Vanity thought #884. Snafus

One reason I became somewhat lukewarm to never ending quest for knowledge is that sooner or later you run into some snafus that are extremely difficult to explain, which then goes against Occam Razor’s principle. Sometimes things become messed up beyond salvation yet, strangely, it doesn’t have any visible or lasting effect on one’s faith, so why bother? I mean why bother if knowing answers or not knowing them has no effect. Danger of losing faith is still there so why risk it?

One of such snafus is snuff. Srila Prabhupada used it regularly and his servants always carried a tin or two in his luggage. Snuff is tobacco that is insufflated, that is inhaled, through the nose pretty much like cocaine or other drugs.

Why did Prabhupada use it? We don’t know. His servants remembered that he said it was for relief of high blood pressure or maybe to clear his sinuses or to help him stay up at night, working on books. Well, nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant that would rather increase blood pressure, sinuses can be cleared with non-intoxicant inhalers, and to stay up at night people usually drink coffee.

No need to remind of our “no intoxication including tea and coffee” principle that extends even to chocolate. It just doesn’t match.

Maybe the principle is no intoxication, as no recreational drug use. People smoke to get high, if only a little, people drink to get drunk, intoxication means altering one’s consciousness to produce an artificial feeling of happiness. Clarity of consciousness also gets lost and so it’s easy to see why it’s one of our regulative principles.

Maybe this would explain Prabhupada’s use of snuff – it wasn’t to get high or feel good, it was to keep his work rate through the night, to perform better service, not to enjoy. This is easy to understand, but what then of drinking coffee, the usual go to pick me up elixir? Students cramming for exams don’t drink coffee to get high, no one actually does, people drink it to get perked up in order to function better, though the process can obviously be enjoyed, too.

Would that mean that if we feel sleepy it’s okay to have a cup to coffee or a can of Red Bull as long as we need our bodies to function in Krishna’s service? That would make sense but it’s also against our principles, always have been always will be.

Or we can say that Prabhupada’s consciousness wasn’t affected by nicotine in snuff, only his blood pressure, heart rate etc. That could be the answer, that would also explain why he forbade his disciples to follow snuff sniffing practice.

Still, it’s not how it’s supposed to work with parampara, we are not “do as I say, not as I do” movement, we actually practice what we preach.

As I said – it’s a snafu.

Vamsidas Babaji regularly smoke, or actually he used hookah. In his case we are told that he was beyond rules and regulations and didn’t have to follow sadhana prescriptions. Smoking didn’t affect his devotion to Krishna at all, they might even have been enjoying a pipe together. He used to offer it Radha Govinda, after all, but not to Gaura-Nitai.

Why not? Lord Nityananda Himself was fond of chewing betel nut according to Chaitanya Charitamrita – at the end of Raghunatha Dasa Goswami’s chipped rice festival (CC Antya 6.97).

We can say that Lord Nityananda is God so he doesn’t have to follow any rules but right in the next verse it’s said that after chewing some himself He distributed the rest to devotees.

Or maybe it was because Lord Chaitanya wasn’t there so Nityananda Prabhu could relax the rules a little, as if Mahaprabhu was a party pooper. Maybe that’s why when They were together Vamsidasa Babaji didn’t offer betel to them. But then Lord Chaitanya personally appeared at that festival and was visible to many devotees.

As I said – it’s a snafu.

When Gadadhara Pundit went to see Pundarika Vidyanidhi for the first time he was appalled by the betel nuts and reddened spittoons by his bed. Eventually he realized Pundarika Vidyanidhi’s greatness but it doesn’t say much for no-intoxication principle, does it? Betel nut is a stimulant and people take it to get a mild high, not to increase their work rate when they get tired.

Our opponents can have a field day exposing our “hypocrisy” with these cases and I’m sure they can dig up a few more. I was always worried by the saying “if you see Lord Nityananda going into a liquor shop”, for example. What’s with this “if”? Could it be “when”? Where’s this idea of Lord Nityananda and liquor coming from?

Anyway, none of that seem to affect my [lack of] faith in the above mentioned personalities though I can see how some might become disillusioned. These examples are also not an excuse to start drinking coffee or take other stimulants, ostensibly “for Krishna”.

Would investigating them further bring any benefits? I don’t think so, I think it would be a waste of everyone’s time and it might lead to eventual disappointment.

That’s why I think that at some point quest for knowledge has to stop, topping up will not add any value. This idea might not appeal to everyone but there’s a far less controversial side to it, too – it’s not how much you know that makes all the difference, it’s how much you believe in the simplest things – Krishna is God and chanting His holy name is our only duty.

No one would argue with that.


9 comments on “Vanity thought #884. Snafus

  1. This text is disgusting… full of blasphemes! It is not even an proper article… just a low way to “justify” the weakness to do not follow the Vedic principles! Srila Prabhupada NEVER EVER used illicit drugs at any kind!! How dare you can write such an offense… prove it if yoy can! Srila Prabhupada is divine, a pure devotee of Lord Bhagavam!! And not a cheat “Babaji” or writer as this one who wrote such a nonsense!! It is clear in the Sastras that comum fallen souls, demons can never imitate Lord’s Bhagavam activities!!

    • What do you want me to prove exactly? He used snuff, everyone knows it, you can even see his old box in his room at Radha-Damodara temple. One time his snuff got attention of Canadian customs officer who demanded it to be opened and checked that it was, indeed, snuff and not some other substance.

      Snuff is tobacco and contains nicotine, that is also a fact.

      I don’t know how to reconcile its use with our regulative principles, devotees usually don’t talk about it. ‘He used it as a medicine,” that’s all they say.

      How do we react to it? One way is to call it a blasphemy because we cannot allow anyone to tarnish Prabhupada’s name. Accusing others of blasphemy is risky, however, so we usually just don’t talk about such controversial subjects, there are plenty of other topics we can discuss about Srila Prabhupada.

      And you are absolutely right that we can’t use it as an excuse to relax in following our regulative principles.

      • HIS DIVINE GRACE A. C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI SRILA PRANHUPADA HAS NEVER EVER used any kind of toxic substance in His divine whole life! Srila Prabhupada is a perfect Vaishnava since when He was bron! Yes, prove it with documents and pictures and delete this disgusting “article” from Internet till you get real proves! And than go to hell!! In fact, by writting all this nonsense, you are proving your own weakness and offensive mind based with lies and envy. You even wrote “everyome knows it”, how dare you can be such a rascal? A reaction of a real devotee is to never lie and never offend His Spiritual Master… this is the real meaning of offense in the Vedas. There is no risk into defending the truth, a pure devotee as Srila Prabhupada and Lord Bhagavam Krsna, God whatsoever. I see that you really did not understand nothing in regards of the Perfect Vedic eternal knoweledge… we never can immitate the Lord in any activitie that He might have perfomed… this is clear in the Sastras Vedas!! How to react?… be humble and confess to the Lord your weakness of follwing the Vedic principles, keep chanting the Maha Mantra Hare Krsna and beg for devotional love service to Sri Radhe Shyam lotus feet and specially to Srila Prabhupada!! This is the ONLY way and this is a devotee reaction and not to especulate, offend and blaspheme a pire devotee of the Lord and Lord Himself!

  2. I can not even see the signature of this “person” wrote such nonsense things!! But for sure this person is just another envy devil of Lord Krsna and His PURE PERFECT devotee, HIS DIVINE GRACE A. C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI SRILA PRABHUPADA. I hope I made myself clear: prove with documents and pictures what you wrote! And delete imediatly this disgusting fake article full of lies and wrong views!

  3. Back2Krishna prabhu. Don’t you think that using snuff “briefly” for medicinal purposes is making such a compelling case for braking regulative principles and to try to prove someone wrong? Can you really compare “medicinal snuff” to cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes or dope? Is snuff that bad? Also, depending on the nature of someones health condition different kind of medicines(ayurvedic and western) are made with all different varieties of ingredients including small doses of poison, alcohol and other not kosher ingredients. What is the problem of accepting for “medicinal purposes”?

    • I don’t see the problem.
      I don’t know who makes the case for breaking regulative principles.
      I don’t know who is proving who wrong.
      You CAN compare tobacco in snuff to tobacco in cigarettes, nicotine levels in snuff are generally higher but nicotine intake would obviously depend on usage.
      Yes, snuff is bad, or Prabhupada himself wouldn’t have written this:

      Regarding taking snuff, I myself take it sometimes at night because I am working at night on my books, and sometimes I become dizzy. But it is not for you to take. You should not imitate this, neither you work like me at night.

      You can see more quotes about Prabhupada and snuff here: google search

      I would reiterate the concluding statement about apparent “breaking” of regulative principles from that article:

      Would investigating them further bring any benefits? I don’t think so, I think it would be a waste of everyone’s time and it might lead to eventual disappointment.

      Just drop it, please.

      • Exactly that, DROP IT. You are not Prabhupada. You are not Krishna. Not even close.
        You are an individual who is delusional and sad. I pray for you. Hare Krishna.

      • My dear devotee, I know you don’t think much of me, but please, for everyone’s sake, refrain from offensive attitude towards vaishnavas, it won’t bring you closer to Krishna and it won’t please Krishna either.

        We are all tiny spirit souls trying to make our best in this world. Please be merciful. May Lord Caitanya’s mercy always be with you.

        Your unworthy servant trying his best to return to his original position.

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