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Resolving Contentious Issues


When instructing Yudhisthira, Narada stated that in any endeavour, one should begin with the top in thoughts. In our case, it’s all the time the identical, to please our Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada. I’m certain all events in any ISKCON battle share this purpose and are satisfied that their desired final result can be most pleasing to him. However, 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 will probably be proven by how properly we cooperate. He warned us that in-fighting would “spoil every part”, and he repeatedly requested us to work collectively beneath the authority of the GBC as the last word arbiters of any managerial matter. While there are numerous providers that can please Srila Prabhupada, I believe we are able to all agree that none will be at the price of destroying the establishment he labored so onerous to create. He gave the instance of many disciples massaging totally different components of his physique in several methods concurrently, inflicting him ache fairly than pleasure. I might counsel then that the specter of a schism will not be one thing we are able to entertain, irrespective of which aspect of the argument we help. This has already occurred with the vexed challenge of ritvik initiations and, extra lately, 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 strategy to strategy 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 is 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 struggle amongst yourselves what can I do? This combating will spoil every part.” [Letter to: Bali Mardan, 8 February, 1977]

Apart from the fast devastation of a schism, such an final result would have far-reaching implications. It would set a precedent for future disputes. If we disagree with a GBC coverage, we secede from their authority and type our personal party. This being the age of quarrel, extra conflicts are inevitable, and earlier than lengthy, we’ll go the best way of the Gaudiya Math. I’m certain that no one needs to see this occurring. This means we should cooperate, and which means discovering mutually agreeable options. Cooperation is a two-way road.

What are the impediments to cooperation on this case? Each aspect might take into account the opposite party the issue, ‘Western egalitarian attitudes’, or ‘fanatics adhering to anachronistic notions of varnashrama’. Various accusations are being levelled, however ought to we not begin with self-analysis? How am I contributing to the issue? Thinking the issue is ‘on the market’ is the primary downside, because it takes away our energy to discover a answer. Srila Prabhupada typically stated a devotee is introspective.

“That is the Vedic civilization, that one is educated to develop into introspective.” NOD Lecture Jan 6, 1973

Introspection means asking looking out questions. Am I being influenced by ignorance, lust, or envy? These, in fact, 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 results of nature’s modes of ardour and ignorance, comparable to lust, want and hankering, disappear from the guts. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he turns into fully pleased. Then mukta sangasya jayate, one is totally liberated and full of bliss.

So, the check is there; am I free from nature’s modes, experiencing ecstasy, freed from all asat sanga? Am I totally 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 so on.? 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 make it possible for these anarthas don’t unduly affect our dialogue of contentious points.

Another query that involves thoughts is how we are able to inform after we are discussing collectively in the fitting manner. Again, we are able to get gentle from the Srimad Bhagavatam 3.25.25:

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

Are our discussions pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the guts? Or do they finish in fractious debate and disagreement? If so, we have to rectify this downside earlier than we are able to resolve anything. Srila Prabhupada provides us a clue:

“Birth will not be all the time the criterion of goodness; until and till one is skilled within the tradition of fine affiliation, one can not develop into good.” SB 3.3.6 purport

“In order to develop into actually discovered, we’ve got to affiliate with devotees. Then we are able to really relish kṛṣṇa-kathā. When mentioned amongst devotees, kṛṣṇa-kathā is enjoyable to the guts and ear. This requires somewhat coaching, and this coaching is given by the devotees.” Teachings of Lord Kapila, chapter 12; texts 25-26

Training is required. How can we all know if we’re skilled 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’re able to hand over materials sense gratification, which is the reason for all struggling.”

If we talk about in line with the right tradition of sadhu sanga, our loving friendships ought to develop, and we must always expertise mutual happiness and satisfaction. If we be taught to debate like this, we’ll develop into freed from the tendency for sense gratification. There are nonetheless extra advantages of discussing accurately, which we be taught of within the subsequent verse, SB 11.3.31:

“The devotees of the Lord always talk about the glories of the Personality of Godhead amongst themselves. Thus they always keep in mind the Lord and remind each other of His qualities and pastimes. In this manner, by their devotion to the rules of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away from them every part 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, comparable to standing of the bodily hairs on finish.”

And lastly, it creates an environment freed from envy, nervousness, worry and hankering:

“Whenever pure subjects of the transcendental world are mentioned, the members of the viewers overlook all types 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 nervousness or worry.” SB 4.30.35 verse

If we learn to affiliate accurately from Srila Prabhupada, Krishna will take away every part inauspicious. We will come to auspicious conclusions by His grace. All concerned will progress towards pure love of God. This I believe is our problem: to be taught to debate in line with the tradition of fine sadhu sanga.

Where is that this coaching obtainable? Srila Prabhupada speaks on this all through his purports, letters, conversations, walks and lectures. Many of those directions are collated on this web site: www.improvingsanga.com

For instance:

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

Since Srila Prabhupada says “develop into 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 be taught to see sastra from totally different views.

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

“The means of talking in non secular 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. At the identical time, such speak needs to be very pleasurable to the ear. By such discussions, one might derive the very best profit and elevate human society.” BG 17.15 purport

In conclusion, I want to say that the method of debate that I perceive Srila Prabhupada to be recommending will not be the identical as hermeneutics. It is sankirtana, listening to and chanting collectively. It produces the above fantastic results, bringing us nearer collectively and advancing us towards Krishna. There are many quotes on the bettering sanga web site the place Srila Prabhupada stresses its significance. I really feel that following his instructions on this regard might clear up this challenge and each different issue we face in making an attempt to serve him collectively.

Hearing about and glorifying the Lord are an identical with the transcendental nature of the Lord, and by so doing, one will probably be all the time within the affiliation of the Lord. This brings freedom from all types of worry. The Lord is the Supersoul (Paramātmā) current within the hearts of all dwelling beings, and thus by the above listening to and glorifying course of, the Lord invitations the affiliation of all in His creation. This means 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 every part wherein one could also be engaged by windfall. SB 2.1.5 purp.

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