All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Please accept my humble obeisances!
I have not written to you in a while Maharaj.. Sorry about that. I can't say I've been particularly busy with much.
I am on holidays now. Term 3 of Year 12 is complete - apparently the most important, stressful term. After this week completes, I have another term remaining. This term only has 6 weeks and then I'm free. I'm free from the imprisonating clutches of high school :) But then I have to go to uni, more study yay ;) I've had to put my application in, for which courses I choose to do. For now, the road is business; it is broad and simple. If something I like reveals itself to me, perhaps I may change later on.
Anyway, regarding our holiday Maharaj, the flights have been booked. We will be departing Australia on the 24th December for Azerbaijan. We will stay there for 3 weeks and then go to India. We will then stay in India for one week (quite short unfortunately). We will arrive back to Australia by the 25th of January. I very much hope that somehow you will grace us with your visit to Australia.
HpS - Oooof! We arrive in India, Bombay, on the 23rd of January. Now it looks like we will not get to Australia, but Dhruva and Dhanesvari and their two kids will be arriving in Peru in one week.
Maharaj, I'm also thinking of taking initation from yourself at some point. I am not, as of yet, chanting 16 rounds a day, but hopefully I will be in the near future. Of course I am the most unqualified person to be taking initiation,
HpS - There are a few people less qualified than you, <img alt="devil" height="23" src="https://hps.monkeywarrior.com/sites/all/libraries/ckeditor/plugins/smiley/images/devil_smile.png" title="devil" width="23" /> but I think among others it would give some satisfaction to our Sriman Raktaka Das, wherever the devil is now!
. . . but, it is a thought of mine. Time is running out and I need to be as vigilant as possible. Hopefully, as you are doing already, you may impart ever more of your wisdom unto my insignificant self.
Besides that, as usual, I have some questions :)
1. This may be perhaps a sensitive question.. Sorry for my bluntness... As in ISKCON, killing life is considered wrong, what is the view on abortion? Especially, sometimes people ask, what if the woman was forcefully impregnated, under severe circumstances.. Does she then have the right to abort the baby? Will that be her karma? The baby's karma?
HpS - ASA --- We tried to write most of our thoughts in: https://hps.monkeywarrior.com/node/9640. O.K.?
2. Should devotees be able to keep pets? What is ISKCON view of keeping pets? Should it be allowed? Or is that enslaving the soul?
HpS - Krsna has many, many pets. His pet peacock is named Tandavika and he has a house dog and a big tough mean dog who helps to protect the cows. See http://www.jayarama.us/archives/rkgd.pdf. You can have a parrot and take it on Hari-nama Sankirtana and feed it grapes when it chants the Maha-mantra.
3. What is your view of devotees becoming Vegan? As we know, cow torture is horrendous today.. but also, if we offer the milk of the cow, is it not liberated? How shall we go about this? Sourcing Ahimsa milk is not always convenient and easy...
HpS - Basically if you live in a forest and don't have much brain work then you can live on roots and fruits, but if you have to be counselor of a King then you are going to need the cerebral nutrition that milk gives. Cows were treated worse when Srila Prabhupada was here but he showed that milk was important food for us and that we can take the public milk. Of course, we can do finer and finer things. Like getting Ahimsa milk etc.
4. Also Maharaj, should it be acceptable for devotees to eat from fast food places? For example, sometimes buying milkshakes or chips from outside? Is that okay?
HpS - It is offensive to offer grains GROWN by non-devotees. So we have to be as pure as we can. Of course, the standard for fast food places will not be so great so chips may, and probably are, cooked in non-vegetarian fat. Be a pure as you can. I would say that milkshakes are O.K. but not the chips unless they swear that it is vegetable oil.
Sorry for the overload of questions... :) Please excuse my foolish self.
As always Maharaj, I hope your health is in best condition! I hope to receive your reply soon :)
Your foolish servant,
HpS - We all thank you for your letter. Our health is pretty good. For 70-year old Berkeley graduate it is a miracle. AGTSP!
We had like three hours of consulting today and some rest from the stress of La Paz (13,333 feet [no oxygen]) so we cannot get to to many letters. Now it is getting dark and in 15-minutes we start and evening program! Jaya!
Life is fun if you are a devotee. Our respects to you divine mother and sister and aunts and uncles and The Bhimasena!