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Mutual Respect and Necessary Hierarchy

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 11 months ago
About the need to follow the Vaishnava etiquette of respecting every devotee and at the same time have a hierarchy which is necessary for a social structure


SB 3.16.9


yesam bibharmy aham akhanda-vikuntha-yoga-

maya-vibhutir amalanghri-rajah kiritaih

viprams tu ko na visaheta yad-arhanambhah

sadyah punati saha-candra-lalama-lokan



I am the master of My unobstructed internal energy, and the water of the Ganges is the remnant left after My feet are washed. That water sanctifies the three worlds, along with Lord Siva, who bears it on his head. If I can take the dust of the feet of the Vaisnava on My head, who will refuse to do the same?


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This verse is glorifying the brahmanas and Vaishnavas.


Ontological preface: Just as the individual has different necessities there are social necessities. Srila Prabhupada draws a contrast between the spiritual and material world.  It is said in the Upanishads that one should know both. Our reality is bhedabheda.  If we study any aspect of reality there is oneness and difference,  also regarding the material and spiritual world. Everything can be reduced to one fact – Krsna – in whom there is infinite variety. Krsna’s will manifests in various objects.


Here we are in the material world, but our whole mission is to transform the material into the spiritual world.


In this verse Krsna is making a very powerful statement regarding the etiquette which one needs to follow when dealing with a brahmana. The challenge is that we need to follow the spiritual etiquette to offer respect to every Vaishnava but at the same time we have a hierarchy which is also necessary.


One time, when Srila Prabhupada was already quite sick he asked Giriraja: “Do you think this movement will go on when I am gone?” Giriraja was startled and replied: “If we are chanting sincerely and follow the principles it will go on.” Srila Prabhupada found the answer necessary but not sufficient. He said, “It also needs intelligence and organization”.


There is a need to spread Krsna Consciousness but practical steps have to be taken.


Some words on book distribution at the end:


The character of the book distributor and the attitude of the recipient are very important. We, our lives, are the evidence upon which the world will judge Lord Caitanya’s mission.