TWENTY ONE REASONS FOR INADEQUATE CARE

(Adopted from the student handbook of Devotee Care Course)

1. Self-interest

“A king’s duty is to his people. He should take care of them with no thoughts of pleasing himself. He should subordinate his own wishes and desires to those of the people.”

“Prithu Maharaja was also very humble, meek and gentle, and whenever he performed any philanthropic work or welfare activity for the general public, he would labour exactly as if he were tending to his own personal necessities. In other words, his philanthropic activities were not for the sake of show but were performed out of personal feeling and commitment. All philanthropic activities should be thus performed.” (SB 4.22.62)

2. Short-term vision

“The shastras instruct us to aim for shreyas and not be captivated by preyas.” (TLK, verse 43, pur).

“Not only are devotees a precious resource, but they are also the only resource that can generate other resources. Thus devotee care is not a drain [on] our resources, but a sensible - indeed, the most sensible - investment of resources that will bring huge future returns” (Gauranga Das, “Carry on the Care Legacy”, p. 81)

3. Wrong priorities

“What people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things, not using people and loving things” (Radhanatha Swami)

4. Lack of individual empowerment

“[This] Krishna Consciousness Movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all…departments of knowledge and action, not for making bureaucracy…There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility…not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide.” (SP Letter to Karandhara. Bombay, 22/12/1972)

5. A broad lack of professionalism

Everyone should be expert. The leaders must be expert and the worker must be expert so that they may follow the instruction of the leader. (Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Vrindavana, 14/03/1974)

6. Reluctance to listen

“Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable and one of the least understood. Most captains of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That’s how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities.” (Peter Nulty. National Business Hall of Fame Fortune Magazine)

7. Lack of resources

“In other words, without state support, no doctrine of philosophy or religious principles can progressively advance. There should be complete cooperation between the brahmanas and the kshatriyas for this common good…Lord Buddha was sufficiently supported by King Asoka, and thus his particular cult of knowledge was spread all over the world.” (SB 1.17.45 pur)

8. Vague definition of Devotee Care

As Swamiji begins work on the last six chapters of Bhagavad-gita, he tells me that I can now start editing it. “Edit for force and clarity,” he says. “We want this Bhagavad-gita acceptable for publication, and grammatical precision is important. It must be acceptable to the academic community also, and since you have experience in that field, you know best how to put it nicely. Whenever there is some question about meaning, you can consult me.” (Hayagriva Das, ‘The Hare Krishna Explosion’)

“Maharaja Prithu’s speech was also very glorious in all respects. His words, which were nicely composed in highly metaphorical ornamental language, were pleasing to hear and were not only mellow but also very clearly understandable and without doubt or ambiguity.” (SB 4.21.20)

9. Few developed social systems to embed care

“… As an organisation, we could be doing a little better. We may well have those selfless, caring devotees in different places around the world, but what about the structure and policies of ISKCON? Do they reflect the values of an organisation that cares for its members?” (Kripamoya Das, DC Journal #2, p.4)

10. Trying to provide only spiritual solutions

“It is not easy to secure people’s happiness. You must use diverse methods, skills, cleverness, and truth. All these are important.” (Bhishmadeva, Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva)

11. Irresponsible leadership

“It is the duty of a responsible king to protect the social and spiritual orders in human society.”(SB 3.21.52-54 pur)

12. Insensitivity to real-world needs

If married men think: “I must not give any of my money, which I consider reserved for Krishna, to the poor and deprived”, then they are really showing symptoms of wretchedness, cruelty, and lack of compassion for others. They should not consider that giving charity to the poor is a fruitive activity. This kind of mentality will make their hearts hard and they will suffer from greed. (Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, conversation at Armadale, Darjeeling, on 14 June 1935)

13. Incomplete theological understanding

‘Just like in our ISKCON there are so many false things: "Prabhupada said this, Prabhupada said that'.'’ (SP Letter to Krishna das, Vrindavana, 07/11/1972)

“But the Westerners are very expert in misinterpreting even their own Bible. We say that if you interpret any shastra, whether the Bible or Bhagavad-gita, then it is no longer shastra, but simply your plaything.” (Srila Prabhupada, Morning Walk Conversation, 02/04/1973)

“Arjuna was also crying out of compassion…not due to weakness but to his softheartedness, a characteristic of a pure devotee of the Lord” (BG 2.28 pur)

“His famous bow Gandiva was slipping from his hands, and, because his heart was burning within him, he was feeling a burning sensation of the skin. All these are due to a material conception of life.” (BG 2.29 pur)                                            

14. Insufficient education and training

“Birth in a family of yogis or transcendentalists—those with great wisdom—is praised herein because the child born in such a family receives a spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially the case in the acharya or goswami families. Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters. In India there are many such acharya families, but they have now degenerated due to insufficient education and training.” (BG 6.42 pur)

15. The culture of self-neglect/negation

Shrila Prabhupada: So long as you are in the material world, you cannot neglect physical laws. Suppose you go to a jungle and there is a tiger. It is known that it will attack you, so why should you voluntarily go and be attacked? It is not that a devotee should take physical risk so long as he has a physical body. It is not a challenge to the physical laws: "I have become a devotee. I challenge everything." That is foolishness. (PQPA, Ch. 6)

“To work hard for Krishna for two days – and then to recuperate for three days - that is not a very good proposal.” (Srila Prabhupada quoted by Giriraja Swami, ‘Devotee Care: Carry on the Legacy’, p.3.)

16. Outside influences

“While ISKCON is a society founded on spiritual truth, we are not exempt from material influences that plague other institutions.” (Radha dd, Fundamental Human Rights in ISKCON, ISKCON Communications Journal, 6.2, 1998, PP. 7-14)  

17. Inordinate concern for the newcomer

Then Radhanatha Maharaja told me about a person in Dallas would been coming to the temple for 20 years. When the devotee asked him what kept him from become making a firm commitment said, ‘I have seen how you treat guests…I’ve also seen how you treat your members. I’d rather remain a permanent guest.’ (Sacinandana Swami, DC Journal, ‘Caring Leadership’. P.14)

18. Historical and contextual influences

“So now the factual administration will depend on the Governing Body Commission… So kindly execute the missionary activities very carefully with … patience…and above all keeping oneself in the society of pure devotees.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter to Bali Mardan, Tokyo, 16/08/1970)

“The introduction of any new cultural movement must be expected to at times be difficult.” (Pusta Krishna Das, letter to Back to Godhead Magazine #26-02, 1992)

19. Over-dependent devotees

“‘The following eighteen characteristics have been defined as maha-dosha, great faults: … and [finally] complete dependence on others.’ (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 26)

20. Irresponsible followers

“A devotee must be very responsible. He must act in such a way that nobody can blame him. Otherwise everyone say, "What kind of devotee he is?" So this is the duty. They should be very cautious.”

“In any case, a temple should not be a place to eat and sleep. A temple manager should be very careful about these things.” (CC Madya 24.266)

21. Manipulation

“If the leaders of our movement don’t receive such ongoing nourishment, then their spiritual advancement will be choked and becomes stagnant. As a result, there will be attachment to power, position, money and control. There will be conflicts and disturbances on various levels of leadership, and there will be a lack of spiritual care for those serving under the guidance.” (Devaki dd, Watering the Root of the Tree of Care, in ‘Carry on the Care Legacy’, pp. 24-27)

“Persons who observe everything with differentiation, who are…attached to fruitive activities, who are mean minded, who are always pained to see the flourishing condition of others and who thus give distress to them by uttering harsh and piercing words, have already been killed by providence. (SB 4.6.47pur)