I would just like to see this posted in as many places as possible so as to maybe bridge some of these longstanding divides in so many of the sangas. Please please see that this is posted. It is imperative that we as Gaudiya Vaisnavas are focused, Unified in Loving Service to Radha-Krsna-Mahaprabhu.
Here it is:
All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
All Glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada!
Please allow me to offer my dandavat pranams again and again to the Vaisnavas around the world - although I may not be able to see with my imperfect vision, I know that Srimati Radharani's dearest sakhis are always present here in order to purify this material realm and provide an opportunity for us conditioned souls. Also, I would like to ask that the reader, whoever s/he may be, please accept my humble obeisances and forgive me for any offenses I have caused or may cause in the future. I am conditioned and imperfect and make mistakes. I know that times have been tough for many devotees around the world since Srila B.V. Narayan Maharaj, my Srila Gurudeva, entered into Nitya-Lila on the 29th of December this past year. As many disciples of Srila Prabhupada have been experiencing since 1977, my Godbrothers and sisters must now re-focus their attention to a more internal relationship. I am well aware that I have yet to say anything that any regular devotee of any organization doesn't already know, because I am finding it hard to put into words what I would like to express. This is my best attempt.
I have heard stories growing up of conflicts amongst devotees, different splinters from both the Gaudiya Math and ISKCON forming while everyone keeps on thinking "I'm the do'er, I'm in control". Between accusations and proof of child molestations, the zoning of parts of the world to be given to someone as their place to harvest disciples and the completely over-emphasized focus on the "institution" and the "community", I think devotees of all creeds, cultures and backgrounds have lost sight of what it means to be in the line of Mahaprabhu, or more recently Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada. It is this problem I wish to address in an attempt to reconcile what is really the feuding of many different parts of the same exact family.
In my experience, just growing up as a gurukuli and learning about this theology from a young age, I find that the root cause of this problem is not so easily snuffed out. Everyone thinks that they are right, that they've found the answers they are looking for. Confidence is overflowing as we all truck down a path that leads to the failure of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakurs prediction. Every town and village cannot hear the name's of Radha and Krsna if they're being drowned out by shouting, quarreling and even violence. I am well aware that at my body's age I have not reached the life experience commonly expected of someone who is going to make judgemental statements, nor does my position in our disciplic succession warrant any respect or attention.
Even then, I find that THIS is the real problem:
That simply because I'm 20 years old I am looked down on as someone incapable of fulfilling the tasks handed down our line. But what have our Acharya's given us, down what path have we been guided? We know that the Yuga-Dharma is to chant. The way I chant japa or do kirtan may not be the same as the way you do it, but isn't the point that we're all doing it?! I know that the disciples of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers have not become so narrow minded as to think that there is really a difference in our theology. Krsna fulfills your adhikar and if you are looking for differences HE WILL PROVIDE THEM! How do you think Atheists base their arguments on things that seem logical? Because Krsna is the master of logic. Point being, this is simply a cry for unification. For renunciation. What are we renouncing? Materialistic interaction between devotees.
We're one family. Does this mean I expect things to work out perfectly? No. But it could save this mission from growing stagnant. What can you hope to build out of your community if half of it is on one side of the fence and half the other? And what is the FUTURE of that community even if reconciled? The future lies in the hands of the youth. How do we encourage kuli's my age to get involved? In 25 years how will we ensure that this isn't just a further watered down form of Christianity? How about 100? 2,000 years was plenty of time for propaganda to inundate all levels of a theology. My Gurudeva said that the youth should show respect to the seniors and the seniors love and affection to the youth. I've noticed that both sides complain of the other side not representing their "end of the bargain" as an excuse. It's not a good one. One must reflect internally and see what THEY may be doing to dissuade their senior from showing them love and affection or dissuade their junior from showing them respect. And in actuality, what makes us think that we're deserving of either of these things? Because Gurudeva says this is proper Vaisnava etiquette does not mean that our karmic history makes this possible. We're conditioned and the false ego's so powerful. Cooperation is achieved when like-minded devotees join together and reach out to other devotees who may not be on quite the same page with humility and a desire to see true success in Mahaprabhu's mission. If senior devotees are wanting respect from us, first care about us. Ask our opinion. Let us lead kirtan. Don't judge us, because believe me, nobody is excused from the instruction to just "Chant and be Happy!"
If there is a single thing that anyone should take away from the entirety of this topic it's this: If you accept Guru as the external manifestation of paramatma and your Guru is no longer physically present, he must be in your heart. Following this train of thought - your uncooperative tendencies are in conflict directly with Guru and Krsna because They are residing in the heart of each and every devotee with whom you quarrel... Stop the bickering, and behave like Guru, Sadhu and Sastra has shown you to.
kripa-sindhubhya eva cha
vaishnavebhyo namo namaha