Since when are bhaktas expendable?
Pusta Krishna das: It is always amazing to me that the “devotees” consider other bhaktas to be expendable.
Krishna in His Gita proclaims how rare a bhakta is, even amongst those who achieve spiritual perfection.
And, we have heard that the greatest goal is to have the association of bhaktas. The greatest jewel of this world then is the bhakta. Yes, we know that Sri Krishna, is the Summom Bonum, the All in All, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But, He is revealed through His bhaktas. What is it that may cause one to overlook this point, even to the extent that they might push away bhaktas. Are people afraid that other bhaktas might “weaken” (rather than strengthen) their position?
So, if bhaktas are so rare, more valuable than gold, and if they are cultivated with great difficulty, then why do we let them slip away so easily…or worse yet, push them away. One might think that they can make another like this bhakta or that bhakta so easily? What experience does one have of this? At least, my own experience had been that bhaktas are difficult to cultivate, and more delicate than the tender bhakti-lata or bhakti-creeper that we sometimes discuss. And, so the “society of bhaktas” goes on and on. Or, does it? Many, many have experience of this. It can tear the heart apart. Someone’s service might be taken away…and for what? Position, position, position…otherwise known as pratishtha.
Krishna conscious culture takes place in the environment of the Guru Parampara. I remember one day in Los Angeles, a young woman bhakta asked Srila Prabhupad: “What is it that you want most from me, Srila Prabhupad?” Srila Prabhupad replied, “that you not be envious of your spiritual master.” It is good to contemplate what that reply can mean.
When Srila Prabhupad departed from the world, we saw that jockeying for “position” led to the departure of so many blessed bhaktas. Even before that time, these things would take place on a smaller level. But, the general lack of regard for aspiring bhaktas has led to many a broken heart…many, many a broken heart.
In the earliest days of ISKCON, we knew how rare and how valuable the bhakta was. We wanted to engage the aspiring devotees. They had given up everything for Krishna. Some walked away from their parents, their jobs, their college educations, their boyfriend/girlfriends….in every way, they had come to take shelter of Krishna. We must ask ourselves, again and again: “Have we properly tried to engage such a valuable soul in Sri Sri Guru Gauranga’s service?
And, does the movement still provide shelter to the “most fallen” souls, or do prospective “devotees” need to first pass a “wallet biopsy”? These are cynical but valid things to contemplate when we consider Srila Prabhupad’s mood. So, why do we think that a soft-hearted bhakta is so expendable? And, how will we be received by Krishna, the dearmost Friend of the devotees, if we are somehow given credit for allowing, or even driving, bhaktas away?
Pusta Krishna das