Why Good Devotees Become Bad Devotees

Manidhara Das
10 Feb 2022


For the one who is just about to discover the beauty of Krsna Consciousness, once he lost his innocent and inexperienced outlook on those who are undergoing this process of purification, sooner or later a question may arise: how is it possible that when it is stated that a real devotee never falls down, even senior devotees experience very basic problems, which are usually centered around sex life, gross or more subtle forms of? (Including a desire for social recognition, name, fame and glory.)

Although in the sastra is stated, that whoever chants the Holy Name is already purified, those emotionally inspired ones tend to ignore  the scientific understanding of the PROCESS of purification.
First of all, chanting loaded with heavy offenses may require many lifetimes for the chanter to be raised to a higher level of consciousness.
Secondly, one should be well aware of the example for GRADUAL purification Srila Prabhupada often used, the example of the way ghee is produced from polluted butter.

Under steady low flame the butter brings forth all the initially invisible polluted impure parts. Only under steady long term exposure to the heat, finally the pure result can be seen. But what we may see first is.... a dirt. Deeply hidden inside, collected through innumerable lifetimes, our hearts are filled with concealed material longings, which under the powerful pressure of the purifying process Krsna Consciousness delivers may be released into the open.

The chanter himself may be shocked what he becomes aware of as along the discovery of one´s hidden storage of bizarre desires. Krsna gives to a sincere devotee the intelligence how to become introspective and deal with such unwanted "treasures".

Alas, if not humble, even a long-term chanter can be deluded into the understanding that he already surpasses the ocean of nescience and is liberated.

Maya, taking form even of unqualified disciples, may convince such a leader that he is beyond a suspicion and outside of her domain. Being improperly situated, lacking introspection-bringing association, such academically educated teacher may be still victimized by his inherent unpurified desires.

It is here where Suta Goswami, prior to reciting Srimad Bhagavatam, responds to the praises of the assembled sages that indeed, by the mercy of the guru parampara and his guru, he is empowered to reveal the Srimad Bhagavatam as he heard it, and REALIZED it.
Realization comes accordingly to the purity of one´s desires. One can avoid to be cheated by the academical talk of those whose hearts still burn by the unpurified material desires.

And so we can understand that EVERYBODY can be compromised by the attacking desires, which are released during the process of purification. True humility is the way to oppose such attacks. Even Srila Prabhupada in His amazing humbleness asked us to pray for Him, which we of course took as a great lesson for us.

Why do we occasionally find senior devotees being so heavily compromised, exhibiting immoral behavior, even below the level of ordinary karmis?
Srila Prabhupada opened a transcendental hospital. Who do we expect to find when visiting a hospital? Sick people. Some, already largely cured by the powerful medicine administered to them by the Founder Acharya, are blissfully assisting the others.

Then there are those who still suffer from heavy fevers, occasionally hallucinating. As long the patients dutifully accept the medicine, Krsna Himself declares them saintly, despite their shortcomings. But those who ignore their unpurified desires and declare themselves already liberated (vimukta maninah), are regarded as lunatics, attracting even greater lunatics.
And so the originally pure movement can be gradually perverted, losing its original purpose.

This war with unpurified desires goes on and on, specifically intensified for those who are sincere at heart.
Full time materialists are so covered, that they don´t even know which ones of the innumerable desires dominates them at the particular moment. Like a fish who sees only the worm, but not the hook, they are one after another fished out of their bodies, thrown into another whirlpools created by their uncontrolled desires.

Others may still dwell in the realm of cheaters and cheated, even with the spiritual benefits they collected on the way being frozen until they again come to some sort of introspection.

No institutional or social position has relevance in this war with material desires, and only those who keep their heads to the ground, attached to Srila Prabhupada´s lotus feet, will survive the onslaught of material energy, and overcome the very same desires which kept them in this material world enslaved life time after life time.