Vaisnava behavior explained by Srila Prabhupada

August 16, 2022 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Vaisnava Behavior explained by SP

Hare Krsna-Below We will find some very interesting points about personal behavior for a Vaisnava which are definitely applicable to all of us in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy.
Jan 7 1976
My dear Bhakta Ralph
Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you letter, undated.
There is no reason why you cannot associate with any of my disciples, providing that they adhere to our principles. As long as Siddha Svarupa Maharaja and Tusta Krishna Maharaja act as sannyasis, ie. dress in dhoti, keep shave headed with sikha, follow strictly the rules and regulations and preach from my books, I have no objection. Sometimes there will be a little misunderstanding between Godbrothers, that is even going on amongst liberated soulsWhat is important is that everyone must engage in Krishna’s service under the direction of the spiritual master.
I hope this meets you well. Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
72-08-26 letter
My Dear Gaurasundara,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated August 20, 1972, and I am quite surprised to read it. This does not sound like you. All along I have been discouraged in every way by my Godbrothers, but still I have stuck to my duty, keeping my Spiritual Master always in front. Because there is some fighting or bickering amongst us, that does not mean that I should go away. If I have understood the order of my Spiritual Master rightly, then I must perform my duty under any circumstances and never one think of going away under disgust. I have appointed you to be my GBC representative in South America because I think that you are very much responsible and capable to do it, and I am very fond of you and your good wife Govinda dasi for helping me all along. So do not be disturbed or worried by some small thing, rumor, or misunderstanding. There is no plot amongst our so-called big men against you or Siddha-swarup Ananda. That is childish.
Where have you got this idea to retire and simply translate books? That is not in our line. My Spiritual Master has given me the instruction to spread this movement all over the world and you are my good disciples, are helping me do this. Without your good help I could not have done anything, so practically you can take all the credit for spreading this Krsna Consciousness movement and fulfilling the prophecy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If there is some incident and I claim that no one is cooperating with me or no one will work with me, that is my defect, not theirs. The Vaisnava devotee must think like this. We should not find fault with others and criticize and go away, that is not the Vaisnava way.Better we should always be willing to offer all respects to others and consider them as our superiors always.
Meanwhile, hoping this meets you in good health,
(Note-one idea here is that SP was just starting his movement and did not want the devotees to fight with each other and go away. And at that time, things were pretty much going the way SP wanted. There was no unauthorized gurus on such a large scale like we have today. Also going away meant at that time-from iskcon. Today iskcon itself is so far gone away, it is hard to remain there and remain sane. But today we have all the books and instructions so that we don’t need to “go away” Going away means leaving Krsna Consciousness altogether and all good devotee association.)

My Dear Brahmananda,
Please accept my blessings. Replying your letter of Nov. 9, I beg to inform you that Kirtanananda and Hayagriva’s recent standing is being directly dealt by me; at least Hayagriva is not as fanatic as Kirtanananda.His latest letter reveals that he is not out of Krishna Consciousness as we understand. The whole episode was generated by personal grudge. This personal grudge is not inhuman and as I have told many times, that individualism is the cause of personal misunderstanding. When such individualism is employed in the center of Krishna there is no harm even if there is personal misunderstanding. Personal misunderstanding exists even in the higher levels. There is competition of loving Krishna even in the party of Srimati Radharani. It is a kind of rasa to compete in loving affection centering around Krishna. We shall, therefore, try to bring back Hayagriva and Kirtanananda to their senses. After all we must understand that we are dealing with persons affected by Maya. Every one of us is under the influence of the external energy, Maya. The best way to get out of the clutches of Maya is to concentrate our attention in the loving service of Krishna. I understand that Hayagriva and Kirtanananda are continuing to chant Hare Krishna is their center. I hope therefore they will not go astray and the misunderstanding may be cleared up in due course of time. (Even amongst our God-brothers we have misunderstanding but none of us is astray from the service of Krishna. My Guru Maharaja ordered us to execute his mission combinedly. Unfortunately we are now separated. But none of us have stopped preaching Krishna Consciousness. Even if there was misunderstanding amongst the God-brothers of my Guru Maharaja none of them deviated from the transcendental loving service of Krishna. The idea is that provocation and misunderstanding may remain between one man and another. But our staunch faith in Krishna Consciousness may not allow any material disruption. Please therefore try to be sympathetic with any person even if they differ. The only qualification we have to scrutinize is if one is acting in Krishna Consciousness as far as one is able to do it.)
(Note-this is also a very revealing letter to Brahmananda about the in–fighting among devotees at that time, and which we still see today. One point Prabhupada makes is that one remain in the service of Krsna. When that service turns to service to our own sense gratification that is another thing entirely. So when somebody wants to be a spiritual master for profit adoration and distinction, and then add in Krsna to make it all work, that obviously is not Krsna Consciousness as Srila Prabhupada is describing. That is devotional service, according to the Narayana Purana, within the three modes of material nature and is very low or tamasic or rajasic at best. We should analyze ourselves-who among us -is completely pure with no material motives? So if that’s true then would we not want other devotees to still treat us nicely, and not kick us away- despite our motives? )
Some Conclusions-The point I am trying to make in all the above letters of instructions by Srila Prabhupada is this-he was in the midst of a struggle to establish Krsna Consciousness, which is very difficult in kali yuga, and was surrounded by  mostly  young men and women who had no idea at all about Vaisnavism and especially the behavior that goes with that path of bhakti.
Sure we saw his behavior and many tried to imitate it, but that never works because it has to come from personal purification. Even when many of Prabhupadas godbrothers came to see him in Mayapura complaining about the use of the word “Prabhupada” which they thought only referred to Bhaktisiddhanta maharaja, and really got angry with him in a  direct confrontation, he remained calm and tolerated their abuse. He also warned us personally in hundreds of pages about his so called “godbrothers”, but with them directly he took the humble position . This is not an easy thing to do, but must be done if one wants to become Vaisnava.
Today we see so many fighting with each other, and what has it gotten us? More camps and the real robust  preaching has stopped.
Prabhupada writes above….”Even amongst our God-brothers we have misunderstanding but none of us is astray from the service of Krishna.”  In other words he is seeing only the good in his godbrothers even though they are seeing only bad in Prabhupada. This was a huge offense to him, but he tolerated them, like he did all of us, just to engage some souls in the service of his Lord Krsna. His godbrothers destroyed their Gaudiya matha mission, but Prabhupada still says-they “never went astray from the service of Krishna”. How kind of him to say such things while they try to destroy their and our own movement, and he with it. 
(Now here is the main point) So how could Srila Prabhupada, who is a Paramahamsa, act in such a humble way with people who were at best Kanistha adhikari while carrying sannyas dandas? The answer is given below in SB. Prabhupada could act properly towards others because he is a pure devotee. Those of us who are not pure devotees will act in the manner described below in SB. This errant behavior has to be corrected, by each of us. and it may not save the Movement  in our behavior towards others, but it will save ourselves. And as Srila Prabhupada used to say-the highest realization- is to save oneself !! These verses below from SB should be meditated upon , they are so important.
SB 3.29.16-The devotee should regularly see My statues in the temple, touch My lotus feet and offer worshipable paraphernalia and prayer. He should see in the spirit of renunciation, from the mode of goodness, and see every living entity as spiritual.
SB 3.29.22-One who worships the Deity of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as Paramātmā, is situated in every living entity’s heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.
SB3.29.23-One who offers Me respect but is envious of the bodies of others and is therefore a separatist never attains peace of mind, because of his inimical behavior towards other living entities.
SB3.29.24-My dear Mother, even if he worships with proper rituals and paraphernalia, a person who is ignorant of My presence in all living entities never pleases Me by the worship of My Deities in the temple.
SB3.29.25-Performing his prescribed duties, one should worship the Deity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead until one realizes My presence in his own heart and in the hearts of other living entities as well.
SB 3.29.26-As the blazing fire of death, I cause great fear to whoever makes the least discrimination between himself and other living entities because of a differential outlook.
PURPORT-There are bodily differentiations among all varieties of living entities, but a devotee should not distinguish between one living entity and another on such a basis; a devotee’s outlook should be that both the soul and Supersoul are equally present in all varieties of living entities.
Some Last Conclusions-In the above verses from SB, we see how an actual pure devotee/Vaisnava acts with other living beings. This does not mean we go and directly and intimately associate with those who are inimical to pure bhakti or the bona fide spiritual master. We are to become knowledgeable enough to make distinctions between who is a real devotee and who is a fraud. Who is actually following Krsna’s  bona fide representative and who just wants something or things in return for their “service”. Even though that good association is scarce these days, if we have none to little, we can always directly associate with Srila Prabhupada thru his vani-the instructions which are eternal and will never change.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das