How Not to Trust

Manidhara Das
15 Nov 2022

Trust is the key word for accepting anything in this world, as faith is the basis for accepting Krsna consciousness. Trust and faith are the most fragile ingredients required for spiritual flourishing, and once broken, they are difficult to replace.
As one of my godbrothers once stated, "Faith is like a precious Chinese vase. When it falls to the floor and is broken, you can collect the pieces carefully and glue them together, but it will never look the same." Ironically, the same godbrother left behind over 3000 disciples, whose faith was heavily tested by his fall.

Those who are throughly based in the sastra,the scripture,the sadhu,the guru parampara and guru, meaning the Founder Acharya,cannot be shaken in any way.
But the emotional side of ourselves may suffer greatly once it has been abused by an intentional or unintentional abuser. This is the world of cheaters and cheated so said Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja and repeated Srila Prabhupada, and so we cannot expect anything else as our faith is tested.

The process of Krsna consciousness is sound and based on the triple check of guru-sastra and sadhu, three instances where the sastra, the basis, has to be exemplified by the guru, who in turn has to be confirmed by his predecessors and other gurus in good standing.

Anyone operating outside of this guarding system cannot be trusted because he is in the grip of material nature's modes, which will induce him to act even against his own will.As a result, our trust cannot be based on emotions; while emotions are an important part of our worship, they must be supported by sacred evidence.

It is for this reason we accept authorized spiritual leadership: to have our emotions guarded, regulated, and authorized. The trickery of Maya is so intricate that even our understanding of the sastra, as rightly quoted, can be inadequate according to our present conditioned state. What is food for one may be poison for another. That applies to those who don't get their understanding authorized by a guru or sadhu.

Things are in constant flux and change, and so even a trustworthy devotee in good standing can, on the way, diverge from the path given by the acharyas and become either influenced by the three modes of nature or, in the process of purification, his inherent demonic qualities will surface. Nobody can hide when the rules are followed correctly, and the truth always comes to light in due time. One can cheat a few people for a long time and many people for a short time, but one cannot cheat everybody forever.
Such are the laws given by the Supreme Lord.

Of course, the majority of humans like to get cheated, as lies come easy and are always presented in a pleasant, consumer-friendly way. The truth is something to fight for, and most people are afraid of it because it entails responsibility.Knowing that one is an eternal servant of Krsna, that one has individual minor choices, and that one is ultimately responsible to the Supreme Lord is a frightening thought for those who came here to rebel against any kind of authority.

But even those who seek authority and guidance can get cheated. How do we recognize a cheater? Here are only a few symptoms such a person exhibits:

  1. The worst type of cheater is one who has come to believe their own lies. Such people cannot be changed or persuaded otherwise. When they come into power, they become the most dangerous misleaders and cause much harm to anybody who decides to follow them.
  2. A cheater will never confront his past. In Krsna consciousness, we always hear the need to be merciful and forgiving, but that applies only to those who are willing. never to return to their past, clearly recognizing it as a deviation, and not to those who are still notoriously acting in accordance with their old habits and traumas.
  3. Some may talk nicely, and some may act nicely. The combination of the two is ideal. But finally, it is the action that demonstrates the motivation of a devotee, not his words.
  4. The basic principles given by Srila Prabhupada and the basic codes of human behavior must be followed. The four basic principles are: no meet eating, no intoxication, no gambling, and no illicit sex are the basic requierements. Following the basic codes, summarized in the Ten Commandments in the Bible, appears to be automatic for a devotee. However, we find that in today's ISKCON, this is not so. Once again, in the name of mercy and forgiveness, we find even the most degrading types of behavior institutionally reconfirmed, either by silence or by the sentimental plea of "seeing only the good in others." As Krsna vividly demonstrated in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna's recognition of his opponents' good qualities (I believe none of them were a child abuser, thief, or drunkard:-) was not approved by the Lord. There are two sides, the good one and the bad one, and regardless of one's origin or one's words, when standing on the wrong side, one will be eliminated. This is the logic of the Bhagavad Gita.
  5. Often, a cheater will speak exactly about the values he doesn't maintain. A hungry man will always speak about food; a cruel man will always stress forgiveness and mercy, and a cold-hearted man will always speak about love. All of these exclusively established priorities indicate the individual's need. Someone who naturally possesses good qualities does not see the need to overemphasize them. He lives according to them, naturally.
  6. A cheater who firmly came to believe his own lies will never exhibit any remorse, nor will he rectify his mistakes from the past. When confronted with the past, he will always declare himself to be the "victim of circumstances" therefore claiming others to be the cause of his actions. True, we are placed in various situations by circumstances, but such a cheater will rule out the choice we have to oppose or comply with such circumstances. The top class of cheaters will declare that everything is finally God's will and see themselves as helpless followers of fate. There is destiny, but the very same destiny also offers us choices about the course of action to take. Such cheater will never recognize that ,hence he is symptomized by total absence of concience. This absence of conscience is a purely demonic quality, which will make the abuser accuse his victims of being the cause of his abuse. The upgraded version of a cheater is a wholesale lunatic who will blame his victims, saying, "Look what you made me do." Such a cheater will be circumstantial and not absolute, and so he will be attracted by other demonic doctrines and teach them to others.
  7. The simple cheater will use his charisma to appeal to the emotional ways he wants to be perceived. A more dangerous and intricate cheater will speak in sastric terms and be highly educated, but all his learning will be used for his selfish purposes and not for the welfare of others. He tries to impress others with either irrelevant talk or a vocabulary he is certain his audience doesn't understand. Such "brahminical" cheaters were the cause of the fall of the whole of Vedic society, assuming positions of leadership but acting more and more for their own benefit in the name of fame and social recognition. Such a cheater is more obsessed with designations, titles, etc. than with their purpose.

One should be aware of these cheaters and oppose them by the means Srila Prabhupada gave us: by demanding evidence, asking for the origin of the given information, or asking the person who delivers it to verify what was said instead of accepting it blindly.
Finaly action is stronger as words and following the example of Srila Prabhupadas actions, words and the legacy he left behind, one can surely become protected from ANY cheater coming our way.