“Material nature means dissension and disagreement, especially in this Kali-yuga. But, for this Krsna consciousness movement its success will depend on agreement, even though there are varieties of engagements. In the material world there are varieties, but there is no agreement. In the spiritual world there are varieties, but there is agreement. That is the difference. The materialist without being able to adjust the varieties and the disagreements makes everything zero. They cannot come into agreement with varieties, but if we keep Krsna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties. This is called unity in diversity. I am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapur every year during the Birth Anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful.
One section of men have already gone out, therefore we must be very careful to maintain unity in diversity, and remember the story in Aesop's Fables of the father of many children with the bundle of sticks. When the father asked his children to break the bundle of sticks wrapped in a bag, none of them could do it. But, when they removed the sticks from the bag, and tried one by one, the sticks were easily broken. So this is the strength in unity. If we are bunched up, we can never be broken, but when divided, then we can become broken very easily.”
I have witnessed two very senior leaders having very opposite approaches to community development - extremely opposite! But because they are off the false ego platform, they nevertheless can be the best of friends. They transcend those differences, respect each other's approaches and associate on the platform of chanting the holy name and discussing Srila Prabhupada's teachings. This is only possible, if neither of them tries to convince the other person that their approach and vision is better. Only then there can be unity in diversity. But as soon as the false ego enters the relationship, everything will be spoiled and contaminated. We have to allow everyone to gravitate to whatever mood he feels inspired by, while keeping in mind the goal of pure devotional service.
Another highlight in Mayapur was the first International Conference for Education, which took place over three days at the end of February. It was an initiative from the Ministry for Education, headed by Sesha and Tapana Misra Prabhus in order to bring attention to this very important need of education in all fields of spiritual life. It was a closed conference for educators only, and I felt honored having received a personal invitation to attend it.
Many senior devotees offered a variety of 20-minute presentations followed by 10 minutes for discussion throughout the whole day, all in connection with education. It was a very interesting and informative mixture, giving food for thought in so many directions - another wonderful example of unity in diversity: presentations on very traditional approaches to education were next to the more secular and academic approaches.
Representatives of the Gurukula in Mayapur shared visions of the traditional gurukula training focusing mainly on character building. If a boy forms good character and learns to cooperate and serve by taking responsibility for other people and projects, he can achieve so many wonderful things in life and can contribute significantly to Lord Chaitanya's Sankirtan Movement. Especially in these modern days of internet, mere informations on various subjects can easily be found over the net. No need to learn and memorize informations as we did 50 years ago. I also noticed, that many former Gurukula boys are now in leading positions in the Mayapur community.
In many ways we are so conditioned by material understandings of education, and we believe in degrees, diplomas and certificates of academic nature bringing about success and security in life. The presentation on traditional education started by mentioning various well-known personalities who dropped out of school at a very young age, and nevertheless found their way to success. I also have seen the example of one brahmacari in Bangladesh, who serves as the Regional Secretary and is a very natural leader. He only attended a village school until he was 14 years old, and then he dropped out of school and joined the ashram. No higher education! Today he serves as one of the most capable and intelligent leaders of the Bangladeshi yatra.
The understanding of education being centered on character building requires a deep paradigm shift. We may have to let go of our mundane conditioning of what it means to receive education.
This conference was also a great opportunity for me to do some networking and connect with devotees from various places of the world, and to promote my first book, which was received with interest and eagerness.
Your servant, Devaki dd