Friday, June 1, 2007

More Thoughts on Sadhu Sanga

I sent yesterday’s blog entry, The Dilemma of Association (see 31 May entry below), to one of my godbrothers, B.A. Paramadwaiti Swami, who is the leader of a very large and successful mission. He sent me back a long email filled with his observations. Because this subject is so important, i would like to share some of my godbrother’s points in today’s blog. I would also like to solicit your feedback on this topic. You can add your comments by clicking on the “comments” link below, or by sending an email to me at:

Here are some of the observations made by Paramadwaiti Swami on the subject of sadhu sanga.

“What did Srila Prabhupada do when he was in a similar situation? He helped some godbrothers with their mission until he felt that his vision could only be accommodated in his own mission, (which was) his guru’s mission as it revealed itself through him.”

“We talk about this mission or that, this swami or that. We compare and are sometimes generous when we like a person and sometimes overcritical if we are upset with something in the connection with the mission we mention. It is natural that we are upset with something if we are not totally absorbed in our service. (If we are absorbed, then) we see everything as Krishna sent for our own enlightenment.”

“Sadhu sanga has the distinct characteristic that it refers to association with devotees we truly love and respect. Or at least we want to help them unconditionally if we consider they are (still) immature.”

“The guru does not start a physical mission. It is a spiritual mission and all his disciples have a duty to continue his legacy by being faithful to the essence of his teachings. Be loyal to Srila Prabhupada and do not worry about bricks and sand, committees and resolutions, but rather (to) the nectar you received.”

“It is Krishna’s will whether someone is seen as guru by another, or is your father-mother or happens to be your husband-wife. Nothing can change that except Krishna through another intervention. You better appreciate it or move on. Never disturb the good faith of others, because your own faith would also be shaken.”

“We need many centers of sadhu sanga. Are you dear reader, ready to give your love and support to a particular vaisnava? Or are you ready to tolerate to be the helmsman of a temple or mission where so much honor and support will be given to you as sri guru’s representative and all problems as well? Are you ready to manage every penny which comes to you
as Krishna’s sole property or do you prefer to represent somebody who has that integrity?”

“Go to the real issues— serving the legacy of Srila Prabhupada.There is unlimited preaching to be done. To continue where he left us, or where you see the need arise and feel inspiration to take action. Srila Prabhupada took so many actions and that kept us jumping and singing his glories.”

These are some of my godbrother’s astute realizations. For me, the main point is: we must act on the basis of sadhu sanga. We must either get it or give it. In this age, we can even create “virtual sadhu sanga” by applying technology to share our vision and realizations. How we get or give sadhu sanga depends solely on our own nature and our capacity. It is very individual. If we need the physical company of devotees (and practically all of us do) then we must search out some devotees or community where we feel welcome. Or start our own sanga and become the leader. But we must commit to sadhu sanga, for the purpose of trying to please Srila Prabhupada.

We must be ready to make another sacrifice just as we did in our youth. This time our eyes are open. We will not sacrifice our ideals or our integrity that comes from many painful experiences. When we see devotees or institutions that, in our opinion, are not pleasing to Prabhupada, we should keep them at a distance. But that does not give us the right to renounce sadhu sanga. What we need to renounce are things like our complacency, the luxury of being overly critical, and our bad habits.
But sadhu sanga is our birthright, given to us by our spiritual father. We must embrace it in the same spirit of selfless love as he gave it to us.


Babhru das said...

I actually meant to post my comment here, so I'll do so again:

I found your "Dilemma of Association" on Rochan's site and followed the links. I agree with the points you make in these entries. We cannot give up sadhu-sanga if we want to progress in spiritual realization. When we find problems in the society of devotees, we must find a way to get and/or give the best association possible. As you say, this may very well mean making sacrifices and changes in our lives just as we did when we committed our lives to Mahaprabu's mission so many years ago. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. I've always valued your friendship and hope I may be able to have your company again, even if briefly, some time soon.

Tamoharadasa said...

I also followed the links to this site, as I find Navajauvana Maharajah's writings very interesting. Please accept my obeisances, and I humbly ask for your kind blessings.

I have read some of Sri Paramadvaiti Swami's works, and they opened my eyes to early goings on just after Srila Prabhupada departed, and thus I also came to appreciate Srila Sridhara Maharajah and others, and to understand the "politics" better.

One thing has bothered me a little, and I espouse it here for the sake of my own peace of mind; I found in life, after many years of self-denigration, that some degree of self-promotion is necessary. Practically, if one wants to be heard and taken seriously, one sometimes has to tell things which may not be perceived as modest. The result is an expanded scope to preach, or in other realms, better pay, more material respect, etc. It is very highly ideal to depend upon Krsna to do this for us, and i suppose I am guilty of the same sort of self-promotion that others have been criticized for. But Maya is strong, and the false propaganada will dominate if we do not impose our own propaganada. Are there not times when one has to seize the moment, lest the opportunity to approach our goals escapes? If no one is praising the glories of the average devotee, but instead we hear the songs of the Zonal Acaryas etc., then is it not our duty to put forward our opposition or positive alternatvie as widely and with as much influence and attention as possible? Cannot this type of self-advertisement (Prabhupada glorification, actually) be used for the right reasons? Is not the link to this site also an example of so-called self-aggrandizement, but actually rightfully so? Am I so off base in this? Some of the readers will recognize my name from the articles and comments on Dandavats and Samporadaya Sun. I have purposefully used these sites as preaching posts to bring forward my own understandings of Krsna consciousness, proudly thinking that there has been some drift away from the pure siddhanta by some in these days. Please kindly tell me if I am being a major ass! I don't wish to be a headache unless its helpful.

Anyway, I will make it a point to check in here regularly for the sake of sadhu sanga! I am living mostly away from direct association these days, working my professional job to have a little to say the heck with working , and to then go back to India once and for all, possibly with a travelling party for harinama and books.

Gauraharibol, prabhus! My obesiances to you and all the devotees.

Tamoharadasa (ACBSP) [1972]

jauvana said...

Tamahara prabhu
My obeisances to you. I also read your postings on the Sampradaya Sun and find them insightful.
I write now because i feel that after all these years, while i don't have much to say, i have some experiences to share. Also there is the need to purify myself and this can be done thru kirtan, of which writing is one form used by Srila Prabhupada and many of the previous acaryas in our line.
Regarding your point or question about where to draw the lines on self promotion, i think Prabhupada was very clear. If it is for Krishna's satisfaction, not yours, then go and promote till you drop. But don't cheat and don't fool yourself. If you're doing it for your own glorification, stop!
That's why we all left Iskcon i think. Krishna and Prabhupada became hostage to private interests. In other words, the godbrother gurus used the Lord and his devotee for their own fame, their own glorification, rather than using their energy for the Lord's glorification. Of course, they are also devotees and it's never black and white. But we need to discriminate, and this is the test: whose in the center, you or Krishna.
Hope this helps to answer your query.
Gaura Hari bol,
nava jauvana

Tamoharadasa said...

Thank you for this clear insight.

Thank Krsna for our senior Godbrothers! Let me take shelter of their dust.