My Vedic Brahmana family is against ISKCON way of devotion. How to explain?
A woman devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krsna Prabhuji, I keep reading your posts. They have changed my life. As u mentioned many times in your post, that You come from a Vedic Brahmana family,, similarly I do come from the same. My parents and even relatives do not like ISKCON much. The ISKCON way of doing pooja, preparing food, building grand temples, philosophy, etc. They have a negative opinion of ISKCON. They think if I go to ISKCON temples even for a single day on weekends, you will be mislead by the devotees. They say no need to practice hard such devotion at this age. They also say there are no Brahmanas in ISKCON, people of all castes are found here, our lifestyle and theirs won’t match. I do understand the importance of practicing devotion but how do I explain to them and change their mindset. I thought of sharing with you because you being a similar caste as like me, you could share some solutions as to how you follow ISKCON’s philosophy and also mingle with your family members who are Brahmins.
2) Shastras say women should be chaste. But with advancing Kaliyuga, these qualities are reducing. Now recent judgement from SC has pronounced that extra marital relation is legal now. It is really disturbing.
I would like to know what do Shastras say on extra-marital relations? Please throw some light on this.
ISKCON is considered by some orthodox Hindu community as a corporate form of religion. Since the beginning itself, the orthodox brahmanas didn’t consider the brahmanas converted from other communities as original. Like many other differences, this difference too exists for long period. Preachings against the sankirtana movement existed even 100s of years ago when Sri Caitanya Maha Prabhu and the previous acharyas preached the sankirtana movement.
Even Sri Ramanuja, the popular Acharya and reformer in the Sri Sampradhaya was once accused when he involved all communities in the service of Lord, making them vaishnavas.
Krishna says that His teachings must be given only for those who like to receive them and not to those who envy Him. Krishna never said in any place that His teachings should not be given to the people of other communities/ castes. This again means that His teachings can be given to anyone who likes to know them. Isn’t it?
Even a milecha, if he likes to know about Krishna, can learn about Krishna. Now, you may be clear about this.
Once upon a time, the vedic teachings were given only through the gurus in their gurukuls (small vedic schools). The vedic gurus selected the disciples from the Brahmana Varna only. Similarly, the Kshatriya gurus like Dhronacharya selected their disciples from the Kshatriya Varna only.
This system existed justifying that the brahmanas alone are to be taught vedas because they are born for that and they will not misuse that. However, when most of the people were illiterate, this system continued without any problems or objections.
But, if a sincere student from other varnas likes to learn vedas, he was refused. In due course of time, those who learnt vedas started to suppress other varnas thinking themselves great and others low.
This is how, varna system was misused by a section of people. Later, many reformers tried to change this partiality. Buddha totally rejected the vedas seeing the partialities shown on majority of people. Sri Ramanujacharya, made a revolution 1000 years ago by daringly involving all the communities in learning the vedic and bakthi concepts and also in serving the Lord. Though he took birth in a Vedic Brahmana family, he accepted even the great vaishnavas who took birth in other communities as his gurus.
Sri Caitanya Maha Prabhu, about 500 years ago made a revolution of taking the Hari Nam to all the people irrespective of their communities, religions, etc., through his Sankirtana movement.
This was later strongly established all over the world in 1960s and 70s by A.C.Bhakti Vedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada and his movement ISKCON is now serving everywhere.
Here, you have to know an important thing: Vedic system and Bakthi are different. Vedas must be used to go further close to Krishna. Otherwise, the purpose of vedas itself will not be fulfilled. Vedas are like School Level Education. It speaks about advanced material truths about the creations, devathas, etc., with some spiritual touch. The teachings of vedas should be further taken to follow devotional way of life. The pity is that most of the people take the vedas as absolute and stop with just the ritualistic practices recommended by vedas, without advancing further to the SURRENDERED DEVOTION to the source of vedas, Krishna.
Varnashrama System separated the people through varnas though Krishna did it for a good cause of the smooth management of all the affairs of the society.
Whereas the Bakthi movements united all the people irrespective of their varnas, status, business, etc.
That is why, Bakthi tradition does not care about varnashrama system. Bakthi is independent of varnashrama system. However, bakthi tradition takes some rituals and disciplinary rules from vedas. That’s all.
Again I say in other words: VARNASHRAMA SYSTEM CAN NOT DICTATE OR CONTROL THE BAKTHI TRADITION.
Therefore, insulting most of the devotees of ISKCON just because they were not born as brahmanas is a serious offense. Krishna never said that only the born brahmanas should worship Him. He clearly said that anyone who has faith in Him can know about Him and follow Him. This is the conclusion of Bhagavad Gita also.
Of course, taking birth as a Brahmana is great because it is the gift for our following some purifying activities in our previous birth. But, LIVING LIKE A BRAHMANA IS IMPORTANT. Anyone, who STRICTLY and HEARTFULLY follows the rules meant for the brahmanas should,be considered as brahmanas. They are great souls and they will take birth in actual Brahmana families in their next birth. If they follow devotion to Krishna sincerely, they will get Krishna Himself in this life.
Remember, vaishnavas are greater than brahmanas. How?
Brahmanas are included in the records of Varnashrama System. Whereas, Vaishnavas are included in the records of Krishna Himself.
Being a Brahmana is a material status that is convenient to attain spiritual status; Whereas, being a Vaishnava is already a spiritual status.
Thus, vaishnavas are greater than brahmanas and they are closer to Krisshna Himself.
So, tell your family members to respect the Brahmana Vaishnavas present in ISKCON and similar good forums performing dedicated services to the Lord. Ask them to read my reply. They will become clear.
Your another question about immorality: Though the courts of the governments legalize the immoralities, extramarital relations are punishable under karma network and their spouse will do so in their next birth and these violators will suffer severely then. And, the court has not justified the immoralities. They just say that it can not be punished as a criminal offense, but, the suffering person can divorce the spouse stating his/ her violations as a cause.