I never read tabloid newspapers. They are always staring at you as you leave the supermarkets in New York City near the check out register. However some years ago something impelled me to pick up a copy of "The Star" and peruse its pages. There in bold headlines I was amazed to see "Hare Krsna Leader Beheaded." To my great dismay I read about the viscous murder and decapitation of my god brother, Jayatirtha Prabhu. I had served with him in Los Angeles. He was always a gentleman, always kind and always concerned about the Krsna consciousness of the New Dwaraka community, as well as the management of the Spiritual Sky Incense Company. When he left New Dwaraka to serve in England its seems that a spirit of love and affection left that community that has never returned to it. We remember his association with fondness and gratitude.
Whatever mistakes Jayatirtha may have made, he certainly made one good choice. That was to seek the guidance and shelter of a siksa guru, His Divine Grace Srila Sridhar Deva Goswami Maharaj, in Nabadwipa. He was sanctioned and removed from his position in ISKCON as a guru and GBC because he refused to renounce his connection with his siksa guru. Now many years later a very illuminating conversation between Jayatirtha Maharaj and Srila Sridhar Maharaja has come in to my hands by the will of providence.
I believe every one who is concerned about events since l977 should read this dialogue and see how perceptive and concerned about Iskcon Srila Sridhar Maharaja's was. His realization of events yet to take place is quite astounding. The reader will also note Jayatirtha's display of integrity and courage in the face of the censure of his GBC peers, who he apparently had refused to be bullied by.
Most of His Divine Grace's actual disciples have not left ISKCON willingly but have been forced or dragged away by impossible conditions. The ecclesiastical ISKCON means little today. Leaving the present day institutions does not mean leaving His Divine Grace's mission. I would also add out that no one enjoys pointing out the anomalies of present conditions. We all had fond hopes that ISKCON would save the planet from the onslaught of the kali yuga. It is our deepest disappointment that it has not lived up to Srila Prabhupada's expectations. What to do is the dilemma of every sincere follower. My conclusion is that we can only follow the example of our own spiritual master and be attached to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and nothing else.
Reports of events after this discussion were clouded by misinformation and many motivated accounts. Doubtless Jayatirtha was murdered by a disgruntled follower. One can only wonder how much his gbc so called god brothers should share in the responsibility for his murder. Had the iskcon society been less dogmatic and envious of Srila Sridhar Maharaja, wouldn't Jayatirtha and many other sincere disciples have had a place in it? How much to blame for his problems was he personally, and how much blame can we attribute to the gbc members who harassed him? I don't have the answers to these questions. You make up your own mind, or at least consider the possibilities.
Om Tat Sat
Puru Das Adhikari
Jayatirtha Maharaja: I want to know whether or not you will enlist me in your service, because my previous service was taken away from me.
Srila Sridhar Maharaja: It is such?
Jayatirtha Maharaja: Well, they have given ultimatum that either I agree from today never to hear your Divine Grace's words again, or otherwise I have to leave Iskcon. So, taking the two things into consideration, I decided that I could not become disconnected with your words; that it was easier for me to become disconnected with Iskcon, at least on that plane. I think the Iskcon which Prabhupada started, you are also one of the members of.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: If you give so much stress to his words, then he wanted to make me president. [Everyone laughs] Of course, I remember that. Once, he came and proposed to me, requested me to become president of Iskcon. That he did. Gaura Hari bol. But it is very deplorable to me to think that the so-called Iskcon committee is so eager to go away from me. In other words, I see that they are digging their own grave. This is my sincere feeling, but this hurts, and it is objectionable to a certain extent. But still, I cannot but think so. It was principle they had got, the principle of Iskcon; not the body, but the spirit. If they are Iskcon properly, they are promised to a particular ideal. So, deviation from that ideal, that is but a shadow of Iskcon, which was created and designed by Swami Maharaj; Iskcon. It is a very lamentable thing. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare. A sincere soul like you, you have got no room there?
It reminds me of when I was a worker in Congress, in the Kalna committee. In 1921 or so, the British government also announced a rule: "Whoever will be in connection with the Congress committee they should all be captured. Then the bar association of Kalna, they passed a resolution to avoid prison, because the Congress also announced that we shall disobey the law. A law disobeying program. So the Congress committee of Calcutta composed mainly of advocates, they passed a resolution, that: "To save our Congress committee, we should not accept the direction of the Central Congress to disobey the law." So there was one man who said, "No, I must obey the order of the Central committee and I will court arrest." Then he was dismissed from the local Congress committee. They said, "If you are here within, then we will also be connected with your offense. So, save us, the committee, from courting the arrest, ' and he was eliminated.
Then another sober man in the committee told, "Who is really obeying the orders of the Central Congress committee, he is eliminated, and the bogus committee we have, we are satisfied. Rather, we should resign. We are not bold enough to carry out the order of the Central Congress committee, we should resign. And that man, with his new friends, he will construct a new Congress committee."
So, such a sincere seeker after the truth, very simple, and also a strong personality and officiated by Swami Maharaja himself, you have no room, because you cannot separate yourself from myself, one who had affection all through his life from Swami Maharaja. I enjoyed his company also. And I cannot leave my personality, or person, personal realization, that is my own existence, to be flattered by those committee persons. I can't give ditto to their resolution. Anyhow, it is God's will.
Those who are sincere, the victory will be with them. Na hi kalyana krd kascid, durgatim tata gacchati
[ one who does good is never overcome by evil. Bg. 6.40 ] Kalyana means sincere to their purpose, not power-seeker; coercive nature, for the administration. Hare Krsna.
They consider me as such a bitter hopeless poison? My association is a virulent poison to the existence of Iskcon? So, such a severe warning against me. My conversations are open to all. They may find fault with what I am speaking that it is not according to the scripture, or in accordance with the advice of the Vaisnavas, it is open. Anyhow, it is all for the best. We have to take that maxim: tat te Śnukampam susamiksamano, bhunjana evatma krtam vipakam, hrd vag vapurbhir vidadhan namas te, jiveta yo mukti pade sa daya bhak.
["One who seeks your compassion, and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances unto You is certainly a candidate for becoming Your unalloyed devotee." SB 10.14.29]
Whether the society or the Godhead? Whom to select: ya dustyajam svajanam arya patham ca hitva, bhejur mukunda padavim srutibhir vimrgyam
[ "The gopis of Vrndavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge.'']
We cannot sacrifice our noble aspiration, the inner voice, our spiritual conscience. Under no circumstances should we betray that; should we become a traitor to our inner guide. That is my ultimate thought; we must not be insincere. We must try to maintain our sincerity, by sincere prayer to the Lord. We are out for Him, and not for any opposition, in His name.
Thc guru bhog is to enjoy, to exploit guru. Exploitation in the name of God, guru, Vaisnava, and sastra; we have also seen this existent, and perhaps now the time has come to make us careful from the contamination of such anartha, undesirables. Exploitation in the name of the Lord. Let us accept poverty and helplessness in His name He is our saviour. And for any other proposal of any alternative wealth or resources, we should not go against my Lord of Heart, Lord of Love. We should stick to that, whatever circumstances may come to threaten us. Gaur Hari bol.
Jayatirtha Maharaja: Thinking that I would probably leave, they passed a resolution saying that if any acarya leaves Iskcon, then all of his disciples actually belong not to him, but to Iskcon; they are devoted to Iskcon, not to him, and therefore the other acaryas will be free to try to convince them to give up their spiritual master, and take initiation from one of the other acaryas.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: They shall have to take risk by that sort of behaviour; and that will be an atomic bomb to their own disciples. Tamal Krsna Maharaj, I think he is taking a leading part, but that very position, awkward position, the other day, he fell in, and with the same argument which you are putting against them, mostly on the basis of that, he was reinstated. But this effect of changing the faith in their guru, of the acarya, will have reaction in the whole of ISKCON, and will shake the very foundation.Is it a play? What Swami Maharaj began there, is it a play? The acarya and the disciple, their relation; is it a fun? So lightly to be taken? What reaction will come on the other disciples? They can connect and disconnect in any way? And the charge was made by Rameswara to me, in the case of a single person. And there was such a great difference. And they are doing in a wholesale way, wholesale dealing. It is horrible to think of the future of ISKCON. Gaura Hari bol. God save them from such heinous and suicidal steps they are going to take. I can' t even think of it. They will go from door to door, and dissuade the disciples Is it a business? Even the mundane merchants, they would be ashamed to take such a step against their competitor. Who was just the other day held in such reverence, you shall be treated like this! I can't think anymore. In Swami Maharaj's words, I am going to faint to think of the future of ISKCON. Gaura Hari bol.
Question: What do you think?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: God save the Iskcon from its sure, immediate death. I shall be dumb? What do you think? Suppose I [become] a cipher. [A person or thing without influence or value; a nonentity.] Henceforth, if I don't express myself in any way, if I will become silent, do you think that Iskcon will be saved? At the cost of that? It may be saved? It is intolerable that the Iskcon which has got so much honor and prestige in the whole of the world; and they will undertake this risky campaign to sever the disciples wholesale from their acarya. Then what will the world say?"Look at them!" They will come with laughter: "A ludicrous thing." Faith; it is a question of faith, and faith is being murdered.
Jayatirtha Maharaja: I went to the farthest extreme that I thought I could, to compromise. I offered them like this: None of my Godbrothers would have to work on my behalf to enlist any new disciple. Only my disciples would go on like that. That I would agree not to display any picture of your Divine Grace anywhere in our temple. That I would agree not to circulate your tapes to any one of my disciples. And that I myself would only listen to your tapes in private. And that I would keep no picture, even in my own room of your Divine Grace. To that extent I said I would compromise, in order to keep the society in a unified condition. But that they refused to accept; those terms.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: So, you are to banish Sridhar Maharaja from your heart.
Jayatirtha Maharaja: Yes.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Won't allow him to enter.
Jayatirtha Maharaja: Exactly. They told me that exactly.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Even the area of your consciousness. You must keep him out side. Rather cast him outside, throw him outside. Not only that, you will have to preach against him."Join us in chorus."
Jayatirtha Maharaja: Yes. So, I told them I would be willing to be silent about your Divine Grace, and that I would not propagate the matter, but keep it to myself only, because you mentioned once that my relationship with you was internal, it could be kept that way. But then when they also told me that even internally it could not be tolerated; even privately it could not be tolerated, then I thought, "It's impossible."
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Ramananda Ray, avoiding darsana of Jagannatha, went straight to Mahaprabhu. At Kasinatha Mullik's, Mahaprabhu told Ramananda Raya, when he had come from his place of service, "Have you taken darsan of Jagannatha?" Raya said, "No, no. I have come straight to You." "What have you done? On the way to the Jagannath temple you did not go there? And you have come straight to Me? What crime have you committed?" "I can't help it. My heart took me straight to You, even avoiding Jagannatha on the way. I am helpless. What can I do? I can't help it. I couldn't control my heart. And so the body was carried." Perhaps your case is similar.
Jayatirtha Maharaja: There's nothing similar between me and Ramananda Raya. They told me, "On the one side is the opinion of all your Godbrothers, and on the other side, only this Sridhar Swami"s opinion." So, I took it that, I heard one story once told about how one tulasi leaf . . . that they were trying to weigh Krsna; so much so that the gold of the queens of Dwarka was placed on one side, and on the other side, one tulasi leaf . . .
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Tulasi. Rukminidevi.
[Sridhar Maharaja explains the pastime in Bengali. All the devotees laugh when he gets to the point that Jayatirtha made, that Sridhar Maharaja outweighed everyone.
Jayatirtha Maharaja: I told them that I would not make a personal attempt to take even a paisa from the institution: neither any building, neither any man, neither any other resource. Whatever came to me of its own accord, I would engage that in Krsna's service; but that I wouldn't fight, or litigate for even one paisa of the whole affair .
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: But I cannot sell my independence, my freedom, my spiritual freedom I can't sell for any price. That was your spiritual consciousness, I cannot sell for any price. I must follow my own conscience, caitya guru, the guru within, I can't avoid His dictation, disobey His dictation at any cost. I must maintain His prestige, who is guiding me on behalf of Swami Maharaja. Swami Maharaja is living inside me. I can't banish him. It is most heinous. It is a direct offense to the faith, sraddha. The ruling position; vanity. "We are ruler." When the Pandavas after gambling and Draupadi's dishonoring, all these things, when it came that they will have to go to the forest for 12 years, and then one year in an unknown quarter, then they may come and take the share of their kingdom. The decision was made, and the Pandavas they were going to the forest, those five, and also Draupadi following. Their mother Kunti of course was kept in the charge of Vidura, and the six are going to the forest. At that time Yudhisthira Maharaj was going with his glance earthward, and Bhima with his hands fluttering, [swinging his fists]:
"Only after 12 years, I shall satisfy the itching of my hands." Then Arjuna, he was shedding tears profusely. The meaning was that Arjuna, when he'll come back "I shall usc weapons in such a profuse way, in a current to take the revenge." Then Nakula, he was smearing the ashes, and that had some meaning, and Sahadeva, he went covering his face with his palms. What was the meaning. He couldn't look. He was the astrologer, Sahadeva, a very good astrologer, and it was said that he could not look at the future figure of the Kurus and Duryodhana. He couldn't look; he was closing his eyes, seeing a very dangerous future will come in the Kuru vamsa, by the astrological knowledge, he was fully conscious of that, and he couldn't look; cast his eyes look on the environment.
He was covering his face. Some feeling like that has come in me and I can't cast glance into the future of Iskcon. I am afraid to look at their future. I feel that what they are doing, what steps they are taking, it is very very deplorable. The Pandavas were five and Duryodhana's party were one hundred. The Pandavas were banished from the kingdom by unlawful possession. Jayatirtha Maharaja's sacrificc and sincerity, it is of so high type that this light will show like an X-ray, like a searching light will show the defects in them. His life is so sincere, and so faithful for the cause that it will cast darkness to them, on their face. A man from such a high position; he can leave so easily for the truth, and still, such a man is living! Einstein once remarked about Gandhi, "A man who does not say a single lie, and who does not harm even a single mosquito or fly, that such a man once trod on this earth, walked on this earth, future generations won't believe it." That was the statement of Einstein, about Gandhi. A single lie he does not speak, never speaks a lie, and never harms a fly. That such a man used to live on the breast of this earth, future generations won't believe it.
So Jayatirtha Maharaj, he is so sincere that such a temptible position he was holding in ISKCON, and he is leaving it only for his sincere hankering for the truth. Such prestige, resources, position, and obligation to the disciples, all a risk, single-handed, his ideal will defeat them. And Dhira Krsna Maharaja's firm and sharp intellect to find the real siddhanta in the sastra, these are really the wealth of a devotee. Not a single man, but a committee of so many persons who were relied on so much by Swami Maharaja; representing his future good name? Let the divine will guide us properly in our ways. What should I say more? Hare Krsna.Jayatirtha Maharaja, once more he has become a sannyasi. [Laughter] Leaving everything, Krsna wanted even the gopis to stand naked before Him. Naked, stand before His sweet will. Giving up all sorts of prejudice; undesirable things. [So they have] no practical feeling of the Divinity, but only administration. Administration. Only mundane administrative tendency. Unconscious of the holy faith sraddha, the divine; meddling with divine faith in such a rude manner. It is not possible. It may not come from the hands of the devotee. Devastation. Hare Krsna. Gaura Hari bol. Gaura Hari bol Gaura Hari bol Gaura Hari bol.