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Exploiting Humility

Thursday, 01 August 2019 / Published in Articles, Kesava Krsna Dasa / 6,215 views

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Sometimes our fixation on who’s “junior” and who is “senior” within our ranks, can inhibit proper devotee relationships. And introducing corporate ideas for managing our devotees can hinder, rather than promote healthy interactions between ourselves.

The basis of our learning, spiritual progress, and successful vaisnava relationships is humility. Most, if not all of our junior devotees today will take up leadership positions in the future. They too will become senior devotees. How our present leaders and senior devotees behave and act today will indicate how our juniors will follow into the future.

The need for “organisation and intelligence,” has to be based upon humility. It has been documented that when humility is abused or exploited even slightly, the repercussions are felt widely. There is a natural hierarchy of junior and senior devotees, but if again, this is moulded by systems that are intended for the workplace, in order to maximise financial profit, then we risk weakening what should be, strong and healthy vaisnava interactions, as opposed to simply, people or worker relationships.

Many of our initiated devotees and congregation members are familiar with the mechanisms of the workplace, and how progressive management seeks to harmonise worker and manager relations, simply to increase the chances of financial gain. There is definitely some ”rajasic” or passionate motivation involved. To try to do likewise within a vaisnava setting could impact on the natural flow of humility.

An Example

In the spirit of looking at things from different angles of vision, the seniority or leadership of Sri Ramachandra Puri can be cited. Being a Godbrother of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s spiritual master, Sri Ramachandra Puri knew that his position was considered sacred for Lord Chaitanya. He also knew that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was exalted and humble.

In normal circumstances, anything that Sri Ramachandra Puri could have done, within the confines of normal vaisnava dealings, would not be questioned by those junior to him. Knowing this, Sri Ramachandra Puri sought to correct Lord Chaitanya, and accuse Him of over-eating and other such fault finding antics.

Being impure of heart due to offending his own spiritual master, Sri Ramachandra Puri abused and exploited the humility of Lord Chaitanya, to enhance his own position. Because Lord Chaitanya did not protest, and reduced His eating, the repercussions were felt by the entire community of vaisnavas.

Behind the cloak of seniority and leadership were exposed the pride and insecurities of Sri Ramachandra Puri. Although highly unpopular amongst those close to Lord Chaitanya, he was nonetheless tolerated until he moved away to go elsewhere. The lesson here is that being a senior or a having a leadership role cannot be used to exploit the humility of juniors.

This is similar to how the workplace is structured. One can hide behind the mangers’ position and purposely be obnoxious and intimidating to general workers, or even especially to exploit and abuse those who are disliked. These sorts of profit based formalities usually cause gaps between the workers and managers.

The “People’s” Man

Here is another example of a senior-most personality who was the “Man of the people,” as it is said sometimes. Srila Sanatana Goswami knew he was senior in position to most of the vaisnavas in Vrndavana, according to vaisnava relations. He also knew that, should he act and behave like one, in a typically workplace manner, the flow of humility would abate, and the atmosphere for learning and progress in Krishna consciousness be impeded.

As Srila Giriraja Maharaja has written in his article, “Friendly and Sympathetic,” we observe some popular leadership conduct in Srila Sanatana Goswami. Underlying all his dealings with the public and devotees was his humility and approachability. He was not aloof. This came from his naturally affectionate behaviour. A senior or leading devotee shows affection for juniors, nay for everyone.

Junior and Senior Harmony

When a junior devotee exhibits a willingness to learn and to progress in Krishna consciousness, this naturally encourages an affectionate response from seniors. If in the presence of such willingness borne of humility, a senior fails to show affection, is this an abuse of some sort?

The answer is yes if the senior or leader has a “rajasic” motive other than a purely Krishna conscious one. And no, if the senior or leader wishes to, for example, emphasise something profound from a Krishna conscious perspective. Sometimes indifference is displayed due to sheer formality, lack of time and attention, and the “workplace-like” intimidation that arises now and again.

It happens sometimes that junior devotees are unsure of what to say to seniors, or what to talk about. Their acquired abilities to help Srila Prabhupada’s mission can be temporarily curtailed without affectionate encouragement. Then we have a situation where, at temple functions, the juniors talk among themselves and the seniors do likewise. This accentuates the junior and senior distance even more.

If this distance exists, and does not help to integrate both juniors and seniors in service for our mission, then the seniors must lead the way by encouraging conduct. The essential harmony is created when by and large, the juniors inquire from the seniors, and the seniors give affectionate guidance to the juniors. Any breach of this universal code is not an act of humility. Peaceful coexistence will not thrive.

For instance, junior or uninitiated devotees may wish to associate with a senior. They are aware that to inquire is to progress. Yet some natural shyness or humility inhibits their approach. This behaviour alone should allow the senior to affectionately put the junior at ease, and to open up with questions. This action makes the junior break down certain barriers. Next time the junior meets the same senior, there is a friendly encounter.

Imagine this happening on a large scale, with as many of our juniors developing friendship with the seniors? The “Sanatana Goswami factor” can make up where the institutional barriers do not. This is to say that friendship can exist on all levels without conceding natural junior and senior requirements.

Institutional Requirements

Many of our very senior members of Iskcon remember how intimate and “free-flowing” Iskcon was in the early years, before it grew in size, so as to warrant large scale management. This “before and after” comparison need not be so pronounced.

Some or all of the corporate ideas of management may or may not work for us. So long as they do not create divisions. If it be remembered too, that these ideas are primarily people or workplace based – that do not acknowledge the power of humility – what matters is for devotees and seniors in particular, to bridge the divides or distances. Vaisnava dealings are different from corporate ones.

We are familiar with Srila Prabhupada’s peace formula based on the BG 5.29 verse. Yet there is another happiness formula, a very practical one, which if followed and encouraged on all levels of Iskcon involvement, will ensure real peaceful coexistence based on humility.

“Every man should act like this: when he meets a person more qualified than himself, he should be very pleased; when he meets someone less qualified than himself, he should be compassionate toward him; and when he meets someone equal to himself, he should make friendship with him. In this way one is never affected by the threefold miseries of this material world.” (Narada Muni to Dhruva, SB 4.8.34)

In any normal workplace little value is placed on humility, which is seen as grovelling feebleness. When the same is used within vaisnava circles, these become supports of spiritual strength and learning. Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport to this verse: “These important functions will make one happy within this material world.” (SB 4.8.34) Can there be any happiness without peace?

Your servant, Kesava Krsna Dasa – GRS

Chance and the Unity of Nature
A Sankirtan story by Dayananda Prabhu

18 Responses to “Exploiting Humility”

  1. pustakrishna says :

    It is interesting to see how the bhaktas may sometimes struggle to understand ‘where one stands in relationship with others’. On the one hand, the verse of the Srimad Bhagavatam quoted at the end of his essay is helpful. On the other hand, all talk of higher and lower is uncomfortable. We want to place Krishna at the center. One of Srimati Radharani’s divine qualities is that She is the most humble. Consider that She is the vortex, inspiration for all Krishna bhakti. What is Her wealth!!! and she is distributing opportunities for all souls to love Krishna. Our Srila Prabhupad had one answer when asked, “what do you want most for me?” He would answer, “that you will love Krishna.” This heartfelt expression mirrors the mood of Srimati Radharani. There was never any intention on the part of Srila Prabhupad that the endpoint of your service would be submission to him, but rather to Krishna. Therefore, Srila Prabhupad is a transparent via media to Radha Krishna.
    I want to take issue with something that Krishna Kesava Prabhu says in his article. He says that many senior members remember how freeflowing and intimate ISKCON was in its early days. Please do not think that for a second. We are conditioned souls, and there was often jockeying for position amongst Srila Prabhupad’s disciples…even those close with His Divine Grace. Purity is a goal, and we are reaching for it, however elusive it may be. But, do not think that human nature has changed from then to now. Really, believe me. But, seek purity in your mind, in your heart and in your actions. It is a worthy pursuit and one which Krishna will witness from within you with pleasure.
    So, just follow your heart, so long it is congruent with guru/shastra/sadhu…because Krishna is in your heart, He is chaitya-guru. Believe in Krishna, trust in Krishna, seek Krishna’s mercy. Don’t flounder on the mental plane, worrying about pratishtha or lack of pratishtha, for in the end these things will be forgotten in the beauty and ecstasy of Krishna consciousness. Whether in isolation or in the company of the society of devotees, you always have Krishna, your Dearmost Friend, to consider.
    I realize that not everyone will share these sentiments, but Dandavats is the place where you can express your heart, expect others to express their hearts, and the result is a fresh expression of Krishna consciousness. Sincerely, Pusta Krishna das

  2. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you dear Kesava Krsna Prabhu for your concern and attempt to improve relationships in between devotees within our ISKCON Movement.

    In this view, awareness of each others’ welfare is essential !

    Let us also not forget that if the principle of seniority was to be applied and put in perspective with everyone’s past lives and past sukriti, there may be many a surprise…

    For instance, when Srila Prabhupada decided to grant sannyasa to Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja, some of his “senior” godbrothers objected that he was a new man and questioned Srila Prabhupada about his decision to give sannyasa so quickly to this “new” ISKCON man.
    Srila Prabhupada’s answer was: “you are the new men…!” “he’s been a vaishnava from birth…”.

    Similarly, we may recall the example of Sukadeva Goswami who was offered respects by many a senior man in the assembly…

    In this way, keeping in mind the prediction of Srila Prabhupada that “the best devotees will come later on”, advanced senior devotees are expected to maintain a humble attitude towards every living entities, which should obviously include devotees (whether junior by age or by seniority within ISKCON).

    Simultaneously, junior devotees are also expected to maintain proper Vaishnava etiquette and maintain some due respect towards seniors, as both Lord Krishna and Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu examplified it… not to forget the example of Sri Nityananda Prabhu…

    Srila Prabhupada was humble enough to take a good advice from a drunkard doctor and similarly he liked to quote that one may accept a good wife even born of low condition, and be able to find gold in a pile of dust…

    Thereby, one should worship qualities in others and be ready to learn from the qualities of so-called juniors in the mood of the avadhuta brahmana who accepted 24 masters and learned a valuable lesson from each of them…

    Thereby, the advanced devotee will share some of his knowledge, experience and realizations with juniors who approach him in a humble and friendly way, but will
    simultaneously relish the association of the potential pure devotee and sat sat cit ananda spirit soul incarnated either in a junior’s body or in a senior’s, but nevertheless externally junior in ISKCON (however maybe not junior on the spiritual path).

    Beyond, sharing love and affection with one another will depend on how much everyone’s heart has grown towards becoming a mahatma’s…

    Yours in service

    Puskaraksa das

  3. niscala says :

    very nice article, Kesava Krsna Prabhu! Just wondering what you meant by :

    If in the presence of such willingness borne of humility, a senior fails to show affection, is this an abuse of some sort?
    The answer is yes if the senior or leader has a “rajasic” motive other than a purely Krishna conscious one. And no, if the senior or leader wishes to, for example, emphasise something profound from a Krishna conscious perspective.

    How could a senior emphasize something profoundly Krsna conscious by witholding affection? The rest of your article is wonderfully enlightening, so I am very curious as to what you meant by this!

    It seems to contradict the gist of your article- that humility should facilitate vaisnava relations, not prevent or distort them!

    Pusta Krsna wrote: Don’t flounder on the mental plane, worrying about pratishtha or lack of pratishtha, for in the end these things will be forgotten in the beauty and ecstasy of Krishna consciousness

    Yet Bhaktivinode said that we should be worried about it- pratishtha being more difficult to overcome than sex desire. An excellent way to overcome it is this suggestion by KK- that seniors do not put distance between themselves and juniors, and his suggested method of how to do that is also spot on- through affection. Through affection, barriers are broken down, at least, unnecessary barriers of ego “I am better than thou, being more advanced”. The necessary barrier that “you are requiring instruction, and by the Lord’s mercy only, I am in a position to give it to you” is still there, but in a service capacity- here is an opportunity for me to serve this junior devotee, through instruction. As an elder brother, I must give affectionate guidance to my younger brothers, for to neglect them when they are eager to learn, would cause displeasure to the father.

    Necessary barriers between egos are those that facilitate service, not isolation, aloofness and/or estrangement. Our philosophy is “simultaneous oneness and difference” the oneness is necessary for heartfelt affection- by acknowledging our common identity, needs, etc, we can thereby love each other as ourselves – the difference is necessary for service in the capacity of servant (junior), friend (peer), and parent (senior) . If there were only oneness, there would be no perception of a need for service- how could I serve someone who is myself in every respect? If there were only difference, there could be no bridge between souls, nothing shared…

  4. niscala says :

    (cont’d)
    Love, even in the perverted reflections of this material world, is based on simultaneous oneness and difference, the proof being that loving relationships break down whenever there is a total breakdown of ego barriers (resulting in an apathy/control dynamic, where one partner has no will, and the other, all the will) or where the barriers are complete and non-porous (resulting in no dynamic at all- only aloofness)

    The example of Sanatan Goswami is “acintya-bhedabheda” in action. He affectionately and humbly considered himself no different from anyone else, and thus anyone could approach him…yet he acted differently in a service capacity, because the separation was porous, the moving dynamic between barriers being loving exchanges of service via instruction. The Ego barrier between souls is like a filter- it is a barrier, but it is not complete. It allows certain things to go through, all things of the nature of love and service. Were it to dissolve completely, there could be no love and service- duality or the sense of “me’ and “you” being totally absent.

  5. pustakrishna says :

    Regarding the comments of Niscala above, and regarding my effort to minimize the issue of pratishtha…the point I am hoping to make is that issues related to pratishtha are political issues in the sense that others make some recognition of higher and lower, and are illusory in the sense that we may think more of ourselves by false pride and insecurity. In the Bhagavad Gita, we are taught by Krishna that a wise person sees all living creatures equally (sama sarvesu bhutesu) and equally upon a rock or gold. Non-possessiveness and a clean heart are beacons for us. How then in a spiritual society does pratishtha enter into the mix? We may think that we are better fulfilling Srila Prabhupad’s directives by maintaining a certain distance from other aspiring devotees, or by controlling the behavior of others. In fact, we have an understanding that an Acharya is one who teaches by example and not merely by directives. I think this is at the heart of the article by Keshava Krishna “Exploiting Humility”. Really, we probably push people away from the movement by lording over them rather than practicing our selves sincerely, and thereby providing an example of what it is to be a practitioner. In essence, we cannot justify the concept of higher and lower except if others buy in to that paradigm. The greatest vaishnavas feel themselves very meek and humble, and ‘lowest of the low’. So for one to perceive higher and lower, there must be an attitude that this ‘higher’ has something that I want, spiritually that is. They are the Acharyas whom we are encouraged to follow and learn from. If, however, pratishtha means I am given recognition, then I should better ‘plug my ears’, lest one believes what others are saying. Therefore, we say in ISKCON, “ALL GLORIES TO SRILA PRABHUPAD”, for all glories go to the beloved Sri Gurudeva, and if passed to me somehow, I must immediately pass them along to him or face an unfavorable position. This, I know, seems somewhat convoluted, but I hope that the point is getting across. Pusta Krishna das

  6. It is interesting how simultaneously important and unimportant all these rules of protocol and etiquette between junior and senior devotees are.

    Infected by modern, democratic, materially egalitarian ideas, it may seem unnatural to show so much respect to the status of another person. Kids even take their parents to court these days. People instinctively bristle at the (obviously true) notion that some people are more respectable than others. Isn’t everyone equal?

    In a nice Vaisnava society the rules of showing proper respect as due to the status of different devotees is observed strictly, but there is no undue exploitation of that status (as is typical in Kali yuga society).

    It is only because of Kali yuga anomalies that the French national anthem speaks of watering crops with the blood of aristocrats. Actual aristocrats, who would not neglect their duty (their natural inclination, even) to care for their dependents as their own children, would never inspire such sentiments.

    To show proper respect is very important for the person who offers the respect, but to receive respect is not craved by an advanced Vaisnava. (“amanina manadena”)

    Most of the etiquette involving respect in our society is symbolic only, (at least for those who do not depend economically on the temple). Someone sits on a higher chair, or gets to smell the prasadam flower first, or is greeted first when several people enter the room, or gets addressed with an honorific title. Of course, the symbol should express our true feelings of respectful affection. What I mean by “only” or “merely” symbolic is that it is more a matter of respect than a matter affecting physical or even economic well-being. Our respectable holy men do not have power over our lives and property (unless we offer it to them). But still some devotees chafe at the hierarchical courtliness of it all, as if it goes against some deep-seated egalitarian impulse. (It was very hard for many in the early days to accept the idea of bowing down to Srila Prabhupada).

    I have been happily reading Sivarama Swami’s book “The Siksa-guru, Implementing Tradition Within ISKCON” (published in 1999 by the Hungarian BI.) It is interesting to see how important it is for us to properly respect all devotees, and yet to respect some special devotees specially. It is not because their hunger for honor demands it, but because learning such manners is imperative for us to interact properly in spiritual society.

  7. Puskaraksa das says :

    Just one small point in connection with the reference made by Akruranath Prabhu about the French national anthem.

    It doesn’t speak of “watering crops with the blood of aristocrats” but of “watering fields with the blood of foreign ennemies of mother nation, who have savagely attacked women and children in their homes”…

    There are so many cliches… As anything else, material knowledge has to be accurate and well documented…

    Nothing personal Akruranath Ji ! I, alike everyone else, appreciate your contributions…

  8. KKDasa says :

    Niscala Mataji,

    Here is the reason for writing the sentence you highlighted, which seems at odds with the rest of the article.

    Most devotees deal with each other on a madhyamas or kanisthas level. Wherever there are rare “niskama” or truly desireless vaisnava s, their way of dealing can be profound or seemingly indifferent or unaffectionate. I did not want to elaborate on this as it would have side-tracked from the main theme of affection.

    For instance, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s initial approach to seek initiation from Srila Gaura Kishor Dasa Babaji was rather, we could say from usual friendly experiences, a harsh refusal. Of course, there was a profound import to this.

    Srila Jiva Goswami was, we could say, banished by Srila Rupa Goswami, until Srila Sanatana Goswami interceded to help restore matters. These are not our average gifts of affection. Indeed they appear to be the opposite. But these sorts of dealings happen from time to time.

    I could even mention our famous Harikesa Dasa. Srila Prabhupada requested that he go and take responsibility for preaching in the then US nemesis, the Soviet Union. In spite of all good reasons not to go, Srila Prabhupada remained unfazed. It appeared like an unforgiving and punitive assignment for Harikesa Dasa.

    These are some examples which do not fit into the normal definition of affection as most of us understand it.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  9. niscala says :

    Pusta Krsna wrote: issues of pratishtha are political issues… others make some recognition of higher and lower, and are illusory… we may think more of ourselves by false pride…

    That’s right, but when you wrote that we shouldn’t worry about it, it seems you were saying that we shouldn’t worry about a major anartha, as it will be swept away by Krsna consciousness. While that’s true, one cannot attain such flowering of the KC creeper if one is affected by anarthas, as they are weeds that strangle the creeper. One must attend to both creeper and weed, like a gardener, otherwise we may water the weeds, even by our chanting (CC). So a conscious effort must be made to distinguish creeper from weed, to distinguish desire for pratishta from a desire to serve. The distinction of senior and junior devotee must be only to facilitate service, not pratishta. Just as the junior should think ‘how can I serve this senior?” the senior must think “how can I serve this new devotee? How can I help him?” and when he thinks like this, with genuine affection and concern, that is Krsna consciousness, which drives out anarthas from the heart. When one is thinking only how to serve, how to help, there is no room for thinking of how I might be respected…

    Akruranath’s point that respect may be lacking and understressed because of the egalitarian society we were born into, is very relevant. Respect must be there- to every vaisnava, to every living entity, but special respect must be given to rep’s of the Lord, who instruct us, and to His dear servants, and so on. That is humility in action. At the same time, as PK pointed out, the devotee should have equal vision, and see no higher and lower, and so on. So these are opposite paradigms that must be simultaneously accommodated (acintya bhedabheda). If we stress too much the equality and equal vision, there is no opportunity for service, for offering respect, for offering guidance, and there is the pride that I, a beginning student, am as good as the professor. If we stress too much the difference, if we stress respect, without any sense of equality, we may have pride and dominance amongst seniors, and helplessness and dependency amongst juniors. Srila Prabhupada said the the business of the guru is to make the disciple as good as him- to empower him, open his eyes. That is the goal of seeing difference- to make equality on the spiritual platform, through elevating everyone. That is love, and acintya bhedabheda in action

  10. pustakrishna says :

    I appreciated and liked the writing of Niscala dd (#9). It is so mature, and filled with the passion to find the positive in Krishna conscious relationships. Intentions are everything. If we follow the formula outlined by Niscala, in spirit and in practice, the Krishna conscious family of bhaktas will never suffer. Always remember what Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupad said:
    ya idam paramam guhyam
    mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati
    bhaktim mayi param krtva
    mam evaisyasy asamsayah
    BG 18.68
    For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.

    na ca tasman manusyesu
    kascin me priya krttamah
    bhavita na ca me tasmad
    anyah priyataro bhuvi
    BG 18.69
    There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he/she, nor will there ever be one more dear.

    Hare Krishna.

    Pusta Krishna das

  11. niscala says :

    thank you, Pusta Krsna prabhu for your appreciation! It is certainly the inter-vaisnava dynamic we are talking about, in action! An ounce of action is worth more than a tonne of theory, and I will try to follow your example of being appreciative, and not just talk about it!

    Thank you also, Kesava Krsna for your explanation. I am still not sure why advanced devotees sometimes do that- be aloof- what is to be learnt from it. In the case of Harikesa and Srila Prabhupada, I think it was because Prabhupada wanted Harikesh not to be too dependent, in every respect, on him- to spread his wings and find his own potential, which was vast. Like we mentioned, the spiritual master’s goal is to make the disciple as qualified as he is, but if the disciple is always in the guru’s shadow, typing and doing nothing else, than how can that be accomplished? In the case of Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji, maybe it was because he didn’t want pratishta, especially the glory of having such an exalted devotee as Bhaktisiddhanta as a disciple. He was happy to be unrecognized- to be thought of as a simple illiterate person…

    Generally, however, the guru/disciple dynamic or senior/junior dynamic is one of affectionate guidance and approachability, like a father. Sometimes, like when teaching a child to ride a bike, the father just lets go and sees what the child can accomplish on his own and what he has learnt. Or it is like a teacher- generally he is always answering questions, but at exam time, the roles are reversed…But these are exceptions to the general dynamic.

  12. pustakrishna says :

    Regarding Gaurakisora das Babaji, I think his mood reflects the sweetness and fulfillment of experiencing transcendental love and ecstacy, as I mentioned in my first writing (#1) above. This is what I was trying to convey regarding the illusory nature of pratishta:

    “Don’t flounder on the mental plane, worrying about pratishtha or lack of pratishtha, for in the end these things will be forgotten in the beauty and ecstasy of Krishna consciousness. Whether in isolation or in the company of the society of devotees, you always have Krishna, your Dearmost Friend, to consider.”

    Remember, that “Godhead is light, nescience is darkness…where there is Godhead there is no darkness or ignorance”. This is the statement of the Srimad Bhagavatam, and used by Srila Prabhupad on the cover of the Back to Godhead magazine. Yes, we must weed out anarthas, no doubt…but, if we are fortunate, then the positive will overwhelm any negatives, progressive and positive immortality.

    Hence, in the spiritual world, there are so many apparently negative sentiments expressed by the Gopis toward Krishna. They are all acceptable within the framework of rasa. We read about these things and can begin to understand that everything has its basis in the spiritual world, reflected in a perverted manner through matter. This is the proverbial Banyan tree described in the Bhagavad gita (15.1). Regarding the actions between bhaktas, the practical guideline is by Srila Rupa Goswami….to accept everything favorable to the execution of devotional service, and to reject everything unfavorable to the execution of devotional service. This will vary from situation to situation. One bhakta may not have the capacity of another bhakta. Time, place, circumstance will dictate the necessity, and we know that Krishna (15.7) from within will provide the intelligence to proceed in all situations. First and foremost, we must place the desire of Sri Guru and Krishna above our own. This is the ideal.

    There are some who will pick at wounds, and we can describe them as crow-like garbage eaters. They may quote the shastra to find the arrows to shoot at the heart of devotees or former devotees. That may be “justice” on their part. But, and this is a very big “but”, MERCY IS BEYOND JUSTICE. If Krishna will judge us we will clearly be condemnable…hopeless. But, He and Sri Guru are merciful. Therefore, Srila Prabhupad did not look at the flaws, ever, but rather the service. Pusta Krishna das

  13. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    Regarding Niscala Prabhu’s apparent reluctance to accept an elevated Vaisnava’s so-called failure to show affection toward his dependants, I would suggest that the closer the disciple is to the spiritual master, the more the spiritual master will treat him strictly. Some sayings come to mind: “Praise your disciple and he will spoil, chastise him and he will flourish,” from Canakya Pandit (?), probably the original idea of “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Sometimes the guru gives permission to his disciple to do something he actually doesn’t wish him to do, just so that the disciple will not commit an offense by doing it anyway. Of course, the results of such actions usually don’t turn out too good, but what to do? The guru knows that if he is too strict the disciple will go away, so he remains lenient. But that is not the best benediction.

    After all, we are supposed to be strict with ourselves and lenient with others. The true guru is strict with himself and with those who are mamata–or wish to become mamata.

    “In the purport to Cc Madhya 8.71, Srila Prabhupada explains the meaning of mamata:
    Spontaneous loving service to the Lord is called devotional service with an intimate attachment between the servitor and the served. This intimacy is called mamatä. Between the servitor and the served there is a feeling of oneness. This mamatä begins with däsya-prema, service rendered to the master by the servant. Unless there is such a relationship, the loving affairs between the Lord and His devotee are not actually fixed. When the devotee feels “The Lord is my master” and renders service unto Him, Kåñëa consciousness is awakened. This fixed consciousness is on a higher platform than simple cognizance of love of Godhead.”

    Trying to be
    a servant of the devotees,
    Visakha Priya dasi

  14. KKDasa says :

    There are many valuable lessons to be learned from observing human nature. Since us humans are now trying to uncondition ourselves through the process of Bhakti, it is certainly imperative to try to do some housekeeping within our house. If it means suggesting we be more affectionate by citing valid historic examples, then why should this be considered needless “floundering?”

    Years ago when Mrs Thatcher was British prime minister, she wanted to reform the finances of the EU. The other European leaders sarcastically thought that she was just a typical housewife. “What does she know?” They should have known that their own wives often controlled their family finances. So Mrs Thatcher took this as a compliment after all. Some EU housekeeping was in order.

    Attention to detail is something that Srila Prabhupada approved. Whether it be emphasizing awareness for improved relations between ourselves, or mentioning various anarthas that afflict us, cannot be inessential “floundering” particularly if one is involved in management, as I am.

    If it is meant that the need not to flounder is to rise to the level of Srila Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji, then we run the risk of neglecting our house, for he was not an institutional type. If we all becomes uttamas in the true sense, we will not function. Yet he encouraged his disciple Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, who, with some tens of thousands of disciples, was beset with institutional concerns.

    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta wanted that instead of dwelling on the uttama level, as was previously the case during his fathers time, when vaisnavasism was misunderstood by opportunists who imitated our Babajis, that to come down to the madhyama level and preach, was his revolutionary concept. A madhyama must be attentive to real-time details.

    Srila Jiva Goswami’s attention to detail for the Sandarbhas was exhaustive and exacting, as if to be simply a scholarly exercise. But it was to establish the supremacy of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

    To not flounder and strive for higher goals in Bhakti is the ideal for oneself. But while sharing this house of Iskcon we must flounder on issues for the benefit of all members, even if they appear uncomfortable. In this regard, it should be taken as a compliment rather than a prohibition.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  15. pustakrishna says :

    regarding Visakha Priya’s comments:

    For the seeking souls who have come to Krishna:
    We know that Krishna is full of all opulences, one of which is Renunciation. Krishna is the basis of everything, and yet He is also the supreme Renouncer. Even with His beloved Gopis, He can disappear from their presence at any moment. The effect of this disappearance is that the hankering for Krishna is increased by His apparent hiding. So, we want to begin to see things more through the eyes of the gopis and other great devotees, rather than through our own eyes. Each and every one of us likes to be the “center”, to be made to feel important. That is natural………….but for this conditioned world, not for the spiritual world. In the spiritual plane, one forgets more about themselves and is immersed in Krishna consciousness…Krishna’s beauty, ecstasy and love. That is Krishna consciousness. Self-realization at its highest apex is reawakening of Krishna consciousness.
    We will always be disappointed with material interactions, even if we get gratification out of it. It cannot satisfy the jiva-atma, whose nature is like that of Krishna. What we need, in my opinion, is to be given guidance toward the spiritual relationship with Krishna. That is what we need, what we want, what we are yearning for. Other is perhaps source for temporary happiness, but it may approach cheating for the seeking soul. We shall consider these things from time to time to time to time.

    Hare Krishna

    Pusta Krishna das

  16. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    There is a difference between a madhyama adhikari who has just graduated to the level of madhyama and the uttama-adhikari who has come down to the level of madhyama to preach. The first kind of madhyama yet has to rise to the level of uttama, whereas the uttama who preaches is no more on the level of sadhana—although he will usually exhibit the behavior of a sadhaka. So we cannot imitate the uttama, even when he comes down to the level of madhyama. We still have our homework to do. As Pusta Krsna Prabhu says, we should be concerned about developing our relationship with Krsna. And it begins with dasya-rasa, the one rasa we can practice with our spiritual master.

    Srila Prabhupada used to say that everything one does must be accompanied by the chanting of the Hare Krsna mahamantra. And surely he didn’t mean mindless chanting.

    In Song 8 of Prema-bhakti-candrika, Narottama dasa Thakur says,
    O brother, by chanting Krsna’s name I will attain Radha, and by chanting Radha’s name I will attain Krsna… (10)
    Abandon false ego, pride, company with materialists, and useless material knowledge, and worship the lotus feet of your spiritual master. Offer your home, friends, relatives, body and self to him. His words are supreme. (11)
    Always serve Sri Krsna Caitanyadeva, who is a kalpa-vrksa tree giving away the treasure of pure love. He is Lord Krsna Himself, the prince of Vraja and the life of Srimati Radharani. Talk about Him is full of wonder. (12)
    Appearing in a fair-complexioned form, He made a great monsoon of spiritual love. In this way He attained His three desires. Why did Lord Krsna, the master of Radha, cry again and again? Only the devotees can know. (14)
    In private I will practice the nine kinds of devotional service and in this way I will `attain perfection. I will always humbly pray for that. In public I will perform Hari-sankirtana, my heart overcome with love. Any activity that does not lead to My worshipable Lord is an obstacle. (15)

  17. pustakrishna says :

    Very sweet spiritual sentiments expressed in #16 by Visakha Priya dd. We are so very blessed to have inspiration from Srila Prabhupad. My wife, Daru Brahma dd, showed me a T-shirt she purchased at the San Francisco Rathayatra. On the front is a picture of a boat and Srila Prabhpad, and the inscription is:

    Thank you, Srila Prabhupad!! for coming to the West and saving us!!

    We are not, of course, moksha-kamis, but bhaktas. Saving us does not mean dry salvation. It means immerse-ment in devotional service, the sentiments of which will be inspired by Sri Gurudeva & Radha. Krishna is “Raso vai sah”, the embodiment of all Rasa, yet He appears as Lord Chaitanyadeva with the heart of Srimati Radharani, wanting to taste the sweetness of the loving mood of the Supreme Lover, Sri Radha. When Lord Chaitanya is dwelling in a small room, Gambhira, relishing the glories of Sri Krishna’s Lila, we can understand that these matters are very much internalized in the consciousness, not of external mundane perceptions. We pray for a particle of dust from the Lotus Feet of Sri Krishna Chaitanyadeva.
    About the chanting of the Holy Names, as recommended by Srila Prabhupad, His Divine Grace used a very nice example: Ladies in the villages of India often walk about with a waterpot or basket upon their heads, with child in hand, and going about their activities. The balancing of the basket upon the head is analagous to remembering the Holy Names while going about one’s daily activities. Internally, the consciousness will become Krishna-ized with the association of the Holy Names. Krishna is Pavitram Paramam, the Supreme Pure, and we can hope to be cleaned in our consciousness by the remembrance of the Holy Names.
    But…one of the reasons I wrote the expression in #15 is to express Krishna’s quality of Renunciation. We, being His parts and parcels, also have a small degree of such renunciation capacity. We are exploring the question of humility, and why is it that we might feel ignored by apparently good-hearted devotees. The point I wanted to make is that the expression of renunciation may arise when we do not expect it to arise. Hence, we might feel neglected, when in fact Krishna is trying to inspire us to “go deeper, seek deeper, don’t stay on the superficial level”. Krishna is our dearmost Friend. Pusta Krishna das

    Pusta Krishna das

  18. niscala says :

    Visakha Priya wrote: Regarding Niscala Prabhu’s apparent reluctance to accept an elevated Vaisnava’s so-called failure to show affection toward his dependants, I would suggest that the closer the disciple is to the spiritual master, the more the spiritual master will treat him strictly.

    Thankyou, for your feedback. I certainly agree with you that a guru will chastise a sincere disciple, as he can learn so much from the chastisement. I was not referring to chastisement, which I see as a symptom of affectionate dealings. I was referring to the withdrawal of affection on the part of the guru or advanced devotee- not as in chastisement, but as in a pulling away from the disciple, an aloofness, a non-interest in him, if you will. I think we all agree that chastisement is an affectionate dealing, so I was asking KK why a guru or advanced devotee would withdraw his affections- not why he would chastise. Such a situation appears quite rare- there is the dealing with Harikesa and Prabhupada, but generally, Prabhupada was there for his disciples- he was ever approachable.

    Therefore, Kesava Krsna’s point is very valid- that there should not be so much distance between senior and junior members, but, as in the quote you gave, a feeling of oneness, closeness…your quote indicates that there should be feelings of oneness (which in vaisnava understaning, is not as in merging, but as in a sense of brotherhood) even between disciples and gurus, what to speak of senior and junior members in our society! There must be a sense of brotherhood/sisterhood. Seniors are elder brothers and sisters, and should therefore be always attentive that their younger siblings are progressing. They should not be aloof and uninterested.

    Even when seniors chastise, it should not be to crush, intimidate or humiliate , but only to correct- the only motive should be to help, to raise the disciple/junior up. When one is affectionate, one may chastise or praise, and the recipient feels valued either way, even from the chastisement, because the senior or the guru has gone to so much trouble to correct him. But when the guru hardly even know’s his disciple’s name, because he is the thousandth disciple, or because he has better things to do with his time, then that is showing no affection at all- not on occasion, not as an exception, but as a general rule. What value is of a guru who has no time for you? What is the value of being a senior unless we can help our younger siblings?

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