Letter of resignation of Prabhavisnu das

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By Prabhavisnu das

To the members of the GBC and devotees of ISKCON,

Dear Maharajas and prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad!

It is with deep regret that I wish to inform you that I have resigned from all positions of leadership within ISKCON, including GBC member, sannyas, and initiating guru. This is because in recent times I have not been able to maintain the required spiritual standards for those who hold such positions.

I have become physically and mentally exhausted due to constant travel and managerial pressures. It has been especially draining for me to try to solve disputes amongst devotees, as I am by nature a non-conflictive type of person.

I have travelled almost constantly throughout my life since childhood and now I feel the need to settle in one place where I find the climate and culture to be agreeable my physical and mental nature. I am considering staying in Thailand as I find it to be such a place, and as I have also developed some affection for a person there who is decent, kind-hearted, diligent and humble. If that works out for me then I certainly hope to render some service to ISKCON there. If not, then I would hope to try and live in an ISKCON temple or community, perhaps in South India.

I am very sorry to have let you all down. I have never asked to be put in any of these positions of leadership, but by Krsna’s arrangement they have been conferred upon me. I have tried my best, but somehow I no longer feel able to continue in such capacity. Nevertheless, I have always been very happy in ISKCON from the moment I joined till the present. It has been a great honour for me to have had the opportunity to render some service to Srila Prabhupad’s movement, and to have had all of your association. I hope to be able to continue to maintain contact with devotees, visit ISKCON temples from time to time and render service to ISKCON in the future.

Once again my deepest apologies to you all. Kindly forgive any mistakes that I have made or any offences that I may have committed to any of you.

I hope this finds you in good health and Krsna conscious mood,

Your unqualified servant,

Prabhavisnu das

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1 Unregistered

Respected Prabhuvishnu Prabhu,

Hare Krishna, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad.

Thank you so much to describe your situation with all the honesty.

You have always been an inspiration to many of us.

You have done so much service for Srila Prabhupad that it would certainly be recognized by Krishna. I wish that I can perform even a fraction of that service which you have done!

Now, in whatever situation you are, wherever you are or in whichever ashram, may you kindly be happy, May Guru and Gauranga protect you.

kindly ask us to do any service, we are always at your command.

yours eternal servant,
Raktak Das

Comment posted by Raktak Das on January 9th, 2012
2 Unregistered

I read with sadness that PV (maharaja) Dasa has resigned his various positions. But I am in awe of the contribution he has made to Srila Prabhupada, the Vaisnavas and ISKCON. I also admire him for his honesty and integrity. We can only wish him well and pray that he will continue serving his spiritual master.

Comment posted by Hari-dhama on January 9th, 2012
3 Unregistered

Dear Godbrother Prabhavisnu,

Hope things turn out for the best as you expect. However, as you may know already the association of devotees is so important and avoidance of the association of asat persons is as important too, if not even more because this leaves us no other choice but to look forward to associate in a very appreciative mood with devotees. I take for granted that you will always consider this.

I am sure Krishna will protect you under all circumstances anyhow as you have rendered such valuable service for a long time to Srila Prabhupada’s mission. Wish you all the best in KC in your future endeavors.

Your humble servant,
Prabhava Vigraha dasa

Comment posted by Prabhava Vigraha das on January 9th, 2012
4 Unregistered

For me this letter doesnt change the respect I have for Prabhavishnu Swami. It is sad that ISKCON concentrated too much on making sanyasis instead to incourage grihastha gurus. I hope to see Prabhavishnu Swami in future again as a active leader of ISKCON as he is really a shinning star amongst Srila Prabhupada disciples.

Comment posted by DamanaKrishna9 on January 9th, 2012
5 pustakrishna

I want to take this opportunity to present my own perspective on this unfortunate situation. I also left the sanyas ashram after preaching in Europe and especially South Africa in the 1970s. The first thing to understand is that Krishna is not against us. Krishna will not defeat our efforts in devotional service. We defeat ourselves by subtle and gross offenses against the spiritual principles we have been given by Srila Prabhupad. Universally,we may see that one stops chanting their rounds for whatever reason, loses their spiritual strength, and finds that there is nothing to fill in this void except one’s own karma. That’s the universal observation that I have had, whether one becomes a doctor like me or anything else. It is karma that must come up to fill the vacuum when devotional service is set aside. Krishna is indeed the Supreme Controller, but He is aware of our desires. When a lack of enthusiasm for devotional practices occurs, karma will return to engage you, by design.
Secondly, we must not discourage our Godbrothers or Godsisters who leave the sanctuary of devotional service. That is not Srila Prabhupad’s way. When one of my prominent Godbrother sanyasis left ISKCON during Srila Prabhupad’s time, while I was the secretary to Srila Prabhupad, I was heavily chastised by Srila Prabhupad (the only time I can recall being chastised by him personally) because I failed to understand Srila Prabhupad’s loving nature to try to keep this man closer to him now that he had left sanyas. It took me about 10 years to understand this, but I think, I hope, that I have understood that, and so I pass it on to you. There are some who will heavily chastise Prabhavisnu das, and I have read some websites that have done that already…but I can tell you that this is counter to the mood, the mentality, and the compassion of Srila Prabhupad.

Yes, it is more devastating when someone gets a divorce after having children, and it is more devastating to leave one’s responsibilities when they have disciples…but this is an example of just how merciful Srila Prabhupad is. He had taken us, unqualified as we are, and engaged us in devotional service for a good and important part of our lives. That is the amazing thing, that we engaged in devotional service at all. It is not amazing that we could fall down. Be kind to your God-siblings. All the time, all the time. Still, if you are fortunate, you can resume your devotional practices again. Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on January 9th, 2012
6 Puskaraksa das

Hare Krishna

Pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga.

I am surprised, as I am writing this comment, to note that “43 people like this” on Facebook and wonder how it is possible to “like” the fact that a sannyasi, a GBC member and, all the more, a guru falls down from his position? In that regard, our first thoughts and primary concern go to his disciples, whom we sympathize with and offer all spiritual support at our command…

Nevertheless, I also felt moved by the mood and humble tone of Prabhavisnu das Prabhu…
Certainly, we owe him respect for his service to ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada, as per his preaching and the past positions he filled, since the early seventies, having been one of the first temple presidents at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, and later on in India, at the request of Srila Prabhupada…

However, one does also wonder where the problem(s) arouse from… Prabhavisnu Prabhu mentions about being exhausted due to constant travel and managerial pressures, plus having had to solve disputes amongst devotees… Now, he feels the need to settle down and rest, both physically and mentally (not to speak of some other personal issues, both on the physical and affective platform…).

Hence, I humbly suggest that our leaders, sannyasis, GBC members, gurus and other senior devotees, please consider this situation with some impartial approach and question: What could have been done to prevent this situation from happening…?

By doing so, we may come up with some strategies and, hopefully, some solutions for the future… For instance, do we have an evaluation process set up, along the life of a sannyasi or a guru…? Do we have support teams to take care of devotees on the front line, allowing them to adequately rest, recover and rejuvenate their strength and enthusiasm, if and when needed? Does our Health Ministry play its role within ISKCON to assist devotees, while taking some special care of our foremost preachers and other such devotees holding important responsibilities…?

Of course, crows (and other promoters of the rittvik system) start flying around, giving way to their criticizing propensity… However, I personally feel that the time is for compassion… and prayers for the welfare of Prabhavisnu das…

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on January 10th, 2012
7 ron conroy satyahit

Imitating Srila Prabhupada’s position is not a good idea. It is better to serve humbly than to receive
foot baths and adoration mean’t for maha bhagavata devotee. because when a devotee falls down who was adorned in these ways, this makes a laughing stock of Srila Prabhupada s ISKCON for all to see.
We should try to serve Srila Prabhupada and not imitate him. What does the average person think when they see that someone who was lavishly worshiped in ISKCON behaves like an ordinary person. ? They laugh at us . They think look how they treated that person with so much awe and veneration,
and gave so much money and now that person is behaving just like anyone else. They must be blind followers. ISKCON should not set itself up for these highly embarasing senerios . Not good for PR.
great service by any devotee may be there but there is no need to imitate Srila Prabhupada when we are not on Srila Prabhupada’s level of devotion. where is the need ? why is the need ?

Comment posted by ron conroy satyahit on January 11th, 2012
8 Kulapavana

It would appear that in 1977 (January) Srila Prabhupada decided that there should be no more new sannyasis in ISKCON:
“If you talk in the modern society they will laugh: “What nonsense this man is… ‘By sex life one becomes conditioned.’ “ They cannot understand. Hare Krsna…This should be strictly outlawed, no more sannyasis. And those sannyasis who have fallen, you get them married, live like a… No more this showbottle, cheating. It is very ludicrous. Even there is a promise that “We shall not fall down again,” that is also not believable. What is the use?”(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 7/1/77)
“And this kind of hypocrisy–they have taken sannyasa and mixing with woman. This is not to be allowed. If you want woman you get yourself married, live respectfully. We have no objection. But this hypocrisy should be stopped. There have been so many fallen down. First of all there will be no sannyasi anymore. I have got very bad experience. And at least, we are not going to create new sannyasis. And those who have fallen down, let them marry, live like respectable gentlemen. I have no objection.(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 7/1/77)
However, few months later Srila Prabhupada personally authorized three sannyasa initiations which took place on May 29, 1977 at the Krsna-Balarama temple in Vrindavana, India. The following persons received sannyasa at that time: Bhakti Caru Swami, Bhakti Prema Swami, and Bhakti Caitanya Swami. All together Srila Prabhupada gave sannyasa to at least 60 disciples, of which only 5 are still situated in this ashrama or have kept it until the end of their life. The other 55 gave up sannyasa, usually after a relatively short period. That means over 90% of disciples who received sannyasa from Srila Prabhupada fell down. The cost of these fall downs to our movement have been very, very substantial. Perhaps it is indeed time to stop giving sannyasa in ISKCON.

Comment posted by Kulapavana on January 11th, 2012
9 Mahaprabhu Caitanya Das

PAMHO Prabhavisnu Prabhu
AGTSP
Hare Krishna

Though I had no opportunity to know you personally, I have heard of your good preaching and have had a chance to meet your wonderful disciple Atul Krishna Prabhu.

Just as generals who fight battles get wounded at times, devotees may also be affected. I am sure that Krishna remembers the services rendered, and has made an arrangement to only increase the surrender to Him; specially for His dear devotees.

I remember reading Srila Prabhupada’s mood which Pusta Krishna Prabhu recounts - and that incident and the lesson thereof has stuck with me for several years. I pray that I never forget it, and end up criticising a devotee.

I pray for all your blessings to be a sincere devotee.

your servant aspiring for Krishna’s service
Mahaprabhu Caitanya Das

Comment posted by Mahaprabhu Caitanya Das on January 11th, 2012
10 Kesava Krsna dasa

Part one:

Being Carried Through The Fall

It is with sadness that another initiating spiritual master has resigned. My thoughts go out to the many disciples now experiencing an ‘unthinkable’ reality. “How can one on the level of ‘pure’ devotee, and who is the life and soul of a disciple, fall victim to Maya?” If I can, I would like to share something since I have twice personally experienced the same thing.

There will undoubtedly be shock, great surprise, deep disappointment, and many other emotions racing through. This is the time most needed to associate with senior vaisnavas, who will recommend taking shelter of Srila Prabhupada, our Grandfather.

Many other thoughts such as feeling sudden loss, abandonment, being forlorn, and total betrayal will also feature at this difficult, yet unlikely event. With “our only shelter gone,” we have to take shelter of the holy name, in constant company of understanding devotees. Many questions will be asked – justifiably. Outlets for blame will also occur.

It is during this time that rash personal decisions can be made. “If one so high can fall, then who am I… did I give my life for this… does this Krishna consciousness really work… have I been mislead all this time… what did I do to earn this…?” The worst thing to do is to leave Krishna consciousness. It is not the end of your world, nor is it the end of your spiritual lives.

Dedicated lives were focused on pleasing the spiritual master, often with great effort and sacrifice. Does dear Lord Krishna not see all that you have done? If Krishna is “acaryam mam vijaniyat…” it means that whatever was done to please the spiritual master, He has acknowledged. Even if the guru is not the ‘Maha-Bhagavata’ we thought he was, Krishna still sees and accepts the sincerity and dedication of the concerned disciples. He is not a fool.

It might appear that the guru has suddenly gone, but there is the carrying capacity of the Lord, who carries what we lack. This truth can be proved by observing how many other devotees, in spite of having fallen gurus, are still going strong in their Krishna consciousness. How can this be so?

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment posted by Kesava Krsna dasa on January 11th, 2012
11 Kesava Krsna dasa

Part two:

Krishna sees the sincerity. He knows if a guru is not very qualified, the service attitude of the disciple carries one through. And He preserves that same sincerity and dedication as a basis for further advancement. So there is no loss, except that that we have be convinced of this to continue in Krishna consciousness.

Krishna also knows the course Iskcon is taking, and that a mighty Kali-yuga struggle is ongoing. Somehow the parampara has to remain intact. Great responsibilities are shouldered, and more victims of Maya’s insurmountable testing strength will fall. But through this immense power, again the carrying grace of Krishna prevails.

This grace will lead us to accept other vaisnavas as our guiding light in life. By experiencing these difficulties and overcoming them, the outcome is valuable strengthening of personal development. Unlikely as it may seem, but the learning experiences gathered are highly beneficial.

During this time when emotions can alter our decisions, there will be advice given, and not all of it is good. Some will advise apa-sampradya ways, and others will take advantage of your weak moments to influence in different directions. This is why safe association is required.

No doubt there are many understanding devotes on hand to help. It seems strange that a drastic event like this can happen to us, but we are not alone in this. If we can somehow see Krishna’s carrying Hand working for our individual benefit, then we can persevere ever stronger. All the best.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment posted by Kesava Krsna dasa on January 11th, 2012
12 Praghosa

Regarding comment 8:

Maybe not

Number of sannyasis currently active in ISKCON: 88

Total sannyasi’s initiated by ISKCON: 193

Total who left the ashrama that didn’t go through the current extensive assessment
process: 86

Percentage who have left that did go through the current extensive process 02.5 %

Percentage who left prior to the current extensive process being in place: 44.5 %

Much progress has been made and more progress is being worked on.

Ys Praghosa dasa

Comment posted by Praghosa on January 13th, 2012
13 Kulapavana

Praghosa Prabhu, thank you for the statistics on sannyasa in Iskcon and your illuminating comments. When you say that 193 sannyasis were initiated in ISCKCON, is that a total number, including those initiated by Srila Prabhupada?
Also, I would like to correct my earlier statement: “Srila Prabhupada gave sannyasa to at least 60 disciples, of which only 5 are still situated in this ashrama or have kept it until the end of their life. The other 55 gave up sannyasa…”
Actually there are 2 more sannyasis originally initiated by Srila Prabhupada who have kept their sannyasa vows but who are not in ISKCON any more: Tripurari Swami and Swami Narasingha (whose original sannyasa name was Jagat-guru Swami). I apologize for that omission.
Y.s. Kula-pavana dasa

Comment posted by Kulapavana on January 13th, 2012
14 Puskaraksa das

Haribol

To my knowledge, Srila Prabhupada gave sannyasa to 59 of his disciples.
Hare Krishna

Yours in service
Puskaraksa das

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on January 13th, 2012
15 Praghosa

Therefore, generally speaking, a disciple is never at a loss if we follow the true Vaisnava ways. Here is more on this from the Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is the story of Prsadhra’s being cursed by his spiritual master.

Prsadhra, following the order of his spiritual master, was engaged as a
protector of cows. He would stand all night with a sword to give the cows
protection.

Once at night, while it was raining, a tiger entered the land of the cowshed. Upon seeing the tiger, all the cows, who were lying down, got up in fear and scattered here and there on the land.

When the very strong tiger seized the cow, the cow screamed in distress and fear, and Prsadhra, hearing the screaming, immediately followed the sound. He took up his sword, but because the stars were covered by clouds, he mistook the cow for the tiger and mistakenly cut off the cows’ head with great force.

Because the tiger’s ear had been cut by the edge of the sword, the tiger was very afraid, and it fled from that place, while bleeding on the street.

In the morning, when Prsadhra, who was quite able to subdue his enemy, saw that he had killed the cow although at night he thought he had killed the tiger, he was very unhappy.

Although Prsadhra had committed the sin unknowingly, his family priest, Vasistha, cursed him, saying, “In your next life you shall not be able to become a ksatriya. Instead, you shall take birth as a sudra because of
killing the cow.”

PURPORT

It appears that Vasistha was not free from tamo-guna, the mode of ignorance. As the family priest or spiritual master of Prsadhra, Vasistha should have taken Prsadhra’s offense very lightly, but instead Vasistha
cursed him to become a sudra. It is the duty of a family priest not to curse a disciple but to give him relief through the performance of some sort of atonement. Vasistha, however, did just the opposite. Therefore Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that he was durmati; in other words, his intelligence was not very good.

When the hero Prsadhra was thus cursed by his spiritual master, he accepted the curse with folded hands. Then, having controlled his senses, he took the vow of brahmacarya, which is approved by all great sages.

Thereafter, Prsadhra gained relief from all responsibilities, became peaceful in mind, and established control over all his senses. Being unaffected by material conditions, being pleased with whatever was available by the grace of the Lord to maintain body and soul together, and being equal toward everyone

Comment posted by Praghosa on January 14th, 2012
16 Praghosa

he gave full attention to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, who is the transcendental Supersoul, free from material contamination. Thus Prsadhra, fully satisfied in pure knowledge, always keeping his mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, achieved pure devotional service to the Lord and began traveling all over the world, without affection for material activities, as if he were deaf, dumb and
blind.

With this attitude, Prsadhra became a great saint, and when he entered the forest and saw a blazing forest fire, he took this opportunity to burn his body in the fire. Thus he achieved the transcendental, spiritual world.

Comment posted by Praghosa on January 14th, 2012
17 Akruranatha

Kulapavana, another sannyasi initiated by Srila Prabhupada who is still a sannyasi though not in ISKCON is Panca Dravida Swami, who is now serving in Sri Caitanya Sarasvat Gaudiya Math and is known as Janardana Maharaja. There might be others.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on January 15th, 2012
18 Akruranatha

Praghosa Prabhu, it seems that Vasistha’s curse was ineffective, because even though Prsadhra accepted the curse with folded hands, it appears that in the same lifetime he became a saintly paramahansa and went back to the spiritual world at the end of that very life.

Are you telling this story to show that the bona fide spiritual master’s attitude toward a disciple who makes a mistake is to affectionately do something for his welfare and rectification?

Many of us are less than ideal disciples. Srila Prabhupada’s attitude was to try to make even a single pure devotee, but not to be surprised at our slow progress. We need patience as well as enthusiasm to persevere through thick and thin.

In the Lilamrta there is a story of a former sannyasi who visits the temple but declines Srila Prabhupada’s invitation to come back. One disciple later tells Srila Prabhupada she finds it amazing that such a senior disciple could be in that much maya, and Srila Prabhupada responds that he is not amazed by those who are falling but that any of us were staying.

It truly is a miracle that Srila Prabhupada and his followers are attracting so many nice devotees from all over the world who try to completely dedicate themselves to Krishna’s service. This is a great testament to the power of Srila Prabhupafa.

We have seen Srila Prabhupada’s own affectionate treatment of his sannyasi disciples who fell down from the strict standards of that order: he did not reject them but requested they remain chanting Hare Krishna even if becoming householders again. There is that Purport in the Eight Canto story of Gajendra where he describes how we have to fight maya from a position in which we can get the necessary strength…

I am glad to hear that the ISKCON sannyasi ministry has been having success in reducing the percentage of sannyasis in ISKCON who fall from that difficult spiritual order.

I am also glad to hear that Prabhavisnu Prabhu is determined to keep serving in ISKCON, though no longer as a sannyasi. I have never met him but it is clear he has performed many years of dedicated service under difficult circumstances and that Srila Prabhupada must feel very indebted to him and ready to pour affectionate blessings on him in spite of his mistakes.

It is nice to see that he is sincerely and humbly admitting his mistakes publicly and remains determined to serve Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON, even if he could not maintain his vow of celibacy. We should all wish him success

Comment posted by Akruranatha on January 15th, 2012
19 Unregistered

1 - When the Guru is not fixed

Those who are surrendered to Krsna are never without a Guru.

When someone decides to surrender to Krsna, at this very moment the Guru appears.

First as Caitya Guru starting to give instructions from within ourselves.

Then we come into contact with the Vartma Pradaksa Guru (Guru manifested by Caitya Guru).

After we accept Diksa Guru (Guru also manifested by Caitya Guru).

After may occur that the Diksa Guru has problems because is not a liberated soul, and then Caitya Guru manifests another Diksa Guru.

After may occur that the Diksa Guru has no problems, but is unable to lead the disciple to the later stages of the process, and then Caitya Guru will manifest Siksa Gurus or the Caitya Guru will appear in person ……………………..

When someone surrenders to Krsna in all circumstances will be accompanied by the Guru.

Caitya Guru appears in person or in different circumstances and people.

Those who are surrendered to Krsna are never without a Guru.

May still occur one has a Guru Maha Bhagavata Uttama Adhikari who has left the planet. A sincere and fixed disciple of such Guru will receive instructions from Caitya Guru or that Guru will be manifested for example in dreams. As Srila Prabhupada’s dream of his Guru.

Those who are surrendered to Krsna are never without a Guru.

2 - When the disciple is not fixed

Caitya Guru can also appears as a Guru Mahabhagavata Uttama Adhikari (physically (Vapuh) or not (Vani or even in dreams)), and in this case the student may not take that holy association and abandon the process. (As the case of many devotees who had the personal association (Vapuh) of Srila Prabhupada)

Your servant
Prahladesh Dasa

Comment posted by Prahladesh Dasa on January 16th, 2012
20 Akruranatha

One thing about Prsadhra is, he was bold enough to go out in the pitch-black, starless night to fight against a mighty tiger, armed with only a sword. I suppose that may be expected as a matter of course from a Ksatriya hero, but I have a hard time imagining myself going up close range against a tiger, even if there were a bright moon, and even if I had a spear, a pistol and a stun gun.

So, Prsadhra made a mistake. He not only let the tiger get away, but he killed a cow. If he had not killed it, the tiger surely would have, but he did kill it, and that is a serious sin. Still, his intention and determination were good. His situation was difficult. The night was dark. Supersoul knew all these things.

In this age of moral darkness, very few men are bold enough to try to struggle with the mind and senses, which are powerful like tigers. Arjuna compared the uncontrollable mind to the raging wind. It is very difficult to control the mind and senses as a sannyasi must do. It would be impossible for modern people to do mechanically, through the mystic yoga process, but it is easier and better to do so through the natural process of chanting Hare Krishna inaugurated by Lord Caitanya. Still, even in the sankirtan movement, the path of perfection is a razor’s edge.

We should be thankful that there are those who are bold enough to try it, at the risk of losing their reputations and prestige if they should blunder. Krishna assures us there is no loss or diminution on this path, and that one who does good is never overcome by evil.

We need leaders who inspire us. If all of us remain complacent householders, spending the bulk of our time in worldly affairs, earning money and avoiding risks, some energy and life in our spiritual mission will be missing.

As a society, though, we want to take steps to insure that our leaders are respectable and pure and bona fide, and that if a leader has a slip it is dealt with in a responsible way (not that the public should be fooled by pretenders).

Also, the administration of our society has to continue working to improve the financial accountability of sannyasis, who tend to get large amounts of donations because of their reputations as spiritual leaders. Money must be as dangerous for a sannyasi as women. I applaud the GBC’s efforts to get sannyasis to submit accurate financial reports.

But mainly I want to thank our sannyasis who risk everything so ISKCON will have life in renunciation.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on January 16th, 2012
21 Praghosa

Hare Krishna Akruranatha prabhu,

I posted the story of Prsadhra as it indicates that no matter what our circumstances, whatever mistakes we make and even if we displease our guru, all is not lost. This story shows that regardless of having a guru who appeared to not be free of tamo-guna and who cursed Prsadhra to take another birth as a sudra, still due to his humble attitude and acceptance of the curse from Vaisistha, Prsadhra returned to the spiritual world after he left his body having entered a forest fire.

Therefore a disciple will never lose as long as we retain and develop the proper vaisnava attitude.

Ys Praghosa dasa

Comment posted by Praghosa on January 17th, 2012
22 Deena Bandhu Dasa

Since it is very common in these situations that the blame is put on having too much responsibility, it’s again time to review having two separate divisions of spiritual authority and managerial authority with no mixing the two.

Bhakti Brhat Bhagwat Maharaja sent me the following one time:

Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Kirtanananda, 2/11/67:
“I wish that each and every Branch shall keep their independent identity and
cooperate keeping the Acarya in the centre. On this principle we can open
any number of Branches all over the world. The Ramakrishna mission works on
this principle and thus as organization they have done wonderfully.”

[After visiting a RK Math this was his findings]

Line of spiritual authority:
RK is the guru/god for everyone - Board of 18 Sannyasi Trustees (World
Headquarters at Belurmath, Calcutta) - President is Spiritual Head (does not
travel), a sannyasi appointed by Board of Trustees to hold office for two
years, is empowered to give sannyasa and diksa on behalf of RK - assisted by
three Vice-Presidents, who can only give diksa, travel to different centers
for spiritual guidance and initiations.

Line of managerial authority:
Board of 18 Sannyasi Trustees - General Secretary (does not travel), a
sannyasi appointed by Board of Trustees to hold office for two years,
responsible for processing applications and posting of positions in
different centres - four Assistant General Secretaries, sannyasis, travel to
different centers for managerial accountability and monitorship, including
finances.

The line of spiritual authority may overide decisions of the line of
managerial authority in consultation with the Board of Trustees. The General
Secretary usually is promoted to become a future Vice-President so that the
spiritual authority has managerial experience, to ensure harmony between
both lines of authority.

The head of a center, a sannyasi, is known as the Secretary. He is assisted
by the congregation in managing the center.

Comment posted by Deena Bandhu Dasa on January 19th, 2012
23 Deena Bandhu Dasa

Recruitment Policies for residing in the asrama:

1. Must be a graduate, must be between 25 to 30 years old, must have good health (with doctors’ reports), accommodating temperament.

2. Must accept teachings of RK and V - study at home - will have to pass an examination (in English) on the teachings.

3. Join local center on a pre-probation basis for one year - tested to be self-motivated and self-responsible.

4. Thorough health examination (medical-check up) with with RK mission doctors.

5. Sent to General Secretary at Headquarters, Belurmath as probationer for three years for study, training in seva and temple services.

6. Two years rigorous leadership training.

7. Takes formal vows (initiation) as brahmacari - name change on V’s birthday.

8. Posted to a center (no choice) by General Secretary. Each center has a
maximum quota, eg. Delhi has a quota of 10 brahmacaris. Their services are
overseeing the new recruits, temple altar services, counselling
congregation, preaching, etc. They are not involved in general management
and finances.
9. After serving for the next four years, a brahmacari may apply to the President for entering into the sannyasa asrama.

10. On approval, he takes sannyasa vows on RK’s birthday and must associate with senior sannyasis at Belurmath for two years.

11. He is then posted to serve as an Assistant-Secretary at a center.

Falldown from the sannyasa asrama: Sent to Himalayas to perform tapasya as determined by the Board of Trustees - then accepted as part of the congregation. If he does not accept the decision of the Board of Trustees, then he is excommunicated from RK Mission society. This type of decision is sent to all centers to be placed on notice boards.

Comment posted by Deena Bandhu Dasa on January 19th, 2012
24 Kulapavana

Deena Bandhu Prabhu… yes, clear policy with a system of checks and balances, consistency in it’s application, transparency, oversight and accountability to a higher body, are all requirements for any successful organization.
In order for the sannyasa ashram not to become devalued in our society of devotees, it’s members must truly act in an exemplary way appropriate for this station. As Praghosa Prabhu pointed out, there has been much improvement over the years in that regard. Still, problems do pop up from time to time, even in the Ramakrishna mission, with it’s very successful model of a ’spiritual franchise’. How these problems are handled often determines whether ISKCON members keep faith in the current system, or not.

Comment posted by Kulapavana on January 19th, 2012
25 Shyamasundara Dasa

Regarding comment #21

I agree with Praghosha Prabhu. Another example is Ashvattama who committed the most abominable act of murdering the 5 sons of the Pandavas in their sleep and was punished to wander for 3000 years while having bad smell coming from his body. But, because he didn’t give up the process of self purification, then according to the Visnu Purana, in the next Dvapara yuga he will be Vyasadeva.

And regarding comment #24

Including in the vetting process of prospective sannyasa candidates is an examination of their horoscopes. The current process while not perfect is certainly a vast improvement from the past and the results show that.

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on January 21st, 2012
26 Shyamasundara Dasa

It may also be wise to consider shrinking the size of a GBC zone and make the area under supervision geographically contiguous resulting in shorter distances to travel. Similarly Sannyasis with GBC portfolio should have small areas they travel in so that journey will not be so long.

As Chanakya Pandit said:

By not getting enough association with her husband a woman becomes old prematurely.
By being tied up too long a horse gets old prematurely.
By being left in the Sun too long, clothes get old prematurely.
And by traveling too much a man gets old prematurely.

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on January 21st, 2012
27 Praghosa

Regarding comment 26:

That is something that is being actively worked on by the GBC Organizational Development Committee - smaller and geographically contiguous GBC zones.

Your servant, Praghosa dasa

Comment posted by Praghosa on January 21st, 2012
28 Puskaraksa das

In regards to Post 22 and particularly 23 of our dear Deena Bandhu Prabhu, yes it is nice to be ready to learn from others. But we also have to replace RK mission in it’s own context, i.e. the message which they preach…

Plus, dispositions 1 and 8 (on Post 23) in regards to age to live in the ashram or the maximum number brahmacaris allowed to live in the Delhi temple (10), show how off-track, this may be within the ISKCON context and as per the mood of our Acaryas…

In that respect, Srila Prabhupada used to stress big ISKCON, rather than small ISKCON: “why do you think small ISKCON ? Think big ISKCON !”

Your servant
Puskaraksa das

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on January 21st, 2012
29 Kesava Krsna dasa

I appreciate many of the comments made here, especially those ones giving sastric proof of the continuity of Bhakti in the face of obstacles such as having a fallen guru, and other life changing and dramatic trials. In fact, this seems to be quite a new subject to discuss, because it is a sort of ‘high-stakes’ issue we all want to avoid.

Unfortunately, these things do happen, and if and when they do happen, it is wise to have some philosophical preparedness. This preparedness can help ensure the same continuity of Bhakti and minimise possible disruptions resulting from emotional fall-out and so on. This reflects our increasing maturity to be able to handle such issues with balnnce and understanding.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment posted by Kesava Krsna dasa on January 21st, 2012
30 Shyamasundara Dasa

One reason why gurus fall as explained in SB 11.28.29

“Sometimes the progress of imperfect transcendentalists is checked by attachment to family members, disciples or others, who are sent by envious demigods for that purpose. But on the strength of their accumulated advancement, such imperfect transcendentalists will resume their practice of yoga in the next life. They will never again be trapped in the network of fruitive work.”

PURPORT
Sometimes sannyasis and other spiritual teachers are bewildered by flattering followers and disciples sent by the demigods to embarrass spiritual leaders who are lacking complete spiritual knowledge. Similarly, spiritual progress is sometimes checked by attachment to one’s bodily relatives. Although an imperfect transcendentalist may fall down from yoga practice in this life, he will resume it in the next life on the strength of his accumulated merit, as described in the Bhagavad-gita. The words na tu karma-tantram indicate that a fallen transcendentalist does not have to pass through the lower stages of fruitive activity and gradually be promoted to the practice of yoga. Rather, he will immediately resume his yoga practice at that point at which he left it. Of course, one should not presume to fall back on the facility offered here but should try to become perfect in this lifetime. Sannyasis, especially, should remove the knot of lust from their hearts and should avoid falling into the clutches of flattering followers or female disciples sent by the demigods to expose a so-called spiritual leader who is imperfect in Krsna conscious knowledge.

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on January 22nd, 2012
31 Shyamasundara Dasa

In #26 There is a mistake I wrote:

“Similarly Sannyasis with GBC portfolio should have small areas they travel in so that journey will not be so long.”

It should read: “Similarly Sannyasis without GBC portfolio should have small areas they travel in so that journey will not be so long.”

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on January 22nd, 2012
32 Shyamasundara Dasa

We have all heard how in comparison of the exalted nature of Hari dasa Thakura that Visvamitra Muni fell short because he succumbed to the allurements of Menaka while Hari dasa Thakura resisted the advances of even Mayamaya in the guise of a beautiful young woman who approached him for intimacy in the dead of the night.

But we can all learn from Visvamitra Muni and follow in his footsteps because after all 99.9999999% of us are in his category and not that of Hari Dasa Thakura. So what is that we should emulate about Visvamitra Muni? Certainly not falling down, but that after falling down he picked himself back up. But then he again fell down, this time in relationship to Rambha, by burning her with his anger. But he again picked himself up only to fall again, but he again picked himself up. Until in the end he no longer fell and eventually became the guru of Sri Rama and taught him all the celestial astras and arranged for the marriage of Lord Rama and his brothers.

The point being that Visvamitra lost several battles but in the end he won the war because he didn’t stop fighting.

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on January 22nd, 2012
33 Shyamasundara Dasa

This verse from Gita 3.31 gives fallen souls like myself hope to continue the fight.

Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive actions.

PURPORT
The injunction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom and therefore is eternally true without exception. As the Vedas are eternal, so this truth of Krsna consciousness is also eternal. One should have firm faith in this injunction, without envying the Lord. There are many philosophers who write comments on the Bhagavad-gita but have no faith in Krsna. They will never be liberated from the bondage of fruitive action. But an ordinary man with firm faith in the eternal injunctions of the Lord, even though unable to execute such orders, becomes liberated from the bondage of the law of karma. In the beginning of Krsna consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Krsna consciousness.

One may say that Prabhavisnu Dasa was not a beginner because he had been a devotee for 40 years. But I disagree, Bhakti yoga as Krsna explains elsewhere in the Gita (bahu janmanam ante) is a multi-lifetime process and 40 years is nothing in comparison to the inconceivable Time Factor.

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on January 22nd, 2012

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