Common Sense in Sadhana
Posted July 2, 2003
In a recent article, Deepak Vohra argued against the idea that the "current link" in the parampara must by definition be physically present. The sole basis of his argument was that nowhere did Srila Prabhupada explicitly state that "current link" implies "physically present." The hidden premise in his argument is that if Srila Prabhupada did not explicitly clarify a particular point, we are at liberty to believe anything we wish concerning that point.
I suggest that the most likely reason that an acarya neglects to state something explicitly is that, considering it a matter of common sense or common definition, he considered the point to be a "no-brainer" that didn't need clarification. In this case, I believe common sense so clearly supports the implication that the current link must be physically present that only someone whose judgment is seriously warped by a strong, personal agenda could fail to see it.
In general, common sense is to be trusted in sadhana unless it is explicitly
contradicted by guru, sadhu, and shastra. That is, the "burden of
proof" is on the one who would challenge common sense, rather than the one
who would uphold it. In this case, if Deepak wished to make a valid
argument, it would be up to him to find an explicit statement by Srila
Prabhupada to the effect that the current link in the parampara does
not have to be physically present. Of course, he could not do so, as
Srila Prabhupada never made such a statement. Therefore Deepak resorted to
the converse argument to support his position, but such an argument is of no
use except as an example of fallacy.