Dear Sriman Nila Madhava dasa,
Please accept my blessings and well wishes.
I have received your last two emails and noted the contents.
Overall your questions that bore the appearance of sincerity interested me until you muddied the waters by proclaiming they are, in some sense, rhetorical (“In one sense my question to you was rhetorical.”). On the other hand, your “thoughts” (Thoughts on “The “Guruless Disciple”), opinions and manipulative tactics (“I want to make sure that my words are not misrepresented and nor would I want to misrepresent you or anyone else should I choose to publish correspondence.”) disinterest me and, in the latter case, are very unappealing.
In your email to me — Subject: Thoughts on “The “Guruless Disciple” — you did well at diagnosing a disease associated with ISKCON. And yet you don’t recognize it has infected you. Neither have you understood the cure.
Now you present me with this little gem:
While I do have so many faults, I don’t believe that one of them is that I would accept a fallen acharya as my guru who has engaged in illicit sexual activity, such as the one under discussion.
Really? Your mentality is that of one who has renounced his guru and is now in search of another. How is your situation better than that of one who has accepted “a fallen acharya” who is qualified except for the fact that he has left his sannyasa or engaged in what you termed “sexual misconduct”, which spans the range (as you originally introduced the phrase as a nondescript term) from sidelong glances to sexual intercourse? And yet you are so bold as to state your position thusly: “While I do have so many faults, I don’t believe that one of them is that I would accept a fallen acharya as my guru.” If you object saying I left out “who has engaged in illicit sexual activity”, then include it. But how do, or would you, know of “illicit sexual activity” on the part of a guru if it was never admitted to or come to be noticed?
Ramachandra Puri (Disciple of Madhavendra Puri) was apparently a sannyasi who was perfect in his renunciation. And yet his guru rejected him. Chota Hari dasa committed what Mahaprabhu pointed to as an unpardonable sin by begging rice from a lady with a view to enjoy her company. Mahaprabhu did not reject him. Rather He accepted Him as a member of His eternal servitors. Given these two as my choice of “potential gurus” I would feel no hesitation in choosing Chota Hari dasa while running away from the perfect sannyasi.
Who is “the” acharya? A case could easily be made it is Sri Adwaita Acharya who showed the form of a householder devotee. There are many such examples including Srila Bhakti Vinoda Thakura, one of the principal acharyas in our line.
It seems you are willing to admit to accepting a sub-standard guru, just not a fallen one, as if to say “My powers of spiritual perception are good, but not that good.” And for this you are very proud of yourself.
I find such thinking to miss the point. Devotees who have been blessed to get the connection of a pure devotee guru never think it is due to their superior spiritual power over those who connect with lesser gurus. They do not think they are more intelligent, more advanced, more qualified than others, or anything of the sort. They think “I have been blessed with the spiritual connection of a pure devotee. I have no qualification whatsoever. Therefore, this connection is entirely due to his causeless mercy upon me.”
I would appreciate it if you would publish the entire chain of our discussion so that people have the proper context. . . . I want to make sure that my words are not misrepresented
I am disinclined to accept your request at this time.
Your words were reproduced verbatim and in a typeface readily distinguishable from the ones used for my writing. Those reading my letter can easily distinguish your words from mine. What I wrote is quite obviously my opinion, understanding and, possibly, my interpretation of the meaning found in the text of your email to me.
While denying your petition that I post the entire email thread may appear, or actually be, unfair, intemperate unjust, etc., I do not feel obliged to respond in accord to your decision, the value of which comes at a heavy discount in the forum provided by our website. You knew that going in as this is clearly posted on our Contact page:
Whoever cannot accept my decision has no reason to contact me. If they have no faith in my opinion or decision, what purpose will be served by writing to me?—Swami B.K. Giri
It may help you to know that I see you as a newcomer, only marginally different from one who has never received initiation in the line of Krishna consciousness. The favorable margin is due to your guru being a disciple of a pure Vaishnava. Despite my differences with your guru, that fact does not go unnoticed, nor does Srila Prabhupada’s influence over him.
In light of my view of your position, it should not be difficult to understand why I am predisposed to be uninterested in your thoughts, opinions, etc. or to propagate them on our website.
If you have any non-rhetorical, sincere questions you wish to pose to me, please do so in a simple and direct fashion. I suggest you limit your questions to one per email as even one question often requires considerable discussion in order to clarify and touch upon the most relevant points.
I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.
Swami B.K. Giri
PS – Generally a sannyasi is addressed as Sripada, not Sriman.