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Respect to All Devotees

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2008-01-21 07:15:59
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Jaya Shri Guru Parampara! Pranams! One very wonderful and unique thing I learnt from some devotees of some Gaudiya Maths in Puri and Navadvipa is how many of them respect each and every Vaishnava, even if he or she is not from their institution. They offer their humble respects and obeisances to a sannyasi or an advanced devotee from any institutional branch of our Sarasvata Dhara of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. I myself bow down and offer them respects even if they are brahmacharies because they are residents of the Dhaama. Their humility and simplicity is actually what can be expected from those who are residents of the sublime Dhaama. I did not see a judging or sectarian mentality in their eyes. It is so heart-touching to see this friendliness. Shrila Sacchidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that one will find it difficult to find association with advanced devotees outside the box if one tends to think only inside the box (institution).

Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu did not establish any institution. There are no institutions in Goloka. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada established the Gaudiya Math and expanded it. Yet, in the end, he said we are not construction workers and we should endeavor to be real servants of the servants of Shrila Rupa and Shrila Raghunatha. He did not give an institutionalized instruction before his disappearance. He knew that where there is life (praana), enthusiasm and sincerity in Bhakti, preaching will continue whether in the same institution he founded or in form of other institutions. He did not leave behind elaborate management policies for the running of Gaudiya Math after his disappearance because he said that the spreading of the Holy Names of Gauranga and Krishna cannot be restricted by the dikes and dams of simply one institution. Though an Acharya does want the institution which he founded to continue after his disappearance but on the same hand, he knows that it will not last for ever as with everything in this material world. The Acharya knows that his sincere, determined and enthusiastic followers will continue spreading the Holy Names for the benefit of the souls irrespective of whether they will stay in his institution, make another institution or remain without any institution. That is what is most important to him, Naama Bhajana and Prachaara. Shrila Sarasvati Prabhupada said that his illustrious disciple Shrila Swami Prabhupada would do everything in due course of time. So he knew that Shrila Swami Prabhupada would leave Gaudiya Math and found his own institution but he was not bothered about it. In fact he told Shrila Swami Prabhupada that angun jvalbe...Thus the order of Lords Nityananda Gauranga to spread Their Holy Names should be implemented and that is what is most important not the external form of institution it is done in. This is ultimate desire of all Acharyas.

According to the instructions of Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata, I personally offer my obeisances when I see any sannyasi (big or small) from our Sarasvata Dhara. If we don't respect a sannyasi in the Sarasvata Dhaaraa, we are not respecting his whole line of Gurus coming down from Shrila Sarasvati Prabhupada. I also try to offer my physical obeisances to any Dhaama Vaasi who offers me obeisances. And I mentally or if possible physically offer my obeisances to every devotee who offers me obeisances.

Insitutional preaching has quite a few advantages especially nowadays when people just cannot think without institutions but it is a most common pitfall or obstacle in our Naama Bhajana to not respect the sannyasis, preachers or normal devotees from a group other than our own. It is so easy to develop our identification with one group but it is quite difficult to develop a respectful and open-hearted attitude towards non-critical and non-offensive devotees from outside our group. As the branches of our Sarasvata Dhaaraa increase, one should respect the services of all of them if they are being done according to the teachings of our Acharyas and for their pleasure. Also the amount of respect we offer to the devotees should not be based on how materially prosperous their institution is or their post or position in their institution but according to their sincerity and advancement. This is real unity and saralataa.

I have heard some devotees tell me that when they changed their group or institution, the attitude of the devotees in the previous group changed towards them. This should never happen. I would kindly request all our NITAAI Yoga Society disciples and devotees to learn from this example and never become be influenced by this kind of narrow thinking and always give respect to all non-critical and non-offensive devotees in all branches of our Sarasvata Dhaaraa. One can have differences based on siddhanta and philosophical understanding of our Acharyas' teachings but still one should award proper respect to the services devotees are rendering to our Guru Varga in whichever institution they are in.

This is something which I felt inspired to pen down today and I hope it is helpful.

Daaso'smi, Swami Gaurangapada.

Post Author: Bhakta Igor    Date: 2008-01-21 08:11:58
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
This is most wonderful text that you wrote dear Gurudeva. My hearth melts when I read it. ohe vaisnava thakura doyara are ocean of mercy. This is topmost sidhantha about how devotee should relate to other devotees. vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca krpa sindhubya eva ca patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah. You are ocean of mercy and great example for today's modern vaisnava world. I am praying that someday differences between so-called institutions will vanish and that whole world will be one united family. It is possible only if devotees absorb divine instruction of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu - trinad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniya sada hari. You are great example and inspiration for us regarding this. This is most wonderful text, I will print it so that I can always read and remember your instructions. Thank you so much.

Post Author: Bhakta Matus    Date: 2008-01-21 14:50:44
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
Yes, i also very much appreciate Your posts with important practical aspects of Gauranga Krishna Conciousness. That is what i feel is also missing many times in our Gaudiya institutions, in fact it is the main disadvantage of a formalized form of a particular society in my humble opinion. Due to the formalities established within an institution, which are originally meant to secure the progress of its members, they nevertheless tend to unnecessarily nourish impractical features of the activities and habits of that society, which in turn automatically misses the chance to adopt itself to the ever changing influence of the environment. And it is just the opposite what the movement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu needs. It needs flexibility and open-mindedness in order to be able to listen to and satisfy the needs of the masses according to time, place and circumstances. But there is also one very great challenge, namely to do that without compromising the philosophy and instructions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and our acharyas. That is why i conclude with a thought, that it must happen under the guidance of an advanced and enlightened spiritual preceptor who can most effectively coordinate and supervise the activities of the members of our movement and simultaneously preventing them from deviation of the conclusions and instructions of our sampradaya.

Thanks. Please give me Your feedback and opinion in this regard. Matus

Post Author: Nava Gauranga dasa    Date: 2008-01-21 22:04:25
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krsna!

Matus, thank you for your balanced response. The thoughts you have penned here are reasons why I also feel well guided by Swami Gaurangapada's mood and vision.

It is very important that the devotees can distinguish between what is eternal in nature, and what is non-eternal but at the same time practical for use in nurturing the growth of devotees. If devotees do not become confused between these two things they may be able to find harmony in their dealings one with another. Surely the Vaisnava and Krishna consciousness path are practical and seek to find God in all things, even in the so called non-eternal structures.

Institutions and boards are not eternal but have been utilized by our Acaryas to nurture balanced growth in the neophyte devotee. Such structures are not idols but practical facilities. Even Nitaai Yoga Society is such, in my humble opinion. But saying that our love and friendship amongst each other are eternal....see ya back home in Goloka oneday :-).


Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2008-01-25 16:27:11
Even Nitaai Yoga Society is such, in my humble opinion. But saying that our love and friendship amongst each other are eternal....see ya back home in Goloka oneday.

Nityaananda! Gauraanga! Hare Krishna! Thanks Nava Gauranga dasa. I agree.

Daaso'smi, Swami Gaurangapada.

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