Reply to "Natural Bhakti"
Posted March 3, 2008
The following outline, in point form, is intended to bring attention to the concept of "Allometry" and "Allometric Scaling". This is a life science term that can be effectively applied to the development of Chaitanya Vaishnav Spiritual Associations or Communities. Allometry [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allometry] is the study of the differential growth rates of the parts of a living organism's body. The society of Chaitanya Vaishnavs, in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur, has a specific internal structure and external shape that is determined by the body of his mission instructions and standard Gaudiya Vaishnav Siddhanta. As a community grows, its different parts become manifest and grow at different times and different rates. This is similar to the fructification and sequential growth of a seed from a sprout to a fully blossoming tree, replete with flowers and fruit. At each stage of growth, certain features are more prominent than at other stages. For a Vaishnav Community to develop properly, three essential ingredients must be present. The first, of course, is that the original seed is intact, in that it contains all the mission instructions and siddhanta necessary to produce the desired result in the fully developed community. The second is that the mission instructions and siddhanta are understood and followed, "As They Are," without additions, deletions or distortions. The third is that the growth of the Community is carefully monitored and "cultivated" by individuals who understand items one and two and, in doing so, are "bona-fide" in their intentions to do what is best for the Community, setting aside their personal interests.
At the present stage of development of the Chaitanya Vaishnav Sampradaya, in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur, there are certain anomalies appearing in the internal structure and external shape of many Communities that indicate misunderstanding and/or misapplication of the mission instructions and standard siddhanta. These anomalies are perceived externally in the form of "factions" wherein one group develops a different set of instructions with variations on siddhanta that result in contention, conflict and alienation between "sects". In some cases these anomalies have appeared in the form of physical violence, varieties of abuse and misappropriation and application of funds. In a number of cases, the deviations have become so pronounced that a Community begins to resemble the surrounding mundane society.
A very common event is that one camp begins to focus on a specific area of mission instructions and standard siddhanta while diminishing or excluding others. This creates a specific "flavor" or "identity" in that camp. Another camp that has focused on a different area of mission instructions and standard siddhanta will develop yet a different "flavor" or "identity". When the two camps meet, nearly invariably, there is an ideological contention that pits each camp against the other, to defend it's position, and induce the other to surrender and accept it's points of view. If the contest fails for either party, walls are erected and the two camps move apart to avoid displeasing association or domination by the other. What often follows is a kind of family feud where intermittent forays of attack are launched between the opposing parties. Over time, nothing is resolved in terms of coming to understand the causes of the contention or undertaking efforts to reach agreement in order to increase good association.
Failure of integrity in any of the three aforementioned essential ingredients will result in Communities that are incomplete, unable to produce the desired result and set one against the other in ideological contention. This condition detracts from the potency of each Community and that of the aggregate. What is required is a return to fullness or completion in understanding and applying the mission instructions and standard siddhanta.
"The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the complete whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance."
The following list attempts to bring together several mission instructions and standard siddhanta in a manner that increases understanding with a motive to increase beneficial association and mutual cooperation. It is a fact that we are all members of the same family generated from the mission instructions of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur, in light of his realization of standard siddhanta. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta began the work of community building by establishing the Sannyas Ashram and Gaudiya Math Society. Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami expanded the work of his Guru by establishing the Grihastha Ashram, Gurukula and several rural communities that attempted to incorporate the Varna and Ashram divisions. Since his departure, few have attempted to continue this expansion toward a fully articulated separate and independent social system for the Chaitanya Vaishnav People in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur. In a sense, this part of the Sampradaya has entered its own dark age and is struggling to survive, to find identity, to manifest empowerment and to attain unity.
At this juncture in history, much more must be accomplished in understanding, accepting and applying the full set of mission instructions and standard siddhanta, as a cohesive unit. In addition to such understanding, acceptance and application, there is also the mounting strong demand of the changing times. Due to unrestricted expansion of modern machine technology, the Chaitanya Vaishnav People are now faced with the additional challenges of "Global Warming", "Fossil Fuel Depletion", "Population Decline" and "The Coming Dark Age". If these challenges are not acknowledged, understood and adequately responded, due to self-absorption, sectarian squabbles and/or loss of integrity in "Allometry" and "Allometric Scaling," the current generation of Chaitanya Vaishnav People might well go down in history as the "Lost Generation," that passes on an incomplete or distorted legacy to descendants ill prepared to deal with the inevitable onset of the next Dark Age.
* * * * *
- The jiva is complete and perfect at all times and in all conditions.
- Incompleteness and imperfection are illusory experiences caused by insufficient knowledge with adverse association.
- The jiva is not assembled from separate parts, increased by addition of separate parts or diminished by removal of parts.
- The qualities of the jiva are intrinsic and permanent.
- The basic qualities are: eternality, sentience [cognizance-consciousness], bliss, personality, activity.
- When the qualities are exhibited in the spiritual atmosphere, the jiva experiences complete expression of qualities in full capacity and ever increasing satisfaction.
- When the qualities are exhibited in the material atmosphere, the jiva experiences incomplete expression of qualities in partial capacity with persistent dissatisfaction.
- Despite the overpowering influence of the material atmosphere, the jiva continues to experience an impure, inferior, incomplete and unfulfilling manifestation of its permanent qualities. Spiritual rasa [sentiment] is manifest in perverted reflections within the material nature.
- The spiritual qualities of the jiva are uncovered through the process of purification.
- The process of purification of material contamination is motivated in two
- Vaidhi purification is motivated by avoidance of the material nature and its negative influences.
- Raga purification is motivated by attraction to the positive influences of the spiritual nature.
- The activities of purification in Vaidhi and Raga are not mutually exclusive. Vaidhi contains some motivation to experience spiritual pleasure. Raga contains some motivation to avoid material influences.
- The activities of purification in Vaidhi and Raga are essentially the same, the difference being that of internal motivation and gradient of focus on avoiding matter or attraction to spirit.
- The destination of each is different. Vaidhi that does not evolve to Raga results in transfer to Vaikuntha for experience of the Aishvarya [awe & reverence] of Lakshmi-Naranyan. Raga results in transfer to Goloka for experience of the Madhurya [intimate sweetness] of Radha-Krishna.
- Both Vaidhi and Raga are founded on the relationship between the Guru and Shishya.
- The Guru is the external representative of the Lord and invokes submission and obedience. The Shishya is the servant of the Lord and offers submission and obedience to the principles and practices of the process of purification presented by the Guru.
- An essential component of Vaidhi and Raga is detachment from material association and absorption in spiritual association. This is because the soul is like a gem that reflects whatever conditions it is placed within.
- Detachment from material association entails the abandonment of fruitive work and renunciation of association with individuals addicted to material sense pleasure.
- Detachment from material association entails the establishment of a separate and independent spiritual social system.
- A separate spiritual social system necessarily includes Varna and Ashram divisions.
- Without the establishment of a separate spiritual social system that includes Varna and Ashram divisions, an individual cannot abandon fruitive work and association of individuals addicted to material sense pleasure.
- Human beings are social creatures and depend on association for their survival effected through the cooperative production of life necessities. An individuals source of life necessities is either from a material social system, a spiritual social system or a mixed social system. Consciousness is affected by association just as a gem reflects the conditions it is placed within.
- An individual who remains addicted to fruitive work in the association of individuals addicted to material sense pleasure and does not live within the protective boundaries of a separate spiritual social system cannot fully experience the results of the process of purification.
- The bona-fide spiritual master gives instructions for all individuals, and disciples, to abandon fruitive work, renounce association of individuals addicted to fruitive work and live within the protective boundaries of a separate and independent spiritual social system so that the principles and practices of the process of purification can be engaged in fully.
- The bona-fide Chaitanya Vaishnav, in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur [who introduced the concept of Daivi Varnashram], at all times advocates the establishment of a separate and independent spiritual social system that includes the Varna and Ashram divisions, so all individuals may attain the full benefit of the process of purification.
- Individual's who abandon fruitive work, renounce the association of individuals addicted to material sense pleasure and live in association that does not include full manifestation of Varna and Ashram divisions have fallen prey to the illusion of partial establishment of a separate and independent social system.
- Incompleteness and imperfection are illusory experiences caused by insufficient knowledge and adverse association.
- Individuals who intentionally take advantage of the resources of those addicted to fruitive work, enjoy those benefits in the form of a partial establishment of a separate and independent social system but do not make provisions for the full manifestation of Varna and Ashram divisions cannot be considered bona-fide Gurus, Sannyas or Chaitanya Vaishnavs in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur.
- It is the duty of all Chaitanya Vaishnavs in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur to complete their understanding and acceptance of his teachings and dedicate their life energy to the establishment of a separate and independent spiritual social system. In this manner, all people of the World have the opportunity to: abandon fruitive work, renounce the association of those addicted to material sense gratification, practice Raga Bhakti, and gradually begin to experience the highest possible spiritual rasa.
In the current situation, it appears the Chaitanya Vaishnav People, in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur, have aligned themselves into two main categories of association, as follows.
- The "Ordinary Vaishnavs" have elected to live outside the protective
border of a Vaishnav Community and prefer to remain addicted to fruitive
work in the association of individuals addicted to sense gratification. In
this condition most are unable to sustain their initiation vows or are not
initiated. In many cases they live in isolation from regular devotee
association. Their lifestyle appears to be a mixture of material and
spiritual activity and many are addicted to various forms of material sense
gratification. The passage of time has shown that individuals in this
category seldom have sufficient spiritual strength to organize themselves
into an association that provides the benefits of a Vaishnav Community. In
some cases they are exploited by "Communitarian Vaishnavs" to give money
from their fruitive work to support those living in the Community.
- The "Communitarian Vaishnavs" have elected to live within the protective border of a Vaishnav Community and are divided into the categories of "Kanishta", "Madhyama" and "Uttama" Adhikari. The Adhikari or "qualification" in this matter is generally that each category has abandoned fruitive work and renounced the association of those addicted to material sense gratification to live in the Temple Community. In many cases, these devotees exploit the Ordinary Vaishnavs by organizing them into congregations that are encouraged to remain addicted to fruitive work in order to support the Temple. A specific aberration of the Communitarian Vaishnav is to become a Guru or Sannyas and live comfortably in the Community on funds collected from the Ordinary Vaishnav or Aspiring Vaishnav. Where these funds should be spent to build a Community capable of supporting the Varna and Ashram divisions, they are spent on personal projects that offer no shelter for the Ordinary or Aspiring Vaishnavs. In most cases the Vaishnav Community remains no more developed than a religious institution dedicated to support a handful of devotees acting in the Brahman Varna. In this Varna the Brahmacharya Ashram is usually non-existent or dysfunctional, the Grihastha Ashram is diminished due to the high cost of raising children, the Vanaprastha Ashram is usually non-existent and the Sannya Ashram is elevated to an over-exalted position where special privileges are taken at the expense of the other Ashrams and un-represented Varnas. The historical record shows that such "special privileges" often lead to the fall down of Gurus [usually sannyas] and regular Sannyas.
It is always well and good to contemplate the fine points of standard siddhanta; as to the origin of the jiva, relationship between vaidhi and raga, qualifications of guru and shishya, inherency of siddha-deha, gifting of bhakti-latta-bija, nature of madhurya rasa and such esoteric subject matter. However, as these are contemplated, the individual must remember the mission instructions of the predecessor Acharya's, which include not only instructions for sadhana in vaidhi and/or raga, but also the essential service of establishing an alternative, separate and independent social system that includes the Varna and Ashram divisions. Otherwise, to remain exclusively focused on one set of instructions or chosen favorite siddhanta, to the exclusion of others, constitutes the offenses of minimizing, neglecting or changing life-giving instructions.
"The instructions and opinions of the Acharyas are the active principle and essence of our spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys, transgresses, bypasses or minimizes the instructions of the Acaryas immediately becomes useless or ineffectual."
[Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi Lila, Chapter 12, Text 10]
Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura
People of this world who are proud of their own aristocratic birth cannot attain real aristocracy. Therefore they attack the pure Vaishnavas, saying, 'They have taken birth in low-class families because of their sins.' Thus they commit offenses. The solution to the problem is to establish the order of daiva-varnasrama-dharma - something you have started doing; you should know that to be the real service to the Vaishnavas. Because pure devotional conclusions are not being preached, all kinds of superstitions and bad concepts are being called devotion by such pseudo-sampradayas as sahajiya and atibari. Please always crush these anti-devotional concepts by preaching pure devotional conclusions and by setting an example through your personal conduct.
Please make great effort so you can start parikram of Sridham Navadwip as soon as possible. It is by those actions that everyone in this world will receive Krishna-bhakti. Please try very hard to make sure that the service to Sri Mayapur will become a permanent thing and will become brighter and brighter every day. The real service to Sri Mayapur can be done by acquiring printing presses, distributing devotional books, and sankirtan - preaching. Please do not neglect to serve Sri Mayapur or to preach for the sake of your own reclusive bhajan.
When I am not present any more, please take care to serve Sri Mayapur Dham which is so dear to you. This is my special instruction to you. People who are like animals can never attain devotion; therefore never take their suggestions. But do not let them know this directly or indirectly.
I had a special desire to preach the significance of such books as Srimad Bhagavatam, Sat Sandarbha, and Vedanta Darshan. You have to accept that responsibility. Sri Mayapur will prosper if you establish an educational institution there. Never make any effort to collect knowledge or money for your own enjoyment. Only to serve the Lord will you collect these things. Never engage in bad association, either for money or for some self-interest."
signed Kedarnatha Datta Bhaktivinode
"Let me make that arrangement, Maharaja. That planetarium [the "Temple of Understanding"] also will be built under your direction. My idea is to combine the Indian culture and the American money-the lame man and the blind man policy. I tell them also that this will be very beneficial for the world. Indian culture and varnasrama. Prabhupada's desire [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur] was to establish the varnasrama-dharma. So we have to do that: we have to establish our Varnasrama College. Let the people from all over the world come and learn about varnasrama."
[Srila Sridhara Maharaja & Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation India March 1977]
"The politicians' business will be to exploit the poor citizens and they will be embarrassed and harassed so much. By one side, no sufficient rain and therefore scarcity of food, and on the other side, taxation by the government. In this way the people will be so much harassed that they will give up their homes and go to the forest. Unless they take to Krsna consciousness, they will not be saved. The Varnasrama college has to be established immediately. Everywhere, wherever we have got our centers, a Varnasrama college should be established to train all divisions: one class brahmana, one class ksatriya, one class vaisya and one class sudra. But everyone will be elevated to the spiritual platform by the spiritual activities which we have prescribed. There is no inconvenience, even for the sudras."
[Morning walk Vrndavana, India, in March of 1974]
"That is explained by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu when he was talking with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, that the Vedic principle is to revive or to remind our relationship with Krsna. In the Bhagavad-gita also Krsna says, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15], the real purpose of Vedic knowledge is to come to the understanding of Krsna consciousness. So this Krsna consciousness movement is trying to revive the original, constitutional position. So one of them, in Krsna consciousness movement, is village organization, as you are trying here.
[New Vrindavana date unknown]
"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."
[Svetasvatara Upanisad, Chapter 6, Text 38]
The "Spiritual Evolution" of the Chaitanya Vaishnav People in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur necessarily includes a host of challenges meant to focus attention on the mission instructions and standard siddhanta. As the challenges appear, exert pressure and are successfully negotiated, gradually, the entire internal structure and external shape of the developing social body becomes visible. As it becomes visible, the Chaitanya Vaishnav People in the categories of "Ordinary Vaishnav" and "Communitarian Vaishnav" attain maturity and empowerment to bring this divine organization to physical manifestation in the form of a "House" in which the entire world can live.
Kuryu Enclave, AdiKshetra In Cascadia
[Bellingham, Washington USA]
February 26, 2008