Loving relationships with devotees

By Varshana Swami - 18.11 2017

 

Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.12.15 Speaker: HH Varshana Swami Location: ISKCON New Vrindaban

agnau gurav atmani ca sarva-bhutesv adhoksajam bhutaih sva-dhamabhih pasyed apravistam pravistavat

TRANSLATION: One should realize that in the fire, in the spiritual master, in one’s self and in all living entities-in all circumstances and conditions-the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, has simultaneously entered and not entered. He is situated externally and internally as the full controller of everything.

PURPORT: Realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s omnipresence is the perfect realization of the Absolute Truth to be attained through the study of the Vedic literatures. As stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.35), andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham: the Lord is situated within the universe, within the heart of every living entity and also within the atom. We should understand that whenever the Supreme Personality of Godhead is present, He is present with all His paraphernalia, including His name, form, associates and servants. The living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus one should understand that since the Supreme Lord has entered the atom, the living entities are also there. One must accept the inconceivable quality of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for no one can understand from the material point of view how the Lord is all-pervasive and yet is situated in His own abode, Goloka Vrndavana. This realization is possible if one strictly follows the regulative principles of asrama (brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa). Srila Madhvacarya says in this regard:

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His original form, has not entered everything (apravistah), but in His impersonal form He has entered (pravistah). Thus He has entered and not entered simultaneously. This is also explained in Bhagavad-gita (9.4), wherein the Lord says:

“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” The Lord can defy Himself. Thus there is variety in unity (ekatvam bahutvam).

(invocatory prayers)

Narada Muni is continuing his instructions to Yudhisthira Maharaja and has just completed descriptions of the varnas and asramas. In the previous verse, he told how important the rules and regulations are for the twice born, the brahmanas, ksatriyas, and vaisyas, who should live in the gurukula.

The word kula, has two different meanings, it can mean a place and it can also mean family. So this Kuli Mela, the Gurukulis are having a reunion here in New Vrindaban, we can also appreciate that kula means family. Srila Prabhupada established a very loving family.

Krsna consciousness was taught at the dawn of creation by Krsna to Brahma. And whenever and wherever there is a decline in that original culture of Krsna consciousness, the Lord either descends personally or sends his representative to reestablish that culture of loving relationships which is Krsna consciousness. In the Kali-yuga when everything deteriorates to the ultimate extent, the Lord came in his original feature to bestow upon this world the pure love of the inhabitants of Vrindavan to everyone and anyone without discrimination.

The Lord, in each and every age, teaches the yuga dharma, the process of self realization, which is appropriate and practical for that age. In Kali-yuga, the Lord teaches harinam-sankirtana as the yuga dharma. And he also teaches by his precepts, pastimes and personal example how to practice chanting of the holy mane in one’s life. Lord Caitanya revealed in this world the culture of the spiritual world. And Srila Prabhupada taught by his example and precepts the culture of loving relationships which is necessary to nurture love and trust.

We find that when devotees leave this Krsna consciousness movement, it’s never because they’re seeking a higher philosophy or parampara. That doesn’t exist. Some leave because they are overwhelmed by material attraction, others as they didn’t find sufficient loving relationships to fulfill their souls need for loving relationships. The soul has that need. And in our neophyte stage, we cannot feel the love of Krsna sufficiently to satisfy our needs. But we can feel the love of Krsna flowing through the devotees, manifesting in our relationships. This is not just some sentimental or optional aspect of Krsna consciousness. It is scientific. Srila Prabhupada conveyed this love to the devotees in ways which simply by remembering can sustain us through life.

For example, during gurupuja, Srila Prabhupada would insist on handing out cookies, both the to children and adults. We know that taking, offering and receiving prasad is more than an exchange of foodstuffs, it’s a way of expressing love.

Here in New Vrindaban, when the brahmacaris at the Old Vrindaban farm were so hopeful that Srila Prabhupada would visit there again, he hadn’t been since 1969, the authorities were not in favour. So then Srila Radhanath Swami presented a black and white picture of Radha Vrindavananath to Srila Prabhupada. He was relishing their beauty and asked where they were and if he could go. The authorities were trying to discourage him saying no the road is so bad, but he insisted and it fixed that he was to visit the next day. When the truck reached the point in the road where Srila Prabhupada would walk and chant japa, [missing section] . . . . Then Srila Prabhupada asked for the cookies and the devotees realised that they forgot to bring them.

This was just unacceptable that Srila Prabhupada could not show his love by not handing out cookies in gurupuja. So Radhanath Swami very quickly took the Deities’ plates with the offerings from mangala arati and tried to offer these to Srila Prabhupada as mahaprasadam. But the secretary said, “No you can’t offer this to Srila Prabhupada.” Then Maharaja snuck around the other side where there was a more lenient servant and placed the tray there. Then Srila Prabhupada, like a little child, he had very small silver spoons, began distributing prasadam to the devotees as they lined up. He gave spoonfuls of sweet rice and other preparations that Srila Prabhupada would taste and then distribute to the devotee. When Srila Prabhupada came to the gulabjamun, he bit into one and it popped and the juice sprayed all over the devotees. When he sampled the second one the same event repeated itself. The devotees were so ecstatic, and Srila Prabhupada was beaming like a little child as he was spoon feeding.

That’s how he began this movement. One who hasn’t directly perceived his mercy have a hard to understand his mercy. Like Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers in India appreciate him but have difficulty understanding the deep mercy, compassion, and love that inspired him to come to America to the hippies who were the very antithesis of culture and spoon feed them Krsna consciousness. And since we never felt such concern and love in our lives from family or society, we were inspired to open our hearts to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. And he very much wanted that we give this to others in a sense of a society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, to create and protect, nourish and reveal the kind of love which Srila Prabhupada revealed, and Lord Caitanya revealed in his own lila.

Without experiencing this love of Krsna coming through the relationship with devotees it will hard to sustain our Krsna consciousness in lifetime or more. For most of us, self realisation will be an entire lifetime or more. We have so many examples in Srila Prabhupada’s life of his deep concern emotionally, physically, spiritually-in every way. Not that that was meant to reinforce the bodily concept, it was meant to reinforce the love of the devotees. Because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to reveal and distribute the love of the inhabitants of Vrindavan. That experiences begins here and now in loving relationships of those associated with us, in whose presence Krsna has placed us.

Once near the end of his pastimes, Srila Prabhupada was being carried on a chair to the balcony for massage in the sunlight in Vrindavan. One devotee was carrying in front, one from behind. At this point, Srila Prabhupada’s body was so frail and emaciated that the doctors said any normal person would be wracked with severe pain and unable to function. As they were going up, one devotee hurt himself as the chair hit a boil on his leg. When they reached the roof, Srila Prabhupada asked, “What happened, I heard you felt some pain?” And Srila Prabhupada was persistent, so the devotee told him that the boil was bumped on the chair. Srila Prabhupada, just at the point he was concluding his lilas, took time out to explain to that devotee how to care medically for that boil and asked him how it was healing every day.

Another time when Tamal Krsna Maharaja was in the hospital, Srila Prabhupada came to visit him. Once in gurupuja when all the devotees were worshipping him with prayers and garlands and puja, he noticed one devotees’ leg injury and asked for pen and paper and wrote down how to care for that infection.

In a place where there are such loving relationships with devotees, there the spiritual world is revealed. Srila Prabhupada was insistent we study and read his books, but we also need a living example of what the books say. Caitanya-caritamrta is all about the loving exchanges of devotees. Sadhana siddhas and nitya siddhas are interacting with another which will attract the world and sustain the lives of the devotees in the difficult journey back to Godhead. When Sudama Vipra was asked by his wife to go to see Krsna, she was concerned as her husband was so emaciated and could barely maintain his life. “You are so poor but you are friends with Sri Krsna, go ask for something.” He was very reluctant, but as a service to his wife he left for Dvaraka with a little bag of chipped rice. When he reached Dvaraka, Krsna got down from his bed and began worshipping Sudama, and Rukmini was fanning him.

Later Krsna and Sudama had a discussion about their time in gurukula. “Remember how we had gone to collect wood for the ashram and were stuck in the forest during the storm? We had to spend the night there.” In the morning, Sandipani Muni personally went to the forest to search for his lost Gurukulis. When he found them he said, “You have suffered so much for my sake, offering your body, the greatest asset, in the service of your spiritual master.” He blessed them that all their desires would be fulfilled and their mantras would never lose meaning.

Then Sudama told Krsna that actually you were the cause of the storm because you wanted that we reveal to the world the nature and importance of guru-bhakti.

Recently we heard that Manu Prabhu phoned New Vrindaban to come and do the service of renovating Srila Prabhupada’s Palace with the bus tour members. And actually if you examine the history of Srila Prabhupada’s Palace, it has been the source of much of the success here. I’m not talking of just the external building, but the principle of placing Srila Prabhupada in the centre. Srila Prabhupada said Krsna consciousness is to place Krsna in the centre.

When Brahma looked down and heard that Krsna had defeated Aghasura who was terrorizing the universe, he saw Krsna was having a picnic on the bank of the Yamuna with his cowherd boyfriends. He looked like a whorl of the lotus as he was surrounded by his eight intimate sakhas who were each surrounded by their eight sakhas. It looked like a lotus with billions of petals and each and every cowherd boy was experiencing, not just feeling but experiencing, that Krsna is looking just at me, he’s smiling and speaking and showing pleasure just with me. Even though all the other boys are better than me, Krsna is so much loving to me.

It was actually true that Krsna was revealing his special love and features of himself just appropriate to each and every cowherd boy’s love. This is Krsna. We can reveal certain aspects of ourselves, but Krsna can actually change his form to reciprocate the needs for love in the hearts of his devotees. Srila Prabhupada said this Krsna consciousness movement is an effort to keep Krsna in the centre, not just the rhetoric, but actually living our lives in such as way that Krsna will be pleased. Krsna’s highest aspiration is to serve his servants; he has so much love for them, but he has difficulty to do that as they don’t like to accept service. So he is most pleased when his servants serve one another.

So Srila Prabhupada’s Palace began as a concept that really Srila Prabhupada should be in the centre of all our relationships and talks, and before building a temple for Radha Vrindavan Chandra, we should first build a residence for Srila Prabhupada. When Srila Prabhupada visited in 1974 and
1976, he expressed his pleasure at this endeavour, and when he asked if Radha Vrindavan Chandra would be installed there, the devotees said, “No Srila Prabhupada, you will be here.” Srila Prabhupada said this is proper, he expressed appreciation of the devotees understanding the importance and also said Krsna will protect you. Of course the living entity always has the free will to go outside, but Srila Prabhupada was exchanging the love the devotees have for him.

That true appreciation of Srila Prabhupada’s greatness is possible by the mercy of Krsna, a gift from Krsna in how we surrender to his instruction and mission. In the end of his lila Srila Prabhupada said the love we have for him will be shown how we cooperate with each other to push this movement on.

That means more than just working together on some project we agree on, as this is the Kali-yuga and this material world is a realm of maya. Maya is illusion personified, and Kali is hypocrisy, they will exploit any weakens to incite disunity. As this movement cannot be checked from outside, it can only be checked from weakness within.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam there’s an example what this kind of cooperation means. Indra was was feeling so insecure when Prthu Maharaja had done 99 asvamedha yajnas as only Indra had done 100. So when Prthu Maharaja was doing the hundredth yajna, Indra, in various guises of a sadhu, kept stealing the horse and running away with it. Prthu’s son, Vijitasva, wanted to kill Indra as he kept appearing as a sadhu but acting as a thief and impeding the yajna. Srila Prabhupada said this is the beginning of those who pose as Vaisnavas but are actually demons. This happened many times, Indra stole the hors and hid, and Prthu Maharaja kept telling his son don’t kill him, he’s a great personality.

Finally Lord Visnu himself appeared in the sacrificial fire and personally instructed Prthu Maharaja that since this performance of the hundredth yajna is causing conflict and friction between the devotees, just stop it and be content with 99 as indra can’t tolerate being equal or surpassed.

If we have some noble aspiration in service, but if it’s creating disunity and disharmony among devotees, then the higher principle is cooperation among devotees and to adjust to what nurtures that. This implies encouraging the devotees. This kind of culture will attract people to Krsna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada not only taught and personified surrender to guru and Krsna, but he actually inspired an atmosphere and culture that would inspire others to surrender, transcend egoistic barriers to unity and love. He also gave warnings of what he had seen in the institute of his spiritual master. And most of the things that incite quarrel and disunity have nothing to do with the next 10,000 years of the golden age, how to propagate Krsna consciousness. Most conflicts are just due to individual relative considerations how things should be done, which are irrelevant in the larger picture. All can be solved by following: rnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

With a little bit of additional support from: na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi

By taking the humble position, conflicts can be resolved, management simplified and a preacher fortified. There’s a story which may or may not be historical, it may be myth, but it’s archetypal and therefore helpful in understanding how our movement can experience regeneration even in the midst of difficulties. The Rabbi’s Gift has been mentioned several times in New Vrindaban as appropriate:

A monastery which used to be one of a flourishing series, but due to many reasons had fallen into hard times was now was the residence of just five elders in their seventies. All the sister branches had closed down. Due to their lives of austerity, they were intuitive and knew when a Rabbi was visiting an adjoining hermitage. They approached the Abbot that we should visit the Rabbi and see if he can give any advice on what appeared to be a dying order.

So the Abbot went and the Rabbi received him with great affection. The Abbot revealed his heart that the monastery appeared to be a dying order, no one was joining. The rabbi said yes, the spirit has gone out in my town also. They wept together, they read sastra, and commiserated with each other. The next morning as the Abbot was about to leave he asked the Rabbi if he had any advice for the monastery. The Rabbi’s reply was, “All I can say is that the Messiah is amongst you.”

As the Abbot left he was pondering this and when he returned he informed the other monks of the Rabbi’s cryptic message. So they began contemplating that does this mean that one of the monks is the Messiah? “Well, maybe it is Father Abbot who has demonstrated a lifetime of dedication, or maybe it is Brother Thomas who is a man of light. It wouldn’t be Eldred, but come to think of it, he’s always right. Sometimes very right. And certainly it wouldn’t be Peter, he’s so passive, but whenever you need something he’s always there as if by magic. And certainly it’s not me.”

So thus contemplating the message, the monks began in time treating one another with much more respect and love than previously. And since the monastery was in a beautiful location, people would come there sightseeing, and could sense this aura of love which they hadn’t experienced before so they began interacting and discussing with the monks. Some younger men began joining and soon the monastery was as vibrant a centre as it had been before, all due to the Rabbi’s gift.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam there is the pastime of the Pracetas. When the Pracetas first left home for tapasya prior to marriage, they came to a beautiful lake. Lord Siva emerged from it and told them, “By following varnarsrama, one can become Lord Brahma. You boys are already doing devotional service which is higher. Since you want to please the Lord, I’ll teach you a prayer to satisfy him.” So he taught them the prayer, and they chanted till Lord Visnu appeared to them and told them that he was happy to appear before them as he was so pleased that they were serving together and cooperating in a friendly relationship.

So Srila Prabhupada not only taught that, but he established a culture of Vaisnava relationships which is very conducive to nurturing our spiritual lives and attracting others to come and join and surrender to his movement.

When devotees come together for festivals or prasadam, or service, the goal should be to keep Krsna in the centre, which means Srila Prabhupada is in the centre, which means Srila Prabhupada is pleased. He made it clear.

During this festival when the Gurukulis have their Kuli Mela and reunion, we can contemplate how kula also means family. Srila Prabhupada established a loving family meant to serve in loving relationships. We heard how they would have appreciated the discipline they receive in Gurukula if it had been with accompanied with affection.

The affection of Srila Prabhupada and the love of Krsna, which we can’t perceive in our conditioned state, can be perceived in the loving relationships of devotees. Srila Prabhupada established this movements as a loving family with the most loving father. Our glorification of him will be complete when we serve his mission by revealing and nurturing this kind of loving relationships. This will not only carry forward the legacy of love but also substantiate what he taught and continue to attract other souls to join this movement.

Thank you very much. Are there any questions or comments?

Kaliyaphani Das: [unclear] The reason that it’s often a mess is we hate ourselves, if that is the case is there something such a person needs to do first before becoming Krsna conscious?

Maharaja: In addition, but with that he has to learn the art of forgiveness. Often it’s hard to forgive oneself, but as Saint Francis says, “Let me not seek so much to be forgiven but to forgive.” Then we can forgive ourselves, as we see in Krsna forgiving Indra. Indra did one of the most heinous offences trying to kill Krsna and the Brijbasis and Krsna forgave him. By bathing in that kunda where Indra was forgiven for his offence, one can make progress in also becoming forgiving. We cannot expect to be forgiven by Krsna for our unlimited lifetimes of offences if we don’t forgive others. If we surrender sincerely like Indra, then Krsna forgives, but we also have to forgive.

We should not continue to sin, but if we surrender and he forgives then we should forgive both others and ourselves. Not that we have to forgive ourselves before joining, but forgiveness is an essential aspect of Krsna consciousness. We have to advance in Krsna consciousness and to perfect both types of forgiveness should be integral in our joining and practicing Krsna consciousness.

Kamalavati DD: Could you kindly say that whole prayer by St. Francis, it’s really nice.

Maharaja: Srila Prabhupada said that St Francis is a Vaisnava:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amrit Karan Das: We see how Prabhupada loved the devotees, we have seen that our leaders are also trying to exchange the love. But Prabhupada alone he did management so nicely and alone gave his love to thousands of disciples. Our leaders are trying but what is lacking that we are facing so many problems. Can you explain it?

Maharaja: There’s only one thing lacking in the whole creation and that is Krsna consciousness. So anyone who is failing to convey the love that Srila Prabhupada did, there’s no way to do that, but if our leaders are lacking in the ability to express and convey Srila Prabhupada’s love, the only thing lacking is Krsna consciousness. And the only solution is to continue in Krsna consciousness, purifying the heart, cultivating humility.

What blocks the love is the false ego. That can be dissolved only by Krsna consciousness and the opening of that channel is humility which must be cultivated along with chanting. Only when one is that humble can one chant constantly. This means the higher taste of Krsna’s love. So the blockage to expressing and revealing and conveying Srila Prabhupada’s love is false ego. This can be dissolved by Krsna consciousness. And the opening of that channel is called humility.

Jwalamukhi DD: Thank you for the wonderful class. I have a question from a person who has grown up and feels so hurt and victimized, that it’s a big block and they can’t forgive anybody else till others say sorry first. Growing up abused as child like that it seems superhuman to just rise and say I forgive everyone. Is it realistic? You have to be even greater than your mentors to do something like that.

Maharaja: You already covered a few important points, I think I should answer before you go further. This often comes up in talks about forgiveness. If someone feels like a victim, first of all the attitude of victimhood has to be overcome. As long as one feels he is a victim, he can’t overcome the circumstances. This relates to the second question which is very important and reveals a very sincere heart. Someone may feel they were so wronged they can’t forgive the wrongdoers. There is an answer to this.

If one doesn’t feel it possible to forgive, then they should either ask the persons present, or pray for that person to be forgiven on their behalf. And if you ask for someone with such compassion to forgive your wrongdoers on your behalf, you get the same benefit as if you forgave yourself. If you don’t feel you have it within you, you pray to someone who does have that forgiveness to do it on your behalf and get the same benefit.

[Question on overcoming victimhood]

Philosophically we know that what comes in to our lives is either the fruition of our past deeds and misdeeds or it is Krsna’s special mercy to inspire us to surrender. This may come via extreme suffering. So it’s not philosophically accurate to be a victim as nothing comes upon us that we didn’t in some way bring upon ourselves. We don’t always answer with that aspect as it’s straight philosophy and can seem hardhearted or cruel. So the philosophy also has to be presented with compassion and care. The philosophy alone might be overwhelming and might make it worse and harder for the person to overcome victimhood. But in a caring loving way if it’s presented, that you want to help the person, and here’s the philosophy and love that will help you out of victimhood and provide assets to overcome it.

So loving relationships are crucial. Philosophy may worsen it, but by a personal presentation the person can accept and benefit from it rather than feeling more hurt.

Kavicandra Swami: Thank you. Forgiveness sometimes is taken as meaning that the offence or offender was OK or is exonerated, but it’s actually giving up your own vengeance. That’s why it’s hard for someone to condone the offence because it can go on again and again. What do you have to say about that?

Maharaja: This is another very important concept and common issue that comes up in terms of forgiveness as that can be equated with condoning the offence. But it doesn’t condone the offence. It just means that when the reactions come from our previous actions, I accept with gratitude what I brought on myself; by acceptance you minimize the pain and stop this cycle of reaction. If you react to it, you perpetuate the karma, it again becomes a reaction until your lessons are learned and your karma is nullified. The reluctance to forgive should be complemented with an appeal to the offender to beg forgiveness from the offended. It’s part of culture that a person wouldn’t be a victim alone but elders would resolve the issue holistically. So this would be compensated by someone addressing the offender to fall at the feet of offended for forgiveness as this shows it was not right and shouldn’t be overlooked but addressed.

Udayananda Das: That’s a beautiful sentiment and decodes a brahminical mentality. But there are different asramas i a brahmana would forgive, but a ksatriya would not allow such injustices to go on. So when children have been so wickedly abused a ksatriya would take action. So even though the child would try to forgive, a ksatriya cannot tolerate such an offence and Manu Samhita says that the offender should get his just desserts. That is also a healing. We’re not meant to seek revenge, but when justice is served the perpetrator is punished and the victim is healed.

Maharaja: Yes, this is an important concept. The verse we read today is just after Narada’s instructions on varnas and asramas. So varnasrama is the answer, the balance of four asrama and varnas. If the ksatriya is not there to seek justice it makes it more difficult to forgive as it’s seen as an injustice. Therefore Srila Prabhupada said that the second half of his mission is to establish varnasrama. Varnasrama is not synonymous with self realization, but is a society which is organised to facilitate self realistation. Forgiveness is the duty of the brahmanas, but in society there are ksatriyas. Not that we should seek vengeance, but we should desire justice which is the duty of ksatriyas. That’s why Srila Prabhupada wanted varnasrama to facilitate the path of self realisation.

Kavicandra Swami: I was going to say the same thing. We talk about discipline, if someone is criminal and abuser and they are punished, it’s for their own benefit, but has to be according to rules and regulations, not just out of vengeance. Not like in the Middle East or something, “Oh a Jew killed my grandmother therefore I have to kill a hundred Jews.” Sometimes kindness is discipline.

Maharaja: So what role does Krsna in the Srimad-Bhagavatam play? First he makes his appearance in the Srimad-Bhagavatam after Asvatthama had killed the sons of Draupadi and Arjuna is seeing justice. Asvatthama was caught and Draupadi was pleading his forgiveness as she didn’t want that his mother had to cry like she did at the loss of her sons. Draupadi wanted to forgive, Bhima wanted to kill him, and Krsna was more partial to Bhima. Krsna got involved, that’s when he appears in Srimad-Bhagavatam, as driving the chariot, a sudra function.

Between forgiving him and punishing him it was all resolved by cutting the jewel on his head and his hair and leaving him with a shaft of hair, which means his false ego was severely diminished but his life was spared.

So there you have the brahminical qualities and the ksatriya functions working harmoniously, but the point is, as you said, that punishment is important on various levels. For the individual who suffered, has offences committed to them, the proper punishment makes it more natural to forgive because if you forgive an offender and he is not punished, to some degree you may think you are condoning the offence. The other consideration is it is for the offender’s own good if he is punished then and there otherwise he will have to suffer in future lives. Therefore, punishment itself is an act of goodness.

These are various reasons why varnasrama dharma is conducive to self realization and for individuals who seek self realization.

Vaiyasaki Das: Thank you very much, Maharaja, we appreciate your discussion. I would like you to comment. Right now we have been discussing the mood of the victim, how he should behave. We haven’t talked about how the perpetrator should behave, especially when we’re talking about a movement where the perpetrators were installed by leaders or when thae leaders themselves were sometimes perpetrators.

Maharaja: Vaisnava etiquette is very clear that when one commits an offence, he has to be forgiven by that person. That may and possibly should entail falling at the feet of that person and begging forgiveness. This is the standard etiquette for one who commits offense. As far as leaders who we can say condoned or participated, according to their involvement, they also have to beg forgiveness from anyone who suffered under their lack of discretion. There again, that is the brahminical perspective. The ksatriya perspective would be the administration of justice. The Vaisnava perspective, beyond varnasrama, is that whatever offence we directly committed or perpetuated or assisted or whatever, has to atoned by begging forgiveness.

Question: What about a second time?

That is an administrative decision and in regards to what we were discussing before, cooperation with Srila Prabhupada’s family for the sake of love and trust, which is the two main elements that Srila Prabhupada established for his family, one should have no reservation about stepping down from whatever position if it will foster the love and trust which is necessary. Ultimately, it is pride that goes before the fall but if there has been a fall, then a gesture of humility such as stepping down is recommended by the senior Vaisnavas or whatever the senior judicial element may be, the person must accept such atonement. . . they might consider that the issue is deeper, that the pride has not yet been atoned.

Prthu Maharaja, he was performing that sacrifice for the upliftment and welfare of his kingdom so when Krsna said no don’t’ do it, it wasn’t that Prthu Maharaja wanted the glory of the only one who equaled Indra in sacrifice, but he was doing it for the welfare of his citizens. But when he saw it was creating disharmony in the family and Krsna said stop, he very happily accepted the solution to the conflict. So any of the leaders, who even actually weren’t involved or suspected to be involved or directed to facilitate the healing. . . . (?) Because whatever instruction comes through the senior Vaisnavas, that is usually how Krsna’s will is expressed. To step down from such a situation would be glorious.