October 10 2017

Cleaning House and Cleaning Hearts. Reform and Renewal in ISKCON

Ravindra Svarupa dasa

A paper delivered at the Vaishnava Academy conference held in Weisbaden, Germany in January 1994. Published in ISKCON Communications Journal, No. 3 (January-June 1994), 43-52 (Part 1) and No. 4 (July-December 1994), 25-33 (Part 2).

In 1971 I underwent the profoundly wrenching change of becoming a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, leaving one life and embarking on another. I abandoned old associations to immerse myself totally in the life of a tight-knit temple commune; I radically restyled my exterior to complement my utterly changed interior. I became a stranger in my own land.

I undertook such an arduous passage because I was convinced that I was thereby effecting an ontological crossing: I was leaving the material dimension for the spiritual, awakening from the nightmare of history to the peace of eternity. ISKCON temples were embassies of the kingdom of God. Although apparently located in Maya’s realm, they were under direct divine jurisdiction. There the powers of material conditioning and desire had no sway. This is what I believed.

Looking back at that younger self of mine—twenty-six years old at the time—I am appalled by his naiveté—”stupidity” would be appropriate—and at the same time awed by his sacrificial commitment. Foolish and ignorant though he was, I am more than ever convinced that, by the grace of God, he made the right choice. That decision of my younger self is indeed the spiritual capital on which I still live. My self-doubt, rather, is whether I would at this time have the courage to make such a decision, knowing what I know now. Continue reading

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November 21 2016

Śrīla Prabhupāda — Founder-Ācārya ISKCON

Download book pdf

Offical site: http://www.founderacharya.com

This work, Śrīla Prabhupāda: The Founder-Ācāryaof ISKCON, authored by Ravīndra Svarūpa Dāsa, is officially endorsed byISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC).

The GBC requests all devotees and friends of ISKCON to give deep and careful attention to this work. To do so will
broaden our collective understanding of, and appreciation for, the position of Śrīla Prabhupāda and his unique role in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

In  this  regard,  the  strategic  planning  team  was  acutely aware that the near future would confront ISKCON with a critical  challenge:  the  unavoidable  transition  to  a  time  when all  devotees  with  direct  experience  of  its  Founder-Ācārya are gone.  This  imminent  loss  became  an  additional  incentive  for the work of the Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Position Committee (SPPC). All  its  members  understood  that  Śrīla  Prabhupāda  should  be no less a presence to subsequent generations than he has been to  the  first.  (Indeed,  some  believed,  he  could  be  even  more.) How to facilitate this? How to foster in all devotees in ISKCON, generation after generation, an ever-increasing awareness of their deep connection with its Founder-Ācārya, so that all encounter him as a living presence in their lives? How will his mission, his teachings, his vision, his determination, his mercy, become one with each and every beating heart?

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November 16 2016

ISKCON and Varnasrama-dharma: A Mission Unfulfilled

On the eleventh of July, 1966, in New York, Srila Prabhupada incorporated the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. By then, Prabhupada had already discovered an audience for his exposition of Srimad Bhagavatam, an expositon he characterised as ‘a cultural presentation for the respiritualisation of the entire human society’ (Bhag. Canto 1, Preface). In a further step toward the culture of ‘respiritualisation’, he established ISKCON. ISKCON was to be an exemplary society, within which the culture of Srimad-Bhagavatam would be realised and by which it would be spread to the rest of the world.

While that much has always been bedrock truth to ISKCON’s members, it is a fact that over ISKCON’s thirty-three years, their ideas of what exactly ISKCON is, in terms of its internal articulation, and of how it should relate itself to the surrounding society have been fluid. The ideas of its members have undergone changes. It seems that even Prabhupada’s ideas changed. Continue reading

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November 14 2016

A letter from Ravindra Svarupa dasa about Narayana Maharaja

A letter from Ravindra Svarupa dasa about Narayana Maharaja

Taking Srila Prabhupada Straigh
16 July, 1998

Dear Prabhu,
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada,

Last May, our Potomac temple received requests from both you and Madhava Pandita dasa that it extend a personal invitation to H. H. Narayana Maharaja to visit the temple during his summer tour of ISKCON congregations in America. This matter came to me, as I am a GBC representative for Potomac.

We declined to extend such an invitation. This is in line with ISKCON’s stated policy that directs our members not to take instruction from Narayana Maharaja.

Around the same time I saw an article posted by your good self on a web-site (VNN).

In this article you respond to the complaint from ISKCON about the fact that Narayana Maharaja is, as a routine matter, reinitiating disciples of ISKCON gurus in good standing.You absolutely defend this practice. You argue that this reinitiation is entirely justified according to the principles enunciated in Sri Krsna Bhajanamrta by Narahari Sakara. Continue reading

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November 7 2016

Prabhupada — A Prophecy

Our print and electronic media abound in forecasts—weather, economic, scientific, political, fashion, and on and on. There’s a demand for forecasts. It helps to know the future. Therefore, we seek eagerly the vision of experts, the adept. Among these seers we must note that special class called sages or saints. Their forecasts are accorded the upgrade to prophecy, to revelation, since the divine is alleged to enlighten their visions.

So the followers of Shrila Prabhupada received his prediction, made on April 4, 1975, of the imminent outbreak of World War III. Taking his regular early morning constitutional, striding among an entourage of aides through the green fields of Mayapur, conversing about the delusions of modernity—of the “Western adventure”—Prabhupada suddenly said: “Now it will be smashed by the next war. Next war will come very soon.”

The devotees around him were shocked. It was hard to remember if this type of prediction had ever come from Prabhupada before. And the content of this prediction was especially alarming. Continue reading

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November 7 2016

Gaura Pūrṇimā 523

Панчататтва. Это первая картина на западе, изображавшая Панча-таттву. осень 1966 года. Джадурани Даси

Five hundred and twenty three years ago, on this full moon night in the month of Govinda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in the world, the avatāra descended to deliver Kṛṣṇa prema to the extremely fallen people of this Kali-yuga.

Caitanya is Kṛṣṇa himself. In order to most completely offer his divine mercy, he does not come as the Lord. Covering his Godhood, he appears in the form of his own devotee (bhakta-rupa). The mercy of the Lord has ever been most fully delivered through his devotees. Not to be outdone, the Lord himself takes on the emotions and actions of his own devotee. He is thus both the supreme master and the supreme servant.

When he descends as Caitanya, he brings with him his divine expansions and energies, the closest of whom also act with him as devotees. The Lord and his four immediate associates constitute a set called the Pañca-tattva. Continue reading

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