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Everything posted by vijay

  1. I rescpect narayan maharaj and some diciples of sridhara swami. I also have a friend who took sanyas in nrsinga maharajs matha, I know Iskcon has not treated these senior vaishnavas in the best way and some of these senior vaishnavas actually wanted the best for Iskcon and they tried helping as much as they could, I am also aware that because of neophyte attitudes in gbc that conflicts agro was created. sivarama swami also talks about this. I can therefore also understand the feelings of some aggressive diciples in these mathas. This has had a tit for tat effect esculating propoganda against each other. Gbc have also made mistakes with many of its own members, I however also have much rescpect for gurus in iskcon who continue to work in srila prabhupads iskcon putting their life and soul executing instruction given by his divine grace. I can not and will not brand a whole group of vaishnava as ALL cheaters and bogus. I also do not take critism by iskcon members against senior vaishnavas. Hopefully one day there can be true collaboration and everyone will learn how to deal with vaishnavas in the best possible way.
  2. Iskcon leaders discredit themselves sufficiently with no need of assistance or comments from anyone else. They have been falling like dominoes since l977. Prthu Prabhu is simply the latest on the list. Who will be next? Doubt 9: Considering the fall-down of so many ISKCON gurus and the disorganised state of the Society, can it really be said that members of ISKCON can give sufficient guidance? Answer: This doubt argues “the logic of the remainder,” (Parisesya-nyaya, means “the logic of the remainder,” or by elimination of unsatisfactory evidence, what is left is proof.) which translates as follows: ISKCON is in trouble, and since there are no qualified gurus in the Society, out of necessity devotees must take Siksa (and diksa) from Vaishnavas outside. This doubt is built on two wobbly fundamentals. The first is the misconception that disarray in certain areas of ISKCON is a sign of spiritual failure. The second extrapolates that because some ISKCON gurus have proven themselves disqualified, all ISKCON gurus are disqualified. To argue that problems in the Society are a sign of its failure is naïve.(Srila Prabhupada scoffed at the idea of perfection even in ISKCON: “So we shall not expect that anywhere there is any Utopia. Rather, that is impersonalism. People should not expect that even in the Krishna Consciousness Society there will be Utopia. Because devotees are persons, therefore there will always be some lacking. …” (Letter, Bombay, February 4, 1972)) For example, Srila Prabhupada writes that even the disorder that customarily accompanies the passing of the acarya can be rectified by the efforts of his sincere followers.(Commenting in the Bhagavatam, Prabhupada writes, “The acarya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles (religion), but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the acarya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master.” (Bhag. 4.28.48, purport)) It is paradoxical that some Vaishavas condemn ISKCON’s struggles, their own societies having transited through similar problems in the past, nay, even experiencing such problems at present. And if these same Vaishnavas, who, in srila Prabhupada’s estimation, were responsible for chaos in their own organisation(Speaking about the turmoil caused in another Society, Prabhupada wrote, “So S and his two associate gentlemen unauthorizedly selected one acarya and later it proved a failure.” (Letter, Tirupati, April 28, 1974) Prabhupada writes, “Despite the spiritual master’s order to form a governing body and execute the missionary activities … the two unauthorized factions began litigation that is still going on after forty years with no decision.” (Cc. adi 12.8, purport) Prabhupada says, “That T, unnecessarily he was envious, whole life fighting, fighting, fighting in the court and died. Simply planning.” (Conversation, Bombay,January 8, 1977)) are now qualified to be gurus, then why not value the devotees of ISKCON by the same standard? "I won't listen to anyone who says sadhu-sanga is illegal, ill advised or in opposition to the instructions in His Divine Grace's books and lectures. How to apply the principle is an individual matter of the heart vijay" And I also wont listen to anyone who brands all devotees in iskcon as bogus and cheaters if they do not go to your guru. End of discussion, we are just going round and round.
  3. Thanks for correcting me, what have i avoided, theres just been so many points. "you came here to make a crusade," Prabhu when all my siksha guru in Iskcon are called bogus and cheaters, I will try and defend them. I have never said such a thing about anyones seniors. When this happens I can either walk away which is what ive usually done or answer each point that they give to justify this. And I dont mind collaboration and some work between maths, I just mind when devotees from other maths say come listen to my guru or your all bogus and cheaters.
  4. Haribol, Thank you for your post I would sincerly like to apologise if I caused any offences to you, you said "but I have no animosity toward ISKCON or its leaders" I was under the impression that you were also one who posted and agreed with statements as below. (It gets confusing with so many guests). Puru prabhu "How can anyone who accepts, the current iskcon gbc,it's law book and apasiddhantic resolution concerning jiva tattva be a bona fide anything except a bona fide cheater?" Anyway I usually also dont post on these forums and I also dont agree with everything ISKCON does or has done, but still work under thier athority, nothing as much as you have done prabhu I am relatively new to this. Statements like the below and posting so much stuff to minimise and demonise all of iskcon with many gurus I accept my siksa guru ticks me off. I have actually never engaged in a full on debate with any of these guys as ive been told its not worth it and could end up critising senior vaishnavs which i think i may of done at least mentally. we are given booklets like sivarama swamis one and others as on one end we have ritviks distributing and stealing databases of our temple in london and sending propoganda, and on the otherside on occasion the followers of narayan maharaj distributing leaflets at festival times to the innocent public that come for darshans on festival days, thus some of the senior congrgation give literature and training on iskcons past so they can alliviate some of the doubts caused by this infighting on iskcon ground.
  5. "You most certainly will not think that these references apply to the gbc or Shivarama Maharaja, but it is very clear to me that if they are inimical to sadhu sanga then they are making unecessary division in the guaidya community for other than altruistic or noble motives." No your right i dont agree.
  6. "Vijay, Sivarama Maharja's pamphlet is just another knotch on the belt of misdirection inspired by gbc sectarianism, in the name of His Divine Grace's vanih. Rtvks quote just as extensivly from His Divine Grace, and their position re guru tattva is just as untenable as the gbc's. " Yes we quote from srila prabhupada he is our founder acarya and he set up ISKCON. It was you guys who were endlessly quoting prabhupada at the begining of this thread as well as sridhar maharaj and others to prove that every iskcon memeber should come to a so called self appointed acraya of iskcon. Besides your statement above holds no athority i dont care what your opinion is. It is the point of a discussion to quote evidence. "Srila Prabhupada spoke and wrote very clearly regarding Srila Rupa Gosvamis' instructions regarding adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sanga. (Cc. Adi 1.35, Antya 5.131 etc.) Frankly it doesn't really matter what the gbc tells people to think or what Sivarama Mah tries to pass off as His Divine Grace's will by quoting from letters out of context." Its you guys that quote stuff out of context, 'he is even my siksa guru' when in context prabhupada was persuading his diciple not to go to another god brother. "Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura cautioned taking association from individuals who distort guadiya siddhanta in its own name. Discouraging sadhu-sanga is just another example of a polluted and mixed conception of bhakti. " Srila prabhupada also limited our association with his god brothers. Please read previous points. They are in more context than any of the quotes i have been given by anyone on this thread. All you guys do is try and get iskcon members to come to your guru maharaj, please try and save other unlimited souls your help is not appreciated. gm motives have always been suspicious. for years prabhupada pleaded to get help from his god brothers none come, but now there are so many so-called self effulgent acaryas that should be the siksa gurus of iskcon and if iskcon decline it then they are bogus.
  7. "That makes it all the more surprising how poorly it is written. More important than the grammatical errors I found the first time I skimmed the document are the errors in logic. " Please give backed up critisism im not intrested in grammer mistkes, if you've found holes say so, the above statement was from your last post which i ignored as it contains no points just general dismisal without evidence. "I've gone through the booklet and found that the actual context of many of the quotations Sivarama Maharaja uses are inappropriate to the situations he addresses in the booklet. " Okay so here you say it again, okay give what u BELIEVE is the correct context. A general dismisal is useless. "I am not Sivarama Maharaja's disciple, so I see no reason that I should accept everything he writes as shastra." No one said you should accept what he says as shastra, they are points if you disagree with them say so like others have been saying. "When considering or making an argument, there are several things to consider. In terms of classical Western rhetoric, Aristotle suggests ethos, the character of the speaker; pathos, considering the emotinal needs of the audience; logos, the use of language and reason; and kairos, the context, situation, or opportunity. (These are grossly simplified explanations.) In terms of classical Vedic rhetoric, as well as I understand it, the things to consider are adhikaran, the qualifications (of the speaker? audience?); samsaya, doubts that may arise; purva paksha, objections that occur as a result of those doubts; siddhanta, the conclusions arrived at; and sangati, harmonizing the different positions according to the context in which we find them. Using such analysis even briefly, I see no reason for anyone who is not his disciple to accept this document as unquestionably authoritative. As far as I understand, this booklet and the siksa-guru book were written on the order of the GBC as a way to try to undo (or atone for?) his sin of accepting siksa outside ISKCON. So the context may arouse caution in many careful readers." Okay roughly the same point. No one is telling you to accept anything he says (Please show me a place where anyone has suggested it). He gives logical arguments then you give them back if you disagree. Simple. He makes clear why he wrote it, you can interpret what you want out of it. Just try and see the points and give evidence in refutation if you disagree. Simple. "As for others, well, Sivaram Maharaja has in several places referred to ISKCON members as innocent, inexperienced, and many other words that could be synonyms for foolish." What is your point, whats the hidden meaning that iskcon is made of foolish people therefore go to a higher siksa guru? Innocent and inexperienced is not a synonym for foolish, the words mean what they say they mean it doesnt need you or any other "hidden meaning". Maybe you now know sivarama swami more than anyone else "his true meaning". "There are a great many things he said that weren't recorded, and somehave extimated that as many as 150 of the tapes that were made are mssing somehow" Sorry but evidence that might be there isnt eveidence we cant work from. I appreciate there might be stuff not there but that works both ways. In a court of law you cannot say actually there is stuff but we just havent got it. "Prabhupada didn't ask him to "have any say" in managing ISKCON, nor would Sridhar Maharaja have had any interest in doing so. Srila Prabhupada said that, after his departure, we could approach Sridhar Maharaja on matters of philosophy. I haven't located that in VedaBase, but that's certainly no indication that he didn't say it." Yes I have heard that but can not find it, I think doubt 8 refers to that. First-hand sources testify that Prabhup§da requested at least one senior Vai¢£ava to care for his followers. 38 Those same sources, however, confirm that the request was brief and clearly not an invitation to be a ªik¢§-guru, rather, a well-wisher. That explanation is consistent with other evidence; ¼r¦la Prabhup§da gave no instruction that he had empowered any Vai¢£ava from outside ISKCON to be a ªik¢§- guru —what to speak of his successor. Refer to doubt 8 for full text. (Im not asking you to accept this is as sastra, if you find flaws then say so, general dismissal is no good or talking about the authors spelling or logic is useless, im interested in the points you have against the logic)
  8. This is a similar discussion to "What will Gaudiya Vaisnavism be like in 2000 years? "
  9. If they preach nonsence, then ISKCON may point this --but it is nonsense to point that the "non iskcon" preach always nonsense -- No one said non-iskcon always preach nonsense. "If they preach nonsence" !
  10. Kailash prabhu i think i am having difficulty understanding this point. read from the last pages of lilamrita the famous lila when prabhupada says also "i am a patita..." and BVPuri maharaja says: "i protest, you're patita pavana.. not patita..".. then give your personal interpretation I get the gist from the rest of them
  11. A guru’s Godbrother is not seen in every way as one’s own guru --but it is highly offensive to avoid to hear him.. he's a vaishnava... doubt 11 posted by me 10/24/04 07:26 PM
  12. "Srila Prabhupada: Yes, they are already coming. And in that house I will make arrangements for an elevator so that you won't have to go through the difficulty of walking up and down the stairs. You won't even have to move a step yourself. I'll make arrangements for a car and a lift. Jayapataka Maharaja is telling me that he will build a house for me. So both of us will stay in that house. Most of the time I am just traveling around, so if you are there, then they can get some guidance. So Maharaja, please-give me the order and I will make all the arrangements for you. " So did sridhar maharaj take up srila prabhupadas request? Did it mean become siksa guru for iskcon, how much say would he have? Doubt 5: Srila Prabhupada attempted to recruit other senior Vaishnavas to work in or with ISKCON. How, then, could they not be qualified as Siksa-gurus? Answer: The question itself contains the answer. How? Because in actuality no such Vaishnava came to Prabhupada’s side. Therefore, none could qualify as Siksa- guru. Had any senior Vaishnavas accepted Prabhupada’s invitation to work in ISKCON, they would have had to accept him as founder-acarya(In response to a letter, Prabhupada writes, “… you write to say, ‘It is clear to me that you are great powerful acarya in the Vaishnava world at present.’ Sometimes S also says like that. So, actually if you are feeling like that let us work conjointly.” (Letter, Vrndavana, November 9, 1976)) and represent him. That would have made them regular members, fully qualified to give Siksa. On the other hand, were such Vaishnavas not to join ISKCON, yet work with it, Srila Prabhupada envisaged that they would have authority only in proportion to their preaching.(In a conversation with Srila Prabhupada, a devotee recalls, “I remember a letter they wrote you in Los Angeles in 1969. You replied them, ‘Yes, I will join, but since I have preached in eleven-twelfths of the world, eleven of my men will be representatives, and you can put one.’” (Conversation, Bombay, April 22, 1977)) That would have given Prabhupada’s disciples considerably more authority than those instructing them on Prabhupada’s behalf —hardly a relationship one might expect between Siksa-gurus and their disciples. But this doubt is theoretical, for the reality is that, despite Srila Prabhupada’s many kind overtures,(As late as 1976, Srila Prabhupada wrote, “So, actually if you are feeling like that let us work conjointly.” (Letter, Vrndavana, November 9, 1976)) not one senior Vaishnava took up his offer to work in or with ISKCON.
  13. Prabhupada teaches not to take siksa from his god brothers please read my above post. Therefore as a good disciple he does not contridict this direct order which he gave read above posts. ––prabhupada taught to chant 64 rounds then he changed to 16... prabhupada taught to avoid godbrothers then,before his disappearance, said to godbrothers : "if we go together preaching in the west we will fulfill the prophecy: "in all towns and villages..." by sri gauranga" So what instruction is the valid one?... i think the last one ---The last one but there is no specific instruction for any god brother to become siksa guru for ISKCON 'In that case the specific Instruction to us all still stands 'do not mix with them closely' "war is over" does not equal "you now become siksa guru for ISKCON" --what is a respect for a vaishnava is not hearing him? Do you think that respect is simply bowing your head and go away? : ------- Doubt 4: Sastra says that the Godbrothers of the guru should be respected as much as the guru.17 Is this not evidence that, as in the past, members of ISKCON took instructions from Srila Prabhupada, they should now take instructions from his Godbrothers (or other senior Vaishavas)? Answer: No. The equal respect offered to the guru’s Godbrothers must be reconciled with respect for the guru’s order — in this case, Srila Prabhupada’s: “Do not mix with them.” Therefore, to the Godbrothers of Srila Prabhup§da, his followers should offer the respect due senior Vaishnavas and should not speak of them disparagingly.(Prabhupada said, “You cannot criticize superiors …” (Bhag. Lecture, Vrndavana, November 8, 1976)) But Prabhupadanugas should also not hear from such seniors. Respect for the guru’s Godbrother cannot mean disrespect for the guru’s order. A guru’s Godbrother is not seen in every way as one’s own guru.(Srila Prabhupada said, “‘My spiritual master was no ordinary spiritual master.’ Then he paused for some time, and wiping the tears from his cheeks, he said in an even more choked voice, ‘He saved me.’” (Srila Prabhupada -lilamrta 26)) There is difference as well as oneness. Equal respect does not mean equal importance in the disciple’s life. Sastra states, “… in all circumstances all Vai¢£avas are offered respect like one offers respect to one’s spiritual master. However, with body, mind, and words one serves one’s own spiritual master.”(Krsna-bhajanamrta 50.) One may even offer twice the respect to the guru of one’s guru, but still one depends upon the mercy of one’s own guru for progress in spiritual life.(Krsna-bhajanamrta 54.) Thus, while offering due respect to Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers and other senior Vai¢£avas, one will not hear from them. A guru’s Godbrother is not seen in every way as one’s own guru --but it is highly offensive to avoid to hear him.. he's a vaishnava... --- No it is not if you have been instructed not to hear them ----time, place and circumstances... prabhupada when the circumstances changed, when he was near to disappear, he gave different instructions. To resume the previous ones is lack of respect for the valid ones, the last ones.... aparadha ---------What different instructions give me specifics not something you interpret form 'the war is over' prabhupada was specific about not associating with them so give me a specific quote on how that order was changed.
  14. "Sivarama Maharaja's tract ignore a couple of things Srila Prabhupada said as late as 1977. In march, he had a conversation with Srila Sridhar Maharaja in which he implored Sridhar Maharaja to come live at Mayapura so everyone from around the world could more easily come to hear Maharaja's siksa. He offered to build an elevator so Sridhar Maharaja wouldn't have to use the stairs. This was not Srila Prabhupada just being polite. He said, "This is my earnest desire." In November, when discussing the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trist, he said plainly, "We want cooperation."" He does actually mention the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust in a foot note. Il paste the article. Doubt 11: ISKCON policy not only forbids taking Siksa outside, it also forbids other Vaishnavas to lecture in its temples. Surely inviting guest Vaishnavas to address ISKCON’s members is basic Vaishnava hospitality. Answer: Ideally, if Vaishnava guests follow the etiquette befitting a guest, the Vaishnava host happily follows the etiquette of a host — receiving visitors as representatives of the Lord. Because a respectful guest never exploits his host, the host offers a place to sit, nice prasadam, darsana of the Deities —and, possibly, an invitation to speak. But guests who do not behave properly,(This refers to the other Vaishnavas cited throughout this paper, whose inability to represent Prabhupada, and whose constant criticizing, direct or indirect, makes them less than well-behaved guests.) even they be Vaishnavas, may not be welcomed without restriction. The host society need not, in the name of etiquette, submit its resources for its own undoing. Such is the practice among Vaishnava societies.(Having passed through their own histories, Vaishnava societies have evolved a system of inter-institutional rapport that avoids compromising the allegiance of their members and the values of their societies. On the other hand, to their own detriment, ISKCON’s members often follow an all-or-nothing policy. In his last days, Prabhupada formed the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust (see Conversation, Vrindavana, October 29, 1977) to help unite the Sarasvata family, while at the same time warning his disciples of the risks of close association. He expected ISKCON’s members to learn the balance of association.)Srila Prabhup§da once banned his own senior Godbrother. (When, by the instigation of a Godbrother, standing orders of Prabhup§da’s books were cancelled, he instructed a letter be circulated in the Society, “Still, he is so envious, black snake. So one circular letter should be issued to all our center(s), that ‘Any B or anyone, his representative, should not be received.‘ They are envious. Yes. Quoting that. We have got several complaints like that. S also complained. Sometimes our order was cancelled by B’s propaganda.” (Conversation, Johannesburg, October 16, 1975)) Later Prabhupada relented, allowing the man to visit the temple, but still not lecture.(Prabhupada instructed, “On the whole, if his motive is to suppress me and that is why he has come here, how we can receive him? He has already given one Professor a wrong impression. He may be treated as a guest, if he comes to our center, give him prasadam, honour him as an elder Vaishnava, but he cannot speak or lecture. If he wants to lecture, you can tell him that there is already another speaker scheduled. That’s all.” (Letter, Honolulu, June 4, 1975)) What to speak of outside Vaishnavas lecturing, Prabhupada was unwilling to even meet one “heinous” Godbrother, should that Godbrother come to visit him.(This is recorded in a letter: “Regarding the matter with P dasa, you immediately go and take back whatever books of ours that he has in his possession. You may inform him that we do not require his editing, neither should he correspond with our men in Los Angeles. He is a very heinous man. He wants to become more important. … You take them back immediately. If this man comes to see me in Vrndavana, I do not wish to see him.” (Letter, Bombay, November 7, 1975)) That is the history. Unfortunately, ISKCON’s members, in general, are untrained in the intricacies of inter-society diplomacy (there is such a thing), and so are easily intimidated by unscrupulous guests, who take advantage for their own purposes — I am sorry to say. Therefore, Prabhupada wanted the Society’s leaders “vigilant”(See Conversation, Vrndavana, May 27, 1977.) to protect the Society and its members.
  15. "Contrary to some of the claims Sivarama Maharaja makes in his booklet, in none of the letters or conversations he cites did Srila Prabhupada say, or even imply, that any of his Godbrothers (or their disciples) who came to help him would have to be subordinate to the GBC. The GBC likes to say that cooperation means they make laws and dole out service, and the rest of us submit. Srila Prabhupada makes it very clear in his famous letter to Karandhar how mistaken that notion is. " In a conversation with Srila Prabhup§da, a devotee recalls, “I remember a letter they wrote you in Los Angeles in 1969. You replied them, ‘Yes, I will join, but since I have preached in eleven-twelfths of the world, eleven of my men will be representatives, and you can put one.’” (Conversation, Bombay, April 22, 1977) (Even if a god brother joins he will only be given representation according to how much he preaches That would have given Prabhupada’s disciples considerably more authority than those instructing them on Prabhupada’s behalf —hardly a relationship one might expect between siksa-gurus and their disciples.)
  16. "if this "self realized" does not teach to you that any discrimination of vaishnavas based on organization's appartenence or doctrinal external details is sinful... what is his realization?" Prabhupada teaches not to take siksa from his god brothers please read my above post. Therefore as a good disciple he does not contridict this direct order which he gave read above posts. "why he does not teach to you that prabhupada (in iskcon's lilamrita and conversations) gave the reason of his discriminations before his disappearance so it is sinful to cite what he said in the previous years without to consider these last instructions?" Please read previous posts this issue is already dealt with I will repost it. "gave the reason of his discriminations before his disappearance " I dont know what reasons prabhupada gave please post them. If your talking about the 'war is over' quote please read below. Doubt 6: In his last days, Srila Prabhupada apologised to other Vaishnavas for having offended them in the course of his preaching. He declared the war with his Godbrothers over. These statements lead one to believe that Prabhupada had finally ended ISKCON’s isolationist policy and anticipated his disciples’ harmonious interaction with senior Vai¢£avas outside ISKCON. Answer: Who could really believe that Srila Prabhupada actually committed offences? Even some of those to whom he apologised (Prabhupada said, “My life is coming to an end. It is my desire that you all forgive me for my mistakes. … when you are preaching at times there are some disputes, some misunderstandings. Maybe I also committed some offences like that. Please ask them to forgive me.” (Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta, 54)) rejected the idea. (One such Vaishnava told Prabhupada at his bedside, “Maharaja, you didn’t commit any offence.” (Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta, 54)) Prabhupada’s apologies, rather, symptomised the humble spirit of a true Vaishnava, doing what all devotees do before leaving this world; his apologies did not contradict his earlier statements. (For Prabhupada says, “You can criticize, if you are right. You cannot criticize wrongly.” (Conversation, V¥nd§vana, March 16, 1974)) The doubt at hand cites a statement — “The war is over” — interpreting it to mean that Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to take Siksa from other Vaishnavas. However, there are no instructions to support this argument. “The war is over,” rather, was a ceasefire on the verbal exchange between Prabhupada and his Godbrothers. That is my understanding. That war was over. An informal comment is a far cry from a direct instruction, such as: “I have said many things about Vaishnavas outside ISKCON, often exaggerating for the sake of focusing you on my instructions. Now that I am leaving, you will need others to guide you. Forget the past. Forget what I said. The war is over. You may take siksa from others.” And, had srila Prabhupada given the comprehensive instruction above — a directive to contradict years of training —he would not have left it to the memory of a few devotees. That was not the way Prabhupada did things. How did Prabhupada communicate on issues of paramount importance? He would (1) write instructions in his books; (Prabhup§da considered the history of the Gaudiya Matha sufficiently important to record it in Caitanya-caritamrta. (See Cc. adi 12.8)) (2) repeat himself many times;(In letters, lectures, conversations, especially on important things, Prabhupada repeated himself, e.g., “I repeat my symptoms so that you can take necessary care.” (Letter, New York, June 1, 1967)) (3) write a general letter to the Society;(When Prabhupada wanted prasadam available to all guests visiting temples, he wrote a letter to all temple presidents. See letter, Calcutta, January 18, 1977.) (4) call a meeting of the GBC, sanny§s¦s, and senior devotees.(When, in the summer of 1977, Prabhupada wanted direction whether to stay or leave (die) he instructed the senior devotees and GBC men to discuss. (Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta, 54)) This was Srila Prabhupada! He was not someone to leave major issues hanging for lack of information or communication. Had he intended members of ISKCON, after his departure, to take Siksa from Vaishnavas outside the movement, he would have made it abundantly clear. There would now be no argument. ------------------- "so if he is realized and he is teaching that you must learn to follow any exalted vaishnava and to look for collaboration and love with vaishnavas of any family why are you bothering with all this difference's hunt?" Doubt 4: Sastra says that the Godbrothers of the guru should be respected as much as the guru.17 Is this not evidence that, as in the past, members of ISKCON took instructions from Srila Prabhupada, they should now take instructions from his Godbrothers (or other senior Vaishavas)? Answer: No. The equal respect offered to the guru’s Godbrothers must be reconciled with respect for the guru’s order — in this case, Srila Prabhupada’s: “Do not mix with them.” Therefore, to the Godbrothers of Srila Prabhup§da, his followers should offer the respect due senior Vaishnavas and should not speak of them disparagingly.(Prabhupada said, “You cannot criticize superiors …” (Bhag. Lecture, Vrndavana, November 8, 1976)) But Prabhupadanugas should also not hear from such seniors. Respect for the guru’s Godbrother cannot mean disrespect for the guru’s order. A guru’s Godbrother is not seen in every way as one’s own guru.(Srila Prabhupada said, “‘My spiritual master was no ordinary spiritual master.’ Then he paused for some time, and wiping the tears from his cheeks, he said in an even more choked voice, ‘He saved me.’” (Srila Prabhupada -lilamrta 26)) There is difference as well as oneness. Equal respect does not mean equal importance in the disciple’s life. Sastra states, “… in all circumstances all Vai¢£avas are offered respect like one offers respect to one’s spiritual master. However, with body, mind, and words one serves one’s own spiritual master.”(Krsna-bhajanamrta 50.) One may even offer twice the respect to the guru of one’s guru, but still one depends upon the mercy of one’s own guru for progress in spiritual life.(Krsna-bhajanamrta 54.) Thus, while offering due respect to Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers and other senior Vai¢£avas, one will not hear from them. ----------------- These quotes have all been posted previosly in thier relevent context if you care to read them but i will post them now just to illustrate some of what he said about his god brothers. Prabhupada writes, “Regarding the poisonous effect in our Society, it is a fact and I know where from this poison tree has sprung up and how it affected practically the whole Society in a very dangerous form.” (Letter, Calcutta, September 2, 1970) “… and on this point they wanted to poison the whole Society —that is now clear.” (Letter, Calcutta, September 25, 1970) Prabhup§da said, “Just like XX… They are envious. What I have done to them? I am doing my business, trying to serve my Guru Maharaja.” (Conversation, Bombay, January 8, 1977) In time Prabhup§da became indifferent to working co-operatively:“So far as cooperating with my Godbrothers is concerned, that is not very urgent business. So far until now my Godbrothers have regularly not cooperated with me and by the grace of my Spiritual Master, things are still going ahead. So cooperation or non-cooperation …” (Letter, Gorakhpur, February 23, 1971) 23 In a conversation with ¼r¦la Prabhup§da, a devotee recalls, “I remember a letter they wrote you in Los Angeles in 1969. You replied them, ‘Yes, I will join, but since I have preached in eleven-twelfths of the world, eleven of my men will be representatives, and you can put one.’” (Conversation, Bombay, April 22, 1977) (Even if a god brother joins he will on ly be given representation according to how much he preaches That would have given Prabhup§da’s disciples considerably more authority than those instructing them on Prabhup§da’s behalf —hardly a relationship one might expect between ªik¢§-gurus and their disciples. This is irrelevant as none of the god brothers took up the offer to work in or with ISKCON) ¼r¦la Prabhup§da said, “So these rascals … they are envious that …What he has written? B. Just see what kind of men they are. They are not even ordinary human being. They are envious of me, and what to speak of make a judgment by estimation? They’re envious. Enviousness is immediately disqualification of Vai¢£ava, immediate. He is not a human being.” (Conversation, Johannesburg, October 16, 1975) "In his books Prabhup§da writes, “Unfortunately we are surrounded by neophyte Godbrothers who do not appreciate the extraordinary activities of spreading K¥¢£a consciousness all over the world. They simply try to bring us to their platform, and they try to criticize us in every respect.” (The Nectar of Instruction 6, purport)" NOTE he was very serious in regards to his godbrothers as he found it neccesarry to include to include it in his books. (Many such statements) In a letter Prabhup§da wrote, “Actually amongst my Godbrothers, no one is qualified to become acarya.” (Letter, Tirupati, April 28, 1974) “We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is MY INSTRUCTION TO YOU ALL.” (Letter, Tirupati, April 28, 1974) I have posted more quotes on previous posts. Please point to a place where prabhupada later on contridicts explicitly this instruction. Doubt 8: It appears that Srila Prabhupada instructed at least some senior Vai¢£avas to help his disciples after his departure. Does this not indicate that they would be ªik¢§- gurus for ISKCON’s members? Also, is it not possible that one of them may be Srila Prabhupada’s self-effulgent successor, as Prabhupada was the self-effulgent successor to Bhaktisiddhanta thakura? Answer: First-hand sources testify that Prabhupada requested at least one senior Vaishnava to care for his followers. (Two devotees present heard the discussion.) Those same sources, however, confirm that the request was brief and clearly not an invitation to be a Siksa-guru, rather, a well-wisher. That explanation is consistent with other evidence; Srila Prabhup§da gave no instruction that he had empowered any Vaisnaava from outside ISKCON to be a Siksa-guru —what to speak of his successor. The very idea of a successor is contrary to Prabhupada’s set-up of the Society.(Prabhupada modelled ISKCON according to Bhaktisiddhanta Thakura’s will, which he explained in a letter: “… on the night before he passed away he talked of so many things, but never mentioned an acarya. His idea was acarya was not to be nominated amongst the governing body. He said openly you make a GBC and conduct the mission. So his idea was amongst the members of GBC who would come out successful and self-effulgent acarya would be automatically selected.” (Letter, Tirupati, April 28, 1974) Therefore, if there is to be an acarya, he will not be self-appointed; he will come from members of the GBC, not elsewhere.) Nor is there any written or verbal instruction indicating a successor; in fact, Srila Prabhupada opined that among the Vaishnavas he knew,none was qualified to be acarya.(In a letter Prabhupada wrote, “Actually amongst my Godbrothers, no one is qualified to become acarya.” (Letter, Tirupati, April 28, 1974) Those suggesting that a Vaishnava from outside ISKCON could be its acarya are obliged to provide irrefutable evidenceof their claim. And that evidence must be of a superlative quality, as referred to in the previous answer (to Doubt 7). It is not the burden of ISKCON to disprove the successor theory. Until irrefutable evidence is provided in its favour, we will have to assume there is no successor Siksa-guru to Srila Prabhupada.
  17. "...and anyone else from taking siksa from such an elevated personality, who Srila Prabhupada accepted himself as a siksa guru." Siksa-gurus outside ISKCON As liberally as srila Prabhup§da shared his authority within ISKCON, equally reserved was he in sharing it with anyone outside ISKCON — especially with those who could, or would, exercise spiritual authority over his disciples. Though the history is a little convoluted, those who were close to Prabhup§da remember, without exception, his strong feelings against devotees taking instruction outside. As early as 1967, before his first return to India, srila Prabhupada indicated that he was not in favour of Vaishnavas outside ISKCON either replacing him or acting as his proxy. Why? His Divine Grace did not feel others could or would suitably represent him. He said clearly,(The following statement reiterates that the siksa-guru must be a transparent and knowledgeable representative of both the founder-acarya and the diksa guru) “If this person speaks just one word different from what I am speaking, there will be great confusion among you.”(11 Prabhupada lilaamrta 26.) By the following year, ISKCON devotees had begun travelling to India with no place to stay other than the mathas of Prabhupada’s Godbrothers. In 1969, when a disciple wanted to take siksa from one of Prabhupada’s Vrndavana Godbrothers, srila Prabhupada disapproved.(Srila Prabhupada considered him unqualified to be guru, being an offender to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. He writes, “I suspect that you have interest in taking instruction from some siksa guru, but … it is my duty to refer you to someone who is competent to act as siksa guru. This B perhaps you do not know, has been rejected by Guru Maharaja. So I cannot recommend him as siksa guru.” (Letter, Los Angeles, January 31, 1969)) Considering the circumstances,(The circumstances were: while in India, his disciple required lodging; being impetuous, were he not given senior association, he would seek it anyway. Therefore Prabhupada felt obliged to direct him.) Srila Prabhupada recommended another Godbrother, one he deemed more qualified.(In the same letter as above, Prabhupada writes, “So if you are actually serious to take instructions from a siksa guru, I can refer you to one who is most highly competent of all my Godbrothers. This is S, whom I consider to be even my siksa guru, so what to speak of the benefit that you can have from his association.” (Letter, Los Angeles, January 31, 1969)) Though at the time Srila Prabhupada wrote of this preferred Godbrother in glowing terms, later, in 1974, he wrote the contrary,(See Letter, Tirupati, April 28, 1974.) indicating that the previous instruction had been circumstantial. It is undeniable that the above instruction of 1969 was specific, while the later instruction of 1974 was general (“… my instruction to you all …”) and included extensive background explanation. I reproduce relevant portions of the 1974 letter below: “So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them. … This attempt was made previously by them, especially M and T and B but somehow or other I saved the situation. This is going on. We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.”(Sr¦la Prabhup§da warns his followers to keep their distance from his Godbrothers. Since his Godbrothers’ disciples are faithful to and influenced by their diksa-gurus, “we must be [also] very careful” about associating with them, as well as with subsequent generations of their followers.)(Letter, April 28, 1974) (The preface to Prabhup§da’s instruction is, “You are right about S’s genuineness. But in my opinion he is the best of the lot. He is my old friend, at least he executes the regulative principles of devotional service. … But S is responsible for disobeying this order of Guru Maharaja … he and others … thought that there must be one acarya. … Guru) The conclusion from the letter above is that, except within the context of institutional formalities, devotees should not ‘mix’ with members of other Vaishnava groups-which clearly excludes taking Siksa from them. This is supported by other instructions from letters,(See Letter, Bombay, November 9, 1975.) conversations, (Conversation, Los Angeles, July 13, 1974.) purports,(See Cc. adi 12.9, 12.)—and by a lack of any later directive to the contrary.(While Prabhup§da instructed disciples to seek outside guidance on Deity worship, cosmology, performance of his samadhi ceremony, etc.such guidance was specific and isolated and solicited by him. However, Prabhupada never gave any blanket instruction to take siksa from outside Vaishnavas.) Summary ISKCON’s policy in regard to accepting siksa gurus was universally understood in Prabhupada’s time. For siksa, ISKCON devotees could approach their senior Godbrothers and Godsisters as Prabhupada’s representatives, but they could not approach Vaishnavas outside the Society’s membership. Why? Because Srila Prabhupada had concluded that one not dedicated to his mission, and not trained by him, would not and could not properly represent him. Thus, great Vaishnavas outside ISKCON, despite their erudition, could not be siksa-gurus for Srila Prabhupada’s followers. " Vijay, why do you put so much stress on the external institution? Why not accept substance over form? One of the qualifications for any bona fide guru is that what he preaches is in line with guru sadhu and shastra, and that he is fully versed in Vedic literature and understands tattva, siddhanta and also has full realization of his sambhanda(relationship) with Sri Krsna. " I do not put stress on the external institution, I put stress on what srila prabhupada said in regard to siksa outside ISKCON especially from his god brothers. Siksa outside Iskcon-cont Differences between ISKCON and the Gaudiya Matha have been both philosophical and institutional. Philosophical differences have included the hotly contested origin of the jiva; institutional differences, the question of leadership by a GBC. Perhaps such differences could be excused in the name of institutional diversity. But the Gaudiy matha’s unforgivable and unforgettable transgression has been the systematic minimisation of srila Prabhup§da’s pre-eminence as a fully realised, self-effulgent acarya.(This was already a phenomenon during Srila Prabhupada’s time, as Prabhupada writes, “Perhaps you are my only Godbrother who has appreciated my humble service to the cause of Guru Gauranga. All my other Godbrothers are very much envious, as I can understand from their behaviour.” (Letter, Bombay, December 2, 1970) And in his last year he said, “Just like our Godbrothers. They are envious. What I have done to them? I am doing my business, trying to serve my Guru Maharaja. But they are envious because I am so opulent.” (Conversation, Bombay, January 8, 1977)) Some charge that Prabhupada’s teachings are incomplete; others, that his Society lacks substance; and still others, that his knowledge of rasa-tattva is immature. And that is just part of it. If the Gaudiya Matha’s critique sounds brutal, the accusations of some Vaishnavas outside the Gaudiya Matha are even more scathing. They condemn both ISKCON and the Gau¨¦ya Ma±ha as deviant sects, incapable of delivering Caitanya Mah§prabhu’s message. In view of such absolute condemnation, there is little value in my pointing to differences between their teachings and ISKCON’s. 59 Prabhup§da writes, “… this must be decided by the GBC and not myself. If they cannot solve this problem, then what is the meaning of GBC?” (Letter, Bombay, November 1, 1974) And in an official letter, “I have appointed 12 direct representatives to manage different sectors of the world, and they are known as Governing Board Commissioners … M is my sole agent, my official representative, and he has supreme authority there in all matters.” (Letter, Bombay, November 26, 1974) 60 In a letter Prabhup§da writes, “… please try to follow my instructions & you shall never be unhappy.” (Letter, Navadvipa, October 29, 1967) Doubt 13: How can we depend on ISKCON’s gurus to properly represent ¼r¦la Prabhup§da when we see, for example,that they radically diverge from one another on principles of tattva? Answer: In his instructions to Uddhava, Lord Krsna explains that, under shelter of the internal potency, Vaishnavas can come to different conclusions about the truth. (“Lord Krsna replied: Because all material elements are present everywhere, it is reasonable that different learned brahmanas have analysed them in different ways. All such philosophers spoke under the shelter of My mystic potency, and thus they could say anything without contradicting the truth.”(Bh§g. 11.22.4) See also J¦va Gosv§m¦’s commentary on the word mayam.) Such differences of perception disappear, however, and the very cause for argument is removed,(See Bh§g. 11.22.6.) when devotees control their senses and fix their intelligence on Krsna. Srila Prabhup§da gave the means to do this: serving in an institution unified under a GBC, and dynamically spreading Lord Caitanya’s mission worldwide — two factors that distinguish ISKCON from other Vai¢£ava organisations. Together, these two provide a unique shelter under which devotees can work in harmony, accepting one another’s difference (srila Prabhupada says, “Now if you want to unite the whole world again under one banner, then this Krsna consciousness movement is theonly …” (Conversation, Delhi, November 25, 1971) )and ultimately resolving them. This is what Srila Prabhupada called “unity in diversity,” (In the Bhagavatam, Prabhupada writes, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entities, the material energy, the spiritual energy and the entire creation are all individual substances. In the ultimate analysis, however, together they constitute the supreme one, the Personality of Godhead. Therefore those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge see unity in diversity.” (Bhag. 6.8.32–33) And in a letter: “The materialist without being able to adjust the varieties and the disagreements makes everything zero. … if we keep Krsna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties. This is called unity in diversity. … if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform.” (Letter, Bombay, October 18, 1973)) an ethos unknown to Vai¢£avas outside ISKCON. They accommodate individual diversity at the expense of unity, while completely missing the wonder of unity in diversity. Such Vaishnavas, when diverging on points of philosophy (which they do), stand only on the strength of their individuality, failing to see answers that unify, seeing only answers that divide. They identify and criticise each other’s (and ISKCON’s) philosophical differences, further straining relationships already strained. Yes, ISKCON’s gurus have differences of opinion among themselves; but they are united in the service of widely spreading Lord Caitanya’s mission under the direction of Srila Prabhupada’s representative, the GBC. Through such allegiance and by Krsna’s mercy, they will find the intelligence to resolve differences and achieve perfection as agents of His Divine Grace.
  18. "Re so called "iskcon gurus" a sad guru is never established by ecclesiastical appointment. The readers are free to read offered material and make up their own minds. Re envy, If the shoe fits otherwise not. The gbc can't re write gaudiya siddhanta re guru and jiva tattva, to suit its management." So it was okay to have a board allowing other gurus to initiate which sridhara maharaj originally suggested and help develop. Narayan maharaj still offered guidance to these gurus 'established by ecclesiastical appointment', saying nothing to them or rejecting them instead encouraging them, until they stopped going to him. So I dont think the problem was guru nominations it was the fact that they stopped recieving siksa from them. Which is justified by srila prabhupadas instructions regarding his god brothers, which i have already quoted from previously. "Shiva Rama Maharaja's assertion that acaryas from other missions are only interested in recruiting from the iskcon membership is simply gbc propaganda. " He does not say "are only interested" in the passage I quoted, throughout his book he does say that some where genuine in offering help. "so you cite gaura govinda maharaja "do not leave iskcon?" ok.... bring him there and i will be sure to see the real iskcon. Now my opinion is neutral, it's up to you the decision.. if you enter in the iskcon building and you find someone like prabhupada or gaura govinda maharaja this is still their iskcon, and if you, outside the iskcon building, find a guru who has the same purity of GGM and SP you have found iskcon " I agree if you find a genuine guru who follows the founder acarya he is a guru in Iskcon which srila prabhupada intended to be and instrument which follows his books as the final law as he is the pre-eminent siksa guru of the intitution he founded. Those who are pure who may be outside the 'Institution' of 'ISKCON' that sril prabhupada founded may regard them selves in ISKCON but its not the 'Instituition' which srila prabhupada set up and inteneded to be the final athority and founder. They have no need to follow him as the final athority. So you can be in iskcon which was founded by srila prabhupada, whose instructions are the final athority, he set up a gbc (which yes makes mistakes) set up an athority structure, and the mood and emphasis on preaching. He also set out instructions in regard to his god brothers. The followers of srila pabhupada may stay under this institution if they believe they have a guidence of a guru who is pure and under the 'institution' that srila prabhupada established obiding by its laws. If however you feel the institution is completely defunct of any pure devotees then yes look outside the Institution Iskcon, and follow that. (This may also be regarded as 'Iskcon' but obviously not the institution of iskcon where srila prabhupada is the pre-eminent siksa guru and his books are the basis, as other gurus do not need to follow the mood and instructions srila prabhupada gave the institution). "As far as I am concerned anyone who accepts disciples when there is a superior Vaisnava present on the planet,(regardless of which institution he comes from) who can actually offer diksa, is committing maryada-vyatikrama." Doubt 7: J¦va Gosv§m¦ states that a guru, who, out of envy, forbids his disciples to take ªik¢§ from a superior Vai¢£ava, should be rejected.Is this not evidence that ISKCON’s gurus should allow their disciples to hear from superior Vai¢£avas at all costs? And, if they do not, does it not mean such gurus are envious, proving their disqualification? And if they are envious, then why should ISKCON devotees not turn to Vai¢£avas outside? Answer: I assume this doubt refers to the vai¢£ava vidve¢¦ cet passage of Bhakti-sandarbha 238. The Sanskrit is vai¢£ava vidveª¦ cet parity§jya eva. “guror api aviliptasye” ti smara£§t, tasya-vai¢£ava-bh§va-r§hityena avai¢£avatay§ ¼r¦la Bhaktisiddh§nta Sarasvati thakura quotes this same verse in the Prak¥ta-jana-ka£¨a of his Brahmana and Vaishnava, introducing it as follows: “If a so-called guru is envious of the Vai¢£avas, then one should reject him, remembering the guror apy avaliptasya verse.” “A so-called guru addicted to sensual pleasure and polluted by vice, who is ignorant and has no power to discriminate between right and wrong, and who follows processes other than pure devotional service must be abandoned.” (Mah§bh§rata, Udyoga-parva 179.25)" He quotes this to support his claim that a “so-called guru” who is envious of Vai¢£avas is a non-devotee: “for their own spiritual welfare his disciples should reject him without hesitation.” Bhaktisiddh§nta Sarasvat¦ çh§kura writes, “If one fails to do so, one will incur sin and deviate from the path of devotion.” Bhaktisiddh§nta Sarasvat¦ çh§kura translates the vaishnava vidveshi cet passage: “Such an envious guru lacks the mood and character of a Vai¢£ava, and ª§stra enjoins one not to accept initiation from a non-devotee (avaishnavopadistena).35 Knowing these scriptural injunctions,a sincere devotee abandons such a false guru. If, after leaving one who lacks the qualities of a true guru, one is without spiritual guidance, his only hope is to seek out a maha-bhagavata Vaishava and serve him. By constantly rendering service to such a pure devotee, one will certainly attain the highest goal of life.” Here srila Jiva Gosvsmi has emphasised the general quality of a guru: he is non-envious. Those who are envious of pure Vaishnavas should be rejected without hesitation; they are neither Vaishavas nor gurus — quite a straightforward instruction. But the interpretation upon which this doubt is based is different by far. It opines that “because gurus who are envious of pure Vaishnavas forbid their disciples to take siksa from those Vaishnavas, therefore every guru who forbids his disciple to take siksa from a pure Vaishnava is necessarily envious and should be rejected.” Such a creative rendition does not at all represent Jiva Gosvswamipada. It is tantamount to saying, “Dogs have four legs; anything with four legs is a dog.” Sorry, that is just bad logic. Applied categorically to every ISKCON guru (which would include srila Prabhupada), it is worse than a dead argument. It demeans ISKCON gurus and srila Prabhupada, and, ironically, it is the very attitude, which, according to Jiva Gosvsmi, is offensive to Vai¢£avas. It is the role of the founder-acarya to define codes of behaviour for his followers and the duty of his follower gurus to be faithful to those codes. When experience has repeatedly proven the dubious integrity of certain Vaishnavas, the founder-acarya cannot be called envious, when, out of wisdom and love, he restrains his followers from taking shelter of them. And when a diksa-guru, out of concern for his disciples and allegiance to the order of his own guru, also forbids his disciples from taking siksa from certain Vai¢£avas, he is simply dutiful, not envious. In fact, srila Prabhupada — whom all those presenting these doubts profess to revere — considered not his disciples, but many Vai¢£avas outside ISKCON, envious of himself,Srila Prabhup§da said, “So these rascals … they are envious that … What he has written? B. Just see what kind of men they are. They are not even ordinary human being. They are envious of me, and what to speak of make a judgment by estimation? They’re envious. Enviousness is immediately disqualification of Vai¢£ava, immediate. He is not a human being.” (Conversation, Johannesburg, October 16, 1975) a Vaishnava of the highest order. In his books Prabhup§da writes, “Unfortunately we are surrounded by neophyte Godbrothers who do not appreciate the extraordinary activities of spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. They simply try to bring us to their platform, and they try to criticize us in every respect.” (The Nectar of Instruction 6, purport) In keeping with the above teachings of Jiva Gosv§m¦ — that those envious of Vai¢£avas should be rejected —Srila Prabhupada did exactly that: he rejected those envious of him. And he indicated that anyone of a like mentality should be similarly rejected. That, then, must be the mood of srila Prabhupada’s bona-fide followers: rather than run to such envious persons for siksa —regardless of their apparently high stature — reject their association. I marvel that this self-evident point seems to escape those who have raised such doubts.
  19. So it boils down to the fact that you believe there is not even one pure devotee in ISKCON. "it is Gaura Govinda Maharaja who legitimated iskcon when he was in this world with him ISKCON was ISKCON" "because some ISKCON gurus have proven themselves disqualified, all ISKCON gurus are disqualified. I would like to voice a note of caution about Vai¢£avas outside who pose themselves as ªik¢§-gurus of ISKCON. Their followers contrast them to ISKCON gurus, promoting them as spiritual luminaries and panaceas for ISKCON’s ills. Yet these Vai¢£avas and their followers seem to do little else than canvas ISKCON’s already converted members. Why do they concentrate on ISKCON alone, neglecting the unlimited conditioned souls who have not heard of K¥¢£a?48 After all, ¼r¦la Prabhup§da described the external sign of spiritual advancement as the ability to convert the fallen to Vai¢£avism." best of luck on your path back home. A fool thinks he knows the puity of every other devotee he has not even met. And therefore claim a whole organisation is bereft of a single pure devotee. It is useless speaking to you on your armchair posting selective lectures implying iskcon is defunct and that the only way is for the gurus to come to your jagat guru, other wise they are all envious. I think instead of concentrating on iskcon guru's envy (As they must be since they are not coming to your guru) and wasting time trying to preach to members of iskcon try to preach to the unlimited souls out there, after all that is why mahaprabhu advented to this world. If your guru is so powerful why doesnt he just create a better world wide mission which prabhupada seeemed to of failed to do as he created a bunch of envious gurus. A fool will brand all envious if they do not agree with him. The leture can also apply to those gm gurus who can not convert as many souls as a single ISKCON guru therefore they bully them into trying to take them as siksa gurus else branded envious. This is hypothetical and a reality that occured during prabhupads time. Before you try judge every member of iskcons purity bear in mind it is impossible to do so with out knowing them. Some of these gurus and even life long bramhacharis and grhstas have done amazing services, Jananivas and pankjangari prabhu, indradyumna maharaj, radhanatha swami, I am a fool, to say I know what platform they are on, but I know they are doing what prabhupada has told them to do, and are on a much higher platform than I can ever imagine, In the same way with out knowing the other GM i would be a fool to say that they are all defunct, i have no idea on there surrender to krishna, even if one pure devotee is produced or even bought to the path of bhakti it is succesful in krishnas eyes. "The second prong of the doubt is the assumption that all ISKCON gurus are fallen. Intellectual integrity begs those making such a claim to provide satisfactory evidence in its support, in the absence of which, such a statement merely burdens an already crowded ether. The argument is an overgeneralisation and not the type generally voiced among charitable Vai¢£avas. ¼r¦la Prabhup§da, as critical as he was of Vai¢£ava groups, rarely questioned the right of others to be guru. As institutional disorder is not the monopoly of ISKCON, nor are fallen gurus. Most Vai¢£ava organisations have a history of deviation and fall-down; therefore it seems unfitting to single out ISKCON.45 In addition, evidence supporting ISKCON’s gurus cannot be ignored. That evidence is the satisfaction ISKCON’s devotees world-wide experience in their gurus’ guidance. Then some may argue, “But these gurus also may fall down!” To this Prabhup§da replied, “No, this argument is not very strong. Just like one foodstuff, freshly made, it is fresh. But if somebody argues that if it remains four days more, it will become bad, that is surmisation. Now it is fresh. We take it fresh. What will happen in future, that is no consideration. In future, everyone may fall and everyone may become elevated. But we have to take his present situation, what he is at present.”46 Is it rational to argue that ¼r¦la Prabhup§da was empowered to spread K¥¢£a consciousness all over the world,but incapable of producing even one qualified disciple to carry on his legacy?47 Hardly! Though the indictment is directed at Prabhup§da’s disciples, it discredits ¼r¦la Prabhup§da as well!"
  20. If your in london by any chance i can give you a copy of both cd and booklet.
  21. You quoted gaura govinda maharaj many times to show that ISKCON should be following and going to narayan maharaj, Here is an article by one of gaura govinda maharaj's diciple and backed by his senior diciples. This is just so you can get the other side of it, not just the side you guys want to propmote. Srila Gour Govinda Swami And Sripad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja -- BY MADHAVANANDA DAS There have been some articles published recently on VNN concerning our revered guru-.-padma Srila Gour Govinda Swami, and many devotees have approached us for clarification. Finding it necessary to respond publicly in order to uphold the prestige of our Guru Maharaja, we therefore take the dust of the lotus feet of all the Vaishnavas, and with straw in our teeth offer the following information. The questions we have been asked are: Q1: Some devotees are saying that Srila Gour Govinda Swami had a meeting with Sripad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. Others are saying that they never met. What is the actual history? Q2: We have also been told that Srila Gour Govinda Swami instructed some of his disciples that after his disappearance they should take shelter of Sripad Narayana Maharaja. Is this a fact? Q3: Some devotees are saying that Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja has now merged into the body of Sripad Narayana Maharaja. Have you found any justification for such a statement? Regarding the first question, we have noted that there are widely conflicting accounts as to when the alleged meeting took place, where it happened, who was there, and what went on. To investigate, we interviewed the devotees who were closest to our Guru Maharaja at the various reported times of the supposed meeting (1993, 1994 and 1995 according to different versions). We also went over our Guru Maharaja’s diaries from those periods (in which he daily recorded details about all of his activities), we spoke to his personal servants, and we listened to the tapes from those periods. From these authoritative sources, to this day we have not been able to substantiate any part of any of the various stories. But in any case, even if such a meeting had occurred, we would not consider it relevant. Our Guru Maharaja may have met many people. The sastric injunction (Bhag. 10.33.30) is that a great personality may do many things, but we should not imitate him—naitat samacarej jatu manasapi hy anisvarah. Rather than imitate we should follow his instructions, and since our Guru Maharaja never mentioned the meeting to any of us we do not consider it to be a very relevant fact in our spiritual lives. Regarding the second question, we have spoken to nearly every disciple of our Guru Maharaja, and not a single one has reported that he or she was told by him to go for shelter to Sripad Narayana Maharaja. The only comments we have found from our Guru Maharaja regarding this issue have been ones like the following. We quote them unedited, with clarifying explanations in brackets. The first is from April 1995: They [some senior devotees] are going to Narayana Maharaja. They came to me. I said, "You committed wrong. They [others in general] cannot understand these things, so they [the activities] create disturbance." They [some senior devotees] said at last, "Yes. What you say is true." Last time at the end of GBC meeting they came to me and said, "Yes, Maharaja. What you have said is true." I said, "I told you in the beginning you committed wrong. We are in a society. Some cannot understand. So if you want to take siksa from an advanced devotee, do it secretly, don't expose it." But they exposed. The people cannot understand because this question of adhikara is there. They have no adhikara, how can they understand rasika-bhakti? Raganuga-bhakti? "If you are doing you should do it secretly. Nobody should know it. But you didn't do it secretly. Publicly you did, so these things [disturbances] come, and it is quite natural." At last they said, "What you have said is correct." [Darsana with Srila Gour Govinda Swami 18/4/95] Furthermore, from the tapes of our Guru Maharaja and from the devotees who lived with him we find a very clear indication that he was always strongly against devotees leaving the mission of his guru, Srila Prabhupada. He tolerated and served in ISKCON out of devotion to Srila Prabhupada, not out of any mundane party spirit or institutional fanaticism. He always saw ISKCON as the seva/sanga of Srila Prabhupada. The following excerpt from an evening darsana in 1989 is typical of his attitude on this subject: Parabrahma Das: You said we should always seek the association of advanced devotees. When Srila Prabhupada left the planet some of his disciples took shelter of.... Srila Gour Govinda Swami: Thereby they committed a mistake. PD: Who committed a mistake? SGGS: They left Prabhupada’s mission. For the clarification of philosophical doubt or [to] accept some siksa from him [one may visit]. But why do you leave? PD: Some people took shelter of ... and naturally because he was giving some instruction they became attached to him, and also accepted him as guru, siksa-guru. But because of this it seems that [some of the leaders of] our society [iSKCON] rejected them rather than they rejected our society, in some cases. SGGS: Why should they leave ISKCON? PD: Some people... I spoke to one devotee who had taken shelter of... and he said that his life was made very difficult within ISKCON and he could no longer preach, he was so restricted. Therefore in order to preach he left ISKCON. SGGS: What difficulty is there! Preaching the mission of Gauranga Mahaprabhu? Mahaprabhu says, "I will help you... I assure you I’ll protect you, I’ll help you. You’ll never be affected by maya." [if] you have no faith in Gauranga Mahaprabhu, then you’ll be put into difficulties. Understand? They have no faith in Gauranga Mahaprabhu, so they faced difficulties. Don’t be afraid of problems. Krishna is there. His representative, guru is there. They are always with you. Do you understand? They are always prepared to help you. And these dangers, these problems, difficulties, will help you to become fixed. Do you understand? To become fixed. So they [the problems] are welcome. [20/11/89 BBSR] As far as the third question is concerned, even if such an event as a departed Vaishnava merging into the body of another Vaishnava is ontologically possible, as tiny baddha-jivas we have no ability to perceive such events, and hence we could only speculate about the authenticity of the statement. However, if it were true that our Guru Maharaja entered the body of Narayana Maharaja then it would be reasonable to assume that the teachings of Sripad Narayana Maharaja would not differ in any significant way from those of our Gurudeva. We have found that in most areas Sripad Narayana Maharaja speaks in a similar way to our Gurudeva. Yet we have also found some differences we consider significant. To cite one of several differences: Iiiin the Rays of the Harmonist magazine Vol. III 1999, in an article entitled "Vrsabhanu-Nandini", Sripad Narayana Maharaja describes Puri Dhama as being equivalent to Dwarka and on a spiritual platform less than Vrindavan and Nabadwip. He describes the pastimes of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Puri as being full of opulence and on a lower level than His pastimes in Nabadwip. Our Guru Maharaja’s conception is quite different. Quoting from Vaisnava-tantra and Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Brhad-bhagavatamrta, he repeatedly established that Puri is non-different from Vrindavan. He also taught that Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Puri were the topmost part of gaura-lila. We quote from The Embankment of Separation: "This lila [of Mahaprabhu] is like an unlimited ocean. That ocean swells up, and the topmost swelling is there in Purusottama Ksetra [Jagannatha Puri] because Mahaprabhu manifested His antya-lila in Jagannatha Puri Dhama." (Pocket edition p.48-49) "Jagannatha Puri Dhama is known as Sri Ksetra. Sri Devi is the svarupa-sakti, Krishna’s internal potency. Therefore, that dhama which is glorified by the presence of the sri-sakti is known as Sri Ksetra. Sri means sarva-laksmi mayi amsini radhika, Srimati Radhika, Who is the source of all saktis. ... Therefore, those who are followers or devotees of madhurya-rasa can see that Sri Ksetra is the ksetra in which Radharani’s madhurya-rasa is manifested. Only such madhurya-rasa bhaktas can see it; others cannot. That is why Jagannatha Puri is known as Sri Ksetra." (Pocket edition p.78) The topic of Puri dhama was very dear to our Guru Maharaja, so much so that in 1996 while describing the esoteric non-different nature of Puri and Vrindavan he displayed various symptoms of ecstasy and left his body. This information should be sufficient to resolve any doubts in the minds and hearts of the devotees. Our purpose in presenting it is not to quarrel with anyone, we have simply tried to present the facts as we have found them in an honest way. In presenting this topic if we have somehow unintentionally disappointed or offended anyone we beg their forgiveness. As Maharaja Rahugana said to Jada Bharata: naham visanke sura-raja-vajran na tryaksa-sulan na yamasya dandat nagny-arka-somanila-vittapastrac chanke bhrsam brahma-kulavamanat "My dear sir, I am not at all afraid of the thunderbolt of King Indra, nor am I afraid of the serpentine, piercing, trident of Lord Siva. I do not care about the punishment of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, nor am I afraid of fire, scorching sun, moon, wind, nor the weapons of Kuvera. Yet I am afraid of offending a brahmana. I am very much afraid of this." Bhag. 5.10.17 Wholehearted support and agreement for the publication of this article has been offered by the following senior disciples of Srila Gour Govinda Swami: Srimat Sacinandana Das; Srimad Atmarama Das; and Srimac Caitanya Candra Das.
  22. There is a booklet written by a mataji, its called something like 'learn easy harmonium chords' or something like that, I bought mine from ISKCON radhadesha, it comes with a cd so you also know the tune. Its very good.
  23. Ive heard that while srila prabhupada and his diciples were flying over the himalayas prabhupada pointed out a gold montain, however none of his disciples were able to see it. Probably relates to the 3 levels of himalayas you just pointed out
  24. Diary of a Traveling Preacher Volume 5, Chapter 28 By Indradyumna Swami Posted October 20, 2004 September 25 - October 15, 2004 "Blood Brothers" As I continued my travels throughout Russia, crisscrossing from city to city, I wrote to my astrologer friend, who had warned me not to set foot in the country at that time. I told him I had not experienced any life-threatening situations apart from the usual austerities in traveling. His reply came quickly: Indradyumna Swami "It is a six-week transit, from September 16 to November 1. The final weeks will be the most difficult. Let me remind you, it is not a time to be traveling, while Mars is in your eighth house." But what choice does a traveling preacher have? He cannot pick and choose auspicious times and places to preach. He must go where duty calls, following the order of guru and Gauranga. And if danger should befall him, it should serve to make him more renounced and determined to free himself from the cycle of birth and death. Most important, it should help him to become dependent on the Lord. "It is the duty of a mendicant to experience all varieties of God's creation by traveling alone through all forests, hills, towns, villages, etc., to gain faith in God and strength of mind as well as to enlighten the inhabitants with the message of God. A sannyasi is duty-bound to take all these risks without fear, and the most typical sannyasi of the present age is Lord Caitanya, who traveled in the same manner through the central Indian jungles, enlightening even the tigers, bears, snakes, deer, elephants and many other jungle animals." [srimad Bhagavatam 1.6.13 purport] Nevertheless I wasn't inclined to throw caution to the winds, so when I boarded a midnight flight from Yekaterinburg to Samara, I chanted a mantra from the Narayana Kavaca, which I sing daily in the worship of my Nrsimha Salagrama-Sila: srivatsa-dhamapara-ratra isah pratyusa iso 'si-dharo janardanah damodaro 'vyad anusandhyam prabhate visvesvaro bhagavan kala-murtih "May the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who bears the Srivatsa on His chest, protect me after midnight until the sky becomes pinkish. May Lord Janardana, who carries a sword in His hand, protect me at the end of night [during the last four ghatikas of night]. May Lord Damodara protect me in the early morning, and may Lord Visvesvara protect me during the junctions of day and night." [srimad Bhagavatam 6.8.22] After we landed and picked up our luggage, I found that one of my bags had been broken into. Several things were missing, none of great importance. And the thieves had played a joke by leaving an empty cigarette pack inside. Jananivasa was alarmed at the theft, but I just laughed. It was the least of what could have happened to us, considering the bad astrological period I was in. "More than likely," I told him, "the mantra minimized the effect of the stars." I had last visited Samara seven years ago, and I was pleased to find the temple in good condition and the devotees happy. It is to the credit of temple presidents in our movement that they are able to maintain their centers year after year. It takes a balance of sound management, good finances, purity, and preaching. Even if one cannot expand the preaching in a temple, Srila Prabhupada considered maintaining the status quo as creditable. "At least maintain what I have done," he told the GBC before his departure. My own service in visiting temples is to enliven the devotees, and during my short stay in Samara I tried my best by leading kirtans and giving classes. I also tried to meet and help as many devotees as possible. Often in my travels, devotees come to me with problems. While in transit, I cannot always resolve problems in a few minutes or hours, and sometimes all I can do is encourage devotees to maintain their faith by taking shelter in the holy names. During a darshan in Samara, I spoke with a couple who had an unusual problem. The wife had been my initiated disciple for many years, but her husband, although an aspiring disciple, had not yet taken initiation. After speaking with them for several minutes, I could tell he was a sincere person, so I asked why he not taken that important step. "I cannot bear the thought of your having to accept my karma," he said. "Accepting karma is one of the duties of an initiating guru," I replied. He became silent. Then his wife spoke up. "My husband feels he was particularly sinful before becoming a devotee," she said. "How is that?" I asked. "I was in the Russian Mafia," he said softly. Yet he seemed such a gentle soul. No doubt the process of Krsna consciousness had purified him through the years. "You carried a weapon?" I asked. "Yes," he said, "a sawed-off shotgun." "Did you ever use it?" I asked. He looked down at the floor and said nothing. I decided to change the conversation. "But how does a Mafia man become a devotee of the Lord?" I asked. Jananivasa spoke up. "I know another one of your disciples who was in the Mafia, Srila Gurudeva. He told me that he and his friend became interested in Krsna consciousness when they learned that the God we worship was born in a jail, was an excellent fighter, and danced with other men's wives." Everyone started to laugh, but I felt it my duty to clarify his statement so as not to dishonor the Lord. "Yes," I said, "Krsna appeared in jail, but He was not forced to take birth like an ordinary man. He came out of His own sweet will. His fighting served to liberate even those He killed, and because Krsna creates all living entities, there's no possibility that anything He enjoys could belong to another man." I again asked my prospective disciple, how he became a devotee. I knew that in the mafia a man is duty bound to a code of honor never to leave. One reason is that he may share confidential knowledge of the Mafia's dealings with others. Death is usually the punishment for trying to escape from the Mafia. He looked up slowly. "I didn't leave the Mafia," he said. "They left me." "They left you?" I asked. "Yes," he said. "In time, every man in my group was either killed or arrested. I was the only one left. I was depressed, and I was going to take my own life when one day my brother dragged me to the local Hare Krsna temple and left me on the doorstep. The devotees took me in and were kind to me. Gradually I realized my good fortune in being there. Finally I surrendered and became a devotee myself." When the darsan ended they got up to leave. As they turned to go, the man's wife prodded him. Finally he looked at me with a humble gesture. "Srila Gurudeva," he said, "will you initiate me?" I looked over at my Nsrimha-Salagram Sila on a throne nearby. I meditated on His transcendental form and considered my disciple's request. "Yes," I replied softly. durgesv atavy-aji-mukhadisu prabhuh payan nrsimho 'sura-yuthaparih vimuncato yasya mahatta-hasam diso vinedur nyapatams ca garbhah "May Lord Nrsimhadeva, who appeared as the enemy of Hiranyakasipu, protect me in all directions. His loud laughing vibrated in all directions and caused the pregnant wives of the asuras to have miscarriages. May that Lord be kind enough to protect me in difficult places like the forest and battlefront." [srimad Bhagavatam 6.8.14] While checking in for our flight to St. Petersburg the next day, I noticed some commotion and shouting at one of the check-in counters. I asked Jananinvasa to see what was happening. When he returned he said he couldn't get close enough to see, but he added that tension in airports across the country was high because two planes flying out of Moscow recently were blown up in midair by Chechen terrorists. Newspapers were calling the anxiety in the airports "flying hysteria." "Yesterday in Moscow passengers themselves physically threw three Chechen women off a flight before it took off," Jananivasa said. "In another instance a pilot himself forcibly took two Chechen men off his plane even though they'd passed all the strict security checks." "That kind of thing would never happen in America," I said. "There's strict control at the airports, but the pilots and the passengers don't take the law into their own hands." "This is not America," Jananivasa said. "It's Russia." A few days later, I was reminded of people taking the law into their own hands. I was meeting with a family of disciples, during a large festival for devotees in Divnomorsk, in southern Russia. They were from Vladikavkaz, a town a few kilometers from Beslan, where Chechen terrorists had recently held over 1,000 children and teachers hostage in a school for three days. The terrorists and hostages were holed up in a gymnasium, and the terrorists hung explosives on the basketball hoops. On the third day, one of the bombs accidentally fell and exploded causing the ceiling of the gym to collapse. Many teachers and children were killed. The official story was that when some children began to flee, Russian security forces stormed the building. According to my disciples, however, most of the security forces were elsewhere at the time and it was the townspeople, armed with guns, who stormed the school. In the ensuing crossfire many children and their parents were killed, including several friends of my disciples. "Every second house in the region is affected," a disciple said. "Even now, the wailing of those in grief can be heard throughout the many towns and villages in our region." They went on to describe the carnage and the suffering of their friends and neighbors afterwards. I could see it had deeply affected them, so at the opportune moment I quoted a few verses from Bhagavad-gita about the temporary nature of life. Then I spoke on the urgency for spreading Krsna consciousness. Because of our discussion and the graphic details of the siege, I was especially sober the rest of the day. Coming within several hundred kilometers of the tragedy and meeting people who were directly touched by it had a deep effect on me. For several days afterwards, I found myself speaking more about the miseries of material existence than the joy of the spiritual world. During a question-and-answer session, a devotee raised her hand and asked if I could say something about the spiritual world. "What's the use?" I answered. "As long as we think we can be happy in this material world, we'll never understand the pastimes of the spiritual world." Then I proceeded to speak more about material existence. But as the festival went on, my mood lightened up from the association with the devotees, the blissful kirtans, and the lighter moments. At an initiation ceremony the day before I left Divnomorsk, a woman in her 80s, whose daughter and grandchildren were my initiated disciples, was taking her vows before me. After she promised to follow the four regulative principles, I asked her how many rounds she would chant every day. She looked to the sky. "I promise to chant 16 rounds," she said and made the sign of the cross over her chest with her right hand. I smiled. I could appreciate how a lifetime of piety had culminated in her initiation into the holy names. Later that day I was speaking with a large group of devotees in my room. I turned to a family who came from a predominately Muslim area and had previously practiced Islam. "What are your spiritual names?" I asked. "My name is Madira dasi," said the mother. "My name is Nimai das," said the older boy. "My name is Visnu Priya dasi," said the older daughter. "My name is Lalita dasi," said the younger daughter. Then the youngest child, a six-year-old boy, stood up. "My name is Mohammed," he said proudly. Everyone looked at his mother. She blushed and then smiled. "It's his legal name," she said. "His spiritual name is Vrindavan das." From Divnomorsk, I flew 19 hours to Vladivostok on the eastern coast of Russia. Despite the city's remoteness from the rest of the country, I immediately noticed how, like much of Russia, it had made significant progress since my last visit three years ago. Except for a few Russian-made cars —Ladas— most people were driving foreign cars. There were plans to open major hypermarkets like Auchun, Leroy Merlin, and Ikea. And here, like everywhere else I had been in Russia, the young people wore the latest fashions. Of course such changes bring the drawbacks of material progress as well. Devotees confirmed that in the past 10 years, crime, violence, and drug use had increased to alarming rates throughout the country. I could not help smiling when I heard that the government had taken unusual steps to fight the degradation. For example, throughout the country no advertisement is allowed for beer or liquor on television from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. And for the past three months, anyone caught swearing in the region of Belogorod, on the western side of Russia, faces a hefty fine of 500 to 1,500 rubles ($17 to $51 dollars ) or up to 15 days in jail. Parents of offenders under 16 can also be penalized. A total of 2,490 people have already been fined, most of them under 30, since police began cracking down on obscenities during the last three months, and more than half a million rubles have been collected. The amount of the fine varies with the offense. It's worse if you swear in front of children or the elderly or in a place with many people, although no one has sworn badly enough to go to jail ... yet. After spending three days with the 100 devotees and congregation members of the Vladivostok temple, I went to Krasnoyarsk, in far eastern Siberia, for the last stop on my one-month tour. Of all the places I would visit in Russia this time, Krasnoyarsk was the city I most looked forward to. It had been almost three years since I had been there, and I wanted to see a Gypsy community where I had held a program during my last visit. I was curious about whether the people there had taken up Krsna consciousness. At the time, the local devotees doubted they ever would. As we were collecting our luggage after the flight, I saw a group of devotees waiting for us outside. One man in particular caught my attention. He was dark skinned with black hair and a black mustache, and he wore a heavy, dark coat, typical of the Gypsies. I remembered him. It was Alexander, one of the more enthusiastic Gypsies at the program I had held. As we left the terminal, he came forward and took my bag. We exchanged greetings, and he led us to his car. "I will be your driver while you are in Krasnoyarsk," he said with a proud smile. "Oh," I said, "very nice." As we drove into the city I asked him about the other Gypsy men who had attended the program. He paused a moment. "Some are dead," he answered, "and most of the rest are in prison." Thanks and appreciation from dipika.org to our sponsor and host, Jananivasa turned to me. "Drugs and criminal activity," he said quietly. "I'm sorry to hear that," I said. Alexander smiled. "But our leader is well and eager to meet you," he said. "He still has the garland you gave him three years ago." "Oh that's wonderful," I said. "Please convey my greetings to him." "You can do that yourself tomorrow," Alexander said. "We've arranged another program for you at the gypsy village," said my disciple Guru Vrata, the temple president in Krasnoyarsk. "Is that okay?" "It's more than okay," I answered. "It's exactly what I prayed for." But when I thought of the doubts expressed by the local devotees after the gypsy program last time, I wondered whether returning to their village would be worth the trouble. I turned to Alexander. "Alexander," I said, "do you chant Hare Krsna?" He gave me another big smile. "Sixteen rounds a day, Guru Maharaja," he said. The next day we drove through the hills surrounding Krasnoyarsk out to the Gypsy village. I could see that it wasn't a normal Russian town. The dirt streets were full of holes and most of the houses were in need of repair. Children played here and there, but when they saw our car, they scurried into their homes and watched us with suspicion from behind glass windows. "Just like the last time I came here," I thought. The program was to be at the same home as the last time. As we got out of the car, I remembered the somber atmosphere inside—dimly lit rooms, thick dirty rugs, old paintings of Gypsy history, and the sound of Gypsy music coming from a tape recorder. I closed my eyes and chanted softly, mentally preparing myself to tolerate the darkness and ignorance. But Lord Caitanya had a surprise waiting for me. "Guru Maharaja," said Alexander, "welcome to my home." "Oh?" I said. "This house is yours?" Alexander opened the door, and immediately his family members and several other Gypsies broke into a melodious kirtan, accompanied with mrdangas and kartalas. I looked around. The whole house had been transformed. The walls were newly papered in a gentle off-white color, the rugs had been removed, and the wooden floors had been sanded and varnished. The room was well lit with bright chandeliers, and there were beautiful paintings of Krsna's pastimes on the walls. I felt as if I were entering Vaikuntha. The crowd of enthusiastic Gypsy devotees escorted me upstairs to a room that had a beautiful altar with a framed picture of Panca Tattva. As we entered the room everyone dived enthusiastically to floor and offered obeisances. "What amazing devotion!" I thought, and I bowed down slowly, all the while watching the scene unfold before me. They led me to a big chair, sat me down, and garlanded me. Then they brought the kirtan to a close. In the excitement I hadn't noticed a group of 10 or 12 older Gypsy men, obviously village elders, seated around the room, looking at me suspiciously. When two of them smiled slightly, I remembered them from my last visit. The others however were yet to be convinced that I had come to their village for a good reason. Alexander spoke. "We're very honored to have Guru Maharaja come to our home," he said. "Although he is busy traveling all over the world, he has kindly agreed to visit our village again." "Yes!" shouted one of the elders, "And you invited him! You're the black sheep among us!" The atmosphere was tense. Then another elder spoke up. "Is your message more appreciated in some places than in others?" he asked. I wasn't sure whether his question was sarcastic or not, but I answered him anyway. "Generally," I said, "I find our message is more appreciated where people are in difficulty. In such conditions they are under no illusion about the temporary miserable nature of the world and they are eager to hear about God." A one-armed man in a black jacket spoke up. "Are you accepted everywhere you go?" he asked. "Not always," I answered. "People are often afraid of what they don't know. Just you like you Gypsy people. You are often misunderstood as well." That broke the ice. They all nodded in agreement. Now we had something in common. "How do you deal with that misunderstanding?" asked another man in a more respectful tone. "We're not shy about letting people know who we are," I said. "We're happy to share our singing, dancing, and food." A man with a doubtful expression spoke up. "Would you be willing to watch our singing and dancing?" he asked. "Or is this just a Hare Krsna program?" All eyes were on me. "I am a guest in your village," I said. "I'd be honored to see your culture." Suddenly there was a shout. "Vyacheslav is here!" someone called out, and the leader of the Gypsies walked in. Everyone immediately stood up out of respect. His status as a leader was made even more apparent by his large stature and prominent dark mustache. The atmosphere became tense again, and no one seemed to know exactly what to do. I smiled and approached Vyacheslav with open arms. He also smiled and opened his arms. We hugged each other tightly for a long time. Then we stood facing each other, hand in hand. "I still have the garland you gave me three years ago," he said. "Yes," I said. "I know. Your people told me." "It shines with the warmth of your last visit," he said. Out of the corner of my eye I saw surprised looks on the faces of the newly come elders. "Come," he said, "be seated." "No," I said, "you first." I took him by his hand and sat him respectfully in a seat near mine. "People don't always show us such respect," said one of the elders. "That's because you are thieves," said Vyacheslav with a loud laugh. Everyone burst out laughing. "Krishna was also a thief," I said. The elders raised their eyebrows. "But your stealing brings grief to others. Krsna's stealing butter brings happiness to His devotees, who like to see his childish pranks." Again there was laughter. "Personally," I said, "I prefer to appreciate your good qualities rather than dwell on the bad." Now the ice had completely melted. "You see good qualities in us?" someone asked. "Yes, of course," I said. "For example you have invited me back to your village and received me well. And like everyone in the world, in your heart of hearts, you are all devotees of God. You've just gone astray, that's all." No one disagreed. "Then we'll show you our Gypsy culture," a man said. "Yes," I said, "I want to see it." Several of the men shouted for a boy to come forward. The boy seemed to jump out of nowhere into the center of the room and began doing a Gypsy dance. He was talented, and he had everyone's attention, including mine. When he finished, the men told him to sing, and he began. It seemed to me that I had never heard such a sweet and lovely voice in my whole life. When he finished, I asked him to sing again. The elders looked pleased at my request, and one of them gave me a thumbs-up. After the second song, the boy sat down near the elders, and they all patted him on the back. Suddenly, another boy, a little younger, turned to the first boy and spoke up. "You sing beautifully," he said, "but if you were to sing Hare Krsna, it would be perfect." You could have heard a pin drop. Everyone sat there, amazed. Then the second boy closed his eyes and began singing Hare Krsna, also with a beautiful voice. His singing filled the entire room, and everyone seemed touched, even the elders. When he finished, he opened his eyes and looked at the first boy. "You see?" he said. "Now you chant." The first boy hesitated. "Chant!" said the younger one. "Follow me!" The younger one began singing Hare Krsna again, and soon the boy with the golden voice began singing with him. The elders smiled at their duet. Then the first boy turned to me. "Will you please give me a spiritual name?" he said. I looked at the elders. They nodded in approval. I thought for a moment. "Yes," I said, "you can be called Gandharva das, the angel with the honey-coated voice." Everyone applauded. Then I took my harmonium and began chanting Hare Krsna. Several devotees picked up instruments and accompanied me, and within a few moments the elders began clapping. A few of them chanted along. Vyacheslav sat there with a big smile on his face. After bringing the kirtan to a close, I invited everyone to take prasadam. "How shall we sit?" I asked our host. "We shall all sit together in a circle," said Alexander. "That is our custom." "And ours too," I said. As the prasadam was being served, I told the devotees not to begin eating until Vyacheslav had taken his first bite. The elders looked at me and then nodded to each other in appreciation. And did those men eat! It seemed I had only just begun when they had already finished. After discussing Krsna-conscious philosophy with them for over an hour, I got up to go. Everyone respectfully stood up. I went into the bathroom, and after washing up, I came back into the room. Vyacheslav, surrounded by the other elders, gave me a big hug. Then he grabbed my shoulders. "We are brothers," he said. "Blood brothers," I said. He smiled. "Yes," he said, "blood brothers." Then he reached into his pocket, took out a large wad of money, and slapped into my hand. "Thank you for what you have done for us," he said. Then he turned to Alexander, the black sheep, and took both of Alexander's hands in his own, a Gypsy custom for showing one's trust in another. "Thank you for inviting them," he said. Then Vyacheslav and the other elders escorted me outside to my car. Just as I was about to get in, Vyacheslav asked a devotee to take a photo of us all together. "To remember you," he said to me. I got into the car, and we drove away. As I turned around in my seat for a last look at my Gypsy friends, I saw Vyacheslav and the elders standing respectfully, the palms of their hands joined together. I closed my eyes and silently prayed: "My dear Lord Caitanya, please be kind and give these fallen souls Your mercy." jive purnodaya yatah karunaya ha ha ravair prarthanam he he krsna krpa-nidhe bhava maha davagni dagdhan janan trahi trahi mahaprabho sva krpaya bhaktim ni jam dehy alam maivam gaura harih sada prakurute dinaka-nathah prabhuh "Having extended His mercy to the living entities beyond what He had ever given before, Gaura Hari, the only Lord and refuge for the wretched, called out with a prayerful plea, 'Hey Krsna! O ocean of Mercy! Protect! Please protect these people! O my master! They are burning in the great forest fire of birth and death. O ocean of mercy, kindly bestow Your service upon them.'" [srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Susloka-Satakam, verse 63] indradyumna.swami@pamho.net www.traveling-preacher.com Official website for Diary of a Traveling Preacher
  25. Actually the point i made was something i learnt last week from a talk given in London to ISKCON youth and leadership, Its true the relationships should become more personal, due to all the past mistakes I see alot of openess now as the lid can not be shut by anyone now, which is a good thing. Openess in these issues which promotes discussion will only start to strengthen the society for the future.
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