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  1. I already understand that we forget after taking birth. But between death and the next birth, there is a period where we are aware of the life we just lived.
  2. I thought that I would let this topic go, but after some careful consideration I have decided to continue with the discussion. Theist, I am not posting this to argue with you further, because I know you are convinced. If I would have stopped this discussion where I did, it would have looked like I had accepted that I was guilty of cow slaughter and I cannot do that. Mainly I am restating my points to clarify to others who may read this thread why it is okay to drink milk. I realize that you may think that I have no right to use Prabhupada's name to defend my viewpoints, especially because I disagree with ISKCON on varna, which is the real reason that people are against me. But, nevertheless, the Spiritual Master's authorization to take milk products will prevail over any perceived notion that people who use milk products are guilty of cow slaughter. Prabhupada must have known that many of his followers would use commercial milk, after him encouraging them to drink milk. If the user of commercial milk were guilty for what the owners did to the cows, then why didn't Prabhupada explicity state that one must not drink commercial milk? As far as I know, Prabhupada didn't say this. The vegan viewpoint does seem to make sense. But not everything that seems true is true. It is good to be challenged, provided that the challenger is correct and the challenged is willing to change. But why am I the only one who must be challenged?
  3. Thank you for challenging me. I am done arguing.
  4. If one is participating in cow-slaughter by drinking commercial milk, then why did Prabhupada encourage people to drink milk, knowing that many of his followers would probably end up buying milk from the commercial milk industry? Those who own the cows and those who buy meat or leather from them are the cow killers. My action does not lead to the slaughter of cows. It is the buying of meat which does that. The cow is going to be killed anyway, because people are still buying meat. Me not buying their milk isn't going to save a single cow. I understand your viewpoint, and I think it is well intentioned because I used to be a vegan, but I don't agree with it.
  5. Any food which is not offered to the Lord or not accepted by the Lord has karma attached to it, as is any action that we perform without offering it to the Lord. To move towards the transcendental platform, one must try to offer all of their actions to the Lord to free themselves from karma. Therefore, any food which Krsna does not accept has a karmic reaction. After Prabhupada's departure, ISKCON changed the way ekadasi was calculated. Thus, everyone who fasts by the ISKCON calendar is fasting on the wrong date and receiving the same karma as eating cows meat every time they eat grains on the real ekadasi.
  6. There are so many rules in the Vedic scriptures, that only someone who has read all the scriptures can follow all of them. We do our best to find out the rules, and follow them when we learn them. If an authentic spiritual master authorizes, then the minor rules can be compromised. Washing plates that one has eaten off of in a separate sink than the plates that Krsna has been offered is not a necessary rule for someone who's not initiated. It is optional. I posted this article mainly for those who might want to know the basics. I didn't intend to give a complete all-rule-included-guide. Prabhupada encouraged his followers to drink milk, he never said to become a vegan. The fact is that one is not implicated in the karma of killing a cow by drinking milk, otherwise Prabhupada would have told people to become vegans. He must have known that those whom he encouraged to drink milk would have gone out and bought commercial milk especially in his time when veganism was less common. It is true that the commercial milk industry slaughters their cows and treats them inhumanely. But if I protest their milk, it isn't going to save any cows. The reason the cows are getting killed is because people are buying meat. Am I implicated in cow slaughter if I buy fruit from a farmer who owns a slaughterhouse? When I buy milk, it just means the cow gets milked more, and I'm helping her out becuase I'm taking her milk and offering it to the Lord. She gets spiritual benefit because her milk becomes prashadam. Krsna doesn't accept carrots, so no matter what you are implicated in a karmic reaction if you eat them, but they're nowhere near as bad as mushrooms, onions, and garlic, what to speak of meat. If you offer carrots to the lord, it will not be accepted. If you offer milk to the lord, Krsna may choose to accept, depending on your level of love and devotion.
  7. From what I have learned, the Vedic scriptures say that one medicine for suicide contemplation is praising the person and pointing out the person's good qualities. Those who commit suicide have to take birth as ghosts because the person took away their own body, which was not theirs to take away, and actually belongs to Krsna who gave it to them to use for devotion. Therefore, they are not given another body for some time afterwards.
  8. I think a fully realized devotee can show me the way, and then it is up to me to follow the prescription. Isn't that what a guru is for? If one strictly follows a realized guru's instructions after taking initiation, then he will surely become self-realized in this lifetime. But if the guru one is following is not self-realized himself, or if the follower hesitates to surrender completely, then the follower will fall short of self-realization. If the guru is a complete hypocrite, and the follower doesn't know it, then it is a great misfortune for both of them. Hypothetically speaking, if Krsna Balaram Swamiji were unauthorized, which I am certain is not the case, then I would hope that Krsna would guide me to a correct guru. If I didn't have the right karma to recognize the difference, then I would have to wait until a future lifetime to get it right because in this current lifetime my karma would not be good enough. If I made a mistake and took initiation from an incorrect guru, whatever karmic consequences were dealt to me by Krsna I would accept, given my current attitude. So I am satisfied with whatever happens to me because I know that Krsna is never unjust. Even if I had to take birth as a snake or a dog, I would simply look forward to the day where I got a human birth and had another chance. I have only been Krsna conscious for 3 years, by the way. I think I'm the newest and youngest western follower of his that's either approaching him for initiation, or initiated. In my case, I'm not initiated yet.
  9. To your first question, yes. the author of Guru Nirnaya Dipika is Krsna Balaram Swamiji, but I cannot post URLs yet. I think what I said was that Monkey on a Stick was written by people in ISKCON. Is that incorrect? If so, I didn't know. I read it once. It was a shocking book, but it was evident from the way it was written that the authors weren't devotees. I just thought they were non-devotees who spent time with people in the ISKCON movement. I am taking my viewpoints on faith in Krsna Balaram Swamiji. Reasons I feel that he is correct: judging by meeting him and talking to him, he isn't the kind of person who would intentionally mislead people or misrepresent the Vedic scriptures. He is a Sanskrit scholar, and has vast knowledge in the Vedic scriptures. He not only frequently quotes the Vedic scriptures, but he knows what each word means, in its grammatical context. He personally owns Vedic scriptures which are thousands of years old; besides that he has read many other translations of Vedic scriptures and commentaries from authentic acharyas. He has written commentary on the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10. His lifetime goal is to publish the entire Srimad Bhagavatam in English, with commentaries, which he personally types himself and has editors correct his English. The reason that he types them himself is because he doesn't want the same thing that happenned to Prabhupada's books happen to his books. He was born and raised in Vrindaban, which makes him a descendent of the spiritual world. When he's around devotees, he talks almost exclusively about devotional subjects. When he's around non-devotees he may talk about material things a little, but only to develop a relationship with them so he can better preach to them and convince them to take to spiritual life. Besides that, he was unanimously appointed to the position of Mahamandaleshwar by all the Mahants of the four Vaisnava Sampradayas of India. He is a disciple of Prabhupada, and was in ISKCON, but left mainly because of the guru issue. He has been a devotee his entire life, and was raised in a transcendentalist family. His father was an acharya himself. Whenever I had doubts about the Vedic scriptures being true and asked Swamiji to explain things to me, he did an impressive job at removing my doubts and increasing my faith. When I ask him spiritual questions, his answers are more than sufficient. So I will carry on following him. I realize, though, that others have complete dedication to their gurus, whoever they may be. My sister follows Sri Sri Ravi Shankir and thinks he's great, but I personally wouldn't follow him because he's not a devotee. Whatever it may be, wherever we may go in our next lifetime, it is still a wonderful thing that if we make a mistake, Krsna will eventually give us another chance. Even though the scriptures sometimes talk about eternal condemnation, the real meaning is that if someone does something grievously sinful, they are condemned for a time that seems like an eternity. But Krsna always gives everyone another chance.
  10. It would have been in better taste for me not to have made the comment about what will happen after you die, but I have already made it and I am sorry. After I posted that comment, I thought I deleted it because I realized it probably shouldn't have been said, but it was kept up anyways. I am not saying Prabhupada didn't understand. I am saying Prabhupada's philosophy has been misconstrued. Now, you are entitled to your view that I am incorrect and my views are not in accordance with the Vedic scriptures or Prabhupada. However, the way I see it, the "anyone can be guru" idea is not what Prabhupada propagated because his books were mistranslated. The tapes which he dictated his books onto have been destroyed. Prabhupada is not here today to confirm that what is written in his books are what he intended to put in his books. I have complete respect for Prabhupada and his mission, but I do not buy the idea that his books the way they have been published are what he intended them to be. In the book Monkey On A Stick, written by some people who were in ISKCON, it is documented that Prabhupada's disciples who were in charge of publishing his books actually were thinking of publishing the Gita in their own name and not giving Prabhupada credit for it. I think this book is just the tip of the iceburg. Is it any surprise that such people would alter the true Vedic message, destroy the tapes which are evidence to it, and destroy his original Srimad Bhagavatam's, written before he founded ISKCON, which he brought over from India, which were further proof of his true message? After all, we are in the age of kali-yuga. No one has produced the missing tapes, or the missing Bhagavatam's to this date. I realize that you have respect for your idea of who Prabhupada was, and I have respect for my idea of who Prabhupada was. For the sake of making a point, I will present this as if either you or me could be correct, even though I am already convinced. So, taken from each of our personal viewpoints which we each understand to be true (although only one of us can actually be right) neither one of us is against Prabhupada, as we understand him to be. However, whichever one of us is incorrect believes in a philosophy that, in truth, is not in accordance with what Prabhupada taught. But that is not the same as being against Prabhupada becuase whoever is incorrect is actually just innocently misunderstanding what Prabhupada actually taught. Now, the way I see it, anyone who knows that Prabhupada's books were mistranslated, like those who mistranslated them, and present such books as true, are not innocent. Also, anyone who has read Guru Nirnaya Dipika from cover to cover and understands that those scriptural quotes are in the scriptures, or at least *possibly* are in the scriptures, yet tries to deny this because they are too proud to admit they took initiation from a wrong guru, are knowingly going against the scriptures. If one knows an Indian language in which the books of Prabhupada's predecessors were written in, then they are fortunate because they can investigate this issue by reading authentic commentary that hasn't been mistranslated. I think this is why less people from India are misled on this topic. I admit that I haven't read such commentaries because I don't know an Indian language. But if one did know such a language, the intelligent thing for them to do would be to investigate the issue. I am confident that anyone who reads Prabhupada's predecessor's books or other authentic Vaisnava commentaries from India would find out the truth in this issue. I have only read the books that the author of Guru Nirnaya Dipika wrote, and Prabhupada's books. Besides that, I have read a version of the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, which was not translated by devotees, so it is probably less reliable. My guru told me to stop reading books translated by non-devotees. Nevertheless, caste and Varna were one and the same by that translation, and I think this is one of the things that the authors correctly translated. Also, I went to a website on the internet that had quotes from the scriptures about kali-yuga. One quote said that in the age of kali-yuga those who were low born would criticize Brahmana born people and become jealous of them, saying, "Why are you any better than me? A brahmana is one who knows brahman." So aside from ISKCON's books, I have only seen things which substantiate the position that varna is by birth. However, my guru's books are the only ones I can truly trust, because I know that by his character he can't mislead, and if I knew an Indian language, I would read other authentic commentaries that are trustable.
  11. Falsely identifying oneself as designations such as outcast, brahmana, Indian, human, Hindu, etc.. refers to misunderstanding that these are temporary designations and not our eternal position, being a spirit soul. I fully understand this. Nevertheless, it still holds that we currently have a certain nature based on whatever birth we have taken. The nature of a snake is vastly different from that of a cow, even though they are equal in the eyes of the Lord. Just as a dog in the material world cannot become a devotee in this lifetime because he does not have the capacity to understand how to serve the Lord, a low-born person cannot be a diksa guru in this lifetime because he was not a devotee in his past life, and he needs to prove himself by becoming an advanced devotee in this life so he will be born into a Brahmana family in the next life. I am well aware of the effects of chanting, as I myself chant a minimum of 16 rounds a day and feel love in my heart as a result of doing so. Furthermore, if one has taken initiation from an unauthorized guru, the Lord does not recognize his chanting, as not finding a proper guru is offensive in the eyes of Krsna.
  12. There are a lot of rules. I have only been Krsna conscious for 3 years and do not know all of them yet. Plus, I am not initiated yet. Only recently did I find out about tree gum not being accepted. This is because trees received one quarter of King Indra's sin, and hence they now release sap. So tree sap contains sin. I know a few people, including myself, who have a lot of work to do in a day, and they cook all their food for Krsna. The trick is to cook in large batches so you don't have to cook everyday. This saves time. Not everyone wants to do everything it takes to be a devotee. To most, chanting seems more like an austerity than a pleasure. The metaphor about someone afflicted with jaundice tasting sugar and experiencing bitterness is relevant here. The first time I chanted I had no results. The second time I chanted, I got finished with one round, and I was surprised at the love that manifested in my heart. I think it depends on one's sincerity how much results one gets from chanting. I don't experience constant non-stop love all the time, but I feel some love for Krsna on and off. Anyways, after chanting one round the second time, I was convinced I should become a devotee. If chanting can do this, then the Vedic scriptures must be true, I thought, and if I can make it to Goloka I will experience bliss eternally. So, if the Vedic scriptures really are true (which I am sure they are), then becoming a devotee is worth it a thousand-fold (or a billion-fold) because the benefit one receives from Krsna consciousness are far more than one can imagine. What could be better than being in constant bliss and never having to experience misery ever again? Nothing can be achieved without going through some difficulty. If you want a degree, you'll have to do the work. And if you get it, your future becomes brighter. The same thing is true with spiritual life. Anyways, most people don't have the right karma to become a real devotee. Only after accumulating enough merits over many lifetimes does one become a real devotee.
  13. I stand corrected on the point about Krsna, Mother Yasoda, and Chaitanya being Indian Religionists. Basically, what I should have said was that they are Indian spiritualists or transcendentalists. My basic point is that those in India are generally more aligned with the correct scriptural injunctions than those elsewhere. Becoming a devotee has nothing to do with birth, that is correct. But performing purificatory functions such as fire sacrifices does. I'm not going to argue on that point any further as it will do no good, I have already stated the main points on that in previous replies. Anyone who wishes to read further on the topic can do an internet search for guru nirnaya dipika. I suggest that people read the entire online book Guru Nirnaya Dipika, The Scriptural Decision on Who Can Become Guru and Who Cannot, from beginning to end before drawing a conclusion. I do not harbor any enemity towards anyone who has posted on this topic, regardless of what they say about the Guru issue. In regards to ISKCON gurus being pure devotees, my understanding is they are not. (aside from Prabhupada) Look at how many of them have fallen. There may be a few who are not openly fallen, but I think they have just not been found out yet. However, if someone wants to believe that there are pure gurus in ISKCON today, that is their karma. In regards to me being glorious and brilliant, that sounds very nice and I appreciate your kindness. I assume what you are saying is that we are all glorious and brilliant because we all come from Krsna. But those who live in the material world who are not yet pure devotees are still contaminated, at least to some extent, by material consciousness. Therefore our brilliance is yet to be realized. It is true that we are all equal spirit souls regardless of race, caste, religion, or species. However, a tree cannot take to devotion, unless it is a tree, for example, in the spiritual world. Human beings are the species who are given the chance to receive liberation. So even though the wise see all with an equal eye, still they know there is a difference in character between a snake and a cow, or an animal and a human. Those born in India probably had a closer connection to God in a past life than those born elsewhere. Those born into a faithful religious family such as a Christian family probably had stronger faith in God in a past life than those born into agnostic or atheist families. Lord Brahma decides a particular family for us to live in based on who we were in our past life. Whatever our nature was, we are given an according birth. The Gita explains about how those who were devotees and did not become purified enough to go back to Godhead are either born in a rich aristocratic family or a family of learned transcendentalists. Therefore, we can understand that what birth one takes is an indication of their past life.
  14. If one wants to become a devotee, one should offer all of their food to the Lord. At first, this may seem like a hassle, but if one realizes the spiritual benefit of being freed from karmic reactions and avoiding the sin of unofferred food, it becomes worth it. One should not offer food to Krsna cooked by a non-devotee. All food should be cooked while thinking of Krsna and with the desire to please him. Food can be precooked if it was prepared by a machine, but if a non-devotee cooked it, the non-devotee puts his consciousness into the food that he cooks and thus Krsna will not accept. Cleanliness is very important. It is best to take a bath and to offer in clean clothes before offering. Clean clothes can be saved to offer in later. Any clothes in which one wore while on the toilet or ate in are considered dirty. Therefore one should save their clean clothes to use for offering to Krsna. If one touches their mouth or nose while cooking, they must immediately wash their hands. To offer the food, it is best to wait 15 minutes after cooking if the food is hot, before offering it. One should wait no longer than 30 minutes before offering. Put the food on metal bowls or drinks in metal pitchers or cups and place them in front of a picture of Krsna and say, "Lord Krsna, please accept this food and forgive me for my mistakes." Chant "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare" 3 times. One can learn the required mantras from an authentic guru later on, if he is lucky enough to come in contact with one. One should offer with love and devotion. There are certain foods that Krsna accepts and certain foods that he will not. Of course, Krsna does not accept any non-vegeterian foods (including eggs or fish) or foods mixed with animal products such as rennet or gelatin, or any intoxicants including caffeinated things like coffee, tea, or chocolate. Out of the vegetarian food, mushrooms, onions, and garlic are the worst and are considered in the mode of ignorance, hence he will not accept them. Some other foods that Krsna will not accept include: beets carrots lentils red dahl maple syrup tree gum radishes vinegar foods that are so hot, salty, sour, or bitter that they cannot be eaten with pleasure foods that are tasteless, stale, putrid, or untouchable Krsna will accept any milk product (provided that it is not, for example, cheese mixed with rennet) Also, one should not eat food which has been eaten by others, except for that which has been eaten by an authentic Spiritual Master. One should not eat from the same plate/bowls/cups that Krsna has been served. If one does, he should not use them again for offering.
  15. Who do you think Krsna, Arjuna, Mother Yasoda, and Lord Chaitanya were? Weren't they Indian religionists? I amended my statements because I made a mistake while typing. If you would remember what I posted in the original article, I said in another point in THE SAME ARTICLE that anyone can become a devotee. I made a simple mistake. Can you not forgive others for their mistakes? You said maybe people like me may have to take birth as an outcast. I ALREADY HAVE TAKEN BIRTH AS AN OUTAST. I already said I am mleccha born. And I have no problem with what the scriptures state.
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