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The Sincerely Appreciating ISKCON - thread - The Yin and Yang of Forum Spirituality



Madhava - Fri, 19 Sep 2003 16:09:48 +0530
We have instituted a new principle to keep our forums in balance, active immediately.

Whoever posts a message mocking* ISKCON in our forums, is obliged to post a message of equal length, consisting of sincere appreciation what they consider adorable in ISKCON, in this thread. This is a great challenge to our advanced raganugiya-bhaktas, who never fail to see the good in everyone they behold. Let us see if we are up to the task.

whistling.gif

[ *Mocking - engaging in insulting or contemptuous action or speech, addressing with contempt or ridicule. ]
Advaitadas - Fri, 19 Sep 2003 16:37:05 +0530
Constructive criticism, based on comparing their practises and theories with the teachings of the Goswamis and practical Gaudiya Vaisnava history also must be balanced with an equal amount of words about to what extent they do follow the Goswamis? sad.gif
Govindaram - Fri, 19 Sep 2003 16:57:29 +0530
Krishna Bhakti Ki Jai smile.gif
Madhava - Fri, 19 Sep 2003 23:30:49 +0530
QUOTE(Advaitadas @ Sep 19 2003, 11:07 AM)
Constructive criticism, based on comparing their practises and theories with the teachings of the Goswamis and practical Gaudiya Vaisnava history also must be balanced with an equal amount of words about to what extent they do follow the Goswamis? sad.gif

Yes, yin and yang must always be in balance in every respect. This is called the Tao of Krishna Consciousness.

I am just making a point that people who do not know the writings of the Gosvamis and who have nothing constructive to say would be better off not saying anything. Learned examination of ISKCON, or whatever, is a different issue altogether.
vamsidas - Sat, 20 Sep 2003 03:48:15 +0530
ISKCON should be appreciated for its unparalleled service in showing so many of us the path of raganuga-bhakti -- even if ISKCON and its members rarely tread that path. Without ISKCON, very few of us would be at this forum today.

If Bilvamangala Thakura could offer his sincere obeisances to the prostitute Cintamani, genuinely seeing her as vartma-pradarsaka-guru, then most of us should be able to offer our sincere obeisances to various ISKCON devotees who have been guru to us in one way or another. Ultimately, Bilvamangala Thakura rejected Cintamani's form of "sadhana" and became an exalted bhakta. Similarly, most of us have rejected substantial portions of whatever ISKCON gave us. But as it gave most of us our first awareness of raganuga-bhakti, we owe an immeasurable debt to it, and to many of its members.

So, even though some of the following devotees would surely consider me an offender and blasphemer, I am in their debt, and I would like to thank them publicly. Each of them either wrote something that touched me deeply, or offered words and example that made an incalculable difference in my life:

Acyutananda Swami. He gave a presentation in my high school "Religious Studies" class that allowed me to see devotees, for the first time, as something other than airport hucksters or sentimental streetcorner-chanting bliss ninnies.

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami. To me, his books throughout much of the 1980s were unlike most anything his godbrothers or even his guru had written. Within his own sometimes-unusual framework, he displayed an honesty and self-awareness rare among devotees, and set a high standard that became invaluable in my own personal introspection.

Swami Lalitananda Vana, sannyasa disciple of Swami Bhakti Hridaya Vana. When I first encountered his little book, "Bhakti Culture", I had no idea of his ISKCON pre-history. I was simply charmed, touched, captivated and fascinated by his presentation of Krishna-bhakti, unlike anything I had previously read. Yet I could not have been so touched by his writing if he had not first been inspired by Bhaktivedanta Swami.

And I also owe an unfathomable debt of gratitude to the ISKCON devotees who showed hospitality to Vishvambhara Goswami of the Radha Raman temple during his USA tour in the mid-80s. He was the first "orthodox" Gaudiya Vaishnava who I ever met, and I would never have met him, and been so profoundly inspired and encouraged by his words and example, if it were not for the kind introductions provided by Guru Kripa dasa and some other devotees.

Even though some of these individuals might be horrified that their example and influence helped bring me to where I am today, I cannot minimize the debt I owe them. They are my gurus, no matter where else I may later have found inspiration (and someday, I hope, diksha).
Madhava - Sat, 20 Sep 2003 03:54:25 +0530
We'll have to stray from the principle of Yin-Yang balance in your case, Vamsidas, as we really don't need to read the equivalent amount of ISKCON-related Yin anywhere! tongue.gif
adiyen - Sat, 20 Sep 2003 06:08:54 +0530
QUOTE(vamsidas @ Sep 19 2003, 10:18 PM)
They are my gurus, no matter where else I may later have found inspiration...

I second that!
Gaurasundara - Sat, 20 Sep 2003 06:40:44 +0530
QUOTE(adiyen @ Sep 20 2003, 12:38 AM)
QUOTE(vamsidas @ Sep 19 2003, 10:18 PM)
They are my gurus, no matter where else I may later have found inspiration...

I second that!

And I third it! biggrin.gif

I sort of feel like as if I am at a crossroads right now, where to go? And whatever spiritual growth I may have attained or will attain, there's no way I could ever turn back and ridicule/revile ISKCON in good conscience. That would be plain bad manners, in my view.
Mina - Sat, 20 Sep 2003 23:09:34 +0530
We cannot ignore our debt to any organization that was a beacon in the darkness for us. Engaging in mudslinging against any such group is hardly the proper way of acknowledging that debt. My purpose in introducing the schism thread was purely educational, in order to address the many questions that keep coming up over divergence in doctrine and practices. I am not saying that constructive criticism is not beneficial, but if it is unsolicited, then it is bound to be taken in a less than receptive mood. If reforms are in order over there, then that is their affair. We need not concern ourselves with any of the details as long as we have chosen to separate ourselves from them.
Madhava - Sun, 21 Sep 2003 01:23:06 +0530
Balanced education should definitely be there. Even ISKCON folks ought to know of their own history and the controversies of their own group. Heck, don't we all have our own little controversies?

In this thread, I was more aiming at cutting down posts which land somewhere mid-way temper tantrum and mud-slinging, with little informative content to offer.
Madhava - Sun, 21 Sep 2003 01:23:42 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Sep 19 2003, 10:39 AM)
We have instituted a new principle to keep our forums in balance, active immediately.

Just in case somebody missed it, this was a joke. We don't have hard and fast rules. tongue.gif
Guest - Sun, 21 Sep 2003 09:10:01 +0530
Very nice comments.
Still bewilderment and confusion should not be accepted as OK or progressive.. It will be misleading to sincere people.
"The day a man fails to speak out on what matters is the day he begins to die".. Martin Luther. Does one need to be very learned or solicited to do so ? I dont think so.
Some of you may have been in the group stoning Nitai after he got in trouble for the Saints and Sinners article, although you may have been involved in assisting him compiling it.
I believe his motive is brilliant, although he may do some mudslinging now and again. Who was the one who introduced it on Isthagosthi ? I believe it was Madhav. Still, no apology came from him for his contribution. Every one then backed out when Nitai started getting a pounding.
Popularity with the masses does not mean successful preaching. One should certainly not be ungrateful to some institution that has shown the way, but sometimes forceful criticsm is the only way to break the iron shackles that bind it members within, and who cant see the light of the day.
Flattery and sweet words dont always work..
If you dont know the author's motives or qualification, you would call it mudslinging, and that is very offensive in my opinion
Madhava - Sun, 21 Sep 2003 09:24:09 +0530
Who's writing, please? We are in the habit of signing our posts here.

I have no idea what you're talking about as far as I am concerned. Should I apologise for posting a link to some article?


QUOTE
Still bewilderment and confusion should not be accepted as OK or progressive.. It will be misleading to sincere people.

I seriously don't think anyone entertained such an idea.

As far as forceful preaching is concerned, name calling and character assassinations combined with unfounded accusations do not qualify for that. I agree that sometimes we have to speak frankly, but most of the time a gloves off approach is really not necessary or productive. It may serve to give us the kicks for the day, but beyond that it serves little purpose.


QUOTE
Flattery and sweet words dont always work..

Most of the time when we read "forceful preaching", the first concern I have is not over flattery or sweet words. It is over trying to act like a somewhat civilized human being with due respect to fellow beings. After all, we are supposed to be some sort of Vaishnava here.


QUOTE
If you dont know the author's motives or qualification, you would call it mudslinging, and that is very offensive in my opinion

With due respect to your opinion, if someone resorts to name-calling and low blows, we can question the motives and qualification of the author without much concern over being offensive.
Jagat - Mon, 06 Oct 2003 05:26:18 +0530
What a nice thread. Nice post from Vamsidas. I second it wholeheartedly. It reminds me of BhP 2.8.6 "muktaH sarva-pariklezaH pAnthaH sva-zaraNaM yathA."

When one has completed a long voyage, one is too tired to "sweat the small stuff." One simply wants to eat and lie down, and dwell on some of the fonder memories of the trip.

This is the kind of maturity we have to pray for in ourselves and in others.

A devotee came to visit me from upstate New York yesterday, a disciple of Satsvarupa Maharaj. We had a nice long talk, not long enough as it were. But I was delighted by his mature attitude.

Some of the things he said that I retained were that no one is in control of Iskcon any more, but the GBC just hasn't found out yet. Meaning that nearly everyone who has been touched by Iskcon has somehow been forced to find his or her own path of spirituality, independently of the GBC. This kind of fragmented individualism is however a hopeful sign.

He cited Scott Peck's book "The Different Drum", which is about community. In particular, he refered to Peck's stages of pseudocommunity, chaos, emptiness and community.

Pseudocommunity is one that is artificially created on the basis of generally superficial characteristics. This can rarely be maintained, because the individual's inner needs are not being met. Naturally, such communities tend to disintegrate (chaos) until mature individuals realize that they need community (emptiness) and are ready to make the kinds of sacrifices that such community requires--one of which is the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness.

They can then come together on the basis of genuine desire to share--to give and take on the basis of genuine human interaction, i.e. genuine community.

From reading the posts of Adiyen, Vamsidas, Madhavaji and others, I get the feeling that this "virtual" community is beginning to show signs of developing in the right direction. Let us nurture it.

Let us nurture it, not by demanding artificial standards of adherence, but by recognizing the best in everyone.

Haribol. Jagat
Gaurasundara - Mon, 06 Oct 2003 10:30:25 +0530
QUOTE(Jagat @ Oct 5 2003, 11:56 PM)
When one has completed a long voyage, one is too tired to "sweat the small stuff." One simply wants to eat and lie down, and dwell on some of the fonder memories of the trip. This is the kind of maturity we have to pray for in ourselves and in others.

I hope I will one day achieve this also.
ramadas - Thu, 09 Oct 2003 03:19:04 +0530
NIce thread and not only because is positive but because truth is declared.
I think guru-bhakti is more important than any other sadhana. Srila Prabhupada's disciples will make enormous advancement if they follow theur spiritual master's instructions.
Som - Wed, 15 Oct 2003 23:12:11 +0530
Hare Krishna Dear Vaishnavas!

This is very nice idea Madhavaji. In this world of total materialism and lust, ISKCON is SURELY doing the BEST service to the mankind by trying to remind everyone about the REAL aim of human form of life.

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!

I sometimes feel that Srila Prabhupada knowingly stressed on the importance of spreading the Krishna conciousness more rather than doing bhajan sitting at a place. It looks very practical also.

He would have thought that if everyone starts doing bhajan, seriously sitting in isolation, then how can the congregational chanting of the Holy Name take place in the whole world as predicted by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? He would also have thought that some may just make a show of doing bhajan - As he usually quotes Bhaktisidhdhanta Saraswati Maharaj's famous verse of "Doing bhajan in isolation to get public praise..."

These are some of my thoughts.. Hope our Vaishnavas here agree with this?

Hare Krishna!

Dasanudasa,
Somesh
Jagat - Thu, 16 Oct 2003 08:47:41 +0530
The Bhagavata says in very simple language that virtue means acting according to one's adhikara. The flaw is to go against that principle.

Bhakti is possible from any life situation.
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 31 Oct 2003 04:55:47 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

I have met many beautiful, gentle, loving and advanced souls within ISKCON. My experience is that involvement with any institution/organization is simply what you make of it. If you seek to find fault there are many stones to turn and no shortage of examples from the "highest" to "lowest" spectrum of the institution in which you can find fault.

If you are looking for beautiful, gentle, loving and advanced souls then you need to open yourself to the unexpected and most importantly embrace the inherent risk you become open to when opening yourself to others. Personally, I like to think and focus on those that inspire me to be a better person and Vaisnava. I have found many of those individuals both within the ISKCON organization and from outside; from within that particular tradition and from other traditions.

Aspiring to be a servant of the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
servant of the protected cows - Fri, 31 Oct 2003 17:55:46 +0530
hare krsna prabhus,

i sincerely appreciate all the devotees responsible for keeping open so many of Srila Prabhupada's temples. And for still after all these years keeping up festivals around the world, which i attend here and there. This past summer i travelled to Montreal and attended an incredible Ratha Yatra. Srila Prabhupada was the only "guru" that i saw advertised, and the temple was very nicely run.
Govindaram - Fri, 31 Oct 2003 20:03:55 +0530
radhe radhe

everytime i see this thread it makes me rolleyes.gif .

don't know why unsure.gif

anybody can answer why?

much appreciated. hare krishna
TarunGovindadas - Sat, 01 Nov 2003 00:28:14 +0530
Radhe Radhe!

me also feeling good bout this thread.

i also am feeling great appreciation for all that Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami achieved, including saving my otherwise
useless life.

im thankful that i can visit the nearest ISKCON temple here around now and then and meet really nice people.
and if i learn to be tolerant, appreciative and forgiving i certainly will be treated in the same manner.

still unlearning so many things, still trying to let go of all that bad feelings against ISKCON/GM (due to different
experiences therein).
praying everyday to see the whole picture, everyone as a servant of the Lord.
still finding myself critizising too much and too many.

but the more i associate with such nice devotees like here in this forum,
the more i learn the proper perspective.

all glories to the family of Sri Caitanya

Tarunji
biggrin.gif
Advaitadas - Sat, 01 Nov 2003 09:59:48 +0530
Purity is the force. It is the sheer enthusiasm and conviction of the Iskcon bhaktas that causes their great success in preaching.

yAdRzI bhAvanA yasya
siddhir bhavati tAdRzI

"It is according to one's mentality that one becomes successful."
Gaurasundara - Sat, 01 Nov 2003 10:10:39 +0530
Positive thinking works! biggrin.gif
vamsidas - Sat, 29 Nov 2003 17:46:45 +0530
I haven't posted in any other topics for a few days, as I have become gravely disappointed by the tenor of many of the recent discussions on this forum. Recently, one poster in particular has made some nasty and grossly un-Vaishnava attacks on ISKCON, so I thought I would collect my thoughts here -- in what may be my last post on this forum. He wrote:

QUOTE
You aren't going to learn much in here except how to lose faith in your ISKCON guru. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea.

I have major connections in ISKCON. If you don't leave me alone I will tell your guru that you are in the raganuga forums learning about your ekadasa-bhava and looking for siddha-pranali.


I find the above comments sad, and toxic to the uplifting Vaishnava approach that I formerly thought was the hallmark of www.raganuga.com.

Not only are that poster's comments nasty -- they are wrong. Since coming to www.raganuga.com, I find that my appreciation for ISKCON and several of its gurus has increased rather than decreased. No, it hasn't increased in a manner that ISKCON would likely appreciate -- I'm in no danger of running off to become a disciple of an ISKCON guru. But I have realized that ISKCON was quite likely the direct arrangement of Mahaprabhu, and that its very flaws may have allowed it to serve as "elementary school" for thousands who might otherwise never have become aware of, or greedy for, raganuga-bhakti.

Additionally, if we have a proper understanding of the role of the vyasti-guru and samasti-guru, I do not believe that we can say dogmatically that its members are making little or no spiritual advancement. Whether or not there is an unbroken diksha line, and whether or not individual gurus have reached laudable levels of advancement, it is cruel and wrong to deny that ISKCON members can experience substantial growth in bhakti, thanks to the intervention of the perfect samasti-guru in the life of the imperfect vyasti-guru and his disciples.

I have been struck by the contrast between two recent new visitors to www.raganuga.com, who have come here with current ISKCON connections. One seems to fancy himself a disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami (though it appears he may actually be a 'rtvik' disciple), the other is a "grand-disciple" of Bhaktivedanta Swami.

The disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami is full of anger and pride and confusion, yet his angry and provocative posts seem to be receiving encouragement by forum moderators and participants, perhaps because he once expressed a "conversion experience" regarding his approach to raganuga-bhakti, and styles himself as the "mind-slave of Madhavanandaji" whom he calls "an incarnation of some divinity" (and it's not clear that he's using hyperbole!). Indeed, he writes of "the raganuga movement of Sriman Madhavananda das" rather than of Ananta dasa Babaji or Mahaprabhu. Such flattery!

The "grand-disciple", however, seems to share many of my own misgivings about the tone of this forum. He has expressed an interest in learning about raganuga-bhakti, and seems aware that ISKCON has not exposed him to the fullness of the tradition he seeks. Yet he maintains affection and respect for his ISKCON guru (even spending Thanksgiving with him?), and generally models an exemplary Vaishnava attitude. But when he has been somewhat abused in posts by the Bhaktivedanta Swami disciple, the moderators appear to have tolerated the abuse. Why? Because he has not "renounced" ISKCON and cursed its gurus, as the Bhaktivedanta Swami disciple appears to have done? There is an inconsistency here, and I find it troubling for the future of www.raganuga.com.

When I discovered www.raganuga.com, I thought it was a venue to learn about raganuga-bhakti -- a place where one could ask both tough questions and stupid questions and find a sympathetic and knowledgeable response. I thought this was a forum that was more or less above (or apart from) politics and personal attacks, except for some "historical" analysis of how those attacks have shaped our tradition. I thought that this forum might even serve as the "first step" in creating a new and positive sense of Vaishnava community among those of related-but-differing "camps" who would learn to relate to one another on the basis of trnad api sunicena.

Sadly, it appears that I was wrong. This appears to be a forum in which one can issue (to quote one poster):

QUOTE
a warning to all the bureaucrats and politicians of ISKCON... Your cult is under assault and you seem to be poorly armed to defend yourself as your bureaucracy and politics have no power or influence on the vast majority of devotees who reject and despise your authority...


Perhaps I don't belong on www.raganuga.com, as I am not assaulting ISKCON, nor am I interested in doing so. And I do not despise ISKCON devotees; I appreciate some, and pity others, but I don't despise anyone simply on the grounds of ISKCON participation.

A few days ago, I wrote to one poster:

QUOTE
Either you are a psychologically disturbed narcissist, or you're plainly and simply a JERK. I will no longer post in any threads in which I see that you have posted.


Today, seeing how the forum has deteriorated even further, I must now decide whether to expand my vow more broadly. Perhaps I shouldn't post here at all, instead of just avoiding threads touched by this one troubling individual. Or perhaps I shouldn't even read the Raganuga Discussions forums at all.

I believe that ISKCON's once-great promise has been terribly crippled by a particular species of belligerent attitude that is inimical toward authentic Caitanyaite sadacara. Sadly, I perceive that this belligerent attitude has entered www.raganuga.com -- and that rather than banishing this attitude, www.raganuga.com is trying to figure out how best to accommodate this soul-destroying toxin.

I hope the problem is corrected before it is too late.
Jagat - Sat, 29 Nov 2003 20:12:48 +0530
Though I am sympathetic to your statements, Vamsidas, I am reluctant to advise Madhava to ban people. A certain amount of freedom of speech must be permitted, otherwise this forum may quickly dry up as have so many others when people think they can be censored or banished if they say something that the moderator disagrees with.

I have personally left all forums where any posts of mine have been deleted.

Dealing with unruly elements is a problem that every society has to deal with. There are numerous factors that need to be taken into consideration in such matters.

Kshamabuddhi's presence here is definitely disturbing. Many people are familiar with his modus operandi--alternating praise and attacks, false humor disguising self-disgust and hate. The tendency is to produce a lower level of response in others, as those who are less mature are taken in by his provocations.

It is perhaps impossible for him to truly reform himself. After all, he has been exposed to the ideals of spiritual life as presented in the lives of Chaitanya and the Goswamis for more than 30 years (as he likes to tell us) without showing much affection for qualities like humility and respect for others. Even so, it is by virtue of comparison with his behavior elsewhere that we have been extending him the benefit of the doubt. But if enough people like yourself are disturbed by his activities, and if he egregiously oversteps the threshold too often, then Madhava may consider banning him. Perhaps it is time to conduct a poll!

On the other hand, I think it is absolutely incorrect that Madhava has allowed himself to be impressed by KB's so-called "conversion" or his flattery. I believe that Madhava is familiar enough with his record to not be overly convinced by temporary demonstrations of good faith.

I would be far more disturbed by your loss, Vamsi, than by KB's. You have made many positive and learned contributions to this forum and so I hope that you will be patient as we try to resolve this problem.

In furtherance to your comments: The kind of "tit/tat" threads that are starting to spring up, reminiscent of Istagosthi, should be disallowed. All these quotes within quotes within quotes with superficial one-line responses should automatically be deleted by the moderator. If Madhava agrees with this, I will do that myself whenever I see that kind of thing coming up. These kinds of exchanges really bring down the tenor of the site.
Madhava - Sat, 29 Nov 2003 22:49:10 +0530
QUOTE(vamsidas @ Nov 29 2003, 12:16 PM)
The disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami is full of anger and pride and confusion, yet his angry and provocative posts seem to be receiving encouragement by forum moderators and participants, perhaps because he once expressed a "conversion experience" regarding his approach to raganuga-bhakti, and styles himself as the "mind-slave of Madhavanandaji" whom he calls "an incarnation of some divinity" (and it's not clear that he's using hyperbole!). Indeed, he writes of "the raganuga movement of Sriman Madhavananda das" rather than of Ananta dasa Babaji or Mahaprabhu. Such flattery!

I do not endorse the anti-ISKCON posts of Ksamabuddhi or anyone else for that matter. I do not recall voicing particular objections, or encouragement either.

I generally interfere in topics when (1) The post is blatantly offensive, or (2) Someone reports a post to me with a rationale for its removal. This is a community website, and I expect feedback from the community. I am not, and do not wish to be, an autocrat who rules the board and gives the ultimatums on everything. If I was alone in the forums, I doubt many would be reading my monologues. So please, use that "Report this post" link at the bottom of each post if you feel that a post is inappropriate.

Jagat and Ramdas also have moderator rights, so you can also turn to them if you have concerns over any particular posts. I trust their judgement, they can moderate as they wish. Of course, in the end everyone is accountable for the one who pays the bills and runs the server, but that's not really what I wish to have as a foundational premise here.

= = =

As for Ksamabuddhi's praise, I wouldn't care if he coronated me as the emperor of the kingdom of rasa. If he likes what I write, that's all right with me and I won't object. I find his praise rather embarassing, as I find it quite a bit out of place.

QUOTE
The "grand-disciple", however, seems to share many of my own misgivings about the tone of this forum. He has expressed an interest in learning about raganuga-bhakti, and seems aware that ISKCON has not exposed him to the fullness of the tradition he seeks. Yet he maintains affection and respect for his ISKCON guru (even spending Thanksgiving with him?), and generally models an exemplary Vaishnava attitude. But when he has been somewhat abused in posts by the Bhaktivedanta Swami disciple, the moderators appear to have tolerated the abuse. Why? Because he has not "renounced" ISKCON and cursed its gurus, as the Bhaktivedanta Swami disciple appears to have done? There is an inconsistency here, and I find it troubling for the future of www.raganuga.com.

The community here must learn to object to particular posts and report them to the moderators and the administrator.

I don't have the time or energy to process the interpersonal relationships and their development over each and every post all day long in my head. If there's a problem you observe, please do contact me by PM and explain the issue and propose a solution, and I'll look into it.

QUOTE
When I discovered www.raganuga.com, I thought it was a venue to learn about raganuga-bhakti -- a place where one could ask both tough questions and stupid questions and find a sympathetic and knowledgeable response. I thought this was a forum that was more or less above (or apart from) politics and personal attacks, except for some "historical" analysis of how those attacks have shaped our tradition. I thought that this forum might even serve as the "first step" in creating a new and positive sense of Vaishnava community among those of related-but-differing "camps" who would learn to relate to one another on the basis of trnad api sunicena.

Sadly, it appears that I was wrong. This appears to be a forum in which one can issue (to quote one poster):

Don't you think you are overreacting a bit? Now it appears that raganuga.com has gone down the drain and doesn't serve as a venue to learn about raganuga-bhakti? Are the responses of the regular contributors to both thoughtless and stupid questions no longer sympathetic and knowledgeable?

Certainly there are issues in the growth of any community. But which choice is better, to declare it's going down the drain and leave your resignation, or to contribute in furthering the positive growth of a community? Building a community isn't all about smelling the roses, it's about confronting the thorns, too, and everyone's got to take their piece of the thorny part if they indeed want to contribute to the growth of the community in addition to enjoying its fruits.

If you think Ksamabuddhi is a problem and / or a threat to the community, then please post in your guidelines on what degree of participation would be welcome from him to make his overall contribution a positive one.
Jagat - Sat, 29 Nov 2003 22:58:40 +0530
Good points about community, Madhava.
vamsidas - Sat, 29 Nov 2003 23:16:43 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Nov 29 2003, 05:19 PM)
Don't you think you are overreacting a bit? Now it appears that raganuga.com has gone down the drain and doesn't serve as a venue to learn about raganuga-bhakti? Are the responses of the regular contributors to both though and stupid questions no longer sympathetic and knowledgeable?

Yes, it's very possible that I am overreacting a bit. Pleae note, however, that my post said that I was considering whether to cut back my involvement in www.raganuga.com. I wasn't posting some dramatic "I have decided to do such-and-such..." announcement. I certainly wasn't leaving my resignation. I just wanted to make it clear that the recent tone of the forums made me think about this prospect.

But I think you may be under-reacting a bit.

Some people are optimists by nature: when they see a pile of animal dung, they think, "Ah, a beautiful animal has passed by here. I hope I may see it." Others, however, are simply repulsed by the odor.

In the last few weeks, www.raganuga.com has acquired an unpleasant odor. The swans are still here, but now one must tolerate the stench in order to appreciate them. As the moderator, you KNOW that there are swans here, but some visitors might be repulsed by the stench before staying around long enough to see for themselves.

If your forum software permitted it, I might suggest that you confine Ksamabuddhi's participation to the "Miscellaneous Discussions" section for a while, and also insist that he not comment -- positively or negatively -- about Gaudiya Math and its devotees (or any of its offshoots, including ISKCON). This is a forum about raganuga bhakti, NOT about "the politics of those who support or oppose raganuga bhakti."

Turning back to the topic of this thread: I believe that there are at least two or three "ISKCON gurus" who, although tied to a sometimes-repugnant management system, do have a broad and liberal outlook on the Caitanya Vaishnava traditions. More than one may "secretly" be practicing within the broader tradition, at least internally, and perhaps through a formal connection. Still others are aware of problems, but feel somewhat helpless to correct them. The situation is far more complex than some critics acknowledge.

I could never in good conscience connect with any of the ISKCON or GM gurus as a disciple, as I find too many flaws and problems in their tradition and their approach. Yet I honor them as my respected seniors, and I wish nothing but the best for them and for their disciples. It is my hope and prayer that Ksamabuddhi, and others, will eventually come to the point where they can love, respect and honor ISKCON gurus and GBCs, but feel neither undue attraction nor revulsion regarding their organization.
Madhava - Sat, 29 Nov 2003 23:27:57 +0530
QUOTE
But I think you may be under-reacting a bit.

Quite possible, and that's why I need active feedback from the community.


QUOTE(vamsidas @ Nov 29 2003, 05:46 PM)
If your forum software permitted it, I might suggest that you confine Ksamabuddhi's participation to the "Miscellaneous Discussions" section for a while, and also insist that he not comment -- positively or negatively -- about Gaudiya Math and its devotees (or any of its offshoots, including ISKCON). This is a forum about raganuga bhakti, NOT about "the politics of those who support or oppose raganuga bhakti."

It is basically possible. Votes for the proposal from the regular contributors?


QUOTE
Turning back to the topic of this thread: I believe that there are at least two or three "ISKCON gurus" who, although tied to a sometimes-repugnant management system, do have a broad and liberal outlook on the Caitanya Vaishnava traditions. More than one may "secretly" be practicing within the broader tradition, at least internally, and perhaps through a formal connection. Still others are aware of problems, but feel somewhat helpless to correct them. The situation is far more complex than some critics acknowledge.

Agreed. I know some personally and enjoy associating with them.


QUOTE
I could never in good conscience connect with any of the ISKCON or GM gurus as a disciple, as I find too many flaws and problems in their tradition and their approach. Yet I honor them as my respected seniors, and I wish nothing but the best for them and for their disciples. It is my hope and prayer that Ksamabuddhi, and others, will eventually come to the point where they can love, respect and honor ISKCON gurus and GBCs, but feel neither undue attraction nor revulsion regarding their organization.

A backlash is a rather natural reaction to such situations. Most people need to grow over it, and in the meantime, others need to be a bit patient. From ISKCON to NM, we know how people spit back, and from GM to elsewhere, it's also very common. Among other reasons, it's a way of fortifying your newfound faith by negating and denouncing the old. But there are limits to how vocal one can get about this, definitely.
Radhapada - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 02:26:17 +0530
I also believe that KB is not here to learn through the discussions but to use the forums for his mundane purposes of useless arguments. I guess he doesn't have nothing better to do with his time. I honestly stopped reading his posts because I found he has nothing positive to contribute. His flattery of you was a sick tactic to appease you while he goes about doing his normal routine of useless rhertoric and arguments. If you want to keep him in, maybe you, Madhava, should have a separte section for him entitiled 'RAMBLINGS', so that his posts are not mixed in with discussions that are more fruitful for spiritual understanding.
Madhava - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 03:04:28 +0530
QUOTE(Radhapada @ Nov 29 2003, 08:56 PM)
His flattery of you was a sick tactic to appease you while he goes about doing his normal routine of useless rhertoric and arguments. If you want to keep him in, maybe you, Madhava, should have a separte section for him entitiled 'RAMBLINGS', so that his posts are not mixed in with discussions that are more fruitful for spiritual understanding.

If that is truly so, then I would like to hear him saying it himself.

I do not care to have a ramblings section, thank you very much for the suggestion! tongue.gif
adiyen - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 05:34:51 +0530
I agree with Vamsi and Radhapad, though I hope Vamsi is patient and waits for the dogs to stop barking: the caravan is unaffected, Vamsi!
Jagat - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 05:46:34 +0530
Radha and Krishna are the center of the universe. The conditioned soul says, "Hey what about me?" Funny thing is, he thinks that negative attention is better than no attention at all. Success is: "Hey Mama, they're talking about me!"
Gaurasundara - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 05:59:30 +0530
I must also admit that I have been a little concerned about the situation that has developed ove the last couple of weeks or so. I am even more concerned when people who usually make long and thoughtful mature contributions (like Vamsidas) feel that they have to leave the forum after observing the distasteful behaviour of a minority. I think it was Jagat who said that he would be more troubled at Vamsidas' loss than KB's, and I wholeheartedly agree on this. I must also say that it was a rather weird experience to be nattering on about Sanskrit, Radha and Lalita, when all around me were kicking and screaming. Very weird.

As far as a solution goes, I don't have one. blush.gif I'd say I'm one of those eternal optimists who would like to give people a chance, but repeated flouting of the rules or the general status quo would obviously need a sterner reaction as a result. In this way, I have to say with an extremely heavy heart that if it was decided to ban KB then I would support this. As an alternative, his participation could be limited to a certain forum such as Misc.

[By the way, what a nice analogy of Raganuga.Com as a flower garden! Might I add that when trying to grow roses, thorns are not the only problem; we need manure as well! laugh.gif ]
Ksamabuddhi - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 06:11:06 +0530
When I said I was leaving everybody was supposed to quit talking about me!
I didn't come in to participate. I just thought that it would be nice that now that I am not participating in the discussion that people could kindly stop talking about me. I will be reading the material in here, as I am now working on my new web site www.saraswata.net . I will also have forums in there as well and I hope that Madhava and Jagat and everybody else will come in and participate. I think there should be an alternative to the "freakshop" at Istagosthi and the raganuga crowd. I hope to carve a nitch, somewhere in between these two domains. The forums should be up by tomorrow night as soon as my DNS propagates.

Till then, keep your katha centered on Krishna and please quit talking about me when I can't be here to defend myself. cool.gif
Babhru - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 10:34:28 +0530
QUOTE
I hope to carve a nitch,


You may find it easier to carve a niche. wink.gif
Ksamabuddhi - Sun, 30 Nov 2003 20:32:29 +0530
QUOTE(Babhru @ Nov 30 2003, 05:04 AM)
QUOTE
I hope to carve a nitch,


You may find it easier to carve a niche. wink.gif


I was expecting somebody to point out my "error". But, decided to leave it in anyway.

I'm brushing up on my devanagari script. There was a time when I could read devanagari script. I was just barely getting the hang of it when I gave up my study. I still remember about half of it. In a few days I will be back up to speed in reading devanagari and then I am going to start working on my vocabulary by reading Sanskrit texts with transliterations.
I am not really concerned to write in Sanskrit, but I would like to be able to read the script and know what is being said.

p.s.
Maybe I meant to say notch.
Madhava - Mon, 01 Dec 2003 00:55:46 +0530
I take it that the Ksamabuddhi - issue is settled, then, since he has chosen to start his own forums and strictly limit his participation here to writing occasional posts which are in very good taste. Is that so?
Rasesh - Tue, 02 Dec 2003 02:22:02 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Nov 30 2003, 07:25 PM)
I take it that the Ksamabuddhi - issue is settled, then, since he has chosen to start his own forums and strictly limit his participation here to writing occasional posts which are in very good taste. Is that so?

Sure, I have my own forums coming on line possibly as early as tonight. I will certainly try to be a little more accomodating than this forum. I can appreciate your standards here and I think I did a pretty good job of respecting them. I did develop some respect and appreciation for most of the members in here. There are a couple though, that were not very impressive, despite some supposed scholarship.

My forums will be a little more liberal and tolerant. I will even be willing to allow others to express differences with Swami Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, if it is done with shastric principles and sincere intentions. I most certainly will welcome raganuga devotees to come in and challenge viewpoints and principles that they find erroneous or misconceived. I think that the saraswata camp could learn a few things from the raganuga devotees. I am interested to see how the saraswata camp might meet the challenges of the 21st Century, or if they start to get overtaken by the raganuga school.

I will not allow rude, hateful insults and offenses to Srila Prabhupada (or anyone). I will try to show the same courtesy to the raganuga devotees. I think my forums would be greatly enhanced with the participation of the raganuga crowd, so I will try to moderate in such a way as to keep them coming back for discussion. I will be encouraging the saraswata camp to rise to the challenges of the day and defend themselves from the accusations and criticisms that are proving to be quite a chorus of complaints from certain groups and parivars. I have not ruled out the possibility of crossing over to the raganuga camp someday, but for now their are some unresolved issues that i need to clear up before I can decide one way or the other.

My forums will have classifieds, personals, and some other features that are not found on most the other websites. Devotees can advertise businesses, sell stuff etc. etc.

The policy at saraswata.net forums will be more conservative than Istagosthi and more liberal than Raganuga or Namhatta. I think there is a void to fill somewhere in between these others.

I will probably come in here occasionally when I can make a point that might be acceptable in here. As the moderator of saraswata.net forums I will probably have to observe a little more restraint than I am known for. I will not be the perfect angel, but I will be tolerant to philosophical differences, though not very tolerant for personal insults. I will need Madhvaji and Jagat to keep me in check and exposing my misonceptions. There are maybe some ISKCON type devotees who would be willing to discuss with the raganuga crowd in a neutral zone, who would not be willing to come to raganuga forums and discuss. Maybe I can create a good field for some useful discussion. I know there will not be a stampede to get into my forums. It will be a slow gradual process to build up the membership.

Philosophically, I don't have much to say at this time. I am working hard to get my web site and forums built. Actually, my son is the technician behind most of the web design. He is a real bright kid. He has built some pretty cool web sites. I accidently closed a hosting account that had his best web site on it. He also built my quick-matrix.com site. I closed it down when the matrix scene started have legal issues. I am the idea man and he is the technician.
His name is Nitai Prasad.
My forums at www.saraswata.net should be up within the next couple of days. I'll come back and invite you all there when it is up and running.

thanks for the hospitality.......
Ksamabuddhi cool.gif
Jagat - Tue, 02 Dec 2003 02:57:53 +0530
QUOTE(Rasesh @ Dec 1 2003, 04:52 PM)
I have not ruled out the possibility of crossing over to the raganuga camp someday...

"I cannot conceive of belonging to any club that would agree to have me as a member !" (Groucho Marx)
Rasesh - Tue, 02 Dec 2003 04:03:16 +0530
QUOTE(Jagat @ Dec 1 2003, 09:27 PM)
QUOTE(Rasesh @ Dec 1 2003, 04:52 PM)
I have not ruled out the possibility of crossing over to the raganuga camp someday...

"I cannot conceive of belonging to any club that would agree to have me as a member !" (Groucho Marx)

Groucho was one of them guys who think that you have to be free of anarthas in order to practice raganuga sadhana. He didn't understand how magnanimous and merciful a good raganuga club could be. whistling.gif
Madhava - Mon, 23 Feb 2004 02:17:39 +0530
Up we go again.
braja - Wed, 31 Mar 2004 23:39:15 +0530
The bandwagon is starting to roll so time for a visual interlude, methinks:

user posted image

Kaler dosha nidhe rajan.
nabadip - Wed, 31 Mar 2004 23:46:19 +0530
Hmmmm, seems there are not many words available at the moment in terms of the title of this thread -- so a huge picture is required, Braja? Happily following the tradition of speaking without words to attract people's attention, as is done in most of those books?! huh.gif

Is it your idea of holding the flag, since you are one of them, still, on their bandwagon wink.gif ?
Jagat - Thu, 01 Apr 2004 01:49:34 +0530
I sincerely appreciate the fact that there is an Iskcon temple in my city. Even if the place is barely held together by anything more than some resilient sentiment, the Deities are still being served and dressed beautifully, guests are still given prasadam and there is a cordial core of community that yet survives. The Holy Names are still chanted, and on special occasions from morning to evening and even all night.

I like to bow down before Srila Prabhupada, Gaur Nitai, Radha Manohar and Jagannath. So, I am the well-wisher of Iskcon. If they want me, they know where to find me.
Madhava - Thu, 01 Apr 2004 01:53:50 +0530
I also appreciate this. Sometimes when I'm in the neighbourhood, I walk around the block for parikrama. Perhaps one day they will let me in. I should actually write a letter to the temple council one of these days and ask for an official statement on my status.
Rasaraja dasa - Thu, 01 Apr 2004 01:58:30 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Mar 31 2004, 12:23 PM)
I also appreciate this. Sometimes when I'm in the neighbourhood, I walk around the block for parikrama. Perhaps one day they will let me in. I should actually write a letter to the temple council one of these days and ask for an official statement on my status.

Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

Don't worry Madhava, I know that Braja and myself would be more than happy to provide the required references:).

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
braja - Thu, 01 Apr 2004 02:39:13 +0530
Haha. I live far from any temple and never received my membership card in any case. It could even be said that the ISKCON I joined was not the ISKCON many of you seem to have experienced...So, I'm not sure whose ISKCON I can be said to belong to. Not to ISKCON's ISKCON, nor to any other's. I guess that means... "I'm free! (as a drunk in a midnight choir)"

Everyone is welcome to my Sunday Love Feast though. Come hungry and being a friend. wacko.gif
braja - Thu, 01 Apr 2004 09:41:22 +0530
Will this do the trick?

April 1st, 2004

Dear Temple President Prabhu,

PAMHO. AGTSP. AGTATIG. AGTBD. AGTSVP.

I am a member of ISKCON in good standing *cough*. I cannot locate my membership card at present but I can assure you that I have washed many a pot, distributed many a book, and fallen asleep in many a class. As such, I would like to introduce you to _______ Das. _______ Das is what we call a sahajiya. Yes, that's right--a member of a small cult in Bengal that practices tantric sexual rituals and takes Radha-Krsna lila as emblematic of mundane sexuality. Some scholars opine that sahajiyism has almost died out so you are probably as shocked as I was to find this educated Westerner practicing such things. Although I don't watch TV or read karmi newspapers, magazines or books, I have heard that tantric sex is quite popular these days. So I guess it is not difficult to understand this person's disgusting beliefs. However, as we know that all males think of themselves as purusa (Krsna) seeking to enjoy prakrti (Radha), I don't think this person's condition is any worse than the other karmis. By eating sumptuous vegetarian prasadam, dancing in ecstatic kirtans, and listening to many, many "You are not the body" classes, I am sure they will become as purified as the rest of us. Please therefore look kindly upon this bewildered soul and allow them entrance to your temple*.

Yours in the service of saving the jivas,

Braja "half my rounds by mangala-arati" Das Adhikari.

*You might want to give them some extra space during kirtan in case they feel the urge to roll on the floor. A mop may also be handy for drying up any tears.
TarunGovindadas - Thu, 01 Apr 2004 16:31:32 +0530
laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
Rasaraja dasa - Sat, 03 Apr 2004 23:49:21 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

ISKCON with all thy faults I love thee.

I may not agree with everything said or done by ACBSP or his followers but I can have nothing but appreciation for the things that they have done to help humanity. I will not accept aspects which I feel are wrong nor will I ignore these apsects however i will also not let these things overshadow all of the positive aspects. I know many sincere and loving ISKCON devotees and their strength, determination, humility, kindness, appreciation for the Vaisnavas and service attitude are and always will be a reference point and influence on my desire to develop these same qualities. As many "bad apples" as there may be they can never overshadow the advanced souls that I know.

I offer my obeisances to ACBSP, his disciples and followers. Some from a distance and some up close. I hope they wish me well in my devotional endeavors, pray for my advancement and always think of me in a positive light.

Aspiring to be a servant of the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa