Dear Sriman Uddharan dasa,
Please accept my humble dandavat pranamas.
Your kind words are deeply appreciated.
I never know how my words will be accepted when I write or speak them. Will they be taken as so much tripe, or will they carry some weight? Thus, I am always apprehensive when I give the words “Please post.”
I am constantly reminded of Srila Guru Maharaja’s words “At any moment I may become a madman.” If our Divine Master withdraws his grace then immediately we are reduced to the status of a crazy person who speaks only nonsense. I am keenly aware I have no property of my own. Anything weighty, beautiful, wise or intelligent is coming in the manner of a loan from Sri Gurudeva. As such, these things may be extended or withdrawn at any moment, depending upon His decision.
And yet, there is a necessity that we assert something, push whatever we have understood, or think we have understood, to be the teachings of our Divine Preceptors out into the stronghold of maya to help cut the ropes binding the conditioned souls to the world of misconception. It is a task for which we are not well suited, and yet we are compelled to try. Mahaprabhu has ordered us to do this. And doing it brings us under the spell of another type of delirium: “I feel that Kṛṣṇa is passing though Me to grace you.”
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: …from somewhere else, such abhimāna, such ego will appear. But ordinary, that is the negative; that [the ego “from somewhere else”] is ācārya-abhimāna. In my Guru Mahārāja’s, in Prabhupāda’s words, that is pralāpa. Pralāpa means delirium. This is like a delirious position. But a healthy position is that I have nothing, I am none. But some delirium will spring up when such opposition will come.
Mahāprabhu says He’s unknowing also: “Sanātana, I feel that Kṛṣṇa is passing though Me to grace you. What I say, this is My pralāpa. I’m talking, expressing delirium.
[CC Madhya 24.322
ei mata kahiluṅ eka ślokera vyākhyāna
vātulera pralāpa kari’ ke kare pramāṇa?
ei mata — in this way; kahiluṅ — I have spoken; eka — one; ślokera — of a verse; vyākhyāna — the explanation; vātulera pralāpa — the talking of a madman; kari’ — doing; ke kare pramāṇa — who will accept this as evidential proof.
“In this way, like a madman, I have explained the meaning of just one verse. I do not know who will take this as evidence.]
It is not known to Me. But at the same time I can feel from the inner-most of My heart that Kṛṣṇa is going to grace you through Me, though My advice, My words.
[CC Madhya 24.323
āmā-hena yebā keha ‘vātula’ haya
ei-dṛṣṭe bhāgavatera artha jānaya”
āmā-hena — exactly like Me; yebā — anyone who; keha — a person; vātula haya — becomes a madman; ei-dṛṣṭe — according to this process; bhāgavatera — of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; artha — import; jānaya — he can understand.
“If one becomes a madman like Me, he may also understand the meaning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by this process.”
CC Madhya 24.328
prabhu kahe, — “ye karite karibā tumi mana
kṛṣṇa sei sei tomā karābe sphuraṇa
prabhu kahe — Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said; ye — whatever; karite — to do; karibā tumi mana — you want; kṛṣṇa — Lord Kṛṣṇa; sei sei — that; tomā — to you; karābe sphuraṇa — will manifest.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “Whatever you want to do you will be able to do correctly by Lord Kṛṣṇa’s favor. He will manifest the real purport.
Sanātana Gosvāmī was a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. A pure devotee has no business other than serving Kṛṣṇa; consequently Kṛṣṇa is always ready to help him. This benediction was given by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to Sanātana Gosvāmī, who was authorized to write Vaiṣṇava smṛti. Sanātana Gosvāmī was a pure devotee of the Lord, and through the blessings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu he was able to write the book perfectly.]
So much I can feel, but I’m speaking in a delirium. I don’t understand all these things.”
Our Guru Mahārāja also told once, “This is my pralāpita vakra [wandering, delirious talking]. When I think that ‘I’m in a position, I can do this, that, I am something’, that is a concocted position, not a real one. Really, the Guru, ‘I am servant of all my disciples.’ That is the attitude of Guru, they’re servants. ‘You say a flower is being offered to the feet of the Lord, just as the flower we take on the head. So many living souls they have been offered by the process of dīkṣā to the Lord, and they’re all my Guru, my respected things. I can’t take them as holding a lower position.’ This is the real angle of vision of the Ācārya. ‘What I have offered to the Lord, to Kṛṣṇa, they’re things of my respect and worship.’”
I have something to give, I have nothing to give. Both thoughts teeter on the thin edge of madness.
When a respected devotee such as Your Grace expresses appreciation for something I have presented, then I can believe I have made a meaningful contribution to the preaching effort of our Divine Masters. I can believe that at least this one time Gurudeva has used me to express something of himself, extended something of himself to others, using me as his paper boy to stand on the street corner shouting “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Gaura Nityananda have come for us! They have come to dissipate the darkness of ignorance! They will take us to safety, to our eternal home! Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”
Steve Deace needs to read and carefully digest it if he can
I haven’t sent it to him. However, I intend to. And I will invite him to correct any errors I may have made in representing the Christian conception.
It is very difficult to abandon strongly held prejudices, even when logic and reason inform us we should. He has built a reputation, a career, a marriage and a family around his Christian beliefs. I don’t hold much hope he’ll move away from them any time soon. At the same time, I’m not hopeless either. He wants to be respected as an honest purveyor of the truth, and he believes he holds that position. He demands others live by reason and honest objective assessments of positions. We shall see if he is able to follow this line himself.
He is the only nationwide talk show host, columnist, etc. I know of to express his Christian beliefs and Christian doctrine as openly as he does. He is highly competent to do so by dint of being well read and trained in Christian thought and his ability to argue using strong logic. He is very confident of his positions, but so was Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, until he came up against the logic espoused by Sri Krishna Chaitanya. If Sarvabhauma, the well-established preceptor of a school of mayavada sannyasis can be moved from his position and converted to a follower of Sriman Mahaprabhu, then who is exempt from such movement?
Mr. Deace reminds me a great deal of myself in my former life. Perhaps that explains some of my empathy with him. Gurudeva’s mercy caught me, perhaps it will also catch him.
Regardless of the outcome, I have often wondered how accurate my dissenting arguments with Christianity were. I think Mr. Deace represents Christian thought reliably enough that his presentation of it is sufficiently substantial to justify our arguments against many of the misconceptions espoused by Christian preachers by tailoring them against his. He has also expressed an eagerness for such debate, although he has yet to take up my challenges.
During almost every one of his programs he says something widely believed by Christians that we should challenge. I enjoy the challenge and I think our devotees should be aware of the misconceptions of spiritual life, discipleship, God, etc. spread through the teachings of Christianity. I anticipate continuing the debate as a regular feature of our website. If the debate appears one-sided, Mr. Deace has only himself to blame, as I have repeatedly invited him to engage with me.
athato brahma jijnasa: “Now one should inquire about Brahman”
Yes. This is Mr. Deace’s problem. Having been “saved” he no longer seems interested in the inquiring process. What is the meaning of “saved”? It means having attained the position of siddha, perfection. Once one believes he has attained such a position, there would appear to be little reason to think he should go further. Thus, inquiry is halted, and we are reminded of Srila Sridhara Maharaja saying:
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Is Jesus stagnant or progressive? Where he has reached, is that finished forever, or is he dynamic?
Christian: Christians will say that he has full knowledge.
Sridhara Maharaja: So, is he stagnant there, finally fixed? Is that Jesus’ position? Do the bishops say that his position is final? Does he have a progressive life? Or is Jesus alone barred from making further progress? Is he a member of the dynamic world? Or the stagnant world?
—Search For Sri Krsna
Christian doctrine, as it is preached and practiced, encourages stagnation. Christians are very motivated to profess certainty of their salvation. They are considered weak if they do not. Then, as they conceive of the position of Jesus, they conceive of their position: fixed, static, with no need of improvement. They may not say such things, but they are implied by their words and behavior.
“Only the closed mind is certain.” They are very certain, and their minds are closed.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja has confirmed that our conception is very different. “Follow the truth, wherever it leads.” That is the way of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Full surrender. “All risk, no gain.”
The Vedic brahmanas would not risk inattention to their yajna. Their minds were closed to outside suggestion. They were certain of their position. So they turned away the cowherd boys who came to them begging some food for Krishna. Their wives, on the other hand, had minds that were fully open to follow the path of surrendering to Krishna’s desires. Ignoring the likely outcome, they risked everything, their reputation, the dissatisfaction of their husbands, and their own well-being to satisfy Krishna. They are our guiding light.
It is always very enlivening to hear from you.
I’m happy to hear things are going on there in an auspicious fashion and pray this finds you in continuing good health and spirits.
Swami B.K. Giri
On Feb 11, 2018, at 5:25 PM, Uddharan Dasa wrote:
Dandavats Sripada Giri Maharaja,
Article posted and what an amazing & inspired article it is.
Steve Deace needs to read and carefully digest it if he can and if he is truly a religious man with “fine theistic intelligence” he will immediately accept your Divine Grace as his Gurudeva and begin his journey back home, back to Godhead.
athato brahma jijnasa: “Now one should inquire about Brahman”
How fortunate he is that you have taken an interest in his preaching.
We are okay here in good old Blighty, going on as they say.
On 11 Feb 2018, at 15:13, Swami BK Giri wrote:
Dear Sriman Uddharan dasa Adhikari,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
Prabhu, will you please post the email I sent you on Feb. 8, beginning with “My dear friends,”?
I think the subject of the email, “History Recycled/Pride and Prejudice”, is also appropriate to serve as the title.
Please include the date of the email: 2/8/18.
On the day of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura’s appearance, and for some days surrounding it, I have been listening to Srila Prabhupada’s lecture of 2/15/71. Near the end he says:
So today, because we are following the footsteps of Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, so this is, today is his appearance day. So we should honor this tithi very respectfully and pray to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami that “We are engaged in your service. So give us strength, give us intelligence. And we are being guided by your servant.” So in this way we have to pray.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, SB 6.3.24 — February 15, 1971, Gorakhpur
The prayer he suggests is one, in essence, I invoke daily. Due to my personal failings I often feel embarrassed to continually repeat the same prayer which I apprehend will be received as an insincere supplication from one who will not utilize the “strength” and “intelligence” being sought, even if it is offered.
It is of some comfort, then, to hear these words of our Divine Master “So in this way we have to pray.” who, knowing very well our fallen condition, instructs us that we must pray in this way. This is the life of a practitioner. The skill we seek is not with us in our present state, although the ability to perfect it is. Through practice and coaching, practice and coaching, ever so gradually (for those like me), little by little the skill becomes almost perfect. Although never fully perfect, as is the case with our Divine Guardians, we can expect one day perfection enough that we will satisfy Them sufficiently to remain eternally under Their Divine shelter.
Your humble servant,
Swami B.K. Giri