More on controversy of GGM
Devotee_2: There are devotees who complain about several statements made by HH Gour Govinda Swami, saying he contradicts Srila Prabhupada.
Devotee_1: I know, and that’s why we are trying to sum up this situation by exploring all the pros and cons. I’m aware that some devotees are adamant about proving that this devotee has deviated to the point of loss of status.
Devotee_2: Some are judging him on the strength of these controversial statements he made.
Devotee_1: First of all, we should be aware that in our Vaisnava history, we find many devotees of Krishna who were put on trial by certain Religious groups, [of the same religion] who tried to defame or destroy that particular devotee. Srila Narottama Thakur, for example, had enemies who wanted to kill him, charging that he was a sudra giving initiation, which they thought was forbidden, ruining the caste system, so on. Same with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, they wanted to kill him, and Srila Prabhupada had many enemies. To become a guru or saint, it seems the territory always includes enemies. Rasikananda and Jayadeva and Haridasa Thakura had similar problems with antagonists.
It has been a consistent factor in all these cases, that the hecklers who condemned such great devotees did not acknowledge the multiple good qualities possessed by such devotee, they just zeroed in on some assumption of some fault that they perceived in that devotee. The purpose of this exercise is to explore all the good quality traits of the devotee in question, as well as the controversies. We shall make a list of merits, and so-called demerits.
Devotee_2: There seems to be a lot of devotees who feel this way.
Devotee_1: Just because there’s a group of devotees who protest and make accusations against another Vaisnava, it does not mean that their conclusions are correct. A mere show of hands with the same opinion does not mean they are right. We should not assume they are right, until the matter is scrutinizing investigated. We find in the case with Narottama and other great Vaisnavas, that their detractors were always wrong. But, in some cases there will be protests by devotees who are right. That’s why we want to conduct a fair trial in this case with GGM.
Devotee_2: It seems you are putting GGM in a class with Narottama and other great devotees. Are we to think that you are suggesting that GGM was in the class of being a Vaisnava saint?
Devotee_1: When we present the list of bio information, it will appear to the neutral observer of pure objectivity, that yes, GGM was in the class of a Vaisnava saint. This is not a matter of opinion; this is a natural conclusion from neutral observers, after knowing the history of facts. We are talking about similar traits shared by many saints in our Vaisnava history, such as birth in a famous Vaisnava family, worship of Krishna at an early age, conversant of sastra at early age, absence of improprieties like intoxication and illicit connection, devotion to Krishna and guru throughout life, and so forth.
Devotee_2: Some might say that the sources of this information were bias, that perhaps some information was exaggerated, and that the controversies will have weakened this assessment of the person being a saint, or a pure devotee.
Devotee_1: We will address the authenticity of the bio information, and how we are to know if it is accurate. We may also suggest that perhaps the critics of this issue are perhaps bias, and perhaps are exaggerating the magnitude of the controversial statements, and perhaps are assuming the so-called weakening effects of purity, so forth. Also, suggesting that the bio information may be embellished, is like saying the biography book is somewhat fictional. Upon a careful analysis of the bio information, we will suggest a way to eliminate doubts of what is fictional as opposed to what is reality, kindly be patient for this to unfold. We are trying to make this fair to both GGM and the devotees who have their doubts.
Devotee_2: It may be that some groups of devotees have already made their judgment based upon seemingly contradictions to Srila Prabhupada’s philosophy.
Devotee_1: Again, it is also apparent that several of these devotees are not aware of the bio facts of the devotee in question, which will offset the potential rash assumptions made by his critics, due to various different interpretations of the various statements, which lead to premature judgments.
It is seen in our Vaisnava history that sometimes devotees will have different opinions, and have arguments, but the controversies do not lead to blanket condemnation like we see in our immature kanistha dealings in Iskcon. It is stated in sastra, such as the Caitanya-bhagavata, that these arguments of different devotees are not vindictive, but they are actually the pastimes of the Lord. This is because advanced devotees are always quick to forgive any mistakes that other devotees may have made, and the mistakes are only a part of the Lord’s pastimes.
Devotee_2: Are you suggesting that a pure devotee is capable of making a mistake?
Devotee_1: One can certainly conclude that from sastra. Lord Caitanya’s eternal associate somehow fell into Mayavadi association, but was forgiven by Lord Caitanya after a brief chastisement. Yamunacharya was a great devotee as a child, and became king and seemed to be in illusion for a while, and later became a great devotee again. A temporary illusion does not mean that the devotee has fallen down, or is a rascal, like some will jump to such conclusions.
Devotee_2: This appears to support the GBC doctrine of fallen gurus.
Devotee_1: Not quite. It is in our history that once a devotee becomes a guru in the parampara, as listed in the intro of Bhagavad-gita, there is no incident of falldown after he becomes a parampara guru. There is a difference between falldown and making a mistake that is forgivable, and which does not tarnish the reputation of such devotee.
Great Vaisnava are always eager to forgive others, even murderers who are trying to kill such a great Vaisnava. It is only neophyte kanisthas that are eager for retribution and revenge when another devotee makes a mistake.There are several incidents in our history where some rascal tries to kill a great Vaisnava, and the pure devotee is actually praying for the welfare of his potential murderer, and is full of compassion for his assailant. Srila Prabhupada spoke in one Srimad Bhagavatam lecture that pure devotees are always in the mood of Prahlada Maharaja, when attacked by murderers, who prayed for the welfare of his father who was trying to kill him. Srila Prabhupada said that such a pure devotee is thinking, “It is only my material body, and if I am to die, that is not such a great loss.” [Paraphrasing, due to not finding the exact quote at the moment.] So, it is only the kanistha who wants a kind of revenge from other devotees for mistakes like we are talking about.
Devotee_1: We will begin to list the merits of GGM, from biographical information, beginning with Vaisnava virtues at a tender age, never had illicit connection throughout life, etc.
Devotee_2: How are we certain that the sources of this bio information were not slightly contrived, coming from bad memory, or slightly exaggerated?
Devotee_1: The question is; how are we certain about Vaisnava histories, biographies, stories, and Vaisnava literature in general? What confirms the authenticity of such stories?
Devotees have faith in Vaisnava literatures, mainly because Srila Prabhupada gives specific books for us to read, and has recommended many others which he had not translated yet. As for the other books in “pursuance of vedic version” we have some recent books written by contemporary devotees. So, how do we know the authenticity of contemporary books, and those recently translated by our Vaisnava scholars? One such scholar, Kusakratha prabhu, who has a good reputation, gave the hint that we should be so well versed in Srila Prabhupada’s philosophy so that we can immediately detect whether or not a book is rightly translated, or is authentic. We can easily see if there are Mayavadi or sahajiya elements in books of question.
Other methods of validation that we can give to those who are doubtful will include the following. We can tell the authenticity of a book, by perception of the interlocking complexities in such story or book, and other checks and balances, such as multiple witness corroboration, and lastly, the validation of Supersoul within the heart, He who fortifies our faith within. If we are overcome with transcendental emotions and realizations, it is a sign that Supersoul in our heart is validating the contents of such book or stories.
For example, there are several strong examples of interlocking complexity, which validates one’s faith in Vaisnava sastra. One that comes to mind is the pastime of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Caitanya-caritamrta, chapter 16, and His conquering the pride of the pundit, Kesava Kasmiri. The poet, Kesava Kasmiri, recited 100 verses on the glories of Mother Gangadevi, and Lord Caitanya selected one of them from his memory, and explained in great detail the literary embellishments and defects of the poem. This pastime is so amazingly complex, that we know immediately the divine authenticity of the pastime, and that persons of lower modes of nature could not have possibly fictionalized such a story.
In a similar fashion, the book in question, Gopal Jui, also has pastimes of Lord Krishna as Lord Gopal deity, and there are stories of interlocking complexities, which could not be fabricated by persons in the lower modes of nature. There is the dream pastime of Gopal appearing in GGM’s dream, and a half hour later in Ghanasyama’s dream, which one must read himself in order to appreciate the full complexity of this pastime.
As for other factors, there is the element of witness verification, when there are multiple witnesses to a particular event, or an ongoing event, then that event becomes a solid historical fact.
For example, we will look at a very nectarine pastime of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the 16th century, where Narottama Thakur organized the very first Gaura-purnima festival celebration of Lord Caitanya’s birthday in Kheturi India. Lord Caitanya had completed His manifest pastimes several decades earlier. So, during an ecstatic kirtan lead by Narottama, Lord Caitanya and all of His associates, the entire Panca-tattva, plus Shrivas Thakur, Haridas Thakur, Swarup Damodar, Rupa-Sanatan, and many others all descended from the spiritual world to dance in Narottama’s kirtan. Lord Caitanya and His associates appeared to the full vision of 1000’s of devotees in this Kheturi festival and everyone danced in rapture for hours and hours, with full darshan of Lord Caitanya and other departed great devotees. The 1000’s of witnesses make this a solid historical fact.
Similarly, the book, Gopal Jui, is validated by hundreds of witnesses, 12 generations of Vaisnavas, who witnessed the activities of Lord Gopal and His devotees in the Giri family. Some devotees think this book is just about GGM, but actually it is about Krishna and pastimes with His devotees. The witnesses are the check and balance system. Like if it was non-factual, and if some were to say, “Oh, this prabhji, [who supplied the information to Gopal Jui], he got dropped on his head as a baby, and he has delusions and fabricates stories, so on,” then we would know the improbable nature of it’s authenticity. You see what I mean? Hundreds, and generations, of witnesses, validate the contents of these stories.
Srila Prabhupada said that the Joan of Arc story is Bhagavatam, because was about God empowering a person to do extraordinary achievements. Lord Krishna empowered Joan of Arc to inspire her countrymen to repel the English Crown, who at that time was pillaging and raping France. So, similarly, we can say that the short book, Gopal Jui, is also Bhagavatam, because it is all about the pastimes of Krishna in His deity form of Lord Gopal, and how He interacted with the Giri family for 250 years. It reads just like other transcendental stories we hear or read in the Caitanya-caritamrta and Srimad Bhagavatam. If a devotee reads it with an attitude of fault-finding, then we are sure that Lord Krishna will fortify his doubt, and he will not get the full benefit of the book. But those who read with an open heart, they will see that this book, like the example of Joan of Arc, is Bhagavatam, just like Caitanya-caritamrta and other Vaisnava literatures.
To be continued….
Devotee_2: How do you know “why” he said regular gurus? [in the 5/28 conversation] Maybe you are speculating why he said “regular gurus.” If I were to speculate too, perhaps he said this to pacify the envious ones that were and will be present? Who knows? None of us know, and to speculate about it is a waste of time. We should only be concerned with what he “actually” said. And besides all that, I don’t put much stock in that may 28th conversation anyway since everybody knows the tape has been doctored-how can you trust it in its entirety since the whole package has been put together by some besides Prabhupada? At one time there were 4 versions of that tape floating around.
We’ll try to answer these points one at a time. First, there is the
point that perhaps we are speculating why he said “regular gurus.”
Well, we know factually he said “regular gurus” because we hear his
voice on the tape. Whether someone spliced these words into a different
context or not, Srila Prabhupada still said these words. For Srila
Prabhupada to say “regular gurus” means that he is differentiating
one kind of guru from another kind of guru. Otherwise, what is the
meaning of “regular,” as opposed to some other quality, which is
very word “regular” means there is some kind of difference in
category. It’s like saying there are regular police officers, or there
are regular judges, which all means there are different categories of
don’t recall Srila Prabhupada saying “regular gurus” before
5/28/77. The obvious reason is that we first hear him introduce the
“ritvik” term, or “officiating acharya” term on 5/28.
Here Srila Prabhupada is saying that there are “regular
gurus” and there are gurus who are not regular, who are different from
the classical meaning of a guru in parampara.
Prabhupada mentions the irregular gurus in the very beginning of the
5/28 conversation, when he says “officiating acharyas,” or ritviks.
This is an irregular class of gurus given directly by Srila Prabhupada,
no speculation. Are officiating acharyas a kind of guru? Yes, why else
would Srila Prabhupada term them as acharyas? So, we know for certain
that Srila Prabhupada refers to at least two kinds of gurus in the 5/28
conversation, no speculation at all, this is factual.
is important to note that ritviks, or officiating acharyas, that they
officiate at the ceremony as surrogate gurus, but do not have their own
disciples. This is confirmed in the 7/9 letter. On the other hand,
regular gurus will have their own disciples, as Srila Prabhupada says,
“disciple of my disciple,” and “grand-disciples” in the 5/28
is also important to note that SDG asked Srila Prabhupada what he wanted
for the future, and Srila Prabhupada immediately said officiating
acharyas, or ritviks. And later Srila Prabhupada said there could be
regular gurus, but only on his order, as he said, “when I order.”
Despite this open opportunity, a disciple reaching the uttama level is
said before, there is evidence that Srila Prabhupada gave permission to Gour-Govinda
swami and Radha-Govinda swami to take disciples, and also named the
11 to be ritviks, both to happen after his departure. So, he definitely
named 11 ritviks on 7/9/77, in the letter, but we have no evidence of
him naming any regular gurus, except the two mentioned above.
Srila Prabhupada said regular gurus, to pacify the envious ones that
were and will be present?
I think so, I think that they didn’t react well to his answer of
officiating acharyas, ritviks, and they still don’t react well to the
term “ritvik” to this day. Go to any Iskcon temple and say
“ritvik” and notice the reaction. This shows that they were envious
then of Srila Prabhupada’s decision, and they are still envious of his
answer to the question. So yes, Srila Prabhupada did mention the
possibility of him ordering some regular gurus, to placate the envious
and ambitious disciples, who were far from being qualified and
completing the training.
we cannot say that Srila Prabhupada just “made up” this phrase
“regular gurus” to placate some disciples. We don’t think that
Srila Prabhupada makes things up to dupe others, especially about
guru-tattva. He was serious about the reality of regular gurus. He
talked about gurus many times over the years, not distinguishing them as
“regular” until 5/28, only because of the inception of ritvik term.
There are many quotes about gurus prior to 5/28/77. So “regular
gurus” is not some sporadic fabrication. It is not speculation to
understand that Srila Prabhupada wanted regular gurus for many years,
and he left open that option for disciples to come up to that mark, even
after 77, if they are sincere enough. This is not supportive of the
present guru system, it is only saying that disciples have the chance to
become sincere and become uttama, and regular guru, though this is very
rare, and not likely to happen in the contaminated atmosphere of Iskcon
should only be concerned with what he “actually” said.
That is the whole point of this philosophical exposition, we are
discussing exactly what Srila Prabhupada said on the subject of
guru-tattva, and he definitely said “regular gurus” as he definitely
said “officiating acharyas” and “ritvik.” They are not the same
kind of acharya, and they were supposed to function without one
canceling the other, this is what Srila Prabhupada expected.
besides all that, I don’t put much stock in that may 28th conversation
anyway since everybody knows the tape has been doctored-how can you
trust it in its entirety since the whole package has been put together
by someone besides Prabhupada?
Regardless of the confusion of the context of the different elements of
the 5/28 conversation, still we hear Srila Prabhupada saying “regular
gurus,” and “officiating acharyas” or “ritvik.” The meanings
of these terms stand on their own, despite the interpretational
confusion. We explained this in our last few comments. We cannot ignore
the implicit meanings of these terms. Srila Prabhupada didn’t say
“regular guru” just to make small talk, or just to “shoot the
breeze” with some irrelevant comments. Srila Prabhupada means what he
says. “Regular guru” stands on it’s own, as explained above. Same
with officiating acharya and ritvik, they stand on their own, in their
meanings, and ritvik was confirmed later by Srila Prabhupada repeating
the word ritvik several times, in the 7/9 letter and other letters and
conversations. Without a doubt, Srila Prabhupada is talking about two
kinds of guru, the regular guru, and the ritvik acharya. What more do we
need to know? He ordered 2 of the
first, and 11 of the later, and both were supposed to function after his
whole guru war is going on over a false premise, which is the erroneous
belief that we must have only one, either regular gurus or ritviks. We
missed the point that Srila Prabhupada made orders for both, and
expected both to function
simultaneously. The correct understanding of both existing together,
would have eliminated all arguments. The big objection of the Iskcon
guru aspirants to Srila Prabhupada’s concept of ritvik
representatives, is the claim that there can never be regular gurus, not
ever in the future, but this is a false claim. The reality is that such
regular gurus are very rare to happen, but not impossible, as Srila
Prabhupada left open that possibility. They are possible, but not very
likely to happen in the present contaminated condition of Iskcon. Who
can rise to uttama platform when we cannot even agree that Srila
Prabhupada definitely wanted ritvik representatives for the future,
despite the glaring evidence? The political agendas retard the
possibility of any disciple to advance to uttama, due to the political
pressure to not even discuss the desires of our founder-acharya in 77,
which is a great offense in itself, and suppresses honesty and
of discussion for now, more later…
How do we discern whether Srila Prabhupada meant "siksa" or "diksa" when he said "guru?"
Prabhupada did not directly say diksa or siksa guru, but we can discern the
differentiation of siksa from diksa in his quotes, from study of the
characteristics and circumstances of the quote.
We are not sure that Srila Prabhupada actually uses the term "diksa
guru." In connection to "the order to become diksa gurus"...does
Srila Prabhupada actually use the term "diksa guru" in these cases?
didn't say "diksa" or "siksa." He said that the word
method of discerning which quote is for siksa gurus, and which is for diksa
gurus, is as follows-
order is already there for siksa gurus, all of us, it's the amara verse of Lord
Caitanya. Srila Prabhupada made the important distinction that this refers to
siksa guru, in his purport, "best not to accept disciples." This is
definitely a siksa guru, one who instructs, but does not necessarily initiate.
objection- But perhaps Lord Caitanya did mean diska gurus in this quote-
Lord Caitanya is giving an order that must be plausible for most devotees of
our movement to execute.
"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land." (Cc Madhya 7:128)
Purport- The Krsna consciousness movement is trying to elevate human society to the perfection of life by pursuing the method described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His advice to the brahmana Kurma. That is, one should stay at home, chant the Hare Krsna mantra and preach the instructions of Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. Madhya 7.128 P
This is an instruction to all persons of the Krsna consciousness movement, for all devotees, to preach the instructions of Lord Krishna to the world. Lord Caitanya says to “instruct” everyone. This is the duty of a siksa guru, to instruct, not necessarily to initiate. All devotees can preach what Lord Caitanya wanted, but only a small number of devotees can initiate, if ordered to do.
the Lord Caitanya order is for diksa guru, don’t we find it extremely odd
that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta had 60,000 disciples, but did not order even one as
a diksa guru? [This is explained in premise #5]. This would not fill Lord
Caitanya’s order nicely. If Lord Caitanya’s order was for diksa, don’t we
find it extremely odd that Srila Prabhupada did not order any diksa gurus in
1977, but only officiating acharyas?
we find it odd that out of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s 60,000 disciples, not one
got ordered to be diksa guru, yet we find 80 some odd diksa gurus in Iskcon?,
[how they became diksa is another matter], considering how Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta’s disciples were born in a vedic culture, but Iskcon devotees
were born in a contaminated melccha culture?
guru does not require a great qualification, but diksa does. This is explained
on the quote page, items 3 and 4, the quotes about the qualities of both siksa
and diksa gurus.
page url- http://www.geocities.com/visoka123/visoka/Master_Quotes.htm#77
one could be diksa guru while Srila Prabhupada was still on the planet. He said
the GBC were the siksa gurus, and he was the diksa guru. That was the way it
was, until he was ready to depart, and at the end of his pastimes, and at that
time he might order some diksa gurus. But he didn't. See premise #6 for
he talked about how simple it was to be guru, he meant siksa guru. When he
talked about how one must be ordered to be guru, and must be very qualified, he
meant diksa guru.
wouldn't make much sense if he agreed with Lord Caitanya that we should all be
gurus [siksa], and then say so many times that one must be ordered, on an
individual basis, to be guru. In the first case, the order is already there, in
the second case he was talking of an impending order, which usually takes place
at the end of the founder-acharya’s pastimes.
everyone be guru per Lord Caitanya, a blanket order, and then, don't be guru
until ordered? First everyone ordered to be guru right now, but then again, no
one is guru until an order from the founder-acharya at the end of his pastimes?
That makes no sense, until we understand that the blanket order is for siksa
guru, and the individual order is for diksa guru.
we know Srila Prabhupada wanted us to preach, be siksa guru, as far as we had
the ability, per Lord Caitanya's command. And if anyone came up to the mark of
diksa guru, he would have ordered them to be diksa gurus in 77, but he didn't.
he left it to our intelligence to understand when he meant siksa or diksa guru,
by studying the characteristics and circumstances of the particular quote. When
he said, “when I order,” in 5/28/77, [you will be regular guru], we can
understand this is would be an order for a diksa guru, not a siksa guru, whom
many were already ordered by Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada himself, and
such siksa gurus already existed. As of that point, diksa gurus had not existed
yet. Premise #6 explains how The
founder acharya gives all direction before departing, sometimes ordering a
successor diksa guru or gurus, and sometimes not ordering. Hare Krishna.
To return to the exposition, click here