Before You can Lead You must Follow
From Hansadutta das
9 February 1995
Dear Chaitanya Mangala Prabhu:
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to
Thank you for your letter dated January 19, 1995. I read over both your letters to Manu very carefully. It is obvious that there are many details of contention regarding your relationship with Manu and his with you and other people. Rather than go into every detail of your disagreement, I want to say that unless we are firmly established in Krishna consciousness, it is impossible to avoid quarrel, controversy and dissension amongst each other. As you know, I have first-hand experience. Perhaps I am one of the most controversial, contentious and quarrelsome persons in Srila Prabhupada’s family. My personal misunderstanding of Srila Prabhupada and his instructions to his leading disciples at the time of his disappearance from this world has lead to gargantuan destruction and immeasurable pain for innumerable devotees, both first generation and second generation and probably for generations to come. After many years of agonizing and searching in the fire of ordeal, it is my firm conviction and realisation that every problem experienced within our family of Krishna devotees stems from one root cause and can be solved only by addressing that root cause. In a word, it is the negligence and disregard—whether willful or unknowing—of the order of the spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya. The Christians worship Christ, the Buddhists worship Buddha, the Sikhs worship Guru Nanak, the Mohammedans worship Mohammed, the communists
worship Marx, so similarly, the devotees should worship Srila Prabhupada. Anything which deviates from this fundamental truth will simply lead to chaos, confusion, misunderstanding and failure.
All these points regarding Srila Prabhupada as the perfect leader or the Sampradaya Acharya and everyone else as his eternal servant or representative must be understood clearly. We must deal with the root cause of all problems and not the apparent effects. We have elaborately explained this in different publications. I think you would do well to re-read those publications very carefully with a very open mind. Although Srila Prabhupada is not physically present to give directives, he nevertheless remains the hub of the wheel of the
Vaishnava community world-wide, both past, present and future. Those devotees who sincerely see themselves and act as the representatives of the Acharya in the capacity of rittvik representatives can help us to resolve the differences in an atmosphere of quarrel and dissension, which has spread to every nook and cranny of the Vaishnava community world-wide. Those devotees who have uncompromising allegiance to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and his instructions can help us. You can be such a person. One has only to think, “What would Prabhupada say? What would he do?” The inspiration that comes to us in this spirit is the spirit of serving Srila Prabhupada.
That is called faith. One who has unflinching faith in the words of the spiritual master and Krishna, to him all the imports of Vedic wisdom are revealed. You can act as the representative of Srila Prabhupada. But first we must dismiss all other contenders for the position and prestige of Srila Prabhupada’s office.
Dear Chaitanya Mangala, I know that you are a very intelligent, thoughtful devotee. In the presence of Srila Prabhupada there was no controversy, no confusion, no doubt, because he was perfect and pure. It was impossible to resist him. Everyone submitted enthusiastically to his instructions. The same clarity is there for anyone who unconditionally, uncompromisingly and with complete faith and 100 percent allegiance embraces Srila Prabhupada as the leader and follows him without fear from love, friendship and society.
You are thinking of participating in leading the second generation through the publication of As It Is. But before you can lead, you must follow. Srila Prabhupada is without a doubt the undisputed leader. Why not follow him? Why take a risk with someone doubtful? This is the only advice I can give to you, because I see this is the root of all our problems. Srila Prabhupada, the perfect leader, cannot be replaced by a dozen, two dozen or even 100 imperfect men, regardless of how high-sounding their titles may be—guru, GBC, swami or whatever.
I hope this letter meets you well. Please let me know what you think.
Your humble servant,