Srila Sridhar Maharaja
We have removed the article originally appearing here entitled “Descent of the Holy Name” and replaced it with a chapter from the “Search for Sri Krishna”. in consideration of the following.
“The Descent of the Holy Name” article was originally published in Back to Godhead magazine in the 1970 Vol 1, No 33 edition published by ISKCON Press.
The article begins thusly:
The Descent of the Holy Name
by Achyutananda das Brahmachari
(ISKCON – India)
“B.R. Sridhara Maharaja sat on the roof of his quarters in Navadwip. The now very old sadhu was in a very contemplative mood, and to approach him in this state disturbed me. He motioned that I should sit in front of him, so I timidly went and sat down on a grass mat. There was no one to be seen anywhere. “There are many things to see from up here by which we can remember Caitanya,” His Holiness said. “This Ganges, this forest, the temples, His favorite tree, banana. What do you want?” “Can you explain how, if the name is a spiritual thing, how are we all chanting it?” I asked, feeling very foolish. After some silence he began to say, “Nitai Caitanya, Nitai Caitanya,” and then began:”
This introductory paragraph ending with “he began to say,… and then began:” clearly implies what will follow will be the words of Srila Sridhar Maharaja.
To convey the words of Srila Sridhar Maharaja in an article of this length, without ambiguity, would require that they be reproduced from a tape recording, accurate shorthand (such as that used by a court reporter) or perhaps a photographic memory.
The version of the article we had posted to this website did not come directly from “Back to Godhead”. It had been published on another website and identified as:
Transcribed by Acyutananda Das, Nabadwip 1976
Re typed from
Journal of Vaisnava Studies
Vol 2, No. 2/ Spring 1994
Publisher: Steven J. Rosen
Observing that the article had been “Transcribed” gave further weight to the assumption that it did indeed contain the true words of Srila Sridhar Maharaja.
I was, however, suspicious of the date, 1976, since Sriman Rshabhadev Dasa had told me on several occasions how much he was inspired listening to a tape of Srila Sridhar Maharaja’s discussion of “The Descent of the Holy Name” which contained the same content as the BTG article by that name. He used to listen to this tape while selling incense to help support the ISKCON, Dallas Temple which I knew he had left prior to 1975 to go to Los Angeles for service there.
Proceeding further, I found the article in question had actually appeared in BTG in 1970. We contacted the publisher of the website that had posted the article who had no explanation for how the date 1976 or “Transcribed” had become attached to it.
I then approached one of the editors of “Back To Godhead” to see if he had any knowledge of the origin of the article. He did not. He did help us to contact Satyaraja Das (legal name Steven Rosen) who we hoped might then be able to put us in touch directly with Acyutananda Das the original author.
We are still attempting to contact him. However, Satyaraja Das, publisher of “Journal of Vaisnava Studies” could not vouch for the exact origin of the article published in his journal.
Considering the unaccountable origin of the article, I took a fresh look at it with a more scrutinizing view. Some passages that seemed, in the past, a bit out of character for Srila Sridhar Maharaja now appeared glaringly uncharacteristic of his speech.
As such we have decided to withdraw the article unless and until we can be assured of its authenticity.
There is a long history connected to this article and a special significance attached to it as apparently being the first representation of an important concept of the Holy Name put forth by Srila Sridhar Maharaja to a Western audience.
Many persons have been inspired to undertake a deeper understanding of the fully transcendental nature of the Holy Name as a result of reading, or hearing, this article. It is not our intent to diminish these very positive and healthy outcomes nor the obvious desire of Acyutananda Prabhu to further our understanding through his presentation.
Although a very lowly servant of His Divine Grace Srila Sridhar Maharaja, I feel a duty to try as far as possible to present to our readers the most exacting representations of his exalted Krishna Conception. It is with this idea that I have made my determination to offer a substitution. Those still interested in reading the article in question will be able to find it elsewhere.
I am pleased to offer herewith “Service of the Holy Name” the Eleventh Chapter of “Search for Sri Krishna” which touches many of the same points as the previous article. Its origin, however, is well known to us. It is taken from tape recordings of Srila Sridhar Maharaja which were transcribed and then checked for correctness and edited, first by Sripad Goswami Maharaja and again later by Sripad Janardan Maharaja.
In addition, the basis for most of the content of this chapter can be heard from the original recording of Srila Sridhar Maharaja’s words. You can listen to the audio here:
Knowing that I too will fall short of the mark I invite our readers to not hesitate to point out our shortcomings so that we may always remain in a state of correction and development.
I apologize for any inconvenience or confusion which may have been caused by our actions.
With humble regards to our readers,
Swami BK Giri