At wedding reception of T. Subramani and Sri Lakshmi d.d.

Assorted Lectures | January 19, 2006 |

English; Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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I am writing to Your Holiness to ask a question about a discussion that I had with a person who knows both ISKCON and eastern paths of philosophy and metaphysics. He was making comparison and criticism. He said for instance that ISKCON temples are a mess, dirty, noisy with lots of fighting amongst devotees and budhist, taoist temples are very clean, organized, quiet, peaceful, sattvic. He said that many ISKCON devotees don’t have basic manners, culture, education, etiquette whereas budhist, taoist, astanga yoga practioners are educated, well mannered people. He also said that these people seems to have much more sense control than the devotees. He said that ISKCON doesn’t have organization, planning, structure, stability whereas these groups are very well organized, structured with years, decades, centuries or more of work and tradition. His point is that you judge something or someone by the results and symptoms, so if the devotees are the topmost transcendentalists and if ISKCON and the Sankirtana movement is the most elevated spiritual movement than there should be example, results and symptoms of such superior position. His reasoning is that these eastern paths and their followers seems to be more advanced,self controlled etc. than the devotees. I know his thinking comes from a neophyte understanding but I want to know what I could say to him. Could Your Holiness, tell me what I can say to him?

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As part of our plan to establish varnasrama projects, when the community gets bigger we will also try to install ksatriya kings. The main duty of ksatriyas is to curb adharma. So if someone in the community is posing as God, he should immediately be killed as shown by Krnsa when he killed Paundraka. But we also understand that Caitanya Mahaprabhu's policy was not to kill demons but the demoniac tendency. So should the King refrain from killing such people? This question can be expanded to include all types of death sentences- even those given to murderers.

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How do we understand the statements of Srila Prabhupada that defy common sense?
My question is not specific to what I could eat to make my body happy, but "how do we understand statements by pure devotees that defy common sense?" One might be able to explain away sentences such as in the purport of CC 2.4.169 Srila Prabhupada mentions that, "One should not eat fish or other non-vegetarian food during the month of Kartika. A non-vegetarian diet means fish and meat. Similarly, masura dhal and urad dhal are also considered non-vegetarian. These two dhals contain a great amount of protein, and food rich in protein is considered non-vegetarian," however if you have to give to an intelligent reader they defy common sense. So, then comes the question of hermeneutics. In our parampara, it is not just important to understand the scriptures, but the writings of acaryas such as Srila Prabhupada. I refuse to compromise myself saying that some parts of Srila Prabhupada's writings from which I can't extract sense from should be avoided.

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