Paying for Mayapur
I greatly enjoyed reading the last BTG about Mayapur. Just one question: How much is that big temple going to cost, and how will it be paid for?
Raghupati Prana Dasa
OUR REPLY: Based on current designs, which are nearing completion, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium will cost up to US$100 million to build. Funds will come from thousands of private donors in India and the West. Project organizers have not yet begun raising funds for the temple and will start only when the design is "frozen."
Srila Prabhupada provided in his will that some royalties from the sales of his books through the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) could be used to help build this temple. So far the BBT has borne the costs of design and engineering.
As a lover of analogies, I am moved to respond to the article by Krishan B. Lal on page twelve of the Sep./Oct. issue. In explaining that the soul can never merge into God, he writes, "A drop of water does not disintegrate or dissolve when it merges with the ocean." Unless this sentence is explained, it just does not hold up. As it is, the sentence defeats itself, as a drop of water always dissolves in a greater body of water. This phenomenon can be demonstrated by adding dye to the drop before it dissolves. To make the analogy hold, the author could have said that the individual water molecules keep their identity.
Personally, I like the analogy of the green bird flying into the green tree. The bird seems to merge but keeps his individual identity. It's so simple.
Ananta Sakti Dasa
Many thanks for the most ecstatic Sept./Oct. issue of the BTG. I especially relished the article by Vrndavani Devi Dasi on the Radha-Damodara temple in Vrndavana. I was conquered by Visakha's article "Mine," and by Kalakantha's on getting prepared. Dhyana-kunda's articles are always among my favorites, and I like Satyaraja Prabhu's scholarly approach. The article by Praghosa Dasa was very sweet, and the one by Arcana-siddhi very impressive. I am also especially happy that Urmila is still part of the team. Her input is always very profound and well documented. Srila Prabhupada's articles are as usual very sharp and purifying, just like chutney very hot, but so sweet that we can't stop eating.
My humble obeisances to our new editor and his staunch team; they are doing an outstanding service for Srila Prabhupada. This issue of BTG was definitely my favorite one.
Krsna-kirtana Devi Dasi
France (via the Internet)
In your article on pages eight and nine of the July/August issue, Sri Krsna's word mudha in Bhagavad-gita 9.11 is translated as "rascals," "fools," etc. Please don't use words that pinch new learners. This is my humble request.
K. P. Satyamoorthy
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
OUR REPLY: The article you refer to is a transcription of a lecture by Srila Prabhupada given many years ago. Although we edit his lectures somewhat for grammar, and so on, we don't feel we have the right to delete his criticisms of nondevotees. As Prabhupada himself would point out, he is simply repeating Krsna's words. Krsna certainly has the right to label someone a fool, and people should know who Krsna considers foolish. That's part of the wisdom of the Gita. Krsna makes distinctions.
As disciples of Srila Prabhupada we don't feel it is proper for us to interfere with his preaching style. If he felt it was important to repeat Krsna's words in pointing out who is foolish, it's not our position to challenge him.
We ourselves might use a gentler approach when preaching, and Prabhupada did that also, but if Prabhupada felt that strong words were sometimes needed, we have to agree with that assessment. Besides, we might not be able to predict the effect of strong words. Someone might read them and think, "Oh, Krsna says I'm a fool. So I should stop being a fool and surrender to Him."
Srila Prabhupada often spoke strongly, and he inspired thousands maybe millions of people to become devotees of Krsna.
Why Animal Sacrifice?
If the Lord dislikes killing, why are animal sacrifices to God found in the Bible?
Chung Fai Wu
Via the Internet
OUR REPLY: Although animal sacrifice to God is mentioned in the Bible, it is ultimately forbidden there, as it is in the Vedic scriptures. Sometimes the scriptures recommend animal sacrifice for meat-eaters who can't give up their habit all at once. They can offer the animal in sacrifice and then eat it, gradually becoming free of the desire to eat meat. Fortunately, today we can perform the sacrifice of chanting Hare Krsna and eating delicious vegetarian food offered to Krsna. That will quickly purify us and free us from the base desire to eat meat. There's no good reason for anyone to kill animals today.
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In Vyasadeva: The Literary Incarnation of God (Sept./Oct. 1999), Vyasadeva is identified as "a saktyavesa-avatara, an eternally liberated jiva (a soul like you or I, not the Supreme Lord) particularly empowered with an opulence of God." One of our readers, Janajanmadi Dasa, has written with additional information:
"In Tattva-sandarbha (16.2) Srila Jiva Gosvami quotes Visnu Purana 3.4.2-5 to explain that in every divya-yuga (cycle of the four cosmic ages) a different jiva soul usually is empowered as a saktyavesa-avatara to take the position of Vyasa, the divider of the Vedas, but in this present divya-yuga Lord Narayana Himself appeared as Vyasa. Therefore the present Vyasa is Krsna-Dvaipayana Vyasa, for He is Lord Narayana Him-self and not an ordinary saktyavesa-avatara Vyasa."
On the inside back cover of the Nov./Dec. issue, the verse attributed to the Chandogya Upanisad is actually a verse written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura based on a section of the Chandogya Upanisad known as the Dahara-vidya.
In "A Western Pilgrim in Mayapura" (Nov./Dec.), the house of Srivasa Pandita, where Lord Caitanya began the sankirtana movement, is incorrectly identified as the house of Srinivasa Acarya.
Many readers have written to ask about the recent absence of the columns ("Lessons From the Road," "Schooling Krsna's Children," "India's Heritage," and so on) from the pages of Back to Godhead. Our editorial staff decided to drop the columns to free up space and thereby allow for more opportunities to add variety to the magazine. Judging from the praise we've received for the Sep. /Oct. issue which had no columns but eleven feature articles we feel we made the right decision. We've encouraged the authors of the columns to keep writing for BTG, and we hope they will.