Chakra Announcements

Beware of Canvassing Devotee

by Sandamini devi dasi (Temple President - Tucson, Arizona)

Posted June 18, 2008

While my husband and I were off preaching in Northern Arizona for a few days, I got a call from one of our temple devotees that a devotee who used to live at New Vrindavan named Jaya Rishi das, was mingling with our temple new devotees and guests, trying to convince them to go with him to Badger, California to see Narayan Maharaj. At first he didn't expose his agenda. and as he said that he himself was a Prabhupada disciple on his way to Los Angeles (he made it sound like he was on his way to the L.A. Iskcon temple), our temple devotees allowed him to stay over night and even invited him to give Bhagavatam class the next morning. Jaya Rishi das was accompanied by two other unknown devotees he had picked up at the festival of inspiration in New Vrindavan and from the Houston temple. When during the class he started to inject some things said by Narayan Maharaj, the devotees present quickly became aware of his real position and challenged his viewpoints. All this was relayed to us by our temple devotees.

While we don't have anything personal against Narayan Maharaj or his followers, we do object to followers like Jaya Rishi das, trying to take advantage of Prabhupada's temples to canvas and even prey on Iskcon's young devotees and temple guests, trying to sway them over to Narayan Maharaj's camp, leaving their temple services. This unfortunately seems to be an unending and ongoing policy of some of the Narayan Maharaj's followers. We never heard of Srila Prabhupada ordering what to speak of condoning his disciples to go to the other Gaudiya Math temples in Mayapur and try to convince their devotees or followers that they should come to the Iskcon camp and follow the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada. That would be unthinkable behavior for an acarya like Srila Prabhupada.

We do feel this unchecked type of infiltrating Iskcon temples and canvassing on behalf of Narayan Maharaj or anyone else, is very offensive to Srila Prabhupada who personally resides in all his temples such as this one in Tucson. and that it is disrespectful to Lord Caitanya, Who Himself taught the vaishnava etiquette, trinadapi sunicena taror api sahisnuna.

We had to ask Jaya Rishi to leave our temple, and his two hoped-to-be converts he picked up along his way also both decided to return to their places of origin. If people are happy serving Krishna under the umbrella of Iskcon, then why should anyone show envy, pride, or maybe insecurity, in trying to push their beliefs on those content devotees. Perhaps they haven't heard, "Vaishnava etiquette is the ornament of the devotee" - Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.