Harikesha Swami Vishnupada

Harikesha Swami was the first initiating guru among Bhaktivedanta Swami’s Western disciples that I came in contact with (in 1980). He relinquished his formal guru and sannyasi position in the late 1990s, but is still active, as a less traditional spiritual teacher and as a musician, and has several websites devoted to those activities. I found him to be often a forceful speaker, and a skilful expounder of the Vaishnava doctrines in his strict vyasasana teaching. He is known for emphasizing the relevance of the varnashrama system, even in the present and in the West, in his book The Varnasrama Manifesto for Social Sanity (1980?); and for the considerable risks he seems to have taken in teaching in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Wikipedia

4 Responses to “Harikesha Swami Vishnupada”


  1. 1 Mia_B May 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Maybe this isn´t the right place to ask you, but maybe still…

    What is your opinion on varnashrama-dharma?

    I find that it is a system that is logical and sound and even if it may seem hard to implement all the aspects in a society, going against these principles seem to harm us.

    For myself as a woman, I have found that when I follow stri-dharma as good as I can, then my life seems to flow and my husband and my children are satisfied and happy too. It´s almost like magic.

    And I see that women who don´t have the knowledge/education to understand the duties that come with being a mother and a wife suffer a lot and their families suffer too.

    And the same goes for when people try to succeed in areas they actually don´t have the right nature to take on. And the school system doesn´t have the knowledge and tools to guide the children to find activities that suits them.

    I would be happy to hear you say something about this (I´ve read several other posts on your blog which I accidentally found yesterday).

    Med vänliga hälsningar M

    • 2 Jan Olof Bengtsson May 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks Mia for your valuable comment. I’ll reply here asap.

  2. 3 Mia_B May 11, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Thank you! I should say also that I´ve read his book, altough it was about 15-20 years ago.

    • 4 Jan Olof Bengtsson May 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      A short answer could be to refer you to the post ‘Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’ (go to the Contents page, scroll down to Spirituality, and you’ll find a link), where I say a little about my opinion of the varnashrama system and also about its relation to the West.

      I agree with what you say, including what you say about stri-dharma – a part, together with the varnas and ashramas, of the larger whole of dharma. And I’m delighted to see you describe it so well on the basis of your own experience as a woman.

      But I also point to some partial values in the modern West, or in what I prefer to speak of as an “alternative modernity”, different from mainstream modernity and modernism; and to some problems with the larger context of hinduism and its degeneration in many respects.

      At least for us in the West, it is, it seems to me, a matter of somehow translating and adapting the original, uncorrupted principles of varnashrama- and stri-dharma (i.e., the principles as they are explained in some of the sacred texts, in terms of guna-karma) to the specific historical phenomenon that is our contemporary society and culture – and thereby also to find more of the needed insight and inspiration to correct and elevate the latter. This, and how to go about it, is what I say a little about in the post I mentioned.

      Btw, your link unfortunately doesn’t work. But I googled the first discernible words in the address and found what I think must be your blog. Charming – please continue updating it! I think you can make a v. important contribution through it, and I’m considering adding it to my links.

      Vårhälsningar, J O


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