LettersRāgānuga is not a thing of play (03/17/18)
LettersChanting is not to relieve people's stress  (06/07/18)

Guru is not Jīva-Tattva (05/07/18)

Dear __________,

All glories to Śrī Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga.

I read your email and it is certainly not easy to answer your questions or address your situation. Sadly, since the disappearance of Śrīla Prabhupāda, so many, many unfortunate things have happened to bewilder, confuse and disappoint thousands of devotees. Thinking of it all makes me hang my head in shame!

It would only be fair that I know from whom you received your initiations, if we are to discuss openly and sincerely. But if you really don’t want to say, I’ll leave it at that.

Yes, the disciple must see his/her guru as absolute, but because the position of the guru/ācārya is relative, the disciple must sometimes rise to the unbiased vision known as taasthāvicāra, or impartial vision. Let me give an example: Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said that he does not even want to hear the name of the opposition to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. That is his bhāva, but when he has to explain that Candrāvalī is actually an expansion of Śrī Rādhā for the purpose of creating intensity in the līlā, then Bhaktivinoda has to rise above his partiality (his bhāva) and speak the name of Candrāvalī. That is an example of taasthāvicāra.

Guru is absolute means the guru represents Kṛṣṇa and should not be seen as an ordinary human being. Ordinary human beings do not represent Kṛṣṇa. So much so, that guru is no longer jīvatattva, he is now a different tattva called gurutattva. Similar to how Kṛṣṇa is compared to milk and Śiva is compared to milk turned to yogurt. The analogy is similar, not exact.

We must understand that sometimes what the guru speaks is to be taken as absolute and sometimes as relative. Especially when speaking about politics, health, medicine, economics, etc, etc — it may be taken as relative (it may be true, it may not be true). Balavanta will be president, world war starting between Pakistan and USA on one side and India and Russia on the other — these types of statements are relative and may be true or may not be true. Relatively speaking :)

The point to remember is that guru is to be taken as absolute, mainly when speaking about the Absolute Truth. But hold on, even there, there may be relative differences between the opinion of one ācārya and the opinion of another acharya within the same sampradaya, etc. So as Śrīdhara Mahārāja has said, “Its an eternal problem”.

Regarding your situation of being distant from your dīkāguru, etc. Certainly a lamentable situation, but you are not the first nor the last to be in such a situation. Even Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had to distance himself from his dīkāguru, Vipina Vihārī Gosvāmī. In the end the two were at odds, especially over the actual birthplace of Mahāprabhu. Vipina Vihārī said it was Prachina Māyāpura across the Ganges in Navadvīpa town on Koladvīpa and Bhaktivinoda said it was the Māyāpura we know today on Antardvīpa. There were other important issues of disagreement also. While he was living, Bhaktivinoda respected Vipina Vihārī at a distance. After Bhaktivinoda departed this world, Vipina Vihārī rejected and attacked Bhaktivinoda and this led to a counter attack on Vipina Vihārī by Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in which he published that Vipina Vihārī Gosvāmī was a sahajiyā and the enemy of the Vaiṣṇava community.

We have to mention here that the sadguru of Bhaktivinoda was Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī, his śikāguru. You must have understood by now that śikā is the main thread in the Gauḍīya sampradāya. Sometime dīkā and śikā run hand in hand, but more often than not they are separate and the paramparā is established thru the śikṣā not the dīkā. If dīkā fails for whatever the reason, then our only recourse if to take shelter of a śikāguru.

It is definitely detestable that a disciple has to standby and watch his guru be reprimanded by anyone, what to speak by a voting committee. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja warned the GBC about taking such actions long, long ago. He said that this would mean havoc in the life and faith of the disciples. But true to their colors they did not listen to Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja and preferred to show their power and reek havoc in the lives of countless numbers of devotees. Sadly, thirty-eight years on nothing has changed.

In whatever way you continue on the path from here, you should always show respect for your dīkāguru. If necessary that may be from a distance (or it may be reconciled) but with respect nonetheless. It is indeed very unfortunate that many, many devotees from the present day iskcon have found themselves in a situation similar or exactly like yours. Finding no relief, no guidance, no shelter, no proper siddhānta, etc they have turned away from the paramparā of Bhaktivinoda and Bhaktisiddhānta and have turned toward the sahajiyās, intellectualism and other non pure devotional sentiments. Some have even turned to māyāvadā, Buddhism, Christianity, etc and some have rejected God completely, becoming atheists. Indeed, very unfortunate!

I don’t want to give the impression here of trying to canvas you, but my earnest advice for you, if you are unable to reconcile with your dīkṣāguru, is to pursue the path of śikā and pray for the mercy of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu to show you the way forward. In any case, I know for a fact that if you take to heart the words of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja that you will find what you are looking for.

Servant of the servants’ servant’s servant,

Swami Narasiṅgha

LettersRāgānuga is not a thing of play (03/17/18)
LettersChanting is not to relieve people's stress  (06/07/18)