Quarrelling: This category covers quotes and excerpts by Swami B.G. Narasingha Maharaja that focus on the detrimental effects of quarrelling and the importance of maintaining peaceful relationships amongst devotees. These are quotes and excerpts that have been extracted from articles, lectures and letters by Swami B.G. Narasingha.

NO ONE IS UNITED ANYWHERE

Everybody is saying, “We must all get united!” But no one is united anywhere, even in the spiritual world. There are inherent differences. Many of them are brought out specifically by Kṛṣṇa to advance the whole thing. If we all join one group, the whole thing will just become very melancholy. But when there is transcendental competition, competitive groups, then the intensity of the thing can increase. But we should recognise it as coming down from the spiritual world. Then we can happily deal with it. But if we forget that, then we may become offensive.

AT LEAST WE MAY BECOME CIVILISED HUMAN BEINGS!

Some people like me and some don’t, and that’s fine. You can’t please everyone – that’s just the way the world is. But saying I left Prabhupāda, sending death threats to me, threatening to sue me, shoot me, all these things – just step back a little and ask yourself, “Would Prabhupāda be happy with that? Is that what Prabhupāda and his godbrothers did when they had disagreements?” Am I really the enemy? That’s what they said about me in 1987 – “He’s the enemy of Prabhupāda!” Try saying that to my face and see what happens! Anyhow, those people are no longer around, and truth be told, I’ve done more to help Iskcon than harm it. Whenever there was an attack from outside – from the Madhvas, the sahajiyās and all these things, I helped. Why would I harm Iskcon? We all came from there. Whatever shape it’s in now, it’s still Prabhupāda’s movement – we just don’t agree with the present management. Now, we might write things against philosophical misconceptions – that’s a whole different thing altogether. That’s not character assassination. But this mood some devotees have against everyone outside the four walls of their mission just perpetuates from one generation to the next. Is that the legacy you want to leave behind? Anger, hatred, bitterness? So for whatever reason, we may not like each other, but we can quietly appreciate from a distance, and stop talking crap about one another. If we can do that, then we still may not be Vaiṣṇavas, but maybe we’ll learn how to behave like civilised human beings at least. But this constant mud-slinging which goes on in the ‘Vaiṣṇava’ world against different individuals, different missions – it’s the exact opposite. It’s avaiṣṇava, and Prabhupāda and our guru-varga would simply be embarrassed.

WE HAVE NOTHING TO FIGHT ABOUT…

What followed after Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance was tragic…tragic and bizarre. Brothers fighting brothers – so much politics, fighting, even murder. Ghastly! Basically a small group of devotees hijacked the movement and it was “my way or the high way” – if you didn’t support them, or you didn’t agree with them, you were out! It didn’t matter how much devotional service you had done, how devoted you were to Śrīla Prabhupāda – nada! You were out! And you were called a ‘demon!’ All the gurus were scrambling for position, taking over temples and then other devotees were fighting to become gurus themselves. The whole thing was a joke…a tragic joke. And finally, when the smoke cleared, more than half the movement was gone, means most of Prabhupāda’s disciples – devotees who had served Prabhupāda and the movement faithfully for decades.

Anyhow, luckily, we have a very small mission. No big temples, no big positions – all nice devotees, no ambitions, just serving Kṛṣṇa nicely. So we have nothing to fight about…

VOTING MEANS DEMOCRACY OR ‘DEMON-CRAZY!’

We don’t vote in any of our centres. Voting is a sure way to breed politics and disharmony. We take a vote, you lose and then we say, “Ha! We won!” In our community in India we have never voted on anything and we never will vote on anything! Ultimately the ācārya decides what is to be done, but at the same time everyone should be accommodated. It shouldn’t be that eleven people are satisfied and ten people aren’t. Then that will cause a split. So a decision has to be made where everyone goes away satisfied – not that they just go away and don’t come back! Voting means ‘democracy’ or ‘demon-crazy’ as Prabhupāda called it. Neither should all the power be in the hands of a committee. That doesn’t work either. We’ve seen that in those situations, it mostly creates elitism and they don’t really care about the general devotee’s necessities. So at the end of the day, the head, the in-charge has to make the final decision and try to accommodate all the devotees.

“WHY DRAG UP THE PAST?”

I have some friends who say, “Oh, c’mon – why so much fighting and controversy? That’s all in the past! What’s done is done! Why do you have to keep dragging up the past?”

Why? Because if we don’t learn from history, then history repeats itself and we simply make the same old mistakes again and again. And are devotees immune to that? I don’t think so! Why? Because we’ve repeated all the same mistakes. In fact, whatever the mistakes were in the past, we’ve managed to double it, triple it – quadruple it even! We can’t just say, “Oh, but that was then! That was Gauḍīya Maṭha” or “That was Iskcon.” or whoever it was. No! None of us are immune to it. We ALL have to be attentive and not repeat those mistakes. Like that old saying, “When you point one finger, three fingers point back at you.” So you can’t just escape it and stick your head in the sand, pretending its not there and it will just go away.

DISHARMONY IS INTOLERABLE

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ossiping, criticizing, disharmony, it serves no purpose but to spoil things – first for you and for others. I have the habit of nipping these things in the bud; when these things happen they have to stop! I cannot tolerate! it has to stop wherever it exists! In principle, it is intolerable; it’ll ruin everything. When things are unrecognizable then I’ll step in and believe me you don’t want me to do that! Because in the future, I won’t be here and you will have to learn to solve the problem or you will perish and you will suffer. So practice now!

I AM SUFFERING…

Really, all I want is peace at the āśrama and Kṛṣṇa consciousness for everyone who comes here. At present it is like I am caught in the middle of the Mahābhārata War. But I only want a Vṛndāvana atmosphere where everyone serves Kṛṣṇa in harmony…So I am suffering also – not so much from my bad health, but I suffer when I see my spiritual family being torn apart.”

THE FIRE OF INTERNAL QUARRELLING

I put emphasis on harmony between the devotees. This is because once Prabhupāda wrote a letter to the devotees and he said, “It is more of a problem to me when you are fighting with each other. It is more of a problem than if you break one of the regulative principles.” I read this and I thought, “Yes, because if I have a problem, I suffer. If you do some nonsense, you suffer. But if you start shouting at your godsister or godbrother, then two people are suffering and everybody who has to listen to that nonsense, also suffers. In this way you’re spreading the suffering.”

And I read the other day, according to Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, the forest fire that Kṛṣṇa extinguishes represents internal quarrel amongst devotees. I’ve seen temples in situations where everybody attended maṅgala–ārati, everybody went on saṅkīrtana, everybody chanted sixteen rounds and when quarrelling took place, it destroyed the whole temple – just as fire can burn everything. So we must get beyond petty quarrels because they have the potential to grow into politics and backstabbing and finally burn everything.

FIGHTING THE KALI-CELA WITHIN US!

I have an āśrama and there are always problems. There are financial problems, there are shortages, somebody bloops – the problems in this material world are unending! We’re fighting against māyā, but what makes it worse is when we fight with ourselves. Māyā says, “This is great! These guy’s are not even manning the walls any more! We can just go over the wall, enter them, put on their armour…” It’s like you see in the movies – the guys sneak up and wear the uniforms of the other army and Māyā is right in there, dressed like a Gauḍīya! Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura called that soldier the ‘kali-celā,’ the devotee of Kali. Tilaka, neck-beads, and even chants Hare Kṛṣṇa! He may even move into our heart of we’re not careful! So first fight the kali-celā within, not just fight the kali-celā next to you! It will be like Prabhāsa-kṣetra where the Yadus started fighting.

RIVERS OF BLOOD!

At Kurukṣetra when Kṛṣṇa returned 40 years later for the great war, at the end there were only five men standing, and Kṛṣṇa just wanted to say one thing – “See how much I love My devotees?” Hundreds of thousands lay dead on the battlefield in rivers of blood with arms and legs floating! And all that just to say, “See how much I love My devotees?” So sometimes there’s a big turmoil – but those who survive it are going to come out from 22 karat to 24 karat. There is some purification in all of this.

NON-COOPERATION IS A SIGN OF OUR ENVIOUSNESS

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f we cannot cooperate with the Vaiṣṇavas in this life, then what chance will we have to cooperate with them in the spiritual world of eternal pastimes? The inability to cooperate with the Vaiṣṇavas and especially with the senior Vaiṣṇavas is actually a manifestation of one’s envious nature due to association with the objects of sense gratification.To achieve harmony and cooperation among the Vaiṣṇavas it is essential that one gives up all types of material sense gratification, desire for name, fame and power, and humbly takes up the mood of vaiṣṇava-sevā (service to the Vaiṣṇavas). However, sometimes envious persons themselves take up the responsibility of uniting the Vaiṣṇavas, but their goal is actually to lord it over (to control) the Vaiṣṇava community, not to serve them. Seeing through the ill motives of these envious persons the advanced Vaiṣṇavas never cooperate with such diabolical schemes.

THERE’S NO FIGHTING IN MY ĀŚRAMA

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hen we were in Africa, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote a letter saying, “It brings me more pain when my disciples fight than when they break one of the regulative principles.”

Fighting! I am so sick of this fighting…there is no fighting in my āśrama! Anybody who wants to fight, fights with me! And obviously, nobody wants to fight with me!

Many of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s godbrothers were totally sickened, saddened and heart-broken to see what happened in their Guru Mahārāja’s mission. Each one on his own tried his level best to go on and see that the same thing would never happened again.

OUR LEGACY

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o one can say when the fateful moment will come when we leave this world. Many are already gone, and what is being left behind is a legacy. But a legacy of what? If we all vanished right now I would say there’s not much shining hope for the future, at least in the legacy we’re leaving behind – voting, politics, distorted philosophy, quibbling, fighting and so many things. It doesn’t look good. So while we are living, we should try to get it together.

HOW TO PLEASE THE GURU

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ow do you please the guru? Firstly, by curbing your false ego. That means harmonious dealings amongst all the devotees. That means no fighting, no politics, no factions – work out your problems and serve guru together. Fighting with each other, envy, harsh dealings – all these are symptoms of false ego. Second, by cultivating a proper service attitude and Vaiṣṇava qualities. You may know so many ślokas, be expert in management and all these things – that doesn’t mean anything if you’re heart isn’t becoming purified. In other words, your heart should become kinder and more accommodating. Then, third, by following the instructions of guru, in particular learning the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and chanting the Holy Name without offence. We must avoid the ten offences and chant śuddha-nāma. We came to Kṛṣna consciousness for PURE devotion, not something mixed. The guru wants to see his disciples become pure devotees and follow pure devotion. That pleases him the most. When he sees his disciples fighting, not taking the process seriously, not chanting properly, this actually causes him great pain – the greatest pain actually. When he sees that, he feels like his mission was a failure…when his disciples have become mixed devotees, not pure devotees…quarrelling, chasing after position, money, material piety, all these things.