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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.