viernes, 16 de abril de 2010

My Response to the GBC Paper BV Bhagavat Maharaja

My Response to the GBC Paper

BV Bhagavat Maharaja

The Final Conversation

Part one

When I was asked to look at the report that the GBC has recently published concerning the conversation that took place between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayan Maharaja I immediately understood that they were going to try and present this in a way which would minimize Srila Narayan Maharajas importance in the Samadhi ceremony and his intimate relationship with Srila Prabhupada.  Therefore I was not surprised at what I saw but deeply disappointed.  However upon examining the document with a Native Bengali speaker and comparing it to the sound file they provided I was shocked that they would be so bold as to make so many changes, omissions, and even additions to the conversation and still provide us with the original tape now highly digitally restored. I am not sure what they were thinking when they were doing this but it was obvious that they felt confident that they could get away with it.

In the early 90’s the followers of Srila Narayan Maharaja made a translation and transcription of this conversation which was published in the book called “Their Lasting Relationship”. The title of the article itself is “Prabhupada’s Final Order: On ISKCON and Srila Narayan Maharaja.”  Based on the digitally restored file that I listened to with the Bengali translator there are also numerous errors in this presentation as well. However the translation work by Srila Narayan Maharaja’s disciples was done in the early 90’s off of a cheap cassette tape and not a digitally restored tape with all the background noise removed.  I spoke to the person who listened to the cassette tape and did the translation for that book. He explained how he had to listen to it numerous times just to make out the basic words in the conversation and still he was not absolutely sure about some things but did the best he could under the circumstances. So considering the obstacles he had to face it is understandable that there would be errors in the presentation.

I am not sure what the excuse is for ISKCONS recent presentation, however, in commenting on their presentation I would first like to address the issue of the intimate relationship between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayan Maharaja as it concerns this and other conversations which I and other devotees witnessed. If you go to the Veda Base folio and look at the conversation where Tamal Krishna and others are discussing Srila Narayan Maharaja coming on October 8th 1977 you will see that right after the conversation where Srila Prabhupada says: ”Narayan Maharaja comes; then everything is all right” the following conversation ensues after a break:

Prabhupäda: When you have come back?

Bhagavat: I just came just now, a half hour before, from America.

Upendra: And he's real skinny, Srila Prabhupada. He's skinny.

Prabhupäda: Why?

Bhagavat: Because I am following cäturmäsya. I have reduced to 160 pounds. Before I was 260. Now I am 160.

Prabhupäda: Very nice.

Bhagavat: Shall I chant?

Prabhupäda: Yes. (kértana begins)

So here is the evidence that I was in Vrndavan at this time and witnessed Srila Narayan Maharajas intimate relationship with Srila Prabhupada.

Not only was I present for several meetings between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayan Maharaja but others were present also. Here is a copy of a post made on face book by one of my god brothers Pita Das:

“GBC says that NM last Conversation with SP is Oct 8 1977. I was present Nov 10 or 11the when Srila Prabhupada met NM and Swami Bon. First in English I heard SP ask NM to watch over his disciples.  Then there was a Bengali Hindi conversation lasting at least 20 minutes. Don’t know if it was taped. Many tapes of 1977 have disappeared Sankarshan Prabhu was duplicating them in Houston naming them by content. He now says they never existed”

This leads us to another question. Where are the tapes? In the folio there are no taped conversations listed from August 18th to October 1st. Why Is that? Where are the conversations? Srila Prabhupada was Silent for 6 weeks? Here we have a devotee who was a witness to a conversation only 1 to 3 days before Srila Prabhupada left where this devotee heard Srila Prabhupada say in English to Srila Narayan Maharaja please take care of my disciples. Where is that tape? Why is the ISKCON GBC saying there is no such conversation when we have witnesses that there was? This same devotee says that Sankarshan Prabhu was making copies of those tapes. I have received an email from Sankarshan Prabhu where he states that he had tapes of Srila Prabhupada but he never had any tapes from Vrndavan in 1977. Are the tapes in the archives? Let’s see what Ekanath Prabhu has to say about that.

I took the following excerpt from a letter posted to the Sampradaya Sun on February 5th 2010 titled “Setting the Record Straight on Srila Prabhupada’s Audio” written by Ekanath Prabhu the director of the BBT Archives. The following except reveals just how much audio of Srila Prabhupada has not been published:

PS. Ongoing progress chart as of 02-05-2010: 

Audio ready for transcribing - 47
Bengali proofreading in progress - 4
Digital cassette transfers to be indentified - 249
English proofreading completed--Stage 1 - 110
English proofreading in progress--Stage 1 - 62
English proofreading in progress--Stage 2 - 16
English transcribing in progress - 66
Hindi transcribing in progress - 15
Bengali ready for transcribing - 15
Ready for Folio-- Veda Base ® - 10
Hindi ready for transcribing - 54
Sanskrit ready for proofreading - 50
Reels to be digitized and to be indentified - 161
Sanskrit proofreading in progress - 26
Transcripts ready for English proofreading--Stage 1 - 44

Conservative  estimate of new audio files forthcoming – 500


That is 500 audio files unpublished by the archives. Is there something in those files that the GBC is obfuscating from us? Ekanath says there is not but we have witnesses to conversations and there are no tapes, WHY? I looked in the folio to see if I could find anything on the 10th or 11th of November 1977 concerning a conversation between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayan Maharaja/Bon Maharaja. On November 13th there is a conversation that seems to pick up in the middle between Srila Prabhupada and Bon Maharaja. Is this the conversation the devotee is talking about? If so this is the day before Srila Prabhupada left. I was there on the last day and Srila Prabhupada did not communicate with anyone except Srila Narayan Maharaja in the last 5 hours of his manifest presence on this planet, which I will explain in a minute. However here we have a witness to a conversation partially in English between Srila Narayan Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada where the devotee heard Srila Prabhupada say in the English Language “please take care of my disciples” and we have an indication from the folio that this may have taken place on the 13th November as the other person the devotee saw in the room was Bon Maharaja and the folio conversation is placing Bon Maharaja in the room with Srila Prabhupada on November 13th. So when Srila Narayan Maharaja says sometimes “I spoke to Swamiji on the last day” is he referring to this conversation on the 13th the day before Srila Prabhupada left? If so WHERE IS THE AUDIO TAPE? Why is it we have an audio of the conversation between Bon Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada in the middle without the tape of the beginning of the conversation? WHERE ARE THE ALL OF THE AUDIO FILES?

I remember when Srila Narayan Maharaja came on the 8th to talk to Srila Prabhupada. Several times after that Srila Narayan Maharaja came to see Srila Prabhupada. I was in the room on some of those occasions. The intimacy between Srila Narayan Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada was very, very, deep. It was clear that they had a spiritual intimacy between them. I felt deeply privileged to witness the beautiful spiritual exchanges between these two great Mahabhagavats.

When first I saw Srila Narayan Maharaja walking into temple compound at Krishna Balarama Mandir I was very impressed by his demeanor. His deep blue eyes looked clear and radiant and his skin was glowing in a way I only remember Srila Prabhupada’s skin glowing. His graceful carriage when he walked made it appear like he was floating. He immediately impressed me as an extraordinary personality. It was a day or two later when he returned to meet with Srila Prabhupada that we were formally introduced.

On the first occasion that I was formally introduced to Srila Narayan Maharaja he appreciated that I was following the principles of cäturmäsya. He then took me by the arm and escorted me across the room to the side of the bed where Srila Prabhupada was lying down. He then described to me the meaning of the position and posture of Srila Prabhupada’s hands, feet, and torso. At the end of the description he said that this posture was the dancing pose and it meant that Srila Prabhupada was dancing with Radha and Krishna as we spoke. Srila Prabhupada was in a deep spiritual trance like sleep of Samadhi and was not available for having an interaction with the external world. However when Srila Prabhupada came out of his spiritual trance like state a few hours later he said that he had been talking with Krishna. Hearing that from Srila Prabhupada’s lotus lips and remembering what Srila Narayan Maharaja had said earlier that day, I was convinced then and there that Srila Narayan Maharaja was also a pure devotee like Srila Prabhupada and that Srila Narayan Maharaja could also see and speak to Sri Sri Radha and Krishna just like Srila Prabhupada.

On the last day when Srila Prabhupada departed from this world I saw Srila Narayan Maharaja enter the room. Again Srila Prabhupada was not communicating with anyone but was this time in a state of trance ecstasy and was exhibiting various ecstatic symptoms like trembling, rolling, roaring, belching, being stunned, turning pale, and profusely crying. No one was able to communicate with Srila Prabhupada and Srila Prabhupada was not talking to anyone. He was not conscious of the external world even though we were crying, chanting, and massaging his body. When Srila Narayan Maharaja entered the room he immediately came to the head of the bed where I was kneeling and massaging Srila Prabhupada’s head. Srila Narayan Maharaja kneeled at the side of the bed, leaned forward and placing his mouth next to Srila Prabhupada’s ear he chanted a mantra to calm his mood. At this point Srila Prabhupada came out of his trance ecstasy and became motionless. He then raised his hand up in the air pointing his fingers toward Srila Narayan Maharaja in a gesture of giving blessings. A gesture I had seen before and it was definitely directed at Srila Narayan Maharaja.

In this recently produced paper the GBC tries to make it look like Srila Narayan Maharaja has misrepresented himself when he says that he was there on the last day. However we have two witnesses that saw him on the last and next to last day. On the next to last day Srila Prabhupada had a conversation with Srila Narayan Maharaja which it appears was either taped and the tape is missing or was not taped and is only in the memory of the witness. On the last day Srila Narayan Maharaja communicated with Srila Prabhupada in a very powerful spiritual way which no other disciple of Srila Prabhupada could. Furthermore there are eyewitness accounts where it appears that there were times when Srila Narayan Maharaja went to visit Srila Prabhupada and he was not communicating with anyone else. Furthermore there is a video on You Tube in which Bhakti Caru Maharaja is speaking at the Devananda Gaudiya Matha in front of Srila Narayan Maharaja, Tamal Krishna and Giriraja Maharaja and many ISKCON devotees. He says the following words I quote: “Although junior to Srila Prabhupada (pause in speech) Srila Prabhupada used to treat him like his intimate friend, of course in those days none of us were in Krishna Consciousness. But later on when Srila Prabhupada was in Vrndavan in 1977 preparing to leave this planet and go back to Krishna’s eternal pastimes. Srila Prabhupada displayed what an intimate relationship he had with His Divine Grace Srila Narayan Maharaja. Narayan Maharaja used to come and see Srila Prabhupada quite often and they used to discuss about various things very intimately.” The link to that you tube video is :
The complete mp3 conversation Caru and Gurudevs Lecture to ISKCON NParikrama Party(SBNM.mp3

Here we have a GBC/GURU from ISKCON, who is presently holding both those positions, who is contradicting in the present paper issued by the GBC body his previous statements of the frequency and intimacy of the relationship between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayan Maharaja. These eyewitness accounts clearly indicate that Srila Narayan Maharaja is not exaggerating as the GBC contends but that rather the GBC is minimizing the frequency and intimacy of the relationship Srila Prabhupada had with Srila Narayan Maharaja and minimizing the position of Srila Narayan Maharaja in relation to ISKCON.

However the intimacy of the relationship between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayan Maharaja does not start in 1977 in Vraja during Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance pastimes as Bhakti Caru Maharaja points out, but starts 30 years earlier when they first met. Here is an excerpt from a letter written by Srila Prabhupada to Srila Narayan Maharaja on September 28th 1966:

“Our relationship is certainly based on spontaneous love. That is why there is no chance of us forgetting one another…..From the first time I saw you I have been your constant well wisher. At first sight of me, Srila Prabhupada also saw mw with such love. It was in my very first darshan of Srila Prabhupada that I learned how to love.” (Excerpt from a letter by Srila Prabhupada to Srila Narayan Maharaja dated September 28th, 1966)

This letter makes it clear in Srila Prabhupada’s own words that Srila Prabhupada had very intimate feelings for Srila Narayan Maharaja from the moment they met. Some devotees may say that Srila Prabhupada has expressed similar sentiments to various disciples. However the extent to which Srila Prabhupada is comparing the intimacy of his feelings for Srila Narayan Maharaja with his own spiritual master’s feelings for him has, to the best of my knowledge, never been expressed to any of his disciples quite the way he is expressing it here to Srila Narayan Maharaja. ISKCONS attempt to diminish the intimacy of the relationship between Srila Prabhupada and Srila Narayan Maharaja based on gerrymandering this one conversation and juxtaposing it against selected and various statements of Srila Narayan Maharaja is in my opinion a shameful exhibition that offends both Acharya’s.  

The claim of the GBC is that they are doing this to protect Srila Prabhupada’s movement. However it was Srila Narayan Maharaja who really saved Srila Prabhupada’s movement from being given to Madan Mohan De, who is Srila Prabhupada’s son from his previous ashram, by the courts.

In this court case brought against ISKCON after Srila Prabhupada departed, Madan Mohan De proposed that Srila Prabhupada was not a Brahmin and therefore could not take sannyas. According to presentation to the court this meant that Srila Prabhupada was in fact a business man and that ISKCON was his business enterprise and that it legally belonged to the blood relations, meaning him, the hereditary son. Srila Narayan Maharaja went to court in Bombay at least 6 times at his own expense to serve as a witness on behalf of ISKCON in this case.  He quoted extensive shastric evidence proving that a person was a Brahmin by qualification not by birth. That any Vaishnava was equal to and greater than a Brahmin and therefore was qualified to accept the Tridandi sannyas order. He quoted extensive evidence about the history and authority of the tridandi sannyas order and its validity according to shastra. He further explained that it was the order of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, the authorized Acharya in the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya and the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that any person who is a Vaishnava by qualification, no matter what their birth lineage is in fact a qualified Brahmin and that person could and should take sannyas at the appropriate time. He explained that his Guru,  Srila Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Goswami who was Srila Prabhupada’s God brother was an authorized sannyasi in the line from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and was qualified to award the sannyas diksha and mantras. In this way Srila Narayan Maharaja gave evidence that played a crucial role in the case to save ISKCON. Evidence that in fact no one at that time in ISKCON was qualified to give. So what is Srila Narayan Maharaja's reward for helping Srila Prabhupada’s disciples to protect ISKCON from the court case of his son? What is his reward? He is banned from ISKCON.

If we look at the character of Srila Narayan Maharaja we see first of all that he came to the lotus feet of his Guru as a young man, leaving behind a wife and child and forsaking the orders of his father and mother. This may be no big deal in America but in India this is a serious breach of historical and Vedic social and moral customs.  He took to the practice of Bhakti in 1946 and never left the practice of devotional service nor did he disregard its principles at any time in his devotional career. He took Sannyas in 1952 before most of us were even born and he never deviated from his Sannyas ashram vows in 58 years. He has always chanted a minimum of 100,000 holy names every day since the very beginning of his practice of Bhakti which is nearly 65 years. He has demonstrated his elevated position by remaining conscious and chanting Hare Krishna while under anesthesia during heart surgery. Only someone who is completely on the transcendental platform and whose soul is completely free from the encumbrance of the false ego and hence the entire subtle body could perform such a feat because his soul directly inhabits the body and is not affected by anesthesia. One morning during this past Kartik while we were listening to Srila Narayan Maharaja give his morning dissertation the priest from Seva Kunja came into our temple. He was carrying with him the Maha Prasadam and garlands from the previous nights Rasa Lila activities in Seva Kunja. The priest said that he was ordered by Srimati Radhika in a dream to bring the Maha Prasada to her dear sakhi who is known in this world as Narayan Maharaja. Srila Narayan Maharaja is the Mahabhagavat who is dearly beloved of Srimati Radharani and Srila Prabhupada.

In contrast to this picture of ideal and transcendental devotional behavior and spiritual intimacy with the Supreme Lord we have a plethora of persons in ISKCON calling themselves Gurus and Spiritual leaders who are not even able to follow the most basic adjusted principles of Bhakti like following the 4 regulative principles and chanting 16 rounds every day. Out of the so called original eleven Gurus, eight of them have admittedly fallen from the principles of Bhakti. There are numerous others who were made gurus later who have also fallen. Some devotees have been initiated and reinitiated as many as five times. The GBC as a body has written and rewritten one contradictory philosophical and theological position paper after another in order to protect its institutional conceptions only to change them later on. The GBC has admitted to committing serious aparadhas against Srila Sridhara Maharaja and then apologized later on after realizing their mistake. The GBC has admitted to committing serious aparadhas against their own exalted God brother Srila Gaur Govinda Maharaja and then apologized when realizing their mistake later on. They tried to obfuscate that they wanted to ban only Srila Narayan Maharaja from ISKCON in 1995 by making a ban on all of Srila Prabhupada’s God Brothers from visiting the temples. Then they broke their own policy and invited both Bhakti Pramode Puri Maharaja and Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja to ISKCON Vrndavan demonstrating that it was really an exclusive policy against Srila Narayan Maharaja. Devotees in the institution of ISKCON up to its highest levels repeatedly committed physical and sexual abuses against children and women and then the GBC systematically covered it up for years.

This same GBC body is now saying that Srila Narayan Maharaja was not with Srila Prabhupada on the last day, did not meet with him numerous times and have intimate conversations with him, and did not receive instructions to guide and help his disciples. I have shown you in this article that we have witnesses Pita das and Myself, that were present when Srila Narayan Maharaja was with Srila Prabhupada on the next to last and last day. We have witnesses, including a standing member of their present GBC body, Bhakti Caru, who have seen Srila Narayan Maharaja visit Srila Prabhupada numerous times, besides the October 8th conversation, and have intimate spiritual discussions with him. We have witnesses like Pita das who have heard Srila Prabhupada ask Srila Narayan Maharaja to guide and protect his disciples and his mission and we have demonstrated in this article how he has performed this task by saving the entire society. Yet this same GBC Body who has made so many mistakes in the past are now trying to tell us that the Mahabhagavat, a person of great integrity and unblemished character who has lived a true and exceptional devotional life is misrepresenting the facts about his relationship Srila Prabhupada.  

I have now shown you in this the first part of my refutation how the GBC have contradicted themselves on the points that they have tried to establish in their paper the Final Conversation. Now in the second part of my refutation I will present a new commentary on the conversation based on the accurate translation of the digitized audio of the October 8th conversation and demonstrate yet again how they have mistranslated the words and meanings of Srila Prabhupada’s words in order to minimize the intimacy of his relationship with Srila Narayan Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to him to take care of his society and his disciples.

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