What is Vaisnava Sanga?

January 29th, 2008

January 29, 2008
Sri Vrindavan Dhama

What is Vaisnava Sanga?

I just returned from a very spiritual uplifting pilgrimage to Sri Jagannatha Puri. I felt I got a taste of gaura-lila, not just the bhava of the devotees towards the Lord, but the open spirited devotion between the devotees in gaura-lila themselves. In that sense, I think I can speak for everyone who attended. We realized that by intensely focusing on kirtan, gaura-katha, and mutual service to the sanga, we tasted a drop of what Sri Caitanya’s sanga in Puri must have been like. I’ll try to communicate that experience by discussing the realizations I gleaned about Vaisnava sanga from our sanga:

Vaisnava sanga is an assembly of devotees mutually dedicated to the assembly’s objective – the glorification of the Supreme Lord.

As all members of the Vaisnava sanga are focused on that objective, personal objectives become secondary.

Although the leaders and senior Vaisnavas may help guide the sanga, and are appropriately respected, all participating members are deeply and equally valued as essential members of the sanga.

Vaisnava sanga is spontaneous. As much as practical, hierarchical or corporate structures of authority are not externally imposed on the sanga, but manifest genuinely out of the feelings of natural attachment and respect for authority within the sanga.

The channel of relationships in a Vaisnava sanga is open due the trust among its members. Sanga members thus get the maximum benefit from each other’s insights, including the realizations of its more spiritually mature members.

As mercy flows so freely in a Vaisnava sanga, a Vaisnava sanga naturally inspires humility in its members, which is the natural response to mercy.

The activities (service) of a Vaisnava sanga are born from a humble mood of service and thus truly become seva, or devotional service.

As the members of the Vaisnava sanga are humble, they are constantly absorbed in nama-sankirtan.

A Vaisnava sanga is confident in the mercy it is experiencing within its sanga. The members welcome and value any visitor as long as they sincerely want to serve the sanga’s objectives.

A Vaisnava sanga does fear Vaisnava aparadha. Its members deal very carefully and respectfully with everyone.

A Vaisnava sanga is thus the yoga of association where members control their minds and lower impulses out of respect and appreciation for the association and kindness they are receiving within the sanga.

The duty of an acarya is to create Vaisnava sanga based on the six loving exchanges of a Vaisnava. To assist in its development is the best offering of service for his pleasure.

A Vaisnava sanga is most attractive. Sincere people will appreciate it. Pure devotees will naturally gravitate towards it. It is the basis of spreading Vaisnava dharma.

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