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Excerts from a Lecture by His Holiness Radhanatha Maharaja

Mumbai, December 2000

Within Srila Prabhupada's society everyone is meant to share Prabhupada's message. Therefore, however many initiating or instructing spiritual masters there may be and however many disciples may be following them, the aim is very much one. And maturity is to see that. That we are all brothers and sisters. And we should not be sectarian. Because we may see that somebody else's faith is more in someone else, you may have more faith in someone. They may have more faith in someone. Your faith should not disturb them and their faith should not disturb you. We should understand that Krishna is attracting different people's hearts in different ways. We should not expect everyone to be like me. And when we are dealing with other gaudiya vaisnavas also, even outside of ISKCON. We should understand if somebody has faith in their guru, we should respect and honor and encourage that. We shouldn´t think it as a challenge, because they have a different faith than me.

If they are challenging your faith, if they are attacking your faith, then you have to keep a distance. But if we are understanding etiquette properly, we should not be confused by other people having a different type of faith than ourselves. They are brothers, they are sisters. That’s very, very important. We should not be so egoistic and self-centered to think that everyone has to have my faith and if somebody doesn’t have my faith that means they are a dangerous enemy to me. The tendency of neophyte devotees is because we want to be God, we want to be great. Therefore, whatever we are connected to we want to feel that we are the greatest. My guru is the greatest. My line is the greatest. There is always competition. This is a material conception. To you, he might be the greatest, but to someone else, someone else might be the greatest. Krishna is the greatest. But He may be revealing Himself to different people in different ways and different times. So we should honor and respect Krishna how He is manifesting Himself to different people in different ways.

You see, when we are thinking about Srila Prabhupada, it is not that we have to be convinced that he is the ultimate, greatest and no one is equal to or better than him, otherwise how would we have faith and follow him. What we do know is, he saved us and therefore our loyalty, our faith and our devotion to him is for eternity - without second thought. If someone is as spiritually advanced as him or if someone else is more philosophical than him, that doesn’t make any difference, whether they are or not. It makes no difference. He is bringing me back to Godhead and I will remain faithful to him. Some people think that they have to prove it, he is the greatest, he is superior and push down everybody else, but somebody from another math is going to think that their guru is the greatest. Then we will say, well he did not spread Krishna consciousness all over the world! It is not our right to start talking to them like that. They may have the reasons that they have for having faith. Ultimately, they have faith because that person saved them! And we have faith because Prabhupada saved us! Either directly or through his personal energies. Therefore, there is no competition. There is no conception of this. If somebody else is praising their guru, very, very nice. Wonderful! If somebody is saying how their guru has done this for Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati and that, that is very wonderful! It is not a challenge to our faith in Prabhupada. It is not a competition. We don’t have to be little and prove that we are better. In our heart Prabhupada is best and he will always be best. In their heart something else. I offer respect to the faith that Prabhupada has given me and I offer all respect to the faith that their gurus had given them. Then there can be unity. For as long as there is this canvassing mentality: My guru is better than yours. My guru is a mahabhagavat, your guru is not mahabhagavat. As long as that mentality is there, it is just a lack of etiquette and immaturity. We should respect the faith of other vaisnavas. And they should respect our faith as well. If we don’t have to prove anything to anyone. If our faith is so weak that we have to prove that my guru is better than all other gurus, then we don’t understand guru tattva at all. Guru is Krishna. He is manifesting Himself in many ways, through many people. And our faith is in that principle. Through guru Krishna comes down to this material world to embrace the conditioned souls and bring them back to Godhead. So we should respect and honor that principle. Srimad Bhagavatam ki! Jaya! Thank you very much.

© CHAKRA 28 March 2001

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