Once upon a time, AP, the president of a small Vaisnava community, whose guru is Jayapataka Swami, who personally has thousands, may be tens-of-thousands, of disciples; certainly, the biggest imitator of Srila Prabhupada; explained that he was 5 years into the process of bhakti. AP had communicated 3 questions to a friend named Paul.
Paul was receiving Krishna -consciousness instruction from me. He considered me as his primary minor siksa-guru; while Srila Prabhupada was his major siksa-guru. In addition, AP was aware of this relationship that Ponal had with me; however, AP did not know my identity.
AP confided in Paul that he did not know the answers to 3 questions that were troubling him for many years. In addition, AP also confided the following:
“AP said that he was very much distressed, and troubled; for he felt that he was not making advancement, in Krishna consciousness, that was promised by his guru Jayapataka Swami. And that after 5 years of practicing, what his guru instructed, he had yet to experience the answers to these three questions. Even more troubling, AP felt guilt and shame, because he was the leader, more or less, a Temple President, of a small community of Vaisnavas”.
AP said that he was following all the instructions given by his guru;
- Chanting 16 rounds,
- Attending the morning and evening Arati.
- Attending morning Srimad-bhagavatam class.
- Attending evening Bhagavad-gita As It Is class.
- In addition, his devotional service was that of the leader of his community.
Moreover, AP told Paul that he was to embarrassed and ashamed to ask his own guru these questions. That is very odd and disturbing, because in a true guru & disciple relationship, that kind of sentiment in a disciple would not exist.
The 3 questions were,
- Why we are not able to come out of material attachments and desires in spite of our, so called, spiritual advancement?
- How to Get rid of False Ego?
- How we get the mercy?
Therefore, AP asked Paul, if it would be alright, if he would ask me these 3 questions, and get some answers. Paul communicated to me, if I would entertain such a request. I replied that I would be glad to, however, I felt that AP may not be able to grasps the answers; but I hoped for the best.
Unfortunately, ISKCON gurus, preach and instruct, their disciples not to communicate with, or listen to, disciples of Srila Prabhupada, who are independent of ISKCON.
AP also mentioned that he previously asked, a visiting ISKCON Sannyasi & Guru, these questions, after a morning class, and the answers he got were empty and almost completely irrelevant.
The answers, this visiting Sannyasi guru, gave, were:
1: Why we are not able to come out of material attachments and desires in spite of our, so called, spiritual advancement?
Answer: It is because of lack of intense desire to progress. If we are casual in our bhakti practices, it will block our spiritual perfection. False ego is extremely clever and it makes our lives so miserable for us to overcome it. It is the most difficult material energy to overcome.
2: How to Get rid of False Ego?
Answer: We should be grateful to Krishna for the difficult experiences and try to seriously learn from them. Do not take credit for success or accomplishment, but see yourself as a humble instrument in Krishna’s service. More importantly, we require MERCY of Krishna, spiritual master and Vaisnavas to overcome our false ego.
3: How do we get the mercy?
Answer: There are 3 types of mercy;
- Mercy from the front – The mercy as we expect it. We get what we want.
- Mercy from the side – Mercy as we expect but mixed with unexpected twists and turns or challenges.
- Mercy from the back – The greatest mercy, when Krishna hits us hard to make us move on and give up some petty attachments and desires that are blocking us.
Not beings satisfied, with this guru Sannyasi’s answers, AP was willing to ignore his guru’s instruction, to not communicate with anyone outside of ISKCON. Therefore, AP gave the go-ahead, for Paul, to pass on these questions to me. Paul informed me, that he was sure I could provide the answers; however, he also expected that AP would, more or less, “freak out”, if he were to read the answers.
On the other hand, I also agree with AP, that this visiting Sannyasis & Guru’s answers, were utterly USELESS.
I wrote back to Paul, and explained, that after he first reads my answers, he could be the judge, of whether to present what I had written to AP or not. After all, AP was Ponal’s friend and he knew him well.
 Arati—a ceremony in which one greets and worships the Lord in the Deity form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by offering Him incense, a flame in a lamp with ghee-soaked wicks, a flame in a lamp containing camphor, water in a conchshell, a fine cloth, a fragrant flower, a peacock-feather, and yak-tail Wisk, accompanied by bell-ringing and chanting.