Affectionate Avatars

May 16, 2011 |

English with தமிழ் Translation; Guruvayur, Kerala, India

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Expansions and Incarnations

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Question: What is the difference between an expansion and an incarnation of the Lord?… Expand>

Question:

What is the difference between an expansion and an incarnation of the Lord?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami: 

These are English terms. Or Russian, or whatever. The word incarnation is often used by Śrīla Prabhupāda to refer to avatāra - one who descends into this world. All living beings are expansions of the Supreme Lord. They’re in two divisions – svāṁśa and vibhinnāṁśa. Svāṁśa means that they are the parts, but they are the own part, or what you might call an expansion. And they may or may not descend into this material world. Vibhinnāṁśa means the jīvas. So, we are separated parts of the Supreme Lord.

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Question: I am presently pestered by a question that is answered in different ways by different making conundrum more complex. Finally, I was directed to this page by Vishnujana Prabhu. I want to know if I am pursuing a career that involves investments in stocks, will my income be counted under an income that has come out of gambling?… Expand>

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I am presently pestered by a question that is answered in different ways by different making conundrum more complex. Finally, I was directed to this page by Vishnujana Prabhu.

I want to know if I am pursuing a career that involves investments in stocks, will my income be counted under an income that has come out of gambling? I am studying the scripts for days and nights and only after that I come to a decision whether to buy or sell.

What is gambling in stock market? In finance gambling can be labelled as a trade done under somebody else's recommendation or without studying the script before you enter it.

My friend once went to a casino in Singapore. He started putting money there and started earning regularly. After few days he was banned from entering that casino. The reason was he was claimed to be studying the whole game and then entering it. They said "you can only gamble here but can't study. The casino demands that you only gamble here. 

Studying before putting money is not allowed." It is quite clear that anything that takes sweat and toil cant be labelled as gambling. Are the people doing MBA in finance or the financial analysts gamblers? It is very easy to say yes for a person who dont have an inkling of what finance is but ask the person who is striving to make his bread and butter out of it.

I need Maharaja's opinion on this. So that I can work on it. I shall respect Maharaja's decision wholeheartedly.

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Santa Claus Outfits for Radha-Krsna

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Question: Recently I was shocked to learn that few of ISKCON temples around the globe celebrated Christmas by dressing Sri Sri Radha Krishna deities Santa Claus styled outfits. Is it acceptable to dress the Lord in such a non-traditional style or it is just a speculation?… Expand>

Question:

Recently I was shocked to learn that few of ISKCON temples around the globe celebrated Christmas by dressing Sri Sri Radha Krishna deities Santa Claus styled outfits. Is it acceptable to dress the Lord in such a non-traditional style or it is just a speculation?

 

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami:

So, I’ve been informed that some temples in Europe in the Christmas season dress Kṛṣṇa as Santa Claus, and that one temple, ISKCON temple (we are talking about ISKCON temples here), is dressing Kṛṣṇa as Santa Claus. And one temple in India also did this. And what do I think about this? 

Unfortunate…is one word I could use. Nonsense is another.

In one letter Śrīla Prabhupāda was informed that devotees sent some Christmas cards with a picture of Krsna. Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote that we are not for Christmas greetings. In another or several times, Śrīla Prabhupāda also spoke about speculation in Deity worship… So, there may be various reasons given. In India, the reason was given that Christians come to our temple. Well, in that case you can dress Kṛṣṇa as cricket star, maybe the cricket fans would come. Or you can dress Kṛṣṇa like some famous film star, then maybe people interested in movies, they would come. 

But the whole idea…Deity worship is to dress Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā likes Him, and dress Rādhā as Kṛṣṇa likes Her, according to the directions of great ācāryas. Getting mixed up with this Western culture…as far as possible we should try to avoid that. We have our own festivals. Why adopt this Christmas, which is supposed to be a birth of Christ, although they don’t actually know when Christ was born? The main feature of Christmas in the modern world is killing lots of birds, especially turkeys in England, drinking lots of alcohol…

Especially, dressing Deities like this, all I can say is- unfortunate. My saying so won’t stop it going on. There are so many great ācāryas in our movement who are introducing things that none of our previous ācāryas was doing…So, what to say? Whether to laugh or to cry?

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Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's words regarding the sannyasa ashram are very cutting and pointed. They leave no room for doubt that such conduct may not be tolerated. But we live in an age where association with women cannot be avoided (even for sannyasis). How should a sannyasi handle women association especially in an organization like ISKCON? Has Prabhupada given any instructions on this matter?

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