A couple years ago my husbands old friend who actually stopped living as a devotee, returned. He is now very fixed-up. However, what did he tell my husband? That he was shocked the Movement was so drastically different [negatively], in comparison to when he lived on the inside, before.
It is not limited to these two. Often it seems when running into someone who was there at the time Prabhupada was on the planet, left, then returned - they notice a huge difference in the spiritual quality of our society!
When Prabhupada disappeared [passed over], he said not to change anything. Yet so much has been changed.
One purpose of my blog is to try to bring the old days back for folks of today. Often I feel they are getting cheated out of the training we received, which lead to some wonderful experiences we had. Therefore by hearing what those were, and following thru, others can also benefit in such ways.
To clarify, I do not feel competent to present it fully, but at least will try. It really will be up to you. Anyone can start turning their home into a family temple.
After a period of time and with experience, some may eventually think to extend that to others to create a [homey, small] new branch - errr returning to the old one really. :)
Of course, not everyone should feel obliged to open their home to everyone. We must be cautious. Anyone who wants to be a devotee, must prove it via their behavior & lifestyle, first. [Especially around children.] They must truthfully follow all Prabhupada has said to follow.
OR, if one has a little money, or friends to chip in, could rent a tiny apartment to use as a temple. In that way everyone can still have their private living quarters but gather together to attend temple as we did in the old days. Making sure devotional service goes on within that little temple.
Either way, it's fun! Who said spiritual life must be boorish or drab? Those who don't know about Krishna I guess.
Putting that concern aside, I confess to being a very private person, and would never open my home in this way.
However, when I was younger - I would have at least had Sunday Feasts at my home. And did, a few times. :)
Prior to the internet, were college billboards where people would tack up the need for this or that, like a roommate or wanting to sell their car, etc. My husband and I tacked a paper with an invitation to a free meal/feast at our home. We didn't get a crowd. lol But one nice young man stands out in my mind. Every little bit counts.
Often when I recommend these things, I get concerned about precautions. Therefore, select mode of goodness places to invite, and give a pamphlet if possible so they have a clue to behave honorably when they arrive. If necessary, these days you can get their name and do a quick internet check. Or meet/have a gathering at a public Park. Whatever works for you as an individual. Mostly, use your intelligence, as I can't imagine every single angle. But don't use it as an excuse to give up. Prabhupada wanted a Sankirtana Movement. Simply, be mindful. With that said.....
Once when Prabhupada was physically present, I heard about some from another country who, merely by reading Prabhupada's books, turned their home into a temple! I don't mean a little of this or that spiritual thing, then TV blaring in the next room. lol But a full-on temple. Family, trustworthy friends, and initiated disciples were welcomed.
Devotees eventually visited and saw it was true! They only made one small mistake regarding the order they placed the Deities. However, the devotees showed them the correct order, and they happily made the change.
So it can be done. Even just for your family, or to
included some extended-family or friends you find trustworthy. But it can be done.
The bliss and the nectar we once experienced when Prabhupada was here in his vaphu [physical] presence, can still be experienced in his vani [instructions] by those who dive into the programs he gave us to follow. Take to the genuine lifestyle, embrace it's bliss - and it's your experiences now! :)
Start with self and/or family doing an at-home Morning Program.Later add an Evening Program. Engage in blissful service during the day. ...Can start small - but maintain the goal. :)
"So we can change our home also into Vaikuntha. We can change our home. It is not difficult. Because as Krsna can be all-pervading, Vaikuntha is all-pervading. But we have to simply realize it by the authorized rocess. Everyone, we can change our home into Vaikuntha. Goloka Vrndavana Is Everywhere" ~ Srila Prabhupada, Bombay India, 25 Sept 73
"I wish that each and every Branch shall keep their independent identity and cooperate keeping the Acarya in the centre. On this principle we can open any number of Branches all over the world." ~ Srila Prabhupada letter, 2/11/67
"According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a husband and wife can turn the home into a place as good as Vaikuntha, even while in this material world. Being absorbed in Krsna consciousness, even in this world husband and wife can live in Vaikuntha simply by installing the Deity of the Lord within the home and serving the Deity according to the directions of the sastras." ~ SB 4.23.29
P.S. To anyone out there in cyberspace who is not married, this does not leave you out - anyone can do it - anywhere, any time, any place. :)
Reporter: "What will happen to the movement in the United States when you die?"
Srila Prabhupada: "I will never die. I shall live from my books, and you will utilize." ~ Interview, July 16, 1975, Berkeley, California
"If you feel very strongly about my absence you may place my pictures on my sitting places and this will be source of inspiration for you."
~Srila Prabhupada Letter to Brahmananda and other students, 19/1/67
UPDATE: Recently on the fb Senior Devotee Godsiblings Egroup, the topic arose that authorities are trying to come up with a definition regarding what makes one a "member." Most thought it silly and a waste of time. Here is my reply, which I hope motivates some to follow through:
"Lately I've felt ISKCON will continue on in the homes of various devotees willing and able to [safely] extend it to others via Sunday Feasts and eventually more. Not referring to right now, tho it is possible now, but in the future - they may turn their home into little temples with Morning and Evening Program, Sankirtana - and everything just like Prabhupada had us do back in the day. It will likely be small in many cases, and the bigger iskcon may not recognize it, but they will call themselves iskcon. I may not live to see it, as I am speaking of wayyyy into the future and who knows what the institution will be like by that point in time. Tho I haven't given up, but nevertheless you never know. Therefore some may just start creating small little temples in their homes and it will be iskcon. Regardless what definition current iskcon writes down."
Why Start a Temple?
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- Cone OR Stick Incense HOLDER. Very nice!