Recently it was brought to my notice that an article entitled “The Vrndavana Anti-party” which criticizes my views, was published on HareKrsna.com. Many of my students have approached me about this and asked me to write a rejoined. I personally have no interest in getting into any such debates and controversies.
Recently it was brought to my notice that an article entitled “The Vrndavana Anti-party” which criticizes my views, was published on HareKrsna.com. Many of my students have approached me about this and asked me to write a rejoinder. I personally have no interest in getting into any such debates and controversies. I have no intention to attack or minimize any particular group or society of Vaishnavas, especially Gaudiya Vaishnavas. I have philosophical differences with Gaudiya Matha and its branches and I do not hesitate in admitting it, but this does not mean that I have any hatred or malice towards them. I also don’t have any agenda to attack them or minimize their position.
However I feel that it is my responsibility towards my students to clarify the history behind this article. From the article, it appears that this incident describing the meeting with me happened only recently. However, this article was originally written by Swami B.G. Narasimha in 1998. It was posted on his website (and can be still found there) and on VNN (Vaishnava News Network) and apparently even published in his book Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Parampara.
There are certain facts which are misrepresented in this article. It claims that I was interviewed by two brahmacaris which is not true. Rather, it was my friend Kundali Dasa who was my editor for the Sandarbha project, after I had left ISKCON, who came to visit me at my Institute. His main purpose of visiting me was to know why I could not continue to serve within ISKCON and reconcile my differences. We had a long conversation in which I touched upon various points on which I differ and I also told him that I was willing to reconcile my differences. My book “In Vaikuntha Not Even the Leaves Fall” was an attempt in this direction. Unfortunately it was banned by the GBC and I was put under heavy pressure to leave my service in the Bhaktivedanta Swami International Gurukula Vrindanvan. Besides banning my book, I was forbidden to give any classes, with the exception of teaching the students in the gurukula and was restricted from studying with anyone outside of ISKCON.
I recorded this talk because many of my old friends from ISCKON were raising the same questions as Kundali to me and in order to save time and not repeat the same answers, I decided to record and then let people hear it. I didn’t intend to distribute this tape publicly and I never did, because I had no intention to create any opposition against ISKCON.
After a few days Kundali called me and informed me that Swami B.G. Narasimha, who was unknown to me, was doing research on parampara. He thought that my talk would be helpful for his research because I also discussed the parampara issue. Kundali said told me that Swami would like to come and hear the tape, to which I agreed.
The next day, instead of Swami B.G. Narasimha coming himself, he sent two of his brahmacaris. Not foreseeing that the material from the tape would be used to attack me, I gave it to them to listen to. I am not sure how much these brahmacaris, who reported it to their guru Swami B.G. Narasimha, understood the subject matter.
After some time I was sent an article written by Swami B.G. Narasimha which referred to me as “the spokesman of a Vrindavan Anti-Party” who is “on a campaign to disrupt the faith of innocent devotees who had taken shelter of our Guru-varga” (Swami Narasingha , “The Vrndavana Anti-party”, 04/23/98). It presented 26 points which he claimed to be “anti-devotional concepts.”
To read this was a shock to me and I felt very disappointed. Yet I did not make any attempt to refute the Swami and let him have the pleasure of believing that he has done a great service to his guru-varga.
I am not obliged to conform to ISKCON / Gaudiya Matha theology. My faith is in shastra and if I see that some group believes in certain principles which are not supported by shastra I see no reason to accept them. This doesn’t mean that I am trying to disrupt anyone’s faith or that I am an Anti-Party.
From the fact that the Swami is still keeping this article on his website and then Hare Krsna Sun is republishing it after 15 years in the name of Mahasrnga Dasa as if it were a new discovery, it seems that they want to put me in bad light.
To reiterate, I have no interest in a kind of debate and creating disturbance. At the same time, I am not afraid to debate if it is done in an appropriate manner. In my opinion, internet is not a suitable medium for that since it allows anybody to write anything without reaching a definite conclusion. If someone desires to debate with me on any controversial point, the following conditions should be met:
1. The debate should be done in person
2. There should be a qualified judge (parikshaka) who listens and understands both sides.
3. The decision of the parikshaka should be acceptable to both parties.
4. The debater must prove that he or she is qualified to debate with me. The qualifications of the debater are as follows:
a) The person must have basic knowledge of Sanskrit.
b) The person must have studied the basic books of Nyaya Vaisheshika, such as Tarka Sangraha, Nyaya-siddhanta-muktavali.
c) The person should have basic understanding of Purva Mimamsa, such as Artha-sangraha, Mimamsa-nyaya-prakasha.
Our Gosvami literature assumes good knowledge of Sad-darshana or Indian Schools of Philosophy (which are Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Yoga, Sankhya, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta) and Sanskrit grammar. It is for this reason that I am putting up these minimum requirements for a person to debate with me.
The Holy Name is a whole different ball game. In Bhakti the important thing is Bhav – the emotions, the feelings, that is important. Krishna accepts the emotions of a person and he is not so concerned about the pronunciation. He is very lenient. But he knows if you have the proper understanding, you should correct it.
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