Respect, practicality and properly hearing the Guru
Posted May 7, 2005
I would like to respond to Bhakta Pat prabhu's letter on Hridayananda Maharaja's article regarding homosexuality within the devotee community. Before we make our opinion known to the devotee community, it is important we understand what our opinion is in response to, or at least handle our responses with due respect to other devotees, what to speak of a Maharaja who is an elevated Vaisnava devotee of Lord Krishna as well as an extremely sincere disciple of Srila Prabhupada.
I have read these articles. What seems apparent is a human material relations issue, in conjunction with Vaisnava principle set forth so mercifully by Srila Prabhupada for all of us to gradually come to the stage of pure love of God. Reading Hridayananda Maharaja's in-depth response to this issue, one will see no deviation whatsoever from idealistic Vedic principle.
What we have here is an issue of "something is better than nothing" or how we need to eliminate the "all or nothing" approach to spiritual advancement within ISKCON. It was clear throughout Maharaja's response that if a person can't follow all of the principles fully, it would benefit the individual to at least try to adhere to what can practically be managed. This in no way means that we should dilute Vedic Vaishnava principle to accommodate a material sense gratificatory pursuit of "gay marriage" within ISKCON. Maharaja's response was sensitive to the needs of all of our godbrothers and godsisters within ISKCON and beyond.
Addressing our problems and discussing them with respect and kindness is the way of caring for everyone within our community. Maharaja once said in a lecture: "There is nothing you can conceive of that can make Lord Krishna blush." Addressing these issues and trying to understand what makes all of our people tick, so to speak, is in no way a means for ISKCON's demise or dilution of religious principle. However, it seems that it does make some of us uncomfortable or agitated. So who's really blushing here? Possibly bhaktas and bhaktins who realize they are being disrespectful to their superiors? A good reason to blush!
Being a fallen soul and definitely a beggar of mercy, one who can touch the tip of the proverbial iceberg regarding one's own shortcomings, much less other's faults, is very fortunate. If we look internally, we will see that Maharaja is only trying to be compassionate to those in difficulty. While he was translating the remaining portion of Srimad Bhagavatam in service to Srila Prabhupada, I can guarantee you he wasn't altering or diluting it to serve homosexuality or any other material vice. There is no way that Hridayanda Maharaja or any other Iskcon guru in good standing would want anything other than proper adherence to the instructions of Srila Prabhupada.
All that is happening here is simply a compassionate and intelligent
response to an issue at hand. Due to time, place and circumstance,
adjustments will need to be made. When our spiritual master or a guru
who has only shown exemplary behavior suggests possibilities in the
mood of sankirtan, would it not be fair to surmise that maybe some deep
thought and prayers to Srila Prabhupada as well as Lord Krishna are in
the mix? If in a mood of community we can just try to understand what
others may be going through, we may actually get some mercy.