----- Original Message -----From: FeedBlitzTo:Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2010 7:55 AMSubject: Planet ISKCON - 31 new articles
"Planet ISKCON" - 31 new articles
- Australian News: Observing Fasting on Ekadasi
- Australian News: Australia: Jan 2011 Retreat with Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits
- Australian News: Brisbane: Gita Jayanti Festival and Marathon
- Australian News: Cooking Class at Krishna Fest
- ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Deity Darshan: Sunday, November 21, 2010
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Cooking Class at Krishna Fest
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 149
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Prabhupada Meditation
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Poems and Suffering
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Evening Notes
- Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: United States of the World
- Australian News: Sigatoka Temple Opens: Fiji
- Kurma dasa, AU: Eggless Christmas Cupcakes
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: HELPING EACH OTHER SUCCEED
- Japa Group: Please Join The Japa Group
- Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: KuliMela 2006 - One Way - Vaishnavi - 14/14
- H.H. Sivarama Swami
- H.H. Sivarama Swami: Since its Ekadasi day here in Hungary I ended up speaking about some of the glories and benefits of and obligations in observing this holy day
- Dandavats.com: HOLIDAY SALE! *”FOLLOWING SRILA PRABHUPADA” DVD SERIES 1-11 *
- Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Can we eat Saboodana (Saubudana/Tapioca)?
- Matsyavatara das (ACBSP), Italy: Counseling based on a Bhaktivedanta approach - Interview given by Akrura Prabhu to Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu (Part III)
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 148
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Prabhupada Meditations
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Bad Times
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Notes
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, November 28th, 2010
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, November 27th, 2010
- Kaunteya das, Mayapura: Death to pedestrians?!?!
- Pandu das: Supporting Srila Prabhupada’s Choice
- Gouranga TV: Nirantara Das Kirtana
- More Recent Articles
- Search Planet ISKCON
- Prior Mailing Archive
Ekadasi: December 02, 2010, THURSDAY (Sydney)
Next day Break fast (Sydney only): Friday 3rd December 05:37 to 09:35 AM
Ekadasi first appeared from the body of Lord Vishnu during the wanning moon in the month of November/December in order to kill the demon Mura.
Sri Ekadasi, which falls on the eleventh day of each waxing and waning moon is very dear to Lord Hari. Observing the vow of Ekadasi is among the first ten principles of the sixtyfour items of devotional service described by Srila Rupa Gosvami. One should observe Ekadasi only to please the Supreme Lord. The meaning of the word upavasa (fasting) is to live nearby. On the day of Ekadasi one should remain aloof from all kinds of sinful activities, give up all kinds of household activities and sense gratification and live near the lord.
Join Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits for five days of yoga and kirtan in the Gold Coast Hinterland. From Australia Day, Wednesday Jan 26 – Sunday Jan 30, Atma Yoga are holding their annual yoga retreat at Springbrook Theosophical Society with special guests Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits (Jahnavi Harrison and Shree Shyam).
The days will be filled with nature walks, yummy organic food, and yoga classes and workshops; the nights with music, sacred song, and divine dance.
The 5-day retreat is $750 including all accommodation and meals; with an early bird special price of $650 before 26 December.
Gita Jayanti Festival
“Wherever the Gita is read, inquired into, heard, taught or chanted, O Mother Earth, there undoubtedly and
unfailingly do I Myself reside. Whenever help is needed in that place, it will come quickly. (Gita Mahatmyam – Text 6)
Saturday, 18 Dec 2010 1.00 pm start
Share in the Divine Recital of the Glorious Bhagavad Gita (Song of God)
Everyone is welcome to join in the recitation Once in a year opportunity – not to be missed!
Gita Jayanti Marathon
” Yes, my order still stands. Sankirtana Party and distribution of our magazines and books is our real program. Other things are secondary. So during the summer time, you should utilize this program of Sankirtana and book distribution vigorously ”
22 November – 18 December, 2010
An opportunity for everyone to please Lord Krishna fully !
The Gita Jayanti Marathon is mainly to promote Bhagavad Gita distribution (soft and hard bound), and ends on
Saturday 18 December 2010 at 12 noon.
Please contact Surabhi Mataji ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) to collect your Bhagavad Gitas for distribution.
Attractive prizes will be awarded to the top book distributors
PLEASE COME FORWARD AND MAKE THIS GITA JAYANTI MARATHON AN AUSPICIOUS AND MEMORABLE ONE
A few weeks ago, Sammohini Devi Dasi hosted a cooking class at Krishna Fest; 3rd level of the Crossways Restaurant in the city of melbourne
Her aide-chefs were Ninad, who is himself an expert chef of international callibre and Gaura Mantra Devi Dasi who is our local apprentice ‘Cordon-Bleu’.
And here in Melbourne, we all know Sammohini’s prowess by now.
- Chilli Subji
- Salad & Sunflower Dressing
- Polenta Subji
- Mexican Green Rice – Arroz Verde
- Banana & Dates Semolina Halava
- Mango Lassi
If you missed that session, don’t lament!
These classes will be held every 2 months.
For more details, please contact Sammohini on 0406 413 719.
A few weeks ago, Sammohini Devi Dasi hosted a cooking class at Krishna Fest; 3rd level of the Crossways Restaurant.
Her aide-chefs were Ninad, who is himself an expert chef of international callibre and Gaura Mantra Devi Dasi who is our local apprentice 'Cordon-Bleu'.
And here in Melbourne, we all know Sammohini's prowess by now.
- Chilli Subji
- Salad & Sunflower Dressing
- Polenta Subji
- Mexican Green Rice - Arroz Verde
- Banana & Dates Semolina Halava
- Mango Lassi
If you missed that session, don't lament!
These classes will be held every 2 months.
For more details, please contact Sammohini on 0406 413 719.
Until the next one, here's a slideshow of the launch; pictures taken by Romina.
On this rainy day, we would like to encourage all those who are going out to distribute Srila Prabhupada's life-saving literatures.
As Deena Bandhu Prabhu commented yesterday, we are all Sankirtan devotees whether we dress the Deities, clean Their temple or cover the services of those devotees who go out on books.
So let us all make our contribution to Lord Caitanya's Sankirtan mission to the best of our ability.
Still with reference to Deena Bandhu Prabhu's class yesterday, in every service we do, we remebber to always see the Deities in front and behind us, by our sides, on top of us and in all directions.
Here's a slideshow of Their divine darsana.
How does Mayavadi redeem himself? “If by some good fortune the Mayavadi relinquishes the desire for sense gratification and liberation and, thinking himself a servant of Krishna, begins to chant, he becomes exonerated from his offenses and philosophical aberrations. He then takes shelter of the holy name and repents. This opens the way to again hear from and associate with the pure devotees. At this time his chanting leads him to comprehend sambandha-jnana. He must chants while continuously shedding tears of contrition; only then he can invoke the mercy of the holy name.”
The Mayavadi considers both the transcendental form of Lord Krishna and the jiva’s constitutional position as the Lord’s eternal servant to be transient and imaginary. This Mayavadi philosophy is a grievous nama-aparadha. Nama-abhasa is truly a wish fulfilling tree, for it even offers to the Mayavadis the sayujya liberation so desired by them. Because the name is omnipotent, it offers mukti-abhasa or seeming liberation in the prati-bimba-namabhasa stage. Amongst the five types of liberation, sayujya (becoming one with God) is considered abhasa, merely a hint of liberation. Material suffering is indeed terminated in sayujya, but certain spiritual doom follows.
“The Mayavadis captivated by maya find sayujya pleasurable; but it is only a dose of actual happiness. They forever forfeit transcendental existence, knowledge, happiness and devotional service because sayujya-mukti obfuscates the remembrance of Krishna. Where is the question of eternal bliss when the eternal aspect of bhakti and prema is doubted?” The grievous offence of Mayavadi attitude can start to go away if one somehow enters and chants in stage of nama-abhasa. Sayujja-mukti is the desire to become one with God. It is not actually considered one of the types of Vaisnava liberation, but only a hint of liberation. It can not last. Sayujja mukti blocks a person’s remembrance of Krishna and when eternal aspects of bhakti and prema is doubted he has no possibility of reaching higher stage. And so something more than sayujja is needed to redeem oneself, that will be discussed in the next excerpt. I seem to be sleeping until the alarm goes off at 1:30 A.M. and begin my chanting at that time.
There are further steps and actions that are needed to become free from the Mayavadi position of sayujja mukti. I remain in my dungeons of slow chanting, and I only did 13 rounds by 3:40 AM.
The Vaisnavas do not consider
the desire to be one with God
as a stage of liberation. It’s a hint
but not yet nama-abhasa. It’s trying
to go further.
to the next progressive stage. But it is
languishing with the Mayavadi goal.
I need more accretion and push
if I hope to come on
where I can help myself
and others to chant and hear
with motorcycle vigor.
An early example of an intense Prabhupada meditation occurred for me after I had met Srila Prabhupada for only a few weeks. With his permission, I paid a visit to my parents at their summer bungalow in Avalon, New Jersey. I arrived at their home in the evening and went immediately for a swim in the canal in their backyard. As I floated in the water and looked up at the stars, I was overwhelmed with the presence of Prabhupada, hearing his voice and the things he said, which he had been teaching us. After having associated with him, day after day, I felt it coming through me, all the Prabhupada expressions. There I was in the water, looking up at the sky which was so very far away, and without calling for it I was surcharged with remembering Prabhupada. I understood, “Swamiji has really gone deeply into my life, and it’s very strong!”
William Carlos Williams writing that the
poet René Char had seen so much
suffering that that he turned
to write about sedges and
plants and flowers and Williams
follow that lesson.
I want to write about Krishna not
because I have suffered so severely, I
have not felt it so deeply
but I have heard that He is the most beautiful
and mighty and truthful and
we should stay with Him.
I had a dream last night that I was
visiting the campus of Queens
College and being introduced
to my professor, and he was
kind, and the campus was
lovely, but there was
a lot of bureaucratic red tape.
Maybe there is a lot of red tape
to reach Krishna in Goloka,
Queens. I don’t know where I am
when I saw Him in the dream
Am I in a dream now?
I feel the poetry, and the music but I can’t
tell you where I am.
Nor do I want to.
I want to be here
in seclusion early in the morning.
with my Lord.
One day will ecstasy be there? And will I
descend for breakfast peaceful and happy?
they are calling out of love
to come and join Them
when you give up all other things.
He turned away from all the
sufferings and wrote of sedges
and willows and streams.
And I might know his suffering
and take shelter of Krishna.
I turned at random to Canto Three, Chapter 28, text 37: “Because he has achieved his real identity, the perfectly realized soul has no conception of how the material body is moving or acting, just as an intoxicated person cannot understand whether or not he has clothing on his body.” Purport: “A person whose mind is completely dovetailed with the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who engages one hundred percent in the service of the Lord, forgets his material bodily demands.”
Krishna and Balarama in Their Jagannatha of Puri form slapped the cheeks of Pundarika Vidyanidhi because he criticized the pujaris who dressed the Deities in new clothes which were starched, he said that this was going against the smrti and sastric injunctions. Svarupa Damodara told him that the Lord could do anything He wanted. That night in a dream Balarama and Krishna came and slapped Pundarika Vidyanidhi on his cheeks and mouth until they became sore. He pleaded with Them, and They finally stopped. When he was awake he saw that his cheeks were swollen. But he felt it was very auspicious that the Supreme Lord had personally come and punished him, which He rarely does. The two great Lords forgave Their servant and told him to never criticize again. They have blood splatted on Their faces, and They were happy with the reformed attitude of Their servant.
November 30th is the last day of the autumn and now December 1st has come. Kaulini is leaving on December 2nd until the 20th to visit her son and grandchild in Sacramento, CA. There has not been any snow yet. The worldly holidays are coming up. Christmas is not a Vaisnava holyday except for book distribution. At Christmas time people exchange gifts. I don’t have enough money to do it. I will be broke. It’s not good to give people gifts that are not Krishna conscious gifts. The children in general do not like Krishna conscious gifts.
We have come to the end of another day. Krishna will let me sleep. He will let me wake and I hope I’ll be able to chant alertly. I beg for the end of the lethargic kind of japa.
In Rocky III or was it Rocky IV?
he fought a seven foot Soviet Russian
who says to him, “I’m going to annihilate you.”
and he almost does. Rocky gets
a concussion, but he wins the fight
and is triumphantly draped in American
flag. But after that he is finished,
he is not all there in the head.
That never happened to Krishna and Balarama.
Balarama cracked the scull of a huge
demon. Krishna killed Kamsa
with a flurry of punches.
They never got a scratch
from any of Their fights.
Krishna is felled only by Radharani
and Her most victorious
She conquers His mind,
and He conquers Her mind.
They are peers of
Now you have got the United Nations. Now, if they are sane men, they should pass resolution, "The whole world belongs to God, and we are all God's sons. So let us make now United States of the World." That can be easily done. If they can make United States of America, why not United States of the whole world?
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation with Two Lawyers and Guest -- May 22, 1975, Melbourne
New ISKCON temple opens in Sigatoka, Fiji. The temple of Sri Radha Damodar and Dharmashala is located in Sigatoka Town. It is on one of the highest hilltops in the heart of Sigatoka Town overlooking the river, Melrose bridge and sea. Just 5 minutes walk from the main town, the temple will have a wonderful scenic view, and will be accessible from the main town as well as a private driveway. The temple site is on freehold land.
ISKCON Sigatoka is run by Miss Gita Kirti Dasi and Dr Gurusmarna Dasi from their private residence. They are the pioneers for the project and have dedicated their life in spreading the message of Godhead and helping the public for the benefit of everyone. And building this temple will assist them in doing so. At present, there are weekly Sunday Programs at the centre which has lectures from Srimad Bhagavad Gita , Kirtans, arati and full feast (vegetarian meals for general public). Major festival days such as Ramnavmi, Dipavali, Shiv Ratri, Hanuman Jayanti and Janmasthmi are also celebrated very jubilantly.
My friend Sanjana at Ko Rasoi has posted another great little blog. I go weak-kneed when I see cupcakes, and these frosty little numbers - eggless Christmas Cupcakes - are definitely on my list of things to cook real soon.
For the recipe: Visit Sanjana's delightful storehouse of all things Indo-Veg now.
We had an exercise at the program at Mother Gita's home in Split. We wrote a problem at the top of the page and each devotee wrote an advice for that problem. And everyone did it for everyone else.
My problem was attentive chanting. This is the 9 tips I got:
Organize your time.
Before chanting read a verse from the BG or SB.
Consult with experienced devotees if sastra cannot help.
Read the book „Nectarean Ocean Of The Holy Name“ by Sacinandana Swami and chant more in the association of devotees.
Try to reduce everything that is not Krsna consciousness.
Attentive chanting is not the problem. The problem is innatentive chanting. Hold on to the holy name by hook or by crook, as if it were your life breath.
Over time, chanting gets better and better.
The more I chant the better.
Try to chant at least 10 rounds in one go while hearing attentively.
Ekadasi delivers people who are drowning in the vast ocean of material existence and transports them to the shore of the spiritual world. In all the three worlds, it is the chief of all sacred fasting days.
- Brahma-vaivarta Purana
H.H. Sivarama Swami: Since its Ekadasi day here in Hungary I ended up speaking about some of the glories and benefits of and obligations in observing this holy day
Yadubara Das: The now complete: FOLLOWING SRILA PRABHUPADA" DVD SERIES 1-11 "30 HOURS OF ASSOCIATION WITH SRILA PRABHUPADA AND HIS FOLLOWERS."
Today is auspicious Utpanna Ekadasi and thus the relevance of today's topic.
A few months ago an email was circulated by an ISKCON Toronto congregation member and devotee describing how Saboodana (aka Sabudana & Tapioca) should be considered non-vegetarian due to how it is processed. Now I am sure there is many different processing plants and sources but unfortunatly each pearl used in a preperation or package will not identify processing technique. So it a bit of a tricky question, hopefully which we can get further reseach and information on.
I know after the email, many local Toronto devotees including us have stopped using it. As a result Ekadasi has truly become a pure "Spud-fest" :)
I tried to find the source information and here below is a copy of the information which drove this email and is perhaps causing questions in the devotee community.
I am giving below rough translation on an article from one Nainmal
Surana published in Dakshin Samachar on March 31, 2010.
In Tamil Nadu, in Salem area on the road from Salem to Coimbatore
there are many saboodana factories. We start getting terribly bad smell when we are
about 2 kms away from the factories.
Saboodana is made from a root like sweet potato. Kerala has this root
each weighing about 6kgs. Factory owners buy these roots in bulk during
season, make it to pulp and put it in pits of about 40ft x 25ft. Pits are in
open ground and the pulp is allowed to rot for several months. Thousands
of tons of roots rot in pits. There are huge electric bulbs throughout the
night where millions of insects fall in the pits.
While pulp is rotting, water is added everyday due to which 2” long
white colour eel is automatically born like pests are born automatically in
gutter. The walls of pits are covered by millions of eels and factory
owners with the help of machine crush the pulp with the eels who also
become paste. This action is repeated many times during 5-6 months.
The pulp is thus ready as roots and millions & millions of pests and
insects crushed and pasted together. This paste is then passed through round
mesh and made into small balls and then polished. This is saboodana.
Now I know whey many people don’t eat Saboodana during ‘Agyaras’
treating this as non-vegetarian.
If you find it appropriate and if you think after reading this one
cannot relish Saboodana, pass on to those whom you want to save from this
United Millers Ltd.
P.O. BOX 620, 40100, OBOTE ROAD, INDUSTRIAL AREA, KISUMU, KENYA
As I said earlier, this is a bit of an "iffy" subject and further clarification and research may be helpful.
Matsyavatara das (ACBSP), Italy: Counseling based on a Bhaktivedanta approach - Interview given by Akrura Prabhu to Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu (Part III)
Akrura Prabhu: If you like, we can now speak of the help relationship for those people who have not made a certain spiritual choice yet.
Matsyavatara Prabhu: Yes, these are people who are researching for a solution of their existential problems. There are many who suffer in their family environment because of difficult relationships with their spouse, their parents or their children. The family system is actually in a critical situation and problems in this environment are the most frequent. However, there could be problems even on the work place, in the economical area or in the health area. I personally worked for six years starting in 2002 in some of the biggest Italian hospitals by holding seminars accredited by the Health Ministry in the field of Psychology of the Assistance to the terminally ill and to their family members, by giving them the Hindu Vedic Traditional teachings. These seminars were mostly for the medical personnel: doctors, nurses, social-assistance workers, but also for people affected by irreversible diseases and their family, their assistants, their friends, etc. In this environment we deal with a huge amount of suffering, anxiety, anguish, fears and a number of other ailments that can be alleviated and definitively resolved through the introduction of spiritual teachings of universal value and applied to the specific context. I wrote a book on this subject “Psychology of the Cycle of Life”. I wrote this book after my experience in the hospitals and it is also related to a subject of our Study Course of the Indian Traditional Sciences.
The trauma of death and mourning are very difficult to elaborate, especially when the sudden death is the one of a offspring or young parents or a young spouse. In these cases we must help the individual with many necessities: emotional, psychological, social, professional, economical, etc.. Mainly, through our Counseling Courses for the harmonization and the development of one’s personality we help people with solving even practical aspects, for example on the legal field or maybe by re-projecting their professional career by always stimulating them to gain a superior vision through ethical-spiritual teachings of universal value and extraordinary instruments such a meditative visualization.
In any case, I would like to emphasize that at the base of each helping relationship there is reciprocal respect and the valorization of personal freedom.
Akrura Prabhu: Freedom of choice?
Matsyavatara Prabhu: Yes, freedom to make decisions in relation to our own lives. We offer instruments and stimulus for reflections so that those who desire it can choose with a mind free from conditioners, cultural and religious prejudices, etc. Shri Krishna Himself in Bhagavad-Gita (XVIII.63) says to Arjuna: “Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do..”.
In the help relationship there are four priority objectives that I try to favor: realizing one’s uniqueness, pursuing a good social integration by respecting and valorizing all cultures, living in autonomy and freedom of thought without being phagocytized by fake models and realizing one’s deepest spiritual dimension.
Realization of freedom should be expressed on two levels: my freedom as an individual and the respect for the freedom of the other members of the society and of all creatures. We cannot experience an authentic inner satisfaction if we don’t respect and favor the wellbeing of all living beings (See Bhagavad-Gita XVIII.54).
We should be ready to sacrifice some of our so called freedom to respect other’s freedom thus reaching a higher level of freedom.
Akrura Prabhu: This represents the essence of sacrifice.
Matsyavatara Prabhu: Of course. It the concept of yajna: giving up something to obtain something higher.
If a person doesn’t realize that other’s wellbeing is not different from his own, he will never achieve real success in life. Love others as you love yourself is the teaching of the Gospel and even in Bhagavad-Gita we find the same teaching expressed particularly in chapter XII from verse 13 through verse 20.
Bhakti is the most elevated expression of spiritual consciousness which is concretized in pure Love for God and can also be realized through service to humanity. This service leads us to the comprehension of existence of a superior Self, the universal Self, the Soul of humanity, Origin of life and Sustainment of every being. It is in this manner that we can gradually realize our deepest identity of spiritual nature, not in a dogmatic or stereotypical way, but through a major conscience of ourselves on a physical, psychological and emotional level. As a result of a deep inner work we can generate consciousness, vision, serenity, joy and capability to give and receive Love.
Excerpts from Sri Harinama Cintamani spoken by Haridasa Thakura to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and written by Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
Two kinds of namabhasa: chaya and pratibimba. “A Vaisnava abhasa chanter may not be recognized as a pure devotee, but still should be respected as a neophyte devotee as long as he is not contaminated by the Mayavadi philosophy. He can easily become elevated by contact with saintly persons. The elevated Vaisnavas considers such neophytes to be innocent and show mercy upon them. They must not be ignored or avoided like the agnostic Mayavadis. The pure devotees will resuscitate the small spark of devotion in them, encourage their propensity to worship the Deity and gradually give them sambandha-jnana to establish them in devotional service to the Supreme Lord and His devotees. But if they exhibit strong inclinations to incorrigible Mayavadi views they must be ignored.
Pratibimba namabhasa. “When persons sees pure faith in others he is impressed, thus sraddha namabhasa or the beginning of faith is invoked in him. He desires elevation and so he chants constantly, although still with such strong attachments to sense pleasure and a desire for liberation. His sraddha is not real but has the symptoms of sraddha. This is defined in the scriptures as pratibimba sraddhabhasa.
Chaya and pratibimba namabhasa. “Chaya namabhasa arises simply from ignorance. It is increased in hrdaya-durlabham or weakness of the heart. It is a type of anartha, but all these faults are rectified by chanting the holy names. However chanting in pratibimba namabhasa increases one’s offenses. According to the Mayavadis, Lord Krishna’s name, qualities and pastimes are all illusory, false, temporary and contaminated. They simply misunderstand prema or spiritual love to be merely evanescent. Mayavadi philosophy characteristically contradicts the devotional path of bhakti every turn. Therefore Mayavadis are the biggest offenders. The Mayavadi’s chanting is not real chanting, the sound of the Lord’s names may emanate from his mouth but it is bereft of the potency of the Lord. His chanting is filled with the yearnings for sense pleasure and liberation and all the time he thinks the Lord’s name is material because he tries to cheat, his chanting results and unrelenting misery for himself.”
And so chaya and pratibimba namabhasa are described. Pratibimba namabhasa has a seed of faith in it, and therefore it has symptoms of sraddha. It is described in the scriptures as pratibimba sraddha namabhasa. But if by circumstances this sort of namabhasa becomes aberrated by Mayavadi philosophy then the chanter begins to think that the perfect and transcendental name of the Lord is mundane and imperfect, requiring to be perfected by chanting with knowledge. This offense obliterates his little bit of genuine sraddha. There are two kinds of namabhasa therefore. One with a little faith and one contaminated by the Mayavadi philosophy. We will next describe how the Mayavadi disease may become uncontaminated.
I woke up at the alarm at 1:30 and began chanting. I was awake, alert and had no pain. Yet still my numerical count built up very slowly, and I had only eight rounds done by 3:40. I am trying to take a little sweet snack in the morning and an energy pill as a means to rectify this slow and sleepy chanting. It is a bad way to start the day, and I’m trying to overcome it.
Chanting in namabhasa
but with a little faith
is better than chanting with
desires for sense gratification.
If the namabhasa turns
to Mayavadi thoughts
the tongue cannot produce
the holy names.
Not chanting with even a little faith
ruins your chances and your tongue
is void of Harinama.
What is “Prabhupada meditation”? It’s thinking of him in a deep way, favorably, like the verse, anyabhilasitasunyam. I want to learn the art and gain the inclination for it.
For a prabhupadanuga, anything can be considered a Prabhupada meditation. But this obviously can be misused or misunderstood. If I am acting for sense gratification I can’t claim “This is my Prabhupada meditation,” but I can catch myself in sense gratification and remember the instruction of my spiritual master. Then I can turn it favorably. I may recall Srila Prabhupada saying, “Am I doing this for sense gratification or for Krishna’s service?—you can test.” And so what started as an invitation from Maya becomes a meditation on Prabhupada’s vani.
I go to Lord Krishna through Srila Prabhupada. I please Lord Krishna by pleasing Srila Prabhupada. Yasyaprasadat… I think of them together. When I think of a verse of Bhagavad-gita, I read the Bhaktivedanta purport. So Prabhupada meditation is very inclusive and not restricted to memories only.
In the Bhaktivedanta purport it
states that man cannot go to the
moon in a “sputnik”, a
spacecraft. He can go there by pious
deeds and good karma.
Some disciples say
Prabhupada did make ambiguous comments
in conversations that maybe they went
to the moon. But at any rate they
can’t pass the time when
he passes on used up time but has
to return to the earthly planet, no matter how
much soma beverage he has drunk.
There are would-be who were unnerved
by his statements that the spaceships didn’t
go there. Because they saw
it on TV. They saw moon rocks.
But it is with bad weather.
You can’t say how
you don’t know.
We believe what’s in the Vedas.
It is coming down as sruti
nothing can dispute it.
Just give out spiritual food
and pray to God and your maha-mantra.
Say there is actually a “Krishna,” but don’t
say Neil Armstrong didn’t
take the great step
for mankind. The thousands
are making new books to prove
they really went.
Little rocks and
films on camera
and real big brains
It’s a beautiful vast
wasteland. Not one
with just pockmarks. It
lights up the sky but it’s
just a dead moon rock.
Wait fifty years, and you’ll
hear something different.
The moon is alive,
and you cannot go there
by your rocket. But
truth will emerge.
I turned at random to Canto 3, Chapter 32, text 3, and its purport: “Such materialistic persons, attracted by sense gratification and devoted to the forefathers and demigods, can be elevated to the moon, where they drink and extract of the Soma plant. They again return to this planet.
“The moon is considered one of the planets of the heavenly kingdoms. One can be promoted to this planet by executing different sacrifices recommended in the Vedic literatures such as pious activities and worshiping the demigods and forefathers with rigidity and vows. But one cannot remain there for a very long time. Life on the moon is said to last ten thousand years according to the calculation of the demigods. It is not possible to reach the moon by any material vehicle like a sputnik, but persons who are attracted by material enjoyment can go to the moon by pious activities. In spite of being promoted to the moon, however, one has to come back to this earth again when the merits of his work and sacrifice are finished.”
The parampara means you have the same homeroom teacher as when you graduated last time, and you took the same college freshman girl to the senior prom and reached puberty at fourteen years old. And you went to the same local nightclub, the Totten Villa and saw Stan Getz and at the intermission went out and looked at the cows through the fence and wrote about it and went to the same community college and had the same teacher who gave you all A’s. And you went to visit her after you graduated and then you transferred to the senior college and you submitted your poem to the literary magazine which rejected them at first but accepted the second ones you submitted. “We’re glad you didn’t think we were creeps for rejecting your first submissions.” And everything kept happening in the same way without any change in the ornaments to the philosophy, and you went to meet the guru who accepted you for your life and his guru was Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his guru was Bhaktivinoda Thakura. And it went back exactly the same to Krishna the cause of all causes and He is svarat which means He is independent and has no need of learning from another. But He keeps coming and teaching in the same way to the masses and preaching that we are not this body. (I can’t claim I was a pure devotee, but I did realize this time that I am not a material body. I can’t claim I was a pure devotee, but I became aware for the first time that I was not ordinary.) He was again a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, and you are in parampara. You have to continue with determination. How many lifetimes will it take to reach perfection?
It’s one thing for the progressive persons and another thing for the losers. Do you get the same parents? We are working as volunteers in the social worker office trying to help underprivileged to make progress and going back Godhead. If you can help others it will help yourself. (I can’t write with clear penmanship so you will have to forgive me and improvise when I can’t read what I have written.) So die and this book reading will occur if you are able to read the words and it hardly matters anyway to the great masses of people—but to yourself it is of a great concern. The evam parampara praptam means you are giving up in serving the spiritual master. You receive the same guru and inalterable teachings. It doesn’t change, and it always connects you responsibly. You are like a grass in a meadow or one of the branches in a tree. It doesn’t change, and you are responsible for everything as karma.
Day’s end scribble:
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Like That of a Dog
In the stillness of the countryside, sounds of the wild are so well defined. There's the hoot of the owl, the drill of the woodpecker, and more wild than wilderness is the hum of a generator. A skunk's influence appears to be in the Gita Nagari community year round. I remember him from last time. You can always envy such permanent residents.
Gopa welcomed me with a bark. He can be described as a Pennsylvania mutt who lost a leg during hunting season. He's as permanent as you can get for the life of a dog, pushing a decade and a half. He's friendly and loves a little affection. I won't forget hearing our Guru, Srila Prabhupada, say that love is demonstrated in everyone and by all living entities and specifically he spoke of the mother dog who has so much affection for her pups.
In the late afternoon, community members made their way to the temple for Kirtan and class. I was slotted to speak from the Gita. I asked friend, Tamal, what verse to select for a topic. "How about 9.11? It's powerful." He proffered 9:30 in reference to how to view a comrade endeavouring on the spiritual path, but who slips and meets a dark hour.
Everyone can relate to such a situation where maya (illusion) takes a stab at us. Our reaction or response to such weakness when it visits a friend is one of compassion. And when we become the victim we anticipate it when someone comes to our aid and understanding. You want to be able to reciprocate like that of a dog - to show some love. Who does not show signs of weakness? No one is exempt.
Some Awesome Achievements
I was trekking a country trail amongst the hardwoods. Trees were screeching above being tossed by forceful nighttime winds. Squeaky joints? Perhaps sounds of branches flexing? A type of chanting, I surmised. Depressions or pot-holes in the back road of the Gita Nagari community held water with the thinnest layer of ice on top. Careful to avoid any foot soakers, I engaged flash light in the left hand while the right bore japa (meditational) beads as I fingered them. It was 3:20 AM and a set of head-lights came my way. Closer and closer came the driver, ever so slowly. I anticipated it would be someone I knew. It was! Stava Priya (formerly Steve) of Baltimore is someone I had seen go through healthy transformations. He had stopped his car, come out and offered the traditional Pranams (hands joined) before reciprocating a hug. He was a brahmacari (monk) three years ago when I first met him. He moved from that position to become a "happy householder" as he puts it.
Why is he up so early? Is he a madman like me? Well Stava rises at 2AM to stoke fires to heat up buildings in the community including the local temple. Stava loves his work which involves milking four cows. Since arriving to Pennsylvania with his LA wife and newborn baby, his helpful nature has paid off to see improvements within the community.
His boss, Dhruva,is a workaholic and shares with Stava a passion for doing things country style, even in the direction of self-sufficiency. The farm is now certified as organic. The fall's crop yield gave 39 different veggies and herbs. A new fence is put up. The signage indicating how you make your way to various modest attractions has a fresh new look. A new tile floor adorns the cafeteria and public wash-rooms are now safe (no longer is there fear that floor boards around the toilet will cave in to the level below) .
Incremental improvements there are but like all communities there is the element of human nature to consider. Things are not perfect. It's not heaven. Wherever there are people there is inevitable disagreements. This is normal. It's always a work in progress. May the night-time winds attempt to blow away such blockages! And with a Krishna-centric spirit there is always hope.
I learned today (with a degree of surprise, I admit) that, just in Italy,
from 1999 to today almost nine thousands (9,000) pedestrians got killed by
being ran over by cars and other motor vehicles.9,000 deaths are more than the total combined military casualties suffered
in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US, UK and all the other countries of the
coalition.Iraq (eight years of hostilities): 4747 dead; Afghanistan (10 years of
military operations): 2239 -- total 6986 dead.Pedestrian in Italy, "peacefully" crossing the road (one third of them right
at the legitimate pedestrian crossing): 9,000 dead.And let's not forget that there were more than 200,000 injured.Imagine the thousands of broken bones, smashed organs, ruptured and bloody
skins... the millions spent in medical expenses... the millions of hours of
pain, for the victims and their families. Imagine the resentment, the anger,
the despair...The article was accompanied by a cartoon (in Italian); a man talks with his
wife and little daughter: "Today I will cross the road," he says; the wife
replies: "Phone me when you reach the other side."It's hard for me to grasp the import of this information: it almost sounds
like it's more dangerous to walk and cross the road in Italy than fighting
in Iraq and Afghanistan... (of course many more people cross the road in
Italy than foreign soldiers fight in Iraq and Afhganistan... still the
statistics don't make any real, rational sense.)So, what is this "technological progress" people talk so proudly about?Do you have any data on how many people died under a bullock-cart or a
horse-driven carriage in the last 5,000 years?
In his recent article on the Sampradaya Sun, titled “Automatic?,” (http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/11-10/editorials6768.htm) Mahavidya Prabhu argues that the supporters of Srila Prabhupada’s rtvik order are denying him his right to reject aspiring disciples. I’ve appreciated Mahavidya’s writing on many occasions, but that accusation is wrong.
There is no need for Srila Prabhupada to accept (or reject) individual disciples now, because historical record shows that he chose to distance himself from that role and delegate it to rtviks instead. This can be shown clearly in four events in 1977:
1. April 22, Tamal Krsna Gosvami tells Srila Prabhupada that he does not think any of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are qualified at the level of guru, and Srila Prabupada agrees, telling TKG that he is waiting for someone to become qualified. This contradicts any earlier evidence someone may put forward saying that he had authorized gurus. As of April 22, 1977, he had not.
Conspicuously absent is any mention by Srila Prabhupada of how he supposedly authorized everyone to be initiating guru with a private letter to Tusta Krsna swami several years earlier.
2. On May 28, Satsvarupa das Gosvami formally asked Srila Prabhupada how initiations were to continue after his disappearance, and he immediately replied, “Officiating acarya… Rtvik, yes.” As if unsatisfied with this, his disciples brought the conversation around to discussion of gurus, and Srila Prabhupada emphasized it would be upon his order, an order that apparently was never given.
3. Srila Prabhupada signed a document dated July 9, 1977, indicating that the rtviks listed therein were to act on his behalf in accepting disciples, which would then be Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. (TKG mentioned on at Topanga Canyon on Dec. 3, 1980, that Srila Prabhupada told him more rtviks could be added.) With this document, Srila Prabhupada materially removed himself from the decision-making process in accepting disciples, having already clearly established his standard of 16 rounds, 4 regs, etc. Nowhere in this document is there any termination clause or any other contradiction of Srila Prabhupada’s prior expressed choice to employ the rtvik method for accepting disciples in ISKCON after his disappearance.
4. That Srila Prabhupada dismissed himself from the decision of accepting disciples was confirmed on October 18, when the desire of one man to become his disciple was presented to Srila Prabhupada, and Srila Prabhupada referred five times to the “deputies” he had made to go to instead. Reading the conversation gives me the impression that he was a little annoyed at being bothered to verbally accept a disciple when he had already delegated that role.
Leaving aside other supporting evidence for the sake of time and space, these four events clearly illustrate the relevant decision that Srila Prabhupada actually made, to continue accepting disciples after his disappearance via the rtvik method he instituted. Therefore it is far better to focus on honoring Srila Prabhupada’s expressed order rather than worrying that someone might wrongly accept a disciple on his behalf and force Srila Prabhupada to save another soul and deliver another devotee to Krishna against his will. Yeah, it sounds ridiculous. Have we forgotten Srila Prabhupada’s mercy?
The way Mahavidya presented it, one unaware might think Srila Prabhupada was big on rejecting his aspiring disciples. We know he accepted several thousand, including some who were just passing through and many whom he never met. How many did he reject? Mahavidya acts as if he knows of one but yet calls him a disciple, so that suggests Srila Prabhupada accepted him too. I would like to know what, if any, evidence anyone has to suggest that Srila Prabhupada would reject an aspiring disciple who would meet the criteria for initiation that he established for ISKCON. In the absence of such evidence, I find it extremely mislead for anyone to stand in the way of aspiring disciples wanting to take shelter at Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet.
Some, including Mahavidya Prabhu recently if I recall correctly, have presented an argument they seem to find very clever, that if we can be initiated as Srila Prabhupada’s disciples even now, then that means we could just as well be initiated as disciples of any past acarya. They say, devoid of logic, that the rtvik system is invalid because I could become the godbrother of Krishna’s spiritual master, for example. This again ignores the fact that Srila Prabhupada created a worldwide institution and a rtvik method within that institution for accepting disciples in his absence, and he said this was the method to be used after his disappearance. The previous acaryas came in a different time, place, and circumstance, and did not do that. History shows that Srila Prabhupada did.
Others present the idea that somehow a guru cannot accept disciples after his disappearance. I’m not sure whether they think this is a limitation on Krishna’s abilities, on the guru’s, or both.
Considering that an ordinary rich person can give his material wealth after his disappearance to someone he has never met but who meets certain qualifications, I find it impossible to believe that on the spiritual platform a guru cannot give his spiritual wealth in an equivalent situation. Materially, it happens every day. Someone has loads of money and establishes a foundation, with funding, trustees, criteria for awards, etc., and money is given as designated, even after the founder’s death. Srila Prabhupada’s establishment of the rtvik system in ISKCON during his manifest pastimes provides a similar infrastructure, making that system possible even now.
Given that Srila Prabhupada provided the means for accepting disciples after his disappearance, directly said to utilize the rtvik method after his disappearance, widely promulgated a written order following that, referred to the same in later conversations and letters, and never subsequently contradicting this order… if the “walks like a duck, quacks like a duck” logic is good for anything, then rtvik system is undoubtedly what Srila Prabhupada wanted to do.
Therefore one should accept the decisions Srila Prabhupada made rather than falsely accusing others of stealing from Srila Prabhupada a decision that he formally delegated.
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