[A letter from His Holiness Bhakti Vidagdha Bhagawat Maharaja, as an answer to Sriman Ravindra Swarupa's letter on His Holiness Srimad Bhakti Vedanta Narayana Maharaja.] All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga. Hare Krsna. Please accept my respects.
As a humble servant of the servant of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and following the orders of my Guru-Maharaja, Om Visnupada 108 Sri Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaja, I am writing this letter as to warn you in a friendly way not to commit Vaisnava-aparadha. It is written from a completely neutral point of view, so that no one will feel attacked or offended at heart. I ask for forgiveness if such thing is felt.
I came across your letter on the CHAKRA Website the other day and thought of it as my duty to protest against the spreading of such wrong conceptions of the Gaudiya-Math and its exalted Vaisnavas, in the line of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. I will just try to show you some of the misconceptions that you are spreading in the name of guru-seva (or service to your Srila Prabhupada).
1. If you do not like to invite His Holiness Narayana Maharaja to any of your ISKCON centers, that's fine, but I think that if a vaisnava shows up at my door and I do not feel any happiness upon seeing him, that also is to be considered a vaisnava-aparadha. H. H. Narayana Maharaja is a well-known vaisnava (that you cannot deny) so if you or any of the members in your organization (which is also supposed to be a vaisnava organization) are not happy to see such a vaisnava at your doorstep, then you are generating such aparadhas.
2. You are speaking about the indications of Srila Narahari Sarakara Thakura in the Sri Krsna Bhajanamrita that if one's spiritual master is in good standing, and yet is not sufficiently elevated to give a disciple instructions for his further advancement, then the disciple may take permission from his diksa-guru and thus take advantage of the more advance vaisnavas for instructions. Then you have asked, "What if the diksa-guru does not give his approval?". Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has answered this very clearly in his book Jaiva-Dharma as follows: "When the disciple chooses someone as a guru, he has no opportunity to verify if that person is tattvajna (he who knows the treatises of Vaisnavism) and of the vaisnavas (in the real sense ) then at the time of the effect, he cannot get any result from that kind of initiation and must give him up at once".
So there is no question of asking permission from such a so-called guru (guru-bruva). You are well aware of the fact that many of your ISKCON members are not well trained to accept a guru and in many cases choose them out of ignorance. When after sometime they come to understand that their guru is not qualified enough, they give him up and search for a more advanced vaisnava to instruct them. It does not matter if the so-called guru is in good standing according to your ISKCON or G.B.C. rules. It has been seen that by following the instructions of your G.B.C. many innocent devotees have been cheated by accepting someone as their guru who was never qualified to accept disciples. The most recent example is that of your Harikesa (Maharaja or Prabhu) which proves my point very clearly. You should not turn the devotees into slaves of the G.B.C. Rather according to the scriptures you must allow them to freely search for a spiritual master. It is not a question of whether a disciple goes to Narayana Maharaja for instructions or not. You have to understand the reason why these people go to him. Obviously they have the idea that their present guru is not qualified enough to instruct them. The moment a disciple thinks like this, his relationship with his guru is automatically broken. According to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he should not disrespect his previous guide, but should with due respect search for a real initiation. This previous initiation is to be considered as abhasa (a faint presence) and it is strictly necessary to accept initiation (in the real sense) in order to begin doing real bhajana-kriya.
You have put forward so many arguments to prove that H.H. Narayana Maharaja is not an advanced devotee. A word to the wise, please do not spread these ideas because you have to care for your own spiritual welfare and at the same time be careful not to criticize the advanced devotees. You have also stated that H.H. Narayana Maharaja's approach is significantly different from that of your Srila Prabhupada and that he is not a siksa-disciple of your founder-acharya. Does that mean that one who differs in details from the line of his guru is not an advanced vaisnava? If this is so, I would like to ask you a few questions, and please do not consider this as an attack since it has been you who has brought out all these old issues. We do not disrespect Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, but you yourself are doing it to him. We just want to warn you so that you will not commit any offenses against your own guru by misunderstanding his teachings.
I do not think that H.H. Narayana Maharaja is claiming to be your authorized spiritual master. It was your own G.B.C. who chose him to be an authorized spiritual master. Previously they had done the same with Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja, and it seems ridiculous that you do not understand that the siksa and diksa gurus must always be kept on the same level, so just as you cannot reject Srila Swami Maharaja you (and the G.B.C.) cannot reject Srila Sridhara Maharaja or H.H. Narayana Maharaja, due to the fact that you yourself have given them this position.
Your Prabhupada taught you all that one should not blindly accept someone as a spiritual master. My question is that when he taught you all these things had you blindly accepted him as a spiritual master? It is quite clear that at the beginning of the ISKCON movement none of your godbrothers were well-aware of the necessary qualifications of a bonafide spiritual master. Just out of pure inspiration they had taken initiation from Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja and were definitely not cheated by following the instructions of the Caitya-guru. Even after having diligently studied the scriptures it does not qualify one to select a bonafide guru. The inspiration that comes from the heart is what helps you. If this inspiration comes from the G.B.C., then it may not be permanent. The only judgment a disciplic can make about his guru is whether he is a mayavadi or attached to sense enjoyment. If the disciple wants to get to know his guru in every sense, then he has to be on an equal level with that guru , then what need would there be for an initiation? Please stop to think it over for one minute. How was it that you chose your Prabhupada as a bonafide guru when all of you were completely (and it still seems that most of you are) ignorant about guru-tattva?
I have the answers from the scriptures. This can only happen by inspiration. Being merciful to the jiva, Sriman Mahaprabhu inspires the heart of the disciple in the form of Caitya-guru so as to accept initiation or instructions from a certain vaisnava acharya. Your G.B.C. members are trying to prove that Mahaprabhu has cheated them, because at first they were inspired to take siksa from Srila Sridhara Maharaja and later rejected him as unauthorized. Then they accepted instructions from H.H. Narayana Maharaja and once again stopped coming to him also. Does this mean that they were wrongly inspired by Mahaprabhu again and again so as to take instructions from unbonafide siksa-gurus? Tomorrow they may discover that they were cheated by Mahaprabhu when they accepted Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja as their diksa and siksa-guru. Is this the reason why Harikesa left your movement as well as the instructions of your Prabhupada and so have many others?
siksa guruke ta jani krsnera swarupa
antaryami bhakta-srestha ei dui rupa
"I know the siksa-guru to be directly Lord Krsna. He functions in two ways, as antaryami and as the greatest devotee."Some of your ISKCON G.B.C. members accepted H.H. Narayana Maharaja as their siksa-guru who must be on an equal level as the diksa-guru, and now you are questioning whether he is a rasika-bhakta and an advanced devotee or not? Maybe after some time you will have the same doubts about your own diksa-guru also. We would not however put forth such a question since we know your guru better than you do.
Rasika means a devotee who has established his relationship with the Supreme Lord. Our entire guru-parampara is composed of eternally liberated (ragatmika) residents of the transcendental Vrajadhama. All of them are rasika devotees. An unfortunate disciple who cannot accept his guru as a rasika devotee has no chance of making progress on the spiritual path. We accept your gurudeva as well as H.H. Narayana Maharaja as rasika devotees and as advance vaisnavas. But will you accept that?
You have argued that H. H. Narayana Maharaja has aggressively targeted ISKCON members and congregations. I would like to know if it is that he goes to the temples and drags the people out or they go to him to listen to his Hari katha. It seems to me that you are saying that the Gaudiya-Math has no right to attack the apasampradayas and Mayavadis. Then what are we going to preach? It is not Narayana Maharaja who reveals the evils of your G.B.C., and other ISKCON leaders. Your G.B.C. has rejected 7 of your original 11 gurus. Does Narayana Maharaja have anything to do with this? You must feel ashamed that these people (the 7 G.B.C. members that have left) have proven by their activities that they were not even on the level of kanistha-adhikaris. If H. H. Narayana Maharaja ever spoke of them as kanistha-adhikaris, then he must have spoken about the best in your present ISKCON organization.
To say that the present ISKCON structure is a karma-yoga organization, is to give them the highest respect. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written, that apart from the niskama-karmi, a sakama-karmi cannot be referred to as a yogi. Therefore according to him only a niskama-karmi is performing karma-yoga. It is a shame that during the Tulasi worship, and parikrama you chant "yani kani-ca papani" etc.. when it is clearly known that it is a prayer for a sakama-karmi who wants to subdue all of his sins by doing devotional service. Your sannyasis and gurus (AT LEAST MOST OF THEM) keep the Nrisimha-Kavaca and little pendants of Lord Nrisimhadeva on their necks for protection which is clearly sakama-karma. Persons who have such tendencies cannot be counted amongst the karma-yogis. We think that a few amongst the best are practicing karma-yoga. We have due respect for them and may be H.H. Narayana Maharaja is aware of that therefore giving such high appreciation of ISKCON, as a karma-yoga organization just to respect those few who are performing niskama-karma.
You have also complained that H.H. Narayana Maharaja reinitiated disciples of ISKCON gurus. But do you think of it as a reinitiation or a real initiation? Those Harikesa disciples who had lost faith two or three years ago, and later took real initiation from Narayana Maharaja, was it not an intelligent move on their part? Were they ever initiated by Harikesa in the real sense of the word? So where is the question of reinitiation? Actually H.H. Narayana Maharaja only initiates those who are sincere spiritual seekers who have been cheated as well as those who were about to be cheated by your present G.B.C.s. So why are you so disturbed? He has never reinitiated anyone, because this term reinitiation is in itself ridiculous. IT MEANS NOTHING!
It is a true fact that Tamal Krishna Goswami and Giriraja Maharaja used to respect H.H. Narayana Maharaja as their siksa-guru. They even performed guru-puja to him many times and aratiks at the Kesavaji Gaudiya Math. How is it that they can abandon a person whom they have accepted as their siksa-guru without any apparent reason? Both of them are initiating gurus in ISKCON at the moment, but if they argue that they could not recognize him before that means that they do not have any realizations as to how to understand what are the principle symptoms of an advanced vaisnava. So why are they initiating so many people and your G.B.C. supports them as bonafide gurus, if they do not have the power to distinguish the position of a vaisnava which is a minimum qualification for a madhyama-adhikari?
You are disturbed because H.H. Narayana Maharaja spends an exceptionally long time in the most successful preaching area of Tamal Krishna Goswami. Please try to understand the situation. If today Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja came in his previous form to preach in the world and the disciples of Tamal Krishna Maharaja asked him to stay for a long time at their place and he agreed to stay for that time preaching, would you be asking the same questions also? For the disciples of Tamal Krishna Maharaja H.H. Narayana Maharaja seems to be the guru of their guru, and it would be natural for them to arrange a long time program for him. Why does that disturb you so much? If Tamal Krishna Goswami wants to preach and spend an exceptionally long time in the most successful centers of any Gaudiya-Math he is welcome. It is a fact that I witnessed many of the ISKCON gurus and sannyasis visiting the Gaudiya-Math headquarters in Mayapura and were always welcomed as well as respected like any other Gaudiya-Math acarya. It is very immature that you are not ready to respond in the same manner.
In 1990 you were persuaded by some people who were accepting siksa from H.H. Narayana Maharaja to visit him. Where are those siksa disciples now? How are they giving siksa to others? What will they say when asked by others where did they get their siksa from? This is ridiculous. Some how you were disturbed because in the first verse of Isopanisad the word idam was explained differently from the book published by ISKCON. I strongly request you to see the commentaries by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana on this verse if it is not offensive for you to read other books than those of your Prabhupada. You were very shocked because you are a disciple of Srila Swami Maharaja (as you have written) and in front of you H.H. Narayana Maharaja have said that there was an error in his book. If you do not say that it is the error of the book do you want to prove your gurudeva as a fool? You may do so but we do not, because we know your guru better than you do. In the commentary of Caitanya-Caritamrita it is written that gunja-mala means a garland of small conchshells. Do you accept that? Do you put garlands of conchshells on Krishna instead of gunja-malas? If you say that there are no errors in the books written by your gurudeva are you trying to say that he did not know what gunja-mala means? You may say yes, but we the members of Gaudiya-Math are very much afraid to commit offenses at his lotus feet knowing perfectly well what is a gunja-mala, but it is a mistake of the book. In many other places there are also many mistakes , but these mistakes are only in the books. Why are you blaming H.H. Narayana Maharaja for wanting to protect the respect of your Prabhupada?
You have written that your Prabhupada emphasized the importance of his books. That may be true, but you must remember most of these books came out only after ISKCON was established. H.H. Narayana Maharaja as well as many other Gaudiya Math devotees were getting close association with your Gurudeva long before ISKCON was established. If you say that your Gurudeva became qualified after having written these books then it is certainly an aparadha. The Bhagavata, Tulasi, the holy river Ganga and the devotees of the Lord are worshipable from their birth. It is offensive to think that Gurudeva is a general sadhaka and that he attained perfection after having written all of these books and established ISKCON, and from then on is worthy of worship. That is considered to be the third nama-aparadha to think of Sri Gurudeva as a mortal man. For those who had association with your Gurudeva long before many of your G.B.C. members and acaryas were born, they certainly know your Guru better than you do.
One clear example of your ignorance was the case of the funeral services for your Gurudeva. Your Gurudeva wished that H.H. Narayana Maharaja put him to rest in his Samadhi. To you it may have seemed that your Prabhupada was only speaking about funeral services. This is due only to your ignorance and lack of experience in the Vedic culture. It is the custom of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas as well as other vaisnavas and smarta sampradayas that only the successor of the departed acarya has the right to perform his funeral rites. When the body is offered to the fire the eldest son of a departed grihasta had the priority to touch the fire on to the body of the departed parent. When it is offered to the soil mixed with salt (as it happens mostly in the case of the Gaudiyas and other sampradayas departed sannyasis) the successor of that sannyasi has the right to write the Samadhi mantra on the body of the departed sannyasi. If the successor is not a sannyasi (as was in the case of Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura) then the senior most godbrother present there can write it as well as any other exalted vaisnava. In the case of Prabhupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, the Samadhi mantra was written by his first sannyasa disciple Srila Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaja, though he himself was an initiated disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. If a sannyasi has departed without leaving a successor or without making any disciples, then the assembled vaisnavas must choose a qualified vaisnava to do the ceremony . Even the Hindu laws of India consider it at the time of dispute for succession the person who did perform the rituals at the time of the funerals, giving him main preference.
So you have to consider that although so many vaisnavas were present in Vrindavana at that time including most of your sannyasi godbrothers, your Gurudeva chose Narayana Maharaja to place him in his Samadhi. In the ISKCON video it is clearly seen that Narayana Maharaja is writing the Samadhi-mantra on the body of your Gurudeva. You cannot make a mockery out of this.
I am sure that you are being led down a primrose path of deviation by this performance of vainava-aparadha and in this way putting your Gurudeva in a lower position. You are always concocting different ways to control the present situation in your society and are never consulting with the more advanced and experienced vaisnavas who can give good advice.
You wrote that your Prabhupada's instructions to you are open and direct, but by what you have written it seems to be the complete opposite. I will give you an example to clarify this point. Your Prabhupada had said that the "Gaudiya Math had failed", but in your writings you say that "Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada radically reformed the Gaudiya tradition transforming it into a global preaching mission in the modern world". Now what is the name of that mission? It is the Gaudiya Math. And who were its members that dedicated themselves to that mission? You must learn to appreciate their position, but unfortunately you are busy publishing books that make false propaganda against these exalted devotees. If it is not against your G.B.C. rule I strongly request you to read the book entitled ‘Prabhupada Saraswati Thakura' published by Mandala Media and in that way get lots of real information about the global successful preaching mission, because according to your writings the Gaudiya Math is successful.
Again you have quoted a room conversation in Bombay (August 16, 1976) wherein your Prabhupada wanted to nourish the very soft faith of the newly initiated (those who were less than ten years or so) and you think this is exactly the fact.
Before the passing away of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, he gave orders that there would only be one guru and the rest should work in a very harmonizing way as to be able to preach the message of Rupa-Raghunatha. He also said that Ananta Vasudeva will preach the message of Rupa-Raghunatha and Kunjavihari Vidyabhusana (later on Srila Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja) will do the managing for as long as he lived and must be respected by all. A few years earlier he had written, vasudevananta dasye thakiya ta sada laha nama- "always remain in the service of Ananta Vasudeva and chant the Holy Name".
In his presence it was said that Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura wanted all of the members of the Gaudiya Math to stay under the guidence of Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu and chant the holy name. On that basis he had been selected as the acarya of the Gaudiya Math and no one had been fighting for that post. Your Gurudeva was also part of the Gaudiya Math and he also did not object at that time. They did not create an artificial acarya. Srila Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu was a brahmacari (in white dress, according to Gaudiya Math tradition only when a brahmacary accepted the vow to maintain a life-long celibacy, the acharya will offer him the saffron cloth) at that time, and afterwards when his godbrothers saw some flaws in his behavior they left his association. Srila Oudulomi Maharaja was then selected as the following acarya of the Gaudiya Missions and Srila Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu accepted the life of a vaisnava grihasta and stopped giving initiations. After the disappearance of Srila Oudolomi Maharaja, Srila Bhagawata Maharaja was appointed as the next acarya and when he disappeared Sripad Parivrajaka Maharaja was the next. There is nothing wrong with this.
If you say that this is not enough proof that Prabhupada wanted Srila Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu to be the acarya, one may ask, "Did Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura want to appoint Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja as his successor acarya?" If not, did he try to become more than his guru? All of these are your questions , can you answer them? You may say that Srila Swami Maharaja inspired so many people to come to Krishna Consciousness and that proves that he was the successor of his guru. In that argument one may say that H.H. Narayana Maharaja is also inspiring so many of your godbrothers and godsisters to follow him, which proves that he is a self revealed successor of your Prabhupada. Then why are you so disturbed?
You have said that you will ask your gurudeva why he did not promote Narayana Maharaja as the next acarya, but will you ask him why he engaged such persons as Kirtanananda, Bhavananda, Bhagavan and four other persons as G.B.C.s ? Do you think that your godbrothers and godsisters are blindly following H.H. Narayana Maharaja, or would you rather they follow people like Kirtanananda and the other six G.B.C.s because they were appointed by your gurudeva as leaders of ISKCON?
Lastly, you have directly hit a very sensitive point which ultimately concerns your gurudeva. In it you say that H.H. Narayana Maharaja has deviated from the line of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Do you believe that what he preaches is outside of the line of Srila Prabhupada? I request you to read the lectures and articles of Srila Prabhupada in the weekly Gaudiya Magazine. The preaching and delivering system of your Prabhupada comes from different places rather than just the mission of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. We do not want to criticize him because we know him better than you, but it will be difficult for you to accept this as the truth.
1. The maha-mantra in ISKCON is always sung as a full mantra. You can never chant it half and then the other half. It is clearly coming from the idea of the babajis and other groups that entered the Gaudiya Mission (i. e. Puri Goswami or Srila Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu and Srila Audolomi Maharaja's line) and your Gurudeva taught you to follow in their footsteps. If you say that they deviated does that mean that your Gurudeva took ideas from deviated persons?
2. Keeping peacock feathers on Mahaprabhu can only be seen in the temple established by Srila Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu (Puri dasa mahasaya) at Radha-Kunda and in prominent gauranga-nagari sampradayas or one of the thirteen pseoudo-sects. We can clearly see this in the temples established by Srila Swami Maharaja. Where has this come from?
3. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura clearly said that Adwaita Acarya Prabhu never had a beard and used to keep clean shaven. But the bauls (one of the thirteen apasampradayas) wanted to make him a baul and put a beard on his face. On the Deities at the Yoga-Pitha or Srivas Angan as well as any other Gaudiya Math temple you will never find a beard on Adwaita Acarya's face. But at the Mayapura ISKCON temple as well as other temples (in San Diego and Hawaii) we can see Adwaita Acarya with a beard. Will you say that your Gurudeva was following the bauls?
4. One prominent disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave the brahma-gayatri to a lady disciple. Srila Prabhupada later wrote an article in the weekly Gaudiya entitled bhai-sahajiya (brother sahajiya). Most recently the Santikunja at Haridwara was preaching that anyone can get the brahma-gayatri initiation. Can I simply ask you from which line your gurudeva get the idea of initiating lady disciples into the brahma-gayatri?
5. The chanting of the Panca-Tattva mantra at the beginning of each round does not come from Srila Prabhupada, he taught his disciples to chant it in a different way. From where did your Prabhupada get this?
6. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura accepted that the border of Mayapura is a small canal called gurgure (just before one approaches the Yoga-Pitha temple from the ISKCON temple side you will find a canal crossing the road and that is the border of Sri Mayapura according to Srila Prabhupada on his commentary in the Caitanya Bhagawata). Long after his disappearance he revealed in the heart of Srila B.D. Madhava Maharaja that near the confluence of the Ganga and Saraswati rivers Ishodyan is situated which is part of Antardwipa, Sridham Mayapura. The present Ishodyan was revealed by Srila B.D. Madhava Maharaja which was also supported by Srila B.R. Sridhara Maharaja and your gurudeva established his world headquarters of ISKCON in that part of Mayapura, which was not accepted by his gurudeva but was revealed by his godbrother. Why could not he take Srila Prabhupada straight?
7. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura taught us how to worship the Deity in the temple. In Gaudiya Math temples his orders are mostly followed. They offer bhoga five times a day and aratiks three times a day on regular days . But in your ISKCON temples we find a different system which is more likely to the system of the caste goswamis and other temples in Vrindavana who follow the worship according to the eight-yama pastimes of the Lord. We like that system and also appreciate it, but our question is - from where did your gurudeva learn this kind of worship? Did he take siksa from the caste goswamis?
8. Kirtana with the harmonium was prohibited by Srila Prabhupada. Only in the temple of Srila B.H. Bon Maharaja this was seen before. We are not criticizing him because we know that he is an exalted vaisnava. He was a qualified acarya and has the right to introduce any musical instrument into his temple. Your Prabhupada also introduced it in his ISKCON temples. Did he learn that from Srila Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaja?
9. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura instructed us to worship Sri Sri Guru Gauranga-Gandharvika-Giridhari . In all the temples established by him we find Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. The mangala-arati and other arati songs specifically written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Prabhupada follow in their footsteps. Whereas in your ISKCON temples there are different combinations of Deities and different kinds of songs are recommended for mangal-aratik which are not considered as mangal-aratik songs. Do you think this is a deviation or not?
10. Srila Prabhupada ordered his disciples to print and distribute books of the previous acaryas and specially those of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He did not write many books himself because he thought it unnecessary, whereas you clearly state that your gurudeva instructed you to print, publish and read his books only. Does that mean that he thought that the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura are less valuable than his?
11. Srila Prabhupada or his disciples never recommended a new devotee to chant Harinama on a mala without being properly initiated by a guru. According to the commentary by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura, on Srimad Bhagavatam Sixth Canto (the case of Ajamila) it will only generate a great offense (gurvava jna). Your Prabhupada began this in ISKCON. Where did this idea come from?
12. You have complained that H.H. Narayana Maharaja has accepted services from young ladies (kumaris). For your information I want to say that in his mission Srila Prabhupada strictly prohibited the ladies from serving even in the kitchen where sannyasis, brahmacaris and vanaprasthas were living. He never allowed any women (with the exception of two elderly women disciples of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura that sometimes used to cook only for Srila Prabhupada) to serve the Math residents in any way possible. Later on a few Gaudiya Math acaryas allowed some women into the kitchen, and your Prabhupada is no exception. Many times young Western ladies used to serve him including to cut his hair, but we do not dare criticize him for this behavior because we know that he was elderly and the girls were old enough to be his granddaughters and besides he was in such an elevated consciousness that there was no chance of him being affected by sensual desires. H.H. Narayana Maharaja is also at that age and if he is following the footsteps of your Prabhupada why does that bother you? This European lady whom you say is your reliable source of information found this tableau filled with eroticism because there is one logic-- kamuka pasyanti kamini mayam jagat. "A lustful person sees the whole world as full of lust". By falsely accusing H.H. Narayana Maharaja, you are accusing your own Gurudeva.
These are a few of the examples on how your Prabhupada differs from the teachings and practices of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. His Mayapura Dham, his process of Deity worship, his nama-sankirtan, his book publications, his personal conducts, his Deity installations, his process of initiating disciples all differs from his Gurudeva. We cannot know the cause how it happened, but do you want to say that he is not a bonafide siksa or diksa disciple of his Gurudeva or not in a direct line from him?. Then how can you deny H.H. Narayana Maharaja's claim as the successor of your Prabhupada, only because his teachings differ from him?
You say that Narayana Maharaja has no attraction for the Gita, but have you seen the beautiful edition of Bhagavad-Gita with Hindi translations and commentaries by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura, as well as other profound commentaries by H.H. Narayana Maharaja himself? If he has no taste for the Gita then why has he bothered to give such nice presentation and commentaries?
At the cornerstone laying of the Baghbazar Gaudiya Math, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura expressed his desire to publish the authentic commentaries of the higher topics of the Srimad Bhagavatam such as Gopi-Gita and Bhramara-Gita. He said, "Still now we are saying this is not so. Now we must speak this is like that, we should not read the commentaries of Gopi-gita and Bhramara-gita written by the prakrita-sahajiyas but we must also publish authentic editions of the Gopi-gita and the Bhramara-gita of the Srimad- Bhagawatam because we need to perform real krishnanusilanam". This was printed in the weekly Gaudiya. H.H. Narayana Maharaja is now trying to fulfill that desire of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada, so how can you say that Narayana Maharaja has become an instrument of this attack against the mission of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura? Our Gurudeva Om Visnupada 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaja considers him to be the best weapon to resist the misconceptions of the so-called babajis of Radha-Kunda and it is a proven fact that when he goes to Radha-Kunda he openly challenges them to come forward and have a debate with him if they do not accept the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati as bonafide. Nobody dares to come near him. Do you think that any of your ISKCON gurus can do this?
You also say that Narayana Maharaja has dismissed book distribution as an inferior activity. But whatever you have quoted from your Prabhupada also supports it. First of all you have quoted that your Prabhupada has said, "Book distribution is in the mood of the Gopis" . Again you have quoted about your ultimate goal as , "we shall transcend and get through the invincible impass of Maya and reach the effulgent kingdom of God to render Him face to face eternal service, in full bliss and knowledge". You do not want to distribute books at the stage of ultimate attainment, but desire another kind of face to face service to God. Doesn't that mean that your means and goals are not the same?. But our guru-varga and your gurudeva also have taught that the means and the goal are the same. You yourself have agreed that book distribution is not the ultimate goal or eternal bhakti . Then this can be called bhaktyabhasa or bhaktya ropa but never real bhakti, because it is a temporary seva and not like sravanam and kirtanam which are eternal. If you are going to do this you may as well accuse Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja as well as Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja because they never went out on the streets to sell books due to the fact that they were in the mood of the Gopis. Such offenses will bring utter ruin in your spiritual life as has happened to many of your godbrothers already.
An acarya can instruct his disciples according to a particular time, place and circumstance whereas in other circumstances he can be given different instructions. He has the right to accept necessary directions from the Scriptures and preach them by his personal conduct. The definition of an acarya is as follows:
acinoti yah sastrartham acare sthapayatyapi
swayamacarate tasmat acaryah tena kirtitah
"A person who chooses the conclusions of the authorized scriptures according to a particular time, place and circumstances and practices what he preaches to others is called an acarya."Sometimes for the disciple the words of his guru differs from those of the other saints and the authentic scriptures . In such cases he must not offensively think that guru or sastra or saints are wrong. Rather he must remember the famous song by Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura Mahasaya,
sadhu sastra-guru-vakya hrdaye kariya aikya
satata bhavisa prema majhe
karmi jnani bhaktihina ihare karibe bhina
narottama ei tattva gaje
"Narottama sings the tattva that one must harmonize the directions of the sadhus, sastras and guru in his heart and always float in the ocean of prema. The karmis and jnanis are devoid of bhakti, so you must keep yourself apart from them."Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura Mahasaya advices us to harmonize the words of sadhu sastra and guru. If the words of the sadhu seems to be different than those of sastra and guru then one should not offensively think that the sadhu is wrong , but he must consider himself unable to understand the words of that sadhu and must follow guru-vakya. If the guru differs from sadhu and sastra then instead that the guru is wrong one must consider himself unable to understand the real purpose of guru-vakya and on such cases he must follow sadhu-vakya. The sastras are never wrong. Either the guru or sadhu guide us to follow the necessary directions of the sastras , otherwise,
ye sastra vidhim utsrijya vartate kamacarataIt seems that you are confused with the instructions of your guru and are unable to harmonize them in your heart. I humbly suggest you to choose some realized sadhu to clear up your doubts rather than offend H.H. Narayana Maharaja. If you do not like to go to him that's fine but you have no right to stop those who want to go and receive instructions or initiations from him. You have requested your godbrothers and godsisters to follow Satsvarupa Maharaja's footsteps, but how can they believe you? Previously your G.B.C. had requested them to follow their footsteps and many did. Right now seven out of eleven guides do not even exist or are in proper standard according to your G.B.C. rules. Who knows maybe after a few years you will pass the same judgment on Satsvarupa Maharaja, by then H.H. Narayana Maharaja may not be physically present and thus the devotees will be forever deprived of his direct association. Which fool will want to depend on your words? Do you rely on your own self?
na sa siddhim avapnoti na sukham na para gatim
From your gurudeva you have quoted as follows, "A pure devotee can distinguish between the bhakti-lata creeper and a mundane creeper, and is very alert to distinguish them and keeping them apart."
You also say that you have distinguished some of these weeds quite evident in the person of H.H.Narayana Maharaja. It is simply a strange audacity that you call yourself as a pure devotee and thus deny other exalted devotees who recommend Narayana Maharaja as a sad-guru and a rasika devotee. Our Guru-Maharaja has said openly that Narayana Maharaja is a sad guru and a rasika bhakta. Although I am neither a siksa or diksa disciple of H.H.Narayana Maharaja, still I never dare to stop someone from taking instructions or initiations from him. Quite to the contrary if they want to go to him I am the first to encourage them to do so.
It is completely ludicrous and outrageous that most of you ISKCON G.B.C.s came to Krishna Consciousness less than 30 years ago and many of them are out of their devotional practices already and claiming yourselves as bonafide preceptors and detectors of unwanted weeds (upasakhas) in the person of a devotee who has been practicing Krishna Consciousness for over 50 years without faltering once, even years before many of your G.B.C.s had taken birth. Our most respected Guru-Maharaja has been practicing Krishna Consciousness continuously almost from his birth and with 100 years of experience in such matters is not qualified to guide others or recommend a person as an elevated vaisnava? On the other hand your G.B.C. who had never heard krishna-nama before 1966 and whose future is uncertain is qualified to do so?
In fact you are scared of the Gadiya Math preachers, specially those who are born in Bharata- Bhumi (India). The Gaudiya Math has never had to complain that ISKCON gurus are taking away their disciples. If it is only your ISKCON G.B.C.s who are disturbed, then it seems to me that you want to monopolize everything simply by using the name of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. In India some people (backward class) have a reservation for education and government services because they have no chance in an open competition with the more intelligent class of people so the government of India reserves some seats for them so that they may have an opportunity.
My humble request to you is that you please give up such useless effort to engage in the copyrights to initiate innocent devotees. Rather let us try to follow the last instruction of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. "All of you preach in a harmoniest way the teachings of Rupa and Raghunatha with great enthusiasm."
I write this letter from a neutral point of view, because Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura has instructed us not to be disheartened even if not a single person is ready to hear the open truth. As a humble servant of his servant, I thought it my duty as given to me by my Guru-Maharaja to protest against such wrong conceptions. If anyone has been hurt within his heart or felt any type of anxiety by reading this, I pray for your forgiveness and hope that one day he will come to realize all of these points.
Sri Guru-Vaisnava dasanudasa,
Bhakti Vidagdha Bhagawata
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