Śikṣā outside ISKCON?

<< Dobut 4 >>

PART THREE - Doubts and Answers
Doubt 4

Doubt 4: Śāstra says that the Godbrothers of the guru should be respected as much as the guru.(17) Is this not evidence that, as in the past, members of ISKCON took instructions from Śrīla Prabhupāda, they should now take instructions from his Godbrothers (or other senior Vaiṣṇavas)?

Answer: No. The equal respect offered to the guru’s Godbrothers must be reconciled with respect for the guru’s order — in this case, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s: “Do not mix with them.” Therefore, to the Godbrothers of Śrīla Prabhupāda, his followers should offer the respect due senior Vaiṣṇavas and should not speak of them disparagingly.(18) But Prabhupādānugas should also not hear from such seniors. Respect for the guru’s Godbrother cannot mean disrespect for the guru’s order.

A guru’s Godbrother is not seen in every way as one’s own guru.(19) There is difference as well as oneness. Equal respect does not mean equal importance in the disciple’s life. Śāstra states, “... in all circumstances all Vaiṣṇavas are offered respect like one offers respect to one’s spiritual master. However, with body, mind, and words one serves one’s own spiritual master.”(20)

One may even offer twice the respect to the guru of one’s guru, but still one depends upon the mercy of one’s own guru for progress in spiritual life.(21)

Thus, while offering due respect to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Godbrothers and other senior Vaiṣṇavas, one will not hear from them.


NOTES

18Prabhupāda said, “You cannot criticize superiors ...” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Lecture, Vṛndāvana, November 8, 1976)
19Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “‘My spiritual master was no ordinary spiritual master.’ Then he paused for some time, and wiping the tears from his cheeks, he said in an even more choked voice, ‘He saved me.’” (Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta 26)
20Kṛṣṇa-bhajanāmṛta 50.
21Kṛṣṇa-bhajanāmṛta 54.
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