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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You

by Hansadutta das


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Correspondence #7

From Hansadutta das
9 February 1995

Dear Nrsimha Guru:

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

Thank you for your letter dated January 20, 1995. I've noted the contents carefully. I will not attempt to go into all the various points you raised in regard to Srila Prabhupada's intention for the continuation of the guru parampara. I have heard all these arguments before. The bottom line is we either accept Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya or the person who has assimilated the Vedic wisdom perfectly under the guidance of a spiritual master, realised them and is presenting them to us, and thus we have only to accept his instructions without speculation or experiment.

We accept the prescription of the doctor without contention, because it is understood that the doctor is embodiment of the medical books, and he has studied and assimilated and practiced medicine under the appropriate authorities. So when he writes a prescription, we accept it without argument. Similarly, the chief justice of the high court is accepted as the embodiment of all the law books and precedents. Therefore, when the high court judge hands down a judgment or a conclusion, it must be accepted without argument. In fact, whatever the chief justice hands down as judgment becomes the law. Similarly, the acharyas set the precedents, and whatever they do, whatever they dictate, that becomes religion.

Lord Chaitanya was criticized because He was dancing and singing in public. It was never done before. He disregarded the rigid caste system of Hindu society and accepted everyone as a candidate for spiritual life. Similarly, Lord Jesus dismissed the Pharisees and departed from traditional Jewish law, for which he was crucified. Even Shankaracharya, who preached Mayavada philosophy throughout his whole life, in the last instant declared: Bhaja Govinda, bhaja Govinda, bhaja Govinda mudha-mate: "You fools! Just worship Govinda!" But his followers found these last words incongruous with his life's teachings and dismissed them and remained Mayavadis, thus going to hell.

Although Srila Prabhupada published Srimad-Bhagavatam, Chaitanya-charitamrita, Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion and numerous other publications in which he repeatedly explained the qualifications and necessity of guru parampara, his last prescription or directive plainly indicates that he wanted his leading disciples to act as rittvik representatives of the acharya, initiating or continuing the guru parampara by initiating disciples on his behalf. This instruction is perfectly in keeping with the Vedic tradition, because the rittvik representative of the acharya is also a guru. But seeing their immaturity, Srila Prabhupada restricted their authority by stating clearly that they were to act as his representatives and that the disciples they initiate would be initiated on behalf of the acharya. In this way, Srila Prabhupada intelligently killed two birds with one stone. On the one hand there is a necessity to continue the disciplic succession by initiating new disciples. On the other hand, he saw no qualified guru-acharya in his leading students. He therefore authorised some of his leading disciples to act as gurus in the capacity of rittvik acharyas, who would accept disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada.

The business of the disciple is to carry out the order of the spiritual master. It is not his business to speculate what the ramifications of carrying out such orders may or may not be. Just as Janmadagni ordered his son Parasurama to kill his mother, and without hesitation He killed her, pleasing his father. And in conclusion, everything came out in a glorious way. Therefore, "ours is not to wonder why; ours is but to do or die." Without this determination in the disciple's heart, there can be no tangible spiritual advancement. "One who has unflinching faith in the words of the spiritual master and Krishna--to him all the imports of Vedic wisdom are revealed."

So the conclusion is we either accept Srila Prabhupada as the infallible and perfect Sampradaya Acharya and obey him unconditionally, or the other alternative is we become impudent by challenging and doubting his instructions and arrangements for the disciples. That means we become lost in an endless ocean of speculation and experiment. This is actually what has happened since Srila Prabhupada has disappeared. As you know, I am also guilty of the offence of neglecting the orders of the spiritual master. However, after a long, painful ordeal, I have regained my consciousness and am now acting as per Srila Prabhupada's original instructions, to act as a rittvik representative of the acharya.

The confusion which we see spread throughout Srila Prabhupada's mission can be immediately dissipated if we just resign ourselves to the simple directive he wrote on July 9, 1977 to his leading disciples to act as rittvik of the acharya. As soon as we depart from this, we must become bewildered and confused and frustrated at every turn. Recently we have seen Kirtanananda Swami fall on account of neglecting Srila Prabhupada's authority. And while writing this letter, we are seeing the confusion and chaos spreading on account of Tamal Krishna Goswami, Giriraja Swami, Bhurijana Prabhu and other so-called leaders who have neglected the same order of Srila Prabhupada--"Act as rittvik of the acharya." What more evidence is required to bring you to this simple understanding? Worship Srila Prabhupada and be happy. I hope this letter finds you well.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das


From Hansadutta das
10 February 1995

Dear Sriman Pandit Prabhu:

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

I received your letter dated September 16, 1994, with the enclosed news article, dated July 24, 1994 and also your letter of January 1, 1995. I do agree with you about the Gopimania business. I really don't have much time for this kind of thing anymore either, and I prefer to direct my energy towards the innocent public, who need to hear Srila Prabhupada's message and can appreciate his greatness by reading his books. For the past few years I felt compelled to address the subject of guru, rittvik and its corollaries, but this was done mainly for my own purification and to satisfy Srila Prabhupada and the world-wide community of devotees. I felt that I had to completely bare my soul and beg the devotees to forgive me for all the offences I committed to them and to Srila Prabhupada.

The example of the concentric circles in terms of various services devotees may render to Krishna is completely applicable. However, we always approach Krishna through the spiritual master. So the concentric circles must emanate from the centre, who is Srila Prabhupada, the Sampradaya Acharya. I know that this point continues to remain controversial in the community of devotees, but it is essential, without which we will continue to see overlapping circles of service on account of deducting Srila Prabhupada as the centre, or the hub of the wheel of the Vaishnava community. Innumerable spokes can be attached to the hub of the wheel and thus carry the weight, but without the hub, the spokes have no standing. If the world-wide community of devotees is ever to come into that concentric harmony, it must recognize Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya and all others as his representatives. The rittvik is also a guru, but he plainly and clearly presents himself as the representative of the Acharya, thus keeping unity and harmony in the world-wide community of devotees, and a mission that can function far and wide, without overlapping circles. Anyway, I'm sure you understand all this.

When I read your letter, I can feel how soft and kind and considerate you are. You were always that way, as I remember you, and I very much appreciate you writing me. I know that I hurt all the devotees deeply, and I will always suffer under that reaction. I hope someday your wife, Nityarupa, will see it in her heart to forgive me. I was foolish, arrogant and very ambitious and insensitive to the sincerity of the devotees. I am very, very sorry that I behaved in such a callous and destructive way.

It's good to hear that some serious devotees have come to your area and are preaching Krishna consciousness. I have heard about Rasananda Swami and that he is a very nice devotee. Regarding the newspaper article you sent me, what can I say about it except that it appears to be repeat of something we saw in our earlier days? I also don't care to enter into controversy regarding the different camps and activities and conclusions of the devotees. It is better to avoid controversy and do positive preaching work. If someone actually puts an obstacle in the path, then of course we have to breathe fire, but otherwise, let everyone preach according to their realisation and enthusiasm. Krishna will sort it all out in the end. Again, I thank you very much for writing, and I ask you please excuse me for not replying earlier. I hope this letter meets you and your wife well. If you have a computer and an E-mail address, please let me know what it is. I think devotees should utilise the computer network and communicate world-wide, in this way developing Nama Hatta and by-passing the power structure of the institution. Hari bol! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das


From Hansadutta das
10 February 1995

Dear Bhakta das Prabhu:

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

Thank you for your letter dated January 2, 1995. I'm sorry for not replying earlier, but I'm just downright lazy when it comes to correspondence, and incompetent on top of that. I'm glad that you liked the Gopimania Nama Hatta newsletter.

From your letter to me and letters written to Yashodanandan Prabhu and Puranjana Prabhu I can understand that you have had some shift in your conviction regarding Srila Prabhupada's last instruction--"Act as rittvik of the acharya." For me, the matter is quite simple, since Srila Prabhupada actually did name me on his letter of July 9, 1977, to act as rittvik of the acharya. He also reiterated in two letters following, plus I noted in a number of conversations he reiterated the same instructions by referring to the rittviks as deputies and representatives. At no time did Srila Prabhupada indicate to me, either by letter or in person, that I should act as a guru-acharya . So although there are heaps of controversies in this connection coming from all sides, the matter is settled, since I have been burnt once and am not about to be burned again. It is better to err on the side of caution, or "fools rush in where angels fear to tread." Besides all the rhetoric regarding the guru and rittvik issues, common sense would tell us that if we simply carry ourselves as the servant of the spiritual master forever, we cannot go wrong. A rittvik of the acharya is definitely a servant. I think Prabhupada specified that his disciples should act as rittvik of the acharya and initiate on his behalf because if he didn't say that, they would go and lose their head, thinking they were more than they actually were worth. This is in fact what happened. If a person were actually acharya and a pure devotee, liberated from the influence of material nature and absorbed in full love of Krishna, there would be no need to tell such a person to act as the representative of the acharya . He would understand it perfectly well and act accordingly, never thinking himself to be the proprietor of a number of disciples for his personal prestige and material comforts.

Anyway, we have gone over all these points hundreds of times. Unlike many other devotees, for me it is not a topic of logic, reason or argument or even philosophy. It is my direct realisation, born of the fire of ordeal.

As far as Puri Maharaja is concerned, my association with him in this regard, when we were all together in Vrindavan, confirmed my realizations. If he has now taken an opposing view, that is his prerogative, and I see no fault in him or you. Unfortunately, I think some of the devotees will become irritated with you and perhaps also with Puri Maharaja, but I want you to know that I have no such feelings, because my mind and heart are completely settled in this regard. It does not depend on your argument, positive or negative, and if Srila Puri Maharaja felt it was an important matter for me to reconsider, I'm sure he would write me a letter and guide me accordingly.

At any rate, I hope that you are well and blissful in Krishna consciousness. Please offer my humble obeisances to Guru Kripa and all the devotees there with you. Perhaps we can meet again soon. If you have an E-mail address on your computer, please let me know what it is. I think that serious Nama Hatta devotees world-wide should be networked through the Internet, and in this way enthuse one another in Krishna consciousness. I hope this letter meets you well.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das


From Hansadutta das
15 February 1995

Dear Urdhvaga Prabhu:

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

I received your letter dated January 26, 1995 from Schmieheim. I was very happy to receive your letter, because I have not heard from you in a long time and wondered what was going on in your mind. Your letter was very friendly, and it made me very happy and peaceful. I always feel that we are friends in Prabhupada's service, and I can also understand that you are very patient and sober. Personally, I do not have much hope for the so-called re-unification of Srila Prabhupada's disciples in 1996. I think this is a sentiment which is very noble, but the necessary understanding required to effect such re-unification is totally lacking. You know it very well. I've known it very well since a long time that the only way the devotees, both old and new, can actually be united and act in one spirit is if they realise that Prabhupada is the Sampradaya Acharya, and all others are his servants in different capacities. Anything less than this is sentiment, having no substance. Although I have no real hope that a re-unification of Srila Prabhupada's movement is possible, I nevertheless am very enthusiastic and determined to work and serve Srila Prabhupada in that conviction. I certainly do not wish to associate with devotees who cannot understand the transcendental position of Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya and the greatest representative of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and all the previous acharyas in the line of disciplic succession. So I remain alone, more or less. There is a nice devotee here whose name is Jagat Guru das and who has been helping me in different ways, especially operating the computer and doing some of the secretarial work, like writing letters and organizing an office. I do communicate with Yashodanandan Maharaja, Veda Guhya Prabhu and a few other devotees, but by and large I am alone, although I do not feel alone. I feel Srila Prabhupada is guiding me, is pleased with me in spite of all the blunders and offences I have committed in the past years.

There is definitely no future in the present set-up of the official ISKCON institution. Just as the demigods were defeated by the demons when they neglected their spiritual master, Brihaspati, similarly the leaders of the ISKCON will be defeated one after the other, along with their foolish followers, because they have neglected the Sampradaya Acharya Srila Prabhupada. Therefore, in the future I do not like to waste my time and energy in quarreling with them about various issues, especially the issue of rittvik representatives and Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya. Because by recognizing ISKCON leaders, even in a negative way, we are giving them credibility which they do not have. In other words, we are unnecessarily keeping them alive by drawing attention to their existence.

We should be eager to preach Krishna consciousness positively to the innocent mass of people, for whom Srila Prabhupada will be the obvious Sampradaya Acharya, savior of the fallen souls. And anyone foolish enough to present himself as a guru-acharya on the equal level with Srila Prabhupada will be seen as nothing more than a buffoon and dismissed as obviously ridiculous. By preaching positively, the negative effort is automatically included. We need not make any separate endeavor to point out the defect in their line of preaching. In other words, when the sun rises, the darkness is automatically dispelled, without any separate endeavor. So preaching Krishna consciousness, ignoring all reference to ISKCON's existence, is the solution all around.

If in the course of preaching, someone deliberately places an obstacle in our path, then we can breath fire and brimstone on such contenders. And even if innocent people question us, "What about ISKCON?" we should dismiss such inquiries by saying boldly, "They are the vestiges of the movement started by Srila Prabhupada in the '60's and '70's, and their only concern is to accumulate money and to imitate the Acharya by posing themselves as holy men. We have nothing to do with such ambitious, neophyte, sanctimonious pretenders."

Today Chakravarty called me from Germany and also sent us a message by E-mail over the Internet. He seemed to be quite cheerful and enlivened. He mentioned that many devotees have come to visit him, including Prithu, and that he had also communicated with you. At that time, I did not mention to him that Vidyanatha had written me last year, requesting the photo archives from the period of Srila Prabhupada's visit in Germany, but deliberately neglected to invite me to the Srila Prabhupada re-union of the German Yatra. So I am very doubtful about the consciousness of the German devotees, with whom we had so many years of intimate devotional service in the presence of Srila Prabhupada. I also do not know exactly what is Chakravarty's understanding in regards to Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya and the rittvik representatives of the Acharya. I did not think that the telephone was the time to discuss this subject matter. Of course, it would be wonderful if we could once again co-ordinate our energy for serving Srila Prabhupada's mission. But I know, and you know, that without having unconditional allegiance to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya, no genuine spiritual association is possible amongst the devotees. Therefore, perhaps you can communicate with Chakravarty and see what his understanding and his determination is. I have sent him all the literature which you have also seen, but he has to date not given a clear-cut indication of what his heart-felt conviction is.

Lately we have applied ourselves to learning the ins and outs of the computer technology and the feasibility of preaching on the world-wide Internet, and it looks very promising. Unfortunately, myself and Jagat Guru are very inexperienced in this field. Our idea is to first of all network serious Nama Hatta devotees, those adhering to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada without reservation. Through them and computer communication (by E-mail and Internet), establish centres world-wide, each centre remaining independent with Srila Prabhupada as the centre. Also, we are hoping to set up a page on the Internet where we can preach by giving a running commentary on world news events and other topics of social, political and economic interest from the Krishna conscious angle of vision. Srila Prabhupada, in his lifetime, said that we should publish a newspaper, but it wasn't possible, due to the lack of talented manpower, money and the element of time. Now, with computer technology, it is possible to receive the news and instantly respond to it and post it by Internet and E-mail with our particular angle of vision as a commentary. It is also very inexpensive. Do you have a computer? If not, I think you should somehow or other come into possession of a computer and printer so that you can communicate through the Internet system. This is definitely the wave of the future, and we must ride it as far as possible for the service of Srila Prabhupada. If you do not personally own a computer, perhaps you have a friend who owns a computer. If so, please let us know your E-mail address, and we can communicate swiftly and economically by E-mail.

We have some friends in Chicago who are in possession of a Xerox Docutech production publisher, which is the latest in digital publishing, and they are enthusiastic to provide their services to the cause of establishing Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya and re-uniting Srila Prabhupada's family world-wide.

I published your letter in a revised edition of the Nama Hatta newsletter, which I'm enclosing herewith. You will see in this newsletter also two letters written by Raghunath. He is the son of Hrimati and Atmavidya, and he has now gone to Italy since one month's time. Perhaps you will meet him there one day. My E-mail address is hansadutta@aol.com.[since changed] I'm eager to hear from you. I hope this letter finds you well.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das


From Hansadutta das
20 February 1995

Dear Nalini-Kanta Prabhu:

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

Thank you for your speedy response to my publications. Last time I saw you, I think we were attending a dinner with Hridayananda, Brahmananda, Gargamuni and myself. At that time, I tried to make the point to Hridayananda that meetings, papers or any other official forms for resolving problems amongst devotees, especially those of the inner circle and especially those who were hand-made by Srila Prabhupada, would never be successful. We are in the family of Srila Prabhupada, so family members must have familiar dealings. Formal dealings are for foreigners, for outsiders. The very root of the problem lies in this assumption by some of the god-brothers that they have inherited an office or title which gives them the right to impose or dictate to their god-brothers as noblemen or princes in political power. Any arrangement which honors this attitude of superiority can never yield the desired result. We want love. Dadati pratigrihnati, guhyam akhyati pricchati. I want to love and be loved without fear. We want loving relationships with one another, despite our differences or our defects. A legal relationship will not satisfy the heart. Srila Prabhupada brought us all together, into one family on the basis of love of Krishna. Artificially imposing formalities, like debates or meetings or publishing papers won't solve the problem.

Even if we accept the democratic process of majority rule, we can see that the majority of the devotees have abandoned the mission and those few obstinate leaders refuse to concede. So where is their integrity? They will never concede. Six out of eleven gurus have fallen, and still they go on manufacturing gurus by the dozen, as if a hundred imperfect men could replace the perfect leader, Srila Prabhupada. ISKCON's propaganda for re-uniting Srila Prabhupada's family is bogus, because Srila Prabhupada's family is already united. Ask any devotee how they feel about Prabhupada, and they will all say, "We love Prabhupada, Prabhupada is the greatest." So if we take majority rule, we already have the conclusion that Prabhupada should be the leader and all others should be his servants. But a handful of god-brothers will simply not concede, so what is the use of having a debate or meeting or writing a paper? Anyway, I'm sure you understand all these things as well as I understand them, and I don't want to belabor the point.

I hope this letter meets you well.
Your humble servant,

Hansadutta das


From Hansadutta das
20 February 1995

Dear Arya devi dasi and Vijeta dasa:

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

I received your letter dated August 25, 1994, and I also received your article in which you compare the role of the father with that of the guru.

Please forgive me for not replying sooner. I really don't have an adequate excuse, except to say that I am very disorganized and rather lazy when it comes to correspondence, mainly because it has taken me quite some time to determine exactly in which directly my preaching activities are going to go. Of late we have concluded that preaching on the Internet, world-wide, is really the place to be. I was planning to publish your article in the Nama Hatta newsletter, but then we got caught up in the craze of the Gopimania, and the whole magazine took on a different color. I communicate with Yashodanandan Maharaja regularly, and he always speaks very highly of you and your wife.

Regarding your proposal to establish a Prabhupada Jagannatha Puri project in co-operation with other devotees, I would be very cautious about entering into anything of that nature. It is one thing to associate with devotees intimately and intensely when they are strictly submissive to the authority and lotus feet of the spiritual master, but under the circumstances, all the devotees--almost with exception--are quite slack and casual, and therefore they want to associate with one another on a friendly, equal level. It is not possible to accomplish anything of significance in a casual, friendly environment. Every undertaking requires an executive head. Even in a family of husband and wife, there must be a head. The man must lead, and the woman must follow. If the man and woman attempt to associate on a friendly, equal, casual level, it always ends in grief and misunderstanding. My experience is that the devotional relationship and business relationship cannot co-exist amongst devotees, although many have tried, including myself. The devotional relationship is "what's mine is yours, what's yours is mine." But business relationship necessitates calculation of profit and loss, so immediately I must consider my god-brother in terms of pounds, shillings and pence. So the two relationships--one, the devotional sentiment of love and trust and the other, business, calculation, profit and loss--they cannot mix. So please don't take offence at my opinion, but this is my practical experience over many years. If there is some necessity for earning money, then better to deal with karmis, with whom one can have a strict business, profit and loss relationship. And with the devotees, we should maintain the open, heart-felt relationship of love and trust.

Yes, I understand your point about Nama Hatta declaring multi-level marketing of the Holy Name. I am out of touch with the mainstream of social change. Well, now that we are going to preach on the Internet, perhaps we will call it Nama Net News. Anyways, thank you for your suggestion. I hope this letter finds you both well.

Your humble servant,
Hansadutta das


From Bhakta das, Bangkok, Thailand
3 March 1995

Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:

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

This morning I spoke briefly with Adri Dharan. I have been calling him repeatedly the last 10 days, but he only came back from Mayapur last night. His first words were: "It is very bad."

The TKG/Gopi issue is more or less the only issue discussed for two weeks, and still no resolution! TKG has dominated the proceedings completely, and the only person who is speaking up against him is Hari Vilas. Adri said he sees only disaster for the next year.

The GBC has banned a new book by Kundali and Satya Narayana which supports the conclusions of the previous acharyas that we conditioned souls are eternally conditioned and have never been nitya-lila in Goloka. The GBC has another conclusion. Of course, Srila Prabhupada always told us to just get healthy, but when I study shastra, I cannot find anywhere to support that I was with Krishna in a "rasa" and left.

Adri also mentioned that TKG is now turning against his mentor Narayana Maharaja and blaming all the problems on Narayana Maharaja instead of accepting the responsibility himself! Hari Vilas pointed out this defect in him, and he got rather hot under the collar. The GBC did a private, "no-names" written opinion of TKG, and the negativity astounded him (TKG), but still, because he holds cards against everyone, no one is standing up to face him down.

Anyway, more than ever we see that Srila Prabhupada's institution is a ship without a rudder right now. Of course, we know already, but still somehow I always hope against hope that someone will put the rudder back in place and grab the wheel.

I am in wonderful spirits, absorbed in bhajan and sankirtan as normal. Sankirtan through the streets is particularly blissful the last few weeks. There is more mercy out there in the crowded Kali-yuga streets than there is in dandavats of Govardhan on Govardhan Puja. Lord Nityananda and Lord Chaitanya seem to like it when we give up the false ego and just chant from the core of our hearts in public!

If you get a chance to get Kundali's book, Not Even the Leaves Fall (from Vaikuntha), I am sure you will appreciate it. It is thoroughly researched, written in a readable and interesting style, and quite timely. There are several arguments presented which I believe apply equally to the issue of rittvik initiations.

We remember you daily and always pray for your continued advancement in devotional life.

Your humble servant,
Bhakta das


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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You - Correspondence 7/Inside Nam Hatta
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