Chakra Discussions

Response to "Why Make Prabhupada Cry?"

by Gaurav Mittal

Posted May 19, 2005

"Why make Prabhupada cry?" is a article which represents views of many Iskcon devotees. I have heard similar statements from many so called devotees whom I now consider misguided.

One very honest devotee who is initiating guru while discussing child abuse with me accepted that most of Srila Prabhupada followers came from broken families. He felt that the percentage of abuse was much more in those families in outsided Iskcon world as compared to percentage of abused kids in Iskcon. I am not authority in psychology. But I agree that most Srila Prabhupada followers had traumatic childhood experience and they did the same to the next generation. Summary of this example is to show that a very high percentage of devotees who join Iskcon have emotional disorders. A very high percentage of devotees suffer from depression when they join Iskcon.

Because of depression, many followers loose interest in life and see life as full of misery. (This is completely in contrast of yogi or devotee who is atma-trptah i.e self-satisfied and atma-rati i.e. blissful from within.) Therefore, these followers lead morose, dull and gloomy life and preach others to lead the same.

Many depressed followers preach that one should not play games and it is wastage of time. Devotees is optimistic (not pessimistic) and devotees has high self-esteem. I am quite confident that it is very important for children to play games as it makes them develop self-esteem, self-confidence, optimism and also, teaches kids to be equanimous in defeat and victory. All these qualities are required for the devotee and therefore, games become bhakti when they inculcate those qualities in kids. There was one Mataji who used to live in women's ashrama and she was visiting a temple. Her 3-5 years daughter was running in front of dieties. One fanatic devotee came to her and told the small girl not to run in front of dieties. Now, I consider that devotee to be very stupid. One cannot stop playfulness of kids. Especially, if child is living in temple, then she has no option but to play in temple. Playfulness of child pleases Krishna. I am quite confident about it because whatever pleases Krishna has positive effect on our mind and body. Sports, physical activity, yoga and meditation have tremendous positive effect on children.

Let us now consider adults. First, most of adult devotees should be honest. Apart from very few who are reached advanced stage of bhakti, most devotees waste lot of time. There are even very few devotees who do attentive chanting. By doing unattentive chanting, they even waste few hours of japa. It is waste because they could have utilized that time much more by attentive chanting. For these adults who are anyway wasting major part of their day, it does not matter if they waste the same time in something else. Fortunately, yoga and healthy games are not waste of time.

There were many fanatic misguided devotees in Iskcon who would consider yoga as waste of time. I have heard lectures from serious devotees discouraging yoga. Now, most of those devotees are dying much earlier because of their diseased body. Yoga was part of Vedas and was pleasing to Krishna. Our sages could see and therefore, it was made integral part of Vedic life. Positive effects of yoga are even seen by material scientist. Also, yoga has very positive effect on our mind and it makes us happy and peaceful.

Similarly, there are many healthy games which relax our mind or make it peaceful. Sometimes, these games distract us from the troubles we are going through and calm us. Most of the times, devotees may find that healthy games may help them to focus more on Krishna and therefore, become bhakti.

In summary, it is due to false ego, we want to become great devotee. Because of our aspiration of becoming great devotees, we want to fool ourselves thinking that we don't waste our time. We take unnatural platform of doing bhakti all the time. Since most of us don't get rasa in bhakti, our attempts to do bhakti all the time make our life without rasa and dull. Then, most of these devotees give up bhakti. One should not imitate platform of pure bhakti unless one derives sufficient pleasure in devotional service like chanting etc.

It is better to lead a balanced life in which one spends few hours everyday doing japa, puja etc and also, spends time doing exercise, playing games, taking care of family, helping others etc. When we accept that we are not advanced and make gradual steps towards Krishna, then we will firmly situate ourselves in bhakti. Otherwise, we won't get bhakti and also, we will make our life worse by making it dull and depressed.