Article by Upendranath Dasa
Authoritarian Dynamics in Religion, How Corruption Begins to Take Hold and Spread
The True Heroes of the Human Race
Humanitarian religion serves to develop rather than cripple man’s powers of reason and love. Man’s reason is needed, if he is to self-examine, and thereby rid himself of his irrational passions. Part of that development is to recognize his limitations, with respect to his transcendental aspirations. Yet religion should also make him more competent, and adequate, in dealing with the world, as in the case of Arjuna after hearing Bhagavad-gita. This empowered response to religious experience is real humility. Authoritarian religion, ingrains self-humiliation in the name of humility.
In humanitarian religion, fear of isolation from the herd is not a means to elicit loyalty and commitment. Loyalty is sought through appealing to the rational nature in us, by persuasion, rather than by appeals to authority, which is force; because humanitarian dynamics recognizes, that the unfolding of one’s powers of reason, is critical to one’s success in distinguishing reality from illusion.
“Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all.
Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhagavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.”
The unfolding and full emergence of reason is dependent on the attainment of full freedom and independence.
Until this is accomplished man, will tend to accept for truth, that which the majority of his group want to be true; his judgment is determined by the herd, and by fear of being isolated from it.
A few individuals can stand this isolation, and say the truth, in spite of the danger of losing touch. They are the true heroes of the human race.
Threat of isolation was clearly the dynamic that some of Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers enacted with him before he went to the USA. They kept him isolated, expecting that he would fall in line with their vision. Thankfully, for our sake, Prabhupada was one of those few individuals willing to withstand this isolation. He risked all for us. He is a true hero of the human race.