About Srila Bhaktivinoda

May 18, 2014 |

English; ISKCON Silicon Valley, USA

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Dravina-pradah, Divi-sprk

August 10, 2017 |

English; Gauragrama, Telangana, India

  • Viṣṇu-sahasranāma 575-576

  • 47 m 30 s  |  21.7 MB

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Prahlada's Apparent Prayers for Material Benediction

July 3, 2015 |

Question: I could understand from Srimad Bhagavatam that Sri Prahalada Maharaja is fearless, he is a pure devotee of the Lord and does not ask for any material benefits from the Lord. But in the Nrsimha Kavaca mantra it states that; “Oh Lord please protect me from west, east, north etc. and there is also the phalastruti (result of reciting the kavaca) which states that one attains material benedictions like putrvan (good son), dhanavan (wealth), long life etc.… Expand>

Question:

I could understand from Srimad Bhagavatam that Sri Prahlada Maharaja is fearless, he is a pure devotee of the Lord and does not ask for any material benefits from the Lord. But in the Nrsimha Kavaca mantra it states that; “Oh Lord please protect me from west, east, north etc. and there is also the phalastruti (result of reciting the kavaca) which states that one attains material benedictions like putrvan (good son), dhanavan (wealth), long life etc.

Maharaja, kindly explain how to understand these two different moods of Prahlada Maharaja.

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English; Colombo, Sri Lanka

Standards of Cooking for Deities and Pictures

May 1, 2016 |

Question: As far as cooking prasada for the deities, the standard as I know is to be second initiated. Does this apply to cooking for the devotees and offering it to a picture? In Krishna house they have devotees cooking who chant 8 rounds and its questionable if they are following the regulated principles. Would this affect one's consciousness and can this be considered a fit offering to the Lord?… Expand>

Question:

As far as cooking prasada for the deities, the standard as I know is to be second initiated. Does this apply to cooking for the devotees and offering it to a picture? In Krishna house they have devotees cooking who chant 8 rounds and its questionable if they are following the regulated principles. Would this affect one's consciousness and can this be considered a fit offering to the Lord?

Answer by H.H. Bhakti Vikāśa Swami:

Well, the proper term in our terminology is to prepare bhoga for the Deities. It is offered, the Lord accepts it, and then we take His prasādam.
Yes, but that’s the strict rule that in the temple where Deities are worshipped, all cooking and Deity worship should be done by brāhmaṇ initiated devotees.
That doesn’t mean that if you are not brāhmaṇicaly initiated you should not eat, or just only eat raw food or something like that. Even that, you are supposed to offer to Kṛṣṇa.
There is laxity for some devotees who are not initiated in that way. But in the temples with installed Deities (of course Deity means installed) there bhoga should be offered and cooked by persons who are formally initiated brāhmaṇically or pañcarātrically.
If they are not chanting 16 rounds and following the principles, then they shouldn’t be cooking for Deities and they will affect our consciousness.

viṣayīra anna khāile malina haya mana
malina mana haile nahe kṛṣṇera smaraṇa

“When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one’s mind becomes contaminated, and when the mind is contaminated, one is unable to think of Kṛṣṇa properly.“ (CC Antya 6.278)

Then we may say they are devotees, not materialists. They are not devotees to the level who should be cooking for distribution to others. They won’t benefit others. I’ve spoken on this many times. You can see on the website, there must be.
It affects one’s consciousness certainly because the consciousness of the cook is transmitted through the cooking.

Once, in Australia, Śrīla Prabhupāda was given some prasādam, nicely puffed up purīs. Afterward he asked: Who is the cook? The cook was Kūrma dāsa Prabhu, one of the most famous cooks in the history of ISKCON.
There are some famous cooks: Yamunā devi (who is probably the most famous), Kūrma Prabhu, Apūrva is very well known in America, Vibhu-Caitanya was there in Vṛndāvan. There are so many good cooks, but some in particular.
So Kūrma Prabhu came and Śrīla Prabhupāda said to him: Thank you very much for so nicely following the regulative principles!
We may say what’s that got to do with cooking, but Śrīla Prabhupāda could understand that his cooking is so nice because he is so seriously practicing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and Rādhārāṇī is manifesting through him. It’s understood that cooking for Kṛṣṇa is the service of Rādhārāṇī.

rādhikāra pakka anna vividha byañjana
parama ānande kṛṣṇa korena bhojana

“In great ecstasy and joy Kṛṣṇa eats the rice, curried vegetables, sweets, and pastries cooked by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.” (Bhoga-arati / Bhaja Bhakata Vatsala, verse 8)

As Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says She cooks for Kṛṣṇa rice and various vegetables, and so many different preparations.

And in South India they don’t know so much about Rādhā yet. So, they will say that Lakṣmī is cooking actually. Cooking for Viṣṇu means that the cook has to take blessing from Lakṣmī. It’s Her service, so the cook can only assist.

So, when one is in good consciousness then Kṛṣṇa is very pleased to accept the offering, and His mercy comes through fully.

If we are in materialistic consciousness, if we are not following the principles properly, if we are not up to the level of chanting 16 rounds, well, whatever good consciousness we have it will come through, and whatever bad consciousness we have it will come through also.
So, that’s the one in brief.

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English; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Should I attend a Wedding?

May 1, 2016 |

Question: My brother is having his wedding in the summer time on the east coast. I truly don’t want anything to do with weddings and especially those of materialists. I am close with my brother as him and his fiancé are both sweet people. (vegetarians, "half-devotees"). He comes to the temple for festivals and lets me use his facilities as I like (he lives in one of best book distribution places) Boulder, CO. Anyway, I’m saying all this because I truly just don’t know what to do. They really want me to go but I know it will be like hell and so painful to be around all the materialists eating, drinking, and being merry.… Expand>

Question:

My brother is having his wedding in the summer time on the east coast. I truly don’t want anything to do with weddings and especially those of materialists. I am close with my brother as him and his fiancé are both sweet people. (vegetarians, "half-devotees"). He comes to the temple for festivals and lets me use his facilities as I like (he lives in one of best book distribution places) Boulder, CO. Anyway, I’m saying all this because I truly just don’t know what to do. They really want me to go but I know it will be like hell and so painful to be around all the materialists eating, drinking, and being merry.

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami: 

"Well, that’s good enough reason to go because, hopefully, in the normal course of events people only get married once in their life. So, it’s a big thing.

Maybe in America it’s 1.5 times or something like that, by average. Of course, you can’t get married 1.5 times, but on average... Or maybe it’s 2.5. I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just 1 because so many people get divorced and so many people don’t get married at all. It doesn’t mean they’ve all became monks. They are vyabhicari (unchaste). They are having sexual liaisons without marrying. So, that’s a good reason to go.

Babhru Prabhu is concerned about: I have to go...and all those materialistic people...

Well, it could also be a good preaching opportunity and as much as you are there, and you are a devotee, they’ll ask you few questions: Why do you like this? And you can explain to them. You could take books, and distribute them also. So, anyway, you have to decide.

I’m not gonna decide for you. It’s the other side of the country. America is a big country. I think more than twice as big as India. So, you can imagine. But, anyway, you can fly around. You have to have money. So, anyway, you decide what to do.

I wouldn’t go because I’m a sannyasi. But you are not. So, you can take an opportunity to please your brother, help him, give him some encouragement in devotional service. You can give him a set of Srila Prabhupada’s books. It’s a great wedding gift.

What do people give? I think they give mixies. I think when people get married they get 20 mixies so they have to sell them back. Mixie-no one outside of India knows what it is. It’s an Indian-English word. What’s the English word? Food blender or something like that.

So, give a set of Bhagavatam. It’s a great gift. That’s my advice, as you’ve asked for it, but it’s up to you.

Hare Krishna!"

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English; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Should Devotees Vote in the Election?

April 20, 2014 |

Question: We understand from the teachings of Your Holiness that any activity other than Krishna consciousness is a waste of time. Considering this, I was under the impression that participating in voting for elections is also a waste of time because the process of democracy is not according to sastras and the leaders are not Krishna conscious.… Expand>

Question:

We understand from the teachings of Your Holiness that any activity other than Krishna consciousness is a waste of time. Considering this, I was under the impression that participating in voting for elections is also a waste of time because the process of democracy is not according to sastras and the leaders are not Krishna conscious. But sometimes devotees state that there is some political party who if not promoting Krishna consciousness at least protect people from those who are trying to destroy vedic culture. So they opine that we must not waste our vote, else someone may wrongly utilize it and promote parties that encourage cow slaughter. Do we need to consider these points? Please guide me regarding this.

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāśa Swami:

Well, it’s not actually my teaching, but it’s teaching of śāstra. Ultimately it’s waste of time.

I’m just gonna read some quotes from Śrīla Prabhupāda:

Prabhupāda: No, the real is that all rogues are in the government.

Dr. Patel: Yes, that is the right thing. Not only rogues, but they are...

Prabhupāda: So why don't you, if you are actually serious, why don't you make propaganda in the country that "Please do not give vote to the rogues"? Don't mention any party. "If you want to be happy, then don't give vote to the rogues." And who is a rogue? The illicit-sex hunters, the intoxicants and the meat-eaters and the gamblers. These are rogues.

Dr. Patel: They are all there in Delhi.

Prabhupāda: No, no, you don't mention any. (aside:) Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa. So it is impartial. And actually, if they test that "Whether this man I am voting, he is free from all these sinful activities?" then, you see, the whole face of the Indian government will change.”
(Morning Walk – Bombay, April 14, 1976)

In this regard I’ll cite an anecdote that was told to me by a journalist, some years ago. He told me that he had spoken to Giani Zail Singh. He was the president of India.

So, this journalist told me that he said to Giani Zail Singh that he made some suggestion for improvement of India, and Giani Zail Singh said: “No, no, no, no! Nothing will work. I’ll tell you, the only way you can have any benefit for this country is if you line up all the politicians and shoot them all.”

This journalist told him: “I’ll quote you on that.”
Giani Zail Singh said; “You can if you like. I’ll deny it.”
Interesting anecdote. It was “The Hindu” journalist that told me this.

“The democracy is a farce. At least, I do not like it. Because so many rascals, simply by getting votes, go to the government, and what do they know how to rule over? Therefore, at the present moment, all over the world there is no good government. There is no good government.” (Lectures, Bhagavad-gītā 1.28-29, London, July 22, 1973)

After two days Śrīla Prabhupāda said this, on another lecture:
“We don’t very much like this so-called democracy. What is the value of this democracy? All fools and rascals. They vote for another fool and rascal and he becomes prime minister, or this or that. That is not good for the people. We are not for this so-called democracy because they are not trained.” (Lecture in London, 24 July 1973)

“Nowadays, unqualified men have taken the presidential post. And although they may pose themselves as very religious, they are simply rascals. Why? Because under their noses thousands of cows are being killed, while they collect a good salary. Any leader who is at all religious should resign his post in protest if cow slaughter goes on under his rule. Since people do not know that these administrators are rascals, they are suffering. And the people are also rascals because they are voting for these bigger rascals.” (JSD 7: Plato: Goodness and Government)

“Therefore, in contrast with the modern, advanced, civilized form of government, an autocracy like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira's is by far superior to so-called democracy in which animals are killed and a man less than an animal is allowed to cast votes for another less than animal man. We are all creatures of material nature.” (Room Conversations, July 26, 1975, Laguna Beach)

So, Śrīla Prabhupāda was clearly not in favour of democracy, and he pointed that the leaders are all rogues.

In other place he said we should vote for Kṛṣṇa conscious leaders, that we should preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness and then people can vote for Kṛṣṇa conscious leaders.
He also approved, for some time, devotees in America making a political party named “In God We Trust Party” which was not expected to win elections or such thing, but it was a platform for preaching. Because there is some law if you are standing for the election then media have to give you some coverage and this and that. Although Śrīla Prabhupāda suspended it after short time.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF DEVOTEES TO VOTE OR TO ESTABLISH VARṆĀŚRAMA?
So, if we vote will cow killing stop? No! Śrīla Prabhupāda said we shouldn’t . If cow killing is going on, any leader should resign.

Of course, the point is made that some party (Well you can guess who. Śrīla Prabhupāda said: Don’t mention any name.) seems to be more favourable toward sanātana-dharma than some other party. 
In a sense, this is a wrong question. Should we vote or not? The point have been made- is social responsibility of devotees to vote. This idea, that it is a social responsibility to vote, that does not come from śāstra. That’s an idea that has been cooked up along with democracy.

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s social program was to establish varṇāśrama. What are we doing about that? That should be our real question. Our real social responsibility is to show a better kind of a society.

DEMON-CRAZY DEMOCRACY
So, you can vote if you like for a party that may be in the middle of building factories, and approving abortions. They may do something to stop cow slaughter, that’s good in the middle of all the corruption. They may do something for the cause of sanātana-dharma, but our real program should be to establish varṇāśrama dharma according to guna and karma, not according to janma. That’s Śrīla Prabhupāda’s social welfare program.
So, seeing these devotees saying, it’s just confirmed to me that our movement has lost it, or not taken the social direction that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave us. Because this kind of talk doesn’t come from śāstra or ācāryas. It comes from modern materialistic society.
So, if you want you can vote. I’ve never voted in my life. Well, I’ve voted in ISKCON meetings, not for any governmental person. If you vote and that person comes in and approves cow slaughter, you have to take some sinful reaction for that. You have to consider that also. You are also responsible.

Definitely those who are sadhus…why should they participate in this voting. The leaders should come to us for guidance. We are long away from that. They are setting the agenda, and we are giving a vote. But we should be giving the agenda and they should be coming to us for guidance.
So, as Śrīla Prabhupāda said, I’m not much in favour for democracy. We should be preaching that this is demon crazy. It’s a very complex situation in a whole world. If you say one party is better than another it may be, but the whole world situation is so bad we can’t expect any radical improvement from any party coming over another. But we can expect that one party may be less inclined towards sanātana-dharma and all that it stands for.

QUESTIONS ON COW SLAUGHTER
As I’ve said on another occasion, if there is industrial economy than cows has to be killed because everything is economic. So, cows are in economic unite, too. You cannot keep cows unless you can kill them. That’s the way it is economically. Otherwise it becomes a burden to you. There are no grazing lands where cows are taken for graze. So, old cows-it doesn’t matter to keep them when there is grazing land.
But, in modern society it’s all economic. You have to feed the cow with grass, you have to pay or grow. And cow slaughter will go on as long as this industrial society goes on.
So, to promote industry and in the same time to promote cow protection is not going to work. These two things go together: industry and cow slaughter.

And also all questions on cow slaughter. That’s if cow slaughter has to be stopped in this country at this point…It could have been stopped in 1947 presumably. It was presumed that it would be stopped, but it wasn’t, thanks to Mahatma Gandhi. It could’ve been done at that time. Now, it’s much more difficult.

But if it’s to be done, it has to be done with the acquaintances of the large minority who are very aggressive wanting to eat cow’s meat. So, we have to preach to large minority, to convince them that this is not good. We have to preach to Hindus also, who are after eating beefs.

HOW TO BRING KṚṢṆA CONSCIOUSNESS IN GOVERNMENT?
Some years ago I met a Godbrother of mine who lived in Iran for many years during the Iranian revolution. Somehow or other he stayed there as Irish citizen. Ireland has been always considered as non threatening country, not like Great Britain or Northern America. So, he stayed there for many years, teaching English or something like that. He told me his perception. Of course he didn’t travel all over Iran and spoke to different kinds of people, but his perception was that many people didn’t like Islamic law. They were forced to do it. But they were not happy with it. They’ve wanted the life of, more open and free, so they can enjoy themselves like this.

So, how to bring Kṛṣṇa consciousness in government? We have to convince people. Simply by force it’s not going to work. Of course, we are absolutely not near the Kṛṣṇa consciousness government , but I was thinking about it as Śrīla Prabhupāda was.

The same is with cow slaughter when there is a large aggressive minority who are in favour of that. If we try to stop it by force it may lead to lot of human slaughter also. That should be considered. It’s a very delicate question. Definitely in Hyderabad, for instance, there is a whole large area which react very aggressively. I mean they do, already. If they try to stop cow slaughter…

CONCLUSION
So, I’m not giving here any clear answers because these kind of answers you have to discuss in details. It’s very complex situation. Cow slaughter should be stopped, yes! How to go about it, that we have to consider.

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English; Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Sushena, Kanakaangadi

May 6, 2017 |

English with தமிழ் translation; Pancavati, Tamil Nadu, India

  • Viṣṇu-sahasranāma 544-545

  • 37 m 31 s  |  17.2 MB

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Prerequisite for sankirtana

May 27, 2006 |

English with தமிழ் translation; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Varnasrama Misfits

November 5, 2012 |

English; Valsad, Gujarat, India

Akrodha Paramananda

February 20, 2016 |

English; Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Western Brahmanas

August 14, 2016 |

English; Seattle, USA

You Can't Learn to Swim Unless You Get in Water

February 16, 2012 |

Question: For a very long time, I have felt very nervous about joining devotees on Harinama or book distribution. Honestly, I feel a bit embarrassed at the thought of my friends seeing me with devotees, or seeing me distributing books or seeing me in a Tilaka etc. I am worried people will think this guy is a nut or… Expand>

Question:

For a very long time, I have felt very nervous about joining devotees on Harinama or book distribution. Honestly, I feel a bit embarrassed at the thought of my friends seeing me with devotees, or seeing me distributing books or seeing me in a Tilaka etc. I am worried people will think this guy is a nut or a fool! I am worried they will judge me and I will lose my so-called social standing.

Right from my childhood, I have been a very shy and lonely person and I am always easily embarrassed. I grew up with severe inferiority complex in my childhood. Both my parents were completely uneducated, not respected, not well off etc. They passed that over to me. That low self esteem has stayed with me. Hence I am very scared and nervous of doing anything public.

Maharaja, I am very much worried that this nature of mine will interfere with my future service to you. How do I fix this issue? I really really want to make progress and I will follow any order you give me here to correct this situation.

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English;

At wedding reception of T. Subramani and Sri Lakshmi d.d.

January 19, 2006 |

English; Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Is the Current Brahma the Head of Our Sampradaya?

May 1, 2016 |

Question: Is the current Brahma the Head of our Sampradaya?

English; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Yugadikrt, Ugavartah, Naikamayah

January 27, 2014 |

English; Kolkata, West Bengal, India

  • Viṣṇu-sahasranāma 301-303

  • 58 m 31 s  |  26.8 MB

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02 BG 01.08, Salem, 06 Jan 01

January 6, 2001 |

English with தமிழ் translation; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

Blockage to Bhakti

July 24, 2017 |

English; Gauragrama, Telangana, India

Further Discussion on Concerns About ISKCON

September 20, 2011 |

English; Valsad, Gujarat, India

Krtajna, Medinipati

January 27, 2017 |

English; Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India

  • Viṣṇu-sahasranāma 536-537

  • 55 m 35 s  |  25.4 MB

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Horticulture yoga

September 11, 2014 |

English; Nottingham, England

Don't get Stuck, go Up

August 7, 2016 |

English with தமிழ் translation; Zurich, Switzerland