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brajeshwara das

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Everything posted by brajeshwara das

  1. Who gave the instructions for the devotees to finish the Bhagavatam translations and purports? I don't know the history on this.
  2. Of course Prabhu. I'm sorry if I sounded like I doubt the translations and purports. I just know if I tried to use that as evidence some would balk at it.
  3. I wasn't giving the purport any backing (though I personally agree with it), I knew and made sure it was known that it wasn't from Srila Swami Maharaj. How to deal with these last cantos where less than a pure devotee is giving the purports? Hmm especially when it may be far less.
  4. We don't use the term karmi in my temple and I have seen that people were chastised for doing so, that a real 'karmi' is someone practicing karma yoga which is a bona fide method of linking with Krishna. Not simply mundane material exploitation. It isn't something to be derided. But from a point of preaching bhakti, you may say that is not going to get you the highest thing from the Gaudiya perspective, love of God that is pure Bhakti. That people make a mistake and misrepresent Gaudiya siddhanta is not surprising, this happens with every faith everywhere. Anyhow, Gaudiya Vaisnavas recognize the four bona fide sampradayas but encourage everyone to take up Krishna Bhakti since we see it as the highest. My experience with other 'hindu' traditions and understanding of sanatan dharma is pretty limited to my line no doubt. I am reminded of this daily when I talk to my non-Gaudiya Vaisnava hindu friends. But I'm respectful and I know the Lord is beyond just one expression. I think it is sometimes hard for us to be simultaneously chaste to our line yet respectful of the diversity of expressions of faith, and Gaudiya Vaisnavas aren't immune to or alone in making offenses while trying to walk this line.
  5. It seems to me that book distribution is more fundamentally important to the preading of bhakti than temple building, and the seva the bramacharis did was its own reward. The fruits belong to Krishna. If Krishna wanted a big temple, wouldn't Krishna would have arranged that?
  6. Well we do have the wonderful modern conveniences of email etc to get more guidance, and I certainly would rather always be physically close to my Gurudeva, but I trust that it is OK to be physically separated from Guru since he is giving initiation in these circumstances. I see the results of his instruction on those that truly follow even without much physical association, and as they say the proof is in the pudding There also is the concept of union in separation that may give us some spiritual insights as well. Not to put it in mundane terms but 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' and 'familiarity breeds contempt'. I know I talk with some of my god brothers who live very close to our centers in California and they say they take the devotees for granted sometimes, making offenses. I live farther away and very much appreciate when I get to visit the temples, more so than even when I lived in the ashram. I know what I am missing. Something like that. We have to always remember this is a transcendental relationship with Guru and although I understand your point I also don't think it is dependent on that physical proximity. Easier by far for the common person to get the mercy probably, but not dependent.
  7. I just ran across this in my reading, and I know it isn't Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada's purport but thought it was worthwhile to add here: Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.21.17 samāna-karmācaraṇaḿ patitānāḿ na pātakam autpattiko guṇaḥ sańgo na śayānaḥ pataty adhaḥ SYNONYMS good quality; samāna — equal; karma — of work; ācaraṇam — the performance; patitānām — for those who are fallen; na — is not; pātakam — a cause of falldown; autpattikaḥ — dictated by one's nature; guṇaḥ — becomes asańgaḥ — material association; na — does not; śayānaḥ — one who is lying down; patati — fall; adhaḥ — further down. TRANSLATION The same activities that would degrade an elevated person do not cause falldown for those who are already fallen. Indeed, one who is lying on the ground cannot possibly fall further. The material association that is dictated by one's own nature is considered a good quality. PURPORT The Lord here further describes the ambiguity in ascertaining material piety and sin. Although intimate association with women is most abominable for a renounced sannyāsī, the same association is pious for a householder, who is ordered by Vedic injunction to approach his wife at the suitable time for procreation. Similarly, a brāhmaṇa who drinks liquor is considered to be committing a most abominable act, whereas a śūdra, a low-class man, who can moderate his drinking is considered to be self-controlled. Piety and sin on the material level are thus relative considerations. Any member of society, however, who receives dīkṣā, initiation into the chanting of the Lord's holy names, must strictly obey the four regulative principles: no eating of meat, fish or eggs, no illicit sex, no intoxication and no gambling. A spiritually initiated person neglecting these principles will certainly fall from his elevated position of liberation.
  8. Thanks, yes, I do that sometimes. I also write a sloka over and over again like 'I will not talk in class' when I was a kid. That helps a bit too
  9. I was just thinking about this some more, and I'm feeling this: when I see that the floor in the temple needs to be swept, do I complain to the temple staff that they really should get someone to come over and sweep this up or do I take this as Krishna's mercy that I have been offered some service and I should look for a broom? It really is all about consciousness.
  10. I actually had thought about this as a service after I left the bramachari ashram. Maybe a non-profit organization set up to buy health care for devotees could be done, but how to handle premiums etc from persons with no income, and internationally? If the non-profit were set up correctly though it would be a huge service. Maybe even generate income for the devotees running it, with a limit at some sane level so it wouldn't be abused. You would need regular contributions, maybe sponsorships of devotees by grhastas? Hmm...
  11. I'm not in ISKCON so I don't know what you guys are taught or believe beyond what Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada has given in his books, and I don't claim to have comprehensive knowledge of those. But it seems to me that you are approaching this all from a very materialistic perspective. Scripture is transcendental to material conceptions. So when we look at transcendental literature to describe the physical world based on mundane understandings, we'll find inaccuracies. I take what Bhaktivinod Thakur said to heart; from a material perspactive sastra can be seen as allegorical. We look at them from material vision. But each and every thing in them can be twisted to be misunderstood from our materialistic mind. From a transcendental perspective we should see them as precise, that the personalities they describe do exist in consciousness. We should have that kind of faith. My understanding is that everything exists in consciousness first, then the material manifestation is created by the jivas that choose a sepparate agenda from the Lord. I think to step, then I step. Thus we create our bodies and our world based on our consciousness. Srila Sridhar Maharaj said we have to admit there is truth in Darwin's theory of evolution, but that it doesn't consider the evolution of consciousness as what drives the material manifestation. I personally haven't heard many arguments against dinosaurs but Srila Sridhar Maharaj's teachings to me harmonize the bones we find in the earth with the evolution of consciousness. At one point the Jiva souls on Earth had the consciousness of these huge ferocious beasts. At another point the Jivas had the consciousness to create Vedic civilization and maintain great memories, mystic powers, mantras that could control material elements. I believe this is possible depending on consciousness. Now we can see even in my lifetime the devolution of consciousness in common man. We extend our capacity outside of ourselves. When I was a small kid I could remember all the phone numbers for my family and friends, maybe 100 total. Now with a cell phone that automatically memorized everyone I call, I can barely remember my own number. So in Kali Yuga my memory is getting worse even in one lifetime! Also time is relative, I used to have much more time when I didn't work 50 hours per week plus all the demands the modern world has on me, that I had much more time for reading and spiritual contemplation. Everyone all over the world is spending more and more time working and all cultures are being degraded. We have pop culture taking over with snippets of useless information as our news and lifestyle. So I see this as 'shorter lifetimes' that makes the old religious practices unsuitable in this modern age. Time is relative. All things are relative. The Mahamantra is our salvation because it is actually practicable in this age. So the problem is we are approaching the scriptures from a mundane perspective and trying to have them serve us. We need to be properly adjusted to know the scriptures aren't mundane and we aren't looking for mundane help from Them nor are we wishing Them to serve us. God is not a democrat, He is an autocrat, He does what He pleases and the authority rules you wish to avoid that teach He is master, we are servant is why we are here in the first place. If you don't respect the authority within ISKCON I can't blame you, but the authority of Guru Shastra Sadhu is the system to bring relief to the suffering souls. If you sincerly follow you will become a sadhu too and you will be bringing the relief yourself. We are taught we should wish to serve God in whatever capacity He wants, wherever He wants and that the devotees are not seeking liberation, so anyone wanting to 'save themself' as the goal are still looking for material relief. That most 'devotees' have this as their goal even if they are trying to follow isn't surprising, we are all mental patients in a ward and want to get better. Getting out of the hospital seems like the sure sign of good health. But I don't think you have to physically get out of the 'material world' to get out, it all exists in consciousness and if we are truly in the service mood unalloyed with material self interest and exploitation, we can happily serve here no problem. Srila Swami Maharaj said that if someone is really following then they are happy, if they are miserable and just 'waiting it out' to get a better birth then you know they aren't following correctly. I believe he calls them 'rascals'. Anyway, 'getting real' to me means harmonizing and truly understanding Guru, Sastra and Sadhu, not rejecting what we, unrealized materialistic souls, think is 'inaccurate'. Reality is Krishna. If we don't have the association that is leading us in that direction, then we should search for it at all costs.
  12. Divine Mercy is there for us no matter our position, tailor-made for our particular spiritual maturity.
  13. I think it is more complicated than that. For example, in my life Jesus was first because I needed to get a general theistic platform, being born in a western family. Then Buddhism got me to stop eating meat. A general 'oneness' conception came later where I tried to see divinity in all things. Later Gaudiya Vaisnavism came where Divinity got definition, full-fledged theism, real eternal personality for me and God. So time, place and circumstance just for me alone played out in one lifetime. Sorry I'm not so clear but I'm rushed... hope it makes sense.
  14. To think Guru is some man that you need constant physical proximity to is a misunderstanding. Guru is in the heart of every living entity, so He is always available if you can listen for Him. Of course more association with the pure devotee the better, you can't minimize that, but I don't think it follows that you need intimate contact in a physical sense. You need the intimate contact that comes with sincerity and surrender. A fly may be physically close to a pure devotee but what is the quality of the association a fly can receive? Some of the most dedicated and pure devotees I have known will only visit our Gurudeva if He asked them to do so, even Gurudeva is in the same city they're first thought is to their service, that is where they get their association with Guru. If Guru requests their presence then they come to him in service. Of course the mercy of Gurudeva is such that He will want the association of those that serve Him. That is His service after all.
  15. What techniques do you use for memorization of slokas? I'd like to improve my capacity to recall as necessary but my poor brain doesn't seem to do the greatest job. Any suggestions?
  16. People should be respectful of other's faiths, even if you don't share them. Otherwise all communication stops and all we are left with is quarreling.
  17. Time place and circumstance doesn't mean always progressing forward with more perfect philosophies. If some group of humans aren't so evolved but it is 5000 years later, we may get some simplified form of worship from the Lord that we can actually do. It depends on the capacity to receive, not arbitrary timelines. Even now, there may be those that Lord Buddha can speak to, Lord Jesus can speak to, Lord Chaitanya etc. so time, place and circumstance is dynamic. Also what may have been seen as atheistic actually wasn't, like followers of Gautama Buddha (not the Buddha mentioned in the Vedas BTW) later drew philosophical conclusions never originating from the real Buddha. Sankaracharya preached Oneness but later famously wrote 'Bhaja Govindam'. Partial knowledge may be taught but a more full understanding may later be revealed in a higher course of study. The basic truth of the 'time place and circumstance' involves the decending of the Lord's mercy in a way that can be readily received by the jiva souls. Just as moisture may come down as rain in one place, snow in another, a coating of fog in another, but happening simultaneously, so my understanding is the Lord's mercy works in this way too.
  18. I just saw Stranger Than Fiction with Will Farrel, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson last night. It was great, shades of Bhagavad Gita "do your dharma", material reality emanating from consciousness, die to live, lots of cool little things throughout.
  19. Here are a few questions I have for all, with a desire to stop arguing about whether or not but how, and in what mood: What concrete steps are you taking in your communities to help implement (or surrender to) Daiva-varnashrama dharma? How is this being received? Are you willing to submit to being a 'sudra' if that is the needful service in your community, even if you feel yourself to be a brahman or a ksatriya? Who in authority in your community do you recognize to accept this service position from? My own answers: No concrete steps, I'm not sure there needs to be anything 'officially' done. I believe people already take on these roles generally and are pretty flexible to do the needful when necessary. Saying this, I do think this and all parts of our scripture should be discussed and we should actively work together to build our communities to be strong. I'm happy to wash dishes, no problem, lots of mercy there. Though I'm less than a sudra, I'm happy to talk about Krishna (saying preach is a stretch) when necessary as well. Defend the temple? No problem, hand me a sharp stick. I'll happily collect if necessary to support the temple, and do so by working a normal job. I asked my Gurudeva, who deferred me to the swami of our ashram in Soquel. But I'll ask every Vaisnava whenever I can what service can be done by me.
  20. Could 'my' books mean the books of Gaudiya Vaishnavas in the line of Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada? At the time weren't most of the other books available to his disciples from such elevated publishing groups as 'Penguin Classics' etc. Versions of Srimad Bhagavad Gita and other available books were translations by faithless westerners, Zen Alan Watts types, the burgeoning New Age authors etc? Earlier Mayavadis as well? How could the early disciples discern what to read and what not to read? It seems to me that to prevent a mix-match of different philosophies Srila Swami Maharaj told his disciples to be chaste to his teachings only. That seems to me to be of the highest intelligence, though from outside someone would mistakenly see him as too controlling. We can see from his commentaries about Jesus though that this wasn't the case, that he was very broad in seeing the Lord from wherever He may appear. To the other extreme, even now we know there are certain Vaisnava texts that contain the truth that (at least my) Guru says we shouldn't read because we can't understand the intimate pastimes of the Lord. These are the highest realizations but since we can't absorb or avoid misunderstanding them they are off limits. This seems to support my feelings.
  21. Yes, fine. But what of the Varnashrama College? Do you have any understanding on that?
  22. The point of this thread is to discuss the Varnashram College as outlined by Srila Swami Maharaj. Arguing about whether or now has been done elsewhere, and it is a fact He wanted to implement something specific called the Varnashram College. Can someone describe per Srila Swami Maharaj what this actually was to be?
  23. I don't know, but this thread has gotten off to a bad start The topic should be about the Varnashrama Colleges, not what name some use to call Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
  24. I refer to my own Gurudeva as 'Srila Govinda Maharaj', do you think I intend offense by calling a Vaisnava by his sanyassa name? Prabhupada is how Srila Swami Maharaj's disciples refer to him. To me it is like calling my cousin's father 'daddy'. In the Vaisnava songs we sing Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati is Prabhupada. I'm in His line, so it is appropriate to call Him Prabhupada. So in my mind this has kept who's who straight. No disrespect is intended, if it makes you happy I'll call Him Srila AC Bhativedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupada from now on. Though that is a bit much to type
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