We in South Africa are trying very hard to scurry through the narrow doorway out of material nescience, and it is publications like Back to Godhead that help to advance our progress. Each time I open the pages of BTG my mind becomes rejuvenated by the clear illumination from this transcendental publication.
Durban, South Africa
A Sublime Spiritual Expression
Your reply [in BTG Nov/Dec] to Mr. Vaishnavi's letter on the use of the words Vedic and Vaisnava was well stated. Permit me to add a comment.
Inaugurating pure Vaisnavism in the West and in India, Srila Prabhupada unconventionally supplanted the term "Vaisnavism" with a fresh, ingenious one: "Krsna consciousness." Unburdened by knotty connotations, "Krsna consciousness" is a sublimely intelligible spiritual expression. "Krsna consciousness" is impeccably Vaisnava and Vedic and yet exceeds both.
Don't Clean It Up Toss It Out
I continue to enjoy Back to Godhead; it is very nicely done in both style and content, and it is of great help to me as an academic as I continue to develop my understanding of Krsna consciousness in America and the world.
I'm particularly moved to write by the recent material on television and its infernal influence in our culture. I've lived in television-free homes for about eighteen years now, and have raised my children from birth without the one-eyed monster. I don't understand the people who want to clean up television; they should simply get rid of it altogether.
Associate Professor, Religious Studies
The University of Kansas
Thank you to Rohininandana's sharing of his chanting a round with his son every day (BTG Sept/Oct). Our eldest son had lapsed in his daily chanting, but now that we chant with him, his regulation is restored. As a result, we are more consciously addressing how to associate with our growing children.
Heena and Paul Oliver
Can Krsna's Avatara Come Now?
Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that He appears in every millennium in His original transcendental form, whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice and a predominant rise of irreligion. So does that mean there's every possibility that Lord Sri Krsna will appear in the present day and age, when irreligion is very much in vogue?
It is true that the Lord is here as His holy names and that the holy names and the Lord are nondifferent. But the Gita says Krsna appears Himself, millennium after millennium. So can Krsna appear now and rectify the wretched state this world is in, once and for all?
OUR REPLY: Although Krsna can no doubt come whenever He likes, He chooses to come on schedule. He does this so that followers of the Vedas can verify that it is Krsna who has come, and not some imposter. When Lord Caitanya taught Sanatana Gosvami about the avataras, He stressed that an avatara must be mentioned in the scriptures. This protects people from being cheated by bogus so-called avataras.
You admit that in the present age, Kali-yuga, Krsna comes as His name, but still you want Krsna Himself to come. But since there is no difference between Krsna and His name, His name is Himself. Kali-kale nama-rupe krsna avatara: In the Age of Kali, Krsna Himself descends in the form of His holy name. So we have only to take shelter of chanting Hare Krsna, and then we will know we are being protected by Krsna Himself.
Just What We Don't Need
I am thirteen years old, and my mother gets BTG. I look at it when she gets it, and I skim some of the articles sometimes. I've seen Vraja Kishor Dasa's articles several times, and every single time I've been repulsed by them.
What really surprises me is that he has a rock band. Rock 'n' roll and Hare Krsna don't mix. They're at different ends of the scale. I constantly hear people say "Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll." On the other hand, "Celibacy, chanting, and rock 'n' roll" has never been said.
As with the name of Jesus, great things have been done in Prabhupada's name. And of course bad things are done in his name as well. I think Vraja Kishor's writing is one of them. He preaches intolerance, like the Nazis and the Klan, just that he doesn't ask the reader to go out and lynch a few "karmis" (well, not directly anyway).
More intolerance is just what we don't need in this world, where the Bosnians, Serbs, and Muslims try to kill each other, where the Israelis exile the Palestinians, where Hussein bombs the Kurds, where the Hindus battle with the Muslims, and where race riots break out yearly in major cities from Boston to Los Angeles.
When we can all get along well enough to keep from fighting over which football team will win the Super Bowl, then Vraja Kishor can step in and perfect humanity to his specifications. Until then, he can work on perfecting himself.
VRAJA KISHOR DASA REPLIES: Maharani has accurately pointed out my faults. I beg to offer her my humble obeisances, in an attempt to avoid an overwhelming impulse to defend my ego. Offenses to devotees cause the greatest misery. So I ask her forgiveness for any disturbance caused by my writing. And I hope this forced display of humility doesn't offend her even more.
The dualistic idea that "rock" and Hare Krsna are unmixable directly contradicts the judicious opinion of a long line of ISKCON leaders, sannyasis, and spiritual masters, who include my own dear spiritual master, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami. And Srila Rupa Gosvami says: anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah/ nirbandhah krsna sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate. (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255)
In other words (English words), any material thing (even rock 'n' roll) can be spiritualized by being engaged in Krsna's service under the guidance of senior devotees. This rock 'n' roll causes thousands of people to chant Hare Krsna and shun illicit sex. "Celibacy, chanting, and rock 'n' roll." It's been said, and it's being done.
Intolerance: I am open to her criticism, but if one practices tolerance of ignorance, he or she will become painfully familiar with the repeated sufferings of the material world. The previous acaryas (teachers) were boldly intolerant of ignorance. I should like to follow their example.
Although practicing intolerance of ignorance, I try my best to be very tolerant toward people. I try to be friendly and maintain a service mood toward everyone, regardless of their beliefs or habits. So I hope no one is reading my articles and getting psyched up to go drop bombs on karmis and all that yucky stuff.
I doubt anyone is.
A Great Inspiration in the Heart
I was crying while reading those letters from Russian devotees in the last issue. I was also laughing in happiness because in my country, Russia, people know about Krsna now, thanks to our beloved Srila Prabhupada. Those letters caused a great inspiration in my heart.
Please send correspondence to: The Editors, Back to Godhead, P.O. Box 430, Alachua, Florida 32615, USA.