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prabhupada 12

 

His Divine Grace

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder Acarya of the

International Society for

Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)

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Chapter one

 

“Of the splendid I am the splendour. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.” This is the declaration of Krsna in Bhagavad-gita. When I think of the Amazon and preaching where no other devotee had been before; and how Krsna took control and gave us all facility and protection, this sloka comes alive for me. I had been a travelling sannyasi in the Krsna consciousness movement for eight years and had just completed a preaching tour of the United States of America. The time had come to make a decision where to go next. A number of options were open to me but I was still undecided.

 

In a discussion with Hridayananda Maharajah he suggested my going to Brazil. “Although there are thirty-eight temples and hundreds of devotees, sanyasis rarely get there. I think the devotees would be in ecstasy if you went.” “Brazil” I thought. “I never thought of going to Brazil.” The idea began to attract me. “Do they speak English?” I asked. “No. Portuguese, but some people speak English and there are devotees who will be able to translate for you.” It’s appeal was increasing and after more discussion I agreed to the proposal. The necessary arrangements were made and soon I was boarding a plane for Rio de Janeiro. As I fastened my seatbelt, I noticed a pamphlet on Brazil in the pocket of my seat. I saw on the map that the top of Brazil was coloured a lush green. In the middle of this area I read the words, “Amazon.” A thought passed through my mind. I wondered if anyone had ever been there to preach Krsna consciousness?

 

Upon landing, I was met by Isvara Maharajah who was in charge of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Publications for Brazil. It was in his association that I began my tour of the temples in Brazil. We started with the southern temples gradually making our way north. As we got closer to the equator, I again reflected on the idea of preaching in the Amazon. This idea intrigued me, as I had never heard of anyone doing it before. Upon our arrival in Recife, Maharajah suggested that next I visit a preaching centre in Manaus. It had been two and a half years since the devotees in Manaus had seen any other devotees. They hadn’t been out and nobody had been in. I decided to go.

 

Last Updated (Tuesday, 25 March 2014 22:41)

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Around the middle of the 19th Century the seed of change was planted. As with all planting of seeds there is a passing of time before the plant fructifies. The seed of change was Capitalism. In the UK in 2012 there was a spectacular opening of the 2012 Olympics that pictured the story of Great Britain, which illustrated that seed of change. The whole arena of that stadium was a picture of "green and pleasant" land. And then the transformation took place right in front of your eyes from that picturesque green and pleasant land to the industrialised heartlands that we here in the UK still suffer from today.

 

Capitalism was borne and it spread firstly to the western worlds and now it's covering the globe with its exploitative sinister influence. One of the very most hard-hitting concepts of Capitalism is the idea that if you work hard enough your dream is realisable. Now I know that in the USA this is practically a second nature. It's the American Dream. And at the heart of that concept is the dream that you can build your own home, work hard, marry a beautiful woman and pay for it for the rest of your life. It's the "have it now" and pay later tag, and have we paid for it, with mortgages coming out of our ears, and unfortunately for capitalists, it nearly brought the whole system down. The belief system of Capitalism, because that's exactly what Capitalism is, was brought to its knees and it cripples the masses and the poor.

 

That's why as devotees we don't believe in Capitalism, nor should we be a part of it, because it's inherently not a fair system and it's an exploitative abusive way of life. Our social system for devotees is the Varnashrama-dharma because it follows one's natural gunas and propensities for social and economic lifestyles. By following Krishna Consciousness we naturally uplift society by materially living a most harmonious lifestyle. Going from the mode of darkness and mode of passion the living entity is progressively associating in the social system with the higher modes of nature. After some time the mode of goodness is achievable for all men, no one is excluded. (This is not a gender exclusive article by using the word "men".)

 

Last Updated (Sunday, 09 February 2014 11:22)

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What Really Happened in 1977-78, interview with Gurukrpa Prabhu, by Bhakta das

 

 

"There is no new blood in this organization, things have become stagnated and dry, not dynamic and the offense of neglecting all their godbrothers by excluding them from their spiritual birthright, they will have to answer to Srila Prabhupada for this aparadha"

 

Dear Prabhus, Gurukrpa is here with me and on his behalf I am writing here.

 

Question: What happened the final months of Srila Prabhupada's appearance in connection with the process of initiating new devotees?

 

Gurukrpa: Nothing happened. In the beginning Srila Prabhupada did the diksa, the yajna and the name giving. As the numbers increased, he authorized GBC, and senior sannyasis to pick names and chant on the beads, etc. In 1977 during the months of May, June, July 1977 I was in Vrindaban with Srila Prabhupada, giving him his massage in his bed between 1 AM and mangala aratik. During the day, many letters would arrive. Satsvarupa Swami was the secretary and we decided that only letters that would give joy to Srila Prabhupada would be read. Like numbers of books sold, etc. A maximum of five letters daily were read to Srila Prabhupada.

 

After some weeks like this, there were stacks and stacks of letters, all relating to initiation. Hundreds of people were panicking that Srila Prabhupada would leave the planet before they were given initiation. At this time, this situation was brought before Srila Prabhupada in his room by Satsvarupa, Tamal, myself, and maybe some others.

 

Up until this time it was a very simple matter that we were doing the initiations, but we first had to ask permission. Srila Prabhupada NEVER refused any recommendation from his senior men. And personally, I would sometimes argue with some GBC that they were giving it too easily.

 

At this meeting, Srila Prabhupada basically said, "From here on, if you feel they are ready, then you may give the initiation on my behalf." I understood this for what it was, simply extending the authority a little further than it had been. Tamal Krsna Swami, began to say, "But who will do it?. Which devotees will do this?" Srila Prabhupada said, "The nearest one will do it. Whoever is closest." Tamal said, "Can Bhavananda do? Can Jayapataka do?" Thus these eleven names came out.

 

Last Updated (Sunday, 29 December 2013 12:21)

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prabhupada 08

 

Dear Devotees,

 

Please accept my most humble obeisances. This Vaishnava assembly consists of some very highly qualified devotees, and certainly Bhagavan Prabhu and Bhakta das Prabhu are amongst them. Bhakta das’ comments are very mature and insightful, and I also appreciate much of what Bhagavan has said in his short discussion. It is true you cannot wake a person who is pretending to be asleep, and the argumentative self-righteousness is self-defeating. However, the last paragraph, the short discussion on the guru, troubles me. It reminds me of discussions that I had so many years ago with my former husband Goursundar.

 

Since I am not really a part of any of the various “camps” of today, either ritvik or non-ritvik, I really don’t claim to know what Krishna has in mind for His movement, other than the absolute certainty that it will go on as predicted by Sri Chaitanya Dev. Just as we could not foresee everything 35 years back, so also we can’t foresee everything now. How it will all unfold is beyond our ability to foresee. I think we should remain open to possibilities, and faithful to our guru.

 

What concerns me is the great similarity between this perspective on the guru with that of my former husband’s view. With all due respect to Bhagavan Prabhu, who has done much to spread Lord Chaitanya’s movement and who we all know was one of the “chosen eleven”, still I feel uncomfortable with this perspective on the guru. 

 

My former husband Goursundar was also as charismatic and as brilliant as Bhagavan Prabhu. He wrote books, had a following, devotees adored him as a “pure devotee” long before the days of Iskcon gurus. No doubt if he had stayed around, he would have been one of the “chosen.” Of course, he did not actually take disciples, as Prabhupada was still very present, and he did not misuse his power in many of the ways that later gurus did. But the potential was there.

 

Fortunately for him, he left the movement some years before Srila Prabhupada left this world, and gave up his GBC and leadership roles. He didn’t want it. It was burdensome to him, and he also foresaw much of what was going to happen. He was a brilliant scholar and a mystic as well. Srila Prabhupada often said “he suffered from the disease of too much intelligence”, the flaw that led to his falldown, “thinking he knows more than his guru.”

 

What I find troubling here is that the last few sentences of Bhagavan Prabhu’s article sound very much like the philosophy espoused by Goursundar so many years ago. The focus is on the connection with Supersoul in the heart, rather than on the guru; truly this connection does exist, and it sounds really good. But please let me tell you my personal experience with this.

 

Prabhupada was the only Guru at that time, so it was more about focusing on Supersoul rather than on Prabhupada as a person directly. Not making a guru cult in other words. So because Goursundar was so brilliant, and such an excellent speaker, (and my former husband as well), I became very confused by what he was speaking. I was quite attached to Prabhupada, the person Prabhupada, like a father, a master, my guru, all of the above. So I felt frightened, for my simple love for Prabhupada as the personality he was, felt threatened. I believed my relationship with him was eternal and I did not wish to believe otherwise. Mine was a perspective of utmost simplicity, and since Goursundar was my husband of many years, though estranged at the time (he had recently left Prabhupada, left Iskcon and me as well), I was very susceptible to whatever he spoke. In a sense, he was like a guru to me.

 

So when Srila Prabhupada came to Hawaii soon after, I went to his quarters at the Honolulu temple and privately asked him about this exact same philosophy. I told him what Goursundar was saying, that we should connect with Supersoul, that the eternal guru was Supersoul, that making a guru with a personality cult was not as it should be, and so forth. It was a very good argument. But Prabhupada’s response shocked me.

 

Last Updated (Tuesday, 19 November 2013 01:14)

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Los Angeles, December 31, 1973 - Morning Walk


Paper currency: cheaters and the cheated...gold standard is good because it discourages large scale industry and trade...real wealth as cattle and grains...Therefore I am advising that purchase land and produce our own food. There will be no problem.



Prajapati: Actually, I was concerned this morning about inflation. The government and the newspapers, they say the biggest problem today is inflation. From our Krsna conscious standpoint, how can we cure this problem of inflation?

 

Prabhupada: It is very simple. Don't accept paper currency. It must be gold or some metal worth. Just like one dollar, it must be worth one dollar metal. Then it is solved. But they want to cheat. How it can be solved? Because if I pay you one dollar, I must pay you value for one dollar. But it is the cheating process is going on, "I pay you one dollar, a piece of paper. That's all." So you accept cheating, and I also cheat. Government allows. So how the problem can be solved? It is cheating. But the government allows it as law. And you accept, I accept. Then how they can be solved, solution? This is the solution.

 

Prajapati: In the economy itself there isn't actually enough money to, that's even in the banks...

 

Prabhupada: That is cheating. Therefore I say cheating. I have no money. I give you simply paper. I promise to pay hundred dollars. What is the use of that promise if I have no money? But you want to be cheated. I cheat you. That's all. You are satisfied of being cheated by me; so I take the advantage and I cheat you. I give you a paper. That's all.

 

Bahulasva: Real money is gold and silver.

 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 02 October 2013 23:02)

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The following is an interview with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

 

Journalist: I think an awful lot of our readers, and an awful lot of people in the United States, are terribly confused with the many people who claim to be gurus and gods and who pop up in this country, one after the other, after the other, and they say that …

 

Srila Prabhupada: I can declare that they are all nonsense.

 

Journalist: I wonder if you could elaborate on that a little bit.

 

Srila Prabhupada: I can say, furthermore, they're all rascals.

 

Last Updated (Monday, 19 August 2013 13:41)

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For the last half of the twentieth century, Antony Flew (1923-2010) was the world's most famous atheist. Long before Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris began taking swipes at religion, Flew was the preeminent spokesman for unbelief. However in 2004, he shocked the world by announcing he had come to believe in God. While never embracing Christianity, Flew only believed in the deistic, Aristotelian conception of God, he became one of the most high-profile and surprising atheist converts. In 2007, he recounted his conversion in a book titled "There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind". Some critics suggested Flew's mental capacity had declined and therefore we should question the credibility of his conversion. Others hailed Flew's book as a legitimate and landmark publication.

 

A couple months before the book's release, Flew sat down with Strange Notions contributor Dr. Benjamin Wiker for an interview about his book, his conversion, and the reasons that led him to God :

 

Dr. Benjamin Wiker : You say in your book "There is a God" that "it may well be that no one is as surprised as I am that my exploration of the Divine has after all these years turned from denial...to discovery." Everyone else was certainly very surprised as well, perhaps all the more so since on our end, it seemed so sudden. But in your book "There is a God" we find it was actually a very gradual process, a "two decade migration" as you call it. God was the conclusion of a rather long argument, then. But wasn't there a point in the "argument" where you found yourself suddenly surprised by the realization that "There is a God" after all? So that, in some sense, you really did "hear a Voice that says" in the evidence itself "'Can you hear me now?'"

 

Antony Flew : There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself, which is far more complex than the physical Universe, can only be explained in terms of an intelligent source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in "The God Delusion" that the origin of life can be attributed to a "lucky chance." If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a voice, it was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.

 

Last Updated (Saturday, 06 July 2013 22:17)

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If you adulterate our Sankirtana Movement with some business motive, then it will be spoiled immediately. Be careful in that way. (Srila Prabhupada letter to Mukunda, July 1, 1969)