35:44 minutes (10.23 MB)This is a slimmed-down version of a class I gave in March 2008 at the ISKCON center at Soho Street in London. One mistake: I say that “some girls” who wanted Bhisma to marry them asked his guru to oblige him to do so. In fact there was only one such girl—Amba. The other girls, her two sisters, married Bhisma’s half-brother Vicitravirya. In any case, my point concerning Bhisma’s personal integrity remains the same, as do my points concerning our own.
Jayapataka SwamiOn October 23, while I was stopping briefly at the ISKCON center in New Delhi on the way from Govardhana to Mumbai, an anguished disciple of my godbrother Jayapataka Swami told me that Jayapataka Swami had fallen unconscious while in Mumbai to attend a meeting and had been rushed to the hospital, where he lay still unconscious and in critical condition.
Submitted by jswami on November 25, 2008 - 11:26pm
36:53 minutes (25.33 MB)Here is a class I gave in India last January for a course at the Mayapur Institute for Higher Education. I spoke on this verse from the Bhagavad-gita (9.30):
api cet su-duracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.”
Submitted by jswami on September 24, 2008 - 9:00am
On Thursday, six days ago, I’d been thinking of a book to send to a cousin, Bill, a semi-retired pediatrician. In response to some points I’d made in talking about the spiritual nature of consciousness, he had asked me if I’d ever read anything by Stephen J. Gould, the Harvard paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, historian of science, and author of popular scientific articles and books.
The unstated message: I doubt whether your ideas about consciousness can stand up in the face of what we know from science.
I haven’t read more than a few brief essays by Gould, so I later wrote to ask that Bill recommend something. Meanwhile, I was thinking about what to recommend to Bill.
My thoughts at once went to Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science, a short book written by my godbrother Sadaputa Dasa, known in the world by his civil name, Dr. Richard L. Thompson.
Three years ago, I published here the article A distant view of 9/11. Its theme, in brief, was that when freedom-hating Islamic terrorists struck on 9/11/2001 and the armies of American democracy struck back, the events rolled out in patterns so exquisitely neat and familiar as to suggest that the entire show had likely been scripted and staged by powerful hands within (and beyond) the United States government itself.
Oh, paranoid conspiracy theories!
Today the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust released this statement.
The ISKCON Governing Body Commission has recommended to the BBT trustees that we insert endnotes or appendices into Srila Prabhupada’s books to explain statements Srila Prabhupada makes in Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.25.41, 4.25.42, and 4.26.26 concerning a woman’s attitude towards the aggressive advances of a man who is “expert at rape.” The GBC has also recommended that the endnotes or appendices explain “other such statements.”
The BBT directors, at their annual meeting in June of 2008, considered these recommendations and decided to turn them down.
You may have seen things on the internet written by “Madhudvisa Dasa.” And you may have wondered, Is this the Madhudvisa, the senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada? Or perhaps you assumed it was.
In fact, there are two Madhudvisas, two entirely different people.
The senior Madhudvisa Dasa
The junior Madhudvisa Dasa
Civil name: Michael Morrissey
Initiation: First and second initiation in 1968, both ceremonies performed directly by Srila Prabhupada. First initiation in San Francisco, second in Los Angeles.
One of Srila Prabhupada’s intimate disciples. In 1972 Srila Prabhupada personally requested him to become a GBC man. During Srila Prabhupada’s time, he served as one of Srila Prabhupada’s “right-hand men” in America, India, Australasia, and elsewhere.
He received about 100 personal letters from Srila Prabhupada.
Rousing kirtana leader
He stays off the net
Civil name: Michael Thompson
Initiation: Well, we’re not sure whether he was ever formally initiated. But a senior leader from Australia tells us that Michael received the name “Bhakta Madhudvisa” from Jayadharma Dasa, one of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, around 1988.
He first came in touch with the Krishna consciousness movement well after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure and never physically met Srila Prabhupada.
Presents himself as “a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,” although in what sense he regards this to be so is unclear.
Mr. William F. Buckley, Jr., the politically conservative founder of the magazine National Review, an opinionated intellectual whose views I have sometimes agreed with, sometimes disagreed with, and often not known or cared about but whose skill as a writer I have often admired, died on Wednesday at 82.
Among his other roles, for thirty-three years he served as host and combatant on “Firing Line,” a television program of highbrow discussion and debate.
An article today in The New York Times about Mr. Buckley and his program relates an anecdote told by Richard Brookhiser, a conservative writer and a frequent guest on the program:
And there was the time that Allen Ginsberg asked Mr. Buckley’s permission, in the middle of an episode, to sing a song in praise of Lord Krishna.
“That was a howl—sorry, sorry about the word choice,” Mr. Brookhiser said. “Bill was very gentle with him. He said of course.”
Mr. Ginsberg proceeded to play a long and doleful number on a harmonium, chanting along slowly and passionately, Mr. Brookhiser said. “And when he was finished, Bill said, ‘Well, that’s the most unharried Krishna I’ve ever heard.’ ”
I subscribe to a free e-mail newsletter that arrives twice a month with brief extracts from valuable Krishna conscious writings. In the latest issue I found these instructions from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, which I thought I’d share:
varjile e saba sanga sadhu ninda naya
ihake ye ninda bale sei varjya haya
One should avoid the association of persons who criticize saintly devotees.
ei saba sanga chadi ananya-sarana
krsna-nama kari paya krsna-prema-dhana
Anyone who avoids these persons, chants Krishna’s holy name, and takes shelter of Krishna and no one else attains the treasure of love for Krishna.
You can request to receive the newsletter, Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu, by writing to email@example.com.
In Vrindaban, India, on the evening of December 22, my godbrother Vibhu Chaitanya Dasa, a pure devotee of Krishna, passed away from this world, surrounded by devotees singing the Hare Krishna mantra. He was 84 years old.
Vibhu Chaitanya joined the followers of our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, in 1975. Some time earlier in Kolkata, Vibhu Chaitanya had renounced family life, and now he showed up at the Krishna-Balarama Temple in Vrindaban and asked to join. Srila Prabhupada’s followers at that time, mostly Westerners in their twenties, quickly warmed to this humble, joyful Bengali devotee thirty or forty years older.
He soon received initiation from Srila Prabhupada, who then gave him the service of cooking for the temple Deities. This entailed preparing six offerings of food every day, on simple coal stoves, starting well before sunrise and ending after 8 o’clock at night. This was a service he performed every day for the next fifteen years.