“Shri Narada Muni personally experienced that the most feasible and practical way to open the path of salvation or get relief from all miseries of life is to hear submissively the transcendental activities of the Lord from the right and bona fide sources.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.5.32 Purport)
“I don’t mean to sound dismissive or offensive, but I am having a difficult time finding a trusted source for information or explanation of the spiritual variety. I am struggling in this world. I am not alone in that regard. I need help.
“One day I am suffering from the dreadful routine of commuting to and from work. The office is a distance away, due to the only affordable housing being available in another city. Enough people commute that distance that there is public transportation infrastructure set up. But you have to wake up early to make it to your desk on time, and when the day is finished you don’t feel like doing anything at home.
“Then one day everyone is forced to stay at home. Bring the computer with you and create a makeshift office. At first they say it is only for two weeks, to hide from a mysterious virus, though man has never successfully employed this mitigation method prior. Next thing you know, we have been working from home for over a year.
“Then the higher ups in the company, the people with brains, decide that everyone must abruptly return to the office. Forget the routine forced upon the staff for the last year, which brought reduced stress, increased flexibility and productivity, and a generally happier workforce. Return to the misery immediately; no excuses.
“I have heard from Shrimad Bhagavatam that the only recourse to the suffering is hearing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. We can’t hide from disease forever. We can’t wish away pain and suffering. Connecting with God through shravanam is a form of yoga, and yoga is the best way to live.
“As I mentioned in the beginning, the people I see available, who are supposedly trusted sources, are not of a higher caliber. This is based on my personal assessment; I am not judging for others. If they think that guy over there is a real guru, good for them, but something doesn’t sit right with me.
“These leaders seem more like branch managers or faculty advisors. Their primary obligation is to the institution. As long as they stay in line, not criticizing the management, they are golden. They can run around having trysts with secretaries, one illicit affair after another, or putting out hits against dissenters. Some of them have admittedly fondled young children in the past, and yet they are still in the position of guru today.
“What hope is there? I want someone who is honest, but that only lands you in trouble these days.”
The genuine saint is immune to cancel culture precisely because they have cancelled everyone else already. They are fully dedicated to the Supreme Lord in thought, word and deed. They do not mind offending anyone since they have full faith and trust in the message disseminated.
The source of their strength is the connection to their own guru. This chain of connection is known as parampara. If described in scientific terms, it would be the descending process of knowledge gathering. Rather than learn for myself through trial-and-error, the truth descends to me from higher authorities.
If the authorities are corrupt, then the message received might not be proper. The spiritual leader might only be speaking in a certain way in order to avoid punishment in their institution. They want to maintain a large number of followers, and the easy way is to steer clear of controversial statements.
The entire situation of material existence is dangerous. Cheaters are not exclusive to spiritual institutions. Even amidst the tremendous risk, there is the ray of light emitted by Vishnu Himself, who is the Supreme Lord. He passes down His sacred wisdom, channeled through the eyes and ears of witnesses. They describe what they have seen, and the record is preserved for future generations to consult. At the very least we can sacrifice some time to hear this information and be saved from the calamities around us.
Just of activities hear,
For understanding clear.
On cheaters certainly keep an eye,
Not fully for guidance to rely.
But blemishes everywhere found,
Still available the sacred sound.
Wisdom to empowered beings gave,
God for our future to save.