BY KURMA DASA

 

In the afternoon that Thursday, a few local devotees came to speak to Satsvarupa dasa Goswami about the current state of affairs existing between the two camps. Satsvarupa spoke, giving his perspective, after having travelled with Prabhupada from Hawaii to Japan, then to Hong Kong, where he had encountered almost identical problems. Although the rift between the "temple" devotees and the "outside" devotees appeared to some like a split, Satsvarupa hesitated to use the word.

He explained that while in Hong Kong earlier, he had made the mistake of mentioning that very word. "Srila Prabhupada," he had asked, "what about splits in our movement?"

Prabhupada had immediately cut him off. "There is no such thing as a split," he said. "There is only insincerity, that's all. I chant 16 rounds and follow the principles and preach, and you do also. There is no split. Only if one is insincere and doesn't follow."

Satsvarupa had said no more; his very uttering of the word "split" had now seemed impertinent. Satsvarupa explained to the devotees present his understanding of Prabhupada's reply: living separately from the temple was one thing; but there was no justification for disciples working against the spiritual master's movement. His movement and the directions he gave were perfectly clear, and should be followed by everyone. If someone didn't follow, then they could not be credited with creating something separate, as if the "split" was a new spiritual entity. Rather, such a person would wither spiritually. Satsvarupa gave the example of the broken branch. Although initially appearing fresh, it would eventually wither and die. Such was the fate, he said, of someone who was disobedient to the orders of the spiritual master.

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  • The foundational priority of ISKCON's leadership is to serve a community where every possible need of a devotee is considered and tendered to.
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