[Advaita-l] In praise of ISKCON?!

Sujal Upadhyay sujal.u at gmail.com
Fri May 18 02:50:14 EDT 2018

Pranams Shri Bhaskar Prabhu ji,

Not just ISKCONites but some Gaudiya-s too. I had discussion with him. He
doesn't like ISKCON's way of preaching. He said, you advaitins out-rightly
reject Krishna's form as illusion and mithyA. I asked him have you read
Sankara Bhashya? He said no. Then I quoted some sloka-s randomly from Gita
Bhashya. Finally, I said if veda-s are an authority for Advaitin, if Gita
is an essence of vedanta, then how can Krishna be Illusion. He could not
reply. Then I said, we accept even jivahood, but only in aJYAna (as said in
chandogya upanishad Bhashya 6.5.xx or maybe 7.1.xx while explaining food
being divided into 3 parts - gross, medium and sutble). He then said, - ok,
but you consider form of God as inferior. I simply replied, that is
different from 'out-rightly rejecting a form and calling it as an
illusion'. Also know that we do revere forms of God as they are inseparable
from Brahman, however, we do not consider it as last step. Last step is to
completely loose one's identity. Whatever exists is Brahman only. So
NirguNa, nikArAkAra Brahman is our ultimate goal. Even Yoga is practised by
many advaitins, infact yoga and advaita used to go hand in hand. We see it
in daily prANAyama practice that Brahmins do like anuloma viloma. Bhakti is
the foundation of any spiritual practice. Without faith, everything is

Secondly, they think at Adi Sankara, during his last days realised that his
philosophy was incomplete so he composed bhaja Govindam. I had to correct
him on that too. Thirs, I explained to him that many things are said which
are applicable to jIva ShriSthTi i.e. individual consciousness and not
collective consciousness. I said, during meditation, negate samsAra that is
in our mind and perception will change. Atleast go to this level, even
bhakti needs change in perception of samsAra. It is transient and misery.
In samAdhi, samsAra is not destroyed, it is negated.

Hare Krishna

On Fri, May 18, 2018 at 9:24 AM, Bhaskar YR via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> praNAms Sri Rama prabhuji
> Hare Krishna
> Good observation.  Whenever I hear about ISKCON and its activities, I feel
> bit nostalgic :-) those bhAgavata / geeta  classes on Sundays, question and
> answer sessions, Hare krishna chanting, Pooja to rAdhA krishna, very
> affectionate dAsa-s and prabhuji-s, sumptuous kichadi, Pongal, pAyasaM what
> not?? :-)
> Yes, as you have rightly observed, in the general talks on bhakti,
> vedAnta, krishna dhyAna etc. there will hardly be any mention / bashing of
> Advaita / shankara, because. they know the common pulse of listeners  and
> want to be more specific on spirituality than philosophy.  Of course they
> know the source of revenue for their charitable work and maintenance of
> huge organization is common public not only bigoted ISKCON followers :-)
> But for the inmates and close circle disciples,  the style of teaching of
> achintya philosophy will be entirely different and will be taught in suca a
> way that  holding the Advaita /mAyAvAda / shankara as mahA pUrva paxa :-)
> And to condemn the mAyAvAda they read / understand the mAyAvAda / Advaita
> philosophy through the works of their founder guru  Srila prabhupAda.
> Unfortunately most of the upanyAsaka-s (at least prabhuji-s / dAsa-s who I
> came across during my  days with ISKCON) do not even know that there is a
> place for bhakti, archana, saguNa brahmOpAsana in the traditional practice
> of Advaita vedAnta.  Having said this, I must say,  the ISKCON inmates are
> undoubtedly tireless enthusiasts in executing the duties assigned to them.
> They really did some commendable work in spreading the krishna
> consciousness across the globe.
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
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