Reply To Aniruddha
Posted April 22, 2006
Dear Aniruddha prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga. All glories to the assembled devotees.
I read your article in its entirety. I immediately thought to contact you personally, and also your father, Pradyumna prabhu, whom I had not seen for a few years. I have great affection for you, though I haven't seen you in several years. I knew you practically ever since you were born, and I have seen how Srila Prabhupada gave you so much attention and mercy. I have always considered your mother as my dearly beloved sister. So I want to help you.
I travel a lot. When I saw your article I had just arrived in N.Y.C. from Germany, where I had spent a week at Srila Narayana Maharaja's Harikatha Festival -- where about 700 devotees had gathered and felt new strength and joy in their Krsna conscious lives from the festival and his loving association.
So by Sri Krsna's arrangement I was in N.Y.C. when I saw the article. The next day I was speaking about it with a god-brother at Thompkins Square Park, just by the tree under which Srila Prabhupada began the Krsna Consciousness movement in America. By Lord Krsna's arrangement that god-brother had just spoken to Pradyumna prabhu about your article, and said that Pradyumna was very sad and sorry to see the article. He told me that Pradyumna lived just a couple of blocks away from where we were speaking.
I remembered Pradyumna prabhu, my god-brother, to be a gentleman, a Vaisnava and a true Vedic scholar. I knew that although he is not a siksa disciple of Srila Narayana Maharaja, as I am, he has a very warm relationship with him. Soon Pradyumna and I were speaking on the phone. He told me he had not seen you for a couple of years. He had just written to you to beg you to retract your article from Chakra, but there was no reply. Pradyumna prabhu and I both came to the same conclusion:
If I were to write an article in response to you with my understanding of the situation, you might not believe me. You might then write another article criticizing Srila Narayana Maharaja. Or someone else might not agree with me and then write a criticism. To tell you the truth, I don't think I would be able to bear the pain of that. It would be too painful for me. It would be as painful as if I would hear criticism of my heart and soul, my most beloved Srila Prabhupada. Also, it would be painful because I am aware of how much the criticizer would have to suffer for those offences to a pure devotee of the Lord. I would feel too much pain for the criticizer and the innocent readers of the criticism.
Pradyumna prabhu and I decided it would be better if he personally wrote the article. We felt it would be more effective. He is, after all, one of the subjects of his son's article, he is a respected member of the Vaisnava community, and he is a neutral person in the sense that he is not Srila Narayana Maharaja's sika-disciple.
If I would write the article, I would fill it with my personal experiences with Srila Narayana Maharaja, showing how thousands of Prabhupada's disciples and others who were feeling weak in their bhakti got new life in his association. I would fill it with many quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books - about association with pure devotees as opposed to being alone; about the necessity to hear scriptures from pure devotees in their association as opposed to trying to understand alone; about the danger of committing offenses to pure devotees (both for oneself and for others); and about the transcendental, natural right of the pure devotee to correct conditioned souls and thus relieve them of their suffering.
I would describe in my article how I was personally present on most of the same occasions mentioned by you, and how I received a totally different impression than you received. In fact, I heard from Srila Narayana Maharaja's secretary that in Hawaii he and others went out of their way to reach you. I pray that you will be reachable.
Pradyumna prabhu read me the response-article that he had already written and was intending to send to Chakra, and I also encouraged him to send it. Over the phone he said that he was regretful that he was represented by you as offended, when actually he really felt that he was the fortunate recipient of Srila Narayana Maharaja's kind friendship. He said that he always welcomed his devotional advice. He quoted Srimad Bhagavatam which states that only the potent vibrations of a genuine sadhu's speech can cut through the "confused psychological maze" and wake the soul lost in the sleep of forgetfulness.
I don't know when his article will be finalized for sending to Chakra, but I know that these are some of the points he told to me.
I'll just take a moment to jot down a couple or quotes that I pray you may find helpful. These are regarding hearing from self-realized souls instead of trying to read alone:
"As Svarupa Damodara has said, if one wants to learn the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, one must take lessons from a realized soul. One should not proudly think that one can understand the transcendental loving service of the Lord simply by reading books. One must become a servant of a Vaisnava." (Cc Antya-lila 7.53)
"Yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane. If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him." (Cc Antya-lila 5.131)
Here are a couple of quotes from Srila Prabhupada regarding chastisement by the pure devotee:
"[Prabhupada:] The child may be foolish but father-mother cannot see that their child will remain a fool. He can force...[Devotee (1):] But first the child has to see that there is some benefit from going to school. [Prabhupada:] Child cannot see...And if you chastise him, he'll come out a very nice person. Therefore, either disciple or son, they should be always chastised. [Gurukrpa:] People want to be flattered. They don't want to be told very strongly. [Prabhupada:] And that is the position of disciples. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru more murkha dekhi' [Cc. Adi 7.71]. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was God Himself, and He said that 'My Guru Maharaja saw me a fool rascal number one.' [Svarupa Damodara:] The intelligent boy knows that, that chastisement is mercy. [Prabhupada:] Yes. Yes. (Morning Walk -- February 1, 1977, Bhuvanesvara)
Here is one last quote, from a lecture Srila Prabhupada gave. It is your father who is reading the verse aloud, and then Prabhupada lectures on that verse.
"Pradyumna: 'All the learned scholars have given their opinion. The mind is by nature very restless, and one should not make friends with it. If we place full confidence in the mind, it may cheat us at any moment. Even Lord Siva became agitated upon seeing the Mohini form of Lord Krsna, and Saubhari Muni also fell down from the mature stage of yogic perfection."
Prabhupada: ... So it is said by parampara system, we can understand, that 'Do not make any friendship or,' what is called, 'compromise with mind. Do not do this.'...If you simply beat your mind... That is required. This is Vedic system. Now, if you want to bring somebody under your control, then you must always chastise him; otherwise it is impossible. Canakya Pandita, the moral instruction, he also says, ...'If you pat your subordinate, then it will increase the faulty habits...And if you chastise, then they will improve.' Therefore it is advised, 'Either your son or disciple, you should always chastise them. Never give them lenience.' So little leniency, immediately so many faults will grow. (A Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.6.03 lecture, given in Vrndavana, November 25, 1976)
My dear son, Aniruddha, I would like to meet with you personally. Srila Narayana Maharaja is holding two Harikatha Festivals in the next couple of months. One is May 4-8 in Miami and June 13-19 in Badger California. If you like you can get more information about this on Purabhakti.com. I do not know where you are living now, but I would very much like to meet you at one of these festivals.
With sincere affectionate regards,