Srila Giri Maharaja – “Confidential. Do not disclose to…”

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idam te natapaskaya: Do not disclose this to those averse to self-sacrifice.

Date: 4/23/18

Dear Sriman Uddhava dasa,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

I think if iskcon reads Sridhar Maharaj books without troubles then it will be a great thing

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.

Now there are many disciples of Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON who have become gurus within that organization. Their disciples must follow the direction of their guru, just as we disciples of Srila Prabhupada were obliged to follow the direction of our guru.

You speak of ISKCON as if it were a person: “I think if iskcon reads Sridhar Maharaj books… .” But ISKCON is not a person, as previously explained. Because ISCKON is not a person, it cannot read Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s books, only a person can do that.

Every person is free to read Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s books, if they want to do so. They are available via our website: www.scsmathglobal.com. In addition, we have hundreds of hours of Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s recordings and transcripts of some recordings available free for everyone to hear and read.

Your next qualifier “without troubles” (“if iskcon reads Sridhar Maharaj books without troubles”) is interesting and bears some further consideration. Krishna does not tell us He will be attained without trouble. Rather, the opposite is true:

idam te natapaskaya
nabhaktaya kadacana
na casusrusave vacyam
na ca mam yo ‘bhyasuyati

SYNONYMS
idam — this; te — by you; na — never; atapaskaya — to one who is not austere; na — never; abhaktaya — to one who is not a devotee; kadacana — at any time; na — never; ca — also; asusrusave — to one who is not engaged in devotional service; vacyam — to be spoken; na — never; ca — also; mam — toward Me; yah — anyone who; abhyasuyati — is envious.

This confidential knowledge may never be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious of Me.

PURPORT
Persons who have not undergone the austerities of the religious process, who have never attempted devotional service in Krsna consciousness, who have not tended a pure devotee, and especially those who are conscious of Krsna only as a historical personality or who are envious of the greatness of Krsna should not be told this most confidential part of knowledge. It is, however, sometimes found that even demoniac persons who are envious of Krsna, worshiping Krsna in a different way, take to the profession of explaining Bhagavad-gita in a different way to make business, but anyone who desires actually to understand Krsna must avoid such commentaries on Bhagavad-gita. Actually the purpose of Bhagavad-gita is not understandable to those who are sensuous. Even if one is not sensuous but is strictly following the disciplines enjoined in the Vedic scripture, if he is not a devotee he also cannot understand Krsna. And even when one poses himself as a devotee of Krsna but is not engaged in Krsna conscious activities, he also cannot understand Krsna. There are many persons who envy Krsna because He has explained in Bhagavad-gita that He is the Supreme and that nothing is above Him or equal to Him. There are many persons who are envious of Krsna. Such persons should not be told of Bhagavad-gita, for they cannot understand. There is no possibility of faithless persons’ understanding Bhagavad-gita and Krsna. Without understanding Krsna from the authority of a pure devotee, one should not try to comment upon Bhagavad-gita.

—Bg 18.67

Narada Muni, Prahlada Maharaja, Bali Maharaja, the Pandavas, our Srila Prabhupada, his Srila Prabhupada, Queen Kunti Devi and even the residents of Goloka Dhama; all have something in common, they underwent great trouble to attain Krishna and serve Krishna.

That one, without taking any risk or trouble, will read Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s books and “then it will be a great thing” is highly doubtful in my opinion.

My next point is to be found within the purport cited above “Persons who have not undergone the austerities of the religious process, who have never attempted devotional service in Krsna consciousness, who have not tended a pure devotee, and especially those who are conscious of Krsna only as a historical personality or who are envious of the greatness of Krsna should not be told this most confidential part of knowledge.” Substitute “Srila Sridhara Maharaja” in the preceding quote in place of “Krishna” and my point will be easily understood.

Next, consider this in a similar light as it would relate to Srila Sridhara Maharaja and his books: “There are many persons who are envious of Krsna. Such persons should not be told of Bhagavad-gita, for they cannot understand. There is no possibility of faithless persons’ understanding Bhagavad-gita and Krsna. Without understanding Krsna from the authority of a pure devotee, one should not try to comment upon Bhagavad-gita.”

Simply reading books is not sufficient. The books of Srila Sridhara Maharaja will only be properly understood and appreciated by hearing explanations from, and following the guidance of, those devotees who have a highly developed faith in His Divine Grace. One must approach such a devotee in the same way one approaches any guru:

Bg 4.34

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.

Without these three elements, praṇipāt, paripraśna and seva (approach, submissive inquiry and service) being utilized in one’s connection with a devotee realized in the teachings of Srila Sridhara Maharaja, there will be little gained by reading his books.

The next element to consider in the good that could come from reading Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s books is the environment within which one is reading them. Is the environment conducive to such study or antagonistic to it?

Consider this:

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: You see, you try to follow it. The relative and the absolute standpoints! Suppose, you are an American, there is communist…

Satānanda: Some is there, there may be some, a few people there, a few.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: A few, and mainly?

Satānanda: Mainly capitalist.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Catholic?

Satānanda: Capitalist.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Capitalist. Capitalist and communist and socialist. Suppose you are a socialist at heart, when there is clash within the capitalist and socialist, in general practices you will have some harmonious way of life. But when any clash, what side you are to accept, first socialist or capitalist? Your creed is that of socialist. You live in a country where the majority is capitalist. No clash, no difference. But when there is any clash, what side you are to identify yourself with?

Satānanda: Internally I may identify as socialist, but for peace, for the good of the country…

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: If you’re an out and out socialist, then you should try to leave the country and join the socialists if necessary. If we try to assert the social cause, cause of the socialist, if you fail, you will try to keep your creed, your purity of faith for the socialist you will try to leave the country and join the socialists. Will you do that?

Satānanda: Yes, but…

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Or you will take leave of the socialist creed and mix with the capitalists, what should you do?

Satānanda: I will leave the country.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: So the absolute and relative, two classes of interest. When for the absolute interest we find more importance we must be sincere to our own creed. Then sometimes we’re to leave the paraphernalia if that does not suit me. So in the conception of the purity of what is Vaiṣṇava creed, the purity and the form, the form is also necessary to help me in a general way to maintain my present position. And at the same time my conception of the higher ideal will always goad me to advance, to go forward. And wherever I shall go the greater model, greater ideal, I must go. Life is progressive not stagnant. Do you follow? It is progressive. We’re in sādhana, we’re in progressive life. We are wanted to go ahead, not back, not backward. So the formal position will help me to maintain my present position, and my external affinity for the ideal will goad me towards the front.

And the progressive party, there are so many parties in so many nations, the progressive communists, and progressive communists in Christianity, generally Catholic, then again Protestant, again Puritans, in this way. So development in the right way and also in the wrong way. It is a dynamic world, a living one, adjustment, readjustment is always going on, and accordingly we should also change our present position. We shall have to change our present position so that we may not have to sacrifice the high ideal for which we have come. So it is necessary.

—82.01.31.A

From what you have written, it seems the environment in ISKCON is not conducive to the reading of Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s books, nor is it conducive to associating with and serving those who are highly developed in their understanding of them. Again, this is all dependent upon the guru one is following. If there is a guru within ISKCON whose realization of the Absolute Truth is in line with that of Srila Prabhupada then, as Srila Prabhupada accepted Srila Sridhara Maharaja as his siksha guru and encouraged his disciples to appreciate him in the same way:

So if you are actually serious to take instructions from a siksa guru, I can refer you to one who is most highly competent of all my god-brothers. This is B.R. Sridhara Maharaja, whom I consider to be even my siksa guru, so what to speak of the benefit that you can have from his association.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Hrsikesa — Los Angeles 31 January, 1969

so too will such a guru behave himself and encourage his disciples to follow suit.

Once again, the questions you have raised are not ISKCON centric, but guru centric. A disciple should live within the environment created for him by his guru. If a disciple believes that environment is not sufficient to provide the nurturing and nourishment needed to attain Krishna consciousness, the underlying cause is not the reading or non-reading of Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s books; the cause (justified or not) is lack of faith in one’s guru.

As a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, I never felt any deficiency in him that would cause me to go outside his school and schooling. Through his infinite grace and kindness he provided us with many books penned by his own hand to guide us in our search for Sri Krishna. But if he had only given us one book, or no books at all, I should not believe there was anything lacking in his provision for me; for even one word from the spiritual master contains infinite meaning, just as Sriman Mahaprabhu instructed us in like manner regarding one syllable of the Bhagavatam. That is our conception of Sri Guru. One particle of dust from his lotus feet has more value than all the Vedas combined. That is the status and stature of Sri Guru.

Now, what will be the result if you try to force those who are disinclined to appreciate, or are antagonistic towards, the teaching of Srila Sridhara Maharaja to accept them? I think you will find the answer here:

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Not friction – that unnecessary tickling, meddling – unnecessary pressure or handling, unnecessary handling – interfering. What you feel within, you do that. Because, by only pressing to make one understand, one may not understand. He must have some adhikār, capacity, to catch the thing. Otherwise, he will be… only waste one’s energy. If he cannot catch the fine point, then it will be a waste of energy. The same thing will; no solution will come in new form. Always, the same thing will come. So, in the hesitation, whether this way or that way, what you think better, you do it.

sve svehadhikāre yā niṣṭhā, sa gunāḥ parikīrtitāḥ
[viparyayas tu doṣaḥ syād, ubhayor eṣa niścayaḥ]

[“Remaining fixed in the position for which one is qualified is considered virtuous. The opposite – accepting a position for which one is unqualified, while giving up a position for which one is qualified – is irresponsible and is considered impious. This is the conclusion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.”] [11.21.2]

In one’s own capacity, what he can accept, it is better to follow that, to take that. Otherwise, by pressure one may, for the time being may have a peep of something, next moment he loses, and then again in the furious condition. In that case, when we are not sure of our fair and safe progress, it is better to stand, taking the hold in the former firm position.

[śreyān sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ, para-dharmāt svanuṣṭhitāt]
sva-dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ, para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ

[It is better to do one’s duty poorly than to do another’s duty perfectly. It is better to die doing one’s duties than to leave them and follow another’s dharma. To attempt to follow another’s dharma is dangerous.] [Bhagavad-gītā, 3.35]

And when our understanding will be clear that, “What my Guru Mahārāja came to give me, I’m finding the same thing here, why should I not take?” His own courage, at his own risk he will run to take that. “I have got my Guru Mahārāja’s thing exactly so, and he was so fine, so higher thing he came to give us.” No grudge, no trouble, no quarrel, this bothering, botheration.

—82.03.01.C

One must have the interest, temperament and spiritual inertia to progress in spiritual life for forward movement to take place. “In one’s own capacity, what he can accept, it is better to follow that, to take that. Otherwise, by pressure one may, for the time being may have a peep of something, next moment he loses, and then again in the furious condition.”

“You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.”

Those who have the necessary lakhana (quality and qualification) to appreciate Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s books will not be stopped from reading them and pursuing the line of devotion to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga advocated therein. Others, lacking the lakhana needed for such an endeavor will go on in the manner they believe most suited to them.

I’d like to investigate to find which GBC members pushed to stop this nice arrangement.

You will find almost everything you are asking about in the discussions that took place with Srila Sridhara Maharaja during the time period surrounding Gaura Purnima 1982 (roughly end of February to early March of that year). For example:

[Pertaining to ISKCON’s relationship with Srila Sridhara Maharaja]
Parvat Mahārāja: Only Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja came into the room and after a calm introduction he also became like a lion or tiger, agitated.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Who?

Parvat Mahārāja: Hṛdayānanda.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: And how many lions are there?

Devotees: (Group laughter)

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: One Rāmeśvara, then Hṛdayānanda, these two, and perhaps Bhagavān is also not a less one, Bhagavān dāsa. Then three, and…

Parvat Mahārāja: They are waiting for Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja to arrive.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: He’s a sober man. At least very meek and speaks very little. Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja, last year he came here, Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja.

Parvat Mahārāja: Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja is very shrewd and clever.

Parvat Mahārāja: More like a tiger.

Aksayānanda Mahārāja: More like a fox.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: He may be a lion or tiger, but in my case he’s considered with little calmness perhaps. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Gaura Hari. And how is Satsvarūpa Mahārāja, a little sober?

Devotee: Yes he is sober.

Bhāratī Mahārāja: He’s trying to remain neutral.

Aksayānanda Mahārāja: Neutral but not positive.

—82.02.24.C_82.02.25.A

From 1982 to the present day, some thirty five years, the facts, which have now become the history you are asking about, have been known to, or available to, anyone interested to know them. For the most part, those who know them use them only in the way you speak of, to know the history, without taking advantage of the spiritual profit to be gained from it.

The destruction of the Yadhu dynasty, the breakup of Gaudiya Math, the schisms of ISKCON, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and all other spiritual lineages point to one conclusion: we must diligently pursue our search for the Absolute Truth wherever it leads us without regard for the apparent, but misleading, coverings such as those that may present themselves in the form of society, religious organizations, family heritage and even spiritual successions. Looking only to the spiritual successions in which Srila Madhavendra Puri and Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushana appeared, would not have led us to the conclusion that they are the real knowers of Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s Divine Precepts.

idam te natapaskaya
nabhaktaya kadacana
na casusrusave vacyam
na ca mam yo ‘bhyasuyati

This confidential knowledge may never be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious of Me.

If I can be of any further help to you, I suggest you call me. I will also try to respond to any further questions you may have via email.

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.

Sincerely,

Swami B.K. Giri