Jaya Jaya Jagannatha Saciranandana

Bhajans | July 5, 2016 |

English; Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India

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Santa Claus Outfits for Radha-Krsna

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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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As part of our plan to establish varnasrama projects, when the community gets bigger we will also try to install ksatriya kings. The main duty of ksatriyas is to curb adharma. So if someone in the community is posing as God, he should immediately be killed as shown by Krnsa when he killed Paundraka. But we also understand that Caitanya Mahaprabhu's policy was not to kill demons but the demoniac tendency. So should the King refrain from killing such people? This question can be expanded to include all types of death sentences- even those given to murderers.

According to this logic if one so called God is killed by the government on the basis of his having proved himself as God, all other Gods will automatically stop and immediately adharma is under control.

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I have two doubts, I hope you can show some light.

After Srila Prabhupada disappearance, many former ISKCON devotees moves to another branches of the Gaudiya Matha and take shelter in many senior vaisnavas disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur (actually Srila Prabhupada godbrothers: Srila Sridhara Maharaj, Srila Puri Maharaj, etc.) and many of them even started with success their own missions (Tripurari Maharaj, Narasingha Maharaj, etc.). I want to ask you if it is posible to follow Srila Prabhupada and became a bonafide Prabhupadanuga outside ISKCON or if it´s just a "degree" that someone can attain only being a member of ISKCON?

On the other hand, for the last 30 years Srila Prabhupada godbrothers acknowleged Him as "Saktiavesa Avatara" or "Jagad Guru" and celebrate in their respective maths His abirbhava and tirobhava (Sri Gopinath Matha, Sri Caitanya Saraswat Matha, Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha, etc). Furthermore Srila Jayapataka Swami started Sarasvasta Gaudiya Vaisnava Association and Srila Paramadvaiti (aka Alanath Swami) World Vaisnava Association as well, to reunite all the branches of the "Bhaktisidhanta Parampara". So, how it is that even today it seems to be so difficult to many ISKCON leaders to accept "as bonafide as ISKCON" any other branch of the Gaudiya Matha in the light that all of them came from the same seed (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta) and in opposition they point Srila Prabhupada (or ISKCON gurus) as the only bonafide acaryas for humankind? Can you please Maharaj help me to understand this in a propper way and mood?

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Can a devotee accept service that his guru doesn't directly engage in? For instance, I am very much inspired by Indradyumna's Maharaj's festivals. I think such festivals have a broad reach to masses. I don't like the cultural part of these festivals, but the philosophy and prasadam and kirtan can really get people intrigued.

Some time in the future I would like to organize such festivals and do mass book distributions. However, for that I would need a lot of training from Indradyumna Maharaj even though I am aspiring to serve you.

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāśa Swami:

We are all supposed to be servants of Śrīla Prabhupāda in the saṅkīrtana movement. So, if you are inspired to help with some particular service which pushes forward the saṅkīrtana movement, that’s not against what I’m doing. And if at all I’m to guide you, I’m to guide you to serve in the association of devotees the bona fide activities of the saṅkīrtana movement. 

So by all means: 
nāca, gāo, bhakta-saṅge kara saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa-nāma upadeśi’ tāra’ sarva-jana (CC Ādi 7.92)

[‘My dear child, continue dancing, chanting and performing saṅkīrtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, for by this process You will be able to deliver all fallen souls.’]

Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself received the order to sing and dance, perform saṅkīrtana in the association of devotees and by instructing the holy name to everyone to deliver the whole world. 

So that order is coming in the paramparā, and wherever and however you get the opportunity to help the devotees in, and join with the devotees in spreading the saṅkīrtana movement, do it. It’s not that if you become my disciple, you have to be locked into a little bubble in a little corner. Let’s all be part of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s big family.

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Question: I am sorry to bother you, but I have some questions about painting and drawing Krsna consciousness themes. 1) Srila Prabhupada said that Krsna is never alone, but some of the pictures in BBT books shows Krsna with flute (beautiful painting by Pariksit das,1981) with peacock, cow, calf, parrot, holding Govardhana, Damodara tasting butter etc. Should cow, flute etc. be considered… Expand>

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I am sorry to bother you, but I have some questions about painting and drawing Krsna consciousness themes.

1) Srila Prabhupada said that Krsna is never alone, but some of the pictures in BBT books shows Krsna with flute (beautiful painting by Pariksit das,1981) with peacock, cow, calf, parrot, holding Govardhana, Damodara tasting butter etc. Should cow, flute etc. be considered as Krsna`s devotees, so actually He is not alone on painting, or such scene is not bonafide. I started to paint Lord Krsna holding Govardana hill, but composition of painting don`t allow me to paint no one else but peacock or cow.

2) You said once that early paintings, untill 1977, have much lighter tones then paintings made later. I am doing portraits of Srila Prabhupada in charcoal, and pastel, and I saw this drawing (made by Dridha Mataji). It`s rather dark, but i like it.I would like to try that white chalk on black paper. Is it too dark? http://www.drdhaarts.com/portfolio/images/port/sp9.jpg

3) Is it OK to put miniature clay dolls representing Krsna, gopis, cowherd boys, pecocks etc. on halava made Govardhana hill, during Govardhana puja celebration, or should that hill be made of rice with eyes and mouth (like traditionally).

4) Is it OK to let children play with such dolls representing Lord Nrisimhadeva, Prahlada Maharaja, characters from Krsna lila, although they might break them, throw them or step on them.

5) Sometimes when drawing Srila Prabhupada with charcoal or pastel I need to blow on the picture to remove extra charcoal dust. Should I use some small ventilator instead?

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