Selflessness, and the Muslim Question

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.12.26; | September 30, 2014 |

English; Hyderabad, Telangana, India

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Question:

I have been speaking w various devotees about the standard for grhasthas regarding initiation. I am sure you saw my post on the sannyasa conference. One devotee wrote back to me the following:

 

An afterthought: It strikes me that in the Gaudiya Math during Bhaktisiddhanta's time, the math was strictly a place for brahmacaris and sannyasis. My guess: The presupposition seems to have been that householders were/are more clearly separated from the renunciants because of their marital engagements, including especially sexuality, which I don't know that Bhaktisiddhanta specified must be for procreation only among householder disciples (would be interesting to know if there is any info on this).

 

Do you have any info on the above?

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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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