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Everything posted by visnujana

  1. Actually, this was just a link in a chain of conversation, not a direct answer offered to the original question. But anyway.. Initiation is traditionally called vaisnava-diksa in Sanskrit. It consists of the ceremony of diksa itself and the process of diksa, which takes as much time as needed for a particular disciple (sisya) to achieve the goals of diksa which are two: anartha-nivriti (freedom of all anarthas, unwanted bad qualities and inclinations in the heart) and divya-jnana (the divine knowledge, which is basically knowing the Brahman). I believe I have explained this earlier in this thread. Both the ceremony and the process of diksa are important and required for the achievement of the goals of diksa. Members of Vaisnava Community acquire knowledge from the following trustworthy sources: Guru, Sadhu (saintly persons) and Sastra (the authorized scriptures). The knowledge however is not taken blindly. Anyone can ask as many questions as needed until full satisfaction and complete understanding of the subject. More over in rare cases when one is still not satisfied he or she can approach the other 2 sources of knowledge for reconciliation. This method of acquiring knowledge has been successfully practiced for thousands of years. Vaisnavas can know if someone has achieved the Parabrahman by the same universal method. In some cases though it is self-evident for a qualified vaisnava. In attempt to answer your last question I'd like to simply quote from the Bhaktivedanta's Purport to this very shloka from Bhagavatam you mentioned: TRANSLATION (SB 1.7.42) Sri Suta Gosvami said: Draupadi then saw Asvatthama, who was bound with ropes like an animal and silent for having enacted the most inglorious murder. Due to her female nature, and due to her being naturally good and well-behaved, she showed him due respects as a brahmana. PURPORT By H.D.G. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Asvatthama was condemned by the Lord Himself, and he was treated by Arjuna just like a culprit, not like the son of a brahmana or teacher. But when he was brought before Srimati Draupadi, she, although begrieved for the murder of her sons, and although the murderer was present before her, could not withdraw the due respect generally offered to a brahmana or to the son of a brahmana. This is due to her mild nature as a woman. Women as a class are no better than boys, and therefore they have no discriminatory power like that of a man. Asvatthama proved himself to be an unworthy son of Dronacarya or of a brahmana, and for this reason he was condemned by the greatest authority, Lord Sri Krsna, and yet a mild woman could not withdraw her natural courtesy for a brahmana. Even to date, in a Hindu family a woman shows proper respect to the brahmana caste, however fallen and heinous a brahma-bandhu may be. But the men have begun to protest against brahma-bandhus who are born in families of good brahmanas but by action are less than sudras. The specific words used in this sloka are vama-svabhava, "mild and gentle by nature." A good man or woman accepts anything very easily, but a man of average intelligence does not do so. But, anyway, we should not give up our reason and discriminatory power just to be gentle. One must have good discriminatory power to judge a thing on its merit. We should not follow the mild nature of a woman and thereby accept that which is not genuine. Asvatthama may be respected by a good-natured woman, but that does not mean that he is as good as a genuine brahmana.
  2. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja explains that rupanuga means literally being the follower of Sri Rupa Goswami / Sri Rupa Manjari, which practically means aspiring for manjari-bhava.
  3. No, this was an uttering of a parrot (likely stupid one). Did I make a mistake?
  4. When Srila Prabhupada stayed at Radha-Damodar in Vrindavan 1959-1965 or so.. Srila Narayana Maharaja was math commander at Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Math in Mathura. He used any opportunity to break out of his service in Mathura and run to Vrindavan to see Swami Maharaja. Thus they would meet often and each time spend hours talking about things. According to Srila Narayana Maharaja during those friendly conversations they covered a vast range of topics ranging from situation in preaching mission in Gaudiya Math to very intimate topics of Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta. I personally think it is very safe to trust Srila Narayana Maharaja in the matter of Srila Prabhupada's personal relationship with Krishna. Srila Narayana Maharaja totally rejects any ideas other than that Srila Swami Maharaja is pure rupanuga-gaudiya vaisnava (...which means manjari-bhava). He knew Srila Prabhupada and had very close relationship with him since 1947. When Srila Prabhupada was taking sanyasa that was Narayana Maharaja who made sanyasa danda for him and also performed the yajna.
  5. Yes, in some countries like the former USSR (Russia) the whole generations of devotees grew mostly on the inspiration received from reading Srila Prabhupada's books. All the other forms of association were prohibited (illegal). I used to have a quote from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura where he stated it similar to this: 'Acariyas who have already passed way always help the sincere practitioners of bhakti, who have faith in them and call out for help.' Vaisnavas never die, they keep watching out for us and always extend their help. But we need to have faith in that. Otherwise we won't be able to take the advantage. Srila Gour Govnda Swami has also explained this in his book Pariprashna.
  6. Before the time comes you can take a virtual tour to Vrindavan and other places http://www.360darshan.com (no rupees needed yet)
  7. Inedible, first of all welcome to the 'tradition' or whatever and welcome to the forum as well. You have been given a lot of good responses here. Just perhaps another encouragement or idea. If you read something you don't know or don't understand just ask. I think you have the full 'right' to expect to get anything you would want from this forum.. .. and I hope you'd be very welcome with any and all of your questions. In this sense, no special pre-qualification is necessary.
  8. Meenakshiamman, the basic idea here is that we honor and worship the One we love... We don't have to love and we don't have to worship without love, just because it 'make sense'. Now you have to find whom you really love in the eternal spiritual sense. Vaisnavism basically unites individuals who have found they love Krishna or at least who are attracted to this idea, who have faith that Krishna is the one. As far the scriptural or logical 'proof' is concerned, Vaisnavas are ready to prove that the Vedas declare Krishna to be the Supreme and only eternal object of the love, as well as the worshipers of other God's are ready to 'prove' the superiority of their God's. I guess it's hard to be impartial here.. But proving is a second thing anyway. Ultimately once you really know whom you love, your personal experience will provide the sufficient proof. On the second thought, we are naturally attracted (love) those who have possess some attractive qualities (like beauty, intelligence, etc.). Now who is the most qualified? Again, if you find Who such person is you can call Him any name, but that's Krishna, just because this is who Krishna IS. The forms of Narayana are also included here.. We might get confused about it when we can't as yet directly perceive Krishna's qualities. But for liberated souls that's a fact. All other attractive persons in this world (including Demigods) reflect some of Krishna's beauty and other qualities. It's all about love. Krishna also wants to love and be loved sincerely. He does not want to manipulate us to love Him. Vaisnavas also believe that this love for Krishna is in the nature of every soul. Just like the planets are connected width the center of the universe by the strength of gravity, the souls are connected to Krishna by the strength of bhakti (spiritual love).
  9. Iamwhatisayiam, from what I read here you seem to be very fortunate! I understand that you have faith in the Saraswata Parampara. So, just trust them in this practical question as well. They will definitely guide you on how to connect with Their now living true representative. Just apply all of your sincerity, all your heart in this process, - and pray to them for guidance. Have no doubt they WILL guide you. Other than that, as many have explained, there seems to be no way of ascertaining of WHO THAT IS... well, not that I know. When you get some attraction to a particular person, ask his disciples and followers to share their hearts with you. They will sure gladly do, although I would do it in person or through PM... because a lot of things about one's relationship with his or her Guru will probably be quite confidential. Well, that's what I did a while ago; and I think that worked really good for me! Good luck!
  10. One last thought.. When you go there set your mind to bargaining a lot.. if you have any inclination to do so at all. This could be useful in India and could save 50% of your money and often more.. In the first time you are almost certain to pay for things up to 10 times more than they cost.. There is very few shops in Vrindavan that have pricing labels displayed. In the rest thousands of small shops they go by how you look. They can tell right way you just got here and they will quote 'the price'.. I hope you will find a lot of fun in that little bargaining show though. After a short while Vrindavan will accept you as 'His own', and even the shop keepers will start giving you the real price right way, just like they do to the locals (or at least much closer to the real price)... It's totally sweet! Before that stick to the general 'guidlines' above and ask other people who know how much the thing you want to buy or a service you need actually cost. In Vrindavan as everywhere else in India you will most likely be use riksa a lot. Just for your info Rs.20 (50c) would get you most anywhere within Vrindavan. Don't pay more unless you know that you're going some special extra-long route. A lot of times you would only need to pay Rs. 10-15. I am writing this because I know that most of us (myself included) have paid a lot more the first time. I remember my first riksa trip.. I knew it was only Rs. 15, more over I did clearly stated to him right off that I knew what was the price and that's all I was going to pay. Yet, I ended up paying Rs150 - x10 !!! They know how to do it. He made a show that he got lost and thus he was driving me all over Vrindavan for more than an hour. At the end I felt really sorry for him having to work so hard for so long, and that's exactly what he was trying to get! Anyway, that was a good Vrindavan tour. They have thousands of technique like this one... That's a part of their riksa profession and that's a lot like the whole of India operates.. In Vrindavan I find it very cute and lovely though. The people are very friendly, especially in Bengal. The margins and the price for services (labor) are so low in India and especially in such rural places like Vrindavan and Navadvip that they have to reserve on the existing pricing policy. I think that is easily understandable.
  11. Kaisersose, it's vaisnava-diksa, it's not the same as diksa the smartas have. Rather it's totally different. I think what causes the confusion is the name, like ISKCON devotees say 'brahmana initiation'. It's just a word, and no other mathas, as far as I know, use that term anyway. Traditionally, it's vaisnava-diksa. Brahmana is one who knows the Brahman. Vaisnavas understand Brahman as Para-Brahman, the Supreme Godhead, so they also want to know the Brahma, and that's exactly what vaisnava-diksa offers them. In your response to my previous post in this thread you agreed that Vaisnavas can obtain the same good qualities. That's all vaisnavas want from diksa. They don't want to become a brahmana but they want to have qualities of vaisnava / brahmana. Once they attain the qualities, it's up to you whether you want to call them brahmanas or just vaisnavas. Now what's the danger in wanting to have qualities that are favorable to bhakti?
  12. Why Srila Prabhupada was rushing to make sure he publishes the Krishna Book before he leaves? Yet he did publish Krishna Book, which is basically his retelling of the 10th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, rather than just publishing the translation itself, which he never did, unfortunately. He himself has explained that the 10th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam describes the highest goal and destination for the gaudia-vaisnavas. Although it has to be properly understood. So he did in his preaching, he put a foundation on which devotees are able to properly understand the highest. He wanted to give the highest himself too (and that's why he wrote Krishna Book right off), but then he also saw that the important preparation work needed to be done. Srila Narayana Maharaja refers to it as 'cutting the jungles'. I think Srila Prabhupada also used this analogy to describe what he saw his immediate goal in preaching was... and Yet we can see from the above quotes that he did glorify manjari-bhava in many personal letters and even in his public lectures and his books as well. He could not have refused doing this, because he is a superlative Gaudiya-Vaisnava. Although he was busy doing preaching and accomplishing particular tasks, he could not conceal his heart completely. Then when he was departing, he asked Srila Narayana Maharaja to help him and continue his work. He said, he had planted the seeds, but he could not have properly watch and care for the sprouts simply because he did not have time for that. He was going... Anyway, the path to perfection is always very narrow. If someone doesn't want to accept the truth, he does not have to.. For those who are ready, the truth manifests itself. I did not want to 'promote' any particular acariya (They don't need that), although I do believe it's always good for me to try to glorify pure Vaisnavas. The Parampara continues to exist. Achariyas are passing way, new ones manifest. What I think is important is the actual siddhanta, the pure teaching of the sampradaya. Achariyas ARE to preserve just that. Srila Narayana Maharaja said that he had also seen that very a few of 'us' might be qualified for the highest. Yet, he felt that if he did not emphasize enough the actual goal of Gaudiya-vaisnavas, did not publish his translations of the works of the previous achariyas, everyone would very soon forget about Radha-dasya and manjari-bhava.
  13. taxi Delhi airport - Vrindavan - 1600-2000 Rs. Cheaper if you hire it from Vrindavan (call an agency in advance with you flight info or ask someone to do it for you from Vrindavan - I can provide some Phone#-s of taxi agencies). Bus Delhi - Vrindavan is around Rs. 100 ($2), but you'd have to get to the bus stand (about an hour long drive from the airport). Railways are even cheaper, but you can only go to Mathura and then you'd have to take moto-riksa or a bus (another ~ 10 km) to Vrindavan. Accommodations.. yes Rs. 100-200 a day for more or less acceptable ones (attached bathroom and stuff). Food.. yes, it's cheap, but I'd set a side at least Rs. 100 for a day, although that's quite a bit for Vrindavan (for food). So, Rs. 300 ($6) a day should do it for most simple folks. Air fares.. From US I always find it under $1300 round trip. I also have to have at least one connection, as you would traveling from Atlanta.
  14. Yes, Guru solves all the problems of material existence at once. - He delivers his disciple from the material world. It's rather not an easy task though. Why should he bother with any other task, if he has applied himself solely to this goal, which serves anything and everything else?.. And again, Guru is not really independent, he is the 'governmental officer' (see my previous post). So, any attempt to judge his actions seem to me inappropriate. Guru is a manifestation of God's mercy, is the medium through which God gives us mercy. Are we to judge this? Off course, it's a matter of personal realization. I can appreciate something and ascertain it's very existence when I get the thing. But even philosophically... I think, it all make sense.
  15. A governmental officer is just a man. However, he's got the authority and power to do something special. Thus he is naturally treated with due respect as if he was a part of the government (not just like any human). However, it would be a big mistake to think that he is the government. In the same way Guru also is delegated and empowered to perform some special functions. He will be naturally treated with special attitude by ones who have some knowledge and understanding of what he is actually doing. But if a 'guru' points out too often that he is God, chances are he is not a guru, has not factually been commissioned by God to perform any special functions.
  16. He was and is the founder-acariya of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mission. He was probably the last one of actively preaching disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada that still remained on this planet.
  17. That's exactly my point! Vaisnavas (yes, here and then I speak of the gaudiyas) can't care less for the title. Traditionally they do not even call diksa 'brahminical initiation'. Even nowadays this terms is used only in ISKCON, as far as I know. It's 'vaisnava diksa'. That's it. On the other hand, I don't think the use of 'brahminical initiation' is wrong. Well, it might present some danger to some people's position. But if we agree that brahim means some wonderful qualities, then what's the danger? If I do have some qualities who can take them from me? .. and if I do posses some wonderful qualities no doubt I will naturally command respect, position and all these stuff, well.. if any of that matters. Why? Danger to who? Where would it come from? And what exactly do you mean by conversion process?Have you taken look at Jaiva-Dharma? There are some nice discussions there entirely based on sastra just on this subject, I think.. What is conversion and what is preserving? Anyway.. But really.. believe me, Vaisnavas are not political in the least. They don't even think of themselves so much in terms of varna although do not neglect their material duties either. They sincerely respect and love brahmanas. You see all of that in Jaiva-Dharma. Krishna is known as One who worships the brahmanas... and vaisnavas worship Krishna... By the way, please don't hold me 'responsible' for whatever is going on in the Hare Krishna movement now. I am only inspired to speak on behalf of the pure tradition to the tiny extent I may be able to perceive it.
  18. Yes, there is a natural sequence: sakam-karma -> niskama-karma -> nirguna-bhakti or well.. moksa. In other words although the incentive to perform activities is there, the sastras advice and guide us to use it in a way that the activities themselve help us to ultimately break free from the karma bandhan.
  19. I think so. Will a child be happy being separated from his parents? Or he will feel better in loving embrace of his caring and protective parents? I will certainly agree it's a question of faith. If my faith in God is shallow, mere theoretical understanding of these things won't help much. I will also agree that the process of cultivating faith does take time. But anyway this seems to be the only solution to me, and I do believe it is natural, i.e.in complete perfect harmony with the soul's intrinsic eternal nature. The good thing also is that there IS a scientific process of developing the faith. I do believe that if I choose take to the process every little step forward will make me feel better, since I will realize more that God is nothing other than truly loving Father... and He is powerful enough.. so if He does like me I should have no problem ever. I'd like to finish on a little practical personal and frankly note. I have tried practicing faith in God (Krishna consciousness) for some 15-20 years now, not much). I think it's great and I am very happy with the results!
  20. Sambya, I'd like to again refer you and anyone else interested in this subject to Jaiva-Dharma. Please do take a look. There are quite a few things there explained, relevant to your question. But just to give you a sample...Perhaps one of the most potentially confusing things for brahmins in Vaisnava behavior is how they choose their association. A vaisnava born in a brahmana family will not hesitate to take the association of a superior vaisnava from a non-brahmana family. In fact it is considered to be an offense to even think of a pure vaisnava in terms of his social background. This is in terms of spiritual association. However in social dealings vaisnava-brahmana will follow the 'standard' rules for his social group. For example, he won't marry a girl from a non-brahmana family, etc. In Jaiva-Dharma you will find much more on this and many other points relevant to your question. There you will also find an extended and highly important discussion on some very possible difference on how the vaisnavas and the nowadays brahmanas see (understand) sadhana and sadhya.
  21. First of all 'brahmin' is a word. It refers to humans that possess some rare auspicious qualities. Those qualities are described in the sastras. However, this means that different individuals or groups of people will have different opinions whether or not a particular person is qualified as a brahmin. This has been highly debatable topic for centuries. I am not going to get into that though. For those who would like to know how Gaudiya-vaisnavas see this I suggest reading the Jaiva Dharma by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, which is a very well written, detailed sastric explaination on this and many other topics by an author who is highly respected in both brahmana and vaisnava communities. Sri Kedranath Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote this as well as more than a hundred of his other books on bhakti addressing primarily the highly educated and intelligent people in India, most of which are undoubtedly brahmanas. That's why he gave a complete explanation on this topic, since even in those days (second half of the 19th century) it was not very easy for brahmana community to understand vaisnavism and its relationship with the brahmana caste.Speaking of the diksa-initiation practiced in vaisnava tradition, it is by no way meant for 'establishing' one to the 'rights' of a Brahmana nor for securing the respect normally due to the Brahmanas. Vaisnavas are least interested in that. Vaisnava diksa aims at two things: 1. receiving divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge of one's relationship with the Lord) and 2. anartha-nivritti (liberating oneself from anarthas, bad habbits and most importantly, improper (unfavorable to bhakti) inclinations in the heart).
  22. This is very true. In a similar way most of people in this world have an inborn fear of supreme judge or anyway some supreme power that they are ultimately liable to. The other tendency amongst the human beings (according to Jaiva-Dharma) is to have the spontaneous interest in having a particular relationship with the Lord just like that of some of His dear and near devotees. It is said that this happens very rare and this is always a result of some special mercy of the Lord or His devotee. This is explained in Jaiva-Dharma, Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu and other bhakti-sastras.
  23. In my opinion here this is the same as to say: "I am afraid to forget You (my Lord)". Definitely a devotee (especially such liberated soul as Sri Prahlad Maharaja) never fears the sufferings of this world, nor does he care for it's pleasures. This is the general meaning of liberation. But a devotee will never want to forget the Lord, and this is just the symptom and nature of his loving attachment to the Lord. Samsara also represents time... and we know (have heard) that a moment in separation from the Lord lasts like 12 years or more.. So I suppose and pray that these words of Prahlada Maharaja should and will encourage me to develop attachment to my Lord as much as (or hopefully more) than to get out of this terrible place.
  24. Brahman is Absolute. So there can be nothing outside or independent of Brahman. So, the 'illusion' is also a part of Brahman. As such it is real, but the way a conditioned jiva sees it is illusion, because such is the potency, beauty or should I say leela of the Supreme Brahman pertaining to this particular part of his energy / creation - the material world... When I watch a movie I am put into a sort of illusion. However, all the 'causing' it constituent parts, such as the TV set, are real. I think this analogy with the movie can also be useful in understanding that the jivas are not placed into illusion for 'no reason'. Such are their desires. Jivas are also part of Brahman, but they have consciousness. Thus as individuals they will have desires. This material creation also facilitates certain desires of individual jivas. This is much as in a way I myself is the cuase of being in illusion while watching the movie. I placed myself into the illusion because I had had the desire to watch a movie..
  25. So, you want to worship Krishna with love. Now it is also said in the scriptures that Guru is a condensed manifestation of mercy of one's Ishthadeva (worshipable Lord). If Guru manifests in one's life this is a sure sign that Krishna has heard, recognized and in this way responded to one's prayers and has seen and tasted (appreciated) one's attitude.So, it's a very significant happening in one's life. It's like a hand-shake from Krishna. That's not only a 'momentarily' action from Krishna though. Through Guru Krishna personally and individually guides us until we meet Him personally. This is why it is a 'condensed mercy'. The only way to make it come faster is, as many have advised, sincerely crying and praying to Krishna to hear you. It should be fairly easy and natural for you though, as you have said you already developed some faith in Krishna. Now if you wholeheartedly pray that Your Krishna accepts you and gives you 'His condensed mercy', Krishna will send you Your Guru. No doubt. It has perfectly worked this way for billions fortunate souls. Once you have a Guru you will naturally embrace his entourage (society).
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