Srila Giri Maharaja “Our ashraya vigraha”

Note: In his reply to my first email to him (Dated: 4/22/17) Sriman Devashis dasa wrote (on 4/26/17) “I will take counsel of my own conscience in these matters and I think I have little chance of convincing you that your own stance may be flawed and worth reconsideration and so our continued dialogue is sadly pointless.”

Until now (6/30/17) Sriman Devashis has not supplied his proposed quotation from Srila Saraswati Thakura’s Will nor responded in any other way. — bkg

Subject: Our ashraya vigraha

Date: 4/26/17

Dear Sriman Devashis dasa,

Please accept my humble dandavat pranamas in remembrance of our Divine Masters.

[Devashis dasa (“Dd”)] It is kind of you to write to me considering my welfare. I always consider you my friend and well-wisher even though we don’t always agree on many things.

Very good. What I say to you, and to everyone, is in the line of friendship and well-wishing, even though, due to my admitted deficiency of tact, it may be misconstrued to be otherwise. Srila Gurudeva told me, in a complementary tone, that I have “no diplomacy.” Such is my nature.

Dd] I think it is more wishful thinking on their part that I would remove Acharya Maharaj’s picture from the altar than it is my own position. 

That is your present position. Good. Unfortunately, you agree in principal with taking such action, as you affirm herewith:

[Dd] I can assure you I have no intention to do so and neither would I consider this except in the very most extreme circumstances and then only with the direction and consensus of Acharyas of our mission that I have faith in.

The “except” portion of your statement is, no doubt, the same principal Sriman Ranjit, Sripada Paramahamsa Maharaja and, as I’ve heard, now others (taken all together—the ‘anti-party’), rely upon to justify their attempt to takeover the Navadwipa Math, Indian Mission, etc. from Sripada Acharya Maharaja who was designated by the previous acharya of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Srila Govinda Maharaja, to be the rightful heir (both spiritually and managerially) as successor acharya, president and sevaite.

Thus, you agree in principal with the anti-party you oppose. You simply differ in your judgement as to when the principal should be applied.

I suppose I should not be surprised by your position as you, and those you “have faith in”, had previously joined with the said anti-party in embracing the principal of nullification of Srila Govinda Maharaja’s Last Will and Testament by embracing the one “worldwide acharya” and “worldwide head of the mission” concoction which discarded the six acharyas and formation of an ‘Acharya Sabha’, that were named and directed, respectively, by Srila Gurudeva. This action, in addition to effectively nullifying Srila Gurudeva’s LWT, along with other actions by the IAB, served to minimize the position of acharya as defined by guru, shastra and sadhu and maintained by tradition and historical precedent until, in our mission (SCSM), at least, the disappearance of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundara Govinda-Deva Goswami Maharaja.

Now, after reducing the position of acharya to a mere figurehead meant to serve at the pleasure of the IAB, rather than one who should be seen as Krishna incarnate (acharyam mam vijaniyam), it is no wonder you have proceeded to the next logical step, which is, to take it upon yourself, or in conjunction with others, to admit utter contempt for the position of acharya by going so far as to condone the forceful removal of an acharya from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math who, unlike Sripada Goswami Maharaja, was not installed in that position by the IAB, but directly by the predecessor acharya, Srila Govinda Maharaja.

In my recent email to you I quoted Srila Govinda Maharaja’s opinion on this matter, wherein he addresses what should be done in what you call “the very most extreme circumstances” (bold text added)

Then, what is the desire of āchārya, that will be rule practically. That is the rule if āchārya not faulty person. Faulty means he is interested with other interest. You know what is fault. He is illegal, doing many things illegal, mundane things. And when it is, then all the trustee, they will be together, and other senior Vaiṣṇava, they will call and they will make meeting and they can tell against something āchārya. And there must be other senior Vaiṣṇava, two Vaiṣṇava must be present there, and all committee together, then they can tell something against of āchārya. And they will try to rectify the āchārya. They cannot remove.

Even in such extreme circumstances he emphatically states “They cannot remove.” the acharya.

I offered another quotation from His Divine Grace to give further emphasis to this point:

Āchārya must be who is strict and good character man. If his character is bad, gone, and illegally he is using money of the Deity and selling the Deity’s property. He have right to sell, that is, one man with him and he can sell. One man with him, he can call meeting, and meeting will be passed, and one man giving bribe, he can do that. “Also 50% I shall give you side.” Like that, this is all illegal matter. But anyway they cannot remove the āchārya, but if his character is very loose and he is loosing the property, selling property, etc., then they can call meeting. Otherwise, cannot tell anything against āchārya. That is, āchārya’s position is guru’s position, and guru nondifferent with Kṛṣṇa. This is our consideration.

and, others after that.

You were, nevertheless, undeterred and mocked the direct instruction Srila Gurudeva gave to us for our benefit. Rather than show respect for the direction His Divine Grace mercifully gave us, you called it “simply folly”:

“To suggest that an Acharya can never be removed under any circumstances though is simply folly.”

To justify your ridicule of Srila Gurudeva’s direction you offered what I believe to be a questionable quotation:

I have seen in Srila Saraswati Thakurs Will that he said that after him  “the preaching of the line of Rupa Raghunnath will go on under the direction of Ananta Vasudev Prabhu.” Based on this direction, Srila Guru Maharaj supported establishing Vasudev Prabhu as the Acharya after Saraswati Thakur and Srila Guru Maharaj was also later responsible for having Vasudev removed when it was clear that he had deviated and was in an illicit relationship with his Godsister.

As well as I can recall, your statement about Srila Saraswati Thakura’s Will does not conform with what I have heard from our guru varga.

I would like to see Srila Saraswati Thakur’s Will that you refer to. Will you please send me a copy?

However, even if his Will says what you believe it to say, the Will of Srila Saraswati Thakura does not supersede the Last Will and Testament of Srila Govinda Maharaja or his directions to us (as quoted above) related to matters concerning the acharyas of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.

Many seem to be under the impression that they are immune from following the directions of Srila Govinda Maharaja due to him being their Godbrother (whose position is only a relative one, all Godbrothers being equal, as you suggested in your email to me) or, as you have pointed out, by calling his statement “simply folly”, that Srila Govinda Maharaja’s opinion can be overruled by anyone who can find a statement by some spiritual authority that differs with his directions to us. Those that take this approach would never have dared to do so during his presence. Only now, after his disappearance, have they found such courage. I hope you will reconsider placing yourself within such a group.

I look forward to your reply and will give serious consideration to any relevant counter arguments you might make with reference to guru, shastra, sadhu and, especially, the statements of His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaja.

I found there were several other points in your email with which I disagree, and would like to respond, but do not have the time at present to give just treatment to each of them.

In the meantime, I want you to know that you should not feel any trepidation that I will publish your email.

Taken in toto, I believe the main point is this: we must always maintain fealty to His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaja. He is our immediate ashraya vigraha. Whoever our initiating spiritual master may be, among our trinity of gurus, His Divine Grace, Srila Govinda Maharaja is the one under whose care and protection we have been placed in service to our Sri Guru Varga. His direction is our life and soul and we must be very careful to not neglect it, or stray from it.

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.

Swami B.K. Giri