The Darkness of Silence
Posted September 10, 2010
Malati Prabhu, in her response to Krsnachandra prabhu, seems to have missed the essential point. The essential point of Krsnachandra’s article was not that the GBC banned Aindra’s book, indeed he says that he only “believes” it to be so…his essential point was that our society needs to be open and accepting of critics. Whether it be at a local level or global level of administration, our society should welcome truth, no matter how unpalatable it may be. It is after all, purported to be sadhu-sanga- a society of sadhus- “thoroughly truthful” souls.
In varnashrama, which Srila Prabhupada requested we introduce in ISKCON, the thoroughly truthful-known as the brahmanas- are in control of the managers and executive members of the society- the ksatriyas, who must always abide by their advice. Rather than silence the thoroughly truthful, ksatriyas are behooved to support them, honour them, listen to them, and follow all their instructions. In varnashrama society, executives, managers, and directors are only second class citizens- the society revolves around those who uphold truth. Srila Prabhupada in his will, designated the GBC to be the “ultimate managerial authority” for ISKCON, but sometimes we just hear the “ultimate” without the “managerial” part. They are not the ultimate authority in ISKCON. The ultimate authority is guru, sadhu and sastra. These are the scriptures, Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad gita, and so on; the guru, Srila Prabhupada, and those who follow him without change or alteration; and the sadhus, those who are thoroughly and uncompromisingly honest.
Sadhus, or brahmanas, were considered meritorious only to the extent that they embodied the criteria given in sastra- honesty; detachment from position and honour and so forth; austerity- which includes austerity to speak always the truth; and faith in the Lord’s protection…Thus the word “brahmana” was not exactly a position, but a service and level of advancement that one had to constantly live up to, or the sarcastic term “brahma-bandhu” would be applied!
It is clear that Aindra Prabhu had all these qualities of a true brahmana in abundance. One just has to watch his speech on Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day, and the number of times he had to beg to be able to continue, amidst the threats of the leaders, to realize that courage, conviction, detachment from results, and faith in the Lord’s protection was implicit in his character. Whether or not the GBC, the VEB, or some other three-letter committee banned his books, certainly the GBC need to step up and be certain his voice is heard. That is their duty as ultimate managerial authorities in ISKCON- to listen to the pure brahmanas, and in this way, allow the shining light of Srila Prabhupada’s instruction- “introduce varnashrama”- to guide our society back to Godhead.
Neglecting such guru-vani, we are certainly a society of “the blind leading the blind” as we are implicated in the third offense. How many purports and verses of the Srimad Bhagavatam are dedicated to the glories of the brahmanas and how society must be guided by them? Yet our society bans their books! While Malati has corrected the details- that the VEB, not the GBC, banned Aindra’s book- she acknowledges that a GBC man- Gopala Krsna Maharaja- tried to silence him. I am sure she can also recall that within the last decade, the books of another thoroughly truthful person were not only banned by the GBC itself, but the author proclaimed to have “turned against Prabhupada” and a worldwide warning put out against him. That author was Kundali Prabhu, who like Aindra, was banned from giving classes in ISKCON, from visiting ISKCON temples, etc, only because he spoke the uncompromised, unappreciated and unpalatable truth.
If we are not fearful of truth, we are not fearful. We will see no need to ban books, because we can easily defeat a non-truth with fact, and the author will be exposed as a liar. If a society doesn’t want a book to be read, a book that is full of Prabhupada’s purports, his instructions for the society, and so on, but also full of inconvenient truth as well, then the society is sick, even from the material point of view. When the heads of society shrink from truth, ban truthful books, condemn truthful authors, and so on, they shrink into darkness, and in such a dungeon of duplicity and compromise, the fungi of anartha and aparadha fester and curtail the bhakti creeper, strangling the life out of it, and making impossible the bearing of the sweet fruit of love of God.
Srila Prabhupada told us that we could make the whole world Krsna conscious in eigtheen days if we just followed all his directions, but we are neglecting, in particular, all those instructions about varnashrama, about honouring brahmanas, about always speaking the truth, even if it is unpalatable. Reading his books, we learn of the character of devotees, how they act in a social setting. We have examples such as Vidura, who risked all to speak the truth; Arjuna, who was prepared to enter fire, rather than break his vow; Prahlada who risked death from his father, the most powerful “managerial authority” in the universe! This is the character of devotees, they do not regard position, power, social acceptance, or even life itself to be at all important. They are lovers of truth, and everything sattvic, of detachment, of steadfastness, and all the qualities that make one dear to the Lord, as expressed by Him in Bhagavad gita. They trust that truth will prevail, and that sadhus are always protected by the Lord.
A great and saintly sadhu has passed from our vision, but he can certainly live on in his truthful words, as Vidura, Prahlada and Arjuna have done, if we as a society protect them. Krsnachandra wrote: “many GBC members wrote heartbreaking remembrances (of Aindra)” but to truly honour him, we need more than heartbreak or remembrance- we need to listen, to read his book, or at the very least, allow it to be published! What use is it to reminisce, or be heartbroken, when one tried to silence him during his life, and after? This darkness of silence must be broken, or the legacy of Aindra lost forever.