Dear Sriman Paramananda dasa,
Please accept my humble obeisances in remembrance of our trinity of Gurus.
I am pleased to inform you that all the Sridhara Maharaja transcripts you have sent us have been posted on our website as of about two weeks ago.
Immediately upon receiving them I began using them for my own research and found them to be extremely helpful. I often remember a few words exactly as I heard them from Srila Sridhara Maharaja that relate to some point I want to explore further. However, I would be at a complete loss to finding the full expression and the context without the help of the transcripts you have provided which allow me to do string searches to find the material I’m looking for.
As an example, only yesterday I was searching for the text related to these words I recalled hearing from His Divine Grace: “tank crushing the infantry.” That was sufficient to find the full context of the points he was making:
Bhakti Vijnana Bhāratī Mahārāja: Mahārāja, there’s one practical question. As in the case of Vijaya Tīrtha Mahārāja, we find that some of our God-brothers re-initiated his disciples, gave dīkṣā again, re-initiations took place. For example, Bhāvānanda Mahārāja, Svarūpa Dāmodara Maharaja, and Bhagavān Mahārāja, Rāmeśvara…
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: That may be done considering the acceptance of his Gurudeva. If a person goes through him, and goes through A.B.C or X, who may be accepted by his Gurudeva. With this internal understanding he may do that. “I shall take him to my Gurudeva.” But he feels, “No.” He’ll be satisfied if he goes through that disciple,” then he won’t go. But he thinks that, “If I take him to my Gurudeva he’ll gladly accept.” That should be the inner adjustment. “He was mishandling and I’m handling properly, so my Gurudeva was dissatisfied with me.”
Bhāratī Mahārāja: But the śiṣyas were not dissatisfied. They were preached to in a different way.
Śrīla Govinda Mahārāja: _________________________________ [?]
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Forcibly manipulated.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: Forcibly, yes.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: They will have to give explanation there.
Devotees: (Group laughter)
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: With this inner adjustment they will have to do that, whether He’s being satisfied with this work.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: It is very, very painful to the śiṣya and Guru.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Of course it is painful, it is very, very painful. Like cattle they’re dealing with the human sentiments, pure sentiments, like gos [cows] on the ship.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: Yes, cattle.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes, cattle. They’re being dealt with like cattle that belongs to the committee, not any sentiment between human heart. He’s being ignored, he’s being smashed, the connection from heart to heart, and from soul to soul. But by a tank, the tank is crushing this infantry. By tank crushing the infantry. It’s something like that.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: So now, personally, how do we relate to those persons who have done that?
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: He’s doing, in the consideration of humanity, and also a case of devotion, they’ll have to incur a very grave situation. It is not a play, to play with the hearts and playing with the sentiments of the people, like a military campaign. So I told, the dollar, diplomacy, and despotism, in the name of devotion, dedication, and divinity. It is going on like that. This is my conception. The play of dollar, and diplomacy, and despotism, in the name of devotion, dedication, and divinity. Three D’s, in the name of three D’s. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Devotees: ______________________________________________________ [?]
Devotee: In what cases a disciple can reject his own Guru? [Under what circumstances can a disciple reject his guru?]
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Who have got some sense, some appreciation about the fine feeling and sentiment of devotion, they cannot crush like it is a demonic, a demonic attempt. Ignoring for person’s soul, soul connection, they’re going to committee connection, the computer is taking the position of the human soft heart.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: So Mahārāja, these persons are our God-brothers, but personally I don’t feel any necessity in the future to even associate with them in any way.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: I think sincere men will not associate. That is a dangerous, heinous attempt in humanity. What to speak of in the religious world.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: For example, Bhakti Svarūpa Dāmodara Mahārāja will come here in a month or so to visit you, because he still thinks that he has done nothing wrong. He has re-initiated the disciples, some disciples, and he will come and visit you as if he has done nothing wrong. And when he sees…
Bhakti Svarūpa Dāmodara Mahārāja…
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: ______________________ [?] He came to me?
Bhāratī Mahārāja: He will come; soon he will come here.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Oh. He may come?
Bhāratī Mahārāja: Yes.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: He may come. But that is heinous.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: And he will act with us as if he has done nothing wrong. Then?
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: That may be his discretion, his realisation. But I differ fully from that.
I’m really, realistically I’m afraid to see their face, who are a party to that demonic activity. Heartless people. The other day by the order of Swāmī Mahārāja and that gentleman established a connection with them. And for some plea they’re rudely severing that connection of divine sentiment. And they will be dealt [with] like that.
Devotee: ____________________ [?] As you sow you shall reap.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Hmm. They have no appreciation of soft dealing. It seems to me that I told, that to crush the infantry with the help of the tank. Just as America threw atom bomb to the innocent people. The victory of machine over the humanity, human hearts, human feeling. Fight, direct fighting, that is, that may be accepted. Who has come to fight, fight with him. But innocent man they’re engaged here and there and they’re crushed by some machinery efficiency. There must be some reaction.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: America will get that reaction.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: They’ll see, they’ll say, that for greater benefit we are bound to do this sort of things for higher, greater benefit. But the qualitative judgement should be there. This human civilisation, at the cost of the vegetable and mineral and animal living, by force of their machine and scientific knowledge they’re robbing them, and their reaction must come. The law of karma won’t allow them to get scot free.
Devotee: Guru Mahārāja, in which case somebody can reject his Guru?
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: That is less objectionable, personal dealings. “I can’t put my faith on him for such and such reason.” It is a simple case.
guror apy avaliptasya, [kāryākāryam ajānataḥ
utpatha-prathipannasya, parityāgo vidhīyate]
[“A guru who is addicted to sensual pleasure and polluted by vice, who is ignorant and who has no power to discriminate between right and wrong, or who is not on the path of śuddha-bhakti must be abandoned.”] [Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, 179.25]
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Ah! A simple case. But forcible conversion like the Mohammedans, “There is a sword, and here is Koran. Accept Koran or be beheaded.”
tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
[“One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree, who gives due honour to others without desiring it for himself is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa.”]
This sort of maxim is being ridiculed and laughed at, by such attempt, in the name of future collective goodness. “There’s gangrene.” They’ll say, “There’s gangrene in the left hand, it must be cut off.” Cruelly. To cut off [that is] one thing; and then to chew that thing, that cut off limb to chew… and devour; what is that thing? Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: So now that we’re going to different parts…
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Cutting the limbs of Jayatīrtha, the Rāmeśvara and Bhagavān, no, they’re eating that meat.
Parvat Mahārāja: Bhāvānanda.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Bhāvānanda.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: All of them.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: They’re chewing and eating the meat of his limbs.
Parvat Mahārāja: Here he comes.
Bhāratī Mahārāja: He has just come in.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Who?
Parvat Mahārāja: Vijaya Tīrtha Mahārāja.
Devotees: No limbs. Limbless.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Govinda Mahārāja _____________ [?] Ha, ha, ha, ha. Extreme opinion. I am always for that. I am [a] notorious commentator.
Devotees: [Group laughter] Jaya!
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Acyutānanda and Narsing Kavirāja have remarked in my favour, that I am [a] severe commentator. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Gaura Hari bol. Gaura Hari bol. ____________ [?]
Now, hopefully, I will be able to remember “Extreme opinion. I am always for that. I am [a] notorious commentator.” and add it to my remembrance of “severe commentator”, “form breaker” and so forth.
Devotee: Whatever, what I’m saying is that devotees have a great reverence you. It was not that, only thing that they’re little bitter now is that some of the people who have some criticism against the movement.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Reverence formal. What sort of reverence they have got towards me, do you think? Formal or material? Substantial, spiritual.
Devotee: Well I think for your knowledge.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes.
Devotee: For your…
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: No, no. Reverence for me is in a formal way, I think. At least now they have proved like that. They’re more particular with formality, and formal help they want from me. But I’m not a man with formality. I more like spirit than form. Rather, I like to be a form breaker than form maker, if it is necessary for spiritual upliftment __________ [?]
Jayatīrtha Mahārāja: Yesterday they gave the report…
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: And it is there, sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bhagavad-gītā, 18.66]. what is that? What is the idea? Sarva-dharmān parityajya. And the highest goal, svajanam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā, bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 10.47.61] Are you acquainted with this śloka of Bhāgavatam which is said by Uddhava about the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, about their qualification? Are you acquainted with this śloka of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam?
Devotee: No. Kindly tell me.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: So you should be connected and we shall have connection with the highest idea we have got in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. Where to go? What is our destination? What for we have come to ISKCON? A general call Swāmī Mahārāja has given to so many, crushing the pride of the present scientific civilisation. But what for? What is our aim, highest aim? You must be conscious of that, what for you have come. You soldiers, you are allied to fight with māyā, but what for? What is your aim?
Devotee: I’m thirty four.
Devotees: No, what is your aim? Why have you come?
Devotee: My aim is to serve the spiritual master and spread this movement.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: What is the conception? There are so many conceptions, Christianity conception, Islam conception, this varṇāśrama conception, Buddhist conception, Śaṅkarācārya conception, so many. But what is Kṛṣṇa consciousness that Swāmī Mahārāja gave to you?
Devotee: Our thinking is that we do not know Kṛṣṇa. We have no qualification to know Kṛṣṇa, but we know Prabhupāda, Swāmī Mahārāja. And therefore we want to serve him.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Ah. That is ______ [?] thing. Why? What is your Prabhupāda? There are so many Prabhupādas in the world. What is the peculiarity of your Prabhupāda?
Devotee: He’s putting us at the feet of Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Then what is Kṛṣṇa? He did not preach about Him. He preached about Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: And what is that Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Devotee: Surrendering to Prabhupāda means preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: No, no.
Devotee: And to practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: He captured your mind through preaching through Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: And what did you find peculiar in Kṛṣṇa consciousness that you left your previous religious ideas and joined Swāmī Mahārāja? You took so much risk. What is that Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you must know that.
Devotee: Yes, yes, we know whatever Prabhupāda has taught us.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Not hazy, not taking the name of Prabhupāda. _________ [?]
Devotee: Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord, that is a vague word. One will say Allah is the Supreme Lord. Another will say Jesus is the Supreme Lord.
Devotee: So He has a name, form, pastimes, paraphernalia, and they are non-different from Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Then, yes, you are to know what is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Back to Godhead, what is that Godhead?
Devotee: We are being educated in our ISKCON society about that.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Ha, ha, ha.
I was present during this discussion. The man Guru Maharaja is speaking to was Yashomatinandana dasa from ISKCON. Guru Maharaja was putting his feet to the fire asking “What is Krishna consciousness, do you know?” (paraphrasing). Again and again he pressed him on this point but Yashomatinandana could not give a satisfactory answer. I sat quietly listening to the exchange barely able to keep from trying to help Yashomatinandana by offering a verse I thought might satisfy Srila Guru Maharaja. That verse was this one:
kṛṣṇa-tattva, bhakti-tattva, prema-tattva sāra
bhāva-tattva, rasa-tattva, līlā-tattva āra
kṛṣṇa-tattva — the truth of Kṛṣṇa; bhakti-tattva — the truth of devotional service; prema-tattva — the truth of ecstatic love of Godhead; sāra — the essence; bhāva-tattva — the emotional truth; rasa-tattva — the truth of transcendental mellows; līlā-tattva — the truth of the pastimes of the Lord; āra — also.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness means understanding the truth of Kṛṣṇa, the truth of devotional service, the truth of love of Godhead, the truth of emotional ecstasy, the truth of transcendental mellows and the truth of the pastimes of the Lord.
—CC Madhya 25.265
By the time Srila Guru Maharaja came to saying this:
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes, say something, but whatever you may say that will be superficial to me. That won’t reach to the depth of my knowledge and experience of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Whatever you will see, and what all of you will see, that won’t reach the depth of my knowledge about ISKCON, that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, what is, who is Kṛṣṇa. You are all primary students, I think you so.
I was glad I had kept silent, lest his remarks be directed at me also.
I later told Srila Govinda Maharaja about this and cited the verse (kṛṣṇa-tattva, bhakti-tattva… ) I thought would be a proper response to Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s question “What is Krishna consciousness?”. Whereas Yashomatinandana was unable to offer even the minimum answer Srila Sridhara Maharaja was looking for, I was surprised to hear Srila Govinda Maharaja reject my verse on the basis that it went to far, to another level above what Srila Guru Maharaja was looking for from Yashomatinandana dasa.
When dealing with those fully situated on the Absolute Platform of Krishna consciousness, we will always find ourselves to be inadequate. That is my experience. Sometimes they are satisfied and happy with the most simple offering or gesture delivered by a devotee. At other times even complex philosophical expositions may be ignored as if they bore no significance whatsoever (Digvijaya Pandit).
The Infinite is like nothing else within our experience. He may be at one moment fully present before us and the next moment fully disappeared. In all circumstances and at all times He is wonderful, mysterious and beautiful.
I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.
Swami B.K. Giri