New member

Arthur12652 - August 15, 2004 6:16 pm

I'm new to this forum and to internet forums in general, so I'm not sure what to do about "signatures" and "code buttons" and "avatars" so please forgive my mistakes.

My name is Arthur and I live in Greensboro, NC. In the '70's I was fortunate enough to meet some very sweet devotees in Morgantown, WV while I was going to college and I became interested in Krishna Consciousness. The devotee who most impressed me was Radhanath Swami and he guided me to be initiated by Kirtanananda Swami. New Vrindavan was an exciting place to be in those days; even though I never lived there I did some mixed service (I am a medical technologist and I helped the doctor and nurse run the clinic, I made (tons of) ghee and I helped in the printing press) and watched the good and the bad stuff happen sort of from a distance. The good things were that there were a lot of devotees and a lot of activities were going on. Plans for a huge Temple of Understanding were being made, roads and buildings were being built and lots of other things were going on. The bad stuff was mostly unknown to me: gurukula, so-called sankirtan, and even more sinister things that would only come out later. I was aware that the Palace Press was doing what appeared to me was questionable printing of copyrighted material that was used by the sankirtan devotees for making money, bumper stickers with cartoon characters and sports logos. I was a marginal devotee (I had a new family and had to receive a salary from the community) and I was never allowed to forget my "fallen" status. I never was given any formal training on how to be a devotee (i.e. how and why to apply tilak, rules about ekadasi, etc.) They took what I was able to give and sort of left me on my own. Consequently, after Kirtanananda was attacked and returned to the community a different person, I drifted away from Krishna Consciousness. My family (wife and 2 sons) moved to NC to be near family and a better environment for raising children. I gradually gave up all connections with Krishna Consciousness, except for the very occassional letter to and reply from Radhanath Swami. I got active in first the Unitarian Church and later the Episcopal Church (the church my wife was raised in). We eventually divorced and I ended up in Greensboro. My oldest son is a Junior at Old Dominion University, where he swims on scholarship and is a A- Premed student. My other son quit high school and got his GED and works for a cabinet-maker in the town where he lives with his mother. I have been practicing Buddhism for the past 4 years, as taught by Thich Nhat Hahn, a wonderful soul. However, I know that I have a devotional temperment and have philosophical problems with several Buddhist doctrines, especially impermanence, non-self and the nature of ultimate reality. I have always kept in touch with Krishna Consciousness and resisted the temptation to regard the whole thing as nonsense even though the behavior of most of the gurus Srila Prabhupada picked to initiate after his passing, the GBC, and certain "fundamentalist" devotees both within and outside of ISKCON seemed to indicate that there was very little good in the whole thing. I think my biggest problem with Vaishnaism as a whole is the impression America has been given that it is a Fundamentalist faith; having been raised a Fundamentalist Southern Baptist makes that a huge problem for me. Fortunately, I do not believe this to be an accurate understanding. I believe there is a difference between orthodoxy and fundamentalism and the acceptance I have heard expressed to me personally by H.H. Radhanath Swami and by H.H. B.V. Tripurari Swami in his writings give me hope that Gaudiya Vaishnavism at its best is a loving and universal expression of God's concern for all humanity. So, I am starting over with Krishna Consciousness. I have asked your Guru Maharaj to help me do this and he has very kindly encouraged me to participate in this forum, to continue to read his and other Vaishnava literature (with discrimination, I believe), and to associate with like-minded devotees. I understand that he will be in NC next month and I will try to meet him and some of you in person then. I believe this to be Krishna's arrangement for me (among his other more important purposes) and I am thankful. I thank all of you for supporting his work and for indulging me in this very long introduction. I beg your forgiveness for the use of your time, this forum and for asking you to associate with someone so unworthy and undeserving of the extreme grace I have been shown by Swami Tripurari. All glories to the devotees of Radha and Krishna and of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 15, 2004 6:33 pm

Nice to have you with us! Welcome aboard! :)

Babhru Das - August 15, 2004 7:59 pm

How delightful it is to have you here, Arthur! I think you are bringing a lot of valuable experience and insight to this board. I think you are fortunate to find such good association as Radhanath Maharaja and Swami Tripurari. Unfortunately, many of us have given the American public reasons to see Krishna consciousness as a fundamentalist faith, but we are lucky that Tripurari Maharaja can share with us the essence of Krishna consciousness, which is very progressive. Welcome. I'm sure we all look forward to your participation.

Citta Hari Dasa - August 15, 2004 9:01 pm

Welcome, Arthur. I'm glad you came to the conclusion that Gaudiya Vaisnavism is not so bad after all. It's sad that such a profound and beautiful path has been misrepresented to the point of people losing their faith. Luckily Krsna doesn't let his people go so easily! He has arranged for us to have the company of a genuine essence-oriented Vaisnava to counter such misrepresentation with a balanced and deeply realized presentation. I'm sure you will find inspiration here, as we all do.