Loving Krishna Rather than Oneself


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 57, Vol. 1 2018

Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, is said by Srila Prabhupada to have considered himself to be "lower than a worm in the stool" (Room conversation, 23/7/73). Such extreme humility is the very antithesis of the philosophy of self-love. However, GBC gurus have started to preach that self-love is integral to practising Krishna consciousness. Emphases added.

Self-love preaching

"Love Yourself!!! That's an interesting title for a Krishna conscious blog – "Love Yourself." [...] On the other hand since we are supposed to love Krishna we should love all his parts and parcels and that includes ourselves too! What does that mean, to love oneself? It means to picture or visualize or imagine how you want to be."
(HH Bir Krishna Goswami, statement from personal website)

"Loving ourselves may sometimes need to be precisely expressed as giving attention to our needs and feelings so that we can make spiritual progress without disturbance. Loving ourselves may also sometimes mean becoming grateful for the unique gift of the human form of life [...] Loving ourselves can mean respecting all aspects of our being as God's gift."
(HH Sacinandana Swami, statement from personal website)

"I will love myself so much or too much that I would never give in to this situation. [...] So it can be a very powerful way of protecting ourselves by keying or gearing in to this context of self-preservation, taking care of myself, loving myself."
(HG Mahatma Dasa Lecture, 26/8/17)

These are all statements by GBC-elected diksa gurus. They justify the self-love philosophy by claiming it is part of, or will help one in, Krishna consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada's way

However, instead of self-love being an aid in Krishna consciousness, Srila Prabhupada preached the opposite. Simply love Krishna and you will automatically love everything else. There is no need to practise self-love separately:

"The test is how much you have learned to love God, Krsna, that's all. You have got your love, you love somebody, but if you divide your love, that "I shall love this country and my society, my girlfriend and this and that, or boyfriend, and I shall try to love Krsna also..." No. That is also nice, but if you give predominance, all predominance, simply to love Krsna, you'll automatically love other things, and your life will be perfect."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 20/10/68)

Mrs. Wells: "How about teaching them how to love themselves?"
Srila Prabhupada: "Eh?"
Mrs. Wells: "How about teaching them to love themselves?"
Srila Prabhupada: "Everyone is loving themselves. That is..."
Mrs. Wells: "Do you think so?"
Srila Prabhupada: "That does not require teaching. [...] if I actually I love myself, I must always engage myself in the service of the Lord. This is love."
(Room conversation, 11/7/73)

Indeed, Srila Prabhupada dismisses the idea of "self-love" by saying it's not even a kind of love, but manufactured:

"We have got the propensity to love. Love means somebody else. Love cannot be done or love cannot be executed only one, personally. There must be another one. I love somebody; somebody loves me. So as soon as there is question of love, there must be lover, there must be beloved, and the transaction, then love. [...] So we have manufactured so many types of love except God. This is our defect."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 12/11/73)

"Better" way

This self-love philosophy is admitted by Mahatma Dasa ("MAD") as being something he has invented to be "better" than what Srila Prabhupada teaches. At the outset of the statement we quoted from MAD earlier, he states:

"Prabhupada said we should be afraid of maya, but I think there's a better way of thinking if we employ this idea of taking care of ourselves. And it's a mantra that I've used and it's very powerful."

And then he goes on to give the "self-love" philosophy which we quoted from him in the first column. Indeed, he also confesses that:

"a lot of times when I look up these more modern terms like self-love or self-esteem, like that, that's not there in Prabhupada's books."
(MAD Lecture, 12/11/17)

No faith

Considering self-love a "better way" to practise Krishna consciousness than that taught by Srila Prabhupada, it is no surprise that MAD also lacks faith in both the philosophy of Krishna consciousness and the Holy Name:

"I've spoken about this before that sometimes, I know this is awkward to say, but sometimes we put too much faith or trust in the philosophy or we expect the philosophy to solve things for us that we really need to work on ourselves."
(MAD Lecture, 20/8/17)

"In some cases, they're actually running away from the problem and they need to deal with it, and not just chant and avoid it. That sounds like a controversial statement [...] but in some cases we actually run away from facing the issue by taking shelter of the Holy Name. So by taking so-called "shelter" we are actually making the problem worse. It does happen. And so sometimes I see this and I know philosophically it's hard to justify".
(MAD Lecture, 20/8/17)

However, Srila Prabhupada teaches the opposite, that the chanting of the Holy Name does actually work all the time:

"So by this chanting process he comes to his consciousness and all this material, bodily mental intellectual diseases are cured. [...] We are chanting and he joins in chanting, all our students do that. Then he becomes cured, mentally, intellectually and bodily."
(Room conversation, 3/10/72)


Thus, not only is this philosophy of "self-love" not taught by Srila Prabhupada, but rather Srila Prabhupada teaches the opposite. It is ironic that instead of teaching people to reduce their narcissistic, self-absorbed self-love and attachments for themselves, our ISKCON leaders are now going backwards and teaching people to increase them! Further, those preaching this philosophy of self-love exhibit a lack of faith in the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, and a belief that they know better. Devotees have to choose if they wish to follow the teachings of Srila Prabhupada or the GBC-elected gurus – for, as shown here, there is a clear difference.

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Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!