Monday, 28 November 2011

Krishna Conscious Leadership

Twenty-five-year-old university graduate Phillip Scott had first come in contact with Krsna consciousness on receiving a Back to Godhead magazine on the streets of Melbourne in 1971. Later he had purchased a copy of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and had read it with keen interest. One year later, "Scotty" travelled to Perth and met up with Vegavan at Western Australia's first ISKCON centre at 555 Fitzgerald Street in Kewdale. There he enjoyed prasadam and especially the stimulating philosophical discussion with Vegavan. After meeting devotees at the Aquarius Festival, and meeting Syamananda, then Madhudvisa, Scotty started chanting regularly. Finally, just before the 1973 Melbourne Ratha-yatra, he decided to become a full-time devotee.

Scotty had been very fortunate to accompany the Australian devotees on their first India pilgrimage to Mayapur. There, on Gaura Purnima day, 1974, he had accepted spiritual initiation from Srila Prabhupada, receiving the new name Sabhapati dasa. While in India, Sabhapati and Caru had been impressed when they heard that two of Prabhupada's American disciples -- Balavanta and Rupanuga -- were planning to enter the political arena in Atlanta, Georgia. On returning to Australia, Sabhapati and Caru wrote to Prabhupada with their proposed plans to do the same. Srila Prabhupada wrote back an encouraging reply:

Your entering politics is good. You should make political propagation on the basis of reforming the whole human society. The leaders must be an ideal class of men, with ideal character, free from the four sinful activities: no meat-eating, no gambling, no illicit sex and no intoxications, as well as chanting. They should chant the names of God. This is essential for leaders. Leaders must be ideal men so others will follow them. So make propaganda on this basis. We are Krishna conscious candidates, so our political propaganda must be one hundred per cent Krishna conscious.

Prabhupada was well aware of the sorry state of affairs in modern society. He constantly stressed in his lectures, letters and writing that modern, materialistic civilisation was misdirected towards sense gratification. Such desires pervaded every sphere of life, and were the root cause of suffering. As he had explained in a letter to Balavanta, it was the duty of the leaders of society to guide the citizens. However,

At the present moment, our leaders are simply misleading people, and the people in general are innocently following them to their ruin. So it is very much our duty to come to their aid and point out exactly how this sinful living, namely, slaughtering animals, intoxication, illicit sex life, and gambling, is so much degrading to the human kind and how it is only producing hippies, wars, and endless suffering as a result.

Far from being an ideal class, modern-day administrators were of very low character. As Prabhupada explained to Balavanta:

Politicians today are simply pickpockets, tricking the voters to pick their pockets. They make promises to gratify the public's senses, but then they only gratify their own senses and the public throws them out, repeatedly.

The solution, Prabhupada said, was in strong Krsna conscious leadership.

If we are able to establish Krishna conscious leaders throughout the country in important posts, we will be able to save everyone from the present dangerous position of the world. We must establish qualified brahmanas at the head of the society, and widely distribute Krishna conscious principles.

- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu

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