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Posts posted by sanatan


    you have a point there :)


    it has all degraded pretty much...


    I hope you don't view me as a basher of Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy, because that is not my intention.


    It just seems to me that varnasrama-dharma is more on the irrelevant-in-practice end than just about any major point of the philosophy, but still gets huge amounts of airtime.


    Given the history of ISKCON leadership, this isn't surprising.


    Varnashrama dharma was never intended to be a theocracy and it never existed in that form. Theocracy means that priests are in charge. That is not the Vedic system. Brahmanas simply advise the kshatriyas who rule based on the principles of scriptural justice and common sense.


    Varnasrama-dharma is a conceptual repackaging of the pre-renaissance European social order or the present-day Islamic social order that exists in many countries, nothing more.


    I personally doubt that it has ever existed in the idealized-perfect form that is a mainstay of ISKCON philosophy...in actual effect, it is the basis for the rigid and degenerate caste system that seems to be intransigently rooted in Hindu society.


    Try substituting pope or bishop for brahmana and baron, lord, or knight for kshatriya in the last sentence of your paragraph.



    Yes, the rule of religious clerics usually creates a living hell for the citizens because these people just dont have the practical sense of justice and get totally wrapped up in their religious trip.


    So historically, military leaders have had that "practical sense of justice" and "common sense" that was/is lacking in the clergy? Hmmmm...



    BG 4.13.







    catur-varnyam maya srstam


    tasya kartaram api mam

    viddhy akartaram avyayam




    "According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable."





    that structure IS present in the world, you just dont see it.





    in short, for ANY society to work properly people of brahminical qualities need to play the role of brahmanas, people of kshatriya qualities should play the role of kshatriyas, and so on.






    Prabhupada saw that cunning vaishyas took over his movement and played the roles of brahmanas and kshatriyas and he wanted to change that. It is actually very simple.




    Yes, it's very obvious that the concepts of varnasrama-dharma correspond to the "natural order" of human affairs.


    But, everytime I read or hear someone state that it needs to be implemented on a large scale, I get strong mental visions of robed mullahs issuing absolute "scriptural" dictates and women being stoned to death for stepping outside their houses.


    Varnasrama-dharma is simply a blueprint for government by theocracy, backed up by military power. Fine for small religious communities composed of voluntary members, absurd to consider for anything larger, unless you like the idea of living in a repro-1000 AD Middle Eastern nation.

  4. Suchandra,


    I'm aware that changes have been made to Srila Prabhupada's original texts, and feel very fortunate to have collected the originals I own.


    As far as I can see from having both, the repros of the three original India-printed Bhagavatam volumes are 100% accurate facsimiles. They are also high quality books, and an excellent value for $40 to $50 USD. Every devotee should own a set!


    At times of falsification of the sampradaya acarya's books this is where we are heading at - what comes next - purchasing the dust jackets by internet auction, travelling around the globe to buy original Srimad-Bhagavatams for ceiling price. At least people gradually find out what the self-styled BBT chief does with all those book changes - creating unnecessary uncertainty for thousands of Vaishnavas. Hard to imagine what kind of karmas are waiting for such misuse of power.


    What, exactly, are you trying to say?



    I'm presently fighting with decomposing, yellowing paper of the BBT strategy for the past 30 years, print as cheap as possible but selling the books to the temples as expensive as possible. The only book printed nicely was our first Bhagavad-gita - printed on real quality paper without acidity. Papers with a high level of acidity tend to deteriorate quickly.


    Are you referring to the hardbound 1972 Macmillan edition? I have a first edition with dj, and it is in very nice condition.


    But, my set of mid-70's to early 80's BBT Bhagavatams is still near-new, with none of the deterioration you describe.

  6. Several years ago I purchased a set of the 3 original SP Bhagavatam volumes, which I had professionally restored. However, the dustjackets were missing, which isn't surprising. The devotee I purchased my set from also had another set of originals...near-perfect with excellent original dustjackets...which he didn't want to part with at any price.


    To obtain dustjackets, I purchased a set of repro Bhagavatams from Krishna.com's online store for $40...they look totally authentic and fit perfectly on the originals, and the repro books are good shelf copies, very nice within themselves.


    I find following the principles under Christian guidance much much easier.

    I don't have all these dietary constraints on top of vegetarianism. Don't eat grains cooked by... no mushrooms - no onions - did you wash that pot well enough? Did you wash Krsna's plate before serving out? Was there rennet in that cheese? ... and on and on... it's like prepping for surgery.


    To twist my life style around to fit that mind field of possible offenses is quite frankly stressfully hellish.

    No thank you.


    I hear you again, cbrahma.


    In order to maintain my sanity and balance, I've had to distance myself from all this as well.


    Of course, there are many who would tell me that I've become an insane materialist, but I really don't care what they think.


    The personal decisions that you speak of would be no more than needing to have food and shelter provided by the temple community in exchange for service....


    cbrahma, I hear you. My mention of "adverse decisions" certainly wasn't meant in a condescending way towards anyone; I came close to making the same one myself 35+ years ago, and back then it was a decision one could make with reasonable expectations.



    No, I did 6 years ISKCON and 2 years at the San Jose Mandira with the fellows involved with Srila Sridhar Maharaja.


    Then, I moved out of the temple and have never lived in a temple since then.


    I lived several years in Badger in that devotee community and have since lived in Florida near the devotee community here, though I certainly haven't taken advantage of that for the last few years.


    I have always stayed near and around devotees since leaving the movement.


    But, I don't qualify as a Hare Krishna anymore.

    I am just a pious karmi. ( I hope)


    I've always referred to myself as an "interested karmi". Yes, longtime association has turned me around from a former-Christian agnostic stance to one of firm positive convictions regarding God and the spiritual, so I guess "hopefully-pious karmi" could apply to me as well.

  9. I've never been able to give up sex, even though at my age the physical urge is maybe 10% of what it was when I was 30, and the current ability to perform successfully is severely compromised. But you better believe I still check out anything female that crosses my path.


    That failing has ruined any hopes I ever had to move ahead spiritually, and I've given up any attempts at active sadhana. I still do some practical service, helping to design and build things for the temple, and give some money, but that's it.


    The positive effect of attempting to follow the regs is that many years of vegetarianism and avoidance of heavy intoxication have made these good habits ingrained, and I never have had a gambler's mentality...the times I did indulge in it I suffered long and heavily for my foolishness, both financially and emotionally, and have never allowed myself to get burned that way again.


    So, I guess I'm drifting off into a semi-aware old age...tv movies, reading, messing around with cars, staying in touch with friends, devotee and nondevotee, helping out a little at the temple, taking good care of my wife.


    That's about all.


    ghari, your posts are always great to read...you've found the pearl beyond price.


    True, I came out of the Navy with four years of college that had to be used in 8 years.

    I gave those eight years to the Hare Krishna movement and now I live like a pauper taking whatever chump job comes along.


    Adverse personal decision?

    I guess you could say that.


    I think you posted awhile back that you got booted by your temple prez for reading a book by Sridhar Maharaja...was that the end of your eight-year hitch in the movement?


    If you knew how many Prabhupada disciples your age, are barely surviving, having been forced out or marginalized, you would realize what a good decision you've made.


    That's what I've heard. In what time period did most of this this happen?


    I've known quite a few SP disciples, and yes, a good number of them are middle-aged and barely getting by, but this often appears to be the result of adverse personal decisions, rather than alienation from ISKCON.


    I spent a lot of time around the temple in my home city from the mid '80s thru the early 90's, but as essentially an outsider/fringie, never was privy to the inner grapevine. It always seemed to me that the SP disciples and disciples of later gurus co-existed well here.


    Your observation is well taken...no major regrets at this point.

  12. Srila Prabhupada is a somewhat of a mythical figure for me simply because I never met or saw him, even though I am old enough to have been an early disciple and had the opportunities wide open to me.


    Reading Guruvani's post # 11 prompt some reflection. Would I have had the same feelings in his situation?


    Part of me says yes, since I'm sure I would have idolized SP and earnestly desired some personal contact had I met him, part of me says maybe not since the very minute amount of humility I possess may have kept me in the attitude of "just lucky to be in the same room". Who knows?


    Anyway, I did have some close association with a great disciple of SP's,

    HH Visnujana Maharaja, and I think he passed on something from SP to everyone he met, including me.


    A this point, mixed regrets:


    Don't regret not fully joining the movement and getting initiated, by SP or a "successor guru"...good chance I would have blooped early-on or later-on anyway.


    Don't regret the decision to finish my material education, get married, and have a regular career, in lieu of joining the movement.


    Do deeply regret not hitting the road with VJ Maharaja, as I had the full opp to, and at least spending a few months with him in his traveling and preaching.


    58 years old, where to go next? To be continued...sanatan.



    You are projecting anger upon the forum members.:D


    Calm down.... breath deeply and project humbleness and kindness,


    Good advice, GV...I've stayed away for a week, had a nice Thanksgiving, and am now a kinder, gentler person. :)


    Please accept my apologies for the karmi, etc, comment.


    It's the nitpicking that gets me frustrated.


    I tend to be somewhat gregarious, and conversationally will ask both devotee and non-devotee about their life in general or will comment appreciatively upon a devotee's pre-devotional accomplishments, if it seems comfortable and appropriate to do so...if someone comes back with a highhanded reply about "not commenting on a devotee's previous life" I tend to get miffed. I'm doing some projecting here as well...I expect others to respond as I would toward similar comments directed to me.


    In a sense, a devotee's previous life does matter. I don't think anyone who was a drug dealer has any business in the position of guru. That's for the next life...they're still doing penance in this one.


    <Q>What we are ourselves, we see in others.</Q>


    What nonsense! So if I see Hilter as a racist mass insane murderer, which he was, then by your silly logic I'm a racist mass insane murderer, which I am not.


    It's a psychological phenomenon known as projection...well documented.


    Just because I told Guruvani he was doing this doesn't indicate I'm free of guilt in the same area, either. What he said happened to rub me the wrong way.


    There's no such thing as silly logic. "Your silly attempt at logic" would have been a better way to phrase it.


    Danavir Maharaja trained me up as a new bhakti in L.A. in 1975.

    I have always admired him.

    He has even been to my house here in Floria.

    However, I think his followers are a bit off track when they post his accomplishments as a karmi non-devotee as the glories of Danavir Maharaja who is definitely more deserving of accolades beyond and above his glories as a non-devotee sense enjoyer in illusion.


    Give us a break, Guruvani.


    Big deal, so his disciples cite his pre-ISKCON accomplisments.


    Didn't Krishna tell Arjuna "I am the ability in man"? I take that to mean all abilities.


    I've had the privelige of meeting Danavir Maharaja on several occasions. Notably, an older SP disciple/mutual friend introduced us at a feast, and I sat with him and we had very a nice conversation. He's a truly exceptional person.


    Your use of the terms karmi and non-devotee sense enjoyer in illusion, especially in reference to the previous life of an elevated Vaisnava, don't speak well for your state of consciousness.


    What we are ourselves, we see in others.

  16. Oft-repeated, but always worthy of re-repeating:


    20. And, when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:


    21. Neither shall they say "Lo here! or Lo there! For, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you


    Jesus Christ, Bible, KJV. St. Luke, Chapter 17, Verses 20 & 21


    Srila Prabhupada, ...


    When he began taking on disciples, the book he gave, along with his initial lectures to his initial disciples, which I take as what he EMPHASIZED, is a book titled, "The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya". If I could only have one book, this is the one I would choose.


    hare krsna, ys, mahaksadasa


    And I've never read TLC. Looked on my bookshelf, and there's a copy. Thanks for reminder, mahak.

  18. A couple of quick thoughts on your question.


    Here in the USA:


    A. Vegetarianism, cruelty-free lifestyles, etc. have taken firm root and are now considered to be both healthy and morally right by very many people. Independently of any particular religious teaching, these are becoming cultural norms in certain geographic areas, influential in all.


    B. There is a huge amount of interest and participation in religious practices that lean toward inner discovery and self-realization. The number of teachers and institutional propagators of such practices is large and variegated, and there are also near-innumerable books on these subjects available in English.


    Belief in "eastern" spiritual notions such as reincarnation and karma is widespread here now. Terms that refer to these, karma in particular, are part of everyday speech.


    I'd say that these are changes much for the better, and that from a forty-year perspective, Srila Prabhupada and the Hare Krsna movement were and remain among the most significant pioneers in introducing A and B above to America.


    USA, ca. 1967:


    Vegetarianism was universally considered wierd, basically unhealthy, and commonly associated with hippies and "health faddists" of the whackiest type.


    Complete misunderstanding of and misinformation regarding religious traditions other than the Judeo-Christian one was the norm; I have numerous memories in this regard.


    Today, despite 40+ years of change, meat-eating is still predominant here, as is the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, and there is plenty of visible reactionary sentiment against widespread non-Judeo-Christian spiritualism and deviance from long-established dietary norms.


    In regard to this, thank God for the US Constitution.

  19. Instead of Book of the Dead get him a nice copy of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972 edition.


    As Hari Bhakta dasa suggested, he needs to read chapter two. If that's all he reads, it will be of immense benefit.


    I chanted japa for hours sitting next to my father in law the night he died of alzheimer's. I strongly felt Krishna's presence as I chanted...he had lost his mental faculties years before, and was unconscious the last couple of days, but his subtle faculties heard.


    Also .. if the magi "from the east" came to visit Jesus as infant, how long did they stay? Would they have been realized souls, devotees, having transcendental gifts? It would seem so.


    ....perhaps 15 years old to the east to seek out the "wise men", the magi.


    Also a possibility ..


    HerServant and yours.


    Yes, in a Krsna conscious context, I've aways regarded the Magi or "Wise Men from the East" as advanced spiritualists or self-realized souls. Something else they didn't go too deeply into in Sunday school!


    One of them is traditionally referred to as a "Hindoo". HS, do you have more background on their origins?


    I've also read that the "Star in the East" was actually an astrological calculation that predicted and pinpointed the significance, time, and location of Jesus' birth.


    Perhaps Jesus sought them out, as you suggest, or one or all of them returned to his homeland and brought him to India or other far eastern location.





    Actually the depiction is quite different from the above statement. The scene is that as the cart of Jagannatha went by Jesus remarked that the...


    It is the same principle that Sita was never touched by Ravanna.


    Per the Bible, Jesus did preach against "vain repetiton" and showy public prayer, but in Krsna conscious context I take this to mean that he was admonishing his followers about avoiding the behavior of fanatical and unwashed local sects, not condemning the chanting of bonafide mantras and prayers.


    The "vain repetition" passage makes great ammo for fundies when discussing the chanting of Hare Krsna mantra, or the Catholic rosary, for that matter. To them, Catholics and Vaisnavas are in much the same category.


    I've never read the Aquarian Gospel, but remember it well from 60's-70's hippie store book racks.


    Dear Prabhus,


    I appreciate what sanatan Prabhu expresses above.


    When I thought of the initiation ceremony, I often thought of it as a samskara. I understood "samskara" primarily as an event, as something like a rite of passage, or a sacrament. Perhaps this is simply one valid understanding of the term.



    ....Thank you very much for reading what I wanted to share. Hare Krsna.





    Samsara, I've always taken to mean the wheel of birth and death or perpetual material existence; the "blazing fire" that the spiritual master extinguishes.


    Samskara has always meant "ceremony" to me; at the ISKCON temple here traditional ceremonies marking or celebrating various life passages are often held by the congregational Hindu members, and these are referred to as "so-and-so samskara".


    Samskara as an ongoing process of spiritual training or ongoing and deepening spiritual initiation or "inner life" is a new one for me; Alex, thanks to you for expounding on this.

  22. Based on the facts that the Bible provides no record of Jesus' life between ages 12 and 30, that he demonstrated a high degree of spiritual precocity at 12, and that the western-mid eastern world was an orderly place under the rule of the Roman empire, with safe and frequently-traveled trade routes certainly extending to India and beyond, the scenario of Jesus spending a good part of his youth and young adulthood in India is a reasonable supposition.


    The supposition that he could have been married and had children is reasonable as well...absolute celibacy is not a requirement for spiritual greatness, as is demonstrated in our Gaudiya tradition. For some reason, though, the fundies really freak when this is suggested to them.


    The Sunday-school tale that all of us of Christian background grew up with, and that the fundies promote: Jesus was single, lived with mom and dad, and was a local carpenter...is also a reasonable supposition.


    ffice:smarttags" />January 13, 2003

    Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja....

    In the first stage, however, when a devotee is uttering the holy name he is full with many aparadhas, and also anarthas such as laya (sleep), viksepa (distraction), apratipatti (indifference or disinterest in spiritual topics), and so on. It is guaranteed that such a person cannot utter the pure name.

    These are all generally taken for granted as facts of spiritual life.

    Rather, his chanting will be nama-aparadha. Chanting the pure name is only possible after the diksa-samskara.

    This clearly states that the lights come on only after a ceremony.


    It's very obvious that for some, the lights were always on, and the ceremony was a formality.

    It's also obvious that for others, the lights never come on, ceremonies or not.

    Theist: "real devotee" was not the best choice of words, but you picked up on the intent anyway..."real devotee" in the context of my post was along the lines of "full member" rather than that of uttama-bhakta.

    My objective experience never has been a lack of acceptance by devotees, though I did get told many times that one should come to the point of being formally initiated.

    More the intensely self-kicking nature at work, I think.


    The proof that one is a devotee is that (s)he really feels like devotion is severely lacking.

    However, a trait of Srila Prabhupada, rarely discussed, is his fearlessness in pushing this movement forward. This means the feeling of lack of devotion is put aside and acceptance of ones own advancement as irrevokable fact takes place.


    Yeh, we can’t sit back and think we’ve gotten absolutely nowhere, and use that as an excuse for spiritual inactivity.

    Very nice song, mahak, especially the last verse.

    Again, Prabhus, thank you for the kind words.

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