* Tension and Tractors - A Story Of Balance [and follow-up comments]
* Aren't they cute?
* The most deadly poison
* Talk on Jayananda
* A Tidal Wave of MP3 Mercy Engulfs the Planet
* Srila Prabhupada's Infallibility
and Tractors - A Story Of Balance
On the Condition of Our World)
Sankirtana das copyright 2002
Center For Sacred Storytelling
grown daughter and I were at
a county fair recently. It was one of those
where each day is painfully hot. The heat just robs your energy and you
wait for the evening and a merciful breeze to come along. The big
events that pack the grandstands are
the demolition derbies and the
& truck pulls. If you
closed your eyes, you could catch a glimpse of
mindset that must have brought
the crowds to the Coliseum to watch and
the gladiators as they battled
always felt that each of us has great creative and spiritual potency.
a gift which we are called upon to tend to in humility. Sometimes these
lie neglected and dormant. We can't seem to
find the time to allow
creative voice to emerge. But then again we can't help not being
creative. For the demo derby, some of the drivers wrote messages
paint jobs on the heaps they are driving.
Maybe it's our
version of the Buddhists who spend days making
a beautiful mandala
of sand, only to destroy it.
often than not, people
grossly misdirect their creative powers. They
their creative powers to devise elaborate schemes to cheat and steal,
people and resources. And the more power they think they control, or
to control, the greater their inner
is much tension and stress in the world. Of course,
we cannot live
natural tension and stress. We cannot stand, or walk or speak or
without tension. Even to think, there has to be tension. So there is
tension and bad tension. The question is what type of tension do we want
bring into the world. What are we actually creating by our words and
to create a balance of proper tension is a science. In previous ages, the
of the earth were well aware of this science. They understood that
should not eat too much nor too little; not sleep too much nor too
and to consume a proper share of the natural resources, only
what is necessary for the well being of body, mind and spirit.
understood that their words and actions could maintain or disrupt the
in the lives of their families, communities, and of the world itself.
the tractor drivers, as the sages and shamans of old, also know about
and tension. They know they have to be careful as to how they use
vehicles. Their job is to pull a huge weight. But they can't pull it
very long, otherwise the vehicle could be damaged.
the tractor pull, each machine takes its place on the runway. The
that rises from the center of
the hood conjures up visions of the
from the movie Space Odyssey.
The engine is revved up. It sends out
piercing, blood thirsty war
cry, a vengeful challenge meant to
earth itself and drive fear
into the hearts of all.
as the tractor pulls a monstrous weight, it spews forth a thick, black
of smoke. The crowd roars with delight. And they continue to
applaud as the breeze pushes the ominous cloud that has formed right into
grandstand. This cloud, no doubt, has the punch of perhaps a thousand
carcinogenic exhausts or maybe the impact of a
blown into your face at once. Caught up in the thrill of the
no one seems to mind or even to notice.
native American people advise us to consider how our actions will impact
next seven generations. Will our actions maintain the balance for the
to come? Most people don't
care. They don't see how every strand
life is connected. Perhaps they find comfort in thinking that they won't
to be around to deal with the problems.
apparent that the more we try to manipulate the creative energy
greater the disturbance in society and nature. Of course, the
and researchers say that everything is under control.
they themselves are under the control, and fueled by the
of multinational corporations. People sense something has gone awry.
has become an ingrained part of our lives. In our day to day existence,
creative energies often enough wind-up buried, seemingly out of reach,
a mound of problems? Have we
imperceptibly embraced the culture of
and made it our own?
this big, bad cloud drifts over and beyond the grandstand. Slowly the
particles fall to earth and the cloud dissipates. After a half mile,
all but gone. The winds have taken it. The earth has embraced it. As the
falls, the grandstand empties. And over the course of time (a long
Mother Earth corrects all things.
Sankirtana das travels widely offering dramatic storytelling
workshops, and coaching in theater & storytelling skills. He is
disciple of HDG A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and is the founder of
Center For Sacred Storytelling. He and his wife reside at the New
follow up comments by Visoka-
Haribol there Sankirtan-
often we see old people, or anybody for that matter, gazing lovingly at
small children, following their every move. Everyone stops and smiles when
children are playing near by. We watch their every action and smile and
laugh with each other.
cute. Nature is clever to make them cute, or else they would not survive
so easy. They are beautiful humans, this is true. Have you noticed how
most people get real ugly when they get old? A man begins as a cute little
boy, then a handsome young man, but so often old age will turn him into a
grotesque ogre. The body gets all deformed or bloated. The skin turns all
weird colors. They walk with a limp or a creak, with pain at every step.
Youth is superior, no doubt.
gaze lovingly at kids, partly because they feel kids are still fortunate
to be in ignorance of the suffering of this world. The old person's
thoughts might go - "Isn't it wonderful, this kid is playing and
having fun all the time, without any thought as to how awful the world is.
He doesn't know yet. How lucky he is. Hasn't figured it out yet. The world
is so rotten, but he is so innocent of it. He still doesn't know, and may
he play in ignorance as long as he can."
They start to
figure it out, after a certain age. Usually this is called the teenage
period. That is why teenagers are upset so often. They are starting to
figure it out. The childhood innocence is fading, and reality is sinking
in. On one side, they cling on to their childhood, and on the other hand,
they are trying to break away from parents and trying to grow up and be
adults. They are confused as to who they are. Eventually they start to
figure out how bleak the world is, how much suffering there is. They try
to hang on to that happiness of a kid, and try to break away at the same
time. The transition is painful and it goes back and forth at a painful
the first big realization I had of this. I was 5 years old. I remember the
exact time and place and feeling I had when the realization came. I was
under the porch, and it came to me. I'll never forget, the realization
somehow came to me, of how horrible and nasty the world was going to be,
what a bad time I was in for, how rough life was going to be. How people
are not so nice all the time. How this all came to me, don't ask, I don't
know, but I remember it. This is a passing realization of course, for I
had to be in denial in order to be a kid.
to suffering in different ways. Everyone lives in some degree of despair.
They all cope with it in different ways. Some practice constant denial.
Lots of people know life is suffering, but they try to laugh it off. There
are so many comedians out there, so many Johnny Carsons in the crowd. They
pride themselves on being a "warrior" or the hero of Maya. They
make cynical jokes all day to prove they are above it. They somehow know
that Maya is kicking them in the face at every step, and the material
energy is putting them through the ringer every day, but they try to prove
that they can rise above the suffering with their jokes. They laugh in the
face of death and suffering, that yes, they will be the enjoyer until the
last fag end. They will get their little bit of sense grad to the bitter
end, despite getting kicked in the teeth at every turn. They know that it
all ends in death and disaster, but they are determined to get the last
laugh. Notice how old men try to joke with you all the time. And it is
often so corny and pathetic, that you kind of go along with them, just to
their money will conquer old age and suffering. They become great misers,
and hide in their mansions. They run to the doctor and get lots of
surgery. Some even freeze their bodies, hoping for some future cure. They
are always afraid, of how long they will enjoy, and when will somebody or
some lawyer come and take their money.
Those of us
who are so unfortunate as to have to shop sometimes at the market, will
notice the Inquirer headlines and photos. So often the photo will be of
some "star" who is getting old and whose body is rotting away.
The suffering is all over their face. The Inquirer flaunts their suffering
to the public, and the smut sheet is sort of preaching the real truth to
everybody; that no one escapes the suffering of old age and disease.
Gita explains in he 13th
chapter that real knowledge is the awareness of the 4 miseries, namely
janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi, or birth, death, old age, and disease. This is
real knowledge, not this school stuff.
thing left for them is to laugh at the kids, and savor the innocence while
it lasts. Or else, hopefully we can give them a book, and they can read
and change their life.
The most deadly poison-
We can see from the following scripture references that even the slightest offenses or criticism of others is the mostly deadly poison and can lead to spiritual death.
Sri Caitanya Bhagavata- "The living entities who live in the numberless universes are all My servants. Therefore any living entity who harms another living entity will perish."
"I will personally deliver anyone who does not criticize others and who once chants `Krishna!' That is the truth. It is the truth."
A thief suffers in only one birth, but a blasphemer suffers birth after birth and moment after moment.
From Brahma down to the unmoving plants, every living being is Lord Krishna's potency. Therefore all the scriptures say, "Anyone who blasphemes another angers Lord Krishna."
Lord Krishna delivers any person who is not a blasphemer and who once chants "Krishna!" That is the truth. It is the truth.
Sri Caitanya Bhagavata- If he blasphemes a devotee, even a person equal to Lord Siva will quickly perish. This is confirmed by the following words of Srimad Bhagavatam 5.10.25; "I have committed an offense. Because of this, even though I may be as strong as Lord Siva, I shall be vanquished without delay due to my offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava."
If he blasphemes a Vaisnava, even the most wise philosopher will fall down. This all the scriptures declare. Even Lord Krishna's holy name, which is the great atonement for all sins, will not protect one from an offense to a Vaisnava.
Padma Purana- "Blasphemy of great saintly persons who are engaged in preaching of the hare Krsna mantra is the worst offense at the lotus feet of the holy name. The nama-prabhu, who is identical with Krishna, will never tolerate such blasphemous activities, even from one who passes as a great devotee."
More of Sri Caitanya Bhagavata- They who will not follow these instructions and blaspheme good people are sinners. They will suffer birth after birth. ** Only the offended Vaisnava can forgive the offense. Only then is the offense destroyed. There is no other way.
Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakur in his Madhurya Kadambini, says; even a person of bad character devoid of proper behavior, a cheater, devoid of samskaras, and full of worldly desires, if he surrenders to the Lord, he must be considered a sadhu. So a person cannot minimize his offense by pointing out some defect in the devotee that he offended. In other words, we cannot say that he is a lower devotee, and therefore, the offense of Sadhu-ninda, or criticism of Vaisnavas, does not count for him, but it only applies to the great pure devotees. This is incorrect.
So we see the powerful negating power of criticism of anybody, even the good person. As said above, do we sometimes find ourselves suffering moment after moment? This is due to offenses. Unless one has love of God, what is the question of happiness? Offenses block our love of God; it blocks the light of Krishna's mercy. So, unless we are offenseless and have love for Krishna, then we will have to suffer moment after moment. We can only stop the suffering by stopping offenses to Krishna's parts and parcels and we can only counter them by service to the jivas and to devotees. Only then will we get love of God.
We have various sections of Vaisnava society, or different camps in the world, like the Gauda Math section, etc. The Acharyas even tell us not to criticize other members of other sub religions. The meaning of devotee is one who follows the teachings of God. So what to speak of slighting the members of other camps of the Vaisnavas. So rare is it that a human being believes in Krishna and serves Krishna in any way. Such a person is to be honored. We also have different sectors in our western Vaisnava society. Some have disagreement on philosophical issues. Still we cannot offend these devotees in any way. Even the rolling of eyes in derision will pay a price.
I only make this request to devotees, for their own spiritual welfare, please, do not slightly deride any devotee of the Lord. You may disagree on philosophy, but that is never a reason to disrespect and call names and make judgments. It is also an offense to slight the big devotees, who have fallen down. They have probably fallen down due to Vaisnava aparadha to other devotees, even "little" devotees. Take these quotes of scripture to heart. Even disrespect of the smallest aspect of Krishna's energy is bad. Srila Prabhupada told a disciple once to get his feet away from the typewriter, because it was Krishna's energy.
The way to counteract an offense, is to glorify the devotee that one has offended. The Sri Caitanya Bhagavata says something like this, (paraphrased) that "once from the mouth of this person, came a great poison, and now from that same mouth, a great nectar of glorification of devotees now issues." This is the cure. Jai, all glories to all the devotees of the Lord!
Talk on Jayananda
[This was a talk given on Jayananda’s day, a few
months back. I can’t remember the words said, not exactly, but have
reproduced the main points. And I’ve enhanced the talk with added
material and more afterthought and deliberation.]
The life of Jayananda is truly a guiding light for our
trouble times of the world. If we examine his life, we shall get guidance
and solace from this dark world. The world around us seems to get
progressively worse as days go on. There is an ominous feeling of
negativity that seems to pervade everything. Depression and hopelessness
hangs like fog all around us. Young people have gotten callous and
negative in attitude and lifestyle. Cruelty to our fellow man has become
believe that all Jivas have been abused and have been abusive to others
since time forgotten, life after life, throughout their material existence.
Material life means abuse. Spiritual life means stopping the abuse on all
levels. Abusive means you are in Maya. Non-abusive means you are Krishna
What is the reason for this? Bhagavad Gita explains in chapter
7.27, that all beings are born in delusion, overcome with dualities of
desire and hate, or iccha dvesa. Bhagavad Gita says that hate is
the quality of all who take birth. This hate is the effect and cause of
the abuse we received in past lives as well as the abuse we dished out.
The hate builds up into abuse from the very birth of the Jiva and turns to
aggression towards others.
Why do we hate? because we've been trying to enjoy this material
world eternally, nitya-badha, and it's never going to happen. We
are frustrated life after life, being unsuccessful lords of the material
energy. The frustration turns into hate and abuse. We are here because of
envy of Krishna, or hate of Krishna, and naturally we will hate others if
we hate Krishna. Krishna Consciousness is the only cure. Love of Krishna
is the only medicine to stop the abuse of others. When we love Krishna,
then we will automatically love the Jivas who are his parts and parcels.
Some don't even know they are abusive. An old godbrother of mine,
who was in position of authority, he emotionally abused me and others so
much, and he didn't even know it. He thought it was Krishna Consciousness
to beat us up emotionally all the time. He was probably abused as a child
by his father or mother. Most abused children are big abusers themselves.
Even after twenty years, if I meet him on the path, he will only grunt a
weak Hari bol, and barely glance at me, barely acknowledging my existence.
He once told me that I would probably bloop, because I was interested in
changing ashram (he said this as he himself stood there in white).
Cognition of the problem is the first step in solving it. I forgive him
none the less.
We do not really need a lot of workshops and therapy, although it
can be helpful. We need to recognize that we already have the best therapy
in Krishna Consciousness. Basic understanding of the Bhagavad Gita will
cure our abusive nature. Bhagavad Gita 5.18, Krishna says panditah
sama-darsinah, or the devotee sees with equal vision, sees everybody,
even the dog, with equal vision. The
12th chapter also expounds upon how one becomes dear to Krishna, how he is
not envious, but a kind friend to all living entities, for whom no one is
put into difficulty, who is equal to friends and enemies, etc.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam 3.4, Lord Kapila speaks of the saintly person being titiksavah
karunickah, or the symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant,
merciful and friendly to all living entities... (This reminds me of a nice
gentle devotee by that name.) This is the formula for stopping the abuse
of others. We need only understand these simple instructions of Krishna in
his Bhagavad Gita, and we need to meditate on them and live them. If we
all do this, then we will fix our abusive patterns. Somebody may still
want to go to 12 step, that is alright, but please, let us not emphasize
other processes over the sublime process of Krishna Consciousness, which
Srila Prabhupada has given us. KC and the Holy Name will cure all
diseases, Srila Prabhupada has said this.
We also need an executive arm of ISKCON, which protects women,
children, old people, (and men even,) from abuse and criminal activity.
This was suggested by Achutananda das, and is a very good idea. This arm
should prosecute and give some kind of punishment to offenders. As said
above, the devotee is equal to enemies as well as friends, and so being so
equal and tolerant, the enemies will take advantage of this. So the
devotee needs protection. We need a Ksatriya system. Actual Ksatriyas is
too much to ask for, but there can be a system. Actually nobody gets away
with anything in this world. Still we need a system for curbing
Abuse to anybody is not excusable to Krishna. Imagine our reaction
to someone abusing our own children. It is the same with Krishna and all
his children. He does not forget so easily if someone abuses any of his
parts and parcels, his children. Krishna does not see anyone as
insignificant or retarded or unimportant that they do not deserve
protection. Being devotees of Krishna, we should remember this and never
make distinctions between one Jiva and another.
submitted by Visoka dasa
A Tidal Wave of MP3 Mercy Engulfs the Planet
guess Krishna will answer your prayers and needs if you desire strong
enough. I was mentioning in the ezine how I was needing more tapes to
listen to. It seems that I’ve heard all my tapes a million times. I
guess Krishna heard my prayers. Jagjivan told me once that Srila
Prabhupada said that devotees should get Srila Prabhupada’s lectures at
cost price. I did get a large number of lectures in LA practically free.
Hard to remember exactly how that happened. Well, I really got the mercy
now, I am still reeling from Srila Prabhupada’s causeless mercy and the
mercy of my dear godbrother. Just a few days ago I went to my mail and
received this huge box, 15 by 30 by 15 inches, from my good godbrother
Jagjivan, and I opened it to find all of Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and
bhajans on CD’s in the MP3 format. It seems that he has a CD burner and
gave me the whole kit and kabootle, a very pleasant surprise. Now I’ve
got tons of listening to do, more than a Brahma’s lifetime of hearing
from the pure devotee, not enough time to really possibly hear every lotus
word from Srila Prabhupada’s lotus mouth properly. There were tons
of cassettes in the box also.
no stopping it now. Now all devotees can afford to hear all of Srila
Prabhupada’s classes and morning walks, all on 32 CD disks in the MP3
format. Go to Krishna.org and see what I mean. We also have Pratyatosa’s
website offer. As the Bible says, ask and you shall receive. And I think
it will be in vogue, in the near future, for devotees with CD burners to
make copies for their friends, as my friend did for me. There is a tidal
wave of Srila Prabhupada mercy about to inundate this globe. We are
actually living in a very special time, where we all, I mean virtually all
of us, can afford the entire library of everything Srila Prabhupada said
and chanting, all on 34 discs or so. They play on your computer, and
there’s boomboxes that will play MP3, for as low as 79 dollars. They may
have changed the books, but now we can distribute these tsunami waves of
nectar to new devotees and they will hear for themselves all the tattva
from Srila Prabhupada as spoken by himself, with no middleman there to
distort and interpret and misguide the new Bhaktas away from the true Vani
of Srila Prabhupada. Disks are a very minimal expense, 50 cents or so, and
now all newcomers will get the full unadulterated and unalloyed mercy
straight from the bona fide spiritual master, the greatest acarya and
savior of the world, our most merciful Srila Prabhupada. Jai Srila
Prabhupada! Hare Krishna, your servant Visoka dasa
Srila Prabhupada's infallibility
by Locanananda Dasa
(submitted to Cakra)
In a recent article entitled Dogmatism
and Infallibility, the author, without any scriptural basis, has
brashly asserted that "No jiva is infallible, be he pope or guru or
whatever." He also states that those who make unreasonable claims as
to Srila Prabhupada's infallibility may be
therefore, who is earnestly serious in heart and soul about being in
intimate touch with the Personality of Godhead in the relationship of
transcendental loving service will always be infallible in words and
action. (S.B. 2.6.34 purport)
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