I Am a Friend of Iskcon (08/31/10)
I hope you have received the email from G____ with instructions on how you can get higher resolution images directly from our website of the photos you want. I know Janmāṣṭamī will be a big day with the Hindu community at your temple and I hope the photos of our āśrama help your presentation for your Vedic Village. We are happy to have been of service.
Below is also an email written by you several years ago to a certain young lady named S___ who later became my disciple. At the time of writing this email my disciple G____ was designing the “Friends of the BBT” website. He was doing this under my direction. However, in the email to S___ you say (in reference to me):
“Because Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON is prominent, it is also a popular target by those who hope to bring ISKCON’s reputation lower so that they will look higher.”
This has bothered me to some extent for sometime, as during that period and before that also, I was engaged at our godbrother’s request in ISKCON to speak out against and show evidence that following ______ Maharaja was not in the line of Śrīla Prabhupāda. I did this at the risk of my life and much more by traveling to _____ in Canada to give classes to the ISKCON devotees there, writing articles on certain philosophical topics, and publishing. I did this as a dutiful disciple and a friend of ISKCON, etc.
Also there was the issue around that time of the incessant criticizing by the Madhva brāhmaṇas in Uḍupī that claimed that ISKCON and Śrīla Prabhupāda were not bona-fide. This had gone on for years in India and on the internet, but it was a hopeless case to defeat these rascals because many philosophical points and histories of both sampradāyas were unknown to the ISKCON leaders who were trying to defeat the Madhvas. However, myself and my disciple brought the glory of Śrīla Prabhupāda and our sampradāya to light with articles and interviews to such an extent that the Madhvas were silenced! Even to this day H.H. J_____ Swami references our articles and materials on the Madhva issue when teaching the Bhakti-Śāstri course at Māyāpura.
I state all this to you now to make the point that I have always been a friend of ISKCON, even after leaving the formal institution. I have never done anythiing to harm ISKCON. I have always been a friend and I continue to be friendly and in a mood of cooperation, even when, for convenience sake, I am accused by ISKCON leaders of trying “to bring ISKCON’s reputation lower so that they (I) will look higher.” I think you get my point here.
The issues at Māyāpura concerning Deity worship, Prabhupāda’s childhood Deities that ‘disappeared ‘ from the altar (stolen) and the naming of the big temple as the ‘Adbhūta Mandira,’ rather than calling it the ‘Planetarium’ were all topics that devotees internationally held in some concern a few years ago (and even today). I wrote critically about those topics. As it turns out, Śrīla Prabhupāda did say to establish the eight gopīs along with tall Rādhā-Mādhava, although having B________ as the only reference for this is more than some people can handle. In the end it was discovered due to my articles that Śrīla Prabhupāda did not call the big temple the ‘Adbhūta Mandira’ and eventually the GBC came to understand and remember that he called it the ‘Planetarium’. And the issue that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s childhood Rādhā-Govinda Deities were stolen (disappeared) from the altar remains a ‘Deity pastime’ that is better forgotten rather than addressed for what it may have meant spiritually in terms of offenses committed by ISKCON to Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja and other Vaiṣṇavas at the time. What to speak of the original Deity of Rādhārāṇī (consort of Mādhava) that was taken from the altar and mutilated! All this was unprecedented in the history of our sampradāya and was, in the opinion of senior Vaiṣṇavas present at the time, due to aparādha and not just poor security and a band of dacoits. S___’s email to you was searching for answers to the controversies of the time, but the answer she received from you was more of an character assassination of me rather than the answers she was seeking.
You mentioned to S___ that, “Now he (Narasiṅgha Mahārāja) has added this new allegation of ‘disappearing’ Deities”. You mention this as if you have forgotten how Lady Subhadrā “disappeared’ from the altar in San Diego in the time when B___ Dāsa was the temple president. Only a pile of ashes remained in the morning when the pūjārī entered the Deity room. Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote a letter and said that She had disappeared due to offenses! These are serious matters when a Deity is stolen, mutilated or disappears. So rather than make me out to be an offender or an enemy of ISKCON, its leaders would do well to review their own activities as the possible cause of ISKCON’s troubles and not simply shift the blame somewhere else.
When there are concerns over issues there is a need of dialogue and even debate. The mood is not “to bring ISKCON’s reputation lower so that they (we, me, etc) will look higher” but rather our mood is to find out what is what, to find the truth. I don’t doubt that what B______ has said in his letter is true, but the point is that the original Deity conception established by Śrīla Prabhupāda was eventually lost in the shuffle when the much larger Deities, and then later the eight gopīs, were established. The original Deity was that of Mahāprabhu and Rādhā-Mādhava, which conceptually in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism is much higher than Rādhā-Mādhava and the Aṣṭa-sakhīs. It’s a fact that many devotees come to Māyāpura ISKCON and never see or even hear about the conception of Gaura Rādhā-Mādhava etc. In fact, the last time I looked several years ago, the Māyāpura website didn’t even mention the original Deities established by Śrīla Prabhupāda, or show a photo of them.
Today I told my disciples that at the time of Śrīla Prabhupāda departing from this planet, not even one disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda had a complete understanding of the Gauḍīya conception, or knew very much about it’s intricacies and esoteric branches (a weakness that _____ Mahārāja has capitalized on and made his fortune). However, all this and more could have easily been avoided had the leaders of ISKCON not been so quick to have rejected Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja and his advice. In times of need, in times of doubt, and in times of misunderstanding, ‘proper adjustment’ is required and Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja offered guidance so that we could make those necessary adjustments. Unfortunately, ISKCON leaders rejected him and offended him but only to their own peril.
Over the years I have successfully been able to defeat sahajiyās and numerous other elements that were challenging the position of Śrīla Prabhupāda and ISKCON, and my ability to do so was due to the instructions received from Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja. However, although I have always been the friend of ISKCON, my inclination in that direction has significantly reduced of late due to H____Prabhu’s recent, uncalled for repeat offense to Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja.
Anyway, the long and the short of this email is that I am, and always have been, a friend and well-wisher of ISKCON. Therefore, I request you that at the end of your Power Point presentation on Janmāṣṭamī to kindly make mention that the photos were provided by your ‘friends’ from Govindajī Gardens, a Vedic Village in Mysore, India.
Hoping this meets you well.