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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

by Hansadutta das

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Correspondence #3

From Hansadutta das,
Cloverdale, California

Dear Eric Johanson:

Please accept my humble obeisances. If we simply accept Srila Prabhupada's last directive in the matter of who will initiate without interpretation, then all the confusion and speculation will vanish, as fog vanishes with the appearance of the morning sun. I hope you are well.

Your servant,
Hansadutta das

From Adridharan das of Calcutta, India
17 January 1994

Dear Bhakta Prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I have received your fax dated 14th January '94 and have gone through the contents. It was unfortunate that I was not able to receive your association during your visit to Vrindavan. However, my U.S. trip was worthwhile, if you may call it that. I was able to meet some of the top specialized architects who do the kind of work we are attempting here in Calcutta. I saw many of their works and subsequently interviewed them and selected three prospective companies. I am waiting for their working proposals and then we will negotiate and select one company. We hope to begin work in the next few months.

I have just finished my travelling around the U.S., and it was quite a shocking experience. For me it was returning back to the U.S. almost after 15 years, when the times were very good. The situation is now in a dismal condition. Something like a consortium of many maths or more like an American version Gaudiya Math. Temples are struggling to maintain the deities, scarcity of devotees even to take care of the essential temple programme, salaried workers in the garb of devotees. Small kutumba (family) of disciples, gurus are feeling comfort and secure in their relationships, oblivious of the house of ISKCON crumbling around them. It was very depressing. Most of all, the inabilities of the leaders to see that something is even fundamentally wrong made things unbearable. The solution is another matter, but unless we confront the truth that we have messed up can we move to the stage of correction. Preaching to the Americans is practically nil. The whole game plan is to strike at the Hindus, which is after all a soft target. We don't have the strength nor the potency of inspiration to strike at the real target, the Americans. Anyway, you already know everything. What else can I say? To me, the solution is as clear as crystal--unless we can put Srila Prabhupada back in the centre, so that everybody can have relationship with him, I don't see a bright future.

Your servant,
Adridharan das

From Bhakta das, Bangkok, Thailand
19 January 1994

Dear Das Dasanudas devi dasi:

Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you very much for your fax letter which just arrived. For so many weeks I was wondering when I would receive copies of the magazine. I understand the problems of transportation. There is no cheap and efficient way that I know of, except to have them personally carried in a suitcase when a passenger flies between SIN and BKK. That is best. Any other way is not cost efficient.

I believe I will be stopping over in Singapore sometime in early March. The date is not yet established, but I will advise Bhima when the plans are confirmed.

Yesterday in the earthquake the Los Angeles Temple was destroyed. The deities were not damaged, but the temple room is finished. In 1973 I was present along with Jayatirtha when Srila Prabhupada was screaming at Jayatirtha and severely chastising him for making that temple room in deliberate disobedience to Srila Prabhupada's command. That temple room was never blessed by Srila Prabhupada, and now we see the effect 20 years later! We must be convinced of the absolute infallibility of every word Srila Prabhupada has spoken or written. He is perfect. He is our only source of perfect knowledge. If our senses support what we hear from him, then we can accept it, but if our senses tell us Srila Prabhupada is wrong, we must reject that as false knowledge. That is faith. Whatever he says I accept in total without doubt. If we have this conviction, then every easily we can understand who is Krishna, who am I and the process of devotional service to go back to home, back to Godhead.

Each day I am realizing how wonderfully simple Krishna consciousness is and how it is truly available for everyone, as much as the sunshine is there for everyone. Srila Prabhupada's mercy is not selective. It is only our receptivity that makes it appear that some are getting more mercy than others.

Whatever I write is just from my heart. I am a fool who disobeyed, ignored and threw stones at the face of my spiritual master for many years. By his causeless mercy only I have been picked up and allowed again to follow my vows and try to become an obedient child. This is not humility. It is fact. He is so kind, so good and so compassionate that again and again he forgives us our offences and continues to implore us to take up the Harinama with determination. He certainly understands all our weaknesses and he knows that eventually the child will learn to walk! We can never find words sufficient to glorify His Divine Grace. His glory is limitless. But, I know that he will be most satisfied simply when he sees us all chanting and dancing together, with tears of love in our eyes, our bodies shivering in bliss, the hairs standing up like sticks all over our body and our voices choked up as we realize our eternal position as servant of the servants of the servants of Sri Sri Radha Krishna.

Your name is very nice. Just like my name. Both have the same meaning. When Srila Prabhupada told me my name, he said, "Your name is Bhakta dasa. This name means that you are the servant of the devotees. The more you think of yourself as the servant of the devotees, the faster you will advance in spiritual life. The more you think you are becoming a master, the faster you will go to hell!" So the deep-rooted desire for personal recognition is one of the hardest anarthas for the aspiring devotee to overcome. Our mind starts to tell us how we are so advanced, and this is the most dangerous idea. We have seen what has happened to innumerable devotees by this thinking. So we must always beat our minds continually by remembering that we are nothing except infinitesimal particles of spirit embedded in maya, due to our refusal to surrender to the will of the Lord since time immemorial.

Please offer my respects and sincere best wishes to all the devotees with you.

Your servant always,
Bhakta dasa

From Dhamaghosa dasa,
Seattle, Washington
20 January 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for your kind letter and sentiments. I would be interested in how you intend to distribute books, since I used to be a book distributor for years and years. But right now I am humbly trying to get a building for use as a temple. We had a very nice program going here for a couple of years until Gauridasa decided to fly South to sunnier skies. Now neither he nor us here have any semblance of the original program we once had. The program I do brings 5-10 or so dedicated souls weekly. But it would be much better if I had a building in a good location, which would bring in foot traffic as well as drive-bys.

Anyway, we use, you might be interested to know, those small Bhagavad-gitas you had printed years ago. I can't stand using the "new improved versions." Can you believe what these so-called devotees are doing to Prabhupada's books? Even now wanting to take out all his purports about the Gaudiya Math!

If you are ever coming North this way, I would very much like you to stay with us and give us your association.

Regarding the magazine you printed, I know many people who would be interested in seeing a copy. Have you mailed them to the "Gurus?" GBC? Just like in the media, the politicians lie again and again, until finally everybody believes them--like Bush, a master of denial. Similarly, we have to continue to tell people the truth about Prabhupada, until finally they get it, after much repeating even to the same people. So this magazine you've done is good. I will help you distribute it here and about.

Are you and others planning a get-together this spring or summer? If so, I would like to come down for it. Remember your old friend Dharmaraj? Well, he's now with Tripurari and Co., hook, line and sinker. You might want to drop him a line, a long one.

I really loved the "Challenge" in Vrindavan, just like the Dr. Kovoor days in Sri Lanka??? This kind of bold preaching is needed to combat all the nonsense going on everywhere. If I can be of any help, please let me know.

Sincerely yours
Dhamaghosa dasa

From Hrishikesha Prabhu
1 February 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for sending your excellent book, Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, which I had just finished reading. Sorry for taking so much time, but I had other things that needed reading and doing first. Bravo for your "Apology to the Devotees." The test of a really great man is not his accomplishments, but whether or not he will admit his mistakes and apologize for them. Even non-devotees understand this to a great extent, as I have learned from my own experience.

Enclosed is a letter which I wrote to my god-brother Sanatana Dharma das, which contains excerpts from a recent class given by Kirtanananda in New York. You might find it interesting to hear what K is preaching now to his followers.

I saw Rahugana (Rama das now, I believe) a few weeks ago at Alachua. He appreciated your letters, but is not convinced. I think after time he will be more convinced by actions than by words.

He said he was going to New Vrindaban in mid or late February to try to "save" PK Swami. I wish Rama das good luck in this endeavor. PK is Kirtanananda's right-hand man now, at least in the West. Devamrita Swami is leading K's devoted disciples in the Orient, who are raising millions of dollars on the pick to increase the K's "preaching" mission.

The last time I talked to PK (November), he was researching Prabhupada's writings, conversations, etc. to find references supporting Kirtanananda's new philosophy--"Guru may not be perfect, free from material desires or desire to be God, but this doesn't matter, because what guru says is perfect. If the disciple simply follows what guru says (not necessarily what he does), the disciple will go back to Godhead."

I am in Florida just now on business/pleasure. Will be in Southern California next week, then return to Florida. Leave for India end of February. If necessary, messages for me can be left at the above phone number. Best wishes to you.

Sincerely your servant,

From Damodara dasa,
Portland, Oregon
2 February 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

It has recently come to my attention that you have published some literature that deals with the final instructions of Srila Prabhupada, regarding initiations and how the movement was to proceed after his departure. I have been following the rittvik controversy since 1988, when I first met and spoke with Gauridas Pandita das in Seattle. It was then that he filled me in on what Srila Prabhupada had said to him, and after hearing his personal account, and following the course of events as related in various publications, I have become what might be termed as a "pro rittvik " supporter. It all seemed to make a lot of sense, but I still am not 100% sure. So I am writing to you to see if you have any information that will shed some more light on the subject. Is it really true that you are offering a $108,000 dollar reward for anyone that can prove that Srila Prabhupada appointed regular gurus instead of rittvik gurus? I think that was a very good idea.

As for me, I have been living in Portland for many years. I still stay in touch with devotees up here, but they are few and far between. Although things have started picking up in the last few years. There is an official ISKCON gathering place, but I don't feel very welcome there, given my views. The other place I started going to a couple of years ago but don't anymore, is the Gaudiya Vaishnava Society in Eugene. After associating with them, hearing their interpretation of the philosophy and rejecting offers to be "re-initiated," I am of the opinion now that they are business as usual and not much different than ISKCON, just with a Sridhara Maharaja twist. Needless to say, I am not very welcome there either. Ideally, of course, I would like to associate with people of like mind. I am sending a small contribution to cover for the literature and your time. Thank you so much for having the courage to stand up to all the lies and hypocrisies, and helping Srila Prabhupada's truth emerge.

Your servant, Damodara dasa

From Kelilalita devi dasi
10 February 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

You're probably saying, "It's about time she wrote back!" I apologize for taking so long to respond to your letters and later, your enclosures, Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You.... Since September my life has been in a pretty hectic situation.

I just wanted to write and tell you that I appreciate your desire and efforts to try and rectify the offences you made against Prabhupada and the devotees. Whatever has been done is done, and whatever you're able to do to help re-establish Prabhupada within the community of devotees as our only leader and savior will help! I wish you well and pray that Srila Prabhupada keep you and your family--our whole devotee family--safely under the shelter, protection and guidance of his lotus feet.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
Kelilalita devi dasi

P.S. Please don't give up!

From Sachisuta das,
Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
13 February 1994

My dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Hare Krishna. Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Have just finished reading your publication of 1993, Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You.

Having read your letter to Nityananda Prabhu (dated July, 1992) a little while ago in VVR No. 18, September '92, in regards to your reply you received from Bhurijana Prabhu regarding your request for excommunication to be lifted, I was thinking to write you then. As a few of us Nama Hatta members attached to Birmingham, West Midlands ISKCON temple were still struggling with many dilemmas regarding acceptance of rittvik acharyas, etc., with our minds and ISKCON authorities, etc., I wasn't sure how or when to contact you, so left it for a while.

However, after noting carefully your "Apology to the Devotees," "Letter to a Devotee Friend," "Introduction," "Letter to New Initiates," etc., etc., I was moved to write immediately, as it is most evident that now you are back, and are determined to return ISKCON to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, many sincere devotees world-wide will be eager to correspond with you, so perhaps before you are inundated with letters, etc., perhaps you may have time to write us a group letter? (Please do not feel obliged, however, although we would eagerly await). I think perhaps ISKCON GBC may rue the day they didn't grab you back when opportunity arose, for as you are now in complete understanding of Srila Prabhupada as Sampradaya Acharya and at your own position as his designated representative (July 9th, 1977 letter), and as you are first of "original eleven" (and aware of your preaching ability from the early days, German carts and Dr. Kovoor episode, etc.), who has returned back to Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet, I think reconciliation is now imminent.

My own "just initiation" ceremony was through Jayatirtha, 1980, yet even then I felt more attached to Srila Prabhupada, even though I was always living at home with wife and children, etc., having never lived in temple, although it took until middle of 1993 before I fully understood I was actually Srila Prabhupada's disciple. This came about after approaching one of our members here, Krishna Kantha Prabhu, who was first to contact Puranjana Prabhu regarding rittvik. When His Holiness Shivarama Swami GBC found out he was offering his findings to us, he informed ISKCON temples to ban him, so we all decided to have our programs away from Birmingham temple until such time ban is lifted.

We are currently in possession of 22-page paper from ISKCON Birmingham temple president, Govinda Bhasya Prabhu, covering many scriptural quotes and observations, and when he returns from India in March, we are invited to openly discuss issues, to some conclusion, hopefully. As he is taking initiation (third time) from Gour Govinda Maharaja on Lord Nityananda's appearance day, and accepting him as Guru Maharaja, his mind is already made up, so maybe little point in discussing?

So Prabhu, much to say how most pleased we are to see that you have triumphed over a diversity (hell and back, etc.), but will contain for now. Thank you so much for the enormous encouragement it is to us that you are with us. Very soon now Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON will be back with him, then all success assured. We would be most grateful for any instruction and advice, etc. you can give.

Your well-wisher,
Sachisuta das

Jai hari bol

P.S. Prabhu, I hope I have not been too familiar in this? For it may be that you are due more respect now than before, as it cannot have been easy to adopt lowly position. Only Prabhupada and Krishna know what's in our heart beyond externals, yet to have been honored with great pomp and ceremony, now to return to humble servant, shows much for your strength of character. Please forgive any offence. Hare Krishna.

From Dinadayadri dasi,
Ferndale, Michigan
14 February 1994

Dear Hansadutta das:

Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you very much for your letter of February 9, 1994. Yes, I have been anxious to obtain several more copies of Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You. There are a few people I've wanted to loan my copy to, but didn't, because I consider it so valuable and didn't want to risk not getting it back. Please let me know how much the magazine costs (the one I have was a gift from Puranjana Prabhu), and I will place an order for five more.

Personally, I think everyone connected with Srila Prabhupada's mission needs to read Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You. It is very powerful, because it presents the truth with logic and devotion, but without the type of inflammatory rhetoric I've seen elsewhere. I agree with you that "We must go forward positively," but believe that all those who have falsely postured themselves as liberated souls and allowed others to think of them as such need to do as you have done, perhaps not so much to gain the forgiveness of we the assembled devotees, but to gain the forgiveness of Srila Prabhupada (the one who has been most grievously offended) and thus reopen their connection to the Brahma Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. Obviously the world is desperately in need of Krishna consciousness, and Srila Prabhupada's mission is very much in need of leadership that can unite all the differing factions within it. Your approach is the only one I can see that has much chance of accomplishing this.

I hope all the ISKCON "gurus," past and present, get the chance to read Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You . I would be very interested to hear if any of them have read it and what kind of reaction you are getting from them (positive, I hope). I am especially concerned about Bhagavan, because he opened my home temple here in Detroit, initiated me in early 1970 as a rittvik representative of Srila Prabhupada, and several of my closest friends eventually became his "disciples." I also have a lot of affection for Kirtanananda, because he was always very kind and attentive to my parents when they visited New Vrindavana (which they did because they enjoyed it--I wasn't even there) and he arranged for them to meet Srila Prabhupada on one of their visits.

I wish you all success in publishing your Inside Nama Hatta magazine. I have sent in the postcard I found in Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You for a subscription. As long as you continue to follow in the lotus footsteps of our beloved Srila Prabhupada, you have my full support. I pray this meets you in good health and happiness!

Your servant,
Dinadayadri dasi

From Shyamasundar das,
Cebu, Philippines
15 February 1994

Dear Bhima Prabhu:

All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Srila Hansadutta!

I received your letter dated 15 November 1993 with the magazine, Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You. And also the letter of Hansadutta to the readers with it, Srila Prabhupada's centennial note, on the 12th of February, 1994. I just wonder why it took so long to reach here.

Anyway, it is so nice of you to send it to me, cause it gives me a new realization about this guru business, which is causing much chaos for the devotees (not all, of course). Especially these fanatic devotees which are so proud of their so-called survivor guru.

But anyway, as devotees of Krishna, our real aim is to go back to Him, back to Godhead, through this Krishna consciousness movement, which was introduced in the beginning by Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada by chanting this maha-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, and following the four regs of spiritual life and reading his books. So this is it. This is all we have inherited from Srila Prabhupada, "the one spiritual master for this age." So why bother about it. Anyway, as I see it, it's just an influence of Kali.

So now that Srila Hansadutta has presented it clearly to all, the truth behind many speculations about this guru thing in ISKCON and outside as well, it's up for grabs for everyone who is sincere to Srila Prabhupada.

I just hope that when Srila Prabhupada's centennial comes, two years from now in 1996, all devotees would realise this bold and clear presentation of Srila Hansadutta Maharaja, that Prabhupada wants them to act as rittvik representatives and after some time, by following the order of Guru Acharya, they become fit to be guru!

Hari bol.

Your most unworthy god-brother,
Shyamasundar das

P.S. I'll try to find out about Radhanath and share this to him. We haven't seen each other for quite a long time. I'm also reaping so much bad karma nowadays (family trouble). Anyway, (BG 2.14) matra sparshas tu kaunteya:

O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

From Damodar das of Portland, Oregon
21 February 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you very much for responding so promptly to my last letter.

It's great to get a bundle of engaging reading material. I have read through everything twice, and I must say I concur completely with your conclusions. I think your presentation is the most direct and logical approach to date.

I was somewhat dismayed that I couldn't find my name on your list of initiated disciples, which led me to think that perhaps you may have me confused with one of the other Damodars on the list, which I can completely understand, considering that I don't think that we ever really associated much, and the little that we did was about 14 years ago. ... I have been struggling so long with this issue of where do I stand in relation to Prabhupada? you? ISKCON, etc. that I finally feel that the truth has emerged, and I want to be a part of it, and I suppose part of that for me is a recognition from you of my initiation. I also have an audio cassette of the entire ceremony, if that helps.

... I had been searching for some association and spiritual guidance. What I got was a bunch of egocentricity, fanaticism and manipulation (and more debt). So I have just recently moved back to Portland and plan to think long and hard about any future moves, being aware that association is of paramount importance for any devotee, I just cannot afford another ill-planned decision. I would, however, like to drive down sometime and check out your program there in Cloverdale. If you could tell me a good time and give me directions, perhaps I could visit this spring sometime?

Meanwhile I sure would appreciate any other reading material that you might have. I have enclosed a small contribution herein. Again, thank you for everything. Hoping this meets you in the best of health.

Your insignificant servant,
Damodar das

From Sachisuta das,
Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
7 March 1994

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your thoughtful and personal letter (February 25, 1994) in reply to mine of February 13, 1994, received March 3, 1994. Much appreciate your latest thoughts and realizations, etc., included in "Letters" and Excommunicated, Uncommunicated, Incommunicado.

Our Sunday program at Birmingham University is only small. None of us expert in kirtan, etc., so are struggling to maintain this at the moment, hoping to get our own place eventually.

In regards to the Manor closing, to date, as far as we are aware, the order at council, etc. is restricting visitors only, so perhaps will continue for some time, as not sure how the Indian community will react, so if financial support dries up, will be little difficult to continue on same capacity as during large festivals and Sunday programs, etc.

I was telling you in last letter that Birmingham ISKCON temple president (now Govinda Bhakta, through Gour Govinda Maharaja) had formulated 22 page arguments against rittvik, before going to India, asking us to meet with him on his return to discuss. I received a message that he phoned Birmingham from India to let me know of "important events" at Mayapur and that he is sending me personal letter in this regard. If I receive before posting this, I will enclose photocopy for you. I still have "friendly" relationship with him, not sure how long will last, though, especially as this is third time "lucky" for him (Jayatirtha, Bhagavan, Gour Govinda Maharaja). Hope reconciliation possible, yet you seem doubtful, as do we all here. Especially after reading Sulochan's book, your strong opinions, my own personal encounters, etc. (Have you read Sulochan's book? What did you think of it?)

In my first letter I hinted that ISKCON GBC may rue the day they didn't grab you back in their "camp," had not realized how determined you are to fight for our beloved Srila Prabhupada and his movement. Now the giant has re-awakened, so I think somebody had better watch out, although as you say, you would like to move forward positively, I detect you are relishing the upcoming struggles??

So Prabhu, it seems that you may soon be considered a leader again as rittvik is firmly established as Srila Prabhupada's order. Perhaps you may or may not accept this leadership position? Although sure you won't shirk any opportunity to establish Srila Prabhupada and the Sampradaya Acharya above all.

May I please bring in a note of caution? For as this contentious issue is resolved, the pratistha you have mentioned could reappear, couldn't it? Who knows what Mayadevi has up her sleeve, eh Prabhu? So although I am convinced that your humility, attained through the direct experience (your words) is genuine, as good management and strength of character will again be necessary, it's possible the same or similar tendencies may arise (no one more aware of this than you, perhaps, Prabhu?). In this regard, may I please urge you to be constantly vigilant, there is hope now, small light at the end of a dark tunnel. I hope this is not offensive, yet you and those like you have great responsibility. The horrendous events of the last 16+ years must never be repeated, else we are all finished. Sure you agree and are aware of this, however. Not sure of your Nama Hatta associates or your married situation, etc., so would you please convey my obeisances and best wishes to all? Thank you. Jai Hari bol. Hare Krishna.

Your well-wisher,
Sachisuta das

P.S. So Prabhu, am sending this of 3/12/94. No sign of letter from India. Thanks once again for last letter and the literature. Of course, would be most pleased to hear from you again with advice and suggestions how to proceed, yet please don't feel obliged, as you have much more important things to do. We are relying on you as strong support. Hope that is okay. Jai hari bol. Srila Prabhupada ki jai.

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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You - Correspondence 3/Inside Nam Hatta
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