The Gift of Union in Diversity 3/29/15 Pt 2
Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur gave an instruction that comes to my heart. I think it is a wonderful occasion to discuss this issue in this day, where you can see the representatives of different Gaudiya Maths, celeberating today in this festival union of Sri Chaitanya Janmotsav (Appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu). It is said that on birthdays we give gifts to the birthday person, but in this case Mahaprabhu is the one who gives us gifts daily. If we can give Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the gift of union in diversity on this day, then this will definitely become a historic event that will not be forgotten in the future. It will not be just an event with prasadam, no! But an event of union in diversity that makes a difference for the future of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which is a real need for the world.
The scientists, medical discoveries, they are not sectarian. As soon as they are discovered these medicines are applied anywhere in the world, no matter if it is in Russia, China or South America. In addition, if a discovery is accepted that it can cure any disease, it no longer remains the property of a person instead it belongs to all humanity. But Kali Yuga disease has been cured only by the contribution of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore, the movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu can not afford to have any sectarian element. Our dear Vaishnava acaryas and sannyasis have created diversity. This is very good. This diversity is the power that has been unknown in the past.
If Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my Gurudev, has been in the Math of Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj driving his magazine, as he did for some time, he never would had founded ISKCON or even begun his travels around the world, as that was not the plan at the Math of Srila Goswami Maharaja. In a way he had to establish diversity.
When Srila Swami Maharaja (Srila Prabhupada) came to India with his new Western disciples and white followers, they called them "white elephants". Everyone in India was surprised: "What is this? How did they come here? How is it possible that they dress in dhotis, wear tilaka and japa mala???" No, this is not possible they should be successful in the Western world," people said. Because, you know, crazy India follows the examples of the crazy West. By the way, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur said: "This materialistic society of the West must be crushed. The concept of happiness with money, fame, name and enjoyment, or the idea that we should be successful and that America is Heaven, is all a big lie and we must wake up from it." Because the wealth we have received from the rishis is of much value that if we look at the enjoyment of the West, we lose those gems of rishis, and thus lose the scope and characteristics of our future children in the educational system.
On the other hand, union in diversity is not a luxury, it is a necessity.Yes, we have diversity, we have many fantastic missions, they are considered as pluralistic concepts of the approximation of Guru Tattva, siksa gurus, diksa gurus, the vartma pradaksaka gurus, pita gurus and sannyas gurus, many gurus named in scripture. That is quite pluralistic. It is said that there is only one guru, there are many gurus, but only one is the supreme guru, and that is the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the final Guru of all. Therefore, in union, that's the time when we get together for a common cause, which can not be separated, because while we maintain diversity, we see that there are erudite scholars, doctors, musicians, peots, many great people who have come to have contact with the Gaudiya Math from different missions.
When we project ourselves in our social, educational, environmental and spiritual responsibility, we can see that we need each and every one of them. We need them all to face the current situation of the Ganges and Yamuna. These issues concern us because it is about our sacred rivers. We need everyone to address this situation in which health is in great danger due to environmental pollution. You know, many senior devotees have sugar related diseases. Many other problems also exist. The environment is drowned in plastic. For example in Radha Kunda, in Govardhan or Varsana. Personally I spend most of my time in Vrindavan and I could see it in the Yamuna, one can just go there. It's full of trash and pollution and most of the pollution comes from the pilgrims themselves, not the vrajavasi farmers. If you go to the fields of crop farmers you can see that they are completely clean, but when the pilgrims arrive they became a great environmental disaster.We as leaders in diversity, we have a social responsibility in these matters. Now we have to unite, the above is just one of many other issues."yena tena prakarena manah krsne nivesayet." First of all we must think of Sri Krishna. That is the supreme order of Mahaprabhu. But should we avoid thinking of the Yamuna and the Ganges who are in a condition of despair? Lord Shiva himself sent the answer to that question: Some time ago back in Kedarnath, all the tourism in that area, was hit by a flood. That was an answer from the sky. Do not do this! Do not turn this sacred place in a crowded tourist spot of rubbish! Such places are meant to be places of worship and sacred life. Just as Vrindavan Dham, Puri Dham, and Mayapur dham. And what is the situation now in Mayapur dham? Sadly it is full of illegal trade across the street from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur, where they consume meat. We are not saying anything extreme. Meat!
While in Western countries people slowly become vegetarian in India more and more people started eating meat, even in holy places. It is our social responsibility to reverse these matters!And take action on them. Our children do not know the dangers of consuming meat, fish and all these products.
We can see that all these problems are emerging and, by the grace of our guruvarga, we have the information on how to solve them.We can see that all these problems exist and, by the grace of our guruvarga, we have the information needed to address them. And thanks to the wealth of diversity we have there are many very capable scientists, PHD's, leaders of churches, sannyasis around the world, etc. When they all get together and establish unified statutes or join in a common effort, then it becomes something great. Just as the maha harinam sankirtan was done through the streets of Kolkata one day after the annual meeting of the World Vaishnava Association and one day before this same event. Or the decision taken by the sannyasis in the last meeting of the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha, where they decided they would go to the streets with their followers to clean the streets in front of their temples, beautifying the sacred dham all around so it does not look like a dump. Those are some ideas where we have a lot of union in diversity, but we must not lose diversity; because diversity is the power of bhava (feeling) of the relationship, and that is where saranagati (surrender) takes place. That is very personal.
Another issue is that our gurus have not taught man how the spiritual master must not have many disciples because it is impossible to properly care for everyone. However, we must all work together and establish the common ground to fight. A common cause. Scripture confirms this idea about the spiritual master and his disciples, however, at the same time, our guruvarga has shown us several examples at different times, places and circumstances. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada himself said: "My Mission is to establish temples in the hearts of everyone." So, Gaudiya Math means love, Gaudiya Math means to love everyone, to love and care is what we crave today, this is what we are doing. To love and appreciate that we are all singing together today, including the company of people with whom we had never chanted with before. All of us together for hours for two days of joyous festival. This is a new feature and should not be stopped. Rather we must set the beginning of what Srila Jiva Goswami desired when he mentioned the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha, or the ideals that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati embraced to deliver all of us the energy to come together.
Today we have seen that in a very wonderful way.I appreciate all the posts of Vaishnava literature that have been assembled here on this day. We should reach the point of having these fairs where everyone can showcase what they have achieved for the preaching of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.We have a presence in movies, in art, in all different fields, and we should share the progress that other missions have achieved in different areas of social responsibility. For example, the initiative to keep the ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Hospice is something remarkable. One of my disciples left this world a few days ago there and was very fortunate to share their last moments with the association of devotees who looked after him very well and gave him constant access to hari katha and Krishna prasad.
So, these initiatives have been established and have been great achievements in helping the devotees to create a wonderful future; who have come to the feet of Sri Caitanya seeking help and were able to become members of His Audarya Lila, the most magnanimous lila of all. The Supreme Lord Caitanya is Maha Vadanyaya, the most magnanimous of all and He has come here to give us what no one before has given us, and because of that it is our duty to make it a reality so that everyone who comes to this movement, to anyone that comes in contact with Gaudiya Vaishnava and Sanatan dharma. Therefore, I invite you all from the bottom of my heart, to be part of this union in diversity that comes from our common needs, especially considering the situation of Sri Vrindavan Dham. Where we need all people and the government to accept the importance of the sacred place and protect it as a world heritage site. Vrindavan is not a simple village, it is a global asset that was given to us by the Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani. And it is to protect Their land that we need mercy and the participation of each of you.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur and all parsadas, among which can be found within each of you.
Your always well wisher,
B.A. Paramadvaiti Swami