Why Books are the Basis

Part-1

January 10, 2016 |

English with தமிழ் Translation; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

Play (58 m 55 s)     Download (27 MB)

Part-2

January 16, 2016 |

English; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

Play (1 h 20 m)     Download (37 MB)

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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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August 28, 2014 |

English; Govindadvipa, Ireland

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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English;

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  • 34 m 12 s  |  15.7 MB

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Question:

For about five months now I have been engaged more actively in book distribution. Every Thursday I go around knocking on doors at different apartment buildings with another devotee, and I also try to distribute books every day at Krishna Lunch on the university campus. One day when I was walking back by myself to the preaching center from the campus, I saw this man preaching in the plaza. It was obvious that he was from some kind of church, and he was speaking out against all other religions with the exception of his own. There were many students gathered around him asking questions. Usually, I ignore these kinds of preachers and just keep walking. However, this particular preacher was speaking out against the worship of Krishna. He was saying that Krishna cannot be God because he was killed in a hunting accident and left a material body. When I saw him preaching like this I felt very disturbed that all of the students around him were misled into thinking that Krishna was a human and could be killed. Since I have gained more confidence and desire to speak about Krishna due to book distribution, I wanted to say something to try and clear up this misconception, but I started to think that he would not understand what I had to say. So, I ended up just walking away. I would like to know, what is the best thing to do in these circumstances? Is it better to kindly say something or walk away? If it is not too much trouble for you, I would appreciate any advice you could give me.

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