Loyalty to Bad Decisions?

Dhritarasthra_GandhariIn relation to the implications of Gandhari never objecting to her husbands mistakes and bad decisions…

I think there is a hierarchy of loyalty. Its not simply loyalty to an isolated person.

For example I would like to be loyal to my Guru, not because he’s a fun person and a nice man who is really smart, but because he has a deep connection to Śrīla Prabhupāda who has a deep connection to the Rupanuga Sampraday from Śrī Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who revealed the śāstra in a groundbreaking, amazing way.

So there is a hierarchy involved. I am loyal to Gurudev because he is loyal to Śrī Caitanya, for example. Now, if Gurudev ceases to be loyal to Śrī Caitanya, he ceases to exist as “gurudev.” My loyalty is primarily in Krishna, Śrī Krishna Caitanya – and consequently in those who properly represent him.

A lot of cult-ism goes on in the name of loyalty — browbeating the masses to embrace stupidity and passiveness as a virtue: “you aren’t qualified to know what Śrī Caitanya Mahaprabhu represents. You are only qualified to know whatever your guru tells you Śrī Caitanya Mahaprabhu represents.”

Although these is an element of truth to this, it is far too often misused as a deceptive tactic, creating a very anti-intellectual and culty environment.

Śrī Gurudev gives me access to the parampara. It is not that Śrī Guru eclipses the previous acaryas and the sastra so that all we can see is him – like Rahu. Rather, Śrī Guru is the lens through which we access the previous acaryas and sastra. Because of Śri Guru I get access to previous acaryas and to sastra itself.

The previous acaryas and the sastra make no effort to be confusing, quite the opposite they tried to make themselves clear. Nor do they make any effort to be hidden or obscure, quite the opposite they tried to make themselves well-known and distributed (that’s why they wrote books). So it is not difficult to read and understand the sastra and previous acaryas when one has the fundamental pointers and context set by the initial instructions of Śrī Guru.

Therefore certain things are quite clear – for example the importance of always striving to engage in Krishna kīrtan. Putting all ones energy there.

So if a disciple sees the guru or see some authority departing from what has been shown clearly by previous acaryas and by sastra – it is in the disciples right to say, “whoa.” and to try to help the guru return to the proper situation. And if the guru refuses after many attempts, the disciple shouldn’t hate the person, but neither should he continue to follow subsequent instructions and guidance from the person.

I have a favorite quote from Aindra Prabhu, “Being humble is one thing, being stupid is another.”