From KRSNA BALARAM SWAMI
To MAHANIDHI SWAMI
Raman Reti, Vrindavan
December 21st 2020
Dear Mahanidhi Swami,
Haribol! All glories to my dear most Spiritual Master Srila Prabhupada!
After a long time I heard from you. In the old days you became my friend and were following me in many ways and learning many spiritual secrets from me and now for some reason you turned against me. The reason for your turning against me is unknown to me till today. Nowadays I think in the following way, “This is because your background is different from my background. My background did not eat meat, fish, eggs, onion or garlic, nor consumed tea, coffee nor used cigarettes, beedis, chewed tobacco nor took any intoxicants; and that is why people who did these vices they turned against me.” Due to my such clean background I have not turned against anyone whom I thought were friends.
I see your predicament in your statement. But you must understand that we do not put anything in writing unless we are 100% sure about where the statement has originated from.
Dear Mahanidhi Swami, you are more of a devotee than me if you think that I’m slandering the age-old religion in which I am born, raised, trained and educated in.
Dear Mahanidhi Swami, you are so wonderful that after learning so many spiritual secrets from me you turned against me. Can you please think a little deep about what kind of a devotee you are? In the eyes of Western culture this act might seem to be correct, but when seen through the spiritual vision it is exactly reverse.
Dear Mahanidhi Swami, I heard you were living in Radhakund, somebody told me about you and some of your history there but I don’t believe in hearsay. Radhakund is only 10 to 15 kilometers from Vrindavan (Ramanreti). Why you did not come and see me?
Dear Mahanidhi Swami, you are such a great Sannyasi, I know. You are better than me in every way—either in the spiritual way or in the material ways, because you are born in the greatest nation of the world, but you must know that you are spending your time in the Vrajaland, where I am born and raised in. Can you think that Vrajaland must have some value as well? Unless Vrajaland has some value, people from around the world would not come to visit it nor would want to live in, nor long or hanker to die here. You know many devotees hope to take their last breath in this Vrajaland. You might remember Buddhimanta dasa (one of our American godbrothers) from our 1978 Berkeley California days, he came to die in Vrindaban. There are many many such examples and you must understand this point carefully. But nowadays people take birth outside of India (in the Western world), impregnate their wives and bring them to Vrindavan so they can give birth in Vrindavan, thinking that by doing so they would become Vrajavasis. But we are not like that kind of Vrajavasis. Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakur said that if you want to learn real devotional attitude then go to Vrajaland and make friendship with Vrajavasis there. But devotees of modern days are unable to grasp the gravity of this statement.
If we don’t even speak outside of the scriptures, then how can we put anything in writing which is not in the scriptures and then print it into a book form?
There are four Sampradayas in Vedic India, age-old traditions, and they are quoted in our Guru Nirnaya Dipika book. Possibly you might have read it on our website (www.krsna.org). Srila Vyasadeva predicted in the Padma Purana that there will only be four Vaisnava Sampradayas in Kaliyuga, and He wrote this over 5000 years ago. These four traditions are called ‘Sampradayas’ in Sanskrit.
These four traditions have many sadhus and they follow two ways of Vaishnavism because such is the dictation of this ancient tradition. One way is through learning philosophy from reading ancient scriptures, and the other way is through learning from the authentic Vaisnava’s association, who is a real devotee along with sound in realized spiritual knowledge. This kind of learning is called Vaisnava Achar, or Vaisnava etiquette. The knowledge of Vaisnava Acharana is not found in any of the scriptures, and that is why accepting and following a scripturally authentic Spiritual Master has become obligatory to every human being. If the knowledge of Vaisnava Acharana was available in the scriptures then no one would surrender to a Spiritual Master because the tendency of a living entity is to be independent.
You might remember Pradyumna das, one of our American godbrothers, he was assisting Srila Prabhupada near his bed in his last days. He would read the Bhagavatam sloka and read some purport Goswami’s commentary to him, and brought out three volumes of books on the tenth canto. The language of these three volumes are not the same as the previous ones because the touch of our Guru was not in there in the volumes. The translations and the purports of new volumes are different. But the GBC printed the three volumes under the name of Srila Prabhupada.
So you might remember Pradyumna das. He once wrote a letter to the GBC because the GBC found him to be different. The etiquettes of Pradyumna became different to theirs, that is why they criticized him. Pradyumna wrote a letter stating about what he understood while staying in Srila Prabhupada’s rooms in Radha Damodara temple. He said that he understood that there are two things when claiming to be Vaisnava—one was to be sound in spiritual philosophy, and the other was Vaisnava Acharana, which is not written in the books. These two are simultaneously required to be a real Vaisnava. We all must agree that we need Advanced association of a real devotee by which a devotee learns how to behave spiritually.
All these four spiritual traditions follow these two ways because without these two parts—spiritual philosophy and etiquette—one cannot be called a good Vaisnava. In our tradition we have Babajis and Swamis, like we are. The Babajis, although follow same as we do, they are called spiritually selfish because they think about their own liberation and do not preach. Babajis follow a pranali (pranaalee) which is not proper in present age because of contaminated mind. Our spiritual pranali sufficient and guarantees our back to Godhead. Dear Mahanidhi Swami, although Babajis and us we follow same tradition, but we have two different ways to think about Krsna and serve Him. Dear Mahanidhi Swami, although Babajis and us follow same tradition, still we have two different ways of thinking about Krsna and serving Him. Babajis in our tradition are different than the Babajis who speculated that the six Goswamis did not wear saffron clothes, and that is why they took the Babaji sampradaya’s wearing white. They speculated that the six Goswamis wore white. But Goswami and Swami means wearing saffron, that is the age old, millions of years of tradition, and it is mentioned in every scripture written by Srila Vyasadeva. Swamis and Goswamis, they have 108 titles and they all wear saffron clothes.
In Vaisnava association we learn Vaisnava etiquette. We learn the etiquette of how to accept the spiritual authority and how to understand how a devotee thinks or should think. How to behave and think about a devotee, about a Swami, a Goswami, a Sadhu, and a sage. When we have Vaisnava etiquette then we must understand that an authentic devotee cannot write a verse or write a commentary without having a substantive source. A real devotee does not even make a statement without being able to substantiate, what to speak of writing a verse or quoting a verse without knowing its authentic source. He may not state the source immediately due to some reason (the chapter number, or the book’s name, or the verse number) but his knowing of the source is perfect. But to discard that statement because no source was made available, that is not Vaisnava etiquette. We don’t do it that way. Real Vaishnavas don’t do it in that way.
I know in ISKCON we are trained to think that only the people in ISKCON can go back to Godhead and everybody else in India goes to hell. That’s how I was told in ISKCON. Maybe you were taught differently because you are one of them and an American and therefore cannot be played around. But I’m an Indian and I heard the slogan in every center, everywhere. All Western devotees would tell me that we (ISKCON) are the only ones who will go back to Godhead and nobody else can go back to Godhead. Even though you may not have been told this directly, still you must have heard this.
Also, just see how the Goswamis themselves also did not quote their source sometimes. I am adding some sample pages here from Hari-Bhakti-Vilas for your inspection (attached). In Hari-Bhakti-Vilas, Srila Sanatan Goswami and Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami, both did not state about the source of their quotations in the scanned pages (attached). The first page is the verse you wanted to know about. It is from Agni Purana and it is also quoted by Srila Rupa Goswami in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. The main verses of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu are Srila Rupa Goswami’s created verses. He never wrote them directly from the scriptures, but he supported them by using verses quoting from different scriptures. In some places he also did not give the name of the book of his quoted verse. No source was quoted of a verse or verses used to substantiate his text. The Durgamasangamani, tika given to it by Srila Jiva Goswami, there he quoted his source in some places, but in many places he also did not provide the source. You can see in the second page (attached) at the bottom (“sastrayonitvat”), he did not say where it came from, yet every Authentic Vaisnava accepted (and even now accepts them) as authentic and does not question them in any way, and that is because this is the real Vaisnava etiquette.
A real Vaisnava is he or she who has Vaisnava etiquettes, and one of the Vaisnava etiquette is to think that the Vaisnava who wrote the passage must also want to go back to Godhead. And no one can go to God unless he or she follows the scriptures perfectly. The Vaisnava who wrote the book in question must know where the quotation has originated. Therefore, questioning the writings of a real Vaisnava is offensive. This way of thinking is not written in any scripture. Carefulness avoids offenses. That is why the association of a pure devotee is obligatory in Vedic Sampradaya. The person we associate with must be a pure devotee.
Dear Mahanidhi Swami, I am carrying my Guru’s legacy and you also know that in your heart. I am carrying Srila Prabhupada’s legacy forward. I don’t believe you don’t know this.
Dear Mahanidhi Swami, if you have any questions you can come and ask. Ten or fifteen kilometers is not much of a distance for you. You used to drive at 70-80 miles per hour in the old days. You might remember how once your tire got burst while you were driving at 85 miles per hour and I was inside the car with you. So for you to reach Ramanreti is not too much work for you. You can come, I will not mistreat you. If you have any questions you can ask me here. I am open to everyone except those who had told me such bad words which cannot be pronounced with my tongue.
If we learn something from somebody on spiritual matters we don’t turn against that person. This is spiritual law of Vaisnava Etiquette. That is why the word Gurun is stated in our prayers. Because anybody who is guiding someone on the pathway to God, or in any way on spiritual path, we don’t turn against that devotee till our last breath. That is the spiritual procedure in etiquette and is that not mentioned in any written scripture because this is the Achara.
Dear Mahanidhi Swami, you are a wonderful devotee. Where are you?
Gaura Hari! Haribol!
Forever in the service of His Divine Grace,
Krsna Balaram Swami
December 8, 2020
Radhe! These posts should cite exact verses sources of the quoted verses and tikas of Acharyas. This is standard in our Sampradaya.
December 7, 2020
FROM OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER RECEIVED BY MAHANIDHI SWAMI
BHAGAVAT DHARMA SAMAJ
Institute for Pure Devotional Service
Everyone can benefit from the worship of the Deity
pujitam pujyamanam va yah pasyed bhaktito harim
sraddhaya modayed yas tu so’pi yoga phalam labhet
“If one is unable to or is unqualified to worship the Lord but sees Him with faith and becomes happy by seeing Him being worshiped, or about to be worshiped, that person achieves the same result of one who worships Him.”
The worship of the Lord should be done without any material desires. As Lord Narayana says to Narada Muni in the Padma Purana, “O sage, any person who worships My Deity form with a devotional attitude, systematically as per Vedic rules, and with faith, remains unobstructed, even in dreams. In all circumstances, a devotee remains fearless.” According to Srila Jiva Goswami, “One should not worship semi-demigods, demons, and hobgoblins, who need meat and wine to be offered to them, because such worship is considered to be as bad as drinking wine.” (Jiva Goswami tika)
—Vaisnava Kantha-Hara, Chapter 7, by His Divine Grace Mahamandaleshwar Mahant Sri Krsna Balaram Swamiji