Dear Sriman ____________ dasa,
Please accept my humble obeisances in remembrance of our Divine Masters.
Please excuse me for not replying sooner. We had some problem with our website and, as a result, the emails from our “Contact” page were not getting forwarded to me.
| I hope your recent preaching tour of Ukraine went well,given the significant turmoil there.
Yes, our (myself & Sriman Uddharan Prabhu) preaching in Ukraine was very successful. In both Kiev and Odessa all our programs were very well attended which gave us the opportunity to associate with many nice devotees and meet many new people. As a result we are taking steps to establish a permanent Math there.
As for the “turmoil” you referred to; at one point, near the end of our visit, we had to change our travel plans to go from Odessa to Kiev for our return flight to England. We had planned to go by train to Kiev but were persuaded not to because protestors were at the train station in Kiev blocking outsiders (those from outside of Kiev) from entering the city. We then decided to go by bus directly from Odessa to the airport in Kiev. Just as we were about to make reservations we learned that busses were being blocked (and even overturned) on the highway from Odessa to Kiev. Finally, we decided to go by air as there were no reports of problems at the Kiev airport.
Out of concern for my safety, some of my friends tried to convince me I should not travel as a sannyasi and, instead, wear Western clothes. A similar thing happened in 2011 while I was in India, soon after the 9/11 attacks on the US by Muslim extremists. Sripada Tirtha Maharaja, and others, advised me to wear Western clothes while moving about outside our Maths, as there are many Muslims who may take notice of me and become excited to violence. At other times one of our leading sannyasis tried to persuade me I should not try to enter Singapore except in the guise of Western clothes.
We are very fortunate when, out of affection and concern, devotees take such interest in our safety. However, in all such cases I tried to look to the example of our Sri Guru Varga who never left their sannyasa vesha, except in one instance with Srila Saraswati Thakura due to an immediate and extreme life and death situation. By Their grace, I always felt more protected by the sannyasa vesha given to me by Srila Sridhara Maharaja, than endangered by it. In any event, whether wearing this cloth attracts a donation or molestation, both are to be accepted as the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, our only protector in all circumstances. This is the lesson we learned from the brahman of Avantipura.
I am happy you decided to write to me and express your appreciation for my articles and their “honesty”.
You are not the first to make such comments and observations about the difficulties we must face in the absence of His Divine Grace, Srila Govinda Maharaja. Many devotees have written to me in a manner very similar to yours. Each time I read such letters I feel encouraged to learn there are others who are seriously considering these things and thinking of the best way to proceed in our service to Srila Gurudeva and our Divine Guardians.
There is an expression put forth by a US Congressman, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
I have tried to present the facts regarding Srila Gurudeva’s directions to us. BSG & his supporters, who Srila Gurudeva named to be acharyas, have done their best to hide, alter and misconstrue several important facts regarding Srila Gurudeva’s Will. To do this they have also taken a license to distort several of his principle teachings, and those of our predecessor acharyas. In short, they have created many illusions meant to deceive the devotees of SCSM.
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion” does not mean every opinion is equal, or correct.
First we must know the facts. Then we must accept Srila Gurudeva’s opinion, as it relates to the facts. After that we can form our own opinions, following the dictates of our spiritual conscience. At this point we must remember something Srila Gurudeva wrote to me in 1997, “we will stand alone if necessary.” [Letter attached.]
We have embarked on a journey to find the Absolute Truth. We have heard many descriptions of His nature, characteristics, pastimes, etc. from authorized authorities. We have also heard many contradictory statements from various religious leaders, sampradayas, and even from within our own Mission (as you have noted), regarding how to proceed in our search for the Supreme Absolute, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the final analysis, the responsibility for our success, or failure, rests entirely with us, each of us, individually. Everything has been given to us to assure our success, but we must apply all these instructions with great attention and care, being sure to follow the recipe very precisely, in order to get the result we want.
“There is danger, even on the royal road.” Srila Gurudeva’s direction is the only shield we have against all the dangerous conditions we are sure to encounter.
“Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah” We must follow very carefully in the footsteps of the previous acharyas. Only in this way can we avoid the mines as we walk through the mine-field spread before us by Krishna’s illusory potency, maha maya.
Therefore sometimes these cheated people, they deny to accept that Bhagavata is written by Sri Vyasadeva. But those who are actually acaryas, those who can guide us, like Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, big, big…, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they do not say like this, that “It is mythology. It is imaginary.” They accept as it is. So we have to follow these mahajana. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah dharmasya tattvam nihito guhayam [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We have to follow great personalities, acaryas. acaryavan puruso veda. One who has got, one who has taken shelter of acarya, bona fide spiritual master, he knows. Acaryavan puruso veda. Because he is receiving the right knowledge from the right source, acarya… Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. Acarya means by disciplic succession. As Krsna says, disciplic succession, all the acaryas will say the same thing. They will not change, they will not interpret. They can explain. But the original fact is not distorted. That is acarya. — BVS, Bhagavad-gita 1.13-14 — London, July 14, 1973 [Emphasis added]
Many disturbances will come. Our Divine Guardian has gone away from our vision and in the retinue we will be tested again and again. How strong is our faith in his divine instruction? The tests will come. We must be willing to tolerate everything, all disturbances, and push on with full faith in His Divine Grace, that he is with us, always and, he will not abandon the sincere seeker.
In the same 1997 letter mentioned above, and attached below, Srila Gurudeva wrote to me “I am always remembering your holy self and your steady service.” At other times he wrote or said to me “I am always with you.” But he is not with me alone. He is with all those who continue their “steady service”, despite all impediments.
You wrote about Sripada Acharya Maharaja being in jail. Now he is out of jail. Tomorrow he may be there again. Who knows what will be next? This is not a relevant matter.
A genuine acharya should be followed faithfully without regard for the opinion of materialistic people or any material circumstance.
The real question is always “Is the acharya genuine, or not.”
The above quotation from a lecture of Srila Swami Maharaja describes, in brief, how we can determine this.
You already know my opinion: those “acharyas” who deviated from Srila Gurudeva’s directions to us, as clearly stated in his Last Will and Testament, should be abandoned. You may also recall these statements from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta (in regard to Sri Advaita Acharya):
keha ta’ acarya ajnaya, keha ta’ svatantra
sva-mata kalpana kare daiva-paratantra
keha ta’ — some; acarya — the spiritual master; ajnaya — upon His order; keha ta’ — some; sva-tantra — independently; sva-mata — their own opinions; kalpana kare — they concoct; daiva-paratantra — under the spell of maya.
“Some of the disciples strictly accepted the orders of the acarya, and others deviated, independently concocting their own opinions under the spell of daivi-maya.”
This verse describes the beginning of a schism. When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation. There is no scope for adjusting spiritual advancement to material ideas.
acaryera mata yei, sei mata sara
tanra ajna langhi’ cale, sei ta’ asara
acaryera — of the spiritual master (Advaita Prabhu); mata — opinion; yei — what is; sei — that; mata — opinion; sara — active principle; tanra — his; ajna — order; langhi’ — transgressing; cale — becomes; sei — that; ta’ — however; asara — useless.
“The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless.”
Here is the opinion of Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. Persons who strictly follow the orders of the spiritual master are useful in executing the will of the Supreme, whereas persons who deviate from the strict order of the spiritual master are useless.
Based on the fact that the International Acharya Board (IAB) “acharyas” deviated from Srila Gurudeva’s orders, and the opinion of Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, as it relates to that fact, I have formed my opinion, following the dictates of my spiritual conscience. My opinion is, all those “acharyas” who deviated from Srila Gurudeva’s Will, are asara, useless. What they do is almost entirely irrelevant to me.
I must say “almost entirely irrelevant” because the public, and others, still see that they are using the name Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math to lend legitimacy to their illegitimate actions and ideas.
In my humble attempt to uphold the dignity of the name, but distinguish ourselves from its illegitimate use, I have begun using the derivative name Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math Global, although our Math was established, and is recognized, as Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.
In characteristic style BSG & the International Acharya Board, and now others on FaceBook, etc., have tried their best to attribute some diabolical intent for my doing this, although I explained the intent from the very beginning on our website in the article “A New Domain”. The following excerpts explain the gist of my thoughts on the matter.
“… I believe I have a role to play in offering global relief. As I explained earlier today to Prabhu Gokulananda, our new global stance is not so much an aggressive one, as in the sense of a campaign to conquer the world, but an inclusive one, to encourage the many devotees, leaders, Maths and Missions around the world to continue their preaching as they feel inspired by the intensity of their necessity to please Srila Govinda Maharaja, rather than the International Acharya Board or Sripada Acharya Maharaja.
“… I consider myself the servant of Srila Govinda Maharaja and his Mission, devotees and so on. And I want to follow my own advice, not to leave Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, but to make Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math fit within the conception conceived for it by Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Govinda Maharaja.
“… I believe the IAB have shown themselves to be either incapable or unwilling to follow the direction and charge given them by Srila Gurudeva to guide his Mission after his disappearance. I am, therefore, taking the charge myself, in the only way available to me, to establish that portion of SCSM over which I have been given direct responsibility and make it perfect in the minds and hearts of Srila Gurudeva and his devotees.
Later I answered the charge in my article “Censure” of Sripada B.K. Giri Maharaja.
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.
My experience thus far has shown that there are opinion leaders, and followers of the opinion leaders. The followers then form their own opinions, based on the opinions of others; but, while many are familiar with opinions, very few persons are familiar with the facts. Most seem to be too lazy to look at the facts. When they do, they generally find it almost impossible to disagree with my opinion.
I have always welcomed those with contradictory opinions to try and convince me that I am wrong about any particular point. After many failed attempts to do this, the IAB thought it better to create an “iron curtain” around me in the hope that devotees like yourself would not learn the facts.
Fortunately, we have the internet, and a website which continues to expand rapidly in content and visitors.
We believe the best medicine to remove all doubt and cure all ills is to be found in the healing waters flowing from the springs of the divya vani (divine instruction) of our Sri Guru Varga.
We currently provide more than 120 gigabytes of this content on our website. It will soon grow to more than 200 gigabytes, with the numbers of visitors growing in similar proportion.
One result of openly providing this material is that many other websites appear to be taking it and posting it. We encourage this, remembering Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s admonitions to us:
81.12.02.A at about 30:00
Sriman Vidagdha Madhava asks Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s permission for Prabhu Satyanarayana Dasa to publish a small book with quotations from the tapes of Srila Sridhara Maharaja. Here’s his response:
“Yes, one who has got that, he may do. He may publish, I have no objection. Dhira Krishna Maharaja or something like, he also asked me, ‘May we print all these things?’. Yes, you do, yes, you do. Anyone who has heard it, he may do and publish if he thinks it is, to do some good to the world, then of course he is justified to do that.
I don’t want to make it a trade, it must be the most benevolent trade of Mahaprabhu. But no special trade. For His trade, to convert all under Krishna Consciousness, that earnest idea we must embrace, one and all. These are the interests of Mahaprabhu and Krishna, Prabhupada, Swami Maharaja. For their interest it is repeated, meant, worth something. Everyone is at liberty to do that. It is not mine. If the words come from our Master, Krishna, everyone should have right to accept that and to spread that. Yare dekha tare kaha krishna upadesha. If they consider it is Krishna upadesha, then they’re at liberty to spread it anywhere and everywhere. His conscience to be justified.
If he sincerely thinks that, of course he will do it. It is not mine, it is of my Gurudeva and he would say [these] are Mahaprabhu, a ray of Bhagavatam, Vyasadeva, in this way. Gaura Hari Bol… And, if anyone gets any real benefit out of that, then I shall get reward from above and I shall get good will from them also. I want that sort of blessing. For my own sustenance I want that. Gaura Hari Bol.
The reaction will come to me if really that is helpful, the reaction will come to me, to bless me, to make me more fit for the service of my Lord. Gaura Hari Bol.
Without that I may not have anything to change in my heart. I may not do. I pray to my Lord. To make trade over this Hari Katha, our Guru Maharaja condemned it…”
Hari Katha, this is the best cure for all that ails us. You have offered some encouragement to me to continue in this line. I want to reciprocate by encouraging you to spread the teachings of our Gurudeva as far and as wide as possible. Encourage everyone to follow the line of Srila Govinda Maharaja who showed us by example what it is to be a real disciple of a vaishnava guru.
By his example of unflinching devotion and dedication to Srila Sridhara Maharaja, we can begin to understand the deep significance of these words “Please accept my dandavat pranams in remembrance of our Divine Masters, Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad.”
I pray this finds you well in health and spirits. Please convey the same to all those in your association.
Swami B.K. Giri