August 1st 2020
Dear Madhava Das,
Please accept my blessings. I hope you and your family are well.
I could only find time now to clear your questions regarding our traditional Goswami’s writings and about Satyanarayana Das Babaji. Sometimes it is impossible to get extra time to satisfy all the disciples’ questions due to lack of sufficient time.
ONLY A SCRIPTURALLY AUTHORIZED GURU CAN TAKE HIS FOLLOWERS TO THE SPIRITUAL WORLD
Scripturally, a disciple means a person who is spiritually inclined and truly disciplined, whose main focus is to see God by reaching His spiritual world. Here, disciplined means a sisya (in Sanskrit) who truly knows no one else nor thinks about anyone else except his or her Guru, meaning he or she is totally dedicated to the commands of their scripturally authorized Guru.
A scripturally authorized Guru is that person whose goal is to direct his disciples properly on the scriptural rules while they (the disciples) are executing their assigned spiritual duties, by the help of which they can reach the spiritual world where Guru himself is destined to reach. Unless Guru has his reserved seat in the spiritual world, he cannot, in any way, take his followers there. If Guru is not scripturally authentic, needless to say about taking someone to the spiritual world, if his own going to the spiritual world would not be guaranteed, then his taking his followers to the spiritual world is like thinking a mirage in the desert to be water and running towards it. A thirsty deer who runs after a mirage in the desert, thinking it to be water, surely embraces death in due course. It is sometimes seen that a thirsty deer in the desert, while seeking for water, runs towards a mirage and dies due to unquenched thirst. The situation of a Guru who is not authorized by the ancient Vedic scriptures of India is similar, and their disciples face doom at the end of their life.
A Guru who is real is never against anyone, nor keeps a grudge against anyone because he is ajatasatru (in Sanskrit) by nature. He genuinely feels compassion towards everyone, especially towards those who are sincerely executing devotional service and seeking spiritual advancement. Sometimes these fake gurus externally look nice, wear expensive clothes, drive luxurious cars, and live and eat lavishly. But their end and the end of their followers is guaranteed by ancient scriptures to be dark doom. For example, a poisonous plant or a poisonous creeper may externally look smooth and beautiful but if it is consumed, death is assured. The case of those innocents who establish a connection with an unqualified and scripturally inauthentic guru is similar. The end result of such a spiritual connection is spiritual death.
I actually know that you are a sincere devotee, therefore I recommend that your situation should not be like that of a person who falls in the slot of “bahu sakha hy anatas cha” (Bhagavad Gita) and feels like associating with, or keeping connections with, or reading from many kinds of spiritual books or different authorities that are not recommended by Vedic civilization. Lord Krsna forbids such a kind of attitude for a devotee. Lord Krsna wants His devotees to follow Vedic life and His devotees must abide by established Vedic rules.
THE INSTRUCTIONS FROM GURU SHOULD NOT BE MISUNDERSTOOD
Sometimes a real Guru may see the incompetency of his disciple(s), and knowing his own limited stay in this world, may advise his disciple(s) to take spiritual instructions and or follow another authentic Guru whom he knows well, a Guru who is properly qualified to take care of his disciple(s) after his departure of this world. Such an instruction of an authentic Guru must be carefully understood by the disciple(s). But by hearing such advice of their Guru, if the disciple thinks of accepting that advising new Guru as equal to their own original Guru and/or takes re-initiation from him, then the disciples become offensive against their own original Guru, and thus fall into hell. Even thinking against their own scripturally authentic Guru, what to speak about accepting re-initiation from another Guru, implicates the disciple(s) with unforgivable offense.
SRILA SRIDHARA MAHARAJA
For example, my Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, saw that his leading disciples were incompetent and told his leading disciples to take spiritual advice from Srila Sridhara Maharaja and learn how to manage the spiritual institution (ISKCON). After the departure of my Guru Maharaja, many disciples, including ISKCON GBC’s, reached BR Sridhara for spiritual guidance. I also went to see Srila Sridhara Maharaja on many occasions because he was a senior devotee to my Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada. But as time passed, all the devotees split into two factions-one faction included the ISKCON GBC’s who turned offensive towards Srila Sridhara and thought, felt, and spoke badly about Srila Sridhara Swami, and the other faction surrendered unto him and took re-initiation from him. Many of these re-initiates acted as initiating gurus under Sridhara’s command in his society. Both of these groups are spiritually totally wrong because they broke their originally given spiritual promise which they gave to Srila Prabhupada at the time of taking initiation from him.
As I was visiting Srila Sridhara Maharaja occasionally, he came to know about who I was and he started to call me Vrajavasi, and told his ashram-in-charge to make chapatees for me because Bengalis only eat rice and Vrajavasis eat chapatees. Srila Sridhara Maharaja once told me in the presence of Lokasaranya Swami, an American devotee, that if I also surrendered unto his command then I could function as an acharya and Guru in his institution. I told him I already had a scripturally authorized Guru, and that is why I wanted to follow my Guru only. This episode took place in about 1980 or 1981. Since that incident, I never went to see Srila Sridhara Maharaja again because if I visited him again or followed him in any way it would make me become offensive against my Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, whom I have truly dedicated my whole life to. A true disciple is so disciplined that he or she cannot see anyone else as a replacement for their Guru in any way. Even if that spiritual person seems somewhat more advanced than their Guru, still, they earnestly follow their scripturally authentic Guru till their last breath. This is the only scriptural way for a sincere disciple as mentioned in the Vedic scriptures.
SRILA PURI MAHARAJA
A true disciple cannot be bribed by anyone, by any means, at any time. A true disciple remains spiritually fixed on their decided goal till their last breath and no one can ever waver or buy a true devotee. It is wanted for a devotee toremain ademantly fixed on their goal. Another example took place on or about 1987 when I left an ISKCON GBC meeting in Mayapur and reached Vrindaban, where I lived in a king’s palace. ISKCON GBC might have asked Srila BV Puri Goswami Maharaja (from Visakhapattanam, a city in the southern part of India) to come and see me in my new place of residence (in the palace located in Vrindaban where I was living then) and console me and make me somehow join him.
Srila Puri Maharaja was my senior cousin god-brother and was known to me for over about 35 years by then. He knew me very well because birds of the same feather flock together. He was also a scholar in spirituality. While discussing in the palace in Vrindaban, Puri Maharaja really worked very hard on me to join him. He even said that I could be the acharya for his mission because he did not have any disciple qualified for such a post. When he learned that I did not want to follow what he wanted, he became a little irritated and thus used a negative approach to make me accept what he desired. He said I could not become successful alone in preaching, I needed assistance. He knew who I was and what my capability was, but ISKCON GBC’s wanted him to convince me by hook or by crook and make me somehow follow him and turn into a spiritually prostitute-like disciple of my Guru.
Puri Maharaja also knew in his heart that no one in this universe could convince me to become a spiritual deviant. We both talked for about four to five hours, but after so much philosophical discussion, he failed in his ISKCON GBC mission and left. A real devotee cannot be bribed by anyone, by any means, at any time, for any reason. A real devotee cannot see anyone else to follow besides their own scripturally authentic Guru because at that stage they become totally convinced that sitting on one boat will make them go across this ocean-like material existence called bhavasagara in Sanskrit. It is natural and logical, and is best to understand, that a person requires only one boat at a time to cross a body of water. We have a material body and somehow we have understood that spiritual life will take us back to Godhead and an authentic Guru is to be accepted as the captain on that boat. For this reason we must follow only one Guru and not be a deviant devotee for any reason.
A devotee who becomes mesmerized and becomes allured by someone else besides their own scripturally authentic Guru is not considered to be a sincere devotee, or disciple. A scripturally authentic Guru is the initiating diksyaguru, a teaching siksaguru, and should be the sole spiritual guide for a sincere disciple. This means that a real disciple cannot seek another spiritual solution in life. This is the only way mentioned in the Vedic scriptures. Please understand this point as an unchangeable fact.
JEEVA INSTITUTE, SATYANARAYANA DAS BABAJEE
You had asked me something about the Jeeva Institute of Satyanarayana Das Babajee. Satyanarayana is a very nice person/devotee. He saw me in or about in the mid-1980s in Tirupati (a town in the southern part of India) where I was visiting the Tirumala deity for the first time. Satyanarayana was a brahmachari then, wearing saffron clothes. He was a pujari (worshiping priest) under ISKCON there. My lectures were arranged there in ISKCON premises and he heard my lectures there for a few consecutive days. He became very convinced (he told me this, after some months had passed, when he met me again) that I should be his Guru (these were his words). On another occasion (in the mid-1980s) when I was in a festival program in Delhi where Srila BV Puri Maharaja and I were sitting on a same level seat and discussing intricate spiritual philosophy. Satyanarayana (then a brahmachari but now a babajee) was (unknown to both of us) listening to our conversation. When I found Satyanarayana listening to our conversation, I gave him some rupees and told him to get some milk for Puri Maharaja. (Satyanarayana later told me that I sent him away becaue I did not want him to listen to our conversation, but this was not my intention.)
After some time had passed, Satyanarayana Das, as a brahmachari, told me that he had wanted to take re-initiation from me and accept me as his sole Spiritual Master. But I was not initiatng in those days, which is why he did not directly ask me for initiation. Originally Satyanarayana Das was a disciple of an ISKCON guru, Jaystirtha Das, from England, whose head was cut due to LSD consumption. He had an LSD manufacturing factory that he owned in California.
In later days, Satyanarayana found Srila Haridasa Sastriji, a Bengalee babaaji devotee scholar with whom I was very close friends with. Satyanarayana took a learning course and started receiving lessons on logic and Sanskrit grammar. On one occasion Satyanarayana entered Haridasa Sastri’s place, where he saw Srila Haridasa Sastriji and I were sitting on the same level and discussing intimately on a spiritual topic. Haridasa Sastri and I were very close friends. When Satyanarayana entered the main gate of his compound, Satyanarayana saw us both (Haridasa Sastri and I) were sitting on a same level seat (we were sitting facing the main gate about 40-50 feet away from the gate), seeing Satyanarayana enter the gate, Haridasa Sastri asked me about what I thought about Satyanarayana because he wanted to know my opinion about Satyanarayana. I told him that he was a nice and an intelligent devotee. I told him that if he could please get him (Satyanarayana) under his (Haridasa’s) control, it would be beneficial. In this case I did not mean to re-initiate him and make him into a babajee from a brahmachari.
I only wanted him to keep Satyanarayana as a side assistance for him. But unfortunately Satyanarayana fell into the secretive scheme of Srila Haridas Sastriji. Haridasa Sastri was a babajee himself, wore white dress, and made Satyanarayana switch from saffron to wearing white as well. This was not good for Satyanarayana spiritually because babajee means bhajananandees meaning sitting at one place and doing bhajan and not caring about others’ liberation. Whereas we are called gosthiyanandis, meaning also interested to uplift the sincere souls by spreading the Gospel of Lord Krsna through preaching. Babajees and us have the same Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya in which babajees are considered to be selfish spiritually because they are interested only in their own spiritual development.
Their sole desire is that they should be the only ones who should go to the spiritual world, whereas we, in our spiritual tradition, wear saffron and are interested in others’ liberation also, which is why we risk our life and go from place to place, city to city, and country to country and preach the Gospel of God to othes. Our goal is to follow Lord Krsna’s words of the 18th chapter where He says anyone who preaches His message to others becomes most dear to Him. This is our mission. We follow this rule of Lord Krsna and Lord Krsna is the Supreme God.
If Satyanarayana had joined me he would have become a greatly honored devotee by now but unfortunately, due to some reason, he took initiation from a babaajee (Srila Haridasa Sastri) and turned into a babajee. As a person he is very nice and intelligent but he is not supposed to be followed by us because we are gosthiyanandees (not selfish and we are preachers). Moreover, we should not turn ourselves into spiritual prostitutes or unfaithful devotees in the eyes of God.
Nothing of this world should take us away from our decided spiritual path and our decided spiritual path is gosthiyanandis (interested in others’ emancipation). Due to great fortune, we have become involved in gosthiyanandee (interested in spiritually developing others) tradition of spiritualism, now it is our duty to stop others from marching to hell by encouraging others to adopt devotional service. Gosthiyanandees (who feel for others’ development) fall in the most loving branch of Vaishnavism, therefore we should always guard ourselves from getting carried away by manipulators. No kind of scheme or psychological talks should take us away from our decided spiritual path. We should always remain chaste devotees to our Guru and Lord Krsna and our purpose and goal should be one-to stay forever under the guidance of and follow one Guru, the accepted Spiritual Master.
SRILA NARAYANA MAHARAJA
In regards to Srila Narayana Maharaja, he is a nice devotee but his spiritually initiated devotees are inauthentic as much as those who are initiated by ISKCON’s so-called gurus. Narayana Maharaja was forbidden by his own guru, Srila Keshava Maharaja. Srila Keshava Maharaja was our god-uncle, Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother. Keshava Maharaja forbade Srila Narayana Maharaja from initiating anyone in his lifetime. As per the order of his Guru (Keshava Maharaja) Narayana Maharaja could not initiate anyone in his lifetime. Therefore, those who were initiated by Narayana Maharaja (no one took initiation from Narayana Maharaja except people from ISKCON). Although Narayana Maharaja was a senior devotee in his guru’s institution, his guru forbade Narayana Maharaja from initiating any disciples in his temples.
Narayana Maharaja followed this instruction of his Guru’s as long as my Guru lived, and when my Guru departed from this world, Narayana Maharaja started reinitiating disciples from the ISKCON movement. Except people connected to ISKCON, no one took initiation from Narayana Maharaja. The reason for Narayana Maharaja’s Guru preventing him from initiating disciples is a long story and is not worth mentioning here.
When we inaugurated our temple we did not want Narayana Maharaja to come, that is why we inaugurated our temple when he was absent from the Mathura Vrindaban area. If we inaugurated our temple while he was present in the Mathura Vrindaban area, then we would have had to invite him to come and he would enter the sanctum sanctorum and the invited great people who might have known Narayana Maharaja’s background would have created some turmoil in the temple inauguration. That is why I made sure to choose a date when Narayana Maharaja would be absent from the Vrindaban area. Narayana Maharaja also knew me for over 40 years. I had also translated his lectures into English many times.
I am not chastising you or anyone here, but it is my spiritual duty to clear the misunderstanding and also correct my disciples by putting them straight. Unless we are expert in Sanskrit we should not seek reading other acharya teachers’ books or the Goswami’s books because they all wrote in Sanskrit devanagari.
The English translations of Sanskrit, nowadays, are unauthorized because incompetent people have translated them. For example, there was an American devotee named Kushakratha Das (my godbrother) from California, who had translated some booklets and published them and showed me his translations. I told him that his translations were not correct, as they directed the reader away from what the original acharya had wanted. Another translation I came to see was Jagatguru Swami’s (Srila Prabhupada’s sanyasi disciple who fell to taking reinitiation from BR Sridhara Maharaja and became Narasimha Swami, now located in Hawaii, USA) Bengali translation, which was improper. I did not directly tell this to him because he is very proud and arrogant even by American standards.
The English translation of babajees are not to be read by us because we belong to gosthiyanandee tradition (preachers for others’ benefit). Therefore, for modern translations of spiritual books I would suggest to please not spend time with such translations because they may mislead the sincere away from the decided goal.
A REAL DEVOTEE IS FULLY LOYAL TO HIS GURU
A real devotee cannot be bribed by anyone for any reason at any time. Those who fall for a bribe and become spiritual deviants are not sincere and were never sincere. For your information, Srila BV Puri Maharaja even told me that I would have the help of all his devotees and the temples and properties if I would follow and participate with him. He even told me to keep my initiated name and that I just needed to change my name from Swami to Goswami. I also knew that disagreeing with him would conclude (end) my friendship with him, still I did what I was supposed to do spiritually.
Please take care of your spiritual life. You are an American (great) intelligent devotee and you know that haste makes waste, therefore I recommend that you please be patient and slowly you will know all the intricate knowledge of Vaishnavism. Next, we shall discuss in more details in person, if it is required on this topic. For now, please keep yourself spiritually fit and chant your prescribed rounds daily and take only Krsna prashadam daily.
Jai Sri Radhe.
Your ever well-wisher,
Krsna Balaram Swami