Dear Sriman Jayanta Krishna dasa.
Please accept my humble obeisances in remembrance of our Divine Masters.
I was hoping you might explain why you are promoting the teachings of the mayavadi, Sri Mahaswamigal, and disappointed that I did not find any satisfactory explanation in your comments.
In an obscure way you are saying it is my fault you took to this practice because, I was not offering good advise lately or not practicing what I preach. Therefore, you wrote to me “Maybe that’s why people feel the need to go and listen somewhere else.”
No, prabhu, that is not the reason.
You regularly offer links to our website. Therein you will find enough material presented by our Sri Guru Varga to satisfy a lifetime of inquiry and study by any serious practitioner in the line of Srila Gurudeva. There are also many disciples of our preceptors qualified to offer valuable sadhu sanga, Hari Katha and service opportunities in the line of Krishna Consciousness.
But, if you find there are no qualified devotees anywhere following in the line of your gurudeva, still that is no excuse. Then you should take the charge yourself by preaching and practicing the pure precepts he has presented for the welfare of all. You should not blame others for not upholding the responsibility while you shirk it yourself.
I am not responsible for you, or anyone else, straying from our Sri Guru Varga. The responsibility to remain faithful to our sampradaya is with each of us individually. That is the teaching of our Divine Masters.
I may be every bit as unqualified as you believe me to be, or more so. Srila Gurudeva found me to be qualified for the position he has given me, as you well know and have mentioned many times. If you believe I have fallen below that standard, the answer to this is not to go outside the line of Srila Gurudeva. The answer is to show a better example within Srila Gurudeva’s Mission than you believe I am showing.
That was Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s instruction to those of use who were not satisfied with the leadership of ISKCON. He advised us to be more perfect followers of Srila Prabhupada, and show a more perfect example, than those we were criticizing. He never advised us to leave Srila Prabhupada’s perfect guidance or go outside the teachings of our parampara, as you are doing by advertising the teachings of an impersonalist.
Your accusation against me reminds me of something that happened with Sripada Janardana Maharaja soon after Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s disappearance.
One day he showed himself to be very disturbed with Srila Govinda Maharaja. He asked him “Srila Prabhupada gave us so many things and Srila Guru Maharaja gave us even more after that. But I do not see that you are giving anything new. If you are not giving anything new, why should we follow you?”
Srila Govinda Maharaja replied “What you say is true. What Srila Swami Maharaja has given and what Srila Guru Maharaja has given is more than any man can give. I cannot give more than that.”
Janardana Maharaja then left to go to his own room. After a short time he returned and apologized to Srila Govinda Maharaja. As time went by I have no doubt Sripada Janardana Maharaja found that Srila Govinda Maharaja had many new things to give, more than he had gotten from our previous gurus.
Following your argument, Sripada Janardana Maharaja would have been justified in taking the opportunity afforded by Srila Gurudeva’s so called preaching deficiency to go searching elsewhere, perhaps, as you have done, to the camp of the mayavadis who might offer him something new, which he, as you are doing now, would then propagandize in order to satisfy other devotees who felt the same deficiency of not getting new things in the line of our Sri Guru Varga.
Such practices as those just described are abhorred by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
If there is some error in the letter I wrote to some friends, you should point out the error so that I may correct it. This is one reason I post my letters on our website. I subject my thoughts and conclusions to a wide audience, beyond that of a few close friends; so that if there is some fault, it may be noted and corrected.
Rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to correct any errors in my writing, my detractors use the opportunity to call me names like offender, sahajiya, etc. and now, as you are doing, a foolish showman who is duplicitous and so forth.
I sent my letter to you before posting it to give you the chance to explain why you are promoting the teachings of an impersonalist on your Facebook Wall.
You did not reply.
As far as I can see you, are still avoiding that question.
Or, is this your indirect answer: “The impersonal feature of God has not received as much attention as it deserves. Therefore, I am attempting to correct this neglect by the preachers of Krishna Consciousness by giving emphasis to the 12th. chapter of Bhagavad-gita on my Fb page.”
If that is your intention, then I am still puzzled as to why you do not take this opportunity to present the impersonal aspect of Krishna as it has been explained so nicely by those in the line of your Gurudeva; explanations that include the appropriate warnings and descriptions of the dangers posed by impersonal philosophy. Is Mahaswamigal offering some important new insight that is not available in the Bhagavad-gita’s of Srila Swami Maharaja, Srila Sridhara Maharaja or other Vaishnava Acharyas?
Yes. He is offering something new to us. Something dangerous, that we have been warned to avoid. He is offering his views as someone who believes the Brahman feature of Krishna is the topmost “the very antithesis of Vaishnavism”. As I wrote in my letter:
“And, finally, after an intense, some might say “blissful”, search to find out exactly what this man is teaching, we find it all revealed; “Advaita Siddhanta”, the very antithesis of Vaishnavism … ”
You make another “red herring” argument by writing “you can’t also say that the great Upanisadic Maha Vakia are not true, because your own philosophy is based on the Vedas. … “
Whether a portion of the Vedas is true or not is not the issue. The issue is whether or not a particular portion, and more importantly, its false interpretation, is helpful or harmful for devotees in the line of Sriman Mahaprabhu. He gives the answer Himself in His talks with Sri Prakashananda Saraswati & his followers:
“The Absolute Truth is described by the Upaniṣads and Brahma-sūtra, but one must understand the verses as they are. That is the supreme glory in understanding.
“Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has described all the Vedic literatures in terms of indirect meanings. One who hears such explanations is ruined.
“Śaṅkarācārya is not at fault, for he has thus covered the real purpose of the Vedas under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“According to direct understanding, the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has all spiritual opulences. No one can be equal to or greater than Him.
“Everything about the Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual, including His body, opulence and paraphernalia. Māyāvāda philosophy, however, covering His spiritual opulence, advocates the theory of impersonalism.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of spiritual potencies. Therefore His body, name, fame and entourage are all spiritual. The Māyāvādī philosopher, due to ignorance, says that these are all merely transformations of the material mode of goodness.
“Śaṅkarācārya, who is an incarnation of Lord Śiva, is faultless because he is a servant carrying out the orders of the Lord. But those who follow his Māyāvādī philosophy are doomed. They will lose all their advancement in spiritual knowledge.
“One who considers the transcendental body of Lord Viṣṇu to be made of material nature is the greatest offender at the lotus feet of the Lord. There is no greater blasphemy against the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
— Cc, Adi 7, 108-115
Srila Sridhara Maharaja, like all authorized Gaudiya Vaishnava gurus, has repeatedly warned us against, and away from, hearing from mayavadis:
“Nothing can be known about a homeopathic globule by an outer physical inspection, but the potency is within. So also within the mantra the important thing is the type of thought or sentiment which is imparted through that sound. The impersonalists have got the same mantra, and are also chanting the holy name of Krsna, but that sort of name will vanish in the brahmajyoti. They won’t be able to cross the Viraja, the river between the material and spiritual worlds. When a mayavadi chants the name of Krsna, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that his chanting of the name of Krsna is just like thunder to the holy body of Krsna. It does not produce any soothing effect.
“The Gaudiya Math deals with reality, not with the frame. We are trying to understand what is what in the spiritual thought-world. We are not enchanted or captured by the mere form. We are interested in the step by step development in spiritual thought. In his Upadesamrta (10), Srila Rupa Goswami has said:
karmibhyah parito hareh priyataya vyaktim yayur jnaninas, tebhyo jnana-vimukta bhaktiparamah premaika nisthas tatah.
“Out of many materialists one may be a philosopher. Out of many philosophers, one may become liberated and take to devotional service. Out of many devotees, one may attain pure love of Krsna. He is the best of all.” We are interested in understanding this gradation: what is the Viraja river, what is the spiritual sky, the planet of Lord Siva, the Vaikuntha world of Visnu, Lord Rama’s Ayodhya, and then Krsna in Dwaraka, Mathura, and Vrndavana? We want to know the realistic view of the whole gradation of devotional thought. Krsna shows this gradation in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.15)”
— Sri Guru and His Grace
Presenting the mantras of Bhagavad-gita through the sound of an impersonalist will spread “the potency”, the “thought or sentiment” that “is within.” — “So also within the mantra the important thing is the type of thought or sentiment which is imparted through that sound.”
But you take issue with my “philosophizing” about these things, eh? You think it is a waste of time, unproductive?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja rebuts this argument by saying, as quoted above, “We are trying to understand what is what in the spiritual thought-world. We are not enchanted or captured by the mere form. We are interested in the step by step development in spiritual thought.”
Srila Sridhara Maharaja, in addition to warning us of the danger of associating with mayavadis in the above passage, relished and supported the pursuance of understanding “what is what in the spiritual thought-world”, “philosophizing”, as you call it.
Both Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Govinda Maharaja made mention of their appreciation of this tendency of mine to pay heed to our Vaishnava philosophy. But if you don’t like it, I suggest you not spur me on by writing things that must be answered by philosophizing.
If philosophy doesn’t interest you, or if you find it off putting, then what is the point of presenting the philosophy of an impersonal philosopher on your Fb wall? You could write instead “There is no need for philosophy. We are all fools. Simply chant the name of Krishna.” That would be a better approach that follows in the line of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Lastly, it appeared odd to me that someone who so vociferously supported a strict understanding and following of Srila Gurudeva’s Will now finds it desirable to promote the imaginary meanings and interpretations of the Vedas that issue forth from the line of “Adi Shankaracharya.”
It seemed uncharacteristic of you to do this and I expressed my surprise at seeing it to my friends in a letter, which also pointed to the remarkable popularity of the impersonal line of spiritual thought. If not for its popularity, what could it be that would attract a person such as yourself to this philosophy after so much energy has been exerted by our gurus to warn us away from it?
They seemed a natural question and conclusion. They remain so.
I thought the matter also deserved public attention so I posted the letter on our website, as I informed you beforehand I would do, giving you the chance to make any comments you deemed appropriate.
Now you have made your comments. I am happy you took the time to do so and welcome any further remarks you may have. I invite you to do so in the comments field following this post.
As an afterthought, just for the record, this statement of yours about me is untrue “And this is after until you went to Srila Guru Maharaja that you didn’t even know from where the Jiva come from.” I knew clearly the verse “jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya–kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’, kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa and its import. But, if I had not known the meaning, as you believe, as I did not know many things I later learned from Srila Guru Maharaja, your point escapes me.
Are you disappointed or disturbed that I learned some things from my association with Srila Guru Maharaja and, taking advantage of that, impart the same things to others? You seem to think there is some sort of dishonesty in doing so, as if it would be better that I cling to some previous misconceptions rather than admit my obvious diminutive stature before that of Srila Sridhara Maharaja and take advantage of what he had to teach me.
Would you prefer I remained in ignorance on that point? Or are you attempting to prove that the ignorant cannot learn? Is your intention to show that I am “stagnant there, finally fixed”, as Srila Sridhara Maharaja questioned the Christian poser about the position of Jesus?
Sridhara Maharaja: So, is he stagnant there, finally fixed? Is that Jesus’ position? Do the bishops say that his position is final? Does he have a progressive life? Or is Jesus alone barred from making further progress? Is he a member of the dynamic world? Or the stagnant world? — The Search For Sri Krsna, Reality The Beautiful
If that were your point, then you have failed as you stipulate that I now understand from whence the jiva has come.
Likewise, your accolades in favor of the Upanishads:
“And you can’t also say that the great Upanisadic Maha Vakia are not true, because your own philosophy is based on the Vedas. So if you say that some of the Vedas are not real you are breaking your own support and the all things together with Sastra Ninda will fall apart.”
apparently as a means of justifying your support of the impersonalist teacher, ignore the further and much more important development of thought that came in Vyasadeva’s final summary presentation in the form of Srimad Bhagavatam.
You must understand that this final work of Srila Vyasadeva’s supersedes and surpasses all his previous efforts. Yet, as with me, you seem to want to move him backwards, instead of forwards. Instead of appreciating the beauty of the higher spiritual teachings he bestowed upon the world you prefer to drag his good name back into the mud of impersonalism which was condemned by his guru Sri Narada, the truly liberated Shukadeva Goswami and by Srila Vyasadeva himself.
This tactic was recently popularized by some jealous persons who point to actions of mine that took place prior to Srila Gurudeva’s final directive to me to accept the post of acharya. Whether real or imagined, false rumors or outright lies, those foolish persons never thought to consider that these events all took place with the full knowledge of Srila Gurudeva who must have considered them as irrelevant when he chose me as one of the acharyas he designated to succeed him.
What reason could there be for continuing to discuss these matters except in the hope they will influence devotees and others to believe these prove some disqualification of mine that they could see, but Srila Gurudeva could not.
For this reason, considering them equally irrelevant, I never spoke to such incidents that occurred with the others prior to their appointment by Srila Gurudeva. Their deviations afterwards have been the only focus of my criticisms, as they should be. The next rejoinder to come? “But what about ‘Pied Piper‘? There you mentioned many unfavorable things about Sripada Goswami Maharaja that occurred prior to Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance.” Yes, but he was never appointed by Srila Gurudeva as an acharya to succeed him. Neither have I made reference to those incidents afterwards, except sometimes to point out the accuracy of the anticipated chain of events I wrote about in “Pied Piper.”
Returning again to the subject at hand, you indicate we should give more attention to the glories of Sri Veda Vyasa’s impersonal explanations of God found in the earlier Vedas, such as the Upanishads, rather than giving our full attention to his conclusive statements emphasizing Krishna’s personal features that came after being chastised by Sri Narada Muni for having “committed a great wrong. … moksa is only a reaction to exploitation. This is already a fact, and you have recommended the same thing”:
Before the Srimad-Bhagavatam appeared in the world, Devarsi Narada came and gave a regular stricture to Srila Vyasadeva: “What have you done for so long? This is nothing! Rather, you did some downright wrong.”
jugupsitam dharma-krte ‘nusasatah
svabhava-raktasya mahan vyatikramah
yad vakyato dharma idtarah sthito
na manyate tasya nivaranam janah
“You have committed a great wrong. In your injunctions of religious duty for the masses, you have sanctioned condemnable worldly works for fulfillment of mundane desires.
“The people generally have natural affinity for these things – dharma, artha, kama, and then moksa (religion, wealth, sensepleasure, and liberation). You have recommended these four things in a regular and polished way, but this is already their natural demand. When one is overfed, he wants fasting as a reaction. So, moksa is only a reaction to exploitation. This is already a fact, and you have recommended the same thing.
No one will be prepared to oppose your opinion, your standard. All will say that Vyasadeva is the highest authority, and that they don’t care for the advice of anyone else. The highest authority is Vyasadeva. So it will be very difficult to get the people to accept through other sources anything beyond what you have given. So, you have done wrong! It may be considered your misdeed. Now, the only relief can be that you yourself will give the fifth end (beyond the aforementioned four common pursuits). You, personally, will have to take this work: ‘So far what I have given is very limited, but now I shall give you something far superior.’ You alone will have to take up this task, and only then you will have undergone the proper penance necessary for your chastisement. Mahan vyatikramah – it is a great wrong, because jugupsitam – what is very condemnable; dharma-krte – is given under the stamp of religion; the goods under the stamp are ultimately nonreligious. What good is that? Only ‘to do wrong and not to do wrong.’ But to do good – is it not included there?
— Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion
Volume One (of Two)
Do Srila Guru Maharaja’s words not make everything clear?
If not, why not?
I pray this finds you well in all respects.
Swami B.K. Giri