic. Mahaprabhu showed this during his days as Nimai Pandit when he defeated others with scripture and logic (even the Vaisnavas) and then humiliated them by going back and defeating his own arguments. Along with this Vedanta sutra tells us that in spiritual matters logic is inconclusive. And to those of us who think we have been drawn to the Gaudiya view because of it's great logic I beg to differ. We have been drawn to this view because of something indifinable that is beyond logic. And beyond logic and everything else is Love. So Shvu thanks again for your kind reply. Hare Krishna, BDas
  14. Dear Shvu, You seemed to be a little upset that there may be conflicts between the sects and difference of opinion in the Hindu religion. You know as well as I that in India the sects have been arguing over philosophy and even fighting wars over religion for centuries. One of the formost disciples of Ramanuja was blinded by a conquering King because he would not convert to Shaivism. And I am sure there are instances of atrocities commited by Vaisnava Kings and religionists as well. Reciently I read that different sects of Naga Babbas were physically fighting with each other and that the followers (mostly Indian I might add) of Sai Baba were at odds with each other over alligations of child abuse that were directed toward him. So your points that we stupid know nothing westerners are sectarian dupes and the rest of Hinduism is in non-sectarian harmony do not really stand up to objective scrutiny. The fact is our Gaudiya religion has good points and bad points just like every other religion. We joined it because we liked it and you belong to whatever group, sect or none of the above because of your own reasons that may not be totally logical or fully objective. To each his own. What religion do you belong to by the way? Cheerio, BDas
  15. SRI GURU AND HIS GRACE The Land of Gurus In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.9.31) it is stated: na hy ekasmad guror jnanam su-sthiram syat su-puskalam "One certainly cannot get complete knowledge from only one guru." In the highest stage of devotion, we must see not only one guru; we must see that guru is everywhere. In the land of Krsna, all are gurus; our transformation should be towards that. Everything in the spiritual world, the entire environment is our guru and we are servants. To enter into Vaikuntha, or Goloka, means that on all sides we must see guru and pay our respects. There is gradation of course, but all are guru . There are different classes of guru. All Vaisnavas are considered gurus. If the spiritual master gives even one letter to the disciple, what is contained there is infinite. The knowledge given by the spiritual master is infinite. To know and understand it fully, however, different sources are necessary. In the highest position one can read devotion to Krsna from everywhere. If we can attain the proper vision, then everything will supply me inspiration towards the performance of our duties. Whenever Mahaprabhu saw a forest, he saw it as Vrndavana. Whenever he saw a river, he saw the Yamuna. Whenever he saw a hill, he saw it as Govardhana hill. In that highest stage, wherever we cast our glance, it will remind us about our Lord. They will teach us, they will press us to engage ourselves in service to Krsna. That is the duty of guru. Wherever we cast our glance, whatever we come in contact with will only excite us "Do your duty." That is guru. Our guru is whoever gives us impetus for the service of Krsna, whoever helps us to look towards the center. So, because every atom in Vaikuntha and Goloka will encourage us towards our duty, they are all our gurus. Gurus will be very amply available when we can raise ourselves to a higher level. Guru-Dispels Darkness When we are in the lower stages of material conception, everything we see takes us away from the center by the out-carrying current. Whatever we see says "Oh, come and enjoy me." The invitation of enjoyment is found here in the lower level, and the inspiration of renunciation is also found in a particular stage. The impersonalists who desire salvation say "Whatever we find here is temporary. Reject it all!" But devotion is the positive side. From the side of devotion, everything will draw me towards the center, towards Krsna. And those who will help us in that way, are our gurus. Guru means "one who dispels the darkness of both enjoyment and renunciation . " Krsna tells us not to particularize in one point (acaryam mam vijaniyan ). There are so many siksa gurus in the line, and it is our good fortune to see more gurus, to come to the stage where we see gurus everywhere. Everywhere we shall try to draw the hints of the auspicious presence of Godhead. Krsna says, "One who can see me everywhere, and everything in me is never lost to Me, nor I to him (yo mam pasyati sarvatra, sarvam ca mayi pasyati ). We shall try to see Him in every medium. Then our position is safe. Not to see guru is a dangerous position. But if we can see guru everywhere, advising us to concentrate our energy towards the service of God, then we'll be safe. Of course, there is also a specific vision of guru, from whom I can get the maximum immediate help. But ultimately, Krsna says, "I am the acarya, "See Me in him." Jewel Within the Palm Who is acarya ? One who knows how to give due respect to his own acarya. Baladeva Vidyabhusana has explained in one of his commentaries how both Rupa and Sanatana Goswami have shown Govinda to the world. He says that if one has a jewel in his hand, he can show the jewel in various ways by holding it differently. Rupa and Sanatana have each dealt in various ways with the jewel by the name of Govinda, who is always served by the Supreme Goddess of Fortune. They have both shown that high substance, Govinda, to the world just as a jewel within their palms. So not only in the supreme goal of life, but in everything, our knowledge depends on more than one source. We mainly learn from one place, but this is verified and corroborated by many sources; then it comes to be proper knowledge. In the nyaya sastra, the codes of logic, the six processes of acquiring knowledge are mentioned: visaya, the thesis, samgaya, the antithesis, purva-paksa, cross-examination, mimamsa, synthesis, siddhanta, conclusion, and samgatih verification from different sources. After these six stages, something may come in the name of truth in this world. Any knowledge presupposes consultation with different sources, although mainly we can get it from one source. In the beginning we inquire about the truth, not from one, but from many sources. Then we concentrate to inquire from a particular higher source. Our first connection with the truth comes from here and there in small quantities. First there is ajnata sukrti, unknown pious activities, then jnata-sukrti, pious activities performed in knowledge, then sraddha, faith, then sadhu sanga, the company with saints. In this way, we search for Sri Krsna. We inquire here and there. Many saints help us to a certain extent. Ultimately we go that spiritual master in whom we find the greatest possibility of learning the truth, and we surrender there. Having accepted a spiritual master, one will find that his guru has so many disciples, and he will take from them also. His spiritual master will recommend some books for him. He will say, "Read Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam." That will also help us to get so many gurus through the books, where we will find many references and quotations from many gurus. All Are Guru All of them have their contribution, and ultimately we must understand that we have to enter into the land of the gurus. Everyone should be respected as guru that gives impetus to me to search for Krsna, to serve Krsna. They will all help to carry me to the center. And this is the most fortunate position: to see everyone, everywhere as guru, to see that no one is our servant and no one is indifferent to us. That is our highest fortune: to attain that highest spiritual environment where everyone is our guru. Here, everyone is our servant; even our father and mother. We want to draw something from everyone in this world of exploitation. And by renunciation everything is eliminated; it is a deserted position. If we are to enter into the land of eternal prospect, then we must learn to see that all are our guru and we are servants. That they are all gurus means they are all our well-wishing guardians. In that plane, we shall imbibe help from everywhere. Their benediction and their grace will come from everywhere. They are all well-wishers, all guardians, they all guide us towards the highest attainment of our fortune. There cannot be any objection to that. But still there is gradation, just as in the very existence of God there is gradation: Vasudeva, Visnu, Narayana, Dvarakesa, Mathuresa, Svayam Bhagavan Krsna--there are so many levels. Gradation is always there, according to our inner position. So, we must not be afraid. Of course there is a time, when we are surrounded by an unfavorable environrnent, that the association of a real saint is very rare. In that stage, we may be warned not to mix with the Mayavadis, Buddhists, Sankarites, Naga babas, and so many other groups of so-called sadhus, so that we may not run hither and thither only to find a guru to get any advice. To save us from such unfavorable circumstances, to protect us, we are warned, "Don't try to see guru everywhere." In a particular stage, however, when we already have a taste for the real truth, we are taken to that plane where everyone is our guru, helping us advance towards our destination. This caution is valuable in the beginning, because there are so many cheaters who want to devour us. At that stage, especially, to help us proceed towards the goal, we must exclusively concentrate on our guru, avoiding the Buddhists, mayavadis, atheists, and all those who wear red rags in the name of sadhus. Still, in every sampradaya, or religious tradition, that trick has been used: "Only listen here. Stick to the words of your guru, the advice of your guru. Don't try to mix hither and thither, to run here and there to get advice. So many teachers are the enemies of your guru. They are not preaching the real truth." That warning is necessary in some stage. "Don't try to see guru everywhere, because in this world, so many men in the dress of sadhus are going on with their lower campaign." This warning should come in that stage. Hurled Down to Vaikuntha And in the lower stage also, to keep up and to develop our attention and devotion towards our guru, so much help should come from our senior godbrothers. They will help us understand the greatness of our guru in different ways. They are also doing the work of siksa guru. But when we enter in the kingdom of service, then, of course, everyone will help us. It is also said that we may have an inner attraction towards Vrndavana, and our inner awakenment may be in the service of Krsna of Goloka, but if we mix with so many sadhus in Vaikuntha, then we will be hurled down to Vaikuntha. In a certain stage, we should beware of bad association, so in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.91) Rupa Goswami has said, sajati-yasye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato vare : What sort of saintly persons shall we try to mix with earnestly? Those who are in our line, who have the same high spiritual aspirations as we do, and who hold a superior position. To associate with such saintly persons will help us the most to progress towards the ultimate goal. There may be some obstacles, but if at heart we are sincere, the environment cannot deceive us, because God's inner help is there, cooperating with our sincere, inner need (na hi kalyana krt kascit durgatim tata gacchati ). What we want from our innermost hearts cannot but come true, because Krsna knows everything. There may be some obstacles, but by Krsna's help, they shall all be eliminated and our innermost aspiration will be crowned with success.
  16. Definitions: Subjective: Of or belonging to that which is within the mind and not subject to independent verification. Objective: Something that is externally perceivable and subject to independent verification by the mind and senses. Subjective Faith and Reality: We appreciate any saint or scripture according to our subjective faith. Prabhupad or any saint will have their own level of spiritual attainment that is not fully objective, especially to those outside their particular circle. From our point of view this can be attributed to the covering of illusion as explained in BG: 7:13. That covering has many levels with much gray area where the subject may still be covered while some illuminating light shows through. Therefore even within the circle of faith that surrounds a saint there is likely to be different visions of the saint due to the taste and level of attainment of different disciples. In chapter 42 of Krishna book we find that when Krishna entered the arena he appeared differently to each person or group according to their relationship with Him. Even pure devotees view Krishna differently and may see Him as God, not God, or even more than God according to their taste. Rupa Goswami said that volumes can be written from different levels or viewpoints on every sloka of the Bhagavatam and Mahaprabhu showed this in his conversations with Bhattacharya by explaining one sloka 32 different ways without ever touching the previous explanation. The message here is there are different views of both the spiritual master and Krishna that may be correct on various levels. Spiritual life is one of subjective faith and realization. What one sees due to his attainment another may be unable to see. Thus understanding of scripture and Guru goes on in a relative way according to the various levels of the disciples. And the qualifications and individual attainment of each Guru are also relative although in scripture we are advised to see our Guru as the absolute representative of Krishna. Still a time may come when we may have to even analyze our own Guru or we may have to take the help of another Guru in order to fully understand what our Guru was trying to teach. (Read Sri Guru and His Grace) Krishna and Guru are unlimited and there are unlimited ways to understand them at various levels. Therefore it is best not to demonize those of faith who might present opinions of Krishna and Guru that may be somewhat different than our own. Vision of Guru and Krishna is subjective and not objective. And there is an entire Transcendent Reality that can only be attained by those whose subjective faith and devotion has deemed them qualified to enter. Hare Krishna, BDas
  17. Dear Das, I can be contacted through sanga or at brahmadasa@
  18. Dear Das, I never thought about the copyrights. I guess Mandala now owns those rights or am I mistaken? Mandala has done a great job of distributing SM books and soon Videos from those discussions (subtitled) will be available. Still a SM vedabase would be nice. Do you have all the transcribed tapes as well as the books? And are you open to some kind of joint effort. I know a good person on the tech side that already has a website waiting to be filled. Brahma
  19. I believe Amoga Lila Das spent more time preaching in a Muslem country (Pakistan) than anyone else in the modern age of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. In order to preach he learned Urdu and spent many years going in and out of Pakistan. According to this letter he was there again. I saw him about six months ago at a Narayana Maharaja darshan near Berkeley and we talked about preaching in Muslem countries. At that time he said he was earning a living as a professor of theology at some type of Divinity school near Berkeley. During the late 70s Tribuvanath was the leader of preaching in Arab countries. I joined him for a short time in 79. Mostly we did programs and made life members among the Hindus of the Gulf States. The money from that was used to print an Arabic Bhagavad Gita that we sold on the streets of Lebanon. Other than that we did some undercover preaching in Egypt in the guise of vegetarian cooking and yoga classes. Preaching anything other than Islam is illegal in all these states except Lebanon. Which at that time had really no central government. It was because of the confusion in Lebanon that we could find a printer to publish the Arabic Gita. In Egypt and the Gulf States there are many foreign workers and they are allowed to practice their religion but preaching to Muslems or giving them religious literature was a deportable offence. And if a Muslem was caught preaching anything other than Islam than the penalty could be much worse. About preaching in Muslem countries Prabhupad said they could keep their culture, Koran, and continue to eat meat. Just somehow try to get them to chant Hare Krishna and everything will procede from there. Hare Krishna, Brahma
  20. Dear Das, Did you ever think of getting a website and making this copy available to everyone. SM said Gaudiya Kantahara was the weapons storehouse (Armory) of BSST. How do you expect us to fight the good fight if we don't have all the weapons? BDas
  21. Dear Das, Thanks and where is the above copy to be found? Is it online? Hare Krishna, Brahma
  22. No one I know wants to rejoin Iskcon. But it is more the idea of free association and free flow of faith that is attractive. And I think it would be good for all to find Sri Guru and His Grace for sale in the Iskcon bookstores. It has now been twenty years since the followers of Sridhar Maharaja were forced out of Iskcon. I would have thought that Iskcon would have a more open policy by now. Free association is necessary for the exchange of ideas and flow of siksa. Of course an open door policy can be abused by fanatics from any group. And it is agression from all sides that closed doors from Siddhas group to Iskcon and Gaudiya Math. Here in SF there is a small Siddha group. We have gone to their Sunday program but they won't come to ours on Saturday. "Just not our cup of tea," the man said. Well OK, but I think that because of this "cup of tea" policy they are very much behind when it comes to siddhanta. But I have to say they were nice people and quite dedicated. They go out in the streets almost every day for guitar kirtan and invitation distribution from a small book table. ( The non-aggresive approach.) When I suggested we get together for a big sankirtan with a large group of devotees they declined. "We don't do that, he said. We just chant in our own small group but you are welcome to come sometime but don't bring a lot of people with you. And no drums or kartals." OK again, every group has its own style. But am I missing something here. Is this the mindset of the whole Siddha group or just my local branch? Hare Krishna, Brahma
  23. Dear Das and all, Last year there was a GBC sub-commitee to study lifting the ban and introducing the teachings and books of Sridhar Maharaja in Iskcon. The commitee was headed by Bir Krishna Swami and came to the conclusion after discussing with some leaders of the SM groups that the GBC should lift the ban and make an effort to bring back SM followers to the Iskcon fold. One important point that discussed was the idea that SM was responsible for introducing the zonal acharya system into iskcon. This was alleged by GBC members especially TKG who wrote as such in his thesis manifesto. (Available from his website) After study of the facts the subcomitee decided this was not the case but rather an extrapolation on what SM said about each acharya having a headquarters in the same way the six goswamis each had their own headquarters in Vrndavana. The GBC used this statement as an excuse for the zonal system that SM went on record against. It was a talk on the zonal system that brought forth SM famous words on "free flow of faith, and faith is above the law and cannot be legislated." Anyway I have much of the correspondence on this subcomitee and will release it after the next GBC meeting. But dont hold your breath and expect any change. Iskcon seems to be back in the trenches because of the new influx of multiple Gaudiya Math gurus preaching around the globe. They should consider SM words on this issue: "In KC if you give position or recognise the position of others you will gain position. On the other hand if you try to hold on to your position by denying the position of others than you will lose your position." Hare Krishna, Brahma
  24. We cannot simply be line-quoters without common sense consideration of all the words and siddhanta of our Guru Varga. This is what Bhaktivinodes "essence seeking" Vaisnavism is all about. Anyone can take a line from Prabhupad and stand by it without thinking. "Don’t take how he is selling, but he’s giving the book to that person and he’s paying something and that is good." Without due consideration of the overall teachings of Prabhupad this line says it does not matter how books are sold. And this conversation took place before the letters posted about food relief money. As we must take due consideration of Prabhupads words and spirit on whole we should also consider the spirit and words of our Gaudiya line as a whole. Indeed I believe it is very difficult to grasp the essence of the Bhaktivedanta purports and letters without due consideration of the purports of the predicessor acharyas. Yet some devotees still maintain we should not even read the books of the predecessor acharyas. BDas
  25. I liked Siddha he gave me my first set of Jappa beads when I came to the Pitts temple. They were some kind of blue Hawaiian seeds strung together. He called them Radha's tears. Anyone know what they were?
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