(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 2011)
In the earlier days of this movement it was very mission based. One’s level of advancement in Krishna Consciousness was being measured to how much one was willing to take responsibility in service within the movement.
Later, the focus of our movement shifted somewhere in the mid eighties to a more individual based movement. I sometimes compare it to the renaissance, because in the renaissance people came out of the middle ages, where you were told to think in a certain way. In the renaissance people broke out and began to think along individual lines.
Well some thing like that happened in Iskcon in the mid eighties. Everyone started to think:
“Well in my spiritual life how am I experiencing it….how am I feeling it and what is my propensity? How should I express my bhakti?”
Things like this became very relevant and that has kind of survived into the present day, which is still there. Whereas in the earlier era of Iskcon the spirit was, simply to get involved and take up service, which was a sign of advancement. Anyone who was dragging his feet was in maya and he was also told that!
So one’s Krishna Consciousness was directly linked to how much service one was doing. Nowadays, it may not always be seen like that. There was an element of truth in that earlier approach, because that leads to spiritual advancement. It is not automatically that one who takes on a lot of responsibility is spiritually advanced because some take responsibility (and we found out about that) out of material motives…for name fame and glory, and ambitious people… people with material ambition can sometimes do service for quite a while, and then they run out of steam.
So it is not necessarily that it is fuelled by spiritual advancement, but it is a fact that if one keeps on dedicating himself to devotional service in this movement, then one will become spiritually advanced, and I do want to make this point that there is a need for devotees in this day and age to come forward to take some service!