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Women Gurus in Gaudiya Matha? - Will there be any?



gopidust - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 07:31:09 +0530
We all know Srila Prabhupada is bona fide and he authorised some of his female disciples to become guru. Will the Maths follow in his footsteps as they have in everything else?

Do the various Gaudiya Math sects in India allow women the opportunity to stand side by side with their godbrothers in order to see the Deities? Are women even allowed to give classes? What is the service like for women who have abandoned ISKCON and instead have joined the various maths?

Please respond. ys gopidust wub.gif

Oh by the way I have eaten chocolate before and it really is intoxicating so I don't see why you all feel the need to minimise Srila Prabhupada's words on the subject. He is only speaking directly from krishna! unsure.gif
Madhava - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 08:25:10 +0530
Dear Gopidust:

1. Could you provide us with references where Swami Maharaja authorized some of his female disciples to become guru? Do you here mean diksha or siksha-guru? If diksha, then it is unlikely that any mathas, since a matha by definition is a monastic community of renunciates, would be having female diksha-gurus anytime soon.

2. The standards regarding ladies vary from one matha to another. Most of us are not followers of the various Gaudiya Mathas out there, so it may be that your questions in this regard could receive more detailed responses elsewhere.

3. We all have our respective gurus, and we all see them as speaking directly from Krishna. Sometimes we will inevitably face apparent contradictions between different groups in which some of the details of practice are applied differently.

I have eaten two kilos of halava, and all that sugar really is intoxicating. Where is the difference between that and chocolate? Yes, and I have eaten overly spicy food, and that is intoxicating as well.

Different Gaudiya groups follow different standards. There are many things that are very strictly being followed in ISKCON but which are not considered essential elsewhere, and vice versa. Let us all follow our own gurus. I should note in this regard that while you may occasionally discover some very enlightening dialectic studies and reviews of some teachings specific to ISKCON and Gaudiya Matha on this forum, it is probably not the foremost place for questions related to those organizations.

We would advise you to seek a forum where people are less interested in intertraditional dialogues but rather wish to singlemindedly dedicate themselves to those specific groups and their specific teachings and receive encouragement in the same from likeminded peers.
Keshava - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 09:28:52 +0530
QUOTE(gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 02:01 AM)
We all know Srila Prabhupada is bona-fide and he authorised some of his female disciples to become guru. Will the Mathas follow in his footsteps as they have in everything else?
Does the Gaudiya Mathas various sects in India allow women the opportunity to stand side by side with their godbrothers in order to see the Dieties? Are women even allowed to give classes? What is the service like for women who have abandoned ISKCON and instead have joined the various mathas? Please respond. ys gopidust wub.gif Oh by the way I have eaten chocolate before and it really is intoxicating so I don't see why you all feel the need to minimise Srila Prabhupada's words on the subject he is only speaking directly from krishna! unsure.gif

Dear Gopidust,

1. Your first assumption that "We all know ... he authorised some of his female disciples to become guru." is incorrect. We don't all know this. In fact I would say that there are people who deny that he wanted anyone of us to be gurus, at the same time some would argue that he wanted all his disciples to be gurus. So I agree with Madhava:

Could you please provide a reference from Srila Prabhupada to this effect.

2. Your second assumption:"Will the Mathas follow in his footsteps as they have in everything else?"

From my experience none of the Mathas have really followed in Srila Prabhupada's footsteps.

Please clarify with examples what you mean by this statement.

3. As Madhava pointed out mostly women do not have any positions in the GM. The GM organizations/temples/ashrams are mainly brahmacharis and sannyasis with perhaps a few widows. Grhastas men and women have approximately the same position as congregational members or life members in ISKCON. I would not expect any congregational members either men or women to be giving classes in GM temples.

4. Don't know why the reference to chocolate. I have read references to it both ways (yea and nay) from Srila Prabhupada. He himself ate chocolate sandesh made by several devotees for him. Certainly chocolate contains theobromine which is similar in some ways (though much weaker) to caffiene. And as Madhava has pointed out many different groups consider different things to be taboo. Chocolate unlike Heroine is probably one of the debatable ones.

As Madhava also pointed out the "rush" most people will get from eating chocolate actually comes mostly from the large amount of sugar usually associated with it.

Although Srila Prabhupada rejected the use of tea, coffee, betal nut, pan (debatably chocolate), cigarettes, and other harder intoxicants, he himself used snuff which is powdered scented tobacco. I have a old snuff tin used by him sitting next to his deity on my altar. I have a very good friend who is a big Madhva pandit who also takes it. It is called the pandit's vice in India. People take it to keep themselves awake all night to study and write. I don't mean any disrespect to him by mentioning this. I just want to make you aware that one should not be quick to critercize others on small matters like this. Members of the GM also criticise ISKCON devotees for eating carrots a vegetable which is considered by them to be akin to garlic, onions, etc.

The Hindu/Vaisnava dietary rules are many and varied. I can give you a lot of other examples if you like. Mostly the restrictions in India come from not taking things that are not mentioned in the sastras. Since many foods were introduced later that the writing of the sastras that deal with these things many are not mentioned. Truely orthodox people do not take any of these things, because they do not see them mentioned in sastra. Others take a more liberal attitude and apply the general statements of books like Bhagavad Gita about foods in the different modes of nature.

Naturally foods in the mode of goodnes are prefered to offer to the Lord and then take the prasada.
Jagat - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 18:27:48 +0530
Dear Gopidust,

Welcome to Gaudiya Discussions. We hope that your participation here will be fruitful and pleasurable.

Please excuse me if I introduce you to a few of our tiresome formalities. GD is, as you have probably already noticed, a unique forum for discussing Gaudiya Vaishnava matters in that it is generally very civilized.

The main reason for this is that it is NOT an Iskcon or Gaudiya Math related discussion group, nor for that matter affiliated with any sectarian grouping. We are interested in Gaudiya Vaishnava culture in general and in comparative religion inasmuch as it can further our pursual of the goals given to us by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his followers--prema prayojan.

Iskcon and the Gaudiya Math are a part of this overarching mandate, but in order to control the tendency of people affiliated with these organizations to dominate all discussions with their specific concerns, we have segregated discussions related to them into One specific place.

Furthermore, we have made posting there subject to Full Membership in GD. To become a full member, you must fill in your profile. You can see some of the background for this HERE. Please let us know a little more about yourself in your profile and PM Madhava to get your full membership.

Once again, I thank you for your participation.

Your servant,

Jagadananda Das.
Madhava - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 18:36:15 +0530
In regards to the female guru issue, you may find this thread to be of interest.
gopidust - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 18:53:01 +0530
Thank you I have edited my profile. Srila Prabhupada told Jamuna d.d. she could become a guru. She lives in Vancouver, B.C., Canada the last I heard. She would know whether he said siksa or not. As far as changing things after Srila Prabhupada did, I heard one guru in the Math went down to 8 rounds a day to please his Western disciples. Too bad the Math gurus cannot be bothered with hearing their disciples problems as it disturbs their consciousness. I will read the thread. ys Gopidust smile.gif
gopidust - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 19:08:13 +0530
Nice thread! If anything is to be learned from this it is to not join the Gaudiya Matha because they are too absorbed in bramacari tradition. I will go to that chat next.Yes Prabhupada snuffed for his allergies I was told, not to keep awake. They also have his tins in his rooms in Vrndavana. I don't know when he made the decision on chocolate but at one point he wanted 32 rounds then 16 so we have to accept his final order on the matter. your fallen servant gopidust
Talasiga - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 19:12:02 +0530
QUOTE(gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 02:01 AM)
We all know Srila Prabhupada is bona-fide and he authorised some of his female disciples to become guru. Will the Mathas follow in his footsteps as they have in everything else?

Does the Gaudiya Mathas various sects in India allow women the opportunity to stand side by side with their godbrothers in order to see the Dieties? Are women even allowed to give classes? What is the service like for women who have abandoned ISKCON and instead have joined the various mathas? Please respond. ys gopidust wub.gif

Oh by the way I have eaten chocolate before and it really is intoxicating so I don't see why you all feel the need to minimise Srila Prabhupada's words on the subject he is only speaking directly from krishna! unsure.gif

We do not need maths
To know a woman guru.
Some signs will do nicely ...
Madhava - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 21:27:42 +0530
QUOTE(gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 01:23 PM)
As far as changing things after Srila Prabhupada did, I heard one guru in the Math went down to 8 rounds a day to please his Western disciples.

I do not think it is forbidden that gurus further down the line adjust to the demands of the times. Swami Maharaja did this, his guru did this, Bhaktivinoda did this. Is there not a principle to be deducted from this?


QUOTE
Too bad the Math gurus cannot be bothered with hearing their disciples problems as it disturbs their consciousness.

That is an awfully generalized statement you are making. May I ask, have you ever met even a single Gaudiya Math guru in person?


QUOTE
Nice thread! If anything is to be learned from this it is to not join the Gaudiya Matha because they are too absorbed in bramacari tradition.

On what grounds do you consider the brahmacari-tradition grounds for being disqualified in terms of bhakti? If someone is attracted to monastic life, that may be just what that person needs.


QUOTE
I don't know when he made the decision on chocolate but at one point he wanted 32 rounds then 16 so we have to accept his final order on the matter.

We, as in "members of ISKCON"? Then yes, I would have to agree with you. If on the other hand you meant we, as in "all of us", then I must disagree. ISKCON and the followers of Prabhupada, and even the entire Saraswata-tradition, form but a miniscule percentage of the entire Gaudiya Vaishnava populace with its thousands of branches despite their being its most visible part in the Western world.
gopidust - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 22:51:33 +0530
we cannot say Prabupada is bona-fide yet reject his realisations on chocolate that is all I can say. I read that the gurus in the Gaudiyamatha do not like to be bothered with hearing their disciples problems on this web site, no I have not spoken with them besides would they waste their time on a young woman? I am asking since I don;t know.
Madhava - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 23:00:29 +0530
QUOTE(gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 05:21 PM)
We cannot say Prabupada is bona-fide yet reject his realisations on chocolate that is all I can say. I read that the gurus in the Gaudiyamatha do not like to be bothered with hearing their disciples problems on this web site, no I have not spoken with them besides would they waste their time on a young woman? I am asking since I don;t know.

Well, guru-tattva is a subjective subject matter. Prabhupada would recognize Sridhar Maharaja as an eminent Vaishnava, yet their realizations on some practical issues would differ. Similarly, there have been thousands of other gurus who have been "bona-fide", sad-gurus, despite the fact that they have held differing opinions on a number of issues. There is room for a significant plurality of views in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

I cannot recall reading such a statement about Gaudiya Matha gurus, but it may have been said somewhere. Here is an important lesson to be learned: Just because someone says something or puts it in writing, it doesn't become a fact. We need to do our research before we can make definitive statements. Otherwise, all we can say is that "I've heard someone say that..." lest we risk propagating misunderstandings.
nabadip - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 23:17:13 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Jul 19 2004, 07:30 PM)
QUOTE(gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 05:21 PM)
We cannot say Prabupada is bona-fide yet reject his realisations on chocolate that is all I can say. I read that the gurus in the Gaudiyamatha do not like to be bothered with hearing their disciples problems on this web site, no I have not spoken with them besides would they waste their time on a young woman? I am asking since I don;t know.

Well, guru-tattva is a subjective subject matter. Prabhupada would recognize Sridhar Maharaja as an eminent Vaishnava, yet their realizations on some practical issues would differ.

Sridhar Maharaja who was considered a shiksha-guru by ACBS Prabhupad recommended 4 rounds of Harinam japa as minimum requirement at initiation. I assume he followed what was the rule also with his guru Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupad.

As to where the women stand during arati: In Sridhar Maharaja's Caitanya Saraswath Math, they stand in front of everyone, as the first ones infront of the deities. As far as I have seen this is in general the case in other places too.
Keshava - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 23:39:25 +0530
QUOTE(gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 05:21 PM)
we cannot say Prabupada is bona-fide yet reject his realisations on chocolate that is all I can say.

Sorry to disagree with you but I can and do say just that.

IMHO the guru is meant to guide one concerning spiritual matters. He or She is primarily meant to help us not to misinterpret the sastra. In order to know things about spiritual subjects which are beyond empirical material knowledge one needs to understand sabda. Sabda means hearing from authorities which ultimately means the sastra. For material matters the guru may or may not have a perfect understanding. Pratyaksa and anumana can be accepted in such cases.

In the Catholic tradition when the Pope says something on church doctrinal matters it has to be accepted that type of pronouncement is called ex cathedra (from the seat of authority or with authority). Such doctrinal statements cannot be changed (at least until the next Pope changes them).

However if we say that all statements made by Srila Prabhupada are ex cathedra we have several problems.

1. He gave seemingly different instructions at different times, places and circumstances and to different people.

2. Some of His statements on material subjects can clearly be scientifically disproved.

The conclusion is simple.

Some statements are absolute and some are not.

Otherwise you have to try to rationalize statements like:

"Man's brain 64 ounces, woman's brain 32 ounces."

Your example of GM Guru's asking their disciples to chant 8 rounds of Japa again shows a lack of depth in the tradition. According to Mahaprabhu's biographies He said that He "would not eat in the house of a person who was not a lakhpati". This means that His standard was 100,000 names (approx. 64 rounds). Namacarya Haridas is said to have chanted 3 times this. Everyone knows that 64 is the traditional Gaudiya minumum standard. So if this can be lowered to 16 why not 8 or 4 or 1 or whatever? Personally this pre-occupation with numbers (quantity) has never stuck me as the really important part of the sadhana of japa.

Srila Prabhupada and Rupa Goswami in NOD/BRS reminds us that the basis of all rules and regulations is to always remember Krsna and never forget Him.
nabadip - Mon, 19 Jul 2004 23:40:06 +0530
QUOTE(gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 07:21 PM)
I read that the gurus in the Gaudiyamatha do not like to be bothered with hearing their disciples problems on this web site.

Gopidust, you may have read this statement of mine, in the thread about homosexuality, and how this bhakta's shiskha guru did (not) understand him:

QUOTE
As far as the question about gurus is concerned, I doubt it would make much sense to talk about such issues. No Indian bhakta would ever talk to his/her guru about personal questions like that, unless asked. You do not want to go and disturb your guru's bhajan with personal matters. I understand your siksha-guru's reaction well. He is probably just shaking his head in the agreeing mode side to side - why should he get into things that are not of his interest? There is so much else between Indian and Westerner that remains in the dark as well. And is best kept there.
http://www.gaudiyadiscussions.com/index.ph...t=0&#entry19376



Now, first of all this was not meant about Gaudiya Math gurus in particular, but about every vaishnava guru. You misunderstand the guru-principle if you think a guru should decide about your personal life-issues. That is the Western idea of guru.

My point in this particular post was to encourage self-censure when it comes to talking to one's guru. See what is really important to you in spiritual terms, and then address that.

If chocolate is an important issue to you spiritually, well then, your path is cleared of one thing you perceive as an obstacle.
gopidust - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 04:39:56 +0530
Srila Prabhupada was taught at Scottish Church's College that women's brains were smaller back in whatever year it was. We don't need to figure out his personalised letters and other instructions everything is there in his books. The main question is did Bhaktivinode Thakur predict that soon a personality would come who would spread krishna consciousness around the world and is Srila Prabhupada the one who was predicted. If it was indeed him then we must not equate ordinary(kanistha) gurus with His Divine Grace, Gaudiya Matha or otherwise.
Madhava - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 05:35:18 +0530
QUOTE (gopidust @ Jul 19 2004, 11:09 PM)
Srila Prabhupada was taught at Scottish Church's College that women's brains were smaller back in whatever year it was. We don't need to figure out his personalised letters and other instructions everything is there in his books.

I can't seem to find chocolate mentioned anywhere in his books. That being the case, I suppose we need not concern ourselves with the issue.


QUOTE
The main question is did Bhaktivinode Thakur predict that soon a personality would come who would spread krishna consciousness around the world and is Srila Prabhupada the one who was predicted.

Beats me, I've never read such a thing. I've read quite a few of his works but have never come upon such a reference. At any rate, given the climate of his times, if he indeed said such a thing he was pretty much just stating the obvious and inevitable with industrialization well underway and with global travel becoming more and more accessible.


QUOTE
If it was indeed him then we must not equate ordinary (kanistha) gurus with His Divine Grace, Gaudiya Matha or otherwise.

May I ask, what are the criteria you use for evaluating the qualifications of gurus? There is certainly no standard in the shastra which says that all gurus but those predicted in the scriptures are kanistha. You could refer us to a verse or two which set the standards you follow in this regard.
gopidust - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 05:55:47 +0530
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said my name will be heard in every town and village later on Bhaktivinode Thakura made his prediction, I don't know whether it was written down in a famous book by him Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu his life and teachings printed in the year of Srila Prabhupada's birth, 1896.

The IRM has a long quote where Srila Prabhupada mentions the level of the gurus in the Gaudiya Matha. He actually came right out on at least one occasion and stated that most of his godbrothers were kanistha-adhikari disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja but still that was sufficient to go back to godhead. He specifically referred to Narayana Maharaja. I don't know if this is in the recorded conversations books or not.

Since Srila Prabhupada is an uttama-adhikari he can recognise these things. We in Iskcon can't expect others to believe in his words. In fact in ISKCON classes depending on the disciple I have heard Prabhupada is considered to be more powerful than Jesus Christ due to spreading his movement so far in such a short period of time, regardless of planes, trains, and automobiles.
Jagat - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 05:59:02 +0530
In the Gaudiya Math, they always said that this prediction was about Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati.
Madhava - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 06:11:03 +0530
There is a statement in that text to the extent that the religion of Sri Caitanya would be available throughout the world. Such statements, I believe, were fairly common at his time. Skimming through it, I also found the following delightful statement:

QUOTE
Sri Chaitanya was a jolly being throughout His life.

You just have to love his English. Let us also try and follow in His footsteps, being jolly beings instead of resorting to petty quarreling despite our differences.

The IRM has indeed put together quotes of all sorts, disregarding quotes which sometimes state the exact opposite. For example, when Prabhupada says that he considers Sridhar Maharaja his respected siksha-guru, are we then to consider that Prabhupada had accepted a kanistha as his siksa-guru? If that were the case, it would call into question his own eligibility as a judge of spiritual matters. Would we extend the "courtesy" to his sannyasa-guru, BP Keshava Maharaja, as well?

Ironically, a good majority of Western members of Gaudiya Math are in one way or another connected with these two sannyasins of Gaudiya Matha. If we recognize their status as his gurus, we would have to respect their judgement as well, wouldn't you agree? They again revered others as their gurus or respected peers, certainly not considering them to be at the level of kanistha.

All in all, the consideration of one guru being uttama and all others being kanistha does not portray a a mentality much beyond kanistha from the one making the claim. One who is beyond kanistha can recognize spiritual merit wherever it appears (and it does appear), just as one may experience the presence of Hari in all spheres of life instead of only in the temple.
Keshava - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 08:58:47 +0530
Many people in ISKCON would like to be their own sampradaya. To be with Srila Prabhupada in a sort of spiritual vacuum. Where they do not have to recognize their relationship to the GM or the rest of the followers of Lord Caitanya. What to speak of acknowledging the other bona fide Vaisnava sampradayas.

Dear Ms Dust could you please stick to your pramanas and either accept all of Srila Prabhupada's statements as ex cathedra or not. I would really like an answer to that one.

If you are truely a follower of His Diving Grace then either only quote directly from His books giving chapter and verse or accept His pronouncements in their entirety as quoted above.

Waiting for a reply.............
gopidust - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 18:30:40 +0530
Yes, prabhu, we accept whatever Prabhupada says, with the proper understanding. For example, he said Sridhara Maharaja was his guru, yet he also said all of his disciples were too (Lilamrta). Sorry I don't have all his books memorised for quotations.

No, it was not the usual etiquette to have to point out how to worship the guru and avoid neophyte godbrothers, but who else but Prabhupada was there to do it in the early days? He also told them what books to read if they inquired.

It is more than just petty if the uttama-adhikari is being minimised to the level of a kanistha. Did Srila Bhaktisiddhanta become angry when Gour-kishora dasa babaji maharaja's body was going to be dragged throughout Vrindavan by offenders? So when someone says the Thakur Bhaktivinode made a fairly common statement by specifically predicting in the year of his birth, 1896, that "soon will come a personality who will spread Krishna consciousness around the world" or the cult of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or however it was worded, after the divine appearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Prabhupada was shown the book by one of his disciples who found it at his college library (lilamrta) and Srila Prabhupada said it was significant. Well, obviously it must be for that statement to have survived for the last 108 years.

I read in here that a disciple of Srila Prabhupada then heard from Bon Maharaja and left then came back, claiming to be the first, and now is confused. That is exactly why Prabhupada said not to hear from his godbrothers, "because if they say one thing different you will become confused." His claim to fame is proof enough, he does not know who to listen to. Then what? Leave the Matha and seek elsewhere?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta established 64 Matha and presently there are about 500 temples in ISKCON. History will show who is to be credited, if anybody, for spreading Krishna consciousness around the world but in the meantime why should we accept a guru who we are warned not to accept by our guru, Srila Prabhupada? As he said at the end of his life, following the British tradition of apologizing for any offenses he may have committed, it was necessary for preaching. ys gopidust
Jagat - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 19:44:15 +0530
So, just out of curiosity, Gopidust, what do you think you can get out of the Gaudiya Discussions Forum? Have you looked at the profiles of the people who answer you?
Openmind - Tue, 20 Jul 2004 19:56:28 +0530
Gopidust, I am very happy that you are here, really, but I am not sure you know what this forum is all about. This is NOT an Iskcon forum, dear. You know, there exist other Vaishnava schools than Iskcon or Gaudiya Math. They are nice, respect to them, but there are others besides them. And this forum happens to be a place where I think 95% percent of the members are outside Iskcon and GM. You see my point? Almost all members here left Iskcon, left Gaudiya Math and took shelter at other Gaudiya masters. So sentences like "WE ALL accept Prabhupad as the greatest acharya" and the like are, how to say, not exactly relevant here. There is a forum called Audarya Forums, there the majority of active members accept Prabhupad as the greatest. Have you ever visited that forum? I guess those devotees there could inspire you more in your devotion and solid faith in Prabhupad and Iskcon. Here you can read posts disagreeing with Prabhupad, because it is not forbidden here to disagree with him or anyone else, you see. It may sound shocking to you, but this is a fact.
gopidust - Wed, 21 Jul 2004 00:47:08 +0530
wink.gif I guess I will be leaving now. I thought you were all blooped Iskcon devotees. Everything is there in Prabhupada's books regarding how to go back to Godhead and in the Fifth Canto it mentions that one who rejects his guru for another and then criticises him goes to the most hellish planet. Since that is not the case here then jai prabhus, all glories to your service! Your fallen servant, Gopi.
Madhava - Wed, 21 Jul 2004 01:32:39 +0530
I don't think it says that in the fifth canto, but never mind the details. smile.gif

All the best for your spiritual pursuits, I pray that you will attain what you seek.
Keshava - Wed, 21 Jul 2004 03:21:32 +0530
QUOTE (gopidust @ Jul 20 2004, 01:00 PM)
Yes, prabhu, we accept whatever Prabhupada says, with the proper understanding. For example, he said Sridhara Maharaja was his guru, yet he also said all of his disciples were too (Lilamrta). Sorry I don't have all his books memorised for quotations.

Dear Ms Gopidust, just in case you are still reading this thread. I also wish you the best in your spiritual quest. For your benefit please forgive me if I once again point out that you have not given one single solitary quote from the books of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada which you have said are accepted by you wholeheartedly.

No one here is asking that you memorise anything, but surely you have a copy of SP's books and can quote something that you wish to discuss.

Quoting stories from Lilamrta is not the same as quoting directly from SP's books. Lilamrta is not a book by SP. It is what we call a hagiography. Admittedly it was researched and written very soon after the depature of His Divine Grace, which makes its statements more believable. Yet I can tell you for certain that there are things given in it which are not accepted, especially by those who were actually present, as the historical facts. Be that as it may, it remains a valuable secondary source on the life and teachings of His Divine Grace, but not in any way shape or form a substitute for his actually written instructions. I hope that I have made this point clear.

There is a tendency for all spiritual movements that have charismatic founders to fall into the mode of elevating the worship of that founder after his departure. Srila Prabhupada himself showed us the exception to this. Instead of obsessing over Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, he followed Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's intructions to preach about Krsna. Compare what new devotees were taught during Srila Prabhupada's time to today. It is more likely today that someone (like yourself perhaps) is familiar with the stories of Lilamrta than with the actual books of His Divine Grace.

I do not mean any disrespect of any of the above books, devotees, or instructions.

All I am trying to point out is that with a myriad of source material available one needs to place it all in its proper context. Some things are ex cathedra, some not, some sources are primary, some secondary. It is because people do not think deeply, logically and philosophically about these matters that most common disagreements occur even between disciples of the same guru. What to speak of inter-group dynamics.

Your reference to Hrsikesh (a member of this forum) and his life's story shows a very shallow understanding of what actually occurred. I don't know if you got this from reading the thread on this forum or not. But you could have certainly inquired directly from him about the incident if you felt the need. It is not always easy to judge others motives. Vaisnavera kriya mudra, etc. "One cannot understand the activities of a Vaishnava."

As for your statement about 64 maths and 500 temples, etc. I would propose to you that numbers are not everything. If they are, then surely there are millions more Christians and Moslems in this world than Vaishnavas. Srila Prabhupada is also known to have said, "Better one moon than a sky full of stars." So next time, please consider that the amount of followers, bank balance, number of buildings, etc., may not actually be the only method of accessing the value of a spiritual movement or its leader.

I do not understand what you meant by, "In the meantime why should we accept a guru who we are warned not to accept by our guru, Srila Prabhupada?"

Sorry I am not a mindreader, but if this refers to Sridhara Maharaja or Naranaya Maharaja or other members of the GM, then it would only be fair to present all the direct quotes by His Divine Grace on those persons as well as to know the circumstances under which they were spoken or written.

This statement could also be seen as an indictment of all the present gurus in ISKCON. In ISKCON gurus are approved of or appointed by the GBC through an ecclesiastical convention. No matter what they call it there is a definite ecclesiastical process to become a guru in ISKCON and there is certainly customary social pressure within ISKCON to take only ISKCON approved gurus as spiritual masters. This is expressly forbidden by Srila Prabhuapda as follows:

"It is imperative that a serious person accept a bonafide spiritual master in terms of sastric injunctions. Sri Jiva Goswami advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions. One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding." (CC.Adi 1.35 purport)

Of course, this does not mean that one may not accept a person who is truly qualified if that person is also considered hereditarily, socially and ecclesiastically qualified as well. What it means is that the foremost consideration should not be those things, but the true qualifications.

This should be the reason for taking a spiritual master. Not as a fad. Or because everyone else is going to him. Or because he was recommended by someone. Or comes from a certain group, caste, family, organization, etc. It is in fact the disciple that makes someone a guru. Without a disciple who has implicit faith in one's qualities, one cannot claim to be a guru.

Regarding "the British tradition of apologizing for any offenses he may have committed, it was necessary for preaching." Please note that this is not just a British tradition; it is certainly a Vaisnava tradition to beg forgiveness of others at the time of departure from this world (if not at other times as well!).
Tamal Baran das - Wed, 21 Jul 2004 07:56:23 +0530
QUOTE (gopidust @ Jul 20 2004, 07:17 PM)
wink.gif I guess I will be leaving now. Iá thought you were all blooped Iskcon devotees. Everything is there in Prabhupada's books regarding how to go back to Godhead and in the Fifth Canto it mentions that one who rejects his guru for another and then criticises him goes to the most hellish planet. Since that is not the case here then jai prabhus, all glories to your service! Your fallen servant, Gopi.


You certainly did learn many things in society where you spend most of your time. If your friends teach you that they are one and only, and that rest are just bloopers, they must be really one and only in their imaginary world of Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory.

Good luck,
Talasiga - Wed, 21 Jul 2004 09:20:20 +0530
QUOTE (gopidust @ Jul 20 2004, 07:17 PM)
wink.gif I guess I will be leaving now. I thought you were all blooped Iskcon devotees. Everything is there in Prabhupada's books regarding how to go back to Godhead and in the Fifth Canto it mentions that one who rejects his guru for another and then criticises him goes to the most hellish planet. Since that is not the case here then jai prabhus, all glories to your service! Your fallen servant, Gopi.

you are not MY servant.
It's me who holds up
that yellow umbrella .....
manjari - Wed, 21 Jul 2004 21:15:40 +0530
Dear gopi. I was also very confused about this tattvas in Iskcon for about 15 years. But after reading these books I got very clear ideas about these tattva. Their is a clear idea in the shastras about what is the qualification of guru/disciple. Please check this book by Srila Ananta das Babaji's book "Sri Guru Tattva Vijnana & Sri Bhakta Tattva Vijnana". You can even order from this link.

http://www.loibazaar.com/Merchant2/merchan...Product_Count=2
Ananta Dasa Babaji
Sri Guru Tattva Vijnana examines the theology of guru-tattva, presenting the qualifications of a genuine spiritual master, the necessity and purpose of initiation, the duties of a disciple and the rejection of a disqualified guru. Sri Bhakta Tattva Vijnana examines the characteristics of the various classes of devotees of the Lord, the proper behavior to be adopted towards them, the paramount necessity of associating with devotees and the glory of their service. (76 pages, softbound)
Madhava - Thu, 22 Jul 2004 16:19:13 +0530
Posts on ma˝jarI-bhAva have been split off to a separate thread to give them the attention they deserve.