Srila Giri Maharaja “Get Off My Lawn!”

8/30/23 (Last day of the first month of Chaturmasya)

Dear Sriman Saraswat Putra,

My dandavats to you.

[You wrote:]

any sri chaitanya saraswat man i told of the chatermasya discrepancy in the calendar said it will not matter .

What others told you may or may not have been correct. I don’t know the circumstances or the conversation. This characterization of yours “any sri chaitanya saraswat man” doesn’t help much in evaluating how closely one should, or need not, adhere to the observance of the four months of Chaturmasya.

The rule is that one should carefully observe the four Months of Chaturmasya (as stated in the quotation of Srila Swami Maharaja Prabhupada I sent you which had been posted on the website).

Are there exceptions? Almost always. Here’s an example.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: So penance, cāturmāsya penance, that has got also some necessity in the beginning, because we are under at present, such a plane that we do not know without enjoyment. Always calculating what benefit we can derive from that, going to have a connection with anything, the second thing, how much benefit I may derive from it. It is natural. So just to check that, to check that natural irresistible attempt in our present position, some restraint is necessary. So the śāstra has come with so many restrictions, don’t do this, don’t do that. Some also concerning our health in this rainy season. And also some necessary indirectly to help our cause. But if it is connected with Viṣṇu, with Kṛṣṇa, with Hari, then that has got really, surely, some value.

Once when we were in Purī this Caitanya Maṭha had its own cultivated field. And there was _______ [?]
and other things which was barred in this cāturmāsya, went to Purī. Prabhupāda told, “Oh, from dhāma it has come. So no restriction of cāturmāsya ____________ [?] Mahāprabhu’s own field, and His own men have cultivated and produced this, so we must take this, exceptional case. In this way. Ārādhito yadi haris. With connection with that ārādhito we shall take penance so much what is necessary to help us in the service of our Lord.

— 82.07.08.B_82.07.09.A


We may not be the best judge of when we should follow the rule, or the exception. For that reason we are advised to align ourselves with and follow a higher vaishnava. If we are bereft of such association and guidance the next best option is to consult our scriptures.

[You wrote:]

you seem a verry open. kind sanyasi. but at least a little grumpy

These are very subjective opinions. They may be true; or not. That I am ”a little grumpy” (defined as: “bad-tempered and irritable”) is incongruous with your other two characterizations of me but may be more true than the others.

I think I am more than a ”little” grumpy. I am more likely very grumpy. It comes from decades of seeing apparently sincere aspirants of Krishna Consciousness being led off the track with misrepresentations of our siddhanta by those such as you described with the phrase “any sri chaitanya saraswat man”. Srila Sridhara Maharaja is a “Sri Chaitanya Saraswat man” as is Srila Govinda Maharaja. After them it is not so easy to judge who is, or is not, a “Sri Chaitanya Saraswat man.”

To be a “Sri Chaitanya Saraswat man” is to be a devotee of very high standard. Most devotees in this world are not of such a high standard.

Maybe I’m grumpy or maybe I just don’t take things at face value. I try to look beyond the obvious in the way Srila Saraswati Thakura spoke of his form of analysis.

“I am a proof reader. I always see what is right and what is wrong. My father trained me in proofreading, but I am not only a proofreader of the press. I am a proofreader of the world. I proofread men: I see their faults and try to correct them.” — Srila Saraswati Thakura, Lecture, 1926

A man who behaves in that way might be seen as grumpy by some, a fault finder by others (“I see their faults and try to correct them.”), perhaps a careful student, a realist or even a seer of the truth by still others. Our view of others (such as your view of me) is always subjective. Thus, the same person may be seen as being a wide variety of things in accordance with the subjective view of different viewers. What to speak of that, even the same viewer may see a wide variety of things in the same object (“you seem a verry open. kind sanyasi. but at least a little grumpy”) depending upon internal and external stimuli.

Krishna is at once the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a son, a friend and a lover; to name but a few. It is not that He is one of those things; He is all those things. He is everything; and more. The jivas, being expansions of Krishna, may also be seen differently through the eyes of different personalities. The jivas, unlike Krishna, are not everything, but they are something. Therefore, they will naturally be seen as some-thing in accordance with the consciousness of the beholder.

Thank you again for your comments.

The VERY grumpy,

Swami B.K. Giri