Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice
Making a "Case" for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada's "Mission"
Rasing Our Spiritual Standards

Saragrahi.org   RoSS   VoDE  FtAM    THoR    MoMN   OE-1    OE-2      Previous    Next

Introduction II
"Notes to The Reader” Part 2

For the purpose of the first version of Saragrahi.org, at the turn of century.  Kundali’s, works, and the multi part Our-Mission-Series, were transformed into the “Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice” series, consisting of:

  • RoSS: Raising Our Spiritual Standards.
  • VoDE: Varieties of Dysfunctional Experience.
  • FTAM: Faith, The Analytical Mind, & The Uttama Adhikari.
  • THoR: The Heart of Reform.
  • MoMN: Modes of Material Nature.
  • Other Essays: OE-1 OE-2
.

Note the 4-digit acronyms.  These are used as links to their specific contents page.

I met Kundali in the fall of 1993. I learned to write by observing Kundali’s personal ability to do so. He let me read each of his “drafts”, and he would ask for my impute, from myself, and that from the Srila Prabhupada disciple community in Vrindavana, which he knew I associated with each night.  Considering my exposure to this new Gaudiya Vaisnavas Sastra, it was natural that I preached to my friends.  Every time that we would associate, they were full of curiosity regarding what I may have been learning or hearing.  Then during the two major Vaisnava Festivals, one in the Fall and the other in the Spring of each year, there was a large influx of devotees from all over the World.   There was this one refreshments shop directly across the street from the front gate of the Krishna & Balarama Mundir, where I would hang out at during the day, in order to meet some of these visitors; and I would somehow or another initiate a conversation; and in the due course of time, I would be able to preach what I have been learning.   I got to practice “preaching” to my own God-brothers and sisters, and visitors to Vrindavana.  I did not meet anyone who did not respond positively to what I explained to them and they would express their gratitude.  The same preaching to the new generation of ISKCON devotees, on the other hand, stunned them to various degrees.

Like I said before, Kundali had already established himself, as the most prolific writer in ISKCON.  No other disciple of Srila Prabhupada could even come close to him in that regard.  In all my years in ISKCON, I never heard devotees give a spontaneous applauds, after any disciple of Srila Prabhupada give a Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita class.  No GBC, no sannaysi, and no ISKCON Guru, who gave a class, at the end, the audience normallyjust walk off.  Well, the fact will always remain, that after Kundali gave a class in Vrindavan, he received an enthusiastic and spontaneous applause, every single time, regardless of the kind of class, or at special one week seminars, on the Three Modes of Material Nature, that he gave twice a year in Vrindavana, for free.  Kundali had a large following of siksa-disciples, that wanted to take initiation from him; but unfortunately,  ISKCON rejected his application.

 He also directed me to study books on writing; they were,

  1. “Straight and Crooked Thinking” by Robert Henry Thouless in 1930: This timeless classic demonstrates how the use of clear, rational thinking and logic can win any argument, however emotionally charged the topic in question. It describes the typical flaws of reasoning in argument and shows how language can be used to deceive – and how to avoid being deceived. It will show you how, by learning what is ‘straight’, rational language, and clear thought, you can disentangle emotionally charged rhetoric and hold your own in any argument or debate, no matter how challenging. Although written 91 years ago, this book proves that certain principles remain timeless; it has shown many thousands over the decades how to cope with media spin and distorted reasoning.
  2. “The Elements of Style”, written by William Strunk & E. B. White in 1918: The advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered. This book’s unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Generations of writers have learned the basics of grammar from Strunk’s little book. It was rated “one of the 100 most influential books written in English” by Time in 2011, and iconic author Stephen King recommended it as a grammar primer that all aspiring writers should read. Elements of Style is now being used as a textbook in courses at University of Minnesota, University of Texas, UC Berkeley and elsewhere, giving students and writers a blueprint that they can follow to write clearly and effectively while adhering to the fundamental rules of English Grammar.
  3. “Stein on Writing”, written by Sol Stein, a master editor of some of the most successful writers of our century, he shares his craft techniques and strategies. Provides immediately useful advice for all writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether they are newcomers or old hands, students or instructors, amateurs, or professionals. As the always clear and direct Stein explains here, “This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions–how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place.” With examples from bestsellers as well as from students’ drafts, Stein offers detailed sections on characterization, dialogue, pacing, flashbacks, trimming away flabby wording, the so-called “triage” method of revision, using the techniques of fiction to enliven nonfiction, and more.
  4. I would like to inform the reader that Kundali had a very unusual personality, that sometimes caused some God-brothers not to like him, even though they liked what he wrote, and if they did not like what he wrote, they could not refute it; they just complained to the GBC, and authorities at the Krishna & Balarama Mandir.  From my angle of vision and understanding, Kundali had a superior understanding of Srila Prabhupada teachings.   So much so, that I think many leaders in ISKCON were actually jealous of him; no doubt in my mind. 

 You can understand Kundali’s nature by a conversation I had with one God-brother, from the USA, who visited Vrindavan in the Spring of 1996; when he said,

“Upendranath, why do you support Kundali so much, and how can you get along with him?”

“What do you mean by that?  Explain what you mean.”  I replied

“Well, the tone of his writing and preaching, makes him come off like a narcissist.”

At that time, I hand no clue or idea what the “narcissist” meant; do I deflected,

“So, do you agree with the content of his writing and preaching?”  I replied.

“Yes, but still! How can to stand that guy?” He exclaimed very boldly.

“To be honest with you prabhu, I do not care about these personality traits, which you have observed, and which I am exposed too; sometimes they do bug me a little.  However, what I care about, is the ‘content’ of his work, and I have received much satisfaction in assisting him by doing research, and reading his drafts, and giving him feed-back on what he wrote. Nevertheless, have you ever heard a spontaneous applause, after a class by any other Prabhupada disciple, other than after a class by Kundali?”

“Well, no!” he replied.

Then I got up from my chair, and enthusiastically said,

“There you have it.  Kundali is an enigma[1] for sure. But he is a gigantic golden-nugget in a mountain of gold ore.  You need to focus on the golden-nugget, and brush away the muck, so to speak; that is how I get along with him. Why concentrate on the muck, in the gold ore, when you should focus on the golden-nugget itself?”

One day, in Vrindavan, I had the opportunity to write a paper for the Brahminical Council of the Krishna & Balarama Mandir.  In fact, I was directly responsible, for the forming and establishment of this Council.  To make a long story short, I asked Kundali if I could use one of his essay’s.  I told him that all I have to do was do a little editing, add some, take away some, and I would have the paper I needed to present to the other council members.  Now to explain, what I have written previously, a little bit more. 

One of the Council members disliked Kundali with a lot of passion. There was doubt in my mind, that this God-brother actually harbored “hate” for Kundali.   Kundali once told me that he considers this one God brother as “mushy-in-the-middle”; meaning that he only uses his sentimental propensities and no-head, intellectual propensities at all.  Kundali said to me,

“Sure, you can use my work in any way you like, whenever you like; in this way it gets more mileage, right!.”

So, I tweaked Kundali’s essay, and everyone at the Council meeting liked it; especially the Kundali antagonist just mentioned; were he loudly declared,

“Upendranath!  This is exactly what we need, this is a great proposal, fantastic, good job!”

I did not want to ruin his moment of delight in a paper that was at least 80 percent Kundali, and 20 or less precent Upendranath.; hence, I did not reveal those details to him.

In the original Saragrahi.org website, which I was the facilitator and editor, Kundali was the most prolific writer out of about 50 plus contributors.  However, sometime in the early part of the first decade of 2000, Kundali decided to disappear.  He even asked me to take his work off the website.  However, I refused to honor his request, because it would have been a dishonor to deny anyone the opportunity to read what he has written and benefit by it.

Kundali did once give me permission to use his work, any time and in any way.  So, that being said, I will take all of his work and I will edit it with the knowledge and technics I have learned in the above books mentioned, and I will do my best to present the pure golden-nugget of Kundali’s work.  His books are no longer in print, and will not be printed anymore; hence, this website will have them for our benefit on-line, and eventually in e-book formats as well.  In addition, when appropriate, I will contribute to the subject matter when I see that it will enhance or clarify whatever has already been written.

What is so amazing is that this work was written to an ISKCON audience of the 1990’s, and still today in 2022, it is still applicable to the current ISKCON that exists in name only.

I will let you decide for yourself, the value of his work towards your own personal development of Bhakti.  You can decide for yourself, if his work is Krishna-consciousness or not.  When you read this body of work presented on this website, you will clearly see why Kundali’s books, as well as the works produced by the JIVA’S project, were formally banned by the GBC, and they were also forbidden to lecture at any ISKCON Temple.  The simple fact remains, they could not refute, contests, rebut, counter, nor repudiate, Kundali’s and Satyanarayana’s books.  And demonize them they were labeled by the GBC, with a formal resolution, and declared that Kundali and Satyanarayana were “un-intentionally” offensive to Srila Prabhupada.”   ISKCON can now be added to the list of “book-banning” institutions, the foremost being, “The Catholic Church”, and the former “The Nazis of Germany” and the “USSR”.

The final fact remains, Kundali’s books, exposed ISKCON authoritarian leadership as “Naked-Emperors”, par-excellence.

[1]  Enigma: a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand. 

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FOOT & END NOTES:

The End Notes here.

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For the purpose of the first version of Saragrahi.org, at the turn of century.  Kundali’s, works, and the multi part Our-Mission-Series, were transformed into the “Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice” series, consisting of:

  • RoSS: Raising Our Spiritual Standards.
  • VoDE: Varieties of Dysfunctional Experience.
  • FTAM: Faith, The Analytical Mind, & The Uttama Adhikari.
  • THoR: The Heart of Reform.
  • MoMN: Modes of Material Nature.
  • Other Essays: OE-1 OE-2
.

Note the 4-digit acronyms.  These are used as links to their specific contents page.

I met Kundali in the fall of 1993. I learned to write by observing Kundali’s personal ability to do so. He let me read each of his “drafts”, and he would ask for my impute, from myself, and that from the Srila Prabhupada disciple community in Vrindavana, which he knew I associated with each night.  Considering my exposure to this new Gaudiya Vaisnavas Sastra, it was natural that I preached to my friends.  Every time that we would associate, they were full of curiosity regarding what I may have been learning or hearing.  Then during the two major Vaisnava Festivals, one in the Fall and the other in the Spring of each year, there was a large influx of devotees from all over the World.   There was this one refreshments shop directly across the street from the front gate of the Krishna & Balarama Mundir, where I would hang out at during the day, in order to meet some of these visitors; and I would somehow or another initiate a conversation; and in the due course of time, I would be able to preach what I have been learning.   I got to practice “preaching” to my own God-brothers and sisters, and visitors to Vrindavana.  I did not meet anyone who did not respond positively to what I explained to them and they would express their gratitude.  The same preaching to the new generation of ISKCON devotees, on the other hand, stunned them to various degrees.

Like I said before, Kundali had already established himself, as the most prolific writer in ISKCON.  No other disciple of Srila Prabhupada could even come close to him in that regard.  In all my years in ISKCON, I never heard devotees give a spontaneous applauds, after any disciple of Srila Prabhupada give a Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita class.  No GBC, no sannaysi, and no ISKCON Guru, who gave a class, at the end, the audience normallyjust walk off.  Well, the fact will always remain, that after Kundali gave a class in Vrindavan, he received an enthusiastic and spontaneous applause, every single time, regardless of the kind of class, or at special one week seminars, on the Three Modes of Material Nature, that he gave twice a year in Vrindavana, for free.  Kundali had a large following of siksa-disciples, that wanted to take initiation from him; but unfortunately,  ISKCON rejected his application.

 He also directed me to study books on writing; they were,

  1. “Straight and Crooked Thinking” by Robert Henry Thouless in 1930: This timeless classic demonstrates how the use of clear, rational thinking and logic can win any argument, however emotionally charged the topic in question. It describes the typical flaws of reasoning in argument and shows how language can be used to deceive – and how to avoid being deceived. It will show you how, by learning what is ‘straight’, rational language, and clear thought, you can disentangle emotionally charged rhetoric and hold your own in any argument or debate, no matter how challenging. Although written 91 years ago, this book proves that certain principles remain timeless; it has shown many thousands over the decades how to cope with media spin and distorted reasoning.
  2. “The Elements of Style”, written by William Strunk & E. B. White in 1918: The advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered. This book’s unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Generations of writers have learned the basics of grammar from Strunk’s little book. It was rated “one of the 100 most influential books written in English” by Time in 2011, and iconic author Stephen King recommended it as a grammar primer that all aspiring writers should read. Elements of Style is now being used as a textbook in courses at University of Minnesota, University of Texas, UC Berkeley and elsewhere, giving students and writers a blueprint that they can follow to write clearly and effectively while adhering to the fundamental rules of English Grammar.
  3. “Stein on Writing”, written by Sol Stein, a master editor of some of the most successful writers of our century, he shares his craft techniques and strategies. Provides immediately useful advice for all writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether they are newcomers or old hands, students or instructors, amateurs, or professionals. As the always clear and direct Stein explains here, “This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions–how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place.” With examples from bestsellers as well as from students’ drafts, Stein offers detailed sections on characterization, dialogue, pacing, flashbacks, trimming away flabby wording, the so-called “triage” method of revision, using the techniques of fiction to enliven nonfiction, and more.
.

I would like to inform the reader that Kundali had a very unusual personality, that sometimes caused some God-brothers not to like him, even though they liked what he wrote, and if they did not like what he wrote, they could not refute it; they just complained to the GBC, and authorities at the Krishna & Balarama Mandir.  From my angle of vision and understanding, Kundali had a superior understanding of Srila Prabhupada teachings.   So much so, that I think many leaders in ISKCON were actually jealous of him; no doubt in my mind.  You can understand Kundali’s nature by a conversation I had with one God-brother, from the USA, who visited Vrindavan in the Spring of 1996; when he said,

“Upendranath, why do you support Kundali so much, and how can you get along with him?”

“What do you mean by that?  Explain what you mean.”  I replied

“Well, the tone of his writing and preaching, makes him come off like a narcissist.”

At that time, I hand no clue or idea what the “narcissist” meant; do I deflected,

“So, do you agree with the content of his writing and preaching?”  I replied.

“Yes, but still! How can to stand that guy?” He exclaimed very boldly.

“To be honest with you prabhu, I do not care about these personality traits, which you have observed, and which I am exposed too; sometimes they do bug me a little.  However, what I care about, is the ‘content’ of his work, and I have received much satisfaction in assisting him by doing research, and reading his drafts, and giving him feed-back on what he wrote. Nevertheless, have you ever heard a spontaneous applause, after a class by any other Prabhupada disciple, other than after a class by Kundali?”

“Well, no!” he replied.

Then I got up from my chair, and enthusiastically said,

“There you have it.  Kundali is an enigma[1] for sure. But he is a gigantic golden-nugget in a mountain of gold ore.  You need to focus on the golden-nugget, and brush away the muck, so to speak; that is how I get along with him. Why concentrate on the muck, in the gold ore, when you should focus on the golden-nugget itself?”

One day, in Vrindavan, I had the opportunity to write a paper for the Brahminical Council of the Krishna & Balarama Mandir.  In fact, I was directly responsible, for the forming and establishment of this Council.  To make a long story short, I asked Kundali if I could use one of his essay’s.  I told him that all I have to do was do a little editing, add some, take away some, and I would have the paper I needed to present to the other council members.  Now to explain, what I have written previously, a little bit more. 

One of the Council members disliked Kundali with a lot of passion. There was doubt in my mind, that this God-brother actually harbored “hate” for Kundali.   Kundali once told me that he considers this one God brother as “mushy-in-the-middle”; meaning that he only uses his sentimental propensities and no-head, intellectual propensities at all.  Kundali said to me,

“Sure, you can use my work in any way you like, whenever you like; in this way it gets more mileage, right!.”

So, I tweaked Kundali’s essay, and everyone at the Council meeting liked it; especially the Kundali antagonist just mentioned; were he loudly declared,

“Upendranath!  This is exactly what we need, this is a great proposal, fantastic, good job!”

I did not want to ruin his moment of delight in a paper that was at least 80 percent Kundali, and 20 or less precent Upendranath.; hence, I did not reveal those details to him.

In the original Saragrahi.org website, which I was the facilitator and editor, Kundali was the most prolific writer out of about 50 plus contributors.  However, sometime in the early part of the first decade of 2000, Kundali decided to disappear.  He even asked me to take his work off the website.  However, I refused to honor his request, because it would have been a dishonor to deny anyone the opportunity to read what he has written and benefit by it.

Kundali did once give me permission to use his work, any time and in any way.  So, that being said, I will take all of his work and I will edit it with the knowledge and technics I have learned in the above books mentioned, and I will do my best to present the pure golden-nugget of Kundali’s work.  His books are no longer in print, and will not be printed anymore; hence, this website will have them for our benefit on-line, and eventually in e-book formats as well.  In addition, when appropriate, I will contribute to the subject matter when I see that it will enhance or clarify whatever has already been written.

What is so amazing is that this work was written to an ISKCON audience of the 1990’s, and still today in 2022, it is still applicable to the current ISKCON that exists in name only.

I will let you decide for yourself, the value of his work towards your own personal development of Bhakti.  You can decide for yourself, if his work is Krishna-consciousness or not.  When you read this body of work presented on this website, you will clearly see why Kundali’s books, as well as the works produced by the JIVA’S project, were formally banned by the GBC, and they were also forbidden to lecture at any ISKCON Temple.  The simple fact remains, they could not refute, contests, rebut, counter, nor repudiate, Kundali’s and Satyanarayana’s books.  And demonize them they were labeled by the GBC, with a formal resolution, and declared that Kundali and Satyanarayana were “un-intentionally” offensive to Srila Prabhupada.”   ISKCON can now be added to the list of “book-banning” institutions, the foremost being, “The Catholic Church”, and the former “The Nazis of Germany” and the “USSR”.

The final fact remains, Kundali’s books, exposed ISKCON authoritarian leadership as “Naked-Emperors”, par-excellence.

[1]  Enigma: a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.d

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