Dear gentle Vaisnavas!
Indeed the age of Kali (quarrel and hypocrisy) is well under way. Nevertheless something positive may emerge from the arena of philosophical debate if it is conducted on the strength of sastra. I sincerely hope that the astonishing conclusions of our sampradaya may be illuminated in the course of this presentation. It has been written in reply to the paper entitled "ISKCON's position on Srila Narayana Maharaja" by His Grace Badri Narayana Prabhu, in which he has tried his level best to substantiate the idea that Srila Narayana Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada differ in regard to important fundamental principles. Now, after taking the dust from the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Paramaradhyatama Gurupadapadma Sri Rupanuga Acaryavarya Om Visnupada Astottara Sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja upon my head, and offering my respectful obeisances to all the Vaisnavas upon whose request I have written this paper, we will examine one by one the objections of Badri Narayana prabhu. In this way we can determine their validity in the light of scriptural evidence and the statements of the founder acarya of ISKCON, Nitya-lila Pravista Om Visnupada Astottara Sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
OBJECTION 1) "Srila Prabhupada repeatedly warned about prematurely hearing descriptions of madhurya-lila, the intimate pastimes Krsna enjoys with the gopis. Srila Narayana Maharaja speaks openly about these topics."
REFUTATION 1) First of all it should be noted that discussion of the topics of Krsna and the gopis is not forbidden. This is evidenced by the following statements:
Prabhupada: The policy should be that the people may not understand gopis like ordinary girls or like that. You should be careful to present the gopis. It does not mean that "We shall not utter even the name of gopis. We have taken vow to boycott the gopis." No. They are our worshipable devotees. How we can avoid them?
(Discussion Boston, December 24, 1969 691224DC.BOS)
"The Deity worship must be continued by everyone. Another secret of success is that when one is very much sexually disturbed he should think of Lord Krishna's pastimes with the Gopis, and he will forget his sex urge. To think of Krishna's pastimes with Gopis, but not to try to imitate."
(Srila Prabhupada's Letter to: Hayagriva : 68-11-08 Los Angeles)
"The Lord is so merciful that He Himself descends to take the fallen souls back home to the kingdom of Godhead, where the erotic principles of Godhead are eternally relished in their real form, distinct from the perverted sexual love so much adored and indulged in by the fallen souls in their diseased condition. The reason the Lord displays the rasa-lila is essentially to induce all the fallen souls to give up their diseased morality and religiosity, and to attract them to the kingdom of God to enjoy the reality. A person who actually understands what the rasa-lila is will certainly hate to indulge in mundane sex life. For the realized soul, hearing the Lords rasa-lila through the proper channel will result in complete abstinence from material sexual pleasure."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila: Chapter four, Text 31)
Srila Prabhupada himself spoke about the gopis even with new people. One such conversation was even published and distributed en masse. And there is no fault in this.
Bob: Does he ( the devotee) keep his individual likes and dislikes?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, he keeps everything. But he gives preference to Krsna
Krsna says positively, "I like these things." So we have to offer to Krsna what He likes, and then well take prasada. Krsna likes Radharani. Therefore all the gopis, they are trying to push Radharani to Krsna. "Krsna likes this gopi. All right, push Her." That is Krsna consciousness.
Bob: Is Krsna attractive to rascals?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes! He was the greatest rascal also.
Bob: How is that?
Srila Prabhupada: [laughing] Because He was always teasing the gopis.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Sometimes when Radharani would go out, Krsna would attack Her, and when She would fall down "Krsna, dont torture Me in that way" They would fall down, and Krsna would take the opportunity and kiss Her. [He laughs.] So, Radharani was very pleased, but superficially Krsna was the greatest rascal. So unless rascaldom is in Krsna, how could rascaldom be existent in the world?
(Perfect Questions Perfect Anwers Chapter One, Krsna the all Attractive)
Prabhupada had a conversation with Srimati Saradia devi dasi in 1968, when she was a new devotee and about 16 years of age. She asked:
Saradiya: I want to know, when we serve Krsna, we have spiritual senses, then that satisfies our spiritual senses when we serve Krsna in Krsnaloka?
Prabhupada: Yes. You dance with Krsna, you eat with Krsna, talk with Krsna, you enjoy with Krsna. Krsna will kiss you also.
(Prabhupada's Lectures Srimad-Bhagavatam 1968 680616SB.MON)
Since 1970 Prabhupada's disciples and followers have been distributing rasa-lila in the Krsna Book to literally millions of non-devotees. In most of his books there are hundreds of beautiful references to the pastimes of Krsna and the gopis. In the Caitanya Caritamrta for example, which, in 1974 Prabhupada ordered in a letter to Jadurani dasi to be distributed to all classes of men, Lord Caitanya is taking mahaprasadam of Lord Jagannatha. In that chapter there are several verses about the nectar of Krsna's lips. In the mood of Srimati Radharani and the gopis Mahaprabhu says:
"Thereupon, the flute said angrily to Me, Give up Your shame, fear and religion and come drink the lips of Krsna. On that condition, I shall give up my attachment for them. If You do not give up Your shame and fear, however, I shall continuously drink the nectar of Krsnas lips. I am slightly fearful because You also have the right to drink that nectar, but as for the others, I consider them like straw."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya-lila: Chapter sixteen, Text 127)
The pastimes of Krsna with the gopis are not all on the same level. Srila Prabhupada has recommended that even lusty devotees should remember "Krsna's pastimes with the Gopis" as a "secret of success". If heard from a bonafide source many pastimes are highly beneficial for the hearer. However, it is true that certain very intimate or apparently sensual pastimes should not be disclosed publicly. Most of the lectures of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja in English and in Hindi are posted on the internet for all to read. All the recordings of the lectures are also available from his tape ministry on request. Badri Narayana prabhu writes that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is openly speaking intimate pastimes of Krsna enjoying with the gopis, but there is no evidence to support his statement. By downloading Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja lectures from the internet, Badri Narayana Prabhu will discover that almost all of Srila Maharaja's lectures are on the subjects of Dhruva Maharaja, Prahlada Maharaja, Ambarisa Maharaja, and the first eight slokas of Nectar of Instruction carefully explaining the purports of Srila Prabhupada.
The readers of this paper are also invited to subscribe themselves to our internet mailing list ("harikatha" newsgroup at http://www.egroups.com/), on which transcriptions of lectures by Srila Narayana Maharaja appear. Everyone can thus see for themselves on what subjects Srila Narayana Maharaja is speaking openly.
It is true that sometimes the lectures of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja deal with subject matters that may be considered elevated from the perspective of a novice. This is because most of the devotees who comprise the audience of Srila Maharaja have been devotees for twenty years or more. It goes without saying that a student cannot stay in primary school until the age of thirty. It is unreasonable to propose that if Srila Prabhupada were present with us today he would be explaining the same subject matters to a disciple who has been following him for thirty years as he would to someone who had just recently adopted the process of Krsna consciousness.
It is also true that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja has spoken on elevated, confidential texts such as Sri Vilap-kusumanjali, on the request of certain senior ISKCON leaders and gurus such as His Holiness Tamal Krsna Maharaja, His Holiness Giriraja Maharaja, His Holiness Sivarama Swami, His Holiness Dhanurdhara Swami, His Grace Bhurijana prabhu, His Grace Partha-sarathi prabhu and others. However, these classes were conducted selectively and in private not in public.
OBJECTION 2) "Srila Narayana Maharaja encourages the reading of literature Srila Prabhupada restricted for his disciples or even dismissed as unimportant or tinged with impersonalism. An example of the former is the intimate writings of the Gosvamis, of the latter Tulasidasas Ramacarita-manasa."
REFUTATION 2) The scriptures written by our previous acaryas, the Gosvamis, are relevant to different devotees at the various stages of their spiritual development. If Srila Prabhupada has forbidden a disciple to read a particular scripture in 1969 when he was in the stage of sraddha or bhajana-kriya, it does not mean that that particular disciple should not read that scripture in the year 2000 when he comes to the stage of nistha, etc.
The essential point that needs to be addressed here is that an aspiring devotee requires the guidance of an advanced vaisnava who can prescribe the appropriate reading matter in accordance with the level of his progress on the path of bhakti. This has been expressed by Srila Prabhupada in the following words:
"In this way, after developing a taste for such things, one should try to live in Vrndavana and pass his time constantly remembering Krsna's name, fame, pastimes and qualities UNDER THE DIRECTION AND PROTECTION OF AN EXPERT DEVOTEE. This is the sum and substance of all instruction regarding the cultivation of devotional service."
(Nectar of Instruction: Text Eight)
It is not proper to conclude that everyone is banned forever from reading the writings of the Gosvamis on the grounds that Srila Prabhupada may have forbidden his new disciples, or some of his disciples, from doing so thirty years ago. There can be little doubt that Srila Prabhupada desired all his followers to study the books of the Gosvamis as they became qualified.
rupa-raghunatha-pade haibe akuti
kabe hama bujhaba se yugala piriti
"When shall I become very eager to study the books left by the six Gosvamis? Then I shall be able to understand the conjugal pastimes of Radha and Krsna."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila: Chapter Twenty-five, Text 271)
If, after thirty years, none of Srila Prabhupada's disciples are qualified to read certain Gosvami literatures under the guidance of an expert devotee, then what are we to conclude? That the process of chanting the holy name does not work? However, the holy name IS powerful and purifying, and devotees have made considerable advancement. Therefore the restrictions once imposed upon them in a more neophyte stage are not necessarily applicable today. If one tries to impose a fixed blanket legislation on what ALL the devotees should and should not read, then he is ignoring the fact that there are degrees of eligibility (adhikara) among the individual devotees in the vaisnava community.
The Sri Ramacarita Manasa by Tulsi dasa:
Badri Narayana prabhu writes that the Sri Ramacarita Manasa by Tulsi dasa is tinged with impersonalism. Let us read Srila Prabhupada's opinion:
" this is a verse composed by a GREAT DEVOTEE, Tulasi dasa. He was a devotee of Lord Ramacandra."
(Prabhupada's Lectures General - 1968 680830AR.MON)
"So he became a GREAT DEVOTEE of Rama, Tulasi das. His book, Rama-carita-manasa. "Thinking always of Rama," that is his book. It is very famous book, and that is the only IMPORTANT LITERATURE in the Hindi language, Rama-carita-manasa."
(Room Conversation New York, April 12, 1969)
Badri Narayana prabhu is clearly at odds with Srila Prabhupada on this issue. He knows well that the objections against the Sri Ramacarita Manasa by Tulsi dasa have been thoroughly refuted in the past by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja himself in reply to a paper written by GBC representative Bhakti Vaidurya Madhava Maharaja. Srila Maharaja's paper addressing this issue is a work of uncommon genius and thus, for the pleasure of our vaisnava readers, we direct them to read the paper in its entirety at http://bvml.org/ref/SBNM_tdrcm.html. Badri Narayana prabhu and other GBC members were completely unable to reply to this paper, yet they persistently raise the issue of Sri Ramacarita Manasa in the hope that those who are not informed might be misled into accepting their false propaganda.
Tulsi dasa is respected by all vaisnavas of all sampradayas. It is true that many speakers of his Sri Ramacarita Manasa are tinged with mayavada, as are many speakers of the Srimad Bhagavatam. This does not mean however that the Sri Ramacarita Manasa of Tulsi dasa is contaminated by mayavada. Tulsi dasa has written:
isvara amsa jiva avinasi, cetana amala sada sukha rasi
"The living entity, who is forever conscious and full of bliss, is eternally an indestructable part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
This verse is diametrically opposed to mayavada. Perhaps Badri Narayana prabhu cannot produce even one verse of a bonafide translation of Sri Ramacarita Manasa which has the slightest tinge of mayavada.
OBJECTION 3) "Srila Narayana Maharaja says that Srila Prabhupadas work is unfinished because he did not provide us with intimate rasika literature and methods of raganuga-sadhana. Srila Prabhupada described his unfinished work as the fact that varnasrama-dharma had not yet been established in his Society, that sets of his books had not yet been placed in every home, that people were still going hungry within ten miles of ISKCON temples, that the Lords Holy Name had not yet been heard in every town and village, etc."
REFUTATION 3) In this comment Badri Narayana prabhu reveals the depth of his understanding of Srila Prabhupada's mission. First of all, he writes that to establish varnasrama dharma is the vital part of Srila Prabhupada's mission. Although the establishment of varnasrama dharma is certainly an item on the agenda of the Krsna consciousness movement, it is an external objective, whereas the progression into the higher realms of bhakti is the vital and internal objective of Srila Prabhupada and his mission. Both of these points are evident from the following statements:
"The Krsna consciousness movement is therefore very much eager to reintroduce the varnasrama system into human society so that those who are BEWILDERED or LESS INTELLIGENT will be able to take guidance from qualified brahmanas."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 10: Chapter Eight, Text 6)
However, Srila Prabhupada has explained:
"Simply by following the rules and regulations, of the varnasrama system, one can worship Visnu. Visnu aradhya... Nanyat tat-tosa-karanam. There is no alternative to satisfy Him. This is an authorized statement. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, eho bahya age kaha ara, 'THIS IS EXTERNAL. THIS IS NOT A VERY IMPORTANT THING.'"
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1969 690523SB.NV)
"But these formulas of brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya the age is so rotten that it is very difficult to revive this varnasrama-dharma culture. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, 'eho bahya, age kaha ara. Yes, it is all right but it is EXTERNAL now.' "
(Room Conversation London, September 2, 1973)
Furthermore, the conception that the primary reason for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance in this world is to spread the yuga dharma, nama-sankirtana in every town and village, has been rejected by Srila Krsna das Kaviraja in his Sri Caitanya Caritamrta.
ei vancha yaiche krsna-prakatya-karana
ei mata caitanya-krsna purna bhaga van
yuga-dharma-pravartana nahe tanra kama
"Just as these desires are the fundamental reason for Krsna's appearance whereas destroying the demons is only an incidental necessity, so for Sri Krsna Caitanya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, PROMULGATING THE DHARMA OF THE AGE IS INCIDENTAL."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila: Chapter Four, Text 36-37)
avatari' prabhu pracarila sankirtana
eho bahya hetu, purve kariyachi sucana
"The Lord came to propagate sankirtana. THAT IS AN EXTERNAL PURPOSE, as I have already indicated."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila: Chapter Four, Text 102)
From this evidence it is understood that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu does not personally establish the yuga dharma. Rather, this function is performed by Maha-Visnu who is present along with all other avatars within His body, just as the killing of demons is not performed by Krsna, but rather by Maha-Visnu who is present within Him.
ataeva visnu takhana krsnera sarire
visnu-dvare kare krsna asura-samhare
"At that time, therefore, Lord Visnu is present in the body of Lord Krsna, and Lord Krsna kills the demons through Him."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila: Chapter Four, Text 13)
Therefore, if Badri Narayana prabhu thinks Srila Prabhupada's primary work was to establish varnasrama dharma, then he relegates Srila Prabhupada from his true position of being the servant of the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu or Radha-Krsna to being the servant of Maha Visnu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna do not appear in this world to establish varnasrama dharma. Why do they appear?
prema-rasa-niryasa karite asvadana
RAGA-MARGA BHAKTI loke karite pracarana
rasika-sekhara krsna parama-karuna
ei dui hetu haite icchara udgama
"The Lord's desire to appear was born from two reasons: He wanted to taste the sweet essence of the mellows of love of God, and He wanted to propagate RAGA-MARGA BHAKTI, devotional service in the world on the platform of spontaneous attraction."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila: Chapter Four, Text 15-16)
From this statement it is clear that the special mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna is to establish RAGA-MARGA BHAKTI, that is, raganuga bhakti. The methods of raganuga bhakti must be learned under the guidance of a devotee who is fully expert in service to Radha-Krsna on the transcendental platform. Srila Prabhupada writes:
"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has commented as follows upon this verse: 'One who has not yet developed interest in Krsna consciousness should give up all material motives and train his mind by following the progressive regulative principles, namely chanting and remembering Krsna and His name, form, quality, pastimes and so forth. In this way, after developing a taste for such things, one should try to live in Vrndavana and pass his time constantly remembering Krsna's name, fame, pastimes and qualities UNDER THE DIRECTION AND PROTECTION OF AN EXPERT DEVOTEE. This is the sum and substance of all instruction regarding the cultivation of devotional service.' "
(Nectar of Instruction: Text Eight)
These days it is fashionable to speculate that we can simply read the books of Srila Prabhupada and that kind of association and guidance will be enough. Srila Prabhupada has a different opinion:
"It should be understood that a madhyama-adhikari, a second-class devotee, is fully convinced of Krsna consciousness but cannot support his convictions with sastric reference. A neophyte may fall down by associating with nondevotees because he is not firmly convinced and strongly situated. The second-class devotee, even though he cannot support his position with sastric reference, can gradually become a first-class devotee by studying the sastras AND associating with a first-class devotee. However, if the second-class devotee does not advance himself by associating with a first-class devotee, he makes NO PROGRESS."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila 22.71)
The reality of the matter is that unless one practises raganuga bhakti under the personal guidance of a perfectly realised siksa-guru, one cannot go back home to Vraja dhama, the eternal abode of Radha-Krsna.
sakala jagate more kare vidhi-bhakti
vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhava paite nahi sakti
"Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions (vaidhi-bhakti). But simply by following such regulative principles ONE CANNOT ATTAIN THE LOVING SENTIMENTS OF THE DEVOTEES IN VRAJABHUMI (vraja-bhava)."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila: Chapter Three, Text 15)
From this statement it is clear that no one can go to Vraja dhama, the abode of Radha-Krsna, without entering the path of raganuga bhakti. Since Srila Prabhupada's ultimate mission is to bring us to the abode of Radha-Krsna, and since most of us are not yet there, it stands to reason that his work will remain unfinished until we progress to the path of raganuga bhakti. Simply following varnasrama dharma, distributing books, and feeding the hungry, though having a place among the activities of ISKCON, will not make one qualified to attain Vraja dhama. This statement in no way contradicts those few letters of Srila Prabhupada which stated that by book distribution one can go back to Godhead. He also wrote to his book distributers, "physician heal thyself". If the book distributors do not follow the specific instructions inside the books, they cannot become Krsna conscious. Thus those who decry the necessity of raganuga bhakti are knowingly or unknowingly frustrating the entire purpose of Srila Prabhupada's mission. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is helping to avert the possibility that Srila Prabhupada's monumental preaching achievements might be jeopardised by a minderstanding of his essential instructions.
For example, in the purport to verse eight of the Nectar of Instruction, Srila Prabhupada has described five stages of Krsna consciousness namely; 1) sravana dasa 2) varana dasa 3) smarana dasa 4) apana dasa 5) sampatti dasa. This is the confidential method of raganuga bhajana which has also been explained elaborately in the books of our previous acaryas, such as Jaivadhama by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In all the authoritative books on this subject matter it is confirmed, as Srila Prabhupada has instructed, that the method must be practised "UNDER THE DIRECTION AND PROTECTION OF AN EXPERT DEVOTEE." However, this secret of spiritual life, though described clearly in Srila Prabhupada's Nectar of Instruction, is being dismissed as being irrelevant. For example, Sri Rama prabhu in his recent paper "The ISKCON rasa" on Chakra website has written that there is no need for any methods of raganuga bhajan ("bhajan pranali"). Rather, he states that after death we will take birth in Krsna-lila and learn how to serve Krsna without rasabhasa when we get there. This is different from the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Of the five stages mentioned by Srila Prabhupada, the first four have to be completed BEFORE one takes birth in Krsna's pastimes which is the fifth stage, sampatti dasa.
Those who do not follow the pure teachings of Srila Rupa Gosvami claim that raganuga bhakti is only for liberated souls. However this is in contradiction to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and our entire guru parampara:
"In the transcendental realm of Vraja [Vraja-dhama] one should serve the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, with a feeling similar to that of His associates, and one should place himself under the direct guidance of a particular associate of Krsna and should follow in his footsteps. THIS METHOD IS APPLICABLE BOTH IN THE STAGE OF SADHANA [SPIRITUAL PRACTICES EXECUTED WHILE IN THE STAGE OF BONDAGE] and in the stage of sadhya [God realization], when one is a siddha-purusa, or a spiritually perfect soul."
(Nectar of Instruction: Text Eight)
In the following lecture, Srila Prabhupada states:
"So you have to uncover. You have to discover. That discovering process is devotional service. The more you are engaged in devotional service, the more your senses become pure or uncovered. And when it is completely uncovered, without any designation, then you are capable to serve Krsna. THIS IS APPRENTICESHIP. VAIDHI-BHAKTI, THAT IS APPRENTICESHIP. REAL BHAKTI, PARA-BHAKTI, THAT IS RAGANUGA-BHAKTI. THIS RAGANUGA-BHAKTI, we have to come after surpassing the vaidhi-bhakti. In the material world, if we do not try to make further and further progress in devotional service, if we are simply sticking to the sastric regulation process and do not try to go beyond that... Sastric process also regulation, that is required. Without sastric process you cannot go to that platform. But if we stick to the sastric process only and do not try to improve ourself... The sastric process is kanistha-adhikara, lowest stage of devotional service. Now this sadhana-bhakti, or practice of devotional service, can also be divided into two parts. The first part is called regulative principles. One has to follow these different regulative principles by the order of the spiritual master, or on the strength of authoritative scriptures, and there can be no question of refusal. That is called vaidhi, or regulated. One has to do it without any argument. Another part of sadhana-bhakti is called raganuga. Raganuga refers to the point at which, by following the regulative principles, one becomes a little more attached to Krsna and executes devotional service out of natural love."
(Prabhupada's Lectures Srimad-Bhagavatam 1972 721112SB.VRN)
This above-mentioned quote shows that raganuga bhakti is the next step.
In conclusion, what Badri Narayana prabhu writes as the unfinished work of Srila Prabhupada is, as described in Srila Prabhupada's own words, the external feature of his mission. Conversely, what Badri Narayana prabhu denies to be Srila Prabhupada's unfinished work, namely that devotees should learn the methods of raganuga sadhana UNDER THE DIRECTION AND PROTECTION OF AN EXPERT DEVOTEE, is the ONLY PATH leading to the eternal service of Radha-Krsna in Vraja dhama. What is the use of the Krsna consciousness movement feeding the hungry, distributing books, establishing varnasrama dharma etc. if no one attains the goal of life so mercifully indicated to us by Srila Prabhupada?
In his paper Badri Narayana prabhu has stated:
"Srila Prabhupada labored long and hard to design his ISKCON as a great transcendental boat. He believed that it was fully able to carry those who take shelter of it across the ocean of the material world to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. The planks, the sails, the rigging, and the charts of Srila Prabhupadas ISKCON boat are his standards, his mood of devotion, his instructions, and his system of organization. It is at great risk that one begins to tinker with and retool the craft created by such an empowered personality as Srila Prabhupada."
The quotations in this paper have clearly shown that Badri Narayana prabhu and others who share his conceptions have already begun "to tinker with and retool the craft created by such an empowered personality as Srila Prabhupada." Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, on the order of his dear friend and siksa guru Srila Prabhupada, has kindly preached all over the world, successfully repairing their attempt to undo the true teachings of Srila Prabhupada. In Srila Bhaktivenoda Thakura's Sri Harinama Cintamani, after hearing the truth in regard to raganuga bhajan pranali, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spoke these prophetic words:
(Excerpt from Sri Harinama Cintamani, chapter fifteen entitled "bhajana pranali")
"Lord Caitanya was moved by divine loving emotions upon hearing Srila Haridasa's Thakura's plea for mercy. Lifting Srila Haridasa up in His embrace, the Lord then spoke in confidence to him. "O Haridasa! Listen attentively to what I have to say. THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HOLY NAME WILL BE HIDDEN BY MISCHIEVIOUS RASCALS WHO WILL CREATE A DARK SHROUD OF IGNORANCE OVER THE ENTIRE WORLD. At that time, these excellent and unrivalled instructions of yours about chanting IN THE ASSOCIATION OF SELF-REALIZED SADHUS shall be understood only by a remaining handful of devotees." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura continues) What did Lord Caitanya mean by 'mischievous rascals'? The prime candidates for this appellation are the various upstart sects like the sahajiyas, aulas, baulas and so on, who propagate BOGUS MUNDANE DOCTRINES DISGUISED AS MAHAPRABHU'S OWN TEACHINGS; they indeed conceal from the world the pure philosophy of Krsna consciousness expounded by the Lord Himself in His Siksastaka."
OBJECTION 4) "Srila Narayana Maharaja presents a view that one born in a Western body is inherently fallen, especially in regard to Deity worship. Srila Prabhupada engaged and encouraged his Western disciples in Deity worship and accepted them as full-fledged Vaisnavas."
REFUTATION 4) This is a false allegation. It is widely known in India that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is famous among all branches of the Gaudiya Math for promoting solidarity and acceptance between devotees from the east and west. For the first time, at the age of almost eighty years, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja awarded sannyasa to a disciple during the Gaura purnima celebrations. That disciple was not an Indian devotee but a Westerner. What to speak of Deity worship, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja's Western disciples regularly conduct the performance of abhiseka of the Deities at major festivals and fire sacrifices in his temples in India and abroad. In addition to this, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja has personally installed dozens of Deities of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Sri Sri Radha-Krsna for western devotees throughout the world. Thus this objection of Badri Narayana prabhu which is entirely groundless and tantamount to an accusation of blatant racism, is an offence, an aparadha.
Srila Narayana Maharaja has recently published Arcana Dipika in English. The original Bengali version, written by Srila Narayana Maharaja's diksa-guru, who is also Srila Prabhupada 's sannyasa- guru, Nitya lila Pravista Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja, was also translated into English by the ISKCON authorities for use in ISKCON temples.
OBJECTION 5) "Srila Prabhupada said, "[The] acarya is not God, omniscient. He is servant of God." Srila Narayana Maharaja presents Srila Prabhupada as omniscient."
REFUTATION 5) Since all great Vaisnavas are gurus, in the attempt to belittle a Vaisnava it is inevitable that we will criticize our own spiritual master. This is evidenced by Badri Narayana prabhu's fifth objection in which he reveals his conception that Srila Prabhupada is not omniscient. If this were the casewhat would be the use of praying to him if he cannot hear us at any time or any place? What would be the use of reciting the mantras for offering bhoga in front of his picture, if he is not present in his picture? Even demigods such as the gods of air, fire, water, and others who are insignificant in comparison with Srila Prabhupada, all witness the events of this world. No activity is unknown to them. This is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Furthermore, Sri Krsna has personally confirmed that, "sarva deva mayo guruh, The guru is the embodiment of the sum-total of all the demigods." To doubt that Srila Prabhupada is omniscient is indicative of a lack of faith. Such ideas are only one step away from atheism. Gurusu nara matir yasya va naraki sah: "One who considers the spiritual master to have the consciousness of a mortal being is a resident of hell."
Srila Prabhupada has stated many times that the pure devotee spiritual master is omniscient. Yet one may ask why it is that in the one statement quoted by Badri Narayana prabhu, Srila Prabhupada has presented an idea which is contrary to the statements in his books? We will request Srila Prabhupada to answer this question in his own words:
"Yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati. Anyone who is a devotee of the Lord knows about the Lord to some extent, and devotional service to the Lord makes him able to know everything by the grace of the Lord. ALTHOUGH A DEVOTEE MAY APPARENTLY EXPRESS HIMSELF TO BE IGNORANT, he is full of knowledge in every intricate matter."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3: Chapter Seven, Text 8)
From this statement it is understood that the Guru may sometimes present himself as ignorant of certain details, but actually "he is full of knowledge in every intricate matter". This is also confirmed by many other statements by Srila Prabhupada:
"The Vedic mantras say: yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati. When the devotee sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead by his meditation, or when he sees the Lord personally, face to face, he becomes aware of everything within this universe. Indeed, nothing is unknown to him. Everything within this material world is fully manifested to a devotee who has seen the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 8: Chapter Six, Text 9)
"When Dhruva Maharaja was talking with his mother, Suniti, of all the incidents that had taken place in the palace, Narada was not present. Thus the question may be raised how Narada overheard all these topics. The answer is that Narada is trikala jna; he is so powerful that he can understand the past, future and present of everyone's heart, just like the Supersoul, the Supreme personality of Godhead."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4: Chapter Eight, Text 25)
Duryodhana-guru: So in other words that means the pure devotees can be omniscient?
Prabhupada: Everything. God is omniscient, so a pure devotee can become omniscient by the grace of God.
(Morning Walk Los Angeles, June 8, 1976 760608MW.LA)
Being a one hundred percent Krsna conscious personality, Srila Prabhupada has all eight mystic perfections. This means he can even reach out and take a fruit from another planet. This is confirmed in many places in sastra, including the following verse and purport from Srimad Bhagavatam:
"My lord! Everything that is mysterious is known to you because you worship the creator and destroyer of the material world and the maintainer of the spiritual world, the original Personality of Godhead, who is transcendental to the three modes of material nature."
A person who is cent-percent engaged in the service of the Lord is the emblem of all knowledge. Such a devotee of the Lord in full perfection of devotional service is also perfect by the qualification of the Personality of Godhead. As such, the eightfold perfections of mystic power (asta-siddhi) constitute very little of his godly opulence.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter five, Text 6)
"Like the sun, Your Goodness can travel everywhere in the three worlds, and like the air you can penetrate the internal region of everyone. As such, you are as good as the all-pervasive Supersoul. Please, therefore, find out the deficiency in me, despite my being absorbed in transcendence under disciplinary regulations and vows."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter five, Text 7)
Does Badri Narayana prabhu think that when devotees pray, "nama om visnu padaya " that Prabhupada, who is not physically present before them, is not hearing them? Then what is the use of all our songs and prayers which we have received from our previous acaryas? What is the use of our guru-gayatri? Is it all an empty ritual?
The conclusion is that there is no difference of opinion between the Vedas, Srimad Bhagavatam, Narada Muni, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayana Maharaja on the matter of a pure devotee guru's being omniscient by the grace of the Lord. The difference is actually between Badri Narayana prabhu and Srila Prabhupada.
In fact, Badri Narayana prabhu disagrees with Srila Prabhupada on many issues. In Badri Narayana prabhu's own words:
OBJECTION 6) "Srila Prabhupada said that harinama-diksa (first initiation) is real initiation. Srila Narayana Maharaja teaches that real initiation begins with brahmana-diksa."
REFUTATION 6) Let us see Srila Prabhupada's own statements:
"Regarding your questions, second initiation is REAL INITIATION. First initiation is the preliminary, just to make him prepared, just like primary and secondary education. The first initiation gives him chance to become purified, and when he is actually purified then he is recognized as a brahmana and that means REAL INITIATION."
(Letter to: Jadurani : 72-09-04 New Vrindaban)
OBJECTION 7) "Srila Narayan Maharaja 're-initiates' disciples of Vaisnava gurus in good standing."
REFUTATION 7) Many of the so-called reinitiated devotees who were disciples of gurus in "good standing", have been criticized for taking shelter of Srila Narayana Maharaja. However, time proved them to have made the correct decision because it was later discovered that their so-called gurus in "good standing" had simply not yet been exposed as somewhat less than the acaryas they had posed themselves to be. To save embarrassment we will not mention their names here, and, needless to say, the list will get longer if offenses to the lotus feet of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja continue.
Furthermore, in Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 238), Srila Jiva Gosvami has given the injunction that if one's guru is envious of an exalted Vaisnava one should immediately reject that guru and find a maha-bhagavat Vaisnava guru. Since many gurus in "good standing" have committed grievous offences at the lotus feet of Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, their ex-disciples acted perfectly in accordance with scriptural injunctions by rejecting them. Therefore there is no "re-initiation", only "real initiation".
However, if a guru is actually in "good standing", then there is no question of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja "re-initiating" his disciples. Rather, Srila Narayana Maharaja simply gives them instructions and encouragement in their spiritual practices and helps them to develop a deeper faith in their diksa-guru. A misunderstanding sometimes arises because Srila Narayana Maharaja often addresses those who take siksa from him with names connected with the Vraja lila of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. This is sometimes misunderstood to be "re-initiation". One famous example of this is Jadurani dasi. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja affectionately addresses her as "Syamarani". This does not in any way mean that she has been "re-initiated". Even Srila Prabhupada would sometimes affectionately address Jadurani as "Sadhurani". This affectionate use of another name does not mean that Srila Prabhupada has awarded some kind of third initiation.
There is a substantial historical precedent for this practice in our sampradaya. Srila Jiva Gosvami changed the name of "Duhkhi Krsna dasa" to "Syamananda". This change of name does not consitute a "re-initiation". Sri Hrdaya Caitanya was still his diksa-guru and Srila Jiva Gosvami was still his siksa-guru.
If the cases of individual devotees are examined one by one, we will find that there is not even a single case of "re-initiation". It happens sometimes that a disciple is rejected by his guru or a disciple loses faith and officially breaks the connection with his spiritual master. In such cases, to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings, Srila Narayana Maharaja's secretary meticulously keeps files of letters from the disciples of His Divine Grace, or from their former gurus, to show that the previously existing relationship of guru and disciple had been terminated before they had taken shelter of him. Evidence of particular cases is available on request. In conclusion, this controversy over "re-initiation" is a misunderstanding. If confusion remains over any individual case, one is invited to correspond with the author in order to clarify the situation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
OBJECTION 8) "Srila Prabhupada worked to create a worldwide society that provided engagement and shelter for his followers. Srila Narayana Maharaja has not done so."
REFUTATION 8) This objection depends for its success on the fact that most devotees are uninformed about the preaching activities of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. Although he has only preached outside of India for four years, he has established temples and preaching centres in many places such as Birmingham England, Bristol England, Berlin Germany, Murwillumbah Australia, Brazil, Prabhupada Gaudiya Math Costa Rica, Bhaktivedanta Gaudiya Math Moscow Russia, St Petersburg Russia, Croatia, Sri Ananta Gaudiya Math Bali Indonesia, Sri Sri Radha Govinda Gaudiya Math Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Hare Krishna society of the Philippines Manila, San Diego and other places. In addition to this there is are grhastha communities in Wales U.K., Badger California, and Perth Australia. Srila Narayana Maharaja is also the patron of a gurukula in California. It should also be understood that most of the devotees under the guidance of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja in the west are householders who are financially independent and do not require the external trappings of an institution.
Besides this, Srila Maharaja never claimed to have established a world-wide institution. He is only trying to execute Srila Prabhupada's order to him. Just before his departure Prabhupada requested him to help and guide his disciples.Thousands of devotees who had previously lost some of their faith in Krsna consciousness, devotees who felt neglected and were forced to leave the temples, devotees who became weak in their following of the religious principles, and devotees who wanted to deepen their relation with Srila Prabhupada, are all becoming reinspired by his love and his teachings.
This objection is too weak to address more elaborately.
OBJECTION 9) Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayana Maharaja have different teachings about the original position of the jiva (the individual soul).
REFUTATION 9) Srila Prabhupada has given many different comments to different people in different circumstances in regard to the origin of the jiva. However, the CONCLUSION, i.e. the last word on the matter, has been expressed in his books which will be the law books for the next 10,000 years.
"The CONCLUSION is that no one falls from the spiritual world, or Vaikuntha planet, for it is the eternal abode."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3: Chapter Sixteen, Text 26)
It seems that Badri Narayana prabhu is in agreement with Srila Prabhupada's circumstantial statements, whereas Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is in agreement with Srila Prabhupada's everlasting conclusion.
In the following letter Srila Prabhupada reconciles how on one hand we came from Krsna, but on the other hand we never lived on His planet and we were never His associates. He writes:
"Regarding your second question, have the conditioned souls ever seen Krsna? Were they with the Lord before being conditioned by the desire to lord it over material nature? Yes, the conditioned souls are parts and parcels of the Lord and thus they were with Krsna before being conditioned. Just as the child must have seen his father because the father places the child in the womb of the mother, similarly each soul has seen Krsna or the Supreme Father. But at that time the conditioned souls are resting in the condition called susupti which is exactly deep sleep without dream, or anesthetized state, therefore they do not remember being with Krsna when they wake up in the material world and become engaged in material affairs."
(Letter to: Jagadisa : 70-04-25 Los Angeles)
How were we with Krsna? All energies are coming from Krsna, including the jiva. But we have emanated from Krsna's tatastha sakti:
"According to Visnu Purana, Bhagavad-gita and all other Vedic literatures, the living entities are generated from the tatastha energy of the Lord, and thus they are always the energy of the Lord and are not the energetic."
(Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 3: Chapter Seven, Text 9)
We have never associated personally with Krsna before:
"The fact is that those who are always engaged in Krsna consciousness and mature, pure devotional service are given the chance, after death, to gain Krsnas association in one of the universes within the material world. Krsnas pastimes are continuously going on, either in this universe or in another universe. Just as the sun globe is passing over many places across this earthly planet, so krsna-lila, or the transcendental advent and pastimes of Krsna, are also going on continuously, either in this or another universe. The mature devotees, who have completely executed Krsna consciousness, are immediately transferred to the universe where Krsna is appearing. In that universe the devotees get their FIRST opportunity to associate with Krsna personally and directly. The training goes on, as we see in the vrndavana-lila."
(Krsna Book Chapter 28, 6th paragraph)
For further information on this very important subject of the origin of the jiva, one may refere to "Srila Prabhupada on the Source of the Jiva", compiled by Srila Gour Govinda Swami, where he gives about 100 supportive quotes by Srila Prabhupada as well as many by our previous acaryas. One such quote is the following letter:
"In further reference to your question about the form of the spirit soul of the conditioned living entity, there is a spiritual form always, but it developes fully only when the living entity goes back to Vaikuntha. This form develops according to the desire of the living entity. Until this perfectional stage is reached, the form is lying dormant like the form of a tree is lying dormant in the seed." (Srila Prabhupada's letter to Rupanaga in 1969)
Those who are actually residents of the spiritual planets, those who are actually associates of the Lord, never fall down:
"From authoritative sources it can be discerned that associates of Lord Visnu who descend from Vaikuntha do not actually fall. They come with the purpose of fulfilling the desire of the Lord, and their descent to this material world is comparable to that of the Lord. The Lord comes to this material world through the agency of His internal potency, and similarly, when a devotee or associate of the Lord descends to this material world, he does so through the action of the spiritual energy. Any pastime conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is an arrangement by yogamaya, not mahamaya. Therefore it is to be understood that when Jaya and Vijaya descended to this material world, they came because there was something to be done for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise it is a fact that NO ONE FALLS FROM VAIKUNTHA."
(Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 7: Chapter one, Text 35)
Maharaja Yudisthira also does not believe anyone can fall from Vaikuntha:
Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired: What kind of great curse could affect even liberated visnu-bhaktas, and what sort of person could curse even the Lords associates? For unflinching devotees of the Lord to fall again to this material world is impossible. I cannot believe this."
(Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 7: Chapter one, Text 34)
"Lord Krsnas father, mother and household affairs are all displayed in the same visuddha-sattva existence. A living entity situated in the status of pure goodness can understand the form, quality and other features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krsna consciousness begins on the platform of pure goodness Krsna is always all-spiritual. Aside from the parents of the Personality of Godhead, all the other paraphernalia of His existence is also essentially a manifestation of sandhini-sakti, or a transformation of visuddha-sattva. To make this more clear, it may be said that this sandhini-sakti of the internal potency maintains and manifests all the variegatedness of the spiritual world. In the kingdom of God, the Lords servants and maidservants, His consorts, His father and mother and everything else are all transformations of the spiritual existence of sandhini-sakti "
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi lila 4.66)
It is an offence to think there is even the slightest maya in Goloka Vrndavana-dhama. If we commit an offense to the dhama, how will the dhama accept us? Srila Pabhupada often quotes Srila Visnunatha Cakravarti Thakura's beautiful verse, "aradhya bhagavan brajesa tanayas tad dhama Vrndavana". There, Srila Cakravartipada says that Krsna's abode is as worshipable as Krsna Himself. As there is no maya in the transcendental body of Vrajendranandana Sri Krsna, this is also true for His abode. Srila Cakravartipada says there that this is the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and that he is not interested in anyone else's opinion. The pure glories of Krsna's transcendental dhama are confirmed in Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.1: "Dhamna svena sada nirasta kuhaham". Krsna's abode is forever free from maya, and so no one there can be deviated from their constitutional position of loving servitude.
OBJECTION 10) "Srila Prabhupada teaches that the initiating guru takes the karma of the disciple. Srila Narayana Maharaja teaches that the guru does not."
REFUTATION 10) First of all we should ask ourselves, "Is the spiritual master such as Srila Prabhupada a liberated soul or transcendental personality?" If the answer is "Yes, of course" then a second question arises: "How can that which is transcendental (i.e. the spiritual master) be affected by that which is material (i.e. karma of a disciple)?"
The answer is that if the transcendental subject matter could be affected by anything material then the word "transcendental" would have no meaning. This is confirmed by the following statement:
aprakrta vastu nahe prakrta-gocara, veda-puranete ei kahe nirantara
"Spiritual substance is NEVER within the jurisdiction of the material conception. This is always the verdict of the Vedas and Puranas."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila: Chapter Nine, Text 194)
It is true that Srila Prabhupada has mentioned that a spiritual master undergoes some reaction for the misdeeds of his disciples:
"Therefore, duhsvapna--bad dreams--occur because of sinful activities. A devotee sometimes accepts a sinful person as his disciple, and to counteract the sinful reactions he accepts from the disciple, he has to see a bad dream. Nonetheless, the spiritual master is so kind that in spite of having bad dreams due to the sinful disciple, he accepts this troublesome business for the deliverance of the victims of Kali-yuga. After initiation, therefore, a disciple should be extremely careful not to commit again any sinful act that might cause difficulties for himself and the spiritual master."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 8: Chapter Four, Text 15)
This statement is certainly true for a person who has accepted the position of guru although he himself is not firmly situated on the transcendental platform. Out of his intense humility Srila Prabhupada would sometimes refer to himself as such a guru. However, if the disciple agrees with the guru's expression of genuine humility, it will be a great offence. When this viewpoint is presented by Srila Prabhupada it also has the obvious added advantage of controlling immature and wayward disciples by inducing feelings of guilt about their misbehaviour. Srila Prabhupada's perfect humility is confirmed in the following excerpts from a conversation with Bob Cohen (later to become Prabhupada's initiated disciple). It shows Prabhupada's humility, and it also shows his desire to give a neophyte a good reason to stop committing sins:
Bob: Do you personally feel disease and sickness?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: Is this a result of your past karma?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: So one in this material world never escapes his karma completely?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, he escapes. No more karma for a devotee. No more karmic reaction.
Bob: But you must be the best devotee.
Srila Prabhupada: Hm-m... No, I dont consider myself the best devotee. I am the lowest.
Srila Prabhupada: You are the best devotee.
Bob: [Laughs.] Oh, no, no! But, see, you say-what you say... always seems right.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: Then you must be the best devotee
Srila Prabhupada: Just like Radharani-She does not see anyone as a nondevotee. Therefore we try to approach Radharani.
Bob: Who is this?
Srila Prabhupada: Radharani, Krsnas consort.
Srila Prabhupada: If anyone approaches Radharani, She recommends to Krsna, "Here is the best devotee. He is better than Me," and Krsna cannot refuse him. That is the best devotee. But it is not to be imitated: "I have become the best devotee." A second-class devotee has the vision that some are envious of God, but this is not the vision of the best devotee. The best devotee sees, "Nobody is envious of God. Everyone is better than me." Just like Caitanya-caritamrtas author, Krsnadasa Kaviraja. He says, "I am lower than the worm in the stool."
Bob: Who is saying this?
Srila Prabhupada: Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta: purisera kita haite muni se laghistha. He is not making a show. He is feeling like that. "I am the lowest. Everyone is best, but I am the lowest. Everyone is engaged in Krsnas service. I am not engaged." Caitanya Mahaprabhu said "Oh, I have not a pinch of devotion to Krsna. I cry to make a show. If I had been a devotee of Krsna, I would have died long ago. But I am living. That is the proof that I do not love Krsna." That is the vision of the best devotee. He is so much absorbed in Krsnas love that he says, "Everything is going on, but I am the lowest. Therefore I cannot see God." That is the best devotee.
Syamasundara: One time you said that sometimes you feel sickness or pain due to the sinful activities of your devotees. Can sometimes disease be due to that? Caused by that?
Srila Prabhupada: You see, Krsna says:
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucaù
"I will deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." So Krsna is so powerful that He can immediately take up all the sins of others and immediately make them right. But when a living entity plays the part on behalf of Krsna, he also takes the responsibility for the sinful activities of his devotees. Therefore to become a guru is not an easy task. You see? He has to take all the poisons and absorb them. So sometimes because he is not Krsna sometimes there is some trouble. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has forbidden, "Dont make many sisyas, many disciples."
Here Srila Prabhupada is playing the part of a neophyte and at the same time speaking to induce hesitation in the minds of those who are actually neophyte and want to play the part of a bonafide spiritual master.
"Therefore to make many disciples is a risky job unless one is able to assimilate all the sins... That idea is also in the Bible. Jesus Christ took all the sinful reactions of the people and sacrificed his life. That is the responsibility of a spiritual master...."
On other occasions Srila Prabhupada said Lord Jesus only pretended to die. He never suffered.
"Because Krsna is Krsna, He is apapa-viddha-He cannot be attacked by sinful reactions. But a living entity is sometimes subjected to their influence because he is so small. Big fire, small fire. If you put some big thing in a small fire, the fire itself may be extinguished. But in a big fire, whatever you put in is all right. The big fire can consume anything."
The afore-mentioned quote was another example of Srila Prabhupada's humility.
"Bob: Christs suffering was of that nature?
Srila Prabhupada: Mm-m?
Bob: Was Christs suffering?
Srila Prabhupada: That I have already explained. He took the sinful reactions of all the people. Therefore he suffered.
Bob: I see.
Srila Prabhupada: They should have been ashamed Now if he again commits sinful activities, his spiritual master has to suffer. A disciple should be sympathetic and consider this. "For my sinful activities, my spiritual master will suffer."
Those disciples who are mature understand that their Gurudeva is fully transcendental, untouched by the material energy and very clever in persuading the conditioned souls to act in their own interests. Thus there is no fundamental difference between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayana Maharaja. Even the chanting of namabhasa relieves one from unlimited sinful reactions, so how can Srila Prabhupada, or any pure devotee who is constantly chanting the pure name, be touched by any reactions?
"One who chants the holy name of the Lord is IMMEDIATELY freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by ALL THE LEARNED SCHOLARS of the scriptures." (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 6: Chapter Two, Text 14)
How can the two statements be reconciled - "The spiritual master takes the karma of the disciple" and "the spiritual master does not take the karma of the disciple."? If Badri Narayana prabhu would have asked my Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja, then Srila Maharaja would have explained it. Pure devotees are like large fires. No matter how much garbage, in the form of our anarthas and sins, is thrown into a large fire at the time of surrender, the fire consumes it, burning it to ashes, and the fire itself is not affected.
What to speak of himself being free from the touch of sinful reactions, simply by his glance and presence the pure devotee can free others from sins. There is no need of his suffering. This is confirmed in the ISKCON Acarya song book, in a song by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura:
kahara nikate gele papa dure jaya
emona doyala prabhu keba kotha paya
All sins go away in your association. Where shall we find a master as merciful as you?
gangara parase haile pascatye pavana
darsane pavitra koro ei tomara guna
By bathing repeatedly in the sacred Ganges one is gradually purified. But, O venerable vaisnava, one is immediately purified simply by your merciful glance.
Srila Prabhupada is a great soul. No one will doubt that. And Krsna says that such great souls are not affected by material nature:
"O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible."
In this verse the description of the mahatma is clearly given. The first sign of the mahatma is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature.
In one of Srila Pabhupada's purports of Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila Chapter 4, he gives further illumination on the above sloka. That puport contains a still deeper meaning of the same verse. Srila Prabhupada reveals there that he is always spiritually enraptured, and so there can be no question of suffering:
"The Bhagavad-gita states that devotees of the highest grade are under the care of daiva-maya, or yogamaya: mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritaù (Bg. 9.13). Those who are actually great souls (mahatmas) are fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness, always engaged in the service of the Lord. They are under the care of daivi-prakrti, or yogamaya. Yogamaya creates a situation in which the devotee is prepared to transgress all regulative principles simply to love Krsna. A devotee naturally does not like to transgress the laws of reverence for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but by the influence of yogamaya he is prepared to do anything to love the Supreme Lord better... In the spiritual loving sentiment induced by the yogamaya potency, both Lord Sri Krsna and the damsels of Vraja forget themselves in spiritual rapture. By the influence of such forgetfulness, the attractive beauty of the gopis plays a prominent part in the transcendental satisfaction of the Lord, who has nothing to do with mundane sex. Because spiritual love of Godhead is above everything mundane, the gopis superficially seem to transgress the codes of mundane morality. This perpetually puzzles mundane moralists. Therefore yogamaya acts to cover the Lord and His pastimes from the eyes of mundaners, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (7.25), where the Lord says that He reserves the right of not being exposed to everyone."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 4.31 pp)
The scriptures declare that when a pure devotee appears to be suffering, he is actually experiencing a very great ecstatic mood.Unfortunately, this transcendental nature of Srila Prabhupada is not accepted by Badri Narayana prabhu.
OBJECTION 11) "Srila Prabhupada envisioned a worldwide society where many gurus work collegially under a governing body. Srila Narayana Maharaja practices the Gaudiya Matha single-acarya system. Note: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura instructed his followers to also work together under a governing body and Srila Prabhupada often cited neglect of this order as the cause for the break-up of his spiritual masters mission"
REFUTATION 11) In this objection Badri Narayana prabhu claims that a) the single acarya system is opposed to the system of management by GBC and b) Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada was against having an acarya at the head of his institution. Both these conceptions are completely wrong according to Srila Prabhupada.
"His (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's) idea was acarya was not to be nominated amongst the governing body. He said openly, you make a GBC and conduct the mission. So his idea was amongst the members of GBC who would come out successful and self-effulgent acarya would be automatically selected."
(letter to Rupanuga prabhu 74-04-28)
Again we find a significant difference between His Grace Badri Narayana prabhu and Srila Prabhupada. He writes that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja practices the "Gaudiya Math single acarya system". However, Srila Maharaja, although a transcendental personality and not confined to the parameters of any institution, is a member of the GBC of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti was founded in 1940. The three original trustees of the society were Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja (Srila Prabhupada's sannyasa guru), Pujyapada Nrsimhananda Brahamacari and, at that time, Abhay Caranaravinda prabhu (later known as His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) Srila Narayana Maharaja practices the constitution established by these three trustees, so if Badri Narayana prabhu wants to criticize this, then again we find that it amounts to criticizing his own spiritual master and his spiritual master's sannyasa-guru.
For the respected readers' information, Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti has one president acarya, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is the secretary of the society. He and others also act as initiating acaryas within the society. In addition to this, the society is governed by a GBC to which all members including the initiating acaryas are answerable. To the present day the GBC of the Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti has run peacefully and successfully and none of them have ever fallen down. Perhaps we have something to learn from them?
OBJECTION 12) "Srila Narayana Maharaja criticized a number of the names Srila Prabhupada gave to ISKCON Deities."
REFUTATION 12) Here Badri Narayana prabhu is referring to when Srila Narayana Maharaja expressed his concern over the worship of some Deities of Radha-Krsna in ISKCON Who are being addressed by the names Rukmini-Dvarakadisa, Radha-Parthasarathi, Radha-Nilamadhava, Radha-Govinda Madhava etc. Srila Maharaja never criticized names that Prabhupada gave. Rather, he questioned whether Prabhupada actually gave them.
It is a point of controversy whether or not Srila Prabhupada actually gave or approved of the names of these Deities. Both groups of devotees show evidence to support their understanding. Aside from this controversy over the historical details, we should try to see how the advice of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is well-meaning and beneficial for our spiritual advancement. The point Srila Maharaja is bringing to our attention is that Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Radha-Krsna in the mood of Vrndavana and, as such, those who wish to follow him eternally must necessarily also worship Radha-Krsna according to the principles explained by Srila Prabhupada and our previous acaryas. The names of the above-mentioned Deities are either rasabhasa or inappropriate, insofar as the threefold bending form of Krsna playing on a flute in the company of Srimati Radharani can never be addressed by the name of Dvarakadisa, the consort of Rukmini. This has been clearly explained by Srila Prabhupada in the following excerpt:
"The gopis never addressed Krsna as Rukmini-ramana. Krsna's devotees in Vrndavana address Him as Radharamana, Nandanandana and Yasodanandana, but not as Vasudeva-nandana or Devaki-nandana. Although according to the material conception, Narayana, Rukmini-ramana and Krsna are one and the same, in the spiritual world ONE CANNOT USE THE NAME OF KRSNA IN THE PLACE OF RUKMINI-RAMANA or Narayana. If one does so out of a poor fund of knowledge, his mellow with the Lord becomes spiritually faulty and is called rasabhasa, an overlapping of transcendental mellows. THE ADVANCED DEVOTEE WHO HAS ACTUALLY REALIZED THE TRANSCENDENTAL FEATURES OF THE LORD WILL NOT COMMIT THE MISTAKE OF CREATING A RASABHASA SITUATION BY USING ONE NAME FOR ANOTHER. Because of the influence of Kali-yuga, there is much rasabhasa in the name of extravagance and liberal-mindedness. Such fanaticism is not very much appreciated by pure devotees."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila: Chapter eight, Text 91)
From this excerpt it is clear that those who worship Radha-Krsna Deities using the names of "Rukmini-Dvarakadisa" are in Srila Prabhupada's own words:
a) Not "devotees in (the mood of) Vrndavana".
b) Worshipers serving "according to the material conception".
c) Possessed of "a poor fund of knowledge".
d) Are "spiritually faulty".
e) Committing "the mistake of creating a rasabhasa situation by using one name for another".
f) Afflicted by "the influence of Kali-yuga".
g) Guilty of "rasabhasa in the name of extravagance and liberal-mindedness."
h) Guilty of "fanaticism".
i) "Not very much appreciated by pure devotees".
Srila Narayana Maharaja has stated that the name Radha-Partha-sarathi is rasabhasa because Srimati Radhika never leaves Vrndavan. She is attracted to Sri Krsna only in His original svayam-rupa feature which can be found only in Vrndavan; she is not attracted to Dvarkadhisa-Krsna or Krsna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra. When Srimati Radhika (in a partial manifestation known as "Samyogini Radha" according to Sri Sanat Samhita) left Vrndavan to go to Kuruksetra, She was not satisfied to see Krsna dressed like a king; it was not complementary to her loving moods for Krsna. Although Krsna, Dvarakadhisa, and even Narayana, are one by tattva, they are different by virtue of rasa. One may say that the pastimes of Krsna, as mentioned above, have nothing to do with Deities' names. But Srila Prabhupada clarifies that misunderstanding:
"Krsna's another name is Partha-sarathi. Partha. Arjuna's name is Partha. Partha means, 'The son of Partha'. Kunti's another name is Prtha. Kunti's fathers name was Prthu, so Kunti's name was Prtha. Therefore Arjuna's name was Partha. And because Krsna served as the chariot driver of Ajuna, His another name is Partha-sarathi. So it is a fact that God has no name. Sometimes some philosophers says that, 'God has no name'. That is fact. But why God has so many names? These names are calculated according to His pastimes.
(Prabhupada's Lectures Srimad-Bhagavatam 1974 741013SB.MAY)
Since Radha in Her original form never leaves Vrndavan, and since Krsna can never be addressed as Partha-sarathi in Vrndavan, the combination of these names contradicts the principles of rasa. As mentioned above, Srila Prabhupada has written that improper combinations of names constitute rasabhasa.
Such a rasabhasa is not favorable to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 's bhakti cult:
"If there were a hint that transcendental mellows overlapped in a manner contrary to the principles of the bhakti cult, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would not tolerate it and would become very angry".
(Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya lila 8. 97)
According to Srila Narayana Maharaja, Prabhupada never intended the Delhi Deities to be called Radha-Partha-Sarathi. In the early 70s, when Srila Narayana Maharaja heard Their name, he asked Srila Prabhupada why he had done that. Prabhupada answered that he had never given Them such a name, as that would have been a contradiction to his own books. This history is confirmed by the siddhanta presented in the following conversation:
Acyutananda: The Deities name is Radha-Parthasarathi.
Acyutananda: The name of the Delhi Deities is Radha-Parthasarathi. So how do we understand? Because Partha means Arjuna. So Radha, how does Radha get there?
Prabhupada: When Krsna is Parthasarathi, Radha is out of Him? Does it mean?
Indian man (1): What you mean, Parthasarathi is Sri Krsna.
Prabhupada: Thats all. Yes. Radha-krsna-pranaya-vikrtir ahladini-saktir. When He is fighting, the ahladini-sakti is there. IT IS NOT MANIFEST.
(Morning Walk Madras, January 9, 1976 760109MW.MAD)
Here Srila Prabhupada clearly states that Srimati Radharani is NOT MANIFEST in the presence of Parthasarathi.
As far as the names Rukmini-Dvarakadhisa are concerned, although they are bonafide names, they are inferior in tattva to Radha-Krsna. Our goal is to serve Radha-Krsna in Vraja and not Rukmini-Dvarakadhisa in Dwaraka. When Prabhupada performed the prana-prathistha (installation) ceremony for "Rukmini-Dvarakadhisa" in Los Angeles in 1968, he named the Deities "Radha-Krsna", and then later he went to India. When he returned he found that a disciple had changed the name. Prabhupada became disturbed and said, "Krsna has a peacock feather and flute. He is the son of Nanda. Dwarakadhisha is the son of Vasudeva. He has no flute and no peacock feather. Why have you changed the name?" The argument was given that since the Los Angeles temple was opulent, and thus attractive to many people, the names of the Deities should reflect that opulence, to which Srila Prabhupada replied that Sri Sri Radha-Krsna are supremely opulent. Shortly thereafter Prabhupada again went to India, but despite his objection, the devotees still kept the name as Rukmini-Dvarakadisa. This was confirmed by Srimati Kaumadaki dasi who was in Los Angeles at the time.
In the following letter, Srila Prabhupada reveals his devotional sentiments:
"I am very glad to learn that you wish to construct a temple of Sri Sri Radha Krsna with nice architecture and the idea is quite appropriate for a personallity of your position. You are agreat devotee of Lord Dvarakadhisa traditionally. Lord Dvarakadhisa exhibited His oppulence at Dvaraka with sixteen thousand queens and it is understood that He built up as many palaces for each and every queen and the palaces were made with jewels and stones that there was no necessity of artificial light in the palaces. So your conception of building a temple of Lord Krsna is in oppulence. But we are residents of Vrindavana and Vrindavana has no palaces like your Dvaraka. Vrindavana is full of forest and cows on the bank of the Yamuna and Lord Krsna in His childhood played the part of a cowboy without any royal oppulence as you people inhabitants of Dvaraka think. So when the Dvarakawallas (residents of Dvaraka) meet, there may be via media."
(Letter to: Sir Padampat : 66-01-20 New York)
Even if a temple is opulent, and even if the temple worship is opulent, still, if the vigrahas are in the shape of Radha-Krsna, ie. Krsna is playing a flute, then they are Radha and Krsna:
"Radha-Krsna cannot be approached by the neophyte devotees; therefore temple worship according to regulative principles is offered to Laksmi-Narayana. Although there may be a Radha-Krsna vigraha, or form, the worship of the neophyte devotees is acceptable as Laksmi-Narayana worship.
(Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4: Chapter twenty-four, Texts 45-46)
We are free to worship Sri Sri Rukmini-Dvarakadisa but it will not help us to realize our kama-gayatri mantra which is meant exclusively for the worship of Radha-Krsna in parakiya rasa. Since Srila Prabhupada has instructed us to sing every day "ei nivedana dhara sakhi anugata koro", "O Vrnda devi, I am begging you to make me a follower of the gopis of Vrndavana", it will not be following Srila Prabhupada to try to be a follower of Rukmini in Dvaraka. Srila Prabhupada also told us to glorify him by the verse "sri radhika madhavayorapara madhurya lila guna rupa namnam " Thus he indicated that he is always eager to relish the madhurya-lila of Radha-Krsna. Therefore to worship Dvarakadisa and Parthasarathi, Who are the vaibhava-prakasa expansions of Nandanandana Krsna, is clearly not following in the wake of Srila Prabhupada's inner moods.
Controversies arise in the vaisnava community, not to give pain, but rather to clarify important philosophical points for the benefit of all concerned.
siddhanta baliya citte na kara alasa
iha ha-ite krsne lage sudrdha manasa
"A sincere student should not neglect the discussion of such conclusions, considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus one's mind becomes attached to Sri Krsna." (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila: Chapter Two, Text 117)
Therefore I sincerely pray that the points presented herein may serve to increase our attachment to Krsna so that all the members of ISKCON, which include Srila Narayana Maharaja and his followers, can co-operate together in one family to preach the mission of Srila Prabhupada and our previous acaryas.
Vaisnava krpa lesa prarthi,
begging for a slight trace of the mercy of the vaisnavas,
Tridandi Svami Bhaktivedanta
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