Dear Krishna Kirtan Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Please extend my heartfelt obeisances to Swamiji, and thank him for his wonderful association I was able to be blessed with for a few days.
It was so wonderful seeing Maharaja after such a long time. I have such fond memories of Krishna Balarama Swami’s association especially in San Francisco, and will always remember him with special love in my heart.
I gained several valuable insights from the short time I spent with him last week. I think he’s helped me look at both myself and my situation within ISKCON with more introspection and honesty.
I feel very pained by the previous offenses made to Maharaja by my godbrothers. Speaking for myself, I know that I am low class, rude, falsely proud and continually committing offenses, as I am still so covered by the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance. It is indeed unfortunate that the only Brijbasi born sannyasi-disciple of Srila Prabhupada is forced to live separately less than a kilometer away from his guru’s temple that he helped build. I had hoped that by bringing Pancagauda over to meet with him, that some kind of restoration of Swamiji’s status within ISKCON could be brought about. But now that doesn’t appear very feasible.
Although I am still working within the walls of the Krishna Balaram Temple environment, my service is helping facilitate the chanting of Krishna’s holy names. And I observe on a daily basis that devotees who are chanting Krishna’s holy names in the kirtan appear to be making steady spiritual advancement, becoming decorated with wonderful vaisnava qualities although they may have a western-bodied neophyte spiritual master. It is certainly due to Srila Prabhupada’s strong mercy, and because they are sincerely chanting and hearing Krishna’s name and following regulated principles, that somehow or other I see them making spiritual advancement……and maybe some of them are helping their spiritual masters go back to Godhead. So I must admit that it is a little difficult for me to accept Swamiji’s proposition that everyone in ISKCON is going to hell and just doesn’t realize it. I don’t feel that Krishna sees things just black and white like that.
Krishna Balaram Maharaja has such wonderful qualities, and he is a Vrajvasi. It is very difficult for an ordinary person like me or my godbrothers to understand such an elevated devotee who takes birth in Krishna’s own place. Being aloof from the rules and regulations of that govern ordinary people it is difficult for us to understand such things and it is better for us to remain aloof, as our misunderstanding will only lead us to commit offenses.
After the episode with Pancagauda it appears to me that there is little chance of cooperation and so it must be Krishna’s desire that Krishna Balaram Swami have his own separate movement and temple. As much as it pains me and must pain Srila Prahupada, somehow it must be Krishna’s plan.
I would like to visit Maharaja occasionally, but I must admit that I feel a little uncomfortable with his extreme criticism of ISKCON. I agree with most of what he says, but I can’t agree that there is no benefit for all these young devotees, and they are all just going to hell. Srila Prabhupada’s shiksha is still shining through, and I can see devotees making spiritual advancement. However Maharaja’s advice to remain independent and focus on my own spiritual life is valuable, and I see how to best execute that.
For the present, I feel responsible for continuing my service at Krishna Balarama Temple to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna’s Holy Names.
Please ask Maharaja to forgive my numerous offenses and bless me that I may develop the quality of a pure vaisnava and remain an insignificant servant of the servant of Srila Prabhupada’s pure servants.
Your insignificant, fallen servant,
1 April 2016
* * *
DEAR BANABHATTA PRABHU,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Mahamandaleshwar Mahant Sri Krsna Balaram Swami and your Spiritual Master Srila Prabhupada!
I hope you are well. Swamiji was on a tour and before replying I wanted to read your letter to him. He just came and I read your letter to him and then now I was able to reply with his comments. I apologize for any delay in getting back to you. Please read the letter in its entirety before you come to any conclusion.
It was very nice to see you come visit your friend and godbrother His Holiness Krsna Balaram Swami after such a long time, even though your visit was so short for only two days. I was myself witness to how Sri Krsna Balaram Swami treated you with much warmth and loving respect, and he was happy to remember and speak with you about the good times you were together as his driver and close friend during his now long-gone days in modern ISKCON.
I am happy to hear that you gained valuable insights from your talks with Swamiji and that now you can further see and realize ISKCON’s difficult overall situation and the situation of those living inside ISKCON today. As a child having been raised in ISKCON Gurukula and having lived most of my adult life around ISKCON and Gurukulis, I have personally been witness to the amount of wrongness, spiritual deviations, havoc, and criminal behavior that is today indisputably part of ISKCON’s history, after the departure of Srila Prabhupada. In addition, the hypocritical, duplicitous, and politically minded manner in which ISKCON leaders as a whole have behaved and still behave to this day, makes it all quite unpalatable to even speak or think about for too long, specially those like myself who are not so naive when compared to new innocent newcomers. To this day we still see individuals with questionable and proven criminal backgrounds being accepted in all circles and leadership positions, and some are promoted even after their shameful record is known to all. Apart from that, philosophically and spiritually speaking, these leaders and subsequently their followers are very superficial and lacking in knowledge and ability to teach or inspire, meanwhile all jointly participating directly and/or indirectly in a conspiracy by destroying and breaking all the rules of ancient Vedic civilization, what to speak of them having the purity and power to take themselves or anyone else back to Godhead? Some maybe a bit serious about spiritual life, but for how long nobody knows or can be certain of, but I have realized what they lack is actual sincerity and even understanding of what sincerity means, a first requisite in spiritual practice.
It is nice that you gained some insights from speaking with Swamiji who heard you share your feelings about what has happened and is happening to your Spiritual Master’s institution. I have read your letter entirely to Swamiji and he made a few comments which I would like to share with you in this letter.
STEADINESS IS WANTED
As per Manu Smriti help should be extended to those who are seeking help. Swamiji extended help even though he was not asked for help, by saying to you that living with the wrong crowd will lead one to non-liberation. Swamiji said that surprisingly your letter did not quote any slokas written by the Vaishnava Acharyas or Srila Vyasadeva substantiating your letter or the statements you have made. Every statement made to you in my presence, Swamiji quoted from scriptures. He said, JANMANE JANMANE JADI KARE SRAVANA KIRTAN TABHU KAHAN NA PAYE PAYE PREMA-DHANA, “If many births of chanting and hearing about Krishna does not get one liberated, how can one obtain liberation just by chanting in one lifetime, specially in the case of those who have no good day-to-day fixed spiritual standing?” Srila Prabhupada initiated so many disciples, but how many of them have actual good and steady spiritual standing today? And even more so, if one cannot obtain love of Godhead after many many births of chanting and hearing, how can a disciple whose Guru’s purity is questionable be able to liberate their Guru by chanting Hare Krishna just within a part of a lifetime, while having a questionable steady mind and character?
Yes, EK KRSNA NAME JATA PAPA HARE, PAPI KARETE NA HARE, “Once chanting of the name ‘Krishna’ can eradicate so much sin that a sinner is unable to commit that much sin in a lifetime”, but here the condition is that the name ‘Krishna’ has to be chanted purely and with a steady mind. Swamiji asked whether you know any of your godbrothers who have that steady mind, who can chant that name ‘KRISHNA’ so purely? If they had done so they would not have blooped from Srila Prabhupada’s mission after taking initiation and go back to doing again all the mundane things they did before they took initiation.
IN GREAT PAIN
You said that Srila Prabhupada is in pain because Swamiji has to have a separate institution, temples, set of books, devotees, and unchangeable attitude in preaching (‘As It Is’ style). It is very unfortunate that so many do not understand that Srila Prabhupada did not register his institution as International Society for Building Consciousness.
If Srila Prabhupada wanted his society to be Krishna conscious, then as per Swamiji, Srila Prabhupada is smiling, laughing, and beating on his Mridanga with great joy for the fact that Swamiji had left the association of a bunch of hooligans and their supporter’s clique and started his institution, preaching the uncompromised philosophy of age old ancient India. Yes, Srila Prabhupada is indeed in great pain, Swamiji said, because after so much of his own hard labor, his books have been changed, his hard work of building temples and arranging to have centers is dismantled, some centers which now have been or are being sold by a bunch of externally looking devotees, some who are living inside the temples. Yes, Srila Prabhupada is greatly pained because his lifetime’s hard work of establishing the spiritual institution of ISKCON has been greatly mismanaged and is now badly looked upon practically speaking everywhere in the world, and with the exception of India, almost everywhere people are unable to accept ISKCON today thinking that ISKCON is a bunch of child molesters, cheaters, bluffers, and cult members. Swamiji said, not only is Srila Prabhupada in pain but so are also all the Acharyas in our Unbroken Chain of Disciplic Succession, because the age old philosophy of Krishna consciousness is distorted, misrepresented, and is being imposed on innocent newcomers by these hooligans who claim themselves to be spiritual leaders.
100% GOOD ADVICE
After your first visit we were a bit surprised that you had asked me if you could bring Pancagauda to see Swamiji. Swamiji said, that when Pancagauda walked into the room he acted arrogant, and Swamiji had recollected to him how years ago he had directly and personally insulted Swamiji by calling him a faggot. DEVA DEVA BHAVANTU UBHAYA PARASPARAM BHAVAYANTHA, “As per God, demigod, goddess, Guru, sages, or saintly person, worship with particular paraphernalia, or type of honor, a particular type of dealing is extended to each separately.” In America it is ‘tit for tat’ they say, and even though Pancagauda may have felt offended by such a recollection, you can only imagine how Swamiji was insulted unlimited times more by Pancagauda’s calling him such an unVaishnava word. Pancagauda’s statement that he does not remember that taking place, Swamiji does not believe that, because how could Swamiji forget something so bad? If you compare how Swamiji welcomed you and treated you with such warmth and respect, and how different it went with Pancagauda, perhaps you might not have written your letter the way you did. Therefore one should ask, why was there such a difference in the way of two dealings?
Swamiji said he may not have the exact English words to present the right thing to Pancagauda, but what he said to him is 100% correct, and the honest suggestion given to him on how to manage the Vrindavan temple is 100% elevating for him, but because he is one of the hooligans participating in the clique that is ruining the age old tradition of Krishna consciousness, he probably did not want to hear any of it and felt offended.
UPADESO HI MURKHANAM PRAKOPAYA NA SANTAYE, “If good advice is given to a wicked person, instead of appreciating, feeling thankful, and following it, they become upset, mad, angry, and remain unpacifiable.”
You mentioned your intention of bringing Pancagauda here in an attempt of restoring Swamiji’s status within ISKCON, but what does that mean? Swamiji does not need any status, his status as per him is totally perfect and acceptable by all scripturally authentic Gurus, sages, and saintly people in the unbroken chain of spiritual masters, from the beginning of Krishna consciousness on planet earth till today. Swamiji wonders what status would they give him, what status can they actually award or are interested in awarding? They had offered him in 1980 to become the president of the Vrindavan temple in order to keep Swamiji in front while they would manage from behind; but that was offered in an attempt to give him all the bad name as they were already in the process of ruining ISKCON and its image. They had also offered Swamiji in 1984 to be the chief of Gurukulas and be the front man while they would actually take all the decisions and do everything from behind the scene. This kind of status is a type of status not taught to Swamiji from his birth, and why would he even be interested in such status or any ISKCON status? Besides, this is so long ago that today it is nearly impossible to conceive of any mutually acceptable scenario for his participation considering the present attitude that ISKCON maintains.
GOING OR NOT GOING TO HELL
Swamiji says again and again, and proven to you with the slokas that everybody in ISKCON, criminals, the innocent or not so innocent, all are liable to be punished by Yamaraj after death. Do they have any proof from ancient scriptures that they are not going to hell? Please consider also that there are different kinds and grades of hellish conditions accordingly. Even in the American justice we can observe that an innocent person who is involved in a conspiracy or who is somehow associated with criminals, is also liable to be punished, although perhaps not as much as the criminals themselves, but still punishable. That is the sad situation of those in ISKCON today who claim to be innocent.
Would you have any proof that those who are chanting are actually becoming elevated or that they would also be sending their Gurus back to Godhead?? In the material world many can call themselves innocent, and even completely believe themselves to be ignorant and innocent, but nevertheless they are still bound to suffer the results from their bad actions and associations. An ignorant may suffer to a lesser degree compared to one who fully knows what is right and what is wrong, but everyone, one way or another, is bound to the reaction of their activities, personal decisions, and so on. If that were the case, then why did Guru Kripa Swami and Yasodanandana Swami, who chanted so much in kirtans day and night, chanting on beads, fasting totally on Krishna’s days, and collecting millions for Srila Prabhupada, go back to their bad habits? These are pretty small examples. If the chanting, kirtan and service elevated one back then, why today there are only a handful of disciples of Srila Prabhupada seen hanging around ISKCON, and whose private life may also be questionable?
And as far as the so called innocent disciples and followers of bogus Gurus, if only chanting, reading, having kirtan and prasadam, and doing service alone elevates them, then why so many of these ISKCON Guru disciples do not make themselves constantly present? Why are there so many new faces each time and old faces are gone? Where are there the older ones who took initiation years before? In other words, where is their verifiable spiritual progress and how is it being maintained in a manner that will actually elevate them in Krishna consciousness?
Some may be following some spiritual rules and regulations and chanting Hare Krishna, but how much actual progress are they making by taking initiation and following such unauthorized and bogus Gurus? By chanting, reading etc, one can be compared to being like a perfect electrical wire, but that when connected to the wrong socked it is bound for bursting and failure. That is the situation of those who have taken initiation from ISKCON Gurus.
If I understood you correctly and you mean what you are saying, then I will say that there are no scriptures that support the chanting/kirtan program that you are now managing, because there are no scriptures that say that your program alone will elevate the Gurus of the chanters and the chanters themselves. The reason is because their root (spiritual initiation) is poisoned, so it cannot grow nor can it bear any fruits. If it did, then the whole Vedic civilization, including Lord Krishna, Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Narada Muni, Srila Vyasadeva, they would all be completely wrong.
When Srila Prabhupada was on this earth, 24 hour chanting in the temple was established. He was staying in his house right behind the temple while Kirtan was going on inside the temple, but where are those kirtan doers today? Do you think they have gone back to Godhead even though they are still alive living somewhere today? And how incoherent would it be to say that because of their chanting they have sent Srila Prabhupada himself back to Godhead? Swamiji is emphatically, unchangeably convinced that Srila Prabhupada went back to Godhead because he was a pure devotee sent by Krishna to this earth to make Swamiji a devotee, and then Lord Krishna has taken Srila Prabhupada back to His own abode. That is how the Guru/Disciple relationship works as established by Krishna Himself.
BHARJITA KVATHIRA DHANA, “If spiritual life is not followed continuously, properly and permanently from day one of initiation to the last breath, it does not bear sufficient result for achieving liberation, even though one has taken initiation from a spiritual master who is authorized by the ancient scriptures.” Now, Swamiji said that a question may arise, that if that is so, how can anyone become elevated for a short time of following regulated principles and then go back to breaking them again, and then come back to following and then back to break them again, and then again come back to follow and soon later go back to breaking them again? How can that elevate one to actually moving forward on the spiritual path? See, Ajamil in Srimad Bhagavatam had developed this attitude, but after practicing spiritual life and then breaking the principles with the prostitute, he did not go back and forth breaking the principles again and again, and that is why he was given an opportunity to repeat his son’s name Narayan at the time of death, and in that way he was released by the Vaikuntha agents from the agents of Yamaraj so he could practice spiritual life again in this same life and be allowed back to Godhead. But after this he did not go back again to breaking the principles. Due to this, whatever spiritual life Ajamil had practiced previously bore him fruit, giving him the opportunity to chant the name ‘Narayan’, which resulted in him practicing spiritual life properly again so he could go back to Godhead. But those who broke the principles and remained arrogant with a superiority complex type of mind and then go back to breaking the principles again and then come back again and soon go back to breaking them again, and again back and forth, that does not fit in this example of Ajamil.
Being serious in spiritual life alone bears no fruit, but sincerity does. One has to be sincere first in order to obtain any merit from spiritual practice. Sincerity means inside and out is clean, no hoaxesness, no fakeness, no show, and that from day one to the last breath one maintains steady spiritual life. That is called sincere, whereas seriousness is a short time business and can change at any minute, at any time, for any reason.
CAREFUL WITH VRJAVASIS, BUT NOT ALOOF
It is true that all the Vrjavasis are serving Lord Krishna in Raganuga mood and this should be carefully dealt with by those who are not yet on that platform, but this does not mean one should keep aloof from them. If one is supposed to keep aloof from the Vrjavasis then all the Acharyas of all the Vaishnava Sampradayas would not come to Vrindavan and make friendship with the Vrjavasis, and by serving them learn the attitude of Raganuga Bhakti. Srila Viswanatha Chakravarti Thakur states that, if somebody wants to learn pure devotion he must go to Vrindavan and make friendship with the Vrijavasis and learn it from them. Srila Narottamdas Thakur glorified the Vrjavasis by singing, JAYA JAYA VRINDAVANBASI JATA JANA (please look for the translation of this in the songbook). Therefore, one should not order around, chastise, fault find, think negatively, or work against a Vrjavasi in any way or in any manner. For that reason, Swamiji specifically advised Pancagauda with good faith during his visit, that he should rent a Vrjavasi as a temple president who will be in the position to manage other Vrjavasis, and in that way he can manage Vrindavan temple through the Vrjavasi.
THE PURE DEVOTEE CARRIES IT FORWARD
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur started Gaudiya Math leaving his godbrothers, and they all criticized him for doing that. His godbrothers never produced an Acharya who could carry the unbroken tradition further, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati produced an Acharya who could carry his unbroken chain further. Srila Prabhupada, Swamiji’s Guru and yours, started his mission leaving his godbrothers who criticized him back and forth and wanted him to remove the ‘Prabhupada’ title from his name, something which they do till today. But because Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers were not like of those of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s godbrothers, that is why their tradition produced Gurus who could carry the unbroken chain of disciplic succession further. Srila Prabhupada produced one pure devotee who could carry his legacy further and keep his chain unbroken; but Swamiji said, because his godbrothers (ISKCON leaders) background is so hideous, they think that we need to cooperate with them to make sure that Srila Prabhupada’s lifetime mission fails and that the unbroken chain of disciplic succession stops. However this will never happen. In this connection, please kindly read the last sentence of the Preface of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
The real way of spiritual life and ancient Vedic tradition is that a Guru starts his own institution with a new batch of disciples, he writes authentic books and preaches unchanged version of spiritual life, and thus carries his spiritual master’s name further to the new generation. This is the law of spirituality. In this way, the spiritual master smiles proud for having a disciple who can carry his mission further and does not let it fail.
Swamiji was somewhat surprised to hear the tone of your letter and said that he believes it may not be entirely written by Banabhatta Prabhu himself. So whether you are stopped from coming here and/or have been warned from keeping communication, or have decided on your own to follow modern-day ISKCON leaders, that is all up to you. We are open with goodhearted respect to welcome you or anyone who is interested to follow Srila Prabhupada’s As It Is style of preaching and presentation of Krishna consciousness. Swamiji is the last person who has any interest in the International Society for Building Consciousness, which is run by a bunch of hooligans whose name is in the register books of Yamaraj, as well as those innocent unfortunate souls whose consciousness is innocently being chopped off like innocent cows in the slaughter house while marching to Yama Loka.
Padma Purana says, DANAM GRAHANATI YAH SUDRO, MAHATYAM API CAPADI, YAS CA TASMAI SAMPRA DADYAT, TAU UBHAU NARAKAU DHRUVAM, “A charity giver has to be more careful than a charity taker. If a person without considering this rule gives his or her charity to a low-born person who might have changed his or her dress into a Vaisnava looking person, then the charity giver goes to hell as much as a low-born devotee who accepts the charity for his or her self; because, as per ancient Vedic scriptures of India, only a pure Brahaman-born Vaishnava is allowed to accept charity for his own self.” If this rule is true, then you must understand the situation of anyone and everyone in the modern day ISKCON. Don’t you think that if an innocent charity giver is going to hell as per Padma Purana, that the innocents who are supporting, appreciating, or following the hooligans of modern day ISKCON will not go to hell also? That alone says a lot.
If a seed which is bitten by a bug who is also living inside that seed would grow into a plant and produce fruits, then the whole Vedic civilization would be addressed as wrong and today’s ISKCON propaganda would be addressed as right. But Swamiji does not think that can ever happen — because a seed bitten by a bug who is also living inside that seed, cannot grow into a plant and produce fruits.
You maybe wondering why Swamiji is living away from modern day ISKCON. As per Swamiji, he has never left ISKCON, that he is ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada is with him, he joined ISKCON to live in it till his last breath, and because his living, talking, thinking, and preaching, is exactly ‘As It Is’ as Srila Prabhupada wanted, Bhagavat Dharma Samaj is actually the true ISKCON. Legally we cannot use the name of the same institution as Srila Prabhupada’s establishment, but spiritually Bhagavat Dharma Samaj is the original ISKCON, in which Swamiji had joined. Nobody kicked Swamiji out of ISKCON, Swamiji himself resigned from ISKCON, and his resignation letter was accepted by the whole body of GBC and was published in their minutes.
You may wonder why Swamiji resigned from ISKCON and I also asked him why, and Swamiji in his reply instantly quoted the following Sanskrit verses from his memory:
durjanah ca priyam-vadi na caitad visvasa karanam
madhu vasati jihvagre hrdaye ca halahalam
“Because a converted hooligan (wicked person), although he speaks very sweetly convincing philosophy, that is not a reason to trust such person, because the sweetness and the philosophy only sits on the tip of his tongue, whereas his heart is filled with deadly poison (remedy to go to hell).”
The Niti Sastra further says:
durjanasya ca sarpasya varam sarpo na durjanah
sarpo dmsati kalena durjanah ca pade pade
“If a person has to choose to live in association of wicked people or in the association of a poisonous cobra, one should wisely choose to live with a cobra, because a cobra will bite only when death is about to embrace that person, but the wicked will torture that person at every step. That is why wicked association should be rejected.”
Now what to do about this is stated further:
khalanam kantakanam ca dvividhaiva pratikriyah
upanamukha bhago va durati va visarjanam
“There are only two ways to deal with the wicked and the thorns. Either destroying them by breaking their face or going away from them and staying from a distance.”
[Swamiji said you can get the above three verses translated by somebody else, but because I wanted to know the translation I requested him to translate them for my curiosity. Swamiji also said he does not invent any verses, that they are all from authentic scriptures.]
Swamiji asks for forgiveness from you if he had mistreated you in any way.
Hoping this meets you well.
Happy Rama Navami! Thank you. Jay Sri Radhe!
P.S. We just had a very nice Pushkara festival here at the Red Stone Temple in Vrindavan celebrating 12 years of the temple’s inauguration. I would like to share with you a 12 minute video we put together about the great celebration that happened just last month. Please click on the following link to watch: