Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice
Rasing Our Spiritual Standards
Chapter 6
Srila Prabhupada’s Warning and The Lessons of History
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Part 7

Krishna’s Example: No Fear and Trembling.

From these two references we see that Srila Prabhupada does not endorse anything remotely resembling the blind adherence that symptomizes authoritarian religion and results in tragedy. His personal dealings were characterized by persuasion rather than force. This is the tenor of Krishna consciousness, beginning with Bhagavad-gita itself. Finally, after the Lord satisfied all Arjuna’s questions, the Lord asked him, (Bhagavad-gita 18.72):

“O son of Prtha, O conqueror of wealth, have you heard this with an attentive mind? And are your ignorance and illusions now dispelled?”

From the purport:

“The Lord was acting as the spiritual master of Arjuna. Therefore, it was His duty to inquire from Arjuna whether he understood the whole Bhagavad-gita in its proper perspective. If not, the Lord was ready to re-explain any point, or the whole Bhagavad-gita if so required. Actually, anyone who hears Bhagavad-gita from a bona fide spiritual master like Krishna or His representative will find that all his ignorance is dispelled.”

The Lord’s attitude as described here, and as shown in the above verse, is exemplary. His model should be the standard for us. We should look for this symptom in ourselves, in those we revere as spiritually advanced, and we should preach Krishna consciousness to produce this result in people. If our preaching creates blind, fanatical type followers, we are preaching the wrong process. If our preaching creates greater dependency, clinginess, insecurity, self-doubt, and uncertainty, we are presenting the wrong process. 

If our preaching is dogmatic rather than geared to appeal to logic and reason, we are presenting the wrong process. Krishna consciousness does not enfeeble one; rather it empowers one to face life, to accept responsibility for problem-solving, to be dedicated to the truth, to be open to challenge.

Real Krishna consciousness confers a zest for life.  Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say,

“One who has life can preach.”

We understand from this that genuine Krishna consciousness does not stifle enthusiasm, initiative, or freedom of action. Real Krishna consciousness is empowering. The litmus test for this is to see how much our response to Krishna consciousness is in accord with Arjuna’s response to Krishna’s question, (Bhagavad-gita 18.73):

“Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

Here we see clearly that Krishna consciousness, unlike many other religious processes, does not reduce one to fear and trembling. Arjuna experienced fear, trembling, and confusion in the beginning, however, in the end, he was asammoha, free from doubt and delusion and prepared to act. Such freedom is one of the essential elements in a religious system where reason and thought is emphasized over dogmatism and blind following. It is also an essential requirement, if our aim is to attract intelligent people to Krishna consciousness, which was definitely one of Srila Prabhupada’s keenest desires and ability.

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