Public statement: The rasa of Srila Prabhupada

Gurudeva’s sanga just made a public statement (my local version of 15. july 2015: Public Statement Final ) where they make their case based upon Gurudeva’s words (which are quite clear) and then they come up with some questions they claim haven’t been answered. Then they answer their own questions.

The statement is respectful towards Krishna Balaram Mandir, they understand that this issue may have been planned by the Lord and that they will not discuss this issue further. Furthermore, they urge for harmony in Gurudeva’s sanga.

The statement doesn’t go into details about their arguments, but gives a general overview.

So, let me dissect this statement (which is my modus operandi) being a sideline commentator, and I want to discuss the biggest issue I have with this statement first:

The problem with all this social media havoc is that Facebook discussions are very disjointed and becomes very much the responsibility of the person posting their opinions. The discussions and who contributes to them is all over the place, where any organization is lacking. If you notice all my blog posts, you see I have linked to all kinds of people, notes etc. in an effort to collect it in “one” place. Even this is hopeless as I now have numerous blog posts about this issue and even I have lost track of what and who and when I have linked to. So a public statement by Gurudeva’s sanga is refreshing, but since it’s not posted to anywhere with a proper forum there is no way to discuss even this statement. Furthermore, those who posts this statement on facebook pretty much will only hear that people that agrees and delete posts that show disagreements or discussions. This is not good behaviour.

Whenever someone tries to control the discussions by shutting it down, it usually means they have something to win by doing so. Furthermore, it’s usually unfair and disrespectful towards the other party. If you have entered a discussion, you have to deal with the internal strife and unpleasantness that follows. You have to see it through, meet the arguments of the other party and deal with it. You have to put yourself on the sideline and work yourself through it. How do you know a conflict/controversy is over? You know it when it has been quiet about it for some time, by both sides. You don’t try to clamp it down with a public statement.

You can’t post four questions and then expect them to go unanswered. While you may say you will end the discussions, it doesn’t mean the other party has agreed to it. The other party can continue the discussions and will most likely do so because there’s still something unresolved. This is the second time Gurudeva’s sanga try to control the issue by what they see as the best argument. This is bad behaviour. I don’t even use the words vaishnava etiquette, because I see these things as use of common sense.

When it comes to the four questions they post, they have actually been answered by KBM. Which is why I find their phrasing so strange. But, okey, this is a general statement so I will have to take that into consideration. Obviously, they don’t find KBM’s explanations satisfactory, which is fair.

The end is an appeal towards harmony which is probably why they try to shut down this issue. By getting everyone to sign it and ending the discussion, they try to create harmony. Which is most likely what Gurudeva’s sanga try to score (and thereby disrespect the other party).

Where we cannot agree, we will offer respect from a distance
And then there’s this. I really dislike statements where they will “offer respect from a distance”. I find it an immature act. That’s what you use when you are empty of arguments and are unable to deal with opposing views. It should be possible to disagree, but still associate with a person with the understanding that they have different understandings. If you personally need a distance, that’s fine. But putting that in a public statement? Really?
I wouldn’t sign that document even if I fully agreed (and my opinions in this matter could best be described as a Facebook relationship status: “It’s complicated”).
So I don’t know really what I think about this statement. It’s good they made one, they have some good viewpoints, but there’s things that aren’t okey with it either. And – it’s also a bit interesting to see who hasn’t signed it even though it doesn’t mean they disagree with its message.

8 thoughts on “Public statement: The rasa of Srila Prabhupada

  1. Pingback: Response from KBM: The rasa of Srila Prabhupada | Devotional Confluence

  2. Hare Krishna!

    I appreciate your view a lot. Usually I don`t discuss and comment much on the internet and I don`t care much who is right or wrong here, I can only guess that Praphupada has entrance to different prakashas. But what I find digusting is this forced harmonisation when there is a dissent. I actuallly like dissents, but I don`t like how immature some try to deal with it. To me it looks like dictatorship. We say so and don`t like to discuss it further.

    • I agree. Harmonization takes a lot of work, and it’s such a big word anyway. What do we really mean when we use harmony? Though – Gurudeva has a booklet about it, which I guess I should read 🙂
      You can never get away from conflicts, the way you handle it is how you can work on harmony. So I actually appreciate dissent as well 😀

      There is a scent of dictatorship in it, but it’s part of the Guru problem. We attach ourselves to one Guru, and that Guru is God. So we have an environment from the get go who encourages despotism. This is all good when we have one benevolent dictator, but not so much when you have many small chiefs clamoring towards being Guru and we just want somebody to tell us the truth (instead of using our intelligence).

      • Yes, if a fully selfrealized soul is giving instructions its usually no problem to accept it, at least when the disciple ist aspiring to be humble and devoted. This also does´t mean, that one has not to ask for clarification and reconcilation or give up thinking at all. But when a group of people wants to tell another group of people or individuals what they have to think and say, then its actually quite sure, that you will have opposition and even friction. Just the opposite of harmony will prevail.
        A GBC resolution came to my mind, when they wanted to control the chanting of Radha-nama in a narrow timeframe.

    • Narahari Prabhu,

      Can you elaborate on that? I have never heard the word prakosth used in Gaudiya terminology.

      • well, elaborating would be too much for me, I can only recall when Sripad Prem Prayojana (Aranya M.) spoke on that
        a couple of times in terms of different dimension where lilas are taking place similtanously or also in regard to deities. For the sake of rasa, Gaur-Nitai should be in a different prakosth then Radha-Krishna, to give an example.
        I could imagine, that some might have different forms in different
        lilas, like we are also in a perfecetd stage are beiing part of Caitanya- and Krishnalila in different dehas. If this is so for the
        purified baddha-jivas, why should the nityas not have more then
        two forms?

      • Narahari ji,

        It is extremely rare that one devotee would have more than one form in one lila (but they can have one in Dwaraka and one in Vraja). The only examples are Radha, Shiva and Narada. Radha is svayam-sakti, and both Shiva and Narada are complex tattvas, Shiva being one with Vishnu and Narada being a sort of a post, rather than a particular jiva.

        Uddhava is said to be more dear to Krsna than his own self, yet this is how Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura paraphrases him:

        “The gopis alone have perfected their lives by achieving rudha-bhava… …which devotees such as I desire but cannot attain”. And shortly after “…it was with lack of judgement that I have said ‘that mahabhava which… …devotees like me hanker after’. But now with proper consideration, let me correctly express my desire. I want to be born as some low shrub, creeper or grass upon which the gopis will place their feet.”

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