Talks Between Acharyas: An Email Exchange

Date: 7/26/21

My dandavats to you Maharaja.

Do you know the story of the brahmana of Avantipura?

You may go through that tridaṇḍī-bhikṣu _________ [?] Kṛṣṇa Himself is chanting that how he was disturbed by the public, that brāhmaṇa of Avantīpur, that tridaṇḍī-bhikṣu, how the public disturbed him. Collecting some food he’s placing on the bank of a river and eating. Some came and passed urine there, so much it is mentioned. And of course it is coming from the mouth of Kṛṣṇa Himself. The public is, may be so boisterous, so rude, so cruel, so beastly in their temperament. That collecting some food by begging and he’s taking that, and one came and began to pass urine. What more can take? Then they will put so many questions. He’s tired of answering them, he’s keeping silence. Then giving some slap. “You don’t say anything, you must be a thief, or dacoit.” In this way this is __________ [?] And this passes through the notice of Kṛṣṇa Himself. But it is necessary for the improvement of the sādhu’s condition. So He does not interfere. It helps them indirectly. That may be hateful to the world at large that they may not have any charm in future for such life, mystery life.

— 82.01.12.C_82.01.16.A

“Then giving some slap. ‘You don’t say anything, you must be a thief, or dacoit.’” “[I]t is necessary for the improvement of the sādhu’s condition.” and Krishna, “He does not interfere. It helps them indirectly.”

No one wants to be slapped, spat upon, called a thief, a dacoit, etc. but it goes with the territory of the sannyasi and even with any vaishnava. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was insulted in such ways when he went door to door to beg alms for establishing Mahaprabhus birthplace. Such treatment of us, and our acceptance of it, seems to me to be the price of entrance into the service of our Sri Guru Varga.

It is impossible to preach and, at the same time, avoid such reactions.

at audio 81.03.10.c [Srila Sridhar Maharaj says that between acharyas they must have talkings in private meetings when necessary. Not to let the subject of the meetings be known to the disciples. He uses the word secret. It’s in the beginning.]

There (at audio 81.03.10.c) you will also find my opinion regarding Sripada Janardana Maharaja’s outburst of anger. As you said, Srila Sridhara Maharaja did not like it. Who will like it? But I do not believe he was speaking of the matter in terms of absolute. That was his nature, brahminical, so he did not like crudeness, boisterousness or rowdiness, traits often present with us Westerners.

You are also a gentleman, so naturally you will not like such behavior. But it is not a disqualification for a Vaishnava, guru, etc., although it may seem to be.

“Exciting temperament, that is no disqualification.”

From the same audio you cited above:

Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Sometimes, our personal feelings about our own temperament may be so great…

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: That should be, the others will come and minimise and, temporary excitement about feelings may have a clash between the two and after some time that will be minimised and they will be friendly again. That should be tolerated to certain extent and that should be managed that if that is a standing then they should be given, different priests may not be allowed to work together, a little separation. In this way it may be managed. Exciting temperament, that is no disqualification. But we must try to manage in combined, and maybe managed to be a little distant between the two who have not worked together, in different planes, the feeling may be changed, or something like that. But if he has sincere earnestness to preach and qualification of that sort for the propaganda of his Guru, Guru’s dictum, then he should not be eliminated. Some eccentricities may be tolerated, if the main thing is there.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj says that between acharyas they must have talkings in private meetings when necessary. Not to let the subject of the meetings be known to the disciples. He uses the word secret. It’s in the beginning.

(From the same discussion.)

Devotee: We are seeing that sometimes there is not so much secrecy and sometimes things become publicly known. So it is very…

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Of course it is known, it may be known, . . .

Parents should keep private and secret the means by which their children are produced. They should not expose that process to the view of their children. But at some point they will explain to their children the process of “production.” Then the secret is out and when the children realize what happened the reaction may come: “Oh mom and dad did that? How ugly. I don’t want to think about it.”

This is my experience, what you do not want known: “Of course it is known”.

I have never disagreed with the ideal you presented: “acharyas they must have talkings in private meetings when necessary. Not to let the subject of the meetings be known to the disciples.” But in my experience those talks always become known, it is just a matter of time until they do.

We are disciples. But our gurus have told us many things, discussions among acharyas that were once held as private. How long did they remain private? When instructing us about privacy our gurus used examples from their own private talks. That means they exposed to their disciples what occurred in those “private talks.”

“Puri Maharaja is a kanishtha-adhikari.” so said Srila Govinda Maharaja about the guru of Sripada Bodhayana Maharaja and the acharya Paramadvaiti Maharaja and his group flocked to after Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s disappearance. Does that expression qualify as one which should be kept private?

What was Srila Govinda Maharaja’s justification for using it? He answered the question himself: “I did not say it. Gurumaharaja [Srila Sridhara Maharaja] said it.” Now, to whom was Srila Govinda Maharaja speaking when he told about this private talk he had with Srila Sridhara Maharaja? He was speaking to Mahananda and told him to tell it to the devotees of SCSM. Why would he do that? He explained that also: “For the protection of the Mission.”

Did it then remain within “the Mission” as a secret only to be shared with members of the Mission. No. “Of course it is known, it may be known, . . . “ and it was. It became known to Sripada Puri Maharaja’s disciples who then came (with some goondas) to Srila Govinda Maharaja and asked, or demanded, he say it was not true. Now what? He exposed a more bitter truth, one that may have been even more devastating to the disciples of Puri Maharaja: “I did not say it. Gurumaharaja [Srila Sridhara Maharaja] said it.”

In the scriptures we find the same thing. Sri Narada to Srila Vyasadeva: “What you have done, that is most filthy thing. Jugupsitaṁ means grave hateful things. Hateful things you have given, you have distributed to the world in the name of their real benefit. You are treacherous.”

Srila Sridhara Maharaja:

And the Nārada also came with such stricture.

jugupsitaṁ dharmma-kṛte ‘nuśāsataḥ, [svabhāva-raktasya mahān vyatikramaḥ
yad vākyato dharmma itītaraḥ sthito, na manyate tasya nivāraṇaṁ janaḥ]

[“You have committed a great wrong. In your injunctions of religious duty for the masses, you have sanctioned condemnable worldly works for fulfilment of mundane desires. The masses are already by nature attached to condemnable worldly works for fulfilment of mundane desires. It is a great wrong because the worldly masses will conclude that your messages alone are the central religious duty. Even if they are taught by other knowers of the truth to refrain from those worldly works, they will not accept those teachings, or, they will not be able to understand them for themselves.”] [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 1.5.15]

“What you have done, that is most filthy thing. Jugupsitaṁ means gave hateful things. Hateful things you have given, you have distributed to the world in the name of their real benefit. You are treacherous. In the garb of an Ācārya you have given delivery to things which is all sham; not any real thing you have given to the world. And reality is He, Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Good. Not His halo, nor the explanation of the description of the negative side of the world. The good and bad in the wholesale is wrong. In a dream, good or bad, everything is bad, everything is false. So you have dealt with sattya, raja, tama, Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Satya-loka, Mahar-loka, Janar-loka, all in the negative side. And you feel great satisfaction that you have given much to the world, but that is within the jurisdiction of the negative side.

And about positive, what you have told that is non-understandable, a vague thing, a Brahman what is Brahmān? In Brahmāpura, in the domain of Brahmā, everything is there, so many jewels there buried in the Brahmloka. Brahmaloka means the halo of the real world of love divine. That is Brahmaloka from outside, only the halo. On the verge, on the last point, last plane of this mundane world of exploitation, you say there is something, Brahman, and some Puruṣottama, all these things, vague things. But you have not given delivery of the real thing. God, the beloved, the lover of the whole world, and every jīva has got his fulfilment in His service. What’s concrete, the life’s fulfilment, you have not distributed to the world. So many forms and fashions and ornaments, and in dignified language you have distributed, all empty things.”

In this way he came, jugupsitaṁ, gaditam, ninditam. “What you have done, that is blameable, dharmma-kṛte, because the stamp is religion, but ultimately the thing is not, bogus. It is the parcel, over parcel this is nectar, but we find this is poison. Dharmma-kṛte ‘nuśāsataḥ, svabhāva- raktasya mahān vyatikramaḥ. You’ve done a great misdeed to the world. Yad vākyato dharmma itītaraḥ sthito, na manyate. Because, you were respected by the whole scholarly world that you know the best what is religion. Now if anyone comes to give the delivery of the real thing, people won’t accept him at all. So, I have come to you and you…

— 82.02.28.B

Why did Sri Narada say such things to Vyasa, and why did Vyasa expose these things to his disciples AND the public? For the protection of the Mission, to maintain the pure conception of Krishna Consciousness.

Why do we accept the Brahma Mohan lila, the bewilderment of our mula-guru? Madhvacharya did not accept it. But Mahaprabhu did, why?

Srila Sridhara Maharaja:

Madhvācārya, he in his conception of Ācārya mentality, he could not harmonise with this brahmā-vimohana chapter with Guru, the Sampradāya Guru, the first inaugurating Guru of the Sampradāya, Brahmā-Madhva-Sampradāya. So Madhvācārya has omitted these two chapters of brahmā-vimohana from Bhāgavatam.

But Mahāprabhu He did not. He accepted Śrīdhara Swāmī’s edition, belonging to viśuddhādvaita-vāda, of Viṣṇusvāmī, rāga-mārga. They’re followers of rāga-mārga, the Viṣṇusvāmī Sampradāya. The branch of whose is Vallabha Sampradāya at present, many in number, specially in the Gujarat side, the Vallabhis. Vṛndāvana also found New Gokul, a New Dvārakā, they have established, the Vallabhi School. They’re followers of rāga-mārga. Śrīdhara Swāmī belongs to that section and he has accepted those brahmā-vimohana two chapters in his book and has given his commentary.  Mahāprabhu accepted that, caritāmṛta, there we find mentioned.

But Madhvācārya he could not accommodate that how Guru may be seduced. How? He’s always, he could not tolerate that Guru may not know everything, may not be omniscient. He could not accommodate this idea, this Madhvācārya. But Mahāprabhu did that.

— 82.07.03.C

We are, in a sense, in the disciplic succession of Lord Brahma and his short comings are known to us, written about in our books and exposed not only to his disciples, but to the public. How private should be the pastimes of Shiva with his consort or with Mohini Murti? But these very intimate things are known to us and open for anyone who cares to look, to find.

Should this have been kept private:

For the past year Sripad Giri Maharaj has conducted a disinformation campaign, publicly criticizing Srila Acharya Maharaj, and the Acharya Board, established by Srila Govinda Maharaj. With the hope that he might desist or correct himself, we have not taken action against him. However, he refuses to stop. We now see the necessity of protecting our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math family, and openly express our unanimous disapproval.

. . .

We must inform the devotees that Giri Maharaj is acting offensively, independently and without authority. We do not recognize him as a bonafide leader of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. We advise all faithful followers of Srila Govinda Maharaj to avoid his association, personally, or through email and the internet.

— Censure of Sripad BK Giri Maharaj by the Acharya Board of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math 20 July 2011

It was not. It was posted by the so-called Acharya Board on the Navadwipa Math’s website and remains there to this day.

What is wrong with it, in my opinion, is not that they made their opinion known to the public but that it is unsupported by any evidence. Their claims are, in fact, lies or, at best, distortions of the truth.

“Sripad Giri Maharaj has conducted a disinformation campaign.” Really? What was the disinformation? They don’t say. They can’t say, because there was none. What I said was true. It was information, not disinformation.

Years later the point was conceded but without reference to the fact that I was the one who had made it years before, immediately following Srila Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance.

At present, there remains confusion within our Mission on these points:

whether the Acharyas appointed by Srila Gurudev for the Western world are right to perform their duties as Acharyas.

whether their positions as Acharyas are equal to the position that I have been given.

. . .

2. Succession: a ‘successor’ is someone who takes a position previously held by another person. As Srila Gurudev was the Acharya in all the regions in which he appointed Acharyas, so all whom Srila Gurudev appointed to the position of an Acharya after him in those regions are his successors in the Sri Rupanuga Guru-parampara and are empowered to give their sincere disciples initiation and the seed of divine love.

. . .

it is not that any one of Srila Gurudev’s successors should be considered superior or inferior to another or that what they can connect people with is of greater or lesser value. All the devotees and newcomers within our Mission can take shelter and serve under the guidance of the Acharyas appointed by Srila Gurudev according to their faith and be confident that they are on the path of pure devotion given by Srila Gurudev and Param Guru Maharaj.

— B.N. Acharya Maharaja, 13 April 2016

What the IAB (International Acharya Board) did with respect to the Acharyas Srila Gurudeva selected, demeaning them to make it seem they were to be servile to the IAB and to Acharya Maharaja, was done with their followers, publicly and supported with postings on the Navadwipa Math website. What they presented was a perversion of Srila Gurudeva’s Will, his teachings and a corruption of his Mission. It would have disastrous results for the parampara by making it all but impossible for disciples of the acharyas selected by Srila Govinda Maharaja to serve their gurus with the same faith we had learned to have in ours.

I see this idea has rubbed off on you. Recently you wrote me (and I began a response as follows):

In my humble idea, there are functional Gurus and the real stalwarts like Srila Govinda Maharaj and Srila Sridhar Maharaj.

From our vantage point it is very difficult to say, and it is not for us to say. Of course, you can say to your disciples and friends like me but I don’t think it will have much weight beyond these two realms.

There will be functional gurus for functional disciples and stalwart gurus for stalwart disciples, Guru lakṣaṇa, śiṣya lakṣaṇa. Srila Sridhara Maharaja said Guru tattva is very mysterious, and it is so true. The situation is this: brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva, guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja. The jivas are floating up and down throughout the universes and could be paired, or not, with any guru. But guru-krishna-prasada, if they get a guru, it is by Krishna’s grace and we must think He is the perfect match-maker. And there is acharyan mam vijaniyan, when that transaction takes place, Krishna is there in the form of the guru to guide the disciple. How Krishna is guiding may even be unknown to the guru: aham vedmi suko vetti, vyaso vetti na vetti va but Krishna will not neglect the sincere seeker (na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati).

Srila Sridhara Maharaja:
It is also said that for the sake of your friends near about you will give up your ideal. That is also recommended. But it is also told, sarva-dharmān parityajya, if necessary to maintain the high ideal you will have to give up your friends also. The high type of idealist they give up their country, their family, their friends, everything, but can’t give up the ideal. So the idealists…

Devotee: _______________ [?]

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: We are spiritual opportunists. Will you follow, be able to follow? The śikṣā Guru, our Guru paramparā is that of śikṣā Guru, not of dīkṣā Guru. Do you follow? Do you understand? The Guru paramparā, you will find,

mahāprabhu śrī-caitanya, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anyarūpānuga janera jīvana [viśwambhara priyaṅkaraśrī-swarūpa dāmodara, śrī-goswāmī rūpa-sanātana]

[“Mahāprabhu Śrī Caitanya is non-different from Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and is the very life of those Vaiṣṇavas who follow Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī. Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Goswāmī, Rūpa Goswāmī, and Sanātana Goswāmī were the givers of great happiness to Viśvambhara (Śrī Caitanya).”]
[From Songs Of The Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas, p 90-3] [This verse is the sixth of eight describing the Brahma-Mādhva-Gauḍīya sampradāya as compiled by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura.]

In this way the line of descent of the highest truth of Kṛṣṇa consciousness: the channel that is of śikṣā Guru. There, who has a standard of realisation in a proper line that has been taken in the list of Guru paramparā, not of dīkṣā paramparā. Dīkṣā is more or less a formal thing, and the material thing is śikṣā Guru, and if śikṣā Guru and dīkṣā Guru is congruent, most fortunate we are. So it is necessary, in śāstra it has been told that, Guru lakṣaṇa śiṣya lakṣaṇa. What should be the signs of a Guru, and what will be the symptoms of a disciple. Disciple and preceptor, in the scripture their lakṣaṇa, their symptoms, have been described. The Guru must be of such order, and disciple must be of such order, and they will come in connection and then it will produce the desired result.

And also it is mentioned in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, when a better person is available then those of lower type they should not venture to make disciples on their face.

Suppose you have got a better seed, you have got the land, the better seed should be utilised first. And if better seed is not available then ordinary seed may be sown. Do you follow? For the interest of the whole, the better seed should be given first chance. If we’re indifferent, if we’re pure in heart, if we’re selfless, then the better seed should be allowed to be sown first, as much as possible, wherever it is available. Lower type of seed should be withdrawn.

So when a higher type of Guru is available to any circle, the lower type of Guru they will think not to interfere for the benefit of the whole, and that is the wish of the Supreme Will, Supreme God. It is not a monopoly of anyone. It should be the monopoly of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and wherever that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is available, we’re concerned with that.
Kṛṣṇa says in Gītā, and many places, in Bhāgavatam especially that, “I start the movement, but gradually by the enervating influence of the plane, that goes down. And then when I find that it has gone down considerably, then I shall have to come again and to give a fresh movement. And then again I find that that is going down by the adverse influence of the environment. And again I send some person of My own to clear the position and to give some fresh energy, invest some fresh capital. And again I find that, in this way things go on here.”

We should look to the standard of knowledge, what is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not a thing to keep in an iron chest and keep the key in his one hand. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not any particular persons monopoly. It is there, wherever it is we must bow down our head. One who has got eye he will see it. So we shall, divya-jñāna, but that sort of eye is necessary. What is Kṛṣṇa consciousness? The Guru should try to impart the capacity of reading what is Kṛṣṇa consciousness proper – and must have sincerity. It is not a trade, not a monopoly. Where is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the sincere souls must hanker, and thank their stars that ‘I can appreciate this is Kṛṣṇa consciousness,’ wherever it may be I can appreciate. ‘Oh, this is real Kṛṣṇa consciousness.’ We should thank our stars if we can feel it, understand it, conceive it, Kṛṣṇa consciousness proper.

The conscious world is remarkably fluid and subjective. Today you pose this idea:

Many want to put in the same pot what was Gurudeva’s succession and others.

In my humble idea, there are functional Gurus and the real stalwarts like Srila Govinda Maharaj and Srila Sridhar Maharaj.

Exactly what you mean is not so clear to me but it seems you have some doubt about the adhikara of some or all of the gurus named by Srila Govinda Maharaja. But previously, just after Gurudeva’s disappearance, when I was trying to persuade you to follow his order to you to accept the post of acharya of Brazil, you would not. You claimed (paraphrasing) “the higher seed should be distributed instead” so you would not initiate and, also, whatever the IAB decided you would follow that.

The subjective world of Krishna Consciousness is very dynamic, wondrous and beautiful.

If Guru disciple becames just a distant relation and a foto at the altar, then we will fall into a life of defense of an institution.

That began in 2010 immediately following Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance when the IAB decided they knew better than Srila Govinda Maharaja and ignored his selection of six acharyas in favor of one worldwide acharya [in “defense of an institution”].

A couple years ago a disciple of Sripada Damodara Maharaja (Srila Swami Maharaja’s Godbrother) called me and asked about the activities of your two sannyasa disciples in New Zealand, where he lived and thus knew these two men who are preaching there. He wondered if they had the right to be initiating disciples. My reaction was “Yes, why not? After the disappearance of one’s guru, his disciples who feel the necessity to do so may initiate their own disciples. That is the way the parampara is continued.” Later I realized what this man really wanted to know was if I thought the two sannyasis were qualified to be gurus. I knew almost nothing about them, except what I have just stated, they are disciples of Srila Govinda Maharaja, they are sannyasis and through their preaching newcomers are coming and seeking initiation from them. These are the general qualifications for a guru.

The question to me was something like “A couple down the street just got married. Do you think they should have children?” Generally speaking the answer is “Sure, why not?” It’s not really for me to say, is it? The matter is between the husband and wife.

So too with guru and disciple. Govinda Maharaja once told me “I am not the god who decides who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.” In the same way, I am — and we are — not the god to say who should seek initiation from whom or which “whom” should give initiation. Nature will take its course. Guru krsna prasade pai the guru is given by Krishna and, as Srila Govinda Maharaja once said, “Not even Krishna can break that relationship.”

Later some of the disciples of that sannyasi from New Zealand (I can’t remember his name) began to write to me and ask some questions. The fact is I highly doubt his qualifications, but I never expressed such a thing to his disciples. Even when there was good opportunity to do so, I avoided it completely. It is between him and them. My answers came from our gurus and scriptures which all say the same thing, the guru should be seen to be as good as God.

What you refer to as “functional Gurus” may be your vision (mine also) but I don’t think it is perfect vision. There are many things going on in the background and it is all Divine arrangement. I like to leave it there unless some very specific and serious doubts are presented to me for my scrutiny and advise.

My business is with my guru “Only Śrī Vṛṣabhānu Nandinī and my Śrī Guru-pāda-padma beautifully serve Kṛṣṇa at all times; I do not know, nor do I need to know, who else does or does not.”:

tā̐ra sama anya keha dhariyā e nara-deha
nāhi dila kṛṣṇa-prema dhane

[“No one has ever assumed a human form and distributed the wealth of Kṛṣṇa-prem the way he has.”]

We have also been fortunate to hear from the holy mouth of our Śrī Guru-pāda-padma that while speaking Hari-kathā to one servitor, Śrīla Prabhupād said, “Only Śrī Vṛṣabhānu Nandinī and my Śrī Guru-pāda-padma beautifully serve Kṛṣṇa at all times; I do not know, nor do I need to know, who else does or does not.” This is the ultimate example of devotion (niṣṭhā) to one’s mūl-āśray.

— Srila Govinda Maharaja, Originally Published in Śrī Gauḍīya Darśan Volume 14, Issue 2, Tuesday, 1 December 1970

Now back to the question of secrecy…

Madhvacharya eliminated two chapters from the Bhagavatam. How many chapters of your preaching life will you try to keep secret from your disciples, from the public, etc.? And, how much energy will you expend to keep the secrets secret. You may have that type of energy, I may not.

“But he is very open.”, Srila Govinda Maharaja said about me. And about himself also. You can decide for yourself how much this is good or bad and apply the principal as you see fit. That is your prerogative. (Paraphrasing Srila Sridhara Maharaja) “You, not me, will have to suffer or enjoy the results of your actions.”

In my experience it is very difficult to keep secrets. It takes a lot of mental energy to hide something from someone, so my tendency is not to hide and not say or do anything that needs to be hidden. And also I have seen, over and over again, what someone has attempted to hide, sooner than later becomes known to others. When it does, he becomes distrusted because people wonder what he is hiding from them now.

If our policy is to keep something hidden from our disciples, does it mean we keep it hidden from all our disciples? Or might there be one or two with whom we feel confident they are, or should be, mature enough to understand the thing we are hiding from others? From what I’ve seen, as soon as one is told the secret, very soon the secret becomes known to many others. When it is known to many, it is as good as being known to all.

However, it does not become known exactly as it should be. It becomes known differently, as you said about the telephone game. It becomes distorted in the telling from one person to another.

I don’t say it is absolute, that I say everything publicly and keep nothing to myself, I already told you that. But I try to avoid the secrecy game as far as possible because what I say — and what I believe — I want it to be exposed to the public, as I have said it, not distorted by others. Then, what I have said and what I think will be open to reflection and criticism. If I am right it may be appreciated by others and if I am wrong perhaps someone will try to correct me.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: So many last weeks I insulted them [the GBC] permanently and the talk has been recorded, eh?

Devotees: (Group laughter?)

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: You caught me.

Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: I won’t distribute this recording.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes, you may distribute.

Devotees: (Group laughter?)

Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: All right I will.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: What I am within me, the people will know and they will abuse me.

Devotees: (Group laughter?)

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: But what I am, if I need to be abused it will be well and good, any offences will be purged out.

— 82.02.25.E

And the other side is also possible:

Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Yes, but the more that you reveal to us about yourself, the more we become attached to your lotus feet.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Gaura Haribol. Gaura Haribol. That is also captured here.

— ibid

No risk, no gain.

Immature disciples—

Here in the USA we have seen a number of different attempts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a virus that is airborne, cannot be seen by the naked eye, or even very powerful microscopes, and is so tiny it easily passes through almost any type of cloth, including those designed to stop the transmission of germs. If one could be kept in a biosphere bubble controlled to such an extent that no germs or viruses from outside could enter, one could avoid infection by the COVID virus along with numerous other diseases. But only so long as he remains in the bubble. As long as he is in the bubble he develops no immunity to any diseases that may attack him outside it. Thus, he is essentially defenseless against them and in a far weaker position to deal with them than one living outside who, if attacked, will more likely be able to defend himself as his immune system has already dealt with thousands upon thousands of such attacks every day of his life.

Which, is preferable? To keep a child in a bubble where no disease can attack him or; with nourishment, support, and guidance in managing the dangers outside, help him adjust to the natural world outside the biosphere bubble? Both are needed, protection and exposure. They must be balanced. But they cannot be balanced perfectly and, in the end there is the most important element; one’s own will to survive, or live.

It is remarkable to me how resilient children are. Most survive all kinds of diseases and injuries in an almost miraculous way. At the same time, others are remarkably delicate and do not survive even minor afflictions and in some cases the difference between survival or not seems to depend upon one’s fighting spirit.

Disciples are much the same way as the children just described. We do not keep them in a monastery like a bubble child, although some religious orders do. Instead, we offer our disciples a brief introduction to Krishna Consciousness and then send them out to preach about it to others. With some support from us most of them survive the rigors of the many challenges to their faith in Krishna, their guru, our scriptures and so forth. With each challenge survived they become stronger and able to face even greater challenges.

One may cut the apron strings too early or too late. Both have their dangers and we may differ about when it should be done.

Overall I feel confidence that guru and Krishna are looking after all these matters and na hi kalyana krt kaschit the sincere seeker will never be defeated. His own sincere desire, his own will to find Sri Krishna will cause him to overcome all obstacles, because the guru is Krishna and He will never abandon a sincere seeker.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj says that between acharyas they must have talkings in private meetings when necessary. Not to let the subject of the meetings be known to the disciples. He uses the word secret.

You are trying, humbly, to correct me by suggesting I should rethink what I told you yesterday “Secrecy means conspiracy.” or some other thing. Very good, there is some result from our discussion. And praise or blame, both are valuable, perhaps blame more so than praise.

These words may disturb you, but they are like nectar to me.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: So many last weeks I insulted them [GBC] permanently and the talk has been recorded, eh?

Devotees: (Group laughter?)

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: You caught me.

Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: I won’t distribute this recording.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes, you may distribute.

Devotees: (Group laughter?)

Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: All right I will.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: What I am within me, the people will know and they will abuse me.

Devotees: (Group laughter?)

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: But what I am, if I need to be abused it will be well and good, any offences will be purged out.

— ibid

And when I recall hearing Srila Sridhara Maharaja say “I pass urine on their GBC (that of his Godbothers)” and “that dollar, diplomacy, despotism, in the name of devotion and dedication, and divinity” I feel great joy.

Mādhava Mahārāja: So Mahārāja, they are arguing that Prabhupāda wanted everyone to work under the GBC, but we are not doing that, so therefore anything we do is unauthorized.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: And authorized from the greater circle. GBC committee resolution is recommendatory, but the general sayings of him, go and preach about Kṛṣṇa, general call. But to facilitate that, he appointed some gentlemen. That does not mean that he has given everything within their whimsical fist. At present that dollar, diplomacy, despotism, in the name of devotion and dedication, and divinity. God is within their fist, Kṛṣṇa; and they think like that. But that is the opposite, they will have to think.

So much pride: “Whatever we view, we’ll dictate, and that cannot but be the opinion of Guru and Gaurāṅga, Kṛṣṇa.”

— 82.05.15.C_82.05.16.A

I feel no need to tell the public what you told me about Janardana Maharaja, that he was throwing the “f… you” phrase at other acharyas in such rapid succession it seemed like a machine gun firing. But it may come out from me at some point indirectly. And by then many persons will probably already know about it.

Not long ago I told Prabhu Gokulananda “I am sympathetic to all of them.” I was referring to you, but also Acharya Maharaja, and the other acharyas named by Srila Govinda Maharaja and even Goswami Maharaja. But not just them, I am very sympathetic towards all those who have come out for the service of Sriman Mahaprabhu under the banner of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Because I know it is not an easy thing to leave behind the life of a conditioned soul. It is a great trial and a difficult journey and I want to see everyone complete it. If I can help them, I want to help. That is my sincere feeling. How can it be otherwise?

“They may believe or may not.” but along with the aforementioned, I identify very closely with the following:

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: “So this year, GBC meeting mainly concerning this nasty fellow.” [Himself, Srila Sridhara Maharaja]

Hare Kṛṣṇa.

But I cannot, I like them, I love them, but I can’t betray my conscience towards Mahāprabhu and Gurudeva. My own sincere understanding about Mahāprabhu, and spiritual scriptures, and Gurudeva and Vaiṣṇava, what I know I can’t betray them for the acquisition of the favour of GBC. I can’t sacrifice them. But still I think that I love them. I love them for Swāmī Mahārāja. He had affection for me. And it is a great work he has done for Mahāprabhu, so laudable. A blind man also can see what magnitude of service he has done for Mahāprabhu. For his connection, still affection and I’m well-wisher of ISKCON. They may believe or may not. This is the question of my heart. If I don’t love them as a child of Swāmī Mahārāja then think I do injustice to the cause of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya as well as my faith in my obligation to Guru Gaurāṅga, and Bhāgavata and Gītā and Vedic knowledge. I can’t commit suicide. I cannot be a traitor to my own self, to my own understanding and sincere realisation. That is my position.

— 82.02.25.E

The following also mirrors very closely my understanding of myself.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja:

So when Guru Mahārāja was present I got some appreciation. I have got some faith, confidence, in my own decision, spiritual decision on that plane. And I feel that I have got some experience about the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ontological things. So I cannot submit to anyone and everyone, to their decisions. That seems to be childish to me. This is not self conceit but away from the taṭasthā, from taṭasthā temperament which I am describing for any other, without concerning myself. Impartial, as an impartial judge, this is my knowledge, in my dealing, in my frame of thinking. I don’t care for any future ambition, still any necessity of caring other’s opinion so much. My life is finished, almost finished _________________ [?]

About two years ago one my experienced law God-brothers told that, “Your disinterested nature and strong common sense, has given you some unique position in the Mission, whole of the Mission. Non interested nature and strong common sense in the spiritual realm also.”

Gaura Hari. I do not want any help from others. At the same time I do not want to submit to them things that I have, to submit to anyone, of the present living persons.

— 82.02.25.E

How is it possible this letter has become so long? I have no answer, it just happens. It’s all so interesting to me I get lost in the discussion. I could write volumes more, but it’s not fair to you and I’m reminded I must do some other things. My neck pain is also telling me to stop, so I will.

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.

Affectionately yours,

Swami B.K. Giri