It’s said that harikatha is ever-fresh, ever-new. But considering we hear the same thing again and again, how do we keep it fresh? For me it’s by deeply considering the statements and by doing so I usually find things that don’t add up. Weak spots. This always results in questions. By questioning what I’m being told, I keep on being urged to go deeper in my understanding.
So I keep on finding weak spots in the arguments of Gurudevas sanga (and KBM). These are the ones I’ve found so far:
- Gurudeva only speaks about Srila Prabhupadas rasa in a circumstantial way, not clearly stating his name or service.
- No other matha (including Bharati Maharaja) wants to comment on this issue. They are conspicuously silent.
- I doubted the preaching strategy argument, but there seem to be an earlier example of it.
- The absolute view of Gurudeva’s words, doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny in this case.
Bhaktivinode Thakura was the one who not only revived the Gaudiya line after Mahaprabhu, but he was also the one who introduced critical thinking into our line. I wasn’t aware of this until I started reading “Hindu encounter with modernity” and was introduced to the concept of adhunika-vada:
… the confidence to follow their ancestral religious traditions by showing how those traditions could plausibly be redefined and re-appropriated according to the culture of the modern world.
Hindu Encounter with Modernity page 136 – 137
In my last post I reference The Bhagavat, Its philosophy, Ethics and Theology”, and today I found that book in my bookcase. Now I’m in awe of my bookcase! I had no idea the book was there. This is the second time I’ve found a book in my bookcase I had no idea was there. I started reading the book, but then I had to do pranam to my bookcase. My bookcase is glorious ! ki Jaya !!
The thing is: in this controversy, I look at both sides and I can’t really fault any of them. I’m in the position where I find both being right. There is nothing wrong in being absolutely loyal to Gurudevas words, it’s commendable! The only problem I have with their position is that it’s devoid of progress. If you read closely at the public statement they don’t really even consider KBM’s statements, just utterly refute them. Furthermore, they admit that they have sought external guidance which indirectly admits that they are a bit above their head in this debate. Again, to admit this is very mature.
KBM is meeting every response and conceptions and there is so much deep siddhanta coming from them.
The problem is that even by me questioning Gurudeva’s words, I’m not a true disciple in their estimation and therefore prone to concoction. That I’m prone to concoction is true, because I’m too conditioned. But does this makes me less of a disciple and therefore lost touch with my Gurudeva? In other words, will it make me unable to advance spiritually?
I take refuge in these words from Bhaktivinode Thakura:
In fact, most readers are mere repositories of facts and statements made by other people. But this is not study. The student is to read the facts with a view to create, and not with the object of fruitless retention. Students like satellites should reflect whatever light they receive from authors and not imprison the facts and thoughts just as the Magistrates imprison the convicts in jail! Thought is progressive. The author’s thought must have progress in the reader in the shape of correction or development. He is the best critic, who can shew the further development of an old thought: but a mere denouncer is the enemy of progress and consequently of Nature.
The Bhagabat: Its philosophy, its Ethics and its theology Page 1 – 2 by Bhaktivinode Thakura