Q&As: Relationships
15 August 2008

This one’s from krsna.ru, Dravida das:

“Hare Krishna, Hari-Sauri Prabhu. I have a question about relationships between devotees. Sometimes devotees criticize and insult each other. I would like to know how Shrila Prabhupada reacted and treated such situations. What was Prabhupada’s  attitude to situations when devotees complained about each other and produced gossips. Maybe you can give some instructive story.


Srila Prabhupada didn’t like it when devotees complained against each other. His mood was that in Kali-yuga noone is without fault. Our only hope is to chant cooperatively together and be purified. Two examples to illustrate this come to mind:

Transcendental Diary Vol 1

March 10, 1976 – Mayapur

[At the time there was a strong debate going on, the sannyasis criticizing the grhasthas and vice-versa. The debate came to a head at the Mayapur festival. This is a morning walk in which this was discussed.]

“It was like a seesaw, one party accusing the other. And the last thing Srila Prabhupada wanted was the formation of different factions. He said that the whole world is full of different isms, one party against another. We should not bring that attitude into our Society. He said the accusations of one side against the other are all fanaticism. He gave the solution.

“Real unity is in advancing Krsna consciousness. In Kali-yuga, you cannot strictly follow; neither I can strictly follow. If I criticize you, if you criticize me, then we go far away from our real life of Krsna consciousness.

“You should always remember that either grhastha or brahmacari or sannyasi, nobody can strictly follow all the rules and regulations of them. In the Kali-yuga it is not possible. So if I find simply fault with you, and if you find fault with me, then it will be factional, and our real business will be hampered. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended that harer nama, chanting Hare Krsna mantra, should be very rigidly performed, which is common for everyone — grhastha, vanaprastha, or sannyasi. They should always chant Hare Krsna mantra. Then everything will be adjusted. Otherwise it is impossible to advance. We shall be complicated with the details only.”

On the whole, throughout the discussions, Prabhupada has naturally leant his support to the more renounced position. Yet he obviously wants everyone to have the chance to develop their Krsna consciousness.

He said that we should neither neglect the regulations, nor pursue them so fanatically that we miss the point of actual spiritual advancement. He repeated the real formula for success. “If we advance in Krsna consciousness, simple method, chanting twenty-four hours, kirtaniyah sada harih, then things will be automatically adjusted. You cannot find in Kali-yuga everything is being done very correctly, to the point. That is very difficult.”

He recalled with amusement his own experiences in establishing his movement in the early days in New York. “Just like our poet, Allen Ginsberg. He was always accusing me, ‘Swamiji, you are very conservative and strict.’

“Actually, I told him that ‘I am never strict, neither I am conservative. If I become conservative, then I cannot live here for a moment. So I’m not at all conservative.'”

We all laughed as Srila Prabhupada described what he had to tolerate. “I was cooking, and I saw in refrigerator of Yeargen, [a young man he was staying with] he kept some pieces of meat for his cat. So still, I kept my things in that refrigerator. What can be done? I had no place at that time.”


The other example that comes to mind is:

Transcendental Diary Vol. 5

October 23, 1976 – Vrindavana SB class:

“Briefly describing each of the four basic miseries, Srila Prabhupada gave a nice example of what it means to live in Kali-yuga. “A man is suffering from itches or sores all over the body. So where he shall give ointment? He should be dipped in the ointment. This is the position. Similarly, how much you will find out, ‘This is faulty, this is faulty, this is faulty.’ The life in the Kali yuga itself is faulty. Everything is faulty.”

And he stated the solution. “But still, Krsna is so kind. He has given an opportunity that by chanting His holy name one can become free from this faulty position. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta sanga param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. It is possible.” [end]

Finally, once in Allahabad in 1977 at the Kumbha-mela it was reported to Srila Prabhupada that a gurukula student had been found committing very serious offences against the other students. The teachers wanted to kick him out and send him home. He was 14 years old at the time.

Srila Prabhupada however said that the teachers should “reform, not reject” the student. By close supervision they should attempt to rectify his deviant behaviour. He said, “If we kick out everyone who has some fault, there will be noone left.”

Your humble servant,

Hari-sauri dasa

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Footer Line
Home  |  Blog  |  Books  |  Audio  |  Video  |   Photos  |  Links  |  Contact