Whenever I heard about love in separation I could never comprehend fully that how could someone be near us and yet we would feel separation from him/her. Whenever this topic would come up during the lectures I would get bewildered as I could not understand howsoever hard I would try to `feel’ it.
Well, I am ashamed to admit that I still do not feel any separation with Lord or my Guru Maharaj or my shiksha Guru, rather I feel the opposite that They are always near me and many a times I become conscious of Their presence around me.
But recently I got a taste of the same medicine, albeit at my own expense. My dear friend Sumeet Prabhu ji told me that he may be shifting to Singapore or Australia by the end of next year. Initially I absorbed it by thinking that’s life, we all meet and get separated. But as time passed I started feeling it. Since last 2 weeks whenever Prabhu ji calls me the only thing I can think of is that he is leaving and I feel upset, like a small child.
I can now appreciate `love in separation’ a bit. I pray to Lord that Vaishnava’s continue to shower their mercy on Sumeet Prabhu and he continues to get their association.
All glories to the ever merciful and softhearted devotees.
All glories to Srila Prabhpada for creating such a beautiful garden of devotees under ISKCON.
I had gone to Punjabu Bagh temple last week and HG Rukmini Prabhu strongly advised to come and attend Friday and Saturday morning lectures in the temple, they will have a special guest from Chowpatty, Mumbai, HG Radha Gopinath Prabhuji. I never had the fortune to hear him before and listened to his lecture on Friday over internet. He spoke very well, analytically, sprinkled with humour, one could absorb the message convincingly. Saturday, I had a special guest from Ujjain, HG Mukunda Prabhuji, we reached in time to attend Guru Puja and then we were told that HG Radha Gopinath Prabhuji will be taking a special class.
With curiosity in my heart we reached a packed hall, ready for a presentation. HG Radha Gopinath Prabhuji started his presentation and for two hours we were in transcendental self introspection world.
He picked up a unique subject`From Kanishtha Adhikari society to Madhyama Adhikari Society’
In my humble opinion this seminar should be made mandatory in before we take Diksha.
I am sharing some main points below from the seminar. Please pardon my mistakes as I took all notes on my mobile phone as I went unprepared to attend a seminar.
Kanishtha Adhikari Society
1. Proper Vaishnava relations are not the norm.
2. Contentiousness arising from Envy.
Prabhuji defined Jealously as burning inside and envy as acting on the jealously. E.g. King Chitreketu’s son was poisoned by the jealous queens.
We pull down others by telling misdeeds of others, gossiping, and then as the listeners are also kanishtha adhikaris they make a opinion that everyone is like this, having a dark side.
3. Vie with each other for prestige, power and perks.
4. Pretension of advancement for honour.
To judge a person by his title, administrative post, etc., real spiritual advancement is not the criteria.
5. No open and honest relation with God brothers.
If I share my weaknesses then I will not get respected, he/they will find out about my shortcomings and I may not be respected any more and so on. Such mentality curtails our spiritual growth
6. Concealing weakness, secretive mentality.
7. Remain aloof from real fellowships.
Feel alone, secluded. Then the person start liking the `outside’ atmosphere more as he sees people `outside’ don’t judge him.
8. Does not want to be preached due to fear of subordination.
9. Eager to find faults, to reassure himself of his superiority.
As we can’t see a mole under our own nose, similarly we try to see faults in others to feel superior. Try to remain up by pulling others down so that we remain superior.
10. Identifying spiritual advancement with organisational advancement.
Actually real leaders do not wish to become leaders.
11. Lacking real spiritual assets, substitutes organisational elevation attained through cunning or political prowess.
Inceasingly Diksha has become a criteria for spiritual advancement or spiritual progress. Like a BSC certificate and not being utilised. Diksha is no doubt important but it should be taken as start of spiritual journey not the end. People can be advanced in spiritual life and may not yet taken Diksha.
12. Intense competitive spirit.
How to overcome Kanishtha stage
1. Diligent and attentive Sadhna Bhakti
Not becoming a fair weather devotee, will do Bhakti when surroundings are suitable.
2. Overcome false ego and envy.
3. Habitual negligence of Sadhna is fatal.
Especially for devotees who do lot of service.
Devotee’s heart compared to a ‘well’. We have to give but only if we ‘get’ by our Sadhna Bhakti. Service in no excuse for lack of Sadhna Bhakti.
4. Intense common commitment to our Sadhna is essential for creating and sustaining a madhyama society.
Sunday feast was started by Srila Prabhupada for this purpose so that we can all meet and share each other’s problems, realisations, etc.
Rising from Kanishtha to Madhyama
8 factors which helps a community to grow from Kanishtha to Madhyama
1. Being conscious of needs and emotions of others.
a. Acknowledging someone exists and they have needs and emotions like us.
What I went through I won’t let others suffer it.
b. we generally focus on our own needs, at the expense of others needs and emotions.
An ideal leader makes every subordinate feels important. When Haridas Thakur was dying Mahaprabhu said that His life will be shunya. Also the subordinate should take it humbly. Haridas Tahkur replied to Mahaprabhu that he is just an ant.
Physically: need defence
Mind : needs protsahan
Spirit : need self esteem
Sensitivity to the need of others.
C. Not conscious of offending or hurting others.
Samadarshina means where we get hurt we should feel the same for others as well.
How to give respect
Physical : dandavat
Speech: by calling them Sri , Prabhuji
Mental : kritagyata, thinking if his good qualities.
We can research what all Srila Prabhupada spoke about respect.
E.g. Srila Prabhupada said he was taught to pick and touch even a single piece of rice which would fall on the ground as it is the mercy of Lord and it can’t be produced by humans. So he got that has a habit from childhood
Prahallad Maharaj always spoke respectfully to his father though he never listened to him.
D. Developing skills of interpersonal dealings.
Eg. Becoming aware of how our behavior, attitudes and interaction affect others and correcting immediately if we found them to be negative. Leaders especially need to take care of this.
E. First step is to understand and admit that a problem exists.
F. Putting our self in other’s shoes; reflecting on other’s feelings.
2. Good communication
A. Communication creates a communion ( spiritual fellowship) in a community.
B. it is important because it creates and sustains and community.
C. Basis if social communication.
D. Honest communication achieves miracles
E. Without it, best philosophy cannot help build a lasting community.
Aspects of good communication
1. It must be two way. It gives strength
-or else it leads to dissatisfaction and rebellion
-We learn, because everyone has something to offer.
e.g. a leader is seeing a clean chair from the top where as a small child can see the dust under it. Everyone can and does add value.
2. Listening is crucial. It should be
Non judgemental ( don’t speak or pass a judgement before we have listened )
Valuing the person ( taking action on the good suggestions)
Sympathising with him ( what happened , why do you feel like it ?? )
What is listening openly
Not giving up our discriminative ability.
Broad minded to be open to contrary view points.
Being non judgemental.
Listening with respect and. Empathy.
Integrity to respect others, wherever they are on the spiritual path.
Srila Prabhupada called the street vendor His Guru speaking via him when he suggested to print in a book rather than distributing pamphlets.
Rigid practice of KC , our self, with clear understanding of philosophy.
We preach and encourage without being a judge in their life.
Real communication is worth striving for, it is satisfying.
3. Appreciation and respect
It should be done by practice and respect
Its is said : Man sees the lips God sees the heart. or Man sees the result God sees the effort.
Every devotee is like a limb of Srila Prabhupada’s body. Small or big, all are important
Krishna appreciates all efforts whether done by Hanuman or an ant.
If we are humble, we can see that all are offering as much service as we are.
This quality is very important for managers.
Partiality to devotees
a. Serious violence and create havoc.
Eg. Men and women , leaders and followers, renunciates & householders, other Guru’s disciples.
Srila Prabhupada said that ‘part politics will spoil everything. ‘
We will lose devotees
Solution : simple dose of honest appreciation by openly glorifying devotees.
This will improve out attitude to others and benefit those who hear it.
Always remember that every devotee is special.
Transcending individual differences
It is one of the most prominent focus of a community.
Appreciate variety brought to community by of each person.
Do not compare devotees with each other.
Individual differences.: not a threat to overcome but seen as a valuable add on.
What would happen if everyone is same, there is only type of fruit, all homes look same. In Russia Prabhuji could only get potatoes and corrots as food, only one flower in two colors, he got bored eating the same things for weeks. It is Bhagawan’s Kripa that we are all different. Difference is the spice of enjoyment.
Facing differences without being critical is very crucial. It is central issue of our progress.
It will turn petty differences into progressive discussion
Do not make general statements like `He always talk negative.’
It will build bridges instead of increasing gaps.
It doesn’t mean ignoring natural differences of varna ashram and different roles
Appreciate differences between us as a gift. That is the specially of ISKCON.
They are all desiring to satisfying Krishna.
e..g. Krishna had both `left wing’ and `right wing’ gopis, they all added flavour to His pastimes and both were equally devoted to Him.
Being committed to co- existence under Srila Prabhupada and preach others. We go on serving through thick and thin.
Honesty. A devotee is straight forward in behaviour.
Sometimes diplomacy is used for ‘preaching ‘ but most of the times it backfires. ( slowly and unknowingly it becomes a habit )
Prabhuji gave an example where one person approached a book distributor `Can I have the book ‘prema sagar’ , the book distributor sold him Bhagavad Gita and later when asked why did he do it, he replied that `Prabhuji, all the Prema is in Bhagavad Gita.’ So one way it may be correct but the other person may feel cheated once he realises that he didn’t get what he wanted and may make a negative image about whole ISKCON.
Community needs to be attentive to self improvement
Self critical , open and thoughtful to the feedback of others.
Not ignore feedback a. Don’t see it as antagonism or negativity, but a chance to improvement.
Vidur and Vibhishan classic examples whose advice was ignored both Dhritrashtra and Ravana lost everything.
Only devotees can feel try empathy because they know nature of soul and its deviation
Resolving conflicts gracefully.
Conflicts are natural and unavoidable.
We must confront it , but with almost respect for each other.
Two brothers Sundh and Visundh ( I may have got the names incorrect), they got a benediction that they could only be killed by each other, they were very close and defeated all the demi gods. In the end demi god arranged to send a tilakuttam kanya, to seduce them. They both fought over the girl and killed each other.
Desires are unlimited and resources are limited.
Say problem is mine and share it with other.
If we apply these practical with proper attitudes, we will see immediate difference around us.
Must be applied with resolution and determination.
It helps us to understand our strength and our shortcomings and limitations.
There is nothing revolutionary or novel in the above suggestions, we just have to understand their importance.
The importance of friendship and relationships is topmost.
In the last few minutes Prabhuji rushed through the presentation as time went flying but everyone listening attentively received the message loud and clear. I could only write that much over phone but I am sure you can request Punjabi Bagh temple to share the audio recording of the same from HG Sadhu Swarup Prabhuji (email@example.com). HG Radha Gopinath Prabhuji also recommended a 36 hour seminar on communication for everyone. I pray to HG Rukmini Prabhuji to arrange it for the benefit of all the neophyte devotees like my own self.
My dandavat Pranam to HG Gopinath Prabhuji for giving me a big booster dose on such a wonderful subject and to HG Rukmini Prabhuji for arranging this seminar.
Please listen/download the audio recording of the lecture from the below link