(Notes #2)

While distributing copies of The Vaisnava Journal to devotees in Mayapur this year, I was startled by the number of times I heard the question, "What's your motive?" I must admit that I found this query rather distasteful -- not in a personal way, for I have no intention of feigning purity -- but in a larger philosophical sense. Why was this question being asked?

In the "good old days" we took it for granted that each of us was trying our best to serve Srila Prabhupada (in spite of our various idiosyncracies). In those days we were innocent until proven guilty -- perhaps a naive assumption, but not an unpleasant one. Well, I guess times have changed.

One of the most important duties of a good journalist or editor is to provide information without bias. Although he may certainly have opinions of his own, a journalist is not called upon to make them known, except in the rarest of circumstances. His duty is to present all points of view and let the reader decide for himself. Differences of opinion are not necessarily unhealthy for the social body; in fact, history has shown that even very powerful governments have failed miserably because of a limited and parochial view of things. Progressive leaders are in touch with the people, and vice versa.

Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to study the scriptures from "different lights of direction." In his personal absence there are bound to be various points of view; some of them right, and others not. So to protect one another from deviation, we need the opportunity to exchange our opinions in an open forum. This will force us to examine the credibility of our own thoughts and actions, as well as those of our godbrothers and godsisters. That is the meaning of Vaisnava association, and the motive behind The Vaisnava Journal.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
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