Letter from Prabhupada

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harsi
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Re: Understanding the mind of god

Post by harsi »

Janus wrote: The letter had been by Srila Prabhupada during my crisis of faith and in it Srila Prabhupada instructed that no one within miles of the temple should be hungry. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and all glories to Krsna, to God.
I am just now trying to read all letters which Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciples and other people. My former Templepresident, Asoka Kumara, also a Prabhupada disciple allowed me ones to copy them all from the Original copys received from America. There are a few thousends. I hope I will read ones also the letter you so nicely mentioned in your comment. It is indeed very interesting to read how Prabhupada managed everything in the movement he started, in a very personal and nice way. He was a great spiritual personality indeed.
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Post by GPandit »

Thanks, harsi. It sounds like an interesting lecture, I plan to listen to it when I have the time to pay close attention. I think the letters you are reading from Bhaktivedanta Swami, will be interesting. I'd imagine they could give some insights into what was going on back then. Maybe you could post somethings that you find pertinent or applicable to where many people are today? I'm not sure if that sentence made sense...I mean can you post anything that is interesting. And although I agree that ISKCON failed in its attempt to bring Gaudiya Vaishnavism to the Western world, Swami Bhaktivedanta's story is extraordinary, even from a "material" point of view.
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Post by harsi »

GPandit wrote:Swami Bhaktivedanta's story is extraordinary, even from a "material" point of view.
Thank you Garuda Pandit. You were reading my mind when you mentioned that I may post interesting passages from Prabhupadas letters. That is exactly what I also was thinking that I could do here. When I wrote that Prabhupada was managing everything in the movement he started, through the letters he was writing, in a nice and personal way, I did not concludet by writing this, that everything may have came out just perfect, since he was a spiritually perfect and self realized person, like some may believe or mention to others. Rather, I am of the opinion, that he, according to his set of knowledge, understanding and realization of his time, did his best, according to what he thought is best to do, write and teach, at the time he was personally present among us. Now if in the long run and in seeing things from the distance of the time which was passing by, came out, that some things he was mentioning, or inspiring others to act upon, would need some modification, or explained somehow in other terms and words, in order to be better understood and aplicated in ones daily life, circumstancis and society one may live in, I have no problems with this. Thats just the way things are going on and becoming better in this world. We are living now in a society and in times caracterized by the Enlightenment. Gone is the dark and intolerant time of the Middle Age, or? Therefore I think, that to adapt things Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada or other spiritual personalitys of theyr time, were teaching and writing, according to the necesitys of the time we are living in now, and the circumstances and developed understanding of today, does not change necessarily anything, in their or his image of being an honest, sincere and dedicated searcher and aplyer of divine truth, a spiritual personality who did his best, according to his personal understanding, to be of service for the Supreme Lord, Krishna, and us all. Now it is the time for us to do the same with all our sincerety and determination. Or what is your opinion in this regard?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Enlightenment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God
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Post by harsi »

GPandit wrote:I think the letters you are reading from Bhaktivedanta Swami, will be interesting. I'd imagine they could give some insights into what was going on back then. Maybe you could post somethings that you find pertinent or applicable to where many people are today?
Upon your request, I would like to type a letter by Prabhupada, to the than president of the United States, which he wrote on 28 June 1972, at the Sri Sri Radha-Krsna Temple in Los Angeles.

The President
The White House
Washington, D. C. 20025

My dear Mr. President:

Several thousand years ago a great pious emperor ruled over this planet. He was a descendent of the great Kuru dynasty and the grandson of Arjuna, the hero of the Bhagavad-gita and the personal associate of the Lord, Sri Krishna. The people lived under his domain in peace. He providet protection for the people and the cows, as well as all other living entities. He engaged many brahmanas, spiritual leaders, to educate his people and advise him in all matters. The people were just and God-conscious. They had a good understanding of the meaning and purpose of life and lived in happiness and prosperity. They respected their emperor and received kindness and benedictiones from him.

You are a great president of a great nation. In this age of unrest and quarell, your strength, as well as the strength of your nation, will be lasting if it is built upon the pillars of spiritual knowledge and Absolute
Truth.

I am seventy-six years of age and am in the renounced order of life. I came to this country from India six years ago to introduce Krishna Consciousness, the scientific process of spiritual life, to the English-speaking people of the Western world. Now by the grace of Krishna I have many thousands of disciples, young American and European boys and girls. Many of them have come to me bewildered, rebellious and addicted to all sorts of sinfull activities. Like so many of the young people today, they were lost and confused. Now they are all leading a disciplined and regulated life. They follow strict principles of spiritual life, with no desire for intoxication of any kind, or illicit sex life. They are always engaged in meaningful work, serving God and their follow man. They have become the flower of your country and all over the world they are being treated with the highest respect.

I would humbly like to request an interview with you to discuss the possibilities of my providing further service. My disciple, Atreya Rsi das (address and phone number is written...) will assist your aides to arrange a suitable time and place for a meeting.

I hope this meets you in best health.
Your ever well-wisher.

Signed, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Does somone knows if the president of the U.S.A. gave him a meeting or answered his letter?
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Post by harsi »

A few weeks before on the 7. June 1972, Prabhupada wrote also a letter from the Bombay Temple in India, to the Government in Moscow.

Secretary to
Minister of Education and Culture,
Government of the U.S.S.R.,
Moscow.

Dear sir,

With reference to an article entitled "Babtists Besieged" published in the international edition of "Time" Magazine June, 1972, page 66, it is understood that your people are now protesting against atheistic government. So far we know your government is pledged not to believe in God. But this kind of suppression will not be tolerated by the general mass of people.

It is understood also that your Constitution allows freedom of religious expression. But it appears from the facts that you do not wish to indulge in religious principles which are simply sentiments. We agree wholeheartedly that without philosophy, religion is reduced to sentiment or "the opium of the masses." We are likewise in full agreement with your national leaders that the state and the citizens in general must be organized upon philosophical principles.

We, the above institution, have got our spiritual communism idea, and we want to see that not a single person, man or animal, remains hungry or in want of material necessities of life. According to our philosophy, a householder or substancial citizen of the state has to see not only after the well-being of his wife, children, relatives and dependents, that they shall be properly taken care of and will not starve, but also even if a lizzard lives in his house, he should see that it is not hungry. Therefore, to give all facilities of living condition to all living entities is our Krishna Consciousness movement.

Besides this human welfare activity for communal sharing of the material necessities of life, there is an ancient Vedic programme for simmultaneously raising the whole society to the highest perfection of spiritual consciousness. We are, like you, the good public leaders of your nation, interested in material improvement, but also there must be spiritual improvement as well. It is not that I should be concerned only that my wife and sons eat and get satisfaction, but I must be concerned for the ultimate well-being of everyone.

By nature everyone, everyone is endowed with individual tastes and preferences, therefore what satisfies one man may not satisfy another, so there will allways be some dissatisfaction and descripancies of all sorts. Therefore if we try to satisfy everyone's well-being on the material platform, we shall never find the end of it, and we shall be frustrated in our attempts, and there will be protest, etc.

Your great founder of your nation, Mr. Nikolai Lenin, was very much intelligent, and he could understand that people become united only under the guiding principles of a commonly accepted philosophy or standard of truth. But if we examine the course of history we must conclude with Mr. Karl Marx, that this so-called standard of truth constantly changes, and that what one group of people accept as the standard of perfection at one time, the same people may again reject that standard and take another philosophy as the all-in-all, and so on.

So if we are intelligent leaders of state, it is our advantage to benefit all the citizens by satisying their material requirements, but even more is it our duty to satisfy their need for being secure and confident that they are working under the principles of a truth or reality which does not change and is therefore absolute. That is spiritual satisfaction. Spiritual means philosophical, otherwise it is sentiment and sentiments are fickle and allways changing. So we can very much appreciate your rejection of sentiment as a basis for practical activity.

Our institution, as above mentioned, is a philosophical and cultural movement originating long ago in the Vedic period of history of your friendly neighbor, India, and it is meant for awakening peoples' dormant acceptance of the absolute truth, or God-consciousness, without which a human society is no better that animal society. By the progressive evolutionary process, the human being is enriched specifically with dormant obeisances for the supreme authority. We cannot deny logically and scientifically the supreme authority of the whole cosmic manifestation. In abnormal conditions only we deny this authority, but normally it is not possible to deny this fact.
I think your people are now protesting against this suppression, and at the same time, we can understand that your government does not wish to encourage the above-mentioned sentimental religious faiths. Our International Society is based upon scientific and authoritative understanding of God-consciousness. Any philosopher or scientist will certainly agree with our philosophical point-of-view on religion and God-consciousness.

We also understand from one prominent Soviet professor of Indology that a few years ago your government published a translation of the Ramayana, an ancient Vedic scripture describing the pastimes of Lord Rama, who advented Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead long years ago, and that this translation, the whole stock, was sold out within a few days. With reference to this obvious preference by the citizens in general, we wish to publish our translation of another ancient classical Vedic literature, namely, Bhagavad Gita, in the Russian language. The English edition of this great book of knowledge, which has been called by us as Bhagavad Gita As It Is, is already published by the famous London publishing house of Mss. MacMillan Co.

This book of knowledge is perfectly educational and is an authoritative cultural presentation in the matter of understanding God-consciousness. If you, therefore permit, I can send you the copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is and ask my publishers, MacMillan Co., to send you one copy immediately on hearing from you.

Our only desire is that when the good people of your country are so anxious to continue the natural God-consciuosness, why not give them opportunity to read a book which is full of philosophy and science in the matter of developing their firm understanding of the truth or God-consciousness, and thus very easily unify and satisfy all the citizens.

Thanking you in anticipation of an early reply,

Yours sincerely,
Signed, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

cc: "Time " Magazine, New York
MacMillan Co., London.


His letters from before 1972 one can read at:
http://sangalog.blogspot.com/2003_06_15 ... chive.html where it is written: "Srila Prabhupada was as potent and moving a communicator in letters as he was in person. Collectively, Srila Prabhupada’s letters reveal his personal character and thinking like no other source."
Rare photos to be viewed as slideshow at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/acbhaktivedantaswami/
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Post by harsi »

Regarding the instructions containd in the letters from Srila Prabhupada, its interesting, what I found recently written, in one homepage.

"The real purpose of ISKCON was defined by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur in the 19th century. He wanted to create a cultural weapon that would defeat the materialistic imperialism of Western world hegemony. In response to his wishes, Bhaktivinoda’s son and spiritual heir Bhaktisidddhanta Sarasvati created the Gaudiya Math, which was the first-ever formal Gaudiya Vaisnava religious institution.

I believe that Bhaktivinod and Bhaktisiddhanta were fully aware of what they were doing. In an article in Rays of the Harmonist, even as he was creating the institution of Gaudiya Math, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur wrote:

"The idea of an organized church in an intelligible form, indeed, marks the close of the living spiritual movement. The great ecclesiastical establishments are the dikes and dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances. They, indeed, indicate a desire on the part of the masses to exploit a spiritual movement for their own purpose. They also unmistakably indicate the end of the absolute and unconventional guidance of the bonafide spiritual teacher. The people of this world understand preventive systems, they can have no idea of the unprevented positive eternal life. Neither can there be any earthly contrivance for the permanent preservation of the life eternal on this mundane plane on the popular scale." [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Harmonist 29.7]

We should meditate deeply on the significance of this instruction, for it reveals the limitations of all spiritual organizations. My mature understanding after more than 30 years’ practice is that the portion of Gaudiya Vaisnavism that was packaged by Bhaktivinod and Bhaktisiddhanta, and sent to the West in the person of Srila Prabhupada, was only a partial representation of the complete Esoteric Teaching of the Vedas. As Bhaktisiddhanta so intelligently wrote, no orthodoxy can contain or support the radical teachings of the authentic self-realized soul."

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local ... ?id=dv2-10 - http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/ebooks/
"The aim of education is to prepare the individual to make the best of the spontaneity and initiative which allow him to play his full part in society. If he is restricted in his self-expression owing to the division of labor, education must supply him with the facilities and the vicarious experience which make up a full personality."

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local ... ?id=dv2-08
"Peters has also sought to build further criteria into the concept of education. He argues that education is going on only if X is initiating Y into some form of activity, some body of knowledge or mode of conduct that is governed by public standards enshrined in a public language to which both teacher and learner must give allegiance. Education "consists in initiating others into activities, modes of conduct and thought which have standards written into them by reference to which it is possible to act, think, and feel with varying degrees of skill, relevance, and taste" (Education as Initiation [1964], p. 41). Peters contends, furthermore, that education implies that the teacher and learner both know what they are doing, at least in an embryonic way, and care about it; that, though education does include the cultivation of moral and spiritual powers as well as intellectual ones, it always entails some kind of cognitive or intellectual development, some kind of "knowing-that" as well as "knowing how";and that the methods it uses must be appropriate to the dispositions involved in the kind of initiation described, as well as compatible with the learner's knowing what he is doing and caring about it."

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local ... ?id=dv1-02
"Emerging in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the university in the medieval age was to a considerable extent an autonomous corporate institution, but the master or teacher was subject to powerful restraints, both internal and external, and to the inhibiting force of authoritative tradition. Beginning with the founding of the university at Leiden in 1575, academic freedom began to take root in the Western world, albeit very slowly, as a consequence of the gradual development of an atmosphere of tolerance nurtured by the rise of religious, political, and economic liberalism, and the growth of the so-called new sciences."

http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia. ... er2003.htm - http://www.cesnur.org/text_gen.htm
"Religions of all kinds reflect the culture in which they are situated. Their members are people who for the most part are sincere seekers of spiritual fulfillment. The spiritual search is not a one-size-fits-all entity; people making it will continue to take a myriad of paths, just as they have done since the dawn of history."

"Although NRMs have appeared fairly steadily through American history, the last third of the twentieth century deserves special mention as a time of high NRM activity"”and controversy. In 1965 Congress passed a new Immigration Act that abolished quotas based on national origin (that favored Europeans) and placed immigration on a more egalitarian foundation. Immediately increased numbers of Asians began to move to the United States, and among them were spiritual teachers who brought new religious paths to a land previously dominated by certain mainstream forms of Christianity and Judaism. Serendipitously, immigration reform coincided with the great cultural upheaval that western society experienced in the late 1960s, one result of which was a new openness to religious exploration and experimentation, especially among young people, that provided fertile ground for the new and (by American standards) unusual teachings."

http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia. ... talpha.htm
"What Westerners call "Hinduism" is an extremely diverse group of beliefs and practices who main common characteristic is their presence in India. A rather ecumenical type of Hinduism had entered the U. S. with Vivekananda and Yogananda, but after 1965 many other versions of Indian tradition became established as well. Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta was one of the first of the new-generation teachers, arriving in 1965. Soon he established one of the best-known and most controversial of the NRMs, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, popularly called the Hare Krishnas after the mantra devotees chant."
http://www.lib.virginia.edu/student_vid ... nhigh.html
http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=442
http://www.virginia.edu/iso/issp/worldmap/
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GPandit
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Post by GPandit »

Thanks for posting that letter, harsi, very interesting. I wonder if President Tricky Dicky Nixon actually read that letter? Srila Prabhupada's idea of reinstating the varnashram dharma system to the world, it was a genius idea, doomed to failure I suppose. His mark on all of us, his influence and guidance, can never be repaid. However, for me, it is crucial to see Prabhupada as the one who brought me to the door of spiritual life, and it is up to me to find my way from here. Of course, with the kind help of others (like big brother Hari) whenever possible.

Hope you can post other interesting vignettes from those letters. Man you must have a lot of patience to sift through all of those letters....
What we do in life, echoes in Eternity
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