ISKCON Information | Resolving Contentious Points

When instructing Yudhisthira, Narada stated that in any endeavour, one should begin with the tip in thoughts. In our case, it’s all the time the identical, to please our Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada. I’m positive all events in any ISKCON battle share this goal and are satisfied that their desired consequence can be most pleasing to him. Nevertheless, I might counsel that the overarching consideration is that we work collectively harmoniously. As we all know, Srila Prabhupada famously stated that our love for him can be proven by how nicely we cooperate. He warned us that in-fighting would “spoil all the pieces”, and he repeatedly requested us to work collectively underneath the authority of the GBC as the last word arbiters of any managerial matter. Whereas there are numerous companies that can please Srila Prabhupada, I feel we are able to all agree that none will be at the price of destroying the establishment he labored so exhausting to create. He gave the instance of many disciples massaging totally different components of his physique in several methods concurrently, inflicting him ache reasonably than pleasure. I might counsel then that the specter of a schism is just not one thing we are able to entertain, regardless of which facet of the argument we assist. This has already occurred with the vexed situation of ritvik initiations and, extra not too long ago, has once more reared its fearful head over the contentious matter of Vaishnavi Diksa Gurus (VDG). I’m not arguing for or towards the latter however merely suggesting a technique to method the issue, and certainly any such debate, with out tearing ourselves aside. Implementing VDGs might or might not please Srila Prabhupada however splitting the motion would certainly displease him. We actually can’t go there.


“It’s disturbing information that the San Francisco president has secretly persuaded devotees to depart Australia and that they haven’t been returned. I’ve requested my secretary to put in writing a letter on my behalf to Caru das in San Francisco. Now the matter must be taken up by the GBC at their normal assembly and no matter choice they make, you’ll have to abide by. This enterprise should cease. If you happen to struggle amongst yourselves what can I do? This preventing will spoil all the pieces.” [Letter to: Bali Mardan, 8 February, 1977]

Aside from the rapid devastation of a schism, such an consequence would have far-reaching implications. It might set a precedent for future disputes. If we disagree with a GBC coverage, we secede from their authority and type our personal celebration. This being the age of quarrel, extra conflicts are inevitable, and earlier than lengthy, we are going to go the best way of the Gaudiya Math. I’m positive that no one needs to see this taking place. This implies we should cooperate, and which means discovering mutually agreeable options. Cooperation is a two-way avenue.

What are the impediments to cooperation on this case? Both sides might think about the opposite celebration the issue, ‘Western egalitarian attitudes’, or ‘fanatics adhering to anachronistic notions of varnashrama’. Varied accusations are being levelled, however ought to we not begin with self-analysis? How am I contributing to the issue? Pondering the issue is ‘on the market’ is the primary drawback, because it takes away our energy to discover a answer. Srila Prabhupada typically stated a devotee is introspective.

“That’s the Vedic civilization, that one is educated to grow to be introspective.” NOD Lecture Jan 6, 1973

Introspection means asking looking out questions. Am I being influenced by ignorance, lust, or envy? These, after all, are anarthas, and as devotees, we must always acutely know their presence. The signs of 1 freed from anarthas are given in Srimad Bhagavatam. The very first thing is bhaktih bhavati naisthiki, irrevocable loving service is established within the coronary heart. Then “the consequences of nature’s modes of ardour and ignorance, reminiscent of lust, need and hankering, disappear from the center. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he turns into utterly comfortable. Then mukta sangasya jayate, one is totally liberated and stuffed with bliss.

So, the check is there; am I free from nature’s modes, experiencing ecstasy, freed from all asat sanga? Am I absolutely absorbed in Harikatha, or am I nonetheless interested in having fun with my senses—tongue, stomach, genitals, and thoughts—a little bit of TV, YouTube, social media, politics, sport, gossip, and many others.? If the latter is true, our anarthas are nonetheless current and can undoubtedly affect our minds after we disagree. If we are able to admit to the faults in our personal hearts, we are able to take steps to be sure that these anarthas don’t unduly affect our dialogue of contentious points.

One other query that involves thoughts is how we are able to inform after we are discussing collectively in the fitting means. Once more, we are able to get gentle from the Srimad Bhagavatam 3.25.25:

“Within the affiliation of pure devotees, dialogue of the pastimes and actions of the Supreme Persona of Godhead may be very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the center. By cultivating such data, one steadily turns into superior on the trail of liberation, and thereafter he’s freed, and his attraction turns into fastened. Then actual devotion and devotional service start.”

Are our discussions pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the center? Or do they finish in fractious debate and disagreement? In that case, we have to rectify this drawback earlier than we are able to resolve the rest. Srila Prabhupada provides us a clue:

“Delivery is just not all the time the criterion of goodness; until and till one is educated within the tradition of excellent affiliation, one can not grow to be good.” SB 3.3.6 purport

“As a way to grow to be actually discovered, we have now to affiliate with devotees. Then we are able to really relish kṛṣṇa-kathā. When mentioned amongst devotees, kṛṣṇa-kathā is pleasant to the center and ear. This requires a little bit coaching, and this coaching is given by the devotees.” Teachings of Lord Kapila, chapter 12; texts 25-26

Coaching is required. How can we all know if we’re educated in correct sat sanga? The reply is within the Srimad Bhagavatam 11.3.30:

“One ought to learn to affiliate with the devotees of the Lord by gathering with them to chant the glories of the Lord. This course of is most purifying. As devotees thus develop their loving friendship, they really feel mutual happiness and satisfaction. And by thus encouraging each other, they can quit materials sense gratification, which is the reason for all struggling.”

If we focus on in response to the right tradition of sadhu sanga, our loving friendships ought to develop, and we must always expertise mutual happiness and satisfaction. If we study to debate like this, we are going to grow to be freed from the tendency for sense gratification. There are nonetheless extra advantages of discussing accurately, which we study of within the subsequent verse, SB 11.3.31:

“The devotees of the Lord always focus on the glories of the Persona of Godhead amongst themselves. Thus they always keep in mind the Lord and remind each other of His qualities and pastimes. On this means, by their devotion to the rules of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Persona of Godhead, who takes away from them all the pieces inauspicious. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even inside this world, their spiritualized our bodies exhibit signs of transcendental ecstasy, reminiscent of standing of the bodily hairs on finish.”

And at last, it creates an environment freed from envy, anxiousness, concern and hankering:

“Every time pure subjects of the transcendental world are mentioned, the members of the viewers neglect every kind of fabric hankerings, at the very least in the intervening time. Not solely that, however they’re not envious of each other, nor do they undergo from anxiousness or concern.” SB 4.30.35 verse

If we learn to affiliate accurately from Srila Prabhupada, Krishna will take away all the pieces inauspicious. We’ll come to auspicious conclusions by His grace. All concerned will progress towards pure love of God. This I feel is our problem: to study to debate in response to the tradition of excellent sadhu sanga.

The place is that this coaching accessible? Srila Prabhupada speaks on this all through his purports, letters, conversations, walks and lectures. Many of those directions are collated on this web site:

For instance:

“I’m very a lot stressing these days that my college students shall improve their studying of my books and attempt to perceive them from totally different angles of imaginative and prescient. Every sloka will be seen from many, many angles of imaginative and prescient, so grow to be practiced in seeing issues like this.” Letter to: Tribhuvanatha — Los Angeles 16 June, 1972

Since Srila Prabhupada says “grow to be practised in seeing issues like this”, it suggests to me that that is one thing we should work on. He typically stated that we must always study to see sastra from totally different views.

In Bg 17.15 purport, Srila Prabhupada provides us two different necessary directions: we must always converse very pleasantly with one another and all the time present sastric proof to assist our propositions.

“The method of talking in religious circles is to say one thing upheld by the scriptures. One ought to directly quote from scriptural authority to again up what he’s saying. On the similar time, such speak needs to be very pleasurable to the ear. By such discussions, one might derive the best profit and elevate human society.” BG 17.15 purport

In conclusion, I wish to say that the method of debate that I perceive Srila Prabhupada to be recommending is just not the identical as hermeneutics. It’s sankirtana, listening to and chanting collectively. It produces the above great results, bringing us nearer collectively and advancing us towards Krishna. There are numerous quotes on the enhancing sanga web site the place Srila Prabhupada stresses its significance. I really feel that following his instructions on this regard may clear up this situation and each different issue we face in attempting to serve him collectively.

Listening to about and glorifying the Lord are similar with the transcendental nature of the Lord, and by so doing, one can be all the time within the affiliation of the Lord. This brings freedom from all types of concern. The Lord is the Supersoul (Paramātmā) current within the hearts of all residing beings, and thus by the above listening to and glorifying course of, the Lord invitations the affiliation of all in His creation. This technique of listening to about and glorifying the Lord is relevant for everybody, whoever he could also be, and it’ll lead one to the last word success in all the pieces by which one could also be engaged by windfall. SB 2.1.5 purp.

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