Dealing With Blame in ISKCON

     Yesterday one devotee was commenting that on each level of ISKCON management we find devotees blaming the persons on the level just above them for their problems. That is if one is a cook in the temple for example, one will blame the temple commander, if one is the temple commander one will blame the vice president, the VP will blame the President, and the president will blame the GBC or guru.

The standard way of dealing with this blaming situation (the one which leaders use now) is to say this indicates that we need more training for those in leadership positions-therefore they will do their service nicely and there will not be a cause for those under them to feel dissatisfied.

Granted, training is needed for persons in responsible positions to perform effectively. No one will argue with that. My opinion (I almost wrote humble opinion and then I realized I was not humble) is that this blaming others on all levels indicates more than just a lack of training. It indicates a culture of sempowerment in which we are looking to others in an overly dependent fashion. As I mentioned previously Prabhupada wanted devotees to be independently thoughtful and resourceful. Money, position, power, perks, threats, rewards, blame, guilt, etc should not control l a true Brahman. He/she should be interested in the absolute truth and spiritual advancement.

Srila Prabhupada presented Krishna consciousness in a pure, loving way. When we become influenced by the modes of nature we present it either in a passionate, ignorant or material mode of goodness way. Lord Kapila in the Bhagavat describes passionate Krishna consciousness: "The worship of Deities in the temple by a separatist, with a motive for material enjoyment, fame and opulence, is devotion in the mode of passion.". Lord Kapila describes ignorant Krishna consciousness: "Devotional service executed by a person who is envious, proud, violent and angry, and who is a separatist, is considered to be in the mode of darkness.". Material mode of goodness KC is described also by Lord Kapila: "When a devotee worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offers the results of his activities in order to free himself from the inebriety of furtive activities, his devotion is in the mode of goodness.".

Finally Transcendental KC is described by Lord Kapila: "The manifestation of unadulterated devotional service is exhibited when one's mind is at once attracted to hearing the transcendental name and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is residing in everyone's heart. Just as the water of the Ganges flows naturally down towards the ocean, such devotional ecstasy, uninterrupted by any material condition, flows towards the Supreme Lord.".

So, the devotees of the Krishna consciousness movement should always be guiding others towards transcendental devotional service. When we use guilt, rewards, threats, punishments, etc we are encouraging devotional service in the modes of material nature. Pure devotional service is just motivated by love-service. Sometimes our authority tells us unless we listen to them and follow them we are going to hell. Apart from question of the veracity of that statement, we should see that motivating people with the threat of hell automatically puts people into the mode of ignorance or passion.

Other religious groups regularly do this. I can't count how many times I have been told that unless I surrendered to a particular religious group I was going to hell. Of course I would always retort with something like: That's wonderful. Then I can serve God and preach in Hell. People will be very receptive there. Usually after hearing this the person who was attempting to scare me would go away. Thank God!!!

So, we have to be very careful to facilitate the voluntary spirit of love in hearts of others. So, how do we motivate others and even more important how do we motivate ourselves? With the spirit of volunteering to please Krishna and His reps. The voluntary spirit is much more encouraging than the domination spirit.

Someone asked me how do we perform our activities joyfully, even those activities that are not our favorite. My response is that we should always think that we are choosing to do those activities, not that we have to do them. Actually there is nothing that we have to do. We can choose in every case. Let us take our chanting for example. If we think we have to chant, the chanting becomes a drudgery. When we think we choose to chant, the chanting becomes much easier. So internally we should be motivating ourselves with the choose word. And with others we can encourage them by making requests rather than demands of them.

For example, yesterday I was at the GBC meeting. We work as a team in those meetings but sometimes we forget the magic words, please and thank you (that my mother taught me)! So, one devotee said to me "You have to do this." My mind immediately rebelled at the thought of doing what he was asking although the task was a reasonable one. Still I did what he asked even though my mind was screaming no! Had he said: "Would you be willing to do this, because we need..." I would have jumped at the opportunity.

Also, I can count the number of times on my fingers that I have received a thank you from others in our management meetings.

Please and thank you are our most important messages.

Article Source :

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Posted on 2007-07-13, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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