Showing posts from March, 2013

Service to Radha Krishna is our Ultimate Concern

This article was first sent on the short-lived Garuda list serve run by Rocana Dasa, most probably in 1997. It was available on line on the Wise Wisdoms site for a while, but was taken down. On rereading, I find it still relevant.

Reason and scriptural interpretation

We are human beings endowed with reason, with which we try to make sense of our experiences in life and learn from them. In Krishna consciousness we have been indoctrinated to mistrust reason and even our direct experience to the benefit of authority-based learning. The argument is, of course, cogent: You cannot invent your own language, and there is no point in reinventing the wheel, and if we wish to see far, it is advisable to stand on the shoulders of giants.

But even when standing on the shoulder of a giant, it is with our own eyes that we see and with our own brains that we process the sensory or extrasensory information our eyes give us. Thus, where scripture is concerned, we state the following:
Certain aspects of s…

In defence of Sadhu Sanga

As I mentioned recently, I have been in contact with a new Facebook page that is attempting to reunite cyberspacially all of Srila Prabhupada's some 4500 initiated disciples. As of this writing, some 560 people have joined, for the most part the "less important" folk rather than the ones running ISKCON these days. It is turning out pretty much as I expected, a lot of nostalgia, reminders that we are coming closer to death and many of us have already left these bodies. There is also a bit of stirring up of old controversies. Today, one devotee posted the following Prabhupada letter:
I am in due receipt of your letter dated September 3, 1975 with the enclosed statement about Van Maharaja. So I have now issued orders that all my disciples should avoid all of my godbrothers. They should not have any dealings with them nor even correspondence, nor should they give them any of my books or should they purchase any of their books, neither should you visit any of their temples. …

On Fences around the Devotional Creeper

I left ISKCON in 1979, which is a good long time ago. In the intervening 33 years, I have had plenty of experience with life, but for the most part I keep a healthy distance from the institution in which my spiritual life had its beginnings. There were numerous steps in my development that made me a very different person today than I was as a young Hare Krishna brahmachari.

Recently I was invited to participate in a Facebook forum for Srila Prabhupada disciples. I thought this was intriguing, an opportunity to feel the pulse of this interesting segment of the world's population, the 4500 or so people who took initation from Prabhupada between 1965 and 1977, all of whom are now at least 50 years old, many in their 60's and even older. They are, in other words, in the latter stages of life; indeed, many are approaching death, some after living their entire lives in dedication to the movement and in service to Sri Chaitanya.

There are many who left ISKCON to take initiation aga…

Proselytizing for the Brave New World

In his classic dystopian novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley projected a future of human society, based on consumerism socially engineered to technocratic perfection.

One of the prominent features of this world, set in the distant future, was a complete separation of the sexual functions of erotic pleasure from reproduction, which was taken care of by advanced test-tube incubation centers and from-birth indoctrination in consumerist values. Without marriage or any need for attachments, sex was also separated from love in the sense of intense commitment to a single partner and simply a source of recreational pleasure, efficiently enhancing the qualities of life and smoothing social cohesiveness.

Though Huxley himself was rather sanguine about such developments, now it appears that his nightmarish vision is seeking realization. In their popularly acclaimed and controversial book Sex at Dawn, subtitled "How we mate, how we stray, and what it means for modern relationships" …