October 1, 1999 VNN4839 Comment on this story
We're Never Defeated...
BY TARUN KRSNA DAS
EDITORIAL, Oct 1 (VNN) Sri Sri Guru Gaurangau Jayatah
We're Never Defeated... (All in the Family)
Dear sannyasis, prabhus, matajis and didis, Please accept my humble dandavat pranams in remembrance of our divine masters. As the saying goes, "We're Never Defeated... Till We Blame Another."
Certain persons like to quote the now famous Rupanuga letter, using it as a kind of 'smoking gun' to prove we should all avoid Srila Sridhar Mhrj and all other Gaudiya Math vaisnavas as if they had some contagious deadly disease. We suggest you spin that advice 180 degrees, for nothing could be farther from the truth.
The truth is, we can fairly speak of the documented history between Srila Sridhardev and the GBC for 4 years only, between Gaur-purnima 1978, (the first time they went to him as a group for guidance) and Gaur-purnima 1982, March 5th to be exact, the LAST time they went to him to challenge him and his influence in and on ISKCON.
Post March 5, 1982, everything gets distorted because both the GBC and most ISKCON temple presidents had already gone against Pradyumna's paper, against Srila Sridhardev, against the ISKCON brahmans and sannyasis he initiated but then sent back to ISKCON to work under the GBC, etc. After Mar 5,1982, the GBC was back on their own track (some say back OFF track), sans senior counsel, deciding everything themselves.
All Srila Sridhardev's advice to the GBC and ISKCON members was for their benefit. Srila Sridhardev's instruction to "wear the uniform and it will tell you what to do" is correct and was/is also given by our Srila Prabhupad in a variety of ways. Many times our Prabhupad was criticized that: "These, your disciples are not fit to call themselves Vaisnavas or Krsna bhaktas. They are DRESSING LIKE VAISNAVAS BUT they don't behave like vaisnavas. So Svamiji, Prabhupadji, tell us, is your idea of Krsna Consciousness external or internal?"
How did Prabhupad respond?
He said it's both. He replied, "KC is both external and internal. The dhoti, kurta, tilak, kanthimala are all there to remind us of our position, our dedication, like police uniforms... But they, my students are also like patients in a hospital. You can't expect all the hospital patients to be perfectly healthy" Srila Prabhupad never authorized that those dressed as vaisnavas should become corrupt; neither did Srila Sridhardev. Neither declared them uttama either.
Actually KC is INTERNAL ONLY, as is stated throughout Bhagavad-gita (8.5,6; 9.34; 18.65) and all other Vedic scriptures. But in the beginning, the external things are there to help. However, as history has proven, the dhoti does not make the devotee.
Just like at the end of his life, Thakur Bhaktivinod was not bothering to dress. During his early life he wore very fancy clothes as can be seen in his many photographs, but toward the end of his stay on this planet his consciousness was so absorbed in Paravyom, Vrajadham, he had to employ his personal servant to cover his body if and when visitors arrived.
On May 18th, 1972, Lord Nrsimhadev's Jayanti Mahotsav, our Srila Prabhupad granted sannyas to 4 students, Satsvarup, Rupanuga, Balimardan, Hrdayananda.
In 1973, just 18 months after giving him sannyas in LA, New Dvarka, our Srila Prabhupad performed BaliMardan's wedding ceremony. And where? Again in LA, New Dvarka. The EXACT same place! The witnesses included Their Lordships Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai, Sri Sri Sri Baladev Subhadra Jagannath and Sri Sri Rukmini-Dvarkadhish. It's all on video for all to see! (Hare Krsna People, 1973 by Yadubara das and Visakha dd)
Question: are we going to blame our Srila Prabhupad for supporting and performing Bali's acceptance and then rejection of sannyas, in THAT order? Does 4 come before 2? And what was he and his chosen deputies doing just days, weeks and months before and after that 'authorized bonafide vivaha-yajna' which our Srila Prabhupad personally conducted? Do I have to mention what I myself saw with my own eyes plus give the gory details of what was going on at 439 Henry Street, Brooklyn at that time? Should I do that?
Or should we think that our Srila Prabhupad was trying to save his disciple and the whole temple from further calamity? Yet did it work? Was he saved from further calamity or was he marrying what turned out to be Calamity Jane in persona?
She swore to Prabhupad and all others present she was japanese and she had family connections to Toyota, Sony and a host of other hugh corporations. Turns out she was chinese and didn't even have a connection in the local rice market! Instead her connection to one 'evening market' was later discovered.
Prabhupad was right there! Why didn't he stop it? Why he could not foresee AND hindsee what was really going on?
Similarly, Srila Sridhardev always gave good advice to everyone who approached him, but some, many, twisted and turned his advice into something else. Ergo, the Bible warns: "Don't throw pearls to swine."
In his book 'Sri Chaitanya's Teachings', Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, everyone's siksa and sastra-guru, gives the definition of a sadhu and teaches us how to approach a sadhu. He says: "There are many who approach a sadhu with only half the story or some false story. They subsequently miss the benefit normally derived from sadhu-sanga."
Whenever we mention Ananta Vasudev we should recall that Srila Sridhardev left his company by 1938-9 and started Devananda Gaudiya Math with Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Mhrj in 1940. In 1941, leaving Kesava Mhrj in charge, he moved a bit further south along the Ganges' western bank to begin Sri Chaitanya Sarasvat Math.
However, in 1968, 30 yrs later, in a letter from Seattle ISKCON addressed to Devananda Gaudiya Math and Kesavji Gaudiya Math, to Trivikram Mhrj and Narayan Mhrj, our Srila Prabhupad mentions Ananta Vasudev in a favorable way! A FAVORABLE WAY! The letter is right there in our BBT Archives and has been reprinted many times!
In addition, Ananta Vasudev aka Bhaktiprasada Puri Mhrj is still listed historically as the Acharya of Sri Gaudiya Mission, headquartered at Bagh Bazar, Calcutta (including 32 Maths, half of the original 64 Maths) from 1937 till 1952. During those 15 yrs he initiated thousands of disciples. Thousands. One of his disciples, Krpa-sindhu Prabhu, now about 84 yrs old, connected our Prabhupad to Scindia and the Jaladuta.
And our Gaudiya-ISKCON family connection doesn't stop there! Krpa sindhu's son, Nitai, was initiated by Bhaktikevala Audulomi Mhrj, who was guru of that same (32-37 Maths expanded) Sri Gaudiya Mission from 1954 till 1983, 29 yrs! He also initiated thousands.
Audulomi Mhrj in turn happens to be the elder brother of our Srila Prabhupad's sannyas-guru, Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Mhrj. He, Nitai, at age 13-14, used to take our Prabhupad by the hand to Ayur Vedic doctors close to Grant Road Railway Station at 22 August Kranti Marg, near Nana Chowk, Bombay, Mumbai. So, my dear sannyasis, prabhus, matajis and didis, we're all connected. All in the Family. Who can deny?
The problem with biasly blaming others is this: if we criticize Srila Sridhardev for renouncing Ananta Vasudev in 1939, 2 years after Srila Sarasvati Thakur's tirobhav, we'll have to criticize our Srila Prabhupad 16 times as much, SIXTEEN TIMES MORE for his favorable mention of Ananta Vasudev 32 yrs, yes THIRTY-TWO YEARS after Srila Sarasvati Thakur's tirobhav! Are we ready to be THAT unbiased?
Finally, if that cited above wasn't enough, one of the last instructions Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur gave to all his sisyas was to "Do bhajan under the guidance of Vasudev." Don't even think... don't even imagine in our wildest dreams of faultfinding there.
We mustn't forget to correct our godbrother Satsvarup Mhrj for his error in Prabhupad-Lilamrta wherein he states that Krpa-sindhu is a Bhaktisiddhanta sisya.
No, not quite. He's an Ananta Vasudev sisya. Yes, that's right. An Ananta Vasudev aka Bhaktiprasada Puri Mhrj sisya helped our ISKCON Founder -Acharya Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupad come to the West to found ISKCON. Someday we'll learn to see the positive side in everything and everyone.
As far as Srila Sridhardev's reinstating Hamsaduta and Tamal, our Srila Prabhupad also reinstated so many. We title our Srila Prabhupad "ISKCON Founder-Acharya." He granted sannyas to 60 disciples whom he thought could do something positive given that honor. They were all ISKCON leaders. They were all part of that "ISKCON foundation dug by the founder-acharya." Within 25 yrs, 45 had/have given it up. Not given the material world up, given SANNYAS up, given renunciation of the material world up. Many of them even returned to less than honorable occupations. Who's to blame? Prabhupad or the individuals?
The Supreme Siddhanta is this:
'Isvarah Paramah Krsnah'
Supersubjective Suffix Thrice (h)(h)(h)
Although his one lifetime is millions of times longer than ours, Lord Brahma doesn't hesitate to speak the truth, as is, unfortunately, OUR custom. In his Brahma-samhita, he presents us with the Absolute Truth right up front, 1st verse, 1st line, first 3 words, copula understood. 'Isvarah Paramah Krsnah' "There's only one Supreme Controller: Krsna."
And that same Sri Krsna Bhagavan states in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), 'mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca' "From Me comes remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness." Whatever Krsna wanted Prabhupad or Sridhardev to remember, know or forget, that was between Him and them.
Dear gurubhai and gurubahen, as much as we may want to blame ISKCON's imperfections on Srila Sridhardev, we will have to blame our Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupad even MORE, much more, because our Prabhupad was advising us for 11 yrs, 1966-77 from INside ISKCON, INvolved, whereas Srila Sridhardev was advising us for only 4 yrs, 1978-82 from OUTside ISKCON, Aloof. Either way, we put ourselves in a precarious, unfounded, undesirable, unrecommendable position.
Regarding past mistakes, some bring up how certain devotees had connection to a Gopi-bhava club which Prabhupad disbanded, nipped in LA, New Dvarka, 1976.
That was 23 yrs ago. Should I dwell on that now? That doesn't interest me now in the slightest! I want to know what those devotees' conceptions are today, not yesteryear! Lord Balaram taught us when TO and when NOT to consider someone's past in his Romaharsan-lila.
Whether senior, junior or equal, we're all godbrothers and godsisters in a hugh multi-dimensional Gaudiya Vaisnav family. If open, if receptive, we can learn from one another unlimitedly in each and every instance.
And that next bit of truth may come from any side.
In 1997, for instance, I received what has come to be known as the 'Prabhupad Poisoning' tape from my godnephew, my gurubhai's sisya in Amsterdam.
Notwithstanding so much verifiable evidence, my godbrother, his gurudev just wrote a VNN article totally rejecting the idea that our gurudev, SP, could possibly have been poisoned. My gurubhai would not even listen to the evidence which his own sisya was and still is freely passing out to one and all! It's our beloved gurudev, Srila Prabhupad's voice, that's all.
His guru has refused and continues to refuse to listen to his own guru's, Srila Prabhupad's voice! Isn't this yet another obvious case in which the flexible sisya shows more advancement and common sense than his own rigid mentor?
In conclusion, before pointing the finger at any vaisnav, especially a time-tested and true senior, we should note 2 sayings by Srila Sridhardev:
1) That fault you find may be your own.
2) When you point one finger at someone else, you point 3 fingers at yourself.
Question: Doesn't that makes us at least 3 times as culpable?
Please do consider all these points above carefully and evenly. Good health, regards and best wishes to you all.
Your godbrother servant and friend, TKdas
Comment on this storyContact VNN about this storySend this story to a friendThis story URL: http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET9910/ET01-4839.html
NEWS DESK | EDITORIALS | TOP
Surf the Web on