"The poison is personal ambition"


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 26, Winter 2009/10

ISKCON today is full of ambitious leaders and managers. This ambition can easily be detected by comparing their actions and programs with the orders of Srila Prabhupada, and when the two do not match, it is evidence of acting on one’s own initiative, fuelled by ambition. The main example was the decision of the ritviks (officiating priests) appointed by Srila Prabhupada, to end the ritvik system and, instead, turn themselves into initiating gurus, despite being appointed by Srila Prabhupada to initiate only on his behalf. Even the guru hoaxers themselves admit this:

“Tamal Krishna Goswami goes on to explain quite clearly what he means. Here I will summarize his point. Srila Prabhupada appointed eleven leaders to be officiating acaryas, to initiate on his behalf during his presence. But out of ambition and pride, some of them misunderstood this appointment as ritviks as Prabhupada’s personal selection and appointment of them as gurus.”
(HG Ravindra Svarupa Das, ex-GBC Chairman, ISKCON Journal, 1990)

And the current ISKCON guru system is simply an expansion of this original guru hoax, again based on individual desires and not any order from Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada gave many warnings against this “poison” of personal ambition, which continue to go unheeded as everyone jostles for the 3 deadly “Ps”: Power, Position and Properties.

There should be no personal ambition

“There is no ambition or motive in pure Krsna consciousness. Every other transcendental function or mode of worship is backed by a motive: someone wants salvation, someone wants material prosperity, someone wants to go to a higher planet, someone wants to go to Krsnaloka. These ambitions should not be there. A pure devotee has no such ambitions. A pure devotee does not even desire to go to the supreme abode of Krsna. Of course, he goes, but he has no desire. He simply wants to engage himself fully in Krsna’s service.”
(Science of Self-Realization, chapter 8)

“We have no other ambition. We want to see that everyone may accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead and be happy. This is our mission. We have no other ambition, not to make any cost-profit. But when we see that so many people are reading Krsna book, that gives us very good encouragement. Otherwise what...? Two chapatis we can get anywhere.”
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, January 16th, 1977)

“Our only ambition is we live among devotees and execute the mission of our predecessors, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krsna.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, May 27th, 1977)

Gaudiya Math smashed due to personal ambition

“In India some of the important members they have collected huge amounts in the name of the Society and spent it luxuriously. I wanted you all my experienced disciples should manage the whole institution very cleverly without any personal ambition like ordinary materialistic men. The Gaudiya Math institution has become smashed, at least stopped its program of preaching work on account of personal ambitions. So whatever is done is done. I shall request you all not to be personally ambitious.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 8th, 1974)

Warnings to ISKCON's leaders

“Our duty is therefore to be very, very careful. The poison is personal ambition.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 1st, 1970)

“It is now evident that some of our top men are very much ambitious and there has been so many fall downs.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 27th, 1975)

“This we want to give. There is no cheating. There is no politics, no personal ambition fulfilling. This is our mission.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, May 27th, 1977)

“Our mission is to serve bhakta-visesa and live with devotees. Not that you take the place of the guru. That is nonsense, very dangerous. Then everything will be spoiled. As soon as you become ambitious to take the place of guru—gurusu nara-matih. That is the material disease.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, April 20th, 1977)

“So that is Vaisnava’s business. So the Vaisnava, therefore, will have no politics. Politics means planning for one’s own happiness. That is politics. So in our society there should be no diplomacy, no politics. Everyone should be eager how to do good to others. That is Vaisnava. If he’s planning something, that “I shall be leader,” “I shall be doing something,” that is not Vaisnavism. That politics is not good.”
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, March 15th, 1974)

Personal motivation

“I am confident that this mission of Lord Caitanya’s will be successful if only we continue to push on this great movement, without any personal motivation.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, September 19th, 1970)

“As soon as personal motivation comes in it is not possible for one to understand our Krishna Consciousness philosophy.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, September 21st, 1970)

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