Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nightmares from a "Vomit Eater" (Question & Response)

Nightmares from a "Vomit Eater" (Question & Response)

Copied from FB Forum w/ comments thread below:
Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 9:38pm

Dear William,

I joined ISKCON for a short time after you left... so there are no issues between us... no feelings of betrayal... no wounds to heal.

I consider myself somewhat fortunate in that I am from a well-to-do family, am educated, wealthy and attractive enough to get my fair share of sense enjoyment. But in time I became bored with smoking pot and chasing women... it seemed dry to me. So like many others I began a search for something higher... for spiritual life. I joined on the West Coast and put in a few years practicing Bhakti. Prabhupada's books made sense to me but all the bickering turned me sour. So I left.

The problem is that several philosophical impressions have stayed with me... like the concept that material sense enjoyment is temporary and cannot satisfy the self. This is my direct experience and the Srimad Bhagavatam confirms and reinforces this.

Now the problem I'm facing is that I am adrift... I am no longer part of a spiritual movement and am thus not surrounded by spiritual aspirants. I live in the material world and am thus influenced by the default mode of chasing after sense enjoyment. And when I succumb to it, I feel guilty... like if I have betrayed myself.

I remember where Narada Muni explains about the person who indulges in sense enjoyment and in due course realizes that it brings no lasting satisfaction and resolves to give it up. And he succeeds for some time but then returns to his old ways... he returns to indulging in that which he previously rejected and Narada compares this to eating his own vomit.

This comparison has made a deep impression on me and after indulging in recreational sex and intoxication I am haunted by the imagine of eating my own vomit . And it spoils everything... after indulging my senses I feel not euphoria, but remorse... disgust... disappointment... self-hate and self-betrayal.

After reading your blog I can see that you harbor no guilt or remorse from your past. I know you left a life of sense enjoyment to join ISKCON and become a spiritualist. You became a sannyasi, a guru and then returned to the material world. But your writings today clearly show that you harbor no guilt or other disempowering feelings. Your writings show that you grew from those "failures" or "negative" experiences.

It seems to me that you have found the key to reconciling indulgence in sense enjoyment while striving spiritually. You have discovered how to turn sense enjoyment into stepping stones to spiritual happiness. It is obvious to me that owing to your sincere efforts the God and Goddess have revealed to you many ways to make vomit-eating more palatable.

Please teach me this art for It is obvious that you've perfected it. If you agree to teach me this art, I will dedicate myself to you and help you spread this art to every town and village. This is my firm vow. Please help me.
Your aspiring servant,
Updated about a month ago · Comment · LikeUnlike
Ganash Suppiah, Dave Ehrlichman and 2 others like this.
Arthur Durant
Arthur Durant
Some good practical advice; it is a pleasure that we have made contact in this life and that you can still share with many of us through a medium such as this one.
March 18 at 11:20pm ·
Bhagavan Das
Bhagavan Das
Mr. Kary and Bernard,

You sound so much like a cloaked cult member begging the question. But if you're not, here is something to think about.

You say that when you are intimate with a woman you think of vomiting, feel disgust, self betrayal and self hate. You don't need me Kary, you need a psychiatrist to work you thru your psychosis. But the bright side is you are trained up to be a strong celibate. Either that or perhaps you are gay.... See More

Because something is temporary doesn't mean it isn't real. Is the mother's love for her child not real because we are here temporarily? Should she look at her child and think, "I really can't love you because you are the temporary result of my sense gratification?" If you are hungry is it not real because it is temporary?

Please don't try and box me in with outdated words that I left a life of sense gratification to join ISKCON.
Actually, I was a hard working student in medical school when I met Prabhupada. And how do you know what I have regrets for? Do you think it was easy leaving so many beautiful and loving souls? Maybe you are like Fernando who thought it was all a show.

Prabhupada taught to engage your senses in the service of the Master of the senses, because that is where your senses spring from-eternally. Iron in fire becomes fire. Why are so many 'devotees', extreme to the point that you're either in a state of uncontrollable sense indulgence or you must wear a chastity belt of fierce determination against the enemy of your body or you are a sahajya thinking you are Krsna when you make love. That is absurd thinking.

If you can work and make money for God, eat for God, wave incense for God, construct buildings for God, why is sex such a pariah that it can't be linked as well? Illicit sex is sex where God is banned and appreciation for your lover has vaporized. Then, you're not making love to a woman, you're making love to shame and guilt. No wonder you vomit.

You don't know what I've perfected. Except for those with a vile mouth, we're all friends here sharing personal experiences. I don't require anyone to follow me or tell me that I'm not really praying and connecting to the real Krsna when I work or eat or exercise or design or write or make love.

Try and get some help and find a woman who can bring balance and depth of thought to you. If it is your conviction that God requires you to deteriorate parts of yourself to experience Grace, try it and see where it takes you. If you want to be initiated by those who stand by that, try it and learn.

As an example, Prabhupada never told George Harrison to stop having sex or accuse him of being a sense gratifying rock and roll star. He loved him, as he did us all and considered him his student. And George loved him as much as anyone did without following the famous 4.

Intelligent people are commenting here and have understood that being loving is the proof of the pudding. They are healthy, they love their partners, they work hard, they have good sex and they love God. What's your problem?

Copied Comments thread:

March 18 at 11:24pm ·

C Elena Minari
Nicely said. How would God be so stupid as to give us something beautiful and healing, only to tell us 'just pretend it is not there, it is evil"... There's nothing evil in God/Goddess creation. As Jesus says, there is no sin, besides a judgmental mind. (Gospel of Mary)
March 18 at 11:40pm ·

John Jayanta Das Watson
well said... I still think you are very brave to "put your self out there" never mind answering so nicely an obviously confused , borderline insulting inquiry...bravo to you
March 19 at 1:57am via Facebook Mobile ·

Alexis Kriel
Kary - I think you have P.O.D ....Post Orgasm Depression. This was a term me and my friends used as younger women to describe mostly men (but sometimes women) who were having indescriminate sex, one-night stands etc and who would wake up next to a stranger and feel disgusted at what they had shared together. Sex, especially orgasm is a bit of an ... See Moreout-of-body experience, not quite of this world, a feeling of ecstasy that's hard to beat. So when you share this with a stranger who you have no emotional connection with it's no surprise that you end up feeling strange - kind of depressed you're eating your own vomit is quite extreme. Why don't you lay off sex until you find someone who you can share your emotions with? How old did you say you were again?
March 19 at 2:55am ·

Melanie Jane Crawford
Thought Karys letter was interesting and could relate to aspects of it, dont think he intended to be "borderline insulting". I think he's just trying to find his he says, he feels adrift.
As for Bhagavans response, it contained several liitle jewels for me!Thankyou for a real and balanced comment, loving having this opportunity to share with you and have the benefit of your experience
March 19 at 3:23am ·

Kirtididdle Dassy
Dear Bhagavan, my only reply to people that insult you and others is that love of Krsna begins with compassion, and until we learn that we will be dissatisfied. I wish Krsna's blessings on you.
March 19 at 3:53am ·

Sushen Das
March 19 at 7:07am ·

Kurma Rupa Dasa
What I find interesting is that Bhagavan dasa instructs that it is not good to judge others but then judges Kary from the get-go -- a cloaked cult-member... a psychotic... and Jagannath Misra as a devil...

I also find it interesting that Bhagavan Dasa advertises himself as a disciple of Srila Prabhupada but teaches a substantially different philosophy...

I was hoping for less hypocrisy...
March 19 at 7:13am ·

Subhadra Hemphill
Using your judgement--discrimination-- is a completely different thing than judging with an intent to condemn or damn the person.
We must use our judgement, our intelligence, to decipher what is going on.
Great points, and thorough answer, Bhagavan.
Loved your explanation too, Alexis!
Kurma Rupa, you are entitled to your perception of what Srila Prabhupada's philosophy is...however, what I read in Bhagavad-gita sounds exactly like what Bhagavan is saying.... See More
I may not be thinking of God when I am having sex any more than I am when relishing the taste of ice cream; but my marriage and food preperation is centered around God with increasing frequency...
so I feel grateful.
March 19 at 7:40am ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
When he isn't being sarcastiic toward Bhagavan dasa, Kary seems to be expressing genuine disturbance at the distance between his present attachment to sinful life and the proper standard for sadhana bhakti. If I'm not to take his whole letter as some sort of sarcastic charade, it's good that he's remorseful, but too much wallowing in remorse is a kind of sense gratification in itself. To Kary I would advise, get on with your sadhana, especially hearing and chanting in the association of devotees. It may take a while, but you'll be alright.

Especially, Kary, seek out those devotees who are carefully following in Srila Prabhupada's footsteps. Others cannot help you.

What I've read from Bhagavan also sounds conflicted. There are expressions of humility and remorse, and a desire to share realizations from his time away from devotees. Unfortunately, he appears to have deviated from the standards of Krsna cosnciousness, especially when it comes to material attachment in the form of sex life. What's worse, he is promoting that deviation as somehow consonant with Krsna consciousness. The "God and Goddess" becomes the "God and Goddess with us" becomes an excuse for 'the healing energy of sex,' etc. Shades of prakrta sahajiya....

Srila Prabhupada was very, very clear in his lectures, books and letters to disciples on the subject of restrictions on sex life. If you have a differing viewpoint, that's fine, but please don't promote it as Krsna conscious. It's not.
March 19 at 9:49am ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Prabhupada may have never given Bhakta George direct instructions on the four regs, but the instructions are everywhere in Srila Prabhupada's books. It's up to us to follow. And, unlike Bhakta George, some of us took initiation from Srila Prabhupada or his disciples. We promised, before the fire, the Deities, and the spiritual master, to follow those regulative principles. We have an obligation to keep our word. What kind of person doesn't keep his word?
March 19 at 10:07am ·

Alexis Kriel
Dear Pancha Tattva Dasa - I only have this to say ....and I am free to say whatever I please, because I am no longer a dedicated ISKCON member: If my ex-husband had been more concerned with his duties to family life, we may have stayed together and in the end, gradually helping each other we would have both remained true to our vows.

His guilt around chanting 16 rounds a day - which we were both battling with - and his endeavour to complete them (which took almost all day) was not conducive to doing business and setting up a home where the needs of family life could be met.

After 10 years of exclusively living in the temple and doing temple service, re-applying myself to a life outside was like moving a mountain is 15 years now and finally I'm starting to feel some stability. However, my ex-husband was more concerned for his own survival - giving little help or no help at all at home, he allowed me to discontinue chanting altogether and to take on the full brunt of doing business. ... See More

He "saved" himself, and finally our marriage fell apart. When I stopped chanting, I was considered "out of it" and none of the devotees felt that they could share with me the exclusivity of their association - which had to be given equally only to those who were equals. And I was not an equal any more.

I believe that if he had been less of a fanatic and less atrophete in his grhastha ashram there was a chance that our marriage could have survived and that I could have eventually taken up my spiritual practise.

I think that it's devotees like you who are partly to blame.

I see you are wearing orange - are you a grhastha? And if not - are you the one to be advising grhastha's?
March 19 at 11:57am ·

Roupamanjari Devi Dasi
Dear Bhagavan Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Where is the insult in his letter? This fellow came with a sincere desire to join what he thought was the ISKCON of Srila Prabhupada's making, not the alternative power structure that it became as a result of other people's ideas and actions not in line with the vision of Srila Prabhupada, and out of confusion and frustration left as so many others have, only to try to live in the "normal" world once again, unable to reconcile the sins of one with the sins of the other. It is a terrible thing to find the Supreme Absolute Truth and then be denied or given partial access to it such that an authentic linking up with our Founder-Acarya is no longer possible. It leaves the individual utterly lost and many have even committed suicide from such treatment....

The point of this fellow's letter is not about all the "bad things" he has done, but the fact that he is reaching out to you for help and clarity. This is not something to be condemned but to be supported. He is asking for Srila Prabhupada's Mercy, something you are in a position to grant as Srila Prabhupada's proxy.

Your eternal servant,
Roupamanjari devi dasi
March 19 at 12:01pm ·

Bill Helminger
Very interesting discussion, though I would like to have seen Bhagavan's response. What happened to it?
I was right with you, Kary, until the last 2 paragraphs. I too, have been floundering amongst the karmis for many years and feeling ashamed and embarrassed. This is because we got a little taste of real knowledge. Material enjoyment will never be the same. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm sure it's not learning how to enjoy this world guilt-free.
March 19 at 12:23pm ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Dear Alexis,

I've been in the grhastha ashram for the last 27 years, in a great marriage with a very nice devotee whom I love dearly. I'm sorry to hear of your difficult experiences, but I am at a loss to understand how I am to blame for them.

We don't change the philosophy of Krsna consciousness to suit yourself or Bhagavan or anyone else. If you are blaming me for that, then so be it. I gladly accept such blame and wear it as a badge of honor.... See More

I have faced all kinds of challenges in my grhastha life as well, but nothing I've encountered has shaken my faith in Srila Prabhupada and his instructions. On the contrary, what I've been through has always confirmed the veracity of Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

I cannot comment with any certainty on what you went through with your husband, except to say that it sounds like he did not uphold his responsibilities. And, frankly, it doesn't take all day to chant 16 rounds. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.

I hold firm to my previous point: A promise is a promise. If one promises, before Krsna and the sacred fire and the spiritual master to chant 16 rounds per day and follow the regulative principles, then one must endeavor to keep one's word. A gentleman will keep his promise.

But you have to use your intelligence, and you have to meet your responsibilities to your spouse, etc. Sounds like your husband did not do this.
March 19 at 12:27pm ·

Bhagavan Das
Hi Bill, my comment was missing but seems to once again now be here, in the comment thread under "view all comments".
March 19 at 1:08pm ·

Subhadra Hemphill
Pancha Tattva Das; I'm glad you found a partner of like mind to follow Srila Prabhupada's instructions with. That is a good way to a lasting marriage.
In the Bhagavad-Gita, though, Krsna says that we should always think of him and devote our lives to him exclusively. But if we can't do that, we should follow the principles; and if we can't do that, we should work for him; etc. etc.
I'm not a big scholar but I think there is room for all of us in the house of Srila Prabhupada...even though he did preach the purest devotion.

Hopefully, Bhagavan's encouragement to us less pure folk will somehow help lead us to more purity; instead of self-destructive behavior that can arise in trying to escape feelings of shame arising from inability to follow as strictly as you. ( Especially those less advanced but who have made strict promises). There is a difference in healthy shame and toxic shame.
I would like to add that it is Bhagavan's fb wall, and he can post whatever he wants....
March 19 at 1:21pm ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
I'm very much in agreement with you, Subhadra. That's why I emphasized Prabhupada's instructions regarding those devotees who have accepted initiation. Having accepted initiation, we are duty-bound to observe the regulative principles and chant 16 rounds.

And for the rest of us who want to make spiritual advancement? We associate with devotees of the Lord, we honor prasadam, we cultivate a desire for the pure life of Krsna consciousness. Then it will be alright.

But, like you said, Srila Prabhupada preached the purest devotion. Let's not discard that ideal for something else.... See More

I love the 12th chapter of Bhagavad-gita. Used to have it memorized....
March 19 at 1:56pm ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Dave, I understand the open and free-wheeling nature of the discussion. I have no problem with that. I press the point of integrity, however. Those of us who have accepted initiation in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya have made vows. If we don't keep them, there is a problem with that integrity. If we twist the philosophy to suit ourselves, it's even worse.
On your point about preaching or proselytizing, well, everyone here is doing that. Bhagavan is doing it, you are doing it, I am doing it.
Some of us have this idea that the religious ones, the spiritualists, they are the only preachers, but that's not the case. The atheists are shouting from their pulpits, too. The New-Agers are broadcasting their touchy-feely control-the-universe-through-good-vibes messages, and the political liberals and conservatives are mass-marketing their appeals for defeat of their opponents just like the best of the televangelists.

As soon as you step upon the public square and hold forth your ideas, you're proselytizing, you're preaching. Even if what you say has nothing to do with God, and even if you say you're not. Especially if you say you're not.
March 19 at 2:47pm ·

Dave Ehrlichman
Great points from so many of you. Subhadra and Alexis, thank you especially.

Kurma and Pancha tatva, I am happy that you are good examples of a well integrated devotee grihasta. That is quite an accomplishment these days. To be materially and spiritually integrated and balanced is the key.

Please understand that this is a forum for public discourse, NOT a preaching nor prosletizing forum for Bhagavan to "recruit followers". This forum is for and about fiercely free and independent thinkers and the "sharing" of diverse ideas... ideas which may or may not, or no longer fully subscribe to the paradigm that you do, or of those who integrate things quite differently than a strict devotee chooses to.... See More

Bhagavan has expressed his own "present time" perspectives, not to simply regurgitate scriptural philosophy, nor to negate it. Not to lead or mis-lead anyone... People must feel and choose what they resonate with or not, using the barometer of their own free will, intuition and acquired knowledge.

Why is it that so many devotees have to see things in such black and white constructs, which was a separate point he made? If we think freely for ourselves, that's "speculation" and if our thinking/perspective appears to be different than your understanding or paradigm, or if it has not been "written" in some ancient vaishnava scriptures (which are holier than though's of course), that one has to be speaking against Prabhupada or Shastra? Prabhupada was also a fiercely independent thinker and also a paradigm breaker in many ways. He also sent me to gurukula at the age of 3 1/2, thousands of miles away from home... which in my view was not the best idea, though I have no judgement against him for this, at this point... Some ideas worked well while some did not.

Sometimes, when we choose to synthesize and integrate divergent viewpoints in our own way and for our own selves, an apparently "new" and "un-bonafide" perspective is formed. First of all, so what? Anything can be interpreted or misinterpreted in so many ways. ISCKON's discouragement of free and independent thinking, has left so many followers dependent on some "representative authority" and dis-empowered in their own selves, like sheeple doing whatever they are told and swallowing philosophies that don't always fit or feel right.

I too felt like Kary's note was very relevant and genuine, until the last part, which seemed to give away his intent, to reveal a twisted sarcasm that felt pretty un-savory. Reflecting one's judgement or psychosis back to someone, does not have to mean he is judging them. Does a mirror reflect or judge?

Ultimately, all the shastric philosophies, rules & regulations, denials and renunciations and endless "Prabhupada says..." are pointless, if we miss the key point of it all. This is to LOVE, one another, love God in all, and ourselves in God too. To integrate higher consciousness & intention into all aspects of life. Spirituality without this core principle of love and conscious intent, otherwise becomes religion filled with dogma, which is used to control and manipulate sheeple. I see so many "devotees" practicing Bhakti yoga, reading and chanting for years, following the rules and reading countless scriptures... and despite it all, they end up being so judgmental, "holier", narrow minded and loveless... So what's it all worth then? That's the real hypocrisy.

March 19 at 2:48pm ·

Dave Ehrlichman
You make good points, but I still feel that sharing ideas in open discourse and honoring divers perspectives, is different than preaching or prosthletizing, which has the intention of trying to get others to do or follow oneslef or their paradigm. There's a difference. Besides, some of us who took initiation vows have chosen to change our mind on... See More at least 1 of them. So who is anyone else to judge another as being less than? We're all equals in the eyes of our divine Creator, whether we are awake or asleep.
March 19 at 4:13pm ·

Dave Ehrlichman
I definitely don't choose the temple, monk lifestyle nor was ever interested in becoming the next guru, which I was being raised to be, at least in the ashrams...
March 19 at 4:16pm ·

Bill Helminger
Yes, we must judge a thing by the result. If we are not gaining godly qualities by the process, there is something wrong. When I was in the movement and strictly following the principles, I experienced many favorable results. For one, when I joined I thought I was so advanced. Later, I saw an ugly side of myself and the seeing allowed me to change..., to advance. The result of knowledge is compassion and humility.

Nowadays I don't strictly follow all the principles all the time, and I am ashamed. I don't think it's alright. Like Pancha Tattva Prabhu said, we initiates promised these things to our spiritual master and to Krsna.
So, whether your spiritual master passed away before you ever got a chance to talk to him one on one, or he left the ISKCON movement, one has to carry on, begging for Krsna's mercy. Krsna ha
s His plan and fortunately, as Paramatma, He is with us constantly.
Pancha Tattva Prabhu, we met at the St. Louis temple a couple of years ago. I also know you from your numerous articles in BTG. Hari bol!
March 19 at 4:39pm ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Haribol, Bill Prabhu. (What is your initiated name?) Dissatisfaction with not maintaining the standards is sincerity. The fact is, we're in this for the long run. One devotee said to me, "What really matters is how we cross the finish line." I caught his meaning - we may encounter so many difficulties, but if we keep trying to choose Krsna over ... See MoreMaya, there will be triumph in the end. In The Perfection of Yoga, Srila Prabhupada writes, "There is the famous proverb that "failure is the pillar of success." In the spiritual life especially, failure is not discouraging. Krsna very clearly states that even if there is failure, there is no loss either in this world or in the next. One who takes to this auspicious line of spiritual culture is never completely vanquished."

There are other quotes from Prabhupada's books, of course, that are full of encouragement for one on the path of bhakti. Let's just be careful we stay on the path.
March 19 at 9:50pm ·

Bill Helminger
My initiated name is Bhagavan Acarya dasa. I live in WI. I have a friend, Ralph, who lives near the St. Louis temple, you may remember him. He used to visit frequently, sometimes donating flowers that he grows. I met you once when we came for the Sun. feast program. I used to be with the Radha Damodara bus party from '74-'77.
Thanks for your comments. I totally agree.
March 19 at 10:16pm ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Yes, I know you, Haribol! You write from time to time for BTG as well. I've read you in the "In Your Own Words" section, right? My obeisances. Prabhu. All glories to your service on Radha Damodar TSKP!
March 19 at 10:32pm ·

Alexis Kriel
What's the point of living with shame, guilt etc? If you feel ashamed or guilty then change your behaviour!! Leave your families, go and live in the temple, spend your time chanting and dancing and be happy.

And who are these karmi's and sense gratifiers, these yavana's and melecchas that you talk about who are so attached to sinful sense gratification.

The world has changed ...there are many wonderful spiritualists who sacrifice a good deal of their time to help other people, help animals, visit the sick, care for the sick, write books, give lectures and have realisations. ... See More

I can't stand the exclusivity of extremism - it appalls and disgusts me.
March 19 at 11:16pm ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Alexis, feeling guilt over wrongdoing is a valid emotion that is a major qualification of being human. A total lack of remorse is a principal character trait of a sociopath or a serial killer. Talk about extremist!

Your advice to change behavior is fitting, but it appears coupled to sarcasm regarding how to change it. Perhaps that sarcasm is a little informed by your own bitter experience? I apologize if I have misunderstood you.

Running to the temple and ditching responsibility for others can create more obstacles than it disposes of. If you leave behind your wife, or your husband, or your children of tender age, who have taken shelter of you in good faith, then there is risk of committing serious offenses. Then where will your spiritual advancement be?...

On the other hand, if you are in an untenable situation, beset on all sides by sinful persons possessed of not an iota of interest in spiritual life, then by all means, make good your escape.

As for the spiritualists you refer to, the term is rather loosely applied, don't you think? The actual spiritualist, or at least the real well-wisher of others, acts to give God consciousness, Krsna consciousness, spiritual life.

to quote one of my favorite grisly analogies, it's not enough to blow on a boil. It must be lanced to remove the pus.

The altruists of this world, who often masquerade as spiritualists, are more or less tending to the needs of the body and mind. Thus they blow and blow on the boil, giving no real relief.

Material attachment is pus, it's our infection. It's a spiritual disease. It can be removed by the sharp words of the expert devotee, the only genuine well-wisher of human society. ( I paraphrase the lovely words of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.)

Hope you are not further appalled and disgusted....
March 20 at 12:01am ·

Alexis Kriel
Wasn't the grisly analogy of the boil Srila Prabhupada's? I wish you would use your own language - I'd feel more like I am speaking to a person and not a robot.

No, I am referring to people who love God, who pray and do service. I am not sorrounded by persons possessed of not an iota of interest in spiritual life. My family and my friends are all dedicated to the service of the Lord in one way or another.
March 20 at 12:12am ·

Dave Ehrlichman
My perspective on guilt and shame and self loathing is that they are the opposite of love. Love and guilt do not coexist in the same space, just like light and dark cannot both be equally present, without one canceling out the other. Pancha tattva prabhu, I respect your well articulated and traditional devotee perspective here and thank you for your respectful mode of expressing it in this forum. (-:

I do understand the familiar language that you speak, as I grew up with it, from having the whole Gita memorized in sanscrit at age 5, thanks to Gurukula indoctrination of Bhakti philosophy. Now, I choose which parts of the philosophy "fit and suit me" according to context and relevancy, for no other reason than to choose for myself, rather than to be preached to... (No accusation towards you implied here).
I have no problem savoring nectar or truth where I find it, be it from life direct, or from a devotee or non-devotee source, while avoiding dogmatic aspects and inflexible or antiquated paradigms. I feel that true Krishna consciousness is expansive & broad, flexible and can be adapted to all manner of situations, people and circumstances. It need not be so black and white, all or nothing. This construct seems so prevalent in all religions.

For one who is open and receptive, sees and seeks the Divine principle in all. From this perspective, they can see that the messages of divinity are everywhere nd may come in any form, be it a song on the radio, the chirp of a bird, a beautiful flower, sunset, friend, article, etc... So dualistic thinking then becomes less relevant than the inclusive thinking of an integrated perspective.
March 20 at 1:15am ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
The analogy was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's, and may have been picked up by him from a previous acharya. You can find it quoted in the new and very excellent book "Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava," by His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami.

Some of these analogies are very old (boils and material attachment have been around for a long time, so a clever teacher could put the two together with little effort), and the way of spiritual life is, in this matter, like any other field of learning: illustrating a less tangible concept through a graphic analogy is a helpful device for enlightenment.

On your accusation of robotics, that type of thing rolls off of me like water off oilskin. I am very much attached to the language of bhakti-yoga. It is a part of me, it sustains me; you cannot pry it loose, so it's a wasted effort. Please don't trouble yourself in this way. What you see (or read) is what you get.... See More

The slokas of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and other devotional literatures are the innermost language of the soul, for the soul, by nature, is a lover of God, and the language of God is the only true love of the soul, the only thing worth hearing. I pray that their vibrations will one day purge my heart of all mundane thoughts and sounds.

I'm very happy to hear that you are surrounded by such spiritual personalities, though I would have thought that their association would assuage your bitterness and anger toward others. In the previous text when I mentioned what to do in a situation where one's surroundings are hopelessly polluted, I wasn't thinking of you in particular, so I hope you didn't somehow take that as an affront. May there be all peace for you.
March 20 at 9:36am ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Dave, I very much appreciate your cordial and thoughtful discourse. We are not in agreement on some things, but that's not an obstacle to discussion where mutual respect is the guiding light. Thanks for your kindness.
March 20 at 9:42am ·

Veda Sastra
I read all the posts in this interesting thread and I would like to refer to some that stuck me for their contents.

It is clear that Mr Kary is disoriented and confused ,now a devotee proposed that he should take up KC and be alright .
Perfectly right ,he would take up KC for some time get rid of some anarthas get his head cleared up and then coming to a balanced state and only then would he be able to make his own decisions for himself ,after being offered all the options.

If by the time he gets his head clear and by not having all the options offered to him ,he is somehow initiated and taken the vows who can blame him from withdrawing later on ?

If all is offered to him is either KC or ' commit suicide ' as one devotee pointed out, will he not try in any manner to preserve his life?

Is Krishna really looking for successful contracts?

It appears to me that many ' hard liners ' points of views have been simply and easily defeated by exersising common sense .
But Srila Prabhupada was undefeatable in his arguments which means that he presented a version of KC which was all inclusive rather than sectarian .

If Krishna had given common people the power to challenge you then it is a clear sign to incorporate some ideas.
We cannot play the demigod demon battle in this age of Kali because in bigger or smaller proportion demigod and demon exist in all of us .

Why not accept Bhagavan and other dissenters as a means of bridging the gap ?He represents -as all of us who have left the movement - various parts of the instructions of Srila Prabhupada such as the chant and be happy ....there are no hard and fast rules about it?

There was such an instruction wasn't there?

If one cannot represent Krishna as it ought to be,that is
undefeatable and all attractive then maybe all together we may be able to so .
March 20 at 9:44am ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Oh Lord, someone suggested to Kary suicide as an option? Did I miss something?
March 20 at 9:47am ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Dear Veda Sastra, your excellent questions and comments deserve a more complete reply, but for now (since I'm running out the door) let me just point out that while it is true that Lord Chaitanya taught no hard and fast rules for chanting the Holy Names, He also taught us how to cultivate our chanting in the manner of a gardener, because there are ... See Moremany weeds that can grow along with the creeper of devotional service, and without uprooting these weeds the creeper can be choked off. More later.....
March 20 at 10:02am ·

Veda Sastra
Thank you prabhu for honouring me with a reply for your convenience I refer to Roupamanjari's earlier reply where she says
'it often leaves the individual utterly lost ....and many have been found to commit suicide from such treatment '
refering to the people who have denied full access to the connection with the absolute truth.

March 20 at 11:16am ·

Charles Sullivan
Two takes on shame by two American poets.


by Richard Wilbur (1921- )... See More

It is a cramped little state with no foreign policy,
Save to be thought inoffensive. The grammar of the language
Has never been fathomed, owing to the national habit
Of allowing each sentence to trail off in confusion.
Those who have visited Scusi, the capital city,
Report that the railway-route from Schuldig passes
Through country best described as unrelieved.
Sheep are the national product. The faint inscription
Over the city gates may perhaps be rendered,
"I'm afraid you won't find much of interest here."
Census-reports which give the population
As zero are, of course, not to be trusted,
Save as reflecting the natives' flustered insistence
That they do not count, as well as their modest horror
Of letting one's sex be known in so many words.
The uniform grey of the nondescript buildings, the absence
Of churches or comfort-stations, have given observers
An odd impression of ostentatious meanness,
And it must be said of the citizens (muttering by
In their ratty sheepskins, shying at cracks in the sidewalk)
That they lack the peace of mind of the truly humble.
The tenor of life is careful, even in the stiff
Unsmiling carelessness of the border-guards
And douaniers, who admit, whenever they can,
Not merely the usual carloads of deodorant
But gypsies, g-strings, hasheesh, and contraband pigments.
Their complete negligence is reserved, however,
For the hoped-for invasion, at which time the happy people
(Sniggering, ruddily naked, and shamelessly drunk)
Will stun the foe by their overwhelming submission,
Corrupt the generals, infiltrate the staff,
Usurp the throne, proclaim themselves to be sun-gods,
And bring about the collapse of the whole empire.

Do Not Be Ashamed

by Wendell Berry (1934- )

You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
That you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
"I am not ashamed." A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.
March 20 at 11:48am ·

Bill Helminger
Hello Dave and everybody else. It sounds like you are saying that feeling guilty and ashamed of committing sinful acts is preventing me from experiencing real love. That it's better to be a guiltless criminal than a repentant one. I don't agree with that. I think anyone would agree that a criminal who feels bad about committing crimes is more ... See Morelikely to become rehabilitated and qualified to reenter society. The miserable material world is a prison of sorts for the rebellious, criminal souls. Trying to find love within the prison is futile. The best course of activities is to try to get released from here - and I don't mean suicide. No, rather by following the instructions of the bona fide guru.
March 20 at 12:24pm ·

Veda Sastra
Dear Pancha Tatva dasa ,
there is no need to reply to the questions for me since I have found a means to balance these incogruent points in my heart .
Krishna in his infinite mercy allowed me to stand before you and have my voice heard and also to defend people who have given me this gift of KC in this lifetime .

He also made me realize that there are plenty of dangers on the other side by agnostic and atheist philosophies being propagated on the gap that this this ' rebellious ' behaviour may create....
The points actually are not valid because KC whether you give it official permission or not ,has infiltrated society and the boons that it has offered can be detected in many areas opening up new knowledge that was unavailable before and a new turn for religiocity to pervade the world with new and profound understanding.
Had it not been for the excellent service of all of you we would all have been in the darkest hour of Kali yuga ,desolate and in despair.

All glories to your service and thank all the devotees again for whatever they have offered .
As for us ' the outsiders' we lack nothing since Krishna has provided everything , it is true that we have our material cushion to rely on and some KC which is great ,for the time being .

The lessons that you say will come in the future ,it depends on us how we will react to them ,if we rely too heavily on the cushion we will bleed if not then Krishna may allow us to take refuge on him .
March 20 at 2:35pm ·

Alexis Kriel
There is a difference between knowledge and insight. Knowledge should always be available through books, insight is provided by the personal experience. I am interested in the experiences of people, and that's what I am doing here. I read books at other times. Apologies if I've offended you in any way Pancha Tattva Das - you seem like a nice person. I'm happy to hear that you've been married for so long to someone that you care about. And I wish you well.
March 20 at 3:01pm ·

Pancha Tattva Dasa
Thanks, Alexis, and I wish for you all happiness and success in life. I pray that those difficulties you mentioned earlier are well behind you. May Krsna bless you more and more.
March 20 at 8:55pm ·

Alexis Kriel
Furthermore, to stress the point I made above - Knowledge (which can be ancient) will not be relevant without the juxtaposition of thought.
March 21 at 3:28am ·

Dipti Rane
Dear All,

I am just a neophyte devotee. I have no qualification to say this but As per what I have read and learnt of 3 yrs association with ISKCON.I would say Krishna sends all difficulties in various forms in our lives to test us. And we all know that if we fully surrender to Krishna and beg for his mercy and strength to overcome the miseries caused by the three modes. But still we have leass is faith in the holy name and get carried away with Maya .

Temptations will come in life but it depends on us whether we succumb to them or overcome them....

Regular hearing,chanting and reading and our own sincerity in our devotional service will help us to crossover the material ocean. Maya is there to test us everytime but if we engage our senses in krishna then we will have strength to face it.

All the answers to our day to day life are in Srila Prabhupads's books. Its just that we need to understand the profoundness and apply in our life.Its always good to go to basics and start again.

At the end of the day KRISHNA is our ultimate shelter. And if we are fully surrendered then we can make progress on the path of bhakti.
March 23 at 6:56am ·

Bill Helminger
Hello Dipti Rane, I agree, we conditioned souls have to beg for Krsna's causeless mercy, and expect that maya will tempt us along the way. My problem is that I'm not "fully surrendered". I want to fully surrender to Krsna, but apparently I don't want to give up sense gratification. While Srila Prabhupada was present I felt spiritually strong. I was... See More sure that I'd never leave the association of devotees. But after hearing of his departure, I was stunned and bereft of spiritual strength. I fell away almost immediately and have never returned. I know I have to get back up and fight before this opportunity ends.
March 23 at 7:40am ·

Dipti Rane
HariBol Pr,

You are so very wonderful devotee and very fortunate to have association of prabhupad personally. As we just associate thru books and by hearing glories from vaishnavas like you.

We all are struglling with our krishna conciousness. Had we been pure devotees we would not have been in this material world. Being conditioned soul the tendency to avail sense gratification is in everybody it just that the degree and the form varies....

We all are trying to surrender to Krishna, nobody is fully surrender except few pure souls. As the two fingers were short for yashoday mai to try krishsna are endevaour and mercy. The surrender will gradually come when we endevauor .
Please take shelter of varishta vaishnavas, reaveal your herat to them and defiitely with pure devotees prayers you will get strength to overcome the temptations.

Srila Prabhupad has just left the planet and not from our hearts. You can still associate with Prabhupad through his lectures and books.

Try visit temple as much as you can. Associate with fired up devotees which will definitely help you to gain the strength back.

the purspose of human life is beyond sense gratification. We have to prepare ourselves for the final exam, which is death.

You have a free will , and the choice depends upon you. Whether you have to fight and cross over material ocean or not.
March 25 at 5:33am ·

Bill Helminger
Hare Krsna Dipti Rane, I'm not sure if you are speaking directly to me. It sounds like you are, except for your first statement (wonderful devotee). Thank you for your preaching, it's like music to my ears. Krsna says in BG, "The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and ... See Morebliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me." Actually I didn't have much personal association with Srila Prabhupada. I never got the chance to actually talk with him one on one. I was just a little too young. If only I had taken birth 5 years earlier! I am certainly nobody special, but I believe that Krsna sent some special devotees just to assist Srila Prabhupada during the early years of the movement. One example is Visnujana Maharaja, who I had the good fortune to know briefly. Since leaving ISKCON I have had practically no devotee association and that is my biggest problem. I don't live near enough to devotees to visit regularly. I do read and chant regularly, but then I turn to activities for sense gratification, like igniting a fire and then pouring water on it. I have already wasted so much time in this life, this wonderful opportunity to please Krsna. I pray that again I become inspired to give up material life, this life of "chewing the chewed," and finish my life enthusiastically participating in the mission of Lord Caitanya. Then I won't have to keep calling myself, fool, rascal, ass! All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
March 25 at 9:43am ·

Richard Besnainou
Om Sat-Shanti Cit-Shanti Ananda-Shanti, Shalom rav, Salam, Please accept my respectful salutations & ever well wishing, echo of your own everlasting well wishing to all beings, as is for ever AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada's. Dear Bhagavan Prabhu, your spiritual, i e -atma caitanya: consciousness- intelligence, i dare say, increased ... See Morestill since u "left" the "formal structure". i would say that a being, once conscious to be spirit, immaterial being and consciousness, although inhabiting the body and mind, doesn't hate nor excessively cherish his God-given (even if given temporary thru His other Energy apara prakrti: maya: asat, which is special Creation [and Will of Krsna-ParamBrahman] to serve His purpose: to teach all of us what we all forgot, to teach us like anew each time to make us re-member what He made us forget, until we awake from our amnesia to complete anamnesis) conditions: the body, of every entity. The body, as the mirage, but real, shows, indicates, the Supreme state, supremely integrated body for an atma: saccidananda vigraha. By Krsna Given. Eternally, because all being, all atma IS already This saccidananda vigraha. But now tested and taught and sanctioned by Krsna. A Krsna conscious being is first conscious to be Cit-Shakti, Para-Shakti, as are all beings, all and every one belonging to Krsna, all entities being in reality serving friends of Krsna, beyond and behind the roles they play of asuras and devas, [forgetting the absolute nature they are, parashakti] participating unconsciously to Krsna-lila, forgetful of their amara nitya Sat-Cit nature of eternal friend all towards all. One such 'realized' spirit soul may seem disrespectful to another, but it's in order to help him 'realize' what he really is, who he really is. Such a realized one is really friendly to all beings and to their vehicles their body and mind. As he knows he is spirit consciousness, he treats all others as himself, as he knows all others to be spirit consciousness inhabiting the wonderful special creation
March 25 at 1:33pm via Facebook Mobile ·

Veda Sastra
Dear Bill
What you write is sincere and very true
but if we spend more time dwelling on our mistakes than concetrating on the fire ,and if you keep on calling yourself a rascal and a fool
how do you expect this rascal and fool to rise above the circumstances .He probably won't .
Even though we are trully all rascals and fools ,unless you support yourself and put him to action you can never know what you are worth of or show your stamina .
March 25 at 3:08pm ·

Bill Helminger
Hello Veda Sastra. Thanks very much for your message. I think you make a good point. I have to be more optimistic about fighting the illusory energy of Krsna. I should be saying, I'm not going to be a foolish rascal anymore! After all, Krsna wants me to come back to Him, and I'm miserable without Him. The only thing standing in my way is my greatest enemy, my mind.
Let's keep talking. I don't have anybody around here with whom to speak about Krsna.
March 25 at 8:06pm ·

Alexis Kriel
Bill - you are going to continue to be filled with self-hate as long as you don't strive, every day, to meet your challenges and conquer your powerlessness. We are all grappling with life's demands and trying to move forwards. You need to overcome these feelings of frustration by doing something practical towards establishing yourself as the ... See Moredevotee you want to be. Try and put these things into practise in a real way in your life. Make a plan and stick to it. Eventually your life as it is now will merge with the life you want for yourself and you will find you have changed. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other.
March 25 at 10:23pm ·

Bill Helminger
I once heard an analogy that illustrates a conditioned soul's predicament with maya - not sure if it came from Srila Prabhupada: A man is hugging a tree and criying out, "Help, the tree has got me! How can I get free?" And the sage advises, "Simple, let go of the tree." I am that idiot saying, O Krsna, help me get free of maya, and He's telling me... See More, "Simple, stop embracing her."
Sometimes I think it would be easier to become a devotee if I had some kind of talent or skill that I could use in Krsna's service, and I've always felt there must be something I can do well, but after 53 years, I still don't know what it is.

Alexis, thank you for preaching to me. I really do appreciate it.
Well, I know where to start making a change. Instead of strictly following 3 of 4 principles of Krsna consciousness, I have to follow all 4. That means giving up intoxication. Besides, I have to go back to chanting 16 rounds every day. I chant every day, but haven't chanted 16 rounds in a day for years.
March 26 at 8:17am ·

Mayapurchandra Dasa
March 26 at 8:21am ·

Alexis Kriel
Bill - you know the saying: God helps those who help themselves. Many people are overcoming their addictions - ordinary people. No-one is going to respect you for being a "loser" ...and even in the "material world" being captive to alcohol, drugs, womanising etc is not respected. I think you are taking advantage of being a helpless soul in the ... See Morehands of the material energy. We are all in the same boat - no-one is better off than anyone else. Stop whinging and just do it!! No-one else is going to do it for you.
March 26 at 12:34pm ·

Veda Sastra
Dear Bill,
Don't be hard on yourself .You are a devotee and devotees are rare species ,so love and maintain yourself lovingly.

Addictions of that type are due to planetary afflictions maybe consult an astrologer you trust and strenghten the energies that are lacking .
I find listening to mantras of relevant deities of tremendous help and since you have KC ,the planetary deities can enhance your understanding as well .... See More
The universe is very willing to help devotees .
March 26 at 1:59pm ·

Cara Yoshizumi
Back to Kary's question--I believe that "black and white" thinking causes him to hate himself after slipping off of the strict, orthodox regulations. First, Kary, be nicer to yourself! Do any of the devotees treat you with the same disgust that you seem to abuse yourself with? Does Krishna hate you even after your most extreme indulgences or mistakes? I hope and believe that the answer is no. Remember, your materialistic indulgences are only temporary, you are authentically a spark of the divine. That is your true nature. If you can respect yourself and treat yourself kindly, than you can start treating and respecting others kindly too. The "recreational sex", like intoxication, is problematic, and you admit that it gives you no real joy. If these activities make you feel worse, you are only abusing and mistreating yourself. You can purify your sexual desires by sanctifying them and dedicating them to Radha/Krishna. How about instead of loveless "hookups" based on impersonal lust, what about sex in the context of a loving relationship? I think that is what Bhagavan is teaching. Other gurus, like Hridayananda Goswami have advocated marriage and/or loving relationships if you cannot be celibate. That is where I am; the next step would be marriage, a relationship based on eternal love as opposed to whimsical lust (not there yet myself). Gradually, as you continue to purify your life, you can decide to give up sex life (marriage can help calm lust). There are stages of perfection; Hridayananda still says that the highest perfection is celibacy, but my observation is that even many Krishna Conscious couples struggle with that. I still struggle with intoxication but right now I am asking myself if I am serving the highest good when I indulge; I know that many times I "use" to escape (to basically be ignorant). I am struggling to be more conscious of material indulgences in general and am trying to connect them to what is in my best, most spiritual interest. I am by no means perfect, and neither is anyone else; even Prabhupada asked people to forgive his mistakes; when he called people "rascals" or was impatient or intolerant; he truly is an example of a great soul but not perfect or faultless! We can learn from our and everyone's mistakes.
April 2 at 9:29am ·


  1. Reposted from Krishna Bhamini (Inez Canvasser) of my greatest friends, teachers and mother to my children.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 9:13pm

    KB wrote:
    It as been very special meeting you all in these wonderful communications, expressing ourselves and our truths. I am the mother of Vais, and the close friend of Bhagavan. We have all grown together throughout these years with respect and love. Our devotional life is quite a journey of coming to terms with our high aspirations of developing ... See Moremore deeply our love for Radha Krsna and all others , including ourselves. I think what we have all learned is that we need to be authentic in our intentions, so that our outside actions reflect our inner understandings , truths, and intuition. If we try to renounce artificially, that only leads to disaster as we have seen . If we can love and grow and at the same time keep the essence of our spiritual masters vision and teachings for us and the world always in the forefront of our consciousness, we will be acting in honesty and there will not be any confusion or unbalance or unhappiness in our lives. This is how I have tried to live my life since leaving the " ashram" over 20 years ago, and it has been a wonderful life full of balance , understandings, love and growth. And I have tried to impart this to my husband, children, relatives and friends. Certainly life always has its challenges, but this is how we grow . Keep our intentions pure , be honest with ourselves and others, and try to love and please Srila Prabhupada to the best of our abilities and always pray for Mercy.

    Much love,
    Krsna Bhamini

  2. Dave wrote:
    Why is it that so many devotees have to see things in such black and white constructs, which was a separate point he made?

    There is a very much agreeable shade of grey, which is a reconciliation not yet discussed. We need to fully abide by Srila Prabhupada's instructions regarding illicit sex, that is integrity to the parampara. Yet practically, it is very hard for most of us to do, without repression, and when we can't, either because of conditioning or the need to keep our families together, then we consider ourselves as failures, and experience disgust, guilt, remorse, depression and a host of negative emotions hardly conducive to love of God, more conducive to neurosis! In order to live happily and peacefully, yet with integrity, we need to examine those instructions of Srila Prabhupada that are relevant to our case! When he observed that many devotees were falling from the "no illicit sex" principle" he did not say "beat yourself up about it, feel ashamed, feel disgusted, feel like you have eaten vomit" he said "live in the varnashrama system, and we will give you all facility! Be happy! And be assured that you are making steady advancement. Even a sudra can be even a guru. Even as a sudra, one is a vaisnava and can get all perfection- a vaisnava should be never seen in terms of his caste!" This was not patronization, he backed it up with sound philosophy, quoting sastra. He did not want hypocrites, devotees pretending to be brahmanas but falling from brahminical principles of austerity and sense control- but he did not want people to leave or become neurotic either- everyone can stay and serve Krsna 24/7 and be happy in their occupations and their marriages. Krsna consciousness is not about being natural- it IS being natural. Duplicity is an anartha, a major obstacle to advancement. All the acaryas recommend varnashrama for devotees who are still affected by the modes of nature, the push and pull of the senses. A sudra can be more advanced than a brahmana, due to being more devotional and honest. Thus, he can be a guru, or an acarya- there is no limit. This is all explained in great detail in my book "varnashrama, the eight-petalled lotus"- email me if interested: