ISKCON: More Gurus Needed!


Whether you like it or not, Jehovah’s Witnesses are always ready to do two things (1) Distribute books (2) Sit down and talk with you, and help you to understand. ISKCON has many book distributors, but we need more gurus.

After people have read one of Srila Prabhupada’s books, and if they want to know more, their first question is often something like this: “How can I find out more about all this? Do you have any meetings in my town?” or “Are there any other Krishna people living near me?” That was my first eager question at the age of 16 when I received a Back to Godhead magazine in the streets of Nottingham, England.

If you’re not English, the answer is yes, the city still has a sheriff, although the Sheriff of Nottingham these days is largely a ceremonial functionary – and no, there’s not much of a forest today for Robin Hood and his merry men to hide away in.

But such things didn’t concern me when I was 16. I wanted to know where I could find out more, and if there were any other Krishna people living in Nottingham. I’d already had some sort of introduction to Krishna the previous year, although quite a mysterious one. My father worked for an office machine company and had brought home an old spirit duplicator. By using carbon paper to create a typewriter original, and fluid to transfer the purple print to a fresh sheet of paper, you could, by cranking a handle, produce any number of duplicates. I’m sure there were Xerox photocopiers already in existence, but I was 15, it was 1972 and I didn’t know anyone who had one.

My friends had formed a band and wanted to put on a show. So they asked me if I could design and print a flyer for the event. “What sort of design do you want?” I asked them, happy to oblige. “Well, it’s going to be called the Ananta Disco,” they replied. “How do you spell that word,” I asked, “and what does it mean?”

My two musician friends looked at each other, as if it was some kind of secret they didn’t want to reveal, then burst out laughing. “Ananta is a snake,” said one. “Kind of like a cosmic snake somewhere in the universe.”

“We met some Krishna people a few weeks ago,” said the other, “they had a flat up the hill on Mansfield Road. We had some of their food – it was yellow.`”

I duly designed the ‘cosmic snake’ so that the curves of the snake’s body spelled out ‘Ananta’ with the head on the final letter. When I brought over the batch of printed flyers my friends were happy, but I was intrigued. I wanted to know more but they couldn’t tell me anything, they had no books, and the Krishnas had ‘gone to London to sing along Oxford Street.’

So when I met a devotee on the street in Nottingham in the summer of the following year I really wanted to know where he lived and whether I could come over and ask questions. “We’re traveling” he replied, “and the nearest place is London.” I was disappointed, and the devotee seemed not to want to talk, and moved away to approach another person. “What’s your address in London?” He fumbled in his shoulder bag and gave me a small spirit-duplicated flyer with an image of a long-haired girl in a dress with her hands raised in the air, together with some words repeated down one side. And then he was gone.

So that was how I missed Srila Prabhupada at the Manor in 1973 when he stayed with the devotees for many weeks; an unusual length of time for him to remain in one place. Had the devotee actually invited me to come – which he didn’t – I would have come. Had he taken my address and written to me, I certainly would have made the effort to travel down to London. As it was, I thought that ‘here are George Harrison’s personal friends, and they don’t want anyone to disturb them by visiting them.’ So it wasn’t until the year after that I was actually invited.

But this blog is not about the personal warmth and after-sales communication skills of Krishna book distributors. Rather, its to stress the fact that spiritual movements like ours need to be prepared to help people whenever their spiritual needs are most urgent. And we need to be able to help them wherever they live. It is not good enough to direct people to the nearest city where there is a temple. Our work is enhanced by temples, but cannot be dependent on them. Medical care is enhanced by a hospital but can never be limited by it. People hurt themselves in the most unlikely of places and often the paramedics must come to them. Help must be given when and where it is needed, otherwise people perish.

Spiritual workers must be available in every village. That’s the request of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Krishna who came in the form of a saintly teacher. He demonstrated his concern by walking village to village in India for six years, teaching the message wherever he went.

ISKCON has been way ahead of most other spiritual groups in its enthusiasm and competence for initial outreach. In the matter of getting out there and boldly going where no man has gone before we’re bold pioneers. Our book distributors have been everywhere: northern Alaska, Siberia, outer Mongolia, Cambodia and even Timbuktu, and we’ve given millions of people the chance to read about Krishna consciousness. It is nothing less than astonishing. We are still raising eyebrows in the publishing world where a ‘runaway bestseller’ is 20,000 copies, but the Hare Krishnas will only ever print 100,000 copies of a book.

Unfortunately, we haven’t done as well – so far – as other comparable groups in our geographic spread. You’ll find us in the major cities but we fade out in the smaller towns. And we’re not really known for our pastoral care either. Where the Jehovah’s Witnesses will sit down with you to study the Bible, we often can’t find the time to talk with people. But people do require the ongoing tuition, support, guidance and a sense of progress that should naturally follow the initial outreach.

If the devotees of Krishna do not provide these spiritual supports as a corollary of their book distribution, then other organisations certainly will. In the past 40 years everyone with something spiritual to say has set up shop pretty much locally. ‘Alternative Lifestyle and Philosophy’ has gone mainstream and is now available in every book store. And you’ll find some kind of guru or master in every local copy of the Yellow Pages. The disparity between our book distribution and our follow-up is such that, over the years, we’ve helped millions to become familiar with the basic concepts of eastern philosophy, then watched as they went to learn more from local teachers who didn’t tell them anything about Krishna. And those local teachers are quite happy with us and think us to be very helpful for their own private missions.

But as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami said: “Krishna consciousness is so important, so exclusively important,” that it does not make logical sense for the Krishna consciousness movement to become sidelined into a movement for initial outreach and book distribution only. And highly decorated temples in major cities. We need more gurus. Not remote, world-travelling, highly qualified gurus, but locally accessible, less qualified gurus. Thousands of them.

By guru I mean someone who is prepared to personally roll up their sleeves and accept responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a number of named individuals. No wide broadcasting of messages; no generic teaching to anonymous masses; but teaching, guidance, support to named people in a local area. Only with thousands of men and women doing this will we be able to do what this great mission was set up to do.

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31 Comments

Filed under Guru-Disciple, ISKCON, Preaching, Small Groups

31 responses to “ISKCON: More Gurus Needed!

  1. I agree! We definitely need more town and village gurus, all over the world. Perhaps they are already out there but don´t feel qualified enough. Somehow we need to give these potential gurus the confidence that they need so that they can start taking more responsibility for helping and guiding others in Krishna consiousness.

  2. citraratha dd

    Dear Prabhus,

    Maybe I’m not expert in reading this site, but I never see the name of whom writes the articles of the main page…

    Thanks for your help
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada !
    Your servant
    Citraratha dd

  3. here is a comment that has been posted to this article on namahatta.org:
    ——————————–
    Hare Krishna!

    I enjoyed reading your article today but do not agree with the point you made about having thousands of Guru’s etc.

    I can understand why you said it due to your enthusiasm for spreading the movement more and making it available locally so that people do not have to travel long distances to see/hear/serve Guru’s.

    Imagine if ISKCON has these thousands of Guru’s that you are wanting, people wouldnt know where to turn. With more, comes more problems. As the saying goes “more money, more problems”. If we have thousands of Guru’s, some may be up to scratch and some may not be – its not a simple case of someone wanting to become a Guru to lead a group of people back to Godhead – the to-be Guru needs to be Bona-Fide. Srila Prabhupad always said this ISKCON movement is Bona-Fide – which means it can be traced back 5000 years.

    Also, to become a Guru you need to teach according to scriptures and not include any personal comments of your own. For one to get to the stage of reading and understanding scriptures properly takes many years, even a lifetime or two – thats why Guru’s are so special – you dont get genuine Guru’s like Srila Prabhupada out there everyday so thats why there are not thousands of Guru’s at our disposal. If we had thousands of Guru’s around, our respect and more importantly the outsiders view of our movement may diminish. When an ordinary person see’s a Guru they think “wow, whys he dressed this way, whys he got a garland, why are these people singing this Hare Krishna song” – thus people will start enquriing about the movement etc. However, if we saw unlimited number of Guru’s around and it became a daily occurence then people may think “oh, its just another guru” and not enquire at all. The best things come in small packages!

    Srila Prabhupad said, one who understands Krishna’s teachings without alteration, and one who can control the senses and one who can preach about Krishna through scriptures alone is Guru.

    Srila Prabhupada is there in his teachings. Once a reporter asked Prabhupada “what will happen to your movement when you are no longer here?” … Prabhupad immediately replied with authority “I will always be here!!” – by this he means in his Books and teachings. His teachings are going on even now, after many years since he went back to Krishna.

    If you understand, learn and genuinely want to be that person to spread the movement locally in your area, then you yourself are the solution to your wish!!

    Hare Krishna
    Sanjay

    ————————–
    and here’s the reply i posted:
    ————————–

    hare krsna sanjay prabhu,

    thank you for your comment to this article. i’m not sure, though, if kripamoya prabhu will see it here on namahatta.org. this article was not written for this website, but imported from kripamoya’s blog, The Vaishnava Voice. to make sure that he’ll notice your comment, i’m posting it to his website. you can check for replies at this address:link.

    and now a reply from me:

    there are different types of guru, and the one you’re writing about is the diksa-guru. your arguments are valid as far as diksa-gurus are concerned; that’s why ISKCON’s GBC insists to issue “no-objection certificates” for devotees who want to take up the service of diksa-guru in our society.

    with this the GBC doesn’t say anything about the level of advancement of the devotee in question, if they are uttame-, madhyama-, or kanistha-adhikaris, or if they are raganuga- or sadhana-bhaktas. they do say that there are no obvious discrepancies in their performance of devotional service, and that several mature devotees in responsible position don’t have any objection to this devotee taking up the service of diksa-guru in ISKCON.

    this seems to be the best that can be done on the instiutional level to maintain a certain standard of designated gurus.

    there is another category of guru, though, called siksa-guru. a disciple’s relationship to his or her siksa-guru can be as important, or even more important, than the relationship to the initiating spiritual master. on the other hand, any devotee from whom we learn about devotional service, in general or some special aspect like cooking or deity worship, should be considered one of our siksa-gurus,—not necessarily formally recognized as such.

    a special case of siksa-guru is the varta-pradarshan [spelling?] guru, the first one to show us the way to krsna-bhakti, devotional service. very often this person who brings us to krsna consciousness is not our future initiating guru, but one of the thousands of book distributors or temple devotees we happen to meet, apparently by chance.

    this, i think, is the type of guru kripamoya prabhu was writing about, saying that instead of just distributing books, we should take the trouble of explaining to those we meet how they can connect further with ISKCON and srila prabhupada, if they are so inclined.

    your servant, phanisvara das

  4. Firstly I would like to thank you for expressing your ideas here. Yes I agree wholeheartedly. You may be on to something. “Every Town and Village” doesn’t seem to be manifesting, at least from my limited perspective. Of course there are some examples of nice projects from ISKCON and other. (Indradyumna Swami for example).

    I live remotely in a small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Sometimes I wonder why Krsna has put me into this desolate area to be out of reach and out of touch. I am unqualified to be any type of Guru. And I have no real spiritual support system. But I’ve always desired to help Guru and Lord Chaitanya spread Their mission.

    What to do?

  5. another one from namahatta.org:
    —————————————–

    Some interesting thoughts:
    Before joining ISKCON I was a full time pioneer for the Jehovahs Witnesses doing some 90 hours each month on the door to door preaching work, the emphasis was never on books but getting a bible study going with those we meet.

    The emphasis within ISKCON is books which is indeed very important but the follow up is poor. Within my work I meet many people who would like to know more but feel the book distributors are not interested in talking and that those doing Harinama are also too busy to talk, wanting to stay with the group chanting.

    It is not that ISKCON needs more Gurus but better training and a move away from book numbers to a focus on people, gaining trust and making relationships.

    As a Jehovahs Witness, although I reported how many books and magazines I placed, the biggest praise was on Bible studies and even more if I brought people to the Kingdom Hall, hence success in increasing numbers.
    I have mentioned this thought but the problem in ISKCON is an unwillingness to change or look at other ways of doing things.

    I was fortunate that the devotee I met not only walked and talked with me but invited me to a small evening at the centre, the contents of the book appeared to be very important to her in as much as she wanted me to read it and learn. Good first encounter and follow up.

  6. Change starts with ourselves.

    Everyone has different propensities and we are individual souls. All are introverted, extroverted or mentally stable to different degrees. When we find a well balanced devotee who is attentive to others, smart and values themselves also, that is wonderful. I have known these types and many who are not.

    I may be changing the subject a bit …
    There is no problem within ISKCON and I don’t see robotic training as an answer. But education is important. Not just scriptual knowledge but English, History, Philosophy, Mathematics, Science. Devotees, at whatever age, may need to think about university education, especially brahmins. It is not a slaughter house – this is antiquated thinking and negative mentality. Become educated. Become smart and then lead.

    Prabhupada and other contemporary gurus – college educated. One learns, in university, how to think critically but not to be critical. The word THINK is important. If we don’t learn to think properly, then our life will always reflect an imbalance. And if we are too zealous in our approach to spirituality, then their is also mental imbalance. This is the 21st century, not the dark ages.

  7. Quote:
    “It is not that ISKCON needs more Gurus but better training and a move away from book numbers to a focus on people, gaining trust and making relationships.”

    There is a serious flaw in this arguement. It is called throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It is not that we need to stop distributing books, but alongside with mass book distribution, there needs to be a sort of cultivation program also. Prabhupada never wanted ISKCON to “move away from book distribution”, as this devotee seems to be suggesting.

    So kindly help me. This is my request. Print as many books in as many languages and distribute throughout the whole world. Then Krsna consciousness movement will automatically increase.
    – Arrival Address — Los Angeles, June 20, 1975

    Distribution of books and magazines is our most important activity. Without books, our preaching has no solid basis.
    – Letter to Cyavana, 26 December 1971

    I especially want that my books and literatures should be distributed profusely, but so far I understand this is not being done very perfectly. So I want that you all my students shall very vigorously try for this book distribution.
    – Letter to: Kirtiraja — Vrindaban, 27 November, 1971

  8. excellent article, much needed at this point in time.
    feedback varying, but essentially crucial that we do move forward.
    personally , feel that major temples should offer training/grooming/outreach programmes for ’embassadors’ of ISKcon.
    these newly trained representatives will be armed with the standards of ISKCON, and confident to deliver what the public is crying out for,
    hari bol,

  9. shane

    Thanks for your article . Yes some valid points regarding follow up.and very pertanant points
    One time Prabhupada said dont make me another Alexandra the Great, meaning in this context that
    we may have so many huge projects temples and
    spend so much money in so many ways
    to spread KC, but at he end of the day it based on
    rasa relationships,if we cant inspire people thru personalism then what is the use of such much facilities and money to be spent,As it is ultimitly rasa or taste in relationship which attracts people to associate with devotees and become KC
    Nice point about how Jehovah’s going out and do books and almost all of them do that ona regular basis.we can take inspiration from there dedicated mood in this way towards reaching out to others.
    In the 10 th canto in one purport Prabhupada mentioned that it was the duty for everyone in this movement to go door to door to impress upon people the plilosophy of KC, as in the books Prabhupada biography and veg books as well –
    Last point Prabhupada also said its a quote which is on one of the old sankirtana Posters with Pictures of Prabhupada and a quote next to it
    Anyway Prabhupada said that he was prepared to sit down under a tree and take the time to teach some sincere soul the entire plilosohpy of KC,but that as he had the movement to manage, he had to travel more, but still we can see that Prabhupada often took the time to relate to everyone in a very personal way. As in giving people quality time and hearts attention.
    For instance the famous racing car driver, and Prabhupada spent 20 minutes talking about racing cars ,and then said but there is one race that you have not won, and the racing car driver said which one is that, and Prabhupada said the race against birth death old age and disease or something to that effect, cant remember his exact wording but that is the gist of what Prabhupada said.
    so sometinmes we also have to relate to people in these kinds of way, we cant juts charge up to somone and say your in maya surrender to KC etc
    we have to establish relationship and when there is trust we can win peoples hearts over,of course in public lectures we may use more stronger words that is another story to preach boldly but in personal dealings Prabhupada said the sign of a KC person is that such person should be like gentleman or gentelwomen in all there dealings
    So yes the main emphasis should be on cultivation of friendships based around KC, then it will be a success. we have the best product ,
    the eteranl blissful full of knowledge answer to all lifes troubles.
    Its juts a matter of chanting good rounds studying the books and having a caring heart and people will become attracted.

  10. bhakta rob

    I entirely agree with what is written in this article.

    I hope one day these aspirations can be translated into a tangible practical programme of support for those willing to take up this task. I’ve seen here on Dandavats that younger devotees are often decried for their lack of willingness to take responsibility. My experience is that those who are may often be unsupported, or even criticised for their efforts.

    Prabhupada encouraged an “enterprise” culture. He backed good ideas, he encouraged people to use their initiative and make their own decisions, and he liked people who thought for themselves. In order to foster a culture today where individuals feel inspired to take up this kind of grass roots preaching work, the same spirit of enterprise needs to be encouraged. Institutions and their methodologies, whilst often trying to act in the best interests of preservation and continuity, frequently end up stifling dynamism and growth. It is very important to the future of our society at grass-roots level to empower and enthuse young people to have ideas, and guide them to see those ideas through to reality. There will surely be no senior devotee who will become offended if I say that 20 year old man has a better sense of how to connect with the next generation than someone far older than he. So let the youngsters have the big ideas, and let the seniors train them in the practicalities of realizing their ambitions. That, in fact, is Prabhupada’s own example.

    No new leaders, big or small, can be fostered in a system which frowns upon initiative and “independent” behaviour. No individual will be enthused to act in a structure under which he feels too much of a burden of pressure and regulation. It’s worth noting here maybe that Prabhupada set up ISKCON to act as seperate self-registered individual yatras acting under the auspices of an international governing body. When this important administrative instruction is realized in practice, then only will dynamic growth be able to begin again.

    Comment posted by bhaktarob on September 19th, 2008 on dandavats.com

  11. Akruranatha

    We are making an effort here in ISKCON Silicon Valley, under the guidance of His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu, to take down contact information from people we meet on book distribution and follow up with them.

    It is a nice program, and it reminds us that we are not just machines trying to pump out the most books in the shortest time, but we are actually representatives of Krishna consciousness, wherever we go. This might be the only contact someone gets with Krishna consciousness, so we have to make it count.

    On the other hand, we cannot waste our time talking with someone who is not receptive, or who simply wants to convince us of his or her own ideology. But for those who are really interested in Krishna consciousness, we have to really listen and answer their questions and try to encourage them to contact ISKCON further. It takes some discrimination.

    Years ago I was in L.A. Airport and I was talking to one man and he was politely listening as I showed him Bhagavad Gita, and then he said “I am a Christian.” I thought he was going to waste my time arguing with me, and I just walked away from him. o then he went over to our leader, Praghosa (ACBSP), and gave him $10 and took a book. And Praghosa came and rightly chastised me for having misread the situation.

    Lord Caitanya ordered, “Wherever you go, to whomever you meet, tell him Krishna’s instructions and on my order in this way become a guru and deliver everyone in that land.” All the book distributers, sankirtan devotees, or even devotees who talk to co-workers and acquaintances about Krishna consciousness, are in that sense gurus.

    It is not the same as giving diksha and developing a formal relationship based on submission and service exactly. Accepting the worship and commitment of disciples in that way is a very serious responsibility that should be undertaken by steady devotees who will not in any circumstances become bewildered, and who are fixed in knowledge of Absolute Truth (brahma nistham).

    But in another sense it is the same, because wherever Krishna makes His appearance to enlighten the heart of some individual is absolutely worshipable. A vartmapradarshika guru, a siksa guru and a diksha guru are all on the absolute platform. Guru is guru.

    Bilvamangala Thakur repeatedly praised his vartmapradarshaka guru, Cintamami, although she was a courtesan, a prostitute. She instructed him that instead of lust he should use that same determination for Krishna, and he understood

    Comment posted by Akruranatha on dandavats.com on September 19th, 2008

  12. ccd

    Traditional system was always localised and usually every village had a guru, even in Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. It is not uncommon and probably most effective. High profile gurus and low profile gurus or any gurus are all just representatives of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. ‘Just’ maybe a wrong word, but the truth is that local preaching is benefiting from gurus teaching local congregation or temple devotees. I can not agree that there is some mysterious difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru qualifications or level.

    The mission suffers because of lack of gurus and at the same time because gurus are presented as ‘word acharyas’. Yes acharyas are a very advanced position, but guru is a relationship in training a disciple. We place such a strong stress on diksa and official status, but we should rather put the stress on taking care of the devotees, be it congregation or full time devotees. Care is the essence of the guru-disciple relationship and it is a two way street. Kripamoya Prabhu makes an obvious observation, and it is the recorded wish of Prabhupada, that all his disciples became gurus, why? Lets pause and ask ourselves, what stops us from having all Prabhupada disciples being gurus as he wished? Even if someone who is not up to the very high standard of the current system? Then they can be local gurus, when it is easy to implement simple traditional check and balances system of observation and daily service. Let become more liberal and follow Prabhupadas explicit instructions about it and spread the care for devotees in every town and village, not just momentary care, but consistent care and guidance, under the shelter of our movement… We do not have to copy the Maths system of acharya-gurus, we are smarter and bigger (I hope). ys ccd

    Comment posted by ccd on dandavats.com on September 20th, 2008

  13. Vidura

    The setback of the system currently practiced in ISKCON is the lack of Guru and his disciple relationship. The guru/disciple relationship has become a religious ritualistic circumstance rather than what it is truly intended to be: a teacher and a student. So this is what is the real problem.

    To strengthen the relationship between the diksa guru and his disciple, perhaps after a year of practicing KC, a disciple should be trained personally under his guru for a month or so before he is given his initiation. This will give the personal attention and spiritual training that a disciple requires. Subsequently, he can take up a siksa guru who can be the local authority or his senior devotees where he stays.

    Currently there’s no official definition for who these teacher/siksa gurus are, the affection and focus of the new disciple is inevitably placed on their diksa guru, who they don’t really know and get little if any association from, what to speak of spiritual training. The local leaders, primarily the Temple Presidents and senior devotees in the temple, should act in the capacity of gurus. They should take responsibility for training the disciples, and will then also be the recipients of their affections. This will see much of the disciple’s love directed towards their local leader. There will be a meaningful relationship that wasn’t essentially defined as guru/disciple, but is essentially that dynamic, nonetheless. Both parties benefits. From the leader’s point of view, that affection and reciprocation will keep you going.

  14. Thank you Vidura, some very good points you’ve made there. Generally speaking, any system within an organisation is meant to deliver a particular experience. The experience under discussion here is the ‘guru-disciple relationship’ and whether or not, in our changed circumstances, the fundamentally important experience is still available for people.

    Previously, devotees of ISKCON were naturally guided by Srila Prabhupada to regard their local spiritual leaders as being important to their spiritual life. These days most of our devotees do not take up the option of residence within a temple community so it is not easy for them to develop a working relationship with the spiritual leaders who serve at a temple.

    They often, quite naturally, regard the ‘remote guru’ as their main source of spiritual tuition and guidance but of course, that has proved almost impossible to genuinely maintain with rapidly increasing numbers of new devotees.

    Our success at spreading Krishna consciousness should not mean that we have to invent some new system; rather that we take Srila Prabhupada’s original system of local spiritual leadership and apply it to contemporary ISKCON.

    Of course, my small piece was merely to highlight the need for local messengers or teachers but I used the Sanskrit word for ‘teacher’ namely ‘guru’ and that is probably what provoked all the comments. It seems that in contemporary ISKCON we have invested a quite common Sanskrit word with lots of extra meaning!

  15. Vidura

    The Bhakti-Vriksa and Counselor system is also supposed to address this need for messengers or teachers. Somehow it has its pitfalls but it has been successful in some places. We can improve it further by listening to feedback from devotees who have gone through the system. (See more comments and ideas from namahatta.org)

    On the relationship between the guru and his disciple, I still feel there should be some level of personal relationship. How else can one cherish and wholeheartedly accept one’s guru? There must be some way for us to achieve this in this contemporary world.

    If we can provide an avenue for disciples to get this chance just once in his lifetime, that will be good, something the disciple can remember for the rest of his life like how most of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are relishing those moments.

  16. Jörgen hesketh

    As a fairly new devotee of Krishna, and with only a few other Krishna devotees in the area, my initial thoughts are this;

    Am I worthy of such a position, I am not what would be called a ‘Pure Devotee’, would I be offending Krishna by taking on such a role? Am I really a good representative for promoting Krishna Consciousness, no saffron robes, not initiated, still a few personal habits etc., or should a pure devotee be doing this?

    Do I have enough knowledge and wisdom to guide those newly interested in Krishna Consciousness? I would certainly be fearful of putting my foot in it, so to speak, by my lack of knowledge. I would also take it as a personal failure if for some reason a person decided against Krishna Consciousness because of something I said, did or didn’t do.

    Just a few thoughts to pass your way.

    Hari Bol!

  17. Thanks Jorgen,
    In general, if you’re sharing what you know with enthusiasm and conviction there’s a power of good you can do in your local area. Where are you? There may be even more ways of doing good…

  18. Jörgen Hesketh

    Hare Krishna Deshika,

    I belong to a Krishna group in sunny Bournemouth.

    We are a small group, but what we lack in size, we make up for in our devotion and love for Krishna. I personally need Krishna to be in my life and I couldn’t imagine a moment without Him, the thought alone chills me.

    I love Krishna above all things and to everyone I come into contact with, I am proud to make this known to them, but I am by no definition a Guru.

    More than anything, I think it’s the fear of letting down Krishna that would make me question taking on such a role.

    Hari Bol!

  19. Whoever repeats the words of Lord Krishna becomes a guru to whoever is listening. Thats the way transcendental communication works. Of course, it is more important for our own spiritual life to regard ourselves as perpetual students; that will keep us humble and grateful, without which we cannot function as gurus. Srila Prabhupada’s own guru said that as soon as you begin to think of yourself as guru you lose all your intelligence!
    There is a vast array of different categories of gurus, all the way from those, like you and I, who simply repeat one or two statements from the Bhagavad-gita, all the way up to the vastly learned and completely self-realised persons.
    But in whichever way we function as transcendental messengers for others, the message of Lord Krishna is vitally important and must reach as many people as possible. That sort of guru is very much required. In your town and in all others. Even in the smallest villages that kind of guru is required. I can send you a book with some helpful ideas if you are interested. It is based on the experiences of many others in towns throughout the country and is called ‘The ISKCON Small Groups Handbook.’

  20. Jörgen Hesketh

    Hare Krishna Prabhu,

    Thank you, the handbook would be welcome. Do you have an email address I can send my address to?

    The group, here in Bournemouth, continues to attract those searching for answers, two more souls joined us this week. It was such a beautiful and moving gathering, the place seemed to glow and so did those gathered.

    Hari bol.

  21. thank you prabhu.
    this grassroots preaching effort is the future for srila prabhupadas movement….accept all vishnavas and let them all preach openly…..this will be our success, i remain……….cyavana das

  22. grassroots preaching was the start, and will always be our strongest. So where are the grassroots preachers ? never mind iskcon or non iskcon, abc, or nbc……just preach……..Prabhupada’s Books, thats all.
    The next generation will understand, every town and village !
    Thank you, Cyavana Swami

  23. kumar

    hello
    do you have iskon facility in nottingham,uk
    please send details thanks
    kumar

    • The Nottingham group has a facebook page under ‘iskcon nottingham’ and they have given these details:

      Nottingham Nama-Hatta / Bhakti Vriksha ISKCON
      Every Friday – 7:30 pm to 9:30pm
      Venue- Queens walk community Centre, Meadows.

  24. rohit.subedi

    Hare Krishna. I am Rohit Subedi from Myanmar ISKCON.
    Now I am Myanmar country in Tamu.

  25. ahinsra das

    One guru would be enough, as was during 1965-1977, provided that this one shall be real. The only way is to wait for that one to appear, and until that we should catch hold of Prabhupada’s books to be in safe side.
    May Krishna bless all of us to be sincere in our path to Krishna.

  26. Thank you Prabhu,
    Now the tide will turn, old armies need old Generals who do nothing, new armies need young fighters who have nothing. “When you can smell the stench from the Tiger’s mouth, he is no longer your friend” Cyavana Swami

  27. leena

    Hari bol….
    I am new in Bournemouth and looking for ISKCON group staying closer to town centre.
    Please let me know as soon as possible .
    Hari bol..

  28. Anonymous

    Srila Prabhupada was always very careful to instill in us the importance of individualization and autonomy as can be seen from the following instructions he gave to Karandhara in a letter:

    “Krishna Consciousness Movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all types of departments of knowledge and action, not for making bureaucracy. Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility, competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide. No.”
    The correct structure for our Movement is “Varnashrama Dharma.” Hare Krishna !

    • This 1972 letter is often used as an argument against ‘centralization’ within the movement. However, it was written in response to a proposal to centralize internationally all of ISKCON’s finances, a wild proposal which the founder-acarya rightly rejected immediately. Other aspects of our movement were actually centralized – by Srila Prabhupada himself. Services such as Rathayatra, BBT, and various ‘ministries’ were central, where one person – or a team – did have the power and distributed to others. But of course, your point is well taken otherwise. Varna-ashram dharma – such as it is – is of immediate concern to the membership of the movement, almost 95% of which have never lived communally, beyond a short period of training. ISKCON is no longer a ‘confederation of temples…’ and has not been for more than 20 years.

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