A Monumental Loss to the World
BY: ROUPA MANJARI DEVI DASI
May 29, 2012 LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA (SUN) An exchange of forum postings.
Smara Hari devi dasi wrote:
"I particularly like the new paintings that HH Sivarama Swami's disciple did for the new one volume Krishna Book. Or are you content with Jadurani's paintings in the original 'Krsna' 2 volume edition (known as Shyamarani to some)? I thought her portrayal of the wrestlers was quite grotesque. And do you feel the style of original deity outfits, floral displays, feast recipes etc., etc. should have been retained. As well as mrdanga beats, styles of singing, pronunciation, etc. Or do you approve of some 'changes' but not others?
Srila Prabhupada often commended particular devotees on their cooking, sewing skills, lecturing, paintings, kirtan etc., etc. And of course he profusely thanked Hayagriva Prabhu for his editing work. So is your position that everything should remain as it was in 1970's ISKCON before your birth in 1983? And is Ramesvara Prabhu to be cited as the authority in any matters where we cannot quite see eye to eye?"
(Edited slightly for readability)
Dear Smara Hari Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
There is a key issue which is becoming buried under the layers of sediment created by ISKCON thinkers who do not have the time to spend reading Srila Prabhupada's Books, or researching the standards that Srila Prabhupada Himself established, and severely warned not to change.
Please remember that my husband was the Director of the BBT Art Department between 1975 and 1980, and during that time, he was receiving very precise and clearly stated directions from Srila Prabhupada up until the time of His Disappearance in 1977.
Ramesvara, in his "share", during the Prabhupada Festival, made it clear to change not even one word or to change any of the pictures. Ramesvara described Srila Prabhupada's Increasing Rage, as Ramesvara proposed one Krsna Book painting after another to be replaced by a series of paintings that can only be described as having been painted with a great deal more skill than the original Krsna Book paintings.
"When the cat's away, the mice will play", and in this case, ISKCON managerial staff, who are barely even kanistha-adhikari, or even less than that, are attempting to find "bona fide" ways of overturning the direct instructions, words, and orders, of the uttama-adhikari, who by His Distinctive Grace, descended into our still not-much-improved earthly realm, to show us exactly what He wanted us to do, and exactly how to do it.
If Sivarama wants to use his pictures (which are undoubtedly quite lovely), he should use them to illustrate a different book, and call it something else. Just as Disney Studios took over the great children's literature of England, such as Winnie the Pooh, and Alice in Wonderland, and turned them into garishly colored, "goofy" stories and images, so our present ISKCON society, still not out of its 'nappies', is presuming to change that which was created through us, by the Pure Devotee of the Lord.
We are 50 years into the 10,000 year period of the Golden Age of Kali, during which Srila Prabhupada clearly declared that His Books would be the "Lawbooks" for that span of time. As long as the original editing, pictures and words are not maliciously destroyed, to prevent them from ever being reproduced again, you can be sure that ISKCON scholars, for thousands of years to come, will be hashing over every detail of what legacy remains for them to study, in the hopes that they will be able to piece together the actual intent of the Pure Devotee of the Lord, before it was submerged by the anally retentive editors of today, who "obsessively and compulsively" fancy that they know "Oh So Much More" than Srila Prabhupada.
Regarding the other issues that you raised, such as recipes, Deity clothes, mridanga beats and kirtan melodies, let it only be understood that none of these things originated on Planet Earth. They were brought here for our study and utilization by the entire Vaishnava Sampradaya, beginning with Lord Brahma. That is where the authority lies. All of these categories that you mentioned can be easily understood inside of one small formulaic realized understanding: "Our principle of discipleship in the presence of the Pure Devotee of the Lord, is established on the rock-hard, immutable platform of sravanam followed by kirtanam." Any beginner in higher math can immediately understand that the gap between sravanam, from the Pure Devotee of the Lord, and kirtanam, which is the recitation of the essential Words of the Pure Devotee of the Lord, provides an almost incomprehensible platform, that has no dimension to it, which places the disciple between what he hears from the Spiritual Master, and his ability to generate that same Message, from his lips, by sacrificing his personal false ego, and engaging himself in being directed from within, by Lord Paramatma Himself.
In other words, whoever does not take the Pure Devotee's Words in their entirety, without modification, is an idiot, and simply multiplying idiots by hundreds, and then thousands, does not generate one iota of wisdom. The Words of the Pure Devotee are beyond wisdom, in that they are the transcendental utterance of life itself as sacred.
Krishna Consciousness has been known for millennia as the "Kitchen Religion". Suffice it to say, there are a variety of adequate recipes for us to use in our own Temple seva. As far as kirtan melodies are concerned, Srila Prabhupada Himself stated that the "Chanting should be heard from the lips of the Pure Devotee of the Lord for full effect to be achieved". Since all of material creation, as well as the Kingdom of God crested by Krishnaloka Itself, are all based on powerfully authentic sound vibration, the most stupid and foolish thing a person could possibly do would be to chant differently than Srila Prabhupada.
There are Bauls and Auls, Eunuchs, and fishermen running back and forth in Bengal, chanting some variation or other of the Holy Name that was originally introduced by Lord Chaitanya, and they have mostly learned these chantings from the Ramakrishna Movement.
It is very unfortunate that Achyutananda Swami had more of an ear for these eunuchs and fishermen than he did for the sound vibration emanating from the lips of his own Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, since his leading the entire Movement away from Prabhupada's sound vibration created the effect of we Western disciples becoming "sub-Hindus", instead of us transforming the "Hindu-scape" into the sound vibration, such as could be heard on Srila Prabhupada's original public recordings as well as His personal chanting.
It would be an understatement to say that this is a monumental loss to the world, and we can only hope that enough media will survive into the future, that Srila Prabhupada's exact utterances and sound vibration will be there, for those less envious of Him than the present crew, who will want to once again pick up His sacred sound and spread it all around.
As far as flower arrangements are concerned, there may or may not be Vedic styles. To my husband's best knowledge, Srila Prabhupada never supervised the arrangements of flowers, but let the ladies of the early days of the Movement create the best styles they could, based on flower arrangements that prior to joining ISKCON, would have bedecked tables laden with meat, etc.
I am sure you can recall Srila Prabhupada's early instructions to us all and how serious He was that those instructions be followed. Please do not be swayed by those whose opinions emerge from a lower state of mind.
Your eternal servant,
Roupa Manjari devi dasi