Chapter 25: The Fears of Revealing My Heart

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 25
The Fears of Revealing My Heart

In Response to Fighting between Factions
(An excerpt from a Letter)

In continuing my writing of Prabhupāda nectar, I have realized my lack of qualifications and the insufficiency of my endeavor. Who can properly glorify the Lord or His pure devotee? Reading specific critiques given by respected devotees, I have become frightened. I was already worried that in the course of my writing that someone may find the expression of my memories offensive or blasphemous. Obviously, I am full of faults. My intention, however, is to glorify His Divine Grace and share with all my godbrothers and godsisters some Prabhupāda nectar. My hope is to share Śrīla Prabhupāda's glorious enthusiasm in serving the Lord, so we can all be inspired to continue the process of devotional service. In this way, we can increase our desire to personally serve our beloved Śrīla Prabhupāda and push on his mission.

I feel it is my duty to tell my memories of His Divine Grace. I was never very philosophical, but I loved the way Śrīla Prabhupāda conducted every minute of his life. He was literally my father. My own father died when I was three. Until I was 19 and met Śrīla Prabhupāda, I never had any significant male influence in my life. I think that is one reason my stories of Śrīla Prabhupāda tend to reflect the softer side of his personality. There were so many facets of Śrīla Prabhupāda's character, but I only remember his sweetness, compassion and mercy, along with his childlike innocence and kindness. In giving class over the years it has become apparent that the devotees are also anxious to hear about these qualities.

Some of my favorite stories describe how Śrīla Prabhupāda chastised me by calling me such colorful names as "melechha," "dead man," and "rascal." These are ecstatic stories because when I tell them, I hope people see and feel the love Śrīla Prabhupāda had for me. I know that he loved me. Therefore, he called me these names to try to get through my thick skull. If I were to write these same stories, someone might be offended by thinking I was seeing Śrīla Prabhupāda as an ordinary person.

In 1978, Satsvarūpa Mahārāja recorded my memories more than five days. Now, looking at the manuscripts, I can see many things that might offend devotees. These activities I speak and write about did occur. Please, however, forgive my imperfect recollection. I realize my memory is faulty, but if I wait until I am pure, I fear you may never hear them. Śrīla Prabhupāda said so many things. He managed a worldwide transcendental society with a band of western rogues. He was, and still is, the "Kṛṣṇa Consciousness" within ISKCON.

In my manuscripts I often write that Śrīla Prabhupāda was in anxiety or that he chanted loudly when he was upset. He instructed others to do the same.

"When you are sleepy and you have rounds to finish," he once told me, "you can walk around the room and chant like I do."

I know Śrīla Prabhupāda was never sleepy, not in the way that I am sleepy. I am asleep, even when I am awake. Actually, the only time I am awake is when I am remembering him. In his sleep, he was with Kṛṣṇa just as when he was awake.

I saw Śrīla Prabhupāda distressed, anxious, upset, angry, and even enraged. It was usually due to our immaturity, or our adulterating the philosophy. No matter what his mood was, though, it was always filled with Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

Since I am fallen, it is very likely I will not properly present him. I was Śrīla Prabhupāda's servant for two years and I committed more offenses than you can imagine, but his mercy is so great that he allows me to continue to render service.

ALL GLORIES TO Śrīla Prabhupāda !

In my writing I've said, "All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda," thousands and thousands of times, unconsciously repeating these beautiful words without full awareness, attention, or comprehension. I repeat them like a robot. I need to rejoice in the full meaning of this mantra.

ALL GLORIES TO Śrīla Prabhupāda!

This phrase "All Glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda!" has personally taken on more meaning then ever before.

In these writings, my intention is not to present my personal views on initiation into our ISKCON branch of Brahma Madhava Gaudiya Sampradaya. Śrīla Prabhupāda often spoke of the absolute truth being unchangeable. He gave us the priceless gift of "Absolute Truth." My understanding will not be changed by philosophical points presented by different parties inside or outside of ISKCON.

Apparently, this is true for many heartfelt devotees, who have authored volumes of papers, letters, and pamphlets. They were fortunate to have been exposed to the process of devotional service by our glorious spiritual master Śrīla Prabhupāda.

ALL GLORIES TO Śrīla Prabhupāda!

If not for Śrīla Prabhupāda, what would be the cause of our disagreements? Some of us might be arguing about who will win the world series or the super bowl. Others might be more inclined to argue over stock prices. More pious individuals may be debating over the best way to present the teachings of Lord Jesus.We are so fortunate. We are able to argue and discuss about the best way to engage one's body, mind and intellect in the process of devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Prabhupāda has taken this bickering lot and made us very fortunate.

ALL GLORIES TO Śrīla Prabhupāda!

Now, there are many devotees who now want to take initiation from Śrīla Prabhupāda directly, chant 16 rounds and follow the regulative principles. There are others who want to take initiation from one of Śrīla Prabhupāda's disciples, chant 16 rounds and follow the regulative principles. I can see Śrīla Prabhupāda smiling now. It is a beautiful smile, one I have seen many times before and pray to see again. He certainly has had the last laugh. He has taken an unholy gang of westerners, expert at fighting, and has us fighting over him. What could be better?

Cooperatively work for him? That would be nice. Obviously, the only way to do that is to serve him and, if need be, spar a little as well. It appears that by doing so, we are all engaged in the process of glorifying Śrīla Prabhupāda.

ALL GLORIES TO Śrīla Prabhupāda!

I must admit. I derive pleasure from a good fight. However, I like to watch the action from a safe distance. My ego seldom lets me directly fight unless I know I can beat my opponent. It would be too much of a blow to my false ego if I were to lose. As a sports enthusiast, however, I like to watch a good brawl. That is natural. But, this topic is much too voluminous for my small mind. It is necessary to present a thesis in order to present a tiny case. I am not qualified for such an endeavor. In school, I had no attraction for the debate club. The only debatable thing was whose car was faster, whose girl was prettier, and of course, who might win the world series.

I do not wish to criticize any Vaiṣṇava, nor do I desire to minimize the subject matter being discussed by the assembly of devotees. I stand humbled before all who have taken shelter at the lotus feet of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. I hope I can receive the mercy of the devotees so I may become passionate in my love for Śrīla Prabhupāda.

During the two years I spent in Śrīla Prabhupāda's personal service, it became apparent that he wanted us to cooperate. Disagreements have, and may always, be there. Despite our problems it is possible to work together.

Śrīla Prabhupāda sometimes told the story of the sons who were massaging their father. They had some disagreements. One son would poke the father in the back where the other son was massaging and the other son, of course, would do the same. In this way they were only successful in hurting the father. In the course of our arguing, it is important to remember that we are all massaging our father, Śrīla Prabhupāda. The differences may remain, but by respecting one another as loving children of Śrīla Prabhupāda, we can still provide our father with an excellent massage. ISKCON is Śrīla Prabhupāda's body. Śrīla Prabhupāda said that his morning walk and massage kept him in good health. While honoring our Godbrothers and Godsisters, let's contribute to the health of our beloved Guru Mahārāja by giving him a good massage. Let our motives and actions be focused on:

THE GLORIES OF Śrīla Prabhupāda!

Śrīla Prabhupāda would rise at two or three in the morning and do translating work so that his disciples could have, for all time, his transcendental ecstasies in print. Sometimes, I was fortunate enough to awaken to the sound of his voice in the next room. He may have been translating words, or slowly and carefully speaking the purport into the dictaphone. Even though I was entrenched in the mode of ignorance, I felt fortunate to have been able to hear transcendental history being recorded.

Now, after 25 years, I have finally risen early to write the only transcendental ecstasy that I have realized by the mercy of my Spiritual Master and that is:

ALL GLORIES TO Śrīla Prabhupāda!

Begging to remain Śrīla Prabhupāda's servant,

Śrutakīrti Dāsa