Time and time again Srila Prabhupada has warned us (His disciples) not to associate with His Godbrothers. Why? Because, as Srila Prabhupada says, they were simply envious people. Envy is something that everyone has to deal with unfortunately. When in life you come across someone who is envious of you, be it a close relative, friend or co-worker, there is naturally a lot of friction between you two. This is because envious people not only give off bad vibes at the least, but also because they tend to scheme against you in any little way possible, creating a hostile environment and a dangerous situation. There’s nothing much you can do about it other than simply avoid that person. And a mature person would know that kindness tends to dissipate a person’s envy. You don’t want to play their game – do not give into their animalistic mentality and respond to their envy in a similar fashion. This is the psychology of dealing with envious people. Srila Prabhupada says in regard to His Godbrothers:
“My Godbrothers are envious because they could not do. They could not do even half of Guru Mahārāja's work, and I am doing ten times. So therefore they are envious." (Room Conversation – 4/2/72, Sydney)
"So these rascals, Godbrothers, they are envious that... What he has written? Bon Mahārāja. Just see what kind of men they are. They are not even ordinary human being. They are envious of me, and what to speak of make a judgment by estimation? They're envious. Enviousness is immediately disqualification of Vaiṣṇava, immediate. He is not a human being." (Room Conversation – 10/16/75, Johannesburg)
Srila Prabhupada, being above the three modes of material nature, knew better than anyone how to deal with envious people. It seems that He indeed ignored them for the most part and did His own thing. He warned His disciples about the dangerous nature of His Godbrothers so that His disciples wouldn’t get themselves hurt, spiritually – just as a caring, loving father always protects His children with relevant instructions on avoiding strangers, etc. for their own benefit (“don’t go in that place, there’s a monster in there!”). Therefore, faithful disciples of Srila Prabhupada avoid such people:
“So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them. […]This is my instruction to you all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.” (Letter to disciple – 4/28/74)
Srila Prabhupada was just like this caring and loving father with all of His spiritual sons. He didn’t want any “wars” – of course not. He wanted more than anything to simply follow the order of His spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and thereby preach Krsna Consciousness all over the world. Unfortunately, sometimes a self-less, sincere effort is left unseen by way of selfishness and, well, insincerity. That is why Srila Prabhupada’s obvious spotless – loved by all – character and pure good-intended actions were “picked on” by certain people, namely His Godbrothers. Srila Prabhupada relates a story from His own spiritual master in this regard:
“Regarding the Gaudiya Math, our position has nothing to do with them. They cannot do anything and if somebody does something, they will be envious. That is the nature of third class men. My Guru Maharaja once told this story; one friend informed another that one man has become the High-Court Judge. "Oh no,'' he replied, "No. That cannot be right.'' "Yes, he is now a Judge,'' said the first friend. "I have seen him sitting on the bench.'' The second man replied, "Maybe. But I don't think he is getting any salary.'' Such envious men will find out some fault anywhere. There is no fault, actually, but they will manufacture some fault. That is their business. So many persons were envious of my Guru Maharaja, but He was preaching and did not care for them.” (Letter to disciple – 11/18/70)
This is simply how envious people are. That is their nature: “third class”. As such, for a mature, kind-hearted person, and especially for a pure devotee of the Lord, there is no question of creating enemies. Rather, the envious person creates such a war in his own mind and thus creates a dangerous situation, resulting in an intelligent man’s decision to avoid such a dangerous situation. A real devotee actually does nothing to create any envy in anyone, as supported in the above quote and ones to follow:
"A devotee of the Lord is no one's enemy, although there may be many enemies of a devotee. A devotee of the Lord does not like to associate with nondevotees, although he has no enmity with them. He desires association with the devotees of the Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.19.16 : Puport)
"In this world, although a devotee is ajāta-śatru, he does not do anything which will create enemy, but the nature of the world is that they will become envious."
(Lecture : Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.16-17 -- Gorakhpur, February 10, 1971)
As mentioned earlier in this article, it’s best not to give into their degraded games – it is better to just avoid them. Don’t even pay much attention to them. And when you see them, just be nice; say “Hi, how are you?” Be diplomatic. Diplomacy doesn’t mean compromising, not necessarily. The definition of diplomacy is “skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility” (Marriam-webster dictionary). Srila Prabhupada was most diplomatic in dealing with His Godbrothers. He was shedding their false pride and envy with His kind words. Srila Prabhupada demonstrated this diplomacy toward the very end of His physical presence on this planet. He remained very kind toward His Godbrothers during His final days here. In fact, the behavior from Srila Prabhupada at this time toward His Godbrothers is a prime example and model of how one should treat others, regardless of whatever friction there may be between each other. Making apologies just for the sake of apologizing, asking for personal favors just to give the other person a sense of superiority in you having to depend on him in some way or other – all fit into the list of ways in which one should act while directly dealing with a person who may have some kind of inferiority complex or enviousness – all of which Srila Prabhupada had demonstrated while directly dealing with His Godbrothers. Unfortunately, thirsty for such aggrandizement and intoxicated with flatter, the envious person will take such appraisal in whatever proportion desired, so will also any friends or relatives of his who have already invested some faith in him due to whatever the circumstances. This chain result, however, is all the more proof that such tactics actually work on people of the said nature.
Srila Prabhupada was never interested in fighting with anyone. Of course, if someone poses a threat however, it is best to avoid that person at all costs. In that sense, then yes, there may be some kind of war, but the real fighting is going on within the envious person's mind. Especially in spiritual life, envy is very dangerous because it can manifest into offenses and deviations from philosophy, which can do a great deal of harm to the innocent people in general in regards to their spiritual journey back home. We therefore avoid such people as directed by Srila Prabhupada and also inform others where "not to wander". We do, however, leav all doors open for such ill-natured people to “come around” and cooperate with us. For such a sense of war to be over, the envious person would have to cooperate with the very person who he had held negative feelings toward for so long. Also, or at least, sincerely apologizing - fully addressing and recognizing his ill behavior and mistreatment toward the person. In Srila Prabhupada’s case, He makes it very easy for such a person to cooperate with his movement; He left a will and order on what his wishes were for the future of the movement. This is the July 9th letter. Anyone who decides to abide by those wishes will surely demonstrate a mature act of cooperation in fulfilling the ultimate mission of Lord Caitanya, and will thus surely have the blessings of Srila Prabhupada:
"As far as my blessing is concerned, it does not require my physical presence. If you are chanting Hare Krishna there, and following my instructions, reading the books, taking only Krishna prasadam etc., then there is no question of your not receiving the blessings of Lord Caitanya, whose mission I am humbly trying to push on." (Letter to disciple – 6/30/74)
The treaty is there, it is just a matter of signing it.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,