Misconceptions in the debate

“After Mahaprabhu had taken sannyasa from Keshava Bharati in Katwa, he became overwhelmed with love for Krishna and started to run toward Vrindavan. With the help of some cowherd boys, Nityananda Prabhu tricked him into coming to the banks of the Ganges. Nityananda wanted to show him to the people of Nabadwip and wanted to bring him to Shantipur. When Mahaprabhu saw the Ganges, he thought that it was the Yamuna and became ecstatic. Meanwhile, Advaita had heard that Nityananda had brought Mahaprabhu there and came by boat across the river with new clothes for him. Mahaprabhu was astonished to see Advaita, wondering how he could have known that he was in Vrindavan. Advaita answered by saying that Vrindavan was there wherever Mahaprabhu went and that the western flow of the Ganges was the Yamuna. When he heard these words, Mahaprabhu realized that he had been tricked to coming to the western bank of the Ganges across from the town of Shantipur. Advaita had him take a bath and dressed him in the new cloth and then took him to his house where he stayed for several days.”
Srila B.B. Tirtha Maharaja, from Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates.

There seem to be some common misunderstandings in those who oppose KBM, and a reader of the blog summed them up nicely:

  1. A group of devotees thinks that KBM is saying the following: Srila Gurudeva said one thing, but he meant (to say) another thing. The reality is, that the two groups differ in their understanding of what Srila Gurudeva has actually said.
    In other words, it’s not about changing Gurudevas words or that he lied, but that his words are open for interpretation.I myself struggled very much with the preaching tactic argument, but I now understand that Gurudeva never lied. Gurudeva just spoke in a concealed manner.
  2. Selectiveness of what devotees decide to follow from Srila Gurudeva’s instructions and statements of other maha bhagavats like BV Rakshak Sridhar Maharaja etc. The KBM ban and public statement is a good reminder of this.
  3. Who is senior? What birth is considered more auspicious? Can we measure seniority? The take is that Madhusudana Maharaja is junior to many devotees.
  4. For many (including myself) this is the first time we experiencing politics of this kind.
  5. This is a transcendental topic and as such can not be black or white. Transcendental topics are not that one sweet in a package full of sweet, they are the whole package full of sweets.
  6. A belief that if one holds the wrong conceptions, ALL one’s devotional service is lost and/or if one oppose siddhanta ones spiritual progress will be checked.
  7. If you don’t surrender to KBM, you cannot touch Gurudeva’s heart. This is something I haven’t read from KBMs communication.
        A sincere student should not neglect the discussion of such conclusions, considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus one’s mind becomes attached to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
      Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 2.117

What is your take on this?

5 thoughts on “Misconceptions in the debate

  1. Nice summary, thank you.

    I want to clarify that when I have gone along with speaking of Srila Madhusudana Maharaja as junior, I meant in age only.

    Also, one thing can be added here. Balabhadra Prabhu (and maybe others) thought that KBM is saying: “It doesn’t matter if you are senior disciples of Gurudeva and now take siksa from Srila Bharati Maharaja. If you don’t surrender to KBM, you cannot touch Gurudeva’s heart”. That is not what I see when I read KBM’s statements. The point is that if you oppose siddhanta when it is presented to you, you will not make progress.

    • I changed the last point in the list to add your point, because you are right. There seem to be a misconception that people think they have to surrender to KBM (which I also haven’t read in KBMs communication).

      This is a bit of a sidetrack, but again I find the quote “mercy is higher than the truth” as relevant. Is there a difference between opposing siddhanta and having misconceptions? Because in both cases, I see the Name as stronger and will remove this obstacle from our path. Which is why I’ve found the point of not making spiritual progress to be of little interest in this debate.

      • Yes, having misconceptions is one thing, militating against siddhanta is another. According to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, our chanting goes through the stage of sraddha-namabhasa. That’s when you have faith in the holy name, but haven’t yet realized what it is. So that means having (inevitable) misconceptions but being on the right track. And you may not be ready for the truth. But you should let those who want to make progress do that. And if you’re really not sure if it’s actually the truth and you’re worried about those who follow it, I would relay the advice of your Gurudeva: “Don’t worry about others.”

      • In regards to militating aganst siddhanta, then it’s another issue indeed. That’s when you start racking up offences, but again I always think the Name is stronger than any wrongdoings one may make (with vaishnava aparadha as an exception).

        I’m not worried about others spiritual progress. I have such a simple view on this that as long as we chant japa and try our best to be sincere, there will be no obstacles that can’t be removed 🙂

  2. The tenth nama-aparadha is also relevant to siddhanta being presented to you:

    “The tenth offense is to have a particular attraction for any mundane thing – that attraction must be uprooted. I have to be unprejudiced and become free of any kind of mundane attachment. While taking the holy name, a transformation begins with the mental system and we must try to be unbiased. The holy name will take us from this worldly consciousness to Krishna consciousness with the feeling that, “I am not pressed to go to some unreasonable position. I am going home. It is very sweet. Now I am wondering in a foreign land that is nonsympathetic, but I am really going to my home, under the holy feet of the Lord. All my well-wishers are there.” With this spirit we shall take the name.”

    -Srila Sridhara Maharaja

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