Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Monday, November 21, 2011

falling down

In ISKCON, during and after Srila Prabhupada earthly pastimes, many sanyasis and devotees went back to a material way of life. In other words, they fell down. Seeing devotees fall down can be discouraging to our spiritual life, especially advanced devotees such as sanyasis. In ISKCON’s history, many such sanyasis relinquished their vows. Using this as an excuse, many people (including devotees) find fault with ISKCON as an institution and organization. I think it is important for the leaders to do their best in terms of serving Srila Prabhupada and the mission but at the same time we must also recognize the power of material nature. We have to be careful before we find fault with fallen devotees or criticize the management. Of course, it is easy to criticize than to be the change agent.

Because material nature is as good as Krishna (very powerful), very easily, we can fall a victim to it. Devotees, I am sure with all best intentions start their spiritual careers but sometimes unable to withstand give into material desires and temptations. When we see such dubious devotees, to protect our own devotional creeper, we can stay away (aloof) from them. If we are spiritually strong, we can offer to help. But fault finding does not help anyone. In fact finding fault, we will go down in time. To illustrate my point on how material nature is so powerful and no one is exempt from Her clutches, below is a purport written by Srila Prabhupada on how two very powerful and greatest mystic yogis fell down to become birds. This narration, if anything, is an indication that if such great yogis can fall down into maya, we as neophytes can easily falter. So our only hope is to humble ourselves always in front of Krishna requesting His shelter. We should internally show compassion to souls who have fallen down and pray that one day they come back into Krishna’s service, we should be careful before we find fault with devotees who make or made mistakes.

Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha were always inimical. Formerly, Viśvāmitra was a kṣatriya, and by undergoing severe austerities he wanted to become a brāhmaṇa, but Vasiṣṭha would not agree to accept him. In this way there was always disagreement between the two. Later, however, Vasiṣṭha accepted him because of Viśvāmitra's quality of forgiveness. Once Hariścandra performed a yajña for which Viśvāmitra was the priest, but Viśvāmitra, being angry at Hariścandra, took away all his possessions, claiming them as a contribution of dakṣiṇā. Vasiṣṭha, however, did not like this, and therefore a fight arose between Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra. The fighting became so severe that each of them cursed the other. One of them said, "May you become a bird," and the other said, "May you become a duck." Thus both of them became birds and continued fighting for many years because of Hariścandra. We can see that such a great mystic yogī as Saubhari became a victim of sense gratification, and such great sages as Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra became birds. This is the material world.
-SB 9.7.7 – purport by Srila Prabhupada

Sage Vasistha and Vishwamitra muni were spiritual masters for Lord Ramachandra. If they both can fall down due to anger, then what is our chance? Therefore, there will be devotees falling down and we should not be disturbed by it but rather should convince ourselves to not be careless in our spiritual duties and if by Krishna’s mercy I fall down sometime, I simply have to get up and get back on the saddle of chanting and hearing. There is no other atonement in this age.

Hare Krishna

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