Hatred and Division Amongst Gauḍīyas

I am watching a very good television show with my wife and son – it’s called The Walking Dead. It’s set in a zombie apocalypse scenario and shows how human beings try to survive. It’s much more about human psychology than about zombies.

One of the most disturbing and terrifying things the show reveals is that humans wind up being much more dangerous to one another than zombies. You would think that the survivors would think, “we are all humans, we have a common enemy and a common goal, let’s unite and fight together.” But what actually happens is that a lot of people think “I need to survive. My needs, and the needs of those related to me, come first – before everyone else.” In The Walking Dead, humans rarely ever unite or cooperate with one another – they mostly fight and try to conquer one another’s dwindling resources.

The realism of this depiction is disturbing.

It is, to me, vividly analogue to the way Gauḍīya’s recently split themselves into minute factions and war amongst one another.

“We are Gauḍīya Maṭh, you are not. We hate you.”

“We are are the bābājīs. We represent the real tradition. You don’t, so we hate you or pity you at best. Anyway, you are certainly not one of us.”

“We live in a temple, and you don’t – so you are a blooped fringie and we are the real deal.”

“We are ISKCON, and you are not. You are completely bogus and we are completely bonafide.”

“We are the ritviks. You are the Prabhupāda-usurpers. We will focus all our attention on defaming you, and none on faming Krishna.”

“We are the book distributors, you are the  gopī-bhāva club. We never want to be as useless as you. Prabhupāda hates you.”

“We are mañjarī’s, we are pure. You are impure, you just want to enjoy Krishna in the guise of Sakhi-anugata. Therefore we don’t want to be touched by your shadow.”

So much ever-more-minute fractioning of what is essentially a single family of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s followers! We all have such similar goals and hopes, and we all face such similar obstacles and pitfalls. The way we are unable to band together in unity just seems so exactly similar to the way humans tear each other apart in The Walking Dead.

So much “diti” – division. Diti is the mother of the Daityas, demons – selfish beings absorbed in the consequent anger and hatred. Aditi (unity) on the other hand, is the mother of the divine forces, Adityas – self-sacrificing beings who help the world, and therefore experience peace of mind and come closer to understanding love.

Division is not an inviting path to tread, but it seems that the Gauḍīyas are swimming in it. We need to focus more on hearing Bhāgavatam and chanting Hare Krishna, and less on our cross-examination. This bhajan-kriya will effect anartha-nivṛtti, which will cure this ugly situation.

Vraja Kishor das

books, classes & more: www.vrajakishor.com

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  1. Hare Krsna! An analogy presents itself. The different Gaudiyas are branches of the same Caitanya Tree. The winds of Kali Yuga make them appear to override and overlap each other, a sort of friction amongst the branches. The need to recognize what is the cause of the internal disturbances, the effects of Kali’s influence, can induce cooperation. The eighteen material inebrieties and the seemingly endless permutations be overcome through the method you recommend.
    “Division is not an inviting path to tread, but it seems that the Gauḍīyas are swimming in it. We need to focus more on hearing Bhāgavatam and chanting Hare Krishna, and less on our cross-examination. This bhajan-kriya will effect anartha-nivṛtti, which will cure this ugly situation.”


  2. Very true, that many humans in that show end up looking out just for themselves and end up doing brutally awful things to one another and end up destroying themselves in the process. Because let’s face it-there is strength in numbers.

    But the main group in the show-“Rick’s group” so to speak, consist of members from all different walks of life, different perspectives, that have come to see the life saving utility of diversity within untiy. They use their different strengths and skills to help one another out, while not focusing on any potential differences they might have had pre-zombie apolcalypse.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Gaudiya Vaisnava groups focused less on the details that divide us but more on the principles that we all share that have the power to unite us. There are so few of us to begin with, why cause unnecessary divisions that can cause potential new devotees to turn away out of disgust over the seemingly petty bickering that seems less than spiritual to begin with?


  3. Thanks, Vraja. This is an important topic, and too many devotees simply do not understand the gravity of the problem. We see in the third canto of the Bhagavatam that the kumaras cursed the gatekeepers of Vaikuntha because they exhibited a mentality alien to Vaikuntha: duality, us and them. Vaikuntha is a place, they say, where there is complete harmony among the Lord and his associates. So they felt that Jaya and Vijaya should be relegated to a place where such duality in vision is more appropriate. The discord you describe is particularly typical of Kali Yuga, and when we see it among devotees, we may understand that we need to improve our dedication to chanting the Lord’s holy names. There’s one more place we see someone making distinctions where there should be none. In the first verse of Bhagavad-gita, Dhrtarashtra refers to the principals on the battlefield as “mamaka pandavas ca”: us and them. But these men are family, first cousins, and they grew up together. But Dhrtarashtra’s matsara, envy, caused him to see a distinction, a duality, where there should have been none. Therefore, 640 million men had to die over tow and a half weeks, with all the heartache that goes with it among their wives, mothers, sisters, and children.

    This has long been a core issue for me. I wrote about it some time ago, and I’m working on another article developing the theme further.


  4. This subject becomes clearer when we learn about mishra Bhakti from the Bhagavatam, where the symptoms are described. One should at least come to the sattva guna mishra bhakti and associate with those likewise. And respect, honour the rest, but avoid their association.


  5. “We are Gauḍīya Maṭh, you are not. We hate you.”

    “We are are the bābājīs. We represent the real tradition. You don’t, so we hate you or pity you at best. Anyway, you are certainly not one of us.”

    Who says I hate you? My experience is that vaishnavas from various lineages are happy to be polite, cordial and respectful of one another but that doesn’t mean we want to hear just any ol’ Hari katha. Let’s be real here, there are some very real differences in siddhant and mood between varying lineages. That’s called “diversity” and why should we pretend all are the same? I’m happy to join in anybody’s kirtan but when it comes to siddhant and Hari katha, am much more picky. Doesn’t mean I “hate” anybody.


  6. Massive Public Sankirtan especially of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra should be the platform which all Gaudiya vaishnavas should be able to find harmony on. Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada prescribed this and we tasted it for a few years in the early seventies but alas it has virtually disappeared as a daily affair. Now its just a couple of hours on one day of the week in most places. It is after all, the Sankirtan Movement. Public congregational chanting, original books distribution and prasadam distribution will benefit all who participate immensely. This Sankirtan is the prime benediction for humanity at large. It is the embodiment of the ONE GOOD QUALITY amongst an ocean of faults of the Age of Kali: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.51):
    kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
    asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ
    kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
    mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
    This age of Kali is full of unlimited faults. Indeed, it is just like an ocean of faults (doṣa-nidhi). But there is one chance, one opportunity. Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet: simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, one can be freed from the contamination of Kali-yuga and, in his original spiritual body, can return home, back to Godhead. This is the opportunity of Kali-yuga.


  7. We should all be able to get along. I have friends in every-camp, the devotees. Mother Jahnavah is a dear friend of mine and I have Known her for 15 years. Mother Laxmimoni is a dear friend of mine and I look up to her. I have sat with Narayana Maharajah when he came to Alachua, I love his diciples, they are so beautiful, loving and kind just like most of the Devotees I meet.
    Bhakta Jana Devotee People


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