During the last few months I have been contacted by a number of devotees from Russia, Ukraine and other parts of the world who are expressing great distress, concern and doubt with regard to what I call “SCSM IAB”, the portion of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math that is operating under the direction of present or past members of the International Acharya Board (long since rebranded as simply “Acharya Board”).
I have responded personally to these devotees and attempted to allay their doubts and fears, often referring to Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s use of: na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati, as in this example—
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 kalyan akrt kascid durgatim tata gacchati). We must be true to our own selves, and true to the Supreme Lord. We must be sincere.—Sri Guru and His Grace
One fear that is commonplace among these devotees is the fear of retaliation against them if it should become known that they are having discussions with me. I assume this is due to the warnings and prohibitions made in the IAB’s public issuance of a censure against me (See: “Censure” of Sripada B.K. Giri Maharaja) which was publicly posted by the IAB on July 20, 2011.
Of interest now are these portions of text from that censure:
“For the past year Sripad Giri Maharaj has conducted a disinformation campaign, publicly criticizing Srila Acharya Maharaj, and the Acharya Board, established by Srila Govinda Maharaj.”
. . .
“We must inform the devotees that Giri Maharaj is acting offensively, independently and without authority. We do not recognize him as a bonafide leader of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. We advise all faithful followers of Srila Govinda Maharaj to avoid his association, personally, or through email and the internet.”
It has now been more than five years since I was accused of conducting “a disinformation campaign.” During those five years I have made various attempts to discover what “disinformation” I was supposedly disseminating. I have yet to get a clear or honest answer to this question from any one of the past or present members of the IAB. On the contrary; the information I assume was being referred to as “disinformation” has since been directly confirmed as correct by Sripadas Goswami Maharaja (“BSG”) and Acharya Maharaja. In particular, Goswami Maharaja confirmed I was correct in my “publicly criticizing Srila Acharya Maharaj” (See: “ULTIMATUM | TO BN ACHARYA MAHARAJA”). And Acharya Maharaja, in his “Written Statement” of April 13, 2016, has reversed his former position and conceded that I was correct with respect to every major point I made regarding the six acharyas named by Srila Govinda Maharaja to succeed him. Apparently, he still refuses to accept the fact that Gurudeva ordered us to form an Acharya Sabha after his disappearance, as stated in his Last Will and Testament:
“An Acharya Board (Acharya Sabha) shall be formed, composed of initiating acharyas, to consult with one another regarding all spiritual matters and to give guidance to all Trust Boards.”
Instead Acharya Maharaja remains content with the renaming of the International Acharya Board (formed prior to Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance) to Acharya Board, so as to continue the hoax that the IAB is the Acharya Sabha (“composed of initiating acharyas”) referred to in Srila Gurudeva’s Will.
As to the next section of the censure, overlooking the childish accusations of my “acting offensively, independently and without authority”, Srila Gurudeva named me as a successor acharya; that is sufficient recognition for me. The IAB may recognize me as “a bonafide leader of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math”, or not. They are irrelevant except so far as they offer a counterpoint to Srila Govinda Maharaja’s preceptorial line. Therefore, what does it matter whether they consider me as a saint or a sinner?
The next point, “We advise all faithful followers of Srila Govinda Maharaj to avoid his association, personally, or through email and the internet.” is becoming “curiouser and curiouser.”
In the last couple of years I have been approached on numerous occasions by some of the very members of the IAB who agreed with the issuance of the censure. While Sripada Avadhuta Maharaja is warning devotees away from my dangerous and detrimental association, he has assumed a private and public position of communication with me. Several weeks ago Sripada Trivikrama Maharaja began the same by “Friending” me on my Facebook page. Why are they violating their own censure of me? Is there one standard for them and a different standard for everyone else? Have they recognized how wrong or foolish they were to issue the censure in the first place?
Whatever the cause of this about-face, it is obvious that the censure has become a farce, even to them. At any rate, these are supposed to be acharyas so, I suggest everyone follow their example:
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
By now, everyone should recognize that the censure was a foolish creation, is meaningless, and ignore it, as the “acharyas” are doing.
For anyone who feels discouraged, dejected or distressed about “the situation”, be it in Russia, Ukraine, Navadwipa or elsewhere, I offer you the same encouragement I offered to Sripada Trivikrama Maharaja more than four years ago when he was feeling he was at a crossroads and uncertain which direction to take. Unfortunately, he took the direction of the IAB and stopped contacting me altogether for about four years.
In the email below, I presented several quotations from Srila Sridhara Maharaja I thought to be relevant to his situation at that time. However, they are timeless and I think they will provide hope and nourishment to all those who will read them now.
I asked Trivikrama Maharaja in the email to tell me: Can you explain what “disinformation” they [IAB] are referring to?
I cannot understand what they mean by “disinformation campaign.” Can you explain what “disinformation” they are referring to? They would never address that with me directly.
He never answered the question. However, soon afterwards he “UnFriended” me on Facebook and was “inducted” into the IAB.
“At the Acharya Board meeting of Sri Gaura Purnima 2013 all happily agreed to induct Srila Trivikram Maharaj to the Board.”
Perhaps now, as a member, he has gained sufficient knowledge from the secret order of the IAB to answer the question and will finally oblige me by doing so. Or maybe not. Maybe we have to present them with the secret handshake before they will reveal the mysteries of their secret society to us.
We shall see.
Date: October 19, 2012
Subject: Elimination. And, acceptance.
Dear Sripada Trivikrama Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
In consideration of the situation you discussed with me on Tuesday, the 16nth., I thought you might find the information below to be of some help to you.
I have also been curious for a long time about one of the stated reasons for my censure by the International Acharya Board (“IAB”). In their letter of censure they wrote in the first sentence “For the past year Sripad Giri Maharaj has conducted a disinformation campaign, publicly criticizing Srila Acharya Maharaj, and the Acharya Board, established by Srila Govinda Maharaj.”
I have tried my utmost to present the truth based on facts and opinions supported by quotations from shastra and our preceptorial line. Whatever I have written I believe I have proved, or can prove. I am not bluffing anyone. To the best of my knowledge not a single important point I’ve made has ever been refuted by any member of the IAB, or anyone else.
Therefore, I cannot understand what they mean by “disinformation campaign.” Can you explain what “disinformation” they are referring to? They would never address that with me directly.
Maharaja, I think you know we have posted all the audio and video files available to us on our website. Altogether, more than 2,000. About half are Srila Sridhara Maharaja and half Srila Govinda Maharaja.
We have also posted as many transcripts of these talks as we could obtain. By Krishna’s grace some devotees are helping with the transcription work and we are regularly getting new transcripts, although they come a bit slowly due to the difficult work involved. We are also making corrections to previous transcripts.
You will find all available transcripts on our website scsmathglobal.com
To locate the talks and their transcripts go to our Homepage and follow this path: MEDIA/AUDIO. There you will see these choices:
This link will take you to the transcripts we have posted to date (but does not include many more that we have been correcting, as well as new one’s in the queue for posting)
Srila Sridhara Maharaja Media Archive. More than 900 files spanning the years 1973-1987!
Click To Enter The Media Archive
Due to the imperfections inherent in transcribing these talks I always suggest you also listen to the recording as well. Even better is to listen to the recording, using the transcript only to help where passages are difficult to hear or understand. Transcripts cannot properly portray the intonation, inflection, emphasis and flow of the speaker which are often vital in gathering his true intent.
There are many places in the transcripts where the wrong words seem to be used, in some instances this is true, others not. Here it is also helpful to listen directly to the recording.
I have found the transcripts most helpful in doing research. It is almost impossible to recall where, among 1,000 recordings, a particular phrase or explanation was given. The transcripts are a tool that help us locate these and then refer back to them on the recording, if need be.
In my opinion, all the important questions related to continuing SCSM after Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance, and especially questions regarding the acharyas and how they should conduct the Mission, have been answered by Srila Sridhara Maharaja and almost all of them were given by him between the years 1978 and 1982 with a little extension into 1983 and ’84.
He was speaking mostly to questions about ISKCON, so of course there are some differences. Some specific differences arise directly from a careful reading of the directions given by Srila Govinda Maharaja in his Will.
As I mentioned yesterday, a careful reading of Sri Guru and His Grace will offer sufficient insight to deal with almost all the relevant questions that have come to bear on us. Specific details for our guidance are delineated in Srila Gurudeva’s Will.
There is always some interest and need to explore finer and finer points on matters related to the above. For that our inquiry will lead us to a very broad range of instructions that include those of Srila Govinda Maharaja, Srila Swami Maharaja, and their books.
One who is keenly searching for such insight will find thousands upon thousands of references in the teachings of our Sri Guru Varga that serve to guide us on point after point.
But even without the ability to digest all these thousands upon thousands of instructions, there is one that will always lead us to the right conclusion, sooner or later; “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 kalyan akrt kascid durgatim tata gacchati). We must be true to our own selves, and true to the Supreme Lord. We must be sincere.
Disappearance of the Guru
Student: After the disappearance of the spiritual master, how should the disciples continue his mission?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: You must not neglect your conscience. You may go to fight as a soldier, to save your country, or your people, or your honor. Your environment does not depend on your whim. It may appear extremely perplexing, but you will have to face that. However complex the battlefield may be, as a soldier, you will have to fight. Otherwise you have no faith in your own cause.
There may be disturbances. Rather we say there should be, there may even be fighting amongst devotees, but we should not leave the preaching of Mahaprabhu, despite all differences. Disturbance must come, because our most beloved guru has withdrawn from amongst us. Such a great curse has been thrown on our heads; should we like to live peacefully? In its wake, disturbances must come, and we must undergo them. Still, we must remain sincere; we must face the difficulty in a proper way. It has come to train us to go in the right direction.
What we received from our spiritual master we understood only in a rough estimation. Now, things have come in such a way that we have to scrutinize ourselves in every position. We have to analyze ourselves. Atma-niksepa [samiksha], self-analysis has begun. We are under trial. What we received from our spiritual master, in what way have we received it? Properly, or only showingly? The time has come to purify us, to test whether we are real students, real disciples, or his disciples only in face and confession. What is the position of a real disciple? If we live in the society, what is the depth of our creed? In what attitude have we accepted his teachings? How deep-rooted is it within us? The fire has come to test whether we can stand. Is our acceptance real? Or is it a sham, an imitation? This fire will prove that.— Sri Guru and His Grace
Further elaboration may be found in chapter FIVE, “God Consciousness vs. Society Consciousness”
I think you are a man of good conscience and that good conscience and your sincerity will guide you through the difficult times you are experiencing.
@17:15 Bhargava dasa asks, “Is it offensive for me to think that my Guru Maharaja has made some miscalculation by putting such unqualified people in position of authority? Is it offensive thinking?”
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- Of course.
Bharghave: Then how should I see it?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- Generally, at first, you will try to cooperate. And when you find clearly, that clash, their treatment, clash with the direct teachings of Swami Maharaja, then to save yourself, you will disconnect with them and abide by your own function, sincere spiritual conscience. That is my conception and my experience in my long life after the departure of our Guru Maharaja. So I am told that I am breaker of the form ????? I cannot deceive myself.
What conscience brought me to Swami Maharaja, if that is sincere, I cannot neglect that.
I know there are always two sides in any disagreement and during our talk Tuesday I heard your side of some of the difficulties you face with the IAB & its members.
It is unfortunate that I will not get to hear their side. I don’t say this because I don’t believe you, I have every reason to believe you. There are two reasons for me saying it is unfortunate I will not get to hear their side. The first is that it was Srila Gurudeva’s direction to us that the six acharyas he named should meet together for the very purpose of having such discussions and settling various matters through such discussion. The second reason is that I am always a little uncomfortable drawing conclusions about situations where only one party is represented.
On the fortunate side of this analysis, Srila Guru Maharaja showed by his example how we could deal with such a situation.
After taking sannyasa, a number of us were looking to him for direction in dealing with ISKCON and its GBC. The GBC chose to oust Guru Maharaja and completely disassociate themselves and ISKCON from him. In his words “They are driving me out of ISKCON.”
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- They told Jayatirtha Maharaja. Jayatirtah Maharaja has been told by the GBC board that unless he gives up his connection with your Grace and hearing your tapes, and any connection, then he will be ousted.
And those who have taken sannyasa from your Grace, they must give up their sannyasa and they may apply again from other gurus of ISKCON.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- They are strict to the extreme?
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- To the extreme.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- Yes. That shows their weakness. Such, such absolute power is not a good sign for them.
There are thousands of men on that side, and you are few, five, six or ten, twenty five, and they are so much afraid of you. Only the spirit of conquering, no attitude of give and take of learning, that we may have to learn something yet. They have finished their learning and they are ready only to distribute their own hoarded wealth.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- And our Bharati Maharaja? Special case.
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- He hasn’t come back. He’s not returned.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- But he should also disconnect.
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- Yes, must.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- Otherwise, no room there?
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- And also Kanan Giri Maharaja.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- Eh?
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- Kanan Giri Maharaja also is there.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- He’s there?
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- They must disconnect.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- Either, either accept them or reject [me], no middle policy?
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- Black or white, yeah. Eventually it was to come.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- In one sense it is good.
Completely separate. [Bengali] Bas [finished], clear cut. Independence. Complete independence.
Bengali with Govinda Maharaja.
ISKCON does not belong to their committee, but ISKCON ultimately belongs to Swami Maharaja. That represents Swami Maharaja, in my consideration. I look to ISKCON with that light.
We were in a quandary. On one side was the GBC, all senior Godbrothers and gurus selected by Srila Swami Maharaja to see that his Mission continues after his disappearance. I was very junior to them, as you feel yourself to be with some of us. We were also members of that Mission that had been founded by our guru. We could not easily discount the fact that our guru had hand picked the leaders and gurus that would take all the responsibilities after him.
…I must be sincere, I must search myself exhaustively whether my conscience is clear, impartial and motiveless, no ulterior motive when I am going to judge a man whether he is fit or unfit, who the other day my Guru Maharaja recommended to be fit, approximately.
The whole burden will fall to my head. The searching must be bonafide one and sincere. The risk is there because there is some authority coming down from above and I am going to challenge. So, am I in that position, getting some backing, some transcendental divine backing, divine push? Do I feel within me?
Ideal is alright, ideal is alright but the application should be very careful, for in the back, the recommendation of my gurudeva is there. And wholesale, one or two may be eliminated, but the whole thing is rotten within two, three years, it is a very brave vision. So, one must be sure of his own platform, where he stands, stands, whether it is a real one.
It is a very bold action. If it is real, it is very laudable and it is extremely necessary for the welfare of the world _____________?? this is the important, there is no question about that. The purification, it is also a duty on me, the purification of the teachings of my Lord. No adulteration should enter there. To see that, it is also my duty as I am one of the meanest servants of my Lord. It is, the responsibility, it is also on me. That, like a dog, I must bark that the danger is ahead. It is my duty, inherent duty.
But still, I must be doubly sure, triply sure, that whom I am going to eliminate, is he really to be eliminated, a very risky campaign.
On the other side was Srila Sridhara Maharaja and our relationship with him. I think we all hoped and expected, as I did, that both relationships would continue.
But now a choice had to be made.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- Either, either accept them or reject [me], no middle policy?
Spd. Akshayananda Mhj.- Black or white, yeah. Eventually it was to come.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja- In one sense it is good.
So we were looking to Srila Guru Maharaja to help us make that choice.
Again and again, however, he was very reluctant to give any clear instruction to us. There were also two sides for him to consider.
On the one side was ISKCON, a great preaching movement founded by his very dear friend:
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: In this verse, Raghunatha Dasa Goswami gives the real acquaintance of what is ISKCON (nama-srestham manum api saciputram atra svarupam). ISKCON must not deviate from this line. We have not come here to deceive ourselves, but to fulfill ourselves. ISKCON will fulfill everyone’s inner demand, even extending to the vegetables and stones, taking them to the feet of Mahaprabhu and the goswamis. From village to village, everyone, in every place, should be hunted and approached, “Take the name of Krsna! Come under the flag of Mahaprabhu!” This grand worldwide mission will thrive like anything; it will touch the heavens and cover the Earth, and other planets also. That was the aim of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and we understand and appreciate that.— Sri Guru and His Grace
Srila Sridhara Maharaja had tremendous affection and respect for Srila Swami Maharaja and had promised, like a Godfather, to look after us, his spiritual children, after his departure:
He himself told me, Swami Maharaja, that, “I have taken them from a country where no question of any food restriction, or consideration of purity or impurity of food, nothing of the kind, and also that of practice.” So from that we have come then to you all. “So much I have done and you must give attention to them properly. You must not be unmindful to them.” Because he told me that, I can’t deny. Not only once, but several times he repeated this to me, that “I have done so much and you must be sympathetic to them…”— 81.08.18-19
These were the two sides for his consideration, keep peaceful relations with the great preaching Mission ISKCON, or create a great disturbance with it by giving shelter and nourishment to Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. You already know what he decided to do, and the result.
In the course of so many discussions with us, Srila Sridhara Maharaja heard our side, our complaints against the GBC, but pleaded their side. The reason? Because there was no one present from their side to argue in their favor.
At some point, however, Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s own vision of the circumstances became fixed and he no longer felt the need to hear the side of the GBC. In addressing someone from ISKCON, who was accusing him of supporting our version of the disagreement, by which he thought we were unfairly trying to manipulate the opinion of Srila Guru Maharaja, he replied:
“I have my own eyes to see. I am not supposed to see things through your eyes.” (paraphrasing)
In a similar way, I already have a great deal of familiarity with the positions and actions of the IAB and have my own eyes by which I see the situation. Through that vision I see they are dealing with you in a very bad way. I know very well how willing and capable they are of such shameful dealings, and therefore I offer you all encouragement and support in completely ignoring them and proceeding in accordance with your own internal understanding of Srila Gurudeva’s expectations for you.
I would also like to say some things to you about the IAB’s decision to eliminate me “as a bonafide leader of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math”, but I will address that more at a later time.
Your primary interest will be for your own “self preservation”. And it seems the time has come, or is approaching, for you to decide according to your own conscience who should be eliminated, me, or the IAB, and your own elimination hangs in the balance.
If we are sincere and genuine servants of His Divine Grace, Srila Govinda Maharaja, then we may pose the same question about SCSM that Srila Sridhara Maharaja posed about ISKCON:
They are driving me out of ISKCON. Let us see who is driven out, from ISKCON. Wait and see.
If I can be of any service to your Holiness, you should know I feel myself to be the meanest servant of the devotees and followers of our Sri Guru Varga and I am always at your service.
I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.