From: Srila Giri Maharaja
To: Ranganatha dasa
Dear Sriman Ranganatha dasa,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
I don’t know if I can answer each of your questions to your satisfaction. Please be assured, however, that Sri Sri Guru and Krishna, residing within our hearts as caitya guru and as Paramatma are eternally with us and always ready to offer all help to the sincere seeker:
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
gurukrsnaprasade paya bhaktilatabija
(C.c. Madhya 19.151)
By the grace of Sri Krishna one gets the guidance of Sri Guru. And, by the grace of Sri Guru, one receives direction from Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna is our dearest friend:
jnatva mam santim rcchati
and promises that all those who serve Him exclusively will attain peace and relief from the troublesome misconceptions wrought of the material world.
Reading your article, I am confused about who is who; due to the sannyasis-basic-names. Maybe we should use something like; A.C. Swami Maharaja Prabhupada, shortcut letters to indicate the orignal initiation name?
I have tried to make everything clear. If there is any particular confusion, please let me know what it is and I will address it. Generally I assume a certain level of familiarity with the subjects I am writing about and that the reader will not have much difficulty understanding who I am referring to when quoting an author or speaker. Of course, there may be lapses where I have not been as clear as I should be. If you discover such lapses please let me know.
Were you in Navadwipa for the sannyasa initiation of Srila Govinda Maharaja?
Yes. I was there on that glorious and happy occasion. During the last ten or fifteen years of Srila Govinda Maharaja’s presence I made a point to always call him on the day we celebrated his taking sannyasa to express my feelings of gratitude, being one of the beneficiaries of this step towards his continuation of Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s Divine Dispensation of mercy to fallen souls such as myself. I also took the opportunity to remind him how much his acceptance of sannyasa pleased Srila Sridhara Maharaja who was, thereby, relieved and happy to know that his sampradaya would continue through Srila Govinda Maharaja without interruption, deviation or dilution.
Can you please instruct me, as to how I can render pleasing seva to the acarya-board?
In his Will, Srila Govinda Maharaja directed the six acharyas he named therein to form an Acharya Board. Although I repeatedly requested the other five acharyas he named to meet and form this Acharya Board, they refused to do it. Therefore, that Acharya Board does not exist. No other acharya board has any relevance to those directions of Srila Govinda Maharaja.
You should also know that our guru parampara is not comprised of any acharya board, nor would it be proper to pledge one’s allegiance to such a board. Our allegiance is to the individual acharyas in our parampara who are mercifully guiding us in our spiritual search for Sri Krishna. We have always been directed to serve a higher vaishnava, never an “ecclesiastical board” or “acharya board.” Thus, our parampara is known as a siksha guru parampara, not an acharya board parampara.
Too many of the sannyasis have now turned into strange personalties, making it difficult for me to find my way in life.
During the presence of our Divine Guardian there were also many “strange personalities.” In our gurus’ missions we may find non-devotees posing as devotees and we may also find very genuine devotees of different levels. During the presence of our gurudeva even the non-devotees may be engaged in some useful way to serve the mission of a higher vaishnava. After his disappearance, and in the void of his direct, personal and expert guidance, those prone to novelty or deviation may find ways to embark on their personal adventures that depart from the standards of sadhana bhakti that had been established by the guru. They may be expected to drag others with them also, as misery loves company. We should not allow ourselves to become bewildered by such episodes. We can avoid such bewilderment by carefully examining the instructions of our guru and, if possible, seeking guidance from devotees of a higher level than ourselves.
Now, at the age of 56, I desire nothing moe than simple shelter at the lotus feet of the CSM-gurus.
na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati:
We need society only to help us. If our affinity to the society keeps us down, then that should be given up, and we must march on. There is the absolute consideration and the relative consideration. When they come into clash, the relative must be given up, and the absolute should be accepted. If my inner voice, my spiritual conscience decides that this sort of company cannot really help me, then I will be under painful necessity to give them up, and to run towards my destination, wherever my spiritual conscience guides me. Any other course will be hypocrisy, and it will check my real progress. If we are sincere in our attempt, then no one in the world can check us or deceive us; we can only deceive ourselves (na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati). We must be true to our own selves, and true to the Supreme Lord. We must be sincere. — Srila B.R. Sridhara Maharaja, “Sri Guru and His Grace”
I pray this finds you in good health and spirits.
Swami B.K. Giri