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Praghosa Das ACBSP: “The Root Cause of our Dissatisfaction”.
I would like to offer a comment on a recent subject that was introduced amongst the devotees by HH Bhir Krsna Goswami; what he called Emotional Freedom.
The basic premise of the article is established with the following statement:
“In my travels I have noticed many devotees suffering from the effects of emotional dependency or attempting to free themselves from emotional dependency.”
Emotional Dependency is a pseudo-scientific term provided by those who practice the modern Psychology/Psychiatry professions, to describe the consequences of one’s being dependent upon others for the fullfillment of particular desires and then later being dissapointed by those individuals in whom we had invested our faith or hope for the fullfillment of those desires. It is the atheistic definition of the “root cause of our dissatisfaction” in this material world and is meaningless for those who are actualy awakened to the actual cause of our problem in this regard.
Any effort to define or solve this problem – from the perspective of the mundane psycholgists and their miserable mentors – will never serve our long term spiritual interests. Their approach to all such problems lacks the full understanding of the actual cause of our problem. It is in fact rooted in the idea that a change in perception will in the end serve to change “our” reality. Even the term Emotional Dependence itself – cannot stand alone. It requires the professional defining it before the two words are able to make any sense at all. This itself proves the lack of clarity under which these “professionals” operate. Since an emotion is merely a “response” to a condition – all emotions are “dependent” upon conditions outside oneself before they manifest. I become angry or happy or sad or worried – in direct response to conditions either voluntarily pursued or involuntarily forced upon me. This being the case – our “emotional state” will be determined by our association – at all times. Emotions are never “free” of their dependence upon a condition. So the key is to invest our faith or “confidence in a future condition” correctly.
In this regard then the preface to the Nectar of Devotion by Srila Prabhupada provides the clearest explantion for our problem.
“The root cause of our dissatisfaction is that our dormant loving propensity has not been fulfilled despite our great advancement in the materialistic way of life.”
The soul is by nature “dependent” at every step of our sojourn in this world. Every need, real or imagined, depends upon someone or something outside of ourselves – providing us with the very thing(s) we requre to survive – what to speak of being satisfied! And they in turn, are only as capable of helping us in any way – in direct relation to the means they have been granted by God Himself – as well as their individual willingness to offer these resources in meeting our needs.
The solution to our problem does not involve becoming artificially independent. It lies in awakening to the fact that we are at every single second – 100% dependent upon the very source of our existence, the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. In fact becoming satisfied is only possible – when we act upon this knowledge under the guidance of one who is fully satisfied with this most natural condition; our Spiritual Master.
The spiritual master is described in the Bhagavad Gita as being “situated in boundless transcendental happiness” and he does not “need” his disciples in order to validate this realized happiness. The Spiritual Master derives his happiness from his fully committing himself to representing the message of our Parampara – to anyone who will listen. He is not subject to depression or feelings of failure, on account of our refusing to listen. Srila Prabhupada once said “I am not surprised when someone leaves. Rather I am surprised – when they stay”.
I do not wish to contradict my Godbrother – yet I see it as imperative that this idea he has introduced be given a deeper consideration.
As our Krsna Consciousness increases – we will find our condition of absolute dependence upon both the Lord and His greatest treasure, His dear devotees, increasing; not diminishing. To the devotees – such a condition serves to increase more and more our attachment to each and every detail of our service.
Srila Bhaktsiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said that the bonafide spiritual master will actually take inspiration from the so-called disciples by observing their sincere efforts to accept and serve his instructions and in the process will experience genuine attachment and dependence upon their inspiring association.
This will be the effect felt by all devotees in all kinds of “relationships”. If the example given is of ever increasing devotional attachment to the Lord – then the feelings of attachment and dependence amongst the various devotees for one another – will in fact increase more and more. We need look no further than the congregational kirtan for proof of this! Where the devotees are happily dependent upon eachother in their mutual efforts to please Srila Prabhupada and Krsna – the kirtan will reflect this in a way that mundane psychologists could never ever fathom! In the pursuit of all the aims of Srila Prabhupada – in his continued efforts to rescue as many souls as possible from the “killing fields” of this martyaloka – we will come to value each and every man or woman who surrenders their maximum effort in helping us – help Srila Prabhupada. When we then chant together in the Divine Kirtan of Lord Gauranga
– and look to the faces of all those with whom we work to please His Divine Grace – we will experience feelings of attachment, appreciation, dependence, gratitude, awe and veneration, and above all else – real love – that mundane psychologists can only dream of – in the vaguest of ways.
Without hearing from the pure devotees, materialisitic psychologists cannot understand the truth in these matters nor the proper method to transcend the problem. They are simply blind men leading similarly blind men with the end result being that they all fall into the ditch of dissatisfaction. Without hearing from Srila Prabhupada via his Nectar of Devotion – these materialistic psychologists will be “missing the point of life”. Their solution is merely an attempt to minimize the pain and suffering that come as a consequence to our misplacing our loving propensity. But we are not after minimizing the suffering – we are after finishing it altogether.
If we properly represent Srila Prabhupada, then anyone’s coming to the International Society for Krsna Consciousness should be seen correctly as the first step in their finally solving this most vexing of problems. We must maintain a keen critical eye at all times in order to assess the quality of our representation of Srila Prabhupada in this matter. Where it appears to be lacking – we need to hear from one another in such a way that we can quickly adjust our efforts to reflect our Spiritual Master’s arrangements to easily meet the needs of the entire world as they make full use of their human form or life on their way back to home back to Godhead. The management of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON must never become critical of the above mentioned “keen critical eye” of the assembled devotees. On the contrary – we should not only invite such “critical” assessment but indeed provide the assembled concerned servants of Srila Prabhupada with the means to express their concerns. In the long run – this will only serve to enhance the service of Srila Prabhupada more and more. That is most wanted. To view devotees who openly express an honest assessement of actions or inactions on the part of various representatives of ISKCON as doing so merely due to unfulfilled emotional dependency – misses the mark considerably. Any competent Mayor of any nicely managed city – sets up various hotlines to allow the public to offer their thoughts, ideas, criticisms, suggestions etc – in order to enhance the quality of life in that city.
Here in New York – we find this statement everywhere; “If you see something – say something”. The idea being of course that our protection involves all of us helping in this regard.
So, I deem it unwise to carte blanche, minimize expressions of dissatisfaction on the part of any devotee for missmanagement or perceived misrepresentation of Srila Prabhupada’s aims or means to achieve them – as mere manifestations of unfulfilled desires only. In baseball – teams often employ a “hitting coach” whose job it is to discover the flaws in a batter’s actions – that prevent him from meeting his maximum potential while facing the pitcher. Oft times – a competent hitter suddenly finds himself in a “slump” and what used to be easy for him, now appears more difficult than ever. The “hitting coach” may in the most direct and unvarnished manner – point out exactly what the player is doing – or perhaps even thinking – that now interferes with his hitting with his former effectivness. It would make no sense for the hitter to dismiss the “criticisms” of this expert, whose very advice could provide the difference needed to restore or transform the hitter’s ability to overpower the piticher send the ball where he wills it. I would advise all leaders in ISKCON to embrace analysis of their actions (or inactions) in this way. When such analysis is accurate – it will serve the cause of Srila Prabhupada; and that cannot be anything but wanted.
I would agree with HH Bhir Krsna Goswami that Srila Prabhupada did in fact work to create independently minded men and women, fixed up in the standard process of Krsna Consciousness. Anything that would impede this – puts the local effort to do just that – at variance with the efforts of Srila Prabhupada. However – the uniqueness of Krsna Consciousness is that while it creates men who are each capable of generating the atmosphere of Krsna Consciousness – they always represent this atmosphere as a direct consequence of following, with an attitude of absolute dependence the simple instructions of our Spiritual Master His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada as they are contained in his books and even more importantly – in his Directives.
When we associate with those who help us realize our true identity – we will progress towards permanent happiness. When we associate with those who we hope will support our imagined role as enjoyer – we will value their company only so long as they serve our dream as enjoyer. But as soon as it is clear that they share our illusory dream as “the enjoyer” and in fact were really seeking our validation of their dream more than they pretended to support our own – BINGO – we are dissatisfied. The key is to embrace the goals of our spiritual master and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – and in the process of meeting Their goals for us all – we will develop real loving relationships with our wives, husbands, children, friends, spiritual mentors, etc – that are “rooted” in the real cause of our “satisfaction” as opposed to the “root cause of our dissatisfaction”.
The following is an excerpt from the powerful preface of the Nectar of Devotion by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. It elucidates the vital essence or principle upon which the Krsna Consciousness Movement is firmly established. I invite everyone to carefully read it and delight in its comprehensive explantion of our dilemma and the simple universal solution provided us by Lord Krsna, and explained so sweetly by our Srila Prabhupada.
Bhakti means “devotional service.” Every service has some attractive feature which drives the servitor progressively on and on. Every one of us within this world is perpetually engaged in some sort of service, and the impetus for such service is the pleasure we derive from it. Driven by affection for his wife and children, a family man works day and night. A philanthropist works in the same way for love of the greater family, and a nationalist for the cause of his country and countrymen. That force which drives the philanthropist, the householder and the nationalist is called rasa, or a kind of mellow (relationship) whose taste is very sweet. Bhakti-rasa is a mellow different from the ordinary rasa enjoyed by mundane workers. Mundane workers labor very hard day and night in order to relish a certain kind of rasa which is understood as sense gratification. The relish or taste of the mundane rasa does not long endure, and therefore mundane workers are always apt to change their position of enjoyment. A businessman is not satisfied by working the whole week; therefore, wanting a change for the weekend, he goes to a place where he tries to forget his business activities. Then, after the weekend is spent in forgetfulness, he again changes his position and resumes his actual business activities. Material engagement means accepting a particular status for some time and then changing it. This position of changing back and forth is technically known as bhoga-tyaga, which means a position of alternating sense enjoyment and renunciation. A living entity cannot steadily remain either in sense enjoyment or in renunciation. Change is going on perpetually, and we cannot be happy in either state, because of our eternal constitutional position. Sense gratification does not endure for long, and it is therefore called capala-sukha, or flickering happiness. For example, an ordinary family man who works very hard day and night and is successful in giving comforts to the members of his family thereby relishes a kind of mellow, but his whole advancement of material happiness immediately terminates along with his body as soon as his life is over. Death is therefore taken as the representative of God for the atheistic class of men. The devotee realizes the presence of God by devotional service, whereas the atheist realizes the presence of God in the shape of death. At death everything is finished, and one has to begin a new chapter of life in a new situation, perhaps higher or lower than the last one. In any field of activity–political, social, national or international–the result of our actions will be finished with the end of life. That is sure.
Bhakti-rasa, however, the mellow relished in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, does not finish with the end of life. It continues perpetually and is therefore called amrta, that which does not die but exists eternally. This is confirmed in all Vedic literatures. Bhagavad-gita says that a little advancement in bhakti-rasa can save the devotee from the greatest danger- -that of missing the opportunity for human life. The rasas derived from our feelings in social life, in family life or in the greater family life of altruism, philanthropy, nationalism, socialism, communism, etc., do not guarantee that one’s next life will be as a human being. We prepare our next life by our actual activities in the present life. A living entity is offered a particular type of body as a result of his action in the present body. These activities are taken into account by a superior authority known as daiva, or the authority of God. This daiva is explained in Bhagavad-gita as the prime cause of everything, and in Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that a man takes his next body by daiva-netrena, which means by the supervision of the authority of the Supreme. In an ordinary sense, daiva is explained as forms; the choice does not depend on our selection, but is awarded to us according to our destiny. If our body at present is engaged in the activities of Krsna consciousness, then it is guaranteed that we will have at least a human body in our next life. A human being engaged in Krsna consciousness, even if unable to complete the course of bhakti-yoga, takes birth in the higher divisions of human society so that he can automatically further his advancement in Krsna consciousness. Therefore, all bona fide activities in Krsna consciousness are amrta, or permanent. This is the subject matter of The Nectar of Devotion.
This eternal engagement in bhakti-rasa can be understood by a serious student upon studying The Nectar of Devotion. Adoption of bhakti-rasa, or Krsna consciousness, will immediately bring one to an auspicious life free from anxieties and will bless one with transcendental existence, thus minimizing the value of liberation. Bhakti-rasa itself is sufficient to produce a feeling of liberation, because it attracts the attention of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Generally, neophyte devotees are anxious to see Krsna, or God, but God cannot be seen or known by our present materially blunt senses. The process of devotional service as it is recommended in The Nectar of Devotion will gradually elevate one from the material condition of life to the spiritual status, wherein the devotee becomes purified of all designations. The senses can then become uncontaminated, being constantly in touch with bhakti-rasa. When the purified senses are employed in the service of the Lord, one becomes situated in bhakti- rasa life, and any action performed for the satisfaction of Krsna in this transcendental bhakti-rasa stage of life can be relished perpetually. When one is thus engaged in devotional service, all varieties of rasas, or mellows, turn into eternity. In the beginning one is trained according to the principles of regulation under the guidance of the acarya, or spiritual master, and gradually, when one is elevated, devotional service becomes automatic and spontaneous eagerness to serve Krsna. There are twelve kinds of rasas, as will be explained in this book, and by renovating our relationship with Krsna in five primary rasas we can live eternally in full knowledge and bliss.
The basic principle of the living condition is that we have a general propensity to love someone. No one can live without loving someone else. This propensity is present in every living being. Even an animal like a tiger has this loving propensity at least in a dormant stage, and it is certainly present in the human beings. The missing point, however, is where to repose our love so that everyone can become happy. At the present moment the human society teaches one to love his country or family or his personal self, but there is no information where to repose the loving propensity so that everyone can become happy. That missing point is Krsna, and The Nectar of Devotion teaches us how to stimulate our original love for Krsna and how to be situated in that position where we can enjoy our blissful life. In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity is not satisfied even by loving all human society; that loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved. Our love can be fully satisfied only when it is reposed in Krsna. This theme is the sum and substance of The Nectar of Devotion, which teaches us how to love Krsna in five different transcendental mellows.
Our loving propensity expands just as a vibration of light or air expands, but we do not know where it ends. The Nectar of Devotion teaches us the science of loving every one of the living entities perfectly by the easy method of loving Krsna. We have failed to create peace and harmony in human society, even by such great attempts as the United Nations, because we do not know the right method. The method is very simple, but one has to understand it with a cool head. The Nectar of Devotion teaches all men how to perform the simple and natural method of loving Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we learn how to love Krsna, then it is very easy to immediately and simultaneously love every living being. It is like pouring water on the root of a tree or supplying food to one’s stomach. The method of pouring water on the root of a tree or supplying foodstuffs to the stomach is universally scientific and practical, as every one of us has experienced. Everyone knows well that when we eat something, or in other words, when we put foodstuffs in the stomach, the energy created by such action is immediately distributed throughout the whole body. Similarly, when we pour water on the root, the energy thus created is immediately distributed throughout the entirety of even the largest tree. It is not possibleto water the tree part by part, nor is it possible to feed the different parts of the body separately. The Nectar of Devotion will teach us how to turn the one switch that will immediately brighten everything, everywhere. One who does not know this method is missing the point of life.
As far as material necessities are concerned, the human civilization at the present moment is very much advanced in living comfortably, but still we are not happy, because we are missing the point. The material comforts of life alone are not sufficient to make us happy. The vivid example is America: the richest nation of the world, having all facilities for material comfort, is producing a class of men completely confused and frustrated in life. I am appealing herewith to such confused men to learn the art of devotional service as directed in The Nectar of Devotion, and I am sure that the fire of material existence burning within their hearts will be immediately extinguished. The root cause of our dissatisfaction is that our dormant loving propensity has not been fulfilled despite our great advancement in the materialistic way of life. The Nectar of Devotion will give us practical hints how we can live in this material world perfectly engaged in devotional service and thus fulfill all our desires in this life and the next. The Nectar of Devotion is not presented to condemn any way of materialistic life, but the attempt is to give information to religionists, philosophers and people in general how to love Krsna. One may live without material discomfiture, but at the same time he should learn the art of loving Krsna. At the present moment we are inventing so many ways to utilize our propensity to love, but factually we are missing the real point: Krsna. We are watering all parts of the tree, but missing the tree’s root. We are trying to keep our body fit by all means, but we are neglecting to supply foodstuffs to the stomach. Missing Krsna means missing one’s self also. Real self-realization and realization of Krsna go together simultaneously. For example, seeing oneself in the morning means seeing the sunrise also; without seeing the sunshine no one can see himself. Similarly, unless one has realized Krsna there is no question of self-realization.
The Nectar of Devotion is specifically presented for persons who are now engaged in the Krsna consciousness movement. I beg to offer my sincere thanks to all my friends and disciples who are helping me to push forward the Krsna consciousness movement in the Western countries, and I beg to acknowledge, with thanks, the contribution made by my beloved disciple Sriman Jayananda brahmacari. My thanks are due as well to the directors of ISKCON Press, who have taken so much care in publishing this great literature. Hare Krsna.”
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Praghosa Das – NYC
» Posted By Praghosa Das ACBSP On Jul 12, 2007 @ 4:17 pm
Each of us is personally responsible for our health. This is not the domain of specialists as is the fashion in our Western Society. Most modern doctors are in fact quacks. They know little to nothing about genuine nutrition. They rarely venture into explaining the need for comprehensive hydration of every cell in the body. They basically commit sin after sin of ‘omission’ since they express little to nothing about the body’s need for healthy fats and good salt and thus leave that information out of their ‘quackery’ when they ‘counsel’ their so-called patients. The list of their transgressions is legendary.
Likewise ‘ the understanding of the body’s lymphatic system and the need to ‘move it’ with gentle excercise ‘ is rarely given any emphasis whatsoever by the official “doctors”.
Any form of physical yoga is merely a healthy and gentle method of moving our blood and lymph throughout our body. This is vital for optimum health. Anyone can go online and discover this ‘ for yourself. Our lymphatic system is entirely dependent upon physical movement in order to move this protective fluid throughout the body. There is no ‘heart’ beating away and moving our lymphatic fluid throughout our frame. If we stop exercise ‘ our lymph stagnates and this is not good. Take it from the ‘voice of experience’. Yoga, walking and swimming just happen to be some of the best ways to accomplish this.
If Yoga were being promoted as part of the spiritual ‘process’ leading to pure Krsna Consciousness anywhere, by anyone representing His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada ‘ they would be laughable. A one hour reading of The Perfection of Yoga establishes the falsity contained within any such claim. However ‘ maintaining health ‘ in order to help us sustain our service to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Gauranga’s Sri Krsna Samkirtan ‘ is a valuable goal. It was clearly Srila Prabhupada’s wonderful example to us while here. He was careful what he honored as prasadam and the time of day he would eat. He consistently walked each morning whenever possible. He always consumed a good deal of water. He did the simple and possible to ensure his health as far as possible.
Yoga is not going to yield self realization any more than swimming, dancing, jogging, dieting, sword fighting, weightlifting or tiddly winks! However ‘ after we discover that we are not this body and we likewise don’t own this body as well but have received it on loan from the Lord and we should use it wisely in His service, then doing the ‘needful’ to keep it all in good working order only makes good sense.
Srila Prabhupada said in Hawaii that ‘we should pray to Krsna for Long Life so we can finish our business here by becoming fully Krsna Conscious and go back to home – back to Godhead’.
In otherwords we should do what is needed to keep ourselves fit and ready as soldiers in the Samkirtan Corps of Lord Gauranga. In the military ‘ if a man contracts a venerable disease while off duty ‘ he can be charged with ‘abuse of government property’ and face penalties! We should consider our body like that.
There is no need to even discuss ‘Coed Yoga’ in Srila Prabhupada’s ashram unless it is for married couples. Even then ‘ how many married couples want that? Adults know what is to be done and what is not to be done in these matters. If there are anomalies in that regard they’re easy to adjust. But yoga is for physical health. Physical health that is assisted by an essentially non-violent approach to the body’s mechanisms is definitely wanted.
Anyone who protests such simple methods of assisting our health in the service of Lord Chaitanya’s Samkirtan Corps just needs to consider that the opposite of healthy is diseased, and a diseased army ‘ never wins the war! They are in fact defeated ‘ before they even set foot on the battlefield.
And if ‘ in their quest to learn physical yoga ‘ people are also brought into contact with healthy enthusiastic devotees of the Lord ‘ who use their ‘healthy’ condition to share the Highest Form of Yoga ‘ devotion to Lord Krsna by introducing them to the easy access to full spiritual health through the Lord’s Holy Names and His prasadam ‘ all supported by the foundation of Srila Prabhupada’s books ‘ then by all means they should be encouraged to do so.
As Srila Prabhupada states in The Perfection of Yoga, the essence of real Yoga is simple and has nothing to do with the body itself:
It is the duty of everyone to become Krsna conscious and to serve the cause of Krsna. When one actually realizes this he becomes a mahatma, or a great soul. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna says that after many births, when one comes to the platform of real knowledge, he “surrenders unto Me.” Why is this? Vasudevah sarvam iti. The wise man realizes that “Vasudeva [Krsna] is everything.” However, Krsna says that such a great soul is rarely found. Why is this? If an intelligent person comes to understand that the ultimate goal of life is to surrender unto Krsna, why should he hesitate? Why not surrender immediately? What is the point in waiting for so many births? When one comes to that point of surrender, he becomes a real sannyasi. Krsna never forces anyone to surrender unto Him. Surrender is a result of love, transcendental love. Where there is force and where there is no freedom, there can be no love. When a mother loves a child, she is not forced to do so, nor does she do so out of expectation of some salary or remuneration.
Adults who can read ‘ can easily distinguish physical yoga from devotional service to Lord Krsna. The Perfection of Yoga is perfectly capable of clarifying the difference for anyone. Healthy for Krsna is a good thing. But it is not obligatory in order to become Krsna’s devotee. But ‘ as Srila Prabhupada says in the 1st Canto of SB ‘Material well being follows spiritual well being’. When we see our life and body as gifted to us by Krsna ‘ we will be naturally inclined to do the needful to maximize that.
All Glories to the Sri Krsna Samkirtan Corps!
Stay Healthy for Srila Prabhupada. If one hour of yoga each day can help you do that ‘ GO FOR IT! Then ‘ hit the streets and engage in the most blissful yoga ever bequeathed the human society ‘ Hari Nama samkirtan and the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s purports ‘ dictated to him by the Supreme Yoga Master Himself ‘ Lord Sri Krsna!
Respectfully Praghosa Das ‘ NYC email@example.com
» Posted By Praghosa Das ACBSP On Jun 5, 2007 @ 2:09 pm
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Moderator’s Note: Just to clarify – the author of this article (Praghosa ACBSP) is not the same Praghosa who is the editor of the Dandavats website
I would like to offer a comment on the case of HH Dhanudhara Swami.
Fact: He admitted to being guilty of mismanagement and abusive dealings with the students in his care in Vrindavana.
Fact: He admitted to being untrained and thus naive in all matters pertaining to the education of the students in his care.
Fact: ISKCON was found to be negligent in the extreme in its oversight of this school and all others as well during this period.
Fact: The parents of the students were guilty – in the extreme of – of naivete and ignorance – where it pertained to the supervison of such a situation. Each parent was INDIVIDUALLY responsible for their own child’s care and ignorantly placed too much unwarranted trust in others to see to ALL the interests of their child in their training and protection.
Consequently – The children suffered as a result of neglect and deficient training and experience by FIRST and FOREMOST – their parents….who entrusted them to the impersonal care of the institution of ISKCON …..who then entrusted them to the UNTRAINED and obviously ill-motivated leadership of men who were clearly in the light of the clear scrutiny of hindsight – very ill suited to the occupation of teaching and caring for all the needs of chidren.
When I say that HH Dhanudara Swami was ill motivated – this is what I mean.
None of the boys were HIS sons. They were the results of the love and attachment felt by another man and his wife for one another. Taking responsibility for the results of another man’s sex life is unnatural UNLESS there is perceived gain on the part of he or she who does so. In all action – there is expectation of gain; MOTIVATION. This is clear. All action is predicated upon the perception that what is – is less desirable – than what ought be. So his own motivation could not have been the equal of the boys’ fathers. It would naturally be something else.
I do not know if Dhanudhara Swami was recruited to the positon or if he actually voluntarily pursued it. It really makes no difference. At some point…he perceived that he would gain something personally or would gain the satisfaction of pleasing the Lord or our Spiritual Master in assuming this responsibility. Again it makes no difference. What is important to know is that he had no experience in his past that prepared him for the task. He was not schooled for this. His performance was not reviewed for this as well. And most importantly – he had no personal connection to these boys. He was not their parent and had invested NOTHING in them personally; neither his hard earned money or the naturally affectionate heart of a parent.
Thus his only real motivation was his sense of personal success in achieving whatever he percieved as the ultimate goal in the endeavor.
In the real world – if our livelihood can be affected by failure to meet the expectations of the market – THE MARKET WILL GO ELSEWHERE and we are financially FIRED. So Dhanudhara Swami was simply discovered to be vitally deficient in meeting the most important expectations of the THE MARKET; ie the parents and the children themselves. They were not buying – what he was selling. Simple as that. He failed to prepare himself sufficiently to deal with the motivations of those who were far more personally invested in the future of those children than he was – THE PARENTS! This lack of foresight on his part was immature and naturally irresponsible. However though the subsequent result of this immaturity was decidedly unpleasant – there is no evidence to indicate that it was intentionally malefic. His ignorance was more than anything, a result of his not being personally invested in the business of childrearing to the degree of the parents. This is reality. In addition, his teaching was not a profession. Thus his source of income, his livelihood, his means to maintain his own family of “mouths to feed” was not at risk either. To make it more than this is misguided.
The impersonal formation of a poorly managed, poorly staffed, poorly funded and most importantly parentally neglected boarding school is an open invitation to every conceivable reversal a concerned parent could imagine. Marriage should be seen correctly first and foremost as a business venture. It is a contractual agreement between a man and a woman to care for eachother and any subsequent children that result from this contractual agreement. The parents invest an enormous amount of labor in this venture. Over the span of 30 years – in today’s real world – they invest – at even a minimum – an accumulated 1 million dollars and thousands and thousands of hours in the care of this “venture”. The children and their care and upbringing are the literal “fruit” of their efforts. Who invests 1 million dollars in a business venture without demanding as much oversight in the preservation of that investment as is humanely possible? Only a naive or rank neophyte in business would do this. Sadly – people do squander their “venture capital” every day to the tune of billions. But the old saying goes “Burn me once…shame on you! Burn me twice? Shame on ME”.
It is natural – when such loss of capital occurs, to look for someone to blame. The emotional do this in order to assuage their feelings if guilt. The rational do it in order to stanch the “bloodletting”; the continued loss of capital.
The children learned long ago – in the moment really – that their situation – under the “supervision” of that ISKCON school and Dhanudhara Swami personally – was something they would not VOLUNTARILY seek out and accept. Thus it was contaminated with COERCION.
The parents then discovered through the children – that this situtation was not something they wished to continue to support…in any way.
They then lodged all their reservations and/or outrage with the management of the school, over the “losses” they incurred by investing in a situation that did not meet with their expectations. The end result? They pulled the plug on the program. They voted – as any consumer does – with their feet – by withdrawing their “investment”; the children. The program ended. Very simple.
NOW – what was finalized years ago.. has been resurrected by those who have something else to gain in doing so.
The International Society for Krsna Consciousness failed in all its responsibilities where it concerned the expectations of the parents. ISKCON implied a committment to excellence in all matters pertaining to the care and education of the parents children. They failed their clientele – the customer – the parents. The parents voted with their feet and walked away.
The International Society for Krsna Consciousness then proceeded to assign the lion’s share of responsibility for the failures of the school on the shoulders of the men involved. This was an emotional effort. It was not a rational effort. Since Dhanudhara Swami was acting as “agent” of the institution – his insufficient training is a direct result of a collusion of ignorance and irresponsible actions by both the parents and the institution. Unless he could be shown to have been qualified – yet willfully refused to employ his “qualifications” in the service of the parents and the institution – then his only real crime is being unqualified for the job and devoid of the desire or means to become so. Bas. We could argue till the cows come home over the use of the word “unqualified”. Many I am certain would prefer far more severe terms applied to what they view as particularly abhorrent behaviour or treatment of children. I understand that. But that is a digression that need not be entertained. I prefer to keep it clear. He was unqualified and HAD to cease and desist. He did and its over. The parents have to live with their own remorse in being so damn irresponsible and disconnected. The institution has to live with the results of the lawsuit. HH Dhanudhara has to live – with himself. Everyone has to endure their just desserts.
His transgressions – while they do demonstrate a seriously poor example of qualified teacher, father and dare I say – man – do not disqualify him from serving as sannyasi and samkirtan devotee. Simply put he is fine for adults – but completely unqualified for boys.
To place someone so ill-suited in charge of our sons is highly suspect and most fathers now know that this is the last place one should look for a mentor for his boys. Most sannyasis who have not taken sannyasa after years of committed family life are simply not qualified – principally by dint of their genuine lack of interest – to take personal care of all the needs of young boys. This requires a balanced approach that only real parenting can provide. Educating our boys – is OUR responsibilty. To imagine that someone else will care as deeply for my investment as I will – is strangely disconnected from reality. Possession is what turns sand into gold. This is never more true than where it concerns our family. Family life is for men and women who are invested and know just how much they are so.
Dhanudhara Swami’s leaving ISKCON is another matter. He has his own motivations for doing this that have nothing to do with his history as a lousy excuse for a director of an elementary boarding school.
The issue is simple. The parents and the children – upon learning of the deficiencies of that school – withdrew their support and participation long ago. New arrangements for the education of the children have taken its place. Naturally. Life has moved on.
What happened in the past…is past.
ISKCON has assuaged its guilt as it pertains to that particular school – by assigning the lion’s share upon the person of HH Dhanudhara Swami. He accepted their actions for reasons that only he needs to know. What is done is done. He has demonstrated … for years now ..that he has no interest in being involved in the “investments” of any couple. He has shown no interest in supervising children ever again. He HAS shown interest in sharing the opportunity of Krsna Consciousness with anyone who might equally value this opportunity. Those who appreciate his assistance…or merely his friendship and company – or even his guidance in this endeavor are going to continue to do so – no matter what anyone thinks, says or does. You can take that to the bank.
So there is no point in revisting this history under the influence of emotion. If this history is revisited at all – everyone’s interest will best be served if it is done so – by those who are either “invested’ (married with children) or planning to be, with a clear rational intention to learn from any mistakes made in the past – by anyone – that could in the end lead us to squander our efforts.
Those who clamor for an addtional “pound of flesh” from this devotee fail to understand the principle of liberty. There are presently men who have assigned a particular value to the association and guidance of HH Dhanudhara Swami. If they are indeed real men, they will not be moved by “The Crowd” as Gustave Le Bon would call them. They view him as essential or intrinsic to their own progress in their efforts to serve their own interests as they pertain to pleasing our Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krsna. How could the desires of others for any additional consequences move them to share their conclusions? If it is not voluntarily done – it would be meaningless. I am sure and certain that all of them know the details of the particular period of his history and simply do not recognize it as being relevant to their present relationship with Dhanudhara Swami the contributions they perceive his offering their Krsna Consciousness.
“A man’s mind changed against his will..is of the same opinion still”.
Now countless individuals clamor again…but for what really? He was found deficient, the school was closed, he is now no longer and has not been for many many years involved with anyone’s children, no one is at risk in any way as a consequence of his living and breathing on this planet and indeed many men have assigned their own value to his continuing to do so.
The sincere will move on with their own life; their own “venture”. There is no secret as regards the history of Dhanudhara Swami and the ISKCON boarding school in Vrindavana. Or anywhere for that matter. It was laid threadbare long ago. The lessons have been learned and clearly for the better. Commit ourselves to more carefully minding our spiritual “investments”; in all matters. That will prove most beneficial for all.
The most important lessons of all that has resulted in all of this history is this.
1. The International Society for Krsna Consciousness must either leave all schooling of children to the parents or do whatever is needed to give themselves the best possible chance of successfully executing this task with little chance of suffering the same horrible consequences as in the past. ISKCON opens its doors to all the inhabitants of this miserable planet. We come with a veritable “ocean of faults” and it takes pure and faithful chanting – for a long time – to free us all of our horrible disqualifications. Care must be taken to ensure that we do not hurt ourselves or eachother – while we are in the midst of the healing process.
2.When men and women embark upon the contractual committment of marriage, the general result to this.. is children. The raising of these children is an enormous financial and emotional responsibility that will place enormous demands upon us. No one will ever assign as much value to these children as we – their parents do. NEVER! No matter how much they crow about “loving children blah blah blah”. Consequently – NEVER ever pretend to imagine that you can do anything but watch over your “investments” – like the proverbial “Hawk”. The responsibility has always – AND ALWAYS WILL – rest first and finally – with the very two persons who made the decision to invite that soul to their protection – in the first place!
As a parent – I always assume that everyone wants to harm my child – then if they don’t I can enjoy being pleasantly surprised. I have always thought this way. Always will.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada
Praghosa Das ACBSP (NYC)
» Posted By Praghosa Das ACBSP On Jul 3, 2006 @ 4:57 pm
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