First Understand ‘Asat Saṅga Tyāga’! (11/29/02)
Dear R___ Bābā,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga.
I wanted to send you a short note just to mention that my feelings about B____ as being an offender of my Guru Mahārāja are not put to rest. Not only is he an offender to Śrīla Prabhupāda, but he is an offender to all our sampradāya. In a recent article he has written:
“However, three books that the Thakur published as ancient works were almost certainly composed by him. These three — Caitanyopanisad (1887), Prema-vivarta (1906) and Navadvipa-satakam (n.d.) have certain common characteristics – they were all connected to Chaitanya Mahāprabhu and the glorification of his birthplace. The motives are fairly clear: the Thakur was trying to promote Mahāprabhu’s birthplace and he did it in a fashion time-honored in India. He simply wrote the material he needed and attributed it to someone who had historical credibility. Rather than attributing his works to Vyasa or Narottam Das Thakur as did the counterfeiters of the past, he used the names of Jagadananda Pandit and Prabodhananda Sarasvatī.
“Bhaktivinoda Thakur did in fact publish many rare manuscripts of genuine Vaiṣṇava literature, such as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Vijaya, many padyAvalis, etc. He was not the only one in his time who yielded to the temptation of counterfeiting. Nevertheless, I personally find it problematic that someone who contributed so much to the Vaiṣṇava religion, who worked so hard to instill a spirit of morality and honesty into Vaishnavism, whose life was in general a monument of commitment to service to Mahāprabhu and His principles, who in his worldly life was a justice and so presumably knew a thing or two about ethics and the law, saw fit to take such a chance.
“Furthermore, in view of his familiarity with scholarly historical method, it is hard to understand how he thought that he could get away with it. Perhaps he thought his personal probity put him above suspicion. But did he really think that a single manuscript found by chance in mysterious circumstances only to disappear again after its publication would not cause people to examine the published text more carefully? And if that text contains elements of language and content that not only point to a modern origin, but to the very person who claims to have found the manuscript, will our suspicions not be confirmed?
“I can only say that in his enthusiasm to see Mahāprabhu’s birthplace be glorified and become a center of pilgrimage – as it has indeed become – the Thakur took a chance with his personal reputation and that of his religion. He succeeded in making Mayapur a magnet for pilgrims from around the world. His disciples, grand-disciples and great-grand-disciples have succeeded in creating an environment that is quite extraordinary. Nevertheless, one cannot help but wonder at the masi-bindu that stains his otherwise sparkling white cloth. Can we not expect people to ask the question that naturally arises: HOW CAN A RELIGION THAT NEEDS LIES TO SPREAD ITS MESSAGE MAKE ANY CLAIMS TO BE THE TRUTH?
“It does not give me pleasure to remind us, who are accustomed to thinking negatively of Bipin Bihari Gosvāmī as someone who was rejected for his caste consciousness and bad habits like tobacco smoking, that he publicly renounced Bhaktivinoda Thakur as his disciple shortly before dying in 1919. The reason he gave for this drastic act was precisely for “preaching falsehoods” connected to the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. It is easy to condemn Bipin Bihari Prabhu for having some self-interest in this matter, but the doubts that have been brought up in this article tend to give justification to the Gosvāmī.
“I find it rather painful to bring the matter up, and I do so in the full expectation of being heartily condemned, but I would like to see those who love the Holy Name and Chaitanya Mahāprabhu face this problem head on, much in the way that Roman Catholics have decided to accept the terrible things in their history – things which are many times worse than those we have mentioned here – and still find a way to justify their faith.
“Faith has to be honest to be genuine, and such honesty has to extend to our forefathers, even those to whom we have attributed the highest spiritual perfection. It is a shock to accept that our divinities may have had human failings, but I think this is a necessary step in facing our own failings.
Human psychology is such that we often compensate for our own human frailties by placing faith in someone else. We say, “I am not perfect, but my guru is. I have no personal qualifications, but this does not matter because the parampara is perfect.” This is a psychological trick and results in ego-inflation. By identifying with the guru and the parampara, we appropriate their perfection and their authority for ourselves. Unfortunately, this expands into the kind of distorted personal psychology that is not only historically present in Iskcon, but in many of the interactions between devotees who are otherwise sincere.”
In the above quote from one of B___’s recent articles, he boldly suggests that Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura preached LIES to spread his religion. Those LIES refer to Yogapīṭha as being the birthplace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In doing so B____ is suggesting that Bhaktivinoda was a conditioned soul, subject to “human failings” (a common opinion among the so-called scholars). B___ is suggesting that Yogapīṭha, which was served by Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and all his disciples with every ounce of their life blood, is a falsehood, a LIE.
What B____calls “counterfeiting” in his article, we call “Divine Revelation”. B___ speaks about Bhaktivinoda without even the remotest respect. Although B___ (J___ Dāsa) is a so-called disciple of Śrī Lalitā Prasāda, he nonetheless takes the liberty to offend his param-guru. When one studies the articles of B____ in detail, as we have done, one sees clearly that he endeavours with great determination to spread his doubts and misconceptions among devotees.
B____is a guru-tyāgī and he has offended Śrīla Prabhupāda by rejecting him. He rejects and offends Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as well. I have pointed this out many times in the past, but my words seem to fall on deaf ears. Unfortunately, T___Mahārāja supports B____ and you also support B____. It does not seem that B___ has been purified at all simply by translating your Guru Mahārāja’s books, as you suggested in a previous email. How could he? His motives are deceptive! At the end of the day, you will eventually find that B____ offends all that we hold sacred. He is filled with mundane conceptions regarding Divinity, and his so-called scholarship is akin to poison. This is evident if you simply read his articles.
B___accepts G__ (a well known sahajiyā) as the foremost worshipper of Gaura-Gadādhara. On the other hand, we accept Śrīla Purī Mahārāja as the foremost worshipper of Gaura-Gadādhara in recent times. B___ claims to share a mood like that of your Guru Mahārāja, but in truth, he has none of the conception or mood of your Guru Mahārāja, or of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja or, for that matter, of any of our ācāryas.
If you would take the time and read the articles that B___ publishes on the internet and note the friends he keeps like “B____” (who speaks about our Guardians with nasty words), then you will soon understand that even a remote association (for whatever the reason) with B____ is spiritual suicide. If so-called scholars want to criticise Bhaktivinoda or any ācārya then that is their misfortune, but if the spiritual aspirants follow in the footsteps of the thinking of the so-called scholars, then it is certain death, spiritual death.
In another of his recent articles, B___ has pointedly said that Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kaviraja Gosvāmī made up stories in Caitanya-caritāmṛta just to glorify Mahāprabhu. In yet another article, as is also mentioned above, B___sides with Vipina Vihārī Gosvāmī as being a pure Vaiṣṇava and Bhaktivinoda as having preached a falsehood about the birthplace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. However, according to Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Vivian Vihārī was a “sahajiyā guru”. I think that at least one should admit that B____’s association is slow poison.
Actually B____ gives many of his arguments against the Gauḍīya Maṭha conception that were once presented in a book written by Sundarānanda after he had rejected Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. B____gives the same old arguments (doubts), but with the twist of a modern scholar. B____’s whole motive is to undermine our sampradāya, the Gauḍīya Maṭha.
The path of the guru-tyāgī has been pointed out is śāstra. Such persons go to the deepest, darkest hell after giving up this body. Before death comes, the guru-tyāgī will eventually doubt even the very existence of God. B___ may be closer to that day than even he realises.
What more can I say to you about this Bābā? You speak strong words against those who do not accept Śrīpāda B____ Mahārāja, but you keep relations with those who offend Śrīla Prabhupāda and our entire sampradāya. But I cannot be party to that. We cannot stand by silently while B___ speaks openly criticising our Guardians and offending all that is dear to us. In fact, B____ offends all that your Guru Mahārāja held sacred (Sarasvatī Ṭhākura). It is our duty to speak out against such things.
If you can read the quotes above by B____ and still remain complacent about B____being a Vaiṣṇava-aparādhī, then I have nothing more to give or to share with you.
You have many times asked for blessings to serve your Guru Mahārāja. So first understand asat-saṅga-tyāga, give up bad association. Do not mix with the offenders. That is my humble advise.
Hoping this meets you well.
Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha