The Breakup of a matha

After the passing of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (BSST), there was a breakup of the Gaudiya matha. As a result, most of the sannyasis established their own mathas.

In the 1950, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Maharaja wrote and published article on the breakup, the first in a series. Such a hue and cry of protest arose from the mass of devotees arose that they decided not to publish further articles on the matter. Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Maharaja was certainly in a position to know all the details firsthand, having at one time been falsely accused of murder and arrested along with his entire Math.

Sons of the sons: The breakup of the Gaudiya Matha

If somebody have the articles, I would love to read those especially because I suspect those articles may address something I’m very curious about:

Can a breakup of a matha be favorable? If so, how?

It happened after BSST, and now that Krishna Balarama Mandira has been banned from preaching in America, are we seeing the contours of the same happening now? Are the organization (ipbsys) that was put in place fractioning up?

There have been several challenging issues that have arisen since Gurudevas disappearance. It’s the falldown of one of the sannyasis, that one sannyasi took on babaji vesa and now the debate on what rasa Srila Prabhupada has. And those are only the ones I know about.

I have also noticed something curious about myself. I try to follow those who have been within the matha for a long time, and I have followed more closely the arguments of those favoring madhurya-bhava than I have KBM. But I can also say that now that the dust has settled and I still follow them, I find myself less interested. When I see what they quote of Gurudeva, I think “This is just low levels of vaidhi-bhakti”. Why are they quoting this? Is this  an indication of where they are? So I become disinterested because I see that whatever vitality I’m searching for is not there. I have preached the middle ground and I see no reason to harbor any animosity. On the contrary, I think we all can do a great, nice kirtan together. But yet, I want vitality with my harikatha. I may not think Nemi Maharaja have digged enough into his own arguments, but I fully respect that he keeps on digging. That shows me vitality in action. I want him to keep on digging, and I will keep on listening because his digging encourage me to keep on working on my own understanding.

“Unless there is some disagreement there cannot be hari-katha” (around 28:00)

Bhaktivedanta Damodar Maharaja

Syamananda prabhu emails me regularly with something interesting he wants to show me. Often I find myself empty, but then he mails me something that prods me back. This is vitality.

KBM challenged me with their statements. This is devotees who keep on challenging me and I need it.

But I just don’t understand how a split can be favorable. If we take the devotees that have been a part of Gurudevas sanga for years which I now may have come a little less interested in. They have done more service than I ever will. They are more advanced than I ever will be. Many have sought the guidance of Bhakti Vijan Bharati Maharaja which from my understanding is a pure devotee. I have the utmost respect for them. So what am I missing?

Damodar Maharaja said to Gurudeva “You are making so many plans for the future, but you never say who will come after you. Who will be the Guru? Acarya? But if you don’t appoint an acarya, they all will become acarya and they will all fight amongst each other and everything will be burnt to ashes.

Gurudeva laughed “Very good. I will be watching the fire and I will be laughing. Cause actually I’m not interested in what will happen after. This is not my business. There is Krishna and he will take care of this.”

Lecture by Damodar Maharaja (58 minutes in)

I can’t for the life of me understand the benefits of a breakup. I just don’t understand it. If we take the madhurya-rati side it seems like they keep themselves connected. What positive side effects does a breakup have?

I understand that people are different and this translates to devotees as well. During the trips I’ve had to festivals there was only a very select few I really connected to and those devotees shine bright for me. The rest I avoided which pretty much made up most of the devotees. But this spiritual path is not a popularity contest. It’s not about who’s in and who’s not. This spiritual path is for everybody.

So what is achieved by a breakup? Gurudeva gave the response “Very good” when Damodar Maharaja said that everything will be burnt to ashes if he didn’t select a successor acarya.

This indicates that a breakup can be good. By dividing, Krishna can achieve something. But what?

For the record, I don’t hold any opinions on this matter myself (at least not now). I just like the philosophical understanding that can come of this.


5 thoughts on “The Breakup of a matha

  1. Okey, so I have done some more thinking. Especially, what you said that Krishna accomplishes many things at once, which I think is key in the disappearance after a great acarya.

    An acarya creates an organization for the benefits of his disciples (and to honor his Guru). But this is somewhat of an artifical construct for legal reasons and for making it easy to attract devotees.

    So disturbances happen after a Guru leaves. This works as a test on the disciples to gouge their purity of purpose, how tender their faith is, strengthen resolve etc.

    Then there may come a disturbance so great (which usually would somehow be connected to siddhanta) that a large crack appear which results in a split between devotees in the sanga. In one sense one can see that a sanga is an artificial construct, and devotees have different personalities which means what they get attracted to is different.

    So when the father leaves, the children are left with different “personalities” which translates to qualities one may become attracted to. This is good as maha bhagavats have different personalities. It gives us disciples a choice in where to go and helps us understand that we have to take responsibility in who we associate with and who we take siksa which is a very serious issue in this spiritual path. This is one test.

    But somehow I still feel I’m only scratching the surface of understanding. I’m not satisfied yet with this.

    And still, we are talking about benefits of a split where we can assume there is pious vaishnavas on both sides.

  2. This! Exactly that!

    “The world does not need any more big institutions. Big institutions and their resolutions do not inspire trust. They can’t do very much to solve individual problems or those of this world; the world needs individual performance. Only individual efforts, such as the efforts of Srila Prabhupada, impress the people in this world and will make them change. These difficulties have arisen so that all of you should get your act together and start to make a difference as individuals, in the service of your spiritual master. That’s what is necessary. Then the world will be blessed by Srila Prabhupada’s love.”

    Some years ago I followed Marcus Buckinghams books on leadership and what made businesses especially successfull. What it came down to? Leaders treated every employee individually. To deal with people equally is actually unfair, because we are different. We have to take special care of each and every one, individually.

    So, I’m so grateful for your Gurus words. My heart is satisified yet again with an understanding of why a split might be favorable.

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