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Beware! The fault-finders

Friday, 26 September 2008 / Published in Blog thoughts, Kesava Krsna Dasa / 4,878 views

Kesava Krsna dasa:

There is something unsettling about faultfinders who claim to have Iskcon and Srila Prabhupada’s interest at heart, but who use cunning behaviour to tell the whole world how devious and wicked the honest devotees are. Unfortunately, innocent, happy-faced devotees can turn into cold judgemental characters after being exposed to words said to be highly beneficial for the devotee community.

There exists an enormous market in the genre of gossip and rumour, which explains the great popularity of TV soap operas the world over. Repetitive themes of spiritual scandal, heresy, and deviation make for indulgent absorption, especially for one experiencing a dreary devotional continuation. Such curious excitement about the who’s who in spiritual circles issuing from suspect forums can be the stuff that kills the cat of the devotional creeper without even knowing it.

Exercising the right for free speech and discrimination and disguising all manner of invectives and negativity with polished philosophy and zealous concern, these expressions are intended to destroy tender faith, and help harden the heart to repeat the abusive cycle of fault-finding in others.

Faultfinders are fond of using various tactics to impose their superiority in argument, but when pitted against proper adherence to vaisnava culture these same tactics become their downfall. The use of certain types of logic though appealing to many, in fact lay bare the inner workings of a distressed condition, much like seeing an ugly tortoise without it’s shell.

“I am still healthy and chanting”

Historical vaisnava literature records how certain offenders to vaisnavas succumbed to devastating reactions such as leprosy and other disasters. Bearing in mind these afflictions came after insulting exalted souls like Srila Haridasa Thakur, the question arises; do these reactions fit the severity of the crime? Or to put it into today’s context, after the passing of Srila Prabhupada who naturally exuded a maha-bhagavat stature, will the offending of all those less than him, including the gurus and other honest devotees, mete out far lesser reactions, or none at all?

Some faultfinders proudly proclaim to have been dredging up the dirt of faults in their adversarial God brothers and sisters, and grand disciples for years, yet they are still healthy and chanting Hare Krishna too. Without compunction, they obviously feel that with no ill effects befalling them they are doing the correct thing. Is this really the case? Are they truly free from any serious consequences?

In reality, there is one outstanding feature of punishment evident for all to see, day after day, year after year. While the physical reactions may not be discernable, the body still does the bidding of higher faculties. So when the mind and intelligence are deeply absorbed in thinking and planning what next abusive article to write for the destruction of devotee’s faith while chanting Hare Krishna, this in itself is serious punishment given by the Lord.

In other words, the bodily appendages may not be melting away with leprosy, but the attraction to delightfully zoom in to the festering sores, boils, and wounds of honest but sometimes-faulty spiritual endeavour is a joyous perversion of bliss. Such a state of mind will admire the stench of rotting potatoes to be the heavenly fragrance of the blue lotus flower, and a pineapple to taste like mouldy broccoli. This is unfortunate.

Indiscriminat discrimination

“I am using my powers of discrimination, oh dasa”. While the objects of their lampooning are referred to as dasa and guys, the faultfinders reverently call each other prabhus. “We are allowed to discriminate aren’t we? Trouble is, we don’t discriminate enough…you see, a spade is a spade…” Are copious amounts of discrimination good for all of us? Let us see.

In normal vaisnava dealings, it would be most foolhardy and reckless to disparage a guru in good standing in front of a disciple, or group of disciples. This would certainly be a doomed case of so-called discrimination. Such a person would hardly tell a garden pea from a cannon ball. Yet on certain forums, the use of incorrect discrimination can at once ruin the spiritual lives of many unsuspecting devotees.

Striding under the banner of good old hard-nosed journalistic dedication combined with discrimination, the publishing of tales often based on rumour and second-guessing about honest devotees and spiritual masters, are actually indiscriminate doses of toxic sludge that have no value for the devotional creeper. Rather than uplift the readers these ‘highly beneficial’ tales plunge the consciousness down into ignorance.

If after reading such material a devotee begins to lose respect and faith in other honest devotees then we know the work of the indiscriminator has cast the evil spell of aparadha into the heart, to replicate the same with a new recruit. The dangers posed by these faultfinders often go unnoticed because the injection of ignorance will cloud the ability to know. Is there any wonder why they think they are always right?

Unfair debaters

Because illusion and ignorance has stolen their sense of decency and happiness, the need to rise to the position of guru almighty helps to insulate against fair and dignified debate. If, for instance a disciple legitimately defends his or her guru, the predictable retort will be; “Stop being sentimental, oh dasa or dasi”. Not realising that human sentiments have their place in matters of devotion, just as the Pandavas seethed on hearing Sisupala’s blasphemous tirade against Krishna, the faultfinders have lost their finer sentiments having been eroded by punishment.

A proud ignorant stance has a reputation to keep and to ensure victory means to argue in a way that the opponent be “damned if they do, and damned if they don’t”. A generous quantity of dirty tricks like speculation, second-guessing the object of envy, dredging up the past, casting aspersions, are just some of their artillery.

In order to be noticed on certain forums the use of eye-catching scandalous headlines hope to invite responses and challenges from honest devotees. The faultfinders lament when honest devotees do not respond to their victory cries, for swan like mentalities care not for crow-like places. Then the faultfinders proclaim again that they are victorious simply because nobody cared to debate with them – hollow victory indeed. If there is no scriptural basis, on which to find fault or unnecessarily correct others without being a father or guru, this alone defeats their purpose.

Bewildered about who a vaisnava is

The punishment of being attracted to the morose destruction of faith is combined with a worrying inability to tell a vaisnava from a non-vaisnava. The craving to belittle the vaisnavas in good standing obviously means they do not consider them vaisnavas, unless of course they are someone like Sri Srivasa Thakur.

Those in knowledge cannot condone the gratuitous wholesale nature of their ‘discriminate’ ramblings aimed at weakening the faith of readers in certain vaisnavas. To have one’s knowledge stolen by illusion is a certain cause of bewilderment in ascertaining who is favoured by Krishna, and who is not. This consideration alone in conjecturing who is dear to Krishna, and who is not, from the distance of uninformed guesswork does not fit within the purview of sanity. Discretion dictates the utmost in respect, and confidentiality in matters of deep personal doubt; not displaying it as a leverage to settle scores, or to gather support against those disliked on a personal level.

Depleted finer sentiments

Posturing as a devotee yet demeaning another reveals the erosion of positive sentiments like appreciation, gratitude, gratefulness, encouragement and so on, which do not feature very much in their analyses; we do see more negative wording reflecting distress and allied emotions. Can a distressed state of mind speak or write sound philosophy?

When Lord Krishna was about to engage in battle against Jarasandha, and during the initial beating of the chest verbal exchanges, He had this to say: “We do not care to hear from you any more, because it is useless to hear the words of a person who is going to die or one who is very distressed”. (Krishna book ch. 50)

“The passion for honour” (BG. 16.1) at the expense of another devotee will usually be obtained through being “expert in insulting others” (BG.18.28). As it is normal for any happily situated devotee to admire the efforts of fellow devotees, in spite of learning curves and mistakes, these do not register for one in a distressed state of mind.

Even a reasonable person will reflect: “Devotional service is such a rare, rare thing. How astonishing it is that all these devotees are trying, yes, trying to please their spiritual masters and Krishna”. To be devoid of this simple sentiment indicates something is wrong, and to publish hollowed out under-sentimental words meant for devotees is a great disservice.

I know that

To impress with their learning the faultfinders will presume to already know about certain realisations of assured devotees when passing judgement on their work. Many of them distanced themselves from Iskcon years ago and are ensnared in a time and space quite far removed from the progress made in terms of devotee learning, and general maturation within Iskcon.

When they analyse something it is often reactive to the subject matter at hand, and will introduce repetitions of times gone by without genuine insight. The urge to communicate inner conflicts and unhappiness heavily influences their ongoing desire to have the world take them seriously, but the realisations will be limited to these constraints.

Fault finding the fault-finders

Another typical response to an honest devotee trying to defend other vaisnavas is, “you are fault finding yourself…so how can your words have any value?” To this, we should see who stands upon firmer territory sastrically, the faultfinder, or the one who is defending honest devotees. Remembering how cunning a person with no sastric backing can be and how he will turn around an honest argument, the simple answer is, the defender has moral authority.

Even so, to get into an argument with a seasoned faultfinder will not produce a satisfactory outcome. The tendency to add more criticism and unfounded personal attacks to match some normal responses by the defender will bring the encounter down to an undignified level. Better to keep a distance, and if they wallow in an acclaimed victory that never was, let them have it, for they have their punishment to contend with without any chance of victory, unless they change. The attempts of the defender are more an ornament, but the climate in which good advice is unheeded is rife with ignorance.

Curiosity hacks the creeper

When some rumour mongering stokes the fire of curiosity and directs us towards the source, be it verbal or written, knowing full well the story may be false or plain downright vengeful, should we be worried? We should if we accept the information as factual, when later it turned out to be untrue, by which time some faith and respect has been hacked.

Now the global village enables news to whiz into our e-mail boxes in an instance, the need for information is easily granted, but so is the lurking devil of our curiosity, which requires upward direction. Whatever feeds our information requirements it is worth noting in the event of a headline sensation, the often-repeated warnings of Srila Prabhupada. Just one typical example should suffice to curb our risky curiosity: “Even if you find some fault in him. Because sadhu is sadhu-bhusanah. You cannot find fault in him. Cannot find fault, but even though if you find some fault, but if you find that he is strictly, he is engaged in the service of the Lord, Krishna says, he is sadhu”. (BG. 4.8 class, Bombay, March 28, 1974)

Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa


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    Praghosa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Does a person become a devotee by doing many conversions?”

    Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura said that the position of a Vaisnava can be tested by seeing how good a touchstone he is—that is, by seeing how many Vaisnavas he has made during his life. A Vaisnava should be a touchstone so that he can convert others to Vaisnavism by his preaching CC Madhya Lila 24. 277

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    yasodanandana ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    you are absolutely right.. but i think that the most important thing is to see the problems and to find a remedy.. especially when the problems are many …

    in the verse of Krsna Book that you have brought, it is Krishna who judges that jarasanda is not to be allowed to talk..

    we have not such power…

    so it is possible that who we call an offender (that it can be an offense in itself), is not an offender but a sincere devotee..

    but.. the most important thing remains the problem… if you criticize me or my situation, i have to take it in consideration and i have to think about it, even if you were recognizable as the biggest demon..

    (sorry for my bad english… )


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    Kesava Krsna dasa ( User Karma: -2 ) says:

    Yashodanandana Prabhu,

    While it is true many issues need to be dealt with, and sincere devotees will no doubt raise their concerns in the proper way, there is a difference of approach in how faultfinders and sincere devotees face such problems.

    A sincere devotee will more likely tackle the issues at hand without going for the man as it were – to heap scorn on a personal level. Sincere devotees will observe vaisnava protocols and communicate concerns behind the scenes. Such discreet communication will help ease the pressure for forced disclosure and minimise the personal fallout, considering the hurt caused.

    Faultfinders will sieze the same opportunity and publicise the issue and gloat in the credit of hurting the feelings of others. The pride of righteousness will also aim for the man and personalise the issue. Even honest devotees in good standing are unable to escape indiscriminate corrections.

    The difference of approach is the difference between goodness and ignorance tinged with passion; mature or immature, civilized or corrosive. Even materailistic people acknowledge the need for civilized conduct when resolving faulty issues. Of course, serious matters will surface sooner or later, naming and all, and there is no exception within the devotee community either, and in some cases this is warranted.

    So the behaviour of a sincere devotee and how he or she reacts in certain situations will be different to how a seething faultfinder reacts. If we are unable too see the difference we can very easily side with the faultfinding mentality and think to ourselves: “What’s the harm? There only pointing out defects.”

    It should come to notice that a display of indifference, or mild approval, can grab one into the net of faultfinding and eventually erode the sensitivity to finer vaisnava sentiments. For this reason a desensitised mind feels less guilt about harsh judgements.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

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    Pandu das ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hare Krishna. One example of how Srila Prabhupada (“Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu”) responded to deviations in the Gaudiya Matha after the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada is described in Our Srila Prabhupada, A Friend to All, Early Contemporaries Remember Him. This part told by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja:

    “…Later Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu wrote another dramatic article — this time about some of the leaders in the Gaudiya Matha. The article explained how the institution was coming apart after Srila [Bhaktisiddhanta] Prabhupada’s departure. Grihasthas were giving up their wives and loving others’ wives, and in the name of developing the mission, some were putting all the money collected into their own pockets. Sannyasis, even those who had been with their Prabhupada, were making buildings and sending all the money to their sons in their former homes to go to high school and university, or to go to England and America to study law and other things. He wrote about this situation and the first part was published in our Bhagavata-patrika and Gaudiya-patrika. At once a big storm broke out in the whole Gaudiya Mission. Although only about three pages were printed, letters began to come from many Gaudiya Mathas.

    “It was like a revolution. Our guru maharaja and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu were talking and smiling very secretly together. Prabhu said, ‘We should publish more of it. Why not?’ Guru Maharaja was also in favor of publishing it. However many of the godbrothers exclaimed, ‘Oh, Kesava Maharaja, what are you doing, printing this? Then everyone will know and will criticize the Gaudiya Matha. These are our private family matters.’ Even Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja, who was highly respected by all, was consulted. Many godbrothers came to Mathura at that time and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu was residing here in our matha. Srila Tirtha Maharaja andother devotees asked, ‘What are you going to do? If you print this then our present institution will be smashed.’ Guru Maharaja and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu were smiling and asking each other, ‘Oh, what to do?’ But when requested by so many godbrothers they decided, ‘Later on we may publish the articles, but for now we should obey their orders.’”

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    ccd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I find it that it would be very hard for me personally, if only I was a devotee, to find faults with other vaishnavas. In fact I think it should be a role of non-devotees who should do it instead of devotees… Vaishnavas are so exalted, it is impossible to see faults without being faulty. It is the age of kali and naturally everyone is affected, but hardly a reason to minimize the power of devotional service, as if even visible faults are counteracted by the fire of devotional service to Krishna. Why would anyone be a fault finder to devotees? I know that some may disagree with me, but it is better for a devotee to exaggerate the faults one see in ones own heart then to blow out of proportion faults of others. I would advise to follow the example of Srivasa Thakura – who was framed for worshiping devi, and he admitted to this ‘fall-down’, even he was not at fault. Jaya Srivasa Thakura ki? Jaya… Of course some say ‘do not apologize, it is the sign of weakness’, but vaishnavas want to be weak to attract mercy of Gauranga…

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    Kesava Krsna dasa ( User Karma: -2 ) says:

    Pandu Prabhu,

    Certain aficianados of faultfinding also like to pick up on Srila Prabhupada’s less than glowing reports of the demise of the Gaudiya Math which failed to heed the call for a GBC body. Excerpts of historical accounts and pages of Chaitanya Charitamrta attest to these. However, Srila Prabhupada warned us: “I can criticise my Godbrothers; you cannot.”

    If we wish to use the above material as something to follow, still we would be in contravention of the Godly quality of being, “averse to faultfinding,” (BG 16.1) which is expanded upon in the purport to include unneccessary correction of others.

    If the above material is displayed to infer that Iskcon is experiencing the same dramatic storm that flattened the Gaudiya Math, with an excuse to let loose acrid vitriol on it’s members, then the results are already there on the web.

    But why would Srila Prabhupada himself warn his followers of criticising, as if to contradict himself, or be inconsistent in philosophical values, as this material infers? Why did Srila Prabhupada beg for forgiveness from his Godbrothers in his last days? Does anyone think he wanted us to be at war with each other by leaving aside Godly qualities and assuming tamasic ones?

    This type of material needs to be balanced against the far greater aggregate of his teachings, which are to help us elevate ourselves. We often see how certain devious thought patterns plough all their weight in gold on obscure statements or traits of behaviour, and build it into a deviant dead branch passing as the real thing.

    Any intelligent devotee will not use the above material as a license to be a faultfinder, claiming to follow in Srila Prabhupada’s footsteps. If we read his books carefully, listen to his lectures and so on, while chanting Hare Krishna sincerely, the way forward is as clear as the Godly path.

    When the sensitivity has waned and one looks for ‘excitement’ by way of faultfinding, one will discover any old pretext to barge in and assent, and the above material will add to the same battle worn artillery. In fact, it is a way of telling everyone: “Srila Prabhupada was a faultfinder. Let me be one too.” This is not cryptic language, just blatant misuse of the intelligence influenced by ignorance. Some would see this as an offence in itself.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think Pandu Prabhu’s point (please correct me if I am wrong Prabhu), is that even when Srila Prabhupada had some good grounds for exposing some very serious problems within Gaudiya Matha, he and B.P. Kesava Maharaja agreed to abide by the orders of the other senior devotees who asked them not to.

    Calling a thief a thief is not faultfinding (sometimes it has to be done), but people who are addicted to faultfinding will not hesitate to call honest devotees theives as well.

    Such faultfinding is very dangerous for spiritual life, as we all know, and such addicted faultfinders are obviously the ones Kesava Krishna Prabhu is talking about. (Right Kesava Krishna Prabhu? I think we all know the kind of statements you mean.)

    CCd’s proposal is the best policy. As far as possible, we should not listen to a Vaisnava be vilified, let alone participate in such personal attacks. Why is it so important to these folks to do that? It won’t be good for them, nor will it be good for anyone to listen to them.

    [Yet they seem to fancy themselves as muckraking heroes. It only makes them feel like bigger heroes if we react and try to muzzle them. We should as far as possible adopt the policy of “pouring in more milk”, so as not to get our own hands inky. Their half-truths and outright lies and slanders will shrivel up when exposed to the sunshine of real Krishna consciousness.]

    ISKCON of today is not suffering from the kind of problems the Gaudiya Math experienced in Pandu’s example.

    There were some serious problems in the 1980s, and again when Harikesa fell in 1998, but today I see a lot of depth of maturity and realization among ISKCON’s leaders, and a breadth of many talented devotee-leaders who are helping ISKCON push forward.

    Prabhupada apparently agreed to suppress his own “revolutionary” writings at the behest of senior Gaudiya Math leaders. “Let us obey their orders.” And he was legitimately calling attention to real derelictions of duty, malfeasance, embezzlement and worse. Those who want to expose some perceived wrongdoings should probably learn from the example cited by Pandu, and consult with trusted leaders first.

    We do not need to create Stalinist regimes of enforced official worship and suppression of dissent. The real light of Prabhupada’s enlightened disciples will drive away (or convert) all the angry, faultfinding discontents. Many are just misguided, weak devotees who need to be befriended and enlightened.

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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    But aside from the Sisupal-like blasphemers that I think Kesava Krishna is writing about, there is a more subtle kind of fault-finding that holds us back, when we start worrying about how other devotees are doing their service, and start criticizing it, or trying to change their ways.

    Unless it is really our responsibility to train or direct the way someone else is preaching, why should we worry so much about how they are doing it?

    If we think it can be done better another way, we should just set a good example ourselves. Or we might make a humble suggestion in private to express our concerns directly, but be prepared to accept that the other devotee may have another view.

    [After all, we are individuals and do not lose our individuality as we advance in Krishna consciousness. We want “independent thoughtful men.” We should renounce our desire to bring other devotees under our own control. It may get us in trouble.]

    It is not our duty to be the “critic” of what is the best way to serve Krishna. We might not know how some other plan or strategy is going to work. The internal energy may be dictating different methods to different devotees. Let’s hope they surprise us with their success.

    I am sorry I am being so abstract, rather than giving concrete examples. If I started giving concrete examples it might sound like I was criticizing and faultfinding those involved in the examples, which is not my intention.

    Mainly I am just pointing to the general principle that different devotees are inspired in different ways, and they should gravitate naturally toward others with whom they can work favorably, and focus on doing something positive for preaching, rather than spend their energy trying to stop other devotees from doing things differently.

    We could benefit from more of a “live and let live” attitude. Not that we should be unconcerned about each other’s spiritual well being, but even then, if we want to instruct someone, we have to be smart about how we do it so it will likely be effective. It can be another kind of sense gratification to instruct someone carelessly.

    Sometimes divisive politics and personality conflicts unnecessarily arise in the society of devotees, due to our mistaken idea that it has become our duty (or we have earned the “right”) to criticize other devotees. We should be open to the idea that we might be wrong, they might be right, and it might be none of our business.

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    Gaurav Mittal ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It is important to understand who is a devotee.

    Does a person become devotee by organisation affiliation? Obviously, not.

    Does a person become devotee by doing many conversions? If yes, then Christianity and Islam are much better than Vedic tradition. Many Christians are still converting millions of Hindu in India.

    Gita is very clear about devotee. A person becomes devotee when his internal conciousness changes — surrender to Krishna, complete faith that He is source of everything, seeing Krishna in everyone’s heart, seeing self as different from body, equanimity, experiencing happiness from within, not getting affected by external environment but maintaining inner calmness etc….

    It is extremely important aspect to bhakti to see Krishna is everyone’s heart. A person who sees His beloved Krishna in everyone cannot hurt anyone. But there are many people who injure and hurt others by their actions or words. Can they claim themselves to be devotees? No. They are Vaishnava aparadhis and they are destroyers of their own bhakti creeper.

    Our self is different from body. SB 11.23 chapter gives story of a brahmana. He was unaffected by suffering of body because he saw his self as different from body. He says that due to mind, we identify our self with body. No one can hurt our self. Suffering only happens to body. So, no one can ever cause us suffering. So, that is true that our self is beyond body and it is unaffected by external material circumstances. Still, when we serve others by understanding that they are part of Krishna, we get love of Krishna. We use our material circumstances to become better devotee. But those who inflict suffering on others (especially helpless children) miss the opportunity of their human life. Unfortunately, in Iskcon many such people are accepted as exalted personalities.

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    Kesava Krsna dasa ( User Karma: -2 ) says:

    The reason I responded to the Gaudiya Math example is because Srila Prabhupada’s God brothers often bare the brunt of our comparisons between the relative stability within Iskcon and that of the gaudiya Matha. And this example is frequently used by proponents of lower taste devotee shaming.

    Yes, Akruranatha Prabhu, I have noticed how in recent comments to other articles even, where some devotees express misunderstanding of my intentions, you come to the rescue to put matters into perspective. There is no exception here either. Your legal mind can gauge the direction and yet make it inclusive too, to encourage others. So I appreciate your comments, however much you have to say.

    CCD prabhu’s way forward is the ideal, but how many will agree? How many agree to what I am saying? How many agree with vaisnava behaviour in the real world? “Come on oh dasa…get real…it’s Kali-yuga…a crook can be named and shamed,” but where does the identification of the crook and honest devotee begin and end?

    An honest devotee is a crook to some, yet it feeds a very hostile environment in which there seems to be no clear cut ideology in terms of criticism and the rest. While we strive to uplift and integrate finer aspects of vaisnava culture into our lives, the challenges put forth by those advocating some hard-nosed realism causes ideological dissent.

    But however wide the gap is between devotees of differing shades of interpretation of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, whatever anybody does in one quarter will be acutely judged by another, and it continues. Srila Prabhupada distanced himself from the ruins of the then Gaudiya Math to go it alone and begin a new chapter in vaisnava history.

    In spite of the varied differences between devotees, we do not have the luxury of distancing ourselves, but rather stay to unite, which is more luxurious. But come rain or hail, fire and brimstone, only the sincere chanting of Hare Krishna will set our own unique paths towards perfection. At least along the way, perhaps it was a worthwhile cause to alert of the dangers of publicly hounding the honest devotees. Other than that, we have to be resigned to our fate determined by our innermost desires. Perhaps someone more qualified can take up the cause.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

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    pustakrishna ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Prabhus,
    The one point I especially want to make in supporting your concerns is this: those who have either written books or placed comments on the internet that are uncomplementary have done the greatest disservice. My daughter, doing some research on a paper for college, looked up Arotika & Srila Prabhupad and was mortified to see what trash come up on the internet. So damned you are if you have been contributors to harsh comments of a crow-like nature. Whatever one’s self-righteous purposes are in placing those comments in print or on the internet, you cannot retract those. They are “out there” and the venom cannot be extracted from the media.
    So, be thoughful and kind. Krishna is in your heart and is witnessing your every thought and choice. He will sanction if you become qualified to enter Goloka Vrindaban, or if you prefer, if you wish to journey into hellish conditions of existence. I therefore caution those with critical hearts and minds to restrict your activities with discussions in “conversation only”. Once you spew hurtful arguments into the internet or in print, you earn a degree you may wish you never had, however clever it sounds to some.
    I know the heart of Srila Prabhupad. He expressed it to me. He criticized me when I was wrong. I can tell you this: Srila Prabhupad overlooked karma to engage his disciples in bhakti. If you follow this example, you will be counted amongst the swan-like devotees who will welcome you into their company in the higher planes of existence, even as we also must be welcomed into Goloka by such well-wishers. Travel carefully, thoughtfully, and let negative thoughts go. That is discrimination. Srila Rupa Goswami recommends that we accept everything positive for the service of the Lord and His devotees, and reject that which is unfavorable. I hope this helps some. If someone wants to criticize someone, let them criticize me…I shall appeal to Krishna that you have insulted a non-devotee and that He might therefore forgive you.
    Pusta Krishna das

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    Namacarya das ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Pusta Krishna Prabhu,
    my ignorant self does not understand this point:

    “Srila Prabhupad overlooked karma to engage his disciples in bhakti.”

    Please, can you explain?

    Sorry for my ignorance.

    Thank you.

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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Yes, Akruranatha Prabhu, I have noticed how in recent comments to other articles even, where some devotees express misunderstanding of my intentions, you come to the rescue to put matters into perspective. . . So I appreciate your comments, however much you have to say.”

    Thanks for this warm expression. It means a lot to me. I appreciate your comments and articles, too, Kesava Krishna Prabhu. Please keep them coming.

    And all of you readers and writers. Please keep it up. I really appreciate all the devotees who comment here, and the editors who make this site possible.

    I don’t know what it is, but I have this itch to talk on the internet with devotees. It is like I am a columnist on deadline and I have to say something on Dandavats every day. [And, contrary to popular belief, they do not always publish everything I say. Thank God!] :-)

    But mainly, I want to interact with what other devotees are writing and saying, to focus in on what they write, try to appreciate what they mean, and show that I have understood by giving some (hopefully coherent) response.

    Communication is a normal human drive. Communication in writing can be more rewarding, sometimes, than just talking (where people can be prone to interrupt, misunderstand, or change the subject before the point has been satisfactorily made.)

    I spend my days communicating with opposing counsel and with judges, mostly striving to “win” for my clients (there is so much hypocrisy and double-talk involved), and also with clients who are often in anxiety (litigation can be hell). I would rather have nice, favorable communication with Krishna’s beloved devotees, and dovetail this communication impulse into something positive.

    I think part of why the internet is full of such foul, offensive material is that we devotees have not been very good at communicating with one another. Maybe I am being naive, but I think some of the schisms and ignorant finger-pointing and counter-cursing could have been avoided through careful, deliberate communication between honest, well-wishing, friendly devotees.

    Those who have gone off the deep end into outlandish, vituperative slander are hard for me to understand. How did they get that way? What made them so bitter? Did we somehow participate, like Dr. Frankenstein, in creating this monster? How did we lose their friendship? Can we win it back? They mostly seem like crude, coarse people, but do we have a duty to them, at least to try?

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    Kesava Krsna dasa ( User Karma: -2 ) says:

    As Pusta Krishna Prabhu correctly says, there is so much bad stuff infiltrating the internet that thousands of hapless souls can be put off from taking genuine steps forward towards Krishna. If a vaisnava is one who instils Krishna consciousness in others, can all those negative diatribes aimed at honest devotees be the work of vaisnavas? It is a great disservice indeed.

    But with a twist of logic many will assert that this appeal to avoid faultfinding is the doing of a special kind of paranoia; a ploy to keep all traces of dissent well hidden within the minds of complainants, which is an abuse of power. While it is true, a megalomaniacal leader can thrive in a climate of fear, these types of leadership models are not in vogue within Iskcon. Besides, there is ample recourse for complaints within proper structures; we have our checks and balance systems in place.

    So the need to avoid faultfinding is rather an inbuilt self defence mechanism if you like. At least for most spiritual practitioners the training in vaisnava etiquette and self-discipline are required to ensure steady progress. Once a certain level of affection has developed towards fellow devotees in true friendship, and appreciating all devotees, then to hear or to engage in faultfinding, becomes a very distasteful proposition. A hearty measure of humility is the basis for such healthy respect.

    Having reached this level does not mean the faculty of discrimination has vanished. Rather it is heightened to the degree that no spiritual gain is derived from baseless indiscrimination, and so the needs for cultured resolutions to problems are the order of the day.

    Still, having said all this, some attempted smart retorting will fill the gaps of certain web pages with howls of, “This is paranoia gone despotic! Even Caligula would make a tame alternative…anything but!” It is sad to say that such proliferation is quite widespread, as if to reduce the honest devotees to a minority. Yes, this is very sad.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

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    pustakrishna ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dandavat Prabhus,
    In reply to Namacarya’s question wherein I said that Srila Prabhupad overlooked our karma to engage us in devotional service…not only Srila Prabhupad did so, but all the great and magnanimous acharyas have done the same, right up to Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Each of us is a debtor to the laws of material nature. We reap what we have sown. That however is external ( BG 13.21). All of the actions and reactions of this world are the realm of the material energy of Krishna. We become entangled in this network of illusion by virtue of our attachment to the glaring material energy, or as Srila Prabhupad repeatedly said, because we are trying to lord over the material energy. In fact, the material energy is going on by Krishna’s arrangement, and we are passengers on this chariot. So, Srila Prabhupad saw each of us as Krishna has said: when you have thus learned the truth, you will know that all living beings are within Me and are Mine. Srila Prabhupad, a realized soul, saw the jiva soul, the paraprakriti nature of the atma. Who can deny this! Every bhakta who came to know Srila Prabhupad felt that His Divine Grace was seeing them as they are, as spirit souls in the service of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga. It did not matter from where we came, where we were…he would simply engage us in service. There was no prequalification needed. I hope that is clear.
    Secondly, Keshava Krishna das raises the ideal of discrimination. It is a very fine point, and it needs to be deeply pondered. Let us remember that Srila Prabhupad used the swan to exemplify the discriminative mentality, and the crow (which lunches on refuse) to exemplify the opposite. We want to extract Krishna consciousness as best we can from all situations. Yena tena prakarena, manah Krishna niveshayet (forgive spelling). Always remember Krishna, never forget Krishna. All the rules and regulations can be summed up by this one ideal. Krishna consciousness is service to the Center, not self service. This may help us to differentiate what is beneficial and what is entangling. Discrimination comes by Grace of Krishna…sarvasya ca aham hridi sannivistho, matah smritir jnanam apohanam ca (BG 15.7). I know that I have made errors in discrimination in my Krishna conscious experience, even when I considered that I was “right” for the sake of Krishna. I have learned the hard way, grace of Srila Prabhupad. My humble advice: be kind-hearted,you can’t lose. Pusta Krishna das

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