Making A “Case” for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”
Saragrahi.org’s Specific Vision About Free Speech and Civility Or Let it be Clear Who is Most Welcomed to the Saragrahi Web Site, & Who is Not.
By Upendranath Dasa. 2022 01 01
Moreover, Srila Prabhupada has something to say about “blind faith” in Purport to Bhagavad-gita 17.2.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: According to the modes of nature acquired by the embodied soul, one’s faith can be of three kinds—in goodness, in passion or in ignorance. Now hear about this.”
“Those who know the rules and regulations of the scriptures but out of laziness or indolence give up following these rules and regulations are governed by the modes of material nature. According to their previous activities in the mode of goodness, passion or ignorance, they acquire a nature which is of a specific quality. The association of the living entity with the different modes of nature has been going on perpetually; since the living entity is in contact with material nature, he acquires different types of mentality according to his association with the material modes. But this nature can be changed if one associates with a bona fide spiritual master and abides by his rules and the scriptures. Gradually, one can change his position from ignorance to goodness, or from passion to goodness. The conclusion is that blind faith in a particular mode of nature cannot help a person become elevated to the perfectional stage. One has to consider things carefully, with intelligence, in the association of a bona fide spiritual master. Thus one can change his position to a higher mode of nature.”
Devotees have a rational approach to bhakti (logic and reason based on the shastra).
In the Bhagavad-gita we find this verse (10:10):
“To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
In the purport Prabhupada basically explains the madhyama eligibility in the course of explaining buddhi-yoga, which he says is a “very significant” word in the verse. In fact he equates bhakti yoga with buddhi yoga:
“In this verse the word buddhi-yogam is very significant. We may remember that in the Second Chapter the Lord, instructing Arjuna, said that He had spoken to him of many things and that He would instruct him in the way of buddhi-yoga. Now buddhi-yoga is explained. Buddhi-yoga itself is action in Krishna consciousness; that is the highest intelligence. Buddhi means intelligence, and yoga means mystic activities or mystic elevation. When one tries to go back home, back to Godhead, and takes fully to Krishna consciousness in devotional service, his action is called buddhi yoga. In other words, buddhi-yoga is the process by which one gets out of the entanglement of this material world. The ultimate goal of progress is Krishna. People do not know this; therefore the association of devotees and a bona fide spiritual master are important. One should know that the goal is Krishna, and when the goal is assigned, then the path is slowly but progressively traversed, and the ultimate goal is achieved.”
Then, two paragraphs later, Prabhupada basically explains the komala shraddha platform, stating that if the person is “not intelligent enough to make progress, then Krishna from within gives him instructions.” He mentions this point twice, to emphasize that the lack of intelligence can be a serious matter. And the implication is that while those persons may be successful in their bid for Krishna consciousness, they are not quite as eligible as the persons he described in the first paragraph of the same purport.
“A person may have a bona fide spiritual master and may be attached to a spiritual organization, but still, if he is not intelligent enough to make progress, then Krishna from within gives him instructions so that he may ultimately come to Him without difficulty. The qualification is that a person always engage himself in Krishna consciousness and with love and devotion render all kinds of services. He should perform some sort of work for Krishna, and that work should be with love. If a devotee is not intelligent enough to make progress on the path of self-realization but is sincere and devoted to the activities of devotional service, the Lord gives him a chance to make progress and ultimately attain to Him.”
So, we have the komala party, and the madhyama party, and if we belong to one group, we are advised to leave the other group be, and vice versa. In light of all this, understand that this site will give the opportunity for anyone to determine their inclination in this regard.
By the very name, Saragrahi, this is a site for madhyamas not the komalas. So if komalas did show up, and were to find out that this is not for them and leave, what is the difficulty? We see no difficulty at all. It is only a difficulty if we were invested in bleeding-heart notions about the matters that this Website is concerned about. But Bhaktivinoda did not confuse a bleeding heart, with compassion. He even said his book was not for komalas. And so, is this site.
But if a bunch of komalas show up and try to make this into their facility, rationalizing their bid with sentiments about compassion, tolerance, the mission of Lord Chaitanya, not losing the newcomers, and so forth, then we see a lot of difficulty because the site becomes “Saragrahi”, in name only. Yet another Internet haven for devotees whose main merit is hovering in the same smelling, and extremely unpleasant space, for the last 45 years, and not in fact learning to be “the brain of the social body.” Why cannot we have some facility for achieving this function?
Komalas are mired in rutted thinking, convention, the social parampara, pseudo-substance, clichés, because they lack the brain capacity for independent thoughtfulness. They invariably parrot philosophy. They do not hold the promise to be the true intelligent class. This is our philosophy; it is not some brutal judgment. They are not keen to become critical thinkers in other words. So Bhaktivinoda held that discourse, that is inspiring to them is simply trash to the madhyama, and preaching that inspires the madhyama, may harm the faith of the komalas.
Saragrahi.org is a site for madhyamas. It is also for aspiring madhyamas, those who understand their komala situation or inclination, but desire to advance to the platform of the madhyamas. If you are such a person, come here and learn, read the presentations, and ask questions, and express your doubts; and I can assure you that your questions will be answered, and your doubts will be dispelled, by those who are madhyamas. To associate and exchange ideas in an atmosphere of critical thinking. So if this does not work for “everyone” that should not be a surprise. Why lament about it?
Is not this elitist?”
Not at all. It is no more elitist than the simple recognition of the fact that philosophy, I mean serious analytical dialogue about philosophy, the practice of hardheaded realism (which does not mean or imply absence of a soft heart) is for the few, and that is simply a fact of life. For the masses, kirtan and prasadam. But the mass does not know this, you see. So the mass will show up here from time to time, and they will see, that here critical thinking is practiced, and social convention moves to the back row, and they will opt out, and that is good for those who are keen to be Saragrahis.
When there is kirtan and prasadam, then “everyone” can be happy. When there is philosophy, then “everyone” should not start chattering all at once. Komalas can listen in, or go to another part of town. Why is this problematic in any way whatsoever?
The success of this site is not that everyone participates, or even a lot of people. The success is in the quality of the thinking, that goes into participating, the degree of penetrative rational capacity that participants, and observers develop, even if only three people. It would please Prabhupada, who was willing to be pleased, if he made only ONE pure devotee. And we do not doubt him. So if this group leans towards soft-headedness, seeking to be popular, we would consider it a hands-down failure.
Mind you, komalas are always a majority, madhyamas are always a minority. By sheer numerical superiority, they want to meddle, and dictate and impose, their mediocre standard on others. This will not happen on this site.
Since Prabhupada wanted to facilitate the practice of independent thoughtfulness, and we have failed to create such an atmosphere for this practice, in any locality that we are aware of. Our hope is that this site would be the facility for that; having called the site Saragrahi.
The focus of those on Saragrahi.org is to seek essences, and TRUTH, not to dictate how it should be put before them. So our own stuff comes under such scrutiny. We believe this is a core value of the Bhagavata philosophy. When readers of this site read a posting, the aim should be to extract essence, and not make an issue of the author’s style or manner of presentation. It is entirely up to each reader to sift the data and find the substance.
Compassion is to feel for a person’s plight of being mired in illusion, gross and subtle. And to cut through that, is real compassion.