Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice
Rasing Our Spiritual Standards
Chapter 16
A Prediction
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Part 3

We Should Orient Ourselves, to Attracting and Teaching the Best Quality Students

The risk is very real. Until we are willing to brush up our act on many fronts, we cannot even consider preaching to the most intelligent class in any truly meaningful, long-range sense, because as soon as they mingle with us, they will be disillusioned. What intelligent man or woman would sit through a Srimad-Bhagavatam class delivered by a temple president in which he says:

“Thinking process; reaching for those things we always feel comfortable with. We have to give up the ‘thinking process’. Our tendency is to think independently. We cling to those things when we feel difficulty. We have to take shelter of devotees. Training is required. Instinctive, bred into us, we want to think, and rationalize our way out of our problems; however, this just creates more delusion, illusion. We must instinctively take shelter of devotees without thinking.”

This is a bizarre admixture of philosophy and fascism. Such preaching is meant to scare the audience rather than enable them to use their intelligence with conviction and faith. This is “preaching” to disempower, to produce fear and trembling. This is a bad advertisement for our mission. No intelligent person would accept this weird mixture. Even if we manage to entice them in the initial stages, as they become familiar with our standard operational procedures, they are sure to become disenchanted to some degree, and distance themselves from the mission if not outwardly, then inwardly. Moreover, unless we can draw commitment out of the intelligent class of persons, we are limited to recruiting from the ranks of the inferior quality men.

This is not to imply that we should not recruit all kinds of people.

We should orient ourselves, however, to attracting and teaching the best quality students. That will give us the best passing average.

This is where the prediction mentioned in the title of this chapter comes in: As long as we mostly attract inferior quality types, we are essentially an organization of inferior quality people, which is a predictably self-destructive trajectory through time. Instead of positioning the movement to grow, we are effectively positioning it to diminish. Our numbers may increase, but the quality will go down. This is not good news, but the data adds up. We should address this problem. Prabhupada will be pleased with us for doing so. Let us show our love for him by co-operating.

Quotes Applicable to Chapter 16:

  • Things do not change; we change. —Thoreau
  • Men of power have not time to read, but who has not read is not fit for power. —Michael Foot
  •  One, on God’s side, is a majority. —Wendell Phillips
  • Rank and riches are chains of gold, but still chains. —Giovanni Ruffini
  • There is something that is much scarcer, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability. —Robert Half
  • Communication must be a two-way affair. —Anon
  • Adversity attracts the man of character. He seeks out the better joy, responsibility. —de Gaulle

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