Gopi Bhava Club Correspondence
GBC and Senior ISKCON Leaders
March 24, 1992
Dear Sacinandana Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Thank you for both of your letters, which I received but have been caught in the whirlwind of Mayapura.
Thank you for your letters and so many other things. I received the books when I was in Mayapura. The mood, for me, wasn’t exactly conducive for rasika subjects, but I still appreciated their sweetness and power.
I’ve got some peculiar karma to work through. Now the whirlwind of my life will increase this year as I have been designated Chairman. Pray I survive. The service came in a funny way, which I’ll tell you when we next meet.
Maharaja seemed very happy that I’ve taken this post and he heartily encouraged me to help inspire the preaching. He seemed proud of me. It seems as if I’m bound to the dual path of internal and external spiritual life.
The meetings were hectic and long, but I think there’s light in sight. The problem is the plenary meetings, which seem to cast a peculiar spell and stop the devotees from relating to each other properly. We worked this year mostly in sub-committees but still had the perennial trouble of getting things through plenary. I plan on doing away with all plenary sessions except for positive discussions from the monitor system and just handle the comments and voting on proposals on a bulletin board. It will always be anguish otherwise.
My rounds for quite awhile have been poor and my reading has suffered. But life is going on. I spent a week after the meetings just reading. I thus gained strength and put my consciousness somewhat back together. It’s now the Vrindaban festival and very crowed and hectic. I’ve not slowed down. Other than for a 3 week interval in January, since September. Pray I survive.
Maharaja has given me the hint of seeing it all as Krsna slowly pulling me towards him. Spiritual speaking. I must clearly see it all as seva to Prabhupada’s feet. My life will be successful if I can please him. Pray I survive.
In Navadvip I visited Maharaja and presented him with your gifts. He had me read him your letter and he held it to his heart in appreciation of your affection. He looked through each of your gifts. He said he would use the two picture frames: one for Radhavinode Vihari and one for “Gurudeva.” He looked a the socks and said, “Very good for this weather. (It was humid and neither cold nor hot.) Naveen asked whether the socks were real wool. Maharaja replied, “It doesn’t matter.” He accepted only affection. (They were nylon.) He saw the foot roller and I don’t have any what he’ll do with it. Perhaps they will have peculiar chapatis at the Math. He carefully looked at the planner, diary and said, “Good book.” At the end he requested I write you and tell you that all the points that you mention in your letter will come to you by the mercy of Prabhupada and Rupa Gosvami. A nice benediction.
The mood was sweet and his benediction quite merciful.
In Mayapura, a sannyasi (Bhakti Vikas Maharaja) criticized us for visiting Maharaja. It was brought to a sub-committee and BVS was chastised heavily. It was quite a victory. Even Harikesha Maharaja wouldn’t accept the Sridhara Maharaj parallel, what to speak of Ravindra Svarupa and Jayadvaita Swami accepting it. Maharaja was seen as a time proven real friend of Iskcon, and older devotees were seen as having the right to inquire from him.
The times they are a changing. But slowly.
We’ll tomorrow be meeting with our board in Vrindaban to discuss Maharaja and standards for those who should go to visit him. Possibly: Permission required from guru. We shall see.
I see my life as compartmentalized with a tiny compartment for what I like. I bide my time. I know Krsna is watching. I wish to expand my service mood, for I know that advancement is just focusing and clarification of that mood.
But I’ll perish if I don’t read and chant and associate with extremely advanced devotees and advanced devotees of similar temperament.
Maharaja will return in April. I’ve little to ask. But when the festival ends, life will quieten. Pray I survive.
All eight gopis are now installed in Mayapura. That was real fun. I served in the installation which satisfied both duty and Rasika desires.
Maharaja gave me a nice instruction for Govinda-lilamrta. He said Don’t read it means read a little. Enough that you can digest. But he carefully warned me that devotees practicing bhajana for 40 years have fallen because of reading over their head.
Now for lunch with Prthu and the German book distributors. I’ll send this letter with Arjuna who will see you soon. I’m sorry this letter is somewhat empty, but I think that it nevertheless carries some essence.
Please keep in touch.
June 30, 1992
(To) Sacinandana Swami
You can certainly send the message to Madanaradhya das to Suhotra Swami. I have not said these things which were ascribed to me. I simply said that you were really into being a nectar hound and were getting involved in the group of others who were into this and were even willing to sacrifice the Polish preaching for going to Vrindavan to be part of that. That is all I said to Krsna Ksetra das and no more than that. It was simply information. I never said anything to Suhotra Swami neither did he ask me anything about you. I never said anything in a GBC subcommittee other than I noticed the spread of this ‘rasa bhava’ club which was not really to my liking. I cannot recall saying more than this.
I have already told you frankly what I thought of all this. What my opinion was was told to you and it was also told to others who might have asked. I might have volunteered some comment, but Suhotra Swami is taking it perhaps out of context and is also adding his own prejudice and desire to avoid such a ‘movement’ in his areas.
You will have to live with the fact that you are into an area which is not 100% accepted by the older devotees in ISKCON and which might cause you trouble. This is the first manifestation of that trouble. I will also write to Suhotra Swami about this directly. I see no reason to ‘ban’ you from Bulgaria and if someone is spreading something about you it isn’t coming from me, that is for sure. Suho Swami is famous for spreading strange things. I just had the experience again in some BBT matter.
You can only blame me so far as I might have said to someone more or less what I said to you in Zurich that day when we discussed this business.. For that I take all blame. But that is my opinion and it is not easily changed due to the personal association I had with Srila Prabhupada who got so upset with the Gopi Bhava Club where all they did was discuss slokas from the CC. That was so innocent and Prabhupada was so upset. I can only wonder what he would think of the present day situation and so-called seminars.
However, I don’t feel like stopping it since it is not my business and I am not the spiritual master of these Godbrothers. But when I am the spiritual master and I can influence others I let it be know what I want.
I will certainly watch what I say about this in the future since I had no idea that these off the cuff comments, which were not so serious anyway would be interpreted in the way they were. So I have learned a lesson regardless of my actual guilt.
I am sorry to have caused you anxiety. I will do what I can to correct the situation whether or not I am the cause.
July 16, 1992
Dear Sacinandana Swami,
PAMHO! AGTSP! I hope all is well with you and your preaching. We visited Maharaj a few times and he sincerely appreciated your letter and donation. Dhanudhar Swami should write to you as he said he would.
My life is quite hectic and disturbed with little (no) time or energy for deep spiritual life. But I wish to learn to be a servant of guru-without that I will not be able to progress.
But this period is an austerity with local, international, family responsibilities all crowding around the 2 classes each day I teach.
I wish I had more to offer, but this translation is very sweet. If Ayodhyapati already gave you well, all that I have offered you is my desire to be your servant.
With affection, Your servant,
September 30, 1992
My dear Sachinandana Maharaj,
Please accept my most humble obeisances. We are here, but where are you? It is a great loss not to have your association. I have heard from the others the reasons that (?) you could not come. Still I am dissatisfied. You will have to make it up.
Association with Maharaj is obtained with difficulty. But what we are getting is most worthwhile as you shall hear by tape. He is going over with us 10th canto, 21st Chap.-“Venu Gita.” So far we have covered 9 verses.
There is a very important song which Maharaj says is actually written by Srila Rupa Goswami. Find it beginning page 42 Kusakrata trans, “An Anthology of Vaisnava Literature.” He recites it daily. Try to learn it.
Some new translations and commentaries have come out from Adwaita Das and I am hoping that as before you can again supply me. The most important is Sri Prabhananda (?) Sarasvati’s “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi”(?) It is 544 pages long. You have sent it to Dhanudhar (?) Swami but it was not possible for me to copy. I need it as a form where it is copied on both sides of the page so it is easy to carry while I travel because I will definitely keep it with me.
There are other new titles as well including Rupa Gosvami’s “Utkaleka Vallari” which is 203 pages long. The copy you previously supplied was much shorter with commentaries for verses: 17,29,39,41,42,47,52,56,63,67. Is there a different more complete version?
Other titles I don’t have are checked off on enclosed list. If you can send all of these to me for when I arrive in Dallas on 4th December,-- how will I repay you? Or, better yet,-- perhaps we can meet when I come to Zurich for one day on December 1st. That would be really wonderful. Is it possible.
I pray your health is improved and that your sadhana and preaching are deep and ecstatic.
Tamal Krishna Goswami
Dear Mother Jadurani,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I had hoped to have a brief meeting with you in Vrindavan, but the time ran out, and I feel a little shy to approach such a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada to express my thoughts. So I shall try to convey my thoughts in brief. A few of our mutual friends approached me while I was in Vraja and expressed their concern over your lack of ability to discriminate in the matter of spreading confidential knowledge which you have received from Maharaja. I also had two brief conversations and a letter from Simha Rupini DD and I was surprised by her attitude in regards to raga marga and particularly her attitude towards her spiritual master. I felt that she was in a considerably bewildered state, and could not help but think that the concepts puzzling her had come in your association. I was also quite upset to hear about the development of affairs with Ananta Sayu Brahmacari. It will be horrible PR for our side if HH Harikesa Maharaja catches wind of this.
I guess the point that I think of the most is that you are one of Prabhupada’s first disciples and have served his feet for nearly 30 years. Therefore some exalted Kripa has fallen on you. Yet you seem to want to take the same Kripa and try to feed it to neophytes, that do not have the qualifications that you have to understand the subject matter. The result is confusion. There is agitation within and without our ranks due to this behavior. Maharaja told us to keep these secrets in our hearts. I feel our big mistake is that we did not follow his advice. We wanted to conquer the world with raga marga and consequently we have tendered such a fire in ISKCON. Rumors, offenses to pure devotees, antagonism between devotees. Why do we continue in his way? What is the example of the Prema… the candle kept in the room and the candle kept on the doorstep of the house. These are secret things… not meant for the public.
Still your CC talks on Madhya 2 are going on, you are sending people as your dyuttas to the math, and Simha Rupinis are thinking that they will have to reject their gurus shelter, and Ananta Sayus wants to move in the matha.
I become disturbed as well because there are members of our group that are very discriminate, that are preaching abroad, that are controlling themselves, and we will all be lumped into one basket based on your behaviour. I simply wish that you could curtail your flamboyance in the dispensation of secret subject matter and not feel that it is your mission to explain manjari bhava to each and every person you set your eyes upon. I never want to commit aparadha, and especially to such a high vaisnava as yourself, so please forgive me if I have done so. You have always been seen as a big teacher in our society, who am I say any, even pronounce Bhagavad Gita slokas correctly. But I have always heard Maharaj say that he wants to stay far, far away from guru abhiman, as it is pratikul for Vraja Bhava. So please forgive me if I have said anything wrong. I just want that you, maharaja, and the rest of us will cease to be misunderstood and I feel we should chasten our behaviour to avoid our being misunderstood. I hope this meets you in the best of health,
Your eternal servant,
Bhakti Brnga Govinda Swami
What follows are excerpts from letters written by Jadurani Devi Dasi and her secretary Simha Rupini devi dasi
Oct. 31, 1993
Dear Isani Prabhu,
There are three types of preachers: the kanistha, the madhyama and the uttama preacher. The kanistha preacher when he is speaking about Krsna because of his anarthas, (he has so anarthas he cannot really understand or realize anything of Krsna), so he can only give the words. Even though he may say the same words as the madhyama or uttama his words are “words”. They don’t carry the weight of the substance very much. The madhyama adhikari can give the shadow of the reality. He has almost realized Krsna, but not yet. Because he is only experiencing the shadow of Krsna consciousness, he can only give that. The uttama adhikari is experiencing the substance because he is experiencing Krsna as a Person and he sees everything clearly before him. That is the meaning of revealed. So, he can give the substance. And that substance acts. That person who is hearing, he can experience the substance. Therefore, in our preaching we want to come up to uttama adhikari so that our own anarthas blocking the hearers abilities to receive the pure thing. The we can actually be completely effective preachers. All the prayers in our ISKCON song book are for that end.
Please forgive me if I said anything wrong here. I am very foolish and don’t often say the right things. Jadurani devi dasi…
How does that sound for a good way to judge? One judges a process by its result.
Your servant, Jadurani dasi
PS I have asked Lalita to find out some information on parrots. Could you please encourage her in this, as I need it ASAP for my painting for the Venu-Gita cover.
Excerpt from a letter to Sacinandana Swami dated Dec. 15, 1994 from Simha Rupini d.d.
This letter is also a thought on our conversation in Vrndavana. One way to judge the book by Ananta Das, apart from its bonafide or unbonafide information is; --if it gives us an appreciation of Ananta das, who is a vaisnava aparadhi, and sahajiya who gives false siddhanta pranali; then it’s not good.
--and if his books give us only appreciation of the correct personalities in the pastimes and also appreciation of Maharaja and Prabhupada, then there is no harm.
When I entered the temple, Maharaja was sitting outside his room. He saw me and asked me who my guru maharaja is, where he lives, where he preaches. He asked me if I helped my guru maharaja with his preaching, and if he would be angry that I had come. I showed Maharaja a photo of you looking in towards Radha-Madhava and Rati- manjari, which I had. Maharaja looked at it and said, “I want to see his face. I want to see his face.” In my bag I have a small photo album with photos of you taken at different holy tirthas here in Vrindavan. So, I asked Maharaja if he would like to see it. He took the album and started looking at the photos. He spent a long time looking at the photos. He asked if I had shown you the photos. When I replied that I hadn’t, he asked why. I said that you had left and were in South Africa. Maharaja said, “Your Gurudeva is in South Africa and you are missing him.” When he saw you playing mrdanga, he said, “Oh, he plays mrdanga.” I said that you loved kirtan, and Maharaja nodded. There was a phone call for Maharaja so Maharaja handed me back the album. When he finished the call he held his hand out for the album and he continued looking at the photos of you. He said, “I am remembering, I have seen him before. I have seen him.” Then he asked, “Has your Gurudeva been here before?”
When I returned to Vrndavana, I told Jadurani what happened. She said, “Do me a favor and write your Guru Maharaja, and tell him what happened.”
I told her how Maharaja spend so much time looking at the photos of you, Srila Gurudeva. She said that she had never seen or heard of him doing anything like that before. Other disciples had mentioned their Gurus, but she had never seen or heard of Maharaja getting into it so much before, not like this. She said that this is her interpretation:
“I feel that Maharaja is calling your Guru-Maharaja. He wants to see your Guru-Maharaja’s face personally-have direct association with him. He wants your Guru-Maharaja to not only get his (Maharaja’s) mercy second hand through the rest of us, but he wants your Guru-Maharaja to have a personal relationship with him directly. I (Jadurani) feel that it will intensify his already beautiful relationship with Prabhupada. I feel that Maharaja is calling your Guru-Maharaja. I feel that Prabhupada is calling your Guru maharaja to Maharaja.”
So, at risk of further punishment I am writing this and sending it to you, dear Srila Gurudeva. If you decide to punish me further, then I certainly deserve it. I or you know what is best for me, and you know how much of a baby I am in all affairs (materially, spiritually, emotionally etc.)
Personally, I feel like I have my dear father (YOU); I have a mother (Jadurani); I have my uncles (Jagadish Maharaja, Tamal-Maharaja, Giriraja Maharaja). Srila Prabhupada is my grandfather, and although I know many stories about him, I never knew him personally and so find it hard to conceptualize what it would be like to have a spiritual grandfather. But through the brief association I had with Maharaja, I got a glimmer of what having a grandfather would be like.
Simha Rupini d.d.
December 16, 1994
Dear Mulaprakrti prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Regarding your points on varnasrama; I agree with you 100%. And then within varnasrama there are other processes, other kinds of sadhana, that we need to do for advancement. I’m therefore enclosing one booklet compiled by His Holiness Giriraja Swami, which contains quotes from Prabhupada on the matters of associating with pure devotees, and the best ways to make advancement, and Narayana Maharaja, and other relevant issues for Prabhupada’s disciples. This will answer many of your questions because you say that you are at a bottle-neck, or you’re at a wall, and it’s difficult for you to get past or over that wall. Please let me know what you think of this. Please read it carefully. It’s not an ordinary presentation of simple quotes; these quotes are extremely relevant in our life at this time. We are not getting any younger…
Regarding your discussion with Gopa about your “wanting to make a big splash.” You will always keep that desire for the big splash until you experience a higher taste, and that higher taste comes from associating with devotees, and hearing the right kind of Hari katha in their association - the association of pure devotees. It’s not a joke and it’s not optional, just as it’s not optional to accept a spiritual master “gurun evam abhigachet” evam means not optional but” one must” Abhigachet, one must do it. Similarly for advancement in Krsna consciousness and becoming free from anartha, one must associate with pure devotees. I was just reading last night in my class on “Lord Caitanya’s instructions to Sanatana Goswami- the process of devotional service.” Within that, Lord Caitanya talks a lot about pure devotees. One of the verses is “Somehow or other, by associating with a devotee one awakens his faith in devotional service to Krsna. Because of devotional service ones dormant love for Krsna awakens, and thus one’s material, conditional existence comes to an end.” (CC Madhya-lila 22.49)…
Now you may say “well I have Prabhupada’s association”, but if you had Prabhupada’s association he would tell you exactly what to do and you wouldn’t be bewildered. That means we need somebody’s association who has Prabhupada’s association, and can hear Prabhupada talk, and who can hear Krsna talk, and can understand exactly how we as individual can follow Prabhupada’s books, and which parts of his books are particularly relevant for us at what time. The books are meant for everybody, for thousands of different people with different qualifications. Not all parts of Prabhupada’s books are meant for all people at all times. For example, the gopis didn’t follow ekadasi. Does that mean we don’t follow ekadasi? No. We follow Rupa Goswami. Some parts of Prabhupada’s books say, “don’t hear Krsna’s pastimes,” other parts say, “do hear Krsna’s pastimes.” One part of Prabhupada’s books says that it’s so easy to get liberated and other parts of Prabhupada’s books say it’s not easy to get liberated. How to exactly follow? We need proper association on all points of Krsna conscious for every single level. To go from sraddha to sadhu-sanga to bhajana-kriya to anartha-nrvriti to nistha to ruci to asakti to bhava to prema-all those require association with devotees. How do we know if Prabhupad is pleased wth what we are doing? Can we hear him? If we can hear him then we can know that we are doing the right thing. If all the devotees in ISKCON have direct association with Prabhupada by reading his books, by being his disciples, then why does everybody have such differing opinions and why is there inner tension?..
I think you have Narayan Maharaja’s book called “Going Beyond Vaikuntha.” Have you read that ? If not can you please read it? He talks about just these exact things that you are talking about.
I have a friend in Germany who is also like a Temple President, and she is also married to a very nice devotee, and she told me that her whole life was completely miserable. She could not figure out how to get out of the ocean of just unhappiness. I gave her Narayan Maharaja’s books, now she just keeps telling me how happy she is. She always reads Prabhupada’s’ books, but even more enthusiastically now. Narayan Maharaja offers keys to help us understand what Prabhupada wants from us. The ascending process is not the Gaudiya Vaisnava process.
I’m happy that you will be coming to India to reside here in a few years. But why not come once a year just for a short time? Roll in the dust. Throw Jamuna water on you. Come very open that “my life is useless without Krsna, I want to advance.” And just come with that attitude. Don’t come with the attitude of “I am a preacher; I’m going around the world, I’m helping people to see how lusty they are and how greedy they are.” And you will see amazing results. (Will this advice help spread the preaching mission?)
Prabhupada was presenting something very special in his books, a very special practice that after a certain amount of years in the movement one has to take to if he wants to continue making progress. I’m enclosing a page from a quote from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in that regard. He talks about devotees who have been in the movement for 15-20 years, and I think you come under that category. (this is the quote: FROM SRILA BHAKTISIDDANTA SARASVATI THAKURA’S LECTURE AT RADHA KUNDA DELIVERED DURING VRAJA MANDALA PARIKRAMA IN 1932; PRESENTED IN THE GAUDIYA, 1934.
Later, Srila Prabhupada chanted the verse “aradhy bhagan vrajesa tanaya.” By the word “aradhya” upasana of Radha with Vrajendranandana is meant, a “anayaradhita nunam bhagavan hari visvaram.” All these days we have not spoken about lila. Why? Because this is our most confidential asset. This is our only sadhya. But, one should not make the mistake of thinking that anartha-nivritti is the prayojana. One thinking like this will never enter into artha pravritti. For this reason I have already started speaking about asta-kaliya lila. I know that you are not ready to hear it. But we should know that such a transcendental ideal exists within the realm of devotion. This is why anartha nivritti is essential. After the realm of anartha nivritti is artha-pravritti, pure conjugal service to Radha and Krsna. This is transcendental reality. Cillila-mithuner serat je aprakrita bastabrajya ache. If we do not know of this transcendental realm, then all our efforts may end in nirvisesavadi. Those who are chanting harinama for 15 or 20 years should know such things. The beginners need not hear these topics or they will misunderstand. These topics are for a certain audience who have started devotional service, not for all.
And “apana bhajana katha, na kahibe jathatatha” (one should not reveal one’s bhajana to others) If we disregard these instructions of our previous acaryas there may be permanent fall from the realm of devotional service.
Do not think that asta-kaliya lila smaran is the property of sahajiyas. Actually it is our affair. These have to be retrieved from the hands of the sahajiyas. Our Sri Guru pada padma heard these things from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. That is why he used to tell us these confidential things in various ways. We have heard the last instructions from our Sri Gurudeva. He said, “living in Radhakunda would be pleasant if you can deliver it from the hands of eleven immoral men.” Now perhaps, eleven has increased to 108.
December 16, 1994
Dear Visnu prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Prabhupada.
Thank-you for your letter of Nov. 25. And I have also given your message to Ramacandra dasa. I showed part of your letter where you glorified Srila Narayana Maharaja to one of your western god-sisters and she and I were extremely impressed by your realizations and sincere understanding of his glories and mercy. Regarding the photos, I am sending you a convenient size and one devotee just took new pictures of Rupa and Rati manjaris, so they should be ready in a couple of weeks. Radha and Krsna will be ready around that time also.
I am also sending for your pleasure a couple of Maharaja’s tapes which he spoke in English, and I hope that Ramacandra will do the same.
I am also sending you a couple of transcriptions as well as a new book, “Bhaktirasayana”, just printed in Delhi.
You asked about what Maharaja said about meditating on the paintings. All I can say now is there are prayers by Raghunatha das Gosvami and Rupa Goswami asking for the service of Radharani; and of course they are really manjaris---Rupa manjari and Rati manjari; so Maharaja told us to become absorbed in their prayers. So that is one type of meditation. And another is that there is a prayer to the manjaris in general, to the manjaris themselves and that is verse 38 of Stavavali: (phonetic of verse 38)
“By offering her betel nuts, my massaging her feet, by bringing her water, by arranging for her secret meeting with Lord Krsna, and by performing many other services, many gopi maidservants affectionately please Sri Radha, the great Queen of Vrndavana forest. When the divine couple enjoy Their pastimes, these maidservants are not at all shy, even in the presence of the great gopis for whom Sri Radha is more dear than life. I take shelter of these gopi maidservants, who have Srimati Rupa-manjari as their leader.”
Maharaja gives the example of a sponge which can be in the water for one second and still retain the water and a rock which can be in water for a year and come out dry. So you are like the sponge and I am like the rock, because I can see by your writing that you have Maharaja’s association, much more then me, even though you are so far away.
Do you have time and inclination to do translation work for Maharaja’s books? If so could you kindly translate one page of any Hindi book that is with you, and send it to me, and I can talk about it with Navadvipa dasa and we can try to make some arrangements for you to translate things? There are many Hindi tapes that need to be transcribed and translated into English. So please let me know how you feel about that.
When will you be coming to Vrndavana next?
I’ll end here, more in the next.
Your aspiring servant, Jadurani dasi
P.S. Don’t worry, I am throwing away the letter immediately. I will not show it to anyone.
PPS Regarding the controversy you mentioned. I understand that Tamal Krsna Maharaja, Giriraja Swami, and Bhurijana prabhu, are traveling around the west now including America and meeting with different leaders and GBC members and convincing them to make a turnaround from misunderstanding to proper understanding. So let’s see what happens at the Mayapura meetings. But either way we are not affected, we will go on knowing what we have to do. I’m enclosing “Following in the Footsteps”, compiled by Giriraja Swami if you have not seen it yet.
December, 18, 1994
Dear Jyotistoma prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank-you for your letter of November 16th. I’m sorry that I did not see you this Kartik in Vrndavana. We could have had some nice transcendental times together. But I’m sure you had better association with Malati prabhu. So I am satisfied.
Regarding your question about the Gaudiya Matha “camp” and “the branch versus the whole tree”: The way that you water a branch is by watering the root. If you try to water an individual branch then the branch will not get nourishment. Or if you cut the branch off the tree, the branch will also not get nourishment. It will wither and die. So even if there are a million branches, they are all watered by watering the root. The root is Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So if we associate with, follow, hear from, glorify, the true followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then our particular branch is nourished. Otherwise not.
Remember that at the beginning of creation Daksa invited everyone except for Lord Siva. He didn’t consider Lord Siva in his camp and there was disaster for Daksa. So you know the song “hari haraye namah krsna yadavaya namah”? One of the verses is:
ie chay gosai jar-mui tar das/ta-sabara pada-renu mora pance-gras, “I am the servant of anyone who is a true servant of the six Goswamis.”
And regarding Narayana Maharaja, I consider him a true servant of the six Goswamis and therefore I am his servant.
Another line is: tadera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bas/janame janame hoy ei abhilas.
“Birth after birth I want the association of the pure devotees of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Gosvamis.”
There is no mention of ISKCON there or that Krsna loka is only made up of ISKCON devotees. On the other hand, the members of ISKCON are also included who, strictly follow the guru parampara.
On the few occasions that Prabhupada said something about the Gaudiya Matha to a few devotees, it was about a few envious god-brothers or it was to devotees who couldn’t discriminate between the favorable and the non-favorable. But this is not a blanket statement for all devotees, at all times, regarding everyone in Gaudiya Matha. I’m enclosing a booklet compiled by Giriraja Maharaja called, “Following in the Footsteps” which should explain this to you very nicely, and I hope you will find it helpful. I think this understanding is pleasing to Prabhupada. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.
Your servant, Jadurani dasi
December, 18, 1994
Dear Brajanatha prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I’m writing this letter in pursuance of Navadwipa prabhu’s phone call to you, when he left a message on your answer phone. Both of us have looked over “Sri Pravacanamrta”, which is Maharaja’s discourses on a few of the recent acaryas, as translated by Premananda. And we found hundreds of mistakes. So we are sending back the edited copy to Premananda along with letters of request for him to comply with it; along with Maharaja’s personal request that he make the book of a higher standard. And I am sending you a copy of the letter that I wrote. Just so you will see our feelings. We are wondering if you haven’t gone to England yet if you can help Premananda to get over the fear and mistrust of we who are his friends, well-wishers and servants. If somehow or other you can figure out some way to help get him to Vrndavana for sometime, I think that all the problems will be solved…..
Your aspiring servant,
December 27, 1994
My dear-most Srila Gurudeva, (Indradyumna Maharaja)
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to your services to him.
Jadurani said that I should write to you to tell you what happened, and her interpretation of it.
You told me that I would receive Maharaja’s mercy through these senior devotees who are qualified to see him, and not to make a habit of going, and to use my intelligence (which I don’t have). Anyway, within my heart I desire to offer respects to Maharaja, especially as all the devotees who helped my godsister, Vraja-lila, like -HH BB Govinda Maharaja, HH Giriraja Maharaja, Arca-Vigraha devi dasi, etc., all, receive inspiration from Maharaja.
And you, dear Srila Gurudeva, receive inspiration and friendship from Their Holiness Tamal Krsna Maharaja, Giriraja Maharaja and BB Govinda Maharaja. And they are also inspired by Maharaja.
So within my heart that desire is there.
So, I decided to go to Mathura to speak to this mataji, also I had never been to the Kesava Gaudiya Matha where Prabhupada took sannyasa and where Prabhupada’s Deity of Lord Caitanya is.
Swami B.V. Narayan
Dear Sachinandana Swami,
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
I became so glad to receive this letter, with a woolen sweater, and one hundred and eight sri (that is Laxsmi).
I took one hundred and eight laxsmis in the shape of one hundred and eight sri’s of Vrindavana because everywhere in Vedas Upanishads Srimad Bhagavatam and other vedic literatures one hundred and eight numbers has so many good and important meanings and moods. So I received one hundred and eight and kept them on my head.
The sweater was so much large that I myself sunk inside it. The quality is so better that I cannot control my greed to wear it but it is too large. So I pray you, I humbly pray you to make an arrangement to send me one sweater of the proper size, and I am returning this one. Don’t misunderstand please and don’t be worried.
From other devotees I have heard that you are preaching in western countries, especially Germany Russia and other soviet countries. Very good. You are doing such marvellous and wonderful preaching. All are praising. I also congratulate you. I pray Guru and Gauranga and your Holy Master to bestow their mercy fully, so that you can serve in so many ways to your Holy Master and preach more wider and wider. Also sometime remember me, and when you come to India please give darsan to us.
I think this letter will see you in good health and Krishna Consciousness
Your ever well-wisher,
Swami B.V. Narayan
Zeist, August 26, 1992
Dear Sacinandana Maharaja,
Jaya Sri Radhe!
Thank you so much for your letter of August 22 and the enclosed donation. I hope you will relish my latest presentation. The more I learn about lay-outing with the computer and the copy-shop, the more the books appear the way I want them to.
I am also very happy that you like the commentaries of Panditij so much. At first these commentaries elucidate the verses, later you may find these purports hidden within the verses, without needing the commentaries. I am very happy with your encouraging letters. I really need these boosts, for there is a tremendous lack of enthusiastic devotee-association this country, which can be called nether-lands for more than one reason. Our pilgrimage has been jeopardized because the Indian Government refuses to grant me a visa for India. I have sent a special request to the Home Office in Delhi, and there’s a spark of hope that we may still be allowed to come to Radhakunda at least for Kartika. We already have the room reserved there! However, time is getting short and we may miss a part of this auspicious month even if we do get permission.
Of course, translation-work will go on now without interruption. That’s one consolation. I have been requested to translate Mahanama-vrata brahmacaris rendering of Rupa Gosvami’s ‘Uddhava Sandesa’, a beautiful book. I will write him or the publisher for permission before I start, for the time being I will continue on an extended version (4th ed.) of Vilapa Kusumanjali, which will be about 400 pages. It will be hard to complete without the help of Bengali devotees that I had counted on at Radhakunda.
I am not only familiar with Gadahara Prana’s books, but also with him personally. We had some brief satsanga between 1982 and 1984. Meanwhile I’ve come closer to him as far as siddhanta is concerned, but still I feel he has a strong tendency towards blind following. The topic of ‘siddha pranali’ that he’s preaching so fervently is highly controversial and I’ve avoided it throughout my books (although Pandit Ananta das is both a practitioner and a preacher of this.) The great teachers, such as Rupa Gosvami, Krishnadas Kaviraj and Visvanatha Cakravarti (and recently Sri Bhaktisiddhanta and Sri Bhaktivedanta) have preached revelation, the descending path, whereas Sri Bhaktivinode and Sri Gopal Guru have preached the ascending path. These rituals may be helpful for the less-inspired neophytes. With due respects, for me it is difficult to believe that all the babajis and Gosvami who give siddha pranali are advanced enough to really see the revelation of their disciples’ siddha deha in the spiritual world. In his commentary on Krsna Karnamrta, named ‘Saranga Rangada,’ Srila Krsna dasa Kaviraja has described how a spiritual body (siddha deha) is attained.:
“On the path of sacred passion (raganuga marga) the practicing devotees will mentally imagine their own desired spiritual body, as long as rati (spiritual attraction, coinciding with spiritual revelation) has not appeared in the heart, and serve the Lord in that body. When rati arises, then that body will be automatically revealed.”
I received siddha pranali also, about 10 years ago, and initially I was very inspired by it. I’m still using some items of this given identity even now, because I’m also not an awakened bhakta yet, but a little fancy in the beginning is enough for everyone.
I believe that the goal of bhajan is not to relish rasa, but to give pleasure to Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna. This is another controversy I like to avoid. The devotees should not become spectators (sahrdaya samaja and all that) but surrendered servants. This controversy runs throughout the history of Vaisnavism but by omitting these topics I try to keep my books universally appealing. Apart from that I think that G.P.’s books and his own devotional spirit are excellent. He is indeed one of the rare Westerners who have entered deep into these transcendental pastimes.
We wish you a happy Radhastami-day and we hope to hear from you again soon. As soon as I’ve finished a new book, I will let you know.
Nitai Gaura Haribolo!
April 27, 1992
Dear Sri Sachinandan Swamiji Maharaj;
Kindly accept my obeisances. Also accept the blessings of Vrindavan Dham and Radha Shyam. First I will recall you my introduction I think you remember during Kartick in 1991 you visited my kutir just adjacent to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur’s Bhajan place with Kirnas Prabhu. We had some nice istagosthi in my kutir. My name is Akinchan Krishna Das Babaji.
Actually I am writing you this letter for one very serious and humble request. I think you remember the size of my kutir. I have at least 600 books all goswami literatures. I have to perform my Giriraj puja in the same room. The room is so small that I want to make one more room so that I can keep all the books in two almirahs. Then the books will be very safe. All these are very rare books. It is difficult to find these books. The room in which now I stay is damp. It is harmful for books. If I make the room on the top then these will be safe. Because books are the most precious wealth for us it is my heart. Another thing is if you also come anytime you can also stay. You are always welcome. If you help in making this room I will always remember your great service and I think by doing this service Radharani will be pleased by you and give you special mercy. To do a service in Radhakund is very special. Radhakund is controlled by Raghunath Das Goswami. He is the spiritual captain of Radhakund. You will get his mercy. Because all these property actually belong to Raghunath Das Goswami. And the service you will do will be the service of Raghunath Das Gosvami and Smt. Radharani. I also told Kirnas Prabhu. He told me to write you. I am very sure that you will definitely do this service. Specially when you come this year during Kartick you should stay definitely at least for some day and if you can stay whole Kartick then it is indescribable. Rupa Goswami has mentioned on the glorifications of Kartick one who spends Kartick at Radhakund he attains the prem which (the) Manjaris have got. This is very special. By the request of ISCKON devotees I am translating “Bhajan Rahasya (Secrets of Bhajan)” by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur from Bengali to English. When it is finished I will definitely send you a copy. Pundarika Prabhu is putting it in computer. The total cost for the kutir to make will be Rs.33,000, i.e. approximately 1100 dollars. My Acct. no. is……..
I am eagerly waiting for your reply. Again accept the blessings of Raghunath Das and Radharani and Radhakund Shyamkund.
In the service of the Supreme Lord
Akinchan Krishna Das
September, 20, 1992
Dear Sacinandana Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I have received two letters from you dated August 31, and September 2nd.
I appreciate having such a regular and substantial correspondence with you. I hope we will be able to continue it. Since there are such few devotees who share things that we like to share, it is a solace to keep in touch with you.
I was happy to hear that you had a heart to heart talk with Astaratha prabhu and that you see that he has his own way, and you respect it even though it is different than your way or maybe my way. You mention that I might be the one who could best approach him and suggest how he should get some association with a rasika Vaisnava. Specifically this would mean perhaps to mention the name of Maharaja. I have written to Astaratha prabhu after receiving your letter but I didn’t mention that. I just asked him to tell more about how his mauna vrata and chanting went in Vrndavana and to keep in touch with him. I wanted to ask you first about some of the implications of my speaking to Astaratha about Maharaja.
The reason I bring it up is that I saw how controversial it became when I told Vegavan prabhu some things. I only gave Vegavan three tapes in which I was the only person speaking with Maharaja. And I told him I couldn’t give him anymore. But a rumor reached Jagattarini that I was giving tapes freely to Vegavan. She wrote me that she was very upset with this and so I had to explain. Then I guessed that probably others also had heard about my talking with Vegavan and that it had become controversial. So some of the devotees here are still quite secretive about this. Do you think then that it is all right if I tell Astaratha prabhu something? I would like to but I am waiting first to hear a little bit from you. Maybe I’ll mention it also to Bhurijana prabhu here. The fact is that I did start to make a little conversation in that direction with Astaratha and I saw that he was firmly opposed to the idea of going into rasika books “uninvited” But I think if I could tell him that we are invited by an authorized source, he might change his mind.
I congratulate you and make obeisances at your feet for the tremendous preaching you are doing in Russia and in Eastern European countries. I don’t doubt that Prabhupada is deeply pleased with this and that you are getting Lord Caitanya’s mercy when you preach to so many people through your Gauranga Bhajana Group. Therefore I think that you are getting confident of finding a balance between preaching and inner development.
Regarding your doubts about whether to initiate disciples. I had some doubt too. I expressed this to Maharaja recently since I stated that one should not take too many disciples but our spiritual master said that for spreading the movement a preacher may take the risk. Maharaja immediately replied that I should go on taking disciples and not stop. But he said that they should not be done cheaply. Cheap disciples will cause a disturbance for the spiritual master and for everyone. There should be some kind of test or making them wait or just finding out that they have the sraddha in the holy name and that they are qualified. But he said that one should go on taking disciples because without approaching the spiritual master they are helpless. This convinced me that I should not stop but go on in the way he directed. This may also be helpful for you in your consideration of this subject.
I am sorry to hear that you are having some health problem. So don’t ignore it. It is certainly a signal that you have to take care of your health and maybe it is a further signal also. I t was my own chronic headache problem that forced me to lead a more inner life and I am not at all sorry for it. I have gained many things. So try to keep up your health in order that you can keep a satisfying balance between preaching and inner life. The health care may be a way that you can dovetail solitary retreats.
I have been in Vrndavana for about a month now. When I first arrived I did a kind of writing retreat. One of my disciples found me a place to stay just a few minutes from the temple, within sight of the Gurukula. This has been a new experience for me to live outside the Krsna Balarama Mandir. I relish it very much and I feel like I am more close to the actual atmosphere of Vrndavana. At the same time I am in regular touch with the temple. During these weeks I also went and saw Maharaja twice a week. It remains a risky business in that you never know exactly when you can see him. One time I went and he was ill and I could not see him and then another time I went and he had gone to Jagannatha Puri. That happened two weeks ago and only today he has returned. So if one comes to India just for the purpose of seeing Maharaja, it is quite a risk.
And now the busy season is just starting and it will be harder than ever to go there and catch a darsana. Also one feels that one doesn’t want to create a burden for Maharaja. He regularly “complains” that he has no time for his own bhajana or reading of books or writing or editing or anything that he wants to do. He says all his time is stolen by persons coming to see him. When he says Oh no, you should come. But with so many ISKCON persons, other Western persons, and what to speak of all of the people of Mathura who go to see him, he really doesn’t have any time of his own. And he is too softhearted to implement any kind of secretary system to screen guests. This is another reason which complicates coming to India for the purpose of seeing him. At least I have not been going more than twice a week in order not to create a botheration for him in addition to what he already has. But even those two times a week I cannot be certain whether I will find him there. Even the meetings that I have had with him, they have been restricted to about fifteen or twenty five minutes at most. Still they are very valuable indeed.
Jagattarini told me that she was recently preparing to send you a package of tapes. I think it is important that we encourage her to keep up this work and give her whatever donations she needs. I try to impress upon her how crucial it is for me to listen to these tapes, especially when I am in the West. She knows this but still it is quite a chore to copy all the tapes.
Thank you very much for sending me the letter by Advaita prabhu. It raised many interesting points. You asked me to be confidential about it and I will. But I think you won’t mind if I discuss some of these points with other confidential friends such as Dhanuradhara Swami and Bhurijana prabhu. I see in that letter that you had asked him something about Gadadhara Prana. It was interesting to see how he did not agree with Gadadhara Prana’s advocating siddha pranali because it is so highly controversial. Then he said aside from that he thought Gadadhara Prana was doing excellent work. One question I had is whether you read Gadadhara Prana’s books or whether you think it is possible? Could we do a swanning with his books also? Or is he actually in a offensive position because of his rejecting Prabhupada as guru and therefore we shouldn’t read whatever he does? Advaita dasa is somewhat free of this because he was not initiated by Prabhupada but by Bhagavan, and so we can be more sympathetic in a sense with his going into another line. Also he seems to be balanced and especially doesn’t bring in the controversial points.
I have repeatedly heard devotees question Maharaja about the commentaries of Ananta Pandita dasa and he consistently defends them. He says that it is not so much that we are reading Ananta Pandita but we are reading Raghunatha Goswami and the other stalwarts in the live of Rupanuga who Ananta Pandita is quoting.
I have a philosophical question related to this which I have not brought up to anyone else yet but I would like to share it with you. My question is are there some controversies or quarrels that are handed down to us in disciplic succession which we may try to smooth out with the opponents? Or are all the quarrels which our previous acaryas had to be eternally honored by us? For example the disagreement which Lord Caitanya and the acaryas have with Mayavadi philosophy is an eternal truth for us. We will never associate with them or accept their conclusions as given by Sankara. But perhaps other quarrels could be settled. Especially if they are very personal and they tend to unnecessarily separate sampradayas which have some similar points. An example of patched quarrels might be given in Christian religion where at one time there were bloody wars between Protestants and Catholics. Now in a modern age I think it is an enlightened attitude they take toward each other seeing, after all, they are all followers of Christ so why should they be so much disagreeable. And in an ecumenical spirit there has even been other bridges crossed like between Christians and Jews. So Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura for example has heavy criticisms to make about the babajis of Radha Kund. And yet we seem to be developing some kind of relationship with them by reading some of the books. We realize the differences (as the Catholics realize the difference with the Protestants) but still we see that there are favorable similarities and something we can learn from each other. By the way, in this connection, the babajis of Radha Kund recently approached ISKCON Vrndavana and asked if they would pay for the food eaten by the babajis. It seems like their former donor left them and so they approached. And so Bhurijana prabhu told me that ISKCON was agreeable provided the babajis met some conditions such as stopping blaspheming Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and others.
This patching up might also extend itself to devotees who have been cast out of ISKCON for serious reasons like Nitai and others. I wonder how far it can go? On the other hand I wonder how are we’re just supposed to always be quarrelsome as something that was handed down to us as eternal truth. Even Prabhupada at the end of his life apologized and wanted to have peaceful relationships with his godbrothers.
You asked me sections in the Tenth canto which Narayana Maharaja recommended to me. The Venu Gita is Chapter 21. The Gopi Gita is Chapter 31. The Brahmar Gita is Chapter 46. The Yugala Gita is Chapter 35. (It is call Yugala because it is composed of verses which are joined pairs.) This chapter actually expresses vipralamba. Those are the gitas that he mentioned, but then there is also Rasa dance, the meeting with Krsna and the Uddhava instructions which you mention in your letter. I have had all of these bound together in one book along with Krsna stealing the Gopis’ clothes. And also the chapter where Akrura takes Krsna out of Vrndavana.
You have asked me about the song of Lord Siva and why Lord Siva praises the four armed form. I have not studied that section lately but I will take your word for it that he is actually praising the four armed form. All I can think of to reply is that Lord Siva worships many forms of Visnu. Sometimes he worships Lord Rama, sometimes he worships Lord Aniruddha and sometimes he worships Lord Krsna (especially when he wishes to enter the rasa dance as Gopisvara.) Narada Muni also worship sometimes Lord Narayana and sometimes Lord Krsna. It appears that they have capacity for sometimes aisvarya and sometimes madhurya. They are very “greedy” in that sense, wanting to approach the Lord in all His different magnificent forms and tastes. But the devotees of Lord Caitanya find that there is nothing to equal Krsna in Vrndavana and so they stick to that at all times.
Thank you again for writing.