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Title: 029 Sectarianism in spiritual life
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-06-13 20:24:18
Thakura Bhaktivinoda in Krishna Samhita 8.22: Sloka and Purport are by him:
sampradaya-virodho 'yam davanalo vicintyate
"The eleventh obstacle for the Vaishnavas is sectarianism, which takes the shape of the forest fire. Due to sectarianism a person cannot accept anyone outside of his own group as a Vaishnava, and as a result he faces many obstacles in finding a guru and associating with sincere devotees. Therefore extinguishing the forest fire is most important by giving up this mentality."
Shrila Prabhupada writes that: "Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami gives equal respect to all the preachers of the cult of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who are compared to the branches of the tree. Iskcon is one of these branches." (Chaitanya-charitamrita Adi-lila 10.7, purport)
"There are many societies and associations of pure devotees, and if someone with just a little faith begins to associate with such societies, his advancement to pure devotional service is rapid." (Nectar of Devotion: Chapter Nineteen p.41)
"Party spirit - that great enemy of the truth - will always baffle the attempt of the inquirer who tries to gather truth from the religious works of his nation and will make him believe that the Absolute Truth is nowhere except in his old religious book." (Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur)
"Regarding the disciplic succession coming from Arjuna, disciplic succession does not always mean that one has to be initiated officially. Disciplic succession means to accept the disciplic conclusion." (Shrila Prabhupada Letter to: Dinesh, Tittenhurst, 31 October, 1969)
He (Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada) explained that there are two kinds of parampara: Bhagavata and Pancaratriki. Pancaratriki means the line from guru to disciple, or father to son, but the essence may get lost. However, in the Bhagavata parampara, someone may be living at a far place, he may not be formally initiated by a guru, but he may grasp the spirit of Lord Chaitanya. The Pancaratriki parampara will inevitably break down in course of time. (From Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja's upcoming book on SBSST)\
"A sannyasi should have an institution meant to preach Krishna consciousness" SB 7.13.34
"When Kesava Bharati came to His house, the Lord asked him to award Him the sannyasa order of life. This was a matter of formality. The sannyasa order is to be accepted from another sannyasi." (SP in SB Intro)
Out of these, the renounced order of life, or the order of sannyasa, is considered the highest of all, and a sannyasi is constitutionally the spiritual master for all the orders and divisions. (Bhag. 1.3.13 purp.)
Cc. Adi 17.265 PURPORT: Among the spiritual orders, the sannyasa order is the most elevated. Therefore a sannyasi is the spiritual master of all the varnas and asramas, and a brahmana is also expected to offer obeisances to a sannyasi.
"One is duty bound to show respect to a sannyasi, for a sannyasi is considered to be the master of all varnas and asramas.(Bhag Intropage 15)
A person who is a householder but is initiated by a sannyasi has the duty to spread Krishna consciousness at home There are immense literatures for spreading Krishna consciousness, and it is the duty of each and every householder to learn about Krishna from his sannyasi spiritual master. (Bhag. 3.21.31, purp.)
In the varnasrama institution the sannyasi, or the person in the renounced order of life, is considered to be the head or the spiritual master of all the social statuses and orders. (B.g. 16.1-3 purp.)
"Therefore, in the line of Lord Chaitanya even the sannyasis can speak about Krishna consciousness everywhere, and if someone is seriously inclined to become a disciple, the sannyasi always accepts him. The one point is that without increasing the number of disciples, there is no propagation of the cult of Krishna consciousness."(SP in NOD 7)
"The idea of an organized church in an intelligible form, indeed, marks the close of the living spiritual movement. the great ecclesiastical establishments are the dikes and dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances. They, indeed, indicate a desire on the part of the masses to exploit a spiritual movement for their own purpose. They also unmistakably indicate the end of the absolute and unconventional guidance of the bonafide spiritual teacher. The people of this world understand preventive systems, they can have no idea of the unprevented positive eternal life. Neither can there be any earthly contrivance for the permanent preservation of the life eternal on this mundane plane on the popular scale." (Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Harmonist 29.7)
"Why is there this politics? This is not good. If politics come, then the preaching will be stopped. That is the difficulty. As soon as politics come, everything is spoiled." (SPL 30th September, 1975)
"We should be careful about power politics. Our only aim should be that each and every devotee is fully dedicated to Krishna, then things will go nicely." (SPL 19th July, 1973)
Commentary by Swami Gaurangapada:
An Acharya like Shrila Prabhupada is a Jagadguru, just like a sun. A sun is never Indian, American, Chinese etc. Anyone can bask in the sunlight in any country. Similarly anyone can take up the practice and preaching of the Acharya's instructions and please him and Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda-Gauranga anywhere in the world whether offcially inside the society founded by the acharya or outside the four walls of the soceity or in some other organizational setup. One's external standing in any particular organization has nothing to do whatsoever with the implementation of the practice of the teachings and instructions of the illustrious Acharya.
Infact the real and true society of the Acharya is there where a devotee is sincerely trying to follow and practice the teachings of the Acharya whether inside or outside the four walls of an institution. Sometimes a person maybe externally be within the four walls of very society founded by the Acharya but if one is deviating from the instructions of guru, sadhu and shastra, one cannot actually be in the pure Vaishnava society as envisioned by the Acharya. That is what is meant by Krishna or Gauranga consciousness. Walls cannot have consciousness, it is in the devotees' hearts. The allegiance to an Acharya's teachings is not a sectarian phenomenon. Also one should first clean up one's house before saying that no one outside the house can be clean.
As Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta points out in his extraordinary quote above, that an organizational arrangement created by the unconventional Acharya who descended from the spiritual world may or may not last in his physical absence but his eternal teachings are actually the life and soul of his followers who may be born even after 1000 years from now. As per the Gita, even the parampara started by Krishna Himself gets lost due to the degrading effect of time. So it does'nt make sense to simply be stuck up in the shadow or the externals of the four walls of an organization which is anyway going to wither away by time. The real thing to consider is the vani of the Acharyas. Because through this medium they eternally remain in this realm guiding their followers who may be externally situated in some other organization or in no external organization at all.
A Vaishnava organization meant for preaching should understand that it is one of the branches of Gaudiya Parampara. But if it claims that it is the only branch and rejects the devotees in other organizations outright, it is committing the greatest offense of indulging in partisan, bigoted and dogmatic sectarian considerations which lead to mass-scale Vaishnava aparadha. This has repeatedly happened in the past and everyone knows the consequences also. Still persons in general don't seem to learn from the mistakes of themselves and others in the past and thus do not fear to criticize others at the drop of the hat just based on a narrow-minded, bigoted and sectarian understanding. Infact it has become a kind of habit or an intoxication to indulge in minimizing devotees outside one's group. No one even thinks of the dire consequences for themselves if the person being minimized has genuine desires to please Guru and Gauranga even though he may be apparently acting or preaching in a externally separate group than the others who are criticizing him. It is not surprising because even inside the group one may be criticizing each other so it can be obviously expected that they will criticize anyone who is outside their group or leaves their group without caring a least to try to find out about the genuinity of intentions. Both internal and external mud-slinging infact becomes a part of life or a strong irrevocable habit in these close-minded secular groups.
CONCLUSION: One should thus associate and hear from Gauranga Bhaktas not on the basis of such a narrow-minded secular organizational understanding rather one should consider their adherence to the teachings of Guru-Sadhu-Shastra and how nicely they have imbibed the instructions of Guru and Gauranga and how much faith they have in the process of chanting the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna.