Monday, March 29, 2010

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 ·

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