Collaboration is the most difficult task
It is said that if you reach the top of a mountain alone, then you have not climbed the highest mountain. This is because by working as a team, we can achieve much more than by acting alone. But often we find it difficult to cooperate with others. Let’s look at how we can work together more effectively.
We can’t do it alone
Srila Prabhupada said that he could not have spread the Krishna consciousness movement alone: “No one should think, ‘I have such great ability. I can do it”. No. Just through cooperation, we can do a lot. Alone in the field is not a warrior … we must unite. Sankirtana means many people gather together and chant.” (Room Conversation with Radha-Damodara Sankirtana Group, March 16, 1976, Mayapur).
For many of us, working with others is challenging. It may even be painful. However, since cooperation is fundamental to spreading Krsna consciousness, Srila Prabhupada
Constantly emphasized its importance.
This is because he already had the experience of disunity. After the departure of spiritual master Srila Prabhupada, the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (Gaudiya Math) fell apart.
When the Gaudiya Math split, it lost its power and effectiveness. So Srila Prabhupada was worried that the same thing could happen to ISKCON. He knew that unity was necessary for the successful spread of a worldwide movement.
One day Prabhupada wrote to one of the leaders of ISKCON, “Let’s try to work together, otherwise, the martial spirit will destroy our great movement” (Letter to Rameshwara, India, April 10, 1974)
Sacrifice of Kali
Cooperation is a manifestation of Vaishnava culture. When Prabhupada found that his disciples were affected by the power of the Kali Yuga, he sometimes used the expression “sacrifice of Kali”. “Kali” means “quarrel”.
Kali will go to great lengths to cause quarrels and disagreements between us, and often he does it surprisingly well. What we often fail to realize is that the quarrel itself is almost always a bigger problem than the problem that caused the quarrel.
Srila Prabhupada writes: “Our true devotion and sincerity in the service of the spiritual master will be confirmed by the spirit of mutual cooperation in the development of our Movement, and not by splits and deviations” (Letter to Babhru, Los Angeles, December 9, 1973).
Srila Prabhupada once told a devotee that if he doesn’t like what others are doing, he himself should set the right example for them. Prabhupada severely chastised the devotee for simply criticizing and not supporting ISKCON.
The fact is that being on the material level, we may not want to cooperate unless the other person is also willing to compromise. But spiritual vision is different.