From a lecture by H.H. Radhanath Swami Maharaj at Mumbai, December 2000
Within Srila Prabhupada’s Society everyone is meant to share Srila Prabhupada’s message. Therefore, however initiating or instructing spiritual masters there may be, and however disciples may be following them, the aim is very much one. And maturity is to see that, that we are all brothers and sisters.
We should not be sectarian. You might have faith in one guru and others might have more faith in another guru. Your faith should not disturb them and their faith should not disturb you. We should understand that Krishna is attracting different people’s hearts in different ways. We should not expect everyone to be like ourselves. If someone has faith in his guru, we should respect, honour and encourage that. We shouldn’t take it as a challenge. If someone is challenging your faith, attacking your faith, then you have to keep a distance. But if we are understanding etiquette properly, we should not be confused by other people having a different type of faith than ourselves. They are brothers; they are sisters. That’s very, very important. We should not be so egoistic and self-centred to think: “Everyone has to have my faith. If somebody doesn’t have my faith that means he’s a dangerous enemy to me.”
We want to be God. We want to be great. Therefore, the tendency of a neophyte devotee is to wish that everything that they are connected to is the greatest, and therefore they are the greatest. “My Guru is the greatest.” “My line is the greatest.” There is always competition. This is a material conception. To you, your spiritual master may be the greatest, but to someone else, another spiritual master might be the greatest. Krishna is the greatest. But he may be revealing himself to different people in different ways and different times. We should honour and respect Krishna however He is manifesting Himself to different people in different ways.
If somebody else is praising their Guru, it’s very, very nice. We don’t have to belittle and prove that we are better. Then there can be unity. As long as there is canvassing mentality: “My gurus is better than yours. My guru is maha-bhagavata, your guru is not.” as long as this mentality is there, it’s just a lack of etiquette. It’s just immaturity. We should respect the faith of other Vaisnavas; and they should respect our faith as well. We don’t have to prove anything to anyone. If our faith is so weak that we have to prove that: “My guru is better than all other gurus.” Then we don’t understand guru-tattva at all. Guru is Krishna, who is manifesting himself in many ways, through many people. Our faith is in that principle. Through guru Krishna embraces the conditioned souls and brings them back to Godhead. We should respect and honour that principle.