Question: What is real Sadhu Sanga ?
In the manah Siksa of Srila Raghunath Goswami with purport of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur it is recommended in sloka eleven and twelve to associate with Sadhus. Specifically it says: The word sayutha- with his group or followers- refers to Rupanuga Vaisnavas who are possessed of the same inclination (sajatiya), who are softhearted and affectionate (snigdha), and who are more advanced than oneself. One should remain under the guidance of such persons.
Question: Why do we see that the relationships between devotees is often so bad and what shall we do about that?
Answer: This is a very serious question. Unless our Vaisnava sangha is very loving and at least full of goodness, who would be attracted to associate with us? It is a necessity to look for such devotees who have real compassion for others and are truly humble in their dealings. They may be strict sometimes and they may even criticize some serious misbehavior of other Vaisnavas to protect the siddhanta, but they can not be rude, impolite and unfriendly with the other Vaisnavas, or with anyone else. I have seen over the years so many "heavy" devotees. I am not thinking of anyone in particular, there were too many. What did they do? They minimized others.
They instilled fear in devotees to make them obey without any question.
They yelled at people in order to "win" their opinion over others.
They would not listen to the feelings of others, nor provide a forum where unhappiness of a Vaisnava can be resolved at once. They gave classes in which they put down the women or the Grihastas to the point of making them cry.
They were rude and bullied their way through the Vaisnava community. Even though their external services were sometimes outstanding, and they easily captured some leading service, they either had a big unsociable ego, or they had hidden motives.
They made other Vaisnavas lives miserable by pushing them to the brink of their capacity to tolerate abuses; all done under the false claim that these were Srila Prabhupada's intentions.
Some even had no fear to attack other devotees out of their control, regardless whether they were worshippable by our Vaisnava family tradition. And what happened to them? This is a sorry tale;. practically only a few sustained a devotional life in the tradition of Srila Prabhupada's instruction. Where are the big shouters who intimidated others by claiming to be very advanced and surrendered to Srila Prabhupada? One by one they had or have to face the reaction of the unhappy atmosphere they had created in the movement. I consider that a great warning for all of us. If we chant Hare Krishna but remain hard hearted and even cruel with anyone, how do we expect love to grow within our heart.. All those, specifically those who have other devotees under their charge must be extremely cautious with this.
I am so unhappy about the so many big leaders and what happened to them. It was foreseeable, but what is the value of that? Well it has the value to teach us that presumptuous, proud, and harsh behavior will never bless anyone. I fall at your feet to always follow this advise from Das Goswami; to be softhearted and affectionate with those souls Krishna sends to us. Deal with others as you would like to be dealt with.
It would be even more sad to see the next generation of Vaisnava preachers fall down due to the same mistakes others committed in the past. Unless you see those kindhearted humble attitudes in your leader, how to you think that you will make any advancement under his guidance? Sadhu Sanga is our only chance to become attached to Guru and Krishna.
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