Gurus, Disciples, and Cultural Considerations

Bhagavad-gītā 4.34 | September 27, 2015 |

English; Dallas, Texas, USA

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Question:

I saw an article on Dandavats.com titled "Parusurama and Virgin mary" [ http://www.dandavats.com/?p=26584 ]

This article about Virgin Mary appears to be on more of a sentimental platform conveying the message that you can pray to even Virgin Mary or any demigod to come to Krishna Conciousness. They also have included "portion" of "portion" of one of Srila Prabhupada's correspondence to Sivananda on Virgin Mary to substantiate their "belief".

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1. Is such method of prayer to attain Krishna conciousness valid from the sastric viewpoint?

2. Can we equate such prayers of us to the prayers of Gopis to demigoddess to attain Lord Krishna?

3. In my experience, as this article seems to also indicate, that even after attaining Krishna conciousness, devotees who have attained Krishna Conciousness through such method seems to have attachment to the demigods or virgin mary in the form of affection however mild it might be. Is this still considered okay or pure devotional service to Lord Krishna?

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I have been listening to your holiness' lectures for about 5 months day and night and I like the philosophical clarity of thought by which your holiness presents Krishna Consciousness, and of course the quality of the recording is nice.

I have also heard all of your Holiness' Q&A audio lectures available on the internet before asking this question.

In the western part of India, especially Maharashtra, there are many saints (I am not sure if this is what peoplel are supposed to call them) like Swami Samartha, Sant Dnyāneshwar, and Giriraj Maharaja whose followers are mostly simple and poor villagers. HG Caitanya Charan Prabhu mentioned in www.thespiritualscientist.com that devotees are supposed to respect them and glorify them for whatever bhakti they are doing, although they are using chanting or glorification of the Lord as a tool to gain followers and ultimately make them Mayavadis.

But the problem in practical application is that if we respect them then they will think that we are approving of their activities. For example most of their followers are vegetarian but they feel  that tea does not break their fast on Ekadashi, so they consume tea on their fasting days also.

Are these Maharaja's with their sampradaya's bona fide? If yes then which Sampradaya do they belong to?

In most rural parts of Maharashtra we don't have ISKCON centers, But we do have maths of the above mentioned personalities, so what should be our attitude towards the followers of the above mentioned personalities?

And what should be our approach to bring them to Krishna Consciousness as we don't have any ISKCON centers here? What are the do’s and don't we should follow to bring them to the service of Srila Prabhupada, or if not that then at least a bona fide Guru Parampara?

Can we or do we have a website or any such means where it is clearly stated that XYZ math or Sampradaya is bona fide or not bona fide, so at least we don't offend the ones who are outside of ISKCON and belong to a bona fide sampradaya and do not promote (by respecting them) the bogus so called spiritualist?

I do not intend to hurt any devotee, my only motive is to seek the truth or clarity of thought for healthy spiritual progress. Please forgive me for any offenses.

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