In the News:|
Tamal Krishna Goswami’s PHD Thesis Unveiled in Dallas
by Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 29 Jun 2012
Posted July 18, 2012
The book's cover
Tamal Krishna Goswami's family (from left to right: Liana - TKG's niece, Carl - his brother, Lore - his mother, Stella - his sister-in-law, Irene - his niece) at the moment the book was presented to Mother Lore.
Around 300 devotees gathered at Sri Sri Radha-Kalachandji temple in Dallas on Sunday, June 24th, to celebrate the book launch of A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti, Tamal Krishna Goswami’s posthumously released PhD thesis, published by Oxford University Press in New York.
Subtitled “Essential Teachings of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,” the book presents the unique contributions of ISKCON’s founder in a “carefully conducted theological study” that can be seriously considered and appreciated by the academic world.
The book launch took place the day after Tamal Krishna Goswami’s Vyasa Puja, or birthday celebration, which was attended by many of his disciples. The book launch was hosted by a professor of religious studies, Garuda Dasa (Graham M. Schweig of Christopher Newport University).
After Tamal Krishna Goswami passed away untimely in 2002, at fifty-six, leaving his dissertation near completion, Garuda, a friend of Goswami’s, eventually submitted it to Oxford University Press, edited it, wrote an introduction and conclusion, and readied it for publication.
Other devotees speaking at the event—many of them Goswami’s close friends and scholars in their own right—included Anuttama Dasa, Giriraja Swami, Guru Prasad Swami, Hanumat-Preshaka Swami, Hridayananda Dasa Goswami, Keshava Bharati Dasa Goswami, Ravindra Svarupa Dasa, Rukmini-devi Dasi, and Vedavyasapriya Swami.
Tamal Krishna Goswami’s younger brother, Carl Herzig, also spoke. Carl is a professor of English at St. Ambrose University and is active in ISKCON. Their mother, Lore Garrick (who lives in the Houston ISKCON community), and Carl’s wife, Stella, also attended the event.
The book launch began at 8:00 a.m., with new books being presented to the presiding Deities, Srila Prabhupada, and Tamal Krishna Goswami. Then Garuda read, from the classic Gaudiya Vaishnava text Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, a unique verse that he quotes in his conclusion to the new book. This verse (1.17:75) constitutes the ultimate theological statement for the Chaitanya school. He shared his reflections, displayed the new book’s contents to the audience, and discussed the substance of connecting with the academic community.
Garuda Das chants while Tattvavit Das offers the book to Srila Prabhupada After breakfast, he continued presenting an overview of the book and gave a brief history of the road to its publication. He also expressed his appreciation for those who helped make the publication a reality, including his associate editor, Tattvavit Dasa, who attended the event, Dr. Julius Lipner of Cambridge University, Goswami’s dissertation advisor, and Rasikendra Dasa, who is with the Tamal Krishna Goswami Memorial Foundation.
Following Garuda, a panel of senior devotees, who had received copies of the book a few days before, shared their reflections on passages that struck them and discussed Goswami’s devotional and scholarly life.
First up, scholar Ravindra Svarupa Dasa spoke about one of the book’s main themes: Srila Prabhupada’s maha-vakhya or “great utterance.” This was his use of the phrase “Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” repeated nearly 8,000 times in his books and teachings. This phrase “does more than merely extend previous conceptions of God,” writes Goswami. It “offers a disclosure of a new kind.”
Next, Hridayananda Dasa Goswami praised Tamal Krishna Goswami’s mastery of a new culture—academese. Academese is the kind of discussion and deliberation that is expected of a research scholar in training. He said that Goswami’s presentation of Prabhupada’s essential teachings will help scholars better value the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. The book itself points out that while many scholars have given Srila Prabhupada credit as a charismatic religious leader, few have understood his theological contributions.
“Goswami’s book helps to clarify Srila Prabhupada’s role in bringing together the best of the East and the West,” Hridayananda Goswami said. “Also, it looks at academic criticism of Srila Prabhupada in a fair-minded way, while further establishing Prabhupada’s glorious contributions.”
Dallas temple president, Nityananda Dasa, a disciple of Tamal Krishna Goswami, said that the book demonstrates his guru’s intense loyalty to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON and his dedication to education as a means to attract people to Lord Chaitanya’s movement.
Giriraja Swami said, “Prabhupada taught us that we need to preach Krishna’s message in a way that will appeal to all classes of people. This publication demonstrates Tamal Krishna’s loyalty to the tradition and shows that he extended himself to make it accessible to others.”
Overall, the devotees at the book launch learned how Goswami’s new book will help scholars and theologians as well as ISKCON’s members better understand and appreciate the “theological” Prabhupada.
Of course, this is already happening. The back cover of the book contains several endorsements. Francis X. Clooney, SJ, of Harvard University comments that from the book “we learn a great deal about the Vaishnava theological tradition.” Rachel Fell McDermott of Barnard College says Goswami delights in “highlighting Prabhupada’s brilliant Vaishnava theologizing.” And Barbara A. Holdrege, of the University of California in Santa Barbara, says, “Through this work Goswami, as a master mediator between religious and academic worlds, helps open the Hindu studies guild to new voices and alternative discourses and challenges us in the academy to provide hermeneutical and institutional space for the contributions of scholar-practitioners.”
Devotees at the book launch, looking forward to absorbing Goswami’s illuminations on Prabhupada’s teachings, picked up 250 discounted copies of the 300-page hardcover book. Artist B. G. Sharma adorns the cover with a beautiful painting of Radha-Krishna and the gopis, from the collection of Henry Schoellkopf. Years ago, Goswami commissioned from Sharma large wall paintings for the Dallas temple room. The book’s official release date is July 17th.
The event concluded with a special lunch in honor of Tamal Krishna Goswami.
“It was a very enlivening event because it drew attention not only to
Goswami’s unique academic contributions but to the depth of scholarship that
exists within our Gaudiya tradition,” said Anuttama Dasa.
The first one was just too good. How good? Here, in their own words, is what the Vaisnavis experienced during our first outing in Govardhana in 2011: authenticity, dedication, inspiration, open-heartedness, absence of competitiveness, a breath of fresh air, focus on Srila Prabhupada, safety, peacefulness, intimacy, affection and love, examples to look up to, friendship, caring, acceptance, Srila Prabhupada’s presence, “heart surgery,” courage to traverse life in Krishna consciousness, determination to serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission, the bliss of kirtana, service attitude—altogether, an amazing sanga!
So we are doing it again. Same place—Jatipura, Govardhana. Same time of the year — February 27 to March 2.
One might question the need for such a program. The simple fact is that it fills a need. Every devotee needs peer association and intimate relationships on the spiritual platform. Many a times it is difficult for ISKCON female devotees to have such association in their daily lives. Many live far away from the temples or, even if close by, cannot attend the regular sangas due to family obligations. Some live in the temples but their service engagement is too hectic for them to take a break to simply sit and chant with their room mates. And even the few women who do attend the temple programs at times find themselves isolated, bereft of close relationships, and lacking association with senior devotees. Vaisnavi sangas fill an existing gap. As the saying goes, birds of the same feather flock together. They have the same language and proclivities and can thus better understand each other and share their experiences for success in life. There is a unique benefit to be derived from specialized sangas, be they for the women, the old, the young, the sannyasis or brahmacaris, the grhasthas, the children, the philosophically enclined, the managers or whatever group of individuals that share some common interests and needs.
To sustain our entire life in Krsna consciousness is not so easy. We need inspiration, peer support, and role models to envision the path ahead of us and remain enthused. We tread on unknown terrain—that of applied spiritual life in an age when materialism is the standard. Besides spiritual friends, we need spiritual mothers and aunts. Hearing from Srila Prabhupada’s female disciples’ varied experiences, be they of their married life, temple life, social relationships, spiritual quests, personal feelings, or whatever, is very useful for the younger generations of devotees. While we may sometimes feel lost, not knowing how to proceed with the various situations, frustrations, or choices that come our way, these older devotees have already walked the path with success, hanging on to Srila Prabhupada’s dhoti for decades, alive with Krsna consciousness. Together they seem like a bouquet of assorted flowers offered to His Divine Grace. One may like the rose, another the jasmine, but all get something concrete.
The Vaisnavi Retreat celebrates Srila Prabhupada’s mercy on us. He gave us everything to live the life of a true devotee. He initiated us, taught us to serve, and gave us all protection. By coming together we wish to experience and share his benevolent compassion in caring for Vaisnavis.
Hearing and chanting are the main angas of bhakti. Unless and until we learn to associate with devotees on this very basis, we will remain in the association of our mind. We need those times together, when we just remember Krsna and the goal of our lives. Of course, this can be and should be done daily, but again, are we doing it? How many are not doing it? How many have not yet gotten that clue? The Vaisnavi Retreat serves as a forum to develop a taste for active spiritual association.
This time our guest teachers will be Malati Devi, Narayani Devi, Daivi Sakti Devi, and Srimati Devi. They will speak respectively on Srila Prabhupada: Memories and Reflections from his Daughters; the Twenty Four Gurus; Taking Shelter of Srimati Vrnda Devi; and Dealing with Life’s Challenges.
As Svayam Rasesvari remarked at the end of the 2011 retreat: “Sometimes we get so bogged down with the thought of being a woman that our spiritual life suffers. It is so nice that it didn’t happen at this retreat.”
For further information, please visit vihe.org or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: news.iskcon.com/node/4187#ixzz1mCyFCzmu
In the News:|
Care for Cows Newsletter June/July 2012
by Kurma Rupa Dasa
Posted July 20, 2012
The June/July 2012 issue of our Care for Cows Newsletter has been posted. Please review it at your earliest convenience.
In this edition of 32 pages (2.7 MB) we present reports on:
1. The beginning of a cow protection program in Costa Rica.
2. A photo essay depicting the cow as mother.
3. A rendition of Srila Jiva Gosvami's Sri Gopala-virudavali Calling Out to Lord Gopala.
Thanks for your participation and support. I hope this finds you experiencing the happiness and inner satisfaction that accompanies cow protection. Jaya Sri Gopal!
Your friend and servant,
May cows stay in front of me; may cows stay behind me; may cows stay on both
sides of me. May I always reside in the midst of cows.
In the News:
New Child Protection Policies Approved By ISKCON Authorities
by Anuradha dasi for ISKCON News
Posted June 30, 2012
“ISKCON recognizes that children, for their full and harmonious development, need to be raised in an atmosphere of love, support, guidance and understanding."
The Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has approved an updated version of ISKCON’s “Child Protection Policy and Operational Guidelines.” The Guidelines set standards for child protection within ISKCON, mandate how the ISKCON’s Central Office of Child Protection (CPO) and local Child Protection Teams should function, while clarifying how ISKCON leaders and members should respond to any allegations of abuse.
The Child Protection Guidelines open with a two-page statement declaring the “paramount” importance of child protection within ISKCON:
“The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is committed to the well being of all individuals involved with ISKCON, especially children and other more vulnerable participants."
“ISKCON recognizes that children, for their full and harmonious development, need to be raised in an atmosphere of love, support, guidance and understanding. ISKCON acknowledges that children, when so raised, are likely to play a vital role in the future of our Society. Thus, placing the interests of the children first is not only in the best interest of the children themselves, but also of ISKCON, and society at large…”
ISKCON’s Child Protection Office was established by the Governing Body Commission (GBC) in 1998 and has been functioning since that time. It was based in Alachua, Florida for more than a decade and recently relocated to South Africa. The first review and update of the CPO procedures was completed and approved by the GBC in 2005. The new Guidelines were passed by a correspondence vote of the GBC this month.
The 2012 Guidelines document is twenty-four pages, plus nine pages of appendixes. The GBC Resolution approving the new Guidelines highlighted the need to expand and clarify “the processes involved in dealing with a complaint” of child neglect or abuse, “the duties of the various role-players” in the child protection process,” “the categories of abuse, offenders and the manner in dealing with them,” and “the scope of jurisdiction of the Child Protection Office.”
“The GBC mandated that the CPO be reviewed and its child protection policies be updated about every five years,” said Tamohara dasa, former CPO Director and GBC co-sponsor of the new Policy. “When it created the CPO, the GBC wanted to ensure the CPO will be reviewed, updated and improved on a regular basis.”
“In addition to procedural changes and updates, the document makes it explicitly clear that child protection is the responsibility of every member of ISKCON, “said Champakalata dasi, ISKCON’s South African based CPO Director. “This has always been our understanding, as well as the need of our children, but we are stressing it more in the new Guidelines,” she said.
Anuttama dasa, second co-sponsor of the new Guidelines, added, “The CPO and local ISKCON Child Protection Teams serve in conjunction with government child protection laws and social welfare agencies. So it’s the duty of parents, leaders and educators to be aware of local laws and government systems. Child protection is a cooperative effort,” he said.
The Guidelines are effective immediately. They may be found in their entirety on the GBC website at gbc.iskcon.org/papers-and-manuals/
Read more: Click Here
A driver and his two passengers (all Hare Krishna devotees) died late Tuesday night (January 31) in a crash with a semi at the intersection of Florida Rte. 228 (Normandy Blvd.) and U.S. Highway 301 in Maxville (outside of Jacksonville, Florida).
The driver of a Toyota Corolla, 31-year-old Elisha K. Drury (Nitai das) of Moundsville, W.Va., was stopped at Highway 301 about 10 p.m. before pulling out in front of the truck, according to Lt. Bill Leeper and the Florida Highway Patrol report. The semi hit the driver’s side of the vehicle and dragged it about 75 yards before it came to rest, with the car nearly completely underneath it.
Drury was killed along with passengers Timothy F. Carter (Gopinath das), 30, and Jose L. Caicedo (Yadupati das), 47, both of Alachua County. Leeper said the friends were returning from a Jimmy Buffett concert in Jacksonville. The two in the front seat were wearing seat belts, but the rear seat passenger was not. The driver of the semi was Johnny Williams, 53, of Hemingway, S.C., the Highway Patrol said.
The wreck happened just a few yards away from a truck stop where Greg Hayden was sleeping in his rig during his break. He had just fallen asleep when he was woken by the sound of the impact, Hayden said. Then he heard a horn that did not stop blowing. “I came out of my truck and noticed there was a car in front of a semi, and it was bad stuff,” he said. “I went to the car and noticed there were two people who weren’t moving, so I immediately called 911 and started flagging traffic to keep someone else from getting killed.”
Reposted from Florida Times-Union
Editor's note, courtesy of Rasikananda das: A "Remembering Nitai das" Facebook page has been started at
Click Here. Devotees are invited to please share their memories and stories. Nitai prabhu's main service project was Krishna Kitchen, which he poured his heart and soul into and worked tirelessly to develop. Engaging many devotees in all walks of life, from gurukulis to bhaktas to old-school preachers, he always knew just how to inspire participation to share the Sankirtana mission of Lord Caitanya. He dedicated his life in service to his guru, H.H. Radhanath Swami, and will be dearly missed. His last rites will be performed in Mayapura by Mandali devi dasi, his wife, Radhanath Swami, Malati devi prabhu and Nityodita das prabhu, his uncle.