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"It's Taboo, Prabhu - Part III"

A continuation of the previous Sun Blog threads:

Replies: 49 Comments

Posted by Nitya Siddha dasa @ 01/22/2006 11:21 AM PST

Hare Krishna Prabhus,For those of you that have been wondering where I have been the past month or so, I have been experiencing problems with my antiqated windows ME operating system and for the time being have had to resort to using the keyboard as my mouse wont work!Yet again I have to re-install windows to solve this re-occuring problem due to corruption of files etc.Although microsoft are great at not fully explaining to the user why these problems keep occuring with thier operating systems.Ahhh! the wonders of modern technology !!!
Anyway back to the subject matter in hand where the recurring theme seems to be Progosha dasa's esoteric and confused opposistion to Rocana Prabhu's article and subsequent postings,then everyone elses opposistion to Pragosha Prabhu's somewhat fuzzy,patronising and at times incomprehensible replies.It appears that he does not have much support here and I would guess that in a wider public forum involving many more poeple the response would be much the same,i.e.the consensus not being able to make much sense out of Pragosha's arguments or logic.What surprises me is that he lacks the humility to admit that he is wrong and clearly has a problem,but instead continues to blunder down the path of near bigotry by offering counter denials and justifications for his arguments that often don't make any sense to the reader.This is something I have often encountered during my days in Iskcon,so is nothing new to me.It is typical of the politically correct,might is always right philosophy of the rank and file die hards in Iskcon.Although I would not say that Progosha is wholely one of these,but his mindset has certain elements of it.His actual posistion is unclear as it often changes and dances from one justification and denial to another in an attempt not to embarrass himself by appearing to be either wrong or admitting that others may be right.Surely everyone else cannot always be wrong in his counter arguments?and he is always right??Surely such unbalanced and biased views cannot be based on intelligent philosophical conclusions,but have more to do with a "Pragosha is never wrong"mentality than anything else.

Your servant,
Nitya Siddha dasa

Posted by praghosa das @ 01/03/2006 10:50 AM PST

Hello Rocan

Prabhu I visited this thread today for the first time in days, only to discover yet again that you take it upon yourself to attack for invented reasons and then while doing so demonstrate such a deluded condition that I can scarcely imagine any good cominging from our discussing.

You write:

"Once again, I would like to correct you, if possible but I doubt it will do any good. It’s equivalent to washing coal. I would not even bother replying to you at all if it were not for the sake of educating the readership. Granted! I am on a mission, to expose any and all symptoms of pretension and arrogance especially if it is reminiscent of the Zonal Acarya era. Your cavalier comments on this “sweaty” subject give us all yet another observation of the “I’m a big devotee" put down” methodology I previously pointed out. Yet again, from your bag of tricks, we witness the personal psychological irrelevancy ploy."

You say "I would not even bother replying to you at all if it were not for the sake of educating the readership." and then follow this statement up with "Granted! I am on a mission, to expose any and all symptoms of pretension and arrogance". Hmm...I am quite sure that most of the readers - can read! They can grasp what I am saying. Do you really think them so ignorant that YOUR interpretation of my comments is needed? That prabhu - is the essence of arrogance. It is the essence of the collecivist mindset. "Put salt on your food. I LIKE IT!"

Though I will give you this - not one of your "readership" has objected to your denigration of their capacity.Perhaps they agree with your estimation of their ability to read and follow what is really being said!!

I often encounter this on samkirtan.

"C'mon honey. You don't want to talk to this man!"

"Why Honey?"

"Cuz I said so! That's why. Now give him back the book and c'mon!"

Prabhu I am very sorry but it is very difficult to carry on a coherent objective exchange with you. You have invested so heavily in your conclusions - you find what you "oppose" behind everything stated. This is most unfortunate. There is nothing in my last post to you that resembles what you describe at all.

On the basis of this last entry of yours, I have concluded that we would both do well to simply walk away from this one. Whatever you think, think you "know" or in fact do "know" is yours and you can now act upon it.

If any of the readers wish to contact me personally on the subject, I will be more than happy to offer you what we received from His Divine Grace on this issue. You can then do with that as you wish. However - this forum does not appear capable of facilitating the transfer of Absolute Truth.

Rocan prabhu - as you have so oftened given the hidden meaning for my saying this or that - you can likewise explain my motives here as well. I have no objection. I am not invested here, you are.

If any of the readers recognize the truth in any of my former postings and wish to discuss that with me fine. You can contact me at pdhedemark@yahoo.com

I will ask however that you support your conviction that my response to your inquiry will indeed have merit - based upon what comments I have already offered on this site in this thread and others - by sending a check for a minimum of $108.00 to Sura Das at the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust LA to cover the cost of one box of Perfection of Yogas. These books will eventually make it to myself here in NYC and I will pass them out here...LOCALLY. This investment on your part - whoever you might be - will demonstrate that you intend to take what I will offer you as direction in this matter seriously.

Otherwise it is a waste of your time and mine as well.

Rocan Prabhu - you are also invited to send Sura as much as you like also. I will be happy to meet with you anywhere you like - for two days of Kirtan and samkirtan - together - at our mutual convenience - to discuss THREADBARE this issue as Godbrothers and Samkirtan servants of Srila Prabhupada. In that environment - you will be less inclined to offer the kinds of comments you do now and we can tape the entire discussion as it will no doubt be conclusive and beneficial to us both as well as others.

This forum (discussion blogs) is uesless for anything but argument. Absolute Truth is not debatable - precisely because other than hearing from an mutually accepted "AUTHORITY" there is no way to scientifically arrive at a mutually acceptable conclusion.

I am sorry for entering and now seek only to exit as quickly and as graciously as possible and leave all the inconclusive and even more inconsequential wrangling to those that seem to have come to thrive on it.

I promise anyone who writes and submits to my simple request that you send $108.00 for a box of POY's to Sura das in LA - I will offer you only Srila Prabhupada's direct guidance on the matters touched upon in this thread.

Thank you very much prabhu. I have learned a valuable lesson in this venture.

Posted by bhaktin Miriam @ 12/30/2005 06:06 PM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

You stated, "Regarding the Gurukula abuses. Are they still going on? If they are they should be invested by the legal secular authorities and all guilty parties should be punished to the full extent of the law. There is no excuse. So much of the dynamics of ISKCON authorities in the cover up and denial of abuse parallel the Catholic Church. Scapegoating, blaming the victim, red herrings such as calling those who decry the crimes as 'offenders' anti-Vaisnava (anti-Catholic) are all transparent ploys. By now they should have run out of such embarrassingly obvious strategies. Even the tying of child abuse with homosexuality has been exposed as a statistical fraud.
Unfortunately religions have some limited power of intimidating with postures of pious indignation, those who would expose their corruption.
The only problem is fewer and fewer people are impressed by these pseudo-sages and religious imposters."

I don't know who started the talk about child abuse, but it was probably me. I feel rather embarrassed to talk about these things here since this threat is not about such a topic. Nevertheless, I can't resist to enter one final, very short comment and then shut up.
Yes, prabhu there is child abuse in ISKCON. ISKCON is not different than the non devotee world. There are bad people here also. As long as there are children, there will always be adults who will take advantage of them, and sometimes very badly. That is just the way things are with humans.
You are right, prabhu, child abuse should be immediately reported to the civil authorities. The CPO has informed everyone of this. Yet, devotees are reluctant to do so because they don't want to embarrassed the institution.
So, child abuse will always be here in ISKCON. The point is that when abuse does happen, and if the perpetrator is a bigwig or has friends in high places, the ISKCON leadership will look the other way. I have plenty evidence of that.
Like I said this topic belongs in its own threat. The problem is that whenever a blog is set up to discuss this problem, devotees become silent. I have experienced this several times.

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 12/29/2005 07:07 AM PST

Hello and Hari Bolo Pragosha prabhu,

Please accept my obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Prabhuji, merci beaucoup! for responding to my post with an unusual degree of civility. Once again, I would like to correct you, if possible but I doubt it will do any good. It’s equivalent to washing coal. I would not even bother replying to you at all if it were not for the sake of educating the readership. Granted! I am on a mission, to expose any and all symptoms of pretension and arrogance especially if it is reminiscent of the Zonal Acarya era. Your cavalier comments on this “sweaty” subject give us all yet another observation of the “I’m a big devotee" put down” methodology I previously pointed out. Yet again, from your bag of tricks, we witness the personal psychological irrelevancy ploy. Somehow or other, I “personally” managed to survive the Zonal Acarya era while still remaining within ISKCON. In the interim period I have worked hard on improving my spiritual life which was required in order to get over the ill effects of those years. Speaking out against this phenomenon has proven to be very therapeutic! I recommend you try adopting a similar approach. Your big devotee “talk”, only indicates that still remain in a state of denial. Too bad, as genuine humility is our ultimate goal as Vaisnavas.

Unfortunately, Srila Prabhupada's s original spiritually dynamic ISKCON did not fare as well as I did after suffering the negative impact ofto this dark period. Our dear Godbrothers/sisters [98%] are no longer actively participate in ISKCON! Not to mention, the serious decline in the preaching momentum, especially book distribution.

Glad to hear you are making a long awaited comeback to your original service. I am pleasantly surprised. There remains hope for all of us.

You “have the some problem with Zionists and hoods of all stripes”???? Yet you have mo problem with Kirtanananda and his hooded monk robes, or benign fascism of the zonal-acarya-ism? Strange!

I await a philosophically literate response to my thesis that Srila Prabhupada is in fact a Sampradaya Acarya, besides simply being highlighted as the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON. Do you believe Srila Prabhupada is a nitya siddha and as such, was sent on his mission by Lord Caitanya and Nityananda?

Your servant
Rocana dasa

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/28/2005 09:38 AM PST

Hello Rocan prabhu,
Please accept my obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Prabhu thank you very much for these comments. Though they still contain your attempt to "position" me next to what you would identify as the "sullied past" of Bhagavan et al etc I will overlook it. You have honestly admitted your bias but claim it to be essentially a personal matter and I have no problem with prejudice of any kind;ignorant or not it is a generally a measure of fear rooted in real experience. I have the same problem with Zionists and hoods of all stripes; I assume that they are crooked and then if they turn out otherwise - I am plesantly surprised.

So if you were severely damaged somehow as a result of your dealings with Bhagavan prabhu or some member of his entourage - then your distrusting myself or measuring my words through the filter of your fears and bias are as natural as anyone who despises the the Zionists and all they stand for. It is the same and knowing now how you are damaged and affected by your past experience somehow - I will do well to take that into consideration when we discuss.

As for the rest of your comments - I must ask for your patience. I have four days left in the Marathon and I won't have the time to respond.

However I will say - I appreciated your emphsasis and tone far more here than prior. I can see that we will definitely arrive at the finish line with this now. That is great and I look forward to it. I just ask for a few days only.

Thanks prabhu.


Posted by Rocana dasa @ 12/27/2005 06:17 PM PST

Dear Praghosa dasa,

You wrote:

    "I have simply stated that the conclusions of your essay do not represent the conclusive truths of Krsna Consciousness as presented by our Spiritual Master His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada nor are they scientifically reflective of his direct instructions in the matters discussed."
Which conclusions are you referring to exactly? Please be specific. I have substantiated my conclusions with quotes from sastra, which originated from Srila Prabhupada. You seem to be oblivious to the reality that your statement above is also, to use your own words: “essentially your personal "logic and reason" which you have formulated to support your emotional and intellectual commitments”.

What makes you think that you are spiritually qualified to be able to determine the “conclusive truths" of Krsna Consciousness as presented by our Spiritual master? This nonsensical approach is either arrogant or foolish, not to mention a poor debating technique.

I have gone to great pains to diligently compose my ideas into a paper. I have also posted a detailed article called "Questions and Answers on the Sampradaya Acarya". Have you taken the time to read what I've written? The last time I asked you that question, you stated that in fact you had not thoroughly studied even the original paper, so I assume you have likely not read this clarifying document.

In my mind, your broad brush condemnation is simply a cheap ploy to make yourself look and feel important and learned. You are too lazy or incapable to address my points with a well thought out, researched rebuttal. Others in this forum have given specific answers to your questions, and offered rebuttals to your assertions, taken directly from my paper. Instead of countering those comments, you just reiterate your sweeping condemnations. You post volumes of rather convoluted messaging, and put the onus on me to try and figure out exactly which points you disagree with. When I asked you to drill down to an opening group of clearly stated, essential questions, you didn't reply. Instead, you came back to this blog with a continuation of generalizations followed by occasional question marks.

You wrote:
    "You do not require any profiling of me personally. You do not know me from Adam prabhu and to pretend that you do is beyond ridiculous, it is pathetic. "
I wasn’t profiling you personally, and I don’t claim to know you from Bhakta Adam. Your personal devotional history is common knowledge, however. After all, you are the famous big book distributor, are you not? My abbreviated version of your history must have been correct, or you would have offered us the more accurate version of the story. I “simply” stated that your expressed mood is very familiar to me. It reminds me of the once great, now infamous, His Divine Dis-grace Bhagavan, the Zonal Acarya of Western Europe, in whose princely entourage you were once established. I'm simply giving our readership a forbidden ISKCON history lesson.

You wrote:
    "I have repeatedly requested something from you - direct substantiation from the teachings and instructions of Srila Prabhupada - in other words his Bhaktivedanta Purports and his letters to us - that would support your conclusions."
I’m going to attempt to answer your questions but first, you need to be specific about what statements of mine you're challenging. I've offered many conclusions, on many varied points, in my Sampradaya Acarya paper. As I asked you before in our correspondence, please articulate exactly what conclusion(s) you're challenging. I will then re-present the quotes and realizations that support my thinking.

One of the few specific challenges I've been able to glean from your posts is with regards to my use of the term "Sampradaya Acarya".

You wrote:
    "I say that the conclusions of your essay – including the new "Title" you have given Srila Prabhupada claiming he is "A" Sampradaya Acharya are misleading and not representative of our Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada."
As I previously wrote:

Srila Prabhupada presented to us all a short list of those personalities he considers to be uniquely exalted members of our Sampradaya. This list was originally compiled by his Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, and Srila Prabhupada added his own name. We also know that the Godbrothers added their names to the very same list. There are a total of 32 names on the list, and the first name is Lord Brahma. The time period represented by this list is inconceivable. My question why did Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati include only 31 names on the list? What is so significant about these particular 31 personalities? Let’s not forget the fact that there have been innumerable bonafide representatives on the planet since Lord Brahma who have properly instructed their disciples in our siddhanta over countless ages. What category, exactly, should we place these personalities in? What name should we use to distinguish them from what Srila Prabhupada himself said were “regular gurus? Should these regular gurus feel free to add their names to this list?

    "Our Indian spiritual life is guided by the acaryas, sampradaya acarya, the Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnuswami and Nimbarka. There is... Whole Indian spiritual culture is dependent on the guidance of these acarya. And in the Bhagavad-gita also, in the Thirteenth Chapter, it is advised, acarya upasanam: "One should follow the instruction of the acarya." That is our Vedic civilization."

    Srila Prabhupada Lecture to World Health Org., 06-06-74, Geneva
Your inference is that it would be incongruent to include Srila Prabhupada's name with the other four Acarya's names, and therefore Srila Prabhupada must not be a Sampradaya Acarya. However, we also hear the following from Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:9:6:

    "Thus Brahma was initiated by the Krsna mantra, by Lord Krsna Himself, and thus he became a Vaisnava, or a devotee of the Lord, before he was able to construct the huge universe. It is stated in the Brahma-samhita that Lord Brahma was initiated into the eighteen-letter Krsna mantra, which is generally accepted by all the devotees of Lord Krsna. We follow the same principle because we belong to the Brahma sampradaya, directly in the disciplic chain from Brahma to Narada, from Narada to Vyasa, from Vyasa to Madhva Muni, from Madhva Muni to Madhavendra Puri, from Madhavendra Puri to Isvara Puri, from Isvara Puri to Lord Caitanya and gradually to His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, our divine master."
In this instance, Srila Prabhupada is speaking very specifically about the genesis of the Brahma Sampradaya, listing the direct disciplic chain as including both Madhva and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Clearly, in this context, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta is included as being on par with all the other names in the direct disciplic chain. While the term "Sampradaya Acarya" is not mentioned here, in my mind this list is clearly more than a "mechanism used to authenticate the sampradaya among Vedic traditionalists".

You may have some problem with my use of the term "Sampradaya Acarya" but you’ve read my thesis, and hopefully recognize that nowhere am I proposing that Srila Prabhupada should be looked upon as the establisher of a modern day lineage. We are still predominantly under the influence of the Yuga Avatara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In fact, I am hypothesizing that the three successive nitya-siddha Acaryas are a predictable futuristic extension of that same divine lila, just as Srila Madhva Acarya heralded the coming of Sri Gaurasundara. If you can suggest a more appropriate name than "Sampradaya Acarya", then feel free to do so.

Again, allow me to point out that my conclusion is prefaced by an explanation as to the appearance of the three nitya-siddha Acaryas, namely Srila Bhaktivinoda, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, and Srila Bhaktivedanta. Basically, I assert that together, they were essentially extensions or manifestation of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila – specifically, the aspect of the Lila that hadn’t been fulfilled, namely spreading Krsna Consciousness worldwide. This was effectively carried out by these three appointed Acaryas and as such, I conclude that they are Sampradaya Acaryas on a similar level as Ramanuja. No Vaisnava Sampradaya was technically started in Kaliyuga. Rather, they were resurrected by nitya-siddhas sent by the causeless mercy of the Lord to reestablish principles of religion at the appropriate time, place and circumstances.

Even Shankara Acarya and Lord Brahma, let alone western manifestations such as Christ and Mohammad, are understood to be great Acaryas. Christ and Mohammad were not preaching pure tattva on the level presented by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and as such they are not considered part of our present Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada said that the Christians are not even to be considered a Sampradaya because they have no real bhashya. While their spiritual impact was enormous, how can it be compared to the impact of the three nitya-siddha Acaryas in the Gaudiya Sampradaya, who preached pure Krsna Consciousness across the entire world?

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 04:58 PM PST

Alex Prabhu,
No I don't perform Deity worship at home. My point is that I can't maintain my devotional sadhanna from home. I go to the New Dvarka temple in the morning. But we're just comparing different petals of the lotus flower of devotional service. You're relationship with your spiritual master and Krsna is unique to yourself. I have no qualification to evaluate it but only to praise you as one of the most fortunate human beings in the three worlds. You must have performed many pious activities through many births just to come to such an elevated position and I offer you my humble obeisances.
Jai sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Nityanda Sri Adwaita Gadadhara, Srivasadi-Gaura-bhakta-vrnda.

Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 03:40 PM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your reply.

My understanding is that one can also have a morning program at home. It seems to me that one can set up a simple home altar with not too much difficulty. It might be an altar with small pictures of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, Sri Panca-tattva, Srila Prabhupada, Lord Nrsimha and perhaps also Srimati Tulasi Devi. That's basically what I had at home for quite some time.

Perhaps even simply having pictures of Srila Prabhupada, Sri Pancha-Tattva and Sri Sri Radha-Krishna would also be good:


I have done simplified morning programs at my home. I did this even back when I was also fairly regularly attending morning programs at the temple. Sometimes there were time issues, so I would worhip at home in the morning.

I remain open to the possibility that chanting Hare Krsna before a picture of Lord Caitanya with His associates may still fall within the realm of what Srila Prabhupada would accept as valid worship of the Deity.

The last 4 sentences of the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 5.7.5 might also perhaps support this:


In any case, it seems quite plausible to me that Srila Prabhupada's words in the excerpt that I posted from the SSR may well be unambiguous and valid.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 02:42 PM PST

Alex prabhu
you said: "Perhaps what Srila Prabhupada is describing in the SSR excerpt that I posted, is also a valid, though simple, form of Deity worship. "
Arcanam is a very elaborate formal process described in the Nectar of Devotion. Having a picture of Lord Caitanya and chanting, offering foodstuffs etc..
are estimable forms of devotional service and I am not qualified to discredit them. Technically they are not Deity worship.
You are practicing sravanam kirtanam in any case, simply by hearing and chanting and that is wonderful.
For myself, it isn't enough. I find the morning program very beneficial in keeping me out of maya (for a while). Bhakti yoga is supremely rich and variegated. It is also a razor's edge.

Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 02:27 PM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for the quote from Srila Prabhupada. I feel that it is valuable for me to soberly reflect on. I feel that the excerpt that I posted from the SSR is no less valuable.

Perhaps what Srila Prabhupada is describing in the SSR excerpt that I posted, is also a valid, though simple, form of Deity worship.

In this case, perhaps the Deity is the picture of Lord Caitanya with His associates...and perhaps the mode of worship is chanting Hare Krsna.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 02:13 PM PST

Alex prabhu,
Of course one can practice at home which according to Prabhupada should include Deity worship.

"Deity worship is just as important as book distribution. It is not material. As mentioned in the Bhagavatam.

sravanam kirtanam visno smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam

Sravanam kirtanam is the beginning--to chant and hear. Book distribution is under this category of sravanam kirtanam. The next item is smaranam. If somebody simply remembers the Supreme Lord, that is also as good as sravanam kirtanam. Then there is arcanam. That is also as good as the others, but one who simply becomes engaged in arcanam and does nothing of sravanam kirtanam, his position becomes in the material field. Any one of the nine processes is as good as the other. There is no question of inferior or superior. But out of all of them sravanam kirtanam is very important. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu while instructing Srila Rupa Gosvami, has said how the seed of devotional service sprouts and increases by watering the root by the process of sravanam kirtanam. So, these two items are very important in devotional service, but that does not mean that the other items are inferior. Srila Jiva Gosvami has stressed kirtanam especially in the age of Kali. Even if there is arcanam for sanctifying the contaminated mind, it must be accompanied by sravanam kirtanam.

So, you are all advanced students. You should understand the importance of each and every item of devotional service. Do not make any misunderstanding by devaluating any of the spiritual activities. You are one of the advanced students. One who distinguishes a particular type of service as inferior or superior, he does not know the value of devotional service. It is all transcendental. Whatever item is suitable, that is accepted as very elevated."
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Svami


Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 01:25 PM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

There are people who I consider friends, who consider themselves as members of the ISKCON organization.

With the SSR quote, I wanted to propose that practicing KC at home is perhaps also a valid option.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 01:19 PM PST

Alex prabhu, you forgot, above all avoid associating with ISKCON devotees, devotees who have taken up not just the simple activity of chanting, but Deity worship and full scale devotional service. They are corrupt because their management is. One must above all, avoid them.

Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 12:58 PM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisacnes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for wishing me luck.

I very much appreciate the following excerpt from the Science of Self Realization:

"Just keep a picture of Lord Caitanya with His associates. Lord Caitanya is in the middle, accompanied by His principal associates--Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivasa. One simply has to keep this picture. One can keep it anywhere. It is not that one has to come to us to see this picture. Anyone can have this picture in his home, chant this Hare Krsna mantra, and thus worship Lord Caitanya. That is the simple method. But who will capture this simple method? Those who have good brains. Without much bother, if one simply keeps a picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at home and chants Hare Krsna, then one will realize God. Anyone can adopt this simple method. There is no expenditure, there is no tax, nor is there any need to build a very big church or temple. Anyone, anywhere, can sit down on the road or beneath a tree and chant the Hare Krsna mantra and worship God. Therefore it is a great opportunity."

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 11:43 AM PST

I don't know what to say at this point, Alex prabhu, except good luck. I for one, couldn't possibly maintain a devotional life via email, or just at my home. I need arcana kirtana. You can do Deity worship at home but that is quite an elaborate endeavor. When I have a temple only ten or fifteen minutes away, I don't see the point.

Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 11:06 AM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Some of the friends/devotees that I feel closest to, live quite far away from me. Some of them even live in other countries. But, we regularly associate via email. I appreciate their friendship and association very much.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 10:58 AM PST

Alex Prabhu,
"I don't feel that I play association roulette. I seek to associate with devotees based on my experience of their character, rather than on their external institutional affiliation(s). "
I see you have a broad base of candidates to choose from. It must be nice to be able to pick and choose. That is not so easy in LA. People are at once more spread out and tightly clustered.
Friends, like happiness are where you find them. So far all I've been able to find that could remotely qualify as devotees are in ISKCON.

Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 10:28 AM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

You wrote:

"If I take a step towards Krsna he takes so many more towards me."

I also feel that Krsna is doing this with me. I seem to feel it more and more. I don't feel that my dharma, my spiritual destiny is at the mercy of chance. I'm also not necessarily convinced that every Vaisnava institution in the West is corrupt.

There are people who I consider friends...who consider themselves members of the ISKCON organization.

There are people who I consider friends...who don't consider themselves as members of the ISKCON organization. Some of them are "ritviks", some aren't. Perhaps properly associating is an art, even among devotees.

I don't feel that I play association roulette. I seek to associate with devotees based on my experience of their character, rather than on their external institutional affiliation(s).

I don't feel that like-minded devotees are the property of this or that institution.

I practice mostly at home and at friends' homes. I understand that this is a personal choice on my part. It feels enlivening for me to chant Hare Krsna, and to discuss with devotees who I experience as like-minded.

I took part in an initiation ceremony within the ISKCON organization in 2000, in Philadelphia. For personal reasons, I no longer choose to accept the devotee who performed that ceremony as an authority in my life.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 09:31 AM PST

Alex prabhu,
I don't know how much more I can articulate the point. If the association of 'like-minded' devotees is such a rare event, because every Vaisnava institution in the West is corrupt, then for all intents and purposes, my dharma, my spiritual destiny is at the mercy of chance. This is an absurdity. First of all, I am not the doer, the controller. Secondly, the only obstacles to spiritual advancement are internal, not external. Association is contingent on external circumstance and if most so-called Vaisnavas are corrupt, a very unlikely contingency.
If I take a step towards Krsna he takes so many more towards me. I shouldn't have to play association roulette hoping to find 'like-minded' associates.

In addition, even if ISKCON devotees are for the most part in maya, that doesn't diminish the effectivness of spiritual practices like arcana worship and hari nama, regardless of where and with whom they are practiced. THAT IS RELIGIOSITY.
I can't imagine where you practice devotional service away from ISKCON. How it is more enlivening. Do you go to a traditional Hindu temple? Do you simply practice at home? Are you seeking initiation from some other Vaisnava?

Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 09:09 AM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I guess I am not fully clear that I am grasping the essence of what you are communicating. Paralinguistic queues like tone of voice are not present in written communication.

I am not fully clear as to what is the fine print that you describe as "so small as to be almost invisible".

Do you feel that the excerpts that I posted are implying that Krsna Consciousness in the West is an idea whose time has come and gone?

I personally feel more and more enlivened about KC the longer I am away from the ISKCON organization.

I don't feel that finding the association of like-minded devotees is a random spin of the dice. I feel that Krsna helps us come together.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 08:46 AM PST

Alex prabhu,
More? About sanatana dharma? If the conditions for participating in the universal, eternal relgion become so multifarious , so narrow, so that success is no more assured than it is in a gambling casino, then what is supposed to be the 'essence' of all true religion is simply an abstraction or a cruel joke.
If the association of like-minded devotees is a random spin of the dice, then there is very little that is indeed spiritual about it. Contingency and chance are the gods of the materialists.

Posted by Alex @ 12/27/2005 08:33 AM PST

Dear Bhakta Ray,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

You wrote:

"Somehow I though it was sanatana dharma. I forgot to read the fine print. It's so small as to be almost invisible."

Can you tell me more?

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 08:30 AM PST

"To chant the holy name of the Lord, one need not depend upon other paraphernalia, for one can immediately get all the desired results of connecting or linking with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It may therefore be questioned why there is a necessity for initiation or further spiritual activities in devotional service for one who engages in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. The answer is that although it is correct that one who fully engages in chanting the holy name need not depend upon the process of initiation, generally a devotee is addicted to many abominable material habits due to material contamination from his previous life. In order to get quick relief from all these contaminations, it is required that one engage in the worship of the Lord in the temple. The worship of the Deity in the temple is essential to reduce one's restlessness due to the contaminations of conditioned life. Thus Narada, in his pancaratriki-vidhi, and other great sages have sometimes stressed that since every conditioned soul has a bodily concept of life aimed at sense enjoyment, to restrict this sense enjoyment the rules and regulations for worshiping the Deity in the temple are essential. Srila Rupa Gosvami has described that the holy name of the Lord can be chanted by liberated souls, but almost all the souls we have to initiate are conditioned. It is advised that one chant the holy name of the Lord without offenses and according to the regulative principles, yet due to their past bad habits they violate these rules and regulations. Thus the regulative principles for worship of the Deity are also simultaneously essential."
Adi 7.76

Translation and Purport by

His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This is the strongest recommendation I have heard for the necessity of diska. It still isn't stated as an absolute requirement.
Although I haven't read or heard everything Srila Prabhupada said, so far I haven't found any statment by Srila Prbhupada in which he uses the word 'must' in connection with diksa.
Prabhupada clearly stated that the diksa guru must be uttama-adhikari. In the absence of such a guru, one has no option but to continue accepting him as siksa, as indeed Christians follow the teachings of Christ. The ritvik option turns Vaishnavism into a western religious sect of Hinduism, if not for the simple reason that the selection of a bona fide ritvik still requires a bona fide guru to make the selection.

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/27/2005 08:02 AM PST

Rocan prabhu - let us address eachother openly and directly.

I have simply stated that the conslusions of your essay do not represent the conclusive truths of Krsna Consciousness as presented by our Spiritual Master His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada nor are they scientifically reflective of his direct instructions in the matters discussed. They are essentially your personal "logic and reason" which you have formulated to support your emotional and intellectual committments to something other than Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

You do not require any profiling of me persoanlly. You do not know me from Adam prabhu and to pretend that you do is beyond ridiculous, it is pathetic.

I have repeatedly requested something from you - direct substantiation from the teachings and instructions of Srila Prabhupada - in other words his Bhaktivedanta Purports and his letters to us - that would support your conclusions.

You have refused to provide them. The reason for this is because they do not exist.

This is the point to my persistence in this simple request.

Now Rocan prabhu - I did write you privately - after you said "prabhu ask me no more than 5 or 6 questions at a time and I will be happy to answer them".

I then merely asked you ONE simple question.

"Why are you avoiding the issue and instead attacking me personally"?

LIke the ISKCON leaders you like to condemn for their aloof disregard for anyone who does not agree with them - you have resorted to their very tactics - you insult me, or you simply ignore me and refuse to answer my letter. Prabhu you are more capable than that.

Let us remain fixed upon the issue.

It is a simple disagreement.
I claim that substantiation for your conclusions as anything but a personal answer to your own reticence to involve yourself in personally managing or training new men in the basic system Srila Prabhupada gave us - simply cannot be found. Srila Prabhupada does claim clearly in CC that if anyone has faith only in his Spiritual Master - he is right to seek that exclusively and leave it at that. Preaching ultimately means describing WHY we do - WHAT we do. And if your essay was presented in this way - as your personal program for dealing with the anomolies you insist you see within ISKCON I would never differ with you.

If you were to say "Slavery or involuntary servitude is legal in the United States" I would ask you what foundational law "authenticates" this claim.

I would say "No it used to be legal. But since the passage of the 13Amendement to the Constitution - involuntary servitude is no longer legally supportable in the United States." I can and would support my claim by simply citing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. You would not be able to support your claim.

This issue is the very same.

Your essay makes numerous absolute claims. They are not the claims of Srila Prabhupada. Your conclusions do not take a man beyond the role of "imitator" as Srila Prabhupada coined them in the NOI. But Srila Prabhupada gave us the "COMPLETE" science of Bhakti Yoga - The Nectar of Devotion.

Your conclusions amount to another group of men - waiting for the Messiah only. This was not Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

Now please I humbly ask you this one favor: forget WHY I might ask you for this substantiation. Forget about how arrogant you think or claim me to be. Forget about my sordid past distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and all the evils that descend upon any man who would do that service, or my working for Srila Prabhupada in Europe and all the bad that must have plagued me for that little foray - and simply remain focused upon the simple disagreement between us. I am not the subject of discussion here - as much as you might wish to make me.

I say "All that was available to you and I by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada in the early days of Srila Prabhupada's preaching - up to and including committing to initiation in his society as his student and assistant - is fully present today - even if it appears to be otherwise (ISKCON) or is described to be otherwise (You Rocan prabhu and others). All that is needed is for a man to read - digest and act upon Srila Prabhupada's teachings and direct instructions.

I say that the conslusions of your essay - including the new "Title" you have given Srila Prabhupada, claiming he is "A"Sampradaya Acharya are misleading and not representative of our Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada.

This disagreement between us is exactly that simple. Your conclusions do not offer Srila Prabhupada's teachings and instructions as he presented them. In fact they are consipicuous by their absence. So I am prevented from accepting them. They are your subjective justifications for your own actions and were they presented as such - I would never have made an issue of this at all. I would say "To each his own". But your presentation lacks this honest admission. As I said it contains many absolute statements that simply DEMAND to be substantiated by His Divine Grace or they have no authority and cannot be taken as scientific. I cannot agree with them precisely because the are not Srila Prabhupada's conclusive teachings and instructions to us. Seeing them as such, how can I accept them?

When Srila Prabhupada was asked for the requirements of initiation into his mission - he answered them. The answer is recorded.

When claims were made that "initiation" is not really needed - that only chanting the Holy Name is required - he soundly explained this apparent contradiction in his CC and firmly established that initiation is indeed one of the steps in the scientific process of Krsna Consciousness - and in those purports he scientificlly laid THREAD BARE exactly how we do this in his ISKCON society. Your essay simply ignores this guidance.

Likewise your essay does not convey the impossible separation between Diksa and Siksa. In fact your essay while citing references that refute their difference - you then go on to claim that the responsibilities of the one (siksa) are different from the other(diksa). This is a scientific impossibility - yet you casually proclaim it and when I demand that you even pretend to support this bogus claim - you just thrash away at me with one stupid attack after another ad nauseam.

There other glaring problems with your conclusions but I am only mentioning a couple for effect.

I am not your enemy prabhu. In time you might even recognize that I oppose you as your loyal loving Godbrother who cares for you - in spite of yourself. We serve eachother though - by serving Krsna - like pouring water on the root of the tree.

While professing great love and appreciation for HDG - and I am sure you have that in spades - you are off by degrees and this will eventually become a huge rift as it persists.

Now let us stick to the point if that is all right.

You like to say "I invited Praghosa to write a dissenting thesis etc" But this is not needed until you have substantiated your claims with direct quotes from Srila Prabhupada. In fact if you do this - then what need would there be for my "thesis"? We need only take it from Srila Prabhupada.

All I have ever asked for is your "references". Surely that is not that hard to provide?

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 07:58 AM PST

Alex quoted:
"So, it is a challenge to find the association of at least a few like-minded devotees. "
No kidding. If the stakes are set up that everybody's corrupt is it isn't just a challenge, it's well nigh impossible. ISCKON's corrupt. Gaudya Math is corrupt. IRM is corrupt.
Krsna Consciousness in the West is an idea whose time has come and gone. Somehow I though it was sanatana dharma. I forgot to read the fine print. It's so small as to be almost invisible.

Posted by Robot Guru @ 12/27/2005 06:48 AM PST

You will not take my disciples from me with your Maya logic and reasoning.

I am the new Prabhupada.

And I'll be back.

Posted by Robot Disciple @ 12/27/2005 06:46 AM PST

Hare Krishna,

I don't understand.

This does not compute.

Logic and reason seem to make sense.

Two different Iskcons?

Temporarily empowered Leaders?

Could it be.


Ouch, I have a headache.

Where is my Guru to help me think?

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 05:30 AM PST

Praghosa dasa said:
"Yes Ray this is nice - now go further"
There isn't much further to go since I have intelligence and the means to use it. Unlike yourself, Rocana dasa prabhu uses logic and factual evidence.
If you are referring to his statement that association with ISKCON inadvertently contributes to the establishment of religiosity , that is a valid conclusion from the facts presented.
I am currently associating with New Dwarka attending the morning program for over a week. I do this for my own spiritual development. My experience (see that is what is called factual observation) is that compared to pre-samadhi New Dvarka, the temple has lost its spiritual potency. There are still a few nice devotees and they typically are the ones initiated by Prabhupada, but the 'new' initiated devotees brahmacaris are impersonal and suspricious not welcoming new guests who, I suppose, don't fit their demographic requirements (age, appearance etc)..
If I'm not mistaken, this is not Prabhupada's instruction, especially since it is material, and I might go so far to call it being in Maya.

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/27/2005 05:17 AM PST

Rocana Prahbu, you said:
"The way I see it, Praghosa has been sent into this blog space as a representative of this type of personality, to give us the opportunity to experience it. Until someone opens up their mouth, or in this case writes it down, you don't know where anyone is really at."
That has got to be the most diplomatic way of saying 'a fool is not known until he opens his mouth'.
Praghosa's patronizing arrogance find its nemesis in my own. Having been in IKSCON during the 'glory' days and having then gone and made my way to a modicum of material success, I am sufficiently educated, ISKCON-savvy and wordly to be neither fooled nor intimidated by him. He's actually a light weight. I've played hard ball with your friends in the IRM.
Now those are some nasty opinionated Vaisnavas.
Praghosa isn't even able to make it to first base in debating technique. His ploys are not logical or argumentational, just psychological. But they only work occasionly on the naive and innocent.
What I find most amusing is his dogged persistence in the face of abject failure.

Posted by Alex @ 12/26/2005 09:34 PM PST

Dear Praghosa Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

You wrote:

"As I requested the others, pretend I am a new man named Bhakta Patrick and I have just left my girlfriend Bridget Murphy, renounced my plan for college, and decided to enter the ashram of HDG to study his purports and pursue a brahmincal education while humbly rendering him some menial service."

I would want to share ideas like the following with Patrick. These are two excerpts from a post that Dhira Govinda Prabhu posted to the PL conference on Feb. 4th, 2005. I think they make a lot of sense:

"I identify myself as a follower of Srila Prabhupada, and also as a member of the Hare Krsna movement. If we want to conceive of ISKCON as the greater ISKCON, encompassing the essential spirit of Srila Prabhupada's mission, separate from the organization that is known as ISKCON, then yes, I'm a member of that greater ISKCON. With regard to the organization called ISKCON, I don't believe that it sufficiently represents Srila Prabhupada for me to identify myself as a member. I wish ISKCON well, and am prepared to contribute to its betterment in whatever capacity I'm able."


"...I'm ready to share whatever I can to create an improved culture in the ISKCON organization. But I'm not a member, and neither can I in good conscience recommend that others become members. I am ever-increasingly enthusiastic about following Srila Prabhupada, and I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to be a follower of Srila Prabhupada.

I believe that it's important that sincere followers of Srila Prabhupada give up attachment to ISKCON. This includes economic attachment, attachment to approval and acceptance, emotional attachment and, perhaps most importantly, spiritual attachment. Many persons comprehend the depths of decadence to which the ISKCON organization has sunk. But they feel that their spiritual lives are dependent on the organization. That's where they go for kirtan, devotee association, etc. Due to this dependency their integrity, in many cases, is compromised. It's not easy to remain spiritually strong and enthusiastic away from the association of devotees. So, it is a challenge to find the association of at least a few like-minded devotees. Srila Prabhupada frequently used this term, "like-minded devotees," indicating that a devotee is not necessarily a like-minded devotee. From this stance, or position, of detachment and strength, we may visit ISKCON temples, or not. We have no need to do so, though we may do so. It is a stance of freedom from anger and hostility, and a position of clarity of purpose."

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by Rocana dasa @ 12/26/2005 09:01 PM PST

Like many Sun Blog readers, I have been following the "Taboo" thread. And like many of you, my mind has been agitated on many levels by Praghosa dasa's blog submissions. While the content of his postings has been fairly superficial, the tone of his remarks is consistently arrogant. I mentioned in an earlier submission what I see as indications of where I think Praghosa is coming from. I would now like to offer a more detailed explanation, given that Praghosa has not changed his mood or methods.

Many blog readers may feel that the way Praghosa is responding to everyone, and to the subject matter in general, is somehow or other his own unique style – a reflection of his personality. I don't think that's the case. Praghosa essentially represents a certain sub-culture that has been in existence within ISKCON since the time that I joined. While his style is very reminiscent of the early days in ISKCON, he doesn't seem to have evolved in the way that some of the persons he learned these techniques from have evolved. The persons I'm referring to are the elite in ISKCON -- the "big timers" who have survived and become a lot more sophisticated. But let me paint a picture for you of what it was like back in the early days.

We often hear how the movement was expanding very, very quickly on account of the nature of Srila Prabhupada's mission and his own transcendental, charismatic personality. As I like to say, it was due to the fact that he is a Sampradaya Acarya. As a result of this tremendous growth, many personalities were vaulted into institutional positions that far exceeded their level of spiritual advancement, let alone their maturity as managers. This immaturity was amplified by the fact that they felt they had to adorn themselves with power in the form of titles, such as sannyasi.

The grassroots personalities within the organization definitely needed and demanded a lot from these personalities, because they had very little direct access themselves to Srila Prabhupada. Consequently, the leaders felt it necessary to resort to certain techniques that would help them deal with the many demands being put on them. This was especially true when it came to the philosophy, which they had very little time or opportunity to digest or realize.

The methodology now being employed by Praghosa was somewhat standard in the early days. Here how it works: you assume a persona of knowing all sorts of things, never admitting that you don't know something. You take on an air of superiority and condescension, belittling the person that's inquiring from you. Then, you speak in very absolute terms so that the person inquiring is made to feel that they're a fool. The "pandit" comes across like he knows something but he's not going to lower himself to take the time to explain something that should already be "simply" understood by the inquirer. In this way, they maintain the mystique of their position and keep the power of the institution behind them. In reality, these leaders were just floundering fools themselves, trying desperately to keep their power and position.

In the long run, this methodology resulted in most of these people burning out. Not surprising, given that it's not only an artificial, unsatisfying and spiritually damaging mentality, but also very impersonal.

Praghosa's history is that he, like many others, learned that the most comfortable position to take was to become a satellite of one of the GBCs, sannyasis, or institutional leaders I've just described. Each one of these leaders was surrounded by a cadre of sycophantic personalities who hovered around as servants or members of the entourage who had been given various types of positions in the leader's own little power structure.

If memory serves me, Praghosa first became closely aligned with Tamal Krishna Goswami, then he gravitated over to Bhagavan, whom he admits he was with for six years. Bhagavan was extremely pretentious, and was most expert at the skill set that I described above. He was a master of this methodology. So, what we now see Praghosa doing is not simply a unique manifestation of his own personality. It is a learned behavior. I don't think he's doing it consciously. More likely, it's simply become part of his conditioned nature, and he falls back on it when he's challenged. For me, observing this communications dynamic rings so many bells from the past.

Praghosa dasa also likes to project the impression that when Srila Prabhupada was here during his ISKCON lila period, everything within the Society was near perfect. For those who were at the top at the time, and for those personalities that revolved around them, it was far more 'perfect' than it was for those underneath them. Of course, the perfect part of that lila period was Srila Prabhupada himself. Those that Srila Prabhupada had to work with to accomplish his mission, however, were far from perfect. It's my contention that these individuals were specially empowered, not unlike some of those who joined in Krsna lila and Caitanya lila, being specially empowered to participate in these pastimes.

When Krsna's pastimes were over, then the empowered personalities had to go back to their regular positions as demigods, or whatever. Even Arjuna lost his power to fight after Krsna left. Similarly, when Srila Prabhupada left, a measure of his followers' potency dissipated.

For those who don’t' understand this to be a reality, it may be difficult to accept what happened to the movement after Srila Prabhupada's departure. I believe that Srila Prabhupada as a Sampradaya Acarya came to execute a mission wherein Krsna required participants in this lila so that the mission could be accomplished. To do this under the given circumstances, we were working with raw recruits having little cultural background, let alone pious birth. We had to be empowered in order that Srila Prabhupada's mission could be accomplished in the way that it was. Those who don't understand this, and who think that we were the doers and that it was due to our own prowess that we executed our duties back then – those persons can become very arrogant. Such persons often embellish the stories of their past activities, and due to arrogance and the re-telling of such stories, they come to actually believe them to be just as they've remembered them.

I am observing within this blog experience that the reader is being provided with little snapshots of the types of personalities one can find here and there on the worldwide Vaisnava landscape. For those who are in ISKCON, or are thinking of joining ISKCON, you'll find subcultures such as the ones we've experienced through personalities such as Danavir Goswami and Trivikrama Swami. As far as Praghosa is concerned, we still can't figure out if he's a 100% supporter of ISKCON, or what. Either way, he clearly represents some of the old-timers who were part of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON lila, and who have calcified their experience and not changed, evolved, or matured.

I'm not saying this to put down Praghosa dasa. I've experienced many old friends who are in a very similar type of situation, and who act in a similar way. The way I see it, Praghosa has been sent into this blog space as a representative of this type of personality, to give us the opportunity to experience it. Until someone opens up their mouth, or in this case writes it down, you don't know where anyone is really at. Therefore, I am very thankful to all the participants, especially Praghosa, for giving us this opportunity.

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/26/2005 07:32 PM PST

Yes Ray this is nice - now go further. If I wished to become initiated into Srila Prabhupada's society of devotees - what does this essay propose? As I requested the others, pretend I am a new man named Bhakta Patrick and I have just left my girlfriend Bridget Murphy, renounced my plan for college, and decided to enter the ashram of HDG to study his purports and pursue a brahmincal education while humbly rendering him some menial service. Now what does this essay propose I do? How do I put in practice today what Rocan prabhu and Praghosa prabhu did in 1973?

Thank you for taking the trouble prabhu to comment. Now we are actually getting somewhere.

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/26/2005 07:55 AM PST

Rocana dasa substantiates his view in his Sampradaya Acarya paper
on the subject of bona fide guru

In Nectar of Instruction, Text 5, we read:
"One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of Uttama-Adhikari. A neophyte Vaisnava, or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform, can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore, a disciple should be careful to accept an Uttama-Adhikari as a spiritual master."


And on the subject of siksa vs diksa guru

"The abbreviated definition of "initiation" is the admission of a neophyte disciple into the unadulterated philosophical and transcendental mysteries handed down by a succession of past Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya Acaryas. As Srila Prabhupada stated:

"Well initiation or no initiation, first thing is knowledge... knowledge. Initiation is formality. Just like you go to a school for knowledge, and admission is formality. That is not very important thing."
Srila Prabhupada Press Interview, 10-16-76, Chandigarh "
What more is needed?

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/26/2005 06:43 AM PST

Mother Hari Kirtan,
I have merely made a simple observation. I stated that the conclusions of Rocan prabhus essay are lacking the full authority of Srila Prabhupada's teachings and instructions. Here is a simple example: You go to the bank and ask the teller - "Sir here is the number to my account. May I have an accurate print out telling me exactly how much money is in my account?" He responds "Certainly Madam" and moments later..he hands you EXACTLY what you asked for.

Simple no?

I have asked for an "accounting" from Rocan and his supporters. That is all. It is simple and scientific. It is not sentimental. Why I have asked or my character are of no concern to the simple request.

I have asked them to provide me the "instructions" of Srila Prabhupada - from Rocan's paper - that do indeed either contain or represent his teachings perfectly.

This is not a difficult matter mother. It should take no longer than the bank teller punching up a couple of numbers!

I am sure that it must be due to the holiday rush and these prabhus are very busy. I am certain that they will get to my request after the holidays.

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/25/2005 08:47 PM PST

Praghosa dasa,

Discuss 'the issue'.

..with 'what I have referred to as your basic "mumbo jumbo".

These are open ended statements which in philosophy are called 'void of content'. They mean exactly nothing. As far as discussing the issue further, I'm not discussing any 'issue' that you have raised since even the Six Goswamis and all their wealth of intelligence couldn't figure out what that might be.

Posted by Hari Kirtan d.d. @ 12/25/2005 06:49 PM PST

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Some of the issues here are indeed simple. For example, repeatedly claiming to speak on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, then under the mantle of that authority engaging in verbally belittling others, speaks for itself.

Prabhu Praghosa das, it seems that you are involved in this blog space to stop the discussion, rather than listening to what others are saying and then making your meaningful contribution in a cooperative spirit. So far you have left us in the dark about where you are actually standing, other than lengthy blanket statements.

My own concerns are about the necessity of healing the devotees' pain, thinking that this may facilitate understanding amongst each other. But even if we are strictly staying with this discussion about guru-tattva, there are some obvious points.

ISKCON, the organization has it 90% right? I am wondering which facts are supportive of this statement? Do you really mean that? It seems to me that from what I have found in Srila Prabhupada's books, and in his written and recorded instructions, as well as the history of this movement since 1977, there seems little indeed to affirm this.

And even leaving that aside for the moment, why don't you let us know what are the 10% that you would like to change? Perhaps we could come to some kind of basis from where to start.

I humbly suggest this to be a more constructive approach, rather than simply finding fault in Rocana das' thesis, especially since he never claimed it to be absolute.

- Hare Krsna. Your servant, Hari Kirtan d.d.

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/25/2005 01:52 PM PST

Hello Bhakta Ray,

Thank you for this effort. There is no need to discuss the issue futher prabhu. Mark and Shiva agree that Rocan's thesis is what Srila Prabhupada instructed and they are now going to save the world with what I have referred to as your basic "mumbo jumbo".

I say "Go for it"!

Thank you prabhu.

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/25/2005 06:27 AM PST

Praghosa said:
"Rocan's thesis does not reflect our Srila Prabhupada's teachings and instructions on some very important yet basic points. "
This is your cue, Praghosa dasa prabhu, to cite these points. Otherwise you leave everybody scratching their head about what YOU UNDERSTAND to be Rocan's thesis.
I am very clear about Rocan prabhu's position because he has cleary delineated it, fully supported by guru, sastra and sadhu.
Except for your constant declarations about not being in agreement, your position is esoteric and inaccessible. This is not convincing. It is more like a marketing tactic, full of word jugglery and no substance.
The few times you do make a clear point, that point is easily assailed. Furthermore, it is not like Srila Prabhupada on whose behalf you claim to be speaking and whose answers were succinct and no nonsense.

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/24/2005 07:34 AM PST

Hello Alex,

On behalf of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, I thank you sincerely for extending me this courteous and grateful comment.

You have indeed captured the essence of what I attempted to offer these men.

YS Praghosa

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/24/2005 07:30 AM PST

My good friends Shiva and Mark

Prabhus - if you imagine I would waste time with what you called a "point for point" debate think again. You enjoy that for sure but it is a fruitless expenditure of your valuable time.

Rocan prabhu's thesis can be easily boiled down to its essence. That is all I address.

My presenting this essence as a directive from His Divine Grace is exactly how a normal man will see it. Srila Prabhupada's guidance and instructions are all CONCLUSIVE IN THE EXTREME. In otherwords - his words are easily understood and are ultimately intended to provide anyone that hears and accepts them, with the same spirit - the same "intention" to act upon those words - NOW - in this moment - not at some future moment or date. Srila Prabhupada is on record repeatedly urging us all that Krsna Consciousness, in its entirety is available NOW and can be EMBRACED NOW - fully without hesitation NOW and that the ONLY barrier to this acting NOW is our own lack of sincerity NOW!! Rocan prabhu while attempting to address problems of various sorts has put together a thesis that simply does not represent Srila Prabhupada's guidance and instructions in this matter. In fact in its essence, Rocan's thesis is the polar opposite of Srila Prabhupada's guidance. It does not represent the Absolute Science of Devotional service as it was presented by His Divine Grace.

My framing the word for word essence of Rocan's thesis ( merely copied it and inserted it as if proffered by Lord Krsna Himself through Srila Prabhupada) as a letter from His Divine Grace is EXACTLY how any man with a little common sense would read his paper.

Srila Prabhupada's every word is taken as coming DIRECTLY TO US AS THE DICTATION OF GOD HIMSELF!!
It is accepted by his disicples as NON-DIFFERENT from the speaking of Lord Krsna on the Battlefield of KURUKSETRA. NON different.

I merely added two opening sentences to explain the "reason" for these instructions with this reasoning being drawn from within Rocan's paper.

I then pasted Rocan's absolute statements - followed by Srila Prabhupada employing Rocan's reasoning for the unscientific and highly inconclusive instructions and the philosophical mumbo jumbo.

Had Rocan taken the time to apply this simple technique himself - I highly doubt he ever would have realeased this essay in its present form. He would have easily seen what any disciple of Srila Prabhupada would see. He would have recognized it as something far removed from the simplicity and clarity of Srila Prabhupada.

Now my dear friends Mark and Shiva prabhu. Squirm all you like. But you have accepted this thesis as representing Srila Prabhupada's instructions. So be it.

My only advice would be to now attempt to act upon this thesis NOW as I do each day with what I know to be the simple and practical guidance of Srila Prabhupada. Go forth and preach whatever it is you think possible, armed with the conclusions of this thesis and do your best.

I was with Srila Prabhupada in Hawaii in 1974 and he made no real effort to confront or "counter" the preaching of Siddhaswarup and his crew. He asked if they were buying and using "OUR" books. He was happy to find that they were and said "If they are reading our books then they will improve in time.

You are both - along with Rocan - content with the conclusions of this thesis. At the end of the day - you will be faced with all that naturally springs from sharing Krsna Consciousness with others; you will have to take responsibility for those who answer your call. Preaching is the proverbial "shout out" - "IF anyone is hungry - please come and eat!" This WILL result in others answering this call. Then you will have to guide them and more importantly ENGAGE THEM.

I do not know what experience either of you have in that department. Srila Prabhupada told us that "If you know the 25 most important verses of the Bhagavad Gita, can cook an excellent halava and "smack" the mrdanga with feeling - you can make disciples anywhere in the world!"

I have a great deal of direct experience with this. Srila Prabhupada's words and his encouragement to us that "You are pure - provided you follow the instructions of your spiritual master and only repeat what he has spoken - remain the cornerstone of our training in Krsna Consciousness. Rocan's thesis in general might have some appeal in cyberspace to a certain kind of man - but they are incapable of providing what Srila Prabhupada's teachings provide - precisely because they are not Srila Prabhupada's direct guidance and instructions; which by the way are merely the DICTATED INSTRUCTIONS OF THE SUPREME PERSON LORD KRSNA HIMSELF!!

Now to the gentleman who assesses my comments as long winded - don't read what I write. I am thorough that is all. There is no ambiguity in what I say. You are not obliged to read anything with my name attached. Personal liberty at its finest.

I say it over and over and over - Srila Prabhupada and his guidance and instructions are EVERY BIT AS AVAILABLE AND SIMPLE - and ACCEPTABLE and FOLLOWABLE - TODAY -ANYWHERE and by ANYONE - as they were in 1972 when Rocan prabhu and myself had the excellent fortune to encounter them - THROUGH the agency of Srila Prabhupada's happy, enthusiastic, courageous, loyal, confident servants who did whatever they could to invite us to the temple, urge us to join, patiently guide us and properly guide us according to the CLEAR and UNCOMPLICATED instructions of His Divine GRace Srila Prabhupada.

That opportunity will always be there when it is lovingly and loyally protected and confidently and properly presented.

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/24/2005 06:36 AM PST

Mother Hari Kirtan dasi

Try to understand - I was in no way evading the point; I was only demonstrating it.

I asked you if YOU WANTED to know or if YOU WANTED to satisfy someone else.

Try and understand this very simple point.

What lies at the core of anyone's adoption of Krsna Consiciousness is their personal recognition that it is in their interest to do so. to deny this is to willfully deny the obvious.

Why anyone would argue this point is beyond me? Especially anyone who was not born into the culture of Krsna Consciousness. Anyone who embraces the chanting of Hare Krsna and the 4 Regulative priniples is obviously recognizing that it is their interest to do so. NO?

Are you going to attempt to convince me or yourself that your acceptance of Srila Prabhupada's guidance was in the interest of someone else? Really? I doubt that.

I was not evading your question. I was demonstrating the obvious and this was my point in raising this. If you do not appreciate my answer that is another thing. If you resist accepting the obvious and its implications that is your business. But do not consider that I did not answer you.

In fact - now it appears that you DO NOT WANT to accept my answer.When we do NOT WANT one thing - we are at that moment WANTING something "other than" that which we are rejecting. Simple Mother.

So in the interest of altruism - why not accept FOR MY SAKE ONLY.

I mean you know disrespect. I am only emphasizing a very simple point.

And in regards to my children - of course I am trying my best to assist them in seeing clearly that accepting His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and his perfect guidance is indeed in their best interest. I am sure and certain that you are as well.

If their was any ambiguity to any of this before, I trust their is none now.

YS Praghosa

Posted by Bhakta Ray @ 12/24/2005 04:17 AM PST

The bloggers seem to fall into two categories. The long-winded and the concise. Praghosa is the personification of the long-winded, speaking at length without addressing issues head on and making clear rebuttals.
I have picked up one committed statement of his
"When I first suggested this; the fact that the soul is always acting upon his natural inclination to serve his own interest "
This absolute pronouncement turns of the meaning of the word 'natural'.
If one takes the word to mean 'material nature' then it is almost a truism. Identification with matter is selfish by definition. That's why it is called "false" ego. On the other hand if one takes natural to mean 'constitutional position' then the nature of the soul is that of eternal servitor of Krsna.
I suppose one could devise a preaching method that brings out the spiritual nature by appealing to the false ego, but I haven't noticed where Srila Prabhupada does that.
He flatters nobody. Even though he tailors his method and tone to the individual, he speaks the truth. He doesn't pander. Nor does he disturb the ignorant and unreceptive.
He says unpallatable things like "give up illicit sex" without apology or sugar coating.
If one sufficiently streches the definition of self-interest beyond what is strictly selfish I suppose, the regulative principles are about self-interest. After all serving Krsna is the best way to serve one's self. One doesn't come to that platform, however, by serving one's false self as embodied senses. It is precisely that conception of self that must be surrendered.

Posted by Hari Kirtan d.d. @ 12/23/2005 05:29 PM PST

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

This debate has been, is, and will be bringing out all the relevant points to the guru-tattva issue and the management of Srila Prabhupada's movement. Perhaps it is true that it could be conducted more efficiently in a closed room. But then, this is a public forum, anyone with an interest can follow it, or make contributions. And undoubtedly there are many of us, reading with rapt attention - more or less.

To my mind the most important issue here is that of honesty. This has already been raised by others. Srila Prabhupada has stated it repeatedly, what we are offering is the genuine thing. This is and always has been at the core of what attracts intelligent people to this movement. It simply will not do to keep covering up, sweeping under the carpet, ignoring, sticking my head in the sand, rather than facing, addressing and then dealing with the dishonesty, deception, and in some cases outright criminality we have been tolerating. It needs real leadership for this task.

It is clear that most of us are under the influence of the three modes of material nature and suffering from the four human defects, but I am sure that we cannot come to meaningful conclusions without honestly facing the above. It stands in the way, sticks to us like a shadow, cannot be dispelled unless we shine very bright light on it.

When Praghosa dasa was speaking about the heart, about acting in his own self-interest, and about raising children within ISKCON, I wanted to know, was he speaking the language of aspiring Vaisnavas. I was wondering, what values he was hoping to teach his children. Was he indeed speaking about values such as truthfulness, forgiveness, equality, tolerance, etc.? But Praghosa dasa evaded the answer, asking me instead, had someone else incited me to pose that question.

No answer is also an answer.
Hare Krsna. Your servant, Hari Kirtan d.d.

Posted by Alex @ 12/23/2005 04:53 PM PST

Dear Praghosa Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

It seems to me that you have repeatedly stated that Srila Prabhupada remains available to all of his followers (including 'new devotees'), as their direct link to the parampara. I wanted to thank you for repeatedly stating this.

I agree with this. It seems like common sense to me...and it also seems to me to be in line with Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

I may perhaps experience the ISKCON organization differently from how you experience it, but I appreciate and am grateful that you've repeatedly stated that Srila Prabhupada remains available to those who want him.

Hare Krsna. Your servant, Alex

Posted by shiva das @ 12/23/2005 02:07 PM PST


Your interpretation of what Rocana wrote and then at the end saying you don't accept it is an unusual debating technique to say the least.

Usually in a debate there is a point-counterpoint type of presentation. Someone makes a point and the opponenet counters that point and so on.

Simply reframing a person's argument and then condemning it is not debate. And it is not honest. Why the need to reframe what a person has written? In doing so you show that you wish to change what that person has written in order to make it less palatable, that is a dishonest and dishonorable way to debate. You could have just as easily offered a link to the Sampradaya Acarya thesis and then at the end make the same condemnation of it.

You failed to make an argument against the Sampradaya thesis when you first condemned it, and in your subsequent condemnations you again failed to make any argument. Condemnation is not debate.

If you wish to make no argument and debate to back up your condemnation, fine. But don't pretend that your condemnation is a legitimate form of debate, it is what it is.

Posted by Mark @ 12/23/2005 01:50 PM PST

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my obeisances.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Please forgive me for indulging this character as I have. I will let Shiva Das take it from here, not that it will be any less ugly, but because he seems to think this "conversation" has some value.

If we had all been in a room somewhere having a discussion about the points raised in Rocana Dasa's thesis, and how they mesh wish our own understandings, and how we can gradually create solutions to problems we face, and this fellow Praghosa came in and offered such blanket condemnations of the thesis and our discussion,
and changed what his "simple point" was each time he spoke, and constantly misrepresented the positions of others, we would have looked at him like he had 3 heads, and asked him what his problem was.

This medium allows a person to get away with what they would not in such physically present polite company, for if he had continued on as he had, disrespectful of the feelings and wishes of the group, he would have been "asked" to leave eventually, and judging from his the stubbornness exhibited here, I may have been moved to escort him out myself.

Alas the double edged sword of a blog space such as this.

I will stick by my promise and cease to discuss here, for better or worse. I will observe for a short time to see if there are any mahabagavatas present who I haven't recognized. I will know them by their ability to affect this Praghosa Dasa's consciousness into that of a caring respectful human being.

If anyone with some power around here actually values my thoughts and participation, and comes to the same conclusion I have and do not see any change in the nature of the various saboteurs who post here, know that if you take a stand against such people and block their access when identified, I will take that as a sign of untainted good association and be happy to re-engage.

I repeat, I am not pure enough and thus not willing to wrestle with the envious, there is too much constructive work that needs to be done and this sort of wrangling is just a distraction from such.

Please accept my blessings.

Hare Krishna



Posted by Rocana dasa @ 12/23/2005 12:13 PM PST

Hare Krsna to all in the Sun Blogs. I've just returned to my computer following quite a number of days of travel. I've been reading the blog posts during my time away, but was unable to write. I’m now resisting an urge to knee-jerk react to the sum total of Praghosa dasa’s stream-of-thought posts.

At one point I had suggested to Praghosa prabhu that he encapsulate his own unique ideas in the form of a thesis paper on guru tattva along the lines of my Sampradaya Acarya thesis, so we could compare ideas. Just before I left town, he wrote to ask me to reply to a rather long block of his written material. For time's sake, I requested him to kindly spell out his first six or eight specific questions, and I would respond to them directly. Instead, it appears that he launched into an energetic rebuttal of my thesis here in the Sun Blogs.

In an earlier exchange with Praghosa, I tried to capture his overall “BIG book distributor mentality” as I flashed back to the “good old days" era to which he keeps referring. That nomenclature obviously hit his scorching hot button. My comments may not have had much relevance to those of you who were not involved in ISKCON back then, or who didn’t have the same perspective I did as a temple authority. I’m sorry for using that historical reference without the necessary clarification. Frankly, it would have required a long explanation, and I didn't have the time. Regardless, I have a feeling Pragosha knew exactly what I was trying to say, in IKSCON haiku, and that's what he reacted to. Since that time a great deal has been said here, and I'll attempt to respond to all the points directed my way.

To begin, I've decided to write an article in which I'll attempt to clarify how it is that my thesis is based primarily on my personal experience/realizations during Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON lila pastimes. In my personal circumstance, I was recruited in 1969, in Canada. In general, I try to avoid speculating on what was happening in other places in the movement. I’ve discovered that the unique experiences of my Godbrothers/sisters depended greatly upon which temple and which authority [siksa guru] they encountered at the beginning of their devotional service. I’m mentioning this because Praghosa dasa, like so many, has falsely assumed that his own realizations, indelibly imprinted upon his immature consciousness during that impressionable period, are (or should be) identical to everyone else's.

Many of the devotees never really discussed their personal ideas with one another back then, as that kind of dialogue was considered Maya. Besides, many of us weren’t very expert at communicating on that level. We also had little or no time due to the heavy sadhana program and the full-blown sankirtan movement that was underway. Often, the only opportunity was when a select few would give class and share their realizations with others in the room, and their most inner realizations were shared only to a very limited degree. Consequently, many of the early, half-baked perspectives developed in our siddhanta mentally calcified into what we carried forward as our “absolute” truths.

Today, when these firmly held beliefs are challenged, we have a tendency to react spontaneously and somewhat aggressively. If these pillars of thought are shaken, we will be obliged to re-examine the many conceptions we built upon our neophyte foundation. This requires a lot of reflective effort, which we may not be prepared to undertake due to a lack of time or circumstance. In many cases, I fear such exploration will require having to accept another body. Attachment on that level is more intense than on the gross material platform. The most vivid example of this is Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers' impressions of him being simply a nice/good devotee rather than a Shaktavesa Avatar or Sampradaya Acarya. I’m using this example because these personalities are very advanced sadhana bhaktas in comparison to most of us. I have been told that some of the Godbrothers came around near or after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance and acknowledged that Srila Prabhupada was indeed “special”. That may be true, but it is beyond my personal experience.

I am encouraged and rewarded by the discussions taking place in this blog space. The regular contributors here range from exceptional to well above the crowd -- even the lock-step ISKCON-ites. Overall, the blog reader gets a rare opportunity to hear from a wide variety of sincere Vaisnavas. Hopefully they are not discouraged by what may superficially appear to be “argumentation”, or a mood symptomatic of the Age of quarrel and hypocrisy. There is some of that influence, admittedly, but that can’t be avoided and we should not try to pretend that we've risen above all the influences of the Age. We are, after all, initiated into a surcharged Vaisnava Sampradaya that takes personalism to its topmost philosophical level. The admitted neophyte utterances expressed in this blog space reflect the unique individuality of the infinitesimal spirit souls struggling to escape their own complex, intense material entanglements. We all share a profound acceptance of our “bonafide” Spiritual masters, namely our Sampradaya Acaryas, which forms the basis of all these discussions. This is a unique prerequisite, rarely found on this mundane platform. We can all agree that all those unfortunate souls who have not been able to surrender to the Teaching of Lord Caitanya are hankering and suffering for such association and level of conversation.

Within the “circle of soul mates” in this virtual public arena, posters are voluntarily exposing themselves by voicing their opinions. We can assume by seeing the “stats” that they represent many of the unheard readers on this Site. Externally, we can all cut a profile, but when we open our mouths, our consciousness is revealed. There is no elaborate institutional backdrop, no Varnasrama title, no personal historical claim to fame here -- just the sound vibration, captured in written form. Some of us have had the opportunity of having past relationships with various blog authors, so we can hear the voice in a more personal way. But some of those I most admire and am most moved by here, I have never heard their 'live' voices.

Our Sampradaya Acaryas, for the most part, wrote volumes of literature from which we have all benefited inconceivably in the past, and will continue to benefit from throughout this lifetime, and assumedly into the next. Srila Prabhupada taught, and even forced his disciples to read his writings, and to go forth and share their enthusiastic realizations with others. Of course, this was to be done within the boundaries set down by himself and the past Acaryas. There may be some truth in Praghosa’s claim that Srila Prabhupada wished us to “simply” pass on his teachings in the form of his books, and thus give the fallen conditioned souls the ultimate benefit of coming in direct contact with a maha-bhagavata, Sampradaya Acarya. No one can argue with this noble idea, which continues to be the ongoing theme within Srila Prabhupada's Movement.

It is my assertion that Srila Prabhupada expected and encouraged us all to internally digest, and then go forth to transmit our own enthusiastic realizations by pre-approved, positive actions that yield tangible results in terms of spreading the mercy of the Sankirtan Movement. Regardless of the risk factor of our being less than perfect representatives of the Sampradaya, Srila Prabhupada wanted us to venture forth and preach to the public and to the already converted, from the temple asana and from authoritative institutional positions. The process of "internally digesting" Srila Prabhupada's teachings requires us to discuss important issues threadbare, as we are doing here in the Sun Blogs, and elsewhere. I look forward to getting back into the discussions.

Posted by praghosa das @ 12/23/2005 09:28 AM PST

Mark despite your best shot - I am will continue to hold my position.

Provide what I have asked for - or admit it cannot be found there.

Before I bother to offer you what you would most probably never accept - you must provide me what you claim to be obviously THERE in the Thesis.
You see you fault me for doing what Rocan's paper does. He claims that the simple and ACTUAL formula given by Srila Prabhupada is NOT to be found in his ISKCON mission.

I never ARGUED that it was perfectly presented there either. (If you recall, I stated 90%) But I did take issue with Rocan's presentation as being the real atidote.

I claimed it was not and asked you to show me how it did in fact reflect Srila Prabhupada's teachings and instructions.

Thus far you have held fast to your position that it is not for you to do this. But it is a simple matter prabhu.

Whatever we write as conclusive instruction or guidance - if we are to claim to be Srila Prabhpada's initiated student and assistant - should so accurately represent Srila Prabhupada that its essence could be written as a letter to ALL Srila Prabhupada's disciples.

Whether you realize it or not - Rocan's thesis - while trying to appear as a "stepping stone" to conclusive truth - contains many "affirmations" - absolute statements. In order for these to represent Srila Prabhupada - they would need to be capable of being accepted by his disciples on a par with his books or letters.

I will offer you an example of what I mean.

Let us take the essence of Rocan Prabhu's conclusions;leaving aside the final gracious "call for more discussion" and focus upon just those elements that are indeed presented as "absolute" conclusions and we will present them as if Srila Prabhupada himself sent them to all the world as a letter:

October 23, 1977

To All GBC Members, Temple Presidents and ISKCON Devotees:

Please accept my blessings.

Recently I have been asked by a number of men various questions as to how our ISKCON mission will handle the question of "succession" in the future and particularly in the event am no longer to remain with you here.

As I have said - I do not wish to replicate the mistakes of my Godbrothers. They have all managed to separate themselves into many different religious groups with little or no capacity to work conjointly as my Guru Maharaja had requested.

(In the minds of the leaders of these religious groups, giving prominence to the siksa guru threatens to undermine their power base. Diksa initiation is their greatest tool for maintaining power. The telltale indication that religiosity is eclipsing spirituality is the degree of aggressive close-mindedness aimed at those perceived to hold and expound opinions that differ from the camp’s 'absolute' creed. The member’s unquestioning allegiance to the religious group’s unique perspective on tattva is paramount, insulating the group supporter from scrutiny of other sastric considerations. Accurate appraisal of an individual's character, motivation, qualities, behavior, and so on, become based not on the principles found within the Sampradaya siddhanta, but rather on loyalty to the organization. By definition, the “science of self-realization” depends upon the spiritualist’s objectivity and inquisitiveness, which is the antithesis of blind obedience to religious doctrine interpreted exclusively by those protecting their power base.

The bonafide Acaryas, representatives of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, indiscriminately distribute the transcendental knowledge that culminates in Pure Love of Godhead. Anyone who has developed a thorough understanding of the essential intentions of the nitya-siddha Acarya is a true Guru, whatever prefix one assigns to the Guru title. Unfortunately, the role and importance of the siksa guru in spreading the Sankirtan Movement is not emphasized in the institutional context.

Not only is the siksa position a safe alternative because it eliminates the risks of philosophical deviation, it also provides many practical spiritual benefits. The sastric definition of siksa guru encompasses a much wider range of potential spiritual relationships than does diksa. Siksa requires no absolute eternal commitment on the part of either disciple or guru, so there is less chance for aparada if the relationship declines.

There is no precise definition concerning how a disciple should worship their siksa guru, which reduces pressure on the disciple to make the diksa the exclusive focus of all loving affections. If siksa relationships are the norm within the Vaisnava Community, then there is a far greater chance that the Acharya will remain the highest standard of purity and respect for all siksa disciples. By keeping me at the center, the disciple is relieved of the potential for a great deal of bewilderment which can lead to a loss of faith.

The siksa disciple’s ultimate desire is to please and serve the the Acharya (the pre-eminent siksa). The siksa disciple may have the satisfaction and confidence of knowing that their primary object of affection, myself, is unquestionably a transparent via media to Sri Krsna. In other words, they have undeniably been admitted into the Sampradaya, and of course there will be no chance of our falling down as the Acarya.

According to Vaisnava philosophy, one can aspire and diligently apply oneself to the spiritual process in expectation that in the next life, you can directly associate with the Acharya. Under this scenario, a traditional diksa relationship can eventually transpire. In the meantime, there are plenty of qualified living siksa gurus who are completely dedicated to serving our mission and to assisting the aspiring disciple in obtaining his or her goal.

Diksa gurus may tend to want the independence to adapt, change or “personalize” our previous program and mood. Most diksa gurus hanker for their own independent ashram or institution, occupied primarily by those who are their cent percent followers. Siksa gurus, on the other hand, will tend to follow closely our established mood and program, and are less likely to run the risk of changing our established undertaking. Siksa-guru does not mean he is speaking something against our teachings. If he does then he is not a siksa-guru. He is a rascal.

Siksa disciples are free to search out other siksa gurus who may be better qualified to satisfy their various spiritual interests and needs without having their educational pursuits sanctioned and/or vetoed by a disagreeable diksa. If the disciple’s affections lie with me, then the words and actions of the siksa guru can be freely scrutinized based on my writings, without risking offense.

Siksa affords an opportunity for our serious followers who are inspired to teach and preach to assume the role of guru without running any risk of committing offenses that result in karmic reaction to himself or the disciple. Sastra dictates that there is no karmic burden placed upon the siksa guru, whereas there is an assumed acceptance of vi-karma of the new initiate upon the diksa guru. Those who are not in a spiritual position to give diksa, but pretentiously project themselves as bonafide, are actually only giving siksa, because they are not transparent via media conduits for the disciple's past karmic reactions. The unsuspecting disciples are deceived into believing they have been freed from karma, and the unqualified diksa guru accumulates karma without being able to transfer it to the spiritual realm.

Siksa places the power to determine one’s spiritual path in the hands of the individual seeker. Advocating an emphasis on the siksa alternative will likely reduce the institutional power base of die-hard diksa advocates,like ambitious GBC etc.

Spiritual missions that are established by the Founder Acharya should have as their primary focus an imperative to preach and teach the unalloyed message of the founder. While there will always be a role for diksa initiation in the spiritual community, nothing should eclipse the focus on the Founder Acharya.

Now I realize that last July I sent out a letter and provided all my dutiful disciples with a blueprint for the future that was somewhat more specific than I am doing here,but that letter was for the immediate future. Not after my departure. When Lord Krsna finishes my business here, I wish that this letter serve as the template for the future.

As I stated above "There will always be a role for diksa initiation in the spiritual community" I will leave it to each and every individual new man to decide how and with whom they might choose to submit themselves - if ever.

I trust that each of the Temple Presidents will each take it upon themselves to see that all the devotees and aspiring new candidates are made aware of my instructions in this matter.

Your Ever Well Wisher... AC Bhaktivedanta Swami)

I am certain that you would be very hard pressed to find any disciple of Srila Prabhupada who would accept the above letter as containing our Founder's teachings or instructions; yet this is Rocan's conclusions.

Now Mark I am not atagonistic to you nor to Rocan's basic desire. Not a bit. I share your concerns and for a much longer duration of time. I have raised 6 children within the "evolution" that is ISKCON and have had to deal with all that this entails.

My simple point is and remains this.

Rocan's thesis does not reflect our Srila Prabhupada's teachings and instructions on some very important yet basic points.

You have argued that they do. You have consistently demanded that I provide what is supposedly not there. However before I could ever offer you the simple truth as Srila Prabhupada did in fact present it - it would be necessary to understand how "invested" you are in Rocan's thesis. If you defend it ardently as indeed representing Srila Prabhupada correctly - then I have repeatedly offered you the opportunity to prove this by stating what you seem to assert is the "obvious". In doing so - you could in fact correct and enlighten me but most importantly you would also allow me to see whether or not explaining the truth to you would be a waste of my time or not. Srila Prabhupada told us in Washington to never waste time explaining KC to someone who is too invested in some other idea unless in doing so - others less so-invested were hearing and concurring with Lord Krsna's gracious gift of the Truth.

Now up till now - squirming as you have - it appears you are very invested in the above "essentials" as they have been presented by Rocan Prabhu. That being the case - I do not think it wise to offer you the facts as I have come to understand them. It appears you have embraced something other than what I received from Srila Prabhupada.

In otherwords - I am not in the market for what Rocan is selling and you appear to be an eager customer. That is all.

But it is a Free Market and I support your right to invest there.

Hare Krsna

Posted by Mark @ 12/22/2005 06:35 AM PST

Hari Bol!

And now for some comic relief.


Hare Krishna.

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