Krsnacandra Dasa – Vrndavan: The counselling system used by HH Radhanatha Swami needs to be addressed within our movement.
‘The general systems theory’ when applied to a social system, loosely translates, as ‘the part does not operate separately from the whole.’ The parts of any system are integrated so as to ensure the smooth operation of that system. That is why in a secular state the mention of God does not fit. For to mention God will be problematic for the smooth operation of the parts of that system, thus producing chaos.
Srila Prabhupada gave us a highly specific system that was not his invention. The Vaisnava system (principles) has been handed down by Guru/Disciple for all of time and will be the same well into the future – unchanged.
The modern systems are highly speculative and diverse systems, that are parts of the modern secular state and so will be in eternal flux as new hypothesis and theories ‘evolve’ on the horizon of modern thought. They are definitely not parts that fit into the ‘machinery’ of Vaisnava thought and practice.
Modern psychology and counselling have been developed for the modern secular humanist system and so there are checks and balances that have been designed to make sure that whenever a system ‘part’ is being applied to an individual it is monitored and controlled.
To believe that any system developed by the modern secular humanist state can effectively be transplanted into our Vaisnava system is not feasible given the General Systems Theory. Especially when applying the concept of ‘the part cannot operate separately from the whole.’
It is like putting a monkey’s heart into a human being. The technology is in place for this type of transplant surgery, but, as the monkey’s heart is so much smaller than a human’s, any viable prognosis for the patient undergoing this surgery will be hugely problematic and not successful. No properly trained surgeon will recommend or risk his reputation by conducting such surgery. Nor will any Medical Board approve it.
It does not matter whether the counselling principal is – Psychodynamic, Applied Behavior Analysis, Cognitive Behavioral, Existential-Humanistic, Systems/Family Therapy or Eclectic Therapeutic Orientation, they are ‘parts of a whole’ that do not belong in a Vaisnava Social System.
Each of the theories that I listed above do not produce the same result, further, the actual quality of the result is difficult to quantify for they are very different models. The Dependency Model that you mention such as AA is something that is within popular view however there are much more effective models out there that do not get the same publicity.
The impersonal humanist secular state produces so many dysfunctional individuals and possesses so many differing models for correction that it begs the question of how effective is the secular state in producing happy and healthy individuals? There is a preponderance of professionals within the secular state system that also believe that in practice there is no real improvement in an individual’s quality of life by the application of these various models. The incidence of divorce / crime / abuse etc. is not decreasing as time goes by, it is increasing.
Basically speaking, the secular models take a person from a tama guna state of consciousness to a raja guna consciousness – stop doing crime / taking drugs – relax, conform, get a job and go on holiday!
A Vaisnava can see the ineffectiveness of the modern secular state very clearly and can easily differentiate between our system and theirs. When we blend by ‘adding’ parts of their system to ours (like the monkeys heart), our ability to differentiate between the two becomes cloudy.
Devotees who do not have faith in our Vaisnava system support and implement mundane secular ‘parts’ by misrepresenting and misapplying the ‘Time, Place and Circumstance’ clause of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in order to confuse the general devotee into thinking that it is ‘okay’ to do like this… It is not okay.
Our leaders need to be devotees who have demonstrable loving and caring qualities then we will see the full and pure results of our Vaisnava culture in practice. You cannot offer or give what you don’t have which is emotional maturity. Basically, we as devotees need to become more loving, compassionate and personal with each other and only then will we tangibly experience real spiritual and personal growth, which is something that the impersonal academic institutions and training procedures of the modern secular state have no idea of.
The modern secular education system is geared to produce an individual who is a ‘known’ impersonal part of their secular system. The various models are ‘rubber stamped’ by secular authorities and promoted as viable options for both training and application procedures.
In the modern secular state individuals, Governments and NGOs ‘shop’ around for a model that suits their needs from the ‘supermarket’ of counselling systems available. The fact that ISKCON leadership are ‘marketing’ various ‘packages’ around the worlds Yatras is simply displaying how ‘cloudy’ their vision is with regards to what should be done in order to effectively manage our Vaisnava Society.
When we desire to help the Vaisnava Community we must be well educated in the outcome of any programme or policy we apply. We must ask the question – will this make the individual more Krsna Conscious? Most importantly we must be emotionally and spiritually mature ourselves to be able to know what is appropriate for our Vaisnava Community.
So when applying a modern secular system ‘part’ in our Vaisnava system or when seeking assistance or when desiring to attend some secular educative process, we must clearly understand that we are not following the Vaisnava Acaryas when doing so and that no amount of faulty reasoning and word jugglery will make the outcome positive. Just like the monkey’s heart, it is not viable and will only lead to chaos. Kali is the past master of chaos. He is like a Vampire who subsists not on the nectar of the Holy Name, but on Chaos.
We need to implement ‘parts’ from our own Vaisnava system and if we don’t know what to do we need to seek the association of properly qualified Gurus and Sadhus and we need to re-read the Vaisnava Shastras in a very careful manner. In this way our path will be free of misconceptions.
We do not need to be fooled by these mundane systems and models. The Vaisnava system is complete in itself, pure, beautiful and full of love and compassion and furthermore was applicable in the past, is applicable today and will be applicable tomorrow, no matter what the time, place or circumstance – we have no need of the cold impersonal systems and models of mundane secular ways.
I highly recommend that devotees carefully read (all of Srila Prabhupada’s books and) the Jaiva Dharma by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In one way this is an incredible treatise on very high spiritual subjects and it can be read for increasing one’s knowledge of Shastra, but the way I prefer to read it, it is the light of a very beautiful, loving and caring Vaisnava Community. If the sweet and loving interpersonal relationships do not bring tears to your eyes, the very beauty of the rural village Godruma will.
The Vaisnavas Community needs to be in a village agrarian setting, not only to achieve a more sattvic living environment and therefore peace of mind we need to achieve a state of ‘Simple Living and High Thinking.’ Srila Prabhupada did not want us crammed into rajasic urban centres where stress levels are dangerously high he wanted us in the country and only go to the City to preach.
This structured counselling system that Radhanath Swami has instituted is because he does not know what is to be done with so many academic ‘urbanite’ disciples who are used to such mundane professional processes. This solution is piecemeal at best. Radhanaths vision is just that, his vision. He has no idea nor does he care about what Srila Prabhupada knows we need. This is especially so after so many decades of attempting to make ISKCON into an urban based corporate movement.
Radhanath Swami’s counselling program is superfluous to our Vaisnava Community and his time will be better spent seeing if he can be humble enough to become a follower of Srila Prabhupada instead of relentlessly seeking ways in which he can become more famous himself with his speculative changes to Srila Prabhupda’s ISKCON.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
Krsnacandra Dasa (revised from original)