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Questions about your ISKCON temple

Postby Manonatha Dasa » Sunday 5 March 2017, 18:19

Questions

Hare Krsna, 
I'd be very glad if you could answer some simple questions about what your local ISKCON temple.
1. Is it possible for an outsider like me to volunteer as a cook? I have some experience cooking bread and other kinds of recipes.
2. I've been a guitar player for a while; can I play it together with other devotees in kirtans? ( I'm asking this because some people told me that Hare Krsna devotees may not be very receptive to non-Indian instruments. ).
3. Do I need to come in dressed in Indian-style dhotis and clothes? I don't want to feel out of place, and I'd like to wear the same kind of clothes as most people in the temple may be wearing.
4. I have female friends who have been devotees for many years, I suppose they are "initiated". Can they give lectures in your temple? And what about leading kirtan? They seemed to be concerned about this. I guess it's because they've heard that in some temples women can't give lectures or lead kirtan.
5. I'm a great fan of Paramahansa Yogananda and Sri Aurobindo. I admire and respect them as much as I respect Srila Prabhupada. Is it OK if I talk about them with temple devotees? Do they like to read and talk about spiritual masters that don't officially belong to ISKCON, if they seem to be good and highly developed spiritual persons?
6. I like hatha yoga postures very much. Are there any kind of classes or yoga courses in your temple? I'm very much interested.
Thanks for your attention. I'll be very thankful if you could answer at least some of these questions.
yours,
Itsuki


Answers

Hare Krishna.
Since we want to promote our Forum, generally we ask our friends and devotees to post their questions there.
This time I'll answer but I'll be posting them on our public Forum myself.

1. Is it possible for an outsider like me to volunteer as a cook? I have some experience cooking bread and other kinds of recipes.

Provided someone is cleaned and responsible, we welcome all kind of people who want to do service for Krishna.
Our philosophy teaches that the best action one can do is give whatever one has, time, money, energy, capacity, as a loving offering for the Lord. To act without personal interest is the best way to live.
However it depends where you would like to cook. For instance to cook directly in a temple where there are installed Deities, you have to be initiated. You may help tough in cutting vegetables etc.
In other circumstances there wouldn't be problems, like in private gatherings or public festivals.

2. I've been a guitar player for a while; can I play it together with other devotees in kirtans? ( I'm asking this because some people told me that Hare Krsna devotees may not be very receptive to non-Indian instruments. ).

This also depends. In general in the temple and in front of the Deities it is recomended to only use karatalas and mridanga, while in other circumstances, like in public festivals, there are not problems in joining our devotees in kirtan or bhajanas.

3. Do I need to come in dressed in Indian-style dhotis and clothes? I don't want to feel out of place, and I'd like to wear the same kind of clothes as most people in the temple may be wearing.

Again, it depends. If you come or even stay for some time at the temple as a guest nobody will expect that you wear devotional clothes. But if you decide to live in our asramas surely you will have to wear those clothes.
But there are no obligations for guests. They may wear the apparel they prefer.

4. I have female friends who have been devotees for many years, I suppose they are "initiated". Can they give lectures in your temple? And what about leading kirtan? They seemed to be concerned about this. I guess it's because they've heard that in some temples women can't give lectures or lead kirtan.

Yes they can give classes and lead kirtanas.
It is true that there are devotees who may be in charge of temples or departments that are quite extreme in their philosophical views that do not like it, but our spiritual master and founder of our movement never prohibited women form leading kirtanas or giving classes. So we shouldn't.

5. I'm a great fan of Paramahansa Yogananda and Sri Aurobindo. I admire and respect them as much as I respect Srila Prabhupada. Is it OK if I talk about them with temple devotees? Do they like to read and talk about spiritual masters that don't officially belong to ISKCON, if they seem to be good and highly developed spiritual persons?

We like to respect everybody but ours is not a tradition devoid of philosophical positions. At the contrary we do have strong opinions.
If we do not agree on something the important personalities you mention said or did, it's not disrespectful to say it.
We'd say, we respect Paramahansa Yogananda but we disagree on this and that.
Respect shouldn't be an excuse of cowardice. If I have a philosophical convinction I have the right to present it.

6. I like hatha yoga postures very much. Are there any kind of classes or yoga courses in your temple? I'm very much interested.

We practice a different type of yoga where physical and mental health is automatically achieved.
But I know that there are many devotees who practice yoga as a way of improving their health. Personally I don't practice that type of yoga but I'd have nothing against it.
* Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)

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