The Rule of Love
Dear senior Vaisnavas, dear brothers and sisters.
Please accept my koti dandavats. All Glories to Sri Gurudeva who has appeared in so many forms to save all of us and to Sri Gouranga whose loving message is the only hope for the souls in the age of quarrel.
Going through the Sarasvat Gaudiya Journal the following thoughts came to my heart, which I desire to share with all of you.
Vaisnavism is no doubt accompanied by so many laws and rules. The Vedas, Hari Bhakti Vilas and Vaisnava etiquette are full of them.
But in the Vaisnava life we see also that rules and laws are to be broken again and again by the overpowering influence of the Vaisnava love and generosity. There are innumerable examples to proof this point. The voluntary nature of Vaisnava missions, what to speak of such a body as the Visva Vaisnava Raj Sabha or the Sarasvat Gaudiya Sammelan, do not drive on rules, but only on Sadhu Sanga, nama kirtan and Love. Love for Krishna and love for the fellow Vaisnavas, be they senior or junior in their advancement. Love also means trust. In a loving relationship rules are disturbing rather then promoting an increase of that love.
Rules regarding Gurus, disciples, initiations, Sannyas, reinitiations, Sadhana or Sadacara belong into the scriptures to be explained and applied by Bhagavata personalities. If non realized persons or committees want to explain such rules, they most likely will kill the inner meaning of them, which is to make everyone happy in the family of Krishna Consciousness.
Those who try to dominate other Vaisnavas through rules will very quickly find themselves surrounded by those who care only for external benefits and not for the Vaisnava substance.
Let me give you examples of this:
- The rule is not lo listen to the voice of a woman.
- Srila Swami Maharaja Prabhupada has all the devotees listen daily to the voice of Yamuna devi singing the Brahma Samhita.
- The rule is not to associate with Women.
- Great Vaisnavas listen again and again when realized Vaisnavis such as Jahnava didi, Hemalata Thakurani, Gangamata Goswamini and many many others talk their Krishna katha.
There are many rules regarding initiations in many missions and regarding preaching in Kali yuga, but:
-The pancha tattva broke open the storehouse of love to distribute it's content profusely.
-Lord Gauranga made the Muslim-born Haridas Thakur the Acarya of the holy name.
-Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada said one day that Sannyasi initiations should be restricted by rules and a few days later he initiated another few Sannyasis disregarding the rules he just made.
-Many Sannyasis and initiation were given and are still given under very surprising circumstances in almost all Vaisnava missions, and not always the result is a success.
-The rule is not to give the sacred teachings of the Bhakti to the non-devoted, sinful population.
- Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada and many of his Godbrothers such as Srila Sridhar Maharaj send their books to be distributed in Airports and streets regardless who would receive them, and even at the risk, that many such holy books would be thrown into the garbage.
- The rule is not to speak lies, but for protecting his devotees even the supreme Lord sometimes lies or brakes his promises.
- The essence is that only realized souls can know when to brake the rules and laws and when not. That can never be legislated. Since Lord Gauranga's call is for all of us and since we all have received that call through one of the different agents of the divine love, we all have the equal responsibility to become such realized souls. That is possible by always taking the dust of those on our head, who have already gathered more experience and spiritual advancement then we have ourselves.
It is my proposal to cultivate sincere Vaisnava friendships and see what and when it is convenient to do things together for our Sampradaya.
Trying to control one another will not do. Making more rules and bylaws will not do. Offending each other in our secret meatings or worse in writing or on the Internet will not do. Hypocrisy and diplomacy have no space in Vaisnava sangha either.
Let Vaisnava love be forever glorified. The path of love, free of the obstacles even of reverential feelings of Vaikuntha. Let the great spirit of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur inspire us all to accomplish the almost impossible in this age of Kali. That is to give up all pride and sectarianism and to dance together in true happiness.
All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gouranga
Your servant Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti