BY: ROCANA DASA
Jan 30, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — This is a follow-up to my recent article, One Should Know that They Are asara, Useless”, in which I pointed out the fact that both Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja and Srila Prabhupada, as confirmed in his purports, have informed the Vaisnavas that one’s opinion cannot be different than the Spiritual Master’s opinion.
And if it is, then you become useless. We’ve been engaged in a back and forth debate for the last few weeks with supporters of the Gaudiya Matha – meaning the umbrella concept of the Gaudiya Matha, i.e., Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers and the mathas and branches that comes from them – and we find there is a significant difference of opinion between us.
One has to appreciate the fact that Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers, who for the most part are now departed, were very advanced in Krsna Consciousness and were aware of the import of what Srila Prabhupada was communicating in his purports to Caitanya-caritamrta Adi lila 12.8 to 12.12.
Consequently, they needed to let their followers know, or make them believe that their opinion and Srila Prabhupada’s opinion were actually the same. To support that notion they’ve done extensive research, presenting us with their supposedly conclusive arguments.
No matter what camp you go to – B.V. Narayana Swami, or Srila Puri Maharaja, or B.R. Sridhar Maharaja, or Tripurari Swami’s camp, they all stick to the same hymnbook. They tell us that Srila Prabhupada, in the course of preaching, appeared to commit offenses but he really didn’t commit offenses because he apologized for these offenses — the offenses being that he told his disciples not to have anything to do with his godbrothers.
A disciple who is naïve, inexperienced and neophyte needs to be protected from being confused. The confusion comes, of course, when such inexperienced neophytes come in contact with someone of advanced spiritual status who has a different mood or a different perception of Krsna Consciousness than Srila Prabhupada. When they hear such differing opinions, the confusion will cause doubts in their mind.
After Srila Prabhupada left, his movement was taken over by the Zonal Acaryas, who were then free to ignore his orders, which they did on several fronts. In retrospect, that’s very clear. I recall some of the letters that Rupanuga das received from Srila Prabhupada on the subject of the godbrothers.
Rupanuga was Prabhupada’s number one GBC. Rupanuga took these letters as an order, and some of them he was obliged to pass around to all the temple presidents, so we all heard the contents, and which we passed down to the devotees in the temples. So we heard Srila Prabhupada’s order, and we accepted it.
The orders of Srila Prabhupada – or even the orders of the GBC in those days were instantly accepted, with almost military precision. We did not question. Srila Prabhupada’s orders on his godbrothers were later reinforced by other letters, and when the Caitanya-caritamrta came out, it solidified our conceptions on the subject.
So we had this opinion. In other words, we knew what Srila Prabhupada’s opinion was. And the flimsy or conjured up evidence that’s supplied by those who feel we should give up this opinion, give up the Spiritual Master’s order, does not sway us. It’s not strong enough for us to abandon Srila Prabhupada’s order and opinion.
However, that is not the situation faced by those who are aligned with, or are taking shelter as siksa or diksa disciples of gurus who hold another opinions — an opposite opinion to Srila Prabhupada’s, like some recently expressed here in the Sun.
Those individuals are obliged, according to Krsnadasa Kaviraja’s instructions in the Caitanya-caritamrta, to obey their guru. So our discussing the matter back and forth is not going to resolve anything, because the same order holds for them as it holds for us. They must accept the opinion of their Spiritual Master.
There are all sorts of controversial topics to be discussed, even within ISKCON, what to speak of amongst the other Gaudiya Vaisnava branches. And even on this particular subject, there are persons within ISKCON who don’t share the same opinion we do. So this is a problem for them. Many of my godbrothers have differing opinions on the origin of the jiva.
They may have a different opinion than Srila Prabhupada about the qualifications for being a diksa guru. There are so many different opinions, but one has to make sure if one is a follower of Srila Prabhupada, either diksa or siksa, that he’s in line with Srila Prabhupada’s opinions.
That is our duty. This is our position as followers –we have to make sure we have the same opinion as Srila Prabhupada. Of course, to have the same opinion as Srila Prabhupada is not as easy as it may sound.
Thus we have the controversy created by the Gaudiya Matha and by disciples who do not understand or appreciate this principle, and by those who are Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, but who are also attracted to these other authorities.
Many such devotees have been convinced by these authorities that it’s fine to take shelter of them, and that you require a siksa guru, or a living guru. Those who fall for this deception are not told by their new authorities that they now have to adopt the opinion of their newly found guru – that it’s an obligation on their part.
But they expect them to do so, of course, and when their opinion differs from Srila Prabhupada’s opinion, the devotees are put in a quandary. Many of my godbrothers have been put in that position, and many have sided with their new living authority and guru, going against the opinions of Srila Prabhupada. Today this applies to so many of Srila Prabhupada’s own initiated disciples.
Even within ISKCON this same principle applies. If you have discovered, as a disciple of one of those who are supposedly representing Srila Prabhupada, that your guru’s opinion is different than Srila Prabhupada’s opinion, then you have to make a very serious decision.
So I just wanted to make this point abundantly clear. I’ve already stated that I can’t change my opinion, regardless of how many slokas are presented by our Gaudiya Matha friends, because none of them address the clear and simple instructions from Srila Prabhupada.
They ignore Srila Prabhupada’s opinions, which conflict with their own. So this is the position we’re in, and there is only one solution – to follow Srila Prabhupada’s opinions, and his alone – the ultimate opinion.