Seniority is not automatic

Manidhara Das
30 Oct 2018

The recent appearance of a godsister on a preaching scene in Europe is a reason for this text. Her presence and the flock of her followers who are ready to hear her speech only painfully reveals how little in general is public informed about some basic philosophical facts Srila Prabhupada taught us.

As we know, we are not this body, but the soul. As we also know, the soul is both, conscious and consciousness. We were also informed by Srila Prabhupada that the consciousness of the soul defines the actions of the soul and the very same consciousness at the point of death of the body defines the next destination we may go to, and the next type of body we acquire.

However, what seems to be less known is, that Srila Prabhupada defined change of body as change of consciousness. As matter of fact, the position of our mind, our feelings and our desires right now defines the body we reside in. Change of mind means instant change of body. In this sense we are changing our bodies every second and every minute of our lives. Material thinking, feeling and willing is resulting in material body. Spiritual thinking, feeling and willing is resulting in a spiritual body.

Nothing is permanent in this temporary world, a world dominated by time factor and ruled by the three modes of nature. Hence, to stabilize the dominance of our spiritual body is the art of Krsna Consciousness. This can be done by dint of constant sravanam kirtanam visnu smaranam - hearing about, chanting and finally remembering Lord Visnu, Krsna.

Further we are informed that every human being in this world carries two kinds of natures, the lower one and the higher one.

By our constitutional nature we belong to the higher one, however, being influenced by the three modes of nature we may, like a pendulum, swing between the lower and higher nature, hence belonging to the marginal energy of the Lord. In this way, we enjoy the minor freedom either to raise up or to fall down.

Once this said, one can only marvel at the improper understanding of some devotees when they are confronted with the “cult of senior vaisnavism”, coming into association of a devotee who obviously doesn’t live up the standards he or she vowed at the time of his or hers initiation anymore. Srila Prabhupada was well aware of our fallen condition and our fallen origin in this western world. Fall downs based on weakness was something He had to deal with frequently when consulting His disciples. Again and again raising them to their feet, He saved them over and over again from mayas pitfalls, establishing them repeatedly in Krsna Consciousness. He has forgiven weakness, but absence of introspection and humility on the part of the diseased one, followed by a daring attempt to establish oneself even as a preacher of “another dimension of Krsna Consciousness” provoked on the part of His Divine Grace severe anger and fury.

To struggle along the path of Krsna Consciousness is one thing, but to establish one´s shortcomings as a “paradigm shift” for the next generations of devotees is an outrageous offence.

In history of ISKCON was proven many many times, that a devotee’s consciousness can be corrupted by dint of his past karma, wrong association, being improperly situated, and by deep dwelling unpurified material desires surfacing in his heart. Even great leaders proved to be vulnerable once exposed to prominent positions, glorified by unqualified followers, stimulated to enjoy comforts beyond their credit unlawfully.

Often performing amazing service, Krsna’s tolerance towards their growing arrogance seemed to be endless...but it wasn’t. When such illusioned leaders proved to be stumbling blocks on the path of more sincere devotees, they were often swiftly removed by dint of the illusory energy. While their service stays conserved eternally as their credit, their deranged type of behavior wasn’t finally tolerated by the Supreme Lord, and they were removed by means proportionally applied to their level of hypocrisy. Some became lunatics, some simply died, some withdraw themselves silently from public forums, often conserved in their bitterness.

The examples that even a devotee of highest standard has to carry the consequences of being wrongly situated can be found also in Mahabharata where great devotees had to leave their bodies on the battle field of Kuruksetra, simply because of standing on the wrong side.

In the very same Mahabharata, Santi Parva, we find a statement establishing that those who tolerate deviant behavior leading to confusion of innocent public will be exposed to the same reactions as the deviants themselves.

Hence this text is written with concern that to be silent is a crime.

How can a godsister who enjoyed very intimate association with Srila Prabhupada and showed high grade of devotion, after the departure of His Divine Grace

leave her husband
fall down with a previous sannyasi
engage in satanic rituals
sell drugs on the streets again, as she did before
organize prostitution of other females

and finally pose as a sannyasini, an “asrama” Srila Prabhupada never accepted as real, assume a leading position in ISKCON of today without any correction from the side of other leading devotees?

These are questions relevant for all those who wonder if ISKCON of today can be presented by deranged individual as this woman is. There are still wonderful vaisnavas and vaisnavis in this movement who didn’t deserve to be embarrassed in this way, as they may be questioned by public about past of this person and her mysterious re-entry into ISKCON´s leading position.

Srila Prabhupada’s movement carries essentially the formula for improvement and final liberation of human kind. Should it be discredited in this way? Certainly not.

Doubts and misgivings formed as a question don’t constitute an offence. This is what Srila Prabhupada told us. He even challenged us to learn how to ask and to know where to find answers.

Below are quotes from Srila Prabhupada relevant to this subject:

Regarding female sannyas:

In a letter from 4th of February 1976:

"…It is also stated, striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te pi yanti param gatim. So spiritually everyone is equal. But materially a woman cannot be given sannyas."

In a letter to Nevatiaji, 6st of July 1970:

"...Regarding the Swamis and “Swaminies”, you have been misinformed. Among my disciples there is only one Swami or Sannyasi, but there are no “Swaminies”. Women is never offered sannyas in Vedic Culture...""

Regarding how to deal with a fallen devotee:

In a letter to Jayapataka das, 30th of April 1970:

"...Even one is vaisnava, but of no good character, we can give him vaisnava respect, but we cannot associate with him."

In Srimad Bhagavatam 3.29.17 Srila Prabhupada writes:

“In Bhagavad Gita there is a reference to bodhayantah parasparam, ´discussing among themselves´. Generally, pure devotees utilize their valuable time in chanting and discussing various activities of Lord Krsna or Lord Caitanya amongst themselves. There are innumerable books, such as Puranas, Mahabharata, Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, which contain countless subjects for discussion among two devotees or more. Friendship should be cemented between persons with mutual interests and understanding. Such persons are said to be sva jati ´of the same caste´. The devotees should avoid a person whose character is not fixed in the standard understanding, even so he may be a vaisnava, or a devotee of Krsna, if his character is not correctly representative, then he should be avoided. One should steadily control the senses and the mind and strictly follow the rules and regulations and he should make friendship with persons of the same standard.”

Srila Prabhupada not only does not rule out that a devotee can fall down, degrade or be corrupted.

In His purport in Caitanya Caritamrta He goes even further:

C.C.Madhya,1.2.18 Purport

"...There are many jealous people in the dress of a vaisnava in this Krsna conscious movement, and they should be completely neglected. There is no need to serve a jealous person who is in the dress of a vaisnava. When Narottama das Thakura says chadiya seva nistara peche keba, he is indicating an actual vaisnava and not an envious or jealous person in the dress of a vaisnava."

And so, in summary, it is an ENTIRELY BODILY assumption that once person performs certain activity in certain type of consciousness derives AUTOMATICALY right to claim certain status during his whole life on basis of such activity once upon time performed. While living in this world we are all eligible to degradation of various kinds or elevation of various kinds.

Nothing can be taken for granted. Even Srila Prabhupada, the ideal example of humility and meekness, asked His disciples to pray for His spiritual protection. As we all knew Him to be our ultimate protector, He taught us how to stay alert and always ready to discriminate between wrong and right.

The establishing of a person who is obviously entirely freed of any introspection or humility in leading position is resulting only in creating whole “sampradaya” of deranged types of consciousness. A misleader strives by creating of another misleader, to find reconfirmation of his own concocted ideas. History of mankind is full of such examples.

To remain silent in times where such hypocrisy becomes prominent is violence.

To oppose, even with no chance for immediate change, is a real welfare activity. The few sober ones will listen and feel encouraged, following the principle of bidhayantah parasparam.

Such groups of chaste and dedicated devotees comprise the real ISKCON. They are the future of Srila Prabhupada’s movement, not the deviating hypocrites.