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Questions to be Raised About Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers.

One may say: what is the use of studying all this detailed knowledge about the various persons connected to the transcendental lila of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada? Ultimately, it is Krishna consciousness we should be concerned about and this is just mundane politics. This is, however, a misunderstanding.




Srila Prabhupada writes:

The impersonalists sometimes misunderstand devotional service in such a way that they divide Krsna from His paraphernalia and pastimes. For example, the Bhagavad-gita is spoken on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, and the impersonalists say that although Krsna is of interest, the Battlefield of Kuruksetra isn't. The devotees, however, also know that the Battlefield of Kuruksetra by itself has nothing to do with their business, but in addition they know that "Krsna" does not mean just Krsna alone. He is always with His associates and paraphernalia.

(NoD Introduction)

Just as the impersonalists do not see value in discussing Lord Krsna's associates, paraphernalia and pastimes, neophyte devotees cannot appreciate the personality of the devotee and his various pastimes and interactions. Since the acharya means "a teacher by example" By studying the pastimes and interactions of a pure devotee we may learn how the philosophy of Krishna consciousness is applied in practical life. Being unable to appreciate the exalted and transcendental position of a maha-bhagavata these secrets remain hidden from our sight. Srila Prabhupada in his innumerable statements expressed a clear message to his followers: the disciplic succession is broken if the disciple disobeys his spiritual master's order. In the Caitanya Caritamrta there is a description of Srila Advaita Acharya's followers. Some of them followed the order of their spiritual master, but others did not and became useless. The author, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami states:

prathame ta' eka-mata acaryera gana pache dui-mata haila daivera karana keha ta' acarya ajnaya, keha ta' svatantra sva-mata kalpana kare daiva-paratantra acaryera mata yei, sei mata sara tanra ajna langhi' cale, sei ta' asara asarera name ihan nahi prayojana bheda janibare kari ekatra ganana dhanya-rasi mape yaiche patna sahite pascate patna udana samskara karite


"At first all the followers of Advaita Acarya shared a single opinion. But later they followed two different opinions, as ordained by providence. Some of the disciples strictly accepted the orders of the acarya, and others deviated, independently concocting their own opinions under the spell of daivi-maya. The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless. There is no need to name those who are useless. I have mentioned them only to distinguish them from the useful devotees. Paddy is mixed with straw at first, and one must fan it to separate the paddy from the straw." (Adi 12.8-12) In his purports to these verses Srila Prabhupada compares this schism of Lord Advaita's followers to the conflict among the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (his spiritual master). He explains the conflict as follows: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, at the time of his departure, requested all his disciples to form a governing body and conduct missionary activities cooperatively. He did not instruct a particular man to become the next acarya. But just after his passing away, his leading secretaries made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of acarya, and they split into two factions over who the next acarya would be. Consequently, both factions were asara, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master. (Adi 12.8 purport)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta established a succesful preaching mission Gaudiya Matha with 64 temples and instructed his disciples to work cooperatively even after his departure. However, after his demise two factions started fighting over who will be the next acharya. Such acharya must be inevitably an imposter since according to the great authority in our disciplic succession Srila Jiva Goswami, an acharya is never appointed by some ecclesiastical body. But blinded by ambition two parties started fighting for their respective puppet acharyas (who would then push the interests of the respective party). Srila Prabhupada explains the events more clearer in the following exchange with his disciples: Prabhupada: Our Godbrothers have deliberately disobeyed my Guru Maharaja...That is my charge against them. Deliberately. He never appointed an acarya. First of all they appointed one acarya, you see, and later on he proved to be a rascal...That made the fracture, you see...Whatever he may be, Guru Maharaja never designated any acarya. And the Sridhara Maharaja, he was the principal man to support him... He made a great blunder, he and Professor Sanyal and Kesava Maharaja. At that time he was, these three men supported, and he proved later on to be false. Actually this Tirtha Maharaja, he wanted to be acarya. People did not like him, so they made another bad acarya. [laughs] Why acarya? They should have continued the preaching work uncontaminated. What is the use of acarya? Sadhu will have come out automatically by working, but they did not. Propaganda. Room Conversation [No Audio] – May 14, 1972, Honolulu Please note the word "deliberately disobeyed" since it is significant in the context of another statement from Srila Prabhupada which we shall discuss later on. For now, let us just mentiond that these two parties consisted of Ananda Vasudeva, supported by Kesava Maharaja and Sridhar Maharaja on one side and Tirtha Maharaja (also known as Kunja Babu) supported by other prominent members on the other side. These two parties split the assets of Gaudiya Matha and the mission came to a halt. Later one of the false acharyas Ananta Vasudeva fell from grace. Srila Prabhupada remembers: Prabhupada: One of my Gaudiya Matha Godbrothers, big, he became the head of this Bhag Bazaar Gaudiya Matha. So his wife was debauched, and she was bringing new paramour, and the child protested. Pusta Krsna: New? Prabhupada: Paramour. And the boy, he was ten years or twelve years old, he could understand: "Who is this man?" So he protested and said, "I shall tell all these things to my father." And he was killed. Pusta Krsna: The boy was killed? Prabhupada: By the mother. Hari-sauri: She murdered him? Prabhupada: Yes. Killed means given poison. And the father, that is, my Godbrother, seeing this, he also took poison. This is the end of Gaudiya Matha scandal. He was also one of the trustees. This Tirtha Maharaja was a trustee, and another Godbrother and this man. In the beginning, they were made trustees. In the beginning, Prabhupada was to undergo surgical operation. So he was a little nervous, that "I may die." So he made a scrap paper, that "In case I die, these three disciples will be trustees of the Gaudiya Matha Institute." That's all. So this Kunja Babu kept this. There are many long histories. So one of the so-called trustees was this Vasudeva. So he died. His end was like this. Pusta Krsna: His son was killed, isn't it? Prabhupada: His wife was a regular prostitute, and she killed her child, and on this shock, he took poison and died. Pusta Krsna: He killed himself. Oh. Prabhupada: Naturally he became shocked, that "This is my family life -- the wife is prostitute and son is killed. What is the value of my life?" This was his spiritual realization. Just see. [laughs] And he was made the chief, and one of the supporter was Sridhara Maharaja. Pusta Krsna: Vasudeva Sridhara? Prabhupada: No, no. He was made chief. Guru Maharaja did not make him chief. But after his passing away, some of our Godbrothers voted him chief.

(Room Conversation – June 18, 1976, Toronto)

So Sridhara Maharaja and Kesava Maharaja voted in a so-called acharya. In this way they deliberately disobeyed the order of their spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Now the word "deliberately" is mentioned in another statement of Srila Prabhupada in a letter to a disciple:

Out of the ten kinds of offenses, the number one offense is to disobey the orders of the Spiritual Master. The instructions given to the disciple by the Spiritual Master at the time of initiation should be strictly followed. That will make one advance to the spiritual path. But if one deliberately defies such instructions, then his advancement is hampered from the very beginning. This defying means to disconnect the relationship with the Spiritual Master. And anyone who defies and therefore disconnects the relationship with the Spiritual Master can hardly expect the assistance of the Spiritual Master life after life.

Letter to: Jayapataka -- Los Angeles 11 July, 1969

Since previously Srila Prabhupada said that his Godbrothers have deliberately disobeyed the order of his Guru Maharaja, it can be safely said that they have disconnected their relationship with the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada confirms this conclusion in the following letter:

Unfortunately the present workers in the Bombay Gaudiya Math are not at all competent to do any tangible work. They are staying there for the last 35 years, but they have not done any appreciable work. it is simply a place "khabadavar addakhama.'' Srila Prabhupada used this word many times in connection with inactive centers. And when one was too much engaged in buildings, He always warned that our business is not for becoming mason workers, or becoming carpenters, neither to create a place for eating and sleeping. So these people are collecting funds and eating and sleeping. The reason is that they deviated from the disciplic succession from Srila Prabhupada.

(Letter to: Jagannatham Prabhu -- Montreal 22 June, 1968)

At the same time, Srila Prabhupada, after all this expired, accepted sannyasa order of life from Kesava Maharaja. Srila Prabhupada defines his relationship with his sannyasa guru Kesava Maharaja as a siksa (instructing guru) relationship:

Prabhupada: Sannyasa, there is a ceremony. Just like we have got the initiation ceremony. Hayagriva: Did He have a spiritual master? Prabhupada: So He accepted spiritual... Not spiritual master, but a sannyasa-guru. That is also master, but he's not spiritual master. But he's also considered as sannyasa-guru, spiritual master who offers him sannyasa. Just like myself, I took initiation from my Guru Maharaja, but I took sannyasa from a Godbrother who is a sannyasi. So my original guru is that spiritual master who initiated me, but he's also a siksa guru. Like that. Teacher.

(Discourse on Lord Caitanya Play – April 5–6, 1967, San Francisco)

In 1968, when Kesava Maharaja left this world Srila Prabhupada went to the extent of holding a condolence meeting with his disciples and passing and consequently sending a resolution of bereavement to Kesava Maharaja's matha (temple). In a speech at this occassion, Srila Prabhupada amongst other sweet words addressing His departed Godbrother Kesava Maharaja says:

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.

(Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Maharaja's Disappearance Day Lecture, – October 21, 1968, Seattle)

This is quite bewildering. Considering that Kesava Maharaja was the cause of destruction of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati's Gaudiya Math mission and was thus outside of disciplic succession having deliberately disobeyed the order of his spiritual master, why did Srila Prabhupada a)accept him as his siksa guru b)state that he went back to Godhead (the highest spiritual perfection) c)held condolence meeting with his disciples to honor Kesava Maharaja? Wouldn't that be the last thing to do since Kesava Maharaja has deviated from the disciplic succession? The activities of maha-bhagavata are always a mystery to the conditioned soul who is unaware of the complete plan of the Lord. Various parties have taken advantage of this ambiguity and introduced their various interpretations on this matter. We, on the other hand, shall purposefully avoid such a faux pas keeping miles asunder from the offensive act of speculating on the mind of the mahabhagavata devotee with our limited, mundane and contaminated mind. All we can is to suggest the various statements of Srila Prabhupada on the nature of guru-disciple relationship that might have existed between him and Kesava Maharaja. For example, in connection with the pastime of Dhruva Maharaja, who carried his siksa guru back to Krsna's abode, mentioned in the 4th Canto, Srila Prabhupada states:

"...the siksa- or diksa-guru who has a disciple who strongly executes devotional service like Dhruva Maharaja can be carried by the disciple even though the instructor is not as advanced... a disciple or an offspring who is a very strong devotee can carry with him to Vaikunthaloka either his father, mother or siksa- or diksa-guru."

(SB 4.12.33 purport)

If Srila Prabhupada was a siksa disciple of Kesava Maharaja, it is possible that by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, Kesava Maharaja was carried to Vaikunthaloka, the abode of Krsna. Although Kesava Maharaja might have externally deviated from the disciplic succession, by the virtue of having a very advanced disciple (even in just a formal sense), namely Srila Prabhupada, he was at the end transferred to the abode of Krsna.

Another consideration is that amongst three types of perfection, there is a perfection called krpa-siddhi. Krpa siddhi is attained by the mercy of a spiritual master or a pure devotee. One might not be following the regulative principles so strictly, but due to various reasons a spiritual master may bestow upon him a special mercy for service rendered. Srila Prabhupada describes the attainment of krpa siddhi as follows:

By the blessings of a Vaisnava, everything is possible. This is described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu as krpa-siddhi, or perfection attained simply by the blessings of a superior person. One usually becomes liberated and perfect by executing the regulative principles set down in the sastras. Nonetheless, many persons have achieved perfection simply by the blessings of a spiritual master or superior.

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.1.10 purport)

At last, let us not forget that the vision of a mahabhagavata does not discriminate amongst various living entities. He sees everyone equally, whether someone follows or does not follow the order of Krishna or His representative. Srila Prabhupada describes the vision of a maha-bhagavata devotee as follows:

He has no discrimination who is devotee, who is nondevotee, who is atheist or theist, or who is... In this way, he sees everyone, the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. And everyone is engaged... One who is suffering, he's also engaged, because... Just like the prisoner. The prisoner, he's also serving the government—by force. Therefore one who is elevated, even those who are in abominable stage of life, the maha-bhagavata sees, "Oh, he's also obeying." Actually, it is obeying. The prisoners, they are obeying the government, although by force; but they're obeying. Similarly, those who are materialists, they are also obeying.

(Sri Isopanisad Mantra 6 -- Los Angeles, May 8, 1970)

It is for this reason, when the mahabhagavata engages in preaching work, he descends to the second class of devotional service since in the second class one must make discrimination between innocent and envious. We can be sure that from that highly elevated position Srila Prabhupada has unconditional love for all living entities and always tries to work for their benefit by engaging them in devotional service although externally he must point out the various defects and deviations. Srila Prabhupada sometimes manifests such features of causeless compassion of a mahabhagavata and it riches our appreciation of his exalted position. It might be that feelings he is expressing for Kesava Maharaja and other Godbrothers are comiing from such highly elevated platform of love.

We must, however always take note of various warnings not to imitate such profound compassion since as neophytes this will gradually lead to our destruction.This has been clearly suggested by Srila Prabhupada in the following statement:

...one should not imitate the behavior of an advanced devotee or maha-bhagavata without being self-realized, for by such imitation one will eventually become degraded.

(NoI: verse 5 purport)

In fact such cheap imitation leads to watering of the philantrophic bija which chokes the real bija (seed) of devotional service. Srila Prabhupada states:

Those who imitate an uttama-adhikari by flaunting a sense of oneness or fellowship but who behave on the bodily platform are actually false philanthropists.

(Iso mantra 6 purport)

Srila Prabhupada further states:

According to the Bhagavad-gita (18.54), only one who is already on the liberated platform (brahma-bhuta [SB 4.30.20]) can become an uttama-adhikari devotee and see every living being as his own brother. This vision cannot be had by politicians, who are always after some material gain. One who imitates the symptoms of an uttama-adhikari may serve another's outward body for the purpose of fame or material reward, but he does not serve the spirit soul. Such an imitator can have no information of the spiritual world.

(Iso mantra 6 purport)

In other words one may falsely desire to be respected by all the various Maths whether bona fide or not bona fide and thus fail to understand the order of the spiritual master due to his mundane attachment to mundane society, friendship and love. Thus due to bad association, he falls down and fails to execute the order of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada gave a clear order not to associate with apasampradaya communities (out of disciplic succession)

There are many so-called followers of the Vaisnava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the sastras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradaya, which means "outside of the sampradaya."... In order to follow strictly the disciplic succession of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one should not associate with these apasampradaya communities."

(C.C Adi Lila 7.48 purport)

He also gave specific order to his disciples not to associate with His Godbrothers:

So I have now issued orders that all my disciples should avoid all of my godbrothers. They should not have any dealings with them nor even correspondence, nor should they give them any of my books or should they purchase any of their books, neither should you visit any of their temples. Please avoid them.

Letter to: Visvakarma — Bombay 9 November, 1975

Since his Godbrothers have deviated from the disciplic succession, they cannot understand the science of Krishna consciousness and therefore can only misguide the serious devotees. We must follow the order of the spiritual master, not to imitate his behavior. Srila Prabhupada explains:

Bob:..he claimed that Jesus was also eating meat in the Bible. Srila Prabhupada: That's all right. He may eat anything. He is powerful. But he has ordered, "Thou shalt not kill. You must stop killing." He is powerful. He can eat the whole world. But you cannot compare to Jesus Christ. You cannot imitate Jesus Christ; you have to abide by his order. Then you are guided by Jesus Christ. That is actually obedience. That is explained in the Bhagavata. One who is isvara, who is empowered, can do anything, but we cannot imitate. We have to abide by his order: "What he says to me, that I will do." You cannot imitate. You say that Jesus Christ ate meat. Admitting that, you do not know in what condition he ate meat. He is himself eating meat, but he is advising others not to kill. Do you think that Jesus Christ was contradicting himself? Bob: No. Srila Prabhupada: He cannot do that. That is real faith in him -- that he cannot do that. So why has he eaten meat? He knows, but he has asked me not to kill. I have to follow. That is the real system. You are not Jesus Christ; you cannot imitate him.

(PQPA 9: Deciding for the Future)

Even considering that the deviation of Kesava Maharaja was a transcendental lila (pastime) that served a higher purpose of which we might not be aware of due to our conditioned nature, we still must reject such association because of the order given by Srila Prabhupada. Various eternal associates of the Lord come to this world to serve a particular function and thus serve the mission of the Lord. For example, Lord Buddha or Sankaracharya are both eternal liberated associates of the Lord. Although we give them due respect, we still reject their philosophies because they are opposed to the Vaisnava siddhanta. Srila Prabhupada states:

"Lord Buddha is accepted as an incarnation of Krsna in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, but in the same Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that Lord Buddha appeared in order to bewilder the atheistic class of men. Therefore his philosophy is meant for bewildering the atheists and should not be accepted."

(NOD Following in the Footsteps of Saintly Persons)

The order of the spiritual master always stands the highest. Srila Prabhupada explains the importance of following the order of the spiritual master as follows:

The secret of success in advancement in spiritual life is the firm faith of the disciple in the orders of his spiritual master. The Vedas confirm this:

yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah

[SU 6.23]

"To one who has staunch faith in the words of the spiritual master and the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the secret of success in Vedic knowledge is revealed." The Krsna consciousness movement is being propagated according to this principle, and therefore our preaching work is going on successfully, in spite of the many impediments offered by antagonistic demons, because we are getting positive help from our previous acaryas. One must judge every action by its result. The members of the self-appointed acarya's party who occupied the property of the Gaudiya Matha are satisfied, but they could make no progress in preaching. Therefore by the result of their actions one should know that they are asara, or useless...

(Adi 12.8 purport)

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