720000 - Letter to Editor of The Hindu written from Srila Prabhupada from Bombay
The Editor, “Swarajya”, Madras
- Gandhi gram rd.
- Juhu Village
From: Srila Prabhupada
Recently a letter under the heading of “Hare Krishna Movement” was published in the “Swarajya” of April 8, 1972, by one Swami B.P. Yati Maharaj. The letter is issued on behalf of the Gaudiya Math in Madras, which is standing there for the last 40 years. It is understood from reliable sources that the present head of this institution comes there only once a year, on Janmastami festival days, collects some contributions and goes away. He is, however, engaged in litigation since 1936 just for the matter of taking possession of bundles of bricks and stones. Still, the disciples have the audacity to criticize the Hare Krishna Movement, which is going on all over the world.
All the devotees in this movement are strictly following the Vedic principles, even though they are foreigners, mostly Europeans and Americans. They are strictly following these regulative principles, and they are authoritatively initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a direct disciple of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj Prabhupada, the founder of the Gaudiya Math institution. This International Society for Krishna Consciousness has 100 branches all over the world, with bonafide worship of Radha-Krishna and Guru-Gouranga deities in almost every Temple. Recently, for example, we have established worship of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna in Melbourne, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, and Tokyo, Japan, and the worship of Pancha Tattva (meaning Sri Chaitanya, Nityananda, Adwaita, Gadadhar, and Srivas) deities in Honolulu, Hawaii, which we call “New Nabadwip”, because these Hawaiian Islands are divided into so many islands, just like Lord Chaitanya’s birthplace in Nadia, West Bengal. The cult preached by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is not sentimental, it is most practical, He said:
- bharata-bhumite haila
- manusya-janma ya ‘ra
- janma sarthaka kari’ kara
(Chaitanya Charitamrta, Adi 9.41)
This verse means that anyone who has taken birth as a human being in the land of Bharat Varsa must make his life a success by preaching this cult for the welfare activities of the human society. Chaitanya also preached that:
- prthivite ache yata
- nagaradi grama
- sarvatra pracara haibe
- mora nama.
As many towns and villages there are on the surface of the globe, the cult of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His Name will be spread over. That is actually happening under the able management of His Divine Grace, but what have the Gaudiya Math people done in this connection? Is the name of Gaudiya Math known anywhere except in Madras and Calcutta by a few people? But the ISKCON Hare Krishna Movement is going on all over the globe, and “Hare Krishna” is practically a household word in every corner of the world. Everyone is appreciating that the real Indian culture is being accepted in the foreign countries so nicely. During our program in Madras, all big men were attending and they will bear witness to what we are doing. The founder of the Gaudiya Math wanted that this movement be combinedly spread all over the world by his disciples, but, for the most part, they are fighting and dividing into smaller factions. Everywhere we have gone and got good reception and we have been honored everywhere. Simply this Gaudiya Math, they are pinching. Are they the only ones who know Lord Chaitanya’s philosophy, this so-called Gaudiya Math? In Vrindaban even, the followers of “Sadgoswamis” to whom they so reverently refer received us so nicely with three public receptions, and one of the leading citizens of Vrindaban donated us a huge plot of land in Raman Reti (where construction of the largest and most beautiful Temple in Vrindaban is going on), and the chairman of the municipality himself also donated us a piece of land. So I do not think these men are by any means foolish, that they have not understood the great importance and value of the Hare Krishna Movement! But what has Gaudiya Math got as credentials in this connection? What has this Chaitanya Math done for the last nearly 40 years? It was the desire of the Chaitanya Math, Bhaktivinode Thakur, that foreign devotees would come to dance in ecstasy with Indian devotees, singing together Jai Sachinanda! Now ISKCON has established a very big center at the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya. Why Gaudiya Math is engaged in High Court litigation for the last 40 years to take possession of some bricks and wood? His Divine Grace alone, without any help from the Gaudiya Math, is preaching all over the world. The Gaudiya Math, instead of doing some tangible work on the line of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is split up into so may divisions, and although it was the duty of Indians to preach this cult all over the world, on account of Gaudiya Math’s inability to do that, the Europeans, Americans, Canadians, and Japanese, they are doing the preaching work under the competent guidance of His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
So practically the Gaudiya Math people are envious of the Hare Krishna Movement people, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, because we are strictly following Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, whereas the Gaudiya Math people are sitting idle, enjoying the occupation of different buildings constructed by the late Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and they are spoiling their time in the Calcutta High Court to keep all these building illegally under their control. So far as ecstasy is concerned, there are two divisions of ecstasy. One is called bhava and the other is called mahabhava. The bhava ecstasy can be achieved by any ordinary devotee who is following the principles, namely, 1) Faith, 2) Association of devotees, 3) Initiation in devotional service, 4) Giving up unwanted things, 5) Conviction, 6) Taste, 7) Attachment, and 8) Ecstasy, which is the prior stage to love of Godhead, and is certainly meant for only very, very highly advanced devotees. So the ecstasy shown by the devotees carrying on the Sankirtan movement all over the world is certainly on the stage of bhava. The mahabhava ecstasy is purely on the platform of love of Godhead, we do not claim the mahabhava stage of the highly advanced devotees, but the Gaudiya Math people, they have not even faith in the words [of] their Spiritual Mater, so How can they understand even the bhava stage? Rather they are interested in viswya, material things. At present we can see that the so-called chief of the Gaudiya Math institution is engaged in High Court litigation, of how to usurp the whole property. So is this the sign of strictly following Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Does this give license to criticize others who are following Mahaprabhu by actually preaching in the field? It is very much regrettable. What they could not do, because others are doing it, they are simply finding fault. It is a great offense, and they shall have to suffer for this offending vaisnavas.
Regarding women, because the Gaudiya Math people are not practical, neither they have got experience of foreign countries, therefore they are saying all this nonsense. In foreign countries, especially in the west, boys and girls intermingle very freely, that is the society’s culture. It is not very practical to prohibit such mixing for this reason, therefore our students must get themselves married if they desire connection with women. All the devotees seen by Swami Yati Maharaj in Madras are married couples. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never prohibited the association of married couples. Adwaita was a family man, Nityananda was a family man, Gadadhar was a family man, Srivas was a family man. Lord Chaitanya himself was a family man. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached that every living entity is the eternal servant of Krishna. He never said that women were prohibited to dance on the street – is there any evidence? Can the Gaudiya Math people quote anything? On the contrary, at the end of last February, during the birthdate celebrations of Lord Chaitanya in Mayapur, 99% of the visitors to the Gaudiya Math were women, mostly widows. And we observed that the swamis of Sri Chaitanya Math led them in procession and danced with them, and their exploits in this connection are well known and everyone has seen.
Sri Yati Maharaj talks of the Vedanta philosophy, but he appears to be either a Mayavadi in disguise or he does not know what is Vedanta, otherwise he would have referred to the talks of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with Prakasananda Saraswati at Varanasi, wherein the Lord concluded that Vedanta philosophy culminates in the chanting of “Hare Krishna”, the mahamantra. Sri Yati Maharaj is therefore neither a follower of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, nor is he a Vedantist. He is simply an envious, adverse critic of a genuine world movement, and he and his master are both malicious like the venomous serpents.
Yours in the service of Lord Krishna,
Giriraj Das Brahmachari
President – ISKCON Bombay (actually written by Srila Prabhupada)