Krsnacandra Dasa – Vrndavan: Srila Prabhupada used the term cooperate many times in his instructions to us inside the movement, as well as to any Government official, organization or individual outside the movement. We can easily comprehend Srila Prabhupada when he asks Government officials, Professors or individuals to cooperate with us in the prosecution of Krsna Consciousness however we seem to not understand the meaning of the principle when it is applied inside our movement.
Cooperate is derived from two words:
Co: This is a prefix and means – together, mutually, jointly or to the same degree.
Operate: Is from the Latin operatus, past participle of operari (“to work, labor, toil, have effect”), from opus, operis (“work, labor”).
Very simply put it means to co or jointly work together to achieve the same goal.
“All such educational instructions are there in the Gita. We simply have to follow them rigidly and the whole human society will be benefited in this life and the next. I know you have ideas and full faith in Krsna and in me and also you have an opportunity to associate with some important persons. So I think you should think over day and night all these proposals. Let us do something which will bring a peaceful revolution to the whole human society. I am sure I have good assistants like you and if you all cooperate with me I am sure of success.”
Srila Prabhupada – Letter to Syamasundara April 74
This letter to Syamasundara gives a basic summary of what Srila Prabhupada expected of our ISKCON society. Under the auspices of the Bhagavad Gita having full faith in Krsna and Srila Prabhupada himself under the standards that he set, we should use our ideas to bring about a theistic revolution in human society.
“Stick to our principle, and see our GBC is very alert. Then everything will go on, even I am not present. Do that. That is my request. Whatever little I have taught you, follow that, and nobody will be aggrieved. No maya will touch you. Now Krsna has given us, and there will be no scarcityof money. You print book and sell. So everything is there. We have got good shelter all over the world. We have got income. You stick to our principles, follow the. . . Even if I die suddenly, you’ll be able to manage. That’s all. That I want. Manage nicely and let the movement go forward. Now arrange. Don’t go backward. Be careful. “Apani acari prabhu jivere siknaya.”
—Room conversation, Bombay, April 22, 1977)
Hence if we “cooperate” with Srila Prabhupada by managing his movement according to the ‘standard’ that he established then the movement will go forwards. For now it is not a movement in the sense that Srila Prabhupada desired and established.
“I am asking you to take a new heart and try to cooperate with each other there. There is always some difference because we are not impersonalists, we are personalists and everyone is different. However we have our standard so everything must be conducted on the basis of Krsna Consciousness as I have taught it.”
Here Srila Prabhupada speaks of the differences between devotees as we are striving to be personalists but he has given us his standard and instructs us that it is on this basis that we conduct our affairs. Further that even if we lose heart we must take “a new heart” and strive to cooperate with each other.
“It is my duty to open your eyes, because a Spiritual Master is he who can save his disciples from the darkness of nescience, illusion. So I am trying my best to do my duty, and if you cooperate with me, fully, certainly both yourself and myself will be successful in our missionary work.”
Here Srila Prabhupada is explaining his duty and how he is trying his best to deliver us from the darkness of ignorance and how we need to cooperate with him “fully” and if we do, our mission will be successful.
“I AUTHORIZE YOU TO DISREGARD FOR THE TIME BEING ANY DECISION FROM THE GBC MEN UNTIL MY FURTHER INSTRUCTION” Memo to all Temple Presidents – 72 04 08
Srila Prabhupada was very upset by the GBC men who had met in secret and did not inform the other GBC men or Srila Prabhupada himself. Srila Prabhupada acted swiftly to stop and suspend the GBC until the matter was sorted out. The GBC’s role is to see that everything is operating smoothly in ISKCON within the parameters he laid down. Any deviation to that Srila Prabhupada acted upon immediately. The situation has arisen since Srila Prabhupada is no longer physically present that the GBC have been again taking their own council and fabricating and then implementing their own plans. Plans, that Srila Prabhupada would have acted upon very swiftly indeed. Yet thirty odd years on they have re incorporated ISKCON in West Bengal and so it is now from this new ISKCON or FISKCON that the GBC operate and so they don’t ‘legally’ have to listen to Srila Prabhupada anymore.
Most of us know this already and therefore we don’t accept the GBC as our authority nor do we accept the Rubber Stamped Gurus as a bonifide title or position within ISKCON. They only exist within FISKCON. Yet those who follow Srila Prabhupada and not the FISKCON leadership are considered troublemakers when it is those who belong to FISKCON who are in fact the makers of trouble – for us and the Pure Devotee Srila Prabhupada.
“A disciple means who voluntarily agrees to be disciplined by the spiritual master. When one becomes disciple, he cannot disobey the order of the spiritual master. Sinya. Sinya, this word, comes from the root sas-dhatu, means “I accept your ruling.” So previously Arjuna has accepted, sinyas te ‘ham sadhi mam prapannam: “I am now surrendered to You, and I agree voluntarily to accept Your ruling.” This is the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple. So we have got ten kinds of offenses in chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. So the first offense is guror avajna, means to disobey the orders of guru, spiritual master. One cannot disobey the orders of guru.”
To not follow the orders of the Spiritual Master or to disobey the orders of the Spiritual Master is a serious offense. The simple fact that these people have taken for themselves the position of Guru infers that they are not following Srila Prabhupada this is especially so when Srila Prabhupada did not order them or anyone to become guru.
“On my order you become guru” so where is this order? The fact that they appointed themselves guru means that they are rejecting Srila Prabhupada and fabricated their own system. On their order they became guru and they go on to give their order to recruit more imposter gurus.
So to follow the FISKCON institutional system one either has failed to see the inappropriateness of these rascals who do not accept Srila Prabhupada’s order or they are complicit in the corrupt system.
Many devotees who have failed to appreciate the wrongness of being associated with these individuals have taken shelter of these impostors and are being cheated, however, if they possess even a small fund of intelligence and they develop a personal relationship with Srila Prabhupada and begin to hear from Srila Prabhupada in order to ascertain precisely what Srila Prabhupada wanted and instructed they will begin to cooperate with Srila Prabhupada’s true followers.
Cooperate with each other means that we must accept the principle of “Unity in Diversity.” By this I do not mean the ‘Interfaith” concept of accept other religions by looking at the similarities and therefore seek to homogenize all faiths. It must be taken from Srila Prabhupada’s perspective or vision which means that we must accept that we as devotees act from the platform of unity even though we may have diverse opinions or ideas.
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was never pleased to hear books or verses opposed to the conclusive statements of devotional service. The Lord did not like hearing rasäbhäsa, the overlapping of transcendental mellows.
Bhakti-siddhänta-viruddha refers to that which is against the principle of unity in diversity, philosophically known as acintya-bhedäbheda—simultaneous oneness and difference—whereas rasäbhäsa is something that may appear to be a transcendental mellow but actually is not. Those who are pure Vaiñëavas should avoid both these things opposed to devotional service.”
However, to not have Srila Prabhupada’s ‘standard’ in the prosecution of our Krsna Consciousness means we do not have Srila Prabhupada’s vision – we have our own vision or agenda. There is no benefit in cooperating with devotees or leaders who do not follow Srila Prabhupada’s standard of instructions as the principle that ‘unifies’ us is not Srila Prabhupada’s.
We are unified only when our ‘modus operandi’ is congruent with the standards and vision of Srila Prabhupada without any change or deviation. If we have any ulterior motive a devotee who is following Srila Prabhupada will not be able to unite with those who have their own agenda.
This is why there is a dichotomy within Srila Prabhupada’s Society. There are many ‘camps’ operating under the guise of ISKCON. The main deviant ‘camp’ contains those devotees who follow the Rubber Stamped Gurus. The devotees who are united under the banner of a particular guru cannot ‘see’ with Srila Prabhupada’s vision for they have been led to believe that their guru is not only bonifide but he has his own mission and vision that must be followed,
Then there is the camp of career devotees who work within the Institution. Their vision is seen through the eyes of the, Corporate leaders of ISKCON, and seek to organize themselves and the greater devotional community so as to further corporatize and institutionalize the Vaisnava community to align itself with mundane secular systems. Therefore they see ISKCON as a cash cow to obtain status, job and financial security.
Then there is the camp of devotees who although operating within the basic guidelines of ISKCON have duel loyalties and have taken shelter outside of ISKCON for siksa and diksa association. They see that ISKCON/FISKCON is a source of association and many times for service as their gurus do not have a sufficient infrastructural support system to meet their needs, whereas FISKON thanks to Srila Prabhupada’s hard effort has. The FISKCON institution welcome these devotees with mixed loyalties into the fold as they will never oppose them having the weakness of duel loyalties at their foundation.
With these three camps operating within ISKCON it is very difficult for the older or wiser devotee to engage in service and so many thousands chose not to cooperate with them and stay aloof from the institution preferring instead to operate alone.
This however, is the bulk of the devotees who have taken shelter of ISKCON.It is not only the bulk it also has the majority of senior devotees within its ranks. The only thing lacking is unification.
Those devotees who have chosen not to associate with or limit their association with FISKCON need to unite.
The unification needs to be under the banner of Srila Prabhupada and no particular individual or cause.
The devotees who have taken shelter under the imposter gurus and GBC need to be educated and given shelter. They are in many ways innocent and have been cheated by these importers who dare to sit on Srila Prabhupada’s asana or on the Vyasasana and claim to represent Srila Prabhupada and the Parampara.
How this happens is our dilemma. We do not have the funds or resources to do anything constructive besides network, for now. However collectively we are a force to be considered very carefully by those who oppose any unification of true followers of Srila Prabhupada. A force that is yet to unite and realize its full potential…
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada