Atten­tive Chant­ing Is Very Impor­tant
→ Japa Group


"I do appre­ci­ate that I per­sist patiently and that I’m able to con­trol my mind even when there is no nectarean taste in chant­ing. I’m just sug­gest­ing that if I could be alert and bring the mind back to hear­ing, then why not try to go fur­ther. All the author­i­ties say that atten­tive chant­ing is very impor­tant and leads to think­ing about Krishna’s form, activ­i­ties, qual­i­ties and pas­times. They must be right."

From Japa Transformations
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

Atten­tive Chant­ing Is Very Impor­tant
→ Japa Group


"I do appre­ci­ate that I per­sist patiently and that I’m able to con­trol my mind even when there is no nectarean taste in chant­ing. I’m just sug­gest­ing that if I could be alert and bring the mind back to hear­ing, then why not try to go fur­ther. All the author­i­ties say that atten­tive chant­ing is very impor­tant and leads to think­ing about Krishna’s form, activ­i­ties, qual­i­ties and pas­times. They must be right."

From Japa Transformations
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

Viewing/Contemplating

Cambridge, Ontario

Sign reads, “Trespassers will be eaten”. That sounds menacing, if not dangerous, but may the truth be told here at the entrance of the African Lion Safari.

Our group made the morning outing in anticipation to meet just a fraction of what the Vedas conclude as the world’s 8,400,000 species of life. The “safari” is a drive through (with windows closed of course). First you view free roaming animals such as llamas, then lions, then monkeys who tend to take a free ride on your vehicle’s hood. There’s more, elephants take their bath in front of a crowd, that’s something we humans would have no tolerance towards.

We spent the afternoon walking on a stretch of the Bruce Trail, the country’s oldest foot path, and refreshed ourselves at Sherwin Falls. A good physical experience.

Dear to the hearts of everyone is the kirtan sessions that we have before we set out, and what we end up with as we wind down before eyelids shut at night at the home of our hosts Aindra and Prema Gaurangi for some of that chanting and a reading on the life of Krishna. That was really special as we took it to an engaging interactive level.

For me, personally, a deep contemplation on the morning’s lesson lingered inside of me. The fourth canto of the series Bhagavatam spoke about enemies during warfare and how at the end of the day there would be a mutual friendly come together before resuming ultimate combat to the death the next morning. This burying-the-hatchet at nightfall was always an extraordinary concept for me, such is what we also read about in the Kurukshetra war. This program appears somewhat a balanced approach as far as war craft is concerned. It’s interesting, very interesting.

10 KM

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

Viewing/Contemplating

Cambridge, Ontario

Sign reads, “Trespassers will be eaten”. That sounds menacing, if not dangerous, but may the truth be told here at the entrance of the African Lion Safari.

Our group made the morning outing in anticipation to meet just a fraction of what the Vedas conclude as the world’s 8,400,000 species of life. The “safari” is a drive through (with windows closed of course). First you view free roaming animals such as llamas, then lions, then monkeys who tend to take a free ride on your vehicle’s hood. There’s more, elephants take their bath in front of a crowd, that’s something we humans would have no tolerance towards.

We spent the afternoon walking on a stretch of the Bruce Trail, the country’s oldest foot path, and refreshed ourselves at Sherwin Falls. A good physical experience.

Dear to the hearts of everyone is the kirtan sessions that we have before we set out, and what we end up with as we wind down before eyelids shut at night at the home of our hosts Aindra and Prema Gaurangi for some of that chanting and a reading on the life of Krishna. That was really special as we took it to an engaging interactive level.

For me, personally, a deep contemplation on the morning’s lesson lingered inside of me. The fourth canto of the series Bhagavatam spoke about enemies during warfare and how at the end of the day there would be a mutual friendly come together before resuming ultimate combat to the death the next morning. This burying-the-hatchet at nightfall was always an extraordinary concept for me, such is what we also read about in the Kurukshetra war. This program appears somewhat a balanced approach as far as war craft is concerned. It’s interesting, very interesting.

10 KM

Off We Go
→ travelingmonk.com

We’re half way through our festival tour. Yesterday we did harinam and had another blissful festival attended by thousands. Today we leave for Kostrzyn-nad-Odra to begin setting up Krsna’s Village of Peace at Woodstock. The nectar is flowing like a raging river!

why can’t i remember?
→ everyday gita

Verse 4.5: The Personality of Godhead said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!

Many of us forget things from time to time. Whether it be where we left our keys, shut off the lights or checked the mail, there are plenty of things that fill up our head. It's no wonder that all kinds of apps and gadgets have been created to help us remember the long list of things that we hope to accomplish.

In the hustle and bustle of just trying to live our lives, it's easy to forget about the needs of the soul. After all, the majority of time tends to be spent on taking care of our body and things that are in relation to it. There's nothing wrong with taking care of the body, but just taking care of the body and totally neglecting the soul is counter-productive. That's because...

The soul is eternal whereas the body is temporary.

Most of us are well acquainted with the needs of the body, but what about the soul? In order to understand the soul's needs, one needs to learn about them from authorized sources. In this case, Arjuna has the perfect teacher, Krsna, to help him understand. To aid in that understanding, Krsna is explaining here that although the soul is eternal, it is limited.

Although eternal, the soul cannot remember the numerous bodies (i.e. births) it has taken.

Makes sense if you think about it. Many of us can't even remember what we wore yesterday, what to speak of trying to remember which body we wore in our last life or lifetimes prior! The question can be posed then - why is this important?

When we start to understand that we don't have the answers to everything because we are limited, it serves as a reminder that we are small. Sometimes the word small has a negative connotation, but in this case it just means we need some help. That help is available in the form of realized teachers who can help us understand who we really are.

When we try to sincerely learn and apply what the realized bhakti practitioners (and texts) teach us, we become empowered to understand their words. That knowledge becomes more than just theory; instead, we start to see their words manifest as reality in our lives.

So we don't remember our past lives or actions, big deal. If we stop and think about it - it might actually be a good thing! What's important is what we choose to do with our time now.

why can’t i remember?
→ everyday gita

Verse 4.5: The Personality of Godhead said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!

Many of us forget things from time to time. Whether it be where we left our keys, shut off the lights or checked the mail, there are plenty of things that fill up our head. It's no wonder that all kinds of apps and gadgets have been created to help us remember the long list of things that we hope to accomplish.

In the hustle and bustle of just trying to live our lives, it's easy to forget about the needs of the soul. After all, the majority of time tends to be spent on taking care of our body and things that are in relation to it. There's nothing wrong with taking care of the body, but just taking care of the body and totally neglecting the soul is counter-productive. That's because...

The soul is eternal whereas the body is temporary.

Most of us are well acquainted with the needs of the body, but what about the soul? In order to understand the soul's needs, one needs to learn about them from authorized sources. In this case, Arjuna has the perfect teacher, Krsna, to help him understand. To aid in that understanding, Krsna is explaining here that although the soul is eternal, it is limited.

Although eternal, the soul cannot remember the numerous bodies (i.e. births) it has taken.

Makes sense if you think about it. Many of us can't even remember what we wore yesterday, what to speak of trying to remember which body we wore in our last life or lifetimes prior! The question can be posed then - why is this important?

When we start to understand that we don't have the answers to everything because we are limited, it serves as a reminder that we are small. Sometimes the word small has a negative connotation, but in this case it just means we need some help. That help is available in the form of realized teachers who can help us understand who we really are.

When we try to sincerely learn and apply what the realized bhakti practitioners (and texts) teach us, we become empowered to understand their words. That knowledge becomes more than just theory; instead, we start to see their words manifest as reality in our lives.

So we don't remember our past lives or actions, big deal. If we stop and think about it - it might actually be a good thing! What's important is what we choose to do with our time now.

H.H. Bhakti Raghava Swami visiting New Vrindaban Thu, Fri, Sat 25,26,27 of July
→ New Vrindaban Brijabasi Spirit

Hare Krishna,

 Dear Brijavasis,

 Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila PRabhupada.

 H.H.Bhakti Raghava Swami will be visiting New Vrindaban Thu, Fri, Sat  25, 26, 27 of July . He will give initiations on the 27th Saturday morning and will give the class on Saurday morning. . He will attend the Pushya abishek. He will leave on Sunday morning for DC.

He is an inspiration for those aspiring to live in a farm community. He himself has been living in a farm for the last 2 years to set an example. If anybody would like to have a program on Fri and Sat nights please let me know.

 Yours in service of Lord Krishna,

Gaur Natraj Das

Transcription service announcement
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Many site visitors have asked for transcriptions of the audio, especially the QAs. We have a team of volunteers who are working diligently at it. To accelerate the transcription, a devotee Ronak Prabhu has offered to sponsor the transcription, providing Rs 250 for every hour of transcription. This may involve about 7-8 QAs for transcription as the average length of an answer is usually between 5 to 10 mins. Those interested can write to Vaibhava Prabhu at vaibhav.sharma@zensar.in

Matter, not spirit, is formless
→ The Spiritual Scientist

The Bhagavad-gita (2.20) clearly says that after the destruction of the material body the living entity is not annihilated, nor does he lose his identity. The identity of the living entity is never impersonal or formless; on the contrary, it is the material dress that is formless and that takes a shape according to the form of the indestructible person.

Ishopanishad mantra 17 purport

To end our forgetfulness, let’s first commit to end our forgetfulness of our forgetfulness (08.08)
→ The Spiritual Scientist

We may sometimes become discouraged in our spiritual life: “I keep forgetting Krishna repeatedly even after practicing devotional service for so long. Is my practice of any use?”

Yes, it definitely is. Because it ends our forgetfulness of our forgetfulness. And that’s the only way to progress towards ending our forgetfulness.

When we drive a car, by default it tends to go off course unless we get it back on course. The same applies to our spiritual journey. The body-mind mechanism is like a vehicle for us souls. We can use it to return to Krishna by keeping ourselves on the track of devotional service. But this material mechanism, especially the mind, has default tendencies to gravitate towards worldly pleasures. During our journey on the track of devotional service, these tendencies push us off course. We cannot wish these tendencies away by any waving of a magic wand.

The only way to get rid of them is by steady, sustained rejection whenever they appear.  Practically, this means that we get ourselves back on course, no matter how many times we find ourselves pushed off course. The Bhagavad-gita (08.08) assures us that if we practice bringing the mind back under control whenever it wanders, we will eventually attain perfection. When we commit ourselves to daily diligent practice of devotional service, we ensure that we commit to making course corrections regularly.

Our meditation and study first remind us that we have forgotten and then they remind us of what we have forgotten. The more we enthusiastically cultivate conscious remembrance of Krishna, the more our attraction to him deepens. This increases our remembrance of him at other times too till finally our forgetfulness dies. And thereby we live forever in Krishna’s love in this world and the next.

***

8.8 - He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha, is sure to reach Me.

Sunday, July 21st, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

Light in the Night

Calgary, Alberta

Sleep was not going to be an easy task last evening. It became a blessing in disguise. I pulled myself off the mattress and ambled my way outside at the east end of Calgary when I opened my eyes to a marvelous display of the northern lights – explosions of light energy flashing about against the sky’s backdrop. It’s nature’s exhibitions like this that puts one in awe, and perhaps even reverence towards the Maker or Creator.

I had trekked along on a bike trail that looped when I spotted this wonder by nature. The trail ended up at a retail strip area where I came upon a nightclub which pulsated some rave music. Through a window I could see young folks gyrating to the gutsy thump of the music as the lights flashed with diverse colours meant to heighten the ecstasy of it all.

Little did the dancers know that something much more exciting was happening from above. When I actually passed by the main door of the club, a crowd was ‘hanging out’ on the street level mildly intoxicated. They could also not see the wondrous display from heaven. For them the center of life was encircled around the nightclub. At night time street lights naturally blur or obscure what is in the sky, and that includes the northern lights which I understand is a play of the sun’s rays within an electromagnetic field in the ether.

Hey, the club dancers were really missing something and I guess in a way I felt for them. What seemed to be more important to them is finding themselves within some conjugal relationship. Okay, so be it. Meanwhile, my connection with nature’s light show and its source became more than a beautiful momentary reality, it’s something to be appreciated.

10 KM

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

The Not Yet Named Summer Tour

Hamilton, Ontario

Our short little bhakti road show in the prairies had been completed and we had flown back to Toronto on the previous day. Now, a second tour began, but this time it’s the replacement of the annual youth bus tour that I’ve been on for the last several summers. Kapil, a young bank employee from Alberta came to be chauffer and coordinator to a 12 seater van for a fun tour through Ontario and Quebec. We filled the seats with what I consider to be future leaders for our spiritual mission. I’ll be there for a week as well as Kapil whom we refer to affectionately as Captain Kapil or Cap Kap for short.

My time with Cap Kap and passengers is an investment for the future. Let these young folks have a good experience, fun and discipline mixed together in a spiritual environment. We have two boys from Florida, three girls from Montreal and four boys from Ontario. This is an opportunity for a younger set to get to know a monk more, and me them.

We took to a speed boat along with Korean tourists in the Niagara River through class 5 waves. We took to viewing the falls in full admiration of them. We finally finished with a rich meal at the home of Giri Jadhava, a dear friend who was my captain for travelling on the sankirtan mission in the early 70s. We all cooled down in a swimming pool and he and I reminisced about our days on the road including an amiable encounter with the legendary Vishnujan Swami, a pioneer amongst Krishna monks when we stopped in Baltimore, that was sweet.

Our crew is musical and so we have already begun to take full advantage of their gifted natures by encouraging kirtan, a panacea for the age.

Let there be mantra power that endures throughout the generations.

5 KM

Sunday, July 21st, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

Light in the Night

Calgary, Alberta

Sleep was not going to be an easy task last evening. It became a blessing in disguise. I pulled myself off the mattress and ambled my way outside at the east end of Calgary when I opened my eyes to a marvelous display of the northern lights – explosions of light energy flashing about against the sky’s backdrop. It’s nature’s exhibitions like this that puts one in awe, and perhaps even reverence towards the Maker or Creator.

I had trekked along on a bike trail that looped when I spotted this wonder by nature. The trail ended up at a retail strip area where I came upon a nightclub which pulsated some rave music. Through a window I could see young folks gyrating to the gutsy thump of the music as the lights flashed with diverse colours meant to heighten the ecstasy of it all.

Little did the dancers know that something much more exciting was happening from above. When I actually passed by the main door of the club, a crowd was ‘hanging out’ on the street level mildly intoxicated. They could also not see the wondrous display from heaven. For them the center of life was encircled around the nightclub. At night time street lights naturally blur or obscure what is in the sky, and that includes the northern lights which I understand is a play of the sun’s rays within an electromagnetic field in the ether.

Hey, the club dancers were really missing something and I guess in a way I felt for them. What seemed to be more important to them is finding themselves within some conjugal relationship. Okay, so be it. Meanwhile, my connection with nature’s light show and its source became more than a beautiful momentary reality, it’s something to be appreciated.

10 KM

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

The Not Yet Named Summer Tour

Hamilton, Ontario

Our short little bhakti road show in the prairies had been completed and we had flown back to Toronto on the previous day. Now, a second tour began, but this time it’s the replacement of the annual youth bus tour that I’ve been on for the last several summers. Kapil, a young bank employee from Alberta came to be chauffer and coordinator to a 12 seater van for a fun tour through Ontario and Quebec. We filled the seats with what I consider to be future leaders for our spiritual mission. I’ll be there for a week as well as Kapil whom we refer to affectionately as Captain Kapil or Cap Kap for short.

My time with Cap Kap and passengers is an investment for the future. Let these young folks have a good experience, fun and discipline mixed together in a spiritual environment. We have two boys from Florida, three girls from Montreal and four boys from Ontario. This is an opportunity for a younger set to get to know a monk more, and me them.

We took to a speed boat along with Korean tourists in the Niagara River through class 5 waves. We took to viewing the falls in full admiration of them. We finally finished with a rich meal at the home of Giri Jadhava, a dear friend who was my captain for travelling on the sankirtan mission in the early 70s. We all cooled down in a swimming pool and he and I reminisced about our days on the road including an amiable encounter with the legendary Vishnujan Swami, a pioneer amongst Krishna monks when we stopped in Baltimore, that was sweet.

Our crew is musical and so we have already begun to take full advantage of their gifted natures by encouraging kirtan, a panacea for the age.

Let there be mantra power that endures throughout the generations.

5 KM

A prayer from the spiritual master
→ KKS Blog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 12 July 2013, Fruska Gouranga, Serbia, Initiation lecture)

kks vrndavan 2013We have received the (holy) name a long time ago, right? The maha mantra has been with us for a long time. Still it is said that at the time of initiation, the spiritual master is giving us the harinama. And why is that?

You could sort of say it’s something like a birthday and you get the gift, open the box and then say that you already got that, “Gosh, I’m getting the harinama but I’ve got that years ago.”

But no, it is not like that. Actually, what is there now is that the spiritual master has rendered service to Krsna and with that service, he has purchased the mercy of Krsna. At the time of initiation, the spiritual master gives us the holy name along with his prayers to Krsna. He prays on our behalf to Krsna and says, “My dear Lord, please bestow your mercy upon this devotee.”

In this way, when we go before Krsna, we are not alone. We are not just judged on our own performance but we go with our spiritual master who has credit with Krsna so then, Krsna is inclined. Therefore, it is very important to have that prayer. The spiritual master’s prayer is not a one-time prayer, it is an ongoing prayer.

It stays with us throughout our spiritual life and at the end of our life, when we come before Krsna, are we going back or not? The big question, are we making it or not? The prayer of the spiritual master puts weight on the scale, more weight even than our own.

Therefore we say that more important in our spiritual life are the blessings from the spiritual master, the prayer from the spiritual master. That is the most powerful factor, therefore it is important to receive the harinama in this way!

 

A prayer from the spiritual master
→ KKS Blog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 12 July 2013, Fruska Gouranga, Serbia, Initiation lecture)

kks vrndavan 2013We have received the (holy) name a long time ago, right? The maha mantra has been with us for a long time. Still it is said that at the time of initiation, the spiritual master is giving us the harinama. And why is that?

You could sort of say it’s something like a birthday and you get the gift, open the box and then say that you already got that, “Gosh, I’m getting the harinama but I’ve got that years ago.”

But no, it is not like that. Actually, what is there now is that the spiritual master has rendered service to Krsna and with that service, he has purchased the mercy of Krsna. At the time of initiation, the spiritual master gives us the holy name along with his prayers to Krsna. He prays on our behalf to Krsna and says, “My dear Lord, please bestow your mercy upon this devotee.”

In this way, when we go before Krsna, we are not alone. We are not just judged on our own performance but we go with our spiritual master who has credit with Krsna so then, Krsna is inclined. Therefore, it is very important to have that prayer. The spiritual master’s prayer is not a one-time prayer, it is an ongoing prayer.

It stays with us throughout our spiritual life and at the end of our life, when we come before Krsna, are we going back or not? The big question, are we making it or not? The prayer of the spiritual master puts weight on the scale, more weight even than our own.

Therefore we say that more important in our spiritual life are the blessings from the spiritual master, the prayer from the spiritual master. That is the most powerful factor, therefore it is important to receive the harinama in this way!

 

Building Trust Within ISKCON
→ Gita Coaching

By Akrura Dasa on 17 Jun 2008
ISKCON NEWS
Srila Prabhupada wanted us to serve together based on love and trust. Here are some reflections on building trust and some ideas that may be helpful to our temples and projects.

Most organizations are not aware of the enormous cost of low trust, and because they have no means of measuring its impact, they have little motivation to seriously address it. To compound the problem, many people feel like helpless victims of the problems in their organizations and see no clear way to influence their leaders.

In this article, we offer specific, powerful things we can do that can profoundly impact the level of trust in our relationships, our teams, our families, and our movement in general.

Is trust really necessary in life, work or service today? Can we succeed without it?

I believe that we cannot succeed without trust. It is not only important, it is absolutely vital. For instance, even when we are buying gasoline, we trust that we are getting quality fuel; we trust that the prices are within the market; and we trust that our money will be accepted by that person. There are so many elements to the simplest transaction that require trust. But we are sometimes unaware of those implicit elements. Trust is the lifeblood of all relationships, of all transactions, and is fundamental to everything in life.

What are evidences of a low-trust environment?

Low-trust environments are filled with hidden agendas, a lot of political games, interpersonal conflict, interdepartmental rivalries, and people bad-mouthing each other behind their backs while sweet-talking them to their faces.

With low trust, we get a lot of rules and regulations that take the place of human judgment and creativity; we also see that people are disempowered. They will not be on the same page about what’s important. Ultimately, the culture will become driven by urgency rather than importance because everyone is in it only or mostly for themselves and for their own agenda.

What is low trust costing organizations?

Low trust has a huge tax associated with it. It creates a culture of toxicity, just like we have toxins in our body. Imagine what it costs a body to be full of poison. That is what a low-trust culture is – it’s full of poison. We see people embracing and promulgating what can be called the six metastasizing emotional cancers. Metastasize means they send their cancer cells through the body, mind, and spirit of a person. They also spread through relationships.

These cancers are criticizing, complaining, comparing, competing, contending, and cynicism. (By competing, I don’t mean the healthy competition where we are competing to do more service to Krsna or please devotees but competition based on envy and false pride.) These emotional cancers are the forces that literally undermine and eventually destroy relationships. On the other hand, trust helps to make things possible.

If we want to overcome these six cancers, it seems we need a lot of work, in order to build and maintain trust. We may rightly ask, is it worth the effort?

I think it’s absolutely worth it. It’s the most supremely important thing we can do to get the confidence of another person by being true to our commitments, by clarifying expectations, by treating people with kindness and respect, and by learning to be transparent about the information we have so that people trust it and we can almost speak to them in verbal shorthand. We hardly even have to finish sentences when there’s high trust.

Trust speeds up achievement. Without it, everything gets bogged down, slows down; people protect themselves, they think defensively, and they gather other people around them to form cliques. These cliques then judge other cliques, which only compounds the low-trust situation, slows down everything, and levies a huge tax on all human interactions and transactions.

So what behaviours increase trust and is it a skill we can learn?

The metaphor that can be helpful is a Trust Bank Account. It’s like a financial bank account into which we can make deposits and take withdrawals. And if we get into a situation where we are constantly making withdrawals - the kinds that we mentioned above - we get an overdrawn Trust Bank Account. And we all know what happens with a bank relationship when we have an overdrawn account. It kills our freedom, our flexibility, and our credit capacity.

Building trust is not just a skill we can learn, it is a character trait that we have to develop. It is not a technique we can just pick up. We have to be trustworthy in our heart and sincere about what our real intentions are so that we can be transparent. We’re not fearful of being “found out” doing something in the dark when we’re proclaiming something else in the light.

The most important of all deposits into the Trust Bank Account of trust is empathy, because empathy, or listening to another within his or her frame of reference, tells us what the important deposits are to that person. Every person is different. So we have to figure out what is important to them - how do they interpret kindness, consideration, and respect? How do they interpret making and keeping promises? How do they interpret any other positive deposit in the Trust Bank Account?

This is all a function of empathy, and it is the same with our family members, our associates in the service or business, or our customers. The key is to always develop a relationship that produces mutual benefit. In order to do that, we have to deeply listen to other people to find out what the benefit is for them.

If we lose someone’s trust, is it possible to regain it, and how?

It is possible to regain their trust, but to be able to do so, we have to right the wrongs we’ve done; we have to apologize; we have to seek forgiveness; we have to try to make reconciliation in every way we can. But if we are in a state of denial and don’t have the humility to admit that we’ve made a mistake, then we’ve just taken another withdrawal and people will come to not trust our apologies and our asking for forgiveness.

In conclusion, high trust will be possible between people who are trustworthy, who posses both high character traits and competence to get things done well. So, in order to increase trust within ISKCON, we need to start with ourselves, working on becoming a trustworthy person.
Serious devotees’ trust is important to us, because if they trust us, we can get more Krsna’s mercy and be empowered to preach Krsna consciousness more effectively.

To learn more how to apply the ideas from this article, please contact Gita Coaching on akrura@gmail.com 

Building Trust Within ISKCON
→ GITA COACHING

By Akrura Dasa on 17 Jun 2008
ISKCON NEWS
Srila Prabhupada wanted us to serve together based on love and trust. Here are some reflections on building trust and some ideas that may be helpful to our temples and projects.

Most organizations are not aware of the enormous cost of low trust, and because they have no means of measuring its impact, they have little motivation to seriously address it. To compound the problem, many people feel like helpless victims of the problems in their organizations and see no clear way to influence their leaders.

In this article, we offer specific, powerful things we can do that can profoundly impact the level of trust in our relationships, our teams, our families, and our movement in general.

Is trust really necessary in life, work or service today? Can we succeed without it?

I believe that we cannot succeed without trust. It is not only important, it is absolutely vital. For instance, even when we are buying gasoline, we trust that we are getting quality fuel; we trust that the prices are within the market; and we trust that our money will be accepted by that person. There are so many elements to the simplest transaction that require trust. But we are sometimes unaware of those implicit elements. Trust is the lifeblood of all relationships, of all transactions, and is fundamental to everything in life.

What are evidences of a low-trust environment?

Low-trust environments are filled with hidden agendas, a lot of political games, interpersonal conflict, interdepartmental rivalries, and people bad-mouthing each other behind their backs while sweet-talking them to their faces.

With low trust, we get a lot of rules and regulations that take the place of human judgment and creativity; we also see that people are disempowered. They will not be on the same page about what’s important. Ultimately, the culture will become driven by urgency rather than importance because everyone is in it only or mostly for themselves and for their own agenda.

What is low trust costing organizations?

Low trust has a huge tax associated with it. It creates a culture of toxicity, just like we have toxins in our body. Imagine what it costs a body to be full of poison. That is what a low-trust culture is – it’s full of poison. We see people embracing and promulgating what can be called the six metastasizing emotional cancers. Metastasize means they send their cancer cells through the body, mind, and spirit of a person. They also spread through relationships.

These cancers are criticizing, complaining, comparing, competing, contending, and cynicism. (By competing, I don’t mean the healthy competition where we are competing to do more service to Krsna or please devotees but competition based on envy and false pride.) These emotional cancers are the forces that literally undermine and eventually destroy relationships. On the other hand, trust helps to make things possible.

If we want to overcome these six cancers, it seems we need a lot of work, in order to build and maintain trust. We may rightly ask, is it worth the effort?

I think it’s absolutely worth it. It’s the most supremely important thing we can do to get the confidence of another person by being true to our commitments, by clarifying expectations, by treating people with kindness and respect, and by learning to be transparent about the information we have so that people trust it and we can almost speak to them in verbal shorthand. We hardly even have to finish sentences when there’s high trust.

Trust speeds up achievement. Without it, everything gets bogged down, slows down; people protect themselves, they think defensively, and they gather other people around them to form cliques. These cliques then judge other cliques, which only compounds the low-trust situation, slows down everything, and levies a huge tax on all human interactions and transactions.

So what behaviours increase trust and is it a skill we can learn?

The metaphor that can be helpful is a Trust Bank Account. It’s like a financial bank account into which we can make deposits and take withdrawals. And if we get into a situation where we are constantly making withdrawals - the kinds that we mentioned above - we get an overdrawn Trust Bank Account. And we all know what happens with a bank relationship when we have an overdrawn account. It kills our freedom, our flexibility, and our credit capacity.

Building trust is not just a skill we can learn, it is a character trait that we have to develop. It is not a technique we can just pick up. We have to be trustworthy in our heart and sincere about what our real intentions are so that we can be transparent. We’re not fearful of being “found out” doing something in the dark when we’re proclaiming something else in the light.

The most important of all deposits into the Trust Bank Account of trust is empathy, because empathy, or listening to another within his or her frame of reference, tells us what the important deposits are to that person. Every person is different. So we have to figure out what is important to them - how do they interpret kindness, consideration, and respect? How do they interpret making and keeping promises? How do they interpret any other positive deposit in the Trust Bank Account?

This is all a function of empathy, and it is the same with our family members, our associates in the service or business, or our customers. The key is to always develop a relationship that produces mutual benefit. In order to do that, we have to deeply listen to other people to find out what the benefit is for them.

If we lose someone’s trust, is it possible to regain it, and how?

It is possible to regain their trust, but to be able to do so, we have to right the wrongs we’ve done; we have to apologize; we have to seek forgiveness; we have to try to make reconciliation in every way we can. But if we are in a state of denial and don’t have the humility to admit that we’ve made a mistake, then we’ve just taken another withdrawal and people will come to not trust our apologies and our asking for forgiveness.

In conclusion, high trust will be possible between people who are trustworthy, who posses both high character traits and competence to get things done well. So, in order to increase trust within ISKCON, we need to start with ourselves, working on becoming a trustworthy person.
Serious devotees’ trust is important to us, because if they trust us, we can get more Krsna’s mercy and be empowered to preach Krsna consciousness more effectively.

To learn more how to apply the ideas from this article, please contact Gita Coaching on akrura@gmail.com 

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Verse 4.4: Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvān is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?

In order to clarify doubt and truly understand something, two things are required:

One needs to inquire from the right person.

It's a two way street, although a strong case can be made that most of the responsibility falls on the one who is posing the question. That's because they are the ones who:


1) Have to formulate the appropriate question or else they might not get the answer they need.

2) Have the free will to choose (and accept) the person to get answers from.

Let's use a real life example to understand that a bit better. If you've ever been to a foreign country, you might have first hand experience of trying to get to a destination and having no clue where to go. In stopping someone on the street, the first question you might ask is not how to get to x, y, z destination but... "Are you from here?"

That question is an important one as it helps you (the tourist) to find out if you're asking a reputable source (i.e. one who is qualified to answer). Well...at least in my experience, it may help but doesn't necessarily guarantee that you will get the directions you require!

But that qualifying question is an important one. It's easy to get answers to questions...

The difficulty lies in finding the right individual who is actually authorized to answer your question.

Krsna has already established himself as the appropriate person to teach the science of bhakti as described in Verse 4.1. Here, Arjuna is teaching all of us the art of questioning. He has heard Krsna out but still has a doubt and so he asks Krsna to clarify it.

This is where the subtleties of bhakti are revealed. After finding the right guide/teacher and formulating the appropriate question/s the most important thing is the attitude behind the questioning. Is it one of genuine curiosity and inquiry or one of arrogance? It's this attitude that actually determines how much knowledge is imparted from the bhakti yogi to the student.

These are three elements to perfecting the art of questioning - finding the right teacher, asking the right question and checking to see what your attitude is when asking it. Try them out and see how it works for you!