Gour Govinda Swami on Conflict in ISKCON

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Submitted by Madhavananda (das) GGS (Gopal Jiu Publications - IN)

Devotee: Why are there so many conflicting ideas for the ISKCON movement?

Gour Govinda Swami: Bah, stop it! There is no conflict. No conflict. No conflict. You are a mad fellow. There is no conflict, no confusion. It is all clear, bābā. Conflict and confusion are within you. Therefore you see conflict. If you put on yellow glasses, everything looks yellow. A man sees the reflection of his mind. In your mind there is conflict and confusion, and therefore you see it outside.

When Hanuman went to Ravana’s capital Lanka, he was extremely angry because the demon Ravana had kidnapped his master’s wife, Sita. Out of anger, Hanuman’s eyes were red hot. Ravana had kept Sita in a very lovely garden, called the Ashok Van. Aśoka means, “no lamentation”. That garden was extremely beautiful. Ravan had brought so many varieties of nice flowers, fruits, and birds from the heavenly planets. In that garden were many wonderful ponds and springs. Hanuman went there, but he saw no variety. He saw everything red, because anger was inside him. His eyes were red hot. Do you understand? Are your doubts clear?

Devotee: No.

Gour Govinda Swami: No? Why not?

Devotee: For instance, when Srila Prabhupada was directly present, everything in ISKCON was under his direction.

Gour Govinda Swami: He is still directing, but you can’t see it. You have no vision. It will take time for you to understand. Be patient and wait, wait, wait. All these problems are inside you. The conflict is within you. Therefore you see such things outside.
— From a lecture in Bhubaneswar on 23 March 1993

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1 Puskaraksa das

The pure devotee is situated beyond the dualities inherent to the material platform and thus is transcendental to all mundane politics, fighting, arguments, etc.

Thus, Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to all of us: “If you love me, cooperate with each other”!

sa yadanuvratah pumsam
pasu-buddhir vibhidyate
anya esa tathanyo ‘ham
iti bheda-gatasati

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased with the living entity because of his devotional service, one becomes a pandita and does not make distinctions between enemies, friends and himself. Intelligently, he then thinks, “Every one of us is an eternal servant of God, and therefore we are not different from one another.” S.B. 7.5.12


When Prahlada Maharaja’s teachers and demoniac father asked him how his intelligence had been polluted, Prahlada Maharaja said, “As far as I am concerned, my intelligence has not been polluted. Rather, by the grace of my spiritual master and by the grace of my Lord, Krsna, I have now learned that no one is my enemy and no one is my friend. We are all actually eternal servants of Krsna, but under the influence of the external energy we think that we are separately situated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead as friends and enemies of one another. This mistaken idea has now been corrected, and therefore, unlike ordinary human beings, I no longer think that I am God and that others are my friends and enemies. Now I am rightly thinking that everyone is an eternal servant of God and that our duty is to serve the supreme master, for then we shall stand on the platform of oneness as servants.”

Demons think of everyone as a friend or enemy, but Vaisnavas say that since everyone is a servant of the Lord, everyone is on the same platform. Therefore a Vaisnava treats other living entities neither as friends nor as enemies, but instead tries to spread Krsna consciousness, teaching everyone that we are all one as servants of the Supreme Lord but are uselessly wasting our valuable lives by creating nations, communities and other groups of friends and enemies. Everyone should come to the platform of Krsna consciousness and thus feel oneness as a servant of the Lord. Although there are 8,400,000 species of life, a Vaisnava feels this oneness. The Isopanisad advises, ekatvam anupasyatah. A devotee should see the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be situated in everyone’s heart and should also see every living entity as an eternal servant of the Lord. …/…

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on July 17th, 2013
2 Puskaraksa das

…/… This vision is called ekatvam, oneness. Although there is a relationship of master and servant, both master and servant are one because of their spiritual identity. This is also ekatvam. Thus the conception of ekatvam for the Vaisnava is different from that of the Mayavadi.

Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada Maharaja how he had become antagonistic to his family. When a family member is killed by an enemy, all the members of the family would naturally be inimical to the murderer, but Hiranyakasipu saw that Prahlada had become friendly with the murderer. Therefore he asked, “Who has created this kind of intelligence in you? Have you developed this consciousness by yourself? Since you are a small boy, someone must have induced you to think this way.” Prahlada Maharaja wanted to reply that an attitude favorable toward Visnu can develop only when the Lord is favorable (sa yadanuvratah). As stated in Bhagavad-gita, Krsna is the friend of everyone (suhrdam sama-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati). The Lord is never an enemy to any of the millions of living entities, but is always a friend to everyone. This is true understanding. If one thinks that the Lord is an enemy, his intelligence is pasu-buddhi, the intelligence of an animal. He falsely thinks, “I am different from my enemy, and my enemy is different from me. The enemy has done this, and therefore my duty is to kill him.” This misconception is described in this verse as bheda-gatasati. The actual fact is that everyone is a servant of the Lord, as confirmed in Caitanya-caritamrta by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (jivera ’svarupa’ haya — krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’ [Cc. Madhya 20.108]). As servants of the Lord, we are one, and there can be no questions of enmity or friendship. If one actually understands that every one of us is a servant of the Lord, where is the question of enemy or friend?

Everyone should be friendly for the service of the Lord. Everyone should praise another’s service to the Lord and not be proud of his own service. This is the way of Vaisnava thinking, Vaikuntha thinking. There may be rivalries and apparent competition between servants in performing service, but in the Vaikuntha planets the service of another servant is appreciated, not condemned. This is Vaikuntha competition. There is no question of enmity between servants. Everyone should be allowed to render service to the Lord to the best of his ability, and everyone should appreciate the service of others. …/…

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on July 17th, 2013
3 Puskaraksa das

…/… Such are the activities of Vaikuntha. Since everyone is a servant, everyone is on the same platform and is allowed to serve the Lord according to his ability. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: the Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, giving dictation according to the attitude of the servant. However, the Lord gives different dictation to the nondevotees and devotees. The nondevotees challenge the authority of the Supreme Lord, and therefore the Lord dictates in such a way that the nondevotees forget the Lord’s service, life after life, and are punished by the laws of nature. But when a devotee very sincerely wants to render service to the Lord, the Lord dictates in a different way. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (10.10):

tesam satata-yuktanam
bhajatam priti-purvakam
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te

“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” Everyone is actually a servant, not an enemy or friend, and everyone is working under different directions from the Lord, who directs each living entity according to his mentality.

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on July 17th, 2013

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