Chakra Discussions

The Long Term Impact Of Criticizing the Mission Of the Founder-acarya

by Braja Sevaki Devi Dasi

Posted October 13, 2005

The temptation to ignore the complaints of both Solai ("The Long Term Impact Of Urbanizing Mayapur" Chakra, September 19, 2005) and later Sarah Pillai ("Response To Hemagauri's Article On Urbanizing Mayapur Chakra, Octover 6, 2005), is a strong one. Yet when Srila Prabhupada's mission and followers are criticized in an attempt to justify one's personal viewpoint, it becomes a matter of necessity rather than choice to speak on behalf of Srila Prabhupäda. In his final Vyasa-puja offering to Srila Prabhupada, HH Tamal Krishna Goswami asked the question: "Who speaks for Srila Prabhupada?" His answer was that everyone has their place, and our contributions to the mission of Srila Prabhupada, even while riddled with faults, should be taken into consideration.

Yet while Solai's interest in the ecological impact constitutes a great portion of his text, his points are based on the faulty misconception that the pursuit of fulfilling the spiritual master's desires is a burden to certain aspects of society, and should be reconsidered so as not to upset the status quo of the street and the ecological balance of the area. This is, I'm informed, a shifting balance, and one that the Sri Mayapur Project staff have taken into consideration in their many years of research into the construction of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium: Srila Prabhupada's dream for Sri Mayapur-dhama.

I'm not qualified to respond to ecological issues, but I'm certainly sure that minimizing our founder- *acarya's *mission doesn't fall into the category of "uniting us all and understanding that our strength lay in differences" that Tamal Krishna Goswami was referring to when he spoke of everyone being encouraged to contribute.

Both Solai and Sarah question the decision behind the attempt to fulfil Srila Prabhupada's instructions to build this temple, and show concern for the lack of consideration for the locals. However, the "need" for such a massive temple is not dependent on the whims or opinion of local villagers who remain mostly ignorant of the mission of Lord Caitanya-an ignorance that other maths have found just as difficult to address as ISKCON. Nor is Srila Prabhupada's mission dependent upon the approval of maths run by his godbrothers, or disciples who have chosen to leave their guru's institution.

In both responses from Solai and Sarah, the blame for "wine, women, and prostitution" has been placed squarely on the shoulders of ISKCON, a statement which asks us to believe that prior to ISKCON's creation, no such sinful activity would have possibly existed here. According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, this is due to the advance of Kali-yuga. Hopefully no one will blame *that* on ISKCON-Srila Prabhupadadid, after all, come to the west with the medicine that would halt the advance of Kali-yuga, not to further promote it.

To satisfy both Solai and Sarah, it might serve some purpose to post so many quotes on "what great purpose" this temple will serve, according to Srila Prabhupadaand our previous acaryas, and according to scripture. These quotes might go a long way in helping to explain what this holy land exists for, why Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu came here, and what He came to establish. For the sake of brevity, I'll exclude these quotes, which I'm sure most have either seen before, or have access to via publications by Srila Prabhupada and those who represent his institution. Suffice to say, the speculation that Srila Prabhupadamight be content to leave things as they are and be satisfied that we are the most successful math on this road pale in comparison to Srila Prabhupada's statement to Ambarisa prabhu in 1976: " My idea is to attract people of the whole world to Mayapur."

Unfortunately the responses of Solai and Sarah minimize our founder- * acarya's* mission and purpose, the teachings and mission of our disciplic succession, and even, it seems, the reasons for the descent of the Supreme Lord in this age. Such a mood won't convince others of one's sincerity of purpose in this issue. If the desire is to truly better the actions of the institution one is addressing, then it might pay to remember that such dismissiveness will very swiftly turn deaf the ears of those being addressed.

The mission we have inherited from Srila Prabhupadais not to restore the forests and bring back the tigers: one who pursues such noble ideals would be well advised to seek a zoological society whose values they can embrace. Until then, despite the obvious desire some have to see Mayapur maintain its status quo, the mission of Lord Caitanya and His most beloved associates and followers will continue-with or without us.

Braja Sevaki Devi Dasi

Mayapur