Chakra Announcements

Fighting On Srila Prabhupada's Side

by Madhu Pandit Dasa, President, ISKCON-Bangalore

Posted September 1, 2009

An address by Madhu Pandit Dasa on the occasion of Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa Puja on August 15th, 2009 (slightly edited for clarity)

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my most respectful and humble obeisance on this auspicious appearance day of your Divine Grace.

Vysay Puja day is a great opportunity to share with all of Your Divine Grace's followers, admirers and disciples the glories of the inconceivable mercy that pours down from the spiritual master.

Srila Prabhupada, the very fact that I am surviving to serve Your Divine Grace in spite of continuous determined efforts by people in the garb of devotees to break our devotional service is nothing but your personal protection and mercy. You have said that preaching success bring enemies who create obstacles.

So as soon as you become successful, there will be many enemies. That is natural. That is the sign of success. (Room conversation with Srila Prabhupada, Nov 3rd, 1973, New Delhi)

You have also said that preaching success brings envy. Especially among close ones. You have cited the case of your own godbrothers. Looks like this is a rule of this world.

However, true Vaishnavas become happy when other vaishnavas are empowered with more men, money and organization for expanding the preaching. Your Divine Grace is the sole owner of all these men, money and intelligence, having freed them all from Mayadevi. You have provided all these to engage in the devotional service of the Lord. And we accept these with awe, reverence and humility to do as you order us.

It is unfortunate that due to malice, but in the name of stopping so called deviant philosophy in ISKCON, the GBC as a body, are today trying to plunder and discredit these assets of Your Divine Grace centered around ISKCON Bangalore by attacking them through the government, politicians and the media. Such is the blindness that has overtaken them. What a shameful situation for the Vaishnavas! Sometimes, thinking that it requires two hands to clap, I think it is not worth all this dirty fight. Why not withdraw and give in to these forces and sit and chant Hare Krishna peacefully. But the next second you inspire me, "Do not give up. You are not in charge of this fight, in either it's cause or it's result. Just do your duty as a servant and keep going on. No one but me can lead this war against Maya. It is my movement. I will lead you all. Just be spiritually strong and follow. Do not worry. The movement will rise up again as it was pre-1977."

It is only this repeated inspiration of yours that gives me courage to go on in spite of huge weapons repeatedly thrown at us to destroy us. Your voice inside me lightens my otherwise materially huge sense of responsibility behind this war that could materially break a tiny jiva like me. The only way you have taught me to maintain sanity in the midst of this chaos for last nine years is by thinking of myself as a simple soldier of your army, following your Divine Grace as our commander, leading the war. Your cause cannot lose and you cannot lose. Therefore I know that this war will be won. Your movement will soar to ever increasing heights suppressing the forces of Maya. Your Divine Grace will again bring the cool shade of mercy of Lord Chaitanya to millions of souls who are being scorched by the waves of Kali, as you did between 1966 to 1977.

Every devotee of ISKCON has a personal, "umbilical" and spiritual connection with Your Divine Grace

This can happen quickly provided every member of your movement understands their spiritual connection with your organization, as well as personally with Your Divine Grace. This umbilical connection of every member of ISKCON with Your Divine Grace has been severed by the other self-appointed guru's camp. And that is the very reason that they lack the drive and potency to keep the movement going as you had left it in their hands 1977. It is an undisputed fact that many things have scaled down in ISKCON since 1977, whether it is book distribution or distributing prasadam or making devotees or building temples. There is only one thing that has expanded and that continues to expand: the number of self-made gurus who rise in the horizon and also the number of such self-made gurus who fall down every year, leaving hundreds and, sometimes, thousands of disciples disillusioned. That is one sure result, different from the pre-1977 days, that ISKCON can show to the world. What an irony!! Our strength is demonstrated in the domain of Maya, and not in the domain of Internal Potency, as your Divine Grace demonstrated.

Many sincere devotees are trapped in the self-appointed guru's camp, not knowing the truth of your directions on initiation after your physical disappearance from our mortal eyes. You have said the following in different occasions:

The eternal bond between disciple and spiritual master begins from the first day he hears. Just like my spiritual master. In 1922 he said in our first meeting, you are educated boys, why don't you preach this cult. That was the beginning, now it is coming to fact. Therefore the relationship began from that day. (Srila Prabhupada letter to Jadurani DD, Sept 4th, 1972).

So anyway, from 1922 to 1933 practically I was not initiated, but I got the impression of preaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu's cult. That I was thinking. And that was the initiation by my Guru Maharaja. Then officially I was initiated in 1933 because in 1923 I left Calcutta. (Srila Prabhupada's Festival lecture on Dec 10th, 1976 in Hyderabad).

"Diksha is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksha." (Chaitanya Charitamrta, Madhya 15.108).

The methods, rules and regulations by which one is perfectly trained in devotional service constitute the bhakti-lata-bija, or seed of devotional service. ...This bhakti-lata-bija is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master. (Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya, 19.152)

Anyone seriously interested in deriving benefit by studying the Bhagavad-gita must take help from the Krishna consciousness movement for practical understanding of Bhagavad-gita under the direct guidance of the Lord. (Preface to Gita by Srila Prabhupada). "ISKCON is my body; the BBT my heart." (Srila Prabhupada's own statement often quoted by devotees).

In the light of the above quotes, let us analyze what happens to the hundreds and thousands of innocent new candidates who come in contact with your ISKCON movement. They come in contact with your temples or books or devotees. Every speaker in ISKCON is simply conveying the message given by you. The impression a devotee creates of Krishna consciousness is sourced from you. They come in contact with you through your ISKCON movement - which is an institutional mechanism created by your Divine Grace to deliver the souls. The devotees in the ISKCON temple teach the methods and rules and regulations of devotional service - all as taught by you. They read your books, hear your message, get attracted to you and develop faith in you. They are gradually enlightened by following the process given by you. All this is happening even today as it used to happen in pre 1977 days during your physical presence on the planet. On the basis of the above quotes, we see that their relation with you begins from the first day they hear, they receive the bhakti-lata-bija from you, you awaken their transcendental knowledge, as per your plan they take help from the Krishna Consciousness movement which is verily your body. An undisputable spiritual "umbilical cord" is established that connects them to you. In other words they are receiving transcendental diksha from you.

Everyone who comes in touch with your words (vani), your movement, your devotees who simply repeat your message is transcendentally initiated by Your Divine Grace to different depths based on their degree of faith and commitment to follow. This is the essence of everyone's relationship with you. This is your all expansive spiritual potency with which you are transforming the world. If this essence is recognized, appreciated, accepted as reality and allowed to work, rest is all a formality. The role of rtvik is a secondary issue as long as this essential truth is admitted. And if this essence is not recognized, or if it does not flow in the devotees' life, the form is only a show. No solution will come out of fighting over forms of initiation. On the other hand, if the essence behind these forms is understood then no one will abhor the particular form of initiation as it is being done today by us.

Can Srila Prabhupada not directly inspire and spiritually nurture a devotee today?

But unfortunately, as soon as such a faithful candidate enters the doors of an ISKCON Temple today, he is told that it is offence to think that Srila Prabhupada is directly inspiring and nurturing him spiritually everyday. In a few months he is told to look for a bona fide guru of his choice among the eighty odd self -made gurus to get initiated - as if he is already not initiated from the day he begins to hear and follow Your Divine Grace faithfully. (And as if in Prabhupada's house there could be bona fide and non-bona fide gurus!!). Then he is asked to chant Srila Prabhupada pranam mantra only as the second one in the sequence, the first one being the pranam mantra of his new guru in ISKCON. Thus begins the first step of unconsciously cutting the naturally developed spiritual umbilical cord of transcendental diksha between the devotee and Srila Prabhupada. Then he is asked to worship everyday his guru first. (Now the practice is reformed to doing the same privately as it creates conflicts in a temple with many gurus' disciples). Being a neophyte he believes that what he is told by ISKCON authorities is right or else he will be philosophically deviating and be guilty of pride of direct connection with Your Divine Grace. (The new devotees do not know that the GBC is changing its understanding on Guru every few years and continuing to do so). This is the offense to Your Divine Grace that is happening in ISKCON after 1977. As long as this goes on, there will be no substantial progress. It is only Maya that is covering the obvious from the eyes of the leaders of ISKCON, most of whom have fallen into this trap of taking Your Divine Grace's position in more or lesser degrees, many of them probably unconsciously. And the strongest reason they give to oppose the initiation by the ritvik process is that it is not in the Vedic tradition. Giving them all the benefit of doubt of no ill intention, it is this trap of tradition, despite and over and above Your Divine Grace's directive, that is difficult to come out of - having once taken such a self-appointed guru position socially.

As long as the devotees keep nurturing and strengthening their bond with Your Divine Grace as their direct eternal master, whether in this camp or other camp or any camp, they will experience your empowerment. The July 9th 1977 directive to the entire movement is the mechanism, if followed, ensures that all the members of ISKCON for all coming generations maintain their umbilical connection with Your Divine Grace. Therefore we have made the implementation of this directive a cornerstone of ISKCON-Bangalore organization in all it's form and essence. And we are experiencing your empowerment day by day. Following the order of the Guru is so important, as deviating from it will create total chaos.

Srila Prabhupada should be the primary spiritual force in everyone's life, not secondary

Your Divine Grace and Lord Chaitanya want to empower all of us to spread the Holy Name. This is obvious when we read Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta. You are waiting for takers of the task. Only qualification required is loyalty and dedication to Lord Chaitanya's pure servant, Srila Prabhupada, who has been transcendentally entrusted this glorious mission on earth for the coming thousands of years. At all costs this offense of putting someone else as the primary spiritual force and Your Divine Grace as the secondary spiritual force through someone else is to be fought against by everyone within ISKCON. That is the essence of Maya that has engulfed ISKCON today.

Current link or retired link?

The so-called Governing Body Commission (GBC) which is mostly made of gurus have been ineffective to address this problem as there is a presumption that all solutions necessarily have to revolve around their stubborn stand that Your Divine Grace has become a purva acharya post 1977 like Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and others in the disciplic succession and not a current available and accessible link for all of us. They say that Srila Prabhupada is a "retired link" who has given his place to new links of our parampara - the present gurus. This is the offense against Krishna's pure devotee that began through the concocted and formally instituted guru system invented after 1977 and is continuing till today.

Srila Prabhupada's tradition

As the Founder Acharya of the movement, Your Divine Grace will remain always the current link in the ISKCON institution. Over the years, more work and discussion has gone in determining what the gurus' position is rather than what Your Divine Grace's position is in the devotees' lives. If the self-appointed gurus camp does not want to openly follow the directive in it's form, at least they will be better off, with lesser offense, by finding a different form to stop this short circuit happening in the new devotees essential relationship with Your Divine Grace. We are hoping for that day when we can all be together in one camp, openly with our faith in Your Divine Grace without being attacked as deviants and offenders. We are hopeful that such a day will come, when the mighty ones in ISKCON climb down from their high horses of so-called tradition and sampradaya. The fact is, none of them knew any tradition in the first place, other than the tradition that you taught. Our only tradition is: 'Srila Prabhupada's tradition'.

The traps of Maya along the spiritual path are many. I know it is not all that easy to pass all the varieties of tests.

Srila Prabhupada, on this auspicious appearance day I pray that you kindly continue to hold my hand and lead me to where you think I should move every moment of my existence. Bless me so that I can be surrendered to Your Divine Grace and one day my faith and following may come to a standard of becoming a true disciple of your Divine Grace and the glorious parampara. I realize that it not easy to become a true disciple of this great parampara. My only hope is your causeless mercy upon me.

Your aspiring disciple,
Madhu Pandit Dasa