In defence of Chakra
Posted January 25, 2004
Jai Nitai das says that "slamming rhetoric" was not the mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada. I do not recall reading anywhere that, if someone was misusing the philosophy to suit their own agendas, Lord Chaitanya and Prabhupada wouldn't 'slam, bam and touchdown' them. They were pretty intolerant of these things.
It is also our duty to be intolerant of misuses, twisting, turning and abuses of philosophy. I am sorry that it disgusts Jai Nitai prabhu that published articles call attention to these things. Personally, I get disgusted that such abuses go on in the first place.
I have never read an article on Chakra that brought these things up without suggesting a possible solution along with it, therefore being a part of the solution. Ignoring would be the opposite, being part of the problem. Still, if reality is disturbing, there are enough websites that are mere pep rallies in glorification of ISKCON. Websites in glorification of the goal of Krishna consciousness, however, are rare.
In regards to finding faults in others, I know that in Iskcon you can get slammed around the ears, from the moment you take your shoes off, first time you ever enter a temple. That philosophy is always handy to pressure people into ignoring devotees' misbehaviours and manipulations.
Fact is, you have to examine people. If that means finding faults, so be it. I wouldn't want to be guided in my devotional life by someone with character flaws. I would rather see what they're about first.
You can, of course, make the choice not to examine guru, Vaisnavas, etc. It's always easy to be wishy-washy and sentimental about Vaisnavism. Simple truth is, it won't make you a Vaisnava, because Vaisnavas have a sense of discrimination about whom they associate with and take guidance from.
That's not necessarily finding faults. That's knowing the faults and safeguarding one's own sense of morality before someone manages to twist it all up. So, then, be an example to them, guide them, hold a mirror in front of them.
Jai Nitai mentions that Prabhupada once said, "If someone has uttered the name of Krishna even once, he is a Vaisnava." He may have said that. I would hope, however, that Prabhupada's standard for considering someone a Vaisnava is slightly higher than that expectation. I think they are.
I checked Nectar of Devotion. The qualities of a Vaisnava are of a bit higher calibre than having chanted 'Krishna' once. It's a list of qualities that are sublime and very hard to achieve -- a lifetime (or more) of dedicated work.
Living in ISKCON, with tilak on your forehead, sari or dhoti wrapped around you and closing your eyes isn't enough. Some people think it is; it's generally exactly those people who will misuse their position. Those who think it's enough to look like a Vaisnava aren't generally people with a high sense of morality and character. I'm quite sure of my case here.
I'm extremely surprised with how Jai Nitai closes off his post on
Chakra, though. He asks: "How many times did Srila Prabhupada print articles
in response to all the nonsense that was going on, or any of our Acharyas?"
That is exactly what the articles on Chakra are, to which he seems to