A Sankirtan Story

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The following is a very nice story which appeared as a Back to Godhead Magazine Article back in 1998. It was written by Locanananda dasa and he recounts the true events that occurred while out chanting on a hot summers day, in the streets of New York City.

Near Death While Out Chanting
by Locanananda Dasa
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1998 Vol. 32, No. 2

Devotees are ready to take risks to assist the Lord in His mission
“All Glories to Sri Krsna sankirtana, the chanting of the holy names of the Lord,” Yajna Purusa Dasa and I recite as the D train makes its way toward midtown Manhattan. “Sankirtana cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years …”
We’re leading a party of twenty-five enthusiastic devotees to Fifth Avenue, where Lord Jagannatha’s Rathayatra parade will take place in just a few days. More and more devotees have been arriving daily from all over the country to attend the festival, and our kirtana party is becoming more powerful and impressive. Jaded New Yorkers who have “seen it all” cannot help but notice our ecstatic chanting and dancing. The holy name is entering their hearts.

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One Can Keep Direct Company With the Spiritual Master/ Book Changes

One Can Keep Direct Company With the Spiritual Master
by Vyasasan das

There is an ongoing debate over the changes to Srila Prabhupada’s books. The current BBTI want you to believe they are only changing the spelling and grammatical errors, and are simply improving the books. But there is much evidence to prove otherwise. For instance in the famous verse from the Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-Lila 19.157: “The gardener must defend the creeper by fencing it all around so that the powerful elephant of offenses may not enter.” while reading the purport to this verse from the original 1975 Edition, I couldn’t help but appreciate just how clear Srila Prabhupada’s instructions were:

“If one thinks that there are many pseudo devotees or nondevotees in the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society, one can keep direct company with the spiritual master, and if there is any doubt, one should consult the spiritual master.” (from purport to Original 1975 Edition)

While discussing this statement with a friend, he informed me that the BBTI had changed the purport in their re-vised edition. I couldn’t understand why they would change such a clear statement…so I looked it up in the Bhaktivedanta VedaBase…and to my great surprise they did change it!!! So much for the spelling and grammatical errors argument, no they were changing the meaning of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Lets take a look at this example, of how the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanda Swami, are being changed by our so-called leaders and intellectuals. (Note the Bold Letters below is done by me to indicate the changes.)

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (1975 Edition)

If one thinks that there are many pseudo devotees or nondevotees in the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society, one can keep direct company with the spiritual master, and if there is any doubt, one should consult the spiritual master. However, unless one follows the spiritual master’s instructions and the regulative principles governing chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, one cannot become a pure devotee. By one’s mental concoctions, one falls down. By associating with nondevotees, one breaks the regulative principles and is thereby lost.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Bhaktivedanta VedaBase)

Even if one thinks that there are many pseudo devotees or nondevotees in the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society, still one should stick to the Society; if one thinks the Society’s members are not pure devotees, one can keep direct company with the spiritual master, and if there is any doubt, one should consult the spiritual master. However, unless one follows the spiritual master’s instructions concerning the regulative principles and chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, one cannot become a pure devotee. By one’s mental concoctions, one falls down. By associating with nondevotees, one breaks the regulative principles and is thereby lost.

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The Spiritual Master (Part 4)

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…What Srila Prabhupada arranged in ISKCON was a very safe and very clear path for the new adherent to advance in Krishna consciousness and in the end to reach the ultimate goal of going back to Godhead. The process of sadhana bhakti with morning and evening classes, kirtana and Deity worship coupled with training in preaching and daily Sankirtana activity was the path to purification and the awakening of our dormant love for Krishna. Simple, yet sublime!

As far as acceptance of a spiritual master, in our day it was a foregone conclusion that the initiated disciple was agreeing to worship Srila Prabhupada as good as God and that the spiritual master was promising to deliver the disciple from the cycle of birth and death.

Presently, people are still being attracted to join this movement by coming into contact with Srila Prabhupada’s books, by association with good devotees who represent him with transparency, and by developing a taste for chanting the Holy Name and honoring Krishna prasadam. They agree to abide by the principles established by Srila Prabhupada for all generations of ISKCON devotees — past, present and future. They read and distribute his books, offer obeisances to him when entering the temple, worship his murti, and focus on cultivating a personal relationship with him. In other words, someone who joins our movement today is doing so as a follower of Srila Prabhupada and is accepting His Divine Grace as their eternal spiritual master. It is he who is taking them back to the spiritual world. How could someone who is not a resident of the spiritual world do so?

This is a continuation from our previous posts, The Spiritual Master some time ago, and the further discussion in The Spiritual Master (Part 2)
And The Spiritual Master (Part 3) This is a fascinating account by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu revealing his insights into the ‘guru issue’ in our ISKCON society today, from his own personal understanding, and his realizations of the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada shortly before his untimely departure. Our obeisances to him for sharing his personal recollections and realizations. This new The Spiritual Master (Part 4) is exploring the same theme although from a different source.

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Initiation Protocols

And the most definitive direction on this subject is found in the purport of the Srimad Bhagavatam: “One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorized by his predecessor spiritual master. This is called diksha-vidhana.” (SB 4.8.54)

Initiation Protocols
Interview with Sriman Locanananda Prabhu

Interviewer: The issue of initiations in ISKCON has divided devotees for several decades and appears to have evolved into a schism. What is your personal perspective on this issue?

Locanananda dasa: When I was President of the Amsterdam temple in 1977, I received a copy of the Summary Report of the GBC meetings held in Vrndavana that year from the 27th through the 29th of May. In that report, two of the three questions Srila Prabhupada answered on May 28th were included, but the answer to the question about future initiations was not. A few weeks later, I received a copy of the July 9th letter explaining the new initiation protocols. It didn’t seem as if much had changed. Initiations would resume despite Srila Prabhupada’s ongoing illness. The letter also addressed the selection of “rittik” representatives of the acarya and referred to the May 28th meeting with Srila Prabhupada, but there was no detailed explanation as to how the two were connected. We were really left in the dark for years as to what instructions Srila Prabhupada had actually given the GBC as a mandate for future initiations.

Interviewer: Would you say it was a cover-up and hijacking of the movement?

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Acharya

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness


There is a popular ideology that claims that Srila Prabhupad should still be considered the diksa guru in ISKCON. It is commendable that devotees who espouse this ideology want to see Krishna’s pure devotee unlimitedly and perpetually glorified. That goal can be accomplished by following the system of “officiating acharyas” that he factually authorized. An “officiating acharya” simply teaches by example how to follow in the footsteps of the great preceptor and founder acharya of ISKCON and then engages everyone in the service of expanding the sankirtan movement.

The War is Over
Editorial (VNN)
By Sriman Locanananda Prabhu

When Srila Prabhupad was asked how initiations would be performed after he was no longer physically present, his response was clear and powerful. He had been contemplating this question for ten years, and his main concern was to guarantee the continuity and future growth of his movement. His reply was “I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharya.” This was the term he wanted to introduce to describe the role of his disciples who would initiate new devotees as members of ISKCON after he had concluded his manifest pastimes.

The title “acharya” indicates that one is a guru, or spiritual master, and the qualifying term “officiating” means that the initiation is to be performed on behalf of the founder acharya and his institution. By naming eleven of his foremost disciples who had demonstrated great leadership ability and dedication to his movement as “officiating acharyas”, Srila Prabhupad was laying the groundwork to perpetuate Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana movement throughout the world. His plan would be successful as long as his followers kept his teachings intact and protected his movement from any influence that might tend to push Srila Prabhupad into the background. The Krishna Consciousness Movement would ultimately establish His Divine Grace as the greatest vaisnava acharya coming in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the most merciful incarnation of Krishna.

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In Glorification of His Grace Tribhuvannatha Prabhu


In Glorification of His Grace Tribhuvannatha Prabhu
by Locanananda dasa 2001

At the 1970 London Rathayatra, more than thirty years ago, I met a young bhakta who, like myself, was trying to absorb the transcendental gift of Krishna consciousness. He was bright-faced, innocent, full of energy and obviously very dedicated to pleasing his spiritual master. I knew him as Tom, and I thought that if I could do just as he was doing— always joyfully chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra and studying Srila Prabhupada’s books — then everything about my life would turn out all right.

We remained friends all of those years, but our service rarely brought us together. Still, I always felt a close connection with His Grace Tribhuvannatha Prabhu. In 1976, we spent some time associating in the holy land of Vrndavana Dhama and I can still recall the kirtana he led after Srila Prabhupada performed a fire yajna in the courtyard of the Krishna-Balarama Mandira. There was great potency in his chanting, the potency that comes from being totally surrendered to the will of a pure devotee of Krishna. Tribhuvannatha Prabhu’s chanting sounded like a call to every jiva soul to rise up and begin to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead who resides in the hearts of all.

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Arsha Prayoga – Part IV


Arsha Prayoga – Part IV
By Sriman Locanananda Prabhu

For those who saw the Hare Krishna movement spread from city to city and from country to country, it was clear that the original version of Srila Prabhupada’s books was full of spiritual potency and did not require to be changed in any way for his words to act upon the hearts of the conditioned souls.

The question as to whether the writings of the Acharya may or may not be revised by his disciples after his disappearance is answered by the rule of arsha-prayoga.

This principle states that one should not see mistakes in what the spiritual master has written or think that his writings may be changed to make them more effective or politically correct. To preserve his teachings in their originally published form is the way by which the Acharya is honored, and to do otherwise is to dishonor him. That is the rule of arsha-prayoga, a principle that devoted followers of a bona fide spiritual master must adhere to without deviation.

The rationale for changing Srila Prabhupada’s books was based on a series of false arguments, many of which were defeated by Srila Prabhupada himself as this article will show. To justify their actions, the BBT editors created the illusion that Srila Prabhupada’s books were defective and in need of extensive editing even though they knew His Divine Grace had never authorized anyone to revise his books after his disappearance. Subsequent to his departure, they conveniently overlooked the principle of arsha-prayoga and proceeded to do exactly what Vaishnava tradition strictly prohibits.

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The Real Final Order


The Real Final Order
10/25/1998 – 2410
Editorial (VNN) – by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu 
Submitted on the disappearance day of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

During what Srila Prabhupada thought might be his final days, he summoned his GBC representatives from all over the world to come to his bedside in May of 1977. He was about to pronounce his final instruction concerning how the movement should be expanded after he was no longer physically present to oversee things. When he was specifically asked how initiations would be performed in the future, he replied that he would recommend some of his GBC men to act as officiating acharyas in his absence. This was a momentous pronouncement. He was going to create the post of officiating acharya by naming some of his disciples to initiate on his behalf. They would actually be gurus, but would act as representatives of the acharya in initiating members into Srila Prabhupada’s movement after His Divine Grace had left this world. Although everyone present said that this instruction was understood, in the twenty-one years since this revelation, not a single ISKCON guru has called himself an “officiating acharya”. This has produced a contrary result.

To resolve the conflict and ongoing debate between the proponents of “ritvik” initiation and ISKCON’s official interpretation of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, we must find a common denominator upon which both parties can agree. That one camp is ready to excommunicate or overthrow the other is causing a massive headache in the minds of peaceful devotees everywhere. With the greatest urgency, the fracture in our movement must be healed before it becomes a permanent schism. To avoid causing further embarrassment to our spiritual master, and to protect innocent devotees and well-wishers of the Krishna consciousness movement from the devastating effect of our fratricidal follies, all followers of Srila Prabhupada should stop their sabre rattling and calmly consider how to resolve their differences.

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Officiating Acharya’s


The War is Over
Editorial (VNN) – by Locanananda Das

There is a popular ideology that claims that Srila Prabhupad should still be considered the diksa guru in ISKCON. It is commendable that devotees who espouse this ideology want to see Krishna’s pure devotee unlimitedly and perpetually glorified. That goal can be accomplished by following the system of “officiating acharyas” that he factually authorized. An “officiating acharya” simply teaches by example how to follow in the footsteps of the great preceptor and founder acharya of ISKCON and then engages everyone in the service of expanding the sankirtan movement.

When Srila Prabhupad was asked how initiations would be performed after he was no longer physically present, his response was clear and powerful. He had been contemplating this question for ten years, and his main concern was to guarantee the continuity and future growth of his movement. His reply was “I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharya.” This was the term he wanted to introduce to describe the role of his disciples who would initiate new devotees as members of ISKCON after he had concluded his manifest pastimes.

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Arsha-Prayoga Part III – The Case Against Changing Prabhupada’s Books


EDITORIAL
BY LOCANANANDA DAS – 11-01-04

While planning to print the unabridged version of the Bhagavad-gita, Srila Prabhupada often referred to it as the revised and enlarged edition. When the BBT published its unauthorized adulterated Gita years later, they would henceforward refer to the 1972 printing as the original edition while calling theirs the revised and enlarged edition. This appears to be a subtle act of deception meant to validate the irreverent practice of changing Srila Prabhupada’s Books.

The remainder of this article will focus mainly on the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, which contains the essence of Vaishnava philosophy. Srila Prabhupada said that the Krishna consciousness movement is genuine, historically authorized, natural and transcendental due to its being based on the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. It was his conviction that the entire human society could embrace one God, Krishna, and live harmoniously by practicing one religion, devotional service to God, by chanting one mantra, the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, and by following one scripture, the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Because the Bhagavad-gita is so vitally important to the spreading of Krishna consciousness, the adverse effect of changing its original wording without the approval of the Acharya can hardly be estimated.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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A Short Statement of the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

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July 9th Letter

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

Reference Material/Study Guide

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