Articles

two

 

 

Contents-

* Tension and Tractors - A Story Of Balance [and follow-up comments]

* Aren't they cute?

* The most deadly poison

* Talk on Jayananda

* Abuse

* A Tidal Wave of MP3 Mercy Engulfs the Planet

* Srila Prabhupada's Infallibility

 

 


Tension and Tractors - A Story Of Balance  

(Reflections On the Condition of Our World)  

 

by Sankirtana das copyright 2002

The Center For Sacred Storytelling

www.sacredvoices.com

story108@juno.com

 

 

My grown daughter and I  were at a county fair recently. It was one of those

weeks where each day is painfully hot. The heat just robs your energy and you

can't wait for the evening and a merciful breeze to come along. The big

evening events that pack the grandstands  are the demolition derbies and the

tractor & truck pulls.  If you closed your eyes, you could catch a glimpse of

the mindset  that must have  brought the crowds to the Coliseum to watch and

cheer the gladiators as they  battled one another.

 

I've always felt that each of us has great creative and spiritual potency.

It's a gift which we are called upon to tend to in humility. Sometimes these

powers lie neglected and dormant. We can't seem to  find the time to allow  

our creative voice to emerge. But then again we can't help not being

creative.  For the demo derby, some of the drivers wrote messages  or did

interesting paint jobs on the heaps they are driving.   Maybe it's our

culture's version of the Buddhists who spend days making  a beautiful mandala

out of sand, only to destroy it.

 

More often than not,  people grossly misdirect their creative powers. They

use their creative powers to devise elaborate schemes to cheat and steal,  to

exploit people and resources. And the more power they think they control, or

desire to control, the greater their  inner turmoil.

 

There is much tension and stress in the world. Of course,  we cannot live

without natural tension and stress. We cannot stand, or walk or speak or

laugh without tension. Even to think, there has to be tension. So there is

good tension and bad tension. The question is what type of tension do we want

to bring into the world. What are we actually creating by our words and

actions?  

 

How to create a balance of proper tension is a science. In previous ages, the

inhabitants of the earth were well aware of this science. They understood that

one should not eat too much nor too little; not sleep too much nor too

little; and to consume a proper share of the natural resources, only

accepting what is necessary for the well being of body, mind and spirit.  

They understood that their words and actions could maintain or disrupt the

balance in the lives of their families, communities, and of the world itself.

 

Now the tractor drivers, as the sages and shamans of old, also know about

balance and tension. They know they have to be careful as to how they use

their vehicles. Their job is to pull a huge weight. But they can't pull it

for very long, otherwise the vehicle could be damaged.

 

At the tractor pull, each machine takes its place on the runway. The  exhaust

shaft that rises  from the center of the hood conjures up visions of  the

monolith from the  movie Space Odyssey. The engine is revved up. It sends out

a piercing, blood thirsty  war  cry,  a  vengeful challenge meant to  shake  

the earth itself and  drive fear into the hearts of all.  

 

And as the tractor pulls a monstrous weight, it spews forth a thick, black

column of  smoke. The crowd roars with delight. And they continue to cheer

and applaud as the breeze pushes the ominous cloud that has formed right into

the grandstand. This cloud, no doubt, has the punch of perhaps a thousand

regular carcinogenic exhausts or maybe the impact of a  hundred thousand

cigarettes blown into your face at once. Caught up in the thrill of the

moment, no one seems to mind or even to notice.

 

The native American people advise us to consider how our actions will impact  

the next seven generations. Will our actions maintain the balance for the

generations to come?  Most people don't care. They don't see how every strand

of life is connected. Perhaps they find comfort in thinking that they won't

have to be around to deal with the problems.

 

It's apparent that the more we try to manipulate the creative energy  the

greater  the disturbance in society and nature. Of course, the politicians,

economists and researchers say that everything is under control.

Unfortunately, they themselves are under the control, and fueled by the

greed, of multinational corporations. People sense something has gone awry.

Worry has become an ingrained part of our lives. In our day to day existence,

our creative energies often enough wind-up buried, seemingly out of reach,

beneath a mound of problems?  Have we imperceptibly embraced the culture of

greed and made it our own?

 

So this big, bad cloud drifts over and beyond the grandstand. Slowly the

black particles fall to earth and the cloud dissipates. After a half mile,

its all but gone. The winds have taken it. The earth has embraced it. As the

night falls, the grandstand empties. And over the course of time (a long

time) Mother Earth corrects all things.

 

 

*** Sankirtana das travels widely offering dramatic storytelling  

performances, workshops, and coaching in theater & storytelling skills. He is

a disciple of HDG  A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and is the founder of

The Center For Sacred Storytelling. He and his wife reside at the New

Vrindavan Community.

 

 

follow up comments by Visoka-

Haribol there Sankirtan-

It was really good to tune into the “sacred voice” of
wisdom. Really liked your story and new
websites.

I found the “tension” and “creative” themes
stimulating. If you don’t mind, I’d like to add some
more thoughts to these themes. I feel like typing away
at the keyboard, that’s one way of re-creation for me.

That was real good about how all the world is full of
tension, some extreme, and some moderate. But just to
stand and talk and laugh, or do anything, is tension
causing. Otherwise we’d be a dull stone. Since human
beings are always in some kind of endeavor, they are
in tension, sometimes acute, sometimes moderate and
regulated. The “creative” aspect is often the device
to help mitigate the tension, that’s why they call it
“re-creation.” Men play games or dance or whatever to
re-create the destruction caused by the constant
tension of the struggle for existence in this world.

There is tension for the karmis, the jnanis and the
yogis, and positive tension for the bhaktas. Everyone
is in need, except for the devotees. And need means
tension expended to get something. So naturally
there’s great tension with the karmis, because they
are trying to make adjustments in the material nature,
making great endeavors for changing distress into
happiness. Srila Prabhupada says that this temporary
relief is called happiness. The conditioned souls are
bobbing in the ocean of maya, like on a dunking
machine, sometimes they are thrust under the water,
and sometimes they come up for air. This relief of
gasping for air, they call happiness. Its like this
old joke I remember, some comic strip, there was this
character who was banging his head with a stick, and
the other comic person said, “why are you doing that?’
The reply was, “It feels so good when I stop.”

The common worker is in tension, trying to make ends
meet till the next paycheck. He’s worried about
feeding and clothing the kids and wife, or keeping
stock in beer and cigarettes, whatever. And his
creative urge is to joke with his co-workers, like
brag about his home team and how they beat the pants
off some other team, things like that. And then
there’s the corporate rat race, the men in suits and
fancy cars. They are full of tension like anything,
the exec is always fearing, “Who’s trying to stab me
in the back this time?” “Who’s shoes do I have to lick
and polish as I climb the corporate ladder?” “Who’s
that below me, trying to push me out of the way?” “Can
I kick him down, and get away with it? How many nuts
can I stash in my 401K piggy bank, to keep the wife in
hairdos and fashion for the rest of our lives? Is the
stock market going to crash?” The kids need this and
that, college, on and on. And how does he re-create?
He goes to the club to down a few drinks and joke and
brag with the other corporate people. Or calls in to
say he’s working late as he pursues other
relationships to further entangle him.

The jnani is in tension, trying to speculate on the
absolute truth. Bhagavad-gita says there is only
trouble on the path of impersonal speculation. The
muni is in tension of how to postulate a newer and
better philosophy than previous munis. The professors
have to “publish or perish.” The yogi is in tension
also, being desirous of mystic powers, to control
people and the energies around him, which often
results in other mystics working their powers on him.
Only the devotee is not in need, as Srila Prabhupada
says, that the Krishna bhakta is agreeable to serve in
heaven or hell, as long as he can chant and associate
with devotees. Only the devotee can have peace – or
the cessation of negative tension. Only a devotee can
sit in one place and be peaceful. The karmis have to
run around town, going to the bar or restaurant or
cinema house, or naked dance club or casino, always in
pursuit of wanton sense gratification.

The Bhagavad-gita says that we cannot refrain from
some kind of action, even for a moment. And all
actions require the tensing and relaxing of muscles.
The wise man realizes all this negative tension for
temporary happiness is futile, so he tries to calm the
tension, to look within for God. This is the point of
meditation, to relax the muscles, ease the tension to
zero, in order to focus the mind. Asana, pranayama,
pratyahara, and the eight fold yoga is the process to
stop the tension, and then “As a lamp in a windless
place does not waver, so the transcendentalist, whose
mind is controlled, remains always steady in his
meditation on the transcendent Self.” This is Astanga
yoga, and Bhakti yoga places more emphasis on
activity, like chanting japa, japa walks, dancing and
chanting, festivals and feasting for yoga with the
Supreme, for active use of our muscles in service, or
positive tension, is the expression of love for
Krishna. Meditation is a stage towards realization,
and realization means we are eternal servants of
Krishna, and resultant activity is the natural
response of the Jiva’s love for their Lord Sri
Krishna. Thus we see the painting in Bhagavad-gita,
the meditator sees Radha-Krishna in his heart and the
Bhakta is seeing Krishna on the outside and is
actively serving Him with color and sound and
offerings in bliss.

Hare Krishna
visoka dasa


AREN'T THEY CUTE?

So often we see old people, or anybody for that matter, gazing lovingly at small children, following their every move. Everyone stops and smiles when children are playing near by. We watch their every action and smile and laugh with each other.

   Kids are cute. Nature is clever to make them cute, or else they would not survive so easy. They are beautiful humans, this is true. Have you noticed how most people get real ugly when they get old? A man begins as a cute little boy, then a handsome young man, but so often old age will turn him into a grotesque ogre. The body gets all deformed or bloated. The skin turns all weird colors. They walk with a limp or a creak, with pain at every step. Youth is superior, no doubt.

   Old people gaze lovingly at kids, partly because they feel kids are still fortunate to be in ignorance of the suffering of this world. The old person's thoughts might go - "Isn't it wonderful, this kid is playing and having fun all the time, without any thought as to how awful the world is. He doesn't know yet. How lucky he is. Hasn't figured it out yet. The world is so rotten, but he is so innocent of it. He still doesn't know, and may he play in ignorance as long as he can."

   They start to figure it out, after a certain age. Usually this is called the teenage period. That is why teenagers are upset so often. They are starting to figure it out. The childhood innocence is fading, and reality is sinking in. On one side, they cling on to their childhood, and on the other hand, they are trying to break away from parents and trying to grow up and be adults. They are confused as to who they are. Eventually they start to figure out how bleak the world is, how much suffering there is. They try to hang on to that happiness of a kid, and try to break away at the same time. The transition is painful and it goes back and forth at a painful gait.

   I remember the first big realization I had of this. I was 5 years old. I remember the exact time and place and feeling I had when the realization came. I was under the porch, and it came to me. I'll never forget, the realization somehow came to me, of how horrible and nasty the world was going to be, what a bad time I was in for, how rough life was going to be. How people are not so nice all the time. How this all came to me, don't ask, I don't know, but I remember it. This is a passing realization of course, for I had to be in denial in order to be a kid.

  Adults resign to suffering in different ways. Everyone lives in some degree of despair. They all cope with it in different ways. Some practice constant denial. Lots of people know life is suffering, but they try to laugh it off. There are so many comedians out there, so many Johnny Carsons in the crowd. They pride themselves on being a "warrior" or the hero of Maya. They make cynical jokes all day to prove they are above it. They somehow know that Maya is kicking them in the face at every step, and the material energy is putting them through the ringer every day, but they try to prove that they can rise above the suffering with their jokes. They laugh in the face of death and suffering, that yes, they will be the enjoyer until the last fag end. They will get their little bit of sense grad to the bitter end, despite getting kicked in the teeth at every turn. They know that it all ends in death and disaster, but they are determined to get the last laugh. Notice how old men try to joke with you all the time. And it is often so corny and pathetic, that you kind of go along with them, just to be polite.

  Some think their money will conquer old age and suffering. They become great misers, and hide in their mansions. They run to the doctor and get lots of surgery. Some even freeze their bodies, hoping for some future cure. They are always afraid, of how long they will enjoy, and when will somebody or some lawyer come and take their money.

  Those of us who are so unfortunate as to have to shop sometimes at the market, will notice the Inquirer headlines and photos. So often the photo will be of some "star" who is getting old and whose body is rotting away. The suffering is all over their face. The Inquirer flaunts their suffering to the public, and the smut sheet is sort of preaching the real truth to everybody; that no one escapes the suffering of old age and disease.

  Bhagavad Gita explains in  he 13th chapter that real knowledge is the awareness of the 4 miseries, namely janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi, or birth, death, old age, and disease. This is real knowledge, not this school stuff.

  The only thing left for them is to laugh at the kids, and savor the innocence while it lasts. Or else, hopefully we can give them a book, and they can read and change their life.

submitted by Visoka dasa


 The most deadly poison-

We can see from the following scripture references that even the slightest offenses or criticism of others is the mostly deadly poison and can lead to spiritual death.

Sri Caitanya Bhagavata- "The living entities who live in the numberless universes are all My servants. Therefore any living entity who harms another living entity will perish." 

"I will personally deliver anyone who does not criticize others and who once chants `Krishna!' That is the truth. It is the truth." 

A thief suffers in only one birth, but a blasphemer suffers birth after birth and moment after moment. 

From Brahma down to the unmoving plants, every living being is Lord Krishna's potency. Therefore all the scriptures say, "Anyone who blasphemes another angers Lord Krishna." 

Lord Krishna delivers any person who is not a blasphemer and who once chants "Krishna!" That is the truth. It is the truth.

Sri Caitanya Bhagavata- If he blasphemes a devotee, even a person equal to Lord Siva will quickly perish. This is confirmed by the following words of Srimad Bhagavatam 5.10.25; "I have committed an offense. Because of this, even though I may be as strong as Lord Siva, I shall be vanquished without delay due to my offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava." 

If he blasphemes a Vaisnava, even the most wise philosopher will fall down. This all the scriptures declare. Even Lord Krishna's holy name, which is the great atonement for all sins, will not protect one from an offense to a Vaisnava.

Padma Purana- "Blasphemy of great saintly persons who are engaged in preaching of the hare Krsna mantra is the worst offense at the lotus feet of the holy name. The nama-prabhu, who is identical with Krishna, will never tolerate such blasphemous activities, even from one who passes as a great devotee."

More of Sri Caitanya Bhagavata- They who will not follow these instructions and blaspheme good people are sinners. They will suffer birth after birth. ** Only the offended Vaisnava can forgive the offense. Only then is the offense destroyed. There is no other way.

Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakur in his Madhurya Kadambini, says; even a person of bad character devoid of proper behavior, a cheater, devoid of samskaras, and full of worldly desires, if he surrenders to the Lord, he must be considered a sadhu. So a person cannot minimize his offense by pointing out some defect in the devotee that he offended. In other words, we cannot say that he is a lower devotee, and therefore, the offense of Sadhu-ninda, or criticism of Vaisnavas, does not count for him, but it only applies to the great pure devotees. This is incorrect.

So we see the powerful negating power of criticism of anybody, even the good person. As said above, do we sometimes find ourselves suffering moment after moment? This is due to offenses. Unless one has love of God, what is the question of happiness? Offenses block our love of God; it blocks the light of Krishna's mercy. So, unless we are offenseless and have love for Krishna, then we will have to suffer moment after moment. We can only stop the suffering by stopping offenses to Krishna's parts and parcels and we can only counter them by service to the jivas and to devotees. Only then will we get love of God.

We have various sections of Vaisnava society, or different camps in the world, like the Gauda Math section, etc. The Acharyas even tell us not to criticize other members of other sub religions. The meaning of devotee is one who follows the teachings of God. So what to speak of slighting the members of other camps of the Vaisnavas. So rare is it that a human being believes in Krishna and serves Krishna in any way. Such a person is to be honored. We also have different sectors in our western Vaisnava society. Some have disagreement on philosophical issues. Still we cannot offend these devotees in any way. Even the rolling of eyes in derision will pay a price.

I only make this request to devotees, for their own spiritual welfare, please, do not slightly deride any devotee of the Lord. You may disagree on philosophy, but that is never a reason to disrespect and call names and make judgments. It is also an offense to slight the big devotees, who have fallen down. They have probably fallen down due to Vaisnava aparadha to other devotees, even "little" devotees. Take these quotes of scripture to heart. Even disrespect of the smallest aspect of Krishna's energy is bad. Srila Prabhupada told a disciple once to get his feet away from the typewriter, because it was Krishna's energy.

The way to counteract an offense, is to glorify the devotee that one has offended. The Sri Caitanya Bhagavata says something like this, (paraphrased) that "once from the mouth of this person, came a great poison, and now from that same mouth, a great nectar of glorification of devotees now issues." This is the cure. Jai, all glories to all the devotees of the Lord!

Visoka dasa


Talk on Jayananda

[This was a talk given on Jayananda’s day, a few months back. I can’t remember the words said, not exactly, but have reproduced the main points. And I’ve enhanced the talk with added material and more afterthought and deliberation.]

The life of Jayananda is truly a guiding light for our trouble times of the world. If we examine his life, we shall get guidance and solace from this dark world. The world around us seems to get progressively worse as days go on. There is an ominous feeling of negativity that seems to pervade everything. Depression and hopelessness hangs like fog all around us. Young people have gotten callous and negative in attitude and lifestyle. Cruelty to our fellow man has become commonplace. continue here


Abuse-

I believe that all Jivas have been abused and have been abusive to others since time forgotten, life after life, throughout their material existence. Material life means abuse. Spiritual life means stopping the abuse on all levels. Abusive means you are in Maya. Non-abusive means you are Krishna Consciousness.

            What is the reason for this? Bhagavad Gita explains in chapter 7.27, that all beings are born in delusion, overcome with dualities of desire and hate, or iccha dvesa. Bhagavad Gita says that hate is the quality of all who take birth. This hate is the effect and cause of the abuse we received in past lives as well as the abuse we dished out. The hate builds up into abuse from the very birth of the Jiva and turns to aggression towards others.

            Why do we hate? because we've been trying to enjoy this material world eternally, nitya-badha, and it's never going to happen. We are frustrated life after life, being unsuccessful lords of the material energy. The frustration turns into hate and abuse. We are here because of envy of Krishna, or hate of Krishna, and naturally we will hate others if we hate Krishna. Krishna Consciousness is the only cure. Love of Krishna is the only medicine to stop the abuse of others. When we love Krishna, then we will automatically love the Jivas who are his parts and parcels.

            Some don't even know they are abusive. An old godbrother of mine, who was in position of authority, he emotionally abused me and others so much, and he didn't even know it. He thought it was Krishna Consciousness to beat us up emotionally all the time. He was probably abused as a child by his father or mother. Most abused children are big abusers themselves. Even after twenty years, if I meet him on the path, he will only grunt a weak Hari bol, and barely glance at me, barely acknowledging my existence. He once told me that I would probably bloop, because I was interested in changing ashram (he said this as he himself stood there in white). Cognition of the problem is the first step in solving it. I forgive him none the less.

            We do not really need a lot of workshops and therapy, although it can be helpful. We need to recognize that we already have the best therapy in Krishna Consciousness. Basic understanding of the Bhagavad Gita will cure our abusive nature. Bhagavad Gita 5.18, Krishna says panditah sama-darsinah, or the devotee sees with equal vision, sees everybody, even the dog, with equal vision.  The 12th chapter also expounds upon how one becomes dear to Krishna, how he is not envious, but a kind friend to all living entities, for whom no one is put into difficulty, who is equal to friends and enemies, etc.

            In the Srimad Bhagavatam 3.4, Lord Kapila speaks of the saintly person being titiksavah karunickah, or the symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities... (This reminds me of a nice gentle devotee by that name.) This is the formula for stopping the abuse of others. We need only understand these simple instructions of Krishna in his Bhagavad Gita, and we need to meditate on them and live them. If we all do this, then we will fix our abusive patterns. Somebody may still want to go to 12 step, that is alright, but please, let us not emphasize other processes over the sublime process of Krishna Consciousness, which Srila Prabhupada has given us. KC and the Holy Name will cure all diseases, Srila Prabhupada has said this.

            We also need an executive arm of ISKCON, which protects women, children, old people, (and men even,) from abuse and criminal activity. This was suggested by Achutananda das, and is a very good idea. This arm should prosecute and give some kind of punishment to offenders. As said above, the devotee is equal to enemies as well as friends, and so being so equal and tolerant, the enemies will take advantage of this. So the devotee needs protection. We need a Ksatriya system. Actual Ksatriyas is too much to ask for, but there can be a system. Actually nobody gets away with anything in this world. Still we need a system for curbing wrongdoers.

            Abuse to anybody is not excusable to Krishna. Imagine our reaction to someone abusing our own children. It is the same with Krishna and all his children. He does not forget so easily if someone abuses any of his parts and parcels, his children. Krishna does not see anyone as insignificant or retarded or unimportant that they do not deserve protection. Being devotees of Krishna, we should remember this and never make distinctions between one Jiva and another.

submitted by Visoka dasa
 

 A Tidal Wave of MP3 Mercy Engulfs the Planet

Hare Krishna,

I guess Krishna will answer your prayers and needs if you desire strong enough. I was mentioning in the ezine how I was needing more tapes to listen to. It seems that I’ve heard all my tapes a million times. I guess Krishna heard my prayers. Jagjivan told me once that Srila Prabhupada said that devotees should get Srila Prabhupada’s lectures at cost price. I did get a large number of lectures in LA practically free. Hard to remember exactly how that happened. Well, I really got the mercy now, I am still reeling from Srila Prabhupada’s causeless mercy and the mercy of my dear godbrother. Just a few days ago I went to my mail and received this huge box, 15 by 30 by 15 inches, from my good godbrother Jagjivan, and I opened it to find all of Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and bhajans on CD’s in the MP3 format. It seems that he has a CD burner and gave me the whole kit and kabootle, a very pleasant surprise. Now I’ve got tons of listening to do, more than a Brahma’s lifetime of hearing from the pure devotee, not enough time to really possibly hear every lotus word from Srila Prabhupada’s lotus mouth properly. There were  tons of cassettes in the box also.

There’s no stopping it now. Now all devotees can afford to hear all of Srila Prabhupada’s classes and morning walks, all on 32 CD disks in the MP3 format. Go to Krishna.org and see what I mean. We also have Pratyatosa’s website offer. As the Bible says, ask and you shall receive. And I think it will be in vogue, in the near future, for devotees with CD burners to make copies for their friends, as my friend did for me. There is a tidal wave of Srila Prabhupada mercy about to inundate this globe. We are actually living in a very special time, where we all, I mean virtually all of us, can afford the entire library of everything Srila Prabhupada said and chanting, all on 34 discs or so. They play on your computer, and there’s boomboxes that will play MP3, for as low as 79 dollars. They may have changed the books, but now we can distribute these tsunami waves of nectar to new devotees and they will hear for themselves all the tattva from Srila Prabhupada as spoken by himself, with no middleman there to distort and interpret and misguide the new Bhaktas away from the true Vani of Srila Prabhupada. Disks are a very minimal expense, 50 cents or so, and now all newcomers will get the full unadulterated and unalloyed mercy straight from the bona fide spiritual master, the greatest acarya and savior of the world, our most merciful Srila Prabhupada. Jai Srila Prabhupada! Hare Krishna, your servant Visoka dasa

 


Srila Prabhupada's infallibility

by Locanananda Dasa

(submitted to Cakra)

In a recent article entitled Dogmatism and Infallibility, the author, without any scriptural basis, has brashly asserted that "No jiva is infallible, be he pope or guru or whatever." He also states that those who make unreasonable claims as to Srila Prabhupada's infallibility may be
"selfishly motivated". As we will see from the following evidence, it is the author who has indeed made the mistake of accepting false knowledge, not those who defend the infallibility of the spiritual master.

    According to the Bhagavad-gita, the living entities are eternally separated parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those in contact with the material world are called "jiva-bhuta", and the Sanskrit words "sarvani bhutani" signify that they are fallible. On the other hand, those who are in oneness with the Lord, who are not contaminated by matter,
are called infallible. Srila Prabhupada explains further: "Oneness does not mean that they have no individuality, but that there is no disunity. They are all agreeable to the purpose of creation." (B.g. 15.16 purport)  Thus, when one surpasses the fallible nature of the living entity in conditional life by being legitimately absorbed in the devotional service of the Lord, one is
counted amongst the infallible. (see also S.B. 3.5.1 purport)

    Pure devotees of the Lord are beyond the four material defects of mistakes,  illusions, cheating and sensory deficiencies. This is referred to in the Bhagavatam as the stage of infallibility, or acyuta-bhava-siddha. Every action of such a great soul is dedicated to pleasing Krishna, and so the Lord offers him special protection.

    "The devotees are especially protected by the Lord so that they may remain infallible. Therefore the process of devotional service always begins in the service of the devotee who appears in disciplic succession." (S.B.2.6.34 purport)

Not that the pure devotee is only infallible in what he speaks about the absolute truth. His infallibility extends to his actions as well, because in all that he does, he is taking dictation from Krishna, the All-perfect.

    "Anyone, therefore, who is earnestly serious in heart and soul about being in intimate touch with the Personality of Godhead in the relationship of transcendental loving service will always be infallible in words and action. (S.B. 2.6.34 purport)

    It may be helpful for us to define what a mistake is, in the philosophical sense. According to Srila Prabhupada, a mistake is the acceptance of an object as something different than what it is. The example he gave was: if one sees a glittering oyster shell and thinks it is gold, that is a mistake. A mistake may also be the acceptance of false knowledge, for example, that the impersonal feature of God is the ultimate goal of self-realization. Faulty judgment would also come under the heading of a mistake, just as Gandhi ignored a warning of an assassination plot and was killed five minutes later. (See Cc. Adi. 7.107 purport) The spiritual master does not exhibit such imperfection.

    "A person who is a liberated acarya and guru cannot commit any mistake."
    (Letter to Janardana dated 4-26-68)

    What one may call a mistake according to the word's dictionary definition -- a misspelling, a mispronunciation in Sanskrit, changing one's mind, adjusting one's plans -- are not what are referred to as mistakes in terms of our philosophical concepts. Rather, these are reflections of the limitations inherent in the jiva soul because of its atomic size. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that the Lord is "vibhu", or omniscient, and the living entity is "anu", or atomic. The minute living entity is therefore subject to limitations. For example,  when Krishna explained to Arjuna why he could not remember all of his previous births, He was pointing out a
limitation, not an imperfection. The personal associates of the Lord are eternally perfect, but they are not omniscient.

    If a devotee thinks a spiritual master who is a pure devotee is making mistakes, he is seeing him from a material point of view. The Nectar of Instruction advises that we should avoid observing a pure devotee externally and, instead, try to see the internal features of his Krishna consciousness and understand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. By judging the spiritual master externally, one will never become a
purified devotee himself. If one does not have implicit faith in the statements of sastra or the words of the guru as presented above, his advancement will be very slow. One should be careful to not whimsically reject what the spiritual master has taught because it does not fit well with our preconceived notion of what is spiritual truth. Srila Prabhupada
explained:

    "When guru speaks, you cannot argue. This is not the process. You should accept a guru who is infallible. Otherwise, it is useless." (Lecture of 10-3-76 Vrndavana, India)

    The author of Infallibility vs. Dogmatism wants to see "didactic dogmatism" in Iskcon subside so that the sankirtana movement can progress, but, judging from the above sastric references, he will not become eligible to experience any spontaneous joy and bliss without first accepting Srila Prabhupada's infallibility.


    Humbly submitted by Locanananda dasa

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