A Discussion about Bhaktisiddhanta

May 27, 2011 |

English; Karuna Bhavan, Scotland, UK

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Central Principle for the Establishment of Varnasrama Dharma

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Question: Is there a central principle for the establishment of Varnasrama Dharma? Different scholarly devotees have given different perspectives on the subject: (i) There must be segregation of sexes and they should only interact in a ritualistic manner to produce children, who would presumably be high class Brahmanas, being products of controlled sex and Vaisnava rituals, (ii) The seminal lineages of Brahmanas must be restored through training in scriptures and rituals and by their high birth, learning and expertise, these Brahmanas would establish their hegemony in Hindu society… Expand>

Question:

Is there a central principle for the establishment of Varnasrama Dharma? Different scholarly devotees have given different perspectives on the subject: (i) There must be segregation of sexes and they should only interact in a ritualistic manner to produce children, who would presumably be high class Brahmanas, being products of controlled sex and Vaisnava rituals, (ii) The seminal lineages of Brahmanas must be restored through training in scriptures and rituals and by their high birth, learning and expertise, these Brahmanas would establish their hegemony in Hindu society, (iii) The main problem is anxiety for economic security, so scholarly devotees should be provided with sufficient resources to maintain family, conduct research and open teaching facilities, without the need to gather followers or donations, (iv) Devotees should isolate themselves from mainstream society and develop their own institutions, following strict rules of personal and communal conduct, people all over the world will be attracted to such an ideal way of life. Can any of these principles, viz. sexual segregation, seminal lineage, economic security or isolated community be the central principle for the establishment of Varnasrama Dharma?

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Question: In the Nectar of Devotion, Part 1 Chapter 8, {Offenses to be avoided} Srila Prabhupada writes and I qoute"One should begin the worship of Demigod Ganapati, who drives away all impediments in execution of devotional service.In the Brahma samhita, it is stated that Ganapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva,and in that way he has become auspicious… Expand>

Question:

In the Nectar of Devotion, Part 1 Chapter 8, {Offenses to be avoided} Srila Prabhupada writes and I qoute"One should begin the worship of Demigod Ganapati, who drives away all impediments in execution of devotional service.In the Brahma samhita, it is stated that Ganapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva,and in that way he has become auspicious for the devotees in clearing out all impediments. Therefore all devotees should worship Ganapati". Lord Sri Krishna has of course discouraged us from engaging in worship of demigods in the Bhagavad Gita. I presume that the contradiction may be explained from the example of the Gopis who engaged in the worship of Lord Shiva for purely devotional reasons.

But I have also heard in one of your lectures where you had not agreed with the tendency of some Iskcon temples in North America having the deity of Lord Ganesha in the altar. Also else where in a letter conversation also Srila Prabhupada disagreed with the idea of Lord Ganesh worship, asking his disciple to pay him a hefty amount before they want to do that? How do I resolve these apparent contradictions? Is it an acceptable tendency to allow demigod worship in our temples?

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Question:

As a neophyte devotee, who has recently taken interest in giving my life to serving Srila Prabhupada and The Hare Krishna Movement, the common question of how to do so has arisen freqeuntly in my recent months of trying to serve Srila Prabhupada. How can I give my life to Srila Prabhupada’s mission to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu?

Looking at the movement in general, in the first few 20/30 years of the movement, devotee’s were more detached to the material world and its activities and stayed more in the temple, many would not partake in the activities of daily materialistic life, such as, school, a job, having a household away from the temple, having friends away from the temple. Which are all very understandable, because for spiritual advancement, environment and association is very important. But looking at the general trend of devotee’s today, it is very rare that devotee’s become Brahmacari, or live at the temple, or spend more than just an average one or two evenings at the temple each week. Rather the general mass of Hare Krishna devotee’s today, are very inclined towards their material education, their material success as businessmen, as families part of the social environment they live in and so on.

As a neophyte, the greatest difficulty I am facing, which is now becoming quite problematic in my spiritual life, is seeing that there is actually no difference between serving Krishna directly by maybe cleaning the temple floor, or serving his devotee’s, compared to

indirectly by concentrating on being successful in their material education or business life.

More specifically, as a student who would like to give his life to serving Srila Prabhupada, being enthusiastic about serving by gaining a material education is something very difficult for me to understand. On one hand I’m reading Srila Prabhupada’s books on how the material education system in todays contemporary society is mundane as it skips the greatest question of life, that we are not these bodies and that we are the spirit soul, eternal part and parcel of Krishna. Rather material education concentrates on how we can use all the resources of the material world for our sense gratification. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains, Karma Yoga, we must not simply forget everything and practice vikarma by renouncing everything and sitting alone in a room, rather we should practice akarma by offering the fruits of our actions onto Krishna and accept Him as The Supreme Controller. My difficulty is seeing how I can do so with a material college degree. It is difficult for me to submit to professors in universities who try to invalidate Krishna as Supreme Personality of Godhead, rather they accredit atheism and such illogical theories.

The question arises in my mind, that, rather than spending time and money in college acquiring a degree I am not even sure with what I want to do, rather I can surrender my whole life in serving as a devotee in a temple where they hardly have any devotee’s to serve.

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