Spreading this Krishna consciousness movement
Posted February 11, 2005
I am not qualified to understand Rocana prabhu's philosophical points concerning guru (Response to VNN Guru tattva article) but the article implied disrespect towards certain Vaisnavas which is deeply regretful. (Please forgive my conceit in writing, but it is very distressing to see Srila Prabhupada's godbrothers and their disciples criticized and this is a response to that rather than directly to Rocana prabhu's article. The following points are well known and I am just repeating them.)
While it is true that Srila Prabhupada had disagreements with some of his Godbrothers nevertheless he still offered them the greatest respect, as proved by his Bhaktivedanta purports: Among Vaisnavas there may be some difference of opinion due to everyone's personal identity, but despite all personal differences, the cult of Krsna consciousness must go on. We can see that under the instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Gosvami Maharaja began preaching the Krsna consciousness movement in an organised way within the past hundred years. The disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja are all Godbrothers, and although there are some differences of opinion, and although we are not acting conjointly, every one of us is spreading this Krsna consciousness movement according to his own capacity and producing many disciples to spread it all over the world. (S.B.4.28.31 purport).
(That Srila Prabhupada's prediction has now come true and his godbrothers have now actually joined with him in spreading Krsna consciousness all over the world through their disciples, who are preaching and turning thousands of foreigners into Krishna bhaktas, should bring happiness to every disciple and grand disciple of Srila Prabhupada.)
It is not the case that all of Srila Prabhupada's godbrothers disobeyed the order of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja and brought about the disintegration of the Gaudiya Math, nor that all his godbrothers stopped preaching after the departure of their guru in 1936. Srila Prabhupada himself participated in the preaching programmes of his Godbrothers. "After the breakdown of the Gaudiya Matha I wanted to make another organization with Sridhara Maharaja at the head…" (Lecture Mayapura 1973). Srila Prabhupada gave the rooms over his pharmaceutical shop, next to his house on Sita-Kanta Banerjee Lane in Calcutta, for his godbrother Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja to use as an ashram, and for many years Srila Prabhupada would accompany Srila Sridhara Maharaja and other godbrothers on preaching engagements.
Of Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada said: "By both age and experience he is senior to me. I was fortunate to have his association since about 1930.... Krishna and Prabhupad [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada] liked him to prepare me.... Srila Sridhar Maharaj lived in my house for many years, so naturally we had very intimate talks, and he was my good advisor. I took his advices and instructions very seriously, because from the very beginning I knew him to be a pure Vaishnava, a pure devotee.... our relationship is very intimate."
In Calcutta in 1940 Srila Prabhupada became joint founder of the Gaudiya Vedanta Samhiti together with Srila Bhaktiprajnana Keshava Maharaja and another godbrother . Due to Srila Keshava Maharaja's vigorous preaching this mission established many temples throughout India and his disciple Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is doing the same throughout the world today.
On the disappearance of Srila Bhaktipajnana Keshava Maharaja in 1968, Srila Prabhupada said: "So he did this favour upon me because he was an ocean of mercy. So we offer our obeisances to Vaisnava, krpambudhi. Vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca. The Vaisnavas, the representatives of the Lord, they are so kind. They bring the ocean of mercy for distributing to the suffering humanity. Krpambhudir yas tam aham prapadye. So I am offering my respectful obeisances unto this His Holiness, because he forcefully made me adopt this sannyasa order. So he is no more in this world. He has entered Krsna's abode…"
How can we ever consider that Srila Keshava Maharaja, through whom in Srila Prabhupada's own words Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami acted, was other than the greatest of maha-bhagavat Vaisnavas, free from all faults?
There are many eye-witness records of the intimate loving dealings between Srila Prabhupada and many others of his godbrothers, such as Srila Krishnadas Babaji Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaja from whom Srila Prabhupada's sister Srimati Pishima Bhavatarini took initiation, and of Srila Prabhupada's loving dealings with the disciples of his godbrothers, such as Srila Narayana Maharaja.
Shortly before leaving his body Srila Prabhupada asked that his godbrothers forgive him for the criticisms that he made on them for the sake of his preaching. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself taught us that we should offer all respects to the godbrother of our guru and never find fault in him. Why then do some devotees endlessly repeat the criticisms that Srila Prabhupada made against some of his godbrothers, and continually try to find faults in their disciples who are increasing the world-wide family of Gaudiya Vaisnavas? This is not service to Srila Prabhupada and brings shame on ISKCON.
In Srimati Mulaprakrti devi dasi's book "Our Srila Prabhupada, A Friend To All" the memories of Sripad Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Maharaja are given. A disciple of Srila Prabhupada's Godbrother Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja, he visited Srila Prabhupada many times at the Vamsi Gopala and Radha Damodhara temples in Vrindavana during the 1950's and 60's. He says:
"We saw many of the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakura fighting amongst themselves with litigation, but this is like Krishna and Arjuna fighting with Bhisma. Both are fighting, but they are both devotees and both are pleasing Krishna in their own ways. Arjuna gave great pain to Bhisma by making him lie on the bed of arrows, and yet Bhisma would only accept water from Arjuna. Then Arjuna shot arrows into the ground to bring water. Arjuna felt he had made an offence and wanted to apologise, but Bhismadeva didn't feel like that; he was appreciating Arjuna.
"Another example is that if two friends are on opposite sides in a football game, they will not take care of each others' interests in the game, even though they are friends. Each will follow the interest of his own team. However, they don't become enemies when one of them loses or wins. Again, two advocates engage in hot debate in the courtroom, and ultimately one of them wins the case. After it is over the other one says, 'You have given a very good argument today. You have won, so now you will have to treat me for prasada.' This is the way of relationships between the godbrothers, but a foolish person may judge by outward actions and think that advanced Vaisnavas are acting like enemies."
Glorification of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas purifies the heart. Isn't it time we drew a line on finding fault with Mahaprabhu's favourites, and instead try to fulfil Srila Prabhupada's dream of co-operation among all Gaudiya Vaisnavas?