The Who, How, Why, and When of Bhakti

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.6 | December 1, 2013 |

English; Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

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Question: I am writing to Your Holiness to ask a question about a discussion that I had with a person who knows both ISKCON and eastern paths of philosophy and metaphysics. He was making comparison and criticism. He said for instance that ISKCON temples are a mess, dirty, noisy with lots of fighting amongst devotees… Expand>

Question:

I am writing to Your Holiness to ask a question about a discussion that I had with a person who knows both ISKCON and eastern paths of philosophy and metaphysics. He was making comparison and criticism. He said for instance that ISKCON temples are a mess, dirty, noisy with lots of fighting amongst devotees and budhist, taoist temples are very clean, organized, quiet, peaceful, sattvic. He said that many ISKCON devotees don’t have basic manners, culture, education, etiquette whereas budhist, taoist, astanga yoga practioners are educated, well mannered people. He also said that these people seems to have much more sense control than the devotees. He said that ISKCON doesn’t have organization, planning, structure, stability whereas these groups are very well organized, structured with years, decades, centuries or more of work and tradition. His point is that you judge something or someone by the results and symptoms, so if the devotees are the topmost transcendentalists and if ISKCON and the Sankirtana movement is the most elevated spiritual movement than there should be example, results and symptoms of such superior position. His reasoning is that these eastern paths and their followers seems to be more advanced,self controlled etc. than the devotees. I know his thinking comes from a neophyte understanding but I want to know what I could say to him. Could Your Holiness, tell me what I can say to him?

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Question: Can a devotee accept service that his guru doesn't directly engage in? For instance, I am very much inspired by Indradyumna's Maharaj's festivals. I think such festivals have a broad reach to masses. I don't like the cultural part of these festivals, but the philosophy and prasadam and kirtan can really get people intrigued. Some time in the… Expand>

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Can a devotee accept service that his guru doesn't directly engage in? For instance, I am very much inspired by Indradyumna's Maharaj's festivals. I think such festivals have a broad reach to masses. I don't like the cultural part of these festivals, but the philosophy and prasadam and kirtan can really get people intrigued.

Some time in the future I would like to organize such festivals and do mass book distributions. However, for that I would need a lot of training from Indradyumna Maharaj even though I am aspiring to serve you.

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāśa Swami:

We are all supposed to be servants of Śrīla Prabhupāda in the saṅkīrtana movement. So, if you are inspired to help with some particular service which pushes forward the saṅkīrtana movement, that’s not against what I’m doing. And if at all I’m to guide you, I’m to guide you to serve in the association of devotees the bona fide activities of the saṅkīrtana movement. 

So by all means: 
nāca, gāo, bhakta-saṅge kara saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa-nāma upadeśi’ tāra’ sarva-jana (CC Ādi 7.92)

[‘My dear child, continue dancing, chanting and performing saṅkīrtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, for by this process You will be able to deliver all fallen souls.’]

Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself received the order to sing and dance, perform saṅkīrtana in the association of devotees and by instructing the holy name to everyone to deliver the whole world. 

So that order is coming in the paramparā, and wherever and however you get the opportunity to help the devotees in, and join with the devotees in spreading the saṅkīrtana movement, do it. It’s not that if you become my disciple, you have to be locked into a little bubble in a little corner. Let’s all be part of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s big family.

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Maharaj, after listening to lectures I could understand that the main cause of our miseries is our ego. I want to know the following.

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