Re Kashi

ASK BVKS | January 5, 2011 |

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Question: Can we first read Caitanya Bhagavata before reading Caitanya Caritamrta as Caitanya Bhagavata deals more with pastimes whereas Caitanya Caritamrta gives advanced philosophy?

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Question: 1) I once saw a visiting devotee who was reading Gita Press edition of Bhagavad-gita. When I asked why he was reading that not Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita, he said that because his guru said it was good for word to word translations. And then again I saw this with an initiated Indian lady devotee. She was from Delhi but based in Dar es… Expand>

Question:

1) I once saw a visiting devotee who was reading Gita Press edition of Bhagavad-gita. When I asked why he was reading that not Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita, he said that because his guru said it was good for word to word translations. And then again I saw this with an initiated Indian lady devotee. She was from Delhi but based in Dar es salaam. When I queried her about this, she said the same thing, that the word to word meanings are good (or better? I can't remember exactly what she said).

This didn't seem right, but I wanted to ask your holiness. Are we meant to be referring to Gita Press's Bhagavad-gita at all for any reason?

2) I was in an ISKCON temple here in Africa and saw a compact, one inch size Bhagavad-gita which was from Gita Press and which has slokas in devanagari only and no commentary. I thought that this would be good for carrying around and for chanting Bhagavad-gita slokas as that would be the same anyway in all versions of Bhagavad-gita. Is it OK to just chant the slokas only from this compact Gita Press's Gita or other any other non-ISKCON Bhagavad-gita?

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Controversial Guru Topics

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  • Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.13.35-36

  • 46 m 52 s  |  21.5 MB

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Standards for Cooking Prasadam

July 2, 2015 |

Question: I have a problem concerning the purity and contamination of prasadam and consciousness. It began with the fact that after taking prasadam at public programs (Namahattas, Bhakti vrksas, Sunday feasts in the temple) my material desires increase – images not related with Krishna appear in my mind, and in dreams images of militants, horror and erotica appear (in dreams I sometimes was strangled, maltreated, raped etc.). Because of this I felt I had to endeavor more to follow sadhana; concentrate while chanting and reading. I was advised not to take prasadam at public programs because the standards of cleanliness are very low. Thus I visited the programs but did not take prasadam and this seemed to solve the problem.… Expand>

Question:

I have a problem concerning the purity and contamination of prasadam and consciousness.

It began with the fact that after taking prasadam at public programs (Namahattas, Bhakti vrksas, Sunday feasts in the temple) my material desires increase – images not related with Krishna appear in my mind, and in dreams images of militants, horror and erotica appear (in dreams I sometimes was strangled, maltreated, raped etc.). Because of this I felt I had to endeavor more to follow sadhana; concentrate while chanting and reading. I was advised not to take prasadam at public programs because the standards of cleanliness are very low. Thus I visited the programs but did not take prasadam and this seemed to solve the problem.

After that at some point I decided to live in the temple to dedicate more time to service, in the hope that it would be easier to practice, but it turned out to be the opposite. After one and a half months my material desires and dreams became very strong (stronger than at home). I returned home and senior devotees (brahmacaris who live outside the temple) sent me caranamrta and sent me prasadam until I recovered. I thought that this was related with aparadhas that I had unconsciously made.

Now I'm in another city, and visiting another temple, and after taking prasadam there – my bad dreams and images again manifest.

I have the understanding that this is because of the low standards of cleanliness of preparation: prasadam not being cooked by brahmanas, distributors hands dirty, dirty clothes, anyone can take a disposable plate with dirty hands or serve themselves prasadam from the vessels, also I myself need to be cleansed. Do these low standards of cleanliness in cooking and distribution of prasadam influence the enthusiasm of devotees in their service?

On the other hand, I see how many devotees live in temples and practice sadhana. And that's why I have a doubt that it could be tricks of my mind not to live in the temple? Or maybe, I should live in the temple, but cook for myself?

Please help me to get an understanding of purity standards. Is external cleanliness important? Can prasadam be contaminated? Can it affect the mind and its thoughts and images? Can it affect the desire to serve Sri Guru, Prabhupada, Krishna and devotees? Maybe, I should concentrate on chanting, do more practical service, distribute books? And maybe I should pay less attention to things that I pay attention to now as they are not so important?

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Should I attend a Wedding?

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Question: My brother is having his wedding in the summer time on the east coast. I truly don’t want anything to do with weddings and especially those of materialists. I am close with my brother as him and his fiancé are both sweet people. (vegetarians, "half-devotees"). He comes to the temple for festivals and lets me use his facilities as I like (he lives in one of best book distribution places) Boulder, CO. Anyway, I’m saying all this because I truly just don’t know what to do. They really want me to go but I know it will be like hell and so painful to be around all the materialists eating, drinking, and being merry.… Expand>

Question:

My brother is having his wedding in the summer time on the east coast. I truly don’t want anything to do with weddings and especially those of materialists. I am close with my brother as him and his fiancé are both sweet people. (vegetarians, "half-devotees"). He comes to the temple for festivals and lets me use his facilities as I like (he lives in one of best book distribution places) Boulder, CO. Anyway, I’m saying all this because I truly just don’t know what to do. They really want me to go but I know it will be like hell and so painful to be around all the materialists eating, drinking, and being merry.

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami: 

"Well, that’s good enough reason to go because, hopefully, in the normal course of events people only get married once in their life. So, it’s a big thing.

Maybe in America it’s 1.5 times or something like that, by average. Of course, you can’t get married 1.5 times, but on average... Or maybe it’s 2.5. I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just 1 because so many people get divorced and so many people don’t get married at all. It doesn’t mean they’ve all became monks. They are vyabhicari (unchaste). They are having sexual liaisons without marrying. So, that’s a good reason to go.

Babhru Prabhu is concerned about: I have to go...and all those materialistic people...

Well, it could also be a good preaching opportunity and as much as you are there, and you are a devotee, they’ll ask you few questions: Why do you like this? And you can explain to them. You could take books, and distribute them also. So, anyway, you have to decide.

I’m not gonna decide for you. It’s the other side of the country. America is a big country. I think more than twice as big as India. So, you can imagine. But, anyway, you can fly around. You have to have money. So, anyway, you decide what to do.

I wouldn’t go because I’m a sannyasi. But you are not. So, you can take an opportunity to please your brother, help him, give him some encouragement in devotional service. You can give him a set of Srila Prabhupada’s books. It’s a great wedding gift.

What do people give? I think they give mixies. I think when people get married they get 20 mixies so they have to sell them back. Mixie-no one outside of India knows what it is. It’s an Indian-English word. What’s the English word? Food blender or something like that.

So, give a set of Bhagavatam. It’s a great gift. That’s my advice, as you’ve asked for it, but it’s up to you.

Hare Krishna!"

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A Society Made of Brahmanas

October 31, 2011 |

Question: I am currently listening to your lecture "Some Concerns About ISKCON." I also heard a lecture recently from my spritual master HH Tamal Krishna Goswami. He said, "originally, Srila Prabhupada wanted ISKCON to consist solely of brahmacaris and sannyasis, but then Jadurani came, what was Srila Prabhupada to do? He couldn't reject her."… Expand>

Question:

I am currently listening to your lecture "Some Concerns About ISKCON." I also heard a lecture recently from my spritual master HH Tamal Krishna Goswami. He said, "originally, Srila Prabhupada wanted ISKCON to consist solely of brahmacaris and sannyasis, but then Jadurani came, what was Srila Prabhupada to do? He couldn't reject her."

It seems that since we do not discriminate who joins ISKCON in terms of their varna or ashram, ISKCON will continue to face these sorts of issues (i.e. Ksatriya Initiative).

My question: Although I understand that we are ultimately only concerned with becoming Vaishnavas, but do you forsee that ISKCON as a society will gradually evolve into strictly a brahminical body as Srila Prabhupada wanted or will the brahminical class be forced to create a seperate body to offer guidance to society? Thank you for maintaining the standard. 

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