Move to the Land

August 3, 2014 |

English with Русский Translation; Moscow, Russia

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कृष्ण कीर्तन से शुद्ध जीवन की ओर

June 24, 2014 |

हिन्दी; Valia, Gujarat, India

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Question: As a neophyte devotee, who has recently taken interest in giving my life to serving Srila Prabhupada and The Hare Krishna Movement, the common question of how to do so has arisen freqeuntly in my recent months of trying to serve Srila Prabhupada. How can I give my life to Srila Prabhupada’s mission to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? Looking… Expand>

Question:

As a neophyte devotee, who has recently taken interest in giving my life to serving Srila Prabhupada and The Hare Krishna Movement, the common question of how to do so has arisen freqeuntly in my recent months of trying to serve Srila Prabhupada. How can I give my life to Srila Prabhupada’s mission to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu?

Looking at the movement in general, in the first few 20/30 years of the movement, devotee’s were more detached to the material world and its activities and stayed more in the temple, many would not partake in the activities of daily materialistic life, such as, school, a job, having a household away from the temple, having friends away from the temple. Which are all very understandable, because for spiritual advancement, environment and association is very important. But looking at the general trend of devotee’s today, it is very rare that devotee’s become Brahmacari, or live at the temple, or spend more than just an average one or two evenings at the temple each week. Rather the general mass of Hare Krishna devotee’s today, are very inclined towards their material education, their material success as businessmen, as families part of the social environment they live in and so on.

As a neophyte, the greatest difficulty I am facing, which is now becoming quite problematic in my spiritual life, is seeing that there is actually no difference between serving Krishna directly by maybe cleaning the temple floor, or serving his devotee’s, compared to

indirectly by concentrating on being successful in their material education or business life.

More specifically, as a student who would like to give his life to serving Srila Prabhupada, being enthusiastic about serving by gaining a material education is something very difficult for me to understand. On one hand I’m reading Srila Prabhupada’s books on how the material education system in todays contemporary society is mundane as it skips the greatest question of life, that we are not these bodies and that we are the spirit soul, eternal part and parcel of Krishna. Rather material education concentrates on how we can use all the resources of the material world for our sense gratification. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains, Karma Yoga, we must not simply forget everything and practice vikarma by renouncing everything and sitting alone in a room, rather we should practice akarma by offering the fruits of our actions onto Krishna and accept Him as The Supreme Controller. My difficulty is seeing how I can do so with a material college degree. It is difficult for me to submit to professors in universities who try to invalidate Krishna as Supreme Personality of Godhead, rather they accredit atheism and such illogical theories.

The question arises in my mind, that, rather than spending time and money in college acquiring a degree I am not even sure with what I want to do, rather I can surrender my whole life in serving as a devotee in a temple where they hardly have any devotee’s to serve.

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Question: Is there only one way to follow Srila Prabhupada?… Expand>

Question:

Is there only one way to follow Srila Prabhupada?

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami: 

Sridham Shyam Prabhu wrote an article which brought my attention to, in which he states that, as he understands, there are not many ways of following Śrīla Prabhupāda but there is one way to follow.

Now...in one sense it’s true. The proper way to follow Śrīla Prabhupāda is with all sincerity aspiring for pure devotional service, and following his instructions. On the other hand there is no stereotype, and Śrīla Prabhupāda gave different instructions to different devotees.

Sometimes on the same subject. For instance within his books, and repeatedly elsewhere, Śrīla Prabhupāda said that sannyāsi should be very strict in the matter of associating with women, which anyone in India up to the present day can understand, unless they are a follower of Osho, who are not much liked by Indian public.

Up to the present day the Indian public don’t like. They don’t mind to be cheated by swamis and sannyāsis, and spiritually, but they don’t like if they mix up with women...up to the present day. This Asaram Bapu Swami was finished not because of the murder cases in his āśram, but it came out about his womanizing. He is not actually a sannyāsi, but he is a holly man (supposed to be) and his illicit mixing with women is not at all appreciated. In South India this Paramahaṁsa Nityānanda was finished when it came about his womanizing, which in the West no one cares at all, but in India...

I’m just coming to the point now...

EXAMPLES
There is one Back to Godhead magazine published in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence, in which Sudama Swami...On the order of Śrīla Prabhupāda he led up the Vaikuṇṭha players, a drama troupe which had dance, and which was very much appreciated by Śrīla Prabhupāda, giving the teachings of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in drama form. And in that group there were women, which Śrīla Prabhupāda allow, but did not want in India. But, in the West he allowed it. Different culture. Sudama said to Śrīla Prabhupāda:“...all these women dancing...“, and Śrīla Prabhupāda said „That is your sannyās!“.

It’s right there in Back to Godhead magazine, so, he gave different...
Also, in two days in Vṛndāvan, to one sannyāsi Śrīla Prabhupāda told: „You leave Vṛndāvan! Don’t spend more than three days at any place. Sannyāsi should always be moving.“ The next day, to another sannyāsi he said: „Stay here, manage this project and never leave!“ So, to one he said „Sannyāsi always travels“, and to the other one sannyāsi „Stay here!“.

DIFFERENT EMPHASIS IN DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
So, there may be apparent contradictions. It’s not actually a contradiction, it’s specialized instruction according to service. So, one way to follow...Yes, we should know Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions and follow them, but we should know there is variety within that also. And, we see very exalted followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda who were...they are quite different in their emphasis in devotional service.
Two of most prominent preachers of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the modern world, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples in the Western world, one is Vaisesika Dasa Prabhu who is a grihasta. Well, he is well known, of course. He very much promotes the distribution of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. That’s his main focus.
Indradyumna Swami has been a sannyāsi for many years and he also promotes book distribution but within the ambit of his festive programs, which are his main preaching. Doing festivals with hāriṇams, and dances, lots of kīrtan and whole package.
So, their approach, or their life focus in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s service is very different. They are not doing exactly the same thing, but they are both undoubtedly pleasant to Śrīla Prabhupāda, and following him very much.

CONCLUSION
So, one way to follow Śrīla Prabhupāda...In one sense yes, but there may be others, there have to be, actually specializations. Different devotees have different approaches. So, what is the correct stand on this issue? 
I prefer not to take milk from „blood cows“, or sometimes devotees call it „blood milk“ because the cows are killed, but I’m not on a campaign against devotees who take that, because Śrīla Prabhupāda’s said we could take it. On the other hand, he also said we should establish our own farm communities.
So, that should be bonum.

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