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Who’s To Blame?

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 / Published in Articles, Mahatma das / 7,206 views

By Mahatma das

From the beginning of Prabhupada’s preaching in New York he spoke about the development of an international society, but his new followers couldn’t imagine Krsna consciousness going beyond the walls of the little storefront on 26 Second Avenue.

Fortunately Prabhupada didn’t share their vision. He had such a deep faith in Lord Caitanya’s prediction and the instructions of his Guru Maharaja that he said the Krsna consciousness would someday go down in history for changing the world in its darkest hour.

There are reason’s Prabhupada thought this way, and in this article I examine one of the most essential: taking personally responsibility for making the world Krsna conscious. Instead of thinking people are not interested in Krsna consciousness, Prabhupda taught us to see that it is our fault that we cannot interest them.

This empowered way of thinking is at the heart of Prabhupada’s own success – and at the heart of our potential success.

Your servant,

Mahatma Das

It All Depends On Us
The preaching of the Gaudiya Math during Srila Bhaktisidhhanta’s life was so powerful that the most famous and prominent religious movement in Bengal at that time gradually lost its popularity. The Gaudiya Math publicly exposed the leader of this movement (he claimed to be an incarnation of Rama and Krsna) and proved that his teachings deviated from the conclusions of the Vedas.

However, shortly after the demise of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, that very same religious movement began gaining popularity and again became an influential force, misleading millions of people. Prabhupada said their success was the fault of the Gaudiya Matha. Why? Because after the departure of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta the preaching work of the Gaudiya Matha slackened.

About five years ago when I was living in Dallas, several people were shot to death at a weeknight church service. In responding to this incident the pastor of the church said to his congregation, “We are all responsible for the death of those church members.” He said the fact that there are people roaming the street who are so spiritually bankrupt that they would kill innocent people in a church service is a sign that our efforts to spread Christianity are failing.

I was impressed by his words. Basically he was saying the same thing that Prabhupada said about the Gaudiya Matha. When a devotee of the Lord sees godlessness in the world he doesn’t blame it on the people. Rather he blames it on the lack of spiritual guidance that is being given to the people. And what this really means is that you and I take responsibility for the lack of God consciousness in the world.

Prabhupada was once asked, “How far is Lord Caitanya’s prediction that His name will be heard in every town and village true?” He replied, “That depends on those who are preaching.”

I lived in Mauritius for several years and it was commonly accepted that Prabhupada said Mauritius would be the first Krsna conscious country in the world. However, I couldn’t find anyone who actually heard Prabhupada say that. Finally, I was able to ask the man who hosted Prabhupada during his stay in Mauritius if he ever heard Prabhupada predict that Mauritius would become the first Krsna conscious country. He told me he never heard him say that. Then he paused for a minute and thought about it and said, “But I do remember him saying it could become the first Krsna conscious country in the world.”

Nothing is set in stone. Spreading Krsna consciousness depends on you and me.

In 1973 I was living in the San Diego temple and the preaching was rapidly expanding. We regularly reported our successes to Srila Prabhupada. He appreciated our service and in one letter to us made an amazing prediction.

“If we go on preaching vigorously as we have been for another 25 years, then all these other so called religions will disappear. After all what do they have to offer?” (letter to Bhakta dasa, 1973).

That letter has always weighed heavy in my mind. These other religions have far from disappeared.

What Does Our Desire Have To Do With It?
Prabhupada writes, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, influenced by the merciful devotees’ attempt to deliver fallen souls, enlightens the people in general from within by His causeless mercy.”

You have more influence over people’s spiritual lives than you might think.

Srila Prabhupada’s personal desire was that every person in the world become Krsna conscious. However, when he was aboard the Jaladuta he was wondering how it would be possible for a civilization completely covered by ignorance and passion to understand the Vedic message. Thus he prayed to Krsna as the supersoul, “I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message.”

As it is said, “Pray as if everything depends on God and act as if everything depends on you.” This is what Prabhupada did and Krsna definitely answered Prabhupada’s prayers.

Personal responsibility towards preaching is empowering. Prabhupada’s god-brothers went to preach in England in the 1920’s and came back saying that the westerners are too fallen to take up Krsna consciousness. Fortunately, Prabhupada didn’t think this way. He took personal responsibility to spread Lord Caitanya’s mission.

Remember, ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses. If the world is not Krsna conscious, we need to look at ourselves. Whenever devotees made excuses and told Prabhupada that people were not receptive or that they were difficult to preach to, Prabhupada always said that the problem was not with the people they were preaching to; the problem was with us.

What if I Am Not a Merciful Person?
But what if you don’t really feel the burden of the world like the great devotees do? You should – at least if you want to call yourself a human being. The Srimad Bhagavatam says that every human being is meant to be merciful. In a lecture in 1969, Prabhupada said, “So if we human beings, if we forget even ordinary mercy, compassion and gratefulness, then what is that human life?”

Gurudas relates that he was once told Prabhupada that he sometimes feels sorry for the people suffering in this material world. Prabhupada replied, “Why only sometimes?”

Once Bhumi, mother earth, was not producing enough food to feed the entire population of the world. When King Prithu asked her why she told him she didn’t want to feed all the demoniac people that lived on earth. Maharaja Prithu chastised her and was ready to kill her. To protect herself she took the form of a cow thinking the king wouldn’t hurt a cow. But he continued to pursue her and said if a citizen is not compassionate on his fellow man, he or she may be killed by the king and such killing is never to be considered actual killing.

All I can say is, “Wow, that’s heavy!”

Prabhupada writes: “Even in the material field, if a person is not interested in other’s welfare, he should be considered to be condemned by the Personality of Godhead or his representative like Prithu Maharaja.”

What’s My Duty?
So the implications of not caring about others are heavy. But it is even heavier for us. Why? It is said that with the gift of knowledge comes the obligation to give it to others. We have been given an immense treasure house of knowledge, so we are duty bound to see it is distributed.

“Although India has the sublime knowledge of Bhagavad-gita, Indians have not done their proper duty of distributing it.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.2.19).

How many Indians realize that it is their “PROPER DUTY” to spread Vedic wisdom? Just by being Indian, by having this knowledge, Indians are duty bound to distribute it. In the early days of the movement, Prabhupada told his western disciples that since the Indians are not doing their duty, it is now your duty to distribute this knowledge. Even at an initiation in 1966 Prabhupada he made this clear. He said that he is giving knowledge and the initiates are becoming obliged, by accepting initiation, to distribute it widely. He said this is their guru-daksina.

What Does Preaching Mean?
Before I go on, I want to clarify that I am not talking about preaching in any specific way. We can help others become Krsna conscious in unlimited ways. We all have some special gift to offer in Krsna’s service. Krsna consciousness means to connect with our inspiration and talents and use them in Krsna’s service to help the world.

To excite your imagination, I’d like to share with you one inspiring example of how this might be done. This is the mission of one successful author and speaker (who, by the way, became successful as a result of this mission statement).

“To create and inspire one million millionaires who each give one million dollars to their church or charity.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if a devotee had the same mission? There are so many projects and temples that could flourish with this kind of funding.

There are as many ways to serve Krsna as there are devotees. I’d like to share a quote that will hopefully get you thinking how you might be able to expand your service in some way.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” (MICHELANGELO)

What are You Asking For?
Lord Caitanya asked Nityananda Prabhu, “How can all the fallen souls be saved?”
What more could you be doing if you asked this question – and asked it often?

If you do regular service at the temple I am not in anyway minimizing that. I am just asking you to consider what more you can be doing by asking yourself how all the fallen souls can be saved.

If we as a society are to help the world, I believe it is essential that everyone of us ask ourselves this question continually.

Do We Really Care About Others?
I don’t think it is fruitful to ponder whether or not you really care that people are suffering without Krsna consciousness. We all care to one degree or another. The important question to ask is, “Do you care enough to do something about it?*

Let me share a thought that has always inspired me. I know that right now there are people somewhere whose lives I can touch by making a little personal sacrifice, by going out of my way to do something to further the mission of Krsna consciousness. I may not know who those people are and I might never meet them; and I can’t always say how my efforts to spread Krsna consciousness will directly influence them. But I do know that doing nothing isn’t helping anyone.

There are people all over the world who want Krsna conscious. The reality is that the choices you and I make in our daily lives will determine whether some of them will get it or not.
_______________________________________________________

* If we care about others we will take care of our own spiritual lives. Lord Caitanya said make your life successful and then make other’s lives successful. Physician, heal thyself. Devotees have often overextended themselves in the name of preaching and either eventually burned out or fell down as a result. Dead men don’t make good soldiers.

Exercise

The exercise was actually given above, but I will restate it again.

Ask yourself “What more can I do to make the world more Krsna conscious? How can all the fallen souls be saved?”

And never stop asking this question.

When our small mistakes cause huge problems (video)
Iskcon Arouca free food distribution for flood victims in St. Helena

8 Responses to “Who’s To Blame?”

  1. amalagaura says :

    Thank you for this post Mahatma Prabhu, I think this is very thoughtful and inspiring.

    I think one thing we really need to think about is the number of devotees who continue to follow their vows after initiation. As we all know from our favorite mantra, svalpa punya vatam rajam, vishvas naiva jayate, unless one has great pious credits, it is difficult to continue with devotional service strictly. And in my limited experience we see that devotees from good upbringings and childhoods do better in the long term with devotional service than those with a lot of emotional and other issues.

    To me this is confusing since devotional service is supposed to be for the most fallen. So devotional service is for the most fallen but it is easier for the pious to practice.

    Anyway my point is I think devotees need to be creative with how to help others. This topic can get a bit controversial.

    hare krishna,
    amala gaura dasa

    • DeenanathaChaithanyaDasa says :

      Hare Krishna Mahatma Prabhu

      Please accept my humble dandavats.

      Thank you very much for the nectar on devotee's responsibility in serving Srila Prabhupada's instructions.

      Prabhupada writes: “Even in the material field, if a person is not interested in other’s welfare, he should be considered to be condemned by the Personality of Godhead or his representative like Prithu Maharaja.”

      Personal responsibility towards preaching is empowering. This is very inspiring and motivating. Everyone who is serving Srila Prabhupada is experiencing mercy, nectar that is helping to serve. Srila Prabhupada mentions "Perpetually". Many times as shared by devotees, troubles are the testing times that helps one to be more careful. This helps to serve others with Gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for allowing us to serve with Compassion.

      Srila Prabhupada is very merciful and all devotees serving Srila Prabhupada like yourself are merciful upon all of us.

      Devotees have shared how in situations that seemed very difficult to serve, mercy is showered, empowered and they are able to serve, preach, continue Devotional Service in Krishna Consciousness.

      Begging to be humble servant and pray "Personal responsibility towards preaching is empowering" will help and guide in all aspects of Devotional Service to serve Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON community.

  2. bhaktarob says :

    Dear Mahatma Prabhu,

    Hare Krishna!

    This is the best article I ever read on dandavats.

    Years ago, I used to have issues with depression, and I used to think that the whole world was against me, and that whatever I did would never be successful. That’s regarded clinically as a kind of insanity. Essentially, we are going through the same thing collectively, and we need to pull ourselves out of it. Lack of confidence in ourselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with the public, but, just like the depressed person, due to our condition, we can’t understand that it’s ourselves that’s the source of the problem. And just like the depressed person, those who are depending on us to be strong for them become neglected, and take shelter elsewhere.

    What might it take to persuade everyone to come out of this? I spent years going to counselling and taking medication, and none of it worked. But then I got a job looking after others who were sick, and my own sickness disappeared. A few years later, when I joined the devotees, I heard one prabhu, when asked what is the best cure for depression, reply: “just try and help others.”

    I guess the more you try to help others, the more your concentration is fixed outwards and in the present, rather than inwards, where it often acts destructively, pointlessly chewing over the past. You see that many others are suffering a lot more than you imagine that you are, and so you re-evaluate your own incredible good fortune. And you develop a much needed feeling of self-worth and a sense of having a role in the world, instead of feeling isolated and dejected.

    So maybe you’ve prescribed the cure for our disease, prabhu. And if just a few people took it, then anything is once again possible.

    Many thanks

    Your servant
    Rob

  3. bhaktarob says :

    Just to add a couple of points:

    First – we are salesmen. Krishna and Prabhupada are our “products”. Sri Krishna is specifically “the all-attractive one”. Srila Prabhupada is his pure representative. So how hard can our job of selling really be if we actually have faith in these facts?

    Second – in my limited understanding, Srila Prabhupada is his vani, not his vapuh. Therefore, miracles are not dependent on his vapuh, but on his vani. “It won’t ever be like the 70s when Prabhupada was around,” it is often said. But the point is, he is as “around” as he has ever been. Right there. Waiting to empower anyone who follows his instructions, in ever-fresh miraculous and inconceivable ways.

    Your servant
    Rob

  4. Gaurav Mittal says :

    “What more can I do to make the world more Krsna conscious?
    How can all the fallen souls be saved?”

    The above preaching spirit may appear good but there is problem with it. It assumes that I am not fallen and other people who are fallen need to be saved. It is more like Christian teachings.

    Bhagavad Gita does not talk about being saved. It talks about truths:
    * Self is spiritual, eternal and not this body.
    * When we realize our self as different from transient matter, we are not affected by it. (Equanimity).
    * I am ansh (part) of the Supreme, Krishna.
    * Easiest way to attain Krishna is to always remember Him. (ananya cintan)

    One may claim himself to be saved like many Christians do. But it is good to look inwards and see how much we realize our self as not body and matter but part of Krishna. How much we act with equamity? How much we internally remember Krishna?

    What is the use of saving others when we ourselves don’t realize above principles. It is like blind leading blind and in the end, no one realizes above mentioned truth. That results in more chaos in the society.

    If most of us can follow simple principle of always remembering Krishna and never forgetting Him, our life will become happy and also, we will give happiness and bhakti to others around us.

  5. bhaktarob says :

    I entirely disagree with Gaurav Mittal Prabhu. It does not at all assume that we are saved. The point is that our OWN process of salvation or purification is to spread the sankirtana movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, under his direct instruction. This is what we have forgotten, and I think that Mahatma Prabhu has done a great job in reminding us in this article. The idea that by some internal process we can make spiritual advancement is rejected in two steps:

    1. Purification is dependent on the satisfaction of the Lord and cannot be achieved independently of Him
    2. The Lord’s direct order, the spiritual master’s direct order and the dharma-yuga for the age is to make endeavour for the expansion of the glorification of the Lord. One cannot achieve the mercy of Krishna without achieving the mercy of the spiritual master, and that is not possible without following his instructions, which are in turn non-different from the Lord’s.

    As Prabhupadanugas, as Gaudiya Vaisnavas, we are preachers. This is the highest process. Any suggestion or subtle shift to the contrary is to be rejected. As Sri Nityananda Prabhu instructs Jiva Goswami – to enter into the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Krishna, one must satisfy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One satisfies Lord Caitanya by becoming his servant. And to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu means to expand His mission for the deliverance of all conditioned souls. As Srila Prabhupada said we may be imperfect, but if the message is perfect, then it is perfect.

    Prabhupada himself prays in this way at the beginning of his translation of Srimad Bhagavatam. Asking forgiveness for his faults in presenting the work, he quotes the famous verse – “such transcendental literature, even though it may be imperfectly composed, is still heard and relished by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”

    So not yet being purified doesn’t let us off the hook of spreading the sankirtana movement of the Lord – a point we should all remember.

  6. pustakrishna says :

    Dear Mahatma das,
    Dandavat and Hare Krishna. I so much appreciate the compassionate hearts of vaishnava saints like you. When I was in South Africa in the early 70’s during apartheid, it was so difficult to preach there. I could only stay 3 months at a time, then I had to go in and out of the country again and again. I know that Srila Prabhupad had sent me there is establish the movement of Mahaprabhu, and to leave something behind. Roma and Greg and other South Africans joined. Our Indian friends gave us so much love, support, and facility. I simply prayed to Krishna to kindly help me fulfill Srila Prabhupad’s wishes.
    Sometimes, going out to preach at the universities, there would not be any students who would sit down to listen. Once, at Capetown University, while preaching, a student threw a lit cherry-bomb which exploded only 3 feet in front of me. I did not flinch feeling the transcendental shelter of Krishna. In any case, sometimes my heart was not up for the challenge. I asked Srila Prabhupad what I should do, whether I should preach in those instances. His Divine Grace said: “Yes, go on preaching, even if no one is around, you yourself will be benefitted.”
    We are not in control of the outcomes or results. That is always in Krishna’s Hands. We want to simply engage in devotional service, develop our love for Krishna, and please our beloved Vaishnava Acharyas. Krishna is our dearmost Friend, and he will never let us down. Really, Krishna has said how incredibly rare it is to become His bhakta in this prison of a world. What more can we say? We can not expect that everyone will become bhaktas, but we are giving out the opportunities for sukriti that will carry us and others into better devotional stead in the future.
    I am so grateful for help that friends in South Africa gave us. Even if they did not remain in the fire of devotional service, as I also do not feel so fortunate, their love for Krishna, for association with the devotees, for learning from Srila Prabhupad, their sacrifices were never without appreciation by me. They were the links that led to a strong movement in South Africa. I could have never imagined it! It is a miracle…as it was when we first visited Mauritius with Srila Prabhupad, there was no hint of a movement but like touchstone, the pure devotee, Mahaprabhu’s Movement becoming manifest there. We may not see it happen before our eyes, but it will happen. Pusta Krishna das

  7. Suresh das says :

    In answer to Amala Gaura Prabhu’s question above, as to whether Bhakti-yoga is meant to be practiced primarily by the most fallen, Srila Prabhupada writes that in fact the teachings of Bhagavad-gita are meant foremost for the rulers of planets, in other words for the topmost members of human society. Lord Krishna spoke Bhagavad-gita first to the Sun God, who then spoke it to Manu (his son) and the father of mankind. Manu in turn spoke it to King Iksvaku (his son), the emperor of the earth planet. Gradually the teachings have been passed down to all of us.

    Each of us must go through periods of suffering and distress in life, as well as happiness and joy. It is always easier to believe in God and engage in His service when times are good and everything is in abundance. During the 1970’s, as an example, when I was a young devotee, having joined Krishna Consciousness as a teenager, I could feel the presence of the Lord every day, and great happiness almost at all times. Young people naturally feel a sense of idealism and desire to save the world. Often young people will work day-and-night, tirelessly for some good cause for humanity, such as the Peace Core, United Nations, as well as the spreading of Krishna Consciousness. It is natural for young people to feel blissful, due to healthy, fresher bodies.

    Krishna Consciousness is not in any way dependent on which family one was born in. Understanding Bhakti-yoga is not dependent on material education either. It is open for everyone. Srila Prabhupada stated even a child or a dog can participate in the chanting, because the sound vibrations spring from the spiritual world, and is not a material sound.

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