Friday, May 20, 2022

Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Siddha Pranali chart in English

Posted by – Śrīdhara Śrīnivāsa dāsa

             The dīkṣā succession is described a siddha-praṇālī process of disciplic succession. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Schism in the Śrī Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya

By Śrīdhara Śrīnivāsa dāsā

Srimathe Ramanujaya Namaha

How the Śrī Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya separated into the Vaḍagalai and Teṅkalai sects

The Śrī Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya has two major sects, one is called Vaḍagalai and the other Teṅkalai. The two sects have existed for more than 350 years and arose on account of a bitter schism. The foundation of this schism is based on eighteen ideological differences on the topic of mokṣa-dharma propounded by post Rāmānujācārya-era ācāryas Pillailokācārya and Vedānta Deśika during the 1200-1300 AD period.[i] During this period Vedānta Deśika was the first one to detect or disagree with certain works of Pillailokācārya. Maṇavāla Mamuni (Mahāmuni), who appeared right after Vedānta Deśika, primarily subscribed to the doctrines of Pillailokācārya.

The eighteen differences between the two groups of these ācāryas centered on the questions as to who can ultimately award liberation (Lord Nārāyaṇa alone or Mother Lakṣmī as well?) and whether action on the part of the jīva is required in obtaining liberation. Pillailokācārya and his followers maintained the view that liberation can be attained only by the mercy of Lord Nārāyaṇa and not by a jīva’s actions (mārjāra-nyāya – like a kitten relying on a mother cat to lift it and move), whereas, Vedānta Deśika maintained that along with the mercy of Lord Nārāyaṇa, the jīva is required to do his bare minimal devotional activities (markaṭa-nyāya – like a baby monkey holding onto the mother monkey for conveyance). Pillailokācārya propounded that it is not even up to Mother Lakṣmī to influence Lord Nārāyaṇa in the matter of awarding liberation, whereas Vedānta Deśika categorically states that Mother Lakṣmī being the inseparable consort of the Lord also has equal powers to award shelter and liberation.

Differences in Scriptures

Apart from the ideological differences, there were differences of opinion on what śāstras are to be emphasized—Sanskrit Veda or Draviḍa Veda. The Draviḍa Veda (Tamil Veda) is also known as the Nālayira Divya Prabandha, composed by the Ālavāras, who were saints devoted to Lord Viṣṇu and widely revered in South India. The followers of Vedānta Deśika, from Kāncīpuram, northern part of Tamil Nadu, placed more importance on the Sanskrit Vedas as compared to the followers of Pillailokācārya and Maṇavāla Mamuni, from Śrī Raṅgam, southern Tamil Nadu, who placed more importance on the Draviḍa Vedas in their respective fights against the Advaitins and the Śaivaites.

Most of the of present day Śrī Vaiṣṇavas acknowledge that the formal distinguishing features of the schism were established only much later in time (after 1650 CE). Nonetheless, it appears that tensions started to build up right from the periods of the manifest presence of both Pillailokācārya and Vedānta Deśika. The Śrī Vaiṣṇavas in Kāncī, or the northern sect, found it necessary to use the Sanskrit Vedas as their primary weapon for overcoming the Advaitins, who were all experts in Sanskrit. The Śrī Vaiṣṇavas from the South found it necessary to use the Tamil Vedas because they had to deal primarily with Śaivaites, who were expert in the Tamil compositions of the Nāyanmārs, who were also widely revered saints like the Ālavāras but devoted to Lord Śiva.

The Schism

The differences in scripture combined with the differences in ideology between the two groups exacerbated the tensions between them and eventualy drove a deep wedge into the Śrī Vaiṣṇava community, their daily practices of devotional service, temple services, temple rights, privileges, honors, and cultural activities. Śrīman M.A. Venkatakrishnan Swami (Teṅkalai), professor and former head of the department of Vaiṣṇavism, Madras University, Chennai, says that although the ideological differences originated during the 12th and 13th centuries, he believes that the circumstances leading to the formation of the schism were more on superficial issues associated with temple rights, practices, honors, and privileges and were formally established only after 1650 CE. He recollects that around 1650 CE, an incident involving the king of Mysore and the devotees (Teṅkalais) taking care of the Viṣṇu temple at Tirunārāyaṇapuram, Melkoṭe, was the first episode leading to the establishment of the formal schism.

The episode is as follows:

In the 1650’s the Melkoṭe temple was originally managed and controlled by Teṅkalais (Professor M.A.V. Swami agrees that the Vaḍagalais would dispute his claim). The King of Mysore, being dissatisfied with the Teṅkalai devotees of that temple, conferred the rights of temple worship on the other group (Vaḍagalais), who supported the King. The Teṅkalais used to recite the praṇāma mantra of Maṇavāla Mamuni (śri-śaileśa dayā-pātram dhībhaktyādi guṇārṇavam. . .) as part of their temple worship. However, with the transfer of rights to Vaḍagalais, the Vaḍagalais started to recite the praṇāma mantra of Vedānta Deśika (śrī-rāmānuja-dayā-patram jñāna-vairāgya-bhūṣaṇam. . . ) and stopped the recitation of the praṇāma mantra of Maṇavāla Mamuni. This change disturbed the Teṅkalais, and they protested against it.

The King later realized his mistake in interfering with the temple worship and practices, and he then ordered both the praṇāma mantras to be recited as part of the worship. But the followers of Maṇavāla Mamuni and Vedānta Deśika became so alarmed over this incident that to ensure such a thing could never happen in the temples each had control over, they institutionalized their own groups with respect to worship processes and rights. Temples controlled by Teṅkalais followed a process that significantly differed from that of temples under Vaḍagalais. Thus, it was this incident at the Melkoṭe temple that triggered the formalization of the schism between Vaḍagalais and Teṅkalais all over South India, especially in Tamil Nadu.

In order to make their respective sects explicitly different from each other, their ācāryas introduced several variations and differences in their own practices: in the tilak that they wore, the praṇāma mantras that they recited, the choice of reciting Sanskrit Veda versus Divya Prabandham in temples, the number of times they would offer obeisances to the Lord and devotees (Vaḍagalais must offer two, or an even number or more to all, but Teṅkalais would offer only once), and even the first item of mahā-prasādam that they serve to devotees in a feast (Vaḍagalais will first serve ghee and rice whereas Teṅkalais must serve first a salted item such as a sabjī followed by ghee and rice). Among such numerous variations between the two sects, it is still common that staunch members do not enter into marriages with each other or visit each other’s āśramas or temples (certainly not officially).[ii]

Author’s comment on Schism in the Śrī Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya

By Śrīdhara Śrīnivāsa dāsā

For my article “Schism in the Śrī Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya,” I received several responses and comments from various devotees and ISKCON leaders through emails and social media. The article’s focus was to provide just the historical facts behind the creation of a formal schism in one of the oldest, long standing Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas in this Kali-yuga.

Nonetheless, by no means did I intended to say that ISKCON should follow suit.

In fact, my point is that the Śrī Vaiṣṇava schism is a bona fide difference of views both having the clear backing of śāstra. But in the case of ISKCON, even the impending or imminent schism threatening to break it due to the introduction of female dīkśā-gurus is not equivalent to that of the Śrī Vaiṣṇava schism. This is due to the fact that institutionalizing female dīkśā-gurus is forbidden per evidence from the Bhāradvāja-saṁhitā (1.42 to 1.44) of Nārada Pañcarātra. (See Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s use of these ślokas from Bhāradvāja-saṁhitā in his commentary to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.13.15)

So how can such a schism be discouraged and avoided?

By openly coming to the discussion table, no matter how many years it might take….

This was my intent in writing that article.

Your humble servant,
Śrīdhara Śrīnivāsa dāsa
20th January 2022



End Notes

[i] These 18 differences have been explained in great detail by various spiritual leaders belonging to both the sects. However, a brief summary or outline is available at:

[ii] Within each of the Śrī Vaiṣṇava Vaḍagalai and Teṅkalai sects, two significant subdivisions exist, based on whether the devotees follow āgama śāstra or pāñcarātra śāstra. Those who follow the Āgamas are called Vaikhānasa (The Tirupati Tirumalā temple is Vaikhānasa, the Śrī Raṅgam temple follows Pāñcarātra). The Vaikhānasas do not necessarily follow the Divya Prabandham nor are from the Śrī Vaiṣṇava guru-paramparā coming in the line of Śrī Rāmānujācārya but are recognized as Śrī Vaiṣṇavas nonetheless. The Vaikhānasas follow āgama śāstra because they are descendants of Vikhānasa Muni (the founder-ācārya of the āgama śāstras and an incarnation of Lord Brahmā, who received Vedic knowledge directly from Lord Nārāyaṇa). In addition, Vaikhānasa is acknowledged as bona fide by previous Śrī Vaiṣṇava ācāryas like Vedānta Deśika in Śrī Pāñcarātra-raksā.


Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed in this article fully belong to the author of this article. This blog is just a medium to express them.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Was Prabhupāda’s understanding of Buddhism influenced by Culture?

Analysis of all the quotes of Srila Prabhupada on Buddhism finding their sources

The propounder of the theory of Cultural Conditioning of Śrila Prabhupāda supports his theory by saying that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s understanding of Buddhism was not based on study of Buddhism but what he heard from the people around in the culture he was brought up in.

To give an example of the fact that Prabhupada was influenced by his culture, …the concept that Prabhupada had of Buddhism, that didn’t came from a study of Buddhism, but from what was spoken regarding it.

— talk given by the propounder, Krishna West Convention / Brazil; Transcriśão Português – Inglês

(Tempo: 44:02 - 55:53)

Let us see what Śrīla Prabhupāda says about Buddhism and try to trace wherefrom his ideas of Buddhism are coming. We have searched for all instances of Buddhism from all the published teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda and these are the exclusive points about Buddhism that he speaks:

1.       Lord Buddha was incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa

Sources: SB 1.3.24; Jayadeva Gosvāmī’s Daśāvatāra-stotram

2.       He appeared to stop animal killing in the name of Vedic sacrifices and thus cheat the athiests


-          Jayadeva Gosvāmī’s Daśāvatāra-stotram

-          SB 1.3.24, Vallabhācārya’s Commentary—“ For making demons posing as brāhmaṇas to give up or reject the Vedas, the Lord will appear as Buddha.”

-          SB 1.3.24, sloka itself uses word sammohāya sura-dviṣām – ‘in order to bewilder the athiests.’

3.       Buddha incarnations in different kali-yuga may have little different activities


-          SP says that he takes this information from Jīva Gosvāmī.

-          Jīva Gosvāmī says in his commentary—“This is spoken about some other special kaliyuga as the type of demons that are mentioned here are not heard of in this kaliyuga.”

4.       SB 5.15.1—“The son of Mahārāja Bharata known as Sumati followed the path of Ṛṣabhadeva, but some unscrupulous people imagined him to be Lord Buddha himself.”

-          These ācāryas who do not follow the Vedic principles are presently known as the ārya-samājas, or the Jains. Not only do they not follow the Vedic principles, but they have no relationship with Lord Buddha. Imitating the behavior of Sumati, they claim to be the descendants of Ṛṣabhadeva. (purport)

-          In the purport Śrīla Prabhupāda analyzed from Bhāgavatam and distinguished faulty Buddhism from real Buddhism. He was not just influenced.

5.       In SB 6.8.19, devotee is praying to Lord Buddha in his prayers. Śrīla Prabhupāda—“ One should therefore surrender to Lord Buddha so that he can help one avoid misusing the injunctions of the Vedas. (Purport)”


-          Vamśīdhara—pramādāt means intelligence that destroys knowledge of śāstras as it is.  Buddha is prayed here to save one from such an intelligence.

-          Bhagavatprasādācārya says the same thing.

-          Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha—Prayer is, ‘Please protect us again and again for properly following the path of dharma’

Prabhupāda did not speculate the purpose of the prayer to Lord Buddha but derived it from ācāryas.

6.       Buddhism was widely spread in India by King Aśoka

-          Well known in history of India by all historians.

-          “Buddhism” by Monier Williams, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1889 (1995), p.59

-          “Asoka” by James M. Macphail, Oxford University Press, 1863, Chapter 4

7.       Buddhism was thrown out of India by Śankarācārya

-          Jaiva Dharma Ch. 2[1]

8.       Birth place of Lord Buddha mentioned as Kīkaṭa is Gayā in Magadha

-          Śrīdhara Svāmī—“Kikaṭa means at Gayā in Madhyapradesh”

-          Viśvanātha Cakravarti Ṭhākura—same as above

9.       Lord Buddha was a prince named siddhārtha.

-          The Buddha Kārikā[2], 2.17

10.   Buddha saw an old man and thus he became renounced and took to life of tapasyā

-          The Buddha Kārikā 3.27 onwards (Buddha saw old man and thoughts in his mind)

-          The Buddha Kārikā Chapter 5 (Buddha taking to renunciation)

11.   Kāśī Māyāvādīs as Sāranātha Buddhists of Kāśī


12.   Buddha’s Philosphy is Athiestic (nāstikyavāda)

Source: Cc 2.6.168

13.   He preached Non-violence and thus defied Vedas

Source: Jayadeva Gosvāmī’s Daśāvatāra-stotram

14.   Buddha Philosophy is called Śūnyavāda


-          Brāhmaṇa and Vaiṣṇava 3 (Vyavahāra Kāṇḍa), Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura

“There are two concepts of impersonal philosophy—denial of spiritual propensities and denial of spiritual activities, both devoid of eternal worship. When people consider the absense of the conscious function as the goal of life it results in çünyaväda, or voidism. And when they consider the idea that consciousness is devoid of activity it is called Mäyäväda, or spiritualism without variety.”

-          Caitanya Bhāgavata 1.17.42, Purport (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura)

“The voidism of the Buddhists and the impersonalism of the païcopäsakas are buried under these lotus feet of Gadädhara.”

-          Jaiva Dharma Ch.2

“At the time of his appearance, India urgently required a guëa-avatära, an incarnation who presides over the material nature, because the spread of the voidistic philosophy of Buddhism had caused India to practically give up the cultivation and study of the Vedas, as well as the practice of varëäçrama-dharma, the Vedic social system. Nihilistic Buddhism, known as çünyaväda, directly denies the existence of a personal God and although hinting at the principle of the jévätmä, the eternal spirit soul, Buddhism remains in essence anitya-dharma.”

-          Śrī Caitanya Candrodaya 6.252, Kavi Karṇapura

tathä tasya rüpasyäpéti. kevala-nirviçeñatve çünyavädävasaraù prasajyeta.

“In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the voidists and impersonalitsts will still insist that the Supreme Brahman has no qualities.”

-          SB 9.9.49, Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha says—

kecid-avaidikāḥ śūnya-nāmnā kalpitaṁ jalpanti na tattattvamityāha aśūnyamiti |

“Some people, who reject the Vedas, imgine the Absolute Truth to be void and speak of Him like that. It is not correct is said in this verse starting from word aśūnyam.”

-          Monier Williams Dictionary says—


m. the (Buddhist) doctrine of the non-existence (of any Spirit either Supreme or human) , Buddhism , atheism Madhus.


15.   According to Buddha, Consciousness or existence is the cause of distress


-          Brāhmaṇa and Vaiṣṇava 3 (Vyavahāra Kāṇḍa), Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura

“There are two concepts of impersonal philosophy—denial of spiritual propensities and denial of spiritual activities, both devoid of eternal worship. When people consider the absense of the conscious function as the goal of life it results in çünyaväda, or voidism. And when they consider the idea that consciousness is devoid of activity it is called Mäyäväda, or spiritualism without variety.”

16.   Buddhism and Māyāvāda are both same atheistic philosophies


-          Padma Purāṇa uttara khaṇḍa 25.7 as quoted in Cc 2.6.182

-          Without properly studying Buddhism and Māyāvāda how did Prabhupada compared these two? If his source is comtemporary people then how he came to same conclusion as śāstra? Surely no contemporary source of Māyāvāda declared it as false scripture.

17.   Budhhist theory of non-violence is based on Atmavat sarvabhutesu


18.   Buddhism believes that at death everything is finished (SB 8.9.12, purport)


-          Viśvanātha—According to Buddhitsts, at death everything is finished. That is also the opinion of Hiraṇyakaśipu.

-          Śloka and translation of SB 8.9.12 doesn’t have any hint of Buddha, still Prabhupāda mentions it not out of his speculative connection but from Viśvanātha’s commentary

19.   Buddhism believes that life symptoms are a result of combination of matter


-          In his Commentary to Bg 2.26, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa compares buddhism to vaibhāṣika mata. Vaibhāṣikas believe that life is different from gross body but that it goes on changing and is a result of material combination[3].

20.   9-points of Buddhist Philosophy (Cc 2.9.49 purport)

Source: Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as mentioned by Prabhupāda himself in the purport[4].

21.   Although Lord Buddha said there is no God, He is worshipped just like God in thousands of temples all over the world

Source: Pratyakṣa is sufficient. There are thousands of temples all over world many of which are very ancient, showing that temple worship of Lord Buddha is quite ancient.

Note the dates of establishment of these temples, oldest is Mahabodhi temple built by Asoka in his times (about 300 BC).

22.   Destination of Buddhists is between Brahma-jyoti and Material World (Maheśa-dhāma)


23.   Śrīla Prabhupāda discusses with leading propagator of Zen Buddhism in Europe (Paris) and defeats his ideas not in line with the original Buddhism. (Room Conversation with Mr.Deshimaru, June 13, 1974)

-          See about Taisen Deshimaru at̮Deshimaru;

-          Interesting, it’s not that Prabhupada takes idea of Buddhism from him but he sticks to his ideas of Buddhism derived from sastras


[1] In those days, the brāhmaṇas had all but forsaken the Vedic religion and converted to Buddhism.

“At this historic moment, the extraordinarily powerful Lord Śiva appeared as Śrī Śaṅkarācārya and reinstated the pristine glory of the Vedas by transforming nihilistic Voidism into monistic Brahmanism. This was a spectacular achievement, for which India will always remain indebted to Śrī Śaṅkarācārya.

[2] The Buddha Kārikā is a sanskrit text on Life of Lord Buddha written in 2nd Century A. D. by Aśvaghoṣa.

Present Edition used is Edited by Edward B. Cowell, Cosmo Publications, New Delhi, 1894

[3] dehād bhinno vijñāna-svarūpo’py ātmā pratikṣaṇa-vināśīti vaibhāṣikādayo bauddhā vadanti |

[4] Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura states that according to the Buddhist cult there are two ways of understanding philosophy. One is called Hīnāyāna, and the other is called Mahāyāna. Along the Buddhist path there are nine principles: (1) The creation is eternal; therefore there is no need to accept a creator. (2) This cosmic manifestation is false. (3) “I am” is the truth. (4) There is repetition of birth and death. (5) Lord Buddha is the only source of understanding the truth. (6) The principle of nirvāṇa, or annihilation, is the ultimate goal. (7) The philosophy of Buddha is the only philosophical path. (8) The Vedas are compiled by human beings. (9) Pious activities, showing mercy to others and so on are advised.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

How to Make Advancement in Krishna Consciousness, March 1998

Part -1

Part -2

Part -3

Part -4

Part -5

Part -6

How to Make Advancement in Krishna Consciousness, July 1998

Part -1

Part -2

Part -3

Part -4

Part -5

Part -6


How to Progress in Krishna Consciousness

Part -1

Part -2

Part -3

Part -4

Falling Down and Getting Up

Not Falling Down and Not Getting Up

Maintaining Enthusiasm Over the Years
Or  Here

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Government Recognition and forcing to eat Eggs in Schools: Srila Prabhupada is Always Right

      by, Rama Giridhari Das

I read the article by Tribhanga Das “No Government Syllabus for ISKCON Gurukulas,” at

It was an eye opener. I did not know about the conversation of Srila Prabhupada quoted there where he specifically says not to get government affiliated. He describes many reasons out of which one is really astonishing. He says that government will force eating eggs etc. for nutrition value.

Gopala Krsna: I was thinking, Srila Prabhupada, we should get this gurukula accepted by the government also so...
Prabhupada: No, no, no. Never do that.
Gopala Krsna: No, when our gurukula children apply for entry visas, they should give them visas right away, because these kids from abroad will come to India for gurukula...
Prabhupada: Our program is open. Brahmacari gurukule vasan dantah [SB 7.12.1]. We are training like this, according to the Bhagavata. That's all. Never mind government.
Prabhupada: No, no, the parents are prepared to pick up the expense. That's all. Government curriculum is useless. They'll enforce kids to take eggs, three eggs...
Tamala Krsna: That's right.
Prabhupada: daytime, and four pounds flesh, otherwise there will be vitamin, less vitamin. Or "Give them vitamins pills, this..." These... "Don't go to Yamuna. It is polluted."

It has exactly turned out to be correct. Please see an excerpt from a recent news about Government policies about Mid-day meal:

Odisha finds a way to serve children eggs at mid-day meals catered by ISKCON-linked NGO
Akshaya Patra follows principles of vegetarianism and will not procure or serve eggs. But it will bear the cost for school administrations to do so.
Dec 16, 2018 · 02:30 pm

                    Children in an Odisha school eat their midday meal. |

After 12 years of the NGO Akshaya Patra Foundation serving mid-day meals to schools in Odisha, the state government had found a way to serve eggs – a vital source of nutrition – to the children eating those lunches.
Akshaya Patra, which provides mid-day meals in more than 1,76,000 rural schools across the country, is an initiative of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON. It follows ISKCON’s principles of vegetarianism in its cooking and strictly avoids meat, fish and eggs. This has often been a point of conflict between the NGO and state governments with the NGO sometimes refusing to follow state government directives to provide eggs in the meal.
Akshaya Patra recently refused to follow a Karnataka government directive to include onion and garlic meals to make them more palatable, arguing that it went against ISKCON’s spiritual practices.
But in an order dated November 11, 2018, Odisha’s school and mass education department said that Akshaya Patra has agreed to include two eggs per week per student in their mid-day meal in all schools under its service area. The order specifies that the NGO will not supply boiled eggs to schools directly. Instead, school managements will ensure that eggs are procured and boiled and Akshaya Patra will bear the cost.
District Education Officers have been directed to deduct the costs of the eggs from the cooking allotment paid to Akshaya Patra.
Akshaya Patra serves more than 1.5 lakh children in Odisha in 1,980 schools. It has three centralised kitchens in Puri, Rourkela and Cuttack and one decentralised kitchen in Nayagarh.
 For more detail and full news article goto:

Thus, deviating even an inch from Srila Prabhupada’s instructions is going to spoil our movement. We may accept it or not, but that’s the truth. Please note: there are many more predictions about Govt. affiliation in that conversation of Srila Prabhupada: eating flesh, not going to Yamuna etc. All these will come true one by one and ISKCON leaders may go on explaining that Srila Prabhupada did want these predictions for ISKCON schools to come true. But the faithful followers should open their eyes and beware.

The views expressed in this article, besides mere facts, are of the author and not of this blog.