“People sometimes ask us to write something about our own personal life, so we have decided to include some of this information in this ‘My Mission’. We were born in a Srotriya Brahmana family in Sri Vrindaban Dham, India. Our father was very learned in Vedic scriptures and was Guru for thousands of people in the Vraja area. He was also expert in the Ayurveda, astrology, palmistry, and was well versed in all of the Vedic purificatory rites. He did not work under anyone for a living and maintained his family by voluntary donations from Ayurvedic and astrological practice and whatever came from his disciples. He did not charge fees for any of his services. He also wanted us to be like him, which is why he enrolled us in a famous Gurukula (Vedic dormitory) school for eight years, where we too learned similar subjects from the very beginning. The rule in our Gurukula was that everything in the books had to be memorized. In our eight years there, we memorized thirteen thousand verses from various scriptures and passed the Gurukula stage and then we were sent to normal college where we learned English.
When we came to our Guru’s place, we were already learned in the scriptures. After bathing, we would daily repeat the verses from memory for many hours. Upon hearing the murmuring sound of repeating verses, four western devotees who lived in the huts on our Guru’s land called us a mayavadi because they hardly knew anything about the scriptures. The rule of Sanskrit is that it has to be kept revised to keep it in memory, otherwise it will be lost. But later we were advised not to repeat the verses, so we stopped. What Sanskrit verses we quote in our books, including in the Guru Nirnaya Dipika, are all from our memory. We did not and do not copy anything from anywhere. Those who are envious criticize and find faults in our writings. But our duty is to present everything that is bona-fide correctly. We do not compromise in spiritual subjects because compromising will jeopardize our reaching the spiritual world. We must have worshipped Tulasi Devi in our previous lives to have such a righteous birth in such a transcendental place as Sri Vrindaban Dham. Our seat is reserved in the spiritual world. Of this there is no doubt.
Whenever we requested our Guru, Srila Prabhupada, for spiritual initiation he always said, “You are already a Guru, you do not need any initiation.” After four and a half years, Srila Prabhupada initiated us, giving us the name he had reserved for his deities in Sri Vrindaban Dham. Usually a new initiate is given new chanting beads, but Srila Prahupada took our own chanted beads and returned them to us. Srila Prabhupada told us that he had chanted three rounds on our beads, and His Holiness Aksayananda Swami was present there. Usually Srila Prabhupada would chant only on three beads for a new initiate but he chanted three rounds on our beads, which was a surprise to those who heard about our initiation. Srila Prabhupada knew who we were, but kept it as a secret from the envious people, so when the right time came it would automatically be known to everyone. It is true that we are the only disciple who Srila Prabhupada chanted three rounds on the disciple’s beads.
Our Guru initiated many disciples and some of them are from India, but none of them are authorized to function as Guru by the standard of ancient scriptures, because they either have a low birth, have eaten meat, or have drunk wine. They can become pure devotees and go back to Godhead if they follow the spiritual path correctly, but all of them fall short in the capability to take others to the spiritual world by acting as Guru. A dog may swim across the ocean by itself, but no one can go across the ocean by holding its tail if that person cannot swim. This material existence is compared to a vast ocean which people have to cross. A person with bad habits may become a pure devotee by taking spiritual initiation from a real Guru and by following everything correctly as the Guru had wanted. But this does not mean that one can expect to reach the spiritual world by holding onto the tail-like initiation of such a devotee. This is simply not possible, and only those who are spiritually fortunate will understand this point.
We never touched onion, garlic, tea, coffee, or tobacco products, even with our hands, what to speak of indulging in them or anything worse than these items, in our entire life. This has been our family tradition since time immemorial. We never even saw cinema in our life. When we joined our Guru there were only three thatched huts on the premises as well as ditches for constructing the upcoming temple in Vrindaban on our Guru’s land. Our family’s double storied concrete house was just one fourth of a mile away from the huts where we lived to serve our Guru, but we never returned to our house to live. We worked hard for our Guru in many ways in those days, and when the temple construction came up above the ground (after the temple foundation was filled), we started preaching and collecting huge amounts of money for our Guru until the temple was completed and was inaugurated.
We carried on serving our Guru in that movement until we found it impossible to remain in it. We left the movement in 1988 and wrote a letter of resignation to officially resign from that movement in 1989. The reason for our official resignation from modern-day ISKCON is stated in the Nyaya Sastra-that in order to spiritually develop, a serious devotee who sincerely desires to uplift the soul must leave the association of the wicked. As it is stated, tyaja durjana samsarga kuru sadhu samagamah, “Leave the connection, company, or association of unscrupulous people who pose to be devotees and find real devotees to live with and associate with them.” Following this rule of the Vedic scriptures, we registered our own society in the name of Bhagavat Dharma Samaj, meaning ‘Institute for Pure Devotional Service’ and carried on with our devotional service as per the exact rules of the Vedic scriptures.
A rule of Vedic tradition is that one should not make his own or his own children’s horoscope. That is why, at the time of our birth, our father had our horoscope made by the head of the Department of Astrology of Kasi Hindu Visvavidyalaya (Varanasi Hindu University), whose original hand-written prediction is still with us, which states the following:
“This child will be a Sanyasi and the true chain of disciplic succession will remain with this Swami. He will have many disciples and his disciples will make disciples to carry the spiritual chain further. To fulfill his goal, this Swami will either participate with an organization or will establish his own organization.”
We have already mentioned that we do not compromise in the Vedic philosophy in any way because it will jeopardize our reservation in the spiritual world. We are also very careful about artificial devotees who may speak sweet words but have ulterior motives in their heart. As it is stated in the Ramayana:
sulabha purusa rajan
apriyas ca pathyas ca
srota-vakta ca durlabhah
(Marich told Ravana) “O King, it is very easy to find duplicitous people in abundance, who will always speak sweet and convincing statements, which will lead one astray from the right path. But it is very difficult to find a real devotee who will speak the exact truth, which may sound bitter and harsh, but leads the listener to their ultimate goal. It is also very difficult to find those who are willing to listen to such a person and follow.”
When we were in our Guru’s movement, many of our godbrothers became very close friends with us, but when they found that some other godbrothers created problems for us, they immediately turned against us. For example, His Holiness Mahanidhi Swami, His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami, and many others became very bitter with us. Before turmoil began for us, they were very sweet with us and acted as friends and learnt many spiritual secrets and intricate spiritual philosophy, but when they saw we were facing some problem they suddenly turned against us. People with such natures are called artificial spiritualists and are condemned by the Vedic scriptures. The scriptures state that real friends come to aid at the time of difficulty. As it is stated in the Garuda Purana:
apat-kate tu samprapte
yan-mitram mitram eva tat
brddhi-kale tu samprapte
amitro’pi suhrda bhavet
“At the time of facing problems, any friend who remains a friend and comes to the aid of that friend is a real friend. But those who become friends and act as friends only during good times are not real friends because at good times even an enemy begins acting as a friend.”
Just around the time when our godbrothers began giving us problems, we went to see our father in Vrindaban, asking him what will happen to us in the future. As he was a perfect devotee and a realized astrologer as well, he replied, “Don’t worry, you will shine like the sun and there will only be one sun in the sky. Your Guru made only one true disciple who will carry his spiritual legacy further. Your facing problems right now is just to make you become spiritually disciplined and strong for the future. The disciplic succession of your Guru will stay with you. There will always be some people who will desperately act to destroy you, but at that time there will also be some people who will come to your aid and protect you. God will always be on your side, don’t worry.” We have first hand experience that many of his statements have come true.
For example, one time in the early eighties His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami and Sarvabhavana Das had surprisingly fed us alone and sumptuously, along with sweet rasagullas in their apartment in Calcutta, India. A few hours after eating, we felt like knives were moving around inside our stomach. We were in Calcutta to catch our flight to California. In that condition we reached Berkley, California where we were admitted in the hospital. When we were in the hospital, even after many months and after many tests, the doctors could not find anything wrong in our body. Seeing our situation, the GBC Guru of the Berkley temple at that time, His Holiness Hansaduta Swami, sent us to the Manila temple in the Philippines where Chakravarti das and his wife were living. We were very sick. Chakravarti and his wife took us to doctor Baskara and secretly told him to put us to sleep forever. Doctor Baskara, while injecting the lethal drug in us, told us to think about beautiful ocean waves and nice dancing girls on the beach, etc. Chakravarti das and his wife were both present next to our hospital bed in doctor Baskara’s hospital in Manila and were chanting the Hare Krsna Mahamantra loudly. We cannot remember what happened next. But Hansaduta Swami, a GBC leader and Guru for ISKCON, was in California and he phoned His Holiness Svarupa Damodara Swami, another GBC Guru for ISKCON, and told him that Krsna Balaram Swami was dead. Later, when His Holiness Svarupa Damodar Swami met us in Calcutta, India, he was shocked upon seeing that we were alive. He said, “Hansaduta told me that you were dead.”
Lord Krsna had other plans for us, that is why we survived this incident. The statement rakhe hari mare ke, “If Lord Krsna wants to protect someone, then who is there in this world that can kill that person?” is exactly true in our personal experience. Lord Krsna wanted us to work for Him and help in His mission, which is why He kept us alive. Later, we reached Vrindaban where, in due course of time, by consuming Ayurvedic medicines, we were cured. Our whole bodily color was like a yellow squash or the color of yellow lemon for several months. A person from Holland, who was not even a devotee at all, came to our aid in Manila and brought us there to Vrindaban, helping us in every way. This was our firsthand experience that when somebody wants to destroy us, there will always be somebody who wants to protect us.
Once, we were staying in a cabin in the forest of West Virginia, getting ready to publish our Vaisnava Kantha Hara book. One of our Caucasian godbrothers, Sriman Dharma das, was our secretary. Mr. Michael Richardson (now Mukunda das), had just joined us to become a devotee. Suddenly we heard guns shooting towards us. Dharma das became so frightened that he was shaking like a leaf on a tree in the wind. We prayed to Lord Krsna and suddenly Lord Nrsimhadeva came upon Michael Richardson and he ran towards those people who were shooting guns at our cabin, shouting at the top of his lungs, “You want to shoot a Vrajavasi Brahmana Sanyasi?!! You have to shoot me first, then you can shoot him!! You have to kill me first!!” Saying these words, he ran towards them and stopped them from shooting at us. He found out from them that an ISKCON GBC leader, Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu, told them to do this. Later, when we met Rupanuga in their Washington temple, we asked him the reason for him having them shoot guns at us. He replied that he wanted us to be scared and run from there. We told him we did not do anything against him in this life, why did he have to do this? He could not answer this question. Then we told him that this enmity must be from our past life. Hearing this, he put his head down and kept quiet. Devotees should not do such obnoxious deeds as Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu, or those who carried out his orders, did with us. Creating turmoil against another devotee is condemned by Lord Krsna in the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. Now, Michael Richardson is spiritually initiated and, no matter what, he will never leave us in his entire life.
What we have mentioned in this “My Mission” is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many similar misbehaviors of ISKCON leaders that we cannot mention them all here. This shows how much envy they carry in their heart for a devotee whom they know is better than them. In our heart, we do not feel like this. Even after experiencing such undesirable treatment from them, we think, ‘they do not know better.’ May the Supreme Lord forgive them. We never think that they are our enemies. We never thought maliciously towards them. Nevertheless, to straighten a bent rod, hammering is required, therefore our statements may seem harsh, but they are just meant to straighten the rod-like people who are bent in the wrong direction by going astray from the spiritual path. Uncle Marich told Ravana, “If a Guru becomes scared of correcting the wrongs of others, he is allowing them to swiftly march to hell.” That is why Lord Krsna used the first word in the Sixteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, “abhayam“, meaning fearlessness is the quality of a real devotee, who is not afraid of correcting someone, in whatever way it takes, whom he thinks should go to the spiritual world.
One of the main qualities of a real devotee is to forgive and forget the past and carry on with devotional service. Even though we experienced such obnoxious treatment from ISKCON people, we still desire to help them to improve spiritually. Regardless of the scriptural statement, ‘a devotee may forgive one for committed offenses, but Lord Krsna does not,’ I pray for those who knowingly or unknowingly did damage to us that Lord Krsna may forgive them, thinking that Lord Krsna listens to His real devotee’s prayers.
At present, ISKCON has gone astray from the spiritual path. Those who live in ISKCON, those who follow ISKCON, and those who live outside of ISKCON but have an ISKCON style mentality, need to make changes in their spiritual path or else their time spent in the name of spiritual life will have been wasted. At present, ISKCON has gone totally wrong spiritually, including the rtvik section of ISKCON, which we have discussed in one of our previous My Missions. Neither the Gurus nor the disciples of ISKCON can prove that they can go back to Godhead, but we can prove with scriptural evidence that their degradation is certain after their death. So why waste time in the name of spiritual life under such degrading people? ISKCON leaders are determined to remain as they are but those who claim to be smart, sincere, and seriously desire to go back to Godhead should carefully consider changing and take the required necessary steps to obtain liberation from material existence. We are always open to extend our help to the sincere.
There is a notable incident which took place in early 1983 when Harisauri Prabhu (His Holiness Prabhupada Kripa Swami, a GBC leader for Australia at that time) went to see a famous psychic in Bali, Indonesia. Due to destiny, we were there with him. At that time, there were two other Australian devotees with us. The psychic made predictions about everyone, one by one. Seeing us, the psychic stood up and told them boldly, pointing his finger at us, that we were a great personality like Lord Jesus who came to this world to liberate many people. On another occasion, when we were feeling sick, Pralambari das, another Australian devotee, took us to a Chinese doctor where there was a Chinese psychic who also said the same thing in front of us. This was in Jakarta, Indonesia. This Chinese psychic collected his family members to come and touch us. They all touched us and took us inside their most private room of worship. We were surprised seeing their worshiping style.
Later on, in Italy, some Italian devotees invited an Argentinian psychic to ask about themselves. We happened to be present there, and after they asked about themselves, he spoke about them. Then they asked about us, to which that psychic told the Italian devotees, while in our presence, that this man is a spiritual swan and because his feathers are not yet grown, everyone thinks that he is just another duck. He said this man is a special devotee. There were many such incidents that took place with us in India, while we were still in ISKCON, and also after we left ISKCON. It does not matter who, if they actually know the science of foretelling, they will say the same thing. Knowing such things, many so called devotees became envious, and thus became engaged in scandals against us. This was very unfortunate on their part, because instead of taking advantage of our guidance, they turned against us. They will all regret this after we are gone from this world, because it will be too late for them to obtain true spiritual help from the chain of Srila Prabhupada to go back to Godhead.
One incident took place in Baltimore, where an old black lady came to see us, and said we were so bright like Lord Jesus, asking if she could go to heaven, to which we replied affirmatively. A few years later, just a few hours before her death, she asked her grandson to fetch us so she could see us face to face. We went there and talked to her for five or ten minutes and she passed away. Because she passed away seeing a devotee, she surely went to heaven. Her grandson, Lochan das, is now one of our dear disciples.
Fortunately, since our childhood, we were taught the science about how to be a real friend to everyone. Our friendship is open to anyone and everyone because, as a devotee, we are supposed to help and be friendly even to those who act inimical towards us. A true devotee is ajata-satru, meaning he has no enemies. People in ISKCON think we are their enemy, but we do not think that way about them. When they come to ask questions which no one else in ISKCON can answer, we answer them genuinely, giving them prasadam and let them happily go. If Mahanidhi Swami or Jayadvaita Swami other like-minded people came to us today, we would wholeheartedly embrace them and give them the best treatment like that of a best friend, because it is in our blood and it is the natural law of spiritual life. We do not hold any grudge or enmity against anyone, but these people think we are their enemy. This is simply amazing. How this world works only God knows.
The sun or other lights are necessary for the eyes to see. But if one is totally blind he cannot see even if the sun is shining brightly. Similarly, those who are demoniac, those who are rascals, and those who are very unlucky, are considered to be totally blind to spiritual reality and thus will not recognize a pure devotee even though they read the scriptures. That is why even if a pure devotee is present before them, they will not recognize him because a pure devotee also acts like an ordinary devotee. Such rascals think a pure devotee is an ordinary man and thus reject him. Sometimes in Kaliyuga, demons take to spiritual life and pose to be pure devotees, thus misleading innocent people by twisting the scriptural statements and even quote Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to suit their whims. But those who are very fortunate avoid them and surrender to a scripturally prescribed spiritual authority. They are thus saved from the pangs of Kaliyuga. However, one who serves a fake devotee he/she is like a person who eats very sumptuously but drinks contaminated water and thus contracts tuberculosis. Even though such people seem healthy externally, their hearts are eaten by dreadful germs and they will soon die if not treated properly. The treatment for such spiritually suffering people is to take the shelter of a scripturally authentic Spiritual Master and stay under his commands. This is the primary way that is mentioned in the Vedic scriptures for those who desire to advance on the spiritual path.
Due to divine arrangement, we have a reserved seat in the spiritual world. We will surely go there and no one can prove otherwise. If someone is meritorious, they will participate with us and become trained correctly to reach the spiritual world. Those who are less fortunate will not come to us, although they know in the core of their heart that what we teach is right. They also know heart-of-heart about our spiritual purity and learning. But because they are unlucky they cannot participate with us. We are open to those who desire to reach the spiritual world to sport with Lord Krsna there. But if they do not come, we do not want to lax in our spiritual philosophy just to attract many followers.”
Mahant Krsna Balaram Swamiji, Section of “My Mission” in Volume 15 of Srimad Bhagavatam by the Founder Acharya of Bhagavat Dharma Samaj.
[Sri Krsna Balaram Swamiji, KBS5139]