a response to: The Narayana Challenge
by Yaduraja Dasa
Dear Parasurama Prabhu,
Thank you very much for sending me your paper on Narayan Maharaja and the DVD. When I last spoke to you (a couple of Rathayatras’ ago- when you pleaded with me not to distribute Back To Prabhupada in Brighton) you may recall you told me you only wanted “Srila Prabhupada without the philosophy”. I am very happy to see that you seem to be realising you cannot have one without the other. In your conclusion you state:
I completely agree with you, 100%, that one should speak out if one sees Srila Prabhupada being grossly offended, and certainly it is never offensive to simply speak the truth. I hope you will not think me impertinent in pointing out aspects of your paper which appear contradictory. My only wish is to assist you in your efforts to protect Srila Prabhupada from unnecessary offence by helping you not to simply add to those offences. My comments on your paper follow yours.
This however is not just the justification given for why we supposedly need Narayan Maharaja. It’s a similar justification given for why we also need the 70 or so ‘diksa gurus’ currently floating around ISKCON, and why we allegedly can’t now directly accept Srila Prabhupada as our eternal sad guru, but instead need one of the ‘living’ diksa gurus who will also writes books and give lectures ‘complementing’ what Srila Prabhupada gave. You told me you no longer hold Satsvarupa das in such high esteem since his self-confessed affair with a married women. This is probably just as well since he is one of the greatest offenders in terms of writing prolific numbers of books that do nothing but obscure Srila Prabhupada, all in the guise of “complementing” him.
I am glad to see you advocate ‘respect and free will’ rather than ‘bullying’. But sadly you are connected with an organization which practices such principles by attacking anyone (both verbally and physically) who simply offers a magazine about Srila Prabhupada’s teachings on initiation (namely those passing out Back To Prabhupada). I am looking forward to when you also write a paper highlighting this bullying and lack of respect for free will?
I wish you had just stuck to Srila Prabhupada’s words. Unfortunately you also quote from unauthorised, potentially faulty, memory-based literatures such as Hari Sauri’s diary and ‘Prabhupada Nectar’ book. You also jump over Srila Prabhupada to quote directly from Bhaktivinoda Thakura (which you should never do according to Srila Prabhupada) and Puri and Kesava Maharaja! How is this emphasising that we do NOT need to go beyond Srila Prabhupada’s teachings?! Thus you have unwittingly undermined and contradicted the very case you trying to make; that we should just stick with Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, and not go outside those teachings.
This “tendency to deviate” became prominent in ISKCON from the Mayapur meetings of 1978 where the zonal acharya system was invented out of thin air and then ruthlessly enforced on ISKCON by people like Satsvarupa das; and later in 1986 when this original hoax was expanded into a multiplicity of unauthorised guru activity, stretching right through to the present day. Compared to this huge guru hoax, what Narayan Maharaja is doing is small potatoes (though offensive nonetheless). But I note on this particular “deviation” you remain stony silent!
Unless, it seems, it is a magazine that simply seeks to restore Srila Prabhupada’s orders on how initiation was meant to be conducted within ISKCON. I remember how eager you were to stop this particular “unpalatable” truth from reaching people in Brighton.
I would love to believe that the strong stance you are taking on Narayan Maharaja is due to long held, deeply philosophical principles (albeit recently acquired), not simply because your own project is being threatened by his followers.
And people like Sivarama Swami and Satsvarupa are also setting a very bad example by competing with Srila Prabhupada to try and explain these topics in their own unauthorised books (‘Venu Gita’ etc). Indeed it was these very same ‘gurus’ who first started visiting Narayan Maharaja for gopi bhava training, thus lending him the credibility which he later exploited, and which caused the whole problem in the first place; the very problem you are now having to try and deal with.
It’s always fascinating to us in the IRM that whenever someone in ISKCON wants to preach against Narayan Maharaja they happily wheel out Srila Prabhupada; but as soon as anyone actually wants Srila Prabhupada as their eternal diksa guru he is hurriedly stuffed back in the cupboard again with claims that we must have someone else as a mediator. If it was the case that we should work to please Krishna’s representative Srila Prabhupada, then why does everyone in ISKCON claim we need intermediaries like Satsavrupa and Indradyumna etc etc? And how is this any different from those who say we must have Narayan Maharaja as an intermediary? Can you see any difference in principle? I can’t.
We are not authorised to do either. By quoting Puri Maharaja and Kesava Maharaja you are unfortunately in danger of doing the very same thing which has led to the whole Narayan Maharaja mess in the first place. You need to ask yourself why it is that people in ISKCON, apparently including your good self, can’t stick with Srila Prabhupada for more than five seconds?
Exactly! But no one in ISKCON, including so-called gurus such as Satsvarupa, Tamal Krishna, Sivarama etc etc have ever followed this. The Zonal Acharya system was dreamed up after a visit to Sridhar Maharaja of the Gaudiya math by some of the biggest gurus in ISKCON.
So Narayan Maharaja was only ISKCON’s friend when he was not trying to also steal disciples from Srila Prabhupada like all the 70 gurus do on a daily basis. As soon as he wanted a piece of the Srila Prabhupada legacy pie for himself, he suddenly stopped being a friend.
But by the same token, he did not appoint any of his disciples as acaryas in ISKCON either, apart from ‘officiaiting acaryas’ or “ritviks”. If you can show me any order from Srila Prabhupada where he authorised the GBC to dismantle the ritvik system he set up on July 9th 1977 and instead erect the current guru system, I shall send you a cheque for a thousand pounds for your programme. I used to make the same offer to our late friend Tribuvanatha, but he never came back to me on it, even though he constantly claimed he needed money for his festivals.
Why is it that the issue of whether or not Srila Prabhupada authorised any successors is suddenly important only when we are speaking of competitors to the unauthorised ISKCON gurus? Can you not see the terrible hypocrisy?
Jayadvaita Swami also criticises it, calling it ‘Food for Death!’ I trust you will soon be writing a paper correcting Jayadvaita!
By the same token ISKCON gurus say that we must take shelter in advanced ‘living gurus’. And where precisely can Srila Prabhupada’s followers find such advanced gurus? Might ISKCON’s gurus themselves be those gurus?
So taking siksa from the Gaudiya Matha is fine as long as it appears to support whatever conclusion one wishes to reach at the time. This is exactly how Narayan Maharaja entered ISKCON, since they went and took siksa from him to ‘defeat’ ritvik in the 1990 ISKCON Journal (and then later to get gopi bhava training).
By the same token, after their guru left this world, the ISKCON ‘diksa gurus’ caused controversy amongst their godbrothers when they claimed they alone had been appointed ‘spiritual and material zonal successors’ to Srila Prabhupada. Where is this new philosophy coming from? Then this zonal system was expanded to include dozens more. Where is this new philosophy coming from?
So why quote Puri Maharaja and Kesava Maharaja?
Where did Srila Prabhupada teach that we should minister to ISKCON members by teaching them that they can accept ANYONE – any Srila Prabhupada disciple, any grand-disciple, now even women – EXCEPT Srila Prabhupada as their diksa guru? You appear to be saying that one thief (NM) should leave the other thieves (ISKCON gurus) alone to steal disciples within ISKCON.
We have similar ‘premonitions of disaster’ when we see people taking initiation from the 70 or so unauthorised ISKCON gurus.
By the same token, in ISKCON they have no rigorous standards for guru hoaxers. You can marry your own disciple, have homosex and be re-instated, chase married women, spend millions on guitars, fancy cars and motorhomes etc. What the value of this procedure is, I do not know.
Ditto the ISKCON guru hoaxers. Every criticism you level at the guru thief, NM, can just as easily be levelled at the 70 ISKCON guru thieves. Of course you are more than welcome to prove me wrong and claim your £1,000 donation as mentioned above; but I shall not be holding my breath.
Here you seem to confirm my fear that you are only taking this stand to protect your own project. If Narayan Maharaja is such a deviant, then how can a ‘lot be accomplished’, as long as NM preaches to those not yet preached to by ISKCON? Wouldn’t they also similarly get contaminated with bogus anti-Prabhupada sahajiyaism?
So your philosophy appears to be that Narayan Maharaja can spiritually destroy anyone, and that’s just great, just as long as he stays away from ISKCON!
It is great that you want to defend Srila Prabhupada, but why is it that whenever ISKCON is attacked by outside gurus, its members eagerly invoke the need to take exclusive shelter in Srila Prabhupada to try and defend themselves. But the rest of the time they hypocritically invoke the need to NOT exclusively take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, lest we become ‘deviant’ ritviks, but instead take ‘initiation’ from people who were never authorised to succeed Srila Prabhupada as diksa gurus. I do hope you will one day join us in addressing this particular gross offence to Srila Prabhupada.
Very best wishes