Now we are sitting to find dissatisfaction in the existing administration. It is a process. And through this process, perhaps something will come out. We can’t avoid this, this is a necessary process. So, after Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura, that was also so. Through our complaint, our dissatisfaction, so many things came, and it was propagated and preached, in particular way. And that is the final reading of things.
That in the ultimate, ultimate decision is in His hand. And what is happening, that is all right, that is all all right. Still, according to our own realization we shall strain, don’t do this, but when done, that may be accepted, by the will of Krishna.
— Srila Sridhar Maharaja “Accepting the Inevitable from the Absolute Plane” (also 82.02.27.A)
The following email was modified slightly, at the request of the person I am responding to, who did not wish to be publicly identified or have his email published in this forum.
Please accept my humble obeisances in remembrance of our Divine Master.
So far I am batting 1,000 at not believing I can be offended by anyone, being too low on the scale of the evolution of jivas from the mire of the ocean of conditioned souls where I swim as one of the bottom feeders.
What disturbed me most about your conclusions, that have now come full circle to an apology, was not that I felt offended in the least by your comments, but that I would lose your goodwill. It is the goodwill of the devotees that sustains us, either directly or indirectly. Still, we cannot forget our highest duty is to serve the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva and must always try to stick closely to his service with the belief that satisfying him will ultimately bring the greatest satisfaction to all his servitors.
I have been criticized by many for my “mood” which has been said to be far away from the moods of Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Govinda Maharaja. But few persons seem to know anything about their moods when they felt their guru was being disrespected or disobeyed, or that his directions or teachings were being distorted or dismissed, or that his disciples were being deceived or misled.
Most of us have had enough opportunity to know these things but missed them due to a lack of diligence in studying their words very closely. It is for this reason that we became determined to release all of Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s and Srila Govinda Maharaja’s recordings that we have. Like Srila Prabhupada’s room conversations and letters to his disciples, these recordings reveal a much more developed depth of field in their views than can be found in their books alone. What is found in the books provides mostly a philosophy that forms the basis for a wide range of thinking and action that must take shape in a practical form.
We learn from our gurus, not only from prachara, but also achara. Not just their speaking, but also their actions. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura made this apparent by giving the title to his greatest English book Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts.” It is also mentioned directly about Srila Haridasa Thakura who was appreciated for the purity of both his achara and prachara.
Then there is the matter of friendship and peer pressure. Naturally we are influenced by our friends and associates to behave in a manner that pleases them or at least does not displease them, which might cause us to lose their friendship, or even their respect. That also has been covered by something Srila Govinda Maharaja told us when Srila Sridhara Maharaja had to choose between friendship and fealty to the teachings of Srila Saraswati Thakura:
“and if Vasudeva Prabhu not will change his mood, I shall not stay with him. That is, Mahaprabhu is, Mahaprabhu and Prabhupada [BSST], they are my worshipable, and Vasudeva Prabhu is worshipable friend. But, I cannot ignore Mahaprabhu and Prabhupada. For them I come out from my home, and taken sannyasa.” — Srila Govinda Maharaja “The Disappearance of Srila Saraswati Thakur (12/31/93)” @ 48:00
I know it is a big dilemma for our devotees. The big leaders who received much recognition from Srila Govinda Maharaja have taken one position and, as Goswami Maharaja makes clear, the little Giri Maharaja has taken a very different position. Apparently there is not enough muscle memory in our Mission to remember this was exactly the same argument the ISKCON leaders made regarding Srila Sridhara Maharaja. They saw him as a little man compared to them. What could he know, by comparison. They also saw him as little compared to Srila Prabhupada, Swami Maharaja. He may have some nice theories, but what does he know about the practical preaching field?
Actually, almost every argument made against me was used against Srila Sridhara Maharaja.
In the past our argument was simple: Srila Prabhupada told us to go to Srila Sridhara Maharaja, who he considered to be his own siksha guru, for guidance. We quickly came to find out that Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s teachings were perfectly compatible with those of Srila Prabhupada.
My arguments are similarly simple: follow Srila Govinda Maharaja’s Will, especially with respect to his directions as to who shall be the acharyas of his Mission and how they should conduct themselves and his Mission.
Those like myself, Sripadas Janardana Maharaja, Ashrama Maharaja and Goswami Maharaja who recognized the value in following Srila Prabhupada’s direction to go to Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s direction to put our faith in Srila Govinda Maharaja, should know better than anyone, that upon Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance, we should follow his directives, keeping our faith in him.
After that we may disagree on many things. I expected, at that time, we could live and let live, with each acharya autonomous in his own prabhu datta desha. With that freedom we could follow Srila Gurudeva’s directive given in his Will:
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.
Principally the six initiating acharyas named by Srila Govinda Maharaja would associate to “consult with one another regarding all spiritual matters.”
But, with the exception of myself, those that should have recognized the value in following Srila Gurudeva’s direction [the IAB], decided immediately upon his disappearance to deviate from it.
Gurudeva named six acharyas; they named one acharya. He intended there to be six initiating gurus; they decided there should be only one. He said anyone who could not follow this direction could initiate outside SCSM; they decided to make Goswami Maharaja an initiating acharya, within SCSM. He said only acharya Maharaja shall initiate in the SCS Maths in India; they decided Goswami Maharaja could also initiate there and were very happy to see him give sannyasa to Sripada Madhusudana Maharaja, using Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s veranda as the site for the initiation. Gurudeva said an Acharya Sabha shall be formed composed of the six initiating acharyas; they decided to keep the previously formed five member International Acharya Board instead, which included one member who was not named to be an initiating acharya and excluded two of the acharyas directly named by Srila Gurudeva.
Each one of the items mentioned directly above was a violation of Srila Govinda Maharaja’s Last Will and Testament.
My duty is to follow Srila Govinda Maharaja. That is also your duty, and the duty of each of his disciples. Because I am trying to follow him, I have been shunned, etc. by those who wish to ignore him, believing they know better.
These are the real bases of my disagreements with the other leaders. It has nothing to do with a personal vendetta on my part supposedly carried out against Goswami Maharaja over some very trivial matters. Nor do I hold any personal grudge against any of the others. If I had wanted to establish myself, as they have been accusing me, as the only SCSM acharya, I would not have insisted from the very beginning that each of them accept the post of acharya in the regions Srila Gurudeva selected for them.
I have decided that these days I should think for myself and only come to a conclusion after reading both sides of the arguments.
I cautiously admit to disliking the last two blogs of Goswami Maharaja, especially the current one (Giri Maharaja, acharya of misconception), which seems to me to be a needless attack for rather vague goals.
You may not know this, but I am about to embark on a six week preaching tour of England, Ukraine and Russia. It is very obvious Sripada Avadhuta Maharaja and Goswami Maharaja are deathly afraid that my preaching there will diminish their influence. They have taken every measure possible to dissuade anyone and everyone from taking part in our programs. Several times Avadhuta Maharaja has acknowledged that it is pointless for him to debate with me, because he cannot win. Most recently he even stated this publicly. If Goswami Maharaja, or any of the IAB could defeat the points I made above, that clearly show their deviation from properly executing Srila Gurudeva’s Will, they would have done so.
They cannot face my arguments directly. As a result, there is only one path left to them; to mischaracterize and misrepresent events in such a way as to make me appear to be something I am not. (BBA | “Srila Gurudev has accused you of being sahajiya.”)
The title of that article (a quote from BBA) says it all. What he’s referring to happened in 2003. However, Gurudeva did not accuse me of being a sahajiya. What he actually said, when I asked him in front of BBA, BSG, BPJ, Jamuna Priya Devi and others, was “[I did not say you are a sahajiya. I said] you are under the influence of a sahajiya.” He said this because I was giving attention (under the influence) to a disciple of mine who had previously taken initiation from a sahajiya guru in Vrndavana.
In 2004 when Gurudeva made the video in Soquel naming the acharyas he wanted to succeed him, I was named as one of them, just as I was again in 2008 and in his final Will of March 26, 2010.
To believe the statement of 2003 to be relevant in 2010, when Srila Gurudeva disappeared, means we are expected to believe Srila Gurudeva appointed a sahajiya to be an acharya of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Is that what we are supposed to believe?
In 2005 I reminded Srila Gurudeva of this statement of his from 2003. He told me “That cloud is completely cleared.” To me these things are all self-evident.
I accepted all of Srila Gurudeva’s appointments to mean that any previous indiscretions had already been taken into account and “all the clouds had been cleared.” Otherwise he would not have named the sannyasis he did to succeed him as acharyas of SCSM.
I have had some sense of dislike of you for a long time, yet this does not give me the right to offend you. As a result of the current atmosphere of disputes I find myself wandering away from our philosophy along with the many controversies that have arisen. However, I continue to believe in Sri Chaitanya Deva and the Divinity of my guru and his predecessors, along with Bhaktivedanta Swami. Don’t worry, I have no intention to leave the line of Sri Chaitanya.
Please try and not put too much stock in likes and dislikes. That is more the realm of sentiment. We should try to follow the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness “As It Is.” That’s all. Whoever is showing some substantive connection with that, we should believe to be a friend.
Dear Prabhu, don’t you be worried for any illusory environment. You must think that Srila Guru Maharaj is always with us, watching us, and taking care of us. It must be we will finally get a victorious service position by His divine mercy.
We are very fortunate, that is we are enlightened by Srila Guru Maharaj’s and Srila Swami Maharaj’s divine service life. After Sriman Mahaprabhu, this kind of wave of devotion has not come out until the time of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. That wave has been blown all over the world by Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj in order to successfully smash the illusory environment; and now the whole world is chanting “Hare Krishna.” By hook or by crook they established Krishna consciousness, but if we think how much obstruction came in their lifetime, we must forget our own sorrow and difficulties. Srila Dasa Goswami said that when you will be in a very much troubled position from your inner enemies—kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya—you chant loudly the name of your protector: the Vaishnavas. Pray to them for the protection of your spiritual divine life, and, if you are sincere, you must get help from them. Then I can only say, “Proceed, proceed, and proceed, and the foggy sky must timely leave your vision.” — Srila Govinda Maharaja, Divine Guidance
I pray this finds you well in health and spirits
Swami B.K. Giri