Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the necessity of humility, tolerance, and giving honour within the Mission.
Devotee: Sometimes the disciples of initiating Gurus are being trained under the care of their godbrothers.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: There should be some common guiding rules for this. The godbrothers should try to help them in such a way that they do not lose their reverence for Gurudev. Reverence for Gurudev should be promoted. In this way, the godbrothers have a sense of responsibility. Also, when there are many disciples of many Āchāryas mixing together, their faith in their Gurus should not be disturbed. “Your Guru is of lower order; my Guru is of higher order.” Such statements should not be indulged. There should be some laws and bylaws, and if it is found that anyone is boisterous and not caring for these rules, then he should be gradually warned, chastised, and then punished, so that there may not be chaos in the Mission. If we want to go on together, we must follow some rules of conduct. And when we live together, we can help each other. We are all dedicating units, not disturbing elements. We must understand that we are all dedicating units. We should not come to fight with each other. We should behave submissively and modestly. There is the law of Mahāprabhu:
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
These things must be repeatedly preached.
Tṛṇād api sunīcha: I must not be so rigid that I cannot accommodate others. Taror iva sahiṣṇu: if still some aggression comes towards me, then I shall try to tolerate it. Amānī mānada: I will never seek any fame from the environment, and I will always be ready to give honour to all. With this attitude, we should march on our way. This maxim should be given very broad circulation. To become a Vaiṣṇava, we must have some discipline—discipline on this type, and it comes from no greater a personality than Śrīman Mahāprabhu Himself. So, we all, more or less, according to our capacity, must follow and respect these rulings of Mahāprabhu. In a congregation movement especially, it is required.
Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur says in his translation:
parama yatane ta̐hi labha adhikāra
āpane mānabi sadā chhāḍi’ ahaṅkāra
pratihiṁsā tyaji’ anye karabi pālana
para-upakāre nija-sukha pāsaribe
pratiṣṭhāśā chhāḍi’ kara amānī hṛdaya
karabi sammāna sabe ādare sarvadā
chāri guṇe guṇī hai’ kara saṅkīrtana
Saṅkīrtan means bahubhir militvā yat kīrtanam: kīrtan in which many are combined. That means it presupposes all these qualifications in its members: dainya, they will be humble; dayā, they will sympathetic to others; anye māna, especially, they will honour others; and pratiṣṭhā-varjana, they won’t seek their own name and fame. We must have these four qualifications if we are to go on in a combined way with saṅkīrtan.
Devotee: Every disciple has his own temperament.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Of course.
Devotee: A Guru has one temperament, and his disciple may be under the care of his godbrother who has a different temperament. So, the Guru may become a little disturbed that his disciple is developing the temperament of his godbrother.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Of course. There are difficulties. I do not deny that. It may not all be very smooth and easy, but still, if we want to go on with the movement successfully in a combined way, then some sort of check should be there. All cannot be let loose. There should be some check: some common laws and bylaws.
Devotee: What if a Guru is not inclined to make more disciples in a particular place because he finds that his disciples are developing the temperament of his godbrother, and he would like that they develop his temperament?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa. God willing we hope there may be peace and everything will be adjusted. We pray to Him. Of course, in a such a big organisation, there will be difficulties of a big nature. But still we shall have to have hope. We cannot but hope that God may give peace and proper direction to the management and administration, and let such a big organisation go on in the Name of Mahāprabhu to help the world at large. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Gauraharibol.
Spoken at Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh, Nabadwīp, on 11 March 1981.