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Conflict Transformation amongst Vaisnavas

by Braja Bihari das

Posted September 27, 2004

(also posted at

I decided to start a blog about Conflict Transformation amongst Vaisnavas. That may sound like a rather narrow topic, but when you think about it, it's not so at all. Think of all of the times you have talked about some conflict amongst devotees. What about the times when you were at odds with another devotee? Didn't that take up a lot of your mental energy? Web sites are full of this or that disagreement & and often nothing is resolved out of all that fiery keyboarding.

My name is Braja Bihari dasa, and about 2 years back I started ISKCON Resolvealong with Arnold Zack (a world expert in this field) and Madhava Pandit dasa (a friend of Arnold's). ISKCON Resolve has trained over 400 mediators, and has 5 ombudspersons trained to hear the concerns and complaints from devotees.

In upcoming entries, I'll explain more about ISKCONResolve, I'll tell case histories (names taken out, or course) so you can see how all this works in action, I'll explain about different aspects of Conflict Analysis so you can start looking at conflicts in your own areas more objectively and plan out solutions as well. I'll offer my realizations (for what they are worth) about devotee relationships, and many other topics that naturally surface when this topic is discussed. I'll give hints on how to work out a conflict you may be either experiencing personally or you see others struggling with.

I hope to make this blog interesting and educational so I get satisfaction from writing it, and more importantly, you get much out of taking your valuable time reading it.

Is developing a system to work out conflicts an important aspect of ISKCON? Naturally, I think so. Srila Prabhupada told us that his Guru Maharajas Institution collapsed due to fighting amongst themselves. Certainly ISKCON has suffered due to internal conflictsmany of which I believe could have been avoided, or at least resolved peacefully.

I'll end today's entry by offering some quotes from Srila Prabhupada that serve as an inspiration for me in this service: (Chakra editors' note: in accordance with our editorial guidelines, we have reproduced only a few of the quotes here, please visit for a complete list)

"We have so much work to do, we cannot lose our solidarity. Do not cause a crack there with any fighting spirit or competition. Whenever I hear complaints or disturbances in our centers my mind becomes too much disturbed and I cannot properly translate my books. So please spare me from such disturbance by cooperating all together Godbrothers and Godsisters."

"You have dedicated your life for Krsna and therefore you should be ideal. We are introducing Krsna Consciousness movement for the harmony and good will of humanity. But if you yourselves are suffering from the very ills we are trying to remove, how can the people be influenced favorably? Stop this fighting, tolerate."

"Material nature means dissension and disagreement, especially in this Kali yuga. But, for this Krsna consciousness movement its success will depend on agreement, even though there are varieties of engagements. In the material world there are varieties, but there is no agreement. In the spiritual world there are varieties, but there is agreement. That is the difference. The materialist without being able to adjust the varieties and the disagreements makes everything zero. They cannot come into agreement with varieties, but if we keep Krsna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties."