October 14, 2003 – Karttika

October 14th, 2003

Govardhana

Jayadvaita Maharaja and Vaisesika Prabhu are here now, so at least the regular gathering of devotees has arrived. Although everyone here is intensely absorbed in their own services and vows, all of the asrama devotees, young and old, take prasadam together.

I look forward to the pleasant exchanges with the devotees as we gather together for our morning and midday meals. Prasadam that is devotionally prepared and expertly served immediately creates spiritual community and buoys one?s spirits.

After prasadam, the few senior devotees here usually relax and enjoy each other?s company for a short while in Kesava Bharati Maharaja?s room before going back to their services. Today I heard what I can only call:

Krishna?s Believe It Or Not

One of the devotees related a story that left us speechless. His purpose was to highlight how far one who is independent, lacks guidance, and is devoid of sambanda-jnana can digress from the core of our tradition. The story was so unbelievable that I had to confirm it first directly from the source. Here goes:

A book distributor in San Francisco (a devotee now here for Karttika) meets a person on the street who invites him to an initiation ceremony at a Hare Krishna temple down the block?a temple he didn?t even know existed despite the fact that he preaches in the Bay Area. Out of curiosity, he went.

When he arrived he was surprised to see a rtvik initiation going on. The person supposedly initiating on Srila Prabhupada?s behalf, the rtvik priest, was a devotee who was famous in ISKCON in the early ?70s for being quite a ?ksatriya.? I remember hearing of his prowess immediately after joining.

The rtvik priest and former ?ksatriya? is now a cross-dresser. He says he wants to become more balanced by bringing out his feminine side, since ?after all, we are ultimately prakrti (female energy).?

This rtvik priest sometime wears miniskirts during kirtanas, but usually wears a sari to the temple. Today he is dressed in a lady?s Punjabi outfit.

Bhakta John was taking this so-called initiation. As if getting first and second initiation by a so-called rtvik acarya in a Punjabi outfit is not strange enough, today Bhakta John is also taking rtvik sannyasa!

Even more ludicrous was our priest?s speech, which described this bizarre scene as ?a moment in history.? Maharaja, formerly Bhakta John, immediately spoke following the priest?s speech, saying, ?If you are going to do something controversial, why not go all the way??

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