Dear Sriman Uddhava dasa,
My dandavat pranamas to you.
You have identified yourself as “Uddhava das.” One of Srila Saraswati Thakura’s first questions to one who had come before him to make some point was this: “Who is your guru?” That is my question to you.
In your most current email to me you mentioned “another senior SCSMath sanyassi” as one who represents your reply to my email to you dated 4/23/18 (which I posted on our website) but you have not referred to him by name. Rather, you have obviously taken steps to hide his name from me. Why?
In your initial email to me of 4/22/18 you wrote the following:
I’d like to investigate to find which GBC members pushed to stop this nice arrangement. . . . The paper will be hosted on a site made specifically for this information so that it’s available as truth for one and all
You asked me to help you identify the “GBC members” subject to your investigation so that you could make their identities known publicly on “a site made specifically” for that purpose. You considered this “information” and the identities associated with it to be of such great importance that you want it to be “available as truth for one and all.”
Agreeing with your premise, I tried to help you.
After doing so, you suddenly reversed course and took me to task for posting my email to you on our website which is, like the one you proposed to create, dedicated to making information “available as truth for one and all.”
Like you, with respect to your “site”, I consider the identities of those connected with the information being posted on our website to be relevant to its content.
Why is it that on the one hand you believe identities are an essential element in understanding the “truth” about spiritual subjects (as I do) and want to expose to the public the identities of those connected with various philosophies, ideas and relationships (“information”); yet on the other, as one professing the good of such a policy, you accuse me of being “untrustworthy” for doing so when the policy might be applied to you? To that point you wrote:
Just as those GBC members proved themselves untrustworthy, so too has BK Giri Maharaj. You even have direct experience as he has published your enquiry without your consent or even informing you that he has done so.
Even a casual reading of the above, along with reading my actual post related to you, should be sufficient to comprehend that I did not publish “your enquiry without your consent or even informing you.” What I posted was my response to “your enquiry”, not “your enquiry.”
Enquiries are made in the form of questions. I did not post any question from you. But if I had, I would think you should have welcomed it, based on your interest to provide “truth for one and all.”
Going a step further in the reversal of your policy to provide identities and “information so that it’s available as truth for one and all” you even hid from me the identity of the one you believe to be representing certain truths so completely that you have accepted them as your own (thus you wrote to me: “You can take his [“another senior SCSMath sanyassi”] words as my reply”). Why do you not glorify your champion of truth by shining the spotlight on him? Why do you, instead, hide his identity behind a dark shroud of secrecy?
Let’s see if Maharaj posts this and what his response would be.
If the “another senior SCSMath sanyassi” you attribute the above caption to will write to me directly (so I can verify his identity), supplying a copy (unabridged) of his email to you along with his request I post it, I will certainly do so. I have always welcomed rebuttals and corrections to the posts on our website by those who disagree with them. Let us hope the anonymous sannyasi does send me his letter so that we may all have the benefit of his full response and, perhaps, mine to his.
Because you have indicated an interest that I notify you when I post my emails to you, please consider this as your notice I intend to do so. And, so that my position regarding communications with me is perfectly clear to you, please note the following:
I do not require your consent to post an email I have written, nor am I required to inform you I have done so. The same standard applies to you regarding emails you have written to me; i.e., you do not need my consent to post emails written by you to me, nor are you required to inform me in advance of doing so.
Anyone who knows me at all knows, or should know, the following (from the “Contact” page on our website):
“I don’t want to do anything secretly. Secrecy. Secrecy means conspiracy.”—Swami B.R. Sridhara
Discussions with devotees should be frank and open. Excepting a prior arrangement, anyone contacting me via our website “Contact” form should expect their questions or comments may be posted on our website along with their name. Exceptions due to special circumstances will be decided by me, at my sole discretion. 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
And, from a post I made just one month ago:
Be it known to all people: the policy below [now directly above]—“Confidentiality”—regarding our website applies to all communications with me, Swami B.K. Giri.
I am a sannyasi. My dealings with others are open to public scrutiny. As a result, others’ dealings with me may face the same scrutiny. Every written communication I receive is shared with others; either devotees in our mission or as posts on our website, or both. All communications with me of any kind may be shared in a similar way. This is the example I have seen in the person of our gurus.
. . .
We are practitioners, students. We should not feel so much ashamed of our names or conceptions about Krishna consciousness that we stifle our progress by avoiding the use of our names or exposing our thinking openly to correction and development, although that proclivity is a natural one.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- “What I am within me, the people will know, and they will abuse me. But what I am, if I need to be abused, it will be well and good. Any offenses will be purged out.”—82.02.25.E @ 31:45
This is our process. How will “the people” know what I am within me if I hide it from them or hide my name behind a screen of anonymity?
Due to living since time immemorial with an overpowering false ego, ours is not an easy process to undergo. We did not come for an easy process. We came for an effective process. We have no alternative, then, but to sacrifice our ego on the altar of progress. This is a discipline we must accept and welcome. Otherwise, there is no advancement.
Posted on March 24, 2018
As a check against abuse of the above policies we have provided a “Leave a Reply” field to offer the chance for rebuttal or additional comments to every post. In my opinion these are reasonable measures. I don’t say ours is a perfect system and am aware that, like you, sometimes objections are raised to it. Nothing in this mundane world is perfect. But we have set our sights on living in a spiritual environment and are trying our best to reproduce that environment within a small group of sincere seekers who are of a similar mind. That environment, as I understand it, demands more openness than its mundane counterpart where “Secrecy means conspiracy.” and the purpose of secrecy is to provide a shroud behind which one may hide while exploiting others.
In the material world it is generally considered improper, perhaps even illegal, to open and read mail addressed to another person. Srila Sridhara Maharaja rejected those policies with relation to mail that was delivered to his Math. He directed all mail received at the Math to be brought to him. He would then open and read (or have it opened and read by others to him) this mail, regardless of who it was addressed to, and then decide how it should be dealt with. This is one small example of the difference between living in material consciousness and Krishna consciousness.
I offer the below, from one of my recent emails, for your further consideration:
If people are too much ashamed or embarrassed to ask their questions of me in a public forum and have me respond to them in the same manner, maybe the questions should not be asked.
When Arjuna’s questions were put to Krishna, and He answered them, did Vyasadeva give prior notice and get consent from them before posting them in his Mahabharata for millions upon millions of people to hear and read for thousands of years into the future? How about the questions by Parikit Maharaja to Shukadeva Goswami, the rshis (headed by Shaunaka) to Suta Goswami and the questions by His followers to Sriman Mahaprabhu? Did Krishna Dasa Kaviraja get permission from Ramananda Raya and Sriman Mahapabhu before publishing their very private, confidential and intimate talks? Did he notify them he intended to write down their confidential talks so that they could be widely distributed in the future in the form of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta?
If the answer is “Yes” to any of the above questions, I don’t recall reading it along with the texts of the discussions or as a preface to them.
Before dhṛtarāṣṭra uvāca: dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre, samavetā yuyutsavaḥ… ; oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya and vande gurūn īśa-bhaktān, īśam īśāvatārakān were the authors of the text to follow supposed to first present a compendium of consent forms signed by all those about to be named and quoted in the text to follow?
What about all the persons who spoke with our Srila Prabhupada, Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Govinda Maharaja? Are the words of our spiritual masters supposed to be redacted each time they mention the name of someone to whom they are speaking or repeating the question asked by them?
Spiritual questions and answers are very different from their mundane counterparts. I am amazed by how many persons want to bring such questions and answers down to the mundane level.
I assume the questions that come to me are in regard to spiritual subject matter. I respond to them as well as I can in the same way I have observed our guru varga to do.
Now that I have shown how to correct your error pertaining to me being “untrustworthy” for publishing “your enquiry without your consent or even informing you” when it is obvious I did not publish your enquiry, will you correct your error and demand your secret sannyasi do the same?
Furthermore, based on my above stated public policies, will you admit, and demand your secret sannyasi admit, that you should not have accused me of being “untrustworthy” even if I had published your enquiry, since doing so would only prove I had acted exactly as I said I would do in conformity with those public policies of mine stated above beginning with the words “Confidentiality—” and “Be it known to all people:”?
I look forward to receiving your response as well as that of the shrouded in secrecy sannyasi your referred to.
I pray this finds you well in all respects.
Swami B.K. Giri