Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Strictly following the instructions of Guru

Sentimental and vague ideas about rules and regulations amongst some of Srila Prabhupada's disciples continued to divide the Australasian zone. That, coupled with the confusion about living inside or outside the temple, caused Prabhupada on-going concern. His stance on the issue, however, especially for those who heard him attentively, continued to be absolutely clear.

Srila Prabhupada stressed temple life. This was evident from the way he answered the questions at the conclusion of Wednesday night's class. As Prabhupada explained, it automatically gave the devotees a regulated devotional routine, and especially gave them the unique facility to engage in Deity worship, one of the five main limbs of devotional service. Such a life, Prabhupada explained, coupled with association with similarly-minded spiritual aspirants would strengthen a person's spiritual resolve. Prabhupada, of course, did not limit devotional service to temple life. In Hawaii, where Srila Prabhupada had confronted a very similar scenario the year before, he had explained: "It is not that everyone has to live in the temple. If one does not agree with his other Godbrothers or friends, he can live separately." Most of the devotees from the "outside factions" whether in Hawaii, Melbourne or Auckland, preferred a simple life with devotional practices done at home.

Yet Prabhupada had stressed a proviso: Whether "inside" or "outside", one must strictly follow the rules and regulations; and there was no doubt that following devotional regulations was easier in the temple. Prabhupada had given an analogy. In ordinary business, you worked through the stock market. There, if you had to sell, you got an immediate purchaser; and if you wanted to purchase, there would be an immediate seller. Similarly, if devotees lived together in the "stock exchange of devotional service", then, as Prabhupada said: "You can help me, I can help you. So our business will go on nicely." If one lived three hundred miles away from the stock market, Prabhupada said, one would not get so many business opportunities.

Prabhupada had summed up the issue during his stay in Hawaii by commenting that where you lived was ultimately inconsequential. The essential thing was to follow the orders of the spiritual master. Prabhupada recalled that in his early days, he himself did not live in the temple, but he always strictly followed his spiritual master's order.

"Wherever you live," Prabhupada had told the devotees in Hawaii, "if you follow strictly the instructions of the guru, then you remain perfect. But if we create concocted ideas against the instruction of the guru, then we go to hell. yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado, yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi. There is no more shelter -- finished. If the guru thinks: 'This person, I wanted to take him home, back to Godhead, but now he is going against me, he is not following,' aprasada -- then when he is displeased, everything is finished."

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

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