Departure Speech

September 4, 2012 |

English; Denver, Colorado, USA

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Question: I have been speaking w various devotees about the standard for grhasthas regarding initiation. I am sure you saw my post on the sannyasa conference. One devotee wrote back to me the following: An afterthought: It strikes me that in the Gaudiya Math during Bhaktisiddhanta's time, the math was strictly a place for brahmacaris and sannyasis. My guess:… Expand>

Question:

I have been speaking w various devotees about the standard for grhasthas regarding initiation. I am sure you saw my post on the sannyasa conference. One devotee wrote back to me the following:

 

An afterthought: It strikes me that in the Gaudiya Math during Bhaktisiddhanta's time, the math was strictly a place for brahmacaris and sannyasis. My guess: The presupposition seems to have been that householders were/are more clearly separated from the renunciants because of their marital engagements, including especially sexuality, which I don't know that Bhaktisiddhanta specified must be for procreation only among householder disciples (would be interesting to know if there is any info on this).

 

Do you have any info on the above?

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For a very long time, I have felt very nervous about joining devotees on Harinama or book distribution. Honestly, I feel a bit embarrassed at the thought of my friends seeing me with devotees, or seeing me distributing books or seeing me in a Tilaka etc. I am worried people will think this guy is a nut or a fool! I am worried they will judge me and I will lose my so-called social standing.

Right from my childhood, I have been a very shy and lonely person and I am always easily embarrassed. I grew up with severe inferiority complex in my childhood. Both my parents were completely uneducated, not respected, not well off etc. They passed that over to me. That low self esteem has stayed with me. Hence I am very scared and nervous of doing anything public.

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Can you throw some light on the philosophy of Vivekananda? I have read that he was a contemporary of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. What is his philosophy? Is it bona fide?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

Does that make him bona fide? Well, why Vivekānanda? There are so many - this ānanda, that ānanda; there are so many people. Why not concentrate on the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa given in Bhagavad-gītā? Is what Vivekānanda says the same as what Kṛṣṇa says? Well, Vivekānanda went to America. Śrīla Prabhupāda went to America. Vivekānanda brought back one woman from the West. Śrīla Prabhupāda made hundreds and thousands of people from the West follow all the principles of pure bhakti along the principle of Bhagavad-gītā: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. So, we can see that Śrīla Prabhupāda did what Kṛṣṇa said and Vivekānanda didn’t. So why give any importance to him? Of course, he is famous in the world, but so many people are famous. Vivekānanda sai d, whatever his philosophy might be… Of course, his guru’s philosophy was yata mata tata patha — as many paths… as many opinions, that many paths - which directly contradicts what Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. His guru was eating beef, so what kind of paramparā is that? That’s documented. In the name of proving that all paths are the same he followed Islam and ate beef for some time. So, if you want to think he is bona fide, you can follow him and go wherever he is going. But we want to go to Kṛṣṇa. People who eat meat like Vivekānanda and smoke… Of course, there are śāstric provisions for eating meat, but in general that should not be done. Those who do, they’re… That’s tāmasic, that’s in the mode of ignorance. We can’t think that there’ll be any good result from doing that; even if they are famous. There are so many famous swamis in the world today. They are almost all bogus. 

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Question:

How can we attain Krishna consciousness if our health deteriorates very badly?

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It may be difficult if one’s health is very bad over a long period of time to perform sādhana bhakti, which… It requires some level of health and clear-mindedness. So, it may be very difficult, but if we do get in that condition anyway we should pray to Kṛṣṇa to help us [do] the best we can. And if we are sincere, Kṛṣṇa will appreciate our prayers. Ultimately, Kṛṣṇa consciousness transcends all conditions, but in our present condition it may be very difficult for us to appreciate that. But nevertheless, in whatever state of health, if we try to associate with the devotees, chant the holy names of Kṛṣṇa, study Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books as best as we can, then Śrīla Prabhupāda will help us. And that’s all for now, because all of you are going on harināma saṅkīrtana on the beach to benefit all of conditioned souls. That is the ultimate solution — 

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare/Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. 

Nāca, gāo, bhakta-saṅge kara saṅkīrtana/kṛṣṇa-nāma upadeśi’ tāra’ sarva-jana: 
dance, sing and perform congregational chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in the association of devotees, and, by instructing the holy name to others, deliver all the people. So, that’s the ultimate solution. Otherwise, the material world, especially in Kali-yuga is very, very difficult, getting more and more confused day by day. Chant the holy names. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

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