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Solid Faith in Srila Prabhupada
by Nikhilananda Dasa (in reply to Niscala DD )

"...So, at the present moment we are in Kali-yuga. Everyone disagrees with the other. The so-called disciple also disagrees with the spiritual master. This is the influence of Kali-yuga. One becomes disciple of a spiritual master and then he whimsically disagrees. So if you disagree, why should you accept somebody as a spiritual master? That is not very good. That is the way of not being very successful..." (His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, 1/16/74, Tokyo)

It has made me feel very sad that, in recent weeks, the Chakra web site seems to have agreed to serve as a platform for Niscala’s public campaign of trying to find faults in Srila Prabhupada. She presented her doubts in a very insulting manner. She arrogantly criticised Srila Prabhupada for having "antiquated views" etc., just like materialists who twist their beards and regard the teachings of shastra as being made of "antiquated views" Such blasphemy should never have been published. I have no wish to enter discussion with such people.

Only, because I previously recommended the Chakra web site to many devotees, I feel forced now, to herewith - distance - myself in public and set the matter straight by submitting my opinion on it. I cannot recommend reading this web site any more because many articles give a very distorted impression of Srila Prabhupada and the philosophy. There seems to be preference for such articles, lately. I do not have much time, so I would appreciate if I am not expected to be drawn into further debate on all this.

1. Please know it for sure that all of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions are one hundred percent perfect. There is no mistake in even one of them. The only imperfection is there in our sometimes fanatical, dogmatic, or out-of-context interpretation of such perfect instruction. Srila Prabhupada said it often, that he never manufactured anything. He asked us repeatedly to accept his statements as perfect. Because they are -all- based on shastra.

2. Others may have disappointed us, some may still have to prove that they are bona-fide gurus. But Srila Prabhupada does not have to prove anything more. His whole life and teaching is proof of his sublime nature as Krishna’s purest Mahabhagavata devotee and Vaishnava acarya. His loyal disciples don’t follow him because of "blind" faith but because of factual experience of the perfect nature of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and his unlimited love. To rebuke everyone who has complete trust in Srila Prabhupada as being a "blind follower" is dogmatic. How can Niscala make herself the judge of everyone? She may have followed blindly, that does not mean everybody has.

3. I really think that Niscala took some of the statements of Srila Prabhupada too personally. She spends too much time indulging in depressive thoughts, centered around her "hurt feelings," as she formulated it herself, mentioning it as the reason, why she attacks Srila Prabhupada. A lot of her errors are based on mistaken interpretations of words like "mistake" and "intelligence." All this does not justify her present campaign of trying to find faults in Srila Prabhupada’s instructions.

4. When women, vaishyas (members of the mercantile class) etc. are sometimes mentioned in shastra as being less "intelligent," these are not statements intending to hurt anyone. "Less intelligent" in this context only means that -usually- (not always ) these groups are not very attracted to hearing philosophical discourse. In the spiritual context, being "less intelligent" also refers to the tendency to over-identify with one’s bodily designation, such as being man, woman etc. and to be very defensive about it. Niscala’s texts are examples of that difficulty.

The great souls have no intention in hurting anyone. Srila Prabhupada is an ocean of mercy, he loves all living entities, down to the smallest ant. Vaishnava acaryas like Srila Prabhupada are far above the temporary dualities of this physical world. When the men and women of the present materialistic age, inspite of their (our) lack of qualification and their (our) being sinners (papa yonayah), become devotees, their intelligence is very much praised. In Kali yuga, both men and women are equally fallen by birth, the men are in fact often more fallen, that is quite obvious. But there is no point in quarreling, just like in a prison house two criminals argue about who is more fallen. First, we should accept that we are -all- fallen. Some seem to have more difficulty in accepting this point than others.

5. There are many statements in Srila Prabhupada’s renderings of the Vedic literature, in which womens’ superior qualities are praised. The Vedas are not one-sided. Niscala’s lengthy one-sided accounts do not fairly reflect the actual views of Srila Prabhupada and shastra.

Srila Prabhupada always rejected racism, he constantly preached that we have nothing to do with the bodily designation, such as "man," "woman," race, nationality and caste. Srila Prabhupada chastised some of his -male- disciples as being "less intelligent mlecchas and yavanas," a few times. I cannot remember that anyone reacted angrily to that. Or that anyone started a campaign of trying to prove that Srila Prabhupada made a "mistake" in that case. No one had the slightest difficulty in accepting it for what it is: Benevolent, affectionate chastisement by our spiritual father, an opportunity to at least sometimes get over our big pride for being such advanced, modern, superior Westerners, or the crown of creation.

6. According to the Srimad-Bhagavatam, women in mundane society are manipulated and exploited by use of flattery. Addiction to being flattered produces constant agitation and frustration because it is based on self-deception. The Vaishnavas want us to be happy, they are oceans of truth. It is not the spiritual master’s duty to flatter anyone and increase our pride and illusion. It is the duty of the guru to free us from the false pride which is a result of our false bodily identification. Therefore statements of affectionate chastisement should be taken in a light-hearted spirit. The same cup can be seen a half empty or as half full, it depends on how favorably disposed we are.

In an unfavorable attitude of distrust we cannot understand Srila Prabhupada’s instruction. The key is love and trust. Some of the things he said like "no brain, only cow dung" (referring to a male in this case) cannot be taken literally, we have to understand the deeper meaning of such humorous remarks. By being overly defensive, we only make fools of ourselves. —Anyone can prove that the human head does not contain cow dung. But does it prove that Srila Prabhupada was wrong? Or that he did not know? I strongly disagree.— When we contemplate the nectarean words of the paramahamsa devotee, we should open our hearts and drop our agressive thoughts. The mode of passion is not a good advisor. I say this because I have been guilty of it myself on various occasions. And I do feel sorry. If we do not trust that there is a certain depth to the instructions of the Vaishnava acarya, we should not become followers.

7. Whenever Srila Prabhupada revealed his actual mind, he praised all of those who become devotees of the Lord, as being the "most intelligent " and as being better than any king—both women and men. Srila Prabhupada praised his female disciples as being "not ordinary devotees," some women he honored as being "better than sannyasis." So why not see the good things, the hundreds of encouraging statments? Srila Prabhupada also praises so many famous female devotees in his writings, like Queen Kunti, Draupadi, Uttara, Satyabhama, Rukmini, Devaki, Yashoda, Sacidevi, Gandhari, Devahuti and thousands of others who are our worshipful masters.

Srila Prabhupada told us in his letters not to look down on the women in our temples as "being inferior" but to respect and honor them. Srila Prabhupada had to tolerate a lot of criticism which came from some of his godbrothers in India, for his acceptance of women in the temples, from the very beginning. He accepted them, unhesitatingly and compassionately, in accordance with his -perfect- practical understanding of how to apply Krishna consciousness.

8. Srila Prabhupada admitted, in his humility, that he can also make mistakes, for example in language. Only a rascal would point out such so-called "mistakes" in public as being actual mistakes—because they are not. For us they are -not- mistakes. Srila Prabhupada once referred to modern society’s degradation, by mentioning hippies who "smoke LSD." Obviously, one cannot smoke LSD. The foolish listener will point out the "mistake."

The sincere disciple does not see such a statement as a factual mistake but accepts it as a sign of purity and of perfection. The seeming external mistake will not prevent him from understanding the perfect instruction about modern society’s degradation which is contained in the above mentioned statement. He will never think that terms as "modern" or "antiquated" are standards for judging spiritual truth. Some have referred to such admittance of mistakes by Srila Prabhupada as "proof" that some instructions are wrong. But there is no real logic in this argument.

9. And where do we want to draw the limit? Which instructions are perfect and which are not? You may not like one instruction, some may not like others. Then one may as well reject the whole process.

10. Srila Prabhupada described himself, in his great Vaishnava humility, as being "fully incompetent to please Krishna" (conversation in Tokyo ‘74 ) Who but a rascal or fool would take such statements ad verbatim? To start a campaign of finding fault in the bona-fide spiritual master is certainly not what is meant by "not being a -blind follower-." It is destructive. Arjuna presented his doubts in a receptive manner. He did not try to prove that Krishna was mistaken and he was right. And unlike Niscala he did not defend himself when he was chastised for presenting so many learned words but actually speaking nonsense.

11. When one disciple, Purusottama, left ISKCON because he could not accept the statement that the moon landing was a hoax, Srila Prabhupada mentioned: "I can understand that he might not accept it because I said it, but how could he disbelieve the Vedic Shastras?" (Quote from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta ) We can safely deduct from this that even the statements of Srila Prabhupada on so called mundane or practical matters are firmly rooted in shastra. Srila Prabhupada only talked about those things which he knew. That is his honesty.

In the seventies, he mentioned that according to shastra, there must be ice on the moon. Following Niscala’s logic we would have rejected such a statement at that time as being a result of "antiquated views" and probably based on old Indian mythology. But lo and behold - in the nineties, ice was discovered on the moon by modern scientists. Today, almost all scientists accept that there is ice on the moon. Who knows what else they will find. In any case, I prefer to believe Srila Prabhupada.

12. Niscala even dares to mention in her latest lecturing to us that she receives the intelligence which she needs to detect the "mistakes" in Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, directly from the "supersoul." Obviously, she does not even consider that Srila Prabhupada, because of his exceptional purity of God consciousness, should have much more direct access to Krishna than her. A crude example of the mad elephant offense.

13. A few months ago, my godsister Her Grace Manimanjari DD Prabhu died in Berlin. She left her body in full Krishna consciousness, after having faithfully served Srila Prabhupada’s mission for almost thirty years. She may not have had a big education or a position in the mundane world. She followed all of Srila Prabhupada’s orders very strictly, she always chanted her prescribed number of rounds and rendered wonderful devotional service. She was an ocean of all good qualities. She kept things very neat and clean. She was one of the best cooks I have known, she always stayed with devotees. She did everything, Srila Prabhupada asked us to do, with great sincerity and seriousness. She was shy and we had to ask her to give class. But when she talked of her memories of Srila Prabhupada and of preaching and kirtan, in her warm-hearted way, it was always very personal.- She always maintained complete faith in all of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. That is her greatness.

When I thought about her life’s activities and example, after I received the phone call on the day of her departure, I had a deep realisation about the importance of faith in the spiritual master. Remembering Manimanjari, that noblest of noble souls, and her exalted qualities, I will forever shed tears of separation. Call me a fool for it or put me down for being antiquated, what do I care? The cheap attempts to discredit Srila Prabhupada and those who have this complete deep faith in him will not even throw the shadow of a spot on the immaculate example of Srila Prabhupada—and that of his glorious faithful disciples, like Her Grace Srimati Manimanjari DD. They will never be able to understand that love. They have no access to it.

14. Srila Prabhupada’s instructions are conservative, in the best sense of the word. And they are most progressive as well. Srila Prabhupada is always ahead of his time. Just read his preface to the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which was written -fifty- years ago. It gives a perfect summary of the problems of worldwide globalisation and the danger of hot and cold wars, some effects of which we have only felt now.

The knowledge which Srila Prabhupada presents is the most advanced. It can directly elevate our consciousness. It is based on perfect scientific knowledge from shastra which is unheard of in the Western world. Srila Prabhupada’s teachings will cause a peaceful revolution of love in a degraded, godless society. Take shelter of him and you will reach perfection. Srila Prabhupada’s process is not only the most progressive but it is ever fresh, like morning dew. It is accompanied by blissful singing and dancing, the perfect, advanced formula for staying young forever.

Hare Krishna!

Your servant
Nikhilananda Dasa

© CHAKRA 30 October 2001

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