Vedic Personality Index
Many readers responded to our offer to analyze their responses to The Vedic Personality Index (May/June 1998). The results are quite varied. Some replies indicated a balance between goodness, passion and ignorance, while others emphasized one nature or another.
The goal of the survey is to help one understand the natural qualities one has picked up by association with material nature. But as Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, by devotional service in Krsna consciousness one can rise above all three modes of nature and perfectly stand on the spiritual platform. The editors
"Land of the Gods"?
Some time ago I followed a heated debate between BTG and a Hindu organization over the position of the demigods and monotheism in the Vedas. It seemed to me that BTG's position on this issue was that there is only one Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and that all other deities, including Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, are His expansions, potencies, incarnations, etc. I was surprised, therefore, when I noticed that on the front cover of the May/June issue you have included a title that reads "Journey to the Land of the Gods." Who are the other Gods?
Vatsalya Rasa Dasa adhikari
Tallahassee, Florida, USA
OUR REPLY: Srila Prabhupada uses the term "gods" variously sometimes as an equivalent to "demigods" (thus Narada is "the sage among the gods") and sometimes to refer to both the Supreme Lord and the demigods (as in Krsna book: "My dear Lord, as for the three gods Brahma, Visnu and Siva they are also not independent of You").
Among the deities prominently worshiped in the Himalayas are Lord Visnu, Siva, and Vaisno Devi.
Though on other occasions we have focused on the distinction between the Supreme Lord and the demigods, our cover story this time didn't dwell on it. So we used the word "Gods" neutrally. (The capital "G" occurs because we capitalize most words in our cover lines.)
Krsna's Violent Pastimes
In Krsna's Dvaraka pastimes, Krsna is troubled by and has to kill so many demons and deal with opposing forces, so many wars, so many violent situations. In the material world there is violence, and bad things happen. But how is it that in the spiritual sphere of Krsna's Dvaraka pastimes there is violence and all that? One would expect peace.
San Jose, California, USA
OUR REPLY: First of all, as you know, the Lord enacts His pastimes in both the material and spiritual worlds. The demons are present only in the material world. Srila Prabhupada once said that in the spiritual world there are only "rumors of demons."
Everything about Krsna's pastimes is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge. And everything is purified in the presence of Krsna. So the apparent violence in Krsna's pastimes does not have the same effect as ordinary, mundane violence. For example, demons sometimes threaten Krsna's devotees, but in such situations the devotees take shelter of Krsna and increase their attachment for Him. And of course Krsna always protects them, so they can never be harmed by the demons.
We shouldn't think that Krsna is somehow disturbed by the demons. They are tiny, insignificant creatures whom Krsna can easily kill with His material energy if He so desires. But in fact He wants to fight with them, so He allows them to become relatively powerful in the material world. His fighting with them is for His pleasure and the pleasure of His devotees.
Actually, Krsna kills everyone sooner or later. As the Gita states, He is all-devouring death. But no one is really killed. We are all eternal souls, and we continue to exist after the annihilation of the material body. To think there is something wrong in Krsna's pastimes of killing demons is simply an illusion. There is really no violence, because rather than the demons being harmed, they are liberated when killed by Krsna.
In the material world, we can't have happiness without peace, but in Krsna's pastimes, every situation is one of uninterrupted happiness. The apparent violence and other such things simply add to the variety of Krsna's enjoyment.
The Right Pronunciation
How do we correctly pronounce the Lord's name? Is it "Krishna" or "Krishn." An Indian swami has written that it is "Krishn." Has this difference arisen due to regional or linguistic variation in India? Shall we not follow the correct Sanskrit pronunciation of the Lord's name?
Hari Pada Dhar
College Station, Texas, USA
OUR REPLY: In Sanskrit, consonants are assumed to include the vowel "a" when no other vowel is given. So the Lord's name is pronounced "Krishna." "Krishn" is the Hindi pronunciation, as the practice in Hindi is to often drop the "a" after consonants. In different parts of India, people will pronounce the Lord's name differently. Srila Prabhupada downplayed concern over the exact pronunciation of the Lord's name. Krsna is attracted by devotion and not by pronunciation. So, above all, we should strive to chant His name with devotion.
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The theory that Bhumandala is an accurate model of our solar system is staggering. Dr. Thompson must be a genius. More! More!
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The Back to Godhead staff would like to thank columnists Rohininandana Dasa and Yamuna Devi for their contributions to BTG since 1991. Rohininandana has been the main writer for Bhakti-yoga at Home and Yamuna Devi has written Lord Krsna's Cuisine for every issue. They're both moving on to other services, but we hope they'll still find time to write occasionally for BTG. (Yamuna Devi's last colu