No Personal Ambition

Srila Prabhupada warns about the danger of personal motivation
compiled by: Yasodanandana Dasa

But the question may be raised as to why is it that we have seen so many devotees, even senior devotees with many years of direct physical association with the acarya, Srila Prabhupada, were [and are] seemingly incapable of clearly understanding Krishna Consciousness philosophy, with so many examples of distortion, blatant philosophical deviations, concoctions, misrepresentations etc. What is the reason for this? The acarya, Srila Prabhupada, explains:

In my books I have tried to explain clearly this simultaneously one and different philosophy acinta beda beda tattva propounded by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But sometimes it happens that this philosophy is given a self-interested interpretation. As soon as personal motivation comes in it is not possible for one to understand our Krishna Consciousness philosophy. (Srila Prabhupada letter, September 21, 1970)

Srila Prabhupada describes the key of success for the mission of Lord Caitanya

“…Hundreds of people join in our Sankirtana Party daily in downtown Calcutta, and I am confident that this mission of Lord Caitanya’s will be successful if only we continue to push on this great movement, without any personal motivation. Hope this finds you and your good wife and child in good health…” (Srila Prabhupada letter, September 19, 1970)

Srila Prabhupada’s expectation for the leaders of the movement

“…I am very glad that you are trying with all the other GBC members to maintain all the various functions of our very large organization up to the standard as I have set for you. This is most important. So please always work cooperatively for this end. I know that there has been a great disturbance amongst the devotees caused recently, but now things are being rectified. You are right to say that the example and kindly guidance of our elder members in the Society is the most profound force for motivating our students both new and old towards advanced Krsna Consciousness. Neglect of following the regulative activities and so-called advancement on the basis of self-motivation are both offensive. One should sincerely try to bring himself to the stage of devotional service motivated by pure love of Krsna, and our personal example must set a guide for them…” Srila Prabhupada letter,-November 25, 1970

Srila Prabhupada warms about so-called advancement on the basis of self motivation

Srila Prabhupāda: We have no other business. We want to see people live, eating very nicely nutritious food, keeping good health. But unnecessarily artificial things, bothering, that we don’t want. Keep your health very nice, live for as many years as possible, and be Krsna conscious. Then, next life, you go back to home, back to Godhead, permanent life. Yad gatvā na nivartante [Bg. 15.6]. This we want to give. There is no cheating. There is no politics, no personal ambition fulfilling. This is our mission. Try to convince them. There is not a little tinge of personal sense gratification. This is our… Now can you point out, any one of them, that “Here is the point, the personal sense gratification”? We are talking amongst ourselves, so if there is any flaw, you can point out. Can anyone? That “Here is the point, personal sense gratification”? There is no such things in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Tāndera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bās. Our only ambition is we live among devotees and execute the mission of our predecessors, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Krsna. This is our ambition. Srila Prabhupada conversation, Vrndavana, Uttara Praadesha, May 27, 1977

Srila Prabhupada has many times defined what is our mission. In this conversation, He warns about the danger of personal sense gratification and what should be our only real ambition

“…We should lay out the subject matter as nicely as possible to our intelligence and capacity, and without any ambition that it must attract customers. They may attract or not attract, it doesn’t matter. …” Srila Prabhupada letter to Rayarama – Los Angeles, California – February 22, 1969

Many persons ask what the aim of this worldwide movement. Srila Prabhupada again reiterates the point that it is not for any personal ambition.

“…. I am just trying to organize a worldwide movement not for any personal ambition but to execute superior orders, and by the grace of Krsna we are getting good encouragement. So I request my students to cooperate fully…” Srila Prabhupada letters to: Jayapataka — Los Angeles, California July 26, 1970

Srila Prabhupada warns about the personal ambition problem.

“…, so I am fervently appealing to you all not to create fracture in the solid body of the Society. Please work conjointly, without any personal ambition. That will help the cause…” (Srila Prabhupada letteranda Gargamuni – Los Angeles, California, USA – July 31, 1970)

“…Our life is very short. The Krsna consciousness movement is not meant for fulfilling one’s personal ambition, but it is a serious movement for the whole world…” (Srila Prabhupada letter, – Los Angeles, California, USA – July 31, 1970)

Srila Prabhupada describes the formula for success

“… Now I have set up the Governing Body Commission to handle management, questions of philosophy, and personal problems. These things are too much botheration for me, I simply want time to write books to satisfy my Guru Maharaja. …If we work hard for Krsna without personal consideration or ambition, then we are assured of success …”Srila Prabhupada letter, Los Angeles, California, USA – August 6, 1970

“…Regarding B…….., he is actually surrendered soul, but Maya is so strong that on account of association he has even fallen down. So these two things are always side by side—Maya and Krsna—Krsna is service and Maya is sense gratification, so every moment we are prone to be subjugated by either of them. Our duty is therefore to be very, very careful. The poison is personal ambition. So everyone has the chance, therefore one should not be complacent. Doubts may come about, but one should be firmly fixed up that there cannot be any doubt on the Spiritual Master or Krsna….” Srila Prabhupada letter, November 1, 1970

And what is the danger of personal ambition; preaching work may stop

“…As alleged by you I have received complaints against B ….M….. and his wife, so seriously so much so that the girl has declared that Bali Mardan is an incarnation of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura on my name. In India some of the important members they have collected huge amounts in the name of the Society and spent it luxuriously. I wanted you all my experienced disciples should manage the whole institution very cleverly without any personal ambition like ordinary materialistic men. The Gaudiya Math institution has become smashed, at least stopped its program of preaching work on account of personal ambitions…” Srila Prabhupada letter, October 8, 1974.

Srila Prabhupada warns that if we think in terms of personal benefit, the institution will be ruined

“.:Please accept my blessings. I have seen your telegram to Brahmananda Swami and am glad to learn that you have opened a center in Zambia. You have made some progress there since going and I am pleased. You are a good worker. All my disciples they are good boys, intelligent, and hard working. I pray to Krishna that you all may use your intelligence for Krishna’s service and not for any personal ambition. We have worked very hard and established a great institution, but if we think for our personal benefit then it will become ruined. This is my only concern…” (Srila Prabhupada letter, November 1, 1974)

“…Local men must understand our philosophy, then it will be very successful. We cannot import men from outside. We sincerely want that local men, either from Vasudeva’s family or any family which will take on the work. We have to work on that line. Just like some of my Godbrothers wanted to take men from India to London but the attempt was a failure; but when I trained up local men then it was successful. I have no objection if Vasudeva’s whole family is trained up to take charge of the temple. Local men should not simply become a visitor but they should be trained up to take charge of the temple. That is what I want. As soon as one is a devotee of Krsna, there is no personal ambition. Life is dedicated for Him. ..”Srila Prabhupada letter, November 3, 1976

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