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 Upendranath Dasa

To my Godbrothers/Sisters & Followers of Srila Prabhupada 

“The Answers Lies Within”

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Segment 2

Deeply Buried Irrational Motivation is Never Obvious to the Individual Harboring It

As we may have observed, such deeply buried irrational motivation is never obvious to the individual harboring it, because the subconscious dresses our irrational drives in rational clothes, and presents it to our conscious mind.

This “imitation of reason”, would be even more bewildering, were it not for the fact that we are conditioned to it. It becomes second nature. The rationalizing person,

“Not only wants others to believe his rationalizations but believes them himself,”


 “The more an person wants to protect himself or herself from recognizing their true motivation, the more ardently they must believe in them”.

This capacity to rationalize our true motives, is one of the most puzzling phenomena in the material world. It is frightening for one who appreciates this peril of the mode of passion. This is illustrated by what is called “The Double Standard[1].” 

There is the true event that will illuminate The Double Standard.  Mr. Jeb Magruder, involvement as one of the participants in the infamous Washington D.C. Watergate break-in. Jeb Magruder’s testimony, that he subverted his character, to the character of the group—37 others, all very well educated. Thus, Jeb admitted,

“We did not come to Washington to commit crime, but we did”.

The import is that one person, or a whole group can be rationalizing a certain behavior, and not be aware of it.

It is a kind of a mental figure-8 loop. The whole group is rationalizing, and wanting to protect itself from recognizing the true motive driving it, the more ardently it believes in the rationalization. It becomes a tightly wound downward spiral for the group. Generally, time is all that is required for this trend to come to its natural disastrous end.

If people do not know they are “rationalizing,” one may rightly ask,

“how can we blame someone for rationalizing?”

It is not a question of blaming anyone. It is a matter of getting to the heart of the problem. It is a matter of taking responsibility for the problem, and solving it. To do that, we must first answer the question, who owns the problem?

The answer to that is not simple. In a group such as ISKCON, to some extent, they all do, just as the captain and the crew has a problem when the ship is in danger. The bulk of the responsibility, however, falls on the leaders. In an organization, problem-solving is the first duty of leadership. There will surely be more pleasurable activity (frosting), but the sattvic way is to solve problems up front, and enjoy the frosting last.

It is true that persons in the grip of rationalization cannot tell that they are the prisoners of their irrational passions from a subjective point of view. That has been proven in clinical research. Previously, they were compared to persons influenced by a paranoid system—they may be perfectly rational in all aspects of their life, except in that one place where their rationalization has taken hold. Although the person cannot tell, that does not mean others cannot tell. If rationalization is going on, it can be determined from a few different points of analysis.

For example, a Vaisnava is supposed to be above the modes of nature. Falling short of that, a Vaisnava should be at least in the mode of goodness, because a Vaisnava should at least have the brahminical qualifications.  Prabhupada did write or say in the following:

Srimad-bhagavatam 3.32.27 purport,

“Devotional service mixed with the modes of material nature is a means for material existence.”

Lecture, Bhagavad-gita.1974, Hawaii

Unless one is firmly established in the mode of goodness, one spiritual life is simply a bluff”. 

Because without coming to the platform of sativa-guna, (mode of goodness), nobody can advance in spiritual life.  That is a fact.”

“Just like nobody is allowed to enter the law college unless he is a graduate.  This restriction is there.  What he will understand, law?  He must be a graduate.  So similarly, first of all, one has to come to the platform of sativa-guna.  Then spiritual knowledge begins.  Because spiritual knowledge is above sativa-guna. Above sativa-guna.  Therefore, sativa-guna is the best quality, when one brain is clear and he can see things as they are, no hazy understanding, but clear understanding.”


In Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.24,

“Firewood is a transformation of earth, but smoke is better than the raw wood. And fire is still better, for by fire we can derive the benefits of superior knowledge [through Vedic sacrifices]. Similarly, passion [rajas] is better than ignorance [tamas], but goodness [sattva] is best because by goodness one can come to realize the Absolute Truth.”

That statement by Prabhupada, that “Unless one is firmly established in the mode of goodness, one spiritual life is simply a BLUFF”; is mostly ignored, or not understood, by just about everyone in or out of ISKCON. There is a whole lot of “BLUFFING”, going on with the followers of Srila Prabhupada; especially those found in social-media, like Face-Book, which is simply a “Mutual Admiration Society”, where there is a relationship, in which two people have strong feelings of esteem for each other, and often exchange lavish compliments; the term may signify either genuine or pretended admiration.

Certainly, those we regard as elevated Vaisnavas, should have such minimal qualifications.

Rationalization, however, is a symptom of the mode of passion. It is the responsibility of a Vaisnava who is a leader or authority, and who has symptoms of the mode of passion, to develop the qualities of goodness. A leader cannot remain in the mode of passion, and credit themselves for being somewhere else; and neither should us who are not leaders.

It is not a scientific understanding of Krishna consciousness, if we assume that because the dress, and other external requirements are met, we are automatically on the platform of the mode of goodness; what to speak of the transcendental platform.

One must develop the appropriate symptoms.

A Vaisnava’s duty is to be introspective, or self-examining, so he/she can root out the symptoms of the lower modes, and exhibit those of the highest mode. In sattva guna, the grip of our irrational passions slackens, and one is equipoised enough to identify them, and weed them out. That is not possible in the mode of passion.

Though every devotee is responsible to develop the sattvic qualities, the greater share of responsibility falls on the leaders to exhibit them. If they rise to the occasion, they are acting with integrity towards their service. The mass of devotees will naturally feel inspired, and beholden to such leadership that commands their respect. The devotees know that they must cooperate for pleasing Srila Prabhupada, however, they naturally do not want to do so by going against their own intelligence. They should not be faulted for that. They want to cooperate, like Arjuna, when their illusion and doubts are dispelled.

So, ask yourself, this simple question. 

“Are you leaders dispelling your illusions and doubts?”

If your answers is “NO”; do I need to say anything else; or do you catch my “drift”, if you will.  In other words, “that is a no-brainer”, or as the British say,

“You are in a ‘Spot of Bother.”

It is not, therefore, a question of laying blame here or there. It is a question of discriminating, and showing our love for Srila Prabhupada by cooperating with that which is truly Krishna conscious.

If by careful analysis we find that symptoms of personal ambition are present, which is the greatest threat to the Krishna-consciousness mission, then how can we wholeheartedly cooperate?

We can cooperate with a person who is embracing the struggle to become Krishna conscious. As Prabhupada said in Purport to Bhagavad-gita 10.4-5:

“… Nothing should be accepted blindly. Everything should be accepted with care and with caution. …”

[1] Double Standard: A set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another

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