Friends, if I argue with you, I argue with you.

Please don’t wear the plastic armor that by arguing with you I am arguing with Prabhupāda. It should be pretty obvious how wildly pompus that attitude is.

Yes, you are a devotee, an ISKCON member, a disciple of Prabhupāda or of Prabhupāda’s disciple, etc. but this doesn’t make you identical with Prabhupāda, nor does it mean that you understand Prabhupāda perfectly (or less). I understand that you have your opinion of what Prabhupāda teaches, wants, etc. I respect that as your opinion. Please have the presence of mind and meekness of ego to recognize that other people besides yourself can have different opinions of what Prabhupāda teaches, wants, etc.

A person with a different understanding of Prabhupāda is not automatically any of the following catchphrases: blooped, a fringie, a speculator, unchaste, independent, a puffed up scholar, or a self-appointed ācārya. What they are is just a person with an  understanding of Prabhupāda that is different from yours.

Maybe their understanding is better, closer to the divine truth. Maybe its worse, further from the essence. Figure that out by discussing it rationally, please – not by claiming that, since it’s not how you see things, its completely wrong and anti-Prabhupāda.

I understand that you hang out with lots of people who have the same understanding of Prabhupāda as you do. I understand that there is a feeling of strength in numbers. But please don’t think that simply because a lot of people believe something, it is true. If there are a lot of very deep, very intelligent, very sincere people who come to the same conclusion about Prabhupāda that is important. But 95% percent of the time the strength in numbers is just might-makes-right by the size of the herd. Just because a person with a half-baked idea was the best person at the time to assume a position of power and prominence, and now has lots of people without the inclination or ability to scrutinize or question his or her concept of “Prabhupāda says” or “Prabhupāda wants,” it doesn’t make his concept of Prabhupāda any more or less half-baked than whatever it actually is by virtue of whatever it actually IS.

I understand that being a “Prabhupāda Disciple” feels like a passport to the V.I.P. section of heaven, and implies that you are right about your opinion of what Prabhupāda said. But unfortunately 98% of the Prabhupāda Disciples spent as much time studying personally from Śrīla Prabhupāda as you or I have – zero. They all percieved Prabhupāda through their own intellectual and emotional lenses (just like you and I), or, worse, through the intellectual and emotional lenses artificially imposed on them by their bhakta leaders, temple commanders, and so on and so forth.

The fact that you are socially senior means that you deserve social respect – it doesn’t mean you comprehend philosophy better or worse than anyone else. Maybe you do  comprehend it better. If you do, its because you comprehend it better – not because you have a certificate, or a rubber stamp, or a letter from Prabhupāda changing your name to something in Sanskrit.

So, please, what I am saying is, if I am arguing with your idea of something, I am arguing with your idea of it. The fact that you think it is also Prabhupāda’s idea is part of your argument, that’s all. Defend the idea please, or don’t engage in a debate or proselytize it.

If you don’t know the basic principles of how to debate a topic rationally, how analysis of statements can be made (“hermeneutics” / “exegesis” or mimaṁsa), or the hierarchy of importance in assessing evidence (“epistemology” or pramāna), it would be much better for you (for your sake, too) to stop blogging, stop posting, stop commenting, and start listening and studying under a teacher who does.

Thank you, please forgive my frustration. Hare Krishna.

Vraja Kishor dās

VrajaKishor.com

7 thoughts on “I’m arguing with YOU, not Prabhupāda.

  1. Hare Krishna!
    Subjective and Objective reality. Following Your logic one can assume, that Srila Prabhupada did not spred Krishna Consciousness at all. But just an interpretation of His own. Honestly – to step aside and to say – common, be honest, its not Krishna Consciousness, its Your Consciousness – this reminds – there is no Such Krishna Consciousness (Objective), there is only Subjective.
    I am not arguing. Just feeling, that such STAND and approach leads to the trivialisation (is it right word?).

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  2. Prabhu, If the originality of a Scripture message is changed, then the preaching immediately looses its power.
    So, While I understand your frustration, I want to say – regardless of what a person (even a supposedly Prabhupada disciple) says, if one looses the real search, everything is just but an empty argument.
    Rather than perceiving something a person says in an argumentative mood, I urge you to kindly look at the Shastric evidence behind it. Ask for a verse supporting what they say, maybe.

    You mentioned:

    But please don’t think that simply because a lot of people believe something, it is true.
    That’s exactly what ISKCON and plethora of other Krishna conscious preaching missions say – Look for shartric evidence, don’t follow the heard blindly. When you do that, I am sure you will find out that ever Acharya have their own way of following the SAME thing. And then you might gain a new respect for those who gave their life for bringing the masses to reality, Just like the way I did.

    This is in no way an argument, kind sir. I also respect your process of investigation, so please do not give up your search for the truth. It is my experience that all processes of logical reasoning, contemplative thinking lead eventually the Bhakti, so please do carry on, but kindly refrain from blaspheming well meaning people.

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    1. That is exactly my point, see the paragraphs at the end of the post, please. Debates are useless unless the persons involved understand and agree upon pramāṇa (which in our context is śāstra), and also understand the means to comprehend conflicting or overlapping statements in śāstra (which is exegisis/hermeneutics as given in mimaṁsa).

      The number of people who believe something is called loka-pramāṇa. And the length of time people have believed something is another type of pramāṇa called “tradition” (the Sanskrit term escapes me now). These two “popularity” and “tradition” are considered by all ācāryas as vastly inferior to the main three pramāṇa, pratyākṣa (“observation”), anumān (“inference”) and śābda (“revelation”).

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