Thursday, December 26, 2013

RE: Dressing Krishna Like Santa Claus

Dressing Radha Krishna as Santa and Mrs. Claus 
is a Deviation


Every year around this time we see devotees circulate pictures of Radha Krishna deities dressed as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. As I read many of the comments on these pics I see many in opposition to this (which is good) but also many comments like,"Oh so cute", "Beautiful", etc. So the real questions that must be asked are as follows. First off, have any of our previous acharyas done this or have they instructed us to do this? The answer is obviously no! Here are two quotes from Srila Prabhupada that confirm this:

"The Deity worship should be done just in the way it was carried out in my presence."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 13, 1970)

[PADA: Correct, we have to offer the bhogha to Srila Prabhupada. That was the first thing the GBC changed, they started saying we need to offer bhogha to the 11 gurus. Thus, the offerings were not being accepted and people were eating bhogha, and they still are.] 

"The greatest danger to our movement will come when we manufacture and create our own process for worshiping the deities." (Srila Prabhupada Letter, April 1, 1973)

Were Radha and Krishna ever dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus along with reindeer etc. in Prabhupada's physical presence? Absolutely not! Whenever there is a question or doubt about our philosophy, whether it be jiva tattva, guru tattva, our sadhana or whatever it may be, the three consulting authorities are guru, sadhu and sastra. This is confirmed by Srila Prabhupada in this Bhagavatam purport.

[PADA: And that is one reason PADA editor was kicked out of ISKCON, for complaining that we cannot change the process of offering bhogha to the pure devotee.] 

"Sadhu-sastra-guru: one has to test all spiritual matters according to the instructions of saintly persons, scriptures and the spiritual master. The spiritual master is one who follows the instructions of his predecessors, namely the sadhus, or saintly persons. A bona fide spiritual master does not mention anything not mentioned in the authorized scriptures. Ordinary people have to follow the instructions of sadhu, sastra and guru. Those statements made in the sastras and those made by the bona fide sadhu or guru cannot differ from one another." (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.16.1 Purport)

Has any Guru is our Gaudiya Parampara authorized this or spoken about this? Absolutely not! Again to make it clear he says, "One has to test all spiritual matters according to the instructions of saintly persons, scriptures and the spiritual master". The worship of Sri Murti is certainly a spiritual matter and part of our worship in vaidhi-bhakti, and also for one who has attained the platform of raganuga-bhakti. Srila Prabhupada has said the greatest danger to our movement is when we manufacture our own process for deity worship. So there is the opinion of Guru. Srila Prabhupada is Jagat Guru and the siksa Guru for the whole world.

[PADA: And when Jayatirtha was offering LSD and Hash-hish to his shalagram, the GBC said he has to stay and we have to go for protesting these deviations. The GBC protected these deity worship deviators.]

This dressing Radha and Krishna up as Santa and Mrs. Claus is certainly manufacturing our own process. What do sadhus say about this? Many sadhus have said this is not at all proper. I don't have any written statements, but I know H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami has spoken out against this and it is recorded on his website.

[PADA: Except that Bhakti Vikas swami is part of the group that has changed the offerings to make bhogha never become prasadam by offering bhogha to deviants.]

What does sastra, scripture say about this? Well, Bhagavatam is a scripture that predates Christianity, but in the eleventh canto in the section known as Uddhava Gita, Sri Krishna speaks elaborately about deity worship. To my knowledge there is no mention of Santa Claus outfits.

Sri Krishna is Svayam Bhagavan, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and sarva jña, knower of past present and future, surely He would mention this if it was His desire. What about scripture written after the time of Christ, like Chaitanya-caritamrita, Chaitanya Bhagavat, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Upadesamrita, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu Bindhu? What about Jaiva Dharma and all of the other books of Bhaktivinode Thakur? No mention whatsoever about dressing the deity up as Santa Claus or any other non-Vedic religious figures, real or mythological. So we can conclude that according to guru, sadhu and sastra it is not bona fide.

The final question must be asked for those who dress Sri Murti up in this way and for those who like, relish, and approve of this. And that question is: whose pleasure is it for? Is it for Krishna's pleasure that you want to see Radha and Krishna dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, or is it for your pleasure? Our philosophy stresses this one concept, that by giving Krishna pleasure we experience bliss. What makes Radha and the gopis happy? Giving pleasure to Krishna. Their sentiment is that even if the distress caused by separation from Krishna gives Krishna pleasure, then so be it, that distress is satisfying. Our acharyas have explained to us what pleases Krishna. We follow their instructions Also what is the definition of suddha-bhakti, pure bhakti, the topmost platform of uttama bhakti?

anukulyena krsnanu-
silanam bhaktir uttama

"Uttama bhakti is the cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the benefit of Sri Krsna, in other words, the uninterrupted flow of service to Him, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind, and speech, and through the expression of various bhavas (spiritual sentiments). It is not covered by jnana (knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward-seeking activity), yoga or austerities; and it is completely free from all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Krsna."

Can we really be following in the anugatya of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada and our Rupanuga Guru Varga if we dress the deity according to our own whims and concoctions not sanctioned by our acharyas? I think not.

[PADA: Worse, people like Narayan Maharaja supported the bogus GBC's program of offering bhogha to persons engaged in illicit behaviors. And he said our idea, to continue the worship as it was, is a deviation. So he endorsed these changers.]

Some may say well, Srila Prabhupada accepted Christ as the Son of God and a pure devotee, so what is wrong with a Christmas theme for the deities? First off, Prabhupada never sanctioned Interfaith crossovers such as changing dress from dhotis to Franciscan Monk robes, or worshipping a murti of yoga Jesus, as what went on in New Vrindavan. Srila Prabhupada has ordered us to be intelligent enough to know who is deviating and what constitutes deviation from our siddhanta and practices.

[PADA: And in 1986, when Satsvarupa was writing that Kirtanananda is the purest person, and he is like Jesus, Narayan Maharaja was "teaching rasika" to that identical Satsvarupa group.]

A devotee should have intelligence to know who is deviating. Surrender by your intelligence, but don't surrender your intelligence." (Srila Prabhupada Letter to Bali Mardana, 1974)

Secondly, there is a movement among Christians to put Christ back in Christmas. They feel Santa Claus has little or nothing to do with Christmas and the focus has shifted to Santa and materialism, giving and receiving gifts and not celebrating the birth of Christ. Who was Santa Claus aka St. Nicholas? I am not gonna go into a long story, but in short, he was a Christian saint from the Fourth Century. He embodied the spirit of charity and giving. He was persecuted and imprisoned by the Roman Empire.

Aside from being charitable and doing mundane welfare work, what was his character? Was he a meat eater? Most likely he was a meat eater. What is the Santa we know today? He has been elevated to mythical status with all sorts of mystical powers. To top it off, that trademark red and white costume he wears are actually from a 1931 ad campaign by Coca Cola. The red and white are the corporate colors of Coca Cola. They still run ads this time of year with their holiday mascot. Why doesn't Pepsi or any other soda company use these colors? The reason is that it would be copyright infringement.

So there you have it, Radha and Krishna are sporting the colors and costume of a mundane corporation. Maybe we should dress them up as Fred and Wilma Flintstone and offer them Fruity Pebbles as bhoga. Where does the nonsense end? Bottom line is this is not sanctioned by guru, sadhu and sastra. It is ras abhas. There are no lilas of Radha and Krishna outside of Bharat Bhumi, and certainly not at the North Pole. Aprakat lila (unmanifest lila) is eternally going on in the Holy Dhama and these eternal lilas do not include snow, reindeer and Santa outfits. This nonsense should stop and these pictures should stop being circulated. I leave you with this last bit of Prabhupada Vani:

"Don't do this. Keep the old system strong, and if necessary repair it. Don't change from this to that. That is your American disease. This is very serious that you always want to change everything."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter to Bhakta dasa, Nov 24, 1974)

[PADA: And Bhakta Das is today supporting the GBC guru system and their changes.]

1 comment:

  1. They celebrate Hollowing in Iskcon Alachua every year. That's also another gross diviation as there's no injunction mentioned in any Vedic scripture for the observation of such an event. As I see it, all of this is something like an slick attempt for the westernization of Vedic and/or vaisnava principles. Lord help us! Jai Srila Prabhupada! Hare Krsna!


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