Some Concerns About ISKCON – Part 2

August 24, 2011 |

English; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

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Question: I've one particular doubt regarding criticizing of Bogus gurus, sadhus etc. Whether a devotee should criticize and speak harshly about such scruplous persons in the community of devotees or not? Some devotees say that its better to stay away from criticizing anyone. They say that gradually that will lead one to the platform of criticizing devotees. Is it true? Is… Expand>

Question:

I've one particular doubt regarding criticizing of Bogus gurus, sadhus etc. Whether a devotee should criticize and speak harshly about such scruplous persons in the community of devotees or not? Some devotees say that its better to stay away from criticizing anyone. They say that gradually that will lead one to the platform of criticizing devotees. Is it true? Is it so that if a devotee (of any level) doesn't criticize such persons, he is supporting them or he's soft hearted? Does criticizing such persons help us Advancing in Bhakti? Can Kanishtas do this? I'm confused and need Some guidance maharaj.

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Question: I have a new kind of service in our yatra since October 2011 – arranging children’s programs. The idea of it appeared last year. During Sunday programs the children are left to their own devices. While the parents are taking part in kirtana and listening to a class the children run about, make a noise, disturb the lecturer.… Expand>

Question:

I have a new kind of service in our yatra since October 2011 – arranging children’s programs. The idea of it appeared last year. During Sunday programs the children are left to their own devices. While the parents are taking part in kirtana and listening to a class the children run about, make a noise, disturb the lecturer.

Unfortunately parents don’t always pay attention to the kids and their behavior in the temple. Sometimes it caused the irritation of other devotees. Actually it was not clear for me how to hold these programs and what content they should have.

I was in Moscow last year in September and made acquaintances with a mataji who serves as a coordinator of children’s programs. She explained to me the way They organize such programs in Moscow yatra. After returning back home I asked the advice of Advaita-patni dd, Kalindi-priya dd and the devotees who have children. They gave me their blessings and I started my new service.

Children’s programs are held once a week on Saturdays and last about one and half hour. Children are divided into two groups: those who are 2-6 years old and those who are 7-10 years old. At first we arrange the program for the little children and then for the older ones. We learn to offer obeisances to the Deities and chant Maha mantra for 2 or 3 times, read about Krishna, play, draw and learn how one should behave himself in the temple. The little children offer their pictures and applications to the Deities. Then they chant Prasada Sevaya mantra and take prasadam, after that they wash the floor in the altar room.

The older children offer their obeisances to the Deities and chant one round of Maha mantra. We learn together the following topics: what is the Veda, what piety means, the qualities that pious people have, the law of God, the manners of behavior in the temple. The girls attending Sunday programs have their own Deities of Gopal and they are taught to make garlands. We plan to teach them to sew dresses for Deities and play musical instruments.

They also chant prasada-sevaya mantra, take prasadam and wash the floor in the altar room. The older children take care of the little ones during Sunday programs (dispense prasadam, help to wash hands). The adult devotees staged a New Year performance for the children about Father Frost (Santa) and his granddaughter seeking for Krishna. When we celebrated the Appearance Day of Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya the children had their own abhiseka for the Deities of Gopal. The older children rang the bell and made acaman. The little children recited poems about Krishna during the celebration of Lord Caitanya’s Appearance Day, the older ones showed a performance about a brahmana who prepared a feast at Jagannatha Misra’s house and Nimai ate that offering without permission. We are planning to stage a performance for Lord Nrisimha’s Appearance Day which all the children would take part in. The adult devotees try to involve our little vaisnavas in the ceremony of the Deities Greeting and kirtana at Sunday programs. The upbringing of children mostly depends on the way  parents behave and spend time together and what knowledge they impart to them. That’s why we arrange classes for the parents concerning the topic of child upbringing.

Guru Maharaja, in one of your lectures answering the question “How to bring up a Krishna conscious child,“ you told that one cannot enforce children to become devotees. We try to follow this instruction and involve our children indevotional service in a very gentle way and they attend programs, take part in celebrations, help the adult devotees with a great pleasure. There are 25 children in our yatra. However only half of them attend children’s programs. They are the children whose parents are active in devotional service and take part in Sunday programs.

Unfortunately there is not enough literature about philosophy adapted for children. I have a lack of knowledge myself, but my tutor Advaita-patni Mataji and other devotees support me.

Guru Maharaja, I’d like to ask for your advice concerning the following topics:

  • How should we arrange the work with the parents?
  • How do we act properly in training and upbringing our children?
  • How should we awake the interest of those parents whose children do not attend programs?
  • What should be avoided in our cooperation with parents and their children?
  • There are a lot of films and cartoons about Krishna, can we use them in our programs arranged for the children?
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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 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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