Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reforming the Reformer

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada

In the following article excerpted from Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu issue number 177, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur describes Krishna consciousness as the only genuine reform process. He says that anyone who takes shelter of any other process to reform society is in need of reform themselves. -- MD

The world stands in no need of any reformer. The world has a very competent person for guiding its minutest happenings. The person who determines that there is scope for reform of the world, himself stands in need of reform. The world goes on in its own perfect way. No person can deflect it even the breadth of a hair from the course chalked out for it by providence. When we perceive any change being actually effected in the course of events of this world by the agency of any particular individual, we must know very well that the agent possesses no real power at any stage. The agent finds himself driven forward by a force belonging to a different category from himself. The course of the world does not require to be changed by the agency of any person. What is necessary is to change our outlook on this world. This was done for the contemporary generation by the mercy of Sri Chaitanya. It can only be known to recipients of his mercy. The scriptures declare that it is only necessary to listen with an open mind to the name of Krishna from the lips of a bona fide devotee. As soon as Krishna enters the listening ear, he clears up the vision of the listener so that he no longer has any ambition of ever acting the part of a reformer of any other person, because he finds that nobody is left without the very highest guidance. It is therefore his own reform, by the grace of God, whose supreme necessity and nature he is increasingly able to realize, by the eternally continuing mercy of the Supreme Lord.

-- From The Harmonist, May 1932, issue number 11. Article originally titled, "Sree Chaitanya in South India". Pages 325-326.


Krishna says we should act according to our sva-dharma. He says if we try to do someone else’s work (even if we can do better) then we are putting ourselves into danger. For us, “sva-dharma” is following guru’s instructions. If guru tells us to create a revolution, then we must. If guru tells us to be an authority and instruct others, then we must. However, if we don't have such sanction then we have no right to self-appoint ourselves as judges and jihadis against whoever we deem to be offenders. Padma Purana says if we don't act according to sastra we will simply create a disturbance. And what is the sastric injunction?

aśraddadhāne vimukhe ’py aśṛṇvati
yaś copadeśaḥ śiva-nāmāparādhaḥ

Preaching to those who don't have faith or who are reluctant to hear from you is an offense to the holy name.

Mahaprabhu taught if someone has faith in us and requests our opinion, we should speak. But if they don't have faith and don't ask, better be silent. Before Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Prakashananda Saraswati, Mahaprabhu was quiet until they asked for his opinion. Only after they requested him, did he speak, and then he spoke like a bullet -- no compromise.

If we are conditioned souls then we are not the seers we are the seen. We cannot say who is good or bad. We should do whatever Krishna has given us to do.

If we found out that some temple presidents were stealing money, how many devotees would respect them? Now what if we discovered they were also having illicit sex with others wives? What if we found out they had killed brahmanas, had even killed cows, and broken deities and temples? Who would respect such persons?

But what if these rascals were eternal associates of the Lord, and those heinous acts were their service to the Lord? What if their names were Jaya/Vijaya-Hiranyakasipu/Hiranyaksa-Ravana/Kumbhakarna?

What about someone who supported Duryodhan and tried to kill Krishna, Arjuna and the pandavas? Could we accept him as a leader, a great devotee, a mahajana?

What if his name was Bhishmadev?

We are not the seers.

As for me, I’m not going to start distributing guns for the revolution, until Krishna or his representative appear before me and give clear instructions to do so. As for the many Don Quixote’s in this world, let them battle with their windmills; my personal role in the reform movement is doing what I’ve been instructed to do. -- MD