05/06/98 - 1784
Sarasvat Gaudiya Vaisnava Association
India (VNN) - by Adinath das
I recently had the opportunity to see the third gathering of the
Sarasvat Gaudiya Vaisnava Association in Mayapur India.
Sripad Jayapataka Maharaj, self-appointed president of that organization,
had invited senior Gaudiya Math members from other missions to
attend the third function. If imitation is the most honest way
of flattery, I was impressed how ISKCON tried to put up a show
of open mindedness towards other Gaudiya Math missions.
Since five years ISKCON had been invited to send some member at
least to observe or participate in the functions of the Visva
Vaisnava Raj Sabha - World Vaisnava Association WVA-VVRS. ISKCON
ignored the existence of these meetings.
Then they started their own version of the World Vaisnava Association.
I observed with care all the details. Even though over one thousand
ISKCON devotees from all over the world were on the premises,
only some 5 to 10 attended the meeting. It was not announced and
the magazine published for the Sarasvat Gaudiya Vaisnava Association
was not available on any of the newsstands in ISKCON. ISKCONs
representative Sripad Jayapataka Maharaj arrived more then one
Sripad Jayadvaita Maharaj, Sripad Kavichandra Maharaj, Sripad
Guru Prasad Maharaj and some others came in and out of the meeting.
Many Gaudiya Acaryas and Sannyasies had come including Srila Nayananda
das Babaji Maharaj the disciple of Srila Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada
and his godbrother Srila Sagar Maharaj. Committees were formed
and different speeches were held. Finally a feast was served.
The Bhaktivedanta Charity Trust was holding this meeting to promote
unity amongst the followers of Srila Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada.
This is very good. It would really make a big change if Iskcon
would teach their members that they belong to a big family with
so many branches.
The attempt to find common rules of Vaisnava respect and behavior
was discussed. It was decided that some proposal has to be circulated
to all leading Acaryas and Vaisnava scholars for comment. Their
reply again has to be circulated to all leading members. Only
after that it would be possible to discuss some commonly accepted
rules if the majority agrees. It was pointed out that it was not
nice to write negative in publications against other preaching
Simultaneously to the meeting in front of the ISKCON Mandir the
Iskcon recruiting minister was selling magazines denouncing the
preaching of Srila Narayana Maharaj.
All in all, there seems to be a long way to go. But the first
step is half of the way - at least that is a Chinese proverb.
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