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Does a devotee lose some of his individuality in that...?

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"Does a devotee lose some of his individuality in that"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1972 Conversations and Morning Walks

No, he has got full individuality, but he sacrifices individuality for pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, "You surrender unto Me." So he voluntarily surrenders. Not that he has lost his individuality. He keeps his individuality fully. But because Kṛṣṇa desires that he should surrender, he never minds. He's individual.
Talk with Bob Cohen -- February 27-29, 1972, Mayapura:

Śyāmasundara: ...you said that sometimes you feel pain, some sickness, due to the sinful activities of your devotees. Is that... Couldn't sometimes disease be that, due to that? Caused by that?

Prabhupāda: You see, Kṛṣṇa says that ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi BG 18.66 . So Kṛṣṇa's so powerful that He can immediately take up all the sins of others and immediately make it gone. But when a living entity plays the part on behalf of Kṛṣṇa, he also takes the responsibility of these sinful activities of his devotee. So to become a guru is not an easy task. You see? He has to take all the poisons and absorb. So sometimes, because he's not Kṛṣṇa, so sometimes there is some trouble. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu forbidden that "Don't make many śiṣyas, many disciples." But for preaching work we have to accept many disciples, for expanding preaching. Never mind we suffer. But that's a fact. The spiritual master has to take the responsibility of all the sinful activities of his disciples. So to make many disciple is a risky job unless he's able to assimilate all the sins. (pause) (break)... patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo. He takes responsibility for all the fallen souls. That is... That idea is in Bible. Just like Jesus Christ take all the sinful reaction of all people and sacrificed his life. That is the responsibility of spiritual master. Because he's Kṛṣṇa's representative. So Kṛṣṇa takes all responsibility. Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇa, apāpa-viddham. He cannot be attacked by any sinful reaction. But a living entity may be subjected sometimes, because he's small. Big fire, small fire. On a small fire if you put some big things, (chuckling) then the fire itself may be extinguished. In the big fire, whatever you put, that's all right. Finished. The big fire can consume anything.

Bob: So Christ's suffering was of that nature?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Bob: Was Christ's suffering this...

Prabhupāda: That I have already explained, that he took the sinful reaction of all the people, therefore he suffered.

Bob: I see.

Prabhupāda: He said... That is the Bible, that he has taken all the sinful reactions of the people and he sacrificed his life. But these Christian people, they have made it a law that "Christ will suffer and we shall do all nonsense." Such great fools they are. They are... "Let Jesus Christ make contract for taking all one sinful reaction, and we will go on with all nonsense." That is their religion. This... They are not in sense that "Christ is so magnanimous that he took all our sins and he has suffered... We stop all these sins!" They have not come to that sense. They have taking it very easily: "Let Lord Jesus Christ suffer, and we do all nonsense." Is it not?

Bob: It is so.

Prabhupāda: Yes. They should have been ashamed that "Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us. Instead of... We are continuing the sinful activities still. He asked everyone, 'Thou shall not kill,' and we are indulging in killing." And "Lord Jesus Christ will excuse us, take all the sinful reaction." This is going on. (break) ...should be very much cautious that "For my sinful actions my spiritual master will suffer. So I'll not commit a pinch of sinful action." That is the duty of the disciple. After initiation his all sinful reaction is finished. Now if he again commits sinful activities, the spiritual master has to suffer. They should be sympathetic for this, that "For my sinful activities my spiritual master will suffer." (break) ...attacked with some disease it is due to the sinful activities of the disciples. Exactly like Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on account of the sinful activities of others. (break) ...forbidden, "Don't make many disciples." But we do because we are preaching. Never mind, let us suffer; still, we shall accept. (break)... question was that when I suffer it is due to my past misdeeds? Was it not?

Bob: Yes, yes, yes.

Prabhupāda: That is my misdeed, that I accept a disciple who is nonsense. That is my misdeed.

Bob: This happens on occasion?

Prabhupāda: Yes, this is sure to happen because we are accepting so many men. But it is the duty of the disciple to be cautious. That "My spiritual master saved me. I may not put him again into these sufferings." (break) When the spiritual master is in suffering, Kṛṣṇa saves him. Kṛṣṇa thinks, "Oh, he has taken so much responsibility for delivering a fallen person." So Kṛṣṇa is there. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati BG 9.31 . Because the spiritual master takes the risk on account of Kṛṣṇa.

Bob: So your suffering is not the same kind of pain that an impure person...

Prabhupāda: No, it is not due to karma. The pain is there sometimes so that the disciples may know that "Due to our sinful activities my spiritual master is suffering." (break)

Bob: ...very well now.

Prabhupāda: I'm always well. (break) ...well in this sense, even there is suffering, I know Kṛṣṇa will protect me. But this suffering is not due to my sinful activities. (break)

Bob: But let us say, when I, in the town I live in I drink boiled water because some of the water has disease in it. Now, why should I drink boiled water? If I have been good enough not to get a disease, then I may drink any water. And if I have been not doing proper, then I shall get diseased...

Prabhupāda: So boiled water is any water also. Boiled water is included within any water.

Bob: But, you see, I drink that to prevent disease.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So long you are in the material world, what is physical laws, you cannot neglect that. Just like if you go to a jungle, there is tiger. It is known that it will attack you. Why should you voluntarily go and be attacked? It is not that a devotee should take physical risk so long he has got some physical body. It is not a challenge to the physical laws: "Oh, I have become a devotee. I challenge everything." That is foolishness. Anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ. Viṣaya, these physical necessities, the devotee is advised to accept the necessities of life without any attachment. Physical law is take the boiled water, but if boiled water is not available, does it mean he'll not drink water? If it is not available, you drink ordinary water. (break) We take Kṛṣṇa-prasādam. But while in touring, in hotels sometimes we have to take some food in the hotel. Does it mean, "Oh, I do not take any foodstuff from the hotel, I shall starve"? If I starve, then I'll be weak, I cannot preach. (break)

Bob: Does a devotee lose some of his individuality in that...

Prabhupāda: No, he has got full individuality, but he sacrifices individuality for pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, "You surrender unto Me." So he voluntarily surrenders. Not that he has lost his individuality. He keeps his individuality fully. But because Kṛṣṇa desires that he should surrender, he never minds. He's individual. Just like Arjuna, in the beginning he was declining to fight on account of his individuality. But when he accepted Kṛṣṇa as his spiritual master, he became śiṣya. Then whatever He ordered, "Yes." That doesn't mean he lost his individuality. He voluntarily accepted, "Whatever Kṛṣṇa says, I shall do it." Just as all my disciples, they have not lost their individuality, but they have surrendered their individuality. That is required. Just like if a man does not use sex, does that mean he has become impotent? If he likes he can have, thousand times sex life, but he has voluntarily avoided it. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59). Sometimes we fast, that does mean we are diseased. We voluntarily fast. It does not mean that I am not hungry, I cannot eat. But we voluntarily fast.

Rishab +  and MadhuGopaldas +
May 15, 0011 JL +
May 24, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 1 +  and Let: 0 +