In an effort to dissuade devotees from getting the benefit of hearing from Paramapujyapada Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, Urmilla devi dasi, one of Iskcon's seniormost Gurukula teachers, has published the below-mentioned statement on the Internet. It has also been translated into Spanish and distributed to Spanish devotees far and wide. That published statement has just now come to our attention, and we felt obliged to reply. First we will present her Internet posting and then our reply.
Urmila dasi writes:
A Delhi businessman who wishes to remain anonymous (but whose narration has been checked and confirmed by Ravindra Svarupa prabhu, Prithu prabhu, and Mahamantra dasa):Our Reply:
"You know, Narayana Maharaja has been trying to initiate me since a long time, I kept avoiding him. When I went away on business at one stage Narayana Maharaja had somebody call my wife to tell her that Narayana Maharaja wants to see her. She went and he instantly initiated her. When I came back I was most upset and in fact infuriated. So I told my wife: 'Since you did this without asking me I can take sannyasa now at any time without asking you as well. My wife was crying and crying and Narayana Maharaja heard about it. He passed the message that we both should see him so he would fix this problem. When we went Narayana Maharaja offered instantly that the whole situation could be resolved if I were just to take initiation from him as well. I declined his repeated coaxing, saying ultimately:
'Maharaja, you should know that every hair on my body belongs to ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada.' Instantly Narayana Maharaja took my arm and made many disparaging remarks against Srila Prabhupad. Among the things he said was, 'Do you know that he [Srila Prabhupada] was selling liquor?' My blood was boiling that he would go so far to get me to take initiation from him that he would try to break my faith in Srila Prabhupada. I instantly said to my wife: 'Give him the beads back' which she did. And we rushed out of his room." (Note: It seems that Narayana Maharaja must have been referring to the fact that in his householder days Srila Prabhupada's pharmacy sold 100% alcohol for medical use.)"
Under ordinary circumstances, and even extraordinary circumstances, we are completely against the defamation of anyone, but given the severity of this case we thought it necessary to alert readers as to the questionable source of the above-mentioned statements that were posted and distributed throughout the world. If you are considering whether to believe the above statements or not, you may want to inquire into the identity of the "anonymous Delhi businessman".
Perhaps the reason for his anonymity is that those who know his reputation will doubt his statements. His karmi name is Veda Prakasa Agharwal, and after he took initiation from Gopal Krsna Maharaja, his name became Vedavyasa dasa. We have gathered information from the Delhi Indian community of devotees that he is a renowned Delhi businessman, but his reputation among his business associates is to be ruthless and dishonest. It is a well-known fact that he has a bad relationship with his father and wife, due to his immoral and unkind activities. When he came to ISKCON his nature of being overpowering and arrogant became painfully visible among his god-brothers. In fact, because of his harsh nature and his continually rebuking and humiliating other devotees, some of them were forced to leave ISKCON. His dominating nature is nevertheless tolerated because he is rich and he also collects big donations from others.
Vedavyasa's wife, who he deserted in his own house, used to come to Parampujyapada Srila Narayana Maharaja without invitation from him. She came on her own, and she accepted harinama maha-mantra from him by her own will. No one forced her at all, but this was intolerable to Vedavyasa. He never considered what is Vedic and what is not Vedic, what is Vaisnava behavior and what is not, and he never considered what is an offence to the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. Thus, he threatened to expel his wife from his house if she did not return her beads, and he forcibly took her to Srila Maharaja in order to do so.
His tale is not new to us, for he has been relating it for years in his local ISKCON temple and misleading innocent devotees. Reputable people in the Indian community confirm that this man is a habitual liar, and he can say anything, even in front of the Deities. We've also heard from various sources that he's aspiring to become a GBC.
If readers wish to believe information from such sources, it is their decision. We simply felt it necessary to mention that this particular individual may not be the ideal source of information on such a delicate subject as the character of a pure devotee of Krsna.
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