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  1. Hare Krishna Ramjee, On a basic level, 'Hare', as one of the three names uttered in the maha-mantra, is the vocative case of 'Hari', which is another name of Sri Krishna, meaning "He who takes away", or as the vocative the case of 'Hara', which stands for the pleasure potency or hladini-sakti of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. That hladini-sakti is Srimati Radharani and, quoting from sruti-sastra: There are also countless meditative explanations given by the great acaryas coming in line from Supreme Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for this as well as the other Names as they appear in the maha-mantra, and as the Names of Supreme Lord are non-different from Supreme Lord, and since the Lord is infinite, so we must understand that the definitions and explanations of His Names are equally infinite, so this is but a tiny sample. In Brahmanda Purana we find the following statement for example: Should you desire to know more, I would refer you to the booklet called "Sri Hari-nama Maha-mantra," by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, which is where the above quoted sections are coming from. It gives the reader a very clear definition of the Maha-mantra and all of its aspects. You can download the PDF for free on the official website, so it should be no trouble, although paying for the book will gain you sukrti I hope this has satisfied your query. In service, Haribol!
  2. Dandavat Pranam, The disputed comment of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana’s Govinda Bhasya – Sri Vedanta Sutra is found in adhikarana 8. Let us review sutras 37 and 38 of that chapter: In other words, had the critiquing party actually properly understood the purports of Sri Vidyahbushana’s bhasya, they would have spared themselves the embarrassment of toting the words of Baladeva Vidyabhushana and presenting them as evidence for their hopeless case, as in fact his words actually prove the proper conclusion; namely that one’s qualities determines one’s class, not ones birth. Checking the purport of sutra 37 with sutra 38 we can conclude that a true sudra is one who actually possesses the qualities of a sudra, not that a true sudra is one who is born into a family of sudras. Jabala's reply to Gautama would in those days have been considered to be quite embarrassing, yet by dint of his honest answer Gautama could determine his caste (in other words, not by his birth). When we look for reference in the scriptures what qualities a brahmana possesses we can determine who is a brahmana or not. If that wasn’t enough, Baladeva Vidyabhushana’s guru, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura did not himself write a bhasya on Vedanta as he understood that the Srimad Bhagavatam was the natural commentary to the Vedanta. That automatically means he accepted the truth of this verse: Thus, since Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur accepted this fact, what to speak of his disciple Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana? Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur in his Jaiva Dharma(ch.6.p.131) mentions: “Pure Vaishnavas can study the Vedas no matter what caste they are born into, and it is practically observed that they do so.” Why quote this text, since it is not pramana? Presenting these words in relation to sutra 38, we can conclude that an actual Sudra is simply unable to study the Vedas as a result of his nature, whereas practical experience shows us that there are those who, though born even outside of the four varnas, what to speak of sudra level, have had and still have the capacity to study the Vedas. Therefore, even though born as mlecchas, by their inherent qualities and capacity to study the Vedas they have proven themselves to be no mlecchas. Who is an actual brahmana can simply be observed by the definition given in Shastra, it is not a definition that cannot be determined by any outside source. Often the objection is then given, “Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami had given so many unqualified people the Brahmana initiation, so that means that he couldn’t detect the qualities of a true Brahmana. Hence your statement that the qualities of a brahmana can be observed and proven by an outside source have been proven false.” To this we can say: The motivations of a pure devotee are hard to fathom, especially for non-devotees. Thus they will be unable to understand why Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami gave brahmana initiation to unqualified persons. This question was also once posed to Bhaktivedanta Swami’s gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, who answered something along the line of: “At least they will have had this purifying impression of pious life, for however long it lasted, that will be to their eternal benefit.” The pure devotee always thinks of how he can really benefit the fallen souls of this world. Building hospitals is a very good and pious act, but it does not deliver us from this samsara, whereas the pious impressions, obtained among other things by following the brahmana standard, given to us by these benevolent masters are incomparably great and to our eternal benefit. In other words, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj knew very well that he was giving brahmana initiation to some unqualified persons, yet he still gave the initiations just as his spiritual master before him had done. But Bhaktivedanta Swami also had other reasons. He had a mission to fulfill. That mission could not wait until all qualified persons had gathered at his lotus feet. He wanted to imbue the whole world with Krishna bhakti. And he succeeded. He arrived in the U.S.A with only a few rupees and in a short time he managed to successfully establish a world-wide organization, a foundation and shelter for sincere spiritual seekers world-wide, and the maha mantra resounded everywhere, as predicted by Mahaprabhu and as per the desire of his gurudeva. Such a large scale succesful operation inevitably attracts some crows who enter with their personal agendas. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj was well aware of this, as he endearingly told his intimate friend Srila Narayan Maharaj before his divine departure: "I have caught so many monkeys in my net, they are expert in quarreling among themselves like that. They are still very young and untrained. I request that you take care of them after my departure." It is undeniable that there have been some horrible scandals and guru downfalls within the organization, but in light of the earlier reasons mentioned, they are but spots on the sun. Besides, these 'guru downfalls' show that eventually those devotees who have overzealously moved ahead of themselves will automatically be positioned in their correct adikhara. There is no real loss here. (btw, I’m not an congregational member of ISKCON, so I’m no 'ISKCON apologist') It should be noted that for their own benefit, a devotee who has not attained the topmost stage should not focus on the spots of the sun. Not out of sheer negligence or naïve refusal to see wrongdoings, but in light of the following verse of the Bhagavad Gita(9.30): This instruction for us means that we should leave the criticism and reproaching to the pure devotee, the bona fide guru, as any other person is unqualified to criticize and correct another devotee, however faulty his actions may be. Should there be anything wrong or improper, the devotee should report this to his guru, not start faultfinding and criticizing the wrong-doers, as that is destructive to one’s own bhakti. The pure devotee will not incur any repercussions, due to being situated on the perfect platform, but the devotee on any other level will, that is why we should simply praise their good deeds. In my opinion, ALL ISKCON pioneers should be praised for their endeavours in helping Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami. If I start criticizing them for their shortcomings, that will be to my detriment only. Right, back to the topic at hand: Especially note how the verse says guna(quality) and not janma(birth). So it may be that one has all the qualities of a brahmana, but due to his karma he is born into a family of mlecchas. There is no contradiction in this. Haridas Thakura, who is Brahmaji, even deliberately took birth in a muslim family, so that he in all his pride would not make the same mistake again of committing an offense to the lotus feet of the Lord. So in this way, an indication is given that being born in a brahmana family can even be dangerous, as pride of caste may overtake and ruin any spiritual inclination. Another example is given by Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Haridas Thakura. Even if you don’t accept Mahaprabhu as God, and for argument’s sake look at both personalities from a mundane perspective, He, being born in a brahmana family held in the highest regard the 'yavana' muslim Haridas Thakura, and even personally carried his dead body in His arms and put the body of the 'untouchable' muslim under the sand on the beach of Puri. Even though they both knew who they really were, Mahaprabhu has shown by this pastime that it is a person's qualities that determine his caste, not his birth. The problem with most criticism against Gaudiya Vaishnavism is often found in the opposing party’s failure to recognize the divinity of Mahaprabhu as an bona fide Avatara of the Supreme Lord. This failure invitably leads to Vaishnava Aparadha and that in turn leads to a hellish mentality and spiritual death. Now Skanda Purana mentions, “kalau sudra sambhavah”: “In Kali Yuga, everyone is born a sudra.” In other words in Kali Yuga everyone is to be deemed unqualified in terms of birth. However, by dint of sadhu sanga and the chanting of holy name Maha Mantra, one can rise above one’s unfortunate position and become a qualified Vaishnava, what to speak of brahmana, which is of lower status. If one is a Vaishnava then automatically one is a brahmana, because all the qualities of a true brahmana are inherent in the true Vaishnava. This is not a 'Gaudiya concoction' as it is corroborated in S.B. 7.9.10: Another objection can be made after contemplating these verses, and notably to the verse quoted above: “If the Vaishnava is superior to the brahmana, and the brahmana initiation is actually unnecessary for chanting the maha mantra, then why do Gaudiya Vaishnavas even bother with it?” The first answer has already been given earlier; to create pious impressions on the jiva soul. The second answer is that there are two paths in bhakti yoga: Raganuga bhakti and Vaidhi bhakti. Raganuga bhakti means there is spontaneous devotion. This means the rare person who is eligible for this path does not have to undergo these brahminical samskaras, nor adhere to any specific rules and regulations. Most things he will follow automatically, out of taste. However, generally most people are not eligible for this path of bhakti, and that means they are qualified to follow vaidhi bhakti. That entails that they have to perform bhakti according to Vedic injunctions. In this way, becoming an initiated brahmana means it is a helpful and necessary tool on their path of bhakti. By becoming a twice-born brahmana, it becomes possible for the aspirant to perform deity worship, which is a very helpful means to learn how to perform service to the Supreme Lord. In this way the upanayana samskara is very helpful for the progress of the vaidhi bhakta Furthermore he can be given the pancha samskara which is confirmed to stimulate one's endeavours on the path of bhakti. The following quote is mentioned in Padma Purana and quoted from the book, “Of love and separation”, by Srila Bhakti Promod Puri Goswami Maharaj: Hare Krishna
  3. Obviously my post is flawed, which was made extra clear by introducing it with 'for the sake of fun', yet I still disagree with the points you have raised. It was not for nothing that in regards to the elephant analogy I followed up the statement by writing: "Did I mention that my realization of the word "elephant" entails pure love, retaining the right to disclose or not disclose itself to whoever it wishes, order, pure goodness and being present in everything that exists, whether visible or invisible?" Therefore it works both ways inasmuch that, as you can't prove there is an elephant in the trunk, you also can't prove there's not an elephant in the trunk, because you can't apply logic or the material senses to proof or disproof God. Well you can try, but it offers no conclusive evidence. By it's own endeavour, the limited cannot capture the unlimited, that notion is a fallacy. That idea was incorporated in the message, hence your comparison of 2+2=5 misses the mark, as nobody can prove God is there or not by the mere use of material faculties, which are flawed and limited. Use of logic is limited to material matters, and therefore do not apply to transcendental subjects. As far as the 3rd grade school drop-out remark is concerned, it doesn't necessarily have to end with the childish "I won't prove it, I just know it." Since God has the right to conceal Himself from anyone, He doesn't have to conform to the whim and demand of some obstinate disbeliever and reveal Himself to such a person who calls upon Him in a manner like one would order his dog around. Although they could, neither will those who by Guru&God's mercy know God according to their capacity generally give in to the demands of such people, as they harbour feelings of enmity towards their object of affection. Since such a person is opposed to God, he will not have acquired a lot of sukrti, and as such it may be extremely difficult for such a person to ever rise above his disposition. However, if he somehow obtains the grace or even a mere glimpse of a real devotee of the Lord, he will overcome his negative disposition eventually. When he does, if he is sincere in his approach, he will find the proof he is searching for, if he is really interested in finding out actual truth, as it is stated in the Gita that a sincere soul will never be deceived. Just as in class there is theory and practice, so the spiritual paths have a theoretical and practical side. If that person then wants proof, he is to undergo the practical side of a bona fide spiritual path to his taste and practice and surely he will find proof of the theory according to his capacity, endeavour and type of path traversed. As for your final point of contention, it may have been better to replace the words 'Believing in God' into something like 'Knowledge of God', as the underlying thought of it was that when someone has proper knowledge of God, he understands that the jiva is the cause behind his own misery. By going against the grain he creates ripples of suffering in this karmic field of activities. Since such a jiva has no intention to accord to it's inherent nature, God will not interfere with it's limited freedom of choice and so the jiva carries on, sometimes enjoying, sometimes suffering.
  4. Just turning the tables here for the sake of fun: There Is A God January 25, 2009 • I know there is a God. I'm beyond theism. Theism is believing in God. Believing in God is easy -- you can't prove He’s not there, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my realization of the word "elephant" entails pure love, retaining the right to disclose or not disclose itself to whoever it wishes, order, pure goodness and being present in everything that exists, whether visible or invisible? Anyone with a love for truth may start with belief or disbelief in God and then look for evidence of God. They need to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. Starting with oneself; consciousness, conscious thought, inspiration and motivation are but a few objective evidences of this supernatural power. Since God is smaller than the smallest, bigger than the biggest, and all-encompassing, I am seeing God everyday and everywhere. The origin of life, what came first: the chicken or the egg? The atheists I write e-mails to however, are still stuck at this searching stage. The theism part is easy. But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to be some sort of leap of faith which applies to theists and atheists alike, since both require it to structure their lives accordingly. Since belief alone is not enough to be certain, I'm glad that rather than merely believing, "I know there is a God." Having realized this, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love for God and that has to be enough. I have no demands at all; my only hope is that He does not reject me. It has to be enough, since it is the most precious thing in this world and the next, and nothing else in this world compares to it. This is say because I feel it, I live it, and it maintains my life. It is unnecessary to beg God for more. Anything in this world is temporary, so any reasonable person would not chase after temporary things. I don't need heaven, wherever God wants me, I’ll be there. I understand that imperfectness is unavoidable in this world, so I won’t lament not having won a huge genetic lottery or lament not getting material joy every minute of the day. It doesn’t matter since the joy obtained from loving God is beyond anything this world has to offer. Knowing there is God or even just believing it, and knowing or believing He is in everyone is a good thing; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I wouldn't want to cause any harm to anyone in any way. I would have to try to treat not only people, but all other living beings right the first time around. In believing there’s no God, nothing would stop me from becoming solipsistic. After all, if my own deeds are checked only against some ephemeral social imperative which according to time, place and circumstance condones my actions or approves of them, why should I care for that, or anyone or anything but myself? Why do I care for myself? What is the cause of the driving force behind an atheist wanting to do good? If he finds out, he will be an atheist no more. One who truly believes in God’s existence wouldn’t act maliciously towards anyone or anything. Not out of fear of repercussions, but out of love for God. Whether you believe in God or not, you can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. With God in the center, we can all harmonize and agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. God is bigger than the biggest and smaller than the smallest, so that leaves plenty of room to keep adjusting. As such we can really communicate. In circles like that of the atheists there are people who say, "I have faith in my path, I base my faith on things I can see, hear, touch or smell. These are the only possible facts and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than the myopic, "How I became frustrated with God and remained ignorant by looking for evidence of Him in the wrong way by the wrong means, and so came to deny His existence, means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, in this way believing there is no God can stop me from being proven wrong. Believing in God does not stop me from learning something, as God is unlimited and we are never finished with Him. Progressive thought does not stop upon accepting the existence of God. Believing there is God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but is rather something which we ourselves are at the root of. We are the architects of our own fate. Worship of God means to become eligible to exit this world of suffering in the future, but anyone who likes it here, anyone who likes a life in denial of God is free to stay. Such is His mercy. Believing there is no God gives me more room to engage myself in material things such as family, beauty, sex, Jell-O, succumbing to boundless greed and gluttony with no regard to life, and all sorts of other temporary things that in the end do not amount to anything but grief and suffering and that makes that kind of life a truly wasted opportunity for anyone knowing there is a God. If I put my faith in something as fugacious as material existence, it means my faith is depending on-, and limited to that plane, and is ultimately equally perishable. It can thus be reasonably argued that the position of such a faith is not of a philosophically strong tenure. If all ends at death, and my material exertions have no lasting impact beyond the material plane, and if there is no purpose behind it all other than the short-lived purpose one creates for himself, it becomes factual that all was for nothing, since my offspring and theirs, in fact the whole of humanity and the whole of existence, will definitely and ultimately meet the same end. In light of this frustration, the atheists hope to one day find the means to keep their material bodies ever youthful. The theist understands that he is already an eternal spirit soul, so he doesn’t bother trying to keep his old coat fresh and new; from time to time he simply accepts a new one until he needs one no more.
  5. Dandavats, reading this ghastly bit of news, I cannot but see the Lord's hand in this. It seems to me that Lord Jagannath has provoked these ignorant people into causing an intolerable offense to one of His dear devotees, just like He previously stirred up the dormant demonic nature of Kamsha by speaking to him. By burning this effigy they have offended an entire community of devotees, thus by comitting this grave Vaisnava aparadha against Srila Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, a pure devotee of the Lord, this group of ignorant priests has verily signed their own death sentence, paving their own road to hell. A pure devotee of the Supreme Lord will not take offense to this, but it should be understood that it is the duty of the disciple of that pure devotee to take offense to this grave aparadha of burning an effigy of Srila Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada. This insult is basically a call to arms for any disciple of Prabhupada; actually for any Gaudiya Vaisnava. By this I don't mean we should become violent, but certainly some action has to be undertaken. The example is given nicely in the life of Jiva Goswami, who felt offended when Sri Vallabhacarya corrected some of writings of Jiva Goswami's guru Srila Rupa Goswami, and thus rebuked and defeated Sri Vallabhacarya with sound arguments. As elucidated by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj during a lecture: Did Srila Jiva Gosvami do the right thing when he defeated the arguments of Sri Vallabhacarya and defended his Gurudeva? [Devotees:] He was right. [srila Narayana Maharaja:] But what about his Gurudeva, Srila Rupa Gosvami? Was he right or wrong? [Devotees:] He was right. [srila Narayana Maharaja:] How is that? If Srila Jiva Gosvami did the right thing, then Srila Rupa Gosvami must be wrong. How can Srila Rupa Gosvami be right? [Devotee:] Because he is Guru, he has the qualification that he can correct… [srila Narayana Maharaja:] This is not a good argument. [Devotee:] Srila Rupa Gosvami is Guru. He is: trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih ["One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. ln such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." (Sri Siksastaka 3)] Srila Rupa Gosvami wants to respect everyone without desiring respect for himself. But Srila Jiva Gosvami could not tolerate that his Gurudeva was criticized. [srila Narayana Maharaja:] This is not the answer. This logic is not correct. [Devotee:] Srila Rupa Gosvami sent Jiva Gosvami away because he wanted to increase Jiva Gosvami's love by making him feel separation. [srila Narayana Maharaja:] No. The answer is that Srila Rupa Gosvami wanted to respect Sri Vallabhacarya, but his disciple, Jiva Gosvami, disrespected him. This was wrong. Srila Rupa Gosvami considered, “Sri Vallabhacarya may think, ‘Rupa Gosvami is not openly disrespecting me, but he is disrespecting me through his disciple.’" Therefore, some blame might come to Rupa Gosvami. By punishing his disciple, Jiva Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami was giving respect to Sri Vallabhacarya. Actually, Srila Rupa Gosvami was right and Srila Jiva Gosvami was also right. A disciple should not tolerate anything against his Gurudeva. Thus, both the guru and disciple were right. Srila Rupa Gosvami wanted to respect Sri Vallabhacarya, and he did.
  6. "Srimad Bhagavad Gita" by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, it features the commentary of himself as well as that of Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura. You might want to look into that edition.
  7. Interesting article, although I don't believe a soul was transplanted, but rather that the most prominent mood and thoughts of that soul's subtle body were imbibed into the cells of the body, which were then carried over to and mixed with cells of the organ's new host body, creating the identity crisis. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami has already explained that the soul stays in place during a heart transplant, it does not travel with the material heart. The soul's residing in the heart location is independent of the material heart. Plus we all know from evidence in the Gita that the soul cannot be cut, pierced, burned, etc. etc. (B.G. 2.23-24) On a more interesting note though, this more or less proves the argument of meat storing the fearful condition of the poor animals prior to them being killed.
  8. All I see is your apparent inability to grasp my arguments and give them a proper retort. Since talking to a wall would provide me with similar results, it is clear to me that it is a complete waste of time to continue on. However, given my freedom of posting here, I may choose to carry on. Should you choose to be disturbed by that I would suggest you skip such posts. I am not disturbed by your efforts, I was merely responding to your allegations, which as of yet, apply equally to your good self. So for what it's worth, your "shock&awe" campaign is not working for me. Have a good day sir.
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