Knowing is Easy, Why Have a Guru

Bhagavad-gītā 4.35 | September 2, 2016 |

English; Manchester, UK

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Why is the term 'sankirtan devotees' so commonly used in ISKCON nowadays to address book/prasadam distributors? As I understood it from HDG Srila Prabhupada's books, we are all supposed to be sankirtan devotees, because we are part of Sri Caitanya's sankirtan mission. Not being a 'sankirtan devotee' is fatal in this respect. I looked through the Vedabase and Srila Prabhupada never used the term himself, which is kind of suspicious. Thank you very much for clarification.

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About Srila Prabhupada, we hear devotees quoting Caitanya Mangala where Lord Caitanya says "I will send my senapati bhakta"; (there is also the prediction of Bhaktivinoda Thakura).

On the other hand Srila Prabhupada says about one astrologer who told him that he was a physician in his previous life; his inclination to play a physician in a children's play; and the reason of coming back (not BTG) – the killing of the snake in order to make a medicine from its poison.

The 2 info we reconciled but we need also the opinion of other devotees.

Namely, just as Drona and Dhara went into the bodies of their source the nitya sparsadas Vasudeva and Devaki, similarly Srila Prabhupada should have had an expansion that became one with its origin, the senapati bhakta predicted by Lord Caitanya.

What do you think? 

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Question: We understand from the teachings of Your Holiness that any activity other than Krishna consciousness is a waste of time. Considering this, I was under the impression that participating in voting for elections is also a waste of time because the process of democracy is not according to sastras and the leaders are not Krishna conscious.… Expand>

Question:

We understand from the teachings of Your Holiness that any activity other than Krishna consciousness is a waste of time. Considering this, I was under the impression that participating in voting for elections is also a waste of time because the process of democracy is not according to sastras and the leaders are not Krishna conscious. But sometimes devotees state that there is some political party who if not promoting Krishna consciousness at least protect people from those who are trying to destroy vedic culture. So they opine that we must not waste our vote, else someone may wrongly utilize it and promote parties that encourage cow slaughter. Do we need to consider these points? Please guide me regarding this.

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāśa Swami:

Well, it’s not actually my teaching, but it’s teaching of śāstra. Ultimately it’s waste of time.

I’m just gonna read some quotes from Śrīla Prabhupāda:

Prabhupāda: No, the real is that all rogues are in the government.

Dr. Patel: Yes, that is the right thing. Not only rogues, but they are...

Prabhupāda: So why don't you, if you are actually serious, why don't you make propaganda in the country that "Please do not give vote to the rogues"? Don't mention any party. "If you want to be happy, then don't give vote to the rogues." And who is a rogue? The illicit-sex hunters, the intoxicants and the meat-eaters and the gamblers. These are rogues.

Dr. Patel: They are all there in Delhi.

Prabhupāda: No, no, you don't mention any. (aside:) Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa. So it is impartial. And actually, if they test that "Whether this man I am voting, he is free from all these sinful activities?" then, you see, the whole face of the Indian government will change.”
(Morning Walk – Bombay, April 14, 1976)

In this regard I’ll cite an anecdote that was told to me by a journalist, some years ago. He told me that he had spoken to Giani Zail Singh. He was the president of India.

So, this journalist told me that he said to Giani Zail Singh that he made some suggestion for improvement of India, and Giani Zail Singh said: “No, no, no, no! Nothing will work. I’ll tell you, the only way you can have any benefit for this country is if you line up all the politicians and shoot them all.”

This journalist told him: “I’ll quote you on that.”
Giani Zail Singh said; “You can if you like. I’ll deny it.”
Interesting anecdote. It was “The Hindu” journalist that told me this.

“The democracy is a farce. At least, I do not like it. Because so many rascals, simply by getting votes, go to the government, and what do they know how to rule over? Therefore, at the present moment, all over the world there is no good government. There is no good government.” (Lectures, Bhagavad-gītā 1.28-29, London, July 22, 1973)

After two days Śrīla Prabhupāda said this, on another lecture:
“We don’t very much like this so-called democracy. What is the value of this democracy? All fools and rascals. They vote for another fool and rascal and he becomes prime minister, or this or that. That is not good for the people. We are not for this so-called democracy because they are not trained.” (Lecture in London, 24 July 1973)

“Nowadays, unqualified men have taken the presidential post. And although they may pose themselves as very religious, they are simply rascals. Why? Because under their noses thousands of cows are being killed, while they collect a good salary. Any leader who is at all religious should resign his post in protest if cow slaughter goes on under his rule. Since people do not know that these administrators are rascals, they are suffering. And the people are also rascals because they are voting for these bigger rascals.” (JSD 7: Plato: Goodness and Government)

“Therefore, in contrast with the modern, advanced, civilized form of government, an autocracy like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira's is by far superior to so-called democracy in which animals are killed and a man less than an animal is allowed to cast votes for another less than animal man. We are all creatures of material nature.” (Room Conversations, July 26, 1975, Laguna Beach)

So, Śrīla Prabhupāda was clearly not in favour of democracy, and he pointed that the leaders are all rogues.

In other place he said we should vote for Kṛṣṇa conscious leaders, that we should preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness and then people can vote for Kṛṣṇa conscious leaders.
He also approved, for some time, devotees in America making a political party named “In God We Trust Party” which was not expected to win elections or such thing, but it was a platform for preaching. Because there is some law if you are standing for the election then media have to give you some coverage and this and that. Although Śrīla Prabhupāda suspended it after short time.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF DEVOTEES TO VOTE OR TO ESTABLISH VARṆĀŚRAMA?
So, if we vote will cow killing stop? No! Śrīla Prabhupāda said we shouldn’t . If cow killing is going on, any leader should resign.

Of course, the point is made that some party (Well you can guess who. Śrīla Prabhupāda said: Don’t mention any name.) seems to be more favourable toward sanātana-dharma than some other party. 
In a sense, this is a wrong question. Should we vote or not? The point have been made- is social responsibility of devotees to vote. This idea, that it is a social responsibility to vote, that does not come from śāstra. That’s an idea that has been cooked up along with democracy.

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s social program was to establish varṇāśrama. What are we doing about that? That should be our real question. Our real social responsibility is to show a better kind of a society.

DEMON-CRAZY DEMOCRACY
So, you can vote if you like for a party that may be in the middle of building factories, and approving abortions. They may do something to stop cow slaughter, that’s good in the middle of all the corruption. They may do something for the cause of sanātana-dharma, but our real program should be to establish varṇāśrama dharma according to guna and karma, not according to janma. That’s Śrīla Prabhupāda’s social welfare program.
So, seeing these devotees saying, it’s just confirmed to me that our movement has lost it, or not taken the social direction that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave us. Because this kind of talk doesn’t come from śāstra or ācāryas. It comes from modern materialistic society.
So, if you want you can vote. I’ve never voted in my life. Well, I’ve voted in ISKCON meetings, not for any governmental person. If you vote and that person comes in and approves cow slaughter, you have to take some sinful reaction for that. You have to consider that also. You are also responsible.

Definitely those who are sadhus…why should they participate in this voting. The leaders should come to us for guidance. We are long away from that. They are setting the agenda, and we are giving a vote. But we should be giving the agenda and they should be coming to us for guidance.
So, as Śrīla Prabhupāda said, I’m not much in favour for democracy. We should be preaching that this is demon crazy. It’s a very complex situation in a whole world. If you say one party is better than another it may be, but the whole world situation is so bad we can’t expect any radical improvement from any party coming over another. But we can expect that one party may be less inclined towards sanātana-dharma and all that it stands for.

QUESTIONS ON COW SLAUGHTER
As I’ve said on another occasion, if there is industrial economy than cows has to be killed because everything is economic. So, cows are in economic unite, too. You cannot keep cows unless you can kill them. That’s the way it is economically. Otherwise it becomes a burden to you. There are no grazing lands where cows are taken for graze. So, old cows-it doesn’t matter to keep them when there is grazing land.
But, in modern society it’s all economic. You have to feed the cow with grass, you have to pay or grow. And cow slaughter will go on as long as this industrial society goes on.
So, to promote industry and in the same time to promote cow protection is not going to work. These two things go together: industry and cow slaughter.

And also all questions on cow slaughter. That’s if cow slaughter has to be stopped in this country at this point…It could have been stopped in 1947 presumably. It was presumed that it would be stopped, but it wasn’t, thanks to Mahatma Gandhi. It could’ve been done at that time. Now, it’s much more difficult.

But if it’s to be done, it has to be done with the acquaintances of the large minority who are very aggressive wanting to eat cow’s meat. So, we have to preach to large minority, to convince them that this is not good. We have to preach to Hindus also, who are after eating beefs.

HOW TO BRING KṚṢṆA CONSCIOUSNESS IN GOVERNMENT?
Some years ago I met a Godbrother of mine who lived in Iran for many years during the Iranian revolution. Somehow or other he stayed there as Irish citizen. Ireland has been always considered as non threatening country, not like Great Britain or Northern America. So, he stayed there for many years, teaching English or something like that. He told me his perception. Of course he didn’t travel all over Iran and spoke to different kinds of people, but his perception was that many people didn’t like Islamic law. They were forced to do it. But they were not happy with it. They’ve wanted the life of, more open and free, so they can enjoy themselves like this.

So, how to bring Kṛṣṇa consciousness in government? We have to convince people. Simply by force it’s not going to work. Of course, we are absolutely not near the Kṛṣṇa consciousness government , but I was thinking about it as Śrīla Prabhupāda was.

The same is with cow slaughter when there is a large aggressive minority who are in favour of that. If we try to stop it by force it may lead to lot of human slaughter also. That should be considered. It’s a very delicate question. Definitely in Hyderabad, for instance, there is a whole large area which react very aggressively. I mean they do, already. If they try to stop cow slaughter…

CONCLUSION
So, I’m not giving here any clear answers because these kind of answers you have to discuss in details. It’s very complex situation. Cow slaughter should be stopped, yes! How to go about it, that we have to consider.

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What do you think about the changes made in Srila Prabhupada’s books? It is said that the original Macmillian edition of Bhagavad-gita until 1972 was blessed and authorized by Srila Prabhupada and after that in subsequent new printings of BBT, the editors have changed more than 600 hundred words and meanings of Srila Prabhupada. This is dangerous enough to destroy the movement in a philosophical way!!

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Question:

Guruji, I am from India and have been putting up in US for sometime.From the very begining of my life i am very low at confidence.Due to low confidence i also stammer at times.I always had a problem that people around me used to make fun of me and i used to feel bad , i dont know why i was not able to respond to their comments and i used to feel lonely.I used to visit astrologer and used to get to know that the upcoming time for me is very good and i will do a lot of good things and they named the celestial being ( Planet ) which powers me in rising in my life.When i completed my Graduation in India i started with a Job and could not perform as per my own expectations.I could not close even a single target.I am not sure whether it was too early for me judge myself in doing that job or i was right to understand that i could not do it.Later somehow i felt that i should give up drinking alcohol and eating non vegetarian food and may be god will do some good to me.I gave up these and i had carried a notion in my mind that i will do better if i give up these.I started gathering some confidence after this.Then i switched job and went into other stream.There i started doing good for some time.Later i faced a kind of same that i was not able to perform good and even people used to make fun of me and i used to become dumb and could not respond to them and started feeling bad about it.Later i started worshipping Lord Shani Dev Ji and i started offering prayers and chant mantra in the morning. I started with one and then i went up and started chanting the mantra three times in the morning.I started to gather some confidence and i started to respond to people in their own tone and used to feel good as now i was able to perform better in my job and even people could not make fun of me.I was at high time.I started chanting mantra on way to office and while coming back to home, when i used to be in public transport going to some place and i used to chant mantra whenever i get time.At some occaisions when i used to be free i used to relax and then the idea of mantra would come to my mind but i used to be interested in doing something else but due to fear of God i used to chant mantra.I also had fear that my performance on job and the way people treat me today would change if i dont chant mantra.I started to go against my wishes.After sometime i started doing some things which i thought would appease God.But after some time i realised that i am not happy doing those things although i maintained good job performance and good image amoong people.But i was not Happy with what i started doing to appease God.I was going against my mind in praying whenever i have free time and i doing things which are considered as per rituals while praying god.Slowly i started involving God in my decision making.Like if have to do something i would think what God will think about it and then i used to perform that task.I used to feel that God will get angry if do something or if i dont do something.I lost myself….I used to feel scared in doing anything.when i used to feel that my brain cannot memorise something very simple then i used to turn to God and my brain would catch the thing which i was trying to remember..I also started thinking about the task which i would be planning to do and its results whether I will be rewarded or punished for it by the celestial being (Planet) which favours my rise as per astrologers.I would not do even a single task without thinking on such lines.I would also try talking to god and ask whether a particular task is right or not and i used to feel that God responded.When i have to do something i would ask god and imagine god.This would now happen to all my tasks.This started increasing.I was nowehere myself.My fear started increasing.I would imagine some wrong things about God like shit going towards God and I would forcifully imagine myself coming in between and eating it and saving God and make an attempt not make God angry towards me.There used to be a lot of imaginations like this and i used to create a lot of imaginations to stop them all in attempt not to make God angry.I didnt used to initiate wrong imaginations and i dont know how they would come to my mind.At times i got mentally blocked as this activity reaches its peak i.e. the wrong imaginations come and then i try to overcome them using my own imaginations but then wrong imaginations would again come and i would repeat the same and this would go on.This makes be blank sometimes.some day somehow my mind wandered and there appeared to be some abuse for god in subconsiousness, i immediately asked for forgiveness from god.Today whenever i want to do something,i get fearful towards god and my mind tells me if u dont do or do something god will get angry at you.If my interest is towards something else but the imagination about god tells me do things other tha my interest and then i start to think if i will accept the imagination where i imagine about god then i will increasingly start doing this.And this will affect all other decisions i am making.But then i would give up and go as per my imagination about God and eventually my mind abuses god without my consiousness.When i will catch it in my consiousness,i would ask for forgiveness from god and either slap my self or pull my ears.Then i start to think i should not involve god in my decision making as it ends up in my mind abusing god.Then at times i feel god might get angry if i donnt involve the imagination about god in my decision making. Keeping this in mind I would imagine God to make decisions without heart and then again end up in a condition where my mind abuses god without my consiousness.After some time when i would think something i would revisit that thing to check whether i abused God and then at times I also end up abusing God even if i didnt abuse in the first place..At times i think something about god in subconsious mind and when I understand it makes me reaslise that i might have abused god and then i turn up to god and ask for forgiveness.All this goes on and on and I get mad.Today i am not able to think anything right..Please show me the way…

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