Srila Giri Maharaja – “A word to the wise… “

Inauguration of Sri Chaitanya Chandrodaya Mandira. L-R, Govinda Maharaja, (Seated on Vyasasana) Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada Swami Maharaja

Date: 5/14/18

Dear Sriman Nila Madhava dasa,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

“A word to the wise is sufficient.” “A picture is worth a thousand words.” See above photo.

What can I say about those who will not believe what their eyes and ears tell them, who deny the conclusions of their own scriptures and their own guru or param-guru (Srila Swami Maharaja)? I cannot help them, you cannot help them, their guru cannot help them, no one can help them. Their situation is described thusly by Sri Prahlada Maharaja:

matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho ‘bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvananam

na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum
durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te ‘pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah

naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
mahiyasam pada-rajo-‘bhisekam
niskincananam na vrnita yavat

“Persons who are determined to totally rot in false, material happiness cannot become Krsna-minded either by instructions from teachers, by self-realization or by parliamentary discussions. They are dragged by the unbridled senses into the darkest region of ignorance, and thus they madly engage in what is called ‘chewing the chewed.’

“Because of their foolish activities, they are unaware that the ultimate goal of human life is to achieve Visnu, the Lord of the cosmic manifestation, and so their struggle for existence is in the wrong direction of material civilization, which is under the external energy. They are led by similar foolish persons, just as one blind man is led by another blind man and both fall in the ditch.

“Such foolish men cannot be attracted towards the activities of the Supreme Powerful, who is actually the neutralizing measure for their foolish activities, unless and until they have the good sense to be guided by the great souls who are completely freed from material attachment.”

SB 3.9.17

To better understand present day ISKCON please read the post Required Reading: Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura’s “Organised Religion (Putana and Kamsa)” . If you have already read it, please read it again as I believe it is a useful prerequisite to appreciate what follows.

Now I will restate something I believe you already read in my post “Confidential. Do not disclose to…”:

ISKCON is not the issue. Guru is the issue. ISKCON is a religious society it is not a guru. The GBC is the managerial head of ISKCON, it is not a guru. For success in spiritual life we must follow the advice and direction of a sad guru, one who is fixed in knowledge of the Absolute Truth.

Foreseeing his imminent departure from this world Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja instructed his disciples to go to Srila Sridhara Maharaja for further instruction on the philosophy and siddhanta of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. All the disciples of Srila Prabhupada were free to follow this direction of their guru, or reject it, at their own risk.

It seems to me you want something more than an answer to some questions you have. It seems you want me to correct the misbehavior of devotees living and serving within the present day religious organization known as ISKCON, which is very different from the spiritual ISKCON I knew during the lifetime of Srila Prabhupada.

I cannot correct their misbehavior. You cannot correct it. No one can correct it unless and until they show a willingness to be corrected. Except for a few individual and exceptional cases, I do not expect to see such a willingness in my lifetime.

Some are innocent or ignorant and have been led astray by blind, ignorant or deceitful leaders. Each case must be judged and dealt with individually. Sri Prahlada was born into a family of demons but is known to us as one of the Lord’s most exalted devotees. So, everything is possible. A devotee like Prahlada could appear within ISKCON and provide real spiritual shelter to those who accept him and follow him. It is not impossible; just as Prahlada, whose teachers were instructed by Hiranyakashipu to destroy his faith in Vishnu or punish him for it, was not dissuaded by his teachers and authorities from pursuing his devotion to Lord Vishnu.

However, there is a reason Prahlada Maharaja is so famous. The reason is that his position and example are unique.

ISKCON’s organizational structure is designed to prevent Prahaladas from becoming established within that organization. It is not impossible that such a thing could happen, it would, however, be the exception to the rule.

In general I believe I have seen and continue to see what Srila Sridhara Maharaja saw and diagnosed as the principal problems for those associated with ISKCON:


Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja: So, Maharaja.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes

BMP: They are arguing that Prabhupada wanted everyone to work under the GBC. But we are not doing that so therefore anything we do is unauthorized.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Anything?

BMP: Anything we do is unauthorized.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Unauthorized. And authorized from the greater circle. GBC its committee decision is recommendatary. But the general saying of him “Go and preach about Krishna.”, the general call, general call. Krishna. But to facilitate that he appointed some gentlemen. That does not mean that he has given everything within their fist, their whimsical fist.

At present that dollar, diplomacy, despotism in the name of devotion, dedication, divinity.

The God is within their fist, Krishna? They think like that? Rather the opposite they’ll have to think.

The ISKCON, according to me, are busy with dollar, diplomacy and very daring action in the name of devotion and dedication. But the brahminic way of approaching the truth, that is of higher conception. This dollar and diplomacy, this maybe utilized for the purpose, but the more higher basis must be on brahmanic, on character, on realization, to fullness, all these things. That will have real hold over the other theological conceptions. There are so many theological conceptions in the world and we are to deal with them and that cannot be purchased only by money and grandeur. (Srila Sridhara Maharaja, 82.5.1-2-3)

In my considerate opinion, excepting some individual cases, there is no solution to the problems inherent in an organization that rejected Srila Sridhara Maharaja as its spiritual advisor and/or does so now.

By quoting “that dollar, diplomacy, despotism in the name of devotion, dedication, divinity” it does not mean I believe ISKCON’s leaders, gurus, etc. are so many Hiranyakashipus. That’s not what I believe. I believe they are devotees but, like the demigods, they are motivated by material interests.

I may write more on the topics you have raised but I can go no further at this time.

I am pleased to learn you are doing well and feel safe in a very dangerous part of the world by depending upon Krishna’s protection and Divine Will.


Swami B.K. Giri