Movie Stirs Critical Debate
Posted May 29, 2006
Illustrations: DVD jacket from "The Universal Teacher".
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Great personalities know how to foster spiritual eligibility in their disciples, and also in the hearts of people in general. They gently and tentatively introduce us and invite us to the spiritual realm, and then they entitle us to enter it.
In this regard, Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja has requested us to write
an article, in the form of an appreciation of "The Universal Teacher,"
H.H. Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja's recently released
video/documentary on the life and teachings of Srila Prabhupada's guru
maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
Illustration by Jadurani dasi from Sri Gita-Govinda.
The article has further taken the form of an exciting new website called "Unconventional Teachers." (You may also download the full 340-KB article from the website.)
The name "unconventional teacher" is a reference inspired by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's usage of the term "unconventional" in reference to the living guidance of one's bona fide spiritual master, which he distinguished from organized religious establishments. The article provides examples of various acaryas whose statements may appear contradictory, but which can be harmonized or reconciled by considering "time, place, circumstance and audience."
Editor's note: This website is designed as an extensive rebuttal, by several followers and disciples of Srila Narayana Maharaja, of brief, specific comments made in the widely acclaimed movie "The Universal Teacher." (See publication announcement at www.utahkrishnas.com)
These comments, based on quotations from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati enjoining Gaudiya Vaishnavas not to read certain books, together with an image in the movie of the cover of his scholarly translation and commentary of Sri Gita-govinda, may be taken by some as implied criticisms of Narayana Maharaja.
We appreciate the authors' ingenuity in structuring their lengthy and
detailed argument in a layered fashion, so that readers may read as
much or as little as they wish. The Chakra editors are interested in
facilitating a cogent discussion on this topic -- always, of course,
couched in terms of mutual Vaishnava respect.