Friday, October 20, 2017

Changing the Regulative Principles - 1

Back To Prabhupada, Issue 54, Winter 2016/17

One of the most basic and preliminary teachings Srila Prabhupada gives is that one should follow the regulative principles, which includes avoiding illicit sex:
"Those interested in Krsna consciousness should [...] strictly follow the regulative principles by avoiding illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication."
(The Nectar of Instruction, Verse 2)
"Out of these four items, illicit sex is very sinful."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 7.128)
Srila Prabhupada mentions these principles many hundreds of times and clearly explains how to follow them. However, in the shaded panels below, we quote from a lecture entitled "What is Illicit Sex", given by GBC-elected diksa guru HG Mahatma Dasa ("MAD"), which was uploaded to social media. All emphases added.
Changing the definition
"Prabhupada has sometimes given the definition that no illicit sex means no sex outside of marriage. [...] My understanding of what he means is that even if you don't plan -- if your sexual activity is not planning to have children but you don't take birth control [...] So sometimes Prabhupada says illicit sex means no sex out of marriage -- that's what he means. He doesn't mean you're using contraceptives or having sex every few days -- that's illicit sex. [...] We're not talking about a couple trying to be celibate but really struggling and sometimes they just can't do it and one of the partners or both of them needs to be satisfied periodically"
MAD states that:
a) Illicit sex is sometimes defined by Srila Prabhupada as "no sex outside of marriage";
b) Which means that sex within marriage is authorised even if it is not for procreation, as long as one does not use birth control and it is only engaged in "periodically" rather than regularly.
However, the facts are that:
1) Srila Prabhupada always defines illicit sex as no sex outside of marriage.
2) Many times he will also elaborate that this means that sex within marriage can only be for the purpose of procreation, e.g.:
"Therefore the sastras enjoin that one may have sexual intercourse only if married and only for procreation. Otherwise, it is illicit. In our Krsna consciousness society, we prohibit illicit sex, but not legal sex."
(Beyond Illusion and Doubt)
The fact that sometimes Srila Prabhupada simply states "no sex outside of marriage" without further elaboration does not mean he is giving another definition for what constitutes "illicit sex".
Illicit sex is service
"Prabhupada has never discussed this publicly. [...] He's never talked about satisfying one's partner. [...] many marriage counsellors say this [...] they feel that keeping the marriage together is more important than strictly adhering to the most, the highest definition of illicit sex. [...] you're doing it as a service and so obviously it requires a lot of detachment to do this as a service. [...] many spiritual masters, [...] will tell their disciples that you should satisfy the sexual needs of your spouse if he's unable to control them -- if it's at the point in which it's going to disturb the marriage"
MAD states that breaking the regulative principles by having illicit sex can be a service if it is necessary to do this in order to save the marriage. However, he admits that this is not something Srila Prabhupada ever preached, and therefore it is his own concoction. MAD also speaks of the "highest definition of illicit sex". But as we just saw, there is only one definition of illicit sex, and MAD claiming otherwise is also another concoction from him.
Illicit sex helps bonding
"maybe I'm stupid for saying it [...] it should be used to create a closer bonding between them. [...] And I expressed this to one senior Godsister because she was also interested in this discussion about what is illicit sex and when she heard that she said that is wonderful, she was so happy to hear that, because as men who have sexual desire, they have to learn if they want to express it, to express it in a way which helps the relationship, which creates what you could call a better bonding or a closer relationship or a better relationship with the wife"
MAD claims that illicit sex can be used to create a better bonding between the husband and wife. However, Srila Prabhupada has never preached this possible "benefit" of illicit sex. Instead, Srila Prabhupada states that all sex life leads to material bondage, rather than any beneficial bonding:
"That means sex life is condemned throughout because that is the cause of material bondage."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 21/1/68)
MAD himself realises the contrary nature of his statement, as he accepts he may be "stupid" for stating it.
"Better" illicit sex
Another GBC-elected diksa guru, HG Matsya Avatar Dasa ("MAT"), has additionally claimed on a GBC-funded website that:
"Illicit sex in family life is like giving methadone to a heroin-addict. Methadone is better than heroin (extramarital conjugal sex) but better than methadone is to rise above the problem. Methadone also creates addiction, but not as strong and devastating as the addiction created by heroin."
("Dandavats", 24/12/16)
MAT claims that just as methadone is better than heroin, so illicit sex within marriage is better than illicit sex outside of marriage since it creates less addiction. But Srila Prabhupada has never stated that one type of illicit sex is "better". Nor has he stated that sex attraction within marriage is less:
"Sex serves as the natural attraction between man and woman, and when they are married, their relationship becomes more involved. [...] The attachment to the family is the strongest illusion."
(SB, 5.5.8)
Conclusion
When speaking of the GBC, who are supposed to lead the Society, Srila Prabhupada stated that they should be "teaching what I am teaching" (Letter to GBC member, 4/8/75). However, as documented above, ISKCON's leaders are not teaching exactly what Srila Prabhupada has taught even in relation to the most basic of his teachings. Rather, due to their tendency to try to surpass Srila Prabhupada being so strong, they will give their own teachings instead of just simply repeating Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Thus, we see here another example of the Prabhupada-Free Paradigm (PFP) in action. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Temple With A Touch Of Glass

Construction on the ISKCON temple in Bengaluru was completed in 1997
Bangalore Mirror: The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Bengaluru, is a newer icon when compared to the 1,000-year-old temples in the city. With a blend of tradition and modern architecture, the ISKCON temple is illuminated and devotees from all over the world come to visit here. ISKCON is an example of an architectural landmark in the city.

ISKCON Bangalore was started as a charitable society in 1978. In 1987, the society was operating from a rented house in Bengaluru. In 1987, the leaders of the society applied to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for allotment of land to construct a grand temple and cultural complex.

The land was allotted on August 3, 1988 - a seven-acre hillock, which was nothing but a huge piece of monolithic rock that could not be converted into sites. The BDA described it as "Waste Land". A temporary shed was constructed to set up a make-shift temple and the deities of Sri Krishna Balarama moved to this shed on the appearance day of Lord Balarama (September 1988).


Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, the President of the ISKCON Bangalore Society, is a qualified civil engineer from IIT (Mumbai) and applied his knowledge to conceive a wonderful temple for Krishna with the help of Sri Jagat Chandra Dasa (a devotee who was also an architect and product engineer from IIT-Mumbai). The unique combination of glass and gopuram represents a fusion between majestic traditional styles and bold new aesthetics.

The original simple temple design started in 1990 estimated to cost Rs 10 crore gave way to a more stunning, unique architectural model that cost Rs 32 crore. The construction started in 1990. Around 600 skilled craftsmen spent more than 10 million man-hours to construct this architectural wonder. About 32,000 cubics mt of stone, 131,250 tons of cement and 1,900 tons of steel were used in the construction. Subsequently, the temple construction was completed in 1997. The temple and cultural complex were inaugurated by then President of India Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma on May 31, 1997.

ISKCON gained popularity for its architecture and the serenity as it was built on a hill. The temple celebrates many festivals and Krishna Janmashtami is something that should not be missed. The flavour, the pomp and shlokas and the grandeur which is given here to Lord Krishna are not given anywhere in the city. Devotees of Lord Vishnu observe Ekadashi Vrata and remember the god by chanting his holy names. Ekadashi is the 11th day of the fortnight of the waxing moon. However, ISKCON Bangalore has been caught in a slew of court cases for a long time now.

Friday, July 28, 2017

ISKCON Akshaya Patra Foundation May End Mid Day Meal Contract


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) reportedly decided to terminate the mid-meal contract as the state government gave instructions to supply eggs to students as part of the menu.

It may be stated here that the ISKCON has been providing mid-day meal to students of government schools with a service motive for the last few years. According to official information, the ISKCON is supplying mid-day meal for 46,725 students of 464 schools in 11 mandals. 

They are Tirupati (Urban), Tirupati (Rural), Renigunta, Vadamalapet, Ramachandrapuram, Puttur, Piler, Kalikiri, Chinnagottigallu, Yerravanipalem, and Yerpedu. The religious institution believes that egg is a non-vegetarian food. Even though, it is mandatory for the ISKCON to supply eggs to the students in the midday meal as per the prescribed menu. But, it has been offering fruits in place of eggs.

 The ISKCON had made it clear that it won’t provide eggs in the midday meal due to their religious belief. But, the state government instructed the ISKCON to provide eggs to the students as per the recommendation of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). As a result, the ISKCON reportedly decided to terminate mid-day meal contract.

 It may be recalled that voluntary organisations, student unions and the Left parties were demanding that the government should cancel the contract with the ISKCON as the religious body failed to provide eggs to the students. Two days ago, the NIN said that egg is mandatory in the mid-day meal and alternative food should not be supplemented.

 District Collector P S Pradyumna has instructed the DEO to follow the instructions of the NIN and hand over mid-day meal contract to another agency. 

Speaking to The Hans India here on Wednesday, DEO Samuel said that egg must be provided in midday meal for students. “We are exploring possibilities of providing three eggs per week as part of midday meal scheme through other agency,” he added. The DEO stated that the implementation of the scheme will be entrusted to DWCRA groups if the ISKCON decides to quit the contract.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ISKCON told to include eggs in menu

Students of ZP High School in Ibrahimpatnam in Krishna district having their mid-day meal
TheHansIndia: Amaravati: Taking serious note of non-implementation of prescribed menu of mid-day meal scheme in several schools, the government has decided to make it a mandatory on providing three eggs per week for each student studying in government-run schools across the state as part of providing nutritious food for the children. 

Considering the report of National Institute of Nutrition(NIN) the government has directed the DEOs to strictly implement the prescribed menu in the mid-day meal and has also decided not to exempt any agency or institution like Akshaya Patra Foundation, ISKCON etc on providing eggs to the students in the guise of religious traditions.

At present, the government is implementing mid-day meal in 45,528 schools across the state which includes municipal, aided, ZP, MPP and government schools. The schools run by tribal welfare and social welfare department will not come under the control of the Commissioner of School Education on implementing mid-day meal. 

While the government has given the cooking responsibility of midday meal to DWACRA women self-groups in several districts, Akshaya Patra, ISKCON and some other religious organisations are providing food to the students, establishing huge kitchens with their own expenditure. Akshaya Patra Foundation is supplying mid-day meal to some of the government schools located in Guntur, East Godavari districts while the proposal to supply in Visakhapatnam, Krishna, Chittoor, Nellore districts is pending with the government. 

Speaking to The Hans India, B Vijaya Rao, Assistant Director, Office of Commissioner School Education and in-charge of Mid-day Meal department said that all the DEOs have been instructed to strictly implement the prescribed menu for a midday meal in all the schools without compromising on providing eggs. 

“We have attached the report of NIN which says that there is no compensatory supplement to the egg. As part of providing nutritious food to the children, the government is providing three eggs per week for each children studying in State-run schools,’’ he said.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Deities worth over a lakh stolen from Iskcon temple in Greater Noida

HINDUSTANTIMES: The twin idols of Gaura and Nitai, valued around Rs 1.5 lakh, were been stolen from Iskcon preaching centre in Greater Noida. The idols are worshipped as avatars of lord Krishna and Balram.
According to the police, the thieves entered through the window and decamped with two idols of deities made up of Astadhatu (an alloy consisting eight metals including gold, silver, copper lead, tin, zinc, iron and mercury) and a donation box kept in the preaching centre.
“The theft must have been carried out between 12 midnight and 2 am when the devotees were sleeping on the first floor of the preaching centre in Delta – 2 Sector in Greater Noida. The idols were kept on the ground floor of the building,” said Manish Saxena, the station house officer of Surajpur police station.
The thieves apparently used screw drivers to remove screws of window grill and gain entry into the temple, Saxena said.
Shri Chaitanya Das, a youth preacher at the centre said the idols of Gaura and Nitai were missing from the sanctum when the devotees woke up in the morning.
Das said, “Generally all the devotees sleep on the first floor of the building and the ground floor, where the idols were kept, is left empty during the night. Our days generally start a bit early around 3 am. On Saturday morning, when one of the devotees woke up and went to the ground floor he found that the idols were missing from the preaching hall,” he said.
The twin idols, each about 1.5 feet tall, were missing along the donation box, which contained about Rs 20,000 – Rs 25,000, Das said. The hall was not fitted with CCTV cameras, he added.
Surajpur police have registered a case against the unidentified persons and investigating further into the matter.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ujjain: High Court decision on legal status of allotted land puts ISKCON in trouble

Ujjain: The Urban development and housing department have issued orders to UDA to cancel allotments of plot number 33,34,35,36 and 37, which had been allotted to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
 The orders were issued after the high court decision was taken, on a petition filed by the Society for advocacy and reform, challenging the legality of the allotment of land to ISKCON, which has constructed the temple, administrative block, guest house and 6 storied building worth crores of rupees on the allotted land. Apparently, the land was allotted against rules and was not being used by ISKCON for the stated purposes.
The department also directed Ujjain Development Authority (UDA) to take back the land and arrange a resale. Chief executive officer of UDA, Abhishek Dubey said: “the order received is lengthy and before taking possession of the land we shall study it and seek legal advice from expert lawyers.”

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pakistani Living In ISKCON Temple Detained With Fake Identity Card

ISKCON TRUTH EXPOSE: A Pakistani national living as a Sadhu in Iskcon temple in the Delhi-Haryana border town of Bahadurgarh was taken into police custody on Thursday evening.
Sources said the police have recovered a Pakistani passport from him in which his name has been mentioned as Raja, a resident of Hindu Colony in Larkana, Pakistan. He had come to Indian in 2013, and his visa has expired. He has allegedly been living in the temple from past few months.
The police said they have recovered an Aadhar card and a PAN (permanent account number) card from him in which he has a different date of birth from his passport, and his name is changed to Raasraj Das Rajput. Jhajjar SP Satheesh Balan said the Indian documents proofs are original, but they are probing how he managed to get them.
While being taken away, the man told the local media that he’s a Hindu who wants to continue living in India.
The SP said the further investigation was being conducted by the Intelligence Bureau. “No case has been registered. The investigation is going on,” he said.





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ISKCON Bangalore ordered to return marriage hall booking money


BANGALORE MIRROR: The State Consumer Commission has directed ISKCON Bangalore to refund the amount it collected for the booking of its wedding hall. The consumer had cancelled the booking but was refused repayment. The district Consumer Forum had ruled in favour of the consumer after ISKCON failed to provide any proof that the hall had not been used by others on the same date. ISKCON approached the Commission with an appeal and produced documentary proof. The Commission not only upheld the Forum’s order but slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 on ISKCON for trying to introduce new proof after the Forum’s order.

BB Muthu Raju, a resident of Bharat Nagar had booked the Dwarakavaasa Kalyana Mantapa belonging to ISKCON for his daughter’s wedding. The wedding was to take place on March 11 and 12, 2015. He had paid Rs 1,65,150 for the use of the wedding hall. His daughter’s marriage was cancelled on that date and therefore he sought for cancellation of the booking and return of the money paid by him from ISKCON.

He claimed that he was orally told that the amount would be returned after deduction of 10 per cent of the deposit amount. But he was never paid.

He approached the Consumer Forum stating that he was a middle-class person without a regular income and if he is not refunded the amount he would be in financial crisis. ISKCON admitted that the wedding hall was booked by Muthu Raju and he had paid the deposit.

The Forum directed ISKCON to pay back the amount to Muthu Raju with interest. The Commission, however, pointed out that though the complaint was filed in 2015 and disposed of in 2016 by the Forum, ISKCON had failed to produce the “statement of account, the luxury tax details and occupancy details” before it. It was only in the Appeal before the Commission that these were submitted.

Along with the dismissal, a fine of Rs 2,000 was also imposed. The amount payable to Muthu Raju was ordered to be released to him.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Haryana: Snake found in mid-day meal, ISKCON under scanner

ibtimes: In an appalling incident, a snakelet was found in the mid-day meal served to students of a government school in Faridabad on Thursday. The ISKCON foundation, which is responsible for supplying food to the school, has come under the scanner following the incident.

The incident took place in Rajkeeya Girls Senior Secondary School. A few students started vomiting as soon as they had eaten the meal. When the principal and other faculty members found the snakelet when they checked the food. The authorities immediately asked students to stop eating the meals. Two teachers and six students, who felt nauseous, were rushed to a hospital but were discharged later.School principal Braj Bala informed the matter to the district administration, which alerted other schools in the region.

The food sample is sent for testing in Chandigarh lab.

According to the Hindu, the Deputy Commissioner Sameer Pal Srow of Faridabad has tasked a five-member committee to conduct an examination of the kitchen and submit a report by the evening. The committee is headed by the Faridabad Tehsildar. A separate committee will investigate the incident under the leadership of Additional Deputy Commissioner.

ISKCON said the school did not show them the snake found in the food.

"Our food is cooked in 120 degrees Celsius temperature. There is no chance that even an insect can enter our kitchens, forget a snake ", said Dhananjay Krishna Das, the vice chairman of ISKCON.

Mid-day meals are served in 371 schools in the Faridabad district.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boy drowns in swimming pool of ISKCON-run school, Mathura

Indian Express: A 13-year-old boy drowned in the swimming pool of a boarding school run by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), police said Tuesday.
The incident took place yesterday when Kartik, a 7th class student in Delhi, was taking a bath in the pool of the Bhakti Vedanta Gurukul and International School (BGIS), Vrindavan station in charge Uday Pratap Singh said.
The victim’s friends alerted the school staff when they spotted him struggling in the waters, he said, adding the boy was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
“Prima facie it is a case of negligence on part of the school management as no trainer was deployed near the pool at the time of the incident. Only, the school vice principal, who is not a trained swimmer, was present at the spot,” Singh said.
The body has been sent for postmortem, he said. The police added that no FIR has been registered in the case so far as no one has come forward with a complaint. Meanwhile, ISKCON PRO Ravilochan said the school management has ordered a probe into the incident.

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