Please accept my humble dandavat pranamas.
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Or, does coincidence play a larger role in our lives than we might expect?
Following up on a Facebook notification I read Srimati Kundalata Devi dasi’s Fb post of “extracts” of two transcripts on Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day. We posted the same transcripts. I wrote the following intro to our website post which was emailed to Prabhu Uddharan to post on our website on November 10, 2018 at 4:06 PM, two hours before Kundalata Devi’s post:
What follows below are excerpts of transcripts compiled by Sriman Paramananda dasa (UK). In these excerpts Srila Sridhara Maharaja speaks with affection about His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on the day of his disappearance, 1982. Prabhu Paramananda sent the transcripts to me a few days ago with the suggestion we post them for the satisfaction of our Divine Masters and others whose hearts will surely be touched by the reading of these holy pastimes. I hope to announce the posting of the full transcripts in the near future along with many others we recently received.
Kundalata Devi wrote something very similar on November 10 at 6:07 PM, which she posted on Facebook:
Following are extracts from two recordings newly transcribed by my godbrother Paramananda prabhu, where our Guru Maharaja Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja speaks about his history with, and the glories of, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada.
The excerpts — “extracts”, as Kundalata Devi called them — were also very similar to those I posted, except for a substantial portion KDd omitted from her post without explanation or even any indication that Srila Sridhara Maharaja had spoken more, which she removed. This would usually be denoted in the passage below from KDd’s post by inserting points of ellipsis (“ . . . “) to indicate a portion was excluded after “more supernatural than humanly.” and “Once, while in America, Swāmī Mahārāja”:
And it is written in his letters that he took great risk and inspiration. And dainyam, ātma-nivedan, to draw the higher authority to our level, the property is only to improve this dainyam, ātma-nivedan, goptṛtve, śaraṇāgati. Wonderfully I found that in his letters, how he emptied himself, and fervently praying to Kṛṣṇa to help him for this wonderful campaign. And how empty handed he landed there, and gradually he preached glorious successful life in the propagation of the love divine of Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa prema, throughout the world. That is a wonderful tale, more supernatural than humanly.
Once, while in America, Swāmī Mahārāja [bkg’s bold] was very much sick, and apprehending that he’ll have to go away. He wrote a letter to me, “That I feel that I won’t live long. What do you want? Should I go back to India and die there? Or here I shall live and go on with my work up till my death?”
What was excluded was substantial and consists of the following eleven paragraphs.
Then also several times he visited me. I was told that he left in [nineteen] sixty five. And I don’t remember what year he first came with Acyutānanda, and perhaps seventy eight or so.
Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja [BSG]: Sixty eight.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Sixty eight, perhaps, or so, first. And then many a time he visited this Maṭha. And Acyutānanda lived with me nine months. I sent him to Calcutta, requesting Mādhava Mahārāja to give accommodation. And then there he met many gentlemen and started this present Caitanya-candrodaya Matha.
I went there several times, from the beginning of the Maṭha. And after his departure also I visited once or twice. My lecture was, “I used to come here with happy heart. Today I have come with a heavy heart.” Then, I was always considered to be a friend of that institution. Gradually difference came, because I could not give up my independent consideration about Mahāprabhu’s instructions, preachings. I have got my own mind. Gradually this difference grew.
At present they also tried to get help from me. And I also did not like that I should interfere with them. But dissatisfied members who came to me, according to my own religious conscience I used to advise them. First in the line of wait and see. Then the next stage I advised them, all the aggrieved parties meet together and ask them about your grievance, to modify, to be liberal. They also came several times. I recommended don’t do so harshly, but mildly compromisingly, affectionately. Otherwise the people at large will lose faith in you. You say the appointed Ācārya and member so easily punished, then that will give a loss of faith in you in general. They accepted, partially. But then they thought that what Swāmī Mahārāja advised them, to come to decision and the committee is absolute. I could not accept that. When they came and told that I should support the decision of the committee, I told plainly that I’m not under your committee.
“No, no, no. We don’t think like that.”
Then I told that really, I’m not one with your committee, and not even am I wholly one with Swāmī Mahārāja. I have got my special consideration and conception about that. They wanted to know how. I told that my object is to go, though it is very difficult and vague, still I have got my aim towards mādhurya-rasa. As our Guru Mahārāja also gave me that hint, and in my writings also during his presence, or in Rāya Rāmānanda, and the Guru paramparā, and the mantra which he gets from the Guru, they’re leading towards mādhurya-rasa, it is clear. But at the same time it is not very cheap. It is very, very high. But still that is the aim. I have written it clearly in my own Sanskrit poetry devoted to Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. And that was very much appreciated by Guru Mahārāja. All my articles led to that – that the very acme of our attainment is Rādhā-dāsya, the differentiation of the rasas of the service of Kṛṣṇa. That is leading to that.
And Swāmī Mahārāja what he gave you all, that is general devotion, not so much about the above realisation. In this way everything, difference grew. And I asked those who came to me, then you consult together and form a party and go on in your own way. Charu Swāmī and others used to come. They tolerated that so much, in theory. But when practically it was done they formed another party who were not satisfied with the present ISKCON government. Independently to reach your goal, and I may help you with my understanding, my experience, I may help. I can’t tolerate much very big concern. I’m constitutionally unfit to mix myself with big affairs. So I may stand aloof, but you may combine and go on with your work as you can conceive, and with my experience I shall try to help you. In this way it has come to this present position.
Our friend, this Goswāmī Mahārāja [BSG], who had some appreciation of my talk about Mahāprabhu and these spiritual things. Charu Mahārāja went with some news to the west concerning me, but when he returned he told that Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja he has already begun. He has collected some tapes of the ISKCON during Swāmī Mahārāja’s appearance, collected and brought here. And so many gentlemen used to come to me and they asked so many questions and I used to answer them as I know. And they were taped and these things were pushed there somewhat independently by our Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Prabhu. I heard, I got the information from Charu Swāmī. And perhaps he, and Bhāvānanda Mahārāja, and another gentleman, went to deal with Haṁsadūta Mahārāja, to bring him in the peaceful connection with ISKCON. At that time __________ [?] told this.
And a little before, that Pradyumna Prabhu, he came to me with eighteen points of difference with the ISKCON. And I sent it to Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja. But he told that he’s very busy in his present propaganda. When he will come to Navadwīpa, during Gaura Pūrṇimā Utsav, the birthday of Mahāprabhu, he will meet me. But he came and went away, did not care to meet me.
Then those who were dejected, they were indifferent to ISKCON and went away. At that time also many came, and I asked them, wait and see, and you combine yourself and put a petition to the body. And if they do not care in any way then you can form a committee of your own. And according to your conscience you go on with the instructions you could understand from your Guru Mahārāja. You should not leave the mission altogether and go back to your private life, but remain in your spiritual life and try to continue with this propaganda, and of same conception. You persons of same, similar conception, you meet together and form a party and go on with it. That was my ______________ [?] Hare Kṛṣṇa. Gaura Hari bol. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Why did KDd remove all of the above from her “extracts” without providing any notice of this fact to the reader?
Was she hoping to rewrite or avoid the true history by excluding references to matters such as “Then, I was always considered to be a friend of that institution. Gradually difference came, because I could not give up my independent consideration about Mahāprabhu’s instructions, preachings. I have got my own mind. Gradually this difference grew.”? Absent her explanation we are left to wonder.
By KDd using the term “extracts” we are forewarned she is not presenting complete transcripts. That’s fine. And I am the last person to insist on the use of proper grammar (such as the use of points of ellipsis), as mine is very poor. However, when presenting major portions of a transcript, as she did, the reader should be alerted to the fact that parts, in this case substantial parts, are missing so as not to mislead the reader into believing she is presenting an uninterrupted chain of Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s talk and thoughts.
Swami B.K. Giri