Conglomeration Leads to Spiritual Loss


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 39, Spring 2013

ISKCON South Africa

he above photos illustrate some of the non-devotional activities that took place at this year's Durban, South Africa Ratha-yatra; marching bands, different dancing displays, circus acts, etc. Indeed, no longer was Lord Krsna in His form as Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe, the main attraction. Rather, as can be seen from the promotional flyer for the festival, the main attraction was a pop band and a Philharmonic Orchestra:


Srila Prabhupada wrote:

"Why was Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Krsna Deities put on the Ratha cart in Chicago? Who has sanctioned this? This is not authorized. It does not mean that we shall make Rathayatra a conglomeration. Everything should be done by proper sanction. [...] With regard to your question about Bengali style kirtana and mrdanga playing, one or two styles is best. To introduce more styles is not good. It will become an encumbrance. Who is that Krsna das Babaji who is teaching? If we introduce so much emphasis on style of kirtana, then simply imitation will go on. Devotional emotion is the main thing. If we give stress to instrument and style then attention will be diverted to the style. That will be spiritual loss."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 30/6/1976)

When Srila Prabhupada would not even sanction putting a different deity form of Krsna on the Ratha cart as authorised -- condemning such changes to make Ratha-yatra a "conglomeration" -- it is clear that the above illustrated "conglomeration" of alternative culture and entertainment is also not authorised. Furthermore, the introduction of a "Philharmonic Orchestra" and a pop band (and KwaMashu Choir) is clearly giving emphasis to "instrument and style" over simple kirtana, which Srila Prabhupada states above is an "encumbrance". Srila Prabhupada further states that the ultimate result of such emphasis on manufactured musical entertainments will be "spiritual loss".

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