Do we need visions?

Manidhara Das
30 Dec 2018



A: Certainly, vision is absolutely necessary in order to be motivated and plan the necessary actions properly.


But it has to be said that the focus on “visions”, as so intensely propagated by present official ISKCON management is rather insulting to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who already gave us THE VISION, including all the visions we need.


To produce visions without any practical application is a work of bureaucratic class of people who think that visions alone will inspire people to act.

Most people are sudras and indeed, they lack the ability to have proper vision. They need PHYSICAL and PRACTICAL examples to provide three-dimensional form of vision.


Srila Prabhupada knew it and therefore he travelled in non-stop regime in order “to give association”, as He called it. The vision He gave us finally boiled down to practical ways of living. His vision was that we:


Chant the Holy Name, both privately and publically in form of hare nama.

Print and distribute His books.

Prepare, offer and distribute delicious prasadam,


...and naturally take care of those who are inspired by our inspired hearts and minds to join and do the same.


In order to do so, temples are useful but they are not the final requirement.

First preaching, then temples, that was Srila Prabhupada’s policy.


Letter to Bhagavan, Los Angeles, 16th of June 1972:


...If you make arrangements for purchasing two big houses and then go away, then that is not a very good proposal. To purchase our own house in Los Angeles, London, these headquarters are required as permanent, but we should not be very anxious after purchasing many houses and properties. In future throughout the society, it is better so far as possible that we should rent. Big houses means big responsibility. So unless there are many men, and very big propaganda, buying house is risky and unnecessary.”



To produce new visions besides the ones Srila Prabhupada gave us is a work of those who generally don’t engage in the above mentioned primary activities of Srila Prabhupada’s movement. Hopefully they do chant the Holy Name, but rarely publically. Printing and distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books is obviously not their priority as then we would see radical increase in book distribution and radical increase in numbers of those who do distribute books. As such visionaries may rather consume prasadam than to distribute, it can be seen for example on the hard working devotees in our restaurants who hardly ever get any encouragement for their service.


And so producing more visions, while neglecting the very basic ones is in one sense an insult to His Divine Grace, as those doing so appear as having no faith in His words and are in need to “add more”.


Srila Prabhupada writes in a letter to Bhagavan das, Delhi, 10th of December 1971:


Yes, actually there is now a skyscraper framework. Now you have to decorate and cover it nicely. To construct the form is difficult portion of the adventure, but when it is there, it is not difficult to finish it - simply it requires a little taste. I am always thankful to Krishna that I have somehow got so many wonderful boys like yourself to assist me in this way. Now it is practically in your hands to finish and push on what I have started. I am now getting all respect and honor, so now you must preserve that standard and not dishonor me. Thank you very much for helping me.”


As visible from this letter, it is up to us to “decorate” and not in pseudo-visionary style “introduce” new inventions. The vision can be only how to protect and preserve the basic framework Srila Prabhupada gave from those, who will come and try to undermine it. This must be the primary vision and all other visions are supplementary.


As visible from the hilarious deviations being occasionally presented as the visions”, such need of protecting the “skyscraper” Srila Prabhupada established is imminent.


All glories to all those who are engaged to serve Srila Prabhupada’s vision and who don’t see any need to produce more visions to cloud the original one.


Any properly situated manager and preacher knows that if one does something right, something pleasing to the Supreme Lord, then in return He opens new possibilities to enlarge the scope of one’s activities. To think in grand style and do little was met by Srila Prabhupada by a good dose of cynicism.


When one of “vimukta-maninah” visionaries told Srila Prabhupada in an attack of pseudo-compassion: “Srila Prabhupada, who will fulfill the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu?” Srila Prabhupada looked at him almost annoyed and commented: “Don’t worry, not you.”


Or as a devotee, participating in a managerially demanding meeting where different solutions and options were discussed back and forth, finally exclaimed: “Well, I guess we just have to be more Krsna conscious,” he met surprising, but relevant comment from Srila Prabhupada: “Another impractical proposal.”


He knew that his pathos was not much appreciated by Srila Prabhupada, even though it is clear that increasing our Krsna Consciousness also means to increase our ability to serve Krsna efficiently. Srila Prabhupada taught us "first to do the needful” and He stablished the vision what needful means.

Serving THAT vision should be our vision, nothing more is necessary.


To stay at the level of reality is an absolute requirement and therefore Srila Prabhupada issued a stern warning to his leading men - as matter to all those who preach - in a letter to Karandhara das, written in Tokyo, 4th of May 1972:


I think it is the best thing if the GBC members always travel on Sankirtan Party in their zone and go from village to another one and visit the temples to see how the students are learning and do my work. In this way, they will avoid the propensity to sit down and plot and scheme how to eat and sleep. So you can advise them all to travel extensively on Sankirtan all over their zone.”


To study Srila Prabhupada’s visions and stop producing new ones would certainly enhance the preaching profile of His movement immensely.