I have recently been shown some critical remarks about the preaching of Śrīpāda B.V. Tripurāri Mahārāja in which there were also offensive statements about Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja, the Affectionate Guardian of Devotion and the well wisher and intimate friend and associate of Śrīla Prabhupāda.
The critical remarks were made by Adridhāraṇa Dāsa, Temple President, ISKCON Calcutta in the Newsletter of the Iskcon Revival Movement (IRM), Issue 14.
I will not waste your time or mine any more than necessary by addressing each and every criticism made by Adridhāraṇa Prabhu by going tit-for-tat because, as we all know, Adridhāraṇa Prabhu is presently consumed in a massive struggle and court case against his fellow ISKCON members over the Ṛtvik issue. Therefore, he hasn’t had much time lately to read Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books or put into practice the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Thus, his criticisms of Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja and other fellow godbrothers are in a word, ‘foolish’. This should be self-evident to any intelligent and discerning Vaiṣṇava.
1) Adridhāraṇa Prabhu (IRM, #14): “Tripurāri Svāmī, through his Saṅga newsletter, systematically promotes teachings outside of, and different to, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings.”
Response by Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha: As per my experience with Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja for the better part of thirty years, he is a man cent percent dedicated to Śrīla Prabhupāda and the Gauḍīya siddhānta. Does Adridhāraṇa Prabhu wish to suggest that Śrīla Prabhupāda had a different teaching and philosophy from that of the Gauḍīya Maṭha and possibly even a different philosophy from that of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s own spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura? Apparently Adridhāraṇa Prabhu would like us to believe that although Śrīla Prabhupāda was a world class ācārya that he nonetheless did not follow the siddhānta/philosophy of his guru. This is nonsense.
Therefore, our conclusion is that by propagating the teachings of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas on Saṅga, Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja is indeed spreading the teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda – foremost of which is not to criticise or insult the Vaiṣṇavas who have dedicated their lives for spreading the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. According to Śrīla Prabhupāda, one who makes such Vaiṣṇava aparādha certainly falls down from pure devotional service.
How can the teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda be different from those of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and at the same time be paramparā? Possibly Adridhāraṇa Prabhu could enlighten us on this point?
The critics of pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa would do well to understand the effects or results of Vaiṣṇava aparādha, some of which are acquiring great wealth, property, buildings, and followers. The critics might then better understand how they have become fallen although they seemingly remain in ‘Kṛṣṇa consciousness.’ Kṛṣṇa consciousness, indeed, but they are devoid of affectionate dealings among the Vaiṣṇavas. They are so fallen due to Vaiṣṇava aparādha that they are even unable to understand who is a Vaiṣṇava. The offenders of Vaiṣṇavas never develop even a drop of love for Kṛṣṇa.
2) Adridhāraṇa Prabhu (IRM, #14): “He (Tripurāri Svāmī) gives Gauḍīya Maṭha figures like Śrīdhara Mahārāja (whom Śrīla Prabhupāda labeled a ‘serious offender’ for breaking up the entire Gauḍīya Maṭha) equal status with Śrīla Prabhupāda.”
Response by Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha: First, Adridhāraṇa Prabhu should be reminded that the differences between Śrīla Prabhupāda and his godbrothers were spiritual and not material. The instruction of Śrīla Prabhupāda in such matters was as follows:
“So far as your question about controversy amongst the disciples of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, that is a fact. But this controversy is not material. Just like in a national program, different political parties are sometimes in conflict and make propaganda against each other, but their central point is always service to the country. Similarly, amongst the disciples of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī there may be some controversy, but the central point is to preach the mission of His Divine Grace. If the central point is fixed up then there is no harm in such controversy.” (letter to Maṇḍali Bhadra 69.07.28)
However, if and when Śrīla Prabhupāda ever made a strong remark about one of his godbrothers (especially Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja), people like Adridhāraṇa Prabhu would have it etched in stone, never to be forgotten. But whenever Śrīla Prabhupāda said anything good, favourable, or glorious about his godbrothers (especially Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja) people like Adridhāraṇa Prabhu would have it erased for all time or they would simply have us believe that Śrīla Prabhupāda did not mean what he said. Thus, they would have us believe that Śrīla Prabhupāda was duplicitous in his dealings. This is not acceptable to any sane man because as we all know duplicity is not one of the twenty-four qualities of a pure devotee.
Is it so difficult for Adridhāraṇa Prabhu to understand that godbrothers (even Śrīla Prabhupāda and his godbrothers) sometimes quarrel or disagree? Why is it that one hardline statement by Śrīla Prabhupāda about Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja is taken by Adridhāraṇa Prabhu to over shadow the intimate loving relationship that Śrīla Prabhupāda and Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja shared for a lifetime? Actually, we do not find that Śrīla Prabhupāda labeled Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja as anything other than a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa.
What I do find quite strange in the mental make-up of persons like Adridhāraṇa Prabhu is that they are hell bent on establishing ‘The Final Order’ about guru in ISKCON. But they have conveniently forgotten that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instruction in his final days was that all fighting between ISKCON and Gauḍīya Maṭha should stop. Śrīla Prabhupāda clearly stated, “The war is over.” Śrīla Prabhupāda later stated that if his disciples had any questions regarding philosophy that they should go to hear from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s godbrother, Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja. By faulting Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja for hearing from Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Adridhāraṇa Prabhu is indirectly faulting Śrīla Prabhupāda. How unfortunate.
Śrīla Prabhupāda commented many times that Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja was a pure devotee; that Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja was indeed the śikṣā-guru of our Śrīla Prabhupāda, and that Śrīla Prabhupāda desired to bring all his disciples to hear from Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja. But then we must remember that according to Adridhāraṇa Prabhu, Śrīla Prabhupāda never really meant any of those statements as true! How unfortunate.
Actually to deal with the level of the mentality of Adridhāraṇa Prabhu and his friends is more difficult than ‘stooping over to pick up a bean in the mud with one’s nose.’
3) Adridhāraṇa Prabhu (IRM, #14): “Tripurāri Svāmī, through his Saṅga newsletter, systematically promotes teachings outside of, and different to, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings. He gives Gauḍīya Maṭha figures like Śrīdhara Mahārāja (whom Śrīla Prabhupāda labeled a ‘serious offender’ for breaking up the entire Gauḍīya Maṭha) equal status with Śrīla Prabhupāda.”
Response by Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha: According to the teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda found in chapter one of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta one should have only one dīkṣā-guru but one may have many śikṣā-gurus. Here (above) Adridhāraṇa Prabhu suggests that Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja is at fault for accepting Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja as his śikṣā-guru. He further suggests that Tripurāri Mahārāja is an offender for viewing his dīkṣā and śikṣā-gurus with an equal vision or an ‘equal status.’
According to the purport of Śrīla Prabhupāda on page 46 of volume one of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta:
“Our only shelter is the Supreme Lord, and one who teaches how to approach Kṛṣṇa is the functioning form of the Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between the functioning form of the Personality of Godhead and the initiating and instructing spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offence in the discharge of devotional service.”
The purport from which the above quote is taken gives a clear and certain instruction that both the dīkṣā and śikṣā-gurus are equal representatives of the Supreme Lord – thus one should not view them as different, but one should see them as equal manifestations of Godhead. Therefore, Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja is not at fault. Rather it becomes clear that Adridhāraṇa Prabhu does not consult his spiritual master’s ‘law books’ before he speaks.
I say this pointedly because rather than studying the spiritual law books of his guru, Adridhāraṇa Prabhu and his friends are more given to study the state law books so they can win a victory over their GBC godbrothers in the India Court System. We should remind Adridhāraṇa Prabhu that it was because of fighting with one another in the courts that certain members of the Gauḍīya Maṭha became asāra or ‘useless.’ What more can I say? If the shoe fits, wear it.
4) Adridhāraṇa Prabhu (IRM, #14): “Tripurāri Svāmī is so off he thinks he was ordered by Śrīla Prabhupāda to write another commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā according to the present time, place and circumstance.”
Response by Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha: At this point Adridhāraṇa Prabhu will be hard pressed to prove that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura ever told Śrīla Prabhupāda to write books. The instruction of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura was, ‘If you ever get money print books.’
Preach, preach, preach, and preach some more, that was the order of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. And preaching means writing books. That’s right, ‘write books’ and even Bhagavad-gītā commentaries. But has Adridhāraṇa Prabhu taken the effort to correspond with Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja about the contents of his Gītā commentary or possibly read it and see what it’s all about? No, he has not.
In most cases the critics of Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja like to ‘shoot from the hip’ without researching their target very well. Thus, in most cases, the critics like Adridhāraṇa Prabhu simply shoot themselves in the foot.
It was the order of Śrīla Prabhupāda for his disciples to distribute books (of which Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja is, according to Śrīla Prabhupāda, the ‘incarnation of book distribution’). Furthermore, it was also the instruction of Śrīla Prabhupāda for his disciples to eventually write books also, of which Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja is presently foremost.
5) Adridhāraṇa Prabhu (IRM, #14): “He (Tripurāri Svāmī) is very proud of his own writing too.”
Response by Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha: Has Adridhāraṇa Prabhu also forgotten that Śrīla Prabhupāda used to read his own books and Śrīla Prabhupāda also recommended his own books to be distributed all over the world. Did Adridhāraṇa forget that Śrīla Prabhupāda preferred his books distributed rather that the books of his guru, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Possibly Adridhāraṇa Prabhu would like to tell us why? If he can, that is, without offending any other Vaiṣṇava.
Should not the disciple have some transcendental pride that due to the grace of his spiritual master he is able to write transcendental literature? Has Adridhāraṇa Prabhu ever tried writing anything other than essays criticizing the preaching and efforts of his godbrothers?
6) Adridhāraṇa Prabhu (IRM, #14): “Apart from his own books, he (Tripurāri Svāmī) prefers other previous ācārya’s writings to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s.”
Response by Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha: Not only is Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja the ‘incarnation of book distribution,’ he is also, I might add, an incarnation of ‘reading Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books.’ However, Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja prefers reading the books of Jīva Gosvāmī at this time. But has Adridhāraṇa Prabhu forgotten that in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books there are direct instructions for his disciples to read and study the Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas and other works of the Gosvāmīs. This is a direct order in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books, if, indeed Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples want to make any advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Has Adridhāraṇa Prabhu ever followed the instructions in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books? Or is he simply too busy ‘reading Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books’ to actually follow what’s in them?
If you, the readers, want me to continue to comment on the remaining criticisms made by Adridhāraṇa Prabhu in his recent Newsletter then I will certainly do so on your order. But as I mentioned in the beginning of this letter, the criticisms made by Adridhāraṇa Prabhu are indeed foolish and this is self-evident to any intelligent and discerning Vaiṣṇava.
Apart from ‘foolish’ I also find the criticisms made by Adridhāraṇa Prabhu to be heart-breaking because his cruel words against Śrīpāda Tripurāri Mahārāja (one of the leading preachers and all-time great disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda) reflect how little Kṛṣṇa consciousness Adridhāraṇa Prabhu has actually cultivated over the past three decades.
I am utterly amazed that someone could have such a limited understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and be able to make so many cutting remarks about a godbrother as Adridhāraṇa Prabhu has done in just one issue of his Newsletter. Only Vaiṣṇava aparādha could cause one to manifest such a poor quality of consciousness.
I can only think that it must surely be due to the many offensive remarks made by Adridhāraṇa Prabhu against the godbrothers of Śrīla Prabhupāda and the offences against his own godbrothers and possibly even offences against Śrīla Prabhupāda himself that has caused his great misfortune.
Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha