Combating Maya


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 64, Vol 4, 2019

Welcome to Issue 64 of Back To Prabhupada (BTP).

In the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Verse 2.9, Arjuna states "Govinda, I shall not fight", and in Verse 2.11 Krsna begins instructing him. The vast majority of the purport of the very next verse, 2.12, is taken up with Srila Prabhupada critiquing and rebutting Mayavadi philosophy. Thus, the teaching of Krsna consciousness has barely begun in the book which itself is referred to by Srila Prabhupada as the "A-B-C-D" (Lecture, 27/2/73) of understanding what is God, and yet Srila Prabhupada has immediately launched into a lengthy rebuttal of a false philosophy. There are two things –

a) The pure philosophy of Krsna consciousness;
b) The deviant ideas and philosophies which are opposed to Krsna consciousness

– and from the example above, we can see the importance Srila Prabhupada attaches to exposing and rebutting b). However, when one takes up Krsna consciousness, one wishes to become free from maya (illusion), and therefore there is a strong tendency to concentrate only on a), and avoid b), finding such deviant ideas simply a repository of negativity, controversy and politics. But, because we live in the material world, which Srila Prabhupada states is the "kingdom of maya" (SB, 3.16.9, purport), we will find that maya is everywhere, and it will particularly target those practising Krsna consciousness:

"maya is always looking for an opportunity to drag us down, and especially she may attack those devotees who are trying to go away from here."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 23/12/72, emphasis added)

Thus, at every step, maya will be attacking us as we try to practise Krsna consciousness:

i) A person thinks I will just chant and not concern myself with all these opposing impurities. But maya is concerned with you and offenses against the chanting of the holy name may be present.
ii) A person thinks I will just read about Krsna. But the knowledge may be unauthorised, if one is "jumping over" Srila Prabhupada to read it.
iii) A person thinks I will just read Srila Prabhupada's books – but maybe they have been changed.
iv) A person thinks I will just join in chanting with others as this can only be "good" – but there could be sahajiya chanting going on.

And so on. Therefore, we can only combat such deviations if we first make a thorough study of them.

We thus have the paradox that the only way to become free from maya is to actively be aware of it and confront it, rather than think that we can just avoid it. Hence, since it is a fact that maya will be present especially in the realm of Krsna consciousness, being informed about all of these deviant philosophies and ideas becomes most essential. Thus, we can understand why Srila Prabhupada made a point of exposing deviant ideas and philosophies right from the very beginning.

Similarly, in BTP we are dedicated to exposing such maya. Issues such as receiving unauthorised knowledge by "jumping over", sahajiyaism, the desire for Profit, Adoration and Distinction (PAD), and so many other deviations are regularly covered by us. The deviant ISKCON gurus epitomise deviation, and thus exposing their various philosophical misconceptions merely serves as a vehicle to allow different types of maya to be rebutted. Therefore, even if one is not following such gurus, BTP is still instructive to ensure the same maya is not present in one's life. Many of the deviations we cover can afflict all of us, regardless of whether or not we associate with the GBC gurus, since the desire for PAD and the tendency to deviate affects every living entity.

If one is already completely free from maya, then of course one does not need to concern oneself with becoming aware of it. But, for the rest of us, we can only fight maya by being equipped to recognise it and rebut it. Hence, Srila Prabhupada continually equipped us with the knowledge to confront deviant philosophies. And BTP applies that knowledge to expose the maya which has taken hold of today's ISKCON in very specific ways.

Thank you and Hare Krsna.

In Srila Prabhupada's service,



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