I offer my respectful obeisances to my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He has saved me from the repeated cycle of birth and death in this material world and enabled me to have a slight glimpse of the beautiful cowherd boy, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This little glimpse has enabled me to leave behind the mundane aspirations and desires I had previously and in some small way to enjoy the nectar available through serving Krishna and His pure devotee. I have no way to repay my debt to Srila Prabhupada. The only thing I can do is to try and follow his instructions and push on the preaching of the Krishna conscious movement all over the world.

Srila Prabhupada said if you become a devotee of Krishna the whole world will become your enemy, and to some extent I have experienced that. Of course it is to be expected as practically speaking the whole world is engaged in sense gratification and Krishna consciousness is a threat to this.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it was the general public who were inimical and causing obstructions to the preaching work, but, although there are some “demons” out there who can be quite annoying, the vast majority of people are not demons, they are innocent souls who have been mislead by the sinful atmosphere of this Kali-yuga, the iron age of quarrel. The problem I am facing is that some so-called devotees of Krishna are making it difficult to preach Krishna consciousness…

Srila Prabhupada had the same problem. Practically speaking the only serious threat to his movement came from his godbrothers, the other disciples of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktsiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaja. His godbrothers had their own preaching organizations in India and saw themselves as world-preachers, jagat guru’s (guru for the whole world), but they never left India, despite the fact that Srila Bhaktsiddhanta Sarasvati had asked all his senior men to travel to the Western countries to spread the message of Krishna and Lord Caitanya. But they were not interested. They had their few temples and enough followers to send out begging money on the basis that it was for the service of Krishna but they were simply eating and sleeping. They had no life for the preaching work. When they saw Srila Prabhupada succeed in the West in fulfilling their spiritual master’s desire, instead of congratulating and encouraging Srila Prabhupada they criticized him. They were envious of his position, envious of his followers, envious of his large number of opulent temples all over the world. Even up to today Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers are causing great problems within his society.

Now we have seen ISKCON (Srila Prabhupada’s preaching movement) develop, since Srila Prabhupada’s departure in 1977, into something quit different from the movement he established. There is still lip-service to the instructions of Srila Prabhupada and if you talk to one of today’s ISKCON devotees they will still talk about Prabhupada and Krishna, but something has changed. The mood of pure devotional service has gone. Srila Prabhupada wanted his ISKCON to be a society of pure devotees, because it is only through the association of pure devotees that one can advance in Krishna consciousness. It is true that one can be a mixed devotee, the demigod’s are all devotees of Krishna, but they still maintain some independent material desires. This means they can’t leave the material world, they are simply promoted to a higher status to fulfill their material desires. It is not such a wonderful thing to be a mixed devotee, there are so many mixed devotees. Practically every religious group on the planet is promoting some sort of mixed devotional service. But that is not bhakti, that is not love. It is a business. If I have faith in God and I approach Him to serve Him with some motive in mind this is a business transaction. It’s good, in the sense that such a person is pious. When he is in need he turns to God to fulfill his needs, but it’s not Krishna consciousness and it’s not what Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON for.

So ISKCON has become an institution where the majority of members are practicing Krishna consciousness or devotional service to some extent, but not completely purely. Many members of ISKCON today have some motivation, some personal desire to fulfill through their devotional service. It’s understandable enough as there has been a history, since Srila Prabhupada’s departure, of leaders who are themselves materially motivated. Many of the former leaders of ISKCON have fallen away and in retrospect it can be seen that they were not pure devotees at all. The leader has a big effect on his followers and a cheating leader tends to attract cheating followers. So the current institution, ISKCON, can be very difficult if one is sincerely trying to practice pure devotional service, as that mood is no longer there.

My personal position is that I have absolute faith in Srila Prabhupada, my spiritual master, and Krishna and I am trying with all my energy and intelligence to engage myself and everyone else in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, but there’s no place for me in ISKCON. They just don’t know what to do with me. Because they are preaching some watered-down philosophy to the devotees to encourage them to do business and make lots of money rather than to preach and distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books my presence in the Temple makes them feel uncomfortable, because I just want to preach and distribute books, and I want to do it with the other devotees. So it’s very difficult. I wouldn’t say that the ISKCON devotees are demons or against Srila Prabhupada, generally they are all great souls who have dedicated their lives to preaching Krishna consciousness. It’s just because of bad leadership the temples are in the state they currently are and the pure devotional mood has been lost.

For me there is nothing more enjoyable than the association of devotees who are dedicated to pushing on Krishna consciousness by following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and distributing his books. Simple, uncomplicated souls who are not interested in politics and diplomacy and who are actually following strictly the path of saddhana bhakti as presented by Srila Prabhupada.

Disciples of Srila Prabhupada follow four regulative principles: no illicit sex life, no intoxication of any sort including tea and coffee, no gambling and no meat eating. They rise early every morning, before 4:00am and attend the Mangal Aroti ceremony in the temple. They chant at least sixteen rounds of the Maha-Mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare daily and engage themselves full-time, 24 hours a day in practical service to Krishna under the direction of the spiritual master.

Quit a difficult task you might say! In fact to do all these things is impossible unless we have developed some real love and real attachment to Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. If the love and attachment is there there will never be enough hours in the day to serve Krishna and Srila Prabhupada and such service will place us in the ever increasing ocean of spiritual bliss. So the more we serve the more our desire to serve increases.

The development of this love and taste requires good association. The reason Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON was to provide a place for people interested in spiritual life to come to and associate with pure devotees so they could develop this love and attachment. Unfortunately in ISKCON today someone who wants to develop this pure service mood is seen as something of a fanatic, they call it the “Pure Devotee Disease” and anyone who exhibits it is encouraged to come back down to earth, be realistic and keep on going out there and collecting money and bringing it back to the temple. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to develop attachment and love under such circumstances. Usually the reverse happens, innocent and sincere young people join the movement and by association with the “devotees” who are not very serious and who have their own personal motivations for performing devotional service, these new devotees become more materialistic and move further away from Krishna and Srila Prabhupada by living in the ISKCON temples.

This causes a great dilemma in the minds of many sincere devotees. Often their faith in Krishna consciousness is shattered as they are sincerely trying to follow the process of Krishna consciousness, but instead of becoming purified, they become contaminated. Instead of becoming free from material desires they become riddled with them. It’s the power of association. Unless the temples are full of pure devotees or at least devotees aspiring for pure devotional service they are useless. There is no difference between a temple full of mixed devotees and a Christian church or some other place where God is worshiped. There is no doubt that God is worshiped in the Churches and there is also no doubt that the people engaged in such worship benefit spiritually, but it’s not pure devotional service.

I know Srila Prabhupada most dearly wants his books to be distributed, and I have always tried to distribute as many books as possible, but it is very difficult if you are surrounded by “devotees” who are not interested in distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books.

I want to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books, but the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the publishers of Srila Prabhupada’s books, won’t sell them to me. I have to preach, it’s Srila Prabhupada’s desire, so what to do??

Krishna consciousness has nothing to do with politics. It is about developing our natural constitutional loving relationship with Krishna. Its a completely natural, simple and joyful process. So I urge you to read this book and more than that I beg you to read the books of my eternal master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, then your life will be truly sublime.

Thank you very much. Hare Krishna

Madhudvisa dasa .

Dated at Sydney May 8, 1994.

Series Navigation<< What Happened to the the Hare Krishnas?Introduction >>
Posted in: Introduction

About the Author:

Post a Comment