Attacking the Messenger


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 55, Spring 2017, Editorial

Welcome to Issue 55 of Back To Prabhupada (BTP).

Consider a child who receives a disagreeable letter from a classmate at school. The child could respond in a number of ways:

a) He could go and confront the sender of the letter directly;
b) He could complain to his parents to take action;
c) He could complain to the parents of the sender, their teachers, the school, etc.

However, here is one thing the child will never do. He will never complain against the postman who merely delivered the letter. Even a child understands that this is not logical.

Now, please bear this child-level logic in mind when we consider the situation in ISKCON. In our Interactive section, although we receive many letters of appreciation, we also feature a number of abusive letters attacking us. And such attacks also happen whenever our devotees are confronted personally.

However, such abuse and anger directed at the IRM make no sense if one actually considers what the IRM does. It essentially compiles statements from:

1) Parties claiming to represent Srila Prabhupada;
2) Srila Prabhupada, and also other statements from the same parties mentioned in 1) above.

1 and 2 are then compared to see if there is a difference.

Thus, for example, when we do this exercise with ISKCON leaders who claim to be ‘good as God' successors to Srila Prabhupada, it is not that we are ‘attacking' them. Rather, we are simply conveying Srila Prabhupada's statements on the subject matter at hand. Similarly, our recent articles about the spiritual position of those who either accept or co-operate with the guru hoax are also not an attack, any more than a postman is attacking a child by simply delivering a letter from someone else who disagrees with that child. We are just repeating what Srila Prabhupada says on the subject. And this is the case for all the topics we cover (unless we are showing contradictions, in which case we quote the party concerned).

Hence, rather than be angry at us, those affected by the message of BTP should be grateful – that their deviation from, or misunderstanding of, Srila Prabhupada's instructions has been explained, and that now they can correct such deviation and misunderstanding. Though, such anger rather than gratitude does not prevent us from carrying on with our duty, as we should:

"Just like a man is sleeping. And somebody is coming to kill him, and other friend, "Mr. such and such, wake up! Wake up! Wake up!" So he may say, "Why you are disturbing me?" But that is the greatest service, he'll be saved."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 30/12/68)

And, if what we are presenting is wrong, people could just refute us philosophically, rather than get upset and angry:

"If two persons are in argument the man, the one party, he becomes angry, that means he is defeated. Why one should become angry? It is the argument, logic. They should continue".
(Srila Prabhupada Interview, 9/7/75)

But they cannot claim that they are upset because what is being presented is wrong, because it is either just Srila Prabhupada's statements, or their own statements being quoted back at them! Thus, their anger does not arise because what we are presenting is incorrect, but because it is actually true. They do not like what is presented, because it shows them as deviating, and this exposure is what concerns them more than actually being on the correct path:

"If one is a foolish person, if you give him good instruction, he will be angry. He will not take it."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 1/6/74)

Hence, unlike in the example of the child given at the outset, they do not even have a right to get upset at the message, since it is coming directly from Srila Prabhupada (or themselves) – and thus to get upset at the mere messengers becomes a ridiculous act of desperation and frustration. An act which, as explained, displays even less intelligence than a child.

Thank you and Hare Krishna.

In Srila Prabhupada's service,


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