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If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, You Might End Up There

Monday, 06 August 2012 / Published in Articles / 4,452 views

By Mahatma Das

20 Responses to “If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, You Might End Up There”

  1. I spent a good part of my career as a strategy consultant, and a favorite quote I liked to use was,

    “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

    george harrison used this quote in a song.

  2. This article is taken from my monthly newsletter called Illuminations. If you would like to read previous issues, or get on my mailing list, go to http://www.mahatmadas.com.

  3. Sitalatma Das says :

    I hope I’m not committing a great offense by questioning ideas expressed in this article by very senior and very advanced devotees, I think I have legitimate concerns.

    What is the use of this technique in devotional service? Is it an equivalent of going to architecture school if one wants to build a temple? It surely is useful – if you want to build a temple, but if our goal is to become better devotees?

    I don’t think we can set our goals and timetables in our devotional progress – 50% of anarthas removed by the year 2015 and so on, it’s not clear from the article if we should even apply it this way.

    Selecting a mission and then molding one’s live to achieve it sounds like a recipe for earning the next birth – you have to transform your mind, then your physical body will adjust, too, and, as pointed in the article, you don’t want to die while the mission is not accomplished yet. Don’t we use the prospect of accidental death to convince people not to take their engagements too seriously?

    How to deal with the philosophical fact that we are not actually doers of anything? This technique sounds like furthering the illusion that we can actually accomplish anything in this world via our own efforts.

    There’s also a concern that if we apply our consciousness and our life force into pursuing our selfish interests we won’t make any progress. We’ve been trying this for millions of births already, simply saying “It’s all for Krishna” doesn’t automatically make it so. It’s one thing to purify our existing desires, it’s quite another to try and develop new ones just because our bodies might have some underutilized capabilities. Our gurus might engage us in this way and it might happen by Krishna’s arrangement but should we actually start doing it ourselves, on our own? Isn’t it dangerous?

    Also, when devotion develops in our hearts the enthusiasm for extra service will appear naturally, what happens if we imitate this enthusiasm by grafting materialistic motivational tools onto devotional practice?

    Some people take interest in spiritual matters because they are fed up with the “rat race”, this technique sounds like an invitation to Rat Race 2.0, a somewhat disappointing proposition.

    Is there any shastric basis for this? For setting up new missions, for example? How to dovetail these self-conscious, self-made action plans with “Krishna will provide all that is necessary” philosophy? Srila Prabhupada went to America without a plan, after all.

  4. Prabhava Vigraha das says :

    Answering Sitalatma. PAMHO and AGTSP.

    Quoted from above: “Srila Prabhupada went to America without a plan, after all. ”

    I beg to see things differently. Srila Prabhupada knew what plan to follow: to preach in English, to print books, open temples, train disciples in the West to help spread the mission of Lord Caitanya back in India and all over the world, not diluting the message of KC, etc.

    It is the same as the battle of Kurukshetra. The plan was there, grandiose. Krishna had already made the plan. Arjuna was told that he had just to be an instrument of Krishna, fitting in His plan.

    So Srila Prabhupada knew far too well that he would be an instrument to establish an International Society for Krishna Consciousness all over the world; and this movement is authorized he said so many times. He wrote somewhere in SB that the activities of ISKCON are going exactly according to Lord Caitanya’s plan.

    So SP had a plan. The plan of the disciplic succession.

    And as far as we are concerned, we should dive in the sankirtan yajna plan that Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada have for us. If we are sincere we will desire intensely to be part of it and finally get some act of ours together in all respect in order to play an active role in the sankirtan movement. This will fill us up with ecstasy. Until we are ready to sacrifice dull ways of doing things half good, half unfinished, then we will remain unachieving anything substantial worth pleasing significantly our spiritual master. A plan for this is needed.

    After all is it not Srila Prahbupada who put the book distribution to on-going higher target level year after year by saying “Now double it.” This is a plan. This is intelligence. This is adios amigos to complacency. This is tapasya. Good tapasya. Voluntary tapasya. Intelligent tapasya whereby every move is targeted at only one goal: pleasing guru, Srila Prabhuapda or his representative in disciplic succession. Therefore, a plan is most welcome and it has its very utility in the spreading of Krishna consciousness all over the world. When one has sound plan, in humble but determined mood sustained by yoga, then there is no time for anything nonsensical sticking with it. It is self-propelling.

    We are already used to SP’s plan: daily regulated sadhana, ponctual so we can hang to the higher taste of KC. 16 rounds a day, 4 reg. principles. If this is not a plan, I don’t know what it is.

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Param vijayate sri krishna sankirtan!

  5. Krsnendu dasa says :

    I think this is a brilliant article by Mahatma Prabhu. I also wholeheartedly agree with Prabhava Vigraha das.

    Goal setting and endeavour are an integral part of Krishna consciouness. Sadhya means goal and sadhana is the activity by which we try to achieve that goal. We just need to make sure to align our goals and activities with the ultimate goal of pure unalloyed devotion to Lord Krishna.

    “The more the activities of the material world are performed in Krsna consciousness, or for Visnu only, the more the atmosphere becomes spiritualized by complete absorption.”

    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 4.24

    Krishna consciousness means an intentional, deliberate life. We choose our values and goals and strive to act according to them. If we don’t set Krishna conscious goals and work towards them, what are we doing with our time and life?

    “the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Krsna consciousness; otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by illusory energy.”

    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 3.5

    Mahatma Prabhu gives us very clear instructions how to effectively serve Krishna to the best of our capacity.

    I also discuss in depth how the principles of goal achievement and “success” can be integrated with Krishna consciousness at my website http://SuccessfulVaisnavas.com

  6. Sitalatma Das says :

    I think we are talking about different things here. When I said that Prabhupada didn’t have a plan I meant what is proposed in the article – written down, point by point, with details and timetables, starting from the biggest goal of all and breaking it down into smaller steps.

    Surely he knew temples and disciples would be nice but, according to the article standards, he was still more of a “wandering generality” than a “meaningful specific”, taking chances wherever they presented themselves and occasionally changing the course. He didn’t plan on achieving success with hippies, for one.

    Things have changed as the movement grew and became more predictable, when it was clear that all of Srimad Bhagavatam needed to be translated asap, for example. It looked quite different on the board of Jaladuta, I don’t think anyone would disagree, we have Prabhupada’s diary after all – no detailed plans in there.

    The existence of the Lord’s plan is not the same as awareness of it and not being aware of the Lord’s plan won’t stop anyone from fulfilling it either. Writing down our own goals and stages might have nothing to do with that plan at all.

    If we don’t know what Lord’s plan is and decide to make one of our own – that’s when I have a question. Also there’s a question when we think Lord’s plan for us is not exciting enough and needs an improvement, a big, measurable success in the end, to keep us motivated.

    Sadhya and sadhana are a different subject altogether, sadhana has been set for us already, no need to invent or write down anything, especially for temple devotees – daily schedule is already there. Taking vratas is also not the same as what is proposed in the article.

    Karmi “scientists” who came up with these ideas had very different objectives in mind and relied on a different set of motivations. I think there’s a serious risk of contamination if we accept their framework into devotional life.

    “My mission is self-realization, to love God and to help others become Krsna conscious.” The problem is that is too general to be completely meaningful to you.,

    Here, for example, our mission is quietly substituted with something else, the sole criteria offered is being “more meaningful”. It would make sense if we broke it up into meaningful steps on the ladder of devotional progress but instead we are asked to look for something completely different as we can’t have timetables or deadlines in devotional life.

  7. This article sounds like it is written for a general audience rather than specifically for devotees, but I am sure it could be modified slightly so as to be more specifically relevant to devotional service.

    For example, “Decide what you want” makes it sound like it could be okay to want sense gratification or something material, like a big house or bank balance or a beautiful wife. For devotees it would be better perhaps to clarify that this step refers to defining some specific mission or duty you have been given by higher authority for pleasing Krishna.

    I suppose I would ask Mahatma, does it have to be something concrete, such as “keeping our temple kitchen spotless and well organized”? Or could it be something more internal, such as “chanting my prescribed number of rounds attentively every day without offense”?

    I agree that we should be good at both “external” and “internal” things (or rather to realize that in devotional service the so-called external things are also spiritual). There is a tendency among beginner devotees (I notice it in myself) to think, “The only thing that matters is how I am understanding and remembering Krishna”. That is, we may not sufficiently apply ourselves to performing our specific duties expertly, whether they be cleaning the temple, dressing the Deities or distributing books. It is actually important for us to do our service well and develop some expertise: that reflects on our internal state, how much we care about pleasing Guru and Krsna.

    How specific does it have to be? If my goal is to achieve unmotivated and uninterrupted Krishna bhakti, does that leave me with a clear enough idea of how to take the next steps to achieve it?

    That is why I like the instruction to break it down into little steps. My goal may be to become expert in preaching, but I have to be able to understand in more detail what the component steps are (such as: understanding the philosophy well, having good behavior so I can teach by personal example and with purity, developing sensitivity to how people are feeling about what I say, learning good responses to different kinds of doubts or inquiries people often have, etc.) Even those component steps can be broken into different steps, and there may be other skills, such as becoming good at singing bhajans or playing mrdanga, memorizing verses, distributing books, even keeping a nice, clean appearance, that can be servants to the overall goal of preaching well.

  8. Prabhava Vigraha das says :

    Dear Prabhus, PAHMO and AGTSP.
    Here is something interesting. I had the chance of finding myself all by myself alone with Srila Prabhupada on the occasion of a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada in Paris in 1972. While waiting for devotees to come, I had been told to remain with Srila Prabhupada. And was I waiting for that moment! Over the last two years or so, I had three philosophical questions that I kept for Srila Prabhupada would I ever have the chance to ask him. I had asked at least one such question to the GBC at the time, and he could not answer it. So I concluded that I would be proper to go higher and ask the question to Srila Prabhupada.
    So when that occasion came, I had my three questions all lined up and I did start to ask them to Srila Prabhupada.
    So when Srila Prabhupada started answering I had literally a hard time hearing well and understanding all that he was saying (but without going into the details of the exchange) I finally could begin understanding some bits which I never forgot since then. And then I asked my second question, and he answered. And then as I was to ask my third question, he cut me off and said: “Why do you bother your mind with all these questions? Just chant Hare Krishna.” And that was it. I kept silent and chanted on beads. And by that time, other devotees came and the morning walk took its normal course. Perfect timing.
    So this very instruction I remember since then, oftentimes. And afterwards I had been wondering of course “Why did Srila Prabhupad say that?” And I knew that it was no chance at all that he answered that way. I have been knowing since then, that if I follow this instuction, I will get my answers to any question I may have asked and that I could have. I have come to the conclusion that the chanting of the maha-mantra was far superior than my having asked these questions and that by chanting all perfection would be yet to come. So whenever I may have questions, I keep them in that perspective. And this has helpled me a whole lot to have a whole lot of realizations. And actually, that if the way mostly that I get realizations.
    As far as I can see having read some other articles of his, our Godbrother Mahatma —without knowing him personnaly— is making a great effort into inspiring others to chant well the Holy Names. That is the very least I can say. There is more to that, such as being an inspiration to others because of chanting with great attention the Holy Names. This is the very least I can say.

  9. Prabhava Vigraha das says :

    And his article I feel is the fruit of inspiration while getting realizations as a consequence of a very meditative chanting of the Holy Names. I would even dare to say that his article is the mercy of the Holy Names in some respect.
    But there is an unveiled, direct goal to one’s life that is simply hinted at. There is some sugar coating in this article just to get one started into looking if he can get into the habit of getting himself or herself into following a plan. But the real plan is no joke. And the plan is the same for every single spirit soul rotting in this material world. It is param gatim, the ultimate goal, the lotus feet of Krishna in Person. And it happens that such Krishna has His own abode and entourage. So there is a whole change of consciousness that is involved. A thorough overhaul of consciousness in order to achieve this goal. And one may say: how am I to have a plan to achieve that goal? This goal and parameters are already set in Bhagavad-gita 18.55. The goal of entering in the kingdom of God is achievable only after completly become fully conscious of Krishna through bhakti, or pure devotional service. By serving Krishna you achieve Him. Devotional service is non diffferent from the kingdom of God Srila Prabhupada has explained in Bhagavad-gita. So the conditions to go BTG are clear and the process is clear. What makes the difference is the will power of the living entities to achieve and pursue that goal. So Mahatma Prabhu’s article may be helpful into setting up our frame of action. Calling for a plan. But the first step, the real goal that supersedes any other plan is Bg 18.66 to begin with and then getting to the gist of surrender and attaining therewith the goal by engaging oneself fully in devotional service. Being absolutely, and fully desiring to pay the price, and knowing and taking all of the steps, one at a time, being helped, guided and fulfilled within in order to achieve the lotus feet of Krishna. And for that purpose, gradual progress from offensive chanting en route to offenceless chanting is absolutely a must. And that means changing our heart and lifestyle totally into consequence. Then it is really fun to practice KC, knowing that finally getting oneself to agree to follow, to surrender to each and every single and least instruction pertaining to bhakti will effectively help you achieve the supreme goal.

  10. Prabhava Vigraha das says :

    The means and the goal are within reach by Guru’s and Krishna’s causeless mercy. We have the choice to stand in the light or to remain in darkness. Tamasi ma jyoti gama.

    Begging for the mercy of all reading Prabhus. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

  11. Sitalatma Das says :

    It’s not just Srila Prabhupada, Sanatana Goswami at one point had no awareness of Lord’s plan for him and thought of committing suicide, and then one of his main missions, establishing temples in Vrindavan, came out by accident when some merchant’s ship got stuck in the middle of Yamuna.

    Young Raghunatha Dasa thought he knew what his mission was but Lord Chaitanya Himself told him to hold it back and wait for the opportune moment.

    Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, acting as a civil servant, didn’t make any overarching plans for his career and changed its course several times following circumstances.

    Srila Gaurakishora Das Babaji didn’t plan for his next meal.

    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was a “wandering generality” until the age of 44 and even after starting Gaudiya Math he didn’t commit to any big plans, always leaving the future in the hands of the Lord.

    I think examples of our acharyas teach us that the main thing is our sincerity, once we have that Krishna will arrange everything, be it great or small.

    Maybe I guess wrong but to me this article proposes to substitute apparent lack of spiritual motivation with something else – if you don’t want to do big things for Krishna, find motivation elsewhere and then dedicate it to Him, but you always have to do something big and important.

    When I think of the possible source for this kind of motivation I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came to America with a clear plan to become a biggest Hollywood start, and then planned to win the highest possible elected office for a non-native and became a governor of California.

    His life story is certainly fascinating for a materialist but should devotees really follow the iron feet of the Terminator?

    I also want to point out that this article does not have monopoly on planning. Everybody plans something, it just that some plans appear relatively short, unfocused, and insignificant. Then the devotee is condemned as a “wandering generality”. Do we really have to judge devotees this way? By how great their plans appear to us? In the material world they make jokes of these annoying “topper-uppers”.

    Devotees with clear goals and projects should definitely plan for their execution and it’s great that we can get lessons in mission management in ISKCON. This article, however, aims at devotees with no externally clear mission and encourages them not to wait for Krishna’s arrangement or orders of their gurus and take their lives in their own hands.

  12. Sitalatma Das says :

    Part two.

    My goal may be to become expert in preaching, but I have to be able to understand in more detail what the component steps are (such as: understanding the philosophy well, having good behavior so I can teach by personal example and with purity, developing sensitivity to how people are feeling about what I say, learning good responses to different kinds of doubts or inquiries people often have, etc.)

    Hmm, but isn’t our philosophy that all these things will be provided by Krishna – dadami buddhi yogam tam? Also that all the good qualities automatically develop in the devotee, and, conversely, one can’t become a devotee by simply developing good qualities and one can’t become a great preacher by simply learning the technique.

    Our method, of course, is that by doing all those things we will also develop devotion and so it’s important to do them really well, with firm faith and determination, but we can’t plan when devotion will start growing in our hearts like we can plan mridanga lessons, can we?

    We can, and we should, plan our external progress but we can’t expect Krishna to follow our five year action plans, too. As I mentioned earlier – we can plan to complete some bhakti-shastri course but we can’t plan to clear 50% of our anarthas by 2015. We leave all our devotional progress at the mercy of guru and Krishna, not our own plans. We can’t make detailed plans with deadlines of our progress from anartha nivritti to ruci to prema.

    We can’t apply this article’s advice to our main goal – developing pure unalloyed devotion to the Lord.

    Also, shraddha, firm faith, means that all perfection will be achieved simply by surrendering to Krishna. The problem, of course, is how to surrender, and this is where the advice in this article might become useful, but if we get an impression that we can achieve success by creating our own missions and plans we are clearly deviating from our understanding of “firm faith”.

    One more thing – while I’m apparently arguing against the method proposed in this article I’m also checking where I can apply it in my own life. Everything can be engaged in Krishna’s service and there are lessons to be learned even from Arnold Schwarzenegger but we it has to be done skillfully and carefully. I hope this discussion clarifies the applications of the proposed motivational technique.

  13. “…but we can’t plan when devotion will start growing in our hearts like we can plan mridanga lessons, can we?”

    There is a lot of good food for thought and discussion in this comment #12 by Sitalatma Das. I would like to hear how Mahatma Prabhu answers these questions.

    I would say that, if we are using our intelligence to plan how to serve Krsna better, whether by Mrdanga lessons or japa lessons, this is a symptom that devotion is growing in our hearts. Conversely, if we go on making the same mistakes and not learning how to do things well, whether “externally” or “internally”, it is a symptom that our devotion is still very small and weak.

    We may not be able to make a schedule that “50% of my anarthas will be gone by 2015″, but if we recognize some anartha or weed is disturbing our bhakti lata (say, inattentive chanting, oversleeping or overeating, criticizing devotees, eating bhoga, watching television, drinking coffee, smoking marijuana, watching pornography or eating meat), we can and should make a conscious effort to clear such anartha or we will continue to be hampered in our progress.

    It may be that if we just chant attentively we will automatically be cured of such bad habits, and some of the habits I listed above are particularly gross and probably not a problem for those who chant regularly and sincerely. It may also be that one of the steps that helps us clear the anartha (or the most important step) is to make good time for quality hearing and chanting.

    Srila Prabhupada did not emphasize teaching good moral behavior, such as vegetarianism or rising before sunrise or speaking truthfully or being kind to all creatures, because he knew if we could become pure devotees of Krishna we would automatically develop all those good qualities, whereas if we develop those qualities without becoming devotees they would not remain: mano-rathenasati dhavato bahi.

    And yet, as we are striving to become pure devotees, we may realize that developing clean, brahminical, kind, good moral habits it will help us chant Hare Krishna better, with more attention and devotion.

    To think, “I will not learn anything because just chanting Hare Krishna brings all perfection” may be philosophically correct, but sounds impractical: we still have to learn many things to do our service (like reading, cooking, mrdanga, etc.), so why can’t we also learn humility, tolerance, and other things that improve the quality of our hearing and chanting?

  14. Sitalatma Das says :

    To think, “I will not learn anything because just chanting Hare Krishna brings all perfection” may be philosophically correct, but sounds impractical

    I was not proposing that. This method does not have a monopoly on learning or on planning but it approaches it in a peculiar way that makes it look like our whole life depends on us making big, impressive plans and quality of these plans should be used as a criteria for judging both ourselves and other devotees.

    I suspect that this method was adapted from materialistic motivational speeches but I’m not questioning motives of HG Mahatma Prabhu himself. I’m sure he had only our best interests at heart when he proposed it.

    This “internet” thing makes questioning the authorities so much easier, that was not my intention, I was just discussing the merits of the proposal itself.

    Initially I asked for the shastric support for these ideas about creating missions and plans because the resulting confusion, and I still think that at least some of my objections are legitimate, could be explained by the following verse:

    śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pañcarātra-vidhiḿ vinā

    aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate

    [BRS 1.2.101]

    “Devotional service performed without reference to the Vedas, Purāṇas, Pañcarātras, etc., must be considered sentimentalism, and it causes nothing but disturbance to society.”

    Once again – even if there’s something wrong with this proposal it’s not about assigning blame, it’s about making it right.

  15. Srila Prabhupada asked us to open 108 temples before he left this planet. That was a very “specific” request. He asked us to print 17 volumes of the CC in two months. Why? Because his books were not being published at the rate he was writing them and he needed to establish a specific goal and timeline otherwise he feared that book publication would always lag behind. The goal made things happen in a way they never happened before.

    Prabhupada told us, “What is the use of being American if you don’t do something wonderful?” So he did encourage us to do something wonderful, and to do something wonderful you must first conceive of what it is you want to do. And the more specific, the better. For example, many temples have specific goals in terms of yearly income, members to be made, numbers of attendees at festivals, number of books to distribute, numbers of new people to join, numbers of new nama hattas, bhakti vriksa, etc. This, to me, is showing Krsna how you want to serve Him and allowing Him then to empower you to do this.

    Will it happen exactly the way we conceive of it? Of course, that ultimately depends on Krsna. But we can pretty much be guaranteed that if we are not thinking specifically how to serve Krsna, those above mentioned programs are less likely to rapidly develop or expand without those specific goals in mind.

    We would often write Prabhupada with our preaching plans. He never said, “How do you know Krsna wants you to do that?” He never said, “You can’t plan like that, it’s not sastric.” He would say, “We have our plan and Krsna has His,” meaning let us see if this is Krsna’s plan. Sometimes you don’t know for sure what is Krsna’s plan but you use your intelligence and you monitor results. Prabhupada monitored results, looked at them and adjusted as needed. We can’t remain in a confused state thinking, “I am not going to make this goal because I don’t know if Krsna wants it.”

    Yesterday I saw Sarvabhauma Prabhu, the first devotee to distribute 108 big books. How did he do it? He heard Prabhupada give a lecture about book distribution that inspired him so much he made the goal of distributing 108 big books in a day. Prior to this the world record might have been 50 big books in a day. He set his mind on the goal and showed Krsna this is what he wanted to do. He returned to the temple for Mangala aroti, the day after he first went to the airport to distribute and had done 108 big books!

  16. I can see that what I suggested in the article may not fit well with the way Sitalatma thinks. It probably won’t work for everyone. And that’s fine. But I don’t see that it goes against the way Prabhupada worked and thought, at least in some ways. It’s a matter ultimately, of thinking and acting in a way that we can improve our service to Krsna. If these instructions can help devotees do more service and advance in their Krsna consciousness, then why not use them?

    Why not make a goal to improve your japa over the next few months? Why not be specific about how you can improve, where you need to improve, what you need to avoid, etc. and see if this helps? And why not make a specific goal to not speak critically about devotees? Why not be specific about how you can increase your service? See if this helps. Of course, we depend on Krsna for these results, but these are good goals and so why wouldn’t Krsna want to help us achieve them if this is how we want to serve Him (I carry what they lack, I reward accordingly).

    When we fast on a holiday, we make a sankalpa (intention) to fast, and Prabhupada quotes Visvanatha Chakravarti as saying, “If you don’t fully make that vow to fast, you probably won’t do it, but once you internally commit, then fasting is easy.” This is simply a specific goal you make, i.e., “I will not take any food (or water) until this time of day. Without this goal, we don’t just end up fasting on a random day.

    Perhaps Sitalatma is misunderstanding what I have written, or seeing how it can be misapplied.

    Some more examples: I have godbrothers who would go out on book distribution with specific goals and would not return until they reached their goals. They used to tell me that these goals kept them focused and that Krsna reciprocates with those goals.

    From my understanding of Srila Prabhupada, he did have clear goals for ISKCON and he revealed them over time as we were ready to execute them. This may not be so apparent to everyone because, in general, Prabhupada didn’t micro-manage things. But as was said, he did ask us to double book distribution. He did this to keep us moving forward, to prevent us from becoming lazy, to force us to achieve more than we believed we could achieve. So it does appear that he knew the power of goal-setting and used it.

  17. My personal experience is that if we don’t have clear goals for our spiritual life, i.e. where do we want to be both externally and internally at a certain age in our life, we may end up anywhere, and that anywhere may not be where we want to be. Of course, everything depends on Krsna, but there are five factors to action, not just Krsna. Our efforts are also part of that equation.

    So what do you want to achieve in your service and your Krsna consciousness? Rather than thinking it is not philosophically correct to think this way, I propose that it would be Krsna conscious to not think this way (I don’t say this as a criticism to anyone who doesn’t think this way, but devotees who are advancing do think this way, even if they are not conscious of it).

    Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends reflection every ekadasi of where you are at in your Krsna consciousness and setting standards or achievements for yourself that you can monitor each ekadasi. Again, it’s not that by setting goals we can control our lives in a way that guarantees we reach them when we choose to reach them, but my experience, and the experience of many others, do teach us that setting specific time-bound goals is an excellent way of achieving what you want in life. And as devotees, certainly what we want is more excellent service and more bhakti.

  18. “Initially I asked for the shastric support for these ideas about creating missions and plans because the resulting confusion, and I still think that at least some of my objections are legitimate, could be explained by the following verse…”

    I think the sastric support is in the lives of the devotees. Their great achievements, their building of temples, their printing of books, making of disciples, etc. must have begun with some intention. For example, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was specific about preaching KC in the West. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave him specific instructions about what he wanted to achieve. And you can see that Bhaktivinoda Thakura had a specific agenda in his preaching mission.

  19. Prabhava Vigraha das says :

    Hare Krishna Mahatma Prabhu. PAMHO and AGTSP.

    Two thumbs up for your furthering comments. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment in this way.

    Srila Prabhupada said that KC is 50% common sense. And making a plan in trying to achieve anything is simply common sense. I don’t see where is the difficulty to figure this out in order to improve our service. Moreover, this is an incentive to surpass ourselves in the service of the Lord. It is tapasya. And there is no question of unlimited transcendental happines, brahma-saukyam tv anantam, without necessary tapasya to purify the heart and then attain it, as thought by Lord Rishabadeva to his sons (SB 5.5.1). It is not necessarily easy, but when one follows a specific plan envisioning the possible results, of course depending all the way on Krishna’s mercy for results, then the end result is further satisfaction, further advancement in KC. And if we are further Krishna conscious we can become better servant of the servants of the Lord, and that includes all living beings. Hare Krishna.

  20. Sitalatma Das says :

    Hare Krishna

    To all the participants in this discussion –

    Please accept my humble obeisances

    All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    After reading HG Mahatma Prabhu’s inspired and inspiring comments I don’t see any value in pushing this matter any further. Whatever concerns I might still have come from my interpretation of the original article and clearly not form Mahatma Prabhu’s own vision for his method.

    Your humble servant,
    Sitalatma das

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