Facing the Reality and ISKCON Rural Communities

Many ISKCON leaders are urging that we give much greater support to ISKCON rural development and cow protection. These are noble goals indeed, but here are some real, practical problems in fostering such a “change of consciousness” among devotees: [Continue reading] Facing the Reality and ISKCON Rural Communities

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Species Equality Does not Lead to Social or Political Equality

It is well known that to get a clear understanding of Prabhupada’s view on a particular topic, we must look at all his statements on that topic. Prabhupada clearly taught that we follow guru-sadhu-shastra, and he made equally clear that [Continue reading] Species Equality Does not Lead to Social or Political Equality

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A Message to Disciples and Well-Wishers – Dec. 8th 2018

Dear Devotees,

Jaya Prabhupada! I am writing to inform you that due to physical limitations, I will have to adjust my email protocol. On a normal day, I send out between 40 and 60 emails. Out of sincere respect for the devotees, I have always endeavored to respond promptly.

Unfortunately, I am beginning to suffer a recurrence of very severe eye strain. I first had this problem over 35 years ago when I was working hard to finish Prabhupada’s Bhāgavatam. I never recovered fully from this problem, and when it reoccurs, I am unable to read at all for some time, and this prevents me from doing most of my devotional service. This condition is also painful. In fact this inability to read as quickly as normal scholars, or to read many books, forced me to give up my hopes for an academic service career after I finished at Harvard. In various ways, I have compenated for this permanent disability, without bringing it to the attention of other devotees. But now, I am forced to explain it.

At present, it is simply not physically possible for me to continue to personally read the volume of email that arrives every day. Therefore, I must take the following step: I will adopt Prabhupada’s own system and have a secretary read most letters to me. I will then dictate a response, which will be sent out.

In cases that reasonably require absolute privacy, you can write CONFIDENTIAL in the subject line. I must emphasize that such confidential letters cannot be very long. Given my physical condition, and the real danger of it becoming worse and crippling my service, I must take these measures. I fully trust that you will understand my situation and help me to deal with it.

With best wishes,

Hridayananda dasa Goswami

Left Vs. Right – The Dangers of Extremism

Serious studies now show that many western universities, especially in the humanities, have become virtual indoctrination centers for leftist ideology. Even learned, reasonable conservative speech is often harassed on campus. Just as the extreme right rejects legitimate science on issues like climate change so the hard left rejects science on various issues, such as gender and race relations.

The problem is very much like the boy who cried ‘wolf!’ Leftists have so regularly misused terms like ‘racist’ and ’sexist’ to attack anyone who disagrees with them, even slightly or reasonably, that the terms have lost much of their power and people stopped paying attention.

Under many years of leftist government, Brasil has one of the highest murder rates in the world, one of the lowest educational standards, and one of the most corrupt governments. These conclusions come from scholars outside Brasil. I am not justifying an extreme right reaction to the extreme left performance, but that is typical human nature.

The real problem is extremism, left or right. History shows that in the 20th century, Marxists/Communists killed 10 to 20 times more innocent people than Hitler. Yet it is still “fashionable” among some “intellectuals” to identify with Marxism. This is abominable. One could say that Stalin, Mao, the Khmer Rouge etc were not “good communists.” One could equally say that Hitler and Mussolini were not good Fascists. But who would say that?

My personal experience is that it is very difficult to have a fair, rational discussion with someone on the extreme left, or the far right.

I’m afraid that unless the left can self-criticize, and recognize their mistakes, they will not be able to attract a majority of voters.