Vedic Perspective Editorial Commentary 9-24-87 Chicago Tribune's religion editor, Bruce Bu

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Vedic Perspective Editorial Commentary 9-24-87 Chicago Tribune's religion editor, Bruce Buursma wrote in his column yesterday about the effect that the Pope's visit had on Americans. In that column, he said that the general opinion is that the Pope's visit will have little to no effect on the activities of American Catholics. The Pope's message to American Catholics was for Catholics to remain faithful to Vatican morality: no abortion, no women priests and no changes in sexual morality. So the pope is struggling along in his efforts to curb the activities of the so-called "cafeteria" Catholics; that is, Catholics who pick and choose which teachings appeal to them while rejecting other teachings. But in this Hare Krishna movement, they have been very fortunate to have had the brief association of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who is known to his followers simply as Prabhupada. It is often argued and debated what is it that goes into making a saint. The answer is that a saint must be able to provide a display of wonderful miracles. In India, Prabhupada used to teach his students, there are many, many men who dress as saints and advertise themselves as great holy men and even sometimes they claim that they are incarnations of God. Some of those men were able to show many wonderful magical tricks. Some men were able to produce gold seemingly out of mid-air. And Prabhupada tells of one highly advanced yogi who, by his perfection of yogic powers, was able to produce a freshly picked branch of pomegranates from a tree from a different country while sitting in one place. There are other great yogis, still in India, who, by severly curtailing the breathing process, live well beyond a hundred years and thereby retard the aging process. So although such old men were well over a hundred years, their bodies kept their youthful lustre. Still in India, these practices of severe austerities which are unheard of in the West are going on. And such yogis are able to perform some wonderful magical yogic feats. However, the Western "yogis", better known as scientists are also able to show many wonderful tricks through the use of technology. It's easy to see why today in modern India, they are giving up the practice of yoga for the powers offered through technology. But Prabhupada was not one of the so-called mystical sadhus who showed some magic or hypnotized people. When Prabhupada started this Hare Krishna movement in America, he challenged the very foundation of technological America. He said that there is a limitation to the progress of technological advancement. No matter how advanced technology progresses they cannot conquer the four unconquerable miserable conditions of life namely: birth, old age, disease and death. The only way to conquer death is to become immortal through the mercy of God. The miracle provided by Shrila Prabhupada was that he was bold enough to take on and expose the entire western euphoria surrounding technical achievements. That is the glory of the ancient Vedic philosophy given in the Bhagavad-gita. So why India and Indians today are giving up the study of Bhagavad-gita? It is a great loss, just imagine. Our guest last week, H.H. Shridhar Swami who was coming from Bombay said that today eveything in India is moving away from Vedic culture. Whereas before there were many gurukulas for children to be trained up in yoga, today you can hardly find any gurukulas who teach about Vedic literatures like Bhagavad-gita. Everything in India's big cities is now Westernized. So the request of the Krishna devotees is that if you take the books and teachings given by this guru, Shrila Prabhupada, then you'll be easily inspired to follow the restrictions that are there in religious discipline. It is already a proven fact. Prabhupada had converted many drug addicted hippies to no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxication and no illicit sex. So those restrictions are universal for one who wants to know God, but it takes the expertise of a real saint to impress about these restrictions. That expertise is there through the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Shrila Prabhupada. --Vaishnava dasa

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