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 Upendranath Dasa

To my Godbrothers/Sisters & Followers of Srila Prabhupada 

“The Answers Lies Within”

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Segment 1

Srila Prabhupada warned us that the Greatest Threat to a Spiritual Institution is From Within; and therefore, I extrapolate, that warning, and say that the Greatest Theart to Your Personal Spiritual Life, is the same, whether you are alone or a member of group loosely, or well organized Vaisnavas.  The Greatest Threat, is the same as that which RUINED ISKCON, and that Threat, is From Within Yourself

There are number of negative symptoms that you, or any organized group of Vaisnavas, should look out for. I am serious about that.  It does not matter how well you think you are organized, or how well you think you have your Kåñëa-consciousness act together.  Do not ever for a moment, forget, and become complacent, because Maya is stronger, and smarter than you.  After all you have been under her clutches, the 3 Guna’s, the 3 Mode of Material Nature, for “anadhi” (a time which you cannot calculate); scientifically the equivalent of saying for ETERNITY. 

These grates threats, they are like reefs upon which the and good ship of “Krishna-consciousness”, must avoid, so it can actually take you across the ocean of nescience[1], which is not like a clam ocean; it is like a category one-trillion hurricane.

If you are applying Krishna-consciousness as some kind of “easy (sahajiya)”, sentimental process; you are sailing with blind-folds, and you will not be able to observe or detect the “reefs”, and you will “flounder”, without a doubt. Without any doubt you will struggle mentally, and show or feel great confusion.

Krishna-consciousness is a Science[2] and it is not easy; but it can be joyfully performed. (Read Essay entitled “Is Bhakti a Science?”  Which you can find on this Website)

If you are applying Krishna consciousness as a “science”, there are many “dangers”, that you must be on the lookout for.  Just as in sailing the ocean; there are things the ship’s captain must look out for. The captain is “irresponsible” if he is oriented to solving problems only after they become crises. He must spot reefs, for example, before the ship flounder. The responsibility is primarily on the captain, but it is not that his crew is oblivious. They also must know the symptoms of danger. They must also be on the lookout. After all, the fate of the ship is their fate as well.

Please note that in Krishna-consciousness, the dangers to look out for are,

  • The mundane person in the dress of a “Vaisnava”; in other words, the leaders’ need to consolidate power. In addition, Prabhupada said we should reject and not serve such a person (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 1.218 Purport)
  • The power of rationalization[3].
  • The risk of authoritarian[4] dynamics[5].

These three, or any one of them all ultimately come from within; and will guarantee, that you will take birth again at the time of your death.

Note further, that Srila Prabhupada warned us that the greatest threat to ISKCON is from within; and he summed up these threats in one expression,

“Personal Ambition[6]”.

Personal Ambition will be address specifically in another essay, that if you are intuitive you need not have me tell you what the title will be. 

Careful analysis of these dangers shows that they all stem from a heart that is nursing some form of personal ambition. Like the ship’s captain and his crew, our task is to assess these dangers, to know what their symptoms are, and to spot them before it is too late.

It is not difficult to discern, why the mundane person in the dress of a Vaisnava, needs to consolidate power, or implement authoritarian dynamics; because it  can be traced back to personal ambition.

Rationalization, on the other hand, by definition it is not a conscious or premeditated desire.  So, how can we understand that it, too, stems from personal ambition?

Our “reason”, (our ability to cause, explain, or justify an action or event); functions only to the degree to which it is not flooded by “greed[7]”.

The person who is a prisoner of his irrational[8] passions[9] loses the capacity for objectivity[10], and is necessarily at the mercy of their passions; they rationalize when they believe they are “expressing the truth”.

Greed (lobha) is a symptom of the mode of passion—just another name for personal ambition. Persons under the influence of raja guna are overwhelmed by lust and greed. Consequently, they lose their capacity to reason objectively. They become prisoners of their irrational passions, which they then rationalize. They are calculating how to achieve their schemes, and to them, this scheming passes as intelligence, as reason. They subsequently believe they are expressing truth. Reason does not function when one is in the grip of the mode of passion.

Reason functions when one is equipoised, in the mode of goodness. The function of reason or intelligence, is to serve our long-term benefit; and that is done by discriminating, in other word, by having or showing refined taste or good judgment.. That is a symptom of the mode of goodness.

 Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.2:

“Mind and sense control, tolerance, discrimination, sticking to one’s prescribed duty, truthfulness, mercy, careful study of the past and future, satisfaction in any condition, generosity, renunciation of sense gratification, faith in the spiritual master, being embarrassed at improper action, charity, simplicity, humbleness and satisfaction within oneself are qualities of the mode of goodness.

Material desire, great endeavor, audacity, dissatisfaction even in gain, false pride, praying for material advancement, considering oneself different and better than others, sense gratification, rash eagerness to fight, a fondness for hearing oneself praised, the tendency to ridicule others, advertising one’s own prowess and justifying one’s actions by one’s strength are qualities of the mode of passion.

Intolerant anger, stinginess, speaking without scriptural authority, violent hatred, living as a parasite, hypocrisy, chronic fatigue, quarrel, lamentation, delusion, unhappiness, depression, sleeping too much, false expectations, fear and laziness constitute the major qualities of the mode of ignorance”

Now please hear about the combination of these three modes.”

Satisfying our greed is never the purpose of intelligence. The conclusion is that we have to rise to the platform of goodness, sattva guna as the overall solution to the mode of passion and the power of rationalization.  These was one of the last instructions Srila Prabhupada gave.  He  said that we should “stay” in mode of goodness.

The problem comes when we think we are already beyond goodness; as is preached in most Vaisnava camps, and especially in ISKCON. Despite the obvious symptoms of politics, diplomacy, intrigue, personal ambition, and so on, we believe we are transcendentally situated.

I will inject some humor, to make this point.  How oblivious are these symptoms just mentioned?

“They are as obvious as a foul, stinky, smelly ‘fart’ in an overly crowed elevator.  So much so that one person has the courage to say, ‘oh my god, someone crawled up someone’s ass and died.”

Despite our inability to live consistently by the following values,

  • A capacity for the experience of concern.
  • Respect, and understanding of another person.
  • And the intense desire for that other person’s growth.

We think we are beyond goodness. That cannot be the fact. Naturally, however, if we think we have arrived at our destination, why should we endeavor to go further? Therefore, we will remain where we really are, in raja guna, the mode of passion, as prisoners of our irrational passions; and although we have no capacity for objectivity, we will believe we are expressing truth, when we are really rationalizing.

[1] Nescience: lacking knowledge; ignorant

[2] Science: is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions.

[3] Rationalization:         The act or process of ascribing one’s actions, opinions, etc., to causes that seem reasonable and valid but are actually unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less complimentary ones.

[4] Authoritarian: Favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom

[5] Dynamics: The motivating or driving forces, physical or moral; the pattern or history of growth, change, and development in any field

[6] Personal Ambition is a quality that can motivate an individual and drive their actions toward a particular goal. It can help a person push themselves to engage in hard work and take risks to reap specific rewards. It drives on to desire to be successful, rich, or powerful.

[7] Greed: Intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power,

[8] Irrational: Not logical or reasonable.

[9] Passion: Strong and barely controllable emotion.

[10] Objective: not influenced by personal feelings ,or opinions in considering and representing facts.

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