Unity in Diversity
Our Vaisnava philosophy is a personal one. The humble servant of the Lord endeavors to please the Supreme Beloved through acts of devotion, or bhakti. Following the orders of Krsna, with the help and guidance of the spiritual master and the revealed scriptures, the devotee gradually advances in his or her understanding of what is most pleasing to the Lord.
In the Bhagavad-gita (9.27), Lord Krsna says: "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." In the purport to this verse, Srila Prabhupada states the following:
"If one wishes to engage in devotional service to the Supreme in order to be purified and to reach the goal of life -- the transcendental service of God -- then he should find out what the Lord desires of him. One who loves Krsna will give Him whatever He wants, and he avoids offering anything which is undesirable or unasked for."
Obviously, the Supreme Lord has no need for an offering of fruit or water (or anything for that matter), since He is the creator of everything. So what does He really want? Srila Prabhupada clearly explains: "God accepts only the love with which things are offered to Him." (B.G. 9.2) Here, in a nutshell, is the central purpose of our devotional activities -- and in fact -- the central purpose of our worldwide Krsna conscious community. We are all meant to please the Lord through loving devotional service.
Although we are certainly diverse in our situations and positions in this material world, we all have something very much in common. We are each endeavoring to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead by following the process of bhakti-yoga as revealed to us by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada through his instructions and personal example. We are engaged in practicing what Srila Prabhupada often referred to as "unity in diversity." So although we are not always united by close proximity, we are always united by this consciousness of pleasing Krsna, or Krsna consciousness. Therefore no one should feel alone or excluded from participating in this great juggernaut of devotional service which is destined to flood the entire universe with love of Godhead:
"The sankirtana movement inaugurated by Lord Caitanya is a transcendental pastime of the Lord. 'By it I live simultaneously to preach and popularize this movement in the material world.' The conditioned living entities in the material world, especially in the present age of Kali, are overpowered by the flood of love of God inaugurated by Lord Caitanya and His associates." (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, page 189)
In The Nectar of Devotion, pure devotional service is described as "the only means to attract Krsna." This confidential knowledge is referred to as "the king of education" and "the most secret of all secrets" by the Lord Himself in the Bhagavad-gita (9.2). According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, there are no material impediments to performing devotional service (ahaituky apratihata). It can be performed by anyone in any condition of life. The only essential requirement is a sincere desire to please the Supreme Lord and His bona fide representative. And even if we face some difficulty or temporary interruption in our spiritual progress, Lord Krsna so kindly assures us: "In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear." (B.G. 2.40) Furthermore, Srila Prabhupada declares in The Nectar of Instruction (Text 3): "Devotional service is so pure and perfect that once having begun, one is forcibly dragged to ultimate success." Thus anyone who has been touched by the Krsna consciousness movement has received the greatest benediction from the Lord Himself.
With all these wonderful benedictions bestowed upon us all, surely we can be inspired to work together at overcoming our petty disagreements and overlooking our minor differences. Srila Prabhupada describes Krsna consciousness as "the purest form of religion, and it can be executed joyfully without difficulty. Therefore one should adopt it." Now who can argue with that?
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.