Without the self-realized soul at its head…

Radha Govinda Gopal

The heart has reasons that reason fails to understand. (Blaise Pascal)

When the Acharya comes, he gathers around him so many people, but they’re bringing their own baggage and cannot prevail. It seems to be the rule that a collection of disciples can go only so far before there’s an overwhelming of their past.

O well-wisher of the devotees. May you obtain peace! The nature that the living entities have developed, according to their respective karma from birth after birth in this world, influences them to engage in fruitive activities. Until desires opposed to devotional service are destroyed from the heart, no amount of good instruction can bring any auspiciousness. Such instructions will simply come out of the ear-holes and will not enter into the heart. No amount of preaching to them or discussing devotional service will produce a good result because of their bad karma. Your discourses and discussions will therefore not yield any result. My order to you is that you should live at the place where I kept My dear Haridasa and where I loudly chanted the holy names of the Lord. You should constantly sing the glories of the holy names for the benefit of the fallen souls. As a result of the piety that people will achieve by hearing from you, and the faith they will develop, they will attain unduplicitious faith in pure devotional service in a future lifetime. (Mahaprabhu to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Sri Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava)

There is an eternal, impassible line of demarcation between the Savior and the Saved. Those who are really saved can alone know this, and therefore they do not aspire or pretend to be the Savior, but always keep themselves as the servant of the Savior. The Acharyas belong to the category of spiritual world teachers, and they eternally occupy the superior position. (Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, in his essay “Thakur Bhaktivinode“)

Without a self-realised soul at the head of the institution, it would become nothing more than atheism disguised as its opposite, because in the absence of the self-realised, spiritually empowered leader, “Putanas” or impostors masquerading as spiritual leaders would inevitably hijack the institution for their own nefarious ends. “No human contrivance can prevent these Putanas from obtaining possession of the pulpits” (Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, in his essay “Putana“), and in the name of spirituality they would inevitably stoop to such depths of depravity that even “the worst of non-ecclesiastical criminals are found to recoil” (“Putana” by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur).

There has to be a fully self-realized person to spearhead the movement. No system of management will carry by itself. It’s not just a management problem, not just a theological problem. We need a person who is in a seamless connection with the spiritual master. It has nothing to do with being a good manager or preacher. Otherwise, why did Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur accept Gaura Kishor das Babaji as his spiritual master?

No stable religious arrangement for instructing the masses has yet been successful. (“Putana”)

The idea of an organised church in an intelligible form indeed marks the end of THE LIVING SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT. (“Putana”)

The great institution is but the length and breadth of the shadow of a man. “There is an eternally impassible line of demarcation between the Savior and the Saved.” The world teachers like Bhaktivinoda, Bhaktisiddhanta, and Srila Prabhupada are always in the superior position. Without a self-realised soul to guide them, they [the institution] would be nothing more than atheism artfully disguised as its opposite. In the absence of the spiritually empowered leader, “Putanas” or impostors masquerading as spiritual leaders would inevitably hijack the institution for their own nefarious ends. “No human contrivance can prevent these Putanas from obtaining possession of the pulpits.”

The church that has the best chance of survival in this damned world is that of atheism under the convenient guise of theism. The churches have always proved to be the staunchest upholders of the grossest forms of worldliness. (Putana)

The idea of an organised church in an intelligible form indeed marks the close of the living spiritual movement. The great ecclesiastical establishments are the dykes and dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances. They indeed indicate a desire on the part of the monks [masses] to exploit a spiritual movement for their own purposes. They also unmistakenly indicate the end of the Absolute Unconventional Guidance of the Spiritual Teacher. (Putana)

Mechanical adoption of the unconventional life of the self-realised soul will not make one a fit teacher of religion. Regulation is necessary for controlling the inherent worldliness of conditioned souls. But even such regulation is only effective if it is applied by the self-realised soul. Mechanical regulations without the guidance of the self-realised soul will have no lasting effect. Having become divorced from the living spiritual current, not only is a religious movement unable to benefit anyone any more, but it inevitably lapses into corruption.

The people of this world understand preventive systems. They can have no idea of the unpreventive, positive eternal life. (Putana)

The scriptures never favor the creation of a sect or dogma in their ordinary worldly sense. The scriptures want to set us free from the fetters of all worldly creed and dogma. They never prescribe any mechanical course to any individual. The formulation of general rules which are intended to be binding on the members of a community is the sorry device of our bankrupt rationalism for contriving the destruction of free individual functioning.

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