Varnasrama: The Big Picture

January 22, 2014 |

English; Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

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Is Chanting Only Countable for Initiated Devotees?

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Question: Few years back, at ISKCON Yamunanagar temple in Haryana, India, I attended a lecture by a devotee from ISKCON Delhi who was on guest visit. When asked about the importance of initiation in chanting, he told that without being initiated, our chanting the rounds is nearly ineffective. Only after initiation from spiritual master does… Expand>

Question:

Few years back, at ISKCON Yamunanagar temple in Haryana, India, I attended a lecture by a devotee from ISKCON Delhi who was on guest visit. When asked about the importance of initiation in chanting, he told that without being initiated, our chanting the rounds is nearly ineffective. Only after initiation from spiritual master does our real chanting begins. He gave an analogy that without being initiated, our 64 rounds of chanting will hardly equal 16 rounds of an initiated person. Since then my interest in chanting has been flickering and I feel there is no use to chant if it doesn't count at all. And I do not thing I am qualified to be initiated now or ever in my life. Though I may chant sometimes, but in deep core of heart, these words discourage me every time. Please help.

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Question: In the western part of India, especially Maharashtra, there are many saints (I am not sure if this is what peoplel are supposed to call them) like Swami Samartha, Sant Dnyāneshwar, and Giriraj Maharaja whose followers are mostly simple and poor villagers. HG Caitanya Charan Prabhu mentioned in www.thespiritualscientist.com that devotees are supposed to respect them and glorify them for whatever bhakti they are doing, although they are using chanting or glorification of the Lord as a tool to gain followers and ultimately make them Mayavadis.… Expand>

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I have been listening to your holiness' lectures for about 5 months day and night and I like the philosophical clarity of thought by which your holiness presents Krishna Consciousness, and of course the quality of the recording is nice.

I have also heard all of your Holiness' Q&A audio lectures available on the internet before asking this question.

In the western part of India, especially Maharashtra, there are many saints (I am not sure if this is what peoplel are supposed to call them) like Swami Samartha, Sant Dnyāneshwar, and Giriraj Maharaja whose followers are mostly simple and poor villagers. HG Caitanya Charan Prabhu mentioned in www.thespiritualscientist.com that devotees are supposed to respect them and glorify them for whatever bhakti they are doing, although they are using chanting or glorification of the Lord as a tool to gain followers and ultimately make them Mayavadis.

But the problem in practical application is that if we respect them then they will think that we are approving of their activities. For example most of their followers are vegetarian but they feel  that tea does not break their fast on Ekadashi, so they consume tea on their fasting days also.

Are these Maharaja's with their sampradaya's bona fide? If yes then which Sampradaya do they belong to?

In most rural parts of Maharashtra we don't have ISKCON centers, But we do have maths of the above mentioned personalities, so what should be our attitude towards the followers of the above mentioned personalities?

And what should be our approach to bring them to Krishna Consciousness as we don't have any ISKCON centers here? What are the do’s and don't we should follow to bring them to the service of Srila Prabhupada, or if not that then at least a bona fide Guru Parampara?

Can we or do we have a website or any such means where it is clearly stated that XYZ math or Sampradaya is bona fide or not bona fide, so at least we don't offend the ones who are outside of ISKCON and belong to a bona fide sampradaya and do not promote (by respecting them) the bogus so called spiritualist?

I do not intend to hurt any devotee, my only motive is to seek the truth or clarity of thought for healthy spiritual progress. Please forgive me for any offenses.

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In Vedic literatures we see an emphasis of judging by the results, palena parichiyate, and this idea is more specifically highlighted in the biblical passage of Luke 6:44, where the first line states "A tree is identified by its fruit" This concept seems to be very deep, yet I do not properly understand it… Could you speak something on how to understand this principle? And how can we actually apply it, sometimes the result or fruit is hard to judge, or this process can give wrong results

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