Our Varnasrama Responsibility

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.17.13 | May 22, 2014 |

English; San Diego, California, USA

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Should Women Put Thirteen Tilakas?

August 29, 2011 |

Question: Like my previous mail regarding entering temple during period, this also I have heard from wife. And she says as others are putting 13 tilakas, so she is. In any of Krishna lila or Chaitanya lila pictures, it is visible on forehead of any female character like Yashoda mataji or gopis, but it is not visible on their necks… Expand>

Question:

Like my previous mail regarding entering temple during period, this also I have heard from wife. And she says as others are putting 13 tilakas, so she is.

In any of Krishna lila or Chaitanya lila pictures, it is visible on forehead of any female character like Yashoda mataji or gopis, but it is not visible on their necks or hands.

Also up till before last 2-3 years, I did not see or hear matajis putting all tilakas. But now since 2-3 years, I hear from my wife.

Is it that traditionally all devotee matajis were putting 13 tilakas? What is Srila Prabhupad's and Guru Maharaj's instruction in this regard? In 'Beginner's Guide to Krishna Consciousness' it is not mentioned whether matajis should also put all 13 tilakas.

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Question: I have two doubts, I hope you can show some light. After Srila Prabhupada disappearance, many former ISKCON devotees moves to another branches of the Gaudiya Matha and take shelter in many senior vaisnavas disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur (actually Srila Prabhupada godbrothers: Srila Sridhara Maharaj, Srila Puri Maharaj, etc.) and many of them… Expand>

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I have two doubts, I hope you can show some light.

After Srila Prabhupada disappearance, many former ISKCON devotees moves to another branches of the Gaudiya Matha and take shelter in many senior vaisnavas disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur (actually Srila Prabhupada godbrothers: Srila Sridhara Maharaj, Srila Puri Maharaj, etc.) and many of them even started with success their own missions (Tripurari Maharaj, Narasingha Maharaj, etc.). I want to ask you if it is posible to follow Srila Prabhupada and became a bonafide Prabhupadanuga outside ISKCON or if it´s just a "degree" that someone can attain only being a member of ISKCON?

On the other hand, for the last 30 years Srila Prabhupada godbrothers acknowleged Him as "Saktiavesa Avatara" or "Jagad Guru" and celebrate in their respective maths His abirbhava and tirobhava (Sri Gopinath Matha, Sri Caitanya Saraswat Matha, Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha, etc). Furthermore Srila Jayapataka Swami started Sarasvasta Gaudiya Vaisnava Association and Srila Paramadvaiti (aka Alanath Swami) World Vaisnava Association as well, to reunite all the branches of the "Bhaktisidhanta Parampara". So, how it is that even today it seems to be so difficult to many ISKCON leaders to accept "as bonafide as ISKCON" any other branch of the Gaudiya Matha in the light that all of them came from the same seed (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta) and in opposition they point Srila Prabhupada (or ISKCON gurus) as the only bonafide acaryas for humankind? Can you please Maharaj help me to understand this in a propper way and mood?

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Santa Claus Outfits for Radha-Krsna

December 25, 2012 |

Question: Recently I was shocked to learn that few of ISKCON temples around the globe celebrated Christmas by dressing Sri Sri Radha Krishna deities Santa Claus styled outfits. Is it acceptable to dress the Lord in such a non-traditional style or it is just a speculation?… Expand>

Question:

Recently I was shocked to learn that few of ISKCON temples around the globe celebrated Christmas by dressing Sri Sri Radha Krishna deities Santa Claus styled outfits. Is it acceptable to dress the Lord in such a non-traditional style or it is just a speculation?

 

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami:

So, I’ve been informed that some temples in Europe in the Christmas season dress Kṛṣṇa as Santa Claus, and that one temple, ISKCON temple (we are talking about ISKCON temples here), is dressing Kṛṣṇa as Santa Claus. And one temple in India also did this. And what do I think about this? 

Unfortunate…is one word I could use. Nonsense is another.

In one letter Śrīla Prabhupāda was informed that devotees sent some Christmas cards with a picture of Krsna. Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote that we are not for Christmas greetings. In another or several times, Śrīla Prabhupāda also spoke about speculation in Deity worship… So, there may be various reasons given. In India, the reason was given that Christians come to our temple. Well, in that case you can dress Kṛṣṇa as cricket star, maybe the cricket fans would come. Or you can dress Kṛṣṇa like some famous film star, then maybe people interested in movies, they would come. 

But the whole idea…Deity worship is to dress Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā likes Him, and dress Rādhā as Kṛṣṇa likes Her, according to the directions of great ācāryas. Getting mixed up with this Western culture…as far as possible we should try to avoid that. We have our own festivals. Why adopt this Christmas, which is supposed to be a birth of Christ, although they don’t actually know when Christ was born? The main feature of Christmas in the modern world is killing lots of birds, especially turkeys in England, drinking lots of alcohol…

Especially, dressing Deities like this, all I can say is- unfortunate. My saying so won’t stop it going on. There are so many great ācāryas in our movement who are introducing things that none of our previous ācāryas was doing…So, what to say? Whether to laugh or to cry?

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Question: How do we understand the statements of Srila Prabhupada that defy common sense? My question is not specific to what I could eat to make my body happy, but "how do we understand statements by pure devotees that defy common sense?" One might be able to explain away sentences such as in the purport… Expand>

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How do we understand the statements of Srila Prabhupada that defy common sense?
My question is not specific to what I could eat to make my body happy, but "how do we understand statements by pure devotees that defy common sense?" One might be able to explain away sentences such as in the purport of CC 2.4.169 Srila Prabhupada mentions that, "One should not eat fish or other non-vegetarian food during the month of Kartika. A non-vegetarian diet means fish and meat. Similarly, masura dhal and urad dhal are also considered non-vegetarian. These two dhals contain a great amount of protein, and food rich in protein is considered non-vegetarian," however if you have to give to an intelligent reader they defy common sense. So, then comes the question of hermeneutics. In our parampara, it is not just important to understand the scriptures, but the writings of acaryas such as Srila Prabhupada. I refuse to compromise myself saying that some parts of Srila Prabhupada's writings from which I can't extract sense from should be avoided.

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Question: I wanted to inform you of my current position as well as a bit of my past. Prior to moving to San Deigo I was a resident of Krsna House in Gainsvile Florida, in which I studied there for a year. Durning that time I spent most of it being guided by Caitanya davi dasi and Vallahba. I owe all of my advancement and whole being to these two devotees. Who took the time to fix me up directly onto the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada.… Expand>

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I wanted to inform you of my current position as well as a bit of my past. Prior to moving to San Deigo I was a resident of Krsna House in Gainsvile Florida, in which I studied there for a year. Durning that time I spent most of it being guided by Caitanya davi dasi and Vallahba. I owe all of my advancement and whole being to these two devotees. Who took the time to fix me up directly onto the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada.

As of now I have moved up to Berkley helping Maha Tattva with his preaching program and making my best endeavour to become a strong Brahmacari. I have been learning sloka’s, instruments, etiquette and other things favourable to my advancement in Krsna consciousness. I have also been going out on books six days a week and I will be leaving soon to go on one month trip to distribute books with some Bramacari’s in San Diego. The move up here so far has proven to be very good and the future looks very promising. I have only a few questions in the matter of discharging pure devotional service. I was wondering what way can I guarantee pure love of God and if there are certain things that I should do or habits I should adopt which will help.

I am not the most renounced nor am I the strongest preacher, but I solely desire to perfect this life in one lifetime and am willing to make an endeavour in that direction to the best of my ability by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and the devotees. I was also wondering if you needed me to carry out a particular service in this lifetime and what pleases you the most.

Please help me to perfect this life because my mind is the worst enemy that I have. I don’t know anything nor do I have the power to do anything. I rely on the devotees and guidance from senior Vaisnavas.

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