Dhanurdhara Swami December 17th, 2002
Compatibility and Incompatibility With Guru
I met once more with the Godbrother who came yesterday. He offered a very thought-provoking analysis of his relationship with Srila Prabhupada. He confided, “I’m not compatible with Srila Prabhupada.” I was initially taken aback by his statement because he is so staunchly dedicated to Srila Prabhupada and his mission. Fortunately, He quickly explained himself:
“I recently met a close devotee friend who is somewhat astute at psychology and offered me this analysis in response to some of the things I revealed to him. I thought carefully about what he said and agreed. Srila Prabhupada was the great General–the ‘senapati’ that Vrindaban dasa Thakur predicted would be sent by Lord Caitanya to push on the sankirtana movement.
“Prabhupada thus pushed and pushed his sankirtana movement like a General and empowered such powerful leaders as his trusted assistants. I am so shy, bookish and reclusive by nature. I have so little taste for that mood.”
Concerned, I inquired, “How does that realization affect your relationship with Srila Prabhupada?”
“Not at all,” he sincerely replied. “Srila Prabhupada is my guru because he gave everything to the Bhagavat (God)–like almost no one has ever done before. How wonderful! I can only sit at his feet with the deepest appreciation and try to imbibe his mood of total surrender.”
I wasn’t sure that I totally agreed with his analysis of Srila Prabhupada. It seemed almost simplistic to make Srila Prabhupada so one-dimensional, especially since Srila Prabhupada inspired surrender primarily by his intimate relationship with the devotees, and not just by his authority or position.
I could definitely see how difficult it must have been for this devotee to deal with anything or anyone so corporate or militaristic, which ISKCON definitely was. And Srila Prabhupada was also “the great General” leading the charge. I could also appreciate his insight, that our relationship with guru is not primarily one of personality, but one of studentship based on service and surrender. Still, compatibility is helpful in any relationship.
I’m not finished mulling this one over, but I am definitely inspired by his core meditation on guru as that person who “gave everything to the Bhagavat!”