(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 26 April 2016, Radhadesh, Belgium, Vyasa Puja Address)
Every spiritual master is representing the sampradaya and is representing the knowledge of scriptures in parampara and at the same time, every spiritual master is an individual and each individual is different and therefore every spiritual master brings in his own individual mood.
Well, I am from that small country, the Netherlands. A country that has a lot of history and was involved in a lot of wars because it is always the small guys that get picked on naturally. For example, in the time when Protestants came into being in Europe, starting in Germany, Switzerland followed and Holland was also among the countries that became Protestant.
At that time, Spain was a very great empire, very powerful and Spain was leading the inquisition. They were like the Catholic response at that time. So what happened was that they tried to attack England and they sent a fleet which was known as Armada, an invincible fleet, and what the British did was, in a sneaky way, they sent out old ships without any crew, they set fire to the old ships and they sent them to the middle of the Spanish fleet and the whole Spanish fleet burned down! So that was the end with the fight with England.
Then the Spanish looked around and the other Protestants were the Germans. They decided to leave the Germans alone so guess what… The next target was Holland. And sure enough, they came, those guys from Spain, they came and for 80 years there was a war between Holland and Spain. It was a huge thing. Some people were born in that war and they died in that war. The Dutch were fighting from the water with ships and the Spanish on the ground. The Dutch King who liberated the Netherlands was William of Orange. That is why orange is the colour of the Dutch because it stands for freedom which was conquered after 80 years of war. That made such a deep impression on the culture of the Netherlands; the hard-earned freedom!
Freedom is the motto and the culture of freedom has been deeply ingrained in the psyche of the Dutch and they are very independent, rugged individuals. In the Bhaktivedanta Manor, in the brahmachari ashram they all have similar uniforms: the same sweaters, the same hats and the same socks! In England this is possible because that is part of the culture. In Holland, it is not possible, no way. I appreciated though that Gurudas took the hat of the official uniform, cut it in half and then put it back on although Sutapa did not appreciate that… A little bit of rebellious spirit touches the heart of a Dutchman.
I am also a bit of a rebel and I guess that many of you are also rebels. There is a good chance because rebels attract rebels. It goes like that. So I have a group of devotees who are all rebels and individuals, a bit independent and who like their own personal space. Well, that is all good. I am providing that personal space for you in Lord Caitanya´s movement and I don´t mind if Gurudas cuts his hat in half as long as he does not cut his rounds in half or other essential spiritual things in half. In that regards, I will have no tolerance at all. Yes, I will chastise and so on when need be but in principle, I guess since I am a rebel who wants some space to sort of be an individual, I provide space in this movement for being individualistic people.
So let us be that. Let us be strong individuals but with that let us also take responsibility. One who is individualistic can rely less on the community. When we see a herd of sheep, they may be a slight variety among them – different curls and one is grey, another one is white, but there is not too much difference. Do as the others do may not always work for us. At least it is not my mission in life to be counted among the sheep. But if we are not sheep, if we are more individualistic, then it also means that we have to individually take responsibility. We have to do it ourselves. Just like no one had to ever call me to get up in the morning. I could do it myself. I did it myself; I got up and went to mangala arati.
So take responsibility. This is the position of one who wants some freedom. One who wants some freedom can have it, if they take responsibility themselves. This is what we want in this movement; we want individuals to take responsibility themselves – each one flies his own plane, as Srila Prabhupada explains. Ultimately we are personally responsible. Yes, we may have a nice guru-disciple relationship. We have sweet exchanges and there may be inspiration and sometimes it may be boring also, but whatever may be, at the end of the day we cannot depend on others until the very end. We can be carried our whole life but at the very end, it is us who have to alone face Krsna and it is OUR Krsna consciousness that will count. Therefore guru-disciple relationships go so far. The guru is certainly doing what he can but how much can he do!? He is also human. He is also limited and even if he wants to do so many things he is limited.
Transcribed by Tattvavati dd