“Sripad Giri Maharaj must be so proud of you guys.”
– or –
“Die Hippy, Die!”
The following exchange originally took place on Facebook.
Giri Maharaja Says:
Dear Sriman “XXXXXXnanda” Prabhu,
You make a good point, thank you for bringing this to my attention:
“XXXXXXnanda” Dasa wrote:
”weak” “stupid” “hippy tripe” “bigots” “Philip Murphy”…..Sripad Giri Maharaj must be so proud of you guys. Keep up the good work of showing the whole world your class.
I assume you are referring to such remarks as these by Prabhu Gokulananda:
How is speaking the truth “offending”? Save your hippie tripe for someone else. The truth may be unpalatable, but it is the truth. Keeping your mouth shut when a great lie is being foisted is neither being humble nor is it being tolerant…it is being weak and stupid.
Before going further, I want to take a moment to ask you not to be offended by my sarcasm. It is intended to illustrate, sometimes humorously, not offend.
I’ll next explain a little history of Sriman Gokulananda Prabhu.
Since the very earliest days of our Math here in New York and New Jersey I have seen Sriman Gokulananda Prabhu as a most loyal servitor of Srila Govinda Maharaja.
While dozens of other disciples of His Divine Grace have come and gone, unable to serve their Guru’s Mission if it conflicted with the Sunday feast schedule or other functions held by a wide variety of missions and gurus in the area, Sriman Gokulananda has remained steadfast and single minded in his determination to not stray even one foot away from his guru’s mission.
He never gave any excuse for participating in events arranged by or for other gurus. He didn’t need to. Following in the footsteps of his guru, Srila Govinda Maharaja, he never participated in such events unless there was a need for service. To the best of my recollection, such need never arose.
If Srila Govinda Maharaja was not at the center of the function, he was not interested.
Prabhu Gokulananda has always shown himself to be steadfast in his determination to achieve the accolade, “a fanatic to his guru.”
This seems entirely apropos to me as Srila Govinda Maharaja has insisted that the one thing he honors most is loyalty to one’s guru and, regarding himself, he liked the charge made in favor of him that he is “a fanatic to his guru.”
Am I proud of Prabhu Gokulananda. Yes. I am very proud.
Is he perfect? It is irrelevant. Loyalty and obedience to one’s guru are the qualities of highest priority for a disciple.
Many years ago I began asking Srila Govinda Maharaja about who he wanted as the Trustees for his mission and properties here. He first said “Some sannyasis.” I suggested the names of Sripadas Ashrama Maharaja and Janardana Maharaja. He looked puzzled. Then he said to me “You, you should be the Trustee.” Then he asked “How many trustees are required?” I told him I thought two or three. To this he said “Then, who is loyal to you, they should be trustees.”
I replied, “Maharaja they must be loyal to you, not to me.” He said, “Yes, but they must also be loyal to you.”
I then suggested the names of Prabhu Gokulananda and Srimati Lila Sundari devi. He immediately and happily accepted this suggestion. “Yes, that will be good.”
Several times, over a period of many years, I reconfirmed Gurudeva’s preference for these same trustees of his mission here. He never wavered from his original choice.
Do I mention these things out of partiality because Gokulananda is loyal to me?
In part, of course.
However, his loyalty to Srila Gurudeva is always first. If he thinks I am wrong about something he will say so with more or less the same ease and conviction as the remarks you are commenting on.
Am I proud of this?
Again, yes. Yes, I am proud to have a friend that is not a sycophant. Someone who is highly intelligent, knows many things better than me or more than me, is not afraid to speak what he believes, even though it may differ from my understanding, yet works tirelessly to help me.
In correspondence with some of our Russian devotees I referred to such persons as “spiritual Solzhenitsyns.”
I want to see a mission of devotees who are thoughtful and insightful reformers and revolutionaries. If you don’t like Solzhenitsyns, how about Vyasas, Saraswati Thakuras, Swami Maharajas, Sridhara Maharajas and Govinda Maharajas?
Do these names conjure up images of conformists, or revolutionaries?
Where Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu conformists or revolutionaries?
I joined a mission of revolutionaries. The parlance of revolutionaries may not appeal to those having their high tea served as Earl Grey with biscuits and scones.
Among revolutionaries you’ll hear expressions such as these from Srila Sridhara Maharaja:
“I told them, a little offensively, ‘I pass urine on your GBC’” (to his Gaudiya Math God-brothers), or “They [ISKCON GBC] are using dollars, diplomacy and despotism in the name of devotion, dedication and divinity.” and, “I am a form breaker, not a form maker.”
Where do such revolutionary thoughts and expressions come from?
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso ‘nkitani yat
srnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah
“On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”—SB 1.5.11
The word viplavah as used above means “revolutionary.” In other places it is translated to mean destroy or annihilate. Was Vyasa mistaken to use such insensitive terminology?
How will we bring “about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization” while avoiding words like “weak”, “stupid”, and “hippy tripe?”
A quick search of the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase for the term “hippie” or “hippy” returned over 400 results.
Here is one of them:
“I am especially appreciating the writings of Siddhasvarupa in the “New Navadvipa News” and “Open Letter” pamphlets, like “Die Hippy, Die!” and these articles should be published in our “Back to Godhead” magazine and distributed very widely.” —Bhakti Vedanta Swami, Letter of 2/12/72
Srila Swami Maharaja understood the ideas of the hippies and was happy to see their ideas die.
I think Prabhu Gokulananda has a similar opinion. So do I. Why do I hate the hippie tripe? Because it is thoroughly infused with impersonal mayavada philosophy. So, “Die hippy, die.”
“Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sraswati ‘Declared totalitarian war against maya, illusion and even all other religious conceptions.’”
I hope you are not offended by this indelicate use of language by Srila Sridhara Maharaja.
Personally I find it inspiring.
Prabhu, in some cultures it may be preferable to infer that someone is low class, as you have done with the “guys” you refer to.
I like simple straight dealings, like the four acharyas named by Srila Gurudeva, who used Acharya Maharaja’s Navadwipa Math website to publicly declare me to be an offender.
I like this way of speaking, it is simple and straight to the point, you could even say “eloquent” as in “clearly expressing or indicating something.”
In our Vaishnava culture I think you must agree that the term “offender” surpasses even “hippy tripe”, “weak” and “stupid” as a pejorative term, and yet the acharyas mentioned felt it appropriate to post it publicly to describe me. Are you proud of those “guys” for doing it?
Are such contemptuous remarks appropriate for the leaders of the mission but out of bounds for everyone else?
I offer the following for your consideration in regard to the specifics of the two statements.
Gokulananda Das: How is speaking the truth “offending”? Save your hippie tripe for someone else. The truth may be unpalatable, but it is the truth. Keeping your mouth shut when a great lie is being foisted is neither being humble nor is it being tolerant…it is being weak and stupid.
“XXXXXXnanda” Dasa: “weak” “stupid” “hippy tripe” “bigots” “Philip Murphy”…..Sripad Giri Maharaj must be so proud of you guys. Keep up the good work of showing the whole world your class.
If you disagree with these statements of Prabhu Gokulananda, rather than infer that this stalwart disciple of Srila Govinda Maharaja is a low class person (what is known in logic as an ad-hominem attack), I humbly suggest a better tactic would be to counter his arguments that you disagree with point for point.
This suggestion arises from an instruction given by Srila Govinda Maharaja when I disagreed with something published in “Counterpoint.” He told Prabhu Devashis he should invite the person (me) who disagreed to write an article stating his reasons for disagreement.
Since you disagree with Prabhu Gokulananda, I offer the following as an example of a strategy you might employ-
GAd- How is speaking the truth “offending”?
XAd- Obviously it is offensive to speak the truth.
GAd- Save your hippie tripe for someone else.
XAd- No, you should accept the hippie tripe. It’s better you have it than someone else.
GAd- The truth may be unpalatable, but it is the truth.
XAd- Truth must be palatable, or it is not the truth.
GAd- Keeping your mouth shut when a great lie is being foisted is neither being humble nor is it being tolerant…it is being weak and stupid.
XAd- No, keeping your mouth shut when a great lie is being foisted is being humble and tolerant…it is being strong and intelligent.
Here, each and every point made by Prabhu Gokulananda is met with a precise refutation, thus making your points of disagreement very clear to the reader.
These are just a few of my humble suggestions that come to mind to encourage meaningful dialogue.
As for the “Philip Murphy” reference, I don’t know what you’re referring to unless it is this credit for a video Goswami Maharaja made which can be seen here:
I used the screen shot below in my article “Pied Piper of San Jose” to illustrate a point that one can never be sure just which “Goswami Maharaja” will be appearing next.
This video appeared prominently on the homepage of “the Canadian branch of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math” with the same title you see above listing the name of Philip Murphy.” This video was released on September, 27, 2009 just a little more than a year before Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance.
The video, its title and the name associated with it, “Philip Murphy” were not created by me. They were created by one of the “Goswami Maharaja’s” I mentioned in my article.
It is clear that Goswami Maharaja thought this was a good preaching idea, one that he was promoting.
I considered this use of the video, on an SCSMath website, to be inappropriate. After voicing my objection it was removed.
If you object to Goswami Maharaja using the name “Philip Murphy” in his preaching videos, I suggest you contact him directly at:
Or, perhaps you will think through this preaching method he is exhibiting the quality of acharya he ascribes to himself on his Blog “Bhakti Sudhir Goswami | Chronicle”, “Srila Guru Maharaja says an acharya is one who can reveal the inner meaning of the scriptures and find new light (acinoti yah sastrartham).”
If I ignored his use of “Philip Murphy” would it not be seen by his followers and supporters as a slight against his ability to “find new light?”
I doubt you’d notice it, since your main language is English, but if you had access to the Russian language, as I do, and visited the Russian website of Sripada Avadhuta Maharaja, you would find this declaration of his about Goswami Maharaja:
I consider after Srila Sridhara Maharaj and Srila Govinda Maharaj the most qualified and possessing knowledge of vaisnava-siddhanta is Srila Gosvami Maharaj. Therefore, remembering that our parampara is siksa-parampara, I invoke all devotees, irrespective of their position, to follow his spiritual leadership. I declare that I consider Srila Gosvami Maharaj as the preceptor of all members of our Mission, both disciples of Srila Govinda Maharaj , and disciples of all of others Acaryas of our Mission.
To omit the preaching video credit to “Philip Murphy” would be to impede the inspired side of our new “preceptor of all members of our Mission”, would it not?
By your obvious objection to the use of “Philip Murphy” were you intending to deny such expression of our “vaisnava-siddhanta” to “all members of our Mission?”
Obviously Sripada Avadhuta Maharaja was so inspired by his preceptor that he produced a similar video around the same time.
So, is Giri Maharaja proud of “you guys?” Yes Prabhu, I am very proud of them. I’m proud of any of our devotees who are able to pierce through the veil of illusion created by the acharyas that want us to believe, as Goswami Maharaja does, that documents “personally created by Srila Govinda Maharaja” are merely “provisional” and therefore subject to the whimsical alterations and interpretations of those prepared to willfully undermine the authority of our Srila Gurudeva.
Prabhus Gokulananda, Uddharan and Jayanta Krishna and many others have taken what they know to be a very unpopular stance in the eyes of lifelong friends, family, devotees and prominent leaders of SCSM because they believe it is better to acknowledge a lie for what it is and follow the truth, than ignore the truth in order to maintain a position of comfort and popularity.
I am proud to have the acquaintance of such devotees.
I think all of us should be proud of them.
Swami B.K. Giri