Sunday, April 11, 2010

Remembering My friend Yuga Dharma

Copied from FB forum w/ comments threads below:
Sun at 9:37pm

Bhagavan wrote:

The picture you see is with my late friend Yuga Dharma. He passed away several years ago. Yuga had a great laugh that you could follow to his soul. He really loved his family. He really loved being with the Deities in Vrndavana. He could be really stubborn and irritable as well- but he would always come out of it more awake.

He had a struggle with his liver. Liver is the metaphysical seat of anger. With his struggle, he made me more aware of dealing with issues before they need to physically manifest in the body. All denied emotions find shelter in our body. I loved watching how Yuga's wife Srisha and his children, cared for him. Yuga was a very fortunate man.

The night before he passed away, Srisha called me to their home. He was breathing deeply- like a bellows, and his eyes had begun to move back and forth, back and forth. I stretched out and laid down beside him in his bed. His family gave me some alone time with him. I could understand- that he understood, this was a big event about to happen. I started reading to him from Jaiva Dharma. I told him everything was good, to relax and be cool. His breathing got more relaxed. Krsna was present.

I went home to sleep and when I woke up he was gone. I helped cover him and carry him out. Yuga was a good person to know. He made my heart expand.

Comments thread:

Peer Smits
Haribolo Bhagavan.das. PAMHO AGTSP All glorie to Sri Sri Radha and Sri Krishna.
Its a nice experience to be on the last moment from somebody who is leaving his body on earth. For both its a special moment to be togather. I only can wish that i have this wunderfull association on my last moment. Rearing from Krishna and surrounded from devotees. I was there if my grand mom ( 103 Year) was leaving here body. We diddent now here time was there, i was there whit my mother and my wife to show my Brand new son Narayan . We was telling here abouth the new boy and his name.....Narayan He he Grand mom..... this is Narayan..... That night she left here body. i was feeling honored to be there . It was a special place at a special moment.
Yesterday at 12:04am ·

Alexis Kriel
He must've been in a coma - with his eyes moving back and forth father had the same - it's quite surreal. I was with him when he died, and also with my late brother when he died and helped them both to pass on. I also considered it a great blessing to be alloowed into that sacred space when life and death meet.
Yesterday at 12:26am ·

Andreeva Maria
Yes, this moment is special...
Yesterday at 12:50am ·

Priya Sakhi
I had this opportunity many times in Sri Vrindavan Dham and is a wonderful experience to be able to "help" some body to his/her going back to godhead. Hariiibol!
Yesterday at 2:30am ·

Bhagavat Purana Das

¨But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pritha - for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.¨

Bhagavad Gita 12.7
Yesterday at 3:29am ·

Priya Sakhi
Yesterday at 4:28am ·

Subhadra Hemphill
Such a nice reflection, Bhagavan.
I was with my husband's mother when she passed away a year ago this week.
I'm still imbibing the things I became aware of from that experience.
Krsna was really there for her, Shyamapriya... and that is the most important lesson I learned.
Yesterday at 6:17am ·

Yasoda Crystal Perry
very sweet.. He loved you
Yesterday at 7:37am ·

Chas D Lind
Yuga Dharma's left us? Just saw him in L.A. R.Y. couple years back. Very compassionate Ksatriya !!
Yesterday at 3:00pm ·

Srisa Dasi Carreras
His death was a bitter, sweet gift to his family who chanted the Holy Name for him with Prabhupada even after his last breath. Separation from a loved one gives a glimpse of what we should be feeling in separation from Krsna. The lessons never stop.
7 hours ago ·

Krishna Priya Jaharia
In 2004, the grandmother of my son-in-law died in the summer. The same evening the grandfather of my daughter passed away in Scotland. The day I went for the funeral of the grandmother, I heard that my eldest uncle was about to die, in hospital....and I had this terrible urge to want to see him one last time. After the funeral I hurried back to Amsterdam and went to see him. They had given him lots of sedatives and keeping his body warm. I sat there, holding his hand, chanting.....there was no apparent reaction.....but as soon as I got to the carpark...I felt his presence...later on I heard that exactly on that moment he had left his body. He was always very fond of me and I had the feeling he had waited for me to come...may his soul have found a better destination....and may your friend Yuga continue on his yourney back home, back to Godhead....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

TEMPLATE FOR A FRESH SOCIETY - The Following is a thought Process put together by myself and friends and is open to your input.

For those who want to contribute please quote the section so we can update and incorporate your points.

For those who agree or disagree with Srila Prabhupa for those who agree or disagree with me and for those who disagree with each other, here is an opportunity that we may agree on.

Please have the patience to read through, and in the end the field for cooperation and convergence is wide open.

Many years ago, I heard a "Prabhupada said". Some who have been around for a while might have heard it as well. It goes like this, "There may come a time when the temples are no longer here and books may not be so easily accessible. Your association with others of like mind may be limited. Then you will be on your own and your connection with Krsna will be tested". Whether this is the exact quote or not, the reality of a world and life as we have known it might become vastly different considering the spiritual, political, and economic realities that are clashing and heading towards Earth like fiery comets.

Pressures of scarce energy sources, growing environmental stress and disruption; an out of control rising population; vast inequalities of income; and world wide economies that are based on nothing other than imaginary accounting; are stark realities. They are the devolution spawned from Godless leadership and ignorant religions, that have been in control far too long.

Those who presently rule the world engage in a wanton destruction of nature. They propagate the illusion that consuming everything on Earth in the fire of raging greed is what it means to be alive and successful. They are setting fire to their house to stay warm. Pathology reigns. They measure success by GDP, gross domestic product that calculates how fast we consume all of the natural resources of the earth.

Prabhupada showed how to keep one foot in the spiritual world and one foot here. He was very well aware of the abuses of power going on in the world. He expected us to resolve our differences and get on with the real work of relieving the distress of the Earth-as Krsna did when she cried for Him. He wanted his people to be scientists and politicians, philosophers and philanthropists. He cried for the trees, he cried for the cows, he cried for the poor and unfortunate. He cried for us to wake up.

Men slaughter dolphins, thank God for the cow on their plates, mutilate the yonis of women and sell young girls into slavery and loveless marriages. Where ever we are today in this moment, whatever we have been through so far, our dharma now clearly is to cooperate in bringing about an alternative to domination by illusion and ill will.

May every one of us be empowered to bring about the change.

Going kinetic

In physics, potential energy or stored energy is its ability to develop or come into existence. Kinetic energy is released when the object is set in motion. In regards to what we are talking about, the maha mantra is supposed to set things in motion. Chanting, along with philosophical discussions and meditations set internal energies in motion. Being loving, is the pinnacle of expression of these practices. It is the kinetic, visible success of bhakti yoga.

However, too often instead of bhakti being a "full chakra experience" so to speak, information gets stuck in the head without even energizing the heart chakra. Thus whites are not allowed to see the Lord in Jagannath Puri, women are seen as inferior, 'devotees' use shastra to kill each other on the internet, and disciples perform guru bashing. At one temple the disciples of one guru were not even offered prasadam. And by the way, how are those who propagate rittvik philosophy so sure that Prabhupada even wants more disciples? Did you ask him if it was all right to keep piling on karmic responsibility?

The idea we imbibed from Prabhupada was to envision a God centered society that was broad in its scope of all varnas and not limited by monastic blinders or hierarchical complexes. I give again the example of Rupa Ragunnath who has done so much in setting up schools, clinics, food programs, etc in Vrndavana, but was criticized by certain sannyasis, as being outside of 'Prabhupada's vision' by performing mundane humanitarian work. As such he took his success outside of ISKCON but is loved by people all over Vrndavana.

Tonight we are taking the potential/kinetic paradigm to group discussion using a template of a Charter for our present time home planet and all her inhabitants. Yoga practitioners who have linked with Krsna's Heart and Mind, want to design a "world that works for all."

Reorganizing Society

Envision being isolated from all that is considered home, temple or sanctuary. You find yourself with a group of strangers looking to reorganize their lives. You have been practicing bhakti yoga for 40 years. What will you do to play your part in creating a new society? Here is something to organize your spirituality, intelligence, mind and heart.

For those who have been contributing to these dialogues this is a chance to work together for the common good. Your input might even be helpful to the betterment of ISKCON. What follows is a template we can work on together to design a Charter for a world that works for all. Contribute to whatever part you wish to write about:


We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future holds great peril and great promise.

We must recognize that in the midst of a diversity of cultures we are one human family and one Earth community with both a common spiritual and earth bound destiny. We live in a reality of being simultaneously one but different.

We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for our common origin, nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we declare our responsibility to the Creator and the creation, to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.


  • Recognition of our Common Origin
  • Respect of Earth and life in all its diversity.
  • Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love.
  • Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.
  • Secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations.
  • Follow a timeline to reduce fossil fuel dependency and usage.
  • Invest in Solar, Wind, and Bio-fuel technologies instead of War technologies.
  • A Declaration of Independence from the mind, false ego, and institutions of all kinds which foster divisiveness and superiority.

  • Protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
  • Prevent harm as the best method of environmental protection.
  • Adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth's regenerative capacities, and community well-being.
  • Advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange and wide application of this essential knowledge.

  • The first principle of artha, economic wellbeing, is that regardless of nation, race, or spiritual inclination, respect and honor for our Mother- the Earth is the first amongst laws.
  • Everyone has the right to a healthy, fulfilling life. As such no person or institution shall manipulate or enslave the mind or body of another to gain dominance. Those who create poverty are considered anti-earth.
  • As a needed step towards balance, animals must be protected from human insensitivity.
  • It is our responsibility, when increasing the size of the human community, to be accurate in understanding the requirements of loving parenthood.
  • Gender equality and equity are to be considered prerequisites to sustainable life.
  • Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.
  • Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.
  • Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity.
  • Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.

  • Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.
  • Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life, advancement of spiritual harmony.
  • Treat all living beings with respect and consideration. Reduce the slaughter of animals to an absolute minimum.
  • Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.
  • Provide transparency and accountability in government, religious or economic institutions.
  • Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life in a God centered society.

  • Create a global alliance that ensures, through empowerment of resources and technology that each country promotes continuous improvement of human happiness through environmental integrity.
  • Create standard indicators for human and global happiness eg.
  • Life Expectancy Indicator
  • Life Satisfaction Indicator
  • Ecological Footprint Indicator
  • Ethnic and Religious Harmony Indicator
  • Crop, Flock and Herd Wellness Indicators
  • Create efficient trading route maps and calendars that insure minimal carbon footprint between production and consumers.
  • Manage Human Migration Opportunities to balance local resources with population density.

  • Empower a global body funded by corporations and financial Institutes through centralized global taxation; this body will invest in humanitarian happiness, equilibrium and environmental and ecological stabilization.
  • The fostering of Democratic Societies, that promotes the good of all.
  • To enter the field of business, an education in the sustainable use of natural resources, will be required.

  • Empower a Global Governing Body funded through Governmental taxation to Regulate Religious bodies, insuring and implementing religious and ethnic harmony and tolerance.
  • Eradicate religious fanaticism, hatred and bigotry through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that allows a onetime Amnesty on conditions of reform.
  • Intelligent design should be the basis by which Theism and Atheism can coexist in search of Truth.
  • Care for all life by expressing our higher nature thru understanding, acceptance and compassion. Those who foster hate and profess a warring mentality are considered pathological.
  • In regards to religious or social practices, any group that fosters the vision of a common cause leading to the good of all and which generates peace, is acceptable.
  • The government’s responsibility is to protect against any group that fosters divisiveness and greed.


As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning. This requires a change of mind and heart. It requires a new sense of universal responsibility. We must imaginatively develop and apply the vision of a sustainable way of life internally, locally, nationally, regionally, and globally.
We have much to learn from the ongoing collaborative search for truth and wisdom where cooperation must keep competition in check.

Life often involves tensions between important values. Even to find a non violent way to feed humanity will meet with great challenges. However, we must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals. Every individual, family, organization, and community has a vital role to play.

The arts, sciences, religions, educational institutions, media, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and governments are all called to offer creative leadership. The partnership of government, civil society, and business is essential for effective governance.

Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for the Supreme and all forms of life.

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Pam said, "to find a synthesis to these seemingly irreconcilable points of view is the challenge and is unheard of in GV circles." The only option for success is to climb to a higher vantage point and learn to see things as God sees. Otherwise what is the point of identifying with Krsna’s Consciousness? After all, Gauranga integrated Muslims, caste Brahmins and followers of different sampradayas. And for those who still have disturbance around who is a guru, Mahaprabhu's sannyasa guru was a Mayavadi.

Here is something to consider from our histories that shows how regardless of apparent indiscretions or contextually colored vision, greatness and truth can still be achieved. As the participants in these discussions have noted, the Founder Acarya of the movement from which we all took a spiritual birth, is not isolated from his critics. However, it should be noted by all, that before he came west with his personalized Bhagavad Gita, there were practically no western or European bhaktas.

Krsna's premise is that "every endeavor is covered by some kind of fault..." In this world, everything has denial mixed in with Truth, be it ever so small, that will affect the outcome of our endeavors. Please note this is presented without intent to offend……

Because we have consciously been connected to Krsna, we are the most contemporary chapters of the Mahabharata saga.

We can begin with Bhishma denying Amba's love, albeit it for a nobel purpose- to sooth the love stricken heart of his father. By shaming a righteous woman, her cosmic anger was allowed to reach Siva Himself, and (s)he became empowered to return as Sikhandi to kill him. Still, on the bed of arrows, he attracted Krsna to appear directly before him and listen to his discourse on dharma.

Out of social shame, Queen Kunti, denied her first-born son Karna. Because of her lack of acceptance, her oldest son went on to become the sworn enemy of his own brothers. Denial, born from social conditioning, covered her true feelings and created deadly resentment amongst her children. Still Queen Kunti remains Krsna's close associate.

Arjuna looked down upon Ekalavya, who without formal initiation by Drona, worshipped his guru via a mud figure in the jungle and became superior to Arjuna in talent. Arjuna, of Nara Narayana fame, complained to Drona that he was supposed to be the greatest archer and so caused the poor nishada's thumbs to be amputated. Still, without Arjuna there would be no Bhagavad Gita.

Later, when the competition came to test the prowess of Drona's students, Karna appeared uninvited into the arena, and again Arjuna was challenged. He secured his place only by belittling Karna's cast saying he was not fit by birth to challenge him. At that time it was none other than Duryodhana who spoke truth, that a person must only be understood and placed by his qualities and not by birth - the same truth that Caitanya fought for against the caste brahmins. Although Duryodhana was a heinous personality, some truth shone through.

The great Yudhistira, the embodiment of truth and dharma, gambled away his wife and family being affected by the social customs that a ksatriya can not back down from a challenge. He found himself being swept away by his addiction and denied his family's security allowing them to be banned to the forest. During their exile in the forest, Draupadi and Bhima criticized him and hurled insults at him for his recklessness. Still, he showed them the power of patience and led them to ultimate victory.

To master the art of fighting, Karna lied to his guru who then failed to recognize Karna's deep love for him, and so denied him success in battle by cursing him. Still, Radheya is known for his unsurpassed generosity.

Perhaps most outrageous of all, Bhishma, sat silently and denied Draupadi's honor, as she was being molested in front of a massive assembly. He further went on to fight against Krsna himself. Still he is known as a Mahajana.

Prabhupada would never see himself above these historic personalities. As such the issue before us is, did his history also affect him? This doesn't mean he didn't give us Radha Krsna. It means that the truth as he presented it was packaged in some of his relative experiences.

Did this affect his society? I would say yes. I do believe women suffered because of cultural ideas that he grew up with, specifically how women were less than men and needed a subservient position to achieve success. Does that mean he did not deliver Krsna? Absolutely not. If we expressed to him today what we have understood to be a better way to do or say things, especially things that had serious social implications, do you think he would ignore you or put you down? I don't believe so.

Being influenced by this physical dimension, the modes of nature are always active. Everyone from Kamsa to Hitler may have rays of goodness mixed with the most profound darkness. Every race or religion is capable of atrocities and can be prone to generic, behavioral quirks. Prabhupada constantly admonished us to distance ourselves from his godbrothers and would not even allow us to read the books of his spiritual master. However, at the end of his life, Prabhupada apologized to his godbrothers for belittling them and many of his followers have benefitted from the love of his godbrothers.

I myself expressed great anger after my leaving, that the discussions we had with him regarding guru succession, never extracted the detail necessary to maintain peace in the society.

To be sure, smoke can be found everywhere. But smoke is not fire. Here we are looking for the fire and recognizing the smoke. We do this as an expression of responsibility to ourselves, to all of our guides and to future generations. As they say, the Truth will set us free.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Moving Toward Synthesis (copied from FB forum)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:04am

Response to a letter from Gudakesh,
I have till now, not involved myself with FB, blogs, web pages....I only began all of this to promote healing between myself and former students, Godbrothers and sisters that opened their hearts to my love and in that open state received denial of love due to my abortive exit from their lives. Over the weeks it has moved into this forum although the gapped feelings of 25 years are still arriving from some with full fury-everything from saying I was just a pretender and it was all a show to why am I trying to again alter Prabhupada's directives and promote sense gratification in the name of spirituality.

However it is that people want to see me, I feel my contribution in this moment in time, is to bring a forum for reconciliation either personal and internal or possibly on a more societal level. I have learned along the way that for such changes to take place, philosophy, regardless of how elevated and absolute it is proclaimed to be, must often pause to allow for the expression of true feelings.

Often times in trying to attain the truth of "I am not this body", parts of our eternal being- our emotions, will, feelings and intuition are amputated and offered as grains in the perceived fire of Krsna's Will. This is a great misunderstanding of God and a corresponding great tragedy for an individual and a sociey as well. As such in the name of holding true siddhanta and being true followers of Prabhupada, 'devotees' of every ilk, allow themselves to fear, despise and hold death wishes for each other. Even some in positions of power tried to frame our beloved Bhakti Tirtha Swami with untruthful allegations of indiscretions. This comes from a pathological emotional body that has become dense from denial in some form. I learned just today that Rupa Ragunatha who has done so much brilliant work in Vrndavana to win the hearts and minds of the locals, was verbally diminished before the GBC body in Mayapura, as going against Prabhupada's will that ISKCON not engage in mundane altruistic and humanitarian works. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought that his vision was not a culture of simply creating men and women monks but an entire Varna Ashram society capable showing Krishna's love for all species and divisions of society. Who objected to this public vilification?

What we are seeing unfold in these discussions, is the release of ill fated emotions, especially from women, which have been denied recognition for an unlawful period. I began this forum by asking how women should and must be seen in a spiritually evolved society. This evoked strong words from outspoken and well articulated women because like it or not, women in ISKCON have been slowly taking their power back from an ideology that says they are less than. They question and seem to have found their reasons why this mentality found its way into the ISKCON society. However the principle issue here is this, is it better to have a division of orthodoxy and reform, or is it time to revisit a calcified and politicized orthodoxy that views Prabhupada inaccurately in regards to how he wanted and needs to be seen.

So far as whether the GBC will avoid this particular forum because it leaves them vulnerable or may lead to their being criticized by other GBC's as not representing a particular ISKCON law, is ludicrous to the persona of a sadhu. ISKCON is supposed to stand for not merging into undifferentiated oneness. Aside from that, most GBC's are sannyasis and are supposed to be fearless and open to God. To hear the voices of the people, of all generations and sexes, who are no less important than them, is to hear truth. Since sannyasis are not supposed to be attached to positions of power and are to live under a different tree every night, why should they be worried about anything? Truth is the cloth they wear.

Perhaps it is time, in calling for synthesis, to revisit Prabhupada’s Direction of Management and usher in the fresh air of evolved minds.......

Comments (copied from FB threads):

Satvatas Dasa
April 2 at 7:18pm ·

Satvatas Dasa
If "ISKCON "gurus" come to see Srila Gurudeva in secret and yet tell their disciples not to have any association with him" as you say, then yes that does not make sense at all. Do you know which Iskcon gurus are doing this?
April 2 at 7:20pm ·

Jaya Sri
Dandavats! Thanks for posting the link. Well, Radhanath swami comes to hear from Srila Gurudev, and in the past they have had a good relationship with each other, I think Radhanath swami really respects our Gurudev, but in the video below Gurudev asks him why he will not let his disciples hear from him. Unfortunately that part got edited out of ... See Morethe video.. I believe Indrayuma(sp) swami has also visited Gurudeva and on the surface they are very friendly. But my experience here in Portland is different because the ISKCON temple president warns devotees not to get too close to Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja disciples. He states that "ISKCON has to be careful of it's association" That doesnt sound like good Vaisnava ettiquette to me. The politics are still there. You know prabhu, it's not my desire to be critical of anyone. I try to back my words with facts. I have served this community here in any way I possible can by doing kitchen seva, organizing for festivals, you name it, be it ISKCON or otherwise. I'm not looking for a pat on the back either because all vaisnavas should have this mood. But after I got initiated I definitely got the cold shoulder at the ISKCON temple. Not from everyone but certainly those who are in a position of power. Too, I have had to listen to what they "heard" about Srila Gurudeva, no one even takes the time to really find out anything for themselves, they just go by idle gossip...well, slander in this case. So we opened The Gair-Nitai Center dedicated to our Gurudeva and you know what? So many people are flocking in because they are tired of the politics too, they just want to hear some Hari Katha! Krishna is a very tricky person...
April 2 at 7:52pm ·
Satvatas Dasa

Thanks for the video link. I will have a look. Sorry to hear that you are being mistreated in the Iskcon temple. But this is the experience of many devotees these days. On the other hand it is good to hear that you have a center dedicated to your Gurudeva and that it is going well. Wonderful news! This is the spirit, why bother fighting with these Iskcon leaders. Better to set a nice example and let people decide for themselves. All the best.
April 2 at 8:27pm ·

Jaya Sri
Thank you. And if you are ever in the Portland area please do stop by on Sat. eve 5:30pm for some kirtan, lecture/discussion, aarti and a sumptious prasadam, we have great cooks here:-) If anyone cannot understand the last conversation between Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupad due to Srila Prabhupada's weakness at the time (melted my heart), they can go to for a written transcript. Click the bottom right hand link entitled:

"Srila Prabhupada's final instructions for cooperating with His Godbrothers"

and it should appear. Thanks.... See More
April 2 at 8:39pm ·
Miquel Rabell Bhakti-yoga
Miquel Rabell Bhakti-yoga
Prabhu Gopa Murti explica la vital Importancia de tener una Escuela de Bhakti-Yoga, con su Guru Director Iniciador y sus Directivos consejeros considerados todos Bhakta Gurudevas Vaishnavas y Krishna-Bhaktas en el canto del Santo Nombre. Escuchar y cantar en el Bhakti, es mas que leer y escribir literatura del Bhakti, la cultura del S... See Moreánscrito, la lengua Madre de la Tierra y de los Semidioses como Brahma.
Pienso que progreso es ir siempre en favor de la Naturaleza y el ser vivo desvalido y solo el Yoga conoce la manera correcta en la meta de la vida, por encima de las miserias temporales, se libera al Mundo espiritual definitivamente; es su gloria abrazada a Krishna nos contaba Srila Gurudeva Prabhupada y ahora afortunadamente tenemos a Srila Gurudeva Narayana como Director de la Escuela de Bhakti principal de la India para que los Bhaktas occidentales no discutamos que es y que no es Materia (Maya), simplemente le preguntemos al mejor representante de nuestro Gurudeva Prabhupada, si estamos aprendiendo a ser Bhaktas todavia a pesar de toda nuestra sabiduría..
Bueno es mi conclusión sincera, que seamos reyes o zapateros igualmente somos agricultores con muchas pretensiones jeje..
April 3 at 7:50pm ·
Jaya Sri
Jaya Sri
one more time in English hablan Espanol...:-)
April 3 at 7:56pm ·
Jaya Sri
Jaya Sri
Dandavat Pranamas! Here is one of many letters from Srila Prabhupada in the 1960's perfectly demonstration how Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja served him throughout the years and the nature of their relationship. The letter can be found on

A.C. Bhakativedanta Swami

26 Second Avenue... See More
Apt. B 1 Rear
New York N.Y.
December 15, 1966

Sripada Narayana Maharaja,

After receiving your letter of the 13 November and hearing of your difficulty, I replied to you on the 19th November. In that letter I instructed you to deposit Rs 1,500/- into my account at the Vrndavan Punjab National Bank. If you have not deposited the money yet, Please let me know if you have purchased the goods or not. I came to know that my disciple Chandrashekara form Delhi wrote you a letter. Chandrashekara sent me a copy of your reply to him. In that letter I came to know that foolish Chandrashekara had blasphemed you. Fools do not know how to honor Vaishnavas. By your greatness please excuse him. I haven't instructed him to do such a thing. I only told him to visit you. Anyway excuse his aparadha. Chandrashekara is a good man. but out of foolishness he used bad words to you. You please forgive him and me out of your good qualities.

There are some more instructions on buying and shipping deities. However the important instructions about proper Vaishnava etiquette are given by Srila Prabhupada in the previous paragraph. The letter is signed
Affectionately Yours
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
April 3 at 10:26pm ·

Satvatas Dasa
Hare Krishna Jaya Sri Mataji, I just watched the video wherein Radhanath swami comes to hear from Srila Gurudev. Do you know why that part of the video you mentioned was edited out? Would it be possible to see the full version, or maybe an audio recording is available?

And thank you for the invite to the Portland Center, unfortunately I am many thousands of miles away with little money for travel.
April 4 at 1:00am ·

Jaya Sri
Dandavats prabu! I can try and get it, I'll ask one of our seniors. I have to make a correction...I stated that Indrayuma was one of the Swami's that has visited Srila Gurudev, but it was in fact Jayadvaita swami and the video is on youtube as well, the visit was on May 4, 2008 in Alachua, FL. Both the Gaudiya Math(related to Gurudev) and ISKCON have centers there.
April 4 at 1:32am ·

Monday, March 29, 2010

Invitation to GBC, ISKCON Gurus and Leaders

Invitation to GBC, ISKCON Gurus and Leaders

Copied from FB forum:
Monday, March 29, 2010 at 10:51pm


It has been quite a while since I have contacted you all - almost 25 years.

In that time many things have changed for all of us. However, I would like to draw your attention to an inflammatory issue that has surfaced in the public domain. This topic has the potential to turn a spark into a major meltdown surrounding Prabhupada and the movement he created. With the presence of the internet, Vedabase, Vanipedia, etc., a compilation of Prabhupada’s statements and views has led to some intense questioning of attitudes, that some see as historically affecting the society in dysfunctional ways.

You most likely are aware of these statements which depict Prabhupada in a conflicting light. Since they have surfaced in various threads not only on my page but in the public domain, I believe you should weigh in on them in a timely manner keeping in mind the ramifications that arose from denying the full truth of the gurukula experience. This forum is open to you to do so. Since deleting them is no longer an option, empowered discussion appears to be the call. Such discussion could possibly offer you an opening for bringing the society to a better and more encompassing position.

In the past the GBC has taken time to discuss and resolve issues like; the descent of the jivas’, the validity of women Guru’s and the truth about chocolate. But it might be more pressing to address the charge surrounding these theological and social issues, seemingly founded in Prabhupada’s views, and release them before it becomes deadly in the court of public opinion. Deep massage that releases blockage is a better alternative than a nuclear meltdown.

To say that there is no need of change or improvement in how Gaudiya Vaishnavism is being presented, is a position I believe few would accept. So I am inviting you to participate in this forum as much as you feel inclined, with the intention to promote a greater healing.

I have read some of the distasteful and hateful internet diatribes reflecting the lost love between us. I also see the prolonged and numerous court cases taking place, where millions of dollars are being spent in Prabhupada’s name. There have been hundreds of women and children psychologically, physically and spiritually wounded from their time in this movement. Many followers of various guru philosophies have been disenfranchised from each other.

Some wounds originate from us- leaders past and present, and some put responsibility on positions that Prabhupada seems to have held during his time with us. We are all in a position to contribute to a greater peace on earth by healing the issues that are particular to the ISKCON experience, as well as those which are pervasive everywhere.

On this ksetra of cyberspace, it is possible to allow Krsna to drive our chariots through impossible Vyuhas to attain victory for all.

Here is the Link to the Forum discussing these topics;



PS. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can access the topic directly with this RSS feed:


Copied comments thread follows:

Veda Sastra
My guess is the same as Kusum Sraman's .They will try to protect their own donations and quite rightly ...

The rest of the world is unexplored ,and there are enough people outside ISCKON who would greatly appreciate any spiritual association or connection and some inspiration .

By the way , I liked the ' namaste' .
March 30 at 1:43am ·

Gauri Das
As Sanaka says it is a 'thorny topic', because it calls to question the cultural ideology and position of the founder. Leaders and disciples are then forced to disagree with or interpret the corner stone of their faith and the meaning built in their lives. Can it be done without putting the founder on trial? Therefore, as he concludes 'I will be very surprised', I am forced to agree; because I don't think they can.
March 30 at 1:50am ·

Damodara Dasa
Thank you, Bhagavan, for the call for leadership. Certainly, Srila Prabhupada never shied away from any preaching opportunity and expressing a point of view. The fact that many of them clash with contemporary thinking should be no surprise - and to judge Srila Prabhupada from the standard of contemporary views is misguided. Srila Prabhupada wanted "thoughtful men" and thoughtful men (and women) dialogue (istagosthi). Unfortunately, a strange form of diatribe has become commonplace amongst Srila Prabhupada's espoused followers.

It would be nice to hear the voice of ISKCON in the world again - insightful social commentary. Srila Prabhupada's words about "dead men" not being able to preach come to mind. Where are the harinamas? What's happened to the quality of temple prasadam, kirtanas, etc? Where are the strategies to promote Krsna conscious - whether converting the non-devotees, ministering to those who have previously committed but may have lapsed, providing whole of life guidance to those born in the movement or even the current (young) sadhakas? Are ISKCON's "leaders" developing the capability of successive generations of devotees or enjoying the trappings of stardom?

In the absence of socially relevant messages from ISKCON's leaders, more and more of those who came to Krsna Consciousness inspired by Srila Prabhupada's teachings look outside ISKCON for mature and intelligent perspectives on life's important issues....

Just as the Srimad Bhagavatam is described by Srila Vyasadeva as being heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest despite imperfect composition, it's time for a reasonable and honest exploration of the imperfections in ISKCON's approach to date. These need not, if honestly faced, represent insurmountable constraints or fatal flaws in ISKCON's fulfilling of the purposes for which Srila Prabhupada established it. However, as long as ISKCON's leaders avoid such uncomfortable topics and stay in the safe zone of preaching purist ideals to their adoring followers then my belief is that ISKCON will, for the most part, continue to unravel as a preaching force and settle further and further into the comfortable maintenance arrangements that have become more and more the norm of late.

I also suspect that ISKCON's leaders will sit this one out - indifference, smug judgements, cowardice?

It's not been my intention to upset anyone - perhaps to prick a conscience here and there, to stimulate a response...
March 30 at 3:04am ·

Veda Sastra
Damodara Dasa ,thank you for phrasing so nicely my beliefs as well .
March 30 at 4:12am ·

Yves Rc Ayoun
To my obersvation, especially over the past decade, ISKCON is facing a major shift. And really, like it or not, the shift will take place with or without the core leadership. There are far more Gaudiya devotees who are already making the transition than those who are holding the fort, though it is delapidating in substence. And I don't believe that preaching and upholding the torch of sankirtan is only for those who sit in a GBC meeting or a temple council meeting.

An order was given by Mahaprabhu (yare deka tahe kaha krsna upadesh) that order was handed down to the acaryas all the way to Srila Prabhupada who clearly and repeatedly gave the same order. That order is also in the books that are being distributed to every town and village. It is not the monopole of a segregated group of aspiring pure sadhakas, but to anyone who wants to teach Krsna bhakti according to time place and circumstance, with intelligence, proper judgement, balance, experience and of course proper sadhana and vaisnava blessings. But that order is there and all it takes is for one person to take it up and make it happen.

Within the next 20 to 30 years we are going to witness and be part of a wave of departures from this world. It is going to be quite something. And then what will happen to ISKCON? (I have my personal speculative siddhanta on that one but...) How many years do we have to do the needful, which is to break the mould, lest it breaks down by itself. But breaking it will. That mould is what Prabhupada wanted us to grow out of, each individual. If it can be done as a unified voice and the strength of senior devotees, great. If not, each of us have to chiesel away at the mould. 90% of the second generation is only a few years younger than the first one and with about the same amount of seva mileage. So what is holding us back?...

And then you have this fast growing third generation. They are bubbling with enthusiam. They are smart, talented and determined. Watch that space...

It is perhaps true that Bhagavan prabhu's visionary ideas of looking at the future of Prabhupada's legacy from the top of the mountain with a clear vista will be laughed at, brushed off or even ignored. But that does not stop the rest of us to roll up our sleeves. Though there is no "us and them" in that endeavor, we saw what Prabhupada accomplished without "them" (GM).

Last week a very bad smear campain exploded in Israel about a group of devotees who had been so closed up for years. They are now accused of breaking up families and facing court. I'd say, unless ISKCON devotees endeavor to integrate themselves within mainstream society and participate in their community, what chance have we got to be heard? Who? the Hares? Oh the weirdos chanting on the street. What do they do all day? There are vaisnava communities that are very involved I must say.

And then we have the hot topic of ISKCON being invaded by the Hindu community. Well there is a natural history to this going back to the Zonal acaryas. But today 90% of ISKCON temples are made of Indian congregation and you know, all to their credit and immense piety. But it's very high maintenance and duing that time, we don't see local devotees joining, be it at the asrama or in their own homes. So yes, deities are being looked after nicely, bills are being paid, festivals are crowded, but where are the neighboors, the media, the school kids, the community elders, the Gvnt reps? Has ISKCON become a Hindu cult?

All those things need to be thoroughly analyzed and an intelligent project and allowances have to be made for the future. The recent presentation on "Who is a Member of ISKCON" did not go much further out of the GBC room this year. There is a lot more work to be done dear friends and it starts, just like in spiritual life, by hearing....what others have to say.
March 30 at 4:15am ·

Guru Gauranga Das
Good points from Damodar and Radhacharan Prabhu. Why wait for the GBC's, have we all become powerless and thoughtless as we depend on them to change the thinking that is disenfranchising others? Why don't the GBC's seriously consider how to socialize ordinary people into Vaisnavism?
March 30 at 4:43am ·

Dhritarastra Tulasi
Is there ANY discussion between the ISKCON leadership & the Prabhu's? Do they EVER answer or discuss the issues with the members of ISKCON (the devotees? It seems there is no leadership..

In Vrindavan Kurma Rupa decided he wanted to protect cows. He started with 1 baby cow and now has over 300....

If someone wants to do some service or project don't wait.
Rupa Raghunath in Vrindavan has 3 schools & clothes &, teaches & feeds them. On his own he started doing this, while also doing Prasadam distribution to the locals & digging wells, doctors for people & animals.....One person with a desire can do wonderful things. Take inspiration from any devotees... Who is the real leader? I think it is those who actual inspire us , not necessarily someone with a position...Although a position is no impediment. dhrits
March 30 at 6:53am ·

Sri Tulsinath Dasa
Thank You Bhagavan Prabhu, Dandavats to you and all the assembled devotees here, It seems the whole problem is distinguishing Prabhupadas comments when he is speaking Absoloutely, and when he is speaking GENERALLY. Even in the Bhagavatam purports we find statements which are general and not absoloute. Prabhupada would comment on common material conditioning, it was not an Absoloute statement about all people at all times and in all places. But the general patterns that were there. Srila Prabhupada does not descriminate. Material nature descriminates and he was straightforwardly explaining the facts in a general context which often was not an absoloute fact and did not apply to everyone. Also In Prabhupadas statements in letters where he makes seemingly Absoloute statements which are different in each circumstance.
Consider, for example, these various instructions regarding what is most important:
“. . . this sankirtana or street chanting must go on, it is our . . . most important program.” (to Bali Mardana and Puñöa Kåñëa, September 18, 1972)
“Now the most important point is to recruit life members as many as possible.” (to Dayänanda, February 8, 1971)
“Now I very much appreciate your activities for conducting our school . . . and I consider your work the most important in the society. . .” (to Son and Daughters in Dallas, June 20, 1972)... See More
“I consider this Mayapur Project to be our most important work. . . .” (to Tamäla Kåñëa, June 28, 1972)
“The most important thing is that you must follow all of the rules and regulations very strictly.” (to Tapana Misra Dasa, May 26, 1975)
“There is no doubt about it, to distribute books is our most important activity.” (to Ramesvara, August 3, 1973)

I see the problems to have all come from an immaturity to understand Srila Prabhupadas statements in the proper context between general and Absoloute.

Hare Krishna!
March 30 at 7:21am ·

Cara Yoshizumi
Part of the problem is people letting other people make crucial personal life decisions for themselves. I'll take advice and opinions but to do what is WRONG for you and then blaming others--whose fault really is it? If there is an institutional problem (I'm not close enough to the center or have even been an initiated devotee to have been entangled enough), I'll support any reforms. The issue of sexuality and women needs a look at as I don't believe that celibacy is always a healthy life choice and to be made to feel bad for having normal, God-given feelings is probably destructive. I'm well aware that my life needs improving! No one has given me a bad time about my choices in my corner of ISKCON. The guru-disciple relationship also needs to be looked at critically, too. If you see the gurus as something more than teachers or administrators, then there is an inequality/status/power differential that has the potential to be abused and used as a tool of unhealthy domination/submission. I have made a commitment to myself to not make any vows that I cannot keep. Individuals have responsibilities to themselves and others that we are not free of because we take shelter of a guru. Perhaps people want to avoid responsibility for their own lives?
March 30 at 8:20am ·

Visnu Murti Barriball
before "putting the founder on trial" it is indeed important to understand in depth what it is that the founder actually stood for. As that becomes clearer, then it seems quite obvious that our relationship with him will also become clearer. Personally I know of no other way to begin a serious process of understanding what it is that Srila ... See MorePrabhupada stood for, other than a threadbare study of his teachings that he left us. And indeed that is his open invitation to anyone, to seriously and scrutinizingly study his books. If this is not done, then any trial that Srila Prabhupada is placed under, will not be fair. We need to have lots of sincere informed discussions about the development of KC within our individual lives and as communities. These informed discussions will bear its real fruit if it is based in in-depth knowledge of Prabhupada's teachings. This is why the Vanipedia collaborative project is being developed. for there is no mystery as to how to study. It must be via a threadbare process, that is both comprehensive and thorough, all the while cultivating the proper attitude. We are finding that by pursuing this process alot is being clarified. For example, a few days ago the devotees were challenged by a governmental body from Belgium about Prabhupada's relationship with Hitler and the possibility that he supported him. So I started to compile threadbare all that is documented of Prabhupada regarding Hitler, and from that I personally find it impossible to say that he had affection for Hitler. Here is the link: Devotees can see for themselves. Prabhupada stood for Krsna, not Hitler.
March 30 at 8:25am ·

Alexis Kriel
I've read through the vani quotes on Hitler and they don't establish NEGATIVE sentiments from Srila Prabhupada towards Hitler either. In these quotes, Srila Prabhupada has used Hitler's name to illustrate power in the material world, along with Churchill, Napoleon etc. We now know that Srila Prabhupada said that Hitler was not such a bad man. And ... See Morehe used Shakespeare's description of Shylock to illustrate his attitude towards Jews - and even laughed about it. As a Jew - I find these attitudes offensive to the extreme.
March 30 at 9:09am ·

Cara Yoshizumi
How literally/seriously does one take the oft repeated quote: "Women are less intelligent than men"? I take it as a product of his culture, not God's opinion.
March 30 at 9:36am ·

Cara Yoshizumi
That does sound like an institutional problem; and thanks for informing me of that; I didn't know! My understanding is that "you are not your body"--gender is irrelevant.
March 30 at 10:26am ·

Fernando Rodriguez Torres
In times of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, the figure of authocrats were very appreciated all over the world. Mussolini and Hitler were considered figures of success, able to bring order to countries in times of general despair. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta often spoke of Krishna as the original authocrat, and this word didn't have at all a peyorative connotation. After WWII, those figures got the destiny of losers, so that's their fame now.

Srila Prabhupada knew different conceptions of Hitler and dictatorships during his lifetime, but the point is never to try to bring-out of his mouth some declaration that can be viewed as politically wrong in the present times. He lived other times and acted as a man of other times. The attempts of trying to impose on him attitudes contrary to present moral standards are superficial, however well articulated, insistent and repeated. He is on the safe side always.

I think Bhagavan in this forum is trying to help us to trascend ideologies, say sets of moral values that simplify our thinking or make us to avoid thinking. So trying to impose on Srila Prabhupada's the concept that he was not a moral person is an ideological effort. Srila Prabhupada was Srila Prabhupada, a fluent energy of devotion and humanity who gave different inputs to different persons in different times and with different moods. So, what's the need of freeze him on a stereotyped clichè of any kind? He is still alive with us in many forms, so please try to understand him and interact with him in the right way, forgetting the frustration and anger due to bad practices of the past, that are born simply of misunderstanding his words. His books are always there to solve all knots of ignorance.
March 30 at 10:32am ·

Veda Sastra
Fernando I believe that basically you are right but the point Lisa is making is still valid and even though we may personally be protected against such beliefs due to our faith still
blind faith may have its impact and may be a powerful one since ambiguity doesn't produce the best results as people are inclined to clear cut proposals.
It appears that there might be a statement of differentiation from these views and a creation of a new paradigm ,more in tune with western society ethics as we experience them today ,without deviation of the spiritual principle .
March 30 at 10:54am ·

Veda Sastra
Yes Lisa you are right but still it is better if we abstain from critising Srila Prabhupada so much ,maybe one day we will understand .
In the meantime acting on a new paradigm for ourselves while letting others have their due based on their understanding is the best action
Maybe we should turn a new leaf and put everything behind as the inexplicable means of The Lord or His devotee.

As previous devotees positive action is the best way to satisfy the soul proper and not dwelling on what we all presume to be ' unhealthy ' notions within the frame of our understanding .
March 30 at 11:04am ·

Alexis Kriel
I the soul has no material designation - it is not male, it is not female ...then why is this not practised within ISKCON? Especially where it comes to women who have been practising devotional service for some time. Where is the understanding, where is the practial application - why this hypocrisy when it comes to women?
March 30 at 11:11am ·

Alexis Kriel
It shouldn't be tolerated within ISKCON, but not only is it tolerated, it is perpetuated.
March 30 at 11:11am ·

Cara Yoshizumi
Prabhupada also taught that skin color and religious affiliation were temporary, material conditions. Were those quotes taken out of context? Plus, slavish devotion to every word uttered from his mouth/pen uncritically is not what "consciousness" is all about....
March 30 at 11:12am ·

Alexis Kriel
And we who joined were aggressively questioning the ways of the world. It was our rebellion which led us to ISKCON, but this same rebellion was never encouraged afterwards. I don't believe that we were correctly informed of a life in devotional service and what it would entail. We were selectively informed in order to coerce us into joining - making devotees is a highly prized status. We gave up our jobs and our families, not realising that when we were sick we would be sent back to our families and when we got married we would have to work again.
March 30 at 11:17am ·

Veda Sastra
I mean Hiranyakasiphu was a great demon who tormented his own son and probably killed thousands while being a great devotee in his previous life playing his part with Krishna .

The workings of karmas are intricate and we don't have the whole picture in order to judge appropriately .

We are no longer institutionalised so as to suffer due to decisions taken by others .We are free thinkers ....
Why should ISCKON torment us or occupy our thoughts other than taking advantage of every facility they offer?
March 30 at 11:19am ·

Cara Yoshizumi
Don't want to be blind, either...and then again, am on the margins of the movement so I never saw the inner workings. Just know some really nice, if somewhat puritanical, people.
March 30 at 11:31am ·

Cara Yoshizumi
I do remember some of them rabidly advocating the death penalty...I have been outspoken about that and I wonder if that was a factor in my not hearing much about that anymore (or maybe they just don't talk about that around me!)
March 30 at 11:35am ·

Giomelli Vincenzo
my point of wieu is that, being iskcon a young movement has to be collaudated on the western socitey we obviuosly,that mains spiritual principals has to remened identical but also we must adobet his contenior on this everychanging society, i thnig all this thing is a fisiologic process of un institution, as child has pass thrwoth many illiness for to build his immune diffence, naturaly after the departure of Srila Praphupada thye were many devotee

good administor but on the spiritual education were not prepare enough , and for to be sure... for not make a mistake they became very rigid and ortodox on the the education so the consequence came automaticly sexual problem, disirispect to the lady, the devote not filosoficly incline were sudra and so on..... following many regulation ..but.. start to go far from compassion and love
March 30 at 11:58am ·

Fernando Rodriguez Torres
Lisa, what you are saying is not the synthesis, it is a extreme.

I think that the point here is the same that was being discussed at Topical Discussions conferente on Pamho system many years ago, and the one that forced the closing of the pamho conference due to GBC presures. Now it comes again because there is need of developing this knowledge.

I think we all here know which the point is, or which the points are, they can be articulated in a series of definite questions. Did Srila Prabhupada's make mistakes? Were all of his words to be taken in the absolute sense? Was he following a trial and error process or everything he did was perfect? What should we do if we discover evidence of his mistakes? Can our faith still be absolute? What is the purity of a pure devotee? etc...

Those who think that he was an absolute personality in the literal sense, will take as a perfect instruction even his most insignificant word not considering place or circunstances, and when they realize he was not absolute in everything, will take the same mood in refuting him.

There was Madhava Gosh prabhu from New Vrindavana who gave very valuable points of sinthesis in understanding the human and divine nature of Srila Prabhupada. I don't want to paraphrase him here, maybe if somebody knows him can invite him to the discussion.

On the other side, the GHQ, right wind followers of Prabhupada were defending the absolute value of every one of his words, so they were pushing the sexist approach as a absolute value. Jahnu das and his wife from Mayapur were so staunch in defending this view. At the end, the GHQ won the political fight and was able to supress the pamho conference. They went to the GBC and said that Dhyanakunda from northern countries offended Srila Prabhupada and Lord Ramacandra, critisizing Him because of His rejection of Sita after hearing people speaking bad of her.

So, that was more or less the map there. I think it is the same discussion with new robes and names.
March 30 at 12:06pm ·

Alexis Kriel
I'm only discussing this to contribute to the forum. problems with ISKCON are not a feature of my life at all.
March 30 at 12:19pm ·

Cara Yoshizumi
I looked at the article "Race, Monarchy and Gender: Bhaktivedanta Swami's Social Experiment", by Ekkehard Lorenz. Prabhupada was a visionary; he had a lot of ideas that didn't work very well transplanted to the West, and sometimes his ignorance (like about Hitler and women, political systems) was revealed. All the more reason not to hang onto his... See More every word. A critical perspective is important. That does not subtract from his undeniable talents and inspirational power; remember, God gave you a brain; use it!
March 30 at 2:06pm ·

Vinode Vani Dasi
Who IS this Vrajabhumi? She/he is so critical of devotees, I wonder why she masquerades as a devotee. I have read on the internet posts by Hindus who are very critical of ISKCON and want to expose it as anti-Hindu and anti-Vedic. They feel that ISKCON promotes a very narrow, racist view of the Vedic philosophy.
March 30 at 3:27pm ·

Gaura Keshava
Your email to GBC proposals was posted on the PAMHO Prabhupada disciples conference, where I read it.

I agree with you that the interpretation, understanding and application of Srila Prabhupada's teachings according to time, place and circumstance is a general topic which overshadows all these smaller ones.

In the history of religions we see such differences in interpretation, understanding and application fall into basically two classes.... See More

1. Orthodox
2. Reform

I'm sure you are familiar with the meanings of these terms within the Jewish community. Christians, Muslims, and even Vaisnavas have such divisions. A good example is the Vadakalai/Tenkalai (Northern and Southern Culture) split in the Ramanuja sampradaya, or the Vyasakuta/Dasakuta differences in the Madhva sampradaya. I believe we can learn much from the historical record of the splits that occurred within these groups and even from those we are more familiar with like the Catholic/Protestant, Suni/Shiite, Mahayana/Hinayana, and Svetambara/Digambara.

What we are seeing within, not only ISKCON, but the whole gamut of Gaudiya Vaisnava groups today is friction between those who believe in an Orthodox interpretation and those who believe in a Reformist interpretation. Both Orthodox and Reformist Vaisnavas believe they are preaching and acting in accord with the "spirit", if not the letter of the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, the previous acharyas and sastras.

What you are seeing is the beginnings of a formal split between these different Orthodox and Reformist groups within ISKCON.

Splits have already occurred where members of ISKCON have left and either created their own organizations (maths), gone to other Gaudiya Maths or exist within loose confederations of likeminded devotees (rtviks, etc).

The question may also be framed in terms of whether one thinks it's important or not for ISKCON as an organization to remain seemingly undivided or not. Divisions will always be there. The question is whether they should necessitate organizational division and (physical or legal) separation or whether they can be accommodated within the (physical or legal) ISKCON organization.
March 30 at 3:51pm ·

Guru Gauranga Das
Nice clear analisys by gaura Keshava Prabhu. I would like to offer the following comments to clear up some assersions that Srila Prabhupada condoned Hitler.

In regards to the quotations where Srila Prabhupada appears to show support for Hilter, we have to understand the social political influences that he was subjected to. India was being ruled by the British, Gandhi had been running his non-violent rebellion since 1917. The British were so heartless they did not give up their grip on India for decades even with the non-violent movement of Gandhi.
When World War II began Indians empathized with the Japanese and Hitler against their common enemy the British. Subhash Chandra Bose, a Bengali had agreements with the “Axis of Evil” to hand over Indians from the British army and used them in the newly founded INA to fight against the British in India. Calcutta, the Britishers HQ for South East Asia affairs was Bombed by planes sent by Subash Chandra Bose. Hitler was ultimately seen as a hero that was helping India rid themselves of the British.
If you look at the cause of the killing of Jews by Hitler, you will find that it was elite philosophy of superiority that was commissioned by the British in the eighteen hundreds, who paid Max Muller a German Indologist a Princely sum of 10,000 pounds a year to belittle Vedic knowledge. The ultimate insulting blow given by Max Muller was “The Aryan Invasion Theory”. This theory states that Vedic knowledge was brought to India by blonde haired, blue eyed Europeans. His theory perverted Vedic concepts so much that it put forth the Europeans and especially the Germans as the Aryan supreme race. This was effective in convincing Indian scholars and the elite to bow down to their white masters. Now where do you think Hitler got his ideas from, using a Swastika and terms like Aryan race?..

When Draupadi was sneering at Bhishma on the Bed of arrows, and recounted how he did not stop the kurus disrobing her. Bhishma admitted that because I was living in Durodhanas’ house I was affected by eating their food stuffs. Now, how are each one of us affected by the politics and the countries we reside in? Is it not reasonable to assume that Srila Prabhupada shared in some of the sentiments of his countrymen? If he did, does that mean that he maintained those views? No, I don’t think so. My reading of Srila Prabhupadas’ books tell me that he was clear, we see everyone equally. Sometimes he may recount the nostalgic history of his country and try to clarify the real history, not the history the British wanted to present. Which was that due to their good heartedness they gave India over to Gandhi.
March 30 at 4:26pm ·

Yves Rc Ayoun
Dear Sigalit (what a nice name)

I dont think we ever met before. I have been involved with the Israeli yatra for a long time. I first went to israel in 1975 and then after joining I
moved to the Tel Aviv temple in 1996 when Guna and Varsha were in charge. At the time I discovered that there was a large community of devotees "out
there" that were not welcome so I gave attention to them and brought them... See More
in. These were the Russian devotees who later created the big Ariel
community. I also arranged deities for them to worship and installed them.
I have known and still know every devotee in the Israeli yatra. I was, for
some painful reason, the catalyst for Guna and Varsha to leave Tel Aviv and start the Yoga of Love. We had different ideas and it was no long possible
to co-exist. I wanted an open-to-everyone Iskcon and they wanted an
exclusive group under their wings.

You can see today the difference in the preaching. The Russian preach
openly. They do harinam, they do festivals and everyone knows who they are. Harish is now in the news as family breakers. No more to say...

The reason why I mentioned smear campain is because of the link some friends
of mine in Israel sent me after the news came out. You can read it and see
what you think.
With the media, and especially in Israel, there is always exargeration and inflated facts. That's how media makes money. But there is also truth to
what has been exposed and it was good that it was exposed. Guna and Varsha
are very dedicated devotees and strong sadhakas, but living in denial is not
a life and imposing that denial on others is also not a life. Rabbits can
dig a hole as deep as they can but the hunter will always find them. Israel
is such a small place, it is not possible to hide anything and surely not
from the media and not from a society who is headless as to its spiritual destination and fear of being crushed.

Somehow I could not find your posting on the thread of posting on Facebook, possibly because it was not revelant to the discussion and was removed by Bhagavan. So I am replying to you directly. It would be nice to meet you
some day. Take care and Shalom.

March 30 at 4:58pm via Email Reply ·

Gaura Keshava
Guru Gauranga ji, I agree with you. Certainly Srila Prabhupada knew what was going on in India and around the world. You could note that in the 50's and 60's it was quite common for many people to think of the end of the world through Nuclear armageddon. Prabhupada spoke of his belief in that, and that it would occur between India and Pakistan SOON. That was 30+ years ago. It does not mean we should have no faith in Prabhupada but clearly no one knows the future.
March 30 at 5:40pm ·

Miquel Rabell Bhakti-yoga
Despues del acontecimiento, me alegro de saludarte aunque sea virtualmente jeje.. Cuando visites en mi muro, deja constancia si te ha gustado algo de econom... See Moreía=ecología, que es la formula que sustituye al mercadillo liberal de la oferta y la demanda, que es diferente del desarrollo energético de autonomías para la demanda de huertos familiares con sus paneles solares, sus higueras y emparrados de uva, lúpulo y guano, su pastoreo de vacas y sus benditas fuentes de aguas cristalinaaas jeje.. Un fuerte abrazooo!! Hare Krishnaaa!!
March 30 at 7:00pm ·

Bhagavan Das
To Sigalit:
I never had a chance to see your comment. Did you remove it?
March 30 at 7:21pm ·

Pam Ho
I'm not sure if it's a good idea to rationalize what Prabupada said about Hitler by contextualizing it as a cultural conditioning. Most everyone in the entire world except for neo-Nazis and white supremacists will react very negatively, not only to what Prabhupada said, but also to your rationalization. It's one thing if Prabhupada would have said ... See Morethose things in the 1940s, but 30 years later everyone knew of Hitler's atrocities and criminally insane evil mentality. Couple that with what Prabhupada said about Jews, black people, native Americans and dark skinned people in general -- what comes across to an average person is support of Nazism, racism and antisemitism. Arguments can be made by devotees to show that Prabupada also taught the highest spiritual principles of equality. But that will not negate his troubling statements nor assuage over 99% of anybody who hears what he said. You simply cannot say what he said and get away with it in today's world.

The best way to deal with this situation is to simply acknowledge that he was not perfect, had his faults, and vigorously outright reject what he said as completely without merit, wrong, and inconsistent with our values and beliefs. That we condemn his statements in the strongest possible terms. Failure to do so will meet with disaster -- as has started to occur in Belgium. The E.U. is fanatically anti-nazi, as is the British Commonwealth and America, what to speak of Israel, which is forging a close relationship with the Indian government. These modern western societies are fanatically politically correct -- if you react in anyway but with contrition and absolute rejection of what Prabhupada said, if you show any rationalization, that will not be acceptable to them and their media, and quite possibly governments with anti-nazi laws.
March 30 at 8:23pm ·

Yves Rc Ayoun
Sagalit must have removed her posting. I did receive it by email. It addressed a specific issue shaking the Israeli yatra right now and she mentioned specific names and sequences of events that did not leave her with a good taste. Maybe she thought it was not relevant to this forum.
March 30 at 9:23pm ·

Guru Gauranga Das
To Pam Ho
Your arguments do not come from a desire to appease the major powers that be, rather they stem from an unbalanced perception of Prabhupada. The World is engaged in an elaborate experiments by molding society toward consumerism and a Wall Street centered Index of human happiness. We are not trying to see Srila Prabhupada as being free from... See More the cultural and historical influences he lived in, and neither are we trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. The quotations on your website are less than a few pages, if that’s all you can dig up with the help of Vedabase etc. then you haven’t convinced me yet.

Before the 1990’s no one had the internet, now with the internet anybody has access to information. To presume that Srila Prabhupada who dedicated his life to spreading KC from the moment he arrived in the USA had time to research about atrocities in concentration camps is ludicrous. Srila Prabhupada opened over 100 temples all over the world, started BBT initiated thousands of disciples, built major temple projects in India and in his spare time translated more than 100 books from Sanskrit into English while writing elaborate purports. Just because you can potter around on the internet all day doesn’t make you or anyone else more in touch with truth.
The fact some of SP disciples have gone to lengths to crystallized ideologies on these statements is outrageous. Or that the GBC has not made statements on behalf of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON retracting these is also troubling. Again to reiterate, it is not logical to try to reject his books, teachings and his movement on the basis of these few statement. The objective of his books is to attain love of God, if you get love of God by following these books then he has succeeded. So the tree is judged by its fruit. Before Srila Prabhupada came to the West there were already over 500 translations of Bhagavad Gita, these translations did not even make one Krishna Bhakta. Since Srila Prabhupada brought his translations to the West, there are now hundreds and thousands of Western Krishna Bhakta’s. Say what you like things are going on, try as you may to stop it, you will not succeed, but if you’re willing to help by balancing peoples understanding of Srila Prabhupada in a positive way, then Krishna will give you all success. Take the strategy of character assassination and you will fall flat.
March 30 at 9:54pm ·

Sigalit Saarikivi
Yves, u are reading thoughts! The main point was that after 30 so years some karmiphobic splinter groups still have not learned anything and their behavior causes grave damage to KC in general. I have always wondered about so many leaders in Iskcon and outside it, who mainly attack and criticise other people and religions (they call it challenging... See More) in order to proof they are right. I think it much more respectable to show the right from within, rather then the wrong outside.
I am tremendously enjoying the "inside" discussions on this page which let out thoughts and opinions never before raised (not because they were not there, but because few dared). There is no question in my mind that this is the right way....
March 30 at 10:51pm ·

Bhagavan Das
Welcome back Sigalit
March 30 at 11:00pm ·

Sigalit Saarikivi
March 30 at 11:14pm ·

Pam Ho
Guru Gauranga Das, I have to disagree with you. It's not about appeasingn or unbalanced views, it's about doing what is right for the here and now in order to attract people to take up Krishna bhakti, and to give inspiration to those who may lose faith. I fully understand that whatever Prabhupada said or did was inspired and controlled by Krishna, ... See Morethe same for what you say, or I say. We are all part of Krishna's magical mystery show. If we try to recognize that reality, by being conscious of the truth of here and now, Krishna can show us amazing things.
March 30 at 11:33pm ·

Alexis Kriel
Dear Guru Gauranga - I am still struggling with what Srila Prabhupada said about Hitler and the Jews. I had never read these particular quotes before now. I may have over-looked them when i was living in the temple, committed to following Srila Prabhupada's movement .....but it's not so easy for me now.

If you take osho for example - who was born in 1931 and who was 14 years old when WW2 ended, he had this to say about Hitler and the Jews:

"This man killed millions of people for stupid reasons. He killed Jews, MILLIONS of Jews, with this stupid idea: that it was because of the Jews that Germany – the race, the country, the nation – had fallen low; because of Jews the First World War had been lost....

Now these are all stupid reasons, with no logic, no relevance. Jews had nothing to do with the First World War, they had nothing to do with the fall of the German race. Really, they had given the greatest geniuses that Germany has ever known: Karl Marx was a Jew, Sigmund Freud was a Jew, Albert Einstein was a Jew. In fact it was the Jews who were the cream, but he killed millions of Jews."

He also had this to say about Gandhi:

My Nani said I should go to see Mahatma Gandhi if I wanted to and she prepared a very thin muslin robe. Muslin is the most artistic and the most ancient fabric too, as far as clothes are concerned. She found the best muslin. It was so thin that it was almost transparent. At that time gold rupees had disappeared and silver rupees had taken their place. Those silver rupees were too heavy for the poor muslin pocket. Why am I saying it?–because something I’m going to say would not be possible to understand without it.

The train came as usual, thirteen hours late. Almost everybody was gone except me. You know me, I’m stubborn. Even the stationmaster said, “Boy, you are something. Everybody has gone but you seem ready to stay the whole night. There is no sign of the train and you have been waiting since early this morning.”

To come to the station at four o’clock that morning I had to leave my house in the middle of the night. But I had not yet used those three rupees because everybody had brought so many things with them, and they were all so generous to a little boy who had come so far. They were offering me fruits, sweets, cakes and everything, so there was no question of feeling hungry. When the train finally arrived, I was the only person there–and what a person! Just a ten-year-old boy, standing by the side of the stationmaster.

He introduced me to Mahatma Gandhi and said, “Don’t think of him as just a boy. The whole day I have watched him, and I have discussed many things with him, because there was no other work. And he is the only one who has remained. Many had come but they left long ago. I respect him because I know he would have stayed here till the last day of existence; he would not leave until the train arrived. And if the train had not arrived, I don’t think he would ever have left. He would have lived here.”

Mahatma Gandhi was an old man; he called me close and looked at me. But rather than looking at me, he looked at my pocket–and that put me off him forever. And he said, “What is that?”

I said, “Three rupees.”

He said, “Donate them.” He used to have a box with a hole in it by his side. When you donated, you put the rupees in the hole and they disappeared. Of course he had the key, so they would appear again, but for you they had disappeared.

I said, “If you have the courage you can take them. The pocket is there, the rupees are there, but may I ask you for what purpose you are collecting these rupees?”

He said, “For poor people.”

I said, “Then it is perfectly okay.” And I myself dropped those three rupees into his box. But he was the one to be surprised, for when I started leaving I took the whole box with me.

He said, “For God’s sake, what are you doing? That is for the poor!”

I said, “I have heard you already, you need not bother repeating it again. I am taking this box for the poor. There are many in my village. Please give me the key; otherwise I will have to find a thief so that he can open the lock. He is the only expert in that art.”

He said, “This is strange….” He looked at his secretary. The secretary was dumb, as secretaries always are; otherwise why should they be secretaries? He looked at Kasturba, his wife, who said, “You have met your equal. You cheat everybody, now he is taking your whole box. Good! It is good, because I am tired of seeing that box always there, just like a wife!”

I felt sorry for that man and left the box, saying, “No, you are the poorest man, it seems. Your secretary does not have any intelligence, nor does your wife seem to have any love for you. I cannot take this box away–you keep it. But remember, I had come to see a mahatma, but I saw only a businessman.”

Even if prabhupada was a product of the society that he lived in and Osho was too - then the honest words of both these men still sums up who they were in their essence.

I am in favour of rebellion - and I can even except that Prabhupada was in favour of Hitler and and against the Jews - but he doesn't give an honest reason that helps me to understand why.

Even though Prabhupada was 65 years older than Osho - they lived through the same era of WW2.

I am disillusioned by what seems to be Prabhupada's small-minded and distasteful attitudes on this subject.
March 31 at 1:49am ·

Damodara Dasa
Everything Srila Prabhupada said had a context - which is often not apparent when simply reading the written word later. Sometimes he was being intentionally inflammatory - even in a teasing manner. For instance, the female interviewer who Srila Prabhupada wound up about women having smaller brains - which was, by the way, a scientific position at one time during Srila Prabhupada's lifetime. There is a fine line here. I do not wish to relativise what he said. But it does need to be taken in context. And we also need to not judge it from our current sense of political correctness. We are, after all, part of a failing civilisation at this point in history. We can also look at Srila Prabhupada's example. How did he personally treat women, black people, etc? There are things that Srila Prabhupada said that trouble me too. But it's important that we remain conscious of our conditioning, biases, filters, etc.

I do not condone the discrimination that has taken place in ISKCON - nor the unfair treatment of any living beings.

At the same time, is it fundamentally wrong to have (or express) views/generalisations about a group that has some common characteristics - e.g. English people being indirect in their speech, German people liking order, etc. I appreciate that it's not politically correct to do so - but is this really a noble thing? What if I feel uncomfortable with Islamic fundamentalists? Does it make me "immoral" for expressing this?... See More

It's natural to want to find someone to blame for the misfortune that a group one identifies with has suffered. At the same time, the sages teach us that forest fires don't always need someone to start them. People suffer. It's the human condition. We can try to make Srila Prabhupada responsible for the immaturity of others - and the suffering this causes - by claiming that some of his statements were reckless, prejudiced, imbalanced, etc. Even to do so is to assume a position of moral superiority.

Is our society with all of these "standards" of political correctness such an enlightened one? We might not like much of what Srila Prabhupada asserted about the roles of men and women - but did he make it up? Or was he asserting a Vedic viewpoint? Srila Prabhupada demonstrated more openness than his contemporaries and predecessors to making adjustments according to time, place and circumstance - and, no doubt, was he still physically manifest, he would continue to adapt the application of Krishna Consciousness to suit changing circumstances. At the same time, he said that he wouldn't change Krishna Consciousness "to suit the Americans".

My sense is that we haven't often given sufficient thought to how challenging it is to introduce transcendental knowledge and an aligned culture into a foreign culture - where different memes, norms, beliefs and customs prevail. Though there has been suffering, much of it has been "perpetrated" by sincere devotees who may just have been immature in their skills or realisation. Sure, there will have been miscreants who consciously exploited others or situations for their own gain but I suggest that, for the most part, this will have also been due to people finding themselves in positions of power before they had sufficiently matured. Are they to be scorned as evil? Or forgiven as human?

As ISKCON has been moving into unchartered territory, it is to be expected that there would be errors. How long we stay licking our wounds - nashing our teeth, looking for someone to blame, etc. - is also a matter of maturity. Let's learn from our mistakes - maturely (and humbly) discuss how to get things right. And let's cultivate forgiveness. trnad api sunicena, taror iva sahisnuna, etc.
March 31 at 3:22am ·

Alexis Kriel
Prabhupada is essentially conservative. And the problem is that so many came to KC - and were considered very non-PC by doing so - out of their rebellion and disatissfaction with the worldview which they were being exposed to ....spirituality was very underground even in 1985 when I joined ISKCON. Saying the word God made you unpopular ...and I ... See Morelost all my friends when i joined. It was a mistake to think that these same people would not question further, would not continue to rebel and would not further risk popular opinion to stand up for what they believed. ISKCON is a conservative society and one which will not tolerate liberal views. If anything it will continue to become more and more conservative. It makes sense to me now how i would never have been able to survive, thrive and be happy long-term within ISKCON.
March 31 at 3:52am ·

Bhagavan Das
To all and especially to Alexis, Pam, Lisa .......

As Pam said, to find a synthesis to these seemingly irreconcilable points of view is the challenge and is unheard of. The only option for success that we have is to climb to a higher vantage point. So here is something to consider thru our histories:

We can begin with Krsna's premise that "every endeavor is covered by some kind of fault..." In this world, everything has denial mixed in with Truth, be it ever so small, that will effect the outcome of our endeavors. Please note this is without intent to offend……

We are the most contemporary chapters of the Mahabharata saga.
It begins with Bhishma denying Amba's love albeit it for a higher purpose, so she/he came back in the end to kill him as Sikhandi.

Out of social shame, Queen Kunti, denied her first born son Karna, who went on to become the sworn enemy of his own brothers due to her. Denial from social conditioning covered her true feelings.

Arjuna looked down upon the Ekalavya, who without formal initiation by Drona, worshipped his guru nonetheless via a mud figure in the jungle and became superior to Arjuna in talent. Arjuna, of Nara Narayana fame, complained to Drona that he was supposed to be the greatest, and so caused the poor nishada's thumbs to be amputated.

Later, when the competition came to test the prowess of Drona's students , Karna appeared uninvited into the arena, and again Arjuna was challenged. He secured his place only by belittling Karna's cast saying he was not fit by birth to challenge him. At that time it was none other than Duryodhana who spoke truth that a person must only be understood by his qualities - the same truth that Caitanya fought for against the caste brahmins.

The great Yudhistira, the embodiment of truth and dharma, gambled away his wife and family being effected by the social customs that a ksatriya can not back down from a challenge. He found himself being swept away by his addiction and denied his family's security allowing them to be banned to the forest.

To master the art of fighting Karna lied to his guru who then failed to see Karna's love for him, and denied him success in battle by cursing him.

Perhaps most outrageous of all, the Mahajana Bhishma, sat silently and denied Draupadi's honor as she was being molested in the arena, and out of social conditioning, so did every one of her husbands.

Prabhupada would never see himself above these historic personalities. As such the issue before us is, did his history also affect him? This doesn't mean that he didn't give us Radha Krsna. It only means that the truth was packaged in some of his relative experience.

Did this affect his society? I would say yes. I do believe women suffered because of cultural ideas that he grew up with. Does that mean he did not deliver Krsna? Absolutely not. If we expressed to him today what we have understood to be a better way to do things or say some things, do you think he would ignore you or put you down? I don't believe so.

I myself expressed great anger later on that the discussions we had with him regarding guru succession was not taken to more detail.

So, there is smoke everywhere. But smoke is not fire.
Here we are looking for the fire and recognizing the smoke
March 31 at 5:25am ·

Guru Gauranga Das
Dear Lexis,
I can fully understand how much pain this quandary must be causing you. The way that I have always understood the quotes made by Srila Prabhupada about Jews, was in the context of Judaism.

For instance Srila Prabhupada continually got on the case of Mayavadis, Christians , Buddhists, Jews and Mohammedans . In Judaism ones religion is intimately connected through his birth or explicit rules for conversion. This creates an exclusive identity connecting the body to the religious rituals and ideologies.

Srila Prabhupada was not against Jews per se, rather he felt that all these religious designations did not have the absolute truth. There are many more quotes where Srila Prabhupada is criticizing the Christians badly. Now if every Western European Caucasian identified their body as being Christian and then criticized Srila Prabhupada for the way he treated and dealt with them, where would it end? Next the Bhuddists, Mayavadis etc.

Basically Srila Prabhupada declared war on designations. If you see yourself as a Jew, then you will be affected. Srila Prabhupada criticized the British constantly, do the British devotees take it as an insult, no rather they echo his feelings.

Just to lighten this up a bit hereare some quotes to see the positive aspect.

Morning Walk July 30th 1975
Prabhupāda: Cow is not very beautiful. (laughter) in the human society the Jews are most beautiful. Is it a fact? Jews? Yehudi.(?)

Morning Walk April 22, 1974
Prabhupāda: No, no, no, he may say. What was previously, we are not concerned. But you have left already this Jewish Old Testament. You have got New Testament. You are not Jewish. So why do you bring that Jewish for your defense? You have already rejected it.
March 31 at 7:03am ·

Alexis Kriel
Lots to think about ...and one only identifies how you feel when it rises from the subconscious ...over time. I accept what you say Bhagavan. And I agree. Guru Gauranga - you have become a friend and in my world, friends get away with murder ;) Am I a Jew - I have no idea .....I am connected to religion through the people I love. I don't like abuse... See More of any kind, and I would define myself as anything if it were necessary for fighting abuse. Damodara Das - I don't see ISKCON leaders here or elsewhere, correcting the injustices that have been perpetrated. I imagine that they are still very much alive and well in that society of devotees.
March 31 at 9:02am ·

Veda Sastra
If one is a bit familiar with vedic astrology .
One can see that in that particular field authorities often make absurd and absolute statements that one is warned not to accept verbatim but exercice some synthesis and put them in the context of what the writers have already stated.

Raman and others seem to refer to Hitler very often in the best... See More light possible ,saying that he had ruchaca yoga,sun in exhaltation and other factors in his chart that made a strong leader out of him.
It's more like recognizing the universal elements that aided to the achievements of the personality rather than the person itself
April 1 at 2:03am ·

Tusti Dev
please alexis kriel, can u tell me what exactly and when srila prabhupada spoke something against jews, i would like to know if you dont mind/
April 4 at 8:38am ·

Alexis Kriel
Hi Tusti Dev - if you read through this thread, from the beginning and click on the links to the other will find the quotes - as I did.
April 4 at 10:10am ·

An Open Forum for Synthesis - Going Beyond Debate

An Open Forum for Synthesis - Going Beyond Debate

Life in the Balance - An historical moment where ideological synthesis and personal empowerment is pivotal to survival.

Copied from FB forum with comment threads below
Monday, March 29, 2010 at 12:02am

To all concerned with finding Krishna hidden within conflict and who envision themselves as designers of a progressive society:

Greetings and respects to all,

When we are close to the ground we cannot have the same perspective as when we view the landscape from a mountaintop. On ground level, arguments abound as to what the reality of earth looks like, but from the benefit of an elevated peak, a common vision is born. Differences then become various descriptions of beauty.

We have in this lifetime entered a common destiny path at least for some time, as passengers from diverse places and backgrounds who board a common flight. We began this journey by boarding Prabhupada’s Air ISKCON. The plan was to arrive at a high destination where our perspectives would be broadened to encompass vast universal truths beyond the reach of sectarianism.

The communications that have come to this forum so far hardly reflect this goal. We have yet to translate Prabhupada’s words, our own individual intelligence and various ideologies, into collective intelligence and common understandings. Competition still reigns instead of being a subcategory of cooperation.

We all know how Christianity has morphed into "Christ is Lord" theology. Judaism has morphed into orthodox, conservative and reformed theologies and of course Sunnis and Shiites are in a theological and political blood bath. What will make those who have contacted Srila Prabhupada different? I believe it will be a refreshed understanding of Prabhupada the person in a thorough, historical perspective. This is a moment in time where ideological synthesis is on the fulcrum.

Obviously, this forum addresses extremes of thought that have persisted for decades. In addressing these points I want to present boundaries that need to be accepted by those who participate. This is not meant to control or manipulate but to provide an atmosphere where more enlightened understandings replace antagonistic ones. Everyone has a right to express their true feelings as part of the process of releasing stagnated energy. Observations are necessary without fear of being judged as offensive. Continued insults will be removed and deleted.
No doubt, this will be troubling at first, but Krishna is the common Expert who resolves all opposites. That, I believe, everyone can agree on.

I would like to present the mind of Bhaktivinode Thakura, to assist all who participate in this endeavor:

“Most … are mere repositories of facts and statements made by other people. This is not study. The student is to read the facts with a view to create, and not with the object of fruitless retention. The author’s thought must have progress in the reader in the shape of correction or development. He is the best critic, who can show the further development of an old thought.

He will read an old author and will find out his exact position in the progress of thought. He will never propose to burn the book on the grounds that it contains thoughts which are useless. No thought is useless. Thoughts are means by which we attain out objects. The reader who denounces a bad thought does not know that a bad road is even capable of improvement and conversion into a good one.

The great reformers will always assert that they have come out not to destroy the old law, but to fulfill it.

The Bhagavata teaches us that God gives us truth as He gave it to Vyasa: when we earnestly seek for it. Truth is eternal and unexhausted. The soul receives a revelation when anxious for it.

New revelations, therefore, are continually necessary in order to keep truth in its original purity. We are thus warned to be careful in our studies of old authors, however wise they are reputed to be.”

With that said, I present the conflicting views as they have surfaced in discussions thus far and which will begin this forum:

One Viewpoint
Everything Prabhupada did or said is nothing short of Divine Lila untouched by cultural or historical influences. He knows everything and any statement coming from him is never to be viewed as anything less than coming directly from Krishna. This view sometimes appears in the form of deifying Prabhupada either directly as in Ritvik philosophy or indirectly as in the current ISKCON paradigm of “I cannot give you Krishna but I can give you Prabhupada”, No one else but Prabhupada can hear directly from Krishna or speak to Krishna. In both instances Srila Prabhupadas’ every word is deified and crystallized into rigid ideology. Here is a letter that portrays that viewpoint.

Another Viewpoint
Another view is that having touched ground here at a certain time place and circumstance, he carries with him an angle of vision that is part of his human personality. Some believe that these views have permeated his society and have constricted spiritual progress and created destructive ideologies within his society. A website that ascribes to that view is

The objective of this forum is to SYNTHESIZE these two opposing views AND NOT TO JUST DEBATE THEM. Rising to a higher perspective for the benefit of socializing more people into Vedic thought will require modifying, evolving and refining opposing views.

I would suggest that with the speed of cyber-communications and the tendency to go into reaction, comments be balanced by thoughtfulness and meditation. On this forum it is accepted that Krishna can speak to and through everyone.

For the highest good,


Copied Comments thread:

Bhuvana Mohan Dasa
Looks like the makings for an interesting discussion, Prabhu....i'll be watching to see where it goes, and offering some of my own thoughts, if no one objects to that....Thank you!! & Hare Krishna!!
March 29 at 12:19am ·

Parama Karuna Devi
Hare Krsna! It seems to me that you are getting nearer to the point. The fact that Prabhupada's message, mission and example are absolute does not mean that they should not be understood in the context and from his particular desa-kala-patra perspective. In my opinion, the best way to attain the synthesis we need is to go back to the source of ... See Morekinowledge and properly study the original sastras and the previous acharyas. This is what Prabhupada recommended, and the reason why he wanted the original Sanskrit text in his books. Then we will become able to actually understand and appreciate what Prabhupada has done, and what he wanted to accomplish further.
Knowledge is the key.
March 29 at 1:07am ·

Veda Sastra
This is not a well balanced or well thought reaction as you requested since the quotes for women are so overwhelming !

Poor men's ego must have gone mad with all that obvious justification of their higher intelligence and value ,
few would resist the temptation not to apply the principles directly or indirectly but I mainly don't really mind these things .
It is obvious to any sane individual that they must have been anecdotal episodes or ephasis of the golden rule in order to create a brahmana class or whatever ......

Glad though I have a husband whose head had not been messed up with such ideas and I do feel more indebted to him for that.That's another way to achieve balance .

I was never a Prabhupada follower other than for the higher principles he enunciated ,I was attracted to your version of KC on first impression ,which had nothing to do with sewing and cooking for girls ....ha ha ha
March 29 at 2:15am ·

Pam Ho
Part 1

I just recently read your blog for the first time and was struck by the similarities in what you said, to what Harikesa said was his reasons for leaving ISKCON. Like you he gave two main reasons for leaving -- the way children were treated, and what he saw as a dysfunctional paradigm for the supposed perfect type of relationship that was demanded to be sought after between men and women, especially between spouses. And also he mentioned, similar to your own statements, how the true reason for his leaving [his inability to gain support for his new views] was ignored by ISKCON leaders, and instead they claimed that he had literally gone crazy, and that was the reason for his change of faith. While they didn't claim you had gone crazy, they did try to make it seem that you had simply become "fallen." Unlike you Harikesa no longer considers himself to be a Vaishnava, but like you he speaks from the heart and tries to put forth a kinder gentler approach to developing God consciousness emphasizing tolerance, loving relationships between the sexes, and being open to personal experience rather than only blind following.

What you are trying to accomplish is rare in modern Gaudiya circles. Most devotees who lost faith in Prabhupada as the all-perfect guru, also lost faith in Gaudiya Vaishnavism because they believe[ed] that he was purely representing GV. A small percentage of them didn't lose faith in GV and sought out other sanghas from the ranks of various babajis and caste Goswamis. I don't include those who joined up with Srila Narayana Maharaja, Srila Sridhar and Srila Govinda Maharaja, or other Gaudiya Math offshoots, even though many of Prabhupada's followers joined those sanghas. That's because they all essentially teach little to no different from what Srila Prabhupada taught. They went there because they saw ISKCON as a lesser vehicle for their devotion, not because they rejected anything Prabhupada taught.... See More

And even in the sanghas of the babajis and caste Goswamis, they do not teach any differently from what ISKCON and Gaudiya Math offshoots teach, other than esoteric considerations about raganuga-bhakti. All of those groups agree in principle on the absolute importance for renouncing any type of interaction between the sexes other than for procreation, they all agree that intimate loving relationships between the sexes is pretty much the worst thing for spiritual life. All of them also insist that attraction to the opposite sex is what "binds one to the material world," and until you are free from the desire to enjoy that type of relationship you are by definition repellent to Krishna and mired in selfishness and exploitative consciousness. They also all agree that the central aspect of bhakti-yoga without which you cannot advance in self-realization, or "please Krishna," is complete and total submission to the service of a guru. They all claim that it is only by "pleasing the guru" that Krishna is pleased, and only than will Krishna take notice of you and directly aid in your spiritual development.

It's as if Krishna is not interested in you unless you prove you are willing to be a slave to a guru. Krishna is no longer our parent who is keen to liberate you from ignorance in order to elevate you to lila out of love and compassion, rather God wants to see how much of a submissive slave-like person you can be before caring about you, before wanting to give you relief from ignorance and suffering and bring you into your eternal position of a close personal loving relationship.

While sastra does state the extreme importance of submitting to a guru -- that was meant within the context of the times. The Vedantic and Yogic traditions were originally oral traditions for the most part. Only a very tiny percentage of the population could read Sanskrit, and due to the necessity of hand copying the written word, there was a scarcity of physical sastra to learn from. Therefore for the average person spiritual masters or gurus were essential because they the keepers of Vedic knowledge. The first and foremost instruction therefore was to submit to a spiritual master because there was no other way to gain the required information for most people.

Submitting to a guru was meant in the same way a person today submits to a university teacher, you are humble to the teacher isn't disturbed, and you give what you can in order to financially support the teacher. It wasn't that the guru was said to be able to give you mystical "mercy" by which you automatically gained spiritual realization if you pleased him in some way -- as is usually taught today. His mercy was in his giving you the teachings of sastra and his own realizations, by that you advanced, i.e the more you submitted to learning from the guru the more advanced you became. In order for the guru to give his time and energy to teach you there was an expectation of a reciprocation in the form of guru-dakshina (money or other things) and or physical service for the guru.

Nowadays it is taught tat there is some magical bond between the guru and disciple, whereby pleasing the guru by service you gain some mystical benediction -as if God is holding out on you unless you earn your keep. That was never the intent of the teachings on the necessity of submitting to a guru. It was purely about a teacher-student relationship and the reciprocation to the teacher for taking the time and energy to teach you. Nowadays since the advent of mass media and the easy availability of sastra in many languages, the guru paradigm given so much importance in sastra is no longer relevant -- it was strictly predicated upon sastric teachings being unavailable to the common person other than through a guru.

Trying to make this point clear is going to be difficult because most all professional gurus will be very much antagonistic to that conception for obvious reasons, i.e. they want people to serve them for various reasons: purely for monetary gain for their own enjoyment; monetary gain to aid them in their various projects; desire of power and control over women fame; societal position; etc.

Because sexual relationships tend to take people away from devoting their time to serving gurus, they will also be antagonistic to any type of philosophy which supports the enjoyment of sexual relationships. For the same reason the denigration of women is used to try to make men fear women as trap that will lead them to sin, and then to fall into suffering and samsara.

For example: In the Gita Krishna says that "I am desire in harmony with dharma." That is usually mistranslated to "I am sex life according to religious principles." The word kama has various meanings, but the primary meaning is not sex, they are: wish; desire; longing. If Krishna had meant sex he would have used a less ambiguous word than kama. He was actually stating that those desires which are in harmony with dharma are identified with Himself, i.e. Godly desires.

But that type of verse is misused by many gurus to try and convince people that any type of sex but for procreation is adharmic and against what Krishna wants from you -- because they are either ignorant of the truth or they simply want as much of your energy devoted to them as you can give. End of part 1.
March 29 at 2:59am ·

Fernando Rodriguez Torres
Say "early marriage": Prabhupada speaks so often about this point as a simptom of a civilized society, marriages are arranged between families so that wife and husband marry when they are childs. But reading here and there I discovered that this is not at all the way of Vedic culture, but a second time addition, the system was introduced during muslim invasions to avoid that hindu girls were converted to islam by marriage.
March 29 at 3:00am ·

Pam Ho
Part 2

The reality is that celibacy, and all renunciation of all "sense gratification" was advocated for the specific purpose of elevating neophytes by having them be free from distractions as they practice sadhana. Once elevated to the platform beyond the neophyte stage those rules and regulations of sastra are no longer applicable because their purpose has been served, i.e. you are no longer in an urgent situation to learn as much as possible as fast as possible, you have gained a level of knowledge and realization where you no longer have to cram all the time and neglect all other aspects of human life. That is the actual teachings of Sri Chaitanya, Jiva Goswami and the great acharyas of the past.

Children were not required by sastra to live a life of dedication to sadhana, as was seen in ISKCON in the past and to some degree even today. There was desire to exploit those children in order to turn them into cogs of the ISKCON machine, that was the motivation for treating them with the same demands put on voluntary adult members of sadhana life in ashrams. The results were cruel and devastating to the children, and to their parents -- and it was a complete failure in fulfilling it's original intent. Not only backfiring by most of the children not becoming ISKCON slaves, but actually causing not only a huge loss of income due to lawsuits, but also creating a very bad reputation for ISKCON as a deviant sadistic cult of perverts.... See More

How to reconcile the actual teachings of Gaudiya Vaishnavism for what passes as it today in most quarters? Can it even be done since there seems to such a stranglehold on the minds and hearts of most people who become Gaudiya Vaishnavas to accept an exploitative wrong interpretation (usually based upon mistranslated sastra to back it up) as the pure and true teachings of Sri Chaitanya and associates?

I can see that you seek to create some type of synthesis between two seemingly opposed version of GV. As you have seen people are usually on one of the two sides and are reluctant to change their opinion. Although over time many do change and move away from the fanatical guru-centric asexual version of GV; is there really a position which can be realistically accepted as a synthesis of the two? One version is diametrically opposed to the other, any type of compromise is seen by them as a serious deviation and offensive to guru and God. Their leaders are highly motivated to not change because of the service, wealth and power they receive due to their teachings. More likely the only thing which will work is for people like yourself to speak out and teach the truth, gradually more and more people will gain a new perspective, and then possibly join together to present a more sophisticated and proper form of GV. But then again, Krishna is in total control, therefore whatever has been planned will come to fruition.
March 29 at 3:01am ·

Bv Kusum Sraman Swami
Good luck baba. If you find a synthesis, then where do folks go for their excuses, what do they use? What will be the ultimate end of all of this? What will be the benefits to all asunder? Will it really bring us closer to Krsna prem? Or will it create a big Daksha's arena? Whose to judge what is the correct understanding? If we say scriptural ... See Morerefference will be the judge, then whose understanding of the sashtras? People will come with their hidden agendas and some if not many will certainly consider that you have one in setting this up in the first place. But what do you have to lose? nothing! But many will say that your vision is of one who is at rock bottom after what has happened. Do you really think that those within ISKCON today who are the apparent movers and role models are even going to entertain being involved in such a forum. The answer there is a complete nono. Then how could such a forum if it does come to some very good conclusions have any influence on present day ISKCON?

Who among us is at the top of the mountain so that they can see clearly? Who will accept that the great mountaineer is correct and has proper vision? WE accepted Prabhupada as the mountain-top sage of true spiritual vision for many years, but it seems some or even many now, do not.
Will leave it there for the time being bro. Take care and please don't become the grand mallard in the sitting duck club.

We were nearly all like dogs who were pretending to heel, but still sniffing the kerb. And still are. How we really gonna see the truth when still looking for the stool? We will all have to give up looking for excuses in life and have the true and only desire for pure loving service to our Istadeva for this to be a success. Otherwise we wil just suck cess. O Prabhupada save us and direct us please, and please give us intelligence to
March 29 at 3:15am ·

Bv Kusum Sraman Swami
Prabhupada please give us the desire to accept and use the intelligence and direction which gave us and are still giving us.
Gourang my friends be happy....
March 29 at 3:16am ·

Krishna Priya Jaharia
"" One Viewpoint
Everything Prabhupada did or said is nothing short of Divine Lila untouched by cultural or historical influences. He knows everything and any statement coming from him is never to be viewed as anything less than coming directly from Krishna. This view sometimes appears in the form of deifying Prabhupada either directly as in Ritvik philosophy or indirectly as in the current ISKCON paradigm of “I cannot give you Krishna but I can give you Prabhupada”, No one else but Prabhupada can hear directly from Krishna or speak to Krishna. In both instances Srila Prabhupadas’ every word is deified and crystallized into rigid ideology. Here is a letter that portrays that viewpoint.

Another Viewpoint
Another view is that having touched ground here at a certain time place and circumstance, he carries with him an angle of vision that is part of his human personality. Some believe that these views have permeated his society and have constricted spiritual progress and created destructive ideologies within his society. A website that ascribes to that view is

The objective of this forum is to SYNTHESIZE these two opposing views AND NOT TO JUST DEBATE THEM. Rising to a higher perspective for the benefit of socializing more people into Vedic thought will require modifying, evolving and refining opposing views.

I would suggest that with the speed of cyber-communications and the tendency to go into reaction, comments be balanced by thoughtfulness and meditation. On this forum it is accepted that Krishna can speak to and through everyone.""

In my humble opinion - the instructions Srila Prabhupada left us - if they had been carried out properly, would have brought forth exact the described synthesis.

Considering the part of "Ritvik Ideology" in that what the spiritual master orders prevails I would here assert that Srila Prabhupada outlined "a system to be continued" in which initiations within Iskcon were to be continued, especially at the time "he was no longer physically present". This system is exactly what the GBC rejected, favouring there own understanding, that SP gave a temporary system of initiations through ritviks - with the ritviks automatically becoming Guru in own right - after disappearance of HDG.

If the Ritvik system had been continued and the GBC had made adjustments to "modifying rules and regulations" to fit the capabilities of the neophyte/ more advanced ... then I believe Iskcon would have been a more balanced society than it has become today.........ys KPdd
March 29 at 3:38am ·

Andrew Hahn
ritvik was the only order of prabhupad-unfortunatelly the ritviks are so fannatical that its like going back some 20 years with the roles of women etc.some of the controversial things prabhupad said were prob meant to bring everybody and i mean everybody to kc-considering that once people practiced they would no longer see the bodily conception-unf... See More. it didnt happen like that but things are geting better in society and in iskon-i wish people wouldnt cling to prabhupadas statements on the bodily conception-he taught that we are spirit souls and equal-anything else would be prob to test his disciples -though i dont want to speculate
March 29 at 5:45am ·

Andrew Hahn
i agree with lisa 100 percent!!!!!im very glad to have her and you as facebook friends!!!!
March 29 at 6:45am ·

Andrew Hahn
its a long road but i just wish all the politics would go away-stop banning ritviks and math,swami narayan,and tripurari devotees from temples-though i disagree with alot of these groups we are defeating the purpose of devotional service by banning groups of vaisnavas who may not nescisarily grease the iskon machine.all thats happening is allowing for these groups to become more factionalised and fanatical which will sadlly end badlly for iskon
March 29 at 6:51am ·

Andrew Hahn
i mean for iskons image-its becoming rediculous when all these groups start protesting festivals in front of the public-its embarassing for thier cause and ours-the public allready is weary of hare krishnas,,and these groups just want to feel like thay have a home.i think if allowed thier numbers would most likely decrease and if not at least the ... See Moreidea of a home in which the world can live would seem a little more possible-i dunno ,maybee im too naive but i have known some very cool devotees who have been banned over the years that ive associated with iskon
March 29 at 6:56am ·

Andrew Hahn
if anybody wants toi laugh at the politics visit the its hillarious ,completelly sarcastic-written from some devotee who moved from new vrindavan not long ago-check out the new vrindavan t shirts he made-i laughed so hard i almost cried
March 29 at 6:58am ·

Bhagavan Das
Thank you Lisa.
March 29 at 10:33am ·

Bhagavan Das
Lisa and others,

The point here is to stretch the limits of understandings with the help of the heart. The motive is to visualize a healthier society. Ineffective patterns of thought and action have paralyzed progressive movement and need to be replaced by a more enlightened balance of power between men and women.

Along with the illusion of separating the creation from the Creator, the denial of the feminine principle in all forms-internal and external is what I see to be the downfall of all societies, ISKCON included.

I appreciate your doubt and reluctance in so far as the possibility of synthesis, but either one accepts the inconceivable power of Krsna to take us to higher plateaus or Krsna is only a philosophical concept.

I would like to hear from Pam and others what your feelings are that have been triggered by the inaccuracies that you have so well articulated.

Synthesis will come from moving gapped emotions and outdated judgments. In regards to ISKCON, I would hope ISKCON leaders would offer their views on this forum as well.
March 29 at 12:47pm ·

Jaya Sri
Dandavats Lisa! All I would like to add here is that there are a slew of those who can only offer limited knowledge and understanding based upon their own limitations. But there are those who can offer more and who are willing to open up their hearts and minds and move forward with a more positive approach. The latter would be better association for you. Let no one and nothing stand in the way of you and Bhagavan. Best wishes to you always. Radhe Radhe
March 29 at 3:25pm ·

Pam Ho
Bhagavan, you wrote:

"I would like to hear from Pam and others what your feelings are that have been triggered by the inaccuracies that you have so well articulated."

One of my feelings is the frustration in wanting to share Krishna consciousness with others, but not wanting to foist upon them misleading and unattractive versions which will end up with them losing interest and being turned off. The various eccentricities of the various sanghas may not bother some people too much; like all of us who were intimately involved with them for periods of time; but if we look at the percentages we can see a huge difference between those who aren't turned off and those who are. If Krishna is all-attractive than why do so few people become devotees after so many years of mass distribution of Prabhupada's books and other widespread and continuous proselytizing work by ISKCON and others?... See More

A common excuse for that phenomena is to blame everyone else; to insist that presenting a "watered down" version of GV is out of the question. They like to say "it's very rare for people to become devotees, most people are so degraded in this day and age that they are unable to accept the essential tapasya and vairagya necessary to take up the process of devotional service."

I disagree with both premises. Lessening antisocial attitudes and modifying draconian teachings is not inherently "watering down the process." Especially if that process is flawed to begin with. Almost all devotees *already* don't follow everything Prabhupada taught; they have modified and lessened or "watered down" because they instinctively see that it's a better way to go.

For example: the discrepancy between how Prabhupada insisted girls should be raised and treated, versus how they actually are raised and treated by his devout followers. He insisted that girls shouldn't go to school, that there shouldn't be a gurukula for girls, and that they should ideally be married before puberty, and at the latest in their early teens. He also insisted on no divorce, and that widows cannot remarry. He insisted that his followers children (boys) must go to gurukula, and study only from his books, with no higher education. He taught that women should try to be as attractive to their husbands as possible, be totally attached to their husbands to please their husbands and act like a harem slave, but the husband shouldn't be attracted and attached to his wife, instead he should see attraction and attachment to his wife as the cause of his "material bondage." He taught that women shouldn't go to learn from a guru, that they should receive their spiritual instruction from their husbands and see their husband as their guru.

None of those teachings are followed by almost all who consider themselves devoted followers and disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Yet if you say "let's reconsider the demand of absolutely no sex or physical intimacy except for procreation," then it's "You want to water down and change the process because you want an excuse to exploit and enjoy, you cannot advance by offending and disobeying the guru."

Secondly, most people who have been turned off to GV are instinctively repelled. They meet a devotee on a street with a book who tells them the book promises to teach them about yoga, inner peace, meditation, etc. Then when they read the book they see that mostly the teachings are centered around condemning what an average person considers normal, e.g. trying to enjoy life with your family and friends, sexual relationships, etc. And also they see the constant demand to submit yourself slave-like to the worship of a guru. Most people are then instinctively turned off and away from GV. Instead of a receiving a book which will teach them about inner peace and meditation, instead it appears to them to be mostly indoctrination into an anachronistic antisocial cult.

As for other emotions I have or had; when I first started to question what I was taught in ISKCON I felt like I had my eyes opened by Krishna. It was like coming out of ignorance and into the light. At first I believed that what ISKCON was teaching must be good for neophytes for a certain length of time since Prabhupada was empowered by Krishna. And then like myself, devotees would move into a less demanding and restrictive situation as they progressed, leaving ISKCON ashram life and or that belief system of strict rules and regulations governing every moment and aspect of your life. I believed that because that is what I saw happening to most devotees in ISKCON. Most members eventually leave and live less restrictive and less antisocial lives. So I was okay with what Prabhupada taught and how ISKCON was representing that. I saw whatever obvious problems to be caused by nothing more than management issues rather than systemic issues.

But over time as ISKCON outside of India seemed to greatly diminish in participation in most places, with the exception of growing Indian congregations, I started to realize that something was wrong. As I continued on wit my sadhana I came to see that many things Prabupada presented as original authentic GV teachings, were in truth not really so. I also came to realize that rather than his teachings and ISKCON's interpretation of them being perfectly fine for the masses, that a more authentic and less draconian and demanding guru-centric version of GV would be better for ISKCON to grow beyond what it was gradually turning into -- mostly a place for Indians and longtime members to socialize. Traditionally GV wasn't so antisocial, demanding and guru-centric. But that started to change at the end of 19th century and continued to progress to the present state. GV used to be more familial and less judgemental; less about autocratic hierarchical despotism and more about camaraderie among friends; less about severe tapa and tyag and more about joie de vivre.
March 29 at 6:56pm ·

Gaura Raya Dasa
Pamho , AgtSP.

Thank you to Bhagavan Prabhu for initiating this forum, to bring forth a synthesis of Man and Woman in a spirit of co-operation in Krsna Consicousness.
The views being expressed here are heart felt and personal, but no one is on trial here.
In my time I have come to the understanding that we are all learning, Guru's included, how to serve and know Krsna, how to relate as Vaisnavas together and how to fulfill the legacy that we have been given. ...

To question the past is fruitless and to speculate about the future even more so. What can we do now to move forward. The roles that men and women play in each others lives as partners in Spiritual life is individual and deeply personal to each couple. The success of such relationships is rooted in scrupulous honesty, full hearted communication and in the ongoing growth that we as individuals embrace in our dealings with others. None more so than how we respect and care for those who are nearest to us our spouses and children.

I am learning to take responsibility for the situations that i have placed myself in , for the power that i give too others over me , for the words not said and questions not asked.

Like most others in this forum, i believe, ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada saved my material life and gave me a Spiritual life for which i am eternally grateful.
Looking to learn from others please share from the heart let us hear what has healed you rather than what has hurt you.
ys grd
March 30 at 2:09am ·

Jaya Sri
I would like to respond to Andrew in regards to "banning" other groups. First off, it seems these groups are actually Gaudiya Vaisnavas but they are portrayed as if they were "aliens", and I'm actually being polite here. And if not aliens, I always hear about how they are not "in line" with Srila Prabhupada, but where did Srila Prabhupada come ... See Morefrom? Actually the same math as the so-called other groups under Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Too, there are many preachers, Srila Prabhupad included, who have their own unique style of preaching and will approach a view point from another angle. This does not necessarily mean they are saying something different. Have we really gotten so rigid that we can't hear the good message from anyone else except one person? When I read from our former acharyas they stress over and over again to respect others and not fall into the sectarian trap. I guess what makes me really sad is how badly we as the family of Mahaprabhu are so set upon fighting each other, which only allows other groups who are more malevolent to flourish and defeat our mission.
March 30 at 6:22am ·

Das Sikhipiccha-dhari
THIS IS BAD MANNERS AND SHOULD BE CHECKED IN A NICE WAY. NOT NESSACARLY OUT ON THE NECK SO TO SPEAK. AND DO YU EVER SEE ISKCON DEVOTEES GOING TO THIER PLACES AND PREACHING MMM I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A thing. I have been personally talking to someone from the ritviks camp and to me they seem a little fanatical about their approach and they remind me of christians that dont listen to yu but just keep talking YUR WRONG AND IM RIGHT REGARDLESS

March 30 at 3:37pm ·

Inez Canvasser
Pam Ho, I appreciate so much your wise and sensitive communication . We really do have to trust our spiritual instincts.
March 30 at 4:12pm ·

Gaura Keshava
I read the comments so far and I think everyone agrees they would like to see more tolerance of different points of view and ways to personally advance amongst all living beings.

How to reconcile vastly different viewpoints is in my opinion actually easy.

Either you do your own thing, which means either silently living and believing your own ideas within a group where such ideas are openly shunned. Or you go outside that group and live your beliefs openly and honestly.... See More

The alternative is for the leadership of any particular sectarian group to allow variegated views and lifestyles within that group.

This is not as hard a would be imagined.

We have a model of such a society. It is called Varnashram. A society where various views and lifestyles are accepted.

I am not speaking about FARMING.

I am talking about first and foremost accepting the four goals of human life, Desire, Gain, Righteousness and Liberation as essential for a balanced life.

Only when people accept that these four Vedic Purusarthas or goals of Human Life are indeed legitimate can we begin to address hypocrisy on all levels.

As a start to understanding how such a non-hypocritical way of living can be established I suggest that people come visit the Vaisnava city of Srirangam which is the largest and oldest Vaisnava community in the world. 40,000 Vaisnavas all living in harmony.

I have been visiting there since the 70's and have owned a home there within the temple walls for the last 16 years, spending at least my winters there every year.

I am not suggesting that everyone MUST or even should live culturally like an Indian. I am just suggesting that people see a living example of a Vaisnava community that is thousands of years old and how the residents interact with one another and respect the variety of beliefs, practices and lifestyles that they have.

It is this tolerance and respect that I think needs to be emulated amongst ourselves. Let us learn these principles from Vaisnavas who have been practicing them for thousands of years.

The social problems that we have may be different from theirs. However their attitude of tolerance and respect allows them to deal with their social issues and will allow us to also deal with ours.

The exact modes of living may be quite different, but the principles that guide people's interaction are the same.
March 30 at 4:44pm ·

Jaya Sri
Sounds like a wonderful community Gaura Keshava, and I do appreciate your comments and input on this thread.
March 30 at 9:10pm ·

Gaura Keshava
Unlike some other holy places it is a place mainly of Grhastha Vaisnavas. Real people with real families and real lives. There are gurukulas, festivals, and many other Vaisnava cultural activities. Even the deity Lord Ranganatha is laid back.
March 30 at 10:49pm ·

Guru Gauranga Das
Thanks Gaura Keshava Prabhu for that inspiring example of Srirangam Ksetra. Flexibility and tolerance is needed for spiritual advancement and peace in society. Its seems the residence there have mastered it.
March 30 at 11:04pm ·

William G Benedict
Gaura Kesava has a very broad vision of a society in which spiritual development is the goal. I appreciate very much.
March 30 at 11:05pm ·

Bhagavan Das
Gaura Keshava is an example of happy, intellectual brilliance nested in a healthy spirituality....

Hey Gaura.......
April 1 at 12:24pm ·

Gaura Keshava
Hey, Bhagavan ji, thanks for the compliment. Great to reconnect with you. Synthesis is certainly the greatest need of the moment. It takes maturity to achieve. I am glad you are doing something positive towards that. We all have to work in our own ways. We must begin by appreciating others contributions.
April 1 at 1:39pm ·

Dave Ehrlichman
Dear Gaura,
I believe I remember you from my childhood. One of the most learned brahmanas at that time with profound sanskrit knowledge. Anyways, I have really enjoyed your presence here in these forums and very much value your crystal clear insights and well articulated perspectives.

Warmest regards,
April 1 at 8:54pm ·
Gaura Keshava
Gaura Keshava
Vaishnava ji, Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm not sure I deserve all the compliments. You come from a great family of Vaishnavas, thus your fitting name. The younger generation needs to demand more openmindedness and reform from the establishment. Synthesis means combining the best of all ideas.I would very much like to hear from others of your ... See Moregeneration regarding the subjects being raised here. Help us old fogeys to think outside the box. Vaishnavas have always felt the need to make comments from a different perspective than others. Sanatana Goswami called his commentary to Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa (the book he was commanded to write by Mahaprabhu on Vaishnava behavior) Dig Darsini Tika which literally means "Looking at things from a different perspective". That is what we sorely need today.
April 1 at 9:43pm ·

Gauri Das
The ten books of the Rg Veda are an example of the earliest synthesis of beliefs, rituals and community.
April 1 at 11:30pm ·