Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > Pre-2007 QnA Swami Gaurangapada > Vaisnava politics

Title: Vaishnava politics

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-05-16 10:50:00


Jaya Nityananda! Jaya Gauranga! Jaya Hare Krishna!

  Maharaj, this is my first time posting here, and I do so with great humility.  Please forgive my lack of understanding and if I ever write anything that is  offensive, to yourself, the Gauranga Dharma or any of the beautiful Vaishnava's,  please understand I do so out of ignorance.There are those people who seem to want to belittle anybody who doesn't fit  the right 'mould'. For a few years I have attended an ISKCON temple in England  and have made great friends. Some of these people appeared shocked when I  mentioned I wished to fall under the wing of yourself Swamijji and the Gauranga  Dharma, insisting I should stick with ISCKON or nothing. This is very painful  and I didn't really know how to answer. I don't want to cause offence, all I  want to do is chant the holy names and be friends with everybody.When this subject arises again how is the best and most humble way of  addressing it?


Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:




  Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Jaya Shrila  Prabhupada! Pranams and Blessings!Thank you so much for your wonderful and simple sincerity to chant the Holy  Names and for desire to participate by accepting  Mahadiksha.I will respond to your question in two parts. One on the practical level and  one on the philosophical level. We do not like to discuss about any particular  institutions. We greatly appreciate the wonderful accomplishments and the  services of sincere devotees in all the bonafide Gaudiya Vaishnava insitutions  and we remain a humble servant of all of them.






 On a practical level, we very much appreciate the association you have  received from the Iskcon devotees which has helped you to come to this stage in  your spiritual life. Surely some among them are your Shiksha Gurus. So we  understand that it caused you pain to hear criticism but on the other hand they  are your good devotee friends too. In Gauranga Dharma we give great respect to  the Shiksha Gurus who take the trouble of training and teaching a person from  scratch when he or she comes from the material atmosphere. They are our real  saviours. Also we respect and adore the critics of Gauranga Dharma also because  they are constantly giving us a chance to become humble which is only  qualification required to achieve the mercy of Their Lordships Shri Shri  Nityananda Gauranga.



 So we would like to suggest that if accepting Mahadiksha in Gauranga Dharma  will make you estranged from them (which it should not but unfortunately it  probably would, they may close their doors on you) and if you feel that you may  not able to discharge your spiritual life without their physical association  (because Gauranga Dharma presently provides only Internet Cyber association for  devotees in London), then it is better to chant the Nityananda and Gauranga  Mantrarajas along with the Hare Krishna Mahamantra personally and instead accept  Diksha from a spiritual master in ISKCON so that you keep on getting their  physical association. Our service in Gauranga Dharma is not motivated with the  desire to achieve followers or simply to initiate more and more disciples and  thus we will be always there to serve and guide you online whenever you need our  help whether you are our disciple or the disciple of any other bonafide Gaudiya  Vaishnava spiritual master in this world. In this case, we would only request  you to chant the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas daily along with the Hare  Krishna Mahamantra come what may whatever any one says (because it is the order  of Lord Nityananda - the Guru of all Gurus to chant Gauranga's Name constantly)  so that you can quickly and offenselessly achieve pure love for Lord  Gauranga-Krishna very soon.



 Spiritual life is a voluntary and spontaneous thing, so no one can be forced  either way. So if you still want to accept Mahadiksha from us then you have to  be prepared that they may totally boycott you and ban you from even going to  their temple. They may not even like to meet you or talk to you. They may think  you are coming to convert some more of them to Gauranga Dharma. We do not say  they will but they may think like this. It will be very unfortunate if that  happens. Also by discussing with them there is danger or chance of your hearing  more and more offenses and their commiting more and more offenses if the  discussion is simply based on sectarian or institutionalized considerations.  Also for them to accept the principle of chanting the Nityananda and Gauranga  Mantrarajas along with the Hare Krishna Mahamantra will be very difficult to  accept because they say that Shrila Prabhupada did not directly introduce it  even though he may mentioned about in his books and instructions and even though  many great acharyas have described and also practiced the constant chanting of  Nityananda Gauranga Nama. So it will always remain a clash with them on this  issue too. We do not have much to offer you in the sense of big temples or  properties but we have the most merciful Nityananda Gauranga Nama, our writings  (which are our life) and our humble services online. We are making you aware of  all these things because you can take a proper decision.


We do not want to initiate you and then later you are brainwashed into  leaving Gauranga Dharma. That will lead to many offenses against Guru and  Gauranga and will cause unlimited pain to us. So you have a chance to firmly  decide what you want now since now you have become aware of both sides of the  issue. After initiation it will be too late to decide, that is why we have taken  so much pains to let you know in detail what would happen either way. In  conclusion we want you to be happily situated in spiritual life so that you can  joyfully chant the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna! I hope  we have not offended anyone in this regard and we believe we have a right to  express ourselves in this regard so that no inconvenience is caused to anyone  including you, them and us.



 Now the philosophical consideration, I would first like to present a few  relevant quotes from our Acharyas beginning with Shrila Prabhupada himself:





 Shrila Prabhupada writes:



 "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)



 Comment by Swami Gaurangapada:



   When Shrila Prabhupada himself states that there are many societies and  associations of pure devotees not just one and he himself recommends sanga with  them for rapid spiritual advancement (what to speak of forbiding it), then it is  expected of his followers also to respect these societies and thus respect these  wors of Shrila Prabhupada.



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)



 Comment by Swami Gaurangapada:



   When Shrila Prabhupada states that Iskcon is one the branches of the Gauranga  tree, it means that there are many other branches also. And each branch has to  respect the other branch also because bothof them are a part of the body of Lord  Gauranga.



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.”



    "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)



   "A sannyasi should have an institution meant to preach Krishna consciousness"  SB 7.13.34 Shrila Prabhupada



   "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)



 As per Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada above no external  arrangements, societies,and institutions in this world will remain forever,  infact mostly they may remain for the number of years the Founder is personally  present on this planet or for a few years or decades more. This may be true not  only for ISKCON but even for the Gauranga Dharma Mission, the institution which  we have founded. But Gauranga Dharma or Krishna consciousness is not like that  because it is the eternal religion and function of the soul in relation to Lord  Gauranga-Krishna so the various societies under Gauranga Dharma and Krishna  consciousness may come and go but it will remain forever and will triumph for  the next 10,000 years.



 ISKCON was formed by Shrila Prabhupada also as a part of the real Gaudiya  Math because Shrila Prabhupada actually tried to fulfill the orders of his Guru  Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada by leaving Gaudiya Math and  forming ISKCON. Can you say that since the name of ISKCON is different from  Gaudiya Math which his Guru Maharaj has originally founded, Shrila Prabhupada  left his spiritual master? No, that would be the greatest offense because all of  Shrila Prabhupada's endeavours were simply to please his Guru Maharaj Shrila  Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada.



 We have instructed all devotees of Gauranga Dharma to try to cooperate with  any Gaudiya Vaishnava institution as much as possible if they accept the process  of regular chanting of the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas along with the  the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and have asked all our devotees to never ever  minimize in public or private the preaching efforts of any Gaudiya Vaishnava  institution or devotees. We are not interested simply in increasing the number  of followers and all our followers are free to visit any temples and associate  with all devotees and Gurus of all Gaudiya Vaishnava institutions if there is no  minimization of Gauranga Dharma and the sublime process of chanting of the  Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas along with the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Even  if some uninitiated devotee of Gauranga Dharma desires to accept initiation from  another bonafide Gaudiya Vaishnava Guru from any other institution, he or she is  welcome to do so if that Guru accepts the glories of chanting Holy Names of  Nityananda and Gauranga and Gauranga Dharma and we will always be there to serve  him or her.



 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 officially 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. How can ever try to limit  the teachings of the Acharyas to simply one institution for the next 10,000  years. For eg is the teachings of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura  Prabhupada and Seventh Goswami Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura limited  for only Gaudiya Math? No all devotees whether in Gauranga Dharma, ISKCON or any  other society can hear, preach, and practice them in their lives. Same is with  Shrila Prabhupada's teachings.



 Some say that one cannot please Shrila Prabhupada outside the ISKCON  institution. It is like saying that one cannot get sunlight if one leaves a  particular country. It is also like saying that no devotee is ISKCON can please  Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada because they are situated in  a different institution than Gaudiya Math, the institution which he actually  founded and which he told that no one should leave. We know that is not true.  All the devotees can please the previous acharyas by sincere following their  Vani even if they are situated in some other institution or no institution at  all.



 Infact the true spirit 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 sayinhg  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.



 It strengthens the mission of Shrila Prabhupada and Lord Gauranga to have  many missions and societies preaching his message. Because if something happens  to one society the others can atleast carry on. That is why Shrila Prabhupada  himself made ISKCON and BBT separate. The real ISKCON is not simply an earthly  legal society of bricks and walls but the society where the vani of Shrila  Prabhupada, the Acharyas and Their Lordships Shri Shri Nityananda-Gauranga is  practiced and preached. I would say Shrila Narada Muni, Shrila Shukadeva  Goswami, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura etc. are in the real ISKCON because they  are in 100% Gauranga-Krishna consciousness. Actually speaking unless we are 100%  Gauranga-Krishna Conscious we can never a part a 100% part of the real ISKCON.  The real ISKCON is so glorious.



 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.







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.







 To chant the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas is not something beyond the  instructions of Shrila Prabhupada but is the direct and repeated instructions of  Shrila Prabhupada himself. Some of the quotes of Shrila Prabhupada from the  above link are as follows:


Shrila Prabhupada in Cc Antya-lila 2.31 purport: “Worshipers of Shri  Gaurasundara accept the four syllables gau-ra-an-ga as the Gaura mantra, but  pure worshipers of Radha and Krishna accept the four syllables ra-dha krs-na as  the Gaura-gopala mantra. However, Vaishnavas consider Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu  nondifferent from Radha-Krishna (shri-krishna-chaitanya radha-krishna nahe anya).  Therefore one who chants the mantra “gauranga” and one who chants the names of  Radha and Krishna are on the same level.”


 (Shrila Prabhupada in Cc Adi 8.31 purp)”A neophyte student who is not  sufficiently educated or enlightened should not indulge in the worship of Shri  Radha and Krishna or the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. Even if he does so, he  cannot get the desired result. One should therefore chant the names of  Nitai-Gaura and worship Them without false prestige. In the beginning one should  *** very regularly *** chant Shri Gaurasundara’s holy name and then chant the  holy name of Lord Nityananda. Thus one's heart will be cleansed of impure  desires for material enjoyment. Then one can approach Vrndavana-dhama to worship  Lord Krishna."


 Prabhupada: “Now, what is the difference, Nitai-Gauranga and Hare Krishna?  Nitai-Gauranga and Hare Krishna, there is no difference. Nitai-Gauranga is also  nice. Whatever he finds convenient, let him chant.” (Shrila Prabhupada's Room  Conversation with Yoga Student specifically regarding Japa, March 14, 1975,  Iran)


 “It is very beneficial to chant the names shri-krishna-chaitanya  prabhu-nityananda before chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra because by chanting  ##### these two holy names #####—shri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu-nityananda—one  immediately becomes ecstatic, and if he then chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra  he becomes free of offenses.” (SP in Cc Adi 8.24 purport)


 Shrila Prabhupada in Cc Adi-lila 8.31 purport: “It should be noted in this  connection that the holy names of Lord Krishna and Gaurasundara are both identical  with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should not consider one  name to be more potent than the other. Considering the position of the people of  this age, however, the *** chanting *** of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s name is ***  more essential *** than the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra because Shri  Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the most magnanimous incarnation and His mercy is very  easily achieved.”


 On board the ship Jaladuta, September 13, 1965, Verse 3, by Shrila  Prabhupada: “By his (my Guru Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura  Prabhupada’s) strong desire, THE HOLY NAME OF GAURANGA will first spread  throughout all the countries of the Western world. Then in all the cities,  towns, and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and  streams, everyone will chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.”


 Shrila Prabhupada’s Letter to: Niranjana, Brooklyn, 21 May, 1973: “You  mention that they have not even heard of Lord Gauranga. So that is their  misfortune, and our misfortune also. in India, they could not  preach Lord Gauranga’s name all over India.”


 Shrila Prabhupada in Cc Madhya 24.330: “The spiritual master has to select a  mantra for his disciple according to the disciple’s ability to chant different  mantras.”


 Shrila Prabhupada’s Letter to: Shachimata, Bombay, 8 December, 1974: “It is  the advice of Narottama das Thakura to chant the holy name of Gauranga either if  one remains at home or in the forest. Similarly, do not forget the chanting of  the Hare Krishna mantra either you live in the temple or at home.”


 Shrila Prabhupada in Shrimad-Bhagavatam Lecture 2.1.2, Vrndavana, March 17,  1974: “Then you become gosvami. Then, as Narottama dasa Thakura says, grhe va  banete thake ha gauranga bole dake. Ha gauranga, ‘Always chanting Nitai-Gaura,  and thinking of Nitai-Gaura,’ such person, Narottama dasa Thakura says... Grhe  va... ‘He may be a sannyasi, or he may be a grhastha. It doesn't matter. Because  he is absorbed in the thought of Nitai-Gaura.’ So narottama mage tanra sanga:  ‘Narottama is always desiring to associate with such person.’”


 Shrila Prabhupada in Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita class, Adi-lila 7.4, Mayapur,  March 4, 1974: “Narottama dasa Thakura is aspiring for the day when Nityananda  Prabhu will be pleased upon him. Just like Jagai-Madhai was delivered by the  mercy of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, so we have to pray Nityananda Prabhu. He's very  merciful. He's so kind, Baladeva, He gives spiritual strength. Then we can  approach the Supreme Lord. Therefore we chant “Nitai-Gaura.” This is the  process. We cannot change this policy.”


 Shrila Prabhupada in Krishna Book Chp 20, Description of Autumn: “Shrila  Narottama dasa Thakura prays that he will have the association of a  person—either a householder or a man in the renounced order of life—who is  engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord and is always crying  the holy name of Lord Chaitanya.”


 Shrila Prabhupada in SB 1.5.16 purport:


 “The expert devotees also can discover novel ways and means to convert the  nondevotees in terms of particular time and circumstance. Devotional service is  dynamic activity, and the expert devotees can find out competent means to inject  it into the dull brains of the materialistic population. Such transcendental  activities of the devotees for the service of the Lord can bring a new order of  life to the foolish society of materialistic men.”


 Shrila Prabhupada in Cc Adi 7.31-32 purport:


 “Here is an important point. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to invent a way  to capture the Mayavadis and others who did not take interest in the Krishna  consciousness movement. This is the symptom of an acarya. An acarya who comes  for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for  he must find the ways and means by which Krishna consciousness may be spread.”


  Shrila Prabhupada during a Room Conversation, August 14, 1971, London:  Prabhupada: No. We are recommending “Chant the holy name of God.” So if you have  got the holy name of God, you can chant that. Prabhupada: Anyway, if one chants  Allah or Jesus Christ, we have no objection. We don’t say that you stop it. We  say that you chant the holy name of God. If that name is of God, you chant.”


I hope this helps.

  Always chant Nityananda; Gauranga; and

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna  Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.



Yours  in service, Swami Gaurangapada.