Expanding the Circle of Compassion

After studying “GBC Amends and Affirms Law Allowing Vaisnavis To Initiate,” I believed to myself that you would be able to all the time get to the identical place from a unique course. The debate in ISKCON for the previous couple of years has been about girls gurus. But this text will present the reader that Srila Prabhupada didn’t strategy this problem from a person vs lady perspective.

No one dared to actually contemplate what Srila Prabhupada was saying when he was nonetheless bodily with us. Some of the younger males devotees within the early days of ISKCON had been busy jockeying for positions within the prestigious sannyasa order. And from the beginning, many gurus and brahmanas in India had been leery of girls brahmanas, girls residing within the temples, and girls actively preaching and distributing books on western road corners. Shouldn’t they be at residence elevating households? Now 50 years later, it’s about time that Prabhupada’s imaginative and prescient for his motion is known and carried out.

It’s a imaginative and prescient who’s time has definitely arrived. And it’s a imaginative and prescient that may appropriate different points: that lots of Prabhupada disciples are being left behind, and that by endorsing gurus the GBC has overstepped its perform.

The early devotees invested nice quantities of time and power, and gallons of blood so to talk to assist jump-start the Hare Krishna Movement. In the Sixties and 70s, the younger women and men in ISKCON went out to distribute Prabhupada’s books. They opened temples, or supported the event and the functioning of temples. They impressed folks to affix or to make donations, or take part in a technique or different. Their power knew no bounds. At Prabhupada’s request, they left the phrase “inconceivable” behind. These devotees made nice private sacrifices. Many walked away from school educations {and professional} careers. And the households gave their kids over to be educated within the gurukula system.

These early pioneers, whether or not one was sannyasa, brahmacari or grhastha, made a terrific funding in ISKCON. Now, it’s time for ISKCON to make an funding in them. By Srila Prabhupada’s efforts these devotees have obtained unprecedented insights into the character of the fabric world, the character of the Supreme Lord and His varied incarnations, they usually got a particular position to play in spreading Caitanya’s Sankirtana Movement.

And now, many of those devotees have an necessary position to play of their senior years. Prabhupada usually quoted the order Lord Caitanya gave 500 years earlier
amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa
yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa (CC Madhya 7.128)
“By following My order, you turn into guru.”
Prabhupada had a particular imaginative and prescient on how this verse could be carried out in his fledgling society.

In a lecture of August 17, 1968, Prabhupada defined his imaginative and prescient.
“So all my college students current right here who’re feeling a lot obliged… I’m additionally obliged to them as a result of they’re serving to me on this missionary work. At the identical time, I shall request all of them to turn into religious grasp. Every one among you need to be religious grasp subsequent. And what’s their obligation? Whatever you’re listening to from me, no matter you’re studying from me, you need to distribute the identical in toto with none addition or alteration. Then all of you turn into the religious grasp. That is the science of changing into religious grasp. Spiritual grasp isn’t any… To turn into a religious grasp just isn’t very fantastic factor. Simply one has to turn into honest soul. That’s all.”

In a letter dated January 3, 1969, Prabhupada once more reiterated his want.
“I would like that every one of my religious little children will inherit this title of Bhaktivedanta (Prabhupada’s personal title), in order that the household transcendental diploma will proceed by means of the generations. Those possessing the title of Bhaktivedanta can be allowed to provoke disciples. Maybe by 1975, all of my disciples can be allowed to provoke and improve the numbers of the generations. That is my program. So we must always not merely publish these books for studying by outsiders, however our college students should be nicely versed in all of our books in order that we will be ready to defeat all opposing events within the matter of self-realization.”

Prabhupada expressed that very same imaginative and prescient in a May 9, 1969 lecture.
“āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa
yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa (CC Madhya 7.128)
Lord Caitanya says that, “Every one among you turn into the religious grasp. Every one among you. Why one, two? Every one among you.” “Oh, religious grasp could be very troublesome job.” No. No troublesome job. Caitanya Mahā . . . Āmāra ājñāya: “Just attempt to perform My order. That’s all. Then you turn into religious grasp.” And in case you interpolate, in case you put one thing nonsense, garbage, to indicate your so-called rascal’s schooling, then it’s spoiled. Immediately spoiled. And in case you current as it’s, then it’s pure.”

In a letter dated Dec. 20, 1969 to Himavati devi dasi, Prabhupada is delighted with the “new” stage within the motion, and encourages her to step up and lead by instance.
“So I’m particularly proud how my householder disciples are preaching Lord Caitanya’s Mission. This is a brand new factor within the historical past of the Sankirtana Movement. In India all of the acaryas and their descendants in a while acted solely from the person’s facet. Their wives had been at residence as a result of that’s the system from outdated instances that girls are usually not required to exit. But in Bhagavad-gita we discover that girls are additionally equally competent like the lads within the matter of Krsna Consciousness Movement. Please subsequently stick with it these missionary actions, and show it by sensible instance that there isn’t a bar for anybody within the matter of preaching work for Krsna Consciousness.”

In a July 18, 1971 dialog in Detroit, Prabhupada once more expressed this imaginative and prescient.
Mohsin Hassan: “After you, is it any choice has been made who will take over?”
Prabhupada: “Yes. All of them will take over. These college students, who’re initiated from me, all of them will act as I’m doing. Just like I’ve obtained many Godbrothers, they’re all appearing. Similarly, all these disciples which I’m making, initiating, they’re being skilled to turn into future religious masters.”

On Oct 24, 1972, in a lecture in India, Prabhupada criticized the nay sayers.
“When Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered that prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, so meaning He needed that all around the world, in each city, in each village, His mission needs to be propagated. …. And it’s a glory for us that folks in different international locations, exterior India, they’re accepting this cult of Krsna consciousness. But crippled folks, they unnecessarily criticize this methodology. But we don’t look after them.”

In a lecture on April 6, 1975, Prabhupada once more quotes the order of Lord Caitanya (CC Madhya 7.128) and follows with:
“So, so we wish to unfold Krsna consciousness. Simply put together your self easy methods to repeat Krsna’s directions very properly, with none mal-interpretation. Then, in future… Suppose you’ve got now ten thousand. We shall develop to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million, and million to 10 million. . . . . . So there can be no shortage of acarya, and folks will perceive Krsna consciousness very simply.”

And in a lecture in India on March 16, 1976 Prabhupada explains that his imaginative and prescient will be utilized in anyplace and nation.
“Anywhere, both you’re on this district or that district, it doesn’t matter. Either you’re at residence or exterior residence, it doesn’t matter. You turn into a guru. Everyone. “How shall I turn into guru? I’ve no qualification.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu mentioned, “You don’t require any qualification. You merely require one qualification, that you simply repeat the instruction of Bhagavad-gita. That’s all.”

In one other lecture on August 19, 1976, Prabhupada elaborated on a phrase in Caitanya’s well-known order.
‘Ei desa means wherever you’re residing you turn into a guru and ship them. Suppose you’re residing in a small neighborhood, you may turn into a guru of that neighborhood and ship them. “How it’s attainable? I’ve no schooling, I’ve no information. How I can turn into guru and ship them?” Caitanya Mahaprabhu mentioned it’s not in any respect troublesome. Yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa. This is your qualification. If you merely ship the message given by Krsna you turn into guru.”

And now, ISKCON has a really nice useful resource: Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. In every other real neighborhood or tradition, they might be thought of elders. These devotees are mature, chanting the Holy Name for nearly a half century or extra, they usually carry with them a wealth of religious information. Now, 50 years later the time has come for ISKCON and the GBC to spend money on these elders, women and men alike; whoever desires to just accept the duty of changing into a religious grasp. This will instantly resolve the guru problem, surcharge your entire motion to deliver ISKCON as much as a brand new stage of involvement, and fulfill Prabhupada’s want. This motion is in the end inclusive, and never unique. Its focus is on Krishna Consciousness, and is all about increasing the circle of compassion.

“Vaiṣṇava is all the time pondering easy methods to do good to the struggling humanity.”
Srila Prabhupāda, February 8, 1977

“I wish to see my disciples turn into bona fide Spiritual Master and unfold Krishna consciousness very extensively, that may make me and Krishna very joyful.” Letter from December 2, 1975

Sankirtana Das, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is a longtime resident of New Vrindaban Community and an award-winning writer and storyteller. His most up-to-date guide, Hanuman’s Quest, is acclaimed by students and has obtained a Storytelling World Resource Honors. For extra information about his work go to




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