Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj Did Meet Srila B.V. Narayan Maharaj
by Giridhari Das
Dear Rasikananda Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. Sri Guru-Gaurangau jayatah !
It is an irrefutable fact that Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj met Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj, when His Divine Grace stayed in Jagannath Puri in the house of Singhania. The dates I have presented might be incorrect (1994 or 1995 ?), but these are really external considerations. I think it is more important, at least to my understanding, how these two acaryas dealt with each other and what they spoke. For this reason I have interviewed an eyewitness, Sriman Subal Sakha Prabhu, a senior disciple of Srila Bhaktivedanta Vaman Maharaj who serves in Keshavji Gaudiya Math Mathura, during Srila Gurudeva's preaching tour in Holland this summer. About one dozen Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja's disciples were present at that time. Sriman Govinda Bhakta Prabhu, temple president of Gour Govinda Gaudiya Math, Birmingham, taped this gosthi.
As far as I can remember Subal Sakha Prabhu mentioned that a brahmacari-disciple of Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj was also present there, but he couldn't recall his name. The conversation between these two acaryas was in Hindi and lasted nearly an hour. If you want to know more, why don't you consult Subal Sakha prabhu? I forgot to say, however, that this meeting was gupta, secret, as the GBC forbade Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj to closely associate with Vaisnava acaryas outside of GBC-ruled ISKCON. So, it is no wonder that you haven't found any written records of that meeting. If the GBC knew about it, they would have pressurized him even more. Anyhow, prior to being banned from GBC-ISKCON he left that kanistha-institution for good. And so have many faithful disciples of His Divine Grace, in order to join ISKCON as it is. The GBC could never accept Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja's teachings on jiva-tattva, guru-tattva, rasa-tattva etc. You can imagine how the GBC was upset when they read following words by Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja in Krishna-Kathamrta:
"In Ujjvala-nilamani, our authority, Rupa Gosvami, who is known as the rasa-acarya, gives the definition of prema...Prabhupad has said it in one line, but it has a very deep purport to it. Rupa Gosvami has explained it in Ujjvala-nilamani, but unless you understand that, how can you understand Prabhupad ? "Oh, Prabhupada's books are there, I will just read them and understand it." But how can you understand these points ? No, Prabhupad gave a very short purport here, but so many things are there."
(lecture on Bhagavad-gita, June 1, 1993)
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaja preaches these same tattvas, and is also heavily criticized by the GBC. Rasikananda prabhu, you will surely understand that many of your god-brothers and god-sisters don't want to be part of an institution governed by a Guru-aparadhi GBC. The main motive, however, why many of Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja's initiated disciples and aspirant disciples are taking siksa and diksa from Srila Narayan Maharaj is, that they are confident that their bhakti-lata will grow under his expert guidance. After all, sadhu-sanga is the birth-place of bhakti. There is no doubt that Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj regarded Srila Narayan Maharaj as an elevated Vaisnava acarya. He is certainly happy that Srila Gurudeva takes care of his sisyas. Otherwise what hope is there that our bhakti will grow without sadhu-sanga? I request you to read the VNN article of Aug 8 again like a sara-grahi (one who takes the essence), and not like a bhara-grahi (one who gives only importance to external considerations).
Some further observations inspired by interesting comments to your letter in "VNN forum":
The statements which Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj made about not leaving ISKCON were made in 1992 and 1994. At that time the GBCs have been more or less free to worship Srila Narayan Maharaj as their siksa-guru. In the book Sri Navadvip-dham parikrama published by Gaudiya Vaisnava Press there is a picture which shows Srila Narayan Maharaj giving a lecture in a packed temple hall of the ISKCON Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir. That was in 1993. However, at the annual GBC meeting at 1995, when it became an official ISKCON mandate that the members were to no longer associate with Srila Narayan Maharaja, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj did not approve of this and said that he would challenge the GBC to a debate on this issue.
Unfortunately, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj left this planet prior to the annual GBC meeting in 1996. After that meeting the GBC passed the infamous resolutions against Srila Narayan Maharaj, calling him a sahajiya who should be avoided. This paper was then sent to all ISKCON centers. I am confident that Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja with his bold and uncompromising nature would have strongly opposed this superlative vaisnava-aparadha. But again, he himself was about to be banned from GBC ISKCON.
So, it is significant to note the contrast of Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja's feelings on the "Don't leave ISKCON-matter" before the 1995 meeting and after.
The GBC resolutions of 1996 say that Srila Narayan Maharaj is a sahajiya. ISKCON members should not associate with him, nor read his books, nor glorify him. Yet, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj relished reading his books and lecturing on them, he went to meet Srila Narayan Maharaj in Puri (offering his dandavat-pranams at his lotus-feet and humbly asking him questions related to Radha-Krishna-lila) and he glorified him as an elevated rasika acarya. Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj would have never touched any book written by a sahajiya, what to speak of associating with or glorifying such a person.
Rasikananda prabhu and all of you GBC-devoted Gour Govinda Maharaja disciples! Why don't you write any letter against the defamation of Srila Narayan Maharaj by the GBC body. Please follow your Guru Maharaj ! When it comes to vaisnava-aparadha you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.
In one letter you reproduced Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj says:
"It is a fact that if an elevated Vaisnava is there, ONE SHOULD GO AND TAKE HIS ASSOCIATION." (my emphasis)