Institutional authority vs. the authority of the Guru

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The disciple surrenders to the guru and says: “Please, give me the mantra! Please, give me service! Please, accept me! I want to be your spiritual son!” And the guru says: “Yes, I accept you as my child and I accept you to be a part of my family.” There is a very intimate personal connection. Who is going to judge that? Of course, the truth will judge, Paramatma will judge, the history will judge but in that personal private connection, who is going to be the judge? If there is anything going wrong, only Krishna himself can straighten it out. Because if you say there is a guru, there is a disciple but above them there is a Sadhu Samaj, GBC and if you have a problem you speak to them and the guru has nothing to say, he can only repeat what the advisory board has said, then that means that the advisory board doesn’t trust the guru. So how come that the disciple is supposed to trust the guru then?

Today I want to talk about a very delicate subject: institutional authority vs. the authority of the spiritual master. I read that in one Vaishnava institution the institutional authorities released a new rule, in which they say that the spiritual master should always be under the administrative and governmental rules of the institution.

Of course, we do recognize that spiritual masters are not independent. They depend on their own spiritual master’s blessings, on the sadhus’ criteria and on the scriptures in order to draw a truthful authority of conclusion. And of course, there is the inner consciousness, which is of top importance in any circumstances of life. Chitete, our inner consciousness, is not independent either – it has to associate, compare and check with the spiritual master, with the sadhus and with the Holy Scriptures.

Why is this topic important? Very simple: because people can go wrong. Even if they are sitting on the chair of the teacher – be it shiksha guru or diksha guru, they can still go wrong. This is the reason why the scriptures have given this indication of a check assistant, when there is a question and there is a doubt, to be saved from what we may call arbitrary speculation of an individual. Now, we may think “All Glories to Democracy”, because in this case we have a group of people who vote on a topic and in this way supposedly come up with the right solution. If the democracy is a democracy amongst true and very sincere sadhus, it will actually have validity – the sadhu democracy may work up to a certain point. But if they are not, then we can see that even groups of people with voting powers can still go wrong. In other words, they are not a guarantee that you will never go wrong.

Srila Prabhuhada, our most beloved spiritual master, is so extraordinary that he continued receiving titles even after his departure – such as Senapati (chosen empowered agent by Lord Chaitanya) and Shakti Avesa Avatar (empowered incarnation of Lord Nityananda’s spreading love potency). He has been recognised for his extraordinary contribution he gave to the world.

Nevertheless, if you want to pick on Srila Pabhupada and find fault in him, you may actually be able to do so. If he gave sannyas to a person, who later failed in his sannyas, you could say –if he was trikalagya, somebody who has knowledge about the past, the present and the future, could he not have foreseen what would happen? Or what about his establishment of cow protection farms, which due to the circumstances later turned out to be unsustainable? Or how about establishing Gurukulas, where later some degraded individuals abused children?

Didn’t he see that, didn’t he know that?

My personal answer to this is that Srila Pabhupada worked for his ideal with whoever Krishna sent to him and he gave them a chance – by telling them what to do and by giving the right example how to do it. So you could say that Srila Pabhupada never failed us. He gave us the love of his guru. But because he was preaching in the Western world, there was an incredible risk taken.

Whether you are in business, in politics or in a spiritual community, there are always trust issues: you have to give the keys to somebody; you have to give the management of the funds to somebody. In human life there are always trust positions which could be powerfully utilized for truly beautiful things, but which could also be misused. So considering this fundamental condition, we are very concerned to find some security measures to counteract abusive situations.

Fortunately, we have one safeguard in our system and this is Parameshvara – the supreme controller Lord Krishna. He knows everything and he is the benefactor judge of everyone. In other words, if you go wrong, he’ll judge you, but for your benefit. He will still make some arrangements, which will favour you in some way – and save you from your own faults. But even there we see that sometimes Krishna loses his patience – if we may dare say so, my dear Lord Govinda. In a sense He says: “This or that person’s earthly chance has come to an end for this round. He has to go and come again.” It’s up to Him, He is the supreme controller – and we are in safe hands with Lord Krishna. He sent us our spiritual master Srila Pabhupada, so that we have a solid foundation of how to practice Krishna Consciousness even in the degraded Western circumstances, as long as we stick to his safeguard instructions:

Number 1 is chanting Hare Krishna.
Number 2 – follow the 4 regulative principles,
Number 3 – keep reading those scriptures and
Number 4 – do service.

Without service even the chanting becomes a kind of “I’m asking for service, I’m asking for service – but when the service comes I’m not available anymore”.

So the question of having an institution ruling above the guru has to be analysed very carefully and also very generously. After Srila Pabhupada left this world and some of his leaders stopped working properly (to say it in soft words), some devotees suggested that it was best to eliminate the spiritual master function, and have Prabhupada as a huge major spiritual master of all present and coming devotees.

This proposal, that every initiation after Prabhupada would be a ritvik initiation, where the actual guru Srila Pabhupada, would practically equalize Krishna Consciousness with Christianity. There is the Son of God, he saved us all – of course we don’t accept that he died for our sins, so that we could keep sinning, this is another degradation of true spirituality. According to Christianity, you are connected to Jesus by coming in contact with one of His institutions with several different practitioners, of whom you may like some or be inspired by some, but they never become that fully important, because the fully important position is given to Jesus.

So the suggestion of putting an institution over the Guru is a very strange proposal in a sense. If you analyse it, it is not ritvik of Srila Pabhupada – it would be a representational initiation on behalf of an institution. Where is Prabhupada there? The institution has already shown faulty judgements on many past occasions – for example, faulty judgements in respect to Vaishanvas who belong to other Vaishnava institutions and are initiated by spiritual masters from the same lineage, but not from the same institutional framework.

There are plenty of other examples of grand institutional misjudgement that causes quite some havoc both in the individual life as well as in the structural thinking of the people who are educated under such a system. Excuse me for the comparison, but when the socialists created a system about educating their children, they gave them a kind of a package for dealing with life according to the socialist parameters. A capitalist existence gives another type of frame, and a totalitarian military dictatorship has another framework. And if there is a king, he might be like a dictator in one way, but may also happen to be much beloved and caring to all his subjects – all these circumstances put another framework of psychological guidance towards behaviours in that system.

So when institutions cast judgements which become systems, rules or regulations, it creates an impact upon the people who have to live under the influence of such judgements. It is different when you have a guru, be it siksa or diksa guru. Mark my words, I say both of them have the same validity to a certain degree – and Prabhupada wrote (or quoted Srila Jiva Gosvami) that it is an offence to see a difference between siksa and diksa guru. So this is a very important point.

I will tell you something from my own spiritual family, the Vrinda family. I initiate devotees, it is my service in this family, and then I move on my journey as a beggar of love to the next destination. The people I initiated stay behind with the diverse qualities of siksa gurus who are hopefully of the highest quality, but may not always be. They take care of the new devotees for the period of 364 days until I come back for 1 day. Of course, people can have contact with me in many ways through my teachings, and my question and answer sessions, which I continuously try to supply to the devotees, but nevertheless many devotees in our mission see me once a year for a day – and many of them even less, because I can’t visit every place for a day each and every year.

So who is looking after the devotee, who’s delivering the guru tattva? These are the siksa gurus, those very wonderfully surrendered devotees and good examples, who have taken Krishna to heart, like I took Prabhupada to heart – hopefully. I wish it may be so, because taking your guru to heart makes you a transparent via medium of what he is to you through the authority and supervision of Sri Paramatma, the Lord in the Heart. You have to understand one thing – all glories to Srila Pabhupada, but he is not the Paramatma. Being the greatest and the most beautiful of all spiritual masters in the history, never ever he had impressed upon us, that he is identical to Paramatma – and as a matter of fact he is not.

So this is a very interesting thing to take into consideration: that the final guide, quality guarantee and quality control of Guru Tattva rests in Sri Paramatma, Chaitya Guru, and all the others have a chance to participate by divine grace to deliver the divine goods of their Guru Tattva as they were able to appreciate them and as they were able to preserve them, and as they were able to deliver them to you and as you are able to receive them.

So there are quite a few steps built into the system, which are somewhat faulty, but because of the quality control and the quality guarantee of Sri Paramatma for his devotee, there is nothing to be feared. Just we have to know how to deal with the diverse circumstances as we proceed. And when my Gurudeva said that he wanted all his disciples to become spiritual masters, he was not joking. And also I can only second it, because to me everyone who has come to me is actually a disciple of Srila Pabhupada. That they are under my guidance and can maybe be inspired in their service by my existence is a special mercy upon me, so that I can be somehow useful for the Divine purpose. I don’t feel that it is more than that, but I don’t feel that this is little.

I feel that it is far, far high and incredible mercy if we can be an instrument of His love – that’s what we always pray for: Oh my Lord, please let me be an instrument of your love!”

This is what it’s all about. Anyhow – just as much as I can be so, you can be and shall be so too, if you are ready to go along with the requirements. It is like when you give a class in front of an audience, you are not the one who is doing the talking – at least you are not supposed to be – you are supposed to be the transparent via medium for your Guru’s message to be delivered. That’s why I always say “My dear Friends, please try to be a speaker on behalf of Krishna, because Krishna has given you the mouth so that you can deliver beautiful speeches on his behalf on Harikatha or even on Prabhupada Lila, for example. Krishna Lila Amrita, Prabhupad Lila Amrita – yes, to hear the glories of the devotees is very dear to the Lord.

Srimad Bhagavatam is full of stories about the glories of the devotees – and don’t think that telling the story of Prabhupada is any less ecstatic than hearing the story of Dhruva Maharaj. These are the extraordinary features that we are coming in contact with the high delivery of the mercy – and whoever gets the mercy, that’s a beautiful story, makes up for another conversion.

Of course, if I have been a Muslim before I met the devotees, this doesn’t make me immediately Haridas Thakur. There are a lot more certain things in the divine planning department, which is the plan that Haridas Thakur was Brahma, who by the mercy of Lord Gauranga had the chance to appear in His lila as the Nam Acharya but still, when Muslims convert to the love of Vaishnavism we rejoice. It as an extraordinary beautiful thing to happen. The whole world is one family. We all belong to one another. All sectarian “I am better than you” thoughts are not appropriate or applicable of how to deal with others in this world – something, which is often forgotten in institutional law making, and which is not so spiritual.

Like when an institution releases a law, which says: “You are not allowed to take siksa instruction from somebody, who is outside of our institution”. It sounds very similar to some political systems where you are not even allowed to know what the opposition proposes, otherwise you will be considered a betrayer and will be dealt with like a traitor. In a time of conflict traitors are shot, and in a spiritual institution those considered traitors are shunt, rejected, badly spoken about and denounced.

So philosophers and spiritual intellectuals have to deal with everything, including opposing views. If you are a Brahmin or a sannyasi and cannot deal lovingly with opposing views, then you become a frog-in-a-well kind of philosopher. You think “All that is happening in my well is my wisdom” but you know what Prabhupada said about the frog-in-the-well philosophers. If there are opposing views, we have to think about them and either refute them, according to Guru, Sastra and Sadhu, or accept them with constructive criticism of what we are doing.

If the truth is approaching in the form of an opposition towards my misgivings, then shall I reject the truth because it doesn’t come within the institutional frame? This is a very dangerous attitude. It means that you create a philosophical jail, where you are limited to the conception of often polluted interests of law makers, which then contaminate the whole possibility of having a transcendental vision – and it is exactly here where the spiritual master comes in. The spiritual master is a free thinker. He is a person with an individual personal realization and criteria, who can evaluate faithfully, according to Guru, Sastra and Sadhu, whatever he sees, plus he can adopt to time, place and circumstance to whatever circumstance presents itself, which can be even new to what his Guru had explained.

One of the best examples about it is called Facebook. Facebook definitely did not exist at the time of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Shridhar Maharaja. When I last saw my mother, who used to be illiterate about computers, she knew more about Facebook than me. I was very surprised but Facebook is a great Maya, a great illusion. It can really serve for getting Krishna, for losing Krishna, for wasting your time to an extreme. But at the same time Facebook can be considered a fantastic tool for announcing temple activities and for active communication with other people in the world.

So, we have Zuckerberg, the inventor of Facebook. He is a human being who became the instrument of delivering a technology, which is putting people in contact with each other like never before. And it became a disease – there are Facebook clinics already. There are people, who lose contact with the external world because they became too mesmerized with the technology and the “I like you”/“You like me” business.

The real substance of propagating Krishna Consciousness through Facebook gets lost, because such a person is not even practicing it at that point. But if a temple or a project uses Facebook to announce to thousand, two thousand, three thousand people their next activity, it becomes a very useful and appreciated tool. It’s a double sided sword, which can cut the right thing and the wrong thing.

Srila Prabhupada didn’t say anything about Facebook. So, does that mean that the new spiritual master shouldn’t say anything about it either, just because they should only say what Srila Prabhupada has already said?

Such type of a concept kills the whole thing. The spiritual master has to have criteria of how to utilize the new technology. I am giving only one example but there are plenty of examples.

Time, place and circumstances may be favorable for development of Krishna Consciousness. The individual realization is the last checking point and that cannot be safely checked, when it is obvious that there is a deviation from the principles of Bhakti. I will give you a very extreme example but here we are talking the naked truth.

There was a guy, who considered himself a spiritual master, so he went from India to one Latin American country and started to give initiations. He was a nice looking young man and many of the girls he initiated fell in love with him and he also fell in love with them. But not only with one devotee – he fell in love with a few of them. He became lusty after several of them. He was with several of them. It is very embarrassing for a spiritual master but of course he was not a real spiritual master. One, who falls down for illicit sex life is not a spiritual master. The girls eventually found out that he was not falling down with only one of them, but with many. They felt cheated and, of course, they were cheated. Probably, he told each of them “You are the star of my life” and everybody wants to be the only star on the sky.

When they found out that they were one out of many, the girls went together and denounced him at the immigration office, so he was kicked out of the country. His own disciples kicked him out of the country. You may talk about democracy, vox populi or whatever, but the truth is that his own disciples kicked him out of the country. The girls later took shelter from a very sincere senior devotee and continued their spiritual life.

So, yes, failure can be there in the individual spiritual master, and failure can be there in an entire institutional group of GBCs, coming together and casting the vote for this or that. Myself, I went through a period of my spiritual life, when I was under the voting system of such an advisory board. At that time there was a rule that nobody could be removed from the top system unless there was 75 % of the vote against him. I went through the list and realized that more than 25% of them were in questionable condition. Whatever they would vote about, they would not come up to 75% to remove somebody with faulty behavior, because more than 25% were with faulty behavior.

They killed themselves. They had created a system, whose guard process could not function anymore. There was no real safeguard – on the contrary, it was releasing faulty legislations and faulty guidelines. It was then that I decided to search for a Sadhu who can guide me, because I didn’t want my life restricted and limited to the faulty judgments of people, who prohibited me from following my own heart and understanding of what Srila Prabhupada wanted me to do.

Now I read that this absolutism was also applied to the individual spiritual master. Spiritual masters were demoted to be really just ritualistic mantra deliverers, because you can get the mantra from a tape recorder or from the mouth of anybody. Recordings have been used by Srila Prabhupada himself for some of the second initiations, when he was not personally present.

Some people said: Well, since it has been done while Prabhupada was there, why not do it also now, when he is not here anymore – it is still the same mantra with the same power. Yes, that’s true, it is the same mantra with the same power but the element of accepting the spiritual master is to surrender to somebody and to serve somebody. You say – no, you don’t have to serve Guru, you only have to serve the institution of the Paramaguru. That means all your service has been put in the framework of the abstract connection because you do not trust anybody completely.

This is another deficiency because the element of love and trust is instrumental. It is the key to giving yourself and being enthusiastic for spiritual life. And it goes both ways – the guru loves and trusts you because otherwise how would he tell you to go out and preach? If the guru thinks that you are just a bogus and you will talk nonsense or cheat people, is he going to tell you to go out and preach? Am I going to tell you to give a daily class about Krishna, if I know that all you are going to say is lies that confuse people? I would be suicidal then. So, I say, give the message of Srila Prabhupada with love and trust, you are capable, and Krishna may agree to speak through you. Who knows, tomorrow when you are out there and preach about Krishna, somebody might say: “I love what you say. I have 10,000 dollars and I’m not doing anything with them. Can you use them for Krishna?” Why not? Is it prohibited to receive a donation for Krishna? No, it is not. So he comes and gives it to you because you gave a class that deeply touched him. Now you have 10 000 dollars. Thank you!
If you, in that moment, think that the money is yours, well, you fall down right there. You have received this on behalf of Krishna and you are supposed to use every penny for Krishna, otherwise you are cheating. But when I speak about love and trust, I mean that the guru trusts you to do this properly. If somebody does not do it properly, it is up to their reaction.

In other words, the disciple has to be responsible. But I cannot base my whole life on mistrust, because if I mistrust everybody, then I cannot preach. I cannot say – there is something very secret, very sacred, very beautiful, and very incredible and I would almost give it to you but the problem is that I cannot trust you. This maha something, it can be shhh something, and you have to figure it out by your own inner realization.

No, it is not like this. As soon as I preach the maha mantra, I’m giving somebody a chance to get rid of all the sinful activities and to enter into spiritual understanding – and this is the power of the mantra, not the power of my words. It is all the power of grace. So, when you don’t trust people you are in bad shape. Now, vice versa, the trust also goes that I give you my time and you also trust me.

Spiritual life is a trust relationship. Even an ordinary marriage is a trust relationship because you work together, you put your money together and you sleep next to one another, which means that while you are sleeping, the other one could theoretically pull a knife. Nobody has a bodyguard next to their husband or wife. If marriage is a 100% trust relationship, so how cannot a guru-disciple relationship be a trust one? And there is no institution, which stands above the husband and wife relationship, except the court. Sometimes husband and wife end up in court and she says that he did this and that, and the court may judge on the relationship, but who is the court above the guru? Where is that court? The disciple surrenders to the guru and says: “Please, give me the mantra! Please, give me service! Please, accept me! I want to be your spiritual son!” And the guru says: “Yes, I accept you as my child and I accept you to be a part of my family.”

There is a very intimate personal connection. Who is going to judge that? Of course, the truth will judge, Paramatma will judge, the history will judge but in that personal private connection, who is going to be the judge? If there is anything going wrong, only Krishna himself can straighten it out. Because if you say there is a guru, there is a disciple but above them there is a Sadhu Samaj, GBC and if you have a problem you speak to them and the guru has nothing to say, he can only repeat what the advisory board has said, then that means that the advisory board doesn’t trust the guru. So how come that the disciple is supposed to trust the guru then?

The advisory board says: we don’t trust the guru. Just take the mantra from him but don’t trust him. But you should trust us with our criteria because we have put the guru and we can also remove him. We will give you a substitute guru if one fails. We have some spare gurus for such cases but everything rests in the advisory board, it doesn’t rest in the guru’s position. But this is not the presentation sustained by Bhagavad Gita (4.34), where it says:

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

You should approach a guru, ask him humbly questions, you should offer your obeisance and become very humble, put your head on the ground and serve him and he will instruct you, when he sees your sincerity. He will teach you the truth, which he has seen. This is the question: has he seen it or has he not seen it? Well, we believe he has seen it if he has met Srila Prabhupada and lives in Srila Prabhupada’s service. And if he has not seen it, then Srila Prabhupada and Krishna have seen it and they will be in charge of this.

Coming back to the point of siksa guru – it is such a powerful institution and it is sometimes given to people such as temple presidents who have only spent two years in Krishna Consciousness. Sometimes people just have to take over the temple management duties. When I became a temple president in Denmark, I scarcely had two and a half years in the movement and out of a sudden a whole temple was depending on me. So we have to see the practical side of it as well. And we have to see how important are love and trust. If we are going to eliminate love and trust from the transaction of the spiritual organizations, spiritual master, representative of the spiritual master and want to make the whole thing institutionally governed, then we are not following the tradition of our spiritual Paramapara.

In our tradition the ritvik system is in the heart of the devotee because he feels that his guru is the real guru. This is appropriate. But institutional connection, even the institutional formal diksa guru connection, has been rejected in some of the cases in our Guru Parampara.

Like when Bhaktivinod Thakur declared his main connection to be Srila Jagannath das Babaji Maharaja and he was not his diksa connection but he gave a preference of the siksa guru connection over the diksa connection. And there are other examples like that, where Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaja explains that this is Siksa Guru Parampara. So, this is one of the considerations here. And if you reflect upon it, you will find that institutional Parampara is not prepared very well. Or I may ask you, where is the institutional Parampara of Srila Rupa Goswami in the Radha Govinda mandir of Vrindavan, or the institutional Parampara of Sanatan Goswami in the Radha Madan Mohan temple, or the institutional Parampara of Ragunath das Goswami, Madhu Pandit? Where are they?

Virtually they are absent. Some people claim that it is a family right thing and others see that the buildings are administrated by the Indian archeological society. So, where is the Parampara? The institutional Paramparas have practically disappeared or there are some people, who practically claim that they have it. At least we can see that they haven’t done much work. And in the case of Srila Prabhupada, he had to go against the institutional Parampara because there was no connection available. When he went to the west he actually tried to represent one of the Indian teachers, who had higher position in the institution of his guru but Krishna didn’t want it. So Srila Prabhupada had to start his own institution but don’t forget that he also said: “There are many institutions, which are for saving people from ignorance and giving them Krishna and my institution is one of them.” Srila Prabhupada never said: “My institution is the only institution and all the other institutions are invalidated and we should go against them” – or anything like this. Or: “They are deviations because they are not coming to surrender to my institutional framework.”

Whoever comes up with such ideas, I must honestly say, is bogus. He is sectarian, he is fanatic and even worse, he may have become a Vaishnava aparadhi and if you practice or teach Vaisnava aparadha, what good fortune will come to you? It is the elephant offence – diminish, minimize, criticize and mistreat people who are connected to other spiritual families. These are all different types of Vaisnava aparadha. So, only individuals can save us because they can imbibe, what is called love and trust and they can get personal realization, which we hope they will get.

I hope all my disciples will be so qualified siksa gurus that they will deliver the mercy of my diksa guru in 100% quality. This is quite an expectation from those beloved friends of my soul. I want them to represent 100% of something that I cannot understand myself. Good question, no? But do I understand Krishna? No. Do I understand Srila Prabhupada? No. I love him! I feel grateful! I try to do, what he told me to do but I don’t want to lie that I understand Srila Prabhupada.

Do I understand Srila Shridhar Maharaja? No.

I have heard that Krishna doesn’t understand himself. So then I don’t feel that bad that I don’t understand Him either. But simply because Krishna doesn’t understand Himself, it doesn’t make Him less Krishna or His mission less important for the world. I don’t think so. This is the domain of love and trust. In love and trust sometimes you do not understand.

I do not understand the power of the Maha Mantra but I have seen it. I have seen how it works on people. I am very grateful for the power of the Maha Mantra, but understanding it? Understanding the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam? I read them every day. I think it is really great stuff, which is taught there, but do I understand Shrimad Bhagavatam?

aham vedmi suko vetti
vyaso vetti na vetti va
bhaktya bhagavatam grahyam
na buddhya na ca tikaya

Lord Siva said; “I know the meaning of the Bhagavat and I know that Sukadeva knows it also. But for Vyasadeva he may or may not know it. The Bhagavat can only be known through bhakti, not by mundane intelligence or by reading many commentaries.”

On the whole, Srimad Bhagavatam, the spotless Purana, can be learned only through devotional service, not by material intelligence, speculative methods or imaginary commentaries.

Sukadeva Goswami understood the Srimad Bhagavatam. Vyasadeva maybe understood it but maybe not. How come that he did not understand it when he wrote it down? How would he not understand? Because sometimes, Srila Shridhar Maharaja says, things descend in a special way through somebody to somebody else. The one in between, does not understand but the one, who receives it, understands. That’s what Srila Sridhar Maharaja wanted to say. That’s what we love and that’s what we trust.

We love and trust that this mission is Krishna’s mission and if anything goes wrong, He will come and intervene. And still, we teach people to love their diksa and siksa gurus because if we do not tell them to love and trust their siksa gurus, they will not be inspired. They will not have enthusiasm to serve their diksa and siksa gurus, to participate from the core of their heart, to risk themselves like their gurus are risking themselves for them and for the service of their guru.

At the end Shrila Prabhupada said: the gurus are self revealed. They are acting on behalf of their Lord, their spiritual master and their own consciousness. And if divine grace descends upon them, then they will be able to show some incredible transformation, either in quantity or in quality, or in both. Otherwise not, krsna sakti vina nahe tara pravartana. Those empowered will be recognized as genuine representatives of Parampara and of their spiritual master. And what will they say if you approach them and ask them personally about this?

They will say: no, no, no, I am not empowered. What is happening here is the power of my guru. All glories to him! Me and you are all depending on his grace but this is not ritvik, it is representative.

Through the humble representative and through that chain or succession this whole movement has continued and is alive. The institutions can do some check and balance; they can organize things that cannot be done by as easy individuals – for example, the Vishva Vaishnava Raja Sabha. It invites all the Vaisnava groups to help clean the holy dham together. If you only clean 100 or 200 m in each direction of your beautiful Mandir, we already have a clean Vrindavan. There are so many temples now everywhere. So we have the spirit of doing things together, of helping each other. For example, if one devotee publishes a beautiful book on science of spirituality (like one devotee called Govardhan did in Mayapur – he showed the importance of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and the evidence, found in the scientific discoveries for the transcendental teachings), will it not be appreciated and used by all Vaisnavas? Can science or social work be restricted to one institution? Would any Vaisnava make charitable medical service and restrict the charitable help only to people who belong to his institution? When scientists, philosophers and charitable people become sectarian, then you can surely tell that this is the end of spirituality.

Therefore in the department of spiritual philosophy and also, where this philosophy is applied in practical decision making, there has to be freedom, there has to be individual criteria and there has to be love and trust. Otherwise, there will be no joy and no progress.

If these observations were for the benefit of anybody who listens to them, I will be greatly rewarded, because my only ambition is to become servant of the servant of the servants of those wonderful Vaisnavas. We have to develop taste for Srila Prabhupada and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thank you.