Why devotees call others as Prabhuji as only Krishna is Prabhu?
A male devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna, Sir, forgive me but I’m a new joiner of your page and want to clear my own confusion. i agree that a man knows by his work (good or bad), and your work is unique indeed. I don’t know my thoughts is right or wrong but i want to ask a question …………. while devotees called you prabhu ji, its 100% right, i agree with devotees, but i think, you should not accept this word because you know this is only for krishna.”
Actually, I have no ego in accepting being called as Prabhuji. Actually, the genuine devotees of the Lord do not like fame. However, they treat the devotees of Lord as the most respectable persons.
(Why should we worship Guru who has material body instead of Krishna only? READ HERE!)
In fact, they consider every devotee is equally respectable as we respect Krishna. This does not mean that every devotee is Krishna. But, the devotees respect all other devotees. They like to call them with respectable words and hence the devotees call others as Prabhuji
This is not the system created by me or any other devotee. It was recommended by Srila Prabhupada. If devotees call others as Prabhuji, they need not be the qualified or advanced devotees. Srila Prabhupada advised to call even neophite devotees and children as Prabhuji and matajis. In ISKCON, the devotees call even a two years girl child as Mataji. Similarly, we call even a small boy as Prabhuji.
This shows that we give importance to that devotee. As the devotees call others as Prabhuji or Mataji, they are teaching them how to approach others respectfully.
Lord Krishna Himself says that he honours and respects His devotees. Are we bigger than Krishna to deny the respects to other devotees?
(Scientific reasons for honouring Gurus, Vaishnavas and Cows though they are humans and animals respectively! READ HERE!)
Actually, we should not consider all are equal to Krishna. In fact, no one is equal to Krishna. However, as said by Lord Himself, we must respect the devotees as we respect Krishna.
What is wrong in that? We need not offer aratis to other devotees. We need not offer abhisheks to them. But, what is wrong in showing our respects to them and if the devotees call others as Prabhuji or Mataji?
As the devotees call others as Prabhuji, they also make them feel their responsibility of being more and more pure in their life so that they can show their justification and fitness for being called as Prabhuji or Mataji.
If we discourage them to call others as Prabhuji or Mataji, what will happen? They will call me as Rajan or Hai, etc. Is it right for you if a ten years old boy or girl calls me as Rajan? Is it in Indian culture? If the seniors call with rights and love, its alright. They are learning something spiritually from a person who may be senior to him/ her. If they call seniors with name, it is not the custom in vedic tradition.
(Who are our Seven mothers? Why cow is a mother and given importance? READ HERE!)
Every devotee learns from others in devotional practices. From their words or from their experience. So, every devotee is like a siksha guru for others. Even this nature teaches us many things. That is why, our tradition advices us to respect the nature and its components like trees, animals and earth.
So, we, the devotees do not enjoy being called as Prabhuji. It is a good practice recommended by Srila Prabhupada. So, we respect each other. That’s all. In fact, it increases our responsibility of being more and more pure in spiritual life.
Only because I have understood this responsibility, I have been running e-sathsangha through Social media and sites for the past many years without even a single complaint of doing excesses with the devotees. Even many young girls and Matajis share their problems and get counselling from me. But, I have never maintained unwanted contacts with any of them though they share even their numbers with their communications and I am maintaining their privacy beyond doubts.
(Do we hurt the plants by plucking flowers and fruits for Krishna and us? READ HERE!)
Why should I be that much strict in interacting with the devotees? Because, I am doing service to Lord Krishna. So, there is no place for Personal interactions. If I deviate from this ethics, I am finished by Krishna and He will make me fail in this service. He will not like to have a violating devotee for decades. This shows that we, the preachers have to give justification as the devotees call others as Prabhuji.
So, the dedicated devotees are not after fame or pride. If you have any other word other than Prabhu that gives a decent atmosphere, you can call me so. You can call ‘sir’ or ‘ji” or “Rajan ji”, etc. As far as myself is concerned, I call some devotees by name if I definitely know that they are much younger than me and who have accepted me as their brother. If I am unable to ascertain their age, I call them as ji, ir I add a “ji” with their name. As this is a media with all kinds and levels of people, I have to be little bit flexible.
Remember, Even the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna called the senior devotees like Bhishma with all honours. Lord Rama too honoured His parents and gurus and even the elderly people. If the God Himself honours others, why should not we honour others?
Hope this clears your doubt.
(How to involve your ego in Krishna’s service? Practical Tips! READ HERE!)