Bright Faces and Black Faces

July 20, 2014 |

English with Русский Translation; Dobromysh, Tatarstan, Russia

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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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Hindu-Bindu-Hodgepodge Religion

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Question: After procrastinating for several months, with the encouragement of Susan, I finally got myself out the door to visit our local Hindu Mandir, in London , Ontario. I looked at the Vaisnava calendar, and was reminded that it was the day for GIta Jayanti. I thought "How auspicious. What a wonderful opportunity to bring a box of Gitas… Expand>

Question:

After procrastinating for several months, with the encouragement of Susan, I finally got myself out the door to visit our local Hindu Mandir, in London , Ontario. I looked at the Vaisnava calendar, and was reminded that it was the day for GIta Jayanti. I thought "How auspicious. What a wonderful opportunity to bring a box of Gitas with me to share with the local Hindus. A most wonderful way to begin my associating with the local pious people!"

I thought perhaps I might be able to speak something about the glories of the Bhagavad Gita at the Mandir, so I Googled Gita Jayanti, and heard part of an inspiring class by HH Prahladanandana Swami where he explained,

"There are 7 billion verses in the Vedas, and the Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all of them, and of all of them , the middle 6 chapters of the Gita are the most important, and of all those chapters, the 9th is the most important , and of all the verses , Bg. 9.34 is the most important,… man mana bhava mad bhakto, "Engage your mind in always thinking of Me, worship Me offer your obeisances unto Me. Thus you will surely come to Me, because you are My very dear friend." It is such an important verse , that it is repeated in the 18th chapter as well."

When I arrived at the Hindu Mandir, I saw the central deities were Laxmi-Narayana, with Sita Rama Hanuman Laxman, Radha Krishna, Siva lingam, Siva Parvati Ganesh Durga deities as well. When Susan and I arrived, they were having a havan, with a South Indian pandit chanting many mantras, which we participated in. Several people thanked me for the way I chanted Sanskrit with the Pandit. After this, I met the temple president, Mr. AV Singh, and when I asked him if I could say a few words about Gita Jayanti, he told me that there is no way of confirming the actual date that the Bhagavad Gita was spoken and that there is no need to promote the Bhagavad Gita, because every Hindu knows about it. He told me that their center was "diversified", and they don't promote any one book, and that if they let me promote the Gita , then everyone would want to promote their own religious views.

I stood there listening to him with my mouth open, in a state of disbelief. I purposefully kept my mouth open so he could see how

shocked I was at his response. He asked me if I understood. I told him that I understood his point of view, but because the Bhagavad Gita is a universal , non-sectarian teaching, I had difficulty accepting his resistance toward promoting it. He told me that the temple was for people to come and worship, sing a few songs, and go home "happy". I quickly packed up the Gitas and left, not feeling very happy at all.

My gratitude to Srila Prabhupada increased for the ISKCON movement he has given us , representing the true universal message of Sanatana Dharma. I realized even more the necessity of starting our own programs so that people could learn about Lord Caitanya. Hindu Bindu hodge podge religion , with so called "diversity" minimizing the glorification of Bhagavad Gita won't get people very far.

What would have you said to Mr. Singh, regarding his arguments against saying a few words in glorification of the Bhagavad Gita?

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