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

1 comment:

Puskaraksa das said...

Srila Bhaktisiddantha Sarasvati Thakura Maharaja Prabhupada gives us, as usual a very profound and thoughtful comment, touching simultaneously different subject matters, such as the individual and collective destiny and the role of Providence...

He equally refers to the role of "reformer" both for the world and for others, explaining how no one can really claim to be the doer, unless one may be unaware of the perfect and supreme authority of God :

The Bhagavad Gita describes ahankara as follows:

kartaham iti manyate

"Being bewildered by ahankara, the foolish soul thinks 'I am the cause'."

What is ahankara (false ego)? The conception that "I am (aham) the cause (kara)".

Of course, Isvara Parama Krishna is sarva karana karanam... Sri Krishna is the Supreme Controller and the cause of all causes...

In this way, conditioned souls act, being unaware that God, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, is witnessing and consenting to every single action in this material world...and is the Supreme Conductor of Orchestra...

They also ignore the law of karma and fail to understand that one is subjected to the laws of nature and to the consequences of his past and present deeds...

na hi kascit ksanam api
jatu tisthaty akarma-krt
karyate hy avasah karma
sarvah prakriti-jair gunaih

"Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment."
(B.g. III. 5)

Similarly, being under the influence of the three gunas, one may think oneself to be the doer, when actually he is compeled to act under the influence of the three gunas...

prakriteh kriyamanani
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate

"The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature." (B.g. III, 27)

One may think oneself to be a great reformer, when actually he is acting under the influence of material nature and the three gunas:

na kartrtvam na karmani
lokasya srjati prabhuh
na karma-phala-samyogam
svabhavas tu pravartate

"The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature." (B.g. V. 14)

Therefore, Srila Bhaktisiddantha Sarasvati Thakur Maharaja enjoins us to start by reforming ourselves and overcome the three gunas, by surrendering to the Supreme Lord:

daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

"This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." (B.g. VII. 14)

This way, one will be able to overcome samsara and reach the spiritual platform:

gunan etan atitya trin
dehi deha-samudbhavan
vimukto ’mrtam asnute

"When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life." (B.g. XIV. 20)

Then, one will be able to understand the transcendental nature of the Lord, who is situated beyond the three modes of material nature, and is not to be held responsible for any action of the conditioned soul :

nanyam gunebhyah kartaram
yada drastanupasyati
gunebhyas ca param vetti
mad-bhavam so ’dhigacchati

"When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature." (B.g. XIV. 19)

Where the material energy is composed by the three gunas, which turns souls coming in contact with it into conditionned souls :

sattvam rajas tama iti
gunah prakriti-sambhavah
nibadhnanti maha-baho
dehe dehinam avyayam

"Material nature consists of three modes—goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes." (B.g. XIV. 5)

The mahatmas take shelter of the divine energy, beyond the three modes of material nature :

mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakritim asritah
bhajanty ananya-manaso
jnatva bhutadim avyayam

"O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible." (B.g. IX. 13)

This is the platform where one has conquered real freedom and can act according to one's own spiritual and eternal nature... to which Srila Bhaktisiddantha Sarasvati Thakur Maharaja invites us,
by taking shelter of the Holy Name received from the lips of the pure representative of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu...

So, one may not be able to change the world, but one can (should) change (reform) oneself... !

Hare Krishna

Das dasanudasa
Puskaraksa das