Hearing Devotees of Other Sampradayas

ASK BVKS | October 24, 2011 |

English;

Question:

I heard from other devotees and I also personally faced that many people of ISKCON, especially Tamil speaking initiated devotees are now hearing some lectures from "Velukkudi Krishnan," and they appericiate that. Some of the devotees used to go to the Mayavadi's sanga like of Muralidar, Krishna-premi etc.,

Velukkudi Krishnan is now speaking in the televisions also. Sorry say even the brahmin initiated devotees also hear his teachings including those who know English so please kindly guide us what to do. You know that people those who don't want to change themselves will never going to change but at least the innocent people may know what to do.

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I have been listening to your holiness' lectures for about 5 months day and night and I like the philosophical clarity of thought by which your holiness presents Krishna Consciousness, and of course the quality of the recording is nice.

I have also heard all of your Holiness' Q&A audio lectures available on the internet before asking this question.

In the western part of India, especially Maharashtra, there are many saints (I am not sure if this is what peoplel are supposed to call them) like Swami Samartha, Sant Dnyāneshwar, and Giriraj Maharaja whose followers are mostly simple and poor villagers. HG Caitanya Charan Prabhu mentioned in www.thespiritualscientist.com that devotees are supposed to respect them and glorify them for whatever bhakti they are doing, although they are using chanting or glorification of the Lord as a tool to gain followers and ultimately make them Mayavadis.

But the problem in practical application is that if we respect them then they will think that we are approving of their activities. For example most of their followers are vegetarian but they feel  that tea does not break their fast on Ekadashi, so they consume tea on their fasting days also.

Are these Maharaja's with their sampradaya's bona fide? If yes then which Sampradaya do they belong to?

In most rural parts of Maharashtra we don't have ISKCON centers, But we do have maths of the above mentioned personalities, so what should be our attitude towards the followers of the above mentioned personalities?

And what should be our approach to bring them to Krishna Consciousness as we don't have any ISKCON centers here? What are the do’s and don't we should follow to bring them to the service of Srila Prabhupada, or if not that then at least a bona fide Guru Parampara?

Can we or do we have a website or any such means where it is clearly stated that XYZ math or Sampradaya is bona fide or not bona fide, so at least we don't offend the ones who are outside of ISKCON and belong to a bona fide sampradaya and do not promote (by respecting them) the bogus so called spiritualist?

I do not intend to hurt any devotee, my only motive is to seek the truth or clarity of thought for healthy spiritual progress. Please forgive me for any offenses.

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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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