Dear devotees and friends of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math,
Please accept my humble obeisances and well-wishes as appropriate in remembrance of my Divine Master.
I have just read the notice of “Censure”, having been alerted to it by some of my friends who sent me a copy of the document.
The title reads as follows:
All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
Censure of Sripad BK Giri Maharaj
by the Acharya Board of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math 20 July 2011
I will address the various issues more thoroughly in the near future. I will make a few short comments herewith.
First, although this “Censure“ was only recently posted on Srila Acharya Maharaja’s website, scsmath.com, I have been overwhelmed by the many letters and comments from devotees around the world assuring me of their continued friendship and support
I am very grateful to each of you and will respond to all of you as soon as time permits.
As with all the actions taken thus far by the so-called “Acharya Board”, I was not consulted beforehand, asked to participate, or even made aware of a decision they had taken until it had first been made public.
I do not believe an Acharya Sabha has yet been established in a proper manner. However, assume for a moment that an Acharya Sabha had been properly formed in accordance with the direction of Srila Gurudeva’s Will. What powers did Srila Gurudeva delegate to this Board?
“An Acharya Board (Acharya Sabha) shall be formed, composed of initiating acharyas, to consult with one another regarding all spiritual matters and to give guidance to all Trust Boards.”
There is no power to make, create, approve, nominate or in any other way establish an acharya that was not personally named by Srila Gurudeva in his Will.
Similarly, such a Board has no enforcement power whatsoever, only the ability to offer guidance to “Trust Boards.”
The five members of the International Acharya Board (IAB), still referring to themselves as the “Acharya Board” have attempted to assume as much power as they possibly could in order to do things that Srila Govinda Maharaja never authorized them to do.
Here is a short list:
- Ignoring the directions of Srila Gurudeva’s Will in favor of establishing their own will led to:
- Establishing one worldwide acharya, Srila Acharya Maharaja.
- When that did not work, they tried to make it appear that Acharya Maharaja was the superior acharya to whom all others should pay homage.
- Authorizing Acharyas to initiate.
- Creating a new “acharya”, Sripada Goswami Maharaja, who was not selected by Srila Govinda Maharaja.
- Censuring an acharya because of philosophical differences who was personally selected by Srila Govinda Maharaja to act as an acharya.
None of these actions fall within the purview of their very narrowly delegated power to consult with each other or “give guidance to all Trust Boards.”
It appears they are not satisfied to guide, they want to control, and not just their own zones, but the entire worldwide Mission.
Although Srila Gurudeva mercifully bestowed upon them the honor to succeed him as acharyas within SCSM, and gave each of them a clearly defined preaching field where they were to be the Acharyas and Sevaites, it was not enough for them.
They would not be satisfied until they established themselves as controllers of all the acharyas and even the entire worldwide Mission.
Their assertion that “Sripad Giri Maharaj has conducted a disinformation campaign” is another in a long line of claims that are unsupported by evidence.
What “disinformation” has been part of any campaign of mine?
They offer no evidence, just as they’ve offered no evidence to counteract any of my arguments against their illegitimate behavior for the past year and a half.
While I may have made some mild criticism of Sripada Acharya Maharaja, it was more than offset by my recognition that at least he accepted the responsibilities connected with the post of acharya, as directed by Srila Gurudeva in his Will, while the others all “refused” to accept their responsibilities.
In the near future you will see my correspondence with different acharyas posted on our website scsmathglobal.com. I believe you will then conclude that Sripada Janardana Maharaja was every bit as critical of Acharya Maharaja as I have been.
Yet, no reprisals will be hurled at him.
This misses the real point, however.
As an acharya of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math I have the right to criticize the other acharyas just as they have the right to criticize me, as you see they are clearly doing now by publicly stating I have been “acting offensively, independently and without authority.”
Offensive to who? What is the proof?
Independent of who? The International Acharya Board, not Srila Gurudeva.
Likewise, “without authority”? Without whose authority? I have been acting entirely within the authority given by Srila Govinda Maharaja.
Did Srila Govinda Maharaja intend that his successor acharyas would not preach, engage in philosophical debates, or discussions of vital issues concerning his Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math?
He never imposed such restrictions upon me as one of the sannyasis in our mission, where I have been preaching in support of Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Govinda Maharaja continuously since 1987.
Prior to that, from the time of my sannyasa in 1981, I was encouraged by Srila Sridhara Maharaja to preach. He was very happy to hear that I would debate philosophical points and encouraged me to be “independent,” specifically from Sripadas Sagara Maharaja and Goswami Maharaja
Srila Govinda Maharaja also encouraged me to work “independent” from others, particularly Sripadas Ashrama Maharaja and Janardana Maharaja.
Several times he told me he wanted to see me “established” and he tried in various ways to do that.
He encouraged me to preach again and again. And not just in New Jersey, but all over the world. He told me “You can go anywhere and preach.” and, not long before his disappearance, “I am extremely pleased with your preaching style.”
Srila Govinda Maharaja authorized me to preach, approved of my “preaching style” and directed me to be an acharya. In which way am I acting “without authority?”
Even if you could establish that the International Acharya Board had some authority, they have not once told me to stop doing anything.
Therefore, I could not have refused to “stop”.
If they say otherwise, ask to see the one thing they will never show you, relevant evidence. They cannot show you such evidence because there is none.
None of us are above the criticism of our God-brothers and God-sisters. While severe criticism of the type that might damage the faith of our disciples would be better reserved for private discussion with our acharya brothers, it is sometimes appropriate, even in public.
When asked about my own public criticism of the attempt to establish one acharya as superior to others, I wrote a public opinion based on a philosophical position I have taken (see: “Acharya Hierarchy: An Email Exchange” “Ачария Иерархия: Омен Email“).
Are we not allowed philosophical disagreement? Are we not allowed to discuss the Will of our previous acharya, Srila Govinda Maharaja?
In my response to a question posed about my differences with other acharyas, I wrote this: (see: “Disciple Must Be Obedient“)
You Wrote: “I am a little bewildered to see eminent Acharayas of the same mission to have widely differing perspectives on the same topic.”
If you haven’t already done so, I believe you would be well served by reading the “17 Page Paper” which you can download from our website HERE This paper is particularly relevant to understanding the differences between “Society consciousness and God consciousness”, the clash that inevitably occurs between the two, and the differences that may occur between members of the same spiritual organization and how they may be resolved. You can also refer to this subject in Sri Guru and His Grace.
Baladeva Vidyabhushana’s translation of Bhagavad Gita differs with that of Srila Sridhara Swami. We, in the line of Chaitanya Saraswati, accept the version of Baladeva Vidyabhushana. Then there are the commentaries of Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami, Bhakti Vinoda Thakura and Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhara Maharaja. Obviously there is some difference in their commentaries. Otherwise, there would be no need for them. How is it possible that these highly qualified Acharyas differ? Srila Sridahara Maharaja told us it is achintya, inconceivable.
Being careful to not demean my fellow acharyas, I presented a fair philosophical possibility for our differences “it is achintya, inconceivable.”
Srila Gurudeva named six acharyas to act as such within his Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. He did not name one acharya, or seven, he named six.
He clearly expected these six would meet to discuss spiritual matters and give “guidance to all Trust Boards”. Now a year and a half since his disappearance, this still has not happened.
Instead, four of the acharyas, Srilas Acharya Maharaja, Avadhuta Maharaja, Janardana Maharaja and Ashrama Maharaja have ignored the directions of Gurudeva’s Will, regarding the acharyas, while attempting to exert their control far beyond the limited boundaries of the preaching fields Srila Gurudeva so mercifully granted to them.
Because these four acharyas continue to conduct such activities as those I’ve described herein in an illegitimate fashion, no one is bound by their decision. Read Gurudeva’s Will. You will see I am correct. A copy is available on our website scsmathglobal.com in both English and Russian.
In spite of this conduct by the IAB I have repeatedly and strenuously encouraged devotees of our Mission, who were unhappy with their decisions, to not go outside Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.
Srila Gurudeva did not demand we follow any central authority. Therefore there is room for everyone to preach and serve within this great Mission. Simply align yourselves with like-minded devotees and serve together with them under the banner of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.
It’s true I said I no longer see the Navadwipa Math as the “central Math.” It is what it is, it is Acharya Maharaja’s Math. For his disciples it may be their “central Math.”
For the disciples of other acharyas, one of their Maths may be the central Math. That is natural. Each acharya will give special attention to his own Maths, and so will his disciples.
Is that heresy? If so, why wasn’t Chaitanya Math, the main Math of Srila Saraswati Thakura, seen as the “central Math” by the disciples of Srila Sridhara Maharaja?
Instead Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s Math became their “central Math”, although we still give recognition to “akara math-raj sri chaitanya math.”
I have explained this in various places. If my philosophical position is incorrect why do none of the big acharyas, and those who want to be acharyas, engage me in a discussion on these points?
Instead, they simply make dogmatic statements in effect decrying me as a heretic.
Do I want to make my Math the “central Math?” Of course. Don’t you want your Math to be considered that way?
In my article “A New Domain”, I don’t demand others accept some dogma, I offer my reasoning for everyone’s consideration.
“My determination is now to make this Math the central Math. Whether it is in New Jersey, New York or Navadwipa is entirely irrelevant. The central Math will be where the central current of our Divine Preceptors is flowing.”
Is it evil to aspire to make our Math the place “where the central current of our Divine Preceptors is flowing.”?
There are many Maths, preaching centers, ashramas and missions around the world whose devotees want to continue the line of preaching of Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Govinda Maharaja and Srila Swami Maharaja. I encourage you all to continue these activities as you’ve been doing with dedication and sincere hearts.
Srila Gurudeva will see your sincere efforts. He is always looking over us, guiding us and protecting us. He encouraged us over and over again. He tried in many ways, undergoing great personal difficulties, to keep us all within his great Mission. I believe we must all try our best to keep this great gift he has given us.
I apologize for the length of this response. I had not intended it to be so long.
I again express my gratitude to all of you who have come forward with assurances of your continued friendship and support. It is very encouraging to hear.
Srila Sridahara Maharaja sometimes joked with us who were being accused by our ISKCON God-brothers of being offenders for having gone to take guidance and shelter of His Divine Grace. He said, paraphrasing, “All the offenders have come here. We are all the offensive persons, and we have come to take shelter of aparadha-bhanjana-pat where Mahaprabhu forgave the offenders. All our offenses will also be forgiven by the grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu.”
I pray this finds everyone in good health and spirits.
With affectionate regards,
Swami B.K. Giri