Under the headline "Thirst for Krsna" [BTG, March/April] someone from Briggs, California, expressed his or her disappointment that BTG dealt at length not with Krsna directly but with "ISKCON's dilemmas." Jayadvaita Swami, the editor of BTG, agreed the main focus should be Krsna's forms, qualities, etc., and he promised to take the point to heart. This brings up the most important question a magazine could ask itself, namely the question of its purpose.
The "old BTG" dealt with "Krsna" more or less exclusively. If the institution ISKCON was dealt with, only the more or less important successes were mentioned. It's no wonder this policy was rewarded with diminishing interest, even from the ISKCON devotees themselves. To change this was only intelligent.
But besides this pragmatic point there is a philosophical reason why BTG should deal with "ISKCON's dilemmas." The reason is that these are not ISKCON's dilemmas but the dilemmas that occur when a person tries to act as a devotee of Lord Krsna in the world we live in.
To view these dilemmas only as those of an institution is false. I am not convinced that only the institution ISKCON has these problems. Rather, my experience is that these are problems any person may face when trying to lead a spiritual life.
For instance, the problem of falldown from spiritual life is surely not limited to ISKCON or even to Krsna's devotees. It's a problem that exists on every spiritual path.
Another problem how to manage a spiritual society in a purely spiritual way is only too well known to other religions and spiritual societies.
What does Krsna consciousness mean in my day-to-day affairs? How should I as Krsna's devotee behave in certain circumstances? What should be the relationship between the spiritual institution and the individual on the spiritual path? These are all fundamental and essential questions that come up automatically when one tries to practice Krsna consciousness and tries to spread it around. Not everyone may have to or want to deal with these topics, but the whole of ISKCON cannot avoid dealing with them.
Bringing up such issues in public helps readers become aware of the problems they may have to face (or are facing?) in their own environment. It gives principles for dealing with these problems in a Krsna conscious way. And so it helps readers grow and mature in their spiritual practice.
Otherwise, BTG would tell its readers to become devotees but then abandon them when they try to do so. This would be irresponsible.
Just a note to compliment you on your magazine Back to Godhead. From beginning to end, it is thoroughly interesting. I especially enjoyed "Through the Eyes of Sastra" in your May/June issue.
The articles about personal experiences are my favorites. But the whole magazine is of very high quality. Thank you for giving me some high-class reading.
South Laguna, California
Krsna at Work
I would like to thank Rohininandana Prabhu for his article on being Krsna conscious at work.
I'm living outside the temple but struggling to maintain the mode of goodness and go to the temple here regularly. So this article came right in time.
I was just hired as a secretary for a big company in Chicago, and I can be easily swayed to join in on mundane extracurricular activities. This article helped me strengthen my resolve to stay Krsna conscious despite all kinds of mundane influences at work.
Just wait until they see what kind of nice prasadam I'll be cooking for them at those office parties.
Bhakti Yoga Club
I am the faculty advisor for the Bhakti Yoga Club at Paint Branch High School which was started last year by a student, Angela Sankhla [cover story, May/June BTG]. This is one of the first philosophy-based clubs in this school. It has been going on very well so far this year.
I have greatly enjoyed all of the Bhakti Yoga Club's interesting activities, such as the discussions we have had on vegetarianism, about the Hindu culture, etc. In our latest meeting, we had the opportunity to try on ancient Indian costumes saris and dhotis.
I am very impressed with Angela's hard work for organizing the meetings and sharing the Hindu philosophy and culture with us at Paint Branch.
History and Comparative
Paint Branch High School
Traveling to Vrndavana
I was deeply moved by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's article "Preparing for a Pilgrimage," in the March-April issue of Back to Godhead. The sentiments he expressed reminded me of those I had in preparing for my first trip to Vrindaban, in the fall of 1988. I remember feeling intensely anxious (and excited). I was traveling alone (two of my Godsisters were unable to go with me as planned), and I was going so far, to an unfamiliar continent and a spiritual place rich with Krsna's pastimes.
During my journey to and from India, I came to realize that Krsna was my constant companion; I was never really alone. He was present in my thoughts, in my chanting, in the form of others who assisted me with directions and information, and in the form of service to my beloved guru maharaja (Romapada Swami), who was also in Vrindaban at the time.
I realized that I didn't have to travel such a long distance to be with Krsna or feel close to Him. Our shelter our home, as Satsvarupa Maharaja has so beautifully expressed is not in a place but in one's consciousness of Krsna.
Hemalata Devi Dasi
Brooklyn, New York
Stop Bhakta Vic
In the name of everything that stands for decency, subtlety, grace, good taste, respect, honor, tact, humility, and all other sublime qualities, please, please stop giving us filth in the holy pages of Srila Prabhupada's Back to Godhead under the guise of "Straight Talk." (Any so-called straight talk devoid of modesty is all filth.)
The entire Jan/Feb 1992 issue of BTG was indelibly sullied (to use a mild, understated term) by Bhakta Vic 108's filthy presentation about his failed encounter with the sex-stained "Mr. Sex-Is-Great." Disgusting!
G. S. Senan
Keep Him Going
I would like to encourage and congratulate Bhakta Vic in his distribution of Krsna consciousness. And I would like to thank him for all his excellent articles in Back to Godhead. They are especially relevant in these troubled times, in which sinful activities are taken as normal and proper. I humbly beg the editors of Back to Godhead to keep Bhakta Vic a regular contributor to BTG.
I want to tell you how proud I am about your articles on Shelter and Bhakta Vic. They make the magazine so much more exciting, especially when you're a teenager of sixteen like me. I am a big fan of Shelter and am proud to see they are preaching the name of Krishna to many lost teenagers. My friends tease me all the time because I am the only teenager in Augusta, Georgia, who practices Krishna consciousness. But that's okay. I will still keep Krishna in the center of everything, thanks to bands like Shelter. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
We welcome your letters. Send correspondence to The Editors, Back to Godhead, P.O. Box 90946, San Diego, CA 92169, USA.